Tag: #momlife

5 Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Last week I shared in my newsletter how hard it is for me to keep up when I get sick. Life gets a little derailed and the timeline of our week is tossed around like a jumbled pile of fall leaves. In my house I am the keeper of all of the details and manage everyone’s schedule. So when I need to take time out for myself to heal up and rest, things come to a halt. I can delegate tasks from my bed, but that’s not really restful now is it? My husband gets sick and stays in his room without a peep. If I get sick it’s a million questions about where things go and what foods can everyone eat for snacks.

So my plan is to just not get sick, ever. Maybe that plan is not entirely realistic, but I can do my best to keep colds and viruses from taking over. And when I do get sick, I can give myself permission to rest when I need to.

Top 5 things you need to do to stay healthy this flu season:

1. Wash your hands! Teach kids to wash their hands when ever you return to the house. As soon as they come home from school, a birthday party, or just shopping, everyone must wash their hands. 

2. Remove your shoes! Think about where your shoes go in a day. At some point you are walking through a public bathroom and not everyone is an “expert marksman” if you know what I mean. Bacteria or viruses that stay on the floor travel home with you. Take your shoes off and leave them at the front door. 

3. Change your clothes! Kids are gross. They never look before they sit and don’t seem to mind wiping things on their clothes. Put their school outfit right in the wash in exchange for a clean outfit. It might make extra laundry each week, but worth it when that laundry isn’t due to a 2:00 a.m. vomit session. I also change my clothes when I’ve been in a doctors office or emergent care.

4. Toss the lunchbox left overs! I know, it isn’t a frugal idea to toss the leftovers from the lunch you lovingly packed for your child. But most cafeterias do not have circulating air, so when the kid next to your kid sneezes at the table it’s most likely to land in their lunch. If the food isn’t sealed, it gets tossed.

5. Disinfect the lunch box! Get a small spray bottle of peroxide at the dollar store. Use it to spray the inside of your kids lunch bag and then wipe it clean before putting it away. You can also run your child’s soft lunch box through the washer set on the gentle cycle once or twice per month.

I work from home so I am not exposed to all the germs my kids are. They are like little germ mules carrying bugs through the borders of our home. I can’t escape colds entirely and I get that we need to get sick now and then. But, most of the time moms do not have time to spare to heal from sickness. So by making sure my family and I are following healthy habits it helps block the amount of germs we bring into our house.

Sharing is Caring:
error

Parenting in Survival Mode

My husband traveled every week for the entire month of September and it sucked. It felt like he was home for a day or two with just enough time to unpack before repacking and leaving again. That left me to manage my kids, the house, the chores, the lunch packing, my blog and gave me zero time to take care of myself. Let me tell you, working from home isn’t easy when you’ve got last nights dinner dishes calling you from across the house. And of course it doesn’t feel like I’m winning mom of the year when I forget to pack an extra snack for my daughter’s long bus ride home. Ooops!

Chaos coordinator reporting for duty! When I am left alone to hold down the fort, I go completely into survival mode. Every parent knows survival mode. It’s what gets us through those lengthy stretches of teething and middle of the night vomit. There is nothing glamorous about survival mode.

For the first three years (or four – it’s kind of a blur) after my twins were born, I lived in survival mode. I mostly remember my husband working 17-19 hours per day while I was home alone with two infants and not a single extra helping hand. I cried a lot because I was so exhausted and in constant management mode. I actually made an appointment with a neurologist because I was convinced the exhaustion and dizziness were signs something bigger was wrong. She simply looked at me and said, you’re perfectly fine. You just need more help. And that’s when I realized perfection cannot exist in survival mode. I was trying too hard to make every piece of the puzzle fit perfectly and it was only hurting me in the end. Those early years really taught me how to live life with the bare minimum and that even the hardest days will pass. 

Thankfully, my husband doesn’t travel often and today he only works around 9 hours a day, but there are times those survival skills come in handy! It’s what gets us through a rough week, kid sickness or when things go a little off kilter. It’s good to have those skills, but survival isn’t a place you want to live in for too long. Believe me, there isn’t much joy in it.

I know there are plenty of you out there doing this gig solo every day. Whether you are divorced, widowed or maybe your spouse travels routinely for work. No matter what the reason, carrying the parenting load all alone is incredibly exhausting. My hat goes off to you! I’m sure you are familiar with survival mode, but I hope you are finding the support you need!

It has been a chaotic month for sure. It is also amazing how quickly I can slide right into trading perfection for whatever works. If I slow down and focus on each moment as it comes and not think too far ahead (and extend myself a little grace), I find it easier to survive when the wheels fall off the track.

How are you surviving this week?

Tips if your spouse travels for work:

If you know your spouse is traveling, prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Start by writing a simple menu for the week so you aren’t caught off guard at dinner time.

Use paper plates to eliminate the big clean up.

Line up the help you need – a cleaning lady at the end of the week, or a baby sitter during the week so you can run errands or grocery shop kid free. Order your groceries online and pick up at the store to save time.

Being out numbered by picky eaters and time, I try to keep dinner super simple. I will sometimes call a DIY sandwich night and round everyone up for a picnic on the living room floor, or I might put out a picky platter like this and let everyone chose what they want.

Use your calendar and sticky notes to keep you on task. I try to look at my calendar each night and make a list for the next day of the most important things I need to accomplish (lunches, phone calls, emails, etc). I write my list on a sticky note and I leave the note on my kitchen counter to review again in the morning.

Lower your expectations. Do not expect to fit everything into one day, or make all the ends meet. Your perfect plan will be destroyed by kids with a stomach bug, or a sudden school event you forgot about. Just keep things basic and aim for survival until help returns.

If you want to see what’s happening on the blog before I hit publish, or get a sneak peak at discounts, reviews and giveaways before they hit my social media – sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter (it only publishes two Mondays a month!).

Sharing is Caring:
error

Moms, We’re All Running the Same Race

Last week I shared in my weekly newsletter that I was joining a 5K to support a local charity. Well I did it! I drove an hour to walk 3.26 miles in 47 minutes before I drove back home. It was a great morning adventure that gave me time inside my own head to ponder life. I have to say once those endorphins kicked in, it was pretty hard to feel stressed.

The funny thing is, I did zero training for this. I think I walked almost 3 miles like a month ago when I went live from the trail, but really, I had no idea what to expect. I simply slapped on my walking shoes, grabbed a bottle of water and took off when they said start.  I have to say I am really proud that this middle aged mom bod got me through. I have friends that spend months preparing for a 5K race and I literally just showed up and my body did not fail me. Woot! So much for having to count calories and macros. Clearly a steady diet of kid leftovers and bubbly cocktails is all you need to get through race day!

I woke up so early and just jumped on the road before I even had a drop of coffee. I am glad I just made it to the right event. But here is what came to me during my walk (because I certainly wasn’t going to do any running): We’re all running (or walking) the same race. OK, motherhood isn’t an actual race. No one is getting to the finish line in record speed. And certainly no one is getting a big shiny trophy. But we are all running toward the same goal – raising healthy human beings.

A sunny start to my first 5K!

I spent the entire race walking behind a woman pushing her teenage daughter with different abilities, in a push chair. She had two other team mates along side of her keeping her pace. Here’s what I found so incredible about her, she never stopped. Not once. Not even when it got tough getting up the hill. She didn’t break her pace either. Her partners slowed down to walk briskly by her side, but she didn’t stop. We were “running” the same race but having two different experiences. Much like motherhood.

While motherhood itself isn’t a race there are times when we feel outpaced by other moms whose journey’s seem more graceful than ours. Or maybe we are the mom ahead of someone else on the track and can look behind us with wisdom about the trail she is about to take. 

Even though I was not there to compete, it was hard NOT to compare my race to all the other experienced racers. They seemed so prepared. But I kept reminding myself it’s OK to stay in my own lane and keep going at my own pace. I’m not running this race for anyone else except myself. And that’s all I can do as a mom too- keep a steady pace in my own lane and not compare our journeys. 

So moms (and dads) keep running your own race. No one is built for it better than you! Even if you don’t have any training, haven’t slept in years, or you’re living solely on tears and cracker crumbs trust that you are right where you are meant to be – raising those dirty, sticky little humans. (Sorry that’s standard issue for everyone in this race).

Seconds before I hit the finish line and closed the book on my first 5K!

After committing to a race I had no intention of winning and spending zero time training for it, things turned out pretty good. It just reinforced how far I’ve come in letting go of making things perfect. I wasn’t there to make perfect time. I was there to enjoy the journey along with other like minded people. (Much like my time with you!).

Don’t forget to stop by my Facebook page to sign up for your own weekly-ish newsletter from me! I share updates, wisdom, support and parenting positivity directly to your inbox before I share it anywhere else.

If you need more support and rah-rah feel free to join my Circle of Moms community on Facebook where I share my most uplifting and real stories.

Sharing is Caring:
error

Why I Like to Spend Time Alone

I took a walk all by myself today, literally over the river and through woods. It was glorious!

I rarely get time to myself, but this week my husband is on vacation. It means I am on vacation too.   I know, I know “but he works!” Well, so do I. I work from home as a freelance writer while making sandwiches and packing two kids for a day at the beach. He works only one job at a time, albeit stressful he isn’t managing meltdowns while trying to look professional to a client. We both deserve a break. But while he is working 70 hours a week, I am covering all the childcare needs while simultaneously running a business. I’m not kidding when I say, if I go down no one knows how to the food gets in the house or when the toilets get cleaned. It’s all courtesy of moi!

I walked 1.28 miles one way without pushing a stroller or with any kids hanging on me!

Today, I chose to visit one of my favorite walking trails because it is quiet and has such beautiful views of the Hudson River. I’ve only ever walked this trail with my kids, so it felt strange not pushing a stroller or pulling a heavy wagon full of screaming kids. I made pretty good time walking nearly three miles. I had my favorite music pushing me on and no one to talk too. The silence was golden.  

No answering questions about sea creatures.

No organizing lunches.

No packing up a swim bag.

No blowing up pool toys.

No slathering sunscreen and carrying an armful of towels to the pool.

It was a glorious start to my vacation!

This is the first break for myself I’ve had all summer. My kids and I have been tethered since their last day of school. It’s OK, I love them. But as a work from home/stay at home mom the daily tasks of motherhood can become the weekly grind. It’s almost cliché to call my job as a mom exhausting. Everyone knows how tired we are because we can’t stop telling everyone we are tired.

View from 212 feet in the air walking over a converted train bridge.

Taking a walk while you’re that kind of exhausted sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s exactly what I needed! To roam freely, unattached to a to-do list, or locked into mealtime demands. Listening to my own thoughts without interruptions helps me declutter things that are bugging me. Do I really need to hold on to that friend if she clearly let me go? How about cleaning out some of this guilt about letting my kids eat so many hot dogs? Being alone allows me to regroup a little and feel lighter. It’s like therapy.

Are you someone that likes to be alone in your head? Or do you enjoy escaping from the mom demands with friends? Leave me a comment below, or feel free to join the conversation on Facebook! 😊

Roxanne Ferber is a freelance writer and owner of The Whatever Mom blog. Nearly nine years on the coffee wagon and she still doesn’t have enough energy to keep up with her twins. But she is a survivor and she’s gonna make it; even if she has to white knuckle it through each day until her kids graduate. Follow her on FacebookTwitter or Insta.

Sharing is Caring:
error

JORD Wood Watch Review and Giveaway!

I have partnered with JORD Wood Watches to provide this review. All my thoughts about this Cassia are uniquely my own.

wood watch with clock face
Cassia walnut and rose gold watch from JORD Wood Watches.

Lately I feel like I have become complacent with my no-frills wardrobe and accessories. I wear pretty much the same thing every day because it’s easy.  That has been the extent of my fashion choices for nearly a decade because that’s what works as a busy mom to young kids. Now that my kids are older and can do more for themselves, I have time to put effort into what I wear.

This summer, I am committed to purchasing sustainable, quality pieces that will last a long time. Whatever I buy must be something I love and leave no lasting trace in our environment. When Jord watches invited me to partner with them to showcase their wood watches, I dug a little deeper to learn more. The biggest draw to Jord wood watches is their sustainability

Jord watches (pronounced YODE) are made from reclaimed materials and yet so glamorous. I selected the Cassia watch made from walnut wood and rose gold for its classic features and gorgeous color combo. Rose gold is very popular right now and I am smitten with its mild tone against the warm dark color of the walnut. According to Jord’s website, the wood used in their watches is naturally sourced and supplied largely from reclaimed pieces. There is no use of toxic chemicals to treat or maintain the wood. So, after decades of use and care this watch will still be here, and in its end of life the elements can be recycled.

After wearing my stunning new watch for two weeks I’ve discovered:

This gorgeous watch is a nice departure from the fitness tracker I typically wear. It’s a great way to zhush up my outfit while running errands in public, or when I’m sitting alone at the local café to get some work done.  Plus, it doesn’t buzz at me if I am sitting at my desk for too long or tether me to a digital device (my phone) to operate.

The size and profile of the watch fits into my mom life of chauffeuring kids, doing dishes, running errands, and tossing in a load of laundry. I don’t need to feel stylish during these moments, but it is nice that the watch fits seamlessly into my busy task list-oriented lifestyle.

I truly love how unique this watch is and that it creates conversations about my eco-friendly values. Taking care of my family and the earth doesn’t mean I have to give up on quality. A hand crafted, sustainably sourced watch is a great first step in designing my new classic go to style.

The price range for these gorgeous watches is $100-$300. I recognize this can be above a family budget and it is a splurge for moms to spend that much on themselves. I totally get it! It is rare that I personally buy something for myself. It is more likely that my family will treat me to something this sophisticated. But I only share products I use myself so I can give my authentic review. After wearing my Cassia for two weeks I can tell you this watch is an investment in sustainable luxury that you can wear in good conscience for years to come.

When I find a product I love, I want to make sure my readers can get in on the love too. I am grateful to Jord for giving away a CHANCE TO WIN $100 off a purchase of any watch in their collection! And, since you are all winners in my book, Jord is also giving every entrant a 10% gift code. Now there’s really no excuse not to treat yourself to something just for you! CLICK HERE FOR YOUR EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT!

#ad #modern #unique #jordwatches #thewhatevermom1

Roxanne Ferber is a freelance writer and owner of The Whatever Mom blog. Nearly nine years on the coffee wagon and she still doesn’t have enough energy to keep up with her twins. But she is a survivor and she’s gonna make it; even if she has to white knuckle it through every day until her kids graduate. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Insta.

Sharing is Caring:
error

Self Care Happens While Driving 60 Miles Per Hour

As your kids get older folks will tell you how much easier things get. There are less tantrums and physical demands than a toddler, or a new born. But what no one tells you is that life is just never easy with kids. Life will throw you curve balls and you may find your kids still tantruming at age 5 and you’re making calls to various doctors for answers. You might find yourself in the principals office for the very first time because your Kindergartner kicked over a chair at school. And even though you were never once in trouble ever in school, you’ll suddenly sweat bullets like you are the kid in the hot seat. Nothing is easy as a parent. There are just no simple hacks for getting through the day with a houseful of people people making demands of your time. In my world, it seems I have very little time to myself to enjoy anything. It can take grand efforts and tremendous planning just to get a little time alone to myself.

Fun fact, I started typing this blog at 6:00 a.m. this morning. Usually I like to write days, or weeks in advance, but life has been hectic. We have had appointments and started traveling for swim lessons. I am not a morning person AT ALL but 6:00 a.m. tends to be the only time of day I am not being asked 20 questions about why the dinosaurs “went extinct?” or “how many miles is it to the moon?” Those early morning hours are all mine to think groggy thoughts and count down to that first sip of coffee salvation. Then the day just spirals into chaotic motion from there. It could be hours, or days before I get back in front of my computer to type up a blog post for ya’ll. It is now 7:00 p.m. and I am praying I get this done before the kids bed time so I can veg out in front of the T.V. later.

So are you wondering how an over worked mom with zero extra hands finds a little “me time?” Well, first I am learning to drop the expectations for a perfect amount of time, or the perfect set up for relaxation. Instead of putting parameters on what is the perfect way to spend my time, I am learning to take what I can get whenever I can get it. Besides early mornings, I often steal away while the kids are playing to read an article on Facebook, or to read a few pages of a good book, or phone a friend. It’s nothing special, or huge, but it’s just a few minutes to plug into something else and I am learning to let that be enough.

The other evening I noticed my kindness wearing thin, so I told my husband I was going for a drive. What I really wanted was to run away to Mexico, change my name to Rosita and live on the beach. Instead I drove to the local gas station and filled up my gas tank. After that I had no idea what was next. Five minutes later, I found myself driving as far away from my home as I could get. I took very scenic twists and turns over the mountains. I turned up the music, opened the windows and let the wind mess up my hair. As I drove toward the sunset at 60 miles per hour I saw a rainbow up ahead. I took a deep breath and soaked in the final minutes of the sunset. I spent the next thirty minutes belting out a tune at the top of my lungs, then I decided to head back home. After an hour of doing just nothing productive I felt recharged. It was exactly what I needed to “get away” from the stress of being a mom that day.

Although my me time used to look like an hour long yoga class and shopping with friends, I find simple, small ways to just be alone invigorating now. These stolen moments driving fast and alone is what helped me unplug for a moment before heading back home. I’ve noticed when I unplug from the stress, everyone else in my family unplugs too. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

How do you find stolen moments of me time?

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

Sharing is Caring:
error

My Very First Podcast on Lose The Cape

I am so excited to share my very first pod cast with all of you! Not only because it was so much fun to record, but I have been a fan of the Lose The Cape blog for a long time! I interviewed with co-creator Alexa Bigwarfe who is a funny, busy mom to three kids. Alexa is also a published author, an advocate for women and families, AND we share a lot in common with our motherhood philosophy- there is no such thing as perfect!

Thank you Alexa for making this a really fun experience! I hope all of you enjoy listening as much I enjoyed recording this!

 

 

Feel free to comment below about the pod cast, or leave some tips on calming the chaos of a busy life!

 

 Alexa Bigwarfe is a freelance writer and author. Alexa co-authored the book “Lose the Cape: Realities from Busy Modern Moms and Strategies to Survive” (losethecape.com) published in Spring 2015. Her #losethecape philosophy as a mom is based on the idea that we are all doing the best that we can as moms, and should be encouraged in motherhood. She also edited and published a book for grieving mothers entitled “Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother” and has been published in several anthologies, including “The Mother of All Meltdowns,” and “The HerStories Project,” and “Mothering Through the Darkness.” She launched her writing with the the blog No Holding Back, as an outlet for her grief after the loss of one of her twin daughters to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). She can be followed on Facebook  and Twitter (@katbiggie).

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

Sharing is Caring:
error

I Fear My Kids Will Be Terrible People

I confess that I often feel like nothing I say has any significant impact on my kids. I can’t stop them from fighting and rough housing turns into shoving matches. I am always breaking them up and shouting a line from the movie, Rush Hour, “do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth?!”  I feel like I say the same things over and and over again. I am always lecturing my kids on how they need to grow up to be respectful, appreciative humans. I worry if they will ever get along and if they’ll ever learn to be kind.

On one particularly difficult morning of too much chaos I commanded the girls to get in the car. “Every body in, we’re going to the store!”

My daughter asks me, “Will Michael be there mama?”

“I don’t know we’ll have to look around when we get inside.”

“Oh I hope he’s here! He is SO funny!”

Michael is the man that we see every time we shop at our local club store. He is one of the employees that hands out food samples. Both of my daughters love to visit him during our shopping trips to get their free snacks and a good laugh. Michael has a quick wit and ease when talking to little kids. I think they enjoy how he talks directly to them and not just about them to me. I told my kids that Michael is my friend and someone I used to work with. I was also the maid of honor at his wedding and I even introduced him to his wife. Which is all true.

But what my daughters don’t know about Michael is that he is categorized as “Intellectually Impaired.” I met him during my last career as a case manager. I worked for the agency that provides him with services like job coaching and residential assistance. I was part of the staff that came to his home to help him pay his bills, balance his check book and made sure his needs were being taken care of. Michael and his wife are capable of living on their own with support, and together they are like any typical couple managing their apartment and caring for their small dog.

I have never shared with my girls Michael’s diagnosis because I don’t want that to be the first thing they think of when they see him. Right now they enjoy sharing jokes with him and asking him for samples. To them Michael is a funny guy and a good friend. Too often folks living in the “disabled” community are made to feel less than and struggle to fit in seamlessly with their peers. Society often sees people with disabilities as incapable of advocating for themselves, or having little power to sustain a productive life. I don’t believe those are true. Michael and his wife have certainly proven those ideas wrong. If I describe Micheal as disabled (I prefer the term differently-abled because everyone has abilities) I basically hand my children a distorted lens in which to view people. I want them to look at people through a singular lens that shows everyone as a human being.

We arrive at the store and my girls are delighted to find Michael at his station. (And I am delighted they finally stop bickering).

“Hi Michael!” They both shout in unison.

“Hey girls!!” he replied. “It’s so nice to see you here!”

Today’s samples are snack bars. He hands them the little cups and asks how they like school, and they share with him the newest set of knock-knock jokes they just memorized. He laughs a very genuine laugh and reminds them to listen to their parents. Nothing about this interaction is “special.” We talk to Michael the same way we do any of our friends. In a world where people receive praise for showing kindness to persons with a disability, my children get no recognition. I ask them if the are happy to see Michael today and thank them for remembering their manners. As they say goodbye to their friend I realize my children will grow up to be OK. My kids are kind and they are genuine.

My girls still knock each other down and argue over petty things. At age six they are not good listeners, or follow directions. But they are doers, and one day they will grow up to do ordinary things. Like treat (other) people equally and with respect.

 

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

 

 

Sharing is Caring:
error

Moms, This Christmas Season Take a Day Off

www-thewhatevermom-com-2

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 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

Sharing is Caring:
error

I Need You To Know You Are Loved. Always.

you-are-loved-always

When I first began writing this blog two years ago I was still in the throws of learning how to be a mom. I thought sharing the messier parts of our lives would show other moms I wasn’t just another pretty blog. My target mom was (and still is) the one just like me: lonely, afraid and in need of a good friend.

Today’s post (is late because life gets crazy) is written by my good friend Dawn. We met each other as new moms just walking aimlessly around our neighborhood; both pushing our strollers lap after lap trying to find solace. I was trying to make sense of my life as a twin mom and she was trying to process the loss of her mother.

My blog has changed a lot in the last couple of years. New designs, better photos, and I think better writing. What is the same is that I hope my words serve as a beacon for other moms who need to feel connected, and that they can think of me as a friend. I am so grateful to Dawn for sharing this story with us, and for allowing me to find solace in our friendship.

line

I still remember the exact words my mother said to me when I told her I was going to have a baby. After an enormous gasp, she shouted into the phone “you better not be lying to me, little girl. You almost gave me a heart attack!” I laughed outwardly, the hyperbolic reaction of a soon to be grandma who had longed for a little one to love, but my insides turned cold.

See, my mom had already had a heart attack and a subsequent quadruple bypass. She had lived with diabetes for over 50 years, and the disease had taken her vision along with her mobility. Simply the passing, joking mention of another possible health disaster, one that could push her over the edge and take her away from me, was too much.

In spite of the fact that she lived four hours away, we talked every day. I rattled off my plans for my pregnancy – prenatal yoga, hypno-birthing classes. She listened to endless descriptions of my ideal birth, in water with no interventions, a soothing playlist to comfort me. Those idealized descriptions were so different from her own real life experiences, but she listened and encouraged and fantasized along with me.

And still, those fantasies were already so different than the ones I had had when I was younger, dreaming about what it would be like to become a mother. In those fantasies, my mom and dad, beaming grandparents, would babysit the precious bundle in my childhood home. My mother would hold my hand as I labored, my father would pat my husband on the back, soothing their joint nerves.

But these dreams were not to be. My father never met my husband because he had died less than a month after my sixteenth birthday. The childhood home was sold soon after, because my mom said it held too many memories before slipping into her own depression.

I allowed myself to indulge in adjusted fantasies, where my mom would come to stay with me and we would beam at the baby together, never mind that she could no longer drive. My heart quietly broke during one of our phone calls when she revealed her own fears, that her vision had diminished so much she would not be able to see the baby.

But! But! When the baby did arrive, my beautiful, sweet, wise, Leo Lennon, my mama moved hell and earth to get a ride here, to come to the hospital and meet her first grandson. She cried and cried, and told me how beautiful he was, and I believed that meant she could see some part of him.

And when she went back home, she never tired of my frantic phone calls. I remember calling her in a tizzy, wondering if it was okay to lie the baby on a blanket while I went to the bathroom so I could actually use the toilet. No matter that she wasn’t there to hold him, she listened, and loved so loudly through the phone and she was there. Always there. Even when I yelled, which I did frequently because I was exhausted since my baby never slept. Even when I told her that her advice was useless, since she had never breastfed a baby. She never got upset. She was always there, always loving, always supporting.

Six months later, though, she wasn’t. Diabetes had caused her organs to fail, and during a Christmas visit to see her grand-baby, she took her final breath.

My guilt about how I had treated her was paralyzing. I wanted to take back every harsh word that had filled the previous months, the previous years. I had squandered the greatest gift in the world by taking her for granted and not appreciating everything she was. The guilt was tangible, a thick wet ball sitting in my chest.

Her last hours showed me the biggest truth about motherhood, though, that none of it mattered. As she lay in a coma, I sat by her side and repeated “I love you” over and over again. She didn’t react at all, until finally I followed one of my repeated “I love you”s with “and I know you love me.” Her chest heaved, she let out a gasp, and her face twisted with what looked like tears. That’s all she cared about at the very end of her life – that I knew I was loved.

Becoming a mom confirmed for me that she was right. As I look at my two sons, my youngest not even conceived before she was gone, I know the only thing that matters ever is that they know they are loved. No matter what, no matter if I am angry or if they are, if they feel like they’ve let me down, if we disagree intensely on an issue, I need them to know none of it matters. They are always loved. Always.

dawn-bio-picDawn Green is an amazingly talented writer and teacher. When she isn’t writing she is hard at work raising two kick-ass kids and teaching them how to save the planet. 

Sharing is Caring:
error
error

Building a community one click at a time.