Mom in the Works

Mom in the Works

Saturday, August 15, 2015

One Focus

I'm a restless at heart. I have the best intentions to relax and enjoy life, but also really have a hard time with relaxing. I always have. According to my mom, I kicked naps from an early age (because I "didn't want to miss anything") and to this day I feel guilty when I do manage a nap. I am a "Type A" do-er. Most days I do my best to accomplish something. I'm never far away from trying something new or achieving a goal. That's why my husband are always striving after something. It's a constant in our lives, sometimes to his detriment.

But that is not necessarily a problem...

The real issue is that I am so scattered, tired, and stressed because I feel that I always want to accomplish not just something, but everything. I rarely have the time nor the energy to do so.

 I want to:

- Spend quality time with my family and friends. Duh.
- Exercise - this is a BIG one for me. Running and also yoga and lifting classes are my current go-to's. I'm also considering training for my third half marathon. I haven't done one since before babies, so I'm hoping to carve some time out for that.
- Have a meaningful "something" that I do that's just mine. Whether it's a career outside the home, working from home, writing, or creating something. Something that I enjoy and that I can do in light of my family life. Is that too much to ask, people?
- Be home with my kiddos part-time and provide them with meaningful activities (and lots of love!)
- Have a clean(ish) house. It's for my mental health. I'm much less anxious without the clutter.  I still do have a messy house sometimes, but at least I have a robot vacuum...
- Provide healthy, clean meals for my family. My toddler, though, would be happy and content eating anything but the cage-free, hormone-free chicken nuggets that I make. He'd rather do Tyson dinosaur chicken nuggets. Ugh..
- Time to read. I used to be a bookworm, but then kids.
- SLEEP. Lately, I'm obsessed with my nightly zzz's. I used to function on anywhere from 5.5 to 6.5 hours a night, but now I need at least 7 to not be a crab the next day. Lovely.
- Adventures - I want to see the world or go to new places with the family. The kiddos' nap times are currently cramping my style so planning day trips can be tough.  Now ever single outing is a "field trip," not an adventure.


I know that there's more. What's the problem? Well, I'm impatient on top of it all. When I said that I want to accomplish things, let me be clear. I want to accomplish ALL. THE. THINGS.  And I can't do them well then I have a pity party for myself and suddenly the thing that I wanted to accomplish isn't so appealing anymore.

Right now I'm trying to pare down my list of important to-do's while going through a period of refocusing. I read a book recently called the "The One Thing," during my real estate agent training. Though it is written by a self-made, well-respected and successful Realtor, (Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller Williams), the principles in the book can apply to any situation. Numerous companies are adopting his principles and hold conferences to educate their employees on the importance of this singularity of focus. The gist of the book? It's basic. Focus on your "One Thing" every single day, get rid of distractions by learning to say "no" to everything else, and you will find success.

Photo credit: http://www.the1thing.com/
Cool. I can do that. At least I think that I can... There are so many amazing strategies in his book about time-blocking, remembering your focus, and repeating affirmations to yourself. He talks about how in real estate, lead generation is the bread and butter of your business and if you focus on it every single day above the rest of your to-do's, you will have a thriving business! Seriously, it's amazing stuff. If you are in business or are just trying to accomplish some goals, I highly recommend this book.  There are numerous strategies for attaining your goal from forming healthy habits to accountability and support.

Why do I bring this up? I have many things that I want to do and that I enjoy doing (don't we all?). I have many ideas of where I want to be in life and in a career,  but I'm just completely at a loss of where to start. I've been praying that my restless and hard-working spirit would be put to good use, instead of making me feel like I should always be doing more...more more more. God has given me some days of peace, but I am hoping for constant serenity during this time of waiting.

In the waiting though...I can plan. I plan to keep my plans with an open hand and hope that the Lord directs my path clearly. I plan to do small things while refine my purpose as a woman, wife, and mother. I am more than just a mother, I'm more than just a wife. I'm a child of God, I'm a person who still has hopes, dreams and an identity all her own. I may have to repeat this to myself several times over, but that's ok. I'm a work in progress.

On my desk, currently, and things I've been dreaming about...

My view today...
No matter where you are in life, remember that it's OK to dream and to find your purpose. These are important and will fuel your day-to-day activities. Whether you're in a job that you don't like, working too much, or staying at home with your kiddos, do something this month, this week, and today that moves toward that dream. We all have them and dreaming is not a bad thing. You will be a more balanced person and your family and friends will be positively affected by this. We all have something unique to contribute to the world.

You're worth it, I'm worth it. We all are.

How have you stepped towards your dreams recently? Do you ever struggle with feeling like you shouldn't do that One Thing for yourself? Share in the comments or send me a message.


xoxo

~ Bethany









Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A reset button, please?

Not to be a "Debbie downer," but there are some days that I feel like I'm constantly failing. Do you ever have those? Where every few minutes it seems like there is some new stressor, a new puddle of sticky baby food goo on the floor, or another fire to put out with your child?


Those are the days where I feel you need a "re-set" button. You know the bit. Take this morning, for example. Sweet Toddler wakes up after a decent night's sleep (nothing obvious is wrong), he wants a little snuggle while you prep breakfast. The baby is contently munching on rice puffs in her high chair and they are laughing with each other. You set out a delicious lukewarm bowl of oatmeal (just the way he likes it) with a dash of brown sugar and cinnamon with blueberries on the side. You feel like a hero because you've managed to make his favorite breakfast while carrying and snuggling him.



Then, crud hits the fan. Out of nowhere, the Sweet Toddler decides that his barely warm oatmeal is burning his tongue (no worries, folks, I tested the oatmeal first), and it was not hot at all. Sweet Toddler then turns into Out-of-His-Mind Whiney Toddler (OOHMWT) and you know the rest. You try to convince him that the oatmeal is actually not hot and that he can blow on it if he wants, just to be sure. You patiently reassure. More whining, whining, whining...and regardless of what you say, this battle is lost. He finally decides that he will pick at the oatmeal, and when he realizes that you were right all along, then the OOHMWT got frustrated with his oatmeal slipping off of his spoon. While you leave to grab a spoon to feed the baby, there is sticky oatmeal everywhere because he flung it off his spoon in a swoosh of frustration. You say, "Can you please use your words and tell me what is wrong." Whining commences. Then, please use your words to tell me what is wrong." Then, "use your words," (thanks Daniel Tiger for this song that is always in my head). You even go the extra mile and muster up some patience to say, "I understand that you're frustrated, please use your words and ask for help." More oatmeal flinging.





Yup, this was our morning...



After that, your patience is already at an end and it's only 8:07 am. How is that possible?! You reset, and tell him that he needs to pick up his mess and continue eating. You reiterate that he's not in trouble, but that cleaning the mess is the right thing to do. You offer to help. You do all the right things (I'm sure that some of you could probably tell me where I went wrong), but you were patient. None of that matters when he gives you a "stink" face and won't do it. I lost my patience and yelled, "stop!" and then I felt like all of the times that I said "yes" to being patient in this whole situation alone were cancelled. He and I were at our wits' end. Of course, then the baby picks up on the stress and tension in the house and realizes that at that moment, she needs to eat or just to be held (understandable for sure). More crying.



What did I need right then and there? A "re-set" button. A way to have more patience to just get through the situation, let alone the day. I needed to stick to my guns. I knew that in this moment that I needed to teach him something, but I was so angry and stressed inside. "Why can't he just pick up the oatmeal? What's the big deal?" While I tried my best to empathize (at least to see where he was coming from), that didn't seem to make a difference. After 20 minutes of just sitting there in silence and running late for our appointment, he finally gave in. I'm so glad that he did, because he gobbled up his oatmeal and started picking up the flecks that he had flung all over the table. Seeing this turn of events, I told him that I loved him and that I'm proud of him. He said "Love you too, mommmyy!" This makes my heart melt and I can't help but hug him. We hug A LOT in our family.



That's all hunky-dory, but what about the times when the stress, fighting (especially between siblings), and strain drag on? We have those moments too. I have tried counting (thanks again, Daniel Tiger), deep breathing exercises (thank you, yoga), closing my eyes for a bit to just focus on self-talk, and praying. Goodness, I wish there were reset button. Most of the time I just struggle and want the easy way out of the situation because the stress and tension is too overwhelming. I'm sure I'm not alone here?



I guess I've realized that the more worked up I get (even if I seem calm on the outside), my kiddos still pick up on it. I try to hide it, but they have an amazing radar for these things. They know their mama. They know when I'm elated and when I'm about to tear up. I often take a break to hug and hold my son when I don't know what else to do, even though it isn't initially well received. I am grateful that he's a "mamas boy" for now because he hardly ever resists affection from me...and he caves. :)


While I'm still working on my way to start over and reset with my son (I'll continue the counting, breathing, and hugging), I know that there is no perfect solution.


That's ok, because I'm not perfect and neither is he.


What do you fellow parents do to "reset" during a conflict with your children? How do you survive a long day of tension? Please feel free to comment. :)



If you have ever had those days, know that I just had one. You're not alone. 


xoxo

bethany 











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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Changes

It's insane how time flies! I am now a mother of 2, and I turned 27 last week. It's weird how it doesn't feel all that different. I mean, I guess I'm closer to 30, but 27 seems so...boring compared to other milestones. In the few moments of quiet that I have today, I'm reflecting on the many amazing events and discoveries that occurred in my 26th year...

 We had a new baby (yay!), who is actually not so new anymore. As I write this, she's almost 6 months old already. She's such a happy, beautiful, sweet baby girl. We are so blessed by her. I seriously couldn't ask for an easier baby. If you've followed my other posts, you'll have read that my firstborn did not have the most mild temperament. We absolutely love his personality for the both of them. Baby Eva on the other hand, smiles at everyone and everything. She also sits and plays for extended periods while I chase around her rough-and-tumble brother around, because we all know that toddlers have places to be and often that means that they take their sweet time. Sometimes I feel guilty with how much attention her brother steals (oh, mommy guilt) Thankfully, she just goes with the flow. I can learn a thing or two from her. :) 


Our little sweetheart!! 
Joel began day care and I a new career in real estate, which was rewarding in many ways. I am a very type-A, driven person, so the fast-paced world of real estate excited me. However, after having Eva, I then decided that being home with my babies was where my heart truly lives. Real estate is an amazing field and had I more time that I was willing to devote to it, I think it could have been a fantastic career for me. However, I decided that I couldn't "wear all the hats" that I wanted while I was in that field. I see so many people who can do it well, but that is not me (more of this in a later post). So, in being home with our kiddos, I am figuring out (not-so-gracefully) how to care for  two babies and balancing life and finding new meaning in the every day. I also do not want to lose my identity and my drive to accomplish things (outside of the home and children), so  I am hoping to find some sort of balance of working very, very part-time, which brings me to my next discovery.

I'm devoting a lot of my "me-time" to clean eating and pursuing fitness. Both of these have been consistent parts of my life for almost a decade and I've taken things up a notch in the last year or two. I'm interested in the science of both exercise and nutrition and one of my goals for this year is to become certified to teach group fitness classes, and possibly complete my personal trainer certification. I'm so excited to share with others what a difference exercise has made in my life and how it makes me a more "well-rounded," (no pun intended) person.

I am blown away from how truly and deeply I am loved by God. I know that I am far from perfect, and I need to remember that, especially for the days that I'm not so proud of - extra screen time, chicken nuggets, and not-so-much-reading-time sort of days.

I rarely can finish sentences, coffee, or a complete thought these days, but stay tuned for some more posts from my not-so-perfect life. I've truly missed blogging and hope to make it more a part of my routine. Even if people do not want to read about me, at least I'll have something go back and read about, right??

Today I am just excited. Looking forward to the future, looking forward to some changes, and waiting to see what God has planned. Right now, I am learning to be grateful. 



I love soaking up moments like this

Just grateful.

And once in awhile, it's great to sit, sip some tea, and take stock of what truly matters in your life, right? 

As I write this, I have plans in the works of re-vamping my blog. Stay tuned for that as well as some more "meaty" posts, I promise. :) 

Make it a great day! 

~ B. 










Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Think twice, please.

Judging. We've all done it, whether we mean to or not. Let's just be honest -- we don't appreciate it when people do it to us, so why do we do it to others? It seems to affect all areas of our lives, but since I've become a parent, I feel it more acutely (or maybe I just notice it more now).

Case in point - I saw a mother in Target, recently, who was walking with her kids in the store (the kids were both around toddler age), and the mom was in a hurry, while trying to corral her kids. One kid was dragging behind and stopped in the middle of the aisle and screamed for the candy that her mom didn't want to buy her. Her other child, a little boy, was trying to explain to her the plot of his favorite TV show and despite her best efforts, she could only respond with an "uh-huh, ok, ok." Her phone rang, she dropped it, and her kids proceeded to continue shouting and speaking, and the tense situation only escalated as they took turns getting louder. This went on for quite some time. 

While witnessing this, I noticed an older woman who just stared and scowled, as if the world was inconveniencing her because this stressed mother was having a hard time with her kids. She then passed me and told me what a "good baby" I had (which he has his tough moments too!), but Joel just happened to be content at the time. I said, "Thank you." What I really wanted to say, but couldn't think of at the time, would have been something like, "Kids are kids. They're all going to act badly sometimes - and they don't care where or when."

Maybe that mother had a hard day. Perhaps she found out some terrible news - that her father was just sent to the hospital or perhaps this is the millionth tantrum her kid has thrown lately, and she's tired and on the verge of tears. Maybe one of her kids has a disability or is autistic and that it's sometimes harder for them to follow directions. Or, maybe she's a single mother trying to clip coupons, provide for her family, and love her kids as best as she can. Or still, maybe she's just a mother of two toddlers. Get the picture? Isn't that reason enough to cut her some slack? My heart goes out to her. 

No, my child hasn't yet thrown a public temper-tantrum (my turn will come!). But I have had a few harsh looks sent my way from the unsympathetic people out there, when my child was crying in public. Do you really think that I want my son to cry? It's hard for me to not get angry at these people. I feel for you if you've ever had someone judge you unfairly. It happens, whether we realize it or not. Sometimes, I feel like there's an invisible badge that parents wear as soon as they pop out a baby that states, "Unsolicited advice and criticism welcome."

I have no idea what that mother's story is and what was going on in her life that day. I don't know, but I also have a feeling that the woman who scowled at her didn't either. Why, then, do we so quickly assume things about other people? Why do we think and that they are "bad" parents, as if we're somehow better? Do you have perfect kids? If so, please write a book and share your wisdom with the rest of us. I'm sure that your way worked so well for your kids and you can't understand why someone decides to do something a different way. You weren't and still aren't perfect. We all haven't really a clue about how to do this whole parent thing. Trial and error, experimentation, flexibility, whatever you want to call it, are what most of us parents live by. And grace. A lot of grace and forgiveness - both of ourselves as parents and of our children. What worked for your children may not work for another person's children. The way you disciplined may not be exactly the way someone else chooses to discipline their kids. So what? We're all learning. Some of us just haven't arrived at the solutions yet. Kids aren't perfect....and parents aren't either.

Of course, I haven't even scratched the surface of judgement. The example I described is comparatively a minor example of one person judging another; there are certainly more serious and even violent situations where people judge others, and it causes them to act out. People are critical of others' lifestyle choices, religion, race, economic status, as we all know. 

Before you assume something about someone, think twice. You really have no idea what's going on in their life. So, why don't we all just each other a break, or better yet, show kindness or even love to one another. Don't judge the tired, irritable parent with five children, or the same sex couple walking the street. They have a story all their own, and so do you. 

"...Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34

Notice that the verse doesn't say - judge, marginalize, criticize, and be intolerant of others. I know that there are many Christians out there that are just fine and who show genuine kindness and good will towards all groups of people. Keep it up. As for those who don't fall into that category, remember that you cannot love God and hate another person (paraphrased from 1 John 4:20).  Think twice before you judge, please.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Must-Have Baby Products

As promised, here are some more of my favorite baby products. I really try to go minimal as far as products and gadgets are concerned (I don't like much clutter/paying for it). However, there are some things that I have definitely learned make life easier as a parent, so here goes:

1. Boogie Wipes - These magnificent little tissues contain saline and moisturizers, which helps remove dried crusty leftovers off your little one's nose (there's really no graceful way to say that, is there?). Compared to a wet tissue or even a baby wipe, which I usually avoid wiping my son's face with, these are more effective, soft, and gentle! They help keep the inevitable red nose during cold/flu season at bay and my son doesn't kick and scream while I wipe his nose...most of the time, anyway.




2. Diaper Genie - Despite my best efforts to not spend money on one of these, I broke down one day because I was constantly trying to freshen up our home from the slew of stinky diapers that would collect, even though we change our garbage daily. I read more than one article that said these were unnecessary, but for us it is worth it. Our son is pretty "regular" as they say, and we still only have to remove the bag once per week. It's so convenient too - you just cut the bottom of the bag, tie it shut, and pull up the bag for the next round of diapers. Genius.



3.  Swaddle-Me - I cannot tell you how much these came in handy for our colicky son. Swaddling is an art, and if your baby is crying (or you are lacking the patience for tedium), just slip one of these on your baby, and he will be nice and cozy (and hopefully more calm). One night when our son was only about two weeks old, I was desperate and frustrated after being unsuccessful in swaddling him in a blanket that was just too small. I suddenly remembered that I had a couple of these dashed in an organizer and within one minute had Joel quiet and my sanity back. Worth every cent! I also heard great things about the Halo brand of swaddles, but I received several Swaddle Me's as gifts, so we just opted for those. I'm guessing that there are patterns out there for these if you are a DIY-er and would rather make them. Just having something like this on hand is valuable!

My favorite picture of any baby in a swaddle...ever (I may be biased)! 


4. Sound machine - When Joel was young/colicky, this helped A TON. You don't even have to get a dedicated "white noise machine." You can also use the static on a radio (be careful to not turn the radio up too loudly). Recently, there has been a little controversy on the safety of white noise machines in regards to infants' hearing. Dr. Karp, author, of Happiest Baby on the Block has responded to the recent study and says that the results of the study are inconclusive in respect to having the white noise as quiet and as far away from the crib as possible. He poses that at the appropriate levels, white noise can even have life-saving benefits for infants. Read more here and here. It mimics the sounds of the womb (which are as loud as a vacuum or hair dryer), so it comforts and makes them feel right at home!

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5. Baby carrier - Whether you're faithful to the Ergo, Moby, or Baby Bjรถrn, invest in a good carrier. It will really help, especially in those early months when babies more cuddling and soothing. And, you can even get things done with them or carry them places while they're still relatively light (and you can of course carry them until they're almost 40 lbs with some carriers). More on this in my post with reviews on baby carriers.



What are some of your must-have baby products? What would you recommend to a friend whose a mom-to-be? Please share! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Healthy Valentine's Day Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day, every one! 

We have a full day of play dates today, so of course we need some easy, kid-friendly snacks that we can munch on throughout the day. These are some stand-by cookies in our house when we have old bananas to use up, and not much time! 

These are adapted from two other blogs that I love - Skinnytaste and the Burlap Bag. I've doubled the recipe, added cranberries, and some spices, AND they are healthy(er) than most cookies, so don't feel too badly about eating more than one. Of course, you can certainly add your own twist on these too. 

My attempt at making heart-shaped cookies

And yes, those are chocolate chips that you see. So, I had to cheat a little.
One thing you must know about me - I'm an unapologetic chocolate lover... 
If you are too, we should be friends. :) 


Enjoy!! 

Prep Time: 5 minutes Bake Time: 15-17 minutes

4 bananas
2 cups quick oats 
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet. 

2. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork or potato masher, and stir in the oats and pumpkin pie spice. Then, fold in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips. 

3. Bake at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes. 

That's it! Easy, right?! And most importantly, they're toddler-approved! :) 

"Mom why do you snap pictures of me with my mouth full?" 






Thursday, February 13, 2014

Toddler-Friendly Veggie Muffins

Just like many of you out there, I've had to be creative with cooking healthy meals for our family, which hasn't always been well-received by my greatest food critic, my little toddler.

Do you have a picky eater? I feel like the word "toddler" is synonymous with "particular." They are just learning how to feed themselves and would much rather bat, swat, and drop the food on their plate than eat it. Or, they'd prefer running around and playing - they're so busy at this age! 

At first, I was rather set on getting my son to eat vegetables without mixing them in something else, but I quickly learned that my son's sweet tooth was going to win some of those battles.  We tried adding veggies as a spread on sandwiches because he would rather feed himself and I've tried putting most of his meals in wontons, bread, and tortillas. We use vegetables as a spread and try to put a little of whatever we're having for dinner in a form that he can feed himself. Sometimes, though, I need a sure-fire, easy way for him to get his vegetables, without always having to mix them with applesauce! So, what's a mom to do?! Make muffins of course! 

Here is my attempt at sneaking vegetables into baked goods. Enjoy! If you eat some of them yourself, just keep telling yourself that you're trying to get all of your servings of vegetables in......because that's really the reason you're eating them. right? ;)  

Oh yes, that's definitely sugar that you see on top! I just couldn't help myself...

Prep Time: 15 minutes Bake Time: 18-20 minutes

1/2 cup pumpkin (I used canned)
1/4 cup peas (steamed and mashed)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk 
1/4 cup cooking oil (or you could substitute with applesauce)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease your muffin tins (I used a tin with 2.5 inch muffin cups for 12 muffins). 

2. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, peas, egg, vanilla, cooking oil, and milk. Set aside. 

3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice. Make a well in the center of the mixture

4. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour, and stir until just combined (do not over-stir). 

5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, fill each cup about 2/3 full, and bake them for about 18 to 20 minutes. Once finished, let them cool for 5 minutes before removing and enjoying! :) 


What are some creative ways you've used to get your kiddos to eat their vegetables? Also, let me know if you tried these and what your thoughts are! I'd love to hear from you!