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how to become the woman you were before you became mom, rediscovering who you were before motherhooddaylight savings time, kids and daylight savings time, surviving daylight savings time, DST, parenting and daylight savings time

Once you have children, “mom” is your name, taking care of little people is your game. You stop being known as the person you used to be, and you start being known as the mom, mommy, mama to your little one. If you’re like me, you’ll probably even refer to yourself as such. I’ve been Bella and Gabi’s mom for so long, I’m pretty sure that some of their friends actually think my name is BellaAnGabi. But, I’m still in here rediscovering myself before motherhood. Like you, trying to figure out how to be the woman you were before you became mom.

READ ALSO: The Beauty of Motherhood

Being a mom is all-consuming and it’s very easy to lose yourself in that one thing you become and even easier to forget who you were before that. Soon, all of the likes and dislikes you used to have seemed to fade away and your life revolves around your children. For example, I loved strawberry ice cream and then my children didn’t so I didn’t buy strawberry ice cream for 13 years until one day, I took that power back. What I like matters too. It’s such a simple thing but I get to matter.  With all the concessions of motherhood, the biggest is the total loss of a time in your life and that usually means sacrificing your youth.

I’m just a mom like you, trying to figure out how to be the woman you were before you became mom.

The life you had before becoming a mom and how young you used to feel is fading from all of the responsibility of your new role. You’ll think about all of the things that you used to say and do, and how different the things that you say and do are now. You’re not any less of a person, you’re just not the same person at all. You can’t be. In fact, the moms I know are some of the best people I know.

READ MORE: The TRUTH about Motherhood that No One will Tell You

The resourcefulness and resilience that you build as a mother is unfathomable, and for me, my life feels like it has a higher purpose; one greater than myself. But, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t think of the ways to get your groove back and rediscover who you are as a person. You deserve to exist autonomous from your kids and spouse. I want to show you some of the ways you can do just that and feel more like you again or at least the new hybrid wonder woman that you have become.

Rediscover Your Passions

You will have grown up having some sort of passion in life. For me, I loved writing, dancing and being active. Even if your passion was just going out and having fun every weekend, you were passionate about something. Hey, I was pretty passionate about my weekends before becoming a mom. Sure for most people, their passions stem a bit deeper than being able to have a cocktail on the weekend. Maybe you were into a sport, fashion, music, or art. For some reason, that all seems to fade into the background when you become a mom, or at least for those first few years.

READ MORE: My TRUTH about Motherhood

Your passion becomes your child, and that’s never going to go away. But you’re allowed to be able to have something else to focus on, on the side. It doesn’t make you’re a bad person to want to do things you like just for you. It’s what makes you, you, and nobody can take that away from you. You’re better for your family if you take care of yourself too. Do something just for you. Start small, take a hot bath or read a book before bedtime because you used to enjoy spa days and reading for leisure. Once you star t doing something just for you, you’ll start to reconnect with yourself and find joy in things that you forgot you used to enjoy.

Invest Some Time In What Makes You Feel Beautiful

I think all moms fall prey to this affliction at one point or another in their tenure as a mom. Sometime between pregnancy, middle of the night cluster feedings, running to make sure toddlers don’t fall when learning to walk and the teen years, messy buns, yoga pants and a t-shirt with some kind of tiny human’s bodily fluid on it becomes our mom uniform. It’s not because we moms fundamentally dislike fashion and style, it’s because our priorities changed and it just felt like keeping the baby alive was more important than what label we wore or how often we could get to dry bar. I’m here to tell you we need some of that investment in our appearance to help us feel confident.

READ ALSO: Sneaking away for Me Time

There were years where I felt like a ghost walking through my life because I had let myself go so far that I tried to convince myself that I didn’t care but I did. It wore on me. My daughters always looked amazing but I looked like the nanny Cinderella.

Let’s start with fashion, because who can deny that a cute outfit makes a mama feel empowered. You can reinvent yourself. Check out the latest styles and see feels like it fits. Scroll through Instagram and see what the cute mom influencers are wearing or check out Pinterest to discover what the latest trends are.

Try shopping at places that you wouldn’t usually shop at to get inspiration for style. Even if the style is hip athleisure wear, just a small change can change your entire perspective, mood and the way you carry yourself.

You can see more GCDS here, which is a clothing brand from Milan that you might not have ever heard about before, selling styles you’ve probably not tried in years. Also, if I can sneak in a quick face mask after the girls go to bed or some moisturizer, mascara and tinted chapstick in the morning, it makes me feel less out of sorts when I’m out in the general population. And I don’t care what anyone says, a cute messy bun is always in fashion.

Be Spontaneous

I know the thought of spontaneity is practically laughable as a mom but sometimes we need to shake things up to shake our true selves awake. I mean our mom side has been in full-on high-gear for years now. It needs to be reminded that there is a sexy, creative, intelligent, fierce and beautiful woman right beneath the service that needs the day off from mom duty to get her groove back.

As moms, our lives are on a schedule. We exist to cross things off the list. We always have to be prepared and responsible for everyone but being spontaneous can be invigorating. Try an impromptu coffee, Zumba or brunch date with a girlfriend while the kids are at school. Those dishes and laundry can wait a few hours. Don’t even bother with that mom guilt. Mom guilt and worry are two useless emotions. As a mom, it it’s easy to forget where our children end and we begin and whenever we try to do anything for ourselves, it feels unnatural but that’s just because we haven’t done it in a while. Repeat after me, you’re not a bad mom for existing outside of your children’s per view. Try to have a girl’s night or date night at least once a month. Just make it happen, even if it’s just for a couple hours. You need to feel empowered and confident as a woman to be a strong example of joy and fulfillment for your children. Do you want them to see you looking miserable as their mother? No, go get your groove back girl.

What do you do for yourself ( just you) that makes you feel good about who you are? What are your tips for how to be the woman you were before you became a mom?

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Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA, Paris

Still wondering what to get mom for Valentine’s Day? Wondering what to get everyone you love for Valentine’s Day? It’s hard because once a woman gets to be a certain age (grown) we just kind of buy what we want when we want it, so it’s difficult to find the perfect gift. And after 40, forget about it. We’re tired of waiting. We know life’s too short to not eat the cake and buy the fancy dress.

READ ALSO: When No One’s Looking

My, real talk, advice to everybody who is having issues figuring out what mom really wants is to go deeper than just price tags and popularity. Pay attention to what she says and does. The perfect Valentine’s Day gift guide should include getting her the things she never has to ask for. They should be thoughtful and consider who she is. The best gifts are not the generic gift that everyone else is getting their moms because a commercial told them to. It’s knowing your mom’s heart and giving her something that will be meaningful to her.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything

Tickets to a Broadway Show

I love giving experiences and I love getting them too. Things tarnish, tear and wear but experiences age into sweet memories that are priceless. That is what I want to give. I want my mom to hear a song, see a show, a photo of a far off place or a movie and smile while she remembers to herself, that one time at so and so. One experience I love to give to everyone I know is tickets to a Broadway Show. It is truly an experience that elevates you. Hamilton, anyone? I know for a fact, this mom would never forget seeing Hamilton with her family.

You are Beautiful Cursive wall hanging

Let mom enjoy an artful reminder that she is beautiful inside and out with this hand cut three-dimensional display. There is so much we feel that we never say and sometimes we just need to say them so the people we love can hear them. How many times have we thought how much we love someone or how beautiful they are to us and never say it? This simple, elegant wall hanging will serve as a constant reminder as to how beautiful they are to us. This You are Beautiful cursive wall hanging is also the perfect gift for your daughter.

BOLT 700 Wireless headphones

Sure, at first, these sound like just another awesome tech gift for the mom who dreams of walking the CES floor but it’s so much more than that. BOLT BT 700 are true wireless earphones with a charging speaker case. Mom can get some peace and quiet from the chaos in her world by simply putting these on and shutting it out. They’re the first earphones to have balanced armature drivers which means more detailed sound with less power used. Your sound goes everywhere. The earphones’ case is a portable speaker, too.

Mother Nesting Birds necklace

Help mom keep her flock close with this recycled sterling silver handcrafted mother nesting birds necklace. This beautiful necklace showcases mama and her baby birds. I have this particular piece and it is one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever owned. You know my story. You’ve seen my logo. This necklace makes my heart feel whole again. Every mom would appreciate this meaningful gift.

Nima Peanut Sensor

So this may sound like a weird Valentine’s Day gift but for the mom who has a child with peanut allergies, this connected food sensor detects traces of peanut in food for those with peanut allergies in under 5 minutes. The Nima Peanut Sensor is a quick and portable handheld sensor, easy to use and incredibly accurate and that all adds up to peace of mind for mom. That is absolutely priceless. I’m not one who normally advocates for sensible gifts for mom but this one is absolutely perfect for some moms.

READ ALSO: The Greatest Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA, ParisBring Back the Romance Date Night Package

This is for the mom who has everything but just wants a little grown-up time romance with her favorite person. Like I said, thoughtful. There’s nothing like a night in with a Jameson and Ginger in one hand while snacking on bourbon pecan pie and playing a rousing game of Kinky Truth or Dare with the person of your dreams. Seriously, how much fun could this be? Bonus: Pretty sure that the guy in your life would love this as Valentine’s Day too.

A set of 2  Whiskey wedge glasses it creates an ice slope that chills spirits but minimizes dilution with this rocks glass’ fitted silicone mold.

Sounds crazy but if you have a Valentine with a sweet tooth and a taste for the finer things in life, this decadent Bourbon Pecan Pie Filling will be perfection. Did I mention unique? Mix the contents of this jar with butter and eggs for a bourbon-soaked piece of pie heaven or warm and pour over ice cream for an adult sundae that your special someone will not soon forget.

Last but not least, spice up date night with this adult version of the classic game truth or dare Kinky Truth or Dare. The best part is that this is great for a brand new couple just starting out and even better for those of us who have been together for years. Even at 21 years together, this game could make us blush in the best way possible.

 Valentine's Day gifts for Mom, Valentine's Day,Gift Guide, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything, gift guide for mom, Valentine's Day, Mother nesting birds necklace, nixplay frame, you are beautiful cursive wall hanging, Valentine's Day gift guide, uncommon goods, NIMA

Wi-Fi Cloud Picture Frame

The digital frame by Nixplay is a personal favorite. Perfect for children (of all ages) to get for their moms this Valentine’s Day or for that cute InstaCouple who have all those great pics to share. I have taken thousands of photos of my children but they are almost all digital and I never have the time to print them out so I love the idea of this digital frame. Using Wi-Fi, you can instantly display and share your most precious photos/videos sent from anywhere in the world with your friends and loved ones. I think this is something that my mom would love. You can share photos/videos with ease amongst family and friends over Wi-Fi directly to the frame from your phone or tablet and it works with Amazon Alexa. No need for memory sticks or cards.

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs Made My Marriage Sexy

Something Sweet

How about a Macaron Kit? Yes, I know, maybe it sounds a little bit like work but I love Macarons and if my guy ( or my girls) got me a gift and made me these French patisserie-style delicacies at home with this DIY macaron kit, I’d be impressed and happy. They are decadent and dainty and I love them but we all know everything tastes better when someone else makes them. Also, it is really difficult to find macaron’s where I live so having the option of making them whenever I want is pretty sweet to me. While I think this definitely belongs on my gift guide for mom, I actually got this for my macaron loving teenager and I know she’s going to flip.

Surprise Trip to Paris

Speaking of French Patisserie-style delicacies, if you really want to get the mom of your children something amazing for Valentine’s Day, why not whisk her away to Paris (or London , Santorini, Rome or the Grand Cayman islands) for a weekend filled with nothing but her being the center of the world taking all the magical Instagram photos her heart desires or maybe just holed up in a small Parisian hotel room facing the Eiffel Tower. Comme c’est romantique!

Every mom deserves a thoughtful gift on Valentine’s Day. She showers her family with love every single day. If you’re at a loss because she has everything, I’ve got you covered with this list.

Disclosure: Some of the items on this list have been provided to me for review purposes but all, in my opinion, are things that I would want or have gotten as a gift recently and love.

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Mom when She has Everything

What are you getting the most important lady in your life for Valentine’s Day this year? If you are a woman, what would you love more than anything this Valentine’s Day?

 

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why every mom needs an escape, mom vacation, momcation

I’m tired. Every day, I get up and perform the same routine. I get the Big Guy and the girls off to school. I work out on the way home from drop off, come home, speed through breakfast and get ready for work. Over and over. Repeat.

I go to work and entertain and play surrogate mama to preschoolers for 5 hours of the day. Racking up a whopping 12000-15000 steps while there. Then, pick the girls up from school, go to whatever appointment we might have that day, maybe stop at the grocery store. Talk to the girls to see how their day went. Cook dinner. Eat dinner with the family. Talk to the Big Guy to see how his day went. Help with homework. Write for my deadlines and muster the creativity to say something on my own site. Shower. Kiss my family goodnight and go to bed. Oh wait, no I’m a mom, I’m probably up for another hour or so loading the dishwasher or folding laundry.

This mom needs an escape.

Lay in bed while an infinite list of things I forgot to do or need to do the next day overwhelm me, eventually I pass out from sheer exhaustion. Sometimes, I get to sleep 3 hours before my mom bladder wakes me up to go pee. Other nights, I’m woken to a vomiting or crying sick child or someone crawling into my bed for mom comfort. Some nights, the list is too long to close my eyes for sheer fear that I’ll suffocate the moment I close my eyes.

READ ALSO: How to Survive Mom Guilt

I need a vacation from my inner monologue and the responsibility of my day-to-day. I’m not saying I need a vacation from my family but I’m not saying I don’t either. Every single mom/ dad/ human being needs their escape in life. It’s not something anyone gives us. It’s one of those things you’ve got to prioritize and take.

If you really think about all of the things that we do as moms on a daily basis, you’d be in awe of just how much you accomplish in a single day. The funny thing is we don’t even give ourselves credit for all that we do. We just do it. With only very minimal complaining (who’d listen anyway, right?)

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A mom vacation to someplace quiet is a fantasy for most of us.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that many of us chose to stay home with our children. Maybe we feel a little guilty that we sacrificed our careers after investing all that money on grad school (twice) and then shelving our visions for our lives. But really didn’t the dream just change?

READ ALSO: The Mom Resume

Let’s face it, by nature, moms are martyrs. We often sacrifice our hopes and dreams for those of the people we love. No one asks us to do it. We just do it instinctively and then one day, we look around and wonder what the heck happened to the life we thought we’d have?

Being home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year doing the same routine can not only become monotonous but exhausting mentally, physically and spiritually. Taking care of our children, driving the mom taxi, cleaning, cooking and being the emotional support person for everyone in the house is a lot of work and I don’t know about you but I need an escape plan from it all sometimes.

Mom needs an escape from reality to remember who she is.

Our lives of full of crazy and chaos, even if the rest of the world doesn’t recognize what’s going on in the motherhood. We don’t get to sleep in when we’re tired. We don’t get sick days. And there sure as hell is no personal or mental health days available to moms. We get up, get to it and power through. We’re unwilling wonder women.

Every mom and dad needs an occasional escape if for nothing else just to hit the reset button and get some much needed quiet time and hey if sunshine is on the menu that’s even better.

Returning to Simpler Times

If you think back to who you used to be and the life you lived before you became a mom, you’d probably be imaging a person who was carefree with no real worries or responsibilities. Ah, the good ole days. Remember when the biggest concern you had on Friday was what you were going to wear out to the club and if you had the money for pre-club cocktails with your girls?  These days, you’re worrying if you have enough money to pay all of the bills, fill the fridge, and go out and do something as a family on the weekend.

Time to flip the script. Get in touch with your before kids self, and start doing more of the things that you love. Think about the time you were in when you loved yourself the most, and what used to make you happy. The 90’s were simpler times for me. I had a lot of fun. Remember any of these things? https://blog.meccabingo.com/the-best-90s-things-that-take-us-back/ Honestly, I was a lot of fun back then. I’m not one to live in the past and I love my future but sometimes reminding yourself of the audacious creature you are at your core is not only needed but necessary. Get yourself to a dance party stat and you will feel rejuvenated. Try it. It’s the perfect escape and you don’t even have to take a place anywhere. Who needs an airplane when you’ve got yourself a time machine?

Have A Social Life Without Children

This is such an important one that I feel like so many moms are missing out on. A social life without your children by your side is imperative to your sanity. No one can go full-on all hours of the day. Eventually, they’re going to break mama and then we all lose. When you feel like the only life you have is life as a mom, you become wrapped up in that. You don’t go out alone, and you might feel as though you have lost connections with other adults. Twice a month try to get out without the kids, a date night with your partner and a few hours with friends. It’s just enough time to remember who you are outside of being someone’s mom. Sometimes that’s all we need; a few hours of being ourselves with no butts to wipe, diapers to change or little people to army crawl out of their room after getting them to sleep. A night off without guilt can totally change your perspective.

Focusing On Your Own Self Love

Focusing on your own self-love is something you can do easily and for free but it can also feel indulgent. Cue the mom guilt. For some moms, the routine they get to do before they go to bed is all the sanctuary that they need. It’s a time when the kids are asleep in bed, and all you need to think about is you and what you want to do. An uninterrupted, hot bath, some candles, a glass of wine and quiet might be enough to do the trick. For others, a good book, hot tea and no one asking for anything for a couple of hours is perfection. The point is an escape from reality and relaxation can be pure bliss to a weary mom.

Take the Day Off

You can’t actually take the day off from being a mom nor would we want to. But you don’t always have to be in mom mode. Having those listening ears on at all times and catlike reflexes to catch falling babies and projectile vomiting is exhausting. If you want to go out shopping for clothes alone, you shouldn’t feel like you need anyone there with you. Going shopping in your own company, and then eating out on your own can bring you so much peace. Hey and watching a movie in the theater alone may be one of the greatest things none of us are doing. Trust me, just do it.

Take a Momcation

If you’re next level mom, embrace the concept of an actual vacation. I love traveling with my family but my wanderlust runs deep. Travel is one of the most beautiful ways to refresh your mindset and appreciate your life. There’s no shame in taking a day or a week and going away with your partner, your friends or just yourself to get a break and reset. Don’t feel guilty. You are doing it for the greater good. You’re doing it for all of you. A happy mom and wife is certainly a happier life.

What is your favorite way to escape your routine, relax and reset?

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mom low point, parenting, motherhood, doing your best, parenting fail, judgement

Have you ever had a mom low point that was so rough that it knocked you right back on your butt and made you feel like you were doing absolutely everything wrong? Being a mom is hard. I mean question yourself, cry after they go to bed, guilt-ridden, love them so fiercely that sometimes it feels like you might die…hard. Sometimes it’s so hard that I just want to throw my hands up and walk away and other times, I want to crumple up on the floor and assume the fetal position but other times, like tonight, when I feel like a complete failure, my instinct is to fight as hard as I can for what is certainly the most precious and important thing in my life, my girls.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t post too often during the holidays. I was in a proverbial Nutcracker dug hole. You see, I had this dream of what my daughters’ childhood would look like and it was the complete opposite of mine. I wanted them to have extravagant parties (because I had none). I wanted them to be well rounded and that meant culture so there needed to play an instrument, play a sport and learn a language and on top of all of that, I expected good no GREAT grades. Okay, I had some of that but I had a lot of hard times and dysfunction and I never wanted any of that for them. Bottom line, I wanted to protect them from any hardship but I’ve realized hardships come in many different forms.

My rule was if they wanted to try it, I was going to support it but still, I had expectations of my daughters but I was mindful not to put labels on them or to compare them to others or to be too hard on them. When I was a small child, I was labeled “gifted” (I hate that stupid term. It’s meaningless.) because of my IQ but all that did was pigeonhole me onto the college prep FastTrack, from about 7-years-old on, I had no choice in the matter. My life was laid out for me.

Even when all my grades were A’s, the unavoidable, “why aren’t they A+s?” always followed. I never felt good enough and there was no time or budget for me to do frivolous things like extracurriculars unless they were school provided. In fact, when all of my friends were taking things like typing and art in high school, I was taking what today would be considered AP everything, plus on the newspaper, the yearbook and taking 2 foreign languages. I graduated with a gold seal on my diploma but I hated school because it was just layered upon layer of expectations for me. It wasn’t about experiences; it was about winning. What the prize was, I never figured out. It must have been that f*cking meaningless gold seal. In return, I have never felt adequate enough. Ever. That is the last thing I want for my children.

I’ve been keeping my mom shit together pretty good over the years, sure it’s held together by duct tape and bubble gum like I’m the effing mom MacGyver but I thought I was doing a good job. Sure, I have an occasional mom low point but mostly, I thought my mom skills were on point. I tell my kids not to measure themselves against others, and yet, I almost constantly measure my failures against my friend’s perceived triumphs. I tell my girls they are perfect but all I do is see my own flaws. I am parenting the do as I say not as I do way and it’s not what I wanted. Not at all.

Anyways, the girls are, by all accounts, thriving. They play the violin, dance in the city’s ballet youth company, they tap and do jazz, there is gymnastics and cheer and oh, yes, choir plus the grades are always all “A”s but there are no recesses, no playdates, no rest and no down time. Every minute is filled with STUFF and for what? In 12 years, who is going to care if they did all of this? They’re missing experiences and for the first time ever, the report card didn’t show all “A”s. I’m failing my children again. Alert: Mom low point!

I know that is not the end of the world but the thing is it wasn’t because my kids aren’t smart enough, it’s because they simply didn’t have the time to dedicate to their homework because they were so overbooked. They had to miss school for performances and then they got sick because they were so run down. Now, I’m sitting here feeling like the world’s shittiest mom because I let this happen to them. I allowed this perfect storm of disappointment to come into their lives when I’m the one who should have protected them from it.

Friends and family (including the Big Guy) have been telling me for years to cut it back to save myself a headache but I would not relent because it felt selfish. Now, I see that I need to cut things back because it’s too much for them and that’s all it’s ever really been about. So today, I’m getting rid of things in our lives. I’m cutting the fat so that we can enjoy these few years they have left at home. I don’t care if they are not doing all the things.

Parenting today is nothing like when my parents raised me. We did less and they were accountable for less. My God, I grew up in the time of no seatbelts and riding in the back of pick-up trucks. I played outside until the streetlights came on and I walked all over town with my friends, with no cell phone or chip. The goal was graduating high school without going to jail or ending up pregnant or a serial killer. By the standards, my parents did a bang up job. But things are different now, parenting is not about getting by. It’s a measure of your worth as a human being, especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent because if it’s not about the kids…what’s it all been for? That’s not just my own opinion, it’s societies. If you’re a stay-at-home parent and your child is not perfect, you suck. Well, I SUCK.

Some days I feel like I am failing so hard at being a mom but then other days, I feel like I am absolutely killing it. You know those days when everything goes smoothly and no one is throwing a tantrum, stomping or arguing? The days when you are so happy to be their mom that you feel like your heart just might burst wide open. All the terrible mom low points are worth those days. The days when you are driving in the car singing at the top of your lungs and laughing and loving each other so hard that you feel invincible. Those days rock my world. For me, happiness is this.

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My goal is to be more present, more engaged and focus on moments with my children not all the things or all the benchmarks of what is expected of a “good mom”. I am a good mom. I love my girls. We just got so caught up in doing what was expected of us that we forgot to do what feels best for our family; what actually is best for our family.

Have you ever had a moment in parenting that made you reassess your entire process? What was your mom low point?

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working mom , mommy guilt, work, mom, family and work balance

working mom , mommy guilt, work, mom, family and work balanceThe Working Mom

Working Mom guilt ~ Finding the balance between work and family is the sweet spot in life where every working mom wants to live. But how do we find the perfect balance between our careers and our family, more importantly, our children? This is a struggle that I think every woman is too familiar with; one that I, myself, have struggled with since giving birth to my first child.

Even if we are afforded the luxury of being stay-at-home Moms,  we are torn and left feeling guilty for not wanting to be in the house, with the children, sans adult conversation for 24-hour increments/ 365 days a year. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, a work outside of the home mom and a work-at-home mom. All have had their challenges and in every category, I was a working mom. Raising children and maintaining a home is never ending work, even if the perks include spontaneous hugs form adorable munchkins.

As a stay-at- home mom, I wrestled with being overwhelmed with no down time. I found myself having verbal explosive diarrhea each afternoon when my husband walked through the door. I felt disconnected to the outside world and then I felt extreme guilt for feeling like I wanted to be anywhere else. After all, what kind of mother needs time away from her children? Obviously, this was a sign of a major character flaw on my part and I should suffer in silence like a priest trying to purify his soul and purge the impure thoughts. After all, wanting to be away from my children, wasn’t that the most impure thought that a mother could have?

While pregnant with my second child, I temporarily took a job outside of the home. It was only in the afternoon, after my husband was home from work, because I could not bring myself to leave my 1 year old with anyone else (another side effect of extreme Mommy guilt). She was up for precisely 2 hours after I left for work. In retrospect, she probably didn’t even notice that I was gone. She normally played with Daddy from the moment he walked in the door until bedtime anyways, regardless if I were home or not. Yet, every single day that I walked out the door for my 5 hours of work, I felt like I was betraying her in some profound way; abandoning her. The guilt was palpable. The job lasted eight months. From the moment I took the job, I was looking to find something that allowed me to work from home.

This Working Mom wanted to work from home

At six months pregnant, I found a fabulous job that allowed me the flexibility to work from home and make my own schedule.  I was ecstatic. Then I started the job and realized there is only one rung of Mommy guilt worse than leaving your child to go to work and that is sitting in the same house as your child, hearing them call out for you and having to make the decision to tune them out so that you can get work done. The guilt I wrestle with is colossal.

I’ve been fortunate that my job has allowed me to scale my hours back when I need to and increase as I see fit. It’s been a Godsend. Now, the girls are a little older and next year, they will both be in school all day. I decided it’s time to pursue a career that not only fits my lifestyle but also is something I love doing. After all, don’t we all deserve to have it all; the partner, the children, the career and the lifestyle that we want?

I’ve just started a couple new jobs. I still have my original job; editing and tutoring in English but I have added regular freelance writer to my repertoire. I can now be found at SmartMomStyle.Com and The Stir daily plus I am writing my weekly post at Aiming Low. It’s very exciting and absolutely my dream job. As it is starting any new job, it’s taken some concerted scheduling efforts on my part. My husband and I had to sit down, figure out a writing schedule, incorporate the kids schedule and make certain days and times off limits because they are reserved fro family time. It’s only been a week but I can see that the schedule is already making a huge difference in the amount and quality of time that I am spending with my family.  It is also working wonders for alleviating the Mommy guilt.

I’m sure you working moms have many different ways to deal with the Mommy guilt, the schedules and how to make the best out of your time. I’d love to hear your stories and recommendations. I want to have it all and leave that working mom guilt out of it.

Photo Source

Bye Bye Working Mom Guilt

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Play Dates, mom friends, older mom, role model, role model mom

I think role model moms should be standard issue to all new moms. Being a mom is hard. It is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not because of all the work it entails but the sheer force of the all-consuming energy that unconditional love tolls on your mind, body and spirit. Having done it twice, I really think that most of us spend the first four years of of our children’s lives in a fog induced by sheer love meeting complete desperation and exhaustion. I mean, I know I didn’t have a full night’s sleep until year 8 and it was only once.

 

The thing is when we come up for air from the insanity of new motherhood, we need to look for a mom role model.

I don’t mean someone to emulate or keep up with. Believe you me, I’ve had more than my fair share of those in my parenting lifetime. I’m not even referring to those amazing mom friends who hold your hand and lift your soul when you are neck deep in diaper blowouts, colic and regression. Though those broads are worth their weight in gold, for the listening and nodding agreement alone. If they can offer helpful advice and be a gentle sounding board, bonus.

 

When I say a role model, I mean a mom you meet who has older kids who are turning out pretty damn good. She might know a thing or two. Sure, she might not have cloth diapered but her oldest just started college and that kid’s got all of his shit together. This mama knows how to get things done the right way. I was fortunate to meet one such amazing woman on my oldest daughter’s first day of kindergarten.

 

You see, it was my first child and I didn’t want her to go to school all day. I wanted to cherish these final moments together. Plus the kid was still taking naps and who was I to take that away from us. Her sleeping peacefully while I gently stroked her head and silently sobbed because she was leaving me. Looking back now, on the precipice of puberty, I wasn’t wrong.

 

Anyways, I digress. This other mom, let’s call her Maureen ( because that is her name and she is too awesome for me not to refer to her by her real name), had a little boy who also happened to be only going ½ day. We.were.the.only.2. ( It’s Catholic school, people. Most of these mamas have plenty more and full day it was.) But not us, we wanted our kids home with us.

 

I walk into the corridor to wait for my daughter and I see this lovely woman, blonde and beautiful. Obviously, she has her shit together. She was not wearing the yoga pants and t-shirt with spit up on it that I was and her hair was so not in a ponytail like mine. We started talking and she was a little teary eyed and all I thought was dear Lord, what are they doing to our children that this obviously seasoned mom was brought to tears by. That’s when she told me that not only was this her youngest child’s first day of kindergarten but her oldest child’s first day of college. You see the irony, first and last and last and first all in the same day. I got a little choked up myself. I just wanted to hug her but I didn’t because that would have made me seem deranged, right ? Well, maybe I did, who can remember, the brain fog was strong with me in those days. Either way, I knew I loved this woman instantly.

 

Her heart was as big as anything I had ever seen and she was is (she’s not dead or anything) just a really lovely person. She had kind eyes and an unspoken kinship that put me at ease. For once, I felt like I could shut up and listen and not tell the other mother what month of life my child achieved a basic life skill (good thing too because I was getting tired of pulling out those motherhood aces up the sleeve: Bella walked at 10 months and Gabs totally potty trained herself by 18 months. Ok, see that was the last time.)

 

From that first day, I knew we would be friends and when I met her other children ( she has four) I realized that I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Her kids are kind, well-mannered, smart, well-rounded citizens of the world. Her kids blow my mind, ergo, her mom skills are the bomb.

Six years later and she is still my mom role model. I hope one day I can be the same for some other new mom because God knows, I am not the youngest mom in the class, ever.

Who is your mom role model?

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mom, hallmark, Mother's Day, #PutYourHearttopaper, what my mom means to me

This is a compensated post written by me in partnership with Hallmark but my opinions and love expressed for my mom in this post are all mine.

Saying, “I love you” to my mom is second nature to me, like breathing, in the same way that I say it to my daughters, my husband and all the people who mean so very much to me. I don’t think about it. I feel it and I say it. But I’ve never stopped to think about what it means to “love” a parent. It’s just the way it has always been. They give us birth and we love them forever, the same way my daughters love me.

mom, hallmark, Mother's Day, #PutYourHearttopaper, what my mom means to me

So, I thought about it. Really thought about it. What does my mom mean to me? My mom gave birth to me. She chose to have me, when she was in a situation that she very well could have chosen not to. She chose the hard path because she loved me before she ever met me. I never understood that love until I had my own children. A mother’s love is like no other kind of love because it runs deep and it is never-ending, unwavering and truly unconditional. I get that now.

mom, hallmark, Mother's Day, #PutYourHearttopaper, what my mom means to me

My mom means everything to me. I take that for granted sometimes. I know that. She’s always been very quiet and humble and I’m loud and a little rough around the edges. When I was younger, I mistook her quiet demeanor for weakness but really; it was fierce strength because sometimes the hardest thing to do is to hold your tongue, especially when you want to shout at the world.

I was a difficult teen. I was angry at the world and my mother took the brunt of my anger. While I was raging and shutting her out, she was strong. She never made me feel small or unheard. She heard me. She may not have liked what I was saying or doing but I always knew that no matter what I did, she would be there when I needed her and she always has been. I was never afraid to go after what I wanted in life because I always knew that if things didn’t work out, she’d still be there to love me and support me.

mom, hallmark, Mother's Day, #PutYourHearttopaper, what my mom means to me

Because of her, I learned how to be me. We are complete opposites even still to this day but somewhere between my yelling and her silence, there is peace and finally, we are both being heard. She still calls me her little girl and that’s fine to me because to her I will always be that little girl. The same way she will always be “mommy” to me.

mom, hallmark, Mother's Day, #PutYourHearttopaper, what my mom means to me

What does my mom mean to me?

She means hope for better things. She is living proof that we can survive anything. She is unconditional and forever and without her, I wouldn’t be me. In my darkest moments, my mom has always known when to hold me and when to let me go and regardless if it was what she wanted, she always gave me what I needed because that’s what being a mother is all about.

My mom inspires me to be better, to push myself and always encourages me to follow my heart. She never loses faith in me and no matter how many times I stumble in life, she’s there, carefully watching and waiting while I pick myself back up. She may be quiet and reserved but she is the reason that I am bold. She gave me the strength and support to do that. My mom is everything to me.

mom, hallmark, Mother's Day, #PutYourHearttopaper, what my mom means to me

It’s ironic that in a world where people share every fleeting thought that comes into their head sometimes we have difficulty saying the most important things to the people who mean the most to us. Hallmark helps us truly connect with those who mean the most to us. Hallmark can help you put your heart to paper.

What does your mom mean to you?

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mom fail

mom fail

I don’t want to Mom fail these two

The feeling of mom fail is inevitable at some point in motherhood. As a mom, I spend a lot of my time chasing my own tail. I am always trying to catch up. Just when I think I have a handle on this Motherhood gig, the rules change. This is not a complaint. This is a fact.

When my girls are sleeping, I look at them and my breath is taken away from me just by knowing they are mine. I made them. I grew them. They are amazing and that has to be in some small part a reflection of me, right?

On other days, when I just can’t catch up, I feel like a complete failure because it feels hard. We’re brainwashed into believing it’s not supposed to be hard. Then the guilt creeps in because I must be doing something wrong.

Mom Fail hurts

But then there are good moments that prove to me that I am not so bad at this motherhood job; days when I surprise even myself. Days when I feel like I was meant to do this. Days where there is no annoyance or heated reactions to bad behavior. The days that I actually think and breathe before I carry on are good days.

Last weekend, we were unexpectedly whisked out of town. Anyone who has children knows that an unexpected trip has a ripple effect of repercussions that you will be feeling the quake from for weeks to come. This was no exception. We were all exhausted and irritable.

Monday morning came and as I drove up to drop off, one of my worst failures as a mom was realized. It may not sound like much, but if you have a kid that has to wear a uniform to school, you know my pain. I sent my kid to school in her uniform on a dress down day.

We pulled up to see not only had she not worn shorts, after a lengthy discussion that included tears and bitter disappointment and me saying, “ Then just put on your jumper and let’s go. We are going to be late!” I’m certain this sounds familiar to at least some of you.

1st Mom fail of the morning.

Every kid was not only wearing shorts, they were wearing STREET*CLOTHES!! It was a dress down day. Catholic school kids live for these days. Major mom fail! Ella didn’t complain, she only exited the car. “Mommy, I love you.” and walked into the building, crushed. I felt failure.

I drove her sister to the pre-school and I couldn’t shake the feeling of letting her down. I was also impressed that she didn’t complain, even though I could see it broke her heart. After, dropping her sister off, I drove to the nearest Target (because we live nowhere near her school) and bought her an outfit. I drove back to the school, went to her classroom, took my daughter to the restroom and changed her into her shorts and t-shirt.

She was shocked, surprised and I completely impressed. That’s hard to do to a 7 year old. She was genuinely happy. In that small act, $25 and 15 minutes of my time, I created an unforgettable moment in her life. She will never forget that I took the time and care to make her happy. I will never forget that giant beautiful that she had, just for me. She is always loved and she knows that but sometimes it’s nice to remind them of just how special they are to you.

What’s been your greatest mom fail? How have you turned a mom fail into a mom win?

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cochlear, living with hearing loss, hearing loss, disabilities,mom myth, my kids perfect

mom myth, my kids perfect

Mom Myth that we all want to Believe

Mom Myth #1 ~ My Kids are perfect. No they are not. None of our children are perfect. It is a mom myth.You know some bullshit that other mothers perpetuate so that we are not on to them and know that they are struggling with this mothering gig just as mush as the rest of us. They are. Just pay attention; if you look hard enough, there is spit up on her Kate Spade blouse ( why else do you think she is wearing that crazy print?), she may not be wearing yoga pants but look closely, there is spandex in them there jeans or they may even be designer maternity. Sure that loose falling pony is the sexy in thing, but hers was not on purpose the baby was pulling on it this morning and those stunna shades..OMG, that is the universal code for Mommy didn’t get any sleep last night. Of course, we all want to appear to have all of our Mommy shit together. That is why these mom myths exist at all. We think by pretending that our kids are perfect, that makes us perfect mothers. Logically, if they are winners, we are not losers. There is no such thing as a perfect mother  and if there is, that bitch is riding a unicorn high as a kite in a tornado.

We need a support group to support one another, not a panel of Judgy McTired Mamas to point out all of our flaws while desperately trying to hide her own. Let’s call it the We’re not perfect, just human’s doing our best club. Who wants to be the newest member? I am the founder and president.

I’ll go first, My name is Debi and my kids are not perfect, that’s a mom myth and I rebuke it.

I am an official Mom Myth buster.

There is an invisible hump located somewhere between the ages of 5 and 7 and the divide is great. As many of you are aware, I have two wonderful little girls, Bella, who is 7 and Gabi, who is 5. They are wonderful, amazing and bright and all that other rainbows and sunshine shit that parents are supposed to say about their children but lately they are becoming increasingly more and more of a pain in my ass. I believe they are wonderful and beautiful because they are mine and I see all they do through Mommy goggles but I also get the privilege and the only right to know and call them out as being assholes on occasion.Yes, I said it, my kids are a pain in my ass.

I know that it’s not politically correct to say that and damn it, I still love them with all the fierceness of a mama bear in drag but it had to be said. They are not perfect, neither am I, they have an asshole streak in them the size of Texas and I just don’t have the patience I need to deal with it on some days. Yes, I am perfectly aware that assholery and asshatery are both genetic and they have probably inherited it from their father or myself, or probably from both. I blame the Big Guy.

This is what has happened. Bella,the 7 year-old, has decided to never tell a lie… to her sister….unless it suits her situation. To the rest of us at home, she has become a down right exaggerating guru. This kid is the Pecos Bill of our house. She doesn’t necessarily lie so much as stretch the truth. I do not like lies. I loathe them and despise liars. It’s a trust thing and if I can’t believe what you say, your word means nothing and that just doesn’t work for me. I can’t have kids who think lying is ok. It’s not. We are working on it. She’s getting better at differentiating between what is real and what is not. She’s on the path of the straight and narrow now, especially when it is most inconvenient.

All that being said, Bella is at the age of reason. Damn you reason. Her little sister is still in that wide-eyed, life is magical phase. Bella and her new found honesty has been a real buzz kill lately.You know those little white lies that we all tell our children, ” oh yes, honey, that is the most beautiful elephant mommy has ever seen drawn!” when what it really looks like is a Picasso and it’s anybody;s guess what it might truly be. It’s all eyeballs and assholes.  Well, Bella will come in right behind me and say something like this, ” Ugghh, Gabs, I can’t really even tell what that is!” Sometimes the truth is a little mean and sometimes my kids are pains in the ass and all the time, I love them so damn much that I just don’t care. I don’t need to adhere to some mom myth, I just need to love my children unconditionally…. and pray that Bella figures out that sometimes you can be generous with the truth to spare people’s feelings but I can’t explain that to a 7-year-old.

Do you perpetuate the mom myth or do you simply do your best and not worry about what other people think of your parenting?

Mom Myth #1 Busted Wide Open

photo credit: ^riza^ via photopin cc

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Monday envelope, tech, organization

Tonight is my first meeting as a member of our School Board. I’ve been a perpetual room mom for the past 6 years, for both girls; sometimes manning two parties at exactly the same time. Oh yes, I am doing it again this year because I am “that” mom. Anyways, at the end of last school year I decided that I wanted to be the change I wanted to see in the school and instead of just complaining about everything; I put my money where my mouth was. I did what any sane mother with too many obligations already would do, I went for the school board.

Anyways, this school year is going to be crazy for me. Maintaining two classrooms as room mom is hectic enough but add to it more obligations, I am in desperate need of some streamlining, organization and control; at the very least some organized chaos. We can’t afford another unfortunate “reply all” incident like the Halloween party of 2013 scandal. Thankfully, I was asked to try Monday Envelope.

Monday envelope, tech, organization

Monday Envelope is an all in one group manager for any device that allows you, as a parent, PTA leader, room mom or Girl Scout troop leader (among many other things) to control and organize (streamline) all of your communications with all the people you need to be in contact with, at all the right times and at all the right places.

Parent involvement is crucial to the success of any school and a big part of that is effective communication. It is the perfect tool for the busy, on the go, involved mom. It means that this mom will never have to miss another out of uniform day again and that makes all of us happy! It’s everything, you never knew that you always wanted in organization.

Finally, I won’t have to worry about sending BCC emails from my address that trigger spam filters or worse CC everyone and the thread is 800 emails long and sometimes inappropriate. Refer to scandal of 2012. This allows everyone to be on the same page without the insane email tread. Tastes great; less filling.

The best part is that it is simple to use. Simple is my favorite word these days because with school back in session, my life has gotten exponentially more complicated with schedules and classes and meetings. It saves a ton of time that you can spend actually enjoying parenthood and these precious fleeting moments with your little ones.  It frees up our time so that we can be engaged.

If you think this is a great option for your school, room mom, team mom, PTA president or girls scout mom friends have them check out Monday Envelop for themselves https://mondayenvelope.com/tell-your-group-leader/ .

This post was sponsored by WOMWomen.com on behalf of Monday Envelope. All opinions are my own.

 

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