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The Harshe Podcast – Episode #21: Mama J Interviews Her Tribe

The Harshe Podcast – Episode #21: Mama J Interviews Her Tribe

It’s January’s turn to interview the kids! She sings with Beardbaby, talks about Samus Aran’s bra and underwear in the Metroid video games with the Bull (she’s not in her bra and underwear, by the way), Miss Cuddlebug’s disdain for the Havana song, Miss New York’s love of stevia in her coffee, Junior’s love of Metallica, and Teenager’s favorite vegan reptile! Also, each kid hilariously reveals the most annoying thing that Brandon does as a dad!

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Click here to download Episode #21: Mama J Interviews Her Tribe!

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January is in San Diego this weekend! Upcoming Find Your Village events are Nashville, TN and Stillwater, OK in February! Only 2 left for Nashville and a few for Stillwater. Get yours at BWFConference.com!

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How to Do You Boo with January Harshe is open for the following cities: Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis! These will be inspiring seminars to help you love yourself more, take better care of yourself, and to succeed as a woman in this crazy ride we call life! Register at BWFConference.com. For a limited time, you can get a $100 discount code for these events by DM’ing January on Instagram!

Permission to Love the Imperfections

Permission to Love the Imperfections

When I got pregnant with my first baby 10 years ago, I was so excited to have a homebirth. I was fully committed to natural childbirth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping and being an awesome mom. When my son was born, I realized quickly that I loved birth so much that I wanted to become a doula. I read all the books I could get my hands on, went to doula training and attended births. I soon became a certified doula. My main goal: a natural, intervention free birth, beautiful breastfeeding, and happy moms and babies. Many people would say, “Awesome!” After all, if I was busy being an awesome mom, I also needed to be an awesome doula, right? I kept track of all my statistics on natural vs epidural births. I wrote out birth stories for my clients, trying to put a positive spin on interventions, and spent countless hours helping moms breastfeed. Over the course of several years, I continued to support families as a doula and build my own. I soon had 4 children, three of whom were very small. I had nursed two toddlers while pregnant. I still had three children sleeping in my bed. When I went to the mall, I wore two in my mei tais and chased after another. I was an awesome mom and an awesome doula.

So why didn’t I feel like one?  Why did I feel like I was drowning?

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I slowly began to realize that my awesome mom status had very little to do with what I did. I started realizing that I wasn’t really taking care of me, of my marriage, and that caring for my children in a way that made me sacrifice my well being wouldn’t work out well in the long run. When I started to re-evaluate my life, I also started taking a closer look at my job as a doula. I had been photographing births for years, but not seriously. At this point, I decided to forego birth stories completely and replace them with photographs. When I was hired as a doula, I was also hired as a birth photographer.  I started to see births as they were, not how I imagined or hoped they would be.  You can’t hide things as easily in a photograph. Not long after, I started photographing births where I wasn’t the doula. I saw families excited about C-sections! I saw families happily snuggled up with their 2 hour old newborn while they bottle fed her. I saw families go through what I would have considered a tragic birth and walk away elated. My exhaustion as a mom was at it’s peak, my marriage was falling apart and everything I knew to be true and “best” about birth was being put into question.

I felt like a superhero who had lost her cape.

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I won’t say it happened overnight, but I started to shift my thinking. I started to give myself permission to leave my clingy toddler for 30 minutes so I could exercise. I allowed my husband and I to hire a baby sitter for two hours so we had time for our marriage. I allowed myself the ability to enjoy a birth that was full of interventions. I happily congratulated moms who planned a C-section. I stopped trying to convince my doula clients to switch care providers. What I soon realized was that it was never about how something was done. It was always about how you feel about something. If I am breastfeeding but feel angry or resentful towards my baby or spouse or mother-in-law, I am not doing what is best. If I fall into deep depression because I am so sleep deprived sleeping with my baby, I am not doing what is best. If I tell a friend who is planning a scheduled C-section, or bottle feeding, or enrolling her child in kindergarten, or buying them McDonalds not to because I see those things as wrong, I am not doing what is best. And lest anyone worry that I don’t buy my kids McDonalds, you can rest assured that I do. I am human, after all. What I found through all of this was that I wasn’t any less of a person because I bought my children McDonalds. My belief system hadn’t changed, but I had given myself permission.  Permission to love myself.  Permission to love others and to be empathetic to them wherever they were.

Permission to love a completely imperfect picture of my dirty, fighting children who dressed themselves and who had just finished eating sugar cereal.  And to share it online.  And love it.

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We were all born with the ability to choose right and wrong. We were also born with the capacity to decide what is right and what is wrong. You can argue that there are biological or religious truths. You can say that we were created to be a certain way or do a certain thing. The fact remains that there will always be someone on the other end saying you are wrong. Ultimately, it is only your truth. And it is perfectly ok! It is just fine to look at your beliefs and hold strong convictions about them and design your life around them and then live that way. It is not ok to force others, belittle others, judge others, or push others into doing the same. And it is also ok to look at your own life and decide that maybe something isn’t working.

We live in an age where we are connected to others in so many ways. We have social media and email and phone. We blog about our experiences and share our daily trials on Facebook. What happens is that people are far more intimately involved in our lives! And sometimes in a very non-direct way. They think they have the right to say things they would never otherwise say to our faces. We share a beautiful image of our family and it goes viral and all of a sudden people are commenting on our parenting choices! Never in any other time has this been the case. So what does that mean? It means we need to start loving each other. We need to start caring for the person behind an image. We need to stop worrying about how a baby comes into the world and worry more about whether it is loved and cared for. We need to stop worrying how a baby is fed and worry instead about making sure it is actually being fed! We need to accept all families in their unique forms and circumstances and beliefs and traditions. We need to love the diversity that is around us and that makes us who we are.

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I think above anything else, we need to love ourselves. We need to not compare ourselves to others. Learn to be authentic and true to who we are, but first love ourselves. One of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, writes, “Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”

When we can step outside our own little box and look at the world through the eyes of others, we not only get to see the world in a new way, we get to see ourselves in a new way. It can transform you… usually for the better.

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Bio:

Elizabeth Boyce is first and foremost the mother of five beautiful children and wife of one amazing Husband.  She is also owns Earth Mama Photography, a fine art portrait and documentary studio located in Dallas, Texas.  She is still an “earth mama” and enjoys bare feet, long skirts, and all things tie dye, but isn’t afraid to feed her kids fast food.  You can see more of her work at www.earthmamaphotography.com

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Mothers and Our Families: Never Perfect, But Always Great

Mothers and Our Families: Never Perfect, But Always Great

As mothers, we want to always protect our children, do what we feel is best for this, love them unconditionally, teach and guide them with the hope they will feel loved, be happy and turn out better than us.

Women tend to criticize themselves, to never feel good enough. I know that I have these perfection expectations as a mother. That’s good to always want to be our best for our children.

The problem is… I am not perfect. Neither are you. (This is why we don’t need to tear each other down, but lift one another up). We can always strive to do better, apologize when we mess up and remind our little ones how much we love them often.

Our families each have their own ‘ebb and flow’. No family is the same and therefore should not be compared. This goes for us comparing ourselves to others or for any of us expecting another family to conform to our beliefs. No family is perfect. NOT A SINGLE ONE. Do not look at other family blogs or Facebook pages or what they have and think they don’t struggle. Work hard to make the relationships in YOUR family better and enjoy the blessings you have.

Cherish each moment that you can. “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault

Remember to be yourself…

Have fun…

Don’t compare yourself or  your family to others…

Whether you are an ‘average’ size family…

A growing family…

A large(er) family…

Or a single mom family…

No, we are not perfect, but we are great. We sacrifice many things to be parents, we kiss ouchies, listen to the same jokes over and over (and laugh again and again). We cook their favorite meals, read their (memorized) favorite books, dance, sing and even cry with them. We take them to the park and swing them up and down and cherish the moment they throw their head back and giggle as their beautiful hair blows in the wind and kisses their face. This is what motherhood is about. We don’t need to be perfect to be great.

Watch this short video that will speak to every mother regardless of religion, ethnicity or location. What we do have in common is we are mothers, we are caring and we love and serve others (for those that have not had the opportunity to bear children, you are still a woman…a mother who can love and serve others).

“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.”  ~Mildred B. Vermont

*Thank you to all the BWF Families that shared pictures of your beautiful families!

What is Important?

What is Important?

We’ve all heard it and said it…’it goes too fast’. Also, ‘life is too short’. Do we act on those statements though? Do we realize the impact and consequences of what we decide is important today?

Our family has grown in size very rapidly and I have found myself missing the laid back mama I once was (just a few years ago). I stress more about the house, what others think and appearances. This only causes anxiety and frustration. This post is for me as much as anyone else. Let me explain the rest in pictures.

What’s more important?

Catching moments like this…

Messy eating kids

Sure there may be food all over your child, the high chair, you, and the walls, but it makes for a dang cute picture and is better than this…

Yes, very orderly. Might even have some threats to make sure they finish that food. Push that plate up, use your fork, don’t make a mess!

Or how about kids making memories…

Instead of being told constantly to be quiet, sit still, don’t talk…

You know what? Let your kids enjoy this…

kids playing soccer in mud

That’s what these are for…

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Because isn’t this what’s really the most important thing…

Family

Family ♥

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