Children’s ages: 2
City: New York
Occupation: Key Accounts Manager at Lululemon
Instagram handle: @tara_c_weber
1) Exploring identity change in motherhood.
What was the transition to motherhood like for you?
I was incredibly excited to become a mother so it was an exciting transition. I did read a lot of books so I could be prepared but nothing really prepares you for motherhood. One thing I did not expect was in the beginning to worry about almost everything, I think I took Brady’s temperature at least once a week for the first 6 weeks of his life. It is amazing how much you can love someone from the minute you hold them and want to fiercely protect them!
How did your identity change?
It took a while to feel like myself again, I think the exhaustion really takes over and I find that I constantly put myself last. My son is the most important person in this world to me but I have learned it is also important to take care of yourself to be the best mother I can be. I found myself (and still sometimes do) skipping meals or forgetting to eat because the days fly by.
Did your career change?
I did change companies a little over a year after Brady was born. I am very glad I made the move and love being a part of Lululemon, I have a much better work/life balance.
How would you describe yourself pre baby? How do you describe yourself now?
I think the biggest difference pre vs post baby is becoming more self-less and not worrying about the small things in life. Once you have a child to love, nurture and ultimately shape into a good human being you realize what is really important in life which can shine light on who you want to be, what you want to focus on and really only have positive people surrounding you. Raising my son is the single most important thing I will ever do and that is what truly matters.
2) Understanding that you can’t completely prepare.
What do you wish you knew that you learned the hard way?
Stop worrying about hitting the next milestone or making sure you do everything “perfect”, it is important to enjoy every precious moment and your child will grow, crawl, walk all in the time they need. Just do what is best for you and your family and that is the “right” way to do things. There is not a manual when it comes to being a mother and every child is different. I did find transitioning to solid foods more difficult than I thought it would be, my son gags very easily and I was nervous every time he tried something new.
Knowing what you know now, what would you change?
I would stop worrying so much for the first 6 weeks if I am doing everything “right”, just enjoy each little snuggle and let him or her sleep on me as much as possible. Remember to give yourself a little grace for not having all the answers and be flexible, fluid and open to the ebbs and flows of motherhood.
3) Cherishing the memories.
What is your happiest memory?
It is so hard to choose just one I love every moment I get to be with our son. We did not find out the gender of our baby so the delivery was very exciting after 9 months of not knowing and finding out we had a sweet little boy. Every time he smiles at me, runs into my arms or lays his head on my shoulder my heart explodes, it is amazing how much you can love your child
What was most difficult for you?
I would say the transition to solid foods and sleep training, especially the transition from two naps to one. We moved around Brady’s first 2 years of his life and every new place was like re-sleep training all over again. Brady has done great but it is always so hard every time we do it, I just want to always bring him in our bed
4) Getting all the gear.
What would you definitely purchase?
I would say two things were very helpful for me, I had had Brady at the end of Spring Training and beginning of baseball season (my husband works in baseball) so my husband was traveling a lot. One thing I would recommend is a wrap and wear your baby when you can! It really helped get things done around the house and when traveling (which we did a lot of!) the wrap was also easier when on airplanes vs the baby Bjorn that I also have. The wrap folded up really small and was easy to travel with. The other was the Doona car seat/stroller. It made traveling with a baby, especially when I had to travel by myself very easy!
What was a total waste?
I never got them but when I was at buy buy baby the sales associate told me I “needed” to get a baby wipe warmer – I thought that would be a total waste since we travel so much and I didn’t feel I needed warm wipes!
What do you actually need?
Love, grace and sleep! Also, a lot of diapers.
5) What about mama?
We’ve found that with all of the focus around the baby moms tend to put themselves last. This can be as true for finding a minute to take a shower or bathroom break as it is for being able to eat or prepare meals. If your breastfeeding this becomes even more critical as your nutrition becomes your babies. Did you struggle to eat well in the first few months post birth?
My parents were very helpful and did make sure I had meals when they were in town but I did find that the days just flew by and I would sometimes forget to eat or just try and grab something quickly. There is barely time to take a shower in the beginning so eating wasn’t on the top of the to do list. It was also difficult because I really wanted to breastfeed for the first year but also wanted to get back into shape and lose the baby weight. Looking back I would tell myself to love the body that created this precious life and take care of that.
What would have been helpful?
What would have been helpful for me was something that was quick, easy, healthy to eat, after 8 weeks of breastfeeding I started to not produce enough milk and had to supplement one bottle a day. I breastfed for 6 months but wanted to do it for a year. I just did not produce enough, especially at the end. The guilt I felt was terrible, I was making everything that the lactation consultant recommended to eat to help my breast milk and taking 16 Fenugreek pills a day.
6) Feeding Baby (0-6 months)
Nothing seems to have created more judgement than the way we choose to feed our children. Breastfeeding is filled with benefits, but not always possible for a myriad of reasons, and that’s OK too. What do you learn from the feeding journey that you wish you knew going in?
I liked breastfeeding and the first 8 weeks it went really well, after that I did not produce enough which stressed me out and that did not help. I wish I had done more research on what to eat right away to keep up my supply vs trying to play catch up.
7) Discussing the tough topics.
2020 has been fraught with pain and conflict. The coronavirus pandemic has also peeled the lens back on other human struggles. Most notably the black lives matter movement. As parents we have the unique opportunity to collectively build a healthier generation. This is as much about the minds that we help form as it is about the bodies that we help build. Creating an anti-racist society starts at home. What are you doing in your home to help build a healthier future?
This is such an important topic and one I have been thinking a lot about lately. The most important thing at our son's young age is education, but the education needs to start with me first. I have begun reading a few books and really putting the work in so I can be sure to pass this on to my son.
8) Snuggling in.
What are some favorite books and activities to do with your baby (0-12 months) and toddler (12-24 months?).
We read every night before bed together, in the first year he loved Good Night Moon and Your My Little Pumpkin Pie but as he has gotten older he currently loves Good Night Farm and Good Night Good Night Construction Site. He loves books and will ask us to read to him all the time. I attribute this to my mother, she started reading to him when he was just a few weeks old and he would watch her just mesmerized. Those are very endearing and unforgettable moments.
9) What traditions are you creating and celebrating?
Our life gets a little crazy with baseball and we don't get to do all of the “normal” things as a family like having dinner all together or our weekends to spend time as a family. Family time is so precious, it sounds so simple but going to the baseball stadium to visit daddy and spending as much time together as a family so our son knows how much he is loved and supported. Our bedtime routine is precious because even if daddy is at a road game he Facetimes with us to say goodnight.
10) Creating Routines.
Routines can be a lifesaver in the early days, even if just for your own sanity. What worked for you? Did you try to keep to a schedule?
Yes we did keep a schedule or we tried too. Since we moved around a lot trying to have a schedule helped, even if he wasn’t always in the same place we had the same routine for naps and the same routine at bedtime every night.
11) Sleep glorious sleep.
Sleep deprivation is real! Because it’s not challenging enough to learn to look after a tiny human. How did you make it through with getting your baby to sleep as well as yourself?
One of the books I read is ‘Moms On Call’, and I found that sleep training was so important, for our son. We need to put him to bed at the same time every night, if he is over tired he wakes up earlier! We started sleep training after his 4 month appointment and the doctor said he weighed enough to sleep through the night. It took three (hard) days but was helpful. With every growth spurt, teething and move we did we had to start over but we did the best we could.
Any final words of wisdom you’d like to share?
I would say embrace the change that motherhood brings. You have to get to know yourself again and this new perfect little human you created. Give yourself the time and space to do that. Appreciate your partner, this is a big change in a marriage or partnership so anticipate adversity and remember you and your partner are on the same team. Never keep score, let things go and ask for help when you need it. Let go of perfection and what you “should” be doing. Invite grace and forgiveness in for yourself.