#TLBloves Giveaway- Share the Love

Humans have a deep need to connect with each other, forming bonds and experiencing love. But it isn’t always easy and sometimes it is downright confusing to be in relationship with others. With #TLBloves, we aim to provide families with community support through information sharing, narrative, and personal challenges, all free of judgment.

#TLBloves 2017 Giveaway Bundle includes items from Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes (our amazing Title Sponsor), Dressed to Deliver, Evenflo, Naked Nursing Tank, Nova Natural, and Silverette!!

 

The giveaway!

 

Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes, Title Sponsor

Indigo Willow logo

Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes is offering not one, but 4 of their exquisite pieces of breast milk jewelry to 4 lucky Leakies (one per winner). The Clair de Lune Breast Milk Ring (their most popular ring, featured in the Grand Prize), the Love You Infinity Breast Milk Necklace, a choice of any of their 5 Breast Milk Heart Charms, and a simple but beautiful Mini Breast Milk Pearl.

Clair_de_Lune_Breast_Milk_Ring__37644.1455166414.1280.1280

1. The Clair de Lune Breast Milk Ring from Indigo Willow features a center breast milk stone made using a mother’s own milk and is perfectly faceted like a high-shine diamond. The stone is surrounded by a cubic zirconia halo and a filigree pattern and the scroll work in this ring is delicate and open for a very feminine feel. The base of the ring is a sterling silver coated with a high-grade, anti-tarnish rhodium plating for added protection.
Retail Value: $377

Love_You_Infinity_Breast_Milk_Necklace_breast_milk_pendant_breastmilk_necklace_breast_milk_jewelry_breastmilk_jewelry__22232.1486338967.1280.1280

2. The Love You Infinity Breast Milk Necklace is one of Indigo Willow’s signature pieces and features a few unique design details. The sterling silver infinity shape with hearts gives this unique necklace its name. It includes a high gloss breast milk pearl and your choice of one sterling silver Swarovski crystal birthstone. This necklace also features two sterling silver hearts in back to allow you to extend or decrease the length of this necklace.
Retail Value: $259

 

3_Breast_milk_ring-_breast_milk_jewelry-_keepsake-_Breast_milk_heart_charm_3__23313.1486339978.1280.1280

3. The Breast Milk Heart Charms from Indigo Willow are made using a mother’s own precious breast milk and are finished with a sterling silver ring to allow it to hang freely from a necklace or traditional charm bracelet. Choose one of any of these 5 beautiful designs!
Retail Value: $179

 

 

Mini_Breast_Milk_Pearl2__30160.1466294718.1280.1280

4. Simple and beautiful, this high-gloss pearl from Indigo Willow is sure to please. This little pearl is made using a mother’s own breast milk and is finished with a sterling silver bail and a ring to allow it to hang freely from a necklace.
Retail Value: $189

 

 

For more information, visit Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes

 

_______________________

#TLBloves 2017 Giveaway

From Top to Bottom, Left to Right: luxury bamboo Naked Nursing Tank, Indigo Willow Clair de Lune breastmilk ring, Nova Natural Wool Hood & Cuddle Doll & Rainbow Bead Toy, Evenflo Balance & Wide-Neck Bottles, Silverette nursing covers, Dressed to Deliver Birthing Gown & Nursing BabeCover

_______________________

Dressed to Deliver

Dressed to Deliver logo

Dressed to Deliver’s premiere product: the 3-in-1 Birthing Gown, was created with the birthing mother in mind! If you are already in your last few months of pregnancy you know what it feels like when your legs are swollen and most of your clothes feel so restricting & many fabrics make your skin itch! That’s why we created our 3-in-1 gowns from extremely soft and luxurious bamboo fabric that is so flattering, you can wear it as a maternity dress.

dressed to deliver birthing gown

Its empire waist allows comfort for your beautiful expanding belly. If you want to feel more like yourself and not a patient; if you want to comfortably and easily do skin-to-skin and be able to breastfeed immediately after your new bundle is born, without the clumsy mess of the hospital gown – then Dressed to Deliver’s Birthing Gown is a perfect OPTION for YOU!  Our gowns are hospital approved and allow for immediate skin-to-skin and nursing this with snaps on the shoulder that allows for easy access and if you need an IV it won’t get tangled up!
Retail Value: $65, but our Leakies can get theirs for $39.99 here! 

 

dressed to deliver babe cover

 

 

Our Nursing BabeCovers  are also a mom favorite since they are so versatile! Wear as a scarf, for nursing, as a carseat cover and shopping cart cover!
Retail Value: $35, but Leakies can grab theirs for $25 plus free shipping here!

 

 

Evenflo-Feeding-Logo

Designed to support healthy bottle-feeding without interfering with mom’s personal breast-feeding journey, we’ve developed a unique and intentional nipple shape to allow for a proper latch along with an adjusted flow rate that promotes a comfortable drinking pace for baby. These are key components for moms that will be breast and bottle-feeding. This gentle feeding system also comes with our patented Proflo™ venting technology that reduces the potential for colic, reflux, gas and fussiness. To help take the guesswork out of feeding your little one the Evenflo Balance + Wide Neck Bottles have molded measurement markers in both ounces and milliliters to provide and easy and accurate way to measure the volume of liquids without the risk of the measurements washing off.

Evenflo-BPA-Free-5-Ounce--pTRU1-24623264dt
To help take the guesswork out of feeding your little one the Evenflo Balance + Wide Neck Bottles have molded measurement markers in both ounces and milliliters to provide an easy and accurate way to measure the volume of liquids without the risk of the measurements washing off. An added bonus is that you can pump directly into these wide neck bottles with the use of the Evenflo Balance + Pump Adapter (sold separately) for added convenience. Rest assured that our bottles are 100% free of BPA, polycarbonates, PVC and phthalates and are made of FDA approved food grade material.
Retail Value: $12.99 (3 pack)

 

Nova Natural Toys and Crafts

Nova logo 2 lines

Rainbow Grasping - Nova Naturals

 

The Rainbow Grasping Toy is an engaging cluster of rainbow beads serves as a grasping toy and a teething toy. The Brightly colored beads roll against and around one another on an elastic band. This wooden toy is finished with non-toxic stains, so it’s safe for your baby to explore with his hands or mouth.
Retail Value: $20

 

Cuddle dolls - nova Naturals

The Cuddle Doll‘s cotton body and wool stuffing make this the perfect first Waldorf doll for toddlers and young children. The  clothing is part of the rag doll, so young children don’t have to deal with dressing and changing their doll just yet. Large enough to cuddle close, but light enough to easily tote around, it’s the perfect doll for kids to fall in love with.
Retail Value: $36 (winner’s choice of color)

 

Baby's wool head - Nova Naturals

Baby’s Wool Hood – Wool baby clothing is especially good at keeping little ones warm because of the wonder of wool. This balaclava-style hood covers head, ears and neck and is just snug enough that babies can’t easily take it off. It also won’t slide into their eyes. This woolen garment is made by Ruskovilla Oy, a Finnish company deeply committed to quality and the environment at all phases of production – from raw materials to the finished garment. The organic wool is ethically produced in South America and the yarn is spun in Germany.
                                               Retail Value: $29

 

Naked Nursing Tank

Naked Nursing Tank logo

Naked Nursing Tank image
The Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank in black or white is made of super soft bamboo fabric that allows a mom to wear it during her entire pregnancy as a layering shirt, as well as during and after breastfeeding.

Retail Value: $40 (winner’s choice of color)

.

.
.
.
.
.
.

logo silverette_NEW


IMG_7993-A pair of Silverette Nursing Cups
Silverette are small cups crafted out of pure 925 silver that fit over and help to protect nipples while breastfeeding. Silver is a natural antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial metal that also contains anti-inflammatory agents. It heals and prevents cuts, wounds, cracks, soreness, and infections.
Retail Value: $60

 

Silverette pendant image

The Recycling Program option which is the possibility to send back the Silverette cups to us after using them and convert them to a pendant with the child’s initial engraved.
Retail Value: $39

.

.

_______________________

Total Retail Value of the Grand Prize Bundle: $714

Good luck to everyone! Please use the widget below to enter. The giveaway is open from now through March 8, 2017. A big thanks to Indigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes, and also to Dressed to Deliver, Evenflo, Naked Nursing Tank, Nova Natural, and Silverette, for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women.

This giveaway is open to participants in the USA.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

#TLBloves – A Time to Focus on Love

#TLBloves pic 1
It’s time for #TLBloves!

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day seeing it as a Hallmark holiday yet loving the excuse to celebrate and focus on love a little more while maintaining that we don’t need an excuse or a special date to show our loved ones we love them but still totally loving Valentine’s, chocolate, and flowers along with heart shaped pancakes and candlelight dinners but at the same time rejecting the commercialized pressure to even just HAVE romantic relationships and heart themed craft experiences for your kids.

Totally conflicted.

In the end though, my sappy, romantic side wins: it’s fun to see the whole world (sort of) celebrate love and it sparks that part of me that is encouraged that maybe the world is going to be ok because in the end it all comes down to love. That one day a brief moment to come back to and focus quickly on what really inspires me all year long and though I don’t need a commercialized day to celebrate and express my love to those that matter most to me, I appreciate the time when, for a heartbeat, the world seems to collectively agree that love is worth celebrating in the first place. I almost don’t even care that they’re trying to sell me something at the same time.

I’m a bit of an optimist too.

It’s true though, like most Holidays, Valentine’s can feel like an over-hyped, over-commercialized day based on one simple reason to celebrate: love.

There is value in giving intense attention to one specific area for a time. Such focused intention can strengthen a weakness, do the work required to heal hurts, build shared experiences, foster fresh energy, and create fuel to help sustain that area long after that time of focus is over.

And so it is with the belief that seasonal times of focus on a specific theme can be of great benefit for us and for our family, we’re pleased to announce that it is time for #TLBloves 2017!

#TLBloves focuses on what inspires us to connect beyond how we feed our babies, strengthening bonds with our other children, connecting with friends, deepening our partner relationship, and supporting each other in growing in loving themselves by providing them with information, support, and most importantly, community in action.

#TLBloves is a movement to talk honestly and openly about relationships and connection. With our partners, our children, and most of all, ourselves.

Humans have a deep need to connect with each other, forming bonds and experiencing love. But it isn’t always easy and sometimes it is downright confusing to be in relationship with others. With #TLBloves, we aim to provide families with community support through information sharing, narrative, and personal challenges. All free of judgment.

Following the inspiration of #TLBmoves and #TLBsafeKids, we are excited to share this new experience with you, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities, that focuses first on strengthening the connection we have with our families and ourselves, to key aspects that deeply impact relationships of all sorts. Join us on The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, hereBeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; and the Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships).

#TLBloves appropriately launches today, Valentine’s Day, and officially will run through March 7. Though a meaningful focus on how we connect with others is never really limited to a set of dates, we will be focusing on what inspires us all to connect beyond how we feed our babies, such as strengthening bonds with our other children, connecting with friends, deepening our partner relationship, and supporting each other as we grow in loving ourselves, all of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob community in action.

Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBloves, Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister sites, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, giveaways, and informative articles!

Let’s explore the depth and strength of love in our relationships together, with #TLBloves.

________________________________

We’ve assembled a small team to provide a little daily inspiration and some real-life experiences as they focus on the love present in their relationships. Here are the six mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBloves experiences with us this for the next month.

 

Angela NavarroAngela Garcia Navarro

Hi, my name is Angela! I am a SAHM of 2 amazing kiddos, MJ and Athena. Bonding with my kids and loved ones in any way possible are so important to me. I am so passionate about breastfeeding because I know what it’s like on the other side wanting to have that special bond and connection with your baby but not being able to produce enough milk and have latching problems. Because I was unable to successfully breastfeed my son I was determined to do so when my daughter was born last April. And with the support of my husband I am going on almost 10 months EBF which is a HUGE mommy milestone for me! I am so grateful to have this opportunity to hopefully inspire others on their breastfeeding journey as well as help and learn myself how to strengthen bonds between loved ones! For an inside scoop of my unfiltered life follow us on Instagram.

 

Brianda TaylorBrianda Traylor

Hey everyone. I’m Brianda Traylor! I moved to Atlanta from Houston 3 years ago to be with my husband and start our family. We have a two year old daughter named Olivia and I am currently 35 weeks pregnant with her fraternal twin brothers, Owen and Benjamin. My husband and I enjoy going to car events and buying, modifying and selling old BMWs. A few days before Olivia was born my husband was in a serious accident that required an immediate spine surgery. (If you want to know more watch this.) Because of the stress of the situation my milk never came in and Olivia started to lose weight and was diagnosed failure to thrive. Her pediatrician wanted me to start formula but I knew I could do one better and give her donor milk. With the help with local mom groups and HM4HB I was able to receive donations and Olivia thrived only on donor milk and never had to have formula. It was a stressful time for our family and I’m happy to say everyone is happy and healthy now. I will be delivering these twin boys any day and I can’t wait to see what our nursing journey looks like! Thank you again so much for letting us be apart of this program <3

 

Kayla Nau headshotKayla Nau

Hi, I’m Kayla! My husband and I live in rural Ohio with out three sons ages four, two, and newborn. I have been in the Air National Guard for 9 years as a telecommunications and antenna systems journeyman, and I am a stay at home mom when not working for the guard. We strive to raise as much food as we can on our small farm, and live as sustainable and naturally as possible. I am breastfeeding my third child, and will be donating milk as soon as breastfeeding is well established. I am so excited to share a little insight to my life through #TLBloves and form new connections!!

 

Rachel Kirk headshotRachel Iglesia

I’m Rachel! I am a mother to 4 biological children (3 living, one angel), and a foster mother. I am married to a gentleman of the highest degree whom I lovingly refer to as “the Milkman”! We are a family that loves eating good food– be it from our own kitchen or other local establishments. I’ve been breastfeeding for the last 5 years straight and have also gotten formula feeding under my belt more recently with fostering. I write about my life as a mother at sherocksthecradle.com, post entirely too many food pictures on Instagram, and share random thoughts and stories on Facebook. I can’t wait to give you a little peak through the Window of my life via #TLBloves and share how my family loves and connects within our family and beyond!

 

Rebecca Zuick headshotRebecca Zuick

Hello everyone! My name is Rebecca Zuick and I’m the wife of 2.5 years to Alex and mom to Asher and Tobias, our angel baby. I’m from Florida but currently live in Texas and, even after almost 2 years, it is still an adjustment. Right now I’m a student, looking to finish my B.A. in Multidisclipinary Studies by the end of this year, and then completing the teacher certification program here. I’m also a nerd, bookworm, and caregiver to my husband who was medically retired from the army last year and our son who is still struggling with sensory issues and a possible autism diagnosis. Thankfully, Asher still breastfeeds, so we have that centering activity that he can turn to when things get too rough. Needless to say, there’s never a dull day around here! In 2015 I was blessed to be able to give birth to our youngest, Tobias, at 23 weeks and spend time with him before leaving the hospital. I love taking pictures of Asher and Alex, reading when I can find free time, and exploring other cultures through television and music. Someday I’ll actually be able to visit them, but the internet works just as well for now. I have a blog at thenerdymatron.com, which started off as an attempt to alleviate some of my stress through writing. I look forward to learning more about all of you wonderful ladies!

 

Jenna StevensJenna Stevens

I am Jenna, wife to Anton, and mother to Gianna, Athena, Evanora, and Oberyn. I also am a bonus mom to Jalen. I run a small home daycare and home school my middle daughter because she is Type 1 diabetic. My interests lie in politics, world affairs, and general interest insofar as motherhood is concerned. I have an amazingly supportive tribe of friends who have helped shape the person and mother I am today. Without them, I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to breast feed despite my previous breast reduction surgery. I strive for as natural a home as possible which, for us, means as fresh a diet as possible, no chemical cleaning agents, and open-ended, often wooden toys. I’d like to consider myself knowledgeable enough to know that I am always opening to learning new things and changing behaviors when new information is presented. 

.

________________________________

Meet our partners:

Indigo Willow logoIndigo Willow Breast Milk Jewelry & Keepsakes specializes in custom jewelry made using a mother’s own breast milk to commemorate her nursing journey. It gives her a tangible reminder of the time they spent nursing and bonding with her little ones. Indigo Willow offers many beautiful original designs.

 

Naked Nursing Tank logo

The Naked Nursing Tank was invented by a busy breastfeeding mom who needed easy access to her breast AND the ability to wear a sports bra for the extra support. The open-chest design allows a mom to turn every shirt in her wardrobe into a nursing shirt while keeping her tummy covered. Made from a bamboo blend, this tank can be worn before, during, and after a mom’s pregnancy, making it versatile and money conscious purchase. You’ll love the freedom and comfort this tank provides, and the ease at which you can breastfeed on demand, whether at the park, doctor’s office, or in the comfort of your own living room.

 

Dressed to Deliver logo

Dressed to Deliver strongly believes that every woman deserves to feel comfortable, confident, concealed and beautiful – before, during, and after one of the most important days of her life! Every woman should choose to wear what makes them feel like the strong, competent, confident and beautiful mom that they are. Our hope is that our 3-in-1 birthing gowns provide you with the comfort and confidence to enhance your experience of labour.

 

Nova Natural logo

Nova Natural Toys and Crafts strives to inspire creativity by sparking the imaginations of children and adults with materials that allow them to learn and grow together. We connect communities by bringing people together to play, create and explore in families, neighborhoods and across the globe. A key goal is to practice sustainability by working with small businesses and artisans to supply families with heirloom quality, non-disposable toys that support healthy lifestyles in balance with the environment.

 

Uberlube logo

Überlube believes in focus and simplicity—not just in our products but also in how we do business. Rather than modeling our approach on the restaurant that serves 50 mediocre food options, we are focused on doing one thing right, every time: producing the best personal lubricant on the market. When you use überlube you are using a product that’s all about helping you feel and be your best, whether you are enjoying a romp with your partner, hitting mile 19 of your marathon, or putting on the finishing touches for an evening out. Simply put, überlube’s first job is to make you feel amazing. That’s why we say “feeling is everything,” and why we expect you’ll agree after trying our product.

 

Evenflo Feeding Logo

Evenflo Feeding’s Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is the perfect solution for moms with frequent pumping needs. Whether at home or at work, the Advanced  Double Electric Breast Pump delivers all the premium features and benefits mom requires and deserves. This innovative pump’s PerfectlyPure™ design is a closed system that prevents milk back-up in tubing, which helps to keep tubing clean and dry, protecting mom’s breast milk and making pump cleaning more efficient. Each pumping session can be personalized with the AdvancedControl™ technology, which creates 32 unique setting combinations of speed and suction for optimal control.

To help ensure a successful pumping session, it’s important to have a comfortable, correctly sized flange fit. The Advanced Double Electric Pump includes 3 different flange sizes from our AdvancedFit™ flange system to help ensure the best fit, with additional sizes sold separately. Evenflo’s PerfectPosition™ design includes a shorter nipple tunnel and higher bottle-to-flange angle that allows mom to relax in a slouch-free pumping position. The integrated bottle holders keep mom’s milk safe after pumping, providing an extra “hand” to protect her precious milk from spills.

Access to expert resources can help ensure a successful breastfeeding experience. Evenflo is excited to include the ultimate breastfeeding education with the purchase of your pump. Developed by our partner, Breastfeeding Expert Shari Criso (IBCLC, CNM, RN), mom receives digital access to two practical and proven programs she can access anywhere! Both Simply Breastfeeding™ and Breast Pumps & Briefcases™ have helped thousands of moms successfully breastfeed and continue breastfeeding while returning to work and are included with purchase.

 

Silverette logo

Silverette is the original silver nursing cup that has been crafted by fully licensed silversmiths in Italy since 2002. Silverette cups soothe and protect nursing nipples. They use the healing properties of silver to heal and prevent soreness, cracks, wounds and infections. They are natural, easy to use and effective. Just wear them on your nursing nipples between feedings and forget about them! No need to wash your nipples before latching and no creams or oils needed.

_____________________________

#TLBloves pic 2

Share

What is Love? Baby, Don’t Hurt Me- giveaways and more

LeakyBoobLogo_NoTag

Dear Leakies,

As #TLBloves comes to a close, we are focusing on the relationship we have with our partner, including what we would like to have with our current or future partner.

Believing that settling is tantamount to giving up, we look for 8 ways to better our romantic relationship in all kinds of places, and it can be helpful to do so, so long as we don’t forget who we and our partner actually are. It’s impossible to fit someone else’s mould.

This week we offer you a smattering of articles and links to inspire you to draw closer to your loved one, to remember the love that you have, and cultivate your relationship so that it can bloom into something beautiful and life-giving. Including this one that sums up a core aspect of our own marriage.

Join us on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter as we share our connection stories with #TLBloves. So grateful for the sponsors we have who believe such connections are important; MilkMakersEarth Mama Angel Baby, fair trade Pebble ToysChompy Chic chewable jewelryBamboobies, and Baby K’Tan baby carriers.

Find love, Grow love, Be love.

Jeremy Martin-Weber
Co-owner, TheLeakyBoob.com
Owner, writer, Beyondmoi.com

This is an excerpt from our TLB email, to continue reading, click here.

 

24173d4e-b905-4519-9a03-db53a479d5c1

Share

Fed With Love- Giveaways and the Drama of Feeding Our Babies

LeakyBoobLogo_NoTag

Dear Leakies,

It has been said that the way our babies come to us shapes who we are as parents, that we birth ourselves as mothers just as our children are born into our hearts and arms. I’ve seen that to be true with both adoption and childbirth.

And so I would say, our journey in feeding our children as infants feeds our mothering soul and confidence. The obstacles we encounter and how close we are to meeting our goals can directly impact how we view our own parenting competency.

This is a big part of why we still need infant feeding and parenting advocacy and why will continue doing so. It matters, not just for that moment, but for the long haul too. Sharing our feeding stories in all their diversity, from rainbows and butterflies to steep mountain and lakes of lava, matters. We can normalize just how varied it can be. And down with shame surrounding infant feeding.

It was with this in mind that the idea for a children’s book that celebrates feeding babies and toddlers was born. In conversation with my own children about the different ways babies are fed when they saw a baby with a stomach tube, they observed that the baby’s mom loved him very much. We began looking for images of babies and toddlers being fed with love. Together we wove a story of love in the various ways parents feed their children. Breast, bottle, cup, tube, spoon, syringe… What Love Tastes Like.

We’re looking forward to making our book available with stunning illustrations done by Joni Rae Latham through self-publishing. We’re going to need your help and we’ll be sharing even more about that soon. For now, join us on the What Love Tastes Like Facebook pageand Instagram for a sneak peak at the book and a place to share our fed with love experiences plus recipes and tips.

Every day on TLB’s social media we celebrate fed with love and honor the varied paths parents find themselves on in their infant feeding journeys. This month with #TLBloves, we are taking a look at how it extends beyond feeding and into our relationships.

Join us on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter as we share our connection stories with #TLBloves. So grateful for the sponsors we have who believe such connections are important; MilkMakersEarth Mama Angel Baby, fair trade Pebble ToysChompy Chic chewable jewelryBamboobies, and Baby K’Tan baby carriers.

Feed with love,

Jessica Martin-Weber
Founder, TheLeakyBoob.com

This is an excerpt from our TLB email, to continue reading, click here.

 

View More: http://yourstreetphotography.pass.us/leakyboobwraps

Share

When Your Kids are A$$holes…

LeakyBoobLogo_NoTag

Dear Leakies,

This month we’re talking about relationships, connecting, and bonds with #TLBloves. We all need it but sometimes we take it for granted, particularly with our children.

It seems to be a given that parents will love their children and certainly, that’s usually what happens but without intentionality, we may miss out on connecting with our children. Time and effort are involved and it doesn’t just happen by being around them, being in the same room or home doesn’t mean we’re really present.

There came a point in my parenting when I realized I was always available to my children and I was taking care of them but what I wasn’t doing was being truly present… being withthem. For me, being a stay-at-home-mom was when it was the most difficult for me to be with my children, there was always something demanding my attention and in my mind I had endless amounts of time to connect with them, I could always do it later. It wasn’t until I returned to work that I realized that I may have been there for my children when I was staying at home but I rarely was with them. That had to change.

My daughter helped me work on that when she was 2.5 years old, that story here.

Building intentional connections are important in the best of times, even more so in the worst of times.

Like when we don’t really even like our own kids.

I know, what a horrible thing to admit.

But what a reality of parenting.

And it’s ok to feel like that, even ok to admit it (but maybe not to your child, just to friends) so you can take a deep breath and remember your child isn’t trying to be an a**hole, they’re just being… a child.

So what can you do? How do you avoid damaging your relationship with your child? I’m not sure I have the answers but I appreciate what Jeremy, dad of 6 girls, had to say about this over on BeyondMoi.com, here. We also loved this post on why you should hug your kids when they’re being horrible.

Join us on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter as we share our connection stories with #TLBloves. So grateful for the sponsors we have who believe such connections are important; MilkMakersEarth Mama Angel Baby, fair trade Pebble ToysChompy Chic chewable jewelryBamboobies, and Baby K’Tan baby carriers.

May you find the deep connections with your children in a way that lasts.

Jessica Martin-Weber
Founder, TheLeakyBoob.com

This is an excerpt from our TLB email, to continue reading, click here.

 

View More: http://yourstreetphotography.pass.us/leakyboobwraps

Share

How to Help Your Kids Love and Connect with Their Father After Divorce (Even When You HATE HIM)

by Shannon Streger

I will be the first to tell you, I HATE divorce!  I never thought I would find myself divorced, single at 35, whilst raising 3 kids under 8; but life is unpredictable.  There is a LOT of judgement out there when it comes to divorce. I know I’ve dealt with my fair share of critics, especially having walked through this as not only a Christian, but also, a pastor’s wife.

People told me I was “ruining my life”, that I was likely, now “damned to hell”, and the real zinger, “I had selfishly ruined my kids FOREVER”.  And, all this to scare me into staying in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship I had worked hard to keep together for over 17 years. I realized that with hard work and openness, my kids didn’t have to be “ruined” and infact, they could very well thrive in a two-home, co-parenting arrangement.

One of the first steps was coming to an agreement with their father about how that would look.  He was in agreeance we needed to work on having positive exchange and open dialog about our children, especially in front of them.  They needed to see we were on the “same team” when it came to parenting. I would like to share with you some steps I have learned towards having a healthy co-parent relationship that gives your children space to feel connected to their father, while still allowing you to “move on.”

*It is important to note: these steps may not be possible in every situation. If your ex is unwilling to work with you, the fact is you will only be able to do so much and if your ex is not a safe person for your children to be around at all then your path will look completely different.  

IMG_3237

Provide a means for them to communicate with him directly..and often.

In this day in age of smartphones and FaceTime, connecting face to face with someone is easier than ever.  While at times I find it tempting to discourage phone calls for the sake of busyness and staying on routine, this is a lifeline that could be crucial to showing your child you will not stand in the way of them building a strong relationship with their other parent.  It’s not always convenient but it’s important none the less.  We often will do facetime calls from the car on the way home from school or they take turns on the couch talking to Dad while I make dinner.  

TIP: Avoid calls when they are emotionally vulnerable such as bedtime. Sometimes you may feel that an exception is appropriate but be aware that this could potentially be upsetting.

You may opt for a regular phone call vs. facetime, particularly in the beginning.  I was given this advice early in my separation.  Seeing their other parent but not physically being with them can be confusing for young children.  At times too, when emotions are high, it can be a manipulative exchange and in turn will create an unhealthy relationship for the parent and child.

 

Share stories and point out commonalities.

As you find yourself healing from a separation and/or divorce, it is tempting to rid yourself of all things that include or remind you of your former partner.  You may even catch yourself becoming irritated at the very mention of their name.  To help my children feel connected to their Dad, I began making a point of sharing stories or pointing out common interests.  My kids favorite story about their Dad is “the roach story”.  I’m pretty sure my re-account gets longer and more dramatic with every telling.  They also love when we talk about where they got some of their distinctives such as hair and eye color.

TIP: You never want your child to feel that because they may remind you of your ex that you are rejecting them. Encourage them that the traits that they share with their other parent are ones you love, even if you don’t love it in your ex.

IMG_2976

Encourage them to celebrate special days and help provide a means for them to do so (birthdays, religious holidays, Father’s day, etc..).

Kids love giving gifts as much as they enjoy receiving them. Perhaps with little ones, give them each a certain amount to spend on an individual gift and give suggestions on things you know your ex-husband will enjoy. If they are older, this is a great opportunity to teach savings and budgeting, allowing them to plan their own giving.  But, better yet, a homemade gift goes just as far, if not further. Remember, this is their father, and gifts are a great way to express love and build a deeper connection.  Allow them to brainstorm what their father enjoys, his interests, hobbies, etc.

TIP: Let them own the gift as being just from them, not from you, no matter how much you did to make it happen. And then let it go, don’t expect your ex to make the same effort and don’t stew on that because this is about your child and their relationship with their other parent. You’re doing this for your child, not your ex.

 

He isn’t JUST their father; he is ALSO their parent.

Make a point to keep the other parent informed, whether that be phone, email, counselor, or direct communication from their school of successes and difficulties your children may be experiencing. You may now be leading your household alone, but it doesn’t remove their other parent from helping to guide and teach. For instance If your child is having a tough time making good choices, or is struggling with their friend connections at school, give their parent an opportunity to speak into that situation as well and address disciplinary problems. This will further cement the fact that as a two-home family, Mom and Dad are still “on the same playing field” when it comes to their parenting roles.

Tip: Do not take this as an opportunity to blame-shift or use the other parent as “the bad guy”.  This will jeopardize the co-parenting relationship and create a toxic environment for everyone! Also, do not make disciplinary decisions for the other parent. For instance, do not set restrictions that apply to their time with the other parent. Allow Dad to set his own consequences for his home.

We all worry about our kids and want them to thrive as they develop into the amazing people they have the potential to become. Even through divorce, your children can and will flourish and develop normally emotionally, and having a strong plan in place will help make that possible. This isn’t realistic in every situation, and that’s ok! Your children still have a strong future ahead of them, with your help. You’ve got this!


IMG_4998

Shannon Streger, a work at home mom, is the project manager for The Leaky Boob. She is a (not so proud) native Houstonian.  Truly the most un-Texan Texan you’ll meet. She has 3 amazing children who keep her days full! She has a degree in Kinesiology and Psychology from Houston Baptist University. Recently, she began the certification process to become a birth doula and IBCLC.  In her free time, Shannon enjoys road trips, anything outdoors with her kids, and 90’s movies. 

Share

10 Ways to Love Yourself, Love Your Life, and Not Lose Your Mind

by Brianne Martin

The alarm rings, I jump up, get dressed, run to the kitchen, make coffee and breakfast, wake the kids, prepare their lunch, pick out their clothes, and send the them off to school. In the midst of the morning madness, I make sure my husband doesn’t forget the leftovers from the night before, and a hot cup of coffee to go. That is just a glimpse to the start of my day. The chaos continues throughout the day with feedings, diapering, meal prep, clean up, dinner time and baths. As moms our jobs are never done and with hectic schedules it is easy to forget one very important thing. Ourselves!!!

Just recently I found myself sitting in my bed, but not in dreamland anticipating the sound of the alarm. I was sitting there crying my eyes out. I let myself go. I lost my identity. I was mom, and no longer had a name that I once belong to. I stopped caring for myself which basically had a domino effect on my family. Since I wasn’t taking care of myself, I slowly slipped into a dark bitter place. I was no longer enjoying my children and I was no longer my happy self. My attitude was affecting my children and husband in a negative way. My relationships with them were becoming unhealthy.

11824943_10205831757266406_9150551216286387963_n

To understand what was going on internally with me, I had to ask myself some important questions. Why did I stop caring for myself? Why did I put everyone else’s needs before mine? I think as mothers, we tend to naturally put our kids first. We tend to feel guilty when we do things for ourselves, but I am here to tell you to push the guilt aside! If you don’t fill your cup and shower yourself with some love, you are going to grow weary and become bitter. I know many of the reasons I didn’t do things for myself was due to financial stress and the cost to treat myself to something so luxurious as a spa day.

I decided to put together a short list of things you can do for free or almost free to fill your cup!

  1. Take a hot bubble bath or shower- Be sure during this time you are kid free and totally alone. It is important to find peace to regroup for another full day of adventures. (If it requires some bonding time with Netflix and your kids, it is worth it.)
  2. Give yourself a pedicure or manicure- soak your feet or paint your nails in silence or while listening to your favorite tunes. (Netflix can help with this too.)
  3. Barter babysitting with a friend- this will allow your friend some free time and you some free time and there is no cost involved for childcare. Us moms have to look out for each other!
  4. Read a book- turn off the television, close the laptop, and put down the phone. Get lost in a book for an hour while sipping on your favorite beverage. And don’t fret about the Lego pile that has magically appeared in the living room.
  5. Write in a journal- take a few minutes to write down things that are bothering you or things that make you happy. I find writing helps me feel free of things that may have been weighing me down. Doing this when kids have just settled for sleep even before doing the dishes or cleaning can help clear your mind.
  6. Get outside- go for a walk or jog. Breathe the fresh air, stop and look at all that Mother Nature has created around you.
  7. Borrow a fitness video from a friend- I know exercise is not for everyone, but it really is important for your health. It will help with stress and we know as moms we deal with SOME stress.
  8. If you like it and you wear it, put on make-up – sometimes make-up can be that added touch to lift our spirits.
  9. Get dressed up- take off the yoga pants and put on something that makes you feel pretty.
  10. Take a nap- If the kids are napping, leave the dishes and dirty floors, and climb in the bed and rest. Sleep really helps us in so many ways.

Brianne quote image

It isn’t always easy finding time for yourself, but it is important to make the time recognizing that what that looks like for one person may be totally different from the next. It is important to love and care for yourself because in turn you can better love and care for your children. As moms the most important people in our life are our children and significant others. For us to truly love them, we need to love ourselves. Loving myself doesn’t come easy, but I will continue to work at it every day to be a better mom and wife.

You can find more ideas on ways to nurture the nurturer with a multi scenery approach here, when you’re in need of an oxygen mask here, 22 more ideas for taking care of you here, and that point where you have to do something here.


FullSizeRender

Brianne Martin, a work at home mom, is the brand coordinator for The Leaky Boob. She has 3 children so her days are always full of activities and adventures. She studied American Sign Language at the University of South Florida. In her free time, Brianne enjoys reading and spending time with her kids and husband. They currently reside in sunny Florida. 

Share