When I Stop Trying So Hard

rear view mirror

I’m sitting in my car, fumbling for the clasp.

It’s the om necklace my husband gave me days after our first child was born, and I can’t get it to hook.

Four kids and a decade and a half later, this necklace remains my favorite. I’ve put it on a million times and though the chain the om pendant hangs on is on the short side, it has never been difficult to fasten. So there I sit, fumbling with the thing, already running late and wondering to myself, ‘Why am I having so much trouble getting this thing on?!’

I can see my hands working the small hook close to the chain just under my chin in my rear view mirror. Small-metal-ring, heading towards open-silver-lever aaaaand…

it’s a miss. And a miss. And another miss.

“I. AM. SO. LATE!” I think-yell at myself for encouragement.

I miss again. And again.

My shiny ohm necklace glares back at me in the mirror, mockingly.

“This is RIDICULOUS!” I lower my tired arms, hands dropping into my lap with defeat.

I stop. I take a little breath and I sit still for the first time that morning. And then it dawned on me. I hadn’t sat still all morning long. Not even for three seconds. My mind had been jumping from one thing to the next from the second I woke up (ten minutes late).

I’d rushed to get my kids out the door to school. I’d rushed to get home, pick-up from the tornado that had surely hit our kitchen that morning, shower, dress and get back out the door to my next thing.

Sitting in my car, going over the morning, I take a deep breath, and just like that, some internal reset button is pushed and I know what I need to do to get this necklace on.

I turn away from my car mirror to have another go at the necklace.

Immediately, things felt different. I feel different. My mind is settled. I’m breathing. My hands move the way they want to move. There’s no reflection staring back at me to confuse things— just my hands, going the way they know to go.

Three seconds later, wa-la.  My necklace is clasped.

I sit in the front seat of my car, close my eyes and laugh.

This moment. This lesson. How is this my life?

What happens when I force things? When I hold too tight or push too hard? When I’m too busy to pause?

What happens when I soften? When I breathe and trust? When I hold on to letting go? When I allow myself a moment (like, literally, as few as 10-15 seconds) of stillness and silence?

“Ommmmmmmm” my mind teases me. I open my eyes and see the shiny pendant in the mirror, at long last, hanging from my neck. I breathe deeply and say ommmmm again, this time out loud. And as I get my purse and move slowly to open the car door, the place I’d been rushing too next feels far, far less important.


ps: I’d love to hear of a parenting moment and/or new awareness about yourself that helped you feel more present, even admist the chaos of everyday life. xo


I hope you walk with me and other moms here because we are not alone. Let’s connect on twitter, facebook and pinterest too. The manual is ours to write, but we don’t have to write it alone!

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Parenting by the book. Don’t do it.

Believe me, I know the first few years (decades?) of motherhood are hard. Wanting to feed, love and help this adorable little person grow the ‘right’ way fills any new parent with all consuming questions, the answers to which seemingly allude you alone. And the questions other people ask — ohhhh the questions.

“Is he sleeping through the night?”

What the hell does that matter? Worst. Question. EVER.

Ask me something that DOES matter. Ask me how I’m feeling. Ask me about my birth story, about me how it feels to be a mom. Ask me about my child’s nature — what sounds does she make? Does she like to be held up, looking out? To be swaddled? Does she burp better when I hold her like this on my knee or over my shoulder? Have I met any other new-mommy friends? Do I feel supported? What can you do to support me?

Seriously — ask me ANYTHING but “Is he sleeping through the night?!?”

The sleep questions we ask one another… at some level I know it’s normal ’cause we’re ALL thinking about it. We all want to know how we can be getting more sleep. But there are sooooo many other things we could be talking about… and trust me when I tell you that none of us (parents of little people) are getting enough sleep.

If your baby or your child doesn’t sleep so well (like, ever!!!), I know it is hard. I know it is unbelievably stressful. On you. On your marriage. Maybe even your relationships with the in-laws and other family members that want to “help”. But the thing is, when it comes to sleep, you really don’t WANT their help… you want their support.

You might be putting up a good front, but secretly, deep down inside, you worry you are doing it wrong and you blame yourself. ‘WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?!?!?!? WHY WON’T THIS KID SLEEP?!?!?!?’

Or secretly, you blame your child. ‘Damn kid. Just f-ing go to sleep!!!! I will PAY YOU TO GO TO SLEEP!!!’

If your child is still a baby, you blame nursing or bottle feeding for the (sometimes hourly but don’t tell anybody) middle of the night wakeups. You blame yourself for holding your baby when they cry (?!?!? please never blame yourself for this. EVER.) Maybe your doctor has even ‘warned’ you about this by saying “It’s never too early to set them her up to be a good sleeper…” But whatever you are hearing, know this, if the advice you are getting (even from your doctor, even from your mom) doesn’t sit well with you and your gut, you can choose to LET IT GO and trust yourself and what feels right to you instead.

Of course you are feeding and holding your baby — your baby is CRYING! Your baby is HUNGRY. Your baby literally thrives on touch. Or maybe she has reflux (or some other mysterious thing going on inside of her that she alone knows about) and amazingly enough, knows she feels better when she has a little milk in her tummy. Or maybe she’s hitting a growth spurt and is brilliantly helping you ready your milk supply for this spurt and so, yep, it’s time to eat AGAIN.

My point is, take a second to balance the disempowering messages the world keeps sending you in this, the age of outside information, and remind yourself DAILY of this simple truth:

You know best.

Always, always go the way that feels the lightest. The brightest. The RIGHTEST.

Collect the data. Ask for input. See a specialist. Let all the information and the many different ways you could in motherhood on any given day filter down through you as you allow yourself to decide which way to go based on your gut. Your INTUITION.

But never give your power away. You can trust your instincts.


PS: If you liked this post, join our community of mindful mamas. You’ll receive weekly (errr, almost weekly. I’m a mom of four first so, yeah… if I don’t have anything to say worth saying, believe me, I won’t be saying/sending anything) gentle parenting tips as well as a free gift, a Hug Each Moment Kit via email today, direct to your inbox. (But sorry, I don’t do spam.)

Inspiration and support for the journey of motherhood.  The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone! Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest too. xoxo


Helping Kids Make “Good” Decisions

kids making good decisions


From the tiny little moments like picking out what to wear, playing on the playground or cutting their own pancake at the breakfast table (yes, even when they cut it  into a complete and utter crumbling mess) to the GREAT BIG moments like deciding who will be their BFF, whether or not to join in the gossiping on the playground and which selfie to post on Instagram…  life delivers many opportunities for our kids to exercise their decision making abilities.

We’d all like our kids to have their own personal moral compass that points due north (all the time!!!) — but as of yet these have not hit the market. What we can do as parents though, is allow for this magical compass (the one that leads the way to safety when our kids find themselves in difficult situations or with a hard to make decision in front of them. The type that works ALL ON IT’S OWN, whether we are in the room or not!!!) to develop innately within our children.

The sooner our tots and young kids build confidence in their decision making abilities, the easier it is for them to tune in and TRUST their intuition to guide as they get older. Practice, encouragement and support joined with clear, firm and consistent boundaries. This is how we support our young kids in building their intuitive abilities and decision making skills.

Where are you holding on to letting go of over-controlling your kiddos this week? Where are you guarding space for your kids to practice living into their own personal power by making decisions for themselves… even if they get it wrong the first time? Where is this hard for you? Tell me your stories below!!!! One of mine is here… the day my daughter shaved her head. (It’s not always easy… :0 but it is rewarding.)

PS: If you liked this post, join our community of mindful mamas and receive a free gift, a Hug Each Moment Kit via email today along with weekly positive parenting tips and inspirations direct to your inbox.

Inspiration and support for the journey of motherhood.  Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest too. xoxo


The Day My Daughter Shaved Her Head

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Training Wheels

“I can do it MYSELF!!!”

“I’m not cold!!! I don’t WANT to wear a coat.”

“That shirt is itchy and I don’t like it.”

“No…” and hides behind mom’s legs when asked to say thankyou or goodbye to Grandma.

We’ve all been to these places with our kids. Easy moments? No… not usually… but with a small change in our perspective on what might be going on inside our little ones, these challenging moments can become just a little easier to breathe into and support our kids through.

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Where do these words and behaviors come from? Is it stubbornness? Obstinence? A broken part of our kids personalities or a place we’ve failed in our parenting that’s begging to be fixed? Or maybe it’s a sign of more misbehavior to come if we don’t nip it in the bud.

Or maybe it is something else all together.

What if this defiance we are seeing is developmentally appropriate; a place our children go when they want to 1) test a theory, 2)  learn about relationships or 3) feel safe, secure and in charge?

Ahhh. Now that’s feeling a little easier to be with as a parent. Nothing’s wrong. Nothing’s broken. These are merely things I can expect from my little scientist as they learn about communication and relationships.

Knowing one’s mind. Having clear, strong opinions and voicing them in a way that others around us can hear them and be enrolled by them instead of backed up or put-off… these are some high level communication skills we’re talking about here. And skills take practice. Is it any wonder our three, four (even fourteen) year olds struggle with communicating their big feelings, especially when they run directly against the desires of their parents?

The next time your child plays out a challenging behavior that seems to come from a “strong-will”, see if you can step into the experience from their point of view. What might he or she be exploring in that moment? Questions like:

Is it safe to go against the grain?

Is it better to blend in or to be myself?

How can I make myself be seen/known/accepted?

Am I powerful?

Is the world a safe and nurturing place?

If a child has the strength to “take-on” their parents with words that defy (yes, even when it’s 38 degrees out and their inner voice says “no coat!”) how much safer will this child be in years to come? How much more likely is this child to have a voice and know how to use it…

When at age 6 she wants to draw her sky with all the colors of the rainbow though all the papers around her are clearly filled with blue skies only.

When at age 7 a teacher insists all the kids run at gym but she is starting to come down with something and doesn’t feel like running.

When at age 10 she wants to be a vegetarian — even though nobody she knows is a vegetarian.

When at age 13 a boy she likes suggests they run and play on the train tracks behind his house.

When at age 14 someone thinks having a smoke together in the basement of a friend’s house would be a fun idea.

When at age 18 all the kids her age are getting piercings.

When at age 20 the guy she just started dating begins to act jealous and controlling.

When at age 25 she considers leaving a job where she receives little credit or joy to start up her dream business.

Model the behaviors you would like to see in your kids. Teach your child how to voice their big thoughts and opinions with respect. Teach your child that “pleases” and “thank you’s” bring with them smiles and happy feelings from the people they are shared with. Model for them how to breathe when they are upset. Help them learn from experience that it is safe for them to “use their words” when they do not like what is going on. Invite them to pause and hit the reset button before acting on the many impulses that want to move their little bodies when they are filled with big feelings.

Be your child’s relationship “training wheels”. Because when you do, you give your child a great, great gift: peace-filled relationships with themselves and others, a gift they will enjoy for the rest of their lives.


If you live in or about the St. Louis area, join other couples supporting one another in parenting from a place of love and respect here. I hope you join with me and other moms here because mommy-hood is just plain better when we are holding hands. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest as well. The manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!


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Posts on Mindfulness

Average Is Not What Your Baby Needs



If you look up baby sleep requirements in a parenting book, you will likely find a table like this:

Total sleep time required over a 24-hour period

• Newborn…….16-17 hours

• 1-6 months….15-16 hours

• 6-12 months…14 hours

• 1-2 years…..13-14 hours

What they don’t tell you is that baby sleep researchers are forced to base their estimates of average sleep requirements on “best guesses” and that baby sleep norms vary greatly from culture to culture, study to study.

A little know sleep tip: average is not what your baby needs.


Now don’t get me wrong, these “best guesses” can be very helpful. They can feel reassuring and they can help flag some of the many other issues that could be altering your baby’s sleep (the true issue needing attention) like Reflux. Digestion. Constitution. Gas. Colic. Tongue Tie. A high palate. An improper latch. Milk supply. And so on, and so on. Here’s the deal.  Norms and charts are all fine and good if you:

1) take them for what they are, averages based upon the limited data collected in order to make the assessment (not your child)

2) are NOT dealing with sleep problems.

If you are dealing with sleep problems, worries and/or big concerns about your baby’s health, it’s time to dig deeper.

My advice to parents is this: read the studies, look at the charts, ask your best friend and neighbor… and then let ALL the information you collect filter down through you. Your higher self. Your mommy intuition and wisdom.

You know your child. You know your family. You and only you are uniquely connected to this little one because YOU are MOM or co-mom or dad or maybe even Grandma. Your title, age or even your male or female-ness do not matter. If you are this one’s mother, you know it. Step into your mommy intuition. Your love and connection to this child gives you a degree no one else in the world holds. Not the researchers. Not the sleep coaches. Not even your mother in law.

This may sound hypocritical given I am a sleep consultant. But it is not. My role might be better understood if I went by Suzanne Tucker, Baby Sleep Intuition Supporter or Suzanne Tucker, Mommy Listener/Cheerleader Such That Baby Sleeps.

Because here’s the thing.

There is no manual, except the one that exists within you. Not on baby sleep. Not on potty training. Not on where to send your child to school or how to love them best.

Open yourself to your mommy intuition to guide you as you take in sleep data… or any data. What is relevant to you will make itself known. Watch for the sparks — an inner “knowing” from somewhere deep inside yourself that says, “Yes!!! This is important for my child.” or “That’s what I thought!!!” or maybe “This is worth a try. It feels right for me/my baby.”

Here is an example of how easy it is to misread research and worry because you fear your baby is not fitting into the “mold”.

Imagine you have a one month old baby who sleeps 12.5 hours per day. They are happy. They are gaining weight. You are in a grove and no it’s not easy but yes, you genuinely feel your baby is thriving. UNTIL your best friend (or doctor or mother in law or someone else) tells you they are not. They tell you your baby “should” be sleeping more. That the books say 16 hours is normal. They have you worried, but do you have cause to worry?

Let’s take a close look at the data behind the averages behind the charts in the books, for example, this study, one of the most complete baby sleep charts, published in the highly respected medical journal, Pediatrics, based on the average sleep times associated with 493 Swiss children tracked from birth (Iglowstein et al 2003). Over a 24-hour period, total sleep time averages were as follows:

Baby Sleep Chart and Averages. Be careful how you read them. As far as baby is concerned, average is over rated.

Or said another way, the average total sleep time for 493 Swiss one month old babies worked out to be between 14-15 hours. One hour less than what your friend told you was “normal”. But look closer. Only 50% of the babies actually got between 13-16 hours. ONLY 50%!!!!! 96% got between 9-19 hours. Let me put it to you visually:

Average is not what your baby needs. Baby sleep charts. Be careful how you read them.

Never give your power away.

Never. There’s a lot of information out there, but it is worthless without you and your mommy intuition filter to make sense of it all. You are this one’s mom and this is not a thing to be taken lightly. Step into your power. Listen with all of your senses. Your baby is talking to you. Source support. Quiet your mind. Follow your heart. Average is not what your baby needs. You are.



When we follow our bliss, tune in and trust, anything and everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because everything is BETTER when we are holding hands. Let’s share on twitterfacebook and pinterest too because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!!!

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Iglowstein I, Jenni OG, Molinari L, Largo RH. 2003. Sleep duration from infancy to adolescence: Reference values and generational trends. Pediatrics 111(2): 302-307.

Believe Anyway

“Your baby did not make it.” The doctors said this and left the couple to grieve, baby on mom’s chest, skin to skin. For two hours this grieving mother and this grieving father held, soothed, comforted, talked to and loved on their son.

One hundred and twenty minutes, loving, bonding, tuning in and following their intuition. When their baby started moving and breathing, the doctors brushed the parent’s reports of signs of life off, not even returning to the room, but sending in a midwife to tell these grieving parents something along the lines of, “these things happen, these sorts of breathes and movements, but your son is gone.”

For two hours these parents believed anyway, against all reason or logic, holding and loving their child back to life, despite hours of being told what they were seeing… what they knew to be so, was not to be believed.

Their baby was alive…

The miracle is two fold. That the baby revived to life… and that the parents trusted their intuition over cold, hard facts and medical know-how.

I love this story on so many levels. The power of loving touch. The power of believing. And I am reminded by this miracle baby, this mother and this father, once again, in matters big and small, that I can look inside of myself for instructions. That I am best served (in mothering and in life) when I keep my heart higher than my head, despite what anybody else has to say about it.



When we follow our bliss, anything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because motherhood (and life) is better when we’re holding hands.

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Little Ears

colin w mmm logo 5.2013We were driving to dinner and my three year old son asked, “Mom, can I have an E-F-H?”

Dad and I look at each other. “A what???!” “An E—-F—-H…” he repeats in a do-you-pinky-swear-you-won’t-tell-anyone?!?! sorta whisper. And with that, I get it and interpret for my husband. Our child is attempting to spell out a cool-secret-thing he wants, just like he’s heard his big sisters do.

“Mom, can we have some I-C-E -C-R-E-A-M?” or “Mom, can we go to the P-A-R-K when Hadley and Colin nap?”

Things not meant for three year old ears lest they want it too, get spelt out in our home and our little guy had cracked the code. He just didn’t know how to spell. But why let that stop him, right?

They may not always do what we want, when we want… but do not be fooled.



When we follow our bliss, anything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here, sharing the stories of our lives, because motherhood is better when we are holding hands. 

A Curvy Road

The beginning of my third decade on Earth brought with it our first child and there began my walk on the spiritual path of motherhood.

How to sum up this walk???

For me it’s been a spiritual practice in many things, but forced to name just three they would be acceptance, self-love and intuition.


Ever the fighter for control and/or having things go the way I’d like them to go, Spirit wisely threw me quite a few curve balls in my late thirties. I’d sum up the spiritual exercise of early motherhood and later, living through five miscarriages in a single word. Acceptance.

Being a first time mom and feeling the grasp I thought I had so firmly on life slipping through my hands. Living through loss after loss, accepting I had no control over whether, with each new baby, I would carry them full term or not. The experiences combined, motherhood and miscarriage… better than a college credit course in teaching me to allow.

I look at our experiences with loss now differently than I did while they were occurring. I still feel the sting of these experiences but can also appreciate them for what they brought me. As I see it life forced my hand, demanding of me to learn to be with what is rather than how I’d have it.

Non-attachment. Not an easy lesson, but a valuable one and I am still a student of (big-time). Life as “mom” gives me new lessons in sweet-surrender on a daily basis. Holding on to letting go. It’s become my mommy mantra.

Softening into life rather than fighting it when inevitably it doesn’t seem to be going my way. This is the lesson acceptance has offered and it’s been immeasurably helpful in parenting, especially of late now that we have two tween daughters and twin 2.5 year olds.

Two’s and tween/teens. All you READ about parenting these ages has to do with conflict and power struggles. The terrible two’s. The dreaded teen years. Thankfully we are not there (knocks on wood.) I think the resistance that might exist between us has been lessened by a great extent thanks to the lessons life delivered to me (be it with me kicking and screaming every step of the way) in learning to allow. The practice of pausing and allowing before moving head first into responding and reacting; invaluable of late for me. Thank you Spirit.


I look at self-love as coming to better know and love myself for the person I am while forgiving myself for the person I am not (a rather long list).

How can I love another if I don’t first love me? Good question, and one I found motherhood brought into sharp focus for me.

When life feels hard I breathe in “I love myself” and breathe out “I am enough.” This is my other mommy mantra, the one I reach too when life is feeling hard… and it’s been healing beyond measure.

Being enough. Life brings me many opportunities for me to practice self-love, breathing into my mistakes and letting go of the “not-enough” when inevitably I find myself judging (myself and those I love… that’s who we judge most harshly though, isn’t it?) or otherwise resisting life. This is a daily (if not moment by moment) practice for me and probably will be for the rest of my life. It is in modeling self-love and forgiveness I teach my children the most precious thing I have to teach them about love, namely, that I am love. That they are love.

That love is a noun… not a verb.


I see intuition as tuning in and trusting myself and the inner knowing I pose (we each possess) to guide me. I believe this inner knowing to be Spirit and I look to this place inside myself for very real guidance on matters large and small, in parenting and in life.

So many ways to go. Do I do this? Say this? Go this way or that? How do I manage this crisis, this conversation, this decision, thought, emotion? I would be LOST in parenting were it not for the practice of pausing. Were it not for the guidance I receive when I stop to ask,  listen and receive. All that is left for me then is to follow. Thank you Spirit.


Suzanne Tucker aka Zen Mommy hopes if you liked this article you will subscribe and/or join other mindful mamas here. To keep the lights on, Suzanne runs a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Shawn. She is passionate about the connection we are and to that end offers Infant Massage, parent coaching and YogaParenting. If she can be a support to you on your spiritual path of motherhood, please reach out to her today!

How to Be a Happy (Not Guilty) Mama

So I was supposed to be stepping onto a plane just about now.  I was heading for a weekend in Asheville, North Carolina with my BFF (and business partner) Ria Sharon.

Hotel rooms, dinners, lots of girl time… not to mention the real reason I was going: to speak at the very cool Type A Mom Conference, mingling with ka-jillions of super cool moms that work online like myself.

So what happened? Why am I sitting here in my home office typing while the twins take their afternoon nap? It has to do with two things 1) Mommy Intuition and 2) Mommy Guilt… the very things I planned to speak about at the Conference. [Read more…]

How to Be an Expert Mommy

When I first spoke with Zen Mommy about guest posting here, my heart was all a-flutter. This is probably because she told me that I’m funny. My husband doesn’t think so. Obviously, he’s WRONG. And it was great fun to throw THAT in his face. So, I was driving along swimmingly, my heart full of happy bubbles and my mouth moving at the speed of light when two very critical words seeped into my consciousness.

Expert Mommy.

I suppose I was so stoked by the offer that I forgot for a moment that this site is a cesspool of knowledge. You know, useful information. Me, an Expert Mommy? Hell, there are so many days when it takes every ounce of my being to just be a mediocre mommy. And right at that moment I almost backed out. I was intimidated at the thought. These women are educated and experienced. I’m a 27 year old mom of one with an uncompleted college education. How could I compete?

Then it hit me.

This is not a pissing contest ladies. It’s a sisterhood. [Read more…]