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Motherhood Mission Statement

Motherhood Mission Statement

Motherhood has brought me to my knees.

I’ve cried hundreds of times.

I’ve cried from complete and utter bliss, I’ve cried from confusion, frustration, lack-of-sleep. I’ve cried because I was scared, I’ve cried because I was overjoyed and I’ve cried from sheer horror.
There are some things I think you should know about motherhood.
Perhaps you’re a soon-to-be.
Maybe you’ve been-there-done-that and maybe you’re no where near the chapter.
Regardless, here’s my take on the coolest thing you’ll ever do in the event you decide to be a mother.
  1. You can do everything “right” or how you wanted. That doesn’t guarantee SHIT so prepare now to be able to show yourself, your medical staff, your family and your spouse some grace.

  2. Breastfeeding can be your biggest desire for you and your baby. You can go to ALL the nursing clinics at your hospital (HIGHLY recommend btw), you can work with lactation consultants and IBCLCs (again, recommended), you can drink all the water, take all the pills, eat all the cookies and it still may not work. If it doesn’t work, stop right there. You are a mother, you are worthy, you are a woman and your baby loves you. Lord knows I cried and I cried and cried. Easier said than done, but don’t spend too much time crying. Looking back at photos, Scarlett J wasn’t healthy and perhaps I tried too hard for too long. Although it breaks my heart to see those photos today, they are reality but we came up and remedied it just in time.

  3. Reach out when you need help. You’re GOING to need help. Here’s the deal; I posted in every single mom’s group, breastfeeding group, asked every family member, every friend (much to my husband’s dismay), “What should I do”? While I do think reaching out for opinions and support is healthy and necessary, don’t let it consume you or flood your brain so much that you forget what you were after to begin with. I was so obsessed with knowing the “answers” because I was obsessed with doing right by my girl. I get it, I’ve been there.

  4. Your mom intuition? Your figurative mom gut? It’s there, it’s real and you need to tune in. Baby won’t sleep and listening to their cries is more frustrating than distressing? Leave them be if that’s what works for you (Note: there is an appropriate age and two weeks ain’t it. Before you start witch-hunting you should know I’m not referencing the mom that needs a moment to collect herself because she’s running on fumes. I’m talking about “sleep trainers” that are trying to work you and your baby over straight outta the womb). Maybe you have a baby like mine that didn’t sleep through the night consistently until she was 14 months. Maybe you become sweaty and want to cry listening to their cries. FOR GOD SAKE, go get that baby. I’m happy to report that, no, SJT isn’t a clingy mess because I didn’t let her cry it out. However, if you feel like you’re going to lose it, which is normal, shut the door and take some time for YOU.

  5. If you and your partner that made this baby are together, living together, and you are parenting together, your partner can and should participate. I am fortunate enough to be married to someone that gladly participates in raising Scarlett. Your husband/wife/spouse is not your new baby (although he/she may be going through some things, more on that in a minute) and you need and deserve ALL hands on deck and so does that baby. You didn’t make this baby yourself, ladies.

  6. Most women experience the undeniable love for their child the minute they find out they’re pregnant and that feeling only intensifies the minute you lay eyes on their physical body. This is not the case for most men, and THAT IS OKAY. Michael was so seemingly in love with Scarlett that I never even thought to ask what he was actually feeling. I didn’t learn until much later that it had taken several months for him to truly feel connected to Scarlett.

  7. Your marriage will be put to the ultimate test, I promise you. Even if the foundation is solid, even if your spouse is your #BFF, you will NEVER be prepared for the curveballs, your husband’s secret feelings of rejection or just how truly bat-shit crazy extended sleep deprivation makes you. When it happens (it will, mark my words) understand that there is a light so long as both parties are invested. Remember, and hold close to, how and why that baby was created in the first place.

  8. Hold tight to your beliefs but be willing to be flexible. This goes for All The Things. It was really important to us that Scarlett didn’t consume refined sugar for her first year and that it was limited after that. We got a million eye-rolls, comments, questions etc. Our decision was made because it worked best for us, not because it was the best. Smile and Wave when you get flooded with the But-Why’s and do what works for you and your family. I also swore I would have really limited screen time… let me tell you how many times Elmo has saved my ass being that I work from home. #Flexibility #NotSayinJustSayin

  9. You have to take care of yourself. No, seriously, you absolutely have to. After I had Scarlett I learned that you’re essentially insane unless you can sleep for 4 hours at a time. I get it, the house is a mess, there are bottles, pump parts, dishes, laundry, the list goes on. What I also get is that you’re not serving anyone until you serve yourself. This goes for the Mommas with newborns and the Mommas to 16 year olds. How can you pour into your OWN cup today? Motherhood = servitude but it doesn’t have to feel like a battle or be the end-all-be-all to your story. Take very necessary time for yourself every single day so that there’s a quality version of yourself to share.

  10. Drink it all in. It’s very true what everyone says about how time flies. I actually feel very accomplished in this category thus far being that it was my very mission early on. In the beginning, we did nothing. I didn’t host or entertain. Her and I mostly laid in bed in various states of nakedness, working on getting her feedings down, me working on a bag of trail mix and working on getting to know one another. Aside from the trauma surrounding breastfeeding, those first couple months were nothing short of pure magic in my book. I very much remember every detail, down to the lighting in the room, the way she smelled and how long my hair was. I made the conscious effort to really be there, to have it sear into my memory and I am so happy I did. Nothing has lit me up the way motherhood has. I don’t imagine there will ever be a comparison.

A Mother’s (Self) Love

A Mother’s (Self) Love

For the love of God, knock your shit off.

This culture we have created of the frazzled, forgotten, war-torn-underwear havin’, haven’t-relaxed-in-God-knows-how-long mom has got to go. We stop buying new bras so we can afford the latest (cough bullshit) toy for our kids. We stop taking baths because we rather stay up until midnight cleaning around the boats and ducks that permanently reside there. We don’t go for walks by ourselves anymore because our kids want to go and if we left them behind, we’re selfish and they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
They’ll never forgive us and most likely need intensive therapy for at least five years. Therapy we as parents will inevitably foot the bill for.

Who’s we?

Before Scarlett was here, I made the very sound decision to not forget who I was before I was a mother. Sure, as mothers we naturally make sacrifices. Sacrifices that I want to make for my daughter without sacrificing my identity or happiness.


I was a wife before she was here. I AM a wife and that’s why she even IS here. I made it my mission, even when it’s challenging, to put my marriage above my motherhood.

Before any of this I was a person.
Sarah Ava Steinhall before I took my husband’s name. A music lover, a book lover, a food lover, a bath lover, an outdoors lover.
An alone time lover.

Going on hikes by myself doesn’t make me less of a mother.
Taking a bath by myself in actual hot water, without rubber ducks and foam letters sticking to me, doesn’t mean I don’t love Scarlett.

Replacing my ripped underwear from high school doesn’t mean I’m selfish.

It makes me a human being.
It makes me a 29 year old woman that enjoys being a woman. The end.

Being a mother has indefinitely changed me but not so much that I feel ashamed of my identity. Too many women and mothers I know bear so much guilt on their hearts for putting themselves first. How are we supposed to love our partners, children and lives if were side-eye’d when we love ourselves?

Imagine yourself pre-children. What happened if you didn’t get to accomplish/do/see/have the things you wanted to? You most likely didn’t love that feeling and made sure you didn’t have to feel it again anytime soon. You liked your coffee hot, you enjoyed going to the gym, it felt good to read a book you’ve been after. What the fuck happens to us as women that makes us feel gross when we want that for ourselves post-children?
We stop making time for ourselves, our spouses, our friends and our lives.

Your new norm is autopilot.
You wake up at 7 to a four year old jumping on your head, yesterday’s yoga pants, lukewarm coffee, a longing heart, a distracted head and a general discomfort.
And that’s your normal, and it’s accepted, sometimes even expected.

Who says?

Let your hair down without your heart hurting. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve to put a smile on our own face. If you need to put the kids to bed a half hour early so you can take a bath? Do it. Get a babysitter so you can remember what it feels like to wear jeans and perfume? Please do. You want to drink hot coffee but don’t have time? See previous post.
Take the girls trip. Go on an adults only vacation with your partner. Have a few cocktails at the concert you’ve been dying to go to (and then quickly regret said cocktails at 7 am the next morning when you put your mom pants on).

Nurture your souls, mommas.
Being Scarlett’s mom fills me up so much but it’s easy to let my cup get beyond emptied by days end. Take care of you first so there’s a more quality version of you to give.

Misconceptions of Mania in Motherhood and Beyond

Misconceptions of Mania in Motherhood and Beyond

Just stop. The shambles, the sleepless, the shower-less, the can’t-find-the-time.

Listen, I tell you to stop because I’ve been there. I know these stories all too well as they were my own stories not so long ago. The stories are tired.

NOTE: before anyone sets my house ablaze (I’ve done that myself already. I’ll save that story for another day.) There are always special circumstances and seasons in a person’s life where riding The Hot Mess Express is normal and expected.

But we all know that’s not why we’re here.

I remember coming out of the new-born fog and thinking, “Holy fuck, I made it.” Scarlett was born August 20th, 2016 and I don’t think I saw the light until sometime in March 2017. I knew it was partially due to hormones balancing, finally sleeping more (Scarlett wasn’t a great sleeper) and A WHOLE LOT of putting my life pieces in the life box. I stood up and demanded more of my self, my head, my time and my space.

I had spent too many days wasting my own time followed by resenting whatever I could for not having more. Too many days were spent working WAY more hours than necessary. I was distracted and too “busy” feeling “busy” to actually accomplish anything. I cried almost everyday about how, “I just can’t even.”

Sometimes you’ve just got to stop and you’ve GOT to get out of your own way. After I decided to pull my head out of my ass and get intentional about my health, a lot of things started falling into place organically. I decided to be done with constant exhaustion. I didn’t want to constantly feel overwhelmed, frizzle-frazzled, and a general sense of LACK. I was a new business owner and I got to spend all day with Scarlett, a life I had always dreamed of. I felt like I was wasting it.

I started to wake up. I’ve always been an early-riser but intentionally waking to be productive falls to the wayside when you’re new parents. I decided that I was going to start making that a habit and everyday I wake up at 4:30. These days I go to my CrossFit gym at 6 am and I like to have time to write, read and drink coffee in silence. Self care anyone? More on that another time. When I was going to the gym in the afternoon and taking Scarlett with me, I would get up at 5 to finish any chores/work from the day before. I enjoyed drinking hot coffee, having a slow start, and getting a jump on breakfast so that it was nearly done by the time she woke. I once heard about the power of waking FOR your children and not TO them and that has stayed with me. That rush-around, rat-racing, cluster-fuck of a morning you have? Practically throwing bagels at your kid’s head, screaming “WE HAVE TO GO NOW”! Is WAY too many people’s reality. If you enjoy living like you’re in a constant state of fire-drill practice, cool. But if you’re tired of feeling like 7-8 am is a real life war zone, get intentional with your mornings.

Stop dicking around. Again, this pertains to everyone. That busy thing we touched on? I don’t care if you’re an executive or a stay-at-home mom. You’re not busy, you’re distracted, just like I was. My 3 hours of work I needed to accomplish easily turned into 5-6 because I was just so “busy.” I really hate that word now that I realize I wasn’t ever that busy, I was just good at wasting my time. Put your phone away, close your door, quiet your head and bang out what you need to get done. But Ava, it’s not that easy… It really is that easy because I’m a real-life case study. These days, my schedule is FULL but that’s also partially because I carve out chunks of time FOR NOTHING. It took you and hour to clean the kitchen because you were on your phone, or getting side tracked by laundry, or spacing out on Judge Judy. It doesn’t take anyone an hour to clean a kitchen. So buckle down, make 30 minutes a non-negotiable and just get it done already. I have time blocked out to roll around on the floor with Scarlett, quizzing her on animal sounds and smelling her hair. That’s a real life thing, guys. Motherhood doesn’t automatically translate to mania, at least it shouldn’t and I doesn’t for me.

Hi! I’m Ava, an actual human being. Sometimes I’m still shower-less, too tired, over-worked and under-paid blah blah blah… That’s okay, we can all have those moments. What’s important is how we rise up out of them and demand better of ourselves. Life, especially motherhood, is way too short to roam around in a constant state of lack and chaos. Create space in your lives to do the things you love. Make movement a priority in you life, even if it’s only 15 minutes in the beginning. Get up early and enjoy the quiet. Pray, meditate, talk to your partner, go for a run or sit in silence and be grateful for it. Remember that we all have the same number of hours in our days. That time isn’t a tangible thing we should be hunting for with microscopes, but rather intentionally spent.

How does that song go? “One shot, one opportunity.” Cue Eminem…

Girl Baby.

Girl Baby.

Long before she was here, I dreamt of her. I always thought I wanted a boy. Having a boy seemed easier, less messy and I could skip all of the fucked up mother-daughter bullshit. I was convinced that the codependent relationship I had with my own mother would bleed into a tiny girl’s life and I wanted no part of it.

The moment I found out I was pregnant I knew she was a girl. I knew she was a girl inside my bones and only a handful of times, questioned my gut. I have written and rewritten this piece since before she was even a month old.

I needed to wait and I needed time.

I needed time to study her, to feel her, to smell her, to listen to her, to feed her, to learn her.

I mostly needed time to just be her mother.

Sometimes I still don’t fully grasp my title.

I. Am. A. Mother.

There are only a handful of things I am absolutely sure of.

I have an addictive personality.

I am passionate.

I am Scarlett’s mother.

Something happens to you when you become a mother. Boy, girl, doesn’t matter. Neither is better than the other, becoming a mother changes every cell in your body.

However, I can only specifically speak to being the mother to a girl.

A warrior.

A queen.

Oh, that girl of mine.

The word “love” is an undercut, a gross misrepresentation of what I feel for her.

Make no mistake. The codependency I referenced earlier? This ain’t it. I’ve never wanted anything more than for Scarlett to know I love her, unconditionally and with no end. However, I never want her to know the crushing weight of codependency.

Never like the one I had with my own.

I grew up waiting for the bottom to drop out, for her to leave me. I was convinced that she would disappear at any moment and I felt like I needed her in order to live.

I know without a doubt that she felt the exact same way about me.

When I was a child I would cry hysterically, sometimes making myself sick when she went out at night. I was 100% certain that I would never see her again, that I would somehow have to learn to live without her.

I needed her and I didn’t just love her.

It was desperate and needy, modeled behavior.

She wasn’t just my mother, she was everything I knew.

I need something more for Scarlett.

My love has no limits but there’s so many things I need her to understand.

That it’s okay.

That she’s going to fall on her face and that’s okay.

That she owes me NOTHING.

That when I tell her it’s unconditional, I really mean it.

I am her mother but I’m not her world.

Not even if she makes mine go ‘round.

An extension of me, an actual living, breathing piece of my body that walks on two legs, but she’s not mine.

I said it, she’s not mine.

She’s more than that.

She’s whatever the fuck she wants to be and even though I made her, she isn’t indefinitely mine.

My heart?


My temper?


But she isn’t mine and I don’t want her to be.

I want her to just be Scarlett J.

The First.

The First.

My earliest memory is staring underneath my mother’s bed, scared and crying. There in the dark was a purse with a metal frame, pillowed interior and dawned a bizarre looking dog face. I remember being on my stomach, my eyes locked on that dog face, wanting my mother to pick me up already.

I’ll never forget when I brought it up to her. Where were we? What the fuck was that purse and where were you?

She turned around, her face distorted in disbelief, almost as if someone has slapped her. She told me that she was sure I wasn’t even a year old.

Most of my life feels like that. Like a series of photographs, lying around in a shoe-box, never sorted. I could read a book over and over and still feel as if I’m reading it for the first time. Same goes for movies, even my favorites or the most captivating. Sometimes I imagine that’s my brain, too stuffed with the too good, the too rough and the too terrible, all fighting for first place. I was told to start at the beginning, and I suppose this is the most beginning I’ve got.