Advice for New Moms With Wanderlust

Advice for New Moms - Knowmad Adventures

We welcomed Belén Scot Harvey into the world just under three months ago on July 27th. It had been a hot and humid month in the land of lakes, and I had spent many afternoons with our son Trey, now three and a half, in the backyard: him, up to his toddler antics and me, soaking my swollen ankles in the kiddy pool thinking how much better life would be if I didn’t have to pee every ten minutes, or could tie my own shoes, or better yet, had a gin and tonic in hand. Needless to say, by the end of my pregnancy I was miserable and over it and I was so ready to meet the little one in my belly.

…But she wasn’t ready to join the crew until a couple of days after her due date. Since Trey was born ten days early, I had mistakenly believed she would do the same. And so, after a couple weeks of false contractions, when I really did go into labor I was unconvinced it was really happening, as I had resigned to pregnancy as my permanent state of being. Finally, after a long walk, acupressure, and a lunch of spicy Thai food I understood it was go time and Skyped Jordan (husband, proud papa, and fellow founder of Knowmad Adventures)

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2:06PM Chat messages to Jordan

Me: I see you’re on a call…just giving you the heads up that the contractions have continued and are now about 7 minutes apart. No need to rush home. Just give me a call after you wrap up the call. 

Jordan: OMG!!!

Jordan: Deep breaths babe. Will call soon.

Me: Deep breaths YOU! 

(I call my mom to come over to watch Trey, who is thankfully napping, and then I call the midwife)

2:23pm Chat messages to Jordan

Tara: Ok – you should come home. Midwife said I should get into the hospital ASAP. 

(Jordan doesn’t immediately respond, contractions are now 4 minutes apart and painful.)

2:32pmChat messages to the entire Knowmad Team

Me: Guys! Get J off the phone! He needs to come home now!

Team: Ahhhhhhh!!!!!

Team: Telling him now!

Team: Most exciting Skype message ever!

After a somewhat harrowing drive to the hospital, a mad dash to Labor & Delivery involving throwing car keys to the valet and basically saying “do whatever you want with our car!,” and a look of death shot at a woman who held the elevator door open for someone else trying to squeeze in last minute (not the time for Minnesota nice!) we make it into the delivery room exactly six contractions before our baby girl is born at 4:35pm.

5:00pm Jordan to the Knowmad Team

Jordan: Barely made it. Meet Belén Scot Harvey!

Team: NO WAY!!!!

Team: SO CUTE!!


Team: oh my gosh soooooooooo cute!!!!

Team: congratulations mama!

Team: Ah congratulations!! That was so quick!! We’re so excited for you here!

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And suddenly Jordan and I went from being a couple with a kid to having a real, bona fide family of four. As I stared down at this beautiful little life I felt pure joy and a contented anticipation of the months to come – where I would spend my days and nights nursing, changing diapers, soothing and guiding this babe into her new existence outside of my womb.

Advice for New Moms - Family Day

Rewind three and a half years ago to when Trey was born and my cocktail of emotions had a very different flavor. I felt lots of love for sure, but it was mixed with a healthy dose of fear, brimming with being overwhelmed, and a hard realization that my life was forever changed. I went from identifying as a free-spirited, wanderlusting entrepreneur to a mom, and at that point I had no idea how incredible that would be. At the outset of my journey into motherhood I really struggled to adjust. I saw myself making the ultimate sacrifice instead of being given the greatest gift.

My perspective has changed a lot since then. Of course, juggling two kiddos brings a new set of challenges but if my current self was able to impart to my past self what I know now, the transition would have been a whole lot easier. Instead, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned.


Advice for New MOMS With Wanderlust

Make a Feel Good List I remember the first hour I got to myself after Trey was born I went to Target. I loath big box stores – the fluorescent lights, the comparison shopping. Why would I choose that? Looking back, I was working such long hours getting the updated Knowmad website finished before he was born that I hadn’t taken the time to just figure out what made me feel good. It sounds silly, but this time I literally made a list and if I’m feeling overly frazzled and have this urge to eat a donut or something (which I know won’t make me feel good) I actually refer to the list. It varies from things as simple as “take a deep breath” or “sit in the sun” to ones that might involve some strategic timing  when you’ve got a baby and a toddler’s routines to consider, like “take a walk” or “read” or “call a friend.”

Change up your apps You’re going to need something to keep you entertained and awake while you’re breast or bottle feeding. I’m talking four to five hours a day worth of it. With my first I relied heavily on episodes of The Office, but also found myself getting sucked into Facebook on my phone. And you know what? It didn’t make me feel good. How was everyone else making it look so easy? When my second was born I deleted the Facebook and Instagram Apps from my phone and haven’t regretted it for a second. Instead I’ve been voraciously consuming podcasts and have felt so much more fulfilled and enriched at the end of the day. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Call Your Girlfriend
  • How I Built This
  • #Mumboss
  • Out There
  • Radio Lab
  • She Explores
  • Stuff You Should Know
  • Ted Talks
  • This American Life
  • Women on the Road

Create a beautiful space to nurse inLike I touched on above, even though they have a stomach the size of a grape, those little ones need to be filled up a lot. Create a space that makes you happy and keeps you inspired.

Advice for New Mamas Advice for New Moms     Advice for New Moms

Redefine your identity Figure out who you are without work. So many of us try to be productive on our maternity leave because it’s all we know. Well, guess what, productive has an entirely new meaning now. There is probably nothing more productive that you could do than caring for a new baby, but it’s so far from ticking things off lists. Figure out who you are without travel, or rock climbing, or book clubs and wine with the girls or whatever defined you. You’ll get there again, don’t worry. For now your life feels like it’s all baby because it is. And those things didn’t really define you anyhow – you’re still your beautiful self.

Outsource I know this is easier said than done, but seriously any extra time you have should be spent on yourself. Don’t vacuum when you should be napping! Think of everything you do on the daily and find a way to not do it for a couple of months: put bills on autopay, order takeout, hire a lawn service. When friends and family ask how they can help, tell them. The dog’s not going to feed itself and this mama needs a shower!

Call your grandma Intergenerational connections bring different perspectives into your world just like travel used to. I was amazed to learn that doctors encouraged my grandma to formula feed her babies because it was thought to have been so much healthier. Of course, now we know otherwise, but you know what? My mom and aunties turned out perfectly fine, and hearing that made me feel a lot less guilty when my milk supply waned once I returned to work.

Embrace it Did you ever wish you could just lounge around in your pajamas all day? Now’s your chance! (Well, the pajama part anyways.) I know it can be hard to hear when you’re in the thick of it, but it really is such a special time. Embrace the mess, embrace your changed body, the late night snuggles, the pajamas all day. Embrace this time.

Advice for New Mamas, Moms, Mommys



Un Beso, Tara

South America Travel Tara HarveyTara is the Co-Founder, Marketing and Operations Manager at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. She first traveled to South America in college and is endlessly inspired by the cultures, food, colors and idiosyncrasies she discovers there. Read Tara’s biography and more about the Knowmad team.