10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Was A Mom

Here are the top 10 things I wish I knew before I was a Mom.

(Some of which may or may not be a little sarcastic.  Please don’t take me too seriously. A Mom needs a laugh, too.)

10. Invest in Band-Aids.

Invest for your financial investments, invest in your supply at home, invest in using the term band-aid in your vernacular. Band-Aid is synonymous with all sorts of magic that I did not know existed prior to motherhood. Well, I guess I might have known as a child, but I had long since forgotten. Trust me. You will want lots, and lots, and LOTS, and LOTS of Band-Aids around. (P.S. Your kid will know if you go the cheap route before the age of 2. They want cute pictures and colors and all the feels.) Prepare to have band-aids used as stickers at least at some point. Just mentally flush $10 down the drain a few times, and have a bottle of Goo-Gone on hand; it will help when you discover the sticky mess. Remember the cheap band-aids I told you to avoid?  THIS IS WHY.

9. You will spend more time in the kitchen than you ever thought possible.

No one tells you this. No matter if you are a “stay at home,” “work at home,” “work from there,” woman, you might as well just make peace that the kitchen will be your 2nd home within your home. Sometimes the fridge is all you need for 2 seconds of peace and a cool breeze. But someone is always hungry (or hangry), something needs to be cooked, cleaned, reheated, put away, made, picked up, organized, etc., and someone is always thirsty. If none of those are true, a little someone will be systematically pulling out every piece of tupperware from your cabinets and throwing it all over the kitchen. Try not to slip on a tupperware lid. The aftermath of that is NOT pretty.

8. You will FINALLY get everything figured out, only for something to change the next second, and throw off everything you just figured out.

Having sleep issues with your newborn? Get it “figured out,” and suddenly they think they need a tooth?! Got your toddler’s eating “figured out,” suddenly they decide to go on strike and you worry like CRAZY and go “figure it out” all over again. Finally get that nap schedule down? Goodness, they want to drop a nap!?! FINALLY get your workout back into the rhythm? Don’t worry, your child will finally figure out how to interrupt that valiant effort, too. But goodness, they are CUTE when they do.

7. There is no pause button in parenting.

Seriously, I’ve looked and I just can’t find it anywhere. Sometimes, my husband and I will just stare at each other; all we want is just to pause, even just 30 seconds, take a deep breath and start again. But. it. does. not. exist. Once you start this whole parenting journey, there’s no going back. So, when you are sweetly wishing for a baby to hold and dreaming of bathing a newborn and getting them into jammies and how sweet that will be, just remember that once it starts, it just can’t stop.

6. You become ‘old’ instantaneously. (at least in regards to sleep)

Suddenly bedtime for kids = bedtime for adults. Why did I ever make fun of my parents for going to bed early? 7:30 PM is a delightful bedtime. Yes, I know it is still light outside, and you can hear your friends playing basketball, and the sun is showing through the cracks in your blinds. (When do the black out shades get here?) But it is BEDTIME IN THIS HOUSE! How I wish I took all the naps I had been offered as a child. It’s not strange to lecture your 4 year old about the regrets of not napping, right?

5. The pressure of the responsibility for over 60 fingernails and toenails can be quite overwhelming.

Why do they not cover this in school? Or birth class? Or provide a nail trimming certification like CPR? Seriously, the amount of mom guilt I have for basically clipping the tip off of my newborns’ finger, forever will haunt me. Please, for the love of nail hygiene, revolt and petition your local municipalities to provide training for this. It affects us all.

4. Never (and I mean never!) ever will you look at wearing a seatbelt the same way.

The simple ease of getting in the car and pulling on that nice thick piece of fabric and hugging it around you with a delightful click at the end…will change. Now, you will have to endure multiple people all having multiple ways of handling this everyday thrill. Some despise it and will use a full frontal assault to escape the dire situation. Did I mention, said person will be only a few MONTHS old? Others will demand full and complete autonomy which may or may not last the entire amount of time you had planned to be gone in the car in the first place. Still others will enjoy this simple accomplishment so much, they want to repeat the experience multiple times in one sitting, which means you get to do the same thing, too. I think we could sell a workout series entitled “Seatbelt Mania With Toddlers.” Anyone interested?

3. The administrative effort to handle a simple preschool or mother’s day out program will make you think twice before enrolling.

Maybe with one child you will get this down with only minor hiccups, but with any additional children, you are likely to fall prey to one of the following phenomenon. 1) Have child all dolled up for the wrong picture day or have them still in their pjs with breakfast still on their face on the correct picture day. 2) Go to the wrong school to pick your child up. 3) Forget your child’s ______ (insert anything you like: lovey, sippy cup, folder, lunchbox, jacket, toy, etc) and your child will make you feel like you lost your mom card. But seriously, 5 hours twice a week is worth it’s weight in GOLD. So suck it up sistas. Just remember to register what feels like a YEAR in advance.

2. Cooking now looks like “playing kitchen” with little ones.

Gone are the days of dreaming up a gourmet meal that you peacefully enjoy making and no one whines or complains about it. I’m told they will be back, but I have not yet arrived.  Oh the joys of teaching little ones to “help” in the kitchen.  ‘Dump, Dump, Stir’ works great.  Just be careful of what you are dumping and tall sides on the bowls do help tremendously. The amount of effort, guilt, time, thought, energy, dishes, mess, cleanup involved, will make you wonder why we have to eat every. single. day. Can’t we just be satisfied with dinner once a week? It would make life so much more simple.

1. I’m perfect for this.

Yes, this is probably the most important thing I wish I knew before I was a Mom.  Not just good, or okay, but perfect. It’s easy to believe, hear, feel, think and know, that you have no idea what you are doing, you are not cut out for this, you will never make it, and you are a horrible mom. And you know what? That’s pretty normal, as there are many moments those all really feel true. Why wouldn’t it? What you do is so important that it is easy to feel responsible, and pressured and overwhelmed. But the reality is, you were made to do this. And you are perfect for your little family. Flaws and all. Sure, we have some growing up to do, and we will make lots and lots of mistakes. But God knows that. And whatever journey He has you and your child on, you can rest assured that He’s paired the two or three or four or ten of you together for a very good reason.

Cheers to motherhood!

Join The Conversation: What is something you wish you knew before you were a mom? If you are not a mom, what is something you wish mom’s knew? We can all learn from each other! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Compared To What?

A Perspective To Consider About Comparison

We survived! I cannot tell you how excited I am when daylight savings time comes around. I feel like I can breathe again and that winter is finally saying its goodbye. Now, don’t get me wrong, I despise it’s effects on our sleep cycles and we had one crazy late morning this past Monday.  Extra coffee, anyone? But, I will take the extra hour of sunlight in the evening and welcome the warmer temps for sure, though.

A couple of weeks ago, on the very first week of warmer temps forecasted in Tennessee, my husband showed me an email he had written to send out to his team at work. As I re-read it a few times to help him edit it, I could not get all of you out of my mind.  It reminded me once again, that the business world and our worlds at home are really not that much different.  I asked him if I could share it with all of you.  I hope it resonates and encourages you today.

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Do You Know What Your Husband Does?

A Soapbox About Wives And Their Man’s Job

Warning, I’m a little irritated. I’m blogging about this because I believe it is so important. I am hoping to turn my irritation into inspiration. Humor me, would you?

Do You Know What Your Husband Does?

I am simply astounded that many women have no clue what their husband does for a living. We know he leaves each morning, where his office is located, his title, maybe general information about his field, and whether he makes it home “on time” at night, but fail to understand his job, what he actually does during the day, and where he is excelling or struggling at any given moment in his career.  I have seen this often in busy, intelligent, women who work at home but have also witnessed this with extremely driven and smart women who have high-stakes careers outside of the home.

When did it become ok to say, “I know he works hard, but I just do not understand what he does, so I quit trying long ago.” WHAT?!?!? Seriously??? That is such a cop out. You are his WIFE! There is only one of you. You signed up for better or for worse. You are a gift to your husband, his best friend, his confidant, but you have checked out of one of the most crucial areas of his life.

Let’s all wake up to the reality that most of our husbands spend more time during the day away from us than they do with us, working for us and our families, to provide for us and love us through their work. And many men have attached their identity to their career. To not understand our husband’s identity (whether we agree with it or not), is a crucial miss in our marriages.

I also know that this phenomenon also highlights a lot of insecurities we have as women. We may feel insecure about our choices to work inside or outside the home, our intelligence, our vocabulary, our math skills, or our understanding of the world. But, we must press through this. If we do not understand something, we must make the choice to ask. Let me introduce you to my friends Google and Wikipedia. They are available 24/7 for your asking and research pleasure. 🙂 You may just impress that husband of yours!

Here’s An Example:

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When Life Happens To The Best Of Us

How To Overcome Disappointment, Discouragement & Desperation

It’s almost comical. Except that it’s not. I’m about to just write off January altogether. It’s simply not my favorite and it has not gone “according to plan.” Sometimes, life happens. Am I the only one?

And once again, I have found myself with a discouraging set of circumstances to start off the new year, and an attitude to match. Something about the cold, bare, stripped away season of winter, gets under my skin. Some years, I beat back the winter shadow with sheer determination and embrace the “magical joy” of winter. But it is simply not my first love. And this year, I’m weary. I feel like most days lately, are filled with me trudging through the motions just to make something happen. So it’s apropos that I came across this from last year. I’m reading and taking my own advice today. Want to join me? Continue Reading>>

Gain Perspective During The Holidays

Inspiration From A Home Essentialist

In continuation of the “gain perspective” theme this holiday season, I thought I would change it up a bit and shine a light on a heart warming story of a woman living out what it means to be a Home Essentialist in really challenging circumstances. She is simply killing it in her role and her perspective is phenomenal.

Your circumstances may be challenging, too. It is not always easy to do what we do day in and day out with excellence. Some days you just need a bit of inspiration or encouragement to help put some wind in your sails.

The following clip of Cinthya telling her story to Dave Ramsey is about as inspirational as it gets. You might want to grab some kleenex before watching this one. Continue Reading>>

5 Things To Forget About This Holiday Season

Tips to ENJOY the holidays

I can remember the year I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas. An aqua huffy “big girl” bike with pink accents, white tires and basket, with Spokey Dokeys on the tires. I think I saw angels, and glitter, and all things sparkly and girly in the moment of surprise. It was also the year I figured out that Santa wasn’t real. Funny that what I wanted was on the list I gave him. My parents left the box in the garage and didn’t do a great job with a cover story. Of course I immediately felt good about myself that I had figured it out and moved on.

If you are like me, you might have some mixed emotions about the holiday season. I LOVE Fall and the anticipation of the holidays, but sometimes my expectations get the best of me and I end up not really living in the holiday season. Many times, I just survive. So this year, I am intentionally making it a point to forget about 5 things this holiday season to help me enjoy it more.

5 Things To Forget About This Holiday Season

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Exciting Announcement! You Are Essential Store Launch

PREORDER Sales Start Today

I am so excited to announce the launch of the You Are Essential Store. Beginning today, one of my dreams is coming true!!

I want to be a voice in the world that communicates to women, “You Are Essential!”

I want to believe it myself.

I want my daughters to believe it.  I want my friends, my Mom, my sister-in-laws and my daughters’ friends to believe it.

I want the single woman, the single mom, the lonely wife, the estranged mother, the prodigal daughter, the birth mom, and the adopted child to believe it.

I want the homeless woman on the street, the woman stuck in human-trafficking, the orphaned child, the poverty stricken, the suicidal to believe it.

I want the beautiful, the popular, the scared, the anxious, the hopeful and the hopeless to believe it.

Will YOU believe it?

Will you commit to thinking of yourself as essential?  Will you commit to reminding yourself, “You Are Essential?” Will you help me spread the “You Are Essential” message?

I’ve curated a few prints with lettering by my amazingly talented friend, Lindsay, to place by your kitchen sink or your bathroom mirror, or to hang by your bedside or where you hang your car keys.  I hope this is a reminder to you to live out the truth that you matter, you are important, “You Are Essential.”

So who in your life needs to know “You Are Essential” right now? Is it you, or your mom, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, coach, hair dresser, pastor, leader, boss, employee, postal carrier, bus driver, etc? Or any gentlemen out there? What about YOUR wife?

If we all just communicated to each other, “You Are Essential,” how many smiles could we see, days could we brighten, rays of hope could we spread? How many depressed, lonely women could we encourage? How many suicides, school shootings, and desperate acts could we prevent? How many adoptions could we support, marriages could we save, and kids could we rescue? It’s a small phrase that makes a BIG difference.

So let’s start spreading the word (#YouAreEssential). Purchase a “You Are Essential” item in the store for yourself or someone who needs to hear it from you. Join me on my mission to encourage women!

TAKE A PEEK at the STORE here.

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What Women Need To Hear

Three Words That Matter Immensely

I don’t know about you, but at different times in my life, I have really questioned my place, my purpose, and my value. Nothing prepared me for the highs and lows of the last several years. And no amount of knowledge or expectation helped me walk that journey completely unscathed.

In the span of a few short years, I had the opportunity to work through a variety of some of life’s biggest challenges. I left a job I loved, my husband and I were forced to move out of a house we loved, we faced difficulties of getting pregnant, had some relational challenges outside of our control, did a major home renovation, moved, had our first child, faced health issues, suddenly lost my best friend, went through a complicated second pregnancy and birth (only 20 months after the first), moved again, dealt with anxiety, discovered food allergy issues, and saw marriage strain from utter exhaustion of having two kids under age 2.

Life is hard ya’ll. But, you know this. Some seasons are harder than others. Sometimes we are stronger than others. Sometimes we are learning a lesson for the first time, and sometimes it’s the tenth time and we are sick. of. it. Continue Reading>>

Give Yourself Permission To Hire Help

5 Benefits Of Not Doing It All Yourself

Do you ever struggle with feeling guilty about needing some extra help around the house? Why is it so hard to ask for help? Why do we think we have to do it all ourselves? Why can we relax our standards for other people but at the same time raise them on ourselves?

I do not always have the answers to these questions and struggle with them just like you probably do. I have my different reasons from day to day (pride, failure to plan, fear of inconveniencing someone, desire for control), but I have challenged myself to ask for help more often by giving myself permission to NOT do it all. More than anything, I have lowered my standards for the betterment of my sanity (and everyone else’s in my household, for that matter.)

When I was pregnant with my second child, I was basically put on bed rest. Up until this point, I had been responsible for the cleaning of my home exclusively. At one point in a previous life (aka, before kids) I was working full time and had a short stint of having a house keeper during a very busy season. But, ever since, I have been the dish washer, dust bunny catcher, bathroom scrubber, floor shiner, and kitchen degunker extraordinaire. And I felt like because I “stayed at home” that it was in my job description to clean the whole house by myself every week. Once this bed rest period was upon us, my husband was taking on the extra care for me and our daughter, and I was forced to ask friends or pay a babysitter a little extra to mop the floors. I was still clinging to the idea that I could not hire a house cleaner because part of my “job” was to clean the house. If I could not clean it, then I must be failing at my role! Can anyone relate? Continue Reading>>

Make Your Vote Count

An Election Day Post for Women

Do you have a hard time making it out to vote? Last year, our school system decided to give the students a holiday on election day. Now, there’s nothing wrong with giving the students a random Tuesday off from school.  I’m sure there was some good reason about using schools for polling sites or…well, I can’t think of another good reason. I doubt they purposefully were seeking to add one more challenge to working parents’ schedules. But, alas, I’m not in charge and that’s a good thing.

I noticed an unfortunate consequence of that school holiday as well as other influences, though.  A lot of women, and probably men too, found it too challenging to vote that day. Between additional childcare needed because of school being out, the daunting idea of standing in the voting line with four kids, or simply not planning in advance, voting ended up being the task that was erased from the list.  I don’t blame them.  There are so many things demanding our time and attention, and sometimes that one simple task can become so complicated that we just give up.

I have had these same experiences, too. Last year, we decided to make it a family affair and we did not eat dinner until it was past our girls’ bedtime. I’ve stood in the voting line with a screaming two year old. I’ve gone to the wrong polling site and waited in line for an hour because our new address was in a city that had only ONE neighborhood (ours!) in the OTHER county that we should have been voting in. Actually making it out to vote can be flat out HARD.

Today’s off-year election will only be held in certain counties in certain states so many of you will not be voting today.  However, this next year, we vote for our next President and other leadership in our country, and there may be crucial referendums in your city, county or state as well. Hopefully, most of you will vote in these elections because they are the big, super-important, federal level elections. However, and I by no means mean this as an accusation, do you make it a priority to vote for the smaller elections, too?  Please understand that I am FOR you, not against you. I understand how hard it can be. Can we have a little chat about something I am passionate about, though? Continue Reading >>