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Welcome to The Evolution of Mom. We are real moms, living real life. Sometimes it's beautiful and sometimes it's messy, but it's always authentic. So please, grab a cuppa coffee and join us on this journey of motherhood.

The Emotional Evolution of the Working Parent

The decision on whether to go back to work or stay at home once you have a child is a momentous one. People spend hours, days, weeks, months, trying to decide what will work best for their family. There are countless factors that come into play when choosing (or not) to be a working parent. And I assure you, it is not one that is easy to make.

For me, personally, I did not have many options. I could just not afford to be home with her and not work. I did have the luxury, and yes I think it was a luxury, of free childcare so I could go back to work to provide for her. I remember those early days of packing her up and dropping her off. I cried and cried all the way to work, feeling like I was abandoning my baby and struggling with the possibility of missing milestones in her early years. I would rush home from work to pick her up to relish in those few short hours I would have with her before I had to tuck her in to bed. I would call often throughout the day, I am sure driving my childcare provider crazy, to hear how she was, what she was doing, did she eat, etc….As Emma got older, it got a bit easier. I called less. Cried a little less (hey, what can I say, I’m a crier).

Even now, with Emma being in school all day and 9 years old, I still struggle with the balance. There are times when I have to miss a school activity or event because of work and I know that it upsets my child. There are snow days and sick days where Nana and Papa are called to duty because I just cannot take the day off. It still hurts and makes me question if I made the right choice in the long run. But I also know that I could not provide Emma with the kind of life I think she deserves if I stayed home. There isn’t a moment during the day where I don’t think of my child and wonder what she is doing. Sometimes I wish I could be with her all the time and be there for every moment in her life. But I also know that she is in great hands with her teachers and that they are her “mom” while she’s at school.

So when you see those children whose parents could not attend hospitality day, the Halloween Party, or the holiday luncheon, please do not assume that we are not there by choice. Some of us do not have the option. Our hearts are there and I assure you, it is where we want to be. Because as we all know, Moms are moms all the time.

For more on the unique challenges of being a working parent, check out Proud Working Mom!

Chrissie

Why The Evolution of Mom?

You may or may not know this, but back when I started The Evolution of Mom, nearly eighteen months ago, one of my major goals was to bring you, the readers, a place where you could find a little bit of yourself. In a world where moms are, often by a perceived necessity, competing, hiding, shaming, and/or merely surviving in motherhood, we so rarely feel able to embrace our authentic selves. I hate that for us. We are stronger than anyone could imagine, smarter than anyone gives us credit for, and capable of more than we ourselves can truly know.  And yet, instead of banding together to create a sisterhood– lifting each other up and recognizing that raising human beings is a feat all in itself– we find fault with the most miniscule of details, tearing other moms down in a effort to feel good about our own choices. Please don’t mistake this as preachy. I’m guilty. I’ve done it. Gut check time…we all have.

One thing that I continue to gain from The Evolution of Mom on a daily basis is perspective. Because in an effort to bring you all a safe haven…a shining beacon of hope that motherhood doesn’t have to include judgement and tear down of others (or ourselves), I’ve been able to find peace in true perspective from a constantly evolving, wildly diverse group of mothers, both contributors and readers. Here’s the thing. We don’t have all the answers. Not one of us knows, at this point, what effects our choices are going to have on our children as they age. But by opening our minds and hearts to the idea that another mother just might have a better handle on a particularly challenging aspect of motherhood, we allow ourselves the opportunity for growth. For perspective. For true evolution. In addition to finding comfort that another mother has an answer that we’ve searched high and low for, we afford ourselves the opportunity to teach our children that there is much to be gained from humility and teamwork. We open ourselves up to building genuine relationships, a place to find strength, a place to weather a storm, an opportunity to feel pride in someday being able to reciprocate.

It’s not easy… there is a very definitely vulnerability involved. But the potential rewards are great. The Evolution of Mom exists to help moms forge those bonds in a low risk environment. It is an amazingly humbling experience that so many moms are willing to take a chance on my vision, and share personal glimpses into their lives on a daily basis. I am eternally grateful to those who have joined me on this journey. I am referring, of course, to our team members, past and present.

Eighteen months ago, we were a rinky dink little team of three moms who didn’t know the first thing about blogging. To be honest, we’re still learning this process on a daily basis. The difference is, these days we are constantly finding moms for our team who share our passion, and feel compelled to share their lives and experiences with you. I wish I could adequately convey how exciting that is! In terms of ‘growth’, we’re still an infant blog. Blogs younger than us have gone on to pick up big name sponsors, thousands of followers, and a seemingly larger than life web presences. But don’t let our small numbers fool you… we’re not splashy or flashy, but your daily interactions let us know that we’re serving our purpose. Your faith in our dream  means everything to us, and we will continue to work tirelessly to honor it.

I’ll be honest, this post started out at something else entirely. I shelved it, thinking maybe someday soon it would serve a purpose. Not twenty four hours after I made that decision, I heard from a reader who was feeling lost, alone, and judged because she was overwhelmed in her role as mother, wife, and student. We shared a little bit of her story on Facebook, hoping other mothers would share their words of wisdom, and help her find the strength to push through the clouds into the sunshine. You all didn’t disappoint. She was so grateful for your personal stories, and walked away that evening feeling comforted and supported. The beauty in it? We, the team, didn’t give her that. You did. Facilitating real moms supporting real moms is our passion. It’s our reason for existing. And your faith that it’s possible makes it possible.

This post now has a purpose for us. In fact, it has two. First, it gives us the opportunity to say thank you for sharing your journey in motherhood with us. We know it’s not easy to be vulnerable, but you can be here, and we will continue to do whatever it takes to make this a soft spot to land. Second, it gives us a chance to remind you…you’re not alone on your journey. Sometimes, we, as mothers, just need an outlet for our feelings. Sometimes we need solutions. Sometimes we just need to feel heard. To that end, we would like to remind you that you can consider us your personal mommy brain trust. If you have a question, concern, or idea, or just really need to vent to someone who gets it, our team is here to facilitate that. Rest assured that your submissions are anonymous to all but two of us, and as you’ve seen…we’re not talking. Shoot us a message on Facebook, or send us an email at [email protected] If you’re less interested in anonymity, you can always post to our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet! We’re here to help get you the answers and/or support that you seek on any and all things mom and woman related.

Thank you again for allowing us into your lives. We couldn’t do this without you.

Rachel_signature

 

Drying Basil-Two Ways

Drying Basil graphic

We’re on the slippery slope between summer and fall here in Colorado.  One day it’s snowing and cold and the next it’s 80 degrees.  Yesterday was one of those days that the temperature dropped dramatically and the cold was coming!  So I headed out to the garden in the rain.  I threw sheets over the tomatoes, trying to lengthen their season to make it to the 80 degree weather coming next week.  My basil was going crazy and my plant was begging to be harvested.  I trudged back into the house to grab my scissors and then BACK out into the rain and I clipped the basil all the way down to the ground.  I’m going to share two simple ways to dry it for use at a later time.  The nice thing is, neither of these ways require a dehydrator.  I have a love hate relationship with my dehydrator.  I love to use it and I hate to clean it.  Your dried basil will be wonderful in a savory winter dish.  I’m canning tomatoes today so I see the basil being used in a lot of dishes with the canned tomatoes this winter.  Here we go!

 What you’ll need:

Fresh cut basil

Paper towels

Cookie sheet

Cookie cooling racks

String

Method:

First, rinse the basil off in the sink.  Fill the sink with water and let the basil sit in the water for 15 minutes.  Drain the sink and re-rinse.

Place paper towels on a cookie sheet and put cookie cooling racks on top of the paper towels.  Remove the leaves from the basil plant and lay on top of the cooling racks with a little bit of space in between.

OR

Gather your basil stems and tie a string around the end of the bunch  and hang them upside down to dry.

Either method will take three to four days of drying time.

Basil Final

Once your basil is completely dry, you’ll want to store it in a re-sealable bag or jar.  Try not to break the leaves up until you need to use them.  For the gathered hanging stems, you’ll have to remove the leaves from the stems to store them, after they’ve dried.  I didn’t post an after pic since mine is still drying, but you’ll know when it’s dry.  It’ll become more brittle.

That’s it!  It’s super easy and you’ll have FRESH dried basil to use all winter long!  And you don’t even have to get out the dehydrator to do it!  You can use this same method for most other herbs as well.  Enjoy!

Jen Graphic

Self-Improvement September {Patience}

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“Patience is a virtue!”

I’d like to find the person to coin that phrase, and punch her in the face. You just know it was some big, matronly woman in the 1800s, with wide hoop skirts and a bonnet and happy, well-behaved children running in and out of her house all day long, with adorable little dirt smudges on their faces. She baked and cleaned and milked the cows and did it all with a smile on her face. She was the nineteenth-century version of a Pinterest Mom, you guys. Another variety that I want to punch in the face.

Just kidding! Kind of.

Anyway, I may be over-thinking the whole scenario surrounding that phrase’s origin, but really, that’s how I feel about it.

Read: I have no patience.

I’ve never had much patience, if I’m being totally honest. Not with my schoolwork, not with relationships, not with my own shortcomings…and unfortunately, not with my own kids.

I’ve admitted the heartache I have over having started a family when I had so much growing left to do myself, and when Rachel approached me about what I might want my Self-Improvement September subject to be, my mind went to such a selfish place initially. I thought, This is great! I can use this as a reason to work out every day for a month and not feel guilty about the time I spend doing it!

Oh my gosh. Kristen. Grow up.

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Look at them. Look at these faces. They are full of wonder. They think I know everything. They trust me implicitly. They rely on me every day, for almost everything. They love me in a way that is really, truly unconditional.

Just writing that brings tears to my eyes. And they’re not even happy tears. They’re tears of shame, for my my harsh words when my Little dumps his bowl of noodles on the dining room floor during dinner. For my impatient tone of voice when my Big says, for the twentieth time in five minutes, “Mom, do you know what?” For my selfish thoughts and the speed with which I put them to bed at night, and for the relief I feel when they’re finally asleep, and I can do what I want to do.

They’re my babies. They’re my future. They will be my legacy. And they deserve my patience.

This Self-Improvement September is all about a change in the way I think. It’s a change in my attitude. It’s about listening when Big wants to sing “The Birthday Cat Song” (“Meow” said over and over, to the tune of “Happy Birthday”) for the entire twenty-minute car ride home from school. It’s about biting my tongue and just dealing with it, instead of rolling my eyes and muttering half an obscenity when Little manages to get in the pantry – again – and dump out half a box of Corn Flakes.

This September, I will put my heart and soul into remembering that they’re just little kids. That this is the way they’re expected to be behaving. I will take a deep breath and suppress my urge to snap “Please just stop it!” when they’re making noises that feel like fingernails on a chalkboard to my eardrums. I will answer Big’s questions about how things are made, and how the world works. To the best of my ability, at least. I will help Little get the things he needs, instead of just taking things away from him that I don’t want him to have. As I’ve heard a million times since I gave birth to Big, four and half years ago, “They grow up so fast!” I only have one childhood to make a happy one for them. I’m the one who can show them patience or impatience, and they will grow up to, at least a little, mirror the one I choose. So, I’m making it a habit from here on out; I’m choosing to be patient.

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Seriously. They deserve it.

Kristen Graphic