Why I Named My Blog, “The Mothers Room”

My goal is to inspire and support moms all over. We are the only ones who know how this feels. It is imperative that we stick together. -Nikki B

I breastfed my youngest for 18 months (go me!) and a couple of those months were spent pumping at work. Before I go any further, I would like to add that while I loved breastfeeding, I am not one of those moms who shame other women if they did not breastfeed. Truth moment…I breastfed my first daughter for about 10 days. I am probably exaggerating a little bit, it may have been more like 7 days but hey who is counting! Both of my kids are healthy and happy! I do believe in the benefits of breastfeeding, but I am also a strong believer that a mother’s well being is the most important source of nutrition for a baby. As a first time mom, I was stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted. I knew that giving my daughter formula was the best for both of us, at that time.

Okay so like I was saying, for those who may not know, the place for moms to pump is usually called,”The Mothers Room”. I remember going into the room and as soon as I walked in I saw women with their boobs out with such confidence. It was so inspiring to see women in one room literally letting it all hang out! It was a place where women were not judged and we supported each other.

I remember one time, I forgot my storage bags. I proudly pumped about 10 oz and was devastated when I looked in my bag to find zero bags! There was another woman in the room, and I shamefully asked “do you have an extra storage bag?” She happily gave me a bag and said, “we gotta stick together”. Those words resonated with me and well- voila! Here we are!

Listen, this isn’t the sunflowers and daisies or parent’s magazine’s version of what motherhood is like. This is where we cry over spilled milk (literally) we question our sanity, and we drink wine before 12pm. Ladies, this is a judgement free zone. Let all of your dirty laundry out because let’s be honest nobody likes folding that sh*t anyway. The Mothers Room is where we can be honest with ourselves and like an actual nursing room, take our bras off and BE FREE! Lets start pumping our confidence and dumping our ridiculous need to be a perfect mom because society expects nothing less. THIS SH*T AIN’T EASY(yes, I said ain’t. Judgement free zone, remember?)!

I will say this though, being someone’s mom is the most rewarding and fulfilling job. I love when my kids just want to cuddle or have me wipe their butts. Some days I confidently drink from my “World’s Best Mom” mug and other days I think, “who approved my request to reproduce?”.

So with all of that being said, lets be the amazing women that we are and lets support each other!

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Losing a parent as a parent…

March 7, 2020 made it 4 years since I lost my father. Every year, on that date I just reflect. I think about the days leading up to that day, the minutes leading up to his last breath and the second I kissed him goodbye…for the last time. In that moment, I was broken. I was broken not only for myself, but also my mother, my siblings, my aunts and uncles, my extended family, my husband and most importantly my 2 year old daughter. Laila was so close to her Pop Pop. At 2 years old, she spent so much time with him and it was quality time. I remember one of the last things I said to him was that I would make sure she remembers him and how close they were. I had and still have this huge fear that she will forget who he was and who he was to her. I make it a priority to randomly talk about him, show pictures of them together, and ask her about some memories she may have. I need those memories to stay fresh in her mind. I want her to be able to talk to her sister about how much she loved Pop Pop. What I have been struggling with is, where do I draw the line? Is there even a line?

Am I projecting my grief onto my child? Am I using her as my own therapy to cope? Am I being unfair by forcing these memories on her? I know some of you may be wondering why I have these questions. Maybe I am exaggerating. It is a struggle to lose a parent, but there is another level added when you have a young child who also adored that parent. While it is important that Laila has her memories, I have to also remember I am her parent. She needs me. She needs me to be strong for her. That part is still hard for me. There are times when she will just randomly start crying. She will say, “I miss Pop Pop”. I remember one day, she and I were riding in the car and a slow song came on. A song that was slow but not necessarily sad and had nothing to do with losing someone, but she said the song was making her think of Pop Pop. She asked me to change it, so I did. My adult mind couldn’t understand why she was so sad in this moment, all I knew was my baby was hurting. My baby was grieving. Even though this was 2018 and my dad passed in 2016, my 5 year old baby was still grieving. She said, “I wish we could go to Heaven so we can check on Pop Pop”. My heart instantly broke. This was the moment where I had to really put my feelings to the side and be there for my child. I failed. I couldn’t control it. It. just. hurt. To my core. I remember my chest getting tight and the tears just started flowing. The good thing was, I was driving and she was in the backseat so she couldn’t see my face. I was able to disguise my pain briefly and respond by saying, “I understand baby but just know that Pop Pop checks on us all the time.” I looked in my rear view mirror and saw her face light up. There was a moment where she felt safe and secure. She still felt the pain of missing him but I think my response comforted her in that moment. I was able to be her mom while still being a daughter.

Before my father’s passing, he was in Home Hospice from November 2015 until March 2016. My mom was his primary caregiver and I was her “backup”. I remember telling myself that one feeling I did not want to feel when his time came was regret. I did not want to regret not spending enough time with him. So I went to my parents’ house every single day after work. Eventually, I got to a point where I just could not stay focused at work and so my employer at the time let me go with a severance. In that moment, I was stressed out because I needed to work but deep down I knew that there was a reason that this was happening. I was able to be at my parents house all day on most days. As you can imagine, this put a strain on my home life. My husband who was my boyfriend at the time, was forced to take on more in order to care for our child. I didn’t realize it then, but I was not as present as I should have been. Even when I was physically there, I was not really there. I was literally struggling with being a girlfriend, a mother, and a daughter. How can I successfully be all 3? As simple as that sounds, it was so difficult. My husband played a major role in my ability to navigate through my life during those 4 months and beyond. He literally picked up my slack. He realized my inabilities and helped when and where he could. Reality is, he was close to my dad as well. Closer than I even realized. They had secret conversations that I never knew about. So this was hard for him as well. He was grieving too. So with all of this emotion and change in our household, my 2 year old felt it.

Losing a parent is never easy. It is one of those things that you will never ‘get over’. You have to grieve in your own way. Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve or where you should be in your grieving process. For the record, I am still grieving. I still find myself getting angry at the ‘forever’ in his death. I still cry, frequently. Losing him is still so painful. I can sometimes feel it physically. It literally makes my stomach hurt at times. One thing that I eventually realized is that grieving is an individual process but it is also a shared process. As a family, my husband and I and my girls have to grieve together. As a daughter, I have to grieve the loss of my dad. As a mother, I have to pour into my child at all times so she is able to grieve in a healthy way. I can’t allow my child to feel like she has lost a parent who is still living. So everyday I tell myself, “Nicole, you can do this”.

I want to end this post with a ‘Thank You’ to my mom. She lost her husband. Her soulmate. She had to create a new normal and through all of her grief and pain she was still able to be a mom and “Neena” (grandma). She is the reason that I am the mother that I am today. I am so grateful for her and so proud of her. She is my hero. Thank you Mommy.

This post is dedicated to my loving father, Richard Lee Laird, Sr.

May 30, 1956-March 7, 2016

I hope your baby girl is making you proud. ❤

Get out of my bed…

We have all met that person who has an opinion about something you are doing as a mom. They give you unwarranted advice and make you feel like what you are doing is wrong and is going to harm your child. Listen to me, IGNORE THEM! Did you give your child formula instead of breast milk? Good for you! Did you nurse your baby in public without a cover? Good for you! Did you let them sleep in your bed? Good for you! Tell that person to GET OUT OF YOUR BED!

So as I mentioned in my previous post, I gave Laila (my firstborn) formula. I wanted to breastfeed so bad, but I was just so stressed and overwhelmed with being a first time mom. So the good thing about this was it made it a lot easier to transition her from a bassinet in our room to a crib in her own room at 6 months. I did the cry it out method and within 3 days, she was sleeping in her own room with no problems. This was not the case with Faith (my youngest). I breastfed her and it was just so much easier to have her in the bed with me. I would literally just pop a boob in her mouth when she woke up in the middle of the night and she would go right back to sleep. I would be so exhausted and this was the only way I could get some good sleep.

Some people have their opinions about letting your child sleep in the bed with you, and that is fine. I am a firm believer in doing whatever works best for you and your family. I am not going to judge you just because you do something that I don’t do. I know there can be some safety issues and I know there is a risk, but isn’t there a risk in mostly everything we do on a daily basis? The reality is, the only people that should be concerned with my sleeping arrangements are me, my husband, and my kids. Period.

See here is the thing, a mother’s sanity and health are crucial for the well-being of her child(ren). So the next time someone tells you that you are doing something wrong or that you shouldn’t do something, tell them to GET AND STAY OUT OF YOUR BED!

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What are some judgemental comments you have received as a mom or mom to be?