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!

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

To the Mom Who Needs Strength Now

To the Mom Who Needs Strength Now

The job of a parent (especially a mom) is a hard one and has been for all of time.

Our shift starts when the kids wake up to the time they are (actually) asleep. And then we’re on call in the middle of the night and early mornings. Our brains run at super speeds all day. Then in order to rest for the night, we have to actively stop thinking and worrying.

We face challenges that leave us feeling helpless and out of control. And then we continue to blame ourselves for still not doing a good enough job.

Do you feel this way?

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Actual photo from my house….

To the Mom who needs strength to get through the week,

Your family is your entire world. It began very intimately in a way that made your heart whole. It was love at first sight. Soon these tiny people you love grew. They became independent from you and that was frustrating. Life started becoming chaotic. You could never just sit down and relax.

And you struggled a bit.

You struggled to be able to complete your to-do list; because you’re only one person and the to-do list is endless. You struggled in the ways of disciplining your children; because after all, comforting our kids comes more natural to us. You struggled to be heard; because your kids would rather play and have fun instead of listen to their parents. And you struggled to remember who you were before this beautiful family; because now this family is all of you.

I know you feel weak because you think that compared to other moms you aren’t doing as good of a job. You feel like you don’t live up to what your family needs. You continue pouring yourself into your family’s cup.

Have you ever stopped to think about just how much you do? It’s no wonder you’re stressed out, anxious, and tired! You give all of yourself, even when your cup appears to be completely dried out.

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Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash

There is only one ‘you.’ No one can do your job like you. You were selected by our creator to be a mom for many special purposes. How amazingly awesome is that? That the same creator who created something as beautiful as a coral blazing sunset and microscopic fingerprints on the hands of your unborn baby, has also created you!

Your time on Earth is temporary. And even more so temporarily, is your time raising your children. I know, I know… every time I hear this, I cringe too. It feels like forever! We’re not that perfect, always-smiling, always together family, like you see on Instagram!

We have our moments! Parenting is hard for both moms and dads!

That is why we need to be strong! Life is threaded together. 

Your whole life, your whole marriage, your whole family, and everything that makes you who you are, are woven together in this thread of life. And if life begins to put too much pressure on us, the threads begin to fray, and finally snap.

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Photo by Terri Bleeker on Unsplash

And it’s natural for some parts of our life to fray. And pressure is natural. But the whole thread can withhold any pressure, with one key thread. This thread is in the center of all of the other threads. It is core. That one, is faith in God.

And if you really want to be a strong parent. A strong mom. Because I have seen a lot of strong women in my life- I can tell you, it’s because they have faith.

These amazingly strong and influential women have shed sweat, blood, and tears over their families. They are often times the people who have lost a lot, but continue to feel blessed.

These women pray over their families and friends like it’s their job. And you know when one of these women have prayed for you, because something in your life just changes. That’s because a mother’s prayer is (what I feel) probably the strongest, most emotionally involved prayers.

So, friend, if you need strength to get you through the week (or even just till the end of the day), your mother’s prayer will be heard. God will help you get through the week, whether you pray for 5 seconds, or hours through the night.

If you need extra energy, pray for that too. It’s worked for me in some of my most sluggish days. If you feel you have no control, seriously, hand it over to God.

Strengthen the core of your life.

You can do it, Momma!

Best Wishes!

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Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash

 

I will say a prayer for all of you who read this. If you’d like a special prayer, “like” or comment below.

Please share with your Mom friends (who especially need strength)!

3 Simple Salads

3 Simple Salads

Recently, we talked how we can rejuvenate ourselves. It’s important to eat nutrient-rich food, but it’s so hard when you’re a busy parent!

Here are 3 easy salads that make a healthy lunch or dinner!

First you need a good lettuce blend. I like to chop up some iceberg lettuce and mix it with spinach or spring mix. I toss them into my salad spinner, rinse, spin, and drain. I leave my spinner (basket insert and all) in the fridge. Then each time I want something quick, I have a salad base.

Then, all you have to do is top it with a favorite salad flavor!

Southwest Salad

Can be easy made with leftover chicken or beef. This was made with leftover smoked venison. I was just working with ingredients we had at the time, but a southwest salad can be so versatile. You can always add extra favorites like diced tomatoes, onions, avocados, and a dollop of sour cream! YUM!

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Spinach & Strawberry

This is so simple! I love to add fresh fruit to salads to really amp up flavor and nutrition. For color, and added sweetness, I made a simple homemade honey mustard dressing. Would you add anything else to this?

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Almond + Blueberries

Again, fruit is such a flavor and nutrition enhancer! Almonds are a nice little touch of lean protein. Add a little bit of cheese to make a bit more filling. This maple vinaigrette was the perfect touch!

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There you have it! 3 Simple Salads! The best part is you can set your salad base in the fridge, and pop out new and exciting salad flavors every day.

Now you don’t have to eat the every day hot dogs and chicken nuggets with your kiddos. This will give you a bit more energy than those anyways!

What kind of combos will you end up making this week?

 

Mamas loving mamas (by EdenCo)

Mamas loving mamas (by EdenCo)

As Moms, we face challenges that no one may even ever know about. And the truth is, being a parent is hard. Sometimes we just need that extra love and support.

Here is the story of a Mom on a mission. This Etsy shop owner designs gorgeous hand lettered cards which are crafted with a special purpose in mind. “Mamas loving mamas.”

 

Here is Erin!

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Photo Credit: Melissa Perry Photography

 

Hi! I’m Erin, a mid-west mama living her dream, as ever evolving as it is.

I grew up in a small town with a church, ice cream shop and pizza place nearly every block (and a landscape allowing you to see for miles). But, now home is in a slightly bigger town, surrounded by foothills (mountains to me!), new pizza places and cute twang in conversation.

My husband and my hearts were stolen fourteen months ago by our sweet little lady, who looks just like her daddy, acting just like her mama and she’s kept us on our toes ever since.

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Photo Credit: Melissa Perry Photography

After she was born, I LOVED my job as a case manager, but knew I loved being her mom more. We made the difficult decision for me to transition into staying at home with her. (Like I said, ever evolving, ha!) It is a transition I am incredibly grateful for and absolutely love but I would be lying if I said it hasn’t been without (big) struggle.

As I struggled, I talked with others, and found a common thread, not only with mamas, but with women- there was a need. A need for honesty, support and small ways to know of their strength, jobs well done and the empowerment to believe in their own stories.

Y’all, mamas need mamas and women need women!

In this discovery, I created EdenCo, a small hand-lettering shop, creating cards and custom projects.  While I am neither an artist nor entrepreneurial genius, the work created is inspired by real life; with the hope of spreading joy, reassurance and random acts of happiness (while embracing the imperfections of daily chaos of moms and women alike).

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EdenCo card collection, “Mamas loving mamas.”

I’m thrilled to team up with the beautiful Anna, creator of such a wonderful cyber space, to release our first collection of cards created for specifically from my inspiration: Mamas loving Mamas. 

My dream for the collection, was to make the cards simple, relatable and affordable, so it would be easier to send them with babies in hand, or in-between work meetings. My hope is they arrive in mailboxes across the country, simply bringing smiles.

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EdenCo “Mamas loving Mamas” collection

 

EdenCo

Visit EdenCo on Etsy here.

You can also follow EdenCo on Facebook.

 

 

 

How to Take Good Pictures (of Kids)

How to Take Good Pictures (of Kids)

Want to start taking more professional quality pictures of the kids? Here are 5 basic techniques!

You came to the right place because I have experience. 10 years ago I became a photographer for a company that specializes in little league team and individual shots. At that point, I didn’t know much about the capabilities of a DSLR camera (Digital Single Lens Reflex)! Since then, I have learned so many other dynamics of professional photography!

You have potential too! You have this incredible opportunity to capture your family’s “behind the scenes”.

These blips of the ordinary day create the most sentiment. The first steps, slobbering babies, sleeping angels, tiny bare feet, that glowing soft skin of theirs, sparkling eyes, fuzzy blankies, cracker-crumb faces, their smallness, that special look they give only you….

You can create beautiful photos of your family. Don’t be overwhelmed though. You don’t need 10 years experience to start taking great photos of the family now! I will walk you through some simple tips to get you started. And we will fill-in-the-blanks another day!

5 ways to get a professional quality:

#1 Use natural light

Think softer light! Use natural light by shooting outside, or near a well-lit window. As far as the best day and time… pick an overcast day. If it’s clear and sunny, choose morning or late afternoon. Even shooting in full shade on a sunny day will provide that soft light.

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The first photo was shot on a summer day outside in full shade. The second was shot indoors with two well-lit windows. There aren’t any overly white highlights or overly strong shadows (except a little whiteness out of the window). You want to see soft skin and true coloring with this soft light.

#2 Stabilize the camera

Get those blurry photos? It’s because you aren’t holding still long enough. A photo that requires a slower shutter speed has a higher chance of becoming blurry. Lack of enough light will cause the shutter to release slower in order to capture more light. To fix this, stabilize the camera on a tripod, platform, against a wall, on a bench, or other fixtures. If you are don’t have something to stabilize on, get a good stance and exhale as you press the shutter release.

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On this shot, I set my camera down on the rail that goes around this exhibit. No shake here!

#3 Use the 3 main shots:

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Close ups are great in the fact that you really see all the physical details. And on top of that, close ups capture raw emotion best! Here my son was hanging out on our deck while snacking. Maybe I’m just partial, but this is pretty adorable!

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Three Quarters shot (or head shot) are perfect for individuals or fewer people. When you are planning to print pictures to hand out, these are a good solution. It showcases a little bit of the personality and the outfit.

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Full Length shots give a perspective on the surroundings and actions. Full length shots are also easier to use for unpredictable or uninstructed kiddos. Sometimes it’s fun to just let my boys play and for me to capture what they are doing on their own.

 

#4 Get on their level

For example, if your munchkins are on the floor, lay on the floor and shoot at the same height across. This helps attract their attention better. You won’t be seeing tops of heads as much. Peek out often from behind the camera too. Kids and babies are drawn to faces more than a lens.

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Being on your kids’ level really helps you see from their perspective and it helps you to see their face (regardless if they aren’t always looking back).

 

 

#5 Focus

Auto focus can be a great tool with wiggly kids. It locks onto your subject and focuses as you are pressing your shutter release button. For older kids who have a greater attention span, try manual focus. Lock the focus onto their eyes and face area. When the image is crystal clear, snap.

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This is one of my absolute favorites! The best part is he was looking at me, with a few attempts. I was able to shoot this with natural light from a well-lit window and get a crystal clear focus.

Get creative with trying different focuses (in manual focus mode):

  • Foreground (what is closest to you)
  • Middle ground (what is between the foreground and background)
  • Background (what is on the horizon or farthest from you)

 

 

If there is one thing I want you to get out of this, it’s that you are capable of taking great photos of your family. Just remember; Natural light, Stabilize, 3 main shots, Get on their level, and Focus.

Lastly, don’t try to do it all on your own. If you are trying to get everyone in a family photo, hire a photographer. They will be able to tell you if your necklace is sideways, or if one of your kids isn’t paying attention. But when you don’t have a photographer and real life is happening, it’s up to you. You’re only a few steps away from ideally capturing those sentimental moments!

 

Read more tips here: How To Take [Frame-Worthy] Pictures.