What "Me Time" Looks Like Now as a Mom. 6 Hysterical Ways Moms Find Time for Themselves.

Before having a child, “me time” had a completely different definition. It meant long weekends away at the drop of a hat, relaxing dinners with friends, shopping excursions and endless amounts of pedicures, massages and alone time whenever I wanted it.

Let’s all observe a moment of silence for my former freedoms.

Before having Maddy, I can think back to times where I felt bored. I mean, I actually felt completely and utterly bored with nothing to do and honestly, at times, it was glorious. Friends without kids tell me – does boredom still exist? Is it still a real thing? I can’t honestly remember the last time I was truly bored.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. I’m really not however, I can’t help but to think back to my life pre-Maddy and how so much has changed since giving birth. Most of it for the better but some of it? Well, if I’m being honest, some of it hasn’t been so hot – like "me time"…as in, I hardly if ever get it anymore. Not in the traditional “before kids” kind of way at least. Now? Now, it looks completely different.

A hot, uninterrupted shower. Because I’m a working mom, most mornings I’m playing a game of “Let’s see if I can get in and out of the shower before my child wakes up and comes in the bathroom to scream at me that she wants Cheerios” game and nine times out of ten, I lose. On the off chance that I actually make it through a hot shower all by myself without being bothered, I get the terrible feeling that something is wrong because hello! It’s not often that I get the alone time. #truth

Being able to finish a cup of hot coffee. Remember the weekend days of leisurly getting out of bed, strolling into the kitchen and making that first cup of coffee for the day while taking your time reading emails, surfing the web, watching TV or reading the paper? 

Yeah, me neither. 

Those days are long gone and gone with them is my ability to finish one cup of coffee. Usually when my feet hit the floor in the morning, I've played doctor, repair man, boo boo fixer, magician and animal wrangler all before 7 a.m. To actually make it through an entire cup of coffee and to be able to drink it while it's still hot is a rarity and cause for major celebration should it happen in our home.

Staying awake after bedtime. There have been so many times at the end of the day where I just want to curl up in my bed and go to sleep…at 7:30. I keep myself awake though because it’s the only time during the day that I get to myself to do what I want whether it’s catching up on a TV show, blogging, surfing the web or generally just being lazy and useless. Sleep be damned by a mother with a little bit of free time on her hands!

Extended alone time in the bathroom. Moms joke about this one a lot simply because it’s true. Before I had my daughter, I could have never imagined how much of my life would revolve around a toilet. Before having a child, going to the bathroom was a very simple process. Now it has become a refuge…that is until those little Vienna sausage fingers come poking out from underneath the door.

Washing the dishes. The deal in our home is that whoever is cleaning up the dishes and dining room from dinner, the other one has to watch Maddy. I must admit there is something rejuvenating about letting my thoughts wander off to nowhere while I’m elbow deep in Palmolive and loading the dishwasher. Call it what you will, for me it’s called ME TIME.

School pick up. I get off work at 5 p.m. and my office is literally located right behind Maddy’s day care so when I get in my car and park in the school parking lot, I usually sit for 10 – 15 minutes before going inside to get her. I have no shame in leaning my head back and catching a little shut eye in front of everyone before going inside to pick up my child. Shhh, quiet please. Mommy is sleeping.

While we know this list is for a few laughs, we also know there is so much truth behind each of these as well. I know that one day my longing for “me time” will be replaced for more “her time” as Maddy grows and increasingly considers her mother to be “uncool.” So for now, while the need for “me time” is strong, I’m cherishing every moment I have with my little Chickie because I know the days of her pulling away are coming fast and furious.

And really, “her time” is so much better in a lot of ways, don’t you think? 

How do you find little windows for “me time” during your busy day?

6 Signs You Have a Quality Day Care

One of the biggest challenges as a working mom is finding a day care that both you and your child feel comfortable with and love. It’s no easy task, especially if you’re new to the day care scene or going back to work for the first time since having your child. A while back I discussed the 5 important questions you should ask before enrolling your child in any day care facility. Today, I’d like to talk a little more about how you know you’ve found quality care for your child.

This topic can be purely subjective depending on each individual’s circumstances and preferences however, we’ve had our daughter in day care since I went back to work after maternity leave. For those of you trying to do the math, that was three and a half years ago. We’ve had Maddy enrolled in both in-home child care and traditional child care facilities during this time so I like to think that I’ve picked up some tips worth sharing because really, regardless of the option you choose, there are some fundamentals that apply across the board in determining if you’ve found the right center for you and your child.

A fancy, expensive day care used to impress me. Now I’m more concerned with the initial gut feeling I have when I walk into a facility and talk with the staff and see how the other children are responding and reacting to the center.

There is an open-door policy. You should feel as if you can stop by anytime to check-in on your child to see how they are doing. The staff should be welcoming and accommodating at all times. In my last post of 5 important questions to ask before enrolling, I discussed the importance of observation rooms or web cams. For me, these are absolute must haves. These are non-intrusive ways to peek in on your child during the day to see how they are doing and what is going on in their classroom. Maddy’s current center has private observation rooms and I usually stop by 3-4 times per week during my lunch hour to see how she’s doing. It has given me an opportunity to see what she is learning and what she may need help with. As a parent, you should always be made to feel welcome in your child’s school. In our current center, parents are always welcome to come and have lunch with their child, read to the kids in their class or volunteer in the classroom. This transparency means so much. If you’re not getting that, consider other options.

They make it a point to keep you updated. Whether it’s by a monthly newsletter, daily activity report or a simple conversation when you pick up to let you know about a concern or an achievement for the day, open communication is vital to have in any center. Maddy’s school provides parent/teacher conferences twice a year along with a development report that shows where Maddy is currently with her skills and learning. We also receive emails about any potential issues with other sick children in the center and the staff is also great about sharing the week’s lesson plan and menu. This constant effort from the staff to communicate really helps to ease any concerns about what is going on with the center and helps me to stay focused on my job during the day.

Your child is happy there and looks forward to going to school. I know Maddy really loves being with us on the weekends but more than not, I get asked a million times, “Is it school day yet?” She’s also itching to get out of her car seat when we pull up to the center and she literally goes running with a smile to the front door to see her friends. She genuinely loves her school friends and talks about them at home, as well as her teachers. This tells me she loves her school. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case for her and it shows. While your child may have some initial separation anxiety, once his school schedule has become the norm, you will be able to tell if your child really loves their school.

The discipline policy aligns with your personal values. Does the center believe in time out? Do they redirect a misbehaving child? What actions are taken to teach the right behaviors to correct the wrong? This is often a component that gets glossed over easily during the selection process but it is important for you to know. Find out how your children are being disciplined to ensure the policies align with your core values.

The teachers genuinely care about your child. I’ve seen how Maddy lights up when she talks about her teachers and during my time spent in the observation booth, I’ve seen how she interacts with each of her teachers in a happy and positive way. There is a mutually beneficial, respectful and loving relationship that exists with each of her teachers at school. I have a good feeling about each of them which makes it very easy to leave her for the day. It also says a lot that each of them have come to me with any concerns or tid-bits of good news about her progress during the day. This open communication and genuine care for Maddy’s well-being says so much about how seriously the teachers take their job.

Your child is thriving. What’s the old expression – “The proof is in the pudding?” If your child is consistently learning new things, showing a love of learning, growing more and more creative and is growing in independence, then you have found a gem of a day care. One day a few weeks ago at pickup, I went into Maddy’s classroom and when I said “hello” to her, she responded with, “Hola!” and a great big smile. My child was speaking Spanish. Out of the blue, she was talking to me in another language and I was blown away but this is often how it is – she comes home all the time with a new skill or lesson that amazes her father and me. Indeed, the proof is in the pudding.

Above all, trust your instincts and listen to your child. Never, EVER feel silly or irrational for demanding that your child have the best in school care. Have you found a center your child loves? If so, how did you know? 

The Saturday Morning Post

This week’s top 5 posts:

This Week’s Posts:

Highlights from the Week:
+Chickie was once again sick but this time with the dreaded stomach bug going around.
+I received my first sponsor for the blog! If you’re interested in sponsoring, you can get information here!
+Michael found out that an excerpt from his memoir, Share the Chameleon, was selected for ‘Best of the Net’ Anthology for 2015! (It’s like the Golden Globes of the writing world)
+My weight loss journey is still going steady and I’ve lost 3 more pounds.
+Overall, this week was filled with a lot of challenges. I’m hoping the weekend resets life and gets things back to “normal” next week.

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

Why I Love Being a Girl Mom

When I found out I was pregnant, I knew with all my being that I was having a boy. When Michael and I would go to look at clothing, or bedding or anything baby, I would gravitate towards the boy items. We talked about boy names and I researched everything boy.

Oh boy was I wrong.

When the ultrasound tech told me I was having a girl, my head exploded. I just knew I was supposed to be having a boy, so much so that I asked her to check again. Sure enough, there was no dingle in my daughter’s anatomy. Our baby was indeed all girl and I was floored. My parents raised 3 girls – three. How either of them has any hair left on their heads to this day is beyond me and that’s all I could think of at the time – girls are drama. Girls are crazy chaotic. Girls will turn your life upside down.

Well, almost four years later, our life has indeed been turned upside down. It has definitely been crazy and chaotic. It has been filled with dramatic fits worthy of winning an Oscar. We’ve dealt with our little girl being completely fine one minute and a complete ranting, raving lunatic riding the waves of emotions the next {Hello mood swings!}. We’ve experienced so much in our short amount of time as girl parents…

And I’ve loved every minute of it. 

I try so hard to think back to my time of pregnancy and how I had my hopes set so high on a boy and it’s hard to do because I know with every fiber of my being that this little girl was made for me. The Lord crafted her, molded her and shaped her with His own hands. Every detail on her curious, funny and beautiful face was put there by the hand of the Master. He breathed His life into her and then gave her to me. Without me knowing it at the time, the Lord saved me in every way a person can be saved: with love, grace and the beauty and wonderment of one little girl. 

I could easily say that I love having a girl because of the cute clothes, her hair and all of those things and yes, all of that’s true but it’s more than that. It’s SO much more than all of that. Being a mom to a girl is special and unique in so many ways. 

A better appreciation for your own mom. From the moment your little girl is handed to you in the hospital and you lay eyes on her for the first time, you feel an overwhelming sense of pride and immediately begin to think of all the things you hope and wish for your daughter; success, finding pure joy in life, love, hope and happiness. You always want to be her biggest advocate but you know that she will have trials, face obstacles and have some really bad days – so you hold onto her a little tighter as long as you can and it isn’t too long after that you realize your mom feels the exact same way about you. #mindblown

The forming motherly instinct. I always felt like I lacked this growing up but when I look at my daughter and I see how she so carefully and lovingly puts her stuffed animals to sleep, feeds them and plays kitchen with them, it makes my heart burst. She’s already learning about compassion and taking care of others and it just fills my heart with joy. 

Raising the next generation of strong women leaders. In as much as my daughter loves to play house, I have the opportunity to raise a strong woman role model and a leader for our world. In a time where women still have to fight for their rightful place in our nation, it’s an amazing honor to have the opportunity to raise an independent, self-thinking, strong and courageous woman. Maddy will go into our world armed with the knowledge that she can do, or be, anything she chooses. Hopefully by the time she enters the real world, our society will be far more advanced in their thinking of a “woman’s place” in society but until then, it’s my job to teach her that she can do anything she puts her mind to.

She makes me a better woman and person. Having a girl makes you want to be a better person. You suddenly have the urge to think more of others and serve them in ways you never thought of before because your daughter is watching you and you want her to learn compassion and empathy. You find yourself letting go of being rigid and embracing goofy because it makes her laugh and you want her to be happy. You realize that while you look in the mirror or stand on the scale and belittle yourself, your daughter is watching so you shut it down and learn healthy habits because it’s important for your daughter to have a healthy self-image of herself. You push yourself harder with your own hobbies, talents and goals because you want her to know that she can do the same and succeed. In every way, my daughter has made me a better person and I am so eternally grateful for this life lesson.

When the ultrasound tech told me I was having a girl, I had no clue what to expect, but looking back, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Because of my daughter, I am better than I was yesterday and for this blessing, I am humbled.

Today, I'm joining Beth over at Our Pretty Little Girls as she launches her new 'Girl Moms' series today. Join me, and get to know more about one of my favorite daily reads as she talks about life as a mom to 2 beautiful little ladies. Say hi and share what you love about being a girl mom, too!


What I'd Do With Free Money and $50 CASH + FREE AD SPACE ON 4 BLOGS GIVEAWAY!

Growing up, I was one of those kids who really thought money grew on trees. I remember my dad picking me up from day care and I would ask what was for dinner and he would respond with something like, “Meatloaf” to which I would begin the negotiations:

“I’ll clean my room for a week if we can go out to eat.”
“I’ll get up on time in the morning if you guys take us out for pizza just this once!!”
“I promise I’ll feed the dog if we can eat anything but meatloaf.”

After many times of being told no {my father is a pro with the word no. Pretty sure he has his gold medal status} because he didn’t want to spend the money or because the budget was tight that month, I would finally declare, “Just write a check for it!!”

Uh huh.

Well, fast –forward some 30 years later and now that I have a family of my own with bills to pay, I get it. Money doesn’t just magically grow on trees nor will “Just writing a check” fly. Times are tight for everyone and most people I know are on a budget so when someone offers you the chance to have $50 in FREE CASH, you sit up and take notice. 

Here’s just a snippet of some things currently on my wish list for when I have a little extra money lying around {haha}:

Tennessee Apparel
I’ve had my eyes on some new UT items to add to my collection and with my boys ranked #2 in the SEC going into August, I must represent. Oh how I love my Vols!!

Coach Purse
I know MK is all the rage right now but in my humble opinion, Coach will always be my go-to purse of choice. I’ve always loved Coach – timeless, classic, and beautiful.

iPod Nano
Last year, my iPod was stolen so the only music I’ve had to listen to is Chickie’s renditions of “Summer” and “For the first time” from Frozen.

I know you’re jealous.

I would love to have a new iPod Nano to offset some of that beautiful signing.

Now, I know you have a wish list too, right? Well here’s where the FREE CASH comes in. 

I’m co-sponsoring a fabulous give-a-way with the lovely Courtney from A +Life and co-sponsors to put $50 free cash into your PayPal account for your hearts shopping delight. 

But that’s not all…

Each blogger co-hosting the the giveaway is also giving you FREE AD SPACES on their blog! Here are the pretty sweet offers from each blog: 

4 Amazing Ad Spaces On 4 Different Blogs!

The A+ Ad Space On  A + Life:

1 680x80 banner ad, placed at the bottom of every single post for 1 entire month! Includes social media promotion and the option to share a guest post!

Be My Guest On Wife Mommy Me:

1 200x200 banner, 10 social media mentions, and 1 interview style guest post/blog takeover for the day! Ad space runs for one month!

The Gab Space On The Gift Of Gab:

1 250x350 ad, 5 social media mentions, AND the option to guest post! Runs for 30 days.

The 1/4 Litre On Shiraz In My Sippy Cup:

1 200x200 ad, 10 social media mentions via FB & Twitter, 10 re-pins, and runs for TWO months!

Simply give us a little ‘Like’ and follow on our accounts below and for your trouble, we’ll enter you into a drawing for $50 moola and free ad space on 4 blogs, simple as that. Just enter in the Rafflecopter below and don’t forget to share with your friends. 

Giveaway runs until next Wednesday at midnight. Courtney from A + Life will verify the winner, and then email the winner to confirm your address for the PayPal payment. Each of her her co-sponsors will receive your information as well to contact you about your free ad space on each of our blogs.

Pretty damn awesome, right?!

Admit it – we just made you want to scream “Hump Dayyyyy!” like that camel, didn’t we?

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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