Mom Hack: A tool or technique that makes some aspect of a moms life easier or more efficient.
Being a mom is hard, like really hard! It’s chaotic and stressful at times. We do it all- from laundry to balancing multiple schedules. We’ve joined in on our girls Arin and Navy’s summer blog series. Today we’re sharing some of our best “mom hacks” that help make this crazy life a little easier.
You might be thinking what is capsule wardrobe-ish girl, I have to get my bags packed stat. My goal is to give a guide that you can pull from your current wardrobe, add in a few “on trend” pieces and not over pack!
I am not a fan of checking luggage and will try very had to pack everything into one carry on bag. If you are planning a longer trip or are a major shoe lover you might need to check that big bag!
A few quick things to think about before you start packing…
Going to dinner with kids can be challenging unless you are ready entertain the kids at a restaurant without electronics. There is nothing I hate more than seeing an entire table with their phones in front of their faces ( adults or toddlers ).
10 ideas to entertain any kid
Ahhh I am so happy to be moving forward with this fun series. We are working to bring all moms together by featuring working moms and stay at home moms. Each mom will have a chance to give us a glimpse into her life! You can see our first working mom post here, by Lindsay (me).
Onto the good stuff… also I might be slightly biased since Erin is one of my besties! I immediately knew I had to ask her to help with this series!
Introduce yourself mama!
My name is Erin and I’m a 35 year old former workaholic who decided to become a stay at home mom to my 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter after the birth of my baby girl. I’m married to my hilarious husband whom I’ve known since the 3rd grade, been together with for twenty years (yes…twenty) and married to for almost ten! He is the cause of all of my laugh lines and the best Dad to our little ones.
What do you do ?
I was a full time working Mom with a wonderful job in Medical Sales until my daughter was born. Now, I spend my days chasing my wild and crazy daughter who is covered in stains and constantly has hair in her face while trying to answer questions from my son about where EXACTLY dinosaurs are now…(if anyone has a better answer than dinosaur heaven, please let me know). I make car trips to and from school and work with my daughter on the things I remember my son learned at daycare; letters, numbers, colors and ABC’s while trying teach them both what it means to share and be kind. I take care of all things laundry, cleaning and shopping for everyone and on the craziest days, I try to stop what I’m doing and get down on the floor to play for a while because I know these days go by way too fast and I’m utterly grateful to be at home.
Why did you choose to stay home ?
I started working in the real world a week after college graduation and had been until I decided to stay home. That was always my goal at some point so I wanted to work super hard and get to a point where I had the choice on what I wanted to do, financially and professionally. My Mom stayed home and some of my fondest childhood memories are of being with her and my three sisters. When my son was born, going back was super hard but we were not in a place financially where I could stay home just yet so my son started daycare right away and I went off to work. I loved my job, which made it easier, but I longed to be home with him.
My husband and I have struggled for years with infertility and we longed for another baby not long after our son was born. After over a year of pure hell, constant rejection and more tears than I can quantify, we FINALLY got the news we were waiting for and found out our daughter was on the way. We were elated and talk of going part time became the topic of conversation. That was the original plan, however, my boss that approved me cutting back ended up leaving and my new manager (whom I had never met) told me a mere two days before my leave was up that part time was no longer an option. My husband and I talked about options and he made a beautiful spreadsheet (which he loves doing) of finances, costs of daycare, cost of preschool (which our son could go to if we pulled him from daycare), etc. We figured out we could do it but he left it up to me. Of course there would be some changes but none that to me seemed a bigger deal than achieving what I wanted which was staying home with my kids that we went through so much to get here.
Anything you don’t love about staying home?
To go from a job where I was in outside sales and did NOTHING but talk to people ALL DAY LONG, it was certainly an adjustment to being completely on my own with my littles. Even daycare dropoff and pickups were fun because some of our closest friends went to the same place so I’d get to see friends all the time! I’d say that there are days where you can feel lonely and miss adult interaction!
What is a tip for a first time stay at home mom?
If you are coming from a fast paced working world, know that it is an adjustment! I remember my sister telling me that at times, it is a very thankless job, but try to remember that what you’re doing is super important even though it won’t always feel that way. At work I was told what a great job I was doing, I won awards and got bonuses…clearly at home that is not going to happen so you can have moments of self doubt wondering if you’re doing the best you can do but know that you are and reach out if you need help.
What is a perk of being a stay at home mom ?
Being able to witness my daughter’s firsts (first time rolling over, first words, etc) at the very moment it happened was and is incredibly special to me. The other day I was singing the ABC’s and out of nowhere, she sang along and finished them on her own to my surprise and I realized that I taught her that! Also, I would say that anytime my kids are sick and knowing that I can keep them home and not have to worry about calling their grandparents at 7 AM for help is a huge bonus. I hated ever leaving them when they didn’t feel well but as all working Moms know, there are days where you have to work and can’t get out of it.
How do you balance Mommin’ and running a home?
When you stay home, schedules are super important not just for your kids, but, for Mom’s sanity! It can also be very hard to get things done with the kids running crazy and there are certainly days where I wish I got more accomplished but I had to make a last minute run to the Pediatrician’s office or some other distraction that throws a wrench in my daily ‘To Do’ list. I have learned to roll with the punches and do the best I can. I try really hard to be present with them and even though repeating myself 1,000 times a day is exhausting, there are moments I catch between my two where they share or say ‘I love you’ to each other without me prompting and it makes me feel like MAYBE they do listen to me.
What would you say to a Mom trying to decide if she wants to go back to work or not?
Do what is right for you and your family and don’t care what other people think or say about your decision! Co-workers of mine were shocked I made the decision to stay home and said I would go out of my mind but I can pleasantly say that I really do love it and am cherishing this time at home! I plan to go back to work one day but for now, I’m soaking up every once of it!
Is your house clean?
Honestly it depends on the time of day! I am a bit of a neat freak but while the kids are playing, all bets are off. I do make them pick up before lunch and dinnertime. I kind of thought it was a win when my son complained the other night saying, “Mom, why do you ALWAYS make me clean up?” Between all of us, the house is fairly picked up at night. It makes me feel less stressed in the morning if I walk into a clean kitchen! (Erin is the house still clean after all of our kids are playing in the basement, need 15 drinks, and 75 suckers?!)
What is the most annoying/funny thing someone has said to you about staying home?
I was at Target with my daughter while my son was at school one day (he goes a few hours a day three days a week) and ran into someone I knew who had taken the day off to watch her little boy that was sick. She said, “Oh wow this must be all you do (walking around Target) all the time, like every day, right? Must be nice.” Well, I like to think I do more for my kids and family than hit up Target although I would LOVE to go every day and buy everything I want from there but that is not my reality. I think there is sometimes a misconception on both sides that Moms can resent about the other that needs to cease to exist. Do not assume you do more than other moms or know their situation. I’ve been on both sides and BOTH are HARD WORK. Both working moms AND staying at home Moms deserve high fives and support without judgment, ESPECIALLY from other Moms!
What are your top 5 things you want to say to a stay at home Mom?
- On the days where your children are both horribly misbehaving and you look at the at the clock thinking it’s 4:00 PM and it’s 9:30 AM, take a deep breath and get a cup of coffee (you might find it in the microwave) and know that it’s going to be okay.
- Don’t let people make you feel guilty for your decision or like you don’t have goals or are lazy because that is simply not true.
- Enjoy this time. Our kids are only young once and watching them grow is a privilege.
- Make as many Mom friends that stay at home as you can so you can have someone that understands the challenges and is there for you on the longer days.
- Take pride in what you are doing, just like you would working a job outside of the house! You may not be getting awards or bonuses, but you are working very hard to be there with your kids around the clock and I doubt you will ever regret it!
Hope you gals loved reading more about Erin and her adventures at home with her cuties! If you are interested in being part of this series send us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – !
Surprisingly this topic comes up almost weekly and I feel as if I need to defend why I chose to be a working mom.
moms shouldn’t have to defend anything
So after a long day at work this topic was heavy on my heart- why I choose to be a working mom. This particular day included leaving my house at 4:15am to catch an early flight, visiting 3 client sites, an hour drive back to the airport to catch another flight so I could get home just in time to tuck the boys into bed. Wanna know what comes after that – all the same things being a mom includes, laundry, dishes, etc. It wasn’t that I choose to be a working mom, maybe it was I chose to have a career and then chose to get married and then chose to have kids.
So the battle of working mom vs stay at home mom isn’t on my radar, we all have it hard. It is not a battle between us. What feels like a battle is the fight to defend our choice of working or staying home. I went to my trusted sounding board of Instagram stories to rant on the topic. Ladies I was blown away – almost to tears ( which is not my personality ). The feed back and comments blew me away and it was coming from both working and stay at home moms.
This gave me the idea to turn this into a monthly post that we feature a working mom and a stay at home mom. They will each share a little about their family and then answer the same questions.
I want this to be a space where we can celebrate and learn about families that are similar and or different from ours because in the end the ONLY thing that matters is what is right for your family and that phase in your life.
I will quickly admit that it is not always easy. Keeping our house from looking like a frat house. Making sure I don’t fill our weekends with errands. Squeezing in all the love in the few short hours I get with my kids daily. Finding people you trust to take care of them. Schedules on schedules, like Tetris figuring that one out.
On a funny note: this entire post just keeps making me laugh and think “who is your daddy and what does he do” ! Name that movie!
A little about your family: Since I am a clear over-sharer you most likely know more about me than most, but here is my Tinder-ish profile recap. 33 year old mamma married to the most handsome man in Des Peres, Missouri. We just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary and have two of the wildest boys, Cameron 3 and Brooks 2. We love being outside, staying busy (like very busy), parties, drinks / juice boxes, and sneaking in vacations without our kids ha!
What do you do?
I am a “Business Development Manager” for an IT company. It almost makes me sound important with that title on my card, but basically I’m an outside sales rep.
What hours do you work ?
I do not have a set schedule. Just depends on what is going on. Usually its 8-5 ish. Unless I am traveling or have something I need to work on after the kids go to bed. Sales is not a job that you leave behind at 5, ha I think sometimes I have nightmares about customers! A perk to this is some days I can work at home and that means – laundry, dishes, power clean over lunch.
Why did you choose to go back to work?
I am a talker and a natural busy body and think that after being in my career for 5 years before becoming a mom I just couldn’t walk away. I am proud of this little #bossbabe within me. Also, for me taking a few years off and then jumping back in didn’t seem easy. In sales you usually start at the bottom and move up.
What do you love about your job?
I love to feel like I am solving a problem for customers and winning ha! It is in every salesman/woman’s heart to win and chase down a deal. It feels good being able to find a potential client, build a solution for them, and then get a yes (contract)!
Anything you don’t love about being a working mom?
Of course I hate not being able to see everything my kids are doing daily. Sometimes I have to travel and do not get to get the boys from school or tuck them into bed. It can be hard on your heart. I am so lucky for a great husband and family that helps us. Also, thankful for FaceTime! That is my thing, I hate more than anything is being the last parent at pick up or the mom that forgets all the school activities. I forget picture day most of the time, run into traffic, and didn’t buy Valentines till the night before so my boys gave everyone an orange.
What is a tip for a first time mom returning to work?
Girl, take everything one day at a time. Make sure you have amazing childcare setup so you have one less thing to think about. I promise you that your child will not hate you for working. I promise that that one hour you get together before bedtime as a newborn will turn into hours. I promise you that if this isn’t right for your family you will know and you can make a change.
Where are your kids during the day ?
Surprisingly I get asked if my kids are at home with me – no freaking way. My mom watched our boys until they turned one and then we moved them into daycare/pre-school. They each still get one special day a week with her, which is basically like spring break for a toddler – they are spoiled! I know that we are very lucky to have her helping! The next biggest topic surrounding daycare is the COST, holy moly, I could have a mansion on the beach. To us it is totally worth it. They have structure and are learning more than I could teach them!
What a perk of being a working mom?
There are a few, probably one really bratty one that I take advantage of is treating myself to things that are a want more than a need. I’m not really into the fancy things, but my collection of Dr.Scholls sneakers and matching pajamas might be over kill. On a serious side I do really take pride in hoping that one day my boys will understand why I work so hard for them. They have an amazing life, want for nothing, 529 plan started. I also hope that by seeing me work so hard that they have the drive to do the same and chase their goals. Plus – if someday in one million years they are reading this blog they better be good husbands and give their wives the choice to work or stay home!
How do you balance working, mommin and running a home?
My best advice here is to have a plan, but know it won’t always work ha. I’m not the most organized person in the world, but I am pushing myself to try harder in this area. I am a hard core multi-tasker. Kids are finishing dinner – I speed clean the kitchen. Robovac (Roberto) is running 24/7 to clean up. The kids clothes are set out for the week on Sundays – or Mondays if I enjoy 3 margaritas at Sunday family date night. I never work around my kids…if I have things to do then I will get to them after they are in bed. It will not be perfect so don’t stress over it.
What would you say to a mom trying to decide if she wants to go back or not?
Whatever choice that you make today is not your forever choice. If you decide to go back to work and in 6 months decide that you want to stay home then do it. This is just a phase of your life. My sister in law was able to propose to her company moving to 3 days a week and they said yes! Talk about the best of both worlds!
Is your house clean?
Ha I threw this question in because it is funny, but it is real life. Yes-ish, my house is clean, all the main areas are cleaned up. Is my bed made – NO. Is my laundry all put away – NEVER. Some things I strive to keep clean (for my sanity) and others I just know will not happen.
What is the most annoying / funny thing someone has said to you about being a working mom.
Can say my top 50 things? “oh so you have to work ” ….girl, first of all it is my decision to work. It is comments like this that really fueled this post.
What are your top five things you want to say to working moms ?
This is only a short phase of your life and if you need to make a change for your family then do it.
It’s not always going to be perfect ( no ones life is ), so screw having your kids look like Ralph Lauren models at daycare, opt in for a happy hour, shove the pile of laundry to the side.
Ask for help. If you need someone to pick up the kids or need someone to help with a project at work so you can go to your kids activities. We cannot do it all alone.
Don’t worry about what other anyone else says. This is your life and you have got one shot at it. Make your choices and believe in them.
Just because you are holding that mom title doesn’t mean that is all that you are. I love my family more than anything in the world, but sometimes I need to focus on myself.
Next week we will be featuring a stay at home mom!
Christmas time is becoming more and more magical as my boys become a little older. I’d say this year was one of the best! Their ages are 3 and 4.5. Our top movies were Home Alone and the Grinch! Every car ride consisted of listening to the Home Alone soundtrack on repeat! Ernie the elf was a hit once again and no one cried to see Santa! It was all so perfect.
We have decided to start a new monthly post that will always go along with a LIVE on socials! So grab your wine and let’s review all of our favorite things we are loving this month. We wanna hear what your favs are or what you need us to check out!
Let’s face it, life is busy and it’s hard to find time to hit the gym AND eat healthy! Today I am sharing all of my favorite fitness related things! Also, I am not a fitness guru. You can still find me sneaking dino nuggets and wine for dinner some nights!
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