Strong Women

HebrewDawn: Strong Women
many thanks to sc stock shop for this beautiful photo

 

With Tuesday being Equal Pay Day, helping women be strong has been on my mind a lot. Getting us to a point of equality in our pay checks still requires much work, but I believe there are a few things that can help us get there.

1. Support one another. No matter how old we may be, we always need encouragement to be the strongest we can be, AND we have a role in encouraging the women around us. If you’re a woman or know a woman that could benefit from a group of women encouraging you or them through ups and downs, I have the Facebook group for you. It’s a small but mighty group of women, who share words of encouragement are there to support one another.

2. Look out for one another. I’m slightly sad that it took a man to create a safer alternative to Uber and other taxis services, but glad that he did. No matter who we are, or what gender we may be, looking out for each other is what we should do. I’m excited to see if Chariot for Women is as good and safe as it sounds.

3. Don’t stop speaking up for one another. Some of us be unable to speak out about their situation, and it’s up to those of us that can to do it. A great is example, is our First Lady is speaking up on the importance of education for girls. How else are we going to get equal pay here in the U.S.A and internationally if we are not equally educated?

4. Give up competiting with one another. Far too often we want to show how we are bigger, better, or stronger than the person next to us. We are each trying to do the best we can, the last thing we need is to belittle one another.

A Day in the Life: Working Woman

As a working woman the days of the work week can get a little crazy and feel like a lot to juggle. I’ve learned that a good routine helps things go a lot smoother from the wee hours of the day and onward. Since adding a kid into the mix, I’ve found that my mornings might be a little busier, but I’m actually more efficient than I was before having my daughter. Each day isn’t perfect in the Parker household, but I figured I’d share a little glimpse into a day in the life of this working woman.

Rather than start with a weekday morning, I’m beginning with a Sunday evening. I’ve learned after many chaotic mornings, that my evening prep is crucial for a successful morning and rest of my day.

HebrewDawn: A Day in the Life - Working Woman

7:30 PM: Start for my daughter’s bedtime routine – bath, lotion, allergy medicine, brush teeth, read a story, say prayers, sing a song.
8:00 PM: Say goodnight and turn out the lights.

8:01 PM: Pick out my daughter’s clothes for the next day, then pack her bags for preschool. Double check she has all she needs for naptime, spare clothes for accidents, diapers, and wet bag for diapers and dirty clothes.

8:10 PM: Switch over any in process laundry.

8:15 PM: Finish cleaning up the kitchen from dinner. Then get my lunch packed, which is normally some vegetables, hummus, crackers, fruit, and water on Mondays. Mondays, Wedesndays and Friday are usually a day of running all over for work, so a healthy and easy to eat meal is crucial.

8:45 PM: Sit down to finish edits or writing my blog post for Monday. Work on images for upcoming blog posts and review content schedule.

9:45 PM: Relax with my husband by watching a show or reading on the couch.

10:30 PM: Call it a night and head to bed.

6:20 AM: Alarm goes off. If I’m being really good, I’ll jump right up out of bed.

6:30 AM: Who am I kidding, I hit the snooze button! Time to dash out of bed, silence the alarm clock and jump in the shower before my husband glares about the alarm going off. AGAIN.

6:45 AM: Finished in the shower and now it’s time to do my hair and make-up. I try to keep my beauty routine simple and without too much fuss. Typically for my skin, I only using moisturizer, BB cream (for SPF coverage and evening out my complexion), concealer (to cover the dark circles), face powered (not always), eye liner (most of the time), mascara (always if I want my eyelashes to be visible), and blush (always, as I need a little color to my cheeks). My hair is either allowed to dry curly, put up in a bun, or I’ll dry it straight if time permits. Since I hit the snooze button, there’s not time for straightening the hair today.

7:10 AM: Rushing to get my daughter up while my husband gets ready. Like usual, she just wants to snuggle, and it’s hard to resist.

7:15 AM: My daughter is semi-convinced to get up, go potty, and start the day.

7:20 AM: Finally done convincing the two year old to use the potty and get dressed.

7:25 AM: At last, the allergy medicine is consumed AND the teeth are brushed. For some reason the two year old doesn’t believe that these  tasks should be done without protest, despite the fact that we do this every morning and evening.

7:30 AM: We have all made it downstairs for breakfast. I rush to make my tea or coffee, scramble around the kitchen with my husband to get breakfast on the table.

7:45 AM: Realize it’s time for me to hit the road and wonder where the last 15 minutes have gone. Scoop up my breakfast, lunch, and coffee/tea. Kiss everyone good-bye and sprint out the door.

Rest of the morning: It’s now up to my husband to persuade the shortest member of the house to eat breakfast as quickly as possible and get out the door for school. Some days this goes off without a hitch, but sometimes it ends as expected with a two year old, which includes a refusal to go potty, put on shoes, or wear jackets.

8:00 AM – 5:00ish PM: Work my tail off so I can get back to my family as soon as I can. Most days it’s not uncommon to work through my lunch break so that I can get home sooner rather than later.

5:15ish PM: Arrive to pick up my daughter from school.

5:30 PM: Finally make it to the car to head home.

5:45 PM: Take a deep breath and savor being home.

5:50 PM: Getting everything put away from school and work so dinner preparations can be made.

6:00 PM: Tag team dinner and toddler wrangling with the husband. Thankfully he takes the lead on most dinner preparations.

6:30/6:45 PM: Dinner time!

7:30 PM: start the whole routine over again.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little snapshot into how a typical day goes for me and my family. This is a mix of the ideal and the reality of things not being exactly as I’d hope. This plan helps each day go better than it would without some structure.

Do you have any tips on how to make your days run smoothly? Any questions about how we do things in my house?


 

This post is part of a Blog Hop from Blogs and Business: Moms Who Do it All Facebook Group.

Check out some of the other awesome blog posts below:

Daily MomtivityBlue Eyed BabiesThe Triplet FarmTot Tot GooseSweet DiscordSouthern Mommas ReviewsOrganized Home SchoolA Cotton Kandi LifeNovice MommyMisty ShaheenTid Bits of ExperienceFrom Engineer to SAHMBe Fed Again

Real Moms: Heather Wiederholt

I am so excited to introduce another mom to you in this new motherhood series here on HebrewDawn. Please allow me to introduce, Heather Widerholt. She and I became fast friends over tacos, margaritas, laughter, and a fun trip to MommyCon this past summer. Heather is the beautiful voice behind Sleepy Brother, and owner of Turtle and Hare Photography. This woman is full of so much talent, joy, AND she’s a wonderful mom. I hope you enjoy getting to know Heather and hearing about her life as a mom with her beautiful little girl.

 Real Moms: Heather of Sleepy Brother and Turtle & Hare Photography

How many children do you have and how old are they? I have one daughter who is four months old.

What is your greatest joy in being a mom? It’s hard to pinpoint a single joy for me at this point. Maybe it’s just because my daughter is so young, but right now all of the emotions are so vibrant, that it’s all joy. I’m joyfully amazed at her existence. I’m joyful that I get to love and teach her. I pray that I do a good job at that. I’m joyful to have the privilege to watch her grow and learn.

What has been your greatest struggle as a mom? I think that balancing myself has been, and will continue to be, a struggle. When I say balance I don’t just mean time. Being a mom makes all of the stakes in life feel higher. Decisions are harder because there is another person to consider. Time management is obviously harder. Prioritizing myself, or others, over my child is also part of this delicate balance. Every action is a series of choices in which I must prioritize people and activities. I’m still getting the hang of this.

What’s something you wish you knew before you became a mom? I wish I knew that I would experience emotion to a wider degree. It’s not necessarily a negative, but I just feel things much deeper. I doubt there would have been a way to prepare myself for that though.

How has your relationship with your significant other changed since having kids? It’s been so comforting to have someone to go through this transition with who is experiencing, questioning, and learning from all of the same things. We are learning how to be parents side by side, and it’s brought us closer together. I’m sure it won’t all be sunshine and flowers, but the thought of this very special shared life event is very exciting right now.

My hope for motherhood… I’ve only been a mom for about five minutes, but they’ve been a very full five minutes. I hope I can be a wise mother who humbly shows her daughter the grace, mercy, and love of God.


Thank You Heather for being a part of the real moms series! 
I hope you have enjoyed hearing from this beautiful and kindhearted woman who is full of so much love and grace. I hope that no matter where you are on this motherhood journey, that you have so much to offer the world around you and other women you encounter.

If you are interested in checking out Heather’s music with Sleepy Brother, I highly recommend giving their latest album Let in the Light a listen and a buy. Lastly, if you’re in the Richmond, Virginia area and need a photographer or videographer for the special moments in your life run and check out Turtle & Hare Photography as you will not be disappointed.

Would you like to be featured in the Real Moms Series or have someone you’d like to see? We are always looking for moms with kids of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to share their story. Make sure to send me a message to be featured or nominate someone!

It Won’t Be Like This For Long

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There are so many moments as a parent when we wonder if it will always be this hard. On the flip side, there are many times that we wish would last forever. It’s this strange, yet lovely, dichotomy that represents motherhood and being a parent. As I’ve navigated life as mom, I’ve had moments that took my breath away from being so sweet or challenging. I wondered if it would always be like this, and then I’d remind myself that it won’t be like this for long…

Many thanks to Darius Rucker for providing the music to convey these feeling so well, but also serving as an important reminder that the sweet moments are quickly fleeting.

While pregnant we wonder if we’ll ever find out the gender of our baby, or if we will ever be done waiting for our child to arrive. What we forget about is the safety and security of the little love in the womb, while we grow and prepare for life with this little love in the world.

After the weeks of waiting for the arrival of our sweet baby, we wonder with blurry eyes if we will do anything besides nurse, change diapers, and rock a crying baby back to sleep. What we forget is how this little baby is completely dependent on the milk that only we can provide, finds the most comfort in our heartbeat, and will someday want no part of these sweet snuggles.

Once we finally make it through early months of a newborn, we suddenly have a baby that has forgotten how to sleep. We are now in the throws of the five month sleep regression and wonder if we’ll ever sleep again. Later we’ll realize that these late night snuggles are precious when our baby will one day squirm too much to sleep cuddled next to us.

We anxiously await the day for our sweet little love to crawl and explore the world, until we realize they can’t find every little thing closest to the ground. We long for the day that they won’t be into everything, but what we will someday realize that there are so many things that they cannot yet reach.

We long for the day that our sweet child will walk, and run and play until they do. Suddenly they are toddling everywhere and finding everything to grab and crash into. We wonder if we’ll have to scoop them up forever and kiss their bruises, but some day we’ll remember how much faster they can move and how tough they were.

After weeks and months of practice, our sweet toddler no longer moves slowly from place to place, but is getting into everything. We wonder if anything will be sacred or safe from their little hands, but later we’ll know that it was easier having them get into these things down low and not hidden out of sight.

Before long we reach the long awaited days of potty training when diapers are no more. We feel like we’ve finally crossed the last bridge of babydom, and long for the days of dry underpants. Someday we’ll remember how much this little person still needed our love and guidance with even the basic of human needs.

Each moment of life with our babies is challenging but is quickly passing. When the moments get to be too hard, I pause and remind myself that it won’t be like this for long. That times that feel so hard will one day be sweet moments of the past that we may (not always) long to go back to and savor.

Real Moms: Loren Mitchell

I am so excited to begin the new motherhood series here on HebrewDawn, and interview our first mom. Please allow me to introduce, one of my dearest friends, Loren Mitchell. She is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a writer, and a dear friend. She’s and I met while in seminary together, and though miles may separate us, our friendship has remained strong. It has been a joy to be on this motherhood journey together, as our kids are 7 months apart. I hope you enjoy getting to know Loren and hearing about her life as a mom with her sweet boy K.

Real Moms Series: Loren Mitchell

How many children do you have and how old are they? I have one child, a son, who will be 2 years old in May.

What is your greatest joy in being a mom? Seeing how much fun K has when he is doing the most basic things! He loves moving and sorting things from one box to another. He gets really excited now to go outside and play. While he is more of a picky eater now than he once was, he really enjoys eating applesauce and cookies. He is very adamant in asking for both. He also has this little monkey backpack and lunchbox that he loves to wear to school. My favorite part of the day is bedtime. Not the part where we keep trying to delay putting on pajamas or fighting brushing our teeth. But the part where we snuggle in the rocking chair and read stories before bed.

What has been your greatest struggle as a mom? Having my child be sick so frequently in the past year. For the first ten months of his life he went to work with me (I was serving as a solo pastor in a small congregation). When we moved to a bigger city and I began to serve a larger church a year ago, K who was becoming mobile, had to start daycare. He has had every virus under the sun, twice! To make matters worse, he has febrile seizures. This means that when his fever spikes from a virus or ear infection for example, he has seizures. These do not cause damage and don’t last very long but they are so scary! So, as parents we have struggled a lot on whether or not to keep him in school or take him out. It is always hard to see your baby sick, but the fear of seizures has made us extra protective when he isn’t feeling well. We’ve chosen to keep him in the Montessori school where he attends because he loves it so much and he is learning so many great skills. And finally, after a year, I believe his immune system is finally getting stronger!

What’s something you wish you knew before you became a mom? I was so terrified to bring him home when he was born. How would I ever sleep? I knew it would be so tiring. I knew that we would become pros at feeding, changing, etc., but I don’t think I was ever absolutely certain that I was ready to be a mother. I guess I wish I had been more confident in the fact that I didn’t have to breastfeed my child. I had wanted to do that and was prepared for it. But, I was sick when he was born. Not only did we have latching issues, my milk never came in. After about 6 weeks of stressing over that every hour of every day I quit trying. And you know what? It is okay! My son is healthy. My son was thriving and I was not. I had to not only accept that fact but trust that we bonded just fine as mother and son without breastfeeding. It is great for some moms, but it didn’t work for me and that doesn’t make me any less of a mother.

Having a child changes you, so what do you hold onto and let go of as mother? Being in control of everything (P.S. this is ridiculously hard). I like to plan things out but I find that with a child things change in an instant so it is harder for me to commit to doing things professionally or socially. I actually had to give up serving on our Presbytery Youth Council because I just couldn’t do everything. This was very sad for me to say that I couldn’t participate in that ministry anymore. I’ve gotten very lax about keeping the house straight or even keeping my desk/bill pile organized. I hate this and It drives me crazy. If I have to choose between sitting on the floor with the kiddo or straightening up, I have learned to try to sit still in the moment (my husband will tell you he has to constantly remind me that it is ok to be this way)! I am also trying really hard to hold on to my friendships. Time is such a precious gift these days but I am often too tired to pick up the phone or plan a day with friends. I value those relationships and that support so much, as I have wonderful friends. I hope they know they are appreciated, even if we don’t spend a lot of time together like we did before we all got married and  had children.

How has your relationship with your significant other changed since having kids? My relationship with my husband is certainly different. In some ways we are stronger than ever, we are a team when it comes to parenting our son and I feel that we are intentional in quality time spent as a family. But there are days when we really struggle. There are days when all of my energy is spent being pastor and mother and I am just deflated at the end of the day with little energy to be a wife. Not that these roles should ever be divided up in this way as I am supposed to wear all these hats at once, but I think that my husband often gets the short end of the stick. Other life stresses can also contribute to that but I think that we strive to spend quality time together, but it is tough. This flows over into the next question

How do you make time for date night? Or how do you keep it saucy when life gets messy? Short answer: I am not very good at it! I let the stresses of life kill my mood more often than I should. We have tried, and will continue to strive to take date nights or spend time together on days I do not have to work. We are lucky we have family close by so we do try to take advantage and let K spend time with them!

What’s the one thing you would tell yourself looking back on your journey thus far? They grow so fast. And Saturdays can be so hard! Just try to relax and enjoy the moments you have with your son and your spouse. Children change every day and I want to be able to remember what he was like at each stage of his childhood. Two things I have done to record those memories are to make Shutterfly Photo books every few months and write him a monthly blog on his birthday date with memories, milestones, and photos so that we can always look back. He’ll either appreciate that when he is older or want to kill me.

Thank You Loren for agreeing to be a part of the real moms series!
I hope you have enjoyed hearing from this beautiful woman, and hearing that there are many similar struggles that we are all facing. If you enjoyed her writing style as much as I do, feel free to read more on her blog Preaching Thumbelina.

Would you like to be featured in the Real Moms Series or have someone you’d like to see? We are looking for moms with kids of all ages AND mothers of children all grown up to share their story. Make sure to send me a message to be featured or nominate someone!

Announcement

Happy Monday! I shared on Friday that there are some things in the works for HebrewDawn, and I couldn’t wait to tell you! Some may have noticed that there has been a routine developing as to the type of material and topics posted (Mondays – motherhood, Wednesdays – faith, and Fridays – fun). There will still be a routine to what is posted and when, but there will be a little bit of a shift. Are you ready to hear what it is?
Drum roll please….

 

 

Mondays will remain motherhood and motivation focused, but that is not all. There is a new series coming your way and YOU are invited to be a part of it!

New series coming to HebrewDawn: Real Moms. Read stories by moms with kids of all ages.

Throughout this series we’ll hear stories from other moms, answering some of our questions, sharing their stories, and helping us know that we’re not alone on this motherhood journey. We will hear from moms with children of all ages, AND veteran moms who have survived living with kids and then had them leave the nest. So how do you get to be a part of this? If you have questions for these moms  or if you would be interested in being featured, leave a comment or send me a message.

Wednesdays will be taking on a new focus from what they’ve been. Now the focus will be on wellness, and it will be from a 360 perspective. We will take a look at wellness through the lens of fitness, diet, heart, and mind. To enrich our conversations on this topic, be on the lookout for a new voice coming to HebrewDawn as a regular contributor!

Fridays will continue be a mix of faith and fun. This should be a positive way to finish out our week, refresh our souls, and get us ready for the coming week.

Thank you for being a faithful reader,  and I hope you’ll be a part of the excitement however you may contribute to the conversation (questions, comments, or sharing a story too). As always I’ll hope you’ll spread the word to others of all that’s going on and all that’s coming so we can each be encourage and inspired as we journey together.

Happy Monday!

Hello Sunshine


How has the weather been where you are this week? It’s be delightfully sunny, and it’s put me in the best mood. I forgot how much the sunshine affects my mood for the good. Despite having a VERY full week, it’s been manageable with all the sunshine!

So there are some fun things in the works for HebrewDawn, and I cannot wait until I can share them with you. If you follow the blog on Facebook, you’ll have an idea about one thing that’s coming. As for the other, you’ll have to hold tight for now. Just know that I’m excited for what’s coming, and I hope it encourages and inspires you on your journey.

Now it’s time for some Friday Fun!

Ready to feel old, or at least thankful for how far we’ve come? Check out this video of teens reacting to Windows 95. Oh the days of dial-up!

Have you seen this story about this mom of triplets? Apparently a Delta employee gave her a first-class seat so she could pump in private! I’m super impressed this mama is nursing three babies! One was hard enough for me. So glad this mama received well deserved rock star treatment!

Do you like to bargain shop? Only a couple more days left for Target’s sales and coupons on clothing! I was able to snag some super cute things for my daughter, nieces, and nephews.

Oh toddlers! They have such a way with words, or making them amusing for us adults!

Are you a candle person? I love having a few around the house to keep things smelling delightful. I’ve tried one of the Herb & Irma candles, and thinking about trying more. Do you have a signature home scent? I’m thinking mine might be lemon and sage, because I want this candle burning all the time.

Have anything fun going on this weekend? We have dinner with friends, an ordination service, and a baby shower So much celebration in such a short window of time.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Preparing for Daylight Saving Time with Children

In six days daylight saving time begins, and I’m excited for the extra hour of sunshine this provides us. As a parent I’m not excited about what this time change  does to my child’s sleep. This is our third round of time changes, and whether you gain or lose an hour of sleep, as a parent I dare say you always lose. This year I am determined to be prepared!

What’s the game plan? Beginning with bedtime Wednesday evening, my daughter will be going to bed 15 minutes earlier than night before. Over the course of the next four nights, her bedtime will get reduced to being an hour earlier than normal and getting her on schedule for the time change. So for us this will look like an  8:00 bedtime tonight and tomorrow, 7:45 on Wednesday, 7:30 on Thursday, 7:15 on Friday, and then 7:00  on Saturday.

The best laid plans…I had hoped to make it a gradual process throughout the week of making bedtime ten minutes earlier over the course of a week, but with our schedule for the week it won’t quite work. We have a group of church friends coming over for dinner tomorrow and VHP will be devastated to leave “the party” early. Friday is going to be our biggest challenge as we have company coming for dinner, and I don’t think she will be too keen on going to bed at 7:15.

I’m hoping and praying our plan works so that the daylight saving time  transition goes a little smoother than in the past. Have you had luck with your kids getting accustomed to the time change?

Happy Weekend!

It is the first Friday or March and I couldn’t be more excited!

Reasons I love March…

  1. it is my birth month
  2. spring begins
  3. spring festivals and outdoor concerts begin again
  4. pretty flowers
  5. more outdoor fun with the family

Time for some of my favorites of the week!

For my mom friends with newborns and babies fighting sleep, this is for you….thoughts every sleep deprived mother has ever had according to Amy Poehler.

Would you let your baby nap outside in the cold or your elementary aged child take the subway on their own? Check out these intriguing  parenting trends from around the world  that haven’t caught in the U.S.

Kids say the funniest things! Do your kids have funny ways of mispronouncing words? My daughter is starting to say “jumping” correctly, but still slips up and says “gumping.” It’s especially funny to me when she’s reading Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed with me.

Enjoy your first weekend of March!

Mom’s Purse Has It All

The For the last year I have been trying to reduce how much I carry in my bag and debating what NEEDS to be in there. The Girl Scout in me wants to be prepared, but inevitably my purse turns out to be heavier than necessary. Now that my daughter has said goodbye to diapers, I no longer need to carry a diaper bag and my purse. This is great from one perspective, but the question remains what do I NEED in my bag?

Here is the current mom bag purse of the moment:

This was a TJ Maxx find last year. I love that this bag is a neutral color so it matches almost everything, and it has a removable strap so that I can wear it like a crossbody. The other great about this bag, but also dangerous, is that it is nice and big so it can carry everything!

I don’t blame the bag for it getting too full and heavy, but I do blame what’s inside. Here are the current contents minus some receipts, checkbook (because I don’t carry it all the time), and random things that didn’t belong needed to be put away.

 1. Kate Spade Wallet (similar2. Pentel Pencil and Pentel Energel Pen 3. My work iPhone 6 in a Spigen wallet case. 4. Coach Wristlet (similar5. Sugar Lip BalmRose Salve, and bareMinerals concealer 6. Ruby Stone nail file, tweezers and nail clippers 7. hair ties and safety pins 8. car keys 9. personal iPhone 6 in a LifeProof case


1. Greenroom notebook 2. Jonathan Adler for Skip Hop bag (came with our diaper bag)       3. snacks (GoGo Squeez and Annie’s cheddar bunnies4. business card case purchased at a local Hallmark store. 5. Plan toys cars (2 of 3 in the set) 6. Honest wipes 7. Apple earbuds and LifeProof adapter

I know that none of these things are absolute necessities, but I do believe that the wallet and phones are purse must haves. But where do I cut back and carry less? I’m working on keeping less in the coach wristlet. It’s not uncommon for me to have every size bandaid known to man in the wristlet, but I have reduced the number to have only a few along with the items listed above.  I prefer to use my own pen when I’m out because of germs. The notebook is great for making notes so I don’t forget things (hello mommy brain is no joke), plus it keeps the toddler entertained with the pencil when we’re out. The kid items and snacks aren’t always in my purse, but they don’t always make it out after the weekend is up. Thankfully I’ve been good about removing the extra panties and wet bag so I don’t have those fall out of my bag during work.

So what do you keep in your purse? Are you someone that likes to be super prepared or are ou more of a minimalist? Thoughts on what to scale back on in my own bag?

 

Please note there are some affiliate links in this post. Have no fear, they won’t hurt you if click on them, but I may receive a little financial benefit from your purchase. This means that the funds from your purchase go towards growing this blog and providing better content for you and all the other HebrewDawn readers. As always, I only link to products I trust and use!