Stay-at-Home Moms…When The Kids Are In School Full Time–How Do You Feel? How Does Life Change?

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Here I am sitting in café writing. I never do this-ever! I’m feeling really crunched for time lately. I’m here at the café writing because we live thirty minutes from our daughters’ school/dance classes and it seems silly to drive all the way home and then turn around and drive another half hour back when I’m already commuting a minimum of two hours a day. I’m trying to be more disciplined, organized, and efficient with my time. You’d think I’d have lots of extra time since I’m a stay-at-home mom and my kids are in 1st and 4th grade, but I don’t.

Life is busy and being a stay-at-home mom is busier than it may seem. There are so many things to do every day (I’m not sitting around doing nothing). Sometimes the work that I do seems invisible because it’s repetitive. Like making sure all the laundry is clean, cooking home-made meals every night, making egg-free lunches every day, washing dishes, cleaning the house, driving the kids to and from school and after school activities, helping with homework, volunteering at their school, quality family time, etc. The list goes on forever.

I’ve thought a lot lately about how working moms do it. I feel inadequate when I think about it. Sometimes I feel like maybe I should do more…Then I think about everything I do and I circle back to—I am doing a lot. I’m productive; I’m not lazy. How do working moms do it all!?!

Something has to give, right? More

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The Whoosh of Air from Closing One Door Magically Pushes Open Other Positive, Healthy, and Creative Doors

Sometimes closing a door on part of our life can be difficult. For me, the most challenging and emotional part of making life changes is the gray area of the decision-making and the transition period that follows making the choice. Whether it’s ending a toxic relationship, standing up to a bully who veils themselves as something they are not, moving, switching jobs or schools, deciding not to have more (or any) children, choosing to stay at home with the kids, going to work full-time, simply ending a conversation, or being brave enough to state our opinions, which may not please everyone around us and could lead to the end of a relationship—we have to be authentic and do what is right in our hearts. More

10 Things I Learned From People Who Survive Cancer ~ Guest Post by Lissa Rankin

I absolutely LOVE this article by Lissa Rankin. Her words are inspiring, uplifting, and empower women with or without cancer to be brave and see through the fog!

Here’s Lissa…

cancer survive

When I interviewed women who had survived breast cancer for my art project The Woman Inside, I noticed that they all shared one remarkable thing in common.

They had all faced down death and decided to live every day like it might be their last. And then they all beat cancer.

The more interviews I did, the more I noticed that these women were living differently than most of the people I knew who had not been diagnosed with cancer. Here’s what I learned from those survivor women. Learning these lessons changed my life, and I hope they’ll change yours. More

Transitioning From Stay-at-Home Mom to Working Mom

I have been a stay-at-home mom for ten years. I think a more realistic term would be on-the-go mom. I have worked my butt off, and I have loved almost every minute of it. As I look to the future, I feel it’s time to dip my toes back into the working world–as in a paying job. Back to work seems a little intimidating and unsettling, but I have been feeling the pull for a while. Sometimes I scold myself for letting so much time pass, but I’ve been busy doing exactly what I wanted to be doing—being an on-the-go mom. This year our youngest will be in school full-time, so it’s time. I want to go back to work as a writer. More

Friends…

A friend sent me this picture.  I love it because it’s so true.

Real friends are a rare gift to be cherished.

You know who I’m talking about… More

Children Can Make a Difference in Creating a Better World

Rachel Beckwith

Rachel’s story has truly touched me to the core of my being. I hope to raise my children to be as kind, thoughtful, compassionate, generous, and giving as Rachel.

When I read the headline “Thousands honor memory of 9-year-old Rachel Beckwith”, my first thought was that I recognize the last name. I clicked on the link to see what the story was about and if it was the same Beckwith family I grew up with. It is the same family.

As I began to read the heartbreaking story about Rachel, who had a goal of raising $300 to bring clean water to African villagers by her 9th birthday, I felt a mix of deep sadness and hope. Rachel died in a car accident shortly after her 9th birthday. I have not been able to let the story go.

Rachel’s story, although unbearably tragic, is also inspiring for many reasons. More

Internet Safety – What do You Do When You Think Your Child is in Trouble, but Your Ex is in Denial and Will Not Help Protect Your Child?

While researching for this piece, I found some very disturbing internet information and statistics. Did you know that 60% of all websites on the Internet are pornographic websites? That’s about 1.2 billion.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “One out of every five children who have access to the internet have received online sexual solicitations. Pedophiles often pose as children to build trust with kids and then lure them to meet them in person. It takes an average of 2 to 4 weeks for a child to fall for this trap.

One of the biggest causes of the rise in online child molestation is due to poor parental supervision of their child’s internet activity.

Did you know that of the 500,000 dial-a-porn calls made in a day, 70% are made by minors who get the contact information off the internet. I had no idea… More

PMS, Post Pregnancy Hormone Hell, Weight Gain & Disease ~ My Struggle To Be Healthy Again.

Our girls and I before my health completely spiraled out of control…

In high school, some teammates and I were chosen to go to a college Track & Field Camp to learn about different types of training methods. I was excited to be there! Just as I was signing in for this great weeklong program, I could feel severe cramps coming on quickly. I never knew when I would get my period because I had an irregular cycle that would sometimes skip a month or two. Within 15 minutes of arriving on campus, I was literally on the floor in a ball in so much pain that I was incapacitated. Advil didn’t touch the pain and my week was ruined. I had been to doctors before and after that incident, and there was nothing they could do for me except to put me on birth control pills, which didn’t make enough of a difference. This is how my cycle would be every month or so for years. Sometimes I’d get lucky, and the pain and other PMS symptoms were not as severe. Many years later, I became pregnant with my second daughter, Olivia, and everything changed.

After having Olivia, I never went back to “normal”. I had lost my pregnancy weight and should have felt great, but I didn’t feel quite right. Over the next year, my monthly cycle became more intense, my hormones were slowly spiraling out of control, and I began having weekly stomachaches.

The symptoms slowly crept up on me, and I thought I’d naturally get over the new issues in time.

After Olivia’s first birthday, things got worse. My periods started lasting longer and occurred more frequently. I started gaining weight, which was really abnormal for me because I had always been naturally thin and never had struggled with weight before. I was retaining water, felt bloated, and I was having severe stomachaches more frequently.

So began the parade of doctors..

At this time, my stomachaches were causing me the most grief. They were occurring daily now and affecting my quality of life. I saw my primary doctor. She ordered several blood tests, checked my thyroid, and a few other potential problem areas. All of my test results looked good. She referred me to a gastroenterologist.

The gastroentereologist asked if I had an eating disorder. I told him that I did not. He said, “Let me see your teeth.” Hmm—he looked at me like he didn’t believe me, and I opened my mouth. I passed the test; my teeth were fine. I suddenly did not like him at all. An endoscopy and colonoscopy revealed nothing. My intestines looked perfectly normal.  

He said I must have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I knew he was wrong, but tried the medicine and dietary changes anyway. It didn’t help. In fact, the dietary changes made me even more irritated. I mean who wants to give up coffee, cookies, bread, wine, sugar, and chocolate at a time like this!?! Not me!

I felt like the doctors were not taking me seriously and perhaps thought I was making it all up.

A few months later, things really went downhill. The pain was non-stop, my periods were lasting for two weeks, and my hormones were raging. My face was breaking out, I was having mood swings, severe headaches, other strange things started happening, and then—I started having night sweats. I mean the kind of night sweats when you have to change your clothes and sheets two to three times a night. I was still gaining weight. Then the night sweats started happening during the day too. I started having the shakes. I was miserable.

More doctor visits… More

Making New Friends–I’m Not Talking About The Kids

Megan and I have been friends for 20 years. This is a case of two people randomly being thrown together, opposites attract, and becoming the best of friends for life.  :) Thanks, Meg!

Making new adult friends isn’t always easy…

I’m not talking about acquaintances. I’m talking about a true friend who you feel completely comfortable being yourself with. Someone you can goof off with, have fun with, be serious with, and can behave like a complete dork and idiot around without worrying about what they think. Someone you can share your innermost deep thoughts and feelings with knowing that they will not share your information with others or judge you, even if they don’t agree with you. Mutual respect and honesty are present.

A true friend is a part of your “team”. You want what is best for each other and you want each other to thrive and be happy. You don’t compete with each other and you always have each other’s back. You bring out the best and funniest in each other, but you feel safe enough to be at your lowest in their presence.

A real friend is someone who will not maliciously talk shit about you, but she may talk smack to your face.

It is someone who cares enough to tell you when they are upset with you, so that issues can be resolved. Uncomfortable topics are discussed; not swept under the carpet to fester or be ignored. A friend is someone who does not suddenly disappear from your life forever. It is someone, you know deep down, whom you can count on—no matter what. You may not talk for days, weeks, or even months, and things are not always perfect between you, but you know that you are solidly connected. It takes time to get to that place.

I’m not interested shallow relationships. My desire for intimacy and mutual understanding in relationships has led to me having a small eclectic mix of trusted friends. I like it that way. Those friendships are very special to me.

Meeting new friends like that, as an adult or a transplant from another state or country, can be challenging. I’ve spoken to many women about this topic, and the unofficial poll results seems to be that meeting new acquaintances as an adult is easy, but making new real friends with depth is a challenge. Do you think that’s true?

When we meet someone as an adult, many different factors play a role into whether or not the new acquaintance becomes a true friend.

You may see a woman several times…you both smile, there is chitchat and small talk, you enjoy each other, you may share a few stories, books, recipes, and shopping, event, or childcare information. You may wonder–Would I feel comfortable fully expressing myself to this person? Do I want to? Will I be able to trust her? Will our husbands get along? Does that matter? Do the kids get along? Does it matter that they go to different schools? Is she a nice-to-your-face and talk-about-you-behind-your-back type of woman who cares about labels, social ladders, cliques, and being connected to “important” people? If so, I disengage as fast as I can. Who wants to invite that in your life…I want genuine authentic relationships that are not tainted by nonsense—at least it’s nonsense to me. More

Anaphylactic Food Allergies and Airborne Allergies ~ They Are Part of Life by Liz Nord

When our youngest daughter, Olivia, was nine months old, we found out that she has a severe anaphylactic allergy to eggs through both physical contact and ingestion. Our oldest daughter, Bella, accidentally flung a pea size amount of scrambled eggs onto Olivia’s arm one morning–the hives erupted immediately.

A trip to the Allergist, over a dozen skin pricks, and blood draws for the radioallergosorbent test (RAST)  confirmed that Olivia has a Level 5 anaphylactic allergy to eggs (that was the highest level at the time, although they have since added a Level 6), and that she was also moderately allergic to soy, milk, cats, dust mites, dogs, and mold.

That was a tough, confusing, and emotional time for us. Not only were we completely uneducated about the realities of a severe life-threatening allergy, but we hated seeing Olivia cry during the testing. It made us sad for her, but she was a trooper. We were also upset about the implications of the severity of her allergy;  Olivia would miss out on some things and changes must be made in our day-to-day lives.

Anyone who has a child with severe allergies knows the feelings you go through when you realize that this is a life altering diagnosis. I remember people saying that it was no big deal, don’t worry, she’ll out grow it, or don’t make a fuss. PLEEEZE! They are as clueless as I was before having a child with a severe allergy. I understand. How would they get it completely when they haven’t lived it? Having a child with a severe allergy is definitely a lifestyle change. No more Sunday breakfasts out or spur of the moment fun restaurant experiences. Most everything would be cooked and baked at home until we figured out outside places and food that would be okay for her. Some restaurants claim to be eggfree, when they are not. We’ve learned that the hard way.

Having a severe allergy there are issues to be dealth with: More

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