Dear mom of that little heartbeat,

15-ways-to-determine-an-unborn-babys-gender-before-a-doctor-can-5

I had to share this…
Mothers, your souls deserve more.
I had an appointment today with my OB/GYN. (Nope, not pregnant- I’m well beyond child bearing years.)
With me in the waiting room sat a couple- clearly eager first time parents- flipping through pregnancy magazines and looking anxious and excited. When I got to my exam room, I realized they were in the room right next to mine, as I could hear their muffled voices and nervous laughter.
And then I heard the most magical sound in the world.
Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump.
It was the loud and unmistakable sound of their baby’s heartbeat coming through on the fetal doppler.
As I listened, I took a deep breath filled with gratitude that I was once lucky enough to hear that sound from my own womb, then I smiled- remembering how 20 years ago I first heard the sound of that sweet beat, and how it filled my soul like nothing else had before. It filled my soul with instant and immeasurable joy.
And then in a split second my smile faded, replaced with a frown and thoughts of all the soul crushing things that modern mothering has in store for that first time mom in the room next to mine.
That how raising a child these days- days full of sanctimonious social media and ever vigilant mom shaming-of being under the scrutinizing and suffocating microscope of anyone and everyone- is going to crush her spirit and her soul.
Crush it.
That joyful sound will soon be a distant memory, replaced with this…
Gained more than 25 pounds during your pregnancy? You’ll never lose it fatty.
Had a labor full of complications or a c-section? Your body failed you, and your baby.
Formula fed? Baby will have low I.Q. and be sick all the time.
Breastfed for only six weeks? Quitter.
Nursed into toddlerhood? Freak.
Back to work? Neglectful.
Staying home? No ambition.
Boxed mac and cheese? Poison giver.
Homemade mac and cheese? Obnoxious overachiever.
TV watcher? Tablet user? Ignorant. Both you and your preschooler.
Private school? Elitist.
Homeschooler? Religious nut, unsocialized kids.
Public school? Oh, I get it. You’re average.
Raising an atheist? You’re going to hell.
Raising a Christian? Family of bigots.
Raising a Republican? Blasphemy.
Raising a Democrat? Are you insane?
Kid playing outside alone? I’m calling the police.
Kid never allowed to leave the house? I’m calling child protective services.
No sports? Your kid will never be able to compete in life.
Traveling sports teams? Waste of money.
Piano? Dance? Cheer? Scouts? Brownies? Your kids are overscheduled neurotics.
Do your kids laundry, make their breakfast, and pack their lunches? You’re raising incompetent future adults.
Don’t do anything for your kids? Selfish.
Low standardized test scores? Your kid has no future.
High standardized test scores? Your kids will arrive at college depressed and burnt out.
Zero extracurriculars? Yea, good luck with college applications.
15 AP courses, president of everything, headed to Ivy League? Give me a freakin’ break.
Regular classes, 3.0 GPA, state school? Your kid is totally screwed.
Community college? Why bother.
And just like that, SOUL. SUCKED.
Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump.
Hey first time mom in the next room, mom who just had a baby, mom who has a house full of diaper clad toddlers, mom who will have a first time kindergartener in a few weeks, mom with school aged kids, and the mom who is getting ready to embrace the final years of high school or send a kid off to college- please remember one thing for me…
Remember that sound of your baby’s heartbeat.
Then remember it’s YOUR baby’s heartbeat, not society’s baby, or social media’s baby, or some parenting study’s baby.
Remember it’s YOUR baby, toddler, child, young adult, and college student.
YOURS.
Don’t let the motherhood soul suckers of the world take away one second of your joy of mothering. Not one single second.
You are the mom. Period.
You made that damn heartbeat (or had the privilege of adopting it), so you get to raise it, the way YOU want to raise it.
Nobody else.
It’s time to get your mothering joy back, deep in your souls. Start now.
Share this and let’s all get our joy back.
One thump at a time.
**Fantastic words by the lovely Melissa Fenton.

How bad do you want it?

The 1st trainer I worked with said this to me during my 1st fitness challenge. I had the chance to win a trip to New York City with tickets to a Broadway show. I’d never been to New York….and 9 years later I still haven’t. I missed winning by 4 pounds. Had I followed his instructions, I’d have had some amazing memories! But I was stubborn and lazy, still am. I’m working to change that. After gaining 20 lbs following a car accident almost 4 years ago I reached my heaviest weight- 153. I know, that’s many women’s goal but for my small frame, that was a lot. After looking back at old pictures that pop up in Facebook memories I see that even 130 is a bit much- which is where I’m at now. I’ve consistently lost 10 lbs a year the last 2 years. I’ve been stuck around 130 for about a year and recently have begun to see the high 20’s flash across the screen on the scale. 
I refuse to give up. Right now, I’m eating less, not eating out, saying no to cookies, Cheetos, soda and even pizza (although I did have ice cream last night). My biggest issue is working out. I procrastinate all day. I have a free gym membership and never go. But that changes today. It’s time to get this last 10 lbs off and finally reach a goal I’ve been after for almost 10 years. My body has been through 5 pregnancies over a 12 year period, I’ve had many injuries, I have life-long injuries from the accident, I’ve dealt with depression and emotional eating. It’s time. I want it. I want it BAD!!

Use your passion

18641554_10213078622386995_1728868987_o

My 13 year old son loves video games.  He would play them all day if I let him.  He wants to design his own when he grows up.

This morning, I wrote a note to him to look up the websites a dance dad told him about a few months ago.  Then I wrote him another note that said, “Use your passion to create something new today.”  Why should he wait until he gets older to create?  Why not now? Why sit around playing someone else’s game when he can use his passion and creativity to design his own?

That applies to all of us.  Why sit around waiting for something to happen to us?  Why not get up and do something right now?  My 10 year old daughter and I created an etsy store a couple of months ago but haven’t done anything with it, yet.  We’ve been incredibly busy with other things and keep putting it off.  But why can’t we spend a little time each day working on it?

It’s all about prioritizing.

Prioritizing and using my time carefully are two things I’m horrible at.  Just ask my fitness moms.  I’ve done a very bad job this time around and feel just awful.  I’ve let myself get pulled in several directions and piled too many things on my shoulders. Slowly, my commitments are falling away on their on allowing me more time, finally. Today, I’m creating a schedule with a list of things I NEED to do and a list of things I WANT to do and allowing time to do both.  I’d rather dabble a bit here and there than only focus on one or two things.  This may not work for everyone but I want to give it a try.  I’m tired of reaching the end of the day not having made time to do things I enjoy. I’m allowing life to get in my way.

We only live once.  Make the most of it now.

 

You don’t need to lose weight!

I hear this all the time.  Yes, it’s a compliment but I know my body better than everyone. I’ll admit, in jeans and a long sleeved shirt, yup, I look pretty good, especially after being pregnant five times.

But in a bathing suit, I don’t feel comfortable.  I know I can easily stand to lose 10 pounds and still look healthy, not too skinny. But I’m not going to share my bathing suit pictures with everyone.  You’ll have to trust me, or ask a friend who has seen me at the pool.

I want to share that I have two weeks to lose at much weight as possible.  Why?  Because my husband has a meeting in South Florida and asked me to go with him.  Oh, why do I want to share?  Because I share a lot.  Probably too much.  But that’s just how I am.  I was that way even before social media.

But I know as soon as I share, people will tell me I don’t need to lose a pound, I look great the way I am, blah, blah, blah.  I deserve to feel comfortable.  I deserve to be happy.

I know I shouldn’t care what other people think and normally I don’t.  But it just gets annoying.  So be supportive of your friends.  Whether they want to gain weight, lose weight, try a new hair style, whatever.

I also have 2 weeks to finish half a semester of a math class I don’t understand so I can finally get my AA…..

Fit and Healthy Motivation Tips

After spending an evening with a friend who was very overweight, I changed my fitness challenges to fit and healthy.  It’s easy for me to copy and paste memes, recipes and workouts but it’s hard for me to follow them.  Lack of motivation is my biggest issue so I decided to do some research to not just help me, but help my fitness ladies, too.

  1. Buy new shoes.  Try on several pair, walk and jog in them around the store (they tend to frown on sprinting).  Get your feet evaluated at Fit2Run if you can.  Then go online and see if you can get a better deal (shhhhh!).

kicks I discovered I’m an Asics girl.

2. Visualize positive thinking. Visualize your muscles getting bigger and stronger while you’re coming up with excuses to avoid the gym. Think about how wonderful the sun will feel on your face as you take a walk outside (wear sunscreen!). Picture your heart smiling as you put down the Pop Tart and fix some eggs and a protein shake.

14993567_10211174071494413_7745794241319868662_n Powerhouse Athletic Club (shameless plug)

3. Reward yourself. Went a whole day without junk food? Put a dollar in a jar. Completed your step count? Add a dollar. Exercised 5 times in one week? Treat yourself to a movie (and pack healthy snacks in your bag). If you do a jar, at the end of 30 or 60 days, take the money and buy yourself a new top or pants; you’ve earned it!

wp-image-477638972jpg I have to hide my dollars.  My family tends to swipe them.  I have an agreement with my husband (he just doesn’t know it yet) to trade pennies for dollars in 60 days.

4. Be accountable.  Get a reliable accountability partner or better yet, be one.  Join a fitness challenge (shameless plug #2). Download the Pact app (Harvard guys) or sign up at StickK (Yale guys). This will not make you rich but it will motivate you to stick to your goals if you don’t have dough to lose.

5. Make small goals. Saying, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds is great but it’s going to take a while.  Write down that you’re going to lose a pound a week, eat 4 healthy snacks, go a week (or a day) without drinking soda or hitting the drive through. Create monthly, weekly and daily goals.  Write them down where you’ll see them. (I discovered my fridge and kitchen cabinets are dry erase marker proof)

food

6. Reduce your excuses. Write them down. Start eliminating them one by one. “I’m too tired.” “The gym is so faarr!” “I don’t have time.” “It tastes so good!” “I’m broke.” You’ll realize how ridiculous you’re being. I’m ridiculous every day.

7. Ditch the boredom. Try something new like a Body Combat class, biking, roller blading,  pilates, aerial yoga, pole dancing (shameless plugs #3, #4 & #5).  Switch up your routine to shock your body, especially if you’ve hit a plateau.

yoga

8. It’s good for your health.  Yes, looking smoking hot in those skinny jeans or that tankini are great motivators for getting fit and healthy, but remember the main focus is on improving your health to keep you around longer.

9. Sign a contract with yourself. It can be a detailed one or one that’s short and sweet.

I’m sure there are many more amazing tips out there but I made a goal to keep this short. #noexcuses

Mommyhood through the years- School

I stopped by my daughter’s classroom this afternoon to see when a project was due.  The teacher told me a packet went home with all of the information.  I was honest and told her I didn’t read it.  If there’s something I need to know, she usually tells me.

This got me thinking.  When my oldest two daughters were in school, I read every single paper that came home, signed every single test, checked their binders every day and made their lunches the night before.  I remembered and went to every parent conference. I volunteered over 5,000 hours in three years, was the Volunteer Coordinator for a year and PTO president for two years.  I was under 30. I was an awesome mom.

The two younger kids came along when I was 30 and 33.  By the time the youngest went to kindergarten, I’d just survived a year with three kids at three different schools and my oldest was a senior in high school preparing to leave for college the following summer. Having a kindergartner and senior makes for a very emotional year. The first two years of my second go round having two kids in elementary school went pretty well.  I walked them to their classrooms every day, walked to pick them up after, remembered to sign binders 85% of the time and made sure their “buddies” checked their binders (when you have four kids with a seven year break in the middle, you learn to assign buddies to make sure no one gets lost and is fully dressed before leaving the house).  I was under 40. I was a pretty good mom.

I realized today, that I’ve gotten lazy with the younger two.  My son is homeschooled so I kinda have to know how he’s doing.  Thankfully there are no papers or binders to sign, no report cards or parent conferences.  My youngest daughter is 10 and headed to middle school next year (WTF?!?!?!).  I can’t remember the last time I checked her backpack, signed her binder, looked at her report card (unless glancing over it while driving counts).  But she gets her stuff done on time and like her teacher pointed out after my confession, at least she’ll be independent.  I’m over 40.  I’m an okay mom.

lazymom

Being Overwhelmed

Being a human can be busy.  Being a woman can be hectic.  Being a wife can be frenzied.  Being a mom can be flustering.  When you put them all together, along with everything else you do, can be overwhelming.

 I take on a lot.  Too much.  I like to help.  I’m a human, woman, a wife, a mom of 4, a homeschooling mom, dance mom, a student, a WAHM, SAHM, shuttle 3 kids around, run 5 Instagram accounts, 2 Facebook pages, sit on the board for an upcoming company, the chair for a fundraiser at my daughter’s school, a blogger, fitness challenge leader, TBMG admin, a gym member, maid, organizer, cook, crafter, reader, laundry room attendant and more.

 I also have ADD (can you tell?).

 I am also overwhelmed.

 It’s not always a bad thing.  Most of the time I’m able to keep chugging along and get things done. However, I when I get called out (or call myself out) about not keeping up with certain responsibilities, I’m forced to stop and take a look at everything on my titanic-sized plate.  This is when the panic sets in.  This is when I realize just how much I have to do, or have created for myself to do.  This is when I realize that I’m overwhelmed.

 Most people can deal with this rationally and occasionally I’m able to as well.  I make lists, set timers, ask for help, etc.  But sometimes, like the most recent time, I shut down. When I shut down, not a lot gets done.  I hide out.  I’m 5 weeks behind on homework and have a midterm in 9 days.  I haven’t blogged for Real Fit Mom in months.  I haven’t kept up with my duties as a TBMG admin. I’m way behind on pulling winners and promoting sponsors for my fitness challenges.  I joined a gym in November and have been about 6 times.  I have 3 weeks to bling 3 dance costumes and sew bottoms onto 3 shirts.  I haven’t stepped foot in the playroom since Christmas and the only reason my kitchen is clean and laundry is done is because we have to have dishes to eat off of and clothes to wear.

 I wake up every morning knowing what I NEED to do.  I get reminders, most of which I appreciate. Sometimes it still doesn’t get done.

 I know that I’m not alone.

 What others should realize about people like me, is that we don’t skip on responsibilities on purpose.  We WANT to be successful, organized, responsible and reliable.  On the outside, our lives may appear happy-go-lucky and carefree.  Social media doesn’t help.  Smart phones make it harder.  Fun apps provide a safe haven.

 But every day is a new day.  I tell this to my fitness challenge moms a lot.  If you had a bad day yesterday, try to start over today.  Lost a whole week?  Get back on the ball next week.  Shut down for a month (or two)?  Take baby steps to get your shit back together.

 I updated my dry erase calendar yesterday.  Today, I made a short list of things to do on my dry erase board.  After this post, I’ll make a loooooonnnngggg list of things that need to be done.  I have a brand new pack of sticky notes to post reminders to myself.  I’ve also discovered that my dry erase markers work on the refrigerator and my kitchen cabinets.  Yay!  I deleted all of the notes in the Note app on my phone because I never go back to check them.  Instead, I took my fitness iPod holder, stuck some index cards and a pen in it and keep it strapped to my arm.  Yup, I look like a dork but I always have something handy to write things down on.  Ok, so I haven’t actually put it together or worn it, BUT, it’s on my mental list of things to do.

 The good thing is, I woke up this morning, drove my daughter to school and instead of going back to bed, I got on the computer and found stupid articles to keep me occupied for 2 hours……then I got up and made a protein smoothie and sat down to write this article which is growing longer so most of you won’t make it to this point.  But, I’m up, I’m starting over, it’s not even 10:30 am so I still have plenty of time to get things done and I have a plan.  Check back with me later to see if I decided to get back with the world or if I retreated back to my hide out.  😉  #dontgiveup #justkeepswimming #yesiputhashtagsinanarticle

Article also posted on Tampa Bay Moms Group.