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    Same Mommy, Different Children

    I think D reminds me every day that all children are created differently. In my head, because I had mini, abc was going to be just like her and I was going to be prepared. They are a lot alike but my goodness, they are so different! I think these moments are the ones that I’m constantly reminded that I have two VERY different little girls:

    same parents, different children

    Sleeping

    When I had mini, I was a single mom. We co-slept for pretty much a year and it was fine. I didn’t have to share a bed with anyone besides her and it worked out for us. By 6 months, she was sleeping through the night. Getting her to sleep thru the night was pretty easy–one night I just replaced my boob with her paci and that was it, she stopped waking up. When she was teething, we digressed a bit but she got back on the sleeping all night train pretty easily. Abc is 10 months and she’s not showing signs of ready to stop the nursing all.night.long. At 10 months, she weighs more than mini did at 1 year so I know she can sustain herself all night. But she just doesn’t. This week we’ve started some sleep training–I’m a walking zombie mom.

    Nursing

    I think God was looking out for me when I had mini. He must’ve already known that I was going to have another baby. Mini and I’s nursing relationship was an easy one. She latched immediately, there was no pain, it was easy breezy. Weaning her went easily. Teething was surprisingly easy and she never bit me. I hated pumping and because of my stress levels with life, I didn’t produce enough and I had to supplement towards the end. This go round I have a freezer full of milk that isn’t being used (I’m getting ready to donate it). Abc latched right away but her latch was weird and it hurt pretty badly in the beginning. We fixed the latch and we were good to go. But biting? My. Goodness. She’s drawn blood from my boobs once but none of the tricks work. When she’s cutting teeth, she’s bound to try and bite me. Ugh.

    Eating

    they are indeed good in every sense

    they are indeed good in every sense

    I wanted to make mini’s food so badly but my single mama lifestyle didn’t allow for it. We went the Ella’s Kitchen route. I was comfortable with that because they make healthy, organic foods that have really interesting food combinations. At the time, they didn’t have nearly as many products as they do now but they were pretty great. Mini has a well developed pallet and would pretty much eat any baby food. Abc scoff’s at store bought food. I’ve recently tried to doctor up her store bought food but she’s still not having it. She’s pretty much on 100% table food and is a veggie lover.

    Of course this also begs the question of, how can you stay the same as a parent when your children are so different? I’ve had to change too. Hearing my babies cry still physically hurts me but I’m doing better because I know that it’s important for all of us for abc to be sleeping through the night. I’m fighting for my nursing relationship with abc to extend as along as it did with mini and I think that we’ll be good once she’s gotten her teeth.

    While they do have a lot of differences, I’m blessed beyond belief because they are both happy girls. They both love to smile and laugh and have fun which confirms what I’m doing right because those are the important things.

    Parents of more than one, what differences do you see in your babes? How has this caused you to change your parenting?

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    #SheaItAintSo #Giveaway Winner!!!

    We have a winner!!!!

    Ms. Tamika Robertson!!!!

    Tamika will be receiving the Shea It Ain’t So Gift Basket accompanied by an Amazon Giftcard.

    Two additional people will win a far of the whipped butter as well!

    Thank you to all who entered, shared, tweeted, and got the word out both about the giveaway and my site!

     

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    Friday Fitness Fix: What’s Your Motivation?

    Yesterday morning’s walk was amazing and really what I needed. I really feel closest to God when I’m in nature. As I was self-consciously pulling at my sweat-laden clothes, my mind began to wonder to how I lost my weight after having mini.

    Misery. Depression. Desperation. Despair.

    Sounds awfully inspiring right? Well for me it was. When I moved back to Atlanta after having her, there were a lot of emotions and most of them were negative. I was sad. Being a single mom is hard and it can be extremely lonely. I wasn’t ALONE but sometimes I felt lonely. I was living a life that I’d never planned so it was all just kind of happening. I was depressed about some personal things. I was struggling financially (I mean, who isn’t honestly). And all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry a lot of the times.

    But I had my little girl. I had my reason to live and push forward and I couldn’t let her see me down. So I ran. Every morning I would just get up and run. 1 mile became 2 and 2 became 4 and before I knew it, I was using my sadness to train for a half marathon. When I would hit the pavement, I would cry tears of sweat. I would emote with every stride. My heart would release the pain every mile under my feet. And then when I returned home, I was happy.

    Doesn't matter what you motivation is. Just make sure you have your why.

    Not only did I have a sense of accomplishment because I had done something healthy to start the day, but I had something to show for it. Sixty pounds later, I was in a totally different place in life than I had been when I started. I was happy.

    Happy me lacks the discipline that sad me had. Happy me likes to eat. Happy me doesn’t have tears of desperation. Happy me found the man of my dreams. Happy me got married. Happy me created the family that both mini and I wanted. Happy me got fat. And although I’m still happy with my life (ecstatic really), I’m not the happiest with the me I see in the mirror.

    As I was walking, I realized what my motivation was now. To be happy……with ME. Not just period. But really to be able to look at myself at whatever size, shape, etc. and just be happy. The body of a mother of two will not be that of the body of a mom of one or a birth mom of none. Just like although I’m putting in the work, it may not reflect as quickly as I would like it to (I still can’t understand why it’s not possible for me to drop a pants size in a day). But I need to see the beauty in the work that I’m putting in, the beauty in the work that my body has done, and be happy with that. Happiness with myself is my motivation. That and fitting into my panties.

    So what’s your motivation? 

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    Throwback Post: lessons in parenthood – live in the moment

    Some of you may remember that I had a blog called “The Mommy Memoirs” from when I had mini. This was originally posted 3 years ago on that blog:


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    i have a messy room. dirty laundry. more work than can be thought of. and a happy child.

    today i was at work for literally 11 hours. i’ve been up since 4:30am. i’m exhausted and have so much to do that it’s mind blowing. but in all honesty, none of that matters too much. dirty laundry will still be there. my room will still be messy. work will still need to get done. but my child? well, she deserves me in the now.

    not that i didn’t know this before, but being a single parent can get overwhelming. stress about money, chores, bills, work, and child rearing can all lead to feelings of a failed superwoman. but just as i thought i was going to explode today, one of my team members brought their baby in. he’s only a couple weeks old and so small but in the moment that i held him, it was as if mini was just born.

    she’s a year and a half and hasn’t been his size for some time but it hit me then just how fast all of this has happened. my little baby k grew into my mini in what feels like overnight. i remember thinking that i couldn’t wait until she would stay awake longer, or roll over, or crawl, or eat real food, or walk. i always enjoyed her in the moment but couldn’t wait to get to the next one. but these moments go by so fast that i’m grasping at whispers of memories. memories of that first smile. or the first time i made her laugh. or the first time i felt like the worst mother ever. or how i cried my eyes out the first time she fell.

    tonight we danced to al green as dinner was being made. she let me hold her and we slow danced. she sang with me. we giggled as if sharing a private joke. i breathed her in and just enjoyed the moment that we were in.

    as parents, the next stage in our children’s lives are so exciting that we eagerly anticipate them instead of just enjoying the stage they’re in. the everyday laughters, cries, bickers, and snuggles are what make parenthood the joy that it is. those everyday moments make the lifetime worth living.

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    Recipe: Quick Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

    Since I’ve made my first meal in my pressure cooker, I haven’t stopped using it. I LOVE this thing.

    As I’m working on losing weight and returning to healthy eating, I’m trying to make sure that my recipes are in line with my goals. This recipe is super easy and delicious–everyone certainly enjoyed this dinner. When I buy my meat, I split it up into freezer bags so I started out with frozen chicken.

    Without further adieu, here is the delicious (and super easy) recipe:

    Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

     

    As a side, I made some 3 cheese ravioli which really set the meal off.

    yum.e.

    yum.e.

    What are some of your favorite recipes?

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    7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Habits 1 & 2

    When beginning this book and training, one of the main questions that I had was “How can I be more effective?” This is a loaded question since I have so many roles and areas that I want to be effective in. Covey defines effectiveness as “getting the same results you want over and over again.” Yes. Yes. This is EXACTLY what I want!

    In order to achieve this, two things have to be accomplished:

    1. Moved from dependence to independence.
    2. Assess your paradigm

    In order to do both of these things, you have to establish effective habits. As you become more effective, you become interdependent–you work well with others. So how do you move from dependence to independence to interdependence?

    The Maturity Continuum

    Covey's Maturity Continuum

    Covey’s Maturity Continuum

    This is probably my favorite concept within the 7 Habits. When we start out in life, we are dependent on others. We’re babies and totally dependent on another to care for us. As we get older, we gain independence. We can now cook, clean, take care of ourselves. This is a good thing as independence is necessary. But it’s not the best. As we gain more sight and maturity, we see that interdependence is the way to go. With interdependence we learn that it’s often more efficient to share responsibility with others. This is ultimately where we want to be. The first 3 habits get you from dependence to independence. The fourth thru sixth habits get you from independence to interdependence. The seventh habit keeps you there.

     

     

    Assess Your Paradigms

    The See-Do-Get Cycle

    The See-Do-Get Cycle

    A paradigm is how you and understand the world. Essentially, it’s a mental map. In order to practice effective habits, you need to adopt paradigms based on principle of effectiveness. How we see things affects what we do which affects what we get. If we alter how we view things, then that can change how we do things, ultimately changing what we results we get.

     

    Habit #1: Be Proactive

    Common paradigm: You’re responsible for my happiness.

    Highly effective paradigm: I’m responsible for my happiness.

    How do you get more control over your life?

    • Pause before you respond.
    • Use proactive language (eg. I can, I choose to, I will get this done, etc.)
    • Focus on your Circle of Influence (Circle of Influence = things that you can control)

    How does this look in parenting?

    I remember when mini started having her temper tantrums. I felt helpless. I didn’t want to spank, talking wasn’t working, I didn’t know what to do. I WISH I had been introduced to these principles at this time. Now at 5, we don’t have those issues but I still employ this habit when she does something inappropriate. Instead of getting upset now, I pause and I’m able to have better control of my responses. I will now count till 5. Sometimes I count for her and sometimes I count for me but it ultimately allows for both of us to get better control of the situation.

    We use proactive language daily in our household. Not only does it show that we, as parents, are responsible for our actions, it’s teaching mini that to be responsible too. When things happen to her at school or she’s acted out, we focus on the things we CAN control and not the things we can’t. When we’re talking about behaviors, we do focus on positive changes that we control and find solutions.

    Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind

    Common paradigm: I just go wherever life takes me.

    Highly effective paradigm: I define my life’s vision and purpose and live by it.

    How can I live with purpose and vision?

    Create and live by a Personal Mission Statement. These can be created for yourself and your family. When coming up with the statement, consider the following questions:

    • Think of a person who has made a positive difference in your life. What qualities does that person have that you would like to develop?
    • What are your natural gifts and talents?
    • What are the 5 things you value most?
    • What are the things in your personal life that make life worth living?
    • Imagine it’s 20 years from now and you’re surrounded by the most important people in your life. What types of things would like to hear them say about you?

    The Personal Mission Statement should be a couple sentences long and you should read it every day. This statement is what guides your thoughts, words, behaviors.

    How does this look in parenting?

    As a mom, here is my Personal Mission Statement:

    I strive to be the best mother that I can be. To use my creativity and positivity to better those around me and inspire my children to be the best that they can be.

    When D and I got married, he, mini and I sat down and worked on a Family Mission Statement:

    In all that we do, we want to make each other feel loved, respected and heard. Our home will be filled with laughter, love, honesty, hugs and good food.

    During the tough times of parenting, I go back to my personal mission statement which helps me develop the next steps that I need to take with mini. Developing the Family Mission Statement was fun and it gave mini a sense of pride. She enjoyed being part of our planning session and took the written statement to school for show and tell. When she gets out of line, we go back to our family mission statement and she’s able to tell us whether her actions were in line or not with how she wants to be perceived.

    Employing these habits are the first two steps in getting from a place of dependency to independency. Next week I’ll be covering habits 3-6.

    What do you think of these first 2 habits? How can they be used in your home?

    **This is the last week to enter the giveaway! Do so today!!!**

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    Fitness Fix: Scheduling For Success

    TGIF!!! Yay! We’ve made it another week! *hits my dougie*

    Let’s jump right into it. Most of us don’t just have the time or freedom to just workout whenever we feel like it. I know some people look at me as if I have all the time in the world since leaving the corporate world but the opposite couldn’t be more true. Whereas before I was busy trying to keep up with what was going on with the kids, the hubs, me, and trying to build a business, now I’m in constant “empire building” mode. Always.

    In order to keep up with the many balls that are spinning, I’ve been using my Erin Condren Planner. Just like I plan the hours I’m working, what I’m working on, abc’s naps, errands I need to run, dinners, etc., I also plan in my workouts. I’ve recently decided that for my goals, I need to be hitting cardio as much as I possibly can. In my head, I can do cardio pretty much anywhere and I’m paying for a gym membership sooooooo I have decided to take the classes. My gym offers the most awesome classes–as they should since i pay a pretty penny.

    My Erin Condren planner filled out with all my plans

    My Erin Condren planner filled out with all my plans

    One of the things that can be a monkey wrench in my plans is the infant reservations at the gym. Pre-planning my week of workouts makes it so I can make the proper reservations and my workouts can happen.

    It’s Friday and I can say that I’ve made it to all my classes–even the one I was late for courtesy of a nap that took over my entire afternoon lol!

    Also, I posted this picture on my FB group and IG:

    weight loss tracker

    my weight loss tracker

    There were a couple of people that were interested in sharing there’s and possibly doing check-ins. I’m all for accountability! If you would like to share with me and don’t mind sharing with others who read here, feel free to send me a picture of your weight loss tracker. I’ll post it here so that we can celebrate your success and hear about what’s working for you!

    Again, Happy Friday and don’t forget to plan for your weight loss success!

    **If you haven’t entered the giveaway, there’s still time! Click here to enter today!**

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    Dear Husband: I Need You

    husband21It’s amazing the moments that make you realize the goldmine that you have in your spouse.

    Vacation is what has done it for me.

    See, I have a husband that LOVES being married and LOVES being a father with all that it comes with. We have a very balanced relationship. As in if the baby is screaming and doesn’t want me, he comes over and trades a glass of wine for the baby without prompting. Being married to my husband has spoiled me insanely. I love it but when he’s not with me, it’s me that’s crying!

    As wives, there are definitely certain times that we want our husbands <insert adult time>. But there’s also those times that we NEED them as well. These are those times:

    We Need You To Hold Us During Tough Times

    A tough time can be anything from the baby screaming all night to a rough day at work to her having issues with someone else. As baby abc screamed her head off for hours, not only did I need my husband to take her so that he could rock her to sleep, but I needed him to hold me after she went down. Being a mother and wife is tiring. I wouldn’t change my roles for anything in the world but I need my husband to balance me. I’m strong. But I’m not a rock as I have feelings an emotions. When my babies scream and cry and hurt, it hurts me. It drains me to hear them cry. My husband helps me to re-fill my well so I’m able to give more of myself to all of them. His hugs and snuggles give me that moment I need to shield myself from the elements of the world so I can re-attack them with fervor and a smile. All of us wives need this moment with our spouses.

    We Need To Laugh With You

    It’s funny, whenever I have the kids and he’s not around, the first thing I want to do is call him to laugh about something that they had done. I remember mini crying to me about something that was incredibly important to her in the moment and then she farted. I could not keep it together and I burst out laughing. Naturally she laughed as well since we’re nothing but a bunch of goofballs but that night D and I laughed for at least an hour about that! Laughing is my favorite thing to do with him. It’s not just wives that need these moments of laughter, spouses do too. No woman wants to feel like the wife Kevin Hart described as a fun-hater. And truthfully, no husband wants to feel that way about their wife. Laughter brings people closer.

    We Need To Be Able to Do Nothing

    The first “I miss you” text I sent to my husband said, “Babe, I miss sitting and doing nothing with you.” Yes, we sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing together. Sometimes the TV is on. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes I’m writing. Sometimes we’re both staring into space. Sometimes we’re both on our phones. Pretty much every evening there’s at lease 30min-1hour that we don’t talk, we just exist in each other’s space. Not having to constantly be “on” is such an intimacy builder. Knowing that I don’t always have to have something witty to say (which is rare) or cater to some conversation when I’d rather be silently destressing from the day is so comforting.

    We Need You To Be What We Aren’t

    I am an action-oriented go-getter. Once my mind is set on doing something, it takes a lot to make me stop. I’m what my friends consider more hippie like. I’m adaptable. I’m passionate. And my husband isn’t quite all of these things. He isn’t a big risk-taker–he calculates his moves. He moves slower than I do and will often take longer to get to his destination. He’s grounded and mellow–until upset. We balance each other out so well as individuals and this is evident in our parenting as well. Mini is so much like me that together we can often spontaneously combust. D can see the signs of this before they happen and is good at taking her to the park, to play a game or dance it out before I lose all my patience. Same thing with the baby. Sometimes I don’t see that my patience is waning and he does. Without me having to ask, he’ll rock the baby to sleep or take her for a walk or sit and play with her while I have some time to unwind my nerves.

    We Need You To Enjoy Your Roles With Us

    b2d2cbd28dc1751582fb001a6cb2b0c3This is a major “need”. D and I often joke about how we’re happy that neither of us feels as though we have a ball and chain now that we’re married. So often you hear men talk ill of their marriages or they don’t rush home to be with their families. This isn’t us. And no spouse wants to feel like this is what their marriage is. We need you to enjoy your role as our spouse. We want you to want to be with us because you enjoy what we have. And the same goes for fatherhood. Get rid of the mentality that you babysit your children. They’re yours. You can’t babysit them! I’ve not met a father my age that enjoys his role as a father as much as D does. He loves mini and abc so much and loves everything about his role with them. He’s at ballet recitals, school performances, graduations, first days, last days. He gets up without complaint to rock abc to sleep, changes diapers without being asked, does 3am Tylenol runs happily.

    I’m blessed to have a husband that loves me the way he does. But I’m not the only one who has needs as a wife.

    What other “needs” do you have of your spouse? 

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    7 Habits of Highly Effective People–Parent Edition

    7H_word_cloud

    Before leaving my job, I took a couple of trainings on Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. I know it’s dramatic, but in the midst of my first training I thought the principles were life changing. I’d been exposed to the book and the principles behind them on many occasions but the training delved way deeper into the habits and how to apply them. As I sat in training, I began thinking about how I’d already been applying them as a mother.

    In the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting in a series on how Covey’s 7 Habits can be adapted to parenthood. Just to begin, here are the 7 Habits that Covey defines:

    Practice 1: Be Proactive

    Practice 2: Begin With the End in Mind

    Practice 3: Put First Things First

    Practice 4: Think Win-Win

    Practice 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

    Practice 6: Synergize

    Practice 7: Sharpen the Saw

    2c310bcCovey actually developed a “7 Habits of Highly Effective Families” that are based off these original principles. I haven’t had a chance to read these yet and there’s a chance that I may not. But I think that it’s incredibly important for the adults of the family to be well-versed in effectiveness and efficiency. This not only positively affects the family overall, but it really helps us as parents.

    There have been many nights that I went to bed thinking of the things that I wish I had gotten accomplished or things I could have done differently or just lacking a level of satisfaction with the productivity that I’d had as a mother. As parents, when we feel good about ourselves and the days that we’ve had, we make better parents, spouses, people.

    As much as I love Stephen Covey and the Franklin-Covey company, I’m in no way affiliated with them. They’ve not endorsed me reviewing this or the practical application that I plan on sharing here. I just love the program and think that many of us can parent from Covey’s principles! So with that being said, this is the introduction to a multi-part series that will be taking place on Monday’s. The purpose behind this is so that we as parents can feel better and productive in our roles as mother/father, wife/husband, employee/boss, etc.

    **Don’t forget the #SheaItAintSo GIVEAWAY is still going on!!! Make sure you enter today!**

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