WHY MY MOM IS MY BEST VINA

The shops are now filled with beautiful floral arrangements, unique mug designs are on the shelves and pamper packages are a dime a dozen. Yep, it’s time for Mother’s Day!

Yes, many people say, ‘you shouldn’t just tell your mom how much you love her once a year,’ (kind of like the Valentine’s Day critics), and I do agree to some extent. However, now everything is mom-themed and for a change it’s not hard to find a key ring that says ‘World’s Best Mom’. That’s what I aim to show my mom this year, that not only is she my world’s BEST MOM, but she’s also my best vina. What follow are 5 reasons why my mom is my best vina, so here they are:

DISTANCE, WHO CARES? NOTHING CHANGES

Candice and her mom
Me and my mom 🙂

In a world today where young adults aim to travel and experience the world, we often find ourselves away from home for long periods of time. In my case, I moved around the country, but not once would my mom miss a thing. When we talk, she doesn’t miss a single beat. It was as if she’d been staying next door to me the entire time, and I just sat in her lounge and unwound after the crazy days at the office.

SHE’S SEEN IT ALL

Being with my mom, I get to be my most natural self. No being the ‘perfect wife’ or the ‘star employee.’ When I’m with her I get to be my introverted self, with dreams of a simpler life. I can share my true feelings, emotions and thoughts with her and I can tell her all my secrets, knowing it won’t be circling through a few other ears a week later. Plus she’s seen it all. Every phase I have ever gone through, every colour I’ve died my hair and every broken memory. (OMG… I’m trying not to cry here!)

SHE UNDERSTANDS

Another reason my mom is my best vina is the judgement-free zone that she and I have with each other. Like I mentioned before, she knows the deepest secrets I have. She listens to me when I need to rant or cry over an argument with my husband, and she never passes judgement on me or anyone. (Except she obviously takes my side deep down…)

MOM’S ADVICE IS PROBABLY THE BEST ADVICE

Candice, her mom, and her brother
Christmas gang

When we’re young, we don’t always want to admit that mom knows best, but when we get older we learn that it is indeed so. When we do ask mom for advice, she is also most likely to give you the best outsider perceptive as she probably understands your background, history and why it is that you’re having a dilemma in the first place.

MOM IS MY NUMBER ONE FAN

 I could decide tomorrow that I was packing up my life as we know it and am going to travel the world as a backpacker or go live off the grid in a small deserted town, and one thing will always be for sure is that she will support me in whatever I decide to put my mind to. She would obviously question everything, but it is only out of love and to make sure I am doing it with the right mind and for the right reasons.

No relationship is perfect, but if it were, just imagine how boring life would be…

WHY BEING A NEW MOM CAN BE LONELY–AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT

Being a mom has been one of the most rewarding yet challenging roles that I have played in my 30 years of life thus far. Learning how to balance your own needs, your spouse’s needs, a career, and the needs of a new baby can oftentimes feel overwhelming and leave you feeling mighty lonely even though you are constantly surrounded by others.

I can relate to these feelings because I have lived through the lonely feelings, and I still have those moments where being a new mom can feel like an island.

The feelings started during my maternity leave and after my husband’s paternity leave was over, and the reality sunk in that I would be alone with this little human for over eight hours. Thoughts like “when will my spouse/partner be home from work?”, “what would the baby and I do together?”, “if he gets sick what happens?”, and “he’s napping, and I need some adult conversation…but all of my friends are at work” ran through my mind like a loud church bell. Take all of those thoughts and then add Postpartum Depression and you get one hell of a sad and lonely mixture.

But my fellow vina moms, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it doesn’t involve having to wait until your child is in college to feel like a part of the human race again.

Here are the top 3 things that I did to kick new mom loneliness to the curb.

LOCATE A COMMUNITY OF MOMS WHO ARE POSITIVE, NON-JUDGMENTAL, AND WHO LIKE TO SEEK “ADVENTURE”

This was possibly the best way that kicked loneliness to the curb! I decided that there is strength in numbers, and that surely if I felt this way, that other new moms did as well. Locating a tribe that fits your personality can take some trial and error, but when you find that core group of moms, you will have found a diamond hidden in all of the coal. They can relate to the late nights, early mornings, the feeling of wanting adult conversation, and are learning to navigate this whole Mom life right alongside you. Some great places to search for these groups are Hey! VINA (of course!), Meetup, your local church, MOPs groups, mom based exercise classes, or even Facebook groups. These groups have given me support and motivation when I need it the most.

GET INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY

I know some of you are rolling your eyes at this suggestion. I’m a mom who is an entrepreneur, so I know how busy we can all get, but getting to learn more about my community has helped me to not only volunteer for a cause that I believe in, but has helped me to meet others and find events and activities to make me feel like I am a part of something bigger. When looking for volunteer opportunities, try to find an organization that will let you be flexible and bring your baby. The organization that I chose let me bring my son, and it not only exposed me to a whole new group of people but helped to make his world larger as well.

TRY VIEWING THIS LONELY TIME AS A CHANCE FOR SELF-DISCOVERY

There are going to be times in our lives when we don’t have the opportunity to hang out with our friends, and volunteering may not be an option. So, I found peace in changing my mindset. I started to shift my thinking from “I’m lonely” to thinking “what can I learn today about myself?” This thought process has helped me to become more confident in finding the things in life that I am passionate about. It led me to start journaling my feelings, reading more positive material, and helped me to become more comfortable with being “lonely.”

Moms are strong, there’s no debating that, but there are times that we need to feel a little more “seen.” If you are lonely right now, don’t get discouraged! Start by taking these three baby steps to feel connected and watch your world start to take a beautiful and fulfilled shape.

For more ways to meet awesome vina moms, be sure check out Hey! VINA!

STARTING HOLIDAY TRADITIONS IN A FAMILY THAT NEVER HAD ANY

For as long as I can remember, my family never had those traditions that most families have when the holidays rolled around. Whenever it came to anything holiday related, my dad would be working for the extra money, and sometimes we’d go and see him at work for dinner. That was basically our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration every year for as long as I can remember.

About four years ago when I started dating my now husband, I began to see what the holidays should really be like. His family is very big on holidays to the extent of arguing over who gets to host which holiday each year. And that’s when I started to see how much fun the holidays could actually be.

My sister and I decided right then and there that we were going to make our own traditions. Forget the fact that all these years we never had any. We just decided with the snap of our fingers we needed to do this for us, and if we met others along the way that would join us, great! If not, we would still make it happen.

photo of green leafed plants

We started with little things like watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey version) and listening to Christmas songs when they played on the radio. Pinterest wasn’t as big as it is now, but we were able to find ideas through that and Google. We saw that “Elf on a Shelf” was big with parents, and how adults in general were using the idea of naughty elves to make funny jokes.

That year my husband actually bought us both an “Elf on a Shelf” for Christmas. It was one of the best things we’d ever received because we’d never had anything like it. We kept it in the box because we didn’t want to ruin it, but we put it to use the next year. The second year was a little hard to do anything because of health issues with my dad, but the year after we decided to wear ugly Christmas sweaters with our significant others, and they were FUNNY! I bought mine but my sister made hers and my husband’s that year.

Last year, we brought my husband’s cousin into the family traditions. We all chose to wear some kind of Grinch themed clothing and it was great! It made us all happy that we could start doing these small things which meant a great deal. This year we’re still trying to decide what we are going to do, but we are steering towards actually dressing up as our very own “Elf on a Shelf.” We are very crafty people so we might even sew our own costumes!

What hits us especially this year is that my sister is pregnant and will be giving birth around Christmas time. We’ve promised to give her daughter these traditions that we never had growing up, because we want her to be happy during a time that always felt like a chore to us as kids. It just takes one person (or two in our case) to decide that the holidays are going to be happy time, rather than something to dread.

Find new friends to start your traditions with by downloading the Hey! VINA app today!

FUR-TERNITY OR PAWTERNITY LEAVE TREND FOR WORKING DOG MOMS

Have you heard about this yet? If you have a puppy or if you’re planning on getting one soon, this could potentially be very good news for you!

Some dog-loving employers are looking for ways to help new pet parents with special benefits. One digital marketing company in Minneapolis recently introduced “fur-ternity leave” for its employees.

Fur-ternity leave, or pawternity leave, is becoming an increasing trend thanks to pet-loving millennials, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Other companies are introducing pet insurance and pets in the workplace, reports MPR News.

To me, this is exciting and much-needed news. As someone who knows how difficult it is to introduce a new pet into your home, this is extremely comforting. Your pet is family, and while it’s not exactly a baby coming from the mother’s womb, it’s still a big part of your life as a responsible and loving pet owner.

dog covered with snow

I remember the first few weeks of adopting my dog, Smokey. The dog necessities were bought, training was in full effect, dog walkers were screen-checked, and I think I slept with one eye open. When we first introduced him to our home, he had an ear infection and a few other issues, so we had to go to the vet to get him checked out. I frequently had to cancel plans on the weekends to take care of him, and at work I set up a dog monitor on my desk to check up on him every few hours. Introducing a dog into your home and adapting to your new pet owner lifestyle is a big (but welcome) change!

I think a lot of new pet owners (and their pets) would benefit from fur-ternity leave to set up the dog for a healthy life in a loving new home.

Looking for support from fellow dog lovers? Fortunately, we have a dog owners VINA community where you can check out local meet-up groups!

Join our dog-owners community on Hey! VINA and start swiping to plan puppy play dates!

 

INFERTILITY ALTERNATIVES: LET’S TALK ACUPUNCTURE

We have all heard about acupuncture, but there is more to know about it than you might think. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice in which thin needles are inserted by an educated practitioner into areas of the body known as meridians. There are about 350 meridians into the human body and the important function of these meridians is their flow of energy which Chinese Medicine has labeled as the word “qi.” Disruptions of this flow are believed to be the primary cause of disease and imbalances in the body. When the needle is inserted it manipulates and stimulates the flow of energy in that particular area, improving circulation. While some may believe acupuncture is a new age alternative medicine treatment, acupuncture actually has a recorded history of about 2,000 years!

THE FLOW OF WOMEN

Women naturally have a flow of hormonal cycles throughout our lifetime, starting at puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and ending in menopause. Our bodies go through a lot which can at times result in very stressful situations. Stress, known as the silent killer, is a huge component in modern-day diseases, disrupting our natural flow of life. Metaphorically, when stress enters our lives, we might feel totally fearful of life, full of anxiety, hopeless and helpless, inadequate and stagnant. Stagnant blood flow can be viewed in Chinese Medicine as a disruption of our Qi (flow of energy). For decades, stress, anxiety, and depression were treated for their symptoms with medications rather than cured as a whole. We have become reliant on medications to ease our tensions, but without taking the recommended dosage – don’t our symptoms manifest themselves again?

Women in ancient times have relied on healing herbs, foods, and rituals to medicate and heal themselves, so it’s no wonder Chinese Medicine intertwines acupuncture and herbs for maximum health benefits.

WHY ACUPUNCTURE THERAPY CAN HELP

Acupuncture can help infertility in most cases, but there are some cases that may need extra care from modern-day medicine. According to the American Pregnancy Association, IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), an assisted reproductive technology, is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus. When IVF and acupuncture come together, it makes for a very therapeutic alternative. When a woman turns to IVF to become pregnant, she may find herself stressed and worried, hoping this option will do the trick. Certain medications whether it be PCOS medications, hormonal medications, or Clomid, a medication which promotes ovulation, can cause the uterine lining to become thin making it harder to conceive. Whereas acupuncture can ease stressful tension, help thicken the uterine lining, and increase blood flow to the uterine arteries which are important components of fertility. Some women start acupuncture treatments 2-3 months before actually starting IVF; this schedule seems to have a restorative and calming effect on the female body.

ACUPUNCTURE & INFERTILITY OVERALL

I recently connected with Acupuncturist Caroline Grace Ashurst, founder of Restorative Harmony Acupuncture in Philadelphia, PA, who specializes in Women’s Health & Fertility to delve deeper into why acupuncture can be the right infertility alternative for some women.

Q: Tell us about your journey as an acupuncturist and the process of using acupuncture as an infertility alternative? 

treemedicineA: I found acupuncture when I was around 21 years old. I was experiencing what is called “PMDD”: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder; severe PMS symptoms for 2 weeks before my cycle. What that meant for me was that I was tearing my life apart for the first two weeks of my cycle and then the last two weeks I was struggling to put the pieces back together. I had severe mood swings that were making me feel like I was getting nowhere in my life, every month. Acupuncture changed my life, so much that I wanted to pursue it as the next part of my journey. I fell in love with taking care of women and knew how pivotal acupuncture was for ~my~ hormonal health, so I was drawn to helping women get pregnant. Now, I work with women who are experiencing women’s health issues, and women wanting support from pre-conception to postpartum. I adore supporting women through this whole continuum of their growth from maiden to mama.

Q: Would you say there is a rise of infertility in America? 

A: I absolutely think so. Many women are being put on birth control when they are teenagers, and stay on it for 10-20 years, not understanding the ramifications it can have on hormonal health. Overuse of the pill is linked to PCOS, low progesterone, high estrogen, and many other hormonal dysfunctions that can impact fertility.

Q: In order for acupuncture to be successful in the fertility process, what else should women be doing to increase their expectancy chances?

A: This is a great question. I think there is a lot that can be done! One of the things that acupuncture helps with is reducing anxiety and stress (which by the way have an effect on our hormone functioning!), so having other practices in your life that support low stress is so important. Meditation, Restorative Yoga (specifically this kind), reflective time spent in nature- are all great medicine. In addition, get toxin-free! Plastic anywhere near what we ingest can cause endocrine disruption (unnatural hormone imbalance). Women should also switch to all natural cleaners and body products and organic food. Detox! Doing a detox with your diet is also really beneficial. There are many other things to add, and in my practice, I offer these pieces as my client is ready to digest them. It’s a lot and can be overwhelming, so we take it piece by piece.

Q: What are some other benefits women might experience while trying acupuncture?

A: Like I mentioned, less stress, more relaxation, reduction in anxiety symptoms, less tension in their bodies, assistance with any other ailments that may be occurring with digestion, pain, cycles, allergies, headaches, auto-immune symptoms, there are many more!

Q: What kind of infertility cases do you see the most? 

A: I see a lot of women who have been on the pill and are now not getting their cycle regularly, or possibly are not ovulating.

Q: Would you like to share a fertility success story with us? 

A: I recently had a client in her early 20s who had been trying to get pregnant for about a year or more. She was tracking her cycles very well but wasn’t getting her period consistently. I was pretty sure that she had undiagnosed PCOS based on her symptomatology, and we worked on supporting that through acupuncture, supplementation, and dietary shifts. She got pregnant very soon after we started working together!

No matter what you’re going through, there is a friend who will be there for you. Find her on Hey! VINA today!

 

 

HOW YOU CAN CELEBRATE ADOPT A SHELTER DOG MONTH WITH YOUR VINAS

There are millions of homeless animals in shelters all across the country. The ASPCA has thus decided that October is “Adopt a Shelter Dog” month, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to help homeless animals in shelters all across America find loving, happy homes! Here are some ways the shelters suggest that you can help out this October:

ADOPT

If you’re ready to open your heart and home to an animal in need, please consider adopting a pet today. There is absolutely no pressure to adopt, but if you’re ready for this huge responsibility, be sure to check out your local shelters for a lovable companion. All dogs will have passed behavioral testing and after a short adjustment period, should easily settle into their new role as your best friend with training and patience. Take an honest look at your life to help decide if you have the time and energy for a puppy, or if an older dog might be more suited for you at the moment. Most people tend to forget about older dogs in shelters!

FUNDRAISE

If you are not ready to adopt, but still want to help out, you can lend a hand by raising money to donate to your local shelter. Whether it’s running a bake sale or collecting donations in lieu of birthday gifts, you can give proceeds away to shelters in your area to help feed and rehabilitate the animals there, and help get them ready for a new, loving home!

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GIVE

If you feel like giving money isn’t enough or doesn’t feel quite right to you, you could donate toys or food to your local shelter. Most animal rescues are non-profit organizations so every little thing helps. Check with your local shelter to see what they will accept or are in need of! Sometimes, it’s as simple as bringing old towels, blankets or a roll or two of paper towels.

VOLUNTEER

Some shelters will gratefully accept volunteers to help walk dogs and socialize the rescues that are getting ready for adoption. Some shelters do require background checks to work with the animals to ensure that there is no chance of any harm coming to them, since most of whom were strays or suffered from abuse or neglect. The majority of shelters require that volunteers are over the age of 18. If you wish to volunteer, be sure to check with your local shelters as each shelter has different requirements.

Looking for other dog-loving vinas in your area to meet up with? Download Hey! VINA and start swiping! 

 

10 WAYS GOING GREEN SAVES YOU MONEY

So we all know the saying, “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” It was taught to all of us during elementary school and a few lucky schools also hosted “Green Week.” If you’re like me, you completely forgot the rules of recycling the next week. I honestly do try my best to recycle, but it’s just so confusing sometimes! Wait. . . you can’t recycle pizza boxes?? I have to flatten all of my Amazon boxes before recycling?

There’s just so many rules to recycling that it gets discouraging. I feel like I’m not making an impact on the waste crisis! Especially after learning about a pile of trash three times the size of TEXAS (!) just floating around in the ocean. But, since becoming a recent broke college student, I have come to realize that there are numerous ways that going green can save you a ton of money.

SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER BARS

Bars of handmade soap on a platterFirst thing’s first: they last up to 80 to 100 washes! One bar is equivalent to three medium sized shampoo bottles and eliminates the need for plastic packaging, while still maintaining great quality. Lush Cosmetics sells great shampoo bars that are good for every hair type and are made with all natural products.

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES

This is a simple one. Having a reusable water bottle saves so much plastic waste! You can find great (and inexpensive) bottles online that’ll keep your water cold for days. And while buying bottled water may sound cheap at $1-2 a bottle usually, that money adds up! So save the Earth, save some money and just get a reusable water bottle.

PAPER STRAWS

Straws. Who knew these little suckers could create such a huge impact on plastic waste! It’s great that Starbucks and a handful of restaurants decided to go straw-less, but a lot of damage has already been done to the environment. So, what you can to do to help is find bulk paper straws or inexpensive metal reusable straws and use those instead. Some straws include cleaners that keep your straw fresh and sanitary!

GOING DIGITAL

Going digital is a great way to save paper. Utility bills, rent, and magazines are all available to you online so you can cancel getting the paper versions. You can pay your bills or catch up on world news and celebrity gossip all at the convenience of going online and you’re saving the planet while you do it!

STAYCATIONS

Why spend money on plane tickets, gas, hotels, and car rentals when you can be a tourist in your own city? Not only will this save you money, but it will also eliminates potential carbon footprints. Plus, it’s always fun to explore new parts of your town.

TAKING BATHS

On the note of doing staycations, why not treat yourself to a bath? Baths actually use less water than showers do which also saves you money! Not to mention, baths are way more relaxing and soothing. Add some bubbles, candles, and wine and treat yourself!

THRIFT SHOPPING

There’s a good chance that you will find some awesome treasures if you go thrift shopping. Recycling, donating, or selling your clothes is a great alternative to throwing them out and having them end up in landfills. Another little clothing tip: an alternative way to recycle your old clothing is by making rags out of your old t-shirts. Instead of using paper towels to clean the kitchen, rags are a great alternative!

CLOTH DIAPERS

I know not every mom has the time to wash and clean cloth diapers and that disposable diapers are more convenient to most, but at least using a combination of both kinds helps the environment and saves you money. One cloth diaper a day is equivalent to 365 fewer disposables in landfills each year. Buying disposables add up to a big hole in the wallet too!

There are a lot of easy ways to save the environment as well as save your money. All you gotta do is think frugal, vina!

Looking for vinas to save the planet 🌎with? Get the Hey! VINA app now and start swiping!

 

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO DONATE YOUR EGGS: EVERYTHING YOU’VE EVER WONDERED

Honestly, I have thought about it. I thought about the money aspect (mostly to recover myself from my student loans), but something always held me back. Maybe it was going through a process that I knew so little about or the fear that I was giving away a part of myself that I wouldn’t necessarily get back again. Already being an emotional female and dealing with even more hormonal emotions, could I handle it? Is it painful? Will it be anonymous? Could I back out last minute?

If you can relate to some of these questions, let’s take a journey through the egg donation process and get answers to the questions we’ve wondered about.

FIRST THING’S FIRST: WHAT IS EGG DONATION?

There may be vinas out there who never heard of the term. Personally speaking, I don’t remember learning about this subject while attending school. Of course, I learned about reproduction, but the teachings were never in depth with topics like infertility amongst many trialing issues that could arise. I was researching job postings on Craigslist and came across, “Egg Donors in Demand!! Earn Thousands of $$$ While Helping Others!” The large sum of money interested me right away. At the age of 18, with my parents talking finances: college loans, loan interests, getting a job, saving money, and moving out. As you can expect, I wanted to make money fast so I began educating myself about egg donation.

DEFINING IT CORRECTLY

According to the London Egg Bank, egg donation is “a form of fertility treatment in which a donor anonymously gives her eggs to an infertile patient in order to help her become a parent. Once donated, the eggs are fertilized with the recipient partner’s sperm (or donor sperm if required) as in conventional IVF, and then transferred to the recipient for pregnancy. Egg donation, therefore, unlike adoption, means that the recipient couple still has a strong genetic link with the child.”

WHO NEEDS AN EGG DONOR?

Some women may be infertile, pre-menopausal, had a history of pregnancy failure or hold a risk of transmitting a genetic disease to the child. Gay couples are also considered when thinking of people who seek out egg donors.

WHO QUALIFIES?

Before applying and creating a profile for consideration, make sure you meet the following requirements:
• Age Requirements: 21 to 29 years old (there are some areas that accept 18-32 based on your health and maturity)
• Healthy, with a healthy family history – Does breast cancer run in your family? How is your mental health? Do you make health and wellness a priority in your life?
• Well educated
• Mature and prepared to help a couple have a child – you must be reliable and responsible
• Non-smoker/No drug use

THE PROCESS

If you meet the criteria, you can then move forward in the medical screening process! You will need to meet with a Fertility Specialist who will perform a pelvic ultrasound scan of your womb and ovaries and set you up for a medical screening (HIV, hepatitis) along with a genetic screening (inherited diseases). The specialist will also go over your concerns, discuss your availability (which you are being compensated for), and your ultrasound findings. Your availability is very important as you will be needed to visit your primary doctor at least once a week for the first few weeks to make sure your medical injections are doing well.

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MEDICAL CONCERNS

Once you are given the green light, you will then be required to visit a Fertility Center counselor. If depression, have ADHD, or schizophrenia runs in your family, chances are your eggs can inherit those mental disorders too. Your mental health is important during this process. Women can cling to their eggs, the thought of one of your eggs growing to become an adult and then the injected hormones can make it much more difficult to deal with. It is vital to be honest with your counselor before backing out last minute.

THE WAITING. . .

Once you submit your profile it can take weeks, months, possibly longer for your profile to be chosen but if you’re serious about it, stick it out- the right family will come eventually!

LEGAL TERMS

After your profile is chosen (congrats!) you will then meet with a Reproduction Attorney who will draft and review contracts and the agreement to be anonymous between both parties. For first-time donors, compensation is usually $6,000 to $6,500 and will increase about $1,000 for every time you successfully donate.

MEDICAL CYLCE BEGINS

Even though this entire process can be a 3-4 month ordeal for first time donors, the medical cycle only lasts 10-12 days, if all goes well. For 10 days, you will be administrating hormonal injections in your thighs or stomach. There is a chance if you are prone to PMS you may feel mild side effects during this time which may include allergic sensitivity, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, headaches and/or mood swings. You may even gain a few pounds, which will only be a temporary weight gain as it is during your usual menstrual cycle. The Egg Retrieval procedure itself is only 30-45 minutes long. You may woozy after undergoing anesthesia, but the anti-pain and anti-nausea meds the clinic gives you before/during the procedure should help. You also may feel bloated which is completely normal and expected after the procedure.

RECOVERY

This is important—allow yourself a good week or two to heal after this process. Drink plenty of fluids, eat well and acknowledge the emotions and the things that may change in your body. But no matter what, remind yourself that you did a wonderful thing to help a family accomplish a goal of their dreams.

Ladies, we applaud you!

Need some vinas to talk to about donating your eggs? Start swiping today!

 

 

SINGLE MOMS, UNITE! HOW TO BUILD YOUR TRIBE

I love watching T.V. shows that depict a group of moms who are best friends. Their kids play together and always just happen to be in the same class. Meals are made and carpools are organized effortlessly, as if everyone is on a synchronized schedule. Their houses may range from immaculate to disastrous, but that’s the only thing defining their differences. I can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy. How do these moms make friends?

I recently thought to myself how I have no friends who are single moms. As a mom of two boys, ages 6 and 18, I want a vina that understands what the tears are about when my son graduates high school next year. I want her to feel my happiness as I watch my child become an independent first-grader. So how does a mama find her tribe?

DOWNLOAD HEY! VINA

The easiest way to find other vina moms is to download the Hey! VINA app. You can join a community (how many you want!) like Stay-at-Home Moms, Working Moms, or New Mom  and you can be matched with other vinas in the same category you chose. Then, just swipe right for a vina that you want to connect with!

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GET OUT THERE

You have interests and hobbies, so share them! Get out there and find a group of vinas that you can participate in your interests with. Chances are, there will be a few that are fellow vina mamas themselves looking to chat. Exchange numbers so that you can make plans. The key here is to follow through! It’s easy to say “let’s keep in touch,” but harder to commit to it. Call or text them and make plans for a coffee meet date. If it’s hard to do because you have kids, bring them along! Kids are natural at making friends, so let them play while you two vina mamas get to know each other.

DON’T PASS JUDGMENT

There’s a lot of pressure on women, especially the modern mama, to portray a certain image or picture of what a mom or woman should be. Remember all moms go through ups and downs and face the same stigmas. The vina mama in faded yoga pants is no different than the one wearing a nicely ironed pantsuit (but how did she find the time to iron it?!).

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Building a relationship takes time. Being patient and getting to know someone is a slow process, but very rewarding. Having someone to talk to about your daily highs and lows is exciting. If one way doesn’t work, try another. There is a best vina out there for everyone — mamas included.

Start finding your new vina today! 

Q&A WITH THE BEST-SELLING AUTHOR AIMEE MOLLOY: “I WOULD NOT HAVE WRITTEN ‘THE PERFECT MOTHER’ IF I DIDN’T HAVE MY WRITING GROUP”

When writer Aimee Molloy set out to write her very first novel, she tells VINAZINE, “I had no idea what I was doing”—even typing in Google, “How do you write a novel?”

It turns out, Molloy never needed to worry about it. Her novel, “The Perfect Mother“, was released on May 1 and immediately was on The New York Times Best-Sellers List. Even more badass? Before it was published, TriStar preemptively acquired rights to the novel, with Kerry Washington attached to star in the film, as well as produce.

Based on her personal experience as a new mom, Molloy’s novel explores the intense haze that comes with having a new baby. The book centers around a Brooklyn Mommy Group, who meet up each week to socialize as they adjust to their role as new moms. When one mom in the group suggests a much-needed moms night out (sans babies), the night takes a dark turn when one mother learns that her baby has been abducted from his crib. What follows is a thrilling page-turner, filled with mystery and most importantly, a closer look into the pressures of new motherhood and the societal expectations that comes along with it.

In our exclusive Q&A with Molloy, we talked about everything from postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety to the importance of her own Mommy and Writers’ Group. Read on for more!

Q: Hi, Aimee! Thanks for talking to VINAZINE about The Perfect Mother. What has been it like to hear the reactions to it?

A: It’s been so lovely. When you write a book, it’s such a solitary experience, especially with your first novel. I didn’t even have an agent at the time and you’re writing it at first and thinking, Is this ever going to be good enough to show to anybody? And then you’re like, OK it’s done, is this going to be good enough to get an agent? And then you get the agent and then you wonder if you’ll get a publisher and publicist. So by the time it gets out to the world and to the readers, and you hear that people are connecting to it, I don’t know, it’s amazing! And the thing I appreciate the most is that the mystery part of it is exciting, but the experience of being a new mom is what most readers really want to talk about. And to me, that is what I always wanted to explore the most. The issues of becoming a mother, and the pressures of it. I love that people see that this is really what the book is about.

Q: When you have a baby, they say it takes a village to raise your child. In The Perfect Mother, we meet new moms who join a Mommy Group. Are these Mommy Groups the new “village”, since so many new moms find themselves living further away from their families, compared to generations past?

A: It’s interesting. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I found out I was pregnant on January 1, and on January 2, I left for West Africa for several weeks to work on a non-fiction book I was writing about this woman who was working with women and children in very rural parts of Senegal to bring them education. Nobody knew I was pregnant, but I really saw what it was like to have a child in these villages. Of course, there was the child’s mother, but every other woman in the tribe played a part in raising the baby. That was really in my mind when I wrote the book. When I joined my own Mommy Group in Brooklyn, it was something I never really thought I’d do—I’d see these moms meeting with their newborns and I was like, I don’t think I’ll ever do that. And then I did it, and these women were such an integral part of making me feel confident in having this newborn kid when I was terrified, thinking, am I going to be able to keep it alive?

I used to be snooty about Mommy Groups … making fun of them in my head—they’re all in yoga pants, pushing the same stroller around, they’re all so exhausted, that just looks miserable to me, I’ll never join one. And now when I see it, my heart fills so much. I think, thank God they have each other. Because they probably don’t have family here to help them.

Q: A new study reported that depression in pregnant millennial women is higher than their mothers’ generation. In The Perfect Mother, you beautifully covered the everyday struggles and emotions that new moms have. How could you relate to those emotions? Did you struggle with PPD or PPA?

A: I had my second baby 20 months after my first, and only after I had my 2nd was when I realized I didn’t feel so anxious this time around. I was thinking back to how I felt when I had my first, and I was like, Oh my gosh, that was torture. I wasn’t depressed, but I was really anxious. And it made me really explore postpartum anxiety, which is different than postpartum depression. I was in my childbearing ages when I remember Brooke Shields publicly talking about PPD. It was such a big deal for an actress to come out and admit to having PPD. I give her so much credit for doing that, because where we are now—thank God we have broken down these barriers. My mother would be really supportive of me if I was depressed, but not everyone’s my mother’s age would be supportive if I had depression. I think the thought is, What are you sad about? You had a baby! You’re supposed to be happy! When I hear people say that, it makes me crazy. Like you’re supposed to be happy because you had a baby … and those two things have nothing to do with each other.

Q: Do you think there is too much pressure on new moms today? Do you think social media plays a part?

A: I don’t really do social media too much, but it’s just like anything else, like politics today. There’s so much information—it’s constantly in your face, so it’s hard to escape it. You have to weed through it and decide what’s worth your time and what’s not. The same goes for motherhood. The messages you receive are just so conflicting—from sleep training to formula. For me, the trick was to have a second kid. A lot of it goes away because you don’t have the time to stress about it. The pressure is off and you can just trust your instincts.

Q: Did you identify with a certain character the most?

A: Not really, I think they are all elements of me. Collette is probably my struggles professionally, since she’s a ghost-writer. When I had my first, I had to go back to writing  four days after her birth. So I hired a babysitter and I would sit in my bedroom and look at pictures of my baby, crying, while the sitter would sit in the living room with my baby. I was able to work through a lot of that with Colette. Francie is the little kid in me, the anxious part of me, the “Am I going to screw it up?”

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Q: At Hey! VINA, our mission is to connect women with their tribe, whether it be by joining our New Moms Community or our Blogging Community. I read in an interview with you how imperative your writing group was to getting this novel done. Can you talk more about your tribes and the importance of them?

A: Totally. I would not have written this book without my writing group. It’s a group of five women, who are all moms. It became an amazing community. They were so honest with me. They told me when it sucked when I needed to hear that it sucked. And at the same time I had the Mom Group thing happening, and two of my best friends in N.Y. are people who I met through those groups. We transcended the mom group thing, and now we’re just friends friends.

My husband and I are currently contemplating a move out of New York, and the thing I think about the most is: Will I have a community of women when I get to a new place? The good thing with kids is you have this built-in community with school, but you don’t always connect with everybody. So how do you find your tribe? So I’m going to check out you guys immediately. I think that’s awesome!

Q: How did you find your writing group?

A: Through a good friend of mine. She was in a serious writing group, and she told me, if you do a writing group, make it serious. I found one that met every other Tuesday and you had to show up and ready to discuss everything. I decided on January 1 to spend a year writing this novel and I was invited to spend three nights at a country house with other writers and get started. I thought, I can’t do that, I don’t know them, they’re all real writers, and I’m going to feel like an outsider. My husband was like, “If you want to write this novel, you have to take it seriously.” So I was like, OK I’m going. But before I went, I Googled, “How do you write a novel?” I had no idea what I was doing.

Q: What is your best advice for vinas who want to get published?

A: Write every day and take it seriously. Claim it as your time to write. The thing with writing is you’re not getting paid for it, and you might never get paid for it. So that’s a hard thing to realize. Join a writing group that keeps you accountable, follow deadlines and go for it. Also, keep reading. If you want to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. You just have to do it!

Q: The Perfect Mother is going to be on the big screen with Kerry Washington starring as Winnie. Any other casting dreams?

A: Not really! But the one person is Seth Meyers. I developed a crush on him with how he’s covering politics. I want him play Token.

Q: Would you write a sequel?

A: That would be interesting. Maybe revisit the moms when they are 70!

We’d love to read that! Thanks for talking to The VINAZINE, Aimee! Vinas, if you haven’t picked up “The Perfect Mother” yet, be sure to. And don’t forget that your tribe on Hey! VINA is waiting for you, whether you’re a lit-lover, a new mom or a blogger with dreams of being published one day. Go out and find your tribe today!