6 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

17 mins ago

Doug Jones to host second annual HBCU summit at Miles College

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) is inviting Alabamians to his second annual HBCU summit. The 2020 version of the summit will be at Miles College in Fairfield on February 14.

The event will have a student career and employment opportunities from across Alabama in addition to two panels moderated by Alabama’s junior senator.

Doug Jones has made championing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) one of the cornerstones of his time in the U.S. Senate.

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In 2019, Jones took to the Senate floor to say, “HBCUs are the leading educators for African American PhDs in science and in engineering. They are foundational to building generational wealth in communities that have long faced headwinds in doing so. They are doing amazing work. ”

Alabama is home to 14 HBCUs. Jones helped guarantee the continuance of their federal funds by co-sponsoring the FUTURE act with Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). The bill was signed in to law by President Donald Trump in December 2019.

The effort received praise from the leaders of Alabama’s HBCUs, many of whom will be joining Jones for the two panels during his summit.

The two panels, as follows:

Women in the Lead: How Six Alabama HBCU Presidents Are Raising the Bar
Dr. Patricia Sims, President, Drake State Community College
Dr. Cynthia Warrick, President, Stillman College
Dr. Martha Lavender, President, Gadsden State Community College
Ms. Bobbie Knight, Interim President, Miles College
Ms. Anita Archie, Interim President, Trenholm State Community College
Dr. Shirley Friar, Chief of Staff, Tuskegee University
Moderator: Senator Doug Jones

Student Voices: How Alabama HBCU Student-Leaders Are Lifting Up Their Campuses
featuring student representatives:
Miss Keila Michelle Lawrence, Miles College
Mr. Jacobi Gray, Alabama A&M University
Miss Arin Massey, Shelton State Community College
Mr. Amani Myers, Talladega College
Mr. Dakus Sankey, Jr., Trenholm State Community College
Moderator: Senator Doug Jones

Those interested in attending the summit can go here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

1 hour ago

Birmingham marketing firm tapped for Super Bowl ad

Birmingham-headquartered marketing firm Big Communications has made a Super Bowl ad promoting the Fox broadcast of the 2020 Daytona 500.

The firm was tasked with making the ad by Fox Sports’ marketing team. When the ad airs on Sunday, it will be the first time in Big’s 25-year history that one of their ads will broadcast during the Super Bowl, which is the advertising industry’s biggest event of the year. Recent Super Bowls have averaged around 100 million American television viewers.

Blake Danforth, vice president of marketing for Fox Sports, credits Big’s award-winning work on Valvoline’s Never Idle campaign with piquing his interest in the firm.

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In a statement, Danforth said, “Big’s creative team had a genuine understanding of exactly what makes NASCAR fans love the sport with such an unrelenting, unrivaled intensity.”

“Promoting something as huge as the Great American Race on the biggest stage in all of advertising — that’s kind of a big deal,” commented Ford Wiles, Big partner and chief creative officer.

“This is the kind of moment that we live for — putting Alabama’s talent on display for the world to see,” Wiles concluded.

You can view Big’s Super Bowl ad here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

2 hours ago

Monument to gold star families will be added to Huntsville’s Veterans Memorial

The Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial, a park on the north side of Huntsville’s downtown area, will be adding a monument to gold star families in 2020.

Gold Star families are those who have lost a member during service in the United States Armed Forces.

The monument is the final planned addition to the veterans memorial, a project that was first dedicated on 11/11/2011. Its origin dates back to 2000 when a half-sized replica of the Vietnam memorial was temporarily displayed in Huntsville. Some residents wanted something more permanent.

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“The Veterans Memorial has been erected not to commemorate the glory of battle or triumph of victory, but to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and to pay homage to those heroes we have lost,” said Brigadier General (Retired) Bob Drolet, chair of the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial Foundation.

The monument to the gold star families is designed and aided by the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, a foundation that has helped install similar monuments across the United States. To date, the group has placed 59 monuments across 45 states.

An identical monument was recently announced for installation in Mobile.

The primary sponsors of the Huntsville installation are Mike and Christine Wicks.

The Gold Star Family Memorial to be installed in Huntsville will be the first of its kind in Alabama.

The four panels on the back of the monument will read, “Homeland, Family, Patriot, and Sacrifice.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

3 hours ago

Bruce Pearl praises religious freedom in Alabama — ‘I can live here in Auburn and practice my faith’

Speaking to members of the media Monday on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Auburn University head basketball coach Bruce Pearl lauded the religious freedom he enjoys living in the state of Alabama. He also called for unity and spoke strongly against anti-Semitism.

Pearl last spring became the fourth Jewish head coach in NCAA history to take a team to the Final Four. He was the first president of the Jewish Coaches Association.

“Today has always been a difficult day for me as it Holocaust Remembrance Day,” the coach said on Monday in the opening statement of his press availability.

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“I was born in 1960, 15 years after we opened up the gates in Auschwitz and discovered the atrocities,” he continued. “We vow to never let that happen again to anyone. Anti-Semitism is a terrible thing. As a Jewish man, I’ve lived with it my whole life and I’ve seen its ugly face many times.”

Pearl explained, “That’s why I’m so blessed to live in this country where there is great religious freedom. I can live here in Auburn and practice my faith.”

“The great challenge for me has always been that we are brothers. We are all brothers. We are all sisters. We are all related,” he outlined. “Abraham had two sons: Isaac and Ishmael. That makes us brothers because we have the same father – Abraham the father of many nations. Jesus was born a Jew and he died a Jew. That makes me brothers with my Christian brothers. If we can focus on that, whether you agree with it or not, that’s not my point. The point is we have a lot more in common than we have apart. We should celebrate those. We should never tolerate racism or something like anti-Semitism. What I would ask you all to remember is: never again.”

RELATED: Bruce Pearl slams AOC for ‘concentration camps’ tweets: ‘Attempt to rewrite the Holocaust’

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

3 hours ago

Ivey previews 2020 State of the State — ‘Challenges to address’

MONTGOMERY — Speaking at a gathering of the Alabama Council of Association Executives at Montgomery City Hall on Tuesday morning, Governor Kay Ivey gave a glimpse of her top priorities heading into the 2020 state legislative session.

The session gavels in at noon this coming Tuesday, February 4 — seven days from Ivey’s remarks. Her 2020 State of the State Address will follow the start of the session that evening, before President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address.

Ivey took to the podium Tuesday morning to an enthusiastic standing ovation.

“Already, 2020 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for our state and our people,” the governor said.

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While noting the “great things” going on with the Yellowhammer State’s record-breaking economy, Ivey added, “But y’all, we do have some work to do and some challenges to address.”

She urged everyone to tune into her State of the State Address next week for more specifics while broadly underlining some of the “challenges” she will discuss in that speech and tackle this year.

The governor listed “the upcoming Census, our prison concerns, healthcare, mental healthcare and education reform” as the top 2020 issues.

“2020 will be a make or break year regarding our Census. … I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a full, accurate count in the 2020 Census,” Ivey stressed. “These numbers directly impact our representation in the United States House of Representatives and directly impact billions — with a ‘b’ — of dollars that come to our state, including funds for community programs, healthcare, education and job opportunities.”

“Ten years ago when we had the [last] Census, an estimated one million children went uncounted [in Alabama],” she continued. “Folks, we’ve got to close this gap and be sure that every person who’s living and breathing in Alabama completes a Census form and returns it — parents do it for their children. This is a must.”

Transitioning to her next priority, Ivey lamented, “Another large issue that has gone unaddressed in our state for decades is our heinous prison conditions.”

She acknowledged the state’s prison problems as “multifaceted and longstanding.”

In turn, Ivey said, a “multifaceted solution” will be needed.

“Y’all, this is an Alabama problem, and we’re going to have an Alabama solution for it,” the governor added. “It’s absolutely imperative we in the state of Alabama solve our prison problems. If we don’t, the Department of Justice will come in, take over, control the administration, control our funds … so failure is not an option.”

Ivey subsequently urged all Alabamians to vote “yes” on statewide Amendment One on March 3. She referred to this as the type of “bold action” needed to improve the state’s public education system.

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