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back pain, sciatica, midlife

Well, it’s been a hell of a last few days. Of course, it’s May so what else did I expect? If the universe is not trying to break me, is it even May? Thursday, I fell down my stairs. Hello, sciatica, not so happy to see you again. My fall was dramatic like a full-on telenovela or someone threw me down our stairs (though it feels like it) but more accurately, our new, gigantic French Mastiff excitedly came down the stairs while I was heading down to refill my water bottle in the middle of the night. Well, if you’ve been here long, you know that at night or in inclement weather I walk like a f*cking pirate thanks to the hardware situation in my leg from the broken leg situation in 2015. Yep, it’s the f*cking gift that just keeps on giving.

My point is that I’m already unstable as it is and when an unexpected bull in a China shop comes running behind you in the dark, I’m more than likely going to end up on my ass and I did.

Disclosure: I was provided the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow for review purposes but my true love and opinion of this pillow are all my own.

Anyways, it was only about 4 stairs but my life did flash before my eyes because this is not the first time I’ve fallen and, more often than expected, I’ve ended up in the ER. I didn’t this time but, of course, it was no regular fall. In my desperation not to break more bones, I forgot my own “go limp b*tch” protocol and stiffened my entire body up. What happened you asked?

My feet were capoeira style swept out from beneath me thanks to aforementioned adorable, silent but deadly dogue de Bordeaux (big ass dog) and thanks to the carpet on the stairs, I lost my balance. I stiffened my arms trying to catch myself (as if I remember nothing from the 2020 broken toe/concussion situation) and at the same time, I broke my fall into the banister with my ribs while stiffening my legs, arm and entire right side of my body. I thought I escaped with minimal damage until the next day. I woke up pretty sore.

Oh no, bad timing. I had a second job interview at noon with the owner of a company that could prove to be a super exciting opportunity for me. I pulled on my big girl panties, a really cute outfit and sucked up any pain I was feeling. Did I mention the in –person interview went from being 2 people to 7-9, depending when you checked?  Did I mention I haven’t had an in-person interview in 17 years?

The unconventional interview lasted 5 hours (that’s a post for another day) but I wasn’t actually surprised because the first one lasted 6 hours. But for the 5 hours, I was sitting in a typical office chair, super uncomfortable. About hour 3 I started using my left hand as a chin rest because I was actually trying to feign interest in someone else’s interview that I ended up a part of. I think I must have kept it there for about 2 hours. After 5 hours, I tried to stand up and my sciatica said, “F*ck you, Debi. Sit your ass back down!” But I had to go because it had been a long, weird day and I had eaten nothing all day so I was ready to eat the face off of the next person who looked at me.

I got in my car and as I drove, I knew the damage had been extensive and the weekend was going to be for recuperating. As soon as I got in my car, I realized that my left hand that was supporting my face for 2 hours, had tingling in my pinky and ring finger. OMG, did I have a stroke during my interview? I figured it just fell asleep under the weight of my chunky face and double chin. Only the pins and needles gave way to numbness.

By the time, I reached home, I could barely get out of my SUV because my sciatica nerve pain was so intense. I slowly grandpa walked into the house and barked at my poor husband to get us some dinner, as I put the heating pad on my back and prayed the damage wasn’t permanent. I felt about 100 years old. I started to get worried because the funky feeling in my fingers was not getting any better.

Well, it’s been three days. The feeling just came back in my fingers today. It’s an ulnar nerve injury from when I dislocated my elbow trying to do some manual labor in my yard that is acting up. It’s basically a pinched nerve that shows up occasionally t keep my humble.

However, my lower back sciatica pain that started when I was pregnant with the girls has its own plans. I’m currently trying to find a way to position myself to not want to kill myself from the pain. The only thing that seems to work is the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow it’s a one-piece pregnancy pillow that can be used in multiple ways ( well beyond pregnancy, as I am almost 15 years postpartum) to make you and your growing baby bump ( or your regular mom belly) more comfortable. Its unique contoured design supports your body head-to-toe. That boppy has been my saving grace these last few nights. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Well, that was my weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy every moment of it or was it too short and filled with obligations?

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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 start 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’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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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. If you are ever find yourself getting injured while shopping in a grocery, be sure to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer. 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?)

why every mom needs an escape, mom vacation, momcation,vacation, disney world, Orlando Florida, Universal Studios, Shingle Creek, paradise, family vacation

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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How to Stop Your House from Becoming a Money Pit, home maintenance

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

As a homeowner, you find out pretty quickly that there are always unexpected issues and costs. Surprise, the central air isn’t working! Surprise, the house isn’t level! Surprise, an opossum is living in your attic and it smells like he died! Staying on top of your home’s many unexpected issues and covering the costs of them can not only be stressful but costly, as well. But there are ways to cut those costs with a little diligence and maintenance (which is less effective than fixing something that has already broken). It’ll take some awareness, planning, diligence and elbow grease but it’s cheaper than the alternative. Let’s talk about how to stop your house from becoming a money pit.

Sure Money Pit was a funny movie but no one actually wants to live that life. So if you feel like your home has become a huge financial drain on your family, now is the time to do something about it. Below are tips and ideas to help you to start making small positive changes that will save you money.

How to stop your house from becoming a money pit

Clean Everything Regularly

One of the first and most important things you can do with your home is make sure that it’s kept properly clean and in good shape at all times. By doing the basic things like this, you can make sure that no bigger issues arise later on because that’s not what anyone wants. When you clean the home inside and out on a regular basis, you can make things like mold issues less likely. It’ll help avoid problems later. I’m not saying anything crazy like dusting every week, making the bed daily or even putting away that folded laundry, I’m saying basic upkeep so you’ll notice when things aren’t right.

Create a Savings Fund for Home Maintenance

The fat is not lost on me that this is easier said than done. But if you want to make sure that you don’t get hit financially upside the head by the cost of looking after your home, creating a savings account that allows you to cover those costs without having to forgo eating and obliterating your finances in the meantime. Putting just a little money aside each month that can go towards maintaining your home and making sure all of those costs are covered is a good idea. And any savings that aren’t used can be put to use when a bigger repair needs to be made in the future or a family vacation.

Get an Energy Audit

Getting an energy audit carried out by a professional is a good idea if you want to reduce the running costs of your home. From day to day, we all use energy in the home. And it makes sense to use less of it, both from a green and eco-friendly point of view, and a money saving point of view. When you have an energy audit carried out, you’ll get to see how and where you’re currently wasting energy and what kinds of changes you can make in order to improve things.

Ensure the Ground Slopes Away from the Home

One of the problems that many homeowners face relates to water and how it impacts the foundations of the home. If you have lots of standing water around the home, that’s not going to be good for you. Make sure that the ground around your property slopes away from the house. By doing that, you can make sure that any rainwater flows away from your home and not towards it. It might sound like a small thing but it’s massively important especially if you got a “great deal” in a flood zone.

Inspect the Roof Every 6 Months

Inspecting the roof is something that you should try to do at least once every 6 months or so. You never know when a problem might arise, and when it does, you want to get it checked out as soon as possible. The truth is lots of roof problems go unnoticed for a long time, and when they are finally noticed, it costs a lot of money to get them fixed. So be sure to consider that and think about having your home’s roof inspected at least a couple of times a year.

Put a Home Warranty in Place

Putting as many measures in place as possible to ensure that home repairs don’t end up costing you a fortune is a good idea. And that’s one of the key reasons why you should think about putting a home warranty in place if you haven’t done so already. This will mean that if you do suffer any issues in your home, some of the costs will be covered for you by the warranty. It’s the kind of security measure that you definitely need to have in place if you want to avoid big financial impacts in the event of something going wrong.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

Having a regular maintenance schedule in place is something that can help a lot when it comes to taking care of all the things that need to be taken care of regarding your home. It’s so easy to overlook or forget about certain things when you don’t have a schedule in place that you can follow and fall back on. That schedule can be followed week after week, month after month, ensuring your home stays in the best condition possible.

Make Sure the Carry Water Away from Your Home

We’ve already talked a bit about the impact water can have on your home and its integrity. If you want to go further in making sure that standing water around the base of your home doesn’t become a big problem for you, you should think about the role your gutters might play in that. If the gutters are dumping water next to your home, you have a problem. Ensuring the drainage system is doing everything it should do and that water is being carried away from the home safely is going to be key.

Replace Heating and Cooling Filters Every Few Months

Your heating and cooling system is something you won’t want to overlook when it comes to avoiding financial disasters. When something goes wrong with it, it can be very expensive to fix. That’s why you should take extra care to maintain the system well and have someone look at it for you regularly if you’re not sure how to do it yourself. One of the most important things you can do is replace the filters every few months, or even monthly if you want to be extra cautious.

Fix Gaps and Damage to the Home’s Exterior Right Away

If you notice any gaps in the exterior of your home or holes that simply shouldn’t be there, it’s a good idea to have these filled and fixed right away. Any damage to the exterior should be dealt with sooner rather than later and that’s something that you can take care of yourself in most cases. The first task, however, is to check the exterior on a regular basis and make sure that you’re noticing these issues sooner rather than later.

Install Stronger Locks on Doors and Windows

Installing the strongest possible locks on the doors and windows of your property is another thing that you might want to consider. If you don’t do this, you’ll always run the risk of these entry points causing you security problems. Stronger locks and doors will avoid damage being done via a break-in and, most importantly, avoid the break-in from happening in the first place. So that’s definitely something to think about.

As you can see, there are lots of things you can do to stop your home feeling like such a financial burden for your family, so be sure to make the most of each of the tips and ideas discussed above. By making the right changes in the right areas, there’s no reason why you can’t save yourself a lot of money.

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Best Ways To Look After Your Fur Baby When Everyone's Super Busy, raising a puppy

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Bringing your first pet into the household is an amazing time for everyone, but everybody in the family needs to consider their personal commitments before they have a pet. This is why it’s so important for you to make arrangements to look after the dog while everybody is at work, at school, or has extracurricular activities. This is why structure is so important. What are the things you may benefit from incorporating into your life for the sake of your pet?

Syncing up the Family Schedule

It’s not easy, but you need to start aligning your timetable to have a better schedule so your dog is not left alone for long periods of time. It also ensures that they will benefit more from regular mealtimes. Rather than putting out kibble for them to feast on throughout the day, you can give them high-protein puppy food from a pouch that will ensure they have the goodness. If you work near your home, you could take an earlier or later lunch than normal so the dog has several visits by everybody in the family.

Taking Your Dog To Work

While this is not going to help everyone, more and more companies are encouraging a “bring your dog to work” day. It’s good for you and your pets as they will have a change of scenery and you will not be worried as much if you are leaving them by themselves. But in order to do this properly, you’ve got to ensure that the dog is safe in transit. Having good quality dog cages for your car will make a big difference.

Exercising Before Heading Out

Your dog is not going to sit still while you are out for the day. If you’re expecting them to rest you need to ensure they run off most of their energy before you leave. You will need to devote some time with them so you can either go for a run or a high-energy playing session, in addition to their regular morning walk, as this will increase the chances of them relaxing or hopefully sleeping.

Purchasing Automated Toys

If you are concerned that being left to their own devices is not good, especially when everybody has one of those days where they are all incredibly busy, there are a range of automated toys available for canines. For example, an electronic wobble ball provides a lot of fun and numerous battery-operated robots can keep your pet entertained. It’s important to note that this is not a long-term solution, but is only for those days when everybody is so busy. The best thing for any pet is to have regular routines.

Choosing the Right Breed

If you are contemplating getting a dog, one of the best things you could do is find the right dog breeds that will benefit more from being left alone, especially if everyone is out for the day. Some dog breeds are more independent than others, so do your research before you start bringing a pet into the household. They will do a lot for you but you’ve got to make sure that you do a lot for them in return.

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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Camping trips are a lot of fun without technology. But if you can bring the right tools with you, you can make it even more enjoyable and avoid some of the downsides of the experience. 

We’re not saying that you need to be scrolling through TikTok on your smartphone while you’re away. But we are saying that some technology is welcome. Unless, of course, you like returning to the stone age every so often. 

But what technology, specifically, are we talking about? Let’s take a look. 

The Month-Long Lantern

19th-century lanterns that burned whale oil could last a week. But, today, you can buy LED versions that will keep your tent supplied with light for a whole month before you need to charge them. 

Keeping a fire lit is also dangerous and time-consuming, particularly if you bring it inside your tent. LED lamps powered by regular cells reduce risks dramatically and won’t burn your tent down around you. 

Waterproof Speakers

Waterproof speakers are another option, and something you should bring with you if you love the great outdoors. These connect to your devices via Bluetooth or pick up radio signals if they have a receiver inside. 

Waterproof speakers are practical and compact. Manufacturers use one of two technologies to make them waterproof. Either they create rubber seals around the chassis, preventing any water from getting inside. Or they coat all of the sensitive electronics inside with a hydrophobic substance that repels water and prevents short circuits. 

Camping speakers are also extremely robust. Manufacturers make them to take a lot of abuse. You can leave them on the floor and they should be okay, even if there is a lot of moisture on the ground. 

External Battery Packs

Some people leave all their devices at home when they go camping. But these intrepid individuals are a rare breed in this day and age. Most people want to bring equipment with them so they can communicate safely with family and friends. 

Unfortunately, most smartphones and tablets only last a day, if that. Therefore, more people than ever before are choosing external battery packs. These handy devices usually contain enough energy for three or four days of consistent phone use. You just plug them into your device via USB and they’ll continue to charge it all night. 

Note, though, that charging isn’t as quick as mains socket charging. Therefore, you’ll need to plug them in early the night before if you want your battery to be 100 percent by the following morning. 

Bicycle Gyro Chargers

Solar panel chargers are okay, but they need to be large to provide all the energy your devices need. Unfortunately, the average modern smartphone uses way more energy than a small, one-square-foot array can generate on an average day. 

Therefore, many happy campers are turning to bicycle gyro chargers. These fit to the front wheel and generate energy based on inputs from your body. Over time, this method charges your battery, letting you use it for all your devices in the evening. 

Bicycle gyro chargers, though, require you to do a lot of pedaling. Therefore, they are a good option if you are cycling all day, but a bad one otherwise. 

Small Headphones

Taking headphones with you on camp isn’t exactly a necessity. Therefore, you can file this one under your “creature comforts” list. 

Headphones make camping more enjoyable by letting you listen to music and audiobooks in peace. It can also blank out unwanted noise. Not everyone enjoys the sound of crickets, owls, and their partner snoring next to them. Therefore, using headphones to block out noise is a great strategy. 

Bluetooth Thermometer

Ordinary thermometers are a sensible addition to any camping trip. You can use them to test the internal temperature of meat and avoid food poisoning. 

The problem with regular thermometers is you need to be up close to operate them. You can’t prod meat remotely. 

However, with Bluetooth-equipped devices, you can. 

The way these systems work is pretty cool. You place the body of the device safely away from the cooking food and then stick the heatproof electrode in the meat via an extension cord. The main unit will then transmit temperature information to your phone in real-time, so you can see when your sausages are warming up. Then, when they are at the perfect temperature, you can flip them over and go back to your seat. It’s a miracle. 

Long-Lasting flashlights

If the 30-day lantern wasn’t quite the right tool for you, then a long-life flashlight might be. These devices use LED bulbs and can put out significantly more light than standard torches. 

Interestingly, most recommend you use non-rechargeable AAA batteries. That’s because these contain the highest amount of charge of any battery, even more than lithium-ion. 

Fitness Tracker

Taking a fitness tracker with you on your next camping trip is another cool idea. Remember, outdoors, you’ll be covering some serious ground and getting much more physical activity than usual. With a smartwatch, you can see how many miles you’ve walked, ran, cycled, or kayaked. You can also view how many calories you’ve burned. 

Both Apple and Samsung make great smartwatches that offer practically all the features you need. They record your routes so you can see where you’ve been, and provide you with helpful information, like the UV index, so you know if you need to cover up. 

Android users, though, tend to have the most options. Fitbit, for instance, has many fitness-related features. You can also review your health data to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs. 

Fitness trackers also show you whether you’re getting enough sleep on camp. They can tell you how deep your sleep was and whether you need to take it easy today or not. 

Crank Hand Charger

Crank hand chargers are a great alternative for anyone who needs to charge a battery quickly and can’t afford to wait for a solar charger. Hand crank chargers transform the chemical energy in your body into chemical energy in batteries. You lose weight and the battery gains charge to power all your devices, including your phones. 

Remember, even if you have a solar charger, the sun doesn’t shine at night. Furthermore, if you’re camping in the winter, it can be difficult to get enough hours of sunlight to collect all the energy you need. Hand crank chargers can make up the deficit. 

Don’t get a plastic one. Look for a large one made of metal, capable of supplying enough energy to your battery pack. 

Action Camera

You might also want to consider investing in an action camera. These may serve you better than regular camping cameras. 

Why? Simple: manufacturers make action cameras specifically to take action shots, the type of photos you’re more likely to take while camping. 

Action cameras do this by taking many pictures in a row and then blending them together until they are sharp. They also take videos at a high frame rate so they look smooth, regardless of the on-camera action. 

You can also voice-activate them which is great when you’re hiking. Just place the device on a rock, pose and then tell it to take a picture. No more timers. No more fiddling around. 

Satellite Communicators


The latest mobile phones have emergency satellite communication built into them. Unfortunately, though, these systems only work in limited geographic regions at the moment, such as North America and Europe.

Fortunately, you can get bespoke satellite communicators from third-party brands that work anywhere. For these, you’ll need to pay a small amount for the device itself and then pay an ongoing subscription for satellite coverage. Once you’re set-up, you can make satellite calls from anywhere, just in case you get into trouble. 

Naturally, satellite communicators aren’t necessary if you’re just staying on a campsite in a developed area. However, they do come in handy if you’re going out into the wilderness for weeks with no one else to call for help if you get into trouble. 

Drone

Camping and drones go hand-in-hand these days. Devices, like the Mini 3, make it easy to take fantastic shots and provide a real context in all your environments. 

Drones can follow you automatically these days while you cycle and hike. Most have flight times of around 15 minutes, but they can last longer than this under the right conditions.

You can also bring spare batteries with you. If your drone comes back down to earth, you just swap the old one out for a new one. 

Camping and technology are bedfellows. And if you think about it, that’s always been the case. Modern sleeping bags are packed with advanced material technologies, yet everyone takes them for granted. 

The same is true of camping stoves. Companies put massive investments into these products to make them more convenient than traditional fires. 

Now, though, the technology campers use is becoming more conspicuous. Expect this trend to continue as more people want to spend time in nature but take their creature comforts with them. 

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Funny story, a few weeks ago, I started getting dizzy while driving. Scared the sh*t out of me…Okay, not so funny. Anyways, went to the doctor and surprise (no surprise I’ve battled eustachian ear issues my entire life) and I had not only an acute sinus infection (no surprise there either…chronic sinusitis is my life) but also had an inordinate amount of fluid in my ears (Duh, I could feel it sloshing around in there teetering between itching and hurting for almost 2 months…again nothing new). But the getting dizzy while driving my kids, was new and I did not like it. Is this perimenopause, menopause, cancer, dementia or low blood sugar?

Needless to say, that sparked a series of way overdue anxiety attacks.  I mean come on, I’ve kept my shit together pretty well these past couple of pandemic years but some things got to give. If we’re being really honest, and if you know me you know that I am, my first thought at the dizziness which I’ve never experienced in this way (in waves) was a brain tumor ( long story short, I’m chronically afraid that God is going to use my big brain and big boobs against me and in the end they will take me out #pandemictriggeredhypochondriac). My doctor assured me, “Nope, Debi your heart, lungs and everything else is fine but your ears are a mess.”

So I went on a high dose of antibiotics with a side of Diflucan (because what would an ear infection be without a side of a yeast infection to add insult to injury? I mean if you don’t get an itchy vagina to go along with your sinus pressure and vertigo, did it even happen?) and something for the anxiety that the dizziness triggered (what if I blackout while driving my kids and we all die?) but since I have high blood pressure (controlled but still diagnosed) that’s all I got…not a damn thing to dry up all that fluid stuck in my head.

Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions and gynecological misadventures are all my own.

Fast forward to the week I was finishing up my antibiotics and I woke up in the middle of the night, not once, not twice but three times soaked from my shoulders up in the middle of a full-on panic attack. Sorry to say, I’ve battled my fair share of demons in my life ( #fullymanicteensandtwenties) and I am not about that in my head life. It’s a dark and scary place and I’d prefer not to live there for very long. So, I did what any sane person would do, I called my doctor and my gynecologist because eureka…this bitch is almost 50 and maybe it’s time to admit reproductive defeat. Maybe I’m (gulp) perimenopausal or even menopausal. I mean, it could happen.

Ever since I had my hysterectomy in 2018 and have been living that 1 ovary life, I’m basically waiting to become reproductively challenged. I know this. Every day of estrogen is a gift. Shit, my baby sister went through menopause a few months after having her baby a couple of years ago and didn’t even know it ( God really said…you are done) so, me, being 5 years older, it’s just a matter of time.

Let me share some knowledge with you, I’ve always been an alpha ( if you know you know) if you got anywhere in my orbit, I would pull you onto my cycle ( ask my sisters and my daughters). I knew exactly when I ovulated ( day 14) and menstruated ( day 28), I could literally feel it. I haven’t had a period in almost 4 years because I don’t have a uterus but every month, I still get PMS and every other month, I can feel my ovulation. I know when my girls get their periods because I get their bloating and munchies.

However, my husband did good choosing in that crucial left ovary, right ovary moment ( it was decided after I was under because someone forgot to ask me before) because this girl, she’s a boss. She will not go quietly into that good reproductive night. Girlfriend is keeping us in the game but alas, those hot flash/cold sweats and anxiety, what else could it be. It must be the reproductive grim reaper coming for me.

I made an appointment with my gynecologist and left it to God. I resigned myself to the fact that I’m at the very least perimenopausal if not menopausal and it was time to get myself some estrogen, progesterone, supplement, patch or black cohosh (only not black cohosh because it would surely make this bipolar 1 manic woman full-on manic.periodt. and nobody wants that.)

Yesterday, I went to see Nina ( that’s my gynecologist, we’re on a first-name basis because we’ve been together over a decade and been through cancer scares, a miscarriage, a D& E, another surprise in office ( no anesthesia) D&C when she removed multiple cups of blood from my uterus after my fibroids literally tried to kill me and ultimately a hysterectomy and, I thought to myself, now….the death of my femininity aka the pause. But after an offer of Paxil ( no thank you…manic people shouldn’t take anti-depressants if they can avoid it) then estrogen, we resigned ourselves to the fact that our perimenopause or menopause journey together had begun but first, let’s make sure ( because I need proof for everything…how can I fix it if I don’t know what’s broken?) and we did a blood draw to get my hormone levels.

Guess what? Congratulations, I’m not perimenopausal or menopausal or any other pausal. I’m 100% normal hormone levels. To say I was surprised is an understatement. To say I was relieved is more like it because even though I know I am knocking on reproductive invisibility’s door, I’m not ready. Not really. The same way I wasn’t ready for my first period, my last period or any of my pregnancies because even though you read all about it and plan for it, you can never be ready but it still happens.

I feel like maybe this is the universe’s way of giving me a 5-minute warning, Debi, get your health in order because soon, it won’t be a false alarm and you need to be prepared so drink your milk, workout, eat more healthily, get that weight in check, moisturize, drink your water, play soduku and, for the love of all that is holy, make peace with your anxiety because one day those hot flashes and triggered panic attacks are going to be triggered by hormones (just like your migraines and hypomania used to be). I’ve never been so excited to just be “normal” whatever that means.

Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve been doing to prioritize me.

I’ve recently tried some new Reset 360 products to help increase my protein and reduce my carbohydrate intake. I’m a diabetic but I think it’s a pretty good idea for everyone to keep an eye on what’s going in their body.

Plant-based cookies

The Decadent Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie is a soft-baked plant protein cookie that tastes delicious and delivers healthy plant protein.

Bite fuel Power Bites

Double the chocolate, double the gains! These little guys are packed with so much chocolate that if you leave them in your milk, you will have chocolate milk after 5 minutes. They are soft, chewy, and really pack a chocolatey punch and each bag contains 18 gm of protein,

Super greens dietary drink

They’re called Super Greens because they are mega packed with superfoods like wheatgrass, spirulina, kale, spinach, plus 6 more! It makes getting the right amount of veggies easy. With Super Greens you can make healthy eating easy without struggling to eat pounds of vegetables each day.

All-in-one-chocolate shake

A plant-based protein shake that may help support overall health, ideal weight, & digestive strength. Creamy, delicious flavor that blends smoothly, and provides exceptional nutrition.

Superpower bars

Protein-packed, dark chocolate goodness with only 2 grams of sugar- sounds like a dream come true. With all organic ingredients and 10 grams of plant protein, this bar is the perfect anytime snack. 6g of dietary fiber in every bar keeps you satisfied for hours without weighing you down. keep these bars nearby during break times for a pick me up when there’s no time for a full meal.

I’ve also been cutting out animal byproducts as much as possible. I am not currently a full-time vegetarian but I do prefer vegetarian meals over meat options and it’s better for my health to choose leaner and cleaner foods. I love to bake so I’ve been swapping out regular flour, dairy

Organic Cacao Powder

LESS FAT and FEWER CALORIES: Chocolate is a staple in most households, but it can make people feel guilty because it is often associated with candy and sugary treats. Our Organic Cacao Powder provides you with a more nutritious alternative to regular chocolate. Our chocolate has the same great flavor as ordinary cocoa with the added benefits of organic cacao and less guilt.

Oatsome milk

NON-DAIRY MILK: Oatsome delivers a mild, creamy flavor—without dairy, nuts, added sugar, or any artificial ingredients. Now you can enjoy milk without discomfort from lactose or other components.

Coconut Palm Sugar

REFINED SUGAR ALTERNATIVE: Organic Coconut Sugar makes an excellent 1 to 1 ratio (spoon-for-spoon) replacement to refined white sugar. That means it’s easy to switch out white sugar or artificial sweeteners for BetterBody Foods Organic Coconut Sugar in simple meals and gourmet recipes. The possibilities are endless.

LOW ON THE GLYCEMIC INDEX: BetterBody Foods’ Organic Coconut Sugar is naturally low on the glycemic index. This means that it doesn’t raise your blood sugar as quickly as refined sugars do, so you can have the sweetness of sugar in naturally sweet coconut sugar without the associated insulin spike. 

PB fit peanut butter powder

  • POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER: All-natural PBfit has 87% less fat and almost 1/3 the calories of regular peanut butter. Made from roasted and powdered peanuts, it has real peanut flavor without the high fat.
  • PROTEIN POWER: With 8 g of protein in one serving of natural PBfit, you’ll get a boost of protein right before your workout. Add it to your morning shake or smoothie for a creamy peanut butter taste.

BBF oat Flour blend

This whole-grain, organic oat flour makes a great alternative to traditional flour for anyone with sensitivities to gluten or anyone looking to improve their diet. HEART-HEALTHY OPTION: Low in both saturated fat and cholesterol, oat flour is a healthy alternative to traditional wheat flour and also contains soluble fiber (1.2 g per serving).

Bowmar Butter

High protein cashew spreads. Flavors include peanut butter pretzel, cake pop, sugar cookie and buckeye!

Cashew Spread ( Cookie Butter)

High protein peanut, almond or cashew nut spread is a great way to add more protein into your diet.

These spreads all have 10g of whey protein and are a great alternative to other butters and spreads that are loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners. available in cashew, almond, and peanut butter.

I’ve also started drinking my water, getting enough sleep, exercising, upping my moisturizer game and taking care of myself, mentally and physically. Maybe I narrowly escaped the pause for now but its coming for me ( and you too) so why not start preparing now?

And if you’re wondering about the mystery root of my hot flashes and panic attacks and what cured it? ½ a dose of Sudaphed 2 times a day, it was all caused by the fluid in my ears. It’s crazy what your body can do to signal that your check engine light is on.

What are you doing to prepare for the next phase of womanhood? Have you already entered perimenopause of menopause? If so, what is one piece of advice you’d give to those following close behind?

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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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lying, What to do when you catch a child lying, tween, mom, how to talk to your tween about sex, mother/daughter

Have you been struggling with how to talk to your tween about sex? Me, too. At what age did you have “the talk”? I mean we’ve talked about puberty. In fact, we’ve talked puberty to death. It’s old news. They both know so much about the inner workings of the female reproductive system that they could probably teach a class. But we’ve not quite made the leap to …you put the penis in the vagina and do that thang. I’ve been mulling this idea over for years, waiting for the right moment. I just haven’t been ready to see the innocence disappear from her eyes.

I told my tween that she and I would have “the talk” before she turns 12. In a culture where Teen Mom is a show that makes celebrities, I want my daughter to know babies are a lot or work and where those babies come from. She wants nothing to do with that conversation. Boys are not even on her radar yet. She is still pretty happy with unicorns, slumber parties and playing with dolls but I don’t want her getting misinformation about sex from other kids. I promised myself I’d talk to my tween about sex before she was 12 and now, I have less than a month, people.

Fool that I am, I made plans. The universe laughed at me and then life intervened. Now, I’m binge-reading all the articles on how to talk to your tween about sex because a teachable moment has arisen. No, before any of you have a stroke, it has nothing to do with her and sex. It’s more of a collateral damage situation.

But how to talk to your tween about sex is not an easy thing to figure out. It has to be the perfect balance of honesty, openness and availability.

The conversation has to be had with every child and no nervous giggling or embarrassment is allowed on the parents part. We have to be a source of information and comfort. They have to believe we know what we’re talking about and not be afraid to ask questions.

Last Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, I’m sure you know where this is going, and let’s just say the Big Guy and I were feeling particularly amorous. Him and all his damn romantic gestures. Anyways, apparently, we actually made some noise. We usually use our inside voices because, you know, KIDS! (TMI, I’m sorry.)

My 11-year-old had the misfortune of getting up to pee at the wrong time and now, we all need therapy. It’s all giving me flashbacks to the time when she was a toddler and she caught us “wrestling”. If these kids would JUST STAY IN THEIR BEDS. (Sidebar, just say no to co-sleeping this is what got us to where we are today. I jest, sorta.)

The thing is the tween is very mature in many ways but very immature in other ways. She’s at that age where she’s beginning to look like a young woman but her brain is not quite there yet. She’s caught somewhere between working her eye roll and still coming in for snuggles and mama cuddles on the regular.

Either way, you’ve got to figure out how to talk to your tween about sex sooner or later.

Anyways, to be clear, I was not howling at the moon or anything like that but when you are a kid and you hear anything coming from your parents’ bedroom other than snoring, you are instantly disgusted. We had no idea any of this took place until the following morning. We thought they were asleep.

All I know was that she got up on Wednesday morning particularly annoyed for no particular reason, as far as I was aware. I just took it for regular tween behavior. Honestly, one minute she’s being all tweeny and the next she is playing American Girl dolls with her little sister. I can’t keep up. She is a fantastic kid. She’s just a bit moody these days. I get it. I’ve been there. I am sympathetic.

But after school, I asked her point blank how her day was. Her answer was,

“It would have been fine if I had gotten more than 3 hours of sleep last night!”

I volleyed back with my standard,

“Well if you went to sleep at your bedtime instead of staying up messing around on your tablet or playing Barbies, you wouldn’t be so exhausted and grouchy.”

Big mistake.

To which she responded,

“No, mom I only got 3-hours of sleep because of you and dad!”

And with that, her lip curled and I could see the disgust. Suddenly, I felt like I was in that commercial back in the 70’s where the kid does the really shitty behavior, I think it was drugs or something, and says, “I learned it from you, dad!” It was that bam! You are to blame.

My next question, the one I wish I had never asked, “What is that supposed to mean? How is this our fault?” I was a little annoyed because I am not, in fact, to blame for everything.

The answer I didn’t want to hear,

“Well, I had to pee and when I got up I heard your “weird noises” coming from the bedroom AND my sleep pillow and FIFI were held hostage in there! How am I supposed to sleep without them and after hearing THAT!!!!!”

There it was. Firstly, I was a little embarrassed that she heard anything so I did what any sane mom would do, I told her that it was her dad. My second thought was, “Oh no, we traumatized her!” I finally did it. I irrevocably damaged my kid. I have to start saving for the therapy.

Then, I thought to myself, this “tween” who pushes me and pulls me back so much on a daily basis that I don’t know if I’m coming or going had purposely left her snuggle pillow and lovey in my room so that she could sneak in there in the middle of the night to sleep. Oh yeah, she still does that occasionally. I’m not complaining but she does bear some responsibility in all of this.I’m not going to lie. I was pretty embarrassed. I don’t get embarrassed but we were both red in the face. Then I sucked it up and said,

“Hey, I know it was uncomfortable to hear whatever you heard but we’re married and we love each other. This is what people who are married and in love do to share physical intimacy. It’s completely natural!”

Then I decided to add, “Besides, isn’t it better to hear “that” than your father and I screaming how much we hate each other behind those doors?”

To which she agreed. Then she looked at her little sister, her voice went down near a whisper and she said,

“But I didn’t want to hear you DOING.IT!”

Then, I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

My response, “Firstly, we never saying “doing it” ever again. It’s called “making love.””

Because hearing my 11-year-old say “doing it” in reference to her father and I, skeeved me out. Of course, hearing myself say, “making love” out loud was nearly as creepy. So we decided to just agree that when the bedroom door is shut, we’re probably together not sleeping. I told her if it really bothered her, I could buy her ear plugs. She was mortified but swiftly answered,

“Yes, please!”

Boundaries were set.

If the bedroom door is shut, stay out. I considered getting one of those old license plates that said, “If the bedroom’s a rockin, don’t bother knockin” and hanging it on our door but I thought it was probably still too soon for that joke.

We still have to have “the talk” but I’m pretty sure she knows what’s going on. I also feel like I need to add a disclaimer to our talk that when she has sex for the first time, what she heard will probably not be what will be happening because, you know, teenage boys are bumbling idiots.

But what am I going to do, tell her to sleep with older men if she wants it to be worth her time? Nope, I’ll just let her suffer through crappy first-time sex like the rest of us besides, after all that eye rolling shade she’s been throwing my way lately, an awkward first time when she’s at college is just what the doctor ordered. Shhh, don’t tell me otherwise. College is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Anyways, I’ve still got to have this talk but now, it feels super weird because I feel like she’s going to relate the entire thing to her father and me. And EWWWW!

What would you do? What’s your best advice on how to talk to your tween about sex?

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