This week on the Mama Next Door blog we are featuring Shannon Buth ― the gorgeous smile and the brains behind the House of Shan and the Live What You Love Collection. She's a Chicago mom to four boys and is married to her high school sweetheart. Shannon truly lives what she loves each and every day and I'm so incredibly honored our paths crossed back in the Windy City.
Tell me a bit about yourself before you became a mother, and how did you change after becoming a mother?
I always wanted to be a mom. I never dreamed of my wedding day, I always dreamed of my unborn children. It was a difficult journey getting pregnant with our first 3 boys, and once I became a Mom for the first time I realized the love that exists between a mother and her children is the most powerful, beautiful kind of love. It changed my entire perspective on life. My dear friend and doula gave me this poem when my first was born and I think it sums up how a mother changes.
“Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born, I loved you. Before you were an hour, I would die for you. This is the miracle of love.” ― Maureen Hawkins.
What does your absolute dream version of motherhood look like?
My dream version of motherhood is one that all my children are healthy, thriving and happy (and not fighting). ha!
What societal or cultural messages about motherhood frustrate you and how would you like to see them changed?
I think there's a cultural message that moms need to do it all. When my twins were born, we had a 19 month old, and our world was crazy. I think back to those times and how hard it was - and I had so many friends and family offer to help, and just show up to help, but I never 'asked' for help. And sometimes I look back and feel like I was too proud or something. If I could do that time over again, I'd ask everyone for help! ha!
What do you do well? What’s really works for you? Do you have a secret? Your mom super power?
My biggest super power is that I love hard! My kids are smothered in kisses and 'I love you's' every single day. There truly isn't a day that goes by that I don't take each of my kids aside for a giant hug and tell them how loved they each are. That's my superpower.
How do you take care of yourself? How do you deal with mom guilt?
I take care of myself by spending time with girlfriends laughing, or a night out with my husband. That refuels me like no other. I also love to sweat. Sometimes all I need is 30 minutes to work out or go on a walk, and I instantly feel better.
I've learned (with 4 kids) that there's no time for mom guilt. Sure we all have our moments, but I've learned over the years that it's not productive and to let it go.
What’s a topic related to motherhood, or life after becoming a mother, that you wish we talked about more?
Oh wow, there are so many topics that are important. But, I think beyond that, it's finding other Mom's to talk to. Being a new Mom can be extremely isolating, and it's SO important to find other women to talk to and to relate to. I have tried to be very open with women about dealing with infertility and postpartum depression. These topics need to be out in the open, so women know they are not alone.
When I had twins, I reignited a Mom's group called 24/7 moms. The idea is that Mothers get together for an evening out and 'refuel'. I have speakers come in and talk on relevant mom topics- whether thats effective discipline, marriage/sex therapists, sleep specialists, birth order. It's a place where women can feel supported. I always encourage other women to start these types of groups in their communities so they can feel supported and heard.