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

 

How To Become A LipSense Distributor

How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love

How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love

How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love

Hi there : )

Have you ever thought about a side hustle, or even starting up your own business to make money from home? Are you a blogger open to an additional source of income that could integrate easily into what you’re already doing? Are you obsessed with LipSense and want a 50% discount for $55 (the cost of a Starter Collection!)? Maybe you stumbled across this post looking for more information about how to become a LipSense Distributor (+ get a free color and gloss!)?

Well, if any of the above are you I want to tell you about an opportunity you’re not going to want to miss…

A Little About Me

My first introduction to LipSense/Senegence was 6 months ago when I had the opportunity to write a product review post for this blog. I was instantly hooked and couldn’t get over A) how well the product worked (I can kiss my baby/hubby all I want and never leave a mark!), and B) how CONVENIENT it was for a busy, working mom like I was at the time to put on a lip color once in the morning and have it last all day long. I’ve used LipSense religiously ever since!

I thought about becoming a distributor at that time for the discount (20-50% off) but wanted to research the company further and talk to other women who were already distributors before making the leap and starting up another business. I wanted to make sure this was a company and process I believed in as much as I loved LipSense.

Why I Became A LipSense Distributor

Flash forward and here I am – still busy as ever – but now with the opportunity to stay at home with my 1-year-old daughter, Taylor.  Although I put a successful career in Special Education on pause for this season, my ambitions and the desire to make money from home to contribute financially to our family are still alive and kicking.

How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love

How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love

I became a SeneGence Distributor to share incredible products I truly believe in + have an additional stream of income for my family, but also to share my love for entrepreneurship and being a #momboss. Over the last year, this blog has been an amazing way to build connections with and provide resources to other moms, but also turned into a profitable business.

Now my dream is to use this platform and my experience to inspire, encourage and help women + other moms to:

1) VALUE themselves, their beauty (inner and outer) and what they uniquely bring to this world,

2) BUILD a business to make money from home, if that is their desire.

The LipSense/SeneGence piece is just an addictively fun, beautiful catalyst to get there…

Do I have your attention? Ok good, read on to find out why and how to become a LipSense Distributor…

How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love

Why Should You Become A LipSense Distributor?

If you’re asking yourself the question, “Why should I become a LipSense Distributor,” here are 6 reasons I  say you should go for it!

  1. Your personal goals matter – If this is something that has peaked your interest, it’s SO worth taking the plunge and doing something for yourself and your family that you’ll be really great at! If you believe in yourself and you’re willing to learn + work, this is a GREAT business to jump into.
  2. Income potential with low investment cost – Becoming a distributor will only cost you $55. Yep, that’s it. Right now is honestly the ideal time to get in with this company. They are still relatively new (but very successful and growing like crazy), and there aren’t (yet) a ton of distributors. There are girls on my team who literally make tens of thousands of dollars A MONTH with SeneGence. As with any endeavor, you get out what you put in, so you’ll need to be willing to work but I’d say signing up is well worth the $55 investment.
  3. Perks of the discount – even if you just sign up for the discount alone, I think it’s worth it since you get 20-50% off all your orders. A lot of my team members (Taylor-made Beauties!) sign up just for the discount, and end up realizing the potential and fun of selling this stuff as well! Plus, as a SeneGence Distributor, all your makeup is a tax write off! Um, yes, please!
  4. Easy sell – Sene Gence products are great, but LipSense honestly sells itself. I would NEVER, EVER sign up to sell something I had to bug people to buy. You don’t have to worry about being that annoying, salesy person obviously begging for your business “following up” all the time (we all know at least one, right?). At this point, women are out there searching for someone to buy this stuff from – why not have that someone be you?!
  5. Incentives from SeneGence – SeneGence offers free trips, product,  and even cars as incentives! Plus, you get the opportunity to connect with some really wonderful women. Which leads me to the last reason why you should become a LipSense Distributor…
  6. You’ll have tons of support – I know this sounds biased, but I truly think my team is the best and we’re here to help you be successful at this. I have been floored at how supportive my team is – from time to advice, to resources. For example, my “Upline” is not only a genuinely caring person but a successful blogger + mastermind at online marketing (not to mention one of the top distributors in all of SeneGence)! I myself built a profitable blog/business over the last year while being a brand new mom AND working outside of the home; I’ve learned so much about social media and marketing and I am ready to share what I know with you. All that to say, if you sign up as a LipSense Distributor with me, you not only get me as your #1 fan/cheerleader, but you’ll also have access to the support, expertise, experience, and knowledge of the other amazing gals on my team! We got you : )

How To Become A LipSense Distributor + Make Money From Home:

If you’re ready to invest in yourself and get started as a LipSense Distributor, follow the steps below.

Step 1:

Head over to SeneGence.com.  Click on “Click here to sign-up now“:

How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love

When asked for your Sponsor’s Distributor ID Number enter 445440 (that’s me!).

You will also click “Individual Account”.

How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love

Confirm that, “yes,” I (Ashley Samadani) am your sponsor. Welcome to my team!

How To Become A LipSense Distributor & make money from home selling amazing, long-lasting beauty products! I'll show you how to start a business you'll love

After you confirm, you will be directed to a screen where you’ll enter all of your contact information.

Put your first and last name as your “fictitious business name”. This is just the name SeneGence makes your commission checks to.

Click that you want the new distributor package ($55).

Voilá! You’re an official LipSense Distributor!

Step 2:

I’ll get an email from SeneGence that you joined my team and I will help you get started! You will then have access to my private Facebook group and other materials to help you get off to a running start!

Bonus:

When you sign up under me and place your first order, you will receive a free color of your choice!

Ready to do this?

Join here & enter ID #445440 – I got you!

If you have other questions about becoming a LipSense Distributor please enter your email below and I’ll send you a packet with detailed info on SeneGence’s  commission structure (AKA how you’ll make your money) as well as Frequently Asked Questions about becoming a LipSense Distributor. 

You can also comment on this post with any questions you have and I’ll get back to you : )

I can’t wait to get to know you and help you achieve your goals!

 

 

 

Check out LipSense and SeneGence products, and be the first to know about my  frequent Giveaways and SALES over on the Taylor-made Beauty Facebook Group:

 

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

LipSense Lip Color – A Busy Mom Must Have

 

LipSense Lip Color is a smudge proof, kiss-proof lip color that lasts up to 18 hours - a must have for any busy mom who wants to look put together all day!

LipSense…

A lipstick that is kiss-proof, smudge proof, waterproof and lasts up to 18 hours?

Seems too good to be true, right? No way those claims are actually legit…

That’s exactly what I thought every time I saw LipSense pop up in my social media feeds over the last year or so. However, the idea of being able to put on lip color in the morning, kiss Taylor and my hubby goodbye/drink way too many cups of coffee without leaving a mark,  and not have to think about reapplying throughout my entire work day sounded really appealing. When I initially connected with Shana Carter, who offered to send me a Lip Kit to review and potentially share with you,  I was cautiously optimistic to give LipSense a try.

 

(Update: I actually became a LipSense Distributor in August 2017 because I fell in love with this stuff!! You guys, it’s that good of a product AND business opportunity!).

She sent me a Lip Kit which included a super pretty natural lip stain (Bella), clear Glossy Gloss, a pot of Lip Scrub and an Ooops Lip Color Remover. The first day I tried LipSense I could not get over how cool it was. It takes a little longer to apply than a regular lipstick, but no more than a minute for the whole process.  I definitely think I demoed how I could drink out of my coffee cup and not leave a single trace of lip color behind to way too many co-workers that day. I mean, check out this picture taken right before I left work the other day – after drinking multiple cups of coffee, yapping my way through several meetings, and eating a burrito for lunch – with color still clearly intact:

9.5 hours later, LipSense still hanging on!
Gloss, Dusty Rose, Heartbreaker and Bella.

I’m not even kidding when I say I don’t think I’ll  ever go back to traditional lip color.  After the initially LipSense experience, I contacted Shana right away and ordered two additional colors to add to my collection. I wore Dusty Rose, a slightly darker yet natural looking color, the day of Taylor’s first birthday party and never once had to reapply. I also wore Dusty Rose  to a friend’s wedding celebration out of town. and had to wait until the next day  to take it off as I had forgotten my Ooops Remover! How’s that for long lasting?!  Lastly, here’s an admittedly ridiculous picture of me in the middle of a work day sporting Heartbreaker, a fun spring/summer color:

Duck face for the sake of showcasing Heartbreaker.

This stuff is a total Mama Must Have, and I wouldn’t be posting about it today if I didn’t think it would be worth it for you to try out. Thank you to Shana Carter for gifting me with these three colors in exchange for a blog post.

Update: I loved and believed in this product so much that, as of August 2017, I became a LipSense Distributor myself (read all about that decision and how you can to HERE)! You can check out my in-stock colors, join my Facebook Group (where I host tons of Giveaways and sales!) and order LipSense here: http://taylor-mademama.com/beauty/

If you have ever thought about becoming a LipSense Distributor for the discount (20-50%!!) or to make money from home, please enter your email below and I’ll send you a packet with detailed info on SeneGence’s  commission structure (AKA how you’ll make your money) as well as Frequently Asked Questions about how to become a LipSense Distributor. 

You can also comment on this post with any questions you have and I’ll get back to you : )

What other beauty hacks am I missing out on? Please do tell!

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:

Building A Breast Milk Freezer Stash On Maternity Leave

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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View are 100% mine and I use all products referenced.

At my daughter’s two month check up, her Pediatrician asked if I had started working on a “freezer stash” to prepare for my return to work and the inevitable dip in my milk supply that would go along with it. I thought, ‘ummmm what the heck is a “freezer stash”?’ but replied, “no not yet, but I will soon.” I knew going back to work in 7 weeks would be an emotional rollercoaster anyway, but I hadn’t yet begun to worry about how to mitigate a potential dip in my supply when I initially returned. I have a goal of breastfeeding Taylor for her first year of life, and I didn’t want those first few days back to work to sabotage that goal. The minute I got home I commenced a frantic Pinterest search for how to create a back stock of breast milk while I still had time on maternity leave. My worry fueled me to make the time for and routine to create a freezer stash over the next 40 days or so and, little by little, I ended up with just shy of 100 ounces by the time I went back to work.

I’m so glad that I took that time, even though pumping when you’re home with your baby is super annoying (my hat is off to you if you’re an exclusive pumping mama!), because it alleviated the pressure to pump enough when I first returned to work – that transition was stressful enough already! Fortunately, with the help of my AMAZING and delicious lactation cookies I have been able to keep up with Taylor’s demands thus far, but the stash has come in handy for other reasons I hadn’t thought of:

  1. when my husband and I have gone on a date night a couple of times and my mom has watched her. For me, it’s nice to have that freedom every once in a while.
  2. my hubby has fed her a bottle of my milk at 3AM and so that I could get a full night’s sleep when I was on the edge of total exhaustion during the 4 month sleep regression
  3. to mix in with the homemade baby food I’ve been preparing. I’m only able to pump just enough for the next day at work.
  4. when Taylor had a particularly hungry day and my mom, who is a saint and watches her when I’m at work now that she is no longer at daycare, needed to give her an extra bottle beyond what I’d pumped the day before at work. I’m definitely a “just enough” pumper!

You can read more about my workday pumping routine here, and what I pack in my pumping bag here.

I’m not an expert, but if you are going to be returning back to work soon, I hope some of my experience and resulting advice will help you build up your own freezer stash and have the comfort of knowing you’ve got a backup while you’re getting back into your work routine. We mamas have enough to worry about, right?!

Tips For Building A Freezer Stash

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Pump in the morning after putting baby down for 1st nap –

Milk supply is at it’s highest in the morning hours, so this is the time I noticed I would get the most bang for my buck. I usually kept the bottle of pumped milk out until I was certain she would stay down for her nap for a while. If she woke up hungry, I didn’t want to be “out” of milk. No one wants to be tapped out with a cranky, hungry baby! As a side, but very important note, do NOT pump during a growth spurt as your baby will need all the milk you can supply (unless you have an over-supply of breastmilk).

Pump in the evening after putting baby to bed –

Each night I would strap on my handsfree pumping bra, settle down into our comfy couch, and watch a show with my hubby whilst pumping for 20 minutes, or until both sides had emptied. Often I would feel discouraged because I would get so little in the evenings (1-2 ounces), but trust me it adds up! You can always leave that milk in the refrigerator to combine with the next session’s liquid gold before freezing.

Label your storage bags before pouring in the pumped milk –

I label my bags with a Sharpie, noting the date, time and ounces. Some people note the exact time, but I just delineate between AM and PM. This is important so that you know which milk to use first.

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Store the milk in 2 and 3 ounce increments –

Storing milk in 2-3 ounce increments limits the potential for waste. If you fill each bag up to capacity and then thaw it out when needed, but your baby doesn’t eat all of it you can’t re-freeze or refrigerate it and it goes to waste. I froze a few 4-5 ounce bags, but mainly in smaller amounts. Here is a useful link I reference for how much milk to feed at what age.

After filling the storage bag, lay it flat to freeze –

After you make sure the bag is TOTALLY sealed (I put that in all caps because I’ve lost milk to a false closure – R.I.P.) lay it flat to freeze. Once frozen it is much easier to line up your little milky soldiers:

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Store the milk storage bags in reverse chronological order –

You want to be using the oldest milk first. Breast milk can keep in the freezer for up to 6 months, so you’ll walk to keep track. Here is a link from KellyMom.com that gives great guidelines for storing and handling breastmilk, including how long it can keep in the freezer.

That’s how I built up a freezer stash while on Maternity Leave!

I’m definitely not a lactation consultant or expert by any means, but I thought I would share my experience with you in case you find yourself in the same situation (returning back to work) and with the same goal (maintaining your breastfeeding relationship) and want to start your own stash. I know that having one definitely decreased my anxiety about returning to work, and has continued to feel like a safety net for us over the last few months.

If you’ve been through this already, I would love to find out what worked and didn’t work for you in building up your own freezer stash. Or, if you have any questions – I’m here for you!

Thank you for reading.

xo, Ashley (1)

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


Packing a Daycare Bag – For an Infant

Daycare bag contents

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I’m back at work now, fortunately only part time this year. 1-2 days per week Taylor attends a wonderful daycare/infant center right down the street. Do I wish I was with her instead? Yes, with all my heart. Do I feel confident that she is getting good care, socializing and developing without me a couple days per week? Absolutely. They do tons of developmental activities, she has an assigned “caregiver” who feeds her and puts her down for naps, and she gets a chance to socialize with the other infants which is nice for Taylor since she doesn’t [yet] have a sibling around. The other days she is with my mom, her Grammy, and my husband who works from home – huge blessings for our family.

Nowadays I feel like a total bag lady – my diaper bag, pumping bag, gym bag and now a daycare bag all have to be organized and prepared for each day before leaving the house. I posted about what I pack in my pumping bag HERE. I always make sure everything is ready to rock before I go to bed at night – if I leave that until the morning it’s highly likely I’ll forget something. If your mornings are anything like mine, there is way too much going on to with too little time to be sure everything makes it in the bag and out the door.

If you’re a new mom with a baby who will be in day care for part or all of the work week, I hope this post gives you some ideas for packing up your own bag before heading back to work.

A lot of the bags I looked at for Taylor’s daycare bag [like this one from Skip Hop which was a good price point] didn’t have quite the dimensions I needed to fit her milk cooler in the bottom. I purchased this bag by Bebamour because it a) had TONS of pockets and storage space, b) could be worn as a backpack [essential for getting out of the house with all those bags AND a baby/carseat!], c) a very reasonable price for the quality, and d) almost exactly the right amount of room to fit the cooler for her milk in the bottom. Plus, I think it’s super cute:

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Now, on to the contents of Taylor’s daycare backpack:

Daycare bag contents

1.The “Just In Case” gallon ziplock bag:

In this Ziplock I have a tube of Vaseline, MAM pacifiers [the only kind she’ll occasionally take], butt paste [this smells INFINITELY better than Desitin, IMO], mini hand sanitizer [I buy these in bulk and stash them everywhere] and disposable diaper bags.

2. SleepSack Swaddle

3. Bottles of milk and cooler

4. Warm weather spare outfit in a Ziplock

5. Cold weather spare outfit in a Ziplock

6. Wet/dry bag for bottles or clothes with spit up on them [darn you acid reflux!]

7. Comotomo Bottles:

We tried several different kinds of bottles, and this is the one Taylor took to consistently. The other brands that were recommended for breastfed babies may work for your babe, so I’ll link them here in case you need reference: Tommee Tippee, Lansinoh mOmma and Breastflow.

8. Wipes

9. Bibs [I adore these by Copper Pearl] & burp cloths [we use cloth diapers because they’re cheap and very absorbent!]

How does it all fit? Well, it was hard to get a good shot but you can hopefully see that I put the empty bottles in the front compartment [when I pick up Taylor + bag, the bottles are in the wet part of the wet/dry bag], the “Just In Case” ziplock is in the other front pocket, the cooler sits at the bottom, and all the other compressed ziplock bags +swaddle + wipes are in a stack turned sideways to the tight side of the bag. The wet/dry bag is wedged between the cooler and the side of the bag for easy access.

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That’s about it! If you’re sending your babe off to daycare for the first time like I am, I hope you both have a smooth transition.

Am I missing anything I could add to make my/Taylor’s life more organized? 

xo, Ashley (1)

If you liked this post, check out other posts in this series:


Working Mama’s Pumping Bag

Working Mama's Pumping Bag (1)

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T minus 5 days until the bliss that is Maternity Leave ends, and I return to work. True to the OCD that is within, all my bags are packed and ready to go: gym, daycare, meals, work/computer, and the subject of today’s post – the Pumping Bag! I’m a complete amateur at this working mama thing, so preparing ahead of time makes me feel more confident about the transition back.

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Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote

These days, most insurance covers a free breast pump. I chose to purchase my own because I wanted to have it from day one after Taylor’s birth, in case I needed it. Also, I liked the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump {not the one covered by my insurance} because it included a spacious tote that was also conspicuous enough for me to bring anywhere I needed to. It has a nice amount of space to store all the gear I need:

pumping bag contents
The contents of my Pumping Bag.

 

1.Wet/Dry Bag: These bags are über convenient. I also have one for my daycare and diaper bags as well.

2. Extra Pump Parts: I bought an extra set of pump parts so that I don’t have to necessarily wash the parts after each pump. I can just put the used set in the Wet/Dry bag to wash when I get home and use my second set for the next pumping session at work. I also keep two extra bottle lids and filters in the dry pouch.

3. Breast Pump & Accessory Wipes: This is another convenient way to keep everything clean and sanitary, without having access to a sink when you’re on the go. If I’m not on the go, and at my office, I’ll wipe off my pump parts before putting them in the wet/dry bag and put the bag in the refrigerator to keep it sanitary until the next pump. At night, I wash everything with soap and warm water at home.

4. Nursing Cover: In case I need to pump in my car or other non-private location.

5. Disposable Nursing Bra Pads: Because, leaks.

6. Snacks! – Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar: These protein bars are seriously delish – they have tons of flavor options and taste just like a wafer cookie, I swear.

7. Mini hand sanitizer – I like this alcohol free version.

8. Cooler and extra bottles

9. Hands-free pumping bra: This is an absolute must have item. I can still work on my laptop or make phone calls, while taking care of my other business : )

UPDATED 8/27/2016:

After being back at work for a month, and temporarily not having a private office to take care of business, I decided to transfer all the contents of my Medela tote {see above} into a larger, more inconspicuous, purse-looking bag. As I move throughout the office to whichever destination I end up in for the particular pumping session, no one is the wiser that I’m not just carrying a purse.  I found the perfect one by Sole Society:

I also came up with another time saver {and reason for needing a larger bag!}. I now store my pump parts in this Skip Hop cooler in between sessions, essentially utilizing it as a mini fridge. This saves me from needing to wipe down and sanitize in between pumpings!

I hope that this post was helpful for any nursing mamas preparing to head back to work, or gave ideas to add convenience for those who already have returned!

What do you pack in your pump bag? I can’t be the only perma-hungry nursing mama out there – what are your favorite healthy, go-to snacks?

xo, Ashley (1)

P.S. If you’re still nursing, make sure to check out all my posts on breastfeeding & pumping.

PS The tote I use for my pumping bag is this one by Sole Society, but here are several others that would be super cute: