Category Archives: Mama Gut Instinct

Hello 2014!

If 2013 was the year of exploring options and toying with the shapes our life could take, then 2014 will be the year that we implement the changes to take us there. In my holiday post, you may have read about upcoming transitions that I’m looking forward to. I’m excited to tell you about the first one.

We bought a house! (stay tuned for more transitions coming soon 🙂

This isn’t our first house, however, it has been awhile since we owned our own home. We moved out to Oregon when I was pregnant with my second child and my first was 15 months old. Our last house in Minnesota was a beautiful home full of big windows and hardwood floors. A perfect, dual income no-kids kind of house. We worked it out when my son was born, though when we moved to Oregon we knew we weren’t ready to buy until we got to know the areas a little more. Two years later….

We are beyond excited to move into our house knowing that we can unpack every box, let go of things we’ve been storing and saving for the someday we know we’re not moving again. The house is a family house with a big kitchen and large backyard. A far cry from the city views we used to have, but to quote a cheesy-but-true country song, I love the view “from my front porch looking in!”

{Shameless plug – our realtors, Leslie and Cheryl of the Hilbert Team are amazing! I mean it. They were so on top of details and coordinating bids, contractors, touring, opening the house the day after Christmas to show visiting family, attending closing to make sure there are no surprises, and showed us 50+ houses without losing any steam or pleasantness. In fact, when we saw 40 some houses in 2011, it was me and my pregnant belly and toddler which made us a slow moving client with lots of snack and potty needs. They didn’t bat an eye at buckling the car seat in and heading out to see houses until nap time. If you’re looking for a realtor in the Portland, Oregon area, look them up!}

Anyway, I’ve got to get back to packing! If you have any tips on smooth moving with a 1.5 and 3.5 year olds, let me know here 🙂

~ jibean

New Year’s Eve… party from 4-8 p.m. :)

In years past before kids, even before marriage, I remember New Year’s Eve was a big deal. Where was I going to be? What party was I going to? Who would I kiss when the ball drops? There was a lot of energy, excitement, and pressure around NYE. It always felt like NYE had to be legendary.

And I love the New Year. I love the closure of a year ending, wrapping up of good tidings and hard times, and the crisp clean promise of what a New Year could bring. I read a great quote the other day that asked, “If I told you 10 years from now, your life will be exactly the same – what would you change?” This got me thinking about 2014, what steps I need to take so that in 10 years if I’m asked about my life, I say, “Hells yes! It is awesome!” More on my upcoming transitions next year 😉

In the mean time, I’m going to ring in the New Year the best way I know how as a mom – party from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. After nap, until bedtime, we party it up!

NYE 2012_ mama and Lucy

Bring on the sparkling juice, fruit snacks, cheese and crackers, veggies and humus, maybe even some cookies. Then it’s bedtime, and regardless of what is going on in our lives, there is always bedtime. Because even if I wanted to see the ball drop this year, the morning wake up is coming, early and on time because that’s how my kids roll. Maybe a glass of champagne though…

~ jibean


Happy Holiday from the Mama Gut!

I find myself wanting to take a quiet moment out of the hustle and bustle of the family joy this week and share a wonderful prose about the greatest gifts. I like to take this time quietly for myself and my family, however, this felt too good to not share. Enjoy the season!

The Greatest Gifts

May we break boundaries, tear down walls, and build on the foundation of goodness inside each one of us. May we look past differences, gain understanding, and embrace acceptance. May we reach out to each other, rather than resist. May we be better stewards of the earth, protecting, nurturing, and replenishing the beauties of nature. May we practice gratitude for all we have, rather than complain about our needs. May we seek cures for the sick, help for the hungry, and love for the lonely. May we share our talents, give our time, and teach our children. May we hold hope for the future very tenderly in our hearts and do all we can to build for bright tomorrows.

And may we love with our whole hearts, for that’s the only way to love.

by Kathy Davis

yoga-christmas 2013

Be well and merry this holiday season!

~ jibean

Love Letter to Sweatpants and Flip Flops

I love sweatpants. I just had to write it down after I shout it out (figuratively) several times. Sweatpants are comfortable, can be cute, chill and perfect to spend time in with a loved one or romantic hopeful.

I’ve been a girl that loves the well dressed guys. When I read a recent Us Weekly, there is a quote from Lady Gaga that made me laugh because of how many celebrities say silly things about sweatpants.

“I feel that flip-flops are the downfall of many relationships.

It’s, like, first it’s the flip-flops, and then it’s the sweatpants, …

It’s the gateway drug to no sex.” Lady Gaga

Back in the day, I would have agreed. Yet, when I met my now-husband, the first time we went out he was in jeans, grey t-shirt, cute hair, and flip-flops. But, you know, the clothes don’t make the man. And he is a wonderful man. We started dating and one of the first times he came over after work, we both wanted to put on clothes to chill. I lent him a pair of man’s sweatpants (after a great party, I borrowed a friend’s boyfriend’s pair when we stayed the night, and they broke up before I could return them. They didn’t break up over someone wearing sweatpants.) that I had in my closet and it was never an issue between us. In fact, I loved that I could relax and be myself in the most casual of ways and still be sexy. The fact that we have been married seven years, two kids, and still crazy about each other. And, I love him in his flip-flops.

So, I say rock your sweatpants, ladies!

~ jibean


Forgiving Friends

It’s all about forgiving friends and having forgiving friends. Confused by that? I’ll explain.

One my best girl friends since Junior High (twenty some years ago) and I have worked to keep as close a friendship as we can going with marriages, young kids, jobs, and a distance of 3000 miles. She’s one of those friends that I can not talk to for months, then pick up the phone and it’s like we hung out yesterday. She’s one of the good ones.

On a random weekday I called after work, great for me on my commute home sans kids, yet right in the middle of her dinner time. She answered anyway. Again, she’s one of the good ones. Aside from the awesomeness of getting to talk to her because I love her humor; I enjoy her view on the world and her way of saying things from husband antics, to politics, to potty training. It felt so good to talk about what it means to be a working mom and what it means to be a mom in terms of impact on being a wife.

But, at one point in the conversation, she apologized. She apologized for having not called sooner, not checked in recently, and that a few months had gone by since she stayed in touch. I was stunned. Stunned because, in my mind, she had nothing to apologize for in our friendship. Neither of us had called, emailed, or texted recently. She has a toddler under two years old, works full-time, and a really cool husband that she enjoys spending time with; plus, I live far away with a two-hour different time zone.

I realized and told her she was suffering from mom guilt because friendships change after kids. We change as people, priorities changes, and even if the first two didn’t change, the amount of free/personal time we have changes. We’re doing our best, the very best we can, and that we can say we’ll do better, and mean it, and still not call/email/text more. That’s okay too.

So all I can say to her, to myself, and to all mamas out there: forgive yourself, friend. I have nothing to forgive. Let’s not be hard on ourselves. Let’s forgive our friends and cherish our forgiving friends.

~ jibean


I recently watched the movie Drop Dead Fred, an early 90’s movie, that was a key film in my childhood. It’s a hilarious movie, with some gross potty humor, and deeper meaning about believing in yourself, standing up for yourself, and being you even when loved ones don’t see the greatness in you.

Drop Dead Fred poster courtesy of IMDb.

Drop Dead Fred poster courtesy of IMDb.

Two things I realized about this movie after watching it 20+ years later as an adult: 1. It was made in Minnesota. I don’t know how I didn’t know that, I’m from there, but within the first fifteen minutes I saw locations from my childhood thru college. It made me homesick. 2. This movie, Drop Dead Fred, was very influential on me in terms of learning about boundaries.

In the movie, the mother is terrible and sometimes cruel to her daughter, Lizzie, in a controlling, manipulative way that you see in a series of back and forth flashback comparisons to her adult life. While some of the things that Drop Dead Fred says about the Mega B!tch are mean, throughout the film you begin to see that without him pointing out the awful treatment Lizzie is getting, she would have no one to contrast the emotional abuse. Though his attempts to elevate her self-worth and self-esteem are occasionally mean pranks; by the end of the film Drop Dead Fred has provided enough of a counter to her insecurities that she breaks free from two controlling, one-sided relationships and sets boundaries for herself on how she is willing to be treated in her life.

It was this movie that the first seeds were planted in my mind to hold true to myself, to trust deeply in who I am, and to protect that self-worth from those who would try to control, manipulate, or unconsciously challenge and change me. It is at a young age that I began establishing and believing in boundaries. It is up to each one of us to determine what we are okay with in relationships: romantic, parent, sibling, friendship, coworker. It is imperative that we firmly, yet kindly set the parameters for what we will and will not accept in our lives.

This becomes even more crucial as a parent. As a mom, I’ve had to face very hard, deeply painful confrontations with a father whose emotional intelligence is low and his self-focused-needs are high. My father choses to live in a way that I can tolerate individually, but cannot put my kids around. It’s not worth the risk. He also has a hurtful approach to relationships: holds a grudge, avoids conflict, and is unwilling to do anything he simply doesn’t want to do. I say this as someone who has been working to address our relationship for over ten years, attempted counseling, and had our last argument in 2011 when he decided I have too many rules (not to call after ten p.m., to be sober when visiting my kids, to not bring over friends to my house when we aren’t home, etc.)

Why am I writing about this today? Because I’ve had to make the really difficult decision that on our next visit home to Minnesota, we won’t see him. He hasn’t made an attempt to contact us since the last time we spoke at Thanksgiving 2012, at my aunt’s house, when he arrived at the last minute. No contact before the visit and nothing after. No birthday cards to my kids, postcards to see how they are, emails to wish them happy holidays. It’s one thing for he and I to have a challenging father-daughter relationship; however, not being a grandfather to two marvelous children is an active decision.

It became a question of how much do I have to cost myself emotionally. He is my father; because of him, I am alive, had a great childhood, was well taken care of and close to until I went away to college.

So, at what point am I doing myself more harm than any resulting good?

This year, I made the heartbreaking decision that I cannot work to fix the relationship any longer. It hurts to write this and it’s a grief that may never go away. But, I realized, the hurt it was causing me wasn’t getting me any closer to a semblance of the father I knew as a child. And that my boundaries needed to protect me from that. And I don’t want my kids to feel this hurt.

And, sometimes protecting yourself is really about protecting your children.

~ jibean

Kids are Resilient

We’ve been talking a lot lately about what is the best arrangement for our kids if I’m not the one to stay home with them each day anymore. (And is that even the best arrangement if mom feels restrained, limited, unhappy, caged?) Of course, this is not an easy question to answer because I have yet to get my visit from my fairy godmother with a magic eight ball that actually works to tell me the future.

As the parent, I’m supposed to know, or figure out, what the next steps should be. It’s a tough role to be thrown into whether you’ve been a mom for a day or three years two months and fifteen days or thirty years. I don’t have a clue if having a nanny is best, or is a childcare facility is better. I can see logic in both options, strengths and weaknesses. I love knowing that my kids can be home, eating our food, sleeping in their own bed, doing outings, nurtured and cared for when they are sick. I would also love knowing that my kids are learning every day, that there is more than one teacher in case one of them is sick, that I don’t have to plan a food menu, and that my kids are stimulated, engaged and socializing.

What I do know I that kids are resilient. Kids (my frame of reference is babies, toddlers, preschoolers) are amazing at adapting to situations, finding the good, and celebrating the silver lining with gusto. They have the ability to be adamantly against something, become distracted after ten minutes of protest, and jubilantly throw themselves into playing in a new classroom, with a new nanny or babysitter. Kids adapt. Kids grow. Kids are resilient.

This is what I tell myself when I worry about my kids and my choices in their care and education at this young age. They will adapt and overcome changes, they will settle into whatever routine is put out for them as long as it comes with love, hugs, patience, explanation and a little more patience. If they feel grounded and secure in their relationship with me, my kids seem capable to deal with almost anything.

My kids didn’t love my return to work full-time. I’d even wager my preschooler is still struggling with it even though he understands and can talk about how, “Mama is at work.” My toddler seems to enjoy everyone who comes to play with her, but she’ll do a whole body dance for joy when I come home at the end of the day. Some days I feel like they have a hard time switching over to my return; then other days it’s like I’ve been there all day. I will say, it never feels like enough time between work and bedtime; and my heart aches for it. I wish mama was as resilient as my kids.

~ jibean

Grubby Mummy and the Grubby Bubbies

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Resources for childbirth educators and for expectant parents

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Fueling the parenting universe with inspiration for family fun.