Life as a WAHM {Work At Home Mom}!

work at home mom

Thanks to the media {aka scapegoat for everything} I think there’s a general misconception of what being a Work At Home Mom {WAHM} actually is.  I’ll admit that I shared this misconception when I was working a 9to5 too.  For instance, there’s this misconception that working at home means you’re free to have 3 hour lunch dates when you want, you’re free to chit-chat on the phone for hours on end, you’re free to lounge around all day “working”.  There’s this sense that working from home means you magically get 10 extra hours in your day.  Not the case.  In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Like I said, I am guilty of assuming that work-at-homers had it made, but as I’ve come to realize it’s not cupcakes and tulips.  Let me explain…

What I Miss

Crazy as it may sound, there are some things I miss about working a 9to5.  First, the people.  I met so many amazing people  working in corporate America.  I’ve heard it said before that friends are hard to come by once you leave high school.  In college, everyone’s coming and going and in the midst of all that, you’re changing and finding who you are.  Most of those relationships sadly are just for the moment.  Finding a place to work where you enjoy the people is high on my list of non-negotiables when it comes to jobs, especially since we spend a significant share of our lifetime there.  The people are a huge reason why I stayed so long, but they are also a large part in why I left.  I miss the “watercooler” conversations and catching up on the latest celebrity gossip, Scandal debriefs and of course the office inside jokes.

I also miss the structure that a 9to5 demands.  Knowing that I can focus on what work for eight hours straight and then “clock-out” was a bit of a relief.  Of course being in a salaried position, there are expectations that some nights you work longer hours than others, but it was rare.  The lazy girl in me also misses that fact that much of my job was routine and easy.  I’ll admit that sometimes it’s nice to skip the process and just get to the answer.  Working at home requires self-motivation and discipline especially when you’re taking care of a baby at the same time.

What I Love

The best thing about working at home is the fact that I am home when my children leave to go to school and I’m home with a snack waiting when they return.  I can help with homework and talk about how their day went.  I’m able to go on the class field trips and spend time getting to know the other parents in the class.  I can’t believe all that I was missing when I was working a 9to5.  Even though my kids probably don’t think much of it now, I know when they get older they’ll remember how their mom was present.  I thank God that I was blessed with the opportunity to do this for my children.  There are some things in life that you can’t do over.  Spending time with your children when they need it the most is one of those things.  I remember my mom walking my brothers and I to and from school and volunteering in our classes.  Sure, when I got to middle school it became a bit of an annoyance, but looking back on it now, I see that it had a great impact on me and the choices/sacrifices I’m willing to make for my children.

Why i did it

As you may know, I’ve had this ol’ blog here for a while.  When I was pregnant with Jayde, I created a Facebook group called Bloggers Like Me dedicated to building relationships among bloggers across the country.  It’s a place where women can come for answers, friendship, resources, etc.  The group really caught on and grew faster than I had expected.  So fast, that I had to set limitations on accepting women into the group.  As the group grew, I prayed.  I began to see the potential within the group and the opportunities for growth.  Not only was Bloggers Like Me growing, but the need to support the family printing business, Young Connection, as well as the needs of my church grew.  I continued to pray.  God made it clear to me that I wasn’t serving in my greatest capacity.  It was then that I decided to leave my 9to5 and become a WAHM.

 WHAT ARE YOUR MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WAHMs?

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Temptation – Wednesday Prayer

Wednesday Prayer

I’m reminded of an episode of Veggie Tales where the subject was resisting temptation.  The villain (Bad Apple) is trying to take over the town of Bumblyburg by making all of the citizens fall to their deepest temptation.  The hero, Larryboy, thinks he can resit temptation on his own since he’s a superhero, but he finds out that he needs God and his friends’ help.

We all deal with temptation to some degree and we’ve all fallen victim to temptation in a moment of weakness.  God, is our only saving grace even when it seems impossible to resist.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. – 1 Corinthian 10:13

HOW DO YOU TALK TO CHILDREN ABOUT TEMPTATION?

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10 Things to Check Before You Hit Post // FREE PRINTABLE

doh

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have been working on a post and I accidentally hit “POST” prematurely.  I’ve done it more than once and every time I want to punch myself in the mouth.  Because you know once you hit “post” that’s it, it’s gone.  No calling R. Kelly to turn back the hands of time.  Since apparently I have no control over my zombie hands I thought at the very least I could put together some checkpoints to make sure that at least when I’m ready to hit “post”…like for real…that the post is complete, accurate and free of embarrassing errors.  So here you have it, 10 Things to Check Before You Hit Post – a free printable.

printable

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35 Things to do Before 35! {My Get Rich List}

Life is so much more than the money we make or don’t make.  In my eyes, richness is defined by the strength of my relationships with God, my family and my friends.  

I’ve always wanted to make a checklist of things to do by a certain age. So, today’s the day and I did it.  Some of the things on my list may not seem fun and exciting but I know if I do them, the result will be a more focused and centered life, which is ultimately the way to GET RICH!

  1. Make a Get Rich List.
  2. Finish reading Teach Your Team to Fish by Laurie Beth Shall
  3. Learn how to do my undereye makeup.
  4. Go to a USC football game (…to see what all the hype is about).
  5. Make it a habit of getting to Sunday School on time.
  6. Got to an L.A. Galaxy game.
  7. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  8. Take part in a run.
  9. Teach my kids to swim.
  10. Do volunteer work.
  11. Cook a holiday dinner.
  12. Watch the sunset with the kids.   9.13-We have to do it again and find a better spot at the beach!
  13. Plant some seeds in the garden.
  14. Write 2 books.
  15. Go on a road trip with the family
  16. Learn to sew.
  17. Play in the snow with the family.
  18. Fly a kite with the kids.
  19. Lay on the grass and look at cloud shapes.
  20. No meat for a month.
  21. Organize a picnic.
  22. Get fit.
  23. Go on a romantic getaway with my hubby.
  24. Go on a trash hunt with the kids.
  25. Find a photographer.
  26. Get out of bed by 5 a.m. daily
  27. Monthly dates with Jaxon, Julia and Jayde.
  28. Color with the girls.
  29. Bake a cake with the kids.
  30. Play action figures with Jaxon regularly.
  31. Make a music video with the kids.
  32. No more candy.
  33. Eat a gourmet meal on a rooftop
  34. Jump in rain puddles with the kids.
  35. Let the kids stay home from school one day.

What’s one item on your Get Rich List?

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Friends or Foes – Wednesday Prayer

Prayer for children

 

Friends are a very important part of our lives.  I never had a ton of friends growing up and girl friends were fewer.  Being smashed between an older and younger brother, I was sort of a tomboy.  I didn’t share the same interests as the girls I knew.  I didn’t have an interest in talking about boys, exchanging makeup tips or mall hoping.  I just didn’t.  It wasn’t until high school that I became friends with two girls who were my classmates.  It turned out that these girls were very much into school and had a plan to get to college.  I had always talked about going to college, but quite honestly didn’t know the first place to start.  Not knowing the college prep process, I followed their lead when it came to which AP classes to enroll in, what college applications to fill out and tests to take.  We had a great friendship.  After graduation, we each got accepted into different colleges and distance took its toll.  Now, our communication is very few and far between, but I still love them the same.

I pray that my children experience true friendships that encourages and build them up.

HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED FRIENDSHIPS THAT HAVE CHANGED AS YOU’VE MATURED?  HOW DO YOU HOLD ON TO THOSE FRIENDSHIPS OR DO YOU LET THEM GO?

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Ab Rehab Workout {Diastasis Recti}

I’ve been pretty fortunate to have been able to semi-snap back into shape {give or take a few pounds} after my children were born. This go around things have been slightly different in more ways than one.  I noticed my ab muscles were not returning to their normal state and I figured that maybe it was just taking a little longer because I’m not a spring chicken any more and I have three other children.  When I went in for my post-partum check up at 4 weeks I shared this with my doctor and she said it was a pretty common thing called Diastasis Recti.

whatDR

That’s what I said because I had never heard of the condition before and then when I heard “recti” I was all, nope, and she was all, nope nothing to do with rectum.  LOL  So, the doctor explained that Diastasis Recti is a separation of your outer most abdominal muscles, your 6-pack, as shown below:

IMG_0070.GIF

This condition is not only seen in women, it is seen in men and infants as well.  For the sake of this post, we’ll stick with the ladies.  For women, Diastasis Recti normally results from poor form used during exercising, excessive weight gain, multiple pregnancies, carrying a very large baby, as well as certain exercises and sports.  As it relates to pregnancy, this condition is formed when the baby carrying uterus pushes against your abdominal wall and your muscles separate into two sections.  It’s seen in 30-40% of pregnancies.  In my case, this condition was a result of over-exerting or straining my abdominal muscles during pregnancy.  Fortunately, it’s not exactly painful but uncomfortable, yes, a bit.  My abdomen is incredibly weak so I’m unsure of my strength when it comes to what I can carry, etc.

diastasis recti


diastasis recti

Since Diastasis Recti is caused by forward forceful pressure on your abdominal muscles, any movement that puts your abs in that position, should be avoided. For example, crunches, pilates 100′s, obliques, planks, etc.   You want to make sure you are avoiding all activities that stretch or overly expand the abdominal wall through everyday activities, exercise, or breathing techniques.  Specifically, here are some other activities/exercises to avoid:

  • Movements where the upper body twists and the arm on that side extends away from the body, such as “triangle pose.”
  • Exercises that require lying backward over a large exercise ball.
  • Yoga postures that stretch the abs {cow pose, up-dog, all backbends, and belly breathing}.
  • Abdominal exercises that flex the upper spine off the floor.
  • Any exercises that incorporate the “head float” position.
  • Any exercise that causes your abdominal wall to bulge out upon exertion.
  • Lifting and carrying very heavy objects.
  • Intense coughing without abdominal support.

During pregnancy or after childbirth, if you develop a cough it’s important to support your midsection.  Be sure to place your hands across your belly when you cough.  This will provide additional support, and help to prevent separation of your abdomen.

Another important thing to remember is making sure while you’re pregnant that you’re rising from the floor or out of bed properly.  With your torso and head aligned and in one piece, roll over onto your side, then use your arms to help push yourself up to a sitting position.  This is the log roll.

diastasis recti

Now you know what I’ll be doing for the next few months.  Wish me luck!

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How to Pick an RSS Reader

RSS reader
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary.  Essentially, it’s a tool used for collecting the most current website content and condensing into one place.  It also saves the hassle of having to sign up for a newsletter on each website.  RSS tools usually offer the option to either receive a single email listing the new content for each of the websites you’ve subscribed to.  Other RSS tools store new content for you to access at your leisure.  You can opt to have the tool update automatically at specified intervals (hourly, daily, etc.) or set it up to be updated manually.

RSS

Prior to using an RSS tool, I had the hardest time trying to remembering the URLs for the newest and best blogs I came across.  With the RSS, I simply copy and paste the blog URL into my reader’s subscription bar and voila.  No more trying to remember new URLs or adding them to my browser bookmarks.  It’s also convenient because depending on which RSS Tool you use you can upload an app to your phone for convenience, or you can access it online.  I have a habit of checking my email and such at various points of the day using my iPad, phone or laptop.  Even better, they tool syncs so that I’m not looking through the same content…just the new!  I also have been trying to make it more of a habit to comment on blogs regularly.  This tool allow you to immediately comment and “favorite” the posts you want.

rss reader

For those of you who have blogs or websites and want to add an RSS tool for your readers, it’s pretty simple.  Most blog host sites, like WordPress, have a widget available for you to add the RSS option in one step.  There are typically options for the reader to subscribe to your newest content, or to the comments left on your blog.  The reader can determine which she’d like to subscribe to.

rss reader

Here are some RSS tools and what they’re compatible with:

AmphetaDesk – Windos, Mac

FeedReader – Windows

NewsGator – Windows, Outlook

Feedly -  Mac, Android

Newsblur - Mac, Windows

RSS reader

I subscribe to about 100 blogs and for me to keep track of each of them individually, I wouldn’t stand a chance.  In the past I used the Google Reader tool which I loved but for whatever reason that tool is no longer around.  Now I use InoReader.  What I love most about InoReader is that there’s a synced app so I can read my favorite blogs wherever I go.  I’ve also changed the options so that I don’t get chiming notifications on my phone.  I suggest this tool because it’s extremely easy to use.

rss

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Prayer For My Sons – Wednesday Prayer

prayer for boys

 With all that that I’ve seen on the news these past few months {not to mention all the atrocities that don’t reach the news circuit} surrounding our black sons, I can’t help but seek God’s protection over the black boys and men in my life, especially my sons.  I’ve always tried to be a glass-half-full kind of person when it comes to racism and injustices of the like, but there’s really no other way to look at these recent events.  From Donald Sterling’s casual racism to the death of a young man in Ferguson at the hands of police officers, I’m realizing that we live in a society where racism is very real especially for black men. I never thought I’d have to teach my children about the importance of yielding to police authority appropriately.  It’s just not something that ever crossed my mind.  Maybe I’m the naive one.

How are you talking with your children about the recent events of racism?

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10 Tips for Creating and Keeping A Morning Routine

back to school

The Hubs and I realized, through trial and error, that with four little ones it’s imperative that we create and stick to a morning routine.  It’s a necessary part of raising responsible children and keeping a calm household.  I thought I’d share with you what we do when it comes to the weekday morning rush.

First, it’s important to note that we do as much preparation as possible before the week starts.  You’ll notice several of these tips can be done on the weekend and a couple can be done the night before.

1.  Clothes.  I don’t know about you, but I praise God for uniforms.  Jayde isn’t in uniforms yet but it’s super helpful to know that Jaxon and Julia only have a couple of options when it comes to getting dressed for school.  On Sunday I pull outfits for each day of the week, make sure anything that needs ironing is ironed {thanks Hubs} and also make sure socks and undies are pulled.

2.  Groceries.  Weekends are usually the time we try and get our grocery shopping out of the way.  We make sure that we buy all of the lunch items we’ll need for at least the following week.  It makes things less hectic when you know you don’t have to make an extra trip to the store during the week, which in my house is inevitable.  I’m not yet on a weekly dinner meal plan schedule but that next on the list to talk to hubs about.  I’m sure he’ll love that. {insert sarcastic font}  We also only use paper ware during the week.  It seems to make meal clean up so much easier.

3.  Headstart.  Last year we headed out the door based on the time we knew we had to be at school, 8:30 a.m. which meant we were leaving around 8 a.m. and arriving to school just in the nick of time.  This year we got smart and reset mindset.  We did away with the 8:30 school deadline and created our own deadline of 7:40 a.m.  So now, we find that we’re not necessarily racing against the school clock anymore, which feels much better and less stressful.

4.  Homework.  Homework is one of the first things we do after arriving home from school.  To decrease the chance of a morning scramble to find homework, the kids know that homework is not complete until it’s made it’s way inside the folder, the folder has made it’s way inside the backpack and the backpack has made its way to the door.

5.  Backpacks.  When homework begins I check the kids folders for letters and information from the school.  I immediately read everything and if there are important dates for us to remember I put them on our master calendar.  Other items are tacked to our command center board so that they won’t get missed.

6.  Meals.  We have found it helpful to allow the kids to pick what they want in their breakfast and lunches.  Slow down now, we don’t let them get carried away with it.  They get to choose one item for breakfast the following morning and one item to add to their lunch.  We pick the rest to make sure they have a well balanced meal.

7.  Hair.  Every night, I make sure to freshly comb and style the girls hair.  Even if it’s just restyling it into the same style, I take time to do it so and put a scarf on it so that in the morning all I have to do is whip off the scarf, add some hair dress and barrettes and we’re good to go.  Since I realized how much sense it made to do hair at night, I’ve saved myself a ton of  morning frustration.

8.  Baths.  We used to do baths right before bedtime, but since the school year started we made a change.  When the kids get home, I have snack prepared and on the table for them.  They come in, wash their hands and take off their shoes and then sit at the table.  While they’re eating their snack we talk about the day’s peaks and pits.  After snack is homework and immediately after homework it’s up to bathtime.  Getting into this habit has been a little challenging because I find myself constantly repeating the plan of action while they’re having snack and during homework and letting them know that after baths they can have free time to do whatever they want, short of burning down the house.  So far so good with this part of the routine though because the bath tends to calm them down.

9.  Bedtime.  Last year, bedtime was 9 p.m., but the problem with that was we didn’t begin going upstairs until that time, which meant the kids didn’t actually fall asleep until closer to 10:30.  This year 9 p.m. bedtime means they are asleep at 9 p.m., which means we are upstairs brushing teeth, washing faces and reading books at 8:15 p.m.  I’ve seen a huge difference in their behavior in the morning.  They’re more energized and have a better attitude.  It’s also good for Hubs because we get more quality time with each other.

10.  Attitude.  Having a good attitude is very important to me.  It’s the determining factor on a good day versus a bad day.  With kids, it’s rare when things actually go exactly as planned, so it’s important to cut yourself and your family some slack when there’s a fumble.  Going about my morning this way helps me to be less effected if someone spills milk, has a meltdown, or is being uncooperative.

When it comes to parenting, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.  What works in the Young home may not work for you, but when it comes to kids, I’m of the belief that you do what you have to do by any means necessary, even if that means creating a routine that feels uncomfortable at first.  If you tweak and tweak some more you’re bound to come up with a routine that works for your beautiful family as well.

Do you already have a routine? What do you do?

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