My name is Mikaela Ariel Tunberg, Mika for short.
I’ve been married to my husband Bo for two and a half years.
We just had our first babe, Enok Jon, in April of this year. He is a smiley, sweet, chunky 20lb man.
Bo & I met in college ten years ago just outside Chicago (crazy!) and we currently live in Kansas City, Missouri. We are creatives who do photography & videography for families & commercially as well. I love a good cheese platter & Thai food & won’t say no to a cup of tea with a little milk & that’s well sugared.
Tell us how what your experience in becoming a mother has been like.
Becoming a mother has been one of the most intense experiences of my life. Those first few months were honestly so incredibly draining. I didn’t know that I could be so tired & yet so full of excitement & joy in waking to his cry. Of course there were times in those early days where all I wanted was to roll over and get a few minutes more sleep, but looking at his tiny squishy face made getting up worth it. painful- because holy c-section. but worth it.
Is motherhood what you expected it to be like?
I truly tried to come into this whole new chapter with no expectations. There were comparisons in my head of babies that i’ve nannied or friends who i’ve watched become mothers & on occasion those made me wonder if there was something wrong with me. If I was cut out for this. If I could be everything he needed me to be & still be myself. But as time has gone on we’ve found our rhythm. Those days seems so long ago & yet like just yesterday now which is crazy because he’s only five & a half months old.
What is one thing you love about living in Kansas City?
Oh boy, what do i not love about Kansas City. The city is full of life. At any given moment there are a number of things goings on & only minutes away from where we live. Art fairs, Outdoor Concerts, Movies in the Park. The zoo here is one of my favourites & when I was pregnant with Enok I would walk there for hours. (In fact I may have gone there to try to induce labour! Didn’t work. )
Kansas City is an amazing place. Everyone is so friendly & we have a village here around us that is a huge support. Friends who will stop by & play with the baby so I can take a shower, or who come and kick us out of our home to go on a date. We’ve been truly blessed.
What is a challenge that you didn't anticipate in becoming a mother?
I didn’t think about how hard it would be for me to leave him with someone else. That first time seemed so impossible. Enok was two weeks old and my mother-in-law had come to stay with us & help out (praise the Lord). She offered to watch E one night so that Bo & I would go out. Bo said “sure that would be great!” & when he turned to me to confirm I had tears streaming down my face. hahaha whoops! She gently suggested maybe a day date at a place not too far away. A few days later we went down the street to see a movie with my sister & her husband. I’ll admit there may have been a few texts sent and pictures requested but it was over before I knew it & when we got back home little one was fast asleep in her arms.
I also didn’t anticipate how hard breastfeeding would be. Everyone I talked to told me about this magical thing that was an incredible bonding experience. And while I found that to be true eventually, the initial reality? Not so magical. So many tears were shed, so much guilt was felt when I had to supplement him with a bottle. But so much joy was found in that tiny milk drunk look he would get after we started to get the hang of our own “normal”.
What is grocery shopping like for you?
Trader Joe’s is our go to & it’s just two blocks away from our house. Enok & I will walk there more often than not to get our groceries. We usually just buy things that can be made in a pinch & way more for lunches than for dinner. Lots of fresh fruits & vegetables, a few frozen meals & a bottle of their pre-mixed margaritas made the list this week.
What is your morning commute like?
I’ve gotta tell you, that commute from our bed to the couch seems like it wouldn’t be too bad, but some days we don’t even make it. I am so so thankful to have the opportunity to work from home & to have a husband who works tirelessly to make sure that I am able to set myself up for success, both with E & with photo editing. There is something so wonderful about the flexibility to be able to cuddle little one in bed & get a little work done while he snoozes.
Where is your favorite place to bring your son?
I don’t know if we really have a favourite place yet. I love going on walks with him around our neighborhood but those are always a different route. Target is probably the place we frequent the most but I couldn’t confidently say it’s my favourite.
What’s a local dish that you love to eat?
Kansas City Barbecue is the BOMB. My favourite is a place called Kansas City Joes. Their Z-man sandwich with fries & a coke. have mercy. they even have a portobello option. so so good.
What do you do to rest and recharge?
It may sound strange but cleaning our home is something that helps me find rest. I love that freshly cleaned smell of thieves & peppermint that our home has. I also loveeeee a good Office binge watching session. I may even be known to turn it on & not even watch but just listen to it as I go from room to room. Which could explain why I quote it about ten times a day.
What advice would you offer women who are about to become mothers for the first time?
Honestly it can pretty much be summed up in one word. Grace. Give yourself grace, give your husband grace & give that sweet little babe some as well. For the first month (and parts of the last five & a half ) of Enok's life I was not good at this at ALL. I second guessed myself & my capabilities. I broke down crying almost daily. And this is where that one word expands. Find someone, a friend or an acquaintance who has had a baby or cared for a teeny tiny one before. I was so lucky to randomly reconnect with a mama whom I had met briefly a few years ago. She was due to have her third child about two weeks before Enok was due. From 32 weeks on we talked everyday. Everyday. About everything. How we were feeling, what we were feeling, how we were preparing. She had her son just five days before I did & to my joy our relationship didn’t end there. We would talk at night while the boys were up feeding, she would answer all of my first time mama questions & made me feel like i wasn’t alone. My sweet husband has obviously been right by my side but it meant SO much to me to be able to talk to someone who had walked through this portion of this journey & to walk with her in this one. Someone who reminded me to give myself grace. Believe it or not, we still text most everyday. She has been a God send for me & I have no doubt this is why God calls us to live in community. Even if part of that community is miles and miles away.