The Ideal Mom

by Lauren on July 26, 2016

I’m sitting here at 7PM covered from head to toe in a unknown mixture of sweet potato, almond butter, and snot. Thankfully, John is putting Grayson to bed, so I find I have about 20 minutes of “quiet time” (as I hear Grayson screaming from downstairs).  My emails are out of control, my blog domain needs updated, I forgot to shower today, and I should probably take this time to finish or start a new work project. But instead, I feel a heavy pull on my heart to just write, so that is what I’m going to do.

I’ve had this topic on my mind for months, maybe even a good year now, but I’ve never actually gotten around to writing it out.  And then yesterday, I came across a beautifully written post from Sarah on the real-life struggle of a work-from-home-mom and I realized her words were almost identically to what I’ve been wanting to voice for so long now.  I realized then that I have so much to say about this particular topic and I just couldn’t get these thoughts out of my head.

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So here I am, ready to unveil to you the honest-to-goodness truth that this life really doesn’t “have it all.”  I guess I should start this by saying how incredibly blessed I am for every single opportunity and chance I get to do what I love, all the while being able to watch my child grow up before my eyes.  But as blessed as I feel, I also feel ripped apart inside most days.  I feel like there is this conceived notion that moms who get to contribute financially and do what they love but still stay home with their children is the ideal situation. I definitely thought that! When I first had Grayson, we were still living up in the North Shore of Massachusetts and I was working remotely from my full-time job that I started at when he first relocated there.  I only gave myself about a week of maternity leave, because well, I felt guilty for not working when I easily could sit on the couch with my laptop and a nursing baby.

When we moved to Pennsylvania, Grayson was around four months old and I was still working for that company remotely.  It was then that I also got involved with my gym and started teaching. After about a month, I was asked to take over the marketing for both of our gym locations and I only took the job if I could make it super flexible.  They agreed and I thought it was a match made in heaven.

Come September of last year, my job ended with the company up in Massachusetts but things really started to pick up for me at the gym.  I also took on The Group Fitness Director on top of my other roles so I was definitely busy.  Grayson got older and we got a schedule nailed down so that he was coming with me and stayed in the gym Kids Club for a few hours in the morning while  I taught classes and then we headed home, I worked for a few hours and he played.

And then in January, the same boss from the old Massachusetts company called me to ask if he could hire me for another huge project – to run the marketing and social media for a minor league hockey team he had just purchased.  I couldn’t say no, but I also didn’t drop any of my previous responsibilities.  So within a few months of all of this, I was the most busy I have ever been career-wise, oh and incase you forgot, I was still a “stay-at-home mom.”

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So here I am, wearing all of these hats, raising a toddler and getting ready to bring a newborn into the situation.  Seriously, what am I thinking?  I ask myself this every day to be honest.  So now, my day looks like this…..

Gym in the morning, Grayson plays in the Kids Club, home for nap and lunch, and then I am glued to my phone on calls and/or the computer for the next four hours while Grayson plays by himself or has Paw Patrol babysit him here and there. I do have a sitter who comes once or twice a week, which is a huge help, but we are just not at a place financially where we can afford full-time in-home care.

I feel guilty every single day of my life.  I feel guilty that I have a screaming toddler during an important conference call.  I feel guilty that I can’t respond to my emails fast enough because, well life. I feel guilty that I can’t always make a meeting because I can’t get a sitter.  I feel guilty that I am a crappy mom for completely ignoring my child for an hour or more at a time so I can finish a big work project.  I feel guilty that I don’t take him outside to play more.  I feel guilty that I can’t schedule more play dates.  I feel guilty that he reads to himself and I can’t always be there to sit him on my lap and read to him.  So pretty much, I feel guilty all of the time.

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I think of my life as this work-from-home mom of one and I think, “wow, this is way harder than I ever imagined.”  And then I become terrified at the thought of having to do this with two of them in the equation.

I guess my point of this post is to tell you no matter what situation you are in as a mom, I can only imagine you are doing your very best.  Being a working mom has to be so hard.  Being a stay-at-home mom is incredible difficult.  And being a working and stay-at-home mom is maybe not as ideal as you think it is. But I do think in every single situation, mom guilt is extremely present and no matter how hard you try to be the “do-it-all mom,” you just can’t.  What you can be is that messy, exhausted, imperfect, and unapologetic mom who loves her family more than anything and is willing to put aside any personal desires in order to better the ones she loves the most.

That mom is the one my children will remember.  That mom is whom I will strive to be.

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The relationship between families and food is a complex one. As parents, we know how important it is that our children eat healthily, but getting them to do that can often be a struggle. We only want what’s best for our kids, but that doesn’t mean that we know how to make them see that. Children can be incredibly difficult, especially when it comes to foods that they don’t want to eat. The thing about food is that what we eat doesn’t just impact our general health, but also our mental health and brain function.

Research has shown that children that eat the right foods are twice as likely to do better at school. The reason for this is because certain foods – namely superfoods are able to increase our cognitive power and brain function. This allows us to concentrate and take information in more easily, which is why it’s so important that kids eat the right foods. Something that backs this up is a study that has found that school children who have breakfast each day, are twice as likely to perform well in class.

Do you want to help your children to do as well at school as possible and be as healthy as they can be? Then take note of the superfoods below. These will not only charge your children’s brains but will also ensure that their bodies are as healthy and strong as possible.

Nuts and seeds

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Nuts and seeds are one of the best superfoods. They’re packed full of anti-inflammatory nutrients and alpha-linolenic nutrients. These nutrients are amazing for promoting good blood flow, which in turn, means that more oxygen is delivered to the brain. This means that if your children eat lots of nuts and seeds, their brains will work faster, and their memories will be better.

So unless your children have allergies, start making nuts and seeds part of their daily diet. A great way to get nuts into their diet is with homemade nut spreads. From homemade peanut butter to homemade walnut spread, there are plenty of fantastic recipes online. These types of butters make ideal snacks for kids as they’re packed full of brain boosting power and are incredibly filling. Especially, when served with rice cakes, celery, or sliced banana.

Honey

If your kids love honey, that’s great because it’s a very important superfood. Honey has been shown to be one of the best fuels for the brain, helping to improve cognitive function. It can also help to prevent metabolic stress, aiding sleep – something that is essential if you want your child to develop properly. As well as various studies that have shown honey to be an effective superfood for boosting brain power, many ancient beliefs have said the same. There’s lots of information on honey and its benefits as a superfood. In fact, there’s a fantastic read from The Alternative Daily online all about it.

The best way to make honey part of your children’s diet is by swirling it into yoghurt, adding it to porridge, or blending it into smoothies. You can also opt to cook with it – there are lots of healthy snack recipes that require honey. From flapjacks to roasted vegetable crisps, lots of healthy snacks need honey as part of the recipe. So there are plenty of ways you can make sure that your children have got plenty of honey in their diets. The best honey to use is, of course, Manuka Honey. However, it can be a little expensive to buy.

Olive oil

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This might seem like a strange one, but olive oil is a superfood that many people don’t know about. If you want to feed your children superfoods that will charge their brains, cooking with olive oil and adding it to dishes is a must.

A fantastic source of monounsaturated fats, olive oil, has been studied and found to slow the brain ageing process. Keeping the mind healthier for longer. It’s also been found that the younger you introduce olive oil into your diet, the healthier in the long-term your brain will be.

To get olive oil into your children’s diets, the best option is to cook with it. You can, of course, also drizzle it over salads and dishes. You can use as a butter substitute on bread – something that Mediterranean cuisine is famous for.

Berries

Are you kids big fruit fans? Do they love raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries? Research has shown that as well as being a superfood, berries are also able to promote healthy brain function. Especially in areas like memory and focus, or so the study says. So if you want your kids to be as smart as possible, make sure to make berries a regular part of their diet

Struggling to get your kids to eat them – that’s okay there’s lots of ways you can make berries more fun. How about blending a handful of them into a smoothie with a banana and some almond milk? Or, what about mixing them up with a little oat cream and putting them on top of a meringue? Could you perhaps mix them up with other fruit in a delicious fruit salad? There are lots of ways that you can get berries into your children, it’s just a case of getting creative, that’s all.

Fatty fish

Do your children love fish? If they do, that’s great, as fatty fish like salmon, for example, is a great brain food. This is because fatty fish, like salmon and sardines, is packed full of omega-3. Omega-3 has been linked to improved focus and memory. This means that children who eat lots of fatty fish – two to three pieces a week, are more likely to do well at school. This is because thanks to the omega-3 in the fish, their brains will be more powerful.

It’s not just salmon and sardines that are packed full of omega-3, but also tuna, mackerel, and trout. If your kids love fish, you probably don’t have a problem getting them to eat it. If however, they’re not too keen, you’ll need to get creative. How about slicing up salmon fillets to make homemade salmon goujons with wholemeal breadcrumbs? Or what about making a cheesy fish pie, topped with mash potato? Could a homemade pizza topped with tuna do the trick? Get creative and you’re sure to find a way to get your kids to eat more fish.

Spinach

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Leafy green vegetables like spinach are high in lutein, something that helps boost brain power by increasing focus and memory. If you want your child to do well in school, it’s important that leafy greens like spinach play a big part in their diet.

The great thing about spinach is that it’s a very versatile food, it can be eaten cooked or raw. This means there are lots of ways you can get your kids to eat more of it. From putting it in their sandwiches and adding it to smoothies to mixing it into sauces and adding it to omelettes, spinach is very versatile.

Dark chocolate

The chances are that your children prefer milk or white chocolate to dark chocolate, but dark chocolate is much better for them. The reason for this is because dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidants and is low in sugar. Because dark chocolate is high in caffeine, it helps to stimulate the brain, making kids more alert when it comes to learning.

Dark chocolate can be too rich for kids on its own, so why not bake with it instead? Mix dark chocolate into brownies, add it to flapjacks, make smoothies with a small amount of it – the options are limitless. Raw chocolate is another good option as that’s high in cocoa and comes in a range of tasty flavors that your kids are sure to love.

Avocado

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Do your kids love avocado, if so, encourage them to eat it. Avocado is another superfood that’s amazing for brain health and cognitive function. So the more your little ones eat it, the better. It’s full of good fats, is filling, and works well as a healthier alternative to traditional butter. To keep the cost low, buy bags of pre-peeled frozen avocado halves. These are just as nutritious and tasty but are more cost effective and last for longer because they’re frozen.

If your little ones aren’t sure about avocado, it’s best to introduce it slowly. Start off adding a small amount of it to salads and see if they eat it. Then blend it up with tomatoes and onion to create a guacamole dip for their favorite crisps. If they’re still not keen, blending it into a smoothie could be a fantastic option.
There are certain foods that offer fantastic brain power and so, are ideal for children. If you want to boost your children’s brain power, incorporate some of the above foods into their diet. This will help to boost their brain power and will also improve their health. So it’s something that’s definitely worth doing.

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