In my mind, I’m the kind of assertive woman that speaks her mind. I’m a good role model for my children and will always stand up for myself, especially in front of them. I ain’t afraid of nobody and will tell them what’s up with all the confidence in the world. In reality? I’m just a really tired lady that thinks of witty comebacks about 45 minutes too late. So instead of telling all of these people what I really think of them in the moment – I’ll just leave these open letters here, and dream of the day they become viral and all the people that need to read them get the message.
Driving down to the cruise terminal, I was excited, anxious, and had a list of things that I was – and was NOT – going to do. Then a wind came by and those rules were GONE with it. So, in the grand traditions of buffets, check out our list of rules, take what you like, and if you don’t end up using it – who cares? You can always come back for more later!
Don’t Think About the Kids
Okay, so we didn’t really think we were going to keep this one, but we just didn’t want our whole trip to be us talking nonstop about our kids. Especially since we are doing this to get a break from them. We love our kids, but it would be nice for the chance to also miss our kids. Which is how two days in I ended up sitting there waiting for Harry Potter Trivia to start scrolling through every picture I’ve ever taken of my kids. And damn, those kids are cute. Looking at those cute little faces, you can almost forget the tantrums, the sass, the specific requests they have for which water cup to use….and then I shut it down, turn back to my friends, and get my trivia on.
Enjoy, But Don’t Over Indulge
One of the best things about a cruise is all that food that I didn’t cook – and don’t have to clean up after. As Moms, we rarely get to scarf down a piece of toast while it’s still warm, so a luxurious 6 course meal is the ultimate in luxury. Which means we ate that way every single night. Thinking a hamburger sounds good while you’re sitting in the jacuzzi? It’s only 100 feet away! Go for it! Need a little chocolate? Oh, there’s a chocolate buffet at noon today! Can’t decide between steak and eggs and Fruit Loop crusted French toast? GET BOTH!
No indulgence is too much, and yes, you and your crew may spend the entire day you get home frantically texting people about how much weight you gained in 72 hours but you won’t get to eat that way for another year, so don’t worry about it!
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2017 was a big year for my family and, to a larger extent, a big year for ME. I called it the Year of Jaymi, and I spent the year finding the best ways to relax, to indulge, and to carve out time for myself. I bullet journaled, I drank fancy coffee, I went on trips with my friends, and I took on two side jobs that helped me to put my unique talents to work in a way that brought more joy to my life. And it was AMAZING.
And also? It was busy. Really, really busy.
So how did I fit those extra jobs, side hustles, and self-care into my slam-packed, childcare and housework filled days? It took planning and mindfulness on a daily basis, but I found that “having it all” was easier than I thought once I started my day off with a fresh routine. And the best part is? You can do it, too. Here’s my tips for starting your day with a BANG. Continue reading “Starting Your Day Like A #MomBoss”
When my husband asks me what’s wrong, there’s about a 97% chance that I’ll say, “I’m just tired.” And God bless him, 61% of the time he responds with, “I got this – go take a nap.” Then, being the tired complainer I am, I get irritated. Because I don’t want to nap when you decide to give me permission! I want to sleep when I want to!
Which isn’t fair. He’s being nice. And I go and be nasty in return. And then it dawned on me, I’m not just tired. I’m exhausted. And it’s a kind of exhaustion that all the sleep in the world won’t solve. Because I’m not tired of not getting sleep. I’m tired of the Mom jobs that I’m saddled with. They aren’t going away anytime soon, so maybe if I vent them out – hear what makes you exhausted – and hide with my tribe for a few minutes, I can slam a cup of coffee, shake it off, and push through.
Until I cry because they’ve all left me for college.
But for now, here’s why I’m tired:
Hi, my name is Jaymi, and I am addicted to caffeine.
I first discovered my problem a few months ago. We ditched the kids and went away to a wedding, and had the best time ever. We were surrounded by people we’ve been friends with for decades, and it was absolutely amazing to get to do all the adult things I wanted, whenever I wanted to. Tops on my list? Hot coffee. And lots of it. Isn’t that every mom’s dream? We meandered down to this adorable little bakery and I told the lady, as I am apt to do, that I wanted a hot coffee the size of my head. And she gave me the biggest cup, and pointed me in the direction of the self-serve, and I emptied that sucker into my cup. Like, literally emptied it. And then I ate my delicious pastry, and refilled it. And refilled it one more time. And emptied the giant coffee dispenser again. And thought nothing of it, because I’m a mom, and everyone knows moms drink all the coffee. Except then my friends started giving me endless shit. And they’re like, damn girl, that’s some coffee consumption. And I laugh it off, and I’m like, “You guys drink coffee too!” And they tell me, “Lady, we did not empty those two giant carafes. You did.”
“But!” I tell myself. “But their kids are older! They are getting more sleep than I am! I shall ask my mommy friends, the ones with two or three kids under five. THEY know my struggle.” After all, we talk about coffee non-effing-stop. So I know they’re with me.
Not so, my friends.
I make a quick survey asking my momsquad to give it to me in ounces, their daily intake.
“One twelve ounce cup in the mornings.”
“Sometimes a latte in the afternoon.”
“Once in a while I drink two cups in the morning, but usually one.”
What. The. Hell.
On average, those coffee-obsessed broads are drinking between 12 and 20 ounces a day. While I’m putting away 50. But because I hear about coffee nonstop, and I’m not that vocal about it, I always assumed whatever I was doing was normal. Coffee isn’t even “My Thing.” It’s our cousin Daniel’s, who we sometimes call “coffeecoffeecoffee,” or my friend Courtney’s, who posts about coffee on her Facebook page about once a week. The ones who are constantly waxing poetic about their daily joe.
There are millions of memes, images, dialogues about coffee. There are shirts emblazoned with “All I Need is Mascara and Caffeine,” and mugs saying, “Heart, Hustle, and Coffee” (okay, that’s my mug, and I made it. But still). We’re smack dab in the middle of a culture that has us celebrating coffee, glorifying coffee, and making it a primary topic of conversation in mom circles everywhere. It’s a thing now. Moms. Love. Coffee. So when my one cup became two became three became five, I honest to God went full-teenaged, “Well everyone is doing it.”
Again. Not so, my friends.
So now here I am, wondering whether I should take this newfound knowledge, own it, and celebrate it. Give zero effs. Maybe post a few more coffee cup selfies here and there so the world can I see that I drink that coffee without shame. Maybe I scale down my use a bit, see how it goes, in a moderation-is-everything approach? Or do I take this new information and use it to find a program, and get myself some help? I feel like it’s gonna take a bit more than the Serenity Prayer to get me through a day with these little monsters, but hey, it’s worth a shot.
Of espresso, that is. Obviously.
Last night, my son crawled in our bed at 1am. The baby woke up at 3 fussing over her onslaught of teeth (5 in the last 8 days – and counting!). I carried my son back to bed and had a whole hour to stretch out before the baby ended up in there. Then the 2 year old was up at 5. FOR THE DAY.
But when my feet hit the floor? Well it was with a little more spring than you’d expect. Because I. LOVE. FRIDAYS.
Here are my top 4 reasons:
1. The light at the end of the tunnel.
My husband works a “typical” M-F workweek. So Friday mornings when I wave goodbye to him, I know that we’re about 12 hours away from a weekend full of backup. A weekend where I’ll be less outnumbered than I am the rest of the week. A weekend full of family activities. A weekend where I might even be able to sneak away and go to Target – ALONE. I dream big on the weekend. And it’s so close I can taste it.
2. The Big Kids have school
Cole and Evie are on a MWF schedule at school. Monday goes by in a BLINK because Izzie’s swim lesson and grocery shopping for the week and meal planning and all. the. things. Wednesday is just never my day. I feel untethered and lost and it’s SO my hump day. Midweek I’m overwhelmed by how the house has already gotten so out of hand, I’ve got errands I didn’t get to Monday, and I know we have NOTHING to do in the afternoon, which inevitably stresses me out all morning. Because I hate the idea of just being home all afternoon.
But Friday? I’m not grocery shopping. Any errands can be pushed off to the weekend when I have backup (see: 1). Basically, I can procrastinate all responsibility away. This is the day I’m most likely to actually sit and relax for a RHOSomewhere Reunion. Or 3.
It’s French Fry day at McDonald’s. Every Friday, the McDonald’s App gives me a FREE Medium French Fries with any purchase. So for $1 (plus tax) I get a Large Coke and a M Fries. And the kids are at school (See: 2) so if I get this when Izzie is asleep in the car on my way to pick up the kids? I don’t have to share. With anyone.
4. Dinner out!
I know, I know. Is dinner out with all those kids really enjoyable? Honestly? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But guess what? Dinner at home with all those kids isn’t always enjoyable! And after THAT dinner? I still have to do all the dishes. And pick the food up off the floor. And clean the countertops. So if dinner is gonna suck anyway, at least on Friday’s I get to throw some money at the problem and make the mess somewhere else. (And then still mostly clean it up and be overwhelmingly apologetic to the wait staff and then give them absurdly large tips because I waitressed for many moons and I know their pain. But still. It’s better than it being my house.)
Those are my reasons to love Friday – what’s yours?
There’s a bright spot in my day lately. A beautiful oasis in a hot, hot landscape. The promise of refreshment, enjoyment, a tiny little break. And this magical oasis? It is likely very near to you indeed- just under the Golden Arches.
Today’s post is spotlighting the rare combination of both a MicroHustle and a MicroLuxury. Odds are, most of you already know about the glory that is the $1 Any Size Fountain Drink campaign, a rare bird that flies in each summer to make the long, warm days more bearable. And since there is a McDonald’s on basically every corner, most people are able to carve out a dollar here and there, and you can get to it in a drive-thru format, it is the perhaps the most accessible and the most attainable of all of life’s little luxuries. Especially once you start using our McDonald’s hacks to get even more bang for your buck.
Once you’re running around with a herd of kids, some things just don’t happen if you don’t make them a priority. If you don’t give them the sacred status of a “tradition.” Plans can be cancelled, but you don’t F with tradition.
And so it is that every Saturday morning, rain or shine, feeling like it or not, we load up all the kids and head to our local breakfast spot, The Potholder. (Or as Evie says “Popholder”) We went once on a lark, when we had just two kids. Evie was still a bucket baby that we could take in her carseat as she – God willing – slept peacefully while we ate. We had a good breakfast, but more than that we had a good meal. The next Saturday, we decided to try it again. And again. And again. Before we knew it, we had a tradition. We had our spot. We had our “thing.”
Those early days were a fun time to focus on our firstborn, give him some attention while the baby slept. Dinners as a family were touch and go….Mommy exhausted from a day of doing all the things, Daddy tired from working hard to take care of us. Cooking was a chore that prevented me from embracing the meal that followed, restaurants even worse. Saturday mornings seemed to be just the ticket. We were refreshed and looking forward to all the weekend had to offer. We had the confidence of parents that were going to tackle it all together – starting with breakfast.
As Evie grew, we had mornings that were absolute nightmares. More food on the floor than in anyone’s stomachs; jelly wars leaving everyone sticky and grumpy; bitter battles fought over the potential stacking of creamers – an activity that inevitably ends in an explosion causing you to ask, “how can there be SO MUCH CREAM in that thimble???” I felt the eyes of the other patrons burning into my soul, sure they were asking themselves why, OH WHY, we thought it was a good idea to go out in public with these kids. We left big messes – and even bigger tips -in our wake, shouting both apologies and promises to see everyone next week.
But some days are like pure magic. Our kid are polite, the people in the neighboring booth smiling at us as though we’ve done something right. They happily share pancakes, not even fighting over the melting glob of butter they both covet. The fold their hands and wait for the food, Evie squealing “our food is coming!” with a look that contains more excitement than the grown up me knows how to possess anymore. They play games we made up as we wait for our food, making us laugh and smile and wonder how in the hell we got so lucky to have these kids. And that’s what we call “The Sweet Spot.” It’s an elusive moment when everyone is pleasant. It’s fleeting, so sometimes I feel afraid to blink and miss it.
So we go when the kids are terrible. We go when they are lovely. We go when I feel like I could take on the world. We go when I ask Taylor, our regular waitress, to administer an IV drip of hazelnut coffee. We’ve gone when I was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant. We’ve gone with a five day old.
But we go.
Someday we’ll stop going. And it will probably break my heart. So for now, we go.
If you thought this was going to be one of those blogs where we tell you how we find all the energy we need in chia seeds, sunlight and the radiance of our children’s smiles, you were mistaken. Yes, being healthy is great, and we love to go outside (our kids’ yells reverberate less out there), and I’m not a monster, I do find my children’s smiles adorable. Unless I think the smile is meant to throw me off my game and distract me from whatever nefarious activity they’re plotting, but overall in general, yes, smiles are good. But sometimes the sun and the smiles and the all natural ingredients are just not enough for my day. I need a kick they just cannot provide.
Moreover, I’m done pretending they do.
Now, I am ashamed to admit that I have been THAT Mom, the one that smugly says, “we don’t keep soda in the home.” Which, for all factual purposes is completely true. But there’s a shady little me sitting on my shoulder reminding me, “no, you just drive through McDonald’s every day for a $1 soda as big as you head.” But it’s not IN THE HOME Lil Shady! And when I DARE to say that I don’t order Coke in a restaurant? I certainly don’t mention how the REAL reason is because I’m too cheap to spend more than a dollar. And if I AM going to spend more than a dollar it’s going to be on something with a slightly higher alcohol content! But that damn Lil Shady doesn’t let up….”Uh, so is Chick-Fil-A not a restaurant?? Because I could swear they basically hook you up to an IV drip of Cherry Coke when you roll in waving to the manager like he’s your best friend.” I must again check my little friend. “First of all, Chick-Fil-A carries CHERRY Coke, so basically it’s a special occasion once a week. Second of all, they say ‘my pleasure’ when I thank them, so I’m pretty sure I’m making their day. And last, yes, of course I wave at Mark. I don’t care if he acts like he doesn’t know me, Because he’s my hero.”
It’s at this point in my inner dialogue that I realize a few things….I am stronger with my Coke. I am happier with my Coke. And dare I say, I might just be a better mom with Coke. It’s there for me when I’m not sure I can spend a whole afternoon pushing swings to say, “yes, you can!” It’s there when my kids want to get out the Play Doh and make every animal in the zoo. Just when I think I don’t have one more zebra in me, the Coke says, “you got this.” And it’s there when my husband is out of town for work and I have to do ALL the things alone to say, “you’re not alone. I’ve got your back.”
So yeah, I’m consuming more sugar than I should. And I’m part caffeine fueled robot. But my kids are happy. I’m happy. And I’ll go to the YMCA this afternoon and have some kale for dinner. (I probably won’t).
Oh, and rather than roll my eyes at next smug Mom that tells me about her all organic, holistic lifestyle fueled only by rainbows and the sound of her child singing the Moana soundtrack on repeat, I’ll give her a gentle smile and a knowing nod. Because we might be more alike than she’s ready to admit.