Musings + Essays


By: Jen Shoop

I am in a hazy, heavy-on-the-vine season of life.

Life feels full and overgrown and wild and lush in the best and most trying of ways, like a tree that desperately needs pruning but looks rather pretty in its verdant spillage anyhow.

Earlier this week, I wrote a meandering piece spilling (that word is ultra-handy right now) some of the biggest things happening in my life at the moment and when I sat back to re-read it, I felt two ways about it:

“This is frightfully boring for everyone else.


“This is an accurate and honest reflection of my state of mind and heart right now.”

I was therefore entirely humbled — to the point of tears — by your prolific, encouraging commentary upon the various and sundry musings therein–especially on the subject of my son’s sleep patterns and my resulting sleeplessness.

New moms, and even second- or third-time moms like myself: you would do well to read the comments. Not only is it chock-full of helpful suggestions for and approaches to infant sleep, but it is a reminder that you are not alone. There are many smart and thoughtful and successful mothers that have sat where you sit now, bleary-eyed and soaking through your nursing nightgown and wondering when you will ever, ever sleep more than two or three hours in a row again (who cares about a full eight? I’ll take five strung together and call it a night) and occasionally, in your very worst moments, hurling a pacifier against a wall in a moment of complete and utter frustration and exhaustion after stubbing your toe on the bassinet in the pitch black of your room. As I did three nights ago. Comme il faut. (I’m sorry, Tilly, for the middle-of-the-night missile that woke you so abruptly.)

There were a handful of comments that spoke to my heart and that I have been carrying around with me, from the tip of my tongue to the deepest reaches of my heart, since. While I desperately appreciated all of the specific tips on sleep training and have already put a few into place, these more general words of encouragement left me both weepy with gratitude and empowered with new-found confidence:

“Humans have been to the moon and understand quantum physics. If there was one ‘foolproof’ way to get all babies to sleep we would know about it and it would work. – Jessica

“I feel very similar to you about the scheduled baby books. With my oldest I really did try, however sleep training was not for me and as he got older I let it all go and trusted he would sleep and he did.” – Brooke

“Hoping you can find some moments to be gentle with yourself.– Kate

“Be kind to yourself. You’re doing a great job, mama.– Heidi

Take each day as it comes. Power through with love. You’ve got this!” – Cynthia

Thank you, Magpies, for your advice and encouragement and for offering me the space to speak openly about my many mistakes and occasional successes as I try my damnedest to mother this little babe the best I can. I hope fellow Magpies — mothers and not — give all of these words a home in their hearts.

To Cynthia in particular: I will be praying for the grace to power through with love for a long time to come. Thank you for this directive I so desperately needed to hear during this time of growth and spillage and shapeliness in my life.

Post Scripts.

+This sweater is my kind of sweater. I love the dimensions and colors. Get the look for less with this!

+The perfect cherry red Mary Jane for a mini.

+Pepa & Co is running a sale and I’m in love with these Liberty London floral collar tops for little ones!

+Have heard really good things about this $10 undereye primer/brightener.

+This floral gown is on sale and INSANE. I LOVE IT. WHY IS IT SOLD OUT IN MY SIZE. (Would make a great addition to this roundup of wedding guest dress picks.)

+Literally my dream shoe. What’s not to love?! PERFECT for an over the top bride-to-be.

+Also dying over this white bow-front shoe for a more casual wedding-related affair.

+A fun and inexpensive dress for fall. I’d pair with black tights and black pumps or booties. (Works with a bump, too!)

+Sweet gingham crib sheets on sale!

+Also lots of good comments on this post!

+3 a.m. party — not what you think it means.

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4 thoughts on “Spillage.

  1. “I let it all go and trusted…” So hard to do but that’s usually when it all comes together!

    I’m also really glad you share these musings because so many of us need to hear them (they are not boring, I promise!). When most of what we see is through an Instagram filter, it’s important to share our times of struggle and trials, too. I’ve also been trying to be more transparent about the things I struggle with to friends and family for the same reason, instead of trying to appear buttoned-up all the time. This community is so special in that it seems like we are all here for each other, albeit mostly virtually. We are truly blessed by it. xo

    1. You are so sweet, April. We’re happy to have you here 🙂

      I’m glad this resonates whether you have kids or not, too!!

      Also, such good advice: “let it all go and trust.” xxx

  2. Love, love Cynthia’s directive — I think we could all do well to keep that one top of mind!

    I can’t speak for everyone, obviously, but I’ve always loved reading your musings about your life. The way you write makes them the furthest thing from boring!

    And: that floral gown! So beautiful! I wish I could wear it to an upcoming wedding. 🙂


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