Weekend Vibes: On the Midsummer Squeeze of Motherhood.

By: Jen Shoop

*Above: me, two years ago, with long hair and a one year old in my arms, at the Met in NYC. Summers past…

My Latest Snag: Adidas Sambas + Clean Skincare.

Like so many of you, I took the plunge on the Adidas Sambas trend this week with these sage green kicks. Will share some pics on how I’m styling in next week or two. I’m taking style notes from this street style starlet

Also, thanks to Magpie reader intel, I now have a long list of great skin cleansers with clean ingredients. I’m starting with Biossance’s Squalane + Amino Gel Cleanser, which a few of you raved about. I was drawn to it because a) I really love Biossance’s Vitamin C serum but haven’t tried any of their other products yet; and b) I prefer a cleanser that foams up? Some of the other cleansers recommended are creamy but I think I like a good leather. While at Biossance, I also ordered their Marine Algae Eye Cream, which several of you have recommended and one of my longtime Magpies (Mia, I see you!) has insisted is (pun intended) la creme de la creme. Note that you can currently get two full sized creams for the price of one?! I’m not sure how/why. But yes please. I actually haven’t been using an eye cream for a long time since I never feel like that they do that much for me, yet they are so expensive and represent an extra step in skincare! (I’ve just been using my usual moisturizer for undereye area, too.) Hoping this changes the tide! I also ordered the travel size of this clean makeup melting balm that one of you described as “so effective its ridiculous” (!!!). Very intrigued. (Thank you again for all your comments and insights on my recent beauty post.)

A few other clean cleansers that I considered and will eventually try thanks to you: Osea, Goop, and Tata Harper’s Refreshing Cleanser. Note that Tata is offering 25% off orders over $100 at the moment. I used their regenerating cleanser for years and years and it is truly an exceptional product but I felt like it was too much daily exfoliation for me. The gentler cleanser is in my future for sure.

Important post-script: Goop is offering 25% off a selection of its clean skincare products this weekend (they only do this twice a year), so you can get their INCREDIBLE exfoliator for 25% off with code GLOWUP. It has become an instant favorite for me, and I know many Magpies agree (one wrote to say: “I always buy a back up for my back up” — e.g., I NEED TO HAVE THIS STOCKED!). It is both a chemical and physical exfoliant and perks skin right up. Skin looks immediately brighter — you can feel the dead skin sloughing away! Incredible product. I used the code to order the cleanser linked above that a Magpie recommended, just to try it next!

This Week’s Bestsellers.

magpie bestsellers


Weekend Musings: The Mid-Summer Squeeze.

Earlier this week, I came across a lovely musing writer Rose Blacque shared on Instagram:

I walk down to the lake where the cicadas click and the algae blooms

and the cotton floats down from the trees like snow.

By late July everything is hanging on, but barely.

In the caption, she adds: “Because summer is nothing but one long sunrise and a slow drip of thoughts that rarely come together. And still that’s alright. I took a much needed break from writing as my agent is reading the first four chapter of my novel rewrite and I am waiting anxiously to hear her thoughts. Dean grows too fast and the walk to the lake is too short. I feel aged in a way I never have before and I am trying to find the grace and beauty in it.”

Her words gave shape to the restlessness? agita? exhaustion? that I, too, have been grappling with during this mid-summer period, where everything feels heavy on the vine, perhaps over-ripe, especially in the realm of motherhood. This past week, I feel I have done nothing but fill requests and discipline, and during the in-between moments, when I could snuggle my children or ask after their interior lives, I instead long for quiet and solitude, which in turn dredges up the familiar nebula of mom guilt. I walk myself back by remembering that (as I’ve written elsewhere): “The ice cream shop and moments at the museum are lovely, but I must not let those exclamation points stand in for the quiet, unremarked labors of love that fill my days and form the fibers of my motherhood.” Which is to say: we are doing the hard work of motherhood even when it doesn’t feel that way–the snack-making, the boundary-setting, the bandaid-fetching is also us being loving mothers, trying our best, devoting ourselves to tiny children who need rules and snacks and reassurances even more, I think, than they do “magic.” When I write “magic,” I am being pointed, because I find myself flagging in the face of a certain narrative of motherhood I have been absorbing the past few years, especially on Instagram, where I am told “You only have 18 summers with your children at home! Lean into the magic! Hug them a little longer! There is one day you will look longingly at the kids in the playground while you brunch!” Of course, there is truth there, and wisdom in the jangle: “Never wish your children’s ages away.” But also, those formulas have a tendency to set unrealistic expectations and apply undue pressure. We can’t create magic 365 days of the year. It is untenable to expect that we will exist in a state of maternal wonderment and joy at all times. We are human beings with complex inner lives, hormones, stressors, relationships. It is OK to love your children and also feel exhausted by them. It is normal to miss the regularity of school, to feel whiplashed by the unusual tantrums and boundary-testings that seem to crop up so densely in summer time (at least, in my home). It is equally predictable for children to act this way in summer: everything is lax and loose, and there are so many new places and experiences and routines. Later bedtimes! One more popsicle! A last minute trip to the pool! Summer is exciting and unstructured and overstimulating for my two, and so I find myself needed in different ways. They need reassurance. They need a lot of physical affection. They need to be told “no” a thousand times — just because summer is loose-fitting doesn’t mean we let go of our rules. Etc.

I shared a little bit about this on Instagram and a number of Magpies chimed in, in solidarity: “Why is this time of summer so hard?” and “I can’t quite pinpoint what’s going on, but I’m exhausted!” So if you are feeling this way — elbowing through the midsummer squeeze — know you’re not alone. I think it’s a perfect vortex of overtired, overstimulated children (as one friend put it: “camp fatigue”); a kind of “midseason doldrum” where the rest of the summer feels a bit like flat road and you might be in need of a downslope; and the agita of wishing your children a magical summer but also needing to tend to yourself, coveting a break of your own.

And to all of this I say: hang in there. Feel it all. See the summer for what it is: green lights and fireflies alongside time outs and tantrums. Say “no” for the millionth time, where it matters, and try not to feel bad about it — know that they need the boundary, especially now, in this time of no borders. In turn, give where you can — let them eat the chicken fingers for the third night in a row; transfer the milk to the blue cup at your toddler’s insistence; listen to Katy Perry’s “Firework” for the hundredth time. Tamper with the dials. Do less some weeks; say “yes” more others. Mainly, realize that some parts of motherhood are not glamorous or fun or magical, and that the Instagram pull quotes that suggest otherwise are extracts rather than full recipes. They represent one flavor from my maternal experience, but there are others to balance.

We got this! Onward!

Shopping Break.

My new favorite thing is the Magpie Digest. Subscribe here for a weekly roundup of top essays, musings, conversations, and finds.

+Ordered myself these wide-leg jeans in the best nutmeg color. I was inspired to find denim in this general color category after these Citizens flew off the shelves.

+Just your quarterly reminder to replace your Williams Sonoma oven mitts with these silicone-edged ones. They are infinitely better — my W.S. ones usually had about a year in them before the tips would get browned/burnt, and my hands were often burnt at one point or another while wearing. The silicone ones really protect your fingers and last SO MUCH LONGER. On a related note, some favorite kitchen gear you might not have.

+While we’re talking kitchen utility, I have heard about these Swedish dish cloths for years and years but for some reason never tried them. Just ordered a pack to give them a whirl.

+There was a lot of interest in the Agua Bendita dress (two seasons old) I wore here. This current-season one is VERY similar in shape, motif, etc!! Run. You won’t regret. You can get the look for less with the Tuckernuck dress that was a bestseller this week! (Or this one!)

+Your future self will thank you for snagging this spectacular holiday top now, while on sale. It’s VELVET and so good. I actually think I am going to order the dress version of the top for our end of summer wedding! I’ve had my eye on it for two seasons now (in different colors), but the pink is SO me.

+Two cute fall finds for little girls: these Chelsea boots and this just-like-mom striped knit.

+FUN colorful statement sweater.

+These knit sets from Kilte are drool-worthy, as are the ones from Jenni Kayne! One of my very well-traveled girlfriends raves about the latter for travel days.

+And while we’re on the travel wavelength, Paravel is offering 25% off sitewide! Tempted to buy their aviator suitcase

+Could not be more obsessed with this cute little reversible quilted jacket from VB. Their outerwear is spectacular.

+We bought my daughter a HomePod Mini for her bedroom a year or two ago and she’s in love. We play white noise for her at bedtime and she loves to tell Siri to play her favorite singers/songs — Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Nirvana, and Queen are all in heavy rotation at 6:45 a.m. sharp in her room. (With parental controls for language!). Thinking of buying my son one of these fun colorful options!

+Tempted to buy these dad sandals for mini!

+This Alemais dress took my breath away!

+This timeless clutch is 30% off temporarily with code SUMMER30.

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6 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes: On the Midsummer Squeeze of Motherhood.

  1. Re: Biossance eye cream — I hope it doesn’t let you down after my pseudo-influencing, haha! But truly, it’s one of those things for which I have a “backup of the backup” 😉 Can’t beat that 2-for-1 promo!

  2. Oh I am feeling this SO intensely with my 5 year old right now. She’ll be going to kindergarten this fall, and in the past we’ve had some rough times adjusting to big transitions. I tried to be really intentional about piecing together her summer activities so that she has some new experiences and also enough downtime at home to prevent overstimulation/sensory overload, and yet here we are. It’s so ironic how it’s at exactly that time of the summer when “camp fatigue” sets in and also when we really need some space from them, and yet there’s also this feeling of “this is the last summer before kindergarten!”. We have been talking about this transition and I get the sense that she needs me more now, to provide a sense of security to ground her before this big change. I can relate so much to your suggestion of being more flexible when possible. It reminds me not sweat the small stuff AND gives me more room to also enjoy and be present in the ways that matter. In the meantime, I feel comforted by the fact that so many other parents expressed similar experiences/feelings about this time of year!

    1. You nailed it, Mia – the feeling of everyone being a little stuck/tired but also knowing that school is just around the corner, and wanting to soak up these last few weeks! Whiplash…! But, I will say that since writing this post / sharing the experience with a few other Magpies / recalibrating with Mr. Magpie, everything feels better. Just giving a name to the feeling, and pointing some potential contributing factors to it, helped so much.


  3. The Citizen’s in that color are on both Net-a-Porter and Saks in a lot of sizes…Saks has a 15% off code right now if you buy through their app.

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