Toddler Schedule + Routine For A Stay At Home Mom


Are you a stay at home mom of a toddler looking to add more structure, routine and “me time” into your weekdays?  A work at home mom who wonders how to get everything done in the day? New to the stay at home mom club and need more routine in your daily life? A mama thinking about making the transition from working mom to stay and/or work at home mom? Or perhaps you’re just curious about what Taylor and my routine looks like these days (the last updates I gave were this one when I was on maternity leave and this one when I was still nursing/pumping at work!).

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then this post is for you.

Before I jump into our toddler and stay at home mom routine, I feel compelled to write something straight from the heart :

Recently, I had a conversation with a long-time friend. She shared that, through following my journey from working to stay/work at home mom over the last year or so, a fire was lit beneath her to leave her own VERY successful career to start a business working for herself + stay at home with her two little ones.  And, guess what? She has made it happen for herself and her family! I couldn’t be more happy for my friend who had a vision of a different lifestyle and, despite any fears and hesitancies, followed her heart and went for it.

In turn, her story stoked MY fire to encourage women who may be in the same place I found myself a year ago – a heart being pulled toward being at home, yet also with the fear of uncertainty of letting go of a career and identity outside the home.

If this resonates with you right now, please know that I get it. I’ve been there, and I can tell you that I do not regret the decision for a minute. The moments I get to share with Taylor EVERY DAY now, even the hard ones, outweigh anything I could be accomplishing at work. Do I continue to think about what the future of my career may look like as I did a few months ago when I left? Sure, those thoughts still cross my mind…

BUT, here is the evolution in my thinking:

There is always someone who can do my/your day job (maybe not as well, maybe just as good, maybe even better) but there is NO ONE who can be YOU to your child. If you want to be at home with your baby, and it is possible for your family, don’t be afraid to make the big transition because, “the days are long, but the years are SHORT.”

Remembering this always brings me back to a place of content with the decision we’ve made. Fortunately/strategically on my part, between this blog and my LipSense business, I’m finding ways to satisfy the creative, social AND entrepreneurial sides of myself WHILE getting to be at home with Taylor and focussing on my family.

The last few months have truly been the best of all worlds for me, and I would LOVE to chat with you if you have any specific questions about my journey or what I’m up to these days if I don’t answer them within this series(or heck, if you want to join my LipSense/SeneGence team even!).

If you haven’t yet read the first post in this series, How To Rock The Transition From Working Mom To Stay At Home Mom, I encourage you to go back and read that first. In it, I discussed my newly minted stay at home mom response to the question, “what do you do?” as far as work, and finding confidence in however you choose to live your own #momlife.

Working Mom to Stay At Home Mom Update #2

This brings me to another question (or variation of) I’ve been asked many times since becoming a stay at home mom is,

“So, what do you DO all day now?”

That’s actually a really good question, and one I felt super nervous about in the weeks leading up to the transition from working to stay/work at home mom. I was SO used to a jam-packed, tightly scheduled, daily routine that the thought of open-ended days gave me a ton of anxiety. Full disclosure, I remember crying the week before I was finished with work, for many reasons, but mostly because I just couldn’t picture what my new days and weeks would look like.

I wanted to do this stay at home mom thing well and didn’t want to lose myself in the day to day mom-ing/home-making or waste days sitting around watching cartoons with Taylor…. As it turns out, I have spent several days with Taylor sitting around doing mostly just that- and I’m totally okay with it. In fact, I’ll take those extra snuggles any day of the week.

Having a predictable schedule and routine is important for you/your sanity and your toddler. However, it is also important to be flexible and adjust according to your little one’s (or your!) needs on a given day. Moods happen. Things come up. Kiddos and mamas get sick. Naps are dropped. Structure without rigidity is key!

Structure without rigidity is the key!

Weekday Toddler Schedule and Stay At Home Mom Routine

That said, I wanted to share what a typical weekday for this stay at home mom and her 18-month-old toddler looks like. I work best when I time block (as you can see in my admittedly OCD Google Calendar below), and I hope it’s helpful to see what typically takes place during each block:

7 AM – Taylor wakes up and plays with her stuffed animals and reads books in her crib for 15-30 minutes while I “wake up”. One of the goals I have for myself is to start getting myself out of bed at 6AM in order to build in a little more me/work time before the day begins. I’m SOOOO not a morning person though, so we shall see how that goes….any tips?

Stay at home mom schedule and routine for a toddler

7:30 AM – AJ or I (my hubby works from home with is AMAZING) get Taylor out of her crib, change her diaper,  and bring her into our room to drink her bottle (yep, still drinking a bottle of milk in the AM + PM) while we watch the news/I get ready for the day. Most days I just put on some tinted moisturizer, my LipSense color o’ the day, curl my eyelashes and that’s about it. I can’t usually get Taylor downstairs without making a pit stop at the playroom, so we play there for 15-20 minutes before breakfast. Conveniently, the laundry room is connected to that room so I can start on or fold a load of laundry as she enjoys!

Stay at home mom schedule and routine for a toddler

8:30 AM – Taylor eats breakfast and I drink coffee and check emails. Her breakfast is anything from a banana + oatmeal, to a bagel, egg + raspberries. At this point, she is able to request her favorite foods which is so amazingly cool!

9:30-11:30 AM – Monday through Thursday (again, not EVERY Monday through Thursday because flexibility is key!) we go to Lifetime Athletic Club within this time block. Joining this gym is hands down the best decision we made as a family when I quit working and we moved to a new city. Their childcare facility, programming, and staff are absolutely phenomenal and Taylor LOVES going there. While she participates in toddler art or music class, I get to workout for an hour or so. This time is SO good for both of us; she gets to develop her independence and play skills while I get to maintain (maybe even increase!) my fitness and sanity, win-win! I always bring a snack for us to share outside the gym when we’re finished up. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see that I often document our “conversations” during this time that has come to be a special tradition between she and I.

On Fridays during this time block, we go to the local library for a Mommy & Me developmental play hour which is super fun for Taylor, a little stressful for me (because she is literally the Energizer Bunny + Tazmanian Devil in this environment), and overall great for her development. Anything for T.

11:30 AM – When we get home from the gym, I make lunch for Taylor to eat before she goes down for her nap. Her lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, a toddler approved Green Smoothie, Annie’s Mac and Cheese (no shame in my game!), plus some fruit and water.

12-2 PM – Naptime, glorious, naptime. Although T’s naps have been hit or miss over the last few weeks, she typically naps for 2-3 hours a day. During this time I shower, work on blog-related stuff and/or my Lipsense/SeneGence business, start or finish a load of laundry, and (somedays) clean one room of the house. I create a prioritized “to do” list for each naptime block at the start of the week and get as far as I can through that day’s list, bumping unfinished business to the evening “Task” block or to the next day. Obviously, this system gets WAY backed up when Little Miss decides to boycott her nap/s, but I digress…

Stay at home mom schedule and routine for a toddler

2-4 PM – This is the time we either A) get outside of the house to play (if I have an errand to run that day, we’ll go on the way home), or B) play indoors and incorporate a learning/developmental activity. This may be a trip to the park or zoo, going outside in our backyard to play with her water table or playhouse, artwork or another craft in the kitchen (this art smock is a must, and under $5!), a make shift “fort” in the living room, or up to her playroom to “cook,” in her kitchen  or play with her toys and dress up clothes. 

Around 4:00 I offer T a snack whether we are at home or out and about. Her favorites these days are gummies, protein + fiber bars, and Goldfish.

http://bit.ly/2z0ZiJH

6-7 PM – I begin preparing dinner around 6:00. While I’m prepping for dinner AJ (the hubs), Curious George, Peppa Pig or Daniel Tiger babysit for Taylor, and we eat together around 6:30 PM.

7-8 PM – Almost every weeknight Taylor takes a bath, and then we go through her bedtime routine. Since I’ve been at home with Taylor, my hubby and I have been switching off every other night with who is “in charge” of the bedtime routine. On my nights off, l usually take a bath with my favorite bath bomb and enjoy some “me time.” This time is so critical, especially on the nights when I need to put in evening work to catch up on or create something for my businesses.

9-11 PM – This is the time where I (usually) try and get things I didn’t get done earlier in the day done. Although, many nights all I do is enjoy a glasses of wine (or 2 or 3) and a crime show with my hubby on our comfy couch. Those are the best weeknights of all : )

I would love to know what your stay at home mom routine  and toddler schedule looks like. I love getting ideas from other mamas like you! How is it different than ours? How is it the same?

XO,

Ashley

How to create a low stress daily routine for a stay at home mom and a toddler schedule

 

The Transition From Career Mom To Stay At Home Mom

How to rock the transition from working mom to stay at home mom.

Whether you carry the title of “Mom” exclusively (“stay at home mom”) or are a “working mom” outside or inside the home, it’s rare that anyone truly sees or gives you credit for ALL you do in your role as a mom.  

You don’t add “Mom” to your resume because the results you’re producing can’t be quantified, even though it’s the most important title you’ll ever hold.

You’re indispensable (the boss!) but there is no corresponding salary, nor performance bonuses to cash in on.

You’re really good at this motherhood thing; you are constantly honing your craft, but there isn’t a career ladder to climb or promotions to be given.

You punch in for this job, but you NEVER punch out…

So, especially as a stay at home mom, how do you respond when you’re asked the question,

“What do you do?”

Before I get into how I’ve been answering that question lately, let me first say that (45 days in) I do not have a single complaint about the stay at home mom life. It is a privilege and a blessing, and it is the life I chose. While there are certainly effects of this major change worth mentioning (and writing future posts on!): financial adjustments,  shifting responsibilities and dynamics in our marriage, acclimating to a new home and town, finding “me time” when I’m an introvert at home all day with two extroverts, etc., life is good. I go to bed each night excited that I get to spend the next day hanging out with my girl. I’m not missing anything. My husband is amazing, supportive and works incredibly hard and well to support our family. This lifestyle, this (at least mostly) undivided time…I’m living my dream and I’m so, so grateful.

Side Note: I  find the “stay at home mom” and “working/career mom” labels obnoxiously pigeonholing and misleading but I’m still going to use them here for sake of clarity; I think we can agree that ALL moms are full-time moms, and stay at home moms do a lot more than just stay at home.

We’re all just doing what we feel is best and what works for our families – and a darn good job at that!

From Career Mom To Stay At Home Mom – Update #1

Something I realized during the initial transition period from career to stay at home mom, and not something I’m super proud of admitting, is just how much of my identity is tied up in how other people perceive me based on what I did/do. 

I know a job title, salary or anything else external does not define my worth, but on more than one occasion I found myself responding almost apologetically to the question about what I do sayin something like, “I’m just a mom right now, but I used to…” I reference my previous occupation as if it increases my standing in the eyes of the person who asked; I add words as if they add value – as if being “Mom” is not enough. 

I don’t assess others (especially moms) in this way, I know that being a mom is one of the highest callings + most demanding jobs out there, and I was very confident in my decision to put my career on pause and be a stay at home mom, so my words and reaction came as a surprise. Maybe it’s that I felt competent in my profession, but I’m still getting my footing and confidence in this all day mom/homemaker thing.  Maybe it’s the subconscious influence of the society we live in, undervaluing what we do as moms and overvaluing productivity/money-making/achievements. Whatever it is, I felt the tug of my pride, and a wrong thinking showed itself in need of correction.

How to rock the transition from working mom to stay at home mom.

Confidence & Worth As A Stay At Home Mom

Fortunately, motherhood has a beautiful, humbling, refining quality when we reflect upon and act out of the experiences we have along our journeys; Oftentimes this brings a reminder of a simple, deep truth like it did in this instance for me – no matter what we do part time, full time, inside of the home or outside of it, we are defined by who we are.

Not by the title you have or someday wish to hold.

Not by what you do or don’t do.

Not by what you have or haven’t accomplished.

Not by accolades or criticisms from others, and certainly NOT by the amount of money you earn or don’t.

True worth has nothing to do with the external, and everything to do with the internal and unseen – the “who” you were created you to be, the person you are in this world. As moms, we ALL struggle with thoughts that we aren’t enough, that we aren’t contributing enough to our family financially or time wise, or that we’re just generally not doing things right.

Well, I’m here to tell and/or remind you that you alone are absolutely enough and that – as long as your kids are loved, safe and mostly happy -there is no wrong or right way to “mom”.  Feel good about doing what feels right to you and works for your family.

YOU are a gift to your family and this world and you should have every confidence in the person and Mom that you are. There is nothing else you need to prove to anybody.

As for me, I will continue to pour my talents, heart, soul, mind, and skills into my family and raising our precious daughter without the time + mental commitments to another job for this season of life. There will be times in the future when I use my gifts toward other ends and maybe even pick up where I left off with my career, but my current path is “stay at home mom” to Taylor.

That is enough.

I am more than enough.

My role as Mom is invaluable.

The same is true of you.

So, the next time I’m asked what I do, with shoulders square and the confidence and pride ALL mamas should have, I will simply say, “I have the privilege to be a Mom.”

When you’re asked, “what do you do?” how do you respond? Could you relate to any of the thoughts I shared in this post as a working mom or stay at home mom? I would absolutely love to hear from you. 

This is the first in a series of posts on the journey into SAHM life and this big transition for our family, so stay tuned + make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already.  Do you know a mama who could use this encouragement? Please share this with them! 

Update: Check out the next post/update in this series HERE!

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in reading:

How to rock the transition from working mom to stay at home mom.


What I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging

This time a year ago I had about 5 posts waiting in the Word Press wings when I pressed “Publish,” and this blogging adventure began. I’m pretty sure that the only people who read those posts, or any subsequent ones over the next couple of months, were my husband, parents and best friends. Flash forward only one year, and I still can’t quite believe when I see that there are hundreds of women who visit this blog each day. Although that’s small peanuts as compared to many bloggers, I’m still excited by that because it means I’m putting content out that my fellow mamas are finding useful.

I remember being kind of embarrassed to put myself out there as a “Blogger” to an extent that those who know me in real life are, I’m sure, surprised by. I’m an introvert to the core, but this year I found a passion in this creative forum which allows me to connect and share experiences with other moms all across the world. Taylor-made Mama is like one big,  borderless, online Mommy Group, and I love it!

I’ve learned a TON this year  (I surely NEVER thought I’d be teaching myself to code!), yet I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what I need to know in order to do all I want to here. I started this blog while on Maternity Leave as a way to document my experiences as a new mom and share #momhacks I learned along the way, and hopefully share that with any friends and family who might want to keep up with our little family. Sounds easy, right? I had a personal blog years ago that documented the highs and lows of being a Special Education teacher,  and I didn’t think this one would be much different in terms of effort…Well, let’s just say I was certainly naive to think a {trying to be} legitimate blog would be an easy addition to my already busy life,  trying to balance my version of it all.

The beginnings of my new workspace…

Bloggin’ Ain’t Easy

Quickly, I realized just how MUCH work went into this little corner of the internet, and also the possibilities it held… Blogging is super time consuming; the brainstorming, writing, pitching, photographing/editing,  researching, publishing and promoting is endless work if you allow it to be. However, once I got started I knew this was something I wanted to continue and expand upon despite losing sleep, replacing gym time with blog work or the humbling realization that this isn’t something I would be ever instantly be a pro at.

Today, on the 1 Year Anniversary of Taylor-mademama.com I celebrate sticking with this for an entire – extremely busy – year and all that I’ve learned so far, but even more so I celebrate YOU.  

I’m SO thankful to each of you for the support and encouragement you’ve given me along the way. Thank you for taking time out of your days to open your email or browser to read this blog, comment, email questions, hang out with me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, participate in my Giveaways, etc. There are literally millions of Mommy Blogs out there, but you stick around here with me. I can’t thank you enough for that.  You make all the time and effort worth it.

What’s Next

In January I sent out a Reader’s Survey asking what you’d like to see more of on the blog in the coming year (aside from cute Taylor pics, bc you know you don’t even have to ask for those!) and you let me know you want more time management, workout, organization, and meal prep advice and printables, as well as updates my current Mama Must Haves.

As timing would have it, my last day of work outside the home also happens to be today – June 29th! Now that I’m a full time Stay At Home Working Mom (SAHWM? that’s how I’m labeling myself anyway), I’m looking forward to having more time and energy to pour into this blog and adding more value – I have a ton of exciting things in the pipeline for you. 

I know my strengths and weaknesses as a Blogger, and I recognize I have a LONG way to go, but this is me sharing about motherhood, life and following dreams with you in a way ONLY I can. Maybe it isn’t starting a blog or quitting your job, but I hope I can inspire you to follow your own heart/dreams as a mom and person in this life. You have things to share with your family and the world that only YOU can, and it’s never too late to change direction in life and follow your passion and purpose. You’ll be happier and a better mom for it, I promise.

I hope you continue to find encouragement, motivation, and inspiration here. Thank you so much again for supporting me, friends. I love ya’ll!

Gratefully,

Ashley

P.S. Below are a few of  the tops blog posts from the first year of Taylor-made Mama, in case you missed them:

  1. Maternity Leave Routine For Mom & Baby
  2. The Ultimate 1st Birthday Party Planning Guide
  3. Tips For Making Dining Out With A Baby/Toddler Less Stressful
  4. Baby Car Kit Essentials
  5. Tips For Successfully Pumping at Work

How A Baby Changes Everything

This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Although they are little, babies sure can create BIG change in our lives.

From the day Taylor was born until today SO much has changed for us. If you follow us on Instagram you probably already know that we moved to our new home/city last weekend and that in about a month I will be leaving a 10+ year, successful career to stay home with Taylor. If interested, you can read more about that decision HERE. The reason for mass amounts of change in a relatively short timeframe? An itty, bitty newborn baby who has grown way too quickly into an {almost} full blown toddler.

Our move represents the incredible way that a baby can change your internal + external priorities and reality…

Before and even during pregnancy, I thought I wanted to be a working mom of 1 child only, and my hubby and I had our life planned accordingly. We certainly didn’t think that, within a year of T’s birth, that we would reorganize our financial and physical life in order to allow me to stay at home with her. Nor did we imagine we would search for a home that would be able to (hopefully, someday, no I’m not pregnant) accommodate another baby! But, as I am sure you have experienced in your own way, a baby can be quite the catalyst for change.

As we packed up the home we spent our first year as a family in I couldn’t stop thinking of all the memories we made in those rooms and how much growing we all did in different ways. However, I’m super excited for this new chapter in our lives. It will be one with undoubtedly less “me time,” but filled with so much more “us” time and for that, I’m incredibly grateful.

Luckily, through all of the change, Carter’s has us covered.  Taylor has grown up in their zip-up playsuits (hello, easy diaper changes!) and I may or may not have spent WAY too much money during their Memorial Day sale on tons of the cutest swimsuits and outfits for Taylor’s summer.  Carter’s has compiled some of their most classic, tried & true styles (including the zip-up playsuits) to comprise the Little Baby Basics Collection.

Little Baby Basics baby clothes are sized newborn through 24 months. As your baby – and you –  go through all the changes (and growth spurts) involved in the first 1+ year of their life this is a line of baby boy clothes and baby girl clothes that you can count on for consistent quality, affordable prices, comfort and – very importantly – cuteness! I mean, look at the elephant detail…those pant ruffles… *sigh*

The Original Body Suits from the Little Baby Basics Collection, like the ones Taylor is shown wearing throughout this post, are must-haves in any baby wardrobe. They are sold (for incredibly reasonable prices) in packs of 5 coordinating patterns + designs which also makes them an adorable baby shower gift.

Carter’s has offered a generous coupon to my readers, available now through July 4th, 2017. With this coupon, you’ll receive 20% off their already great prices if you spend $40 or more, in store or online. Stock up for now, later or even a future baby shower gift:


Not sure where your local Carter’s store is? You can find the nearest store by clicking here.

Happy Shopping and remember to savor each and every moment with your little one/s – it flies by too quickly not to!

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

Like what you read in this post? Please share THIS LINK on Facebook, or PIN the image below:

Why I’m Leaving My Career To Be A Stay At Home Mom

Working Mom. Stay At Home Mom. Work At Home Mom.

An unfortunate truth is that, no matter what your decision or family circumstance in regards to work and motherhood, there will always be people who question, criticize or judge.

Since making the choice to put my career on pause to be at home with Taylor most everyone has been amazingly encouraging (i.e. the overwhelming, positive response on Instagram when I originally shared our news in this post). However, I have also had people ask directly – or behind my back – why I’m making the decision that I am, why I’m leaving what I’ve worked so hard to achieve over the last 10+ years…

Well, my answer is this: it feels right to my heart, I want to be the one to care for Taylor every day of the week, and it’s what is possible & best for our family. I know I will be the best version of myself as an individual, wife and mom because of this choice. Not to mention, I am also confident that my skills and drive will not simply vanish because I choose to stay home for a season of life.

Trust me, I can hold my ambition AND my baby. 

Not every mom feels like I do. Not every mom is wired the same. Not every mom has the same family circumstances and/or opportunities.

There are moms who absolutely love to work outside the home and would go crazy staying at home every day. They enjoy their work. They wouldn’t be the best version of themselves as an individual, wife and mom staying at home.  If that is you (I thought I would be you), be proud in your ability to balance work and home life in a way that feels good and right for you and your family; Although you may hear differently, there is nothing “wrong” or “selfish” with working outside the home because you want to. I know you know this, but you don’t love your career more than your child because you choose to work.

I know working moms who would love nothing more than to stay home with their babies, but are not able to do so. If that is you, please know that you are giving everything you can to contribute to raising and sustaining your family, and you are simply amazing. I feel your heart – being a working (outside the home) mom isn’t easy to begin with, but it’s downright hard when your heart wishes you were elsewhere. 

Work from home moms…I seriously don’t know how you do it. I can’t even get anything with this little side job blog of mine done from home now that Taylor’s down to one nap on my Friday off… If you’re pulling off the work at home mom life, my hat is off to you.

Then there are moms who have always envisioned being a mom and who couldn’t wait to quit their day job when they became one to stay home and raise their babies. In a world where so many moms do work outside the home by necessity or choice, you might feel like the minority (again, maybe that’s just the area where I live?). You may feel isolated, and even find yourself wondering if the 24/7 job you are doing is even noticed. Well, it is by those of us who “get it” and, most importantly, by your kids/family every day. Don’t ever feel less than because you are “just” a mom. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Finally, there are moms who make the difficult (and expensive) choice to leave successful careers to stay at home at some point in motherhood. Co-workers or others around you may not quite understand why you’re leaving the workforce to be “just” a mom. You’re letting down women who paved the way before you. You’re wasting your degrees.  Even some friends and family may question why you’d walk away from a job, salary and potential career opportunities you’ve worked hard to earn – and expensive mistake…Although I can only hope you have loved ones who are nothing but supportive.

Why I chose to put my career on hold to be a stay at home mom

I know that I am a very girl to have the choice to make between working and staying home with Taylor. Staying home is a luxury. I recognize that having a parent at home not every family’s reality, especially given the insane housing market (or is that just where I live?).  For me the decision to move toward Stay At Home Mom-dom was made after making the initial choice to return back to work after Taylor was born. I thought that’s what I wanted to do. I envisioned that as being my perfect reality of having “it all”. I did have my version of “it all,” but I couldn’t balance it. At least, not in a way that took away the ache or made me feel at peace in my heart.  Even working part time, and having my mom and husband watching Taylor in our home while I worked, the anticipation of needing to go back to full time eventually provoked an anxiety in me. I wasn’t expecting to feel that way, but there it was.

Long story – full of prayer, worry, life changes, thought and decision making – short, my husband and I are now changing up our entire life to make this happen because it is what we want and what works best for our family.  Over time, my parenting and work life will both ebb and flow, but neither will end; For this season, I am afforded the precious, irretrievable gift of time with Taylor, and any other babes we may be blessed with. Work can wait.

Criticism about your choice to work, stay home or somewhere in between?

What I want to say to you – and myself – is this:  

If you decide to continue or start working outside of the home when you have kids, even if you don’t financially need to…

If you decide to leave a successful career to be a stay at home mom…

If all you’ve ever wanted to be in life is a mom, and now you are one, happily at home…

There will always be people (even friends and family) – for reasons of insecurity, jealousy, selfishness, ignorance, or boredom- who will criticize the decisions you make in your life. Trust me when I say that it will only serve to bring YOU down and/or drive you crazy if you let the opinions of others influence the way you feel or cause you to question what you know to be right. So, whatever your #momlife looks like, remember that only you and your family truly know what works, and believe that your mama heart is just a committed as the next. And, if you’ve made it to the end of this very long post – thank you : )

Have you ever felt judged for the decision you’ve made to either work or stay home? I’d love to hear about your experiences and answer any questions you have about my journey. 

If you related to this post, I would appreciate if you would share it on Facebook with THIS LINK!

P.S. If you are considering making the decision to leave a job you like/love to stay at home for a season like I was, I encourage you to be confident, brave and just take the plunge. Do I have worries and some anxiety about making the transition? Do I worry about how, when and if I’ll get back onto my career path some day? Sure. Although I know the transition won’t necessarily be completely smooth sailing, I can honestly say have not felt any regret and my heart is at ease. I hope the same for you!

Other Ta[y]lor-made Mama posts you may be interested in:

2017 Blog Reader’s Survey

*I originally sent our this survey as an email. However, many of you reached out to me yesterday to let me know that you were unable to submit the survey – thank you so much for letting me know!

Due to this error in processing, I’m embedding the survey below for your convenience.I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and honest feedback by answering the questions in the short survey. It will help me tailor my posts to what YOU want to read about!

P.S. EVERYONE THAT COMPLETES THE READER’S SURVEY AND PROVIDES THEIR EMAIL ADDRESS IS ENTERED TO WIN A $10 STARBUCKS GIFT CARD!

A Simple Way To Create A Christmas Card Memory Book

Want to preserve the magic of Christmas all year round?

I know I do, especially this year with it being Taylor’s first!

One of my favorite traditions of the holiday season (up there with my xmas morning Monkey Bread) has always been receiving Christmas cards in the mail. Beginning around the end of November, I anticipate the mail each day hoping to receive a card with the beautiful, smiling faces of another friend or family. As a child, my mom always displayed each card our family received on our refrigerator, and I can remember admiring them every day and missing them when they were inevitably taken down. I honestly don’t have any ingenious way to display the cards we receive and should really step my game up at at some point (I just use red twine similar to this and mini wooden clothespins) but I wanted to share the simple way I save the cards and keep them accessible (but not up on the wall) all year long.

The past few years I have been preserving our Christmas cards after the holiday season is over simply by hole punching them with a single hole punch and binding them with a single binder ring. I keep the cards for the previous year in a drawer that I can easily access throughout the new year whenever I want to see our loved ones; it is a good reminder to continue to pray for the health and well being of each family, not just during the Christmas season. Can you imagine how much more connected you would feel to your friends and family throughout the new year if you started your day with a cup of copy, sending prayers and/or positive thoughts for them out into the world? This is a goal I have for the new year – less focus on me and my needs, more on those of my friends and family.

This year I brought out the 2015 memory book and let Taylor flip through photos of my favorite people. Our family card last year (2015) featured a picture of AJ and I on our Honeymoon and a 20 week ultrasound of our baby girl. One of the most special photos from the hundreds I took at our various celebrations this Christmas season is Taylor looking at that card from a year ago. She was randomly flipping through and looking at the pictures, but paused and touched our faces in recognition when she got to our card. Sometimes I still can’t believe that our precious baby girl is now here with us, and that we get to celebrate all our Christmases from now on with her (pinch me!). I anticipate that as she grows older, she will truly love flipping through the cards throughout the year and identifying the faces and names of friends and family who she loves but doesn’t get to see all the time.

Here are the super simple and inexpensive supplies you’ll need to put together your own Holiday Card Memory Book for 2016:

1.) A set of loose leaf binder rings. Stack your cards and hole punch in the top left corner with the second supply,

2.) A single hole punch.

3.) Put your own Holiday Card on top as the cover or use the one I created for our memory book this year:

If you would like to use my cover, leave your name and email address below and I will send it directly to your inbox. You’ll also receive Taylor-made Mama post updates and be automatically entered to win my bi-monthly Mama Must-Have Giveaways!

What do you do with all of your holiday cards once the new year begins? Leave me a comment and let me know!

P.S. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE. Subscribers are automatically entered to win my bi-monthly Mama Must-Have Giveaways!

Merry Christmas 2016 + a gift to you

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!


This is definitely our most special Christmas yet, as it is Taylor’s first. Christmas is already a important celebration to us, but there is something even more magical this year. Today we’re heading out to spend time with our best friends, and then to church this evening (wish us luck getting through an hour with a squirmy 8.5 month old!).Whatever you do to celebrate, I hope that you have a lovely next few days full of yummy food, laughter, friends and family time.

I’m so thankful that you read this blog, and wanted to give a little early Christmas gift as a token of that appreciation. Below is a gift card to Starbucks loaded with $50; you just need to ask your barista to scan the barcode. Please use the card for just one drink so that as many people as possible can grab a festive beverage today (skinny peppermint mocha anyone?!). Enjoy! And, please forgive the “Hi Merry” – apparently I don’t know how to fill in fields properly : )

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Let me know what you get down in the comments!

 

How To Be Confident In Your Postpartum Body

Postpartum Body Image

Have you lost all the weight you gained during pregnancy, or maybe none at all? Maybe you’ve even gained a few extra pounds? Is your skin looser, your belly softer? What about stretch marks? Are your muscles less defined? How about finding cellulite in places you don’t remember having it? Do you wake with heavy, dark-rimmed eyes from lack of sleep?

Well, I have something to tell you and I want you to really hear it – you are BEAUTIFUL.

Society puts so much expectation and value on “getting your body back” or keeping up with a certain standard of postpartum put-togetherness. But the truth is that your post baby body and self really is beautiful, in the very truest sense of the word.

When you get down onto the floor to play and interact with your little one even though your knees and back ache, you are beautiful.

When you wake in the middle of the night – eyes half closed in delirium – to nurse or warm a bottle for your sweet baby, you are beautiful.

When you hold your little one after they’ve fallen asleep until your arms ache and burn, just so you can savor the closeness for even a few minutes longer, you are beautiful.

When leggings are all that fits comfortably over your new, softer shape as you get ready in the morning for your 24/7 shift of mommyhood, you are beautiful.

When the muscle you worked so hard to build has dwindled away, but the extra hours you once spent lifting in the gym are now spent lifting and nurturing your babe, you are beautiful.

When you sacrifice your sleep, your time, your figure, your career, and even your sanity sometimes, all for the benefit of that precious gift you’ve been given, you are so very beautiful.

You held and sustained a life within you for 9+ months, and you give your all to nurture that same life now. Eventually the weight will come off, the bags under your eyes will lighten up as you’re able to get more sleep, the stretch marks will fade, and some day {when your little one isn’t so demanding} you’ll have the time to “get your body back” if you choose to. You may also decide that goal is not as important as you thought it would be, if at all.

You are a different woman now; you’ve changed from the inside out, just as your body has. You are more compassionate toward yourself and able to see more clearly what truly matters. You appreciate what your body was able to accomplish and are in love with the product of your labor, quite literally. Your priorities and perspectives have shifted and you know in your bones that you are beautiful just as you are, physical reminders and all. If you can’t feel this right now, allow yourself to start to. It’s the truth and a foundation for confidence worth cultivating.

You are beautiful, Mama. Believe it.

xo, Ashley (1)