27 Steps to Being an Awesome Stay-at- Home-Mom

howtobeanawesomestayathomemom

  1. Wake up before your kids.
  2. Schedule your meals and cook ahead to save time.
  3. Always plan time for your own physical activity.
  4. Have a set routine.
  5. Be sure to have naptime and meals at the same time every day.
  6. Schedule your cleaning and only tackle one chore a day.
  7. Don’t forget to have play dates.
  8. This list is a bunch of crap… Sorry about the click bait.

If you’re a stay at home parent, you’re laughing hysterically at this list because 99% of the time all of those are virtually impossible.

I am so sick of seeing Mommy Blog posts about “How to be a Stay at Home Mom”

10 Things To Ensure You Are A Great Stay At Home Mom

6 Ways To Be A Productive Stay At Home Mom

How To Afford Being a Stay At Home Mom

Habits of an Effective Stay At Home Mom

It’s all a bunch of malarkey. You want to know why? Because it looks different for every single mom. Heck, sometimes it looks completely different and it’s a stay at home dad.**gasp** I’m guilty though, because yes, I do click on and read almost all of them. Hoping and praying that somehow this little circus that I got myself into can be more manageable. 210037d0f899f9dc49d3d5edf759ee48.jpgHonestly, I wish I had an answer for all of your stay at home mom questions, but I don’t. I have tips and tricks that have worked for me and my family, but I guarantee that they won’t work for everyone.

What will help is some brutal honesty.

You will never sleep. Like ever. It just doesn’t happen. We get the kids to bed, I try to get some chores done, spend time with my husband, get ready for bed and by the time I am in bed it is 11pm. In two or three hours, my 2 year old will be up wandering the halls asking for her soccer ball or something ridiculous. After getting her back to bed, I lay back down and generally get another 2 hours of sleep because one or both of my little ones are up at 5 AM every day. Every single day. Today it was 4:45…2e2b5526ce131e18a20537f492be2c1a

3 or 4 hours of sleep at night on repeat. My husband works nights,  so sleep is just out of the questions for like, ever. Getting up early for “me time” and to get ready for the day is hilarious.

I have some OCD tendencies but I despise housework. It’s not that I don’t do it. My house is almost always spotless. Especially if we are planning on having company over. I do it, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Your chores never go away. It is a constant stream of dishes, laundry, vacuuming, picking up, dusting, washing the floors, cleaning up outside, cleaning up after pets, picking up toys. Your house never gets a break. No one is at work and daycare all day. It is constantly getting filthy. It might not stay that way for long, but you never stop moving. Between chasing kids and picking up toys, you don’t sit down a whole lot. I never understand when people say they love doing dishes or laundry. I never used to hate it, but I do now. It’s a constant chore that never ends. Someone always has something dirty in their room or on them, and there is always a sippy cup or snack cup hidden away that needs washed.87322a94dfae2c55e7abf4b3e472b313

I told my husband the other day that I am an awesome stay at home mom but I suck at being a housewifeThere are many days when I am asked what’s for dinner and the answer is “whatever you can find and you better use paper products.”

It’s hard. Our job is never done.

Your coworkers like to touch you a lot, they are mean sometimes and they don’t do a whole lot of work.  Quietly sitting at the computer typing this post and que the 2 year old that just jumped on my back requesting a “pony ride.”  There is also a 1 year old over in the corner emptying a basket full of freshly folded clothes on top of the very hairy lab.

You’re never alone. There isn’t a lot of explanation for this. It’s simple. You are your children’s everything, so that means they have to be attached to you all day long. Good luck with your coffee break. I just warmed mine up for the 3rd time this morning.6.png

People will ask you if you want help all the time.  Believe it or not, I really can do this. I have two kids and taking them to the store with me is my job. Cleaning my house with kids at home is my job, among many other things.

I will let you spend time with my kids, and sometimes, yes you do need to get out, but I promise you can do chores and things without people helping you all the time. Help is nice. I have been getting better about letting people give me a hand, but just be warned. People have this attitude that because you didn’t wash your hair today that you must need help. It’s annoying and approaching disrespectful. If I was anyone else doing a hard job, would you offer to give me a break because I had a long day? This is a 24/7 job and I am well aware that I signed up for a crazy job.

When are you getting a real job? ……Please ask me that one more time, I dare you. People even say “I just could never stay home and not work, I would have to get a real job and provide for my child.” So when you are at your “real job”, do you hire a real person to watch your kids or a fake one? People are ignorant, say it to your face and want an actual answer, like what they said wasn’t the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard. I am warning you now, if you haven’t heard it already, you will.14088651_1756641454589235_5618134841622901219_n.jpg

Being a homebody isn’t a bad thing. I love being at home. Ever heard of yoga pants and leggings?  An endless supply of coffee and baby breath? Keep it coming. I literally have to pump myself up to go out with friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends. I love spending time with other adults. I know it is important. I just like my kids, my coffee, my Netflix and my blog more than dinner and drinks.

“Affording” to be a stay at home mom isn’t easy. Affording is in quotes because I am still trying to figure that out. I am not a couponer. I shop sales and I shop at Aldi. We don’t do a lot of extra stuff, we are a middle class suburban family and I am happy that way. We don’t always get all the new shiny things we want, and there are times that I look back at a month when we had extra expenses and wonder how we did it. But you make it. I promise that there is always a way that things work out. All we knew was that we could pay all of our bills and a little more on one income, that we wanted the kids to have me 24/7, until they were at least in school and that we were going to make it work.83ec59e162040d21c114725fb105aa92

You will never regret the decision to stay home and it is so much fun! I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Luckily, my dream came true. Such a simple dream. There is never a bad day when I say “if I could just clock out and go to work.” You will never regret getting extra time with your kids. Getting to see every single milestone unfold before your eyes. Teaching them everything and watching them learn from you. It really is a gift. Don’t take it lightly and don’t brag to your working mom friends about it either.

Not everyone can do it. Being a stay at home mom is not for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that. Working parents are beyond awesome! I have a friend who is an amazing mother but would lose her mind if she was surrounded by her kids all day. Not everyone can do it and that’s completely normal. If you are a working parent, don’t feel bad about working. You spend time and teach your children in your own way, and provide them with awesome caregivers.

Time is fleeting and whatever time we get with our tiny humans is a blessing.

Now that this written  maybe I wrote it for myself, to make me feel better. I don’t know. I just hope that someone can relate and has days where they feel like this is the craziest job on the planet, too. ❤

– Amanda

Advertisements

Putting my Career on Hold

Untitled.png
A snapshot of my LinkedIn, where I diligently try to pretend I’m a part of the corporate workforce. I’m part of the mommy workforce, is what this should say
saParenting requires sacrifice, that’s a given. Most often, our sacrifices are merely based on how we prioritize our lives. In my own, the health, happiness, and general well-being of my son is first, followed closely by the health of my relationship with my husband. After those two priorities, my list becomes a little jumbled and perhaps it’s just one giant third category that includes friends, family, our financial state, other various responsibilities, and my career.pt

“Career” seems like a distant word for me now. Families are composed of all varieties: one partner working and the other being stay at home parent, both partners working, single moms, single dads, grandparents responsible for their grandchildren and the list goes on. In our home, my husband and I both worked full-time career-path jobs before I became pregnant. We each graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and quickly moved into the daily white-collar rat race. While I didn’t always enjoy my job, I was moving up. Receiving promotions, raises, perks, more vacation time. There was a reason to work hard, because there was opportunity for growth.

I knew pretty quickly after finding out I was pregnant that I didn’t want my son growing up his first few years with two full-time working parents, if it was at all possible to avoid. And, I also knew that we couldn’t possibly survive on one income, or even 1.5 incomes. We did some intense budgeting for me to go part-time at a new job, cutting out luxuries we had become accustomed like TV, which I actually don’t miss all that much. For me, I knew that working part time was ideal. I could raise my son, enjoy the early years teaching him, be able to take him to doctor’s appointments and play dates, and know that he wasn’t in daycare 50 hours a week.

But, the sacrifice that came with that was stifling. Thankfully, raising my child has indefinitely been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, but my lack of fulfillment in my job was unexpected. I now work part-time as an office manager at a local nonprofit. There is little extrinsic, or even intrinsic, value to my job. I bust ass and get things done, and my days usually go quickly because I’m busy. But there is no upward mobility. No ladder to the next position. No career advances.

It’s humbling. Really. I’ve found that I stress less at my current position because I’m not in competition with the person in the next office over for the next raise. It’s just me, doing my best every day, fully knowing that there is no benefit to doing my best.fallingSo am I falling behind?

Once my son heads off to school, I plan on heading back into the workforce full-time. Will I be overwhelmed? Will I be the old person that knows nothing? Will I be able to get a job? Will I remember my workplace skills?

These questions nag at me every so often. When I look at my LinkedIn profile and realize that it should really read “great at super quick diaper changes” or “professional at neutralizing toddler tantrums”… it makes me wonder if I should have a LinkedIn profile at all.regrets

But here’s the thing:

I will never, not once, regret raising my son. It will not happen.

Jobs will come and go. The corporate rat race will continue indefinitely.

My son will only be little once. I count myself fortunate to be able to swing our finances in a way that I’m able to be part-time, because I do realize that this is a blessing that many families couldn’t possibly consider doing.

ImportantSo for now, I will treasure every day with my toddler. I’ll worry less about the corporate world. I’ll keep my connections and continue networking. And when the day comes that I head back into the workforce, I’ll face it proud with the years that I’ve just spent raising a little boy. Because my husband and I both know, raising our child is the most important job there is.

And to my wonderful, amazing husband that does work full-time making it possible for me to be part-time, I love you and appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. 

As an aside, if you’re wondering what the value of a stay-at-home mom is, check out this articleKT

…Not the mainstream mom.

Untitled.png

Oh the things I thought I would be as a mother BEFORE having my child… I was living in some crazy dream world.

I thought for sure I’d be the Pinterest moms in the photos. You know the ones: cute matching t-shirts, making all meals organic and from scratch, doing a different educational activity every day while also balancing a career.

Let me tell ya’ folks, I’m not that mom.

As I sit here in yoga pants and a shirt I wore in high school, with a pile of laundry next to me that has no less than 5 other pairs of yoga pants (ya know, enough to get me through an entire week,) I wonder if these supermoms really exist, or if it’s a big facade. (If you’re actually that supermom, just don’t tell me so that I can continue to think this is normal.)

We’re pretty active parents. We both work during the week, (I’m working part-time, and my husband full-time,) and run a business on the weekends. We grocery shop on a whim, clean the house infrequently and on turbo-speed during our son’s short naps, and our lawn looks like it’s battling some disease (it probably is.)

All those things I pinned on Pinterest while I was pregnant, planning to do when my son was finally here? I don’t think I’ve looked at a single one of them.

If I get through a day and have even 10 minutes to myself I feel pretty stinking accomplished.

 

Moderation. We hear it’s key all the time, but it’s so true. When I became a mother I completely lost myself in trying to keep up and have a picture-perfect life. It’s like I saw bits and pieces of how others parented, picked out all of the good, and tried to be that parent. I had zero time for myself.

And while I’ve learned to balance and make time for my own needs, I’m still often feeling inadequate thanks to the world we live in now where comparison is always glaring in your face (thanks, social media, you cruel bitch.)

My son is smart. Loving. Ornery. He’s exactly what a toddler should be, even if he isn’t doing Pinterest crafts every day and using baby sign-language or whatever the latest craze is.

So here’s the reality: my son is SO well-balanced, and so am I. Sometimes that means that he’s walking out the door with cheerios in his hair, or that the TV was on an episode longer that it should have been during the day, or that I haven’t had time to clothes shop for myself in an eon, and I live on coffee and dry shampoo.

Here I am world, imperfect. Imperfect, but somehow whole. I’m not leading a lesser life because I don’t add up to what other mothers add up to (whether they’re faking it or not. I’m speaking to you Hilaria Baldwin.)

-Katie

Valentine’s Day, EVERYDAY!

For those of you who don’t know, Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend. I think the Moms here with BurritoBuzz can all agree that it’s just another “Hallmark holiday” to us. Sure it’s great to celebrate it if that’s what you want, but to us, it’s the other 364 days of the year that matter most. We shouldn’t save our romance, thoughtfulness, and gifts for one night out of the year. Now I know finding time for you and your spouse sometimes is far and few between if you have little ones running around, but you have to make it work and find the time.

After talking with some of the Moms with BurritoBuzz, here are some of our recommendations to maintaining a happy, healthy relationship – not JUST on Valentine’s Day!

 

 

  1. Deliberate and scheduled date nights – It doesn’t matter if they are once a week, once a month, an overnighter, or just a couple hours away, make these happen. It is normal to feel guilty while you’re away, but you won’t regret it. You and your significant other need those moments together. It will get easier to be away from your kiddos. Try not to be on your phone texting, talking to your sitter ABOUT the kiddos while you’re gone either! There’s actually a really unique company called Datebox. It’s a subscription service where couples receive, “everything you need for a fun and creative date delivered to your door step every month!” One of the Moms with BurritoBuzz is going to be trying a box out here soon!!

untitled

 

  1. Scheduled family meetings (just the two of you) – Take this time to go over that months budget, schedule, events, etc. (It’s virtually impossible to fight about money and not keeping each other in the loop if you have a meeting specifically about it). Use a calendar, phone apps, etc. to keep a sort of family command post. This way everyone knows when things are occurring, who is babysitting, when bills are due, etc.

 

 

 

  1. “It’s the little things” – Just taking the little bit of time to let the other person know you are thinking about them is worth more than any bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates in my book. Put something by the bathroom sink before you got work, put a note in the others lunch, leave their favorite treat in their car cup holder, etc. Even if it’s as simple as sending a text saying, “I hope you’re having a good day.” It just lets the other person know that they’re on your mind. Who wouldn’t love this!?!?

love_note_postit

 

  1. YOUR time – Every couple’s schedules are different, but I believe it’s extremely important to be able to devote some portion of your day to each other. It might only be a few minutes of peace in quiet in the mornings before the kiddos are awake or right after the kiddos fall asleep for the night. Maybe it’s a Saturday afternoon and both kids are actually asleep at the same time. Either way, its quiet time, and those moments are important. I look forward to the evenings after we get both kids to bed. It might only be a half hour some nights, but it is still time that my husband and I can talk about our days, catch up on our DVR, and just be together. We try to limit using our cell phones, tablets, etc. at this time. It’s not quality time unless your both present, and I don’t think you’re really present if you’re glued to your phone.  

 

11137176_10204604909989027_1818297950117205645_n

 

  1. “Divide and Conquer” – This applies to everything in your household. I think if you and your significant other can work together, not only will you get to spend time untitledteamtogether in the end, you won’t feel like you’re doing all the work all the time. Usually I’m the one who makes dinner, which I actually enjoy doing most of the time. In return, my husband is the one who cleans up afterwards. Bath time is another thing we split up as well. Sometimes we each do one of the kids and sometimes one of us has to do them both, but I don’t consider it my job or his job; we share it. We help each other get the kids ready to go in the morning before we go to work when we can. There are other chores we do not split evenly. For instance, my husband takes out the trash, mows the lawn, and shovels the driveway, while I’m usually the one who packs lunches. Bottom line – we work together and it works for us.

 

 

  1. Talk – If something is bothering you, your significant other should be there for you to talk to. They should be one of the only people who you can be completely open and honest with about anything and everything. The issue may or may not pertain to them, but either way, you should be able to talk to them about it. Sometimes just talking about something that has been on your mind and getting it off your chest will make you feel 1000 times better afterwards!

5992e4396100460b264a5ce87aebeb9f

 

  1. Listen – It’s so important to be honest and open with your partner about everything, but along with that is also being a good listener. Sometimes your better half just needs to vent, cry, or talk, and you need to be that person for them. Even if they had the day off work and were home all day with the kids, that doesn’t mean it was just “a walk in the park” kind of day. They might just need a few minutes to talk to an adult about their day filled with baby talk and Paw Patrol.

 

 

  1. Don’t forget YOU – Try not to forget about yourself. If Mommy isn’t happy and loving herself, it will show in her household! You have to find time for YOU. Whether it’s a night out with girlfriends, getting groceries alone, painting your nails; sometimes a little time away can have a big affect on your mood and emotional well-being. I know I can get caught up in day-to-day Mommy tasks – work, eat, sleep, take care of the kids, repeat. I have to remember to take a little bit of time for myself from time to time. IT IS OKAY! It’s important for my whole family!! Keep this in my mind when it comes to your spouse/significant other too. Make sure you allow some time for him to get away too – playing video games, going to a football game, etc.

 

 

  1. Be away from work – Technology is great, but sometimes that means that you are cellphoneavailable to your job 24/7. When you are at home make sure you are actually at home and not still finishing up things from work. Sometimes you can’t avoid it, but if you are doing it every day, it is time to make a change. You’re family needs you to be present when you’re home. Leave work at work.

 

 

I think I could go on and on with this list. I think it’s so important to not forget about your relationship with your better half. It’s not all over after kiddos, it can just get better, but not without a little thought and care! You don’t have to go on a big elaborate date and spend tons of money to let the other person know you still love them. Keep it simple and do it every day of the year!

22222

 

-Megan

ABCs of Parenthood

Alcohol – Now that you’ve experienced your near 10 months of sobriety and been your hubby’s DD, it’s your turn! If you’re breastfeeding, it’s okay to take advantage as well, to an extent. Beer can even help boost your milk supply. After those long days and nights the first few weeks, you’re going to want to indulge a little, believe me! Even if alcohol isn’t your thing, I’m sure there is something that can help you unwind – exercise, ice cream, a good book, etc.

 

Breastfeeding – If you are able and want to breastfeed, this is going to be a big part of your life now that your baby is here. At the end of the day, do what is best for you and your new baby. Seek out support from friends, support groups, blogs, or a lactation consultant if you have questions or concerns. YOU can do it! The first few weeks can be the roughest, but don’t let that stop you. You’ll be glad you did it in the end. Plus, it’s totally convenient, saves money, and is super healthy for you and your baby.

8_why_breastfeed_large

 

Coffee – If you’re like me, you will find that there will NEVER be enough coffee some days. Drink up! If you avoided caffeine while you were pregnant, good for you. Now it’s time to welcome it back! I look forward to my morning cup of coffee, whether I’m drinking hurriedly on my way to work or sipping on it cold after several hours of chasing my kiddos around the house, it still tastes good. Enjoy!

 

Diapers – Whether cloth or disposable, these will be a part of your life for quite some time, especially if you have multiple little ones. You’ll change a bazillion (thats an understatement) of them and get quite good at it! Sometimes I think of it as a game – how fast can I get the dirty one off and the new one on – especially with my newest little guy. I have to get him changed before he decides he’s going to pee all over us both.

 

Eating – Make sure you’re not only feeding your baby and your family, but you’re not forgetting to feed yourself. Mommy needs food for fuel. You might think you’ve eaten enough by eating your toddlers’ leftovers or grabbing a quick bite on your way out the door in the morning, but more than likely it’s not enough. Try to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day if it’s too hard to sit down for 3 meals. Your kids keep you busy, but you need to make sure your eating so you have the energy to keep up!

nutrition-food.jpg

 

Fights – Pick your battles with your kiddos. Don’t argue over things that at the end of the day are unimportant. I know I haven’t even reached the peak of this because my kiddos are still little, but even with my almost 3 year old it has started. I’ve learned to not argue over the shirt she picked out or whether she has her shoes on the right feet but instead about brushing her teeth or holding my hand in a busy parking lot.

 

Giggles – There is nothing better than hearing our little babies giggle. Even though my oldest is going on 3, I still can’t get enough of her little belly laughs and the way her face lights up when she is happy and giggly. My youngest is 6 months old and in the phase where we can make him laugh now. I love hearing him and trying new ways to make him giggle at me.

 

Hero – I hope that someday my kids can say that I am their hero (or one of them). It’s actually something that I think about a lot and something that I strive to be for them. As their Mommy, I try to always keep in mind their best interest and to do things I would want them to be proud of me for. I want them to be able to look up to me as their role model. I need to be a positive influence and make good decisions in my life for them.

SuperMom

 

Inseparable – I didn’t leave my almost 3 year old overnight until right before her 2nd birthday. Am I crazy? Maybe just a little. I never had a reason to spend a night away from her so I just never did it. I’m inseparable from my kids, but at the same time I know and need to remember that someday I will have to let them go. I have to let my kids become their own individuals but that doesn’t mean I never, ever want to leave them!

 

Juggling – A great blog written by one of my fellow mommies here with Burrito Buzz. As mommies, we do all kinds of juggling! It’s an adjustment being a parent, but it’s the greatest adjustment we will ever adapt to. We aren’t perfect and being a Mommy is a lot of work, but we sure do know how to juggle it all in the end. You’re all pretty amazing!

 

Kitchen – You might be spending more time in here now that you have bottles and other baby items to wash which means your mobile little ones might be too. Make sure this area is safe. Make sure you have the cupboards and drawers kid-locked, especially those with sharp objects and harmful chemicals. We tried to keep at least one drawer and one cupboard accessible to our little ones so they could play in them with more kid friendly kitchen items. They love that!

 

 

Laundry – It is never ending, literally. The minute I feel like I’m all caught up, another load comes down the laundry chute. I’m so lucky that my husband and I share this chore, because it is time consuming. I wish I was better at doing like a load or two everyday instead of waiting and doing load after load all in one day. Maybe that way it wouldn’t seem like so much!

 

 

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse –Will this show ever go away!? I’m sure as my daughter who will be 3 in April grows out of Mickey Mouse, my 6 month old son will just be starting to like it. And the cycle will just continue – I’m stuck with it forever! We always have episodes saved in our DVR and it’s by far my daughter’s favorite cartoon. I guess there are worse things than hearing the Hot Dog song 5-6 times a day.

 

mmc

 

Naked – Our little ones have super sensitive skin and much of the time they are dressed, so take advantage of the naked times and make sure their skin is still precious as ever! Check for any new skin rashes, bumps, bruises, etc. 

 

OutsideGet out when you can and when the weather allows it. I always want my kids to want to be outside playing. I never want them to be the kids that are inside glued to the TV sitting on the couch. The activities outdoors are endless. Some of our favorites at home include the swing set, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and going for walks.

bird free

 

 

Pack – I’ve become quite the packer. Nights before I work the next day, I always get everything packed up for me, my husband, and the kiddos. It makes it a thousand times easier getting out the door in the morning. I also always have a fully stocked and ready to go diaper bag. I try to have a small bag left in each of our cars too with the basic essentials so my husband and I both always have whatever we might need when we are out.

 

Quiet time – You will learn to value the quiet moments. Being a Mommy can be chaotic, overwhelming, and just plain busy. I feel like I’m in a constant rush, rush, rush mode; especially through the work week. That quiet time, whether it’s in the mornings when I’m pumping before everyone else in the house is up or at night when I get to get a shower by myself, uninterrupted, is precious time. Enjoy it, soak it up.

 

Responsibility – There is no greater responsibility than being a parent. Not only are you responsible for making sure the essential daily needs of your children are met, but you are responsible for being a positive role model and support system. It’s the best responsibility but also the most crucial.

 

 

Spouse – I am a firm believer in spouses working together as a team when it comes to family and their household. You have to stick together on everything – discipline, chores, good times, bad times – your kids will sense when you don’t see eye to eye. If you do have fights (because let’s face it, you will) do it behind closed doors and don’t take it out on your kiddos. But at the end of the day, stick together and love one another.

 

Toddler – Although a super fun stage of our kiddos lives, it also brings its challenges. My oldest is a toddler. It’s so rewarding to watch her constantly learn, grow, and develop into a little girl who isn’t a baby any longer. I can see her own personality more and more. With that brings opinions, arguments, and tantrums, but it’s part of who she is becoming. Even in the most trying of moments, I know some day I will look back and miss these times! Enjoy them.

8T6oaMXjc

 

Unconditional love – There is not a better term to describe the relationship between parents and their kiddos. No matter how angry they make you or how disgusting they can be, we still love them. There will be days when they make you want to pull all of your hair out and nights where they won’t let you sleep, but we love them no matter what.

 

Versatile “able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities” – This is very important as a parent with little ones running around. I have quickly learned since becoming a mother that I have to be versatile. My plans may not always go the way I envisioned and I may never be on time again, but I can’t let that get me down. What matters is that me, my husband, and my little ones are happy.

 

 

Water – It is the best beverage for you and yours kiddos. If you struggle with drinking just plain water, add some lemon or lime. My kiddos only drink juice on rare occasions because I think it’s important for them to actually like water. I didn’t grow up that way and it took me until I was pregnant with my first to really start to like water and drink it all the time. I hope my kids can be the same because water is so important!!

untitled2

 

XOXO – As a parent, there is NEVER enough of these!! I especially love the before bed hugs and kisses and when my toddler kisses my 6 month old. It just makes my heart smile! I also love the hugs and kisses from my husband. I think our kids need to see that lovable connection between their parents.

 

Yelling – It is so difficult as a parent sometimes to keep your composure and not go off the handle on your kiddos, especially when it is over something minuscule. Maybe you’re just having a bad day. No matter what, try to think about it first before you yell at your little ones. I think there are moments when you need to raise your voice to get your point across, but if all you’re doing is yelling; your kids aren’t going to listen.

 

ZZZZZZ Have you been missing this lately?! I’ve learned to greatly appreciate every little bit of “ZZZZZs” that I can get since becoming a Mommy, even more so the second time around. With my first kiddo, I could rest and nap when she did, but that is so not the case with baby #2. One of them usually always needs me. I find myself doing things around the house or watching my DVR on the off chance they are both napping because there is always something to catch up on!

11954406161991568757Gerald_G_Cartoon_Cat_Sleeping.svg.hi

 

-Megan

Fight the FLU

*BurritoBuzz is a group of moms that gives advice, and any medical content should be regarded as non-professional advice. Please consult your physician with any medical concerns you may have.*

_____________________________________________________

 

I will start off by saying that I am not a physician. I’m only listing my recommendations from the perspectives of both a mother and a nurse. I cannot guarantee that you won’t get sick if you listen to me (wouldn’t that be a money maker!). My hope is that these simple tips will keep you and your loved ones healthy and happy this flu season. These tips come from experience (I have two kiddos and I work in healthcare) and I believe have helped keep myself and my family in good health in the past.

 

  1. Get a flu shot

You can read more about vaccinations in this blog by one of our guest bloggers about a month ago. No one enjoys getting stabbed with medication or watching their children get stabbed and crying hysterically thereafter. Let’s face it, it sucks getting shots. It also sucks being sick with the flu – fever, body aches, chills, fatigue – symptoms that last far longer than the quick little poke of a vaccine. These symptoms are also easily spread to others. Please get the vaccine to keep yourself and others at a decreased risk of getting the flu. It is so easy to get at most doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Most often it’s free. Your arm will be sore and your kiddos will probably cry but it is totally worth it!!!

 

images

 

  1. Drink water!

If you’re not sure if you’re drinking enough water, you probably need to drink more. According to the Institute of Medicine sited on Mayo Clinic, it’s recommended that women drink 9 cups of beverages a day and men to drink 13 cups of beverages. I know I personally struggle getting in this amount, but I really do try to have my own bottle/cup when I’m at work that I’m always refilling. I try to do the same thing at home. The bottle in the photo is similar to the one I received from my hospital after having a baby and I LOVE this thing. My 2.5 year old does too. It’s perfect because it large, insulated, and clear. I know I’m always getting plenty of water and it’s measured so I know how much!

 

5afd289459f408d0b284849f45c91bc4

 

  1. SLEEP

I know, I know. It is easier said than done, especially with little ones at home. Try to make an effort to get as much rest as you can. Even if it’s not always “sleeping,” resting/relaxing and just letting your body recharge and catch up is a good way to stay healthy. If you have kiddos at home, make sure they’re getting the rest they need too. Let them sleep in when they can and try not to skip nap time. We all need our rest!

 

  1. Wash your hands

This is a simple task. It’s so simple that sometimes it’s easily overlooked. We all should be washing our hands quite frequently especially when germs are more prevalent this time of year. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before preparing and eating food, after being in public places, after coughing/sneezing into them, the list goes on. If you’re not sure, just do it. You can use sanitizer too. Keep sanitizer always on hand – leave some in your diaper bag, purse, in your car, and around the house. Sometimes I just have my little one sanitize after using the bathroom or being outside, but other times a good hand washing is the best. Along with keeping your hands clean, try to keep other commonly used surfaces throughout your home clean too (this will keep those germs off of your hands in the long run!). I love my CLOROX wipes any time of year!

pDGC1-12184705v380

 

  1. Cover your cough

Use a tissue or cough into your elbow to avoid spreading those germs when you cough. If you do end up coughing into your hands, avoid touching anything and wash them ASAP. Pass these good habits on to your little ones. The sooner they learn to cover their cough appropriately, the better off everyone will be!!

 

  1. Stay away from others who are sick

This goes both ways. Try to avoid others that you know are ill and being in public places where you could come in close contact with potentially sick people. The same goes for you and your kiddos. If any of you are sick, stay home. Avoid spreading that sickness any further than beyond your own home.

 

  1. ENCOURAGE

We need to hold each other accountable. I mentioned before about teaching our kids early on about covering their cough and good hand hygiene. We should do the same with adults. Encourage visitors at your home to wash their hands before they hold your babies or coworkers to sanitize after blowing their nose. We have a strict policy at the hospital I work in to wash/sanitize our hands before and after entering a patient’s room. It doesn’t matter whether or not I touch anything while I’m in that room. Germs spread like wild fire, and we need to look out for ourselves and each other.

 

Along with what I consider “The Top 7,” it’s important to maintain a nutritious diet, regular exercise regimen, and manage your stress to stay healthy and avoid the flu. Even though flu season is upon us now, all of these tips should be utilized year-round as best we can. With just a few easy adjustments to our daily living, we can avoid feeling miserable and downright bad with crippling flu symptoms down the road.

 

Check out the CDC’s website for even more helpful links and tips to keep your family happy and healthy!!

 

– Megan

Juggling.

family-manager-pinkromaI juggle a lot. Anyone that knows me will tell you: I should probably take something off of my plate.

But that’s not an option. The income is important, from both my job and the photography.

I was working full-time before having my LO, and thought I would continue. About halfway through my pregnancy I decided I wanted to go part-time. So now I work MWF, about 25 hours a week. On top of that, I own and operate a photography business specializing in weddings and engagements, which occupies anywhere from 20-30 hours a week between shooting and editing. I also take care of our home (with the help of my husband,) and run this blog. My house is almost always spotless, which may be more attributed to a touch of OCD.

So how do I do it?

In all honesty: something is almost always being forgotten. Seriously. I make these mental lists of things I want to get done, and I end up remembering maybe 10% of it. (Right now, to get this blog done, I’m distracting my 9 month old with a pile of Puffs. You do what you’ve gotta do…)

Obviously, in order of priority, my LO comes first, followed by my jobs, and lastly my house (which is why my fridge currently contains milk and bread and nothing else.)

The key to being a working mom and keeping your sanity is organization.

unnamed-At my job: I have a running to-do list every day. I cross things off as they are finished or make notes to let myself know what still needs accomplished. I also keep a calendar of events, as well as utilize the post-it note feature on my desktop. One of the best ways I’ve found to remember various things in the moment is to actually open all of those browser tabs at once. This way, you’ll look at those tabs and go “why did I have this open?” It’s a quick way to make reminders.

-With my business: I am excessively organized. I have contracts, a calendar of events, reminders, and paperwork for clients to fill out. I know who is watching my child at what time, as well as what they will need paid. I also keep many of the papers with me when I’m out on a shoot (itineraries, important phone numbers, etc.) In doing my business finances, I have several spreadsheets of information to account for itemizing come tax time.

-With my house and family: we have a boogie board on our fridge that keeps us in check. The board can be locked, and you can cross things off and add notes. No need for pens and paper. Outside of that, my husband an71Z22Va1imL._SL1500_d I have a shared Google calendar, and we always have a plan for the day (who is dropping off, who is picking up, who is responsible for dinner… or for picking up Chipotle, most often.) We are CLEAR on communication, i.e. “can you do this, that, and the other tonight” or “I already did this, that, and the other.” I also use the “reminders” feature on my iPhone. My iPhone runs all things, knows all things, and is the sole reason I’m mildly sane. Siri reminds me of all the things I would otherwise forget. Siri… you beautiful virtual woman you.

No part of this is easy. Some days it’s downright daunting. With some organization and planning, things generally go pretty smoothly (by smoothly, I mean that we have never forgotten to pick up our child, and our house hasn’t burned to the ground yet.)

Good luck, mommas! You’ve got this!

-Katie

Top 5 CrockPot Suppers

The CrockPot is by far my favorite kitchen appliance. Not only are they relatively inexpensive to buy, they make mealtime a breeze. I am a huge fan of fix-it and forget it meals. There is no better feeling than getting home from a long day at work and having dinner already done and ready to go. No additional brain power is necessary, just open up your slow cooker, and enjoy. The little bit of extra time it takes in the morning before work to get things into the CrockPot is totally worth it in the long run. I like to believe that you can cook just about ANYTHING in the CrockPot. From dessert to breakfast, it’s an excellent way to cook for a crowd or to have a few days of leftovers. It’s perfect for using up old pantry items and overly ripe vegetables.

There are many makes, models, and sizes of slow cookers out on the market. I am partial to the CrockPot brand, because it is all I have used and I have never had problems. I imagine they all cook similarly. I have the basic CrockPot seen here on Amazon. At times, I wish it were the programmable model, but like I said, it’s all that I know, and I’ve grown used to the 3 options of “Low, High, and Warm.” My second, wonderful CrockPot is this casserole model. It was new on the market last year, and I Had To Have It. I have found it handy to make any recipe, including new casserole dishes. I also like that it is shallower but still holds the same amount of food. With two slow cookers, sometimes both are going simultaneously.

41pU77gvjuL

I wanted to compile a list of my family’s favorite CrockPot suppers. I like to try a variety of recipes and a lot of the time I modify them to what my family and I enjoy. I don’t often make the same recipe twice. The 5 recipes below have definitely been made on more than one occasion because they’re the favorites!

  1. Caesar sandwiches

SLOW-COOKER-CHICKEN-CAESAR-SANDWICHES-from-Rachel-Schultz-2

You cannot go wrong with this recipe. My husband gives it 5 stars. It is so delicious, great as leftovers, and you can make as much as you want – great for parties. Here is the site where I originally found the recipe, but I will be honest, I’ve made it so much now that I never use a recipe. Throw in your white meat chicken (fresh or frozen, breasts or tenders) along with your water; I also add some garlic, onion, salt and pepper at this time too for extra flavor. Cook on low all day (anywhere from 7-10 hours). If you’re in a hurry, you can cook it on high for 4 hours. When it’s cooked through, remove the chicken from the pot, dump out your cooking liquid, and return your chicken back to the slow cooker. Mix in your parmesan cheese, Caesar dressing, and parsley while simultaneously shredding up the chicken. I usually let it heat through on low for another 15-20 minutes at this time, or as long as you can hold off from eating this good stuff. It’s great hot or cold, bun or wrap. We have tried it all, because it is that good!!

2. Creamy Italian Chicken

006.1

This recipe is even simpler than the first one. I can’t remember where I originally found it, but I imagine it was somewhere on PINTEREST. Similar to the one above, into your CrockPot place your fresh or frozen white meat chicken along with 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, 1 – 8oz cream cheese, and 1 packet dry Italian dressing seasoning. I don’t even mix everything together anymore. That’s it. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (I’ve let it go 10 with no problem) and shred it up when it’s done right in the sauce. It’s excellent served over pasta. This is where I usually use up partial boxes of leftover noodles and sometimes there’s 2-3 kinds mixed together. This one will require more than one helping, trust me!

3. Short Ribs

RE0606_easy-bbq-short-ribs_s4x3

I never cooked ribs until I made this CrockPot recipe. I will admit, I was scared to make them. I never knew of a good recipe and I thought they were just too hard to make. But ribs in a CrockPot – maybe this could work. I was eager to try it out and was pleasantly surprised at the result. My family loved them and everyone always asks for the recipe. The meat literally falls off the bone after these cook on low all day long. You can’t beat it.

½ can tomato soup

¼ cup cider vinegar

¼ cup brown sugar

½ tablespoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon chili powder

Mix above ingredients together. Place your ribs (2-5 lbs) in the slow cooker first, pour mixture over top. Cook on low 8 hours.

4. Roast & Potatoes

Slow-Cooker-Pot-Roast-with-Potatoes-and-Carrots-550x367

Meat and potatoes are a staple meal in any kitchen. We like beef in our home so much we decided to buy 1/3 cow. We have done this in the past, and we find it super handy to have beef always available in the freezer. The meat is better quality and often leaner than what you would find in a typical supermarket. It’s also less expensive and can be ordered in the cuts and amounts you wish (ground beef, roasts, ribs, steaks, etc). If you have the space available, this is highly recommended!

Putting any cut of roast in the CrockPot with vegetables and letting it slow cook on low heat all day long is a delicious, simple, and healthy meal. It’s very versatile – I feel like I make it differently every time. The classic route uses potatoes, onions, and carrots, but play around with it. Add any ripe veggies you may have. I’ve used tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers. The possibilities are endless. Below is a recipe I made recently that was an instant hit with the fam and we had leftovers for lunches too. Most recipes you will find will recommend browning your meat in a skillet prior to putting it in the slow cooker. I rarely do this. It does add some flavor, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Most of the time I put my roast in and it’s still frozen.

3-5 lb Beef or Pork Roast

Veggies – potatoes (3-5), carrots, peppers, onions, zucchini, squash, mushrooms (enough to fill the pot)

1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce

½ can water

1 packet brown gravy mix

Minced onion (if not using raw)

Minced garlic

Put everything together in the CrockPot and cook on low 6-8 hours. Enjoy!

5. Cola & Bacon Roast Beef

cola-roast-beef

This next recipe is a twist on meat and potatoes. It’s not as simple as the recipe above, but it tastes even better. The extra steps that include added bacon crumbles and making gravy create mouthwatering flavors that I promise you will love. All of the ingredients are things most of us have on hand (cola, bacon, onion soup mix, cream of celery soup, and corn starch). It pairs great with mashed potatoes, so I thought it was only fitting to provide a CrockPot mashed potato recipe too, but any potato would work perfectly.

I hope these recipes are enjoyed by not only you, but also your family. I also hope that they will help create a new found love between you and your CrockPot. It’s a great appliance that can ease that busy Mom life so many of us have. Instead of trying to figure out what’s for dinner all week, pick up some of the ingredients from the recipes we love at my house, and let the slow cooker do the rest!

-Megan

I FEEL ALIVE

37285-Take-Care-Of-YourselfI feel alive! Says no new mom ever after having a baby.

I was so used to a standard of living, that revolved around ME. Coffee was optional, eyeliner mandatory, and anything short of a 15 minute shower was a sin especially if it didn’t include some great smelling exfoliate and my Clarisonic.)

Once that tiny human entered into the world? Game. Over. I seriously looked like I’d lived on the streets of Chicago for the past 5 years. No sleep. No time. Endless worrying. And the visitors. Ohhhhh the visitors.

I found myself scrambling to get my house clean and look presentable before people came over (and honestly, this hasn’t changed. Sure, my 9 month old is more independent now, but not so much that I really have “me” time. Showers are still 5 minutes long, and getting ready includes some quick makeup and taking a curling iron to my usually still-wet hair (don’t yell at me hair stylist friends! I know, this is bad.)

So, I figured I’d compile a list of items that made me feel ready for the day as a new mom.

  1. Dry Shampoo: I’m the type of person that showers daily. I just have naturally oily skin and need to shower to feel clean all the time. But, I swear by dry shampoo (again, as a person with oily skin.) My favorite? Dove.
  2. 300Yoga Pants: Not just any yoga pants, the good kind that sucks in the post-baby pouch.
  3. Facial Wipes: I paired Burt’s Bee’s with some Garnier moisture rescue. k2-_c5c724b7-2a9d-4f21-b5d1-8993f714444f.v2
  4. Coffee. Coffee coffee coffee. Just have it. A lot of it. Always. 
  5. A few cute, comfortable shirts that are larger than what you’d normally wear. I paired a ton of baggy shirts with yoga pants until I felt comfortable in my jeans again. And if you’ve had a c-section, you’ll really be thanking yourself for buying some comfy clothing.
  6. 14414958Elf Eyeliner, and Estee Lauder lipstick. Not everyone loves makeup, but I do. I worked for Dior for a while, and my family is basically composed of various makeup-artist types. So, I needed a few things that would last through the day. Elf cream eyeliner, and an Estee Lauder lipstick always survived the chaos.
  7. As always, take care of yourself. Vitamins, healthy eating, small workouts, and napping if you get the chance. All of this is easier said than done, but it makes a difference. (And to anyone dealing with some post-partum baby blues or depression, exercise and keeping yourself healthy will only aid you in getting back to your normal mentality.)

-Katie

Uniforms in the Laundry {Military Wives & Deployment Part 1}

image

I wanted to do a short blog series reaching out specifically to military moms. We are a small army (ha) of women that experience a lifestyle that not many can relate to or comprehend. We experience long absences from our men filled with worry and stress. And we also take on a role of solo parenting. We definitely aren’t single moms, but we also have to learn to speak as both parents and guide our children through their emotions and confusion. This series will be focused on letting you know that you are most definitely not alone and that there are many skills and resources available that will help you get through.

My grandfather has been a counselor for a program called Grief Share for many years. I’ll never forget the summer that my family and I lived with him while our new home was being built. I was in high school and my boyfriend (now DH) had just left for bootcamp to begin his career in the Navy. One day shortly after we dropped him off, my grandpa caught me sitting on the floor in his hallway, crying. He immediately came over, embraced me and simply said “I’ve been expecting this.” He explained to me that military life with the constant separation, is not unlike the grieving process. That really resonated with me and helped me accept the range of emotions I was experiencing as normal.

imageLater, as I began to study in the field of psychology, I discovered how true his words really were. There is a model you may have heard of called the 5 Stages of Grief. It is based on the premise that everyone experiences the stages of mourning and loss in the same way. I think every military spouse and family can relate to this broad spectrum of emotions and thoughts we go through when facing a long separation. For me, seeing my experience of what feels like absolute chaos explained in a way that is logical, to be expected and with hope found at the end is incredibly comforting. I give you…

The 5 Stages of Separation:

1. Denial

Whenever I learn of an upcoming deployment, my brain immediately goes into this protective mode. I’ll tell myself, “Nope. I didn’t just hear that. Not the “D” word. We’re just going to pretend that conversation never happened. Carry on then..

This is the time when I am the best “military wife.” I say phrases like “Well it’s the imagemilitary, deployment is a part of it” and “It’s a hard life but you learn to adjust.”

I’m really, really good at the Denial stage. I can cruise in denial until about 2 weeks before he leaves. Yes, I’m making preparations like purchasing items he’ll need and stocking up on the abundance of lean cuisines that I’ll be living off of for the next x amount of months. But I may as well be planning a backyard BBQ.

2. Anger

The Anger Stage irritates me in so many ways but for some reason, I only notice it in other people. Funny how that works. Something about the plank in my own eye. In the anger stage, it’s all about you. When someone is in the Anger Stage, you’ll hear a lot of how “no one understands” and “how dare that girl complain that she misses her husband when he’s just leaving for two weeks!” No. No, that woman is allowed to be upset. Yes, your husband may have been to Afghanistan and you had a baby while he was gone and it was absolutely horrendous. But that should never diminish someone else’s pain. Anyone can experience that debilitating loneliness, no matter how long the separation. This isn’t a game of “whose husband has been gone the longest.”

The Anger Stage is ugly. While you’re in it or around someone else that’s in it. It blows.

3. Bargaining

In this stage, I’m like a child that knows she can’t get her way but is making up crazy alternatives just to try. I say things like “well maybe the deployment will be canceled” or “what if you broke your arm or needed a surgery or something? Could you get out of it then?” It’s a pathetic, pointless segway into….
4. Sadness

This stage always hits me unannounced. For some reason it’s usually the laundry that does it. I’ll be folding a basket and putting away something of his and think to myself “Only a few more baskets and I won’t see his uniforms in the laundry anymore” Yea. Highway to depression.

And then he’ll be gone. In some ways the sadness never completely leaves. In the happy moments, the sadness is “wow, he would have really loved to have been there for this.” In the broken moments it’s “I really, really need him right now. Right this second. And he’s not here.” Even in the everyday moments like “if I seriously have to touch that nasty garbage can and bring it to the curb one more week I’m going to scream!”

This is when deployment is truly like grief. When you aren’t sure what to say to your toddler that hears the garage door open and says “Dada? Dada?” over and over. When people ask you how you’re doing and you robotically reply “Oh we’re getting by!” Because your spouse, your partner, your co-parent isn’t there and the worry that you constantly push out of your brain of where he is or what he’s doing weighs on you daily.

Sadness is the worst.

5. Acceptance

I guess you can say this is what separates the ones that can from the ones that can’t. Because some truly can’t make it in a life that is constant coming and going, unpredictable schedules, worry, trust issues, solo parenting. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. But this is where the opportunity lies for truly thriving in such a chaotic lifestyle.

In Part 2, I’ll talk about the several phenomenal organizations available for military families to reach out to for support, education, and friendship. There is a unique community that actually, truly does know what you are going through. Please don’t miss the followup blog on several resources to take advantage of!

 

The bottom line is, it’s ok. It’s ok to feel sad, angry, lonely and even depressed at times. The important thing is that we are constantly growing stronger and closer. If we, as military spouses allow these emotions and struggles to overwhelm us, it can result in tragedy for our personal lives, our marriages and our examples as parents. You are not alone. Making it through a deployment and coming out as a stronger, better person and family is possible. Even I need to hear that reminder, especially during those Anger and Sad days where I just feel like falling to pieces. Let’s move forward and embrace this life that is so important and is not for the faint of heart.

-Chelsea

Read more about staying connected during a deployment in Part 2 here: http://www.burritobuzz.com/2015/11/04/connected-military-wives-deployment-part-2/

Back to the Grind

pale_yellow_and_white_interlocking_concentric_circlesBack to the Grind

The time has come. You’ve just spent 12 long, often sleepless, but wonderful weeks at home with your new little bundle of joy. You never thought this day would come. There were days when you almost wanted to go back, days you cried because you were just too tired to function and wanted to get away. But deep down, you really would not want to be anywhere else than at home snuggling your babe. Unfortunately, it’s time to go back to the daily grind and return to work. You’re feeling anxious, sad, scared and just plain dread having to leave your little one.

Does this sound familiar?

As a Mommy of two little ones, I’ve felt these emotions and “been there” twice now. For me, going back to my nursing job at an area hospital was inevitable. I knew I would work as far through my pregnancy as I could handle, have my sweet little baby, and then head back to work 12 weeks later. All occupations and individuals are different, but no matter what, returning to work is an adjustment. The fear and stress you may be feeling in the days and weeks leading up to the day could be lessened with some thought and planning.

My hope is that these top 5 tips I have will not only decrease the amount of anxiety you have leading up to the day you’re back on the job, but will also make being at work a little easier.

  1. Make a plan. In the days and weeks leading up to the first day back, start to plan. This can include everything from your childcare provider to the meals on the table. I think planning ahead and being prepared not only makes things easier once the day arrives but it reduces stress all around. We would not have a home cooked meal on the table every night if it wasn’t for the CrockPot. There are so many recipes out there for anything and everything. Most of the time, you can just dump in all of your ingredients before work, turn it on low, and by the time you get home, dinner is served! Best invention ever. Another perk is that there are often leftovers for dinners later in the week and lunches. In our house, we also utilize a calendar that’s right on the refrigerator. This way my husband always knows what shift I’m working and who is watching our kids. We also keep track of when we drop off and pick up our kids here so we know what to pay our sitter. Other appointments and social events are here too that way we can all stay on the same page.
  1. Delegate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all have different people around us supporting us, so use it! Try not to hesitate when it comes to delegating tasks to your spouse or older kids. Don’t be embarrassed to accept help either, especially if someone offers it. My husband and I always refer to ourselves as a Team. We stick together when it comes to decisions and discipline, and we work together when it comes to household chores – we need each other. Our household would not be as “happy” as it is the majority of the time if my husband and I didn’t work together. I know I can always ask him to do something and he will do it. We’re in this together. It’s our family. I cannot wait until our oldest can be more included in this too (she’s 2.5)!
  1. Love your caregiver(s). I know it is not always easy to find good childcare. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the childcare that we have and my hope is that you all can find someone equally as wonderful. The most important thing is how you’re going to feel while your child is in the hands of these individuals. If you’re not comfortable and at ease when they are there, you will never feel good leaving them. You can’t put a price on that. Don’t be afraid to ask them anything and everything before you make your decision to go with them. Try to have them watch your little one for a short time prior to you going back so you can all feel better with the transition. When I went back to work after my second child, I had my sitter watch both of my kids individually for a few times and then together too. She was used to watching my oldest daughter, but I wanted to make sure she was completely comfortable with them both before a full 9 hour day. Also, see if your care provider is willing to call or text you updates throughout the work day. I know I look forward to photos of my little ones when I’m on a break at work.

 

  1. Commit to breastfeeding. If this is the route you are going, commit now and don’t look back. Chances are it’s been going relatively well for you up until this point and it still can! Talk to your employer prior to returning so they are aware that you plan to breastfeed and can be accommodating. You guys can discuss where you would pump and how often. Remember to begin using your electric breastpump more and begin building a milk supply as it gets closer to when you will be going back. I found that I was able to freeze about a bottle or two a day by pumping after my little guy’s first two feedings of the day. I also eat oatmeal and drink lots of water. I try to take advantage of the times when I am home and make sure I nurse then. Nothing helps your supply more than that mommy/baby bonding.

There are a few products that have made breastfeeding a success the first time around that I continue to use now with my second child. My Medela double electric breast pump is one of those items. It is still going strong with baby #2 and I was super pumped to learn that my insurance covered a second double electric pump with my second pregnancy. Now I have a pump I can keep at work and one at home. Call your insurance company if you are unsure about your coverage. All insurances should cover at least one pump. It’s going to sound silly, but I also love my Medela hand breastpump. It’s super nice to use if you just need to pump one side and doesn’t take as long to set up/clean up. It’s manual so you also don’t have to worry about plugging it in for power. Finally, I could not live without my breastpump bustier by Medela. It allows you hook up your double electric pump and be hands free. This gives me the freedom to chart, eat lunch, or talk to my family while I’m getting in my work day. At home it comes in handy if I’m brushing my teeth, doing dishes, or making a pot of coffee. My hands are free. It is a lifesaver.

 

  1. Stay positive. There are going to be moments when you feel guilty. That is normal. It kills us inside when we have to be away from our little ones all day and then when we are home we are just preparing for the next work day. You are not alone. Going back to work is what is best for you and your family. Your little one doesn’t even realize you are gone, and he or she is in good hands. Take advantage of the moments when you and your family are all together. Even though your baby may not understand, he or she will sense any stress or tension you might be having, so do your best to leave that at work.

We can do this!! There are working moms everywhere. The day always arrives where our maternity leave comes to an end and we make the leap back into the workforce. Be patient during the transition back. It’s okay to feel emotional and guilty. There may even be a part of you a little excited to go back, getting back into your old routine, and having adult interaction. That’s okay too! I hope these tips can ease your mind. They have helped me tremendously, especially the second time around.

Is there anything that made going back to work easier for you?

-Megan

Raising Sons as Feminists

83d7e83dc7e8fe9d2c6048c08acf19ddI didn’t hear the word “feminist” until high school. I grew up in a family primarily composed of home-makers (and all the credit to them, because I can honestly say, being a part-time worker now, that the days I stay home with my almost 9 month old are vastly more exhausting than my days at work.) That being said: not once as a youth did I think to myself “I want to grow up and be a stay-at-home-mom.”

I have a questionnaire that I did when I was in second grade, where I proudly wrote that my future career would be a “paleontologist.” (1. I was a strange, nerdy kid. 2. I’m okay with that.)

Feminism is so much more than rising above the glass ceilings and ideal standards for women. So much more. It’s about being equally respected, with equal rights, equal pay. It’s being an intellectual equal to our male counterparts.

Feminism is a scary word to many, and often stereotyped as being said by the woman that lives some kind of crazy, nomadic life, and doesn’t shave her armpits or wear makeup or make dinner (which really, a feminist CAN be all of these things, but doesn’t HAVE to be.) To me, it’s always been having the option to do what you want. If you want to cook dinner and raise babies and wear makeup everyday? Great. You can totally still be a feminist. If you’re like me and it varies day-to-day, great, also a feminist.

Equality for women is far from being a dead subject. We have a LONG way to go. Keeping the ball rolling doesn’t just mean teaching our daughters to be strong women, but also teaching our sons how to empower and respect women.

This starts with me! 705db224cd2b6327e87131511e004670

My son is nearly 9 months old now. Soon he’ll be jabbering away, soaking in as much as he can into his little sponge of a baby brain. So yes, while he’ll mostly be learning colors, Dr. Seuss, and how to use the potty for the next few years… teaching feminism starts early! He’ll know that his little girl friends are his equals and treat them as such.

Why? Someday he’ll be in a workforce, or a husband, father, etc. He will be working with women on a daily basis in so many aspects of his life. He’s a white male, meaning that he faces the fewest economic hurdles of any race or gender. So he’s going to use that for GOOD and I’m going to teach him how.

The obstacles that he and I face in learning feminism are enormous. To many, gender roles should still exist. We have an increasingly sexualized culture, where woman are taught that looking hot and acting stupid will get you anything you want in life. (Turn on the TV for just a few minutes, and really pay attention… even food commercials utilize “sex” to sell.)

So my plan? I’ll be teaching him as much and as soon as possible. He’ll know that pink doesn’t have to be girly, and that a girl might kick his a$$ at a sport someday. I’ll surround him with as many empowered women as possible, and men that have the same ideals. He’ll learn respect, and he’ll live by it. I will teach him through example and try to be the strongest feminist momma I can be.

(I may still shave my armpits, but that’s just because arm pit hair is gross. I still think my husband should shave his too.)

My husband may not outright call himself a “feminist” but he definitely is one. He has pushed me to be the best I can be, and not trivialized my decisions. I was the bread-winner for many years, and he never belittled the work that I did. When I made the decision to go part-time, he was 100% on board. He helps with laundry, cleaning, groceries, and the care of our son. And while cooking dinner will never be his strong-suite, he’s as much of a “home maker” as I am.

My son will be a feminist. And his parents will teach him.

-Katie

I’m watching Kelly & Michael (and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.)

kelly-ripa-michael-strahanI’m sitting here on my day off. Baby coaxed to sleep by a vibrating, humming elephant that is actually kind of creepy. Coffee in hand. Pajamas still on. And Kelly & Micheal on my TV, which is usually playing cartoons. There are so many things I could be doing…

…editing photos from the many photo shoots we’ve had this fall season (my husband and I are photographers on the side.)

…sweeping my house.

…laundry (always the laundry.)

…putting on makeup?

It’s one of those mornings where it’s just not happening. You can’t guilt me.

My tiny human has been sleeping like he’s a newborn again, up every few hours or more. Teething like crazy, whining and flailing around trying to grow some tiny bones from his face. I’m not discrediting that it hurts to grow teeth, but as parents our exhaustion level is intense.

I didn’t even want to write this blog. Hashtag honesty?

I want to sit mindlessly and watch Kelly & Michael. I’ve always been jealous of people that can just watch Kelly & Michael (or Kathy Lee and Regis, Regis and Kelly, Kelly/Michael with random hosts.) I’ve always worked full-time, so by the time the show is on I’m laboring over a keyboard staring at a bright computer screen. After having a baby and going part-time, my days became filled with cartoons.

I’m a total busybody (and everybody knows it.) My brain is almost incapable of letting me just do nothing, even for a few minutes.

Sometimes I need the reminder of how much I’m actually doing. Raising a baby in itself is hard work, and all the other work on top of it? Sometimes I’m not sure how I do it. I need to cut myself a break and not feel guilty.

So today I’m going to sit, even if it’s just for 10 minutes to watch Michael and Kelly. It’s happening. You should make it happen, too. 

-Katie

Making Your Own Baby Food- Way Easier, Way Faster Than You Think!

happybaby-organic-frozen-baby-food

Seriously, it is I promise! When I was about 5 months pregnant I decided that I needed to create enough baby food to last my child her entire life. I really went a little nuts with how much I made, but when the time came for solids, I was so glad I had everything prepped and ready to go! One less thing for my new mom brain to worry about.

I am really not a crazy organic/all natural person. Will I choose something that is GMO-free and all natural ingredients 9 times out of 10? Sure. But I’m not shopping at Whole Foods on the regular. I’m a sahm and military spouse, ain’t nobody got funds for that. I buy what is reasonably priced and what works for my family. When it came to my LO, I looked at all the prepackaged options out there and was just disgusted. It looked nasty, it sounded nasty and the price was outrageous. I started doing some research (thank you Pinterest) and realized that it is super easy to make your own baby food that can sustain freshness for months in the freezer. So I decided to get to work…

STEP ONE: Buy Food

Fruits, veggies, grains, you can even get a little wild and try meats. Fresh, frozen, canned…it doesn’t matter. Here are some recommended starter foods that most babies generally like (until they become toddlers of course) and are safe for baby tummies:

  • STAGE 1 (4-6 months old): Carrots, Avocados, Sweet Potatoes, Bananas, Peas, Apples, Pears
  • STAGE 2 (6+ months or when you and your pediatrician think your LO is ready for thicker purees and textures): Squash, Brown Rice, Blueberries, Chicken, Spinach, Lentils, Yogurt, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Rice, Mango

STEP TWO: Prep and Blend

Pick an afternoon (really you could do it in an hour) and gather a couple things together:

  • All your fruits, veggies and grains
  • Ice cube trays
  • Freezer Bags
  • Sharpie
  • Blender

Steam any fresh or frozen fruits or veggies so they are good and soft. Obviously canned goods are ready as is. Make sure everything has cooled before you start blending.

baby-bulletWhen I did my foods, I used a Baby Bullet. I registered and received one as a gift at my baby shower. Loved it. All of the accessories and storage containers are super helpful. I especially love the grinder attachment that allows you to grind grains, nuts, etc. to add to your baby foods (read: make your own rice cereal!). Is a Baby Bullet completely necessary? Not at all. Any good quality blender will do.baby food trays

Now you’re ready to blend all of your ingredients. I started simple. Carrots and sweet potatoes together, bananas, and peas and avocados together. You can also blend in rice cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, whatever other additives you want to your mixtures. I was too scared to try meat but I know you can easily blend meat and freeze as well. After everything is blended to a very smooth texture, pour the mixture into ice cube trays.

STEP THREE: Freeze, Label and Store

Pretty self explanatory. Once everything is frozen, pop them out, place into freezer bags and clearly label and date. If you have a deep freezer, this is optimal to ensure your baby food stays the freshest for the longest amount of time. Different foods vary in how long they keep while frozen. A simple google search will tell you how long each food you chose will keep.

STEP FOUR: Serve

To defrost, I simply place one frozen piece into a microwave safe bowl and put it in for about 15 seconds at a time until it was completely thawed but not too hot.

That’s it! I told you, simple! Not only is making your own baby food wayyyy cheaper, but you also have the peace of mind in knowing exactly what is going into your LO’s belly. This is also a very effective way to track any allergies or sensitivities your child might have. Starting with one food at a time for a few meals before introducing a new one will help you pinpoint the cause of any reaction very easily.

Now I’m no doctor, but I swear making my own baby food helped my LO be a more tolerant eater as she grew into toddlerdom. Her favorite food is still peas. She is much more likely to try new things as finger foods because she is used to eating all sorts of colors and textures as baby foods. We were also very lucky that she has had minimal food sensitivities throughout her transition into solid foods. Every child is different. In my opinion, what do you have to lose? Do yourself a favor, save the future new-baby-no-sleep-going-crazy you a little sanity and plan ahead.Especially if you are planning to return to work, this will be a lifesaver. It’s not rocket science and trust me, you’ll be so thankful you did!

-Chelsea

The Stigmas of SAHMs: A Day of Nothing

We all know the look. The look we get when we tell acquaintances, friends, even family members, that we’re choosing to become a stay at home mom. It’s a look of confusion, surprise, pity, jealousy and “judgyness”. This segment is about overcoming the stigmas of being at SAHM. Whether placed on us by loved ones, SOs, friends, strangers, MSM, or even ourselves, stigmas are the mantras we tell ourselves over and over that slowly break us mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We can overcome these debilitating scripts. We can become the all-star parents we saw ourselves being from the minute that pink line smiled back at us.

Let’s do this together. Let’s learn everything we can and become fulfilled as women and mothers in this role we were created to thrive in.

“Well it’s not like you do anything all day..”

image

I am not a Stepford wife. But some days, I find myself trying to live up to irrational standards that I put on myself. Maybe I constantly smell of pledge and downy because of the stellar example set by my mother. Or maybe even because I’ve seen a lot of examples of how I don’t want my home to be run. I’ve been known to be folding laundry and unloading the dishwater seconds before my head hits the pillow. But many days I take a step back, exhale, and tell myself that the crumbs in the rug and the frozen pizza in the oven will not kill anybody. I take a look at my beautiful crazy family and I thank God for every minute I get with them.

You’ve read all the cute little stories titled “this husband can’t afford his wife.” Laundry? $50 a load. Cooking? $100 a day. My DH is active duty military. I won’t go into detail, but his job is up and down, coming and going, and so much unpredictability I could scream (sometimes I do). He doesn’t expect me to do all the things that I do, but I do them anyway. I live by the motto that a home should be a place we want to go. I want to come home to peace, a decent level of cleanliness and less stress on the inside than out. I clean my home and prepare 3 meals a day and try to keep my toddler alive from 6 am til 7 pm (even those sleeping hours still stress me some nights). I’m starting grad school (again) and writing for this incredible blog. I am no super mom or wife. But I do work. All day long.

We’ve talked before in this blog about PPD. I myself went through a mild dose of the baby blues that took me a while to overcome. I was lucky. My symptoms were very typical, mainly fatigue, lack of energy, lack of motivation and little interest in things that I usually enjoyed. With prayer, incredible friends and a supportive family, I overcame my symptoms.

But during this time specifically, I felt others attempt to use my SAHM status for their own benefit. People asked me to babysit for two weeks straight or drive 45 minutes with a newborn to meet for coffee, or got offended when I didn’t answer their calls every. single. day to talk about their latest coworker drama. And maybe I’m being insensitive, but I honestly did not care. Most days I was praying nap time came faster and maybe for a shower that day. I did not want to watch their children or load up my car to survive an afternoon out with a nursing infant. I didn’t even want to listen to their coworker’s latest fashion crime. And that is ok. Because that time finally passed and I was able to enjoy the little things again and get some frickin sleep! But that still didn’t make me a doormat.

For these, and ten thousand other reasons, I can literally physically feel my blood pressure rising and my hair getting a little more red when someone dares to say to me “Well, it’s not like you’re doing anything so….(insert annoying favor)” Excuse me. Do you see a living human hanging off my leg? Well apparently I’m at least feeding and cleaning that little person. It’s funny how remarks like that come from individuals who have never cared for a child or spent longer than a child-induced chaotic weekend at home. It doesn’t matter. There is no excuse for diminishing the role of a mother. Any mother. But especially one that is home all day kissing boo boos, singing ABCs, wiping mashed peas off the ceiling and somehow manages to keep the home together enough to live in.

Do not ever let someone make you feel as though you are lazy or wasting your days away by spending them with your child. These developmental years, (and childhood and teenage years) matter. Being a constant positive presence for you child fulfills so many needs their little hearts and brains don’t even know they need. And those days when that toddler is a little hellion and you just want to scream and put them to bed at 2 in the afternoon, still know, you simply being there is everything that child needs.

Let your house be knee deep in toys, a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven and still be wearing yesterday’s sweats from time to time. You are there for your child. You are working so hard every minute of the day to learn patience, teach, provide for, and deepen a bond that your child will not soon forget. Don’t let someone make you feel inferior because you do the most important job on earth (it’s corny I know, but oh so true). We’ve got this. We work HARD every day. We are no one’s doormat and it is ok to say no to those “favors” other people think we have all the time for. You’re doing an amazing job, stay at home mom.

-Chelsea

Read more of our SAHM Stigmas series here:

SAHM Stigmas: Finances “We can’t afford this”

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/14/the-stigmas-of-sahms/

SAHM Stigmas: Careers

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/18/the-stigmas-of-sahms-careers

The Stigmas of SAHMs: Careers

We all know the look. The look we get when we tell acquaintances, friends, even family members, that we’re choosing to become a stay at home mom. It’s a look of confusion, surprise, pity, jealousy and “judgyness”. This segment is about overcoming the stigmas of being at SAHM. Whether placed on us by loved ones, SOs, friends, strangers, MSM, or even ourselves, stigmas are the mantras we tell ourselves over and over that slowly break us mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We can overcome these debilitating scripts. We can become the all-star parents we saw ourselves being from the minute that pink line smiled back at us.

Let’s do this together. Let’s learn everything we can and become fulfilled as women and mothers in this role we were created to thrive in.

image

“Oh so you don’t want a career then?”

Um….excuse me? Someone actually said that to me when they learned that I was becoming a SAHM. While resisting the urge to spit my entire academic and professional career thus far in his face laced with a couple of non-PG terms, I took a breath, *serenity now,* and smiled politely. I tried to present my five year plan to him but he glazed over and interrupted me to talk about his motorcycle…

The day I became a SAHM, I did not receive a welcome kit equipped with elastic jeans, an apron,  Soap Opera Digest and a killer brownie recipe (I take that recipe though if you got it). This is 2015 and for some reason people still view a SAHM as this quintessential, archaic role that is completely self-sacrificing and frankly, outdated. They smile at you with this condescending look that says “well, guess you’ll never be getting that corner office but at least all the lunches will be packed!” I’m confused….

Why, in today’s culture where self-expression and feminism thrive, do some (most?) readily assume that if a woman chooses to stay at home and raise her children, she is somehow giving up on herself? She’s throwing away a career, the potential for financial success, the opportunity to be praised by her peers….

There are definitely times when I crave the camaraderie that I had with my coworkers or the simple joy of a coffee break whenever my heart desires. But what I want, but I truly want, is for my children to see me as someone who chose to be there for them, but did not lose herself. To be that booger covered, silly song singing, soccer game attending mom that I’ve always wanted to be. But I want them to see someone who has goals and is actively pursuing them. I’m not storming down boardroom doors at this moment in my life, but I am going to school. I am reading books, staying current in my field and nurturing relationships with people outside of MOPS (I’m not in MOPS. I’ll tell you why some other time).

Being a SAHM does not mean giving up any dreams you ever had for your life. In fact, I see it as achieving double of what I ever hoped for. I get to live this crazy mom life and continue forward in my professional goals simultaneously.

Laugh at the naysayers. Don’t wear a SAHM badge like a death sentence for your hopes and dreams. Keep dreaming, keep pushing, keep being there for your babies but take a minute (even if it’s just one) out of the day to look up grad schools. Volunteer in your field. READ!! Keep nurturing yourself just as fiercely as you do for your babes. I am a SAHM, but it is only part of who I am. Don’t lose you in the chaos of everyday life. And seriously, walk away immediately from that idiot that tries to make you feel like you are less of a person like I should have done.

-Chelsea

For more of our SAHM Stigmas series, check out:

SAHM Stigmas: Finances “We can’t afford this”

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/14/the-stigmas-of-sahms/

SAHM Stigmas: A Day of Nothing

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/18/the-stigmas-of-sahms-a-day-of-nothing/

The decision to go part time…

Priorities. Priorities rule my life; the priority of my child over money, of time with my child over work. My world revolves around how I prioritize each day. I grew up with a very career-oriented drive. I knew I wanted to go to college. I knew I wanted, a minimum, of a bachelor’s degree. I wanted to take care of myself. I did all of that– moved out young, worked hard, graduated with honors, and got hired in full-time at a new company. I quickly worked through three positions into a spot that I felt comfortable in. While I often hated the work, I loved my coworkers (or most of them.) I loathed the nearly hour commute to and from every day on a major highway, but learned to accept it. I worked there for just over 3.5 years.

I had convinced myself that I would put Lucas in a good, reputable child care and stay full-time at my job. How could I not? Student loans are crippling, especially with a mortgage and all of the other day-to-day bills.

As my pregnancy progressed, I continually became more and more apprehensive. Being gone 50 hours a week M-F, plus owning a photography business? Would my child even know us? I thought I had a choice to make, but the choice had already been made (I’m kidding myself if I act like it was even a question.) My gut knew that I’d be going part-time and that we’d make it work. By NO means am I discrediting child care… most of the workers are fantastic, I’m sure. My mom picked up child care for the 3 days a week I’d be working. I would work 25 hours and still run my business, giving me 3-4 days with Lucas. We cut out budget. Lowered our payments on our student loans and mortgage. We did what we had to do to be able to make the decision work. (I know that for some families, the budget couldn’t be cut anymore than it already is. To you parents that don’t have the option: I’m sorry that our system doesn’t work more in favor of new parents. It’s a sad reality, and hopefully something that will change in the future.)

Going part time I still grappled with feeling like I gave up my career. Right before taking my part-time position, I was offered a full time DREAM job as a media specialist. I took a few days to decide, but knew in my heart that it wasn’t what I wanted.

But here’s my point: Our country has such double standards for parents. If women step down to go part time they are treated pretty harshly. I left my job two weeks after my maternity leave. I didn’t plan it out that way, it’s just how it happened. (If we’re being honest here, I started looking for a new job about 2 weeks after starting there. I just hadn’t accepted anything.) And even though I felt like I was a great worker, and constantly was commended on my work there, my boss couldn’t even say “bye, good luck” when I left. I just had a baby. I’m leaving the only thing I’ve known for the last 3.5 years for a whole new world. You can’t even say bye? We won’t even start on the fact that men get no paternity leave half of the time. Come on America… let’s get it together. By the time my maternity leave was over my postpartum hormones hadn’t even settled down yet (like, crying in the aisles of Target, not sure how I’d live with out my own mom postpartum hormones.)

So how about: let’s accept women (and men) for the choices they make. Staying home full time? Great. Working full time? Good for you. A mix of both? Sounds good. Sad that you can’t have the choice? I empathize.

Being a parent is hard. Being a first time parent is REALLY hard. Let’s not add the extra stress.