9 Things to Do Before You Become a Mom

Thinking about Motherhood? Well, alright! Motherhood is amazing, but there are some days that you will feel like you’re doing it all so wrong, but I guarantee you that those are the days that your children will give you a big hug and love you even more. These 9 tips are different from the important Pre-Mom tips that I shared with all of you ladies that want to have a baby BUT have so many things to do right now.

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1.  Get Healthy –  This is about taking care of yourself overall, mind, body, and spirit. Motherhood will make you sometimes forget about yourself. This can take a toll on your weight and mental health. Now is the time to not only begin to eat healthily or begin a fitness regimen, but also to make sure that you are in a healthy state of mind. It’s okay to talk to a therapist if you suffer from depression or any other disorders that will affect your health during pregnancy.

2.  Sleep and Nap Often – Listen to me, go to bed! The first 2 years of your child’s life will leave you with many sleepless nights. It’s perfectly normal. Babies are not meant to sleep entirely through the night. Like us, their bodies have a natural sensor to wake when there is a  physical need.

3.  Enjoy Being Nude – I mean only if that’s your thing now. When your little one arrives you’ll have to cover up or be forced to answer the embarrassing question of “what’s that?”.

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4.  Discover Yourself – Find out who you are now! Take the time to accept certain flaws that you have or begin to work on them. Try new things, go places, and learn to love who you are in all facets. Motherhood has a way of making you question everything you sometimes once believed when you selflessly love another human that totally depends on your decisions. Having a child means that your heart is figuratively walking around outside of your own body.

5.  Spend Time With Your Friends – If you enjoy hanging out with friends often this is your time to make the most of it. Motherhood shouldn’t end true friendships, but it can sometimes put a damper on the time that you actually have to spend with friends outside of your own family. If you are expecting a baby, be sure and let your friends know just how important they are and that you need them now more than ever. Real friendships can always pick up where they left off.

6.  Have Sex With Your Spouse (Very Often) – There will be times during your pregnancy when sex will be the last thing you are interested in having. It’s all hormones. There will also be other times that you desire to be much closer to your spouse, so enjoy those times. Having a baby sometimes places a damper on a healthy sex life because you mentally and physically dedicate so much of yourself to your baby. Enjoy sex with your spouse as often as possible. This is also a great time to work on intimacy. Intimacy doesn’t have to include intercourse. Intimacy is important for the times that you are physically unable to have intercourse. It will keep your relationship strong and vibrant. Learn to hug, touch, talk, and kiss often.

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8.  Find a Hobby – Hobbies are so important and I think that people often underestimate how much joy they can actually bring to your life. Hobbies don’t always mean crafting, but that can be fun as well. Hobbies can be reading, organizing, collecting, cooking, fishing, or creating. The list is endless. Hobbies will help you in those moments that you can’t spend time with friends or just feel overwhelmed with responsibilities or people.

9.  Travel Alone – Being a Mom should not stop you from traveling or desiring to travel. Now is the time to take all of your adults only inclusive vacations. When you become a mom you’ll discover that your brain is automatically triggered to search out family vacation spots. It’s true! Ask a mom friend. While family vacations are fun don’t neglect alone time with your spouse.

Do you have any other great ideas for things to do before becoming a Mom? Share them in the comments below!

 

 

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Five Words That Your Stay at Home Mom Friend Is Tired of Hearing You Say!

 “Girl, I know you’re tired” or “OMG, I wouldn’t stay home” I don’t think I’ve heard these words said to me so many times in my life except for when I decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I think people forget that most stay-at-home moms once worked outside of their homes and were likely equally as tired as they are now after working all day in their homes with their own children. I’m that mom! I went back to work in Education a little while after my son was born. It was the best decision for me at that time. There were a few bad things that happened at his learning center and I have to admit they left me traumatized. Summer break couldn’t come fast enough for me in his last year of someone else’s care. I was just over the carelessness of other adults.

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Six years later after the birth of my son, my daughter was born. I went back and forth with the idea of going back to work but ultimately decided to pause my career for just a little while. Six months into my time at home I interviewed for a totally new job in Education and surprisingly I was hired. A few weeks before I was scheduled to begin I had a huge change of heart and we struggled to find good childcare. My husband and I took that as a sign that I should continue to stay home with our daughter. What I never imagined was how it would be a problem for everyone except for my husband and me. So many people had an opinion about why we shouldn’t do this or why they couldn’t do this. Like Jay Z famously said, “It ain’t for everybody.”

Being a stay-at-home mom is a job just like any other job that you care for children. Trust me, I know. As a former Educator, I spent 8.5 hours a day nurturing and preparing someone else’s child to be great! My breaks at work were short and most of the time I didn’t spend them relaxing. I spent them preparing for the next day at work or doing things that I couldn’t do after work because I was going to start my 2nd shift at home as a Mom.

five words that your stay-at-home mom friend is tired of hearing you say!

You see, when you’re a good parent some days you’re going to be tired. It doesn’t matter if you work in the home or outside of the home. My day begins as early as 5:45 and ends mostly around 10:30. It was that way before and nothing has changed. The only difference with my situation now is that I’m preparing my own child at home. I’ve been blessed to find some really nice moms that have also chosen to pause their careers for just a little while to prepare their own children. I will admit that some days may be overwhelming for moms that have more than one child at home, but I also believe that those moms fail to prioritize and plan. Housework is not the most important job and seeing your house fall apart around you all day can be depressing for anyone that enjoys being organized and neat. I would suggest that if that is you, choose a day to clean and let that be when your children are sleep. Also, make your spouse, yes, I said make. Make your spouse entertain the children while you accomplish the task that you feel needs high priority at that moment. Also, try to remember that your children are only little for a little while and your home can then go back to being a museum.

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If you’re that person that is always referencing “girl, I know you’re tired” and you are also a parent, ask yourself if you’re tired after a long day at work? If the answer is yes, then we’re all doing it right. If not, maybe something in your life is being neglected. If you’re not a parent at all you should most definitely keep that comment to yourself because you really don’t have a clue. Try to be kind to every parent that you meet. You never know how hard they were just previously judged for their parenting decisions. It also might save you from getting “put” all the way together by a mom.

 

What People Should Really Learn From The Alleged Benny Harlem Hair Scheme

It’s really frustrating and sad when I see people hoodwinked by scammers of any kind. Social media has made it so much easier for people to sell phony products with inflated positive reviews. Bloggers and Influencers are sometimes paid a nice sum of money to entice you to buy products that are made from trash ingredients. Many times they have never actually used the product or service. Sad! According to data compiled in 2017 from consumer reports, the Federal Trade Commission reports that the majority of people that fall victim to financial scams are in their 20’s. That means that yours and my millennial age cousins are being scammed. I blame phony social media influencers and self-made gurus with no real life skills. I’m not mad at their hustle. They have learned how to advertise on free platforms and it’s not their fault that people don’t take the time to read or research. I believe the saddest alleged scam that I’ve seen this year is by an Instagram Male Model that goes by the name Benny Harlem.

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I have to admit that I was skeptical the very first time that I saw his photos on Instagram. Benny has a unique hairstyle that is very impressive. His daughter and wife’s hair appear to be as equally as long as his.  Their photos are staged very elaborately by photographers and serve as a great source of entertainment. I appreciated Benny’s original platform which was to promote self-confidence, pride, and beauty among black people. The world has done such a careful job in trying to remind black people that full lips, kinky hair, and dark skin are something to be embarrassed about having. That’s why it is so disappointing to learn that Benny has allegedly scammed so many of his followers turned customers by selling phony hair products for a whopping $300. scamsSome of the customers have taken to report these counterfeit products as being only olive oil and maple syrup in bottles.

I’m a firm believer that anyone’s hair can grow incredibly long with patience and care, but let’s be honest. Hair growth is a result of genetics, hormones, diet, your overall health, and lastly great products. Those products do not have to cost you a lot of money. There is no product on the market for $100 or more that will give you a 100% guarantee for hair growth. In fact, you can achieve long and luxurious hair with drugstore products. I’ve been using them for years and my hair has thrived with and without the use of chemicals in my hair. I do however suggest that you care for your hair as close to its natural condition as you possibly can.

This allegedly elaborate hair scam is a prime example of why we have to stop falling victim to every product or “way of living” that is displayed on the internet. There is no product on the market for $100 or more that will give you a 100% guarantee for hair growth. (1)

This alleged hair scam is no different from the quick weight loss shakes that are literally only liquid vitamins, probiotics, and green or mint teas. All of these products can be purchased at any local whole food store without the hefty price tags. The biggest scam behind the teas is the myth that you don’t have to change your eating habits or move your body. Your favorite Instagram models are not eating chicken wings and cake and then drinking the shakes to erase the bulge and bloating. These ladies are selling you a product with a fictitious caption. It’s called advertisement. They are working out and eating balanced meals to maintain their physiques and convincing you that you can gorge out, skip several workouts, and still keep a slim waist. Unless you are genetically predisposed to having a small frame or waistline, you will have to change your eating habits and work out.

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Let’s talk about waist trainers. I can’t believe that these products are still being sold in high demand for such a hefty price tag. Several women have purchased these products only to realize that the discomfort isn’t worth the time or money. Waist trainers are designed to well, shrink your waist. It’s not a new method of weight loss, but it has become a trend in the last 4-5 years. I will never forget a 20/20 special that I watched a few years ago that explained the severity of “waist training“. What actually happens is that you are so conformed inside of this material, eating a regular meal becomes uncomfortable. You instantly begin to drink more water because the trainer makes you sweat and you’ve convinced yourself that you want to be leaner and healthier. You begin walking about 2 -3 days a week to speed up your weight loss, drinking more water, and eating smaller meals. After a few weeks of doing these 3 things you decide to measure your waist and you’ve discovered that your waist is inches smaller and you feel amazing. Why on earth would you give the waist trainer the credit for your slimmer waist? No, you did that! Your simple life changes are what attributed to your slimmer waist. Some of the celebrities that you desperately want to look like have done one of two things to achieve the looks that they are trying to sell to you. They have either had a plastic surgery that you will never know about or they made those 3 lifestyle changes that I suggest that you can make for FREE! We have to be smart and stop falling victim to the millions of scams that are on the internet. Take your time to research and I promise that you won’t ever be disappointed.

What American Parents Should Do Now Post 9/11

I will never forget September 11, 2001. I was a freshman in college and I was already away from campus to prepare for a family members funeral in another city. I was in my grandmother’s living room watching The Today Show. Back then the show aired live with the twin towers as the backdrop.  As we watched we saw one plane crash into the building and I vividly remember us both staring at each other, shocked, and boom the second plane followed causing nothing but devastation.  America was under attack and all of us were angry, hurt, concerned, and ready to fix the problem.

Now we’re here. America, the land of the free, home of the brave, ethnic mistreatment, racial turmoil, misogynistic values, and pure hate with pure intent to divide people. We’ve turned back and I’m sure God isn’t pleased.  Our core values are being flipped and I blame the ill will of our country’s leader. After  9/11 people chose to work together to defend and believe in solidarity that this country was the best place to live in the world. Now 17 years later, other countries watch and laugh at our country’s leaders that chose to mistreat children and separate them because of their ethnicity. Racism is brewing as hot as the days of Jim Crow, but people want to place the blame of ill-treatment on most of the victims. What a great time for us to have cell phone videos and social media, or else those victims bodies may be dumped in creeks in the south just as they were on hot summer days when my grandfather was alive and young. Our President is leading hate and intentionally making those without Godly intentions cause strife. Families can’t eat at a Subway while traveling without the cashier accusing them of robbery. Mother’s can’t take their daughters swimming without being accused of jumping the swimming pool fence. I could go on and on, but I would rather give a solution.

Don’t allow anyone to say that we can’t do anything until the President is removed from his position. As parents, we can do so much. We can begin by telling our children and reminding them of how special they are to God and to us.  We have to build their self-esteem so that it’s not more comfortable for them to break someone else’s.  Narcissism and racism are a lot alike. There is so much danger when people with these characteristics are in a place of leadership and influence. We are raising the next generation of leaders and those characteristics have no place in America anymore. We have to teach our children that love and respect have no color, price tag, or gender. We all are important in the eyes of a very patient and loving God. America has always been a melting pot and nothing is going to change that. We need to allow our children to make friends with children that are different. We learn how to live in a very real world when we respect the differences of others at a much younger age. We need to teach forgiveness. We need to teach tolerance when it does not cause others physical harm. Even God tells us that we are forgiven but we should not continue with the same wrong choices in our lives. There is a lot of greatness in America, but we have to make a conscious effort to stick with that and not the hate and prejudices that are literally and figuratively trumping us from moving forward with equal opportunities and fair treatment for everyone.

We should never forget the heroes and victims of 9/11. We can honor them with love and respect by becoming a united group of people the same way that we were in rebuilding our country in 2001.

Should you skip buying your starter home for your forever home?

Buying your first home can be a very exciting process, but also a hassle if you enter the process unrealistically. We are taught that buying a home is an asset that will help you save money in the long run, but this is only true in certain scenarios. USA Today recently posted what many of us have already noticed via social media. Many millennials are “bypassing the traditional gateway to homeownership – the starter, or entry-level, home – and buying larger, more expensive houses.” If you’re deciding or pondering about purchasing any home, starter or forever, read this first and then make some thoughtful considerations

1. Are you financially responsible for homeownership?

While homeownership has perks during taxes such as deducting your mortgage interest, it also comes with a list of maintenance fees that become overwhelming if you’re not prepared. In addition to your monthly mortgage, there is lawn care cost, insurance, exterior and interior upkeep, and duh…utilities. Many of these necessary requirements to maintain your new property can be done by you or a spouse, but if you are not financially prepared it can cost more than you bargain for. The larger the square footage of your home, your utility, and insurance costs will increase.

2.  Will you live alone? 

I wholeheartedly believe that no man or woman should wait for the “perfect” mate or marriage to purchase their first home. However, take into consideration when purchasing your forever home, that your future spouse may not want to particularly live in the forever home that you chose alone. They were not given a choice in the final decision of their lifelong home. One of the perks of marriage is making lifelong decisions together. Purchasing your forever home alone, excludes your future mate from this decision and can cause some resentment years into the marriage.

3.  Will your community change in the next 10 years? 

My husband and I purchased our starter home, that we currently live in, when we’re 24 and 25 years old. We were newlyweds of 1 year and did not want to waste any more time or money renting our condo. We live in a fairly large college driven city and desperately wanted to be away from the excitement of it all. After searching for months we found a family friendly community near shopping and good schools. Fast forward to the present day, our desires and concerns have changed. That happens with age, the birth of children, and life experiences. When taking a leap into purchasing any home, starter or forever, be prepared that you may change your mind. To say that you are settled in a city, neighborhood, or home forever is never a total guarantee.

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4.  Can you afford the house on YOUR own salary?

Buying a home takes money, patience, and wisdom. Purchasing a smaller “starter” home is normally financially feasible for obvious reasons such as square footage, location, and desirability of other buyers. Most buyers buy with the intent of happiness, but also with the expectation of being able to move on to bigger and better. If you do start with your forever home make sure that you take your spouses or your income changes into consideration.  When we purchased our home, we made sure to consider that in the event that if one of us became ill, or unemployed, the other spouse would still be able to afford the cost of the home, including other living expenses that will occur. You can avoid being “house poor” with smart and realistic decisions in your journey to homeownership.

5.  Will you or your spouse care for aging or elderly relatives?

If you buy a small starter home that is only enough room for your spouse, children, and yourself, that is normally not the ideal space capacity for maturing or elderly family members to reside with you. This is one of the perks of purchasing a forever home. A forever home that may be slightly or remarkably larger than your starter home. The forever home accommodates things that you desire for the remainder of your life including adding other people to live with you. If you believe that you will be solely responsible for caring for elderly family members, consider a space for them in your forever home.

6.  Now you know exactly what you want in your home?

If you never purchase or live in a home of your own you may never know what actually works for you! Purchasing a starter home gives you the opportunity to try things out for a while. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say what they wished they had in their home. Living in a starter home for a year or longer gives you an idea of what works and what doesn’t work for your family. Also, be open to the idea of having a contractor remodel your home if moving is not financially feasible.

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7. Do you want an asset or a liability?

Most of us are taught at a fairly young age that our homes are an asset. However, your home is not, in fact, an asset until it is completely paid in full. The mortgage that you currently have in a starter home or forever home is now considered a debt. Depending on how much money you borrow from your mortgage lender, you may actually have a harder time paying off other debts such as credit cards, car payments, or loans. The benefit of having a starter home includes paying off the debt faster which in return provides you with an asset to be proud of. You can now save more money on your monthly expenses or even make more money by renting your newly owned property. If you live in a desirable area, safe neighborhood, or are totally content with your starter home, once it becomes an asset, it may actually be a financially smarter move to continue to reside in your home.

8.  Remember, it’s just a name.

Who’s opinion became a trending fact that a starter home is small, dark, and unwanted? Some starter homes are perfect for a forever home for so many people. If you plan to have 4 children, but fate gives you 2, you may find that you have more than enough rooms in your home for well, forever! Homeowners also add additional rooms, levels, and designs to starter homes that give them a totally new feel and meet every expectation that they want in a newer home. If your starter home is perfect for your forever home don’t succumb to the pressures of social media, articles, or your friends to add an additional debt to your life. After all, most people desire to downsize when they reach retirement age. The irony of it all!

9.  Do your parents a favor!

If you are millennial that has lived or mooched off your parents well into your adult years without paying any rent or utilities, make sure that you pay it forward for them. They have cared for you and helped you to be able to make your dream of homeownership come true.  As a parent, it makes my heart happy knowing that my child has succeeded, but don’t forget to thank us for helping you move forward in a very big way!