Lauren Gores Ireland
Co-Founder of Summer Fridays
Shame on mom-shamers. Experienced their wrath? Share your story.
I think all of us have experienced mom shame or mom guilt in some way. I learned early on into my motherhood journey that there's no best way to be a mom. There are stigmas and stereotypes for any kind of choice: If you're a working mom, you're not present enough for your kids. If you're a stay-at-home mom, you're not teaching your children about work ethic. If you fall someplace in between, you're not committed enough to either role. I've heard it all. But the silver lining has been that it's really taught me to love and accept my journey as my own. I birthed a baby and a new business in the same year, and it was quite honestly exhausting. But it's part of my story, and I love and appreciate how each of our mothering stories are unique. Nothing is right or wrong, it's just ours.
If any line of work needs inspo, it's motherhood. What type of mothers inspire you?
I am inspired by the mamas who show up unapologetically. Mamas who create magic out of the mundane, who can laugh through the chaos, who can choose gratitude over fear. I am inspired by the mamas who can be honest with themselves and others that sometimes our job is hard, but we have an inherent ability to always find our way.
Sometimes we're all BAD MUTHAs (as we should be). When did you go against traditional advice?
The advice is infinite! To breastfeed or bottle feed. To sleep train or co-sleep. To give the pacifier or pull the pacifier. To allow screen time or to avoid it. A few things I've been pretty relaxed about... the pacifier (my three-year-old still loves his) and being on "perfect" behavior while in public... toddlers are totally wild, and I think they should be! They are figuring out our world, and their emotions are big. I am okay with imperfect reactions.
"Sometimes we do not need advice or recommendations, we just need to be with each other."
Better worlds start with better moms. How can the motherhood community improve?
Be present for each other, discuss things openly (and also be okay if someone doesn't want to discuss something), laugh more with each other. Sometimes we do not need advice or recommendations, we just need to be with each other.
We all need a champion. Who in your life consistently supports your full spectrum of parenting choices?
My husband is the best partner. We are such a team, and I love how he wholly accepts me as a mom — on my very best days, and on my short-tempered days. He has never made me feel like there's any expectation, rather he reminds me to ride the wave and enjoy every part of my mothering journey.
Reverse that. Who in your life do you support without judgement?
My own mama.
Rewind. Has your mother ever shared a moment about her being a BAD MUTHA?
Totally! She constantly reminds me of the times she lost her patience, or wasn't home for some bedtimes, or missed the deadline for signing me up for soccer camp. The list goes on. But ya know what? I only remember what a perfect mom she was to me growing up. Always making me feel safe, loved, cherished and celebrated. That's what I remember.
Fast forward. What parenting insight will you share with your child if/when they become a parent?
What a gift it is to parent another being. Even on the longest days, remind yourself you were chosen for this role. It's meant for you. The joy will always win. You are doing a perfect job.
How do you like to MUTHA yourself and ensure you still have some 'me' time?
I love my alone time — stretching, running. mediating. journaling. masking and running personal errands all feel like me time.