mama Monday - Brittany
Happy Monday mamas! This week, get ready! There is so much good stuff! Tons of info, perspective, and advice about meal planning/prepping, work/life balance, and straight up surviving motherhood with a full-time job, two kids, a dog, a house, a husband, and extracurriculars!
Without further adieu, meet Brittany! Our friendship is approaching the 30 year mark and I'm so grateful I get to say that about her! There's something to be said about a friend that has known you and been there with you through basically every pivotal moment in your life. Brittany is one of those people for me. I am so excited for her to share all her goodies for us! She even included some recipes for those of us interested in meal planning/prepping! Wahoo!
"Hey everyone! Brittany here! Wife to Garrett, human mama to Charleston (3yrs) and Chandler (9 months), fur mama to Oso (9 years) and boss lady to my truly wonderful team of PTs/OTs/SLPs.
I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for 7 years.. and y’all, when I say he is AMAZING, I 10000000% mean it. When we met at the ripe ol’ age of 18 I never imagined I would follow him halfway across the country to make our home in Texas. I also never thought that those 2 kids sitting in a tiny ass dorm room sharing Keystone Light while watching Boondock Saints to celebrate Valentine’s Day 14 years ago would now have 2 BEAUTIFUL baby girls of their own. I can still remember the first time he asked me out… we went to dinner at our student union… and from that moment, we spent the rest of our college days together. We struggled through 2.5 years long distance – he was working in TX and I was in grad school in PA; long distance is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. And now, here we are… spending LONGGGG days together even though we only really get a few short moments to chat between packing bags, getting the girls dressed, undressed, bathed, fed, into and out of the car, reading books, chasing Charleston, trying to keep Chandler from face planting as she tries to walk, walking Oso … oh, and work.
So the working-mom balance thing… also not for the faint of heart. I’m a full time Director of Rehab/Speech Language Pathologist. If I were to tally it all up, I work 50-60 hours every week. From the moment my feet hit the floor in the AM, albeit later than they should, to the moment they go back up in bed at night, also later than they should, I don’t stop. The mornings are a rush of getting myself together, getting the girls fed, dressed, packed, and then on the road to school, which is 30 minutes away… and past where I work… it’s an hour roundtrip for me from home to school to work, but it’s SO worth it for the girls. We kept them there after our move to a new home a year ago because of how much we loved the Montessori curriculum and the staff. When I get to work, I don’t stop either… it’s a mix of meetings, problem solving with families, therapists, and patients, phone calls with doctors and families, treating my own patients, scheduling, and paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. All too quickly it’s time for pick up, home to walk Oso, eat dinner, spend time in the playroom, bath, books, bottle (for Chandler), and bed for the girls. *Side note: when Chandler was born, we made it a goal of ours to have Chandler in bed at least an hour before Charley so that we could still have 1:1 time with Charley. It’s worked out perfectly from that aspect, but Chandler goes to bed at 6:45 and we very rarely are home from school/work before 530pm, leaving us with only an hour to spend with our youngest before bed time. When the girls are in bed, I either jump on my Peloton or G and I head outside to our garage gym for a 30-45 minute workout. Around 10pm I finally sit down to do my scheduling for the next day, and at some point I head to bed… only to wake up and do it again the next day.
Weekends, thank goodness, are much more relaxed for us. Our only scheduled items are gymnastics & Instacart delivery of groceries for meal prep on Sundays. I LIVE for the weekends. And when I say that, I don’t mean that I don’t love what I do, because I honestly do. But after having Charleston .. and watching how she has developed into this smart, silly, beautiful little girl, I realized that if I were to stay home with them I would not be able to give them ½ of what the get from being at their Montessori school. It was very difficult for me, even as a very driven professional woman, to admit to myself that I am a better mom for being a working mom. I may not have the quantity of time that other moms get with their children but it is QUALITY time for sure when we’re together. So I live for those moments.
I’m also EP’ing(exclusively pumping) right now, which adds another crazy component to my days. With Charleston, I dried up at 5.5 months.. the stress of work + sharing an office space with my admin at the time, didn’t lend itself to continuing to breastfeed. Now, 9 months in, I’m at that same point.
I just want to say, mamas who breastfeed, mamas who pump, mamas who give their babies formula – I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I am you. And you are ALL doing amazing!"
So how do I do it all? I’m no superwoman, I’ll tell you that. Remember that amazing hubs I told y’all about earlier? I probably wouldn’t survive without him. but here are some tips and tricks I have learned along the way that help me balance the craziness of being a wife, a mama, and a boss.
I had this idea in my mind that using grocery delivery was for lazy people… I was SO wrong. It saves us time and money. We learned quickly that grocery shopping with a toddler and a baby takes a lot of coordinating. Now, the only thing we have to worry about is filling our cart and picking a delivery time (which is typically nap time on Sunday)!
2) MEAL PLANNING/PREP
- Every Saturday night when the girls are in bed, I search through Pinterest, google search, or peek through one of the many cookbooks I have for simple recipes. My biggest advice for meal planning/prep: pick recipes that have a common main ingredient, i.e. 3 chicken meals and 4 ground beef meals. I will bulk boil the chicken (I’m not a fan of putting frozen chicken in a crock pot) and bulk brown the ground beef before tossing it in a bag with other ingredients. KEEP. IT. SIMPLE. The worst thing you can do to yourself is pick difficult, time consuming recipes. It takes a bit of practice, but once you have it down, you’ll be able to meal prep for an entire week in 2 hours or less!
- Like I said above, groceries are usually delivered around 12pm on Sunday. I use the 2 hours following that, while the girls are napping, to prep.
- If you’re trying to eat healthy/clean and you don’t prep… you’ll fail. Even if you don’t put your meals together, ready to be dumped in a crockpot or instapot, have a menu for the week and don’t sway from it.
- **MAKE EXTRA!** I make more than we will eat for dinner so that we have leftovers for lunch the next day. No food wasted and less prep! I also make sure to always have lunch meat and cheese available for a quick and easy snack!
- Try to clean as you go… or have your hubs help, like mine does! It’s WAY better than letting the dishes pile up!
- I make an effort to do something every day, even if that something is 10 minutes on the bike.. because let’s be honest… 30-45 minutes every single day is just not happening. On Sundays I do 10-15 minutes of yoga to center myself before the craziness of the week begins.
- Favorite places to find quick workouts: Nike Training Club App, Peloton digital app, Pinterest, and oddly – just googling sometimes works!
HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE QUICK AND EASY RECIPES
1. Favorite thing about being a mama?
There are SO many things I could put in this category. I honestly think it’s their unconditional love toward us and each other and their pure, kind souls. The way they just want their mama some days. The way they wrap their arms around your neck and lay their heads on your shoulder because you’re the safest place in the world to them. Ugh.. it’s the best.
2. What surprised you most about being a mama?
Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever have the urge to stay home with the girls, and I did. Realistically speaking, and like I said above, they gain so much more from school than they would from being at home with me, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t think about staying home with them, or that I don’t miss them every single second of the day that I’m away from them. I do. I 100% do. I just have to keep reminding myself that they are learning, and growing, and gaining friendships that may last them a lifetime (much like ours, Adge!)
3. What is the most difficult thing about being a mama?
This is a tough one for me to admit. The most difficult thing about being a mama is how it changes friendships. I was one of the first in our group to have children and because of that we were left out of a lot of activities after having Charley. I don’t know that there was purposeful ill intent but it hurt nonetheless. Also, deflecting the judgement from others .. letting what they say go in one ear and out the other.. that’s huge, but it takes practice.
4. The best advice you’ve ever gotten as a mama?
Take care of yourself and your husband/marriage. This one also comes with practice. It comes with meditation, positive self talk, and realizing that a few hours away from your children will actually make them better because their mommy (and daddy) is better, happier, healthier.
5. Favorite mama products?
First, I’m going to be cliché here and say my Peloton. It’s been my best friend since my 30th birthday. It has seen me through 1 pregnancy, 2 postpartum bodies, a bout of postpartum anxiety after Charley, a newly diagnosed bout of postpartum depression, that hit me like a ton of bricks at 6 months postpartum after Chandler. It gives me 10 minute workouts or hour long workouts and helps keep me sane. Second, Dr. Teal’s Epsom salts or foaming bath.. the stress relieving one. Perfect for a once a week, much need, stress relieving/stretching soak (coupled with a glass of wine!)
6. Favorite bun products?
For toddlers we are really into the Koala Crates from KiwiCo. It’s a box of 3 STEM activities delivered monthly. Charley LOVES it! For babies, sleep sacks!!!! No particular brand preference.. they’re just amazing in general! Also, a portable hook on high chair!
7. Favorite mama hack?
I LOOOATTTHHHE having to carry a purse AND a diaper bag. So I either will throw my wallet and whatever necessities for me in the diaper backpack, or I will grab our travel diaper pad, which is always packed with wipes and diapers, and toss it in my purse. Less things = more hands for babies!
Thank you all so much for tuning in once again! For any questions about meal/prepping, home workouts, and life in general, you can find Brittany on Facebook and Instagram! Also, as always, my contact info is in the tab at the top of the page.
Be sure to check back next week where Brittny #2 talks about being an active duty military spouse, as well as being a reservist herself!
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