Kids Don’t Need A Perfect Mom, They Just Need You

I need to come clean with you. I’ve been struggling to blog this year. I’ve been trying to think about why, and I really think it boils down to this.

When I started this blog four years ago, I was basically a BRAND NEW mom. I had a 17 month old boy, and twin girls on the way. I was absolutely CLUELESS about motherhood. And I was okay with admitting that!

When you have babies and toddlers, it seems totally acceptable to talk about the fact that they aren’t sleeping, that you can’t get them to listen, and that you don’t have your crap together most of the time.

But I’m not in the baby stage anymore. My youngest is two, my twins are three, and my oldest is five.

At this point, I feel like I should have a clue what I’m doing. I feel like my kids should sleep better than they do, shouldn’t throw as many tantrums as they still do (Target YESTERDAY – OMG!!!), and that I should have my life together at least a little bit. After all, I’ve been at it for FIVE years!

It’s hard to admit this, but I feel like it’s harder to share our story these days, because there’s a piece of me that’s nervous about being judged or criticized or getting unsolicited advice.

I think it’s because the longer I’m a mom, the more pressure I put on myself.

I tell myself that all the others moms in the stage I’m in probably have it all figured out by now, and that I should have done more of this, or less of that along the way, so that I too, could feel like a good mom.

The truth is…

Most of the time, our family is STILL a hot mess.

Most of the time, I STILL feel like a new mom.

Most of the time, I STILL question whether or not I’m cut out for this motherhood thing.

Gosh, it actually feels freeing to SHARE that! Man oh man!

But you know what keeps me going when I feel like this?

I remember that I was entrusted with my kiddos for a reason. Yes, I should always strive to be the BEST mom I can be, I should constantly be learning things that I can implement to make our family better. But my heart tells me that the most important thing I can do is the recognize that it’s OKAY to be ME. THAT’S what my kiddos need more than anything. A momma who is comfortable in her own skin and personality to where she loves them like CRAZY despite how our life might look to outsiders.

I don’t need to be like the “perfect mommas” out there (is there such a woman?), because God KNOWS I will never have it all together. I will likely always be the mom with thousands of cheerios on my van floor. I will likely always be the mom who brings her kids to school looking like a hot mess. I will likely always be the mom who keeps the library in business because of all our late fees. I will likely always be the mom with a messy house and piles of laundry.

But along the way? I’m sure I’ll learn things little by little, and eventually I’ll look back and realize just how far we’ve come.

Sweet friends, I don’t know where you’re at today. I don’t know what battles are going on in your house and family, but what I do know, is that you are an INCREDIBLE mom JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

And when you think about it? We’re ALL new moms, always going through a NEW PHASE of life that we’ve never experienced before!

I know that you are doing the best darn job you can, and that your kiddos are without a doubt BLESSED because they get YOU.

I love you all to the moon and back, and from here on out, you can expect me to tell myself to screw the judgers and know-it-alls, and continue to share OUR imperfect journey!

EVERY season is a blessing. Let’s keep rocking this thing in our own way! Motherhood looks different for each one of us, but it’s certainly BETTER TOGETHER!

xo,

Amber

Photo credit: Photography By Nealy

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog) and Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time).

I share my healthy living journey over at amberkuiperfitness.com and on Instagram: (@amberkuiperfitness) or on Facebook (Amber Kuiper Fitness).

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Will It Ever Get Easier?

This morning as my husband and I were departing ways for the day, I asked him, “Do you think this will ever get easier?”

It’s Monday morning and honestly? I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. As I say that, I almost hate myself for it, because I know I’m so blessed. I have four healthy kids and a wonderful husband. I have a cozy house to spend time with them in, resources to take care of them, and the list goes on and on. If I was to jump back in time to when I was a little girl dreaming about my life, I can honestly say all my dreams have come true.

But yet, the weight is heavy.

This morning when I walked down the stairs, I saw every single countertop full of dirty dishes, We chose to spend time together as a family last night instead of cleaning, which was great while lasted, but now it’s staring me in the face. And I find myself feeling a little sorry for myself that my husband just gets to leave for work without giving it another thought. Weight.

There are toys on the floor, and also food under the table that the kids spilled. I need to sweep today, but really the floor needs a good scrubbing, which I KNOW I won’t get to anytime soon. Weight.

The kids wake up one by one, and there’s always one that’s in a funk, isn’t there? This morning she’s screaming because her legs are broken so she can’t walk down the stairs. She wants milk, but only the kind with the pink lid. And she has to go potty but she can’t go alone because again, her legs are broken, and she’s also scared. We get to the potty and she freaks out because she’s nervous her nighty is going to dip in the toilet water. We’re done on the potty, when I hear the other girl come down stairs. Weight.

“Hi Mommy! Can I watch your phone?” Oh yeah, that’s right. I bribed her to go to bed last night by telling her if she did she could watch my phone in the morning. It sounded like such a good idea at 9:00pm when it was way past her bedtime. Now I had to pay up. Weight.

Soon Baylen comes and finds me. “Mommy, will you play with me?” And my heart wants to. It really wants to. But we have to leave for school in about 25 minutes and I know there’s no way we’ll have time to squeeze it in. Mom guilt. I feel like I NEVER just get to play with my kids, because there’s just too many directions I’m always being pulled. Weight. 

Just then, cries come from my little man’s room. Number four is up! He’s SOPPING wet, and we’re all out of diapers upstairs. I strip him down and pray to God he won’t pee on me while we run downstairs and get him a new diaper. Fail, he pees all over me. Weight.

I look at the clock. Twenty minutes until we need to leave for school. I run around like a chicken with my head cut off looking for four sets of clothes, socks, shoes, jackets, backpacks, lunch boxes, and folders. Thankfully, Jake’s home this morning and he can help me. Although we usually end up bickering in these situations because my stress level is so high. I end up being the wife I DON’T want to be. “WHERE ARE THE LIBRARY BOOKS?! Have you seen them?! Can you PLEASE find Case’s other shoe? I have no idea where it is. Oh, and can you find sippy cups? They all need milk. I CAN’T FIND THE STUFFED ANIMALS THEY NEED FOR REST TIME! Jake! I can’t do this! I’m a horrible mom. Will I EVER have my crap together?” And that’s when I say, “Will this EVER get easier?!”

Weight, weight, and more weight.

By the time we’re done getting them ready for the day, I feel like I’ve run a marathon and deserve a drink.

And I also feel a pit in my stomach. Because as hard as I try to set myself up for success, I rarely feel successful. It doesn’t matter how early I get up. It doesn’t matter how prepared I try to be the night before. In seconds everything can crumble beneath me.

After I dropped the kids off this morning (and finally had brain space to think clearly again), I had a light bulb moment.

This is LIFE. Life is hard.

We can try to make life easier on ourselves. We can have systems and routines and do our best. We can TRY to stay on top of the housework and treat our husbands with grace and respect. But sometimes? A LOT of times? We’re still gonna feel like we’re failing.

And when we reach that point when we FEEL like we’re failing, we need to look ourselves in the mirror and remember that it’s not true.

“I’m not a failure.”

YOU’RE not a failure.

Here’s the thing. We weren’t made to be perfect. We aren’t going to be perfect, so we need to get whatever idea of perfection we have out of our minds and stop letting it affect our hearts.

The awesome thing? We WERE made to be victorious.

The truth is, life is full of PRESSURE.

It’s just pressure. HANDLE it!

Handle it in the best way you can, and know that your best IS enough! And also know that every time pressure comes your way, you have the opportunity to handle it just a little better the next time!

Life is about progress, not perfection!

So WILL it ever get easier?

Honestly, I don’t think so. I don’t think any stage of life will ever feel like its all sunshine and roses.

But WE will get stronger! Every day, we’re becoming better versions of ourselves whether we feel like it that day or not!

Let’s go out and HANDLE our pressure today, momma friends!

We’ve got this!

xo,

Amber

 

 

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog) and Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time).

You can also learn how I stay sane by following my healthy living journey over at amberkuiperfitness.com and on Instagram: (@amberkuiperfitness) or on Facebook (Amber Kuiper Fitness).

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Why Millennial Moms Should Learn About Cub Scouts

My oldest will be five years old next month, and as we start to enter this exciting season of life when he has the chance to explore so many different activities and opportunities, I feel a little clueless. It’s that same feeling I had when I started high school and I was the awkward kid carrying her lunch tray nervously across the cafeteria as I passed tables of upperclassmen. It’s uncharted territory, and a little overwhelming feeling like you have the learn a new set of ropes as your kids grow up!

Let me start by saying I knew NOTHING about the Boy Scouts before a few weeks ago. There were a few kids I knew in grade school who did it and I had a cousin who was an Eagle Scout, but my exposure was very limited.

They invited me to check out their booth at the Minnesota State Fair, which you can check out here.

Live from the Minnesota State Fair with Boy Scouts of America! #heroesstarthere

Posted by Mommy’s Me Time on Saturday, August 27, 2016

 

After seeing what they were all about, I wanted to learn more, and here’s why. Lately I’ve been a little overwhelmed by how much technology my kids are exposed to. I’ve felt like my kids have had too much screen time, and I feel a little guilty about it. I try my best to take them outside and keep them busy in other ways, but the fact remains that my kids will spend so much more time staring at a screen than I ever did. I’m not saying it’s all bad, because heck, I RUN an online business and I love technology for so many reasons, but I’m just saying I want to be intentional to expose my kids to IN PERSON activities that focus on building relationships and skills that extend beyond virtual reality.

I also want to encourage my kids to learn how to develop leadership skills and be people with integrity and strong character, which is the mission of Boy Scouts.

In fact, some of the key values, missions and goals are these:

-Scouting builds character, leadership, and life skills through experience and service

-Scouting creates community for youth of all backgrounds and abilities

-Scouting is fun and rewarding

-Key areas of focus: adventure, leadership, learning, service

In my pursuit to learn more about the Boy Scouts of America, I was invited to tour something called Base Camp, which is a camp IN THE CITY of St. Paul. It’s located on the campus of Ft. Snelling, and I was truly blown away by my experience there.

A while back, the Northern Star Council, BSA wanted a way to reach not only people in Boy Scouts, but the ENTIRE community. They purchased an old calvary drill hall and brought it back to life. Base Camp is now open to the public to serve all youth through field trips, lock-ins, retreats, summer camps, private parties, and community group activities. The activities range from a space simulator to a high ropes course, to archery, to team building activities, to a rock climbing wall and more!

Many K – 12 schools will go there for field trips, and it’s extremely affordable. There are even scholarship programs available so they are able to serve anyone in the community.

I was particularly interested in the adult programs they offer as well. Corporations will go there for a high ropes course and team building retreats. I had a chance to climb the rock wall a couple of times and it was a BLAST! I’m already planning to take my team there for a team building exercise next month!


The theme for this year is Heroes Start Here, and THIS WEEK is registration! This coming Thursday, September 22nd, you can show up to ANY elementary school in Minnesota between 6 – 7pm and register! Find information here: http://www.heroscouts.org

A little more about Cub Scouts: 

As a Cub Scout, you’ll be part of your own pack.

The pack is divided into smaller groups called dens. Each den has about six to eight boys. All of the Cub Scouts in your den are in the same grade and may even go to the same school.

The Cub Scout pack belongs to a church, a school, or some other group of people in your community or neighborhood. This group makes sure your pack has good adult leaders, a place to meet, and exciting things to do. The group gets help from the Boy Scouts of America.

Have you been to the local police station and talked to the policemen on duty? Or visited the fire station and sat in the driver’s seat of the pumper truck? Or visited the local TV station and sat in the news anchor’s chair? These are some of the places you might go with your den or pack.

You might also build a pinewood derby car and race it on the track, build a sailboat or trimaran and race it in the raingutter regatta, or build a spaceship and race it to the stars in the pack space derby.

Each time you complete an accomplishment or learn a new skill, your child will be rewarded. Sometimes the reward is a loop for your belt, a pin, or a patch.

Baylen starts kindergarten next year, and I’m SO excited to sign him up for this. In the meantime, we’ll be going to the Pre-K days at Base Camp!

To celebrate their kick-off, the Northern Star Council is giving away an awesome adventure pack! Be sure to enter below. You must have a U.S. shipping address.

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xo,

Amber

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog), Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time), and Snapchat: amberkuiper.

You can also follow my healthy living journey on Instagram: (@amberkuiperfitness) or on Facebook (Amber Kuiper Fitness).

This is a sponsored post by the Northern Star Council through the Amplify Influencer Network. I was compensated for my work. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Gorgeous Momma Giveaway

Happy Tuesday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Did you catch my LIVE video on Facebook on Friday? If not, I wanted to share it here again so you can check out the Mommy Must Have products I’m sharing about!

I’m giving away items from LeTote, Bamboobies, and MomSense!

Check out these Mommy Must Haves!

Posted by Mommy’s Me Time on Friday, September 16, 2016

Be sure to enter the giveaway for these products as well! Available to U.S. mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xo,
Amber

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog), Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time), and Snapchat: amberkuiper.

You can also follow my healthy living journey on Instagram: (@amberkuiperfitness) or on Facebook (Amber Kuiper Fitness).

This is a sponsored post through the Amplify Influencer Network. I was compensated for my work. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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If I Want My Kids To Be Successful In Life, They Need THIS

This past weekend I was at home in northwest Iowa at my parents’ farm. I got to spend some time with my two brothers, Joey and Jason, and whenever I’m around them I truly become the proudest big sister in the world. Joey’s 18 months younger than me and Jason’s 18 months younger than him, and they are some of the most solid men I know.

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As I was hanging out with them, I noticed that one thing we all bring to the table is a CAN DO attitude. We don’t pout and complain about what isn’t, but we generally focus on what IS!

As I go through life, I notice time and time again what makes people successful. It isn’t how much they know, or how much money they’re making. It isn’t having the perfect circumstances TO succeed.

The thing successful people have that others don’t is a successful MINDSET. It’s a mindset that says, “I’m not a victim. I’m not a product of my circumstances. I’m not defined by my income. I’m not defined by what other people think of me. I GET to work. I GET to face these challenges. I GET to create opportunities for myself! I’m not going to wait around for someone else to build something for me. I’m going to find the materials and resources I need to BUILD IT MYSELF!”

When it comes down to it, a successful mindset is determined by how GRATEFUL you are.

So why is it that my brothers and I all have a successful mindset? Why is it that we overcome our excuses?

I’m 100% confident it’s because of how we were raised.

Every day, we saw my parents working hard. We saw them wake up early and have coffee together at 5am before my dad headed out to work on the farm. (We lived in a small century old farm house when I was little and the upstairs was usually too hot to sleep in the summer and too cold in the winter, so we spent a lot of nights sleeping in the living room, next to the kitchen where my parents had their morning coffee. I remember hearing them get up in the morning and smelling the coffee brewing, while they did their devotionals and talked about their day. I was half asleep, but the impact of knowing they were in the next room talking filled me with security and has had a life long impact on me.)

We saw my mom tirelessly encourage my dad while she worked full time outside the home as a nurse.

We heard them affirm us OFTEN. They were constantly speaking confidence into us. They were constantly telling us how proud they were of us, even if it was just us putting the dishes away from the dishwasher.

Above all, they told us how much they LOVED US. Were they perfect? No! No parents are! But to this day they know how to UNCONDITIONALLY love and have taught us to do the same!

All this got me thinking. I want my kids to have that same positive mindset. I want them to be grateful! But what am I doing on a daily basis to encourage this?

I heard something a while back that said research shows that parents can play a huge role in hardwiring their kids to have a positive mindset instead of a negative one.

By simply having our kids sit around the dinner table every day and asking what they are thankful for, we can help them to focus on the GOOD, instead of the bad.

We started doing this a few months ago. At the dinner table we go around in a circle and ask each of them what they are thankful for. Baylen goes first, then Emersyn and Mckinley, then Case. They TOTALLY get it. We usually start by talking about each family member, and then they want to keep going around in a circle, and we end up talking about how we’re thankful for the grass, and for food, and for toys, and for rain, and for band-aids. My littlest guy just turned two and even he LOVES to participate.

The other morning, I put the kids’ breakfast on the table and went back into the kitchen. The next thing I heard was Baylen taking the lead and asking everybody else what they were thankful for! My heart exploded into a million pieces. Positivity is CONTAGIOUS. We LONG for it!

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I’m convinced it’s the little things we expose our kids to day in and day out that make the biggest difference. Sometimes I put all this pressure on myself to do all these amazing and complicated things as a parent to make sure my kids turn out okay, but really, it comes down to the simple things.

Maybe you didn’t grow up in an environment that fostered a positive mindset. Maybe you know your default is generally negative. It’s NEVER too late to start training your mind! Start TODAY! You are worthy of feeling EXCITED about your life.

The things we do today are going to determine how our kids act today. I’m so grateful my parents instilled an attitude of gratitude in me, and I pray every day I can do the same for my kiddos!

xo,

Amber

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog), Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time), and Snapchat: amberkuiper.

You can also follow my healthy living journey on Instagram: (@amberkuiperfitness) or on Facebook (Amber Kuiper Fitness).

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My Side Hustle Saved My Life

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A year and a half ago I was a stay-at-home mom to four kids. My oldest was three, my twins were two, and my youngest was 6 months. I was drowning, my husband was working ALL THE TIME, and I was alone with the kids close to 24/7. I felt sorry for myself. I didn’t feel like anyone around me really understood what my days were like, and I honestly dreaded when Sunday night would come around knowing Jake had to go to work the next day.

I felt confused. Why didn’t being a mom feel like enough? Isn’t this what I was created to do? I should be so happy to be at home while my husband works as much as he needs to so he can provide for our family. I should LOVE my time with my kids.

As I thought about it more, I realized the issue wasn’t that I didn’t love the time with my kids. Because I did. I loved the ordinary moments with them, watching them grow and learning something new every day. I loved playing with them and reading to them. I loved watching them become best of friends with each other as they all became mobile and running all over the house. I LOVED being a stay-at-home mom.

The REAL problem, was that somewhere along the way I completely lost myself. I was so focused on my family and making sure that we were keeping our heads above water, that I forgot how to focus on anything else.

I reached a low one day when I looked in the mirror and asked myself who I was anymore. How did I get to this point? I didn’t have time for hobbies or anything that filled me up. Even my body didn’t feel like my own. I was carrying baby weight, living off my kids’ leftovers, and so tired that by the time I put my kids down to nap every afternoon, my head would hit the pillow and I’d be out too. I’d wake up feeling totally out of it, and the next few hours until Jake came home each evening felt like they lasted FOREVER. 

Sometime in there, Jake and I got to go on a trip just the two of us. I was in a swimsuit the entire week and it was my breaking point. I vowed that day that I would never let myself feel so low about my body every again. I’ve never been overweight, and some people would probably say I had nothing to feel low about, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter how we “look” on the outside. It’s how we feel on the inside that affects everything else, and I felt lousy.

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The rest is history. I tried the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology, and for the first time since becoming a mom, I actually felt like a piece of me was coming alive again. I had confidence, I felt sexy, I had energy, I saw myself in a positive light, and all I wanted was for other moms to experience the same hope I had.

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I was at a crossroads. I loved the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology, but did I REALLY want to join one of those “pyramid scheme” things? I was the biggest skeptic of network marketing, and would roll my eyes at my friends who did it.

At the end of the day, I decided that the only thing getting in the way of me helping a lot of people was my pride. In reality, after doing my research, I learned that it was the farthest thing from a pyramid scheme. I became a Team Beachbody Coach. At first it was just so I could get a discount on Shakeology. Then a fire lit inside me. I saw the potential to help thousands of people by building a team, far more than I could help on my own, and I decided to go for it.

Little did I know the decision I made that day would completely change the trajectory of my life.

Since I started as a Team Beachbody Coach in April of 2015, I have experienced many ups and downs. It took some time to transition from a stay-at-home mom to a work-at-home mom. It took some time to learn how to work the business in a way that felt authentic to me. It took some time to learn how to effectively lead a team and help my coaches start on their paths to success.

But man, I’m so glad I was willing to lay my pride aside. Throughout this journey, I’ve found myself again. I’m no longer the nagging wife texting my husband wondering when he’ll be home. I’m no longer the mom who has no energy to play with her kids. I’m no longer focused on myself and pouting in a corner about how hard life is. I have something of my own and it feels amazing.

I started thinking that it would be a passion project, and that if I made any extra money, that would be an added bonus. Today, it’s still a passion project. I coach because I truly love my clients and coaches, but I’m also building a business that will leave a legacy for my family. I’m sending my kids to private school with the money I’ve worked for. I’m setting aside money for their college education, and I’m teaching them how to be generous to others. I’ve been able to take some of the financial burden off of Jake, and our marriage is less stressed because of it.

Today, I’m still focused on being a mom and wife, but I’m also focused on people outside my family. I’m using the gifts that God’s given me to connect with others, to build them up, and help them rediscover who THEY ARE!

I thought this Beachbody Coaching thing would be a nice side hustle, but it has absolutely saved my life. I’m me again! My cup is filled up daily! There’s no greater feeling in the world than feeling like you’ve found your calling. Beachbody Coaching is the perfect fit for me. I’ve found my people, my positive community of like-minded Christian women who want to serve others. What a JOY it is to be on a mission together. The best part? We still get to be at home with our kids. We get to pick our work hours and have flexibility to enjoy the sweet moments with our growing children. I’m forever grateful for this opportunity, and I’m so confident in our mission. My heart gets so happy when I get to share it with others.

This week, I’m hosting a group on Facebook where I’m sharing what it looks like to be a Beachbody Coach on my team. If you’ve ever considered coaching, I would love to chat with you. Our team is amazing, and I know you would love the community. This is not about selling. It’s about sharing your journey and inspiring others. You should also know that everything you need to know to have a successful business is learned. What you need to bring to the table is a heart that wants to help others. I can’t teach that, but I can teach everything else! You don’t need a large social media following. You don’t need to be in great shape. You can start where you’re at! Oh, and you should also know that this is NOT old school network marketing. We have a unique and FUN way of doing things that isn’t spammy or salesy or requires you to pressure your friends and family. We do things very differently on my team, and I’d love for you to be a part of it!

If you’d like to learn more about what it looks like to be a coach on my team, I’d love for you to join this private Facebook group: A Behind The Scenes Look At Beachbody Coaching On A Top Team!

No strings attached, I promise! Not my style. 🙂

I’m excited to get to know you, and if it’s a good fit, welcome you into our tribe and mission!

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me at amber@mommysmetime.com.

Find what makes YOU feel alive and chase after it with your full heart!

xo,

Amber

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog), Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time), and Snapchat: amberkuiper.

You can also follow my healthy living journey on Instagram: (@amberkuiperfitness) or on Facebook (Amber Kuiper Fitness).

*Beachbody does not guarantee any level of success or income from the Team Beachbody Coach Opportunity. Each Coach’s income depends on his or her own efforts, diligence, and skill.

 

 

 

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14 Things That Might Happen Before 8am When You Have Kids Under 5

 

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When I was in college you know what I hated? When I had to take an 8:00am class. That was SOOOOO early! Oh man, if only I could time travel back to that life and tell my pre-mom self to stop pouting and thank the good Lord above for the UNINTERRUPTED sleep I was getting.

Four kids later, life looks a little different. This morning I was standing in my kitchen and looked at the clock while little people crowded around me. It was 7:55am.

Have you ever stopped to think about all the things that happen before 8am with little kids?

Moms, we are legitimate rockstars.

14 Things That Might Happen Before 8am When You Have Kids Under Five

  1. You might wake up in your bed, or you might not. Most likely, you played a game of musical beds all night, tip-toeing from one to the next, doing whatever you could to keep them from waking each other up when they yelled “POTTY!” and “MOMMY!”
  2. You might go down to the kitchen to find someone fixing some cereal, and by fixing I mean pouring the entire contents of the Cheerios box into the back of his toy dump truck.
  3. You might get requests for milk, but only if you can manage to find the right colored cup. It MUST be the yellow one, but NOT the blue one. Not today at least, but be aware that by tomorrow morning, preferences will be different.
  4. You might make yourself a cup of coffee, set it on the counter, glance at it a million times, but never take a sip. As a result, baristas love you because you aren’t picky. Caffeine in any form at any temperature is your best friend.
  5. You might check your phone and within seconds it’s confiscated by your four year old, who NEEDS to watch weird videos. You might wonder why YOU didn’t come up with the idea to unbox toys, review them, and become a YouTube sensation millionaire.
  6. You might run upstairs to put a load of laundry in the washer, and come downstairs to find your two year old hanging from the refrigerator door, holding a can of beer, and yelling, “DAD’S JUICE!”
  7. You might simultaneously hear your three year old shout, “Mommy, I helping you!” and you find her in the bathroom with a toilet brush in hand, splashing and “cleaning the floor.”IMG_1656
  8. You might hear your other three year old yelling bloody murder from the basement because Netflix disconnected and she was frantically worried about what happened to My Little Pony.
  9. You might come back upstairs to find that your two year old unlocked the front door, went outside on the front porch, and is now completely naked and pointing at his diaper yelling, “Off! I did it!”
  10. You might run upstairs to help your husband find clean underwear, when you realize someone has taken your tampons out of the drawer, unwrapped them, and is feeding them as “popsicles” to their dolls.
  11. You might declare you’re taking a shower, and 30 seconds later, there you are with four little ones who want to take a shower too.
  12. You might be showering when one of your three year olds decides she’s going to use the scale in the corner for her stage so she can be Elsa and sing “Let It Go!” at the TOP of her lungs. You might be invited to share the stage with her, taking “singing in the shower” to a level you don’t know you’re comfortable with.
  13. You might get out of the shower and realize there are no towels in sight, but your little one really wants to get out. So he does. You run to get towels, and when you get back you hear him yelling, “POOP! I did it!” There it is, straight up on the floor.
  14. You might throw a diaper on him, and free him to run downstairs while you clean up his poop. Upon walking down the stairs, you realize that he’s taken the carton of chocolate milk and poured it all over the kitchen table. You go over to the sink, while everyone crowds around you. That’s when you look at the clock.

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It’s 7:55am and you realize that you’ve basically already put in a full day of work. At first you feel defeated. How in the WORLD are you going to get through the rest of the day? But then you remember something. You smell like poop, your house is a MESS, and your husband is STILL looking for underwear, but you are with your people, and there is no place in the world you’d rather be.

Chaos is your life, and your LIFE is blessed.

xo,

Amber

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog), Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time), and Snapchat: amberkuiper.

You can also follow my healthy living journey on Instagram: (@amberkuiperfitness) or on Facebook (Amber Kuiper Fitness).

To join my mentorship community and learn how to grow on social media, you can go to amberkuiper.com and follow me at Amber Kuiper Inc. on Facebook and @amberkuiperinc on Instagram!

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I Thought I Was Too Good For Sunscreen. Then I Was Diagnosed With Melanoma.

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I’ve lived in the midwest all my life. By the time summer comes each year, and the weather finally gets warm enough to go outside without layers upon layers, I’m SO ready to soak in the sun.

I was born and raised on a farm, and was outside constantly. I’ve always tanned easily, and loved the challenge of trying to get as tan as possible. When I was in high school, I worked as a lifeguard. I rarely wore sunscreen even though I was teaching swimming lessons and lifeguarding 10 – 12 hours a day.

I’d see other people put sunscreen on, but frankly I thought most of the time it was lame. I didn’t need sunscreen.

I went to college in Minnesota, and come winter I’d go to the tanning bed to warm up and get a little color. I hated how I looked when I got to be pasty white!

After college Jake and I enjoyed a few years of kid-free married life. We took so many vacations when I never applied a DROP of sunscreen.

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When I started having kids, I started to think about sunscreen. I made sure to apply it on them when they were out in the sun, but still didn’t bother to put it on myself. In fact, if I got it on my hands, I might even wash it off.

During each of my pregnancies, I developed more and more moles. I’ve always been a moley person, but pregnancy gave me 20 times MORE! I had a few that I was worried about, so in June I went for a mole check. The dermatologist gave me a full body scan, and none of the mole I was worried about were concerning to him. The only thing he was concerned about was a tiny mole on my foot. I NEVER would have gone in to the dermatologist to get it checked. It was so little and not raised at all.

He removed it to be biopsied, and a few days later I got a call. It was him calling and not one of his nurses, so I knew it was probably serious. Sure enough, he told me the mole came back with a diagnosis of melanoma. Thankfully, it was still in the early stages, so they did a surgery on my foot to take out a large chunk of skin, and after a couple weeks, I was back to normal.

It all happened so fast, that it almost seemed like it didn’t happen at all. But it’s wild to think about what could have happened had they not caught it early. He said once melanoma gets into the bloodstream, there’s pretty much nothing they can do. He has several melanoma patients who he monitors regularly for a few months or years, knowing that there isn’t a cure, and that it will only be a matter of time until they stop coming to see him.

I’m 30 years old. I have so much life ahead of me. I have four beautiful kids. I have a wonderful husband. I have a career that I love. It’s crazy to think just how much I could have missed out on. I’ve always been insecure about my moles, but now I’m grateful because if I hadn’t gotten all the bigger moles, I would have probably waited a while to go in for a check. Within the next months and years, I’ll be getting several more moles removed as a precautionary step. He said we’ll remove ANYTHING that’s questionable.

I thought I was too good for sunscreen. That all changed the day I was diagnosed with melanoma. This summer has looked very different than most. I don’t leave the house without sunscreen. I’m white as white can be, and I’m okay with it!

My sweet sister-in-law, Madison, made this really easy for me. The minute she heard about everything she sent me a bottle of her amazing sunscreen and tinted moisturizer with SPF 20. She’s a Beautycounter consultant, and ever since this scare I’ve become much more open-eared to everything she’s got in her back pocket. All her products are natural and beautiful and I’ve loved every one I’ve tried so far.

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This week, I asked if she’d open up an online party for all of you. I’d like to give away the Beautycounter products I earn from this social back to you. I don’t care about making money or getting free stuff. I really just want YOU to have quality products, and truthfully, my sister-in-law does an amazing job taking care of her clients. She’ll be able to help you find exactly what you need.

If you think you’re too good for sunscreen, you aren’t. At the very least get yourself some of this Dew Skin moisturizer so you can put it on in the morning and not have to worry when you step outside. Did you know you should be wearing sunscreen EVEN when you walk to your mailbox and back? Yep. I learned that one from my dermatologist. While you’re shopping, grab some sunscreen. It isn’t greasy, which means even my husband will wear it. 🙂

Our party will only be open for a few days (through July 23rd) because I want you to get your products ASAP! You can check out all the awesome products here: Mommy’s Me Time Online Beautycounter Social.

Let’s take care of our skin. It’s just as important as every other part of our bodies!

xo,

Amber

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog), Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time), Periscope (@AmberMKuiper), and Snapchat: amberkuiper

You can also follow my healthy living journey on Instagram: (@amberkuiperfitness) or on Facebook (Amber Kuiper Fitness).

To join my mentorship community and learn how to grow on social media, you can go to amberkuiper.com and follow me at Amber Kuiper Inc. on Facebook and @amberkuiperinc on Instagram!

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To The Thirtysomething Moms

 

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Dear fellow thirtysomething mum,

I see you in the supermarket, I see you at the playground. I see you at the school drop-off, I see you on the train and in the kid-friendly restaurants. Sometimes you see me too, and we exchange a little smile, an eye-roll, an “I get it” moment. More often you don’t see me – you are chasing your toddler down the aisles, watching your pre-schooler like a hawk as she climbs higher than you’d like, admonishing your kid for pinching her brother, reaching for a wet wipe, mopping up a spilled drink.

A few days ago I was at our public swimming pool, and if ever there was a stark metaphor for life as a mum in her 30s, the public swimming pool has to be it. There we all are – the stereotypes we swore we never would be – wading knee-deep in the kiddies’ pool, eyes locked on our littles – and genuinely delighted by their antics. Although we may be there in pairs or groups, our conversations are piecemeal, we cannot relax. Our focus is entirely on our children. We are tired. We are distracted. Our tankini-clad bodies are battle-scarred and utterly not what they used to be. 

Up on the hill are the shiny twentysomethings. They are flipping through magazines, chatting to their friends, Facebooking and selfie-snapping on their iPhones. They are rested. They are toned. They are magnificently oblivious to what is coming their way in the future. They don’t even see us. Or if they do, they swear they will never be us.

It’s okay. We were there once, and we know better than to be offended.

You see, the truth is, we thirtysomethings have let ourselves go. No. We have let our SELVES go. We have small children and for the next little while, our SELVES will not come first. We will be sleeping (or not) according to the timetables of our toddlers and/or newborns and/or a combination of the above. Our hair will not be washed as often as we’d like. Sit-ups? What sit-ups? We will be wiping noses and bottoms and messes from the walls. We will be cooking what feels like continuously from breakfast to supper time and not leaving the table until at least a forkful of peas have been eaten. We will spend hours a week kneeling by the side of the bath and then reading “just one more” bedtime story until we pass out on the edge of the toddler bed. We will be fluent in the language of Paw PatrolSofia the FirstPeppa Peg and Doc McStuffins, and will use said characters shamelessly as threats, bribes, or as digital babysitters so we can dash upstairs to grab a shower. We will find ourselves negotiating with terrorists even though we swore we never would. We will answer to “Uppy” and “More” and “I don’t want to”, and we will say “What’s the magic word?” more times a day than we ever imagined possible. This is thirtysomething. It’s not easy – and that’s the truth.

But there is another truth. Up there on the hill, nestled subtly amongst the twentysomethings, are the fortysomethings. They too are rested. They too are toned. They are alone, quietly reading a book. They see us, and they are sympathetic but also a bit smug. They’ve been there and done it and they know it doesn’t last forever. Girls, fortysomething is the holy grail. Fortysomething is coming.

The decade we get our SELVES back.

Not that I want to wish away the time. Although thirtysomething so far is a bit of a blur, it’s also a kind of magic. Never again will I feel a squidgy cheek rest on my chest in the middle of the night. Little arms reaching up to me after a fall. The delicious baby smell and the little pairs of skinny jeans and sparkly trainers. The scooter rides and monkey bars and the bed time stories with a small person in the crook of each arm. Hearing “I want Mummy,” and “Please can you help me?” and “I want to huggle you.”

Yes, fortysomething is coming, and it’s going to be bliss. But don’t let it come too fast. If I’m to lose my self for a decade, motherhood sure is a delicious thing to lose it to.

Love, Catherine

This was originally published on Littles, Love, & Sunshine

About the writer

Littles Love & Sunshine Catherine

Catherine’s a wife, tea drinker, stay-at-home-mum to two girls, and blogger behind Littles Love and Sunshine. Right now, home is beautiful Switzerland, but she counts herself lucky to have lived in Cape Town, London, the Isle of Man, and now Nyon – a beautiful medieval town outside Geneva – so she supposes that officially makes her an expat. She’s left a piece of her heart in every place she’s called home and learned a lot about herself with every move.

In a past life, words were how she made her living. She started her career in book publishing and then moved on to magazine journalism, where she worked with the ad team before becoming the resident “how to” girl, Features Writer and Digital Editor at Shape South Africa, a women’s health and lifestyle magazine. She can confidently say that for a twenty-something girl in love with writing and shoes, there was no better job in the world – she worked with incredible, powerful women, got to tell inspirational stories, traveled, and shared a desk space with the fashion editor – so that was pretty much all her dreams come true right there.

A few years later, she talked her eventually-to-be husband into moving to London, as it had always been her dream to live and work there. She fell head over heels in love with the most exciting town on earth, took a corporate gig in The City and continued her love affair with footwear.

Fast-forward to now… one husband, two baby girls and three homes later, more often than not her days are a treadmill of busy nothings punctuated by the beautiful surprises of motherhood.

You can follow Catherine on Facebook: Littles, Love & Sunshine and on Instagram: @littlesloveandsunshine.

If you’d like to submit a piece to be published on MommysMeTime.com, please send your work to submissions@mommysmetime.com. As always, please follow Mommy’s Me Time on Instagram: @mommysmetimeblog and on Facebook: Mommy’s Me Time

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We’re Out Of The Baby Stage, And It’s Pretty Awesome + FLYJOY Giveaway

At the end of August our fourth baby will be two years old. TWO! How in the world did that happen?! Honestly, there are days and nights when I just long to go back to the days when I could hold each of my babies in the rocking chair again.

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BUT, I have to tell you, there’s something pretty special about the stage we’re in right now. My oldest is four, the girls are three, and my youngest is almost two. They’re busy, running a million miles a minute no matter what they’re doing, the best of friends, and worst of enemies. 😉

The last few summers have been tough, because I always had at least one or two who were in that awkward crawling/almost walking stage which made it difficult to enjoy parks, pools, splash pads, ect. We’d usually end up leaving because I just got too frustrated trying to keep everybody happy and not eating rocks or wood chips.

But this summer, life is pretty awesome. All the kids are walking, talking, and they LOVE to go on adventures. While their favorite spot to go is still Target (can you blame them?) we’ve been making a point to take them somewhere fun each weekend that’s focused on something they’d enjoy.

A few weeks back we took them to Valley Fair. It’s funny, because for so long leaving the house with all of them made me break out in a cold sweat, and I find that it’s still my default reaction when I think about going somewhere. But usually I’m pleasantly surprised by how much easier it’s gotten.

They were so excited to go on rides at Valley Fair. They were limited by their height on a lot of them, but it only took a few for them to feel like they got the full experience.

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We ended up spending the majority of the afternoon at the water park and it was perfect.

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When it comes to our adventures, I’ve learned that the most important thing is to just be prepared with a few snacks and some juice boxes, because you never know when hunger’s gonna strike, and it’s best if you have something on hand that you KNOW they’ll like. It’s nice now, because I also don’t have to worry about bringing along baby food. Everybody can eat and drink the SAME thing!!!

I’ve mentioned our love for FLYJOY bars before, and they continue to be a big hit. When they arrive at our house I literally have to hide them and take them directly to the pantry or the kids will eat them ALL immediately. 🙂

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One thing I love about FLYJOY bars is that they travel extremely well, and specifically in the summertime, I like that I don’t have to worry about them melting in the heat. I’m all about products that make life simple, and along with FLYJOY I’ve really enjoyed this Kammok bag and this Sup insulated water bottle as well! The bag is super lightweight, and cleans easily!

The other day I had one of my friends reach out to me who orders FLYJOY regularly asking for a coupon code, and the very next day I received an email from FLYJOY telling me they want to give away a couple boxes to some lucky MMT readers!

If you aren’t familiar with FLYJOY bars, they are superfood energy bars made with Quinoa, oats, flax, and chia. They’re made with all natural ingredients AND my kids love them. A win-win for sure.

Enter for a chance to win a box of FLYJOY bars below! U.S. mailing addresses are eligible only, and I’ll pick a winner on Friday, July 8th!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xo,

Amber

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetimeblog), Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time), Periscope (@AmberMKuiper), and Snapchat: amberkuiper

You can also follow my healthy living journey on Instagram: (@amberkuiperfitness) or on Facebook (Amber Kuiper Fitness).

For business tips, you can follow me at Amber Kuiper Inc. on Facebook and @amberkuiperinc on Instagram!

This post is sponsored by FLYJOY but all opinions are my own.”

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