A few months ago, I decided that I would take on the new world of mommy blogging. I experimented with writing daily, weekly, biweekly and even a newsletter. I’ve had such a great time that I have decided to continue with this new venture into my life as a mother of 3 as I’m due September 22nd. Taking this new step into the world of mommy blogging has allowed me to reflect on the importance of my experience as a mother, which includes my daily life raising my children and additionally, my work. I never realized that my daily schedule included required me to be resourceful with my time, my energy, as well as my income. I came to realize through writing that these strategies that I use on a daily basis are not only applicable to me as a working/stay-at-home mother, but also to other mothers who stay at home, work part time, or are expecting first, second and third babies. Heck, these strategies are even applicable to the stay-at-home or working dad!
So, please feel free to follow me on this journey as I explore the world of blogging outside of fitness and juggle three small children. In the meantime, feel free to explore my website: www.opalmom.com. If you like it, please sign up for my newsletter which I have decided to release on a monthly basis due to the demands of my current work schedule and my schedule with my family. The newsletter includes stories from OPAL Mom™ Members, Followers of my FB Page, and my Twitter followers (@OpalMomBlog) in addition to special offers from companies that I support and love:
I’m looking forward to hearing from you as well so please feel free to email me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This past week, I’ve been caring for my two children with the help of my in-laws while my kitchen is renovated in the city. Being in my third trimester, I’ve had to strategize the day accordingly in order to reserve my energy and still be able to parent effectively while my husband remains in the city to oversee the project and continue to work. So, how do I do it and continue to work as well? I always refer back to OPAL. Organize, Prioritize, Act and Let Go.
There are always going to be days where I seem to have way to much on my plate despite my best intentions to plan ahead. These are the days that include endless demands from my children, seemingly endless work emails and deadlines, and of course, making sure to take time to address my own needs as a mother and this time around, a pregnant woman.
So, this week, this is how I’ve utilized O.P.A.L. to set myself up for success:
- I reserve time in my schedule for my work obligations and other appointments.
- FOOD: Snacks and quick breakfast foods are placed in a bin where they know to go if they happen to wake up early or get hungry before meal times. At the beginning of each week, we talk about what these foods will include. Usually, it comes down to 3 choices of Lara Bars, dried berries, and roasted plantain chips.
- ACTIVITIES: In the morning, the kids have the choice of either drawing or reading while I blog, email and make work phone calls.
- NAP TIME: Scheduled for the same time each day
- QUALITY TIME: Every afternoon, I’ve set aside time to bond with my son with a quiet activity, and the morning, with my daughter.
This varies between WORK and KIDS.
However, the kids always come first so what I do to prepare them for my workday is I fill them in on how the day is planned. My son and daughter both are familiar with how my workday unfolds with regard to blogging and training clientele, so what we do, is we plan activities for them during that time. Perhaps one day it will be reading quietly, another working on an art project or spending time with their grandparents. This planning together helps them understand that their well-being is my first priority. Of course, if things come up, work takes a back seat, but at the same time, my children know that in order to live, I need to work. So, we work together always.
In order to make some of my most well thought-out plans work at least 50% of the time, I need to act upon them. This not only includes following through with work, but following through with my children. This means honoring promises made and also holding them accountable for their activities so that I can honor my work appointments. I find it important for my children to know that while they are my first priority, they need to learn patience as well. As a mother, it is always on my mind to jump to their every request, but taking these moments to pause are important for me as well to be able to follow through in teaching them to wait when the time calls for it.
*Sigh* This is my biggest challenge. I’m one of those people who sets out to conquer the world on a daily basis and expects just that. Letting go for me doesn’t mean letting go of my goals and aspirations for the day. It means trying my best and letting go of the result. Sometimes this means letting go of the fact that all of the items on my list my not be finished, but that the ones I do finish are done to the best of my ability. It may mean that I need to let go of my best intention to stay patient with my children and not carry the guilt of borderline losing it during a very packed day. Sometimes, it means that I just say, “My best today may be my worst tomorrow and that is ok.”
With stories circulating of children all around the US being prescribed as and suffering from ADHD, there are a lot of questions floating around about what is the right thing to do as a parent. Do you medicate? Do you not medicate? Should I have known sooner? How could I have known? The list of questions can be overwhelming for even the most logical and level-headed parent. According to the CDC (2012)
- More than 5 million children aged 3–17 had ADHD (10%). Boys (14%) were almost three times as likely as girls (5%) to have ADHD.
“I wanted to take a moment and share an experience that I had with my oldest daughter. Currently she is in first grade and excelling academically. That hasn’t always been the case. She had an extremely difficult kindergarten year with continues negative reports of not listening, not doing work, and overall disruptive behavior. We even had referrals to the office and a threat of not being able to attend the year end field trip to the zoo. I was so thankful when the school year was over and a new teacher was to be had in the fall. Unfortunately, it was only a few days into the new school year and the negative reports started to pour into the planner sometimes covering the page. I finally was able to have a sit down with the principal, her teacher, school counselor and school psychologist. That is when I point blank asked her teacher if she was ADHD and of course the response I got was I am not a doctor so I can’t say. By now it is Feb/March, I contacted my pediatrician who then sent the paperwork for the Vanderbilt study. When all the paperwork was turned it it glared ADHD from the school, but only borderline at home. It was hard for me to believe that my child was ADHD and at the same time, excelling in ballet class. We made the decision with the guidance from the pediatrician to medicate. The first day on it, she got her first good report. It was a night and day difference. Even when it came to the weekend we noticed that it was needed. I knew I made the right decision when she asked for it on Sunday morning. It has been nearly 60 days and things are tremendously better and gets better every day. The arguing and negativity has nearly disappeared. I wish I would have found out sooner.”
Do you have an experience with a child with ADHD? Would you like to offer your experience?
Last night, I went to a parents-only kindergarten orientation for my oldest who will begin kindergarten in the fall. As I approached the double doors to his school, I couldn’t help but feel like it was the first day of school for myself. I found myself asking questions like, “Who will be here?” and “Will I know anyone when I walk in?” And I thought those feelings and thoughts passed when I was handed my diploma of freedom in high school. (Somehow, college never quite felt like elementary or high school did). Either way, I couldn’t have been prepared for what to expect other than making sure that I showed up and paid attention so I could prepare my child for his first years in what we like to call “big boy school”.
Looking through the glass doors, I immediately see my neighbors in a group walking in the door as well. Phew! Problem solved. I have friends. Walking in to the brand new auditorium (courtesy of PTO I’m informed) I look around to find a room full of bleachers filled with parents chatting away excitedly with a panel of four teachers sitting in front of a large projection screen. I immediately thought, “Is this kindergarten…or college?” I’m handed a packet of carefully collated and stapled papers that will guide everyone through the meeting to follow. So, to pass the time, I start flipping through the pages. In the packet, there was a full school calendar, a summer homework packet for kindergarten preparedness, a 5 page itinerary for the meeting, and a parent/child interview sheet to be filled and return ASAP to my child’s teacher. Reading through it all, I begin to glaze over much like I did at school assembly, wondering if perhaps the SAT’s will be included in the 1st grade packet.
As the meeting began and I heard from all the smiling faces in the panel of teachers, I slowly came to realize that school is going to be a hell of a lot different than it was for me with my 13 years of private Catholic education. The public school system in our district is known for its high quality attentiveness to it’s students and sense of community and now I know why. It’s a well-oiled machine. These people actually care. So, as I continued to listen through the meeting, I couldn’t help but begin thinking, “I have one hell of a job ahead of me”. In addition to my son attending kindergarten in the fall, I’ve a 14 month old girl and another son on the way in the fall. There will be homework to help with and check, lunches to be made, school trips to attend, PTO meetings to attend, endless piles of laundry, my husband and other to tend to all in addition to running my personal training business and mommy blog. I’m breaking a sweat just thinking about it.
But…I’m up for the challenge. I look forward to tackling this all full force. I’m a bit masochistic in this way as all it takes is for me to take on something incredibly challenging is for someone (even myself) to ask, “Are you sure you can handle this?” In response, I wear my best Chesire Cat grin and say, “BRING IT ON. I’ll dance circles around you and anyone else who says I can’t”. I’m not blind to the fact that I will without a doubt be exhausted at the end of the day, but I just happened to be one of those people that thrives on that kind of daily excitement. So, here’s to the next year of kindergarten through to college starting with my first. Bring it on baby. I’m F*CKING READY.
Have a great day everyone!