Parents: Give Yourself A Break

DSC06725.JPGA friend posted this article from Motherly this morning about how self-care isn’t enough and parents (especially moms) are burnt out.

I can completely understand. As the mom of a kid with ASD and ADHD, and well as a neurotypical firecracker of a 4-year-old, I feel like I am always going going going. And really, I feel like it’s not enough.

This summer I’ve said NO a lot. No to racing off to an activity each morning, no to lunches out, no to 5 playdates a week, the craft dates, all-day zoo adventures, and sojourns to the beach. Oh, and this would have been just 1 week of summer activities in the past. Imagine that for 8 weeks. Are you tired now?

This is something I want everyone who reads this to take the heart: NO IS A COMPLETE SENTENCE. 

Plus, I still need to do household chores, cook, laundry and make sure the big kid gets to therapy twice a week, I need to exercise at least 4 times a week.

In saying no to all of these activities, the kids are able to relax, which means they are in a better mood, which mommy is in a better mood. We are still doing stuff, but it’s more things that the kids can do at home or in a small group of friends.  We’ve been swimming at our community pool each day in the late afternoon, playing at the local park. We’re going to the YMCA a few times a week in the afternoon so the kids can play while I exercise. Stuff that is low stress.

Why is parenting harder? Why are we burned out? This article gives us some ideas. The increase in activities for kids (If you want to go to an Ivy League school Little Timmy, you need to start your extra-curricular activities at birth!), social media expectations (It’s like Keeping up with the Joneses on crack), the constant barrage of information and data being thrown at us (pics of our kids, nanny/daycare cams being sent to us, text messages, chat apps, always being connected to people and media). It’s overwhelming. It’s tiring. Being expected to be Instagram-ready or Insta -Perfect is frustrating and exhausting.

For special needs parents, it’s harder because, for the most part, our kids aren’t  “like everyone else”, so frequently we are ostracized from activities. It’s the truth, and it sucks. and it hurts. To shield my kids from this hurt and keep myself sane, we’ve stepped back from activities this summer.

I’m not going to give you a list of self-care activities that will help you de-stress. You already know what works for you, your family, your budget.  This is what I do.

What I want you to know, moms and dads that read this post:

You are not alone. There are other parents and caregivers out there that are feeling the same way you do. You don’t have to keep up with everything you see online. You are doing the best you can for your family. YOU ARE ENOUGH!

I found this shirt on Amazon and I had to share it. 

DIY Ombre Hair!

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Proof of my blonde-ness & that I had bangs

Last August, I had my hair professionally colored purple and pink, You can read about it here. As awesome as it was, it really damaged my hair. Bleaching your hair sucks.

I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 13. That’s… a long time. My hair has been pretty much any color you can think of- blonde, brown, red (so many shades of red), black, purple, blue, green….

In the resulting 10 months, I’ve been babying my hair. That means washing my hair twice a week with sulfate free, color safe shampoo, deep conditioning mask, including a weekly overnight leave-in mask, buying a new blow dryer that has a cold setting (which is awesome). And coloring my hair at home with very gentle semi-permanent depositing color in addition to the color (7IR Medium Intense Red Blonde) I’ve been using on my hair for the past few years. The red color blends well with purple and the damaged ends take color a little differently, so it’s usually a surprise what color they turn out- Some sort of purple-y pink most of the time.

I’ve cut off most of the damaged ends-  Right now the last 2 inches of my hair are all that remains of the bleached hair from last year. My hair grows fast.

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August 2018
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June 2019

I wasn’t interested in something as dramatic as last years transformation, especially since I am trying to get my hair to grow healthy again.

If you’ve never colored your hair before at home or if you have a job where funny colored hair isn’t allowed, I don’t recommend this at all!

If you’re new to hair color, especially funky colors, I do recommend Overtone. It’s a color depositing conditioner, and you can use it on any color hair. It won’t lighten your hair, but if you have dark hair, it will give you a cool colorful shine in the light. If your hair is lighter, The Overtone will give you a more obvious color.

So when I re-did my hair the other day, I didn’t take pics because my gloved hands were all goopy with hair color, but here’s what you need:

  • Gloves. I buy latex-free gloves by the box.
  • Hair color. I use this color (7IR Medium Intense Red Blonde).
  • Any developer that your color needs.
  • Glass bowl
  • Plastic spoon (you cannot mix hair color and developer with a metal ANYTHING)
  • I also use a plastic fork to apply the color (It’s a Dinglehopper!!)
  • Funky color- I use Splat 30 wash- it’s semi-permanent depositing color No bleach required. It comes in a bottle- there is no mixing.
  • Plastic shower cap

The Splat needs a longer time to process in your hair, so I apply that first.

I apply it to the ends of my hair and then I pour a little into my palm and rub my hands together and run my hands through my hair like I’m applying mousse. That gives me some highlights through my hair.

Or if I’m feeling crazy, I’ll dip the fork into the color and comb it through in a few places. I channel in inner Ariel.

Put my hair up in a shower cap and dance around the house, embarrassing my kids for 20 minutes.

While it’s processing, I mix together the other hair color and developer. Once the 20 minutes is up, I pull off the shower cap, and apply the dye to the rest of my hair, making sure to blend the areas where the colors touch.

Slap the shower cap back on and hang out until the second color processes (it depends on the color, what color your hair was to start with, etc. The instructions will tell you how long to let the color process (in my case, it was 45 minutes).

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Half-dried. It’s very bright under the vanity lights!

Then rinse, condition, and blow dry.

The Splat hair color is supposed to last 30 washes, but I find after about 15-20 washes it’s faded enough where I need to reapply. If you use Overtone, you can re-do it in the shower whenever you need to (it’s a lot less messy, but requires more frequent touch-ups. It’s a trade-off).

Other semi-permanent crazy color companies include Arctic Fox,  Pravana (it’s kinda messy), Manic Panic (this is also messy).

Most mainstream/drug store box hair color brands make more interesting colors these days, including Garnier, Schwarzkopf, and L’oreal.

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Car selfie of my fab hair

It’s all about being you- If having funky colored hair speaks to your soul- DO IT. If having tattoos or piercing is your self-expression, do whatever makes you happy! As long as your happiness doesn’t infringe on someone else- DO IT. The past year has been really hard on me, emotionally, but I’ve been able to express myself more, and in the end, I am a lot happier than I have been in years. I finished college, met new people, and I’ve been able to better care for myself and my kids.

 

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No filter- my camera lens was dirty!

My take away for this post is: Engage in Self-care that speaks to you!

 

First Week of College, and Beyond!

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I survived the first week of college! After ::cough 17 years cough:: a long time, it’s quite an adjustment getting back into the swing of studying, doing homework, and all of the other things that go into being a mom, wife, blogger/Influencer, and special needs advocate for my big kiddo.

I wanted to share with you some things that have helped me, and the family adjust to the change.  It’s just two classes, but that’s 10-12 hours a week of studying, reading, and homework outside the classroom, and that time comes out of the time I previously spent with the kids, working on the blog/social media, petting the cat, ya know, mom stuff.

Bitty is now going to preschool two days a week. Our city’s Parks and Rec department has a drop off preschool two days a week. It’s approximately $150 for 8 weeks, which is a great price, and she is in a class with 13 other kiddos her age, several of them she knows from her daily visits to the local YMCA Child Watch. While she is at preschool, I have three hours to work on school work. It’s amazing to be able to read and work on my homework in peace. If you need a few hours to get work done, check your local Parks and Rec department for this type of preschool.

Family: As someone who has family nearby, having my family able to help out with school pick ups and therapy drop offs, it is a Godsend. My parents, brother and sister-in-law have really stepped in and helped us with the kids and house. Last week Miss Sally (my car) needed new front and rear brakes, and two new tires. Thanks to my Sister-in-law, niece, and my parents I didn’t have to walk home with Bitty (5 miles with a 3 year old- No thanks) or call an Uber.

Schedule: As a family, we have a shared calendar on iCal, in which I put all of the kids appointments, weekly commitments, birthdays, deadlines. In addition, I also have a calendar (this one) in the master bathroom on my cork board. Yes, I have a cork board in the master bathroom next to the vanity, so we can see whats on the schedule for each day.  Having everything in the palm of my hand (on my phone), and in a place that is visible to us (calendar) has really helped keep us focused and on task.

Remembering my Skill-Set: I’m not reinventing the wheel here. To maximize my productive time, I make sure to use my previously honed skills: Meal Planning, Meal Prep, setting out everyone’s clothes the night before, making lunches the night before, organizing areas of the house to help us get out of the house in the morning on time.

So while you may see less blog posts until I get in the full swing of it all, but I’m still posting on Social Media like a madwoman.

I want you all to know that it doesn’t matter what your age, if there is something you want: College, new job, more time with your family, vacation.. Do it! Change can be scary, but believe in yourself and have a plan! It might be rough at first, but stick with it.

Enough motivational speaking from me, I have homework to do!

Talk Back: What have you done recently that moved you out of your comfort zone?

Just be… YOU!

d5b635c2a38c538b18cddbbf797e93c0.jpgThere is a lot of talk lately in the media about being your “Authentic Self”. And while some of you might think that is new fangled hippie nonsense talk, in truth, it’s all about being you. Being who you REALLY are.

For so long as a kid and teen, we are taught to fit in, or be ostracized and teased (oh hi there, that was me), and at some point in our lives, we realize that fitting in SUCKS. Doing what you want, finding a group of people who think like you, are interested in what you like- That’s a true way to find happiness.

In that vein, I was recently approached to get my hair done by Mai at  Plaza Hair Salon. I’m a pretty hardcore frugal DIY’er and that goes for beauty as well. But the chance to get my hair done by someone else, and try something that was beyond my skill level was so tempting.

For YEARS (more like decades), I’ve had shoulder length red hair in one shade or another. Which I like, but deep down, I’ve wanted to have purple hair. I had purple hair in high school for about eight weeks, until the choir director flipped his lid (whatever- The school colors were purple and yellow- I was just showing my school spirit), and then I stripped it and dyed it red again.  Sadly, few photos of my purple hair exist. I was very camera shy in High School. Ya know, since I wasn’t a “cool kid”. I was a goth choir dork.

I figure I’m at a point in my life, where if I want purple hair, I’m going to do it, dammit.  I don’t have a “real job” (aka an office or 9-5 job), and if purple hair is who I feel I am, then let’s do it.

Mai at Plaza Hair Salon selected three sweet colors- a dark purple (to cover my natural hair color aka my grey roots), a vibrant purple, and magenta. She and her awesome assistant started their magic, and about 5 hours later… I was done! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of my photos during the process.

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The before- sitting pensively thinking Deep Thoughts.

If you’ve never had your hair colored brightly before, it’s a process. Thankfully, I had fortified myself with caffeine, and I brought my phone charger with me! The time passes quickly too.

Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 2.37.43 PM.pngAny dye is stripped from your hair (that takes about an hour), then your hair is washed and dyed. After the red hair color was stripped from my hair, I looked a little Like Jem. My hair was shades of light yellow and pink.

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Unflattering Selfies FTW!

After my hair was dried, Mai and her assistant set to making me my Authentic and purple self. They applied the purple and magenta dyes and I chilled while the dye processed.  After it was rinsed out and my hair was washed and conditioned, Mai and her assistant blow dried and styled my hair. I have never been happier with my hair.

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So soft, so purple-y!
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Holy Crap- It’s amazing!

Now that it’s a color I’ve wanted for so long, I find myself doing all kinds of fun stuff with it. Like this, and this.

Taking care of purple hair isn’t much different than taking care of any other color treated hair. I wash my hair only 3 times a week- Really, you don’t need to wash your hair much more than that. I use a sulfate free shampoo for chemically treated hair, and a moisturizing mask 2 times a week to keep my hair soft and tangle free.  I also use this Pureology spray as a de-tangler/leave in conditioner daily. I’ve got really fine hair that tangles really easily.

I get a lot of compliments on my hair, mostly from older women who tell me that they wish they had the guts to do it. I’ve been telling everyone who says that to me that it’s never too late to give yourself crazy hair, even if it’s clip in highlights like these (I also have some too. We usually use them for halloween). Kids love my hair too. I had a gaggle of third graders at my sons school tell me I looked like Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony!

I do plan on keeping up with the maintenance on the color. It’s permanent dye and the vibrancy hasn’t faded too much. I may not be purple haired for as long as I was a red head…But then again, you never know!

Whether you decide to color your hair, get a tattoo, buy a new outfit that isn’t what you usually wear (I’m totally buying this dress next week), it’s ok to do what makes you happy, and what makes you feel like your authentic/real self.  Life is what you make of it, there is no sense in spending it unhappy.

I received a free hair color/cut in exchange for this review, but all opinions and ideas expressed are my own. There may be some affiliate links sprinkled in the post- if you click on them and purchase items, I may receive a commission. You can learn more from our Disclosure page here.