When I graduated from high school in Eufaula, Alabama, in 2005, I thought success meant getting the heck out of dodge . . . “dodge” being Alabama in its entirety. After a few long years in Orlando at the University of Central Florida, I had a different view entirely. Tired of palm trees, power lines, and endless traffic, I needed to be closer to family and closer to familiarity.
Birmingham was the biggest city in the state, so with very limited knowledge of the Magic City, I packed up whatever could fit in my dented-to-high-heaven Pontiac Vibe and transferred to UAB in 2008. The love affair was instantaneous. For me, Birmingham had all the allure of a big city with sushi (something that was brand new and downright magical to me at the time), live music, shopping, and walkability around downtown. It also had the cozy, welcoming vibes of a smaller town. It was the first time I’d ever truly felt at home somewhere. Even when I left to follow a job to Mobile in 2010, I knew I’d make my way back one day.
Cut to 2013, the opportunity to get myself back to Birmingham arrived. I’ve been here ever since. To me, this is a city where you can discover that our differences make us amazing. Every neighborhood has a different vibe–each one vibrant in its own right.
This is a place where it’s easy to find your chosen family. From downhome vibes at the Piggly Wiggly on 31 and Oak Hill Bar and Grill in Homewood to downtown sparkle at swanky spots like Helen and The Roof at The Redmont (and every sip of Miss Fancy’s or trivia night at Rojo in between), Birmingham is full of grit and grace, good food, and great folks. I met my husband here, I’ve met my best friends here, and I’ve cultivated my career here.
I’ve only been a mom in my beloved city since June (oh, hey, newborn life!), but most of my favorite people in this town are mothers. I’m stoked to be in good company and to continue to experience Birmingham’s most magical elements with a stroller in tow.
I gave birth to the newest (and littlest) love of my life, Edie James Hudgens, on June 16, 2021. Since bringing her home, life is certainly different. We have been fortunate that she’s a good sleeper, but I now see firsthand that it’s impossible to feel like you know what you’re doing as a new mom.
Survival is the name of the game, and if you can get a sweet, gummy smile here and there, all the panicky feelings suddenly feel worth it. Babies are tricky like that. They can scare the ever-loving crap out of you one minute because it doesn’t look like they’re breathing during a nap, head-butt you as you try to transport them to their room for a diaper change the next, then make you weep with gratitude during a feeding because that baby face is just. so. unbelievably. cute.
It’s probably too soon to call it on what my favorite part of motherhood is, but I love that my baby girl recognizes my face and voice. And I love that we’re connected in a way that transcends space and time.
The Birmingham Mom Collective feels like a hub of local mothers who just get it: the good, the bad, and the blowouts. I’m honored to be part of a community based on genuine support and admiration rather than shame or one-upping.
Two things I’ve learned so far are that: 1) motherhood is not for the faint of heart, and 2) a sense of humor might as well be survival in these early days.
I look forward to sharing my perspective on this new chapter in real-time while gleaning real-talk knowledge and experience from the moms in this community who have gone through it and lived to tell the tale.