Two Thumbs Up Tuesday by Not The Average Mama

Thanks so much Jessica – at Not The Average Mama – for including my post in your roundup today! We stepmamas all sure do understand each other, and it is such a big help to have an online tribe. I’m excited to be included with your other great blog finds today!

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Go check it out!

Two Thumbs Up Tuesday: 10/18 – http://wp.me/p77iPr-1DA

Dear Restoration Hardware: Save $10 and Keep My Catalogs 

So I just finally got caught up on the one thing I love to put off–my mail pile. I always marvel at how much money (and trees) are wasted on junk mailers and catalogs that simply get thrown away. 

Right now, if it has a politician’s face on it, it goes DIRECTLY into our garbage. My husband and I are so over this election, and the onslaught of mailers just seems like such a waste.

But there–at the bottom of my pile–wrapped in plastic, was the biggest waste of all. 

My very own, personal library of Restoration Hardware Sourcebooks. 

Unsolicited. 

This probably five-pound bundle of three huge glossy catalogs had to cost you at least ten bucks to print and ship to me, without me requesting it

While I love wandering through your gorgeous store on the rare occasion we happen across one (usually in Seattle for a football game) I am by no means a good return on investment for you to ship these ridiculously luxe anthologies to. I am not in the market for any $8,000.00 Chesterfields, nor will I probably ever be. 

I also know your website is one quick Google search away. If I want to spend $5,000.00 making Hank’s room *perfect* after he outgrows his already perfectly beautiful crib and changing table/dresser (from Target) I will happily find your website at that point. I may look for inspiration, and then still, save those extra $4,500.00 for either our Disneyland trip (which we will be saving for until at least 2020) or his college fund. 

So save a tree, and keep my Sourcebooks from here on out. We’re good in our house–furnished in head-to-toe hand-me-downs and the two sofas we just paid off monthly via Ashley Furniture’s Outlet Store finance plan over the last two years. And we love it. We are so very proud of it, and our eclectic style that comes from merging two adult lives plus a passel of kids.

We may never be on “Cribs,” but we also feel like we can sit on our furniture. 

We LIVE in our house. Hard. ūüôā

Sincerely, 

A Tired Mama who needed a rant today after some idiot on a crotch rocket woke her sick baby up from his nap. 

P.s. (I feel so much better now. But really, take me off your mailing list.)

That kind of luxe just ain’t for us

Putting the Devices Down: How Un-Plugging Tuned Me Back In To My Family

Even though I have a lot crammed into my 24/7, I adore my crazy life. I am a mama of a toddler, stepmama to three older boys, wife to their amazing daddy, and manager of a large commercial building. Whenever I have free time (we’ll get to that later) I love to write.

The one thing that has allowed me to keep so many irons in the fire (aside from my own amazing mama who babysits for me) is technology. I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I do in a day if I didn’t have wireless internet, a smart phone, a Chromebook, and my Google Drive.

I have the luxury of working from home when I need to, answering emails as soon as they hit my inbox; writing leases and setting up showings right along with cooking meals. I am a working mama who sometimes stays at home, or a stay-at-home-mama who also works. However you want to look at it. I guess you could call me a “Hybrid” Mom. Basically, I am just very blessed to have the best of both worlds.

Whenever I am caught up at work, and the kids are fed and entertained (or sleeping!) I write. I write to keep my head clear, my stress level low, and my blessings in the forefront of my mind. And these days, even my writing happens online; it is much easier for me to write on a device than to carry around a notebook and a pencil all day long to record those spur-of-the-moment random thoughts.

But here’s the thing.

Some days it seems like I spend more time looking at screens than I do looking into the little blue eyes I live and work so hard for.

I find myself saying “please hang on, mama’s trying to finish an email” or “one second, honey” or “mama has to make a phone call first.”

To make matters worse, now that my baby has hit toddlerdom, motherhood has shifted from pretty much all-encompassing to FULL-TIME HANDS-ON. I have been so busy that lately my morning coffee time with my husband has become my best time for an online check-in.

So when that dear husband of mine asked me if I NEEDED to be online the other morning, I asked him what he meant. He spoke his heart: He missed our mornings of coffee and visiting and watching Hank dance to Baby First and laughing while he bounced back and forth between us for bites of our coffee-cakes. Together. I was there, but I wasn’t there. I was off in cyberland.

It was a definite wake-up call.

So? I woke up.

I snapped the chromebook closed, grabbed my coffee, and tuned back into the blessings that I was missing. Right in front of my face.

All that day, I thought about my online work and social media habits. I thought about how present I was being when I wasn’t at the office. I thought about how much time I spend working on my various devices throughout the day and evening, and decided it was simply too much.

Do I really need to share my latest post right then, during my best quality time with my husband?

Do I really need to reply to every comment on my social media accounts, right when my phone buzzes?

Do I need to waste precious time (and these days, my time is precious) scrolling through pages of ridiculous political memes on Facebook?

Do I need to answer every work call or email the second that I get it, on days when I am not in the office?

Nope. I sure don’t.

Not right now.

Right now all I need to do is be one little boy’s amazing mama, one husband’s loving wife, and three boys’ supportive stepmom.

So I am putting down my devices. As often as I can.

Even more importantly, I am also choosing to LEAVE it down, in my car. I don’t know about the rest of you busy gals, but I am 100% guilty of checking my email quickly or texting to check on the baby from the road, and I know that needs to stop. I am never SO BUSY that I need to be plugged-in while driving.¬†

I am putting down the device.

I am vowing to be more present as a wife and as a mother.

I am vowing to be a completely safe, focused driver.

Facebook can wait.

Email can wait.

The blog can wait.

My family shouldn’t have to.

As if I wasn’t already convinced, my wise young toddler cemented my decision with what I think was a sign from above. Yesterday morning, while I was down on the rug playing cars with him, daddy went upstairs for a refill on his coffee. Hank saw me grab my phone to steal a quick glance at my news feed. I didn’t even think to grab my half-empty cappuccino that was sitting on the end table behind me, getting cold.

As soon as I swiped the screen on my phone, I felt a strange sensation begin at my left shoulder and spread all across my lap. In that brief moment when my brain was online, my entire criss-cross apple-sauce got completely covered in lukewarm coffee and perfectly foamed milk. I slowly turned to look behind me–in shock–and saw my adorable toddler sheepishly holding my big green mug. My big green EMPTY mug.

Well, that sure showed me, didn’t it!

I don’t know whether he intended to bring me my coffee as a sweet gesture, or to pour it on me to say “put the phone down, mama!”

From the look on his face, I’m guessing it was the latter.

So after I changed my clothes and spot-cleaned the rug, I took the hint. I put the device down.

Today, our morning coffee time was technology-free.

And it was lovely.

He’s so much better to look at than a screen!