New Friend Friday: Meet Stacey!

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to someone I have known since I was very young. In fact, she was actually close friends with my older sister. Nowadays, the two of us keep up through Facebook and one anothers’ blogs. This productive and creative friend of mine is a stay-at-home Mom of 3 who blogs and runs her own (Mom Upcycles) Etsy shop. She is super thrifty and crafty and blogs about how to turn the crap you would have thrown away into a holiday wreath or a new sweater. I’m getting ahead of myself. I should just let her tell you everything! Oh and she’s giving away one of her beautiful hand-embroidered hoops to one of you, don’t miss your chance to enter!

Meet Stacey:

I’m so excited to have been asked to contribute to Hilarie’s amazing blog! Thank you!

I am often asked, “how do you manage it all?” The blog (which has been on my back burner as I work on my new shop, with only once-a-week posts), Facebook and Instagram social networking, my new Etsy shop, cooking, cleaning, a marriage, 2 babies under 3 and a teenager, not to mention our monthly 4 hour round-trips in to see family. (Whew, that was a lot to type!)

Well, a hint is that I’m typing this in the notepad app on my iphone.

In my yoga pants.

With a baby in my arms.

The answer is that I don’t manage it all. I do the best I can, in the best way I know how, and have made peace with that.  This post is to reassure all the moms out there who may feel like they are failing if they can’t do everything that they are NOT a failure, and that it’s okay to do what you can, when you can.

I dream of leisurely days, where I can awaken, have a hot cup of coffee, shower, get dressed in real clothes, put on a bit of makeup, fix my hair, clean up the house, and then get to my other pursuits–my blog, shop, and social marketing and networking.  That’s all a day like that is, though–a nice dream.

The reality of my day goes like this:

Awaken to a baby crying, nurse her, give her something to play with so that I can put on a T-shirt and yoga pants or jeans if they are handy. Run a brush through my hair. Change the baby, set her in her bouncer, make coffee. Catch up on social media while I finish half of my coffee. At this point, my 2 year-old cries and I get him out of bed, to the potty, and his breakfast made. Finish my now-cold coffee. Run up to brush my teeth, run back down to tend to my usually needing-to-be changed baby. The toddler demands his last few bite of oatmeal be fed to him (please, let this stage pass soon), and then he’s off to play. This usually consists of him pulling out every toy he owns and littering it around the house. I start a load of laundry at this point, and throw whatever is in the dryer on my sofa to be folded later…much later.

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example of my chaos

I recently signed my toddler up for ABC Mouse online, so I do a lesson with him at this point and my next activity depends on if he is playing independently or not and if the baby is content. If both are true, I usually try to work on stitching an outstanding order. More often than not, though, my stitching waits for naps.  I’ll do some social marketing and networking during lulls in the day, usually. Also, while rocking the baby, I work online (like now). My Etsy shop requires daily maintenance, and my husband and I are even working on my very own store front as an alternate way people can shop for things he and I make, so that adds more online work.

Around 5:30, my teenage son comes downstairs to sit with the babies while I cook dinner.  I do enjoy cooking, and making my family home-cooked meals is important to me, so I rely on simple meals, many of which you can find in my blog. My slow cooker is my best friend. I also love “cook once, eat twice” meals. If all else fails, grilled cheese and tomato soup are a standard fall-back for dinner. I manage dinner by meal planning each week. I know exactly which meals I’m making, and shop for them, so there is no guesswork at dinner time.

The day goes on in much the same fashion, until bed time. My kids are big night owls, so this is usually around 8:30-9:30. Finally, ME time!

This is when I take my bath, package up orders that need to go out, work on things that require the desktop upstairs (a laptop is on my wish list), sew, and/or stitch as needed.  I go to sleep at around midnight every night.

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stitching up an order

The bottom line? No, I can’t be Super Girl. I can’t do it all. Things that are sacrificed in my life are housework and sleep.

My house generally looks like a train wreck and is in desperate need of a deep clean, and my laundry will never be caught up (did I mention that until recently, I cloth diapered two babies and now cloth diaper one?) but I refuse to worry too much about it.

My husband is incredibly supportive and helps me clean on the weekends, and my teenage son is a great help to me during the week, doing small chores like dishes, and picking up items on the floor, most nights.  It’s a team effort in my house, and I’m really lucky to have an understanding partner.  He doesn’t get angry about the mess and always makes me feel like I’m doing important work.

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As for the sleep? Well, I have 2 children under 3, that I’ve exclusively breast-fed. I wasn’t sleeping much anyway, haha! I am also a night-owl and the night time had ways been my favorite time.

I make it work; we make it work.  Some months we may not get to make the drive in to see family, and hopefully they’ll make the drive our way, or we’ll catch them the next month. Some nights are spent frantically picking up debris around the house, because I can’t take another second of clutter. Some evenings we have deli pizza or takeout.

My best advice for moms who are trying to maintain a household and a business, crafting, blog, strict fitness regimen, etc, is to not feel like you need to do and be everything. Let some things slide. You are human and your happiness matters.  A creative or physical outlet can be the difference in a happy mom and wife and a miserable one.  Surround yourself with people who understand this, and live your life doing the things you need to do to be happy.

I’ll end this with my very favorite poem, which is on my “to be stitched” list:

Song for a Fifth Child by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!

Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

Hang out the washing and butter the bread,

Sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

 

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue

(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo).

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due

(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew

And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo

But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.

Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?

(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.

I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.

 

Thank you Stacey! AND thank you for offering this giveaway…

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Stacey will send one of you this beautiful embroidered hoop and all you have to do to enter is:

1. Follow Positively Panicked and Mom Upcycles blogs.

2. Follow Positively Panicked and Mom Upcycles on Facebook.

3. Comment below and tell me where you’d like to hang this embroidered hoop. (I’d personally like this one in my entryway!)

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I’ll select the winner on Monday, April 28th. Good luck to everyone and don’t forget to check out Mom Upcycle’s Etsy store for more hand embroidered items.

Thank you Stacey for your wise words…I’m always learning from you!

Cheers!

New Friend Friday: Meet Dina!

Today, I get to introduce you to a former coworker/friend of mine! Her name is Dina and her blog is My Un-Entitled Life. We met 6 years ago while teaching 2nd grade together. We bonded over student disciplinary problems and our principal’s unrealistic expectations. She was a great teacher to work with (hilarious), but she has also been a stay-at-home Mom, ran her own website, been an expert in cloth diapering (I have so much to learn!) and is a great blogger.

She wrote a piece for us all about living with anxiety, because well..isn’t it obvious? Check out her thoughts on parenting with anxiety…

Dina and her adorable daughter
Dina and her adorable daughter

When you are an anxious person anxiety is just a part of life. It makes you who you are and you just have to deal with it and manage it daily. But make no mistake it affects every decision you make with your children. As a mom of 3 I’ve learned a lot about managing anxiety where my kids are concerned. It’s not easy but it can be done. Here’s some ways that anxiety affects my decision making process with children and how I’ve learned to manage it.

We were young. Just a mere 29 with a toddler and we were looking to purchase a new to us home. We looked at lots of houses. Probably about 60 which if you’re a real estate agent you know that is a LOT. See the problem is I can find fault with each and every house that I looked at when using my parenting eyes. This one has a pool so my child can drown so it’s out. This one sits too close to the interstate so if someone was to snatch my child they’d be out of here before even I knew it. And the list goes on and on. Thank goodness for my hubby’s level head. But even with all the what ifs that run through my head we finally were able to make a decision that we could both agree on. Yes. House bought let’s move on with our life.

Then my oldest started school while I was pregnant with my second. I always thought I would homeschool my child. But he so desired to go to school. So after much anguish and deliberation I enrolled him in public school thinking that would be ok and if it didn’t work out I could pull him out later. We had 1 year out of 4 at this school that was a good year. The other 3 years drove me and my son insane. Finally one of his teachers sat me down and said look at his scores. He’s smart. He’s bored. So after a year from heck we decided to let him test to be in a magnet school. He got in with flying colors and had a really hard first year in. More agonizing ensured. But then it got better and he’s now a junior in high school and simply flying now.

My second son started school at the same magnet school. There were constant problems and I was always trying to figure out what was going on. I had a sleep study done because he was so angry. He had a compulsive need to finish any sentence he started. He couldn’t help himself. After dealing with this for 5 years we finally got a diagnosis. He has ADD. He’s on meds and is doing so well now. I’m so proud of all he’s overcome. He’s a rock star in my eyes. But it was not an easy process on an anxious mama to get him here. There was much hand twisting as I tried mostly on my own to figure out what was going on. The teachers missed all the signs too. He’s not the typical ADD kid but maybe none of them are typical. Being a parent is the hardest job. But it’s so worthwhile. Managing my anxiety now takes on different forms then it used too. I am able to make it work though. It helps to have a hubby who doesn’t have this problem. He makes sound decisions in a snap and probably often looks at me in wonder as I agonize over the smallest decisions. Parenting is a team process and that is a management tool in and of itself. If you are about to become a parent never fear that you will not be good enough. You will be. You just have to keep telling your anxious self that!

Thank you so much Dina for sharing with us! Everyone be sure to see what else Dina has to say on life with 3 kids, frugal living, crafts, reviews and much more!

Cheers!

New Friend Friday: Meet Sia!

I’m starting a new series today called “New Friend Friday”. I have a few friends who write their own great blogs, and feel like I’ve made a few virtual friends through other blogs I follow. That’s one of my favorite things about blogging… getting a look into others’ lives, learning from them and sharing stories and ideas. I love these blogs so much that I have decided to start sharing them with you. Every Friday, for the time being, I will be asking one of my blogger friends to write a special post for Positively Panicked. That way you can get a look into their blogs and maybe find a new blogger friend of your own.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Sia Cooper from Diary of a Fit Mommy. I found Sia through Pinterest when I first became pregnant. She was also pregnant and our due dates were about a week apart. Over the last 9 months I have loved reading about her workout tips, healthy eating ideas, baby product reviews and now seeing her adorable son. She is real and honest with her readers, works her butt off  in the gym (and it shows!) and is a motivation to fit Mommies everywhere. For us, she wants to share her tips for fighting off Morning Sickness.

sia
Here she is at 6 weeks postpartum…told she works hard!

Ladies and Gentlemen, here is 5 Foods to Fight Morning Sickness By: Diary of a Fit Mommy

At one month postpartum, morning sickness seems like something in the distant past. Fortunately, I never suffered from a strong case of morning sickness, but I did experience frequent cases of nausea at times throughout the day. These are five foods that have helped me to fight my nausea and that may help alleviate your morning sickness as well.

Pretzels

Pretzels help ease morning sickness in the same way that crackers do. The dry & salty flavor soothes your taste buds and your belly. The high content of starch also binds with the excess stomach acid to bring some relief from your morning sickness. You can keep a zip-lock bag filled with pretzels on your nightstand and have a few before you get out of bed or during the night. They also make a great snack, are easy to digest, and are portable to carry around with you to relieve any bouts of nausea during the day.

Multigrain Toast

Toast is a great breakfast option for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. You can lightly spread one tablespoon of peanut butter for added protein, as peanut butter is said to help relieve nausea as well. Avoid putting any butter on your toast as greasy foods and extra oils will exacerbate your morning sickness. Cold cut sandwiches using multigrain toast makes a great lunch for women who are nauseous around the afternoon hours.

Dairy

Dairy helps ease morning sickness because it neutralizes your stomach acids! A small cup of Greek yogurt, a glass of milk, low fat cottage cheese, or a piece of string cheese makes the perfect snack for when you are feeling queasy. My favorite snack in particular were a few wholegrain crackers with cheese slices to help curb my nausea. However, dairy products may not be suitable for every woman.

Ginger

Ginger is the most popular and widely known remedy for morning sickness and digestive issues in general. You can drink it in the form of a tea or soda, you can suck on it as a hard candy, and you can even eat ginger as a gingersnap cookie or in gingerbread. If you cannot stomach the taste of ginger, it also comes in the form of a capsule that can be purchased at your local drug store. Ginger is thought to be a powerful herb and the go-to option for women suffering from morning sickness. I personally loved pure ginger tea which can be purchased from any local drug store or GNC.

Lemon

Lemons are said to help alleviate morning sickness because they have a natural calming effect that eases nausea. My favorite way to use lemons is in my water first thing in the morning. Also, lemon flavored hard candies, such as Lemon Heads, are also a great way to soothe nausea because of the sour taste. Most hard candies or lollipops should help, no matter the flavor.

Thanks for the tips Sia! Be sure to check her and her story out over at Diary of a Fit Mommy!

Cheers!

Lots of Green Going On

Oh yeah! It’s holiday time, once again! Holidays are even better now because instead of just dressing up myself, I get to dress up a cute little baby! Woo!

st. pats

 

Lots of green happening here
Lots of green happening here

We spent the day inside (darn cold weather), but we were healthy and productive so it was definitely a good day. During one of Luna’s many mini-naps, I made “Leprechaun Hats“. I found them on Pinterest and put them together to share on my other blog of work “Get Kidz Fit“.

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And, because I now fancy myself a chef, I made an amazing (if I do say so myself) green and healthy dinner. I recently learned to pan-fry tilapia, so I’ve made it 3 times in the last week. Every time I make it I ask Husband if it’s the most delicious thing he ever had…he always says yes because he knows he must play along. I then talk about how very impressed I am with myself because…well, I am. A year ago, we were only eating dinner that was delivered by bicycle. (Oh, how I miss Seamless and Manhattan!)

spicy kale, avocado salad and pan-fried tilapia
spicy kale, avocado salad and pan-fried tilapia

AND, because I’m trying to be extra healthy I made a Green Protein smoothie.

smoothie

Tomorrow, I’ll let you know how my new workout plan is going. Exercising is so important for keeping anxiety down, and I’m already feeling more zen.

asleep
Tummy time is tiring

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Learning Something From the Men

So there’s this blog going viral that everyone is up in arms about, rightfully so I should add. Typically, I wouldn’t want to give a negative and hurtful article any attention, but this one has bothered me, and what’s bothering me, no one else seems to be discussing. The article in on thoughtcatalog.com and it’s called  I Look Down on Young Women With Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry.

To be honest, I thought this was going to be a humorous post, maybe even satirical, but it comes off mean, a little ignorant and very arrogant. The most shocking of lines are..

You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.

The rest of the post is basically saying that having kids and getting married is super easy, and we should stop acting like it’s worth anything. Before, I get into what bothers me most about this post, I’ll give my opinion on the piece in general.

It sounds like a young girl who is unhappy with her own life. Those who shame other people’s “accomplishments” and “happiness” are clearly unhappy with themselves. It’s wonderful that this woman can choose to not be married, not have kids and live a life with a fulfilling career, but what she fails to recognize is that not everyone finds happiness in their job. We do not all feel accomplished because we got a promotion, the same way we do not all feel accomplished after bathing and feeding 3 kids. Everyone defines success and happiness differently, and that is okay. It’s not fair to assume that your way is the right way.

I have traveled the world, got multiple degrees, worked great jobs, been promoted, received tenure, yada yada yada and, uh…didn’t feel “fulfilled”. I felt great, yes, proud even, but it was not what filled my cup.

She may also want to consider the fact that most career “accomplished” women were raised by dedicated mothers, who are often married. Let’s not even get started on the fact that countless women are happy and successful at being married, raising kids and working. My pediatrician actually has 5 kids and opened up her own practice 15 years ago. Or, what about people who choose not to have kids or fancy-paying jobs? What about the people who love life living like a vagabond and just enjoy life itself? This is why I think this must be a young author with little life experiences. She doesn’t quite grasp the vast variety of values and lifestyles in our world.

Okay, but now what really bothers me is this line…

I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this…Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”

If men never speak of this, it is because they do not do the housework, aren’t married or do not have children. There are many men who are stay-at-home-fathers who actually blog about these exact things every day. This got me thinking though… one thing men do not do or talk about is how much other men suck. There are no “daddy wars” happening today, only “mommy wars”.

I am so sick of all the Mom vs. Mom, breastfeeding vs. formula, stay-at-home vs. working, kids vs. no kids, vegan/gluten-free/dairy free/soy free/gmo free vs. whatever-the-hell-my-kids-want-to-eat Mom fights going on everyday. What are we doing to each other? Why? Why are we so obsessed with wanting every other Mom or woman to live, think and behave just as we do? Are we so afraid that what we are doing is wrong we must prove that every other women is actually doing it wrong? Does that make us right?

Of course not. We have to accept the fact that mothering, like teaching, or like living, does not have a “right-way”. There are many different paths and styles that lead to success. We must not all be alike to be successful. So, today, and perhaps today only, we take note of what the men are doing and stop bashing other women. The happier we are for each other, the more love and support we show one another the better off we will all be in the end.

Cheers!

 

She Works (kinda) Hard for the (not very much) Money

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

I am a very indecisive pregnant lady. When I found out I was expecting my decision-making process disappeared and I became incapable of deciding what I want for dinner, what to wear, when to sleep and any big life decision is just too much to handle. One of these big life decisions included my career.

In the last 6 years I have taught public elementary school, coached middle school dance and drama, tutored kids, taught overseas for an international elementary school, nannied, coached gymnastics, dance and yoga for fancy Manhattan preschoolers and managed social media for the same fancy pants preschool. Clearly, I like working with kids and being active, but cannot really decide what I “want to be when I grow up”. Six months ago, we decided to leave NYC for the country life in Tennessee AND discovered I was pregnant.

Being pregnant and not clear of what career path I want had me taking 400 different paths… I decided I definitely 100% wanted to be a stay home blogger… for exactly 4 minutes. Then, I applied for some public school teaching jobs…then, some private school jobs…preschool jobs…daycare…coaching…social media… Pretty much anything that sounded half-interesting was worth filling out an application. Two hours later, I made the final decision to work on the house, have a calm relaxing pregnancy, learn to cook and garden and prepare to be an awesome stay-at-home Mom. That lasted for a day. See the pattern?

My indecisive-self kept me from completing most applications or following through with interviews (“Mrs. Positively Panicked we’d like to interview you!” Ummm…yeah, I ‘ve changed my mind, thanks anyways.) All of the non-decision making and busy life stuff lead me to where I am now…blogging (read: making nothing), tutoring and substituting. So, basically I work randomly, have no schedule and I am kind of loving it.

I love schedules, being busy and especially adore deadlines (I need structure!), but I must say that choosing whether I not I want to go into work kind of rocks. For example, this morning it was raining/snowing, freezing outside and I slept for a total of 30 minutes last night. So, when the phone rang at 5am and I was asked nicely to come in and sub for 8 hours I said, “yeah, no thanks.” Coffee, pj’s, a big blanket, my laptop and Good Morning America just sound SO much better.

Then on days when I feel like I need some structure and motivation I get up at 4:45am, take a sub job, teach all day, tutor all night and come home feeling productive. So productive that after working 14 hours yesterday I came home, did the Asylum and made dinner! BAM. Badass.

AND, I’ve been keeping a secret from you guys, with all my time off the last few months I have actually began learning to cook (gasp!). Like, real meals not just frozen pizzas and grilled cheese, though we still eat our fair share of both. I want to transition to full-time stay-at-home Mom when Luna arrives. I want to cook healthy food for her, sew costumes, do Pinteresty crafty things and grow vegetables in the backyard, but who knows what I’ll actually do. I think that maybe all my life decisions and job changes have led  up to my biggest role yet (world’s most awesome Mom), but I can’t rule out the realistic possibility that I might want to re-enter the work force at some point.

Honestly, my indecisiveness stems from all the labels and judging I keep reading about. Every single person and their Mother seem to have very strong opinions about whether Moms should stay home or work, and I just don’t want to be labeled or a part of that argument AT ALL. Recently, I realized that I’m not judging the other women and Moms, no matter their career choice, so why am I being so hard on myself? I just need to do what’s right for us, my family, and right now, things feel good, really good.

What about all your Mom’s and Mom’s to be out there? Do you work? Stay home? Wish you were doing the opposite? Have a good combo of both? Are you even decided yet?

Either way, I just feel so very very lucky to have these options, a Husband that supports me either way and part-time job with VERY flexible hours.

Or am I? The wind may change tomorrow.

Cheers!

Herschel iPad Sleeve Winner

It’s time to giveaway another fun gift! I love these days!! Today I am announcing the winner of the Herschel Cypress Sleeve for the iPad. First, a big thanks to Herschel for making this giveaway possible, and most importantly, a HUGE thanks to everyone who entered!

Now, the winner is…..Fashion For Lunch!

Email me your address info to Positivelypanicked@gmail.com.

ipad case

Congratulations! You can check out her own blog here, where she shares her fabulous life of fashion in London.

Cheers!