Thoughts as a Work at Home Mom

Snow day (or rather, “Cold Day”) number 2 with the littles today!! Honestly, I am as giddy as ever when I see my babies will be home safe with me.  Being a former teacher, I have never outgrown the love a good day off from school.  I also have the pleasure (and stress) as being a work at home mom.

There I said it. Whew.  I think for so long I have been battling with this idea that I don’t really work…and in reality?  I really do a lot of work! Simply staying home filled my days with more than enough to do.  The laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, tidying, tending to, it’s endless, am I right? No matter if you stay home or work outside of the home, being a mom is hard work but someone’s gotta do it, and no one better than you mama.

I think I’ve struggled a little bit with coming to terms with working because I don’t exactly get a paycheck, nor do I get dressed up daily and go clock in somewhere.  It’s not the conventional way I used to ‘work’ when I was teaching full time and so I know that internally I had some things to overcome.

Sure I’ve done my fair share of side hustles.  I loved getting healthy with Advocare and with that, helping a lot of friends and family find a better way to live their lives as well.  Why did I stop?  Well, honestly some of the products just didn’t work for me the way that they once used to, or how I would have liked them to.  I still believe it’s a great company and I take daily supplements but my heart was not into devoting all the time and effort into that business.

As Bradley began crawling around, I saw the new up and coming jewelry KEEP and got super excited with that! I also felt that pull of needing to be a part of something. I reached out and did a ton of online parties, made some new friends and really had fun.  Which lead me to my next little venture with Stella & Dot.

Stella & Dot had been around for awhile and while I truly love love love their accessories, what I didn’t enjoy were doing in person trunk shows.  Sure you can still have a great business online, but at the same time as I was rocking with this biz, my husband and I changed the way we were running our real estate company.

Two years ago in March we decided to switch our business model from renting single family homes, to Rent to Own Homes.  This has totally changed the game for us, but as with any business, it continues to grow and evolve. We now have ten properties and a lot of book-keeping, marketing, advertising, taking calls, paper work, collecting money from all tenants…the list goes on.

What was once a small hustle, is turning into an empire.  My husband still works beyond full time and I refuse to raise Bradley differently than Brooke, in the sense that I don’t want to put him into day care and not be with me.  So?  Somethings have to give.  There is no ‘balance’ so I won’t pretend that I’ve found it nor do I believe one day I will magically feel all zen.   But I do believe that as we grow, change and become better versions of ourselves each and every day, we have to say goodbye to old patterns, habits and move forward.

All of my experience in MLMs or Direct Sales, whatever you’d like to call them, not only brought me the BEST of friends—hi guys!!– but also a huge sense of confidence in sales.  I now surround myself with other leaders, continue to read the best professional development books and know that when I have my down days, (and oh, do I ever!) It’s always important to pick myself up and keep going.  I also learned a ton about social media, how to connect with folks and as always the number one reason why we are on this planet?  To help one another.

So I suppose I share all of this because maybe you too feel a shift and want to change.  Perhaps there’s something new you’d like to try but maybe feel like you shouldn’t.  You are never too old and it’s never too late.  I went to school for a very long time; received a Bachelor’s Degree and a Masters Degree.  While these may just be pieces of paper to some people, to me I accomplished my goals, lived out some dreams and was able to teach some amazing and beautiful souls throughout my 8 years teaching English.  The best part?  I will forever have the knowledge I’ve gained, and if I decide to go back ever, I have a NYS certification.

As for now?  I will be parting ways come March with my fun little side gig of Stella & Dot.  It was sure fun while it lasted, but I feel that it is in my family’s best interest to focus on our family business and help grow what we have started to build.  Since realized that time really is the biggest and most precious thing on earth, I really value where I spend it and whom I give it to.

I think I’ve been nervous to admit that I do in fact work, partially because I wanted to be a perfect stay at home mom, making all the meals from scratch or at least semi-homemade.  Do all of the cooking, cleaning, organizing, shopping, etc…but if you are a successful person, you already know this: You cannot do it all.  With 24 hours in the day, it’s imperative to figure out what needs to get done and what and when to let go of things.  (Grocery pickup, I’m looking at you!!)

As far as 24 hours?  I saw a quote that said, there’s 24 hours in a day.  You deserve 1 hour to do whatever you want with it.  Or something like that. Basically, it put me into tears because so often I find myself turning into ‘all work no play’ and then turning into a potato at 8pm and scrolling FB/Insta because I never gave myself one small morsel of the day to spark joy, inspire myself or heal.

I need to write more, so that’s back up at the top of my list.  Working out.  Spending quality time with the kids and Joe.  Dating my husband.  Re-establishing and even creating new friendships. Cooking.  Building our real estate empire.  Playing with our dogs.  Being in nature (when it’s not a Polar Vortex!) Yoga.  Meditating. Networking with other leaders/girl bosses. Giving back to our community. Reading.  Walking. Being.

As I continue to lean into this year, 2019, the year of SIMPLIFYING, as long as this month seemed to be, I could not be more clear or driven on my purpose and reason on this earth.  I pray that we are blessed with better health in the coming months and that by Summer time, all these seeds that have been planted, will bloom.

December-ing

Happy December 10th!!

Holy smokes, was last week insane or was it just my crazy calendar??  We literally had something going on every day of the week and my husband worked like a crazy man, which is not that unusual.

I’m happy to report that we are all doing awesome and enjoying this hectic and magical season!

We got our tree (on a 60 degree day no less!) and had so much fun decorating it.

This little ham helped mama make cookies for his preschool class.

Mama is working hard on staying present, taking time each day to breathe, offer love & light and enjoy  all of the Christmas joy.  (Tea with me on instastory lives btw!)

‘Tis better to give than receive day at preschool is always one of my favorites!  It’s hard for little 3 year olds to understand that giving is better than receiving; heck sometimes it’s hard as an adult!! But we had fun decorating our sugar cookies.

We crafted a snowman ornament too!

It’s a full time job keeping the dog fur and real pine needles cleaned up, but when it is spotless, oh it looks so nice!!

Brookie had an adorable Christmas party with her dance class friends.  One of the moms hosted and it was so nice to talk with them while the girls played.

I think she enjoyed herself!

My cookie party was another success!! I didn’t snap a lot of photos, I was too busy being in the moment!  We had 9 adults and about 14 kids I believe?! It was crazy, but so much fun.  I always say I miss the moments when these two were babies, but I adore the memories we are making each year!  I loved our little coordinating outfits, of course.

I did not professionally style the cookies for a good photo op, but there were TONS!

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I helped her craft this headband and she then went up and picked an outfit to match! She cracks me up.  Bailey loves posing for photos…

I’m staying focused on gratitude.  Not sweating the small things: see above photo–pine needles, foot prints, dog hair…

 

I hope if you are reading this, you are enjoying this month of merry as much as we are!! I think this week is a little less crazy, but it is December, so I won’t hold my breath for too much peace and quiet!  I do plan on making it to the gym more this week, because CHRISTMAS COOKIES!  Moderation, balance, whatever.  I know sugar is the devil, but you just can’t say no to Christmas cookies.

Have a fabulous week!

My Favorite Season

Well, this isn’t a hard one for anyone who knows me.

While there are many reasons I love living in upstate New York, one of them happens to be the changing of the seasons. There is something so beautiful as the leaves go from green to red, orange and yellow…as they crisp up and the ground freezes, and the grass becomes covered with snow.  The way the birds come back in early Spring and the buds appear on branches, and it finally gives way to the hot bright sun that is Summer.  I love that we experience all four seasons!

But if I must choose one, I have been and will always be in love with Summer.

The feeling that I get when I open the door and I take that first breath of hot sticky air.  The way the green grass grows to such high heights!  The feel of a soft Summer breeze unexpectedly.  The smell of sunscreen, burgers on the grill and a hot pavement.  It’s always going to be my favorite!  I love being able to not wear a million layers, come and go with ease and slowing down to savor the season.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the slowness of a cold Winter’s night.  All bundled up, cozy in a blanket, sipping hot cocoa by our fire…ok or some Merlot.

But Summer?  Late nights driving around with my love with the top of the corvette down are so fun.  Joe grilling dinner and then all of us piling into the truck to go find a place to watch the sunset–the beach.

Bare feet, wet hair, sandy messes piling everywhere.

Sticky fingers and faces full of ice cream.

The way my babies smell of sweet sweat.

Meals outdoors, long walks, chalk driveway drawings, bubbles, building sand castles.

Sitting in our garage with the smoker going and smelling the hickory do its thing.

Fireworks, family gatherings, outdoor fire pits and running around in the back fields.

No real bedtimes, no real place we have to be…

I’m already starting to miss all of it!  But that’s the beauty about the seasons; they are here, do their thing and then roll on by.  Fall is in full effect, rain will turn to snow and soon I’ll be playing Christmas carols.

I don’t hate anything about our weather, other than the true lack of sunshine, which of course is the biggest reason I love Summer.

That big ball of burning fire feels SO good on my bones.  I blame it on being a Leo, but there is something special about that sun and if I can’t have it all year, I’ll just have to go after it come those winter months.

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What is your favorite season?  What makes it so?

Enjoying the Journey

It’s a windy day here this Wednesday of “Spring Break.”  However, the term Spring must be used loosely here in upstate New York.   It’s a chilly 39 degrees and I do believe that as I type this, there are snow flurries.  Not surprised dear April…

There’s a to do list a mile long, mountains of laundry to be folded, a workout to be done, a shower to be had, but you know what I just did? I made a cup of tea.  I made a cup of English Breakfast tea with a splash of heavy cream & a drizzle of honey. (I have a disco dress I’m preparing for, otherwise I most likely would have used a teaspoon of sugar.

I woke up this morning, not really knowing where my day would take me; the blessing and curse of a “Stay at home” lifestyle.  On one hand, I feel as free as a bird and on the other, there’s so much to do I don’t really know where to begin.

Life has been quite crazy for some time now; little ones will do that to you.  We’ve been married 7.5 years and celebrated 10 years, (a whole decade!) of dating.  Yes, I do consider that even though we are married, with two children, we are still dating.  Marriage is like any other commitment in life; you get out what you put in.  There are days and weeks where we feel like we are spinning our wheels and treading water.

Raising babies, building businesses and still staying true to oneself is not for the faint of heart.   I often times ask myself wouldn’t it just be easier if…and I could list a hundred things to remove off of my plate to try and make myself feel less ‘busy’ or ‘stressed.’ But then what?  Would I be bored?  Would I feel incomplete?  Would I be searching for that “something more” that I know creeps up when we least expect?

I’ve heard it said that the devil attacks those next in line for promotion.  That when things are hard, they tend to get really hard.  You’ll want to quit, give in, stop trying and just throw your hands in the air and scream.  Go ahead and scream dear one, it may help…but do not quit.

I’ve mentioned before on my blog that the setback is often the setup for what’s next to come.  I’ve been feeling all of the things, going through a lot of emotions and feeling like OH MY GOSH WILL THIS EVER GET EASIER?  I’m talking in parenting, in relationships, in eating well, working out, feeling confident, and even in day to day things like the washing machine not working right.  I don’t know if it will get easier, but it’s all part of the plan.  If one more person tells me to “Enjoy the journey!” I may yell back “I AM!!” but that’s only because I truly am trying.  I am enjoying the snuggles of my wee ones, amongst the chaos of potty training and cleaning poo all day long.  I am loving the puppy breath and playfulness of our sweet girl, while cleaning mess after mess that she makes.  I am ecstatic to fit in any alone time with my husband, as I know that our love must come first so that our family can thrive.

But I’m also saying, damn girl, This shit is hard!

I’m just here to tell myself, and maybe you, that it’s all okay. The feelings, the tears, the stress, the laughs the joys…it’s all part of it.  One day we will look back and miss the precious moments.  I can’t say I’ll miss the poo and mess, but I will miss mostly everything else about this time.  I will probably ask myself how on earth did you not go completely insane? How did you do it?  More importantly, my kids may ask us when life is hard for them, how did it you survive?

I will them…

Faith

Gratitude

Patience 

Laughter

Love

Focus

Perseverance 

Help

The last one is the one I struggle with the most. I always try to do everything by myself, but this life is teaching me that nothing amazing is done alone.  I hope to delve further into these topics in future posts; I am always trying my hardest to be real and raw with my readers.  There is no smoke and mirrors here. No photo-shopped life snapshots. I am on this journey with you and am here with open arms and an open heart to learn alongside you.

May this first Wednesday in April bring you peace, love and comfort.

All my love,

Jenn

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