This month, we’re celebrating our third annual Five Fascinating Moms feature in Pregnancy & Newborn. The common thread of motherhood connects them—and us—on our journeys through pregnancy and parenthood. As you read the stories of these remarkable moms, it is our hope that you will not feel inconsequential or underachieving but rather supported by a community of strong and beautiful women, like yourself, and empowered to be the best mom you can be.
Meet Liz Stanley.
Residence: San Francisco, California
Occupation: Founder and managing editor of the lifestyle blog Say Yes
Children: Henry (6), Edie (4 months)
Favorite song: “Desperation Breeds” by Andrew Bird
Worst advice she’s ever received: “If breastfeeding hurts, you’re doing it wrong.” (It will kill for at least a week.)
Strangest pregnancy craving: Green apple sour straws
Liz Stanley struggled with secondary infertility for four years before finally getting pregnant with her daughter. “The most difficult part was watching my son grow older without a sibling,” says the now mom of two. “I stopped being able to enjoy birthdays and holidays because it pained me too much to watch him grow older alone.” After several rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and two miscarriages, Stanley is beyond delighted by her family’s new addition. “I’ve been waiting so long for this baby,” she explains. “I’m just over-the-moon happy and grateful to have her here. I pinch myself everyday.”
Although she worried about how her firstborn would adjust to having a sibling after six years in the role of only child and questioned whether she’d be able to handle wrangling two kiddos at once, she reports that the transition has been easier than she expected. “I thought I wouldn’t be good at … managing the chaos of more than one child,” she admits. “Turns out, though, being one of six kids has served me well. Helping my 6-year-old with his homework while trying to calm a fussy newborn isn’t as stressful as I imagined.”
Stanley says she “couldn’t recall a thing about nursing, sleep training or babywearing,” but her roll-with-the-punches attitude has allowed the newborn days this go-round to be far less overwhelming than they were as a first-time mom. Plus, shares Stanley, “Edie has given me the gracious gift of sleep! With a good night’s sleep, I feel like I can handle anything that comes my way.”
And the go-getting mom has a lot coming her way. Her days are divided between changing diapers and making playdates and managing her wildly successful lifestyle blog Say Yes. The blog began as a creative outlet for Stanley while she was working as a high school counselor in New Jersey but has since developed into her full-time job. “It’s a career I stumbled into,” says Stanley. “I absolutely love the creativity, flexibility, community and pride that comes from building something from scratch to inspire and share with others.”
Even after years of daily posts, Stanley is constantly thinking up new ideas and continues to produce consistently creative content. “I take notes on my phone all day long,” she explains. “At the park with my son, reading a menu at a restaurant, popping into a bookstore or thrift store … there is so much inspiration all around you.”
Still, the successful blogger confesses: “Sometimes I get scared to push publish,” especially when posts are particularly personal, like her series on infertility. What gives her the courage to share her private moments publically? “I remind myself that despite the fact that my site has grown and morphed into something larger than me, people still want and crave that human experience behind every project and idea,” says Stanley. “Without fail, every time I’m nervous to share something personal, it’s received with open arms.”
And it’s that supportive, loving community of readers and fellow bloggers that keeps Stanley motivated. Plus, she relishes the creative control and ability to work from home. She relies on a nanny for part-time childcare, but the hands-on mom is able to nurse her baby throughout the day and walk her son to and from school.
With both a growing career and growing family to be thankful for, Stanley is quite pleased with where her unexpected path has taken her. “At 15, I was interested in biology, education and sports,” she recalls. “Although I wasn’t particularly good at any of those things, I just enjoyed being a jack-of-all-trades kind of person.” And fortunately, she goes on, “It has ended up serving me very well in the lifestyle publishing world and in being a mother.”
(Photo by Rachel Thurston, courtesy of Liz Stanley.)