The, “Why are you STILL a SAHM” Shaming….STOP Shaming Other Moms, No Matter Their Story!!!

So apparently if you are a SAHM who doesn’t homeschool and your youngest is in preschool you are totally looked down upon! This nonsense started WAY back in August! I cannot tell you how many times people, people who I call friends, have asked me, “So, what are you doing with all your free time?”….”So, you say you are busy, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”…”Now that the kids are in school WHAT DO YOU DO!?” “You have your BS & MS, are you using those now or are your still JUST raising kids?”. I have to be honest these comments are so hurtful! It makes me feel like I am lazy, worthless, not pulling my weight in society, insignificant, a waste, shameful, etc. And the real kicker, I get it from both sides, the SAHM & working moms…and guess what, I have NEVER worked so hard in my life!!!

 

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True my oldest is in 4th grade, second child is in 2nd, and third is in preschool, all outside the home. So if you add it all up I have exactly 7-1/2 hours a week without children. Not quite enough for a fulltime gig. And truth be told, during that time I am usually doing something for others or, God forbid, taking a few minutes to myself, to reconnect with God, to have time away from the children, to center myself, to hopefully become a better mom. And then I am tossed back into the game of motherhood.

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My husband travels with work and I know there are some moms out there that can relate but based upon the comments I receive there are a lot who have no clue! Imagine if you will, your husband being gone for 4 days out of the 5 during the week, and possibly a Saturday here and there. Imagine you are the only person, parent there 4-5 days out of the 7. Imagine you are the sole provider of all meals, clean clothing, discipline, homework helper, chauffeur, religious guidance, etc. during the week & possibly for part of the weekend that often includes a birthday party, game, church (And you have a 1 year old EXTREMELY energetic Labrador puppy & are driving to PETCO every 4 days to buy crickets for the gosh darn Gecko…I love my pets, I do, put sometimes!!!)

 

I do ALL the meal planning, ALL the meal prep, ALL the cooking; packing of lunches, anything & everything with food is my responsibility exclusively! We kick it old-school. My husband busts his butt and is the sole provider of our family and I love him to death for all his hard work. And I am the sole provider of ALL things household & kid related, which might come as a big surprise to some people, but, IT IS A LOT OF WORK!!!! Children don’t come to this planet knowing how to do math, spell words, be kind to others, be respectful to other, having a relationship with God, etc. those are ALL taught by someone. And on those days when you wake up in the morning, make breakfast, get kiddos ready/dress, go to start the car & it doesn’t start it is ALL on you, it is your responsibility to make EVERYTHING run smoothly while your husband isn’t there! And when you have a rotten day & could use a hug in the evening and maybe some TLC but you have to keep going strong through bath time, showers, evening prayers & stories…no matter how you are feeling, when no one is there for you in the wee hours & you have to stay strong it doesn’t help hearing others’ voices reverberate comments in your head from earlier in the day, “SO, what do you do with ALL your FREE time?”

So, the next time you come in contact with a mother whose children are school aged and she is a SAHM, the appropriate reaction/comment might be, “That is awesome!”…”Wow, that is a lot of hard work, way to go!”….give her a hug…or better yet, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all!!!!

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P.S. There are some moms out there who don’t feel comfortable sharing everything on social media or perhaps cannot due to respecting others involved & who are going through some rough times. Please, please remember to always be kind…BE KIND to ALL!

I love you ALL, single, married, small families, big families, working moms, SAHM, etc. but please work on being kind to one another…we ALL matter!

 

 

30 Date Night Destinations in Toledo

Date Night!! The two words every couple looks forward to, especially those with kids. It means a night away from the kiddos, to reconnect with your spouse, to remember why you fell in love in the first place. It is easy to get caught up in the responsibilities of adulthood & parenthood. That is why it is so important that you step away from it all for a few hours and have some fun, remember fun, that thing you did before you had a job, mortgage, kids, you know, before you had major responsibilities!?

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Here are some FUN Date Night destinations you and your significant other are certain to enjoy: (click on each to be redirected to their website for more info)

  1. Bird’s Eye View Circus (Circus class)
  2. 3rd Thursday Loop
  3. Cleland’s Outdoor World (Shooting Range/Archery)
  4. Maumee Indoor Theatre (only $3.75)
  5. Ritter Planetarium (Romance under the Stars)
  6. Black Cloister Brewing Company (Thursday Trivia)
  7. Dance Class
  8. Murder Mystery Dinner Train
  9. The Art Supply Depot (Paint Pottery)
  10. Trapped Toledo
  11. Uncork the Artist (Paint Canvases together & sip on some wine, romantic!!)
  12. Copper Moon Studio and Gallery (create your own fused glass piece)
  13. Fox Meadow Farm (Horseback Riding Lessons…every Knight in shining Armor should know how to ride a horse)
  14. Clayful Art (paint pottery)
  15. Foodology (Cooking Class)
  16. Gathered Glassblowing Studio (glassblowing workshops & events)
  17. Luminous Nights at the Zoo
  18. Element 112 Wednesday Wine & Dine (Half off bottles of wine)
  19. Planet Rock (Rock Climbing)
  20. Hollywood Casino
  21. Valentine Theater Silver screen Theatre Classic Movies
  22. Go on a Gallery Hunt & enjoy lunch/dinner at the TMA café
  23. War Zone Paint Games
  24. Board and Brush Creative Studios
  25. Q-Zar (Laser Tag)
  26. Sky Zone (Trampoline Park)
  27. 577 Foundation (Learn how to cook Lebanese’s, Indian food, etc.)
  28. Beauty Bar Couples Massages
  29. Alexis Go-Carts & Bumper Cars
  30. Go on a Scavenger Hunt in the Park

BONUS: Double dating? Then here is a challenge that will make the night extra fun….Goodwill Date Night Challenge!!  Official rules: each person picks out their significant others (or BFF’s) surprise outfit at Goodwill, $10 budget, outfit has to be gender appropriate. When on the date you can’t tell people it’s a joke. When you upload your picture you have to challenge two more couples.” (source)

Here are a few suggestions to make your date night more economical:

  • Whenever possible have family or friends watch your kiddos, perhaps even consider starting or being part of a babysitting co-op. 
  • Save up! Set aside a decided amount of money each week, say, $10 dollars, and at the end of the month you have $40 for your date night. Date Night can happen no matter what your budget is, it may mean sacrificing your lattés or convenience store purchases, but it is worth it!
  • If you go out to eat beforehand don’t order drinks and consider splitting a dish…..you can go REALLY fancy if you order water to drink and split a meal (note that there may be a splitting fee but it is often cheaper than ordering an additional meal). Added bonus when you split a meal, you don’t feel as guilty ordering dessert!
  • Inquire about possible coupons, deals; some places have deals on certain days.

Enjoy your time out, put your phones away, give each other your undivided attention, and most important, HAVE FUN!!

10 Tips to Keep the Romance Alive While Raising Kids (Bonus: 20 Date Night Destinations in Toledo)

Uninterrupted dinners for two, energy to stay out past 2am, shaving above the knee, wearing high heels & lipstick, allowing intimacy to present itself anytime & anywhere in the house, those were the days! Fast forward a few kids later and you haven’t had a hot meal in years, your energy is zapped before 2pm, shaving has become a past luxury, flats & yoga pants are where it is at, and intimacy, what’s that!? Our obligations & responsibilities have increased exponential since kids entered the picture and it is so hard to find the time and energy to make any magic happen, ANY!! So here are 10 quick, minimal energy, effort, or time, tips to help you rekindle that romance while raising kids!

 

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10 Tips to Keep the Romance Alive While Raising Kids

  1. Do something nice for your spouse first thing in the morning! Nothing huge, just something that say you are the first thing on my mind when I wake up….perhaps bring them coffee, let them use the bathroom first, if they are working out of town send them a good morning text, write “I love you” in the condensation on the bathroom mirror, put a clean towel out for them, etc.
  2. Text. Everyone is busy, busy at work, busy with the kids, busy, busy, busy! So sometimes a phone conversation is out of the question. Instead text, text something small, a simple, “thinking of you, I love you” text, just something that says you’re on my mind.
  3. A Picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes we just have those days when we can’t form words, let alone sentences….don’t worry it happens to everyone with kids on one day or another! Instead send a pic! Take a photo on your phone of something cute, funny, a picture of yourself, etc. a pic that doesn’t get posted to social media, one just for the two of you.
  4. Post-it-Notes. These are so simple and so fun!! Place post-it-notes in locations where your spouse will frequent the next day…say a briefcase, the silverware drawer, their car steering wheel. Don’t know what to write? Here are some ideas….CLICK HERE & HERE
  5. Give the yoga pants the night off (or the equivalent for men, sweatpants) & shave!! Look good for each other. Fight it all you want but there is a mind body connection. So on occasion give the yoga pants a break, shave your legs, and spritz a bit of perfume….when you are rocking shaved legs, cute pants/skirt, and smell good you will not only feel, but will exude sexy!!
  6. Take out the papers & the trash! Do something for your spouse without being asked. If you see that the trash is full take it upon yourself to take it out, if you notice that your hubby is running low on underwear get a load in before he asks, it really is the little things in life….no huge romantic gestures, it is the small acts of kindness that say I love you.
  7. Save the Date: Date Nights are a MUST! But we often make excuses…it is too expensive, it is way too much work packing up the kids, dropping them off just to go back 3 hours later to pick them up, there is nothing to do, etc. NO MORE EXCUSES!! Set a date; make it simple on yourselves, say, every 3rd Saturday will be date night.  Then call the sitter, have her place those on her calendar…then call the backup sitter and have them block out those 3 hours every 3rd Saturday for the rest of the year, and your date nights are saved!!!
  8. Do something new together!! The novelty of that newness at the beginning of a relationship need not wear off…keep doing new things together! Learn to cook together, go to the shooting range, take a trapeze class together, learn to dance, paint, the possibilities are endless…think outside the box…do something together that you never envisioned doing…something a bit outside your comfort zone.

BONUS: 20 Fun Date Night Destinations in Toledo (click on each to be redirected to website)

Bird’s Eye View Circus   (Circus class)

Cleland’s Outdoor World (Shooting Range/Archery)

Ritter Planetarium (Romance under the Stars)

Dance Class

The Art Supply Depot (Paint Pottery)

Uncork the Artist (Paint Canvases together & sip on some wine, romantic!!)

Fox Meadow Farm (Horseback Riding Lessons…every Knight in shining Armor should know how to ride a horse)

The Adventure Park (Zip lining….seasonal, starts in the Spring, book it now!)

Planet Rock (Rock Climbing)

Valentine Theater Silver screen Theatre Classic Movies

Go on a Gallery Hunt & enjoy lunch/dinner at the TMA café

War Zone Paint Games

Veritas Cork & Craft (Wine Tasting)

Q-Zar (Laser Tag)

Sky Zone (Trampoline Park)

577 Foundation (Learn how to cook Lebanese’s, Indian food, etc.)

Beauty Bar Couples Massages

Alexis Go-Carts & Bumper Cars

Go on a Scavenger Hunt in the Park

 

9. Take ten! At the end of every day take ten minutes of undivided attention, turn off phones, television, etc. and give each other 10 quality minutes to listen to your spouse and share your happenings of the day too…honestly, it only takes 10 minutes if it is undivided attention!!! Remember it’s not the quantity but quality of time that you give one another that say, I love you.

10. Keep all screens charged & get a lock for your bedroom door….I am thinking this one might be self-explanatory. After all that rekindling, connecting, shaving your legs, and spritzing on a bit of perfume there is a good chance “the magic” will strike and this is an entirely appropriate time to allow kids to have screen time!!

Any tips that your already do? Any you would suggest adding to the list?

 

 

 

 

 

The Chore Charts of 2016, Baby!!

It has taken me a few weeks to admit this but I have fallen into a rut. I have become a bad influence on my children. I have become that mom I never wanted to become, the “I got it” mom, the mom who does it all…the laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, making beds, emptying trash, tidying, dusting, etc. Why? Well, quit honestly, because it is easier. It is far easier for me to do it all then to have to deal with bickering, complaining, redirecting, etc.  Then it dawned on me the other day that I might be making things easier on myself and perhaps even my children in the short term but what about long term, what would the future hold? I suddenly foresaw college roommates who despised me, future son-in-laws who detested me, a future ex-daughter-in-law, and don’t even get me started on the repercussions my actions would have on my grand babies!! It’s time to MOM UP and delegate chores!!

First things first, I ditched the word chore, I can’t stand it! Just saying it out loud leaves me bitter. You add the word chore to any task, even getting a massage and it sounds like torture.

Second I removed any type of chart or time consuming device that helped keep track of children’s responsibilities, I know myself well enough to know what will work and what will not. I have been there and done the charts, graphs, magnets, etc. and sure they worked for a month or two but nothing worked for the long haul. Until now….welcome to the future of chore charts……

Mission Partition

(It rhymes, added bonus! I love rhyming words more than my preschooler, lol!)

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I know it looks like an ordinary gallery wall displaying all that is near & dear to me, right!? But it also doubles as a location to place each child’s responsibilities for that week a.k.a. missions for the week. Kiddos preferred the term missions because it sounds cool…I believe the exact words my 10 year old stated were, “missions sound epic, I can say I have to go home and complete my missions before I can play!”.

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Missions for the week are assigned on Monday mornings & should they choose to accept their daily missions in return they can have screen time. They are each also offered a challenge for the day and/or week. Should they choose to accept that challenge they have the potential to earn some money that week….up to $5 in one week if they complete ALL challenges everyday!

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Missions include:

Set Dinner Table

Clear Dinner Table

Feed Dog

Clean up Dog Poop

Take out Recycling

Organize Shoe Rack

Match Socks

Take out Trash

Place dishes in Dishwasher

Dust Living Room

Clean Personal Space/Room

Clean Bathroom

Vacuum

Fold Laundry

Put Laundry Away

 

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Need help determining what is an age appropriate mission? CLICK HERE 

Challenges for the week are tasks specific to the season/event going on that week, etc. such as, help clear snow, rake leaves, weed garden, clean family room etc. Best Part about the Mission Partition, it saves me so much time, all I have to do is add the missions for the week with a dry erase marker and update challenges as need be, now that is my kinda “chore chart”!

 

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Tips for creating a Gallery Wall:

  1. Decide on a color palette….don’t worry if you can’t find frames in the color you want, you can spray paint frames any color!! So hit up second hand shops for frames and give them a new updated look with spray paint.
  2. Have a variety of textures…..smooth, reflective, sequence, rough, etc. locate items around the house or purchase items that mean something to you, perhaps they remind you of vacation, a fond memory, etc.
  3. Have a variety of sizes/shapes….vary the shapes and sizes & balance each so that it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, i.e. don’t place all the large items on one side together, vary them throughout the wall Mission7
  4. Asymmetrical….always hang an uneven number of items, 3, 5, 7, etc.Mission6
  5. Template the entire wall….purchase tracing paper & wall putty, trace each object (including where the item is to be hung with a little dot) and place on the wall. Play with the arrangement and live with the layout for a day or two…this is a step you should not rush!
  6. Once everything is arranged to your liking double check that everything is level and get out that drill, baby!! It is go time!

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