My 90 Day Review


So I just realized I’m 4 months into my stay at home mom-hood.  As I’m recognizing how fast the time has flown and how this is obviously going to be a reoccurring theme in my life (see here and here); I’m starting to really reflect on my days and how I’m spending them.  Until I had a child I never realized how fast 2 hours could fly by; I’m wanting to reassess the time I have during the day to make it more effective for both myself and our family.

When working outside of the home I always looked forward to goal meetings and performance reviews.  I welcomed the time to sit down with my superior and talk about where I was at, how I was doing, where improvement was needed and setting goals for the next upcoming milestone.  I love feeling accomplished and on task.  So as I’m reflecting on the fact I no longer get a 90 day performance review I’m beginning to shift my way of looking at my “job” and life.  I’m working to make a change in how I’m doing things day to day.  The skills I developed in my career are still so applicable to my life now.

My husband and I were talking last night about my approach to house chores; there are some I don’t mind at all and others I build up in my head as being ones I’ll put off until I can’t stand it anymore.  Once I’m doing the dreaded chores (bathrooms and vacuuming), I realize they aren’t so bad.  You’d think after doing this a million times over my lifetime I’d figure out that I’m making these things seem so much worse than what they are.  I mean come on how can you hate vacuuming? There’s a machine that actually does the work for you!! I’m thinking I need to reevaluate my thoughts and views on vacuuming!

As I’m running through the conversation with my husband in my head I’m beginning to think about my strengths, places needing improvement, and goal setting.  A 90 day review of sorts.  Of course I see a million areas needing improvement but for goal setting and reality purposes I can only focus on the things that currently stand out most to me and go from there.

Here’s a brief picture of my 90 day goal setting and plans:

I plan to sit down and make out a chore schedule for myself; break things up and break things down; I’m good at being organized and love having lists to check off so I feel like I’m getting somewhere.  I also plan to work on getting a list together of projects I’m wanting/needing to get accomplished-instead of watching TV at night making my TV time a little more productive.  My main goal is to start feeling like I’m using the time I’m provided in the day wisely; I want to end my day satisfied that I used (or at least attempted to use let’s be honest, days don’t always go as planned) the time I have during the day that isn’t spent with our little guy serving our family better.

How about you? Do you ever feel like time just seems to slip away and you wish you had more to show for it? What are some of the things you do to keep yourself on task?

 

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Growing up


As our son rapidly approaches 9 months old the ability of time to fly is becoming very apparent to me.  It seems like one of the first things people say to you when you have a baby is; “It goes by so fast.”  I never really knew how fast time could pass; having a baby has defined this for me.

It seems like every day something new and exciting happens whether it’s singing along to music in the car, putting his basketball in his new basketball hoop, cutting teeth, changing nap schedules, enjoying different foods…the list goes on.  Friends tell me that focusing on all of the new fun things that change so rapidly is a good way to divert from the slight sadness that creeps in with these changes and their inevitable stamp on the fact that he won’t be a baby forever.  I love his current stage, is there anyone who’s found a way to bottle it up and keep it forever?

I haven’t allowed myself to think too much about the fact that our son’s 1st birthday is in the not so distant future.  Not because I’m so fixated on him being a baby forever but because I’m enjoying this time that I have with him so much. I cherish the fact that this one on one time I have with my one and only baby will only last so long.  It’s not an experience I’ll have with our other children.  I know my time with the future children we add to our family will be precious but I also know that it won’t be as uninterrupted as this time I have with our little guy now.

My sense of nastalgia stems from my thoughts back to the first few weeks of having a newborn…you know those weeks that you remember so well but you so easily forget?  The weeks that fly by with no sleep, up multiple times a night to feed, chronic diaper changes, and figuring out how to take care of this little human that God has entrusted to you?? The weeks where you think back and chuckle thinking “How was possible to survive on such little sleep and love waking up to provide whatever was needed to a scrunched up little newborn?”

For me those weeks are ones I sometimes wish I could get back; at the time they seamlessly flew by.  Now looking back I think: “If I only would’ve known how quickly that stage passes; if I’d known I would’ve worked harder to remember every last teeny tiny detail of it all.” I have learned (from those first few weeks) how to appreciate and remember each phase and all of the time we have with our little guy.

How about you? What are some of the things you’ve learned with each phase? Do things ever slow down? How have you handled your children growing up?

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Expectations


Recently I’ve come to the realization that having expectations of how something will, should or could be just isn’t worth it. Don’t ask me why it’s taken me so long to figure this out but since I have, my perspective on outcomes has changed immensely.

For example; there once was a time when I’d fantasize about the weekend (especially one where we’d have an extra day). I’d think about sleeping in (but not so long that we’ve slept the day away), relaxing drinking coffee, having a nice breakfast, then spending time going somewhere new. Maybe trying out a restaurant we’ve been wanting to go to; with the weekend slowly moving along and the start of the week always seeming far away.

Sounds dreamy right?

I’ll tell you right now weekends like that are few and far between in our world (kids or no kids). Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our fair share of dreamy weekends but life always seems to have its own ideas about how those two or three days will play out. Like the one time when my husband and I had these amazing plans to spend the weekend at the coast in a beautiful condo on a cliff overlooking the ocean for our anniversary. Imagine perfect weather, gorgeous scenery, perfect bedding, beautiful decor, no plans, no “have tos”, just him and I with all the freedom in the world to enjoy our time however we pleased…and then he got sick; so sick he could barely move or get out of bed (I’ll spare you the rest of the gory details). You know…stuff like that.

Or with the every day, how I’ll have plans for the things my son and I will do each day; playdates, the book babies program at the library, going swimming, going to the zoo; and then he starts teething so his sleep schedule’s off and we can’t make it to any of the things we’d planned to because his sleep and comfort is obviously way more important than me forcing us to get out of the house to go to an activity I’ve planned.

When I think back on times like our anniversary and my poor sick husband or on the times when I’m humbled to the needs of my son I have to stop and smile; what a memories these are; these events are truly not ones I would expect nor would hope for, however in allowing myself to stay in the moment I’m able to find the little things that make them so special.

A few weeks ago we had a long weekend and I was so looking forward to how things would be. We truly did everything I had hoped (plus or minus a few minor details but nothing’s perfect right?). However, I was still left feeling like we’d missed something or that we could’ve or should’ve done something that we hadn’t.

I was having these feelings during a moment to myself; my husband was at the grocery store (doing our big shopping for the month) and my sweet little guy was working on his second hour of napping…

(SILENCE)

(Insert deep breath, cool breeze, quiet time with a nice, tasty, warm cup of coffee here…)

(MORE SILENCE…everything done…no dishes piled on the counter, no laundry lurking on the couch, no bathrooms needing to be cleaned, dinner planned…)

And then I realized, all my expectations were silly and that my desires and ideas of that “perfect” end of our three days together had been met beyond my wildest dreams and I hadn’t even realized it! I laugh out loud as I write this with a permagrin staining my face…

Life is only what we make of it and perfection is in the eye of the beholder; our dreams and expectations change over time but isn’t it amazing when realize when life and your fantasies have met?

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It’s All About Me


This past week I had the pleasure of spending a fun evening with some girlfriends.  Let me explain what I mean by a “fun” evening; I only say I’d like to further explain because not so many years ago a “fun” evening probably wouldn’t have taken place on a week night, nor would it have ended before 9pm.   This fun evening took place in my friend’s living room and involved some food, a little wine, and…NO KIDS!

Now forgive me (I’m still a fairly new player in this mom game) if this seems a little novice, but let me just say; this low-key relaxing evening has definitely made my top 10 list for the year.  I’m sure this leaves you wondering if the life I lead is boring and ridiculously uneventful; I’ll tell you right now, it’s not.  My husband and I are a lot of fun…I promise…no really, ask any of our friends (friends who are reading this, comment NOW can attest to this, I promise)!  This evening in particular; however, was different from how I normally spend my time as well as different from how I normally desire to spend my time.

All joking aside (although our level of fun-ness is certainly nothing to joke about) this evening lead me to the realization that there is a lot of freedom and benefit to spending a little time away from home every once in a while.  I LOVE spending time with my family, and before our son was born I loved spending time with my husband…I mean I married the guy for a reason right?  I enjoy his company and we have fun together.  Once we had our baby; our lives that fit so well together, fit even better.  I feel so complete as a family and love making memories together.  It really hasn’t crossed my mind that it’s actually a GOOD thing to get out on my own every once in a while.

As I was telling my girlfriends that this was my FIRST time out solo since the baby’s arrival the seasoned mothers giggled and shared support in us doing this again sometime soon.  I was so encouraged by them!  It finally made sense why having some time just about me; without having to worry about anyone or anything else, is so important!  Of course theory this all makes sense, but for me this was really an ah-ha! moment.

I’m not one to take someone’s ideas to heart very easily and at the risk of history repeating itself, many times I choose to take the road most travelled rather than taking the advice  of others and saving myself the trip.  I’ve always heard about parents needing to have their own time and how the proverbial “girls night” is many times the saving grace of motherhood…but seriously, who knew? Well, I’m sure you did…but for me; the one who doesn’t mind learning the hard way, this was big.

This was such an incredible thing for me because currently, I don’t feel I’ve faced any major struggles; I haven’t reached a point where I’m desperate for me time and really feel I have nothing to complain about.  Things aren’t perfect by any means, but I don’t really have anything that stands out as being more challenging than that of the next parent.  I feel blessed and content in not feeling like I need to get out or get away.  I share this because that was one of my greatest fears in deciding to become a stay at home mom; I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my “new” life.  Because of this, I think I was able to thoroughly savor the pleasant surprise of discovering how much I could enjoy such a seemingly simple few hours away.

I plan to do this more often.  I’m even planning to be the one to initiate this scheduled time;  not because I’m desperate to run away from home but because I came back home feeling relaxed and refreshed.  I never want to become a frazzled parent who becomes negative and dissatisfied with where things are at in my life.  I want to take the initiative to do things for myself, which in turn benefit my family.

My dear friend and I had a good laugh (while taking our little guys out for sushi the next day) at how she noticed I’d taken some extra time to get ready the night before…apparently I was a little more excited about this “me” time than I allowed myself to believe…and boy am I glad that I was, and glad that I did!

How do you recharge and refresh? I know this isn’t just a mom thing, I’d love to hear from my daddy readers about how and what you do too!  Do you think it’s harder for men or women to do take time for themselves or is it an equal challege?

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Ramping up!


My first article at Taking Time for Mommy-Online Magazine for Moms is up! I’d love to know your thoughts! You can leave a comment there or here; I’ll see them either place! Also, my email address is another place people continue to send comments to which is great as well (themomflict@gmail.com)!

I’m really working to increase my following which means more posting and more publicizing! I’ll be working to get out 3 posts weekly Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…that’s the GOAL…we’ll see if it ends up being the reality! I continue to welcome your thoughts and input on blogging topics!

Thanks for all of your support and encouragement! I’m enjoying reading your thoughts and input and am so encouraged by the dads I hear from!!

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Life is Precious


In spending time this past week mourning the loss of a young family member (who leaves behind 2 children and a husband) I’ve had a lot to reflect on.  There (of course) are always the cliché responses “This too shall pass”… “Live each day like it’s your last”…”Always say I love you”…which all sound well and good but have really held no true meaning until I’ve faced the loss of a loved one that hits so close to home.

Although no one can understand the true feelings and emotions that a husband and his two boys feel as they lose the closest woman to them, standing by their side and watching it all unfold was crushingly painful for all involved.  My heart shatters to think about their loss and to watch them physically ache from this life-changing event is almost unbearable.

As I reminisce about the good times I’ve shared with this woman I selfishly contemplate how life-altering something like this would be for my own family.   I can’t imagine having to endure the loss of a spouse or how intricately a child is impacted by the loss of a parent.

In reflecting on life and the truly important things, I’ve learned some incredible lessons over this week.  My appreciation for each day I’m given to spend with my husband and child is truly a gift to ME.  How can I make it a gift for THEM?  I’m inspired to leave a legacy that my family and friends can remember with happiness and pride.  We all have good days and bad days but in the moments when the “bad days” start to over power I’m reminded that these are fleeting moments in the big scheme of things.

Death is infinite to the living and the loss is deep to those directly impacted.  Life alters for the immediate family and carries on for the rest of the world.  Putting myself in the shoes of those immediate to this loss I’ve come to realize that certain things begin to become so easy to overlook that maybe weren’t so easy two  weeks ago.  This realization reminds me of the saying that runs through my head when an argument is brewing; “Is this really going to matter in five years?”

In my time of reflection I implore you to live fully, experience and give love strongly and purely; don’t allow the little things in life to mottle the beauty we may easily ignore in each moment we have with those we love.  My hope is that this small encouragement from my corner of the world reminds you of all the incredible gifts we let pass when we get caught up in the routine of life.

My world is forever changed by this experience.  To have someone so full of life be taken so quickly leaves my heart and soul, heavy.  As we begin to pick up the pieces that remind me of those of a shattered light bulb I am blessed with intense inspiration.  I will aspire to seek joy in times of frustration and resistance and seek love and peace in the time in which I am blessed here on this Earth.  My hope is you’ll do the same.  Enjoy the minutes that fill your day and seek satisfaction in the little things; leave an imprint on the world that leaves others with a smile and enjoy the little things life has to offer.

Have you experienced a time in life that brought you back to the basics? What are some life lessons you’ve learned that have carried over into how you life your life, how you parent, and or how you interact with your spouse?

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Check me out!


Due to a sudden death in the family  I’m unable to post much this week.  I’ll be back next week but wanted to leave you with this new information.  I will be a regular contributor to the Taking Time for Mommy Online Magazine !  There’s a short blurb about me here….More to come soon! Any ideas for content or topics are greatly appreciated! Send your ideas to themomflict@gmail.com!

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Living the Good Life?


Sometimes I think about the time during the day I enjoy spending with my little guy and I reflect on the fact that it’s so rare that people LOVE what they do every day.  The daily grind of the 9 to 5 pales in comparison to the day by day hour by hour minute by minute of the 365, 24/7 I’m doing now.  HOWEVER, as daunting and grueling as the time clock of a stay at home mom sounds for some, I can’t help but think of what a blessing it is for our family!

I’m sure I’ll have skeptics and some stay at home nay sayers waiting in line to bash my Pollyanna view on being home and having a good attitude about it but I must say that this is about me and my experiences and today this is where I’m at.  Honestly, at times I feel like I run into more negativity with moms than I do positivity.

My interactions with working moms seem to wind up in complaints about being tired, being constantly on the go, and stressing out about how to get dinner on the table.  And, my interactions with stay at home moms seem to wind up with complaints about being tired, being constantly on the go, stressing out about how to get dinner on the table, annoyance with house chores, being overwhelmed with the daily expectations of household management, and irritability towards the children (the list could go on).

As individuals and families we make choices whether it be to stay home or return to work. No doubt we all have bad days and we all struggle with dislikes and dissatisfaction of daily work expectations and outcomes; we all need to vent,  but I’m working hard to keep my complaining and negative thoughts in check.  If there is something so bad about my job, I need to work on changing it for the better.

My biggest fear in stepping into my new role of stay at home mom was that I would feel inadequate and 1950′s housewife-ish (as if going back to a simpler time is a bad thing).  I was scared that I would be resentful of my husband for going to work and leaving me home to do remedial household chores while tending to our newborn all day.  I can’t tell you how many nights we stayed up talking about our expectations and hopes for one another in our new roles as Sole Financial Provider and Stay at Home Mom.  It was a scary decision and when I would take time to sit and think about how it would be to fill this role I must say my biggest hesitations came from the stereotypical thoughts I’ve carried for so long.

As a stay at home mom I’ve vowed to myself to do what I do with a joyful heart; first for my husband, second for me, and third for our son.  I needed to give my stereotypical ideas a makeover in order to take on this role;

*I will not sit at home in sweats all day

*I will shower and wear make up every day (even if I don’t leave the house)

* I will be positive  and find my purpose in what I’m doing daily

*I will work to be the best mother and wife I can be

*I will not have every conversation opportunity with a grown up be taken up by listening to my list of complaints

*I will see my choice to stay home for the blessing that it is

*I will take pride in the way our house is kept and cleaned so that when my husband is home he can relax and enjoy the short time he has Monday through Friday with our son and me

I share my attitude focus not to sound like things in our world are wonderful and perfect 100% of the time but to shed light on something that digs at my inner core.  I have my moments of self-doubt, frustration, and question about whether or not how I’m doing things is beneficial to our family…but doesn’t every body? I guess for me I’m wanting to step off the negative train and step onto a platform that is firm in showcasing how life can be if we change the way we look at it.

Life is all what you make of it and this is something I hope to instill in our son as he continues to grow.  We all have our moments of dissatisfaction but in those moments what we choose to do with those feelings makes strides in changing where things are ultimately end up!

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Time Marches On


Recently I’ve found myself with some time to think about the differences of being a stay-at-home-mom to the differences of working outside the home.  Although I’ve only had a short stint of both, one thing that’s stood out the most is that my pace of life has significantly SLLLLLOOOOOWWWWEEEEEDDDD down.

It’s funny because lots of people ask if I’m bored or if I get bored…I’d be lying if there weren’t moments some days when I wasn’t scrambling for something to do while my little guy naps in a fervent effort to avoid the dreaded 4 letter word (B O R E D).  Guilt comes over me as any inkling of boredom rears is ugly head as I think about my husband who works so faithfully day in and day out to support our little threesome.

While honestly thinking about stay-at-home-momdom and boredom I realize one very important thing for myself.  Life is SLOWER now! I’m sure this changes as life takes more shape and a family grows in age and number but it’s like being pushed into an ice-cold pool when you’re expecting a balmy 87 degree dip!  The biggest relief in this for me was actually coming to the understanding that it’s going to take some work getting used to a slower pace of life.

In the working world it was a constant go, go, go.  Meetings, clients, phone calls, crisis; high demand and never a dull moment…funny how during those times I would’ve PAID for a moment of silence.  The two worlds are drastically different when we look at pace but the demand is just as great.  No longer am I running around trying to extinguish fires here and there; now I’m chasing after the right method on sleep effectiveness, making healthy homemade baby food, teaching my little guy and providing a stimulating environment for a happy baby.

I feel so fortunate to have figured this out so early on; realizing that time slows down is a hard pill to swallow for me at times.  I’m sure that view will evolve over time like I’ve said before, but it’s such an interesting challenge for me.  It certainly opens the door to a lot of fear to creep in; self-doubt…  “will I be good enough?” …”Am I cut out for this?” “DO NOT GIVE IN TO BOREDOM YOU WILL GET DEPRESSED!!!”

I’ve had to move away from the word and description of boredom and focus more on my discovery of how time in my world has changed and how my daily priorities and tasks are seasoned much differently than they used to be.  Time management in my former work life was the key to success so it’s a skill I’ve well-developed over the years.  Using it in new and different ways only gives me the opportunity to refine skills I wasn’t thinking I’d continue developing.  Silly to think, but so true! I think I looked at staying home as taking care of and being with my sweet baby man but didn’t really think much about how my professional skills would come into play.

Things truly continue to stay interesting.  I’m looking forward to continuing to discover new things as well as old ones! Maybe the sewing projects I’ve been dreaming about will actually get some attention and maybe I’ll actually have time to get more creative with my love of photography!  Thinking about spending time with my son and incorporating my hobbies does stir up that not so distant mommy guilt…”Is it right to be able to be able to stay home with my sweet little love and have time for my hobbies while my husband is hard at work every day?” ….that’s obviously a whole other post!

What are some of the things you do during your family’s quiet time?

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Bittersweet


Many people have asked about how things are going and how it was leaving my job.  I wrote about my thoughts and feelings after my last day of work and debated on whether or not to share but since it’s one of the first things women have brought up when talking about the transition from working to stay at home motherhood I thought I’d share.

As I read through what I wrote I couldn’t help but notice the plastered grin on my face as I reflected back.  I have such excitement for myself as I look back only a few short months ago and think about where I’ve come and how things have gone.  At that point I had no idea what was to come and I would’ve LOVED to be able to tell myself about my feelings and thoughts and experiences over the past few months.

No, I don’t have any regrets with my choice.  Yes, there is definitely a lot to get used to, and of course, I’ve had to adjust my thinking as well as work daily to overcome my own self-inflicted pressure of how things should be.  All in all I feel gratitude for the lessons I learn throughout each day and can’t imagine having made any other choice for our family!

Please don’t see these statements as “blog perfect” statements.  My whole goal for sharing my feelings, thoughts, and experiences here is to keep it real and to be honest.  Not everything is perfect in my world but I’ve definitely been able to see the perfection in our imperfections and wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’m so humbled as I stumble through parenthood and see the ever evolving changes in our daily lives; I never would’ve guessed things would be so interesting!

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June 1, 2011… The last day

It’s funny how much can change in such a short amount of time.  I handed my badge to my boss and that was it.  I was done.  Done with a job I worked so hard to get; done with the job that I set as a goal to achieve; done with a job I said I would consider staying at for possibly my entire career; after all, it was a good one.

As women it feels like we work so hard to find our place in the world.  To find the niche in our career path that makes sense for who we are as an individual; and to find that, on top of a decent salary with good benefits…well…it’s a keeper!  Until of course, you have a baby and your world is turned upside down and inside out in the most incredible way possible.  In such a way that one might think you were crazy because describing it is pointless; there are absolutely NO WORDS to describe love for a human being such as the love you have for your child.

So, as I turned in my badge and said my final goodbyes and walked down the hallway to leave the building I left with pride and confusion.  Pride for the way I was leaving; a job well done, no bridges burned, and feelings of the possibility to return; I wasn’t closing the door entirely on this career I’ve built.  Confusion for the way I was leaving; a job well done, no bridges burned, and feelings of wonder and question…could I keep doing this? Do I really need to leave? Is this the right choice? Is it my time to go?

My heart swelled as I got in the car to go pick up my dear sweet baby boy.  No longer do I have to pick him up and hear what kind of a day he had (this was the hardest thing for me…I know many women find the hardest part being the drop off for the day but it hurt to know I was being told about his day by someone else); I have confidence in knowing that I’ll be there during his day to witness what goes on and how it goes.

I noticed myself taking deep cleansing breaths…relieveing breaths…I felt peace…then question…then peace…I have no idea what the future holds and no idea how things in my life will play out.  But what I know to be true, is that a job is a job…being a mother is constant and forever.

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