Savor the moments…

How do moms and dads do it when they have an illness or some sort of traumatic event in their family? Even if it’s a one-time thing? How does life go back to “normal” or does it?

I don’t talk about it much and haven’t really addressed it much on social media because then I would have to say “out loud” how terrified I was that day and how terrified I still am today. 

 We woke up to a wonderful Sunday, a new year and new hopes & plans for 2017. We were all just hanging out, taking down our Christmas decorations with no real plans for the day. Mike was sleeping as he had just gotten home at 7 am from working NYE (he’s my hero in blue). 

I thought about going to get my nails or running to the store for a few things but decided I would wait until he got up. It was about 11am and my daughter was getting a little tired and decided to read on the couch.  As she laid down and started to read, I thought it was a perfect time for me to sit with her and get some reading done myself. I was responding to a few texts from a couple of my girlfriends about how this year was going to be a great year, big things were coming and how excited and ready we were. I looked over at my daughter as she fell asleep and thought about how I was glad I decided to just chill at home. 

20 minutes went by and she started to stretch and I expected her to start waking up… instead she as stretched she started convulsing. I immediately jumped up and (apparently) threw the coffee table out of the way and went to her side. I had never been through something like this before, other than the flu or common cold she had been perfectly healthy.  I have friends who are going through their daughters having seizures.  I didn’t know what to do.  My first thought was “No! Not her too!”  

I screamed 4 times for help. My step-sons and step-daughter ran down the stairs saying they heard me and asked what was going on. I yelled for them to wake their dad up that Ava was having a seizure. She was already on her side when she was sleeping, then I noticed that her hand was clenched in a fist to her mouth. Panic set in, even more, as I looked to see if her fingers were in her mouth…luckily they weren’t…Thank God they weren’t!  Then the spit and slobber started coming from her mouth. I just made sure she stayed on her side as Mike came out to see what was going on. I told him she was just sleeping and started seizing. 

I stepped back as Mike checked on her. She wouldn’t wake up. Her head tilted to the side and her eyes rolled back. I thought she was dying, I literally thought “Oh my God, my daughter is dying.” I expected Mike to throw her on the ground to do CPR. The boys kept asking if they needed to call 9-1-1…but Mike knew what was happening and could tell that she was starting to come out of it. She opened her eyes and I could see the confusion on her face because all of us were just standing there looking (let me just say, as soon as my 7 year old step daughter came down the stairs she was sent back up so she wouldn’t see what was going on). Mike started asking her questions about her name, saying hi to her, asking if she was ok. She just tried to go back to sleep, she said she knew her name “Ava”, but when asked what her last name was she couldn’t remember. Of course more panic set in and I started trying to wake her up telling her she had to sit up. As she started to sit up she began crying. I kept asking her why she was crying, was she hurt, did she have a bad dream, did she bite her tongue, did she go to the bathroom in her pants…she just kept saying no. I asked why she was crying then and she just said she didn’t know. Her body was just trying to go back to sleep. Mike told me I needed to make sure she could walk. So after some convincing I got her to walk down the hall way with me…she was a little wobbly but ok. I asked her if she just wanted to go back to the couch and she said yes, she just wanted to sleep. 

There is no history of epilepsy. She didn’t fall. She hadn’t been sick. There was no fever. This had never happened before. She didn’t eat anything different. We didn’t DO anything different. 

Even though I was scared, I let her go back to sleep on the couch and stayed with her…she slept for 20 minutes, lunch came and she got up and ate, almost like nothing had happened. I say “almost” because she was definitely drained and lethargic. She ate most of her lunch and asked if she could lay in my bed with me…she fell asleep for another 15 minutes. We had decided that if she had another seizure we would take her to the ER…otherwise we would keep a close eye and treat it like a concussion. I stayed up with her most of the night as we both slept on the couch…every twitch, every time she moved I was watching. But she made it through the night with no incident. It took a full 24 hours before she was herself again. The next night she slept on the floor next to my bed…we treated it like a slumber party…but with me staying up all night and not the kids.

 So as of today, her blood work came back normal, her MRI came back normal and now we’re waiting for her apt this month for her EEG. Everything is pointing to this being a fluke as nothing else has happened since New Year’s day.  The neurologist said 5-10% of the time that someone has a seizure they never have another one, that its genetic and just lies dormant for the rest of their life. However after the first one there is a 30-40% of a 2nd one occurring. Now we sit and wait for what the EEG will tell us…

So again I ask…how do parents do it? How do you not look at your child differently after such an experience? How do you not become over-protective or clingy? I think I’ve done a good job with not acting crazy protective but I do catch myself glancing over and just savoring the moment. So if the doctors can’t find a reason as to why this happened and why it’s only happened once…maybe the reason is as simple as to get our attention, to put things back into perspective, to remind me of my priorities, to savor the moments… 

What a great time for bloggers!

I am so excited for Christmas!!  This is the first year that my boyfriend and I have celebrated the holidays living together and we have been going crazy decorating! This is my absolute favorite time of year! The sad part is that 3 of my boyfriend’s kids will be flying to see their mom for Christmas. I’m happy they’ll get to see their mom, but sad we’ll be spending Christmas apart. But! That just means we get to have 2 Christmases!!

This week is a full Christmas week for us!  Tonight we’ll be celebrating St. Nicholas Day!  This is a German tradition that I have passed down to my daughter and I’m excited to pass it down to Mike’s daughter as well.   We’ll also be getting a tree, a real one, I haven’t had a real tree in YEARS!!  I’m so excited!!  We’ll be going around seeing Christmas lights, and taking the girls to see Santa!  And I’ll be taking a week off of work, so yeah, excited!!!!

I’ll be sharing some of our traditions, new and old (like that lovely but messy, Elf on the Shelf), ideas, DIY projects to do with the kiddos and recipe ideas for Christmas dinner.   I would love to hear what your traditions are!

Only 19 more days! Here we go!!

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Ready for St. Nicholas!

 

 

Work with Me!

My goal is to reach out to other women and moms who need advice, tips, ideas, and overall support.  With being a mom and part of a blended family, I have the experience and knowledge to help other women reach their goals and provide general support.

Available For:  Brand Ambassador Positions, Freelance Writing, & Sponsored Posts & Giveaways.

My goal is to use my social influence to inspire women and other moms to a healthy and happy life, while getting everything else done! I see this goal being met via partnering up with a company who values moms, both mental & physical health, and the raising of our families as much as I do. I’m hoping to find connections that allows me to act as a voice for the company through writing, social media and representation at events and conferences. If this sounds like something you may be looking for MHatch@MonikaPHatch.com.

So your “baby” is graduating high school…

Here are 7 things that your child should know before they leave the nest…

1.  Spending money only happens after you earn it!

2.  Good grades are the rule, not the exception.  You shouldn’t expect a high-five or money each time you come home with an A.  You need to learn that your grades in high school will effect you in college. It isn’t about the letter grade as much as it’s about the study and learning habits you create while in high school. 

3.  Learn the importance of saving. If you want to buy something with the money that you have saved, go ahead!   But only spend half!

4.  Get to know your professors! They aren’t there to give you a hard time.  They are a wealth of knowledge and for the most part, believe it or not, they actually know what they are talking about! Appreciate that and learn from them! 

5.  No matter how much you hate it, realize the importance of taking a speech class! 

6.  Your high school friends are great and you’ll probably stay in touch with 2-3 of them, but college is not an extension of high school!  Don’t be afraid to meet new friends in college. 

7.  Don’t cram!! True learning can not be done in 1-2 cram sessions. Set aside an hour a day for studying and you won’t be as stressed out come test time!
You’re going to college for a reason, see it for what it really is, an opportunity to get the life you want! Take advantage of this opportunity and make the best of it!!

The End of Another School Year!

The end of another school year is finally here!  For most it’s a nice summer break before another year to come, but for some, this is the end of a long journey, the end of high school!! Graduating high school is quite the accomplishment and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  But my hope for those graduating high school is for them to know it doesn’t end there, it shouldn’t end there.  Sorry, but if there was anything that I wish I would’ve been told, or that I was told when I graduated high school but didn’t listen, it would be to keep going.  You’re already used to the school routine, it already fits into your life, now is the time to keep going and get ahead!  Do you know how many people take years off after high school before getting the degree that will launch their careers?  Well, by 2020 the older students will comprise 19% in the classroom. That’s a huge number!  Many of these older adults who go back to school have families, which makes it that much harder to go back to school.

A lot of people think that life right after high school is the time to party, that college can wait, or they are ready to get married and settle down.  All I can say is, please don’t.  Seriously, just don’t.  You should be getting yourself in order before you bring in anyone else.  You have a lot of growing to still do.  The person who is your “high school sweetheart” is going to change and grow too…and sometimes that doesn’t mesh well.   Yes, you have a lot more freedom now, but choose carefully and spend your time wisely. Your twenties are not to be taken lightly.  This is not a time to sit around and say, “Well, I have plenty of time.  I can go to school later.  I can get my dream job later.”  Why are you willing to waste your life to only have it be that much harder when “later” comes?   This is a time for reflection, a time to decide what you want to do with your life and DO IT!

Why do I care so much?  Well, because I’m there right now. I am speaking to you as a mother who is turning 38 this year, who is just finishing up her master’s degree.   I took a year off of high school, got my AA in Paralegal Studies and then took about 12 years to go back to school to get my BA in Psychology which took 2 years…and then another 2 years for my Master’s in Psychology –Child & Adolescent Development.   I really want to go after my PhD…but that’s another 6 years of school.  There’s no time for a “break” if I wanted one, but I have a family that comes first and frankly, I’m tired of school right now.  I’ve been going 4 years straight, and at this older age it’s just hard….really hard.  Then I look back and realize if I would’ve kept going I would’ve finished by the time I was 25, that’s 5 years before I had my daughter!  Let me tell you, it is HARD AS HELL to work full time, go to school full time AND raise a child!!  Hard, but I did it because I had to…you don’t have to!

Now I understand that what you want to do when you’re 18 is probably going to be different than when you’re in your 30s.  That’s what happened to me.  But, by the time you want to make a change in your career later on, it is much easier to at least have the majority of your schooling done when you’re younger.  If you want to go back and get your master’s degree or PhD because you’re 35 and want to up your game, that makes sense and is very doable!  But when you’re 25 and decide that you should probably start thinking about going to school, you’re already behind all of those people who started when they were 18.  The competition is fierce and now you’ll be on a time crunch!  I know school isn’t for everyone, but if you have dreams of being a doctor, or being a professor or a therapist, the fact is you can’t get there without school! So you want to be a newscaster or sportscaster?  Guess what, the schooling is going to put you ahead of everyone else.  Again, the competition is fierce!

So while you are celebrating the end of another school year, keep in mind that you still need a plan, you still need that motivation and determination to set up a better life for yourself.  I’m not saying you have to have it all figured out, but you can at least get started until you do.

A couple of more words of wisdom for those still in high school and those about to graduate:

“Tell them to keep up with his studies and to not fool around! High school passes by quickly” ~ Kelly

“Start saving for retirement with your first pay check, don’t spend more than you have because debt causes stress, always have a balance between work and play, and don’t get married for the first time until at least 30. LOL   Travel and make lots of memories.” ~Lori

ava grad
End of another school year

 

5 Ways to know you’re in a real relationship!

How many relationships have you been in?  What were the reasons those relationships ended?  Have you found yourself swearing off relationships or men in general?  Are you doubting that you can trust yourself?  Are you questioning whether or not you’re in a good relationship?

Here are 5 ways to know that You’re In a Real Relationship!

  1. Work on yourself, but keep the door open!  Just because you’re in school for your Master’s or just because you’re getting your business off the ground, it doesn’t mean that adding a partner will derail you.  You need to recognize the importance of finding a healthy and positive relationship to include in your circle.  They may just be the push in the right direction that you’ve been looking for.
  2. Don’t rule out professions as a whole!  Yes, you may have met a few bad apples along the way, but recognize that it’s the person more than the job.  There are realities to certain professions that you should certainly consider:  long hours, different shifts, safety concerns, deployment, high layoffs, etc., but who is that person and how do they handle those situations?  That is where your focus should be.  If you keep an open mind and open heart you just might meet the man of your dreams who just happens to be a police officer.  Just never say never.
  3. Saying I love you is powerful, but you need to realize that it takes more than love for a relationship to work.  There must be commitment, flexibility, friendship, and communication.  For myself, we are strong on all of these fronts with me working harder on the communication side.  However, because we talk about everything, I am aware of this.
  4. Be with someone who makes you genuinely happy.  However, you need to realize that overall, you are in control of your own happiness.  You need to have the ability to cope with all of the things life throws at us.
  5. Relationships change us.  But it’s up to you on how they change you.  We all change when we’re in a relationship, our priorities change, our interests and even our hobbies change. For me, I am doing more things that I never would’ve done on my own.  Eating different foods, cooking more, getting into baseball, coaching softball and liking it, to name a few.  Being in a healthy and positive relationship that allows you to change and grow for the better is worth everything, don’t give up!

From One REAL Mom to Another…

For my last post I asked 13 moms to give me some advice to those who are becoming moms or who have just entered the new mom club.  The advice was amazing!!  But there was one that went above and beyond.  It was honest, blunt, and just what every mom should hear.  She wants to remain anonymous, I’ll just call her my friend “D”, but I had to share anyway.  Enjoy and pass it on to someone you know who needs to read this!

“So I was asked by a friend for “working mommy advice”.

I used to love writing, I used to actually be pretty good at it (I was told J).  In grade 12, I had the highest score on the provincial exam (100%) for all of Manitoba.  I feel like this new generation of texting has destroyed that a bit.  Today, we only speak in sound bytes.  I am guilty of this too.  When I see 4 paragraphs, I just hit “pass”.  But writing is so therapeutic for the soul, so I’m going to buck the trend and be a little long winded.

So here’s a confession….I get annoyed by a LOT of mommy blogs. I think they make moms sound whiny and self-depricating and get way too over-sensitive about things.   So I’m not sure my advice will resonate on the “mommy blog scene”.  I have not mastered this by all means…..I fuck up all the time.   But this is what I strive for.  Here goes…..

First off, I didn’t have a “typical” mother raising me.   I was raised by a single mom who ran a 150 cow-calf beef farm raising 4 kids with 100% custody.   Still today, I have not met another single mom that took on what my mom did.  There was no 8-5, there was no pink & blue jobs around the house, money was very tight, and Mom was usually over-stressed and quick to anger.  For this life, I am very grateful, (and maybe a little over hardened).  I admire and understand her so much more as a mother myself.

Today, as a mother of a 5 year old girl and newborn boy, I don’t fit many of the mother molds either (as I read these mommy blogs…)

How to balance life as a working mom: I’m not at any place to give any advice!

I just had my second baby and am on my 1 year maternity (O’ Canada, Our Home and Native Land!). Two kids (even 5 years apart) are more like triple the work than double.  Running a home is hard work, there is so much shit to do every day!  My FitBit clocks 15,000 steps almost every day just keeping everyone fed and not living in filth.  Serious, that’s just cleaning, laundry and meals.  When I was working, it would be more like 5,000 steps a day.   But regardless, at the end of the day, now living both lives, I know the truth, I feel equally as exhausted and both are equally as important!

I’m the “corporate mom”. I love my job and I’m very good at it and am OK saying that loud and proud.  It provides me with a lot of self-worth.  I work in a very competitive environment where the harder you push, the more you accomplish.  I’ve always done better under pressure.  That’s why Mom Life is hard for me sometimes, it’s too easy to be lazy.  There is no budget to hit to benchmark accomplishments against.  I realize that many Moms will not be able to relate to this, so sometimes I feel uncomfortable sharing my true thoughts for fear of sounding selfish.  One thing I learned with Mommy World: selfish = bad mom.

I’m the higher income earner in our house and working part time is not a possibility in my career. My husband works full time also and double/triple time in spring and fall and I am very proud of him.  But I have always been the more career focused of us two.  Many couples live this life, it’s less common that it’s the woman’s career that drives the household’s directions.

So I feel before giving any advice, it’s fair to know what glasses I’m looking from.

  1. Treat your home like your job.
    1. A lot of mommy blogs are “it’s ok, you’re doing enough, love yourself…..”   I get it, I do…its important. But sometimes I feel like a good kick in the ass does a Mom good. What if we were to take the exact same language and put in the work force? Nobody wants to work with that chick. Seriously, just think about it for a minute……That shit wouldn’t fly!
    2. I am not a creature of habit, my husband is. I think it’s a good balance for us…most days. But I am not an A-type, lots of lists organized mommy (although I so admire you!). I thrive in a high stress sink or swim environment. I suck at consistency. When it comes to sleeping habits, my husband compares it to a train…….really slow to get going, really hard to slow down. He’s the light switch: he can wake up and fall asleep within minutes.
    3. Sometimes, you just have to push really hard and get your shit done. Treat your home like your workplace. Sometimes overtime is needed, other times it’s ok to check out early without explanation or justification.
    4. I’ve learned to embrace my energy bursts and push hard getting as much done as possible. It’s truly exhilarating. But totally accepting the fact that tomorrow may be a write-off of ordering in Chicken Chef and 3 hours of NetFlix.
    5. I wish “Mommy Blogs” were more like the inspirational corporate leadership training I get. We all work really hard to get it ALL done (without the need to showcase proof on social media).   So my ‘working mommy’ advice is suck it up, push harder and get your shit done and you’ll feel awesome! And then unforgivingly crash and reboot!
  2. Hire Out – seriously…..just do it!
    1. It seriously takes me 2 hours to prepare for my bi-weekly housekeeper to come and do a scrub down of our house. It’s a LOT of work to remove the clutter just to make room to clean! Those days I get 25,000 steps in just putting shit away…
    2. Here’s the thing: If there’s something you suck at, that’s OK. Just own it, get some extra help and move on! I suck at cleaning and tidying up, like full on F. But I love cooking my family a meal, I have friends that are complete opposites. Just own your strengths, and don’t guilt yourself into submission on weaknesses.
    3. We all waste our money on such stupid shit. Why are we not willing to buy less new trendy stuff and instead hire someone to help us out with those things that stress us out instead? Why am I hesitant to spend $50/week on housekeeping/ yard work / child care but I can blow $300 at Costco like a fart in the wind????
    4. Whatever your weakness is, just ask for help (paid or unpaid). Don’t put all the pressure on yourself trying to do it all!   That gives you more energy to kick ass at what you’re good at!
  3. Treat your husband / family help as co-workers.
    1. The only way I can survive is by embracing my network the same as my co-workers!
    2. “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg changed my perspective of working moms. “Make your partner a partner”.
    3. Let (and pressure) your husband to being an equal partner at home. Sometimes this means shutting your mouth and letting him figure out things his own way without critique.
    4. Here’s an example: I’m more than capable of mowing a lawn. I’m comfortable around tractors and did this myself for many years on my own when single. But now, when I do it I get reminded that I didn’t check the oil, and I drive too fast and didn’t pick up debris first…..it’s just easier to let him do it the way he likes. It’s no fun being ordered what to do every step (even if it’s so very right!) Don’t be bitter at husbands for feeling the same way about child care and home maintenance. “She likes it done a certain way, it’s easier to just let her do it”. It’s amazing what we each can accomplish when given the challenge and encouraged instead of critiqued! Both of us are still working on this! This is hard for me, but key to our survival of a double working household!
    5. In the same breath, appreciate them like you would a co-worker. Don’t take them for granted. Verbalize what you appreciate. It goes a long way.

Every day I try to figure this out. Some days I feel like I’m kicking ass and I do a silent fist pump.  Other days I hang my head in shame that I should have done so much better.  I remember life before kids, and I did the same in my work life.  So this is why I’ve tried to treat Mommy life like my career.   I think working mommies are amazing inspirations to their kids and teach their kids to be independent and driven to push hard when things are tough and crazy.  This is something to be very proud of and don’t feel bad about taking value away from stay at home moms if you say it out loud.  SAHM are so amazing too and I so admire them.  I struggle with this, scared to say out loud what I love about being a working mom as opposed to SAHM, worried of offending someone in this over-sensitive social media world.

I’ve learned that women are just as powerful at inspiring each other and giving each other the kick in the butt we need too! So let’s all just focus on that piece!  Push on girl!  We can do this!”  ~ “D”

Mom Motivation
Mom Motivation

 

 

For the Working Mom…

Becoming a mom is hard! Having to go back to work when all you want to do is stay home with your new baby, is even harder!  Maternity and paternity leaves are horrible in the United States!  Based on where you work determines how long you can take off after you have your baby, whether you have enough vacation and sick time saved up or if you have to take leave without pay.  (Here’s a link for the Family Medical Leave Act just in case you need it.)  Our time off to be with our babies is too short!   Add in the stress of keeping your household running now that there’s a baby!  There are scheduling issues, learning to breastfeed, learning how to handle post-partum depression, and God forbid if you or your baby have any medical issues.  We shouldn’t have to deal with having to hurry up and get back to work on top of all of that….but alas, not many families are able to survive with one income, most homes have both parents working.   So I wanted to share some real and honest advice for you moms facing or getting ready to face this beautiful, yet oftentimes challenging, chapter in your life.

I divorced shortly after having my daughter so I know the struggle of raising a child alone.  I am now part of an amazing blended family and I’m learning how to juggle everything while keeping the balance with my boyfriend.  Keeping things together with your spouse/partner/significant other has to be at the top of your priority list, otherwise you lose sight of each other and pretty soon it will all start to fall apart.  You can’t have a happy home when the 2 heads of the family have lost their connection.  So that would be my first real piece of advice.  Make date nights happen, make a point to talk to each other every single day, connect with each other, even if it’s while you’re doing the grocery shopping together!  Don’t allow the little things to get bottled up…little issues can easily turn into big issues.

I find what helps my family is keeping a calendar of all the events that we have coming up and taking things one day at a time (remember, we have 5 kids living at home!).  There is nothing worse than trying to figure out who needs to be where and what to do for dinner at the last minute!  This is a new one for us and I freaking love it and don’t know why I didn’t implement a family calendar earlier!!

One “baby” tip that I did when Ava was born was I wrote down everything, from when she ate to how often she had diaper changes, seriously!   Lord knows that new moms get very little sleep, so writing things down really helped me stay on track.

I asked 13 (it is Friday the 13th after all!) working moms for their best advice to new moms!

 “Prepare things ahead of time, like the night before. Whether you have a newborn, or a teenager I found that has been my biggest help. I always think out my meals for the family on Sunday, for the entire week. It really helps when I would get home every day after work, and the meal was either already cooked in the crockpot, or the casserole was ready to be put in the oven. When cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I would make the kids school lunches. In the morning all I had to do was grab their lunch and backpacks, and head out the door. When running errands, I never left the house without snacks, and something to entertain them with in my purse.”  ~Michelle

“As a working mom, I value my time. I have learned to create a schedule with my kids during the times I am not at work. Also, planning events and activities ahead in advance has also helped me with this balance.”  ~Angie

 “Going back to work after having my son was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in life. I missed him terribly, but…I had to work…so away I went. When I was home, I tried to keep up with doing chores, shopping, and other activities, etc. but I soon learned 1). I was over exerting myself and 2). many things were just not as important as giving time to my son. So, I started to put certain things on the back burner and just enjoyed hanging out with my little boy. Another thing I learned was that naps are a necessity as a mom. Take naps whenever you can! Trust me…TAKE NAPS!”  ~Farrah

“I get my kid to help me as much as possible. I want to spend time with him and we have chores to do. So it’s fun to do them together. I make sure that the time we have together is quality time. Phones away. Attention focused on him. I communicate that I’m busy working hard for our family so he understands why I’m not always home. He gets that it’s for his benefit also. We have family night once a week. It’s in the calendar. We don’t make other plans.” ~Jennifer

“There have been times that I’ve had to put my career first to get where I’ve wanted to go but tried to balance it by always having dinner with my family and trying to spend quality minutes with them even if we were just in the same room together watching TV. Now that I’ve reached my dream job and have a supportive boss that emphasizes family comes first, I have a great balance. I know if I need to take care of my family, I’m not going to get a lot of flack for taking the time off. I support my kids in their activities and encourage my husband to follow his passions. I’m rediscovering some of mine too.”  ~Cathryn

“You gotta make yourself a priority. Me time. You can’t give if you’ve got nothing to give. I run. Get pedicures. Lay upstairs on my bed and look at the ceiling; whatever it takes.”  ~Sarah

“It is super difficult balancing being mom and work. Oh by the way, there is your social life of feeling like being someone besides just mom or somebody’s wife. To keep it balanced, I don’t have a clear solution besides I just do. It is something that just happens without you really thinking about it. It takes sacrifice and a “wanting” to do both and make it work.”  ~Lisa

“One of the things that has worked very well for us is Izaac created a shared family calender with google/gmail and we both can add to it and look at it at anytime on the phone. This way we aren’t overlapping appts. I try very hard to have lunches and backpacks ready the night before so I’m not a crazy person in the morning. I try very hard to have a lazy Sunday.  Learn to accept the chaos, the mess, and the nights with no baths.”  ~Kelly

“I think the hardest part for me to be a working mom is that I am a perfectionist and anal about everything. The house has to be perfect every day, my child needs to be spotless, dinner needs to be on the table, laundry needs to be done along with working. I tend to get everything done and everything is perfect but I short myself. I never get to relax, I never get alone time and never get pampered. I also didn’t get to spend much time doing fun things with my son because working, keeping up with the house and by the time I was getting home it was dinner time, bath time and bed. I missed out on fun things. This was all when I was working full-time. Now I work part-time and able to manage better. I keep the house and everything caught up and fun times with my kid but still need to find time to arrange alone time for me. I guess my advice is to always make sure you get alone time if not you will go crazy like me. All the other stuff can wait.”  ~Maria

“As a working mom and a sports mom I have to set dates in my calendar on what events and practices are going on. I also set alarms in my phone to check my sons backpack nightly because I do forget since we’re always on the go. My phone is definitely my best friend when it comes to being organized and not a hot mess.” ~Supa

“My advice for maintaining a work – home balance is organization, communication and sometimes just letting go!  My A type personality works really well on a schedule.  I put everything I can in my calendar and I like it!  I schedule text message reminders and use a list making app (Wunderlist).  Being able to see my week allows me to efficiently use my time.  I do not take it day by day but I look at my full week in advance and insert appointments, errands, playdates, sports, workouts, and even ME times- yes I schedule time for myself.   If I did not treat ME time like this it would never happen.  I also schedule date nights- truthfully this is probably the “appointment” that gets rescheduled the most but we’re working on it!  My husband gets a copy of all of these appointments in his calendar.  Overall, build what you want/need into the schedule.  Also, as hard as I try to stay organized sometimes things fall by the wayside or an unforeseen event will happen that thwarts my masterminded organization chart.  I have learned that it is OK to rearrange and reschedule.  No unnecessary guilt.”  ~ Gina

 This next piece of advice has a lot more to say, please stay tuned for her full response!

“Treat your home like your job.  Sometimes I feel like a good kick in the ass does Moms good.  What if we were to take the exact same language and put in the work force?  Nobody wants to work with that chick.

Hire out.  Why are we not willing to buy less new trendy stuff and instead hire someone to help us out with those things that stress us out?

Treat your husband/family help as co-workers.  Embrace your network the same as your co-workers.  Let your husband be an equal partner at home.  Sometimes this means shutting your mouth and letting him figure out things his own way without critique.

I’ve learned that women are just as powerful at inspiring each other and giving each other the kick in the butt we need too! So let’s all just focus on that piece! Push on girl! We can do this!”  ~”D”

**This next tip is great for weekends/days off so that your chores don’t over-run you and you can enjoy the time with your family!

“To stay on top of laundry, I always throw a load of laundry in right before bed and then first thing in the morning, switch it over to the dryer. I go on with my regular morning, getting my kids ready, eat breakfast and then fold the laundry once it’s done. It’s a nice feeling getting something accomplished within the first hour of waking up and you don’t get bogged down with laundry.”

                 ~ Molly

me and ava
Working moms

A letter to my daughter…

As Mother’s Day approaches there are some things that I wish to share with my 7 year old daughter. As she is finishing 1st grade and as another softball season has ended, now is the time to slow down and remember what it really means to be her mother.

To my sweet Ava,

There are many life lessons that I watch you face on a weekly basis.  Most of them, you handle without much thought, others seem to take your breath away.  I see how much things affect you, like when your friends don’t want to play with you, or your friends rush to give you a hug when they see you walk through the door.  It seems to affect you to your core.

There will be many life lessons during your life and I hope that our talks will allow you to face them with grace, confidence, and dignity.  You will not be able to control everything that comes your way, but how you handle them is up to you and only you.  I hope that you learn to look at each situation from every angle.  It is important to understand other’s views, because yours is not always going to be the right one or the only one.  However , I hope that if there is something that you truly believe in, you never apologize for it and you learn to stand up for yourself.

Most 7 year olds ask questions, you in fact ask a LOT of questions!  I hope that you never stop.  Asking questions while finding your way, will lead you to great success and wisdom, which are two powerful traits a person can hold.

Follow your dreams!  Never allow anyone to get in the way of your dreams.  Do not be afraid to take the risks that will get you to your dreams.  If you stay focused and are smart in your decisions while gathering all of the information, taking risks doesn’t have to be scary.

It is important to surround yourself with friends that will encourage you and inspire you.  If someone truly loves you, they will help you and encourage you to reach your goals.  Just know that it is also important for you to be that friend to someone else.  Love your friends unconditionally.  Learn how to be forgiving but at the same time don’t allow someone to walk over you.

While you should surround yourself with good friends, you also need to be comfortable being by yourself.  Push yourself when no one else will, take care of yourself when no one else is around, pick yourself up when you fall.  If you are able to do this Ava, then when you meet that special person who you are ready to spend your life with, you’ll be doing it all for the right reasons. Don’t ever get stuck, don’t ever settle.  Life is too short to waste it on those who don’t help lift you up.

Learn to meditate, pray, clear your mind, whatever you need to do that ensures that you learn to listen to your intuition.  Intuition is powerful and if you learn to trust and follow it, it can save you from a lot of pain and can lead you to incredible happiness.

I watch you struggle to learn new things because you want to be perfect at it.  I wish you could see that just trying makes you perfect already.  I watch you console your friends when they are upset, but try to hide your own tears when you are upset.  I wish you could see that it is ok to cry.  I watch the hurt overcome you as you wish for your dad to spend more time with you.  I wish you could see how much love you are surrounded by every single day. I watch you accept the new chapter of our lives as a blended family.  I hope you know how accepting and loving you are.  I watch you get annoyed sometimes when others want to do what you do.  I hope that you see what being a leader means and that you embrace it.  I love when out of the blue you stop to give me a hug or tell me that you love me.  I hope that you can see how blessed and grateful I am that I get to call you my daughter.

I watch you do homework, play softball, meet new friends, read Junie B. Jones books, play video games and I sit in amazement.  You amaze me because I still see my sweet baby who I never wanted to put down, who I struggled to let anyone else hold.  You are an amazing person and will make big changes in this world.  I hope that you see how much you are needed, wanted and loved.

Happy Mother's Day!
Happy Mother’s Day!

 

I live in Las Vegas but…

Yes, I live in Las Vegas and I don’t gamble have only really gambled once and oh yeah, I don’t live on the strip either.

Isn’t it funny how when you tell someone where you live or where you work you get asked all of these crazy questions? I remember after I moved to Las Vegas in 1996, the first time I flew to see my parents in NC, a sweet older lady on the plane asked me “Don’t you just love the strip!?  I bet you’re one of those fancy showgirls!”  Um, no and no.  Actually, I worked off the strip as a legal secretary and had no interest in being on the strip. And still almost 20 years later I still don’t like to go to the strip that often.  My boyfriend and I will go for special occasions but it’s freaking stressful driving down there (thankfully he always drives!)!  Also, almost 20 years later I have only gambled for real once, and that was this past weekend…and it was at a local casino, NOT on the strip (Red Rock Casino)… The strip just isn’t the same as it used to be.  There’s a hell of lot more people, more people pushing their “CDs”, “preachers” standing on the corners yelling at everyone and then there are the grown adults dressed up as cartoon characters for money.  Yeah, no thanks.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love living in Las Vegas, I really do…but I love the outskirts, away from the strip.  I love that there are a lot of things to do with kids that don’t involve all of that chaos.

We go bowling, we have kids places for lots of fun, we have family Easter egg hunts, there’s the Lion Habitat, outdoor movies, we’re very patriotic, we have beautiful ponds and parks, and we have a lot of options for sports!  I wish people could see that side of Las Vegas more than the hustle and bustle of the strip.  With online gambling and gambling in almost every state now, this city really does have so much more to offer, because no, locals don’t live in the casinos!

BTW, I also work for the police department…no I’m not a police officer and no I can’t get you out of your speeding ticket.