How to Turn Off the Television for Good!

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Any other millennial mothers out there tired of hearing that we need to take the tablets, phones, and electronics away from our children? Me too! Our children are going to grow up in a world surrounded by technology, why shouldn’t we let them start learning how to use it now? Well… Science, that’s why. Damn you Science!!!

Here is the reality, kids spend way too much time watching TV or playing Video games. Sadly, so do adults. The average adult watches 5 hours of TV per day. The average 2-11 year old watches 4 hours of TV a day. That is heartbreaking! Honestly, I thought the 2 hours of TV per day that was recommended was excessive. This includes time playing on tablets as well!

Children need time to be bored, to use their imagination, and to fall in love with books. In order to achieve this, they have to step away from the TV and put the tablets down! Easier said than done right? You are correct, it is NOT EASY to turn off the TV. Watching television is addicting and with Netflix and no commercials, it’s easier than ever to spend a few hours every evening binge watching your favorite show! Follow these steps to turn off the TV for good.

1. Get Active! Think Hiking, Local Rec Center or YMCA, Bike Riding, etc…

REDcoyote-08761Bike riding and hiking have become two of our favorite activities to do as a family when the weather is nice, and we have a local Recreational Center with a little rock wall for the kids and an indoor swimming pool to get out and get some endorphins flowing! Also, the trampoline is great during the summer and the local playground!

 

2. Find New Indoor Hobbies! Think Board games, Musical Instruments, and Crafts!

My 5-year-old daughter and my husband recently started learning how to play the ukuleleimg_8472 together. She has a soprano ukulele (which is the smallest one) and he has the mid-size, the concert ukulele. It is small enough that my daughter can play it comfortably and it is fun for my son and I to dance around or sing along as they are playing. We also have evenings where my son throw a tantrum because he wants to play but he will probably break the strings, it’s called balance. You will be surprised how fast an hour will go by playing a musical instrument instead of watching the latest drama on Netflix.

We have also started playing more board and card games. Most recently we had an evening where we played “Big Bang Theory Clue” so it wasn’t people getting murdered it was the friends from Big Bang Theory doing horrible things like dismantling the Shelbot, it was a lot of fun! My daughter who is 5-years-old (almost 6) got the hang of it pretty quickly and loved that she was playing a big kid game, and my son who just turned 3 was in charge of rolling the dice for everybody. He also re-arranged the characters on a regular basis. With younger children don’t expect board games to go smoothly, the rules are more of general guidelines.

3. Let Them BE BORED!! This is the most important step. 

This is probably also the hardest part, because in the first couple of weeks there will probably be a lot of complaining and depending on the age of your children possibly evenmaddie-running some tantrums of epic proportions. The first two weeks my son threw a fit every night and there were even a few times my daughter would throw a fit and declare “it was the worst day ever!” Stand firm Mama, they’ll get used to it.

The other day some of my daughter’s friends came over and one of them asked if they could watch TV and my daughter responded without any fanfare, “Oh we don’t watch TV at my house, but we can play with bubbles!” Just remember, the tantrums won’t last forever.

This will also probably lead to a messier household, especially when they are young and to entertain themselves they do things like decorate the house with toilet paper, cut up paper from their arts and crafts bin into copious amounts of confetti, and re-organize your fridge; my son had all three of those things done within two hours yesterday. It will be frustrating, your house will be messy, and you will want to turn on the TV, but take a deep breath and tell yourself, “it’s ok, they are learning.”

4. You Have to Quit Too! 

Maybe this is the hardest step. You can’t expect your kids to not watch TV or stay off the tablets while you are binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. I know you are tired, for crying out loud we have to go to work all day and then come home and take care of everything at home, you just want a quiet evening with the TV! I get it, I’ve been there too. Once your kids have broken the habit of watching TV, I think it can be re-introduced within moderation (personally I think 4-5 hours per week is plenty). Find new books that you love! Utilize your local library whenever possible! When your kids are young try and read paper books, they don’t understand that you are reading books on your tablet not playing games. They just see you on the tablet and think that it’s not fair!

You can get some friends together and start a book club or game night! Added bonus, your kids will be used to entertaining themselves better so you might actually be able to have some grown up conversations with your friends while the kids are playing in their room or the backyard!

5. Stand Firm. Commit. You Got This! 

There will be times when it won’t seem worth it, but when you see your kids fall in love with books, fall in love with the outdoors, start to build things and create, and most importantly make lasting memories, and it will all be worth it!

Comment below with your favorite alternative activities to watching TV!

 

 

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Should Mother’s Work Outside the Home?

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Has anybody else seen the pictures and videos on how much a stay at home mom is worth? Recently I have seen multiple on Facebook, you can find articles in Forbes magazine, and I just came across this infograph at salary.com depicting the different roles a stay at home mom must fill and how much each role is worth. As a side note, when you look up how much a CEO is worth, somebody of a CEO caliber is able to read an entire paragraph and decipher a graph, but apparently anybody considering the value of a stay at home mom needs pictures (insert eye roll, but giggle at the same time because I believe it’s healthy to laugh at absurd ideas).

Here is the link to the infograph I found: http://www.salary.com/stay-at-home-mom-infographic/ and the picture is at the end of this blog as well. Please note, I did not create this infograph and all credit goes to salary.com for the infograph and related data.

First of all, if you want to be a stay at home mom and that makes you happy, that is worth much more than $113,000 per year, or even 1 million a year in my opinion, so if you are happy being a stay at home mom, or aspire to be, Do IT, and when someone tells you that you are worth $113,000 per year, laugh at them and say “I’m worth so much more than that honey” and walk away with a mic drop!

However, this blog is intended for the young girls and women who want to have a career outside the home and have a family. I believe the intent of finding the worth of a stay at home mom (or dad) was to defend the brave men and women who stay home and manage the household, which is a worthy cause, but I have noticed a disturbing trend where women who do not want to be a stay at home parent feel obligated to stay home because they can’t make $113,000 per year outside the home. If you are one of these women, this blog is for you!

If you read my previous blog, you already know that it was difficult for me to decide to work outside the home, which is partly what inspired me to write this blog as well, but even more so was an experience I had with a young mother a few years ago.

I was visiting one of my neighbors in my apartment complex, trying to get to know other women in my church better. This was the first time I had ever spoken to this young mother other than a hello at church. It took all of 10 minutes for her to break down sobbing, which was awkward because we had been talking about kids and I was happily going on about how fun it was to have a girl (her daughter was 3 at the time). For the next hour and a half, I quietly listened to this young mother’s story.

She had married young to a very good looking and promising man she met at college. She was excited to be married, be a mom, and happily raise her future children. She had been working through college, but quit to work full time as a receptionist at a Dental Clinic while her husband finished school. She loved going to work and wanted to go back to school to become a dental hygienist. Unfortunately, she was pregnant, and her husband pointed out that it wouldn’t be worth the time and money for her to go back to school and she would barely make more than the cost of daycare as a dental hygienist anyway. She agreed and after she had her daughter she stayed home, worked hard to keep her apartment clean and had dinner on the table every night when her husband came home from work. If this was how the story ended and she decided she enjoyed her life, then there wouldn’t be anything wrong with it. Unfortunately, that was not the end of the story. She was miserable, she felt incredibly anxious and depressed so her doctor prescribed her medicine for her depression and anxiety, but then she didn’t have the energy to clean her apartment every day and have dinner ready, so the doctor prescribed her an additional medication to give her energy and motivation. That helped but the medications gave her erratic mood swings. She was crying through this entire hour and a half long story, so I really didn’t need the litany of medications to know that she was miserable, but it definitely emphasized her dire situation. Her 3-year-old daughter came into the living room twice while I was there, once to show her mom that the tablet had died, so the young mother gave her daughter her cell phone and then once again to go to a new app on the phone. By her daughter’s lack of reaction, I’m guessing seeing her mother crying was a regular occurrence and not a cause for alarm.

Now, this is most likely an extreme case, but I doubt it’s an isolated case. If you enjoy having a job or have career goals that require you to work outside the home, do it! Be a Working Mom and be happy! Remember how I said being happy is worth 1 million per year? If working makes you happy, it probably makes you a better mom as well.

That’s the emotional side of the cost/benefit analysis of being a working mom versus a stay at home mom, but let’s tackle this infograph real quick as well.

Facilities Manager: 10.7 hours per week. I am not even sure what that means, but I have yet to meet a working mom who is paying for a facilities manager.

CEO: I’m guessing this means making the household decisions? Once again, working mothers do not hire somebody else to make family decisions.

Laundry Operator: If you want to be a working mom but are worried you cannot keep up with the laundry, or cannot afford to pay someone else to do your laundry, I have found the easiest way to do this is to keep your washer and dryer working (my washer and dryer have yet to send me bill for their services). Change the laundry in the morning before you go to work, change it when you get home, and wash bedding on the weekend. When I fold (which it be honest is not every day), I do it while my 5-year-old daughter is reading one of her books to me, so it doesn’t feel like a waste of time.

Computer Operator: Seriously? This is the digital age, our 3-year-old children can operate a computer.

Housekeeper: I’m not going to lie, I could use a housekeeper, but we have a fairly small house, my kids are already helping out (for some reason my kids think mopping and doing the dishes is really fun), and my husband cleans just as much as I do, so our house is at least sanitary most of the time.

Cook: We have home cooked, healthy meals almost every night, if few exceptions. Someday I’m going to blog or do a YouTube video on how I cook dinner. Usually my husband and I get home about the same time so he helps, but even when I get home before him, I can have dinner on the table within 25 minutes, and I don’t use any prepackaged or processed foods. Occasionally I use canned foods such as stewed tomatoes.

Daycare Teacher: You will likely pay for daycare. There are a lot of wonderful daycares who have teachers with a degree in early childhood development, or in home daycares run by men and women who have a knack for teaching young children. Do your research to be sure your kids are in a great place and know they are doing fine.

Van Driver: Uh-oh, I just realized I do not have a designated license to drive a minivan. Let me schedule a trip with the DMV to get my minivan driver certification.

Janitor: When your kids are super young, yes it will be exhausting cleaning up after them, but as they get older, they should learn how to clean up after themselves anyway!

Psychologist: If your child needs psychiatric help and you are not a licensed psychiatrist, you should probably defer this role to the professionals.

Overtime: 54.7 hours– Don’t worry, you will still work this 54.7 hours of overtime at home as a working mom!

I grew up with a working mom. She still made it to almost all our extracurricular activities, for the few that she missed, she would excitedly listen to us recount the event while we folded laundry or did dishes together afterward. She still helped us with our homework after she got home from work.

In my own life, I believe my husband and I have a much healthier relationship than we would if I was a stay at home mom, because it is easy to see each other as equals. We both work all day, we both come home and keep the laundry going, read to the kids (or my husband usually plays the ukulele with them), and get them ready for bed. We make household decisions together over coffee in the morning or tea in the evening, which is critical bonding time for us.

If you want to be a working mom don’t let anybody tell you that you are obligated to be a stay at home mom. If you aspire to have a career outside the home, there is always a way to make it happen. Find your own path to happiness!

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Cover Photo Credit: Jimmy Bay (Over App)

 

 

 

 

Nov 1st- Christmas Decorating Starts Today

This is it, we have been preparing for this day for the last 10 months, and now we are finally ready to being decorating for Christmas! You should be all hopped up on sugar from the mandatory tax you took on your kids Halloween Candy last night and hopefully your husband woke you up with a celebratory Pumpkin Spice or Peppermint Mocha to aid your energy. Now it’s time to decorate.

If you are anything like me you have 5-6 bins completely full of Christmas Decorations! Hopefully you have had a chance to organize all your decorations on Gigmi! We recently moved, so Gigmi  proved to be essential in getting our garage organized!

img_6500Now that it’s time to decorate, all I have to do is search my Gigmi app for the specific decoration I am looking for. For instance, I need to put up my interior wreath. I’m a hardcore Christmas decorator so I have more than one wreathe, as I believe most people should! I can search it on my Gigmi app, and there is the one I wanted for right now, the app shows me the picture and then tells me it is in bin #7. img_6501Perfect! Also I need the box with the bell to put on the doorknob… and there is the picture and it’s in bin #4! Easy stuff!

 

 

Finally, I need my tacky glue for the never ending Christmas crafts, because what good is celebrating Christmas if you can’t make Christmas trees out of Popsicle sticks. The tacky glue is in bin #6, the craft bin. christmas-craft
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My daughter is very into crafts right now, so I will probably need a completely new bin by the end of this holiday season to fill up with all the crafts she is making! Luckily I’ll be able to organize all of it with my gigmi app, because I am not an organized person by nature!

Are you ready for a refill on your Pumpkin Spice Latte yet? Or Cinnamon Coffee? Cinnamon Coffee is one of my new  favorites this season! Let’s get organized and get decorated!! Merry Christmas Season!

The Path to Home Ownership

For the past 10 years I have lived in 14 different places, so I have moved to a different place on an average of every 8.5 months. I honestly don’t mind moving, and my 5 year old daughter loves it, she gets so excited every time we move. However, my 2 year old son does not handle change well at all, and to be perfectly honest, I’m ready to be able to paint my kitchen any color I want and be able to have a dog without paying an outrageous pet deposit. This has led us to exploring buying a house.

I took the recommendation of a coworker on who to use for a real estate agent, and she was fantastic. I loved Ruthie, she was helpful through the whole process and really listened to what I was looking for in a house, which was somewhat specific. There were difficulties with the seller and the title and she was all in fighting for me to get me the house I wanted. Which leads me to the first steps to home ownership:

  1. Narrow down what you want in a house and prioritize. The prioritizing portion is important, obviously we all have our dream house list, but depending on your financial and work situation, everything you want might not be practical. I’m both very specific about what I like and I hate being wasteful, so we opted to look for a fixer upper (because I can’t justify repainting a house that was just painted even I hate the color). This worked well, we found a house that needed all new paint and all new floors, so I could totally justify changing to exactly what I wanted!
  2. Pick a good real estate agent. I’m not going to lie, at first I was like we have the internet, I can do it on my own, I don’t want an agent trying to push me into something I don’t want! I am so glad I listened to my coworker and talked to a real estate agent! Be sure to find an expert in their field and someone you enjoy being around, you might spend more time together than you would think!
  3. Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage. These 2 steps will actually be done together, in my case I actually spoke with the real estate agent first and she referred me to a mortgage broker she had worked with before who she knew and trusted. However, don’t fall in love with a specific house until you know what you can afford.  Same idea here, find someone who is an expert in the field (he had been in home lending for 20 years) and who you feel comfortable with because in some cases they will have to dig pretty deep in your finances and it might feel personal.

Get ready for a bumpy ride. I’ve heard a few home lenders begin the process with “By the way, at the end of this, you will probably hate me, and I’m so sorry!” It’s probably a good idea to set expectations low. That way if you are prepared for the worst, you can handle it, and if it ends up being a breeze, you will be on cloud nine! It’s a win-win.

From beginning to end, the process ended up taking almost 3 months by the time the title issues was cleared up. But we could not be happier, I love having my own home and the joys and challenges that come a long with it!

Follow my blog to learn some great ways to upgrade and fix your home on a budget! We will have a lot of new projects!