Tough Decisions | Life As A Working Mom

I try my hardest not to see things so black and white and to realize that each choice is unique from the next. It is something I have to constantly be present about because my natural instinct is to prejudge situations based on previous experiences. To add fuel to this fire, motherhood and parenting has become increasingly difficult over the past year – probably because we have 3 young children who are all in the age of discovering what they like to do. Which means, too many activities to manage PLUS two full-time working parents. I think this has led me to have a heightened sensitivity about my current season of life as well as increased amount of “Mom Guilt”.

Geez – I could write a novel about “Mom Guilt”. About how it is unavoidable, unpreventable, and untreatable. But, I won’t. Because who likes to read negative ramblings anyway?

Recently, I started investigating alternatives for the twins daycare/schooling.  They are currently at the same school my older daughter attended for the first 6 years of her life. It is a great school that happens to be going through a bit of transition. Unfortunately, the transition hit hard for the twins’ age group. There have been a lot of teaching transitions, schedule transitions, etc. While I have been going through this, I felt like my world and the twins’ world was falling apart. I found myself thinking “how are they ever going to survive? They need stability in 3k”. Then the dreaded “Mom Guilt” kicked in… “This would have never happened if we were in a better place where I did not have to work.”

Y’all. I was considering turning our lives upside down to move them to a school that could not keep them for a full work day and hiring a sitter to pick up my 3 children and drop my 3 children EVERY DAY just because I wanted to protect my children from hardship. THEN I would come to work and complain to my boss about the millennial I have working under me – She is too entitled. She has too high of expectations – someone failed her along the way because they never let her experience anything tough.

So it didn’t hit me that I was a living hypocrite until I was driving to work this morning – sans kid drop offs because of a teacher in-service. I would have never thought I would be causing my children potential harm by trying to create the most perfect external environment possible.

SIDENOTE – – I need to work on my control issues.

I guess my purpose of this rambling is to provide some sort of “I’m going through this too” content instead of writing about the roses and glory moments that DO exist in my life. Parenting is tough. Choosing when to push and when to pull back is not black and white. And I don’t know everything. And my children will be fine – and WHEN they survive this transition it only means that they now have a solid life experience to help them with the next change that happens down the road. They have that experience because they overcame it on their own, while i sat on the sidelines prepared to hug them when it was at its toughest.

On a brighter note… we had a lovely time last night at their book fair. Both of my 3-year-olds sang and danced and smiled alongside their buddies. This great school that is going through a tough transition made my kids smile. And I am eternally grateful. Here are some snapshots of those smiles:

TAG | 25 Facts About Me

1003570_10101919504614435_1907611018_nFor me, starting to blog is like starting a new book that you just can’t put down. I’ve entered into a new world and every door I open increases my desire to learn more and see more. Tag videos on YouTube are some of my very favorite videos to watch – mainly because you get to know the people you follow on a deeper level. I’m pretty new to Bloglovin’ so I’ve been spending a lot of time (probably too much time) exploring all of the beautiful and creative blogs that exist! I stumbled upon The A Style yesterday and saw this tag and thought it would be appropriate for new-ish blog. So here we go!
 
What is your middle name?: My given middle name is Curtis. I know. It’s unattractive and boyish. Not something I would have chosen for my girls. I legally changed it to my maiden name when I got married. So glad that chapter of my book is closed. It does, however, still exist on my college diploma, which hangs in my office.
What was your favourite subject at school?: Theology. I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Catholic Schools and I was always fascinated with the deep thought required in all of my theology classes. Props to my teachers who encouraged such thinking!
What is your favourite drink?: Beer. If I had to choose a fav, it would be Hoegaarden. I love it. I also love the huge craft beer movement that is going on in my town right now. So many different varieties! And I love shopping local!
What is your favourite song at the moment?: It would have to be Slumber by NEEDTOBREATHE. I’m slightly obsessed.
What is your favourite food?: Ice Cream. No doubt.

What is the last thing you bought?: A dishwasher. Life of a homeowner…
Favourite book of all time?: The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Takes me back to being a teen.
Favourite Colours?: Red. If you are into the psychology behind this, read more here.
Do you have any pets?: We have a dog. His names are: Charlie, Charlie Brown, Charles in Charge, BoBo, Buddy, Dog!, Bub. He is old. He is our original baby. He used to sleep between my husband and me in a queen sized bed. He is now blind, can not eat table scraps, and has a HUGE mass of fat on his undercarriage that can not be removed because its tangled in blood vessels. Poor BoBo.
Favourite Perfume?: Very Sexy by Victorias Secret.
Favourite Holiday?: Thanksgiving. I love food.
Are you married?: 7 years strong!
Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?: Yes. Italy twice. Spain twice. Caribbean a few times. Mexico a few times. Canary Islands once. And I stepped into France for about 10 minutes. Spain is my favorite. I love you. I hope to see you again soon.
Do you speak any other language?: I fell in love with a boy from the Dominican Republic when I was 16. *Sigh, young love!* That will make you want to learn a language like nothing else. I then majored in Spanish in college and spent a couple of semesters in Spain. So I would say my Spanish is good enough for a basic conversation. I can read and write fluently though.
How many siblings do you have?: I have an older sister and a younger brother.
What is your favourite shop? So many to choose from! It all depends on what I am shopping for. Food – Whole Foods. Clothes – Gap. Makeup – Ulta.
Favourite restaurant?: Oh, Hot and Hot. Let me count the ways…
When was the last time you cried?: I have three kids ages four and under. I cry a lot. Mostly because I am tired and don’t know how else to react.
Favourite Blog?: If I had to honor just one, it would be Essiebutton. But there are LOADS of others that I am in awe of.
Favourite Movie?: I have issues with watching movies more than once, so I am going to skip this one. I do love movies though.
Favourite TV show?: I’m really into Sherlock right now. I will also watch the crap out of Criminal Minds. Criminal Minds is probably my only exception to watching a show or movie more than once.
PC or Mac?: Mac
What phone do you have?: White iPhone 5.
How tall are you?: I would not use “tall” as a descriptive word for me. I am short. Lets just leave it at that.

Can you cook?: I repeat. I love food. Which translates over to cooking. Love of cooking is something my husband and I share. I love him only slightly more than I love food.

El fin! I really enjoyed this tag! I hope you did too. Share with me if you decide to do this tag as well!

xo, Cissy

Real Life Mom | Gwyenth Paltrow Has A Tough Life

I mean, Gwyneth Paltrow has it rough. And for a minute, I was wondering how I was going to survive the day. Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 9.29.22 AM

Recently, Ms. Paltrow sat down with E! News and discussed taking a break from her demanding job so she could go back to being a mommy. I definitely pat her on the back for getting her priorities in line. However, I never realized that all of the stress I experience as a full-time working mom is NOTHING compared to the stress she experiences from being on set 2 weeks out of the year. Gosh, I bet those 12 consecutive 14-hour days are hell!

See, I thought I had it hard. Waking up to screaming babies at 2 am. Taking an hour to put them back to bed just to turn around and wake up two hours later to start my day at 5. Then dropping my kids off at daycare when the doors open at 7am so I can make it downtown to sit at my easy office job for a mere 9 hours – head back to pick my three cranky, lovelies up – make dinner for my family of five – clean bottles and dishes and pump parts – make bottles for the next day – somewhat “clean” the damage from the tornado that hit the inside of my house – bathe all 3 children – feed babies – read stories – fight with three year old about going to bed – put babies to bed – then…. look at the clock, it’s 9pm. Time to do it all over again. I have it soooo easy compared to Ms. Paltrow.

Maybe her marriage failed because her life is so demanding. I’m sure Ms. Paltrow doesn’t have any help with the cooking and cleaning and butt-wiping and temper tantrums. I’m sure she never gets any alone time to recover from being needed 110% of the time. It must be terrible to have to miss school-events and the carpool pick-up. I wouldn’t know anything about that.

I have a boss who thinks its totally cool to miss half a day on Valentines Day so that I can make it to the preschool Valentine’s Day party – NOT. And I probably would think less of him if he was cool with it. He would also probably laugh in my face if I told him I needed to cut out 3 hours early every day to make the carpool pick-up line at school. Most businesses operate in 6-hour day, right?

I bet it is hard to have so much flexibility with your job that you can cram all of your year’s work into two weeks so that you can free up the remaining 50 weeks of the year to dedicate to your children. I bet thats why it is so hard to appreciate those gruling 14-hour work days.

Ms. Paltrow, you should definitely quit your career and pick up an office job. You are right – it is so much easier working a 9-5er (more like 7:30-5:30er). Thank you for bringing it to my attention of how ungrateful I am.

How to: road tripping with babies!

When I was thinking about what I wanted to title this post, I thought to myself: Self, you should label it “Road trips with babies – DON’T DO IT!”. Ha – but that would be unreasonable. Because, as I found out and I’m sure others before me discovered as well, you sometimes just don’t have a choice.

My Sweet Emma

My Sweet Emma

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Rosie!

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Laid-Back Lorelei

The beauty of being raised by parents who encourage you to take charge of your life and make the most of your oppotunities is that you end up experiencing some of the coolest places, people and things that you wouldn’t ordinarily if you lived life day-to-day. With all things, the are downsides to beautiful things in your life. My family is scattered across the United States. My brother moved to Indiana from D.C. a couple of years ago for grad school and I have yet to go visit him and his family. Thankfully – life forced me to head up there this past weekend. He was baptizing the newest addition to his family, baby Patrick. I’m pretty sure I would not earn any points with St. Peter if I didn’t even attempt at attending such an important event in a little Catholic’s life!

So, last Friday, my husband and I hurried through a half-day at work and then took 2 hours (we had planned for 30 minutes) to load up the 8 Vera Bradley bags, two Graco pack-n’plays, 1 sparkly backpack loaded with God-only-knows toys, 2 iPads, 3 sets of ear phones, three car seats, bags of pump parts and bottles and cleaning supplies, boxes of snacks and sippy cups, red bull and other forms of caffeine, no gas medicine or teething medicine for the babies, and two stressed and fighting parents. We left behind the 3 huge boxes of clothes that I was pumped about dumping on my brother for his 2nd daughter to use as well as baby Patrick’s Baptismal gift.

MOM fail #1: Plan breaks into your ETA.

We had planned ahead at least, dividing the trip up into two parts instead of powering through in order to make it to South Bend by 1am that morning. So glad we had some sanity remaining to break the trip up. We made it to my sister-in-laws house by 9 that night – we were supposed to arrive around 7. When you are planning a trip with children, simply add 2 hours to the duration so to plan for 30 minute bathroom stops as well as a minimum of 45 minute break for meals. A break for meals is a must – babies, toddlers and preschoolers can not keep focus for 3 minutes, what made me think that they would not need to break out of their car seats after 5 hours of driving?? Mom fail #1.

At the rest stops or gas station bathrooms – expect the changing table to be unusable (if there even is one). And once we passed through to the Eastern time zone it was much too cold to change in the van with the door open. We improvised and survived, but please equip your diaper changing set-up to completely cover the changing station in these facilities. Plus, bring along enough anti-bac to make it through a wild outbreak of the next bird-flu.

Mom fail #2 – ENTERTAINING YOUR CHILDREN FOR A LONG CAR TRIP.

I remember back to around 2009 BC (BC = before children) when I promised myself that when I had children, we would never invite a DVD player into our car. We would only play games on road trips and color and do other educational activities. Right – well, I was young and dumb… about a lot of things. We have one device completely dedicated to videos and episodes to entertain our oldest for a max of 12 hours (enough time to get us to my hometown, Houston). Do not head out on a trip if this device is not fully charged and your adapter for the car is not readily accessible. Or, prepare yourself for an epic meltdown. If you have not experienced this already – be prepared to not be able to recognize your sweet, angelic three-year-old after they have been watching movies on an iPad for more than a solid two hours. WOW. They should do a psychological study on that. For sure.

Mom fail #3 – Pack junk food.

For this particular trip, I packed protein-packed, healthy snacks like almonds and hummus and pretzels. We lasted an hour. I’m pretty sure we were still in North Birmingham when we stopped for chips and chocolate. Healthy food is a crock when you set out on a family adventure, crammed in a car for an entire day with each other. Just pack the junk food – it won’t kill you to eat crap for a day. It will make you and your spouse happy. And that makes for a happy trip.

Mom fail #4 – Check the weather.

So, Spring has already started teasing us in the South. We had a week or more of 65+ degree weather. I had already packed up most of the turtlenecks and fuzzy sweaters. Why, when I knew I was headed to Indiana, where there is still snow accumulating? I blame “Mom Brain” (yes, that is a thing). So, I improvised. We bundled our kids up in double socks and the fluffy blankets I brought to make the pack-n-plays less like a rock for the twins to sleep on. I almost thought it couldn’t get worse than the 38 degrees we arrived in on Saturday morning. The 14 degrees the next day was much worse. Plus – I had no idea what the wind chill changed to when you were near Lake Michigan. Heads up… its cold. So cold.

So, all in all. I hope you learn from my failures. If you are anything like me, preplanning is no joke while working full-time, taking care of three little ones and preparing your house to go under major renovation in the next couple of weeks. BUT, preplanning and a little organization will definitely take  you so far and make your trip so much more enjoyable.

We throughouly enjoyed seeing a family and spending time with everyone. I wish I had been less stressed. I wish I had not forgotten the gas medicine for the girls. I wish I had not eaten the refried beans at the Mexican restaurant on Saturday. But, no regrets! Just learn from the mistakes and move on.

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My Emma and my brothers girls at the baptism.

We baptized sweet Patrick on Sunday and had an awesome time celebrating such a beautiful moment in his little life. I am beyond proud of my brother and it made the trip worth it to see him so happy with his growing family. I wish little Patrick a God-filled life and I trust 100% that my brother and his wife with see to it that it happens. Lots of love filling my heart this morning. I don’t even mind sipping out of my South Bend souvenir this morning (in privacy, of course – ROLL TIDE).

My South Bend Souvenior

My South Bend Souvenir

I’d love to hear your tips for traveling with wee-ones – please leave a comment below!

Happy Tuesday!

Sick of Being Sick… the woes of managing three kids under the age of 4

I’m really hating the fact that for my first blog I am called to write contains negative content about being a mother. I try – most of the time – to stay optimistic about our current situation. Having twins when your oldest is only 3 is no joke. I understand that I am stating the obvious. People tell us all the time, “I don’t know how you do it!” Yup, BINGO! You win the prize! Because, we don’t know how we do it either. I also was naive enough to believe that because we chose to breastfeed, our kids somehow were enabled with superpowers. Our kids will never be sick – being glued to my breast pump is totally worth it.

OK – breastfeeding IS totally worth it. If not for just the money savings.

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Sick babies are so pitiful!

I digress. Back to my pity-party. I’ve decided – when we become millionaires – we are moving to Hawaii. I never want to see weather that dips below 65 degrees again. It invites sickness, depressing gray colors in the sky, and empty wallets (thank you America – for selling the holidays). We have managed to have one sick human being in our house for the past 4 months! How does that happen? Why don’t people wash their hands everywhere that go?!? Don’t they know that I don’t sleep through the night because of a constant state of sick-child? Geez.

So, new moms, if you are discouraged by my post. Don’t be. It’s just the reality of the situation. What I failed to mention earlier, is that I am OBSESSED with the emotional pay I receive from being a wife and a mother. It’s like a drug. I am addicted to the high that comes from my babies locking eyes with me or hearing my oldest say “I lush you mommy”. I would lay down on railroad tracks if someone said it would give my girls a better life. Which it wouldn’t – but the metaphor popped into my head so I went with it. IMG_1328

AGAIN, breastfeeding is worth it. If you work, or plan on returning to work, pumping breast milk is worth it. That is all I will say about that.

To the people with kids, without kids, oh heck – to all people: WASH YOUR HANDS! Or I will come and personally wake you up on an hourly basis at night.