Last night I spent and hour and thirty-eight minutes on the phone with my best friend. I b******, I complained, I wallowed, I self-cared. Yesterday I discovered for the hundredth time in the eight years we’ve been friends that she is my rock. When I hit rock bottom she will be there, when I’m on cloud nine she will be there. Yesterday my best friend proved to me for the second time that no matter how far I move, how many decisions I make that she doesn’t agree with, no matter where life takes me she will be there. She is kind, she is caring, she is everything I am not and that is why she is my best friend, she completes me when I don’t know how to complete myself.
Eight years is a long time. We have been through so much together. It is twice as long as I have been married, it is 2.5 times as long as I have been a parent. She is my oldest friend, the only person who probably knows me better than I know myself, she is the person I turn to in times of crisis, in times of joy. She is the one who I rely on when I can’t rely on myself. Yesterday I understood that life never gives us more than we can handle; it gave me my Amber so that I could cope. It ran me smack into her. I hope I am half the friend she is. I hope I make her half as comfortable as she makes me. I am lucky beyond belief and I am more thankful than I know how to put into words, wherever I go I hope my path is always intertwined with yours, for without you I am less me than I am willing to admit.
This is an open thank you to all the “Amber’s” out there. It is a thank you that we forget to give on a regular basis. Thank you for being there and caring for us when we need it most. Thank you for completing us. Thank you for listening. If you have an “Amber” go ahead and send her the thank you just because, send her a link to the post, shoot her a text; just remember to thank her, to remind her that she is the peanut butter to your jelly, the Monica to your Rachel, the Cristina to your Meredith. As always
Last Friday was a bittersweet day, it was a day of lasts in a way. We are done with our last possession in Savannah — our first home. It was a place we poured hours into, where our friends became even more family and opportunity seemed to make itself present. We painted, we nailed, we landscaped, we gave it all we had and it gave back with opportunity after opportunity. The sale of our home marked a final goodbye to a chapter of our lives that we will never forget, my first home away from home. As I sit here and remember all the different aspects of the memories we had in that house I recognize that some are sweet others are angering, yet I recognize that they all come together to make my family what it is today.
I remember the first time I walked through the doors into the big vacant house that we had just signed a ton of papers to acquire. It was intimidating, foreign, and lonely in a way. As the days passed and the space changed it became ours. The walls changed colors and began to hold our old memories, the floors were no longer bare, the hallways echoed with the sounds of memories in the making. Our family grew and bonded in ways that only adapting a space to fit your life can change you — from pulling Big J around on a scaffold so he could paint our neverending living room walls, to deciding to have another baby our home on Saint Ives Drive held so many surprises for us. We made new friends and bonded with the old, we experienced joys we could not fathom otherwise and challenges that only made us stronger.
I also remember the day I found out I was leaving, less than a year after we walked through those doors for the very first time — I was sitting on the floor in our dining room piecing together a chicken wire window frame I intended to use for all the greeting cards we had gotten from our friends and family, my husband burst through the door a wide smile on his face absolutely BEAMING and all I could feel was my heart sinking and the tears streaming down my face. As I look back on that moment I am ashamed of my behavior, of the manner in which I handled my emotions (anger, fear, betrayal), I wish I could go back and change it. I should have shared my husbands excitement, I should have shared his pride in his accomplishment, I should have….just so many things but instead I focused on the loss, the sacrifice.
The last time I walked out those doors I was six months pregnant, I was saddened by the fact that my baby would never see the first home his parents had purchased. I was lost and confused about what the future would hold, I was two days from turning 26 and I just didn’t know how I was going to handle being a stay at home mom to two boys. I was terrified, I’ll let you in on a little secret, I still am. Savannah will always have its own place in my heart, it’s the first place I acquired the titles “wife” and “mama”; it’s the place I bought my first car, my first home, and got my first job outside of retail; it’s where I learned to be a mother and a wife and where I became more me. Savannah, I sincerely hope this is not goodbye, but a see you later, from the bottom of my heart I already miss you from your squares, to your beaches, to the historical parks, and all the memories your city limits hold I can’t wait to see you again.
Sometime in college my friends nicknamed me Mama Bear, usually the youngest person in the group, I seemed to always be the one keeping track of everyone (whether you got too drunk to function, needed help with a paper at 2 am, or were having a meltdown as college students do I was there) and making sure that all was well. The nickname stuck and soon enough got applied to me at work. As an 19 year old team lead I was the youngest leader in the building and was often having performance conversations with people who were older than myself, one of my employees said that I was the “no child left behind” enforcer in the building. As life went on I saw that I was often the one who was the Mama Bear in most situations, there were exceptions but I had a real knack for being in charge.
Fast Forward to August 2018: I have a seven-week-old infant that is projectile vomiting with a belly button the size of a ripe cherry and no idea what to do. It started out as projectile vomiting every morning when he woke up and two days later he was projectile vomiting after every meal. As a concerned parent who felt that an infant might need the food that they consumed I placed a call to my pediatricians office where I was promptly told that I was overfeeding my child and that I needed to pump and only give him 3.5 oz of milk per meal, even though we had been recently visited by a stomach virus that had left most of our family debilitated. Like a good mother I quickly found my pump and began to pump while googling the likelihood of this being the issue and texting my boob guru Amy – as I scrolled through the results and read the text messages that came in I quickly realized that this was very unlikely due to the fact that 1) I hadn’t been pumping so the likelihood of oversupply was very slim and 2) he was puking whether he latched for one minute or ten. As if the frustration of having a sick boob fed kid wasn’t enough I felt as though I wasn’t being listened to as a concerned parent.
My Mama Bear instincts went full force and I called the doctors office again explaining my concerns, where I was turned away again and told that as an infant the likelihood of him catching the virus was low due to the fact that he was breastfed. Immediately disheartened I reached out to my mom community and they sprang into action, from herniated belly buttons to pyloric stenosis (which ran in Big J’s family) we were exploring the options and I was planning a trip to an emergency pediatric facility near my house – Mama Bear was not going to let her baby cub suffer any longer it was time to take things into my own hands. As I got my boys ready to visit the emergency pediatrician my husband stepped in, he felt that our son needed to be seen by his own doctor and said that a diagnosis from her would make him feel better. So as we unpacked the boys we decided to wait for the morning and try again – Mama Bear was not happy. The following morning I placed another call to the pediatricians office explaining that at this point we had 4 days of projectile vomiting under our belt and that I would like to come in, again I was offered the same advice about overfeeding angering me to no end, I insisted on a visit at this point.
As soon as the nurse laid eyes on my baby she seemed to come up with a diagnosis of jaundice, here I pause to let you know that this poor child has been visually yellow since birth—I have an olive skin town and my husband is very tan, I didn’t bother to explain and patiently waited for the nurse practitioner to come in. As she did a full physical on my child I explained that 1) my husbands family had a history of pyloric stenosis and 2) my child’s belly button was quite frankly freaking me out she seemed confused about why I hadn’t been told he was herniated, she quickly checked for pyloric stenosis and asked about our recent health as a family – as soon as she heard we had had a stomach bug she seemed to become more at ease, she ordered a set of labs to ensure for the third time that all my son had was breastfeeding jaundice and to ensure there was nothing more – and as easy as that Mama Bear was turned off.
Now you may wonder why I am writing this, why I feel the need to share about how my kid was sick and how my doctors office handled it and here’s why as parents we are responsible for our children’s health and wellbeing, we are stewards of their bodies for them and more often than not we (moms especially) are labeled as dramatic and over analytical. Parents are often brushed to the side by medical professionals as if their only goal is to waste their time. I have heard so many stories about urgent cares and doctors half listening to a parent who is trying to explain why they felt the need to bring their son/daughter there and being rushed out the door as if they are an inconvenience, there is no need to be condescending towards a concerned parent. I promise you the last thing I want to be doing is explaining to a doctor that there is something wrong with my child and that I do not know what to do about it. I do not spend my days looking for things that are wrong and googling symptoms, I want to lead a normal life where I don’t have to worry about my kid but if something does pop up I want to know what it is and how to fix it, that is all I am asking. If I were a doctor or knew what was wrong and how to fix it I wouldn’t need you, I would take care of it myself. As my husband often likes to say “I must have missed that day of medical school. As a parent in this society all I am asking is that I be treated with dignity and respect and that I not be belittled due to concern about my child, don’t try to tell me that my kid puked because he was eating too much or because he’d been bounced around in a car too soon after he’d been fed – I am not an imbecile, take my concern seriously. I can assure you had my child been harmed by the blatant disregard I was met with on the phone my Mama Bear behavior would have gotten me banned from the office.
Have you had an experience where your concerns about your health or that of your child have been treated as if they were unreasonable or unfounded? What did you do?
Today marks the four week and two day anniversary of becoming a parent for the second time — it also marks the four week anniversary of coming home to the chaos that is now my life. (I’ve now changed that sentence more than four times, always to add to the time.) As all my boys are sleeping I can’t help but recognize how lucky I am, blessed most would say, yet the difficulty in seeing this is very real at times. As I sit here typing I definitely remember a moment this morning and many moments through the last weeks where I have felt like an on demand milk machine and cleaning/cooking machine. My mom tribe is real and an aspect of my life I am oh so thankful for.
These are the people who make it possible to be my best self, they are the people I vent to, the people who pretend to understand my crazy, the people who make sure I survive. They are my first line of defense against the outside world and they are the people I trust with the well-being of my family.They remind me that it doesn’t matter how messy my house is, how much laundry is piled up in the laundry room, or how empty my fridge is, what’s important is that I take a minute and enjoy it.
Whether it’s sneaking in a cuddle with my boys, showering, squeezing into a pair of my pre-baby jeans, or enjoying that ice cream I’ve been thinking about all day I have to take a second out of stacking dishes into the dishwasher, mopping the floors, and folding all the laundry to remember I am a human being. If you’re a new mom there are a couple of things you need to remember
We’ve all been there – a friend who already has a kid and is about to have another and we have no idea how to help them or what to get them or how to make their life easier. I get it. We don’t mean to be shitty friends but we just honestly have no idea what to do, how much to do, really we have no idea what the proper gestures are and we don’t want to overstep some imaginary boundary. As I sit here 1 week from my due date I have decided to create a guide to your mom friend who’s having another one.
Come up with any excuse to relieve her of her existing child(ren), she probably doesn’t want to part ways with him/her but she needs to. Be understanding that in her eyes these are the last couple of days where her only baby is her only baby and that she is probably very hesitant to waste any time she has with her only baby. With that being said she probably needs to. Show up and take the munchkin out for ice cream, to a splash pad, to a park — really anywhere. Make it seem like its gonna be a fun little date so she doesn’t pick up on the fact that you know she needs to rest.
If she’s not having a baby shower / gender reveal / party for this kid its ok, she’s probably just too exhausted / apprehensive / has guilt tripped herself out of one. You are not obligated to buy her any gifts and she’s honestly not expecting any, but if you do the key is to be thoughtful. Buy things that are unique for this baby: get something monogrammed (a blanket, a hat, an outfit) the poor kid is probably going to live his/her life in hand-me-downs. Otherwise BUY DIAPERS, it doesn’t matter what size and if she has a preference you probably already know it. You don’t have to go crazy, if she’s lucky she saved all the stuff you bought her last time and is so thankful all over again for how amazing people were that she just wants to rewrite all the thank you cards.
Don’t show up unannounced. This is a big one. She is tired, she is feeling like some sort of beached whale that for some reason still needs to chase a small person who frankly does not give a damn about how much pain the chasing is causing. Her house is probably a disaster and she’s probably mortified by how it looks. Give her enough time to come up with the energy to at least get the clothes in the hamper. Also, don’t be a guest. If you are coming to check on her don’t expect to be waited on hand and foot, offer to help (or just do it)–she has enough people relying on her she doesn’t need you to be an added burden.
Call her, text her, SnapChat her, send her a letter…make sure she’s alive. It’s a big change. If she’s desperate enough she’ll vent to you or ask you for a favor.
She probably doesn’t want to sit at home and wallow about how swollen her feet are. She probably also doesn’t want to go skydiving. She probably would, however, love to come over for hot dogs and smores. Be considerate in what you are inviting her to but don’t leave her out.
She is hungry, and she really doesn’t want to cook. Order a pizza, bring a casserole, throw something in a crockpot while you’re at her house, show up with a plan for a meal she will be eternally grateful. She will sing your praises and it might be the only thing she remembers you did her whole pregnancy.
Offer to help, but if she says she’s got it then back away. She probably feels pretty helpless a lot of the time so if she says she can strap her kid in the car seat then back away slowly, let her do the strapping it might be her only victory for the day.
Tell her she’s doing a good job. Whether it’s a cleaner than last time house, a new outfit, a good meal, a well dressed child — whatever it is just let her know she’s doing a good job somewhere cause heaven knows she needs the reassurance. I’m not telling you to flat out lie to her, just find one thing you can compliment her on and she’ll feel like a million bucks.
I hope you find this list helpful, thank you Amy for your very thoughtful additions! If there’s anything you think an expecting mom might be grateful for go ahead and add it in the comment section. As always like, comment, share, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest! The best compliment you can give is letting us know you were here!
Some days are better than others, some are worse–that is the way life works. I had a day that was one of the not so awesome days; it ended with an ugly cry in the shower. 37 weeks and 5 days pregnant is not the best time to discover thrombosed hemorrhoids, it is even worse when your husband is on a work trip and you also discover your baby is breech. I can proudly say I made it through the day with our normal schedule–pancakes, library, splash pad, lunch, movie time, nap time, dinner. I squeezed in a nap somewhere in there because my amazing sister-in-law is in town and was watching Baby J.
If you have never experienced hemorrhoids you are a lucky person, it feels like someone is stabbing me with every step, every breath, and every slight movement. Top that with all the lovely foot swelling, the internal movement that comes with being pregnant, and all the glory that comes with hormone changes and you have the amazement that was my day. As I stood in my shower I felt like a failure: Baby J had been a nightmare to deal with running around and reeking havoc as he pleased, Baby M couldn’t figure out which direction he was supposed to be facing, and my body was giving out — I couldn’t keep up. As I quickly finished my shower and tended to the wounds both internal and external I wished there was someone I could call or text, someone who would understand-I have friends but 12 AM is hardly the time to call them, my husband was in a different time zone attending some special dinner, and all I could manage was a good cry and it had to do.
If you have ever been pregnant I hope you can relate, there are few things that help you move on like a good cry. I pulled myself together walked out into the disaster that was my house and started cleaning, 12 AM is as good a time as any to deal with the destruction of the day and a clean house helps me think. I came to the realization that I had done pretty well: all of the kids had been fed, loved, cleaned, and put to bed; I hadn’t missed any of the things I had promised my nephews we would do, and I had worked through the pain as well as I could. I decided I needed to take a little time for myself so after typing half a post I decided to put a pin in it so that I did not overshare.
I realized how thankful I should be: my bills were paid; Baby J was happy, healthy, and asleep; my sister-in-law and her boys seemed to be having a good time; other than being stubborn, Baby M was healthy and cooking well; my husband was happy and feeling fulfilled at his meetings — why was I not feeling overjoyed? Which part of my life was lacking? As I sat there thinking I realized I was feeling a lack of contribution. I was not contributing to the family finances, the house constantly looked like I did nothing, my son was a nightmare who seemed to lack discipline…the list went on and on. I realized I was having trouble measuring my self-worth and that was a problem, a problem I feel a lot of people face. At work there is normally someone who validates you or some kind of metric you know that you are hitting but when your home and family is your work what is your metric, how do you know you’re doing it right? Your exhausted spouse has more things on their mind than they care to share, your kid isn’t about to tell you you’re doing it right, the judgemental looks you get in public for your three year olds behavior is not giving you any moral support where do you get that validation? And finally it dawned on me — the metric had to be yourself, had you done your best; in the moment had you done all you could do to make it work? If the answer was yes then you were all right. It’s not about how much money you did or didn’t bring home, not about how clean your house was, not about how well-behaved your child had been in public, it was about how hard you were trying. If getting up and working through the pain so you could make sure your son made story time was all you could manage before ordering a pizza and crashing to relieve some of the pain you were feeling then by golly that had to do. Eventually you would get there, and asking for help was key, you are worth helping.
As I sit here typing I know my house is a disaster (I need to vacuum, do laundry, clean the dishes, pick up toys), dinner is not made, my kid is watching Netflix in his beanbag chair, and I have no idea where to even start. I do know that he’s been fed, he is relatively clean, we read some books, and that he had fun playing with his friend today — he has not been sitting here watching TV all day and I am sure we made at least one lasting memory that he’ll tell his dad about as soon as he walks in the door. I also know that none of the things I haven’t done are going anywhere. My hungry husband will help me make dinner, the toys will be picked up, the vacuum will be run, and my washer and dryer honestly probably need a break. Life will go on and I will do it all over again tomorrow; hopefully Baby M has figured out that he’s supposed to face downward but that’s not something I can control at the moment. For now I need everyone to remember 1) you are enough 2) you do enough 3) as long as you tried your best then go ahead and be at peace with yourself. As always if you got anything out of this please share, like, follow, or leave a comment! I love hearing what you have to say!
We’re all looking for that special something to give daddy this Sunday, so after thinking for a bit I came up with a handprint gift that we could give daddy to put on his desk! The following directions will allow you to make two handprints.
Let me know how daddy likes it! Also, these are perfect for grandparents and mothers day gifts!
There are a lot of things we can learn from our children, crazy I know, but as I took a step back today I realized how mindful my son is and so I got to thinking. Today my three year old told his dad he had to get me flowers because he loved me, they had gone to the store to pick up some sausage for dinner and for some reason that made him think of the fact that he had to show me he loved me. Baby J is not the perfect child – he is easily irritated, lacks patience, and often is more stubborn than a cow at a stream on a hot summer day, but he has his moments.
As I sat there looking at the flowers I realized that maybe I should take a page out of his book, so I sat there and watched my child, not as a child but as another human being and over the course of a couple of hours here are the things that he reminded me of:
Today my three year old brought me flowers because he loved me. They are not the most alive flowers (he picked them out himself) and they are not the most extravagant flowers but they are the flowers I am most thankful for. Today I learned I am raising a mindful human being; one that will be kind, one that will show love, one that will be kind. Today I am the most thankful a mama can be.
Maturity is a personality trait that is lost on a large portion of our population; it is the ability to deal with situations that are less than ideal in a manner that exemplifies your ability to think and act as a mature human being. As I sit at my desk and ponder the response of normal humans to their surroundings I am baffled by the lack of discipline, communication, and purpose that I am surrounded by. Not everyone gets along, not everyone has the ability to communicate, but when you do not even try to make yourself understood and then blame others for your unhappiness you are a special kind of person. When you think that you deserve something just because you are you I have difficulty regarding you as an adult.
My last week has been anything but pleasant. I have spent a lot of time wondering why, contemplating what actions I have taken to get the circumstances that I am currently faced with. As I sit here and ponder what I could have done differently, what behaviors I can maybe change in the future, how I can avoid similar disappointments I keep coming up blank. I am not saying that I am perfect by any means, I am seriously flawed, what I am saying is that the issues that have been presented to me are parts of my personality that I cannot readily change. 1) I am too aggressive—how does one change the manner in which they respond to crisis? Crisis management is one of the things I pride myself on, the ability to find solutions to immediate issues without the need to second guess or consult with others. 2) I am unapproachable –the reality that others have of me is not something I can readily change; I am not mean, I am just straightforward and to the point, if you mess up you’re going to hear about it, if you are not meeting standards than that is something I am going to expect you to correct. 3) I have an attitude – who doesn’t? The way in which people respond to different situations often leads others to assume they know them.
The conclusion that I have come to is that when someone who is “privileged”, i.e. they continually tell you that they don’t need this job and that they’re here because they are bored the issues that they present you with are often overstated. If you don’t need this job and have such deep issues with me why are you still here? Where is the motivation to be here? As a person I have come to understand that people are who they are, there is no way to please everyone but the important thing is to remain true to yourself (your work ethic, values, personality, etc.). When it comes to being a leader it is important to understand people—to help them be the best employee they can be. Often there is an issue of skill or will, and it is important to know which you can and cannot change. Sometimes, you just need to let people hang themselves, it’s just the reality of the world—you can’t and shouldn’t save everyone. What are some parts of your personality that others have a hard time dealing with? How do you make yourself more approachable?
The importance of nurturing our children is something that is intangible; their education, manners, work ethic, and personalities are shaped by the ways in which we interact with them. This, however, does not change the cringing feeling I get the hundredth time I hear “MAMA” and it makes me wonder just how much more of the never-ending tasks, endless cleaning, and constant nagging I can take. I am very new to the stay-at-home mom status, my journey started about a month ago; at eight months pregnant the journey has not been an easy one with my three year old especially since we moved away from our support system in Savannah and into the solitude of Phenix City. I have spent hours researching things to do and ways to make life easier and am excited to share some of the interesting things we’ve found.
Baby J and I seem to have established a schedule that gets us out of the house and into society at least three times during the week. We absolutely LOVE our library and the librarians there! On Tuesdays we go to Movie Night (as long as it is age appropriate). Wednesdays we have Story Hour where we have stories read to us, dance, create a craft, and even enjoy a snack with some of our new friends. Fridays we go to Toddler Tales and enjoy books and dancing. The library has sprinkled in a number of fun activities throughout the summer that keep us occupied on other days but Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays are normally a year round schedule for us! Libraries are a great resource for younger children who don’t necessarily have the motor skills or patience for some of the more interesting events (i.e. The Home Depot has free make and takes, AC Moore has $2 crafts – check your local stores to make sure they are participating). If your library isn’t as active as ours is, Barnes and Nobles often has Store Events that you can bring your children to (check your stores listings here).
We are really lucky to have a number of parks and recreation centers that we have access to; since we live in Alabama they all have pools or splash pads, which makes it really convenient for parents to bring their kids. We try to go to a park or a pool at least once a week. We also have a sprinkler that we hook up on the weekends when we are just trying to relax. Baby J loves water so it keeps us occupied for a good amount of time. We make sure to bring plenty of liquids and snacks so we can spend as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors.
I suck at winging meals. I have come up with a system that allows me to have preset meals to pick from. If you need help coming up with your own system refer to The Battle of the Kitchen for some ideas on how to simplify your grocery shopping trips and ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. I normally pick what I’m going to cook the night before so that I can ensure that everything I need is thawed out and ready to go.
While picking up toys is an endless task, laundry seems to never end, and the floors look like they haven’t been cleaned in weeks when you did them yesterday there needs to be moderation. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are normally the days I get most of my cleaning done since I am home in the mornings. I try to get the bathrooms cleaned on Mondays, the bedrooms and living room cleaned on Tuesdays, and keep Thursdays for some of the more tedious deep cleaning tasks that I notice throughout the week. I throw laundry in whenever I have a minute and aim to get the beds made first thing in the morning and the kitchen cleaned every night after I am through making dinner. I pick up toys as I go. My house is by no means perfect or as beautiful as it was when I didn’t have a three year old to chase around but I do get to spend some quality time with my Baby J. We spend time cuddling, watching TV, reading the books we picked up from the library, and enjoying our time with some of our new friends.
I try to do all the grocery shopping on the weekends, bringing a three year old to the grocery store (no matter how organized you are) tends to be a nightmare. Its an added bonus when I can hand my husband half the list while I tackle the other half; other than that I try to keep my weekends open for fun time with my family. Whether we go to the farmers market, the flea market, or a park it’s a blast to be able to spend time together as a family. I use the weekends to catch up on whatever tasks I didn’t get done during the week.
It’s important to be flexible, parenting can’t be scheduled. The importance of being there when your kids need you is something we need to keep in mind, the dishes will still be there after the tickle fight, dinner won’t taste too bad an hour after you’d originally planned, the laundry can live in the laundry room—your kids will only be kids for a short time.
The number 3 has been important to me my whole life. It was my favorite number, then my lucky number, and at 2:22 pm today it’s the age of my Baby J. I remember my whole world changed— I was handed a small wrinkly, warm, wiggly thing — it had stolen my heart before I had a chance to lay eyes on it. As the days went by it changed me, almost as much as it changed itself. He is my light at the end of every tunnel, he is as sweet as honey but as stubborn as a nail — but I wouldn’t have him any other way. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree but man it’s like looking into a little personality mirror and it drives me oh so crazy. As the days pass and I watch him grow and become more and more his own person I become overwhelmed with emotion, on one hand I am proud of all that he has learned and all that he is able to do on his own, on the other I miss having a small, loving creature that doesn’t mind laying on me when I need a cuddle.
Three is an interesting age. He tries so hard to be independent but still needs so much help. His sass is at a whole new level. He knows what he wants but may not always know how to tell me. I can’t imagine life any other way, he is so active and caring, but just like any child he needs to be prodded along in the right direction. He already loves checking on his baby brother and his favorite thing to say seems to be “I OK MOMMY” as he dives into the ground, momentarily stopping my heart. I have a daredevil of a child who fears very little and loves the world of books.
As I sit here reflecting on how different my life has become I can’t help but wonder who I would be without him; its a weird thought, but I have changed so much, become so protective and obsessive about his daily life. I have somehow lost track of the person I had been. I have lost my identity, often referred to as “Jason’s mom” or “Jason’s wife” I sometimes feel as though I have lost me. I used to be Wadad, known for how stubborn and capable I was and here I am sitting in front of a computer wondering who I am. I am a wife, a mother, a personal chef, a housekeeper, I am still a person who cares and trusts too quickly and gives all that they can without thinking yet it seems like my identity doesn’t matter nearly as much as being “Jason’s mom” and I seem to be OK with that. My identity has changed and adapted to ensure that my baby boy is the best person I can make him, I realize that there is nothing I wouldn’t do for the sassy, angry, stubborn mess that I call a son, that is the biggest change that parenthood has brought, the fear that I am not doing enough, not being enough, not enough to ensure that he has the best that is possible. As the days pass I wonder, how did our parents make it through the maze of parenthood? How did they know they were on the right track? What are your biggest fears as a parent?
I absolutely hate the kitchen. It is the place I feel most uneasy and that I feel as if I am the most incompetent. From grocery shopping, to meal prep, to clean up — I hate all the aspects and dread meal times like it’s my job. Over the last four years I have managed to bring things that I am comfortable with into the Kitchen World – lists, organization, step by step directions, attempted perfection; it drives my creative husband crazy (the man can walk into the kitchen pull out whatever is in the fridge and make something completely amazing – its so hard to compete with him). As I started my SAHM journey earlier last month I realized that I now have an interesting system that others may benefit from.
My first step is deciding what we’re going to eat. I normally go major grocery shopping every other week so I try to pick 14 meals that I think will work. I scour the Internet (Pinterest, Facebook, Google, etc), a couple of cook books I have and the plethora of apps on my phone to come up with my list. I fill in the meal and the ingredients for each of the 14 days (so that I can keep track of which meals my husband stole ingredients from and I don’t start making a meal that I don’t have the things I need for). You can see the printable right here.
Next I go through my cabinets and mark off the things I already have, I also have a little whiteboard on my fridge where I try to keep track of things I know I’m going to need as I think of them. I keep track of what I need in an organized manner on a nice little piece of paper that I have transferred into a PDF for y’all. It organizes the groceries into categories so I’m not getting bread and then milk and then going back for some bagels.
When I am done with my OCD organization I hop online, I love shopping at Kroger even though it is a 40-minute drive for me each way. I go through the online coupons and load my card with whichever ones are relevant to my shopping list. Once that’s done I hop onto my iBotta app where I watch some ads and clip some offers. If you haven’t used iBotta it is awesome, it gives you cash back for things you normally buy anyways, go ahead and download it. If you use my referral code we’ll both get a $5.00 bonus for signing up and redeeming your first offer (my referral code is bxotqxc)! It’s a great way to find “extra money”– in the last three years I have made $155.45 (that’s $155.45 that I would not have had if I didn’t follow the simple steps – some stores require you to link their loyalty card to the app and automatically find your rebates for you, others make you scan the items that you have rebates on and the receipt, just follow the directions as you create your account!)
Finally I am ready to go. Grocery trips that used to take me at least an hour and a half are now done in 45 minutes or less, and that includes the time it takes me to argue with my 2 year old, better yet I have 14 meals and all the ingredients I need to make them! I let my husband decide what we’re having for dinner each night and as long as its on the list I am golden, I pull up my recipe and get my life together all without going completely insane and trying to make something on the fly.
I hope you found this useful! I know I wish I had some guidance four years ago. What are your favorite shopping tips and tricks?