Lelaina Arnold, is a veteran mom, Boot Camp Coach, and co-founder of the Green Mom Company. We asked her to share her insights on motherhood.
What’s the most surprising thing about becoming a mom?
Basically, how much patience you need. I feel like I was a pretty patient person pre-motherhood, so this definitely came as a huge shock. It’s the most mentally exhausting experience I’ve ever dealt with. And from what I hear, it lasts about 18 years. ;-)
Now that you know what you know, what advice you would give your pre-baby self?
- Don’t get wrapped up in MommyLand*! It’s emotionally draining and takes away valuable resources (time and energy) that you could be using with your family.
- Be kind to one another. We (moms) are all learning and acclimating to our new environment within motherhood. We have great days and really, really bad sleep deprived days. Remember that we have all been there and it takes a village.
What’s your partner’s favorite activity with the baby?
He LOVES teaching her the next steps....motivating her to crawl, holding her hands to stand and walk and giving her a spoon full of messy goodness to teach her how to feed herself. He "owns" feeding her food! It's great because I can enjoy a hot meal with BOTH hands. It really is the simple things that are taken for granted.
What do you miss most about pre-baby life?
Being able to just walk out the front door without having to consult with Murphy, The Goddess of Time**, and a 4 year old to just go run errands.
What helps you most on the challenging days?
I have to remember that my kiddos are learning to overcome life struggles as well. And that 90% of the time when they are being the most challenging it’s only because they are trying to understand and overcome a new milestone in their lives. Being the most present and empathetic towards their needs during this time helps alleviate a great deal of stress by letting them know that you are there for them in their moment of struggle. I’ve found this helpful through all phases of development from teething and gas to potty training and beyond.
Aside from your partner, where do you find the most support?
The nearest family we have is 6 hours away so it was important for me to find “my people.” I refer to my mom support as my MaMafia. None of us knew each other before but we all managed to find each other. I found a really good Facebook mom support group (warning: not all mom groups are great. You have to do your due diligence to find the good ones) where I met a couple girls, but mostly just by talking to people at the park, classes, and, oddly enough, at Home Depot. It’s important you put yourself out there, like dating. And once you find your person, don’t let them go without getting their number or a Facebook friend request. Sounds creepy, but you’ll regret letting that person go and most likely, they feel the same way.
What do you do to “recharge your battery”?
I like to be creative. I like to quilt and craft, and even though it’s just as frustrating at times as raising small children, I can at least drink wine and cuss at my projects while they come to fruition.
What’s your favorite baby hack?
Babywearing! All babies want is to be held ALL THE TIME! All mom wants to do is GET STUFF DONE! Find your perfect carrier and you can keep your little one close while you get a few things checked of your daily to-do list!
*Mommyland refers to all guilt, judgement and pressure that women encounter when they become new moms.
** Murphy is Murphy's Law, the one who always makes sure the baby poops right as you're putting her in the car seat. The Goddess of Time is an Ancient Greek god(dess) who controls time, she gives you the false sense of having 20 minutes to get out the door when really it's 5 minutes.