Friday Favorites: Top Picks for Summer Skin Care

SAFE SUN

Did you know the first official day of summer is June 20th? But many of us are already enjoying some fun in the sun now! I spend hours outside in the back yard, or at local parks with my kids. I want to be sure each of us is protected from sun damage or sun burns. I am really careful about what I put on our skin. I also like products that multi-task and save me a little time.

Before I share my favorites here’s a quick word about SPF. The Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, estimates how long you are protected against sun burn. For example, if you know your skin starts to redden after 20 minutes in the sun, a product with an SPF of 15 will keep you safe approximately 300 minutes before you start to burn. The higher the SPF the longer the protection time. But it is important to apply properly and reapply in time to get the most benefit from your sunscreen.

Here are my favorite can’t live without summer skin care items:

Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 

I rely on my tinted moisturizer for a casual coverage that evens my skin tone. Using a tinted moisturizer with an SPF protects me  from damaging UVB and UVA exposure. I personally like Mary Kay’s CC cream with an SPF 15. The coverage is great and it is light weight enough for me to wear while at the park with the kids, running my errands or even working up a sweat at the gym. Not only does the SPF keep me from burning quickly, but it is the first line of defense against aging. (Sun damage = wrinkles). You can locate a Mary Kay rep online and purchase for $20.00.

cc cream

Lip Balm with SPF 

My absolute favorite is Kiss My Face Lip Treatmint with SPF 30. This water resistant lip balm keeps my lips smooth and tastes amazing!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a sunburn on my lips just standing at the park with my kids, or playing outside in our yard. Too much sun exposure to your lips can cause dehydration and aging. The antioxidant formula re-hydrates and heals dryness. I also love that it is gluten free and cruelty free. Kiss My Face also has a really great line of organic lip balms that I buy for my girls to enjoy. You can purchase online for around $2.50, or find in most retail drug stores.

kiss my face lips

Sunscreen with SPF 

I go with Kiss My Face Organic sunscreen. It is gluten and cruelty free and made with 87% organic ingredients. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes which means I can run through the sprinklers, or take a dip in the pool with the kids without worry. It is broad spectrum which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays. It may seem pricey at $13.99 a tube, but worth the peace of mind I get knowing it’s less chemical exposure for me and my kiddos.

kiss my face sunscreen

Sun Protection Tips:

To get the most benefits from your sunscreen you should apply 10 minutes before going out in the sun. It takes that long for the minerals in the cream to settle into your skin and create a barrier of protection. I apply my tinted moisturizer and lip balm as part of my morning skin care routine so I am set for the day. I try to cover the kids just before we leave the house, or before they leave for school.

Getting a little sun isn’t a terrible thing. It is actually medically necessary to get enough sun to help our bodies convert proper levels of Vitamin D. We only need about 15-20 minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure for good health. You want to be sure you are protected during the peak times of day which is 10 am – 3 pm. That is when the suns rays are most intense and you are more likely to get a sunburn. If you know you will be out in the sun for longer, say a day at the beach or at the pool, be sure to cover up and use your sunscreen!

Product links provided in this post are for your convenience. No affiliate links are included and I do not receive financial compensation if you use them. All opinions and reviews belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

Getting Over The Embarrassment About Speech Therapy

I have four kids who have basically been on track developmentally their entire lives. They all had to do some time in the NICU when they were born due to being premature, but it was never anything life threatening. There were differences in the ages of when they rolled over, crawled, and took their first steps, but nothing outside the norm.

Then our youngest daughter Alexis still wasn’t talking at 2 years old. And I don’t mean not putting words together, I mean she had a handful of words she used and everything else she said was unintelligible, even for me, who was home with her all day. She understood everything we said to her, but she couldn’t talk to us beyond ma, da, up, and that.

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Our pediatrician originally brought up Alexis’s lack of talking at her 18 month check up. It wasn’t a concern yet, just as something to watch for as she got closer to turning 2. When we went in for her 2 year check up I wasn’t surprised when the recommendation came to have her tested for speech delays, but I wasn’t ready to say she needed help. My older two kids had a big verbal breakthrough at just over 2 years old, and so I waited to see if the same might happen with Alexis, even though I knew she wasn’t picking up on everything like my other kids did.

By December, Alexis was almost 2.5 and still hadn’t made much progress. Her and I were getting into serious meltdowns because I couldn’t figure out what she wanted, and she couldn’t figure out how to tell me what she wanted besides just pointing, babbling, and then crying and screaming when I had no idea what she meant. Luckily we came across Zia Therapy, and got her tested. She qualified for services, and although I went back and forth a lot on actually signing her up, I ended up enrolling her.

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I know there are plenty of kids that need help learning to do things. That’s why they go to school, and parents teach their kids things constantly, but I was stuck on the fact that Alexis needed outside help. She was going to be in speech therapy. Therapy. For some reason that word just lodged in my brain and I couldn’t shake all the negative associations I had with it.

Intellectually I know there’s nothing wrong with therapy. It’s there to help people until they don’t need it anymore, not a sign she’ll wear for the rest of her life. Everyone I told reacted positively and was excited that it was going to help her, and one friend even said she had been thinking of testing her daughter because she wasn’t talking either.

So what was my deal?

I’m a little embarrassed I’m even saying this, but I was embarrassed she was in therapy. It’s 100% all in my head, but I was embarrassed she needed help. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that everything wasn’t just going along perfectly in our little idyllic life. I also think part of it came form her being a twin. Her brother is off the charts verbal, and I was so worried someone would compare them and she would be the dumb twin because she was in therapy and he was telling me about the purple umbrella in the picture he’s coloring.

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But once I opened up a little, I was rewarded with so much support from all our friends and family. They have all checked in with us periodically to ask how it’s going with her, and how she’s doing. The friends we see regularly have commented on how much clearer she’s talking and how well she’s doing. There’s no backlash on her for needing this, and I’m 100% convinced it was the right choice for her.

I’ve gotten over everything now, and she’s made amazing progress. 4-5 word sentences, dozens of words, and most importantly to me, she can communicate what she wants. She’s still stubborn as a mule when she wants to be but I think that’s just the personality of our little spitfire. No amount of speech therapy will change her saying ‘No, I do it!’ into something else 🙂

Jennifer at Sweet Discord Jennifer is a stay at home mom with two sets of twins. She copes with having four kids ages 5 and 3 with wine, desserts and cooking. But at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her crazy life for anything. You can read more from Jennifer at Sweet Discord.

Friday Favorites- Smarty Pants Vitamins

Smarty Pants Vitamins

Such a great name for a vitamin. If I had to describe myself in two words it would be “smarty pants.” Once I read the label to see what was inside the vitamins I knew I had to give these a try. I appreciate the companies efforts for sustainability and commitment to making a good gummy.

I have been resistant to giving my kids vitamins for years because I was adamant about giving them nothing but whole foods. Well, when you have two picky eaters who barely eat anything that isn’t cheese, you start to worry they aren’t getting enough vitamins. Thankfully, my girls are thriving and they eat more veggies than they know about. Just check out my sneaky mac and cheese recipe. Since they won’t eat a wide variety of veggies I think they need a vitamin to help fill in the gap.

Smarty pants vitamins

We received some free samples of Smarty Pants vitamins for kids and for adults. My girls and I gave them a try and here is what we like so far.

Taste

This is probably the most important factor when picking chewy vitamins for picky eaters. I am not thrilled these little drops are coated with sugar crystals. And I am just not a fan of anything gummy. I feel like it is so bad for kids teeth. But my kids are still too young to swallow anything in pill form. There is a total of 5g of sugar for 4 gummies- 1 gram comes from organic cane sugar and the other 4 grams from fruit. However, all that sweetness definitely balances out the sardine oil added for Omega 3s. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wasted money trying to get my kids to take fish oil. I even tried the flavored kind and added into smoothies. They discovered it and dumped it every single time. The good news is they will eat these vitamins without an argument. That’s half the battle for me right there. Smarty Pants also makes a no added sugar, fiber gummy for kids which I think we will try.

Smarty Pants Vitamin Samples

Nutrition

The kid gummies have Vitamins C, D3, E, B6, B12 and folic acid. My kids eat a limited variety of veggies (called carrots) and are currently boycotting all meats. So I am sure they are lacking in the folic acid and B vitamins. I like that the ingredients are sourced from non-GMO places. I like there is no high fructose corn syrup, or artificial colors. I often fall in love with a label on a vitamin just to find out one of the main ingredients is high fructose corn syrup. These are also gluten/dairy/nut free.

Commitment and Compliance

I like that every bottle receives a certificate of compliance before it leaves the production line. You can track every bottles certification by using the batch code on the bottom of the bottle. Although the label lists eco friendly Omega 3’s I could not find any certification, or labeling on the packaging or website that certifies the source. I do believe in the power of fish oil! But I want to be sure it is sourced and filtered properly before ingesting.

smarty pants vits 2

Price

I am a huge fan of their sponsorship of Vitamin Angels. Every time I buy a bottle of vitamins for my kids, another kid in another country gets a bottle of vitamins too. That’s a hard thing to pass up. Walgreen’s carries this line of vitamins for around $10 a bottle for a 30 day supply. I am sure you can find other deals online. Overall, Smarty Pants vitamins are affordable, kid friendly vitamins from a company with any eye on sustainability and commitment to helping kids (and adults) get the most healthy nutrition possible.

My kids enjoyed the samples and took them without rejection. I think these will be our favorite vitamins… for now. 😉

No financial compensation was given for this review. All opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. This post does not contain any affiliate links. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

That Time I Was a Perfect Parent

perfect parent

Hi! My name is Roxanne and I am a recovering Perfect Parent. [Welcome Roxanne!]

Before my twins were born and threw my life into an absolute whirl of chaos, I was the perfect parent. No really. I was. I didn’t need to experience the challenges of a high risk pregnancy, or to pull an all-nighter with screaming babies to figure it all out. I KNEW exactly what I needed to do to get the job done! Here’s why I thought that:

No Point of Reference

I had zero idea what it felt like to try to make a coherent decision armed with only 15 minutes of sleep. All the parenting choices I made for other people’s children were made after a full night’s sleep and a complete breakfast after a 30 minute hot shower. I was primed to make good decisions! After weeks of no sleep I can remember calling our doctor at 3:00 a.m. begging her to tell me what to do with a baby that just would not stop screaming. I had read all the books about how to soothe a baby and how to attend to their needs. None of them worked. I gave into panic and drove my newborn to the ER. It turned out nothing was wrong. I was so tired and worn out that the ER seemed like the best idea. Before having my own children I thought I knew exhaustion. I thought I knew everything about getting a baby to sleep because I had done it a thousand times. However, I never had to do it in the middle of the night with a teething babe.

The Struggles Are Real

I remember my niece was a super picky eater growing up. To the point we were all convinced she would never learn to eat a proper meal in her life if we didn’t constantly intervene. I scoured the Internet for recipes and sent printed copies to my brother and sister in-law insisting this would be the recipe that changed their lives! (Yes, I see now how obnoxious that was). What I didn’t know is having a picky eater is painful. I now have two very picky eaters who are healthy and doing well. But it is a grueling process making food you can only hope they will take even JUST ONE bite before rejecting it. I hear other parents and non-parents say all the time, “well when I was a kid we either ate or went without,” or “no child ever starved themselves, they’ll get the message.” Ehem. Mine haven’t. They have literally made themselves vomit because they’ve refused my offerings and I have refused to let them have an alternative. That is a very real struggle in my house.

Life Under a Microscope

When I was a perfect parent I had no idea how much input other people would like to have in my parenting choices. I had no idea how many times a day strangers approach parents with their two cents and values on child rearing. I had no idea I was even one of those people. Well, I never approached strangers. But I certainly had all the answers for my sister. I was the fun, cool aunt who never had to raise her voice. What a false sense of parenting that gave me. I remember telling my sister specifically, “it’s simple all you have to do is,” and before I could even finish she shot back with, “you don’t even have a clue what it’s like to be a parent. You’ve only ever read about it in books.” That stung my ego pretty deep. Now as a parent I completely understand her irritation with my know it all attempt to “fix” her problem.

I Knew Kids at Their Best

I worked with kids of all ages in a school setting. I knew how to keep kids busy. I knew how to make them laugh and I knew how to make the shy kid feel like part of the class. The time I spent in the classroom was approximately 4-6 hours per day. Just enough time to enjoy kids at their best. I spent years baby sitting and really enjoying a positive connection with my nieces and nephews. They stayed with me every summer for vacation. I had experienced it all right? Nope. I did not experience kids at their worst when they are melting down and fighting bedtime. I had never experienced the heartache a parent feels when their child is sick through the night. As a perfect parent I was able to just crawl into my bed at any hour of the night. I’d pull my covers up tight before I drifted off for that luxurious 8 hours of slumber. Perfect parents you enjoy that sleep while you can. Once you become one of us imperfect parents you will never sleep as luxuriously again.

What I Know Now

What I know now is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. There is no such thing as a once size fits all approach to parenting. Every kid is different. Every family has its own set of struggles. What works for one family may not work for another. It’s safe to say, “I can relate to your struggles and if it helps here’s what worked for me.” But to offer adamant advice or suggestion on how a parent should approach their struggles is guaranteed to piss off any parent, and put them on the defense. That defensiveness is guaranteed to bruise someone’s ego or feelings for trying to help.

So to perfect parents everywhere, we respect you may know a lot about taking care of kids and understand how to have fun with them. But you are not the experts in our struggles. And to all of my fellow imperfect parents let’s cut the perfect ones some slack. We know they mean well just like we did when we had this parenting thing all figured out … you know before we became actual parents.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

 

Friday Favorite- Lose That Mommy Guilt {Giveaway}

WELCOME TO

Happy Friday All!

This week guest blogger (and new mom) Debra shared with you how she’s read all the latest books on baby sleep and none of them work. Guess what I’m sharing with you today? A book written by an expert. Wait, wait, wait!!  This isn’t just any expert. She is an expert at letting go of perfection. Lose That Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom by Cara Maksimow. 

mommy guilt cover

I know most days it’s hard to find time to read the back of a shampoo bottle let alone an entire book. But the 150 pages is a quick read! Instead of the pretentious lecture about the exact steps you should follow to execute efficient routines, Cara gives a few options with the understanding that not everything works for everyone. 

cara maksimow

Cara is a certified therapist, writer, mother and owner of Maximize Wellness Counseling & Couching, LLC. Everything written in this book encapsulates my exact mission as The Whatever Mom. And it touches on nearly every area of motherhood where I feel guilty. From potty training, to pacifiers to dealing with kid drama Cara shares her own guilty moments and what works for her.

I love that Cara encourages us mommies to embrace our imperfections as part of this motherhood experience. We are all going to make mistakes and it isn’t worth our time to continually beat ourselves up over them. “As the baby grows the mommy guilt grows. It doesn’t matter how good of a mom  you are, you will find a way to beat yourself up over something, I am here to say that it does not have to be that way. As moms, we are amazing and we don’t recognize it enough! . . . You do not need to let “perfect” get in the way of amazing parenting.”

I literally felt myself breathe a sigh of relief after reading those words. I wish I had read them sooner! Cara delves deep into the mom psyche and pulls out the big things we stress ourselves out with and then tells us, it’s going to be OK! I don’t know about you, but for me, I need to hear that now and then. I need to hear someone tell me that I’m not the only one worrying about ruining my kids lives (don’t worry we aren’t ruining anything).

We all get caught in the big trap of anticipating judgement from bystanders. Even a woman who has degrees and is educated on human behavior gets stuck in those real moments. You know the ones where you have to make a snap judgement to let your kid pee in a parking lot?

“I admit I taught my three-year-old girl to squat in the mall parking lot once (maybe more than once) to avoid unbuckling the baby from the car seat and going all of the way back inside the mall to find the nearest bathroom. I was smart enough to know we would not make it in time. Driving home quickly would have at best lead to a urine soaked car seat, so I made my choice.

Thankfully, it was summer and she was wearing plastic jelly shoes. I was worried someone would see me and judge my parenting. My negative self talk was on high that day. What mom lets her three-year-old girl pee in the parking lot? Clearly, I was that mom. It is what it is. I am not particularly proud of it, but I have learned to let go of that particular guilt.”

That’s why I enjoy this book so much. Cara writes from an authentic place of struggle and humor. I feel like she gives us permission to be real about the crazy choices we make as parents. And isn’t that what being a Whatever Mom is all about? Letting go of the idea of perfection? Life is messy and completely imperfect. You do whatever works to get through the day even if it is just surviving from one moment to the next!

Cara has also published a few other books that you can find on Amazon. One lucky reader is going to get a copy of Loose That Mommy Guilt and a bonus planner for a Kick Ass Month! You know the drill, enter below!

kick ass month

Thank you Cara for writing this book so the rest of us can realize not one single mom has it completely together and none of us is escaping motherhood without feeling guilty.

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The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

Disclosure: There are no affiliate links contained in this post. Product for giveaway provided by Cara Maksimow personally. No financial compensation was received for this review. All opinions contained herein belong solely to The Whatever Mom. 

Experts Don’t Know *Bleep* About Sleep

Experts Don't Know-Bleep- About Sleep

Picture it. A new mother sweetly smiling at the content, sleeping baby in her arms. Wearing a freshly pressed white nightgown and not a hair out of place against her perfectly glowing skin, she is a vision of motherhood. In a magazine quality nursery she lovingly cups her baby’s pink cherub like cheek with her perfectly manicured hand. Insert some new no fuss baby sleeping technique conjured up by the latest baby professional. End Scene. (This is where the gentle lullaby plays on).

Awwwwe. Wasn’t that pretty and so relaxing to watch? Now, let me show you how this scene really plays out. It’s a scene from my own life. 

Picture it. It’s the middle of the night. I have a frazzled look of self doubt on my face as I (the new mother) wearily scan my screaming baby for answers. There are none to be found and I wonder why the hour-long crying session continues. I am dressed only in my thinned and stretched out maternity granny panties because the weight I gained is holding on to my midsection and my bum like two drowning sewer rats. My formula slash puke covered ratty t-shirt lays in a crumpled mess in the middle of the nursery floor. A fresh coating of formula is now covering the front of me and my tear streaked red-faced infant. I press my hands, complete with jagged chipped nails, against the back of a sweaty little head on my shoulder hoping to avoid another eardrum shattering scream.

The nursery looks like the leftovers of a frat party weekend. The crib is half torn apart and half put together with new bedding. The changing table is covered with diarrhea-filled diapers that could not take all that my poor baby was giving. The bottle of fever reducer medicine is stuck to the rug and the cap is nowhere to be found among the chaos.

Enter the cautious daddy who scans the room and knows it is best to slowly back away while gently closing the door behind him. He decides he will do clean up duty later. End Scene.

Now I wonder why this scene has not ended eight months later? I will tell you why….because the pompous baby professionals don’t know how to get my baby to {bleeping} sleep!

I have read numerous popular parenting websites, some not so popular websites and several books by big name professionals. All of them claim to know the secret to get my baby to sleep easily and stay a sleep. My reply to them is an eight-month sleep deprived unladylike raised middle finger. (Notice the un-manicured nail?!).

I have tried sleep training, sleep weaning, co sleeping, crib sleeping, swing sleeping, motion to sleep and propped sleeping. I have even heart achingly struggled through sleep deprived scream sessions hoping she would tire out and sleep longer. No matter how much I try my daughter sleeps when she wants, where she wants and only for two hours at a time. That’s during a good night.

The conclusion I have come to is that no matter which sleep technique I find (and try for weeks), my daughter is going to decide when and how she sleeps. So my warning to everyone is this: if you come to my house and ignore the cute “Sssshh Baby Sleeping” sign on my door expect to get throat punched by a very pissy and sleep deprived mommy.

 

deb editDebra is a first time mom to her beautiful rainbow baby Skyler, a wife, a blogger and an ordained minister. She enjoys crafting and creating educational fun for her step sons and decorating her home. Find Debra at Crossing New Bridges on Facebook and on Twitter.

Friday Favorites -Anna Nova Review & Giveaway

Spring Awakening Satchel Anna Nova

Anna Nova Australia is hosting this promotional giveaway and has provided the merchandise depicted for review. All honest opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links are contained within this post and no financial compensation given.

Before I was a mom I loved the fresh scent of a new hand bag. I would drive an hour to my favorite outlet to peruse the season’s newest offerings.  Those gorgeous designer bags were replaced by cute diaper bags and large shoulder bags. As cute and functional as those bags are, I miss carrying something I absolutely love. I am super picky when it comes to my hand bag choices. I want to carry a bag no one else has, I want quality and I want something that makes me happy. Oh and now it has to have enough room to carry the stuff my kids hand off to me.

Just when I thought designer bags were no longer in reach for my mom lifestyle I was asked to review the Anna Nova Spring Awakening Traveller. (I may have literally squealed with delight). To have designer quality in my hands again felt like a luxurious dream come true.  I have been longing for something that could keep up with the busy demands of my mom-lifestyle, yet make me happy to carry around. Maybe it is because Anna herself is a mother of 4 she understands how to marry together form and function with fashion.

The Spring Awakening Traveller Satchel

I don’t know why I never thought to carry a cross the body satchel before! Even though this satchel is half the size of my current bag, everything fits inside! There are pockets galore creating a very efficient way to carry my mom items (I could write a separate post on the amount of stuff I have inside my mom bag). After I transferred everything into the satchel I discovered an entirely empty pocket still available for all the future stuff I’ll need to cram inside!  All the pockets are secured with a zipper or a snap making it hard for tiny hands to smuggle things in or out.

anna nova stitching

I could see right away my Anna Nova is stitched with quality and care! The stitching on my worn out shoulder bag is frayed and very thin (clearly not a designer bag). The turquoise threads on the Anna Nova Traveller is not only gorgeous but heavier and deeper which means less fray and longer wear.

Anna Nova Traveler

The fabric on the inside of this satchel feels much softer and I can tell immediately it has a better thread count (it simply means a tighter weave which equals longer life). The fabric inside my cheap shoulder bag became “pilly” and worn shortly after I purchased it. Not a very luxurious feeling.

After years of carrying shoulder bags that slide down my arm while trying to hold two little hands across a parking lot, I am ready for a cross the body bag. This week alone I wore my Traveller to our soccer practices, during preschool drop off and even out shopping. Knowing my items are secure and safe from falling off of me and spilling out as I am chasing a kid gives me less to worry about. It is so light weight and comfortable I find myself going back into the house to look for my purse. Meanwhile, I’m already wearing it! Ha, ha!

Anna Nova Spring Awakening Traveler

If I am being honest, this print wasn’t my first choice, but I kept coming back to it because there was just something comforting about it. It reminds me of the floral prints I used to wear as a teenager (back when I was carefree and had time for fashion). The pastels on black aren’t super bold, but lend just enough color to make a statement and still coordinate with my casual outfits.

I know no one likes to chat dollars and cents but I feel like if I am bringing you an honest review we have to go there. I feel everything is very reasonably priced for designer quality. This particular bag is around $105 which is way less than any other designer bag I’ve purchased, but the quality is on par. Take a look at the Anna Nova website to see the other affordable pieces available; from coin purses to phone pouches, from back packs to overnight bags there is a bag to fit every need.

The Spring Awakening Pouch

Anna Nova Spring Awakening Pouch

The folks at Anna Nova also sent this companion pouch that fits inside my satchel. I have filled it with my arsenal of lip glosses, lip balms and favorite essential oils. The pouch fits perfectly inside any pocket on this satchel. It is also a great pouch to store your cell phone in inside of a diaper bag, or large shoulder bag for quick access.

Guess what?! I have one extra Spring Awakening Pouch to giveaway!!  Are you excited?!! You should be!!  This roomy little pouch can be a piece of luxury you can count on every time you open your purse.

To enter follow the instructions below and check back on The Whatever Mom Facebook page on Monday morning!

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The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

The Ways We Appreciate Our Mothers More

Motherhood can be such a great equalizer. We spend a lot of years thinking we know more than our moms and arguing against them. In our teen angst we feel like they just doesn’t want us to live! Then one day we become mother’s ourselves and we understand. For the first time we get it. We get all the pain and upset they felt when we rejected them and when we questioned them. Then we feel all the same insecurities they felt felt.

Personally, I did not understand the sacrifices my mother made until I became a mother myself. The many times she went without new things for herself so that I didn’t have to go without. The amount of worry that filled her day, now fills my day. I never knew how much she second guessed her choices until I’ve had to make the same choices myself. It wasn’t until we stood on equal footing as mothers that I began to truly understand how difficult it was for her to watch her children grow up and away from her.

Mother’s Day is this weekend and I hope you take a moment to tell your mom how much you appreciate her. Don’t wait for a sappy card to say it all for you. Take the time to reflect on what she has given you. And if you don’t have a good relationship with your mom, you can still send respect from a safe distance. There aren’t a lot of perks to this mom gig. But the most coveted award for any mom is hearing their child say, “I appreciate what you’ve been through.” If you are still having a hard time finding just the right words I’ve enlisted six of my friends to share how motherhood has helped them appreciate their moms even more.

 

Missy mom roundI never understood the amount of fear mother’s carry until the moment my first born was placed in my arms. Now I know why my mom was so “annoying” always telling me to “be careful!” Or why she expected to know I made it someplace safely. She still hasn’t settled into my career choice to be a police after 13 years. I understand more why my mother was so upset when my sister and I fought. I fell in love with each of my children on the day they were born, but never more than when I watched them fall in love with each other.  And I don’t ever want them to stop.  The fears that have been ticking inside of her now tick inside of me. Knowing that time is fleeting I feel moments are gone against my will and I will miss every cherished memory. I used to cringe every time she asked us about grandchildren. Now I get it. It’s that elusive wish we all have to go back in time and do it all again. She was gifted that with grandchildren. I know now that someday I’ll wish for the same. -Missy Seyfarth about her mom Tina.

 

 

molly and mom roundMy mother’s greatest gift has been to remind me that I have what it takes to be a good mother. I remember calling her and asking her advice, and she would often say in the first few weeks, “Well, dear, it sounds like this is really challenging. It’s been so long since I’ve cared for a newborn, so I want you to take a deep breath, find your calm, and call the pediatrician or nurse line. Meanwhile please know that you can handle this, and I say this with full confidence.” My mom said these things even knowing I was struggling with postpartum depression; she affirmed that no mental health challenge would remove my motherhood, my instincts and my wherewithal to handle tough situations. I carry this gift from my mother and hope to give it to my own daughter someday. What a wonderful mother to have—a mother who reminds me every time I doubt myself that I have what it takes to make it through. -Molly Wright Starkweather about her mom Deb.

 

 

Sarah mom 2For the life of me I can’t figure out how my mom kept her cool so well when I was young, and it inspires me as a mom now. There were five of us kids and she worked full time, yet I remember her as patient, calm, confident and always steady. I’m so grateful for that example and now I can fully appreciate the strength it must have taken her! It is a blessing to be able to call on her for wisdom during tough times on this motherhood journey. –Sarah Coppola about her mom Jeri.

 

 

somer mom roundMy mom and I have always been close, but my appreciation for her changed once I became a mom. Now that I am a mom to two beautiful girls ages 8 and 2, I have a better understanding of the emotional roller coaster moms live on. You may not intend to get on the ride, but it is impossible to not take things so personal and worry. I know the worry will grow bigger as my children grow. A mother’s love is never ending and neither is the worry. Thank you Mom for all your love and I’m sorry for all of the sleepless nights I have given you! –Somer Mayer about her mom Pam.

 

 

heather & mom roundMy mother was 19 and 20 years old when she had my sister and me. A few years later she became a single mom. My childhood was very unpredictable and hard at times. For many years, I had a lot of anger and resentment towards her. We have always been very close, but I felt very irritable and impatient and easily triggered around her. When I became a mom myself I was able to soften and fully appreciate her. Motherhood almost broke me the first few years of with my two boys born only 15 months apart. It was my mom who saved me. She is so much more patient and fun with my boys than I am. And she cleans my kitchen each visit without me asking and has listened to me sobbing in despair many times. Motherhood has humbled me and I mostly only feel gratitude when I am with my mother these days. -Heather Bunch about her mom Diane.

 

 

Amilyen az anya, olyan a lánya –loosely translated from Hungarian it means like mother like daughter. My mother was with me gizella 2when I had those words tattooed on my arm.  Many of us cringe when we hear the cliché phrase that “all women turn into their mothers.” We somehow view it as a curse and try to fight it. Once I became a mom I started to embrace the characteristics that make me in awe of my mother. Like a lightbulb turning on, I see it now. There are days I don’t know how I could do it without her. She knows what I need even before I do; call it motherly intuition. Whether it’s picking up the kids from school, helping with dishes or a quick stop at the store, these small things add up. There’s nothing I can say or do that will ever be a good enough “thank you.” But thank you mom, for protecting me, supporting me, listening to me, advising me, sympathizing with me, and allowing me to grow into the woman I am today. -Gizella Diverne about her mom Gizella.

 

 

Feel free to use the comment section below to give a shout out to your mom. What do you appreciate about her the most? Feel free to share with her so she can read your gratitude!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

 

 

Friday Favorites – Brighton Jewelry

Brighton collage

Last year my husband’s company flew him out to Las Vegas to receive an award for being the best in the entire North East region. What made this trip so special was he also received national recognition for being the BEST at his job! This three day excursion included a stay in Cesar’s Palace, rubbing elbows with the national team, exclusive sneak peaks at new product and a tour of his choice. He chose the Hoover Damn. Um… hello how many movies were shot at this historic site? The nerd in him was super excited to see where some of his favorite celebrities once stood.

So what does his fabulous trip have to do with this jewelry? Well, since I don’t get any corporate perks at this mommy gig, hubby felt I deserved something shiny in recognition of all the hard work I put into helping him be the best at his job. Kind of like my own award for being the best at my job. Daw… what a nice hubby right?

He brought home this gorgeous necklace and charm bracelet from a Brighton Jewelry shop.  I absolutely love the finer details which really make this necklace and charm bead unique. The color is perfect to wear with my favorite coral summer tops.

 

brighton charm brighton love

So far both pieces have held up pretty nicely with the number of times I’ve worn them (which is a lot). The silver has not tarnished and the leather chain shows no sign of wear and tear. They seem to be holding up well to the demands of motherhood! Overall, I am really impressed by how beautifully and well made these Brighton jewelry pieces are. Plus, I love all the compliments I get when I wear this necklace. To see more products from Brighton Jewelry or to find an outlet near you just visit here. In looking around online I see the price points are amazingly affordable. There are gifts for less than $30.

brighton leaf brighton rock

Now for special occasions when hubby is stuck for a gift idea he just finds the perfect little charm or bead to add on to my bracelet! How brilliant is that? He pretty much just set up an efficient gift giving system without even trying (take note hubbies!). Don’t forget Mother’s Day is only a week away! Go online now and order something unique from Brighton.

And of course you know I love to dig into a companies charitable giving! Brighton is donated over 9.5 million dollars to various charities including breast cancer charities, feeding programs and soles for souls which gets shoes to people in need. You can learn more about their efforts here.

No financial compensation was received for this review. No affiliate links contained in this post. All opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

Interview With A Parent of A Child With Autism- Meet Kaitlin and Parker

rd autism

As we close out Autism Awareness month I want to share with you one more story. Meet Parker. His mom Kaitlin lives in my area and we are part of the same mom’s group on Facebook. I am grateful she is allowing me to share their story. It may sound familiar to you, or you may know someone who is currently going through a similar journey to find a diagnosis. Feel free to share this story with them: a real mom with a real struggle just like theirs.

Autism Awareness

How old was Parker when he was diagnosed?

Parker was 18 months old when he was diagnosed on the spectrum of Autism. I knew in my heart prior to the diagnosis. I think with knowing something was going on prior it was easier for me to accept. Two developmental pediatricians and a neurologist confirmed the diagnosis and still follow him.

 

What has life been like after diagnosis?

Everything I read about was so different than actually experiencing it. We began our journey receiving services through Early Intervention (OT, PT, Speech, Special Ed) and working with a licensed social work therapist (LCSW). All our services were in home so it was like a revolving door sometimes. It would be three services a day. We would make strides with speech and have some new words for a little while and then they would just disappear, like he forgets he learned them. One day they were here and the next they just disappeared. He had a lot of sensory needs. He would love being rocked, squeezed tight and disliked certain textures and loud noises scared him. Every day I learned some new.

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As Parker got older he became very aggressive towards others. He was hitting, biting, pulling hair and he would even bite himself when things would get overwhelming for him. It was hard to watch and accept. His activity level was extremely active and very dangerous. Parker has no fear whatsoever so, safety became a huge concern. He is also a runner/bolter. We recently became enrolled with Project Lifesaver with our local sheriff’s department. Parker wears a radio transmitter device that can aid in the location of finding him if he ever takes off.

 

How important is it to have support?

I am a single parent and having support is HUGE! I am thankful for my family who helps when anything is needed. My parents are our greatest support system and I would be lost without them!

 

What advice could you give to outsiders not familiar with autism?

Never judge a book by its cover. Prior to kids I told myself I would never use a backpack leash. But with his safety concerns I have too.

Kaitlin also recommends the following articles to help others understand more about what it’s like to be a parent with Autism.

The Mighty: 12 Things Not To Say to Parents of Kids With Autism

Today Parent: 11 Things Never to Say to Parents of A Child With Autism (and 11 Things You Should)

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.