There are Two Very Important Things I Did Differently This Morning That Made Me More Productive.

Well it’s Monday morning again, and it’s time to get the house ready for the entire week. As always, there is laundry to be washed, carpets to be cleaned, furniture to be dusted and produce to be chopped and organized for the week. Oh yeah… I’m also home with two children under the age of two. Let’s not forget that.

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Usually I wake up with the dreaded hours ahead feeling quite overwhelmed from the items on my to do list that I never write down. The morning usually seems rushed, uncomfortable, and full of chaos. So this morning, I decided to do something different. I decided that I wasn’t going to leave my bedroom until the bed was made, and I was fully dressed from head to toe; socks, shoes, everything. The night before, I had spent some time reading a blog by another mother who swore by this method of starting her day. Her reasoning was that if you have your bed made and your shoes on before you start your day, you approach your day with my professional outlook.

So I thought I’d give it a shot. This morning, I took my time, made the bed, got dressed head to toe, & put my socks and shoes on before even leaving my bedroom. From there, I started my day. And to my surprise, everything went more smoothly. Not only was able to move quicker with more control in chasing the kids, I had a more confident stride my step…Along with a better attitude. I was able to empty the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, make breakfast for the entire family, pack my sons lunch and snack, & get everyone dressed and ready and out the door within 1 hour’s time.

As someone who thrives on being productive, I find some of these days where I am home with two children under the age of two very frustrating. And what frustrates me the most, are those moments when I think that I’m being clever with one child in a highchair eating breakfast, another sitting at the table eating breakfast, and I think I can leave the room for a moment while the baby of the group is sleeping to unload the dryer. And when I return, I find blueberries strewn across the floor, strawberries squished and splattered against the wall, my oldest boy taunting my toddler in her highchair and the baby of the group screaming for a feed. Pair that with me being in my pajamas with only 30 minutes left to get everything together before my son needs to be at school. Seems about right that I should be putting myself first and getting dressed top to bottom with shoes on before any of this chaos inevitably happens.

So what’s the point of my story? The point is I’ll be putting myself first every morning from here on out so that I can take myself seriously as a stay at home mother. I can’t imagine that my children take me any more seriously than I do with my hair disheveled, my clothing askew and running around in slippers all morning so why should I? Being a stay-at-home mother is not only a privilege, it’s a profession. It is my job to raise these little rascals to be decent human beings but above all to know how to take care of themselves and be able to do so in the midst of chaos. Because that’s exactly what the professional world is, at least where I live – one big world of chaos.

My Role as a Mother Has Changed Me Over the Last 6 Years…and For the Better

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My days as a stay-at-home mother pretty much start out the same way each morning.  After a night of waking every 3-4 hours to feed and change my newborn, I usually wake to the sound of my son sneaking in my bedroom to grab the iPad (a no-no on school mornings) or to the sound of my toddler sweetly saying “mama” until I stir.  This all sounds harmless enough except that it happens right around 5:30 am everyday.  And the sweetness lasts for a total of about 5 minutes.  Then…reality hits.

Currently, my newborn is cosleeping with me for comfort due to an adverse affect to something that is in my breastmilk.  The doctor and I have narrowed it down to one of three things: coffee, whey protein, and/or dairy.  So far, his symptoms of vomiting everything he eats up have lessened since eliminating my one cup of coffee a day, however there are still some moments still where I wake with a  nice splash of vomit to the face or a full serving of BM down my shirt.  Needless to say, my laundry duties have increased 10 fold.  Perfect timing for eliminating my precious coffee! AHH!!!!

Anyway, as a result of this minor hiccup, my husband is sleeping on the couch as the growling gurgles coming from our smallest cause him anxiety-ridden sleepless nights.  He also thinks its more important that I get the rest needed for the long hours of my day ahead and to be able to comfortably feed the baby without any worry of waking him up.  I couldn’t feel more blessed for this.  As my husband wakes at 4am for work anyway, this also means that I have help in the wee hours of the morning when my toddler decides she wants to scream for attention.  WIN/WIN

As I sit here at the computer, I’m thinking about my years spent as a mother and how much has changed as a result. Prior to the birth of my 2nd and 3rd children, I still used to wake up at 4:30am every morning. But, it would be to cook a tray full of chicken breasts and sweet potatoes, and a pot full of brown rice in order to take my 5 mini meals to work with me.  I’d head to the gym at 5:30 am to get in my first of two sessions of cardio in before seeing my first client.  I’d begin my work day by training clients in the gym from 6:00am-4:00pm with an 1.5 hour break to lift weights and do another round of cardio.   I’d head home to pick my son up from Pre-K, cook dinner, bathe him and read to him and head to bed to start all over again the next day.  In short, I was a machine.  A pure machine.

Nowadays, my schedule looks quite a bit different.  I still wake early, but it’s not by choice to the sound of an alarm.  My children are my alarms now and I’m at their beck and call.  There are no chicken breasts and sweet potatoes cooking in the oven.  There are no morning sessions of cardio.  Instead, there are the incredible tasks of juggling three children who want nothing more than my attention and care.  So far today, I’ve been able to accomplish getting three children dressed, fed and out the door for school drop off, stop at the store with my two smallest, and head back home for morning snack time.  There’s a large basket of laundry staring at me, a happy toddler face covered in cereal and smoothie in a high chair reaching for me, and a gurgling and cooing baby in the crib across the room who is probably prepping another explosive diaper for me to change.  Do I have time for myself?  Sure… I work out, eat well and even shower. (!!!)  But not before tackling a day full of meltdowns, cuddles, dirty faces, smelly diapers, and sticky hands.  And I can’t say that I have the incredible drive, but I still do these things because it’s important.  I no longer do things for the sake of proving anything to myself.  I do them out of love.

This is why I’m deciding to blog about my daily happenings as a mom instead of only about food and fitness.  Because at the end of the day, I’ve spent the majority of my hours as a mom and have a hell of a lot more to share about that than more “How-to’s” on how to shred those last pesky 5 lbs of fat off your ass.  So please feel free to follow along and read my posts.  If you’re a mom, a soon-to-be mother, or someone who just loves reading mommy blogs, please visit my site http://www.opalmom.com where I will share my experiences and strategies on how I get through my day as a mother.  I’ll also be posting my reviews of different services, products and places relevant to being a mother.

My way of doing things includes 4 things: Organize, Prioritize, Act and Let Go making up the acronym OPAL.  I hope to inspire and share with other mothers so please send along any comments, questions, or stories!  I’d love to hear them!

OPAL Mom™ Favorite: Green Kid Crafts: Creativity and STEM Science Kits for Kids!

Green Kid Crafts

Green Kid Crafts: Creativity and STEM Science Kits for Kids!

Green Kid designs and delivers hands-on, award winning, and eco-friendly Discovery Boxes, Creativity Kits, and STEM Science Kits (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Here you’ll find information about our kid’s subscription program, our best gifts for preschoolers and kids ages 3-10, our favorite kid’s science experiments, plus craft ideas for kids.
 

Give the gift of creativity with Green Kid Crafts!

What to Expect Each Month

  • 3-4 award winning Creativity and STEM Science Kits (science, technology, engineering, and math) designed by experts to build confidence, flex creativity, and make kids smarter. Look Inside a box to learn more.
  • All materials and instructions, along with some fun extras!
  • An exciting new theme, think Outer Space, Kitchen Science, Nocturnal Animals, Backyard Science, Ocean, and Mad Scientist.
  • Included free for subscribers: Exclusive online collection of additional activities, reading lists, games, puzzles, and more each month, all centered about the monthly theme!
  • Get Ready for October’s Legends & Folktales Box! This box is full of activities that will promote the emotional and imaginative development of kids. Your kings, queens, knights, and princesses will create their own Storytelling Kit, Design wearable Crowns, and have a blast hurling projectiles around the room after making their own Catapult. Can’t wait until October? Order one of our single purchase Discovery Boxes, too!

  Green Kid Crafts Awards

Starstruck Fruit Salad

This morning I needed to have  a dish prepared for my son’s Kindergarten Potluck Breakfast.  I volunteered to bring in a fruit salad but I wanted to bring one that was appealing to the eye so that the kids in the class would be more likely to dig in.  To make the salad more interesting, I added one cool and rare fruit: Starfruit!

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Starstruck Fruit Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 Starfruit
  • 1 container red grapes
  • 1 container green grapes
  • 1 container organic strawberries – sliced
  • 1 mini watermelon
  • 1 honeydew melon
  • 1 organic lemon

Recipe

  1. Chop all fruit except the starfruit and mix together.
  2. Slice the starfruit for a nice collection of stars to top the salad.  Arrange as you’d like for nice presentation.
  3.  Slice and squeeze fresh the lemon and drizzle the juice over the top to preserve the flavor and texture of the fruit.

For more fun posts or to share your own, please visit http://www.opalmom.com