Letting Go

If you know me personally or spent even just thirty seconds scrolling through my Instagram you know that my kids are my everything. Some may think parenting doesn’t change you but from experience I can say it does. My experiences may have changed me a little more and or differently then others but I can guarantee you I’ve changed.  With all the beautiful things that motherhood brings I got the don’t have time for anyone’s crap attitude, cause really life is to short to play games, and the protective and comforting qualities to a severe degree. Again maybe the severity of these qualities came from having Brayden, my first born, be diagnosed with a heart condition before I even got to meet him followed by his years of treatment then having Makayla, my second born, be diagnosed with a heart condition after birth.  Regardless of any parents personal story I believe to some degree there is the feeling to want to protect their children when they are born but its the as they grow older part that I am personally struggling with.

Throughout both of my children’s lives I have been there.  I have been to every doctors appointment, sports practice, school function, I am the first person they see in the morning and the last person they see before they go to bed. I try to support them building friendships and in turn have built my own. I have been there for every boo boo that needed to be kissed and every no reason just because belly laugh. Now suddenly I feel that part of this is being ripped from me.

The reality is we can’t stop them from growing up.  With every day that passes they are learning a little more, growing a little taller, and hopefully showing signs of becoming all you know they can be. My reality is hurting my heart.  Not because they are bad kids but because they are growing up and I as their mother am not ready.  That protective quality I talked about in the beginning is hindering my excitement for my kids and for myself.  Brayden whose future was uncertain at one point is starting kindergarten and Makayla who has been with me everyday since birth is starting preschool and I for the first time ever will have a couple of hours in the mornings by myself to have peace and quiet, but I think thats what scares me the most, peace and quiet. They have become such a part of me that time alone on a daily basis seems scary. Actually no, what scares me the most is giving up control, dropping them off everyday at school and not knowing what they are doing, how they are feeling, if they need to be comforted – cue protective instincts – not being in control and being able to protect them not only scares but hurts me.  

I don’t think I realized how much all of this was bothering me until Brayden’s first football practice the other night. It being his first football practice ever I knew he would need help figuring out the exercises but it wasn’t until a coach grabbed him and put him back in line that I realized how much having those protective instincts can hurt. It was my almost ready to jump out of my chair body reaction that made my husband turn to me and say “you need to let him go”.  I don’t know how those words felt coming out of his mouth but hearing them was like having my ears stabbed with knives repeatedly but it was then that I realized everything in this post.  

So where to go from here? When you realize your issues it should be easy to address them right? Well almost 6 years of protective mommy mode will definitely not go away over night or ever entirely and the idea of letting go is one I’m continuing to work through. What I do know is my kids are growing up and I can’t stop that nor would I want to so I need to learn to accept that I can’t control every situation. I need to focus on what I can control and that is teaching them things at home that will help them be able to navigate situations on their own as they continue to grow.

Find your strength,

Brittany 

My 5 Latest Obsessions!

1. Starbucks Tumbler

I was at the Starbucks in our grocery store the other day and this new pink tumbler totally caught my eye! Not ready to make the splurge I didn’t get it and thought about it all night so the next day I got one! Not a pink one since I decided it’s nice to be able to see how much is left in the cup. I got it filled for the first time and Oh My Gosh I am in love😍 If you’re an avid frappuccino drinker you know that the cup sweats as it melts and can make a mess and be annoying well with the tumbler this didn’t happen! Even while I was sitting at the park in the 105 degree weather my cup stayed cold but also dry – amazing!! I’m so glad I made the splurge! Head to your local Starbucks to check out the available designs and get a ten cent discount every time you use your cup!



2. Sweet Ava’s Paper

This ones for my planner girls! I have been ordering from Sweet Ava’s Paper on Etsy since October of 2016 and here’s why I’ve stayed a customer: 

  • Great original designs with the cutest brown haired girl named Ava (lots of other great characters too)
  • The colors are so vibrant and really pop in your planner
  • Always has a discount code for her Instagram followers ( @sweetavaspaper)
  • Quick shipping and super cute packaging

These are just a few reasons why I love this sticker shop. If you don’t use a Happy Planner or an equivalent but want fun stickers to use on a family calendar on the fridge definitely check out Sweet Ava’s Paper, place your first order and trust me you will be hooked!

Some of my favorites!

3. Sally Hansen Diamond Strength French Manicure Pen Kit

I’ve been neglecting my nails since we got to Arizona since I was constantly opening boxes and knew they would get ruined. Now that the unpacking is basically done I really wanted to give my nails a good French manicure but there was one problem, my nail polish was still in Pennsylvania. So I drug the kids along to Target, as if thats hard to do since they’re obsessed, to find a kit and to my surprise the only French manicure kit with everything needed for the perfect manicure was the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Kit. I’m not going to lie I was hesitant because instead of a white nail polish bottle for the tips it included a French Manicure White Tip Pen.  I’ve never used the tip pen before but since the whole kit was only $9.99 I figured I’d give it a try. I did my nails last night and let me tell you the White Tip Pen is awesome! The instructions say to roll the pen along your tip but I did a dab method which worked really well. There are tip guides included if you arent comfortable doing the tips free hand. If you’re ready to conquer a French manicure by yourself this is the kit for you!

4. Cinnamon Roll Waffles

I was looking for some fun but easy 4th of July treats to make with my kiddos so I went to my Pinterest page to check out the boards I had created, you know the random things you pin then never look at again. Anyways on one of my food boards I saw Cinnabon waffles and they looked so easy I had to try it! All you need is a waffle iron and a tube of cinnamon rolls with the icing, preheat your waffle iron and separate all the cinnamon rolls from eachother.  Once the iron is ready place one cinnamon roll on each corner of the iron, close the iron and wait until it’s done and then take each corner off of the iron. Lather it up with some icing, which you don’t need to heat up because it melts as soon as it hits the warm waffle! They were so quick and easy to make that I can see this as a good school morning option to switch up breakfast. The only downside is you may need a few tubes of cinnamon rolls depending how many people you need to feed but if you get the store brand its still a really cheap option.




5. Outdaughtered
 

One night this week I was scanning the tv at night looking for something to watch and as typical summer tv schedules there was nothing so I clicked on TLC and instantly got hooked on the show “OutDaughtered”. Adam and Danielle are so normal and real that it’s enjoying to watch plus their girls are adorable! You get to go through their ups and downs with them and even though I only have two kids there are certain conversations between them that are so similar to conversations I have with my husband. If you are looking for a good real show head on over to TLC on Tuesday nights and hang out with the Bugsby’s!! 


If you already love or try out some of these obsessions let me know!

Happy Sunday!

Brittany

One Month In

So there’s all these weird superstitions revolving the number 13, the most common one being when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday, you know the dreaded Friday the 13th?  The 13th of the month has a whole new meaning to our family significant to our new journey in Arizona.  Yesterday being the 13th marked one month since the kids and I got on a plane and arrived in our new home but it also marked four months since my husband started his job here. It’s hard to believe we’ve only been together again as a family for a month but I guess no matter how long you are apart if you really are family it will always automatically be right again.  Don’t mistake that for its been easy because transitions like this with young children are hard.  It has been and is still at times hard for them to accept that I am not the only one that can help them.  They relied soley on me for 95 days, give or take the few days daddy was home here and there, so the adjustment back to having two parents being able to do things for them is hard.  The most difficult time for this is bedtime. We had such a routine about how shower, pjs, teeth brushing, story time, and getting tucked in went that trying to add in the second parent was something neither of them were willing to accept, if it wasn’t mommy doing it then it wasn’t happening. It seems that having daddy help certain nights doing certain things works for them so if thats what makes nighttime not so stressful we will go with it plus I love reading to them at night even if I know the books by heart.

For the first time on Wednesday I actually felt like this was home. Dying to know why? My daughter had dance class. Its kind of crazy right that after a month its taken a simple dance class to make Arizona feel even remotely close to home. Even after registering my son for kindergarten and my daughter for preschool and doing dance and football registration, having my grocery store and don’t forget Starbucks of choice and the Walmart I favor and I of course had to find the closest Michael’s which is conveniently smack dab between a Target and a Starbucks (thank you shopping Gods) it still just didn’t feel like home. Maybe because the last month has been filled with unpacking, having no schedule and not knowing anyone that the lack of emotional attachment to this new place we call home just wasn’t there. But Wednesday when I got her dressed for dance class and we got in the car and pulled into the studio parking lot and I put her ballet shoes on and she went into class like she knew exactly what she was doing did it finally seem real.  She walked in with such confidence like this new studio and teacher and classmates weren’t going to stop her from doing what she loves and this is why having kids is so amazing.  It took my 3 year old to show me that this new place doesn’t change anything.  It doesn’t change the things we love or our ability to do them we just have to be open and adjust to this new adventure. Boy was she open, she kicked butt in class and I’m so proud and thankful for the confidence she is able to radiate, my star in the making.  Of course the no family thing is hard but as we start planning our first trip home and we continue to FaceTime with those who are making the effort to stay active in our lives I know that we will see eachother again and be able to embrace the time we have together.   


As we put this first month behind us we have so many things to look forward to. Football practice starts in nearly two weeks followed by school starting just a week later. We get to do fun things like school shop and open house night at school and get the family pictures taken I’ve been secretly dying for since we made the decision to move.  I know as time goes on things will get easier and hopefully this new place we consider home will truly start to feel like it.

Stay confident and kick butt,

Brittany 

The Stay at Home Mom Stereotype

I need to take a minute to discuss the stigma/stereotype behind being a stay at home mom…


Quite frankly I’m sick of people asking what I do and when I say I’m a stay at home mom get this look of almost disgust. Now a days you hear great things about working mothers and they get all this praise because they work all day and take care of their family at night. This praise is rightly deserved as I’ve briefly been a working mom and I understand how hard it is to juggle it all. Now as a stay at home mom it so frustrates me that some how me staying with my children and taking care of my home has been so glorified that its not seen as a job. I may not get up and go to a 9 to 5 job but I can guarantee you I don’t spend my day sitting on the couch watching tv, going to the nail salon for a fresh mani and pedi, and having lunch everyday with my girlfriends.  Everyday I get woken up by my little bosses voices already making their demands. These little bosses don’t care if I need to pee or have to change out the laundry they want their juice when they want it and they don’t want excuses as to why they cant have it immediately. So as a stay at home mom not only are you acting as servant but you’re also the cook, the dishwasher, the cleaning service, the laundry service, the personal shopper, the taxi driver, the referee and most importantly the teacher and caregiver. Does it sound like a lot now? 

People wonder why I have my planner and believe in it so much and it’s because setting goals for yourself even when being a stay at home mom is so important. How am I going to get anything accomplished if I don’t have a plan? It is so easy to get sidetracked when you are constantly being asked for something or just simply being followed around that knowing what you want to get done keeps your day moving forward in a way that you ‘should’ feel accomplished when its over.

Planning aside its not easy.  The other day in one of my mommy Facebook groups a mom asked if any stay at home moms resent their husbands? I have nothing to hide since its a conversation my husband and I have had before and yes there are the occasional days where I resent that he gets to go have adult relationships and he can stop for his morning coffee without having kids in the back yelling that they want their own frappuccinos, yes I’ve created mini Starbucks addicts. On those days my husband likes to tell me that those adults he deals with act like children so really it’s the same.  I have to be honest and say its not because you arent wiping those kids asses, maybe kissing them but not wiping them (insert giggle). Sometimes the longing for adult interaction can leave you feeling lonely and sad, I cant wait for sports and school to start so we all can start meeting people in our new state. 

Not only does my husband get that adult interaction but he also gets to leave his job! He may get the occasional email which warrants a quick reply but as a stay at home mom my job never ends. Even after the kids are asleep I still usually have to pick up toys or wash dishes and make my husband lunch, the job is never over.

Another thing that frustrates me about the perception of stay at home moms is this expectation that everything should always be perfect. Like what makes anyone think that staying home with children ALL DAY will result in a perfectly clean home? I will never forget one of my fellow Heart mommies saying “I have kids and my house is lived in” which was in response to a negative comment about her home not being perfect. That’s the thing people forget we are home with our kids and we are living! We are playing games and doing crafts and occasionally mommy gets daring and tries to bake something cool, yes we have household chores but we also play entertainer most of the day and sometimes cuddling with your babes and having movie day is what everyone needs. 

In reference to cleaning today I had written in my planner that I wanted to; finish organizing the playroom, clean the floors and the bathrooms, and finish laundry plus whatever school worksheets I picked out from the kids workbooks.  I spent the morning with the kids and doing some laundry and then after lunch I started my tasks. It took me 5 and a half hours to do the playroom, bathrooms and downstairs floors because I got asked for juice 4 times, a snack 4 times, had to break up 6 fights, change the tv channel 3 times, wipe 1 butt, pick up toys I already put away twice and ignore the door bell because I was in the middle of Swiffer Wetjetting my floors and I just didn’t have time to deal with anyone. By the time I was done my husband was walking through the door I had to start dinner and never made it to the kids workbooks. Luckily this was a day where I didn’t need to run errands because then I would have been lucky if half of this got accomplished. Adding in 2 different school drop off and pick up locations and times and the kids dance and football schedules will have these tasks I accomplished in one day feel impossible in three weeks when chaos ensues. So for those thinking houses with stay at home moms should always be perfect need to reevaluate what actually has to be dealt with besides the cleaning itself and remember our kids are living and making memories.

And here’s another thing, at work when you do a good job you usually get acknowledged maybe by an email or in a meeting and on those special occasions recieve an award at an event and heck even sometimes its with a raise! That acknowledgment is good motivation to pump you up and keep you going strong and focused on doing a good job. All I want is for my kids to realize I cleaned all day and that when I ask them to pick up their toys before bed that the world isn’t going to end and mommy is just trying to make sure they have a clean place to play tomorrow – appreciation. Or how about instead of fighting with me over what I made for dinner (which you had no problem eating two weeks ago) you say thank you and just eat it – appreciation. It’s not hard to say thank you and give your wife a kiss on those days when you do walk in to a sparkly clean house. If you really want to blow her away surprise her with flowers or her favorite pastry and drink just because – appreciation. Feeling appreciated as a stay at home mom really is a feeling equal to getting a raise, especially when it’s a thank you from your child accompanied by a hug.

To be clear I love being able to be home with my kids and being able to be the one to teach them things like manners and to watch them grow a little bit everyday. I am blessed to have such a hardworking husband that I get to be in the position where I can drop off and pick up my kids from school and to be able to take them to their activities without having to worry about a work schedule. I love those days where we can get out of the house and go on fun adventures and make new memories. So yes being a stay at home mom has its perks but don’t think its a stress free easy life because I am here to tell you that glamourous perception you conjured up is wrong.

Keep it real,

– Brittany

PS – think before you speak 😳 


Never Underestimate a Little Human

So it’s Saturday night which meant a movie and pizza for the kids and I. It’s unbelievable that with all the DVD’s we own, Netflix and On Demand the kids (and I) could not come to an agreement on a movie. Like seriously 20 minutes of back and forth because Brayden wanted to watch Hop and Makayla wanted to watch every Disney Princess movie we own. Finally as I was 2 seconds short of saying “forget it no movie” I went into the kids DVD bin and found The Peanuts Movie still wrapped in cellophane from Christmas. Finally we had an agreement and better yet it was a movie none of us had seen.

With our pizza and drinks on the coffee table we started the movie and to be honest about 10 minutes in I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end.  I am happy to say it did get better. Brayden (5) sat through the whole thing while Makayla (2) was watching while bouncing around on the couch and demanding more pink lemonade. After awhile we made it to the part where Charlie Brown sees his crush practicing dancing in her window and to impress her he goes home to learn how to dance for the winter dance at school. The kids enjoyed the dancing but they really enjoyed the song. Then the winter dance scene finally comes on and the song plays again, “Better When I’m Dancin'” by Meghan Trainor. It is really upbeat and catchy and the kids loved it, Makayla was even up dancing!

As the movie continues you see all the disappointments Charlie Brown goes through it’s like nothing ever goes his way but then finally at the end of the movie he has success; he flies the kite and talks to his crush. Now as a Mom I’m thinking “aww what a cute ending he finally talked to his little girlfriend and we seriously need to download this song for the car!” So the kids and I went on iTunes and downloaded the song, the kids danced for a little bit and we headed upstairs for bed. As I got Brayden’s toothbrush out I asked if he liked the movie and his response caught me off guard:

Brayden – “I did! Charlie Brown never gave up!”

Me –  “Wow bud your right he didn’t give up, can you tell me what he didn’t give up at?”

Brayden – “Talking to that girl and he flew the kite.”  (5 second pause) “I’m like him I don’t give up.”

Me (with a happy heart) – “You’re right you have never given up.”

We exchanged big smiles and I went about brushing his teeth. You don’t realize just what your 5 year old picks up on until moments like this. For those who don’t know Brayden’s story he has been through a lot. He had heart surgery at 5 months old. A second unheart related surgery at 15 months old. He’s struggled with medical issues from his heart during the winters and this past December had oral surgery. So yes at a mere 5 years of age him recognizing that he doesn’t give up is HUGE for me as a mother. He has been a fighter from the beginning and he is where I have gotten my strength on my weakest days. (I will be writing more on Brayden in the next few weeks during congenital heart defect awareness week.)

So lesson learned don’t underestimate your 5 year old, they may drive you crazy and make you want to pull all of your hair out but they are paying attention. They are paying attention to the journey they are on and all that’s going on around them.

And if you’re ever having one of those rough mommy days listen to this song it’s a good pick me up and bound to get you dancing 🙂

Better When I’m Dancin’ – Meghan Trainor

– Brittany

Trusting the Process

As I sat on the couch verbally pondering over my next post my husband, who is watching the 76ers basketball game, said “trust the process.” After a slight chuckle because it’s the teams motto since they are rebuilding I actually took it into consideration. What does this phrase actually mean? Can it be applied to everyday momhood or more broadly life?

So here’s what I’ve come up with, trusting the process is = to a firm belief in the steps you take to get to an end. Stop and think about that for a second. Are you currently trusting the process?

Yesterday I went and signed my first born up for kindergarten (which I’m still trying to recover from, how can my baby be old enough already!) but the process to get to that final school choice wasn’t easy. All my life I expected my children would go to public school just like I had, but when my husband and I realized what our public elementary school would be we suddenly realized that was not an option and so the process began. Between Googling to find private schools in our area, talking to people who’ve grown up here, and deciding which schools to visit the process was stressful, after all this was going to determine my children’s future. Regardless of the stress I had to believe as a mother that the steps I was taking and the decisions I was making were best for our family. Now at the end of the process I am happy with the decision I’ve made and my son is excited to start kindergarten in the fall.

The more I think about it this concept is common in everyday life. Some days I wake up and the end for me is to just literally make it to the end of the day thanks to my crazy munchkins but some days there are definitely things I want to accomplish and so I make a list of things to do that I believe will get me to those accomplishments, most days it works. So tomorrow morning when you wake up think about what your goal for the day is and what you can do to make that happen. Trust yourself and follow those steps and you may just find happiness at the end of the day because who doesn’t love success?!

And as I finish writing this post the Sixers scored the winning basket with 4.5 seconds left on the clock. I guess they are trusting the process 🙂

Brittany