Working Out vs. Survival

Before having babies I was a fitness queen – working out 6 days a week which included workout classes, walking/running, and yoga.  My free time was filled with time for vanity.  Staying active and working out has always been my coping mechanism for life’s stresses and a way to keep myself sane (and of course the endless effort to fit into a bathing suit).

When you find out you’re having baby, fitness focus quickly shifts to survival strategies. Most new moms to be are now concerned about getting through the day without an embarrassing barfing episode or hoping coworkers don’t think they have narcolepsy.  Many mornings during my first  trimester I begged God to give me energy to get out of bed and then prayed I could pick myself off the floor to make it to work.  I chewed gum and sucked on candies frantically hoping my nausea wouldn’t spit out during an important meeting, or worse, all over a client.  By the time I survived a long day at work, I could barely think about dinner, let alone put on shoes to workout.  During those first weeks of pregnancy all moms at one point think – “If I can just survive today…”

Some lucky women get energy back during pregnancy – Now what?  Should I attempt to stay fit? How much activity is too much?  Will I hurt my baby?  As a mom to be this will be one of our first experiences second guessing if we are doing the right thing for our child (unfortunately this insecurity only gets worse!).  My pregnancy workout advice – do research, talk to your doctor, and whenever you feel uncomfortable or in pain – STOP! With my first two pregnancies going to work was enough of a workout and stretching sufficed as a stress reducer.

After pregnancy knocked me off my fitness throne, I was inundated with a baby.  This little person genuinely needed me (and my boobs) 24/7, not to mention there is no tired like new “Mommy tired”. Once I was cleared to workout I suddenly had this overwhelming sense of guilt every time I even thought about working out – Am I just being vain? I have baby now and I should have to sacrifice everything right?  It took me a good year to realize – NO.  My post baby body wasn’t the same (I have the bladder of a 90-year-old) and now the one time fearless fitness queen was absolutely terrified to workout.

Last night I finally bit the fitness bullet and went to my first post baby workout class in almost three years (thank you Groupon for the awesome deal!).  On the way there I called my husband and told him how oddly nervous and scared I felt – he sweetly reassured me.  Much to my surprise, I survived a kettle-ball class and for the first time in awhile felt an immediate sense of accomplishment. And guess what, I leaped over the first hurdle – the first workout – the hardest one of all.

After having two kids I may not be able to jump rope without fear of peeing my pants and I might be able to do only 1.25 pushups – but I have finally worked up the courage to workout!  Even if its only once a week, us Moms deserve it and our kids deserve a healthy mom.  In the midst of surviving, we have to remember that sometimes we have to put a mask on ourselves first in order to help others.

Even though pregnancy may temporarily knock us off our fitness thrones, after surviving the fall and with a little bravery, we can fight our way back to take our rightful seat … even if its one day a week.

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Mom-ing on a budget

What would you do if you had an endless amount of money to spend? Buy clothes? Pay off bills? Build a house? Purchase a new car? Go on a trip? Purchase everything at TJ Maxx Homegoods? 

Unfortunately even us Mogul Moms are on a strict budget.  Once you have a baby, all of a sudden, you feel like you don’t need to buy those saucy heels or the latest designer jeans.  Life changes to Mom-ing on a Budget.  BK (before kids) I would’ve bought a new dress for an event – now I frequently pull a Kate Middleton and recycle dresses from my closet (thank you Kate for making thrifty fashionable!).

Here’s a few ways I’ve managed to stay fashionable on a strict budget:

  • Consignment Stores – my first trip to the local consignment store I took 3 totes of clothes. A couple months later my husband and I were greeters for A Rosie Place’s black tie charity gala and I desperately needed a new dress (breast feeding left me with nothing!). I stopped in at the consignment store to check my account and I sold $59 worth of clothes! I looked around and WAH-LAH … found the perfect dress and it was only $33. With the balance in my account I didn’t have to spend a dime and I found a great pair of designer jeans for $20.
  • TJ Maxx – normally TJ Maxx has incredible deals! But if you go at the end of the season you will find great red tag and yellow tag clearance deals.  I found my favorite pair of Via Spiga heels for only $15 on yellow tag, end of the season clearance. Warning: You will have to dig for deals!  But trust me it is more than worth it! I usually buy stuff a year in advance then store it with my seasonal clothes (its like a present when open each tote). My favorite times to go are mid January and early September.  You can also find great deals on clothes for the kiddos especially on socks and toys.
  • Target Clearance Racks –  Ever shopped for clothes at Target? If you haven’t get over to the clearance racks! They have well made, stylish clothes for amazing prices! You can find a lot of wardrobe staples here – undershirts, tank tops, etc. Target also has a REDcard that is linked to your debit account and acts as a debit card. Each time you use your REDcard on any purchase you get 5% off and on special days 10% off! No credit check is required.
  • Kohl’s Clearance – Thank you Kohls’ for stepping up your fashion game in the past 10 years! If you dig through the clearance racks, you can usually find buried treasures.  I found adorable sun dresses for $10 and even found a gorgeous black formal dress for $8.  Sometimes when you get to the checkout line they are cheaper than the price tag says! Caution: always try on and check over each garment with an eagle eye; sometimes items are on clearance because they have a rip, stain, or the seams are crooked.
  • Forever 21 – I found my favorite black pants at Forever 21, but have had to replace the button on them 3 times.  If you are looking to find a trendy item, Forever 21 is the place to go.  You can even find amazing blazers and jackets that are perfect for work. You won’t have to spend a lot of money and their clothes are always on trend (I bought a lot of my “maternity clothes” here). They even have sale racks now!  Keep in mind that sometimes you get what you pay for and if you are looking for a long lasting durable piece, you might want to go elsewhere. Words of advice: Always try on before purchasing!
  • Macy’s Clearance – Always shop at the end of the season! You can find great deals on name brands, especially on dresses. I usually find serious staple pieces (black blazers and suits) for my wardrobe at Macy’s because the clothes I’ve purchased from here have always lasted longer. I tend to look at my pieces from Macy’s as “investments”.  To me a $25 Black INC Jacket on clearance was an investment.

Disclaimer: My husband and I do not use the store credit cards. They can be good in theory to get better deals but only use them if you can pay them off RIGHT AWAY! Set a budget for yourself before you leave the house and try your best to not go over!  The goal is to not ruin your credit or break the bank trying to be a thrifty fashionista.

“They grow up fast!”

My Grandma always says “Enjoy your babies when they’re little because they grow up so fast!”.  I’ve always understood the sentiment behind her advise – but for some reason I didn’t fully understand it until the other day. 

As moms, we are constantly on the go – making meals, grabbing snacks, thinking about what’s for dinner, doing laundry, kissing “owies”, cleaning, changing diapers, working, etc. etc. etc! Most of the time we are just trying to survive let alone sit down and stare at our kids through nostalgic eyes. 

A couple ago days I actually did sit and just watch my babies – now 1-year-old and 2-years-old.  I watched my 1-year-old laugh, read books, and terrorize my 2-year-old, while my 2-year-old picked up small toys and put them in a container to carry around their playroom. They both brought me toys asking “Dis?” and “What’s this?” and gave me repeated “squeezy” hugs. We read books all the time, but on this day, we read even more.  We smiled and laughed even more. 

My kids absolutely amazed me. 

Their steps amazed me; their laughs amazed me; their words amazed me; their sharing amazed me; their eyes amazed me; their personalities amazed me – I was flat out amazed.  For the first time, I actually understood what my Grandma means.

Just yesterday my toddlers were babies and somehow, overnight they started walking and talking. The epiphany hit so hard it brought me to tears – Life has flown by these past three years and will only start going faster.  In a few months even, my once babies will be progressing to other milestones and they are constantly growing.  Even sappier – before I know it they will be off to college and living lives of their own.  

As a self proclaimed perfectionist with a driver personality (go-go-go and get stuff done!), I have recently made my main goal in life to enjoy my kids and to “smell the roses” on a daily basis.  Don’t get me wrong, I still attempt to get stuff done. But in life, stuff will always need done.  And just a hint, you will never be caught up on laundry! (I frequently pull late night laundry parties and I still never get it all done!) – that’s life.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in cleaning, laundry, phones, and work, but the bottom line is simple – our kids are our reason for living and their very existence should stop us in awe. Yes, we all have moments where we literally want to pull our hair out or pop in some ear plugs, but instead of focusing on the bad moments, let’s change our attitudes and focus on the gem moments.   

While living in this hustle and bustle world that never sleeps, I challenge all parents to slow down a bit; hold your baby a little longer; read the dreaded long bedtime story (or two); watch your child learn instead of rushing them to the next task. I haven’t and don’t always follow the slow down.  But I have found when I do, I am a better mom, my kids are happier, and I enjoy my babies to the fullest because like Grandma says … “They grow up fast!”

A New Generation of Moms – “Mogul Moms”

My friends have always said, “Give Kim a few drinks and send her in to teach a sex-ed class and no teenagers would be having sex!” Maybe my friends say this because of the graphic depictions of birth I’ve privied them to, or horror stories of the days after giving birth.  Usually their eyes are about to pop out of their heads as I recall birthing details – “And that’s something they should teach you in birthing class!”

As frank as I am about giving birth, I have done it twice; within 12 months and 19 days of each other.  So obviously I “forgot” about all the pain of the first round and was ready to have another – a far far cry from the truth.  Don’t mistake me, bringing a baby into the world is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most incredible moment, I get choked up just thinking about it.  I classify having my kids as the “best day(s) of my life”.  But during pregnancy, when I was ready to punch most people in the face, colleagues said to me, “Trust me, all the pain over the past 9 (really 10) months will be worth it when hold your baby for the first time.” I stood there in disbelief and with my disheveled eyes and hormonal zit ridden face protested “Yeah, I’m so sure.” They were right.

Before I met my husband I had no desire to get married let alone have any kids – “There’s no way I’m giving up my body for anything or anyone!” I was going to be a career woman because that’s the way I was raised – “I don’t need a man!” That ALL changed the day I met my husband. I am one of the lucky ones; as soon as I met him I knew we would spend our lives together. Our marriage is a sappy “love at first sight” saga that makes most people puke a little in their mouths. That day changed my outlook on life and suddenly my road to being a mom began. After a year and a half of marriage, we took the plunge and decided to try to have a baby.

I always wondered what kind of mother I would be. My husband hypothesized I would be easy on our kids and he would be the tough one (False and False). In my head I envisioned being a mom who had dinner ready on time every night, singing and rocking my babies to sleep, and of course having the smartest kids in the world. Let’s get one thing straight – no kid will read by the time they are two and there is a very slim chance despite all your planning efforts you will have an immaculate dinner ready every night.

But after having two babies and surviving some of the “stuff they never tell you about”, I am still trying to figure out what kind of mom I am. I am also still trying to find that perfect balance of being a wife and being mom. But when you’re a “mom”, suddenly there are more responsibilities around the house, not to mention most moms work full time jobs also resulting in not enough hours in the day. Even stay at home moms can find themselves overwhelmed with a multitude a new items to check off their to do list. And I would be oblivious if I didn’t mention the ever increasing pressure from society and social media to be the “perfect mom”.

Being a mom is the most important job I will ever have, even though it wasn’t in my original career or life plan. This realization brought me to the determination that being a mother in our generation isn’t as simple as being a mom – being a mother now entails being a “Mogul Mom”. We are the CEO’s of our family, whether we want to be or not; Moguls in our right. We have power to change the world, starting with our children. But every now and then our generation of Mogul Moms needs support from each other. While being a mom is the most important job, it is also, the hardest job of them all.