Category: Mommy Talk

I welcome guests posts from other mommies and women! I’d love to hear how you prioritize me time and what makes you the best mommy you can be!

5 Steps To Prioritizing Self Care

Happy Thursday, my sweet readers! Today I’m guest blogging over at Fellow Passengers, sharing my thoughts about prioritizing self care!

Rachel and I met at a mom’s night out a few months ago in no other place than in the bathroom! It was a divine meeting, as we soon realized we both had a toddler and twin babies at home.

You’ll love her blog, her down to earth perspective, and the way she uses every day experiences to encourage and relate to other moms.

I would love if you’d hop on over and check out my post where I share my 5 Steps To Prioritizing Self Care! While you’re there, take a few minutes and read some of Rachel’s amazing posts!

Blessings on your Thursday!

XOXO,

Amber

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New Mom Confessions

emmy mac n cheeseYou know “those things” we do as moms but don’t usually openly share? Well, today I’m confessing some of mine! (Including how often we eat mac n’ cheese.)

I’m so excited to be guest posting over at Oakland Avenue! My friend Laura, who is also a Twin Cities Moms Blog contributor, is the voice behind this awesomely honest and down to earth mommy blog, and I know you’re fall in love with her writing.

Shortly after she became a mom, she started sharing her “New Mom Confessions.” Over the last year she’s compiled quite the hilarious collection. Now she’s opening it up to other moms to share our experiences too!

You can find my confessions here: New Mom Confessions: Amber from Mommy’s Me Time

While you’re there, be sure to check out her entire New Mom Confessions Series!

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my Magic Bullet Giveaway if you haven’t already!

XOXO,

Amber

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New Moms Need Encouragement More Than Advice

IMG_3787They say nothing can fully prepare you for parenthood. From my experience, that was certainly the case. It wasn’t until I survived labor and delivery and was cradling my first babe that I started to get it. I felt like I had officially been initiated into the mommy club, joining millions of women who had gone before me. It was the most amazing feeling in the world, but it was also one of the most overwhelming.

That gorgeous baby boy, with a name that we gave him, was ours. OURS! The minute he came out of my womb he was completely dependent upon us for everything. We would actually be taking him home to live with us permanently. Life was no longer only about us, but every decision we’d make would affect him as well.

Those decisions are endless, starting right from the very beginning. Should I breastfeed or formula feed? Send him to the nursery or keep him in our hospital room? Sleep train or go with the flow? Co-sleep or crib? Pacifier or no pacifier? Swaddle or no swaddle? Go back to work or stay at home?

It’s complete overload and so much to process when you’re dealing with all those postpartum hormones and emotions. Your world truly changes overnight. You can read and plan as much as you want, but the truth is you don’t know how you really want to do things until you start living out your new reality.

When I think back to those early firstborn moments things flood back into my memory. I loved my hospital stay. Going to a U.S. maternity ward these days, or a “family birthing center” as many are now referred to, is practically like spending a couple days at a spa. After you get through the hard stuff, you’re just pampered for the next couple days! I LOVED everything about it and was in no rush to get out of there.

But then the time comes, and they discharge you. You excitedly dress your tiny human in the adorable going home outfit you’ve been imagining him wearing for months. You carefully and somewhat awkwardly place your babe in the car seat and take the giddy going home picture, so overjoyed to start your life as a family.

Then you get in the car, and you realize that you are taking this baby to YOUR HOUSE. How in the world did they put the stamp of approval on this? And it hits you. You have no idea what you’re doing.

But somehow you pull it together, welcome your baby inside your home, and start unpacking everything from the hospital. The busyness of it all distracts you for a while. That along with staring and thinking about how cute your baby is for about 98% of the day. Your precious miracle, now living and breathing in the great big world.

That first night is rough. At least it was for me. You’re on your own, figuring out night feedings, how to swaddle, and if you’re anything like me you didn’t sleep a wink because you’re too busy checking that he’s still breathing for the 176th time. But you make it through, and the sun rises in the morning, its rays more beautiful than you’ve ever seen as they offer hope of a new day and new life.

The next few weeks continue to be full of new experiences, trusting your motherly instincts and figuring out what makes you the best mom you can be. This is where it can start to get a little tricky. You start to realize that your personality plays a big role in how you take care of your baby. Just as your baby was created uniquely, each of us moms were also created uniquely. We were given our specific babies for a reason, and even though we’re new at this whole mom thing, we have an innate ability to feel and know what’s right for our family and kids.

It can get tricky here because at this point, you’ve probably been influenced by a variety of people who are near and dear to you, and maybe some who aren’t. Some of the things they do and advice they give make a lot of sense to you, and some of it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean one of you is right and the other wrong. It just means that each of us resonates with a specific parenting style because of who we are, and who our kids are.

As moms, we want so badly to do the best job possible, and in our desire to do so, it can be easy to think that our way is the best way. I don’t think it’s necessarily because we think those other moms are bad moms, but I think it’s because how they do it seems so foreign to us simply because we absolutely cannot imagine it working for us.

But that’s the beauty of motherhood and individuality, isn’t it? What would stress one mom out, makes another one feel closer than ever to her child. The point is, each mom is uniquely equipped to love her kids in a way that no one else can.

For those of us who are already moms, we have an opportunity to be involved in a major paradigm shift when it comes to how we interact with new moms and moms-to-be.

Instead of acting like we know it all, let’s come alongside our sisters, daughters, and friends in their new journey and offer nothing but encouragement. Let’s not have one of our first questions be, “So, are you nursing????” They might not do things the way you did. They might not want to follow a schedule or use disposable diapers. They might not want to co-sleep and follow the attachment parenting movement. They might not want to read BabyWise. Also, unless it’s positive, it’s really not necessary to suggest that you know more by saying, “Just wait until you get to this stage…”  Let them discover each season for themselves and form their own opinions about it!

I’d like to propose that we can be encouraging and offer our support without giving new moms unsolicited advice. Let’s shower them with praise and tell them what a good job they’re doing. Let’s lend a listening ear and let them cry on our shoulder.

Let’s be available and let them know that if they ever want to hear our thoughts we’d love to share our experiences, but leave it at that. If they want our advice, they’ll let us know.

For those of you who are new moms or moms-to-be…

You are starting on the most incredible journey you’ve ever been on. You might be overwhelmed right now trying to figure everything out. That doesn’t make you inadequate. It makes you normal.  We’ve likely been there, feeling tinges of worry during our pregnancies and insecurities during those hazy newborn days.

You are joining a world-wide community of moms who are cheering for you. We’re here for you, thinking about you, and want nothing but a smooth transition for you.

We know you have incredible motherly instincts and you know what’s best for your sweet babe. But if and when those times come when you wonder what’s worked for us, we’d love for you to ask. We want to help and support you in any way we can. We don’t have all the answers, but we’d love to walk alongside you in your journey.

They say nothing can fully prepare you for parenthood, and what a beautiful thing that is. Experiencing every precious moment firsthand is far more amazing than any book could describe.

XOXO,

Amber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Parenting With Perseverance

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A few weeks ago, Jake and I heard a loud thud in the middle of the night. Then came screeching and lots of tears. We rushed to Baylen’s room, and sure enough, the little monkey climbed out of his crib and crash landed on the floor. Poor thing was so scared. We immediately moved his mattress to the ground to make sure he didn’t hurt himself again, which basically turned into me laying with him the rest of the night so he we could all get some rest.

The next morning we loaded up the troops and made the 20 minute drive to Ikea. We let Baylen try out all the toddler beds, and after learning he didn’t have much of a preference or interest, we picked a bed that we thought would suit him.

After stopping to get Disney Planes bedding for our airplanes obsessed boy, we headed home and started the process of talking about and introducing his big boy bed to him. I think we all felt a little out of sorts. We have obviously never done this before, and hadn’t planned on transitioning him quite yet. I was happy to keep him in his crib for as long as possible, and hoped we still had a few months. Feeling awfully unprepared, I was frantically Googling tips for transitioning to big boy bed, trying to come up with a game plan that would work for our little man.

The stage he’s in right now has left me feeling incredibly humbled as a parent. The battles seem endless. As he gains more independence, he also needs more boundaries to know how he can use it. We’re figuring out what disciplining strategies work for him, and learning how painful it is when consequences are the only way to help him develop obedience.

Our sweet Baylen is strong-willed. He knows what he wants, and not much will stop him from going after it. As difficult as it can be to hone in his stubbornness, I know the time we put in now is going to result in great things for him in the future. He’s motivated, he’s driven, and I’m confident without a shadow of a doubt that he was born to do great things. Our task is to get him ready to do them.

So, we trudge through unknown waters and awkwardly try to figure out this whole parenting deal. We try a strategy, and it doesn’t work. So we try something else, hoping we don’t totally mess up our kids in the process.

Moments come, like when we had to return Baylen back to his bed 11 times in one night, and we throw up our hands because we simply don’t know what else to do.

We talk, we cry, and we turn it over to the Lord. Time and time again He reminds us that each of His children are uniquely made, and that we were entrusted with these specific little ones because we are the parents they need. What works for another family might not work for us. He encourages us to persevere, and that sometimes tough love is necessary.

And then, a breakthrough comes. After what feels like an eternity of having to be more stubborn than our child, something clicks, and progress is made. They settle into a new habit and we’re so glad we didn’t give up.

I imagine God might look at us the same way. He sees us with clenched fists and hardened hearts. He gently shows us the right way, but we likely don’t listen the first time. He meets us where we’re at, and uses people, situations and circumstances to draw us toward Him so we can get on the right track. He doesn’t give up on us.

Thank goodness we have the Lord as our ultimate parent, paving the way and working miracles in the hearts of His kids. May we lean on Him as we work through each battle with our children, as trivial as they might seem, remembering that they’ll all add up and turn into a lifestyle where they’ll know how to love and respect others and do GREAT things for the kingdom.

Let’s hang in there. It WILL be worth it!

XOXO,

Amber

 

 

 

 

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Show Him He’s (Still) Your Man

simple-love

I’d love if you’d check out my post on Twin Cities Moms Blog today. It’s all about how I want to stop giving my husband my leftovers and be more intentional about keeping our spark alive!

Check it out here: Show Him He’s (Still) Your Man

XOXO,

Amber

 

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Finding Contentment As A Stay-At-Home Mom

IMG_9624Recently I was talking with a good friend about making the transition to becoming a stay-at-home mom. When Baylen was born I decided to quit my job as an event planner and stay at home with him. It was something I had always wanted to do. In fact, when Jake and I met in college one of the first questions he asked me was what my career plans were. I blurted out, “I want to be a mom!” Eek, looking back that probably put the pressure on. Oh well, obviously it didn’t scare him away. So, we adapted to life on one income, and my dream job began.

I truly consider being a stay-at-home mom my dream job. I love spending my days with my little sweethearts and making memories in the ordinary moments. But it’s been a journey settling into my new position. Just like any career change, it’s taken time to figure out how I can be most successful. The learning curve has been steep, and I’m constantly figuring out how to be most effective and supportive in my role.

The first transition I had to overcome was the mental change of pace. Physically, I was beyond busy to the point where it was difficult to find time to take a shower. Changing diapers, breast feeding, entertaining, baby talk, cuddling, rocking, sleep training, staying on top of what seemed like twice as much laundry, and all the other household chores that needed tending to. I was amazed at how one tiny person could require so much time. Yet, mentally I soon realized that I was craving some sort of outlet to keep me feeling like I was still part of society. I needed adult conversation to stimulate my mind. At that point I didn’t have any other friends who stayed at home with their kids, so I had to seek out ways to get connected to other moms. The biggest blessing for me came in the form of a weekly play group at our church. We still lived in Chicago at the time, and every Tuesday morning a bunch of us moms would meet at the church and watch our little ones play while we sipped coffee and chatted it up. It was super informal, low pressure, and a place where we could just be. I met my good friend Leah there, who had four kids under 5 at the time, and she still continues to be an amazing mentor and encourager to me.

I also learned that I had to make time for me, which I talked about a bunch in this post last week. I had to have something that felt like it was mine. My two “me things” are working out and blogging. These things fill me up and help me to feel normal. For some women, it means working outside the home and I think that’s great! Whatever makes you the best mom you can be is what you should do. In a perfect world, I think we’d all get to choose. By no means do I think being a stay-at-home mom is the only way; it’s just what works for me.

Another aspect I had to get used to was the fact that other people don’t always value the work of a stay-at-home mom. Unless you’ve walked in our footsteps, you simply can’t fully understand what it takes. At first it bothered me. I wanted everyone to appreciate what I was doing! Afterall, I was used to getting praised when I completed a project or planned a successful event at my previous workplace. But what now? Now I had to find fulfillment in different ways. It was seeing that precious baby boy smile back at me, or seeing him develop and hit another milestone that made it worth it.

More than anything, being a stay at home mom has forced me to seek fulfillment in the only one who can truly give it. A few months after Emersyn and Mckinley were born, probably close to when the picture above was taken, there was one really hard day that I’ll never forget. I was feeling so alone, like no one else understood what I was going through, not even my husband. That night after everyone had gone to bed, I got down on my hands and knees in our living room and cried out to the Lord. I remember telling Him, “Lord, no one gets it! No one understands or appreciates how hard I’m working!” I cried for a while longer until a peace swept over me. I heard Him say, “Amber, I get it. I see you loving your children and supporting your husband. I see you selflessly serving your family. I made you to do this. I’m proud of you, and I love you.”

From that point on, the ignorant comments from others haven’t really bothered me. I know I’m working for the Lord, and that’s all that matters. My contentment comes from knowing that I am doing a great work for Him.

To all you mommas out there, whether you stay at home or not: God sees what you’re doing too. He sees every little act of love you shower on your kids. He sees you jump out of bed to help your sleepless baby for the fifth time that night. He sees you disciplining your toddler and the consistency it takes to be effective. He sees the way your heart hurts for your elementary schooler as they work through a struggle, and the way you comfort them and tell them it’s gonna be alright. He sees you counsel your middle schooler through friendships, how you teach them what it means to love others. He sees you give your teenager independence and how hard it is on you when they need you less and less. He sees everything. HE GETS IT.

I’ll leave you with a quote that a friend passed on to me that always helps me to put things into perspective.

“Your greatest accomplishment may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”

XOXO,

Amber

 

 

 

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“The 12″

Happy weekend, everybody! I don’t often post on Saturdays, but found myself with some extra time while the kids are napping so I thought I’d finally do “The 12″! I was tagged by the lovely Cate from Wild Ruffle a little while back to share 12 random facts about myself and answer 12 random questions!

1) I’m convinced pizza covers all the food groups.

2) I love cleaning my kitchen, or at least the Martha Stewart clean feeling I get afterward when I know everything is spotless. When it’s spic n span, all is right with the world.

3) I was the only girl in a neighborhood of 12 boys growing up. Back in the day, I could play Lightning or baseball with the best of ‘em. ;)

4) I have telephone phobia (yes, it’s a real thing). Phone calls stress me out! I make them and answer them (sometimes), but it’s not my preferred medium of communication. Thank goodness I live in the era of text messaging.

5) If I could eat one thing for breakfast for the rest of my life without consequences, it would be Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

6) Despite how crazy life is with three kids under three, we would eventually love to add one more little baby to complete our family.

7) Jake and I have a random pipe dream to live in Dallas someday.

8) I wore an eye patch as a kid to correct my lazy eye – a dramatic experience for a five-year-old.

9) Nothing beats deep conversations and a cup of coffee with a good friend.

10) Someday, maybe after the kids are in school, I would love to get my personal training license.

11) If I knew Kelly Ripa personally, I like to think we’d be best friends.

12) If I had an unlimited budget, my entire wardrobe would be from Lululemon.

12 Random Questions (I edited these a bit because the originals did some referencing to Christmas.)

1) What are your favorite things about winter?

I love how quiet it is when you go outside right after a fresh snowfall. I also love how excited little kids get when it snows for the first time. And the feeling I get when I shovel the driveway by myself – a super mom high.

2) What is your favorite winter outfit?

My winter mommy wardrobe consists of long sweaters, leggings, and slippers which rarely leave my feet (embarrassing when you get to Target to realize you forgot to change out of them). 

3) What is your favorite winter food?

Roast and potatoes…classic farm food.

4) What is your favorite winter drink?

Steamed apple juice.

5) How you do like your makeup in the winter?

A little under-eye concealer, blush, and bronzer. More eye-liner and mascara and sometimes a darker lipstick (for those hot dates with my hunny!) ;)

6) What is one goal you’re hoping to accomplish this year?

To get back into meal planning and cut back on take-out food.

7) What is your favorite winter scent?

I’m obsessed with Yankee Candles – Macintosh Apple is my favorite this time of year. Fall-Wintery, yet fresh!

8) What is your favorite winter memory?

Getting married to the love of my life on December 22, 2007!

9) What is your dream way to spend a winters day?

Start the day sipping my cup of coffee by the fireplace, head to the gym to get my blood pumping, stop for Starbucks on the way home, take a long winter’s nap after lunch, and have an in home date night with Jake playing board games or watching our shows on the DVR.

10) what are the first 3 things that remind you of winter?

All my outdoor plants biting the dust, Christmas decorations out in stores ridiculously early, and Starbucks Red Cups.

11) What is your favorite winter song?

Gosh I’m so bad with song titles. Lately I’ve been loving my Kari Jobe Pandora Station and play it all day long in our house via our amazing new JamBox. If you don’t have one, you need one.

12) Finish this sentence: If I could be granted one wish this year, it would be…that Baylen, Emersyn, and Mckinley will build a strong foundation as they start interacting and playing together more everyday. I want them all to be best friends!

I am tagging my new blog friend Lee! And a dear fellow twin mommy friend Emily!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, friends!

Amber

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Mommy’s Me Time Readers

One of my favorite things about blogging is the opportunity I have to build relationships with you, my readers. You are inspiring women who have so much wisdom, who know how to love deeply, and who constantly challenge me to be the best person I can be.

Many of you have your own blogs, some of which I know about, and some that I don’t. My sister-in-law Madison had this genius idea for her blog a while back where she compiled a list of her readers and it was so fun to get to know her community. She’s generously let me borrow her idea, and now I’m doing the same!

If you have a blog and would like to be added to the Mommy’s Me Time Readers page, here’s what I need you to do. Please send the following information to amber@mommysmetime.com and like Mommy’s Me Time on Facebook if you haven’t already!

1. Your blog’s name.

2. A brief description of what your blog is about (in one sentence or less).

3. Your name.

4. Link to your blog.

5. A favorite horizontal picture of yourself (with or without your family).

I’ll use my good friend Justie as an example of how your information would be displayed. By the way, Justie’s blog is refreshing, honest, and full of testimonies of the gracious faithfulness of our Heavenly Father! Please check it out!

A New Book by Justie VavraA testimony of life after death…DSC02979 - Version 2

The MMT Readers page is found on the top navigation menu on my homepage.

I’ll do my best to get your link up as soon as possible after you email it to me!

I’m so excited to get to know you more through your blogs and can’t wait to share them with my network!

XOXO,

Amber

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MMT Readers

I’m continually inspired by my readers and love following their blogs! Please hop around and check out their fabulous reads!

Do you blog? Would you like to be included on the MMT Readers page? If so, please send the following information to amber@mommysmetime.com and like Mommy’s Me Time on Facebook!

1. Your blog’s name.

2. A brief description of what your blog is about (in one sentence or less).

3. Your name.

4. Link to your blog.

5. A favorite horizontal picture of yourself (with or without your family).

Mommy’s Me Time Readers

The Pursuit of Fruit by Justie Vavra | Creating habits that bear fruit…DSC02979 - Version 2

Our Joy…His Glory by Leslie | Don’t let the homeschooling and minivan fool you–we’re too cool for school! ;) Leslie

Upon A Rainbow by Katherine Gonzales | A blog about life, faith, and style.MMT Reader Katherine

Meet the Joiners by Amanda Joiner | Post infertility chronicles of life as a working mom of twins.Joiner fam

Project Health and Fitness by Sarah Kuiper (this is my SIL!) | A blog dedicated to my dramatic lifestyle change as I seek to lose over 100 lbs.MMT Reader Sarah

From the Jensens by Emily | Encouraging women to live for the glory of Christ in the midst of everyday life.MMT Reader Emily Jensen

Fit ‘n’ Well Mommy by MelissaI am real mom who doesn’t sugar the truth – mothering is hard work but it doesn’t mean you have to let yourself go. I offer recipes, workouts and tips through my blog to inspire moms to be their best self.MMT Reader - Fit Well Mommy

 Oakland Avenue by Laura | Honest thoughts on motherhood with a little DIY thrown in to keep you on your toes.MMT Reader Laura Wifler

The Daeger’s by Nicole | Because the baby book just ain’t happening…sorry kid!MMT Reader Natalie

Motor City on my Mind by Beth Lombardi | About my husband and I following our dream of moving to Michigan and starting our careers and building a family.MMT Reader Beth Lombardi

3 Little Greenwoods by Ashley Greenwood | After teaching kindergarten for 14 years, I finally got the dream job as a stay at home mama. Being at home gives me the time to let my creativity go. My blog allows me to document all the fun we have as a family and all the decorating projects I complete (or don’t).MMT Reader Ashley

Come & Abide by Andrea | A mish mash of life and a place to abide with other women.View More: http://leahfontaine.pass.us/broglemini

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Keeping Your Identity After Kids

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(Photo courtesy of Photography By Nealy)

Being a mom seems to bring us a constant flow of emotions, doesn’t it? One minute I am basking in the joy of watching my kids make each other giggle, and the next I’m frantically trying to keep a blowout from smearing all over the living room floor, while I’m simultaneously fending off our yellow lab, who wants to eat it.

Just like any job, being a mom has its ups and downs. It’s the most life-giving job on earth, and it also can be the most challenging one. Raising little humans is no joke. Either they’ll turn out to be people who love others and change the world, or they’ll become self-centered hell raisers who won’t give a darn about contributing to society. The stakes are high, and we’ve been entrusted to nurture them in the right direction.

It’s interesting though, because oftentimes I don’t think we realize the gravity of our sacrifices. Sleepless nights, changing diapers, feeding, disciplining, teaching, playing taxi driver, and every other ordinary task that’s required become part of our norm, and we gradually forget about life before kids. Our default becomes sacrificial love to the point where being covered in poop, pee, vomit, and any other bodily discharge doesn’t even phase us. We live in a haze of exhaustion and because we’re so in love we’re okay with it.

Or are we? After my firstborn, maybe after the honeymoon stage wore off, I thought about how great it would be to escape for even a few minutes and recharge. I was tired. But then I felt guilty. Do I really need a break? Am I being selfish to want to take time for myself? I should want to spend every minute with my baby. I wondered if it was still okay to have an identity outside of being a mom.

I still remember the first time I left my firstborn. Jake watched him and I went to work out. The whole time I was on the elliptical I wondered if Bay was still alive. I rushed home as quickly as I could afterward, and discovered that my husband was in fact capable of taking care of our son without me hovering over him.

It took baby steps, but I gradually built “me time” into my routine again, and I was better for it. I learned that prioritizing self care changed my perspective. When I’m filled up with what makes me feel good, I have more to give to my husband and kids. Contrary to what I originally thought, taking time for myself actually allows me to be more sacrificial to my family. They get my best instead of my leftovers.

I don’t know where you’re at in your journey. Perhaps you’re in the newborn days, maybe you’re stages ahead of me in the elementary school or teenage years. Where ever you are, it’s not too late to start filling yourself up with what makes you feel like YOU. Spending time away from your kids isn’t a bad thing. They’ll be okay, and you’ll return refreshed and ready to love on them like crazy, having the stamina to persevere and raise world changers.

Do what makes YOU feel good. You deserve it! No mommy guilt allowed.

XOXO,

Amber

 

 

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