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A Coffee Date: Encouragement, Energy

Happy Friday! Ezra Jude is SEVEN months old today. How is that possible?

I’m wrapping up this week (filled with a sick baby, a coughing big boy, cloudy grey skies, lots of coffee, conversations with good friends and dreaming of spring) with my second Coffee Date. Before I share the topics, I have to say that I have Spring Fever already. We had some “warm” days in Minnesota these past two weeks (and by warm, I mean 30’s) and it seriously smelled like spring outside. Simple pleasures, friends.

Today’s topics: Encouragement and energy. What does this mean? I’m going to touch on the Sisterhood of Mothers sometimes referred to as “mommy wars” video that is going around, life with two kids and a few tips for gaining a bit more energy in a healthy natural way. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat.

A coffee date

Sisterhood of Motherhood

First up, have you seen this video? It’s bringing out the best and worst in people. I’ve seen so man wonderful comments about encouraging others, not judging etc… but I’ve also seen a lot of negative comments and people getting on the defensive about every little detail.

Is it possible that we simply take ourselves and our beliefs and values too seriously? I breastfeed exclusively right now and I would add that it’s not really by choice. Ezra refused the bottle 15 or more times and still does. He thinks it’s a teething toy and has no idea how to suck out of it. But breastfeeding absolutely does NOT define me as a mother. It’s a part of how I nurture my baby. But it is not me. I work part-time from home. I baby wear so I can get more done. I also push a stroller sometimes. I cosleep sometimes (although we’re almost done!) and my baby sleeps in the crib sometimes. I am very patient some days. I’m very impatient and even rude to my children some days. I’m working on it.

But none of these things I do define me. Can we get over defining ourselves by the things we do as parents and start seeing ourselves as complex beings who change daily, weekly, monthly and who are simply trying to do our best for ourselves and our children?

I’m lucky to be surrounded by women who parent in very different ways and yet we all really accept each other. And encourage each other. And cheer each other on. We don’t have to be the same to be in this together.

Baby feet

Life with two kids

I’m planning to go into depth about my transition to two children eventually, but I recently saw two articles making the rounds about two mothers’ experiences. One mother had the perfect, joy-filled beautiful transition into motherhood when her daughter was born. Before Ezra, I would’ve read this and cried and felt like I wasn’t mother enough. Whatever that means. My experience transitioning to motherhood was not like this. It was filled with tears, doubt, guilt, depression and more. But my second time around was SO similar to her experience that I get it. I really do finally.

With that being said, this second article really covers all postpartum experiences so well. Even with Ezra, a fairly chill, happy baby who was on somewhat of a schedule fairly easily and who was happy to go with the flow, I had days where I doubted everything. I had moments when I couldn’t stop sobbing (particularly day five postpartum, which I now know is the peak of the baby blues due to hormone drops—who knew?). And I had SO many times when I felt relieved that it was SO much easier than I was expecting and joy-filled. Instead of surviving like my postpartum plan said I would, I was actually thriving. Truly.

You see, postpartum experiences differ from person to person, but they also vary within one person. Again, we are complex individuals and nothing will be the same from moment to moment or day to day. Some days are hard. Some moments are amazing.

After Bodhi, I vowed to be much more honest about my experiences as a mom with my friends and others, so no one had to feel as alone and horrible as I did during my maternity leave and beyond. Maybe it made me look negative. Maybe those people who have those easy fabulous babies thought I was ridiculous, but it doesn’t matter. It was my experience and if I had that experience, I can guarantee that other mamas out there had hard times too. They would not feel alone in it again.

A coffee date

Natural energy

I’ve been feeling really low energy lately. I blame the cloudy grey skies, the lack of sleep and the holiday sugar binging. Having low energy with two kids is really hard. It makes daily interactions less joy-filled and more blah. A few weeks ago, I researched some natural ways to add a little spring to my step. In no particular order, here are five changes I’ve made that have given me a bit more energy.

1. A tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar daily. Feel free to google it. I’m no expert, but a friend recommended it to fight colds and it’s helped me do that plus get a little energy.

2. Green juice. Admittedly, I’ve splurged on the fresh green juice from Whole Foods a few times in the past two weeks as we wait for a new appliance to arrive, but I will say that when I reach for green juice at 3 p.m. (my lowest energy point of the day) instead of a latte (my guilty pleasure all of December), I feel SO much better. Maybe it’s the placebo effect. Or maybe not, but it has made a huge difference.

3. Exercise. I know. I know. Everyone says this one. But it really does help. A quick walk around the block, running up and down the stairs with the baby in the Ergo, a baby wearing workout video (they actually exist!) or a jog on the treadmill will do the trick.

4. A big glass of water. Before grabbing another cup of coffee, I’ve been forcing myself to drink a big glass of water. It seems to help a bit.

5. Music and Dance parties! Whenever I’m feeling really tired and both boys are around. I turn on music and dance! It works. Plus both of my boys belly laugh now so it’s worth the energy just for that.

How are you doing today? How is your heart? Sending love, positive energy and joy your way. Have a lovely weekend! Now seriously, please tell me how you’re doing. What’s on your mind? The only way this works is if you share as well.

XOXO, Jessica

Photos by Melissa Oholendt Photography.