Truth Bombs about Breastfeeding in 2017

Every year, during World Breastfeeding Week, I write a little opinion piece on my experience as a breastfeeding mama. Last year, I wrote an article called “The Ugly Truth About Breastfeeding” and shared my tell-all truth about that first year nursing my first baby. Spoiler alert: it was rough and I didn’t love it all that much!

I’m back again this year to share my big fat breastfeeding opinions, and I’m here to tell you that things have changed a lot over the past twelve months. Now, I’m trying my hand at raising two babies under two years old, and exclusively breastfeeding this chunky little newborn. Strangely enough, as you grow up and experience new things in life, your opinions start to change. I look back at some of the things that I thought (or even said out loud) one year ago…two years ago…and I’m so embarrassed.

Here are a few of the things that actually came out of my mouth before I had personally experienced what it was like to breastfeed a baby:

“It’s not that hard to just use a cover when you’re nursing in public.”

“You can use a breast pump and give the baby a bottle when you’re in public.” 

“You should be considerate of people that are uncomfortable seeing your bare breast when you’re in public.” 

For the sake of transparency, let me say: I am a woman, I have a heart, and would never brazenly approach a breastfeeding mom to say any of these things to her. But I will admit, during my honest conversations among friends, my personal opinions did come out and they sounded something like the above quotes.

I’ve come to learn that there are some things you just cannot understand unless you’ve experienced the other side. And now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time for some truth bombs about breastfeeding!

“You CAN use a cover when you’re nursing in public.”

Yes, you absolutely can, and maybe it’s not that hard for some mothers and babies to use a nursing cover. That’s great for them! But speaking from experience, it’s hard for some moms and babies to manage nursing under a cover. Some babies cannot latch easily, and certainly not under a dark cover. Some babies don’t like having a blanket over their head and they fight it the entire time they’re nursing, often leading to mama getting bit or pinched (ouch)! All of that fun stuff aside, it gets super hot under nursing covers, and that is difficult for babies AND their mamas to deal with…ya know, with the hormones and all.

Can you still use a nursing cover despite all of these issues? Sure! I know several moms that are uncomfortable nursing in public and they choose to endure the issues that come with a nursing cover instead of the issues that come with uncovered breastfeeding. I don’t blame them one bit…but I also fully understand why many women aren’t willing to go that route. Because, to be honest, it kinda sucks.

“You CAN use a breast pump and give the baby a bottle when you’re in public.”

I did this on occasion. I know many moms that do. We sit in a chair hooked to this machine that sucks milk from our bodies like a farm cow, then we fill storage bags with the milk, stick them in the freezer for later, so that we can bottle feed our babies when our breasts just can’t do the job (think about working moms, date nights, etc). Truth be told, working moms spend more time hooked to their breast pumps than to their babies, and it’s a huge sacrifice that they make for their child. But if you’ve never pumped milk from your breasts using the strong suction of a machine, then you really don’t know how much it sucks (no pun intended)…it isn’t fun, and I wouldn’t wish that task on anyone.

Aside from the logistics of pumping breast milk, some babies simply will not take a bottle, whether it’s breast milk or formula inside. A lot of breastfed babies refuse to drink from an artificial nipple that is not like moms, and they scream hysterically because they are hungry and want the comfort and familiarity of warm breast milk from their mother’s body (yes, it comes out of the breast WARM). As a newborn, my first baby was fine with taking an occasional bottle, but by the time she was three months old, she wasn’t having it anymore. She fought that bottle relentlessly and never tired of screaming in protest. If I was unable to produce breast milk, she would have no choice but to get used to a bottle, but why would I choose to force that on my child when I’m capable of providing the best natural alternative straight from the source? Bottles just didn’t make sense for us.

So next time you ask yourself why that nursing mom can’t just “pump milk at home and bring a bottle to feed her baby in public”, you should probably hook your own nipples to a breast pump and crank it up to the highest setting, and see how you feel after 30 minutes of that…Breasts are for feeding babies, and no one has the right to tell a nursing mom that it would be better to pump milk using a machine than to just let her baby drink milk from the tap, as nature intended.

“You should be considerate of people that are uncomfortable seeing your bare breast in public.”

I can honestly say that I still believe this. We’re all brought up differently, we all have different standards of what modesty really is. We can’t force someone to feel differently than how they feel. If it makes someone uncomfortable to see your bare breast feeding a child, I do think that it would be decent and polite to cover up, if possible.

Let’s not get it twisted here: I don’t think that anyone should feel uncomfortable seeing a woman feeding her child in public, I don’t think it’s immodest or indecent, and I can’t even believe that it’s an issue in our modern world, but that’s just me. I still have the sense to be considerate of the people around me and I will be respectful if someone tells me they’re uncomfortable with uncovered breastfeeding…if they’re polite about it. *wink wink*

I might not come to your house as often or join you for dinner in public again (because it’s uncomfortable to breastfeed under a cover) but I will respect how you feel, because that’s the decent thing to do.

If you thought my opinions were bad…listen to these comments I’ve heard from others!

“You can breastfeed your baby in the restroom.” 

Well yeah, I guess you can. But this is when I just have to ask, have you ever been inside the women’s restroom in the mall, the local grocery store, or even Target? Sometimes the bathroom is decently clean, but often it is NOT. I have been in bathroom stalls that had poop all over the toilet seat, clogged toilets, pee on the floor, and people having explosive diarrhea in the stall next to me, just inches from where my baby and I would be sitting to breastfeed…for real. I’m not going to sit in that smelly environment to feed my child, and I don’t think anyone should ever have to do so. Just think about that filthy toilet covered in feces next time you tell a nursing mom that she needs to go feed her baby in the restroom.

“If you don’t want to feed in the restroom, you can feed your baby before leaving the house or feed your baby in the car.”

First of all, let me say that I do understand some people are just uncomfortable at the sight of a bare breast in public and they don’t want to see it. I get it, and I respect how you feel. In light of that respect, I’m also going to ask you to try and see this situation from a mother’s perspective. Newborn babies can nurse for up to 45 minutes every two to three hours, and more if they’re going through a growth spurt. Bare breasts and nipples aside, can you even imagine how LONELY it would be for a new mom to sit by herself in a nursery, or a bathroom, or her car, every single time she needed to feed her baby? She would seriously be completely isolated for 10+ hours out of the day. Would you ask your mother, your sister, your daughter, or your friend to endure such isolation, for any reason at all? It’s just something to consider before you judge her for public breastfeeding. Being a new mom can be lonely, and we need to support and encourage new moms (and all moms) to feed their babies however they are comfortable.

“Sex is a natural thing too, but it doesn’t mean we should have to watch people doing it while we eat at a restaurant.”

This was just one of those outrageous comments on a Facebook post that I should not have even been scrolling through, but it did get me thinking. There are plenty of natural things that are reserved for specific times and places. Nursing a baby is not one of them. Breastfeeding babies have to feed on demand, they eat frequently and it’s important that they empty all of the milk from the breast so that our incredible bodies can receive the appropriate signal to make more milk. Infants don’t understand concepts like patience and self control, they only understand that they are hungry and mom needs to provide milk…right now. It’s a pretty simple, and natural, concept.

“Have some respect for yourself.”

There is no greater respect for self than to use your body as nature intended, to nourish your children, and to put their needs and comfort before your own…I just made that up, but it certainly sounds like one of those quotes from a wise philosopher of past times.

I’m not pushing my opinions just for the sake of being controversial. Like I said, I respect that some people are just a bit more sensitive to uncovered breastfeeding than others…I just think it’s worth looking at the scenario from the viewpoint of a tired new mommy that is trying to give her baby the best start to life. Breastfeeding is hard, it can be lonely, and if you haven’t experienced some of the real struggles, you just can’t understand what it’s like to walk in that woman’s shoes. So if I have to choose between the comfort of a grown adult who can avert their eyes, or the comfort of a helpless infant and a new mom, I’m going to defend that mom and baby every time. 

I look back at some of the things I said and did before breastfeeding my two babies, and truth be told, I was such a fool. You really can’t understand what it’s like until you’re walking in those shoes. And if you made it to the end of this article, then you probably picked up on the fact that walking in those shoes is no easy task. So next time you see a mother breastfeeding her baby, covered or uncovered, give her a smile or a nod of respect. She might need it more than you know.

Beach Essentials for Moms on a Budget!

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I’m heading to the beach with my baby girl this morning! We’ve got the windows down, the radio on, and we’re singing along to Half Full Dixie Cup by Darius Rucker. Download the song if you haven’t yet, it’s a feel-good song for sure. This care free feeling got me thinking about my system for traveling to the beach with little kids, and the fact that it really can be done with very little money. I do it all year long and have no regrets.

When it comes to summer time fun, there are two types of people: people that love the beach and people that hate it. And truth be told, people that hate the beach really can’t be trusted. 

I grew up within driving distance to the ocean, and spent most of my summers at my Grandma’s house near the beach, so I know a thing or two about beach going. When I was younger, I would just bring suntan lotion and a towel…Oh, to be sixteen again! As I entered my twenties, I started protecting my skin a little better and drinking more water, so I added an umbrella and small cooler to my beach essentials. And as my twenties carried on, I got married and had a baby, so the beach bag grew just a little bit more.

Going to the beach with kids is very different from going to the beach solo. It can still be a ton of fun, but it takes a little more money and a little more preparation. 

If you’re a mom on a budget (and who isn’t?) you don’t need to shy away from beach adventures for fear of spending too much money. In fact, beach trips can be some of the cheapest and most wonderful memories your kids will ever have. I know, because I grew up as “that kid” and those are the kids I’ll be raising: kids that love inexpensive, outdoor fun! Don’t let those Pinterest and Instagram moms fool you, beach-going does not have to be elaborate, expensive, or stressful. 

I’ve come to learn that even parents can go to the beach and enjoy the whole day with their kiddos on a very small budget. When I had my first baby, I knew there was no way I’d be giving up my beach adventures, even if having kids changed the experience a little bit. And now that baby number two is on the way, I have to make sure the saltwater runs through his veins too! So I put together this list of real essentials for any mama (or daddy) that wants to enjoy beach days on a budget. 

There are a few things that you really do need whether you have kids or not, and that includes shade, sunblock, towels, snacks, and water. All of this can be found at discount stores like Big Lots, Burlington, Ross, TJ Maxx, or Wal-Mart for pretty cheap. Thrift shops are also great for beach towels, beach toys and large tote bags. There’s no need to go crazy and spend a ton of money; the whole idea of a beach day is inexpensive, stress-free fun! 

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Beach Essentials for Mom and Baby:

  1. Shade. It’s definitely a bigger investment than the rest of your beach stuff, but it’s going to be worth it. The main shade options are beach umbrellas, large canopies, and pop-up tents. It really just depends on how many people you have with you and what kind of setup you prefer. I have the Pacific Breeze Easy Up XL Beach Tent, which was a major investment for me. But we spend a lot of time on the beach and I hate chasing runaway umbrellas and wrestling with kids to put on their sunglasses and hats. It’s a worthwhile investment in my opinion, because you can carry it over your shoulder and set it up all by yourself. Beach umbrellas, canopies, and beach chairs with built-in umbrellas are a few other options. I definitely recommend choosing something that comes in a case with a shoulder strap for easy carrying. Canopies provide tons of shade, but they are heavy, they take 2+ people to put up, and they have to be anchored down so they don’t fly away. I chose shade that I can carry and set up by myself, and that’s just the way I like it! Second hand apps like Offer Up are also great for finding beach gear, if you prefer shopping around for the cheapest options. 
  2. Sunblock. Any brand, including the generic stuff, will do just fine. Get something with 30 SPF or higher so that nobody gets a sunburn. I just buy a huge bottle of sunblock lotion and lather everyone up before we leave the house, and then bring sunblock spray to reapply throughout the day. I only have one baby of my own, but on any given beach day, we have 5+ kiddos and friends with us. If your babe has sensitive skin, go with a gentle mineral sunblock like this one
  3. Swimsuits and rash guards. We’re water people in this family, and we’ll play in the ocean water any time of year. If you plan on taking a dip (and you should), bring a comfortable swimsuit and coverup. I put my daughter in a little rash guard with shorts to protect her from the sun as much as possible. 
  4. Diapers and wipes. I usually bring two regular diapers and two swim diapers per child, and a small zipper bag with baby wipes in it. 
  5. Towels. Everyone should have a towel, and anyone that’s old enough to walk on their own should carry their own towel over their shoulders…makes it a little easier for the mamas! Towels can double as pillows during nap time, so don’t forget them.
  6. Snacks and a small cooler. You’ve got ravenous kids now, so food is necessary. But you don’t need as much as you think. We spend most Spring and Summer weekends on the beach, and I swear it used to feel like we were going home with more food than we brought! So go easy on the snacks. Bring enough for everyone obviously, but try to bring nourishing snacks and skip the junk. No one will sit there binging on bags of chips that take up half your beach bag, but what they do eat will actually give them energy and keep their blood sugar stable. Bring nuts, trail mix, fruit, cheese sticks, beef jerky, sandwiches, chicken, veggies with dip, rice cakes etc. Keep it simple and bring just enough food to keep everyone satisfied, there’s no need for excess. If we’re hungry when we leave the beach, we all go out for dinner or go home and eat sandwiches. Keeping the food supply light and cheap during your beach day is the best way to go. For snacks, I have a lightweight cooler like this one that has a strap for carrying. Remember, straps are your friend!
  7. Water. Bring at least one water bottle for each adult and one sippy cup for each kid. I leave a case of water in the trunk just in case we stay late and everyone runs out of water. I used to bring it down to the shore with me, but quickly learned that my people don’t typically drink more than one or two bottles during our beach days. Yes, we probably should drink more, but we just don’t when we’re busy playing, and that’s okay! Less crap for me to carry. 
  8. Baby powder. I consider this essential when you have kids. My daughter hates sand on her hands, and sprinkling baby powder over any sandy body part immediately allows you to brush off the sand painlessly and effortlessly. If nothing else, keep some in your car for those post-beach diaper changes. 
  9. Hats and sunglasses (for anyone that will wear them). I’m a California girl and never leave the house without my sunglasses anyway, but the beach glare feels so much stronger than your typical sunshine. Get some cheap sunglasses from a discount store or dollar store so that you don’t get too attached to them, and wear them on your head so they don’t get crushed in your beach bag. I used to bring a hat and sunglasses for the baby, but she’s going through her resistance phase right now and the beach is just not a place that I want to deal with that. So I lather her in sunblock and let it go. 
  10. Beach blanket. A big comfy beach blanket is just the best. Stretch out in the sunshine, feed the kids without getting sand into everything, rest and read a book, or just have somewhere to set all of your junk. I would choose a big beach blanket over beach chairs any day. I have this JJ Cole outdoor blanket and absolutely love it. 

And now for the non-essentials. Let me start by saying that we’re frequent beach goers that live just 30 minutes from the ocean. I have never had to pack for an actual beach getaway and I always go home to my own bed at the end of the day, so take that into consideration when making your own list. If you’re traveling to a beach destination, you’ll certainly need a few more things, but the idea here is to save money and keep your load light. 

  1. Beach chairs. They’re nice to have, they’re useful if you have back problems, but they’re bulky and they usually cost a good $40+ a pop. If you’re a mom on a budget, beach chairs are just not essential. I bring chairs on occasion if I have help carrying stuff, but I never miss them when I don’t have them. Spread out on a big comfy beach blanket and soak up the real ocean experience! 
  2. Sand toys. When my kids are old enough to carry all of their own crap, they can bring big bulky beach toys. If I’m doing most of the carrying, my kids can play with small cups and spoons that fit easily into my beach bag. I have never bought real sand toys in my life, and we’ve never missed them. Occasionally, I’ll just throw a few plastic cups and spoons into my beach bag and the kids always have a blast with them. There’s nothing wrong with bringing sand toys, and I’m sure older kids love them, just keep in mind that less is more when it comes to beach trips. 
  3. Kiddie pools or DIY kiddie pool supplies. These “beach hacks” drive me absolutely crazy. We’re at the ocean, sitting in front of a huge body of water, and you want me to haul a blow-up pool onto the beach so that my kids can play in water? That’s kind of dumb. Leave the kiddie pools at home and let your kids enjoy sand and salty ocean water. One less thing to carry or worry about. 
  4. DIY facial mists and sea salt sprays. They’re not necessary or helpful and they’re a waste of precious space. If it doesn’t protect you from the sun, keep you dry, or feed your hunger or thirst, it’s taking up precious beach bag space. Leave it at home, and save it for a spa day. 
  5. Change of clothes. Not everyone is going to agree with me on this one, but here’s my thinking: the sun is powerful and it dries wet clothes very quickly. If you wear light weight, comfy clothing that dries quickly, you won’t need to change outfits at any time during the day. Think soft cotton cover ups and beach dresses. I can honestly say that I’ve been to the beach thousands of times over the years and I rarely bring a change of clothes with me. Extra clothes are heavy to carry. I do bring a change of clothes for the kids, but I leave them in the car for the post-beach routine. My whole mission for beach days is to relax and carry as little stuff as possible. 
  6. Grills and propane. Let me contradict myself by saying that grilling delicious food during your beach day is awesome! But, truth be told, the grill is just not essential for a pleasant beach day…you can have just as good of a time with some fruit and veggies, or chips and sandwiches. Sometimes we mix it up and have a huge grill-out for our big family beach days, but most of the time, it just isn’t worth hauling all that extra stuff. Keep it simple people, and you won’t regret it. 
  7. Makeup and other toiletries. I never wear makeup to the beach, we play too hard and it melts right off. Some moisturizer with SPF and lip balm with SPF to protect your skin is more than enough. 

I do have a few other things that I consider “almost” essentials. I bring these along and leave them in the car. If they’re needed at some point during the day, they are close by, but we don’t have to haul them down to the shore. My almost essentials are: change of clothes for each kid, a case of water, an extra towel, extra snacks, a phone charger, a small first aid kit, a hair brush, moisturizer with SPF, diapers and wipes. 

My larger beach investments, including the shade tent, blanket, towels, and beach bag probably cost me about $150 and should last many summers to come. The smaller necessities, like the sunblock and snacks usually cost me about $50-$100 over the course of the entire summer, so I say that’s a pretty cheap summer adventure!

My system is simple and practical. I need to get some pictures of this in action, and I promise to update my post with tons of pictures for you when we take our next trip! But in summary, I have my tent, my beach blanket, my beach bag, and my beach cooler over my shoulder in their individual carrying cases. They’re a little heavy for one girl, of course, but they’re manageable and they make for an easy day at the beach once you’re all set up. I can even hold my baby in the other arm if she gets tired of walking! We’ve been doing this regularly since she was about 6 weeks old and it gets a little easier every time. 

If you just bring the bare necessities and focus on the adventure of the simple things in life, I guarantee you and your kiddos will have the best beach day ever! Give my list of essentials and tips a try, and then come back and tell me how it went, what you would add or do differently, and if you had a great beach day like I’m hoping for! 

Enjoy your summer, lovely Mamas! 

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A Fresh Start and a Giveaway!

Hey there stranger. It’s been awhile, so I’m here to reintroduce myself and my blog, and I hope you find something that you like here. I’ll briefly share why I started this blog, what this blog is all about, and what you can expect from me when you’re here. When that’s all wrapped up, you can enter for your chance to win my first giveaway!

So, who is this chick anyway?

If you’re new here, I’m happy to fill you in on the gossip. My name is Cate and I’m the one-woman show behind this blog. I’m married to a hard-working man and mama to one wild baby girl…with a surprise baby on the way. Born and raised in sunny California, I know all about working hard and playing hard. My day job as an administrative manager pays the bills, but writing and raising babies brings me real happiness. I have experience in writing, editing, teaching English, marketing, and the finance industry.

Why did I start this blog?

I started this blog in 2015 as an outlet for my writing and a pleasant distraction from nursing a hungry baby for all hours of the night. Seriously you guys, my daughter was the chunkiest and most insatiable infant you’d ever meet. She’d nurse all night long and I’d write all night long, and we were both pretty happy with that.

I wanted to take my experience as a working woman and now a working mom, and use it to help people improve their own life. But to be perfectly honest, my writing was all over the place back then! I was new to the blogging world and I was bouncing around between dinner recipes, cleaning tips, beauty treatments, business experience, and inspiring stories. I enjoyed every minute of it, but my writing was not consistent or cohesive, and that just isn’t me.

So I took a short break from social media and blogging to do a little soul searching and decide what I really want to write about and help people with…and now, here we are.

What is this blog really about?

This blog is about two things: helping you to enjoy the sweetness of life and motherhood, and helping you to live simply as a woman and mother in our modern world. If you like parenting hacks, product reviews, minimalism, helpful checklists, tips for working moms, and free stuff, you’ll probably enjoy the new and improved blog.

What can you expect from me and my blog?

1. I’ll share some real-world experience from the life of a working mom. I’ve been working full time for over 10 years, I put myself through college, and I continued in my secular career after having my baby. I will share my tips for raising happy and healthy kids in a realistic world of juggling work and family life. And I’m sure I’ll have some major parenting fails to share along the way too.

2. I’ll give you realistic tips and tricks that actually make your life easier. My mission with this blog has always been to help women and mothers keep their life simple and enjoy every sweet (and bittersweet) moment that comes our way, so I will continue to do that with every piece I write. My life hacks and parenting hacks are always practical and easy to follow. I don’t ever recommend that you do something complicated or expensive.

3. I’ll post one new blog article on the first day of every month. I love writing and editing, which has been part of my day job for years. But I suffered from serious blogger burnout last year, because I was trying to work full time and care for an infant and build an online presence and write new blog posts every week. It was just too much. I truly believe that it’s better to be fully dedicated to one thing than spread too thin between a ton of things. So if there’s something that you can count on from me, it’s one great new article at the start of each new month!

4. I’ll create and share some awesome printable checklists to help you get the most out of your day, your year, your business, your vacations, and your life. Everything will be focused around simple living and making your life easier. I’m a hyper-focused business chick that thrives on organization and efficiency. Even if you don’t have a secular job, my tips for minimalism and organization are unbelievably helpful for simplifying your life and your home.

5. I’ll do some awesome giveaways along the way, because free stuff makes everything better, right?

There are a few things that you typically won’t be seeing when you visit my blog, and that includes beauty and fashion tips, blogging advice, food reviews and recipes, and multi-level marketing (MLM) products. My goal is to stay focused on helping women live an amazingly sweet and simple life, so if we’re staying on topic, you’ll see things about minimalism, motherhood, education, work balance, health, parenting hacks, simplifying and organizing your home and office, preparing for the future, and enjoying the little things in life.

And if you’re still here reading, you rock, and I’m so happy that you came across my blog today! I’m doing my first giveaway under the new and improved Sweet and Simple Life blog, and one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card to Target.

To enter, just click here and fill out the entry form. I will notify the winner by email in 48 hours and will send a $25 e-gift card to the email address provided.

Thank you for following along today, and I hope you enjoy the new and improved Sweet and Simple Life blog!

Cate Rosales
5.1.2017

Get Your Kids to Unplug and Go Outside in 5 Easy Steps!

Hey there!

If you’re wondering why I haven’t been around for the past few months, I’m here to tell you. My family and I were taking a much-needed break from the online world, and it has been an incredible experience for us. We live in a world that is consumed by technology, and this inevitably leads to our families spending way too much time indoors and in front of screens. It happens to the best of us, but our kids really need to know that there is a big and beautiful world out there waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. They should experience the glorious satisfaction of climbing a mountain, breathing in the salty ocean air, or stepping foot in places that many people can only imagine. I’m back today to share my tips for teaching kids to unplug and go outside. The principles apply to people of all ages and circumstance, and you will never regret training your kids to get outside and enjoy nature!

Start Young

When our children are small, they are like sponges, soaking up everything that we say and do. We need to take advantage of this time to teach them about the joys of outdoor adventures. My father did this for me and my sisters, and it had a tremendously positive effect on our lives. Some of my earliest memories include taking hikes with my dad, swimming in lakes and rivers, catching pollywogs, and snorkeling in ocean harbors. As an adult, my greatest joy is being outside in the fresh air. Our kids are never too young to start exploring the outdoors, so start the journey as soon as you can.

Lead by Example

We always hear that the best way to teach is by our own example. Think about how much time you actually spend on your phone, tablet, or computer. Of course, most of us have to work a secular job, and a lot of our work is done on phones and computers these days. That is all the more reason for us to unplug and get outside when we aren’t working, to take our kids to new places, to lead the way to new adventures, and to show them how much fun it can be to break away from technology. I work full time from my laptop, so if I’m not getting paid to do my job, I want to break away from the office and go outside and play! Our children are not going to want to unplug and go outside if we don’t lead the way.

Make it Fun

Most people would agree that phones, video games, and television are entertaining. The great outdoors will bring a different kind of fun into our lives, and it is definitely a healthier and more productive kind of fun than sitting in front of a screen. Kids are programmed to enjoy technology these days, so we have to start reprogramming them. Help them to see the joy of playing outside. Splash in the pool, race up the hillside, or go on a treasure hunt. There are so many free ways to enjoy nature and explore this world. So use that nifty phone of yours to search for free things to do in your city, then plan it and make it happen.

Stop using tech as a reward

Rewards are so important for children. They need to know that their work is valued, and they need to know that good behavior comes with reward, while bad behavior comes with consequence. But why do we use screen time as a reward for good behavior? If we want our kids to enjoy the simple things in life and have a healthy view of exercise, they need to be rewarded with things that don’t encourage them to be sedentary.

Make it your goal to reward your kids with fun outdoor activities. If they do well in school or complete all of their chores, reward them with a trip to the beach or the zoo instead of screen time. Bicycles and sports gear are both great gifts for older kids that are deserving of a reward. This doesn’t mean that kids should never have any screen time, because keeping up with changing technology will also be important as they grow. It just means that they should learn to enjoy their life unplugged as much as they enjoy their screen time…hopefully more.

Teach kids responsibility

This might not sound like it applies to an unplugged lifestyle, but it does. When we teach our kids to be responsible, we teach them that there are more important things in life than screen time. Our kids should help us clean the house, walk the dogs, and mow the lawn. They should learn the importance of taking care of our homes, our communities, and our earth.

Technology is a part of our lives now, and there is no getting around that. It should be used as a tool for success and a form of balanced entertainment, but it shouldn’t be the most important thing in our lives. While our children are young, we can take advantage of the time to teach them the joys of unplugging and playing outside. These lessons will stick with them forever and improve their quality of life, hopefully improving ours right along with them.

Article by: Cate Rosales
Published: 3/5/2017

Should You Throw a “Display” Baby Shower?

unnamed-8First of all, have you ever heard of such a thing?

Well, thanks to baby shower inspiration boards on Pinterest, all sorts of new trends emerge during one’s pregnancy.

A display baby shower is similar to a regular baby shower, except for the fact that gifts are left open on a display table instead of hidden behind wrapping paper and gift bags. As far as I understand, the idea is to be environmentally conscious and avoid wasting so much paper, but also to avoid hours of unwrapping gifts. Instead, the guest of honor would just admire each gift on the table, take pictures with gifts and givers, and give thanks. Again, it’s almost the same thing as a traditional shower, but without the unwrapping part. Before you decide to go this route or to judge the idea as totally ludicrous, let me share my personal experience with a display baby shower. Spoiler alert: if I could go back and do things a little differently, I would.

My best friend and my amazing mother-in-law planned my co-ed baby shower. Knowing that I’m a totally awkward introvert that married into this huge Mexican family, my husband’s mama went out of her way to make sure I was happy and comfortable. And I’m a little embarrassed to admit that the “display” idea was my own! Well, sort of. We were just browsing Pinterest one day, and we saw the idea played out in such a cute way. I genuinely thought that less time with eyes on me unwrapping gifts sounded brilliant (remember, awkward introvert here). But not everyone would agree with me…

I wanted honest feedback about my idea from friends and strangers, so I checked into my favorite online pregnancy group for some thoughts from around the world. Before joining the group, I had no idea that baby shower etiquette was really a thing. Yes, I knew that it was polite to bring a gift and appropriate for the mother to send a thankful card to the gift-givers, but that was it.

I went into the forum that I frequented during my pregnancy and asked an innocent question. The question was something like, “What are your thoughts on having a display table for gifts at your baby shower?” Asking this question was a Very. Bad. Idea.

The comment thread that I created actually erupted into a raging hormonal battle between hundreds of pregnant women, and it resulted in several of the mamas-to-be getting banned from the website for breaking the community guidelines. Seriously. Many of these women hated my idea and considered it to be rude and completely inappropriate. One woman even said that she would show up at my shower with a gift that was wrapped in three layers of duct tape to protest my outrageous request to leave gifts unwrapped. It was safe to say that this idea was not a hit among women worldwide.

Unsophisticated little ol’ me didn’t understand what the big deal was…and I really, really didn’t want to sit in the spotlight unwrapping gifts at this baby shower…so we proceeded. My mother-in-law just put a note on the invites that gifts didn’t need to be wrapped.

Some people still put their gifts in a bag, which was completely fine. Others simply tied a ribbon around their gifts with a little name tag on it, or placed a bow on the box. We seriously felt completely overwhelmed by the amount of gifts and the generosity that was shown to us and our soon-to-be baby. We heard nothing but kind words about the display, and the day turned out absolutely perfect. I have no complaints about the party that was thrown for me, and in that moment, I felt like the display shower was a great experience.


But, when the guys were loading up all of the gifts to take them home, my feeling completely changed. I felt really crummy. Did I seriously just REQUEST people to bring unwrapped gifts to a party that was thrown for me, and then just load up all of the gifts and take them home without giving the giver a special moment of appreciation in front of everyone? Yes, I did. And here are some things I didn’t consider first:

1. People like to see you open the gifts that they brought for your new baby; they like to see the look on your face, and they deserve that, even if it makes you a little uncomfortable to be the center of attention.

2. People like to give out of the kindness of their heart. It is really impolite to make a request about what, how, why, or when a gift should be given. If someone is attending a party in your honor, they should feel free to give a gift out of the kindness of their heart (wrapped however they wish) without you asking them to do things a certain way.

Possible exception: If this is a small, intimate setting and you and your friends are all environmentalists that hate wasted paper and share the belief that unwrapping gifts is not special in any way, maybe this would be an acceptable way to arrange the gift giving…but I consider this a rare circumstance.

If I could do it over, I would definitely skip the display baby shower and take the traditional route. I would never have suggested that my host put a specific request for gifts on the invite, because honestly, that is pretty rude. The people that love you and come to celebrate with you will bring you a thoughtful gift if they are able to. I wish that I could go back and sit there with my loved ones, unwrapping gifts and showing appreciation for their generosity, even if it was a little awkward being the center of attention for a brief moment that day.

I’ve learned a few things from this experience. First, not every idea you find on the internet is a good idea (duh). I love you Pinterest, but you really screwed me on this one. Secondly, you should never ask about baby shower etiquette on a pregnancy forum filled with hormonal women. And last but not least, if you throw a “display” baby shower, someone might just show up with a gift that is wrapped in three layers of duct tape to protest. This didn’t actually happen to me, but I feel sorry for the host that invites that woman to her display shower.

At the end of the day, someone out there is going to judge your party-planning choices, but it isn’t going to be me. I will say though, that even the sincerest of intentions might land you in some hot water, so I’d give this idea a second thought before proceeding.

You can find me on PINTEREST, and I promise I won’t be promoting “Display Baby Showers” there!

Article by: Cate Rosales
9.23.2016

7 Steps to Managing a Business as a Mompreneur

Today, I have a lovely guest contributor sharing her tips for managing your business and your family! The following article was written by Brianna Nash from the Momma Works Too blog!

without attribution

I wish there was a guidebook for starting a business while starting a family back when I started.

Sadly, there wasn’t.

It was an epitome of the saying, “fly by the seat of your pants.”

I was a new mom, literally, on a journey to start a business – a yoga studio to be exact. I would leave my son with my husband and in laws and drive five hours away to train for my yoga certification. It hurt my heart, but it was a dream I wanted to pursue.

Unfortunately for me, after getting certified, opening my studio I realized really quick that both owning a studio and teaching yoga simultaneously wasn’t for me. I loved teaching, but the business side got the best of me.

I picked up a few tricks along the way though, and it helped me as I began my next adventure.

My bright idea was to become a coach. I love helping people. L-O-V-E helping people. So much that I would do it for free! They say that if you’ll do it for free that it’d be a great business idea right?

Wrong.

When it came to charging, I hated what I was doing.

I was managing my time like a champ though and started helping people manage their own time too!

Learning how to manage a wild family (that was growing by + one) and a business wasn’t easy.

It took me nearly a year to figure out a routine with my family so that my business wasn’t running my life. Once I figured it out though, it was easy as pie.

I started sharing my way of managing family and business with other moms and they were so grateful.

1. Know what needs to be done each day and do JUST that… nothing more
2. Think about your family’s schedule
a. when do the kids nap?
b. When do you eat breakfast?
c. What about lunch?
d. Supper?
e. How often do you need to clean your house?
f. Are you cooking every meal?
i. Batch cooking?
ii. Crockpot cooking?
3. What errands do you need to run?
4. How much does your spouse work?
5. How much do you work?
6. Do you have a sitter?
a. Do you kids go to daycare/school?

Once you have a general schedule down, you can start to play around with numbers and seeing what can be arranged or changed.

Some things can change, but something I’ve learned is that my work schedule will always change first before I try to change my family schedule.

This might be different for you though based on your values. Family is my number one value and therefore they’re priority number one and work comes second. That doesn’t mean that I neglect work though. I just might stay up later to get work done.

We had a routine and then +1 came along and I had to relearn to manage my time.

I give mad props to moms that have more than two children. Seriously, y’all are heroes in my books. I have two and sometimes it can get bonkers in this household.

Trying to coordinate naptimes so I can work, or bedtime schedules so I can cram in more hours is tricky!

Thankfully, I’ve found a way to stretch the time my daughter is awake to just enough that my daughter and son are down at roughly the same time. It is sometimes just enough to do 30 mins of work. I’m grateful for that.

Bed time is different.

My daughter goes to bed early, and wakes up early. But, my son on the other hand would go to bed at 11pm if I let him, and sleeps until 9am or later.

We’ve been struggling to get our son to go to bed earlier than 10pm. It’s rough though. He’ll stay in there and talk until the cows come home.

How I am managing my time now with two kids, a husband, a blog and a Virtual Assistant business

My husband and I talked about how to get our schedules to a point where I’m not working my butt off in little spurts throughout the day. This discussion went on for a good while (months maybe) until I finally caved in.

I was tired of not really paying attention to the kids, and tired of seeing their faces get sad when I’d say, “mommy has to work.”

Something had to change.

They were in daycare two days a week and I would work during them being gone, but I would often times be working even after they got home. It got out of hand quick.

The number one thing I did:

I started creating boundaries around work.

Setting boundaries around work has been by far the best thing I’ve done.

You can work your tail off until the cows come home, but that doesn’t mean you’ll move forward in your business.

Creating a schedule and setting boundaries is something that I’ve been using to be more productive and less of a grouch to my kids.

How do you start creating boundaries?

Step #1: Do an analysis of what you need to get done on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis

Break it all down on paper or your computer or on whatever works for you, but get it all out of your head. Do a big brain dump.

If you think you’ve listed out everything, take some time away – 30 minutes would be enough time. Then come back and see if anything sparked on your break. If not, then move to step #2.

Step #2: Begin organizing the chaos

If you haven’t already, it’s time to organize things into daily, weekly, monthly and yearly categories.

This will help you analyze what’s important and what’s not for our next step and it also gives you a clearer picture of what’s going on in your business. It will help you in creating goals that match your desires in business.

On top of that, you’ll soon realize how much time is necessary to keep your business moving forward. (I’ll give you a trick on how to maximize your time in a bit.)

Step #3: For each category (daily, weekly, monthly and yearly) I want you to categorize each item as either not urgent, semi urgent, urgent and priority based on its necessity to be done in a certain timeframe.

If you have some items on your list that don’t need to be done right now, but will need to be done later that’s ok.

Why? Because this is not the last time I want you to do this process. I want you to complete this on either a monthly basis or every three months (maximum time to wait). This will help you to re-evaluate the goals you’re setting for yourself.

Once you have them labeled it becomes easier to see where you might have super high expectations of yourself and where you need help.

Step #4: Outsource and Automate!

Ok, so realistically, not everyone can outsource tasks right this moment, but everyone should be able to automate at least something.

Check out my post here to learn the tasks you should be outsourcing (hint: some of these can be automated!).

If your plate is crazy busy and you’re not willing to skimp on family time (because that would just suck the life out of you) then automation and outsourcing are your best friend!

Step #5: Create your schedule

It’s time to create your schedule. This goes for your business and family life. You don’t have to get super nitpicky (even though some people need that bad), but it helps to have it down.

For me I have a rough schedule:

• Get up and make coffee
• Clear inbox, Facebook notifications and check Instagram (totally not for everyone, but it keeps me sane)
• Make breakfast for kids and husband
• Do a little work before husband leaves at 9:30am for work
• Time with kids until nap at 12pm
• Work time until daughter wakes up
• Feed kids
• Snack time
• Time with kids until time to make supper
• Make supper
• Get kids in bed at 8 and 8:30
• Work until 10:30-11pm (maybe 12 if I’m feeling spunky)

This will look different for you, but it is what I’ve found works for me and my family.

Create your schedule, and don’t be afraid if it fluctuates some. It’s an evolving process. I promise.

Note: this isn’t my routine every day as my husband’s schedule waivers.

Step #6: Set your boundaries

This is THE hardest part of all. We feel bad for setting boundaries. We feel bad for sometimes saying “no” and that’s where things get twisted. If we say “no” it’s not that we don’t care, or that we won’t ever be able to help, it’s that we can’t help in this moment or that it doesn’t align with what we have going on.

And, that’s ok. Someone else will step up.

It’s also easy for us to step over our own boundaries since we’re the ones that created them, but I’ll tell you this… once you start stepping over your boundaries it opens the gates for others to do the same.

So, just remember that.

Step #7: Make sure people know your boundaries

Lastly, you need to make people aware of your boundaries. This goes for people associated with your business and your family members. If you have dedicated work time, your family can’t barge in and demand things of you (emergencies are of course an obvious yes situation).

Once you start caving they’ll never respect your boundaries, but if you hold your boundaries tight you’ll be amazed at how people start treating you.

When you respect your own time and schedule others will too.

There you have my 7 Steps to Managing a Business as a Mompreneur!

Article by: Brianna Nash

Featured Mommy of the Week – Patricia

Okay you guys! It’s Friday, and I’m here to share another amazing mommy and her story with you guys. I met Patricia in one of my incredibly supportive Facebook groups, and if you don’t have a mom tribe online, you should probably start creating one, or just join one that already exists. I have met so many incredible people that encourage and support me in my business and parenting endeavors. We are literally never alone anymore, unless we truly want to be, at which point we just turn off the notifications and the phones and do our best to escape the virtual world for a bit.
A little snippet about Patricia: “I married my high school sweetheart, we’re celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this month. Our daughter Isabelle turns 5 in December. My family is the biggest reason I started my business, and they’re the reason I can keep going through the ups and downs of working for myself.”
Patricia’s story is close to my heart because, like me, she is a working mother who does her best to hustle and support her family. Here is a little glimpse into her life:
1. What is it like running a business and raising a family? What are some of the joys and challenges?
Running a business and raising a family can be quite a balancing act. There are days when I feel like I’m falling short everywhere. Overall though, I love working for myself and having the freedom to only work on projects that I’m excited about, with people that I truly enjoy working with. I also love having the flexibility of being able to put my family first, and that when things come up, I have the kind of clients that say, “take care of your family, I totally understand”. The challenges come with setting boundaries. When you love what you do, it’s easy to lose track of everything else. But my family is the reason I started my business so I have to be intentional about making them the priority that they are.
2. What have been some of your best mommy moments so far?
Anytime that I see my daughter do something with total confidence (whether it’s dancing, or posing for a picture, or belting out her favorite song), I melt a little because I realize I must be doing something right to raise her with such an attitude. Self confidence has always been something that I’ve struggled with so if it’s something I can help her develop early, that’s definitely something I want to do.
3. If you could give your daughter one piece of advice that you believe would make her life better as an adult, what would it be? 
Character is what you do when no one is watching. (Disclaimer, I didn’t come up with that, I just think it’s really fitting). No one will ever be as motivated as you are to create the life you want. And sometimes, creating that life involves crappy moments like working a job you don’t love (because it pays for the work that lights you up), or getting yourself to the gym at 5 AM because otherwise you talk yourself out of going. You have to decide what’s important to you and make it happen, even when no one is around to give you credit for it.
4. If you could give other working moms one piece of advice, what would it be?
Create a must-do list and keep it short. As a working mom, I know that things can get crazy and some days, all you do is put out fires. I also know what it’s like to not spend any time working on your business and constantly feel like you’re starting over, it’s really frustrating. Recently, my sister/biz partner and I created a must do list with all the things we have to do every day, no matter what else is going on. That way, we know we did something for our business every day. Also, this means that in the middle of a crazy day if we get lucky and all the babies sleep at the same time, instead of wondering what we can do with our time, we just pull out the list and get to work. Just make sure that your list isn’t super long, and doesn’t include projects. A minimum to-do list can include “create a blog post”, but not “launch my blog with 15 posts published”. If you’re not sure where to start, write down what you do for a week, then use that to create a list. We use Trello to keep track of ours, but pen and paper works too!

Patricia…girl…you are an inspiration! It was so nice to chat with a working mom who has so much knowledge and advice on living the good life and having a successful business. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today!

 

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If you want to follow Patricia’s journey, you can find her on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK.
And follow my updates on all of our Featured Moms by joining my mailing list here!

My Must-Haves for September!

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Okay you guys…I’m going to skip the fussing about my bitter realization that summer is almost over, and get right to the good stuff. September is still a pretty awesome month. It is still warm enough to enjoy the beach, and my favorite spots are less crowded because kids are back in school. From here on out, it will be a little extra special for me because it is my baby’s birthday month and a time to reflect on how much she has grown. Aside from the sappy stuff, it’s also still freaking hot and muggy ‘round here in southern California.

So I put together this quick list of my must-haves for this lovely month. For anyone who wants to finish off this summer strong, go ahead and scoop up a few of these great products and soak up a little more fun and sun. I didn’t include back-to-school stuff on this list, because I don’t have any expertise there, but come back when Emma turns 5 and I’ll give you the scoop then!

Some of this is novelty stuff, just for fun, and some of this stuff is to help the working mom get organized. The rest of it will literally save your life during the hot month of September! This article contains affiliate links to products on my favorite site: Amazon. You can read my full disclosure here before we get started.

Must-Haves for Mama:

Maxi Dresses
Sandals
Sunhat
Handheld mister
Cutest-ever coffee mug

Must-Haves for Baby:

Bathing suit
Sunglasses
Little swimmer diapers
Teething toys
Homemade popsicles

Must-Haves for Hubby:

Playstation 4
Beer pong set
Outdoor hammock
Running shoes

Must-Haves for the Home:

Oscillating fan
Blackout curtains
Snow cone maker

Must-Haves for the Office:

Desk fan
Brita water bottle
Notebooks
Desk calendar
Cute pens

So that is it guys. My list of must-haves for the working mama in the month of September. Grab the essentials, get your work done, and then go enjoy the rest of the summer with your kiddos!

What are your must-haves for the end of summer?

Let us know in the comments!

Featured Mommy of the Week: Elizabeth

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This week’s featured mommy is Elizabeth Davis, and she is one amazing woman. I usually do my own form of introduction for these mamas, but her bio is pretty perfect, and it should remain untouched. Here is what she has to say:

I’m Elizabeth, and I’m married to my high school sweetheart. He’s in the US Navy, and we moved from VA to CA on our first orders. We started with a lab, and ended up adding a boxer and a baby! Jayce is 8 months old and the love of our life. We are baby-wearing & breastfeeding fanatics, and we love exploring our home since we never know where we will be in a few years! As a young mom, I had no real expectations of problems or reality of becoming a mother. I had no idea that a baby could hate a car seat, or scream for hours at night for no reason…or that certain medicines could decrease your supply of breastmilk?! This has been such an incredible and heart filled learning journey.

Our interview with Elizabeth went something like this:

1. What was the first thing that went through your head when you found out you were pregnant? 

The first thing that went through my mind was “no way!?” And then it was that I probably should call my husband and tell him not to pick up the prescription the doctors had just prescribed me. I had been sick for days and went in to be checked out. They told me I had the flu and loaded me up with medicine, come to find out, it was a little bean in my belly! We were so excited!

2. What have been some of your joys and challenges of breastfeeding?

The greatest joy of breastfeeding is definitely the bond between Jayce and I. Being able to comfort and soothe him anytime, anywhere is great. Being able to provide all the nutrition he needs solely from myself, is absolutely incredible. One of our major joys of breastfeeding has been being able to donate well over 5,000 ounces of breastmilk to other babies and mamas in need across three different states. The challenges were definitely the learning and struggles of latching and pain in the beginning. But with time, we have overcome it all.

3. What have been some of your best mommy moments so far?

Best mommy moments so far have definitely been watching Jayce learn to crawl, stand up, and learn every single day.

4. If you could give your son one piece of advice that you believe would make his adult life better, what would it be?

One piece of advice would probably be to follow his passions 100%.

Yeah. I wasn’t exaggerating about this woman being amazing! Wife of a serviceman, loving mommy, and generous donor to babies in need!

You have real-world fans around here girl, and we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us. You can follow Elizabeth’s journey on INSTAGRAM! And follow my weekly features by joining our mailing list here.

Now, let’s swoon over a few more pictures of our featured mommy and baby!!

 

How to: Survive Life as a Working Mom

How to Survive Life as a Working Mom
Working moms probably deal with more chaos in a single day than most people do in their entire week. And I don’t say this to minimize your efforts if you’re not a working mom, I only say this because working moms are spread very thin more often than not.

I’ve learned a few helpful tricks during my first year of life as a working mom, and I’m here to share them with you. This isn’t going to be a generic list of things that you need to do, because you have enough on your to-do list. This is my tried and true method for surviving the day-to-day grind of life as a working mom. It helps me enjoy life, enjoy my family, and keep my sanity…and it’s going to help you too!

1. I try to eat healthy food.

As part of my Mom Boss method, I really try to fuel my body with nutritious food. If I’m in a hurry, a power-packed smoothie is quick and easy to make, and it gives me enough energy to get through a few hours of hard work.

2. I try to keep a solid schedule…and you should too!

Okay, so maybe this article does have some advice on what you need to do, but it’s for the best. It’s hard to keep a solid schedule when everyone is telling you that you need to be flexible as a mom. There are some things that require flexibility, and there are some things that need to be scheduled. Appointments, homework assignments, conference calls, cleaning, grocery shopping, secular work days. It all needs to be scheduled. Maybe you won’t get it done at exactly 9:30 like you planned, or maybe you won’t finish scrubbing the bathroom or working out until baby’s nap time, but don’t let that keep you from starting! Schedule what you need to get done each day, and be flexible about when and how it actually gets done.

3. I keep a daily task list on the fridge.

This falls in line with my second rule, but it takes us a step further. Having a schedule is important, but having a list of daily tasks clipped on the fridge is my visual reminder to get things done. The most important stuff goes at the top of the list, other stuff goes below it. I usually have about 10 tasks on my list, and I make it my goal to get a few things done before my baby even wakes up. We’re working moms; we’ve got a lot to do!

4. I pick my poison, and I enjoy every minute of drinking it.

I’m a coffee drinker and a major fan of caffeine. So I make myself a hot cup of coffee every morning, and I force myself to relax and enjoy it for a few minutes. No phone, no tv, no computer, no social media. Just my quiet thoughts and my delicious homemade coffee. If you’re not doing this already, I highly recommend it.

5. I take some time for myself, even if it’s just a few minutes.

This one is probably the hardest to do, and one of the most important. If you’re a working mom, you’re busy and tired and pulled in a lot of directions. You need to take some time for yourself, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Some days, it just won’t be possible, and that’s okay. But most days, you can and should manage to schedule a few minutes of time just for you. My morning coffee is my me-time, and once each week, I take a long bubble bath while hubby watches the baby. Find a way to make time for yourself.

6. I delegate some tasks to others.

Sometimes, I just don’t have time for everything, and I’m sure you don’t either. If the baby gets sick or my boss wants me to work overtime, then something is going to suffer. This is when I have to make myself delegate something to someone in my support group. It’s hard to ask for help, but we have to do it sometimes. I ask my husband to do the grocery shopping or I ask my mother-in-law to help with the baby for an evening so that I can get the house clean or the bills paid. Ask for help, and take advantage of every moment of it.

7. I indulge in little pleasures often.

I love walking and hiking, so if I’m not at work, I strap my baby into the carrier and try to take a short walk every day. It’s a simple pleasure, but I enjoy it so much. I enjoy my coffee, my bubble baths, driving with the windows down, walking on the beach, helping someone in need. It’s the little pleasures in life that help us get through and help us stay strong. Even if you can’t take the whole weekend off, find a way to indulge in little pleasures daily.

8. I practice gratitude.

I’m genuinely thankful for what I have, for what I’ve accomplished, for what I’m capable of, and for my support group. Even when things get complicated or stressful, try to show appreciation for your tribe and be grateful for all that you have.

9. I focus on the positive.

There are so many positive things to focus on as a working mom, so I’ll mention just a few in case you are struggling to think of them today. You have a job, girl! You have a paycheck that you earned, which not everyone can say. You are setting a good example for your child. Our kids need to learn to work hard and take care of themselves. You’re doing a great job, so give yourself some credit.

10. I limit my time on social media.

This one comes with an exception, because both of my secular jobs require me to use social media regularly. But, social media can suck up so much of our valuable time, and a lot of it probably isn’t all that productive. So stop doing this. Catch up with family and friends for a few minutes, post a few pictures, and then turn off that phone. Be sure to turn off your notifications too; you’re going to check your accounts at some point today anyway, so you really don’t need your phone buzzing 24/7 beckoning you for a response. If you’re required to engage on social media for work, use your time wisely, use automation, and remember to keep working on balance. If you’re not at work, then your family needs your attention more than that phone does.

These are just a few of the big ways that I manage to survive life as a working mom, and I hope that they help you to manage too! Working secularly is rewarding, and it’s worth all of the challenges that come with it, if you can just find your groove and create a method that works for you and your family.

You can follow my awesome tribe of working moms by subscribing to my mailing list here. And follow me on INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, AND TWITTER!