As Moms our lives can be so. incredibly. repetitive. It’s a never-ending cycle of cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, tantrums, laundry, dishes. When it’s done? Rinse and repeat. Because joke’s on us: It’s NEVER done. And some days you can just get lost in that feeling of the endlessness of it all. And we desperately need to not get lost in that feeling.
I know, I know, understatement off the year. Not only are they just busy little people, but then they do all the things! Sports, school events, and the birthday parties. Holy God the birthday parties! And if you have more than one kid, it just gets exponentially more insane.
If you don’t watch out, you can become completely overwhelmed, discombobulated and burned out. Weekends that you used to spend as a family or getting stuff done become a complicated dance of getting the right people to the right places and I lose any sense of recharge that I strive for on those two special days.
Meanwhile, all you want to know is how to be less busy so you can enjoy life again.
Unfortunately, the week isn’t much better. After a few consecutive weeks of….
Me: Hey Mom.
Mom: Hi honey, whatcha doing? Driving to swim?
Me: Nope, but I should be! Gotta go!
Mom: You forgot agai-
…I realized that I was overbooked. I was forgetting an appointment I’ve had on the books for years, so who knows what else I didn’t show up to!?! So rather than get a new planner, cover my refrigerator in reminders or scold myself, I took stock of our activities. I prioritized. And I decided that figuring out how to be less busy was at the top of my priority list. Because we just couldn’t go on like this.
We all have the rest of our lives to be busy and I couldn’t justify running my kids around from place to place. For what? T-ball isn’t going to get him into the Majors, music class isn’t going to make him the next Beethoven, and all of it costs more than just playing in the dirt. Which is basically his four year old dream come true. The same goes for the three year old. And the one year old.
So I cancelled everything except swim lessons. And preschool 3 days a week for the bigs. Because we have a pool and my kids need to know how to swim, and we have a lot of kids and Mommy needs a break for 4 hours once in a while.
And it is SO freeing.
Because the truth is, we aren’t inherently busy. We are choosing to be busy. We want our kids to have every opportunity and all the experiences and not miss a single thing we can afford them. We foist on them our sense of FOMO before they even recognize the letters F, O and M. We sign them up for all the classes because we want to expose them to everything because someday it might be their passion. We fill our calendar so we’ll have things on the books because an empty week can be terrifying (at least for me it is!) We go to every single birthday party because they’re at a great place and the kids will have fun and we love our friends. But it’s just.too.much. And WE are the ones with the power to stop it.
So as you come down from your busy-because-it’s-the-holidays hangover and are thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions, this about being less busy. Because you can be. All you have to do is choose it.
It used to be a question I was really comfortable with. I was always so proud of my answers. Whether I was “bartending my way through grad school,” “being a teacher’s assistant and leading my own classes at Cal State Long Beach,” or “working in fundraising for a non-profit” I always felt like I was doing something good. Something important. Continue reading “New Year’s Resolution: Drop the Just”→
Let’s preface this one by saying- you don’t HAVE to be creative just because you’re a mama. Your parties don’t have to have carefully paper-crafted banners. Your kids’ sandwiches can be sandwich-shaped, your kids water cups don’t have to be personalized with vinyl, you don’t have to make your own home décor, and you CERTAINLY don’t have to sew your daughter thematic skirts for every holiday.
Let’s face it. Working out is on the back burner in my life. I mean, yes, I YMCA for the free childcare and in theory when I drop them off I head straight upstairs and hop on the treadmill where I WORK IT for a full hour. But sometimes I just.need.to.sit. And read. Or bujo. Or BE without three kids climbing all over each other, refereeing fights, and doing the Mom thing.
But relaxing doesn’t help me fit into my old jeans.
Unfortunately, not fitting into my old jeans hasn’t proved to be enough of a motivator. However, I have learned, in my new fiscally-conservative role as a SAHM that money is a BIG motivator for me.
Step Bet is an awesome app where you can join Step Games (challenges) and WIN MONEY! The app syncs with your activity tracker as you compete against yourself – which is my favorite part. I am completely in control of whether I win this bet or not. So you can’t get stuck with someone that is a mail carrier and takes 40k steps per day or something insane, causing you to give up immediately.
Rather, the app takes your current activity tracker data and then sets you new goals. I had been particularly lazy just before I signed up, so my goals were pretty manageable 😉 My active goal was 7,279 steps and my stretch goal was 9,579 steps.
Each Monday through Sunday I had to hit my active goal 4 times, my stretch goal 2 times and I got one rest day. I also REALLY liked this, because, let’s face it, we all deserve a rest day!
Okay, okay, but how do you MAKE MONEY???
My Step Bet lasted 6 weeks and cost $40 to join. We had 517 players for a grand total of over TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS in the pot! (Okay, sorry, don’t get too excited, I’m not winning $20K!) BUT, if I hit my goals I DO win my $40 back AND a cut of the $40 from all the people that didn’t win! Step Bet also takes a cut (currently 12.5%) to pay for support during the game for you, game hosts and referees, so basically the money from the first few people to drop out.
You’re not going to win millions of dollars, but you’d be amazed at how motivated I’d be every time I checked to see 2 or 3 or 7 people drop out! Even if it only meant a few extra cents in my profits.
Which is why I walked and walked and walked and JUST finished my first Step Bet last night. I’m terrible at math and am waiting for the final results, but it should be around $10 profit, so I’ll be getting $50 back! (Which my husband likes to point out is a really good return on a $40 investment in only 6 weeks).
And YAY for my $50 cash-out, but I’m tossing $40 right back in and doing it again! Because I’m still money motivated and STILL not in those jeans!
For more info and to find answers to all your questions, check out the Step Bet FAQs – and be sure to let me know if you’re joining!!!
This post includes affiliate links in addition to items that have been generously donated by some wonderful companies. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. You can read more at our Legal & Disclosures page. Thank you!
Giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to our winner, Vicki Wilkinson!
As you may remember, The Salty Mamas loooooove October. Jaymi, Christine, and Lil Salty Izzie have birthdays in October, Christine and Chad have an anniversary, and we all love Halloween. And so we feel like celebrating- with YOU!
The Salty Mamas have compiled some of our VERY FAVORITE products into one HUGE GIVEAWAY just for our favorite readers! We contacted companies, told them about how awesome you were, and they agreed. So they sent us some amazing products that we think you’re going to love.
A few highlights:
A Passion Planner– This is the system that Jaymi uses to plan her months and weeks, get focused on her goals, and even as a bullet journal system using the blank pages in the back. We’ll be focusing on it in more depth in a future post, but trust us-it’s awesome. (Color included in the giveaway may vary from the listing).
A Copy of “The Miracle Morning“- if you are feeling adrift, or like you never get enough time for yourself- this book could truly be a game-changer for you. This book is all about carving out time and setting your intentions for the day- and your life!- first thing in the morning.
A Lip Bon-Bon from Younique (courtesy of Beth Griffin)- this is the best.lipbalm.ever. Jaymi is kind of obsessed with it, and we think you will be too!
A copy of our next book club selection- “Only Dead on the Inside“. This book is hilarious, and we’d love for you to read it so you can watch and laugh with us as we talk about it on Facebook next month!
Some Chick Fil A Swag. Because we’re obsessed, obviously.
This time around we are using Gleam to help you keep track of all the ways to earn entries for our grand prize drawing. Share our Facebook posts, visit us on Instagram, leave us some Blog Post Love- choose as many (or as few) entry options as you’d like (or as many as you can get to before someone demands milk or hits their sister). Click on the link below, which will take you to our Gleam landing site and show you all the ways you can earn entries for our big giveaway!
To win, you must be a resident of the United States or Canada (sorry, International Salties, we aren’t rich enough to ship to you just yet). The contest will run from October 15, 2017 through October 31, 2017 at midnight. The winner will be announced by November 5, 2017. Once announced, winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize and provide their address to The Salty Mamas. Good luck to all!
Giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to our winner, Vicki Wilkinson!
It’s a little sad that this has to even be said. Because truly, the MICROEST (and yes, that’s a word now) luxury there can be is taking five minutes and finding yourself again. Not you the Mom, or you the Wife, or you the President of the PTA, the Brownie Mom, or the Soccer Mom.
The you that you were before all the other stuff. You can still LOVE the other stuff – and for your own sake, I hope you do! But that doesn’t mean that deep down inside there isn’t a part of you that you’ve lost a little.
There are parts of me that I try so hard to make sure stay present in my life. Me the reader. Me the crafter. Me the Aunt. Me the sister and friend and bowler (yes, bowler!) and roller coaster lover and dancer.
And me the PSYCHO FOOTBALL FAN.
Oh, was that not where you thought this was going? Sorry. Because the truth is, pre-kids, from September to December Football. Was. Life.
When my husband and I got engaged in November 2010, he asked if I had any dates in mind. I immediately said, “next October 8.” He was a little taken aback that I’d already had a date totally selected and wondered how I ever picked that so fast? My response? “Well, let’s be honest, I sort of knew this was coming and I want a fall wedding and so I checked the football schedule and we have a bye that weekend so everyone can come and no one will be checking the score all night. Plus, it would totally ruin my wedding day if we lost. So this just makes sense.”
So it was that Saturdays were spent off to the game or parked in a bar, friends house or our living room stuffing ourselves with snacks and beer and cheering until our throats were sore. Sunday was church, rinse and repeat. It was an exciting way to spend the weekend, and let’s be real, we didn’t have a whole lot of other commitments or responsibilities. The house stayed cleaner and there was way less laundry to do back then too.
Then, kids. And for a while we tried. We took each of the kids to a game or two as babies. We watched games on the weekend but had to stifle our cheers so as to not wake said babies. We got distracted and missed the big play because we were rocking a baby, feeding a baby, changing a baby. Slowly but surely, our priorities shifted.
My sister called me the other day because she needed help with a fantasy draft and I had no clue what to tell her. It didn’t happen overnight, but the realization still stung: I wasn’t a football person anymore. It was like a crushing blow to who I always thought I was. I still have all the sweatshirts, put up the decorations, and love the game. But I just. Can’t. follow it like I used to.
At this point I could either accept the new normal and keep falling farther and farther out of touch with this thing that I loved, or make a change.
I opted to change. Not completely. I still have important obligations on Saturday that mean I can’t spend every weekend glued to the screen or sitting in the stands. But I made a pact with my best friend. Once a year, we were going to pack our bags and travel to an away game for our favorite team. No husbands, no kids, just two best friends going to a football game together. Like old times.
Which brings us to today. Fresh off a plane from Oakland where the USC Trojans took on the Cal Golden Bears. I would like to tell you that it didn’t matter if we won or not. That sharing a great weekend with my girlfriend is the real win. That making myself a priority is a win in itself. Because what the weekend was really about was finding me. But guess what? If it didn’t matter, then I wouldn’t have found me! Because football is NOT about the journey. It’s about the destination – and we. are. WINNERS!!! That might not matter to Mom/Wife me, but pre-kids football psycho me? Went. Crazy. Just as it should be.
Today I’m back to being the Wife, the Mother, the person that does everything for everyone else. But this weekend? I was the psycho football fan. And I loved it.
Okay, maybe not literally. Maybe not totally seriously. But I’ve probably given it too much actual thought than I should have.
Lots of times, I love motherhood, I do. When all three of my kids are in a sweet spot, I think I could have three more. When two of them are delightful and one is going through a more challenging phase, I power through. When one is nice and two are little hot mess machines, I hunker down and know we’ll get through it. But when all three are hellions? I start making a list of possible talents I could contribute to the circus.
Right now? I’m in full on circus mode.
In the past few weeks all three of my children have thrown up on me. I’ve had many midnight discussions about diarrhea and why my son is “peeing out of his butt.” We had a solid week where at least one child was wide awake from 3am on, which leads for a very early wake up for Mommy and Daddy. We’ve had night terrors. A four year old that just. doesn’t. listen. A two year old that is in active transition from the terrible twos to being a threenager whose greatest joy in life is her abundant ability to tease her brother. A breast feeder that’s found out her big ol’ teeth make excellent weapons. And I ran out of coffee creamer.
It’s weeks like these that make me spend considerable amounts of time researching the standard working contract for cruise staff. Not that I’d actually drive down to the cruise terminal and go to the employment booth and fill out the application to work a 6 month tour on the Carnival Inspiration or anything. Of course I wouldn’t actually go and do that. I don’t think. But I’ve definitely gotten closer than my husband should find out about.
And yes, there have been good times, but right now? Right now I’m overwhelmed with yet another night of changing sheets filled with last night’s dinner, a 2 year old that comes tumbling out of her crib before the sun rises and a baby that has found she’s sure to get my attention by biting anything she can sink those chompers into.
I love them, I do, but just think how much more I could love and appreciate them if I took, say, a six month break. If I went off on an adventure and came back with arms full of treats and souvenirs and a heart full of missing them. I won’t do it, but I’m definitely still gonna dream about it.
When I was three years and three kids into Motherhood, I embarked on one of my most exciting journeys. A trip the HELL out of dodge. Without my husband. Without my kids. Just me, a cruise ship, the open ocean, and 9 of my best Mamas.
I was excited and apprehensive and happy and nervous and all the emotions. To be honest, I love to WATCH a Mom vacation a la Real Housewives of Every Single Franchise Ever, but there was always a part of me that was like, “why do they want to go out of town without their families so often???”
Now, I know.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Because unlike the Real Housewives of Everywhere, the drama surrounding my trip happened entirely before we set sail. Basically, the moment I told anyone I was going somewhere. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, “Who’s watching the children?,” I could probably have paid for the entire trip. If I got another dollar every time someone had to pick their jaw up off the floor when I answered, “Uh….their father,” I could have covered my bar tab. Which, for the record, ended up being a very significant total. But I digress.
The people around me were VERY concerned with me going on this trip. Offers to assist Chad flew in from every corner of my universe. I could leave confident that no one would go hungry, because the neighborhood was going to band together and bring a collection of casseroles and baked goods. His arms would never ache because the biddies at church all volunteered to come over and “just hold the baby” while he tended to the other children. Other people got fancy with their plans. “I’ll take Evie, we can do something fun! Then see if your Mom can take the baby, that way Chad can just hang out with Cole! Guy time!”
Basically the message was this: If Mommy was irresponsible enough to just go and LEAVE her children with a practical stranger their Father, then my village was going to step in and provide backup.
Perhaps this leaves a questionable perception of my husband. By all accounts, he’s a pretty hands on Dad in every day life. He changes diapers, he plays and reads, he knows his way around a onesie.
But I get it. Three days is a lot of time with the kids. He isn’t as used to doing everything day after day after day. Alone. Let’s be real, three days would be a lot for anyone.
Know how I know that?
BECAUSE MY HUSBAND HAS TO TRAVEL FOR WORK AND I DO THIS ALL THE FREAKING TIME.
When he went to Wichita for three days, where was my casserole???
When he went to Utah for a week, who was coming over to hold my baby???
When he left to Connecticut for two days when our third baby was TWO WEEKS OLD who the EFF took the reigns and doled out my other children so I could focus on the tiny ball of NEED???
So I stood there, patiently listening to all the concerned voices and when they felt like they’d said their piece, I told them all the same thing, “Thank you, that’s very generous, but he’ll be fine.”
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.