Tag: mom time

Taking The Night Off

 

Taking time for myself.

So I am coming at you surrounded by my favorite friends. My pillows. No one comforts me like they do, and I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with them.

I am typically in bed around midnight and up for the day by 6 am. I still cannot fit in everything I need to in a day. So as a result of never getting enough sleep, and resisting down time, the exhaustion has caught up with me. If you look closely you will see the extra baggage under each eye. You don’t get a matching set like that from sitting around the spa eating bon-bons. Those are like hard earned badges awarded after years of surviving never ending tantrums and fevers and bed wetting (the kids not me).

Normally I’d push myself hard to make the invisible blogging deadline I create for myself, but tonight, I am taking the night off. I am slathered head to toe with linaments and ointments that promise a restful night’s sleep. I have my cozy cup of tea and my over due library book I keep meaning to read. I am ready for some peace and quiet.

Until next week when I bring you something much wittier and with better spell check, I bid you adieu.

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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Moms, This Christmas Season Take a Day Off

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You may have noticed I missed my usual Friday Favorites post. I’ll save that post for later. Right now I want to tell you about my weekend.

I didn’t get to post anything on Friday because I was so rushed trying to make too many things happen. I wanted to surprise my kids with some special elves, I was finishing up a power point presentation and delivering collection boxes for Christmas cards for my card charity. Plus, I had the usual list of household demands to finish up. I was completely overwhelmed by baking cookies for my kids birthday (twins in two different classrooms = double the birthday treats), piecing together costumes for dress up day, meal planning, blog planning and figuring out who needed clean socks. Life.

I decided to take a day off. I needed to breathe.

My husband can’t read my mind and recognize when I’m on overload and my thoughts are spinning over and and over, obsessing about how to make it all work. I have to say out loud, “I need a day off.” I declared Sunday as my day. No cooking, cleaning, planning or prepping. I enjoyed doing things I like. I am a Christmas fool. I love, love, love everything about this season. But, having to plan things with the kids who just (by nature) complain, or melt down, or cry because our activity didn’t meet their expectations really makes my holiday feel a less joyful.

Instead of shoving everyone into winter coats and mittens and loading into the car to go caroling at a local nursing home, I went by myself. I love to sing carols and be among the sea of voices bringing cheer to life. Last year it was a debacle with kids crying because it was too loud, it was too crowded. They were fighting over the instruments and every half hour one or both of them needed to use the bathroom. This year was fabulous. I got to hold cute babies who were excited to see me. I finished entire songs and most importantly I got to feel recharged by joy. It was wonderful!

After caroling I stopped by Starbucks to grab a peppermint hot chocolate and a Christmas cookie. Oh. My. Word. Do these things just taste so much better without a kid climbing on me, or screaming in my ear?!! YES! I love sharing cookies and cocoa with my kids, but it is hard to enjoy all of it when it is a chore to get through.

My day ended with an aerial yoga class and dinner with my dear friend (and now famous) Erica. Spending time doing something fun with a friend and talking about life, not just mom life, was exactly what I needed. Taking time to relax in a hectically paced season helps me appreciate the small moments that happen in a day. The sweetness of a cookie, the warmth of cocoa and the light of friendship. Not to mention all the laughter while trying to get myself into a hanging yoga position. All joy filled things to help me slow down and cherish life one moment at a time.

So if you are stressing out about how to get everything done right now, press the pause button. Take time to recharge. Take the day off and spend it the way you want to, or ask a friend to watch the kids while you grab a coffee and walk through the most expensive stores with the most fragile, beautiful things. I promise everything will be waiting for you when you get back! The earth will still be spinning if you don’t finish your to-do list. If you are a new mom, take time. If you are a seasoned mom, take time. You are worth it!

How do you find joy for yourself during the holiday (rush) season?

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.

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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.

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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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My Night Away In Lake George

Mom Spends One Night Away Everyone Survived

Last week my friend Dianna and I got the chance to take a moms only over night trip to Lake George. It was so much fun! Dianna and I have known each other for 20-years. We’ve gone away together for spring break, made it through the heartache of boys, watched each other get married and now we get to witness each other’s journey through motherhood. We get so busy with life that it was so great to get some time to reconnect!

I want to share with you all the fun things we did, but I also want to share with you that going away by yourself is a wonderful thing. I didn’t want to leave my babies behind, but I wanted to get a break from the constant care and routine. Being a stay at home mom running the household and spending 24/7 with the kids IS my job. When my husband takes a vacation he gets to leave his work tasks behind for a week. I just wanted one day.

A one night stay not too far from home was just what I needed to recharge. I came back feeling like a more patient and replenished mom than when I left. Plus dad’s need time to connect with the kiddos too! I get the kids to myself all the time, he deserves to have them all to himself too. Now, I feel like he understands a little better why I am so stressed most of the time. If you’ve ever wanted to make a quick get away but were afraid to leave the kids with hubby- your kids will be fine! So will hubby!

After I realized how much my kids and my husband get out of this situation too, I felt more at ease taking some time for myself. I enjoyed every minute of shopping in the outlets and taking my time trying things on! No one was tugging at my shirt screaming, “mama! mama! mama!” or jumping out of a cart. I even walked through a candy store at a leisurely pace without having to drag a disappointed, tantruming child away. It was simply relaxing.

Now To The Fun Stuff

After we spent time shopping at the Lake George Outlets, we grabbed a late lunch in nearby Queensbury at the Recovery Room Sports Grill. Thankfully my friend was driving so I could enjoy a mid-afternoon cocktail. The food was really good. I discovered later that kids eat for $2.99 all day every day. We will have to remember this on our next trip back to the area.

Out in Lake George

After lunch we checked into our hotel room. Well, it was actually a motel room and a very run down one at that. We stayed at the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center. We were situated in the motel area of the property instead of the main building. Our room appeared clean, but really run down. Call me crazy but, I expect when I pay money to stay someplace the towels they provide should not be threadbare. I had to search through the pile to find one that was acceptable. The rest of the property seemed well maintained and I may return for one more try because it is a great location, but only if we can get a room in the main hotel.

Once we were all checked in and got ourselves all dolled up, we took the short walk through town to the Adirondack Winery where they treated us to a premium wine tasting. We enjoyed a “slate plate” showcasing local cheese, jellies, crackers and chocolates. We enjoyed seven samples of wine, plus a dessert wine and a full sized wine slushy. I was left wondering where this cocktail has been all my life. Thankfully they sell the slushy mix in-store, along with full sizes of the other treats we sampled. The staff was so wonderfully friendly and knowledgeable about each wine and the source of each local taste. It was a really great start to our night!

Adirondack Winery

The night was still young so we decided to catch some live music and hit the dance floor. There were several places with live bands and DJs. Since it was an off season weekend, most of the places were filled with locals rather than the litany of tourists. We found some place that was fun and vibrant. Even though I was surrounded by college kids half my age, it was still nice to bust a move. Yes, I still got it!

I think a once a year getaway will be a really great way for us to reconnect as friends. We are moms now but we have a deeper history than just motherhood. It’s nice to laugh at all the crazy things we’ve done and catch up on where we are now.

Here are a few tips on planning your own moms only getaway:

We took advantage of a Groupon deal during an off season weekend. This made it affordable for us to stay.

Decide ahead of time the purpose of your stay. Are you looking for adventure? Are you looking to chill by the bar, take in a show or just spend time in the room? Making sure everyone is on the same page ensures no one leaves disappointed.

Bring hotel snacks! It doesn’t have to be fancy, or it can be really fancy. I traveled with someone once who thought sushi and wine are perfectly acceptable tailgate foods. Decide between friends who is bringing what. It could be really indulgent chocolate, or cupcakes and wine.

Take as many photos as you can. It is a lot of fun to look back on your time together.

Don’t feel guilty leaving your husband solo for a night. He is your co-parent after all. Expect that the house WILL be giant mess when you return, or that he will NOT do things exactly as you will. But everyone is going to survive!

Find out what is in the area to see and do. I found the Adirondack Winery on a Pinterest post which lead me to their website. I set up the tasting from there.

Leave a list for hubby. I left behind a list of names and numbers hubby could call for questions, or back up if necessary. This eased both of our worries. Thankfully, he didn’t need the list and he had a great time with the kids!

If going away over night seems like too much don’t feel bad. Until now I only ever dreamed about taking a night for myself. But scheduling time to connect, even over a cup of coffee, is a great way to strengthen your friendships and nurture who you are as a person, not just who you are as a mom. Whether you work outside of the home, work from home or stay home with the kids you deserve some guilt free time to yourself.

Where would you go if you had just one night away from the house and kids?

Promotional 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.

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Friday Favorites – Leslie Sansone Walking Work Outs

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This post does not contain any affiliate links and no financial compensation given. All opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

After taking that really fun Aerial Yoga class a couple of weeks ago, I feel like I need to get back in the game with taking better care of myself through exercise. As a busy mom working from home and managing the household I tend to prioritize myself last. I keep trying to fit exercise in but then I find a reason to let life get ahead of me. Life has been a little crazy with twins and working from home by myself. Now, it is just time to say I’m worth all the time it takes to keep me healthy.

My mom sent me this walking DVD years ago when I complained about how hard it was to get my daily walks in, in between feeding two babies and their nap time schedules. Even though there is day care available at my gym, I wasn’t feeling very confident about leaving two little babies in someone else’s care just so I could spend 30 minutes on myself. But, this walk at home program did the trick during nap times and rainy days!

Walking With Leslie Sansone

 

I can’t find this awesome DVD anywhere in my house. Who knows where it is. Just when I gave up searching for it, I remembered there is YouTube! (Duh) I did a quick search and there she is! My faithful friend Leslie! Her walks are mixed in with some added aerobic movements so it feels like an actual work out and not just walking in place.

The last few weeks I have pulled up Leslie’s walking videos first thing in the morning. It isn’t the same as the walks I enjoyed outside in the morning before kids. I do have a treadmill, but that gets super boring for me. I miss taking classes at the gym, so for me these videos motivate me with the music and energy early in the morning! Plus, I get my 30 minutes of me time checked off before my kids wake up!

Walking With Leslie Sansone

My goal is to get back to feeling healthy again and finding more energy to keep up with my super active kids. If the happy side effect is weight loss that’s great! I just really miss that feeling of an aerobic rush. Before I was addicted to coffee, I was addicted to aerobics! I like being active and I am not a big fan of feeling like a slug.

Now that my girls are old enough for the kid’s room at the gym I can finally get there each week! They really love it because they have friends there. My plan now is to keep up with my morning “walks” and get to the gym as often as I can. If I miss a day at the gym I won’t feel so guilty because I already have a work out in!

Leslie’s videos are less than $15 per DVD, or free on YouTube. Her work outs are supported by the American Heart Association which recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day for heart health.

What are you favorite ways to get exercise outside of the gym?

 

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!

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Spring Clean Your Look

Anyone else hear about this new fad called “spring cleaning?” It’s where you clean stuff simply because the season has changed?  It’s all the rage in my house right now. We are pulling apart closets and cleaning in corners we didn’t even know we had. It all started because I was tired of my ugly wardrobe. I don’t know about you but I am kind of over selecting outfits based on their ability to camouflage snot stains and glitter.

Before kids if something didn’t fit I would just go buy something new. I didn’t worry about labels like, “machine washable,” or “dry clean only.”  I had plenty of stylish clothing to wear to work, out with friends and while lounging at home. Now, I can barely tell those outfits apart. So, I decided to spring clean my wardrobe.

I started by thinning out the clothes I could no longer wear based on size, location of stains and tatters. This left me with a sparse amount to work with, but I’m a creative mom! I can make toddlers believe terrible things will happen if they don’t eat their peas!

Next, I coordinated a few outfits to have at the ready for moments beyond the standard issue mom uniform (t-shirt, jeans and sneakers).  I waste so much time over thinking and rethinking an outfit before leaving the house. Having outfits I can just grab and go saves me from all that!

 

My sparse, but clean ensembles
My sparse, but clean ensembles

I layered accessories right on the hanger so I have a complete outfit.

Hang coordinated belts, scarves and necklaces with outfit
Hang coordinated belts, scarves and necklaces with outfit

When I finished, I realized my makeup bag could use a little rehab. I have some “vintage” pieces in there it was time to let go of.  I don’t have a lot of time for make-up, but there are days I want a casual look. My new dash out the door (can’t tell I didn’t sleep a wink) look consists of a tinted moisturizer with an SPF, cream eye shadow I smear on with my finger, mascara and lip balm. Kiss My Face Lip TreatMint is  the only lip balm I wear ever ! Feels great and the SPF covers me for play dates at the park!

Streamlined make up routine
Streamlined make up routine

After I cleaned everything up I realized my nails looked shabby too. It seems the mani/pedi is the first thing to get the boot when moms go on a budget. A friend of mine shared her secret for a one minute manicure- press on nails. I know sounds really tacky (no pun intended). But, not only did my husband think I spent big bucks on a manicure, I also got a lot of compliments from friends and strangers. These are great for date night, mom’s night, grocery shopping, or whatever. I don’t have to find time to get out to the salon. No dry time! No smudging!

Instant manicure- no baby sitter required!
Instant manicure- no baby sitter required!

Three and a half years into the mom gig and I realize how easy it is to get sucked into a wardrobe rut. It’s sad how little I’ve invested in my appearance due to time and feeling overwhelmed. Now I have a simple, clean wardrobe to select from and I gain a few extra minutes in my day with a simplified routine.

What does your mom routine look like? What are some tips for keeping your wardrobe current?

 

 

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