Summer is just around the bend and school is almost out. It’s the best time of the year to make memories and go on adventures.
Today my three-year-old asked me to dance. I could not have embraced the moment and told him I didn’t have the time or gone to do the dishes, but he is only little for so long. A trip to a theme park is magical but so is dancing with my adorable little man in my own living room.
Be sure to breathe in those moments between the trips, the perfect seconds, and the not so perfect hours. Our human experiences are all wrapped up in the good the bad, the sweet and the sour.
No one tells you how hard the tween years can be. Or how you (and them) will survive with as little bloodshed as possible. With hormones on high during these awesomely precious years when it seems as if everything you say to them either causes major embarrassment or defiance; because you know we as parents know nothing. Throw in a situation where there are little ones in the house or maybe you are pregnant (I have been both). You’re sleep deprived and have a low tolerance level for obnoxiousness.
Our personal story has so many twists and turns; our poor kiddo has been through more in his short life than most. He is my stepson but was the first to make me a mom. The most trying time was when we lost our son in 2015. Although we had done our best to explain to him we really didn’t know what to expect, I don’t think anything could have completely prepared any of us for the heartbreak we had. He was devastated when he wasn’t able to meet his littlest brother alive and for a few months, it took everything we had to keep it together as a family. One of the reasons I think we came out on the other side of the darkness is because we really strived to keep him involved and connected.
To assist with some of the hurdles of change we read books (which are listed below), articles, and whatever other resources we could to get a grip on this um… adventure.After all the reading and the research, I decided I have this great outlet to share knowledge with the world.
I joined forces with my own tween to write this post. He is almost a teen but the knowledge we are about to bestow upon you are from a couple of years in the muck and mud of tweendom. Why not have input from the tween himself? We used this as our own form of bonding time and enjoyed every minute of it, and to be frank, I think I learned something too!
This sounds simple enough, right? But kids are smart. If you are on auto pilot and while they are mid-story about someone at school or a cool bottle flip trick, this is important to them. But if your responses are full of nods and “uh huh’s” then they begin to think you don’t care.
This is listening without prodding, these are the conversations that happen at random not while pushing for answers. Although you may not really care about the newest video their favorite Youtuber posted or the random treasure in the road. These conversations are important to them and they want to know you take them seriously too.
I hear from a reliable source (my own kid 😉 ) That if you listen to these semi-mundane conversations they are more likely to talk to you about the tough subjects and they know you still love them regardless.
Teach them something
Ever watched one of those movies themed back in the 50’s or 60’s? One common scene you see in those films are dads teaching boys to work on cars or moms teaching their daughters to bake. Granted life is a little more complicated than it was back then, we have to get a little more creative. Cue Pinterest! 🙂
I watched a hilarious video the other day. You may have seen it too. It was posted on BuzzFeed last year but I am just now seeing it, Here Are The Different Types of Moms You Meet. It lists off the PTA Mom, the Parenting Expert Mom, the Crunchy Mom, the Hipster Mom and the Hot Mess Mom. I couldn’t contain my laughter! (I think my cubicle buddies thought I had gone a little off the deep end with how much I was giggling)
I immediately told my husband I was the hot mess mom. Wham! Inspiration for this week. Here is my ode to hot mess moms and why I am embracing my hot mess mom-ness.
Chaos is my life
I have been trying like hell to get my sh** together for a few years now. I have been a stepmom longer than I have been a biological mom and let me tell you.. Two boys with a ten year age difference is seriously no picnic. I firmly believe those of you with more than two offspring deserve an award, I can barely contain my house. Not to say I don’t try but when there is a twelve-year-old having a meltdown because the internet is lagging and the two-year-old is having a meltdown because his shirt is the wrong color, don’t tell me you don’t pull your hair out or drink wine during the day!
There are school projects, potty training, extracurricular activities, visits to see family, work, oh yeah and we somehow squeeze in house work, laundry, and dogs.
I have perfected the messy bun
I have a sweet girl at my out of the house job who always compliments my messy buns. I am very gracious for her compliments, but I have zero ideas how else I would do my hair. Get up an hour early just to have it fall all in my face or be pulled on the second I get home? Nope, messy bun to the rescue.
However, I do attempt mascara and eyeliner. I try very hard to take care of my skin but I promise you I don’t look super put together. 🙂
I .am .late. to.every.thing
Literally, everything. I have no idea how to be on time. I either turn off my alarm, or when I do get up to work on here I get so engulfed that I don’t want to let go. Then the chaos really begins. Shoes can’t be found, jackets are not fun to wear, the dogs have to go out, I forgot my phone, I forgot keys, and whatever else you can think of.
I hate waking up my two year old because he is a nightmare. He has inherited my lack of morning loving as well as his dad’s automatic grumpy face when the light begins to shine. This causes my mornings to be rough and hectic.
A couple of weeks ago we were supposed to arrive at a surprise party for a dear friend’s husband, and of course we pull up when he pulls up to arrive. I made something up on the spot but still felt like a douche. Luckily, my dearest friend knows of my chronic lateness and forgave me.
I needed to regroup. I needed to really look at what I was like and feel like I put out the real me. I was being honest and forthcoming in all of the posts I have written to date but I need to put it out there that I am a hot mess mom. I do not have my sh** together and I am envious of those Pinterest moms who finger paint every day with their kids or who can take their twelve year old out and play basketball with them.
I love my kids, I love my husband and I truly love my life. There are aspects I would love to change. I would love to be more of a morning person, I would love to have an actual night routine where I am half way ready to run out the door in the morning; but let’s be honest. I am a little lazy and tired. Instead of getting down on myself on how I should be, I decided to embrace what I am. I felt it was more important than trying to be something I couldn’t commit too. I can commit to being a hot mess mom, I already am and it’s working for the most part.
My kids know they are loved; I cook way more than I ever thought I would, and I am sitting here writing my little heart out. What’s not to love? So while you follow me on my crazy adventures here or on Instagram, just know my Pinterest account is, well a lot of ideas for how to find my own personal balance with being a total procrastinator but a great mom. I refuse to go insane trying to be something I am not, those of you who can do your children’s lunches every single day!? Gold star (seriously!), you get up at 5am or earlier and do a workout? Yup gold star for you and know I am sitting here cheering you on with my cold cup of coffee because I didn’t plan ahead.
We are all moms trying to keep our sh** together and raise tiny, stubborn, adorable humans. Let’s embrace the best parts of ourselves, accept the flaws and cheer each other on.
What type of mom are you? Any pointers for being a better planner without beating myself up? 😉
Currently Mom’s Balanced Life is a side hustle/passion. I am still juggling a full time out of the home job, two kids, two dogs and a husband! It has come to my attention, I might be a bit of a workaholic. I literally have to schedule almost every single free moment so I don’t fall behind somewhere.
I have compiled best tips for balancing a full time gig and creating a side hustle. I have found these work best for me, as I build up the Mom’s Balanced Life brand and still spend time with my family. If you are currently looking to build your own blog while working a full time job, as well as handling other life duties, keep reading and put these tips to your own test!
Dream it-Live it
Earlier this year, I took a quick little free mini course from Ruth Soukup over at Living Well Spending Less. It was her “Best Week Ever Boot Camp” and her first assignment to was; Dream Big .
I won’t deny the panic that began to creep into my brain as I processed this “assignment”. The idea of writing down BIG dreams; you know, those dreams that feel so far fetched and out of reach. I felt silly. However, I wrote them down and allowed myself the luxury of no boundaries to these dreams. We hardly allow ourselves to dream really big. However, as parents we tend to encourage our children to dream as big as possible, yet we as adults rarely grant ourselves the same permission.
Can you count how many times you didn’t do something for fear of the reaction from other people? I know from personal experience how many times I have talked myself out of something I genuinely desired, all because of fear. The fear lists were endless, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of success.. you get it.
My ‘assignment’ from dreaming big helped me set up goals to move forward with my dreams. I am determined to make them a reality. The anxiety of trying new things and chasing a dream so far into the future can be discouraging, but give yourself a break, dream big and go after it!
This is where I (still) struggle the most. As I have mentioned, I still work outside of my home full time. I have a house full of crazy boys (who I love!) dogs, preparing food, grocery shopping, date night, and everything in between. I was having a difficult time being able to work here, pay attention to homework, school stories, and love on my kids. I was noticing things were taking a toll. I was losing sleep, time writing, and time with my very important people. Something had to give, I needed to prioritize and make the time for things that mattered.
Not the funnest part of creating but sacrifices have to happen. When I wrote How to Rock your Health and Fitness goals, I touched on sacrifices for your wellness goals. Same rules apply when chasing your business dreams. There are sacrifices that need to happen.I decided winging it wasn’t doing me any good. I would hope for the writing bug to strike at an opportune moment. I would tell myself I would work on a post after the kids went to bed but most nights I was so exhausted that I couldn’t keep my own eyes open after they went down. I began to work in the early mornings, then allow myself one hour of writing/designing when I got off work. Bath time with my son a has become the perfect time for social media moments. I take a couple of minutes to scroll through Instagram and Pinterest, then it’s kid time.
By far my biggest time saver was Tailwind, an amazing pin scheduler. I am finally using Pinterest to increase traffic flow and Tailwind does most of the work. Originally, I wasn’t going to use a pin scheduling program until I had hit six months of blogging. Tailwind has been a huge topic and was also part of the blogging course I mentioned below. Tailwind literally tripled my Pinterest following in less than a month. I used the free version first then signed up for a plan. You get 100 pins with their free trial version. I can plug in a few things on my phone and boom it’s done.
Using Instagram for networking has been fun, quick, and easy. I can comment on few photos and follow some fun conversation loops. I save the hard stuff for early mornings, weekends and on the nights where I can keep my eyes open. But I am determined to make this work. Winging it wasn’t paying off, scheduling and time management has been.
Get a Planner
To help with my time management, I did some digging into how some of the veteran bloggers make it look so easy. I noticed a trend with planners. They talk about planners as if life depended on it. Now I am not just winging it and working on my time management and scheduling I have begun to see the appeal of a planner.
I had a form of “sticker shock” when I began to notice just how many articles are written about using a planner for goals, business planning, blog topic storming and inspiration. As a new blogger and new to this time management thing, the need for a planner is so real. Currently, I am not sporting a planner. I am late arriving to this game. Check out my AWESOME (sarcasm!) old school note book. I do have my eye on one planner, designed specifically for bloggers by a blogger. I will be purchasing The Blog + Life Planner created by Allison Marshall over at Wonderlass.com. It will be my Valentine’s present to myself.
If you are looking into planners for your growing business there are a few different options you can go for. The option above, purchasing one from another blogger, Amazon has a wide selection of planners, one of my favorites is the Badass Blog Planner , as well as checking in with your local book store.
I want to monetize this blog which is why I do use affiliate marketing but I want to make sure there is a nice mix of inspiration, humor, parenting craziness and coping with life in general. I rounded up a couple of awesome planner articles from other bloggers, and their reasons for using a planner is a must in the blogging world. Even if it’s a basic notebook like mine!
Recently I took a blogging course BLOG BY NUMBER and loved it! I highly recommend this course if you are just beginning and need assistance with some of the basic technical stuff. The amount of detail and wonderful one on one help you get from Suzi is priceless. I was able to finally find a balance in building and growing my blog. The Blog By Number walks you step by step through the beginnings of blog making, including overviews with basic SEO, Pinterest,creating great graphics and more. Having this advantageous tool saved me so much time trying to figure out the blog business. A big thank you to Suzi Whitford from Start A Mom Blog for creating this course.
Follow my Blog Tips and Tricks Pinterest board, dedicated to learning all things blogging. There are plenty of free tips around the web, but I highly recommend taking a couple of courses from the established bloggers. They have years of experience and some great advice to offer.
Want to start your own blog? Set up your site with Blue Host. Your hosting purchase comes with free tools on their youtube channel, excellent customer service and great prices ($3.95 a month!) After you get setup with Blue Host here is a couple of great “How To’s” for beginners.
Last but not least, keep your eye on the prize. If you want this, you can make it happen. Chase those dreams.
If a long post doesn’t seem to be coming together the way you envision, create a fun quote for the blog post or find something that you are really passionate about and is easy to whip something up. Make sure it’s clean and to a standard that you would want to take the time to read. I took two weeks off from posting to really gather my thoughts, work on the back end of my blog and to find out what my prize was going to look like for me. Taking a break from creating content was a little bit of a risk, but I have been able to focus more on the content recently than I have in almost a month. All from taking a step back for a moment, looking at the big picture and regrouping.
Remember it takes time for things to grow. This blog is only a few months old. I was about to throw in the towel. Then I realized I hadn’t given this blog enough time to blossom. I am keeping my eye on the prize while still being realistic. It’s okay for things to take time.
If you are a mom like me and have other duties on your plate you know what your schedule looks like. You know where you can crunch in some extra time for your dreams and where you can rest. Take heart and push through obstacles. We all have our own balance and we all have our own way of doing things. I hope these tips help you!
What are your best balancing tricks? How do you build your vision?
On my welcome page I explain I am a Certified Health Coach from the American Council of Exercise. I also have a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Psychology. It’s a tad bit insane, with all this education I have jammed into my brain, I haven’t done a better job honing in my own health. I finally had an ah ha moment and told myself if I can’t do this then how am I supposed to teach others? In December I gave this ah ha moment a voice and wrote my Tackling the Baby Weight post. Then… nothing from me. No posts no follow up, nothing. I didn’t acknowledge my absence regarding this post until now.
I made a rookie mistake, I committed (quite vocally) to a weight loss program that wasn’t a program! It was a bunch of words I put together, attempting to push myself forward. I had no game plan, no end goal, no stepping goals, and no support. Plus, for me to even think I should take all this on right before the holidays!? I was out of my damn mind.
First things first, I apologize. I should have been more vocal about my non-commitment and about why I left that post just hanging in limbo. I apologize for me turning into every. single. New. Year’s. cliché…. Follow me down the rabbit hole of my (for real) getting healthy and fit journey.
Back to basics
There are several ways to achieve your health and fitness goals, but these are the basics. To create a solid foundation, you need the basics. If you have taken a breather from fitness or maybe you want to eat better or possibly run a half marathon. All the steps laid out will help you achieve your goals. These will help ME achieve my goals too! Stick around; I will post my personal goals for the year. These are to keep me accountable and on the right road to health.
Choose a Meal Plan
I hate diets. I actually never dieted until a few months before my wedding. This was before my Health Coach certification. I didn’t’ do as thorough of a research job as I should have. I chose the 17 Day Diet. I ended up losing about 25 lbs. However, by the end of the year I had gained half of that back. Following two pregnancies, it’s all back and then some. The 17 Day Diet is not one I would recommend for long term weight loss. If there happens to be a small amount left to lose, hit a plateu and you have a firm foundation of health and workouts, then the potential for a short term plan will work.
In August of 2016 I took on the Whole30 challenge. I loved the program, it’s tough and it’s not meant to be a long term program either. The purpose is to make you more mindful of what you are putting in your body and how you react to certain food groups. I needed to reset my sugar cravings and get a better handle on my eating habits. It is NOT a weight loss plan, but a bonus “side effect” of the program is weight loss. During my challenge, I lost a total of 8.7 pounds and 10 inches total. I am sad to report that I didn’t follow the exit plan as laid out by the Whole30 book, I didn’t have the full Whole30 experience. Since then, I have gained the weight back; hence the new health goals for 2017. My choice combo for this round is a paleo based eating plan while incorporating certain rules from Whole30, including no dairy, beans, corn, or legumes. These plans require an abundance of vegetables, protein, and fat (good kind!). The premise of both is more real food, less from a box and much less with added sugars along with other additives. Our bodies were designed to process food from its natural sources, not from packages or machine made.
Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. The acronym is used for goal setting in general and is an incredible outline for personal and business goals. In 2015 the top two New Year’s resolutions polled by Nielsen.com was 1) stay fit and healthy and 2) lose weight. Together these two goals totaled up 69% of the resolutions. The problem with these resolutions and why so many people give up? They don’t follow the SMART goals guidelines.
When setting any goal it’s important to be as exact as possible while outlining your objectives, but it’s even more important for health and fitness goals. Turn “I want to be healthier” into “I want to play with my kids and not get winded”, “I want to break my sugar addiction”, and “I want to participate in a Cross Fit competition”. See how they have a focusing point? Right now if you “want to eat better” make it specific, cut sugar out or add extra protein in. Being precise aids you to have more of a real grasp on the goal rather than it being a fleeting thought.
Measurable goals keep you on track for success. The how you will be assessing your aspirations is just as important as the actual measurement. If you are increasing the number of servings of vegetables eat day; will you keep a daily food journal, use a food tracker app, or hope for the best? I don’t recommend just hoping for the best. 🙂 Weight loss goals should require more than just a scale for keeping track of achievements. The scale doesn’t do an accurate job on its own for being a reliable tool. Water weight and hormones can throw off the scale by up to three pounds. I will be using measurements coupled with the scale. Looking to gain muscle? Having body fat percentages would be a great way to assess your progress.
This is probably the toughest part of goal setting. We want to dream big and I highly recommend reaching for the stars. However, make sure your goals are obtainable. Stepping goals (not an official name 🙂 ) are the small goals leading up to the big end goal. Should someone have 100 pounds to lose and loses 15 pounds a month, those pounds lost will add up to the final 100 pounds lost. We all know 100 pounds can’t be lost all at once. Having these small goals give you the wins. Keeping you from setting yourself up for major disappointments and therefore giving up. You take one small success at a time and continue moving forward.
This is the second toughest step. Relevance, this goal means more to you than what you will be sacrificing. It is the intrinsic motivation which pushes you ahead. I am not a morning person; I finally gave up working out in the early morning because as much as I wanted to lose weight but when that alarm rang at 4 am, I simply couldn’t get up. It didn’t mean enough to me to get up and out of bed. I have accepted the fact I don’t want to sacrifice my mornings. I have made my adjustments and created a workout time after I get home from work before dinner needs to get going. I don’t become resentful to my goals and I can continue sleeping during my early mornings. 🙂
There needs to be an ending to your story. This is the final supporting key to the S.M.A.R.T Goals Guidelines. The ending has to be set for you to begin. If you know you want to be able to run that half marathon in the fall then you have a reason to start training.
*Make sure any exercise is within your physical ability and if needed please see a medical professional for medical clearance.
The risk of chronic diseases is significantly reduced in individuals who get 30-60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity a day. If you are just starting out, begin with small increments of 20 to 30 minute at an intermediate level. If you have been working out regularly, make sure to shake up your routine. Getting moving is more than adding 60 min workouts each day. You have to alternate your entire physical routine; going to the spin class doesn’t warrant eating junk food and still sitting most of the day. Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy burned just to keep your body functioning. The majority of your calories (think upwards of 70%) are burned just keeping you alive! Working out is definitely a good start; be sure to add other forms of physical activity. Working a job where you are sedentary, adding short walks from 5-10 minutes every hour will add up! Taking the stairs, parking farther from entrances, yard work etc. Even cooking and cleaning burn calories! Meal prepping and extra cooking, since you’re eating out less, creates more dishes; three birds one stone! This is a helpful article for incorporating more exercise into your daily life.
Also known as, plan for obstacles. This is not to say planning for failure, Plan for curve balls. Ask yourself (be bluntly honest!) How will you handle National Donut Day at the office? Dinner out with a client? Girls/Guys night out for pizza and beer? First, do not hide from social situation. Hiding can lead to resentment and more likely to drive you off your ledge. Plan! Most dining establishments have online menus to assist with planning. Check out ingredients of items before your dining out event. Ask yourself if one beer or one glass of wine is permitted on your new meal plan. Talk to people who can offer support for your new health goals. They may be very respectful and be inspired by your own journey!
Don’t give up!
You started on this health voyage for a reason, don’t let a slip up prevent you from continuing. Jillian Michaels said it best “Try not to say ‘I’m a failure’, instead ask ‘what can I do better?’ ‘What did I do wrong?’ then re-approach”. One cookie doesn’t derail your entire eating plan. A package of cookies each week? Take a good look at what needs to be adjusted in order to avoid temptation or stress eating triggers.
Most of all, don’t give up if there is a set back. Reset, re-evaluate, and move forward. You got this!
TMI Time. 🙂 Well not really TMI but we are getting personal. Here are my personal health and wellness goals. 1) Lose 40 pounds by October. 2) Lose 25 of those pounds by June (for my birthday!) 3) Walk every hour at my office 4) Four workouts a week 5) Less processed foods-follow meal plans and form new food habits.There they are!
You have a cheerleader, because hey I am on this journey too! I will post every other week regarding meals, what’s working, what been tough, and updates on my goals.
Let’s do this! What are your health, fitness, or wellness goals for this year?
Last year my Facebook feed was blowing up with friends and family who had signed up for the Ipsy Glam Bag. I had no idea what this “magic” bag was, I knew it had makeup in it and that’s about it. I finally asked a friend what all the hype was about. She explained, it’s a subscription for $10 a month and you get five trial and sometimes full sized beauty products. I wasn’t sold at first. I was barely getting ready for the day as it was let alone getting “glammed” up. (I am not affiliated with Ipsy, I just love the Glam Bag Program)
I am low maintenance, always have been. Even in during my peak teenage years, I would go to morning swim practice, throw my hair in a ponytail, put on some mascara and go to school. Then repeat. Eye liner was used on occasion and about the only time I ever did full faced makeup was if there was a dance involved. Fast forward to my mid-twenties and I finally sort of started to care about makeup and skin care. But I am super sensitive to certain products and I was getting tired of spending a bunch of money on stuff that I ended up hating. I talked to the hubby and he told me to try it. (The links to Ipsy within this post are referral links. If you sign up we both get 250 points that can be used towards products.)
I have chosen 5 of my favorite beauty products for low maintenance moms (or put together moms too!) from a year with Ipsy. I rate all of these five stars, they are all amazing in their own ways. I have had twelve glam bags and these are for sure the products I literally cannot live without. *The products all have affiliate links.Continue reading 5 Amazing Beauty Products for Moms
I have talked only a tiny bit about losing my baby boy last year. It is a story I plan on sharing here but I want to make sure I share his story when my heart is as ready as it can be. His first birthday just passed and with this week being Thanksgiving, it felt like the perfect time to talk about being thankful. Finding gratitude during a time when it’s REALLY difficult to be thankful. It’s hard enough to pull your heart out of the darkness on regular rough days. You know the ones where you put your keys in the wrong place and can’t find your shoes. But the days when life really seems to be throwing you a million curve balls, those are the days are when being grateful can really help pull you up. Continue reading How to Feel Grateful, When Life Feels Hard
I stayed up late last night watching the election results. I wasn’t planning on putting anything here regarding the end of the election. This is supposed to be a place regarding balance and wellness… but I am not well today. To be completely honest I really wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea to post anything but I am a mom and I am a mom of white boys, something that I never thought I would have to write. Something I never thought would be so profound until I started watching the division in the US and watched as the hate spilled from all over Social Media. Continue reading Now is the Time for Love
It’s early in my blogging relationship and I wanted to write for a purpose. I wanted to get all the voices in my head out and give them a place to feel at home. This blog is the one of the best places for it. For as long as I can remember I have loved the art of writing. I wrote songs when I was first able to form sentences, later I realized I had ZERO talent generating a song that was lyrically sound. Later, I began toying with poems and when I get more comfortable here I may share some here. My high school career began and writing projects became a little more in depth. That’s when I was thrown to the wolves. My papers were torn to apart regarding grammar and flow. My senior year I dropped my creative writing class because I didn’t want to suffer through more criticism. Continue reading How Writing Can be Theraputic
As noted in my post last week , I was over the whole being an adult thing. Yup, this mom basically gave up on fulfilling her “chore” list and took a night off. I didn’t do anything glamorous or even venture out of my own house. This lead into a week where we were put into several situations that caused me to be super overwhelmed. So I did some digging around and found a couple of sources I liked for noting what happens to you when you are overwhelmed and how to handle it. I will insert a few of my own tips and tricks for you as well. Continue reading How to Handle Being Overwhelmed