How to REALLY help a mom in the trenches

I’m not just referring to new moms, although they certainly apply here. But I’m talking about the tired moms. The ones who have one, two, three, four (or more) kids whose days consist of not much more than infant/toddler communication, dirty diapers, endless amounts of laundry, non-stop food preparation, messy buns, yoga pants and not enough showers. These moms can have any number of kids, really, and they can be any combination of ages.

Most advice you find out there about how to help these moms consists of suggestions like bring them a meal, offer to pick up items at the store if they need it, schedule a play date (if you have kids of your own) and the list goes on. None of these are bad ideas….they are certainly helpful. But I want to focus more on how to help these moms on a very personal and emotional level as opposed to just a task-oriented/chore level.

I bring these suggestions from a place of being one of these moms. Things that I have either had done for me by a fellow mom/woman. Things that, frankly, I wish my fellow moms/women would do for me. Things that help me to feel human again.

  • INVITE HER TO BE AN ADULT AGAIN.
    • Being a mom turns your world upside down. Whether or not a woman was in the professional world before children came into the picture is irrelevant. Every woman with children was once a woman without children. And, trust me, she remembers life before her kids regardless of what she says. Of course, she can’t imagine her life without her children and would never change bringing them into this world. But there are certainly pieces of that past life that she misses dearly. Adult conversation. Free time. Eating a meal without being rushed. You get the idea. I think all of us women are guilty of not inviting a certain mom to participate in something because we assume she’s too busy or not interested…because “she just had a baby”, “she has 3 kids”, “her husband is out of town”, “she’s probably too tired”, etc.  I’ll be blunt, these excuses for not extending an invitation are hurtful to her. Maybe you invite her and she legitimately uses one of these excuses and can’t make it. But, trust me, the invitation meant something to her. It let her know that she’s not completely disconnected from the outside world. It made her feel loved and missed by her friends. And it solidified for her that there are friends waiting for her whenever she’s able to make it outside of her bubble. So, keep inviting her to Girl’s Night, asking her for a coffee date, talking about that movie that’s coming out soon and make plans to see it together….even if that means not seeing it opening night. Being a mom, you get sucked into that child-life where life just revolves around your kids’ needs. Moms can lose themselves here not knowing which way is up. Having friends on the other side (either friends without kids or seasoned moms with older kids) to help pull her back over from time to time is an important lifeline. She may be her kids’ mom but she’s not your mom….she’s your friend. Make sure she feels that way.

 

  • ENCOURAGE HER TO USE HER NOT-MOM-BRAIN
    • Mom brain is a very real thing. I’ve told people before that when you’ve been in the trenches for years there are parts of your brain that simply fall out of practice. For me, I notice a distinct difference in my ability to communicate with any sort of eloquence since having kids. I can struggle finding my words when I’m trying to have a conversation with an adult. This is a direct result of not having enough opportunities to utilize my not-mom brain…that part of my brain that has nothing to do with my kids. Those special skills and talents that I excelled at before I had kids lie dormant. So my advice here is related mostly to projects or tasks. If you could really use her insight on a project you’re working on, ask her. If you are looking for someone to take on a specific part of a project such as being on a committee, heading up a committee, building/creating something or collecting data (whatever her specific skill sets are), ask her. Maybe she’ll say no because her plate is too full. But let her be the one to tell you no…don’t assume that you know what her answer will be. And, any “no” you get doesn’t mean never. Ask again when another opportunity comes around. Like I said before, the invitation means something to her. It let’s her know that her skills and talents that she had long before kids are still valuable. These opportunities to dust off old skills and talents, as often as she chooses to take them, will breathe life into her.

 

  • JOIN HER IN THE TRENCHES
    • No, I’m not telling you that you need to go have kids of your own to connect with her. And if you do have kids of your own, I’m not telling you that you have to suffer with her through a challenging season. What I AM saying is don’t become disconnected just because the challenges you face may differ. Make the effort to help when and where you can. These can be small things. Or big things. I’m remembering a time last year, after my third was born, where I was lamenting on social media that all 3 of my kids were sick in some way (fevers, diarrhea, puking, the works). This meant we were on house arrest (something that drives me completely mad). After seeing my post, a friend of mine texted me that she was at Starbucks and to tell her what I wanted. Then she drove it over to my house. She had kids of her own that stayed in the car while she and I stood outside for about five minutes while we chatted (my kids were napping inside). It was small and only took a few minutes but gosh it felt good. You see, it wasn’t about the drink (although that was a delicious by product), it was about a friend empathizing with the challenge I was facing and joining me there, even for just a few minutes. Maybe you have a mom friend who is in a funk or that you just haven’t seen in a while. In my experience, the mommy blues come and go. You know she usually makes a grocery store run every Saturday morning. Meet her there. Walk and talk with her. Maybe she has her kids with her or maybe she doesn’t. It doesn’t matter. You’re there for her. Ultimately, in these circumstances, it’s not always about trying to pull her outside and, instead, meeting her inside. Moms love an excuse to come outside and will embrace them when they are physically and mentally capable. But they aren’t always able to do that. So go to her. Wherever she’s at. Literally and figuratively.

 

I realize that this appears that I’m placing all the burden on you to maintain your friendship with your mom friend in the trenches. I don’t mean it to come across that way. Friendship, after all, is a two-way street. What I’m trying to get at is don’t let her failure to make her wishes/desires known become a reason for you to not reach out to her. Wouldn’t you hate to get 15 years down the road and find out that that friend you once had was really going through a rough time back then and to think maybe a simple extended hand could have helped her? I’ll come to the defense of us moms in the trenches: our minds are rarely on ourselves and our own well-being. We’ll have glimpses of it here and there, sure. But, by and large, our heads just aren’t there. We can barely see ourselves most days. A friend that can help pull us back into view from time to time is a God-send. Be THAT friend.

Some day our loads will be a bit lighter and we’ll be able to pay it forward. Personally, I’m counting down the days 😉

Until next time mommas!

~ Erica

On the Road Again

The time has come for our annual pilgrimage up to Green Bay for a Packers game. Yes, we are hard core Packers fans. Haters gonna hate 😉

This will be the 5th time for us to make this trip. While we’ve never made this drive without kids in tow, every year it’s like the first time. And it’s the second year with all 3. You’d think it gets easier the older they get, but it doesn’t. Every year, without fail, the days leading up to D-Day are filled with stress, planning, worry, stocking up on car seat activities, backseat media entertainment options, cleaning the van, packing all the snacks, etc.

Before I get the cart before the horse, let me clarify that we do not take the kids with us to the football game. A) we aren’t made of money and B) that sounds like pure torture that we want no part of. So, here’s how it usually goes….

  1. Drive the 9-10 hours up to Bloomington, IL where my mom & stepdad live.
  2. Stay 2 nights
  3. Leave the kids with my parents and then just the husband and I make the 4.5 hour drive up to Green Bay.
  4. Stay 3 nights (football game on Sunday)
  5. Drive back to Bloomington
  6. Stay 1 night
  7. Load all the kiddos and make the 9-10 hour drive back home to Oklahoma.

As you can see, this is not only a getaway for the whole family but it also gives the husband and I a few days away as well while my parents get the one-on-one grandkid time they always pine for. It helps that my husband has a Green Bay office so he spends some time with his team while he’s there….purely coincidental that the Packers are a stone’s throw away. All in all, we’re killing like 14 birds with 1 stone on this trip.

This year, the kids are 16 months, 2.5 and 4 for this trip. The drive to my parents, on paper, really shouldn’t take more than 8 hours. But, with kids, everything takes so much longer. Potty/diaper changing breaks, breaks to stretch legs and burn a little energy, breaks just to have breaks, breaks from the breaks, and the list goes on.

Remember pre-kids when a “break” on a road trip was like a quick 5 minute stop for gas,  grabbing some skittles and you were back on the road? *insert all the laughter* NOPE! Not anymore. Every break is a minimum 20 minutes. If one kid gets out of the car, they all have to get out of the car.

Although, there is one MAJOR perk to this year’s trip. The is the first time on this drive in 3 years that I’m not nursing a baby. Hallelujah! This will make things a bit easier in some aspects. But, as with everything in parenting, overcoming one challenge only reveals a new set of challenges right behind it.

So, here are my tips for road trips with little kids.

  1. Pack snacks. And when you think you’ve packed enough snacks, pack more snacks. Pretty self-explanatory I guess. But, on road trip days I pay no attention to how many snacks my kids consume. It occupies them and keeps them content longer. Something we are going to try this year is going a step further and packing a full family lunch. In the past we always just stopped for lunch somewhere but it was always difficult finding a place that allowed for the kids to have some place to play and burn some energy…we were usually limited to McDonald’s with play places…not easy to find much anymore. So, I think we’re just going to pack a big picnic lunch and find a quality rest stop on the highway.
  2. Manage the liquid intake. If your kids are anything like mine, they chug water. I give my kids a full water bottle, it’s empty in less than 3 minutes, diapers busting at the seams 45 minutes later, a tight car seat strap between the legs and, well, you know where that’s headed. So, water management begins at breakfast before we even hit the road. Fresh diapers and potty breaks right before we get in the car and never more than a 1/2 full water bottle at any given time on the trip. If they empty it, they don’t get more until the next time we stop.
  3. Embrace the backseat DVD player. I generally TRY to keep my kids’ screen time under control. *note* I’m not perfect at this….my kids most certainly do watch some TV every day. But, just like snacking, I really don’t care how much screen time they have on road trips. A movie easily passes 1.5 hours of time and that is 90 minutes of complete peace for our crew. And we are STOCKED on DVDs for the car. We have an assortment of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes on DVD and a few of the kids favorite movies cue’d up. They can watch them all twice for all I care. For real.
  4. Maybe they sleep. Maybe they don’t. Just let it go. The first few times we made this drive (with 1 and 2 kids) I stressed so much about whether or not they slept enough on the drive. Some kids sleep so well in the car. Mine don’t. They sleep GREAT at home. But, in the car, they sleep in 30 minute increments maybe once or twice (depending on age) and that’s probably it. Rory, my oldest, didn’t sleep a wink the entire drive last year. So I’ve just come to accept the fact that it is what it is. Stressing about it doesn’t change it. Just…let it go. Sure, any 1 or all 3 of my kids may be on the brink of an epic meltdown in the last hour of the drive because they are so tired. But, that also equals a quick and easy bedtime for them as soon as we get there and then a night of solitude for my husband and I to decompress!!
  5. An indulgence for mom & dad goes a long way!!! For me, it’s everything sugar. Soda, cookies, candy, you name it. My husband will almost always go for the salt. Chips, sunflower seeds, crackers and so on. The kids get to snack constantly. So do we, gosh darn it. So. Do. We.

Here’s to another great trip. Please send me all the good travel vibes! We will need them.

Until next time, mommas!

~ Erica

Another Year, Another Birthday

My oldest turned 4 last week. What is this nonsense?

I’ve never gone into depth about Rory’s development on this blog. I don’t know if I have the energy to do it today either. But, just know, that we’ve been through the ringer with him. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, professional evaluations, meetings with teachers, you name it.

Overall, his progress over the past 2.5 years is noteworthy!! But he is still significantly behind his peers in a lot of ways. I tend to toggle back and forth between obsessive concern over every little behavior and complete acceptance of wherever he’s at. It wears on me sometimes. Or, if I’m being honest, most of the time. But none of that affects the love I have for him.

First borns hold a special place in any mom’s heart I think. A place that doesn’t necessarily mean there is any less love for other children but a place that has simply just been there longer. That Rory space in my heart is big and it’s loud. Every milestone met, every obstacle conquered is met by enormous pride from my Rory-heart. Partly because all of these things are brand new to me since he’s the oldest. But, it’s also partly due to the fact that since he’s delayed in some areas I see other kids hitting these goals well before him so I have so much anticipation for when he finally gets there.

I’m hopeful that he’ll be nearly caught up with his peers by the time he starts Pre-K next year. But it’s going to be a long year of therapies and intentionality on my part to get him there. We’ve been in this groove for over 2 years now so we’ll keep on keeping on.

He may not be like other 4 year olds. But I’m convinced that if people knew how hard he has worked to be the 4 year old that he is, they’d be as proud as I am.

Happy Birthday Rory boy!

img_3085

And in honor of his annual birthday meltdown during the attempted family picture….

img_3097

I’m not finished with the Household Ops series so I’ll be back probably later this week with another post.

Until next time mommas 🙂

~ Erica

The Years Are Short…

We’ve all heard it: The days are long but the years are short.

Ain’t that the truth?

My older 2 kids, Rory & Sydney, had their first day of Mother’s Day Out today. It’s Rory’s 3rd year and Sydney’s 2nd so this isn’t new territory. But when I take those first day pictures I begin to reminisce over how much they’ve grown in the past year. All of a sudden I see their baby-ness disappearing. They’re becoming little adults and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

As mommas, our days with little kids at home can be exhausting, overwhelming and downright miserable at times. Dare I say, many days we feel defeated come bedtime. We tuck those precious little ones in their beds and our minds flood with all the thoughts of the things we didn’t do but should have, the words we probably shouldn’t have said and the endless list of everything we just could have done better. But, what a gift it is to start every day fresh.

Reince could be starting Mother’s Day Out as early as this coming January so I feel myself on the precipice of that next season of life where the babyhood is behind me. I’m thrilled to see my kiddos get older and experience new adventures and hit milestones but I equally mourn the loss of the babies they once were. This is the toughest part of motherhood that nobody tells you about. How babies and toddlers are so challenging that you can feel the life being sucked out of you but they get older and suddenly all of those challenging years don’t seem so bad.

I’m still in the early phases of motherhood with Rory only about to turn 4 years old. But these 4 years!!! My goodness how time has flown by!!

Hold tightly to your babies mommas. They won’t be babies for long. Trust me!

d7daf462-e8bd-4a80-a280-5bd29f73c9d2

Rory: First Day of MDO 2016, 2017 and 2018

34d46bce-8e38-49f9-99c5-3c205e42d63d

Sydney: First Day of MDO 2017 and 2018

img_3072

Let me just remind everyone that on this day 4 years ago, I had zero children!!! Rory was only a couple of days from entering the world but just to think about how much my life has changed in 4 very short years…

Until next time, mommas!

~ Erica

New Normal, Ever Changing

Pedicures? Reading a book? Getting my oil changed? Planning my soon-to-be 4 year old’s birthday party? Blogging?

All things I’m currently wishing I had more time for.

I feel like I have so much insight, wisdom, encouragement and advice to share with fellow mommas. I just want to know the best way to share it. Then I remember I have this blog. Why am I not using it more? Because blogging is intimidating. It’s time consuming. Is anybody actually reading it?

Also, where do I start with all of this. I don’t know want to give the impression that I have it all figured out. I REALLY don’t! But one thing I have figured out is that just as I perfect the “new normal”, it changes. The kids get older, the family’s needs change, the schedule gets tossed around and we are back at square one.

So let’s recap. In May of 2017 I had my 3rd child that put me in the 3 under 3 club. Currently they are almost 4, 2.5 and 15 months. Boy, Girl, Boy. Rory, Sydney, Reince.

The question I get most often is “how do you do it?” To be honest, I never really know how to answer this because I know that as much as it’s a question, it’s also an expression of somebody’s admiration towards me. I, like most of society, post my highlight reel on social media and that’s what pretty much everybody sees. So, it appears that I’ve got it all figured out….but I don’t. So, I want to be real with all of you.

First, Erica Weddings is still in full operation. However, I’ve become pretty detached from the day-to-day operations and working with the clientele. Prior to baby #3’s arrival, I passed off full day-to-day management duties to one of my Associate Consultants who is now the Primary Consultant for the business. I stay in contact with her regularly to oversee the financial aspect, marketing/branding, etc and I do the monthly payroll. I have 3 kids who are all still very LITTLE and they require my full attention every day. So, for this season of life, this is how it has to be. And I’m ok with that!

Second, some days I slay this stay-at-home mom gig. And, others, it’s an epic fail. Case in point, I was up at 5:45 this morning, went to the gym, took baby to a well-check, all 3 kids are napping simultaneously, kitchen sink is clear of all dirty dishes and I just moved a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer. WIN! Also, I noticed a sticky mess under the kitchen table a few days ago, undoubtedly from some toddler spill that I didn’t see, and I have yet to clean it. For no reason other than I just don’t want to. FAIL!

Third, my love for my children is endless. I can’t imagine my life without them. They bring me so much joy, excitement and laughter. I’m blessed beyond measure. BUT…..there are some days I just don’t like them very much. Maybe it’s a day where one or all 3 of them are being more challenging that normal or maybe it’s a day where my mojo is off and I’m more irritable than usual. Regardless, these days come….and, thankfully, they also go.

So, while the mompreneur aspect of the blog will pop up from time to time, there will be a shift to more focus on the usual everyday, stay-at-home mom grind stuff because that’s my current reality.

I’ll wrap up this post for now, but just know that more momma wisdom and encouragement is coming your way.

I’ll sign off with a picture of my crew.

img_2643

Until next time mommas!

Shame On Me…I Know!

It’s been entirely too long since I last posted. What can I say? Life just gets crazy sometimes. So crazy, in fact, that since my last post over a year ago documenting Little Man’s 2nd birthday party I both found out I was pregnant AND had said baby…that baby is now 4 months old. Our Muscle Man was a surprise at only 13.5 months younger than Baby Girl…YIKES! If you’re doing the math in your head then you are figuring out that that is 3 kids under 3 years old. Little Man just celebrated his 3rd birthday so it’s not technically 3 under 3 anymore but it was that way for 3.5 months.

Why the nickname Muscle Man? Well, that’s because he was not slight at birth. He was a whopping 10lbs 15oz. YIKES!! Yes it was a natural birth…not a c-section. However, my saving grace was that the labor was only 90 minutes and he was out in 3 pushes…praise the good Lord above!

I’ll get back in the groove of blogging regularly but for now I’ll catch you up with some pics….

74FF10C1-524A-40F1-A59C-01F93A8368C5

Pics taken exactly one year apart. Pic on left was my due date carrying Baby Girl and Pic on the right was around 34 weeks along with Muscle Man.

IMG_4307.jpg

Reince William Scott born on May 5th, 2017! #reincerhymeswithpints

IMG_4347.jpg

Little Man and Baby Girl meeting Muscle Man the day we brought him home from the hospital.

IMG_4945.jpg

We had to say goodbye to our precious Kinsey girl this past July. She was a part of our family for 12.5 years.

IMG_6024.jpg

Current pic of Baby Girl (almost 18 months old). Yes, we know she is seriously the most beautiful little girl you’ve ever seen!!

IMG_5917.jpg

Current pic of Little Man (3 years old).

IMG_6078.jpg

Current pic of Muscle Man (4 months old). Been in 6 month clothes for over a month and about to move up to 9 month clothes in some items.

IMG_5743.jpg

Most recent full family photo taken at Little Man’s 3rd birthday party a month ago.

I’ll post again soon. I’ve got some updates to share on the mompreneur side of things as well 🙂

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~entrepreneurmomma

Little Man Turns 2

I’m not one to get super emotional. And when it comes to my kids getting older, I may get sentimental, but overall I love watching them grow up, learn new things and discover the world.

I certainly can’t believe that Little Man is 2 years old but I’m thrilled nonetheless.

We celebrated his birthday this past weekend with a PJs and Pancakes party. This party theme was 3-fold…

  1. Little Man loves pancakes
  2. Wearing pjs means I don’t have to put near as much time and energy into my appearance for said party
  3. It was a breakfast party which meant it didn’t interfere with nap time. <—-winning

After his 1st birthday I swore I’d go simpler for future birthday parties. Well, that was a nice thought. It really was. But completely unattainable for this loves-to-be-the-hostess-party-planning momma.

IMG_2666

IMG_2660

Not gonna lie…got the idea for the food spread and kraft paper tabletop art from Pinterest.

IMG_2661

IMG_2663

Mmmm….cake. That is, indeed, a cake.

IMG_2695

Little Man in his personalized pancake party pajamas. Because, why not?

IMG_2709

Happy Birthday Little Man!!

Until next time Mommas 🙂

~ entrepreneurmomma