When we started the Boba Ambassadors program a few years back, a select few mamas stood out to us for their advocacy in babywearing, their love of Boba, and their possitive attitude. For us, Emily Chapelle (creator and author of JoyfulAbode.com and SoDamnDomestic.com) was part of the cream of the crop. She's got a great online vibe, helpful to the moon and back, and is a great example of the freedom, together parenting point of view.
We're thrilled to announce that Emily has now accepted our invitation to be the voice of Boba on Twitter. She'll be posting content, answering tweets, and sharing the Bobawearing and gentle parenting love on Twitter. We wanted you to have a chance to get to know her a little better, so worked up this little interview to share on our blog. Please help us welcome Emily with a DM on Twitter, or a comment here. Enjoy!
Boba: Hi Emily! Can you tell our readers a little more about how you came to be a Boba Ambassador, and now the voice of Boba on Twitter?
Emily: I’ve been a Boba Ambassador for so long that I’m not even positive how that happened. I’m guessing Bethany saw me tweeting about Boba and helping people with their Boba questions on Twitter, and approached me about it that way. I was in the first group of Boba Ambassadors, and I’m still having so much fun with the program!
About a week and a half ago, I got a DM on Twitter from Bethany, telling me to check my email. Because of course she knew I’d be on Twitter before I saw my email! Haha. In the email, she invited me to join the Boba team as the Twitter account manager, and I was so excited I could hardly hold it in. I spent the rest of the evening grinning ear-to-ear (and basically the rest of the twelve days since then).
I’ve always admired Boba for its amazing team of genuine people, their attention to every single customer in a truly personal way, and their devotion to safe and ergonomically correct babywearing without exception. So of course, I was beyond proud and happy to join the team.
Boba: What do you like about Twitter? How do you think active parents benefit from the platform?
Emily: The first time I joined Twitter, I didn’t understand it. It was touted as a “micro-blogging” platform, and users were encouraged to tweet things like, “I’m eating a ham sandwich!” and “Just bought some awesome new shoes.” and other mundane things. No one I knew was on it, and it was hard to find people to follow. So I quit.
But I re-joined when I was pregnant with my first baby, and I guess the community had developed more since my first try. Nearly instantly, I was connected to a huge network of other moms and moms-to-be, sharing pregnancy advice and stories, encouraging each other, and swapping funny moments, difficult moments, and beautiful moments we’ll never forget. Any time I had a question about something Google wasn’t quite right for, I could throw it out into Twitter, and within a couple of hours have a few opinions and personal recommendations.
After my daughter was born, I could hop onto Twitter during middle-of-the-night nursing sessions, and connect with other young moms who were in exactly the same situation… nursing their babes in the middle of the night, too. We encouraged each other and reassured each other that eventually we would sleep, then we kissed our babies’ heads and snuggled them close.
Now that my babies are older, Twitter is great for other things. Sharing how to find a great babysitter or mother’s helper, chatting about finding balance as an entrepreneurial work-at-home-mama, exchanging dinner ideas, talking with other moms about homeschooling versus traditional schools versus Montessori schools, and so on…. and so many of those new mamas I tweeted with years ago are still around, sharing their families and their stories, 140 characters at a time. And it's so easy even if you’re really busy; just pop in, toss out a tweet or two, respond to your mentions, and pop back out.
It’s truly a beautiful community for any parent to be a part of.
Boba: You cover a lot of natural/gentle parenting topics on your blog, Joyful Abode. What does "natural parenting" mean to you?
Natural parenting to me means not worrying about following anyone’s rules for parenting, but following your child and your gut. If your instinct says you should hold your child until they’re asleep every single night, that’s what you should do. If your child leans out of your arms toward their bed, and falls asleep happily on her own, listen to your child. If your baby cries a little before falling asleep to release some tension from the day, and you’re there to support him and comfort him, listen to him.
My version of natural parenting has included, at different times and in different stages:
- Lots and lots of babywearing, including tandem babywearing
- Lots and lots of breastfeeding, including nursing through pregnancy and tandem breastfeeding, nursing in public, and full-term breastfeeding (truly child-led weaning)
- For a period, exclusive pumping and paced bottle feeding, supplementing with donor breastmilk, then supplementing with donor milk at breast with a LactAid, for my son who has an upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie
- Real food baby-led solids, but also homemade purees for my son
- Cloth diapers and disposable diapers
- Elimination communication, early potty learning, and knowing that “regressing” into diapers again during hard life transitions and teething is just fine, too
- Co-sleeping as long as my babies and I loved it, but also celebrating when they graduated to their own bedroom
- Teaching independence - with boundaries - using the same respect I would give to any other person, child or adult
- Planning lots of fun playdates and activities together, but playing hooky when I can tell my kids just needed a snuggle day at home
- Loving my children with every bit of my heart, and letting them know how important they are to me every single day
Boba: What's your personal favorite babywearing tip?
Emily: Learning to breastfeed while babywearing (if applicable) will serve you well! But also… one thing I learned early on in my learning-to-babywear days is that for the most part, tighter is better. Babies want to feel snug and secure, close to your body. I thought my daughter hated babywearing at first, until I REALLY snugged my carrier, much tighter than I had tried the first few times. Then she nursed happily, fell asleep peacefully, and just loved riding around wherever we went together.
Boba: Your uber-helpful site SoDamnDomestic is a virtual mother's helper, and hilarious! Your blog at JoyfulAbode chronicles your life as a Navy wife and mother to two beautiful young children. Care to share a funny story other moms could relate to in your voyage of "domesticity by trial and error", as you say?
Emily: When Anneliese was little, I often stocked the car with extras - clothes, diapers, and so on - and didn’t worry about filling up the diaper bag each time we went out. Well, one day I should’ve checked the car stash but didn’t, and we ended up running out of diaper inserts while we were out. I had to use a spare t-shirt as an insert. Thank goodness cloth is flexible that way! When the t-shirt had… completed its task… I just wore her, diaper-free, for the rest of our errands, crossing my fingers she wouldn’t pee on me. Thankfully, she didn’t, and she pottied before we went home, so there was no car seat mess either. Sometimes things don’t happen in the most ideal way, but when we stay flexible and positive, those little bumps in the road are just that - little bumps.
(If she HAD peed on me? I probably would’ve taken it as “a sign” that it was time for me to buy a new dress for myself, and done a little shopping before we went home. Gotta keep it positive.)
Boba: What advice would you give a new expectant mother about the journey she is embarking on? Any extra tips if she plans to follow a similarly nomadic life like yours?
Emily: Whenever I see expectant moms frantically making their registries with the little scanner guns in Target, I offer to help. They always want to know what THINGS they’ll need. I always give the same answer:
"Every baby is different. Some will enjoy bouncers and swings and some will only want to be in your arms. Some will spit up all the time, on every item of clothing immediately, and others will be able to wear the same outfit for three days in a row because they’re so tidy and drool-free. And most people I know with cribs mostly used them as expensive fancy laundry hampers for at least 6 months while their babies slept in bed with them.
But in any case, the stores will still be open after your baby is born. If you want to try a bouncer or a swing or a playpen or a certain type of stroller, you can buy one, and if your baby hates it you can return it within the 30 days. You really only need a few outfits, a baby carrier, whatever diapers you choose, and a car seat. Those are the basics, and everything else will fall into place once your baby is in your arms. The stores will still be open.”
And those mamas-to-be always seem relieved and calmer once they realize they’re not preparing for a zombie apocalypse.
The same mental state is helpful for families who move a lot, too. We try to buy what we need, and pass it on when we’re finished with it. Moving is far easier when you’re less burdened by stuff.
Other than that, flexibility, a sense of humor, and a positive attitude are the keys to staying sane!
Boba: Thanks again, Emily! We're glad you're here and so happy for all the families you're helping along the way with your example, your encouragement and your generosity. Welcome to the team!