A Family Life Blog

Posts for Momprenuer Balancing Act

Life In the fast lane on Mothers Day

Mom Time - Jenna - May 5, 2011

Earlier today I found myself scrubbing a toilet used by four boys as the Eagles hit Life In The Fast lane  came streaming in from the kitchen radio. At that exact moment I was running through the weeks tasks, one of which was the upcoming plans for Mothers Day.

How ironic that I was the one up to my elbows in, well I am not going to mention it here. But just trust me it wasn’t pretty. But seriously I am the one in the thick of mothering, and I am trying to plan out how to fit in all the things we have obligated ourselves to doing for our mothers. This while they sit happily in semi retirement wondering what time I will be arriving bearing gifts, neatly pressed grandchildren, and my husbands handyman services.

Don’t get me wrong I appreciate all that they have done. I beleive I have been expressing this for 30 years now. I don’t mind doing things for them, and of course I want to honor them. But for pete sakes at what point is it my Mothers Day?

I do not enjoy a husband that feels that it is his duty to accommodate me on Mothers Day, as I am not his mother. My kids are small, and while I love their home made gifts. The cereal in bed I have come to cherish over the last few years I wouldn’t trade for the world. That being said however I must state that  it seems no one is going to suddenly say ” happy mothers day Jenna, what is it that you would like to do today?” or ” gee how could we help you feel relaxed and loved today?”  It seems that the only one that is going to be doing that is me!

And what the heck is wrong with that any way? Why can’t we say” I love and honor you” to our moms with a card and maybe a small gift, then take the darn day to ourselves .  And why can’t our moms see this as well? Surely they were plagued with the same ill fate of being everything for everyone while sacrificing their own happiness.

I am not saying you should be selfish here but what is the point of the day if we don’t get to honor ourselves as moms if no one else is going to? I feel part of honoring yourself is giving place to your needs. So if a walk on the beach is what brings you peace than you should be able to do it and enjoy it. I feel like I am not able to enjoy this day that is suppose to be for recharging and honoring my efforts as a mother.

This mothers day I am making a declaration to honor our mothers with a card, a call, maybe even flowers. I will send them all the love and light I can each time I think of them on this day, and then I plan on doing as Liz Guilbert in Eat Pray Love advises, and dropping it. What I mean by this not that Iam not honoring them, rather I am going to give them their place and then unapologetically honor myself as a mother as well.

I am all for showing love, respect, and honor to the women in our lives that have raised us, been there for us, and still remain in our hearts. These moms deserve their praise. We deserve ours as well. You only live once and if no one is going to do it for you than honey you are going to have to do it for yourself. It may be planting your garden, or reading your book on the porch, a long run, a hot bath, or a fishing trip with the very boys that did such unspeakable things to your toilet just days before.

What ever it is that recharges you, please please please just to it this Mothers Day. Do it for me, do it for yourself, do it for the mother it will make you be on Monday. And for goodness sakes do it with out apology, with out shame, and like no one is watching. After all you are living life in the fast lane right now.  The pee covered, matted, brightly colored, messy, fast lane and it isn’t slowing down any time soon. So what better time moms!

From the bottom part of my heart to yours…..Happy Mothers Day Moms! Enjoy it! Really ENJOY it!

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Brain Boosting Breakfast

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - April 26, 2011

Off to the races!

If you are running out of the house with only coffee in hand, and hoping to take on a to do list as long as your arm you may be setting yourself up for a crash.

Lets go back a bit…. The alarm rings at O dark thirty, and you lug yourself out of bed. Before you even get to the bathroom your day is starting to play out in your head. It is as if you are ramping yourself up for the world series, but this is just your Tuesday. After hustling and bustling combing, feeding, last minute homework, client prep, pets fed, car started, missing shoe found, you are out the door!

Sure you feed the kids a well balanced meal, maybe even a little bit of what they left on the plate made it into your mouth , but the only thing you are walking out the door with is two well taken care of kids, a briefcase, a large to do list , and a cup of coffee. Am I getting it right so far?

Considering this is how my morning goes most days I am betting I am not the only poor mom who is left tackling the day on meir fumes. Leading experts state that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While this is no breaking news to us moms who make sure our kids have a brain boosting good for you packed first meal to start them off right, we often miss ourselves in this crucial step.

According to moms I recently spoke with some of us are grabbing a value meal item, or a pastry from the coffee shop, some hit up the burrito lady and a few of you even just spend the first 15-30 minutes of your day at the office feeding yourself. So what gives? Why do we always forget ourselves in the morning hustle & bussel even when we know better.

Well, all the reasons are quite frankly an entirely different Oprah. What is for sure is that skipping breakfast, and then grabbing junk three hours after you have been awake and run the equivalent of a mini marathon both physically, and mentaly  are effecting you in more ways than you know. Studies show that children who eat breakfast do better in school. It doesn’t take much further thought to realize adults will feel better and perform better at work as well. Whether you work at home, on the farm, at the office, at school, or on the road, it is not a good idea to skip breakfast. Eating a good breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Why it’s a bad idea?

When you skip breakfast, you are likely to become tired when your brain and body run low on fuel. By mid-morning, you might grab a cup of coffee or wolf down a sugary candy bar to wake up again. This might work for a few minutes, but by lunch time you are hungry, crabby, and perhaps your mood might make you a little more prone to make unhealthy choices at lunch.

Skipping breakfast is a common strategy for losing weight, but not a smart one. Many people believe that they will lose weight if they skip meals, but that just isn’t true; the body expects to be refueled a few times each day — starting with breakfast.

Actually, eating breakfast is good for weight loss. In fact, people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight.

What to make….

Making a healthy breakfast is actually easier than you think, and as we just learned can make all the difference in your day, your productivity, and your waist line.

Try having a smoothie takes five minutes and If you are crunched for time just rinse your blender and leave in the sink for dinner time, no one will mind. You can also buy pre made juiced beverages. Make no mistake these are not sugary breakfast drinks they are juiced and usually in the fresh fruit isle or at a health food store. I like Bolt House Farms . Also try fix ahead, I make a batch of breakfast burritos with a whole wheat tortilla, turkey bacon and egg whites to have on hand when it is crazy busy. I am not appose to breakfast bars as long as they are not packed with sugar and you can pair them with a protien like a shake or even a cheese stick can be good. A good one is the eat natural bars or really any thing with more protein than sugar.

Another great idea is simply try to get up 15 minutes earlier and plan on sitting gown with your family for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be a June cleaver butter covered meal reserved for Saturdays? You can have what they are having and just sit and talk for a few minutes. We all know the benefits of sitting down for dinner with our clan. Taking a few minutes in the beginning of the day can root the family and really help start every ones day out right.

I know it is busy and some days we may blow it but lets try it! lets try it for at least the week! I would love to hear your stories, and share any ideas for a quick healthy breakfast that helped you stick to it and feel great.

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working mothers making kids fat????

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - March 3, 2011





A recent study published in the journal Child Development concluded that the length of time a mother was employed outside of the home increased the chances that her children would be overweight. I found this take on the recently publicshed article at www.emaxhealth.com personaly I think any mother that is not paying close attention to her childs nutrition and activity can be to blame for an overwheight child. As a working mother of two kids that eat very well and are very active. I can tell you it takes extra planing and is not the easiest to accomplish on some days. However they are your babies and they are worth it. Also if I can do it I am sure you can too.

There are  a wealth of programs, recources, and information to support any mom, working or not to make the best choices for her family.

What do you think?

The fallowing article is not my own but is a copy of an article I found at the link below.


The study authors were careful to say, about their conclusions, that a mother’s working is not the cause of obesity, but rather an association.

The researchers from American University, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago, chose a sampling of 900 children in grades 3, 5, and 6 in 10 different cities across the nation. The findings showed that the longer the mother was employed, the higher the child’s body mass index measured. The 5th and 6th graders showed the highest increase.

BMI lead to child obesity link finding

The researchers looked at the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the children and found that a there was approximately a 1-pound weight gain for every six months that the child’s mother worked.

The study authors said they did not directly know why the weight increased. They did, however, have some theories regarding the time that families had to eat together, the time they had to make healthy food choices, and the time they had to prepare healthy food in the home as all being possible factors for weight increase.

The study surprisingly found no link between the amount of physical activity, the time spent unsupervised, and the time spent watching television with the increased BMI for the children of working mothers.

Childhood Obesity on the Rise

The incidence of childhood obesity is now 17 percent and has tripled over the past 30 years.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), obese children are at higher risk for immediate and long-term health problems. Their website states that obese children have higher risks of cardiovascular related diseases, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems. They are also at risk for being overweight as adults which brings their risk factor higher for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

It is important as a nation to bring awareness to this growing epidemic and to provide some real and workable solutions. Although there are already programs in place, more needs to be done as the numbers are on the rise. Food industries also need to be involved by taking a look at their products’ ingredients and the way that they market themselves to children.

Some solutions for combating obesity are physical activity, healthy nutrition choices, and healthy lifestyle habits.

Medline Plus’ website encourages families to:

“If a weight loss program is necessary, involve the whole family in healthy habits so your child doesn’t feel singled out. You can encourage healthy eating by serving more fruits and vegetables and buying fewer sodas and high-calorie, high-fat snack foods. Physical activity can also help your child overcome obesity or being overweight. Kids need about 60 minutes each day.”

Also read: Change Diet Before Pregnancy for Healthier Kids

Previous Studies

Other studies in the past have also found this link between working mothers and obese children. One study conducted in 2003 found that for every 10 hours a mother worked each week, the obesity chances increased by 1 to 1.5 percentage points. Another study ion Japanese schoolchildren in 2007 found that the BMIs were higher in those children who had full-time working mothers and were more likely to be overweight.
A Mother’s Choice or Necessity

Never before in history have women had so many choices. One of these choices is whether to stay home with their children, or to work outside of the home. Although some mothers feel a necessity to work; others make the choice to gain employment.

This is a highly debated topic with strong opinions and emotions on both sides of the coin. To have the mother work or not work is really a personal choice that should be made by the individual family according to their own unique situations and needs.

Possible Solutions and Resources

Lead author Taryn Morrissey, an assistant professor in public administration from American University points out, “The implication is not that moms leave the workforce. If that were to happen, childhood obesity would not go away at all.”

Morrissey also says that there are steps working parents can take to ensure their children eat properly, such as ensuring that there are always regular meal times and skipping the fast food when they can.

“I know that families are really time crunched so that is often hard but doing as much as you can could be one way to try to prevent this,” she said.

This study suggests that it was not conducted to create more of the “guilt factor” for working mothers, but rather to bring awareness to balancing home and work for healthier families. Families already face so many difficult choices in their lives. More flexible working hours for mothers, increased telecommuting options, better child care options, and healthy nutritional programs to implement at school and in the home may be some solutions to creating a healthier home and work balance.

There are various online communities and resources available for mothers to share their challenges and struggles with working outside of the home and wanting what is best for their children. It is important for mothers, working, or non-working, to also take some time for themselves, away from work and family, to recharge; even if for just a brief time each day.

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What’s For Dinner

We have all been there, you get in after a long day at the office, running around, picking up kids, you still have several hours to put in at home later on, and you have your brood to feed. Someone pops the question “hey, what’s for dinner?” You freeze in a state of panic as you have no idea what so ever is for dinner, nor how you are gonna pull something together with the little energy you have left.

 As juggling mama’s we have a ton on our plate, all the time. So it comes as no surprise that we all falter in a few areas. The more moms I talk to that live the life of super mom, wife, career woman,and super star confess that meal planning and cooking are their achilles heal. I too have suffered this plight, but am happy to say that I found a way to beat the 5 O’clock witching hour with out pumping my family full of take out and microwave fair.

Here are my best tips just for my fellow juggling mama’s:

Think Ahead

Every Sunday I brew a good cup of jo get a comfy blanket, the paper, my favorite cook books, a note book, and some chocolate (that one’s just for me :)

With my supplies in hand I whip out the adds and see whats on sale, and match it to my coupon’s. From this I go to my cook books and start looking for recipes that will include whats on sale. I plan out six meals usually. I base them on what’s on sale and what I have in the freezer, but you could just go straight to what looks good to you if you are not a coupon fan like me.

As I make my list I write my meals in the upper right hand corner so I remember what I planned while I am shopping. This has come in handy several times when determining what I forgot or what sides to change up if I find something that looks good at the store.

The little details that save my bacon

In addition to adding my meals to my list I add them, and a few other things clues to some key places to help me along post shopping day.

  • I post my meal plan to the family calendar so I know what we are having. This also comes in handy when hubby comes home early and wants to start dinner. He can go right to the calendar and know what we have and what to use. I also put the source of my recipe next to the menu plan so he or I can find it easily. I get very inspired from magazines and books so I could have four new recipes from three different places on any given weekly plan. This really helps.
  • Another great tip that I couldn’t live with out is putting what to take out in the way of frozen foods for the next day into my calendar or day planner. I get a cue to take out hamburger for chili the night before so I am never adding time to my meal prep for defrost.
  • Plan accordingly, there are nights for us that we have church functions, sports, ect and I know that they are just crazy, so I save crock pot meals or easy stuff for those nights.
  • Be flexible if it doesn’t work out just pump a meal then you have one less to add to your list next week.

Don’t go it alone

There are a ton of sights, and books, ect. to help you out. Just google meal plan help and there is something for every one. I also am a magazine junky, I subscribe to several food and cooking magazines. Pretty much all of them have weekly meal plan sections, fast meals,and sectioned recipes to choose from. This also ensures no more repeats, or boring dinners.

Another Idea some of the moms I know do is a meal plan exchange. You all operate on the same system planning one week then pass the list.  You get a month’s worth of meals with only four friends. You also get lots of variety and new recipes to boot with out the magazine or web site subscriptions.

This is the best way to be as organized in the kitchen as you are in the office. Another benefit is you will save a ton each month that you don’t just dial for pizza, or walk aimlessly through the store without a plan. Try it this week and let me know what you think!

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Are you doing what you thought you would be?

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - February 3, 2011

I came across a note from school penned in my loopy twelve year old hand. I read, ” when I grow up…” Lets just say this note was the last time these job titles were any ware close to my name.

I enjoy my job very much and I happen to be very good at it, but truth be told It is not what I ever imagined myself doing at 30. I had visions of teaching, or traveling, writing a book or 20, running an animal shelter, curing cancer just to name a few.

Since the inner ambitions of the12 year old in me did not get her way, and there are no gold awards on my shelf, no published titles to my credit, and unfortunately science has not cured cancer YET. I am left to my life as it is.

As I stated I am happy,I am good at, and like my job, and feel for the most part satisfied on some suburban level. But when allowed to drift back to that fantasy filled place when anything was possible, and money didn’t matter I am reminded of all the passions that I had for career.

Don’t get me wrong, to be a mom was always first on my list, I just had no idea that doing both in your early 20’s was next to impossible. I of course have chosen family and so my career kind of chose me. Born of convenience, flexibility, my own talents, and a serious need to pay the mortgage  I have found myself a niche that helps meet our needs, while allowing my family to be number one.

This however does not leave alot of time for acquiring the schooling to cure cancer,or write the next great novel, there probably will not be hundreds of animals rehabilitated on my time, or even class’s full of children changed by my revolutionary teaching abilities. I do know that I was created uniquely for my family and the life I have, and that I am far from done reaching any of my goals for myself either personally or professionally.

But for know I can only dream, not regretfully but more of a knowing that those windows have closed, and I am sneaking into a my thirties with a little more knowledge about reality than before. Sort of an ok so that didn’t work out but look at all the time I have left to do something really great! I really think this kind of awareness  for me only came after some time spent in the real world with my big girl panties firmly in place  going though the trials of life in the not so fab lane and being a mom for a good bit of time.

Of course I had to do it my way, and take the long way around but to my credit I have decided that I may not be anyware close to where I thought I wanted to be. The good news is  there are no false illusions, and I am on my way to where I am suppose to be.

 So to the twelve year olds I say dream extremely big it may just happen……even if I told you the truth you would just roll your eyes at me because I drive a mini van anyway.

To the far from twelve year olds that are closer to where I am at here in crazy town…..Next time you see me in my mini van at school, just smile & wave we both thought we would be driving vets right now on the way to our next book signing!

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One Busy Business Mama to watch

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - January 20, 2011


Jan. 14, 2010
In this week’s edition of Bloomberg Venture, Cris Valerio talks with Ali Wing, the founder and CEO of Giggle, a baby products retailer that is thriving by selling a curated selection of goods.

I found this  was a great interview with the CEO Mom of Giggle inc. Check it out

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Help my patients are spent before the coffee is done

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - January 17, 2011

Your alarm goes off but your already awake because your kids have been in bed with you for an hour and there is no room for you anyway. You try to move your sleeping arm from the tangled mess of limbs and solid bodies. You are unsuccessful and the bambinos are awake.

Instantly  like little puppies with closed eyes and open mouths. they begin to bark needs. A drink, a show, I need my blankey, Mommmmmy hold me, No hold me ,Owwweeee he hit me, nuh uh, Snuggle me peese, ou oh I Peed.

You want to tend to their every need however you have not even visited the potty yourself,and your husband is leaving in five minutes and the bread for his lunch is still in the freezer. A fleeting thought that you could put the loaf in the dryer with a single pair of his pants that will need to be thrown in the dryer in the next 5 minutes passes across your mind but you realize that you should just microwave them both.

Un thawing the bread, heating up the pants, creating a well balanced heart healthy lunch out of only a can of fruit, and half a piece of lunch meat will be no small feet but it must be done. Mean time the welping from the room gets louder and you think you heard a soggy diaper hit the floor. (great!)

You manage to pull together the lunch, the pants are mostly dry, and you kiss your husband good by as you stumble back to the coffee pot for yourself and remember you have to pee still!

While visiting the little girls room I am reminded that I was going to get up well before my family because it is Monday and I was suppose to have a conference call at 7am, It is now 6:45! Ugh That impending sense of doom that the rest of the day will be headed in this same direction makes me want to cry.

Many a morning start out in a blurr like this but no matter how hard I try this scene just repeats it’s self ! So here I go another day started out at least a day late and a dollar short.

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Early to rise makes a mom healthy weathly & wise

Kids & Family, Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - January 6, 2011

You may not be a morning person but if you are a working mom you no doubt have had to start rising earlier than you want on most days. Some times this is forced and most often we would love to stay in bed just a wee bit longer each morning.

I for one have been staying under cover until I have a hubby tapping my shoulder, a 3 year old at my bed side, a client leaving messages, and the dog wants out. So I fly out of bed feeling rushed and anxious and pulled on in every way. Sure I get the job done but it sets the tone for the rest of the day. From that hour on, it seems no one get the best of me all because I have been on duty since the moment I opened my eyes. Litterly ! So when I read an article that said more women felt better equipped to deal with the day if they were up even 15 minutes before their families. I was well convicted! I use to be that lady but not these days.

I find when I pulled myself out of bed even a half hour before every one else, I am  more ready for life that day! I get a cup of coffee, spend some time with my bible, and organize my work day. I also get to spend a few minutes with my husband so we can go over some shared duties now instead of 5 minute before it happens. Not to mention the professional benefits  of being able to lay out my schedule, and have a clear mind to start work if I have not started already.

Let me tell you the extra 10 minutes is nothing compared to starting your day on the right foot. You have a ton to deal with and your day is gonna fly so make sure this morning there is some time to prep your heart, your mind, and your body for the juggle ahead!

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working in the new years resolutions

Mom Time, Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - December 29, 2010

When business is good that means you are busy. When your family is involved in all the activities they can handle, you are usually stretched to your limit. So when the New Year rings and you resolve to lose 10 lbs or write a new blog every day in a hasty midnight moment you better have a strategy to make it happen.

While I have broken nearly every resolution I ever made on New Years by some time in March. I have made a few work and I think these tips should help you do the same.

Be realistic with how much time you have in your day already.

Resolve to start small by making a small commitment and committing to a bigger one when that goal is met.

Don’t make the same resolution twice. It didn’t work last year and you know how easy it was to give in and you made it another year, so what’s the point.

Make it a family affair and get the whole gang involved. Something you can all do together will keep you all engaged and accoutable

Happy New Year & Good Luck

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Christmas Break And getting back to work

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - December 28, 2010

The Christmas Holiday has come and gone. There is so much craziness leading up to the big day especially with such a busy schedule as mine. Then in one felt swoop the big day comes and goes and is gone!

Now it is time to get back to work and prep for new years. Is it just me or is it tough to ease back into work when you know that at the end of the week you will behaving another holiday? I swear every one I have come across is just about as unproductive as me and putting things off until the first of the year!

I vote for a holiday from our holidays!

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