''/> Figuring It Out 101: stay at home mom
Showing posts with label stay at home mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stay at home mom. Show all posts

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Life of a Stay-At-Home Parent


     Being a stay-at-home parent has raised arguments over whether or not the work is as hard as it is for moms and dads who work. Some people argue that it's harder and others believe that being a mom or dad who works full-time is more difficult. I really don't see why we have to debate the question over whether or not being any type of parent is hard because the answers are, "It depends."

    For some moms, they couldn't fathom going back to work and missing a moment of their children's lives. Going to work would be difficult for them. For other moms, they might miss the social interaction and the hard work put in to working, so staying home and being idle (or what would seem more idle) would make staying home harder for them.

       I read a book a few months ago by Jennifer Fulwiler called One Beautiful Dream . (You can read my review in my post A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.) In this book, she talks about finding your blue flame, the thing that inspires you to do the things you love. Jennifer loves to write so she blogs and writes books. She, however, isn't one of those types of moms who loves to organize and her children aren't always perfectly groomed or behave the way that she hopes, but there was a mom in her book that did the mom thing perfectly. She spoke with that mom and the mom told her that her blue flame that energizes her is being a mom, being organized, and doing things with her kids.

      Now, I'm a stay-at-home mom. There are things that I love about it and there are things about it that may not be my cup of tea. I love my kids and I believe that's important, but being home for me is hard sometimes. I miss having work friends to talk with everyday. I miss getting recognized for my hard work. I actually miss working. I know that I should think of staying home as my job because I can do the cooking, the cleaning, and raising my kids- and mothers all over the century have done that without complaint, but raising kids isn't the same today as it was years ago. Now, we're expected to do crafts with the kids, teach our children in addition to the learning that they've already done in school, and be superwoman. I can't do that all of the time, I'll wear out. 


      I started this blog over a year ago, with hopes of it becoming a potential income outlet, but also as a way to connect with other moms and dads. I hoped that I could be an influencer or someone who could be relatable to other parents. I think the best way to reach out and to relate is to go forth and ask other parents what they thought so I interviewed other stay-at-home moms and dad's and here is what they had to say!

Matthew- Stay-At-Home Dad 
Can you tell me the reason you're staying home? So my wife can pursue her career and because child care became too much money so I decided to stay home to eliminate that bill.  
How do you like being a stay-at-home dad?  I like being able to watch my kids grow everyday, but at the same time, I do very much so miss working and being able to have a certain banter with co-workers. I will say being a stay-at-home dad has challenges and is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had.  
What types of things do you do when you stay home? Not activities with the kids? Usually partake in some video games with friends, try to get out of the house by going to eat or just trying to do chores and what not.
What chores do you do around the house? Well, for sure, the kids in general, feeding, changing, keeping them entertained, bathing them. Then dishes, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, mowing, grocery shopping alone, cooking picking up toys then there's dog care.
How has it impacted you mentally? Physically? I think mentally, it has taken a toll I sometimes have bouts of impatience because I just want my kids to not need me, but at the same time, it brings me to immense joy when I see them learning something or just a simply smile. Physically, it has been really bad. Due to the fact that I'm not working a job where ther is really any exercise, I have put on a lot of weight which has also added to my mental state of being down Not necessarily depressed, but just upset that I've let myself get this far. 

 Anthony King- https://thissideofif.com
Are you a stay-at-home parent? I used to be a stay-at-home dad. 
How did you like being a stay-at-home dad? I liked it in the sense that I got to spend time with my son, but it was hard watching my wife going to work knowing that she wanted to stay home. 
What types of things did you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids. School work, business, and cleaning the house. 
What type of things do you do with your kids? We were outside all the time, playing with the neighbors. We played games inside and watched children's dancing and music shows. We played with the garden hose a lot. (We lived in Southern California.)  
What did a regular day look like for you as far as chores? We hung out with Mom until she left at about 2. After she left, we would have lunch, clean up the kitchen, do laundry (especially cloth diapers). We’d do a general cleanup at the end of the day (pick up toys, sweep.) Lots of dancing while doing chores!  
Did you do them alone or do you have help? I did them alone. My wife was making money. How did staying home impact you mentally? Physically? It definitely gave me a new perspective on a stay-at-home parent. It's not as easy as everyone thinks it is, staying home. It's a full-time job. You watch him and play and teach. Physically, it let me work on my “dad bod!”  
What age was your child at the time? At the time, we just had the one child. I stayed home with him from 4.5 months old to 14 months old. Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? I'm a 27-year-old veteran and parent of two. I recently moved across the country in search of a better lifestyle. My wife blogs about her life journey. https://thissideofif.com
Christy E Gray- www.BarefootFamilies.com
 How do you like being a stay-at-home parents? I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom, which is a complete surprise. I was a workaholic, and I still love my work, but I don't want to do anything more than spend time with my kiddo. Honestly, sometimes it's a struggle and the shift in gears was a challenge to adjust to, but I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to stay home and my husband and I believe because we can make it work, this is the most important use of my time and our family resources. 
What type of things do you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids.  Everything overlaps at home. My son is just 15 months, so I include him in as much as I can in terms of house chores- he "helps" me vacuum and sometimes prep dinner (although my husband cooks at least half of the time). During nap time I do my own thing to recharge, sometimes that is my own business work, sometimes I read or nap or paint. Whatever is necessary and possible for the day.  
What type of things do you do with your kids?When kiddo is awake, we play and explore and spend time outside as much as possible. I encourage him to play independently some of the time, but we are basically together constantly. Story time is one of our favorite activities. I mean, honestly, I am still learning how to be a mom, and kiddo is still figuring out the world as a toddler. So, everyday is full of what looks like very little productivity but a whole lot of learning.  
What does a regular day look like for you as far as chores?I try to do chores daily to keep the workload less. But I don't always manage to get anything done, much less everything. We don't have hired help for household chores like some moms in my community, but my husband and I share the responsibility exactly the same as we shared it when we both worked before our first child was born. We agreed that stay-at-home parenting is a full time job itself, and the rest of the chores that existed before kiddo are no different now. Since I am home all day, sometimes I get more opportunities to get some laundry done or sweep the floors. But, just learning how to manage a little one newly on the move is a ton of work that I am still learning to juggle and that is my first priority. And my husband appreciates that. So, it works well.  
How has staying home impact you mentally? Physically?  It's been a complete life change. Everything is different and I can't imagine not being able to stay home with my son now, but even still, it has been a huge mental/emotional challenge to make the shift. I was raised by a single mom and money was always tight. So I have very deep fears about finances, particularly, remaining financially independent has been a huge deal for me and even though I am 100% confident in my partner, giving up my own work to stay home was a real mental challenge for me. I felt overwhelmingly vulnerable for a while And my husband and I had a lot of long conversations about my insecurities. Some days are better than others, but ultimately, my desire to be with my son and raise him myself outweighs the anxiety I have, so I am working through it. As a balance, I have a small business I do part time now, during nap time and in the evenings as some extra income. I'm selling the most incredible children's books that focus on things like mindfulness, compassion, sustainability, inclusions, and diversity. It's been the perfect blend of my old working woman independence shifting into a full time mom.  
What ages do you and your kids range? I am 32 years old and my son is 15 months and we are trying to get pregnant with a second.  
Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? A little bit about me- I love education, I have a PhD in the field of human development (mental, emotional, and relationship development kind of things), I am an animal lover, dog, cat, and horse mom and care deeply about emotional intelligence and education in general. In previous lives, I used to teach leadership, worldviews history, and business courses at the University of NB, and personal development in partnership with my horses. The idea of children'ts literacy and empowering and educational books resonates on many levels for me. My newest venture is www.barefootfamilies.com.








Christina Thacker- hopefilledmom.com 
How do you like being a stay-at-home parent? I love it most days, other days I think of how much I would love to get out and be just“me” not a mom or caretaker. To have a few moments of silence without it being a scary, “It’s too quiet” kind. But when I really get down to it I would not trade my job at home for anything.

What types of things do you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids. Clean, cook, clean, laundry, and clean some more. There is never a time where my house is fully clean. I write at least once a week for my blog at “Hope Filled Mom” and try to keep up on social media for it. For the most part I try to keep my tribe running smoothly. We all do so much better when we have a clean home and keep with a routine. So how I look at it is I am the CEO of the household. 
What type of things do you do with your kids? We love to read and spend time outside. I try to do crafts with them but with there being 3 of them between 4 months and 6 years and one of me, with not enough patience, we don’t do it a whole lot. 
What does a regular day look like for you as far as chores? Currently we live at my in laws due to a “we sold our house, we didn’t sell our house” situation. So I have no regular day. But when I did, and when we move back in October I tried to be pretty routine. I have a checklist of to-dos in the morning, unload the dishwasher, make the beds, and so on. Then a to-do list at night, load the wash, quick tidy up around the house, and make sure I am prepared for the next morning. Each day I have a specific chore, Monday I Vacuum, Tuesday I mop. My family and I thrive when we have a clean home and a routine that we know what to expect.

Do you do them alone or do you have help? I try to do them myself, but I have reluctantly come to terms with,“I am not a super mom”. After many tears and a long conversation with my husband on how I am the CEO of the family, this means I must delegate out some jobs. I can’t do it all alone. So my daughter who is 6 now makes her own lunch for school and gets her bag packed. Both of my older children help with laundry and tidying up. My husband has claimed dish duty and is willing to help anywhere else I need him. I am extremely blessed with the help I receive from my family. 
How has staying home or single life impacted you mentally? Physically? I dealt with postpartum depression with my two youngest children which at the time was so overwhelming, but helpful in the end. During that time my marriage grew stronger and I saw a counselor who helped me deal with anxiety I had from my past. I still struggle at times with it, but know how to handle it better. There are days that my husband knows I need him to handle the kids because I mentally and physically can’t. I am also always exhausted. I have a 4 month old not sleeping through the night yet, a 3 year old who still has accidents and a 6 year old who gets night terrors on occasion. I know that if I don’t
have “me” time I get grouchy and short with my family. I am so thankful that my husband understands this and has in the past “kicked” me out of the house in order for me to have time to myself. 
What ages do your kid/kids range? 4 Months, 3 years, and 6 years 
Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? I am a mom to 3 blessings and a wife to a youth minister… so add about 30 other kids to our family. I am trying to come out of my “perfect” bubble and show the world that I don’t have it all together and it’s ok. My purpose right now is to focus on my family and help other moms out there live a Hope Filled Life.
Hopefilledmom.com

Caitlyn Patoka- RealMomRecs.com
How do you like being a stay-at-home parent? I started out my parenting journey as a working Mom and after having our third child, it made more sense for me to stay home with the kids. I enjoyed working, so being home wasn't necessarily my goal or desire. I can say that being a stay-at-home parent has some advantages as well as many difficulties compared to being a working parent.
What types of things do you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids. My daily life includes laundry, dishes, cooking, tidying up, running errands, taking kids to appointments, and generally managing the household. Occasionally I will get together with a friend for coffee or have a playdate for my toddler. I'm also a blogger. so a portion of my day is spent working on my computer. This is generally when my children are sleeping, but I sometimes do small tasks when they are awake playing.

What type of things do you do with your kids? My three older children are in elementary school, so most of the day I just have my toddler. He is an active 2 year old who needs plenty of outdoor time every day, so we time each day at the park or out in our yard. If the weather isn't nice, we have several libraries in our town with great play spaces for kids so we will head there. I also bring him with me to run errands and go on outings. When we're home, he follows me around the house attempting to help with household chores. We also do typical toddler activities like playing with cars, blocks. coloring, reading books. etc.
After my older kids get home from school, the kids mostly play with one another and I focus on housework, helping with homework, and getting dinner ready. We also have after school activities as well since my children play sports. 
What does a regular day look like for you as far as chores? With a family of 6, there is always laundry to be done. I do at least one load every day, usually more. Loading and unloading the dishwasher and hand washing any pots and pans is also a daily task. I typically cook dinner, although my husband enjoys cooking so there are nights when he does that after he gets home.
I do most of the cleaning up (toys, clothes, etc) each night but most of the bigger cleaning tasks like scrubbing bathrooms or vacuuming are done on the weekends when my husband and I can switch off watching the kids. 
Do you do them alone or do you have help? Most of the daily chores I do alone, but I have a lot of help from my husband with the bigger tasks on the weekends. He is very hands-on both with the kids and around the house. We also have a cleaning person come do a deep-clean of the house once a month. 
How has staying home or single life impacted you mentally? Physically? Mentally, staying home has been very isolating. Most of my friends work at least part-time or are busy with other endeavors. I have days where I do not utter a single word to another adult until my husband gets home at night. The biggest thing I miss about going to work is the camaraderie I had with my coworkers. 
Another struggle I have mentally is feeling like I don't do anything of value. I have a master's degree and have always enjoyed learning, interacting, and being challenged. Staying home with kids, while valuable in a "big picture" sense, feels like riding on a merry-go-round every day. Every day is essentially the same and each task is somewhat unfulfilling. 
On a positive note, staying home has allowed me to be there for everything in my children's lives, which I'm very grateful for. I can say I rarely feel the typical Mom guilt, as I do have tons of time with my kids and we have a special, close bond.
Physically, I think staying home helps me to stay active. I can't go to my old workout class because they don't have childcare, but I can run with my son in the jogging stroller, play outside with him, and do home workouts during nap time. 
What ages do your kid/kids range? My kids are 2, 5, 8, and 10. The older two children are adopted and one has some special needs, which is another reason it is best that I stay home. 
Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? In addition to being a Mom, my time is spent reading, writing. and traveling. My favorite destination is Disney World, which I write about on my blog RealMomRecs.com. I also write about pregnancy, babies, and parenting and always try to "keep it real" with my readers as a regular, imperfect Mom.

 Kathy Neise Diehl- www.diehkafitnessfashions.com
Tell me about yourself? I am a 44 year old stay at home mom, with a 10 year old boy and an almost 3 year old girl. I have been at home for about 5 years now.  
How do you like being a stay-at-home mom? I know that it is a blessing to my children and I definitely don't miss being bored at work, but I miss having an identity "outside" the home or having projects to do that allow for my talents and abilities to be used.  
What activities do you do without the children? I have just started blogging, but it is so difficult to find time where I can just sit down and concentrate without a million interruptions! lol When I'm home, it's mostly home things: dishes, laundry, lunch, dinner, etc. I volunteer at church pretty regularly, so I'm there a couple days a week and I just started with a community theatre group for a show this fall, but my son is also in the show, so, so much for alone time! lol 
What activities do you do with your kids? Activities with the kids could include park day or playdates, grocery shopping, going to the gym, running errands, homeschool for my son. 
Who does chores? My son has some chores that he has to do: clean the bathroom, keep his room relatively clean, do his laundry. The rest are up to me or my husband. 
What is your blog? www.diehkafitnessfashions.com

 


Missy Yandow- Mygoodnighttrain.com
How do you like being a stay-at-home mom? I love it. I was a teacher before I had kids, I tried returning to work and was stressed out all the time because I wasn't happy with childcare and I felt like I was missing out on SO much.

What types of things do you do at home? With kids? Chores? My days are filled with teaching my kids with hands-on activities and exploring. We like to go for walks and take trips to the library and local places like the zoo and the museum of play. Other than that, I am a baby & toddler sleep consultant, so I'm working on building my business in hopes of building a full-time business. It's hard to think of other things that I do at home, that don't include activities with the kids.... I feel like I'm 24/7 doing activities with them. As far as chores, I'm a slacker. I know I can do better. I wash the same load of laundry 3-4 times because I constantly get distracted and forget about it. I let the dishes in the sink fill too high and forget to empty the dishwasher. I sweep the kitchen floor and clean the kitchen table at least 4 times a day. When we do sensory play (water, sand, rice, etc.) I'm cleaning up after those messes as well. I love being able to give my kids these experiences and don't mind those messes because I know they're learning. And they're problem-solving, working together, sharing and socializing. It's my favorite thing about being home with them- I'm their mom, their teacher, their nurse, their maid, and... their boss hahaha

Do you have help with chores? My kids have responsibilities but not necessarily chores. They are responsible for cleaning their bedrooms, cleaning up after meals (plates and cups in the sink, etc.) and they are given one room to keep clean- like the dining room, the living room, the TV room. They need to keep their toys off the floor. They are allowed privileges when they complete these things (like watching a show).... otherwise, the chores are all on me.

How has staying home affected you mentally? Physically?  Physically- I should exercise more. I used to be more active. I would like to change that about myself. Typically when the kids are occupied or resting, I'm working on my business or just plain exhausted and want to rest. Mentally- I would think that it's more socially impacted me, haha. When I was teaching, I was interacting with kids a lot, but there was still adult interaction. I miss that, but I also enjoy the routine that I've created. Sometimes I feel bad for my husband because when he gets home from work I talk to him NON-STOP.

Tell me about yourself. I'm a SAHM to an almost 5 year old son, a 3.5 year old daughter, and a 1.5 year old son. I'm a previous preschool teacher, now SAHM. I have a few side-gigs to try to bring in some money and help me feel more independent. I'm a music & movement teacher for babies & toddlers, one class a week. I also started a sleep consultant business where I work with families one on one to help teach their baby/toddler healthy sleep habits. My sleep consultant website is www.mygoodnighttrain.com

Jalina King- https://thissideofif.com

How do you like being a stay-at-home parent? I love staying home with my two boys! I never thought I’d be a stay-at-home mom, but after struggling for years with infertility, I hated leaving my baby at home once it was time to go back to work. I quit my career shortly after learning I was pregnant with my second baby. 
What types of things do you do when you are home? Not including activities with the kids. I enjoy writing, blogging, and social networking whenever I get the chance. I also love going for walks and reading to learn. 
What type of things do you do with your kids? In the morning, we have a dance party while everyone eats breakfast. With my toddler, I play blocks and tag. He is currently learning many words, shapes, and colors. He also loves cleaning and helping me with whatever chores I get to throughout the day. My baby is young, so I spend a lot of time breastfeeding him right now. We also play on the floor with some of his favorite toys. The three of us like to go to the park, mostly to run around and throw rocks. Babywearing allows the baby to nap while my toddler gets to run around outside. 
What does a regular day look like for you as far as chores? If laundry is folded and ready to be put away, I’ll do that first thing before I head downstairs. When I do go downstairs, I bring a load of laundry down with me, put it in the washer, then start breakfast. If the baby is content, I’ll take care of dishes, which my toddler loves helping me with. It’s mostly maintenance, day-to-day chores during the day. In the evening or when the kids go to bed is when we do vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, and other chores that are more difficult to do while the kids are awake. I like putting away laundry in the evening while watching a show, but that’s been difficult lately with the baby cluster feeding. 
Do you do them alone or do you have help? During the day, I do chores by myself, usually one-handed while I’m feeding or holding the baby! My toddler is at the age where he can help a little bit. He’ll throw away any trash he sees lying around or helps me bag the recycling. Once my husband gets home, he is a huge help with chores. He either takes the boys so I can have some alone time getting caught up on chores or he’ll do some work around the house while I entertain the boys. He cooks and does more of the deep cleaning, but he helps with laundry if I get behind. 
How has staying home or single life impacted you mentally? Physically? Staying home has been excellent for my mental health! I am an introvert, so I don’t mind being home with minimal adult interaction. I was a Lead X-ray Tech at a busy, understaffed trauma center and had a long commute. The job was physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding, especially while going through infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy. Then I struggled with separation anxiety and mom guilt of being away from the baby I wanted for so long. I do have some days as a stay-at-home mom when I feel like I’m not doing a good job of balancing everything, but mostly I feel like staying home is what I’m meant to be doing right now. Physically, I get less movement, but the movement I do get is from intentional activity as opposed to the physical demands of my previous job, so I feel like whatever movement I do get is more quality. I am also able to eat when I feel hungry rather than eating just because it’s my break time, so I think my eating is more controlled. 
What ages do your kid/kids range? I have two boys ages 5 months and 2 years old. 
Can you tell me a little about you in 2-3 sentences as well as website/blog? I am a young mom of two boys after three years of infertility and two pregnancy losses. I blog about faith, health, marriage, and parenting as taught by infertility as well as the unique joys and emotional challenges of motherhood after infertility and loss. I love outdoor adventures and am passionate about removing toxins from our bodies and environment. https://thissideofif.com
   
 Conclusion

      Every single mom and dad in this post is a great parent and each one of them faces their day differently. We all love our kids, but sometimes, some of us miss that adult interaction that came with working. Other parents were glad to be home to teach and play with their kids. Some had help with chores, others didn't. Working or not working, doing neither is bad or weaker than the other, we're just different and it's all perspective.

      Can't we just all agree that parenting is challenging and still rewarding whether you work or not? I've had the best of both worlds and each one had it's benefits and downsides. There's no right or wrong way to parent as long as you love your children and you still spend valuable time with them.

     I'd like to thank the moms and dads who answered these questions for me. You guys are awesome!

I hope that you enjoyed what you read today. Can you do me a favor and check out these other mom's and dad's websites? Give them a comment or a share. They did some hard work answering these questions for me and they totally deserve some recognition. Have a great day!

     

Friday, August 24, 2018

This is What a Procrasting Stay-At-Home Mom Looks Like

 
  I just wanted to take a few moments and be real with you. We all know how to take pictures that are flattering and make us look nice, but in reality, some of us never look like that all of the time. Since staying home with my kids, I don't always get in a shower every day or my shower waits until later, so most days, I just look like a hot mess. I think that I can also say, that I'm not the only one.

    Two days ago, my kids had their back-to-school night. I was going to make that day about sorting out their school supplies and putting them nice and neatly into their book bags. I was going to have all of them take a bath and make sure they were all ready by 5. That did not happen. Instead, I spent the morning working on my blog and writing and this is what it really looked like.



      Hope, however was not lost, because as a person who has informally been diagnosed with ADHD by my son's ADHD doctor and as a person who has grown up always procrastinating, I've learned how to adapt and get things done in a rush. This is what it looked like.




    I was super excited. Things were going so well and I looked nice-ish with my make up on. I was going to wear a nicer shirt, but the shirt that I had washed that wasn't long sleeved that still fit me at the end of the summer, ended up with an oil stain or something that didn't wash out so I had to find the next best thing which was an old t-shirt from the college I worked at four years ago.  Then some unexpected things happened.




     When it comes to my kid's school, I try to stay organized and this time, the school failed me by not sending notification, but I was told that all of the preschools were given a grant last minute so even they didn't know what was happening after they had condensed schools.

     I didn't get a video of the kids first day of school. I was sort of looking ok. My hair wasn't greasy and weird and I was sporting a tie dyed shirt (I LOVE tie dye) and I was on top of it. My mother would have been impressed is she saw me. I did get compliments about how impressive my day was... haha. Today, however, I did get a video of me taking my youngest to school. I had already dropped off his siblings.




     I look awful. I had enough time to get the kids their breakfasts and get them dressed for school and then got myself changed. The outfit is a nice outfit, but it doesn't really go well with my puffy, needs hydrated face and pulled back, unwashed hair. I ran out of dry shampoo and keep forgetting to buy some more. I'm not even sure make-up would have helped without taking a shower first.

    I'm a mom. If I want to look nice and put together, I'm going to have to wake up at least a half hour before my kids do and PRAY that my youngest doesn't wake up when he hears my alarm in the next room over. Have you ever tried to shower with a kid who has just woken up, is cranky, and just wants his mama? It's very difficult. For one thing, the bathroom door gets left wide open, the shower curtain gets pulled back several times, and a million questions get asked. I could shower the night before, but my hair won't look as great unless I fancy curl it. No straightener could fix it... and if there is one out there that can, I'd be very willing to try it out and review it for you!

     I know that there are women who do wake up EVERY single morning and do their morning routines. I don't know how you do it. I need eight hours of sleep or I'm super cranky. That means I'm already going to bed early. If I wake up any earlier, I'm going to have to go to bed right around the time my kids do. That, is sad, my friends.

     As you can see, I'm a regular person. I have messy hair about 70% of the time, and with the humidity this summer, even nice hair gets poufy. In one of the videos, you can see that I don't have designer decorations. I have artwork that my children gave to me hanging up on my cabinets. I also, obviously, don't have much style. I'd like to be more stylish, but sometimes its difficult when you're overweight and there isn't much of a point to be stylish when you don't really go anywhere.

    Are there other moms out there like me? Raise you hands! Comment! Show me your daily looks!

    And by the way, dads. You don't know how lucky you are. After I made that last video, I noticed that so many dads look so great! I bet they had time to shower. If they didn't shower this morning, do you know how lucky you are if you have short hair? You don't even have to apply make up. How wonderful is that!?!?!








My kids are better groomed than I am. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rejoining the Work Force

     So... I've been a stay at home mom for a little over three years. My baby will get screened for preschool (finally!) tomorrow. I've been told that once he's screened, it will take no time at all for him to be placed into a preschool, probably the same one that my daughter attended.
 
     While I have mixed emotions about him going, I'm going to get about three hours of being kid free each day. During that three hours, I thought it would be nice to have a work from home job... except those are hard to find. I've searched online and it's difficult to tell which ones are real and which ones are fake... except maybe if they are asking me to pay some money upfront, then I question if the company is real.

     "Hey, Brittany! I know a way that you can stay home and work. All you need to do is join .... and sell things!"--- I've thought about selling ItWorks, 31, Jamberry, and all of those other things, but the truth is, I have no connections and I don't want to spam everyone's Facebook pages asking for them to buy something that they don't really need. I've been on the receiving end of those pitches and I can't buy from everyone.

     I thought that I would try blogging for some extra income, but the only way that I know to make money on here is to put up ads and I only get paid per click. It starts to look suspicious if the same people click ads every time.  I enjoy blogging, so I'll probably keep up with this, but it's not really a  way to make money.

     I've done the whole scan my groceries bit and taking surveys, but I put a lot of effort in for minimum payout. I want the real deal. I want to be able to help bring extra income from home, in my pajama pants, for three hours a day. Is that too much to ask?

     So, if any of you know of a legitimate way to do that, let me know, will ya?

     For now, I will keep searching and continue writing. Maybe I'll finish my book sometime.

    Also, anyone want to illustrate my children's stories? I can maybe make you cookies?

Help a girl out!


Thursday, September 28, 2017

10 Learning Crafts to Do With Kids

     I've been a stay at home parent for 3 and a half years. Over time, from time to time,  I tried to do my awesome mommy thing and do projects and crafts with my kids to help them learn. My brother-in-law has recently become a stay-at-home dad for his family and was asking about different learning craft ideas to do with his kids. As an expert, keep my kids out of trouble, mom, I've had experience with Pinterest and looking things up. I've compiled a list of my top 10 favorites crafts. Most of these I've tried and the others look promising. I hope you're able to enjoy. (Click the links for instructions on how to make some of these crafts.)


1.  Paper Chains  This was my favorite thing to do around Christmas time. It was super easy to make and it helped you count down the days until Christmas.

Kickin it ol school party decorations, Rainbow paper chains!

2. Bake cupcakes! Grab your favorite box of Betty Crocker or use a family recipe. Have the kids help you measure out the ingredients to learn measurements or just how to help. When the cup cakes are done baking and are ready to be topped, make some vanilla frosting, divide it into bowls, and add food color to each bowl for different color. You can teach your child colors in a fun edible way and if you want to add sprinkles or other toppings, you can also teach your child to count along.


3. ABC Magnets! What's nice about magnets is that they can stick to your refrigerator or dishwasher. Have your child play with them and try to spell them out. They can play with them while you cook dinner or you can use them on some metal sheet pans. Encourage them to remember the letters and try to sound out goofy word concoctions, they'll get a laugh out of you trying.


4. Paint in a bag- I wasn't sure how my kids would like this, especially my older kids, but they really enjoyed moving the paint around and mixing the colors. On the plus side, it's also mess free!

5. Peanut Butter Play Dough - Kids can learn all sorts of things when they play with play dough. It's even better when it's peanut butter! You can add chocolate chips or other edible ingredients to count with or to help sculpt. If your child is allergic to peanut butter, try this one. You can color this, so that's a plus, but I'm not sure on the taste. 


6. Make a bird feeder! I've made my bird feeders with pinecones, peanut butter, and bird seed, but you can make them this way too and the look adorable! Teach your child how to take care of other creatures and sit and watch the different kind of animals that come by to eat from it. 


7. Colored pasta- I haven't done this one yet, but I definitely want to try. This is such a great idea! you can teach your kids about colors, teach them math by adding and subtracting, and when you're finished, you can teach them motor skills by making jewelry. 

8. Sensory Bags- Help your child learn texture and color with sensory bags. They can play with this for a long time, or, if they decide they are bored, it's easy to store these. 




9. Ornaments! I'm not an artist, but I try to do something creative each year with my kids to hand out to grandparents or to keep for myself. My favorite one to do is the salt dough hand print ornaments which is in the link above. This doesn't really teach your kids anything, but it's a nice keep sake to have.

10. Go outside and explore! This isn't a craft, but it is a great learning experience. Watch bugs and look at the clouds. Discuss the color and texture of the leaves and talk about the temperature. The outdoors has a never ending supply of learning tools.


   Tell me which crafts are your favorites or which ones that you like to do with your kids that aren't on this list. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Make a Schedule this Summer For Easier Days

    It's almost summer time and if school isn't already out for your kids, it will be soon. My kids will be have their last day of school next week. That means that my days with having only one child home with me will soon become days with three kids. I always worry when school is about to let out for the summer because I don't always know what I should do with my kids. This year, I came up with a schedule.

     It's may seem vague right now, but I can always tweak it once we get a feel to how we want the day to go. I sat down with my kids and we came up with this schedule together so they feel like they were involved in the decision process with hopes that they will be more likely to follow along.

    I have noticed that with my children, they thrive when they have some sort of routine in their lives. They like to know what is going to happen and when. This is the first year that we will implement a schedule and I hope to see good results.

   In my schedule, I varied the hours for meal times. I know that the world isn't always perfect and sometimes it will take me longer to cook a meal than was planned or sometimes different plans arise.
    I also have nap/quiet time listed. My almost 3 year old still takes naps, however, on days when his brother and sister are home, those naps don't occur. By putting this on the schedule, my kids know that during this time, there is no loud talking or stomping around. They can be in their beds and read a book or play quietly, but they must stay in their beds until their baby brother is asleep.
     Free time could be the kids playing inside or out in the yard. We could also be spontaneous and go to a park. It also could be some television time. I'm not perfect and on those rough days, it's sometimes easier to let the kids watch television while I relax.
    
    Again, once we get the feel of this summer and what times work better, the schedule can be changed to fit the flow of our lives. I hope that this will work so we have a smooth and stress-free summer.

  Have  you made schedules for your kids? Do they seem to work and also help the days go by?

    I have posted a link to a blank schedule if you would like to use the format that I did. It's my first time posting my own excel sheet, so I hope that it works for you!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fgl3M-UKbgKIbAWWAkTlrJddH-YeuZtD9rzB1IS387M/edit?usp=sharing

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Start of Something New

    I have been surrounded by working women my whole life. My mom has worked my whole life, both of my grandma's have worked their whole life, and so did I... That was until my husband had gotten a new job and we moved closer to the Chicago area. I was very pregnant with my third child at the time and my husband and I both decided that the cost of childcare for three children was more than we wanted to pay. So I stayed home with the kids.
    It's been three years since we moved and now my daughter will be starting kindergarten next year and my youngest son could start day care in the fall if we wanted him to. There is nothing holding me back from working again. My husband has been very successful at his job and if I decide to work, childcare for a half day for one child and only a couple of hours for the other two won't be too strenuous.What could possibly hold me back?
    I wish the answer was complicated, but it's not. I'm scared. I think that in order for you to understand, I need to tell you some of my back story.
    I got my B.S. in Business Administration back in 2009. I graduated believing that I was going to immediately receive job opportunities left and right, but that didn't happen. You see, when I graduated from college in 2009, the economy went into a recession. Suddenly, all of those jobs that they told me I could get if I just went to college was given to those who already had experience in that line of business. Entry level jobs were asking for 2-5 years experience, but no one wanted to give me the experience that everyone wanted me to have.
   My husband and I met the first week of college and got married the summer before our senior year. I found out that I was pregnant with my first child a month before graduation. I know that this sounds like an excuse, but it made me a risk for employment, so those interviews that I went to provided no jobs. My husband and I moved to my hometown and stayed with my grandparents. It was a step backwards.
   I don't remember the exact date, but I got an interview one morning with a picture studio. I won't say the name of it, but it was one that was located inside a store franchise. I put on my interview clothes and high heels and went to this interview. As soon as I got there, I introduced myself and immediately had pictures thrown into my hand. "Can you say this? 'Where can you get this kind of deal where you can get one 8x10, two 5x7s, four 4x5s, and 8 wallets all for $9.99? You can get it right here!'" I said yes and then fed the pictures back to the man. He immediately told me that I was hired and could start that day.
   That was great news, right? Wrong! Remember when I said that I was pregnant?The interview was at 11 and I was going to eat lunch afterward. However, since I was starting that job right there on the spot, even though I needed to eat and I had prior engagements, I felt that I had to start. The man started training me and four other people.... three of the five us were pregnant and did the same thing. We waited to eat after the interview.
    So here we were, all at the front of the store, starving. The man made us take turns literally stalking customers as they came into the store. I was pretty good at getting the sales, but I was incredibly uncomfortable stalking people who didn't want to be stalked. At one point, the man training us told the only man who had "Interviewed" with us that he was retarded. It was awful and I wish that I had the guts to stand up to him. At one point, an older woman had been walking outside and fell and hit her head. I wanted to go to her rescue, but the man told us to ignore her and keep getting customers. After telling him that we had things that we needed to do and were extremely hungry because we hadn't expected to be hired on the spot, the man ordered a pizza and sent us home.
   I remember seeing my husband for the first time since I left that morning. We were supposed to both be helping out at a 30 Hour Famine with our youth group, (I of course was going to hide and eat when I needed to) but I ended up being gone the whole day. I walked towards him and sobbed. I remember telling him that I couldn't work for that horrible place and didn't want to quit until I spoke with him. He gave me his full support and I felt the weight lift off of my shoulders.
   A little while after that, we were hired for temp work at the factory that I had done all of my summer jobs in and even had an internship there.The work was busy and tiring, but we made really good money for what we did. We didn't do work that pertained to our degrees, we did factory assembly line work. It was hard at times and I felt cheated because I was in a job where I didn't need my degree, but again, the money was good. I worked there until my water broke and I gave birth to my first child. The temp work ended a couple of days later so my husband and I were without a job again.
    After a couple of weeks, my husband was blessed by a job that was about a 45 minute commute. My parents had fixed up the childhood home that I grew up in enough that we could move in rent free. By the time my son was almost 6th months old and after several failed interviews, a connection from within a local Subway gave me a chance and I got a job there.
    I only worked there part time, usually at night. My husband was getting his MA for free from the college that he worked for. So when I did get to see him, it was only brief and we were both distracted- he was distracted by homework and I was distracted by the baby. We did this for a little over two years until I finally got hired by the same college that my husband worked for. I now had two children; my son who was almost three and now a 9 month old daughter.
   My husband and I were able to carpool together each morning and drop our healthy kids off at the nearby YWCA for day care at a pretty reasonable cost. I loved my job and I worked there for a year and a half until it as time to move.
    You see, out of all of the jobs that I had after graduating from college, I never had to use my degree. The degree wasn't a requirement. I've been out of work for three years and I hadn't had to use what I learned in school once. The time is coming up for me to job search again, that is if I want to. It took me so long to even find a good job that wasn't factory work or at a restaurant. I'm not saying that those aren't great jobs, because I enjoyed the hard work that I did every day, but what if I start to look for something part time or full time and no one wants me? What if too much time has gone by and my 4 years of expensive schooling that I'm still paying for has become irrelevant?
    I'm afraid of being unwanted in the work force. I'm afraid of being unemployable. I'm afraid of being rejected. Why should I start looking for jobs?
   The answer to that is because I want to work again. I want to be in an environment where I do my job well. I love my children, but sometimes, they are the only people I talk to all day and I miss adult interaction. I also want to be able to do things! With one income, we have to be careful on how we spend our money and save. It would be wonderful to have some extra spending money so we can have experiences. I just hope that I won't let my fear of being rejected hold me back.

   I'm sure that I'm not the only person who has had the fear of starting over again. What was your fear and how have you conquered it?
   

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