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Traveling With Kids: Can It Be Done Sanely?

71063553_eb67c5b84f_zBefore my husband and I had kids we loved to travel, we would go places at the drop of a hat. We were always planning our next trip and thinking about great places to visit. Then like most people who have kids we wondered if traveling and enjoying it were possible now. I’m sure you’ve heard and seen the horror stories of traveling with kids, whether it’s crying babies on planes, cranky toddlers and other issues that come up. The families I always saw on trips never seem relaxed and they sure didn’t seem happy.

Once our kids got around the age of 5 my husband and I started to talk about taking our first big family vacation. We had gone places without the kids during this time (grandparents are great babysitters for trips) but we had yet to take that big leap with the kids. Going into I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but let’s be honest, by this point in your kids lives you probably know them pretty well. You know what has a tendency to send them off the edge and what seems to keep them happy and content.

With that though in mind I decided to make a gameplan for our vacation because we were of course going to Disneyworld (where else would we go with five year olds really). I decided to come up with some trip rules, these were rules that were not to be broken in the hopes that the vacation would not only be enjoyable but would also let my husband and I keep our sanity. The rules I came up with were:

  • No more than 4 hours at a time at any park
  • Have food and snacks on hand at all times
  • Take mid day naps (this was for us as much as the kids lol)
  • Be willing to leave a park if they started to misbehave
  • Find Mickey as much as possible!

6726504673_950d9162ef_zThis wasn’t a comprehensive list by any means but I felt knowing our kids that if we stuck to this list that we would more than likely have a great trip. The biggest one on the list to me is the 4 hour rule, the biggest mistake I see parents make is when they are at a park all day. Of course when it starts getting late the kids are going to be cranky and tired, which usually leads to them getting into trouble for throwing a fit. Personally I’ll throw a fit if you keep me at a theme park all day so I didn’t want to subject myself or my kids to that.

I can say that with these rules that our trip really was a success and was a great memory. Of course there were times when the kids bickered and got a little cranky but that’s to be expected. Most of the time they were just happy and by keeping them rested and with food they didn’t have the typical meltdowns we have all seen kids have at these parks. Now this list may not work for your kids, every kid is different so the list of rules should never be exactly the same. The only one I would say to follow every time would be the 4 hour rule and having food on hand at all times. With a little planning and thought you can indeed take your family on a vacation and truly enjoy it.

This is a really helpful video about how to organize a trip with your family, I used a lot of things in this video.

The Balancing Act: Family and Career

13903383227_f556f9e0ab_zGrowing up my mom was a stay at home mom and I’m extremely grateful for that, she was a great mom for sure. I always thought that is what I would want to do as well when I had kids one day. Well one day came and a lot of things went into mine and my husband’s decision but I chose to be a working mom. One reason was the fact that the money I make at my job would be hard to replace and the other is that I really do love my job. I don’t know what I would do with myself if I wasn’t able to do my job, I look forward to work everyday honestly.

With that decision I was thrust into unknown territory, how do I balance my family and my career. I have to make time for my husband and my kids (many times separately), while also giving my career the attention that it needs for me to succeed.

I’ll start off by saying that just because one thing works for someone else, that doesn’t mean that’s the best choice for you. I know many moms that stay at home and it’s absolutely the right choice for them and I’ve also seen moms that stay at home and it’s clearly not meant for them. It’s a decision that unique to each person and their situation, taking the time to really make the best choice is important.

If you do decided that you want to keep your career while you’re a mom you will have to learn the importance of a task list. If I didn’t have a daily task list I’m pretty sure by the end of the day I would then remember all the things that I forgot to do. It also helps me plan out my day and devote time to the things that I feel are of importance that day. Get a notepad, an app on your phone or some other system but just have a task list.

Another thing that is great is if you are able to know in advance that you are going to be working when you have kids. This is important because if you can start doing some of your work remotely (from home) then this frees up a lot of time that would otherwise be spent at the office. I’m lucky in that my job can be done from anywhere so it wasn’t a hard sell when I pitched the idea to them that I could work from home and come in for an allotted amount of time in the office to attend meetings and other things.

14086865432_ef73f80191_zIf you are unable to work remotely you aren’t alone, you just have to start really focusing on how you spend your time. Use your to do list to know what you are going to do when you get off work and what needs your immediate attention. You don’t want to waste an hour of your time when you get off work figuring this out as this is time you could be spending with your family or some other activity.

Balancing career and family is not an easy thing to do but it can be done. Staying organized is a key component to doing it successfully and not having your family or your job feel like they aren’t getting the attention they need. It’s a balancing act but just know that if you choose this route you aren’t alone and it can be done.

Check out this video below, it’s a great TED talk about balancing family and career.

Keeping Fit As A Working Mom

5673966970_24a8f84d7f_zBeing a working mom of 3 kids is hard enough without a lot of the distractions and demands that our everyday world places on us. But being a working mom and keeping yourself physically fit can seem like the premise to a Mission Impossible movie. I can just imagine Tom Cruise wearing the weird face changing thing and having to do all the things a working mom does and then be reminded by his handler, “Hey, you’ve still got to workout”. I think even the greatest spy would just throw their hands up and scream “I’m done!”.

Either fortunately or unfortunately we don’t have that option because this is the life we have and keeping yourself in good shape is really important on a few levels. First off it helps keep you healthy so you can just be around, be there for your family and enjoy life. Sure freak things can happen but you should control what you can and we all know that exercising is something that is good for us to do.

The other important reason that keeping in shape is important is that it’s something that can help keep marriages strong. It’s real easy to get married, have kids, put on a few pounds and then before you know it all the spark in your marriage is gone. We know guys are visual (can’t change it, just accept it) so by keeping ourselves in shape it helps get the attention of the man that I’ve decided to spend the rest of my life with. A strong marriage really does equal a strong family and I really believe is something important for kids to grow up witnessing.

6714753495_fbc17a2e69_zYou may be thinking these are all good reasons but how does one really implement this into a hectic everyday life of a working mom? The truth is, there is no easy answer or easy way. You just have to make it happen. Sure I’m busy almost everyday with something but to try and tell you with a straight face that I don’t have any time in my day to exercise would be a flat out lie. It’s about making time for what I feel is important, some may choose to watch tv, play on our phones but others choose exercise.

This isn’t a moral beatdown by any means if you like to relax by watching tv or whatever you choose to do with your free time. But you also will have no one else to blame if years down the road you have health issues, a marriage that doesn’t have the spark it once did or just aren’t happy with the way you look. To put it bluntly the choices we make everyday have consequences, some good while others not so good. This is important to keep in mind when we are making those everyday choices that help shape our lives.

The simple truth is no matter how busy any of us are, we have some amount of spare time on our hands in some form or another. We just have to decide what is important to us because what is important to us we will make time for. I’ve witnessed it in other’s lives and in my own when it comes to many things outside of exercising. I apologize if you were looking for some easy and simple fix to your workout dilemma but the truth is just simple. If it’s important, then you’ll make time for it. No excuses.