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Posted in family, momlife, motherhood

Not-That-Hacky, Mom Hacks

This was the longest Christmas Break of my life. My son missed the last two days of school before break for high fever. He ended up laid up in bed for 5 days straight with a constant headache and fever. At night he was hallucinating to the point where I was almost convinced he was convinced and I swear I almost kicked him out of this house. This mama does not play with angry spirits. No thank you. He cleaned up just in time for Christmas, however, immediately after baby #2 got sick. She was laid up in bed for 5 days with no solid food during that time. She was admitted into the hospital for IV and tests (which came back pos for influenza B).

Alas… a week into January, my son is back in school, and my daughter is feeling better and back to normal. Time for mama to get back to her pre-crapchristmas routine. I am back on the phentermine, working out, and drinking smoothies. The house is cleaned, de-christmased, and sanitized. So let’s get back to work. Let’s talk mom-hacks. I’m sure we’ve all seen the cute no talking, hand demonstration life-hack videos on social media. Spoiler alert, these are not as good as those videos.

My mom hacks may not be a fit for everyone, after all I’m working with a non-verbal autistic 2 year old over here. Honestly, who knows. Just scroll and find out!



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1. Toilet “lock” If you know me personally then you may know that I am broke and stingy. I hate spending money on things. My daughter had so much fun with her water table last summer, even though all she did was dunk her barbies in the water for 6 hours straight. Now that it’s winter guess where she dunks her barbies now….. For a while I had intentions of ordering a toilet lock so keep her barbies dry and sanitary. But because of who I am as a person, I just never ordered it. So when its time for me to get in the shower and she won’t allow me the luxury of a closed door, I grabbed a fresh roll of painters tape from the laundry room and threw a strip on a side of the toilet lid. Voila! Toilet lock. It’s also easier than a toilet lock for my 6 year old. Don’t need to show that guy how to unlock a piece of tape!


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2. Easy store Legos- My son has moved on from the nice and big Lego Duplos to the annoyingly small regular Legos and boy did we get a lot for Christmas. I’m too cheap to buy him a Lego table so finding an open hard service to work on was difficult. Not to mention, every single night when I come in to announce bed time the thing I always hear is “MOM IM BUILDING SOMETHING I CANT CLEAN IT UP” BAM- easy solution. I gave him my beloved bed tray. It gives him a hard flat work area, and when its time for bed, the pieces he wants to keep intact or the pieces that are works in progress stay on the bed tray, and the rest of the loose pieces go back into their storage bins. When we get back to business the next day he pulls out his tray and picks up right where he left off.


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3. This one isn’t exactly a DIY hack, but it is something that I highly recommend for our babies that struggle with language. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, I highly recommend the show “Word Party”. The main characters are baby animals, they speak in correct English and also some relatable baby talk since they are learning new words. Much like how Mickey Mouse and other characters ask children to answer questions, this show asks very early age appropriate questions. While watching this show, my non-verbal 2 year old had repeated words, answered questions, sang songs, and danced. All of which she does NOT do outside of watching this show. It honestly blows my mind. Today she sang Happy Birthday from memory of the b-day episode of Word Party, but still can’t call me mama. This show is some kind of magic for my daughter!



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4. Easy-Grab Bubbles- Ok I’m not gonna lie here…. I stole this one….but it’s genius. Fine motor activities can be challenging; not only for delayed children, but all kids in general. Plus whoever thought that putting a 2” too short stick inside a skinny bottle filled with soap was just asking for trouble. I saw a mom online open the bubbles for her kids, grab the wand, put a chip clip on the end, then put it back in the bottle for her kids. The stick stays inside the bottle to reach the soap, but the chip clip keeps it from going all the way back in the tube. Seriously. Genius.



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5. Subliminal toy selections- Now that Christmas is over…how much crap did y’all get? This year for my daughter I only picked out learning toys. You can’t feel guilty if the toys are teaching her something, right? She needs work on her fine motor skills, so I got a lot of toys to help her harness those abilities. Of course we still told people barbies too because hers are disgusting from being dunked in the water table and toilets every day. Plus a girl needs friends, ya know? Learning toys aren’t just Vtech toys, they can honestly be anything.  Examples: 

Toy Story 4 race track– During speech therapy we were working on actions and reactions (saying ready set go then then a reaction of tickling her) so I got the racetrack to give the ready, set, go idea to a new reaction. 
Chomp & count Dino– Equipped with light and sound buttons, a spinner on the top, and a pull string, this toy is great! The best part is it has a piggy bank style mouth where you feed the dino colored discs.
The Learn With Me Color Fun Fish Bowl. Cute, small, piggybank style fish tank. You insert the plastic fish into the slot at the top and once they’re pushed down into the bowl, it tells you what color the fish was! Perfect for fine motor and color identification. 




6. Car storage- Ever go somewhere and your toddler (who you don’t pack a diaper bag for anymore) shits through their pants? Maybe you think giving your kid strawberry donuts in the car is a good idea but when you get to your destination their entire shirt looks like puke. I keep a zip up tote bag in my back seat full of extra clothes, diapers, wipes. There are side pockets that I fill with my sons water bottles, an empty sippy cup, and extra snacks for both kids. After I use something I fill it up so it’s ready for the next disaster. Id like to say that this helps keep my car more clean and organized, but alas it still looks like a cheez-it bomb went off back there. 

When I had the idea for this blog I swear I had a lot more hacks than 6. haha. That’s it for today, they may not be much but hopefully I helped someone out there!

Posted in depression, mental health, momlife, motherhood

Tis the season…to love yourself.

The holiday season is full of happiness, love, and togetherness, right? Well, for a lot of us out there, with the holiday season comes a lot of negative emotions as well. With all these expectations about what a holiday should be or what/where our lives should be during the holidays can put a lot of pressure on us and bring out the negativity that we have been bottling inside ourselves. Christmas will be here before you know it, so let’s have a pre-holiday mental health check-in, shall we?

Who here hasn’t had the greatest time in 2019? Sure, we may have laughed a lot, had a lot of fun. Maybe we took a trip, went to some parties, had a baby, attended a wedding? Although there may have had some good times, was our MIND HAPPY IN 2019?

I’ve discussed in a previous blog my struggles with my mental and physical health. My mental health has been crippling me physically. 2019 is the heaviest weight I have ever been in my whole life. Sure, I am now on the track of healing myself both mentally and physically, however most of the year has not been good on me. I spent most of this year hating myself, hating my weight, the way I looked, I had no energy, wanted to be in bed all of the time. Despite being on antidepressants (they aren’t a great match for me) I still found myself constantly feeling overwhelmed, uninterested in life, disconnected. Aside from all this, having two kids on your own while their dad is on the other side of the country (now on the other side of the world) is enough to make the most sane person a little crazy. Most days I am stressed out and ready to snap. The last couple months I have been staying up after the kids go to bed (most nights) and having about two hours to myself. Y’ALL. I know bed is life, seriously I know, but DO THIS. Take that time for yourself. Silence, snack, shows, yoga, whatever. For me personally, this me-time really helps settle my mind, which is usually overworked and overstressed by about 6pm, and I find myself sleeping better. 

So, anyway, that’s me. Maybe you’re a little like me. Maybe you’re not like me at all. One thing I can tell you, no matter what you’re going through or what you’re feeling- It will get better. You may not be able to change your situation, but you CAN change how you choose to deal with it. If someone broke your heart, someone did you wrong, you got hurt, lost your job, or experienced a loss of a loved one.. there is no way to undo that. The only way we can make ourselves better is to take back control of our own lives. 

What can we do to get back to our best self in 2020?

  1. Therapy- I can tell you from personal experience, talking to a third party, unbiased, person helps more than you could ever imagine. You can get things off your chest, receive advice, learn tools to help manage and maintain your mind.
  2. See a doctor- whether your problems are mental or physical a physician is a great resource. A doctor can give you jumping off points to improve your health, they can find any underlying conditions that could be causing your symptoms (you mean you’re not just a fat lazy slob… you actually have thyroid problems? Wahh?!?), they can also prescribe medications to help regulate your physical and mental health.
  3. Physical fitness- I have never been an active person. Growing up and in my early adult life, I was never “big” but also never “fit” I was pretty average (in all areas of life). These last few months of doing regular workout routines, semi-decent eating, and nightly yoga/stretches I have felt leaps and bounds better than I have in years. 
  4. Surround yourself with support- Remove toxic people from your life. An asshole ex, “friends” who gossip about you or don’t have your best interest at heart. Maybe there’s people in your life who haven’t done anything wrong but also don’t contribute to you or your happiness- take a step back. 
  5. Love yourself- True happiness begins with loving yourself first. Be proud of yourself. Be happy with yourself. 

This Christmas, don’t let the darkness take away the magic. It doesn’t matter if your life isn’t perfect, enjoy the fact that you’re on this Earth at all. For every dark thought or feeling that comes into your mind, remind yourself of something good. 

Lastly, before I go- I want to remind everyone that YOU MATTER. Even if there are times that you don’t feel good enough. If you ever feel unloved or unworthy of love. If you feel as though your life is not worth living. YOU MATTER, YOU ARE LOVED, YOU ARE WORTHY OF LIFE. 

Posted in autism, family, momlife, motherhood, parenting

Parent Advocate

When we become parents, our roles as individuals shift. We no longer solely focus on ourselves; instead most of our efforts go towards our children. We feed them, change them, teach them, support them, love them. You are the one who shapes your child’s life the most; yet we cannot be with our children 24 hours a day. Do our parental duties end at our front door? What more can we do for them outside of our own homes? The main portion of our parental duties is 1 on 1, but what if we could push it farther than that? How can we reach our maximum level of parent? Well, we can move from a support role to an advocate role. 

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish they did it like this..” or “Why don’t they do this?” If there is something out there that you think could not only benefit your own child more, but others as well, what’s holding you back from trying to make it happen? Our parenting duties are not confined to our houses. 

There are so many ways that we, as parents, can advocate for our children. Now I cannot attest to each individual state and their own unique opportunities, but I can tell you about what I am learning within Michigan. 

I was recently contacted to be a parent representative for the Michigan Home Visiting Network (HVN). This program supports all state funded home visiting programs, and has a growing coalition to help families across Michigan. HVN brings together hospitals, clinics, tribal health systems, health departments, mental health agencies, early childhood educators, home visitors, and most importantly, parents together to improve outcomes for all mothers and babies in Michigan. Our main objective is to team up and put our different ideas and experiences together to increase the involvement and satisfaction of these programs. 

I attended a training with other parents and state workers from all over the state of Michigan to learn about this program and what our roles are going to be. This is not only a new thing for me, this is an entirely new program to the state of Michigan also! 

One of the main focuses on this training was instilling the notion that we are not “just parents”, but rather that we are parent leaders. We were all there because we wanted to take the initiative to make things better for our children, our families, and our communities. We discussed our individual strengths and characteristics that made us leaders as well as our personal experiences of being an influential parent. Now listen, I’m never going to say that I am a great inspirational parent. In fact, I usually ride the mediocrity line when it comes to parenting. However, the training we went to made me realize that you don’t need to be the best to be able to help others. Given the right tools and resources, we are all able to invoke real change.

One of our exercises was to make a Pi symbol on our paper and write ways that we are parent leaders across the top, write some of our personal characteristics that help us be great parent leaders on the left, and things we could improve on to be better parent leaders on the right side. There is no set of characteristics or past experiences that can make someone a great parent advocate. If you have a child in your life that you care about and you want better for them…that is all you need. Not only was this a great exercise pertaining to the HVN program and our actual training but this was also a great personal exercise. What makes ME GREAT??

Take some time out of your day and look into what you can do for your family. What changes would you like to see? There are opportunities out there, you just have to summon up the drive to find them!  I will get some resources together to help people find advocating opportunities that would work for them, whether its with the health department, school system, or even your child’s daycare! Let me see what we can find and make our communities better for as many people as we can!

If you would like any information about the Michigan Home Visiting Network or their parent representative programs please do not hesitate to reach out to my team advisor- Jamie Rushford- jrushford@lmasdhd.org

Posted in autism, parenting, speech therapy

Unintentional Learning Tools

We watch a lot of tv for a family with no cable. We’re too broke to pay ridiculous monthly payments with Direct Tv. The first 12 months are great but when your incentive period is over BAM! Your bill goes from $75/ mo to $200/mo How? Why? More importantly..for what? I watch HGTV, ABC, and E! My kids watch Disney Junior and Nickelodeon. And you want me to pay how much for 5 channels? Hard Pass.

In the age of Wifi and Smart Tvs we’ve moved on to a trifecta of internet streaming: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. There are always new things added each month and Hulu posts tv episodes the day after they premier on tv. (Disclaimer: this is not an ad for any of these services, I do not have nearly the amount of viewers to make that happen..) Anyway, most of the time we end up watching the same shows over and over and over and over and over again. But nobody complains because all of us parents know that children are creatures of habits. They LIKE to watch the same thing over again so it really works out, except when they take off one of your kid’s favorite movies (R.I.P. Trolls on Netflix) The magical thing about this (and the reason for this blog) is my daughter Camille watches the same shows over and over again..she is learning to talk.

I am talking ALL DAY LONG to my daughter. You want a DRINK? You want MORE? MAMA. HELP. EAT. UP. DOWN. PLAY. BALL. BED. —Nothing. Then we turn on Finding Nemo and this little girl has the audacity to yell out BRUCE during the sharks little AA meeting scene. I popped my head out from around the corner like…..wut.

After that, I started watching her watching shows. Then I started recording. She knows so many lines to her shows. She repeats the lines at the exact time at they’re said, she has the correct pitches, correct sound, knows what lines are coming next. Sure, she doesn’t actually say the correct words, but it’s amazing nonetheless. She even started singing the songs. SHE SINGS SONGS! 

There is no better learning tool than face to face interaction. However, let’s be honest.. if your plan A doesn’t work, what do you do? Move on to plan B. This doesn’t mean I’m throwing out all my other tactics. I’m fusing them together. Something I’m doing (which let’s be honest I’ve always done) is using lines from Disney movies in real life to see if she will still get the connection. I downloaded all the songs from her favorite movies onto my phone and play them in the car to see if she will sing along. I am making this house a round-the-clock Disney movie. If Disney is what gets this girl talking then damnit, just call me Rapunzel.  

We’ve tried sign language, pecs picture cards, withholding things until she makes an effort to communicate. Everything we have tried so far hasn’t really had long lasting results. Then with no prompts, she recites and sings Disney movies and it’s honestly beautiful. Tonight as I crack open a Sunday night White Claw, I toast to you, Walt Disney.

“Word Party” on Netflix
Rapunzel- I see the Light
Word Party
Let it Go- Frozen
Posted in depression, family, momlife, motherhood

Depression, Medication, and Nose jobs- Oh my!

You get to a point in your life where you need to step up and take control of everything that’s bothering you. 

I have been on antidepressants since I had my daughter in 2017. It has been a great thing for me. My depression started around the time I had my son 6 years ago. In retrospect, it probably started as post-partum depression that I never recognized. I had a new baby, I was recently married, and moved across the country to have my family all together. The depression I didn’t recognize, plus all of these other changes, really made me feel isolated. Despite the fact that I had my new family, we lived closer to my in-laws, and I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had (that I am still great friends with to this day) my outlook on life weighed heavy on me. By the time my daughter was born I finally broke through my fear of expressing my feelings and spoke up. I just finally realized it’s OK to tell people how you’re really feeling. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to get on medication. After two years on my medication, my depression is controlled and I am back in love with my life. I appreciate all that I have, I strive to see the positive in situations, I have reasons to get out of bed in the morning. Sure, I still have bad days, but that’s just life!

Since starting my depression medication, although it makes me feel 100X better, It did start to hold me back a little, physically. My mind was great, but my body was sluggish. I could barely make it through the day without taking a nap, or laying down. My mind wanted to go out and do fun things with my kids, but my body was like “eh….” I started to gain weight. A lot of weight. So I started doing fresh smoothies in lieu of breakfast. My husband taught me how to work out in a gym (don’t judge me, these new machines are confusing.) Everything I was trying was not working. After being in a wedding this summer and seeing myself in that dress, I said ok enough is enough. What I’m doing is not working, my body is working against me, I need help. I went to the doctor, got a physical, full blood work, discussed all of our options and decided the best course of action was to take a stimulant medication. This medication is designed to increase energy levels while decreasing appetite. Let me tell you….WOW. I see such a difference in myself in this week and a half that I’ve been on it. I have energy that I haven’t had in years. I’m getting things done whereas before, I would procrastinate everything or just simply not do it. For example… I now put away the laundry as soon as I take it out of the dryer! THE MADDNESS! For this medication to really have a long-lasting effect, you really need to take this opportunity to create healthy habits, so that when you stop the medication you can still lose weight. I have started working out every morning and having fruit and spinach smoothies for breakfast, and keep myself moving throughout the day. I am actively trying to get myself into a healthy routine. I’m able to be more interactive with my kids, my house has never been cleaner, and I just overall, fell SO MUCH BETTER!!

Now that I have my mind in a better place and am working on getting my body back, there is only one more thing that I have put off for far too long. My damn nose. Unbeknownst to me, I am a loud and viscous snorer. …Who knew? I have thought for a long time (before my husband called me out for snoring) that my  breathing wasn’t as good as it should have been. I remember back in middle or high school that I noticed that I was only breathing out of one nostril sometimes. This sticks in my mind because I remember wondering if everyone only breathed out of one nostril, like maybe each nostril takes turns…. I know, I know… In the past few years I noticed my nostril airflow was getting worse. I don’t feel congested, imagine feeling like your airway is just too small to get enough air into it. I finally went to see an ENT doctor. After getting a 12” camera up my nose, we discover that my septum is severely deviated. In his words “almost completely plastered to the other side of my nose. I am set to get a septoplasty next month and I CANNOT WAIT. I’m not even thinking about the actual procedure, the feeling of being able to breathe again is all I can picture.

I turned 30 years old this summer, it is time to take back control over my life. I always used to keep everything to myself. I am definitely a keep-it-to-yourself type of person. When you finally become comfortable enough with yourself to ask others for help, your life will blossom. I want to be the best version of me that I can be, not only for myself, but for my kids too.  am so excited to see what my life will look like 6 months from now. 

Posted in family, momlife, motherhood

DIY Mario Bedroom

August is bringing a lot of changes! We moved houses, my mom is getting married, my husband is coming to visit! Not to mention, that in a few weeks my son will start 1st grade!!! Not only does all of this stress me out, but it can also be difficult on my children. Nobody is good with change, but us adults understand it at least, the same cannot be said for a 2 and 6 year old.

One thing I wanted to do to help my 6 year old to accept and enjoy some of these changes was to give him a room that he will LOVE! After many hours on Pinterest, I settled on a Mario Bros themed room. He has been really into Super Mario Maker and is actually saving up money to buy the new version. I knew this was the perfect choice.

I’m not a very crafty person….at all. My handwriting sucks, I can’t draw, even my straight lines could use work. But I figured….will my 6 year old REALLY KNOW if something isn’t exactly like I saw it on Pinterest? As long as I made it somewhere in the ballpark I knew it would be a hit. So I created my Pinterest board and went on my way!

Mystery Box Cabinet

What you need:
Cabinet (or whatever you’d like to turn into a mystery box… be creative!)
Yellow Spray Paint
Cut out a stencil of a Mystery Box
White paint
Sponge Brush

Clear coat spray paint
* you could very well use white spray paint if you prefer, I would just tape off so the paint doesn’t get outside of the stencil, and don’t spray too closely (if the spray paint drips its hard to clean it up for a clean finish)

I took an old white 2 shelf cabinet that we had in our old play room and cleaned it up (it did not need sanding but you do want to make sure you’re working with a smooth surface!) Paint the whole cabinet in a bright yellow. Let it dry, then cover with a clear top coat. Once it is dry, you will want to evenly fill in the stencil on every side. I chose a 2-story cabinet so I decide to make two levels of Mystery Blocks. Once white paint has dried, I spray it with another layer of top cover

Pipes

What you need:
Tall, circular garbage can, lid discarded
Different sized curved PVC pipes
Green spray paint
L brackets
Hinge brackets
Command Hooks

Gorilla glue

This idea started out very simple. Use one of my old tall circular kitchen garbage cans , paint it green and VOILA! A life-size Mario Pipe that doubles as a laundry hamper! the wall decoration pipes were a little trickier. After spray painting them (the most important, and easiest part) I had to figure out how to attach them to the wall. If this was my own house and not a rental I honestly probably would have just glued them to the wall. Since that was not an option for me… The large size pipe, I was able to use Gorilla Glue to secure an L shaped bracket going from in inside top of the pipe down the open end of the pipe. Because attaching it this way effectively hides the bracket, I attached only the sticky strip of a command hook to the exposed leg of the bracket and stuck it on the wall. Those command hooks hold everything. The smaller PVC pipes were too small for L brackets because they curve more than the larger size. This is where the small hinge brackets come on. Attach the same way at the L brackets. One side is glued along the top inside of the pipe end, and the other end of the bracket hangs down at a 90* angle down the open end of the pipe. I then used command strips to secure the bracket end to the wall. The remaining pipes that I painted, but didn’t want to hang, were scattered around the room for decoration.

Brick Cabinet Doors

What you need:
Bright Red spray paint
Burgundy Spray paint

Clear coat spray paint
Painters tape
* As my son so lovingly pointed out, the bricks in most Mario worlds is more brown than red. If you’d like more accurate colors, I’d go for a brown and tan. However my son’s 2 favorite colors are blue and red so I needed to switch it up.

once you remove the doors (or get whatever you are painting) make sure the area is cleaned and smooth. I spray painted the whole thing in a bright red. Let it dry then cover in a top coat. Once the top coat is dry you begin to lay your tape. Lay horizontal lines of tape across the width of the cabinet doors evenly down the length of the door. Once all of the horizontal lines are laid you will want to put down vertical lines. Try to space them out so they start to look like bricks. once you have placed all of your vertical lines it is time to spray again. Cover the whole door in the Burgundy spray paint. Let the paint dry slightly. When the paint is still tacky remove the painters tape. PRESTO! you have bricks. Once again, cover in a top coat, let dry, then reattach to wall.

Coins

What you need:
Coin Image
string
tape
Cardstock paper

This was a last minute project for me. I found some great google images of different styles of Mario coins. I took the pixelated coins, placed 4 large *and even* coins into a word document and printed 2 sheets onto contact paper. Once printed I cut out all 8 coins, glued them back to back. I poked a hole through the top of each newly double sided coins and weaved and tied a long string through each hole. Once each coin was secured onto the string, I attached it above my sons bed with only a piece of scotch tape. Of course, use anything you wish to attach it to the ceiling. Next I printed the basic looking coin. I found a black and white version of the coin and printed it on bright yellow/gold cardstock paper (same as the other coins- 4 large and even coins on a page X2). These coins, Since I was taping to the wall, they did not need to be double sided. Cut out coins and adhere scatterly as desired.

Pixelated Mario Wall Art

What you need:
pennies
super glue
poster board
finger paints (red, blue, brown, black)
frame, optional
*this design is not hung up in my son’s room yet. I am still working on something to frame the art. I will probably need to custom order a frame. The design is larger and more oblong than an 8X10

I actually found this design online. First you will want to paint your pennies.
Red- 38
Blue- 32
Brown- 23
Black- 6
Natural- 44
Once the pennies are painting and completely dry, lay them out in the pattern below. Once you can them all laid out, pick them up one by one, glue the back, and put back down in place and hold for a few seconds. Move through all of the pennies until they are all glued into place. Let them dry COMPLETELY and try to avoid bending the poster board that they are on. Once the project is complete you are ready to frame and hang!

Those are about all the major DIY’s that I did for this room. As you can see from the room photos, I also ordered Mario wall decals from Amazon. Find the ones I ordered here.

Posted in momlife

Finding Financial Independence

Whenever somebody asks how I’m doing these days I always give them the classic-
“…Just living the dream” answer. Of course we all know that saying is complete bullshit. Do you really want to know how I’m doing Brenda? I’m tired, my back hurts, my children are animals, I am drowning in debt/laundry and I’m broker than all get out. 

Our family is a single income household. My husband is the sole provider for our family. I am merely the dependa. (If you’re unaware of this title, google is your friend.) Is our family dynamic by choice? Kind of…..but also kind of not. There are many reasons why I don’t, or am unable, to work. Excuses, excuses, excuses! I know, just save your judgements for the end of the blog, ok?

Any of my working parents out there can attest to the outrageous price of childcare. Now before I discuss this further, just know that this isn’t a slam against daycare providers, at all. It’s all about the numbers, baby. They need to pay staff, pay rent, insurance, supplies. I get it. 100%. However, for two children, good affordable childcare is out of reach. If I get a full time job, my paycheck would basically pay for childcare with no room for much else. 

There are definitely some income eligible options out there.  Our town has a great Head-start program for those who meet the qualifications. The wait list is long, however, and often unobtainable. For the first time ever, I was told my family makes too much money to qualify. Let’s all laugh about that together. Now… I’m not blind, I know that there are many families out there that are in worse financial situations than myself. They should get help before me, I know that. But, a lot of families out there find themselves in the same situation as me… too broke for private daycares, yet too “rich” for federally funded free daycare. My only way out, is to find a job that pays more than the cost of daycare. In a small town, that can be hard to come by. There is still the difficult conundrum much like the chicken and the egg. Which do you get first? The job or the daycare? You either scrape the money together to cover daycare until you find a job, or you get a job and have to scrounge up babysitters until you can get into daycare. 

Moving on. If you’ve read my past blogs or know me personally, then you are already aware that I have children who require therapy. My oldest is now in school, so his therapies are during school hours (for the most part.) My youngest, however, does speech once a week. I would like to get her into ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy. BUTTTTTT, if you’re unfamiliar with that- it is a very intensive, time-consuming in-home therapy. So, do I sacrifice having a career, financial independence, and a life outside of my children by helping her develop, grow, and learn in an in-home therapy that could ultimately help her the most. Or do I put my financial situation first, and hope that a daycare environment will be enough to teach her all the things she needs to learn? 

I have so much hesitation and “rock and a hard place” decisions to work through when it comes to me working. I am constantly stuck between putting my children first, and needing to help my husband support this family. Don’t get me wrong, the military pay is decent. For a family of four, though, it just aint cutting it. My husband does not get the credit he deserves for how hard he works and financially supporting his wife and two children. I want to have the chance to get out there and take some of the weight off his shoulders.

Before I got married I worked and supported myself. Ok… I mean fine, I was on my parents cell phone plan longer than I probably should have and my dad paid my car insurance basically until I got married. BUT YOU GET THE PICTURE. At one point in my earlier days I was working two jobs and going to college… LIKE A BOSS. Yet, here I am, 10 years later, relying on someone else to pay my bills and give me lunch money. I am 30. Years. Old. It is time for me to get out there and regain my independence. Financially, emotionally, physically. My depression and anxiety constantly tell me, “but if you get your independence, you’re a shit mom for throwing your kids needs on the back burner.” I know this isn’t true, that’s the dark beauty of depression folks. On the flip side, when I tell myself I’m doing the right thing by staying home with my kids and working on getting them the help that they need, that dark beauty comes back and says, “Nah girl, you’re a piece of crap because you’re broke and have nothing in your life for yourself. You need to start making money for yourself!” This inner voice contradicts everything I try to do. No matter which decision I make, my depression always tells me that I’m wrong. It is a constant battle that I have with myself. 

I try different things to balance it all out. I became a consultant for Usborne Books & More. I work from home, throw parties online where people buy the children’s books (which I honestly love, and that is NO LIE, these books are adorable.) Some women make a full time living off of it. It helps me, but does not cover true expenses, for me it’s more play money.  I’ve done a lot of surveys online with Swagbucks. Again, just play money. I most recently got approved to start doing closed captioning work online. This I’m sure will be, again, play money. None of these at- home solutions have turned out to be a long term fix. 

It’s time to break through my inner voice and finally do something. I KNOW I will not be a bad mom for working out a daycare/job situation and start putting myself first. I KNOW that I am not a loser for not working. I need to stop letting myself feel guilty for these decisions I need to make, not only for myself, but my husband and my children. No matter which solution I pick, I know that it will be what is right for our family.