Rantings of an Overwhelmed Mom

Sometimes (ok pretty often) being a working mom can be overwhelming. We get to the point where we feel so full up with responsibilities and stuff to do that it feels like we are in a constant start of overflow. Always trying to catch-up… catch-up on housework, catch-up on “Work” work. Trying to be a god mom, be a good parent. We wear so many hats that our head hurts from switching among them so often.

Mom, mom, mom, mom

Me and my other friends who are working mothers have talked at great length about how tired we feel. I think this has generated from our biological wiring. Once our children are born our body changes and our brain becomes wired to detect the slightest sound of a baby in distress. This also comes along with and intense anxiety that begins in the battle to get enough sleep. Will I sleep enough to make it through the work day? Will I get enough sleep to care for my kids? If I fall asleep now I will only get 4 or 5 or 3 hours of sleep. Should I just try sleeping in my car on my lunch break?

I just want to go to sleep

As our children grow our new bat like ears pick up very sound inside our house. Pets walking across the floor, our spouse opening the fridge, a car driving loudly down the road. Every sound seems to steal restful sleep from us.

Being a working mother is almost like being between worlds. Mom’s have a desire, a want and even a need to be a homemaker and to create a loving, peaceful nurturing home for our family. ATo be home with our children, feeding them all the right nutritious foods (instead of mountains of Goldfish). We want to be the envy of our neighbors, with a well maintained home and tasteful furnishings (instead of a stained couch and messy floor.)

We want to still look like a 20-year old fashion model (in our mind) and have our kids properly (and cutely) dressed, (instead of wrinkled uniforms since you have no time to iron or put away the stuff in the dryer.) All too often life is too hectic and busy to present the home we envision in our brain. (Or get out of our sweat pants and mom jeans.)

We compare what we have to what others put forth but what we see is not always what is real. I know to make my house presentable for company me and my husband have to do a 6-hour marathon cleaning which is destroyed in less than an hour.cleaning

Yes, my house is a wreak most of the time. More often than not I feel overwhelmed. Like I am dropping the ball in so many places in my life. Then I think back to holding my baby in my arms and all the dirty laundry and work drama melts away. I savor the joy in sitting and reading with my son and none of the other stuff seems to matter. Being silly and laughing with my kids, capturing those small moments where I see them find joy in something.

Those times when they give me an impromptu hug. When they say, “mommy, I love you” and my heart melts along with all the stresses of the day. This is what makes it all worth it. Being a working mother is hard. It is really hard. Some days I feel like I’m completely failing. But there are these moments, so golden, pure and natural that I feel like being a mom was what I was always missing and in this messy house with these wonderful little beings is exactly where I am meant to be.

 

A New Perspective For Moms from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

*Inbetweenmoderation is not affiliated with the church in this video. I just really liked the video)

Over the Moon Link Party #42

Over the Moon Link Party

Welcome to the Over The Moon Link Party #42

 

Welcome to the Over the Moon Link Party!  You can link up any family friendly posts without profanity. Have a post you want to give more reach? Need some comments or shares? Want a post that’s close to going viral takeoff like a rocket? Now is the time to link it up!

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Statistics for Over the Moon Link Party #41 saw 566 pageviews, 130 links, and 241 clicks on those links.  And the numbers continue to roll in!

Tweet: #OverTheMoon is live! http://bit.ly/1OB1U2S @eclecticredbarn @mysideof50 @Marilyn_Lesniak @inbetweenmeliss @SandySandmeyer @Sizzling60

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At least one of the hosts will be pinning your link to the Over the Moon Pinterest Board and may be tweeted, shared on Facebook, Google+, and other social media sites.  We’ll have Featured Bloggers, chosen by the hosts, and the Most Viewed Link.  Please be sure that you grab your Feature or Most Viewed button to flaunt your award.


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The party will open weekly on Sunday evening in the USA and Monday morning in Australia and close on Thursday.  Niches of all kinds are eligible – stories, printables, for sale items, DIY, crafts, decorating, fashion, makeup, health & fitness, recipes, mommy moments, Etsy items, nails, wraps, anything at all, just as long as it’s family friendly and without profanity. All links will be added to the Over the Moon Link Party Board on Pinterest. All posts may be commented on, tweeted, shared on Facebook and other social media. Please be kind and use our party button and follow someone new.

 

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Travel Lessons from a Frugal Grandma

travel lessons from a frugal grandmaTraveling is something I have always enjoyed ever since high school. Growing up my family did not travel anywhere but our yearly trip to Florida where we  visited the grandparents. And no unfortunately this trip did not include a theme park visit. However, I still have fond memories of my travels to visit the Grandparents. I think  that is how I got bitten by the traveling bug, one summer when visiting my grandmother Mildred.

My Grandma the World Traveler

Written on the back by my grandma "Peace Treaty Signed 1919 Verselle France"
Written on the back by my grandma “Peace Treaty Signed 1919 Verselle France”

During one of our visits, she showed my some amazing photos of her recent trips. It turns out that grandma was doing more then just playing pinochle and going to the clubhouse during her retirement, she had become a world traveler. Going all over Europe, and Asia.

My grandmother Mildred was a working mom before there were working mom’s. She was fairly serious and never very talkative or emotional but you could tell sharing these pictures was a joy to her. Being able to travel the way she had is something I had wanted to do ever since she described her photos to me.

During that time I asked her a ton of questions about her trips. I asked about how she had planned for traveling, what she would have done different and where she liked to travel best. She gave me some great advice.

Something else I learned was that my grandmother was not only adventurous but she was a frugal planner who was ahead of her time. Her careful handling of finances are what made these trips possible.

My grandmother has long since passed away but many off her lessons stay with me. I realize now, I am a lot like her in that I want to see and explore the world. Also like her handling of the family finances are what will make my dreams of traveling possible.

Written on the back "8/86 Le River Guliane China"
Written on the back “8/86 Le River Guliane China”

She approached life in a frugal way with the end goal being to retire and travel. Although I want to travel, I do not want to wait for retirement to do it. So what does that mean for a working mom with two kids? Planning.

Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom that helped her save enough to travel in retirement.

Plan out your trip cost long before your travel date

She advised me to get as clear an idea of where I wanted to go and estimate how much those visits will cost. Have a long timeline to save for these trips, and break them down into time increments to save for. Credit was should not be an option. It wasn’t for her.

If possible travel Europe when you are young and save the U.S for retirement age

She said it was much easier to travel in the U.S at an advanced age. There were more senior discounts for attractions and travel and it was easier to navigate then Europe. She added due to the age and make-up of most of Europe it is not as easy for older bodies to handle cobblestone streets an centuries old staircases.

Don’t be afraid to have experiences when travel

I will never forget a picture my grandmother showed me of her standing in front a plane. It was taken in Communist China and she admitted that she felt pretty scared when she was there but was grateful she got to see a part of China usually restricted to travelers.

Written on back "Aug 86 Beijing China, Great Wall"
Written on back “Aug 86 Beijing China, Great Wall”

Sacrifice now to reach your travel goals

My grandmother always functioned in a frugal manner with her end goal of travel in mind. Like with any type of goal setting, you want to having a clear picture of what to achieve and formulated plan on how to achieve it. This will probably mean making sacrifices and being creative with your finances in order to free up money for travel. It mean giving up some things now (like those expensive lattes and dinners out.) to save for travel later.

 

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3 Things Working Mom’s Need to Stop Doing

3 things moms need to stop doingIt usually starts with a bit of sniffles we promptly ignore. Then a scratchy throat. “Oh, it’s allergies,” we say. Then the cough comes on. “It’s ok, I will drink some tea with honey.” But then the fever and chills hit, we try our best to muscle through. Our family needs us after all. But are we really caring for our family when we don’t care for ourselves?

This question came to light for me this week as I sit here typing this with a heating pad and a pillow at my back. Last week the busyness of life walloped me hard. I never made time for my usual workout, didn’t even stretch. Just kept putting it off and putting it off while making excuses and telling myself I was too tired and too busy.

The truth is I did not make my own self care a priority and it has had pretty disastrous results. (Missing work since I can’t bend and even sitting is painful. Not the way I would choose to spend my time away from work.)

So since I am immobile with time on my hands and the inability to move much, I was pondering how I got here. Here are 3 things us working mom’s need to stop doing in order to live a happier, and (hopefully) healthier life.

Feeling like a Maryter

As mothers we would give up everything for our family. We easily put their needs before our own, like pushing through a cold when we really need a rest. Or going through a sleepless night with the baby and letting out hubby snore away, knowing full well we have to get to work tomorrow.

Part of me will admit there is something in me, and I think in most mom’s, that make us feel proud of the sacrifices. It makes us feel stronger and more important to our family. Almost like we bring it on ourselves so that later we can say “but look…look at all I did for you.”

I’m not saying we don’t do these things out of love. However, on some occasions, we also do it out of a feeling of martyrdom. Priding ourselves in making these sacrifices, when an easier solution might have worked just as well.

Feeling Guilty

There is that “G” word again. It seems to walk along side us as a working mom. So much of a mom’s life is driven by guilt. We feel guilty when we take the time to care for ourselves because we are trading off the care of another.

If I go to the gym, then I don’t get the laundry done. Go out with the girls means sacrifice time with the hubby. Buying  something I need then I take money away from something my family might need.

Yes, moms we are going to feel guilt but sometimes we need to recognize we can not go around with no pants because we never took the time to buy ourselves anything! guilt

Ok, I know that is a bit extreme but it’s true. (I’m speaking from experience.) We need to care for ourselves or we are not useful to our family.

In addition, what kind of message does this send to our children? Does it make our son’s anymore knowledgeable in how to treat there future wives when they see us trudging on through sickness and injury? They will come to think this behavior is ok. What about our daughters? Are they to believe  this is how motherhood is suppose to be? That it is all self sacfrice and no self care. Are you modeling the women you want your daughter to become?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

We are tough, we are strong, we are mom’s right? Well, sometimes we are also stupid. ( I am speaking from experience again.) For most of us we are not in this alone, we have husbands, significant others, sisters, friends, neighbors who have asked us dozens of times if we need anything. We shun the help because we’ve got this mom thing down right? This is our perfectionist side run amock. We don’t want to burden anyone what we feel is our reasonability. We can’t appear as if we don’t have it all together. The truth is we can’t and shouldn’t go it alone.

Not only are we harming ourselves but we are robbing our spouses others from the chance to be a Dad. Robbing out children from the experience of different personalities, disciplining styles and teachings of others. We are steal their  opportunities to build relationships outside of us. Why?

Let’s get real. Because we want to be the most important, most treasured person to our little people. When you ask for help, you have to let someone else have this moment in the sun so you can take a rest, and take care of you.  Asking for help is also a letting go of control over the direction a situation might take. Buy asking for help you are giving temporary control over to someone else. This might be hard for some of us to wrap our heads around.

If you do these things like I do. Don’t beat yourself up. It is ok. I know this motherhood thing is a “learn as you go” process. It’s funny how sometimes nature has a way (like coming down with the flu or having your back go out) of force you to reflect on how you can do things different in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti Squash Chicken Parmigiana

spagetti squash chicken parmigianaParmigiana dishes are synonymous with family to me. A while back I shared and Eggplant Parm recipes I made with my mom. This time I share a healthier version of delicious, comforting Chicken Parmigiana I made with my Grandma Mary.

My grandmother was an inspiration and someone I strive to be like daily. This recipe makes me think of how warm and caring she was to everyone and how everyone became her family.  She taught me her version why back when I spent a summer with her.

Her version included no measurements what so ever. Apparently, this is a trade secret held my Italia grandma’s. A little of this, a pinch of that. They “eyeballed” the amounts of everything to near perfection. When ever I make chicken parm I think of her.

I decided to bridge history with health when my local Farmers Market was selling spaghetti squash 2 for $1. Couldn’t pass up that deal. So there they sat on my counter until I had the light bulb moment of combining the two.

The easies, quickest and best way I have found to cook spaghetti squash comes from Confessions of a fit foodie.com. If you get the opportunity poke around in her site, she has some amazing healthy dishes that have become some of my go to’s.

Spagetti Squash Chicken Parmigiana
Print Recipe
Servings
5-6 servings
Servings
5-6 servings
Spagetti Squash Chicken Parmigiana
Print Recipe
Servings
5-6 servings
Servings
5-6 servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Microwave spaghetti squash per video above. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place flour, eggs and breadcrumbs each in separate containers shallow enough for the chicken. If yours are pretty large (like mine were) cut them into a size about the palm of your hand.
  3. Take a piece of chicken dip it into the flour, then the egg, then place it in the breadcrumbs and lightly tap off the excess.
  4. Heat oven to 425. Spray the tops of chicken with cooking spray or oil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes turning midway thru.
  5. While chicken is baking. Remove spaghetti squash strings from its shell. Ensure there are no seeds. Place in baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with 2/3 of jar of sauce. Mixing it to coat the squash.
  6. Once chicken is done. Place it on top of spaghetti squash. Cover chicken and squash with remaining sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Top with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
  7. Place bake in oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
    spagetti squash chicken parmigiana fresh from the oven
Recipe Notes

I tend to make my own breadcrumbs out of old bread ends I have lying around. It only takes a moment to whiz them thru a food processor. You can also season them just how you like.

As for the sauce I had some of the left over sauce I made form my cleaned up stuffed crust pizza recipe. The sauce is loaded with veggies making it a tasty alternative to store bought. You can find the recipe for it at Weelicous.com.
0 sugar 0 calories 0 diet sweeteners

 

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Back to school and back to the basics!

success in parentingChildren are back in school!

How much preparation do you give your children? My kids have been back in school for several weeks and the prep work made the process so much easier.

What am I talking about?

 If we want our children/students/grandkids to be prepared, we need to teach them routines. In the weeks prior to the start of school I began my preparation. This included adjusting morning and nighttime routine such as getting up and going to sleep.

 We love the summer as much as the next family, but we needed to gradually adjust our sleep schedules, slowly, to come more in tune with what they would look like when school started. This was a gradual process. If you would like more information, I have a series of videos in my Facebook group, bit.ly/SuccessinParenting, where I spoke about the specifics of changing these schedules as well as other routines.

The biggest struggles in my family at this time: meal planning/times and extra-curricular activity schedules. Why are these times a struggle? Meal times are my nightmare because I do NOT cook (it is not from a lack of trying). The other difficulty is scheduling of soccer practices/games. I am sure I am not the only one with these types of struggles, right?!

Let’s begin with how schedules interfere with meals. My 8-year-old and 16-year-old are both on traveling soccer leagues for different cities. Gavin, my baby, has practice on Monday & Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7 pm. McKenzie, my middle child and my girl, has practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7-8:30 pm. Do you see any meal planning difficulties?

It gets better… Not really…Beginning next weekend, they will both have games on the weekends. So what is a mom to do? I picked up my essentials: a highlighter, calendar, and cell phone. Once both schedules were released I got down to business.

Comparing the kids’ schedules and our schedules took some work. We reached out to our extended family members and friends to help when we didn’t have enough adults to cover both activities. It takes a village! Pre-planning our schedule has been a life-saver in my house! Develop and utilize strategies and tools that work best for your family to fit in multiple extra-curricular events.

I have found it is better for my family to have a plan for everything from after school until bedtime, but it looks different for each of my children. A lot of the time, our schedules have to be on a sliding scale from strict to flexible. If you have a child that learns best with visuals, provide a picture schedule. Place the schedule in an order you think will work best. Then watch your child for signs of fatigue and frustration.

If you see these, change the arrangement of the pictures to work for your child. For a child that learns best through the auditory modality, record their schedule on an audio device so that they can stop and replay instructions as needed.

Here is a new strategy that someone recently shared with me. It can be modified in several ways and your child can try their hand in helping to color it and/or set the tasks. Click the link below to learn more about the After School Routine Clock.

 

After School Routine Clock

Now on to the food.

I love to eat and I would love to say I am a fantastic cook! But because I have the inability to cook, it wouldn’t be the truth. Meal planning is how we survive. My hubby plans and preps meals for the week, typically. He preps each meal the night before so that all I need to do is heat it. He’s awesome!

Does this always work as planned? Heck no! I still burn meals, arrive home later than scheduled, have errands to run, etc… But I have backup plans! Eat a gluten-free (gf) diet can throw a wrench in plans sometimes, but it  can make easier too. I always have gf pasta, veggies, and other staples readily available to prepare on the fly.

There are a few items I can almost always successfully make like: garlic bread and grilled cheese. But those are not meals nor are they nutritious. My suggestion is to stock your pantry with nutritious items that are easy to keep on hand and simple to prepare.

What types of time management strategies do you currently have in place? How do you manage the time for homework, snacks, chores, etc….?

 

 

 

 

Over the Moon Link Party #41

Over the Moon Link Party

Welcome to the Over The Moon Link Party #41

 

Welcome to the Over the Moon Link Party!  You can link up any family friendly posts without profanity. Have a post you want to give more reach? Need some comments or shares? Want a post that’s close to going viral takeoff like a rocket? Now is the time to link it up!

We pin EVERY link you leave and may even share on other sites as well! So come on in, be one of the first to link up, and remember to go Over the Moon with us!

Statistics for Over the Moon Link Party #40 saw 549 pageviews, 150 links, and 146 clicks on those links.  And the numbers continue to roll in!

Tweet: #OverTheMoon is live! http://bit.ly/1OB1U2S @eclecticredbarn @mysideof50 @Marilyn_Lesniak @inbetweenmeliss @SandySandmeyer @Sizzling60

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The party will open weekly on Sunday evening in the USA and Monday morning in Australia and close on Thursday.  Niches of all kinds are eligible – stories, printables, for sale items, DIY, crafts, decorating, fashion, makeup, health & fitness, recipes, mommy moments, etsy items, nails, wraps, anything at all, just as long as it’s family friendly and without profanity. All links will be added to the Over the Moon Link Party Board on Pinterest. All posts may be commented on, tweeted, shared on Facebook and other social media. Please be kind and use our party button and follow someone new.

 

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