The best part about this journey I have been on is that it hasn't just been about weight loss. I have learned so much about myself, time management and ultimately happiness. This journey has morphed me into someone who is happy to be doing what I am doing and has started living in the moment more.
How many times have we over-committed ourselves only to end up disappointing others and ourselves? If you are like me, the answer used to be quite frequently.
Now my new mantra is:
I AM DEDICATED TO MAKING TIME FOR THE PEOPLE AND THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO ME
Re-read that and take it in. It is pretty a powerful statement.
Here is an EXCELLENT short video on some advice about "doing it all" and fitting it all in. I love her approach!!
In different stages of my life my priorities may be different but right now my priorities look a lot like this:
Does that make me a bad mom that my kids aren't number 1? HECK NO. Does it make you a bad mom if your kids ARE number 1? HECK NO.
Does that mean I don't work my butt off? NO WAY! I totally do but I do it during my scheduled work hours. Jess pre-kids would work any hour of the day! I have learned that in order to maintain more balance in my life I cannot do that.
Also, I hate when people use the word BALANCE. What does that mean anyways?!
Another thing this journey has taught me is:
Sleep is necessary to make IT all work.
Sleep PK (Pre-Kids..I talk more about that here on this blog post) Sleep PK is something you don't even think about. You just do it. You sleep when you want. You sleep in. You take naps. Basically you have it made. And you don't have bags under your eyes.
Then you have kids and you legit would do anything to sleep again. And I mean anything. I remember being in a sleep deprived state walking around Target when Riley was very little, like 3-4 weeks old and I realized I had my pajamas on. Like for real pajamas. Not workout clothes pajamas. It's kind of like when you are driving and you have no idea how the F you got home. Same thing here. I was crazy and desperate, desperate for any baby contraption I could buy that would solve all my problems and grant me the magic night of sleep. So desperate I didn't even realize I went to Target looking homeless. But then fast forward and those early days are long gone and just a memory (and there is no magic contraption).
I'm writing this because my instagram followers started messaging me when I posted (on insta stories) videos of me and Landon waking Riley up in the morning. Yes, most mornings I have to wake Riley up!
Riley is 11 months old and sleeps 7pm-8am straight all night, every night and takes two 1.5 hour-2.5 hour naps a day (or sometimes one long 3.5 hour nap). And Landon is a great sleeper as well at 3 years old sleeping 7:30pm-6:30am, he usually gets up between 6:15-7:00 and plays until his light turns green on his stay in bed alarm (must buy!!!)
I am not saying that to brag AT ALL!! I am posting this to hopefully help some crazy sleep deprived mom up at night googling. Googling anything. I swear I googled when Riley was maybe 4-5 weeks old "my baby is terrible what do I do?" I can laugh about it now but at the time, not funny. At all. And trust me I understand all kids are different but I have two totally different children who both have become good sleepers with our hard work and dedication.
I have brought this up a couple times but my kids are Babywise babies. I know what you are thinking...Great, now I have to read a book?! I'm already cranky and tired and have no time and now the magic answer is in a book?! F her and her f'ing book!"
Ok, ok, I get it. You don't have time to read. The whole concept of this book is pretty simple and seriously once you buy the book you will only need like 15 pages, but they will be the 15 pages that save your life! The concept of the book is:
1. Your child should be on a Feed, Wake, Sleep schedule
DON'T LET YOUR BABY LEARN TO FALL ASLEEP TO THE BOTTLE OR BOOB
So you feed the baby, and then make sure to keep them awake (when they are little awake time could be seriously 15 minutes) and then put them down for a nap.
2. Put them down for a nap or bed tired/sleepy but not already asleep
I mean just think about it. You (like you as an adult) fall asleep in the car and then the car stops, you wake up. It is legit the same thing, you can't let baby fall asleep in your arms and expect them not to wake up when you set them somewhere else.
Both my kids were sleeping in their cribs by 8 weeks old. Maybe not for every single nap but the majority of their sleep was in the crib by 8 weeks old. And because of this they got used to being in their room and their cribs and found it a place of comfort. Riley literally lunges for her crib when it is nap time and snuggles up and I can legit tell she's excited to be in there.
So anyways, back to Babywise, the best part about Babywise is it gives you a schedule. An exact schedule to follow all the way through your child being a year old and older!
Ok now you are thinking "A schedule? Is this girl for real? I can barely squeeze in time for a shower and most days forget to feed myself and now I have to have a schedule?!"
THE ANSWER IS YES!! Yes if you want to live a life of predictability and have TIME for you!!
The reason I can work full time, workout, do my beachbody bizz, My Fitness Tribe Apparel and still have time for family, husband and kids is because we live our life on a schedule.
We put the time in when the kids are young (newborn-4 months old) and it totally pays off. 3 or 4 months of broken sleep is so worth the lifetime of great nights of sleep!
Ok, so you are thinking "F!! My kid isn't a newborn so what do I do?!"
YOU AREN'T A BAD MOM IF YOU LET YOUR KID CRY IT OUT
So a couple things I swear by for creating good sleep habits/atmospheres:
Dohm sound machine - Best $45 we've ever spent. Riley and Landon's room are next to each other and she can sleep through Landon playing and talking.
Miracle blanket- $30. Yup, you guessed it. Its a miracle. Makes baby feel like they are still in womb so you don't have to hold them for sleep. And stays wrapped and put even for a really strong kid.
Stoplight alarm clock for bigger kid (2 years on up)- $40. When Riley was a couple months old and I was crazy and sleep deprived, Landon started waking up at 5am. HECK NO!! I bought this on amazon for same day shipping, told him "Red means stays in bed" and "green means WAKE UP!" 10 months later he still loves and it when his light turns green he calls for us "mommy! daddy! my light is green!"
I understand every child is different and every parenting style is different. I support raising your children to be healthy and happy and if this doesn't work for you, GREAT.
If it is one thing I have learned in this crazy mom journey is that you have to do what works for you and your family. What works for me, may not work for you.
In the end, I am not even sure what this blog post is about any more. It started about "doing it all" and priorities and somehow became about sleep. But you see, sleep is super important to me, so makes sense. Basically, if this blog post did make sense to you, you are my soul sister, the reason I write these. If it didn't, sorry you just wasted your time.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to sell My Fitness Tribe Apparel shirts at a market. It was a lot of fun! I love meeting new people (HELLO EXTROVERT!!) and loved seeing people's reactions when they saw my shirts or felt them and said "these are sooo soft!!" YAY!! But while I was there I couldn't help but just people watch and take it all in. Not judge. But take it all in. And somehow in the sea of moms with their fawn diaper bags, fancy strollers and apple watches I catch eyes with a woman. Our eyes catch and she quickly looks down and away, so not to have a conversation with me. She is a mom. A mom who doesn't look like the rest. A mom who is pushing an umbrella stroller. A mom who probably doesn't know what the hottest diaper bag is. A mom who looks out of her element and self conscious.
But guess what? Her child was seriously one of the happiest kids there! You know why? Because he didn't know the stroller he was sitting in wasn't "all the rage" and he didn't care that his moms diaper bag was from Target and he loves his mom just the way she is.
And I got thinking, am I only the one wondering how people are doing it? How are people able to have it all? And when will it stop? When will the need for us to "keep up with Joneses" stop?
I'm guilty of it. I have the apple watch, I have 4 strollers (yes, I know...insert eyeroll) and I am trying to impress the other moms.
BUT WHY?! Aren't we all just trying to raise our children to be decent people who can function in the real world? And is that name brand FILL IN THE BLANK item really helping them become better kids?
And honestly, what do I know? Maybe all those moms in there can afford everything they have. Heck, maybe the word AFFORD is relative to all people. I read a crazy statistic that most households don't have a $1,000 set aside to cover unexpected expenses. And that is CRAZY. But again, what do I know? It isn't my job to judge YOU. It isn't my job to judge any mom. We are literally all doing the best we can.
So while I stood there behind my little booth (aka 6 ft table), I started looking at every woman and I thought of one great thing I saw about her and if she stopped by my booth or walked by it, I smiled and I started a conversation with her. And I made a point to compliment something about her. Sure, sometimes those compliments were about superficial items such as "I like your shoes" But you know what? Maybe she hates those shoes and thinks they suck but that is what she threw on while she ran out the door in a frantic mess because well, getting out of the house with kids is HARD (right?!) And that compliment could have made her day and made her feel less self conscious. WIN!!
And I left that day feeling happy. Feeling happy that I am creating a life for my kids I can be proud of and happy to be a part of this crazy mom tribe. Because let's be honest we are all a little crazy. The next morning I awoke to a message from a woman I met at the market and it said something along the lines of "I had a great time chatting with you today" and I had all the feels in the world. I was on Cloud 9!!! This is what it is all about I thought.
Being good to other people. That's it. No more or no less.
Be good to others and it will come back to you. I promise.
I challenge all of us next time you catch eyes with a mom in Target (or wherever, I'm just using the place we all go to the most, damn dollar section...which by the way...is NOT a dollar section! $5 now!....ok sidetracked). Next time you catch eyes with a mom. Let's smile. Let's look her in the eyes. And lets compliment her.
And then come back here (or to my Instagram @mommyjess_fitness) and let me know how it went!
Although the main theme of my blog is health and fitness, so much of my life involves my family (husband Eric, 3 year old Landon and 9 month old Riley) and traveling. As a couple, Eric and I love traveling and find it extremely crucial to keeping our marriage healthy and our zest for life alive!
Funny story, when I first met Eric, he hated traveling. He would tell me how much of a homebody he was and that he was happier staying at home doing projects. Coming from a family who traveled often when I was growing up, I thought "I'm going to change his mind." So I bought us some Disneyland tickets and booked a hotel in Anaheim. We drove from Phoenix to Disneyland. He had to drive us there in the POURING RAIN, in the dark and in crazy California traffic. FAIL!! O.K., lets try this again...our next trip was to Vegas. (If any of you know us personally, you know how this turns out.) So we check into Caesars Palace and get upgraded to a suite, and I don't just mean get upgraded to a suite. I mean PENTHOUSE STYLE needs its own elevator and special key to get to the floor upgraded. Say what?! AND TO BOOT, we won money! Who actually wins money gambling in Vegas?! So needless to say, he LOVED Vegas. Like a kid in the candy store LOVED it. So fast forward 9 years and we have traveled a lot of super cool places.
So when we started having children, we talked about how it was important for us to keep traveling and make it a priority to take family vacations. Some of my fondest memories growing up were our family vacations and I wanted the same for our children. So we took Landon on his first plane ride at 6 months old and Riley at 8 months old. Landon has been to Wisconsin 2 times, San Diego 3 times, Disneyland 2 times and hotel stays at local staycations in Scottsdale and Flagstaff/Sedona. Riley stayed in a hotel in San Diego with us when she was 7 weeks old! I'm no expert by any means but feel like we are really getting the hang of it and traveling as a family keeps getting easier and easier! It makes me sad when I hear other people say that they don't travel with their kids because of the headache! It is so worth it!
So here are some of my tips and tricks for traveling with young children and babies:
For Travel with a baby:
1. Wear the baby through the airport
Ergo baby 360 or Solly Baby wrap to the rescue! Your hands are full enough trying to get through the airport. Wearing the baby will help a lot plus baby will get to look at all the new sights and stay happy and occupied! At security, they will more than likely make you take baby out but again, not too much of a headache.
2. Stroller advice
If you must bring a stroller with you, and I mean MUST, gate check it at the gate. You do not want to check it with your bags as it will not get handled with care. Our strollers are basically as pricey as a car payment (or more!), so we need to keep these suckers in good shape! It will be a pain to get it through security mainly just from the time stand point so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to get through security.
If you think you may be able to go on your trip without a stroller, I recommend not flying with one. We have traveled a couple times where we didn't bring a stroller and just bought an inexpensive one at Target when we got to our destination. We have even borrowed ones from friends/family. Traveling without a stroller makes the aiport/travel day way less stressful.
Tip for driving with a stroller- most strollers' wheels come off making the amount of space it takes up in your trunk way less
3. Food, Bottles, Nursing, Milk, Etc
If it isn't stressful enough packing for a baby, now you have to worry about packing for a long day of travel for the baby. Keep in mind most airports do not have baby food, baby formula or diapers for sale. So pack heavy on those. How terrible would it be if your flight was delayed and you were all out of milk/food for baby? How stressful!
At security they may test your baby food/milk/formula, so be sure to have items that are well marked. One time we traveled with homemade frozen baby food. (oh because for baby 1, Landon, I was such an awesome mom who made organic baby food for my kid..how dare I buy prepackaged? Second kid, hahaha, not so much) Anyways, my containers didn't say "gerber" or brands on them since I had made the food and of course we had to deal with 50 million questions about it and then they tested it. It wasn't terrible but added more stress than necessary. So I say put aside your organic mom holier than thou attitude and just feed your kid prepackaged food/pouches for travel days.
If your baby is eating finger foods/purees/pouches, remember to bring a bib (plastic one that can be rinsed off). I always put inside a freezer bag, a bib and food pouches and finger foods so that when baby is done I can put the dirty bib and food wrappers back in the freezer bag and not get the diaper bag all dirty or deal with finding a trash can, etc. We are also obsessed with this pouch buddy holder too!
And if your babe is on formula, this formula dispenser is a MUST or some brands like Similac even make travel pouches...genius.
Also, this little brush and dryer rack is a must buy for cleaning bottles while traveling
4. Crib and/or Pack N Play
No need to travel with a pack n play, most hotels offer cribs and/or pack n plays. If you are staying at a friends or family, try to reach out to someone in advance and arrange a crib or pack n play, surely someone in the area has one. Worst case, buy a cheap one at walmart/target when you get to your destination. Walmart usually has inexpensive pack n plays for $35-70.
I always bring our own crib sheets if staying at a hotel and bring wipes to wipe down the hotel crib but there can't be any more germs on a hotel crib then in an airplane. Right?
For Travel with young children:
1. If flying with a 1 year old or older Buy this- CARES- Kid Safety Harness
If your child is 22 lbs and 1 years old and up, this is awesome! The first time Landon was going to be flying and not be in a infant car seat, I was freaking out that he was not going to want to stay in the seat. This helped a lot with that! It has a similar buckle to a car seat, so it gives the illusion of "stay put"
2. Buy this too- Buckle Toy- $24.99
This toy literally kept Landon occupied for a long time, like 20 minutes! That is like 2 hours in toddler time LOL. We gave this to him on the airplane and during my sister-in-law wedding rehearsal and wedding for quiet play.
3. Have new toys that are for this special trip or plane ride only
This last trip to Disneyland, my mom had bought Landon a little Mickey Mouse backpack and packed it full of new fun stuff. Lots of stuff from the Target dollar spot and different stickers and toys. He loved it and felt so cool walking through the airport with his own bag!
I am not afraid of a little bribery and bring it out when I need to. "Ok, CHILD you want that brand new paw patrol toy? I will buy it for you but you need to be good the whole trip." Does it work every time? No. But hey, its worth a shot.
5. Limit iPad/iPhone/tablet time to the LAST HALF OF THE TRIP
We learned this the hard way our first drive to San Diego and now will never do it any other way. Whether you are driving or flying, if you allow your child to watch a tablet, wait until the last half of the trip. The first half of the trip they should be excited about the new sights, sounds, etc. especially if flying. The airport and plane are such new exciting places that you shouldn't need a tablet or even toys right away.
When you get into desperation mode, bust out the tablet.
6. If budget allows, just buy a damn seat for the child
Excuse my language but just trust me. I get it, the kid is under 2 so its free for him/her to be a lap child. But seriously think about it. Is your flight over 2.5 hours? If so, I'd think think long and hard if you want your child on your lap for that long. And I know, you're going to say next, well he can sit on my husbands lap or we can take turns. Think again. Kids smell our fear and anxiety and in these situations they just know how to stress us the F out and not nap, not stay still and cause a ruckus for the whole plane. Again, think long and hard and try to budget for a seat.
Even when they are little babies, I still recommend buying a seat. Most infant car seats fit in the seat. You will put the car seat by the window and buckle it in. And if your babies are like mine, the sweet sound of the airplane engine humming and the comfort of the car seats lulls them to sleep for the whole flight.
1. Use grocery delivery services
Depending on the length of your stay, where you are going, what you need, etc. it may be easier to get groceries delivered to you. We just did this with Vons for our Disneyland trip and it was awesome! We had milk, bananas, the baby's purees and mum mums, water and alcohol delivered straight to the hotel!
That meant so much less to pack in our bags! And since it was our first time, I found a promo code for free delivery!
2. Get a hotel room with a separate living room and bedroom
My kids go to bed at 7:30pm and are used to sleeping in rooms by themselves with no tvs on. I don't know about you, but I don't want to go to bed at 7:30pm. And I definitely don't want to sit in a dark room laying in a bed with my kids in a crib next to me fearing any little movement or breath will wake them up. No thank you. Vacation with kids can be relaxing but you have to do a little preplanning.
If it is a trip more than one or two nights in a hotel, try to find a room that has a bedroom separate from a living room. If budget doesn't allow for that, try to take a look at the hotel floorplans online and find one that appears that the bathroom area may be big enough for a crib or pack n play. Many times we have put Landon or Riley in a crib in the doorway to the bathroom so they are away from us and we can still lay in the bed and watch tv. We also like to get rooms that have patios, especially if we can't get a room with a separate space for the crib(s), then at bedtime for the kids we will get some adult bevs and sit out on the patio.
3. Forget about their schedule
Sure when we are at home, I am all about that routine. My kids are 'Babywise" kids (more on that at a later date) and daily we have a schedule and routine which creates happiness, predictability and organization in our daily life but on vacation, YOU HAVE TO GO WITH THE FLOW. I repeat, you have to go with the flow.
Car seat nap? No problem.
Missed a nap? That is ok.
Fell asleep an hour before bedtime? No worries.
Woke up at 5am? Order a coffee
4. Plan some mommy (or daddy) alone time
If our trip allows, I usually try to schedule some spa time for me and golf for my husband. We each take turns with the kids for a couple hours so we can enjoy our alone time. It is glorious. I also try to stay healthy and on track with my fitness on the trip and that is where Beachbody on Demand is a lifesaver!
Just remember, traveling as a family really is all about the memories! You won't remember what you forgot or the stressful travel day! You'll remember those moments you have together and your kids will too!
Hi! I'm Jess