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Push Up Lingerie

  • Budgeting: Christmas is obviously ALL about her. Well, it’s actually about Jesus’ birth, and we truly emphasize that, but she gets the most presents under the tree. And, she gets the most birthday presents. And, she gets “treats” when we go out. It’s not like we have to buy four ice cream cones. We only have to buy one. So, it doesn’t put a huge dent in the wallet. However, the behavior patterns that we create in her will last a lifetime. So, we have to be intentional. This is the one we are currently REALLY working on. We don’t want her to think that just because she wants it (and it only costs $2) she should have it. It’s about saving and budgeting and teaching her those habits. Push Up LingerieBeing the mom of an only is not the plan I had for myself, but it is God’s plan for me. And, I’m grateful to have my one and only. Being her mom is one of the greatest blessings of my life. Because there is only one child’s admission to pay, we are able to go to several theatrical performances a year. Because there is only one child who needs a bedtime story, we can always read something she enjoys. Because there is only one to tuck in at night, I get an amazing amount of cuddles.  Because there is only one, I get to call her my favorite. And, she is.

    Simply Real Moms: Meet Alana

    Sunday, August 14th, 2011

    Today’s guest post is from another future mom. She is going to share with us an interesting perspective.  That of a not-yet- mom who is surrounded by mom friends.

    Meet….Alana.

    Alana is one of  the Losing It ladies that provides me encouragement and support each week. She’s a super cute, godly and sweet person. She blogs at 107Down.

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    Hi! My name is Alana , I blog about life, love and weight loss over at www.107down.com.  I am happily married and live in Washington state. I am so excited that Mel graciously offered to let me post in her series on moms… even though I am not a mom – yet.

    As a late 20’s married woman the progression to becoming a mom has been pointed out, hinted at and blatantly pushed by family, friends and co-workers. I have watched, anxiously paced hospital waiting rooms and cooked dozens of meals for my wonderful friends as they forge their way into to the mysterious world of motherhood.  The situation I find myself in is strange because the relationships I have with my friends have changed since kids. Friends have come and gone because of schedules, family issues and their desire to have friends who have the same life challenges. Unlined Lingerie

    My husband and I are not against having children, in fact, we want to have children some day. Some day, but not when we reached our 2 year anniversary. Not when we reached or 3 year anniversary, nor our fourth.  As a result of being homeschooled I have always felt comfortable having friends of all ages. I can just as easily befriend someone who is in their 60’s or their 20’s, but I have felt that some people don’t seem to be able to maintain friendships as easily between life stages. Here are some tips for you mama’s who have friends who are not in the same stage of life.

    A friend is a friend.

    Just because one of the friends life stage has changed, does not mean that their need for authentic relationship has just disappeared. Women need other women in their lives for support, accountability and relationship. The fact that nap time might conflict with work schedules and bed times interfere with happy hour is not an indication that the friendship is over but a call to creativity in the relationship. Microfiber Lingerie

    Be Transparent.

    Allow other people into your life, allow them to speak into your life and share how you are really doing. We want to help, but since we are not in the stage of life you are we sometimes feel lost on what you need most. If you need to get out and just want someone to give you an hour break – ask! If you need to go shopping with the girls – tell us! If you need us to run through the drive thru and bring you a soda – we would love to!

    God created us for relationship and each one is special and vital for our emotional health. Spouse, parent, children and friendships all have their place in helping us feel balanced and emotionally healthy. As women we care about other people, take care of them and give, give, give… the best part about healthy friendships is that when we serve each other we are meeting each emotional needs of ourselves and our friends.

    Somebody remind me of these two points when I have kids…m’kay?

    Simply Real Moms: Meet Jessica M.

    Sunday, August 7th, 2011

    I’m so happy to report that I have a new mom to feature each week in this last month of my Simply Real Mom series. I have only just “met” today’s featured mom via Twitter but she seems to be  a wonderful mom, blogger and follower of Jesus.

    Meet……Jessica M!

    Jessica is a recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser, wife to a seminarian, and mom to two adorable little men.  She spends her days balancing life between sword-fighting and tickle monsters, reminding herself that she’s raising the next generation when dirty diapers and nap rebellions take their toll.  Jessica writes about pursuing an authentic, passionate, and purposeful life in pursuit of Christ at Reflections of a Princess.  She also chronicles her family’s homeschooling journey at Our Montessori Home

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    Hi, I’m Jessica–wife to a seminary student and mom to two little boys, Joey and Otto (2.5 and 6 months). I grew up a bit of a nomad, since my dad was in the Marine Corps we moved quite regularly. I get what those in the military call the 2-3 Year Itch, which means it’s time to move…every 2-3 years.

    But now I’m in a season of life I don’t particularly like, it’s called long-term transition. You’d think after so many years of moving that I’d have this down, but I don’t.

    My husband goes to school part-time, works full-time, and is building his own company with the goal of quitting his full-time job. It’s a lot, but still there’s more. He works 2nd shift Friday through Monday. He leaves around 11:30 and gets home 12 hours later. The time in between? It’s just me and the kids.

    It can get stressful, chaotic, and lonely.

    If you find yourself in a season of life with a non-stereotypical schedule and family life, here’s my advice:

    Roll with it. Keep a routine, but hold it loosely. That’s the best way I can see getting through this season. I’d love to have a schedule and know exactly what will happen every day at the same time. I’ve tried, but it doesn’t work for our family. Routine does work. Each day has its own feel and we roll with it.

    Don’t go it alone. It’s not easy to make friends, especially when you know there’s a time limit on how long you’ll be living in a certain place. But developing relationships, living, working, and sometimes just surviving together will make your life easier. Sometimes it’s funny how having 6 kids in a room with 3 moms is easier than having 2 kids with 1.

    Make your life easier. It’s okay to make hard days movie nights or have pie for dinner (*true story*). Sure we want our children to grow into disciplined adults, but we also want to get there with our sanity in tact. And sometimes the break a movie or a Chick-fil-A dinner brings helps…it’s a breather, a time to regroup and refresh.

    Remember to say yes. I often find myself saying “no” more than I care to and most of the time after I hear it leave my lips, I think, “Why not?” What’s a little paint to clean up or bubbles outside?

    Retreat. Every Wednesday I get away for a few hours in the afternoon. Sometimes you’ll find me at Starbucks or browsing thrift stores, but most often I’ll be in the basement library writing, planning, and reflecting. Even those 2-3 hours, which isn’t long in the scope of the week, refreshes me. I leave feeling productive, rejuvenated, purposeful, and happy.

    If you can get away, I’d highly suggest it. If it doesn’t work for your husband’s schedule, ask a girlfriend to watch your kids and on another day offer to watch hers.

    Breathe. There are days the chaos is too much. The kids are crying, whiny, the baby won’t sleep, and someone is always in need of mommy. There are days you want to silence the world, because the neediness is too much. Breathe. Remember that God has you in this season as the mother to these children for a purpose.

    I believe, as mothers, one of the greatest ways we’ll know Jesus deeper is by meeting him in the chaos. Make it sacred. For some that is praying every hour on the hour, for others it might be a handful of go-to bible verses, or even putting your apron over your head to read your bible (as Sarah, wife of theologian Jonathan Edwards, did).

    And remember, it’s just a season and soon there’ll be another.

    Simply Real Moms:Meet Ashley

    Sunday, July 24th, 2011

    Our Simply Real Mom today is special and unique. You see…. she’s not a mom yet. She’s a future adoptive mom.

    She’s an inspiring, sweet blogger who I’ve met through Twitter and who kindly volunteered to write a post for this series. I’m thrilled to have her guest post. She’s going to share some “real” thoughts from her side of  motherhood. I encourage you to stop by her blog and check her out!

    Meet….Ashley!!

    Ashley is a 20-something year old seminary wife who lives in Louisville, KY with her husband, Michael, and their three cats. God willing, they are hoping to expand their family, through way of adoption, this year. She is passionate about encouraging women to live for the Lord in all aspects of their lives and blogs about it at Putting God First Place. Ashley recently published her first book, How My Soul Yearns, where she shares about her journey through infertility.

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    While most expectant moms are preparing a nursery and watching their mid-section expand with life, I’m experiencing things differently.

    You see, I’m not a “normal” soon-to-be mom. I’m a soon-to-be adoptive mom.

    Instead of preparing a nursery, I am gathering all I can for up to four children 8 years old and younger (Note: Yes, that is a huge age range and a larger quantity than most decide to adopt at one time. My husband and I feel led to adopt a sibling group from the foster care system.).

    Instead of my mid-section expanding, my heart is expanding with hope, love, and anticipation!

    Most expectant moms have a due date, and generally they deliver their child(ren) close to that date. Adoption is different. Especially adopting from foster care. Once we are licensed, we could receive a phone call any day and the placement could happen within hours of the phone call. Or, we could end up waiting for 2 months, 5 months, or even longer!

    Traditional expectant parents get to learn about parenting and discipline as their children get older. My husband and I have to be ready from day one!

    As you can see, I am experiencing this “expectant” season of motherhood differently. Because adopting is different than giving birth, some people do not know how to encourage expectant adoptive parents.

    I have one tip that I would love to share!

    Ask about progress.

    Just as you would ask a pregnant woman how she is feeling and how her pregnancy is going, ask the soon-to-be adoptive parents about their progress. If you ask about the progress, you are acknowledging that they are expectant parents! By not saying anything, you make them feel like their road to parenthood isn’t real yet (and it is very real!).

    I’ve been hurt deeply by people close to me because I feel like they are refusing to acknowledge that I am a soon-to-be mom, they don’t ask me about our adoption, and they don’t bring it up.

    On the reverse side, I have some close friends that have been an amazing source of encouragement and support. They are asking about our progress often. They are praying for our family. They are standing alongside me!

    I know that I am experiencing this expectant season of motherhood differently, but I am living it and embracing it!

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    If you’re interested in guest posting for my Simply Real Mom summer series contact me. I have a couple of spots open!

    Simply Real Moms:Meet Michelle

    Monday, July 18th, 2011

    Our Simply Real Mom today has a unique and interesting story to tell about herself. I’ve known her for several years and have always been inspired by her.She’s a single mom to three hearing impaired children.

    Meet…Michelle!

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    I am so happy to share a little about my family.  Admittedly, I have truly enjoyed reading all the other “guest bloggers” on Mel’s blog – there are truly some amazing women, moms, wives.

    I am a 42 year old single mom to 3 great kids.  I’ve worked for the same Biotech Health Care Company for the last 13 years but at 80% since the birth of my first child.

    Ronald, my oldest is seven years old, is intellectually curious, self-proclaimed budding engineer/architect/car designer and going into second grade in the fall.  Elisabeth, my eldest daughter is 6 years old, has generally a sweet disposition (I call her “sugar Elisabeth”), very graceful and is going into first grade in the fall.  She nicknamed herself “Lilly” at the old age of 2 and it has stuck since.   Alessandra, my youngest child will be 5 in August, is one of the silliest children alive, smart as a whip and entering Kindergarten in the fall.

    Yes, 3 children in three years!  I had 3 in cribs, 3 in diapers, 3 drinking out of sippy cups all at the same time.  When I look back the videos, I can’t believe how little each was when the next precious one was born. Nothing however could have prepared me for all 3 to be diagnosed with hearing loss all within 1 month in the spring of 2009.  Within the following month, all 3 were wearing hearing aids in both ears.

    Although the diagnosis happened in the midst of one of most difficult times in my life, I’ve come to view it as a blessing from God.    You see, it happened just a time when I started to lose sight of what was important in life, started to lose my compass.  I had to change my perspective and put all my efforts on 3 very, very young children to adjust to a life I never imagined… immediately.

    Our home used to be a very loud, frustrating place.  I had 3 kids who unknowingly had trouble hearing, had trouble speaking and/or had trouble being understood. Almost every request to come to dinner was ignored, every whispermet with silence and birds/leaves in trees didn’t have sounds.

    Fast forward to summer 2011.  I’ve spent the last two and half years learning to be mom to my 3 ‘perfect’ kids.  I’ve learned what hearing aids are, what they do, how they work, how to clean them, how to put them on and off, how to trouble shoot.  I’ve met a fantastic group of moms who also have hearing impaired child/ren.  I’ve learned what an IEP is (education plan for special education services), how to read a audiogram, understand the needs of and advocate for each child, and help educate Sunday school teachers, Italian school teachers, ballet teachers, soccer and baseball coached about hearing impaired kids.

    Now, the family volume is getting better and the kids are in intense speech and language sessions.  They are very happy, confident children who will show you their colorful aids within minutes of meeting them.  They love to teach others why they wear them (just ask the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives).  I don’t know why our family was chosen but I trust God.  When my kids ask what they might do when they grow up, I tell them they might be lead scientists in the area of auditory research.  There is a reason for this all and we may find out some day.

    We live a simple, busy life these days.  I continue to work as the children all transition to elementary school.  We have great friends, a close extended family and a supportive, loving church.  My parents are incredible grandparents fostering a special relationship with each child and lend a hand more times that I can ever repay.  Most importantly, Ronald made a profession of faith a few years back and was baptized just this spring.  He unabashedly invited many friends of different faiths to witness and celebrate his baptism. He has a tender heart for the things of God.

    Thank you for reading a little about our family.  I am constantly amazed by the courage my children have shown in their short lives.  I hope our story can be an encouragement to others.  It is still the beginning and we continue to learn and grow every day.

    ~Michelle

    * If you’re interested in being featured in my Simply Real Mom’s summer series contact me. I still have a couple of spots open.

    Simply Real Moms:Meet Jessica B.

    Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

    So, it’s Tuesday. And this post was supposed to go up yesterday. But, after two trips to the doctor, Super Summer drop off and pick up  at church and errands I didn’t get on my computer until late last night. So…here we are this morning!!

    I hope you have been enjoying hearing from these wonderful moms as much as I have.

    Want to catch up on earlier guest posts by amazing moms? Just click on the  ” Simply Real Moms” button.

    Our Simply Real Mom today is someone I’ve also known for years. Her family were missionaries just like us. Her and her siblings are cousins  to my cousins. So…we’re related by marriage I guess!  (Did you understand that??)  She’s a mom to 7 beautiful kids. SEVEN!!! And she looks like she’s never had kids. Seriously.

    She’s another person I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know better and keep in touch with through Facebook. (Since she lives very far from me!)

    You can read more about her at her blog: Cottage Capers

    Meet…..Jessica B!

    **Only one child in this picture is hers. As you can probably guess, it’s the one in her lap! As a mom of 7 it’s hard to be IN the picture with all of your children! Jessica told me this picture was taken at VBS this year.

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    I was completely blown away when Mel asked me to be a guest writer. I’ve never written for someone else before and my first thought was “What do I SAY?!”….and even though I’ve had plenty of notice I still can’t say that I’ve come up with anything. =)  But since this about being real I’ll just jump right in.

    As Mel said, my name is Jessica, I’m 32, and I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mommy to 7. Aaron (11), Lela(9), Alyssa(8), Isaac(7), Levi(5), Kyla(3), and Asher(18mths). (And yes, we would love more if that is in God’s plan.) I’ve been married to my best friend for 11 years (and 9 months) now. lol.

    I am always having people ask me how I “do it”. My answer …”I don’t”. If you don’t believe me just come visit us, or at least visit my blog over at “Cottage Capers”.  I am not your perfectly organized, everything’s awesome, got-it-under-control Mom. I would love to be, and I do strive to get there someday, but as of right now, we just live! Any planning ahead I can do makes life so much easier, but if anything ever works out you can be sure it was because of a LOT of prayer. On a normal day, we don’t eat breakfast before 10:00, lunch before 3:00 or supper before 8:30 or 9:00 at night. We do have naps, but never at the same time every day. We ALWAYS have coffee! Usually a couple times a day. My target “school-time” is from 12:00-3:00 or 4:00pm. That’s if I’m not so behind on laundry that I need all hands on deck to help us catch up. Everyone including Kyla has chores…it’s a necessity. I try to do at least 2 loads of laundry per day just to keep up afloat. Up until a month or so ago I planned and shopped by menus, but our crew has gotten where I need to shop in bulk. So, I keep our basic menus handy and buy staples at Sam’s a couple of times a month.  I have tried to have a cleaning schedule in the past and I’ve never stayed consistent with it. We live in a 3 bedroom, 1 (teeny-tiny) bathroom house with a big yard. =) I struggle to maintain a balance between chaos and flexibility. I tell my kids, people are more important than schedules, so when someone drops in for a cup of coffee, everything else gets put on the back burner. With homeschooling, our goal is more than just academics. We want to teach lasting life skills, as well as logic and Latin.

    My husband ran across a quote the other day that we felt exemplifies our perspective quite well:

    A human being should be able change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

    That being said, teaching it is much harder than reading it. It has been, and continues to be quite the adventure. I do rely heavily on my husband to keep me balanced and to help me notice and enjoy the little moments that might get overlooked while I’m busy changing a diaper or mopping up a spill.

    I don’t know if I have any tips or tricks that might help any of you out there other than this…None of us can do this Mom thing without the Lord right beside us. Because it’s so much more than a physical thing. If it were just a matter of cooking balanced meals and putting on band-aids than it would be “do-able” (maybe). But we’re doctoring hearts and feeding souls, and that takes the touch of God. On us and on them. If I have learned nothing else, I’m learning that I can’t do it myself…I need Him. And by my saying this, it makes it sound like I’m so spiritual….soooo not the case. I fail daily. I lose my patience, fuss at my kids, get  an attitude when we’re late, feel exasperated that, in spite of my best efforts someone is still going to have a dirt smear on their clothes, and miss-matched socks….but I want to be better than that. My goal is that they see that being a Christian is REAL. It’s Forgiveness and Grace. It’s as real as sharing your favorite toy with your brother, and not getting made at your sister when she gets in your stuff. And I want them to see that in me. And I want them to see that in spite of our failures, the Lord is always there to pick us up and love us and help us try again.

    So I don’t know if this was what Mel had in mind, =)  but I hope it was encouraging to at least one person out there.

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    Do you want to be featured in my Summer Simply Real Mom Series? I currently have these dates open:

    August 8th, 15th and 29th. Contact me if you’d like to guest post from one of those days!

    Monday, June 27th, 2011

    Before I introduce you to our Real Mom of the day I need to do a little blog business. I’m looking for 3 or 4 more guest  writers to finish off my Simply Real Moms Summer Series.

    Are you a Real Mom who would like to share your tips, tricks and daily life with us?

    These are the dates: August 8,15,22 and 29.

    Contact me if you’re interested!

    If you’d like to catch up on all our previous Simply Real Mom posts click on the handy dandy Simply Real Moms button above or in my sidebar.

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    Meet….Sarah!!

    Our Simply Real Mom this week. I’ve actually “known” Sarah for quite some time. She used to be my cousin’s roommate when they were both teaching at a Christian school, unmarried and childless.

    Fast forward to several years, marriage and children later I ran into Sarah at at a weekly playgroup hosted by my friend Trish. (Our Simply Real Mom from last week!)

    Small world, huh?

    Even though we no longer go to that playgroup I’ve enjoyed staying in touch with Sarah via Facebook. I enjoy seeing pictures of Sarah’s cute kids and reading about the funny things they do and say.

    She blogs at Food and Whine. Check her out!

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    Hi! I’m Sarah from Food And Whine. I have really enjoyed these real mom posts – I haven’t commented on all since, being a real mom, something usually came up, a drink was needed, an argument escalated, or I just plain lost my train of thought since I haven’t had a complete thought in at least 7 years.

    I am mother to Sam who’s 7.5 and Kate who is 4 and will be 5 at the end of August. I have been married to the love of my life for 10 years.

    I can’t remember the last time we had a family picture taken; it might have been Christmas but I can’t find it. It’s usually me taking the pictures but apparently not ones of Craig and the kids. All of that to say, here’s me with my kids. Hi.

    As I thought about what to write, I kept coming back to how disorganized I feel all the time . . . so why in the world did I volunteer to write a guest post about how I do what I do? somedays I just “do the next thing” – a phrase my mom shared with me (kind of like the “good-enough mom,” I guess) – where I don’t worry about what we’ll do after lunch or later tonight or next week, but just . . . the next thing. The dishwasher needs emptied? do it. Enough ‘next things’ and things are done and the day is done.

    I did start out the year planning out 3 months of meals and that was a big help – because inevitably we didn’t need all the nights of meals I planned to that stretched the scheduling by a few weeks. I made a big list (a big list!) of the meals we liked and also some I’d like to try; I printed some calendars, each month on its own page, and wrote what I thought we’d eat in the boxes. I tried to mix up what we had as far as type of meat and also style (Italian, Mexican, etc.) as well as only one new one a week (we’re not too adventurous in our dinner choices). Now we’re in summer so I need to sit and do it again with fewer soup, stews, or comfort food type of dishes.

    For awhile I had a cleaning schedule of what to do on what day (loosely based on Fly Lady), but it seemed like I didn’t want to do that chore on that day or something would come up and before I knew it the house was out of control again. I still sort of follow a plan; bathrooms are Mondays and Thursdays, I try to do at least one load of laundry a day, and I more often than not “put my house to sleep” by cleaning the kitchen and the living room/dining area before bed.

    I’ve also just come to accept that I’m moody about housecleaning. Sometimes it’s Real Simple photo shoot ready and other times it’s not. My husband, who worked for a cleaning company, always tells me how not vile our house is when I get down on myself, because he’s seem some nasty places with people who didn’t seem to notice.

    I do have one thing that’s worked well for us that I thought would be worth sharing:

    When my son was in preschool he didn’t seem able to select clothes himself; or maybe it was that he’d argue with me when it was time to get dressed. To give him a measure of independence and remove any discussion, I taped cards with the days of the week written on them to the shelf in his armoire and then would stack the clothes, underwear, and socks for each day above the cards. I could say to him, “go put on your ‘Monday’ clothes” and he would. We kept it up through kindergarten and first grade; towards the end of the year I wasn’t as consistent (it’s a little harder when the weather is unpredictable to plan if he’s going to wear shorts or pants; I do have to remember to check the weather) but overall I’ve had success with this with Sam. I don’t have quite as convenient a spot for Kate but would like to set up something similar because she’s starting kindergarten in the fall.

    We do have chore charts and the kids can earn their “allowance” for filling them in; this spring I “raised the bar” on them by adding wiping the sink (for Sam) and sweeping the floor (for Kate). We talk about how they are members of this “community” and have to contribute and not just take all the time.

    The most important thing I try to tell my kids every day is that God loves them. I love them, their father loves them, but most importantly God loves them, right now, just the way they are.

    Thank you, Melissa, for having real moms come by and share what makes them (us) tick.

    Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

    I’d like you to meet today’s Simply Real Mom…

    Trish!!


    I’ve known Trish for a couple of years and met her when she started going to the same church I was a member of at the time. Trish is a very upbeat and friendly, very talented vocalist and, as she mentions in her article, has two friendly, adorable kids. I’m very happy to be featuring her today!

    *If you’re interested in being a featured mom or mom blogger on Mondays (or Tuesdays if I’m behind!) in my Simply Real Mom series- contact me!

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    Hi everyone, My name is Trish. I am 34 and I have two extremely outgoing children. Lainey is 7 going on 14 and Keith will be 5 next week. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 16 years. I was really excited when Melissa said she was looking for guest bloggers.  I love to write about being a mom.

    So, I’d love to give you a run down about my day and how I “do it all” but the truth is I don’t “do it all” I see so many moms that pack so much on their plate and I simply can’t and refuse to do that. I am blessed enough to be able to stay home with my children but it was as much of a choice as it was a blessing. My husband and I waited 8 years to have children until we knew that we would be able to live off of one income. We live in a smaller house, drive used cars and rarely go on vacation.  I would love to go back to work one day, re-model my house and go on a cruise but the way I look at it is if our life span is 80 years or so then 18 years is a small sacrifice to give to my family. There will be plenty of time for “me” when my kids are grown.  So rather than give you a time-line of my daily schedule I thought I’d give you my very own “Stay at Home Mom survival tips” So here’s goes…

    Tip # 1: Don’t stay home!!
    I don’t mean go back to work, what  I mean is get out of the house. Go to parks, church, play groups, libraries, farms, as many places you can think of where moms with other kids go and meet people. Don’t be afraid to start conversations with other moms. I can guarantee that the majority of times the other moms will be just as thrilled as you are to have some adult conversation. When my son was born and my daughter was 2, we went to our local playground everyday. Eventually we saw the same moms over and over again and a playgroup was formed. This then led to mom’s nights, play dates and five years later some of these moms have become my best friends. We still continue to see each other for walks, scrapping, and lunch now that the kids are in school.  (see, that me time starts sooner than you think)

    Tip # 2: Don’t forget your marriage!
    Date nights are a must. If you don’t have family around to watch your kids, find a sitter. There are tons of really responsible teenage girls at your local high school that are just waiting to be hired. Ask friends for recommendations, mingle with your neighbors.  Trade off with friends–you watch their kids once a month and they can watch yours.  Time alone with your spouse helps you stay on the same page when it comes to raising your children.  Dates help you get to know more about the ins and outs of your spouse’s life so you can better support each other. If your husband can take care of you and you can take care of him then together you can more successfully take care of your children.  My husband and I try to go on a date once a month. It doesn’t always work out that way but we try.  I have found sitters several ways.  When my kids were younger, I belonged to a gym and the college girls that worked in the nursery were willing to do some side babysitting.  I’ve also asked teen volunteers and town events if they did babysitting and got numbers that way.

    Tip # 3: Remember, kids are more resilient than most think!
    Chances are they don’t need hand sanitizer every hour on the hour, more than likely they won’t get sick from the shopping cart and if they do, well, all kids get sick from time to time. It’s hard but it’s also normal. All babies eat sand, playdough and pet food, and they’ll live.  If you can just relax and let your kids be kids it will be a heck of a lot less stressful on you– You cannot be a mom and OCD at the same time. It just won’t work.

    Tip # 4: Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and ask for help.
    We’ve all been there. Yelled too loud, gave in to a tantrum, it happens and it’s OK. We’re not perfect. I am the most unorganized person in the world. Actually I am diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. I have to constantly make lists, and reminders to stay on track or I forget everything. I have double booked birthday parties, I once signed up to volunteer in both my kid’s classrooms at the same time. This happens a lot and until I was able to stop and ask for help, I was in a constant state of being overwhelmed which made me extremely impatient with my kids. Since being treated for my ADD I have become much more patient, still a little unorganized but life isn’t so overwhelming. Now, I’m not telling all moms to go get tested for a mental disorder but if you are really unhappy or overwhelmed, it never hurts to talk to someone.

    Tip # 5: Know your limits
    Don’t over commit yourself, don’t be afraid to say no and  NEVER EVER feel guilty about being home with your kids. This is a biggie for me. I am constantly volunteering for everything because I feel  like I should since “all I do is stay home”.  Sometimes though, all the volunteering keeps me busier than if I had a full time job, leaving me very little time and patience for my kids.

    And finally a few things to remember.. On those day when that little bit of jealousy towards the working crowd creeps in these are the things I like to remember… — I was the first one to hear my children’s first words, take their first steps, use the potty for the first time among other things. I didn’t have to hear about it from someone else. — I get to see on a daily basis how my children interact with others. When their teacher tells me about their behavior, nothing surprises me. -When the corporate world is stuck in their office on a sunny 70 degree day in April, We get to go to the park.

    -When I want to go out with my friends, or get my hair done or shop by myself, I don’t feel guilty because I am with the kids all the time and I deserve it.

    I would like to say that I have absolutely nothing against working moms. We all have to do what is right for our family.  This is simply meant to be an encouragement to those who have chosen to stay home with our kids.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it helps some of you. I’d love to hear some of your “mommy survival tips” so comment away…

    Simply Real Moms: Meet Grace

    Sunday, June 12th, 2011

    I hope you guys have been enjoying the Simply Real Moms series as much as I have. I’ve really enjoyed getting a glimpse into the lives of these different, wonderful women. I’ve already learned some new tips and tricks I want to try out in my home.

    *If you want to be a featured Simply Real Mom just contact me!

    Today’s Simply Real Mom is another woman I’ve known all my life. She’s my cousin!!

    Meet… Grace!

    Grace is the sister of Lydia ( you remember her from a couple of guest posts ago…) and my sister and I have always been close to them growing up. We’re all the same age! We have lots of fun memories with them and now it’s fun to keep in touch and see each others children growing up.

    Grace blogs at Life With Grace. Let’s see how she “does it all”….

    ***********************

    My name is Grace and I am also Melissa’s cousin. If you’ve been following the Simply Real Moms posts, my sister Lydia has already posted on here. I feel kind of like I need to be reading everyone else’s blogs to become more organized and a better mom but since Melissa asked me, I’ll share what goes on at my house on a daily basis. I’ve been married to my husband, Paul, for coming up on 11 years now. We have three beautiful and ornery children: our daughter Riley is 8 and going into 3rd grade, our son Jake is 5 and will start kindergarten this year, and our youngest, Tyler, is 2 and our little handful.

    If Melissa had asked me to do this blog five years ago I either would have turned her down or written a blog full of embarrassing chaos and lack of organization. I’m actually a “closet organizer” and by that I don’t mean I organize closets, I mean I secretly like organization and make lists in my head all day long but you would never think it to look at my house. I will start my day off by making lists of each thing I want to get done with my day, but that list is only in my head where there is no evidence if none of those things actually get done. The older that I get, though, the stronger my desire becomes to make my home a haven where my family is happy and peaceful. Now that doesn’t mean it’s easy to not sit around and waste time, finding excuses not to do what needs doing, it just means I make more of an effort to use all my time very wisely so that I can have some time to relax and play with my kids but also to have my home clean and all my household chores done on a regular basis. So this is what I do:

    ·    I get up most mornings around 6am to exercise. This is a new thing I started a few months ago and while I am NOT a morning person, it has been a huge revelation how much more productive I am when I get up early like this. After I work out, I will see my husband off to work and hit the shower (where my lists are compiled in my head of how I want the morning to go). ·    After my shower, I have my Bible reading time. During the school year I might get some interruptions during this time because of kids getting ready to go, but with summer break here, I now get to go through this time free of all disruptions. ·    Once I’m done with my Bible reading time, it is usually between 7:30 and 8am. If Tyler is awake yet (which he normally is), I’ll get him up and dressed and take him down for breakfast. Again, if school is in session, Riley is normally up and at least eating breakfast by this time. Jake is nearly always up at this time and a lot of mornings is up to see my husband off to work at 6:45. He is our early bird. So the boys eat breakfast and I will clean the kitchen up during this time. ·    After the kitchen is clean comes my time to do the Chore of the Day. Monday is laundry and grocery shopping. Typically I will start some laundry in the morning and then once my grocery list is made, we will head out to get that over with. Somehow I am able to work it out to only do laundry (for clothes anyway) once a week. This is also the only day that my Chore of the Day is a drawn out process. I despise folding laundry with every fiber of my being but after years of being really bad about not folding clothes till I had a ton to fold and then griping my way through, I have learned that it’s best for me if I fold each load as it comes out of the dryer. The exceptions to that are usually the last couple of loads, mostly because they are not finishing until closer to the end of the day when supper is being cooked and all that. Those last two loads usually spill over to Tuesday. Tuesday’s Chore of the Day is supposed to be sweeping and mopping all the hard floors in my house. However, as much as I despise folding clothes, I hate mopping ever so slightly more so this is a chore that I am very guilty of skipping unless we are having company. I will sweep, and in fact do that almost every day when the kitchen is being cleaned, but mopping is only done out of desperation. So usually folding those straggler loads of laundry from Monday ends up being Tuesday’s Chore. Wednesday is vacuuming. I don’t know if it’s wrong of me to only vacuum once a week but please don’t judge. And don’t ever come to my house and look at my carpet. I yearn for the day when I can get hardwood floors. And I know what you are thinking, “What?! Aren’t you the lady who hates mopping?” And the answer to that is yes, yes I am. But you haven’t seen my carpet. I will take mopping over that embarrassment any day. But I digress…Thursday is bathroom cleaning. I don’t really have anything negative to say about that. I would rather clean the bathroom than mop. Or fold. Friday is the day I wash everyone’s bedding. ·    Once I am done with my Chore of the Day, if the weather is nice I will take my boys out to play in the backyard. They love it out there and would play all afternoon if it isn’t too hot. ·    Two o’clock in the afternoon is naptime for Tyler and that is my time to just do what I want. I usually will do my blogging and facebooking during that time, though I have been known to do those things in the mornings too. If Jake is in particular need of some attention or entertainment I will play a game with him (he is recently a fan of Uno) but that is fairly unusual. I think he likes naptime a lot too because he can bring toys out of his room that his little brother isn’t allowed to mess with which means he can’t bring them out unless Tyler is sleeping. Jake also gets some computer time at that time too.

    ·    My husband typically gets home from work between 4:30 and 5pm so I will work on supper around that time of evening. And that usually is where I stop planning my day and just enjoy having my husband at home.

    Now you might be asking yourself do this woman’s kids ever have to do anything? And the answer is yes, they do. The two older ones now empty the dishwasher on a regular basis for me. I was blessed with a giant for an 8 year old who is regularly assumed to be at least a year or two (and once even four years) older than she actually is so reaching all those high shelves to put dishes away isn’t a problem for her. Jake will hand her dishes from the dishwasher and put away anything in a lower cabinet or drawer. Riley also will take over her laundry for the summer. Since I usually do that in the morning I will continue doing it for her when school is in session but this summer will be her laundry training days. She will also take over the cleaning of her bathroom for the summer. Surprisingly she is very excited about that one. I am too! Jake helps with the folding of his laundry and also picks up all the toys in the playroom before I vacuum on Wednesdays.

    And now that you know ever minuscule detail of my life, I will leave you to enjoy more posts from Melissa. Hey, she is looking for other Simply Real Moms and if you volunteer I promise to ready every little detail you put in your post.

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