Why We Decided NO More TOYS!

It is customary for most families to do a little bit of clearing out the old stuff to make room for all the new toys, clothing and other holiday gifts headed our way. I try to do this more than once a year but the holiday season is always a great time and reminder to get this done.

Our kids have so much these days! To be honest, this topic has weighed heavy on my heart lately. Kids (with means) have SO MUCH! Parents of my generation are so concerned with giving gifts to their kids that they no longer “earn” that new Game Boy or LOL Surprise Doll. We just buy it for them when we find a great deal or we are browsing through Target and they ask for it over and over.

Okay, not all parents of my generation are like this but more and more I am seeing this happen and I, myself, am guilty of this of parenting behavior. I love my daughters and want them to have it all and want for nothing.

I think my answer to this question has changed over time, and now I want my kids to have it all BUT to appreciate what they have and work for what they want. It was after my daughters 4thbirthday that I made the choice of no more toys for the foreseeable future (yup, no more toys). She was playing with friends and the playroom was a mess! New toys and old were all over the floor, and some of the new ones in pieces just one day into having them. When I asked her to clean up we encountered an “issue.” She told me that I could just toss her brand-new Chelsea Barbie house! We had just gotten this for her the day before as a birthday present and she couldn’t care less. It wasn’t her fault she had never really wanted anything. It was in that moment I made myself a promise to change her attitude toward things like toys and other privileges that being an middle to upper-income class family allows her to enjoy.

Learning new behaviors must start somewhere, so we decided to start with toys and other “things” she thinks she “needs” and wants so badly. Going cold turkey is never easy but here are some tips on how to manage the toy clutter and start to shift their appreciation for all the wonderful “things” they have in this life.

  1. Provide your kids with more experiences: Try gifting your children more than just toys! Santa will be bringing a family trip this year and a few small toys for in-flight entertainment. We even convinced our oldest daughter to ask Santa for this and now she has no toys on her Christmas list this year! Read more here: Gift Ideas For Your Kids that are NOT Toys.
  2. Clean out the playroom: Make sure while you are doing the holiday purge you are discussing with them why we should appreciate and respect everything we have.
  3. Donate their toys and clothes: Once we no longer appreciate things we should find someone to give them to who will love and appreciate them. This is a great lesson for kids and an easy way to teach them selflessness and giving back.
  4. Toss Don’t Donate: If there are things broken, toss them and talk to your children about treating toys and belongings with respect. Don’t donate them because if your kids don’t want to play with them why would another kid? Only donate gently used or easily repaired toys and clothes, or better yet take your children shopping to buy new toys for other children in need. Let them take a name off the many “giving” trees around this time of year and help them pick out something for a child they don’t know.
  5. Clean out with them: Discuss why we are doing this and how there are others in need. Most importantly be present in the process. Make it fun and remind them how special they are for being responsible and helping others with their kindness and generosity. Preschool-aged children have a hard time with these concepts but with affirmation and repetition this will catch on quicker than you might expect. Making sure we are always talking about respecting what we have is super important.
  6. Set Boundaries and start saving: No more toys … okay, not everyone has to go this extreme, but make sure they know that things cost money and that you can’t just have anything and everything when you ask for it. If there is a toy that is a big-ticket item talk to them about saving up money for it. My daughter wanted a Cinderella car that was $398! Yikes! We talked about saving up her money so she could buy it herself and she soon stopped talking about it and moved on. This happened all on her own, she could have saved up for it. She easily will have $400 after her birthday and Christmas.
  7. Make them earn rewards: This can be done a few ways. One way is with chores and allowance. Another great way could be through a reward system for their efforts on school work.

Overall, being a parent is not easy and there is no wrong or right way to do things. ALL children learn by example so don’t forget to exercise gratefulness in your own life.

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Embrace Yourself — faults and all

Dear Ladies, (Especially Girl Moms)

There has been something weighing particularly heavy on my heart. I can’t say it’s a new feeling because I have been feeling it for as long as I can remember. As I grow older and find myself in different professional and personal situations it is easier to deal with, but I am not sure if “deal” is exactly what I’m doing or If I’m just coping with what life throws at me.

Females seem to inherently want to belong, fit in, be a part of the “cool” crowd and have everyone like and accept them for who they are. I’m not writing this to say that will change, OH NO, I’m not doing that. However, I am writing to talk about some ways you can change YOUR mindset to survive whatever life season you find yourself in right now, younger or older.

I must admit that I’m one of the lucky ones. Having the ability to walk into a room and select a group of individuals or an individual to walk up to and connect with, this is something I’ve always been comfortable doing. I am also able to walk into a room of peers and seem confident and courageous in just about any situation.

This is not necessarily an ability I learned overnight how to use to my advantage, but I will be the first to admit it is a personality trait I was born with (thank the Lord) and have learned to hone in on and fine tune when I need it to survive.

YOU can portray confidence in every situation too, and heck, maybe you can even start to feel confident or more confident in most circumstances if you become INTENTIONAL and try.

Yes, I said INTENTIONAL.

I’ve just recently learned about doing this and wish we had all these bloggers, YouTubers and inspirational coaches when I was growing up to teach me that being intentional literally changes the game for you.

Experts in personal development define intentional as actively participating in your life – good or bad. Know what you want; embrace yourself — faults and all; figure out what you want out of life and get rid of people, habits and attitudes that hold you back; learn to forgive yourself and others and put the past in the past; and live in the moment. 

Be intentional in all you do and forget about what others think. A friend once told me life is too short for people that don’t make you feel good about yourself, so weed out those that bring you down instead of lift you up. Choose to be intentional in everything you do, every situation you find yourself in andyou will see a diffrence in your over all happieness.

Where this method has the most impact for me isn’t in situations I’m comfortable in, but in situations where I am not. Sure, it’s much easier to sit back and let things happen, have people approach you and just go with the flow. But for me this causes anxiety, feelings of not being accepted, and allows me to get into my own head about how others are responding to my personality, my looks, etc.

When I walk into a room with the intention to connect and be TRUE to who I am, I walk away with a completely different experience with my peers. And I feel better about myself.

There is the other key: be TRUE to YOURSELF, not to what you think others expect of you. This is a hard for us ladies, I know, believe me. I was blessed with a lot of things and like my daughter, having an outgoing personality was one of them, and oh MAN, let me tell you other females are not always a fan of other women who appear to be “confident.” I put confident in quotes because I feel most of us “confident” ladies are just like everyone else. Trying so hard to be accepted, worrying about how others feel about us.

Now I am sure, there are a few anomalies to this theory but I’m not talking about them, I am talking about you and me.

So, being intentional AND true to YOU is literally the secret sauce, ladies. Of course, it is not going to get you accepted in every crowd, but from my experience it will literally lift you up, liberate, and empower you to be who YOU are authentically. Besides, there are some crowds you don’t want to be accepted into!

And who doesn’t want to live a more authentic life?

Love you all and don’t forget to keep being you!

XO,

Laurie

 

 

A little Longer

Tonight I will hold you little longer, nurse you longer, gaze into your eyes longer… Because, I know when these moments pass they will become fewer and fewer. You will get bigger, start talking and walking and before I know it you will no longer be a baby. I am so grateful that life surprised us with you and a little sad this will be our last baby. For now, I will soak up your snuggles take in your smell and appreciate the long nights and days because the weeks, months and years are swift.

Love,

Your Momma

“Un”Curated Mom life

I think it is safe to say we have all done it… social media stalking mommy, fashion, fitness and travel junkie blogs. Often we find ourselves wishing our life could be that picture perfect.

Hey, I do it daily.

Reality is that their lives (bodies, houses or faces) do NOT look like that!!

My goal as a “mommy blogger” is to provide you with a dose of reality, some good old fashioned “Uncurated” #momlife.

Sure, I’ll still pop on a filter now and then, but what you will see and read on my blog and Instagram (@ihustleforher ) will be raw, real and 100% my life as is.

Never curated or staged, aways as is. Here’s to hoping this doesn’t get to scary 😂!

Xo,

Laurie

Time

I have been thinking a lot about time today. How fast it flys by and how time is one of the few things you can never get back.

When making the choice to be a working Mom, it did not feel much like a decision but more of something I had to do. If I could go back and spend more time making the choice, would it be different?

I often obsess about the time I will never get back with Caroline and focus my days on figuring out how to change that for the future.

Can I be a working “hustling” Mom and still get all the time I want and need with my girl? I see other Mom’s who have done it, they seem to have it all! Then I find myself wasting time trying to figure out how to get more time… what a predicament!

Trying to “do it all” and “doing it all” sure seem to get in the way of “having it all.”

Letting go and accepting where I am is something I need to work harder on.

A Mom That Hustles

No matter which way you look at it being a Mom is hard work. Despite if you are staying at home all day with the kids (or kid) working from 9-5, working from 9-5 and then working your side job on top of being a Mamma. Single or co-parenting it is all relative…

There is so much pressure on women (sorry men) to be it all. I am not saying men don’t work hard and play an important role, or that there are not single fathers or stay at home Dad’s kicking ass out there.

What am saying is the social pressure and emotional (hormonal) connection to “mom” can get to be unbearable for some women and at times we have no one but ourselves to blame.

I myself am a mother of one (Caroline) working full time in a leadership role at a non-profit organization. On top of my day job I freelance, adjunct lecture and run a photography business. Oh and I am a Mom! My husband has a good job, but it requires him to travel so I often find myself in-between that limbo of co-parenting and suddenly needing to do it all on my own.

I am not sure what my reason or purpose for writing this is, but I felt it is necessary to get it out there and potentially release some of the pressure I feel “doing it all.”

My husband tells me he is proud of me a Director before 30 an Adjunct Lecture at a top University a business owner and a great Mom. I am proud, I have achieved a lot in the past 30 years of my life and I thrive on the feeling of success and the impact I am making in the community I serve. I also manage to workout a train for half marathons and constantly chase (literally) the want and need to be a fit mom.

Then why do I feel like I am missing so much, missing out on my daughter, missing out on experiences. Time is always on my mind…if I get here 10 min early I can sneak out get more time with my daughter put her to sleep, grade papers, edit photos, meet with potential clients.

There is never enough time and it is always seeming to fly by . Some times all I cant think about is a way to escape time, is it work for myself? Find remote job? I am not sure but I do know I often find myself obsession over a way to escape the hectic Mom hustle I find my self in and just be a mom.

It is all SO over whelming……….. so why do I do this?

I feel the pressure like a ton of bricks be a Mom that “hustles” to bring in as much income as my husband. I want to be able to experience life with my daughter, travel the world but also provide a structured stable home life. That is why I hustle.

I see other moms while I am on my lunch break when I sneak off to Target to pick up more diapers. I look at them with their babies or toddlers and I feel overwhelmed with sadness. Did I make the wrong choice? I am proud of my career, I really am, but I miss my girl, I miss so many of those precious moments, but I also get time to myself, time to be ME not just Mommy.

This is good right?

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