We’re back after a few month hiatus to celebrate another great mom. This month we travel to the other side of the US to Portland, Oregon. Our August mom of three loves to hang out at home, sip on wine, and Harry Potter everything. She also loves when her husband does chores 😂, all forms of sarcasm, hiking, and baby snuggles.
So without further delay I am thrilled to introduce our featured mom, Kimberly Black! I had a chance to chat with Kim and talk about everything from drinking cold coffee and not sleeping, to funny family moments and being a step mom. Check out our Q&A below!
Q & A Sesh:
Q. What is the one thing you can’t start your morning off without? Has that changed since becoming a mother?
A. When I was sans kids, I couldn’t start my day off without hot coffee and watching YouTube while doing my makeup. I always made sure I had makeup on before I left the house. Now that I have a toddler, I can’t start my day off without cuddling my daughter (Ariana) who comes into my bed around 6am to snuggle before we get up. I also hardly ever wear makeup anymore or have “hot” coffee 😂 .
Q. What do you think is unique to being a young mom? How has that shaped your parenting style?
A. The answer to this question honestly depends on when someone decides that I became a “real” mom. I have been with my stepsons (Roman and Phoenix) since they were 4 and 5 years old; I was 22 when I met them. I definitely don’t think I started fitting into the “mom” role until I was with them for about 2 years. With regards to how I parent my step sons, I take what I know and how I treat them from how my own stepmom parented me. I try to first and foremost always be there for them to listen and support them in any way I can. Sometimes that means putting aside my own feelings and supporting their dad and their mom as well.
As far as parenting my daughter, I got pregnant when I was 25 and had her when I was 26. Honestly, I’m kind of winging parenting with her. I haven’t read any books about how to parent.
I really try to utilize the whole “it takes a village” mentality. I go to other parents that I admire for advice and guidance, then try to use their experience to shape my parenting style.
I’m a lot more laid back than my mom was and I can see that I am a lot like my dad when it comes to raising a tiny human. I think life is too short to worry about every little thing. I take everything minute by minute and try to appreciate how they’re only little for such a small amount of time.
Q. Because we have discussed this many times before, (and you are well versed in the topic) I’d love you to share your experience with sleep regression. What has been the most challenging part of sleep regression with your daughter? How have you been able to adapt and overcome it?
A. Oh man, sleep has been so hard! Ariana has never been a good sleeper and has only recently (occasionally) been sleeping through the night but still needs myself or my husband in the room to fall asleep for comfort; she will be 3 in September for reference.
When she was a newborn, we went through the “4th Trimester” HARD. I didn’t even know the 4th trimester was a thing until my doctor told me about it. She never wanted to be put down and wouldn’t sleep unless I was right next to her. I did a lot of baby wearing during that time. It’s understandable since they’re tiny, helpless things that are totally dependent on you. During this time, I adapted my sleeping habits and decided to get a bedside co-sleeper to try to keep my sanity and help her sleep. I had an “open bar” policy with breast feeding during that time so i could sleep (she would sleep in the co-sleeper right next to me and breast feed whenever she was hungry). Which, sometimes I regret and feel like I could have done more to try to get her to be a more independent sleeper.
When she was around 1 or so, she went back to waking up almost every hour and it was so hard. But, my husband and I came to the agreement that we would switch on and off who would get up with her, especially since I wasn’t breastfeeding anymore. I felt so guilty having to give it up around 9 months but, we found out that she was waking up so much because she was hungry and cluster feeding. When I started supplementing with formula, my life totally changed! Again, that guilt was still there but, honestly it made my baby so much happier to be full and able to sleep for longer periods of time.
Slowly but surely, we have been getting better with sleep. There’s been a lot of stress surrounding it but, again I try to remind myself she’s only going to be this little for so long and won’t want to cuddle or need me by her side some day.
I also have adjusted the amount of pressure I put on myself in regards to her sleep and what I can get done during those periods. It’s totally okay to nap when your kid naps or take that time for yourself.
You don’t NEED to clean your house or put your face on for your husband or partner. Everyone will survive if you skip it every now and again, I promise.
Q. If you had to pick your funniest family moment, what would it be?
A. Oh my gosh, there are so many of them! I think it would have to be the first time Roman and Phoenix met their sister. We were in the car after we picked them up and Ariana had pooped. We pulled over so I could change her on my lap, which the boys thought was hilarious and gross. BUT in the middle of doing it, as I put a new diaper on her, poop FLEW out of her little butt and all over me. Everyone thought it was hilarious. It took me at least a day to find the humor in it, but now it’s one of my favorite memories.
Q. How has being the mother figure in a blended family changed your view on what a family should be? What has been the most special part of raising your children together?
A. That’s a really hard question because I’m still learning every day. I think it comes back to how much pressure there is surrounding not only being a mom, but a stepmother as well. Being a step parent is 100 times harder than being a bio-parent because of all of the things you have to think about. You have to build up love, trust and respect with the kids (and their other parent) rather than having that automatic biological love when you get pregnant and have your own baby. It can cause a sense of dysphoria at time, if I’m being honest.
When I was younger (even now sometimes) I felt so much pressure to get Roman and Phoenix to try to like me, accept me, love me and respect me as an adult and parent. It took me years to realize that it doesn’t matter about the material things I give them or how much effort I put in.
At the end of the day, they just want me to be there for them and to love them as much as I can, which is a lot!
There’s also a lot of guilt when it comes to our daughter and the things we are able to do for/with her that either my husband missed out on with his boys or that we do when we don’t have the boys. But, I’ve come to realize our life can’t stop because they’re not here and it’s okay for Ariana to have experiences that Roman and Phoenix may have missed out on with us.
At the end of the day, being a family to me just means always being there for each other, always listening, having fun and just loving as much as we can. It’s been amazing seeing the boys grow from tiny kids to (almost) pre-teens and seeing what amazing big brothers they are to Ariana. They have taught her so much that I couldn’t because I don’t have a kid brain like they do! Seeing your child go from totally dependent on you to being their own person is the closest thing to magic that there is.
Q. If money was of no consequence, where would your dream vacation be?
A. With or without kids? Haha. Either way, I would love to take the whole family to New Zealand. I’m a huge Lord of the Rings nerd and I would love to explore that country. My kids would probably say Harry Potter World or Disney if you gave them the choice (because they’re nerds too!)
Q. Cheesecake or Ice cream?
A. I’d pick a Ben and Jerry’s pint of Pumpkin Cheese Cake so I can have both!
Q. What is the summer fashion item you can’t live without?
Shorts. Specifically American Eagle, high waisted, next level stretch shorts. I HATE pants with a passion and (although fall is my favorite season) I dread wearing pants.
A big thanks to Kim for sharing with us this month! It has been a pleasure to learn about her mom life and journey so far.
If you would like to follow her or connect on social media, you can find her
Instagram here —> @oheyits_kimberlay
Be You. Be Resilient.