Q&A

Q&A: My Maiden Name, Family Estrangement, The Pandemic, and Requested Links

Expecting my first and am estranged from my own mom. Tips on how to navigate those emotions? 

First, I am so sorry. It’s so hard and so painful. I’ll write something more in-depth but the reality is that you will be both healed and triggered in the months and years to come. I love my girls more than anything and it is so so healing to get to be their mom, but I did not know how much pain it would cause. I could never knowingly and purposefully hurt them the way I was hurt very regularly as a child and an adult, too. Verbal abuse is abuse. Period. The good news is it is mostly good. I don’t feel sad all the time by any means, so the joy far outweighs the pain. But there are those moments that sting – when you wish it was entirely different. Therapy is helpful. Finding someone who understands you is also very helpful. I came to learn that I am grieving a relationship with someone that sadly, for me, did not exist. It can feel very isolating but I promise you, you are not alone, and the cycle stops with you. Gosh, if I am short with Margot I always apologize, so I truly cannot imagine trying to hurt her, and it feels really sad that that’s how I was treated. 

What led you to your decision to keep your maiden name? 

I thought about changing it for a while and even ordered a few items with a DMS monogram to test the waters. I wrote a whole blog post about changing my last name and shared my very unique situation. In short, I chose Moss as a young adult. Conor didn’t care at all and now that I’m a mom to my two girls, I love that I can tell them I decided to do what felt right for me, and that they don’t need to follow traditions. If we look at the real reasons for taking a man’s last name, it’s really not good. Not to be a cynic – I get the whole family unit thing but last names do not define a family.

Conor now jokes that I’m too late and can’t have Scanlon. Offer expired after one year. 😂 (I’m not sure how funny that translates here but if you knew him you’d be laughing). 

How are you doing? 

If it weren’t for COVID, I’d be doing so well. I need to write more about this too but day-to-day, did not realize how burned out I was before leaving my company. In many ways it was a dream job and dream company – I obviously loved it – but the constant multitasking and feeling chained to a computer was a lot. It was so much that I never even met friends for lunch. As someone who worked for myself, that never felt great, but when you love the purpose of what you do and are behind something so wonderful,  you keep going, right?

I finally have the flexibility that I craved for years, can work on what I want to when I want to, there are some exciting new projects in the works, Margot is doing so well (our days are really so normal!), and if it weren’t for stupid COVID, life would feel pretty amazing. But this pandemic has made everything feel so unnecessarily difficult and lonely. 

Everyone went back to normal for a while and we did not. I haven’t been unmasked indoors anywhere since March 2020. Sure, I took my mask off at the hospital to sleep and visited an isolated friend unmasked, but that’s it. I feel such a fierce need to protect my girls and haven’t shared this yet, but the entire time, I’ve been really worried about asymptomatic carriers. That started popping up more and it was like boom – you were right. I was terrified when the CDC said vaccinated people didn’t have to be masked inside because in my mind, that wasn’t going to end well and boom again. I run a little paranoid as it is and it’s like all my worst fears came true with this thing.

It’s impossible to maintain friendships when you can’t really see anyone, and it often feels (to us cancer moms, at least) like everyone’s gone on with their lives without us, and I do get that. So at this point, COVID feels like it’s robbed us from so much. My toddler can’t go to preschool and that sucks. No one knows Kate. It often feels like I don’t have friends (that’s not true) because I rarely see anyone. 

So long story short, I’m great but for the love of god please please get vaccinated if you haven’t and please wear a mask until things look better. 

Is your bathroom vanity marble polished or honed? 

All the marble in our home is honed. There’s a time and a place for polished but we both strongly prefer the look of honed marble.

Favorite object or feature in your house? 

Hmm. Maybe our staircase or the french doors leading to our sunroom? I love our yard, too. Our house is really charming but it is not what I envision when I think of a long-term home. It was built in the 30s but there are too many updates and features I don’t like (canned lighting, vents in weird places etc). I love our little house but for the next one, would like something even older with more detail.

Wallpaper for a dining room that fits your aesthetic? 

So for my own home, I would sooner paint and add picture molding and a ceiling medallion and wallpaper a bedroom or bath, but…

I love this entire collection in blue, indigo, and grey.
This is beautiful
If you’re interested in a floral, this is really pretty
Love a grasscloth since it’s so timeless
This is lovely, too

Hi! You recommended both the inglesina and ingenuity booster. Which works better at home? 

Hi! So I have the inglesina lobster seat which attaches to a table or counter, but it’s not always ideal for travel since it can’t attach to every surface and even though it’s great for small spaces, the fabric gets trashed and has to be washed weekly. Our booster works independently on the ground and can attach to any chair. If you have a chair to put the booster on, I’d recommend that. Kate uses this outside and on-the-go and Margot uses this at home. 

Do you have another recommendation for children’s masks in addition to the Mamask? 

I stand by these masks being the best, especially with colder weather and school starting, but if you’re looking for something else, I really like Baggu, too. Old navy has some lighter weight ones that are nice outside on hot days (we used those for ballet) but pretty much always use Mamask. 

Any books you read to prep for pregnancy and motherhood? 

I read most of Bringing up Bebe and haven’t read another book on parenthood. I do have a few on my list since the girls are getting older but don’t really plan on discussing any behavior struggles since that feels very personal (for them). It’s one thing sharing the basic ALL B protocol and how it’s impacted me, but I really do keep anything personal to my girls private and plan to do that in the future. No crying photos, they’ll always be fully dressed, no discussing potty training, behavior issues etc. I will share what I can while always keeping them in mind, and as they get older, you’ll probably hear less and less about them and more general info. 

What car seats do you use? Do you have a recommendation for a newborn car seat? 

The girls are both in the Clek Foonf and since I posted them facing the same direction, there seemed to be some confusion. I think most people assume Margot is forward facing but she’s still rear-facing and will be until she maxes out her car seat’s weight and height (which is what is recommended) so probably until she’s closer to 4.5-5. All our car seat info (infant and toddler) can be found in this post

What resources do you prefer for car seat info? 

Safe in the Seat and The Car Seat Lady are the only two I follow and used to help me make my decision. And my friend Gina who enjoys research far more than I do. She sold me on the Clek.  

Double stroller for travel? 

We have this and love it. One of my best friends brought it to Disney and said it was perfect for the trip and I’ve loved it so far. I was sold on the canopy coverage – Margot’s skin is very sensitive to the sun with treatment, and it completely covers the entire seat. It’s also easier to push than the vista, the seats recline almost flat, and it’s pretty light for a double stroller. 

Favorite (easy) weeknight meal? 

This is my go-to. I promise I’ll make it, document the process, and share it. It’s just that it’s so basic that I feel weird sharing it, but it’s so good and so easy. 

New mom (5 month old) and struggling to get it all done. What is your daily routine? 

It is so hard! Honestly, I got nothing done until we hired our nanny. I’ve never been alone with a 5-month-old though. We hired a nanny when Margot was 3 months and I returned to work, and didn’t have any help March 2020 – April 2021. That entire year was all about caring for Kate and getting Margot through treatment. Our nanny is off this month, so I’m going to try to document the rest of the month. Now that Kate is on a set schedule, I try to get a few things done while she naps and am with the girls all day. Work happens at night, but normally, I work maybe half the hours we have our nanny and a few hours at night after bedtime. Not sure how helpful that answer is. 

Diaper rash recs? 

Triple paste is amazing. I use it with every diaper change for Kate and she never really gets rashes. 

Can you share the wrap you had Kate in the other day? 

Of course! Here it is. And thanks to a very kind follower I just learned (3+ years into parenthood – oops 😬) that I was using it incorrectly and it’s now that much more comfortable. Love when moms help one another out. Thank you!

Housewarming gift ideas? 

Ohh I like this one. Blog post coming your way soon. But to give you something now, I always love candles, hand towels, design books, and decorative bowls.

How did you mix black and navy so well in your home? 

We have ginger jars and pillows (blue) and a black ottoman, and it works. There isn’t that much black though. 

How do you handle friends and family making different COVID choices different than your family unit? 

Our circumstances are so different – we have been pretty extreme but we’ve had to be. That said, I know myself, and I never would have let my children inside anywhere unmasked during COVID. We wouldn’t be traveling by plane, attending events, or doing anything that might put them at risk. Anyone who wants to live differently (which is most people) – well, they can do that, and I just nicely explain why we can’t see them. It was more of an issue last year than this year, but friends are really respectful and let us know what they’re up to so we know if we can see them or not. Family does the same. A few months ago, certain things were safe for vaccinated people but they didn’t feel safe for Margot. My mother-in-law had things she had to do that were safe for a vaccinated adult, but not safe for Margot, so we’d just pause and she’d go back to our protocol, test, and see the girls. She’s at the lake with us now and isolated to do so. The hardest part in all of this is feeling like we were so close to being able to do things again, and having it all ripped away from us. There was no “back to normal” for our family, and it was hard to watch everyone else get to live again while we stayed home afraid of everyone. Cancer is lonely. Covid is lonely. When you stop seeing people, it’s natural that you would communicate less, but I’ll tell you, it sucks. 

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