me time

Part 3: Tips for Working Moms 

Here we are at the final part of the series on tips for working moms. We have talked already about mindset, prioritizing, and removing distractions in part 1 which you can find here. In part 2, we discussed practical tasks that can make family time run more smoothly. You can find that article here. In this final post, we will discuss essential things that should be included in your schedule to make you a happy healthy mom. We will also talk about why they are so important. Sometimes as working moms we feel like we need to spend 100% of our time outside of work with our kids. We can feel like time out for ourselves or with our significant other will only decrease our quality time with our kids even more. The thing is, if we don't nurture our relationship with our spouses and ourselves, we may have increased time with our kids but far less quality.

If you spend more time with your kids but don't take anytime for yourself, your kids get a crankier, more exhausted you. It's better to take some time out so you can be your best self. The following tips are things that need to be included in your monthly calendar to be your happiest self.

1. Spend Time with Your Partner

This is important for so many reasons. Firstly, it's important to let your partner know that they are still an essential part of your life even though you have kids.  They need to feel important and wanted as well.  Spending quality time with your partner can help you relax.  Take a break from talking about kids and stresses and bills and just enjoy each other's company.  This helps you promote a healthy relationship between the two of you.  This is important not only for yourselves, but it is also important to model healthy relationships for your children.

Secondly, alone time with your partner helps you get on the same page as far as the kids.  Know what their current favorite thing is, or what they are having trouble with in school.  You want to discuss how you are handling different situations with your kids so can have consistent behavior.

Lastly, you need to have intimate time with your partner.  This is essential to a healthy, happy relationship.  Sometimes you might feel exhausted from your day and just not be in the mood.  Do it anyway.  You will get in the mood.  A lot of the time, it's one of those things where you can fake it til you make it.  It brings you closer to your partner and can reduce stress, the very thing that was preventing you from getting in the mood in the first place.

Try to plan at least a couple date nights during the month, have a few evenings to chat about family stuff, and be intimate as much as possible.

2. Fit in Some "Me Time"

The unhappiest, most depressed moms are the ones who feel like they are constantly giving.  They give to their job, their children, their spouses, their family, their community.  They lose themselves by taking on the happiness and well being of everyone else.  They put themselves last.

This is an absolutely terrible idea.  In order to be the best mom you can be, you should be happy and fulfilled.  People can tell when you are faking it, especially kids.  By fitting in a little me time, you can renew your whole energy. It doesn't have to be a weekend away at the spa to be effective.  It just has to be something that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

I love dance; it is my passion.  When I am not pregnant I rehearse and perform with a dance company.  This is my time to do something just for me.  We rehearse one day a week, a few weeks a month and perform a few times a year.  This is something I need in my life to be my happiest self. Sometimes I feel bad leaving Tyler behind with grandma when I leave to rehearse, but I always feel reinvigorated after rehearsal.  I'm excited to see him and he's excited to see me.

You might take some time out during the week for a group fitness class and enjoy the community of other women.  Maybe its a mani/pedi at the nail salon. Maybe a monthly brunch with your girlfriends.  Whatever it is that makes you happy and feel like yourself, make time for it.  It can only make you a better mom.  Your kids will thank you for it later!!

3. Plan Specific Family Time Activities

I know you love your kids.  I love mine too.  But sometimes after a long day, I cannot keep up with the sporadic switching from activity to activity and game to game.  I want to spend time with Tyler, but I'm tired.  Especially now at 38 weeks pregnant, going from puzzles to Legos to Mashems to puppets to everything else all in one evening just makes my head hurt thinking about it.

One or 2 nights a week plan specific family time activities.  Tell your kids ahead of time, so its something to look forward to.  for example you can have an Star Wars movie night.  Make popcorn and get them in their favorite Darth Vader jammies. Enjoy the movie together as a family. You get to spend time together and it feels like its an event for the kids.

You can plan a family game night.  Play Candy land and have the different candies from the game.  If you land on that area of the board you get the candy.  You can make or buy gingerbread men and decorate them together.  You might play Candy Land all the time, but this makes it a special event.

Little things you can do to make an ordinary event a little more special will be greatly appreciated by your kids.

I really hope you enjoyed this series of tips for working moms.  I know I enjoyed putting the articles together.  We can't be perfect all the time.  Some months things come up and we might miss a date night, or my me time might get short changed. We might let mom guilt slip in once in a while or we might accidentally double book a date.  But if we make an effort to work on these 9 tips, we will be happier, healthier, better, more loving moms.

In light of the upcoming birth of baby Hailey, on Friday, we will be talking about the transition from one to two kids.  Since I do not yet have experience with this, I have compiled interviews from a few bloggers and we will be hearing their advice on how to get through this change.  I will see you then.



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7 Tips for Getting Your Workout In

As a busy mom, sometimes its hard to take time out for yourself.  We have so many other obligations and priorities that we sometimes put ourselves last. Other times, the way that we treat ourselves in not the best or healthiest. Our "me time" becomes have a sugary or salty treat in front of the TV after the kids are in bed.  But, in order to be our best selves and the best possible mom, we have to put our own health as one of our top priorities.

Exercise can give you a high and give you energy to start your day.  It can help you clear your brain and enable you to focus.  It can give you the strength and endurance to get through a long day.  It keeps you healthy and your heart pumping.  It boosts your mood. If nothing else, it helps you shed unwanted lbs. So here are 7 tips to help you ensure that you get your workout in!

1. Have a goal of working out everyday - but don't be hard on yourself.  On average, you want to work out around 5 days a week.  Some people schedule their rest days.  I'm not one of those people.  I find that if you schedule your rest day and then something comes up another day that prevents you from working out, you beat yourself up for missing an extra day.  I make my goal to work out daily and if something does come up or I'm not feeling well, I count that as my rest day.  This enables you to have a lot less guilt. 

2. Workout in the morning - I find that the best time to workout is before anyone else gets up.  This means I'm up at 6:00 am, have a protein shake and start my workout.  I generally don't have scheduling conflicts at this time and things don't generally come up.  Therefore, it is a whole lot easier for me to make sure I get my workout in.  I also have the living room to myself (aside from the dogs) so I can spread out and make as much noise as I want. 

3. Workout at Home - Going to the gym is nice, but it requires a lot of effort and planning.  You need someone to watch the kids, you have to pay a membership whether you get to the gym or not, you actually have to take the time to go there and come back on top of your workout time, and you have to wait for equipment or come early to make sure you get your spot for class.  At home, these things are not an issue.  A 30 minute workout will actually take 30 minutes.  Once you have your equipment, there is no additional cost. And, no babysitter is required. 


4. Have your equipment easily accessible - Set aside a space in your home where you will workout.  This might be your living room or your basement or the garage.  Have all of your workout out equipment all together, easily accessible in this room.  I workout in my living room, so in one corner I have my weights, my stretch band, my ball, my yoga mat and my fold away elliptical.  I also have one location for all of my fitness DVDs.  When I want to workout, I just grab the equipment I need for that workout and I'm ready to go.

5. Be selective when purchasing DVDs - Have you ever purchased a DVD and then never used it because you didn't have the time or the right equipment? Do your research up front so that when you get a DVD, you are actually able to use it.  My first requirement when buying a DVD is length.  I want to be able to get my workout done in about 35 minutes, 40 max.  That way I have time to get a quick shower in before waking up T. So, if a DVD doesn't meet the time requirement, I don't get it because I know I will rarely, if ever, use it.  Next I look at what equipment is required. Generally, I go with DVDs that either come with the equipment required or makes use of equipment I already have.  If you get a kettle bell workout and don't have a kettle bell, well you not going to be able to use it until you get one...

6. Get your kids involved - If you have a teeny guy or gal, do baby wearing workouts where you do exercises while wearing your baby in their carrier.  The baby is your weight and you move up in weight as your baby gets bigger.  This is actually fun for the baby too and some good quality time together.  For bigger guys (depending on how big) you can still use them as your weight.  Toddler chest presses and over head presses anyone? How about a plank with a toddler on top? Squats while carrying your little guy! Workout with your hubby and get everyone involved. For even bigger kids, get a couple light weights and encourage them to join in.  It's never too early to develop a healthy lifestyle. 

7. Set a workout goal - When you have a goal to achieve you are much more motivated to do the work it takes to get there. Decide you want to be able to do 60 squats in a minute, or drop a dress size in 4 weeks, or get through the whole workout DVD without having to hit pause.  Wherever you are fitness wise, there is always a new goal you can set.  Make your goals specific and achievable. Not easy, but achievable.  You want to obtain your goal, not be depressed when your deadline comes and you fall short.

In the end, working out is super important to being the best mom you can be.  You have energy to chase and play with your kids.  You model a healthy lifestyle.  And you will definitely feel accomplished when you finish a good workout. Try to add workouts to your routine little by little and you will definitely notice the difference in all aspects of your life.  In fact, with that extra boost of energy you may find you actually save time in your day because you are able to accomplish things faster and more efficiently.

Here's to healthy, happy mommies!!


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