5 Things To Consider Before You Quit Your Day Job #WAHM

Two years ago, I was sitting at my desk at a full-time office job, daydreaming about finding a more balanced life. A life where I could be present for school drop offs & pick ups and participate in parent volunteer opportunities, but where I could also continue working in a career that I loved. At the time, I didn’t know that there were other options. I thought that I had to choose between my career and staying home full-time with my children, and the latter just wasn’t an option for me.

When I started to crunch the numbers and think more seriously about my options, I came to the conclusion that I could explore part-time work opportunities, as long as I was willing to make a few sacrifices. Now that I’ve transitioned from a full-time office-dwelling career, to a part-time work-from-home job, to an all-over-the-place work schedule as a self-employed mompreneur, I thought I would share with you 5 things to consider before making the shift from WOMO (working mom) to WAHM (work at home mom).

1) OPPORTUNITIES ARE SCARCE

It’s one thing to decide that a part-time job will work for you and your family, but quite another to actually find part-time job opportunities! Unfortunately, it’s still not the norm for companies to create part-time opportunities that accommodate family life.

Tip: Find and secure a part-time job before you quit your full-time day job.

2) MONEY MATTERS

Part-time hours are great, but part-time pay is not. If you find a part-time work opportunity with a fabulous company, you’re on your way to living the dream. But it’s important to remember that fewer work hours means less income for your family.

When I made the transition, I thought that the money we would save from taking our children out of daycare/after-school care would compensate for the lower salary that I would be bringing in. What I didn’t take into account was the fact that I would actually need time to work, and with young children in the house, finding the time to actually get work done would be next to impossible. I also hadn’t accounted for extra costs like Summer camp.

Self employment is even more challenging because in most cases, your income and hours become unpredictable.

3) SUPPORT IS KEY

It takes a village. When you have children, it’s important to make sure that you have the support you need from your family and friends before you decide to work from home and/or start your own business, because your decision will affect others more than you realize. Your partner/spouse will need to be involved in some of your cost-cutting plans, and the lack of structure that comes with self-employment will leave you relying on help from family and friends.

4) JOB SATISFACTION

Before applying for and accepting a part-time job opportunity, it’s important to really think about whether or not the actual job in question will satisfy your needs. The appeal of a shortened work schedule can sometimes blind you from what the actual job entails. Before you take the job, it’s important to ask yourself: will I still be doing work that I love?

5) LONG-TERM GOALS

It’s not only important to ensure that the career change will satisfy your personal needs, but it’s also important to consider your long-term goals. Where do you hope to take your career? If your desire is to move up the corporate ladder with an organization, chances are, those senior-level opportunities will go to the employees who have made a full-time commitment to their work.

Working from home can be rewarding in many ways, but it’s important to see beyond the daydream before making the  decision to change your career. Do your research and take the time to plan before you commit to a new lifestyle. Remember that there are always pros and cons to both sides of the working world – do what ultimately works best for you and your family. And if you have any questions, I’m here for you!

WAHM

Parenting: Who’s The Boss?

When I was a kid, if I fussed and complained about wanting something (or not wanting to do something), my whiny why’s were immediately put to an end when my mom replied with a finite “My saying so is reason enough!” (her version of the infamous “Because I said so”). When those words were uttered, that was it. I knew I wasn’t going to get my way – my mom had made a decision, and I honoured it.

Nowadays I am constantly witnessing parents who are addressing temper tantrums and disrespectful behaviours with coaxing negotiations, bribery and hugs, and I’m left to wonder – who’s the boss?

I’m not judging the parents who are using these tactics, I know all children are different. I’ve definitely learned through the years that what works with one child, certainly doesn’t mean that it’ll work with all children. When my firstborn acts up, a few stern words about expectations and unacceptable behaviours calm her down.  I explain why her words or actions are not acceptable, and she understands, learns from the experience, and moves on. But my second child, he’s a whole different story.

Tantrum

As I navigate through the challenging waters of parenting, I’m constantly coming across articles and blog posts on the detrimental effects of time outs, consequences, and discipline tactics. And while the idea of correcting the undesirable behaviours by using those moments to teach important life lessons seems ideal, those tactics simply don’t work with every child. If I were to address my son’s screaming and flailing tantrums with a calm discussion about appropriate ways to use his words and communicate his feelings, my words would be met with louder screams and more undesirable behaviours. I confess, I’m not always the boss – but how do I regain my parental control?

I read so much about what we shouldn’t be doing, but I have yet to find a definitive solution to the problem that can be applied to all children. And I know why: because there is no one definitive solution.

What works with one child, will not always work with another. As parents, we know our children best. We know what sets them off, and we do what we can to dissolve the difficult behaviours. If time outs are working for you, do it. If hugging it out calms your child down, hug away! If you’ve discovered a new groundbreaking way to get your children to listen to you – keep on keeping on! But I think the ultimate goal as we raise our little humans is to make it understood that they have to listen to us – that we as parents are the boss.

 

5 Tips On How To Stay Sane as a Mom of Three

As a career mom of three, I’m constantly asked the same question: How do you do it all? And the answer is easy: I don’t.

The truth of the matter is, any mom who tells you that she ‘does it all’ is simply lying. It’s just not possible to give 100% of yourself to everything that you do. Doing it all (in the true sense) would be like riding a unicycle, blindfolded, while juggling 100 balls in the air with one hand. I don’t know about you, but for me, balls would get dropped.

But while I’m not ‘doing it all’, I do like to think that I’m successful at what I’m doing. Because successful moms don’t strive for perfection, they create their own definition of success. The key is to recognize that you can’t do it all, and to prioritize the things that you are able to do by the things that are most important to you.

Striving for perfection will drive you crazy, so why not strive for perfectly imperfect instead?

To keep your sanity amidst the chaos, here are 5 things that will keep you from completely losing your mind:

mom of three

1) Practice saying no.

Stop being a ‘yes’ mom and pick and choose your projects and events based on how they will be of benefit to you and your family. You can’t be everywhere all the time – learning how to effectively manage your time will play a big role in finding your own success. I know it’s easier said than done, I’m always the first to say yes when asked to work on something or attend an event, but if I say no to a few things, I find that I have more time for the things that need to get done, or that I love to do.

2) Take time out for yourself.

As moms we tend to put ourselves at the bottom of the priority list. But spending too much time meeting the needs of others can be draining. People always ask me how I could possibly find time for myself with a business and three children. I find the time because I make it a priority. A massage, a quiet hour of focused writing at a coffee shop, or even a short nap are enough to maintain my sanity.

3) Limit your children’s activities.

Extracurriculars can be extra time suckers – especially with multiple children, and I can’t even imagine how much busier it’ll get when my third child is old enough for after-school activities. As much as I’d love for each of my children to take soccer, dance, swimming, skiing, skating, piano, and karate lessons, I know that too much running around will drive me insane, so I limit each child to two activities (one that I choose, and one that they are interested in pursuing). It’s still busy but limiting the number of activities that they take allows for us to enjoy family time together too!

4) Accept help from others.

I’m constantly feeling overwhelmed as a mom of three, yet I have a bad habit of saying ‘no thank you’ when help is offered. When my husband offers to take over with the bedtime routines, I tell him I can do it and then rush around to get it all done myself. My parents are always offering to take the kids for the night and I kindly decline, worried that my busy little trifecta might be a burden on them. Accepting help from others will allow us to enjoy a little rest – which I’m sure we could all use.

5) Lower your standards.

Your house doesn’t have to be perfectly clean all the time, and no one’s going to die if you order pizza every once in awhile. I remember thinking it was so important to cook gourmet, perfectly-balanced dinners each night, have the house perfectly clean before bed, and never have the laundry basket more than half full. And then I had kids.

If you try to do everything yourself, you will lose your mind. Accept that you can’t do it all, let others help you, and take the time to smell the roses. Because you only live once, so make the most of it.

Working Moms: Why The Labelling Needs To Stop

I recently came across this article proclaiming that “being a stay-at-home mother is not a job” and it caught my attention. Underneath the link, the Facebook feed was flooded with angry words from moms of all backgrounds, disgusted by the message behind the post, and horrified by comparisons such as this one:

“No, Stay-at-Home-Mothers, choosing to create your own little person upon whom you’ll spend all your time and energy is a hobby. It is a time-consuming, sanity-deteriorating, life-altering hobby — a lot like a heroin addiction, but with more Thirty-One bags.” Source

And I get it, maybe comparing the choice to stay at home with your children to that of a heroin addiction is a little over the top, but I don’t think that was the point of the article.

I’ve stayed at home with my children, I’ve worked at a full-time in-office career, and I’m now working for my own business as a work-at-home mom. I’ve had hands-on experience as a mom who falls into each of these lifestyle choices, and I can honestly say that no “working mom” life is easier or more challenging than the others.

The truth is: being a mom is hard. Leaving your children in childcare to spend the day at a gruelling office job is a difficult decision and comes with many daily challenges. Deciding to stay at home with your little ones full time is a trying lifestyle and a true test of patience and stamina, and attempting to make a living by running a business at home with little ones at your feet is exhausting and challenging as well.

working mom

For some reason, society -and especially moms, get caught up in the terminology. Moms are categorized as SAHM (stay-at-home mom), WAHM (work-at-home mom), or career mom, as though having a specific “mom label” denotes a certain level of superiority or accomplishment. Statements are constantly made implying that one lifestyle is harder than another, and feelings get hurt when a mom who works outside of the home is referred to as a “working mom” (because being a SAHM mom is work too!).

But you guys, this is not a competition. This is life. We have all made our own decisions as to how to navigate through the journey of motherhood, and there are no right or wrong decisions. We are all doing the best that we can with what we’ve got and we need to stop being over-sensitive, competitive, and insecure about our decisions.

I don’t think that the author of the aforementioned article is trying to poke fun at the stay-at-home parenting lifestyle, I think she is just trying to dissolve the feelings of invalidation that many of the moms in her circle are experiencing – with perhaps a touch of sass. I think it’s ok to share our own perspectives because we are each having our own unique experience as ‘mom’. We should embrace each other’s perspectives, learn from each other’s stories, and support each other’s decisions. Because in the end, regardless of our employment status, we are all moms.

Stop the mom wars and start opening your minds to the possibility that we are all winners. Be happy in your own skin and don’t worry so much about the words of others – stop focusing on the labels.

 

Is My Baby On A Nursing Strike?

One morning, out of the blue, my baby stopped Nursing Strikenursing. And I don’t mean she gently weaned herself, hesitantly cocking her head to the side when offered a sip of my liquid gold as babies sometimes do. I mean – possessed, arch-backing, pterodactyl-screeching, boob-slapping refused. I was baffled.

The night before, she had sipped with satisfaction, drifting into a milk coma as babies often do when suckling mama’s sweet milk. But the following morning, it was as though I had yanked candy out of the hands of a spoiled toddler. Suddenly, my offerings elicited epic head-spinning tantrums. Even holding her in a cradled position with her head near my clothed chest set her off. I was so puzzled, what had I done wrong?

I had promised myself that I would nurse my third for a full year like I had with the first two, so I wasn’t going to let her win the battle of the boob. While she continued through the day, satisfied with the solid foods she had recently learned to ingest, I painfully pumped, and took it to Google.

Is It A Nursing Strike?

After browsing through stories of moms who proclaimed that their babies had just suddenly self-weaned, I came across an article on Nursing Strikes.

What the what? She was just over 6 months old, how the eff could my sweet little baby decide to go on strike? And what did I do to deserve it? I thought.

 A baby who refuses to breastfeed (and is not in the process of being weaned) is said to be on a “nursing strike.” A nursing strike is your baby’s way of telling you that something’s wrong. (BabyCenter)

Maybe it was because she was teething. She had been fussier than usual. Or maybe it was because she had chomped down during her last feeding, and when I squealed in pain she burst into tears. Perhaps that scared her into a nursing strike?

How I Got Through It

I pumped 2-3 times a day, and fed the milk to her through a sippy cup (which for some reason she suddenly took a liking to). Every day I would offer her a sip from the main source, and every day she continued to arch her back and turn her head. So I continued pumping, and offering. Pumping and offering. This went on for a week, and I’m not going to lie – it sucked.

And then suddenly one morning, completely out of the blue, she crawled over to my lap, climbed on, and pulled herself up so that her face was in line with my breast. She began banging her head on it, and slapping it with her hand. Doubtful, I opened my top and let it hang out.

My stubborn little striker opened her mouth, settled into my lap, and nursed like nothing had happened over the past week. Her strike was over and nursing has been smooth sailing ever since.

Fact: NO ONE is a parenting “expert”.

There’s always something new to learn when you’re a parent. Whether you’re on your first baby, or your fifth, new experiences, discoveries, challenges and fears will arise – it’s just part of the evolution of parenthood.

As a mother of three, I tend to be a bit overconfident when it comes to parenting woes. Like having a trifecta of littles automatically makes me a mothering guru – a master ninja of mamas. Which of course is completely unrealistic. As my third child transitions through the sequential milestones of her first year, this reality is becoming more and more apparent to me: I still have lots to learn.

5 Ways Ordering Your Groceries Will Get You Out Of A Jam

Unfortunately, my fantasy of having a grocery store in my ‘hood that offers a full-service wine bar for moms has yet to become a reality, so I’ve settled on a new dream: groceries delivered straight to my door. Thanks to my local Save-On-Foods, this dream has become a realistic reverie.

Until recently, I was a terrible planner when it came to filling the cupboards in my home. I didn’t like to pre-plan a week’s worth of dinners (because: what if I were to change my mind?), and I didn’t like to do bulk shops (because: heavy bags), so I fell into a habit of twice-weekly binge shops.

The problem with my habit, was that I would stroll through the aisles with a rumbling belly and no plan in mind, and I would toss anything that tempted my tastebuds into my cart. The results? Cupboards full of unused ingredients, and a bill as long as my 9-year-old is tall.

When the online ordering feature was first launched at Save-On-Foods, I was skeptical. I worried that having someone else select my fruits and vegetables would result in spoiled or poorly-picked produce. It wasn’t until some friends shared their positive experiences with me that I decided to give it a try – and boy was it a life saver!

Here are five ways ordering online has gotten me out of a jam as a busy mom of three:

Click and pay during vacay. There’s nothing worse than returning home from a fun family vacation to an empty fridge. The last thing I want to do is hop back into my car and drag my feet down the grocery store aisles. Now that I’ve created a list of my favourite items on my Save-On-Foods profile, I simply go online, select my favourites, click and pay. As we unpack and unwind, my groceries arrive right at my door.

Cure those Sunday night blues. During the school year, Sunday nights can be a total downer. I tend to wrap up my weekends by tidying the house, helping the kids catch up on homework, and preparing for the dreaded ‘L’ word -lunches. Ordering online helps me skip a step as I rush around preparing for the week ahead.

Ease the extracurricular overload. Having 3 active kids means playing chauffeur to ballet, soccer, karate, guitar, skating, and gymnastics classes on almost every day of the week.  Ordering online allows me to quickly drive through the pick up lane at my local grocery store to grab my pre-ordered food, or arrive home to a delivery at my door. One less driving destination goes a long way.

Avoid the massive market meltdowns. For me, nothing is worse than dragging my 3 hungry kids along for a grocery shop. They get antsy, active, and eventually someone has a meltdown and we have to abort the mission. While I used to wait until my kids were in bed (sometimes hitting the store at 10pm just to do a quick solo shop), I can now shop with ease from the comfort of my home.

Last-minute dinner party prep. I love having friends over for dinner, but when the plans are made at the last minute, I end up rushing around in a panic, power-cleaning, meal-planning, and child-minding simultaneously. I love that I can place my order online, and then tidy up until the food arrives. I save time, and a little sanity too.

If you haven’t tried ordering your groceries online, I highly recommend giving it a try! Want to learn more? Visit: How It Works.

Disclaimer: I’ve partnered with Save-On-Foods to help spread the word about their fantastic online ordering options. While this is a sponsored post, the thoughts and ideas are honest and completely my own.

Why Not Add To The Happy Chaos?

Browsing through some old posts, I came across one that I had written about my crazy life as a career mommy of two. In my post, I describe the happy chaos that comes with  juggling between “mama B” and “worker B” and how I live through the dichotomy of both on a daily basis. At the time that I wrote that post, I didn’t think there was room for anything else in my life, I thought that I had maxed out every waking moment with obligations at home and at work. But since then, I’ve found time for more.
I’ve recently made a goal for myself: to not just move through the monotony of my everyday chaos, but to make every chaotic moment count – to find time for the little things that make it all worthwhile. I’ve developed some new hobbies, some to improve my health and personal wellness, and some, like my obsession with Instagram, to keep my creative juices flowing.
Snapshots from my week – for more, follow me on Instagram @bitsofbee
I’ve also made more of an effort to help my kidlets develop new hobbies:
I’ve even made the glorious discovery of a little thing I now like to call taking a ME Day.
People are always asking me how I’m able to find the time to blog, and now to take exercise classes as well. The truth is, I carve the time out of my busy schedule to make these things happen.
I’m less stringent about my house cleaning routine, because I’ve realized that having a few dishes in the sink, or dust on the shelves, isn’t going to hurt anyone, but making the time for things that make me feel good about myself makes me happy, and in turn, makes my family happy as well.
I watch less TV. While I love spending the few minutes of down time I have in front of the TV, I’ve made an effort to be more selective about the shows I watch. This has freed up some time for me to get off my ass, so I can work on getting those jiggly bits off my ass as well.
As mamas, we’re all busy, it’s part of the job. But if we don’t make the time to do the things that we love, outside of the happy chaos that comes with everyday life, then what are we really working so hard to achieve?
Next on my bucket list? Mommy and me cooking classes, more writing, and a whole lot more time outside with my little loves.