Growth through Change- The #5 Things I Learned in 2015

It’s been a year since the start of my blog and shared my 2015 Resolution goals. It’s been a truly eye opening year! Many goals were accomplished, but along the way I learned some things about myself. I was reminded about my inner strength and perseverance, but also had many old fears and insecurities rear their ugly head; leading to a fulfilling yet, emotionally challenging year.

Setting goals and publicly striving for more, it leads to growth and discovery. Here are the top things I learned in 2015!

#1- The Importance of Setting Goals and Making a Planning

If you’ve heard the saying, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail,” it is incredibly true. I had many goals I wanted to accomplish over the year; fitness goals, personal relationship goals, and organization goals. Many were accomplished, but many were not…. At the start of the year I made a monthly calendar that included all of my “To Do’s,” but I found that there really weren’t enough hours in the day (with 3 children to care for) to get to everything most days; so I needed to prioritize. At first I was discouraged when I wasn’t be able to get to everything, BUT I realized that having a schedule and planning when I was going to accomplish my tasks resulted in getting A LOT more done than had I not planned to begin with.

Until you get into a routine of setting goals, developing a plan and then sticking to it…. it can be overwhelming; but it’s worth the effort.

Admittedly, I slacked a bit on my organization goals. I was able to make some good progress and I will be making that a priority again this year. I was, however, able to meet my fitness goals for the year and, making date nights a priority with my husband (almost every month), was great since we had a crazy busy year!

#2- Only You have Control of YOU!

This has become my personal motto! Not just to keep myself motivated to stick to my workout schedule and nutrition plan, but also with helping me manage my anxiety issues. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that it’s a struggle I have had to deal with most of my life and I’ve wanted to share about this more, but I haven’t quite gotten up the courage to let that heavy, dark side of me out.

Simply reminding myself that ultimately only I have control of me and my life has been a huge help. Life and circumstances are something that every person needs to deal with. We can get weighed down by outside negative influences, inner struggles or a hectic busy life; or we can remember that we DO have CONTROL! Choose to be positive, choose to take action (on your own personal goals & dreams) and choose to have gratitude for the things in your life.

#3- Technology and the Need to Disconnect!

I knew this prior to starting this blog, but after spending added time on a computer, on social media and researching now forms of social media (Twitter, Instagram and so on), I was often left feeling a need to detach and disconnect! One of the reasons I decided to stay home and leave my career was because I didn’t like being at a computer all the time. Now, as a mother, in a world that is packed full of technology distractions, I have found more than ever a need to disconnect. I want to try and show my children that we shouldn’t depend on technology in our day to day lives. It offers many benefits and is a necessity in today’s day in age for school and work, BUT it is a distraction from the world and people right in front of you.

#4- I am a Private Person

The biggest discovery for me during this year was to realize that I am really a pretty private person. This surprised me and probably surprises those of you who know me well! I’m the type of person who will talk your ear off and over share at times; but I do that with my tight inner circle. Sharing my life with the world, honestly, I found it is not something I fully enjoyed. It brought out old insecurities and made my anxiety levels sky rocket; It is a pretty one-sided medium. It’s been fulfilling to share, but I don’t know if it will ever be something I love to do in this type of format. I much prefer a face to face genuine connection.

#5- Very few things in life are easy, but the things that take effort are worth it!

Setting goals and sharing my successes and failures was a challenge. Going through my own day to day struggles with anxiety and depression battles most of the year was hard. But I didn’t use them as an excuse, I used them as my reason to preserver, and I can say that I grew in many ways. It was a year of hard work, self discovery, struggles and accomplishment. It was the good, the bad, the ugly and the amazing all rolled into one! I’m glad I pushed for more and shared along the way. It was a great experience of growth through change!

Going into 2016 I have set new goals that make me feel excited, scared and totally out of my league. It will be a tough 2016, but I am going to make it another incredible year because only I have control of my success and my life.

If you want to live your best life, to be a better you (not a new you; but your best, authentic self), then I encourage you to push for more. Take on a new challenge or follow a dream. It will be hard and you’ll likely face negativity and doubt that you’ll need to power through; but making changes to live a more fulfilling life is worth it. And as I say to myself on a daily basis, “Only YOU have CONTROL of YOU!”

Until next time……Thea 🙂

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Potty Training Boot Camp- The 3 day Method!

Potty training can be a real struggle! I used this 3 day method for all of my children; they were 2&1/2, just over 2 &1/2 and my youngest just went through “Potty Training Boot Camp” two weeks ago; she will be 2 at the end of the month. Here are my tips for a successful Potty Training 3 day Boot Camp! Here are some of my tips to help your child become diaper free!

First, be sure your child is ready! Here is a link to help you determine if they are ready to lose the diaper and use the potty for good! http://www.babycenter.com/0_potty-training-readiness-checklist_4384.bc

Planning!!

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  • Clear your calendar– You will want at least 3-4 days of obligation free time to focus on your potty training mission. Going out to grocery shop, to visit friends/family, doctors appointments….leaving home to do anything will be an issue. For my second I planned during Spring Break vacation when my older one was off from school. If you are a working parent you may need/want to take a day or two off before or after a weekend, or plan with your childcare provider on handling the final days.
  • Set the date and do a “countdown”– Buy some big kid under pants and do a countdown the week before. In the morning say, “5 more days and you will be wearing your new Frozen or Cars underwear like a big boy/girl!” This gets them thinking about it and excited for the change.
  • Commit FULLY! You need to be prepared to stick with it 100%! If you put them in underpants for a day or two then go back to diapers it will get harder and harder to get them to want to wear underpants all the time. This can be HARD! With my son (my second to be potty trained) the first night he needed to go #2 and he kept trying to stand up. They aren’t used to sitting all the time when they go #2, and I kept helping him sit. This turned into him getting hysterical, crying for a diaper, not understanding, and me questioning myself and crying along with him. I gently pushed him to sit as he finally went! I had worried I may have scarred him for life not giving in, but when he saw that he had gone, he clapped and cheered that he was a “big boy and went poo on the potty!” Stay strong but be calm and comforting.

mop-and-bucket-photo-by-KPEL

  • Be prepared for the mess!
    1. The first day they are likely going to pee all over themselves. They are learning to control their bladder; they will not have any idea how to stop at first. That is what you will be helping them learn over the next several days.
    2. Have a mop, bucket and disinfecting floor cleaner. I typically put in scolding hot water with cleaner and left it in the first floor bathroom tub for a few hours at a time, then replaced as needed.
    3. If you have carpet, I recommend borrowing or renting a carpet cleaner, if you don’t own one. (On a side note, owning a carpet cleaner has been a must have with 3 kids and animals). If you have areas that are only tile or hardwood, try to use only those spaces as much as possible to avoid the carpet mess.
  • Be present and aware– You can’t be emailing, distracted by TV, in another room and so on. You NEED to be with your little one learning their queues and helping them to understand when to get to the potty. Timing is everything! My youngest just went through this training and she didn’t say much when she had to go. She would take a quick breath, raise her eye brows and look for me. If I wasn’t right there, she would have kept having accidents. These are the teachable moments. When she gave this queue I said, “Potty! Run, run, run!” And we would run together and I would congratulate her on a good job.

EncourageWordle

  • Most Importantly, ONLY give praise and acknowledge for positive and do not scold them for accident for at least 3-4 days. This is so, SOOOO important!! They are not going to understand at first and how you react will make a huge difference in how they take to the training. For example; on day one when your little one starts crying or gets upset because they went to the bathroom all over themselves, tell them, “It’s ok. Next time run to the potty when it starts coming out.” You may need to mop a trail to the bathroom the next time, but they will start to know to get to the bathroom.

Training:

Ok! It’s time to do this! (Make sure you talked a lot the night before about the excitement of wearing underpants the next day on the Eve of training. Get them pumped about it!

Day one:

  • In the AM remind them that they will be a big boy/girl from now on and will be going on the potty. Show them again where it is and have them sit down to get comfortable as soon as they get up. From there I set a timer for every 20 minutes and they needed to sit and “try.” The first day they might not go at all during those times, but it is setting a routine.
  • If they have an accident, encourage them to run to the bathroom and sit and then continue to set the timer again. Often times if they have an “accident,” they will start stopping the flow of urine and may need to go more. Having them sit right away will help them learn to control their bladder and empty it fully when they sit.
  • **I recommend having them wear just a t-shirt and underpants the first 3 days.**

Day Two:

  • Repeat day one. At this point they should be learning that they have to go. Keep an eye out for the queues that they need to and encourage them sit on the potty.
  • Recognize all new accomplishments!! For all my kids once they started actually going on the potty we would cheer, give a high five and I would have them flush and say, “Goodbye tinkle!” All three of them thought it was the greatest and got excited to use the potty and then flush and wash hands like a big kid.

Day Three:

  • Try to stop using the timer if you still are. They should know now when they have to go. Ask them instead. This way they have to think about it and answer instead of automatically just trying.
  • On day 3 I typically found they were able to get to the bathroom and sit, but they often times had a little bit of an accident on the way, but not totally soaked themselves. Keep MANY pairs of clean underpants handy!! And remember to only use words of encouragement. Around this day I would say, “Great job! You’re being such a big boy/girl. Next time try to get to the potty a little sooner and your underpants won’t get any mess.”

Day Four and on:

  • I took their lead based on body language/queues from this point on. All 3 of my kids were pretty much accident free (minus a few early releases that required just a change of underpants, but pants were clean) from around days 6 an on. Yes, they still had them sometimes but it wasn’t frequent.
  • Keep encouraging all progress and be patient. The first day I took my youngest to the grocery store (Day 9) she needed to go to the bathroom twice. Fun times!

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You can totally do this! They can totally do this! Now plan, execute and have a good supply of wine available to help you through! 😉

cheers-brian-roberts

Until next time……Thea 🙂

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Mom Brain!

People talk a lot about pregnancy brain and it’s something that I’ve definitely experienced. I used to have an incredible memory and now most days I’m lucky if I remember just the daily tasks. The thing I have discovered about pregnancy brain is that once you have children it turns into MOM BRAIN! As a mom we all have a lot to remember! We are typically the organizer of our home. We care for our children, our husband (obviously) and lastly, ourselves! For our kids we feed them, bath them, and for me, with a Kindergartener and Preschooler I need to get them to school & remember what is needed for school….oh and did they even brush their teeth this morning? They did right…..? Or am I remembering yesterday morning? Not sure, I have mom brain!

Lately, it’s been getting a bit excessive. I’ve run into people I grew up with and I barely remember them. It’s as if my brain has become too full of memories that it is now replacing old ones for new ones. With the end of the year events and to do’s; field trips, dance recitals, registration for summer programs, and planning/completing of stuff! Its fries my brain and left me in a haze…..

Brain silent treatment

More often I have also been forgetting myself. For example; I’ve left the house without brushing my teeth to take my son to preschool. That is the one main thing I don’t do! I’ve loosened up on my make-up standards but brushing my teeth is a must. I also was rushed all morning the day of my daughters dance recital that once we got there I noticed I hadn’t changed out of my jeans and t-shirt. I wasn’t going to be super dressy, but black capri’s and a nice shirt would have been much better! OH, and last week I left my front door open when I drove Piece’s to the bus stop!!

I can’t change those things and really they aren’t a huge deal, but this constant haze from my mom brain has made me feel socially awkward at times. I say things that don’t even make sense, or that are unintentionally hurtful to others. It’s so frustrating! I hope that my friends and family are forgiving. I know that they appreciate me for who I am, and they know I mean well, but I’m getting annoyed at myself for my complete lack of brain function! I feel like I spend most days with this half blank stare, half look of confusion!

Confusion pic

If someone has any advice on how to combat this please let me know. I sat down to write this post and realized I needed to check our bank account. That lead to a couple minutes on our online account, to wondering why I got on the computer, to checking my email and finally leaving my desk. By the time I got to the kitchen my thought process came back to me and I returned to the computer. Oh the joys! I feel like I walk in circles sometimes recounting my last steps to see if I’ll remember one of the 100 things I try to get done in a day.

I know I’m not alone. I know that many of you moms out there are also struggling with Mom Brain in some shape or form, so I thought I would write this post to give you some comfort. And maybe a little bit to explain myself to some of those individuals in my life who may think I’ve lost it.  So if I’ve forgotten who you are or said something hurtful; I want to say I’m genuinely sorry! Please be forgiving with me; I’m suffering from a pretty bad case of MOM BRAIN!!

Until next time… Thea

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A Dance Recital through Layers of Tears

My oldest daughter, Miss Piece’s, had her first dance recital Sunday. She joined the group late in January and is the youngest in the class; it is a 6&7 year old class and she’s only 5&1/2.

After trying soccer last fall I was nervous about how she would do on stage; if she would get nervous and freeze, or if she had grown beyond her nerves. When she started soccer it was half practice, half full game play, and she was overwhelmed and intimidated from the start. She ran around in the direction of the ball, but would freeze once it came close to her, letting the other kids kick it without even trying. It was heartbreaking to see her struggle with her confidence and ask to stop playing. I’ll add my husband and I love soccer! We both still play as adults on leagues weekly. Yes, maybe I wanted her to love the sport as well, but what I wanted most of all was for her to have the confidence and competitive spirit her father and I both share.

We discussed other activities and she said she wanted to try dance. We did a 2 week trial and luckily she LOVED it! She put on her tap shoes to “practice” for days after her first class. My heart melts thinking about her dancing around giggling and smiling ear to ear!

Sunday we rushed to get her dressed and makeup applied, gasp!! Remember I’m a soccer player, I love my makeup but at 5 years old, I didn’t like that part very much. Well, we got her dolled up and rushed there with the WHOLE family in tow. Not only did I have nerves about how Piece’s would do but I also had huge nerves wondering how her younger brother, Mr. Man (3 &1/2), and Miss T. (18 months), would do for 3 HOURS! So, I packed tons of snacks for the younger two and brought Miss T’s stroller, hoping and praying she would fall asleep for at least a little while being her nap time. I dropped Piece’s off with her dance group and kissed her good luck….leaving with a few tears welling in my eyes; my first layer of ears.

Reese before

I met up with my husband and two younger children as my Mom and Grandma got there. I see them dressed nicely and realize in all my hustle and bustle I forgot to change out of my jeans and t-shirt. Mom brain at its finest! I worried about that for a little while, probably as a distraction just to stop worrying about everything else. So we sit and it starts! I relax briefly as dance number 9 is coming, her first dance of two.

I was impressed with how smoothly the show went rotating between dance, piano and voice performances. Mr. Man and Miss T were doing well, enjoying the performances clapping and being amazingly quiet. I was relieved and hoped it would continue. Than it came, 6&7 tap…..my heart pounding probably harder than my Miss Piece’s! The music started, she smiled and she started dancing!!! My second layer of tears well and dripping down my cheek as I feel pride for her bravery and joy from her smile; she was dancing and having fun…she was doing it!

Phew, so we had made it through the first performance; Miss Piece’s and her siblings holding it together. Now we just needed to make it past intermission and her second performance. Luckily, Miss T fell asleep in daddy’s arms for the remainder of the first half and Mr. Man, though a little squirmy, was enjoying the show and speaking quietly. I had prepared myself for a VERY stressful time with them and I was pleasantly surprised at their excellent behavior.

At intermission we took a break, went to the bathroom, changed Miss T and all had a snack. I sat there feeling relief that it was almost over. I hope I’m not alone with my feelings of excitement and relieve when it comes to my children’s activities. I love that they want to participate in activities, I loved doing so as a child, but everything that goes into it and the busy schedules, it’s exhausting sometimes and I’ve been ready for the lazy days of summer to come.

We returned to the auditorium and Mr. Man started asking when he was going to see Piece’s again. He told me he was still hungry and thirsty and no food was allowed so I hoped he would just make it through her final dance. He surprised me again by sitting still, whispering with questions and quieting when I told him it’s polite to be quiet during performances. Piece’s came out to do her final number, 6/7 Ballet. Miss T. and Mr. Man smiled and clapped and yelled, “Good job Pieces!” My final layer of tears well and roll down my cheeks. I felt relief that Pieces did it, our younger two were complete rock stars; I thought to myself that we must be doing something right! They were all growing and thriving. Sure maybe I wore jeans and a t-shirt but did it matter? No! Everything that mattered was beyond great and as close to perfect as you could get!

Reese recital Collage

Until next time… Thea

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Half Marathon Results, Tips and What I Learned!

One of my first goals of the year has been completed! Today I ran my first half marathon in 2:06:05; a 9:37 pace! This is a personal record for me and roughly 18 minutes less than I ran this race last year! After a tough week of not feeling well and two chiropractor visits for an upper back/neck issue, I am so glad I was able to power though and accomplish this goal.

FC half Collage

Here are a few tips and things I have learned about running races I thought I would share.

  1. Watch where you are running! This may seem like common sense but when you are running for a couple of hours you tend to try to take in the scenery. BUT…
    1. I almost wiped out from a divot in the pavement on mile 3 chatting with a friend I ran into.
    2. Then around mile 7-8 I had to jump last second to avoid running over a USED condom…..for real….eek!!
  2. There are some awesome people who come and cheer racers on! I LOVE them for taking the time to support everyone!
    1. My favorite signs included
      1. “Smile, you’ll run faster!” Even though I know it wouldn’t really make me faster, it did make me smile and that took away any discomfort I may have been feeling then.
      2. “Tap here to power up!” This sign had a picture of a ladybug and this guy was holding the sign behind the ladybug so you essentially high-fived him through the poster. I had 3 power ups along the way; the last one with about ½ a mile left! Hahah!
      3. “Worst parade ever,” just because it was funny!
    2. The only sign I didn’t like that I kept seeing was one that said, “It seemed like a good idea when you signed up in January.” Ummm, for people who haven’t run a race that long before that would be annoying! It annoyed me for some reason just because I didn’t think it was motivational, LOL!
  3. Running a race is uplifting and humbling!
    1. I came across two women running who were tied together with a loose rope. They would periodically hold hands to stay together. One of the women wore a shirt about supporting and giving to veterans. One of them was a veteran who I don’t think could see, or at least not well, and the other was her partner, leading her. I got misty eyed and ran behind them for about a mile or so because I found them inspiring!
    2. Around mile 9 I started punching my right quad a little because it was tight after the middle hill section. A lady ran up next to me and asked if I was ok. She looked to be about 70 or so. We chatted a minute or two and I discovered this was her THIRD half marathon so far this year….and then she ran ahead of me! WOW…bad-ass!!

What do you need to do to run a race? Make a training plan, commit and adjust as needed. Below you will find a picture of my training schedule I kept on my refrigerator. As you can see it was changed and marked up regularly. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes baby steps and persistence.

Training sch postrace

I feel so fulfilled after running the race today. But I also know that if that 70-year-old lady can run 3 half marathons in 4 months and beat me; well, I can still do better! And so can you for that matter! We are ALL more capable than we realize!!!

Now off to drink a congratulatory glass of wine and kick up my feet now that the kids are in bed!

Until next time… Thea

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Recognition (2 awards) and a Few Things About Me

Thank you-award Collage

What great support there is in the blogging world!! I was recently nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award by my friend and fellow blogger Nicole at Mommy Talk! It reminded me that I totally got lost in the chaos of life and never thanked AND recognized another award I was nominated for. Shruti at DeepLifeInsights nominated me for the Liebster Award back on March 1st!! So Thank you BOTH so very much for your support and thoughtful nominations!!

Both of these nominations come with an assignment to answer a few questions and to share the love and nominate other bloggers! You will see the answers to my questions below along with who I have nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award!

  1. What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger? Honestly, I worry about everything! Is my grammar correct, is my post too long/short, and mostly, does anyone care what I have to say?
  2. What has been your greatest success so far in life? Being a Mom and wife! I put most of my effort and energy into raising my 3 young children and supporting my very amazing and hard-working husband.
  3. What made you start blogging? I started my blog to document my 2015 Resolution Goals. It’s evolved since I started and really I don’t think I have a niche like a lot of bloggers do. I post about whatever is on my mind; motherhood, fitness, recipes and so on.
  4. Which blog post is your favorite? Please provide a link. It’s a tie for me! My first vulnerable post was The Important of a Positive Inner Monologue, I cried writing it multiple times and it’s an important message I wanted to share about the impact of our own thoughts. The other is Respecting my Postpartum Body; another vulnerable post where I even included pictures of myself ready-to-pop pregnant and current pictures of my very average body! The feedback from moms struggling to love their bodies after babies was worth putting myself out there!
  5. If you could meet one blogger in person, who would it be? The Scary Mommy blogger. She has a lot of strong opinions on things. Some I agree with and some I don’t. I think it would be fun to discuss hot topics with her. I like a good conversation and debate! LOL
  6. What kind of music do you listen to? I have a pretty eclectic taste in music! I like almost anything but I’m not a huge country fan; even though over the past couple years it’s been growing on me a little. My favorite artists/bands include; Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band and I really enjoy classical music during the dreary fall and winter days.
  7. What’s your favorite dessert? Anything involving chocolate. If I had to pick ONE….peanut butter pie!
  8. Which social media do you like best to support your blog? Facebook, twitter or Pinterest? Facebook, only because I am a newbie to Twitter and a total virgin to Pinterest….I think I should get more involved on them but the time….?
  9. What’s your dream vacation spot? With kids or without? I feel like I’ve been on my dream vacation. My husband and I vacationed in Tahiti for our honeymoon. We island jumped, staying on the main Island a few nights, then Moorea for a few doing excursions, and lastly Bora Bora in an over water bungalow. BUT our next dream vacation we want to take, probably without kids, would be to maybe Scotland/Italy/France?
  10. What are you most passionate about in life? Fitness! I love to play sports, run, workout in any way. Working out is the best medicine! It’s free therapy, helps you feel better about yourself and keeps you looking your best!

Now I get to pass on the love to some great bloggers I know! I nominate the following:

I would like each one of you to answer the questions below, and also link your post back to me so I can see your answers!! Then pick 5 more people who you would like to nominate, and come up with 10 new questions of your own! Can’t wait to learn more about you all!

  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. What was your most popular post? (include a link) And was it also your favorite?
  3. What’s your favorite vacation spot?
  4. What is your favorite hobby (outside of blogging)?
  5. Do you have any special talents?
  6. Who is your biggest inspiration in life? And why?
  7. What is your favorite TV show?
  8. What is your goal with blogging?
  9. What is your biggest regret in life? If you have any.
  10. What is your greatest success in life so far? (had to steal this one from Nicole)

Thank you again to Nicole and Shruti for your nominations!!

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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