“I am at UW Children’s Hospital in the ER waiting for Jane to get a CT scan! Call me back as soon as you get this!”
On a Monday afternoon about 4 years ago, this is what I woke to. I had worked the night before and promptly went to sleep at 8:00 a.m. My husband had the day off and was home with the two little ones, Jane (age 3) and Henry (6 months). We had been struggling the last couple weeks trying to find out what was wrong with Jane. She was miserable, inconsolable, and wouldn’t let anyone even touch her. She had been back and forth to the doctor several times with no answers.
I should start at the beginning. When I was younger, I never wanted to have kids. My dream was to be a nun and live by myself in a house on the beach. And on particularly difficult days, I will confess to occasionally fantasizing about curling up with a book and a giant bowl of ice cream in that quiet beachside home.
Unless you puke, faint, or die, KEEP GOING!! -Jillian Michaels
I have a vague recollection of a time when I worked a normal Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 job (7-3:30 for me). I would finish work every day, change into my workout clothes, and head to the gym. I spent an hour to an hour and a half at body sculpt or cardio classes and was home in time to cook dinner for me and my husband. On Saturdays, we would wake up early and head to the gym for Pilates followed by a relaxing breakfast at our favorite restaurant. AHHH! I not only had a routine I loved, I was probably in the best shape of my life.
Everywhere you turn there are conflicting messages about what we should and should not be eating. Eat vegan. Eat organic. Eat a high protein diet. Stay away from carbs. Eat complex carbs in moderation. Gluten is slowly killing you. Eat fruit. Limit fruit because it’s high in sugar. Eat dairy. Avoid dairy. Make sure to include probiotics, prebiotics, monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, fiber. The list goes on and on, and that’s not even taking into account food allergies and sensitivities.
“I have kids, a house, a husband, a job…how can I EVER be stress-free??”
Living a stress-free life is not like trying to sneeze with your eyes open or lick your elbow. Though it may feel impossible when you have so many responsibilities, it is not. Being stress-free does not mean you will never encounter a stressful situation. It simply means you will have the tools to take each stressful moment in stride.
There are many things which contribute to your ability to deal with stress in a positive way. Getting adequate sleep, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, meditating and journaling are just a few of these. I believe when you live your life with a plan, you can meet difficulties head-on.
When I say, “Helping busy moms live a healthy, stress-free life,” I am promising to give you the tools to deal with stress in your life in a healthy, productive way. I want to teach other moms to control stressful situations instead of letting them control you.
Extremes are easy. Strive for balance. -Colin Wright
Health and wellness have nothing to do with numbers on a scale or the size on a piece of clothing. Together they encompass many aspects of my life. For me, health is about doing my best to eat real foods that fuel my body and teaching my kids to do the same. It is also about incorporating exercise into my daily routine, so I can keep up with my active children. Wellness, on the other hand, is when my physical health is in balance with my mental health.
Of course I do struggle to find this balance like many others. Maintaining health and wellness is often a journey with no real destination. It is a continuous learning experience. I plan to take you on that journey with me. I will share my personal struggles with eating healthy. I mean everyone has their own “Achilles heel” when it comes to food, right? I will also share the lifestyle changes I have made that really work when talking about food.
I also want to offer ideas for squeezing regular exercise into your day. As a busy mom, it is very difficult to find time for yourself, but it is very necessary. I know when my children see me valuing my health through exercise, it makes a lasting impact on their future health. I will also share the ways my husband and I have included the entire family in active fun. It’s so rewarding to spend quality time with my family that also counts as exercise.
Finally, I wish to share with you my journey to wellness. This is going to mean taking care of my mental health through adequate sleep, journaling, meditation, and sometimes just getting away for a “girls night out.” As mothers, I am sure you realize how important it is to take care of your spirit. This is an area I have not focused on as much as I should. I plan to change that. I know when my mind and soul are refreshed, I function as a better wife and mother. I hope my stories will inspire you to focus on your own journey to health and wellness.
I know I am a good mom because I follow my heart and do the things that feel right for me and my family. And for today, that’s good enough. -Rachelle Szymanski
As a mother, it is so easy to beat yourself up. I often find myself looking at other moms and feeling underqualified. I see the super crafty mom with detailed scrapbooks of all her children, and I wish I had time for it. I see the mom who makes all her own baby food from organic fruits and vegetables grown in her own garden, and I feel guilty for having fed my babies non-organic food from a jar. I know we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to other mothers and somehow feeling we’ve come up short.
Though, just as often, we may be guilty of judging another mom (think Doritos and soda in the shopping cart or a toddler throwing a tantrum at Target) in order to feel a little better about ourselves. The truth is no one has it all together. Some are just better at hiding it. In this age of social media, we are so accustomed to seeing everyone’s “perfect self.” It is too easy to feel inadequate.
Starting from the very moment you decide to have children, you are bombarded with questions and feelings of uncertainty. How will you choose to eat while you are pregnant? Will you exercise? Natural childbirth, Cesarean section, or epidural? Doctor or midwife? Breastfeeding or formula? The list is truly endless, and this is all before the baby even arrives. My goal with this blog is to offer my experiences with motherhood (from pregnancy through puberty) in the hopes that it will reach other mothers and help them to feel less alone. I also want to offer experiences from some mommy friends of mine which are very different than my own. I want you to see how we are all different in many ways but similar in our love for our children and our support for other mothers.
I believe every mother has something wonderful to contribute to the other mothers in her life. If, instead of showing only perfectly filtered pictures of ourselves, we were completely honest with each other, we could come together and collectively lift each other up. Instead of comparing and judging, we could learn and help. My sole purpose with this blog is to do just that.
I hope you find value in my experiences, and realize motherhood does not come with an instruction manual. It does, however, come with an incredible community of other women to support you.
For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned. -Benjamin Franklin
I found value in organization from a very young age. If I was able to make a list, follow a schedule, or adhere to a routine, I could prioritize and get things done. I also discovered I could not truly relax unless my home was in order. For me, a cluttered home was the equivalent of a cluttered mind.
Prior to having a husband, a house, and four children, I was able to achieve order in my life with very little effort. It became much more difficult when my world expanded. It is certainly true that clutter seems never-ending with children. They are really walking, talking messes. Making messes, though, is often a necessary part of having fun and making memories. However, teaching your children to clean up after themselves is also an integral part in preparing them for the responsibilities of life.
I’m not perfect. I always seem to have a space in my home needing to be tackled. Thanks kids! However, I’m the master at creating prioritized lists and cleaning schedules which are easy to implement and follow. Having these tools helps to free up time to do other more enjoyable things. I want to pass these tips and tricks on to other busy moms so they may benefit.
The true gift of organization is clearing your physical and mental space so you can fully enjoy the moment. When your life is uncluttered, you are able to truly be present with yourself, your spouse, and your children.
Let’s face it, mealtime can be a struggle when you have children. It is not always easy to come up with healthy, well-balanced meals the whole family enjoys. There is always at least one kid protesting, and it is usually the same child who loved said meal the last time I made it. I want to help make your mealtimes a tiny bit easier by offering some recipes and mealtime suggestions which have worked in my family (even for the picky one).
I have always enjoyed cooking. I love coming up with a new recipe or tweaking an old recipe to make it healthier. Though, I have to say I also enjoy indulging every once in a while. So some of the recipes I share may not be the “healthiest,” but they will definitely be YUMMY! As you know, when you create your indulgences at home, you are in control of the ingredients. You can be sure your recipes are free of chemicals and additives which make them healthier by comparison.
As for the healthy recipes, many of them will have vegetarian, vegan, carb-free, and gluten free options to suit most dietary preferences. I will of course include Wildtree products (since I love them), though I will also provide you with substitutions if you don’t have the specified product. I hope you and your family enjoy all of my recipes.