Category: health

When Your Kid Is a Perfectionist Too

True to my perfectionist character I feel like I have failed if I cannot put out a blog post every week. No one else is saying a word about it, but I put this pressure on myself to have everything outlined and finished by a certain time every week. As you can see I didn’t post anything last week. Sometimes, being in charge of so many humans with their own personalities doesn’t leave room for me to execute my projects and meet my own deadlines. It kills me to stare at a blank page the day after I was due to publish. In the grand scheme I know it doesn’t matter. But I am so hardwired to finish a task in a very specific way. I feel like I let down everyone when I don’t come through.

The last few weeks have been incredibly difficult as a mom. I’ve discovered that my daughter is taking after me with expecting perfection. She is only six years old and already has a very deep need to make things happen the way she has planned. She becomes anxious when she makes a mistake on her homework and now she feels like she just wants to impress her teacher so badly. I have a kid who used to love school suddenly protest leaving the house to attend school. This is just Kindergarten. She is already under so much pressure to perform perfectly.

Seeing her struggle to do her best and feeling crushed when she doesn’t match the expectations of her teacher, or already feels like she let everyone down, is incredibly painful. I want so badly to upload my wisdom to her little brain to help her understand that hinging your self worth on impossible standards is not going to bring her any peace, or happiness. The peace I feel when things are perfect is only fleeting because as a perfectionist nothing is ever good enough. Nothing. I can’t imagine feeling like this at six. I can barely handled it as an adult.

I am trying to focus more on helping her learn how to be OK without perfection. It’s hard to put my perfectionist out look into the head space of a six year old, but I am going to try. I am going to give myself some slack that I am not going to find the perfect solution for her. But I am going to do my best. Then I am going to cut myself some slack when I let a post or two go while I am figuring this all out. This parenting thing. Man. It’s hard! Letting go of perfection is hard too.

Thank you for reading and hanging in there with me from week to week! I appreciate all of you! If you have any advice on how to get a Kindergartner to lighten up I’d love to hear it! Anyone else ever have a kid put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line at whatevmom@gmail.com.

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 toHudson 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 

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Stuck on the Track of Perfection

The other day I saw a video clip in my Facebook news feed of a car stuck on the snowy railroad tracks with a train coming toward it. Some good citizens abandoned their cars to assist the driver in the disabled car. I noticed the driver was determined to stay in the car, not give up and just kept driving until they moved forward. But it was with great assistance that they got off that track before the train passed where they were seconds later. I thought that is such a perfect metaphor for life. Especially for me, being a recovering perfectionist.

I can’t tell you how often I get stuck on my own track, completely focused on my own expectations, trying to force a particular outcome. I am determined to stick to that singular path before me. Whether it is pushing the kids to get ready for school on time, or finding a solution to a new parenting challenge. It can feel like life is that train barreling toward me and I am just stuck. When I am really lucky a friend, or neighbor will help steer me in a new direction before I am pummeled. Sometimes it is just a kind word, or even a blunt question that can snap me out of my one track thinking.

Life with kids moves at a quick pace and I don’t always take time to slow down and really appreciate that my hard work counts for something. Being a perfectionist I often discount my efforts, or second guess my parenting skills. It is so much easier to tear myself down than it is to build myself up. Sometimes it is easier to stay “stuck” than it is to persevere and move forward. I often think there is only way to be a good parent, but that mindset is so limiting. I am actually good at many different parts of parenting, but I am not a perfect parent.

So what do you do when you feel stuck on a one way track to perfection?

Take a break. This doesn’t always have to include a sandy beach and little umbrella drinks (though that is awesome), sometimes simple quick things can get you off the track in front of you. Read a chapter of a new book, take deep breaths, go for a walk, just get yourself away from that stressful sticking point. Sometimes I find better solutions when I hop off that one way track. I can stop worrying about my struggles for a little bit and find a new perspective.

Remember what you are good at. Maybe you can make any situation funny. Or maybe you are really good at caring for your kids, or keeping everyone wrangled. Maybe you are good at loving your kids through their really horrible moments. You may not be perfect at every part of parenting, but celebrate the parts you are really good at. I know I am really good at seeing the best in my kids even during a meltdown. That does nothing to keep my house organized, but it is one thing I am good at!

Cut yourself some slack. So you forgot to pack lunch the night before and there are dishes still in the sink before breakfast, but everyone has clean socks today! Perhaps you forgot there was soccer practice right after school today, but you remembered to grab a granola bar and bottled water for kid snacks from the store on your way! Giving yourself options keeps you from feeling like you just got pummeled by that train. I am getting much better at giving myself credit for the things I did do right in my day.

Talk to another parent. I always find the best parents to talk to are the ones who have already been down my road. They can offer practical advice that worked for them, and share a sympathetic ear. Sometimes it’s just good to know you are not the only one who struggles with parenting (and perfection). Join a group online, in person or talk to parenting friends at work. I am really lucky to be surrounded by so many people ready to guide me.

I hope this is a good time to remind you that you are a great parent just as you are! No one is winning a prize for having themselves more put together than you. No one else is putting pressure on you to give more than you can. No one else works as hard for your kid(s) as you do. So, take a deep breath and don’t let perfection keep you from moving forward.

Have a great week everyone!

 

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 toHudson 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 

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Taking Over Christmas Like A Dad

A few weekends ago I wrote a post on Facebook that went like this:

 

It just seems like my husband has things a little easier. The weekends are less hectic which equals less demands for racing through breakfast and less drama. He often gets to sleep in because he is up early during the week (I am too, but I apparently exist in the shadows). I envy both of those things- less drama and more sleeping.

On weekend mornings my husband doesn’t get up with a to-do list on his mind and go right to work. Seconds after his feet hit the floor he b-lines it to the shower. No one stops him to ask a million questions, nor does he stop to ask anyone else questions. He needs a shower, he takes a shower. I can not figure out how to make this work for myself. As soon as my feet hit the floor I’ve been had, “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! What’s for breakfast?!”

“Nothing I’m taking a shower!”

“Awe but I’m hungry!”

“Eat your sister!”

We had a bad snow storm on Saturday which left me trapped inside by snow, two kids and a stomach bug while my husband went to work. I laid in bed fuming that when hubby is sick he gets to stay in bed and make zero breakfasts. No one talks to him, looks at him or even goes near the door to his room. When I get sick, “mom can I have a snack?” “mom will you open this?” “mom can I have water” “mom are you breathing?” I decided not this day. I am too sick and exhausted to even move right now. I have been vomiting for several hours and I am in NO MOOD for demands. The kids will learn to survive this day or starve. (Thankfully they survived and there’s a future post on that).

The weekend flies by and I wake up Monday morning with a lengthy to-do list and a minor headache left from too much “sleeping in” over the weekend. I count five different stores to shop through. “I’ll never make them all in time!”

But then, something miraculous happens when I stepped into Target. I decide, today is the day I just wanna be a dad. Now if your husband, is anything like mine, he may have a broken give-a-shit-meter. My husband hasn’t given one shit about the gifting process in the last decade + we’ve been together. Today, I didn’t either. I grab a cart, crumple my list and toss it to the floor before I take the aisles by storm with a determined pace. I walk through the men’s department and grab stuff off of wracks and toss into my cart, “yep! this will do!” I swing by the wrapping department to pick up some fun Holiday Crackers to give to the kids at Christmas Eve dinner. When I flip over the box I see these things open with TNT (as in dynamite) and the grand prize is a nail clipper. “Who gives a shit? Not me! I’m dad today!! Ahahahaha!” I throw them in the cart. I throw more things in the cart that I could get at other stores for less, but why the hell make an extra trip just to save a few dollars? I can’t believe how easy this is! It is so freeing to just not care! No worries! No regrets! How have I been living my life all these  years?!

Next stop Kohl’s! Hubby hoarded a small bank roll in Kohl’s cash that I was able to guilt him into convince him to let me have. I really need a few shirts for myself and thought I should pick up an extra pair of pajamas for him to feel cozy in during his weekend sleep retreats. Normally I am so indecisive about clothes. It can get really stressful picking out the most flattering colors and fabrics. I have to be concerned with what’s in fashion, what season it is. But not today! Today I am the dad! I care nothing of colors and seasons and I grab a fist full of the same damned shirts! And yep, I still don’t give a shit!

Now I am about to slam dunk this shopping trip in just two stores! I’ve come to the section of the program where I need to select hubby’s new fashionable sleepwear. What is his favorite color? Does he like flannel, or cotton better? To hell with personal preferences you are getting those tacky Christmas pants on a hanger from over there and the Merry Christmas Darth Vader t-shirt wadded up on top of a pile from over here. I don’t care if they aren’t coordinated, or even match. Who needs fancy buttons and comfortable fabrics?

I am done!!

In record time!!

The. Crowd. Goes. Wild!

The cashier high fives me and says, “no charge today m’am! What you’ve accomplished here today is payment enough!!” Then she sheds a tear while bagging my free items.

Ah. It really does feel good to be the dad now and then. To not live so trapped inside my head with details. Not having to waste time obsessing over things like a healthy breakfast and worrying if your gifts are perfect. Those things just power the meter and wear you out. Nah, this thinking things through and making things magical is just dumb. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to grab a shower and take care of a few stray chin hairs.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

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 

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Friday Favorites – Walking With Leslie GIVEAWAY

Photo courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

 

HAPPY FRIDAY!! IT’S FINALLY FRIDAY!! WOO HOO!!

I don’t know about you, but I have just had the most craptastic week! Really, it was fantastically crappy in so many ways. Except TODAY! Today is gonna be a good day I can already tell! I am walking with my girl Leslie Sansone AND I’m giving away a little something to put us in a good mood!

I always find getting out for a walk clears my mind and gets rid of some stress. But here in the North East it is so cold and gray in the morning. It is hard to get motivated to walk when it is this cold. Back in the Spring I shared with you my love of Leslie and her quick and easy walking work outs. I just pop in a DVD, or pull up a workout on Youtube and power walk right in my living room! No crazy choreography, no weird angles to twist myself into, just walking! The best part is I really feel like I had a WORKOUT! The kind that leaves ya sweaty and with a pep in your step. You aren’t just walking front to back and marching in place. She throws in some classic aerobic moves like side steps, kick backs, even some jogging.

Yes, I could go to the gym to walk- but I feel like a drone on the treadmill plugged into the TV. Plus, I have to hope my kids aren’t tearing up the day care room. Last month I made a couple of sad attempts at joining some new classes, which only reminded me how out of shape I really am. (It’s totally normal to need the Chiropractor after a work out right?). Following along with Leslie makes me feel just as energized as any class. I really miss taking my high intensity aerobics classes! So, guess what I just got my hands on? A couple of new Leslie Sansone HIIT DVD’s! HIIT Stands for High Intensity Interval Training. You exercise in short bursts of “all out” effort and then recover. Essentially, you walk for less time, but burn as many calories as a longer walk session. Plus, the music she picks for these DVDs is so upbeat! It makes rolling out of bed before day light almost worth it!

Sweat Session 1: Walk to the Hits with All Time Favorites. This includes some 50’s hits like The Twist and songs from The Temptations, but amped up. I felt a little out of shape trying to keep up, but I could still walk without limping after and that is gold once you turn 40!

Sweat Session 2: Walk to the Hits Radio Remixes. This includes remix versions of Let’s Get Loud and Move It, Move It (my kids love this one!). Another great work out that left me feeling sweaty, yet energized! I loved the play list much better (and it was 8 minutes shorter than session 1).

If you haven’t tried walking with Leslie Sansone yet you are missing out! It’s literally like having a walk party right in your living room! Guess what?! Now you can win ALL THREE HIIT DVD’s and have Leslie to yourself! Woo hoo!! Walk party with the kids, or invite some moms over and let the kids play while you grab some miles! Winner will be announced in my next Friday Favorites Segment on 12/16/16.

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This post contains affiliate links to Amazon which means I earn a small commission if you purchase using these links. There is no difference in price if you use the links in this post. I did not receive financial compensation for this post. In exchange for my enthusiastic and honest review, I received additional DVDs promoted by Anchor Bay Entertainment. #Amazon #Affiliates #Ad 

 

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 

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How To Embrace Your Sensory Friendly Halloween

sensory-friendly-halloween

If you have never heard of sensory processing disorder you are not the only one. Most parents do not know what this is until their child is diagnosed with the disorder. The difficulty is that even with a diagnosis, you as a parent may have no clear and final definition of what makes your kid tick. Every kid is different and it can take time to identify your child’s sensory triggers.

According to the website Understood.org, children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) “may be oversensitive or undersensitive to the world around them. When the brain receives information, it gives meaning to even the smallest bits of information. Keeping all that information organized and responding appropriately is challenging for them.”

As unique as your child is, so is the way their brain processes things like smell, taste and touch. Some kids never notice the feeling of a tag on their shirt, or the seam in their socks. But there are kids who are so distracted by this sensation that they can cry or scream, or even become aggressive. If you have a kid with sensory issues you are not alone! One in twenty children live with some varying degree of sensory processing disorder. Navigating daily life can be a struggle, let alone having to wear an itchy costume in a crowded, loud setting.

Both of my children have mild sensory issues which mostly involves volume levels and large crowds. When they were little I didn’t take them very far on Halloween. The year we let them choose on their own which houses to stop at was the year they decided they liked trick or treating. Now we let them take us as far as they want to go, we carry extra snacks and we call it quits when they get overwhelmed. We begin our evening slow and head home in time to hand out treats.

I polled some of my mom friends who are in the know about sensory processing and the sensory demands of Halloween. The best piece of advice: is to not force your child beyond their limits. Halloween activities are for their enjoyment and it is OK to let them enjoy activities in their own way. If your child can only handle wearing a small piece of their costume, or no costume at all, let that be enough. My friend Erin shares that one year she let her son go as himself at his request. “Thankfully the people around us accepted that. And he had a great Halloween because he could do his own thing.”

MOM TIPS

Select a costume that is mask free, or does not require face paint. Let your kids use their own familiar clothing as part of their costume to help them enjoy dressing up. For kids with auditory sensory issues, using noise cancelling headphones works great. For kids who are sensitive to bright lights, start your trick or treat night as early as possible and take advantage of the day light. If your child tires easily map out a short route, or bring along a wagon to let them take a break. And again, it’s OK if you cut your time short and head back home early.

PRO TIPS

Being a parent of a child with sensory issues can feel overwhelming, but imagine being the child who is struggling to process so much sensory information at once. It can provoke a lot of anxiety not knowing what is happening next. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Gina Bergdall suggests allowing your child to carry a fidget toy. This will allow them a constructive “place to focus their anxiety on.” Bergdall also shares these tips provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association. 

It may also be helpful to pick only a few places to trick or treat and review that plan with your child before hand. If they know they are only going to 5 or 6 houses nearby, they can feel a sense of control ticking the number of houses off the list. Seeing familiar faces can also make them feel more at ease.

HOW TO EMBRACE

If your child is overly sensitive to crowds or noises there is no rule that mandates they go trick or treating. You can make some really amazing traditions right at home. Bake some great treats, make a fun meal together, or if they want to, let them help with handing out candy. Invite the grandparents or family over for pizza and a movie. There is no wrong way to participate in Halloween! Staying at home where it is familiar may be just what your child needs to celebrate comfortably.

I get it moms! Having to make these kinds of accommodations often feels like our children are missing out on experiences other kids get to have, or the experiences we had as kids. But really, the holiday is about our kid’s enjoyment. If that looks different than the way other families celebrate, that’s OK. Embrace your unique traditions! If your child is comfortable at home watching Halloween specials and eating popcorn, join them! Deciding to follow their lead helps them feel capable! Plus, sharing a special night in together as your Halloween tradition is way more relaxing than walking around in the cold wearing a cookie cutter costume.

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 

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5 Self-Care Strategies for First Time Moms

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Now that my kids are in school I am trying to focus more on self-care. I keep thinking back to those very early days as a mom and how hard it was to take care of my own needs. I remember feeling drained and empty. I put way too much pressure on myself to make everyone happy by keeping everything perfect. As a first time mom with twin newborns it was a struggle to just get a shower each day, let alone making sure everyone had clean underwear and the house was properly organized.

Eating and sleeping are crucial, but so is staying connected to friends and family and our own interests. In those early years self -care, for me, was about getting a hot shower and enjoying a meal. I was all alone with two brand new babies and I was trying to make it all work. I barely ate, I barely slept and my record for showering was spotty. I was hungry, depleted and so overwhelmed.

Five years later my self-care looks more like taking time to exercise, or drinking tea and reading a book. Now I get to eat one sit down meal a day while the kids are in school. Do you know how good food tastes when you’re not standing over the sink, shoveling it into your mouth?

Ahhh. It’s almost nirvana.

Here are 5 self-care strategies I used in those early years:

I FOUND SOME FRIENDS

I envied friends who had a sister or a friend expecting a child at the same time. I spent 5 months alone on bed rest. Once the babies were born and my husband went back to work, I felt so lonely and empty. I just wanted a friend. Honestly, finding a close relationship as a mom can be super hard. But when you do it is so wonderful! I met a lot of moms early on in play groups, at the park and at the library, but not everyone has become my friend. I realized quickly not everyone is looking for a new bestie. Sometimes just seeing the same smiling face each week at story time is enough to ease a stressful morning.

I HOSTED PLAY DATES

Bundling up two kids and getting them to the car is no easy feat when you are worn out and exhausted. Thankfully, my mom friends took mercy on me and would travel to my house. Talking with other moms makes me realize I am not alone in my struggles. We are all struggling to find balance. I did a quick tidy, put out some toys and turned on the coffee. (In those early days my house wasn’t the colossal wreck that it is today). As much work as it was to finish a sentence while chasing kids, the conversations we shared are invaluable.

I ACCEPTED OTHER PEOPLE’S GENEROSITY

I have to remind myself often that I am one person taking care of many.  It can be draining. But when I started accepting offers of help, it really alleviated some stress. When someone brought me a meal, it didn’t make me a charity case. It meant I got to eat a hot meal. When neighbors shoveled my drive it didn’t mean I was irresponsible, it meant I didn’t have to leave my babies alone. When a friend washed my dishes it didn’t mean I wasn’t capable, it meant I could hold my two sleeping babies in my arms a little longer. If you are lucky enough to find someone to volunteer to help in anyway, it is OK to accept the offer!

I ASKED FOR HELP

You can’t always rely on people offering help. You could be drowning for weeks before that happens. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help! I was afraid to ask friends for help because I didn’t want to burden them. I didn’t want to admit I couldn’t handle everything by myself. But when I found myself on bed rest and needed help getting our house ready for babies, I asked for help. Surprisingly, a lot of our friends came out to wash windows, put together furniture, organize our nursery, rake our leaves, and help finish up some household projects we knew we couldn’t get to as parents. It was humbling and eased our worry. Ask family and friends to contribute a meal to stash in your freezer. Ask for gift certificates for a cleaning service as your baby shower/newborn gift. Cute clothes are wonderful, but not having to clean your toilets is even better! But most of all, if you find yourself struggling with overwhelming sadness, or feelings of inadequacy don’t be afraid to reach out right away. Struggling alone is worse than what anyone else is thinking about you.

I DELAYED WASHING DISHES

I often think if I don’t do the dishes right now then I will be so far behind and everything will pile up. One day it hit me, “since when is there a deadline on dirty dishes?” I don’t have a dishwasher (I know it’s like roughing it in my own home) so the panic to find an empty sink is real. But when I let myself rest while the twins took a nap- even just 10 minutes- I felt ready to tackle the tower of slop. In that 10 minutes I put my feet up, focused on breathing and thought of the beach. Taking just 10 minutes was recharging. And to be honest some days I took 20 minutes. Turns out the dishes were still waiting for me even when I took a few minutes for myself.

As a new mom you have a lot on your plate already just taking care of a baby and learning how to be a mom. I think it is very rare for any mom to take to motherhood like a duck takes to water. There are learning curves we need to adjust for and that’s OK. It takes time to learn the basics of taking care of our babies, our bodies, our new financial picture and household demands. If we try to balance it all at once we can become so overwhelmed and feel like we are drowning. That’s when self care becomes critical. But we want to make sure we recharge before we get to that critical point. Mothering with depleted resources isn’t healthy for you, or your baby. Self care doesn’t mean just meeting your basic needs, it means making sure you have enough for yourself too.

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 

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What to do with all this “Me Time?”

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For months now people have been asking me what am I going to do with all “my time” once the girls go to school. Close friends, neighbors and even family have all asked me what my plans are now that my kids are in Kindergarten.

“It will be nice for you to get some time to yourself.”

“Now you can finally have some ME TIME.”

“So, what are you going to do with all of your time now?”

I know they all mean well and some are just making conversation, but it is quite dismissive of what fills up my time already. Guess what? I have worked from home for the last two years. Guess what I’ve been doing? Writing! Yep. This blog as well as contributing to a few other blogs AND freelance articles for local publications. So that means I have deadlines. I have a fledgling career (albeit a very low paying career). I have goals and *gasp* I am productive beyond motherhood!

A friend of mine (also a mom) told me once, “you need to do more than JUST be a mom.” Why is it once you become a stay at home mom all anyone can see is the stay at home part? Just a mom. Some days I wish I could be “just a mom.” Not that being a mom is without challenges, but then I’d at least be doing one job. Writing from home while simultaneously providing my own childcare is the most stressful gig I’ve ever had. How many moms have to make sandwiches while conducting a phone interview? Or potty train while on a conference call? I’m not talking taking a phone call while kids run amok. I’m talking sounding like an intelligent and focused professional while taking care of another human being. Nothing says I am capable and trustworthy quite like, “I’m sorry can you hold for a moment?” [addressing child] “didn’t I just say to stop smacking your sister with that? No, I’m not a stupid head, you are.”

So to all the curious folks who need to know more about how I spend my day, well here ya go:

WORK TIME

The part everyone forgets that I do outside of my mom responsibilities. I work. Even though I have a home office and that is where I schedule myself for 4-5 hours each day, folks just see me at home. They think I am cooking and cleaning, not actually working. How else are you going to get top notch blog posts like this one? Hint: not while I’m folding socks! *wink*

This is how I spend the majority of my “me time.” Running my own blog is work. I am the head writer, marketer, tech support, photographer, idea creator and editor. I have meetings and conversations with advertisers. I have to design the website and promote it. I have all the behind the scenes things happening on a daily basis. I write three 800-1,000 word blog posts a week. If you think that sounds easy think back to high school English class. Remember how hard it was to just write one essay a month? Yeah, I do that three times a week for “me time.”

ALONE TIME

Once you become a parent, you are never alone. Just ask any parent who has ever tried to pee in silence. When you have to take the kids along to every appointment, errand or meeting you have to take the shit-show on the road. So the day after my kids went to school I scheduled my self for an eye exam. I sat alone with an iced coffee while I waited for the doctor. I moved freely and at near lightning speed from room to room. And I finished every single sentence I started because I didn’t need to instruct someone to sit on their bottom. It was glorious.

new-glasses

FINISH ERRANDS IN RECORD TIME

There are days I schedule myself in my office to, ya know, work. But when I need to run a quick errand it’s quick. I can get into the car alone, zip up to the corner store and zip back home faster than any Olympic track star. I don’t need to wrestle the kids into their car seats and then spend half an hour begging them to just get out of the car so I can go inside where they can interrupt me while I pee.

SELF CARE

Self care is hard for anyone taking care of other human beings. But the more responsibilities you pile into one day the less time there is for self care. I often go without lunch, or shovel in kid left overs because there isn’t enough time for me to make meals for myself. Once I get the kids lunches on their plates I spend the next half hour dealing with their complaints and arguments about the quality of their lunch. By the time I realize I didn’t eat lunch it is 3:00 p.m. and I eat whatever I can grab. Now that the kids eat lunch at school, this allows me time sit down and enjoy a full meal. If you want to know what my life has been like for the last 5 years try eating a meal in a room full of chimpanzees throwing things at you.

ate-in-the-living-room

CONNECT WITH OTHER MOMS

Before my career as a mom I worked a 9-5 job. I often scheduled lunch dates with friends during my work day. Now, I make sure to schedule some time to see a friend. Working from home alone can be isolating and lonely. I miss having co-workers to talk to. I miss eating cake three times a week to celebrate birthdays. Now my co-workers are other moms living and working miles away in their own homes. We need time to connect and commiserate about our demanding little bosses. I need to know I’m not the only one trying to balance work and mom life.

There ya have it. This is how I have spent my time the last two weeks since school started. My house is still a mess. My laundry is still in piles and I still haven’t had a good mani pedi. I have typed several thousand words into my computer and I am no longer hangry. My kids are at school and I still don’t get “me time.” But I am getting time to recoup a little sanity after years of chaos.

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.

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Why Going Bald Matters in My Family

My life after St. Baldrick's

It was just after Christmas of 2002 that we discovered my niece was very ill. Her parents thought it was just a stomach bug that kept her couched for a week. But when Ashley appeared gray and limp and refusing to eat her chocolate treats that Santa left her, we knew something was wrong. After taking her to the emergency room my brother and his wife were told Ashley has Leukemia. She was immediately taken to a medical center for treatment.

Ashley was only three years old, but she lived several months of her life in the hospital. She endured three surgeries and still wears the scars along her abdomen. The first surgery, which nearly every kid with cancer endures, implanted a Picc IV line that administers chemotherapy directly to her heart. We thought that would be the worst. The second surgery was to remove her appendix as it became inflamed from the amount of chemicals coursing through her body. The third and last was the most invasive and the most difficult to watch her heal from. She was surgically cut straight down the middle of her abdomen so doctors could open her up to repair a hole that had worn through her colon- a side effect of the chemo.  The medical center treating Ashley is also a teaching hospital which means the surgical area has a viewing bay. My brother stood over his baby girl, helplessly watching afar as doctors work to repair her from the inside. Did I mention she was only a toddler?

I get this is totally graphic. I get that some of you may stop reading right here. Please don’t. On the eve of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it is important for you to know the truth of what life looks like for kids with cancer. From newborns to teenagers a child is diagnosed with Cancer every two minutes. Every single one of them will have a different experience. Maybe they won’t need extra surgeries, or need to learn how to walk again, or fall behind their classmates at school. Maybe their journey will be easier, or maybe it will be worse. The one thing they will all have in common is that the powerful chemo killing their cancer will also cause them to lose their hair.

Before we even knew about St. Baldrick’s my brother decided to shave his head when Ashley lost all of her hair. It was an act of loving solidarity. She wouldn’t have to be the only one bald, they could be bald together. Today, my family fully supports the brave ones who shave their heads to raise money, awareness and support for kids with cancer.

The U.S. government designates less than 4% of funds toward researching a cure for childhood cancer. And pharmaceutical companies designate even less, because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable. As a result seven children a day die from cancer. It happens every single day you wake up. St. Baldrick’s is one of the few Pediatric Cancer fundraising organizations where proceeds are streamlined directly to research teams. They raise millions of dollars each year to help find a cure for pediatric cancer, and less invasive treatment options.

How do they raise millions? Their unique platform is simply signing people up to “Brave the Shave.” People create a team, and ask donors to sponsor them at a head shaving event. They show up in firehouses, gymnasiums, rec centers, schools and VFW halls across the country to brave the shave together with other shavees. It takes a lot of courage to choose to lose your hair. Kids with cancer don’t get a choice.

How do they spend those millions? St. Baldrick’s provides grants to fund every stage of research, from ideas in the lab, to clinical trials to fellowships. Eighty percent of children treated for cancer stand a greater chance of side effects that follow them for life. While much of the research is focused on a cure, it is also focused on preventing lifelong damage caused by chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation.  Through collaborative efforts, St. Baldrick’s supports the next generation of oncologists, helps children not just survive, but thrive; and funds necessary research.

How can you help? Find a local event near you. Just go and be inspired. If you are not ready to brave the shave donate to someone who is. Create a shave event in your hometown, volunteer your time and talents as a barber, or just help spread the word. St. Baldrick’s makes it super easy to get started and provides you with all the marketing an organizational materials needed for success.

Why is St. Baldrick’s so important to my family? Because in the 1950’s every child diagnosed with cancer died. Today 90% of children diagnosed with the most common cancers, like Ashley’s Leukemia, will survive. St. Baldrick’s is leading the way in researching cures for childhood cancer. In 2016, St. Baldrick’s funded research that developed the third (in existence) FDA approved drug treatment for pediatric cancer. It is the first drug treatment breakthrough in twenty years and it will help treat children with high-risk neuroblastoma. Every time someone donates a dollar to St. Baldrick’s, or braves the shave in support, we are confident the money is being spent wisely and with finding a cure is at the forefront.

Brave the Shave at St. Baldrick's

My niece Ashley is now a 14 year cancer survivor. She has worked hard to overcome the lingering effects of her cancer treatments. Most impressively, she has raised thousands of dollars in her young life to provide comfort and care, and to fund a cure for other kids living with cancer. In March 2016, Ashley braved the shave herself, just before her prom and graduation. She willingly gave up what most girls struggle to, her golden curly locks of hair. Her boyfriend, friends and family shaved right alongside of her in solidarity and together contributed over $2,000 to pediatric cancer research.

St. Baldrick’s will forever be a part of our lives. We believe in giving other cancer kids a fighting chance and a chance to survive.

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.

This is not a sponsored post and no financial compensation was received. I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and would love for you to share this post with as many friends and family as you can! Use #gogold to help kick off Childhood Cancer Awareness month and spread awareness about Childhood Cancer. 

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Friday Favorites: Three Sisters Herbals

3 sisters collage

This week I am introducing you all to one of my family’s favorites, Three Sisters Herbals. These handcrafted organic products are made right here in the USA (Hyde Park, NY), are eco-friendly and can be customized to accommodate particular sensitivities. There are vegan and animal friendly products too. Yep, you can even use most of these products on the family pet. High quality organic products, handcrafted in small batches, at an affordable price is the trifecta of sustainability.

Kim Mule created Three Sisters Herbals salves and tinctures for family use and with family budgets in mind. Many of her products are multi-use and can easily extend to the family pet. Talk about economical! It all began with a DIY salve kit and Kim’s passions were lit. After the birth of her third child she knew her next “baby” would arrive at the birth of her business. Kim combines her passions for herbal remedies and a natural lifestyle with her degree in Graphic Design to make life as a mom work for her. She works from her home studio so she can be available when her kids get off the bus. And, she provides great products that work for other families.

Here are my family’s personal favorites:

Three Sisters Herbal Magic Salve

You can never ever, ever have too much Magic Salve! In fact, here are 25 different ways to use it! We have used it for diaper rash treatment, and to prevent diaper rash when our girls were babies. Now we use it for cuts, scrapes and minor burns. Use this to treat under eye puffiness and you might agree that there is literally magic in this container! You can even use it on dry cracked lips. If you happen to be a pet owner you can apply this to your furry loves little feet too! The salve moisturizes, heals and soothes skin without chemicals, perfumes or petroleum. It is also handcrafted with organic herbs and safe to use on all skin types. Through the month of August get an extra 20% off with the Magic Salve stock up sale!

Three Sisters Herbal Hand Sanitizer

Kim gave me a bottle of Hand Sanitizer to sample for this review. It is crafted with a natural base of Aloe Vera Gel, and the Four Thieves blend has been proven to ward off germs, flues and viruses.  I have tried mixing my own hand sanitizer and it doesn’t feel like enough. This non-sticky formula isn’t overpowering to the senses and you only need a few drops.  I carry this in our car to apply to our hands after a day at the park, the library, a trip to the store or other places kids climb all over and sneeze on. This is my new favorite!

Three Sisters Herbal Bug Away

Bug Away is an absolute summer must have. Actually we use it spring through fall to ward off the ticks. We live in an area overrun with ticks and Lyme disease. We recently had a couple of tick invasions in our own yard. This natural hand crafted organic blend of essential oils is effective on ticks, mosquitoes and flies. It is safe enough to use on babies, children and even dogs and farm animals. I like that it is Deet free and it is does not irritate my kids skin. We spray directly on our skin and clothes when we are playing in the yard or at the park; and on our back packs and shoes before going on a hike. This is also available in a lotion stick which is great to use on toddlers.

I love Kim’s mission to provide healthy, family safe products, and I also love the meaning behind the name. Kim chose the name Three Sisters Herbal in honor of the bond her mother had with her two sisters. It represents the power to uplift through love and respect. As a mom advocating for love and respect among the mom community, this philosophy epitomizes my own mission. Three Sisters Herbals products are healthy and effective too, which seems like a perfect fit for my family.

Stop by threesistersherbals.com to order, or check out the other products Kim offers. You can also find Three Sisters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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.

No financial compensation was received for this review. Promotional products provided by Three Sisters Herbals for testing in exchange for review. All opinions are genuine and solely belong to The Whatever Mom.

 

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Friday Favorites – My New Breakfast Routine

Breakfast Just Got Easier

Oh boy do I hate breakfast. It’s not that I don’t like eating breakfast; it’s just that I have two picky eaters who protest everything I make. The amount of time it takes me to cater to their morning desires and get them to actually eat, I have very little time left to make my own nutritious breakfast. With school starting in just a few weeks I am already worried about making sure everyone has enough time to eat a healthy breakfast before the bus arrives. Including me!

I have some crazy food sensitivities so now I have to watch everything I eat. I often make all my food from scratch (not requesting any medals here moms. I’d quickly give up having to grill my own chicken for a fast food chicken sandwich any night). Not being able to eat gluten, dairy, soy and eggs makes breakfast a big challenge for me. I have the best luck with whole food smoothies, but oh man that takes a bit more time than I have in the morning. Yes, I can prep ahead at night for the entire week, but that is another to-do on my already lengthy list. What I need is simple, quick, easy and nutritious.

When Kathy from Kick Ass Healthy Moms contacted me directly to sample some gluten free, dairy, soy and egg free products I was super excited to give them a try! It is everything I am looking for- fiber, protein, vitamins, free from my trigger allergens and very convenient to use. There is very little prep time involved which is key for me!

isalean shake

Kathy and I spoke over the phone for a quick no pressure consultation to discuss my dietary needs and my lifestyle. I joined her Facebook welcome group so I could meet other moms like me and get some tips about including healthy eating in my busy day. Together we came up with a plan to get a healthy breakfast and pump up my energy! We agreed to keep in touch via email. It was reassuring to have Kathy available at any time to ask questions.

I’m not big into weight loss shakes, but if that is your thing then trust me these products will work for you. I lost 8 lbs. in the first month by following the weight loss methods (and not a lot of exercise). I replaced two meals a day and ate two snacks. I love how low maintenance it makes my breakfast routine! I just rip open a packet and whirl in my drink blender with water and ice and I am done. I can drink it while I’m making breakfast for the kids.

isalean shake mix

Each shake packet carries 250 calories and is packed with over 20 grams of plant based protein and 8 grams of fiber. As much as I love my whole fruit and berry smoothies- these shake packs keep me feeling fuller for longer; which is exactly what I need to keep up with two busy kids. I also notice I have less sugar cravings (you know that gotta have afternoon treat). I plan to continue with the shakes simply because they are such a quick way to get a nutritious breakfast together for me in the morning. All the ingredients are non-gmo and there is nothing I can’t pronounce.

Isalean greens

Kathy also sent me the Greens powder. On its own it tastes…well, wild. As in I am eating from the wild. When I consulted with her about my disappointment in the taste she suggested adding a half a scoop to my morning shake. So much better!!! The point of the greens is to help supplement the amount of green veggies you get in a day. Adding into my morning shake gives me one veggie serving at the start of the day. On those days I am running around crazy and I forget to eat, or I don’t have enough time to plan, I am covered with my initial serving of greens. A friend of mine shares that she even puts it in her kids smoothies on the days they are especially picky about eating.

isalean supreme

This right here is my liquid gold and I love it! If I drink this one alone as a 1 oz. shot it is also has a potent taste. Pouring it over ice and adding cold water creates a slightly sweet green drink that I actually like. I savor this as my mid-morning treat. It is also a great way to ensure I am drinking enough water in my day.  (Something I am always working on).

Isalean supreme shot

The b-vitamins, herbal blend; juice and fruit extracts give an extra anti-oxidant boost as well a natural energy boost. There is no caffeine added to this, but I am telling you it gives me a better energy boost than a cup of coffee.  If I have a really draining day I drink a second around 3:00 p.m. to get me through the rest of our crazy day.

There were some other goodies included in my sample pack like the 5 hour energy shot full of b-vitamins. After drinking it I felt more awake and alert. My mental fog wasn’t as thick. I’m not saying that’s a cure for mommy brain, but I definitely noticed some of that lift. Kathy also shared some dark chocolate and Isalean bars that were so good!

After only a few days I had more energy to keep up. I felt more alert and less mental fog. And after two weeks I started to release weight and just felt good overall. I still really love eating whole foods, but the shakes, the greens and the Ionix Supreme are exactly what I need to supplement those difficult mornings with. As a mom I often neglect my own needs, like eating a meal, to satisfy the needs of my family. I don’t have to do that now!

 

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.

No financial compensation was made for this review. Promotional products provided with compliments by Kathy LaMarr and not Isagenix directly, in exchange for this review. All thoughts and honest opinions are solely my own. 

 

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