Mothergood Podcast

We now have a podcast! Available on Apple, Spotify, Google Play, and Youtube.

Check out our podcast reviews below:

Share with all your mom friends!

This podcast has been so informative and encouraging on so many topics I didn’t even realize I could learn something from. The conversations are so enlightening and positive, even the serious topics. It has given me confidence in my ability to be a mom and so many helpful ideas to implement. I have shared this with all my mom friends in all season of life and all respond saying, “Wow! Thanks so much for introducing me to Mothergood!” The topics of these podcasts have inspired so many conversations between mom friends and even my sisters who are not yet moms themselves. I can’t recommend this enough!

Love this podcast!!

I love everything about this podcast. Wholesome is the word that comes to mind about the conversations that are had, and the host is so receptive to everyone’s different approaches to parenting. It is wonderful and has been so insightful and helpful in my own journey as a new Mom. (8 month old baby at the time of this!) Extremely grateful to have found this podcast.

Best Mom Podcast 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Absolutely love the podcast! Perfect for Mom’s everywhere! The experts they bring in are so knowledgeable and I’ve learned so much. Can’t wait for each episode!!

Rational and informational

I’ve loved following this site and their social media accounts and all of that goodness has translated to the podcast!

The topics are relatable and serious (in the sense that it’s not fluff) and the speakers are relatable and engaging.

Phenomenal content for the modern day mama

Always impressed with the content put out by Mothergood Co. Love this podcast!

Practical, Valuable, Comforting Advice

I feel inspired after listening to these short discussions and even take notes of the tips throughout. Although I’m not married yet nor have we started our family, I can incorporate healthy communication skills now learned from the Mothergood community!

Great motherhood community!

This podcast is great! As a new mom it’s refreshing to listen to a mom podcast that’s judgment free and positive. I highly recommend to any mom’s, new moms or soon to be mammas out there!

A Podcast For Real Moms!!

Ugh I’ve wanted to find a podcast worth listening, non judgements like, a actually good tips for real Mamas! Thank you MotherGoodCo❤️

Great Mom Resource, Practical and Helpful!

With so many mom bloggers and mom podcasts out there it’s hard to cut through all the noise, this podcast is a refreshing podcast that gives everyday applicable advice. The guests featured discuss topics that matter most for new, seasoned and soon to be moms. They are also experts in their field and very knowledgeable. I like to play it while I go about my day and I look forward to each new topic. I already love the Mothergood community and this podcast is the icing on the cake!

Off to an amazing and exciting start!

Just started listening and am already hooked – this actually has me EXCITED to meal plan for my children and even go grocery shopping!

Grateful for this podcast!

I’m not a mother yet but even I find real value in every one of these podcasts. I highly recommend this to all moms and moms to be!

Vitally Needed Community is Women Supporting Women!

I love what Mother Good is doing! Providing real and useful content and a forum for mothers to share and feel connected. Motherhood is often misunderstood and we lack a real source for providing judgement free zone where new mothers can ask questions and establish mothers can share their stories. Motherhood is such a powerful life transition and mother good is offering a much-needed resource!

Great first episode!

Lots of good info for moms

A MUST FOR ALL MOMS

As a mom this one of my favorite podcasts. The information and resources I get from just one episode is super helpful.

Completely worthwhile!

Being a nurse myself I have truly loved this podcast and how informative it is. I am pregnant with my first and I know I don’t know what I don’t know. This podcast has truly be wonderful as I start navigating this new world. For new moms and those that have been moms for years I know everyone would learn something new from listening to this podcast. Thanks for what you do!

Real stories

I like that they incorporate what happened to them and the journey. Also acknowledging that these are things not as openly talked about but they are giving resources in the process.

Uplifting and practical!

After listening, I always feel uplifted! I come away with practical and concrete ideas and reflections that just feel good!

Amazing Worthwhile Podcast

As a new mom and pediatrician I’m always on the search for well-done, evidence based, and practical podcasts to listen to on my daily commute. This podcast is everything I’m looking for and would highly recommend to any mom! Thank you Mothergood for all you do!

Love this podcast!

As a new mom, I really appreciate this podcast! It is especially great to listen to while nursing my little one. 🙂 The speakers and hosts are very articulate and easy to listen to, and the topics are so interesting!

Every mom needs to listen to this podcast!

Finally, a podcast that gives practical tips for the most common issues that moms (and women and families!) face on a daily basis. I love that it is also judgment free and evidence based. So needed and a must for every mom—both new and seasoned!

Mothergood Feature: Jacqueline, R.N

Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?

I’m your typical Southern California girl who grew up near the beach and decided to lay my roots down here as well. Sure, I went away college and was fortunate to travel internationally for a bit, but San Diego is hard to beat! I am married to the most amazingly self aware, thoughtful, hospitable, and sensitive man. We met through a church group that played beach volleyball on the weekends and we slowly got to know each other. I am a Registered Nurse part time, mother & wife all the time, and traveling beach bum not as much as I’d like. We live in our old, quirky & small beach home in San Diego with our little 8 month old, and it’s perfect.

What do you find most fulfilling about motherhood? the most challenging?

I have an amazing family and fortunately had a mother than stayed at home with us while we were little. She was the girl scout leader, the carpool mom, the soccer mom, and everything in between. I had an idea that motherhood required sacrifice just by watching and observing my own mother, but really, until I had Dorothy, I had no idea. I am independent by nature and the transition to having a dependent little human attached to you all…the…time, is a big change for me. To be honest, it’s one I struggle with quite frequently. Breastfeeding was a whirlwind that did not come with ease. Dorothy was an amazing latch and drinker, but me- mom- I wasn’t a fan. Having someone attached and touching me all day, everyday was uncomfortable and very taxing on me psychologically. Don’t get me wrong, I still sobbed through the first bottle of formula I gave her out of guilt, shame, sadness that our bonding time would lessen, and probably something else too. Every month through my cycle, I’m a very even keep person; I have never experienced high emotions or big changes with my hormones. But, then came Dorothy. And postpartum hit hard. All the mom feels, all the time. I know you know what I’m talking about: in the same moment being extremely joyful as well as in shock or sad.

I’m naturally more inclined to holistic living due to my upbringing and was able to implement some options for hormonal and mood balance, such as encapsulating my placenta and taking supplements. I’m am open book if you ever want to know more, but for now, I’ll leave it at that. The combination of those, plus sleep training Dorothy so I started getting more sleep throughout the night changed everything, and I’m finally feel more myself again.

Although, pretty much any time she giggles or laughs at the silliest things, I feel more myself than ever before. One of thegreatest things about having Dorothy is guiding her to learn and discover new things without getting in her way. It’s really hard sometimes because I just want to do things for her that she isn’t capable of yet-so we can get out the door faster or get her bottle down quickly or actually brush her few teeth. But, watching her brain connect the dots, the way she looks at me when she’s proud of herself, and her general inquisitive stare are heartwarming. Maybe it’s because it brings me back to a place of faith and observation. She trusts me to set her up for success- whether it’s learning to walk, use a toy, or eat something new. And she constantly observes others. It helps me to sit a little longer in a simple space of trust and noticing that there are multiple ways to approach life, not just mine. I wish I could remember to slow down with her in every moment. It’s this tug of war with my heart where I want to give her the world and do everything for her, but giving her the tools to take on the world is her need. This idea of giving up what I desire for her needs, this idea of sacrifice, it’s weaved throughout her existence in my life. And I could not be more grateful for this gift she is giving me.

What does motherhood look like for your right now? what do you love about where you are? what would you change?

I suppose it will be a lifetime of this. Sacrifice. A push and pull. Gratefulness. Currently mom life is the best and also the hardest thing. I’m a working mom and I find I’m jealous of those that get to stay home with their little ones, and then, when I’m home a few days with her, I find myself wanting a few adult days to feed my brain, or even just some solo time to recoup.

The great thing about where we are amongst our busy time right now is that everything I am doing, I am passionate about. I love and enjoy being a nurse. I work in a ministry where I get to make relationships with the most amazing, surprising, and inspiring people. I have a business that helps people toward a health and wellness. Then, I get my amazing husband and sweet little babe on top of it. It’s a hard season right now as we are pressed for time with each other, but we are going through it together. Although, in August, my husband is done with night school and we are both definitely counting down the months until we get there.

Years ago I went through a book that has you make life mission statement and one of mine is that no matter what, my children will absolutely know and never doubt that they are loved by the time they leave my house at 18 and are off into the world. It’s my life’s mission and something I constantly think about to keep my priorities correctly ordered amongst all the things we have going on.

4. How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?

This is so tough. I struggle with this weekly. I love being a mom and want to identify as a mother in everything I do. But, I also feel a loss for who I used to be, or being able to do the things I used to do before her. Again, this active push and pull. I supposed it will be a lifetime of this and recognizing these opposing feelings, and voicing them to my husband, is healing and helpful for me now.

What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?

Maybe in the future I will be qualified to give advice, but for now I think the things I would write in a letter to my former self would be:

-Trust that the desires of your heart will be fulfilled and enjoy the moments you have with your husband, just you two for now

-Just because breastfeeding is the natural thing does not mean it is the easy thing

-Asking for help from your husband during the newborn phase is healthy for both of you, you to learn to let go a bit and get some time to recover and him to get bonding time & know he is capable of caring for the baby

-All the feelings, even the ones you don’t want to say out loud or admit, other new moms have been there so reach out to your friends and talk about how you feel. You will find unity and support in your mom tribe.

-This is a huge change and something you’ve never experienced, please give yourself some grace to struggle through it. That’s okay.

Mothergood Feature: Brianne Grant

1. Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?

Hi, I’m Brianne. I’m a product of Northern California and Southern California. I spent the better part of my 20’s climbing career ladders within the ad agency circuit and putting forward a polished image both personally and professionally. And then came my biggest accomplishment (aside from marrying the love of my life)… my two girls, Kyla (4yrs) and Juliette (2.5yrs). They turned my world upside down and showed me what truly mattered. Because of them I’ve learned that life with littles is messy, chaotic, stressful, and above all, truly fantastic.

2. What do you find most challenging about motherhood?

When I was first pregnant, someone told me that girls were supposed to be easier, more laid back, less crazy… well, that’s apparently not always the case! Just last year my two year old gave herself a cosmetic makeover by slipping while getting off the bed and fully knocking a front tooth out on the bedframe. I learned 3 things that day: 1. My town’s paramedics, EMTs AND firefighter response time is on point, and the number of respondents is impressive. 2. You don’t need to call 911 for a knocked out tooth, especially if the fall is less than 2’ high. 3. You can still look ridiculously cute even with a large gap in your smile.

As high energy as my girls are, I know I’m not alone in the crazy antics of kids. As part of a mommy group, I hear the worries, the shared paranoia, and the humorous happenings of life with littles. I see the reckless abandon and zero self-preservation skills that our children have. I see them bulldoze through child safety precautions and discover their collections of outlet covers. And so since we know what chaos they are capable of, it’s our responsibility to protect them as best we possibly can.

And thus, I created Paranoid Mama! Paranoid Mama is a video-guided first aid App for parents and caregivers. It’s designed to give users easy step-by step instructions to help save their infant or toddler’s life in an emergency situation until help arrives. The Paranoid Mama App features videos on choking, CPR, seizures, deep cut management and more, providing users with easy-to-access, emergency information that is just a click away. (And, woo hoo, the app is available now in the App Store!)

My girls are always giving me safety-related scares and so creating an App like Paranoid Mama is one way I can help give myself and moms across the nation a little peace of mind! Check it out at www.paranoidmama.org and please follow @paranoidmama on FB and Insta to be part of the community where we share health and safety information as well as highlight hazard-preventing products; not to scare, but to help prepare… and maybe have a few laughs along the way!

3. What does motherhood look like for yourright now? I can usually be found running about 10-15 minutes late, sporting a messy bun and yoga pants (but not my good yoga pants… those are for fancier day outtings), rushing my girls to and from school, gymnastics, playdates, etc… and only slowing my role when my husband comes home in time to help with bedtime.

On the days my girls are in school, I aim to workout but usually opt towards getting work done and knocking things off that pesky to-do list. One of my favorite times of day is right after school and before the dinnertime extravaganza begins… we either choose a recipe to bake out of Kyla’s unicorn cookbook and all gather around the kitchen island… until multiple messy items are knocked over and I lose my cool, or snuggle up on the couch for cuddles and cartoons. I know it’s only a matter of time before they no longer want to cuddle so I allow screen time for snugs and have no regrets.

4. How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?

I definitely struggled with losing my identity for a good chunk of time after my first child was born. I had worked so hard climbing the ranks to become a lead creative and ad exec, but…. It turns out I just needed to rechannel and refocus my creativity.

Now, I’m proud to be a female entrepreneur to two blossoming businesses. I spend every moment that my girls are in school working on Sweet Chickadee (@sweetchickadee ), an online baby boutique featuring unique Milestone Blanket Gift Sets, and Paranoid Mama (@paranoidmama), which I am beyond excited to share with you all! However what I’m the most proud of, are my little ladies! I try to inspire into them creativity, appreciation, and kindness to each other and to others. I nearly cry tears of joy when I watch how sweet they are (usually) to each other; When Kyla gets a timeout (which is extremely often), Juliette will run to the fridge, pull out Kyla’s favorite yogurt and present it to her while she sulks in the corner to help her feel better… and then will even proceed to sit with her and hold her hand. Honestly… does it get any better then that?!

5. What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?

1. Don’t look into labor ahead of time to decide if you’re ready… I don’t think anybody is ready for that mental annihilation! Save that research for when it’s too late to turn back and just remember that thankfully your brain’s chemical makeup will block a majority of your pain memory!

2. Know that parental paranoia is a real thing and you might worry about your kids for at least the next 18-21 years!

3. Be ok with the fact that, like the Grinch, your heart will grow at least 3 sizes and you’ll experience an unconditional, all-encompassing love like you’ve never known. 

Easter Basket Ideas—by Emily Hannon

Happy springtime, mamas! We’ve put together some fun Easter basket ideas for both the planner and the last minute Amazon prime shopper 😉

  • For simple, festive lined baskets, these are a fun and easy option; if you already have some old baskets lying around or can find a few at your local thrift store, these embroidered basket liners would dress them up and add a sweet personal touch; and if you want a basket with endless possibilities, this mini Bolga basket would not only be a beautiful little Easter basket, but it would also be perfect for storing toys or taking on a nature walk or picnic.
  • We love the idea of including a little packet of flower seeds in their baskets that they can sprinkle in the soil themselves and watch grow. You can also include a small trowel and even some little gardening gloves. It’s such a beautiful activity that teaches your little one about patience, growth, and new life.
  • To go with the outdoor theme, your little explorers will love this bug catcher and these kaleidoscope prisms for endless imaginary play.
  • This book about springtime is so sweet, and this classic Easter tale tells the Easter story from a unique and touching perspective.
  • We love the toys from @littlecottonwood like this adorable wooden caterpillar, and for every toy sold one tree is planted.
  • These wooden eggs are perfect for painting and playing, and would make such a fun little Easter craft.
  • Seasonal jammies are one of our favorite things, and this bunny sleeper is oh so sweet.
  • How cute is this pack of egg chalk?
  • This Peter Rabbit memory game features the classic Beatrix Potter illustrations, and your little one will love matching each pair of characters that we know and love from the books.
  • This stuffed bunny from @hazelvillage would make the perfect lovey for your baby or toddler. It’s just so sweet!

Mothergood Feature: Sylvia Bass, Esq.

Tell us about your background, and who you are.

I am a second generation American (granddaughter of Cuban immigrants). I am an attorney, but I decided to stay at home with my children instead of working outside the home as an attorney. My husband is also an attorney and we have six children, ages 7 and under, five girls and one baby boy. I juggle caring for small children and homeschooling with medical appointments and therapies for my fifth child, who happens to have Down syndrome.

What do you find most fulfilling and most challenging about motherhood?

I find it incredible and awe inspiring to be tasked with the formation and care of brand new human beings. We have the opportunity to escape our jaded adult perspectives and explore the wonders of the world around us through the eyes of our children. We get to marvel at our babies, who are such wonderful beings that you would have to be stone-hearted indeed to be in the same vicinity as a content baby and not be compelled to stop and smile at her. At no other age is this true.

But at the same time, motherhood can squeeze you dry and leave you feeling like you have nothing left to give. We are on call all hours of the day and night, and our vocation permits neither rest for the weary nor sick days. Whenever I do force myself to rest or indulge in some self care, I always have the nagging guilt that I should instead be still doggedly caring for my children. But I remind myself that you cannot pour from an empty cup.

 My fifth child was born with a severe heart defect called a complete AV Canal. She would not survive infancy without open heart surgery to repair her tiny broken heart. I will never forget the day I walked toward those giant sterile metal doors leading to the operating room, escorted by a team of nurses, my husband by my side, cradling the tiny form of my four month old baby clothed only in her diaper and wrapped in the warmest blanket I could find. She was sleeping sweetly and nuzzled close to my chest. It took every ounce of my willpower to hand her small, limp form over to the anesthesiologist when what I really wanted to do was clutch her desperately to me and run the other way. I kissed her forehead, tears streaming down my face as I watched the anesthesiologist disappear with my baby behind the double doors. In sharp relief, this is the essence of motherhood. What we as mothers instinctively want is to keep our children safe from all harm and safe from all suffering always and forever. But we cannot. They will inevitably have to weather storms. Some much sooner than we had hoped. All we can do instead is to be their safe harbor to return to. Now, the sight of my baby girl running toward me with her arms outstretched is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Something I never would have seen if I hadn’t handed her off to that anesthesiologist almost two years ago.

How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity, and how have you kept your identity as a mother?

“I yam what I yam,” as Popeye would say. Motherhood has not changed my personality, but it has certainly changed my perspective. I need to be a good mother for my children, and I use that as my driving force to constantly strive to be a better person. I believe that this crucible of motherhood can transform me into something more beautiful, if I could only learn to surrender to it and allow it to do so.

Trust me, flighty, self centered, childless Sylvia was a silly ass.

What advice would you give women who are desiring or seeking motherhood?

I think the most important thing to know before becoming a mother is that the sooner you abandon the illusion of complete control over everything, the better. Childbearing is a very mysterious thing. We go into it assuming that we will only have children exactly when we want to have them, and each child will turn out to be exactly how we picture him or her. And I feel like these expectations cause anguish when we end up struggling with infertility, or hyper fertility, or surprise pregnancies, or children with health or other issues, or even daughters when we expected sons and vice versa. So if you go into motherhood with zero expectations, every child becomes a marvelous gift. I had to learn that the hard way. Don’t be me. I struggled with recurrent miscarriages when we were trying to become parents, unexpected pregnancies in quick succession when I could have really used a break, and a child with Down syndrome who had a severe heart defect when I had blithely assumed that all of my children would be healthy and typical. And every time I shook my fist at the heavens and wailed that I was Fortune’s Fool. Perhaps I am. But the tapestry that became my life and my family turned out to be so much more intricate and splendid than I would have ever imagined. Anything I would have come up with if I had had complete control over how and to whom I had become a mother would have been so dull and banal in comparison.

 

Mothergood Feature: Christina Chieffo

1. Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?

I’m an East Coaster by birth, and a Midwesterner—somewhat inadvertently—by choice. I grew up in a small town outside Philadelphia, went to Notre Dame for undergrad, and then moved to Chicago for law school. We live in a fun neighborhood in a two-bedroom apartment with a giant kitchen.

I met my husband two weeks into our freshman year of college, and we’ve been together ever since. A few months before I graduated law school, we got engaged. I took the bar exam (and passed!) the summer after graduation, and started working full time as an in-house attorney for a real estate development company in the Chicago suburbs that fall. My husband and I got married about a year after that, and then had a baby about a year later. It was the most excitement-filled two and a half years of my life!
In my day to day life now, I’m an in-house attorney in the corporate real estate field (at the same company that hired me fresh out of law school), and mom to a sweet 16 month old girl. 

2. What do you find most fulfilling about motherhood? The most challenging?

Especially as my daughter is growing, I love seeing things through her perspective. Watching her learn more about the world and interact with it brings me so much joy, and is so rewarding. Some recent favorite examples of this are when she ran through the aquarium on a family trip shouting “Ish! Ish!” as she pointed at all the fish, and how she will point out every dog on our street and make a barking noise. 

Maternity leave was a real challenge for me. I know it might seem strange to be talking about this over a year later, but as I’ve moved forward, I’ve realized how much those first experiences of motherhood make an impact on your self-image and confidence as a mother. I wasn’t prepared for how difficult maternity leave would be. I have some extrovert tendencies, and so not having other adults around to talk to was tougher than I realized. My family is also on the East Coast. They visited the weekend after the baby was born, but flew back home on Monday. That same day, my husband went back to work after his one week of “paternity leave.” I was home, alone, with a newborn and no idea what I was doing. Breastfeeding was not as natural as I had expected, and it was winter in Chicago. With my breastfeeding struggles, we had regular weight checks at the pediatrician’s office and met with two lactation consultants. For the first time, I felt like it didn’t matter how hard I tried. As a former A-student in a challenging field of study, it had previously been true that if I didn’t succeed at something, it was because I didn’t try hard enough; once I applied myself, results would improve. With breastfeeding, I had a physiological issue that made exclusive breastfeeding nearly impossible. For a few weeks, I was in a nurse-bottle-pump cycle that physically and emotionally drained me. Finally, the second LC I met with gave me permission to mourn the breastfeeding relationship I planned on, which made a huge difference. I ultimately half breastfed, half formula fed our daughter for about 8 months, and everything turned out just fine. I also found ways to get out more, which made a huge difference. While I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, about one month postpartum, I planned and hosted Thanksgiving dinner for ten people. I look back on that Thanksgiving as an opportunity for me to get outside of myself, to go out (even just to the grocery store), and focus on something other than baby stuff. I was eventually relieved to go back to work, although it was bittersweet because by the time my leave ended, my girl was just starting to smile and sleep through the night.

3.  What does motherhood look like for you right now? What do you love about where you are? What would you change?

We’re in a fun and wild toddler stage right now, so motherhood looks like chasing my girl around the apartment with her coat to try to get out the door by a reasonable time, and accepting that sometimes oatmeal is a finger food. Sometimes, it looks like turning my laptop back on after bedtime and getting in another hour of work. It also can look like ignoring the unanswered emails or dishes in the sink to linger over a beer at the dinner table with my husband. We also try really hard to get out and do things as a family, whether that’s just Sunday brunch or trips to museums, gardens, and zoos near us.

I love the adult interaction and intellectual and mental stimulation I get from my job. I didn’t fully appreciate how much I liked being an attorney and using my lawyer brain until I was on leave. But the problem-solving and writing aspects of my work are really rewarding, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it. Then, I love coming home and getting sweet, unconditional baby love. My husband usually does daycare pickup after work, so they get home before I do. There’s nothing like seeing my daughter put down whatever she’s playing with and get so excited to see me. I love her slobbery toddler kisses and endless requests for one more bedtime story.

I would love just a little more downtime at home. This year, we’ve gone on quite a few round trip flights as a family. Our families both live far away, and we’ve got friends all over the map, too. We’re definitely lucky to be able to travel as much as we do, and go so many places with our little one, but I’m increasingly realizing the benefits of being home and relaxing in our own space. This means fighting my inclination to fill up the family calendar and say yes to everything that comes up, but I’m going to work on it. I’m realizing that having “no plans” as a family is an important part of life, and not just a void to fill.  

4. How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?

I have a lot of close girlfriends—some of whom are moms, but most of them aren’t. I think that maintaining those relationships has helped me to find the balance. My close friends here in Chicago (who don’t have kids yet) have babysat for us on multiple occasions so my husband and I could go to concerts, festivals, or sporting events. I’m also a member of a fitness studio in my neighborhood, which I’ve come to realize is invaluable. I started taking classes there right before I found out I was pregnant, and have been going there regularly since. I’ve found that making the time for regular workouts, socializing with other women, and focusing on myself has had such a positive impact on my personal physical and mental wellbeing.

Finally, my husband and I find ways to take our baby with us when we go out places. With our living in a family-friendly neighborhood in a big city, we decided that we wanted to make the most of it and include our daughter in the things that we enjoy most. We’ve taken her to college football games, museums, breweries, and street festivals. We’ve had to adjust some of our expectations, work around naptimes, and bring plenty of snacks, but I think that it has been fun and worthwhile for all of us.

5. What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?

I would tell them how much fun it can be! When you have a baby/toddler, they are totally non-self-conscious, which gives you full license to do the same. It’s so liberating to make up ridiculous voices for book characters and get a little laugh in return. Especially having a job outside the home that requires a certain degree of seriousness, I’ve really come to appreciate coming home to someone who is amazed by my ability to make animal noises. Yes, there are diaper blowouts, ear infections, and temper tantrums along the way, but you also have an excuse to build with blocks and sing songs all day long.

Another piece of advice, especially for women who are planning on working outside the home after having kids, is to read the book I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam. I read this book while I was pregnant and it was so empowering. Basically, it’s about making the most of your time, based on journals filled out by real mothers in demanding careers. One of the most valuable takeaways for me was in thinking about achieving balance on the whole, not in a day. Maybe I don’t achieve “balance” between my mom role and my attorney role on any given day, but over the course of a week, I’m a lot more likely to do so.

Mothergood Feature: Kaitlin Lochner

Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?

Hi! I’m Kate. I was born and raised in the Greater Detroit area, and it’s currently where I reside with my husband of 5 years and our three kids—Ella (4), Archie (3), and Everley (7 weeks). After being away for 8 years living in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest, it feels good to be home! I hopped on my very first plane ride when I went off to attend a small, private university in San Diego where I earned my Bachelors in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism. And even though I worked mostly in Marketing after college, I feel most proud of my Journalism background and often think about pursuing it again. Never did I think that I’d leave my long-desired career path for stay-at-home mom life, but here I am!

What do you find most fulfilling about motherhood? The most challenging?

I think the most fulfilling part of motherhood is seeing your kids interact with each other as they get older. My first 2 kids are 19 months apart and seeing them grow into little bffs has been such a joy. Every time they compliment each other, help each other or say they miss one another, my heart explodes. I also think it’s incredibly fulfilling to see our hard work “pay off” so-to-speak. We do work hard to teach our kids manners, to be respectful and kind and to have boundaries. And as the stay-at-home mom whose time is currently spent teaching those lessons, it’s rewarding to see them come to life.

The most challenging part for me is easily the lack of structure and constant need to adapt. As someone who struggles with chronic anxiety and depression, the not knowing where the day may take us can, at times, feel like an unbearable burden. I’ve tried various schedules and routines, but with 2 toddlers and a newborn, we’re just not yet at a place with a solid routine in place, but I’ve grown to appreciate this season. My oldest will be starting kindergarten in the fall, so I imagine we’ll be one step closer in finding consistently structured days with our new schedule.

What does motherhood look like for you right now? What do you love about where you are? What would you change?

Motherhood looks like total chaos right now! In the best sort of way, though. Our Everley is just 7 weeks old, so we’re still getting to know her. My oldest 2 are completely over the moon about her, so there’s still a lot of excitement around feeding her and tending to her anytime she fusses. My husband and I are just coming out of that having-a-newborn-in-the-house fog where we were running on extra coffee and easy meals, but we’re loving our new family dynamic. It’s like she was always here.

I love that every day is a blank canvas. While I do thrive on routine, I like having the freedom to decide what the day is going to look like. If I want to take my kids to a park downtown, or to the mall or to a local playhouse, I can.

I think I’ll look back and ultimately be happy that I chose to be home with my kids during their baby and toddler years, but one thing I would currently change is being unable to pursue a

passion of mine part-time, outside the home. Having my 9-5 job be taking care of the home, kids, grocery lists, cleaning, etc., can feel isolating and has left me questioning on more than one occasion if I’ll ever put the degree I worked hard for to use. For a time, when my oldest 2 were still babies and took naps, I pursued writing. And I loved it. But since I have much more responsibility in regards to my kids and family—another baby, pre-school, looking for kindergarten programs, occupying and entertaining my toddlers throughout the day, any sort of “me time” to pursue what I’d like has decreased dramatically.

How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?

The question of how to incorporate motherhood into our identity without losing individuality is far more complicated than most of us would like to believe. I certainly don’t have it mastered yet, and as someone who is passionate about the topic, it’s a little frustrating. My husband and I got married almost right out of college and we had our first kid 9 months later. We lived in Southern California at the time, so we had high rent on top of student loans and starter incomes. After realizing there was no way we could afford the cost for full-time (infant) daycare, we had a very real conversation about how we were going to make family life work. Since my husband had the more lucrative career at the time, and it promised the most potential, we jointly decided I’d quit my job and be at home full-time. So I became the one who meal-planned, budgeted, etc., etc., etc. Understatedly, it was a difficult adjustment since I never in my life thought of being a mom much less a stay-at-home mom, but I seized the opportunity and looked at the time at home as a way to master things I wouldn’t otherwise have time to focus on. For example, I was once unbelievably bad in the kitchen. Now, I can cook and bake pretty damn well. This was also a time I focused on my writing.

Now that we live around a support system, we live a much more balanced life as well, which helps to keep my identity. My husband and I go out together, separately, on double dates and dates just the 2 of us. And since I’m around my childhood friends who knew me as Kaitlin without kids, it’s been easy to keep my identity back home in Detroit.

I will admit, it feels like there is a part of my identity missing since I’m not pursuing any professional endeavors at the moment. And I haven’t yet been able to discern if I actually feel like I’m missing something or if it’s the societal norms of a career-centered America being projected onto me. As a product of the 90s, a college degree meant almost everything. So it’s taken a little getting used to not putting my degree to work over the last almost 5 years. But again, I’m taking this time (when I can) to figure out where I want to fit into the workforce once my kids are of school-age. I’d love to do something with styling and fashion or writing and mental health care.

What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?

A few things! 1) Don’t be too afraid of the hard parts and 2) think often about what you’d like your family to look like in 10, 15, 20 years.

I’m one of those people who likes to share the messy parts of motherhood. It’s when I found myself regularly referring to Google as a new mom that I realized it wasn’t typical of the generation above us to openly talk about the great challenges of motherhood. That affected me, and I think a lot of women my age who are new moms. I found reading other moms’ real life, unfiltered experiences online extremely helpful and comforting, so I try to do the same. It’s embracing and walking through the challenges that forms us into better moms, better humans. So I try not to shy away from sharing those experiences. It’s real life. And real life is pretty beautiful.

Thinking about what I’d like my family to look like in the future has been what’s kept me going. In all honesty, if I thought about my family in the short-term I don’t think I would have had 3 kids (since my pregnancies and postpartum recoveries are so difficult), but when I think about what I want my Thanksgiving dinner table to look like when I’m 45, I think about a lot of noise, people, laughter and love. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little ages, but it can be hard to keep things in perspective when you feel like all you’re doing is washing the same dishes 6 times a day. It’s in those moments that I’m comforted by thinking of the future.

Mothergood Feature – Rachel Lohman

1. Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?

When I was 18, I traded the scenery of my hometown cornfields in Indiana for the palm trees of Southern California. I’m the oldest of three children, and made the big move to the West Coast out of high school to pursue a degree in Television & Broadcast Journalism at Chapman University. I became heavily involved as a titleholder in the Miss America Organization while in college, and at the age of 24 the door that had opened for me to compete at the Miss America Pageant abruptly shut. I was defenseless in the center of a media storm that ensued, and through that experience I began to sense the world of journalism may not be what I thought it was – or right for me. In the years I had spent working in the television industry, I had a nagging sense of wanting to engage in work that would change people’s lives. After a year of wading through the broken dreams and disappointments of my early twenties, I decided to enroll in one class at Fuller Theological Seminary. Years later, I earned my Masters in Theology & Ministry, met my husband in class, and became what I never imagined I’d be – a pastor.

2. What do you find most fulfilling about motherhood? Most challenging?

The lens through which I view motherhood has been completely colored through the premature loss of my first baby. Honestly, I had always viewed motherhood as just another step in the progression of life: go to college, get married, have kids – and I completely underestimated the beauty and power that comes with the season of motherhood.  I felt a shift in my motherhood paradigm soon after my miscarriage. Having a child was no longer simply a box to check in my life trajectory – but a miracle to behold. An absolute, utter miracle. In essence, the most fulfilling part about being a mother to me is simply the fact that I now am a mother; the fact that God worked a miracle to produce a child that my husband and I have the incredible honor to raise. If not for experiencing the deep pain of motherhood first in my journey, I’m not sure I’d value this season as much as I do now.

The biggest challenge to motherhood? That it’s not about me. I got married later in my twenties – which meant extra years of independence – living life on my schedule, based upon my needs and desires. The beautiful, refining aspect of motherhood is that the needs of a life that can’t survive without you are placed first. Being a parent is like holding a mirror to your heart: it slowly, often painfully, reveals your selfishness and offers the invitation to invest your days around someone else.

3. What does motherhood look like for you right now? What do you love about where you are? What would you change?

Currently, being a mom for me looks like a mess of toys on the floor next to my home office desk. I work full time for a ministry in a position that is completely remote, which has been a huge blessing. However, working from home with a 10-month-old boy has its own fun challenges (including his frequent guest appearances in my video conference calls). Our family recently moved to a new cityand my husband took a new job as a lead pastor when our son, Parker, was 6 months old. Parker’s birth began a season marked by transitions. I love how we’re learning to adapt and grow into new opportunities as a family. It stretches me and constantly makes me realize how few things I’m actually in control of to begin with. If I could change one thing about this season, I wish I could press pause on all the other needs competing for my attention, and be solely focused on Parker.

4. How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?

This is something I’m still working through. There have been many days, especially in the first months, where I would never pause to do something for myself. I’d jokingly feel like I had lost my own hobbies, interests, and dreams. Motherhood doesn’t compete with my identity and dreams – it enhances them.  I’m just still figuring out what that means practically, and how to have a healthy rhythm of self-care/personal development time with balancing the other hats I wear each week.

5. What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that motherhood is a gift – and a gift that is not mine to give, nor can I control the timing and specifics of it. I’m sensitive to the reality that many women experience pain with motherhood – it is a gift they do not or cannot receive for a number of reasons, and if that is your story, my hope is that your sense of identity and purpose as a woman would not be diminished, but that your story would be told. Other women need to hear your story. If being a mother is a desire that is in your heart and a gift you get to experience in your life, my advice is to treasure it – even the mundane, routine tasks like sterilizing bottles and emptying the diaper pail. To me, nothing can compare with being a carrier for a newly created life – and nurturingthat little life into a big life that carries immense potential into our world.

The Sacrifice of a Mother—by Emily Hannon

Sacrifice. We know this word well. We, who have been given the title “mother,” live it every single day.

Your own experience has likely already taught you that sacrifice is the stuff of motherhood. The months of sickness as your baby grew in your womb and your body expanded to accommodate his little body; the moment you pushed with all your superhuman strength to bring him up onto your chest as he took his first miraculous breath, or the moment you lay heroically on an operating table, watching the doctor pull your baby out into the world; the sleepless nights spent feeding him and rocking him in your arms; the first day you went back to work and kissed his little face goodbye in the morning; the hours spent pumping behind a bathroom stall or closed doors in your office; the precious nap time hours spent cleaning up after him or researching birthday party ideas; the decisions you make every single day to allow him to grow and flourish and know that he is so loved. All of it requires sheer sacrifice, and it is both beautiful and hard. All of it calls you to say over and over again, “I surrender, I surrender, I surrender.” 

We give of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally for the service of our children day in and day out. Their wants and needs almost always come before our own, and for the first few years of their life, they literally depend on us to live. It is the highest honor, this opportunity to shape these little people we’ve been given, and it can also be the greatest, most taxing challenge, too.

Through the demands of motherhood, we pour ourselves into the service of our family—and perhaps the challenge in this is maintaining our identity in the process. The challenge becomes finding ourselves even more fully as we sacrifice so much for someone else. But not only is this possible, it is perhaps one of the greatest surprises of motherhood. Motherhood refines us as it highlights all of our failures and beckons us to do better, to be better. And by being our best selves for our children, we become our best selves for the world. 

Maybe since becoming a mother, you’ve realized certain things make you come alive just a little more. Maybe you’ve realized you have a love for repurposing thrifted furniture so you go down to your garage during nap time and paint your heart out. Maybe you started writing again and have found a voice you never thought you had. Maybe you’ve started up an initiative or project that is helping change the world. Maybe you’ve become more attuned to the simple beauty in each day because you’re seeing through the eyes of your children. Whatever it may be, you have been changed by motherhood and the sacrifice it requires.

Certain aspects of who you are have been awakened and as you continue to mother your children, you continue to foster that growth and become more of who you truly are. Motherhood has a way of bringing to life so many different dimensions of who we are if we allow it to change us and stretch us, rather than rule or drain us.

So, keep doing the things that make you a happy, flourishing woman and you will be a happy, flourishing mother. Explore what makes your heart beat a little faster and go do that. Keep doing the good, important work of raising these little humans who will one day be women and men, and who will one day look back and say, “I had a mother who gave to me endlessly, and through all of it she was happy and whole.”

Mothergood Feature: Danielle Nunez

1. Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?

Hi! I’m Danielle Nunez, wife to Daniel. Yes, we are Daniel and Danielle—a corny match made in heaven. I’m probably most well known in my circle as the mom to Eli (10), Desi (9), Noelle (7), Delilah (6), Navah (4), and Kai (2). I love to have fun! I dressed up like the Elf on the Shelf and scared people throughout my city and have been known to break out into a flash mob dance while shopping without an actual mob, although 6 kids are usually staring at me like “Mom, not again.” What can I say, I love life!

Just over 10 years ago, I was barely warming up to the idea of motherhood and the sacrifices it would mean for me personally—and now I have 6 kids! 

I’ve always been the type of person to just run hard, so I guess it isn’t surprising that we had those kids in almost exactly 8 years. I’m married to the love of my life and he works as a Physician Assistant, but also pastors our church as an elder, which means we are a very busy family!

My life looks perfect from the outside, especially when you see photos of my gorgeous husband and all these sweet kids, but I really struggled with the idea of being a mom. My own childhood home was extremely abusive and eventually my father went to prison and is now on the Megan’s Law website, so there were some deep issues to deal with. I think the biggest struggle for me was my point of view. Growing up, I always felt like I was a huge burden.  My mother would blame us (children) for trapping her in the abusive marriage, so I didn’t want my own little ball and chains. Its ironic because I loved kids and was always involved in scouting and helping children, but my childhood made me deeply fear being “stuck.” 

So what changed? Eventually I moved in with a Christian family that modeled true love. I saw how they viewed their children as blessings and realized that much of the tumult in the home was my parent’s fault and not because they had children. That realization affects my own life today. When I’m tempted to be frustrated that someone isn’t cooperating and I’m in a hurry, I quickly remind myself that the child isn’t a distraction from my purpose. My calling is to raise this child and a meltdown provides the opportunity to do that! So I embrace the moment and try to calm my heart. 

2. What do you find most fulfilling about motherhood? The most challenging?

Fulfilling, where do I start? I love motherhood. This is my calling. I can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t even want to have children of my own. My favorite time of the day is bedtime, when I lay in each child’s bed and ask them to tell me one highlight and one lowlight from their day. I sing to them, then pray for them and move onto the next bed. Although I have 6 children, its important to me that my children don’t get grouped together and can feel special and loved as individuals.

I remember a few years ago when I had 4 children under 5, and I would just scurry them along and try to get things done. I catered to the interests of my oldest because he was the most vocal, then it hit me that I was just dragging the younger ones along and not focusing on them and their own desires. There was an immediate shift if my perspective and I am constantly being challenged and stretched as I try to develop these distinct relationships. 

3. What does motherhood look like for you right now? What do you love about where you are? What would you change?

I am almost scared to say it, but I think I found my groove. I’m extremely busy, but there is a balance since we homeschool and are together so much. Currently I coach soccer for 2 of my girls and have another daughter on a different soccer team, my son is in baseball, the older 4 kids take piano lessons, I have one daughter in horse back riding lessons, and 3 of my children are in an aeronautics program…. so I spend a ton of time in the car! 

I’m big on redeeming time in the Van. We listen to audiobooks and make it through 1-2 novels a month (little spurts of 10 minutes add up), we work on Bible verses, and sometimes just rock out. I don’t allow my children to play with technology because I want them to fight and argue in their seats and figure out a way to love one another. I try to be purposeful with where the kids sit. I don’t move children to prevent arguments (unless other adults are riding with us), but instead embrace that time as an opportunity to train them to love one another. 

If I could change one thing, it would be my perspective. I have to be purposeful to remind myself that they are children and if I can’t behave perfectly, how can I expect that from them? I want to be more compassionate and sacrificial in my love for them. 

4. How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?

That’s a tough one. Going on dates with my husband and yearly getaways really helps me to step back and say, “oh yeah… I am my own person.” My life is so consumed with their needs right now, that its easy for me to only see myself as their mom. We ended up buying a gym membership, because the childcare there is cheap, and we go on a date to the gym twice a week. 

My mind is a lot like a Polluck painting, there’s just thoughts and energy flying around constantly, so I really needed to find a creative outlet for myself. I used to write regularly for a blog, but that was difficult to manage with my schedule. Then I was a professional photographer for a few years, also very difficult with my schedule. I knew I needed an outlet, so I just kept trying things to see what would work. This summer I jumped on board to help direct Children’s Ministry and its been an incredible fit. I’m able to encourage others, organize children’s choirs, plan crafts and activities, share Christ with others… its literally everything that I love to do. So I would encourage mothers to think about what makes them feel most like themselves, then keep trying til you find something that works. 

5. What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?

Motherhood is the most sacrificial calling that exists in this world. You give of your body, your mind, and your soul. You pour everything into your child, but thats only possible if you have something in you to give. Invest your time into your faith and ask God to give you enough passion to lavish love on the little ones he gives you.