How I Stay Sane: a SAHM Guide

Part of the constant struggle of being a SAHM for me is staying busy. Not that I can’t always find a cobweb that needs sweeping or a dish that needs washing or a sippy cup full of spoiled milk that needs tossing, cause I can.

When Cedella was born and I was all alone with her all day I can remember how much I felt the urge to clean everything, always, non-stop. Then when I was IM’ing with friends a week or so ago (Hi Ashley and Nicole!!) I was reminded that in those days, keeping my child alive, fed and clean was priority one. Keeping the house clean was two. Keeping my husband fed and clean was three. And me? Well…I was probably around number 1001 on the list of priorities.

Over the past three years I have really expanded my social circle in Lansing and am so incredibly happy to say that I have real friends here. Friends to go to movies and awesome new restaurants with, that don’t mind if we talk about kids and husbands all night. Friends that are just as nutty and obsessed with baby carriers as I am. Friends that don’t look at me funny when I’d rather give my girls garlic, lemon and honey than antibiotics when they’re sick. And friends that I can trust the birthing of my babies and my kids lives forever after with.

It’s not easy this whole motherhood thing. But knowing that I have these woman, well that helps so much more than I ever imagined it would.

So with this incredible social circle I am able to keep sane on any given week.

What are my other secrets?

Secret #1: Getting out of the house!!!

It sounds simple. But anyone that has a 3 year old will tell you that getting them dressed and out of the door is a feat in and of itself. But add a second small creature (and their belongings) into the mix? Well you might as well be packing for a trek to the moon. So leaving the house with two may be intimidating and even sound counterproductive. But just the act of getting everyone into the car and heading out for an adventure is enough to clear any bad moods and put smiles and giggles back into the day. Fresh air and some fresh tunes on the stereo = happy family.

Secret#2: Get Involved in Local Groups

I go to about 4 or 5 meetings/playgroups a month. Once a week at least. Counting it up that way seems like a lot, but it’s so worth it. Not only did getting involved in a local mom’s Meetup group help me to meet one of my closest friends, Leslie, it brought Cedella her BFF Anna. So thankful that for the small time I participated in the group I was able to meet Leslie (she gets bloggy with it at Pretending to be a Grownup, go visit her so she’ll write some more :)), and from there Katie. And being involved in both the local LansingBabywearers and Delta-Waverly La Leche League has allowed me to meet and befriend so many awesome mamas like Gwen, Cindy, Kristy, Meghan, Jessie, Zaje, Mia and the aforementioned Nicole and Ashley.  Not to mention our amazing birth center (which sadly closed in October) which brought me so many more life-long friends like Annie, Heather, Molly, Clarice and Audra. Finding all these outstanding ladies to connect with has been a life-saver. Knowing that there’s always someone to vent to or get suggestions from keeps me from feeling like my children are conspiring to kill me. Thanks ladies 😉

Secret#3: Getting dressed

Now I love my yoga pants as much as everyone else, don’t get me wrong. I can be found in them pretty constantly when I’m in the house. But I do not wear them in public. Unless I’m literally going to a yoga class. When I leave the house I get dressed like I would have when I had a job. Granted I wear more jeans than I would have to work, but jeans wash anyway sticky kid handprints better than dress pants. And I wear makeup. Full face, definitely mascara, sometimes lipstick (but usually chapstick). Every time. It makes me feel like a whole person and not only somebody’s Mommy. Though it may be hard to find clothes to accommodate both my mama body and my fashion sense (see RANT here) it’s worth it to find fun clothes that make you feel good about your self. Yes, it has meant buying a bigger size than before I was pregnant. But it’s worth every penny to feel cool and confident and ::gasp:: sexy again. Also, by getting yourself in order you project the image that you are organized and have things all together. That leads me to…

Secret #4: Let the House be Messy

Being all put together and fashionable in public no one will ever know or even care that your house is a total disaster. Because if you can put on mascara before a playdate who cares if your sink is full of dirty dishes, right? But seriously this is one of the biggest things I’ve had to let go over the past 3ish years. Since becoming a SAHM there is such a battle over what my actual role and job is. Am I Chief Child Care Provider only? Or Nanny with a splash of Housekeeper? Some days I feel like I’m an all-out indentured servant. But it’s ok, because after nearly a year of caring for a small child and trying to keep my house immaculate I gave up. Toys are always on the floor, there’s always a laundry mountain in the corner of a bedroom and there are dishes in the sink. And you know what else? My children are clean and smart and loving. They have oodles of time to play and learn and laugh with their mama. And that is really more important than spotless floors, no?

Secret #5: Invite Someone Over

But whenever you’re feeling like the entire cluttered mess is getting out of control and you just can’t take it anymore…invite some friends over to play, or better yet, for dinner. Cause then you have to clean the house. And usually you only have like two hours to do it. I get more done in that way than I ever do when I have a full day with nothing on the schedule. And usually it stays that way for days after. I hit every single room (except our bedroom) and the whole house is wonderful for at least a week. I’m seriously considering weekly dinner parties…

Secret #6: Stop doing things that you’re not getting help with.

Or perhaps my most important tip for household woes. When my husband stopped putting his dirty clothes in the hamper (cause I’m not his mama and refuse to pick his dirty drawls up off the floor two feet away from said hamper) I stopped doing his laundry. One day he had no clean underwear. He was a little pissed. I was more pissed. For the most part he’s pretty good about getting the things in the hamper now. And doing dishes. And every once in a while he surprises me by taking the garbage out before I’ve removed it from the bin and propped it up against the back door. It’s the little things…

Secret #7:  Alone Time/Mom’s Night Out

And my above all gotta-make-time-for-it secret is to get out of the house with only other ladies in tow and have some fun!! It could be dinner and a movie or dinner and drinks or just dinner. Huh. Apparently my girl’s night outs always have something to do with food. Or drinks. Well, let’s be honest, that’s a great place to start. Whatever you do make it a regular thing. I still go to the book club at my old library, driving over an hour in various weather conditions once a month to see my amazing book-loving friends. Not just because I can’t find another book club but because it’s my thing, my regular monthly night to talk to other adults. It is like air to me at this point. Plan these things in advance and just do them. If someone asks you to go do something without your children for heaven’s sake just. say. yes. And at the end of the night, when you’ve had a great time, schedule the next one!

Hope that some of this Mama wisdom is helpful to you. As always take it with a grain of salt and use whatever works for your family. But please, remember, your family only runs well if it’s engine, it’s brain, it’s soul, it’s Mother, is doing well. Take care of yourself and everything else will fall into place. We as mothers and women need to start treating ourselves with respect and loving ourselves. Cause we really do make the world go round.

Love to each and every one of you who reads this.

Photo from one a Ladie’s Night Out last summer. These ladies. They help me stay sane by getting a little crazy. If you know what I mean 😉






F&%* You Stitch Fix

*In my rage I mistakenly called this company by the wrong name. I have corrected my text but just want to be clear in efforts to be fair. 

In December I heard about this new company called Stitch Fix. A friend of mine reviewed the site on her blog and was thrilled with their service. Here’s their blurb about the service they offer:

“Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that delivers a truly personalized Fixof accessibly priced items directly to doors across the United States. Stitch Fix hand picks pieces for each client, to ultimately help them look and feel their best.”

Being that I trust her judgment and loved the idea of being assisted with feeling my best in clothes, I immediately filled out a ‘Fix’ request form.

I know what you may be thinking…”You’ve got great style, why would you need help picking out clothes?” So, maybe I’m tooting my own horn a bit by assuming you all think I have great style. Truth be told I’ve always been a clothes and fashion girl. I’m not a yoga-pants-out-of-the-house girl. I like to dress. I love clothes. But lately I am just struggling to find things that work on my body and are current while still being age appropriate.

So I was all excited to try this service, thinking that some hip 20-somethings in San Fran would surely be able to style me into an instant Cool Mom. And then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Other friends and fellow bloggers had already received their invites and their boxes. Where was mine?

Finally I got up the nerve to contact their FB admin to see just what the hold up was.

And this is the response I got…

HI Alexia,
I just spoke with customer service in regards to your profile and the wait list. Unfortunately, we have a very limited amount of XL inventory currently and we do not feel confident that we can pack you a great Fix. I understand that this is really disappointing but it is temporary. We are still a tiny company and while we are in Beta, we do all of the shipping, styling, and buying out of our San Francisco offices and we don’t have as much influence as we need in order to get our brands to carry a broad range of sizes.
We are currently in the process of changing this issue as quickly as possible. Our goal is to make women feel delighted and amazing with their style and experience. I would really like you to be a part of this and as soon as our vendors start shipping us all sizings, we would love to be your stylish best friend.
Thanks so much for your understanding and I apologize for the inconvenience.

To put it delicately I was incredibly hurt. As I read this tears welled up in my eyes and shame blazed red across my cheeks. I immediately felt like some huge over-weight unworthy person. All the feelings I’ve been having about being the largest I’ve ever been came rushing to the surface. It was crushing. 

But as the afternoon wore on I began to get mad. Really REALLY mad. So mad in fact that the first draft of this blog post is in the garbage because every other word was started with an F and ended with a UCKING.

Now I am still angry, but I have more clarity and understand that Style Fix and I will never be ‘stylish best friends’ cause Style Fix is an asshole.

Here’s my letter to this absurd company that I will be posting on their FB page asap.

Dear Stitch Fix,
After receiving your letter in regards to why you are not currently able to ‘pack me a great Fix’ I have to say, I was more than a little bit hurt. And now, I am downright angry. 
You claim to have limited inventory in XL sizes because you vendors aren’t shipping you larger sizes and you don’t have very much influence with your brands and that you are currently in the process of changing this issue? 
Well thanks but no thanks.
Even if I was to drop two dresses sizes overnight, I won’t be using your service now, next month or ever. 
You claim to want to help women feel their best and in one cold and off-hand email you made me feel worse than I ever have about myself, my body and my size. Shame on you.
Not that anyone in your company asked, but my wardrobe is full of items in sizes from M to XL, depending on the brand, but I felt XL best suited my hips for bottoms and dresses. And, like many mothers, I am used to dressing to camouflage the parts of my body I find the least attractive, so I often buy a size larger though it may not truly fit.
It is reasons such as these that I sought out your service intially. It was my hope that one of your ‘expert’ stylists could help me get my fashion groove back. But I see that wasn’t meant to be.
Because despite being in ‘beta’ mode or not having ‘influence’ with your brands as an American company catering towards American women you really should have been thinking a lot harder about how to dress the more than 50% of women who are over a size 14 in our country. Why would any company, beta or not, begin without catering to such a large percentage of their target market?
My body may not be model skinny or ideal but my body is strong enough to have held up loved ones in grief. My body has packed a million moving boxes. My body has swam two oceans and many seas. My body has filled a beautiful white dress as I said the words “I do”. And my body has grown and delivered two healthy children without surgery or drugs. My body is quite amazing really. 
Essentially you told me that my body has a few more inches than your brands are willing to cover or that your company is completely unprepared to help? Well fuck you Style Fix. Get a handle on the real world and real women because without that handle you are doomed to fail as a viable option for American women. 
Good luck. You’re going to need it. 
Alexia Mansour 

From now on I will be back to loving my perfectly imperfect body and continuing to work on being an active and healthy person in all aspects of life. And I will continue to rock my awesome style with the help of great stores like Loehmann’s and Target and little boutiques like Conversation Pieces, because not only do they have great selections of styles, but they get real women’s bodies. Who needs a stylist anyways? (Well…Lindsey Lohan does but I digress…)

Where are your favorite places to shop? Any online stores or brands I really MUST check out?

Thanks for reading my rant.