And I Haven’t Looked Back…

I’ll never forget the look that one of my friends had when I told her I was resigning from a job I love. She said, “Stevie…. You could be throwing your career away. Is that what you really want?”

The answer, my friends, is of course not. My mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lung Cancer last year… after one round of chemo she was in remission! YAY!

And then it came back…. Fast. Stage 4. Due to a million other things happening in her lungs as well, she stopped seeking treatment because the chemo was putting her in the hospital and she was unable to enjoy the life she built for herself with her family… her kids and her grandkids.

My mom is the best person I’ve ever met. She constantly puts others before herself, never asking for too much. She’s truly a Minnesotan because she’ll never actually tell you when she’s disappointed. She’ll just keep inviting you until you say yes. My mom is also the strongest person I know… in the last 5 years that woman has been through hell and back and she came back with a smile on her face. The most important thing to her is family and her grandkids adore her.

When we found out the cancer was back, I thought I could do it all. I could be a great wife, mom, stepmom, daughter, and leader at work all at once. Unfortunately, something had to give. I was leading an incredible team that I loved and I couldn’t give them my all. I was missing doctors’ appointments with my mom and I was missing time with my kids. My mom has been living at my sister’s house and EVERYTHING fell on my sister’s shoulders because I was too busy. I don’t know how my sister did it for so many months.. I knew one thing though: something had to give.

I quickly realized that I couldn’t stop being a wife, mom, stepmom or daughter… I had to resign the job I love. The strangest part? I wasn’t sad at all! I still love the position I held and I love the team but I knew for a fact that it was the right call for my family. You can always return to your career when the timing is right… you can’t choose when to be there for your family.

What have I learned? At the end of the day, literally nothing matters besides family. And I mean that. Clothes, THINGS, eating out at restaurants, going to the movies, vacations…. All of the things that come from extra income: none of it matters. I’ve quickly learned that my love language is quality time spent with my family. I spend WAY more time with my kids and I’ve been able to spend WAY more time with my mom, my sister, and my nieces and nephews. I’ve learned that THIS is what matters.

And I haven’t looked back.

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How to Potty Train a 3 Year Old…

Ready to potty train?

HAHAHAHAHAHAH. Hilarious. 

Here we go:

-Buy a poster board and sharpies and make sure to carefully draw the lines between each day of the week…. Your toddler will get pissed if your lines aren’t straight.

-Buy about 3,000 stickers because they come in packs of 500 and your toddler requires Star Wars, Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol AND Justice League. Obviously.

-Go pick out your toddler’s favorite underwear…. Just like the stickers, you’ll likely have to buy about 17 times as many pairs of underwear as you need… thanks, Target, for providing so many different types of Licensed underwear.

-Drive home and GET READY FOR FUN!

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-Now: throw all that shit into the garbage because this weekend will be hell. Maybe make a quick stop at the liquor store though.

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-Get out all 75 pairs of underwear because your toddler is going to pee JUST A LITTLE BIT IN EACH PAIR

-Your will and determination will be tested. It will make quitting smoking cigarettes seem like just a typical Tuesday with how many times you have to say, “This is worth it, this is worth it, this is worth it.”

-Your toddler will grow little horns on his head.

-And probably pee ON you at some point. Or 20 times. Either/Or.

-Your amazing partner who woke up Saturday morning with the same determination as you will either sink or swim, it’s every man for himself. He/She will either try and keep you in line reminding you that this is worth it or they’ll back out and go upstairs for some quiet time and leave you picking up the broken pieces of your family.

-Your two older kids will do literally everything possible to “try and help” but, in reality, will get in the way. They’ll complain that they aren’t getting M & M’s, that they don’t get stickers, that they aren’t getting attention….

-At some point, your toddler will go into a full on monologue (one that makes NO sense because, let’s face it, he’s 3) about how HE LOVES DIAPERS AND WANTS TO BE IN DIAPERS FOREVER. How on earth could you be so mean as to take diapers away from him??

And then…

-Finally… FINALLY: your toddler will pee for literally one second in the potty and you get so excited that he cuts the stream off and then pees on the floor 10 minutes later. And then you start over.

And then… he actually starts peeing in the potty. Consistently.

-After what seems like 19 straight days of full on potty training (when it’s actually been 3-4 full days), you’ll emerge from your house in victory. Sure…. He still wears pull ups for naps, bedtime, and some Sundays JUST BECAUSE HE ALWAYS WINS AND BABY GETS WHAT BABY WANTS…..

But: you’re free of diapers. Mostly. Until he starts wetting the bed because your oldest child shows him the movie IT when he’s only 5 and they hide a clown in his closet every night.

And they all lived Happily Ever After.

The End. You’re Welcome.

12 Surprises of Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM)

I had an idealized image of being a SAHM when I found out I was pregnant with Oliver. I knew it’d be hard but I imagined playing with Play-Doh, doing puzzles, coloring, and having fun while being home with the kids. I knew there would be days that I missed interacting with adults (which is a big part of why I work part-time at Evereve) and I knew there’d be days where I didn’t get out of my pajamas. But, I thought overall, this would be a blast! Most days it is a blast. Everyday I do consider myself lucky that I get to stay home with the kids. To be honest, though, there are plenty of days that I wish I was getting ready for work with my husband and not being thrown 16,000 curveballs in the process.

Below are the things that I didn’t expect to happen while being a SAHM. I am not (I repeat, NOT) making a generalization about all moms so don’t flood my inbox with complaints. I am a feminist. I am a Stay-At-Home-Mom. They are not mutually exclusive and I am aware of this. Calm down.

1) There are no breaks. Ever.

When I was in my first trimester and managing a retail store, I’d run to the bathroom to get sick and tell my coworkers that I needed to sit down. I told Fiona that I couldn’t go down the slide with her at the park when I was 9 months pregnant and she had a meltdown. I somehow fit my huge self into the child-size slide and had the most uncomfortable ride of my life. Oliver came 2 days later. Coincidence? #howtoinducelabor

2) Meals? What are those?

My husband, Chris, called on the way home from work the other day around 5 PM. He asked what we were doing for dinner. I realized I hadn’t eaten since a bowl of cereal at 8 AM. You’d think all SAHMs would be super skinny but unfortunately, I snack on what the kids eat all day so it probably adds up to 7 meals in one day.

3) Running errands during the day isn’t worth it.

We had to go to Target to get Oliver some formula on Monday morning. I had him in the swing and Fiona was messing around in my room while I got ready (which means emptying the drawers, hiding things, laughing and running away). I straightened my hair, threw makeup on and put clothes on (I can’t wear yoga pants outside my house. It’s just not in my DNA). Then, I got Fiona ready: new diaper, clothes, brush her teeth, hair.  Check. Then, we got Ollie ready: new diaper, clothes, hat, put in carseat. Check. We make it downstairs in record time.

Then I smelled it. That smell that every parent knows when you’re sweating from spending the last half hour getting ready to go on a super quick trip. Fiona had pooped. I say, “Okay, Fiona, let’s race upstairs and go change!” We change her diaper and then come back downstairs. Ollie had spit up all over himself. He needed a new shirt. We finally left about an hour after we started getting ready. I was pouring sweat and in that crazy/determined state of mind (Fiona would say, “Home? Home?” and I’d reply, “WE JUST LEFT HOME, FIONA, WE’RE GOING TO TARGET. WHY DON’T YOU EVER LISTEN TO ME?”)

4) The downtime is AMAZING. Cherish it. It’s rare but beautiful.

When it’s half an hour until Fiona’s nap, we’ll put on a movie or a show and sit on the couch and cuddle. There is NOTHING BETTER IN THIS WORLD. My favorite is when I’m holding Oliver and Fiona wants to cuddle on my other side. Literally the best thing in the world. That and wine.

5) I am now the default parent/family person.

Dentist appointments for the family? Bills? Husband’s doctor’s appointments? I make ‘em and take care of ‘em. My husband better never leave me or his health will quickly decline (and no, that isn’t a threat).

6) My idea of pop culture has changed.

3 years ago, I was working at Evereve and a customer told me they hadn’t seen The Godfather. My response was a horrified, “WHAT?!” I didn’t understand how someone my age hadn’t seen one of the greatest movies ever made.

2 weeks ago, my customer said she hadn’t seen Frozen and my response was the same… horrified. How could she not see the greatest… kids movie in the last… year? I didn’t even realize how ridiculous that was until I was telling my husband about it later.

7) The movie Groundhog’s Day is too painful to watch.

This is my life. 90% of the days are the same.

8) Instagram is NOT REAL LIFE.

If you follow me on Instagram, please note that those moments are 1/200th of what happens. When I post a picture of my toddler hugging my newborn, it was right after she was attempting to pick him up by his head. If I were to EVER post food on there, please realize that there is no way in hell that I made it myself. I picked that shit up from Byerly’s.

9) Being a SAHM is perfect for someone with AD/HD like me.

The attention span of my toddler is 10 minutes, 15 at best. I’ll spend 20 minutes getting fingerprint out, moving her high chair into the kitchen, stripping her, prepping the kitchen to avoid paint splatter and she paints for 5-10 minutes. Then it’s time for a bath, clean the kitchen, and get her to start a new activity so she doesn’t get in the way of cleanup time. The whole process is an hour for a 5-10 minute activity.

10) I spend WAY less money on a daily basis.

Go out for lunch? Yea right. I’m also not using my car as much so I save a ton of money on gas (I know that when they start sports that is over). I don’t go out for drinks with friends as often and, when I do, I have to leave by 9 so I don’t fall asleep on the bar so I only buy a drink or two.

11) I never pee alone.

‘Nuff said.

12) I get to witness my kids’ constant transformations (no matter how small!).

Fiona loves the baby doll and stroller my mom got her… she pushes it around and yells, “BABY! BABY!” Today, she wanted her baby to do what Oliver did. If I was feeding Oliver, she fed the baby. I held Oliver at the table while she ate breakfast and she had to hold her baby. She had to give the baby a special chair when we watched a movie before nap time (since Oliver was in his swing). She is becoming a KID! I remember playing with toys like they were real people…. that transition happened overnight for Fiona.

Oliver just rolled over. He just freakin’ rolled over! He’s 5 weeks old already and changes everyday. I am SO LUCKY I get to witness all of these amazing transformations and see how it all plays out!