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Purposeful Parenting

I Don’t Know How You Do It

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I Don't Know How You Do It | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide

It all started with a phrase. One I hear at least twice a week. “I don’t know how you do it.”

Truth is, I don’t, really. Most days, I’m hanging on by a thread, with barely enough energy left at the end of the day to make it to the bed, much less put on pajamas. I told my sister the other day “You know that duck that’s swimming gracefully across perfectly still water that looks calm and distinguished and like life is a breeze of perfect awesome, but just below the surface of the water, it’s paddling like an insane madman who is going to spontaneously combust and burn up in flames if it doesn’t paddle faster? Yeah, that’s me.”

I find myself at a particularly interesting point in my life. I’ve hit the 7-year stretch in my marriage, which quite frankly, is almost the longest standing relationship of my entire life (which is saying a lot for an obsessive-compulsive, self-sufficient hermit like me and…also says a lot about the patience and loyalty of my husband). I’m just over 30, so I’ve bid a not-so-gracious farewell to my youthful indiscretions and stupidity (I hope), I’ve got a great career at an awesome company that is just the right fit for me, and my growing years of professional experience have also empowered me to build a successful photography business that has opened doors I never even knew existed, much less imagined I’d be stepping through. Oh wait, I’m also part owner of a photography studio (WHAT?!) which is something I never imagined I’d be able to do and it’s still so new that I’m still pretty shocked at myself for having taken that particular leap. Add to that a 13 year old step-daughter who is the light of my life, but comes with a whole planetary system of blended family fun along with the general insanity that is pre-teen-dom, and oh yeah, 2 year old twin boys who are my little miracles of boundless energy and somehow inherited my strong-willed attitude and obsessive nature…yeah, life’s a hoot right now. When I’m keeping my head above water.

So. “How do I do it?”

Lots of little steps. Tiny flutters and readjustments to my sails that keep the ship on course and deter life from running aground. The simplest of disciplines, routines and marked efforts to reign in the overwhelming sense of chaos that comes when I step back and look at the bigger picture. Focus small, think big. That’s me. Oh, and a whole slew of counseling. Even if it’s just to hear my own voice talk out the thoughts in my head.

So. “What’s this blog thing?”

Off the cuff, it’s another thing on my insanely long to do list of dreams. And in the words of my husband “Really? Because you have so much free time on your hands.” Yes, really. I started this blog because there are a lot of people out there like me. People with families and jobs and aspirations and road blocks and people that are exhausted but still running the race. Staying in the game and trekking along, but wondering what they could be doing differently to slow down the pace, adjust the sails, catch the wind for a bit and ride it out. So here I am. To say, you can do it.

This blog will be a mish mosh of how I “do it all.” The good, the bad and the ugly. The moments when I’m considering paying someone to take my kids much less offering them to the highest bidder. The moments when they melt my heart and I’m dumbfounded that God thinks I am worthy of raising them. It will be a little bit small business, a lot of my parenting, and all the rest organization (because that’s me in a nutshell). All those little pieces of the puzzle that keep me moving. Not because I know it all or because my way is the right way, but because this way seems to be working pretty well for me and maybe something I’ve stumbled across can help someone else get a leg up on the crazy state of their own life. In a way, it will be a cathartic process for me to chronicle life with kids and all else, and a space for me to just talk it out.

It all started with a few shared Pinterest boards and now I’m here. “I don’t know how you do it all.” Well, now you do. 🙂

Katy

PS. If you’d like to take a look at the shared Pinterest boards, there is a parenting inspired one HERE and a small biz tips and tricks one HERE. These boards are collaborative efforts, so I welcome input from all varieties of thought and experience. If you’d like to join in, please let me know. I’m happy to have you! Hopefully, they’ll continue to serve as resource libraries for new seekers and can help us all keep the very best and most useful information close at hand.

PPS. Here’s my fam…the center of the universe. Miss E, 13 going on whatever age these days doesn’t require any parenting by their own admonition of their greatness and knowing of all things. Hubby, J, who is my polar opposite (thank God!) and keeps me sane, and J&B, my little miracle men who are not so little anymore. LOVE.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Suzanna

    August 29, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Well, I, for one, as a full-time working mom with more than a few things on my plate, including my own little blog, am very thankful that you started this blog. Thanks for sharing your ups & downs and your tips on how to “keep it all together,” haha.

    • Katy Blevins

      September 1, 2014 at 7:55 am

      Yay!!!! Love, love, love all my working mamas!

  2. Becka

    August 30, 2014 at 5:12 am

    🙂 I don’t think you realize just how super awesome you are. 🙂 Your a great blogger and I am so so glad you are blogging, my husband doesn’t understand either, he tolerates but doesn’t understand. Your family is beautiful. The way I do it is is fore go sleep because being rested and alert are just so over rated. 🙂

    • Katy Blevins

      September 1, 2014 at 7:52 am

      Awwww, thank you Becka!!!! You are too sweet and you totally made my day. So glad to have met you in the blogosphere!

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Family Tech

Make Learning Fun With Robots

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In today’s world, technology is everywhere from our kitchens, to our offices, to our cars. We use smartphones every day not just for work, but also for play. Maybe you’re reading this article on your phone right now. Some moms are worried about the impact of such widespread technology on their kids’ education. They may be worried that all the cell phones, computers, and smart TVs in today’s environment are too distracting for young people.

 

However, technology is a real part of children’s future careers. It can help kids learn any subject, especially when robotics are involved. More and more mom blogs are discussing the intersection of learning and technology, it seems like it’s the blogger’s choice as long as it’s relevant to their children’s education.

There are even competitions sponsored by everyone from the government to colleges for children to really show off what they’ve learned. One example is the Robot Olympics and another one is the Robots 4 Us video challenge. No matter where you are, there’s a fun way for your kids to learn about STEM and STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math — in an educational, engaging way.

 

One great place to start is by watching some videos and making robots at home. These fun, futuristic tutorials help kids learn how to make all kinds of things, like a motorized coloring machine, and more.

If your kids really like at home projects and watching robotics videos, why not try an afterschool program or a summer camp. There are many options out there for any curious boy or girl of any age. One first step to take is to look up your state and school district on the Afterschool Alliance page to check out what’s available.

Today’s technological options might seem a bit too new to those of us in the older generation, but they’re really not so scary. Kids can have fun and learn skills at the same time. The economy of the future is becoming more and more focused on technology and STEM skills.

 

By getting your kids into robotics, whether it’s a summer camp, an after school program, or an at home project, you’re giving them a future edge not only in school, but in their career as well. And as a parent, you’ll also learn valuable skills for your own career, as well as having lots of good, clean, family fun.

 

 

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Purposeful Parenting

Self Care Tips for Working Moms

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Self Care Tips for Working Moms

Being a single working mom of twins and a teenager means I often put myself at the bottom of the to do list. Whether I’m playing chef, chauffeur, bandager of boo boos or homework advisor, the hat I put on least often is woman. As a married working mom, I practically forgot I was a beautiful woman and wife. As a single working mom, I struggle to embrace myself as a confident available woman. Focused mainly on carrying my family through the days, I forget that taking the time to focus on myself every once in awhile ultimately makes me a better parent. Here are some fun self care tips for working moms that could spark that little feisty woman you know is in there but haven’t seen in forever.

Self Care Tips for Working Moms

 1. Boudoir Shoot: Yup. I’m certain a great many of you just went “Yeah, right. Thanks for nothing.” WAIT! Seriously…I know this is what I do for a living, and I’m not listing this one at the top of the list as a shameless plug. I’m listing it at the top of the list because of the why behind what I do as a photographer. Our tagline at Modern Femme Photography is “because you deserve to feel beautiful.” A boudoir shoot is a fabulous way to celebrate and embrace your unique journey as a woman, be pampered, but most importantly, be reminded that you are beautiful, just as you are. And because it’s important to practice what you preach, I hopped in front of the camera a couple of weeks ago as part of a two-session process I’ve planned to reclaim my confidence and self-worth as a newly single woman.

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2. Support Group: We have a great online community growing at Working Moms United that gives support and encouragement at those low points where being a work mom chips away at your energy, self-esteem and willpower. It’s a wonderful resource for moms on-the-go who need a pep talk but can only pop online here and there or might not have available time to meet up with others. I’ve also recently joined a local church and have been attending their quarterly women’s brunches. They provide child care for a few hours while I sit and chat with other women, feel refreshed and feel supported in prayer as a woman of faith. I’ve also identified a few key accountability partners in my life. Girl friends with similar life circumstances who can serve as trusted encouragers and keep me on track.

Working Moms United | Proud Member | Chaos & Kiddos

3. Learn Something New: Switching up the routine and enjoying something fresh and new can be a great way to recharge. Recently, I booked a makeup lesson with Dhalia Edwards of The Bride’s Corner. Dhalia is not only a dear friend of mine, but she’s incredibly talented both in her technique and her warm-hearted care of her clients. She patiently took 3 hours of her day to sift through my old, dated make up, repurpose old tools for new styles and teach me proper application techniques for everyday looks. Not only did I feel pampered and pretty when I left, but I felt rejuvenated and more confident in how to achieve a flawless look on my own.

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4. Schedule Quiet Time: Spare minutes are a hot commodity for the working mom. Every second of every day feels tied to a never-ending to do list that typically revolves around everyone other than yourself. You need to make a choice to declare a bit of each day for yourself. Whether it’s 5 minutes, 20 minutes or the luxurious full hour, diligently schedule quiet time. Take the time to breathe in the quiet, write in a journal, pray, speak out gratitudes, do a few yoga stretches…whatever your peace may be. Do not allow yourself to skimp on this part of your day.

Self Care Tips for Working Moms

Remember, the first step towards being a better mom is being a better you. That better you needs some TLC! It may feel overwhelming or even scary to put any of these self care tips for workings moms into practice, but trust me, you’ll be glad that you did. Remember the positive, reclaim your beauty, refresh your soul and recharge!

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Purposeful Parenting

Year-End Money Tips for Working Moms and Female Entrepreneurs

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Money Tips for Working Moms

I don’t know about you but the end of the year brings two thoughts…well, three thoughts for me. One, CHRISTMAS!!!!! Two, fresh start on January 1st! And three, holy cow, what’s my money situation? Taxes are coming.

A big, big thank you to Kristen Robinson, SVP of Women and Young Investors at Fidelity Investments for taking the time to develop these year-end money tips for working moms and female entrepreneurs!

Money Tips for Working Moms

2 Tips for Female Business Owners / Entrepreneurs:

Keep Your Future in Mind with the Right Retirement Account for Your Needs

  • Look into the different plans available to business owners, such as a 401(k) for Small Business, a self-employed 401(k), SEP IRA or SIMPLE IRA.  You may need to appoint a plan administrator- someone who takes care of administrative responsibilities and ensures the plan is operating according to the Plan Document.  Learn more about these different types of accounts here.  
  • Contribute to your account. The deadline for depositing employer profit-sharing contributions for the current calendar year is generally the business’ tax-filing deadline, plus extensions (for unincorporated businesses, this date is usually April 15 of the following year, plus any extensions).

Business Succession

  • If you own a business, have you considered how best to plan for the future?  If you plan to keep it in the family, consider creating a structure that makes it easier to transfer the business’s assets to other family members, such as a family limited partnership or a family limited liability company.
  • There are many options; your attorney or tax adviser can help you select one that is appropriate for you in light of your specific situation.

4 Tips for Single Moms:

Get Involved in Your Family’s Finances

  • It’s important to have a full picture of the family financial situation. At minimum, know what accounts you have and with whom. That includes banks and investing accounts, life insurance, mortgages, and loans. Having a handle on this information is an important foundation as you plan for the future, and can bring greater peace of mind.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes! Yes! Yes! I am still getting a grip on my finances after the divorce. I realize now how little I knew before and how problematic that can be.)

Money Tips for Working Moms

Save for Retirement

    • Retirement is not a destination but a journey, and it’s never too early – or too late – to start putting away savings for the future.  Along the way, there are myriad opportunities to get off the path—and back on it.  And at virtually any turn in the road, there are possibilities to speed up your progress.
      • Make it a goal to save 15% or more of your income each year. If that’s not reachable today, make sure to make it a priority to carve out what you can. Even smaller amounts will add up over time.
      • Aim to have no more than 50% of your take-home pay go toward your “must-have” expenses.

Try to Save Three to Six Months of Essential Expenses in an Emergency Fund.

Look for Growth Potential from your Investments

  • Knowing your financial personality can help you determine the right mix of stocks, bonds and short-term investments that match how comfortable you are with risk, and have the growth potential to meet your life’s needs, be that when you want to retire or when you want to send kids to college.
  • If you’re not sure where to start, read up online, or reach out to a professional.  There’s never a fee to come into Fidelity to talk to a financial planner, but we do recommend you reevaluate twice a year. Just like you take care of your physical health by visiting the doctor and dentist, think of this as taking care of your financial health, which is vitally important as well.

Protect your Legacy

  • In order to ensure that what you’ve accumulated is distributed to your children, family and causes you care about most, it is important to name beneficiaries and create a will and health care proxy. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to think about the ‘what it’s,’ but it’s important to be prepared for the unknown. Do you really want someone else making these decisions for you?

 

 

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