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.

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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!

My 17 month old daughter counts her piggies in glitter

For the last week, my 17 mth old daughter has been asking about the nail polish on my toes. So, this morning I decided to try something. I decided to buy Sally Hansen Polish strips in pink glitter this morning and attempt to give my daughter her first pedicure. I showed the package to my daughter and she instantly hopped on a chair and took off her socks pointing at her toe nails. She kicked and giggled with glee as I applied the first strips to her precious piggies. We sang together as she “ooh’d” and “ahh’d” after each application. I think I even heard a WOW!!! After one foot was finished, she was impressed and caressed my hair lovingly.

However, in true 17 month old fashion, she wanted to be finished. After some kicking and fussing, and some more singing (I think it was the song from Sharon, Lois and Bram that did the trick) we somehow compromised and finished the second foot.

FIRST PEDICURE = SUCCESS

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What I learned from a 100 year old cigarette pack

I fell upon this while drinking my coffee this morning and found it hilariously useful.  At least there was a dual purpose to buying cigarettes 100 years ago.  Gallaher’s Cork Tipped Mild Cigarettes apparently used to come with life hacks included in every pack.  Each pack offered tips on anything from how to keep your plants watered while away, how to preserve freshly laid eggs, to how to make a fire extinguisher out of household items.  What do you know…each pack of cigarettes came with a little home economics lesson.  I suppose that outweighed the health hazard?

Well, regardless, now I know how to water my plants while I’m away.  AMAZING.

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100 year old life hacks that still work today http://ow.ly/Bya3R

Trying to Stay Fit While Pregnant? Get Creative at the Park!

Summer has come to a close, but staying fit in these last weeks of warmth can still be an option…especially if you are at the park with your little ones!  Pregnant?  Even better!  Get creative!


Fitness Tip: If you have children that are not in school that will go to the park with you, use the opportunity in between sets to get in a little cardio and chase them around. They will love it you will burn some extra calories!

For more from my mommy blog, please visit: www.opalmom.com

 

Eating Clean…for Labor?

 

There’s a common phrase being thrown around out there for eating fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins and whole grains.  It’s called CLEAN EATING.  I’ve used this term also and still use it.

Throughout my pregnancy (3rd), I’ve consistently followed a clean diet and have had a virtually symptomless pregnancy. Yesterday, at 36 weeks 2 days pregnant, I learned from my OB that I am already 3cm dilated and 50% effaced.  She basically said that I could deliver this baby either tomorrow, or two weeks from now.  Either way, I want to do what I can to prepare.

I was so surprised when she said that I was 3 cm when only two weeks prior, I was O cm and 0% effaced.  However, like some other pregnant women nearing the end of their pregnancies, I’ve begun to indulge a bit more and as a result, end up feeling achy, crampy, and lethargic.  This happened after my exam yesterday.20140828-084933-31773109.jpg

As soon as my husband and I left the dr., we went our usual route to Starbucks to pick up coffee beans and for me, a decaf iced drink.  Along with my iced drink, I picked up a slice of pumpkin loaf which has become a trend for me in the past 3 weeks.  No biggie.  But then, I got home, and as it was late, we decided to order out.  Pizza and salads.  Sure, I ordered a salad.  But i ate all the chicken off it and proceeded to eat two slices of greasy pizza while finishing my decaf iced coffee.  And you know what happened?  I immediately became congested, had a lovely case of diarrhea, and  went into a series of BH contractions ranging from 5 minutes apart to 11 minutes apart for the next 4 hours accompanied with a back ache and an overall feeling of bloat.  These are in fact symptoms of impending labor, but having done this twice before, I knew that this wasn’t labor.  Regardless, this continued through the evening leaving me with a very restless sleep that woke me every 3 hours.  Labor seemed imminent…that is, until I woke up and changed my tune.

I woke with a headache that would rival the worst hangover, a bloated face and fingers, and a very very sluggish demeanor.  This was at 4:00am.  So, I thought having a bowl of cereal would help.  One bowl of cereal turned into two, followed by a food coma.  Falling asleep again, I woke to the sound of two children screaming MAMA! at 7:30am with all the same symptoms that I had at 4:00am.  Regardless, I pulled myself out of bed, and went to the washroom to splash my face with water and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  I looked just as bloated and congested as I felt.  But…my contractions were gone.  So, I had a window of time to try to alleviate my symptoms.

I ran to the kitchen, and while making breakfast for my kids, went to my go-to breakfast for warding off colds – Green juice and fresh fruit.  Within 10 minutes of eating a few bites and sipping some green juice, I began to feel better.  Not just ok, but actually better.  My Braxton Hicks contractions started again but were spaced far apart again, baby #3 started kicking happily, the feeling of bloat began to subside, and my energy returned.  As with any clean breakfast like this, a trip to the bathroom isn’t rare, but the feelings associated are not ones of nausea.  My sinuses cleared almost immediately and my pep in my step returned.

SO here are my thoughts.  Knowing that the body cleanses itself out before the onset of labor by means of releasing bodily fluids and waste, why not try eating cleaner in preparation for labor?  No woman enjoys being uncomfortable, cramped and achy in the final weeks of pregnancy and for some, this is just unavoidable.  But, in my case it seems that my well-being and over physical wellness is directly affected by the food that I feed it.  Having a symptomless pregnancy while clean eating may be a coincidence, but I’m beginning to believe differently.  I’m thinking that by continuing to eat clean through to the end may help prepare my body for labor by keeping my body full of vitamins and nutrients, clear of toxins and congestants, and lowering my blood pressure by keeping foods high in fat, salt, and sugar from causing undue stress on my digestive system.  I’m going to give it a try!

My First Go As a Mommy Blogger Has Me Hooked

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!

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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:

And MORE!

I’m looking forward to hearing from you as well so please feel free to email me at any time at opalmomcom@gmail.com!