Back to School Blues!

It’s back to school tomorrow for my big girl Piece’s, UPK for Mr. Man AND Mr. Man turns 4! Big day all around and I have to say I am excited for them, but so heavy-hearted….. I know so many parents are excited to get their kids back to school and I am excited that we can get back into more of a routine AND I’ll be able to do some of the “must do” projects I couldn’t get to in the summer! But I just can’t help feeling so emotional….!

2015 kids summer collage

The start of a new school year and birthdays marking another year passing always make me sad! I’m not sure why but all of my kids birthdays I feel a little sad and emotional because all the clichés about parenting are true. ” The years fly by,” “Cherish the time when they are little. They grow up to fast!” You’ve heard them; and they are right on! My favorite, after a fun but tiring summer, is “The days are long, but the years fly by.” I feel that way today after enjoying hours in the pool, long spontaneous visits to the Zoo, play dates and park visits. We filled our summer!  it was a great one and it went by in a blink. There were things we didn’t do on our summer bucket list, there were wasted days watching TV when it rained instead of going to a museum.  I realize the joy of just being together and doing nothing was just as enjoyable to my little ones, so I focused on relaxing right along with them. But now it’s time to get excited about what this new school year will bring and not just for my kiddos. My focus on organization really needs to get back on track, along with my workouts (which are a focus but also a need for sanity purposes) AND I’m going to be working part-time so there are many new and exciting changes for not only the kids but also for me to look forward to.

I’ll keep in mind the countless hours of watching them use their imaginations by making forts and creating story lines to act out, playing in the playhouse, swimming and laughing uncontrollably for no reason; I’ll hold on to those memories and feel complete with the summer we enjoyed!

kids reading

Here’s to a new school year, relishing in the memories you’ve created and looking forward to what is to come! I’ll be thinking of all you moms out there as you go through the same! XOXO

Until next time…Thea

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10 Way Not to “Lose Yourself” in Motherhood

It’s so common to lose yourself once you become a Mom. You spend a majority of your time caring for your children, caring for your spouse, cooking; cleaning….the list goes on! So it makes sense that during that time you can start to lose yourself a little when you’re rarely putting yourself or your needs first. So here are a few things I do to hold on to the person I once was, the person I am and the person I want to continue to be.

1) Keep your Hobbies– Before I had my first many people told me I was going to need to quit my hobby of playing sports. I was playing on 2-4 recreational soccer leagues a week and softball in the summers. Clearly, I was going to need to cut back but why would I need to stop playing all together? I felt like I got flack from people when I was insistent I was going to go back after the baby arrived. It’s something I LOVE to do! It keeps me active, I see my friends, and play with my sisters. Oh and it’s a great stress reliever as well. I’ve continued to play, usually only once a week for soccer and I’ve kept summer softball, which I play with my husband on a co-ed league. It’s been great to get out 1-2 times a week and it’s helped me to continue to feel like the same person I have always been! Whatever your hobby is, reading, writing, gardening, scrapbooking or exercise; I encourage you to keep making just a little bit of time to do those things

2) Curse– I used to have a bit of a potty mouth. I am now reformed since I am with my children basically 24/7. But when I’m out with adults sometimes it feels good not to have to worry about what I say! Tossing out an F bomb or a Holy S***, somehow becomes relaxing and refreshing!

3) Lean on your Spouse– If there is anyone that truly knows you, it’s your spouse. They’ve known you before, during and after children. They are your partner in everything; your supporter, confidante, champion, and your love. Talk to them about anything and everything. Lean on them and it will help you keep centered.

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4) Stop Worrying About what Other People Think! I used to want for people to like me. I still do in some ways because I try to be a kind and thoughtful person; and I genuinely care. But spending time trying to please others just ends up making you try to be someone you’re not. So stop worrying about others and focus on you! You’re got enough to worry about supporting your children and husband.

5) Be Ridiculous! In the summer I like to roll the windows down, with the wind blowing in my hair, sunglasses on, jamming to some tune that is now considered “Classic Rock,” and sing my heart out! Sometimes, I try to convince myself that I am super cool while doing this! It takes me back to a time when I was young and carefree; a version of myself that I think of fondly. Bring that girl of the past out sometimes, even if you’re alone and there’s no one to see her. Keep her present!

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6) Keep having Sex! Yes, I went there! I tell people being a mom is the most amazing and exhausting thing I have ever experienced. Well, the exhaustion part for parents can really put a damper on the lovin! I can’t tell you how many couples I know who are rarely having sex. Remember before you had kids when sex didn’t take the effort? Well, those days are likely gone, but the effort is worth it! Make the effort, make the time. The connection with your spouse, the stress relief, the link to that once carefree sexual person; it will keep you feeling like YOU!

7) Have a Cocktail– As a mom you are always “on.” At any age there are little eyes always watching, observing and learning from you. Give yourself a break and have a drink everyone once in a while. Hell, make plans to go out a couple of times a year to really let loose. Going out on the town with some girlfriends to drink and dance the night away…. that keeps me in touch with my love to have fun self!

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8) Take Time for Yourself- This is the HARDEST thing for any mom to do; working, SAHM, it doesn’t matter. We ALL love our kids and want the best for them and taking time away from them is hard. Go for a massage, take a bath, or even a 30 minute drive to Dunkin Donuts to sip coffee alone and check Facebook. That little bit of time can be rejuvenating and all you need to recharge.

9) Exercise– Who are we kidding ladies, our bodies change after children in many way. Even if you have never been someone who exercised, working on your body will help you keep respect and appreciation for it. Your body may never be the same again but loving and accepting it will make you feel comfortable and confident. The added perk with this is setting a good example for your children. When I run on the weekends my oldest always wants to run with me. After I get back we always go on our own little run just the two of us!

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10) Never Give up and Keep Dreaming! The reality is that as the years go on our children will need us less and less. Someday they will be grown with families of their own. I know that I’ll always need my parents love and support. I need it now still as an adult, but I don’t depend on them like I did when I was a young child. We are living our lives now! So don’t give up on some of the things you love to do, want to do or dream of doing. Keep a notebook, make a bucket list! Just never give up and keep on dreaming!

Doing these things has helped me keep myself during these early, demanding years or motherhood. Well, mostly anyway! And that in turn is helping me be the best Mom I can be to my three beautiful children!

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Until next time….Thea 🙂

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Ultimately, I really just want my kids to be nice!

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There are many things I want for my children. I want them to be happy, confident, successful, hardworking….the list goes on! But more and more I am realizing, the #1 quality I want my children to possess, is kindness.

I feel like in our society today, being nice is so under appreciated. This is a generalization, but I feel like our society is focused on getting ahead, parents want to give their kids a “better life” than they had growing up, and our children have a sense of entitlement. The most basic expectations we had as children, please and thank you’s, seem to be a rarity with the children of today. Let alone, general kindness to others. Bullying is a norm for young children to deal with in schools, on the bus, at the playground…..where has our sense of compassion gone? I’m not sure if it’s because there are more distractions with technology today, for parents and children that everyone is fighting for attention; or if our society overall is just under valuing the basic benefits and value in being kind!

While growing up my Mom always told me if someone’s being rude, picking on you, don’t lower yourself to their level, just “kill’em with kindness!” It was great advice that I still use today. Now there is a point in which you have to stand up for yourself and I also learned from my parents to not stand for being disrespected; but there is a way to stand up for yourself without lowering yourself to someone else’s level.

I’ve been trying to teach my oldest, Piece’s, who is in Kindergarten, to simply call people out on their behaviors. If someone is being mean, simply tell them, “You’re not being very nice right now,” and if someone else is being mistreated to stand up for them. Sadly, I don’t think this is a common practice among young children these days….

In my personal experience and opinion, being a kind, polite person generally leads to getting kindness in return. The age-old saying of, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is most definitely a simple and true one. Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect; I have times where I should think more before I speak. But in general, I feel being nice has helped me be more successful in my career and has made me a better mother, wife, friend…the list goes on.

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I’m not a very religious person, but I believe in karma; I believe that the type of energy we put into the world comes back to us in that way. The more positive, polite, kind I am the more and more I will get that in return. So that is what I am trying to teach my children. And I hope more than anything that they continue to grow into strong, hardworking, confident and most importantly NICE people!

Until next time….Thea

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How Motherhood Changed my Dreams

I recently had a few job opportunities come my way. I’ve been home full-time, working part-time, most of the past 3 and ½ years. When trying to figure out what I wanted to do I discovered that my goals and aspirations in life have change quite a bit since becoming a Mom.

Don’t misunderstand this statement as me saying I no longer have dreams for myself. I do, I have many dreams and things I would like to do and achieve. But when analyzing and soul-searching the lifelong question, “what do I want to do when I grow up,” everything seems different because my life is no longer just about me; or even just my husband and I. My choices now strongly take into consideration what is best for my family? Not just from a financial stand point, but also well-being.

I have years of successful sales experience. My last few years in the work world I was encouraged to try to move into a Field Sales position and that had always been my plan. I much prefer working with customers face to face, but traveling for days at a time, regularly, that just didn’t sound appealing anymore knowing my husband and I wanted to start a family.

Successful business woman giving a presentation on flipchart.

I always felt a sense of accomplishment based on my level of success in my career. I think that is very common in our society these days. So once I started staying home I think I went through a bit of an identity crisis, LOL! Who had I become? The answer was just a Mom, and was that enough? For a long time I didn’t think it was because I felt like I have skills, potential, whatever you would like to call it, and I wasn’t using those things to benefit my family. I used to focus on what I did best, or could do the best, to make the most money; which in turn I felt was best for my family. I’m have to be honest! I wasn’t really focusing on what I had a true passion and interest in doing with my life. I felt like financial stability was going to help my family; especially after living paycheck to paycheck for years after deciding to stay home. I envisioned myself going back into a sales career, moving up, maybe striving for management. It’s what I had done, and pretty well!

I remember before having children I told someone my dream job was to be a personal trainer. I love fitness, being active, and pushing myself to continue to do new things; even as I get older. Well, my husband laughed at this statement one time! I asked him why and he said, “Because you say it’s your “dream job” like it’s something that would be hard for you to accomplish. In reality you could quit your job and change careers very easily!” He was right. My hold up was that a passion job wasn’t as lucrative a sales career, and that just didn’t seem like a smart decision. But the saying, “The best things in life are free,” is so true! I’ve been much happier being home and dealing with limited funds. Raising my children and trying to make the best of these years when they are young. So being a Mom has changed me, and changed my goals in life because making sure I can create the best family life for them is my most important goal.

Currently my husband’s job has become very demanding. It’s a good thing! He has a great job but he works long hours and has been traveling recently. When thinking to myself what kind of life do I want for my family and what do I actually WANT to do with my life. The answer is, I want to be there for my family, both in actual time AND I want to be present. Sales, though a great career, is also stressful and can require extra hours. I envisioned myself getting stressed out, overwhelmed and not being the person I needed to be for my family back in that career.  My husband’s job is going to continue to be demanding and I don’t want my kids to spend hours at a daycare and then come home to a rushed couple hours with stressed out parents. I want to give them what I can, and that is time, support and a sane happy Mom!

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For now, I’m going to focus on my family and just be a Mom. After thinking about career options personal training would be a great fit in my life going forward. It can be part-time, flexible with scheduling and is something I would absolutely LOVE! So here’s to the future and all of its possibilities!!

(Am I alone in this? Have you other Moms out there experienced a whole new perspective that changed your goals and dreams for yourself? I would love to know how motherhood has changed you?)

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Hormones….you suck!

hormones making women crazy

If anyone has seen my sane self around, please return her! I told my husband the other day I am just feeling straight up crazy lately. He gave me an eyebrow raise and said, “This is different from the usual how?” He’s right! I am a bit nutty regularly. I tell him he’s my rock and he tells me I’m his tornado, LOL! But really, after having 3 children in less than 5 years I’ve dealt with the ups and downs of pregnancy hormones, to the nursing hormones, to a state of postpartum depression!

I’m on my second type of birth control since June and I will be switching to another here shortly. I’ve always been sensitive to them (they make me feel crazy) but since I’ve started taking them again this time around my body just seems pissed off!

Lately, I’ll be happy kissing and loving on my little ones,

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and within 5 minutes I snap!

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They are usually doing something they shouldn’t, or not listening, but snapping at a degree that is not needed. And it just feels like an out-of-body experience sometimes. The highs and lows of hormonal changes at this age take me back in time to those years of teen angst. When you feel like you have no control because your brain can’t keep up and register the insanity that is going on!

I was talking with one of my besties recently about my frustrations and she said to me, “These are the things people don’t tell you.” And she’s right. People talk about the joys of motherhood, but they don’t talk about the effect it takes on your body physically,  mentally and hormonally! It’s totally worth it, yes. But sometimes just knowing you’re not alone, that how your feeling, what you’re going through, is normal. That can give you some inner peace.

Being a girl is tough! I love that I was able to have the experience of having my kids! I did not particularly enjoy pregnancy, but I’m glad I was able to have that experience three times. The joy I feel from seeing my little ones grow up is something I can barely put into words, but I just want to get back to being myself again……

So in closing today, I’m just going to say, “Hormones, you suck!”

Until next time…. Thea 🙂

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Mommy Wars- Can’t We All Just Get Along!

I’ve read and heard a lot about the “Mommy Wars” going on these days. Mom shaming seems to be everywhere! I know some level of judgment is natural. We all feel that what we are doing what’s right for us, so sometimes, we may feel that our choices are the right choices. But every mother, father, child, family; well they are all different. So really, what’s with all this mommy drama!

high school drama

Here’s a great example!!!

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So you’re nursing your kid till they are in preschool, kindergarten, a teen, whatever it may be! Well, good for you. People either love or hate this it seems. Breastfeeding has become a really hot topic these days. I’m a big believer in breastfeeding; I nursed my kids till they were 4 months, 8 months and 13 months; but some people just can’t! It just doesn’t work for them for a variety of reasons, or medically they can’t. Whatever the reason you are not a “better” mom because you nursed (regardless of how long). You are just a mom who nursed! And nursing them longer than the average person, well I do commend you for that. I was sad, but ready to be done at 13 months with Miss T. And for me I felt having them drink independently at the age of one was a good thing. But that is what I think is best for my family.

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And here’s another example….Wow, you look great! Way to go! I might have found your story motivational had you said, “You can do it,” “Here’s what I did!” But no, you had to use the condescending angle. This really pisses me off as an active mom who tries hard but will probably never have a body like that. And honestly, it’s not an “excuse.” My body is different than yours AND I enjoy some sweets and wine on a regular basis, which can be a bit counterproductive, LOL!

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The SAHM vs working mom battle! This one is so complicated to me because I’ve been on both sides. I went back to work full time after I had my first child for almost two years. I left my job after my second child was born, but worked part time until 6 months ago (for 3 years) to make ends meet. It wasn’t an easy decision to stay home. I had a good job making good money. We went from financially stable to pinching pennies and we are just starting to see the light! But that was a decision my husband and I made for our family. And no, I don’t think I’m any better of a mom than a working mom. I feel for the working moms who want to be home but they can’t. I respect and appreciate the working moms who want to work and are kicking ass in the work force. And I feel for the stay at home moms who are making sacrifices to stay home. None of these options are easy!

So what’s our problem?!?! Why are we all trying to say we are “doing right,” instead of saying “way to go?” I mean regardless of what decisions you make from feeding, to working, fitness and more; being a parent is freaking HARD! I don’t know all the nuances of your family and your situation to know what is best for you. I only know that I am trying my best to be the best mother, wife and person I can be. I don’t think I am right, I just know that I am trying my best for me and my family!

So to all of you moms (and dads) out there, I want to change the tone and say, Keep up the good work! And way to go!!

Until next time….. Thea

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A Moment in Time

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It was one of those weeks! I popped my back on Monday morning, one of the bad ones, but there were things to do so I continued on trying to ignore it. Despite the pain, I went to soccer Monday night. On Tuesday I had to shovel the foot plus of snow from around my SUV. Dealing with that every day is way too annoying! Needless to say, I was a hot mess; throbbing from my neck to my tailbone mess. Sigh! Sometimes life just gets in the way of your plans.

I had so many things I planned to do this week, but my back was killing me. The kids all got a nasty cold, spiking a mild fever off and on, and I discovered the baby is cutting all four of her first molars. The poor kid had a delirious look in her eye, and hasn’t been able to eat much of anything. All the kids had a cough and Miss T (our 14 month old baby) was up off and on most nights. So, you know, I was tired and cranky from the lack of sleep and exercise.

Then the night before last Miss T woke up and I brought her into our room since we keep a pack n play in there. I was rocking her in the dark with a faint light in the sky as I looked out our back window and I realize it’s been just over a month since I weaned her from nursing. We used to have these times in the wee hours of the morning together as she adjusted to sharing a room with her sister. She’d stir, her sister would yell to us, and I’d bring her to our room to nurse her back to sleep.

It’s only been 5 weeks since I last nursed her, but it feels like so much has changed since then. She seems so much bigger and more independent. Time just flies by! I look at her sleeping in my arms and start to tear up with the realization that these moments in time are so fleeting. I stare at her, trying to capture this moment, as if filing it away into a memory log in my mind. I smile at her. I know there are so many great moments to come, but I also feel heavy hearted from all the moments that have quickly come and gone in the blink of an eye. Will I remember this a year from now, or better yet ten? I forget about all the things that didn’t get done this week and the stress goes away. I feel blessed for all that I have, for my life is very full. I look at her and breathe it in, her drool soaking my shirt and her husky breath as she fights this cold. I hold on to it for as long as I can…desperately trying to save and remember this one single moment in time!

mom with baby b&w

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