August 22, 2023

69. If We Made a Marriage + Motherhood Prep Class, We’d Start Here.

69. If We Made a Marriage + Motherhood Prep Class, We’d Start Here.

I think I’m speaking for most of us when I say there are some unexpected trials as well as triumphs (like majorly celebrating your kid's first time going on the potty) that we have all experienced in motherhood, as well as in marriage! 

Chris and I are going on our 9th year of marriage, while Nichelle is going on her 20th… so while we might not have as much experience as some - we’ve still got a few good years under our belts.

Both marriage and motherhood can be super intimidating when you walk into themalone. This week, Nichelle and I are here to change that on the podcast. 

Even if you aren’t married or a mother quite yet - I hope our experiences and advice that we have learned along the way help prepare you if you plan to be either of those things someday. (Although one thing I have learned is that we can’t always plan for what we will encounter.)

There are GREAT parts about marriage, like having a built-in best friend to do life with, but there are also some ~unexpected things~ about marriage, like the 27 cups that end up on the counter throughout the day. A great marriage takes WORK - choosing each other daily and remembering you’re on each other's team. 

One of the things that really helped Chris and me at the beginning of our marriage was the 5 Love Languages book. Everyone receives love differently. It’s important to learn how your partner receives and understand that it may be different than yours.

We hope that by discussing these things openly with you, we can break down some of the stigma around specific taboo topics. We’re here to normalize the hard parts and celebrate the special things… because we’ve totally been there.

So we’ve talked about marriage, now let’s dive into motherhood.

I am so grateful that more and more conversations are being had about being a mom and all that it entails. We’re here today to add to that conversation.

Motherhood is hard. It can feel so lonely at times, but it is also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. 

One of the best parts about motherhood is that these are your mini-mes that you get to raise up in the ways and values that you determine are best. You have the power and ability to change what you didn’t love about your childhood, and give your kids a new experience through that.

There are a lot of unexpected things about motherhood that you probably have encountered or will encounter… like your kid having the biggest blowout you’ve ever seen right as you walk into Target (speaking from experience here), or even something as serious as post-partum depression. 

Nichelle made a great point about this - it’s okay to figure it out as you go. No one knows what they’re doing 100% of the time, so don’t compare yourself to others, because chances are they’ve been in your same shoes. 

Here are some more things we are talking about today:

  • The unexpected joys and hardships that marriage and motherhood brings
  • Our struggles that occur in marriage on a consistent basis
  • What post-partum was like for each of us
  • Lessons learned the hard way in motherhood
  • The things we look forward to the least and the most in both motherhood and marriage 


We asked y’all for your best marriage advice, and you sent in some amazing answers - so here’s a *rapid-fire* list:

  • Prepare more for your marriage than your wedding day
  • Always talk with your husband first, before others
  • Always make your spouse a priority 
  • Don't forget you're on the same team, not against one another 
  • Do marriage counseling 
  • Communicate often and kiss every day
  • Your spouse isn’t there to make your joy in life, they’re there to add to it
  • Be on the same page about family values, finances, etc.
  • Don't try to change your spouse
  • Have your own routine and things you do for yourself
  • Let go of all expectations on what a perfect marriage looks like
  • When a disagreement is brought up, ask yourself: Will this matter in 5 mins, 5 weeks, 5 months?
  • Give grace 
  • You’re a team, so work through decisions together

Nothing can truly prepare you for either motherhood or marriage, but we can give you everything we’ve got to equip you.

So let’s keep the conversations going - share your experiences with a friend, or even your own mom. It’s always best to open up and share with someone how you’re feeling because chances are, they’ve been there too - I know we sure have!

Alright, friends, we hope you love this episode, and we’ll see ya next time!


5 Love Languages Book

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Life With Loverly Website

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Watch the of the episode here:


Brittany: Hi, friends. Welcome to the Life with Loverly podcast. I'm Brittany, a wife, mom, and lifestyle entrepreneur here to help you discover your best daily style and encourage you to try new things when getting dressed each day, I took a tiny following on social media and turned it into a community of over 1 million amazing women, and I am so glad you're here. I'll be sharing my heart with you beyond the 15 seconds on Instagram. So we'll be diving into things like personal growth, friendships, motherhood, marriage, and of course the business of blogging. Really, this space is here to serve as your go-to resource to building a life you adore while sprinkling some kindness to others along the way. Grab an nice coffee and let's do life together. I'm Brittany, and this is The Life with Loverly podcast.

Hi friends. Welcome back to today's episode of The Life with Loverly podcast. It has been a minute since we've recorded in the studio. I feel like.

Nichelle: I know we kind of came in and we're like, what do we do?

Brittany: I know. We had to get our mics set back up. Also, if you're watching this on YouTube, you will see this lovely new Life with Loverly sign that we have in the middle of Nichelle and I Now, Nichelle hung this two weeks ago.

Nichelle: A little surprise when you came back from vacation.

Brittany: Such a great surprise. It looks so good, and it looks like it was very hard to do. I heard she locked herself over here and just knocked it out for a while. But we appreciate you. Of

Nichelle: Course. Of course, of course.

Brittany: Okay, well, how's life? You went to a concert over the weekend. How was it? It

Nichelle: Was good. It was good. I think it's the first time, I mean, in a long time I've gone on a week night to go do something. So of course this morning I was just like, we went to go see the Beach Boys, which I joked it was like the Beach Boy because it's really just one of them still. But it was really cute. It was at this really fun venue that you can walk around with your drinks. So we went to go eat and walk around, had a couple of drinks and then went to go see the show and it was fun.

Brittany: That's so fun.

Nichelle: Yeah, we were definitely the youngest in the group, but it was fun.

Brittany: I mean, great people watching I'm sure.

Nichelle: For sure. What'd you guys do?

Brittany: We had a birthday party for a close friend and all day kind of pool party thing, which was really fun. And then we did a movie night with the girls on Saturday night and let them stay up a little later. I mean, they're three and four, so it's kind of You're 8:30. Yeah. Hazel was definitely not, she could have ended 45 minutes in. She started getting restless. Collins was like, why are they doing that? I don't understand. But we watched the Real Aladdin and it was great. I mean

Nichelle: The live action?

Brittany: Live action one. And then on Sunday we went up to the lake and I got to see some family friends who are pretty much, I would consider them my grandparents. Both of my sets of grandparents lived far away when I was growing up, and this couple just kind of stepped in when we met them in the late nineties and they just kind of took over that grandparent role and they live in Florida now, so we don't get to see them a ton, but they are in town for a few weeks, and so they met the girls and it was just so fun to be back with them. So just lots of family time over the weekend.

Nichelle: Good

Brittany: It was great. Which kind of speaking of family time episode is about marriage and motherhood and is it everything that we thought that it would be?

Nichelle: Yeah. Well, no, probably not, but we're going to definitely get through it.

Brittany: So we've got some really great questions and then we have some advice from our listeners at the end, but let's hop into it.

Nichelle: So whether you're a wife or a mom or a wife and a mom, mom to be, we wanted to normalize some of the hard things and then celebrate a lot of the special things as well.

Brittany: Yes. Chris and I are about to celebrate our eight year anniversary at the end of this month, and we've got two girls, four and three, and it's definitely, I feel like we've gone through some ups and downs. How long have you and Robert been married?

Nichelle: We have been married 19 years. Okay. So it'll be, yeah, 20 years in May. So yeah, 19 years. I know it's a long time. We've been together since 2000, so together 23 years. So 19 years. Definitely the rollercoaster of a relationship because I mean you are going to experience everything within that timeframe. I remember my parents even saying, give it 10 years and you will have hit probably every emotion you can hit in a marriage. And I mean, it's very true. It's very true. So we have an 18 year old and a 12 year old. Gosh, I had to think about that for a second. It's so crazy, not real. So one is going into college and the other one is in middle school. And we started off our marriage and very quickly got pregnant in three months. So we went right into the whole family situation as soon as we got married.

Brittany: Yeah, I can imagine that's like you probably had all these dreams. We're like, oh, great, we're going to get married and it's going to be like this, and we're going to

Nichelle: Be in our mid thirties before we even talk about kids. And we were like, wait, what just happened?

Brittany: Right? You're like...

Nichelle: Wasn't in the plans, but it worked. It worked. We've made it work.

Brittany: Yeah, I think that's kind of just part of it is you have to work at it every single day.

Nichelle: Yeah. I mean, people ask this all the time, what's your special secret sauce or what's the magic behind being together that long work, hard work, because it's not all rainbows and unicorns. Motherhood's not. Marriage is not, and I mean, I can tell you I was 17 when we met. I was not who I am today when we met. So there were a lot of moments where we both were finding ourselves through that, the first part of our marriage, and we were like, yeah, that's not me anymore. So we need to get to love who we are now, not who we were.

Brittany: The growing together and always just changing together. Exactly. Or making that commitment to do that. I don't know. There's a lot of people that grow out of love. It's like, okay, but could there have been more work put into it and that wouldn't have happened?

Nichelle: I don't know. And I feel like you had a little bit of a different situation where you were independent on your own, got to live that life dated.

Brittany: Yeah, kind of had the whole, had a job, career, my own schedule, dating, trying to figure out, it was almost, I remember being so jealous of my friends who just married their college boyfriend or whoever they met in college or right after because it felt like then they were able to start those next life steps together. But I really appreciated having a little bit of a break and just having to figure it out for myself. And I remember as soon as I stopped trying to, is this guy going to be the one I marry? Is this guy going to be the one I marry? Because my parents, they met in college, dated, got married after college. So I was kind of like, well.

Nichelle: It's how it's "supposed to happen".

Brittany: And then it didn't happen that for me, and I was like, okay, so then you just start sizing up every person you date, or are you the one? I don't think so. Are you the one? So then when Chris and I started dating, I feel like we quickly kind of were like, wow, this is something. This is different than What the past have been. But it took me being like, I'm okay being single. Let me just live my life. It'll happen when it happens. And once I truly accepted that is when Chris and I started dating. So it's weird. The timing is crazy.

Nichelle: My parents were very young when they got married too. They met I think when they were 17, maybe 16, 17. And when they both turned 19, they got married. Wow. I know. And then obviously shortly thereafter I came same situation. And I remember my mom being like, are you sure you're very young? Are you sure? I'm like, yes. I'm in a different place than you were mother.

Brittany: Of course.

Nichelle: That's what we thought.

Brittany: You're like, huh. Exactly.

Nichelle: Looking back now, I'm so mature for my age.

Brittany: She's like, I said the same thing.

Nichelle: Exactly. Exactly.

Brittany: Okay. What was the happiest surprise that you have experienced in your relationship since you've been married?

Nichelle: I would say probably that it's a built-in best friend. You have a built-in best friend. This is the person you usually go to about everything. Any situation you have going on and they're on your team. Yes, obviously when the time's right. I also feel like your best friend's going to tell you when things aren't supposed to be like, "Hey, this is wrong". Actually, maybe you should think of it this way. But yeah, it's a built-in best friend.

Brittany: Yeah, I agree. I kind of think you just have this teammate and if you've made that commitment to be on the same team, so going into hard situations or decision making, you have somebody you can do that with. But I would agree, just having that best friend all the time, and I think I really enjoyed the dating him after we were married, before we had kids, and while we were struggling to get pregnant and going through I V F, we really stayed strong on the we need to continue to date each other and stay in love because this is something that's very hard that could pull us apart. And trying to do new things always felt like, this is so fun. I'm with somebody every day that I genuinely love and want to spend time with. So I'm very thankful that that's a feeling that I've experienced in my relationship.

Nichelle: So knowing what you know now about marriage, do you feel like you were prepared going into it?

Brittany: I don't know. I think yes and no. I think it's hard to really be fully prepared. I mean, you don't know what if you've never been married before. You don't know what marriage is going to really be like. But I think we did premarital counseling and I kind of wish we would've done it maybe a little bit earlier in our engagement and had it go for longer.

Nichelle: Oh, instead of the couple months leading up to it. Yeah,

Brittany: Agree. Or maybe even, I mean, I don't really think people do dating counseling or maybe they do, but there were just some things that came up when a mediator was like, what are you going to do about this? Or Chris grew up Catholic, you grew up Christian, how are you going to raise your kids? And us both being like, well, and this back and forth of like, well, what are we going to do? Maybe we hadn't discussed of these things. And then that opened sort of opened this box to be like, well, wait a second, I have more questions. So I sometimes I'm like, that's interesting. Or things will pop up and I'm like, huh, we probably should have worked through that before now.

Nichelle: Oh, for sure. For sure. I was definitely not prepared.

Brittany: Yeah,

Nichelle: Not prepared. I was 21 when we got married and looking back, I think my child is only a couple years away from that. Yeah.

Brittany: I'm like, but could you imagine Maddie getting married years? No years?

Nichelle: We definitely were in different places,

But for sure I cannot, I can't imagine you're a child. So yes, I think I went into it thinking, oh, it's just like we lived together beforehand. And I'm like, it's not going to be any different. But there are decisions that come up that we had Madison obviously a lot earlier than we anticipated made it work. But then afterwards I was like, I want to have another kid and I want them to be close together. And then Robert's like, wait, we're having another one. What? We didn't talk about this. So it's like we talked about, yes, later down the road we're going to talk about kids and we're going to have kids. But we didn't talk about, okay, how many do we want? What's the goal? What's our family dynamic going to be like? There's a lot of things that come up afterwards. And I think hearing what a lot of people said about their advice was just having open honest conversations about things you don't think you need to right now, but you do. Yeah.

Brittany: And some of the stuff I feel like is awkward to have, but it's like if you're going to spend your life with somebody, then there needs to not be no such thing as awkward in your conversations. So if you can't have that openly, then it's like maybe there's some other questions around this. If you feel awkward talking about certain things, what does that mean? Yeah,

Nichelle: Agree.

Brittany: Yeah. I wish that there was some type of life prep class. You know how in college it's like, wow, it'd actually be way better if you could do how to do your taxes or all these real life skills. There should be some type of marriage, what to expect. Here's something you could take.

Nichelle: 25 questions you really need to ask each other. I know!

Brittany: I'm sure that's out there on Pinterest somewhere now, but it would be worth digging into to make sure that you're not going to get into it and be like, hold on. I didn't know.

Nichelle: Is there anything that you would say you struggle with on a consistent basis within your relationship, whether even funny, agreeing on the temperature in the house, which I say that and it's like, yes, we do.

Brittany: So I think Chris loves to leave stuff on the counters.

Nichelle: I love how you were like, it's so positive. It's fine. He just likes to leave it on the counters.

Brittany: So much so that in our new house I am, we literally need the least amount of counter space possible. The amount of drawers we have coming in this new place,

Nichelle: The meetings that are happening for this house, it's so funny. It's like I don't want a countertop there. And you're

Brittany: Like, I'm hard burning eyes into Chris. I'm like, you set your stuff on this.

Nichelle: You're like, this drawer is for stuff, the stuff, this is the drop zone. This is stuff.

Brittany: Yes. It's so funny to me because I will look around our kitchen and granted, I feel like our kitchen that we have now has a lot of counter space to the point where

Nichelle: It's welcoming.

Brittany: Like, wow, why so much? But there's no other way to have the kitchen be, and it's just the perfect spot. And he gets these little piles that just get built out and I just get anxiety. I'm like, I will just go and wipe it all into the, I mean, don't tempt me with a trash can. I

Nichelle: Know. I know. You're like, it's real close.

Brittany: I was looking at, so we have this little tray that is next to the coffee maker, and it's got a few vitamins and medicines on it that has started to overflow, and now they're all lined up next to that and next to that. And I was looking at it last night and I'm like, how can I nicely calmly say, let's have a discussion about the best place for all of these vitamins to go. Where else could?

Nichelle: The medicine cabinet..

Brittany: But that's completely full. It probably needs to get cleaned out. And so I'm like, you're

Nichelle: Seeking my life right now.

Brittany: I'm like, which one of these drawers can we dedicate to vitamins? And I'll say, I've started taking some more vitamins and supplements too. So that is up there like, well, we're just going to add to it, but now my skin is crawling when I look over there and it's just driving me crazy. So I started to just be like, okay, how would I want this conversation to be brought to me if he came to me and was like, what the, and freaking out. I would be like, screw you, bro. Don't talk to me. So now I'm like, okay, how is he going to receive this if I am nice about it? But anything with the countertops, he's already on edge. It's a losing battle.

Nichelle: It's on edge. Yes. He's very defensive in that aspect. Yeah. Oh my gosh. So mine's the spice cabinet, so I don't cook guys. And that's another, I guess that's another one. I don't cook.

Brittany: Little did Robert know before you guys got

Nichelle: Married? I did cook because I kind of had to, but I don't enjoy it. I find no joy in it. None. So he does. So we just allow that to be the situation. I'm like, you have the dishes and the kitchen stuff. And then I got the rest of the house. He loves to experiment, so therefore we have lots of spices and things and condiments and to where when he's done cooking, there's like 15 on the counter and I open the cabinet and I'm like,

Brittany: Does he just leave them on the counter?

Nichelle: Well, they don't fit because he has so many. He has so many. But then it's like you open it and when you really start to evaluate, you're like, well, here's onion powder, here's onion powder, here's onion powder, and here's garlic powder and here's garlic powder. There's like 15 of everything. And I'm like, you have accumulated so much that you can't even find it. So you buy a new one. And then the process just, it snowballs. Okay. So he'll leave for a weekend. I didn't do it this weekend, but he'll leave for a weekend. And I'm like, let's combine 'em all. He literally, he knows as soon as he opens it, he's like, where's the chili powder? I'm like, it was empty. It was empty. I threw it away. It was not empty. There was still two good meals that I could have used that on. And I'm like, oh my gosh, what is going on?

Brittany: So the store is open. We can get you more chili powder if we don't have it.

Nichelle: It's a constant thing. So yeah, there's a couple of things. I mean, we've had a good 23 years to accumulate these issues, but

Brittany: Right. Well, I think it's interesting too, when you get married, if you didn't live together before, everybody has their quirks and their things. And I remember Chris when we moved in together, instead of hanging his wet towel in its designated hanging spot, or at least over the bathroom door, he would just lay it on the bed and then it would stay on the bed. And I would be like, how is this not working in your head? And I'm sure there were things that I would do that he would be like, what is wrong with you? Why are you doing X, Y, Z that way? But you learn so many things about the other person. I don't know. I feel like the first year of marriage can definitely be hard if you don't already know some of these things because you're, learning to live with someone.

Nichelle: For some things to come up because you just don't think about it at first.

Brittany: Totally.

Nichelle: It's so crazy. Just like cups. I'm like, it's been sitting here for eight hours now I'm going to just go and put it in the sink and then literally 60 seconds later, where's my cup? I'm like, he had touched it all day

Brittany: And now you're thirsty.

Nichelle: So his thing is, there's no cup safe around this house. If you want your cup, it's got to stay with you.

Brittany: Well, but your kids are also older

Nichelle: Literally, I'm constantly, what is this? I just got to pick it up and put it in the sink

Brittany: What is that movie? Six No Signs, the movie signs where you have the water,

Nichelle: They're ready. An alien invasion. I know. That's what I feel like the case Aliens come.

Brittany: You can toss the water on It.

Nichelle: I say that about our Yes, our game room all the time upstairs. I'm like, are you guys getting ready for an alien invasion? What is happening in here?

Brittany: Yeah, man.

Nichelle: Anyway, I could go on.

Brittany: Gosh, seriously. I'm sure I could too. Alright, let's go into motherhood a little bit. How is postpartum for you?

Nichelle: I was oblivious until years later. It just wasn't talked about as much. Whenever I had my kids, it was like taboo. So it didn't really come up. And it wasn't until several years later, I was like, I'm just struggling. I don't know what's going on with me. So when I started seeing a therapist, she immediately was like, you have postpartum depression. And I was like, she's six. And she's like, yeah, it hasn't been treated.

Brittany: Wow. Yeah.

Nichelle: So that's how I found out what I had and what I was coping with. And that's one of the reasons a lot of people are like, oh, you deal with the depression your whole life. I feel like I'm coming out of that because we were able to go in and treat it. It just is so insane how it's sneaky. And I don't think people realize it.

Brittany: The hormones that are just moving through your body and being replaced and things, it's like, I don't understand. I feel like everybody has to have some level of postpartum.

Nichelle: I think so too.

Brittany: Hormonal depression. And I think it can be different for some people compared to others. And as a new mom, you just don't know if you're a first time mom, you're just like, what is life? There's so many things to figure out. I really feel like I had a little bit more postpartum depression with Hazel just because I think it was, I knew.

Nichelle: Yeah and Covid you were dealing with too

Brittany: During the covid years and just the social anxiety and social pressures I was dealing with as a public figure, trying to navigate those years plus have a baby, plus being in a full-time career. It was just a lot. Plus having a toddler moving to a new city. I mean so many things. And I just remember having conversations with Chris and then just all of a sudden I would just be crying and he would be like, oh my gosh, what is going on?


You don't need to cry. This is, I don't want to cry. I'm not trying to cry. I'm not even sure what is happening to my body. It just took over and decided tears are necessary for right now. And it's the weirdest thing.

Nichelle: It is.

Brittany: It's crazy.

Nichelle: Crazy. In the thoughts that go through your head too insane with, I don't think that I really struggled with it as much with Maddie. I mean, I did obviously, but not as much as I did after Bryn. But I remember sitting there one night and I was breastfeeding normal, had decent sleep, and I just remember bawling my eyes out because all I could think was, I don't want to die. I don't want to die and leave my child.

It was all consuming for literally 18 hours.

Brittany: I mean, the fears just, it's so hard. So I guess, I mean, hear us have this conversation to just know it's normal.

You can get help, you can talk to somebody and highly encouraged talking to somebody. I didn't start talking to a therapist until Hazel was probably two maybe. And I wish that I would've just had somebody to talk to sooner. I feel like some of these things could have worked themselves out by just having a licensed professional be able to ask me some probing questions and help me get to, okay, this is the why. Let's get to the bottom of this. Okay, here's what we're going to do. Because you can have these conversations with your friends and family, but it's like maybe you can't, or maybe you don't have somebody you could just have a super raw conversation with and like, Hey, am I normal?

Nichelle: And get a resolution to it, right?

Brittany: Yeah. This is a big thing.

Nichelle: Yeah, for sure. So what has been your favorite thing about motherhood?

Brittany: There's so many things. I feel like we're just in such a fun phase right now, four and three. And I just always look at them and I'm like, you guys are little versions of me and Chris. You're our little people that we're responsible for, which is terrifying and amazing at the same time. But I just love that. I love taking care of things. I love fixing things and teaching things, and I'm doing all of that, teaching these little people how to live and survive. And they're just sponges taking it all in. And so I think that's so cool that I have this opportunity to parent these girls and help them grow up in this crazy world. And I dunno, it's just fun. We're just in a fun but crazy stage. I mean, I sent Nichelle a picture this morning and I was trying to get a picture of Collins' Shoe. She wears a uniform, and I was like, oh, let me take a picture. You got these new shoes and she's holding a plate and a little cup of snacks, and she's just sticking her tongue out. So annoyed that she was taking this picture, and I was just like, I'm going to love this.

Nichelle: You're like, this is where we are right now.

Brittany: Yes. But then at the same time, the other night I was giving them a bath and they're putting bubbles on each other's noses and then blowing it off and thinking it was the funniest thing. They were laughing so hard. I just wanted to bottle that little pure pureness up. They just don't know what the, I just hope they can, I wish they would stay pure little like that forever. But yeah, I don't know. What about you? So

Nichelle: Sweet. I think it's been nice to know that I can kind of figure it out as we go. I think that I was just so much when I started out as a parent, it was very raw for me because I was so young. These are the things I'm going to do and these are the things that I'm not going to do and be able to make up the rules as we go. I get to teach them the things the way that I want them to be taught. I get to have the conversations with them the way that I want to have the conversations with them and raise them. I don't have to raise them based on anybody else's wants or needs. It's like I can do it the way that I want to. And there's so much of that. I could go really deep into that, but I think we might cover it in a second. I appreciate it so much. But then there's no right or wrong way. But yeah, just seeing their personalities as they grow up, the people, the humans that they're going to turn into. And as for me, I mean, I have technically an adult in the house right now, and it's like we made that

Not feeling very confident right now, but plus her heart. She's such a good girl. I don't want her to get a bad rap, but she's so naive.

Brittany: Yeah, well, I, but she's good

Nichelle: She's a good girl, so we'll let her experience life and figure it out on her own.

Brittany: Y'all are also, I mean, it's not like you're like, okay, bye. Y'all are really helping foster a continued sense of, okay, this is real life. Here's what this means. Whereas I feel like some people are just like, great, you're 18 out of the house. See you at Christmas. That's not how this is going to go.

Nichelle: I definitely want her to succeed in the ways that even Robert and I were like, we didn't have this. We want to be able to support you in this. So it was very, very important for that. But then also having a second kid seeing how freaking streak smart she is.

Just a whole other ballgame.

Brittany: So you're like, Brynn are you actually ready to go?

Nichelle: I know. She's like, bye guys.I got this.

Brittany: Okay. So what is one characteristic about yourself that you love that motherhood has revealed and maybe one that you don't love as much?

Nichelle: Well, the first thing I think is what I don't love.

It's revealed that not everything I felt was wrong with my childhood changing. It wasn't necessarily the right move. I think sometimes it came and bit me in the butt. But one thing that I do love, I think about myself is that I've been able to create these or open conversations with my kids, so open to the point where it's kind of cringey sometimes. But I wanted that more than anything because I didn't have that. I was so scared to tell my parents stuff, and I was like, I don't want my kids to feel that way.

Brittany: I feel like that's really important advice just for me to even hear. My kids are younger, but I want to be able to have these open conversations with them. I want them to come to me first. And so it's, I feel like I'll be talking with you about how do I get to that point.

Nichelle: And not be their friend, still be their parent? Because I think there is a line that a lot of people cross, and maybe I have taken that in the past, but it's almost like to get to the bridge of, so there's comfort in that. But I never have always said, I would rather you tell me first than lie about it so we can get to a solution. I will never be angry with you as long as you don't lie to me. And that's what's opened that up.

Brittany: I think I always remember in high school, my mom at that time was not my friend. She was the mom figure. She cared so much, but she wasn't going to be my friend. And I at the time was like, you're so mean. Why are you being this way? And I look back now and we have such a great relationship and I'm like, thank you so much for not wanting to just be my friend, for being a parent, for making me figure things out the hard way for having rules that I had to stick to. And if I didn't, there were consequences that absolutely shaped me into my adulthood. I mean, I had friends whose parents were their friends and they turned out completely opposite of me. It's like, I think there's a great balance. And

Nichelle: It's hard. It's honestly hard because it's like you pick and choose. We have these conversations all the time, and you're like, well, why don't you do this? And I'm like, it's so hard when you're in the moment sometimes that it's like I just had to let that go because this is what was important in that situation. And it's so different with every single kid. I just had this situation happen Friday, remember my oldest wanted to go spend the night with a friend, and of course she needs us to take her because she's not driving yet. And I said, no, no, she's 18. And I am like, she could pull that card, but I feel confident she won't. She's never done that before. But there was no why or anything. And when I got home, I was like, do you know why I said no? And she was like, well, dad said no too. That was the other thing. We have to be on the same page,

Brittany: Which is something you all have to. Yeah,

Nichelle: I was scared he wasn't, but he definitely was on the same page. This girl was terrible to her. And I was like, sorry, doesn't make her character better. She's going to continue to be this person, and I love you too much to let you subject yourself to that. And she was like, thank you.

Brittany: I was wondering how that went.

Nichelle: And we had a great night night. We all sat together and had dinner that night laughing watched TV show, which doesn't happen very often. So I was like, instead of arguing with her, I could tell her, no, she's a terrible person and I don't like her and blah, blah, blah. And that's what my mom would've done to me. And I would've been like, bye, I'm leaving. But I just was like, the answer is I just love you too much to subject you to that. Do you get? And she was like, okay, thank you.

Brittany: Yeah. Well, and I think so many times our kids just want to be reminded that, "Hey, I love you. I'm doing all of this for you." I read something the other day that was like, next time you give your kid a hug, don't be the first to let go. I saw that. I love that. And I've been doing that with Collins, and she's just hugs me. She'll just hug for a long time and then she'll be like, okay, let go. And I'm like, oh, I can just, but then I am sitting there so intentionally hugging her, not just the, and I mean she's tall for her age, so sometimes I treat her, she's older and she'll be like, mom, can you pick me up? And I'm always like, oh, come on, let's just go up the stairs. But I'm like, no, I'm going to pick her up and snuggle with her. That's what she needs. She needs to know that I love her and I'm, for her think that's just like that reminder.

Nichelle: I know Bryn is going through something right now where she needs to be told, but she's verbalizing it. Maddie never did this emotions. They kind of got pushed to the side. But Bryn is very emotional, so she always says what she's feeling and very, very vocal. Okay, bye. Love you mom. How she says it, it's just like, I love you, right? You love me too.

Brittany: Say it back, say it back.

Nichelle: But now she'll like, if anybody is distracted at all, she takes it as, you don't love me. And I'm like, baby, no. That is not the case. And I've been trying to be vocal. If I'm distracted. I was reading a book, I'm sorry, what can I do? I love you. Doesn't mean I don't love you. Bless her heart. So I'm glad that she's vocal about it because at least I know what she's thinking instead of brooding about it.

Brittany: Oh my gosh. I mean, think of, that's actually a great skill for her to have because I just think of past times, even when I was growing up, not vocalizing certain things that were hurting my feelings that my family would had no idea that my feelings were getting hurt. But if I would've said, "Hey, when you don't spend time with me or when you do this, that bothers me." And it could be such a simple fix. My mom has said some things like, oh, well, if I would've known that when you were younger, I would've figured out a better way to love you in that way. And I'm like, yeah, I don't know. I'm just a people pleaser.

Nichelle: The other day It was Robert, It was actually all of us in the car, and we were joking back and forth and I was like, no. And then Robert was like, yes, literally she had her AirPods in. She thought we were yelling at each other and she was like, stop. And I looked back and she has tears in her eyes and I was like, what? And she was like, I don't like it when y'all yell in front of me like this. And I was like, baby, we were joking.

Brittany: You're like this. We are good.

Nichelle: We're all laughing. She just was in la la land, but she thought we were arguing. She was upset.

Brittany: So sweet. Oh my gosh.

Okay. What's a motherhood lesson you learned the hard way? It could even be something like you need to take extra wipes to target. You had a giant blowout one time, which I have definitely experienced that Collins used to only poop. When we would go into Target, it would be like we're walking in and all of a sudden and I would be like, okay, I guess we're going to just go right back out. And the changing table is always in the most unfortunate location. Yes. Sometimes I would go back to the car and pop the hood and lay her there.

Nichelle: I did that all the time.

I was very grossed out with Madison about changing tables at first. I dunno why I literally would pick up her pacifier, lick it off and be like, here you go. But it was the changing table for some reason gross me out. So I'd always go to the car and then I'm like, let's change and then we can go back in if we need to. But yeah, that was just like an SUV. Having that flat space in the back was great. I know.

Brittany: Yes. Sometimes I'd be like, I wonder what people are thinking as they're driving by here, or should I really be doing this? But sometimes I feel like you just got to do what you got to do. Yeah, absolutely.

Nichelle: Absolutely. I don't know. I think one of the biggest lessons that I've learned the hard way is

Things that I thought were difficult for me growing up, going back and saying, I'm not going to do that. I'm going to do it the opposite way and biting me in the butt because it still didn't work. So my mom, how she would ground me if I ever got in trouble, I was like, I'm not going to ground them for everything. We're going to have a conversation about it now. I feel like I have to ground my 18 year old because I never did that. You know what I mean? And that's just a very silly example, but there's very specific examples that throughout my life I was like, wow, that totally turned around and bit me in the butt. I should have just literally done it the way that, I don't know, that probably was the right way. Just could have had a conversation around it too. Instead of just being like, you're grounded. Go to your room. Goodbye.

Brittany: I know, I feel like I am sometimes overly worried about them in the sense that I'll be like, I okay, be careful. Be careful. Are you being careful? And if they just constantly hear me telling them to be careful, I don't want them to get this complex that every little thing they're doing is either bad or they should be worried about it. But it's mostly me just being like, okay, you're going to fall off of that, so stop. Or I think that's super normal. I say be careful a lot and I'm trying to not because I also don't want to be a helicopter mom of watching their every move, but

Nichelle: I think you get to a certain point and that goes away. I was the same way. But then it went to don't get into a white van that has blacked out windows. You're going to get kidnapped, raped, and murdered. So that's what they think now.

Brittany: Great. Okay. So we'll just advance to that level. Okay. Okay. We're getting close.

Nichelle: Worst case scenario, mom here. Yeah,

Brittany: I mean sometimes I just feel like this is a really scary world that we live in.

Nichelle: The media. The media makes it very scary now because you see it all, it existed, but now it very much exists because it's real. What's the one thing that you look forward to the least in your current mom role?

Brittany: I don't really thrive on an extracurricular activity for them.

Nichelle: Same. You know, I just thought about something, I feel like we've talked about this before. Is it because of the kind of people that we are where it's work is important and it's like it's extra. Do you mind helping out with that? I'm going to continue to do what I'm doing. Do you think that could beIt?

Brittany: Yeah, I think that's a lot of,

Nichelle: Sorry, I just had the aha. I was like, because I don't really want to go sit in karate and wait for them to be done. You can go

Brittany: Do that. And so that's, I don't know. Collins previously has done gymnastics or we did swim lessons and I remember it just always feeling such a chore, leave work early or change my schedule around so that I could accommodate. And then I was like, does she even really like this? Is this serving our family or is this just actually hurting?

Nichelle: Putting a burden on it? Yeah.

Brittany: So I, I don't know. I've also, I feel like the way I've kind of come to my senses on this is if they weren't in a daycare or some type of program where they were busy all day and then leaving and going, I think if they weren't doing those activities, I would absolutely want them to be socialized and go out after or later and do some of these things. But that's not their current situation. So I feel like I'm just trying to have, I don't want her to not experience ballet and dance and the things if she wants to do those things, but just I feel the pressure on my end where Chris is so much more willing to be like, well, I'll just take her. It's not a big, you don't have to stress it about it. But then I feel like this mom guilt of like, well, I'm not the one taking her. Agreed. So then am I a bad mom because I'm allowing you to do it? So it's like, what is better to her just not doing it or me getting over the fact that I'm not the one taking that dad is the one taking her.

Nichelle: At the end of the day, that's their special thing.

That's the way that I look at it, you know? I mean, that's their special thing. We have our special things, but this is what Chris or Robert thrive on. They enjoy doing this, whereas would they want us there if we're not enjoying it. You know what I mean?

Brittany: Well, and I think that this is a conversation where it can get so sticky for motherhood and marriage. And that's been a lot of the roles, family dynamic roles for Chris and I are very flip flopped just because I am the career person and Chris has a career and he works for Loverly Grey too, but his position is a lot more behind the scenes. We wouldn't be here without his position because he keeps the place alive. Pays all the bills. Thank you. But I also am the front of

Nichelle: Everything and that's very different

Brittany: And that's not traditional. And I think I grew up in much more of a traditional, these were the gender roles for the mom and the dad, and it was so having to break those to be like, well, what works best for my family? But then people in my friend group might not understand it. So working through that, well, okay, I'm sorry I can't be at soccer practice, but Chris will be at soccer practice and he's just going to be that extension for her. And it's like somebody might be judging and you're be the game at the end of

Nichelle: The month when y'all have a game, but this is y'all's. Yeah, exactly.

Brittany: So that's been something I think for both of us that we've had to kind of overcome. And even I think of, I mean, he's the one that does all a lot of the cooking, the groceries, the errands, the dropoffs, and I'm like, are you okay? I know that's probably not what you expected when we got married. And that definitely those roles have even reversed several times throughout our marriage. But I think you just have that open conversation and figure out what's going to work for your family and know at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what anybody else thinks.

Nichelle: Yeah, agree. Agree. Has there been a book that you've leaned on heavily for marriage advice or that's helped you through

Brittany: One that I highly recommend, and we read this book when we were dating was the Five Love Languages. And it just really went through ways that people like to be loved. I think now there's seven of them maybe. But what I liked about it was it gave very specific real life examples. The author put in stories of people that literally gave you examples, and then he would have a conversation with them halfway through and then they would come back and be like, we've tried what you suggested and this is the adjustments made in our life. So you are seeing this is what they were doing. This is the path you are probably going to go on, but if you shift a little, this is what the outcome could be. And so I feel like very early on I was kind of like, okay, this is your love language. You love physical touch noted, let's hold hands. I always make sure to hug or kiss whatever. And that's how he feels loved. So I'm sure there's other probably better books that we should be reading now. But thing that one really I think got us set up for success.

Nichelle: We didn't read it until the last several years, but it's probably been the thing that's helped us the most because he doesn't know how to express necessarily, I would be very vocal about, this is not making me happy. This is what I need. And he would just be like, I just need to be around you more. I just need, and he wouldn't know how to say it, but whenever we read it, I was like, your love language is physical touch. And he's like, this all makes sense. This definitely all makes sense. And I was like, okay, it's opposite of mine. You know what I mean? So mine is total opposite and acts of service, service and things like that. So I think it was an eyeopening for him and it was also eyeopening for me. Okay, this is the way that they feel loved. This is what they need in order to feel love. And I mean, there's sacrifices that have to be made, but again, that's what marriage is, right?

Brittany: Yeah. No, that's a really good one. So we put up a question box on Instagram asking for some of your advice. If you could give yourself advice prior to getting married, what would it be? And we got some really great responses. So we're going to share some of this knowledge and hopefully some of this will resonate with you guys.

Nichelle: So this one was prepare more for the marriage than the wedding day. Yes. That was so good.

Brittany: I mean, think about how many times people get engaged and it just is immediately the wedding, wedding, wedding wedding, wedding wedding. And then it's like you get married and you're like, oh,

Nichelle: Oh yeah, you hit this wall. It's like the day after and you're like, okay, now.

Brittany: Yeah. That's why I think doing premarital counseling that's so key can just really, you want to continue fostering the relationship after you're actually in it for the long haul

Nichelle: For you.

Brittany: The next one is always talk with your husband first, not with others.

Nichelle: I think that's good, and I'm assuming they mean probably if you're having a disagreement, talk to him first rather than going and bickering your friends.

Brittany: I mean, I think that's definitely, I know people who are just my husband and then it's kind of like, oh

Nichelle: Yeah, does he know you feel that

Brittany: Way? Yeah, that's a good one. Yeah.

Nichelle: Always make your spouse a priority. Yes. I feel like I've probably learned this the hard way over the years because again, I was very young and very selfish and it was like, okay, wow. At the expense of what,

Brittany: And there's definitely been times where I've started doing things and Chris is with a friends or something and he's like, I kind of thought that was going to be an US thing. I didn't, okay, what about me? And it's like, okay, I don't ever want him to think he's second to friends or anything else.

Nichelle: Exactly.

Brittany: Don't forget you're on the same team, never against one another.

Nichelle: Yes.

Brittany: Is a huge one, and it, you can easily get on separate teams if you're not careful. I think especially with raising kids so many times, I'm like, we're on the same team. If daddy said, no, you can't do that, then mommy says No, too. Don't work us against each other.

Nichelle: Because we, as soon as that happened the first time we were like, if somebody says no, you don't get to go back and say yes. Right. That's an agreement.

Brittany: You're like, got it. Okay.

Nichelle: We're on the same page.

Brittany: So true.

Nichelle: Absolutely. 100%. Do marriage counseling and marry someone who has the same faith as you.

Brittany: I mean, that's great advice, but I don't know if that's necessarily always going to be marrying somebody who's the same faith as you. I mean, I think it makes it easier. For sure.

Nichelle: For sure. I think that that needs to be a very, very serious conversation. If you are not, I have a friend who got married and they were of two different faiths, and it wasn't a huge point of, I guess, conversation because the husband didn't want to have that conversation and ended up being the downfall of their relationship and Yeah.

Brittany: Communicate often and kiss every single day. Love. Very true. Love that.

Nichelle: Your husband is not there to make your joy in life. It's unfair to expect that from one another. You create your own joy.

Brittany: Yeah. I love that. I think there's definitely ways that they can help. They can support, but you shouldn't be looking to only the spouse to bring joy, not how it works.

Nichelle: Agree.

Brittany: Be on the same page with finances, family values, etcetera. Yes. I think having a conversation and sitting down and being like, what are our family's values going to be? That is, we kind of did a value conversation with Jenn Boughy in our office and at a retreat recently, and taking that and doing that at home I feel like can really make sure

Nichelle: It was so eyeopening.

Brittany: Yes. That your family is like, this is who we are, and this is above all else. We go back to these values. Exactly. But deciding that with your spouse is really a great idea.

Nichelle: Absolutely. Be sure to have certain conversations and boundaries in place beforehand.

Brittany: Don't try to change your spouse. Learn how to work together or better each other.

Nichelle: I love that. It's not going to happen.

Brittany: No, you can try to change them, but...

Nichelle: Don't go into a marriage expecting say, I can change that about them. Yeah.

Brittany: I was like, I'm feel like I'm a fixer in relationships. I was always like, oh, I'll fix that problem they have, or I'll fix that for them. Obviously never worked out. The people I always tried to fix were the ones that didn't marry. Yeah,

Nichelle: Exactly. Have your own routine and things you do for yourself. It's easy to just let go of those things. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly.

Brittany: Totally.

Nichelle: Have friends go out and do things. Have your own fun. I feel like it brings people closer together. If you're constantly doing every single thing together, it probably could feel a little mundane and you can find joy outside.

Brittany: Absolutely. Let go of all expectations you have on what a perfect marriage should look like. Do yourself a favor and just don't.

Nichelle: Exactly. Ask yourself, will this matter in five minutes, five weeks, or five months? If not, back down and let it go.

Brittany: I like that one. I know. That's a good one. I feel like there's so many times where it feels so important, and then I'm like, we're not even going to think about this conversation in next week. Maybe it's not that big of a deal. That's a great one. Give grace. Yes. Literally have the word grace tattooed on my arm so I can give myself grace. But it's so true in giving other people grace and just being like, Hey, people will make mistakes. It's fine.

Nichelle: Yeah. If you expect somebody to give you, then you need to be able to give in return.

Brittany: For sure. Absolutely.

Nichelle: You are a team. Work through decisions and everything together as a team.

Brittany: Yeah. I feel like we've talked about that one several times throughout. Exactly. Truly, I hope you guys have found some interesting advice here. I feel like this has been a really good episode. I think at the end of the day, no marriage is perfect. No mother is perfect. Everybody is doing the best.

Nichelle: Don't compare yourself to anyone else.

Brittany: Yeah. This has been good. So All right, friends. Well thank you!

Until next time, this season of Life with Loverly is produced by Elizabeth Evans Media Productions.


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