How Do You Find Balance as a WAHM?

As I’m typing this while corresponding with a colleague via email at the same time, my toddler is creating a make-shift table out of an old diaper box, and my youngest is trying to devour an extra-large block. You may think, “Ah, that’s the life. She gets to be home with her kids and work at the same time.” It sounds fantastic on paper, and when you say it out loud, but in reality it’s sometimes stressful and leaves you feeling guilty. Here’s what I mean…

I started out my motherhood journey as a stay-at-home mom. I freelanced a little on the side during my daughter’s first year of life, but it was mostly just fun, small writing gigs here and there. When I was pregnant with BunBun, though, I actually started making enough money to regularly help pay a couple bills every month. I still wasn’t rolling in the dough, by any means, but I was working.


Just after BunBun was born, I hired a part-time babysitter to come over a few mornings a week to watch my toddler. They would play for several hours, giving me time to make my deadlines and work uninterrupted. This routine was fantastic, especially since BunBun was still in that immobile, sleep-all-the-time phase.

But then two things happened that rocked my WAHM mojo: my babysitter moved out of state, and BunBun transitioned from the newborn phase into the rolling-and-crawling-and-moving-everywhere-lightning-fast phase.

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Oh I get by with a little help from my friends

By now you’ve probably seen the articles and blogs circulating the internet about the Demography study showing that parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment, or even the death of your spouse (just google “parenthood is worse” if you don’t know what I’m talking about). And while it may sound pretty extreme at first, after thinking about everything that parenthood entails, I can honestly say, I get it–those first few months of parenthood can be hard… really hard. I struggled emotionally with both of my daughters; for me, post-partum was not the magical, joy-filled time of love, wonder, and maternal bliss that it was cracked up to be. The constant cycle of crying, feeding, changing, burping, pumping, washing, while attempting to recover despite severe sleep deprivation, and the emotional roller coaster of probing self-doubt (googling: is it normal that my baby…?), for all you struggling moms out there, I feel you.

But looking back, when I think about how I got through those difficult moments (proof if you’re still struggling that this too shall pass), one word immediately comes to mind: community. It really does take a village… I am grateful for all the family and friends that rallied around our family to support us when Joyful was born, and equally, if not more so, overwhelmed by the support we received when Gracie was born. My mom and sisters are always telling me how lucky I am to have had so much support, and they’re right. I honestly don’t know how I would have survived without them. I am thankful for a friend who called off from work to stay with Joyful overnight last minute when Mr. Pizza and I had to rush to the hospital when my contractions were 5 minutes apart. I am thankful for friends who brought dinner to make sure that we weren’t going hungry. I am thankful for a friend who gently encouraged me to take a walk outside with both kids after pointing out that I’d been cooped up in the house for 6 weeks, too nervous to do it on my own. I am thankful for the many timely texts, FB, and IG messages, checking in on me to make sure I wasn’t losing my sanity. I am thankful for my sister who took a week off work to help me. I am thankful for my mom who came frequently to cook, clean, and help around the house. I am thankful for friends who took Joyful out for the day, showering her with love and attention so I could focus on Gracie.

When I was working at the hospital as a child life specialist, there was a noticeable difference in parents’ spirits when they had a community of friends and family rallying around them, supporting them through their child’s illness and treatment compared to parents who were supporting their child on their own. At best, friends and family provide hope and strength when it’s difficult to press on. And even at worst, misery loves company; you don’t have to walk alone. It breaks my heart to think that there are many who go through the journey of parenthood without community. Not that it’s not doable, it’s just so much more difficult.

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Back To School In Style with Just 19 Items For Him

My kids are just a week and a half away from starting a new school year, and boy are they excited. They’re mostly excited to see their friends, but also the buzz of getting new things and talking about the whole idea of a new year just puts smiles on their little faces. Are your kids already back? Heading soon? From following people all over the world on Instagram, I’ve learnt just how different everyone’s back to school times are — it’s actually really fascinating.

When I shop for back to school, I first pull out all their clothes and see what still fits. And then we fill the holes of things that have been outgrown and add in a few new things to put smiles on their faces, because everyone (even me) likes to go back after a break with something new. I thought I’d break down visually how I shop as best I can, and it also continues on with the idea of a mini capsule collection. A little back to school wardrobe inspiration for him, with just 19 items (some of them probably taken right from his closet).

A – navy polo (jcrew) B – run like the wind long sleeve (jcrew) C – grey tee (jcrew) D – beetle tee (jcrew) E – flannel shirt (the gap) F – denim shirt (the gap) G – cardigan (the gap) H – slim sweats (zara) I – black jeans (zara) J – olive joggers (old navy) K – khaki joggers (the gap) L – easy wear jeans (the gap) M – desert boots (zara) N – nike sneakers (jcrew) O – olive beanie (old navy) P – state backpack (jcrew) Q – varsity jacket (the gap) R – denim jacket (the gap) S – puffy vest (the gap)

19 items and 3 of them are outerwear items, mainly because I love layers for boys a whole lot. Layers are what make and change outfits and make their little items more versatile. See how versatile those items are in the 16+ separate outfits below?

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Three Weeks Old – A Flashback

I wrote this post when my son, Little Bug, was three weeks old and I was struggling to deal with his colic, which has now been diagnosed as silent reflux. I was barely functioning at the time and this was so raw. I can say that it has gotten better since then (he’s now 2 1/2 months old), which I will write about.

Ok, so I rescind my earlier statement that life with two is easy. I officially have a colic baby. It started a week ago, just after Little Bug turned two weeks old. He basically cries or grunts/squeals/fusses/screams all day and all night. I am losing my mind. The last two days have been better, and I think it is because he has been on probiotics for a week and they are starting to work a little. I am honestly beside myself at various times throughout the day (and night) because it is so incredibly frustrating. Plus, I am exhausted from lack of sleep and it is killing me a little.

Let me be brutally honest… I am not enjoying my life right now. I love him, I really do, but the constant unhappiness and crying is REALLY hard to deal with. I find myself getting extremely frustrated and even angry with him and that makes me feel like absolute crap. I know it isn’t his fault. I know he is in pain and that is why he is crying. I know that he would be happier if he felt better.  ut holy moly, the incessant crying is so incredibly awful. It drains me. My fatigue is overwhelming. The worst part is that I am also having to deal with LeLe and she is a handful at best.

I am trying to be as honest as possible here, so I am going to level with everyone. Life is killing me. I feel like I can’t leave Little Bug with Mr. Cereal to get a break because he gets frustrated with him easily, and even though I know with 100% certainty that he would never do anything to hurt Little Bug, in my postpartum mind, I worry about everything. I actually don’t feel like I can leave him with anyone because I am terrified that they will get frustrated with him and harm him. I’m sure this would never actually happen, but in my mind I am the only person who can take care of him and tolerate his crying. I also think that being the mommy in this situation is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. I am trying the best I can and I feel like I am failing most of the time. I want a break. I want to escape for two hours and relax somewhere, but I know I will spend most of that time worrying. It is a brutal catch 22 and I am willing the days and weeks to go faster. I hate wishing away the newborn stage, but I am doing so every single day.

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Working Full Time: How to Maximize Quality Time

I love being a teacher, but getting back into the swing of the school year is hard, y’all.

We just recently started back, and I’m finding myself missing summer more and more with each passing day. I think I’ve said this before, but if we lived in a perfect world, I would stay at home with Jackson. Mr. Garland and I agree that me being a stay-at-home mom would be absolutely ideal, but it’s not a reality for us since he’s a teacher as well. The hardest part, for me, about working full time is the loss of time spent with Jackson. It was so jarring a few weeks ago to go from spending all day every day with him, to suddenly seeing him for 3 hours a day tops (with one of those hours being in the car and a chunk of the rest of the time spent cooking and/or eating). I love my job and I know I’m so incredibly blessed to have so much time off in the summer, but the sudden lack of time with him is awful – I hate it, and I desperately wish I had more time with him throughout the week.

However, I don’t, and I won’t (until next summer!), so I have to work with it and make the best of the situation. Here are a few things I’ve implemented over the last couple of school years to ensure that the minimal time we do get to gather is as enjoyable as possible.

Involve your kids in chores and cooking. I’ve already talked a few times about what this actually looks like in our house, but let me talk about the root reason of why I do this – it’s time with Jackson when I need to be doing other things. Instead of letting him play by himself while I clean or cook, I look for ways he can “help” or be involved in some way so that I’m getting time with him. It’s slightly distracted time for me, but it’s so much better than nothing. Don’t get me wrong – he has plenty of independent play time and I don’t spend every second with him when I get home, but it brings him so much joy to help me out, and it gives me some of that quality time that I so desperately miss.

Have some routines and traditions. Even if you barely get any time with your child each night, that time will be so much more special if you have some routines and traditions that you can both look forward to. We do a weekly antipasto dinner in our house where we eat meats, cheeses, bread, and other fun things on a big cutting board in the living room. Jackson loves running around the living room while we eat dinner, and it’s a super fun tradition for our whole family. We also find that having routines we stick to each morning when we’re getting ready really streamlines everything, and helps our mornings be so much less stressful (and allows us to enjoy them a bit more!).

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Some fun craft and art ideas

Straw art with Tempera paint at How we Montessori

I’m always looking for new and fun craft and art ideas to do with my children. I choose activities I think they will like, but I also try to expose them to new materials and techniques. Here are a few craft and art activities we have tried recently.

Above we used tempera paint (with lots of water) and made blobs on the paper. We blew air through the straw to move the paint around to create this art.

Butterflies made with stocking pieces at How we Montessori

We recently picked up some coloured stocking pieces from our art supply store. On this occasion we made wings and butterflies with some simple gardening wire covered in the stocking pieces. The gardening wire was really easy for the children to manipulate and twist.

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Amazon Prime Toy Sale

Amazon is having a Prime Member Appreciation Event going on right now with hundreds of toys including Melissa & Doug, Hape, Manhattan Toy and Green Toys an additional 30% off while supplies last! Use code TOYS2015 for up to $100 in total savings through September 6, 2015 11:59 pm PST. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can sign up for a trial membership here!

You can start your Christmas shopping early, or do what I do — stock up on gifts that I give at kids’ birthday parties throughout the year. I have my eye on the Melissa & Doug SandbloxQuut Triple Beach Toy and Quut Ballo Beach Bucket, as well as a couple of games for Charlie and Olive. Here are my best picks!

Baby & Toddler Toys

manhattan toy

Manhattan Toy WhoozitSkwishWinkelStim Mobile To Go

manhattan toy2

Manhattan Toy Baby Stella Peach & Feeding SetPut and Peek BirdhouseTreetop Adventure

Toys That Move


Hape Wonder Walker &  Walk-a-long Snail Toy  |  Melissa & Doug Magnetic Car Loader  |  Green Toys Airplane & Dump Truck  |  Kid O Go Car

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