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Stay-at-Home Moms: I Salute You

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Stay-at-Home Moms | I Salute You | Chaos & Kiddos

My kids have been sick for the better part of a month. Actually, it might be even longer than that…the days are starting to melt together into one endless cycle of slime, nebulizer treatments and pharmacy meds. I’ve been to the doctor’s office more times than I can count, and my house is a disaster zone. It’s ugly out there. Stay-at-Home Moms, I salute you.

I have a confession. I really don’t like my kids right now. I love them dearly, and it breaks my heart to see them struggling and not well. But I haven’t slept properly in about a bazillion years, I’ve been sick twice myself thanks to their inappropriately timed sharing (remember that?) and the latest and greatest? I am walking around like an elderly woman right now because I threw my back out lifting the 34 pound cement tank that is J. At 32 years old. My visions of holding onto my youth are slowly slipping away. I can’t put a proper sentence together (my husband is quite amused by this) and now, I can’t walk. If I hear “Mama! Wait for me!” one more time as I try to take 5 steps to the left of their immediate position, I’m going to scream.

Oh wait. Did I mention the “deep South” of Virginia Beach is also stuck in that Polar Vortex fun, which in normally non-snowing environment equals school cancelled (and day care cancelled) for days on end? I’m literally trapped. And now we’re in the midst of another snowstorm. I swear, I started crying when I heard the weather report the other night. Ugly tears.

What have I taken away from this season of horror? That I am in no way, shape or form, built to be a stay-at-home mom. And that those who are at home with their children are especially gifted, immeasurably patient, all-encompassing super heroes. Stay-at-home Mamas. I salute you. You blow my mind.

I need my office. Desperately. I am sure a great deal of it is due to my OCD. I need to enter an office bubble where I can go all Katy brain zone super focus for hours at a time. Working hard professionally recharges me emotionally. I actually feel more rested when I can go to work. And I miss my kids. I am a better me when I go to work. I admit when I am home too long, my patience is beyond thin, I have trouble focusing and I often find myself resenting just about everyone on the planet. I want to give up. Going to work reminds me that I enjoy pushing myself professionally to provide for my family. And in this case, pushing myself professionally not only provides for them financially, but emotionally as well. I am a better mom when I work hard.

Stay-at-home moms are a special breed. You have the most difficult job on this planet (I don’t care what anyone says and yes, I’ve read it and yes, you know what I’m talking about). I’m a special breed too. In this, as in all things parenting related, different strokes for different folks.

All of us moms are pretty awesome. If I do say so myself. And you should say so too. To yourself and any other moms you know. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me over the course of the past month to hear “Hang in there. You’re doing great.” from other friends and mothers while I sit in this mess and contemplate my repeated failures at being patient and caring among all of the tissues, spilled food and breathing treatments. Those simple words, coming from someone who knows, someone who might parent completely different than I do, it’s enough. It’s more than enough. It’s a pull back from the ledge. Say it loud!!! Make somebody’s day!

Image Credit: Katrina Mayer, Motivational Speaker

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Life Breath Present

    July 29, 2014 at 9:21 am

    What a great post! Not only do we each need to remind one another how awesome we are, no matter our choices, it’s important to know what and why we make our varying choices.

    I thought I wasn’t cut out to be a SAHM. Wait! I often will still think that. At the same time, it’s taken me a bit of time to develop into this role. We only have 1 right now, but he’s enough. I’ve heard it gets easier with more than one, I’m not sure if I’m sold on that idea. I may have to return to work because I really mayn’t be cut out for it…or maybe it’ll take me a long time again, or may not. Who knows!

    Good for you knowing what’s best for you and your family, Katy! ūüôā

    • Katy Blevins

      July 30, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you!!!! The best part about that is knowing it is totally ok to go “Ya know, this SAHM thing just really isn’t for me” and the world will keep spinning. We all have such unique walks of life, it’s really out of place to project any opinions on the whys or the whats of other people’s circumstances. Showing support and encouragement is such a better way to share our hearts with the world!

  2. Crystal

    April 18, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you for this! I am a SAHM of 7 and often wonder how working moms get laundry done. I completely believe it is otherwise easier to keep house without the kids IN the house ALL the time, though. I have never had a ‘real’ job as I had my first at 18. Going to college was the closest I came to it, but that was still only like 18 hours a week. It would be great if everyone could understand that we all just have a different kind of ‘hard’.

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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‚Äô 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs never too early ‚Äď or too late ‚Äď to start putting away savings for the future. ¬†Along the way, there are myriad opportunities to get off the path‚ÄĒand 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúmust-have‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs needs, be that when you want to retire or when you want to send kids to college.
  • If you‚Äôre not sure where to start, read up online, or reach out to a professional. ¬†There‚Äôs 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 ‚Äėwhat it‚Äôs,‚Äô but it‚Äôs important to be prepared for the unknown. Do you really want someone else making these decisions for you?

 

 

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Purposeful Parenting

Be Kind To Yourself: Words of Wisdom from Alyssa Milano

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Be Kind to Yourself | Alyssa Milano | Sprout Mom-Bassador

I had the opportunity to chat with actress and working mom, Alyssa Milano, last week as she celebrated her new role as “Mom-Bassador” for the Sprout channel’s 10 year anniversary. I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her life as a working mom and her answers always centered around one fundamental rule: Be Kind to Yourself.

Be Kind to Yourself | Alyssa Milano | Sprout Mom-Bassador

I thought this was especially powerful, because as mothers, we so often overlook self-care as we race around taking care of everyone else around us. Her words rang true as she reminded me that I can’t be my best mom if I’m not my best me. So what does motherhood look like for Alyssa Milano?

Things are Always in Motion

You have to be able to shift and make changes, go with the flow! Just when you think you’ve got a routine down…there it goes. Having kids will always keep you guessing and send you moving in new directions into uncharted territory. Be flexible and allow yourself to embrace change. Don’t hold too firmly to what you think you know – Change will always be in process and something’s got to give in order to keep moving forward. You are a great mom and you are doing the best you can right now in this moment. Be kind to yourself, releasing the pressure to be perfect and releasing the guilt when you inevitably fall short of that unnatural expectation. You are a great mom.

Healthy Mom = Healthy Childhood

Alyssa Milano clings to two “must-haves” in her daily routine as a busy, working mom. This type of consistency helps her be her best self, which makes her the best mom that she can be for her children. By being kind to herself, she keeps her mental health sacred so that her children experience the best childhood possible. What are the¬†two “must-haves” Alyssa Milano can’t live without?

  • Break a sweat. She puts aside 45 minutes to an hour every day to get moving. Whether she goes to the gym for a workout or simply takes a walk, she focuses on taking care of her body and keeping a level¬†head with some healthy movement each and every day. If she has busy weeks with jobs, meetings or events, she schedules it into her day like it’s part of her job or another appointment. It’s not optional.
  • Keep the bedtime routine solid. The children go to bed at the same time every night. The routine is solid, it’s something they expect and she sticks closely to it. After 7:30PM each night, it’s time for her and her husband. Quality time that is kind to both of them, keeping their marriage strong and setting a solid example for their children in love and commitment. Carving out time for her husband with a regular routine makes sure that life as a busy working mom doesn’t accidentally let her marriage slip away.

When was the last time you were kind to yourself? What simple changes can you make in your perspective as a busy, working mom to focus more on self-care and less on burn out? It’s encouraging to see working moms like Alyssa Milano step up to the plate to send a clear message to society – Being a mom means so much more than trying to be¬†everything to everyone all the time. Being a mom means taking care¬†with yourself, making sure you are equipped¬†with the love and energy to pour into your family in a meaningful way. You’re doing a great job, mom. Yes, you! Go ahead, pat yourself on the back.

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