Tag Archives: SAHM

My Stress Reducing Techniques for Life With 3 Kids

reducing stress - life with 3 kids
This post includes review of a service I received for free in exchange for my personal honest feedback.

Life with 3 Kids

life with 3 kids reducing stress

It’s been awhile since I had a new post, but life with 3 kids is no joke! And I’ve been quite busy caring for and admiring my new baby boy! Seriously, isn’t he the cutest?!

Having a newborn is quite enough work, but having two other kids makes coping with the responsibility and workload a bit harder. However, I’ve found life with 3 kids much less stressful than I was told it would be. That must, therefore, make me an expert on the subject. Haha! I’m totally kidding. But, maybe I’ve hit on a few things that could help ease your family’s transition as well!

Here’s what has helped reduce stress in our household!

First of all…Being selfish. Yep, that’s what I said. All postpartum women are a little whack…we can’t help it. Hormones start to take a nosedive when the placenta is delivered. I recognized that and hogged my newborn baby for 3 full days, asked hubby to bring me every meal, and left our other kids completely in his care. It was such a relief to give myself the time and space I needed to recover without feeling guilty about it!! And it will probably never happen again unless I have another baby. Enjoy it while you can, mama!

Soaking in every moment. Some days I grumble because the baby insists on being carried all day, or wakes up yet again at night. But for the most part, I’m basking in the moments instead of dwelling on my to-do list. It reduces more stress than you could imagine!

I’m relaxing (now and then!). There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to some luxurious down time. Baby will be fine! Get away for coffee with friends and when you get home, your kids and hubby will be cuter than ever. 😉 I promise! You have to take care of the entire family, and that includes yourself!

Sometimes, I take a shower! (Gasp!) Even if it’s only 5 minutes and baby has to cry…You can’t look like a greasy mess and smell of spoiled milk all the time. What’s more depressing and stressful than that??

I’m accepting help from friends. Perhaps occasionally begging for it, haha! 😉 There’s no shame when you have a newborn.

I’m not afraid to flake. I recently had plans to go out with a friend. But the closer it got to girls night, the more I couldn’t fathom getting dressed up and being social. (It had been a rough day with the baby!) But I hated to cancel, and still wanted to see my friend. So I asked if she minded just hanging out at the house in exchange for some homemade cookies. She cuddled my baby while I had my baking therapy and then we ate warm, delicious cookies! It was a win-win situation for both of us! I needed time to breathe before I could be social. If you can’t handle something, be honest.

Prioritizing helps de-stress my days. Baby, older kids, and scavenging for food are my top priority right now! Accomplishing my main goals makes me feel less guilty for the things I didn’t get to.

Cutting back on laundry. I’m re-wearing any clothes that make it to the end of a day with no spit up, and making my kids do the same if at all possible. Because every little bit helps!

I admit I can’t do it all. I’m somewhat distraught by all the disorganization and how long it has been since I cleaned our bathroom. But it comes with the territory.

However, I do my best. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 10 minutes!

I resist feeling discouraged. As long as I’ve done my best for the day and my kids know they’re loved, that’s a worthy enough accomplishment.

Avoiding overcommitment is key! I am minimizing as many unnecessary/stressful activities as possible. It is difficult enough considering how I will ever get the house clean or food on the table. I focus on simply getting by! Remember to stop and smell the roses…or your baby. 🙂

Also, we’ve been relying on freezer meals! It was a huge sacrifice of time and effort while I was pregnant and experiencing sciatic nerve pain, but freezer meals are so worth it postpartum!! Having that extra free time to love on my little guy once he arrived was absolutely precious.

I’m making easy meals when I do cook. Now is not the time to start making all your bread from scratch. Now is the time you get food on the table as quickly as possible, regardless how healthy it is. No vegetable? No problem. We’ll make it up another day. And, FYI, Costco has yummy, fresh, ready made meals!

BUT. I also tried a meal delivery service! Thanks to Sunbasket, my family received two healthy, organic meals with humanely raised, antibiotic and hormone-free meat (one meal had organic tofu instead). My meal ingredients arrived in one carefully packed, insulated box with recyclable packaging!

meal delivery service
The box arrived with all ingredients necessary for two quick, healthy meals!
meal service - life with 3 kids
Look at those fresh ingredients! I was so impressed with the quality of the vegetables!
Life with 3 kids - cooking
See how happy I am to be cooking an exciting new recipe?!?

In only about 30 minutes, exactly as the Sunbasket site claims, we had a healthy, nutritionist approved meal on the table. Portions were generous; we even had leftovers! Our meals supposedly served 2 adults and 2 kids, but we didn’t want to share, haha! My husband and I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day – and it definitely didn’t seem like a child sized portion.

Life with 3 kids - Sunbasket meal delivery
This was our first meal, and it was amazing. It said FRESH noodles on the package, and by golly, they were! Soft, fresh, delicious noodles!
Sunbasket meal delivery service
Having everything premeasured cut the prep time considerably. It was SUCH a treat for a postpartum mama like me. I love to cook healthy meals, but am struggling to find the time!
Sunbasket meal service
The steak stir-fry bowl was so gorgeous, bright, and colorful! I did add a little extra sauce, but loved all the fresh veg in this stir fry!

I LOVED my meal delivery service and am itching to do it again already! It was so fun creating new recipes with unique ingredients that may be hard to find at the grocery store!

Sunbasket gave me a unique discount code to share with my readers! Use this link : http://bit.ly/2r1ABZU and receive 50% off of your first Sun Basket order! 

One last note about coping with those newborn days…Don’t forget about the joy your older children bring to the family. Of course baby is brand new, and everyone will be starstruck. But avoiding jealous siblings is a huge part of reducing stress when adding to your family!  I’m working on a post about helping your older children bond with your new baby, so stay tuned for that! You can follow my Facebook page to see new posts!

Thank you for reading and good luck with your sweet new baby!

 

 

 

 

The Stay At Home Mom Exercises: My Top Ten Tips and Motivation

Exercise tips and motivation

Before I had kids, I enjoyed exercise often. I was at the gym 4 or 5 times a week. I exercised through my first pregnancy and afterwards, as well. It was when I had my second kid that I really started slacking off. If I made it to the gym even once a week, that was a noteworthy accomplishment. I was more tired than ever, I was stressed dealing with a colicky baby, I was even a little depressed and discouraged (Read my post entitled The Mediocre Mother for more about that time in my life.).

mother child exercise

 

Recently, much to my chagrin, I discovered that I have love handles. I thought they would go away given enough time. Two years postpartum, I’m realizing that apparently they need a little more persuading! I miss being fit and feeling strong, so I am stepping up my exercise game and I want to share my tips with you.

 

 

My Exercise Tips:

  1. Put on exercise clothes when you get up in the morning. Or just sleep in them like I did last night. Ha!
  2. Eat a good breakfast. And lunch and dinner. You won’t have any stamina if you don’t fuel your body.
  3. Checkout exercise videos at the library. New routines always motivate and excite me!
  4. Find FREE workouts on You Tube. My new fav is a 30 day HIIT workout series by Millionaire Hoy. You can watch it for free here.
  5. Do a lot in a little amount of time. Try High Intensity Interval Training (see tip #4 for my recommendation. 🙂 ). Here’s “What it is And Why it Works” from Huffington Post.
  6. Drink water before, during and after. Not a lot right before your workout though. Too much water sloshing around in your belly doesn’t feel so good when you’re doing cardio or yoga moves like downward dog.
  7. Treat yourself to a fun new gym class, and bring a friend to make it feel like Moms Night Out!
  8. Change your scenery– if it’s nice, head outside. I thrive on alternating my workout location- living room, basement, pushing the stroller outdoors, and classes outside the home.
  9. Make it fun! Put on your favorite playlist and dance with your kids! My kids love this and I’m exhausted after two songs. We add lots of jumps, lifts, and twirls.
  10. Put a smile on your face! It’s like tricking your body into thinking you enjoy exercise. And eventually, you will get to like it! (Wise words from my man Millionaire Hoy on Day 3 of his beginner HIIT workout series.)

 

The hardest part about exercising when you’re a SAHM (besides finding the time), is occupying the kids while you work out. I’ve never been motivated to exercise while my kid napped, but I’ve found that is my best bet. That leaves me with one kid still awake, but she is four, and easier to occupy. Lunchtime could also work if they’re slow eaters. 😉

 

Ideas (besides nap time) to keep your kids busy while you exercise:

  • Crafting (crayons, paper, stickers, whatever you trust them with! 🙂 )
  • Snack or lunch
  • Tv (I’ll put a movie on for my girls and use my laptop to stream a free YouTube workout for myself)
  • Play-Doh (again, if you trust them. This backfired with my almost two year old who needed wayyy too much help today. But my four old was good!)
  • Old toy/game they haven’t seen for awhile
  • Time-out

 

Okay, the last one is a joke, but sometimes, I send my four year old to her room, and she stays there for a good half hour! I send her upstairs to get dressed or grab something, she gets distracted and starts playing. And where big sis goes, little sis follows!

You can also exercise WITH your kids, as mentioned in #9 above! I found this great mommy and me dance video today, and while it was only 6 minutes long, my daughter and I had a great time! It was right up our alley, and the instructor was clearly having fun with her daughter, too. We loved the lunge and tickle part!

My daughter also has her own little 1 pound pink weights. She affectionately refers to them as, ‘my little pinky weights’! Sometimes, we take turns showing each new moves. I teach her how to use her weights, and she teaches me some crazy new cardio move. Fun, bonding time!

 

Now, for the Motivation:

When you exercise you….

  • Have more energy
  • Sleep more soundly
  • Have a happier outlook
  • Feel accomplished
  • Set a healthy example for your kids
  • Boost your brain power and focus

And of course…

  • Improve your health
  • Become leaner and stronger

 

I pinned this post on My health and Fitness board. If you want more fitness inspiration, click here to follow!

Next, I’m thinking of getting a FitBit, or something like it, to monitor my heart rate. I’ve never researched them, nor do I know anything about the difference in brands, etc. Any advice would be appreciated- leave it in the comments below!

 

 

Little Girls, Little Girls

hannigan11I am not sure what went wrong, but I have a feeling it started with toast. Yesterday was not a good day. On Thursdays, we have to get up and at ’em bright and early in order to make it to my daughter’s dance class. I was too busy barking orders and preparing a good breakfast for my girls to make myself anything more than a pitiful slice of toast. I had to take my coffee with me in a thermos to run a million errands while my daughter danced, I found out we need to spend more money on new tights and buy tickets for her first ballet recital in addition to the money we’re already paying for her class and her recital costume. Plus pictures are extra, of course. Ugh.

By the end of an exceptionally long day alone with the kids, I felt like Miss Hannigan from the musical, “Annie”. I was even singing her song “Little Girls” in my head…

“Little girls,
Little girls.
Night and day
I eat, sleep, and breathe them.”

After hubby came home from work, I went upstairs to change the bedsheets (okay, honestly, I went to our room just to be alone) and all I saw was an overwhelming mess that screamed “mother of little girls”. Whether it was the laundry piled high (both clean and dirty), the random toys that made it into our room, or the forgotten books strewn here and there, or the millions of plastic ball pit balls, I just couldn’t take it anymore! As I cleaned, I thought,

“I’d have cracked
Years ago
If it weren’t for my
Sense of humor”

But oddly enough, I wasn’t finding anything humorous about this messy situation. So maybe I’d already cracked.

Mess=Stress.

My family eventually found me upstairs and hubby helped me clean some things up. I put away the laundry and I returned all the girls’ toys to their rooms (Except those darn, ubiquitous ball pit balls. Those are going straight to the yard sale pile.). I love my kids, but I don’t want their mess to follow me to every room of the house. Something has to be off limits, right?

Sometimes, I miss myself, who I used to be before I had kids. I don’t have time to think, I can’t formulate a coherent thought most of the time because there’s endless chatter/responsibilities/background noise from cartoons, something, All. The. Time. I need peace and quiet periodically, even if it’s just a few minutes in a room with no toys and no laundry to fret over. I’ve given my kids everything I have (I even share my chocolate now!), but they can’t have my room.

Do you have a clean, quiet place to decompress?

The Mediocre Mother

Feeling like a mediocre mother

mediocre mother

I used to think I was mediocre at everything. Remember the movie Napoleon Dynamite? Just like Napoleon, I felt, “I don’t even have any SKILLS!”. Granted, at least I wasn’t quite the dork he was (though my brothers may disagree), but that had no effect on the perception I had of myself.

the mediocre mother

I never had any desire for a specific career, at least not since my dream of becoming a ballerina fizzled around age 7. I wanted to be a mom, and that’s all I could come up with. I always thought maybe I was simply lazy, and settling for the only thing I had a mild propensity for – housekeeping.

I got married and had a baby. And I still felt mediocre. I had another baby and got worse at my housewife job. With two kids, it became harder to keep up with the house, my appearance, my healthy homemade meals. I was doing what I had always wanted to do and I sucked at it. Maybe I was crazy and it wasn’t for me…why did I want this in the first place, I asked myself? Why would I have not one, but TWO kids? Was I nuts? This was hard work and I obviously wasn’t the greatest at this mothering job. I’m neither patient nor organized. I get lazy and discouraged.

Then I realized…I am not lazy (at least not all the time, ha!). Everyone gets discouraged and everyone has their shortcomings. When I want something, though, I go for it. If I am passionate and determined, I’ll do the research, and I’ll give it my best effort. And just because my house is a mess sometimes, or even most of the time, does not mean I am a mediocre mother. I have a laid back approach to motherhood and life, and that’s cool. Some people are way too uptight and stressed all the time. So what’s better, having a messy house, or being stressed to the max about cleaning every nook and cranny?

And since when is devoting your life to the development of small human beings mediocre? My career of choice may not be glamorous, but my daughters know they are loved. I don’t miss a single minute of their day (but oh boy, some days I wish did, though! Haha!). For now, I am their world, and they are mine.

To say I don’t have “skills” is a gross understatement. I may not be skilled in the way that successful professional career women are, but I bet a lot of them can’t bake a pie or knead a loaf of bread, either. As silly as it may sound, those things really do bring me joy, and I hope that if you have a job in the workplace, it gives you joy, too. We all need each other. I need you, the skilled doctor or nurse, when I’m having babies, or the pediatrician, who provides my girls with a health assessment and care when they’re sick. And maybe you don’t necessarily ‘need’ me, but I have services to give as well… I can offer you my friendship, I can make you a meal (if you like flaxseed, beans and spinach), I can be your sounding board because I just love having an adult conversation!

I realized this past week, I’m not mediocre because I can’t perform brain surgery. I’m not lazy because because I don’t have a “career”. My chosen path is challenging, both mentally and physically. My career is my kids, and in 18 years, it will be over. I’ll need to look for a new job. I’ll experience ’empty nest syndrome’.

But my title will always be “Mother” and my kids will always be loved.

dark-pink-heart-hi

Now it’s your turn-

Do you ever feel like you don’t measure up to your own ideals? Tell me in the comments below!