From Survive to Thrive

Thrive

I asked last week on my personal Facebook page about how moms go from living in survival mode to thriving in life.  I received a ton of great input.  I started outlining a series to cover all of the comments, plus some of my own thoughts, but after writing the first post I realized it was a bit overwhelming.  In reality, most of the ideas fell into four main points.  I will briefly discuss them today and then over the next few weeks I will probably add some more detailed articles about how I make this reality.

Too many of us are living daily in survival mode when God didn’t create us this way.  He created us to thrive.  If you are living in survival mode daily (guilty here so I’m going to practice what I preach) it is time to sit back, re-evaluate and figure out how to get out of survival mode.  It is an evil necessary every now and then but not how daily life should be.

Daily time in the Word. I know that if I don’t spend time in my Bible, my day seems more off and I try to do way too much on my own.  Being in a super busy phase of life, I do not put pressure on myself to spend a lot of time on a deep Bible study.  Some days it may be as little as opening the Bible app on my phone and focusing on the verse of the day.

Many people will say their best time to spend in the Word is early of a morning before their kids get up.  I’ve tried that before and my kids are usually up sometime in the 5 am hour.  My body doesn’t function well with me getting up any earlier so the first thing in the morning plan does not work for me.  When I had little kids and was nursing through the night, I kept a devotional book or my phone nearby and did my quiet time in the middle of the night while nursing.  I now have a toddler who only takes a tiny part of his nap on how own and needs someone to hold him or snuggle with him for the rest of the time.  That is when I usually do my Bible time now.  Find what time works for you and stick with it.  Do not feel it needs to be something in depth or lengthy but do spend some time with God each day and many times your priorities will then fall in line.

Take time for yourself. As moms, we many times find it hard to take time for ourselves.  The to do list will never be done so please stop trying for a few minutes each week and focus on yourself.  Your body and your family will thank you for it.  This will look different for everyone.  Some people need to be alone so time in a good book or a hot bath are all they need.  I tend to want out of my house where the to do list is staring me down so “me” time looks more like meeting a friend for coffee, shopping for a few minutes alone, or using the free WiFi and surfing Facebook while drinking coffee at a the Y or a coffee shop guilt free.  Schedule at least a few minutes into each week, even when it seems impossible to find that time.  You will probably find you are more productive and much happier after a few minutes of down time.

Limit activities.  It is so easy to say yes to every activity available.   Piano lessons, swim team, soccer, baseball, art classes, etc are all good things but too much isn’t a good thing.  We value family time and thrive on being home a few nights a week.  In our family we have allowed our kids to be in one activity at a time.  We do have therapy after school three days a week which is just as busy or busier than one activity but it is a non-negotiable at this point in time.  For a few years that is all we did but as our kids get older we want them to have some time to just be a kid and not have their one and only activity be therapy.  We allow them to pick their activity and that is currently Cub Scouts for our two oldest.  If your schedule is overwhelming, write down all of your commitments and see what can be cut.  Make sure all of the activities are in line with your family goals and needs.  Yes, they may all be good but are they worth the added stress?

Plan ahead. I cannot thrive when I’m flying by the seat of my pants.  The best thing ever for me has been to take a few minutes each week and plan for the week ahead.  I used to do this on Sunday afternoons but then felt I was never really getting a break from everything so I moved it to Fridays and that has really helped.  I menu plan, discuss the schedule with my husband so we are both on the same page, and figure out what has to be accomplished for the week.

This week, find one thing you can do to change from simply surviving to actually thriving. Feel free to comment here or on the Facebook page with the one thing you are going to change this week.

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Incredible Pizza Great For Those With Food Allergies

Incredible Pizza

Incredible Pizza has several locations around the US but the flagship store just so happens to be in my hometown.  My kids love going there.  We enjoy it too as they are very allergy friendly.  We can get gluten free pizza with as many toppings as we want for the same price as the regular buffet.  Most places have an upcharge for gluten free but Incredible Pizza does not.  They also can accommodate other allergens such as a dairy free option. To learn more about their gluten free options, click here.

When heading to Incredible Pizza, we usually plan to spend several hours there.  Our strategy is to first eat pizza and the other goodies on the buffet.  After we get a few bites in the kids it is time to hit the game area. Once we’ve played for awhile we head back to the buffet for dessert before heading home.

Even my 6 year old still likes the ride on toys.

Even my 6 year old still likes the ride on toys.

We like that they offer games and activities for all ages.  My two year old loves to ride on all the rides such as the train, car, and rocket ship.  My bigger kids love laser tag and any game that earns them tickets.  Tickets are stored on a card  so you don’t have to keep up with little paper tickets while having fun.  I love that they still have old school Skee Ball.  I could play that game alone for hours.

Opening presents at his birthday party.

Opening presents at his birthday party.

Incredible Pizza also offers several birthday party options.  We have attended many parties there but when we have held our own we have not bought a package.  Up until recently it required several attendees and we greatly limit those who are invited to parties because Samuel gets overwhelmed easily by crowds.  However, Incredible Pizza has recently added a small party option that we will definitely be checking out in the future.

My boys love it when they hear we are headed to Incredible Pizza and mom and dad are happy too because we know we can feed the whole family, allergies and all, and have a fun time too.

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this review but all opinions are my own.

 

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Back to School, Back to Chaos

Where has this Supermom been?  While I would love to say it has been quiet around here because I’m off on fun adventures with the kids, the reality is much much different.  It has been quiet because this mom has been dealing with a child with high anxiety.  Back to school is a rough time for Samuel because he loves routine but has no idea what the routine in his class is going to be.  Last year was a super rough year with a class bully, no friends in his class, and a teacher he didn’t mesh with.  All of that put together made for some crazy days that left me wanting to run away for awhile.

During one anxiety meltdown, he dumped three jars of spices.  The house smelled great but it was a mess to clean up.

During one anxiety meltdown, he dumped three jars of spices. The house smelled great but it was a mess to clean up.

While we still have a few of those anxiety issues, I’m happy to say it calmed down a bit when the class list was posted Friday evening.  His two best friends are in his class and he got the teacher he wanted.  The bully is still in his class this year but he feels more confident since his friends are there too.  This overwhelmed momma breathed a huge sigh of relief when she saw who was in his class.

I went to the bathroom one morning and came out to find him hanging from this light.

I went to the bathroom one morning and came out to find him hanging from this light.

I am very much looking forward to getting back into routine, but I’m not at all excited about the chaos it brings.  We had meet the teacher last night and came home with a stack of papers to go through.  Just reading the expectations sent my stress level high.  Typical kids can be difficult getting them to do homework but special needs kids take it to a whole new level.  We also have a lot of therapy between two kids that we need to fit in.  And all the therapists and our social worker ask us often what we are doing to keep him in activities so we can work on social skills.  I’m worn out trying to fit it all in and I know it is exhausting to the kids too.

I always start out the year feeling ready for the fresh start.  I’ve planned well, the house is picked up, areas for papers are cleaned out, etc.  This year I just feel defeated.  While the summer flew by, it wore me out. My house is a semi-wreck, I just cleaned out the paper cubbies from last school year last week, and my planning charts haven’t been updated at all.  I’m hoping that once we get into a routine I can get back on schedule and not feel so overwhelmed.  My youngest is starting preschool two days a week next week which means I get a bit more of break too.

Dishcloth

I realize some of my overwhelmed feeling is because I have very little in the way of stress relief these days.  Running or some form of exercise used to be my main way to overcome stress.  However, I’m still injured and no one knows why.  Two doctors, one physical therapist and starting a new PT next week and still no answers.  I haven’t run in six months and was only allowed a tiny bit of exercise a few months ago but had to stop due to the foot not healing.  I reached my limit a few weeks ago and as I was walking past my bedroom I spotted my container of yarn sitting in the corner.  I used to knit and crochet but haven’t touched it in almost two years.  It was always a huge stress reliever as I could get lost in a project for awhile.  I picked up the yarn and crocheted a dishcloth.  It was super simple, helped me get back on track after not doing it for awhile, and didn’t require a lot of brain cells to complete.  Now I’m itching to make a few more things.  I’ve been taking my projects to therapy on days I don’t have all the kids with me and working on projects in the waiting room. Not quite as therapeutic as running but it does help.

So, tomorrow starts a new school year with a 4th grader, 1st grader, and preschooler.  I started a lot of posts over the summer and never was able to finish them so hopefully you will see some great content around in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I’m going to try to get back on track and get our schedule figured out so I’m not so overwhelmed.  Tonight we have our annual back to school dinner out where I usually inform the family of the schedule and expectations for the year.  I’m turning it around this year and asking for input so that they have some ownership in the plan too.

What is your favorite part of back to school and what do you dread?  I know I’m not the only one who has a love/hate relationship with back to school.

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Supermom Is Back!

Knock, knock.  Hello.  Anyone out there?

Sorry it has been so quiet around here the last month.  I had some great posts planned but no time to finish them.  I was working on a huge project for my online business and I ran into almost every pitfall I could during that month long process.  The good news is that the next time around it should take about half the time because I figured out most of the kinks.

That project ran into end of the year chaos.  Anyone else find end of the school year to be overwhelming?!  I never feel prepared for summer because I fill those last few weeks of school trying to keep up with all of the extra projects, field trips, field day, teacher gifts, etc.  By the time the last day hits we are all ready to just crash.

And that is exactly what we did.  We completely crashed for two days.  I let the kids have all the electronics they wanted and we just took it easy.  Then, I shipped them off to the grandparents and my husband and I took a vacation alone.  We went to Canton, TX for their First Monday Trade Days.  It is a huge outdoor flea market that takes days to go through.  We have been several times before but the last time was when my oldest (who is now 9) was a toddler.  We had a blast!  I didn’t buy as much as I expected but that didn’t matter.  I was shopping at my own pace and just enjoyed being with my husband and taking a break from the insanity of parenting.

We were gone a week but we didn’t spend that entire time in Canton.  We purposely stayed in a small town instead of Dallas and visited nearby small town flea markets.  We slept in, spent hours watching mindless TV, saw a movie at the theater (a rare event) and just overall enjoyed relaxing and taking things at a slower pace.  It was a great week and I came back refreshed.

It has been crazy busy since being back and I’m not sure how I’m going to survive the next 2 1/2 months of summer, but we will get there one day at a time.

Stay tuned as I will start posting with more regularity next week.  My summer plan is two posts per week.  I know we are all busy in summer and therefore have less online time available so I will keep it simple around here.  In the meantime, like the Facebook page, subscribe to this blog, and invite friends to follow along.

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The Why Behind Supermom Without a Cape

Why Supermom

Our church has been going through a huge transition over the past few months.  Every so often a company (or church) has to step back and evaluate every aspect to see if they are headed in the correct direction and if there is anywhere they can improve.  That is where our church is right now.  A few weeks ago one of our pastors preached on the why behind what we do.  He gave a great quote from a Ted Talk geared toward high end executives and CEO’s that basically said most companies tell what their product is but they don’t tell the why behind it.  People want to be involved with the why.

So, why did I start Supermom Without a Cape?  Simply put, because I love moms.  It could be because I am one but I think a lot of it comes from my nine years in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), with 8 of those being in a leadership role.  I started out as the new mom that didn’t have a clue what she was doing and developed into a leader and a confident mom who realizes I don’t know it all but I will still survive.  I’ve watched many moms over the years go through that same process.  While I still very much fit the profile of a MOPS mom since I have a two year old, I also sometimes feel like the mentor mom since I’m older than many of the moms and have older children too.

Through MOPS and social media I’ve watched as moms feel weighted down by the pressures of society.  Too many people only share the positive aspects of life and don’t really show reality.  While I don’t share everything that goes on behind closed doors, I don’t hide the reality that parenting is tough and there are good days and bad days.  I like to keep it real.

We all have a story to tell and everyone has their own struggles.  Mine happens to be with dealing with a special needs child, an allergy/asthma child and the middle brother who feels left out.  No matter the story, we all need someone to lean on as we navigate this crazy world.

I want moms to know it is ok to be real and share the struggles.

I want moms to feel confident even when they don’t really have a clue what they are doing.

I want moms to know it is ok to need some “me time” and not to feel guilty for taking a few minutes away.

I want moms to learn a few tricks I’ve figured out over the years and then share their tips with other moms too.

I want moms to know their children love them even when they mess up.

I want moms to not feel guilty for whatever path they have chosen for this season of life – stay at home, work from home, work outside the home, travel often, etc.

I want moms to be able to find their own tribe so that they don’t have to go through this journey alone.

 

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed. ~Linda Wooten

 

 

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How I Get It All Done Part 1

Juggling Mom

Most people these days have too much on their plate and are always trying to figure out how to squeeze it all in to their week.  I get asked often how I get it all done because my life is crazy busy with three active boys with medical needs and I work from home.  Simply put, I don’t.  I let a lot a lot slide just to survive.  In this post I’ll share some of the things I don’t do.  Stay tuned for an updated post of tricks I’ve found to help things run more smoothly.

1. Keep a company ready house. I would love to have a clean house all the time but reality is, there just isn’t enough time in the day to keep up with it all.  My house is very much lived in and the kitchen counter is almost always full of junk.  If you stop by unexpectedly, please ignore the mess. I will not ever try to hide it as I want others to know it is ok to live life instead of spending all your moments cleaning.  We have been working for years to create systems to keep the clutter at bay but my house will never be perfect and I’m fine with that.

2. Make everything from scratch. I’m a bit on the crunchy side and I’m a fan of saving money but over the years I have come to realize that I just can’t do it all.  I make what I can from scratch and then buy the rest.  Yes, you will find prepackaged items when you enter my house.  However, I try to keep it to more natural things and over the years I’ve drastically cut down on the junk.  If you entered my house today you would find store bought bread, jars of spaghetti sauce, and containers of yogurt.  Sometimes I do make our own gluten free bread but it is rare.  If I had all the time in the world I would gladly make more homemade items but I’ve had to come to a realization that there isn’t time for everything I want to do.

3. Exercise daily. Please do not read this as no exercise.  As you know, I love to run.  I struggled for ages with trying to get in the perfect amount of exercise.  I finally decided that something was much better than nothing.  A good week for me is running three times and a few days of strength training.  Many times that strength training comes right after a run and is only 10-15 minutes.  Again, something is better than nothing.

4. Create elaborate crafts with the kids. While I love seeing others make all kinds of fun things with their children, I’ve come to realize that just isn’t for me.  Yes, I love doing the occasional craft but you will not see me doing a Pinterest craft each week with my kids.  I have three very active boys so one craft lasts them about 5 minutes and then comes with 20 minutes of clean up, not to mention the prep time beforehand.  I’m a crafty person by nature but have let most of those hobbies slide by in this phase of life.  At some point I hope to be able to pull out the knitting needles and scrapbook items again but I’m lucky to do that once every few months right now.  This is just a season though and I’m glad I have those skills available for the future.

5. Coupon for groceries. I used to be one of those crazy couponers. I could save a fortune at the store through matching coupons with sales.  However, that took a lot of work and multiple trips to stores.  That was fine with one child but with three, I just do not have the time.  Not to mention, the coupons aren’t as great as they used to be.  I still keep a very minimal grocery budget but try to get by with using what I have and stocking up during great sales.  It took a lot for me to finally give up my beloved coupons but now I can finally shop guilt free without them.  I still keep a few around for dining out but that doesn’t really require a lot of time and energy to maintain.

These are just a few of the things I do not do in order to keep my sanity.  Please share in the comments or the Facebook page some of the things you let slide so that you can enjoy this phase of life instead of feel stressed.

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Getting Children to Help With Chores

Does anyone else struggle to get their children to help with chores?  It is a constant battle here.  We’ve tried many techniques over the years but honestly, we get tired of the fight and eventually just do it ourselves.  One of my goals for this year is to change that.  I’m tired of killing myself trying to do everything for a family of five.  My husband is a fabulous help but he works two jobs so he isn’t exactly around a lot to do much.

This week I made a chart with six easy chores on it.  I told the kids they had to do three of their choice each day this week.  We started this on Saturday.  I told them if they did it daily for an entire week without complaints, then Friday night we could out to dinner to a place of their choice.  I’m almost positive they will choose McDonald’s but I’ll gladly eat there if it means I have help around the house.   So far it is working, except one child thinks this deserves a trip to Toys r Us.

My goal is to reduce the award to something smaller and smaller each week while we establish a habit.  I will change up the chores weekly so they don’t get bored.  Hopefully as the year goes along I can add some harder chores and actually get some help with them.  For now though, I am content with getting help with the easy stuff such as unloading the dishwasher and picking up toys off the floor.

Have you found a chore plan that works for you?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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Welcome!

Welcome to my little corner of the Internet.  I am a mom to three very active boys, ages almost 9, 5 and 2.  Samuel has ADHD and autism, Eli most likely has ADHD and Silas has asthma and allergies. In addition to all of that my husband and youngest son are gluten sensitive and all of my boys are extremely picky eaters.

People often tell me I’m a supermom but I don’t really feel like one.  I’m just another mom desperately trying to keep up with life.

I’m hopelessly addicted to coffee, could easily spend an entire day surfing the Internet, and love to run as an outlet for stress.  I’m not very good at running but enjoy the process of sweating away all of my fears and frustrations.

If you came here hoping to find another mommy blogger that appears as a supermom, you came to the wrong place. After all, my cape has disappeared someone in the disaster of my house.  Ask any of my Facebook friends and they will tell you I put it all out there.  Plan to hear the messy along with the good here.

I look forward to “meeting” you all in the coming days as we build a community of other supermoms who are without a cape too.

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