Review : Keranique Hair Regrowth System

*this is a sponsored post, all opinions and experiences are my own*

Happy OCTOBER friends! Can you believe it’s finally here?? I know for me, it felt like September went by in a blink. I’m not mad about it though. October is one of my favorite months because you can FEEL the change of the seasons. Even here in Northern California where things feel unseasonably hot longer in the year, we are still blessed with crisp mornings and cool evenings. It’s also the gateway to my favorite time of the year: the holiday season! Who’s with me?? Any other crazy Christmas junkies out there?? I may or may not be listening to Christmas music already…

Along with the holiday season are more family gatherings, more holiday parties, and overall just more general social togetherness. I don’t know about you, but this always comes with the added pressure of feeling that I need to look my best, be my best self. We find the clothes with the best fit, the perfect nail polish to match, do our makeup just right, and primp our hair…but what if we are hyper self consious of all or any of those things? I know I am. And surely, I can’t be alone in this.

Having my babies, hormone imbalance, and the stress of everyday life have caused me to experience some hair loss. I notice hair in my hands when I shower, my hairline around my forehead is about half an inch higher than it was before having my kids (I jokingly call it my 5-head, but it’s really to hide my embarassment of it), and when I brush my hair, I notice excess amounts of hair coming out into the brush, even if I’m not pulling through tangles. It’s thinning, and it’s been happening for about 2 years or so. Now, this is not something we as women like to talk about, but it happens. And guess what? It’s actually pretty common.

There are many products on the market that claim to reverse these symptoms, stop them all together, and/or even help grow your hair back! I was sent the Keranique Hair Regrowth System through Statusphere to try for a month and share my honest review. Here’s my experience:

There are 3 steps to the Keranique Hair Regrowth System (which can be found at Keranique.com and Ulta stores nationwide) Shampoo & Condition, Hair Regrowth Treatment Spray, and the Lift & Repair Treatment Spray. Used in combination, this is said to pack a powerful punch to give you full, healthy, and strong hair. Just what every woman wants, right?

Unfortunately for me, that was not the case. I had issues immediately with the shampoo & conditioner. The bottle says to use “a small amount” in your hair and work through roots to tip. My hair is pretty thick (as in I have a lot of it, even though its thinning), and this small amount would not work its way through my hair or scalp no matter how much I massaged- it sat on my head in one spot until I combed it through. I let it sit on my scalp for several minutes before rinsing, and when I rinsed, my hair felt brittle and tangled. “ Okay…maybe this is just what happens before I condition…fingers crossed,” I thought to myself.
I followed similar steps for the conditioner…and unfortunately the results were the same…brittle, tangled, rough hair. I got out of the shower, patted dry, and completed the last two steps…following the directions carefully. These steps are to be applied to the problem areas. For me, that is around the front of my hairline.
It’s been several weeks of using these products (I wash my hair every 3-4 days, so that’s 4 washes), and for me, the only result I have is dry brittle hair, that is even more frizzy than before, and now damaged pieces of hair that have a strange “zig zag” texture….like if you’ve ever accidentally started to straighten your hair when it was still damp…like that…all over. (These photos are after air drying, brushing, and styling. It won’t flatten out or hold a soft curl like it normally does because it’s so damaged).
Friends, I know that these products have worked great for other women, and some of them I know personally..but I am in the few that did not have beneficial results. I’m pretty disappointed about what this product has done to my hair and I wouldn’t recommend it as the formula is right now…also- now I’m on the hunt for a super hydrating & repairing deep conditioner or serum. :/
Rating out of 10: 3 , the 3 is because I’ve seen it benefit other people’s’ hair.

Newborn Twin Must Haves

This post has been a LONG time coming, as my sweet little bundles of beans are now nearing three and a half— how the hell did that happen so fast?!

I have been wanting to compile a list of things that “came in clutch” during the ever challenging newborn phase of twin motherhood, but ya’ll parenthood is crazy, and my to do list just keeps getting longer, and the things I want to do usually get pushed down the priority list. 😆

At any rate, here’s how this post came to fruition originally: I scoured all my fav websites and networks as soon as I found out my twins were coming, in hopes of finding a “survival guide” of sorts – sounds harsh but I know moms of multiples know exactly what I’m talking about 😆- and I could find NOTHING…literally NUH-THEEEN-GUH! Fast forward to now, and I’ve had a ton of new friends connect with me over on the gram, and quite a few either have new twins, or just found out you were pregnant with them! I figured what better time than now to throw this out there and hopefully it helps either new twin parents or those of you that know and love someone with twins find some things that were pivotal in my sanity during that time!

So without further adieu, here it is! My top 10 Newborn Twin Must Haves!

 

1. Okkatots Diaper Bag

91rTChCG9eL._SX425_.jpg

This diaper bag from Okkatots is hands down the BEST Diaper Bag for Moms of Multiples . There is so much room inside, insulated pouches for storing milk, and tons of space for double of everything. Check out my full review here.

 

2. Gripe Water

Okay, I know it sounds crazy, but this stuff REALLY works. All three of my babies were colicky, but it seemed like Harrison especially had a really hard time. We loved this all natural gripe water from Mommy’s Bliss so much, not only for the relief on our eardrums, but on my sweet babies tummies. It finally gave them some relief to sleep & recoup after some pretty intense crying spells. Honestly, my only regret with this stuff is not knowing about it with my first born! There are some wonderful recipes we tried for homemade gripe water, but when you are a sleep deprived twin parent, sometimes it’s better for everyone to just have the bottle ready for convenience’s sake.

 

3. Soundbox/ White Noise App

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 10.50.58 PM.png

This app is a sleepy mamas dream. For real. It’s 100% free and my kids have all loved it so much they STILL use it today (my oldest is 5, guys, and he still loves his “white noise”.) We downloaded the app to our old phone, and use a Bluetooth speaker to amplify the noise- my kids prefer the crashing wave/ocean sound. With light sleepers like mine, having that extra noise to focus on really helps them get some deep restful sleep. You can download the whitenoise app here , and thank me later 😉.

 

4. Nipple Cream

618z-ZpiJBL._SL1500_.jpg

Let’s just preface this one by saying that I whole heartedly believe the saying “fed is best!” Thank goodness there are options for mamas out there who choose not to / are unable to breastfeed their babies. As long as those little bellies are full, thats what really matters, and at the end of the day we all just want what is best for our kids! That being said- I chose to breastfeed all my babies. It’s a lot of hard work, and totally exhausting, but for my family it was so worth it. If you do choose to nurse your twins, make sure to have some nipple cream at the ready because you are going to need it! I used this Lanonin (“l-lanonlin? like sheeps wool?”) Nipple Cream from Lanisoh and it worked wonders for my sore / cracked nipples. TMI? I don’t care!! Just get some, lather up, and trust me!

 

5. Breast Pump 

81UgfVP5yUL._SX425_.jpg

In jumping on with the breastfeeding topic in number 4 – girlfriend, for the love of all that is holy, get yourself a breast pump! For those nights when you want to get away and have a sitter, or if your friend or family member comes over so you can get a few hours of sleep during the day, a breast pump is going to be your best friend! I kept a stash of pumped breastmilk in my freezer at all times for occasions such as this and let me tell you it was a Godsend. It especially came in handy when I went back to work after having my oldest and wanted to continue breastfeeding him. I will admit- these are a bit on the pricy side, but believe me they are worth their weight in gold. I loved the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump. There ARE manual/hand pumps available that are totally  affordable if you are unable to get the electric pump, and they work well…they just require a little extra effort. Also, be sure to check with your insurance provider aswell because some will provide breastpumps to new/nursing moms!

 

6. Lavender Essential Oil

81vJ7qsiejL._SL1500_.jpg

Sister, this one is for you. Growing humans is hard. Raising humans is hard. BEING HUMAN IS friggin’ HARD! Do yourself a favor and take some time for you. I know…the thought of taking time for yourself is anxiety inducing, and the guilt that comes from fantasizing about having some alone time creeps in, but believe me when I say that self care/self preservation is essential in this parenthood business. You can’t fill others cups if yours is empty, right? So- run yourself a nice hot bath, play some Sigur Ros on that iphone of yours, squeeze a few drops (I do 6-8) of this lavender essential oil from Art Naturals in your bath water, and take a deep breath. Lavender is known for its abilities to relax the mind and body, and sister friend you deserve it!

 

7. SleepSack from HALO

81IVI4Jhv8L._SX425_.jpg

Babies are wriggly little things, there’s no denying it! Your twins have been cooped up in mama’s belly with their little womb-mates for 9 months and now that they have the opportunity to squirm every which way, they do! And at all hours of the night! Babies love the comfort that comes from being tucked up tight in a swaddle and it definitely helps them sleep better, but come midnight, or that dreaded 3am feeding time, who can sit there and try to function enough to perfectly wrap up your little burrito baby? We all slept MUCH better when we discovered these velcro SleepSack Swaddlers by HALO. They provide the comfort and benefits of a traditional swaddle without all of the effort – velcro rocks!

 

8. Zipper Jammies

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 8.37.24 PM.png

The number one item I tell people when they ask what they should get someone for a baby shower may not be what many people consider a must have, but I’m telling you – IT IS. Okay, so by now you can see this whole “anything that helps you sleep better” trend popping up, and it’s because these first few months are soooo hard with twins. ZIPPER JAMMIES, you guys. I promise you, you will love them. Single babies dirty their diapers a lot. Right? Now times that by two? Now add in feedings every couple of hours. Now times that by two! Now subtract ALL the sleep. Now tell me, do you really want to sit there and snap those little onesie crotch buttons every time you have to change a diaper in the middle of the night? The answer is no…No, you don’t. Zippers. Trust me.

 

9. Boppy Lounger

81I+qrE7bJL._SX425_.jpg

As much as I LOVED (and still love) holding my babies, it’s important to have a safe and soft spot to lay them down when you have to be doing something else with your hands. We LOVED the Boppy Loungers -be sure to follow the directions on how to use with your newborn- and I loved that they were perfect for positioning the kids for tummy time as they got bigger and held their heads up!

 

10. Mother’s Milk Tea

51DvbQ9tMBL._SX425_.jpg

Number 10. Here it is. I went back and forth with what I wanted to pick to fill the last spot on this list, but here it is. I chose the Organic Mother’s Milk Tea from Traditional Medicinals for two reasons. Reason number one being that sometimes in our nursing period, our body naturally wants to taper off our milk supply (totally normal by the way), and this super yummy tea with fenugreek and other helpful lactation ingredients work to naturally increase your milk supply. Pretty important when you have 2 little mouths to feed! The second reason is that it was my way intentionally of doing something for myself in a time where I struggled through some pretty severe PPD. It was a nice hot cup of goodness to help me be present and have a few minutes of self care time. Parenting though Post-Partum Depression is a hard and scary thing to do, and feelings of inadequacy creep in when your milk dwindles (which again is totally natural and normal). The little boost I got from taking that time to breathe along with the fact that it actually really DID increase my milk supply for my twins was amazing. I’d call it a win win for sure.

 

And there you have it. My No B.S. Top 10 Newborn Twin Must Haves (which is not sponsored by the way!)

I hope that this list is helpful for you as a new mama of 1,2 or many babies, or that it helps you find something for someone you love with a baby on the way!

As promised, here is my Shopable Amazon Influencer list, which has all of these items and many of my other favorite things for your shopping / wish list adding pleasure!

Let me know if this list is helpful to you, or what other items you would add to your baby registry must have list in the comments below!

*Please note that my Amazon site may contain affiliate links, which means a percentage of your purchase may be kicked back to me. Shopping through these links will not affect your purchase in any way, other than that a portion of it may go to helping support my little blog, which my family and I appreciate!

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Newborn Twin Must Haves

This post has been a LONG time coming, as my sweet little bundles of beans are now nearing three and a half— how the hell did that happen so fast?!

I have been wanting to compile a list of things that “came in clutch” during the ever challenging newborn phase of twin motherhood, but ya’ll parenthood is crazy, and my to do list just keeps getting longer, and the things I want to do usually get pushed down the priority list. 😆

At any rate, here’s how this post came to fruition originally: I scoured all my fav websites and networks as soon as I found out my twins were coming, in hopes of finding a “survival guide” of sorts – sounds harsh but I know moms of multiples know exactly what I’m talking about 😆- and I could find NOTHING…literally NUH-THEEEN-GUH! Fast forward to now, and I’ve had a ton of new friends connect with me over on the gram, and quite a few either have new twins, or just found out you were pregnant with them! I figured what better time than now to throw this out there and hopefully it helps either new twin parents or those of you that know and love someone with twins find some things that were pivotal in my sanity during that time!

So without further adieu, here it is!

My top 10 Newborn Twin Must Haves!

 

1. Okkatots Diaper Bag

91rTChCG9eL._SX425_.jpg

This diaper bag from Okkatots is hands down the BEST Diaper Bag for Moms of Multiples . There is so much room inside, insulated pouches for storing milk, and tons of space for double of everything. Check out my full review here.

 

2. Gripe Water

Okay, I know it sounds crazy, but this stuff REALLY works. All three of my babies were colicky, but it seemed like Harrison especially had a really hard time. We loved this all natural gripe water from Mommy’s Bliss so much, not only for the relief on our eardrums, but on my sweet babies tummies. It finally gave them some relief to sleep & recoup after some pretty intense crying spells. Honestly, my only regret with this stuff is not knowing about it with my first born! There are some wonderful recipes we tried for homemade gripe water, but when you are a sleep deprived twin parent, sometimes it’s better for everyone to just have the bottle ready for convenience’s sake.

 

3. Soundbox/ White Noise App

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 10.50.58 PM.png

This app is a sleepy mamas dream. For real. It’s 100% free and my kids have all loved it so much they STILL use it today (my oldest is 5, guys, and he still loves his “white noise”.) We downloaded the app to our old phone, and use a Bluetooth speaker to amplify the noise- my kids prefer the crashing wave/ocean sound. With light sleepers like mine, having that extra noise to focus on really helps them get some deep restful sleep. You can download the whitenoise app here , and thank me later 😉.

 

4. Nipple Cream

618z-ZpiJBL._SL1500_.jpg

Let’s just preface this one by saying that I whole heartedly believe the saying “fed is best!” Thank goodness there are options for mamas out there who choose not to / are unable to breastfeed their babies. As long as those little bellies are full, thats what really matters, and at the end of the day we all just want what is best for our kids! That being said- I chose to breastfeed all my babies. It’s a lot of hard work, and totally exhausting, but for my family it was so worth it. If you do choose to nurse your twins, make sure to have some nipple cream at the ready because you are going to need it! I used this Lanonin (“l-lanonlin? like sheeps wool?”) Nipple Cream from Lanisoh and it worked wonders for my sore / cracked nipples. TMI? I don’t care!! Just get some, lather up, and trust me!

 

5. Breast Pump 

81UgfVP5yUL._SX425_.jpg

In jumping on with the breastfeeding topic in number 4 – girlfriend, for the love of all that is holy, get yourself a breast pump! For those nights when you want to get away and have a sitter, or if your friend or family member comes over so you can get a few hours of sleep during the day, a breast pump is going to be your best friend! I kept a stash of pumped breastmilk in my freezer at all times for occasions such as this and let me tell you it was a Godsend. It especially came in handy when I went back to work after having my oldest and wanted to continue breastfeeding him. I will admit- these are a bit on the pricy side, but believe me they are worth their weight in gold. I loved the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump. There ARE manual/hand pumps available that are totally  affordable if you are unable to get the electric pump, and they work well…they just require a little extra effort. Also, be sure to check with your insurance provider aswell because some will provide breastpumps to new/nursing moms!

 

6. Lavender Essential Oil

81vJ7qsiejL._SL1500_.jpg

Sister, this one is for you. Growing humans is hard. Raising humans is hard. BEING HUMAN IS friggin’ HARD! Do yourself a favor and take some time for you. I know…the thought of taking time for yourself is anxiety inducing, and the guilt that comes from fantasizing about having some alone time creeps in, but believe me when I say that self care/self preservation is essential in this parenthood business. You can’t fill others cups if yours is empty, right? So- run yourself a nice hot bath, play some Sigur Ros on that iphone of yours, squeeze a few drops (I do 6-8) of this lavender essential oil from Art Naturals in your bath water, and take a deep breath. Lavender is known for its abilities to relax the mind and body, and sister friend you deserve it!

 

7. SleepSack from HALO

81IVI4Jhv8L._SX425_.jpg

Babies are wriggly little things, there’s no denying it! Your twins have been cooped up in mama’s belly with their little womb-mates for 9 months and now that they have the opportunity to squirm every which way, they do! And at all hours of the night! Babies love the comfort that comes from being tucked up tight in a swaddle and it definitely helps them sleep better, but come midnight, or that dreaded 3am feeding time, who can sit there and try to function enough to perfectly wrap up your little burrito baby? We all slept MUCH better when we discovered these velcro SleepSack Swaddlers by HALO. They provide the comfort and benefits of a traditional swaddle without all of the effort – velcro rocks!

 

8. Zipper Jammies

Screen Shot 2018-08-10 at 8.37.24 PM.png

The number one item I tell people when they ask what they should get someone for a baby shower may not be what many people consider a must have, but I’m telling you – IT IS. Okay, so by now you can see this whole “anything that helps you sleep better” trend popping up, and it’s because these first few months are soooo hard with twins. ZIPPER JAMMIES, you guys. I promise you, you will love them. Single babies dirty their diapers a lot. Right? Now times that by two? Now add in feedings every couple of hours. Now times that by two! Now subtract ALL the sleep. Now tell me, do you really want to sit there and snap those little onesie crotch buttons every time you have to change a diaper in the middle of the night? The answer is no…No, you don’t. Zippers. Trust me.

 

9. Boppy Lounger

81I+qrE7bJL._SX425_.jpg

As much as I LOVED (and still love) holding my babies, it’s important to have a safe and soft spot to lay them down when you have to be doing something else with your hands. We LOVED the Boppy Lounger -be sure to follow the directions on how to use with your newborn- and I loved that they were perfect for positioning the kids for tummy time as they got bigger and held their heads up!

 

10. Mother’s Milk Tea

51DvbQ9tMBL._SX425_.jpg

Number 10. Here it is. I went back and forth with what I wanted to pick to fill the last spot on this list, but here it is. I chose the Organic Mother’s Milk Tea from Traditional Medicinals for two reasons. Reason number one being that sometimes in our nursing period, our body naturally wants to taper off our milk supply (totally normal by the way), and this super yummy tea with fenugreek and other helpful lactation ingredients work to naturally increase your milk supply. Pretty important when you have 2 little mouths to feed! The second reason is that it was my way intentionally of doing something for myself in a time where I struggled through some pretty severe PPD. It was a nice hot cup of goodness to help me be present and have a few minutes of self care time. Parenting though Post-Partum Depression is a hard and scary thing to do, and feelings of inadequacy creep in when your milk dwindles (which again is totally natural and normal). The little boost I got from taking that time to breathe along with the fact that it actually really DID increase my milk supply for my twins was amazing. I’d call it a win win for sure.

 

And there you have it. My No B.S. Top 10 Newborn Twin Must Haves (which is not sponsored by the way!)

I hope that this list is helpful for you as a new mama of 1,2 or many babies, or that it helps you find something for someone you love with a baby on the way!

As promised, here is my Shopable Amazon Influencer list, which has all of these items and many of my other favorite things for your shopping / wish list adding pleasure!

Let me know if this list is helpful to you, or what other items you would add to your baby registry must have list in the comments below!

*Please note that my post may contain affiliate links, which means a percentage of your purchase may be kicked back to me. Shopping through these links will not affect your purchase in any way, other than that a portion of it (cents) may go to helping support my little blog, which my family and I appreciate!

 

 

 

 

Mom N’ Tot Box Review + Discount Code

It’s no secret that my family and I LOVE our subscription boxes! Whether for adults, kids, or pets, there really is something out there for everyone. But what if there was a box for adults AND kids?…. Well, there IS, and it’s pretty dang cool.

*this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own*

Mom ‘N Tot Boxes are a monthly subscription box for kids AND moms curated by owner/creator and mother of two, Rana Longworth. Rana is passionate about spreading the small-biz love, and that’s why she hand selects each item of the month from various small businesses that will be fun and exciting for the kids, plus a little something extra for Mom. There are several different subscription options to chose from including monthly, three month, and a sibling box (which is what we received).

The kids were thrilled when we received their box! It was like Christmas came early this year! Our box included two matching donut tees from Kinderfolk, two wooden dragons from U.S. Wood Toys , Washable Bath Crayons from Messy Play Kits, two wooden peg doll unicorns from Wahoozle Hut Toys, and two stuffed felt donuts from Muffin Bub Dolls for the twins. On top of the treats for the kids, the box also had the most adorable pair of green women’s fashion socks from Lisa B. for me. Plus the socks are my favorite color, so these babies are going to get LOTS of wear!

Everything we received is such wonderful quality, from the wooden peg dolls, to the t-shirts (which we did receive two of, and Harrison decided to get messy before we took these pics 😆) and everything in between. We couldn’t be more pleased with these new toys that I’m sure will last us for years to come! The peg dolls and dragons have already made it out of the house with us on several occasions. They are perfect for keeping in the diaper bag for imaginative play on-the-go!

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
a Mom N’ Tot box for yourself, or to gift to friends and family ( Christmas is just around the corner!), click here, and follow these easy steps:

1. Choose Your Plan

2. Tell them about you and your child(ren) – Age, Gender and Clothing size. Include this information in the notes section with your payment.

3. Order by the 15th of each of month to be sent out by the 1st of the following month.

4. Get your Mom ‘N Tox box in the mail.

PLUS, Rana has been so generous to share an exclusive discount code with you! Use code subscribe10 for $10 off your first subscription!

It’s that easy!…

< strong>Overall, we had a wonderful experience with Mom N’ Tot box. Rana is so friendly and thoughtful, not only are the products she hand selects wonderful quality, but I love that she believes so strongly in shopping small! These boxes are a perfect treat for you and your kids!

Growing Little Readers with BookRoo

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.*

Did you know that September is national literacy month?! I wish I could say that as a kid, I loved to read…but that would be a lie. Throughout elementary school, I distinctly remember dreading any reading lessons that were assigned- especially reading aloud. I read very slowly, fumbled on my words, and didn’t comprehend what I was reading. The words were just words on a page, and nothing more.

If it were up to little Kimi, I would have given up reading for leisure the day I graduated elementary school, but I’m SO glad that’s not the case. I realized I wasn’t comprehending because I was too nervous about what others thought of my reading abilities, so there wasn’t enough room to soak in the beautiful stories over the noise of my own insecurities. I never loved to read because since realizing I was behind in kindergarten, I had continued to feel that I was behind and inadequate. I felt like every other student was somehow better than me, and instead of wanting to get better, it made me want to give up!

Fortunately, that realization sparked something inside of me and between that and my curiosity (or nosiness?) and desire to constantly be learning and growing, I have become a total lover of books! So much so in fact that I want to be sure that I pass this on to my kids. We did a book raffle at my oldests’ baby shower instead of a diaper raffle, my twins’ nursery theme was children’s literature, and my daughter is named after the author of my favorite book: Harper Lee.
I want to give my children the amazing gift of an EARLY love of reading and the confidence that comes with it, so when I first heard about BookRoo, I was beyond excited!

Created by three sisters-in-law, moms, and book lovers, BookRoo is a unique subscription box for kids: they deliver absolutely beautiful children’s books to your door every month! They are hand wrapped like little gifts for your kids to unwrap, and packaged in recycled (and recycleable!) boxes!

Their mission is to enable and empower parents to build their children’s book collections in an affordable and exciting way through curated monthly book deliveries! They believe in the power and impact of the written word in the life of a child, and believe it’s never too early to start reading to children!

BookRoo believes as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did that:

“It is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own.”

One of the most beautiful things about this box for me, is the excitement that my kids had when opening their boxes. They WANTED to read!! I mean, look at those smiles!! Total win!!

So how does it work?:

There are two levels of boxes for your readers: picture books (which come with two books per box), and board books for younger readers (which come with three books). They carefully source hidden gems; books that aren’t easily found in stores and online in hopes of adding to your collection with books you don’t have yet! These books are highly recommended and reviewed by a panel of 12 families attending Stanford University and their combined 22 kids before they make their way into your box!
Overall, we are SO excited about BookRoo and HIGHLY reccommend these boxes! I seriously couldn’t wait to share this blog post with you!!

There are several subscription options available to you, as well as the option to gift  a box! Check out Bookroo, and get your own box here !

How to be Present as a Work at Home Mom

 


It’s been about 2 1/2 years since “officially” leaving my previous 9-5 employer of 8 years. I was put on bed rest during my twin pregnancy in January ’15, welcomed my little preemies to the world that March, and resigned that July.  Staying home to raise our kids was the best decision my husband and I have ever made for our family, but it has no doubt been a challenge…and, I say that with total gratitude and in the best way possible.

Anyone with kids understands that being a parent is totally a thankless job. It’s kind of just part of the gig. It’s what we sign up for. And whether you work out of the home, stay at home, or work from home, I believe it’s indeed the single most important position we as parents will hold in our lifetimes.

I have been on all sides of the above (as far as working situations go) in my short 4 and something years as a mother, and all have their ups and downs, and one is no more or less acceptable or okay than the other. We’re all just trying to do the best we can for our kids, and I love that.

Now, I just have to say that I won’t try to pretend that I have it all together, because truth is- most days I flounder about & fail five times times before I succeed. But that’s all part of personal growth, and part of teaching my kids that it’s okay make mistakes, as long as we try (and try and try..) to do better. Hey, I’m human …and unless there’s some new crazy robotics technology that I’m not aware of, I’m pretty sure you are too.

So here is my experience, for whatever it’s worth.

Transitioning from a consistent paycheck, deadlines, and even appreciations for a job well done to 24/7 selflessness and perpetual sleep deprivation is a heavy transition.
Over the past 2.5 years I’ve been consumed with guilt for not “working” (in the traditional sense of course), and overwhelmed with gratitude & humility at the opportunity that has been presented to me to stay home and raise my children- my lifelong dream. I know that none of this would be possible without having to face the hard challenges that we did, and without the help of my incredibly supportive family. I am forever grateful for the opportunity and know that in this day and age it is so much harder to come by. I don’t want to take that for granted.

This lifestyle has no doubt  taken much sacrifice of not only the life we once lived, but of self, and of expectations.
Most days, I try to fill the time between naps with my odd jobs- lettering and design work, social media consulting, and this blog. And once my husband gets home, my nights are filled with my actual job, doing photography and imaging for a top jewelry retailer, a job I absolutely love.

Doing these things definitely helps with the guilt trips I put on myself, but I have learned that there is definitely an art to balancing the hustle with the little ones still in tow.

It’s hard work to try to do it all. When this work life balance is off kilter, enter the anxiety and the mommy guilt for not feeling present or spending enough time on the house and with the kids.

I put together a simple list of things I do to remind myself to be present while working at home, keeping the balance. Please keep in mind that I am in no way an expert on this topic (an expert at changing diapers maybe, but a life coach I am not!). I am just sharing the things that have worked for me. I hope these tips help you in your work at home journey!:

1. Set work hours:
Give yourself designated hours to work (I know, it’s ALL work when you’re an at home parent…here, I’m talking about your income producing tasks) and stick to them. Whether this means waking up before the kids to check your emails and reply to clients, or going full on after their bed time, do what works for you! It helps you get into that routine again, and the kids know that your work hours are for helping the family. They may still tug on your shirt and want you to play, and that’s okay too. Just get back to it when you can, or start over the next day. It’s a process to adjust to, but it has definitely helped me! I have 3 under 5- an almost 5 year old and 2 year old twins, and they constantly want to play (which I LOVE), so I set my hours for nap time and after bed time so I can be as present as possible while they’re awake.

2.Unplug:
…depending on the type of work you do, of course. For me, this is a no brainer…but sometimes it’s easier said then done. Let family time be family time. When you aren’t working, leave your devices in another room. (Especially during meals and story time!)

3. Get on their level:
It really helps me to sit down on the floor at my kids’ level. I experience the world through their eyes, and am reminded what a precious fleeting season of life this is! While it’s important for you to have something for you (part of why I personally choose to work from home), it’s also extremely important for your kids to know they are your priority. Mine get so excited when I’m down on the ground playing with them, plus I win “cool points”, and as a mom, I can never really get enough of those from my kids…I wonder if I can stockpile a surplus of them for the teenage years to come….is that how that works?

4. Keep a daily schedule:
I started doing this again maybe a week or so ago, and boy- I wish I had done it sooner. This totally streamlines my day! I made a schedule with times, and three different columns (mommy, Jude, and twins- can be edited depending on your kids’ ages to mommy, baby, toddler, etc.) I write out per hour or so what we normally do in each time, and find the slots where I can get my work done while the kids are occupied with other things. This will surely vary based on your situation, and can seem sort of extreme, but for a crazy multitasker with anxiety like myself- it has SO helped. This is not all to say that you have to stick strictly to the schedule (because we ALL know, when a child refuses to nap, all bets are off…), but helps serve as a guide to a productive work day AND a productive parenting day, while still allowing your kids to do their thing. (I will upload a free printable template if there is a desire for it!)

5. Let them “help” you work:
Whenever there are tasks that I can have my almost 5 year old help me with, he jumps on them! Whether it’s stamping or sealing envelopes, picking out designs, offering color suggestions, grabbing me a certain pen or paintbrush- he eats it up! Get them involved and let them know that you value their help and “expertise”.

6. Eat together: 
This is SO important for our family. Even though we moved halfway across the country, are living with family, and have crazy schedules, we have and will always make it a point to sit down and have dinner together. Some nights, my husband may work and it’s just me and the kids, but I so treasure this time with them. My 3 year old and I talk about our day (while I also negotiate with him over taking 5 more bites of his food lol), talk about our feelings, plan exciting and fun things to do for the next day. We are totally in eachothers company, and totally present. It is definitely my favorite part of the day.

7. Breathe & give yourself some grace!: 
I’m going to be real with you. All of these things are awesome, IF you can remember to do them everyday. I am the QUEEN of beating myself up…no really. I am constantly fudging up, giving myself guilt trips and telling myself I’m no good at what I’m doing. I feel guilty for not working, but would feel even more guilty for leaving. I have good days and bad days. But you know what, I have a feeling that THAT’S MOTHERHOOD! Some days are amazing and I am present, and happy, and the kids are happy, and everything flows. Other days, I feel like crying and I want to stay in my sweats all day and binge watch OUAT with a 5 Lb bag of Jelly Bellys (don’t judge me, sister)! If you are still learning this balancing act, which I think, for me at least, is going to be a life long thing- take a step back, take a deep breath, give yourself some grace, and go love on those kids. Remember, you’re doing the best you can. They just want YOU, your love and your attention. They are the reason we do this, after all.

 

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*Thanks for taking the time and reading! Please, say hello! I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please keep it friendly, this is a community based on support and encouragement ❤️.

Make Yourself at Home

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I am starting this blog to share my journey as a work at home mama of 3, an illustrative designer and letter, wife, believer, celiac, and California girl living in Texas, and living with anxiety. I am a wearer of many hats, as I believe a lot of women are, and I would love to build a community of readers who support and encourage each other. My hope is to not only share with you bits of my life, but that I would get a peek into yours as well, growing friendships, learning new things, and adding value to each other’s lives! Join me on this crazy adventure; of a creative soul, saved by Grace and fueled by coffee!