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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mom of the Month - Shelby Davis!

Congrats to our August Mom of the Month, Shelby Davis, who was nominated by several people when I asked for submissions a few months ago!

She is a Super Mom - working a busy job, making homemade meals every night, and always present and having fun with her adorable guy, Nolan. 

She shares some great advice for staying out of the judgment zone with other moms and how to just be yourself in an attempt to put YOUR family first. She explains why she tries to keep it real in all she says and does as a mother. Thanks for the straight-forward, honest, real wisdom, Shelby!

(All photos from Shelby Davis)
Describe your child in 3-5 words.
Happy, funny, (sooooooo) sweet, observant, curious
DOB when/where.
2/11/12 at Wentworth Douglass Hospital in Dover, NH
Describe your pregnancy.
It was great. It was surreal actually; 

I still have a hard time believing I grew a person. 

No sickness, no cravings, no problems.  The worst thing I dealt with was swollen ankles and having to pee every 15 minutes during the last trimester. Pregnancy was fantastic and went by fast.
Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words.
Proud, loving, patient, understanding, goofy

Pretty sure that's the sweetest mom and new baby photo I've ever seen!
What type of mom do you hope your child thinks you were?
I hope he thinks I treated him like his own person who has his own personality and ideas and not “just” my child.  That I’ve done my best to listen to him and try to compromise instead of getting frustrated that we have different ideas of how to do something. 

I hope he knows that I’ve done my very best to teach him things instead of doing everything for him, even though those things may not be easy.  And that regardless of how small something may be to me, I’ve realized it’s a big deal to him, and I’ve always treated it as such.  That even as a little person, I’ve given him respect. 

I’ve let him explore his own interests even if it’s maybe something that wasn’t in my “master plan” of how my child would be. 

That I’m his mom FIRST and his friend second and he’s a better person and our relationship is better because of that.  

That I gave him my absolute best, my 110% every single day and put him first, always.  And no matter what I will always have his back and love him unconditionally.
What things have you done as a mom that you’re most proud of.
A few things stick out here…..I’m very proud that we don’t expose him to any sort of TV or media at all. I’ve read too many articles about exposing babies and young toddlers and how it affects brain development and it made a huge impact on me.  

He has his entire childhood to play on our phones or the ipad 

(which, ironically, we bought FOR him and don’t let him use) and watch movies. We made a commitment to keep him media free until he was 2 years old and I’m happy we’ve followed through with it.  Some days I’d really just like to turn on the TV and let him watch it so I can get some things done.  But not using the TV as a babysitter also forces me to get creative with keeping him entertained.  

I’m proud of how we feed him. We have a “no crap” policy at our house. We don’t buy cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, chocolate, donuts, or sweets of any kind.  He doesn’t know the difference and he doesn’t need it (neither do I).  He has plenty of time to experience those things and I’d rather give it to him when he can appreciate that he’s getting a treat. He got cake on his first birthday and he’s gotten a couple licks of ice cream this summer.  I might split a cupcake with him at a birthday party, but that’s it.  It would be so cute and fun to hand him a kiddie ice cream cone, but I stop myself every time I’m also very proud that even after working a 10 hour day, make him dinner from scratch and always am exposing him to new tastes, textures, spices.  We’ve given him a lot of variety and he likes everything we put in front of him.

Lastly, I’m proud of my patience.  I never, ever lose my patience with my son. This is unbelievably shocking for me because I am NOT a patient person.  At 17 months old, he can be a huge handful.  He is learning so much right now, testing boundaries, having screaming contests with his cousin, throwing food, getting into everything I don’t want him to, whining to be held, trying to climb down the stairs, taking things out of the cabinets, throwing things in the toilet.  You name something annoying and he does it over and over and over again.  

I’m always proud of myself for taking a deep breath and getting both of us through the meltdowns.

What have been the most difficult parts of being a mom.
The constant worry.  I worry about Nolan every single second of every single day. I worry about big things and small things.  Is he dressed warm enough, should I go up a size in diapers, does he have an ear infection, is he hitting milestones appropriately, are those pieces of food too big, is his daycare as secure as it can be, am I disciplining too soft/too harsh, what sunscreen should I use, will he make friends easily, is that tantrum normal, does his forehead feel hot, do I have him in the sun too much, am I teaching him enough, is that bump on his arm a bug bite or something serious?  

And I worry about myself.  What happens if I get seriously ill, or am in a car accident, what if I die, nobody can take care of him like I can, I don’t WANT anyone taking care of him like I can.….the biggest thing is worrying about his health and hoping and praying that we never have any problems. 

He really is my heart beating outside of my body.  
I don’t take anything for granted when it comes to him. 
It’s so overwhelmingly hard to love someone so much.
What is your favorite baby product that makes your mom job easier.
I loved Bumkins bibs when he was learning to eat because I could just rinse them off. Our Graco Blossom high chair is amazing (3 trays to use). Sleep sacks have been amazing, we still use them! And we like the sticky disposable placemats for out to dinner, because Nolan will still throw plates across the room to signal he’s done eating.
What advice would you give to brand new mother?
First, everyone will have advice as to the best way of doing things.  My advice (haha) is to listen to all the advice and then just do what you want. It’s YOUR baby!!! Don’t let friends, your mother, your mother in law, or anyone else tell you how to do things.  You do what you want and don’t feel bad about it.

Next, something that everyone talks about is the love you’ll have for your child.  For me, I expected an angel playing a harp and rainbows and unicorns to appear in my hospital room. It didn’t happen.  

Seriously though, something that nobody talks about is sometimes you don’t feel this overwhelming love immediately. I didn’t feel this huge sense of love right away, and I felt bad about it for awhile, but then I started to understand why.  

I didn’t know my son yet.  I just met him, he was my first child, and even though I loved him, I wasn’t head over heels in love from the first second.  It took some time to get to know him, and my love for him grew more and more every day.  

And even now, 17 months later, just when I don’t think it’s possible for me to love him anymore than I do, somehow I find new ways to love him more every day. 

I’ve now had a handful of friends admit that they felt the same way when their first was born and it really bothered them. So I’m here to tell you, if you don’t feel it right away, don’t worry, it WILL come in time. You aren’t a bad mom because you aren’t immediately in love.

What is a typical day for you?Depends on the day, Nolan is in daycare part time (3 days/week)… But on the days we’re together, we get up around , eat breakfast, and on nice days (we’ve been blessed with many of them this summer), we go to the beach by with his Auntie and cousin or other friends. Play in the sand, splash in the waves, lunch at the beach.  We head home sometime in the afternoon for Nolan to take a nice long nap (unless he crawls in my lap and naps on me at the beach), and during the afternoon we’ll usually play at home, make some dinner, wait for daddy to get home from work, play some more, get him to bed no later than and get ready for the next day.  Summer is the best.

On work days it’s like running a race. I’m up by and out of the house early, Nolan awake by 7 (daddy does the morning routine and daycare drop off) , I work until 5, get Nolan from daycare, get home, make dinner, give him a tubby, play in his room, get him to bed. Then I clean up from dinner (or my husband will) and get ready for the next day, regardless if it’s a work/daycare day or a beach day, I’ll make lunches, pack bags, get clothes laid out. I try to be in bed no later than 10, which I find difficult to do because I just want to hang out on the couch with my husband.  It’s a whirlwind but it works for us!
How do you try to live like you don’t care what other moms think of how you raise your child?  
Honestly, I decided a long time ago not to participate in “the game” (as I call it). It’s such a competition with everything and it’s exhausting to try to keep up. I think of the quote “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like” and I sort of think of parenting like that. 

We can get so caught up in trying to participate in the game, we forget about our own values and what matters to us.  So I try to stay focused on us and only us every single day.

I buy functional baby gear, I don’t care if it’s the newest most expensive stuff or not. I didn’t breastfeed. My son has his binky still and I’m not taking it away any time soon. I faced him forward in the car at age 13 months, and he napped on his tummy very early on. 

I don’t care what anyone else thinks or does; I’m the one who has to be comfortable with how I raise my child.   

How do you do things knowing you are doing the best for your son? What is your advice for other moms who are really honest and up front, for not offending others and for trying to just do things that you know make your family and baby happy and are what’s best for you, instead of coming off like you know it all? 
This is a super hard one. First off, EVERYONE is offended by EVERYTHING these days. Seriously.  You can’t even breathe without offending someone. It’s like people realized not long ago that the second they say they’re offended, that means they’re in the right and the person doing the alleged offending is in the wrong.  It sucks to live like you have to worry about offending people all the time! Once I learned that everyone is offended regardless of what I do, I decided that I was going to live the way I wanted.  

I’m done being so careful about not offending. Sometimes I evoke conversation, and other people take it wrong and (of course) get offended, like I’m challenging them, but I really am just curious as to their thoughts.  I’m just done worrying about stepping on other people’s toes, about walking on eggshells so I don’t do or say the wrong thing.

I’ve had others be “offended” by me because of how I live my life or the things I say or do.  They in turn take digs (and I can recognize a dig at me from a mile away) and I realized not very long ago they are taking those digs to make themselves feel better.  So I don’t let it bother me.

I certainly don’t know it all, but I know what works for me, and just because it doesn’t work for another mom, she shouldn’t think I’m “wrong” and because what she does maybe doesn’t work for me, she isn’t “wrong” either.  

I don’t have to share another mom’s opinion on everything and she doesn’t need to share mine.  

I don’t think there is a right way of doing a lot of things, there is just the right way for everyone’s individual family. 

That doesn’t mean one of us knows it all or one of us is doing it better. We’re different and that’s okay.  I have friends who are SAHM, and others who work 70 hours a week. I have friends who have kids 12 months apart and friends with kids 7 years apart and friends with an only child.  I have friends who are married and some who are single moms. I have friends who are obsessed with expensive baby gear and friends who use strictly hand me downs.  Friends who have huge houses and friends with small apartments. Friends who like the beach and others who like the pool.  

We’re all different so we’re going to do different things! We are all just doing the best we can and we all love our kids.  And that’s what matters.

So to answer the question, I’d say my advice for the moms who are up front and honest and who just want to make their families and kids happy – keep on doing what you’re doing and don’t worry about offending others.  Those who are easily offended will never be happy with anything you do anyway. Even more importantly, I have advice is for those on the other side, the ones who have a stick up their bum and a chip on their shoulder. To the moms who are constantly offended by everything and everyone, who take everything personally and who accuse another mom of knowing it all just because she’s not afraid to open her mouth about how she is doing something – RELAX. 

My advice is to just relax and live. Because you live and then you die.  And it’s what you do in between that counts. So instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing and wondering if someone is talking about you when they’re being upfront about something or who is looking down on you for your choices in parenting,  or being concerned that a mom is acting like a know it all, worry about yourself.  At the end of the day, who really cares what the mom next door is doing? 


Thank you, Shelby! You seem like a really dedicated mother, determined to make every second count with your handsome Nolan. He's going to grow up a sweet, super star of a boy because of all you give to him - mostly, your time. I admire you for realizing now is what matters, taking in every second while they're young. Thanks for sharing your story! 

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