I’d Rather Be a Mom Than…

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Anything. The answer is anything. Today, specifically, I’d also rather be a mom than a player for the Denver Broncos. Being a mom is literally the most amazing thing. I find that it’s hard to be much else when I’m a mom though. I’ve lost focus on so many things because my main focus is Audrey. This is NOT a bad thing, in my eyes, anyway. It’s just a fact.

I mean, look at this face…

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Some might say that women can do it all. That we don’t lose focus, and babies don’t change our priorities. Maybe for some women, that’s the case. Hell, maybe it’s the case for all women but me. But I won’t lie and say that I can make it an entire day at work without wishing I was at home playing with my baby and being a mom instead.

Being a mom is hard, and I can only imagine being a stay-at-home mom has its cons too. Lack of adult interaction, monotonous routines, etc.

But seriously, look at this face!
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That being said, Princess just turned 4 months old and I’m still over the moon. I always thought that I would get “burnt out” so to speak, and turn into one of those tired, used up, exhausted moms who just wanted more time away from their kid. But I’ve turned into anything but. This isn’t to say I’m “better” than anyone, and not every mom who wants time away from their kid is bad. Trust me, being a mom is hard. I’m certainly not on a high horse. I just have an extremely difficult time being a working mom. I think it would be much easier for me to be a work-from-home mom, or have my own business, something where I could control my hours a little easier.

I normally don’t just give you a whole ramble about my life and my feelings, but sometimes it needs to be said. Sometimes you need to talk about your feelings. And let’s be honest, are you even watching the Super Bowl? Because I’m pretty much over it.

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So, I’m curious. Am I part of the majority?

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Why Parenting Isn’t 50/50

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This week, I want to touch on something that I feel is very crucial in my parenting journey, and that I believe should be in other’s as well. I’m somewhat new to the whole motherhood thing (4 months in and haven’t had a catastrophe – yet!), but I feel like I’m familiar enough now that I can start to chronicle my journey, and share my opinions on what works and what doesn’t.

First, I’ll tell you what doesn’t work. Sharing 50% of the responsibility with your partner (if you have one – single moms and single dads, this article doesn’t really apply to you, because you rock!). Here’s why: there is no such thing as being a parent 50% of the time, and if you truly believe that, you probably shouldn’t be a parent. As a breastfeeding mother, a lot of the work falls on me. I feed her, cuddle her to sleep, and since we have the mother-daughter bond, she naturally just clings to me like her life depends on it. That doesn’t mean Ryan gets to just disappear for the hours that I have her though, and he doesn’t.

I have to say, I never thought I could love my husband more than I did on the day we got married, and seeing him as a father completely changed that. I love him on a much deeper level. I mentioned before that since I’m nursing, I have Princess a majority of the time. During this time, I get thirsty, I get hungry, I get tired, she gets tired, she gets bored, she needs boogers sucked, sometimes she even spits up on me (super fun!). When you have a small child clinging to your body, who doesn’t want to be moved, it’s pretty hard to fill those other needs. That’s where dads come in! Ryan is so wonderful about these things. I’m sure some days he feels like my personal slave, but he has no idea how helpful just grabbing me a glass of water can be, especially when I’m nursing and I suddenly feel like I haven’t had a drink of water in months. Like I said before, we are both parents 100% of the time. Even when you’re not holding or watching your child, you still have to give 100% of yourself to the kid. I mean, let’s be honest, have you ever seen your child playing quietly to themselves and thought, “Hey, I can probably make a phone call right now!” Yeah, how did that work out?

To expand on why parenting isn’t 50/50, it’s because it’s 100/100. That’s how it should be, at least. I know there are people that will disagree with this and say that each of you deserves a break, and I agree with that, but at the end of the day, you’re still a parent, and you still have to give 100% to your child.

I also think that mothers get all the credit, and dads don’t get the recognition they deserve. So this is my open letter to you, dads.

You’re incredible, you’re wonderful, and downright amazing.  We’re thankful for you. You’re doing a great job, yes, you! That woman next to you, feeding and cuddling your child, she loves you. Sometimes she may forget to show you or tell you, especially with the chaos that is having a new child, but she does, with every part of her being. That glass of water you brought her in the middle of the night is equivalent to 10 dozen roses. That dirty diaper you changed at 2AM so she could get a few extra minutes of sleep, might as well be a 10 carat diamond. Take comfort in knowing that while she watches you play with your baby, you are the most handsome, most amazing man on the planet to her. Take comfort in knowing that you’re providing a sense of comfort and safety to both of them, even when you’re not doing anything but being there. You’re appreciated, more than you know. 

There you have it. Feel free to share with me your own open letter to the dad in your world! Also enjoy this super awkward selfie of my family!

Dear Stranger, You’re Right! She Is Beautiful!

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I’ve done a lot of extra Facebook browsing this week in an effort to be inspired to write. I’m passionate and opinionated about a multitude of things, and on Facebook, I tend to find lots of things I’m passionate about. That’s kind of the nice thing about it, and other social media platforms. So much information is shared, people share their opinions (note: this part isn’t always nice), and people can discuss and debate things usually like mature adults. I, for one, love a good debate. I love having a difference in opinions with people and hearing why they think differently, and I love “defending” my side. I think debate and discussion is healthy and valuable to every relationship.

As I was browsing this week, I found an article that, while intriguing, actually ruffled my feathers a bit. Not a lot of things do so, and I’ll admit I definitely get passionate about some things, but this one got me a little heated. Maybe it just hit too close to home.

The article I’m referring to openly requests that people not make small talk about her daughter’s appearance.

Let me preface by saying that I absolutely believe there is more to a person than their looks. I want my daughter to know that, of course. Here’s where I see the issue. Am I not supposed to call her beautiful? Should I tell strangers not to?

Firstly, when someone first meets a child, they know nothing about their complex little personalities. If you have a child, or have been around one, you know they’re a lot like an onion. They have many layers to the personality, and it can seem to change on a daily basis. That being said, when I first meet a child or see a baby, the only thing I know about them initially, is that they’re cute, or beautiful, or handsome. I make a point to say that, but I also make a point to get to know them and tell them they’re brave, smart, or strong, at least something along those lines. I should add that I completely adore kids. Not all people are willing to spend the time getting to know your kid, especially someone like a stranger just passing by in a grocery store. I can’t tell you how many times people stop me in the store to comment on my daughter’s eyes. I love when they compliment her. Why? Because she IS beautiful. But I also spend time with her as much as I can, and as she explores new skills and learns new things, I comment on how smart she is. When she pushes up from her belly at 3.5 months old, I tell her how strong she is.

I do think that there needs to be a balance, and 90% of that balance is going to come from mom and dad, telling their kids all the wonderful things about them, not just appearance. But I certainly don’t think people complimenting my daughter mean any harm. She deserves to know she’s beautiful, every little girl does! And for that matter, every little boy deserves to know he’s handsome. People (men and women) struggle with their self esteem as an adult, and as a parent, I don’t think I should add to that in childhood by restricting people from commenting on their appearance. So yes, stranger in the grocery store, you’re right! My daughter does have piercing eyes, and she is beautiful. Thank you! Additionally, if I want people to comment on her other traits that they may not know about, I can always add my own commentary: “yes she is, and she’s smart to boot!” I see where the author I referenced is coming from, I do. We live in a society where looks are far too important, where beauty determines your worth (not in my book, I’m speaking about models, etc.), and people overlook the important things like being able to hold an intelligent conversation, knowing right from wrong, and other detrimental traits. At the same time, I still want my daughter to know she’s beautiful, even if I’m the only one who thinks so. I believe that children should be well-rounded. I want a good education for her, I want her to have good morals, and good self esteem along with that.

What do you think? Is commenting on a child’s appearance forcing them to think that’s all that matters? Is it harmful or harmless?

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Struck By The Love Bug?

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Valentine’s Day is a big holiday, whether you choose to forego it, participate in it, or all together ignore it. Personally, my husband and I usually wait to indulge until the day after when all the candy is on sale. We think we’re pretty sneaky that way. Some people though truly love to get in the spirit and buy wonderful gifts for their partner, although sometimes this can break your bank. I’ve created a list of
a few of my favorite crafty projects that make wonderful gifts and don’t break the bank!

1. Date Night at Home Jar
Date nights can be few and far between, whether you have kids, have busy schedules, or just can’t find the time. This is a great way to give yourself some fun ideas and create time for date nights.
• Depending on how in depth with this you want to go, you’ll want to grab between 5 and 30 or so popsicle sticks. You can decorate them (all Valentine’s themed, maybe even one for every month themed differently) and put them in a mason jar. Personally, I like mason jars because I think they’re adorable, but you could use any kind of container (or even come up with your own, share your ideas with me if you do!). Lastly, come up with creative ideas that you know you and your partner will enjoy (this is important – men, if she hates sports games, you’ll probably want to leave “go to a sports bar and watch the game” out, and women – if he hates chick flicks, you’ll probably want to leave “watch The Notebook together” out). Then, set a date each week, or month, or whatever you have time for, and pick a stick! Then you have no trouble deciding what to do and you can just enjoy yourselves.

Example ideas:
Take a stroll to the park and swing together
Pick a new TV show on Netflix and binge watch with snacks
Ride bicycles
Start a garden

2. Cookies in a Jar
My absolute favorite snack in the world is cookies. I’m serious, I could literally eat them everyday. This is one of my favorite crafty gifts because the recipient might even share them with me! Also, you get to use mason jars, which I am completely obsessed with. For the sake of those with peanut allergies everywhere (me), I’m going to share a recipe that doesn’t have them, but of course, you’re more than welcome to add nuts.
Feel free to get as creative as possible with decorating (use ribbons and such to spice it up!)

Here is a great recipe courtesy of Organized Christmas. They also have printable tags for those of us who don’t want to write this out for our giftees!

Ingredients
1⁄2 cuppowdered orange drink mix (Tang)
3⁄4 cupsgranulated sugar
1 1⁄2 cupvanilla baking chips
1 3⁄4 cupsifted flour, all purpose
1⁄2 teaspoonbaking soda
1⁄2 teaspoonbaking powder
1 canning jar, quart-size with lid and ring
Instructions
Sift flour before measuring, then stir in baking soda and baking powder.

Layer the ingredients in a clean glass wide mouth quart sized jar. For each jar, layer 3/4 cup granulated sugar, then 1/2 cup powdered drink mix, then 1 3/4 cup flour (mixed with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder), then 1 1/2 cups vanilla baking chips. Tamp the first three layers firmly to compact ingredients.

Attach a copy of Orange Dreamsicle gift tag, or create your own tag using the recipe instructions below.

Orange Dreamsicle Cookies Recipe
Preheat oven to 375°.

Empty jar into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg (slightly beaten)and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until well-blended

Form dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until tops are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack until completely cool.

Makes 2-1/2 dozen

3. 52 Reasons I Love You.
This is probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever made, and I made it for my husband while he was deployed overseas. Sometimes, even when they’re here with us, we forget to remind the people we love how much we love them. This is a nice token that they will really appreciate and can cherish for a long time. We still go through (two years later) and read mine because it’s nice to be reminded.

First, you’all want to buy a standard 52 card deck of cards. (Note: the easier way to do this project is to buy vintage cards but I somewhat made them myself.)

If you buy the vintage cards, you literally just have to write a reason you love them on each card, hole punch them all twice, and stick some closeable book rings through, and wa-la! You have your finished “book”.

If you don’t, here’s what I did:
•Sand all the cards down in various areas to make them look “worn”.
•Make them “dirty” (you can also stain them a light brown).
•Either write directly on the card, or cut small strips of paper and glue them to the card to write on.
•Hole punch each card twice so you can make it a book.
•Put the book rings through, close them, and admire your finished product!

These are just a couple ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts, if you’re so inclined, that won’t break the bank. Of course, feel free to add your own flare to them and if you do, share them with me on Twitter, Facebook, or my blog!

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This is What Happens When Americans are Asked to Label Europe and Brits are Asked to Label the US

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Now this… This is hilarious.

TwistedSifter

 

At the end of last year, the BuzzFeed team asked students and co-workers to label a map. Those in the UK were asked to label a map of the United States, while those in the US were tasked to label a map of Europe.

Yes there is a difference between labelling states of one particular country versus labelling countries in a continent. Sure some people were probably goofing around and not taking the request too seriously. And while many of the attempts will make you chuckle, some of the maps are quite commendable! Before you snicker too hard, maybe quiz yourself and see how you fare?

If you’d like to test yourself, I’ve included blank maps at the bottom of the post. Or you can just click the links below:

Click here for a blank map of the United States
Click here for a blank map of Europe

 

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A PSA to Seasoned Moms From a New Mom

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Finally, I have some time to compose my messy thoughts and touch on a subject that really irks me. As a new mom, I am constantly “educated” by seasoned mothers. They of course, know it all, and being a new mom, I am clearly uneducated and I couldn’t possibly have done any research. This is my PSA to you, seasoned mom. You, the one who watches me struggle and judges me whether it’s silently or to my face. You, the one who thinks because I’m young, that I obviously don’t know what the hell I’m doing. And definitely you, who thinks because you have 10 kids (maybe I’m exaggerating), that you absolutely, positively, know it all.

Firstly, please for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, remember that at some point, you were a new mom too. I know it’s hard to fathom, but you didn’t always know it all. I promise, at one point in time, you were the mother who didn’t know if you should or shouldn’t give your baby a pacifier, who didn’t know whether co sleeping was a good or bad idea, and you definitely didn’t know how to react to pushy, judgmental folk like yourself. Obviously, I am not addressing all seasoned mothers. I have a few very wonderful friends who I look to for advice and help. Primarily because I know they won’t shove their unwanted opinions down my throat 24/7.

Secondly, I’m begging you, stop with the “just wait” crap. How in any way is that helpful? For example, I distinctly remember when I was pregnant and said “man I’m tired”, a woman commented “oh just wait until the baby gets here!” I’m young, not an idiot. I know there is sleepless nights when you become a mother, but I wasn’t aware that I couldn’t be tired any other time. Also, I would argue that, while I get less sleep now that she’s here, the quality of sleep I get is much better than when I was a pregnant whale who could barely sit up or roll over.

The last thing I want to touch on is that yes, maybe you are right. Maybe what I’m doing is wrong. Maybe I’m completely clueless, but there is absolutely no need to attack me (or any other mom). Just approach the situation with friendliness and respect, and I’ll probably take what you say a lot more seriously. It’s simple, I promise. A little respect goes a long way, especially these days where so many people lack basic human compassion.

The reason I’m writing this, is because as a new mom, many times I feel attacked, and I know I’m not the only one. There’s nothing like joining a page for motherly judgment “support” and reading hundreds of comments of grown women attacking each other’s parenting choices. Newsflash ladies: there is no right way to parent. Gasp! But, but, I can’t possibly be wrong! Yes, yes you can, and sometimes you are. Here is the bottom line. Are your kids fed daily? You’re a wonderful mom! Do you love your kids? You’re a wonderful mom! Do you take care of your kids to the best of your ability? YOU ARE A WONDERFUL MOM!

I’m curious, what is something that really grinds your gears?

Also, for those wondering… The Flying Spaghetti Monster: here you go.

Defining Myself

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When I began to circulate the idea of creating my blog in my mind, I drew a blank for a name. I couldn’t think of anything creative, funny, or that really fit. Someone gave me a suggestion to use my name, so I took that and ran with it. I figured I could think of something.

I spent two days and finally, I thought I could incorporate the word “tailored”. Because it is a spin on my name, it fits my lifestyle (since I’m a self diagnosed crafting addict), and its definition had a special meaning to me.

I googled the term, and this is what stuck out to me (and yes I know the meaning, I just wanted a deeper understanding of how I could relate it to my blog, ha).

tailored
/ˌteɪ·lərd/ adj [not gradable] (also tailor-made /ˌteɪ·lərˈmeɪd/)
specially made for a particular purpose or situation:
a tailored (= close-fitting) suit
Her clothes fit perfectly – they must be tailor-made.

So I know it might not make sense immediately, and you’re probably thinking, “what does that have to do with anything?” What stood out to me was the part where it says “specifically made for a particular purpose or situation”. I believe that everyone has a particular purpose, but furthermore, I think this blog is a good way for me to start exploring mine. I’ve mentioned that I’m going to be blogging about motherhood, and I will say right now I have always felt that being a mother to a wonderful little child was one of my biggest purposes in life. The day Princess was born confirmed that for me even more. I think that exploring yourself is a really good thing for both you, and your relationships. You can recognize your strengths and weaknesses and use them appropriately. I’ve compiled a list of my top 3 biggest strengths and weaknesses as a wife and mother. Feel free to make your own list and share with me!

WEAKNESSES:

1. Communicating effectively.
I figured I would start with my weaknesses because I’m a “bad news first, get it out of the way” type of gal. Communicating effectively is so hard for me. I go from zero to pissed off in a matter of seconds if people don’t understand me or hear me the first time. I’m working on it (you’re welcome Ryan), and some days are easier than others.

2. Being selfish.
Sometimes, I’ll admit, I think, “why can’t I just be traveling the world or studying abroad?” I didn’t get a typical college experience, I never lived in dorms, I never joined a sorority. I was meeting the love of my life, getting married, and starting a family. Believe me when I say I am truly happy. But sometimes I think I just want a few days to myself, on a beach, lying in the sun without a care in the world. I also would like to add that I’m a very big “my way or the highway” kind of girl, and that doesn’t always sit well with people.

3. I’m a perfectionist.
I’m the type who wants you to clean the house, but I want you to clean it my way. I’ve had to compromise and I quickly learned that my way isn’t necessarily the right way.

STRENGTHS:

1. I love with every part of my being.

This is my biggest strength. I truly lay my heart out on the table and do my best to let my husband and Princess know that they are my absolute world.

2. I’m creative.
This may not sound like a big deal, but being creative can help in a lot of ways. I am very crafty, I can find ways to cut expenses by doing stuff myself, and I’m also extremely good at finding fun little activities that don’t break the bank. I’m pretty proud of that!

3. I’m a perfectionist.
I know, you’re thinking “what? Didn’t I just read this on her weaknesses list?” Yes, yes you did. But if there’s anything I’ve learned through my experiences, it’s that sometimes your features are both a weakness and a strength. Being a perfectionist gives me a good eye for detail when it comes to things like budgeting, cleaning the house, and making sure the home front is maintained so to speak.

So that’s my list, and let me just say, it was a lot harder to come up with my strengths than my weaknesses. But doing so really boosted my self esteem, because really, we should all try to highlight our strengths instead of focusing on our weaknesses. Try making a list yourself! Share it with me if you’re so inclined because I would love to read it!

Signing off,
The Tailored Mama