Yes, I Do ALL This and I Am Just Fine

ElmoLSCI was at an event this weekend with a bunch of Power Social Media Moms and it was glorious. Sure, the backdrop was amazing. The Liberty Science Center was our playground for the day and parents and kids alike delighted in all that LSC has to offer, and believe me, they have a lot to offer, including Elmo. Who doesn’t love Elmo?

The reason I enjoyed the event so much was bigger than just the cool experiments and looks of utter glee on the children’s faces. I loved this event because the moms that were present make me feel normal anytime I am with them. They are all entrepreneurs, some in addition to working for a corporate entity during regular business hours. All of these women are busy, like not enough hours in the day busy. They are all devoted parents that balance motherhood with a healthy dose of self-identity. They have all answered, often begrudgingly, the question, “how do you do all that you do?”.

Most importantly, they are all happy. They know the life they’ve chosen looks hectic to the outside world, but they are all  sure they have the best gig going. They all support one another in their choices because they know support doesn’t exist everywhere and part of being a Super Power Mom is lifting up other  moms, all moms. These women, these super-busy, powerful, smart and funny women, accept me as their own, without question and I love it. These girls, they get me.

Wristbands Awaiting Power Moms

Wristbands Awaiting Power Moms

It seems no matter how great the people in my life are, I often feel the need to explain myself. I don’t have a traditional job. Hell, I don’t even have only one job. I haven’t had one job since I was 12 and answering phones at our church in the evenings and that was while I was in school and playing sports all day. When people as me what I do, my first response is to chuckle and say, “When?”.

I’ve spent my life constantly dipping my fingers (or even diving head first) into new things and trying on different roles. Somedays it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but most days, it all feels exactly like the best life for me. And yet a lot of people can’t really understand or accept that. They say I have too much on my plate. They ask how I handle it all. They don’t think I am particularly good at anything because they can’t label any one thing that I do. They look at me cross-eyed as I run from here to there keeping up with all the blessings in my life. LSCFamilies

Because they are blessings. Busy, is a blessing. Opportunities are a gift. There is nothing in my packed life that I wish I had said no to. Being busy means you pretty quickly learn the art of saying no to things that just don’t fit the big plan. And whether the outside observer believes it or not, I am very clear on my plan.

Suck the marrow out of life every chance I get. It’s pretty simple.

I think I might add to it: spend more time with people who get my plan so I can spend less time explaining or justifying or defending who I am. I am busy. I am blessed. I am a whole lot of things at any different time.
Most importantly, I am happy doing what I do and being exactly who I am, especially when I’m with women who get that.

 

Five Quick Green Tips for Busy Families

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GreenRemotes

When I was part-time working from home with a house full of preschoolers, I got way into to living green and naturally. I mean, I baked my own bread, made waffles and granola bars every Sunday to freeze for weekday breakfasts and snacks. I never let a paper product through the door, instead using cloth everything and shopping for recycled glass at every thrift shop I could find because of course I wouldn’t dare use plastic. I was practically like Snow White in that scene where she walks around talking to all the animals. Mrs. Environment. Probably Mrs. Smug Environment, but I really hope not.

Then, reality hit.

Kids got busier. Mom went back to school and took a full time job outside the house and soon the bread pans grew cold and glass-shopping time was drastically reduced. Plastic may have even entered the home.

No matter how busy we are though, we still feel pretty strongly about doing our part to make the earth last a bit longer. These are the five things we still do no matter how hectic our lives become that make us feel a little better about doing our environmentally sound part. I may not have birds dancing around behind me as I walk through town, but at least we are doing something and it’s all so easy you can too!

Napkins

1. Limited Paper Products.  I’d love to tell you I have no paper towels in my house like the olden days, but if I did I would be lying to you. What we do have though, are cloth napkins and real plates. As much as some busy nights I wish we used paper plates more, we always use the real thing when it comes to eating and wiping our faces. I bought most of them from thrift stores and at deep discounts from retailers. Each person has a special napkin ring and there are piles of them for guests. It makes for a quirky table setting which suits us and we know we’re at least decreasing the piles of paper piling up in landfills.

Waterbottles2. No Plastic Water Bottles. Since the days my babes were transition from bottles, we have started an impressive collection of metal water bottles. The kids take water to school every day and we don’t drink much else besides water so there is no waste from juice boxes or pouches and we almost never touch plastic water bottles. As the years have gone on, washing and filling bottles has become an allowance-worthy task so it’s easier and easier for me. Another bonus? The kids are always allowed to have drinks with them in any room and I’ve never had to worry about spills in my house thanks to the sport top!

LunchBoxes

3. Reusable Lunch Materials. Man, it would be so easy to throw everything in plastic zipper bags rather than wash and dry all the storage containers. But this is where we feel like we’re really making a difference. With three kids who each need a lunch and three snacks a day, that’s a lot of plastic we save from tossing in landfills. Instead, we buy lunch boxes that last over a few school years and enough containers for all the grapes and goldfish you can stomach.EnergizerDisplay

4. Energizer Eco-Advanced Batteries. Ugh. Batteries. They have been the dirty little prankster of all those who try to live a more green lifestyle. No matter what I try, with three children and three televisions (and myriad devices for said children and televisions) the battery need is high around here! Every time I throw batteries away I would feel guilty because all that in a landfill, can’t be great for the earth. Enter, Energizer Eco-Advanced batteries. They ease my green guilt because they are the first battery made with, you guessed it, recycled batteries! These little bad boys come in AA and AAA and they last longer than any other Energizer battery, which means replacing (and tossing) less. This all works pretty great for this remote and gadget loving crew. I picked mine up at Walmart where they have an entire battery display that reaffirmed the decision to by Energizer Eco-Advanced at the most responsibly green choice**.

5. Lightbulbs. We live in a dark old house so the lightbulb need rivals even the battery need. It may cost a bit more, but we pony up for the energy star approved brands of lightbulbs because they last longer, which means less in the landfills. Now that’s a bright spot.

Ok, the lame puns signal it’s clearly time to end this post. I hope our list can give you some inspiration for at least one easy reinvention to make your home more green. If we can do it in this house, anyone can. Share in the comments one reinvention you’ll make to green-up your home.

**Want to learn more about guilt free energy? Check Check out the link for more information. Bringinginnovation.net. Also, don’t miss the chance to win $1,000 gift cards! GuiltFreeEnergy Giveaway – $1,000 in Gift Cards

Money Reinvention: Living on Love

Photo Credit SueBarrPhoto

Photo Credit SueBarrPhoto

Over the last two years, I have had the great fortune of working a full-time job outside the home. What that means, is the constant hustling of contract work took a back seat to a steady, every two-week paycheck. It was quite lovely, especially for someone who had literally spent the last five years chasing money. I’m using literally on purpose. If you’ve even been in business for yourself, every day feels like you’re running and jumping to catch whatever contract and cash you can. To be able to know every month we would get a set  amount that we could count on was great for peace of mind.

Unfortunately, that is all about to end. In about a month and a half, I will leave that wonderful job to finish off work on my (second) Master’s degree which means more time for research and goodbye steady paycheck.

This guy's just worried about his Whiskas.

This guy’s just worried about his Whiskas.

Fortunately, we’ve never really counted on my salary to live. Over the last two years as our expenses (new house, new car) changed, we have tried our best to keep all our bill-expenses within The Husband’s pay.  We used mine for savings, extras and, quite honestly, fun. So, we can still afford our life but continuing to afford our most recent lifestyle may be more difficult.

Also, different from before, we’ve decided I won’t go back to chasing money. I will take freelance jobs that come my way, but gone are the days where I spend every waking hour trying to fill our coffers and instead I’ll spend every waking hour writing papers and working in (Unpaid) internships. I suspect this will be difficult for me as I’ve never not worked, or attempted to work, every day since I was 12 years old.

Thankfully, running the track is free.

Thankfully, running the track is free.

This is our plan: Keep our bills as they are, inside The Husband’s pay. Take everything I will make in my last few months of working full-time and stash it in savings. Then, strip back on all the frivolity of the last 18 months. The trick will be pulling back but not bankrupting our fun completely. Like any starvation diet, we’ve learned the hard way that if you eliminate everything, you eventually burst and start gorging, which never works for anyone long term with food, or money.

This was Last Time. We look pretty happy, no?

This was Last Time. We look pretty happy, no?

Stay tuned as we re-learn how to live on love (and The Husband’s income). I suspect there will be lots of posts about family fun at home, grocery budgets and DIY beauty treatments coming up! (I’ll miss you restaurant dinners, Whole Foods and gel manicures.) Our goal is to live well and continue to save even on one steady income.

We’ve done it before and we can do it again. This time should be way more fun, because there is not a penny of debt in sight!