Nontoxic Laundry Detergent

Nontoxic Laundry Detergent

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Making the switch to natural products in your home may be a slow process, but the “why” of it is easy.

I came from a home where Tide detergent and Snuggle dryer sheets smelled next to Heavenly. As I had my own family I chose to continue the same duo for years. We played with different Tide scents and different dryer sheets.

When our boys were babies, we used Dreft for all of their clothing, blankets, and bedding. As one of the boys developed a rash, we switched to Tide free and gentle.

We eventually all started using the same detergent. Often the blue dye would stain my clothes or leave rashes (even on me). The dryer sheets felt like a waste, throwing them away. I tried to reuse them when I noticed them collecting.

Now starting on a natural living journey, I realize there are more options. And although it may feel strange, it’s time to ditch the dyes and harsh detergents. It’s time to switch to a more natural, less wasteful, and more mindful way of doing laundry.

Guys, I was so excited when I realized there are plant-based detergents and wool dryer balls. I don’t consider myself a hippie whatsoever, but I do love products that come from directly from the Earth. I love that they’re safe, simple, and genuine.

Skimming the store for one to test out was a little overwhelming, but ECOS caught my eye. I could see right through the container and noticed that it was clear. I read the label a bit, and before I decided to buy, I looked up the ratings online. This one averaged 4/5 on Amazon from over hundreds of reviews. So I brought it home and decided to try it out and do some more research.

Here’s what ECOS laundry detergent claims about the detergent I bought:

  • hypoallergenic
  • plant-derived ingredients (6 total ingredients)
  • “tough on dirt”
  • PH safe
  • greywater and septic safe
  • made without dyes, parabens, phosphates, phthalates
  • built-in with fabric softener
  • 128 oz. bottle can do up to 128 loads of laundry HE loads/64 standard loads
  • approximately $8.98 per bottle

But I don’t quite believe everything in stores, because I know a thing or two about marketing. And labels tend to be very misleading in order for companies to collect some sales. How hard could research on 6 ingredients be after all.

Here’s what’s in that detergent:

  • Water (which being listed first, tells me that there’s more of this than any other ingredient) All good there!
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine (coconut oil surfactant)
  • Sodium Coco Sulfate (isolated fatty acid from coconut oil)
  • Cocamidopralyamine Oxide (foam booster)
  • Phenoxylethanol (anitbacterial)
  • Methylisothiazolinone (preservative)

I researched the individual ingredients here on this online database:

https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#.W79AkRkpA0M

And this is what I learned about what’s inside the bottle of ECOS. Although it’s plant-derived, it’s not free and clear of toxins. Natural chemicals like the coconut products were processed in a way that work best for fluffly, soft laundry. However they may still irritate your skin, eyes, and disrupt other functions in your body.

Still, overall, is ECOS a better alternative to big brands?

[Shoutout to the girls who introduced me to essential oils and “Think Dirty” app!]

Actually, according to the “Think Dirty” app, ECOS just as a toxic as the big brands, if not more toxic.

Ratings of toxicity on detergents (1-10, 10 being the most toxic):

Tide original N/R

Tide free and gentle 5/10

Tide pureclean 5/10

ECOS hypoallergenic 8/10

 

The Think Dirty app reccomends:

Soapberrry Suds 0/10

Branch Basics 0/10

The Soap Works 0/10

……………………………..

ALL free and clear 3/10

SEVENTH GENERATION 3/10

HONEST COMPANY 3/10

 

I absolutely loved ECOS for the mildness, how amazingly soft our clothes turned out, and the price. But, I think the journey to find a nontoxic detergent at a great price is continuing on.

 

What about dryer sheets and fabric softner?

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Actually those are some of the most toxic ingredients to add to your laundry. And the worst part is those chemicals sit on your skin, which is your biggest organ. So when it comes to wool dryer balls, those are always the best choice for laundry! Just add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for freshness!

Go check out the Think Dirty app for more recommend nontoxic products!

10 Effective Vinegar Remedies (For Health and Home)

10 Effective Vinegar Remedies (For Health and Home)

After starting my journey with essential oils, I learned how harmful everyday household products can be. The possibilities with essential oils seem as vast as the ocean. And they smell good too! But, what if I’m just looking for a basic non-toxic remedy that is super cheap? And what do I have on hand?

Researching different remedies continues to send me back to one household product. To be honest, you might have some forgotten about in your pantry right now.

This magical kitchen staple has been around for thousands of years. Vinegar. While it’s known for an unpleasant odor, it has super cleaning powers. According to DifferenceBetween.net, white vinegar is used more for cleaning purposes and is known to be more acidic and sour smelling. Apple cider vinegar is used more for health purposes.

Did you know that a $3-4 jug can be used to remedy these 10 things? And even better, the smell disepates over time so you and your home won’t smell like a pickle.

White Distilled Vinegar For Natural Cleaning

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Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

 

Kills Fleas

Just dilute one cup into your pet’s bath water to kill these microscopic terrors. A 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water can also be used in a spray bottle. Spray onto your pet before they go outside to keep fleas off. (More info.)

Kills Fruit Flies

Have fruit flies? No problem! Remove the source and set a fly trap! Using a small dish, add a cup or two of water, a couple tablespoons of vinegar, and a drop of dish soap.

Eliminates Urine Odor

Did you make the flea deterrent for your pet? You can use the same spray bottle of that 1:1 ratio (water and vinegar) to rid your house of urine and other odors. So pet owners and parents of potty trainers, you may want to remember this one! You can even use a diluted spray bottle of pine, rosemary, or lemon oil to get rid of that lingering smell!

Cuts Grease and Lime

The acidic properties are effective enough to cut grease and grime from pots and pans. You can also add some to your dishes that got the best of your hard water. Just add undiluted vinegar and a dab of dish soap to scrub away that lime!

Kills Weeds

Spray weeds generously with pure vinegar. Do this when rain isn’t in the forecast to avoid it washing off.

Whitens and Brightens Laundry

When I was a kid, my grandma accidentally grabbed the vinegar bottle next to the bleach. I was a bit perplexed. We had a good laugh when we all realized it was an accident. However, vinegar really does whiten after all. Add 1/4 cup to laundry for a better wash. Here are 10 reasons it’s good for your laundry!

Apple Cider Vinegar (AVC) For Natural Beauty

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Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

 

Balances Your Body’s PH level

Cleaning my house with vinegar is one thing, adding it to my pet’s bath is another. Adding it to my bath is out of my comfort zone. However, I was willing to give this a shot in a super diluted form. You can add a cup or two of vinegar to your water to kill bacteria, and fungus on your body. The bath particularly helps treat skin conditions like eczema. (More Info.)

Makes Your Hair Shiny/Grow

If you follow my Instagram account, this is the wash I tried recently. I’ve been using natural shampoo and conditioner. My natural curly hair is a lot less unruly. But one step farther, I diluted vinegar and water on a 1:1 ratio for a hair wash. This was best done in the shower where I wasn’t making a big mess. You can add the dilution after shampooing your hair. Here’s a video.

Tones Your Face

Here’s a tutorial on how to do it. Basically, for oily skin, it’s the same 1:1 ratio as the hair wash. You want to wash your face first, then apply toner with a cotton round or spray bottle. This stays on

Aids in Weight Loss

About a year ago I started hearing about people adding AVC to their water in order to help lose weight. I honestly thought, “If I have to drink vinegar to lose weight, I’d rather stay where I’m at.” But after seeing the popularity in this method, I may consider it before my next cleanse. (And by cleanse I mean a mostly fruit/veggie and lots of water diet for a few weeks.) Supposedly this one helps regulate weight loss, blood sugar, and a lot of other internal/external functions.

 

Try it out!

If the vinegar smell is really too much for you, try diluting the solutions a bit more. You can always finish off with a couple sprays of purification, lemon, or rosemary essential oils!

Lastly, before you reach for your toxic cleaners and beauty products, try these out first. You may even save a lot of money in the long run! While the big businesses are out there selling solutions for every little thing, we have a cheap jug for multipurpose remedies!

 

10 Funny Tweets About Parenthood

10 Funny Tweets About Parenthood

The ultimate Parenthood goals are making sweet memories while raising orderly human beings.

Sometimes…. Ok, most days, things don’t go according to a parent’s plans. Being on time, the whole family fashioning a good look, owning a home that only needs cleaned once a week, and kids that never whine. These are what parents’ dreams are made of!

Social media perceptions can sometimes cause moms to be extra insecure. No one really talks about the struggles.

However, if you use Twitter, you’ll read several relatable, sarcastic, and entertaining  tweets about parenting. Instead of questioning what you’re doing wrong in your home, you’ll feel right at home.

There are really too many good tweets to pick from. Out of hundreds, these 10 are among my favorites!

 

1. Perfect-ish Family

All the parents standing around at BBQ’s and parties.

 

2. YouTube Genius

Where’s the subscribe button?

 

3. How It’s Done… Or Not Done…

Is there even any other way?

 

4. Better Than Bali

Some do yoga and various other forms of meditation. Here’s what any mom really needs though-

 

5. S.O.S.

Any parent who’s been home too long!

 

6. #Dadvibes

High waisted jeans AKA the mom jean are parallel to this.

 

7. Day 797

Survival of the fittest.

 

8. The. Struggle. Is. Real.

To-do list:

Apply for bank loan

Use loan to buy groceries for my family

 

9. Marking Their Territory

Probably the biggest pet peeve of any mom with potty trainers.

 

10. Just Beautiful

Oh, the wonderful parts of motherhood that no one ever tells you about. All. The. Love.

 

You see,

I think it’s safe to say that no one is the perfect parent. And any given day even the most motivated mom or dad can try to plan for the perfect day. But we’d be fools to expect a mess-free, whine-free, energetic, fun-filled non-stop 18+ years.

At least we have Twitter to share our experiences with. But these hilarious parents’ daily struggles just crack me up!

 

 

 

*Featured Image on Unsplash by: Saulo Mohana

10 Myths About the Stay-at-Home-Mom

10 Myths About the Stay-at-Home-Mom
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Photo by Travis Grossen on Unsplash

If you don’t stay at home with your kids, you probably have your own assumptions about the gig. Some look down on stay-at-home moms while some admire SAHMs. Let’s clear a few things up!

According to Forbes, staying home is popular among millenials for a variety of reasons. The gist of it is that mothers are looking to swap working away from home with work at home opportunities or “pinching pennies.”

In the article, “How Much Does Child Care Cost?”, Care.com states that 32% of families spend over 20% of their annual household income on child care. According to this source, the cost of child care deeply impacts families ranging from parents changing careers to parents not being able to afford it.

I’ve been a Stay-at-Home-Mom now for over 6 years. In that time, I’ve worked very hard at preparing our kids for preschool and maintaining the household. All while needing to defend myself. As if moms already need to be judged any more for the way we raise our families! Popular beliefs or myths are pretty much the only thing separating what others think goes on, and what it’s really like!

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Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

10 Myths About Stay-at-Home Moms

10. It’s easy

It’s true that SAHMs don’t have to rush to the babysitter to drop their little ones off for work, spend a majority of the day away from their families, and rush home to get dinner started. However, the challenges of keeping a bunch of kiddos entertained all day, cleaning the house while it gets wrecked, and still getting dinner on the table is no easy feat!

9. SAHMs don’t have degrees or a higher education

Even degree-holding moms have to make an important decision. Follow career or press the pause button. Higher education doesn’t always equal higher pay in the career field. Sometimes the logistics of staying home are for personal reasons, and sometimes it’s a matter of cost-effectiveness.

8. No dreams and aspirations

Very much like #9, moms who stay home have long term plans. We know our families won’t always need us in the same way. We look forward to our futures and checkmarking items off of career goals or bucket lists.

7. SAHMs are wealthy

The occupation is manageable with an average family. As long as the one income can meet the needs of the family, staying home is sustainable. In the long run, there are sacrifices of luxury in order to focus solely on the needs of the household. SAHMs budget, budget, budget!

6. SAHMs are lazy

Assumptions are made that SAHMs aren’t busy and that they sit around all day. But truth be told, trying to keep a bunch of kids out of trouble, fed, bathed, entertained, and off to bed is hard, busy work. Isn’t is true for any mom that once you sit down your kids need something?

5. Mom does all the parenting

Some people believe mom does (or should do all the housework) and child care because she’s not making an income (even when dad’s home). In all fairness, moms are built to nurture their families. But moms are built to be a team with dad including sharing chores, handling bills, and both parents being equally involved are all important.

4. Always home

One of the main things SAHMs do is drive their families around. Doctor appointments, errands, to and from school, someone to show up at school events, to and from extra cirriculars like sports, play dates, visiting grandma, the library, birthday parties, etc… similar to the working mom.

3. Don’t contribute financially

The VeryWellFamily.com says stay-at-home moms would be paid 143,000 per year if paid for all of their services. If the budget is still tight after all those savings, Moms have more opportunities to work out of home. Some legit jobs include writing, photography, coding, transcribing, sales, and more. Currently one trend is to sell essential oils or teeth whiteners, all while staying home with the kids.

2. Not stressful

We may be flexible when it comes to time management. However, one of our biggest stressors is budgeting everything well and coming up with alternatives (for projects, activities, and meals). Sometimes a project or trip will have to wait if it can’t fit in the budget. Staying at home can also be tough on a mom’s social and emotional needs.

1. Always love our job

If you can happily do anything while sleep deprived, then go you! But for most parents, we’re tired, our job never ends, and we’re also really good at judging ourselves. Sometimes that gets in the way of enjoying the job.

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Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Who works harder?

Not all jobs are equal. And not all families are equal.

In the end, we’re all the same. Working moms and Stay-at-Home-Moms face similar challenges. We’re facing issues with our kids listening to us, cleaning up after themselves, and having them finish homework. We’re tired, we’ve repeated ourselves one too many times, and we we all just wish life was a little easier.

Working mom or Stay-at-Home Mom, we love our families more than anything. We’re all really just doing what we deem best. Over all, our families depend on us, whichever path we choose.

 

 

 

Military Family Life

Military Family Life

Here’s our family’s personal experience as a military family. People ask us to share about it often, so I thought I’d share with you, especially in light of 4th of July!

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Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash

Career Path

My husband, Steven, always knew he wanted to be in the military- a career where he could serve our country and honor his family. He’s been in the Air Force for 12 years and is a (Staff Sargeant) Security Police Officer. In his military career, he’s been on deployments overseas and stateside, training away from home, and drill weekends (which is one weekend a month, despite his normal 40 hour/week job).

In the meantime, we married and had three boys. So, our family life tends to revolve around military orders. It’s a tough gig!

The boys are used to dad being away at work. They don’t question why he has to go. They know their daddy is a “soldier” and that he protects us. The only thing they really question is where he is, and if he has a bed to sleep on, etc… The last time Steven was away for a long time was when our oldest was a newborn. It was harder on me, knowing that we were missing all the firsts together. But some kids are old enough to know when is a long time and that becomes their normalcy.

On the other hand, as a military wife, I have to balance my role and my husband’s role when he goes away. This is why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, after all. I knew that during my husband’s last deployment, that my duty was at home. If something needed maintained, fixed, or figured out, that all fell on me. On top of my regular duties.

 

Deployments

Then there’s the whole deployment thing, which is a beast of it’s own.

Pre-deployment training, briefings, family readiness, wills, extra phone calls and paperwork, packing, mentally preparing….

Then you actually get settled in and dinners are lonely. The bed is too big at night. The days are more quiet.

Trying to find time to chat with your spouse is nearly impossible! The last time he was away, he got one day off weekly. In that time off, he had to get laundry done, pick up mail, and do any other errands. I would get to talk with him live on a webcam about once or twice a week. And some days, you just need your best friend to talk with at the end of a long day, so that was a bummer.

I’ll still never forget the time we were talking online and I could hear the explosions in the background. That was 6 years ago to the date!

Re-enlistment is coming up and he’s decided on staying in for another 8 more years. This means, these deployments and all of the same challenges are sticking around while we raise our kids.

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This was taken within seconds of us being reunited at the airport! No one tells you how overwhelming that’s going to be!
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For new readers of Momma Bird Blog, here’s the whole family!

The Reward

The reward comes in a variety of ways. One of the best rewards is when our family gets a little extra love and support from friends and family. Especially when Steven’s gone, we tend to visit other people more often.

Another rewarding moment is when people thank Steven for serving. It really makes me proud! Recently we were out shopping (with no sign of my husband being military) when another guy who (also had no sign of being military) stopped us. They thanked each other for their service and shook hands. It was an engaging experience!

Ways To Support The Military

There are plenty of ways to show your support to military; the green porch light, banners, t-shirts, and more.

Also, care packages are highly coveted by deployed members. Some good items to send in care packages are; hygiene items like good toilet paper and baby wipes, snacks, books, and other simple forms of entertainment…

If you’re looking to make donations, here are some good causes:

 

Ways To Support Military Families

You can uplift their families (especially during deployments) by making friends with them, offering to watch the kids, fixing things around the house, or fixing dinner. Literally anything. If you don’t know how to help, ask! I’m sure they will appreciate it like we do!

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Photo by Public Domain Photography from Pexels

We take for granted what we have in this country. Don’t forget about the people fighting for it!

My Realization About Babysitters

My Realization About Babysitters

Why we never hired a babysitter

As a stay-at-home mom of 6 years, I made it my job to find ways to guide our family in the frugal lifestyle. Because you know, if you’re not making an income (alongside your spouse), the best you can do is save it and stretch it.

 

In 6 years time we haven’t gone on any fancy family vacations, we hardly dine out, and we even get picky with our monthly bills and groceries. I don’t get my hair or nails done. Not even a hired babysitter.

It was a challenge living on one income, but we made it work. We had everything we needed.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

So, what happened when my husband took a job that paid less? Well, I promised I’d do whatever it took to make the difference up, if not more. So, I applied to a weekend job near home. Because of my husband (Steven)’s job and military obligations, I’m not able to work much (when it comes to making sure one of us is home with the kids).

When I took this part-time job, I realized that it was actually freeing as a (mostly) stay-at-home mom. I began to have a purpose outside of home and more importantly, I started getting more adult socialization. And on top of that, it’s comforting to have a little extra income.

Then, this weekend happened. I was scheduled to work when my husband was on orders. And the grandparents were all busy with their weekend plans, living their own lives as they should. And I had never hired a babysitter before. I panicked.

How do you even find a babysitter?

I can’t even afford the babysitters on care.com and I wasn’t about to ask just anyone. So my in-laws suggested a friend to help me search. She asked around at Youth Group at our church and soon enough, someone was interested.

Leading up to work, I had been slightly nervous, wondering:

  • How will our new babysitter and my boys feel about each other?
  • Will it be weird to leave them with someone I don’t know much about?
  • Will the boys behave?
  • Will they be busy and have fun?
  • Will I get an emergency call at work?
  • And will she enjoy it enough to come back?

Then, this nice girl shows up at our house and I introduced myself and the kids to her. I show her around, show her the list of phone numbers, rules, and things to keep busy.

And I was certain there would be one kid clinging to me as I ran out of the door. Our youngest had just woken up and wanted me to hold him. Weirdly enough, without a cue, he ran over to her, hands upward, to be picked up. Such a good feeling!

I called Steven on my quick little drive to tell him that I officially left the house! It was exciting! It was freeing!

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

When I came home I discovered that the kids were busy THE ENTIRE TIME! They had so much fun with the new babysitter that they were begging me to have her over again! They also went to bed easy that night and slept in later than usual the next morning.

My husband and I got thinking we should’ve had a babysitter all along, because now we can:

  • Go on dates when grandparents can’t babysit
  • Have someone watch the kids so I can run errands (if Steven’s on orders)
  • Make appointments at the bank, car dealerships, and other financial institutions
  • Go Christmas shopping alone
  • Both potentially work the same day

The biggest realization of hiring a babysitter is WOW! WHAT A DIFFERENCE! For our whole family! I’ve been living under a rock for 6 years!

Babysitters are a blessing to families because while they care for our kids, they have energy to play with our kids that we sometimes don’t, and they make great role-models.

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Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash

Regardless of your situation, it’s definitely worth finding someone to hire at least every once in a while! Just think of what you could do with the extra help! Back in my babysitting days, I was hired for regular date nights, a day for mom to tend the garden, and once a week so the parents could take dance lessons.

On our Facebook page, Mommas Group, one topic Moms struggle with is babysitters. After some research, care.com is useful, but not all moms feel comfortable using the site. Not to mention, the cost calculator. Moms in our region don’t typically pay $15 or $20 an hour for care.

To join this conversation, please comment below how you found your babysitter, your region, and what you pay. If you don’t have a babysitter yet, what are your questions and concerns?

What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is a big deal for us moms! Afterall, many agree that becoming a mom brought purpose to our lives.

While Moms appreciate gestures or gifts, what most of us want is even more meaningful. A day to feel special. A day to really feel like our families appreciate us.

Maybe a day to sleep in, not lift a finger, and good behavior. No cooking or cleaning. No changing diapers. No going anywhere. Just sitting out in the sun with a drink in hand. Being surrounded by our families. Sounds nice to me anyways! 😀

Every year since our oldest has been in school, the teachers have helped the kids make Mother’s Day gifts. These are by far my favorite! In preschool, he painted wooden cutout flowers. This year, the kids worked on something even more simple that really touched my heart!

They made giant construction paper cards with one side devoted to painted hand-print flowers. The other side is “All about Mom.”

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The close-up reads:

“Let me tell you about my mom.

My mom is 32 years old.

She likes to sit on the couch.

The best thing she cooks is eggs.

Her favorite food is Chinese food.

Her favorite thing to do to relax is to sleep.

We like to spin together.

She is really good at cleaning the house.

As you can see, my mom is special because she plays with me.

Love, Christopher”

 

His answers are pretty close anyways. Definitely had me smiling because it’s so cute!

As a Mom, this is special for so many reasons. I love his little hand-prints. And I love that he took time to think about why I am so special to him. This masterpiece made my week!

Like many moms, I struggle to feel like I’m doing a good enough job.

No matter how much moms do for their families, often, we feel like we aren’t good enough. It’s so hard to keep up with it all. It’s no wonder!

We balance school, work, chores, extra circulars, church, marriage, family time, health, emotion, routines, fun, and hey, even the checkbook. We have all the in between jobs from driving the kids to the doctor, and making sure everyone has clean underwear. We multitask so much that we can’t even remember what we accomplished all day. Meeting our family’s basic needs consist of so many extra steps that are forgotten about like putting a meal on the table. I mean, I can’t be the only mom who plans out a grocery list all week, and plan dinner starting in the morning hours.

Thinking back to my childhood, all I remember was playing and having fun. I remember my mom showing up to every baseball game. Every school event. Every appointment. She made time to play toothfairy. She read us so many books. And with that excited narration too! She admired our works of art. Made our beds. Cleaned the house in any bit of free time she had. She balanced everything, with what appeared to look like a breeze. And somewhow she was amazingly patient with us. All. The. Time.

And when I became a Mom, I thought, “well if she raised 4 of us, I’ll certainly do fine with less kids.” With three little boys, I look at my mom now, with a much deeper appreciation. Now I experience the restless nights, worrying about a fever when the kids are sick. I worry about balancing second chances with discipline. I worry when I’ve forgotten show-and-tell or a special dress-up day at school. And I worry if I’m giving all of the kids equal attention and meeting all of their emotional needs. And how on Earth do you squeeze in that extra time with your spouse to let them know you still care?

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This is one of the first points from “Mom Set Free.” This book is for Moms wanting to make a spiritual journey. I highly recommend it!

Moms have such a hard job! We face so many challenges, even our own thoughts and feelings. So stop putting yourself down. You might not be the perfect mom you always thought you’d be. But look at what you do in one day. Look at what you’ve accomplished.

You are the kisser of boo-boos, the tickle monster, the dance partner, the snack attendant, the potty train praiser, infant interpreter, the pusher of swings, dignified driver, the walking “why” responder, the artist appreciator, the mountain of laundry climber, and so much more!

If only you could see yourself in the eyes and hearts of your family!

 

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Gift your mom something really nice for Mother’s Day to show her how much you care! Then let her know how special she is and how much you appreciate her often!

Here’s a quick video on the topic of how mom’s view themselves VS how kids view their moms. It made me cry, so be sure to have a box of tissues nearby!

&

HAPPY (early) MOTHER’S DAY!

 

 

 

Featured photo by Sue Zeng on Unsplash