Category Archives: motherhood

Sunday Funday — How Weekends Have Changed Since Becoming a Mom

 

Today was family day in the Rodriguez house.  The four of us spent the day together, all day, just us.

We started the day with breakfast, well, brunch if you consider it was around noon.  Grandma stayed with us last night, so Matt and I were extremely lucky to be able to sleep in for once!  (Good thing because Annabelle decided to get up and play for an hour around 6am–a nap was much needed!)  I made chocolate chip pancakes– yes you read that right, I COOKED– and we all started our day together around the table with a treat.

By this time, Annabelle was ready for her nap.  Mateo sent Lilu and I off to the salon for pedicures, something I haven’t spoiled myself with since I quit my job.  What a relaxing hour!  Lilu had brought an American Girl book (yes, our six year old wanted to READ at the salon) and she was so cute sitting next to me quietly immersed in her new chapter book, occasionally giggling when her feet were tickled.  I even let her pick my nail color– metallic lime green– because, why not?

When we returned home, Annabelle was up and ready to go, so we headed off to the mall to get Lilu’s bangs trimmed and a new dress for school picture day this week.  Nothing too exciting, but so much fun for the four of us to be together.  I gave Lilu a few options from Gap Kids– great sales going on– and she asked if she could try them on.  Grandma usually buys most of the girls’ clothes– it is just something she loves to do– so Lilu never gets to choose.  This was probably the first time she’s been in a changing room for herself, and she WORKED it!  She transformed into a little diva, twirling and posing.  In the end she didn’t really care which dress I picked, it was modeling them that was the fun part.

Before we headed back to the car, Lilu pleaded to stop in Barnes and Noble.  How do you say no to a kid that begs to go to the bookstore??  Even Annabelle has developed a love of books (I never believed babies would sit still for a story, but she is fascinated and knows which ones are hers.)  We let Lilu pick out a new adventure in the Frozen saga (of course they are still milking this thing) and got Annabelle a new peek-a-boo book since she can actually lift the flaps herself, and delights in doing so.

There are so many things that can make it difficult for us to spend an entire day together as a family: school, work, naps, Lilu’s weekends with her mom.  It is so easy to get caught up in life that you forget to slow down and just enjoy it and the people that are most important.  Today was such a simple day, but it was one of the best I’ve had in a while.  Kids want nothing more that to just BE with their family, and honestly, there is nowhere else I would rather be either.

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Related Posts:

What new parents need to know about baby safe cleaning and why we made the switch to green cleaning products.

Baby Safe Cleaning Tips: Why We Switched to Green Cleaning Products

Positive Parenting tips: how to get your kids to WANT to do chores WITHOUT bribes and punishment

How to get Your Kids to WANT to do Chores

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on September 9th, 2019 at 09:42 pm

Why I Should Have Just Said Thank You

 


A couple days ago my mother-in-law offered to call her cleaning lady to come to our house. And here I thought I had been doing a fantastic job with this domestic business!

I clean the kitchen top to bottom every single night. I vacuum daily. I mop and clean bathrooms weekly. And somehow I manage to mostly keep up with endless (literally) laundry, picking up all kid toys before bed, heck I even scrubbed the kitchen cabinets this week! So I was a little surprised by her suggestion.

I mean, it made sense when I worked full time, but now that I am home it feels a bit frivolous.

Confused, I pointed out how many chores I did every day. “I feel like the house is cleaner than ever…”

“Well, it’s so much work taking care of two kids. I raised twins so I know. I just thought it would be nice to help you.” She reasoned.

“I appreciate it,” I replied, debating whether or not to take her up on the offer. “But it just seems silly with me home every day. I can handle it– is there something I missed?”

“Well…” Pause.” There’s a little dust on the bookshelves…”

Dust?!

“I just know how busy you are and everyone has allergies and…”

I know she meant well, but now I really couldn’t accept– I definitely couldn’t justify anyone (even if it was a gift) paying a cleaning crew to come in because there was a little dust on some shelves. I assured her that I had everything under control and not to worry.

So here I am, exhausted, finally sitting down at 11pm because I spent my Friday night DUSTING. Oh well, the house does smell fabulous!

And I guess it’s my own fault. I have told my husband so many times that he needs to learn how to graciously just say “thank you” on occasion. Maybe I should have heeded my own advice.

Being a stay at home mom IS hard work! There’s really no way of knowing until you’re in it— making sure big sis is dressed, fed, and off to school on time in the morning; changing every poopy diaper (for some reason Annabelle saves them for me); trying to think of ways to entertain two kiddos all afternoon; squeezing in a workout wherever possible; completing all of the aforementioned chores; getting both kids bathed, fed, in pajamas, and in bed at a reasonable time and praying that no one has a meltdown. Phew!

Moms (and dads): there’s nothing wrong with accepting an offer of help or a gift every once and a while. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad mom or you’re not doing a good job. It means that there is someone out there who CARES— let them! I’ve learned my lesson! Next time I’ll be relaxing and watching an entire movie on a Friday instead of looking for all the dust I’ve missed.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on August 6th, 2016 at 12:20 am

How to Get Your Kids to Wake Up Happy

 

I used to struggle every morning to get my daughter to wake up for school — this kid can sleep twelve hours and still insist that she’s tired!

However I recently discovered a little trick that not only helps her wake up, but wake up happy. If you’ve been fighting the same battle every morning to get your out of bed, this might be just the trick you need!

How to Get Your Kids to Wake Up Happy

My oldest daughter and I have always bonded over music. Ever since she could talk, we have made time during every day to sing and dance to our “jams” (generally super-cheesy 80’s music).

Like any kid, she’s not always very enthusiastic about waking up for school. One day last week as I was tucking Lilu in to bed, I told her I was going to come in the next morning with music blaring to wake her up. That way, I explained, she would have to be in a good mood.

Must-try hack to get your kids to wake up happy in the morning - This really works!!

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7am rolls around and I forget. Lilu didn’t. She sat right up in bed: “where’s the music?” I quickly retreated to my room to grab my phone.

When I came back to make sure she was getting dressed, I was playing “Higher Love” (our official family song.)

Well wouldn’t you know, Lilu hopped right out of bed with a smile on her face, already suggesting which song to play next!

The rest of the morning was entirely pleasant as we ate breakfast together, heads bobbing to the tunes playing from my portable Bluetooth Speaker. Lilu was even ready for school ten minutes early!

My daughter is very big on traditions, so we will be “jamming” each morning from now on. Adding music definitely improved everyone’s mood — myself included. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner, but I’m sure glad I found a way to make mornings a little bit easier!

So if you’ve been looking for ways to get your kids to wake up in the morning, try adding a little music. You might be surprised how effective it can be!

More on Child Sleep

“Is my child normal?” – Why Some Kids Need More Sleep than Others (with current sleep recommendations)

6 Ways to Help an Anxious Child Sleep

 *      *      *     *      *

We got Lilu a Buddy Bunny MP3 Player for her birthday last year and it was a HUGE hit! It’s a standing bunny that has light-up ears and plays music that you load from your computer. It’s easy for kids to use (she’s 6) and comes with a remote. Why couldn’t they have had stuff like this when I was a kid? 🙂

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on August 9th, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Why I Turned Down a Job Today

 


The original plan was never for me to be a stay at home mom.  When I quit my job in November, I intended to enjoy the holidays at home with my family and immediately begin looking for new employment after New Years.

Within days of resigning, I had an interview lined up already.  It seemed a very promising opportunity.  After a month-long interview process in which I was all but guaranteed the spot, there was a “miscommunication” and I was told they were going to “pass.”  Definitely a bummer, but perhaps a blessing in disguise– I might have ended up working for another shady company.

Why I Turned Down a Job to be a Stay at Home Mom

“Why don’t you just stay home with the kids?  You don’t need to go back to work– we’re doing fine.  It’s been so good for the girls.”  I couldn’t believe my husband was suggesting such an idea.  Work was all I knew.  It was part of my identity.  I’d been a part of the workforce since I was old enough to legally do so.  (Actually, I started much earlier as a groom at the stable where I took lessons in trade for attending horse shows.)

To be honest, it was such a relief to think my world would no longer revolve around someone else’s schedule (except two little girls!)  I had been so happy for the past month– apparently I had been more miserable than I realized at my last job.  It was as if a fog had been lifted and I was truly enjoying life.  I was reluctant to do anything which might jeopardize this newfound happiness.

So I stayed home and resolved to do all the things that had fell by the wayside while I was working full time.  I caught up with the laundry (for a day…then of course it was piled everywhere again, but hey I did it!)  I thoroughly cleaned and reorganized our exercise studio/game room.  I made sure the kitchen was spotless every night before I went to bed– waking up to an empty sink and sparkling counters is an amazing feeling– even I can hardly believe I just said that, but it’s true!  The girls and I took leisurely walks whenever the weather allowed.  Matt and I ran errands on his days off– just enjoying being together as a family.  I re-dedicated myself to my writing.  Work had sucked my energy to where I was literally just surviving every day.  Now I was actually living.

This went on for a few months and our family settled into a comfortable routine.  Then I got a call from a former work colleague.  She too had left the company I worked for last due to the negative environment.  Now she was asking if I would like to come meet the owner of the new spot she had gone to– they were looking for someone with my experience and she thought I would be a great fit.

Panic set in.  Things were going so well at home, was it worth it to rock the boat?  Annabelle still had a couple months before we could start weaning– I couldn’t bear the thought of dusting off the dreaded pump.  Would I still have time for my writing?  That was my “me” time– I looked forward to it every day.  Did I even want to go to work outside the home?  Was I lazy or selfish for even having these feelings?

“So don’t do it.”  Hubby said matter-of-factly.  “You don’t have to.”  He sees the world very black and white.  It’s easy for him to make decisions without getting emotional.  If only it were that easy for me! I decided to at least go in for a meeting and see exactly what the position entailed.  I was flattered that my friend had suggested me and felt I owed her that much.  I figured that it would be at least 40 hours plus some nights (as most event jobs are) and that I would simply be unable to meet those demands.  But at least I would have “tried” and given the opportunity a fair listen before politely declining.

Fast forward a few days and I’m sitting in front of one of Houston’s culinary greats.  He is an imposing physical presence, but at the same time very warm and easy to talk to.  “So what schedule would work for you?  Do you need to leave by 2?  Can you be here at 9?  Family is important to me, so I understand your situation.”  Well this was not what I expected.  Here he was asking me what would be my ideal schedule.  He was so willing to work with me that I wanted to take the job for that reason alone.

I had anticipated an easy out– a schedule to which I would be unable to commit.  Instead I had an offer on the table for a part time job with hours that were tailored to me.  The pay wasn’t great, but what part time job would be able to compete financially with the salary and commission I pulled before?  Plus I could probably learn a lot from someone so knowledgable in the industry.

Hubby was less than excited.  “It’s not that much money.  It’s not really worth it.”  At first I was frustrated– he wasn’t even listening to the positive aspects!  “If you really want to do it, we’ll make it work,” he assured me. “But I love having you home.  And what about your writing?  You won’t have as much time.”

He was trying to be supportive, but I could see that he did not want me to accept.  Could I blame him?  Sure, the part-time schedule worked great for me, but what about him?  As a night manager he often doesn’t even get home until 4am.  If I was leaving at 8am every morning, it meant he would get an absurdly little amount of sleep.  No one could function on 3-4 hours of rest every single day.  It really would be asking him to make a huge sacrifice– for what amounted to only a couple hundred extra bucks a week.

I agonized (probably more than I should have) over the decision for two days.  However, when I thought about what was best for our family as a whole, it is for me to be exactly where I am at the moment.  It still didn’t make it any easier for me to write a letter of regret turning down the job.  To accept that for the time being I am not the prime breadwinner.  To let go (at least temporarily) the part of me that sees myself as a working woman and embrace this new identity as a stay at home mom.

That is what I am right now, but that is not ALL that I am.  I am a writer.  I am a counselor to family and friends who come to me for career advice (I was there for over 15 years!)  I am a motivator to those that need a little extra encouragement to make a positive change in their lives or pursue a dream (leaving a fairly lucrative career to stay home and commit to my writing was a risk, but it is my dream).  I am the backbone of our family– keeping home and finances in order.  I am molding two little girls into strong and intelligent little ladies.

Typing it out and owning it is such an empowering feeling.  If writing is not your thing, I encourage you to say it out loud mamas!  Often when we make the choice to stay home, we often lose a little bit of ourselves and our identity as an independent woman.  But it is still there inside– your assets and gifts that you offer the world, whether it be from an office or your house.  Remember your strengths and your passions and know that you are still as important, if not more so now, than you were before!

I do feel truly blessed that I am able to have this time with my family and my girls, though it was not without sacrifice–read about the one lifestyle change that we made which allowed me to be a stay at home mom.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on May 9th, 2015 at 10:14 am

Why You Should Take a Mommy and Me Class

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I’d always thought “Mommy and Me” classes were silly.  Lilu used to be in gymnastics class, and while she was learning the bars and balance beam, there was another group of moms (and one dad) that sat in a circle on a mat while their little babies rolled around.  Who would pay money for that??

This year Lilu is in swimming (we wanted her to be proficient so we’ll know she is safe when she is not with us), and again, there are also baby options available.  In a smaller pool off to the side little diapered infants splash and play with toys while in their parents’ arms.

Hubby has been pushing me to sign up with Annabelle:

She loves her baths!

You’ll meet other moms!

It will be FUN!

I had a variety of comebacks:

It’s a waste of money.

She won’t really be learning anything.

I don’t want to put on a bathing suit yet.

Why you should take a "Mommy and Me" class

But one day we all went to watch Lilu as a family, and Annabelle practically threw herself in the direction of the pool.  (Good thing Daddy has strong arms and fast reflexes!)  She mimicked the big kids, flailing her arms and legs and squealing with glee.  Seeing that reaction, I just knew she would love being IN the water instead of sitting and watching behind the glass window.

So I signed up.  And I bought my first bathing suit in two years.  (Not the most pleasant experience, but I did it!)  And the next week Annabelle and I had our first Mommy and Me swim class.  And she loved it!  She splashed harder than all of the other babies combined.  I was every bit as soaked as she was by the end of the half hour.

Sure, she’s not learning to swim on her own yet, but she is learning to be comfortable in the water, which is a good background for water safety.  She’s also learning social skills: interacting with other babies, waiting her turn for activities, and giving back toys when it’s time to move on to something new.

If myself just five years ago could see myself now, hanging out in a pool (in a fairly modest tankini) with a group of moms and babies on Thursday mornings, I’m not sure I’d even believe it!  However, it’s been a great experience so far, and I find myself actually looking forward to next week’s class.

IMG_3749

Just a few of ways mommy-baby activities can benefit both of you:

  • Physical activity improves baby’s motor development
  • A group setting lets baby practice social skills: sharing, taking turns, interacting with other babies
  • A change of scenery– something besides being at home and the usual daily routine
  • The opportunity to make new friends

IMG_3752 IMG_3765

You might even be able to find FREE or discounted activities by checking with your local park, community center, church, schools, etc. If you have the opportunity, I definitely recommend getting out of the house and bonding with your baby over something a little different than the norm.  You might find that YOU actually benefit as much as your little one!

Do you take a Mommy and Me class with you little one(s)? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Check out these other ideas for getting active with your children:

Yoga for Kids – 10 Minute Photo Tutorial

25 Indoor & Outdoor Activities to get your Kids Moving

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on July 28th, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Mom Making It Happen: Aubrey Cash of LadyFish Boutique

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It’s a scary thing to take a risk and go into business for yourself, but nothing could be more rewarding than following your dreams and getting to do what you are truly passionate about– and make a living at it to boot! I’ve decided to start a monthly series profiling some of these incredible entrepreneurs to find out what made them finally take that leap of faith and “go for it,” what they’ve learned along the way, and what are their hopes for the future. I think we can all find inspiration in their stories.

LadyFish Boutique

For the inaugural edition, I’m interviewing Aubrey Cash, founder and owner of Ladyfish Boutique, which has the mission to help women “dress as unique as they feel.”  Aubrey and I worked together at my first job in Houston years ago, but didn’t keep in touch outside of social media. However, a few months ago I began to notice her posting photos showing the process of launching Ladyfish and I instantly fell in love with her style and clothes. As soon as the site went live I made a purchase!

Tips for Balancing Motherhood & Starting a Successful Business

Aubrey was gracious enough to share some insight into what it takes to start your own business on the side as well as balancing work (both outside the home and with her company) and motherhood. It’s great advice from a really smart and stylish lady!

Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us Aubrey! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business. When did you start?

I’ve always wanted to own my own boutique ever since I was a little girl! Well, college and life happened so dreams got put on the back burner, but it was always on my mind! So one day I claimed my name and a year later I stopped procrastinating, out of fear that it wouldn’t work out, and bought some inventory! Ever since then I have felt like a huge brick has been lifted off of my shoulders; finally, dream accomplished (online, not a storefront…yet…but accomplished). With a baby, a full time career, and a marriage, I think a lot of people didn’t think I’d ever really go for it (who’s got time for that?!), but I did! Crazy where a little dream chasin’ will get you! I have big plans for this dream of mine, and other goals are in the works too 😉

What was (or is) you career before you started your own company?

Right out of college I was hired to do sales for an oil and gas company. I am VERY fortunate to have this job and still have it! It was nothing I ever asprired to do by any means, but I enjoy it and I love the people I work for. Even though I feel overwhelmed at times, knowing how blessed I am to have my career and my business makes me feel so much better. I have been asked numerous times how I fit it all in and I don’t really have an answer; I just make it work because I WANT to make it work! My lunch breaks and my evenings (after dinner has been made, time has been spent with my family, and the baby is asleep) are full of LFB duties; I love it!

LadyFish Boutique

What made you decide to go into business for yourself?

My family is full of business owners; it’s all I’ve known growing up and I always knew I wanted to OWN something and be my own boss. I saw the stress, learned from it, and now that I own a business, I try to avoid the triggers that can cause the stress. I don’t ever want to dislike what I’m doing because I feel stressed out. If that ever happens, I would seriously take a step back and see what I’m doing wrong. A little stress is good though (I think), it means I’m busy and that means I must be doing something right =) Besides all of that, I knew that I would never be satisfied if I didn’t fulfill this dream of mine! THAT one thing is what pushed me to start my business.

What steps did you take to make it happen? Was it easier or harder than you expected?

It was actually easier than I expected. I only say this because I got a lot of help from my dad on all of the state stuff (taxes, claiming my name, etc.) The “state stuff” gives me anxiety (lol). After I got all of that out of the way, the fun began! Buying inventory, coming up with a general “look” for my webpage/pictures etc. That stuff is all fun to me and I see it as art; every online boutique out there has a theme/look that I admire very much! The owners of these boutiques have done some amazing work! Even though the journey to starting my business might have been hard at times, I knew the end result would be just as I wanted, and that just made it all “easy” to me.

Any obstacles you’ve had to overcome? Any “big breaks” or surprising support from family, friends, strangers that you’ve experienced?

Well, being a mom, having a full time career, and having a marriage that I make sure to give plenty attention to, could be considered “obstacles” that could have hindered me from starting my boutique, but I didn’t allow it to. I mentally have set time for everything, all the while putting my family first! There have been days where my husband complains that I “don’t stop” and just wants me to “sit on the couch and watch tv with him”, and you know what?, I listen to that, I stop what I’m doing, and sit my butt on the couch with my husband! The work will always be there! If I just ignored my husband and child and continued to work doing what I wanted to do, then they would only demand more attention from me and I would never get anything done and they would be unhappy, therefore creating an “obstacle” for myself. This is the best way I know how to do this, and it’s working!

LadyFish Boutique
As far as “big breaks” go, there have been TONS! My family is AMAZING! My mother selflessly watches my son daily, what a help! I can go about my day knowing my son is safe and happy with his GiGi, and THAT is HUGE! My dad has helped me with all the “state stuff” (as mentioned before) and THAT is HUGE too; I don’t do well with anxiety lol. Besides all of that, my family is so supportive! I constantly am getting compliments and told that I’m doing a good job; that goes for miles!!! AND on top of all of that, I get emails, texts, and comments from strangers or old friends telling me how much they admire that I went for a dream, they love what I sell, they love my online site, etc. and that is SO touching! I have even receieved emails and texts from customers saying that items I am selling have made them feel pretty again and that they never would have normally purchased what they did, but because of ways I set it up, they took a chance! Those kind of responses have brought tears to my eyes; this is the only reason why I’m doing this! To make women look as gorgeous as they feel no matter their age or size! Those are what I consider to be my big breaks that help me and push me!

What are your short-term and long-term goals?

Short term = to make women feel gorgeous and just to send out an overall good vibe from my store!

Long term= I would love to have a storefront and then possibly franchise. Definitely!

What advice do you have for other moms (and dads) who are thinking about starting their own business?

Do it! BUT do NOT allow it to take over time that could be spent with your family. Yes, we all have to make some sacrifices to do what we want and know will benefit our family, but when it’s take ALL of your time from your kids/marriage then is it worth it? If its truely a dream and an aspiration of yours then do it, otherwise you will ALWAYS say “what if”. But follow dreams with a little caution when kiddos are involved.

LadyFish Boutique

What great perspective! I’ve watched Ladyfish’s following grow tremendously over the past few months, and it’s been very exciting and inspiring. Aubrey definitely has it together– and I love how she makes a point of keeping family her number one priority, while still giving her business the time and attention it needs. Honestly, I don’t know how she does it! I see a very successful future ahead for Aubrey and Ladyfish! 

Check back next month for another profile of a business owner “making it happen!”

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on May 9th, 2019 at 09:07 pm

Ten Truths I’ve Learned About Motherhood in My Baby’s First Year

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My sweet baby turned one over the weekend and has officially entered Toddler-dom. While it’s been an incredibly exciting time to see her learning real words, taking her first wobbly steps, and growing into her own personality, a part of me mourns my “little baby” that isn’t so little anymore. I see now why people decide to have more! 😉 Just kidding…maybe?

In honor of her first birthday, I decided to write about the truths of motherhood (or fatherhood)– things I’ve learned over the past year with an infant.

Ten Truths I've Learned About Motherhood in My Baby's First Year

  1. You will be able to function on less sleep than you ever imagined possible. That’s what coffee is for– any time of day or night– whatever it takes.
  2. You really don’t mind the smell of baby poop. Admit it, it’s not that bad!

  3. Your baby is the most fascinating thing. Ever. You could seriously sit and watch her just do her thing for hours.

  4. You won’t “break” your baby. You’ll be a helicopter parent for those first nerve-wracking few weeks, but after a year you won’t even sweat it when your baby is walking, and therefore falling, a lot.

  5. Your house will look like a Babies-R-Us showroom, and you’ll be ok with that. Forget your dreams of a magazine-worthy living room, if it keeps baby happy and busy you’ll be all for it!

  6. You will let your baby watch TV. And they will survive. Once you figure out that you can buy yourself a half-hour nap with a play-pen and TV, you’ll be sold. Rested mom = happy mom. You might even find yourself singing baby show songs shamelessly…with no kids around.

  7. Putting on jeans becomes your new definition of “dressing up.” Wearing makeup is now a really, really big deal (usually reserved for church, weddings, and the very rare date night.)

  8. Your day now revolves around the blessedly quiet hour that is “nap time.” Never mess with nap time– it’s just not worth it.

  9. Seeing your baby cry is the worst thing in the world. You’ll try and do anything to make it all better.

  10. You won’t be able to imagine life before baby. It’s just not possible– and why would you want to? Being a parent is exhausting, a little scary, and so much work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Happy birthday my sweet Annabelle!

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on May 18th, 2015 at 06:30 pm

5 Things All C-Section Mamas Need to Hear

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“I’m doing…ok.”

This was the response I got when I checked in on a friend of mine who recently delivered her baby via C-section.

When I spoke with her at her baby shower a couple months prior, she was excited and optimistic. She told me that she had prepared herself for that outcome just in case, so that she would be ready for whatever the big day might bring. However, when I checked in with my friend after I saw her birth announcement, I got the feeling that it was not at all what she expected.

A Letter to Moms with C-Sections -- What to expect in the year after birthImage credit: Tamara McCauley. Modified from original. | This post contains affiliate links.

Having endured a traumatic labor that ended in an unplanned C-section, I understand firsthand the emotions that come with the experience. I was VERY unprepared for the possibility that I would have anything but a natural birth – I just didn’t think it would happen to me.

But as I learned, so much of the birthing process is out of our control.

It seems that there is an explosion in the number of cesarean births over the past couple decades. Every single friend, every mere acquaintance of mine that has had a baby in the past two years has done it by C-section – except one. That is staggering statistic.

Even though you’ve got plenty of company, it doesn’t change the fact that a C-section is likely not what you had in mind for your birth plan. Surgery is a scary, often last-minute decision, and brings with it a long, painful recovery – both physical and emotional.

A C-section was not what I wanted. But a year later, I’m here to tell you, my fellow C-section mamas, that it is ok. I am ok. You will be ok. And all of these things that seem so hard right now, and that feeling of being “different,” well, they won’t last forever.

Related: Don’t Call my C-Section a “Belly Birth”

A letter of encouragement to my fellow C-section mamas - what you can expect a year after your C-section and for your recovery.

5 Things All C-Section Mamas Need to Hear

Your scar will fade. 

It seems impossible in those first few days, weeks, and even months after surgery. The angry red gash across my lower abdomen terrified me – I couldn’t even look at it for the longest time. I was convinced that I was permanently disfigured. But then one day I glanced down and realized it was barely visible anymore, it was just a thin, light line – a tiny souvenir of everything I had been through.

The pain will go away.

You’ll be too doped up in the hospital to feel much of anything, but they don’t want you on serious pain meds for long, so in a few days you’ll be weaning down to simple ibuprofen. It will hurt to sit up, it will hurt to laugh, it will hurt to sneeze – it will hurt to do just about anything!

But like your scar, the pain will fade. You might still get twinges near your incision in the months to come (nerves reattaching), but they will subside and without the pain as a reminder, you’ll find that you hardly even think about how your baby got here.

You Won’t Rip Your Incision Open.

When my nurse ordered me (nicely, of course) to get up and walk the day after surgery, I panicked. Wasn’t my stomach cut wide open less than 24 hours ago?! Surely it would rip right apart if I tried to stand up, let alone stumble down the hallway. But it didn’t. And I was (like you will be) so overly cautious that there was nothing to worry about.

Your Muscles Will Re-Learn What to Do.

The first time I attempted to exercise, I was discouraged to find that my muscles wouldn’t do what my brain was telling them. I couldn’t jump. I couldn’t lift my knees. I couldn’t even begin to do a crunch. But I kept trying. And slowly, my body “remembered” how to do these once-simple tasks. A year later I can do everything that I was able to before surgery, even if it did take loads of practice and patience.

Read about how I lost the baby weight while breastfeeding and my 5 essential weight loss tips for breastfeeding moms.

You’ll Stop Worrying About How Your Baby Arrived.

This might have been the hardest one for me. My labor couldn’t have been farther from what I had imagined and hoped for, and that was a crushing blow. I felt cheated, I felt like a failure.

Every time I saw new baby photos in my Facebook newsfeed, I just had to click through and scour the comments for clues as to how that baby got here. Did this mama actually have a “regular” birth? Or was she like “the rest of us?”

And then one day it just didn’t seem to matter anymore. I’m not sure why or how I suddenly got over it, but I did. I have more pressing things to worry about now, like when will I ever get a full night’s sleep again?!

Read the game-changing toddler sleep tip that finally let us all sleep through the night.

So mamas, wherever you are at in your recovery, hang in there!

Time heals – it really does. But don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling sad, or scared, or tired, or anything less than perfect – we’ve all been there! We get through it, and you will too. The reward is worth every stitch, every struggle, and every stretch mark! And aren’t these things that all mothers can pretty much relate to anyways? In the end, we’re not really as different as we think.

>>You might also like: Why You Should Plan for a C-Section

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on June 30th, 2018 at 01:13 pm

YOU Are the Perfect Mom — Published! Yay!

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Hi everyone! Today is very exciting for me as my first published piece, YOU are the Perfect Mom, is live on Mamalode! This was actually one of my very early blog posts, and one that came straight from the heart. (Back then my blog was more of an online diary.)

If you have not been with me since the beginning (and I suspect most of you haven’t, since I had very few views in my first month) please go check it out! Feedback is always helpful and appreciated.

I want to take this chance to thank all of you for your support in this blogging journey– it has been an incredible experience so far. I am always humbled that anyone wants to read my stuff at all, but I hope you will continue to do so 🙂

Stacey

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on June 10th, 2015 at 11:40 am

Five Ways to Boost Your Energy, Natually

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As a mom to a 14 month old who (still!) doesn’t sleep through the night, I know what it’s like to be tired. All. The. Time. I am definitely a huge fan of coffee, but sometimes that’s not enough on it’s own to keep me from feeling sluggish by midday.

When coffee just isn't enough! Try this 5 all-natural energy boosters to get through your busy day.
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There’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep, but these five natural energy boosters have been very helpful in getting me through my busy days:

Get up when you wake up

When your alarm goes off, it can be so tempting to hit the snooze button, thinking how wonderful “just ten more minutes” would be. However, doing so can actually make you feel more tired when you actually do roll out of bed. When the sun, kids, alarm, or whatever tells you it’s time to get up and get moving, DO it! You’ll wake up much quicker than if you tried to tease yourself with a few minutes of not-restful “sleep.”

Take your vitamins

A few weeks ago I began to get worried because I could hardly pry myself out from under the covers in the morning. I’m always tired, but this was extreme!

Then it hit me — I had run out of my daily multivitamin about the same time this fatigue had started. Even though we eat a pretty healthy diet, as a breastfeeding mom, I could have possibly become deficient in some key nutrients. Right away I bought another bottle of vitamins (I LOVE the way these Vitafusion gummy vitamins taste!) and incorporated them back into my routine — the change was immediate!

These simple pick-me-ups will help boost your energy, naturally!

Sttttrrrreeetttccchhhh

As soon as you get out of bed, stand up straight and raise your arms overhead. Lean to one side, then lean to the other. Bend over and touch your toes and roll your way back to standing. It’s amazing how a few simple moves will send energy to every part of your body!

Anytime you sense your energy starting to lag, stand up and do a little stretch. Try this easy, ten-minute yoga routine — it’s perfect to do alone or with the kids if you’re like me and always have a “shadow” or two 🙂

Grab a bite

Going too long without eating can seriously bring you down. In addition to tiredness, hunger can cause headaches, dizziness, and can actually slow down your metabolism (so you burn fewer calories!)

Keep some easy snacks on hand for a quick pick-me-up: almonds or cashews (my favorite!), yogurt, protein shakes, fruit, sliced veggies, hummus. Eating a little something every couple hours will prevent blood sugar (and energy) dips throughout the day.

Drink water. All. Day. Long.

I always have a glass of water at hand — I even keep one on my bedside table for a quick sip when I wake up at night. As I tell my seven year old, Lilu: “Imagine you’re the Tin Man and water is like your oil. If you don’t drink enough, you’ll rust up and get stuck!” Ok, so maybe it doesn’t work exactly like that, but it’s close to the truth!

Our bodies are more than 60% water — dehydration can make you feel really terrible (and can be dangerous), so drink up! I carry this travel tumbler when I’m out and about so I don’t have to buy water bottles.

When you’re a mom, there are no “days off,” so you have to take care of yourself to be the best you can for yourself and your family. These simple, natural energy boosters are what keeps me going! What are your tricks beating tiredness?

Be sure to check out these other tips for a healthy mind and body!

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on November 29th, 2016 at 08:35 am