Your job

Recently I bumped into an old friend from high school. We did the usual “how have you been,” surface conversation. When that friend asked me where I was now working and I told them I was a stay at home mom…..you should have seen their face. It actually made me laugh out loud. That friend apologized for the look, although it wasn’t necessary, and said they never would have expected that of me. I was such a career driven person who could never sit still.

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would eventually become a stay at home mom, I probably would have laughed at you. In my mind, back then, stay at home moms had the easiest job in the world and did little to no work. I assumed they had all this free time. I thought, how hard can it be to just feed and change a child. I was so naive…..

Having not been a parent yet 10 years ago, I had NO IDEA how much energy and work goes in to raising a child. I feel like I owe all stay at home moms an apology for thinking (never saying out loud) they had it easy. I get it now! There are very few “easy” moments. I don’t get time to sit down. Ryder is always on the go, especially now walking. Most days Im just doing my best to make sure he’s fed well and doesn’t injure himself. By days end I’m more exhausted than I was working in corporate America or teaching/coaching high schoolers.

It’s definitely a different world I’m in now. But I don’t dislike anything about it or regret it at all. Some days are easier than others. But I look at it like a new adventure. No it’s not a paying job but it’s so incredibly rewarding. To be able to see every little thing Ryder does every day and not miss a minute of it is more than I could ask for.

Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I miss certain parts of my previous jobs. When I was a PM I was always traveling, presenting to large groups and doing something huge within the automotive world. I literally felt on top of the world. Then teaching and coaching I was working with students and athletes. Helping them learn in the classroom and at practice. Getting to see them excel was such a good feeling. But like I said, I wouldn’t change anything. I loved both of those jobs at the different times of my life that I worked them. I’m now in a different stage of life with a new “job.” One that I never really saw myself doing but am so incredibly grateful I have the opportunity to do.

My advice to everyone is to never judge someone based off their “job.” There are different stresses and difficulties that come with every job. Some bigger than others and some easier than others. We all have our battles. But please don’t ever discredit someone for doing a job like raising their child.

Never under estimate a toddler

I used to think the infant stage was going to be the most difficult part of having a new baby. I figured because they were so little they were going to take so much time and energy.

Go ahead and laugh all you veteran moms. Yeah yeah I was SO wrong. Infants are easy! They eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom with little movement. I say little movement because they aren’t walking and depending on age, just learning to crawl. I could put Ryder in a front carrier and get so much done around the house when he was really little! He would just sit and watch or fall asleep!

A toddler, now that’s a whole different story! They get into everything! What little free moments I had before are now gone. I spend most of my day chasing him around making sure he doesn’t hurt himself. That and picking up whatever he’s torn up or pulled down. I swear the minute I get something put away, he’s already gotten in to 3 other things! By the time his bedtime hits, I’m ready for bed too!

Forget having a clean house. Those days are over. I’m just happy if we can get through a day where he doesn’t get hurt or the house is torn apart too much. I’m sure someone is shaking their head at me for saying I hope we can get through a day without injury. You’d understand if you took care of my kid for a day. Baby proofing has nothing on this kid. He will get the dog to lay down so he can stand on her to reach for something high above him. Never under estimate a one year old.

Every day is something new. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love every messy, exhausting minute of it. We have our good days too I promise! 😉

Kids and technology

I always said I would never be one of those moms who just stuck their kid in front of the tv or let them spend hours playing a video game. I’m still not. However I will use technology to my advantage.

I grew up in a time with no cell phones and only one tv in the house. People had pagers and made calls on land lines or pay phones. People didn’t have a tv in every room of their house. You had one in the living room and that was it. In our house, tv time was only allowed if homework was done or on weekends in the mornings. After the morning tv time was up we could either play outside or in our rooms.

Going to dinner as a family we all sat together and talked or my brother and I would eat fast, find a tree on the restaurant patio and go climb it! We didn’t have phones or video games to entertain ourselves. I want Ryder to grow up not fully relying on a tv, a cell phone or a video game to entertain himself like I did. I know it’s not logical to completely avoid this. So that’s where I feel moderation comes in.

Ryder’s so little right now that he has no interest in the tv or video games. However going to a restaurant it can be a battle to keep him entertained. He’s in a throwing phase so we can’t bring toys our we spend the entire dinner picking them up off the floor. At football games he wants to run all over the place and there’s not much space for him to do that. That’s where the cell phone comes in handy! Ryder loves to watch videos of himself. He thinks it’s so funny. What’s even better is he will sit still for a good 30 minutes watching videos of himself!

I know as he gets older the battle over the tv or phones will get worse. That’s part of growing up in a tech savvy world. But I do hope we are able to be that family I see on occasion, out to eat with no cell phones in hand, just hanging out spending time together. But for now I’ll be appreciative of cell phones and their ability to entertain my child through a short meal or and event like a football game!

Must haves for a baby no one told me about

Recently I’ve had a few new Mom friends ask me what items I put on my baby registry I couldn’t do without. Honestly everything! 😂 However there are a few items no one told me about that I recommend to people. Here are my must haves for a baby no one told me about:

1. Electric nail trimmer: It’s literally an electric nail file. SO much easier and less stressful than trying to use clippers.

2. Bandana bibs: I knew babies drooled but I didn’t realize how much! Ryder would go through 3-5 bibs a day some days. After doing some Amazon searching I found some really cute bandana bibs for him! I swear boys get jipped in the clothing department. There’s way more cute clothing options for girls than boys. But these definitely made his outfits a little cuter!

3. More than 1 diaper bag: Sounds crazy I know! But I swear it’ll save you. I have my nice one that I take to dinner, shopping, etc. Then I have a small inexpensive backpack diaper bag for daycare at the gym. The gym daycare has small cubby’s for bags so my regular diaper bag wouldn’t fit in them. Plus, I don’t need everything I put in my regular diaper bag. He’s only there two hours max so diapers, a sippy cup and a changer of clothes are all he needs. My third diaper bag is an inexpensive larger backpack. I use it for days we go to swim class. Often the floors are wet at swim class and I don’t want to set my nice diaper bag in a puddle of water. Not to mention I have to carry wet swimsuits after. So the backpack is perfect because I’m not worried about it getting ruined there. You don’t have to spend tons of money on extra bags. I used ones I got as gifts from judging cheer competitions. They’re sparkly but blue so I figure it works for now! There was one time that my husband and I were handing off Ryder so I could go somewhere and I forgot to take the diaper bag out of the car. I remembered the child! Just not the bag. 🤦🏼‍♀️ This is where a backup bag came in handy!

These might seem like simple little items but they’re all incredibly helpful, even now that Ryder is one year old! The nail trimmer saved us on so many occasions. He’s a wiggler so nail clippers just scared me to death. The bibs saved so many outfit changes. And the extra diaper bags were fitting to our busy lifestyle!

Obviously, get what you think you need for your registry. But in all honesty these are 3 things, looking back, I now know I can’t live without!

Car rides with toddlers

When I told people we were taking Ryder to Lubbock, I swear every one of them got a look of horror on their face. Yeah yeah yeah I know, a 5 hour drive with a 1 year old isn’t ideal. But we wanted to go to the game and knew he’d have a great time

We planned accordingly. I downloaded lots of learning games on my iPad, packed tons of snacks and left an hour before nap time. Ryder is perfectly fine in the car for an hour. So we figured if he took an hour and a half nap, we already killed 2 1/2 hours right there! That left about 2 1/2 hours left to entertain him. If you aren’t familiar with Texas cities, Lubbock is roughly a 5 hour drive West of Dallas (4 1/2 if you go over 70 and don’t stop to go to the bathroom).

Everything worked out perfectly. He actually ended up sleeping a little longer than an hour and a half. When he woke up I crawled in the back seat with him and we played games, read books, ate some snacks and hung out. He didn’t get fussy till about 30 minutes outside of Lubbock. But let’s be honest, we were all getting a bit squirrelly at that point!

Car rides with small kids don’t have to be miserable if you can plan accordingly. I know you can’t always plan your trips to fit your child’s schedule but if you can I promise it’s worth it.

Here is my list of must haves for long car rides with a young toddler:

🔹Snacks

🔹Water

🔹Diapers/wipes

🔹Plastic bag/trash bag to throw trash in

🔹Backup outfit (you never know)

🔹Books, games, toys

🔹IPad loaded with movies and games

🔹Blanket in case they get cold but you are hot and need the air on

🔹Backup bibs if your kid is a drooler like mine

🔹Socks. Ryder’s feet always get cold in the car

If you’re one of those parents who doesn’t want their kid just sitting and watching movies, then download educational games! I found animal games that teach sounds, colors, etc for Ryder that he absolutely loves.

Like I said, car rides don’t have to be miserable. You can make them tolerable if you plan accordingly and bring enough things to entertain!

Adult Time

My husband and I never go out during the week but Monday was our two year wedding anniversary. My mother comes every Tuesday evening to spend time with Ryder for a few hours so we snuck out for a bit to grab a bite to eat and celebrate. It may have been a day late but we celebrated the night of with Ryder as a family, so this was like an extended celebration! 🎉

Everyone has always said “couple time is important.” I rolled my eyes and said yeah yeah I know. But I understand it more when we are out and it’s just us two. Our conversation is different. Not a full 180 but it doesn’t revolve around every minute of Ryder’s day. We discuss more adult related items.

Being a stay at home Mom I forget how much I need that adult conversation. I’ve gotten so used to talking to Ryder, who only responds with sounds or his hands. Or (don’t think I’m crazy) the dogs. Yes I talk to our dogs. Not full on conversations! I’m not completely nuts. But I say things to them every so often. 😳

It’s very strange going from a job where you talk to roughly 200+ people daily, to one where you talk to beings that can’t talk back! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret leaving my job to stay home. I’m surprisingly happier than ever. It’s just been a very big adjustment. One I feel like I’m finally getting used to and getting the hang of. It took a full year! Better late than never I guess. 😂

Remember the importance of couple/adult time OUT of the house. You need it for your own sanity!

The breakfast blame game

I had a friend tell me she doesn’t have time to make breakfast so she skips it, makes a coffee and heads out the door to work every day. She blames this on why she’s starving before lunch and ends up eating horrible the rest of the day, therefore causing her to gain weight.

So here’s the thing……YOU decide what goes in your belly. We really can’t blame anyone (or anything) but ourselves for the choices we make. That doughnut at your office does not literally call your name every morning. 😡

If you know you battle to eat good during the day and breakfast is something you are clearly struggling with, you have options…..

1. Premake your breakfast the night before to save time! Make a to-go container of Greek yogurt with berries. Or try overnight oats and mix in a few of your favorite items like fruit, chia seeds, almonds, coco powder or almonds!

2. Wake up earlier!!! Seriously there are so many breakfast options that take less than 5 minutes. Things like avocado toast with eggs, peanut butter toast with banana, or even a protein shake with fruit and spinach mixed in. All of these take less than 5 minutes to make. Set your alarm to go off 15 minutes earlier so you have time to make the food and eat it.

You have options! When I was a teacher I had to be to school at 6:30am to be at my morning duty spot at 6:50am, then class started at 7:30am. Not to mention I had a 20 minute drive. Making breakfast at 5:45 in the morning was just not an option for me. Well, it could have been but I’m not the best morning person when it’s THAT early. 😂

I always pre made meals. Sometimes I made these egg muffins that I would just pop in the microwave and eat in the car. I used muffin tins to make them every Sunday (recipe will be on my blog next week). Some days I would just hard boil eggs and leave a bowl of them in the fridge to grab and take to eat while at my duty spot.

Stop making excuses and do something! If you want to eat better and your problem starts with breakfast, then fix it! Small changes make a big difference! 💪🏻

Note: Yes I know there are diets out there that encourage breakfast fasting. But this doesn’t work for everyone. Especially her if she’s repeating the vicious cycle of eating bad daily because she’s hungry from not eating breakfast. Some people lack the self control ability to do a breakfast fast and not destroy the rest of their day after.