I often get asked how I do everything that I do, and the truth is that while it may seem like I do a lot, I have developed some pretty decent time management skills in the last few years. I like to produce, but I also like to be able to enjoy myself and my family. I have also learned that there are things I should put importance on, and there are others that I’m not really all that concerned about. Here are some of the things that I don’t do as a mother that allow me to seem like I “do it all.”
1. I don't do it all.
Whether it’s my husband, my parents, my in-laws, a babysitter, or housekeeper, I use the resources that are available to me so that I don’t get overwhelmed. It’s really easy to get caught up in saying, “I have to be the one to keep my house perfectly clean,” and “I have to be with the kids 24/7.” But in coming to the realization that I CANNOT physically do it all, I learned to ask for help. Sometimes that means it’s asking my husband to take care of dinner, or asking our parents to watch the kids so that I can go get some errands done.
2. I don't stress over what my kids eat.
I don’t really stress over what my kids eat. In the first year of life with both of my kids, I stressed over them consuming enough milk and gaining enough weight. But past that, I stopped stressing. Suer, I try to limit sugar, and I don’t give them sugary drinks at home, and I definitely try to push the healthier stuff, but I don’t stress it if they do or don’t have something. Some days that means that they snack and graze all day; other days that means that they have three really hearty well-balanced meals. And still other days, that looks like the drive-through of Pollo Tropical or some frozen meals heated up in the oven. I’ve come to understand the kids go through phases, and that not every day is going to be full of perfectly balanced nutritious meals. If Caleb wants microwaveable macaroni and cheese, then guess what? That’s what’s for dinner. If Chloe tosses her lunch on the floor and feeds it to the dog, then she might just be getting a pouch for lunch. And again, I’m not going to stress it. One of our friends, whose mom has three kids told us one time, “By the time they turn 18, they’ll have eaten a well-balanced diet.” So Eddie and I try to remember that whenever the kids are giving us a hard time over what we’re feeding them. At the end of the day, they’re just like us, and some days they might just not be hungry. Other days, they may really just want a certain kind of food, and that’s OK, too! They’re allowed to have likes and dislikes just like we do.
3. I don’t buy into the more is more mentality.
There are a lot of sources out there telling us that we need ALL THE THINGS for our kids. More toys, more clothes, more gadgets, more STUFF. But I have become a big believer in the fact that kids don’t need as many things as we think they do. For the most part, they’re happy with a couple of toys that they really like. The best thing for them is going outside, playing, using their imaginations, and being kids. I will not be on the hunt for the most popular toy this Christmas, because I know that is not what is going to make my kid happy. One perfect example was for Caleb’s birthday this year. We decided that since we were surprising him with the Disney Cruise, and his birthday is so close to Christmas, that we were going to forgo buying him a gift. The day of his birthday, I woke up with a little guilt that he had nothing to open. But you know what? He never asked for anything except for the waiters to sing him Happy Birthday. And the day we got off the ship, he THANKED us for taking him on the cruise.
4. I don’t let my coffee get cold.
I also get dressed every morning, and do my hair when I need to. I take care of myself, because I need to be able to take care of them. If that means that they are strapped into the high chair or watching TV for an extra five minutes in the morning so I can drink my coffee hot, then so be it. But I make the time in the morning to do that one thing for myself.
5. I don’t spend all day entertaining my kids.
I sit on the floor and play with Chloe for a little bit each day - time I dedicate just to her. Or I spend some time with Caleb outside or coloring or reading. But I’m a huge proponent of independent play. I want my kids to be able to entertain themselves and each other. They have a pretty free range of the main area of the house, and there are toys for them to play with, so there’s no reason why they should need to be entertained constantly. I’ve always got an eye or ear on them, but if I’m making dinner, or replying to e-mails, or folding laundry, you can bet that they are playing independently.
6. I don’t feel guilty about what I do or don’t do.
No explanation needed, no guilt. Sometimes I’ll have twinges of guilt over something, but for the most part, I don’t feel guilty about any of the above.
So there you go. Next time you find yourself wanting to ask, "How does she do it all?" Know that I really, truly don't. There are a lot of things I don't do, and that is what gives me the ability to do what I want to do. And always always always remember that social media can be deceiving! Anyone who looks like they do it all more than likely has a team/village/small army helping them appear that way!
Disclaimer: I won the Doona in a giveaway. All opinions, however, are my own!
A little over a year ago, I posted about how excited I was to use certain products. Well, after nearly a year of use, I can certainly say that the Doona was worth the hype. It has been the single most useful item we have had for Chloe.
If you’re not familiar with the Doona, it is a car seat that converts to a stroller. Instead of a travel system where you pop the infant seat into a stroller with an attachment, this is all one piece. The handle bar moves and extends, wheels pop out of the bottom part of the car seat, and it becomes a very handy stroller.
It’s safe, it’s convenient, it saves precious real estate in your trunk. Need I say more? Chloe just turned one and we are still using it. We actually JUST got a new lightweight stroller for her because I feel like she would enjoy sitting up more. But really, we could keep using it for a while and she would still be fine. As a matter of fact, the height limit is 32” and the weight limit is 35 lbs. Chloe will outgrow it lengthwise before she does weight-wise (she is just over 29 inches and 19 pounds), but she still has a couple of inches before that happens.
Let’s talk pros and cons.
Price: The Doona rings in at $500.00. I know many would list this as a con, but I think it is well worth the price tag. Odds are, if you are considering this, you’re considering a travel system that clocks in at just as much or double this. Since we haven’t used anything else for Chloe up until now, I can tell you that the investment is well worth it.
Overall, way more pros than cons - and I can tell you that when I was in a rush at morning drop-off with Caleb, it was nice to just release the seat and go. Not having to take the extra step of opening the trunk was so helpful. Caleb only uses a stroller when we are doing something like Disney or something with really heavy walking, which is why this worked so well for us (we ended up just taking two strollers with us when we went to places like that, and it worked for us).
Clearly, this is a product I love. I will continue to recommend this product, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to use it!
Questions? Ask away in the comments below!
For a little while now, I have toyed with the idea of letting my hair grow out naturally and not covering up my gray hair. Two years ago, my mom underwent this transition and she looks amazing and she is happy. Ever since I watched Stacy London on What Not to Wear, with her white streak against her black hair, I was intrigued by the notion that a patch of graying hair didn’t necessarily need to be covered up.
I started getting gray hair when I was 18, and ever since then, I have been working hard at covering it up. Over the last few years, it has gotten worse. I had been going to get my roots done every 3-4 weeks, and I started doing them at home to save a little money. By a week after I had dyed it, sparkly white roots were already starting to pop up. At two weeks, it was time to color my roots again.
And I’m over it.
I’m over the constant upkeep. I’m over people staring at me for the patch that grows in right over my right eyebrow, where I love to part my hair. I’m over covering up something that is completely and totally natural.
Having kids and becoming a mother has given me a confidence I didn’t have before. Something about growing a human and sustaining it makes you realize that there’s a lot of things that we put importance on that aren’t really important. Plus, I have this notion of how I want my children to see me as they grow up, and of how I want them to see themselves and others as they grow up.
In particular, having a daughter has made me hyper-aware of the limits that we as women put on ourselves. Don’t gain weight, don’t get wrinkles, don’t get too skinny, don’t let your gray hair grow in. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that her beauty is defined ONLY by what SHE considers beautiful. And what better way to show her that than to live it? And truthfully, I think it will be positive for my son to grow up seeing that beauty isn’t just thin and blonde and with a full face of makeup.
Does this mean that I’ll never dye my hair again? I don’t know. Honestly, I know that this is going to be a test of my will and patience. I’m going to give it a shot. I’ve already spoken with my stylist and we have a plan to help camouflage the growth a little so I don’t have a hard line of growth. I know I’ll come up against some comments - I’ve already had a few people tell me that I’m too young and I’m crazy.
You want to know what is crazy to me? That we rely so much on antiquated standards of beauty to tell us who or what we should be, when we are defined by so much more than that? Why is it that men are considered sexy with their salt and pepper hair, and as women, we are considered to be aging prematurely? (And ladies, find yourself a man who tells you he’s growing his hair longer because he wants to match his hair to yours - yes, he said that.)
You know what else is crazy? Thinking that my hair color is what defines me. I am defined by SO much much more than the color assigned to me by genetics. And at the end of the day - it’s hair. If I hate it, I dye it again and start over.
Does your gray hair make you feel gorgeous? ROCK IT. Does red lipstick make you feel like you run the world? YASSS QUEEN. Does a fresh face make you feel your best? HELL YES. Do you feel better with a little shot of Botox now and then? THAT’S ALL YOU MAMA.
It’s time to redefine what beauty really is. So many companies and brands have started to move towards this idea that natural is what is beautiful, but there is still so far to go. Our children will be bombarded with images of what is deemed to be beautiful from a very early age, and it’s up to us to give them the images we want them to emulate. At the end of the day, I don’t care if my daughter dyes her gray hair or doesn’t wear makeup. What I want her to do is be comfortable in her own skin, and do things because SHE wants to do them, not because anyone else tells her she should.
At the end of the day, our confidence is what makes us beautiful anyway.
Do you momma. Because I think you're gorgeous as you are.
A lot of you were very interested in what (and how) I packed for our Disney cruise, and have asked for a packing list for that. So I put one together for you!
It's pretty self-explanatory. Some things I packed are specific to a Disney cruise, but I didn't really include them in here (super hero costumes, Mickey ears, pirate outfits). The cruise line also provided a pack n play so we didn't have to take that. They have high chairs available at every restaurant, and are really accommodating when it comes to food for kids (Chloe is already eating table food so I just took a few purees just in case).
Chloe was also sick before we left on the cruise (she had a cold that turned into bronchiolitis) so I took more medication and a nebulizer to continue treating her and in case she got worse.
I also packed one outfit per day and didn't necessarily use them all. The day at Castaway Cay we were in swimsuits and cover ups all day, so the "outfits" for that day didn't get used.
Click on the file below to download the PDF of my cruise packing list.
Questions about what I packed? Suggestions on how to make it better? Send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org!