Mother’s Day Gifts for your Mind, Body, + Spirit

Mother's Day Gifts for your Mind, Body, and Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My goal at Mama Bird Well Nest is to help you design a life of holistic health and happiness. To me, that means making sure that your mind, body, and spirit are all well taken care of. I’ve learned that when one of these areas is out of balance, it makes it much harder for us to feel fully joyful in our lives. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I am excited to share a guide to my favorite gifts for nurturing your mind, body, and spirit.

For the Mind:

Journaling is one of my favorite ways to clear out my mental clutter. One of my secrets for staying consistent with my journaling practice, is to buy a gorgeous journal that I love looking at! These are two of my favorites!


“The Whole Brain Child” is a wonderful parenting book full of helpful ways to promote our children’s emotional intelligence and help them be calmer and happier. I truly believe in the parenting approaches in this book and think all parents should read it.

Practicing mindfulness has been life changing for me! Learning to quiet our minds and be in the present moment is essential in today’s busy world. The Aranyani Mindfulness Kit is artfully designed to make mindfulness meditation easy! It includes the book, “How to Sit” by Thich Nhat Hanh, a soy candle, amethyst stone, and meditation chime. This is the perfect bundle to get you started with your mindfulness practice.

For the Body:

My friend Michelle is an amazing artist and a beautiful mama to a little girl. She has recently released her new book, The Art of Moga, which details a lovely movement practice to help you de-stress and unwind. Moga is a 10-15 minute stretch routine for beginners, a place to start. The book is a compilation of this sweet routine, motivational stories from her own life, and her personal tips and tricks for being happy and healthy. I would highly recommend this beautiful book!

I just completed the Nourish to Flourish Society’s 14 Day Spring Reset and loved it! I experienced 14 days of nourishing, delicious meals, along with journaling prompts and exercises designed to help me create a healthier relationship with food. This was a really eye opening experience for me. What I love most about this cleanse is that it’s not just about food; it really helps teach you to nourish your mind, body, and spirit, which you know is what I am all about! If you are looking to reset your eating patterns and lighten up for Spring, this cleanse is perfect for you!

 

The Little Flower Yoga Card Deck is perfect to use to practice yoga with your little ones! They demonstrate 50 yoga poses, breathing exercises, and mindfulness activities in simple to understand ways, and make it a fun way to encourage your little ones to practice yoga with you!

For the Spirit:

Sage has been used for centuries as a way to clear out old energies and clear your space. These sage smudge sticks are super easy and convenient to use and come with a premium Abalone shell to catch any falling ashes. I love to open up all of our windows and smudge our home at least once a season. This is one of my favorite rituals for letting go of the old, and making space for the new.

The Mother’s Wisdom Card Deck is one of my favorite ways to tune in to my mother’s intuition. I like to pull a card each Monday and make it my theme for the week. These beautiful cards are a lovely gift for any mother who wants to feel more spiritually connected to mother’s wisdom.

I find the act of rolling out my yoga mat and creating some sacred space every morning to be a spiritual practice. The Jade yoga mat is my absolute favorite yoga mat! It has a great grip and the perfect amount of cushioning. I have been using the same mat for 5 years and it is still good as new! I love this mat and recommend it to every yogi.
I hope that you enjoy this collection of gifts designed to keep your mind, body, and spirit happy and healthy!

Happy shopping!

Be well,
Ambar

 

 

*Mama Bird Well Nest is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Don’t Make things happen, Let them happen

Don't Make things Happen, Let them Happen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the last couple of weeks, as I launched my program for new moms, I was reminded of a really valuable lesson that I’m now applying to all areas of my life. It is a total game-changer, so I wanted to share it with you!

I had never publicly launched a program in this way before. Sure, I have been leading groups like this, but I have worked mainly by referrals and direct connections. This was my first time really advertising my program and putting myself out there publicly.

Launching a program in this way is kind of a crazy thing. It requires you to keep talking about your services over and over again without really knowing if anyone is listening, or if it will resonate with the people who need you. I went into my launch with an idea of a certain number of new moms that I wanted to join my program. The first few days, I was really anxious wondering if what I was sharing would attract the right people into my program. As the week progressed, I knew that I had to let go of my anxiety. I realized that all I could do was continue to share about my program and trust that the right women would be led to it at the right time for them. As soon as I was able to let go of my need to control the outcome, I felt peaceful. I was able to enjoy interacting with the women reading my posts, and feel the encouragement of the many friends and acquaintances who supported me throughout this process. It felt good! And, I now have a wonderful group of women in this program! It all worked out, in the right way, at the right time.

This got me realizing, that this wasn’t the first time in my life that I experienced the power of surrendering. When I got pregnant with my daughter, at first I was really anxious. I worried as to whether my body would be able to sustain a healthy pregnancy and I really stressed myself out about it. As my pregnancy progressed, I slowly started to trust in the process more. I started meditating and journaling daily, and focused on formed a connection with the baby that was growing inside me. I let go of my need to know that everything would work out a certain way, and instead surrendered to the process. As a result, I was able to experience a really peaceful and joyful pregnancy, and I know that I will always remember that sacred time when I learned to trust in the process.

I can continue applying this to every area of my life today.

We are currently in the beginning stages of potty training our daughter. I know that there is no way that I can make her potty train. All that I can do is continue offering the opportunity and trust that she will figure it out when the time is right for her. I can’t force it, I have to let it happen.

This also applies to my marriage. I am fortunate to have a really great husband, and we have a really solid connection…. most of the time. At times, we get caught up in the daily routine and there are days where I feel a little disconnected. But again, I know that there is no way that I can make my husband act a certain way towards me. All that I can do is treat him in the way that I want to be treated, let go of the outcome, and let him respond accordingly.

I am also using this concept with my health. I would really like to lose 10lbs in order to be at the weight where I feel my best. But, I know that I cannot force my body to lose 10lbs. All I can do is nourish myself with healthy food and make time each day to be more active. Then, I have to trust the process and let the weight come off on its own.

As you can see, the idea of letting things happen, rather than making them happen, applies in all areas of life: from motherhood, to marriage, to health and career. All that we can do is put forth some effort, and do our part in reaching our goals. We can keep showing up day after day taking small steps in the direction that we want to go, and towards feeling the ways that we want to feel. But, there comes a point where we have to just let go, trust, and allow.

What have you been trying to force in your own life? How can you start to let it happen, instead of making it happen? Let me know in the comments below!

Wishing you a week of trust + surrender.

Be well,
Ambar

3 Keys to Being a Happy Mama

How to Be a Happy Mama

 

For as long as I can remember, if you asked me what I wanted most out of life, my answer would be “to be happy”. After struggling with anxiety and depression for most of my adolescence and young adulthood, happiness became my ultimate goal. I worked hard to achieve happiness, and I am proud to say that I figured out how to become one of the happiest people I know.

Motherhood has brought a new level of joy to my life. It has filled me with a sense of purpose; an inner knowing that being a mother is what I was brought here to do. But learning to be a happy mother, also took some work. With my program for new moms, New Mama Bird Circle, starting this week, I’ve been reflecting on my experience as a mother thus far. I’ve realized that I can sum up what it takes to be a happy mama in 3 words: Contemplation, Connection, & Contribution.

Contemplation

Contemplation refers to time spent alone in stillness. Time spent in contemplation can include prayer and/or meditation. The most important part, is that it is time spent by ourselves, with our own inner wisdom. As mothers, our lives are noisy and busy. There is a constant hustle and bustle to our days. In order for us to be in balance, we need to make a commitment to having quiet time in our lives. This gives us an opportunity to get in touch with our own desires, hopes, and dreams. It gives us space to reflect on what’s working for us, and on what’s not. It helps us relieve stress, and have time to be alone with our thoughts, without thinking about anyone else’s expectations of us. Time spent in quiet stillness and contemplation is important for everyone, and it is especially vital to us mothers.

Connection

As much as alone time is important for us, so is Connection. As humans, we desire deep connection. We all want to feel loved, supported, and cared for. As mothers, we are natural givers. We need to feel loving connection in our lives, and experience relationships that go both ways, where there is an equal give and take. Since we are always giving our energy away, we need to also be able to receive love from those around us. In order to feel our best, we need strong connections with our families and communities. We experience connection by finding our tribes; the friends who become family and will love us and encourage us through any challenges. We also experience connection by being fully present with our families, by putting our phones away, being in the moment, and allowing ourselves to feel the love we have for these special people in our lives. By being with the people we love, who also love us, and accept us exactly as we are, we experience fulfilling connection in our lives.

Contribution

Contribution is the final key to happiness for us mamas. In order to feel happy and fulfilled, we need to feel that we are contributing something of value to the world. We all want to know that our lives have made an impact, whether that be by the specific ways in which we raise our children, the work we do in the world, or a combination of both. We need to be doing meaningful work with our lives, contributing to the things and people that matter to us, and being intentional about the legacies that we will leave behind.

Contemplation, connection, and contribution are the keys to a happy life as a mama. Once these 3 values are met, joy comes naturally. The great thing about this, is that these 3 things are all within our control. How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives. By taking small steps each day to spend time in contemplation, value our connections, and contribute to what matters to us, we will be well on our way to being happy, fulfilled moms.

We will be discussing these topics at length, and creating our own daily self care routines to make sure that these values are being met, in New Mama Bird Circle, my virtual program for new moms. If you are a new mama who could use some extra support in this area, I invite you to join us! We would love to connect with you and help you feel like the happy and healthy mama that you deserve to be.

 

It Takes a Village to Raise a Mother

It takes a Village to raise a Mother
My very first mama village, at my Mommy + Baby Retreat, Sacred Beginnings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve all heard the phrase that says “it takes a village to raise a child.” This refers to the idea that children are brought up not only by their immediate family, but by the many different caretakers in the community which make an impact on their lives. Children that grow up to be adaptable and resilient are often a result of developing healthy attachment to their parents, having close ties to their community, and knowing that there are people out there who are vested in their wellbeing.

The same can be said about mothers.

As mothers, we thrive on community. Child rearing is hard. It can be isolating and challenging. Having the support of a group of women who understand motherhood and all of its innate challenges can make all of the difference.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I thought that I was ready for motherhood. My husband and I had been together for 6 years. We had thoroughly enjoyed our time as newlyweds and felt ready for our next life phase. I had experienced a blissful pregnancy where I meditated daily and felt connected to my daughter already. I had designed my perfect baby nursery. We had read “The Happiest Baby on the Block.” I thought I was all set.

And I couldn’t have been more wrong.

When my daughter was born, I was completely taken aback by how much she required of me. I had never really been around a baby that young before and I was quite honestly shocked at how demanding it was to care for her needs. As a newborn, my daughter wanted to be held and nursed constantly. I had naively thought that I would be able to put my baby down and carry on with my life, aside from diaper changes and feeding times. (Ha!) That was not at all my experience. I was blessed with a baby that despised being put down and wanted to nurse 24/7! I quickly started to feel trapped. I worried that I was doing something wrong, or that there was something wrong with my baby.

In those early months with my daughter, we quickly fell into a phase that I now call “the newborn bubble”. Everything from that time is a complete haze to me. My daughter was colicky, which basically meant that she was cranky and fussy for a large portion of the day. I quickly learned that the only way to calm her down was to feed her, so it started to feel like I was nursing for hours on end.

Before having a baby, I had worked really hard to create a quiet and peaceful home life, and I found the sound of my baby’s constant crying extremely jarring. I felt like a horrible mother for feeling this way and hated hearing her in distress. I also started feeling really anxious about leaving the house, because I wasn’t yet comfortable breastfeeding in public, and I worried that if we went out, and she freaked out, I wouldn’t know how to handle it. We spent a lot of time home on the couch, because that was the only place where I felt confident that I could care for her needs. This was not what I had imagined life with my precious baby girl would be like.

Around this time, I was invited to go on a Mommy + Baby retreat. I was hesitant to go because I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if it would be worth it to leave the comfort and safety of my couch to go spend a weekend with a group of women that I didn’t really even know. But something inside me urged me to go on this retreat, and thankfully, I listened, because it ended up changing my whole experience of motherhood!

Being surrounded by a group of mothers who understood what I was going through was extremely comforting. I was reassured that I was doing a great job, and that there was nothing wrong with me or my baby. I learned that it is completely normal for newborns to want to be attached to their mothers, cry a lot, and nurse for extended periods of time. (Who knew?!) By surrounding myself with other mothers, I instantly felt seen, heard, and understood. This loving group of amazing women had a tremendous impact on me. I gained confidence in myself as a mother, and was able to return home and be the peaceful and happy mama that I had always wanted to be.

My daughter will be 2 in June, and as she has grown, so has my village of mamas. I am extremely grateful for my mom friends. Having the support of other mothers is invaluable. So much of parenting is trial and error. What works for one child, may not work for another. Because of this, it is extremely helpful to have other mothers to talk to, to bounce ideas off of, and to get different viewpoints for managing whatever challenges you may be facing. As mothers, we can all relate to each other. We all want the best for our children and we all want to be the best moms possible. In my experience, the best way to do this, is by surrounding myself with other mothers. It truly takes a village to raise a mother, especially a happy and confident mother. 🙂

Enrollment for my program for new moms, New Mama Bird Circle, is now open. If you are a new mother looking to find your own village of mamas, we would love to have you join us! It would be my honor to support you on your motherhood journey.

 

How Yoga Makes Me a Better Mom

How Yoga Makes Me a Better Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga has been my saving grace as a mother. I started practicing yoga with my daughter when she was just a few months old, and it quickly became a vital part of our morning routine. Yoga was my entryway to self care as a new mom. It allowed me to move my body, decrease stress, and share something that I love with my baby. My daughter is almost 2 years old now, and my yoga practice is more important to me than ever. Here are 3 ways in which yoga has made me a better mom:

1) Self Care – My yoga practice has become a non negotiable part of my life. I try to start most of my days with a short 10-15 minute yoga practice. Taking just a few moments a day for myself makes a tremendous impact on my mood. It allows me to make myself a priority and do something special for myself everyday. As a mom of a young child, this is extremely important. I spend so much of my days caring for my little one and doing things for our family, that it is extra important to make sure that my own needs are being met first. As a result, I am better able to take care of all of the people that rely on me, especially my daughter.

2) Slows Reaction Time – Practicing yoga consistently creates an inner peace that stays with me throughout my days. Since I am feeling more calm and at ease, I am able to be more intentional with my actions, rather than being so reactive. When stressful situations arise, I am better equipped to stop and take a deep breath before I react. In situations where I may have immediately screamed or lost my temper, I am now able to slow down and take deliberate actions. This is a handy tool to have in my back pocket with an energetic little toddler who is always exploring and pushing limits. Thanks to my yoga practice, I am able to be more intentional in how I react to her, and that makes me a better mom.

3) Sets a Good Example – My daughter has grown up watching me practice yoga everyday. It is simply part of our routine and something that she is very aware of. I believe that by having this experience of yoga ingrained in her so early on, it will always be something that she can come back to as she grows up. I also believe that by watching me practice yoga and meditate, my daughter is learning the importance of self care from a young age. She is learning valuable lessons about the importance of physical fitness and the mind-body connection. By watching me take good care of myself, she is learning to take care of herself too. There is no better lesson that we can teach our children.

Do you practice yoga? In what ways has it made a difference in your life? Please share in the comments below!

I am so excited to share that I’ve created a FREE 5 day Mommy & Me Yoga Challenge! It’s the perfect starting point for any mom who is interested in learning to take better care of herself by incorporating a little bit of yoga into her daily routine and sharing this gift with her little ones. Click here to sign up for the challenge!  Enjoy, and please share with any other moms who you think might benefit from this! 🙂

Join the Yoga With Littles Challenge!

mommy and me yoga challenge

 

 

 

 

 

Have a beautiful week and make sure to take some time for yourself!

Be well,
Ambar

How to Make Every Moment of Your Life Feel Special

How to Make Every Moment Special

Lately I’ve been playing a lot with the idea of making everyday moments feel more special. It’s easy to think about the big moments in life as special and sacred… our wedding day, our babies being born, birthdays and holidays; these days and moments all have a celebratory feel to them. But, what if we could make everyday a reason to celebrate? We are so blessed to be alive. Every moment of this life is a miracle, why not start to treat them as such?

Celebrating the little moments throughout my day is something I’m always working towards. I think the best way to start is by creating small rituals and routines throughout your day that anchor you in the intention of celebrating each moment, even the ordinary ones. Here is an example of what an ideal day in my life would look like:

Morning Ritual:
Wake up before my daughter, June. Roll out my yoga mat, light a candle, and do a short yoga and meditation practice.

June wakes up. Go get her from her room, take a few minutes to snuggle and play before getting her dressed for the day.

Breakfast Ritual:
Light a candle while making breakfast for the two of us. Listen to some upbeat music while making a green smoothie for us to share. Sit together and enjoy my smoothie, really taking the time to notice how it tastes, while welcoming this sweet morning moment with my daughter.

Blow out breakfast candle to transition out of breakfast time. Put some uplifting essential oils in the diffuser and have June play and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Sesame Street while I clean up the kitchen and get ready to start our day. Listen to one of my favorite motivational podcasts while getting ready.

Take June out to play. Depending on the weather, maybe we walk to the park or beach, go to an indoor play place, run some errands, or meet up with friends. I stay off my phone and take the time to connect with my daughter.

Lunchtime Ritual:
We go back home and start getting ready for lunch. Again, I light a candle while I make lunch. I make a pitcher of fruit infused water to sip throughout the day, and it feels like a treat. June and I enjoy our lunch together before she gets ready for her nap.

Naptime Ritual:
Diffuse lavender essential oil in June’s room and rock her in her rocking chair. I put her down for her nap, go downstairs, and make myself a cup of tea. Depending on my mood, I may take this hour to read a magazine or fiction book, catch up on my TV shows, or work on my blog.

June wakes up from her nap. We go for an afternoon walk around the block. We point out all of the birds, leaves, and flowers and enjoy our little nature walk.

Dinner Prep Ritual:
I set June up in her playroom while I get ready to start dinner. I light a candle, choose a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks (Right now, I’m loving The Happy Cook, by Daphne Oz), and get to work.

My husband, Angelo gets home from work and plays with June while I set the table with fresh flowers and a candle. Angelo puts some mellow music on and we have a family dance party before we get ready to transition to dinnertime.

Dinner Ritual:
We light our mealtime candle and say a sweet poem before starting our family dinner. Lately we’ve been using: “Thank you for the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us.”  We enjoy some family time together while eating dinner.

Angelo gives June a bath while I go take a shower. I put on some relaxing music, put on a face mask and use my favorite sugar scrub in the shower. I feel relaxed and refreshed after taking this short time to myself. I fight the urge to put on my worn out Christmas pajama pants, and instead put on a soft nightgown.

June’s Bedtime Ritual:
Again, we diffuse lavender essential oil in June’s room. She knows that this is part of her cue to wind down to go to sleep. Angelo reads her a couple of books after her bath. I snuggle and rock her in her chair until she falls asleep.

Evening Ritual:
Light a candle and enjoy some alone time with my husband. We might watch one of our favorite shows, read together, or try one of the at-home date night ideas from last week’s post.

Bedtime Ritual:
I put on my favorite moisturizer, dim the lights, and read a chapter of my favorite book before going to bed. Angelo and I take turns telling each other 3 things we are grateful for from the day.

And that’s it. There’s nothing glamourous about the day I just described, there are just simple, intentional actions spread out throughout the day. These small actions anchor me in the present moment and give me ammunition to get through the rest of the day, even in moments where I feel exhausted, or my daughter is being challenging. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to light a candle, buy fresh flowers, or choose a nightgown over old sweatpants. It just takes intention. This commitment to enjoying life and treating every moment as special is key to creating a happy and fulfilled life.

What are your favorite ways to treat the ordinary moments as special? Please share in the comments below!

Wishing you a special week.

Be well,
Ambar

 

 

*Mama Bird Well Nest is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I only recommend products that I personally use and love and your purchase helps support me in continuing to provide valuable information through this blog.

How to Keep your Love Alive through the Seasons of Life

How to Keep Your Love Alive

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the different seasons of relationships. I’m blessed to be married to an incredible, hard-working man who I love very much. But that doesn’t mean that things are always perfect for us. Marriage is a commitment and relationships take work. In order to make your love last, you have to put in the time and effort to establish a strong foundation to help you weather the different seasons of life.

Every relationship starts out in Summer. This is the beginning of the relationship, when you are first starting out on your journey together. Things are hot, sexy, and fun. My husband Angelo and I were lucky to have a long season of summer early on in our relationship. We were together for 4 years before getting married, and then enjoyed being newlyweds for 2 years before I became pregnant. We truly took the time to get to know one another, to travel, and to have adventures. This helped us set the foundation for the next season: Autumn.

I think of the time in which I was pregnant as Autumn. It was a time of shedding and letting go of our old personas and identities as we prepared to welcome our baby into the world. We knew that our lives were about to change drastically, and it was a time of releasing all of the habits and routines that would no longer serve us once we were parents. There is a big identity shift that happens when you become parents. During autumn, we started preparing for the inevitable change that was on the way.

When our daughter June was born, Angelo and I entered the season of Winter in our relationship. During this time, our romance took a backseat as the priority shifted to nurturing our beautiful baby girl. It was a time of quiet hibernation and our relationship entered survival mode. We were doing all we could to keep ourselves and our baby alive during this huge life adjustment. Winter can be cold and brutal, but it has its own unique beauty that can be found when you take the time to look for it. It also helps to know that this is a season, and that Spring is coming.

Angelo and I are currently in the Springtime. Our daughter is now 19 months old, and we have adjusted to life as a family of 3. We love being parents, and now that our daughter is slightly more independent, we have more time to focus on our relationship. We are in a season of renewal and rebirth. We are figuring out a way to get to know each other again as the new people that we’ve become. We are spending more time alone together and starting to re-prioritize our relationship. This is not always easy, but we are making an effort to allow our love to bloom.

As you can see, things are not always perfect in my marriage. But we are committed to navigating life together and maintaining a strong love for one another. I am very much aware that my relationship with my husband will be the model for my daughter’s future relationships. I want her to grow up in a home with two loving parents who have a healthy relationship. I think that there are 3 key things that create a solid foundation for any relationship:

1) Be besties.
Your partner should be your best friend. This is the person you have chosen to share your life with, so it is important that you share your life with them! Be open with each other. Share your hopes, dreams and secrets with one another. Confide in each other. Spend quality time together. Go on adventures. Have fun. Laugh.

2) Be intimate.
A relationship requires intimacy. Your partner should be your best friend, but not be ONLY your best friend. Being intimate is what crosses you over from being friends to being a couple. Keep that in mind. Be lovers. Even if you’re too tired, or not in the mood. Make an effort. At the very least, be affectionate. Cuddle together. Hold hands. Kiss. Hug. Make out. We all want to feel desired. A little physical touch can go a long way in sustaining a healthy relationship.

3) Be supportive.
You and your partner should be each other’s biggest cheerleaders in life. Encourage each other to have outside interests. Take an interest in one another’s hobbies. Allow your partner to be a happy, fulfilled individual, and do whatever you have to do to make sure that you are one as well! Praise your significant other. Acknowledge when they do something right, not just when they do something wrong. Cheer them on and do whatever you can to help them achieve their goals. Encourage one another. Cheer for each other. When one of you wins, you both win.

In my 9 year relationship, I’ve found that these 3 things are vital to making sure that my marriage is headed in the right direction. When I notice that Angelo and I are arguing a lot, or that things are a little off, I check in with these 3 ground rules, and usually notice that at least one of them is not being met. Having these guidelines gives me a great reference for knowing what I need to do to maintain a strong marriage no matter which season of life we happen to find ourselves in.

The media leads us to believe that a good relationship is one in which you are in an endless summer, but that’s just not true or realistic. Your seasons may look different from mine, depending on your life circumstances, but make no mistake, every relationship has its seasons. Create a strong foundation and you will find that you have what it takes to shelter you through any kind of weather.

Happy Valentine’s week my beautiful friends! Wishing you a beautiful week full of LOVE!

Be well,
Ambar

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Mama Bird’s Perfect Gift Guide

gift-guide-for-mom

I’ve put together a carefully curated list of essentials that are perfect for all of the new moms, babies, and mindful mamas on your list! Although I firmly believe that the best give that we can give to our loved ones is our love, affection, and attention, sometimes it’s nice to add a little something extra. These items are my Top 10 intentional and purposeful gifts. I hope you enjoy this list of favorites! 🙂

For Babies:

Water Wipes – These are the BEST baby wipes around! They are made with 99.9% water, .1% fruit extract, and nothing else! These are the purest wipes I have found. I’ve been using them with June since she was born, and she has had very few issues with diaper rash. I feel good knowing that I’m using an all natural product on her delicate skin and not exposing her to any harsh chemicals.

California Baby Calendula Cream – We are obsessed with this magical skin cream. We’ve used it to help clear up everything from baby acne, to rashes and scratches. I use it on June for any skin issues, and within 24 hours her skin is completely clear! It’s perfect and gentle on baby’s skin. It may seem a little pricey, but the value of this magic cream is priceless, and one tube goes a long way!

On The Night You Were Born – This classic baby book is simply the sweetest.

For New Mamas:

Earth Mama Angel Baby Monthly Comfort Tea – I found drinking a cup of tea to be an act of self care during the post partum period. This organic tea is extremely soothing and comforting during this intense time.

Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads – These reusable nursing pads are a must have for any breastfeeding mama. They are comfortable and effective. Plus they are shaped like hearts which makes them totally adorable, and a little extra reminder to love yourself during those middle of the night feedings.

The Mother’s Wisdom Card Deck – This deck of cards is the perfect gift to help moms tune into their intuition and know that they are not alone in their motherhood challenges.

For All Mindful Mamas:

Jade Yoga Mat – This is my personal favorite yoga mat! It was my first “professional” yoga mat and remains my all time favorite. It has the perfect mix of cushioning and grip, and has made a big difference in my yoga practice.

Manduka Cork Yoga Block – I love these sturdy yoga blocks. They have a good grip and aren’t made with any toxic chemicals.

Essential Oil Diffuser – We are huge essential oils fans in our house, and this diffuser makes it easy to diffuse all of our favorite oils. It adds moisture to the air, fills the entire room with your fragrance of choice, and even has a color changing light which creates a nice ambiance. It’s also super affordable and does as good of a job as any of the fancier diffusers out there.

Grove Collaborative Subscription – This subscription service makes it easy and affordable to get the best natural products for your home. I’ve been using it for the last 6 months and totally love it! It’s helped me to switch out all of the toxic household products I was using to safe, awesome alternatives. The best part is that it delivers amazing all-natural products right to my door… the perfect gift for busy, conscious moms!

I hope you and your loved ones enjoy these perfect, intentional gifts!

Be well,
Ambar

 

 

free-gift-mama-birds-holiday-survival-guide
My free gift to you: A guide to nurturing Yourself this holiday season.

 

 

*Mama Bird Well Nest is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Although I may earn a small fee if you purchase through my links, I only recommend products that I personally use and love. Your purchase helps support me in continuing to provide valuable information through my blog, and is much appreciated.

 

Your PRESENCE is the greatest Present

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This holiday season I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of choosing presence over presents. I’ve become very aware that the focus of the holiday season has shifted from celebrating this sacred time of year with the people we love, to overconsuming, overeating, overdrinking, overspending, and overdoing it in general. This is crazy behavior and I’ve decided to put an end to it for myself and my family.

I didn’t always feel this way. After my mom passed away when I was 20, I spent the greater part of a decade despising the holidays. My mother had adored Christmas and always went out of her way to make it an extra special time of year for our family. I felt that with her being gone, there was nothing left to celebrate. So, I didn’t. I spent every year in a quiet depression, either overdrinking and overeating to numb myself at every family function, or simply just avoiding them completely. As the years progressed, my depression started to lift a bit, and that’s when I started to equate buying presents with showing love. I was the crazy person shopping at all hours of the night and couldn’t be more thrilled when the department stores started being open until midnight. I would drive myself to the ground each year trying to make sure that every single person was accounted for, and stressed myself out battling the crazed holiday shoppers throughout the entire month of December. Not to mention that I always left things until the last minute, which only added to my anxiety level.

It wasn’t until I got married, and then last year when I became a mother, that I realized that the way I was acting was completely insane. I started to feel that similarly to how I had equated my mother’s presence as setting the tone for my family’s holiday season, this was now my responsibility in my own household. Now that I was a mother, I felt very strongly that it was up to me to choose the type of holiday experience that I want to cultivate for my family. This changed everything for me. I want my daughter growing up in a home that values the true meaning of the holidays. I want her to grow up with memories of the special times we share together as a family; decorating our tree, listening to Christmas carols, making pancakes Christmas morning, going for walks to the beach on Christmas day, getting together with the extended family and laughing and playing with her cousins. This is what’s truly important. I don’t want her memories to be of her mother being a madwoman who is incapable of being truly present because she is consumed with buying presents!

So this year, I’m doing it differently. My husband and I each chose one present to gift to each other, and some small gifts to give to our daughter. We are thinking of taking a family trip to Cape May, our favorite place, as our big gift to one another. Other than that, I have done away with the entire idea of buying gifts. Instead, I am making homemade presents that will be thoughtful and given with love. I am finding ideas for experiences to do together with my extended relatives instead of buying each other a bunch of stuff that none of us need. Instead of giving each other material gifts, we will be having spa days, spending an afternoon at a favorite tea shop, going to see plays, and taking day trips to favorite locations. I know that these memories will be so much more meaningful and special. I am excited and looking forward to making this change! Here are my best tips for choosing Presence over Presents this holiday season.

  1. Be thoughtful – If you are choosing to give your loved ones the gift of a shared experience together, it would be extra special to choose something that is meaningful to them. Gift your husband tickets to his favorite sporting event or share a dinner at a restaurant where you went on your first date, take your Elsa and Anna obsessed daughter to see Disney on Ice, enjoy a yoga class with your zen best friend, and go to a painting class with your cousin the art enthusiast.  Be thoughtful, and choose experiences that your loved one would enjoy. Make it unique to them and their interests.

  2. Be present – The most important part of this gift exchange is to be fully present while partaking in the shared experience. Shut your phone off or leave it at home. Enjoy the experience by giving it your full and undivided attention. Be completely with your loved ones and live in the moment of the shared memories that you are presently making. Have fun and give the gift of your full presence. These are the moments that will last a lifetime.

  3. Be happy – The whole point of gifting your loved ones with shared experiences is to create happy memories. So work on making yourself happy first. This time of year can get very hectic, so do whatever you need to do to balance your stress level. Prioritize your own self care, and make sure you are taking care of yourself first, so that you have the energy to give to your loved ones. By making yourself happy, that happiness will extend to everyone around you. Give your loved ones the gift of a happy you!

Sending you well wishes for a fully present holiday experience.

Be well,
Ambar

 

I’ve created a free Holiday Survival Kit if you are looking for some extra guidance on creating a stress-free holiday season. I would love nothing more than to have all of us gift our families the gift of a holiday season focused on love and presence. You can download it for free by clicking on the picture below. Wishing you a beautiful & intentional holiday. Enjoy! xo

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Why I Stopped Making a Living in order to Make a Life

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I quit my job this week! It’s been a big, momentous occasion that I thought would leave me feeling overjoyed, but instead, I’ve been feeling very emotional. Not because I doubt that this is the right decision, I am 100% confident that this is the right choice for me at this time in my life. But still, just because something is right, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Let me explain.

For the last 4 years, I’ve been working as a care manager for children with emotional and behavioral issues. I’ve supported a lot of families in making sure that their children get the care they need in order to feel healthy, confident, and secure. I’ve helped families improve and heal their relationships. I’ve helped the kids I work with find positive recreational activities, learn healthy ways to cope with their feelings, and excel in school. The work has been meaningful and rewarding. I have learned so many important resources and skills that will help me indefinitely now that I am a parent myself. When I got hired at my job back in 2012, I was recently married and we had just moved to the beach. I was new in town and wanted a job where I would get to know and help my new community. At the time, this job was my dream job. Until recently, when it wasn’t anymore.

I heard a theory a while back that the main 3 resources we have at any given time are time, money, and energy. The idea is that we are always trading one of these resources for another. Whenever you are lacking in one area, you can make up for it by focusing extra hard on one of the other two resources. For example, if you would like to make more money, you can devote your time into working extra hours, or you could use your energy to create a product to sell. If you would like more energy, you could spend money to join a gym, or spend more time doing activities that give you energy. If you would like more time at home, you can spend less time and energy at work, and vice versa. This last category is where I have found myself recently.

When I went back to work last year after 4 months of maternity leave, it was very difficult to leave my daughter. It felt unnatural to me to be apart from her, after being in our newborn love bubble 24/7. But, as I got used to going to work everyday, it honestly started to feel like a bit of a relief. I started to see how nice it was to have adult conversations, to be doing meaningful work, to be able to eat my lunch in peace without a baby crying for my attention. But, when June turned one year old this summer, I started to rethink things. I started to feel very strongly that parenting is my main purpose in life right now. I started to feel like I was living for the weekends, those precious days where I could devote unlimited time to my little family. I started to notice how very quickly the time is going. I began thinking that there are only a few short years left until she will be in preschool. I started to feel like I was missing out on these precious moments of my daughter’s young life… time that I will never get back.

Around the same time, I started working on this blog. I craved more time to dedicate to writing, to supporting other moms, and to helping other women. I wanted to continue working with families, but I needed to find a way to do it in my own way, and on my own time.

And so, I made the decision to leave my job. I am excited for this opportunity, for all of the unknown that lies before me. I know I am blessed to be able to do this, and it is not something I take lightly. I am very much looking forward to spending more of my life bonding with my young daughter, taking her to music classes, and story time, and sharing fun experiences together. I know that these are times that I will cherish. I am excited to work on my blog and offer more yoga and meditation classes. I can’t wait to see how this all unfolds!

I am also sad to be leaving my job. I feel emotional about leaving my friends at work, the awesome people that I have shared my life with for the last 4 years. I feel scared about leaving something that was such a big part of my life, a job that feels secure and comfortable. I worry that I won’t be the mother and wife that I tell myself that I want to be and can be.

But I know I have to try this. The only way to grow is to continue challenging myself and doing things that feel uncomfortable. I want to teach my daughter that she is capable of living her life in whatever way she wants, and I know that the only way to do that is by living my own life in this way and setting a living example for her to follow. Work-life balance is difficult for all mothers to figure out, and there is no right answer, only what feels right to each one of us individually. In the work I’ve done in my career, I have helped many families, and now it is time for me to help my own family. This is what’s right for me, and it’s what’s right for us. In the next few months, I will be figuring out my new balance. I don’t know what that is yet, but I know it’s not working full time. I will be sharing my process as I figure it out. 🙂

Now it’s your turn. Are there any changes you feel called to make in your life that you’ve been putting off because they feel scary or uncomfortable? Take a look at your time, energy, and money exchange. Does it feel right to you, or is there a shift that you would like to make in order to feel more balanced?

Make difficult choices. Take chances. Trust your gut. Follow your heart.

Be well,
Ambar

 

free-gift-mama-birds-holiday-survival-guide
I am giving away a free Holiday Survival Kit throughout the month of December. It’s your guide to getting clarity around what matters most to you this holiday season. Also includes 25 ways to choose Presence over presents and 25 ways to prioritize your own Self Care during this busy time of year. Wishing you a beautiful + intentional holiday! Enjoy! 🙂