Stay Curious.
Dig Deeper.
Nurture What Matters.
Be BoldHeart.
Enjoy Your Life.

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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The BoldHeartMama Anchors: Peaceful Anchor, Part I

The BoldHeart Mama is at her best—for herself and for her family—when her thoughts, energy, and daily rhythms are aligned, and when her basic needs are met. 

Every day the BoldHeart Mama has an opportunity to reconnect with her authentic and true self, in all her varied roles, through the five BoldHeartMama Anchors: peaceful (Parts 1 and 2), connected, nurtured, purposeful, and inspired. Nature is a core element in the BoldHeart Life. 

The BoldHeartMama Anchors are a set of core desires that when met help the BoldHeartMama to feel satisfied and whole.

This is one in a series of posts expanding on the BoldHeartMama Anchors.

I want to feel a sense of peace about the long and short-term decisions I make in mothering my kids, and in the ways that I invest my resources of time, energy, and money. I also want to enjoy a more literal peace and harmony in the daily home life that I create for my family.

Today I’m sharing Part I of the Peace Anchor: finding peace in the decisions I make for myself and for my family.

This approach to decision-making expands to a philosophy that calms those nagging worries and fears that change and commitment tend to bring out in me. It lessens the unnecessary stresses I create for myself in seeking out a sense of control.

Addressing Life's Big Decisions

My former approach to solving problems and making decisions was to take a look at the big picture, focus-in on a desired outcome, and then break down the steps needed to get from here to there. With a plan in hand and some wiggle room for the unforeseen, I could follow the map I'd drawn and make revisions as needed, while continuing forward progress toward my goal.

This very practical approach offered a way to feel organized and a nice sense of control as I tackled each step, yet it required me to map out a path in advance and stick to it.

Now that I'm a mother with a family to care for—and many different perspectives to consider with multiple variables and needs to address simultaneously—decision-making isn't quite so straightforward. Some decisions feel complex or with great consequence, and the added responsibility to choose the "right" answer or path can be overwhelming.

Over the years I've adopted a new approach to addressing life's big decisions that is largely about letting go, living in the moment, and taking it one step at a time.

Enjoying Life

I simply want to enjoy my experience as a mother and to make the most of this one life I have, and I want the same for my family. I don’t want to spend my time and energy ruminating and planning for every permutation of a given scenario for fear of a lost opportunity or a wrong turn—even for the decisions that feel like really big ones. It is a waste of my time to invest my energy in solving problems I don’t yet have.

I understand that family life can be demanding and that it is often necessary to look ahead in order to anticipate everyone's needs and wants and to begin to make plans for those things as we move into new seasons of the year and of our lives. Having a desired outcome can be helpful for guiding priorities and investments of time, energy, and money, and while I appreciate the usefulness of working toward something specific (a tangible feeling, accomplishment, or outcome) it’s another thing to be so focused on mapping out in advance our plans of action—or to become so rigid in carrying out our plans—that we miss out on the synchronous opportunities that often happen in the moment, and the magic happening right in front of us.

Generating Ideas

I embrace thoughtful dialogue with myself and with my husband, and others in my circle, about what is important to me. I enjoy the iterative process of checking-in in this way to assess what’s working and what’s not working, and also to invest time in considering the best ways to move forward.

I've learned to stay open to all the possibilities. And I really mean ALL of them, even the ones that don't seem all that possible or realistic. Don't let your own high standards or the expectations of others limit your imagination. Be honest. What do you really want or need right now? What does your gut say? Listen to that first. There are creative ways to make all things possible.

Taking One Step in Any Direction

One thing I’ve learned in the last few years is that sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) it’s only really necessary to take just ONE small step in a direction. ANY direction. It's true. Right now, that’s really all that’s needed. I don’t have to be certain in this moment what will come three steps ahead.

Sure, wouldn’t it be great if we could know? But, seasons change, feelings change, people change, and our lives are ever-evolving. What we thought was true or right in one moment may not be so after we dig deeper to learn more, or after we sit with our decisions for a time to see if it really is the thing we thought it could be, or to observe if we feel the way we thought we might.

If the step I take is in the right-for-me-and-my-family direction I will know it. If the step I take is in the wrong-for-me-and-my-family direction I will know it. Either way, I get the opportunity to receive some feedback—whether a gut feeling, a new idea, a shift in perspective or family dynamic—and then I can take one more step in any direction I choose.

Intentionally choosing to address only what is right in front of me allows me to stay in the moment of now, to try out new ideas, and not get weighed down with the notion that I must choose the absolute best decision right from the start. Sometimes we're not certain what is best. Choosing to address what is right in front of me relieves me of the burden and pressure and stress of figuring everything out before I even make my first move, or worse—sticking with a plan that no longer serves me.

This kind of restraint to stay in the now can be tough. When I feel doubt creeping in or anxiety ramping up I often have to remind myself that I can't really go wrong. Nope. Not really. This life is made up of the trying and failing and trying again, and all that we learn about ourselves as we do the work.

Making Plans

My plans are always as of today, because I give myself permission to change my mind if I change my mind, and to deviate from plan or adjust my goals whenever life calls for it. I continue to get better at being totally OK with that. It's truly less about giving up, and more about letting go. 

Sometimes I feel guilt and unease sitting with the not knowing, and that's when I have to take a pause and let it sink in that few choices are permanent. There is always tomorrow, or fifteen minutes from now. I can change my mind again or continue to make the smallest deviations to right our little ship and stay on course.

I find peace in this approach because I am free to follow my heart, to make mistakes, to change my mind, let go, and admit that I don't have all the answers and that I can't know for certain how it all turns out in the end.

How do you find your peace? Would this approach work for you?

Friday, August 21, 2015

BHM Storytelling Series: The Thirtysomething Blogger, Wife, and Mother-of-Three

Laura, Minneapolis Minnesota

I’ve always been interested in the different ways that women, especially mothers, make decisions for themselves and their families about their work and home life. Equally curious is how these women live out their decisions to make their choices truly work for them because there are so many ways to do it. The BoldHeartMama Storytelling series offers a peek into the lives of mothers from all over, and highlights their unique BoldHeart stories, from struggles to triumphs in work and mothering and life.

Laura, 35, is a blogger, wife, and mother to Bella (6), Oliver (4), and Lily (1). Laura lives in a suburb of Minneapolis and is currently a stay at home parent. Today Laura shares her BoldHeart on everything from her career progression as a former dietician, to a growing self awareness to ask for what she needs, and her happy practice of spending a night alone in a hotel every once in a while to catch up on her sleep so that she can make the most of life with her three kiddos. You can read more of Laura's candid and often poignant writing at her blog Navigating the Mothership.

What factors went into your decision to pursue mothering as a primary investment of your time?
I long had an inkling that I wanted to stay at home with my kids although I can't quite pinpoint why that was my desire. It is partially personality driven: I am a homebody and I don't require a ton of social interaction in my life. I also like doing things that are naturally a part of the at-home parent role: cooking, crafting, being outside, and reading just to name a few! (Note that cleaning did not make that list—ha!)

Bella, Lily, and Oliver, photo credit JP Ramier Photography
When I was pregnant with my first in 2008, I began to half-heartedly look into daycare and was quickly overwhelmed by prices and the waiting lists and all the pieces that would need to come together to make it work. What clinched the decision to stay at home was that I was not at all happy with my current job. However, back in those days I was the higher earner for my little family (as in, just my husband and me) by quite a bit so I was still mindful not to close any doors. During my pregnancy my husband was wrapping up his MBA while working as a lab scientist, but planned to launch a new career upon completion of his MBA. Had things not panned out for him in getting a new and higher-paid position we would have entertained the idea of him being the stay-at-home parent, while I would have continued to work. I am thankful that things fell into place as they did and that I was able to make the switch to staying at home while my husband was able to make the switch to his new career in marketing.

When and how did you know it was the right decision for your family?
Well, I guess that is something we re-evaluate on a regular basis. However, the truest measure of me feeling like this is the right decision is that when I picture the reality of going back to work, whether part-time or full-time, I realize that for me the pros would not outweigh the cons. Being a stay-at-home parent can feel really challenging at times but I know myself well enough to know that I would feel even more drained and anxious trying to coordinate everything as a working mother. I have kept up my continuing education in the event that I ever want to return to work as a dietitian, but I do not foresee myself returning to the field in any traditional capacity.

Did you have to let go of anything to reach this conclusion?
Had I been enjoying my job I think I would have felt quite a loss to step away from my career. But my job was pretty awful at that time so it was lovely to switch to something new. I worked professionally for several years and held jobs as a data coordinator in a laboratory, a nutrition counselor to those with eating disorders, and also as a school food service nutritionist for a large university. If I hadn't had that time in the work force, I think I would feel a greater tug to find out what life is like outside of staying at home. I am really thankful I was able to launch my career before I embarked on the stay-at-home role because it helped me to feel even more confident about the "career change."

Photo credit JP Ramier Photography
How do you make your life work for you right now?
Here is something very key that I have learned about myself over my past six years as a stay-at-home parent: I need to be able to have at least four hours a week to make my own plans. 

My husband works long hours and his job isn't flexible in the sense that he can take off a couple hours in the morning so I can go to the dentist. Over the years it was my inability to make dentist appointments, of all things, that was the catalyst to finally secure a regular sitter. It is not that I enjoy the dentist—not at all!—but I was feeling panicky and locked in by the fact that I truly COULD NOT find a time that worked to make a dentist appointment. 

Now, to be very honest, is four hours enough? Not really. Would I like more? YES ARE YOU KIDDING GIVE ME MORE TIME. Ahem. :) What I am saying (shouting) is that after two months of summer break with my very demanding young children and a little toddler who is not sleeping and having a very rough go of it when it comes to teething, I am particularly drained right now. However, I feel like once my sleep is better and the daily life isn't quite so draining and the older kids are spending time in school each day, I will find four hours very sufficient.

Name three ways that you regularly take care of yourself:
Making time for blogging/writing; protecting my sleep as much as possible with an early bedtime for all of us (and a rest in the middle of each day); and scheduling the regular sitter time each week.

What advice can you share with other mamas about finding life balance and carving out time for themselves in the context of mothering?
I am getting better at asking for what I need in a very specific manner. Rather than expecting that my husband will see the clutter around the house and then extrapolate that I am stressed by that, and then take the next step to help me out by spending some time cleaning, I spell it all out for him: "Hey Max! I am feeling totally overwhelmed looking at all these dishes and all these toys all over the place, so can we work together to clean them up?" Okay, so maybe it doesn't always go so smoothly and sometimes it goes more like, "AAAAARGH, WHY IS THIS HOUSE SUCH A MESS!?" but overall I am more deliberate in my requests. At this point in our marriage I also recognize that Max does not see clutter and feel stress from said clutter the way I do.

I would also like to note that I am getting better about drawing the lines between my bad moods and the causes. Before, I wouldn't make the connection that bad sleep + poor nutrition choices + messy house were feeding my bad mood. Now I can acknowledge that poor sleep leaves me feeling crappy but also that I can make different choices to try to make up for it. It doesn't always work, but it does help when I'm feeling low to identify root causes and address those.

Share a snapshot of a big (or little) dream you hold:
I would love to transition into a career as a writer as the kids get older and my free time isn't so restricted. I tend to think of story ideas in down time and write snippets here and there and I even wrote up my love story in a multi-chapter format after Oliver was born, which was such a good escape during a rough time in my life.

What small steps are you taking to reach that big dream?
Keeping a blog for over ten years has allowed me to exercise my writing muscles in a small and consistent way. There is a discipline to blogging and to taking the time to translate thoughts into words. Some of my posts are total fluff or purely bullet points but others are carefully crafted and revised many times before being published. Years of blogging and interacting with readers has also bolstered my confidence in my writing and my ability to express myself.

Laura and her littles
What does the phrase intentional mothering mean to you, and share the ways that you feel you are successful in this way.
I think intentional mothering means taking parenting seriously and trying to strike the right balance of focusing time and attention on your kids but also letting them figure life out for themselves. To me that means letting them experience negative feelings and work through them. I want them to practice navigating the ups and downs of life so they will be ready to fly when they are on their own. Stepping back and letting them struggle a bit is a challenge for me (and will be a much bigger challenge as they get older) because my instinct is to rush in and fix the hurt and try to make it stop, but I know that it is an important life skill essential to building their self confidence.

From a more practical standpoint, I think I do a really good job when it comes to filling the kids' days with creative endeavors. We do a lot of cooking and crafting and creating. I do a decent job of keeping us active but this is far easier in the summer than in the winter—I live in Minnesota after all! Screen time goes up and down depending on the season (both weather and personal life) but I generally try to keep that to around an hour a day. I find the kids get super grumpy and unpleasant after too much screen time anyway so that helps me to set that limit. 

How has time changed your mothering?
I am less focused on using external sources for "how-to" and more tuned in to my gut feeling. Having more than one kid—or perhaps it is more that the first kid is five years older than the last kid—helps me to recognize that phases will end and hardships will change over time. This lets me let go of obsessing about the current challenges. The baby WILL sleep better at some point and her teeth WILL come in at some point. I know this as I have watched it happen twice before with my older two kids.

Laura and her husband Max
Do you have any tips for keeping a peace-filled home life?
My husband and I have learned to give each other more grace and we try not to needle each other about the little stuff. We are both exhausted right now during this phase of life and we both make mistakes. Life flows much better when we choose to ignore those little annoying things about the other rather than nitpick.

What is one area of your life you wish to address with more intention?
My diet and food choices. I have several frustrating food intolerances and possibly some allergies that for years I have only half-dealt with. As a dietitian and someone who enjoys cooking I have a leg up on others who struggle with similar problems, but I find it hard to buckle down and be restrictive about my diet even when I know it is for the best. I tend to dig-in my heels when I think about not getting to eat whatever I want. But I am slowly figuring out where I can be less restrictive and where I need to be more disciplined in order to feel healthy and energized and not bloated/fatigued/having GI problems. It's a process and I am accepting that it is something that will take years to get sorted rather than weeks. However, I know I could/should put more effort into it!

If you had one day alone/kid-free day how would you spend it?
YES PLEASE! So I am actually doing that right as I write this. My big present for my 35th birthday was a hotel night on my own. This is my first night away from the baby (who is actually not a baby but a 16.5 month-old toddler) and my first chance to SLEEP in awhile. I have done these hotel nights a couple times in the past and here are a couple tips that I can share with you. I used the "top secret" hotel option on Travelocity when booking which means I got a 4-star hotel room for only a little over $100. Score! Then I have also learned to build in a date night at the beginning of the hotel stay. That way I have some nice one-on-one time with my husband before sending him away to deal with our lovely kids all night while I get to sprawl in a king-sized bed all by myself. As to how I am filling in the free hours—I am mostly writing and catching up on blog reading and blog commenting. I am also eating good food and enjoying some HGTV and Food Network shows since I don't have cable at home. It has been blissful and I will hopefully be able to carry some of this energy back into my daily routine when it is time to return home in a few hours.

The BoldHeartMama Storytelling Series is based on the BoldHeartMama Manifesto. Mothering demands BoldHeartedness from all of us. I want to help YOU share your story!

If you are curious to learn more about the series and how you can participate email me at

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Modern Nature House, an Update with New Images

We continue to make slow and steady progress on the design of our home.

Most recently the plans were updated by the civil engineer to address storm water management and grading, and discussions continue with the structural engineers to ensure sound construction.

Within the next few weeks a permit set will be completed—the minimum standard required for evaluation by the city to meet code—and these documents can also be used to bid for contractors.

Then we'll begin to develop the more detailed construction documents that will contain the final finishes, fixtures, and materials.

Why is this all taking so long? Because it is. :)

We met with Scott last Thursday night to hear an update on foundation and framing plans, and to discuss topics of land grading, the position of the driveway, siding options, deck and pergola designs, and storm water management options that conform to The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act regulations. Kind of dry, but necessary and important.

We're still considering different concepts for exterior materials, and shade structure designs for the back deck. The budget is simultaneously coming together, and we are reaching out to lenders to secure financing.  Maybe we'll actually break ground by the end of the year.

Here are a few images of the latest iterations of the house to date:

Front View
Back View

Side View

Friday, August 14, 2015

Growing In Love and Life

The seasons are changing in the obvious sense that Summertime is winding down—the morning mist-enveloped riverbanks and cool afternoon breezes say it is so—and my mental energy has shifted, too, to the tasks of Fall, and readying ourselves for our second year of homeschool and other plans we have reserved for the slower, colder, months.

I was motivated last week to tackle my quarterly inventory of the boys' dresser drawers. Carefully checking the size tags on their ever-smaller tees and shorts, gathering the items that Roscoe has outgrown—checking for signs of too much wear and passing the good stuff down to Merritt—to make room for a few fresh tops and pairs of pants. The emptying and the filling, it is a chore that I enjoy and one that highlights in real time that the boys just keep growing and getting bigger and outgrowing and moving forward.

This summer has been one of the fullest—and also one of the laziest—and everyone was content with that arrangement for a long while until August roared in and I felt compelled to seek order once again. I've since shared individual planning meetings with each of the boys to discuss the topics and projects that they want to pursue this Fall. The books they want to read, the games they want to learn to play, the youtube channels they want to get to know better. They are seventy-five percent done saving up for a game console, so I'm sure Jurassic World will be a big theme come September.

The seasons are changing in other ways too. Today is my birthday: I'm thirty-three. It's been a special week for me because the boys shared their mornings at forest camp, and I was left alone with my coffee and my computer. It's amazing what two hours a day can mean to the mama who spends most all of her time with her boys.

Timehop shared a photo of Roscoe from Summer two years ago, which feels like yesterday. I remember vividly the start of his first-ever week at camp. I was full of ALL the emotions, as it was his first structured experience away from home.

Feeling nostalgic, I stole a photo of my two guys at camp drop-off 2015.

I'm relishing this moment for all that it is, as I also let the whirly buzzy feelings of anticipation build up inside me for what is to come in our next season of life together.

This week I started my preconception regimen of prenatals and probiotics, as suggested by my midwife. I'm readying my body and mind with hope to add another little human to our dynamic soon. I almost can't believe it because for the last year or so, at least, I truly thought that my two boys would be it. Forever and always. As it turns out Andy and I are gathering our energy once more to re-enter the crazy.

I'm eager for all that this year may hold for each of us, and for the ways that we will be challenged to grow in love and life.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

BHM Storytelling Series: The Accidental Housewife and Health Advocate For Her Son



I’ve always been interested in the different ways that women, especially mothers, make decisions for themselves and their families about their work and home life. Equally curious is how these women live out their decisions to make their choices truly work for them because there are so many ways to do it. The BoldHeartMama Storytelling series offers a peek into the lives of mothers from all over, and highlights their unique BoldHeart stories, from struggles to triumphs in work and mothering and life.

Tara Fitzpatrick, 37, is a mother to sweet and fair-haired Oliver, who recently turned 2, and a self-proclaimed accidental housewife. Soon after his birth, Tara and her husband found themselves struggling to understand and address Oliver's feeding challenges, which eventually required therapeutic intervention and ultimately catalyzed Tara's decision to leave her work in software project management to facilitate his treatment and healing. Over the past year Tara has found her groove at home with Oliver who is now healthy and happy, and she has recently started looking for her next work opportunity.

Please briefly share the struggles of your son’s feeding issues, and the approach that you tried and abandoned because it just didn't feel right for you or for Oliver.
Oliver didn’t take well to a bottle as an infant, and he also later refused solids. When he was eleven months old our pediatrician requested we seek therapy. The allegedly reputable therapy program in town had an immediate opening and I was so excited to finally have some help. That excitement, however, was smothered when in his evaluation and subsequent sessions, members of his therapy team made shaming comments about my parenting choices and we learned more about the prescribed therapy approach, which dictated that in order to make him want to eat, we needed to zone him out on cartoons and then force him to eat in a way that felt borderline abusive. My husband and I want our son to understand consent, and have agency, and we just kept thinking, "This doesn't feel right, we shouldn't be doing this."

By December, the therapy had gotten us nowhere. My son was frail, refused to eat, and malnourished. He began vomiting every time he ate and when I asked for help, in what would be our last session, I was told that all his problems were a result of my breastfeeding him. They cornered me and ordered me to stop. In the days that followed, Oliver's sole source of nutrition was breastmilk because it was the only thing he could keep down, and at the end of that week he was admitted to the hospital and given a feeding tube.

What factors went into your decision to leave your professional work and pursue mothering Oliver as a primary investment of your time
My professional situation had been unfulfilling for many years, and increasingly stressful. My challenges at work came to a head just when my son's health was failing, and around that same time my husband earned a promotion. I felt compelled to quit so we looked at our budget to see what was feasible. I anticipated being out of the workforce for a month or two, but it’s taken much longer to get my son back on track. 

Did you have to let go of anything in order to reach the decision to leave your work?
In quitting work I had to let go of the better financial security afforded by a two-income household. My husband, Brad, had taken two years off from his career to attend graduate school and had only been back to work for a year. With his promotion, we were just beginning to look forward to having a nicely padded bank account and taking some time to travel. We made it work by not going out to eat as often, and putting off projects around the house that we had looked forward to tackling.

When and how did you know that leaving your work was the right decision for your family? 
Oliver was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital for four days during a routine GI appointment. In those moments of packing and leaving for the hospital I wondered what I would have done had I stayed with my job, how would we have navigated all of that in the context of my work responsibilities? I was grateful to be able to give Oliver my full attention. 

In hindsight, parenting didn't come to me as naturally as I thought it would. This unexpected situation with Oliver's health presented and I took it as an opportunity. I could have stayed in my job and figured it out, and we could have just gotten by, but I'm glad I chose to leave. I feel like I can be a more graceful parent now because I've had time to study it in this period—learning to parent, to feel more confident and comfortable as his mother—I've had the opportunity to learn him and his personality and how to reduce his stress and anxiety around eating.

It's been almost a year now and I’ve come to enjoy this role. Full-time work requires huge sacrifices. My being home eases the burden of Brad's work responsibilities, reduces our daily family stresses, and makes life more enjoyable for all of us.

If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently?
I wish that I had trusted my instincts in not seeing that initial therapy team. I wish I had known that different styles of therapy exist. I wish we had known about our current therapy team from the beginning—we could have averted a lot of tears and heartache, and who knows what kind of pain my son went through. Oh, and the money we spent that I wish could have gone to pay off debt or into a savings account for Oliver.

How do you make your life work for you now in the context of these choices you've had to make? 
We’re lucky to have a great daycare center across the street from our house. We’ve kept a schedule similar to that of the daycare's so that my son can still see his friends every day at the playground. Also, when I return to the workforce, the transition back to daycare will be easier for all of us. The teachers live close, and have a great relationship with Oliver so they have been happy to babysit for us, which has made it easier for Brad and I to take time for ourselves. Oliver's feeding challenges have required that we stay predictable and stick to a schedule. However, as his health has improved, we're learning to introduce some spontaneity, which is good for both his development and therapy.

What is your sense of purpose right now?
After spending a year working towards one goal—getting my son to eat—and now that we’re on the cusp of that being achieved, I haven’t had a chance to re-evaluate my purpose. I've been considering different scenarios to determine what I'm meant to do right now, whether to stay home for a few more years and have another baby, or go back to school to re-pursue being an educator, or to look for part-time work because then I would be able to give Oliver some independence, while still continuing the therapeutic aspects of his daily routine. I was recently encouraged by a friend to check out a non-profit that aligns with the concept of what I’ve been considering as a second profession and, as it turns out, a very dreamy job was just posted and I have an interview in two days. Even if I’m not offered the job, this feels like a great step. I’m both hopeful and optimistic right now. 

Synchronicity relates to the meaningful coincidences that happen in our lives–those seemingly random events you can't foresee but that make total sense in hindsightand that serve to tell us something or to point us in a new direction. What role has synchronicity played in your journey of professional work and motherhood?
I was unhappy in my previous profession. My son’s health issues forced me to come to terms with that, and to be ok with leaving it behind. 

How does the BoldHeartMama Manifesto resonate, translate, or inspire you in your own life?
While just about the entire thing resonates with me, the sections that emphasize “letting go” and learning to be satisfied with alternate results are something that I’ve been working on for the past year. I realized that I needed to find an acceptable balance between personal or household productivity, and engagement with my son. I want him to have a great childhood, and I’ve learned to let go and have a great time along with him.

Share an example of a time when you let your BoldHeart drive your decision making. What happened? 
After a playdate with friends a couple weeks ago, we blew off our regular schedule to share lunch and a really fun trip to the grocery store. We've endured more than a year of very restrictive scheduling, and we were able to prove together that we can occasionally buck the rules with minimal collateral damage. 

What are some of the fears you feel in your life? How do you overcome these fears and what’s your best advice for another mama, somewhere, who may be in your shoes? 
I fear that my son may require a feeding tube again and that his experience over the past year and a half may have permanently damaged him developmentally or psychologically. His occupational therapist and a book based on the Ellyn Satter Method, which has inspired Oliver's current therapy strategy, have helped to alleviate my anxiety about the feeding tube. Seeing my son develop “normally” outside of his eating alleviates fear that this situation has damaged his spirit. 

My advice to mothers in a similar situation is to trust your instincts. It’s a cliché, but it’s so important. Dig in. If someone wants to call you names for being thorough in the best interest of your kid—do it anyway. This doesn’t make you an overprotective “bitch,” it makes you a mom. 

Name one self-care practice that you’ve come to enjoy or rely on: 
I run. I have a BOB jogger, so I can run even if I don’t have someone to watch him. In fact, I run in spite of not having anyone available to watch him. Sometimes I zone out and forget that we’re together, other times I find myself having teaching conversations with Oliver about the world we run through.

What advice can you share with other mamas about finding life balance and carving out time for themselves in the context of mothering?
You may have to find a way to include them in your pursuits. Running isn’t my favorite exercise, but I know that exercise makes me feel better, and it's something we can do together. Find a thing that makes you feel like a person and see if there are ways to do it individually and together.

What does the phrase intentional mothering mean to you, and share an example of how you are successful in this way.
One way to be intentional is to proactively seek out resources to support your intuitive values about what is good for you and for your kids. Forcing Oliver to eat felt violent to me and it went against a very important tenet that my husband and I hoped to instill—it overrode his ability to consent. When we switched therapy programs, the new program didn’t use force to make progress. In fact, they also believe it to be a counterproductive approach. I'm proud that I was able to recognize the first therapy for what it was and to seek out an alternative that felt right for us. 

How has mothering changed you?
I am way less selfish and a much more patient person.

One intention you wish to make in order to improve your marriage:
To find ways to make more face-to-face time for each other. 

What role does community play in your life? 
I’ve come to realize that many of the people whom I thought of as good friends are not.  The community I really needed has developed organically, and it isn't one that I would have foreseen being a part of. It is a group of close friends without children, Oliver's teachers and a few parents from the daycare across the street, our neighbors, and family. Simple and kind gestures from other parents at daycare make me feel good, like asking how Oliver and I are doing without offering up a thousand suggestions (that I’ve tried or have heard before). Having a community of people who care about us and who can interact with us in supportive ways has really helped me to hang in there throughout this ordeal.

Name one thing in your life that is going well, and one action you can take now to help it grow.
My garden this year is doing great. I’ve always loved to garden and now it nurtures my family not only nutritionally, but also therapeutically. It serves as a bridge in my son’s current therapy, and we both have a great time puttering around out there together. I love that he knows he can go into the garden and find something interesting or delicious and give it a taste. I try to regularly bring him out there to harvest and be involved in that process of, "Hey we grew this in our garden, and we picked it together, and now it's on our plate." As he gets older I look forward to including him more in the preparation of our food too.

If you had one day alone/kid-free how would you spend it?
I had a day to myself last week and I chose to paint our bathroom. We had a contractor make some upgrades a year ago, but decided to finish it up ourselves to save some money. It has nagged me every day to see it half-finished. It’s just about done, and I’d absolutely say that I painted that room for myself.

What role does nature, or time spent out of doors, play into your experience as a mother?
I read somewhere that Swedish children are outside everyday, no matter the weather—They nap outside, even in the Winter. That concept really resonated with me and if those kids can do that, then I am inspired knowing that we can share even the briefest, coldest winter walk.

The BoldHeartMama Storytelling Series is based on the BoldHeartMama Manifesto. Mothering demands BoldHeartedness from all of us. I want to help YOU share your story!

If you are curious to learn more about the series and how you can participate email me at

Monday, August 10, 2015

BHM Storytelling Series: The Mompreneur Juggling a New Business and Family Life

liz fishman crop circle headshot

Liz Fishman, Richmond VA.

The BoldHeartMama Storytelling series offers a peek into the lives of mothers from all over, and highlights their unique BoldHeart stories, from struggles to triumphs in work and mothering and life. 

[Editors note: This article was first published at, available here.]

Like everyone else, it seems, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the buzz of Liz Fishman’s wildly growing meal service Daily Jars. The accolades are well-deserved—her carefully crafted foods are not only made from local and organic produce whenever possible, but they are delicious, nutrient dense, and beautifully presented—truly, meals to look forward to enjoying.

Liz’s prepared meals, snacks, and treats cater to families with food allergies and intolerances, and even if that’s not you, all of us can appreciate the convenience and value found in high quality prepared foods that we can feel good about eating and feeding to our families.

Captivated first by her food, my attention was next drawn to Liz herself as I couldn’t help but wonder how launching Daily jars was impacting life as she knew it. How was she balancing the demands of her new lifestyle as business owner and mother, and how was she managing her time and the needs of her family? Was it crazy or carefree?

I’ve always been interested in the different ways that women, especially mothers, make decisions for themselves and their families about their work and home life. Equally curious is how these women live out their decisions to make their choices truly work for them because there are so many ways to do it.

Liz is a mother of two, and while she may come across as humble and maybe even a bit blown away by her own success so far, don’t let her quiet modesty fool you. To shatter the notion of some who may look on with awe wondering how does she do it all? In her own words, “Do I love it? Yes. But nothing comes from nothing. I’m no superhero, I’m working my ass off.” So it goes with passion work.

Read More

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pawley's Island, South Carolina, a few snapshots

We're at Pawley's Island, South Carolina this week.

The cousins are reunited. We're finding our away-from-home groove. The thunderstorms finally said so long.

We set out this morning to the salty marshes at Murrell's inlet for a naturalist tour, with a highlight stop to a shell picking sandbar. We found many pretty things along the shoreline—shells of all kinds and sea glass and seaweed—and we got to see a lot of wildlife from fish and crabs to urchins and a mermaid purse.

The most peaceful part of the day was the hour spent on the sandbar. We adults in our own little world, seeking out treasures and taking in the warm winds and surf spray. The kids rolling around in the waves and trailing each other like a brood of little ducklings.

It's humid and warm and sticky down here. The boys are sun kissed, and we're getting our Summer on.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Winner of the Gift Card Giveaway Announced

Thank you to everyone who left a note in the comments, the winner of the you-pick-the-place gift card giveaway is Heidi Bone! Yay! :) We met in 2008 in a birthing class for our first borns, and she remains a dear friend.

Heidi picked Barnes and Noble for her gift card.
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