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!

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NEW! OPAL Mom™ Products Help You: ORGANIZE, PRIORITIZE, ACT & LET GO

OPAL Mom™ Product Line

OPAL Mom™ is excited to introduce a new product line via CafePress that will help you Organize, Prioritize, Act and Let Go during your busy day.  As moms, we have the world on our shoulders when it comes to maintaining a sense of balance while caring for our children, homes and even careers outside the home.  We now offer four different products to match the four focuses of OPAL Mom™.

Opal Mom Mugs

OPAL Mom Mug BOLD 3

Organize your thoughts in the morning with your favorite coffee or tea in the OPAL Mom™ Mug.  OPAL Mom is For Moms Who: Organize, Prioritize, Act, & Let Go. Start your day with this reminder!

 Price: $14.99  ADD TO CART
Product Information

  • Small measures 3.75″ tall, 3″ diameter; Mega measures 4.5″ tall, 3.75″ diameter
  • Small holds 11 oz.; Mega holds 20 oz.
  • Black color-changing mugs available in small only and are heat sensitive. Simply add any hot liquid to the mug and see the mug turn from black to white with your unique design.
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe

Opal Mom Journal

journal

Prioritize: Need a place to jot down your thoughts? Or perhaps write down your to-do list?  Prioritize your day using the OPAL Mom Journal!

Price:  $19.99  ADD TO CART
Product Information
Stay organized with our custom journal, available with your choice of 4 different paper options so you can manage all your note-taking needs.

  • Size: 5″x8″
  • 160 blank, dot grid, college ruled, or task pages
  • 60lb book-weight (24 lb bond)
  • Front cover made of 12pt glossy paper
  • Back cover made of thin flexible textured plastic

Opal Mom Sigg Water Bottle 1.0l

OPAL Mom SIGG water bottle

Act: Take action and take OPAL with you everywhere you go! Remind yourself to Organize, Prioritize, Act and Let Go with every sip!

$29.99  ADD TO CART
Product Information
Help save the planet while you rehydrate in style with an eye-catching water bottle from SIGG. Made from a single piece of aluminum, it’s ultra-lightweight yet rugged and crack-resistant. To minimize unwanted tastes and scents, the inside is lined with a water-based, non-toxic epoxy resin that is compliant with FDA anti-leaching requirements.

  • Holds 1.0L
  • Recyclable & reusable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Do not freeze

Opal Mom “Let Go” Yoga Mat

OPAL Mom yoga mat

Let Go: Find a moment to “let go” in your busy day with the OPAL Mom “Let Go” Yoga Mat.  Workout, practice your daily yoga routine, or just sit and meditate for 10 minutes.

$54.00  ADD TO CART
Product Information
Our premium yoga mats feature edge-to-edge printing, a textured, non-slip backing, and 1/4″ thick cushioning so you can strike any pose in style.

  • Measures 72″ x 24″ x 1/4″

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!

Finding Balance When Pregnant and Caring for Multiple Children

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:

ORGANIZE:

WORK

  • I reserve time in my schedule for my work obligations and other appointments.

KIDS

  • 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.

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PRIORITIZE:

This varies between WORK and KIDS.

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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.

 

ACT:

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.

 

LET GO:

*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.”

 

 

Are you celebrating National Doughnut Day? Try this healthier version!

 

Everyday Maven has a great recipe for a nut-free (and paleo friendly) doughnut for those of us looking to enjoy a sweet treat without the harsher side effects of this tasty confection usually loaded with dairy, nuts, and gluten.  The recipe is certainly made for the chocolate lover and even offers a recipe for chocolate glaze!  A must try!

 

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze {Nut Free}

Read more: http://www.everydaymaven.com/2013/paleo-chocolate-chip-doughnuts/#ixzz33s6nPO8M

10 Things My Kids Do That Make Me Happy

There are many things that my kids do that make me happy in addition to the things that make me grit my teeth, hold my breath, and close my eyes!

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Here are 10 things that my kids do that make me happy to be a mother:

 

1. Every morning, my 5.5 year old son crawls in bed with me and snuggles up to me just like he did when he was a toddler

2. After waking up and after every dinner, my son says, “Mommy, it’s time for my morning/after dinner hug!”

3. While exercising, my 14 month old daughter will waddle over to me and nuzzle me with her head.  This is her way of asking me to cuddle with her.

4. One time, when playing monopoly, my son asked, “Mommy, can I tell you something?” I said, ‘yes’, to which he replied, “I think you’re so beautiful.   I love the sound of your voice. I like to sit and listen to it.” I melted.

5. My daughter will say, “baby?” and I say, “Go get your baby!” and the first thing she does when she picks it up is give it a hug and a kiss, just like I do when I pick her up and sing to the tune of This Little Light of Mine, “Who’s my baby girl? You’re my baby girl!”

6. My son will ask me to bake him a cake rather than buy him one at the store.

7. My son says ‘goodnight’ to my pregnant belly every night and kisses his new brother-to-be, nuzzling him with his nose.

8. Both of my children call me ‘mama’.  It’s the best sound in the world.

9. When I’m sad, or having an emotional pregnant moment, my son will scratch my back without me asking and just sit with me.

10. When my son needs comforting, he will still lift my shirt, and put his cheek on my bare belly, just like he did when he was a baby.

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What are you grateful for?  To share, join the OPAL Mom™ Community Forum for FREE and share under Happy Moments!

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