4 months ago

Introducing ‘Mondays for Moms’: A love letter to the mom who never feels enough

Editors note: ‘Mondays for Moms’ is Yellowhammer’s first weekly lifestyle offering. Every Monday, Erin Brown Hollis will bring doses of love, humor, encouragement and empathy to Alabama’s moms. Check back every week for a new post, and be sure to download the Yellowhammer News app on your smartphone and subscribe to Erin’s “Cheers to That” podcast for more great lifestyle content.

The following is the first edition of Mondays for Moms:

A love letter to the mom who never feels enough

I imagine my first vision of becoming a mom embedded in my brain the second I realized there was a follow-up storyline to my legendarily intense Ken and Barbie sitting-in-a-tree play sessions. It was something aching inside of me that just awakened, I guess. Once I discovered I wasn’t actually my brother’s mom (apparently bossing people around isn’t the only resume filler for motherhood), it was game on for fulfilling my destiny of adding “mommy” to my resume.

And, like most little girls who grew up and later became moms, I imagined those first few moments with my newborn were going to be worthy of the opening lines in the next magical fairytale that I had written for Ken and Barbie so many years back.

And they were … for a little bit anyway.

She cooed. I ahhed. You know the drill. The lime margarita flavored hospital popsicles were flowing and momma was in euphoria. It was everything my little five-year-old brain had dreamed it would be (absent the massive mesh panties and ridiculously uncomfortable witch hazel pads stashed in places I shall not mention on this PG-rated website).

Ahh yes. It was all fun and games and Instagram perfection … until we got home from the hospital.

I suppose I thought the precious baby nurses in the hospital would manifest in some mystical form a few miles down the road in my humble abode and/or that God would bestow upon me some magical power to care for my new little family member with ease and the energy of a marathon runner who made it all the way to the finish line.

But, then the cruel reality settled in: It was just gonna be the two of us.

Daddy had to go back to work.

Family members had to tend to their own lives.

And there we were. Just an over-tired newborn momma and a precious little *screaming at the top of her lungs* bundle of joy.

No one warns you about the scariness when you are staring at the wall in your child’s nursery for those first moments at home alone. No one tells you that rather than critiquing whether or not that stuffed animal is better positioned to the left or right of the Diaper Genie in the nursery, you will instead begin to feel those pastel-colored walls closing in. And fast.

When I had my babies, there weren’t viral mom videos flooding my social media feeds of fellow mom-sisters offering some #realtalk on a Monday morning during naptime (aka mom nation’s only opportunity to sip on cold coffee for a hot second).

There weren’t mom blogs flooding my inbox with the hope that I was not the only one wiping barf off of crib rails at 2 a.m … or at least not any that I was reading at the time.

Nope. We were all alone on our struggle buses of insanity.

The things nobody tells you about when you have a child are the things that will be most endearing when glancing back 40 years from now, or at least that’s what my mother continues to profess to me.

Mornings of sleeping in and enjoying a casual breakfast have turned into fire-alarm-esque warning bells that the day has begun and you’re already 20 minutes late to the party.

Breakfast does not consist of healthy yogurt parfaits accompanied by those delicious Starbucks lattes anymore. HA! Yeah right. Now, we’re lucky if we manage to cram a Nutri Gran bar down our throats while driving 15 miles over the speed limit to make it to carpool line on time.

Laundry has become a game of “Where did she find this?”; “How did she manage to come back with the entire playground in her shorts?!?” and my all-time favorite: “Poop or chocolate?!?”

My closet has become my safe zone rather than my land of pretty things. I’m safe … and alone … in there, right?!

Speaking of being alone, my restroom rituals have turned into a one-woman stage show … with all eyes on me. It’s almost like my little ones expect a singing, acting and dance show worthy of a short stint on Broadway. Anyone else like to potty alone? Could someone share this concept with my kids?!?

Forget about hosting a Southern Living approved get together unless you block out childcare for three days prior. Let’s get real, they probably need to be gone for the whole week to make it doable.

What about those fun nights out with hubby and friends? Drinks until 10 or 11, which now sounds like an out of control college rave, have turned into hot toddies and zonked out by 9:30.

And you know what?

I would not change one thing.

Because now my mornings consist of extra snuggles and slobbery kisses.

My breakfasts contain roaring laughter and frequent giggle fits.

The surprises in the laundry basket aren’t always horrifying and mystifying. Sometimes I find tiny hidden stuffed animals reminding me of what a precious stage my babies are in.

One day I’ll miss all those snuggle bunnies in the bathroom. Well, “miss” is a strong word. I will reflect on those moments fondly as I revel in my return to freedom.

Southern Living can save my cover spread for another day. I’d much rather be reading those bedtime stories than polishing that silly silver anyway…

As far as a night out, I sneak one of those in as often as I can.  But, nights at home suit me just fine these days.

And I bet you’d agree … after 8 p.m., of course …

So, the next time you feel like you are the only momma staring into the business end of a toddler’s rear for the 50-leventh time on a Tuesday morning at 3:32 a.m., take comfort, girl. I’m right there with ya. And the rest of naptime nation is, too.

Follow Erin on Instagram ErinBrownHollis or Twitter @ErinBrownHollis

4 hours ago

Mayor Randall Woodfin throws down the gauntlet at Birmingham Business Alliance meeting

BIRMINGHAM — Delivering opening remarks at the Birmingham Business Alliance’s (BBA) annual meeting on Wednesday, Magic City Mayor Randall Woodfin challenged the region’s business leaders to stop being so “risk averse.”

Woodfin opened his speech with words of praise for outgoing BBA chairwoman Nancy Goedecke and incoming chairman Jim Gorrie.

He then transitioned into a call-to-action.

“Usually I would get up here and give you all some stats about what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished,” the mayor advised. “I think it is fair to say that 2019 has been a good year for many [in] your organization — individually and collectively for our Birmingham Business Alliance.”

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Woodfin advised that the BBA leadership is pointing the region’s business community in the right direction.

“And the question is: as members of this organization, are we prepared? Are we ready?” he added.

“I don’t have to tell anyone in this room that since the Great Recession… 60% of all jobs have only gone to 25 cities in America,” Woodfin continued. “You need to know that Birmingham is not on that list. So the question becomes, when you walk out of this room, are we prepared to invest in our competitiveness? Do we want to compete? Do we want to set ourselves apart and not be like any other city in America?”

“We don’t have to be like Nashville or Chattanooga or Atlanta or Austin,” he said. “We need to be the best versions of ourselves.”

The mayor outlined the road to getting to that goal.

“That is going to require us to shake off the way we’ve always done things… just based on the sheer nature of what you do, you’re risk averse. But being risk averse in this time as we move into 2020 under Jim’s (Gorrie’s) leadership will not work for us as an organization or as a city. Or for the future and present of what we want our business community to be — to attract, retain, grow and many other things we have to do,” Woodfin stressed.

“As my challenge I leave to the members of this organization in this room, that we are willing to stand behind Jim, just as we did with Nancy (Goedecke), but really be aggressive,” he concluded. “Really be the opposite of risk averse and be hungry enough to do something that’s going to be different to make Birmingham a place that attracts more businesses and for the current businesses in this community to be and remain successful.”

RELATED: Almost two years in, Randall Woodfin reflects on biggest initiatives

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 hours ago

Above and beyond: Regions associate honored with Better Life Award after learning sign language to serve deaf customers

Regions Bank on Wednesday honored one of its Alabama associates in a major way for going above and beyond to better the lives of the company’s customers.

In a story posted on Region’s “Doing More Today” website, the company announced Gayla Land was presented with the Better Life Award. This is the top honor bestowed upon Regions associates “for outstanding dedication and job performance, as well as exemplary involvement and commitment to the community.”

For Land, a Regions Bank branch manager in Dothan, the genesis of the award goes back to 2016. She was reportedly serving a deaf customer but wanted to be able to do so better, as communicating properly was a real issue.

“I felt there was something missing. It frustrated me,” Land reminisced. “I could only provide what I could write down. I couldn’t share the information in his approved language.”

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The Regions associate turned that frustration into a solution. Land, on her own time, went out of the way to enroll in American Sign Language classes at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind.

However, her dedication did not stop there. She not only learned sign language herself but decided to strike up a partnership with the school.

“I fell in love with the deaf community and the language itself,” Land explained. “Then I told the school, ‘Let’s make a partnership to have them come into the branch for financial education seminars,’ and they agreed.”

The student subsequently became the teacher, as Land began teaching in sign language a series of lessons that cover money management, retirement, identity theft and fraud prevention. Her first group reportedly graduated earlier this year.

This is having a real impact on the lives of Regions customers with hearing impairments.

“They feel more confident in their ability to make financial decisions, and I learn something new every time they are with me.” Land advised.

Her commitment to the hearing impaired continued to be displayed Wednesday when she received the award from Regions. The company donates $1,000 in the honoree’s name to a nonprofit organization of his or her choice, and Land chose the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind to receive the money.

“They do great work providing skills and education to the deaf and blind communities,” she remarked. “I know they will make great use of the money to provide for those families.”

However, her journey is not done yet.

Land is planning to sharpen her sign language fluency by taking advanced classes.

She also used her new platform to urge others to learn the language as well.

“Don’t be fearful or feel judged. Just try to learn. Even if it’s just one new word every day,” Land concluded. “Your eyes will be opened to a new perspective, and you’ll be embraced by the deaf community because you tried.”

You can watch an almost six-minute video on see Land’s work in action below or here.

RELATED: Merry and bright: How Regions’ headquarters building lights became a holiday tradition

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

8 hours ago

Auburn’s Bo Nix named SEC Freshman of the Year, Derrick Brown named best defensive player

The Southeastern Conference’s (SEC) 14 coaches have voted Auburn University quarterback Bo Nix as the SEC Freshman of the Year and defensive tackle Derrick Brown as the Defensive Player of the Year.

The honors were announced Wednesday by the league office. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players.

Brown was also named by the Associated Press as the AP’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year earlier in the week.

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Nix now holds the Auburn Tigers’ freshman record for passing yards (2,366), pass completions (200) and touchdown passes (15) in a season. The Alabama native also rushed for seven scores.

Brown had a monster season on the defensive side of the ball and landed as a finalist for just about every national award possible.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

8 hours ago

Rogers’ report from Washington: The season of giving across East Alabama

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Each Christmas season, I like to highlight a few of the kind things folks across East Alabama are doing for others.

Below is a small sample of ways our fellow Alabamians have cared for each other over the past year.

In Clay County at Central High School, a teacher, Amanda East, gathered the school supplies that were going to be disposed of from the locker clean out. Those items are now set up to donate to students who need them.

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In Lee County, The Hallmark Channel is coming to Beauregard to present new homes to the 15 families who lost everything when the EF-4 tornado devastated the area.

Hallmark will also serve residents a holiday meal at Providence Baptist Church with Santa and toys for the little ones, too.

In Calhoun County, Dara Murphy of Rosa Lee Boutique organized a White Bag Project for individuals to grab a white bag and fill it up for a child in need. They are also taking clothing and furniture to 20 families.

In Lee, Macon and Tallapoosa Counties, Rep. Peeblin Warren assists 400 seniors with gift baskets.

In Randolph County, the Roanoke Police Department is holding its annual toy drive to ensure local children get a Christmas gift.

In Chambers County, the Christian Service Center collects food and toys to donate to families.

In Montgomery County, Woodland United Methodist Church/Town of Pike Road distribute food. Pike Road and Central Alabama Health Care Systems also distribute hygiene items for local veterans.

Reading these stories makes me proud to be from East Alabama. It is truly heartwarming to see our brothers and sisters across the Third District taking time to take care for someone who needs it most.

May we carry this attitude of service to others all year long.

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas. Remember the reason for the season.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers is a Republican from Saks. 

9 hours ago

Crimson Tide’s Jaylen Waddle named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year

University of Alabama sophomore wide receiver and returner Jaylen Waddle on Wednesday was announced as the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Special Teams Player of the Year.

He is the first Crimson Tide player to be named SEC Special Teams Player of the Year since Christion Jones in 2013. The honor was voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own players.

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Waddle, who was already selected by Pro Football Focus as a first-team All-American at returner, led the nation this season in punt return average at 24.9 yards per return. Waddle had 19 punt returns for 474 yards and a touchdown, including a long of 77 yards.

The playmaker also returned four kickoffs for 152 yards and one touchdown this season, in addition to 553 yards and six touchdowns on 32 catches at wideout.

This comes after Waddle was one of 14 Bama players on Tuesday who were named to the All-SEC Coaches’ Team. He was actually named to both the first and second teams at different positions.

Juniors Jerry Jeudy (WR), Alex Leatherwood (OL) and Jedrick Wills, Jr. (OL) were first-team selections on offense, while redshirt senior Anfernee Jennings (LB) and junior Xavier McKinney (DB) were honored as first-team defense. Waddle was a first-team selection on special teams.

Redshirt junior center Landon Dickerson was named to the second-team offense along with juniors Najee Harris (RB), DeVonta Smith (WR), Tua Tagovailoa (QB) and Waddle (WR). Seniors Raekwon Davis (DL) and Trevon Diggs (DB) and redshirt junior linebacker Terrell Lewis were second-team choices on defense.

Waddle was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2018.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn