Grow!

Grow bigger!

Grow faster!

Take out a business loan!

Find investors!

You should go on Shark Tank! (I still don’t understand how this one applied to me…)

Hire!

Outsource!

Get a nanny!

While the thought of bigger and faster seemed exciting, I was constantly striving to stay true to the entire purpose of my little handmade hobby-turned-business.

My handmade shop was born out of needing a creative outlet while I was at home with my young kids.  And while I did occasionally hire babysitters or go out of town to sell my handmade goods, I did my best to stay true to my purpose in this season.

Maybe your goal, like mine, isn’t to “blow it up big”.  Maybe your goal is to create a product or a service that is meaningful.  Maybe your work is about depth rather than breadth — reaching few on a deep and intimate level versus reaching many on the surface.  This does not make you or your creative endeavors less ambitious, honorable, amazing or worthy.

As life goes, I now have twice as many babies and commitments as I did when I started my sole proprietorship in 2010.  When I recently looked up to reassess what my purpose is and who my business serves, I again had to shift.

When my third child was born, my business was growing at a speed I couldn’t keep up with.  I feared that if I let my foot up off the gas now, my business might not grow.  And I believed that a venture that wasn’t rapidly viral-overnight-success-growing, would be labeled or treated by others as a “hobby” or less worthy of time and attention.

As I was sewing a scarf at my sewing machine, and leaning over my son, boobs out and nursing, one of my best friends was over at my house cutting fabric to help me.  On this day I was especially frazzled, taking on more work than I could handle and she said, “I just don’t want you to look up in a couple of years and not remember Oscar being a baby.”

Sometimes it is just as brave and hard, if not harder, to say “no” to the things we think could be that one big break or that one big opportunity.  Passing on this one thing does not mean other opportunities will not come along.  Your creativity or art is worthy EVEN IF AND WHEN it isn’t making millions.  Being an entrepreneur and being a mother are NOT all-or-nothing endeavors.  You are not less of a mom for being ambitious and having a side hustle, and you are not less of an entrepreneur for building at a sustainable pace.

My point is this.

There is absolutely no shame in growing low and slow.

I will say that again because it is worth repeating.  There is no shame in growing low and slow.  This is counter cultural,  unsexy and maybe boring, but oh so true.  And the people who have built big, beautiful, important and ambitious things know this to be true.  Overnight success is mostly a lie, and something we forget in a “viral” society.

I share this because maybe you, too, have been surrounded by the message of MORE. Do more.  Make more.  Push more.  BE MORE.

But I believe that you are worth more than your hustle.  And you know who else is?  Your family.  Your tiny babies who quickly become big kids.  My oldest is just turning 10 and I’m learning now that big-kid needs are as big and important as baby and toddler needs, just at different times and not nearly as easy to decipher.  This is how I know that right now is not the time to grow “big” for me, but the time to grow deep.

Mama, you are enough.  You are enough with or without any of the extra stuff.  The extra stress, the extra money, the extra house.  Your creative endeavor and your dreams are enough and worthy.  Your passion for what you do is likely more than enough (or, like me, sometimes a little too much!).

You are enough and I am too.  No amount of extra titles or money or things contribute to you and your worth.  Your worth and your rest are not earned.  They are inherited.

 

Anna is a wife, mom of four, and blogger at asalwaysanna.com.  She writes about finding peace among the chaos that is mothering.  In a culture of helicopter parents and mommy wars, Anna opens conversations about purpose and meaning in an effort to ground herself and her readers.

Anna writes to find herself, her voice and her groove after a full decade of growing and nursing babies.  She shares her journey to seek joy and humor in everyday life in an attempt to reclaim her joy in motherhood.

You can find her at asalwaysanna.com or on Instagram @asalways.anna

My personal favorite is this post on how she dresses her shape

 

 

 

If you’re looking for outfit ideas to finish out your summer, I’ve got you! Mod & Soul is one of my absolute favorite places to shop here in Richmond, but you can also shop online. I love that the pieces are a one and done- get out the door- type of situation.

I’ve linked all of the looks here for you, all of the looks from the photos below!

 

 

Would you believe that this nursery started out with hideous beige carpet and Tiffany Blue walls just a few short months ago? I’ll share some before photos on my instagram stories.

There were two things I knew for sure at the start of this project: little to no color (HELLO NEUTRAL) and light wood floors. First things first, we said goodbye to blue walls and replaced them with bright white. With the help of some friends, my husband installed new the new wood flooring and for awhile it was a big empty white room that I couldn’t even imagine a tiny human in.

But before we (he) even installed the wood, we wrote scriptures and prayers and dreams for baby boy on those bare floors. Our hearts poured out in in writing for our little Lincoln Maxwell. I believe in writing down the vision (Habakkuk 2:2) and watching God go to work. I can’t wait to witness these prayers unfold in the years to come. The nursery is by far the most peaceful room in the house. It’s chock full of those hopes and dreams– a product of those I wrote down for my own life throughout the years.

It wasn’t until well after the start of my third trimester that we really started to fill up the room. I couldn’t make up my mind- what a surprise. But I’m so happy with the results. From start to finish the entire room was a labor of love. The flooring to the wallpaper to every last picture that we hung. So much love, sweat and tears went into making it come together. The final piece was a handmade wardrobe rack that Glen made for Max. It’s such a special part of the room.

 

I’ve linked everything here

A few things to note if you are in the process of decoating a nursery:

  • I would recommend a plush rocking chair, this one is not cozy during late night feeds
  • I would also go with a different side table if I was to do it all over again
  • Lesson learned- buy the blackout curtains

Photos: Misfit Moon Photography

 

 

 

Mama and baby, our new normal

After having Max, I expected to be tired and maybe a little in shock by this tremendous life change. But what I didn’t expect, was to be sad. I’m a generally happy, easy going person. So when my doctor told me to look out for postpartum depression or the baby blues, I didn’t really hear her.

Our hospital stay was great, a lot of adjustment, but i was surrounded with the help of nurses who swaddled my baby with perfection (but HOW do they do that?)  and a bed that raised at the push of a button (because… BYE abs).

Getting home on a Friday meant a nice long weekend to adjust as a family of three. It all felt real for the first time. There was no night nurse or fancy beds, but my mom and husband were great support. Visitors and flowers and meals and gifts filled our home, they created this burst of newness and excitement that almost had me forgetting the pending reality.

As a nursing mama, those late night feeds were a little lonely, but thank goodness for social media.  What did mamas do before the ability to stalk everyone’s life while a little one latched on at 2 am?

 

The rock n play was my saving grace

And then Monday came. I’ve always been an early riser, but 5 am comes much more quickly after waking from the cries of a newborn all night. Glen was getting ready for work, back to his regular schedule. He got up and showered without worrying that a little one would wake and need him. He dressed as usual, drank hot coffee, and was out the door. On a normal day I would wake with him at 5, we would workout, drink coffee and read a devotion. I liked this routine. A lot. But today- everything was different… for me.  

I was exhausted. And I was restricted by this tiny human and this new body. Max needed to be fed and held and burped and changed, RIGHT NOW. I could hardly walk up and down the steps, my boobs felt on the verge of bursting at all times, my belly- still round and sore and stitched together. Nothing about my life felt familiar  

I kissed Glen goodbye, it was maybe the only thing that stayed the same. I held onto that moment, hoping to grasp some sort of normalcy, a shred of familiarity in the middle of all this new. The moment was fleeting and when the door shut behind him, I cried. And then I cried some more. I held my baby and I looked at his face and I smiled and felt so much pride and love and still the tears kept coming.    

At 9am I walked downstairs, baby max in my arms. I was still in pajamas and I had nowhere to be. Nobody needed me, nobody that could measure my productivity anyway. It was a hard realization that didn’t make sense to me. I had wanted this, I chose this, why was I crying? Again. I wanted to leave my day job to peruse my dream job. But the thought of no schedule and job to go back to seemed daunting. The fact that there was no maternity leave, no deadline for me to wrap this whole thing up and return to life as I knew it? Did I make the right choice, was I made to be a stay at home mama?

I held it together in front of people but if anyone asked me how I was, I had to hold back tears like it was my job. Because if I told them I felt sad- wouldn’t they judge me? Think i was a bad mom? Ask me to explain why I felt sad? Maybe. Maybe not.

The next morning Glen did his normal routine and I joined him for coffee (thank you, Rock N Play) he asked me how I was and I lost it. I think I managed to blurt out how we will NEVER EVER (dramatic?) get to go to the gym at 5:30am again. WHO cries over that?! Me. He hugged me and told me that he was sad too, that all of this change just shifted everything so quickly. It was reassuring knowing that we were both navigating this from a similar standpoint. But again- he went out that door and went on about his normal life  I went to the the couch, just me, Max, and my nursing pillow.

 

So thankful for Nordstrom and their mama lounge

I never knew I would need other moms. My sister in law and a couple friends who had just had babies started to text me daily. Simple texts, but I looked forward to them everyday. How are you? How did today go? They checked on me and answered my 2936378 questions about everything. Those daily check ins kept me sane.

They sent pictures of their littles making them crazy (in the best way)- reassuring me that I wasn’t alone, scriptures of encouragement, some friends let me just sit and talk and/or cry. They dropped off oils and tinctures, and sent me all the tips. They welcomed me into their club. This sisterhood of motherhood, it’s life giving.   

 

Making the best of our new normal, family life in the first few weeks meant a lot of time on the couch.

Eventually people would ask me how I was and I no longer had to hold back tears. Time somehow melted together and my new normal started to grow on me. I was sleeping a tad more, my boobs leaked less (such a weird thing), my belly was healing and I started feeling a little more like an empowered woman and a little less like a mommy blob.

I realized that I had to let myself grieve my old life. I would carry some of her with me into this new life, but I would never be her again. There would be things in my life that would not change, but I would forever be different. It was a whole process, a lot grace for myself, a lot of letting go, but also holding on- to all of the goodness in this change.

I believe that in order to move forward we must first feel all the feelings of what we are leaving behind. Let them be, then let them go. Sometimes I still leave the house and forget all the things, date nights typically include a lot of baby conversation, and getting dressed just isn’t the same. Life is different, I have accepted that and I love it’s differences. But I am grateful for all of the years of independence and travel and growth and freedom and spontaneity. They made me the mom I am today.

 

Our first date as parents might have been Publix

Mama, if you are the thick of it, those first few months where everyone tells you that it goes by so fast and that you need to hold onto every minute— but you’re sitting there at 2am feeling like the days are just so long and the nights are even longer— just feel it. Let it be. The hard, the tired, the long days and longer nights. If you are happy or sad or both, it’s ok. But don’t do it alone. I realized that every mom said the same thing for a reason. It really is fleeting. It really does get better. Those first weeks are unfair to a first time mama. We have no idea what to expect and then we are expected to do it all while exhausted beyond our wildest dreams. Some moments will be done with joy, some will be loathed, but all will be done with so much love.

If you feel sad (or even if you don’t) text a mama friend, find your  tribe, get out of the house, and use all the oils! If your sadness lasts longer than the baby blues (typically less than a month) please contact your doctor, there is no shame in needing help.

 

Baby bumps aren’t the easiest body shape to dress… unless you know where to look.

 

When I first started to show, it was late summer and I was kind of sad about not being able to wear all of the cute fall clothes. But thankfully after some research and trial + error, I found some great maternity brands and some non-maternity brands that work really well when it comes to bump style!

 

For me, a really good pair of jeans was the key to always having something easy + cute to throw on. I tried several cheaper brands at first (which ended up being more expensive than just buying the good pair in the long run) but finally settled on these. Yes, they are an investment. But mama needs to feel cute when she’s 8 months prego, ok? These don’t lose their shape AT ALL. The perfect staple for your fall wardrobe. I also grabbed a pair of black distressed jeans, and my forever go-to leggings. The leggings aren’t maternity but they are perfect for the bump and postpartum.

 

Most of the items in this catalog are maternity but for the ones that aren’t- just size up! You will find a lot of neutral basics that are easy to mix and match with the layering pieces. Just like your non-maternity wardrobe, make sure you have plenty of neutral basics that can easily be mixed, matched, and layered with more statement pieces.

 

Here are my 3 favorite ways to wear the jeans. 

 

When you click the SHOP button below it will take you to a catalog of all of the finds and a lookbook of ways I created outfits from the finds.Use the catalog to directly shop my tried and true finds or use the lookbook as inspiration. You can click between the two once you open the link!  When choosing your maternity wardrobe, a capsule will most likely suit you best. I would suggest starting with the following:

 

3 neutral tees

1 cute/fun/printed top

2 layering pieces

1 plain dress (so that it can be easily layered- change of shoes, layer, and accessories will make 1 dress into SO MANY outfits)

1 pair of dark jeans

1 pair of leggings

1 pair of black pants or jeans

2-3 pairs of shoes

 

I hope that the these finds and look book will inspire you to dress your bump this fall!

 

 

xo,

Jammie

I had my 40 week checkup on November 5th (my due date) with no signs of oncoming labor in my near future. Dr. C told me that I would likely go past my due date and I was fine with that. I wasn’t (and I learned one never is) prepared for this whole birth scenario just yet. At the end of the checkup she told me that she thought he had flipped. After an ultrasound to confirm that baby was indeed breech, I had a couple of choices. The first was to just schedule a C-Section, but the second option was worth trying- even at a less than 50% success rate this late in pregnancy. Option two was to schedule an external cephalic version with hopes that baby would take a head down position and I would go home to labor on my own. But the flip side of that would be to keep said C-Section appointment if baby was stubborn and sustained the breech position.

Side note: The external version HURTS LIKE HELL.

After trying clockwise and counterclockwise, I turned white, almost passed out, and left claw marks in my husbands hand. I told the doctor, no more. I wanted it to work, she wanted it to work, and I’m pretty sure that the other 6 medical professionals in the room (it’s a pretty intense and risky procedure), were rooting for baby’s flip as well.

Why was my baby breech? Well…

At 32 weeks pregnant, I was driving home after a great day of styling a magazine shoot, excited to get home to my husband and enjoy dinner. That plan was averted when an SUV headed in the opposite direction, crossed the median and hit me head on, then swung around to the drivers side after impact, eventually facing North, parallel to my vehicle (basically their vehicle and mine became one). On a daily basis I was driving a Ford Explorer, similar in size to the SUV that hit me. That particular day, after a string of “only God” events, I ended up driving my husband’s pickup truck. Three times the size of the other vehicle. I NEVER drove that truck, it’s way too big to maneuver and climb in and out of, especially being pregnant.

There’s an amazing backstory to that truck. While I was single I had made a prayer list of what I wanted in a husband (Habakkuk 2:2 write down the vision). All the good Godly stuff and the fun stuff, but then for some reason I also wrote: drives a truck. WHAT? WHY? I don’t even like trucks. But I still have that list that I wrote down and prayed over in 2013. And somehow, 4 years later, that truck I had prayed about- saved me and my unborn baby boy. The tow truck driver said it was in the top 10 of the accidents he’s towed in his 35 year career as far as vehicle to vehicle damage. According to him, the amount of damage done to a truck that size was typically only seen after hitting a semi truck or cement wall.

Needless to say I didn’t make it home to enjoy dinner. I ended up in an ambulance followed by a 36 hour hospital stay where they discovered that baby was now breech. I was having contractions and for the first hour- his little heartbeat was hard to detect. That was the night I discovered my mama instincts and what it feels like to have so much love and strength for a tiny human. For the next 8 weeks I saw a chiropractor who performed the Webster Technique on me routinely. I did what I could, but my little breech baby was cozy there I guess.  

I digress. Back to the birth-

I believed it would all work out, that baby would flip, I would go home to labor on my own, and get what I wanted. Done. I didn’t even bring my bags into the hospital. Wonder where baby got his stubborn start? But it didn’t work and I was headed for surgery.

After being wheeled into the surgery room, stripped naked and laid out on a table, numb from the waist down, watching them scrub me but feeling nothing. They told Glen to wait outside until I was fully ready. But my goofy husband found a window where he insisted on watching the whole process anyway, so they let him in. It was like watching a kid peek into a forbidden room- he was making us all laugh and I needed that.

Since this was scheduled and not emergency, my experience was actually pretty pleasant. The doctor was unbelievably caring and personable, I trusted her decisions the entire pregnancy. She was relate-able and took her time with this new mama during every single appointment. She knew this wasn’t the birth I hoped for but this was also why I never formed an actual birth plan. I decided early in my pregnancy to go with the flow of whatever needed to happen in order to deliver a healthy baby.

She allowed us to play worship music through the speakers and Glen brought essential oils to prevent me from smelling all the weird smells that come with a c-section. The room was peaceful and calm, we chatted and laughed until my body was ready for birth. Dr. C used a special curtain to make it all as close to a natural birth experience as possible. As long as baby came out healthy and breathing, she planned to pass him to me immediately just as in a natural birth.

Lincoln Maxwell Baker aka: Baby Max, made his debut at 4:36 PM on November 7th, 2017. He cried a big healthy cry and I was able to hold my brand new tiny human before they took him to be cleaned and weighed. Holding him for the first time felt as if the three of us were the only ones in the room and time stood still for just a few moments as we became a family. My little 7 pound 12.5 ounce, baby Max was full of more joy than I could have ever dreamed up. Tiny humans hold so much power for change, it’s incredible.

Pregnancy and birth wrecked me to the core in the most beautiful ways. It is the most extreme and rewarding process- this whole growing and birthing a human situation. I was supposed to be too old, with a past too harsh, I was too late in the game, messed up too many times, right? How could I be deserving of this new precious life, this new family of three? I wasn’t, I’m not, I never will be. But GOD IS GOOD. Max is my redemption story, my daily reminder of God’s love for me. The most humbling, selfless job was now mine to walk out. It is by far the closest earthly example I have ever experienced in being able to comprehend how HE loves us.

I wasn’t ready that day. I’m 3 months in and I’m still not ready, but I’m learning and adjusting. Finding my mama legs, I suppose. I love that little boy and all that he has taught me these past few months. I am so much better and stronger because of him. In the words of Carrie Underwood:

“I finally found what I never knew I always wanted”