How to be a Fun Mom

How to be a Fun Mom

First off, I’m going to warn you that I broke one of my own rules. Only 1-2 cups of coffee and never past 4:00 in the afternoon. I needed one more tonight because of hormonal fatigue. Which, if I’m being honest, the vegetarian diet has helped tremendously!

So as I sit here tonight with caffeine pumping through my veins, I want to share some ideas. I’ll have you know that over the years, I’ve basically been borderline preschool teacher mixed with Pinterest Mom. As my kids have grown up and grown more independently, I’ve grown into a super duper mean Mom. (Or at least they think I am because they have chores and don’t have free reign.)

Like anything else, I believe that moderation is key. In order to have a good parent/child relationship, you’ve got to master discipline with understanding. And by discipline I’ve found that time-outs and taking toys away are merely as effective as rewards.

So this Summer, as we had our own schedules to abide by, I tried to keep a light daily structure without overdoing plans. Of course, my husband will tell you that I over plan to leave the house on his days off. I mean, as a stay-at-home Mom (and someone who’s a little adventurous) who would want to always be home?

They’ve been doing tons of summer reading, even me. I’ve been able to indulge in the adult library section (mostly consisting of self-help books). We’ve done our share of exploring barefoot in creeks and playing a game of family baseball. We’ve enjoyed visiting the farmer’s market and swimming at the local quarry, too.

For as much fun and discipline that we carried out, I thought we had the perfect balance of both worlds. Don’t worry though, like every other family on planet Earth, our kids aren’t immune to bad behavior. And I still definitely yell.

Although there’s no secret solution to master parenting, I feel like our best shot at containing the “energies” of our kids can be simple. A wise philosopher once said that we should spend 1-on-1 time with our children every day. John Dewey thought this to be one of the most powerful tools for raising children into successful people.

Just think about this for a minute. If we spend 30+ minutes a day trying to engage in conversation (and not necessarily lecture), we could have amazing relationships.

Today, as the grandparents took our younger two for a fun day, I was reminded of something important. My oldest needs more of my time and attention. So instead of working on the e-book that I’ve begun writing, I thought, there are only a few weeks left to enjoy him this summer. I asked him what he wanted to do and I said yes to him. It’s easy to just tell our kids what they’re doing and say no, but they don’t feel understood when we automate our responses.

Don’t forget that in order to be a good parent, your well-being matters. For instance it’s easier to say “yes” when we feel energetic and healthy. You matter too.

Today we played baseball like we always used to. When my son was 2, we would have batting practice, almost daily because he enjoyed batting, but also enjoyed my attention. Today we also enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in the hot tub, which is reserved normally only for adults. And we were going to wrap it up by playing video games together. Unfortunately, once I got word that the little boys were heading back, I went into cleaning mode. (Still kicking myself for that.)

Overall, I learned that being the crafty, structured, patient Mom isn’t super realistic all the time. But that by trying to silently listen to our kids and do the things they like, they feel understood. And if having kid-sized fun every once in a while makes me a cool Mom, then that’s really just a win-win!

What kinds of fun things to you and your kiddos do for fun?

How to Enjoy Mom Life More (While Raising a Young Crew)

How to Enjoy Mom Life More (While Raising a Young Crew)

Moms with a couple small dependent kids will find significant value in what I’m about to say. This the very stage that you’re in that made me feel like a terrible Mom not long ago. You’re supposed to enjoy all of mom life, right?

You get the notion that you’re always supposed to be filled with joy because you were blessed with awesome little people. We are blessed. We know that without a doubt.

These mini’s are adorable, easy to please, they replicate multitudes of love, and they have such innocent, unique personalities! They give the best hugs and randomly proclaim their love for us. And when they hurt feelings, it’s likely to be accidental and so easy to forgive.

Although toddlers are easy to please, they are likewise just as difficult at times. As your mini grows, he wants to dress himself, buckle himself, and even pour his own drinks. Determined, he’ll dive right in with the intent of flawlessly mirroring your efforts. And when he fails… oh man! His big emotions will show! Sometimes it just feels like they’re intentionally making things harder on us. Doesn’t it?

You might feel seriously overworked and overwhelmed because your kids depend on you so much. Most days you won’t quite receive the help you need. Instead, you’re outnumbered and spend the majority of your waking day multitasking like you’ve never done before.

By the time you can sit in peace for the day, you don’t feel accomplished. You’ve done everything, yet still unable to recall all the details of the day. Chances are you’ll have fed them countless snacks, kissed some boo-boo’s, wiped their tears, held them, had a dance party, corrected them, stuck them in time-out, played a silly game, broke up fights, read a story, cleaned up never-ending messes, made some phone calls, paid some bills, cleaned up potty accidents, washed some laundry, fed your kids, washed the dishes, and bathed your little ones, all while doing little for yourself. Chances are you probably would’ve had some thoughts to yourself, but you fell asleep as soon as the chaos was over.

You might start to feel exhausted all around. You might feel lost. And you might feel that you lost. But here’s what I would’ve told myself then when I felt like a bad mom for not enjoying all of it.

Being a mom is tough. That’s the one thing you won’t hear often enough. Mom life wears you down hardcore in ways you didn’t know possible.

It’s normal to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and even frustrated. It’s normal to sometimes feel emotional and worried about your family. But just because those things are normal doesn’t mean they’ll go away on their own. It’ll take some time and effort before you begin to enjoy motherhood more.

Motherhood comes with the beautiful, and ugly. Every minute that you enjoy with your kids, you have earned tenfold. These little people with big messes and big emotions aren’t too far off from being big themselves.

You probably feel like your kids will always be small and depend on you. You fear that you’re always going to be so overwhelmed and it makes you feel slightly more crazy just thinking there’s no end. But friend, you are so near the light at the end of the tunnel.

One day your kiddos will tie their shoes, buckle themselves, head off to school, help with more chores, and even show empathy. You’ll finally reap the rewards of their younger years. That day will be oh! so bittersweet because you will wish for a single day of time-travel to hold your baby once more. And yet, you will shed many of the challenges that you’ve waited so long to be free from.

There will come a day in the near future when you’ll see a new mom enjoying her sweet little one, smile, and you imagine that fresh baby smell. You’ll wish you could tell your old self to enjoy more of the little things, to laugh at the imperfections, and soak it all in. Even the parts you thought you didn’t enjoy.

This stage of life may not look very beautiful in your mind. It looks a lot like a national disaster. But this, right now, is your blessing. There will always be one more thing you need to do. Your to-do list will probably grow resembling Jack and the Beanstalk. You’ll likely never see the end of messes and chores with little ones at home, anyways.

Motherhood is a balancing act.

Instead of letting ourselves feel defeated, we should take care of ourselves better and ask for more help. Make friends with moms and dads going through the same stage of parenting. Find ways to make an ordinary day with the kids special. Make some memories and take the pictures or journal about it. And really, just start thinking more positively.

A few years ago when I was really struggling, I would’ve said to myself; “Let go of your idea of this perfect image of motherhood and enjoy what’s yours now. Go get some more sleep, see your doctor until you feel good, tell someone how you feel, go for that drive, cry, get mad, pray about it, and know that this tough, beautiful stage is almost over. And you’re going to really miss it one day.”

To you Moms who are going through this, give whatever ounce of faith you have. God is so good! You’ll get through the struggles with Him like I did.

Motherhood is such a blessing! Let’s enjoy these moments that are ours now before they become a distant memory.

10 Affirmations For Mom Guilt

10 Affirmations For Mom Guilt

There is one main message I think that Moms need to hear, but often don’t hear enough, it’s that you matter. In the midst of your messy home, in your messy bun, wearing yesterday’s pajamas, where you often lose your cool, you feel so unaccomplished. Yet, you’ve accomplished everything!

Your kids know your unconditional love in all that you do. Regardless of the mom guilt that you’re seemingly tied to.

PIN THIS!

My own way of explaining mom guilt: “our inner dialogue which conflicts with our original decision regardless of our good intention.”

Mom guilt is the real deal. As moms we question how good of a job we’re doing. A lot of it is really just fear. We know we are well intended. We just want to know that our decisions aren’t negatively affecting our children. The truth of the matter is we need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

No human being on Earth is perfect. Therefore, we need to stop pressuring ourselves to the impossible standard of perfection. These 10 affirmations can help you to put perfection behind you and help you to find more joy in motherhood.

Remind yourself of these 10 things daily!

10 Affirmations for mom guilt:

1. I matter.

2. I’m worthy of good things.

3. I am strong.

4. I am loved.

5. I love myself.

6. I am a good mom already because I love my kids.

7. There are a million ways to be a good mom. / I am making decisions for the best interest of my family.

8. It’s not my job to be perfect, but to show my kids grace and forgiveness.

9. I forgive myself for my failures.

10. God has called me to motherhood. Through Him I can do all things.

Happy Thursday!

10 Affirmations For The Oldest Sibling

10 Affirmations For The Oldest Sibling

Our oldest son, Chirs, turned 7 years old yesterday! Holy cow! I never thought I would look back and think that raising kids goes quick! I literally don’t know the day of the week most days, nor do I feel like the past 7 years has been all rainbows and unicorns. But, wow! Suddenly 7 years seems to have slipped past me!

Life was delightful when our duo turned trio. My memory bank is filled with images of my little boy’s smile and breathing in his sweet baby smell during our snuggles. Even before he could crawl, he was my dance partner (particularly brought back by the good oldies like Frank Sinatra).

Like all firstborns, ours was totally the guinea pig. We based our confidence in our parenting skills on him; if he ate well, if he was developmentally on track, if he had enough responsibilities, if he used his manners…

Because life was peachy we tried for more kids. We thought we would treat all if them equal, but funny thing is we lowered our standards for the next kid. And the next kid. We (particularly I) didn’t worry as much about near as much with the younger boys. After all of the parenting experience with Chris, we knew the things to avoid and areas to improve in.

Along the way he’s sensed the standard depreciation gap.

When our family became 4, I saw his whole world change. So long were the days when I could drop everything for him. When our middle son, Josh, wasn’t nursing I still had little energy to give. But I wanted to show Chris that clearly, he was still important to me. So when baby was napping, we would play baseball. A lot of baseball. It was our thing, among many others.

By the time our youngest son, Aaron, came in to the picture, Chris was only 3. Yep we had a 3 year-old, 1 year-old, and newborn at one point. Thank goodness Chris was away at preschool by then because sleep deprivation was so bad! But having an older kid was legit so nice by then! Cue promotion to diaper-getter, baby-entertainer, and toy picker-upper.

It seems as though the firstborn kids are naturally the glue to their siblings, natural-born teachers, and some very caring people! So I compiled a list of 10 affirmations for the oldest kids.

  1. I am so special.
  2. I have many unique talents.
  3. My mom and dad love me for who I am!
  4. My family can count on me. /I am helpful.
  5. I am capable of anything that I put my mind to.
  6. Change is okay.
  7. I am enough./ I am good.
  8. I am a leader. /My siblings look up to me.
  9. Mistakes help me grow.
  10. I love and accept myself.

These affirmations are things I’m teaching my oldest son in particular. He plays an important role in our family. We love that we can count on him and we wouldn’t be the same without him.

From Girls To Motherhood (To The Best Mom Friends)

From Girls To Motherhood (To The Best Mom Friends)

Growing up as little girls was a hard life. We thought our “BFFs” would always have our back. But that wasn’t the case for a lot of us girls.

A girls world is hard! There was gossip, sharing secrets that weren’t to be shared, stealing boyfriends, stealing friends, jealousy, trying to outshine each other for popularity, and throwing each other under the bus. (Like metaphorically, but also pretty much everything from “Mean Girls” is truth.)


Photo by Paloma A. on Unsplash

Who could we even trust?

Maybe a close friend or two along the way. The best friends from grade school, the ladies from jr high and high school, and the ones from college. Most friendships never lasted longer than a particular phase of life. Except you.

From time-to-time we may have gotten annoyed with one another. But when circumstances were difficult, we were more annoyed for each other. You were sad for me when I was. You were happy when I was.


Photo by Clarisse Meyer on Unsplash

We grew up. And you were still there.

We fell in love with our guys. And our whole lives changed. We started having babies. And it was magical.

We were mommies for the first time and our little families were just another reminder of how good the world is. Little family snuggles on the bed. Little baby smiles. Little coos. Our faith in humanity was restored.

You were there watching the magic for me, cheering me on, loving my little ones like your own. I mean, you are the cool aunt after all! You told me how good of a mom I am and it always made me feel like a million dollars. 

And I watched you make your own little magic appear. Your little family. And I love your babies like my own. You were rocking the mom-thing since before you were a mom! Like born ready!

As our little families are growing, and things getting tougher; potty training, more kids, busy schedules, disciplining…. You’re still there, sister. We can vent about a rough day or about how emotional we are from sleep deprivation. We can visit each other and make it a play date. Even if the kids are being way too loud, we still enjoy some coffee or wine over a chat.

And I love that in this crazy thing called motherhood, we still have each other’s back. It’s so good having a life outside of my home. But it’s also good being a part of your life, too!

I know your struggles and I wish I could do more to help. I see your exhaustion and I want to make it better. But I know that for us, just having a long chat or visiting is the greatest therapy! I feel brand new after hanging up the phone or heading out your door.

I appreciate you so much, girl. All the times you thought of me, called me up, offered to help with the kids, went out of your way for me, each kind word, every hug, every time you lifted my fallen-self up….

It took me some years to realize what a true friend really is, and I have that with you. Because you’ve seen the best and worst of me. The days when I know I’m supermom and the days when I’m borderline psychotic. 😆

Yet, there’s never been a time when we were gossiping behind each other’s backs, stealing friends, or throwing each other under the bus. Instead we fantasize together about a girls only cruise or doing a double family vacation. We see more in each other than a mom and wife and we support each other’s dreams.

One day when I’m wealthy, we’re going to go on a Caribbean cruise, just us. Drinking cocktails and hanging out in the sun. Ah…the life!

But for now, girls trip or not, your friendship means the world to me! Your ability to to lift me up when I’ve fallen. When I just need another adult to converse with. When I’m wondering if what I’m going through is normal. When I’m tired and just want someone to hear me. Anyone. It’s you. Without judgement.

You understand me so much because you often feel the same way. Or at least you know because you were in the same place not long ago. 

There is something special about mom friends. Maybe it’s because we can motivate each other easily. Maybe it’s our occasional heart-to-hearts. Maybe it’s our conversations about God and faith.

All I can say is thank you for being my emotional rock through the good and bad. Thank you for reminding me that I am a good mom with sometimes bad days and that perfection is rare.

And thank you for loving my family.

(& Happy International Women’s Day!:D )

How To Do A Mental Detox (20 Ways)

How To Do A Mental Detox (20 Ways)

Stress is 1,000x harder to hide from when you’re a mom (or dad). You just feel so overwhelmed and you’re well aware that you can’t just shake the feeling. I mean, you let the laundry pile up and then tomorrow there’s a mountain of clothes to fold! Let the kids play on their own for 10 minutes, and suddenly your house looks a hurricane hit.

Sometimes we just need to feel like our lives aren’t falling apart. We just need a few simple solutions to help us breathe and to know that everything is okay.

Mental detox is something to practice often times as needed. This probably goes without saying, but detoxes are a way to temporarily flush the bad and negative out as best as possible, and usually only last a temporary amount of time.

Out with the negative thoughts and in with positive vibes. Out with the things that cause anxiety and tension, and in with quality life and feeling good.

Seriously, no one’s life is perfect. We’re all just trying to catch up.

I’m going to be really transparent for you, my loyal crowd. From time to time, I just feel overloaded with stuff to do. I feel the pressure of being a mom (that probably being one of my most talked about subjects).

Last summer, I was I was taking on being a full-time mom, a part-time job (that was getting busier), Momma Bird Blog, and was writing for 2 other blogs. I felt good at first. Then it started to settle. One of the companies needed me to work on the weekends when I was at my son’s baseball games. I had to work later those nights as well. And my husband’s military obligations left me to take care of the kids. And the second company had a lot of due dates. I felt so overwhelmed because everyone needed me all at once.

So in stepped my 21 Day Challenge for mind, body, and soul. I created, and am tweaking this challenge. Maybe we really should focus 21 Days on focusing our mind, 21 days for our body, and 21 days for our soul. All separate challenges. What do you think?

It’s fabulous that so many of you could take advantage of my very first Momma Bird Blog post, 8 Ways to Lose Baby Weight Realistically. There have been some edits to this one to expand with helpful tips for you. I’m really thrilled that it has over 8.8K impressions on Pinterest!

But today, let’s talk more about mental detox. (Again, I’m no doctor, just a mom who has used these methods and came out on top). The methods I use are a bit more DIY and natural.

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How To Do A Mental Detox

  1. Set aside time to be on your phone in the day. Put your phone in a safe, stationary place (to keep from subconsciously turning on all day) and stay focused on the day ahead. I’d like to start treating my cell phone like more of a home phone. Remember the good ol’ days when the phone you were using was attached to a wire that was attached to a box on the wall? I kind of miss that!
  2. If you don’t have time to answer the phone, call them back later. People forget that there are voicemails. Often, if I’m in the middle of feeding my kids, putting them to bed, shopping, or having a conversation with someone 1-on-1 I usually ignore all of my calls. Of course, I check my voicemail usually after I put the kids to bed.
  3. Unsubscribe to emails that you don’t even read. Uh, the emails! I catch myself just deleting them without even reading them. That means they aren’t a priority. You don’t owe anyone your time.
  4. Unfriend people who whine or complain too much. Drama doesn’t have any place in my life. I have enough to think about. If your “friends” are throwing people under the bus (and publicly), why would you want to be their friend?
  5. Log out of social media accounts and predetermine a time or day to log back in. Similar to #1, this will help you from clicking all of your notifications if you have to check your phone.
    Don’t scroll all day.
  6. Mentally list a couple people who you genuinely look up to. Think about how they make you feel. Influence is good if we use it for good. I personally look up to so many women, it’s unreal! But I definitely look up to my mom and sister 100% because of how genuine and caring they are! I want to be more like that!
  7. Find a way to cheer up/help someone, whether complimenting them, holding the door, or just being a listening ear. It doesn’t have to be anything big. This is another big push towards being positive!
  8. Say “no” to people or events if it’d add too much to your plate. I’m learning from some of the most selfless people this hard decision. We don’t earn God’s love any more by working any harder. But if we narrow our agenda, maybe we would have more time to enjoy this beautiful life and spend it with love and happiness.
  9. Create a goals list. “Eat more fresh produce, play 10 minutes with the kids, plan a summer vacation.” Oh, how this is important! You need to see clearly what you’re doing in life. Are you buying healthier food to bring home? Are you setting aside the time you would’ve otherwise been busy for your kids? And if that summer vacation is a real goal, start saving aside!
  10. Imagine your dream vacation. Put your mind in a happy place. Imagine the scenery, the life, the smells, the sounds, the things you can touch… Can you feel the sand in your toes? Or feel the cool mountain breeze on your cheeks?
  11. Declutter the rooms that you spend the most time in first (like your bedroom, living room, and kitchen). Decluttering is the biggest one I do over and over again. But when I’m existing in a clean room with fresh smells, soft carpet, and minimal damage (like toys and crud), I feel more welcome. There has actually been scientific evidence that a clean home can reduce anxiety. (Which is probably why so many of us moms are always freaking out!)
  12. Not only declutter but part with the items you no longer use. As we slowly collect items like new clothes or Christmas gifts, use that perfect timing to swap out the new for old. Even if you have a stack of papers (that was once a stack and is now meshing together), then start pitching those! I just cleared our paper pile yesterday and GIRL, does it feel good!
  13. Schedule your to-do list. “Monday vacuum, Tuesday errands…” Bloggers use this schedule too. “Monday reply to emails and draft posts, Tuesday edit and schedule posts…” It kind of makes your to-do list happen, one baby step at a time.
  14. Join a church (where you can listen to and understand the Word). This is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself. We go to an AMAZING Christian church! Almost every Sunday, I go to service with something on my heart. And it seems like the messages are meant for me. It clears all that mental fog, all the negative and gray area. I always leave there feeling lighter. Not only that, but the community is so important for our whole family. Life will just start making sense if you’re in the right place.
  15. Start a devotional. I own a couple devotionals that sit right on my end table. Every morning I read the quick little messages and it helps me to focus longer in the day. I focus on not trying to be perfect but trying to be a mom God’s way.
  16. Or sit in 10 minutes of silence. This could potentially be the most challenging of all of the mental detox methods. But when’s the last time you just turned everything off, and just let your thoughts flow. One of the biggest things I need as a Mom is “headspace.” I just want an hour to not have to answer anyone, not be focusing on other tasks, but just to be me for a moment.
  17. Silently repeat positive mantras through the day. You are your biggest fan and your weakest opponent. It’s truly amazing the things your mind can do. You can push through your pain if you only tell yourself to keep on going. You can learn to be brave if you remind yourself that you deserve more.
  18. Journal about your feelings and emotions. (If you don’t have time, make bullet points.) Either jot down how your feeling, or journal like you speak to a close friend. Sometimes the best way to sort out your thoughts is by writing them. You’ll discover some feelings and emotions that get buried by your busy day. Let them all out. It’s okay.
  19. Listen to relaxing or ambient music. Another mental detox that has been scientifically proven is to listen to some ambient music. There is a song that’s going viral called “Weightless” by Macaroni Union. This song is supposed to help reduce feelings of anxiety. There are also songs compiled like “Happiness Frequency”, “Deep Focus Music, Binaural Beats,” and “Let go of fear, overthinking, and worries.”
  20. Make time for something you enjoy. If you didn’t schedule laundry to be done today, let it sit. Instead, paint your nails, take a bubble bath, exercise, read a murder mystery, or watch a sappy love story.
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The thing about this detox is you can pick what you need to work on most. The goal is to free you from your overwhelming feelings. After 21 days of consistency, you’ll feel 100% more focused on what matters most. Your family.

Who would be interested in doing the challenge with me?

Dear Moms

Dear Moms

Dear Moms, 

Maybe it started with instinct for you. One day out of the blue you just started to feel a little off. And you knew before you even double checked your math or tested. Maybe you were slightly terrified when you saw the double lines. Maybe you were felt a rush of emotion and bawled happy tears.

Or maybe you waited for years for that adoption placement or stepchild. You remember how you felt?

Your entire life changed from then on.

From that moment on, you learned a lot about yourself. You learned how to adapt to your new role quickly. You learned that you had to turn fear and worry into caution. You learned to love another human being. 

Continue reading “Dear Moms”