Much Needed Rest and Recovery: Back on April 12th

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Hi friends –

My apologies for going MIA the past two weeks – and for planning on doing precisely the same the next two weeks. It’s been an overly stressful time in our household with all four kids getting sick, and now me falling ill. It’s been four very LONG weeks, and my body decided to tell me today it’s time for me to rest, recover, and focus on ME for a minute.

The twins came down with a terrible week-long stomach virus the first week of March, followed by our middle daughter getting sick the second week. The third week the twins got sick again, and this week we have twins with conjunctivitis and an 8-year-old with tonsillitis (which I also believe our 6-year-old is also coming down with). This is combined with three weekends away, spring break, the twins’ and our middle daughter’s birthdays, a cheer competition, and our daughter’s FSA testing this week. It’s been everything but slow, restful, and relaxing…and today my body gave out on me.

So, I’m taking another two weeks to rest, relax, and get my family sick. This means disinfecting (AGAIN), taking time to rest, clearing my schedule to get us all healthy, and focusing on getting more rest so I can get back to 100%. I’ve ignored my own health this month not sleeping enough, not resting enough, and not slowing down when my body is begging for it, and now I’m paying for it.

I’ll be back on April 12th with some super exciting ventures, some great new content, and some great new stuff for you all. Until then, stay healthy, rest, and don’t run yourself into the ground like I’ve done to myself!

Enjoy and I can’t wait to “see” you all in April!

  • Tiff
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A Birth Story: Welcoming Twins into Our Family (Happy 3rd Birthday, Babies!)

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Today, March 15, my sweet babies are three.

I can’t even believe it.

It’s impossible to comprehend how quickly the past three years have passed, and how bittersweet it is to have three-year-old twins already. That means our oldest is almost 9, and it means we have only two more days until our middle daughter is 6. Life is passing by at a rapid pace.

In honor of Carter and Charlotte’s 3rd birthday, I thought I’d share their story with my readers. I get a lot of questions about them. I think people are enamored by twins because they’re not as common as singletons (unless you live where we live, in which case you are the odd ones out if you DON’T have twins…seriously, don’t drink the water here!).

Baby Number 3

Let’s rewind to June 2013. My husband and I were on vacation with four other couples – no kids – in Jamaica. While sitting on the beach one day, one of our best friends made a comment like, “At the end of the day, all you have is family,” and it really struck a chord with us. I’d had such an easy pregnancy and delivery with our oldest, and such a complicated pregnancy and easy delivery with our then-youngest. Two miscarriages, several trips to the emergency room in the middle of the night due to bleeding while I was pregnant with Ava, and three long weeks wondering if the intracardiac echogenic focus in our sweet girl’s heart during her 20-week ultrasound wondering if she would be born with Downs Syndrome, and we weren’t sure we wanted to try one more time.

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We thought about his words (thanks, GC!) and we decided to go for it. God has a plan for us, and he’d make sure it was fulfilled if it was also His plan. A month later, I was pregnant. I tested about 6 days before my period was due not really expecting a positive, and I was shocked to see a BIG FAT positive.

That probably should have been my first clue.

The Pregnancy

I found out at 3 weeks and 1 day along I was pregnant, called and made my first appointment to see my OB 8 weeks later, and began vomiting, living with constant nausea, and feeling like death the day I turned four weeks pregnant.

That should have been my second clue.

I was never sick with either of the girls – ever. I was dying. Our daughter started kindergarten a few weeks later, and I had to ask my husband to pull the car over at the school when we were parking to take her to class for the first time so I could vomit. I’m pretty positive people thought I was hungover.

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My third clue should have been the fact that people began asking me at week 6 if I had any secrets I wanted to share. Now, I’m a petite girl and I take care of my body, and it was my third baby; but really? Showing at 6 weeks?

Believe it. I was already showing, and no one believed me when I denied being pregnant. By 10 weeks, I was already so big people thought I was at the halfway point. My best friend, our pastor’s wife, and my mother kept joking I was having twins.

Yeah, right.

They were adamant, and we laughed it off. No way. Not happening. Not even.

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The Big Ultrasound

I finally began to feel better around 14 weeks, but I was so tired. So exceptionally, undeniably, most unapologetically tired. I was barely able to keep my eyes open after noon rolled around, and I had to nap every single day.

We had our big ultrasound on November 4, 2013. I was due to give birth on April 10, 2014. We couldn’t wait to find out if we were having another sweet baby girl or if we were finally going to welcome a little boy into our lives.

As the US tech was rolling her little wand over my very, very large belly she said, “Did your doctor tell you that you’re measuring really large?” and I thought to myself, “Seriously? You, too?” I told her he did not mention that to me at all. She looked at me.

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“Oh. So then he definitely didn’t tell you there are two babies in here, then?”

My husband immediately asked for a chair. I asked her if my mom called her and put her up to this. She smiled and said, “The great news is that at least one of them is a boy!”

We were in shock. We had all our friends and family coming over that night for a gender reveal, but our plan was totally thrown out the window in terms of how we were going to do the reveal, so we had to come up with a quick back-up plan that involved getting two sets of balloons.

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We figured we’d hold a pink set and a blue set and tell everyone we’d let go of whatever gender we weren’t having and we’d hold onto the ones that indicate the sex of the baby. They all gathered in our home, and we stood there holding a bunch of pink balloons and a bunch of blue ones. To tease them, I let go of the pink balloons for a very short second and everyone lost it. We were FINALLY getting a boy!

When I grabbed the pink balloons from floating off and said, “Oh, wait. We better hold onto these, too,” everyone was confused. We have a video a friend made in which our best friend suddenly screamed, “HOLY SHIT!” on repeat when he realized what was happening.

Suddenly the entire house erupted and it went crazy. There were a LOT of “I told you so” comments, and so much shock and happiness.

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The Shock Wearing Off

It took a few days before we finally began to calm down and realize our life was changing in a major way. The doctor already told me he puts all his multiple-makers on moderate bed rest at 28 weeks. In all his years as a doctor (get this – his mom is a twin, he is a twin, and his kids are twins), he’s had only one multiple-maker give birth before 38 weeks. Unheard of, right? Since we wanted some healthy babies, I did what he said. Four hours a day on my sides. Two on my left, two on my right, and no activity other than basically getting the girls to and from school.

Bedrest

28 weeks occurred mid-January for me. My husband was a God-send. Not that he isn’t anyway, but he was even more amazing. He’s always been the bath-giver, the boo-boo kisser, and the only person with any real cooking skills, but he took on every single thing and refused to let me help with anything after I turned 28 weeks. He did parks, play dates, cleaned my car, kept the house spotless, did all the laundry, did all the homework, and brought me all my meals in bed.

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And he did it all without one complaint.

I was still so tired, and I was very sick again. It was very rough. I missed playing with the girls, and I missed going out and having fun other than once or twice a month when we decided to break the rules and go to dinner together or with friends. It was a very, very long time for me.

When I turned 36 weeks, we had a checkup. It was on a Wednesday. I was not at all effaced, and I was not at all dilated. My doctor laughed at my frustration and told me I definitely was not having any babies in the near future, which was good because he was traveling that weekend to see his grandson perform at a sporting event.

I cried all the way home. I was so tired, so frustrated, everything hurt, I missed being able to live my life, and I wanted them out. They told me that if we could get the twins to at least 34 weeks, we were good. If we could get them to 36 weeks, we were golden. Here I was 36 weeks along and nothing. NOTHING.

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LABOR

My sweet mother-in-law felt so bad for me when she heard that nothing was going on after our appointment Wednesday. She called and asked if the girls could come over to her house Friday night after school for a sleepover so I could rest and not feel guilty that the girls were once again home with me wondering why I wasn’t able to play with them and they only had daddy to play with. We said yes, met her with the girls, and ran to the store very quickly to pick up a few things.

I felt so free being out of the house. I’d been really sick for the past few days with a severe cold, and I was just miserable. Getting up and going out even to the grocery store was super nice. We ran into every single person we knew, and they all told me how good I looked (Because they clearly knew I needed to hear nice things) and how huge I was (because what’s a compliment without that comment at the end?).

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I told my husband that night we’d have babies that weekend. He looked at me with those sad eyes and said he knows I hope that, but it’s not going to happen.

I swear, I don’t like being wrong.

So I wasn’t.

We woke up Saturday morning and I left the bed for the couch. Craig decided to cook bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy for breakfast while I relaxed. It was around 9 am when I realized I was having consistent contractions, but they didn’t hurt – at all. I ignored them because of it, but I was bored so I began timing them. Five minutes apart. Except they didn’t feel anything like the contractions I had with the girls, and they didn’t hurt at all. But they were five minutes apart. By 10 am, they were four minutes apart and still painless.

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I decided to call the hospital and just ask. The nurse wasn’t concerned at all when I told her I’ve had two babies, this definitely doesn’t feel at all like labor, but I’d also never had Braxton hicks, so I wanted to know if they were painless but consistent if it was a thing. She said no, I wasn’t in labor, but to keep monitoring them. If they got any closer together regardless of the pain level, come in just to have a doctor check me out – remember, mine was on vacation that weekend – and if they became painful, come in.

I decided to shower, do my hair, and put on some makeup. At 11, they were still painless, but my contractions were consistent at 3 minutes apart. I didn’t feel like I was in labor, but we decided to go anyway. We arrived at the hospital a little before 1 pm.

Lo and behold, my contractions were consistently 2 minutes apart, apparently very strong, and still painless. I was almost 6 centimeters dilated and I was 100% effaced. Those babies were coming today!

We had to do an ultrasound, the on-call doctor came in to examine me, and we made the phone calls to our parents. The babies were coming! I was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant, which is so far along for twins. I knew it was such a good day.

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The Delivery

I asked for my epidural right away after hearing I was actually in labor. Our oldest daughter was born less than 6 hours after my first contraction occurred, our middle daughter was born less than 2 hours after my doctor issued Pitocin when I was induced at only 2 cm and 70%, so I knew I was a quickly delivery kind of girl. They gave me the epidural, and the doctor came in to check me one more time.

I was ready.

SOP with twins is to deliver in the operating room. They babies were both positioned correctly, so vaginal birth it was. I wasn’t trying to have a C-section, and I certainly wasn’t interested in one if it wasn’t absolutely, 100% medically necessary. They dressed my husband and I in our scrubs, wheeled us down to the operating room. The doctor asked if everyone watched that YouTube video on delivering twins, we all laughed, he asked if some EMT students and some med school students could come in and view the delivery, and I said yes.

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We entered the OR at 5:55 pm. The doctor broke my water once we were all set up, said push, and our sweet Charlotte Marie was born in one push at 6:03 pm. She was 3 lbs. 15 oz. and 15 inches long. Tiny. I was shocked.

Then he broke my second water and asked me to take a few minutes to hold Charlotte before I pushed. I held her, loved her, and then decided it was time to push. I pushed, out came Carter’s head. He asked me to go ahead and push one more time, and Carter Michael was born at 6:08 pm. He was 5 lbs. even and 16 ¾ inches long. So small.

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The nurses took so many photos for us, and they handed me both babies at the same time. I was smitten. Before I knew it, they were taking both babies away because of respiratory issues. Craig never got to hold them, and we weren’t sure where they were going other than to the NICU. I was wheeled back to my room less than a half hour after I was wheeled out of there to give birth.

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The NICU

It would be 24 hours before my husband ever got to hold our babies, and before anyone got to meet them. Their bilirubin wasn’t impressive, they both had an infection and required antibiotics – probably because I was sick and they had what I had – and they were so small. The nurses kept asking if I was sure I was as far along as I thought, and I was certain. We planned baby number three to the day, and I knew.

One day turned into two, which turned into six. After day two, I was discharged. Our sweet babies were still in the NICU. We hadn’t left their side other than to eat, visit anyone who came to see us, and to shower – and we did all that in our room right there. We booked a hotel room near the hospital so we could come back and do our every 3 hour feeding with the twins, but our nurse was beyond SOOOOOOO amazing, and he let us keep our room for a full week. They weren’t busy, they didn’t need it, and he said we could just stay at the hospital as long as they didn’t need it.

The problem came with our neonatologist said Carter was good to go home with me after my discharge. We were so happy, but he explained to us that Carter could not come back into the NICU once he was taken out, and that meant one of us would not be able to go in and see Charlotte every feeding time, and we’d need to stay outside with him in the hall and take turns visiting her.

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We hated that idea, so he offered to keep Carter in the NICU with Charlotte so we could just spend all day with both of them and one another. They were seriously so amazing to us. Unfortunately, Thursday our neonatologist was no longer at work. It had been 6 days. The new one discharged Carter because she couldn’t find a reason to keep him – and the hospital needed their room back.

We took our sweet boy, kissed our sweet girl at 10 pm on Thursday night, and we went home to be with our little boy and our big girls for the first time in 6 days. The girls needed us so much at this point. They missed us, didn’t understand why we never came home with the babies, and they were tired of only seeing us for a few hours at night after school.

Leaving Charlotte in the NICU killed me. I cried nonstop. The nurses were so wonderful, and we’d gotten to know them so well. They promised me they’d cuddle her the entire time the way we did, and they’d tell her we loved her constantly. They called me every 3 hours all night long to tell us how much she ate, how she was doing, and to let us talk to her.

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Can you say amazing?

We got up Friday morning, took the girls to school, took Carter back to the hospital, and my husband sat with him in the hallway while I visited my baby girl. That’s when the neonatologist told us all her test scores came back perfect, she was still maintaining her birth weight without losing weight, and he would let us take her home. It was the most amazing day of my life.

After a week, we had both our babies. We got to bring them home and they got to meet their sisters up close for the first time, and the rest is history.

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They have been amazing since day one. They slept 6 hours right away, they were sleeping 8 hours a night before they turned a month old, and they slept 12 hours before they turned 6 weeks. They were the easiest babies, the busiest toddlers, and I swear I’ve never met happier babies in my life.

Today they are three. They are three-years-old, but they certainly don’t look it. They are growing well, but they are so petite and tiny. They don’t talk too much – well, Charlotte doesn’t – but neither did Ava. In fact, she’ll be 6 on Friday and she still doesn’t talk to anyone unless SHE’S in the mood to speak. Carter talks nonstop – I’m actually considering changing my name because he loves it so much.

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They are fiercely protective of one another. They are darling, and those two love a schedule like no one else’s business. They are so much fun – and I’m so happy we no longer have two-year-old twins. That was something else.

Charlotte – at 3 you love to dance and sing “Let it Go,” and you love when someone in a cartoon falls down and gets hurt. You laugh hard. You love your brother more than anyone, but you also love to smack him on the head with any toys you see fit when he’s upsetting you. You don’t love it when Ava picks you up, you love you some daddy more than anything, and you have the most adorable RBF, the sweetest laugh, and you are so ticklish.

Carter – at 3 you LOVE to say my name, you love to sing the song at the beginning and end of “The Croods” and you have a serious thing for the Princesses at Disney World. You love your twin sister to the point you hold her hand when you’re at school, you make sure no one messes with her, but you are happy to push her down when she’s making you angry. You are obsessed with cleanliness and dislike anything being out of its place at home and you are the most wonderful cleaner-upper in the world – and this is probably going to make you my favorite if you stay on this path. 😉

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Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet babies. If you ever read this one day, you are the best of everything. You have shown us that anything is possible, nothing is impossible, and having two babies at one time is nowhere near as difficult as people like to say it is.

Having two two-year-olds at one time is, but two babies at one time is a piece of cake.

We love you to the moon and back C&C.

Grace and Tears: What I Appreciate When Life Throws Curveballs

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What. A. Week.

I’ve been MIA the past week, and for good reason. My household has been turned upside down, inside out, and back again.

Thankfully, it’s Monday and I’m happy again! The last time I was here was last Monday when I shared some simple tips for making Mondays kick ass, and that post came at the best time. I spent a lot of time implementing my Monday tips every single day last week to get through the week without ending up on the evening news too many tears.

Today, it’s Monday; and I’m happy. To quickly recap why I enjoy Mondays so much:

  • Kids in school (always nice for work-from-home parents)
  • Routine back on schedule
  • I’m actually rested after two days of sleeping in and having fun
  • No one is grumpy on Monday mornings because we are rested

This week is even happier than last, because our twins were home from school 3.5 days last week SICK. Not just a little fever and some coughing type of sick. I mean, vomiting on every available surface and really yuck diaper sick.

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It breaks my heart in general, but it breaks my heart even more because those sweet babies turn three this week. They spent the week leading up to their birthday – six days – vomiting and using the bathroom all day long. They couldn’t keep anything down, they couldn’t rest, they were lethargic, and they had no other symptoms of anything….so no antibiotics. A virus, says the doctor; wait it out and keep an eye on dehydration issues.

Sigh.

It all began Tuesday with a call from school. Carter had two bad diapers, and that meant he had to go home and could not come back for 24 hours. Wednesday he was still sick, and Charlotte began to develop symptoms. By Thursday, everyone was vomiting regularly and continued to do so until Sunday morning.

Our older girls had half days at school Thursday and Friday because this week is spring break. We had a weekend trip to spend the weekend at our favorite hotel in Orlando to do a little Disney weekend with the kids to celebrate the twins turning three this week and our middle daughter turning six this week.

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Cancelled.

To make matters worse, my SUV (which I’m had only 7 months) blew a tire on Friday, my oil life dropped to 0%, and one of my high-tech LED headlights went out. I had an oil change appointment, but do you think that the dealership had my tires in stock so I could get new ones at the same time? No. Do you think they had a headlight in stock? No – and would you believe it’s a $300 BULB? I mean, honestly. Last time I checked, GMC wasn’t making Denalis with chandeliers coming out the front (my husband Google’d the bulb while he was at the dealer and ordered the same one brand new for only $150, so HA to them for trying to charge me double). Honestly.

So….it was a long week; and that’s the “why” behind my absence for a week and leads me into this week’s Monday post…all the things I’m grateful for when life is as difficult as it was last week.

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My Husband

It’s no secret my husband is a much better mom than I’ll ever be. He has a natural love of parenting, and he’s so good at it. He’s 100% involved in their lives, in caring for them, and in being an equal partner in this marriage. From giving the babies their nightly bath to packing all four school lunches to doing laundry and cleaning up any messes – he’s amazing.

Last week was rough for him, and he still went above and beyond to make it easier on me. He works from home as a master of all things technical (don’t ask me his fancy title because it’s long and I always get it wrong) and last week he had a training course. He was on the phone listening to the instructor from 9:30 am until 6 pm without anything more than two 10-minute breaks and a half hour lunch (which he spent on the phone with his customers who couldn’t live the entire week without him). He was beyond exhausted, and he held babies in his lap while he listened, scheduled a night out Friday with NO KIDS, and did any and everything he could when he had a second to help me. I don’t know what I did to deserve him, but I’m eternally thankful.

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Grandparents

Thursday nights are cheer practice for one daughter, and tumbling for both. I leave the house at 2:30 and don’t get home until 8. It’s a long day when everyone is healthy, but longer when it means I’m trying to work, the babies are just crying and throwing up and sad, and the girls need to go to practice. Every practice night, the babies stay home with my husband and they play outside, he makes dinner, they take their baths, and they go to bed. Last week, he had his training until 6 and couldn’t get off the phone to do his usual Thursday night daddy-duties, so my mom came over to stay with the twins so he could acknowledge his schedule and me mine.

On Saturday, we cancelled our getaway and crushed the hearts of our 8 and 5-year-olds. My wonderful mother-in-law was so sweet to stay with the babies all afternoon and until midnight so we could take the girls to Disney for a few hours, and then to dinner. They were SO excited about it, and it was exactly what we needed (to get out of the house!).

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Amazing Friends

Sunday brought an afternoon BBQ with the besties, and it was much-needed. The twins were finally feeling better, and they were dying to get out of the house. I’m not a fan of Sunday plans, but it was exactly what we all needed. The kids swam, the food was good, everyone was happy, and we all got a chance to relax and unwind and rest. Much needed.

Coffee

Because exhaustion is a real thing when you have sick babies. It never ceases to amaze me how our kids have all slept through the night since they were only a few weeks old, yet I’m always so tired. Even when they’re sick, they sleep all night. Yet here I am exhausted. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t sit down anywhere but your desk to work during the day and the rest of it is up fetching, cleaning, wiping, making, chasing, tickling, playing, preparing. Anyway, coffee and me are like the best of friends when times are tough.

Wine

Need I say more? Sick babies cleaned up, medicated, and in bed – mommy and daddy pour the wine, drink the wine, and appreciate the wine.

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Prayer

The power of prayer is real in our house. I find that my first reaction when things are not going my way or getting a little tough or are amazing is to turn to God and either thank him for our blessings or ask him to grant me some patience so I can get through this. Last week was a lot of “Please, please, please, please bring these babies some relief,” and while it took a week, it’s always easier to feel confident and comfortable in illness when you have Him on your side. It’s called Grace, and I find myself asking for it all the time.

Lysol Disinfectant Wipes

Y’all. Not including closet doors, we have 19 doors in our home that are touched every single day. We have three bathrooms, four bar stools, and loads of furniture and toys the kids like to touch on a daily basis over and over again.

What does this mean? Oh, germs. This means I’m spending hours upon hours of my week the past week cleaning door handles, toilet flushing handles, sinks handles, and you don’t even want to know how many cabinet knobs and pulls….thank goodness for these darling wipes. They make life a lot easier, and they’ll hopefully prevent us all from catching this ugly virus.

 

Tears

I don’t love to cry (makeup) but I do feel good after I have a good breakdown. It’s so nice to sit down, cry it out, and get over it. It’s so therapeutic. I think I cried at least once a day last week. Every time I turned around a baby was throwing up. It was constant cleaning and baths, holding babies, lethargic babies who want nothing more than to sit in my lap, staying up late to meet deadlines and work on articles clients pay me to write by a specific date, and just trying not to breakdown. Those crying sessions were much needed.

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Life Problems

At the end of the day, I’m grateful most for the fact that my big life problems are things like a virus and an interrupted schedule. I don’t belittle my own problems or allow myself to fell guilty for feeling they’re a big deal when I know so many other people suffer really significant health issues, life problems, and devastation. However, I know it could be so much worse, and that makes me appreciate all I have. Having a husband who views teamwork and being present in our lives and the lives of our kids his number one priority, having family who love our kids so much, and having the ability to get out and escape when life is rough…those things are invaluable things many people don’t have. I’m forever grateful for our blessings.

In short, it was a long week. Sometimes you just have to put the world to the side and let it go. I learn to let go and stop trying to control situations, and I learn how to get through difficult times. I feel I learn a lot, grow a bit, and even though I don’t love the circumstances, I do love the extra snuggles and cuddles I get from my sweet babies.

What do you do when life is overwhelming and everything all seems to happen at once? What’s your go-to, your saving grace, and your favorite way to unwind?

Monday Motivation

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Monday…few people love a Monday, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t dislike Monday, but even I’m happy to admit it’s not my favorite day of the week. If you love what you do, you’ll never have a problem with Monday.

Lies.

I love what I do, and I don’t dread getting up on Monday mornings and getting into my office before everyone else wakes up, but I still don’t love Monday. Mondays mean no one sleeps in because kids have school. It means kids have homework, and it’s carpool time, and practice, and school events, and all the things that go along with being a certain place at a certain time. Mondays are a lot of work even if you love the work you do.

You’ve spent a great weekend resting and having fun, and suddenly you’re up early answering to the call of parenting on a timeline what with bells ringing and homework that’s not doing itself. On that note, there are a few really amazingly beautiful, wonderful, truly lovely things about Monday.

It’s a fresh start.

It’s a new day.

It’s time for the kids to go to school.

You feel me, right? Now you see why I don’t hate a Monday – but why Monday is always Monday and Monday is dumb.

Anyway, I’ve been accused of being a little to chipper on a Monday morning, of being a little too excited about the start of a new week. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with being in a good mood on Monday morning. If you’re struggling to find your Monday motivation, perhaps you’re not doing it right. I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life – go in the exit door, eat cookies for breakfast, and definitely skip the gym if you don’t feel the need to go and just do you – but I am telling you it’s entirely possible to make Mondays a lot better.

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Lose Your Attitude

Waking up with a scowl and an eye roll simply because it’s Monday isn’t going to start your day off on the right foot. Lose your attitude about the day and choose to have a good one. Believe me, it works.

Be Prepared

The best way to feel good on a Monday morning is to be prepared for Monday. This is super important in Casa Raiford. I like to wake up on Monday morning prepped and ready to go. This means taking a few minutes at the end of my day Friday to update my calendar, get my to-do list ready for Monday, and work a little bit ahead if I have some time. If I can do this, I have a much better Monday morning.

I like to get the kids’ school clothes ready and laid out, we pre-pack and label all their lunch and school items we can in advance, and we make sure everything is ready for Monday. When we wake up with less to do, it’s an easier morning.

Rest on Sunday

We’re not opposed to doing things on Sundays, but we prefer to spend our Sundays prepping for the week by relaxing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel rested or ready for the week if Sunday is spent all crazy and hectic. We go to church, we get brunch, and we do our grocery shopping for the week.

And by for the week, I mean for the rest of the day because Monday I’ll find myself back at the store for something I need, and repeat that process at least three additional times throughout the week. I really need to get on board with that whole list making, meal-planning thing people do. But I’m lazy.

Sunday is a family day for us. 9 times out of 10, we like to spend Sunday at home. We play outside, we take the kids on a golf cart ride around our neighborhood, we cook something amazing, and we put the kids to bed early. When we relax and unwind, sleep in a bit, and just enjoy the simplicity of a slow, lovely day, we feel really good on Monday. I mean, I actually get out of bed right away without an issue or a second thought on Mondays because I’m so rested from a good Sunday.

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Plan Something Rewarding

Monday is a lot easier if you have something to look forward to. I love a good meal on a Monday night. It’s the only night we have at home during the week thanks to practices and other obligations, and I look forward to that. We usually do something like filet mignon Monday with our favorite bottle of wine, we save our favorite shows for Monday nights on DVR, and we spend the evening relaxing. The rest of our week is so busy and hectic at night, we need this. It’s our reward.

Goal Set

Sunday afternoon while the twins are napping, I spend a half hour in my office goal setting. I know in advance what articles, web content, pages, and editorial work I do throughout the week. I put each item in my calendar each day, plan the time I’ll write those items throughout the day, and then I set my goals.

For example, I have four articles I write every weekday morning at 6 for one client. I like to have them done and submitted no later than 7 am every morning. Then I like to spend the next hour working on 3 other daily articles I write for another client. I like them finished before I start doing the kids’ hair and getting them loaded into the car at 8. Then it’s drop off, gym, home to shower, and back to my desk by 10:15.

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From 10:15 to noon, I work on a specific batch of copy I do each day, then I have lunch with my husband – and by have lunch I mean we both agree we need to stay at our desks so one of us gets up and makes lunch and we eat together at our desks – and I spend the next three and-a-half hours working on client projects that come in during the day or ones I have pre-scheduled for clients. I write at least 20 articles per day for my clients, and I usually goal set by breaking those down into groups of four or five at a time to get them checked off.

When I goal set by writing down what I’ll have done at a certain time each day, I get things done more adequately and more efficiently. It helps my Monday flow.

At the end of the day, a good Monday sets the tone for a good week. When I wake up Monday morning ready to crush my goals for the day, I do the same all week. It’s the best way to work, and it helps I love what I do. It helps that what I do is the same, yet so different, each day. I have a great system, my work is different for each client so it breaks up any monotony, and I’m always learning something new.

I’m challenging you to make Monday count this week. Get up, get to work, and get things done. Try introducing new habits to your morning, Monday or any other day, and see how it helps you conquer what you do and succeed on purpose. It takes the same amount of effort to wake up in a good mood it does to wake up in a bad mood. Why not choose wisely?

 

I’m Okay Being the Meanest Mom EVER

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I’m the meanest mommy ever.

I mean, I’m working on it; it’s my hope that I’ll eventually get there. I feel it’s how I’ll know I’m doing my job as a mom correctly. I don’t want them to like me too much all the time, because then I’ll be more of a friend and less of a mom. I want them to sometimes feel I’m unfair, horrible, and awful so I know that I’m making responsible, good mom decisions.

Unfortunately, my oldest is just like daddy and she has no mean bone in her body. She is all about rules and being fair, not being in trouble, and doing the right thing. She’s never going to call me mean or think I’m being awful.

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*Amended to add that my oldest did, in fact, have a moment of unfair-mommy feelings recently. She told me I don’t love her because I wouldn’t let her eat goldfish crackers for dinner. I then used the analogy that the food she puts in her body is like gas. If you put the wrong kind of gas in your car, it goes…but not for long. If you put the right kind of gas in your car, it drives and drives and drives. If you run out of gas, your car no longer runs. She liked it. It felt good.*

What a let down.

My five-year-old, though; she’s different. She’s a rulebreaker, an independent. She’s her own person, and I just know she will one day tell me I’m the worst mom ever; and I can’t wait. I love my kids, and I want them to love me, too. But I look back at my childhood with the realization that the times I told my mom she was the worst mom in the world and that she didn’t love me were the times she loved me most, hardest, and best.

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It wasn’t easy for her to tell me no, or to deny me something my teenage heart desired so badly. She simply did what was best for me, and she did it knowing that it would take years and years and years for me to understand that.

You just don’t realize until you have a little girl or boy of your own how much you love this tiny human, and how important it becomes to be the meanest mommy and daddy ever in the whole wide world one day. It means you’re doing what’s best for them. When my mom told me no, it was because the teacher in her knew the friend I wanted to spend time with, or the family whose house a party was being thrown. She knew things I didn’t know, and she she’d never tell me.

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As many times as I cried hysterically and yelled at her that I hated her and she hated me and I’d never be the meanest mom ever to my own kids, she never once looked at me and said all the horrible, negative, awful things that made her tell me no. She never told me if one classmate’s mom was a drug addict, or if another classmate’s dad didn’t travel for business all the time but that he was in jail for beating women up.

DISCLAIMER: Those are both FICTIONAL situations. She still, despite me being 33-years-old, has NEVER once told me anything negative about anyone I was friends with, their families, or anything of that nature…I just assume these things now that I’m a mom and am getting to that point in my own life with my kids.

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The times she could have easily told me she wasn’t the bad guy, but that she was protecting me from the bad guy are numerous. Now that I’m a mom, I know how much I must have hurt her. I know that as she stood there letting me blow off steam before quietly sending me to my room with disappointment in her voice and the promise that an appropriate punishment would be issued before the night was over/when she had time to discuss it with my dad/when she calmed down, her mind was screaming.

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I know her mind was screaming, because it’s what mine does when one of my kids is upset when I tell them no. I’m not even the official meanest mom in the world just yet but I know that when my kids are sad when I say no, my mind is screaming to tell them why I won’t let them go to a sleepover at someone else’s house or a playdate at someone’s home. I don’t want them to think I’m mean, I want them to know that other people are the problem.

But, I’ll protect my kids; and I’ll protect other people’s kids. I won’t tell my kids that I’ve stalked their new friends’ parent’s social media accounts and there’s not a chance in hell they’ll ever go over there. I won’t tell them their little friend from their new class belongs to someone who spends most time airing her person dirty laundry on social media than she does anything else. I won’t do it, because I don’t want them repeating that information, hurting other kids, or causing family problems for other kids. I won’t do it.

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I’m going to be the meanest mom in the entire world one day, and I’m all right with that. Eventually, someone will want to go to a party or a sleepover or on a trip with someone else, and I’ll say no. My husband will back me up 100%, and we’ll present a united front in the mean mommy/daddy department.

And I look forward to being the meanest mommy in the entire world.

I’ll remind myself that when my kids call me mean one day that I’m not mean; I’m an amazing mother. That’s what I’ll remind myself. It’ll hurt my heart, but I’m not afraid to be the meanest mom in the world one day. I welcome it, because I imagine that’s the day I’ll finally fell like I’m doing something right.

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