26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

Hey there, mama! I see you. I know how stressed and exhausted you are– because you put everyone’s needs before your own and that can be so draining. I’ve learned that it’s sooo vital to my happiness and well-being to develop healthy habits.

disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

I set out on a quest– to find out which healthy habits other mamas do to stay happy, and I’ve received some phenomenal responses.

I’m going to share these real responses

But first….

get a refresher on how important self-care is for you.

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

 

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

1.

“I take a bath every Friday morning. I use essential oils, pour in some Epsom salts, I exfoliate my skin, shave my legs. To ensure I get my 30 minutes of peace, my 3 year gets screen time and I nurse my newborn and put her in her vibrating chair. I love my once a week self care ritual because on every other day of the week I take a really rushed shower.”

-Molly

 

I recommend Dr Teal’s epsom salt soaking solution.

2.

“Eating healthy.”

-Janis

 

3.

“It is vital to my happiness as a mom (and person!) to maintain strong connections with friends – particularly in person. I am so much more fulfilled, happy, and ready to be patient, silly, playful, and understanding if I have regular time with my mom friends!”

-Kelsey

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

4.

“Getting up early before everyone else every morning, so I can have a quiet breakfast and get everything organized for my day before the crazy chaos begins.”

-Leidys T.

 

5.

I make time for myself away from the kids, the daily routine, and do something for myself. A pedicure, a massage, or some retail therapy.

-Shelbie Y.

 

6.

“A shower or bath to myself.”
-Jennifer H.
7. 

“Working out.”

-Amanda G.

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

8.

“Cleaning.”

-Kayli

 

9.

“Taking time for myself and the things that I love every day, even if just for five minutes.”

-Emmielley D.

 

10.

“Taking walks with my family.”

-Candi

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

11.

“Home cooked meals.”

-Brianna H.

 

12.

“Being able to put on my headphones and either take a walk or dance.”

-Laura P.

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

13.

“I take an hour out side of the house once a week and just be me. I’m a work at home mom and it’s my alone time!”

-Jenni

 

14.

“I brush my teeth.”

-Joanie B.

15.

“Exercise (when I can make time and have the motivation and energy for it!).” -Genni

 

16.

“My husband and I have a regular weekend night sitter so that we can go on date nights at least twice each month. This habit has been fantastic not only for our marriage and staying connected, but also for my mental health and happiness. Just having the occasions to get dressed up and feel like a woman outside of “Mommy” has allowed me to maintain my sense of self. With four kids, it is all too easy to lose yourself in the parenting role so the date nights have been a game-changer for keeping me happy and healthy.”

-Caitlin from www.realmomrecs.com

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

17.

“Eliminating toxins from my home. This keeps me energized, reduces illness and keeps my moods balanced.”

-Bri Pruitt from www.hippiedippiemom.com

 

18.

“Going on a brisk, 50 minute walk every morning.”

-Kelli F.

 

19.

“Taking some time away to get my hair done. It’s something I neglected for a while. Once I started getting it done I realized how much better I felt about myself because my hair looked good”

-Brenda

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

20.

“I make time to play with them, even if it’s just 15 minutes. The one on one (or two) time is great for our family bond. Sometimes we craft, sometimes we dance together, or we play a short game of Uno. I always have some ideas for kids games. Really, 15 minutes of fun and laughter each day can make such a difference.”

-Tiana

 

21.

“Taking an evening walk with my daughter. I’m getting exercise and exposing her to the same routine.”

-Keyona from www.professionalmomma.com

 

22.

“CrossFit – 1 hour 2-3x a week is my “me time” and keeps me energized.”

-Danielle from www.workingmomapproved.com

 

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

 

23.

“Taking time in the morning to exercise! It reduces stress & anxiety and gives me an energy boost that lasts all day.”

-Amy from themultitaskingmomlife.com 

 

24.

“Daily scripture study, even if it is just 5 minutes! It makes a HUGE difference in my patience level with my young children. And if it a particularly rough day, we will listen to gospel music in the background while we homeschool.”

-Tiffany T. from thecrazyshoppingcart .com

 

26 Healthy Habits Real Moms do to Stay Happy

25.

“It’s really hard to answer this with just one healthy habit! But if I have to choose I think the biggest thing that postively impacts my happiness is making time for myself and my relationship with my husband. We’ve kept up a regular weekly or at least monthly date night since our first kid was born 15 years ago. The key for me has not been to hope I can squeeze in a moment alone for myself but to actively *make* the time for it and prioritize my own needs. I began training my kids when they were little to respect mommy’s quiet time, even if that meant just 15 minutes for me to read a book. Of course I love my children deeply but the universe does not revolve around them!”

-Liane from talesofascrunchymom.com

 

26.

“I take social media breaks when I’m feeling depressed or overwhelmed. I have found that reducing my time on facebook has greatly affected my mood….in a positive way.”

-Laura from excuse-the-mess.com

 

 

There you go– 26 healthy habits real moms do to stay happy. What do you do to stay happy? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

My Foolproof Potty Training Tips for Toddler Boys

Ever since I found out I was having a baby boy, one of the things that stuck in my head was: “potty training boys is SO MUCH harder than girls!” Obviously, I’m a boy mom of 2, so I have no idea if it’s true or not– but I DO know that potty training my first son was a breeze.

disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links which, when you purchase an item, can help me continue to run my blog (yes, it cost money to keep this thing going!)

 

I put off potty training my toddler a little longer than I probably should– I think he was ready right when he turned 2, but, we just moved to Germany and he was adjusting to some pretty big changes, so I held off. And then some of my fears probably held me off a little longer after that– I believed that potty training would be a nightmare. I wasn’t ready for it. AT. ALL.

Seriously though, my son was out of diapers (during the day) and going pee/poop on the potty like a champ. I was stunned. He caught onto the whole potty training bit fairly fast and I’m here to share with you my tips that made the experience easy (for both of us) and how yes– it IS possible to potty-train a boy without ripping your hair out.

My Foolproof Potty Training Tips for Toddler Boys

 

1. Ask yourself: is your toddler ready?

Is your toddler really ready to potty train? Here are a few signs you can look for to figure out if it’s time to ditch the diapers:

  • shows interest in using the potty
  • tells you after he went poop in his diaper
  • has a dry diaper after nap time
  • knows the meaning of words like ‘potty’, ‘pee’, and ‘poop’

2. Buy big-boy underwear.

The very first step (obviously besides buying the actual potty) is to pick out some awesome and cool big boy underwear. Getting your toddler involved in picking out their very first pair of big boy undies can make this new transition an exciting one.

Explain to him that his big boy undies need to stay dry– that he can’t pee or poop in them– he does that on the potty, now. It helps to pick out some underwear with fun characters that your son LOVES. For example, my son is a PAW Patrol fanatic, and so he got so excited putting these on to wear (and keep dry!)

Amazon has a great deal on my son’s fav. PAW Patrol underwear.

 

3. No diapers during the day and ABSOLUTELY NO pull-ups.

We did the naked method– meaning, my son was naked basically the whole first day of training and he only wore diapers when he slept.

I hated the thought of using pull-ups…it was going to be an all-or-nothing thing for us, so those weren’t used, just the underwear. I did it this way because of two reasons:

Reason number 1: I didn’t want to confuse my toddler by putting a pull-up on him.

Reason number 2: Putting real underwear on my toddler let him understand that yes, if he goes pee/poop in his big boy underwear, it won’t feel nice!

 

4. Consistency and patience.

It will take a lot of consistency, especially the first 3 days, so keep persisting and most importantly, be patient.

I loaded my toddler with cups of liquid and constantly had him on the potty (even if he said that he didn’t need to go, he still sat on the potty to try) every 20 minutes. Like clock-work.

We love these Munchkin brand Miracle 360 sippy cups!

I also had to find patience (somewhere between the end of day 1 and the beginning of day 2, I can’t remember) because yes, this WILL get super frustrating. Just don’t give up!

 

5. Self-reward instead of treats.

Toddlers feel a huge sense of pride once they accomplish something on their own, so let them feel that!

I didn’t want to give my toddler candy or stickers just because he used the potty– I mean yes, it IS a big deal, and call me mean mommy but I wasn’t jiving with that. Instead, there was A LOT of praise, jumping up and down and high 5’s all around.

 

6. Buy your toddler a training urinal.

I waited far too long to do it, and I’m here to tell you, fellow toddler mama, to NOT WAIT ANYMORE.

This training urinal for boys is the real McCoy.

Best of all, my son loves this thing.

I’ve heard from several boy mamas that there toddler doesn’t pee standing up yet and wondering how to introduce that (besides uhm, watching dad). Lo and behold the training urinal.

Those are my foolproof potty training tips for toddler boys– they worked for me and didn’t leave me pulling out my hair!

Reply back to me and let me know if you tried any of my tips, I would also love to hear about any potty training questions you may have.

It’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS! {and the boys mini-shoot}

It’s that time of year again!

This year, we get to celebrate as a family of 6 {of course we count our fur-daughters}. Last year, baby Bernie was in my belly and I was daydreaming of what life was going to be like with two small kiddos.

Beaux enjoyed his Christmas last year but he still didn’t “get” the whole Santa-thing {or unwrapping the presents…he was very gentle with the wrapping paper} so we are looking forward to what he will be like this year! The tree is up. Baby-gate included. Beaux helped by handing me the ornaments and saying “ooohh.” He really likes when the lights are lit and he helped Daddy put the Angel on top of the tree.

 

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Beaux helping Daddy…

It will be neat to see how he handles the presents this year and what he will think of Santa! Also, he might be into celebrating traditions a little more… I think he will be way more interested in making ornaments and his night before Christmas box. What type of traditions do you celebrate? Every year will only get better and better….having kids around this time of the year is THE BEEEEST!!

 

{look who wants to get in on the fun}

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Someone is trying to explore this weird new thing in our living room….

 

It will be Bernie’s first Christmas!

These firsts our so special to me! Even though he will have no clue to what’s going on, it’s still a fun time.

And do you see those ‘Mistletoes’ hung up by the tree? The first canvas is of Beaux’s little feet done when he was just three months old {soooo tiny!} and now Bernie has one of his own, done at seven months.

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I wanted the boys to get Christmas pictures done this year {and totally knowing that I had no energy, time, or patience to do it myself…..} I found a nice lady here to do a mini-shoot with the boys. She’s a military wife and runs her little photography business out of her home and charged a reasonable fee for the shoot, so why not. Originally, the shoot was going to be done outside, but German weather had other plans for us {that day it was rainy & muddy} so she moved the props to her kitchen. It still looked really cute!

So we got to this nice lady’s house and the boys were all dressed up in their best for these pictures. We managed to get out of the car and into her house with no mud or wetness on us, and Bernie managed to keep the spit-up at bay {at least until after the shoot was over}. Every-thing was fine. Beaux was shy like normal and Bernie was bouncing along for the ride. And then it was time to actually do the shoot and things went south.

Beaux didn’t want to leave my side, so I suggested that we start with Bernie first. Well, my usual very social and pleasant infant had a weird case of stranger danger that day {or maybe he was just tired} and wanted NO part in being there on the floor, surrounded by Christmas decor and having a stranger point a camera in his face. So my plan of having Bernie test the waters to show Beaux that everything was fine back-fired. Oh well. I gave Bernie a bottle and in the meantime, Beaux was slowly warming up to the nice lady. She was verryyyyy patient for not having children of her own and she thought of a brilliant idea: she introduced her magic sled to Beaux. She told him that he could sit on it, and it worked. His mood instantly changed and the smiles came out! She got some GREAT shots!! {see below for my favorite}

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He looks way too grown!!  

After this, it got easier! Beaux was okay now with the nice lady taking his picture, and he was even more okay with this cool sled. He even wanted Bubba to get in on the fun.

 

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My favorite <3

I’m so happy she captured this one. I’m not sure how many she was able to get of them both on the sled, but I assume it was only a few since Bubba was still a little wobbly sitting up at this time and was only on the sled for a few seconds. But she got it. And it’s my favorite one of them all. And it’s even better that they are both looking AND have smiles.

We chose this one of the boys to go on our Christmas cards this year {designed by Shutterfly}

{hey, I hear they’re holiday cards are 50% off right now. you better check that out}

We got so many compliments about out holiday card. I love choosing Shutterfly for our cards. It’s December 4th and my cards are sent out. Done and done.

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 {one more time on that cool sled!}

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Then it was time to get Bernie’s solo-shots. He was warmed up now so we went for it!

And, he was way more cooperative!

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those big eyes!!!

 

and….

 

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too darn precious!{we even managed to get a little smile here} you wouldn’t know that fifteen-minutes ago he was on that same spot crying.

 

So overall, the mini-shoot was a SUCCESS! I’m so in love with the pictures. I want every one blown up on canvas, haha! I was so worried that the boys wouldn’t cooperate but they were fine.

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Karley from Timeless Image Photograph  was AMAZING. She was so patient and warm. Plus, her reasonable prices cannot be beat. I’m even thinking about going back in the spring when she offers her other mini-shoot. So, if you are in the Ramstien area you HAVE to check out Karley’s work. Other than mini-shoots, Karley offers newborn, maternity, family portraits and engagement photos.

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Here’s the last of my boys! They are so adorable {if I do say so myself} and they are growing too darn fast!! 

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Now that the decorations are up and the cards are sent out, it’s time to finish shopping and to wrap those presents. It’s also time to watch a ton of Christmas movies and listen to way too much Christmas music! I love this time of year!

I hope the rest of your December is filled with happiness, memories and endless amounts of hot cocoa!

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Drop me a line below… what are your Christmas traditions? I’m always looking to do more with the boys around this time of year.

 

 

20 Things I Survived The First Year of Motherhood

I did it! *raises arms and exclaims with joy* My sweet, tiny 7 lb. baby boy with the head full of dark hair is now a one year old.  When I look back now on first becoming a mom and those first few weeks of sleep deprivation and not really knowing what the hell I was doing, I wasn’t sure if I would make it out of that newborn up-all-night phase sane. (the sane part is still yet to be determined by my husband). Yet I must say, I learned so much about myself in this past year than ever before in my life. Honestly. If your looking to find out how emotionally strong you are, have a baby. You will be tested on so many levels that you never thought possible.

When I was handed my tiny son wrapped up tightly in his hospital blanket, I looked at him and instantly fell in love. I had absolutely no idea in the world what I was doing but pretty soon, it just came to me, and the role of being a mom was something that I knew I was destined to be. There were plenty of things about caring for a newborn that I was uncertain of and to be honest, I had a few trail and error along the way. But alas, we are here and made it. It was a long road yet at the very same time, it all went by way too damn fast.

So here it is:  my 20 things that I survived during my first year of motherhood.

 

1. The first night home from the hospital

When I remember back to the first night in our own home with no nurses checking in on us every hour and left to care for our son by ourselves, it wasn’t that bad. To my surprise, I got less sleep because of my own paranoia by checking on B every 20 min. with every little move/sound he made. He slept for 2 hour stretches at a time and I probably got a whole 15 minutes. The whole night.

2. The breast-feeding struggles

Well, breast-feeding wasn’t too easy on us. Much to my surprise, I thought it would be as easy as putting a baby to my boob and that was that. Ha! Nope. So we struggled quite a bit. There were many late-nights of my frustrations and Beaux really sensed it and had tears of his own. There were many nights when we both cried together. But we got through it and found something that worked for us both.

3. The post-partum feelies

The worst! Never have I felt like that in my life- emotions all over the place; sadness, happy, loneliness, it was all there. They mainly triggered at night when I was up nursing and I would look at B and just bawl my eyes out thinking how amazing something like him was. Yeah, it was hell for about two weeks and then, just like a light-switch, I was normal again. Hormones suck!!

4. The many late nights/running on minimal sleep

I remember when I would wake up every 2-3 hours to nurse or pump and I thought I would never survive this. I will say that on many occasion, I did most of these things with my eyes half open and there were many times when I fell asleep with B on my chest on the recliner out of pure laziness of not wanting to move my body. But, your body magically adjusts to these demands and I was soon able to run on little sleep.

5. Getting peed/pooped/thrown-up on

It just happens and it’s gonna happen. I got spit-up on so many times that after a while, I just didn’t bother to change whatever he spit up on. Gross? Absolutely. But if it’s a smidge, then only you will know.

6.  Getting through the “I have no idea what you need from me” phase

With a new baby, it’s a whole different ball game. This tiny human needs so much from you and in the very beginning, it’s so damn hard to figure out exactly what that is. I remember days/nights of me and Ricky doing everything under the sun and Beaux was still not a happy camper. But soon enough, I learned what he liked/didn’t like and we both adapted to this new crazy life.

7. Making it through the first series of shots

I cried right along with Beaux when he got his two month shots -but it did get easier for me. He also didn’t react well to his first series of shots- fevers and super cranky that infant’s Tylenol was my BFF. Thankfully, this has gotten better with age.

8. Dealing with the advice 

The un-welcomed advice is only the beginning when your pregnant because it rears it’s annoying head full-force after baby comes. I heard about it all- how to feed my son, how he should self-soothe to sleep, how he should have baby cereal in his bottles- but here’s my advice: I did whatever I felt was best for my baby because at the end of the day, i’m the momma! (note to self: never be one of those people!)

9. Making it through being a ‘pumping-only’ momma

Eventually, nursing wasn’t cutting it so I went to just pumping for B and man, this was like a full-time job on it’s own. It’s hard and tiring and I wanted to give up so many times. Like I said earlier, BFing was way harder than I thought and now, I’m happy to be more informed and a little aware of what to do next time around. But if your out there and can only pump, keep it up- it’s hard but it’s totally doable. (we made it to 4 months)

10. Dealing with the remarks and feeling like a failure

When I decided to quit pumping, it did get to me for a while there. I felt like a failure and a bad mom, and remarks from people about how breast milk is the only best thing to give your baby made me feel even worse. I’m totally over that crap now and I know that I did what worked for me and B and he was on formula for the majority of his life, but he’s incredibly healthy and developmentally normal. Once again, whatever works best for you and baby is the only way to go.

11. Literally doubting yourself every step of the way

Does this ever go away? My guess is no. I foresee many days wondering and questioning if what I just did or said was “the right thing to do”- however, learning to accept that you will never totally have it all together makes it easier now. There will be tough and shitty days but it’s only one day. It doesn’t make you a bad parent.

12. Making it through the rough transitions

So far I’d say that has been sleep training and letting B cry it out. We’ve been doing this for months and I STILL want to race back in his room and rock him to sleep, but the glorious thing is now, he doesn’t even cry himself to sleep anymore, and in the morning, he will play and babble to himself until one of us gets him. Sleep training has been the best thing we could have done. *pats self on back*

13. TEETHING

The word itself is ugly. I freakin’ loathed this stage, and I felt like Beaux was teething for most of his short life. There really is nothing to do besides to stock up on Tylenol and hope for the best.

14. The first cold

I feared that day and when it came, it wasn’t that bad. B came down with a slight cold with a little runny nose and fever and it lasted probably two days.

15. The sleep regression

Oh this was is FUN. [sense the sarcasm] It was like 8 months when Beaux just decided to wake up every 3 hours and man did that get old quick. It didn’t last long, probably a week, but it was rough. I heard from mommy friends that there’s another sleep regression at like 18 months? I shall mentally prepare now….

16. The realization that you won’t ever get your pre-baby body back

Now this is really not true for most women, but if you’re like me then well, you can totally relate. Unfortunately, I was not blessed with the genes that allowed me to bounce right back to a flat stomach after child birth, so this kinda sucked. Once I realized that it’s normal to slowly lose the weight (because you put it on over 9 months-it isn’t gonna disappear overnight!) I came to terms with my new mom bod. And the truth that wearing a skimpy bikni will probably never be in my future.

17. Sex after child-birth

So I had to put it on the list because merely surviving this horrid action deserves praise. Let me tell you, I was scared at even the THOUGHT of this 6 weeks post-partum but eventually, it all becomes normal again.

18. Balancing life

At first, I was so overwhelmed with my new life and I thought I would never be able to juggle or find a balance between being a mom and being my own ‘person’. While I still haven’t figured all of that out, it does get a hell of a lot better (i said ‘better’ and not ‘easier’ for a reason. ha) and you quickly learn that the laundry,dishes, and scrubbing the floors can all be put on hold.

19. Making it through those never-ending hard days

Some days, are just plain hard. For any reason. The baby is cranky because he’s teething, or refuses to eat his lunch and throws every single piece of food on the floor and then wails an hour later because he’s hungry- these bad days never last. Naps and 7 p.m. are a Godsend.

20. Letting your baby have their independence

It’s bittersweet because I want B to stay small forever and for him to always need me. But letting him soothe himself to sleep, feed himself and accomplish a new set of skills is the beginning of letting him be the independent and successful little guy we want him to be. I want him to stay little and innocent forever, but he must grow up, and do amazing things!

 

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A flashback of my favorite newborn shot of our tiny Tootie <3 

 

 

 

I Hugged My Son A Little Tighter Today

I hugged my son a little tighter today.

I’m not naive about the world around me. I know that awful things happen to good people. I know that not everything can always be in my (or my husband’s) control. I know that life can be so sweet and happy one minute, and turn ugly and painful the next. I know this, because I’m seeing it all around. Unfortunately, other people’s tragedies and heartbreaks are my reasons for giving my son extra kisses and extra hugs. To snuggle with him a little longer. To make silly faces and play peek-a-boo just so I could see his toothless smile and hear his cute little giggle. To cherish every milestone, every moment; and to remember that his bad phases are not forever. I hugged my son a little tighter today for my own selfish reasons. Because he’s my baby, and growing up so fast. I’ll cuddle him for nap time. I’ll hold him when he’s upset. I’ll read that story for the fifth time. I don’t want to look back and regret not doing these things. 




I hugged my son a little tighter today in honor of all the mommas that heartbreakingly will never get the chance to again. I grieve for them- I hope they can all find some form of comfort. No parent should have to bury their child, their baby. It’s such an unfathomable concept I never want to deal with. I hugged my son a little tighter today because one day, he won’t be my 18 pound little baby anymore. In a few short years, we will send him off to kindergarten with an over-sized backpack and lunchbox in hand. And while he will be excited to be a big boy and venture off to school, I will cry and wonder where the time went to. It will be an exciting new chapter, but deep down, I can’t help but worry;  these days, public schools aren’t even a safe haven since the tragedies of Columbine and Sandy Hook. Isn’t it so sad how these places we felt comfort in going to as kids, has turned into the unknown for the next generation? There shouldn’t be a need for metal detectors and armed guards at elementary schools. As parents, we should feel comfort when our children aren’t with us and believe that they are safe. I should be able to let my son play freely outside, or walk to the bus stop alone. But, it’s a different world anymore. There are so many terrible people that hurt children, and I just don’t understand it. I look into my son’s eyes and wonder how people can hurt something so innocent. I just want to protect him forever. I want to keep him safe from harm..to keep him safe from this cruel world.

And then, there are events that can spiral out of our control. One thing I’ve learned since being a mom is accidents happen. We aren’t perfect people. We try our hardest to do what we believe is best. We can follow the rules and still get the shitty end of the stick. We may believe that our families and loved ones are invincible from tragedy-bad things can never happen to us- so when we see a terrible and unthinkable event occur, we judge. We need so much less judgement and more understanding. This world could use a lot more empathy.

I hugged my son a little tighter today. Before I became a mom, I didn’t have this other little life to worry over. Now, stories in the media shake me to the core. All I can think about is, it can happen to us. so I hug my son. It’s a scary thought knowing that this life is unpredictable-anything can happen in the blink of an eye.

So if your a momma, hug your beautiful baby(ies). Hold ’em tight. Tell them that you love them-for every single moment that passes- you will never get back.