MOMMY PARTNER

Friday, September 12, 2014

Planning planners

It's mid-September and this means two things for me:
1. Must do my Christmas list!
2. Time to start shopping for planners.

Yep, even though there's computers and smart phones and iPads, I still rely on paper planners to plan my life.

I use the Moleskine Weekly Planner. It's super simple. It just has the yearly calendar, the monthly calendar, and then each week on the left side of the book and a lined page on the right. I use the monthly calendar to plot out my blog posts. I use the weekly page for my schedules, then I write my To Do list on the right side of the weekly page. Very simple. No bells and whistles.



But lately I've been looking for more. More blank pages for notes, ideas, gift lists. Pages for menu planning and grocery lists. Color, I want more color. And blank pages for doodles and photos of my kids. I'm a mommy now and I need to be more organized. The stark simplicity of the Moleskine just isn't working for me anymore. I've resorted to another notebook for meal planning, recipes and grocery lists. Another notebook for my magazine work and article assignments. Another notebook just for the blogs. Then I misplace a notebook and I dissolve into a messy pile of inactivity! I need one planner that can do everything for me!

So I saw this and was wowed!

Erin Condren Life Planner


Okay, maybe that's too much color. But I love that line: "Let's get things done so we can have more fun!" It's a fun planner, but maybe a little too fun. I may be busy but the Life Planner is way busier. I don't want to have a planner busier than me! It sure is pretty, though.

So let's look at the next planner...

Day Designer by Whitney English
This whole tableau is so me!


Soooo gorgeous!!! I love it! It's so elegant. It's also a lot expensive. Yikes.

Okay, let me just say I discovered the world of planner reviews last night and I watched and watched and watched till 3am. Crazy, right?! Just look at this one from Pretty Shiny Sparkly:


Filofax. That's so '90s! I didn't even know they still existed! I loved my Filofaxes!!!

Maybe I should make my own planner—blend in the simplicity of the Moleskine with the fun features of the Life Planner and then package it all with the elegance of the Day Designer. All for a much affordable price! Hmm, what a great idea! Would you like me to create a mommy planner??? The Topaz Mommy Planner. I love it!

How about you? What planner do you use? What features do you want in a planner? Do you bring your planner along everywhere? Do you have a planner for yourself, your family, your meals or do you have one planner to rule them all?

To shop:
Erin Condren Life Planner
Day Designer by Whitney English

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Making mom friends

Story of my mommy life!



I need mommy friends! Thank heavens for blogging. Most of my mom friends now I met through my blog. So I didn't have to, you know, drop a burp pad or a teether just to make a new friend!

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram


Love me on Bloglovin'

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blogging in the time of babies

I read somewhere recently that parents shouldn't be allowed to divorce if they have kids under 5. It was a funny article, the author meant to be half-kidding, but I did see his point when he said that parents of young children are under extreme stress, with joyous emotional highs and crushing emotional lows. There's the sleepless nights, the constant vigilance, the no-sex life, the everyday struggles of figuring out what your non-verbal/not-so-verbal kids need, the pressure to provide and make ends meet, so on and so forth. He joked that anyone going through what parents of young children go through will complain that this is torture. It's easy to lose sight of your marriage, of anything actually, and so to make life-changing decisions during this time—whether it's leaving your spouse and kids to buying a house—should be deferred to when you can think clearly.

You know, I don't think I've heard myself think in the last few months, which makes blogging difficult. In fact, if it weren't for my blog sponsors, I think I'd have given up mom blogging. Some of my readers say they miss my brutally honest posts and some complain that my blog has been taken over by sponsors, but really there would be no Topaz Mommy anymore if I hadn't been forced to write creating content for my partners. I still put myself in my sponsored posts so believe me, I'm still honest. But I have consciously pulled back, hidden away. Mostly because I'm overwhelmed and I feel like if I blogged about what I'm going through, you'll start to think I'm unhappy! So I had to be careful!

Well, I'm poking my head out of my self-imposed "brutally honest blogging" exile today.

My silly boys 

I'm really having a hard time lately, moms. I think all I do is yell all day at my two older sons. They're constantly fighting, whining, bickering. And I'm constantly trying to mediate and reconcile. Our entire day is eaten up by this. It's driving us crazy! The yelling happens because when Vito and Iñigo are in the thick of killing each other, no sweet words or soothing tones or hugs and kisses can distract them. It's only shouting on top of their shouting that we get their attention. Am I proud of this? Am I okay with this solution? No and no. I've never hurt the boys. Not even to spank them. They may upset me but I don't think they'll upset me enough to actually make me physically hurt them (I hope!). I read once that a loving spanking is actually better than angry yelling. I've also read all the articles on the harm yelling does to kids. Well, ya know, I think I'll write an article about the harm yelling does to the parents, too. We feel upset and furious and emotionally drained, and then the guilt, oh the guilt! It crushes us. It robs us of the joy of being parents!

I don't want to blog about this. I don't want to put on the Internet what is (possibly, hopefully) just a temporary phase. And yet I feel like just blogging about how wonderful my kids are (and they truly are) is ignoring my reality. And my reality is this: I am tired. I am upset. I am guilty. I am afraid.

Naughty Iñigo! Poor Piero! Happy Vito! 

Of course, not all our days are so ugly. The boys can be best buddies, too. They are so smart and funny. They make us laugh. They make each other laugh. They dote on each other, they are affectionate to us. They are as heavenly as they are hellish! They can be a challenge, yes, but they are also absolutely our entire world! We may be struggling every single day to be better parents, to just even be good parents, but we love being parents to these amazing little boys.

I guess part of me wants to just put the joys of motherhood out of there and none of the pains of it. Not because I'm crafting an image for the world but because I want my kids to believe I've got it all together, you know? Like, when they're older and they can read and maybe understand, they'll see this blog and be amazed at me. "Wow," they'll marvel. "Mama was really hands-on with us. She never got upset with us even though we were so naughty. She was so loving and patient. She was so gentle and kind. She was so generous with her time. She devoted herself wholly to us. She is the best mother in the world!"

Sadly, I'm not. I don't think anyone can be the best mother in the world, but I want to be that best mother in the world for my kids. I'm so blessed to be given these beautiful and amazing little creatures and all I do is be upset with them.

My big-hearted boy, Vito.

Tonight, my babies are sleeping around me, their little bodies quiet save for the occasional snore and talking in their sleep. I kissed and kissed their soft and chubby cheeks, whispering my apologies for another day of failures.

They always forgive me, you know. Sometimes I wish they wouldn't, that they'll punish me for being short with them. But they always hug and kiss me and say they're happy and that they love me. I know they still see the love that I really do have for them, despite all this stress of parenting. They never seem to take me seriously when I'm angry, you see. In fact, Vito acts like I'm the child having a tantrum! He's the one that breaks my heart with his kindness and magnanimity of tenderness and understanding. Iñigo, the naughty one, will not apologize for hitting his brother/stealing Vito's toys/etc, but he'll make things right by making cute faces and saying, "Mama, be happy. I'm happy!"
My fun-loving Iñigo.

And that's why it's so hard to blog now because I am happy. I am grateful. Under all the extreme stress of parenting young boys is the solid foundation of happiness. The stress may drive me crazy but the love and joy is what keeps us sane and going. So I want to blog with honesty but I also want my kids to know that when they were babies, their mama was just amazing. Full stop. No tears, no frustrations, no uncertainties, no fears, no anger, no guilt. Just a mommy who enjoyed every second of being their mother. I want that out there—that I'm happy, blessed, grateful, overjoyed. But that's what's underneath, for now. What's actually seen is something close to misery!

Well, I can't have my cake and eat it, too, right? I promised I'll always be real on this blog. I guess this means I'll also have to be just as honest to my kids. And maybe by being honest to everyone, my kids will see that some of the best things in life can actually be difficult, maybe even painful, but it's always so worth it.

* * * * * * *
P.S.
Like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Instagram
Love me on Bloglovin'