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! 

YOUR FRIEND JUST HAD A BABY: NOW WHAT?

“You’re so cute,” I cooed, while looking at the tiny 3-month-old in front me. As it was kicking around and snuggling up next to me, I thought, I want one just like it!

But, it was a puppy. Definitely not a baby. If you attempt to put a baby in my arms, I’ll vomit before the child does. Potentially from either nerves or pure disgust that this tiny thing has yet again shit itself and the smell has wafted from the confine of diaper layers strapped around its lower half.

No, I don’t like children and I don’t really have to. Even if it’s my best friend’s baby, it will still be hard for me to like it as much as others do. My nurturing side completely goes out the window when it comes to kids. They smell, they vomit, they cry, they keep you up at night, and you are constantly worrying if they are going to hit their head on something or ingest a random item from the floor. And, most of all, they’ve taken my friend away from me because of this whole “good parenting” notion. Makes sense, but still.

I was beginning to accept how most of my friends were coupling up and heading towards marriage (or were already married), until one friend went a step too far and procreated.

I heard for months (nine approximately) about this alien concept where my friend would push a creature out of her vagina and feel immediate joy, and now she’s gone ahead and done it without considering those around her – me, specifically. How will I survive with one less drinking buddy messaging me the next day seeing if I’m just as hungover as them?

Supposedly my wide hips were meant to help bear a child, but instead, I use them to barge into people who won’t get up on the train seat next to me when I try to sidle out. Let’s be real – who doesn’t?

What’s worse is that I’m pressured to express as much joy about a tiny human as other people do. Otherwise, there’s something wrong with me. How could a female not want to have kids or even talk about kids? No doubt I’ve been inundated with baby news, baby photos and baby names. And guess what, I just don’t care at all about any of that. Truth is, I probably talk about shit that most people don’t care about either.

On another note, if your friends are the type that draw eyebrows on their babies and scare them in those funny videos you see online, then I’m all for a friend having a kid! Nothing wrong with some entertainment, am I right?

But, usually this isn’t the case. I’ll have to endure hours of endless discussions centered around a child, their ailments and their achievements (which would not be a regular achievement in adult life). Parents soon become consumed in story-time books, gender specific toys and everything in between.

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For these reasons, my friend and I have been growing apart – and it’s normal. We’ve always had different interpretations on how our lives would turn out and now they’re coming to fruition. I can’t bring myself to pretend that I like listening to baby talk or conversations centered around small clothing a child will outgrow in a week because honestly, I don’t want to pretend at this point.

I imagine it’s especially hard to be bombarded by images of babies on various social media platforms when you can’t have kids or have had a miscarriage or have postpartum depression. Or seeing the countless stock-happy photos of parents and children, without seeing all the hard work and stress behind closed doors. In a way, it only emphasises the pressure placed on women to be perfect, joyful mothers.

Every day I’m told inadvertently – or by not at all subtle relatives – that my goals in life should include having children. If I do not, then what am I good for? Yes, having a child is a wonderful, natural and amazing experience, but for those who want a baby. I can’t stop my friends from having children and I wouldn’t want to if it brings them happiness, but where has that left me?

I’ve acknowledged that people grow apart, move away, and have different goals. That is a part of life. It’s hard to embrace the vast changes that occur between friends who have known each other for a long time, but despite my obvious differences that I have with my friends who have children, I try to remember this is what some people actually strive towards in life, and even though my goals are different, it does not make theirs less important. And if one day I change my mind about babies and want to have one myself,  that’s okay too. Who knows, I might even like parenting, and not to mention kids, as much as my friends do.

If you’re looking for like-minded friends to talk (or not talk about kids) get the Hey! VINA app now!

4 COOL PRODUCTS NEW MAMAS WON’T WANNA MISS OUT ON!

Mom life often feels like rehash of the same ole stuff. Bottle, diaper, pacifier, breast pump, repeat, am I right? Well, over the past couple of years, some companies have decided that awesome moms don’t have time for that lather rinse repeat mindset; they have begun to come out with some really fantastic products that make the mom game a whole lot easier.

DIAPERS

I love BumGenius Diapers. I used all three varieties (the all in the one, the pocket, and the covers) on my daughter and plan on busting them out of storage for my next little. They clean up quite nicely in the washing machine, and you can pop them in the dryer or put them in the sun. These diapers come in super cute colors/patterns that– especially in the summer– are comfy for kids sans clothes.

A few friends told me that they thought cloth diapers would be too much work; I’m here to tell you (and them) that I prefer an extra load of laundry over a stinky trash can any day– even those days when we were living in an apartment which required I haul all the dirty diapers to the laundromat. Plus you save tons of money in the long run (especially if you use them for more than one baby), and you’re putting a lot less garbage in the land fill.

I honestly want to sing all kinds of praises for these cloth diapers; I want to shout it from the rooftop. There are quite a few other brands, but based on personal experience you get for bang for your buck with BumGenius.

PACIFIERS

This can be a touchy subject. Some moms are very against pacifiers, while others consider them a mom’s best friend. I thought I might be anti-paci until my daughter met her WubbaNub.

We called him Rara and he is s a rainbow colored rabbit with a pacifier attached. The pacifier itself is a bite and teeth friendly design that claims it will not interfere with the development and alignment of future teeth or breastfeeding.

When it comes time to say goodbye to the pacifier you can cut that part off and your child will be left with the stuffed animal that was previously attached. This little familiar friend can still help to soothe them to sleep. It’s like magic. Added bonus, it is washing machine friendly! Rara is now three years old and it is still my daughters favorite lovey.

TEETHING

Want to wear any type of jewelry without your teething toddler gnawing on it? Insert Chewbeads here. There are tons of variations of colors and styles in this line of bracelets and necklaces for momma to wear and baby to chew. I’m more of a bracelet wearing kind of vina, and I would leave the house with three of four colorful bangles stacked up my arm. I had so many of these that I would color coordinate them with my outfits; giving off an illusion that I was some kind of super stylish mom who had it all together. In reality, the real draw for me was that I could slip one off and pass it to my daughter to chew to combat those massive meltdowns.

She could chew on the necklace around my neck while I was holding her in line at the grocery store or airport, without the worry of a toy hitting that dirty, stomped-on floor. And like the rest of the products mentioned above, you can wash it without any hassle. Throw it in the dishwasher and you’re set! It may sound odd, but once you see how cute and useful they are, you’ll be onboard too.

BREASTFEEDING

Now let’s get to my favorite one. This whole post should just be about The Willow Pump. If you’ve had to pump in the past, or if the impending dread of having those awkward bottles swinging from your chest at work keeps you up at night, then you can stand at ease soldier.

I pumped for a while and I was awful at it. I never got the dials turned the correct way and then I lost some pieces; I was just a hot mess. When I saw the reveal of The Willow, I had just discovered I was pregnant again! I got my name on the interest list fast.

The system was boasted as being a hands free, wire/tube free system that you pop on your boob inside your bra and then go about your business. The app tracks your milk and adjusts speed for you as it deems necessary; with fewer pieces to wash, you’re less likely to loose a tiny rubber circle in the garbage disposal. I wish I had a hands on review to give you, but when this piece of magic shows up on my doorstep, I’ll be sure to update!

Are you a mama or a mama-to-be? Share your thoughts on these awesome products in the comment section below. And join one of our Mom communities on the Hey! VINA app to meet other fun moms in your area!

(Feature image via Bloguettes)

A THANK YOU LETTER TO MOMS EVERYWHERE

Mom:

It seems too simple to just say, thank you, as if those words might somehow cover the ground in which they come from. How do I thank you for the many millions of different things you have done for me?

I want start by saying thank you for bringing me into this life, for creating a home for me within your body, and for sacrificing in ways I cannot yet understand your own person to make me so. I quite literally owe you my life.

I think at a younger age I might not have fully understood that you were anything other than my mother, because that role, that part of you, seemed to take up so much space and it was for so long the only way I knew you. But, as I have become my own person I have been able to see that before I arrived you had an entire life, and heartache, and happiness, and late nights, and shitty jobs, and half furnished apartments, and lovers, and a million other things I cannot point to– thank you for sharing your life with me.london-scout-27290.jpg

You have shaped me in every way and the best parts of me are you. Your lessons have seeped into me and made me the kind of person I am today, and I owe you everything for this. You are infused into everything I do from the way I make a sandwich to how carefully weigh my decisions. I cannot even begin to dissect how much of me has been made in your likeness. I would not be the same person without your sensibility, your style, your love of music and thoughts on the world.

I know I was not always an easy person to be near, and there were those teenage years in which I am sure you sometimes did not recognize me. As much as I want to thank you, I fear I have just as much to apologize for, but we are both only human. Thank you for sticking it out with me.

I know being my mother is only one of the many things you have been in this life, but I hope you know it has been the most vital to mine. Thank you seems too thin a word, so please take this rest of these to back it up. I love you, and Happy Mother’s Day.

Sincerely,

Me

Share this with your mom and tell her just how much you love her!

WHAT NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT BEING A MOM

Motherhood is amazing but let’s be real – you don’t really understand it until you experience it. People love to give advice and there’s tons of books but do they really dish all the dirt? Of course not! So here are few “keeping it real” mommy facts. Brace yourself!

BREASTFEEDING AIN’T EASY

Prior to having children, you see these beautiful images of women nursing their babies. Then you give birth to a beautiful, hungry baby. All you have to do is stick a boob in your baby’s mouth, right? NOT! Nursing is an incredible gift but you’re not a cow. Here’s what they didn’t tell you:

  • Your child will suck with a vengeance! Think vacuum type suction.
  • You will get bit and it will hurt. Just don’t bite back.
  • At times you will feel cow-like. Just shake it off. It’s all good in motherhood.
  • And last but not least…it is all absolutely worth it. I promise!

TAPE IS A GIFT FROM THE DARK SIDE

Children love tape in an “I must use all of it” type of way. They will use tape (layers upon layers of tape) on any and everything. Seems fairly harmless until you purchase packs of tape and every time you need a piece you’re out! When you resort to using remnants peeled off of chairs, beds, toys, tables, floors etc – you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

Evil loves company and stickers are tape’s partner in crime. When you’re at your wits-end stickers and tape are lifesavers; with a consequence. Ever tried to peel a label off a jar? Imagine your house is the jar and your children have wrapped a label around it. Now, go hide the tape and stickers!

GOODBYE PRIVACY, HELLO BATHROOM PERFORMANCES

The days of closing the door to relieve or cleanse yourself are over. You will pee, poop, shower, pray, and hide in the bathroom with an audience. It is what it is. Sing a song. Do a dance. You don’t have much of a choice so embrace it. Who says performance art is dead?

Have you learned and tips, tricks, or fun facts you wish someone told you prior to motherhood? Please share them in the comments below, and join the community of single ladies and mommas alike at Hey! VINA!

(Feature image via @maisassygirl)

5 FRIENDS EVERY MOM NEEDS

It’s super easy to get stranded on Mommy Island and end up feeling completely isolated from the world. Juggling your children, significant other, dinner, errands, chores, and a job (as if tending the homestead isn’t the biggest job ever!) is no easy feat. Mamas need love too, and valuable friendships can be a great source of that! Here are five fabulous vinas every mom needs in her life:

THE SUPERMOMMY

She’s the mom who makes all the other moms look like slackers. She has what seems like a bottomless Mary Poppins bag filled with anything and everything you, your children or any ol’ person on the street could need. She can cook, create, and do anything, plus children love her. If you didn’t know her, you’d envy her. But since she’s your vina, you’re golden!

THE SOCIAL MOM

She’s tapped into the matrix. This mom knows everything and everybody you need to know. She’s got an in on the best schools, camps, activities, pediatricians, sales, and events. If it’s kid-friendly, she’s got you covered. Your days of scrambling to find something fun to do with the kids are over if you have this vina in your crew.

THE PARTY MOM/CHILDLESS FRIEND

This lady knows how to party. If she’s a mom, she’s got a great sitter on speed dial. She knows all the hot spots and is always ready to roll. If she’s childless, she’s outside waiting to pick you up as soon as you put the kids to bed. When you need a release, she’s there and will help you shed your baby-stained clothes for a little black dress.

THE FIT MOM

She’s in great shape and super motivated to help you look and feel your best. This mom is privy to every fitness trend and has great tips to help you and your family eat well and stay active. She understands the busy mom schedule. She knows all about picky eaters. She’s a great resource for quick workouts, yummy healthy snacks, and is always down to go for a run or try a new class.

THE VETERAN MOM

This mom has truly been there and done that. She has older children and tons of life experience in general. She can school you on fevers, breastfeeding, pre- and post-pregnancy issues, early/mid/late life crises, diaper rash, nap schedules, thumb sucking, and the list goes on. She’s a great listener and a wealth of valuable knowledge!

Do you need any of these mommies in your vina crew? If you could only pick one – which one would it be?

(Featured image via hellofashionblog.com)