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FitBit One Review

If you are anything like me, then you probably don’t need a piece of technology to tell you that you aren’t getting solid, uninterrupted sleep. But wouldn’t it be kind of cool if you had something that could actually confirm that? Well, that’s just one of the amazing features of the FitBit One, an advanced activity and sleep tracker. Thanks to Verizon Wireless, I’ve had the opportunity to try out this awesome product. Now, instead of just complaining about being tired, I can actually tell you precisely how long I was restless in my sleep and how many times I was woken up. Pretty cool, right??

The FitBit One - Advanced Activity and Sleep Tracker

The FitBit One – Advanced Activity and Sleep Tracker

Besides just tracking the sad amount of sleep I get each night, the FitBit One also counts steps taken, distance walked, calories burned, and stairs climbed (which can be summed up as A LOT if you are chasing kids all day).

My FitBit One has a ton of awesome features. It’s very small and sleek, making it manageable to wear at anytime without being in my way. It can easily be clipped on to clothing or can be worn in a wristband, which is included with your purchase. Plus, the setup was quick and simple using my laptop. As a busy working mother, I don’t have a ton of time to spend uploading information from any device to store on my computer (hence why my iPod is still rocking playlists like “Top Hits 2010…”). I love that the FitBit One syncs wirelessly with my laptop and my smart phone so that I don’t have to spend any time uploading information. By logging in on the FitBit website or by opening the FitBit app on my iPhone, I can review my stats using easy to read graphs. Everything tracked on my FitBit can even be transferred to other apps, like Run Keeper and My Fitness Pal, so all my information can be stored in one place.

Take a peek at my FitBit dashboard, where all my stats are tracked daily.

Take a peek at my FitBit dashboard, where all my stats are tracked daily.

Staying active has always been an important part of my life. However, as a busy mother, staying on top of my workouts can be tough. The FitBit One is an awesome way to keep myself informed about the activity that I am doing all throughout the day, even if it wasn’t completed as a traditional workout in the gym (like the ones I used to enjoy in my pre-parenting days…). I definitely recommend the FitBit One to any busy mommy like myself, or anyone else for that matter that’s making an effort to stay in shape.

The FitBit can be attached to clothing or worn in a wristband (included with purchase).

The FitBit can be attached to clothing or worn in a wristband (included with purchase).

Quick Recap – Features I love:

  • Tracks steps, distance, calories, and stairs climbed
  • Tracks how long and how well you slept
  • Includes a silent alarm that vibrates to wake you gently without disturbing your partner
  • Syncs wirelessly with computer and select smart phones
  • Allows you to connect socially with other FitBit users
  • Transfers info to other fitness apps
  • Easy to setup, wear, and use

Be sure to check out the FitBit website for information about the FitBit One and other products and follow FitBit on Twitter, too! Thanks so much to my partner, Verizon Wireless, for giving me the opportunity to trial and review this great product!

5 Adjectives to Describe Toddler Behavior

At almost 21 months old, I think it’s safe to say that my son has officially crossed over into toddler territory. (Lucky me). During the past few weeks, I’ve done some very informal, unscientific observations of my child. I’ve determined that there are five adjectives that can pretty much sum up my toddler’s crazy behavior.

toddlerecard

 1.)    Impulsive – “Ready, set, go!”

Yeah… My kid’s idea of a good time is climbing three stairs and then attempting to jump off. I’m sure you can guess how that turned out. Unfortunately, my toddler lacks the “think before you act” part of the brain. His thought processes go something like this: “run, jump, throw, scream, hit, repeat.” It amazes me that not only does he know he’s not allowed on the stairs, he has been injured on them before. After a child does something that causes them injuries, I’ve heard parents say things like, “Well, you won’t do that again, will you?” But, you know what? They will do it again. And again. And again. And again.  Because they are toddlers and they are impulsive and they don’t give a shit that they got hurt the last time they tried it.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Jumped off the stairs, got a boo boo. Jumped off again, got a boo boo. Jumped off again, got a boo boo. Yup. Insanity.

 2.)    Irrational – “Cookies?????”

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting really tired of making multiple meals that don’t get eaten, followed by giving in and letting the kid eat toast for dinner because I’m too tired to give a shit at 5:30pm after a long day. So, my genius idea was to let the toddler choose his dinner. I mean, I get it. He’s a human and has little preferences. If I let him pick, maybe he’d actually eat it.

And do you know what he asked for?? Cookies, obviously. This was followed by a fifteen minute knock down drag out about not getting cookies for dinner. The tantrum, the tears, the whole nine yards. Totally irrational behavior over the simple fact that I denied his cookies-for-dinner request. Maybe I was the irrational one for thinking this kid was actually going to ask for something legit, like pasta and broccoli. Silly me.

3.)    Emotional – “Mommy, makeup for me?”

My son loves my makeup. At this age, he wants to do whatever I’m doing. So, naturally after watching me apply my makeup every single morning, he wanted to give it a try. After saying no a million times, I finally gave in one morning when my husband was traveling and I was late for work. I didn’t think he could open the compact (but then again, I always underestimate this kid). I let him hold my bronzer and a makeup brush so that I could at least throw some cover up on my massive, dark circles and some eye shadow on my overtired lids. After ten minutes, he looked up at me and I knew the sunkissed glow on his face was definitely not natural. And that was the end of allowing him to hold my makeup.

The following morning, when he asked for the bronzer, I had to say no. Not only is it totally ridiculous for a 21 month old boy to be covered in makeup, but that shit is expensive. The look on his face was incredible. You would have thought I told the kid that I threw out every toy he owned. He was legitimately hurt and sad that I wasn’t going to let him use my makeup. It was the saddest cry I’ve ever heard. The only thing worse than an overly sensitive emotional toddler is a PMSing teenage girl who just got dumped by her douche bag high school boyfriend. Just another reason why I am not having girls, FYI.

 4.)    Possessive – “MINE!”

The toddler started daycare a few months back and learned the importance of being able to scream, “MINE!” I can’t blame him. You’ve got to hold your own when it comes to fighting for the good toys. It’s like the toddler toy version of survival of the fittest.

In order to deal with him screaming “MINE!” all the time, I attempted to teach him to say, “My turn, please.” His language is limited at 21 months old, mind you. At a play date yesterday, I saw him snatch a toy from his friend and scream, “MY TURN PLEASE!” in a raging, near tears, I’m-not-sharing-my-shit kind of voice. He looked at me, pleased with himself, like he was proud that he used the words that I taught him (albeit he screamed them while snatching the toy). Not exactly what I was going for… Looks like we need a little more work in the possessive department.

 5.)    Aggressive – “Hit!”

As an early childhood educator, the more politically correct side of me would not call a child aggressive. Just more…. “hands on.” But let’s be real. Toddlers are sometimes aggressive. Not in a vicious way, but when you only have about 30 words to choose from, sometimes hitting is a much faster, more effective way to make a point.

The thing with the hitting is this – I can’t help but find it hilarious that this tiny toddler thinks hitting a 100lb dog is going to sufficiently prevent the dog from stealing the fruit from his snack plate. I’m pretty sure my constant giggling at his attempt at aggressiveness is probably only encouraging more hitting….

  *

As an early childhood teacher, I am totally aware that all of these crazy behaviors are completely normal and age appropriate. That doesn’t make it any more hilarious and challenging to handle, though. I’m already looking forward to Greyson turning three years old. But in the mean time, if you have a toddler that’s just as “normal” as mine, my advice is this: stock up on the wine, mamas. They don’t call it the “terrible two’s” for nothing.

 

 

Managing Motherhood

Since my son was born, I’ve learned a lot of important lessons about parenting – mostly that kids are a lot of fucking work, I’ll never sleep through the night again, and almost every task takes at least three times as long to complete when you’ve got a toddler in tow. However, I have to say that one of the most useful things that I have learned over the culmination of 21 exhausting months is that a large amount of wine will erase all problems at the end of a bad day.

But in all seriousness, I have actually learned one important lesson that seems worth sharing. So here goes. In parenting, there are good days and there are bad days. I consider a day successful if my son was mostly happy and if I am still awake at 8:30 without feeling the need to kill anyone who considers striking up a conversation with me. Today, for instance, was one of those days. My son spent the day playing with toys and enjoying activities. He ate well, slept well, and didn’t cry a tear. On bad days, I count the minutes until my husband gets home from work so that I can hand over our child and lock myself in the bathroom with a glass wine and a magazine just for the sake of five minutes alone. On days like this, I feel like my son has been clinging to my legs with every step I take and has spent several hours whining and crying for seemingly ridiculous reasons.

It’s as if one day I’m praising a higher power that I have such a happy and well-adjusted child and other days I’m almost positive that he’s possessed. So, what is it that makes every day so very different??? In my opinion, it’s all about finding a balance.

Managing motherhood is tricky. Whether you are working, staying at home, or working at home, it’s hard to find a balance between attending to your child while maintaining some sense of self. Sometimes, I spend all day trying to run errands, clean the house, and answer e-mails. These tend to be the bad days – the day when my son is a terror. He gets bored and he feels ignored. On the other hand, there are times when I spend the entire day entertaining Grey with exciting art projects, play dates, and trips to story time at the library. These are the days when I feel exhausted, when I’m desperate for some adult time. And then there are the best days – the times when I find that perfect balance between mommy time and baby time. My son and I might spend a half hour playing toys together in the morning, followed by a half hour of “me time” spent watching the Today show while drinking coffee.

The days that we find that balance are amazing. I enjoy my time at home with Grey and I don’t feel burned out by the time my husband gets home from work. It’s about planning a half hour of Play Doh with Grey followed by fifteen minutes for scrolling Facebook while the baby plays alone. These are the little things that keep me sane on the days that I am home.

In honor of this realization about the best way to manage motherhood on a daily basis, I’ve decided to add a section of my website that will display photos about how I am keeping the balance between being a good mommy and being a normal human being. I want to share the awesome projects and activities that my son and I love doing together PLUS the little moments of my day that are dedicated to taking a quick mommy break. Hopefully, adding some of these things to your day will help you manage the craziness of motherhood, too.

So take a moment to check out my “Managing Motherhood” page, share it with your friends, and enjoy. 🙂

Got some tips for managing motherhood and finding a balance? Leave me a comment below!

Deal Making Mommy

DON'T WORRY. I didn't get a minivan (yet).

DON’T WORRY. I didn’t get a minivan (yet).

Last week, I got a phone call from my car dealership that I was eligible for a lease pull ahead in which I could turn my car in five months early for a newer, nicer version and still maintain a similar payment. While I was completely and utterly doubtful that this was possible, I decided to entertain this guy by setting up a meeting.

Because we didn’t have a sitter set up, we had two options. Either my husband was going to come with me and we were going to attempt to car shop with a toddler in tow (which sounds like hell for both me and the dealership) or I was going to do this alone. I know that car shopping can be challenging and that you need to have some serious negotiating skills in order to get a good deal. Really though, I spend twelve hours a day negotiating with children. Trying to make a deal with a car salesman can’t be THAT much harder. If I can convince a toddler to eat his veggies, I can definitely convince this douche bag that I deserve the lowest payment possible. Not to mention, I watch a lot of Million Dollar Listing on Bravo TV, which has really improved my negotiation skills. I think I could give Josh Altman a serious run for his money.

I spent the remainder of the week doing some intense research. I talked to tons of dealerships about comparable cars and leasing options. I read articles about what questions that need to be asked, like the total purchase price of the car, the residual value, and the interest rate. I learned about acquisition fees and studied terms like capitalized cost reduction. I picked out the model I wanted, the packages I wanted to add, and the interior and exterior colors I liked. Most importantly, I talked with my dad several times because, you know, this is the kind of things that dads live for – car shopping, examining mortgage rates, opening IRA’s and 529 plans, political discussions, etc. My dad even offered to drive in from out of town to join me, but I told him it wasn’t necessary. I was ready.

I pulled into the dealership, dressed to the nines and feeling confident. One of two things was about to happen. Either all of the sales guys were going to ignore me because clearly a young, clueless woman who was car shopping without her husband wasn’t going to have the balls or the permission to pull the trigger. OR – I was going to be mobbed because these guys figured I had no idea what I was doing. They were going to fight over the chance to screw me by confusing me with car salesmen jargon and hidden fees, then sell me an overpriced vehicle that they swore was “discounted” as much as possible.

Four men (actually, more like four 30 year old guys who looked like total tools) surrounded me as I entered the building. I felt like I was willingly walking into a tank full of hungry sharks just itching for the chance to destroy me. Brian, the guy who I had set an appointment with, waded through the crowd of men and greeted me. He looked around. I knew he was looking for my husband. Or my father. Or my sugar daddy. Because clearly, women aren’t capable of car shopping independently.

“Are you shopping…. alone?” he asked.

I laughed and explained that indeed, I would be shopping alone. I told him I was so graciously sparing him from having to try to sell me a car while I chased my toddler around the dealership.

Brian began our conversation by throwing around some ridiculous terms and definitions. I politely let him know that I knew what he was talking about. I pulled out my notes and I quickly silenced my phone so that he wouldn’t hear the texts and calls I had coming in from my concerned crew (aka, my husband and my dad).

I spent almost 3.5 hours at the dealership. I negotiated all morning and finally got the car I wanted for the price I wanted and no one else’s name was needed to co-sign for the loan. I have to say, I was pretty impressed with myself.

Brian walked me to my old car and helped me pack up my things (12 embarrassing girly CDs, a teddy bear, a few random toys, and a shit ton of change). He commented that my car looked like it was in good shape. Not too much wear and tear and pretty clean, too. That was, until I lifted out the car seat to reveal about 38 crushed up goldfish crackers and an entire carton worth of milk stains…. Yikes. Have fun with that, Brian.

I climbed into my new 2014 Titanium Silver Kia Sorento, also known as, my mommy mobile. Granted, I didn’t go as far as getting a car pool approved, kid-ready minivan.  But, you never know. Maybe someday this car will be sporting two car seats and we’ll be happy we opted for that hide-away third row seating. Either way, I’d say it was a successful day for this deal making mommy.

My Mom Ride. OOOH. I know you are jealous.

My Mom Ride. OOOH. I know you are jealous.

Verizon’s Apps We Love

Check out one of my recommendations for Verizon’s #AppsWeLove!

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The Baby Bomb

Before I had my son, I was one of those expectant mothers who swore that I wasn’t going to allow baby gear to overtake my household. I wanted to maintain some sort of respectable adult space so that I didn’t feel smothered by the all consuming sense of parenthood all the time. I wasn’t going to remove my coffee table from my living room and get rid of every piece of fragile décor. I was just going to teach my kid to be careful and not to touch that stuff. (HAHAHA). I thought it was important to still have some order and organization and to avoid letting the baby stuff become the centerpiece of every room in the house.

As it turns out, caring for a newborn requires a LOT of baby gear. Let me rephrase that, it’s not that parenting REQUIRES a lot of stuff. You could probably get by without a wipe warmer and a shopping cart cover. However, there is a lot of baby gear out there that does actually make the job easier. If you are lucky enough to have baby crazy friends and family, most likely they will buy you every product you could ever imagine (and then some) for your baby shower. And so it began.

In the months leading up to my son’s due date, my husband and I spent every weekend putting together strollers and assembling infant furniture. You’d be surprised how challenging some of this shit can be. If you and your significant other can sufficiently assemble a crib without starting a fight, then I’d say you are on the road to a successful partnership as parents because building that shit is stressful. Ever gone camping and tried assembling a tent with your spouse? It’s a major pain the ass, right? Now try putting together a gliding rocking chair with four hundred bolts and moving parts and one tiny Allen wrench (not to mention trying to do it while carrying 30lbs of extra weight and a massive bowling ball in your uterus).

Little by little, our house became filled with baby gear and I hadn’t even had the baby. Greyson’s closet and dresser were filled with freshly cleaned and folded newborn clothing, most of which he never wore considering he was born the size of a toddler. The swing, the most important piece of equipment we owned, was built and plugged in. We even had the car seat put into the car weeks before my due date.

It happened so fast that I didn’t even see it coming. After we brought Grey home from the hospital, it was like a baby bomb went off and left debris consisting of diapers, dirty laundry, and breast pumps laying all over every inch of the house. There was a bouncy seat in my bathroom and a baby play gym on my living room floor. The bassinet took up half of our bedroom. My nightstand was buried in baby products that we might need during the night, like burp clothes, diapers, and extra clothes for nighttime blow outs.

Between the baby and the dog, my husband and I are left with rights to about two square feet of this room.

Between the baby and the dog, my husband and I are left with rights to about two square feet of this room.

As the months went by, the baby stuff continued to build up. Greyson transitioned to bottles, so my kitchen counter was consumed by bottle parts and drying racks. When Grey began taking baby food, we built the high chair. The living room was becoming overloaded with baby toys and walkers. As he grew out of things like the swing and the baby seats, our basement (which was formerly our workout room) became mostly a baby storage unit. And you can try to maintain some adult space, but most likely, you will submit to letting the toys take over. Don’t get me wrong; with some crafty storage ideas and some organization, you can hide it. But whether or not it’s tucked away in trendy wicker baskets or cute leather ottomans, you kids’ stuff is everywhere.

If you look closely among the debris, you can pick out pieces of our former workout room.

If you look closely among the debris, you can pick out pieces of our former workout room.

This weekend, I threw out all of the baby bottles and put the high chair in the basement. I was so happy to get rid of the some of the gear that’s been overtaking my household. In reality, I know that every item we remove will be replaced by something else child related. So while there are no longer eight bottles and a bulky sterilizer claiming space in my very tiny kitchen cabinets, I now have two shelves filled with multi-colored sippy cups and plastic dinner ware suitable for a toddler.

Before I had kids, these shelves were dedicated to displaying my shot glasses. Sigh.

Before I had kids, these shelves were dedicated to displaying my shot glasses. Sigh.

The truth of the matter is, when you have children, you basically sign a contract granting them permission to overtake every inch of the house, down to the DVR list. How am I supposed to record The Housewives of New Jersey when my list is constantly 99% full due to daily episodes Thomas and Friends? Unfortunately, it just comes with the territory.

So rather than trying to disarm the baby bomb, I’ve decided to just do my best to maintain the debris. I’ll try to keep it as picked up as possible, but I’m not going to beat myself up over having a basket or two of toys in every room in my house. And as it turns out, it’s pretty tough to teach a toddler not to touch things that are fragile and to stay away from sharp corners…. So for now, my coffee table and my decorative candles are safely put away in the baby storage unit until further notice. And you know what, I totally OK with that.

The Birth of The Honest Mommy

momblogecard

In case you didn’t realize it, today is actually a VERY important day!!! It’s my very first blogiversary!!!!! My tiny blog started out with about two readers (my husband and my dad, although I’m sure my mom would be a fan if she knew how to turn on a computer….). I know that my audience has grown exponentially over the course of this year and I am SO thankful for that!

I know a lot of moms share their birth stories on their blogs, but lucky for you I am going to spare you of those gory details. Instead, I am going to share one of my very first posts about the birth of my blog, The Honest Mommy.

Tonight, I will pour myself a large glass of vino (or several….) and toast my loyal readers. Thanks for your love and support – cheers!

It’s OK to Be Honest. (Originally posted 10/09/2012).

Greyson was born in February and I had planned to take eight weeks of maternity leave from my position as the director of a local childcare center. I know that sounds like the perfect job for a new mother, since I obviously had the option to bring my son with me, but not quite. More on that later.

Anyway, eight weeks passed before my eyes and I prepared to return to work. For all of you expecting mothers, take as much time off as you can! Even if you think you’ll go crazy without your job, even if you’ve worked incredibly hard to achieve your success, even if you are jealous as your husband leaves for work, trust me, you will not want to pass that baby off when the day comes. You won’t get that precious time back. I wish someone would have told me that. Maybe if I had taken more time off, I wouldn’t have eventually decided to leave my job. Returning to work was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do – Second only to giving birth to a 9lb 2oz baby only eight weeks prior.

Trying to manage my new role as a working mother was feeling extremely overwhelming. People were constantly asking me how I was doing, if the baby was sleeping well (what a ridiculous question!), if I was glad to be back at work (seriously…??). Of course I lied about how I was feeling! No one actually cares how you are doing. Making small talk is just the polite thing to do. They want you to say that you are great, the baby is great, and work is great, so that they can be on their way.

After about four weeks back at work, one of the mothers whose children attended the childcare center stopped in my office on her way out. She asked how I was doing and I gave her the overly happy and annoyingly positive answer I was sure she wanted to hear. She responded with laughter, which surprised me, and said, “You know, Cait, it’s ok to be honest.” I’m not sure what gave me away- the large dark circles under my eyes, the wrinkles in my shirt and the spit up on my pants, or the huge fake smile that was plastered to my face. I laughed with her and finally told someone the truth – I was exhausted.

This moment has stuck in my mind for a long time. The truth was that I was tired, I was learning that being a parent is hard, and I was struggling to balance work life and home life. It didn’t make me less of a mother to admit that there are challenges. I don’t have to pretend to be loving every moment of this crazy, new life. Surprisingly, being honest lifted a weight off my shoulders. So those new mothers that are telling you that they are feeling amazing, that the baby is sleeping like a champion, and that they couldn’t be happier to be back at work – they are probably lying.

With this blog, I plan to take that mother’s advice and be honest about my experiences as a mother. Hopefully it will make you laugh and inspire fellow mothers to take pride in their honestly, crazy lives.”

A Working Mama

About two months ago, I made the decision to go back to work. Nannying for a year provided a wonderful way for me to spend every day with my son while still contributing financially for my family. Unfortunately, I’m almost positive that the majority of the money that I made was spent on cases of wine and visits with my therapist in order to regain my sanity after spending 12 straight hours wrangling babies every day.

I enrolled my son at day care in the beginning of September and decided to try my hand at substitute teaching. I’ve been certified to teach in the school districts for several years, but you have to have at least 400 years experience and be married to a principal in order to get considered for a full time teaching job in New York State. I figured that subbing three days a week would be a great way for me to get back into the business and gain some experience. Maybe in year or two, I’d be ready to shoot for something full time. In case you didn’t already know it, the cost of daycare per year is practically equivalent to a college education, so I decided to continue nannying two days a week in order to lessen the blow of the additional bills.

My son started daycare before I began working so that we’d both have a few weeks to adjust. As a former day care director, I have walked hundreds of parents through this process. I’ve showed them to their children’s classrooms on the first day and handed them tissues as they said goodbye to their kids for the first time. You’d think I’d be prepared.  Ironically, I was probably more high maintenance than any of the parents I complained about while working in my former position. We visited the classroom a handful of times for a few hours before Grey’s first day (and I know just how much teachers LOVE having parents hanging around all day). I made crazy requests about giving him two snacks a day at specific times and letting him have a bottle at nap time, even though the rest of the toddlers have been off bottles for months. I stopped in to make sure he was alright and I called the classroom to check on him. Yup, self-proclaimed helicopter mother. But I couldn’t help myself. Plus, I’m paying these people a pretty penny to put up with my shit (and my son’s, literally), so they can deal with my absurd requests for the time being.

During those first few weeks, I hadn’t started substitute teaching (since, ya know, it’d probably be frowned upon for teachers to call in during the first week of school after having two months off). I found myself in a really strange situation. I’d drop Grey off at daycare and come home and literally have nothing to do. I’d walk around the house aimlessly. It’s amazing actually that in such a short period of 19 months as a mother, I’d forgotten what the hell it was like to have free time. My house was really clean. I was working out every day. For a week or two, I was thinking I could REALLY get used to this. Then, a weird sense of guilt set in. I wasn’t getting called to sub. I felt bad that Grey was at daycare for no reason and that I wasn’t making any money. I started busying myself with random household projects that I had no business doing. I actually purchased and installed all new blinds in the downstairs of my house. Like, WTF?? Not only have I NEVER touched a drill in my life, I had spent a couple hundred dollars on the blinds. I needed to start working or I was going to do something crazy like attempt to sand and refinish my hardwood floors. And I’d probably really fuck it up.

Finally, I started getting some calls to sub. If you aren’t a teacher, subbing is something like this – You work in a different school, in a different building, in a different classroom every day. Imagine your first day of work. Now picture doing that every.single.day. I had no idea where to go, where to park, and I was super awkward at lunch because I had no one to sit with. It’s not for everyone. But luckily, subbing has some awesome advantages, too. I can make my own schedule. I can take days off whenever I want. I don’t have to write the lesson plans and I have no responsibility for making sure these kids don’t fail the state tests. My sole purpose as a sub is basically to make sure the kids don’t kill each other. Plus, if I don’t like the class, I can choose not to go back there. Not a bad deal, after all.

Actually going to work again was totally insane to me. I realized that I have to wait until the very last second before walking out the door to put on my work clothes to avoid my son wiping his hands on me after breakfast or getting covered in dog hair while sitting on the floor wrestling the kid into his coat. I’ve become one of those working moms that like, packs lunches and sets out everyone’s clothes the night before. I don’t mind that I have to sit in 45 minutes of traffic in the morning because I get to be in my car, by myself, and listen to a morning radio show while drinking coffee on the way to work. Not only that, I get to talk to adults. I even get to take bathroom breaks. Alone.

It’s glorious.

On the first day, I felt so good to be out of my yoga pants and bleached stained T-shirts that I even attempted wearing heels. After nursing some serious blisters from standing in front of a class all day in pumps, I realized that I needed to take it slow. I haven’t worn heels in two years. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

It took him about six weeks to adjust, but I am SO happy to say that my son is finally surviving his day at daycare without crying for hours on end. I’m sure his teachers are happy about that, too.

It was such a miracle that he stopped crying and was finally painting happily at day care that they had to e-mail me a picture of it.

It was such a miracle that he stopped crying and was finally painting happily at day care that they had to e-mail me a picture of it.

While it’s only the beginning and I know that there will be challenges, so far, going back to work part-time has been a really amazing experience for both me and Grey.  Who knows? By this time next year, maybe I’ll be ready to work full time. And maybe I’ll even be ready to do it in heels.

Don’t take it personal.

Femconferencelogofinal

Exactly one year ago this week, I decided to start a blog on a whim. I had recently left my full time career in order to stay at home with my six month old son and I took on caring for two other children in order to supplement my income. Spending 24 hours a day with children turned out to be VERY different (and busy, and insane, and exhausting) from the life I was used to living just six short months before. I knew almost nothing about how to start a blog and even less about hashtags and html codes. What I DID know is that I needed a place to vent. I was desperate for a place to spit the truth about parenting (while wiping spit up off my laptop). And so, The Honest Mommy emerged.

When I first started my blog, I had never actually shared anything I’d written to anyone. Ever. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to actually share the link to my website with friends and family. At the same time, I was interested in connecting with other mothers online and curious to find out if I was the only mother who felt like a total mess most of the time. In the end, I decided I would put it out there. After a few short months, I was shocked to see that hundreds of people were reading my posts. It was exciting, but scary. I was sharing some personal stuff. I was saying some not-so-pleasant things about parenting. What would people think?

Over the past year, I’ve learned A LOT of important information. I’ve learned about managing a website, how to share posts on social media, and about how to market and advertise online. Most importantly, I’ve learned about myself as a mother and as writer. Last week, I learned about an amazing conference that is being co-organized by a blogger I follow, Tiny Steps Mommy. The Femworking Blogger & Small Business Conference is designed to educate and connect bloggers and small business owners. The conference is looking to add one more person to their panel via a contest asking writers to share what they have learned about blogging.

So what have I learned over the past year?? Of course, I’ve learned a lot of the technical things. I’ve learned how to add widgets to my sidebar and how to create an ad shop on my sponsorship page. But those are certainly things that anyone can learn with a little research (and a good web designer to help when you are lost….). However, the most important lesson that I have learned as a blogger is not to take it personal. When I first started sharing my personal thoughts and challenges on the internet, I didn’t take into account how many people were going to be reading my work. It wasn’t long before I received a few negative e-mails from people who disagreed with my opinions and felt the need to share that with me. I could sit here and get into the irritating details about some of the comments I’ve gotten, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because while those kinds of reactions are annoying every time, I have to remember that this is about my experiences. My opinions. My voice. If you don’t like it, go start your own damn website. Or simply, don’t read my blog. I’m fine with that. My writing isn’t about trying to pleasing anyone else. I don’t worry about pissing anyone off because the purpose of my blog is for me to vent my honest feelings and to connect with people who might understand me. The fact of the matter is that as a writer, I’m putting myself out there. Not everyone is going to like it. So be it.

Starting a blog has not only helped me connect with other women who have had similar experiences to my own, but has also helped me reflect on my experiences as a parent. My posts are always honest, usually heartfelt, and sometimes hilarious. Yeah, I’ve gotten a few negative reactions, but it’s made me stronger and more confident in my opinions. I would love the opportunity to sit on the panel at the The Femworking Blogger & Small Business Conference in order to help other up and coming bloggers build confidence in their work and to learn that important lesson that comes with the territory: Don’t take it personal.

Follow the hashtag #femcon13 on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about this event!