Mama Feature: Amanda
Favorite mommy product?
No one asked me to say this, but I really do love the Birch Bag Mini. Every mom needs a diaper bag, and since you will take it EVERYWHERE (forget about purses, your diaper bag is your life) it’s important to have one that you actually like. I’ve had both, and I think the mini is the perfect combination of style and function. It’s attractive, with enough space and pockets to hold all of the things, but it’s not so big that you’re constantly knocking things off the shelves in the grocery store when you turn around. I speak from experience. And because I can’t follow the rules, I also really love my Bob jogging stroller. Being active is super important to me, so being able to take Maeve on runs and avoid having to schedule exercise around childcare is a game changer. It’s also perfect for trips to the park or the zoo and has space to hold all of the essentials (including my Birch Bag Mini).
Favorite baby product?
This is a hard one to narrow down! Basically, anything that makes my life as a mom a little easier...which I guess also makes it a mommy product? Haha. The Wubbanub pacifier -- known affectionately in our house as “the wubs" -- has saved my sanity over and over again, especially on long car rides or when we’re out and about during a cranky period. They’re easier to hold and harder to lose than a regular pacifier. I honestly can’t remember the last time we left the house without it.
Favorite way to have a little “me-time"?
Take an extra long shower. You know, the ones where you get to wash your hair AND shave your legs. GLORIOUS! Generally, I’m racing to get in and out as fast as possible (while Maeve plays peek-a-boo), so getting to take my time and actually enjoy a shower is a true treat.
A couple more questions...
Can you talk about your connection to Sam & Kirsten?
The short answer: My husband went to college with them.
The long answer: The story isn't that complicated, but I'm sure I'm going to make it sound complicated. My husband Adam played basketball with Sam and went to school with Kirsten at Concordia University, Nebraska. Adam and I didn't meet until after college, so I never knew Sam or Kirsten personally. We met briefly once at a Concordia wedding. Sam was tall. Kirsten was adorable. A few years later I got an email from Kirsten that they were looking for a graphic designer and the bride from the wedding had recommended me. (The Lutheran world is small but mighty.) I was pregnant at the time and already adding all of the Parker Baby things to my registry, so it took me approximately 3 seconds to say yes. I've been doing small web and design projects for them ever since. I've LOVED working with Parker Baby and am so thrilled to be taking on a bigger role!
Can you describe how you juggle working from home with Maeve?
As best as I can? Haha. I try not to work (too much) when Maeve is awake so that I can dedicate those hours to spending time with her. Usually, my work hours are during naps and after bedtime. Sometimes I get a few extra hours here and there when the grandparents take Maeve for the afternoon or when Adam is off in the summer. Basically, work happens whenever I can sneak it in, and I have to be flexible. It's hectic, for sure, and it's not a perfect system by any means, but it works for our family in this season. I'm sure what work looks like will continue to evolve as our family grows, but I'd choose this over working in an office every day of the year.
Can you talk a little about your pregnancy and birth experience with sweet Maeve?
Much like parenthood, it was a rollercoaster. Finding out I was pregnant after months of trying was ecstatic, but that was quickly followed by 3-4 months of not just morning, but all-day sickness. I didn’t feel any of those warm fuzzy pregnancy feelings until about 20 weeks when I started to feel kicks, and I could actually sense the life growing inside of me. That’s probably the most amazing part, minus the actual baby at the end. :) Looking back, it’s all such a blur, and it feels like it went so fast and so slow all at the same time -- growing, waiting, counting down to the due date. Maeve was born a few days past her due date, and I remember being SO ready for the baby to be born. It was a long experience -- about 12 hours of labor at home and 12 more in the hospital. We didn’t know that she was a girl, so finding out who our baby was going to be was the ultimate surprise at the end of it all. I know that the labor was hard and long and a little bit miserable (I’ll spare the details), but there really must be some kind of labor amnesia, because I’ve forgotten the worst of it and really only remember how sweet and tiny our new baby girl was.
What is the first thing you do when you put the Maeve down for sleep?
Straighten up around the house. Even on days when I have work deadlines to meet or I just want to curl up on the couch, I always take 15 minutes to clean up the kitchen or wrangle loose toys. I’m certainly not a clean-freak, but I feel way more relaxed knowing that I won’t wake up to a big mess waiting for me. Plus, kid-free time doesn’t really feel kid-free when I’m staring at a pile of blocks.
What fun Summertime activities have you been up to during the quarantine?
We’ve been using our time together to grow Maeve’s love for the outdoors. We started with daily walks and runs around our neighborhood as an excuse to get out of the house and beat the cabin fever. Now that parks are opening back up we’ve started going “hiking” at local trails. There’s also been a lot of grilling and at-home happy hours to fill those long summer evenings.
Please share some words of advice for all the mamas out there!
Warning: do as I say, not as I do! I need get better at taking my own advice, but the #1 thing I try to remember is to soak it all in. I’m certainly not the first person to say this, but I’ve never heard truer words: the days are long but the years are short. It’s easy to get caught up in your responsibilities and to-do’s -- I’m as guilty of this as anyone -- but kids really do grow up fast. For me, it always feels like it happens when I’m not looking. I struggle to remember that it’s ok to make the easy dinner or let the laundry wait until later if it means I have 30 extra minutes to crawl on the floor or sing silly songs with Maeve. Those are the memories that will last -- for me and for her. I don’t want to feel like I missed getting to enjoy her grow up because I was too busy. Plus, being the best cook or having a clean house doesn’t make me a better mom.