Tag: #momblogger

Picky Eater Solutions: How to Minimize the Fight

Many of you know by now, I have two very picky eaters. There was a day I could feed them anything without a problem. Suddenly, they decided food wasn’t exciting anymore. They began limiting themselves to the familiar favorites of macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets.

Before kids, I was not a meal planner nor spent hours prepping ahead. I love the joy of cooking and spontaneously creating a meal from ingredients I’ve tossed together. I love sampling the food combos I’ve dreamed up. Unless it is made entirely of cheese, my kids could care less about my craftiness in the kitchen. So, over the years I’ve learned to push passed my frustration with their picky habits. I’ve realized the main focus is getting food into the belly. Not just any food, but nutritious food. So, how do I get nutritious food into such picky eaters? Here are some lessons I’ve learned over the years.

1. PICK YOUR BATTLES: If you are tired of missing out on meals because your entire time is spent fighting a kid to eat, let it go. If that means prepping a smaller side dish that your kid will eat, then do it if it works for you. To me that is easier than missing my own meal to focus on a battle I am not going to win. I let my kids eat boxed mac and cheese and stir in a couple spoonful’s of squash or cauliflower puree. It makes them happy to eat what they love and it makes me happy they are getting extra nutrition.

I like this hidden veggie mac and cheese recipe from My Fussy Eater.

2. FOCUS ON NUTRITION: Often as parents we get caught up in subscribing to the clean plate club. But this doesn’t help kids understand their hunger cues. Portion sizes vary widely for kids, some enjoy larger portions than others. I try to make sure what I am serving is so packed with nutrition that even if they take two bites, it counts for something. I have become the queen of concealing veggies in my kids’ favorite foods.

My picky eaters don’t even notice the spinach in these Secret Ingredient Pistachio Muffins from Making Thyme for Health.

3. GET THEM INVOVLED WITH FOOD: My kids may turn their noses up to sitting at a table with a full meal before them, but they will nibble all day long on familiar favorites. I encourage them to make their own foods by putting out a sandwich bar or a “picky” tray filled with proteins and nourishment like cold cuts, devilled eggs, hummus and veggies, fruit and dip, etc. It makes things easier for me and we all win when our bellies are full.

Related post: Moms to Kids Everywhere, Make Your Own Damned Sandwiches

4. CHANGE THE WAY YOU CELEBRATE WITH FOOD: Before kids, the only meal planning I did was around the holidays. I created a menu combining my and my husbands favorites from childhood. All I had to do was pull out the recipes and go shopping. But my kids really aren’t into stuffing and Ambrosia Salad. If your kid isn’t into your favorite holiday meals, move your celebration to the meal they love the most. Make a special breakfast, or lunch and enjoy a less stressful experience. You can still enjoy the traditional foods you love at dinner and let them eat smaller portions or something they will stay at the table for. Memories of being at the table together without a war will mean more to them in the future than whether or not they finished the dreaded peas.

We make this Dublin Coddle for St. Patrick’s Day from Fit Slow Cooker Queen. My kids just pick out the parts they will eat.

5. USE COMPASSION: Some kids have anxiety around food, or sensory disorders, they will stick to the foods they know are familiar. Ultimately, it was this discovery in my own kids that made it easier to accept there are times I need to make two different dinners. The old school technique of forcing kids to eat, DOES NOT work for kids with anxiety, or sensory issues. It only forces them to become more rigid with their choices. It can really do more harm than good.

Learn More at Anxious Toddler.

Do you have a picky eater? How do you plan for meals?

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Come Spend the Day with me at Mom University! *Exclusive Discount*

Mom University is a one day event just for moms.
This is a compensated post, but all opinions are authentically my own.

This time last year I was in deep need of a mental and physical break. I had just left a horrible job and was under stress at home while trying to get work lined up. My husband and I were fighting so much, and one of my kiddos was having a rough time at school. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with all the demands coming at me all at once. I was stressed to the max.

I needed a break so badly, that I drove an hour all by myself through the snow and rain to get to an event called, Mom University. It is a one-day event from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with food I don’t have to make and coffee and conversation with other moms in the same boat as me. I arrived alone, but I wasn’t alone for long. Other moms invited me to sit at their table and the organizers Jen, Alicia and Laura made me feel welcome. After settling in with my cup of hot, fresh coffee and rooting through my swag bag of goodies, I dove into the breakout session topics. I was excited to spend time with experts in the areas I was struggling with the most, nutrition, finances, self-care and kid behaviors. And, the chair massage and blow out bar were an amazing extra in my day. I laughed so much, and I even cried a little when some of us shared our mom stories. It was a powerful day.

Mom Swag! So much more in the bag, but I couldn’t hold it all up for a selfie.

I came to the event feeling like a hot ball of stress. But when I left, I felt more relaxed, uplifted and ready to face the chaos at home. I had tools to use to take care of myself and my family and the best part, I knew I wasn’t the only mom struggling.

I am excited to return to the gorgeous Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie on March 29th, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. for another exciting line up of experts to learn from and this time, meet up with mom friends. And I am even more excited to share with my readers and local moms an *exclusive discount* so you can experience Mom University for yourselves! You can buy your tickets —> here <—- and use the code WHATEVERMOM at checkout (before 3/1/20) to take $10.00 off your ticket which entitles you to a full 7 hours of time to connect and recharge. (A full hour alone at the spa costs more and there’s no one feeding you).

Julie Ciardi 2019 Key Note Speaker

As moms, there is no manual for how to make all the things work. It’s kind of a learn as you go job. That’s why we need a village of other moms to talk to and learn from. Mom University is like a career development day for all moms where we can learn to master the challenging parts of motherhood. I’ve been a SAHM, a WAHM and a work outside the home mom and this day applies to every single mom out there. Every mom needs connection. Every mom needs solidarity. Every mom needs time to grow. It’s hard to do all those things with a toddler tugging at your back pockets, or a boss breathing down our neck.

The 2020 event has over 16 workshops lead by professionals and guest speakers to help ignite your passions and help you find balance. This event is created by moms, for moms. You might recognize Jen and Alicia from The Mommy Dash; both moms struggling to make it all work too. It is their vision and passion to bring this day to all of us. (I don’t think they ever sleep).  I am so thankful they still have the energy to take care of all of us with a catered breakfast and lunch, snacks and coffee, mini massages and a mommy marketplace, oh and a DJ dropping the sound track to our lives.

Jen, Laura and Alicia all sporting their fabulous Mom U Sweatshirts from the Mommy Marketplace.

Being a mom myself, I know how hard it is to take an hour for myself, let alone an entire day, but I assure you the house will still be standing when you get back home. The kids will eat garbage while you are gone, and your husband will tell you it was all easy. But you will be ready to let it all roll off your freshly massaged shoulders. And nothing can replace feeling recharged and connected. So don’t wait, go grab your special discount and shoot me an email at [email protected] and tell me to look for you there!

Writer Bio for The Whatever Mom
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Moms, We’re All Running the Same Race

Last week I shared in my weekly newsletter that I was joining a 5K to support a local charity. Well I did it! I drove an hour to walk 3.26 miles in 47 minutes before I drove back home. It was a great morning adventure that gave me time inside my own head to ponder life. I have to say once those endorphins kicked in, it was pretty hard to feel stressed.

The funny thing is, I did zero training for this. I think I walked almost 3 miles like a month ago when I went live from the trail, but really, I had no idea what to expect. I simply slapped on my walking shoes, grabbed a bottle of water and took off when they said start.  I have to say I am really proud that this middle aged mom bod got me through. I have friends that spend months preparing for a 5K race and I literally just showed up and my body did not fail me. Woot! So much for having to count calories and macros. Clearly a steady diet of kid leftovers and bubbly cocktails is all you need to get through race day!

I woke up so early and just jumped on the road before I even had a drop of coffee. I am glad I just made it to the right event. But here is what came to me during my walk (because I certainly wasn’t going to do any running): We’re all running (or walking) the same race. OK, motherhood isn’t an actual race. No one is getting to the finish line in record speed. And certainly no one is getting a big shiny trophy. But we are all running toward the same goal – raising healthy human beings.

A sunny start to my first 5K!

I spent the entire race walking behind a woman pushing her teenage daughter with different abilities, in a push chair. She had two other team mates along side of her keeping her pace. Here’s what I found so incredible about her, she never stopped. Not once. Not even when it got tough getting up the hill. She didn’t break her pace either. Her partners slowed down to walk briskly by her side, but she didn’t stop. We were “running” the same race but having two different experiences. Much like motherhood.

While motherhood itself isn’t a race there are times when we feel outpaced by other moms whose journey’s seem more graceful than ours. Or maybe we are the mom ahead of someone else on the track and can look behind us with wisdom about the trail she is about to take. 

Even though I was not there to compete, it was hard NOT to compare my race to all the other experienced racers. They seemed so prepared. But I kept reminding myself it’s OK to stay in my own lane and keep going at my own pace. I’m not running this race for anyone else except myself. And that’s all I can do as a mom too- keep a steady pace in my own lane and not compare our journeys. 

So moms (and dads) keep running your own race. No one is built for it better than you! Even if you don’t have any training, haven’t slept in years, or you’re living solely on tears and cracker crumbs trust that you are right where you are meant to be – raising those dirty, sticky little humans. (Sorry that’s standard issue for everyone in this race).

Seconds before I hit the finish line and closed the book on my first 5K!

After committing to a race I had no intention of winning and spending zero time training for it, things turned out pretty good. It just reinforced how far I’ve come in letting go of making things perfect. I wasn’t there to make perfect time. I was there to enjoy the journey along with other like minded people. (Much like my time with you!).

Don’t forget to stop by my Facebook page to sign up for your own weekly-ish newsletter from me! I share updates, wisdom, support and parenting positivity directly to your inbox before I share it anywhere else.

If you need more support and rah-rah feel free to join my Circle of Moms community on Facebook where I share my most uplifting and real stories.

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The Type of Friend You Become After Having Kids

I've Become The Friend That . . .

I love being a mom. I love being a friend. At times, it’s tough doing both, especially when you are raising toddlers. They are loud, unpredictable, clumsy & messy. It’s amazing how much motherhood changes you, especially concerning the dynamic you have with your friends. Here’s what I noticed about the friend I’ve become after having kids:

 

I’M NOW THE FRIEND THAT:

Texts more than talks. I remember when I had an infant that slept the majority of the day. I still called my long distance friends and talked for hours. Then as she got older, it became more difficult when my daughter started to get into things. Now that my daughters are 4 & 2, it seems as if they have radar on me. If mommy is on the phone, that must be the time to squeal, fight and scream. Communicating is so much easier texting than talking.

 

Yells mid-conversation. This goes back to the previous point. If my friend is lucky enough to have more than a 5 minute conversation with me, she’s bound to hear me yell mid-conversation. At one point, I can hear the uncomfortable silence in my single friend’s voice, and in the next few minutes, she’s asking me if I need to go. Even though I tell her the wailing she’s hearing is unreasonable, the conversation usually ends. A few minutes later, my child is happy and no signs of discomfort arise. My friends with kids either laugh or tell me they just did the same thing 10 minutes ago.

 

Finishes eating before everyone else. I’ve noticed that I’m the first one done when my girlfriends and I go out to eat. Even though I’m out without the kids, I’m eating like I’m running a marathon race because that’s what I’m used to at home. If I want to finish a meal without interruption, it’s got to happen fast. It’s hard to get out of the habit.

 

Always has a sanitizing item in their purse. Kids are unpredictable. So are their messes. I’m the mom that has something to sanitize with in my purse either in the form of a Boogie wipe, regular wipe, hand sanitizer or sanitizing hand wipe. I’ve started keeping these items in my purse even when the kids aren’t with me. It comes in handy when I’ve spilled some coffee or bits of lunch on myself.

 

Shops online. Before kids, I loved to browse for hours in the mall. I tried everything on, and took back what I changed my mind about once I got home. Now when my friends ask where I’ve purchased something, more than likely I’ve purchased it online. Don’t get me wrong, I love a shopping trip, but shopping with kids limits the amount of time I have to try things on. I also have to keep them still and semi quiet in the dressing room, so it’s much easier to just buy online.

 

Can’t take a group picture because my phone is full of pictures of my kids. No matter how many pictures I download or delete I just can’t get enough of my kids; their messy faces, pouts, smiles, nakedness and beauty.

 

The nice thing about true friends is that they stick around no matter how you evolve as a mom. They understand that motherhood makes you a little absent-minded at times, but they charge it to your head and not your heart. They also realize that it doesn’t change the quality of your friendship, perhaps just the quantity of time you spend together.

What have you noticed about the friend you’ve become after having kids? 

Diedre Jason photoDiedre Anthony is a full time school counselor, mother and wife.  In her blog Are Those Your Kids? , she focuses on her experiences of raising her biracial girls in an interracial marriage.  Her posts are filled with helpful tips about raising children, diversity, curly hair as well as entertaining stories, and anecdotes.  Several of her posts have been published by the Huffington Post .
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Friday Favorite- Lose That Mommy Guilt {Giveaway}

WELCOME TO

Happy Friday All!

This week guest blogger (and new mom) Debra shared with you how she’s read all the latest books on baby sleep and none of them work. Guess what I’m sharing with you today? A book written by an expert. Wait, wait, wait!!  This isn’t just any expert. She is an expert at letting go of perfection. Lose That Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom by Cara Maksimow. 

mommy guilt cover

I know most days it’s hard to find time to read the back of a shampoo bottle let alone an entire book. But the 150 pages is a quick read! Instead of the pretentious lecture about the exact steps you should follow to execute efficient routines, Cara gives a few options with the understanding that not everything works for everyone. 

cara maksimow

Cara is a certified therapist, writer, mother and owner of Maximize Wellness Counseling & Couching, LLC. Everything written in this book encapsulates my exact mission as The Whatever Mom. And it touches on nearly every area of motherhood where I feel guilty. From potty training, to pacifiers to dealing with kid drama Cara shares her own guilty moments and what works for her.

I love that Cara encourages us mommies to embrace our imperfections as part of this motherhood experience. We are all going to make mistakes and it isn’t worth our time to continually beat ourselves up over them. “As the baby grows the mommy guilt grows. It doesn’t matter how good of a mom  you are, you will find a way to beat yourself up over something, I am here to say that it does not have to be that way. As moms, we are amazing and we don’t recognize it enough! . . . You do not need to let “perfect” get in the way of amazing parenting.”

I literally felt myself breathe a sigh of relief after reading those words. I wish I had read them sooner! Cara delves deep into the mom psyche and pulls out the big things we stress ourselves out with and then tells us, it’s going to be OK! I don’t know about you, but for me, I need to hear that now and then. I need to hear someone tell me that I’m not the only one worrying about ruining my kids lives (don’t worry we aren’t ruining anything).

We all get caught in the big trap of anticipating judgement from bystanders. Even a woman who has degrees and is educated on human behavior gets stuck in those real moments. You know the ones where you have to make a snap judgement to let your kid pee in a parking lot?

“I admit I taught my three-year-old girl to squat in the mall parking lot once (maybe more than once) to avoid unbuckling the baby from the car seat and going all of the way back inside the mall to find the nearest bathroom. I was smart enough to know we would not make it in time. Driving home quickly would have at best lead to a urine soaked car seat, so I made my choice.

Thankfully, it was summer and she was wearing plastic jelly shoes. I was worried someone would see me and judge my parenting. My negative self talk was on high that day. What mom lets her three-year-old girl pee in the parking lot? Clearly, I was that mom. It is what it is. I am not particularly proud of it, but I have learned to let go of that particular guilt.”

That’s why I enjoy this book so much. Cara writes from an authentic place of struggle and humor. I feel like she gives us permission to be real about the crazy choices we make as parents. And isn’t that what being a Whatever Mom is all about? Letting go of the idea of perfection? Life is messy and completely imperfect. You do whatever works to get through the day even if it is just surviving from one moment to the next!

Cara has also published a few other books that you can find on Amazon. One lucky reader is going to get a copy of Loose That Mommy Guilt and a bonus planner for a Kick Ass Month! You know the drill, enter below!

kick ass month

Thank you Cara for writing this book so the rest of us can realize not one single mom has it completely together and none of us is escaping motherhood without feeling guilty.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

Disclosure: There are no affiliate links contained in this post. Product for giveaway provided by Cara Maksimow personally. No financial compensation was received for this review. All opinions contained herein belong solely to The Whatever Mom. 

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Friday Favorites -Anna Nova Review & Giveaway

Spring Awakening Satchel Anna Nova

Anna Nova Australia is hosting this promotional giveaway and has provided the merchandise depicted for review. All honest opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links are contained within this post and no financial compensation given.

Before I was a mom I loved the fresh scent of a new hand bag. I would drive an hour to my favorite outlet to peruse the season’s newest offerings.  Those gorgeous designer bags were replaced by cute diaper bags and large shoulder bags. As cute and functional as those bags are, I miss carrying something I absolutely love. I am super picky when it comes to my hand bag choices. I want to carry a bag no one else has, I want quality and I want something that makes me happy. Oh and now it has to have enough room to carry the stuff my kids hand off to me.

Just when I thought designer bags were no longer in reach for my mom lifestyle I was asked to review the Anna Nova Spring Awakening Traveller. (I may have literally squealed with delight). To have designer quality in my hands again felt like a luxurious dream come true.  I have been longing for something that could keep up with the busy demands of my mom-lifestyle, yet make me happy to carry around. Maybe it is because Anna herself is a mother of 4 she understands how to marry together form and function with fashion.

The Spring Awakening Traveller Satchel

I don’t know why I never thought to carry a cross the body satchel before! Even though this satchel is half the size of my current bag, everything fits inside! There are pockets galore creating a very efficient way to carry my mom items (I could write a separate post on the amount of stuff I have inside my mom bag). After I transferred everything into the satchel I discovered an entirely empty pocket still available for all the future stuff I’ll need to cram inside!  All the pockets are secured with a zipper or a snap making it hard for tiny hands to smuggle things in or out.

anna nova stitching

I could see right away my Anna Nova is stitched with quality and care! The stitching on my worn out shoulder bag is frayed and very thin (clearly not a designer bag). The turquoise threads on the Anna Nova Traveller is not only gorgeous but heavier and deeper which means less fray and longer wear.

Anna Nova Traveler

The fabric on the inside of this satchel feels much softer and I can tell immediately it has a better thread count (it simply means a tighter weave which equals longer life). The fabric inside my cheap shoulder bag became “pilly” and worn shortly after I purchased it. Not a very luxurious feeling.

After years of carrying shoulder bags that slide down my arm while trying to hold two little hands across a parking lot, I am ready for a cross the body bag. This week alone I wore my Traveller to our soccer practices, during preschool drop off and even out shopping. Knowing my items are secure and safe from falling off of me and spilling out as I am chasing a kid gives me less to worry about. It is so light weight and comfortable I find myself going back into the house to look for my purse. Meanwhile, I’m already wearing it! Ha, ha!

Anna Nova Spring Awakening Traveler

If I am being honest, this print wasn’t my first choice, but I kept coming back to it because there was just something comforting about it. It reminds me of the floral prints I used to wear as a teenager (back when I was carefree and had time for fashion). The pastels on black aren’t super bold, but lend just enough color to make a statement and still coordinate with my casual outfits.

I know no one likes to chat dollars and cents but I feel like if I am bringing you an honest review we have to go there. I feel everything is very reasonably priced for designer quality. This particular bag is around $105 which is way less than any other designer bag I’ve purchased, but the quality is on par. Take a look at the Anna Nova website to see the other affordable pieces available; from coin purses to phone pouches, from back packs to overnight bags there is a bag to fit every need.

The Spring Awakening Pouch

Anna Nova Spring Awakening Pouch

The folks at Anna Nova also sent this companion pouch that fits inside my satchel. I have filled it with my arsenal of lip glosses, lip balms and favorite essential oils. The pouch fits perfectly inside any pocket on this satchel. It is also a great pouch to store your cell phone in inside of a diaper bag, or large shoulder bag for quick access.

Guess what?! I have one extra Spring Awakening Pouch to giveaway!!  Are you excited?!! You should be!!  This roomy little pouch can be a piece of luxury you can count on every time you open your purse.

To enter follow the instructions below and check back on The Whatever Mom Facebook page on Monday morning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

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