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!


Should Little Girls Wear Make-Up?

Before you read this post, I should warn you…I have a real thing about kids growing up too fast. I hate it. I don’t like the fact that so many kids seem to have better phones than I do. I don’t like the fact that many have girlfriends and boyfriends before puberty. As the mother of two little girls, ages two and four, I especially despise the fact that a lot of little girls wear make-up.

I know a lot of people out there think it’s really cute to put some eyes shadow and lip gloss on their little ones. Can I ask why? Aren’t they cute enough without it?

I’ll admit, as an adult I wear make-up. But, anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I’m not big on it. I really don’t know why I wear it. I guess because I want to? Truth be told, many days I don’t wear any at all. But still, I’ve had my girls come over and reach for a make-up brush out of my bag because they want to be like mommy. I grab it right out of their hands.

“But Mommy, I want to be beautiful,” whines my four-year-old.

“You already are. You don’t need it, ” I reply.

It’s sad that a girl that young thinks she needs make-up to be beautiful. Sometimes I blame myself. Should I not wear make-up? Should I just let her try some anyway? What’s a mom to do?

My daughter takes dance lessons and recently saw a lot of girls in her school all made up for their pictures. This was my first experience with the whole dance thing. I was never a dancer as a I child. Shocker, I know. I’m not a “dance mom” in the stereotypical sense and neither are a lot of the other women there. But, I guess in the “dance culture” this is what happens. Eye shadow, mascara, glitter, fake eyelashes, and lip stick are more the norm than the exception. Hmmm. My daughter did notice all the glitz and glamour, but did not once ask me if she could have some or why she didn’t in the first place. Score one for me, I guess. I suppose there’s no harm in getting all “made up” for these special occasions, but I’m still not 100% convinced. I just don’t see who benefits from it all.

Maybe I’m just a Debbie Gibson living in a Lady Gaga world hoping they still made “Electric Youth” perfume. I don’t know. I do know that I’m definitely starting to believe that raising girls is harder than raising boys! I also know that we need to start teaching little girls that make-up doesn’t make you beautiful. Having a good heart and being a good person is where true beauty lies. So, how do I convince everyone else? I guess I’ll have to take it one Cover Girl at a time.




5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a SAHM

It’s the life of champagne wishes and caviar dreams. You’re a stay at home mom. You don’t have to listen to a boss. You can pretty much do what you want when you want. You have all the time in the world to devote to yourself and to your home.  You must be floating on freshly fluffed pillows every morning when you wake up and realize this is really your life.

Reality check.

You can’t remember the last time you had champagne. You have two little bosses who constantly nag you for stuff with a deadline of NOW. You can’t do whatever you want when you want because if you did you would have a weekly massage every Thursday afternoon after your manicure. Every day you notice some new cob web or area that really needs to be cleaned. You’ll get to it…one of these days. You can’t remember the last time you slept an entire night on your pillow all by yourself because one of your kids always ends up climbing into your bed. This is really your life.

Since I have been in the world of SAHM-dom for more than two years, I’ve come to realize the many misconceptions people still have about the lives we lead. I could honestly write a book. I, too, had many preconceived notions that I now laugh at. Silly, silly, me. With that said, I’ve come up with five things I wish I knew before becoming a SAHM.

1. You won’t be cooking meals that would make Rachel Ray jealous

“I can’t wait until I’m home so I can try new recipes.” Yep, I remember myself saying those very words. Well, chicken cutlets are still the “house special” and when I see a recipe with more than six ingredients, I still turn the page. If you were never a lover of the culinary arts, you won’t become one just because you have more time at home. The sooner you realize it, the happier you will be.

2. You’re not a circus; don’t try to entertain your kids like you are one

You can’t be “on” for your kids 24/7. This is something I still grapple with everyday. I feel guilty if I’m not doing something with them. That’s the reason I stayed home, right? It is alright to let them entertain themselves. In fact, it’s probably better for them. I’m learning this. You should too. Sure you can do stuff with them, but you don’t have to keep pulling out tricks from your hat.

3. Schedule “time off” for yourself every week

Just because you stay home doesn’t mean you can’t have time for yourself. You may not have the twenty minute car ride to work by yourself or a designated lunch break every day, but you can still have time off. The best way to do this when you’re a SAHM is to schedule it. It may sound silly, but I’ve found it’s the only thing that works. Find a time every week when you know you’ll most likely be able to find a sitter. Stick to that time as “your time”. Use it to do something for yourself. It may be hard, but anything worth having doesn’t come easy, right?

4. Have other interests besides your kids

Okay, so once you can schedule that “time off” you may want to use it to explore interests that are not for the five and under crowd. What did you like to do before you were “so and so’s mom”? Do it now. Maybe you want to try something new…a new workout, a new hobby, etc. The point here is while you’re always going to be “so and so’s mom” you’re also always going to be “you”.  Find your passion and explore it. You don’t have to stop following your dreams just because you decided to be a SAHM.

5. Accept your accomplishments as a SAHM and don’t try to compare

As a SAHM it is sometimes so hard to figure out what your accomplishments are on a daily basis. Some days the only thing to brag about is the fact that you got your kid to the potty before she peed her pants. It’s okay. It’s still an accomplishment. Don’t try to compare it to the promotion your friend got at work. If you do, you’re going to start feeling like crap. The truth is there are accomplishments to be proud of when you’re a SAHM. The moment when your daughter can write a letter on her own that you’ve practicing for weeks. The time when your little one realizes there is more than one color in the rainbow. Some may laugh. While these moments may not fill your bank account, they do make your heart overflow with joy.

I really think knowing these five little things would have made the transition to staying home a lot easier. Trust me, there are a lot more. Each day I am still learning how to make this situation work. Just like anything else, there are easy days and there are hard days.

For all the SAHMs reading this, what is your biggest piece of advice?

Am I Doing Enough?

As a mom, I often wonder, “Am I doing enough?”

Sure I carried both my children for nine months, nursed them until my nipples felt like they were going to fall off, woke up countless times a night only to put them back to sleep while I stayed up all night because I couldn’t finish my Adam Levine dream.

Sure, I cleaned all kinds of poop and other bodily fluids (still do that actually!).

Sure I deal with tantrums and countless sibling arguments over Barbies and other toys that make me wish I could just disappear at times.

Sure I quit my job to raise my kids. That saw the evaporation of regular conversation that doesn’t include figuring out if Sprout is showing a new Caillou or if it’s one we’ve seen too many times. It meant making so many other sacrifices too numerous to mention.

With all of that, why do I still question if I’m doing enough? Why do I wonder if I’m doing enough to make sure my kids are learning enough when they are home with me? Is my oldest writing her letters like other four year-olds? Can my youngest tell the difference between orange and yellow? Is she saying enough words? Am I taking them to do enough activities? Am I reading enough books?

Aahh!!! I could go on and on.

After thinking about it for a bit, I’ve come to a semi-conclusion. I’m sure some people may not like it, but I’m gonna throw it out there anyway.

Because I am a SAHM, and obviously spend a lot of time  at home,  I think I put more pressure on myself to make sure I am doing enough. Instead of getting things done in the house or going through some magazines (yeah right!), I feel as though I should be doing something with them or for them because I am home. This is my job, right?  Does anyone else feel this way?

I know when I was working I felt guilty that I wasn’t spending enough time with my daughter. But, I also knew I was working and contributing to the household income, which in turn was benefitting her. So it felt like it was enough.

There are so many days I just want to lay on the couch and get lost in my DVR shows while enjoying a cup of coffee while it is still hot. It’s not to say that my kids don’t know how to entertain themselves, because they do. There are times when I do “sneak” off to get something done or try to relax. I could probably do it more often, but I don’t. So sometimes I am my worst enemy. There, I fully admit it.

In the end, am I doing enough? Probably so.

Will I ever truly feel as though I am? Probably not.


Why Nights Out Are So Important

As a stay-at-home mom you obviously spend a lot of time with your kids. A lot. So, when you get to spend a night out without them, it’s a big deal. A very big deal. Sometimes, it’s even better than getting a full eight hours of sleep. In my opinion, it’s actually more important.

I’m not a doctor of any kind, so my advice simply comes from what the crazy people in my head tell me. There’s my disclaimer. I came to this big revelation after a recent night out with a longtime friend. Both of us have two children around the same ages. We have frequent play dates and pretty much keep the same social calendar full of story times and arts and crafts. Sure we see a lot of one another with plenty of time spent talking over glue sticks and construction paper. We’re both so busy and committed to our children that we often forget to take a little time out to remember who we were before we were “so and so’s” mother. I’m sure many of you out there can relate. We were all someone equally as fabulous before we took our mom crowns. Sometimes we need a night out to remind us. While sleep refreshes you, it seems to be only temporary. You’re bound to get tired and cranky all over again. Just rinse and repeat. Whereas with a night out, you get a whole lot more bang for your buck.

During a night out with a gal pal, you can just relax and have a conversation without being interrupted one hundred times a minute. You can talk freely and not have to spell out all the bad words. You can say “f***” if you want to and use it as an adjective, verb, or noun and not have to worry about having a potty mouth. You can talk about your dreams and not feel guilty if they don’t include endless days at the park. You can talk trash about someone and not have to worry that big ears will tattle tale. You can let your guard down and it’s okay.

A night out doesn’t make you a bad mom, that is unless you’re doing bad things! Although we may feel guilty at times (myself included), I think it makes us better mothers. Why? Because we have time to ourselves and can be reminded that we are more than just mothers. We can also use the time to recharge our batteries so that when we see our kids again we are less tense and can be more like the carefree mothers we all wish we could be more often. We can enjoy our families more. Whether you stay at home or work, being a mother is a laundry basket full of responsibilities that lasts a lifetime. It is stressful and wonderful all at the same time. It makes you laugh and cry. It makes you scream like your hair is on fire and then makes you feel bad ten minutes later. It is messy and wonderful and full of drama we never expected. It is full of love, smiles, and more hugs and kisses than we could have ever imagined.

So, if you’re lucky enough to get a night away, take it!!! You and your family will be better for it.




Taking a Leap of Faith

If you visit my blog often you know I usually write about the adventures and misadventures of my two little girls as well as parentingisms that really irk me. While that’s all fine and dandy, I’m kinda going off the beaten path today. Recently I’ve read and heard about so many people taking leaps of faith in their lives that it really got me thinking, which in turn inspired me to write this post.

We’ve all heard the clichés like “we only go around once” or “you only get one life, so you better live it”…etc. I’ll admit those get so annoying to hear because we all know we have bills to pay and responsibilities to meet which makes it impossible to live our dreams of becoming bartenders on a tropical island.

Someone used to tell me all the time “find your passion”. I always thought it was a weird thing to say to someone, but over the past couple of years, I’m beginning to understand. Everyone has that “something” in life that puts a smile on their face no matter what or motivates them to the highest point. I think we all know what “it” is but are too afraid to pursue it many times. Usually it takes some kind of tragedy for people to really open their eyes to what is important to them. So, it’s refreshing to hear about more and more people seizing the moment now before it is too late.

With all that said, there are so many people who are giving up their jobs to follow their passions. Whether it be teaching yoga, moving to a foreign country, or becoming an entrepreneur, they are making the decision to just do it. They are throwing the typical “9-5” stuff aside to do what they truly enjoy. That takes a lot of guts and faith if you ask me.

I’d like to think I took a mini-leap of faith two years ago when I quit my job to stay at home with my kids. Sure, I could have sent them to daycare, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. I’m sure many people thought I was crazy to leave a job I was good at with a decent salary to stay home. I thought I was a little crazy too! Truth be told though, my heart wasn’t in my job anymore. Many days I felt like I was just going through the motions.  I was truly happy when I was with my family and when I was writing what I wanted to write. So I’ve used my time to start some writing projects that I will hopefully be able to share in the future as well as take care of my family. I would be lying if I didn’t admit there have been a lot of up hill battles and adjustments, but I’ve just kept climbing the mountain every time I’ve slipped. That’s what happens when you take a leap of faith. You have to expect some bumps along the road and just move on without looking back.

I’m sure many people who’ve chosen a different path realize it’s not always sunshine and roses, but I think it’s better than not trying something new at all. Don’t you? You can always fail, but at least you won’t have regrets. I think those are the worst.

So take a leap of faith, step out of your comfort zone, even if it’s only to try a new food or nail polish color! Baby steps, baby steps…who knows…they may lead to bigger and better things you could have never dreamed.

The Mother of All Guilt Trips

Guilt. The dictionary describes it as “feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy”. Hmm…that’s a lot of fancy words…none of which my four-year-old understands. But, don’t underestimate her. She may not get the standard definition, but she sure knows how to make you feel guilty, or in four-year-old terms…poopy and sad.

Here’s the story…I recently went to visit a friend out of state to catch a concert. I know, such a horrible mother! My younger daughter was oblivious to my plans, but I wasn’t so lucky with her sister. You see, my older daughter could work for the FBI. Just like any child her age, she asks tons of questions and demands answers. She asks what we’re doing days before I even know. So, when she asked what we were doing on Thursday, I told her where I was going and that I wasn’t going to be back until the day after. Well, cue the dirty looks and inquisition. “Why do you have to go? Why are you coming home tomorrow? Where are you going to sleep?”…I could on and on. She didn’t like any of my answers. Fast forward to Thursday morning when she asked again what was going on, knowing full well the plans for the day. When I “refreshed” her memory…she said, and I quote, “Well, I’m not happy about that at all.” I admit, I laughed because I did not expect her to say that at all.

The time before I left was filled with plenty of tears and “mommy don’t go’s”. I felt like someone just handed me a one way ticket to mommy guilt island…minus the fruity drinks and tiny pink umbrellas. I truly did feel horrible and like I was doing something wrong. But then I thought, when was the last time I truly did something like this? Answer: A couple of years. I think I was overdue, but that still didn’t squash all the guilt I felt. So, after lots of hugs and plenty more tears, I left. I felt like the worst mother in the world.

Of course I checked in from time to time, only to find out there were several meltdowns while I was gone. I also got the phone call of tears and “I miss yous”. Of course I missed them too, but I was having a good time. I knew she and her sister were in capable hands and were going to be fine. I knew they were going to miss me, but I also knew they have to learn that mommy sometimes needs time away.

I thought a lot about how I was feeling during my drive alone…without twenty questions and constant arguing and whining. Why do a lot of us moms feel so guilty when we take time for ourselves? And by time, I don’t mean time to fold clothes or unload the dishwasher. I mean time away doing something fun. It’s pretty stinky if you ask me. I doubt many fathers feel this way if they go watch a game or play a round of golf. So, why do we? Maybe it’s something that goes along with having a uterus. Who knows? Whatever the case, I wish I didn’t always feel so darn guilty! Anyone else out there feel the same way or is it just me?

There were plenty of hugs and kisses when I got home. They missed me and I truly missed them. But, there’s nothing wrong with a little mommy time, even if does come with a complimentary guilt trip.

No Vacation from Motherhood

Vacation: noun, a scheduled period during which activity is suspended. That’s the definition from Webster’s dictionary. Vacation with kids: noun, a scheduled period of time where you will get no rest and if you think you were going to, you were an idiot. That’s my definition from the dictionary of Kristina. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I just returned from a vacation with my children. I don’t know if it was the warmer air or what, but at times, they seemed like someone switched out my kids and gave me some creatures from the planet Cling-On and Whine All the Time.

Before you think I had some horrible vacation, I honestly didn’t. It was a good time. But, let’s just say there were some trying times that I really wasn’t expecting. For the most part my girls are pretty good at home, even my little rowdy one is usually okay, although some would tend to disagree. But, during our week at the beach, they did things they usually don’t, which got really annoying.

For one, the defiance of the nap proved to be public enemy number one. My older daughter refused to nap after a busy morning at the beach. Therefore, by the time dinner rolled around, her whine-atude was amped up and she wanted to be attached at my hip, my leg, my arm…you get the picture. Just take a damn nap! That’s all she had to do. But no, she had to prove she was some type of non-sleeping superhero. Epic fail.

As for the little babe, she napped, but was still a terror. At times, she was even worse after a nap. I just don’t get it. She would wake up with such a bad attitude that I wanted to ship her back home. Her fearlessness also made me wish I had eyes behind my head. She became an expert in diving off furniture and even thought she could walk on water. She scared the bejesus out of me when she tried to walk to her father who was in the pool. Luckily he was right there to catch her.

Don’t even get me started on the ride home. My older daughter actually slept for most of the ride. She must have been tired from all those naps she didn’t take. But,my younger one needed a straight jacket and a bottle of Benadryl. She wanted no part of her car seat nor the wide variety of DVDs I brought along. Neither Dora, Caillou, nor Barney helped. So needless to say, it was the ride from hell.

After telling some of my vacation stories, someone told me I need to bring a “children’s helper” along next time. Yeah okay, are you going to pay for that? I didn’t think so. Someone else also told me it gets better. So I’m going to believe that for now. One thing I did learn was that there is never a vacation from motherhood. There’s always poop that will need to be cleaned, mouths that will need to be fed, boo boos that will need to be kissed, and fights that will need to be broken up. On the flip side, there will also always be bottles of wine to drink to help deal with all that! So, we’ll see what happens next year. Stay tuned!

Can Women Have It "All"?

It’s the age-old question that always ruffles feathers and this time is no different. Can women have it all? That of course, depends on who you ask. If you choose to ask Drew Barrymore, she’s gonna tell you no. She recently talked about how much it sucks to have to give up some aspects of your career so you don’t miss out on things in your kids’ lives.(Her words, not mine!) As you can imagine, her words have captured a lot of attention, mine included.

After reading what she had to say, I think she’s brave to admit what so many of us are sometimes afraid to. Sometimes women can’t have it “all” if “all” means having a killer career and making every activity and being there for every play date. It’s just impossible. That’s not to say that women can’t be successful and still be good mothers. Being a stay-at-home mother does not, by any means, make you a better mother.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, I think having it “all” means different things to different people. That’s okay. I think it’s supposed to. I think that going by a universal definition is what has gotten so many of us feeling inadequate in the first place. Having it “all” has made a lot of us feel like crap if we can’t work forty hours a week, make dinner every night, have a clean house, and still have energy to play dress up with our kids. That’s why I respect Drew Barrymore’s comments that women can’t have it all.

I know a lot of moms, myself included, who have made professional sacrifices in order to be more present in their children’s lives. I know it’s not a choice that everyone has the luxury of making these days. There are lots of sacrifices that come along with the choice. Trust me, there are plenty of days when I wonder if I made the right decision. There are plenty of days that I play the “what if” game. But, in the end, I truly believe everything happens for a reason and when it is supposed. You just have to trust in yourself and try not to look back (easier said than done).

So, are Drew Barrymore’s comments setting women back a few decades? I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who still think so, and that’s fine. I still choose to believe that it’s okay to admit that it may be impossible to have it “all”.

Mommy Guilt

I am usually the cheerleader of “Mom-Me” time, but lately I’ve had some bouts with some uncharacteristic mommy guilt. Ugh. I don’t really know why because it’s not like I leave my girls often. When I do it’s to go to the gym, do some shopping, or run an errand. It’s not real exciting stuff,  I know, but I enjoy it and it allows me to keep my sanity.

I’m beginning to think some women, myself included, are hard-wired to have mom guilt. Why do we feel like we need to be playing Barbies or cleaning dishes all the time? It’s really annoying.
Don’t get me wrong, once I’m out and about I shed that guilt faster than the celebs lose that baby weight. But, it’s all that time beforehand that can sometimes have me second guessing myself. Pre-kids I remember telling my mom friends how important it was to take time for themselves and not feel guilty for leaving their kids once and awhile. I was the crusader for alone time. What happened? Oh yeah, I became a parent.

I keep telling myself I change enough diapers, read enough stories, and wear my “mom hat” enough hours in the day that it is okay to hang it up every now and again. But yet, I can still feel that guilt creep up every now and again. The funny thing is, I think that “Mom-Me” time makes me a better parent. I think time away and a glass of wine or two is sometimes just what is needed. Coming home after having that time away can make me really appreciate and miss the things that otherwise drive me nuts 24/7. Does that make any sense? The challenge now is to remember that and ignore the stupid little guilt trips.