Messy Motherhood

by jenna on July 30, 2014

IMG_8098 The first six weeks with Grayson were hard, hard, hard. I loved Grayson but missed the freedom of my old life a lot. It felt like someone pulled a rug out from underneath me and I could barely keep my head above water. I don’t know how other moms {especially mom bloggers!} do it because MOST days I didn’t have a single second to myself to get anything done. I never understood when people said being a mom was hard, but I’m eleven weeks in now and I can say, hands down, it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had.

For me, something finally started to click into place right at the eight week mark. I never thought it would take eight weeks for me to get my act together but it absolutely did! I just woke up one morning during that week with the desire to exercise again, to write blog posts again, to get back out in the world. Starting the Moms on Call method really, really helped with that and Grayson started to thrive with more structure during the day. I finally got him eating every three hours instead of every two, and for some reason that really made a big difference in my day. We also went from two night wake-ups to one. I no longer just sat and watched re-runs of Friday Night Lights all day while I nursed. I think the biggest thing I did right after eight weeks was join our local Stroller Strides group! Stroller Strides has been amazing and helped me get out of my house and get moving outside with other moms. It’s seriously been a life savor. If you’re a new mom, I highly recommend checking to see if there’s a local chapter of Fit4Mom near you. I can’t rave enough about it. Even Adam has commented on how much happier and more like “me” I seem these days. It’s amazing what getting outside for an hour can do.

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All that being said, I’m no supermom. I was talking to a friend of mine about the idea of “supermoms” the other day — you know, those moms that seem to have it all together all.the.time. Seem being key word. It’s so easy to assume how perfect someone’s life is from daily Instagrams and Facebook status updates. We always seem to think someone else has it easier than us, that their house is cleaner than ours, that their kid is perfect when ours is super fussy.

I get it.

But…I’ve come to realize that this motherhood thing is messy and hard. It just is. It is for you, for me and for that “supermom” you follow on Instagram that you keep comparing yourself to. You have to dig your toes into the carpet and be present through all the tears, puke and poop. You will have sleepless nights, long days and lots of tears. Things have gotten significantly easier for me after the two month mark, but that half hour before Adam gets home from work is ROUGH. We’re definitely still in the evening fussiness stage and by that time, I’ve been pretty much alone with an infant for eleven hours. I have so much respect for single moms because I don’t know how I would get by without my husband taking Grayson off my hands when he comes home from work.

So today…let’s stop comparing ourselves to others and start living your own truth. No one’s life is perfect and you’re a better mom than you think.

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{ 133 comments… read them below or add one }

Krista July 30, 2014 at 3:11 am

Great, Great, Great post!!! Thanks for your honesty : )

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Bri | Bites of Bri July 30, 2014 at 3:19 am

Love this post! Thanks for being so open about everything so far. It’s all relative and you seem to have it really together. Seriously though, my mom taught me that there will always be people on both sides of the spectrum in everything. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we are not the worst one, but far from it. :)

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Kayley Maybe July 30, 2014 at 3:20 am

I remember you writing a post about how you were going to be canning when the baby was napping and thinking, oh honey, you have no idea what you’re in for. Because the truth is you can’t know what you’re in for with a baby until you’ve lived it. It’s the hardest and most beautiful thing in the world and, for me at least, it just keeps getting better. But you’re right that a big part of it is just letting go of expectations, doing the best you can, and loving yourself as well as your kid.

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valene August 4, 2014 at 12:02 pm

haha..I remember telling my coworkers that during my maternity leave I would finally have time to paint my house…..lol..Its been 5 years and 2 kids and I finally just paid someone to do it. Worth it though…motherhood is hard but so worth it.

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Lori August 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

In Jenna’s defense, she has done some canning while baby napped, as seen on instagram. And it comes off sort of condescending when people say things like “oh honey,…”. I’m sure I’m not the only one rubbed the wrong way by it. I don’t think we should tell each other what we can and can’t accomplish as new mothers.

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Kelly August 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I completely agree with Lori. That comment sounded very rude!

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Sarah July 30, 2014 at 4:07 am

This post is exactly what I needed. Thank you!

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Tom @ Raise Your Garden July 30, 2014 at 4:24 am

Great post and you have a real cuttie there! You’re right life is tough and sometimes you just take a day at a time. My wife doesn’t have the “help” that all her friends get from their parents and that is sometimes tough but there are also great rewards in being the one’s that actually raise our kid’s. Like you said stop comparing and just do the best you can.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat July 30, 2014 at 4:39 am

Love your transparency, Jenna! I don’t have kids but your message still hits me because of the whole comparison thing. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of looking at others and trying to measure up, especially when you’ve got a type-A personality like I tend to have. So glad you’re feeling better! :)

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Katherine July 30, 2014 at 4:44 am

Jenna, You seem to be doing great as a new mom! I’m curious though, what do you mean by “expecially mom bloggers”?

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Live Love Yum August 2, 2014 at 12:10 am

Me too?!

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Laura July 30, 2014 at 5:15 am

Great post! I am embarrassed to write this, but YOU were the super mom to me. I love following you on Instagram but each happy picture always seemed to come at a time when I wasn’t having a “happy” moment. Especially because my baby girl is two week was older than Grayson, so she should he waaaay more on top of things than him, right? All this to say, this is a struggle for me and not at all a request for you to stop sharing your sweet moments! God continually presses things like this on my heart–with each urge to compare and feel like I come up short, I just have to stop myself and thank him for each blessing about motherhood.

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Emily @ Fit as a Mother... July 30, 2014 at 5:29 am

Love this! I heard many times from people “I don’t know how you manage to run, work full time, and take care of 2 kids!” Well, for one thing, running is part of taking care of myself, which is a must if I’m going to take care of someone else too! And another thing, people have no idea the number of times I’ve sat around overwhelmed and crying, wondering how I will manage to do all the things I need to do! Hard is an understatement. But it’s all worth if of course!

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Julie @ Coastal Runner Girl July 30, 2014 at 5:37 am

Loved this honest post! Thanks for sharing the info about ‘Stroller Strides’! I just looked them up and they have a group in my neighborhood, yessss!! :)

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Bobbi July 30, 2014 at 5:38 am

I have a seven-week-old. The first three weeks were so incredibly tough, I cried more during them then I think I had in my whole entire life. From exhaustion, mostly, and feeling clueless. Now we’re in a great groove and have finally adjusted (though there are still things to figure out as we progress, of course) and I’m so thankful. Like you I’ve started exercising, and I am training for a half marathon with other new mama friends so I feel I’m still focusing on myself. New mama hood is no joke! Hang in there.

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Danielle July 30, 2014 at 5:47 am

Thanks for your post! I felt the exact same way after each of my children were born. There is such a big adjustment period, and it just takes time. Thank you for articulating all of this is a real way. Praying for you guys! You are doing a great job!

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Wendy July 30, 2014 at 5:51 am

I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now, but I’ve never commented before. I too am a new mom, I have a three month old baby girl, and I have to say, this post is exactly what I needed to read. I also felt like the rug was pulled from underneath me and I was yearning for my old life back, even though I knew it wouldn’t happen. Motherhood has been a big adjustment with lots of struggles for me, and I’m glad to see I’m not alone on this wonderful journey. Thank you so much for this post, Jenna. God bless you and your sweet baby!

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Maryea {happy healthy mama} July 30, 2014 at 5:54 am

My kids are 5 1/2 and 2 1/2, but reading this brings back all the memories of those early days when each of them were newborns. It’s so hard! There’s no other way to put it. Hang in there and you will see that it does get easier. But no, life will never be the same. After kids, there’s always someone you put in front of yourself. Even when you have “me time” or whatever, you always have the children on your mind. It’s never the same, but it’s wonderful.

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Marin July 30, 2014 at 10:40 am

I totally agree. I also have the same aged kids and having newborns is just tough for all of those reasons. It gets easier, but part of that is because you grow as a mom and you’ve been through a lot so when hard times come they are a little easier to get through. Life buzzes by at warp speed though with kids. I don’t miss my old life anymore but I do miss not having more wrinkles and my pre-baby body :-) I would never trade it in though to not have my kids, they make my life amazing now!

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Donna July 30, 2014 at 5:56 am

I really never comment on blogs anymore but as a new mum to an 8 week old i just wanted to say how much i loved this post! He is napping on me right now and though i love him more then words could ever express, this new role is darn hard and not a lot of mums talk about the hard parts so thanks :)

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Tonje July 30, 2014 at 5:59 am

Thank you so much for this post! I stumbled across your blog and just love the mummy updates!! I have a 7 week old and can pretty much relate to everything you write :)

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Allison July 30, 2014 at 5:59 am

It sounds like you may have (had) some postpartum blues. Be kind to yourself.

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Anna July 30, 2014 at 6:01 am

Jenna, thanks for the honest post. For me, you ARE that Instagram mom who has it all together! Our babies were born just days apart, and I will admit I have been jealous about how your baby experience has “seemed”. It is good to know that the struggles are shared by all! This post has made me realize I need to be a little kinder to myself and not so critical that I don’t have it all together. Best to you and Grayson!

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Avery July 30, 2014 at 6:01 am

Well said Jenna! Any tips on how you got Grayson to go from 2 hour feedings to 3 hour ones? We’re trapped in the 2 hour (or LESS) schedule.

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jenna July 30, 2014 at 8:29 am

Well, we waited until he was 7 weeks old and then I just stopped feeding him every 2 hours and making him wait. This got him on a schedule. The first two days were hard because he was used to eating every 2 hours (even if he wasn’t really hungry) but I held out. Now he’s totally fine. I wouldn’t try this with your baby unless he’s at least two months and steadily gaining weight. I fed on demand for pretty much the first two months before I started a schedule.

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AshleyL July 31, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Soothies have really helped me. When she seemed to want to suck before it was time I give her a soothie and discovered she was using me as a pacifier. So much better.

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Jen July 30, 2014 at 6:13 am

Thank you for keeping it real! I no longer enjoy some blogs because of the aggressive and fake approach that some are taking these days. It’s not real life. You are a joy to read because you are honest and aren’t trying to sugar coat anything…thanks again!

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Jaclyn @ BumpSweat July 30, 2014 at 6:14 am

Awesome post! As baby will be here in the next few weeks, I’m realizing more and more just how tough life could be coming up. I say could because while I know little one will be demanding, I have no idea what her temperament will be. In the past, my mom friends would talk about how hard x, y, or z was (things like getting baby to sleep), and I’d, admittedly and arrogantly, think that somehow they were doing something wrong, that if I researched enough and asked the right people, I’d definitely not make those same mistakes. But I’m realizing more and more how true the notion that you just have to do what’s best for you and your baby, and troubleshoot when the difficult situations come.

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Dana July 30, 2014 at 6:23 am

Looooove this and SO so, true!! thanks ;)

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Jessica B July 30, 2014 at 6:32 am

AMEN SISTER!!!! It is so hard not to compare ourselves to other people (why does she always look SO cute, how is her house SO clean, blah blah) but we have to live our life the way we choose to! Thank you for the reminder and motherhood certainly looks wonderful on you and greyson is so stinking cute!

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Laurel July 30, 2014 at 6:51 am

Thank you for these words this morning. I needed to hear them. With a 20 month old and 5 week old at home, I often feel like I’m just barely keeping my head above water each day. I try to give myself grace and celebrate the small accomplishments of each day, like getting a load of laundry done! ;)

You’re a great mama, Jenna! Keep up the good work! :)

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April July 30, 2014 at 6:58 am

Amen! I remember those days so vividly and would never take them back for anything…i feel like a stronger person and mother because of it:)

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Erica July 30, 2014 at 7:04 am

Oh sister I TOTALLY get you! My first baby is 8.5 months old now, but around the 13 week mark I kind of just fell apart! I’m typically a VERY glass half full person, so falling apart was tough for me to admit. I spit it ALL out on this post – http://www.whimsicalseptember.com/2014/02/the-rollercoaster-of-being-first-time.html
I’m glad I recently found your blog! Looking forward to continuing following you!
-Erica :)

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lindsey July 30, 2014 at 7:27 am

I laughed out loud when you said “watch re-runs of Friday night Lights” while nursing all day cause it is SO true.. and after a while, that really does mess with your mind and happiness!! I’m so glad you’re finding what makes you happy in your new life as a mom :)

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Melanie July 30, 2014 at 7:28 am

If you want some perspective check out Grace at http://www.camppatton.com. You probably know her already!

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Jesse July 30, 2014 at 8:11 am

the struggle to find ‘me time’ is one that i am still working on and my son is 2.5 years-old and we’ve got another little one on the way. but i try to take a few minutes here and there — take a walk during lunch at work, get up 20 minutes before my son in the morning to take a shower, have coffee and just sit with my thoughts and get out with my husband for a date night. keep taking gentle care of yourself, mama.

http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2014/07/fort-reno.html

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Katie sB July 30, 2014 at 8:14 am

Love love love this post and your honesty about new motherhood.

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Colleen July 30, 2014 at 8:15 am

Thank you for this post. I’m a first time mom to a 4 month old, and I COMPLETELY agree with all of your sentiments. COMPLETELY. It is funny, though, because I’ve almost had to stop reading all mommy blogs (or just mommy blog posts) because I’ve felt like their experiences (or at least what they post) are so different (and often sugar-coated??? or so I tell myself) that it just makes me feel like a failure – which I don’t need at this point. I logically know everyone’s experience is different, but when I see people 4 weeks postpartum cross-fitting up a storm and looking back to their pp weight already while I’m struggling to find time to fit in a run here and there and am still holding onto a good extra 15 lbs (while only gaining 30) – it’s crazy disheartening. (Sorry for the run-on sentence!) I logically know I had to go back to a full-time job at 8 weeks, and my baby’s had horrible silent reflux that we didn’t diagnose until 10 weeks (read 10 weeks of screaming), and that her temperament is just on the fussy side (even after 4 months – read screams anytime she’s put in the carseat), but it’s soooooo easy to make these comparisons. All that to say – thanks so much for being real b/c this mother thing is crazy, crazy, crazy hard! And crazy, crazy, crazy wonderful – but darn! And it really helps to know we aren’t alone in our struggles. On that note, I found the book “Mother Shock” like the most helpful thing ever in terms of realizing that we aren’t alone in our feelings – I HIGHLY recommend it to you too!!

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Jen July 30, 2014 at 9:08 am

HaHa I have heard enough about cross fit too! Take a break, jeez! Am I right?!

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Annie July 30, 2014 at 10:15 am

um AMEN!

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Chandra July 30, 2014 at 8:16 am

Amen!

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Hope July 30, 2014 at 8:21 am

I have been reading your blog for many many years now, since you lived in FL and were going to cooking school. I have always loved your recipes… the buffalo chicken dip, white chicken chili and now the pork chops are regulars in our house… I have also always loved your honesty, and while I am not a mom, I can feel the honesty in this post, and thank you for it. You are an amazing person.. thanks for sharing yourself with us for so long. <3

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erin @hooleywithaz July 30, 2014 at 8:35 am

the grass is always greener, you know?! glad to see you are settling in, and mama, you make motherhood look great and fun, bad times and all!

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Kristy July 30, 2014 at 8:36 am

I hate to be like this, because you have been so honest about your journey as a new mom, and it is much appreciated, but this rubbed me the wrong way:

“I don’t know how other moms {especially mom bloggers!} do it because MOST days I didn’t have a single second to myself to get anything done.”

Especially mom bloggers? Now I’m not a mom (yet), but I’m hoping to be one soon, and I live with the reality of knowing I’ll have to come back to work after a month when my husband and I will have to figure out childcare on our limited salaries. I know everybody has their own struggles, and I’m not trivializing yours at all, but man would I be more relaxed about this whole situation if I knew I had a way to make money from home while I was with my baby. I realize you haven’t been able to post lately, but you have a very understanding blog audience! I appreciate your candid posts on this journey, but I feel like moms who have to leave their infants after a few weeks (heck, I consider myself lucky that I’ll get a month or two off) to go back to a job because they HAVE to have it pretty bad, too!

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Bree July 30, 2014 at 9:54 am

I think her point is that working from home is different than working outside of the home. I have two kids under two (5 months and 17 months) and it is much harder on the rare days I have to “work from home.” So Jenna can decide she wants to sit down and write a blog at 10am but if her baby is crying, hungry, wet, fussy, etc., she has to tend to him while when I’m at the office, I don’t have those interruptions. Don’t get me wrong – it’s the hardest thing in the world to be away from my babies while at work and still run our household and cook and keep it clean but that grass isn’t necessarily greener is my point.

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Jaime July 30, 2014 at 12:35 pm

See, now I read that differently than both of you. (goes to show how one thing can be interpreted in so many different ways) I took the “especially mom bloggers” to mean that it seems very common for mommy bloggers to appear to have their shiz together so quick and paint these “oh so perfect life” pictures that are impossible to live up to: “appear” being the key word… I have had to stop reading some “mommy” blogs because the fakeness was just so over the top especially to me as a working mom.

So, Jenna, what did you mean by that comment? ;) LOL.

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jenna July 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Sorry guys! I truly only meant that it’s really difficult to work at home. Not to discredit AT ALL moms that work out of the house, because I am sure that is really really hard, trying to balance working from home (in my case, blogging) and a baby can be difficult! Like today for example, I had all my ingredients laid out to make a recipe but Grayson refused to take a morning nap. I had to put work on hold and be with him instead of cooking.

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Mel July 31, 2014 at 6:36 am

It’s kind of a luxury in a way that you can do that though, ya know?
I know you know you’re super blessed (you always speak about it and I know you are very close to your religious beliefs). Some moms don’t get to be with their child because they have to leave the house and go to work, and it breaks their heart. They have to find somewhere to pump because someone else is looking after their baby so they can make a living. I am not discrediting blogging moms, I’ve worked from home and it can be bad when you can’t even leave the house, maybe it’s just the way you are phrasing things.
I don’t mean this in a negative way! I love your blog (been a reader for years), but that did have me taken aback for a second. =)

Mel July 31, 2014 at 6:37 am

OH also, I think you are doing great and I really appreciate your honesty! Grayson is a lucky little man.

Rachel July 31, 2014 at 8:00 am

Grass is always greener – I much preferred going back to work and getting my life back. I don’t envy anyone from work at home moms, to stay at home moms – every one has their hardships and their preferences. Yes, staying at home is a luxury but even if I had that luxury I probably wouldn’t have chosen it personally – and that’s just me, I know many people WOULD. So I don’t think there’s any point in comparing or complaining since it’s all hard!

Also I agree Jaime, mom bloggers are always portraying everything as amazing and rainbows all day and it’s just ridiculous, anyone who has kids knows that’s completely untrue.

Kristy July 31, 2014 at 8:05 am

Ok gotcha! I’m sure it is hard to balance work and caring for a newborn. I think for me (when/if I get to that point) will be having to work outside the home while I know someone else is caring for my newborn. Not even pregnant (yet) and the thought of it makes my stomach hurt.

Jaime July 30, 2014 at 8:37 am

THIS!!!! Thank you for KEEPING IT REAL!!!! I also have found myself much happier checking facebook and instagram less (or just “muting” certain moms) and also dropping a few blogs I used to read where the author had gone the sanctimommy route and I couldn’t handle it. You on the other hand, have kept it pretty real, and even though our situations are different (I work outside the house so my kiddo is in daycare all day) I find your honesty refreshing! :)

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Kelly July 30, 2014 at 8:42 am

I’m so glad you’re happy and healthy and doing well! I honestly don’t remember a lot of the days right after my son was born, I was dealing with postpartum depression that I didn’t realize I was going through until after the fact and the sleepless nights just made all the days blur together. My son is 7 now and there are still times I feel like my head is barely above water. To anyone that is having trouble, just take each day at a time. Ask for help, repeatedly, if need be. Talk to your doctor if you need help, keep talking if they don’t seem to be hearing you. Hang in there, mamas!

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Grandma Honey July 30, 2014 at 8:50 am

I realize I had my 4 sons a million years ago, but I do remember all of this. And I remember “the irritable crying” of 5 hours (as I use to call it) every single evening really calmed down at 3 months. It was a magical turning point.

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Jenn July 30, 2014 at 8:56 am

Truth. My peditrician said the first weeks of first time motherhood are the hardest in a woman’s life. The baby blues are real (dont let this be confused with depression). Awesome post.

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Lauren C July 30, 2014 at 8:58 am

Bravo to you for writing this post! I’m not a mom but it has still been disheartening from my perspective to read the critical and negative comments you sometimes get here and on Instagram every time you post something about your baby or your experiences as a mom. Even those comments loosely camouflaged as “recommendations” or “FYI” or “I just had to chuckle when you said…” — the underlying tones often imply that you have no idea what you are doing or the person commenting can’t wait to show you how wrong or ill-informed you are. I usually keep up with each of your posts, even though I don’t relate to your comments on motherhood, and I don’t remember you holding yourself up as an expert on anything! Critical attitudes and comments are a dark side of our human nature and it seems that the anonymity of the internet magnifies it. It was so freeing for me to finally learn how to live my own truth, warts and all, without apology, and stop comparing myself to the assumptions I was making about others (online and off). Great post!

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Sam July 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm

You’re so right!

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kath August 1, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Amen! Motherhood is messy Jenna. Great post!

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KPH in LH July 30, 2014 at 8:59 am

As the mom of 20-somethings kids now, I can still remember the days you’re living now, Jenna (especially that “witching hour” just before dinner time, but sadly my husband worked late hours at a car dealership all.the.time so I had no relief, we just rocked and watched a lot of news around that time!), and if there’s one piece of advice I could give you and other moms at your stage, it would be exactly what you said … give up on comparing yourself to your perception of everyone else, which actually is good advice for EVERYone, not just new moms! While “expectations” (whether internal or “external”) can be used for good, they can also cause a lot of unnecessary angst if we place more importance on them than just living in the moment you’re in right then … you ARE doing a great job, and it’s wonderful to watch as you and Adam create your family :)

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Shannon R July 30, 2014 at 9:01 am

The early months with a newborn are just survival mode. Things will get easier, especially when he is sleeping through the night regularly. You’ll feel like a new person. And every child is different. If you have another you might find he/she is very easy from day one. My second slept through the night at 5 weeks and every night since (he’s 7!). My first child…not so much. Sounds like Grayson is doing great.

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Stacy July 30, 2014 at 9:16 am

What is that drink you have pictured? Recipe? Yummmm

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Laura @ She Eats Well July 30, 2014 at 9:17 am

Thanks for sharing these personal posts Jenna. As a long-time reader of your blog, I have always admired your ability to be very candid and honest. It’s been awesome following along with you as you become a Mother. You are doing awesome!

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Emily @ Life on Food July 30, 2014 at 9:29 am

So real. I love your blog. And Grayson is so cute!

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Kristin July 30, 2014 at 9:31 am

I joined Stroller Strides at 8 weeks too and it was a game changer. Not only was it great for my fitness, but I loved getting the baby out of the house and talking with other moms dealing with the same stressors and issues. We met some great friends and I plan on doing it again with #2 on the way.

I’m very guilty of the comparison game, so this post really rings true.

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Shannon July 30, 2014 at 9:50 am

You are amazing and I feel like your advice truly applies to anyone going through a tough time. Exercise and being outside makes everything better and comparing ourselves to the people we follow on social media can often make us feel inadequate. Here’s to living our own truths!

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Kari Routledge July 30, 2014 at 10:05 am

I love following your blog for the recipes, book requests, and more. My kids are 16 and 21 so I can’t relate anymore to the baby posts. I did read this one and do have to admit I was a little offended by the comment “especially blogger moms”. I went back to work full time when my first was 3 months old and when my second was 5 months old and have worked full time ever since. I’m not arguing the age old stay at home/working mom thing but I don’t understand at all how being a blogging mom would be harder than being away from home all day and then having to do everything else in the evenings/weekends.

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kelley July 30, 2014 at 10:27 am

My husband was deployed three days after our first baby was born and was gone for 11 months. I look back on that first year and wonder how in the frikkin world did I survive that? I am now nearing my due date with baby number three. Motherhood is trial by fire. You do what you do because you have to. There is no other option. You find what makes it all work for you. My husband gives me days off. I didn’t hesitate to call my doctor when I suspected postpartum depression. Even with all the hardest parts of infancy and now toddler-dome, it still wasn’t enough to make me not want more kids. It’s the beautiful calling we’ll ever have.

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kath August 1, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Hats off to you!

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Emily July 30, 2014 at 10:28 am

Thanks so much for your post! I have an 8 month old son who I adore. They say the army is the toughest job you’ll ever love – no way, it’s being a mom! It took me about 6 weeks to adjust to life with baby, i.e. hormones adjusted, got some sleep, started to shower daily. Then my husband had to leave for a month to work when the baby was 4 months. That month made a real mom out of me. I have SO much respect for single mom’s now. Everyone tries to tell you how it will be but you honestly have to live it yourself with your baby. It took me years to get pregnant and at times I never thought I would have a baby. I feel so blessed that I have a son, and will hopefully have more, but it doesn’t mean that it still isn’t hard and there are days when I feel like I’m failing. Much love to you and Grayson!

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Heather Michelle @ A Sweet Simple Life July 30, 2014 at 10:40 am

Love this, Jenna. Being a mom is messy, but wonderful. It took me a lot longer than 8 weeks after my son was born to get my act together. I don’t know how moms who work outside of home do it in 6 weeks! They are my heroes.

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Heather Michelle @ A Sweet Simple Life July 30, 2014 at 10:42 am

Yes, and amen! Thank you for sharing!

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Whitney S July 30, 2014 at 10:44 am

Love this time a million!!! I’m a new mom with a 6 week old and I felt like you we’re talking about my life!!

So happy to hear things are getting better for you!!

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Thea July 30, 2014 at 11:13 am

I love, love, LOVE Stroller Strides!! It was the only reason I got out of my house before 11am when my daughter was 8-9 weeks old – before then, I thought it would have been impossible!! Funny story: the first time I decided to attend a class, I got up extra early, got EVERYTHING ready for me & baby, picked out a suitable I’m-working-out-in-public outfit (and – gulp – even put on mascara…I’m ridiculous), got in the car, and drove to the park. However, in my excitement/panic/enthusiasm, I had completely forgotten to bring gym shoes! So I participated in my first class in flip flops. Ha!

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Sophie July 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

Amen!!!!!

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Becky July 30, 2014 at 11:34 am

THANK YOU for this wonderful reminder that we are all in this together. The timing was perfect. I have a 2 year old and we are expecting our second baby this November. This morning was rough. Every step of our routine was like pulling teeth. Every. Step. I ended up in tears before 8am after a terrible sleep and an hour of power struggles when my 2 year old yelled at me to “STOP COUNTING!” (which I do for time outs…) I didn’t feel like I caught my breathe until I got into my car after dropping her off at daycare at which point I thought that perhaps she was yelling BACK at me. Self-check moment. Watch the yelling.

Anyways. You are right. Mommyhood is messy. And that’s ok. I still wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Valerie @Bubbles and Gold July 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

This post gave me the chills, thank you. I think before motherhood, we have this unrealistic expectation that we can handle the juggling act. I know I did. Boy did I get a slap in the face! It took me about 4 months to finally be able to function at a normal rate. Taking care of a newborn is incredibly difficult, and yet, that time span is so short.

I’m glad you put it out there that life isn’t perfect. It’s beautifully imperfect!

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Kim July 30, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I’m really glad you are feeling better. I just don’t get how people are so surprised about how difficult babies are, though!

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Allison July 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Hi Jenna, I’ve been reading your blog (and book!) for a couple of years now and I always admire and appreciate not only your delicious and accessible recipes but your honest and thoughtful posts. I’m not yet a Mom but the concept of “let’s stop comparing ourselves to others and start living your own truth” really resonates with me, especially today. Thanks for the reminder! xo

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Samantha July 30, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Thank you for such a candid and honest post Jenna! I especially loved the last line. It’s easy to look at other peoples lives and assume they have it all figured out! I feel like I am always such a hot mess covered in spit up and diaper cream and every other mom seems to have it together so much more than I do. Thanks for the great advice, I needed it today. P.s. We have stroller strides here too and I’ve been to a class and it was great! It’s such an awesome concept to have moms and babies excicising together and getting fresh air. :)

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Barbara July 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm

That brought tears to my eyes and I’m not even a mom! Perfect, beautiful words.

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Bron July 30, 2014 at 3:56 pm

love this post. I felt exactly the same probably until at least the 12 week mark when we went to our local family centre for the day and got some awesome advice from the Plunket nurses about settling and routine then I finally felt like I could cope and I might get back to feeling more like myself one day. I don’t think you ever truly know what you are in for until it happens – big learning curve but the best one there is! and now she is 19 months and so much fun. I look forward to getting home from work everyday to play and have our time together. It only gets better!

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Ashley July 30, 2014 at 4:19 pm

I just LOVE what you bring to the world ! you keep on being you, you rock!! Well done as a Mama and a person in encouraging people to have their own happiness and truths! <3

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Sarah | The Cyclist's Wife July 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Ah, all mom’s need to hear this and we need to hold it and give it to all the other mom’s around us too. Good job!

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Tracy July 30, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Very well said and oh so true. I’m a mother of two boys, now 15 and 13… I’ve worked full-time most of their lives, but have made them my priority and not my job, but let me tell ya, it has not been easy… your little guy is such a cutie!!

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Laura July 30, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Thanks so much for your honesty. I struggled sooooo much when my daughter was born and I had always wanted to be a mom….it just wasn’t like I expected. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one!

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Mish @ Eatingjourney July 30, 2014 at 5:38 pm

from one messy mama to the other…amen.

xo

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Nicole Schmid July 30, 2014 at 5:46 pm

I am literally crying as a read this post over and over. I am a first time mom to a 4.5 week old baby boy and it has been such a huge and hard life change! It helps so much to know that others are feeling the same and that no one sails through this journey. Thank you Jenna for keeping it real.

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Mish @ Eatingjourney July 31, 2014 at 12:09 am

Hey Nicole,

I’ve got a 9.5 week old, it gets better. promise :) I promise that you’ll feel like you’re coming up for air soon. I remember thinking that I would NEVER get a hang of it. I hope that you’re enjoying it all..and I’d imagine that you’re little one is starting to smile (or will soon!) it’s the best!!! sending hugs! xo

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Lori July 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm

You = Amazing!!! I’m pregnant for the first time and WILL remember this when the time comes!

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Mish @ Eatingjourney July 31, 2014 at 12:11 am

I wish I would have extended myself A LOT more grace when I had my daughter 9.5weeks ago. I wish I would have listened more when i was prego. Having this post in the back of your mind will help so much. COngrats on your pregnancy, it’s the best!!! xo

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Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats July 30, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Great post! I agree, it is HARD. I have a 4.5, 3 and 11 week old. It is exhausting work.

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Sarah July 30, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Well said, Jenna. No one can prepare you for the realities of how hard mothering is. I’m so glad that you’re finally feeling like yourself again and hitting your stride. The happened for me after the second month too. You are doing a wonderful job!

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Anne July 31, 2014 at 5:58 am

As a new mom myself, I just wanted to thank you for this post. Could not agree more with all of it – Namaste

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Rachel July 31, 2014 at 6:02 am

I really really appreciate your honesty! It has made the first five weeks with my newborn a lot easier to know its hard for everyone.

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Diana @ frontyardfoodie July 31, 2014 at 6:24 am

You wonderful woman! You’re doing fantastic.

My first son was the picture of a perfect baby. Fed every three hours, slept through the night at six weeks old, never cried, loved to sleep…blah blah blah. He made me feel like a rockstar! My adjustment to motherhood was smooth and easy. I wondered what everyone said about having such a hard time and how that could possibly be! Oh how naive I was.

My second son was IMPOSSIBLE. He screamed nonstop for the first three months of his life and the first year and a half he was up screaming 15-20 a night. I nearly died. I tried everything I could and we even had to move so he could have his own room and stop disrupting his toddler brother’s sleep! The day he cut his last tooth he slept through the night…..

Some kids are more of a struggle than others. Some have trouble latching, other’s have sensitivities to foods you eat or formulas you try, there are the ones that always want to be held and the ones that need to be moving constantly. No baby is the same!

Your early trials will make you a more versatile mother and prepare you for whatever comes. It’s a hard job sometimes but as time goes it gets more and more fun. I love both my boys the same despite my hard times with the second and now that I’m about to have a third I look forward to seeing what she will be like. Just wait til there’s the talking, laughing, the snuggles. It’s all good.

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Adam's mom July 31, 2014 at 7:48 am

Jenna- My heart just flipped over in my chest. This is the most honest, most real thing I’ve ever read about new motherhood. Knowing you will touch so many moms with your words…well….I’m just bursting with pride and respect. Thank you for making my son SO happy and complete and for being such an outstanding mom to my grandson. Love-Mom2

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Beth July 31, 2014 at 10:06 am

Now THAT was the best comment I’ve ever read! ^^^^^^^^

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Sarah August 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm

I agree! So sweet!!! So happy you have this kind of family love!

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Jessica July 31, 2014 at 8:21 am

Thank you for this post! As a new mom with a five week old and other mommy friends and your blog posts from months one and two, I felt so inadequate and thought I was the only one who couldn’t figure things out or feel helpless when my baby is crying and I have no idea why! I agree that being a mom is so hard and I also can relate to missing my old life. This is just what I needed bc I have to say a lot of times I feel like I’m in the minority and that there is something wrong with me for getting exhausted after 12+ hrs with my sweet baby. You’ve help put a little sanity back into my life.

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Brittney July 31, 2014 at 10:14 am

Great post :) I’m not a mom but I really respect what you said about not comparing yourself – so true in so many ways!

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anonymous July 31, 2014 at 10:19 am

First, wow on your mother in law’s comment. She’s awesome. So are you.
I just want to quickly say thanks from a non-Mom. This comparison to others is rampant in our society and for women it applies to how we look, how we mother (or IF we choose to mother at all), what kinds of girlfriends and wives we are, how career focused we are, etc. I don’t have the new baby experience but I sure as hell know what it’s like to feel like I’m always falling short in my life when it comes to measuring up to superwomen. Time for us all to let ourselves off the hook and just be the best women we can be, whatever that means individually for us.

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Lauren C August 1, 2014 at 7:53 am

Excellent. Could not agree more!

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Tracy July 31, 2014 at 10:20 am

Amen! I’m a mom of 4 teens…. the job gets easier in some ways and much much more difficult in other ways, but oh so rewarding!

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Crumbs recipe blog July 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Beautifully raw and honest post.

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Beth July 31, 2014 at 12:14 pm

I have a 2 year old and I still feel like we are in survival mode most days, especially with teething. He’s cutting his last tooth & I can’t wait to be through that. I remember from his newborn days just feeling so surprised that everything felt so much harder. I knew it would be hard, but just didn’t anticipate just how completely everything changed. Now, my husband and I laugh at how much easier a newborn is than a toddler – I mean, we would always make sure one of us was in the room with him: “I’m going to the bathroom. Do you HAVE him for a minute.” Etc. Ha ha. He certainly wasn’t going anywhere so what were we so worried about? Now, we really have to be with him or all hell will break loose and he’s exploring all his boundaries. Every age really does get better and better, though, and certain things get easier while other things get harder, but it’s shocking at how your heart continues to grow love for your child, and for me, also my husband. Have fun and so glad you’re feeling connected to your self.

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Sarah July 31, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Amen!

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Jen July 31, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate reading your posts on becoming a first time mom. My daughter was born two weeks after your son! It is the HARDEST thing I have ever done, and I really appreciate your honesty.

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Kasey July 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Wow you couldn’t have said it any better and took the words right out of my mouth. My daughter turned 11 weeks yesterday and those first few weeks as you said were just hard. She’s been a little colic-y and the nonstop screaming some days really took a toll on myself and my husband. I really hated breastfeeding and missed the freedom of my old life. And like you, one day it just clicked. I love breastfeeding her now and want to do it as long as she’ll allow me to.

She is finally sleeping through the night and on a 3-hour feeding schedule too. I hate that just as I’m getting the hang of things I have to return to work next week.

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Emily T July 31, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I LOVE how honest you are with how hard it is being a mom! I’ve stopped comparing myself to other moms because I think everyone just wants to make it look easy, even though it’s far from that.

My daughter was born May 8 so I’m pretty much going through the same stages along with you and love reading about it on your blog! How did you move Grayson to a 3 hour schedule?? My daughter seems to want to eat every 2 hours 15 minutes and she will get hangry if I’m not presenting the breast to her right away. I’d love any tips!!

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Danielle J. July 31, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Beautifully written, Jenna! I’ve been reading your blog for a really long time and one of the things that I’ve always loved about it (and you!) is how honest you are. You are all about keeping it real – the good, bad, and ugly.

Being a momma is seriously one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done and like you (and many others) have said, definitely the most rewarding. There is really no book you can read or discussion that you can have that can prepare you for what motherhood will bring to you – everyone (momma and child!) is different. Every experience will be different, each day will be different. The only thing that rang true and consistent for me is that every three months it got better. Just when I thought I was going to cry out of frustration for the rest of my life, I would wake up and something would be different – whether it be a new milestone (like smiling!) would be reached, or sleeping through the night, or just trusting myself more – and it would be amazing!

You’re doing a great job, momma!
xo,
Danielle

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Ella July 31, 2014 at 10:40 pm

You go girl! You’re a great mama. Keep trusting yourself! Where you’re at now was the hardest time in my entire life, but I would never take it back. Children are amazing.

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Paula July 31, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Well said.

You’re doing a great job.

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Marie-Sophie August 1, 2014 at 7:29 am

Thanks, Jenna! I am 28 weeks along – and even though it is great that some moms seem to have it down from day one it is always comforting to read that yes, (first time) moms do have a hard time at the start and that there’s no sugar-coating it. And even though you all confirm that, yes, it does get easier … it is just really good to know that there’s other moms out there who have been through the same that I might go through. And when that time comes I will remember your post, come back, re-read it, take a deep breath (maybe cry a little bit because that’s what the hormones do) – and move on! But I am also glad that you are so happy right now (and I downloaded the Moms on Call on my Kindle and read it next to the Baby Whisperer and Baby Wise … I am just taking it all in and then see what’s best for us&baby). Chocolate hugs from Germany!

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Purelytwins August 1, 2014 at 7:32 am

love this post, even though I am not a mom yet (still got 8 weeks to go before my life changes) but I agree with you in that we need to stop comparing ourselves. I even catch myself comparing my baby bump to others when I know we all carry pregnancy differently! Such a great reminder. Thanks! xo

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Elizabeth August 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm

ditto to all the other mamas out there. i needed this post, too!!!!!! sitting with my beautiful 9 week old on my lap as she sucks on my hand :)

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Kelly August 2, 2014 at 5:19 am

Oh my gosh I clearly remember how hard those first 3 months were for me. Trey is 9 months now and I’d say something clicked for us around the 16 week mark. We had horrible feeding issues and really terrible day night reversal. I remember walking into my bedroom sobbing to my husband saying I totally understood why sleep deprivation was used as a torture tactic. I was exhausted and hormonal. But then around 8 weeks things got better and by 16 weeks we were rocking and rolling like it wasn’t no thang. It definitely gets easier as your start to learn one another, find a routine, get on a schedule and start rembering who you are. I think we forget that we still have needs and taking care of our needs does not make us bad moms. It actually makes us the super moms. :)

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Cyndi August 2, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Motherhood – welcome!

It’s not easy. It will test you. You want to “go back” but you can’t – not an option.

But honestly, once you realize you must go forward, you won’t regret it. The rewards are so much greater than the new discomforts.

Welcome!

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Emily August 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

I wanted to drop you a note. I enjoy reading your blog so much. I’m so glad to read about your new life with Grayson too! I wanted to let you know that I made your crockpot pork chops with apples recipe the other day and we loved it! It was so fast to put together and yummy! Keep up the good work.

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Lyn August 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm

What a very honest post! Thank you for sharing it. So many new moms think they have to reach some ideal, and if they feel frustrated or overwhelmed or long for the old freedom, they are somehow failures as a mother. So not true! I’m a mother of five myself, and yes, it is hard, and messy, but it gets easier over time. Every time I added a baby, it was easier! You are doing great. And your baby is adorable!

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Brittney August 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Hey lady,

Your the BEST! I’m so thankful to have met you at stroller strides! I not only get a wonderful friend out of it…you come with an amazing food blog chok full of recipes I can only dream of making. Your doing a great job. Sleep deprivation aside; losing the “old me” was probably the hardest part of having a newborn. It’s just an entirely new world…new routines, new dynamic with your spouse, new body, new weird emotions you never had before! It’s all such a crazy interesting ride. So glad to be doing it with you! Love ya

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Jill August 4, 2014 at 5:45 am

Hi Jenna! I am a PT and a mother of two almost 3 now – I have some great tips for the evening fussiness – feel free to email me if you would like some of my tips! Good Luck!

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Lindsey August 4, 2014 at 10:34 am

I love this post! I’m a new mom also and thought I would never have a messy house, go without a shower and be in my pjs at 1 pm. Ha yeah right!

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Jennifer August 4, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Great honest post!! I follow a lot of mommy blogs, and most of the time I’m like dang! How do they do it?! They always look beautiful and their kids are always dressed in the cutest clothes! I’m a stay at home mom to a 9 month old and it’s hard! She’s all over the place and gets into everything, but I wouldn’t change it for anything! She wears me out by the end of the day. I read a quick comment you replied to earlier about cooking…you may already do this but I’ll share just incase. I do a lot of meal prep during her nap time or randomly through out the day. She gets pretty fussy in the evenings as well (teething is a mother) and its hard to start cooking an entire meal at 5 pm! So cut up veggies when you get a few minutes and pop them in the fridge until later. Anything I can prep before pulling the entire meal together I do earlier that day or even the night before! You’re doing great!!

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Andrea August 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Hi Jenna,

I LOVE this post! As a new mom, I TOTALLY agree with everything you have said about motherhood. It’s amazing but so super hard. You almost have to mourn the loss of your old life in order to move on to the next. I read this post from another blog recently and cried: http://www.coffeeandcrumbs.net/blog/2014/7/25/bqysx2mx6gbotqv8sxfkqlrmgk2ie7

Everything she writes is so true! I hope you read it and find inspiration and hope that it will get better, and that no matter what – you are a great mommy.

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Jill August 7, 2014 at 5:23 am

You are awesome! My little guy is 19 months and I STILL feel like I don’t have my crap together half the time. And I’m Canadian – I had 12 months off work to adapt. There are days when I’m so glad my kiddo is older (because I found having a newborn to be totally overwhelming and terrifying) and days when I think he is growing up way too fast and I can’t believe how many words he knows (I’m certain he’s totally average but I still find it delightful and surprising) and what an awesome little personality he’s got. I totally agree, though, that if you can manage to get some sort of schedule going and do an activity for yourself, even if baby tags along, it can make the day(s) much more enjoyable.
I also echo what another commenter said – be kind to yourself. Being a parent can be freaking hard. Just try to keep in mind that it’s hard, now and then, for everybody, and we all suck sometimes and are great sometimes.

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Meg August 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

I have been a huge fan of your blog for about a year now. I love how real and down to earth you are. Do you have any advice for someone (me!) who is just starting out their blog? Thank you :)

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Beth Smith August 9, 2014 at 2:12 am

I can absolutely 110% relate! My first just turned 8 weeks yesterday and I feel like I’m just now coming up for air. I was so blissfully ignorant when I was pregnant with all these rainbows and unicorns on what motherhood would be like, although my son is all rainbows and unicorns the actual act of taking care of him and being there every second of the day is hard. It was a total shock to have this completely new life and feel like you aren’t yourself because you’re forming this “new self” you’re now a mom and that comes with a lot of responsibility and worry, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

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Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. August 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm

I’m expecting in November and I appreciate this post because I know it is not going to be easy! I’m a blogger too, but also work full-time outside the house and I am already dreading that short 6 week maternity leave because I know it’s going to fly by and I won’t feel ready to go back!

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Stephanie August 11, 2014 at 6:58 am

You just put into words one of the biggest mom lessons that is really a life lesson as well. People assume too much about others which I think is soul destroying. There are no super-people. We are all human and mothethood is one of the best ways to work out your own faith and salvation because it calls for love and humility and patience and devotion to another, setting aside our own desires for the growth of another person. You get it. Keep up the good work. Where would any of us be without a good mother?

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Dorota August 12, 2014 at 10:43 am

THANK YOU!!!! Thanks to this post I decided to take a Strollers Stride class and I loved it. I was getting so depressed staying home with my two beautiful children, but this is awesome. I can get my workout done, my kids are outside enjoying fresh air and it made such a difference to my mood. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I love your blog. You helped me fight my depression :) Is there a way to subscribe to your posts by e-mail?

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Brittany August 15, 2014 at 1:34 am

Everyone is speaking their truth and I thought Id share mine…

Everyone’s lives are different. We may go through some of the same joys and hardships but none of them will really be experienced the exact same way. We will be able to relate to others, of course, and find solace in the fact that others have made the journey before us or are currently on it with us. Truly everyone’s lives are different, though. I don’t think people really truly understand this…

We cant all be size 110 and yet some girls really truly think its possible. We cant all look like our favorite singer or celebrity and yet, some girls really think its possible. And what is really sad is that because size 110 isn’t obtainable and girls cant look like someone famous there is an epidemic of eating disorders, suicide, and so much more…

I know because when I was younger, I struggled with an eating disorder. I thank my Lord above that I have been healed.

I just turned 30 a couple weeks ago. I learned a lot in my 20’s. One of the many (MANY) valuable things I learned is that everyone’s life is different and comparing myself to other people would be the demise of my genuine and authentic self. Comparing my life to other peoples’ would put the last nail in my coffin to my life, basically. When we compare, we are not being ourselves or living our own lives. I am going into my 30’s with this beautiful awareness and I have my whole life to work on it but I am ever so grateful for the lesson thus far.

My reality is that I am married (with no kids) and I couldn’t be more grateful for this life I have. Like people who have had near death experiences, some come back to their lives with this zest and gratefulness for their lives…

Healing from the realities of being a woman with infertility (my truth) is like the awakening of a new woman. I don’t look at life the same as I did before and for the better. You see, I used to be so sad that I wasn’t a mother. I am at peace with this at this point in my life (the notion of never being a mother). I realize not every woman will relate to me in this area. It was a hard journey full of pain, tears, emptiness, and so much more. I truly relate to other women who are struggling with infertility but I know all of our journeys are different. It is a path that I believe a woman never wants to travel. Its dark and murky. I didn’t feel like a woman, I felt defective and punished. I compared myself to other women (who were mothers), lost my self worth, among so many other negative things…

Thanks to my walk with God, Prayer, and so much more….a trip to the Oregon Coast with my husband, just the two of us, would make me realize how incredibly full and complete my life was already. It was just the two of us, this family that started already….and I was missing out on it because I was so focused on the missing family member that didn’t exist (and may never exist). My husband and I literally played on the beach, ran around like silly people and it all made perfect sense…

Life was happening…a family of two adults and 1 cat were living that life and I just needed to be present for it :)

Be Content with your life as it is because its imperfect and beautiful.

In memory of the late Robin Williams…

“Bee yourself…”- Aladdin (Genie)

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Allison @ Life's a Bowl August 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Today marks the first day of my 3rd trimester, hard to believe. Loved this honest post, Jenna!

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Lauren September 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Your baby posts are so refreshing to read. It is helpful to hear the more realistic story behind all the perfectly cute baby pictures. Thanks for sharing the good and the tough times!

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