Tags Posts tagged with "motherhood"

motherhood

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“They’re going to lead me to an early death!”

“They’re giving me gray hairs!”

Raise your hand if you’ve either thought or said these sentences out loud when it comes to raising kids. It’s a running “joke” among moms that our kids are going to kill us one of these days because of the stress they put us through, because parenting is NOT easy!

 

Rewarding? Yes.

Would we trade it for the world? No way!

Parenting can be a physical and emotional roller coaster for sure, but did you know that some research is showing that giving birth and raising children may actually age our cells prematurely? Yay.

Researchers analyzed information from 1,556 U.S. women ages 20 to 44 who took part in a national survey from 1999 to 2002. The study involved these women giving blood samples.

Researchers were interested in examining the women’s genetic material inside their cells, namely telomeres. These are “caps” on the end of chromosomes that prevent chromosomes from damage.

Telomeres naturally shorten as people age, but the structures don’t shorten at the same rate in every person. The longer a person’s telomeres are, the more times their cells could hypothetically still divide, research has shown. Thus, telomeres are considered a marker of biological age — that is, the age of a person’s cells, rather than the individual’s chronological age.”

The study showed that women who had given birth had telomeres that were on average, 4% shorter than women who had never given birth. The results suggest that a “history of live birth may be associated with shorter telomeres,” the researchers wrote in their abstract, which was presented this week at the meeting of the American Public HealthAssociation in Denver. [9 Uncommon Conditions That Pregnancy May Bring]

Further research needs to be done to prove why telomeres in mother’s seem to be shorter, but the standing hypothesis for now is that having children increases stress levels, and high stress in humans is linked to shorter telomeres.

So there you have it. We’re doomed! Or, you can take the study with a giant grain of salt… because we all know many many mothers who lived well into their 80’s and 90’s, and even past 100! In my opinion, it’s all about perception. We can choose to dwell on being stressed all the time and view motherhood as a never ending chore, or we can focus on the amazing blessing that our children are, and choose happiness. I for one choose the latter! Motherhood is one of the greatest opportunities I will ever take part in, and I am happy to give up the length of my telomeres for it.

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If you’re like most moms, you’ve either already seen the new movie out called “Mean Moms”, or you’ve probably seen the trailers. It’s about a group of moms who have had enough with the demands of motherhood and decide to “go on strike” and become a little bit rebellious in the process. Not something we haven’t all thought of at one time or another, right? Because being a mom is hard work, and sometimes a very thankless job. Most of us don’t want to be the “mean mom” though, at least the kind that’s abusive, neglectful and belittling. We’re not talking about that kind of “mean”, obviously. But studies are showing that moms can definitely “up” the discipline factor, and in fact, being a little more “mean” with our kids can actually help them be more successful in life.

Which is great news, because this morning, my kids and I were in a rush to drop the three of them off to school when this conversation happened.

“Did you girls pack a lunch?” Nope.  

“Do you have lunch money?” Nope. We ran out and forgot to tell you.

Now, the nice mom in me quickly flirted with the idea of running home to get them some cash, or something to take for lunch, but then I thought nope. They are perfectly capable teenage girls, who need to learn to take responsibility for themselves, so today they will have no lunch, and tomorrow they will be better prepared because they’ll remember the discomfort of being hungry!

Sometimes it’s hard making those kinds of decisions, because it’s our natural instinct to take care of our kids and keep them comfortable and happy. But sometimes I have to remind myself that I am not raising children, I am raising adults. One day (and too soon for my liking) these kids of mine are going to be out in the world taking care of themselves, and hopefully being good people in the process. Coddling them, and doing things for them that they are capable of doing themselves won’t help them become the responsible adults they need to be.

One study done by the University of Essex showed that girls who have mothers who “nag” them, (or in other words regularly “remind” them of things they can be doing better) were more likely to go to college, get better-paying jobs, and avoid teen pregnancy than those with mothers who were more relaxed.

The study, led by researcher Ericka Rascon-Ramirez, followed the lives of over 15,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 14 from 2004 to 2010. Researchers found that high parental expectations played a role in some of the girls’ major life choices.

The study also found that even when it seems our children are not listening (which never happens, of course) our words and “persistent encouragement” do seep into their brains, and cause them to think twice when faced with important life decisions.

So keep nagging, moms! We can be loving and kind, but also unleash our “mean streak” once in a while, that not only shows our children we mean business, but that we have high expectations of them not because we’re unrealistic, but because we know how awesome they are!!

Are you a “mean mom”? We’d love to hear from you!

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Summers can be chaotic and busy with the kids home from school, and by the end of it most moms are pretty ready for them to go back.  However, every time that first day of school rolls around,  I am hit with that little twinge of sadness that we don’t get to share those long days together anymore! I really do love my kids, and I miss them when they go back to school. (I think most moms do, right??) So, sometimes I have to give myself a pep talk and remind myself of the things that I am “really” missing *insert sarcastic voice* about Summer…

 

Disclaimer: I know there are perfect moms out there who manage a strict schedule during the Summer, who have children who do all their chores, and who have wonderful manners. I am not a perfect mom, and my kids are not perfect. I try. They try. The examples below are memories of some of the harder days of Summer…

 

The Noise

Oh, how I miss that noise! The constant bickering, the constant pleas of “I’m bored!” and “I’m hungry” (5 minutes after lunch). The chasing each other around the house, and then the subsequent never ending screams of torture because they just ran into a wall. The cheers from the basement during particularly riveting sessions of Minecraft. The teenagers competing over music selections in the car. Yep, I miss that. So much.

My grocery bill

I don’t know about you, but I really miss those thoughts of considering taking out a second mortgage on the house to feed my three kids during the summer. Oh my word!  They all develop chronic hollow legs, and complain about starvation almost every waking moment of the day. Never do I ever spend as much on groceries during the year as I do those few months my kids are out of school.  Totally miss that strain on my budget!

The messes

Tripping over flips flops 187 times a day is my favorite. Wet bathing suits, wet towels, milk left out on the counter, juice stains on the couch (despite no juice on the couch rules), double the laundry because my kids insisted on wearing a minimum of 5 outfits a day in the summer time. Crumbs EVERYWHERE from the 10 snacks a day they stole from the kitchen. Yep, I totally miss getting after them all day long about cleaning up their messes and then doing it myself anyway…because, motherhood.

Being interrupted

I still have to work from home during the Summer, so I really miss trying to focus while being interrupted every 5 minutes to drive one kid here or there, to chase a dog down the street because a kid let it out (again), or to stop another argument while I am on the phone. I miss hearing “mom!!” every 45 seconds while I am in the bathroom too. Those are my favorite moments of Summer.

Having random kids in my house

Most of my kids “play dates” are planned, but I will never get used to extra kids running around my house, drinking my juice boxes and terrorizing my pets. It’s even more loud, more food gets eaten, someone almost always ends up crying and going home early, and something is always left behind which becomes an emergency to their parent.

“Omg, Chris left his broken Happy Meal toy from 3 years ago at your house, when can we come back to get it?!!”

I am trying to teach my kids that friendships are overrated, but they’re having none of it.  Sigh…

And so, despite missing my kids while they’re back at school, there are definitely some parts of Summer I won’t particularly miss! That is, until they’re off to College one day, and every single horrifying memory of Summer vacation magically turns sweet…

What do you “miss” about Summer time, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Let’s face it, if you’re a mom, especially in a new town, motherhood can be lonely sometimes. As women, we crave friendships with other women! We need that one-on-one adult conversation to keep us sane, validate us and to vent about the joys and challenges of parenting. The problem that many moms encounter though, is that making new mom friends is a lot like dating! It can be scary. There are real genuine fears involved. How do I start a conversation? What do I say? Will they like me? Will they want to hang out again?

 

Melody Jensen is a communications expert and shares a super easy and memorable “ice breaking” activity that can help ease some of those initial fears. Sometimes starting a conversation with any stranger can be an awkward situation, especially if you tend to be more of an introvert. This exercise is a visual you can store in your brain that can help in many social situations.  It’s called “the stack method”.  The point is to visualize things that will help you initiate a conversation, and then help the conversation flow smoothly.

 

First, visualize in your mind a house and raise it high in the sky. 

Next, picture a member of your family in the doorway. They are cheerful and waving hello. They’re happy to see you!

Now, picture a chimney on the top of the house and coming out of it is a skiier. (stay with me)

The skiier is holding a chef in his/her arms….

And finally, the chef is holding a giant pizza above their head. 

 

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Got it? Now you have a stacked image of various objects in your head.  And they have a purpose, I promise!

Remember the house? How it’s high in the sky? This reminds us to look up in social situations. We shouldn’t be looking down at our phones at the playground or on playdates. Looking up makes us more approachable and friendly, and opens opportunities to reach out to others around us.

The house reminds us to ask where a person is from. Other relatable questions could be: where do you live now? Do you love it? How long have you lived here?

Now, remember the family member smiling and waving in the doorway? This reminds us to smile and to be enthusiastic in social situations. Sometimes a smile can make all the difference. If we’re sitting looking indifferent, bored, or unenthusiastic it can come off as cold and aloof even if that’s not our intention. Make an active effort to smile. The family member in the door also helps us remember to ask questions like “who do you live with?” “how many are in your family?” “are you married?” “how long have you been married for?” “How old are your kids?” “do you get to see your parents very often?” etc…

The skiier represents interests. What do you like to do? What are your hobbies? Have you read any good books lately, or seen any good movies? These are all great questions to ask when meeting new moms or potential friends.

The chef represents occupation. Do you work? What do you do? What does your husband do? What did you go to school for?

And finally, everyone loves a pizza right? The pizza helps remind us of two things: What are your favorite things? For example, your favorite place to vacation, your favorite food, your favorite restaurant in town…these are all great questions to ask. It also reminds us to compliment the person about your favorite thing you’ve noticed about them. You could say “you have a great smile” or “I love your hair” or “what a cute shirt, where did you get it?” Sincerely complimenting someone helps to make you unforgettable, because they will always remember it!

If you can remember this “stack method” of visualizing conversation starters, you no longer have to worry about what to say, or how to start conversations, and you will be well on your way to making new mom friends in social situations! This is also helpful to teach your family so that your children will know how to make new friends as well!

Check out the video version of this method HERE.

Melody Jensen is also the host of Momscast, a podcast series dedicated to uplifting moms and building a mom community around the world. Check it out! 

 

 

 

 

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Most of us are aware of the phrase “the Winter Blues”, but the Summer Blues can be just as real for some moms, and it’s important to not only recognize this potential slump, but to actively find ways to beat it! Sometimes we have grand and lofty expectations of what Summer should be with our family. We envision schedules and day trips, an organized home and backyard BBQs with friends…but sometimes life happens, and we can feel overwhelmed. We can feel like we’ve let down our family, and ourselves. Unexpected trials and challenges often pop up, and those visions we had quickly fade away and we can be left feeling down. For some moms it can become a very real struggle, but there are ways to overcome these feelings when we recognize them. Melody Jensen recently shared four ways that we can beat the Summer blues with Good Things Utah, and they are very helpful tips!

 

 

1. Flip on the gratitude switch

Think of it as turning on a light switch. Suddenly things that weren’t visible in the dark, become visible again. Sometimes we need to actively be aware of the blessings we do have when things aren’t going as planned. Simple things like being able to feed your children, or drive a car instead of public transportation. Having electricity and a roof over our heads! We often take these conveniences for granted, but many people don’t have them and taking stock of the things that are right in our world, can often help us feel more uplifted.

2. Get your health checked

Sometimes moms just feel “off”. You may not be functioning very well, or you’re just more tired than usual and not feeling yourself. It’s important to get checked out by your doctor when you’re feeling this way. You could have a vitamin deficiency you’re not aware of, or a hormone imbalance, or your thyroid can be off.  These issues can absolutely cause us to feel down and depressed. We often think of our children and family before taking care of ourselves, but we have to feel our best in order to give our families our best! So make sure your health is in check.

3. One a day!

We all know about one a day vitamins, but there is another thing we should be adding to our lives once a day, especially when we are feeling down and depressed. When the blues hit us, we are often caught in a cycle of dwelling on our own problems and we can become consumed with ourselves and our situation. Actively commit to do something kind for someone else once a day.  This can be as simple as a genuine compliment, or leaving a small gift/note on a friend’s porch.  When we focus on other’s more instead of ourselves, our own burdens become lighter.

4. Express Yourself

Melody shares that she recently had a friend who was struggling and tragically committed suicide. She not only her took her own life, but she took her children’s as well. It’s so very important not to bottle up our feelings and struggle in silence. If you are depressed, overwhelmed, and in a very dark place, share those feelings with your loved ones, your friends, or your doctor. You don’t have to struggle alone. There is help. There is hope.

Melody Jensen is also the host of Momscast, which is a great podcast for moms intended to build a sense of community and lift us up! Moms from all over the world share their stories of trials and triumphs and the every day adventures of being a mom. Be sure to check it out! You can visit her Facebook page for more info.

Watch her interview with Good Things Utah for more helpful insights on how to beat the Summer Blues!

 

 

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As moms of young children, we typically spend our days changing diapers, picking up messes, folding laundry and cooking food no one wants to eat!  It can feel like a thankless job, and most of us also catch ourselves daydreaming from time to time….about a vacation, a night out, feeling pretty again, or even taking a shower….so, if you’re a mom, you will so get and appreciate this hilarious video created by Youtube family “The Murrays”!

 

They took Taylor Swift’s hit “Wildest Dreams” switched the lyrics around and made a parody about mom life and the dreams we may think up while we’re raising a family.  It’s pretty entertaining (mostly because I have had all these thoughts myself at one time or another!)  Enjoy!

 

 

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Some of us love it, some of us hate it, but it’s a necessary errand we all have to experience on a weekly basis (if not more)… it’s the highly anticipated trip to the grocery store.  Now, don’t get me wrong, if I don’t have kids with me, this can feel like a vacation.  If I do have kids with me, just don’t mind the “crazy lady” look in my eyes if we run into each other…  Either way, there are things us moms have all thought (or done) at one time or another while perusing the aisles of the supermarket:

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve been shopping here for 10 YEARS, and I still can’t find the juice box aisle”

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“I have the patience of a SAINT, a SAINT I tell you”

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“If they could open up more cash registers, that would be greeaat…”

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You feel like you’ve won the lottery when…

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You go to the grocery for two things and somehow come home with 6 grocery bags.

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If you’re shopping with kids you purposely find a check out line with NO candy (even if it’s longer)

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You’ve just spent $200 on healthy food for your family, but now you’re too exhausted to cook it…

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“I can do hard things…”

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You ask yourself why you even bother…

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“I can’t believe I forgot my list…again.

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Showers. There are days you may not even recognize the word, because showers are a luxury and a gift from the heavens when you’re a mom – especially of young children. The idea of a shower sometimes brings a longing sigh to a mother’s lips with that look of “I use to know you long ago”… If by chance you ever get to throw some water on yourself, chances are you’ve had one of the experiences listed below.

 

 

 

 

1. The “No-one’s-home-I-can-take-as-long-as-I-want” shower

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We all know these are like hitting the mom lottery.  They are so rare in fact that I questioned even bringing them up. They hardly ever happen, and on the odd occasion when they do, you are in that shower until the water runs cold, mama. Contemplating life’s deep complexities, actually using the deep conditioning hair mask you bought for yourself last year, and maybe even shaving the full length of your leg are all activities we can only dream of when this type of shower presents itself to us.

 

2. The “get-wet-and-get-out” shower

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You are most likely a pro at this particular shower, because moms get to have them all the time (ahem, or at least twice a week).  It’s usually when you’ve got 5 minutes to freshen up before chaperoning your kid’s field trip, or a doctor’s appointment, or when guests are coming over for dinner….and maybe if you’re lucky enough to go on a date with your significant other. Because really, who has time to shower unless you actually have to smell nice?

 

3. The “Mom-needs-a-time-out” shower

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Sometimes this may not actually end up as a shower, but just sitting on the toilet for 20 minutes while you take deep breaths, cry, eat some chocolate, or take a nap….whether or not you actually end up in the shower doesn’t really matter.  Sometimes we just need to lock that bathroom door and escape to sanity-land.  Really, it’s for the better of mankind.

 

4. The “kill-two-birds-with-one-stone” shower

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“Heck, I’m already in here so I may as well wash the bathtub and shower while I’m at it!” Moms are pros at multi-tasking, and taking a shower is no different.  We’re in there washing the tile, organizing shampoo and conditioner bottles, making grocery lists, packing lunches and pondering how much longer we can get away without replacing the shower liner…

 

5. The “spectator-sport” shower

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Oh yes, we have fans.  And they love us SO MUCH that they can’t bare to be a part from us for 5 minutes! This is the shower when our children bring their toys into the bathroom, and ask us 50 questions while we’re washing our hair, begging us to “look at this, mommy!” as shampoo lather slides down our face and burns our eyeballs.  They open the shower curtain or bang on the glass, and they make no sense because we can’t hear them over the water. They get frustrated, they cry, and you’re forced to end your shower early because the toilet is over flowing… it’s really the very best kind of shower.

 

6. The “more-the-merrier” shower

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This is when baby won’t bathe unless they’re with you, toddler won’t let you shower alone, you’re trying to save water, or the kids are gone and you and husband want to save water “together”…

Whatever the reason, chances are if you’re a mom, you’ve experienced having to share your shower space with another human being.  If you’re multi-tasking shower mom, you may have even taken a stinky dog in there with you from time to time.  That’s how we roll.

 

7.  The “Celine-Dion-in-Vegas” shower

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It really doesn’t matter if you have a good singing voice or not, because between the loud water, and the amazing acoustics you have the voice of an angel when you shower, and you know it. Not every day is a Celine Dion day, but on the days when you’re feeling extra sassy, or singing at the top of your lungs is a good alternative to screaming at the kids (which never happens) – this kind of shower can be a miracle worker.

 

8. The “shower? What’s-a-shower?” shower

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For those of you moms who don’t know what a shower is at all, and live off of dry shampoo and layers of deodorant, we feel you, and we are praying for you.

 

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We spend years teaching our children our “mother tongue” and how to communicate effectively.  Think of all the hours we put into reciting the alphabet with them, teaching them manners, proper grammar and how to read.  Why is it then, that by the time these little gems are teenagers we start realizing that their language is NOT really our language at all!  In fact, I am pretty certain at this point that my 3 kids have teamed up against me and decided that the English language just isn’t their thing.  Why? Because clearly they don’t understand a word I say!!  Here are 20 things I say on a regular basis, and how my kids interpret it.

 

 

 

Mom says:  I need to use the bathroom

Kid hears:  Ask me a million questions through the door, start crying, breathe heavily and whimper.  Stick small toys under the door.

 

Mom says:  Please put your backpack away

Kid hears:  please throw your backpack on the floor so I can trip over it and throw out my back.

 

Mom says: dinner time!

Kid hears: please keep playing Minecraft, we will happily wait another hour for you to finish building your world.

 

Mom says:  Have you done your homework?

Kid hears: please tell me the whole story about the funny joke you made during Math class….4 years ago.

 

Mom says: Clean your room

Kid hears: shove everything under your bed

 

Mom says:  Take your shoes off by the door

Kid hears:  Take one shoe off by the door and the other shoe off in the bathroom.  Also leave your pants on the bathroom floor while you’re at it.

 

Mom says: eat all your dinner

Kid hears: play with your food, tell me your tummy hurts and that you desperately need to go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW.

 

Mom says: don’t forget to brush your teeth!

Kid hears: wet your toothbrush and put it back in the holder

 

Mom says: get dressed please

Kid hears: stand in the middle of the living room with one sock on and watch cartoons

 

Mom says:  we need to go grocery shopping

Kid hears: please ask me for every treat in the store, I would love to buy you all the candy bars and ice cream

 

Mom says:  Shhh, I’m on the phone

Kid hears: now would be a perfect time to get into a fight with your sibling!

 

Mom says:  it’s bedtime

Kid hears:  You’re starving, thirsty and need to empty your bladder 3 times.

 

Mom says: close the fridge please

Kid hears:  close the fridge and leave all the cupboard doors open

 

Mom says: go find something to do

Kid hears: dump your entire tub of Legos on the living room floor, please!

 

Mom says: go to the bathroom before we leave

Kid hears: please wait 20 minutes more and pee your pants at Target

 

Mom says: stop running in the house

Kid hears: run faster and bust your head open.  Stitches are fun!

 

Mom says: smile for the camera!

Kid hears: push your sibling, close your eyes and sneeze.

 

Mom says:  Be nice to the kitty.

Kid hears:  Grab the cat’s tail

 

Mom says: don’t eat in your room

Kid hears: hide all the juice boxes and snack wrappers between your bed and wall

 

Mom says: I love you

Kid hears: you want that new Lego set?

 

What would you add to the list?

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Adele’s new single “Hello” has taken social media by storm, and along with it have come many comical parodies, but this one might take the cake because it hits home with moms in a hilarious way!

Singer/Songwriter Emily Mills clearly draws inspiration from her own mama experiences when she sings (“I must’ve tried a thousand times to tell her this homework is really breaking my heart”) and she reaches out to her mom friends when she says (“Mama, how you been? I can tell you’ve been stress-eating from the Cheetos on your hands”).  This parody will resonate with any mama out there, guaranteed.

So for all you moms calling out from the motherside, this one’s for you!!