Say Yes to Saying No

No.

You probably lose count when you think about how many times you say it to your kids on a daily basis.

But, how many times do you say it to other people when it comes to invitations, favors, or other things?

I’m waiting…

I hear the crickets.

If you’re like me, the answer is probably close to never. I don’t know if it’s a mom thing or just a “me” thing. But, I pray I’m not alone in this horrible habit of feeling like I have to yes to everyone for every thing. It really is a disease. It makes you tired to the point of downright exhaustion. It makes you feel as though you are letting people down if you say no. The truth is half the time they probably don’t care! In a way you’re letting yourself down because you’re not really happy.

Stop.

Yep, I said just stop.

Say yes to saying no. I’ve started to do it recently. Let me tell you, it’s almost as enjoyable as binge watching Lifetime movies. Before you start ripping down every invitation off your refrigerator, you need to take a step back.

Prioritize.

Take a look at the invitations or favors that you honestly want to accept or help people with. I think this is half the battle. Does your child have to go to every birthday she’s invited to? No. We know half the invitations come home because many schools have a rule that if you hand out one invitation in class you have to hand one out to 20 more…even to the kids whose names your child doesn’t even know! Just say no. Not to your child’s BFF, but to the child you didn’t even realize was in your son or daughter’s class. You just can’t make every party or every play date. If you do you’ll pass out and go broke at the same time!

The same is true with invitations you may get yourself. Although, honestly, your kids probably get more than you do, so you may not be saying no so much here! But still, you get my point. How about when someone asks you for a favor on a day when you may actually have a few hours to yourself…kid-free. What’s a momma to do? This probably has to be a case by case decision. Think about who’s asking. Think about what exactly they need, then decide. If you need to say no so you don’t feel overwhelmed, then do it. It doesn’t make you a horrible person. It makes you human.

For some reason we feel like we have to make everyone else happy before we make ourselves happy, no matter the cost. But if mommy is exhausted and stressed out, she’s more likely to lash out and yell more than she should. She’s more likely to eat more ice cream than she should and exercise a little less than she should. Am I right?

Life is too short to ignore your own happiness for the sake of everyone else’s.

Start saying yes to saying no.

You’ll thank yourself later.

 

 

eBay vs. Consignment: What Every Momma Needs to Know

Okay, so it’s not time for spring cleaning. But, who says you can’t start the new year with some closet makeovers? Chances are your kids got new toys and clothes over the holidays. Maybe you got some things that you don’t necessarily want or need. So, what are you going to do with all of that stuff?

It may sound mean, but you can’t keep everything. Unless you want to be on “Hoarders”, there’s just no need to keep every toy your child has ever played with. There’s even no need to keep every dress you’ve ever worn to every wedding…especially if it doesn’t fit.

So, what’s a momma to do?

As I see it you have four options:

1. Donate to charity.

2. Give to someone who has a child younger than you and who can use it.

3. eBay it.

4. Consign it.

I admit, I do all four. While numbers 1 and 2 may leave you all warm and fuzzy inside, numbers 3 and 4 can earn you some extra cash. There’s nothing wrong with that! But, which is better, eBay or consignment shops? Sometimes it depends on what you’re selling. Other times it’s all about timing.

Here are some pros about selling on eBay:

1. You can usually make more money. Whether you choose the auction or buy it now option, you can usually make more money than at a consignment shop. Remember, consignment shops are doing the work for you. They will take a percentage. Sometimes the most random items in your mind, like a pair of children’s size 4 silver snow boots, will sell for nearly $10 when you list them for just $6. People get into bidding wars over some strange things! You can use this to your advantage.

2. Junk to you, treasure to another. Like I said above, something that you may classify as “junk” could be what another person has been searching high and low for. This is especially true with knick knacks and kitchen items. I once sold a cookie jar I never used to someone who happened to collect cookie jars. I thought it was pretty tacky and useless. She thought it was a gem. Go figure!

3. They calculate shipping. eBay takes the guess work out of the shipping costs. Many people worry they will end up paying more than the buyer paid for shipping. If you choose the “calculated shipping” option, there is a 99% chance you won’t get stuck. Even if you do, it’s usually under $1. Usually.

4. Money is easy to withdraw. Money earned from eBay usually goes into a PayPal account. You can use this money to buy other things online or you can transfer it to a bank account. The nice thing is that it is extra money that you never counted on but is there when you need it.

Here are a couple of cons about selling on eBay:

1. You do the work. Unlike a consignment shop, you are responsible for making sure the buyer gets the item. This means packing it, shipping it and getting to the post office to mail it in a timely fashion. Buyers don’t want to wait forever for an item; especially if they paid quickly. If you don’t have the time to invest in eBay selling, this may not be for you.

2. There are fees. Since eBay is acting like a personal store for all the world, it is going to take a cut. It all depends on how much you sell. At the end of the month, you’ll get an invoice. The amount is deducted from your PayPal account.

3. If you don’t sell it, it’s still yours. Unlike some consignment shops that donate unsold items, your unsold items are still yours. If you’ve tried a few times to sell something and it doesn’t sell you can either keep it, chuck it, or donate it.

If eBay is not your thing, you may be more of a consigning type of momma. Here are some pros about consignment shops.

1. They do the work. There’s no shipping or packing involved here. You just need to drop off your clean items, and the shop tries to sell it. Many shops will give your items 30 days to sell at full price. After that they get reduced. After that they get donated unless you want to go back and pick them up. The great thing is that if you don’t care about getting unsold items back, you never have to see your stuff again!

2. You may get paid up front. There are two consignment shops I use. At one you drop off your stuff and if it sells then you get paid. At the other one (kids’ clothes and toys) they pay you up front. So, whether your item sells or not, you are getting money. I tend to get more at the one where I have to wait for my items to sell. It makes sense. The other place is taking a chance that it will sell your stuff when you get paid first, so that’s probably why you won’t make as much.

3. You can earn credit towards other items. If you like to also shop at consignment shops, many give you a discount card that applies for selling and buying. You can often use what you’ve earned towards current purchases.

Here are a couple of cons about consigning

1. Seasonal Items Only. Unlike eBay where you can post any thing at any time of the year, many consignment shops are seasonal. So, if you’re cleaning the closet and find clothes for winter, spring, summer, and fall and it’s spring, all those other items will have to wait until their season. By that time, you may forget about them again or end up throwing them away. Some children’s consignment shops accept all clothes for all seasons all year long. Always be sure to check the rules.

2. You Have to Prepare Everything. Many consignment shops have rules about how they will accept items. Many want things on hangers. Others just want items folded nicely in clear bins. The process can get tedious. But, if you don’t mind, it could work for you in the long run.

3. Reclaiming Your Items & Keeping Track. At many places, if your items don’t sell, you have the option of coming to pick them up. But, that means going through the store to find it. This can also become tedious. If you don’t care what becomes of your items, you can just leave them there to be donated.

Those are just some of the pros and cons of both eBay and consignment shops. I like using them both for different types of things. Once you get into it, you may be surprised at just how much money is lying around your house in unused items!

 

 

Mommy Took a Sick Day & the World Didn’t Come to an End

As a mother, I often feel as though I can’t get sick. No stomach bugs, no colds, no flu, no nothin’. There just isn’t time for that. Moms can’t get sick because they have to take care of everyone else. If they get sick, the kids and everyone else in the house won’t be able to function. There will be a code red. Everyone will starve. The house will go to shambles. The kids will be dirty and get fleas. It will be a nightmare. So, the easiest solution is for mommy to never get sick. Ever.

But, what happens when mommy’s been fighting off a cold for days? What happens when even three nights of NyQuil doesn’t knock the nasty germs out of her body? What happens when mommy can’t stop coughing at night? What happens when mommy goes to the gym and somehow pulls a neck and shoulder muscle so badly on a spinning bike that she can’t turn her head right and feels like Zoolander (the only difference being he couldn’t turn left)? So now mommy is a coughing fool who can’t move. Does mommy call a timeout and take a sick day?

Silence.

Do you hear the crickets?

Normally, I would say no way. Mommy does not take a sick day. I repeat, mommy does not take a sick day. Mommy pops some Advil and chugs some cough syrup. Mommy sucks it up and pushes through. Mommy pretends her head is not throbbing and that she really can turn her neck both ways without wanting to scream. Mommy does not take a sick day.

But, today, this mommy did. Some may call it a sign of weakness. I call it taking care of yourself first for a change. This mommy skipped the gym despite the nagging muffin top. This mommy called out sick to one of the only two days a week of a freelancing gig despite feeling silly for doing so. This mommy let daddy take the kids to school and grandma’s house. This mommy slept for another two-and-a-half hours and then stayed in her jammies for the entire morning. This mommy watched some of her shows in the DVR. This mommy took a long hot shower without trying to break some Olympic record for taking the shortest one. This mommy drank her morning coffee…hot.

Guess what? This mommy felt wonderful. Guess what else? The world didn’t come to an end. The kids had a great day at school and at grandma’s. The house did not look like a pig pen. The kids were not malnourished. Everyone survived and was pretty darn happy.

It’s strange how we sometimes think we are not allowed to be human just because we have the title of “mother”. Being human means getting sick. Being human means taking time to rest and recharge. Sometimes being human means knowing when to take a timeout…for yourself.

While I may not feel 100% better at the end of my sick day, I feel a whole lot better than I would have if I tried to be some crazy superwoman. I feel much better than trying to prove to everyone that I am invincible.

Guess what? Mommies do get sick. Guess what else? Mommies can take a sick day. Guess what else? Everyone will be just fine…even you!

We Were “That” Family at a Restaurant

You know when “it” has happened.

“It” happens to all of us every time again even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t want to admit that it does.

“It” is when everyone including their senile aunt is staring you down as if you were walking around spitting fire.

“It” is when you become “that” family.

“It” recently happened to my family.

“It” was nasty, gross, and smelly.

Here’s how “it” went down…

Once upon a time there was a mommy, daddy, and two little princesses. They decided to go out for a nice seafood dinner while they were out of town. The older princess was especially excited because she practically loved seafood more than Caillou…well, almost.

Anyway, when this little family walked in, many of the other people couldn’t help but say how cute the little princesses were in their matching sundresses. When the little family went to sit at their table, the princesses asked if they could order Shirley Temple drinks. The mommy and daddy said yes, what could be the harm? (We’ll find out in a bit)

So, the princesses have their Shirley Temples and decide to order clam chowder…yummy. Both princesses finish their soup and are happy as can be. Once their seafood dinners come, the older princess couldn’t wait to dive in. But, when she did, she spit out a piece.

“This is gross,” she said.

“Yeah, icky,” agreed the younger princess.

“It’s fine, just eat it,” says the mommy.

So, the princesses eat another bite, only to scrunch their noses in disgust. This is when the older princess tells her mommy she doesn’t feel good.

Uh-oh thinks the mommy.

“Let’s go to the bathroom,” says the mommy.

The older princess nods her head in agreement. As they walk to the complete opposite part of the restaurant, the older princess puts her hand over her mouth. The mommy instantly knows what is going to happen next. The two can’t walk fast enough. All of a sudden, the princess throws up a Shirley Temple, clam chowder concoction that smelled worse than a baby’s diaper. All of this happens in the middle of the dining room.

In that moment, they became “that” family.

The mommy hurries to throw some napkins over her daughter’s mess as a woman comments, “how disgusting”. Guess she didn’t think the princess was that cute anymore! Oh how mommy would have loved to talk to her but she had to get to the bathroom before the next eruption. Time was everything.

Luckily they made it to the bathroom where the poor little princess got sick again.

“I just want to go home”, she wailed. Other women heard her and were nice enough to bring a cup of water and some wet clothes to calm down the princess. The mommy’s faith in humanity was restored! The mommy was having doubts after hearing the other woman’s comment in the dining room.

After the princess was feeling better, she walked back to her seat with her mommy and past the rude lady. The mommy gave the woman a dirty look as she walked by. The mommy knew she was a part of “that” family that night.

So, the family took the rest of their meal home, paid the check and left.

The End.

 

 

 

When Your Muffin Top Becomes a Muffin

The muffin top.

Ugh.

It’s one of the many things I can’t stand, especially on myself. It really doesn’t go with any outfit, if you know what I mean.

In case you don’t know what it is, it’s that extra skin that flaps over your waistband. It’s like the top of a real muffin that hangs over the rest of the muffin and its wrapper. It’s much more attractive on the edible muffin if you ask me.

 

muffin top

I have to say, I never used to have an issue with muffin top fat. Junk in the trunk? Yeah, sure. But, no muffin tops. That is until I had two kids and started getting older.

It’s not just the muffin top. It’s feeling like your muffin top is becoming an actual muffin. Although I actually hit the gym three to four times a week, that dang muffin top and its baby muffin don’t seem to get the message. I don’t want your baked goods!

During a recent doctor’s visit I started complaining about the muffin. The doctor reminded me that I am getting older and with that comes all kinds of changes to your body, belly fat possibly being one of them. Oh boy!

So, what’s a momma to do?

Well, I’ve been trying to do more sit ups.

I hate sit ups.

I’m trying to have less late night snacks like Oreos and their evil cousins Chips Ahoy.

I’m opting for their long lost stepbrothers, the Wheat Thin and the Triscuit.

Ugh. They don’t even come close.

I’ve been trying to up my game at the gym, adding spin and weight classes instead of just hitting the elliptical.

I actually like spin and weight classes. I used to do them all the time pre-kids.

Sigh.

I have a feeling that no matter how much I do, besides going on all liquid diet, which will never happen, unless it’s all wine or  all coffee… my muffin is always going to leave some crumbs behind.

What kind of post-baby, getting older things have you noticed about your body?

 

 

 

I’m Not a SAHM, I’m a Household CEO

After I had a child, I was labeled a “mom”.

When I worked, I was a “working mom” or a “WAHM” as all the cool kids call it.

Now that I don’t work out of the home, I’m a “stay-at-home mom”, otherwise known as a “SAHM”.

Or am I?

 

ceo

As I was recently writing another post about being a mom who doesn’t work outside the home, a little light bulb went on in my head.

I’m not a stay-at-home mom or a SAHM.

I am a “Household CEO”.

This position includes a slew of duties. Here are just a few:

I effectively lead “the organization”, A.K.A. my family, so that everyone can be as successful as possible, myself included.

I coordinate morning schedules so that everyone is up, fed, and dressed in time for school or any other place we need to go.

I strategically plan activities so that my children are well-rounded and educated, but not exhausted.

I try to create unique menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in hopes that something healthy lands on their plates. “Try” being the operative word here.

I interact with the CFO of the house to make sure I adhere to a budget. This means couponing and shopping methodically. Many times this also entails actually creating a budget. By the way, this is a talent and it’s not being “cheap”. It’s being economical and smart.

I teach my children the basics of life as well as educate them to supplement what they are learning in school.

Sometimes, I need to include the input of the Board of Directors (A.K.A my children). This is only done in dire situations. Sometimes the Board does not share the same vision of the organization. This is highly annoying.

I also try to instill values of the organization so that all members can be respectful and thrive.

Whew…I’m exhausted just making this list! I know there are so many other things I do, as do other woman who do not work outside of the home. I also understand that many mothers who do work outside the home do many, if not all of these things too.

I just feel that the”Household CEOs” are more often looked down upon because we are not bringing home a weekly paycheck. Many think we are uneducated and couldn’t possibly get a “real” job. Others think we are members of some elite group that lies around all day watching TV or getting our nails done. Both of these scenarios couldn’t be more unrealistic. If you stay at home to raise your children you should feel empowered, not ashamed.

Many women who have taken time off from their careers to solely raise their children fear the response they will receive when and if they return to the working world. What will prospective employers think about a three year professional gap? Are they going to think we were lazy?

Should we put down that we were stay-at-home moms? Will we be passed over if we do?

What about if we put down “Household CEO”? I’m sure many employers would laugh. Others might think of it as highly creative.

When it’s time to revamp my résumé, I think I’m opting for “Household CEO”. If someone finds it funny or stupid, then they’re obviously someone who doesn’t deserve my talents. I’m sure many others will see the skills used as a “Household CEO” are extremely useful in the working world.

What’s your take on all of this?

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Really Like Staying Home with Your Kids?

There are few things that really, truly eat away at me. I usually just brush them off with an eye roll or an internal “shut up.” Then there are the occasional comments that fester inside of me and make me question how people can be so rude. Maybe they just want to make conversation. But sometimes no conversation is better, you know what I mean? Truthfully, I don’t think people realize how their comments come of…or maybe they do.

Case and point…lately on numerous occasions, I’ve been asked, with squinting eyes and squishy foreheads “Do you really like staying home with your kids?” It would be okay if just one person asked, but when it becomes the topic of several conversations within a short span of time, I just get annoyed. Period. Especially when the tone takes on a sympathetic one implying that I must be some miserable soul because I don’t have a typical job.

So, how do I answer these enquiring minds? The short answer is, “Yes, I do really like staying home with them.”

The long answer is…Yes.

There are days when I wish Doc McStuffins would stop fixing her toys and Dora would realize maps don’t talk.

There are days and moments that I want to rip my hair out.

But, the same can be said when I was a working mother. So, no difference there. Staying home works for me and my family now. Will it in the future? Will I go back to work? I can’t give you that answer because I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t have a psychic friends’ network like Dionne Warwick to help me figure that out.

Perhaps instead of a simple, “yes”, I should fire back with questions like “Do you really like going to work everyday? Do you really like not seeing your kids all day?”

How rude, I know. But isn’t it rude to ask SAHMs the same types of questions?

I just don’t get what is so fascinating about a woman wanting to stay home to take care of her own children. I’m not turning back the clock on women’s equality because I chose to stay home. In fact, I think it is rather empowering. As a SAHM you are the CEO of your house. You schedule and pretty much pull all the strings. Sure you answer to whining co-workers (AKA your kids), but in the end you’re the MIC (Mom in Charge).Not too shabby.

 

 

 

The Good, The Bad, & The Yoga Pants

I’m not one to frequently comment on Facebook posts. I read them. Sometimes I like them, but rarely do I take the time to tell the world what I think. I just don’t. But, one post last week not only cracked me up, but really got me thinking…and commenting.

I read about a workplace discussion over whether yoga pants were appropriate for women to wear when they weren’t doing yoga-like things…like running errands, grocery shopping, etc. The comments covered both ends of the spectrum from both men and women. Some didn’t care what women wore at any time. Some loved the yoga pants; others did not think they should be worn when hopping around town.

Well, I openly professed my love for yoga pants because I thoroughly enjoy wearing them…a lot. In fact, I sometimes have to tell myself to look beyond the yoga pants for fear of wearing them too much. Then, I thought, am I one of those people? Do people think I’m a hot mess because I troll around in them any place and at any time? Am I committing a fashion faux paux? Hmmm…

Then I thought …I have two kids I stay at home with a lot. I taxi around town for school drop offs, pick-ups, story times, swim lessons, errands, and everything else in between. I wear my yoga pants to the gym and beyond. I heart them. Plus, yoga pants make your butt look good. After two kids, who can argue with that?

If people think they are inappropriate, so be it. I know this post may be a bit silly, but sometimes you just need a little silly in your life. I think yoga pants are one of the best creations ever. They are a lot more forgiving than leggings or jeggings or any other kind of “egging”. They truly do rock this momma’s world. Long live the yoga pant!

So, just curious…are you a yoga pant loving momma? Do you think there is a right place and a right time to wear them?

 

Ditching the Diaper Bag

Carrying a diaper bag is just one of those things that go along with being a mom. Babies and kids are little but they sure require a lot of stuff just to take a ride to the grocery store. No matter how nicely you pack the bag, it becomes a hot mess in a matter of minutes!  It is the place where crumbs and baby wipes mix together, sticking to your lip gloss that you couldn’t find in months. Things go in and yet never come out. There just isn’t much more to say except for the fact that it is gross.

As time goes on, you wonder how you ever functioned without a bag that wasn’t half the size of your body. You also wonder when on God’s green earth you will be able to ditch the bag and feel like a real woman again. It’s amazing how much you really miss carrying a semi-normal sized bag. Then comes the day when you only need to throw in a pack of wipes and some fruit snacks.

No more diapers.

No more bottles.

No more binkies.

No more formula.

No more musical keys.

No more diaper cream.

You are free!!!! IMG_4048

This day came for me a couple of months ago. After nearly five years of carrying a diaper bag, I realized I didn’t need it anymore. My youngest daughter was potty trained. Both girls ate grown-up food. They could carry their own toys in some handy dandy backpacks. I no longer needed to be a walking nursery! Praise the Lord!

To say the feeling was liberating would be an understatement. I was so happy to get rid of that thing! As far as diaper bags go, mine wasn’t so bad, but it was still such a hassle. I much rather carry a larger sized pocket book and not look like Babies R Us!

Has anyone else ditched the diaper bag and felt the same way?

Is Being a SAHM a Career Killer?

As a mother, we all worry about something…truthfully, a lot of things. Whether it is if our children are sleeping enough or whether they are eating enough vegetables, there is always something to worry about. Being a parent, we can also sometimes lose a part of ourselves. So much time and energy goes into raising kids that there is little or none leftover.

Since deciding to become a SAHM, there is something else I sometimes (ok, frequently) worry about. Am I sabotaging my career to be a full-time caregiver to our kids? Hmmm….I wish I knew the answer to this one.

In my past life, I was a TV news producer and a pretty darn good one at that, if I must say so myself. At some point, I do plan on returning to the working world. Doing what? I really couldn’t tell you. At that point, will prospective employers look at me and wonder what the heck I did for the past “x” amount of years or will they respect the decision? Hmmm…I wonder.  I fear that many may think I just quit and took the “easy way out”. Anyone who knows anything about being a SAHM knows that is certainly not the case. Nevertheless, I still try to do as much freelance work as possible so I can keep my head in the game and avoid any huge holes in my resume.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have to spend as much time as I do with my girls. I know there are a lot of women out there who would kill for it. I also know a lot of women who wouldn’t and that’s okay. Different strokes for different folks! But I can tell you that I love when my girls learn something that I exclusively taught them. I love the fact that I can take them to certain activities that I wouldn’t be able to do if I was working. I love that we can sleep in during the summer if we choose. The list goes on and on, but I think you get my point. There are many benefits to being a SAHM.

There are also a lot of skills us mommas use daily that can be extremely beneficial in any working environment. From incredible multi-tasker to problem solver to activity planner…we do it all. I think we are better qualified for certain jobs than some people in them right now. The problem is not all employers see it that way. Many still see us as simple homemakers who spend all day changing diapers, doing laundry, and cooking.

Do you think being a SAHM is a career killer? Were you a SAHM who went back to work? I’m curious to find out!