Monika Hibbs is a mom of three, author, content creator, lifestyle-maven and home decor shop owner! She just marked her 10th year anniversary of blogging over at monikahibbs.com, and is best known for her light, livable and nostalgic aesthetic. When Monika isn’t working, you can find her at school drop-offs, taking ever-so-professional photos of her kids and relaxing by the fire with her husband Troy.
Monika is a long-time client and she was one of the first mama's who came to mind to help launch this new series! I sat down with her over Zoom a few weeks ago where we dived into motherhood – the good, the challenging and all the moments in-between. Grab a coffee, tea, water or whatever your pleasure and join us!
When you decided to start having kids, what was your journey like to become a mom?
Gosh, it was full of learning and challenges. When I had my first (Liam) I was doing everything for the first time and having a new baby really changed how I lived. I like schedules, lists, and being organized – I like my mornings and my workouts....I'm a busy bee! And at the same time, I was working and we (along with my husband Troy) love to travel and do it all, so the hardest part when I had Liam was that he was now in control. As much as I wanted to call the shots and schedule everything, including when he slept and when to leave the house – I found it all very exhausting trying to keep up!
So while it was full of joy and love, I struggled with how life changed, being tired and then having to manage my own expectations to feel like myself again.
What was your favourite part of becoming a mom?
My favourite thing about becoming a mom was the overwhelming amount of joy. I never felt that joy before (along with feeling tired and exhausted too). You can be having the worst day and they have the ability to brighten it in a millisecond. It's not all joyful, but I love how they can get you to that happy place so easily.
What was an area that surprised you?
The thing that surprised me was how opinionated people were to me on Instagram. I think why it surprised me is because my personality doesn't go in that judgemental direction, it's just not who I am. So I was very shocked with how people would share their opinions about sleep training and even books that I was reading on various topics. It made me not want to share too much on mothering as I didn't want their opinions to get to me. Most moms just want the best for their children, and if we're doing it our own way that's our choice – we're allowed to learn. So I think there is this level of understanding and grace that we need to remember when we’re sharing opinions online. It definitely changed how much I wanted to share about parenting.
What transition with each baby did you find the hardest?
Definitely the first was the hardest for me, once I got into a routine with my second and third, I found more balance. First of all, when you have your first, you have no clue what you're doing. The days were good but it was more the nights that were hard as Liam had bad reflux. Because I had no idea what to expect that was hard. By the time we added Lily (my second,) I knew what I was doing, plus she was an easy baby. When Blake (my third) was born he just came along for the ride – it's true what they say! After the first, I wasn't as high-strung, more relaxed and I think their personalities pick up on that. Blake really had no choice, and just fell into place with the family. I really enjoyed watching our family be complete with all three. First was hard, second was bliss, third was completing the family!
What is the one piece of motherhood advice that has helped you the most?
To cherish the moments and capture them on camera. Being a working mom, time goes by so fast, even more so with adding to our family. So remember to take pictures, and videos too! It's really crazy how much you forget. When your baby is saying that one word over and over again and you think, "I'll never forget this"...and then you do. Videos are amazing for remembering those moments too.
Writing and publishing my book Gather at Home was a proud moment for sure. It was SO much work and then in the end you have a tangible thing in front of you – that made it very rewarding. I love nostalgia and the rush of feelings you get remembering moments from your childhood – I live for that and the book was my way of recreating that for my children. It's filled of family recipes, along with some special photographs of our family. They each have their own copy set aside for when they're older and I'm excited at the thought of them being able to look back on those moments. For our family, the book doesn't have an expiry date in our home – it's everlasting.
As a new mom, remember...
In order to be our best, we need to feel our best. Moms are so criticized for taking time for themselves. If you can, don't feel guilty and make sure to take the time to do the things you love. Because that will fill you up and give you the energy to enjoy your kids.
Thank you to Monika for joining us as our first Mama Muse!
Make sure to check out Monika on Instagram for more amazing inspiration.