The Game of Getting to Know You

#ThoughtfulThursday

The Game of Getting to Know You

Relationships are what keeps the world goin’ round…am I right?!?

Those kindred bonds that we create with family members, friends, coworkers, etc. are what makes navigating through this journey of life a little easier.

But, often times we take for granted that we really know those we hold dear.

Do we…?!?  Do we really know those whom we call “besties,” “fam,” and “ride or dies?!?”

I would argue that even if we think we know everything, we can always use a refresher, a fun exercise or maybe even a life altering revelation with our loved ones.

The next time you have a few spare moments with your tribe, consider my thoughts here…

This past week one of my blogger friends posted a “Get to Know Me” article on her site.

I gotta say, it was super informative and I feel like we could be curled up sippin’ hot chocolate together any day now.

And, that is exactly what I want to create with my Tribe.  All of YOU.

I would love to get to know YOU better, too.

So, I am accepting this challenge, and I hope you will indulge me a bit.

In this post I have answered 15 random questions.

Now, you do the same!

Take this as a challenge to have a little fun this week getting to know those around you.

Use these on a date.  On a girls night out.  Or just a night in with your kids!

I promise you, the laughs will be endless and you may even find something out about yourself that you never knew!

Here goes…

Question # 1:

What is the Title of the Current Chapter of Your Book of Life?

Toddler Tyranny: Surviving Not Thriving.

Question # 2

Three Most Interesting Facts About Yourself That Most People Wouldn’t Know:

(1) I totaled my car 58 days after my 16th birthday.  My Dad guessed I would wreck it in 60.  Guess I showed that sucka!!! … all jokes aside, scariest experience ever.

(2) I sang a solo as a part of my church choir in the West Wing of the White House once during high school and President Bush emerged from a nearby room for a brief .002 seconds during it.  Shell-shocked.  Literally.  He didn’t even know we were there, but whatevs.  I knew HE WAS THERE…

(3) I clerked for a state Supreme Court Justice.

Question # 3

How would you describe yourself in three words:

Passionate, Nurturing, Creative

Question # 4

If you could only eat five things for the rest of your life what would they be?

(1) Macaroni and Cheese

(2) My Momma’s Chicken Salad

(3) My Daddy’s fresh off the grill BBQ Hamburgers

(4) My Mamaw’s Fried Chicken with homemade pineapple sauce

(5) My Ninnie’s Potato Salad and Homemade Thanksgiving Dressing

* Side note: As a bonus, because I would totally ask the Genie for another wish 😉 … Publix Bourbon Salmon (for those good omega 3’s girrrrrllll…)

* Side note Part 2: Also, my Aunt Kaye’s Sausage Balls.

* Side Note Part 3: Because I LOVE FOOD, I also can’t live without mozzarella / tomato (Caprese) salads, crabcakes and Rose’!

Question # 5

What Songs Get You Fired Up and Ready to Go?

“Sweet Home Alabama”

“Rise Up”

“Concrete Jungle”

“Defying Gravity”

“Shut Up and Dance”

Question # 6

What are some things that a large amount of people are obsessed with but you CAN’T STAND?

Pumpkin Spice Lattes (Insert eyeroll here).  I just don’t get it.  Please forgive me.

Ugg Boots (CAN THOSE SHOES BE ANY UGLIER…ASKING FOR A FRIEND…. SPOILER ALERT: THE FRIEND IS MEEEEE!)

Question # 7

If you could turn an activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a really good chance of winning a gold medal for?

Putt-Putt Golf, Go-Karting, Scrapbooking and Online Shopping…

Question # 8

What TV show would you most like to star in OR live in?

Friends

Question # 9

What is your favorite day of the week and why?

Monday.  Because I think it gets a bad rap, and honestly I love the challenge and excitement of a fresh start with new opportunities.

But, I also LIVE for Friday nights / Saturday mornings…

Question # 10

If your childhood had a smell what would it be?

Apple Cinnamon candles.

Fresh leaves.

Bounce dryer sheets.

Question # 11

Dream Vacation?

Meditteranean cruise.

Italy.

I wanna see it all…

Question # 12

How do you relax?

PJs.

No bra (TMI?…sorry.  Just bein’ real…)

Big, warm blanket.

A good book.

A glass of wine or mug of hot chocolate.

Side note: Homegirl loves a good massage or mani / pedi sesh any day of the week… am I right, ladies?!?

Question # 13

Celebrity Crush?

John Stamos.

All Day.  Every dang day.

Also, I have a very well-known obsession with Vin Diesel’s voice.  Ask literally anyone who knows me.

Don’t worry.  My husband is WELL aware.

I think I got a little too detailed about this question.

Moving on…

Question # 14

If you could live anywhere else in the U.S. where would it be?

Charleston, South Carolina.

But I would also want to live out my fashion girl dreams and live in NYC for a year or two.

Question # 15

What / Who Inspires You?

My daughters.  My two girls have given me dreams I never even knew I had.  My whole life has changed since my oldest took her first breath.  Each day they push me to achieve more than the day before.  They love me with no preconceived notions, purely and with reckless abandon.  They light up the second I enter a room and the same is true for whenever I hear the pitter patter of their little feet.  The words “Thank you, Mommy” or “I love you, Mommy” have proven singlehandedly more inspirational than any other aspect of my life.  More than anything, I now know what I desire my legacy for my girls to be: You can achieve anything you dream with God’s help.

My parents.  I know everyone says they have the best.  But, my goodness, I sure am grateful to God for mine.  He knew exactly the combo I needed to drive me, inspire me, challenge me and most of all love me fiercely, unconditionally and limitlessly.

My two grandmothers.  Most people say that I am an equal combination of my two grandmothers.  I wholeheartedly agree.  On the one hand, I will take a board room by storm and conquer whatever challenge lies before me, all while balancing gracefully on a pair of sky-high heels (Thank you, Ninnie).  While on the other hand, my heart lies in serving you up a warm chocolate chip poundcake and taking your mind off the worries of the world for an afternoon (Love you, Mamaw).

*    *    *

Whew!  This was fun.

I hope you got to know me a little better.  And I would LOVE to get to know you better.

If you have a few seconds, I’d love for you to answer a few of these questions in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading and hope you have a great day!

I challenge you to take a little time to get to know some people in your life even better this week 🙂

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Hear Me Roar…

#MotivationalMonday

Hear Me Roar…

As a journalist (or an individual who is trained to be one…), I wholeheartedly defend freedom of speech.  In fact, I encourage it.

And that is exactly why I am speaking out today.  Because this past weekend, a ton of people spoke for me and my gender.  And, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t feel that all women were fairly represented.

Rather than scribbling hate speech and curse words on poster boards, I will leave my thoughts peacefully right here…

I am a woman.  I am a daughter.  I am a mother.  I am a sister.  I am a friend.

I am thankful for the men and women who fight daily for my freedom.

I am grateful to the countless physicians (both men and women) who champion for advances in obstetric and gynecological health.

I am pleased to live in a land where women have the right to vote, purchase homes, serve in corporate positions, bear children, travel, and make their own choices on a daily basis.

I am appreciative to reside in a land where freedom is not a dirty word and rather something often taken for granted.

I am humbled by the blessing of the ability to bear children and will respect the rights of any child I may bear (including unborn) as equal to my own.

I am in awe of my God who created me and my female tribe with unique capabilities which make us perfectly suited to go after any dream we may have.

I feel privileged to be a woman, a member of such an incredibly amazing group of people.  What a tribe we have!

I choose positivity over slander.  I choose to be thankful.  I choose God.

And for those reasons:

I will continue to thank God for providing me all the direction I will ever need to navigate this crazy thing called life. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

I refuse to be misled by the lies society adheres to today. (Colossians 2:8; Ephesians 6:10-17; Psalm 1:1-6)

I will aggressively look for ways to spread love vs. hate, and acceptance vs. rejection. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

I will not involve myself in negative rhetoric and will not demean the female tribe by using derogatory terms to champion for messages affecting our rights. (Titus 3:2)

I will always stand up for what is right and defend those who are incapable of fighting for themselves. (Psalm 31:8-9; Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 82:3)

I will protect the inherent dignity and worth of others, always doing so in accordance with God’s will. (Genesis 1:27; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Corinthians 3:16)

I will extend a hand, even to those with whom I disagree, and hear their point of view with a guarded yet welcoming heart. (Romans 15:5)

I will pray for the leaders of our country, our churches, our schools and our workforce to treat all people (male and female) with God’s love and His divine direction. (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

I will silence my mouth when I have nothing to say that would further the Kingdom, and I will scream to the mountaintops when I feel called to do so. (Matthew 28:19;  Romans 1:16)

And I hope you will join me.

 I am woman.  Hear me roar…

Love you, Ladies!  And so proud to be a member of our incredible Tribe!

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Nap Time Diaries…

#ForMommas

Nap Time Diaries

This weekend consisted of one of the biggest party nights of the year.  Rather than shakin’ what my Momma gave me, I curled up in my mermaid blanket, popped in some Friends DVDs and honestly, lived my best life.

Here’s a candid of the hubs and I ringing in the new year to the hum of the baby monitor…

blogclinkclink

While I was lounging, I had a few minutes to google some questions weighing heavily on my mind these days.  I wanted to share my latest Google search with y’all….

blognaps

Who’s with me…?!?!  Can I get an Amen…?

Nap time.  Why is that as children we never wanted to nap and as adults that’s all we want to do…?  The.Struggle.Is.So.Real.

This week, I am really battling the nap ninja.  My youngest is jumpin’ up and down like a popcorn kernel and there’s no end in sight.  I love her zeal for life.  Just wish it could exist between the hours of 8 a.m. –  2 p.m.  then pick back up from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m…

As we kick off this year, I just wanted to share the following:

I feel you, Momma.  I see your overtired eyes just like the ones I stare at in the mirror each day.

I see you struggling to make it to 5:30 p.m. when the hubs waltzes in to save sanity just as it’s teetering over a grand canyon sized cliff.

I understand your frustrations with potty training, nap time, feeding, homework, school, and the list goes on.

But know this: We’re in this together.  We are not trodding along solitary journeys.  Not even at 2:17 a.m.  Knowing we’ve got a beautiful tribe that has our back makes it better.  And sometimes it’s just good to remind ourselves of that.

This year I want us to get really real with each other.  Open and honest.  Let’s stand by one another and encourage each other to be the best Mommas we can possibly be.

I’m reminding myself that there’s a season for everything.  I’m clinging to those incredibly funny / split-my-side-open laughing moments that I love so much and shoving the cry-my-eyes-out ones right out the window.

Because I know that my babies will only be little for a while.  And so I will treasure every second.

Yes, even the no-nap-nelly ones.

Love you, Mommas!

Share in the comments what’s got you smiling OR pulling your hair out so we can encourage one another!

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16 Things We Learned in 2016

#ThoughtfulThursday

16 Things We Learned in 2016

2016 will be in the books in just a few weeks.  I have had the best time chatting with you all every day.  God really had some powerful nuggets of wisdom for us this year.

Really excited and looking forward to the great things God has planned in 2017.  I thought I would look back over our “chats” this year and pick a few out to remind us of everything we learned this year.

Wishing you the happiest last few weeks of 2016 and Cheers to 2017!  Looking forward to sharing love and life with you each and every day!

Take a walk with me back through some of the words God shared with us this year…

(1) God is Everything We Need.  Often, clutter – specifically the kind that tends to form in our hearts – needs to be cleared away.  We must be mindful to not only tend to our house clutter but our heart clutter, too…

God offers us more than we could ever achieve.  More than any human could ever provide us.  He offers us a kind of indescribable, unconditional, infallible, over-the-moon kind of love that no movie has ever even come close to depicting.  He wants to be our confidant.  He wants to be our guide through this crazy thing we call life.  He wants to be all that we need.  Why is it that we spend so much time on other things when we need to be focusing on HIM?

Once we take the time to clear out all the unnecessary junk that has collected, even in our subconscious, we can once again focus on our intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father: the most important relationship in our lives.

(2) Each One of Us is Unique and We are Each Perfectly Enough Just As We Are.

There is no one on earth who has your unique set of skills.  Your ability.  Your talent.  Your passion.  Your perspective.  The world needs what YOU have to offer.  Embracing your individuality is empowering and necessary.

The next time you are bombarded with the social “norms” or what the world has defined as perfection, remember – they haven’t met YOU!  They haven’t seen the incredible creation that you are with all of your abilities, ambitions and possibilities.

Never lose sight of the fact that you are special just as you are.  Be incredibly proud of who you are from the inside out.  It does not matter where you live, what car you drive, the color of your skin / hair, the clothes you wear.  None of that matters.  The only thing that matters is that God created you and He loves YOU.  You are beautiful to Him at all times, every single day.

(3) God will Always Provide.

When we are least deserving, He provides.

When we are least open to His love, He holds us even tighter.

When we are wandering, He guides us back to Him.

When we sin against Him, He offers unconditional forgiveness.

When we are happy, He rejoices along with us.

When we are worrying, He reminds us of His plan.

When we are sad, He dries our tears.

When we think we are at the end of our ropes, He highlights the path of escape.

When we think He could not bless us any more, He is faithful.

(4) Rejection is Often God’s Protection.

We often sit in conversation with God expecting Him to act immediately. We have this “I want it now!” mentality. Now is very dangerous. What if God listened and adhered to our calling each time we instructed Him to deliver our blessings immediately? Although we would be instantly gratified, we would be eternally robbed of the true depth of God’s blessings. What if we could see into the future and realize that “No” otherwise known as rejection, was actually God’s protection! What if “Wait” was actually preparing us for a multitude of additional blessings or opportunities that we could not even fathom or think to request?

God’s timing is divine. It is perfect. We must learn to trust in Him, no matter the answer.  Just because we do not receive tangible evidence of God’s work on our behalf, does not mean He is not hard at work for us every second of the day.

(5) Grudges are Idle Wastes of Time.  Let’s Relieve Ourselves of the Unnecessary Baggage.

We have to be more intentional about showing kindness, understanding and compassion to our friends.  Let’s be willing to check immaturity at the door and embrace one another in love.  There will be fights, sure.  But knowing the sacrifice God made on our behalf by sacrificing His Son, how could we refuse to forgive a transgression made against us here on this earth?

Sometimes it will be all their fault.  Others it will be our fault.  Still other times a relationship will be so irretrievably broken you must walk away.  In all instances know this: God has forgiven each and every one of us.  We must now forgive others.  We must own our mistakes and be willing to forgive others just as God has instructed.

(6) Every Day Will Not be Great.  But There Will Be Something Great About Every Day.

When we go through the motions each day it’s so easy to get worn down, beat up, exhausted.  That’s completely understandable.  We might even find ourselves leaning towards a “Negative Nelly” mentality at times.  But if we take a moment each morning before our feet even hit the floor to say, “Today is going to be a great day.  I have the gift of another day.  Let’s do this.” we have already taken the first step to start our day on a positive note.

(7) Let’s Appreciate the Flowers in Our Own Gardens and Resist Any Urge to Glance Across at the Neighbor’s Yard.

Blessings are like flowers growing in a garden.  They are beautiful treasures and gifts to enjoy each day.  If nurtured and appreciated flowers tend to grow and multiply creating an entire field for enjoyment.  But, if neglected and undervalued they wither and fade away.

Like flowers, blessings are not one-size-fits-all.  Just because your friend gets an item you have always wanted, does not mean that that particular item is part of your “blessing bundle,” maybe not for now anyway.  In fact, you may be in store for something even greater!

God knows exactly what we need.  But, more importantly, He knows exactly WHEN we need it.  We must spend more time savoring the beauty God has placed in our own lives.  Acknowledging the wonderful grace that God provides to each of us daily.  If we waste time staring across the fence at our neighbor’s yard we may miss the countless blessings that have been designed just for us in our own garden.

(8) Cling to Joy Rather than Searching for Fleeting Happiness.

Only an intimate relationship with Christ can bring you never-ending joy.  Only the recognition of the grace and hope you have in the Lord can bring you irreplaceable and undeserved joy.  The kind that never fades and never subsides.  The kind of emotion that wells up inside of you and shakes you to your very core.

Joy is all-consuming.  It is better than any reward you will ever receive, more incredible than any vacation you will ever take, even more enjoyable than your favorite moments here on this earth.

This is the day.  This IS the day that the Lord hath made.  You are alive.  You have another day to soak up time with loved ones.  You have another opportunity to make a difference.  Rather than spending time searching for earthly happiness, cling to the promise of everlasting JOY!  Rejoice in the knowledge that God loves you, He saved you and He provides you all the joy you could ever imagine.

(9) It’s Important to T.H.I.N.K. Before We Speak.

We are all guilty of speaking without thinking from time to time.  It’s human nature.  But, from now on, no matter if we are using our mouths or our keyboards to communicate, let’s all commit to take a minute to T.H.I.N.K. before we speak following these guidelines:

T – Is it True?

H – Is it Helpful?

I – Is it Inspiring?

N – Is it Necessary?

K – Is it Kind?

If you answered YES to these questions, then share your message with the world!  If you answered NO to several, it might be best to take my Momma’s sage advice and say nothing at all.

(10) Steer Clear of the Drama Bus.

If we look at the way drama starts there are really only two origins:

(a) We start it; or

(b) We associate with someone who starts it.

From now on, whenever someone tempts us to engage in drama-like behavior, let’s pause and tell ourselves:

Not My Circus!  Not my Monkeys!

Steering clear of drama is not only better for our psyches and well-being, it is what God would have us do.

“[Y]et we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”  1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12

(11) Forgiveness is the Answer.

“The first to apologize is the bravest.

The first to forgive is the strongest.

The first to forget is the happiest.”

Think about it like this: if someone does something to hurt your feelings and they apologize, the situation is over for them.  They may never give it a second thought.  For you, the sting of the grievance may still be too fresh to move on from.  We must not allow ourselves to be duped by the devil into a life of misery simply due to some grievances of the past.

Let’s be the change we wish to see in the world…It begins in each of us! 

Be brave.  Be strong.  Be happy!!

(12) Let’s Get out of the Rooster Pens and Soar Like Eagles.

As Christians, we are meant to soar like eagles. God intends for us to soar in the Spirit and fellowship with other eagles.

Instead, we often find ourselves hanging out in the rooster pens. We get so comfy in our surroundings we don’t even realize our potential in Christ. We can’t see past all the other roosters blocking our view of the potential we have in Him. Let’s get out of the rooster pen and soar to the mountaintops, friends! For it is there that we can discover all that is possible in Christ!

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Find your strength in Christ, friends.  And soar.  Just as you were always meant to do.

(13) We Gotta Forgive Ourselves and Get Rid of the Guilt Goblins.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Psalm 103:11-12

You see, the second we ask God to forgive us for something we have done, it’s over.  Finished. Water under the bridge.  God forgives us instantly and He forgets it.  It’s hard to imagine, but it’s true.  One of the greatest aspects about our God is His unimaginable ability to forgive and forget.  He “removes our transgressions.”  That’s some powerful stuff.  In lawyer speak, He expunges our record.  We return to the land of the innocent.  Our slates are made clean…Clean as a whistle.

So, really it all boils down to us being willing to forgive ourselves.  The beauty of forgiveness is the ability to start over.  I look at it as the land of the Do Over vs. the Don’t Over.  It’s an opportunity for us to learn from our mistakes and make changes that will impact our future for the better.

(14) Haters Gonna Hate.  But, We’ll Keep Lovin’ Them to Christ.

Individuals who bully or offer unkind words are looking for a reaction.  They want you to engage them on their level.  Rather than paying these individuals back with hasty, mean words of our own, let’s love them to Christ.  Let’s forgive them, often even without an apology, for their actions and pray for their hearts.

Even though it can seem unbearable to deal with the criticism, negativity or hurt that others’ bring into our lives, we can make efforts to change the cycle.  We are only responsible for our own actions and reactions.  We can pray for God to intervene and in the meantime lean on Him for strength.

People will attack you.  Pray for them anyway.

People will try to hurt you.  Extend grace anyway.

People will attempt to rob you of your joy.  Love them anyway.

(15) Being Patient is the Worst, but We Gotta Do It.

It can be so tempting to want to “fix” all our issues. As humans, we have an innate urge to micro-manage and control every little detail of our lives. It appears so clearly to us how to overcome roadblocks and move forward without giving prayer or supplication a chance.

Patience is hard. Let’s just call it like it is. Patience = UGH!

Sometimes Most of the time, I would rather run a 5k in freezing sleet, uphill, with no shoes on than wait for the Lord…

But there are valuable profits and lessons afforded through exercising patience. When we offer up our whole lives to Christ, we are reminded of His power and provision. We are humbled by the blessings He affords that we could have never imagined. We are able to acknowledge and receive the awe-inspiring love from the One we serve!

The next time we feel carnally pressured to make a move without seeking God first, let’s remember to watch and wait.  If we trust in God’s provision, His timing and His unfailing love we will honor Him and reap all the unimaginable blessings He has in store.  In His timing…

(16) Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.  God is Watching.  Let’s Shine Our Lights to the World.

God observes everything we do. He is keeping watch on all of our actions. The good and the bad. He is most pleased when we serve Him even with no desire of gaining recognition in return.

This sure does put a check on our motivations, doesn’t it?  If we focus on working for God rather than men, we will see a dynamic shift in our desires and goals in this life.  We will be less concerned with “likes” on our Instagram photo posts and busier about throwin’ chunks of gold in the foundation of our Heavenly homes…

Let’s strive to be ladies who yearn for our lives to be used in furtherance of Christ’s kingdom. Let’s bring back the silent act of kindness. The good deed with no applause. The helping hand when no one is watching. And then let’s watch as God transforms souls with the power of His love and faithfulness…

So thankful for you!  Cheers to 2017!

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Toothpaste and Oreos

#ForMommas

Toothpaste and Oreos

How many of you are members of the “Wash the Load Three-Times-a-Charm Laundry Club?”  You know what I mean…you throw a load in the washer.  Insanity ensues.  You return two days later, discover the old (now damp and slightly smelly) load and wash it again.  Repeat previous steps.  On the third day, you wash it AGAIN and stick post-it notes everywhere to remind yourself to finally dry it this time!!!

I am a charter member of this club.  Actually, we voted last week to make me Secretary…not sure whether I should be honored or embarrassed…

Either way, I’ve always said that attempting to clean a house while raising children is like brushing your teeth while chomping on a mouth full of Oreos.  It. just. doesn’t. work…

Until now.

See, I am about to give you an early Christmas present AND hopefully provide you some encouragement / tips for the new year.

After receiving frequent criticism loving suggestions from my precious Momma (love you, Mom!) about the cleaniness…err, lack thereof…. in my home, I decided to research the simplest and most time efficient ways to take back my house!  And, after studying up on these options / tips, I’m happy to report that we Mommas won’t have to choose between housework and the always more important task of intentional child-rearing ever again…

Today I am sharing my: 5 Housecleaning / Organizing Tips for Busy Mommas (and what Momma isn’t busy…) 😉

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(1) Prioritize Your Pandemonium – I’m all about lists.  Who’s with me?!?!  If it doesn’t make it on my to-do list, well, it doesn’t come close to getting done…  So, when I learned of this cleaning idea, I was floored with shocking gratitude coupled with “why-didn’t-I-think-of-this-sooner” relief.

Instead of overwhelming yourself, sit down and map out your tasks.  Each Sunday night, I sit down and jot down my list for the week (because, no surprise here, your home cleaning needs are going to change week to week).  Some weeks you may have had company over and your cleaning needs are heightened.  Other weeks, you may have battled an illness and barely made it to the shower, meaning your house looks like a tornado came through.  You get the drift…

Start with your kitchen.  What needs to be done there…dishes?  Cleaning out the pantry?  Sweeping the floors?  All of it?

Prioritize.

What needs to be done first?  What can be left to a later day in the week.  Start planning out your tasks: For example: On Monday I do all dishes AND put them away.  On Tuesday, I sweep / vaccuum the floors.  On Wednesday, I clean out the fridge.  On Thursday, I wipe the counters down extra well.  On Friday, I tidy up the pantry and make a shopping list for the weekend.  You get the idea.

Now, repeat this step for every room of your house and chart it out on your weekly calendar.  You will not believe how much stress it takes off of you AND how manageable it becomes when you are just tackling one item in each room per day!

What gets calendared, get’s done, friends!

(2) Accept the Role of Dishin’ Out Diva – No.  I don’t just mean as the cafeteria lady who feeds all the youngins’ and then cleans up after them, too.  What I mean is, involve the whole family in the home cleaning game! 🙂

Assign tasks based on age and skill level.  Obviously, a toddler cannot do loads of laundry.  BUT, they can be in charge of bringing all dishes to the sink, cleaning up their toys, putting their clothes in the hamper and making their beds.  And,  honestly, they should be required to do those things.

Consider purchasing (or making for all you talented DIYers) a chore chart for your family.  We LOVE this at our house because children are very visual.  They love seeing their names and having the ability to “check” each chore off the list as they do it.  They receive gratification from performing tasks as much, if not more, than we do!

I found this adorable chore chart from Melissa & Doug that would be a great addition to your home if you are in need of one:

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One of the most important things we can do as Moms, is instill responsibility and pride in our kiddos.  They will be looking to us to see how they should care for their own belongings and home one day.  Never feel guilty about requiring your children to help maintain a clean home…in fact, you should pat yourself on the back for helping them learn lifelong skills.  Habits, once formed, are hard to break!  So, why not create and maintain some really great ones even now!

(3) The “Touch it Once Rule” – While somewhat self-explanatory, the “Touch it Once Rule,” if used as intended, will revolutionize your life.  Quite literally, whenever you bring in mail, toys, soccer gear, ballet shoes, groceries, newspapers, whatever…touch it once.  Put it away or trash it immediately.

I use the following system: Every item that comes in my home is either (a) trash or (b) treasure.  If it is trash (junk mail, leftover McDonald’s French fries, or receipts from God-only-knows-where) it gets dumped immediately.  If it is treasure (meaning ballet shoes, books, school supplies, aka any items that are not trash), I either take it to its home immediately, or (because we all need a cheater “grace” system) it goes in a specific, centrally located bin that I call my catch-all bin.  (This is a way to somewhat temporarily circumvent the “Touch-it-Once” system while still keeping your house spick-and-span.)

Each night, before bedtime, the kids and I sort through any items that got pitched in the “catch-all” bin and put them where they go.  It is part of our nightly cleaning ritual.  While this may seem like a time-thief, it actually saves you inordinate amounts of time in the longrun because (a) you are never searching for lost items again and (b) by doing it nightly, you save bigtime on massive weekend tidying.  Also, it kinda becomes a fun treasure hunt, if you will.  It’s amazing how you will forget what’s in there even if you placed it there just a few hours earlier.

(4) The Ten-Minute Tidy Rule – 10 minutes in Momma time can seem like forever right before nap time OR it can seem like a second flat if we’ve finally snuck off for some “me” time.  In the grand scheme of things, ten minutes is not a bunch of time BUT it’s all you need for a little necessary tidying.  In our house, we have adopted a new rule, before we leave a room, we take a “ten-minute-tidy” break.  Sometimes it’s shorter than 10 minutes (other times it’s briefly longer).  No matter how long it actually turns out to be, those few minutes are vital in maintaining a clean home.

Before you leave a room, look around for the following items: (1) trash; (2) dirty kitchen items (i.e. cups, plates, silverware, etc.) and / or (3) clutter.  Take a few minutes and divide it up amongst those 3 categories, tending to each one individually.  Don’t overwhelm yourself.  Take each category one by one.  Then, breathe a sigh of relief as you head to the next fun adventure…  At the end of the day, you will be shocked how much neater / cleaner your home is just by taking those few minutes to maintain the mess all day long!

Quick Tip: Busy Momma’s Secret Tools –  We need time.  That’s really all we need, right ladies?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my husband and said, “If I just had 20-30 more minutes a day, I could get this place looking great!”

The truth is, we all have the same hours in our days.  There’s no real secret to how some keep their houses meticulous and others not-so-much (except for maybe a secret cleaning service) other than priorities.  In life, the things that get done and the things we make time for.

Since we don’t have a lot of time, we need cleaning tools that get the job done simply and quickly.  Pick up a Swiffer Sweeper and / or a Shark Lightweight / Cordless Floor Sweeper today!  These tools are my two best kept secrets.  They are easy to store, get the job done so fast and are actually manageable to use even on the busiest of days.  It takes under 3 minutes to quickly vacuum in high volume traffic areas and it gives you a sense of instant gratification!!

  Plus, you can snag these tools at Wal-Mart for under $60 combined (and even cheaper with coupons and deals!)  Trust me, friends…the minimal investment will pay you back in dividends over time!

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* Commit to taking a quick swipe at your floors after every meal, and you are already well on your way to a cleaner kitchen area!

 (5) Give Yourself Grace – This phase of your life is most likely not designed to be your Good-Housekeeping-cover-spread-moment.  That time may come 😉 but, for now, revel in creating happy, healthy kiddos!  Even Martha Stewart has her bad days…  So, rather than unnecessarily troubling yourself with the pressures of maintaining perfection, free yourself with the knowledge that sometimes a little untidiness means that you are more appropriately spending your time on greater things…or tiny souls 😉  Cheers to you, Momma!  Because there’s no doubt in my mind that you are giving your best every day, and that’s all you are expected to do!

What are some of your home-cleaning tips?  Please share in the comments!

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Stepping Off the Struggle Bus

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Steppin’ Off the Struggle Bus

Hey friends!  I hear there’s some super important voting going on this week, or something…

Well, check this out: I just got elected Senator of the Struggle Bus!!!

Confession: I fell asleep on my kid this weekend:

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Yep.  This image doesn’t lie.  We’re all friends here.  I’m not too proud to admit that I fell asleep on my toddler as Bob and Larry blasted Veggie Tale showtunes in the background.  Plus, check out that super attractive streak of gray hair blossoming above my right eye with reckless abandon as it has not seen my hair stylist in months…

My husband lovingly sneakily captured this moment to share with me his direct evidence of why I so desperately need a “Mommy Timeout.”

Despite the snugglebunny dreams you may think are depicted in this photo, this is an image of a worn out soul who’s last iota of “will to go on” finally gave up on her.  I gotta be real, if I don’t take a chill moment soon, you’ll find me in TJMaxx huntin’ for my Insane Asylum prom dress any day now…

Maybe you are in the same boat (or bus… 😉 ): you’ve given it all you’ve got, you’ve signed up for every PTA activity, you’ve attended every playdate, changed every diaper, washed every load of clothes and You’re. Just. Tired.  You’ve had it with reality.  Even propping your eyelids open with toothpicks isn’t an option at this point…

I feel you, sister.

But maybe you feel this way, too: “Oh I couldn’t possibly take a moment to myself because my babies need me, my husband needs me, the church needs me, this house will implode, the spaghetti noodles won’t get cooked, the towels won’t get folded properly, the walls will cave in and St. Peter will give up my spot in line if I take a…gasp….break!”

Well, I’m here to tell you, friends: As shocking as this may sound: life will go on…and maybe even better than it did before.  It’s time we all took a step off the Struggle Bus and sauntered into the Mommy-Minute Timeout Park for a bit.

It is NOT selfish to take a breather.  NOT. N-O-T.  See, I used to think that if I did anything whatsoever for myself then I was robbing my babies of the unicorn-light-of-a-thousand-fairies dream existence that I so desperately want to afford them.

But, what I didn’t realize was that in my hollow attempts to be the “Best Mom” I was actually robbing myself AND my babies of much needed breathers here and there.

As it turns out, if we don’t fill our own cups of goodness, then we don’t have anything to pour into the ones we love.

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So, today I am giving you, my dear sweet Momma Friend, an invitation to join me for a few Mommy timeouts this week.  We’ll take it slow at first.  You know, dipping our toes into the dewy goodness of the grass in Mommy Timeout Park…

Take a walk.

Go buy the groceries…alone.

Lock yourself in the bathroom and read for 30 minutes.

For goodness sakes, take that much needed nap you’ve been daydreamin’ about since your firstborn entered the world.

Because YOU deserve it.

And your precious family does, too 🙂

 Love you Mommas! Have a GREAT week!

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The Ultimate Guide to Tappin’ Your Momma Tribe

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The Ultimate Guide to Tappin’ Your Momma Tribe

Mommyhood is similar to a squishy toddler perma-hug fueled by cheerio-laced steroids.

But you know what else it can be?

Lonely.

Anytime I say that to someone, they look at me like I’m crazy.  How could you possibly be lonely when you are surrounded by two vivacious toddlers day in and day out?!?

As much as I am thrilled to spend all my waking hours snuggling, kissing and squeezin’ these bundles of joy, it turns out that they don’t seem to care about much other than Barbies and tea parties.  And while that’s completely normal, it can leave Momma at a loss for adult interactions and necessary adult bonds…

As Mommas, we need a select group of people surrounding us to make this life everything it’s meant to be and more.  Because as precious as our little ones are, they are not created to fulfill us.

Our little tots are often not familiar with the world’s current events and any conversation topic other than “What treat am I getting if I eat all my green beans tonight?” is too taxing for their tiny attention spans…Plus, word on the street is babies have no appreciation for Mimosa Brunches either….

Sooo, what do we do about this?!?

We tap our tribe.

Here are the members each Momma needs in her Tribe:

The Adulting Afficionado – This woman makes Martha Stewart look like a DIY-attempting fool.  She’s got it all together.  She can whip up a divine four course dinner in stilettos and still deliver the most incredible story time session you’ve ever observed 20 minutes later.  Her knowledge is offensively vast and her stamina is shame-inducing.

It’s like she sweats diamonds for God’s sake.  Just call her: Life’s Cruise Director.

She knows the exact pediatric-approved bathwater temperature and the cleanest hands-on children’s museum, but she can also direct you to the most delicious Sangria in town.  Ladies, when you discover this woman, mooch off her brain like there’s no tomorrow.  She will save you hundreds of dollars in self-help parenting books and late night google sessions…

The Epic-Fail Enthusiast  – There’s no other way to describe this addition to our Momma Tribe arsenal other than referring to her as the epitome of epic fails…  Her photo is the descriptive image accompanying the term “disheveled” in the dictionary.  She’s a pro at dropping children off balconies salvaging toddler tumbles and sporting two month old pancake stains on her off-the-shoulder work out tank.

Her hair tied up in a top knot isn’t as much fashionable as it is functional…and necessary….considering she’s been rocking dry shampooed locks for the last week and a half.

She may be the most genuine member of your tribe because she is eternally unbothered by anything other than raw authenticity…no matter how helter-skelter that may be.  The “free to be me” mentality is never more wholeheartedly embraced than by the epic fail enthusiast.  God love her soul, she is everything.  Because she is the reminder that no matter how bad we think we’ve got it, somebody else is trudging along an even more harried terrain…

The Care-Free Crusader – This lady, by definition, is that tried-and-true single friend.  It’s incredibly refreshing to engage in conversation with her because she is not emotionally invested in Princess Sophia’s latest adventure… In fact, she’s probably never even heard of her…

Maybe you’ve known her for ages, or maybe you recently met out.  Nevertheless, she is the one you run to when you wish to live vicariously (if only for a moment) in the land of singledom.  Once she’s made you acutely aware of the many land grenades lurking in the world that is single-life, you breathe in a euphoric sigh of relief realizing that in so many ways maybe you really do have life all figured out…

While all the single ladies put their hands up (I see you, Beyoncé, I’m pickin’ up what you’re puttin’ down…) and delve off into the bone-crushing world of online dating / set-ups / break-ups / emotional beat-downs and frustration, we members of the Momma tribe will feel just fine laying down – on the couch – putting on our night masks and cascading into, albeit interrupted, (and desperately needed) sleep.

The Eternal Encourager – God. Bless. This. Precious. Soul.  It seems her perma-grin must be the result of years of plastic surgery.  But no.  She is simply one of God’s special gifts.  She always has an uplifting word and / or friendly hug.  The warmth of her soul radiates from feet away soothing you like a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winters’ night.  When I think of an Eternal Encourager I envision a verbal twitter feed of scrolling motivational quotes.  Adding her to your tribe ensures that no matter what, you will never forget that there is still good in this world.

The Playdate Planning Princess – I rarely get my grocery list in order, much less have the time to think up, plan and execute the oh-so-necessary playdate.  Enter: Playdate Planning Princess.  This Momma, like you, is longing for a lady to add to her tribe who needs a day out of the house with her kids once in a while.  She’s organized.  She’s friendly.  She’s awesome.  You can spot her from a mile a way because she’s the precious one that breaks the ice in the ballet studio waiting room.   Love her.  Embrace her.  She is your ticket to sanity.

The Same Stage Survivor – Has there ever been a deeper kindred spirit on this earth than a fellow Mom walking through the exact same stage you are?!?  Answer: No.  Nope.  No ma’am.  This individual has been gifted to you directly from God to pick you up off the bathroom floor when you think you are the only mother in America cleaning finger-painted poop off of crib rails at 3:32 a.m.  She’s the only one that understands the comfort (both physically and psychologically) that yoga pants provide and most likely the only human therapist that can prevent you from attending to that long-standing desire to call in an emergency Xanax subscription.  She is your soul’s counterpoint in another….  But seriously…

The Step Ahead Sorceror – This woman does not pretend to be a walking encyclopedia but she sure does have a catalog of invaluable experience-laced magic crammed in her brain.  She’s walked the weary roads, wiped the tears and learned the tough lessons.  You know, the ones we all so desparately wish to avoid learning ourselves…  She can walk you through the next step before you even arrive at that mountain.  Step Ahead Sorceror is key for avoiding regret and wishing-you-had-known feelings.  She’s been there.  So we don’t have to…

The Party Bus Phenom – LADIES NIGHT!!!  Mommas, how many times a week do you stare out your front window, watching the cars pass by around 6 pm and imagine: “Bet they’re going to an Italian restaurant to feed on decadent pasta followed by a super-fun dance session at the local bar…???”

Just me?  Oh…

Sometimes we are in a seemingly life-or-death need for a night out.  To dust off the fun wardrobe, finally fix our hair and take the world by storm.  To chat about Margarita flavors rather than breastmilk storage bag providers…Ugh…  And, you know, so we can finally contribute to  those jealousy-inducing Instagram pics for a change.

Well, with the Party Bus Phenom in your Momma Tribe, you will never have to lust after random strangers and their cool agendas ever again.

The Lifer – this girl was laying in the bassinet beside you when you came home from the hospital.  Ok, maybe not.  But it sure feels that way.  She is your ride-or-die chick.  She’s been with you through thick n’ thin and she has no plans of quittin’ you, Momma!  It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are in, what country you reside in or what is on the agenda, the two of you would move heaven and earth to be there for one another.

She knows all your secrets and loves you just the same.  She was there for you during your ugly-duckling-awkward-middle-school stage and she’ll be there for you as you browse for 50 year wedding anniversary party venues.  Cling to this woman like there is no tomorrow.  There’s nuthin’ better than the evergreen, unfaltering, unwavering, unconditional bond of a Lifer…

Your Own Mom – There are days when the only thing that gets me through is a 15 second chat with my Momma.  Can I get an Amen?  This woman birthed you, raised you and now she’s holding your hand down your own crazy journey of motherhood.  Every woman has a very different relationship with their Momma, but I think we can all agree on one thing: there’s no replacement for a Momma-daughter connection.  There’s an ESP present in those relationships that doesn’t exist elsewhere.  I’m betting it has to do with the 10 months we spent surviving off of their very existence…  Just sayin’ 😉

The Big Man –  I saved the best for last 😉 I undervalued the power of prayer until I found myself in a 24/7 state of prayer…you feel me?  Phrases like: “Jesus Take the Wheel,” “God help me” and “Fix it Jesus” are not slang phrases in my household.  They are fervent, intentional cries out to the only One that can help me in my frequent states of need.

Too often we forget to reach out and lean on God.  He happens to be available whenever we need Him.  His schedule is never too “busy.”  His phone lines are never tied up.  He even works on nights and weekends, people!  So, when tappin’ your tribe, don’t forget to add the most important One to your list…

Who’s in Your Tribe, Momma?!

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Love Them Anyway

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Love Them Anyway

I’m unsure who should be credited with coining the phrase, “Haters Gonna Hate.”  Perhaps Taylor Swift deserves the honor because of the lyrics in her hit song “Shake it Off.”  Either way, the phrase has gone viral and is quite provocative.  I hear people use it all the time: in the grocery store, at school, even at church!

Everyone has critics in life.  But these “haters” have taken it to a whole new level. A hater is an individual who voluntarily and intentionally tries to bring harm to another through words or actions.  For some reason these individuals have become increasingly desensitized to the feelings of others.  Nowadays it’s too easy to hide behind a computer screen while wreaking havoc on even the least suspecting victims.

Maybe you lost weight or even put on some weight recently and someone criticized your new look.

Perhaps you got a promotion at work and someone was less than complimentary.

How about when you shared exciting stories about your loved ones and felt that others were disinterested in or belittling of your journey.

Or maybe someone has just simply been rude to you for an unknown reason.

Sadly, in life there will be people who misunderstand you or do not grasp the meaning of your journey.   This could be manifested in un-requited friendships with other women, missed opportunities for promotion at work, or even direct engagement of hate from another.

Unfortunately, these aren’t new problems.  Jealousy, self-esteem issues and anger are emotions that people have dealt with for ages.  You see, these bullies we encounter on a daily basis are plagued by one or even several of those emotions.  There are countless triggers for haters.  These individuals tend to lack self-esteem.  They find others and the successes of others intimidating.  They could be carrying completely unrelated misguided anger.  Or there may simply be a miscommunication between the two of you that needs sorting out.

Whatever the excuse, it is never acceptable to cause pain to another.  We need to remember that the “hate” we experience is not about us.  It is all about the “hater” and issues they are experiencing in their own lives.

Individuals who bully or offer unkind words are looking for a reaction.  They want you to engage them on their level.  Rather than paying these individuals back with hasty, mean words of our own, let’s love them to Christ.  Let’s forgive them, often even without an apology, for their actions and pray for their hearts.

Even though it can seem unbearable to deal with the criticism, negativity or hurt that others’ bring into our lives, we can make efforts to change the cycle.  We are only responsible for our own actions and reactions.  We can pray for God to intervene and in the meantime lean on Him for strength.

People will attack you.  Pray for them anyway.

People will try to hurt you.  Extend grace anyway.

People will attempt to rob you of your joy.  Love them anyway.

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So the next time you encounter someone with unkind words or malicious intent, remember that their words and / or actions are of no consequence in the bigger picture of life.  God is the judge and the jury.  It is His favor, and His alone, that we seek.

And remember: YOU are beautiful.  YOU are strong.  YOU are brave.   YOU are talented.  YOU are enough.  Just the way you are…

If we take a kind approach with those who are unkind, eventually we will wear them down or they will get bored with not receiving a reaction and move on.   You know the feeling when someone smiles at you?  It’s next to impossible not to smile back.  The next time you face a “hater” remember this quote:

“Haters gonna hate, but I’m just gonna keep on LOVIN’ them to Christ!”

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Confessions of a Fluorescent Mac-n-cheese Lover

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Confessions of a Fluorescent Mac-n-Cheese Lover

Friends, what happened to the days when we could saunter down the aisles of the grocery store without being bombarded with 500 options for each item in the store?

Organic. Non-dairy. GMO-free. No artificial flavors. Lite. Fat-free. Gluten-free. Taste-free

My head is spinning.

Retailers should start labeling packages with the following disclaimer: “Will need nutritionist to assist with purchase.”

Instead of greeters, could nutritionists begin to welcome us at the entrance of the grocery store and offer to accompany us down the aisles?

And while we’re on this topic, could someone for the love of Jesus and all the goodness in the world explain to me what the heck GMOs are? Are they kin to UFOs? Is it a military operative slogan? Are they little cancer pellets hidden away in every bite of my Cheetos? I’m getting worried over here. If you can provide some useful information, could you shoot me a quick message at HelpErinUnderstandGMOs@gmail.com? This is real; send help. Thanks in advance.

Seriously, why can’t we go in the store and throw two boxes of Cheerios, a couple gallons of milk and a box of the latest flavor of Oreos in our carts without enduring relentless stares from other shoppers? Rather than accosting the produce stocker about the origination and growth habits of hass avocados, you will find me filling my cart with items that do not require such intense, interrogative research.  You know items we’ve all been existing on since the beginning of time…

Confession: I’m the Momma that occasionally serves up hot dogs and dinosaur-shaped chicken tenders.  You know why?  Because my kids love them and frankly, YOLO.

I’m going to be real with you guys for a second. My Momma, bless her sweet soul, fed me Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, M&M’s and orange soda. And guess what? I’M STILL ALIVE!  With the exception of the obligatory seasonal cold, I’m kickin’ it just fine folks.

Pre high-fructose-corn-syrup-hysteria our world was such a wonderful place. We reveled in our blissful ignorance and we survived. We made it. The corn syrup centaurs didn’t come devour us in our sleep, people!

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen a scientifically backed theory indicating that occasional hot dog consumption leads directly to immediate death.  But y’all PLEASE send that report in if I’m missin’ it.

Get prepared to gasp because I’m not done yet…I’ve also got mac-n-cheese in the ole pantry, too!  And no.  Not the organic-handmade-by-tiny-food-angels kind.  Nope. No way. Not up in here! If you open my cupboard you are gonna find the glorious, fluorescent, glow-in-the-dark orange kind that we all fell in love with in our dorm rooms decades ago.  You know, the kind we now crave at 2 am after waking up to the baby monitor a few times…

All joking aside, I DO think that nutrition is VERY important.  And I completely agree with teaching our kids about the importance of clean eating, healthy food boundaries and coaching them towards a life of fitness.

But I think we walk a fine line.  I’m all about providing our babies with the healthiest food options available, but let’s do so without engaging in discussions that result in righteous condemnation.

To the precious Mommas who manage to serve pediatric-approved meals on your tables three times a day, you are awesome and superhuman.  Could you help a sister out?  Show me your ways… And, if any of you wants to write a book summarizing all of these “uber-healthy” options exposing all the superfoods in a graph-like format for ease of reference, that’d be great. (Quick request: provide a dictionary in the back.) I’ll be your first buyer.

Rather than tormenting over the origination of the foods that enter our children’s bodies, let’s spend time focusing on the words they hear, the things they see and the places they go… If we spend more time focusing on that version of input in our child’s lives, we will be doing them and our world a much greater service…

There’s a lesson to be learned here: Consumption is vital.  Nutritional, spiritual, emotional, all of it.  But I’m afraid we are spending so much time diagramming the sugar content of granola bars, that we are neglecting to measure the growth habits or our children’s patience, kindness and respect for others.

In our final days, it’s not gonna matter how many marathons our babies ran or how awesome their homemade compost piles were in their backyards.

What will matter is the lasting legacy they leave and the lives they touched while here on this earth.

So, pardon me if I chunk a few fluorescent mac-n-cheese buckets in my buggy as I saunter through the pasta aisle.  No harm.  No foul.  Just placing my primary focus on a tad bit different intake at our house…

What are your thoughts on the “food craze?”

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Love Today. Laundry Tomorrow.

#ForMommas

Love Today. Laundry Tomorrow.

Ballet.

Soccer Practice.

PTO.

Playdates.

Doctor visits.

Each morning our bodies grow tense approximately thirty minutes before the alarm sounds, or the first child signals the arrival of a new day. It’s as if there’s some kind of internal warning attempting to rescue us from the impending chaos…

Don’t do it.

Get out of here.

Run!

Then, without fail, it does happen. The sun wakes, as do the babies. Diapers must be changed. Coffee must be made. Backpacks / lunchboxes packed. Just when we think we’ve caught a five minute window for a break in our favorite spot, it’s out the door and into the world of insanity.

As parents, we feel like taxi drivers enslaved to the daily grind. Mom Uber, if you will.

From now on, let’s refer to ourselves as Child Chauffers. Has a nicer ring to it, don’t ya think?

Our daily agendas read like army reconnaissance operatives consisting of 75+ activities to be completed before mid-morning snack. Even after we race around town like chickens with our heads cut off, we arrive home to the unsettling fact that dinner remains on the agenda… Dinner?!?! Dun. Dun. Dun…

Who in the world has the time to create new and exciting menu plans, all the while healthy (of course) each week? And even if we do sit down and design a Pinterest-worthy meal plan, somebody’s not gonna be “up” for Grandma’s Chicken and Rice bake for the fourth week in a row.

And then there’s grocery shopping. Ugh. Remember how much fun grocery stores used to be before we actually had to go? Before we were forced to traipse through the aisles hunting for items on an offensively long list scribbled on a paper towel. Wait. Strike that. An unused diaper we found stashed in between the seat cushions of the couch.

My hubby and I used to consider a trip to the grocery store date night. Those were the days

These days our primary objective is to keep “Kid A” off of the fruit display and wrangle “Kid B” before she trips another shopper in the cookie aisle.

The most interesting aspects of grocery shopping in Mommy-land include selecting the perfect dinosaur-shaped chicken tenders (the ones with no by-products, of course…insert eye roll here) or discovering the newest flavor of GoGurt. I avoid that place like the plague. I’m not even sure you could lure me in with an ice cream sundae these days.

Well, maybe for ice cream

THEN, we arrive back to the homestead.  You know, that happy place which used to serve as our escape from reality?

NOW we are greeted with rows of laundry baskets.  Ladies, let me just say, with all the piles of laundry I do each week, I am now convinced there is a sweet family residing in our basement that I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet…

Last week I reached my stress-induced boiling point.  I threw my hands in the air and waved ’em like I just didn’t care.   I did something that on the surface sounds like a stress-inducing nightmare.  But, as I sit here sharing, I can assure you it was the BEST thing I’ve ever done for my family…

I cancelled every single thing on our agenda for 3 days.  No school (let’s be real – MDO).  No extra-curricular activities.  Minimal cleaning.  Minimal laundry.  (Hey, we gotta have clean undies…)

It was as if I had been whisked away to a Malibu treatment center and survived detox.  It was a euphoria that I would give anything to recreate daily.

But more than anything, my babies were ecstatic.  They had one-on-one Mommy attention that they probably hadn’t fully gotten since they were 12 months old.

We played.  We built Lego towers and ceremoniously tore them down.  We painted our toenails.  We read every book on the bookshelf.  We splashed in recreational bath time.  We giggled ’til we cried.

And guess what?  When we woke up the next day, the world was still turning, the house was still standing, no one called the FBI, and all of the laundry was still neatly stacked laying outside the laundry room.

Turns out that dirty laundry can’t hug you.

Unswept floors don’t talk back when you need a friend.

The ironing board doesn’t wish to spend hours bonding over conversation and fun outings.

Your morning coffee mug won’t play a monumental game of eskimo kisses with you.

Leaf-covered front porches don’t seem to understand unconditional love.

But, quick reminder: kids DO.  Kids can do all of those things and deserve all of those things from us, too.

When we allow our “Mom chores” to overcome us, we may feel triumphant when the to-do list is happily ticked away.  But what about our most important role in life?

Mommyhood.

Our kids sense our priorities.  Love is spelled T-I-M-E.  Twenty years down the road we won’t regret that dress shirt we failed to perfectly iron.

But we will lament over missed opportunities with our babies.

Obviously, we can’t shut down the fort and call it a day for life.  Oh, how I wish we could just snuggle these tiny gifts with no pressures of responsibility.  But, what we can do, is remind ourselves that these precious lives have been entrusted to us.  They are more important than any possible task we have jotted down in our monogrammed day planners.

So, let’s be intentional about making them feel that way…

Hug ’em.  Kiss ’em.  Squeeze ’em ’til they holler.  Make those babies feel like they hung the moon and there’s nothing you’d rather do or nowhere you’d rather be than sittin’ in the floor of their bedroom listening to them “read” Berenstain Bears for the 18945th time.

What we do during the day really speaks to what we care about most.  If we want to be on the cover of Southern Living for having the most immaculate home of the year, then we probably need to disregard this post and stick to our militant cleaning schedules.

But, if we want to be accused of being the Moms that loved their babies fiercer than we desired breath to breathe, well, I’ve got a few ideas…

Love Today.  Laundry Tomorrow…

Wishing you a great week lovin’ on your babies, Mommas!

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