Unscripted-Rachel Briggs An Interview
Confessions from stay at home mom Rachel Briggs, from her creative, hysterical, and often mundane life…
Tell me about your family and your blog?
I am a stay at home mom to a hysterical 4 year old boy that is my whole world, but growing up fast and a 2 year old diva with quite a personality. I think being a SAHM is the hardest, most under appreciated job that I have ever had, but equally it is the most rewarding. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful husband who supports my creativity and works hard; starting his own company, developing GPS units to track birds and other animals, so I can be home with our children. He is my real life fairy tale come true. My high school crush, some would say obsession, having gone to school with his twin brothers. There were mutual feelings felt between us but not expressed until our friendship turned into a relationship some 5 years later. 6 years after that we were married. We just celebrated our 6th year wedding anniversary, and it hasn’t been without it’s ups and downs, but I wouldn’t share this life with anyone else.
I started blogging back in 2007 through Myspace and made the transition to Blogger in 2008. I originally intended my current blog to be a place where family and friends could be updated on the happenings of our life, but it has since morphed into a place I can be myself. To express my struggles and triumphs as a stay at home mom, share my creativity as photographer, scrapbooker and writer and my joy and challenges as a wife. My goal is to be honest, and authentic. I think it was best put when I was told that I write the things that everyone else thinks/ feels but is afraid to say.
What common mistakes do you see moms doing that you wish they wouldn’t?
It really irritates me when I am at the park with my kids, or at McDonalds, or another fast food chain with a play area and Mom’s think that this time is best utilized as a gab session with their girlfriends or sit glued to their smart phones. You still have to parent your child at these places! I can’t tell you how many times I have been to these places and seen other kids hit, kick, spit, push, etc. other kids and sometimes my own, or even do things that are dangerous like climbing the outside of the apparatus right next to the sign that clearly reads, DO NOT CLIMB. I look around for the parent to step in and discipline their child but the parent is either no where to be seen, or totally oblivious because they are not paying attention, or they just simply don’t care and let their child continue to play without an apology or anything. I really want to scream at these Mom’s, “hello! Wake up and do your job.” You are the parent and that doesn’t stop just because you need some down time or are at the park with your girlfriends and their kids having a play date. Believe me, it is possible to catch up on the latest Housewives episode and pay attention to your child at the same time. There is no excuse for absent parenting.
What was your biggest challenge being a mom?
My biggest challenge as a mom has to be patience and balance. It’s difficult to not get frustrated when communication breaks down between you and your kids, especially in public places where they can get lost or hurt easily. It’s equally hard to find a way to give both my kids the same amount of attention and still find time for myself without total meltdowns occurring. On top of that I still have to do all the cleaning, shopping, cooking, and other daily duties and still manage to feel sexy enough to be the loving supportive wife to my husband. I swear I got exhausted just writing that. I think it all comes down to managing my time, and deciding what is really important and what can wait. It’s a work in progress. That, and the lack of appreciation. You don’t the “good job,” or “excellent work,” that usually comes when you have a boss at a 9-5 job. I miss that, and I need it every once in a while. To keep me motivated and positive. Not to mention that you don’t ever get a day off as a SAHM. There are no weekends, no holidays and even when you are on vacation you are still Mom.
What do you use coupons and special offers when you shop?
In this economy, we find ourselves tightening our purse strings as I am sure most families are doing. I recently took a coupon class from a friend, meaning like a few weeks ago, I kept seeing her post things about buying $200 worth of stuff for $.10 and just couldn’t understand it. I have never been one to clip coupons, only using ones for diapers or formula here and there a few years ago, but lets just say, when I saved over $100 on my first couponing shopping trip, I got hooked. I think though, it was the 20 FREE boxes of corn that really did it for me. So yes, I spend probably 30 min. a day gathering coupons and planning out my shopping list. It has really helped us save and stock up.
What are your top 10 tips for moms?
1. Find time for yourself. It sounds selfish and extremely difficult to obtain, but really the more time you spend on yourself the easier motherhood will become. Get involved with your child’s school, it’s a great way to meet other Mom’s. Join a book club or schedule a regular girls night or day out by yourself. Find something that interests you and go for it. It is really important to have times doing what you love, even if it doesn’t make sense, or money or achieve some kind of goal. It’s just as they say, if mommy ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.
2. Take advice from family and friends with a grain of salt. Yes there are times when they might have a tip or two that helps, but honestly when it comes down to it, you know your child better than anyone. Trust yourself, follow your instincts and your heart and try to ignore the naysayers. Someone is always going to disagree with you.
3. Try not to take things so personally. Your kids are not misbehaving because they hate you, they are testing the boundaries. It is a part of growing up. Also, don’t try to be perfect. It is an impossible goal and you will go crazy trying to achieve it and constantly falling short. We all make mistakes, learn from them and move on. Just strive to do your best. Really, you are doing a good job.
4. COMMUNICATE! It is vitally important for you and your spouse/significant other to communicate about anything and everything. It will make your relationship so much better and parenting so much easier.
5. Routine. Routine. Routine. It is important to establish a routine, especially with little ones. They thrive on knowing what to expect next. It will also help you know what comes next so things will run smoother and you can better manage your time.
6. Which brings me to Time Management. Learn it. Do it. Live it. I can’t express how important it is to manage your time because it is super easy for things to get out of hand and throw you of course. It only takes one little thing, like a forgotten load of laundry, or an unexpected doctors visit to throw your whole day into chaos. But if you manage your time you can handle the stick life throws in your wheel.
7. Children spell Love T-I-M-E. All they want is your time and attention, so even if you are super busy or both are working parents, take some time out of your day and play with your kids. Whether it be a puzzle you put together, draw pictures with sidewalk chalk, or play Wii, make sure you are there with them in the moment giving your undivided attention. Put away the computer, turn off the t.v., ignore the phone (even your cell). It doesn’t have to been an hour, but if your child knows that every day he gets 15 minutes with Daddy on the Wii or 20 minutes of story time with Mom before dinner, the bad behavior will die down. Because, lets be honest, they do it to get our attention. Just make sure you stay consistent with it.
8. Take the time to write letters to your children, or just keep a journal. The point is to document your life, your experiences as a mother, a wife, describing your kids as they are in their different stages of life. You might not think it is worth it, but your kids will cherish this many years from now, especially when you are gone. I can’t tell you how much I would have loved for something like this from my Mom, seeing as there are so many parallels between our lives. How nice would it be to know how my mom felt at 30, a recent mother of two and staying home? I would also love to know what my personality was like when I was two or three so I could compare that to my daughter’s.
9. Carry a camera with you everywhere. You never know when or where your child will do something memorable. Also keep in mind that studies have shown that showing children pictures of themselves raises their self esteem.
10. Keep it simple. You don’t need to spend a lot of time coming up with things or spending lots of money on the latest toy to entertain your kids. It is usually the simplest things that catch their attention. I remember when wrapping paper was the highlight of fun when my son was two. He would run around the room wrapping himself in it or jump off the couch into it, like a pile of leaves. Just the other day the kids were having a blast hitting balloons around the family room and often just being in the kitchen with me helping make dinner, cookies or even play dough are when they are having the most fun.
What are your favorite brands and where do you buy them?
I don’t buy too many brand name things, however if I find something I like, I stick with it. For example, I find that jeans from Old Navy or Gap fit me best. For the kids I love Garanimals from Walmart. I never buy clothes online because I prefer to try them on first. I buy Costco brand Diapers and Wipes. They work just as good as the Pampers I used to buy, but are way cheaper. I prefer the produce at Wegman’s, it is a much better quality. I mostly shop at Target, Wegman’s, Khols, and Walmart. I rarely go to the mall unless I am looking for something specific. I am never above hand-me-downs and always willing to pass on clothes, toys, and other unused items to friends or others in need. I mostly print my photos from Costco or online through ScrapbookPictures.com. My favorite scrabooking stores are Designer Digitals, Two Peas in a Bucket, and Scrapbook.com.
What are your contact details (this is optional, email, blog, Facebook, MySpace, forums etc) ?
Check out my blog, Unscripted, http://rachelcbriggs.blogspot.com
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NSLADMS
Who would you recommend and why?
If you are into scrapbooking I love Ali Edwards http://aliedwards.com, I enjoy her December Daily and Week in the Life album projects. Becky Higgins http://beckyhiggins.com, I love her Project Life products and it’s approach to documenting our lives.
I also read Rebecca Cooper from Simple as That http://rebeccacooper.blogspot.com, she has a lot of crafting with kids ideas as well as photography tips.
I seriously recommend checking out Pinterest. I can keep all my inspiration and ideas in one place. I get lots of great ideas for my kids birthday parties, tutorials on crafting/sewing and recipes to try. LOVE IT. Totally addicted.
Heather Armsrong from http://dooce.com is hilarious when it comes to motherhood. But I warn you there is profanity.
Momversation, http://www.momversation.com, has some really interesting discussions and thought provoking videos regarding all aspects of motherhood.
For couponing I find the site http://hip2save.com very helpful. She has videos and tips and gives you a rundown of what coupons to expect in the Sunday paper and what new printable coupons are available. She also lists deals by store such as Target, Walgreens, Harris Teeter, etc.
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