Catching up with the Rookie Moms

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Just over a year ago, Melissa Summers introduced us to Heather and Whitney, the rookie moms behind Rookie Moms, a blog for first-time parents. Technically, Heather and Whitney are no longer rookies but they are still inspiring first-time parents to get out and get moving. Parent Dish had a chance to catch up with Heather recently and talk with her about what's new and fun at RookieMoms.com.

PD: You all were profiled at Blogging Baby just over a year ago.

Heather: Yep, the day before my birthday. I was just settling into work when I saw my big pregnant self on Blogging Baby. It was a proud moment.

PD: Can you talk a little about what you and Whitney have been up to since then?

Heather: RookieMoms is a huge brainstorm of more than 300 activities for moms to do with their babies. Many of
the activities are what we call "outings" or excuses to leave the house with your baby, but some are crafts, meal-planning tips, or date-night ideas. Since last year, we've met our original goal of a year's worth of fun activities for new moms and have moved onto seeking out toddler fun.

We've also both been working on second babies. Mine arrived at the end of February. And Whitney's is due
in July.


PD: You have a new baby, so you're not technically a rookie any more . . .

Heather: Technically, I'm not a rookie anymore. But I still feel like it a good deal of the time. I feel like a
rookie dealing with my toddler and his antics, and I'm definitely new at this having-two-kids thing. How do
I get them both in and out of the car, for instance? And fed before major meltdowns occur? So, yes, I continue to feel untrained and novice at what I'm currently going through. The big advantage I have over myself two years ago is a level of confidence and the knowledge that time will pass and that my best effort is probably good enough.

PD: Tell me this: why is the first year the hardest?

Heather: The first year is the hardest because it comes as a complete shock. I was very newly married and used to doing things in my own way and on my own timetable. All of a sudden (well, nine months and then a forty-four hour labor and boom!), there is no right way and the timetable is not up to me. Even showering requires planning.

I had this image in my mind of what motherhood would look like and feel like – wanting to be this cool parent – and it wasn't that way at all. I thought I could be laid-back and fun, dress cute, spend my days cuddling a smiling baby (probably played by a three-month old) and I had no understanding of sleeplessness or nursing...instead, I was paralyzed with fear, feeling fat, obsessed with sleep training, can't hold a conversation, etc.

Now I think that all first-timers go through that to some extent and ultimately discover their own coping strategies. Mine was to find fun activities and outings that helped me get unstuck and prove to myself that I could enjoy other things and tote my baby along for the ride. I hope RookieMoms.com clearly communicates that strategy, and gives new moms some ideas to get out and have more fun through it all.

PD: You and Whitney were friends long before you started RookieMoms. How do you think your experiences (as mothers AND as friends) have helped your readers?

Heather: We've had a lot of fun thinking of new ways to amuse our toddlers and ourselves and trying out different
suggestions from readers. As friends, Whitney and I help each other to have more fun and we give each other a partner to try out different activities ("let's take the kids to find some seedy graffiti for a photo shoot" or "let's meet at Target and do errands together"). When I'm bored and run out of ideas, I can count on her for a suggestion. And I think I do the same for her. We have had a few adventures and a few mishaps trying to do most of the activities ourselves. Writing the
site together keeps us honest.

PD: What are your goals for Rookie Moms in the next year?

Heather: First and foremost, we're adjusting our lives to welcome new family members. While we're at it, we'll be working on testing all the first year activities again as well as adding fun things to do with two kids and more toddler activities. We've also started a blog for rants, reviews, stories, and news that don't qualify as straight-up "activities." We are always collecting suggestions from other rookie moms with different ideas too. Send a description of your activity to moms@rookiemoms.com. Include a picture of yourself and/or your baby, too!

RookieMoms.com is currently giving away a copy of The Three-Martini Family Vacation; sign up for their e-mail list to be entered in the drawing. And check out their library of fun activities to do with your kids!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.