11 years of being a mom has taught me many lessons. There have been many FAILS. There’s been a few wins. Out of all of the things that I’ve learned, 10 truths about motherhood ring true. I could tell you things like your house will never be clean or that sleep is a myth, but there are somethings you need to learn for yourself.
Truths About Motherhood
These truths about motherhood are things I want to tell every mom or soon-to-be-mom to know. I wish I had known and understood these things sooner.
1. You are unique.
How you parent should be unique. While Baby Wise may work for your half of your friends, it doesn’t mean it’s what will work for you and your family. You must learn to embrace being unique and finding what works for YOU.
2. Your kids are unique.
EVERY child is different. Just because ONE is quiet, doesn’t mean the rest will be. Just because one responds to time out’s, doesn’t mean it will work for each child.
3. Time REALLY does fly.
I use to roll my eyes every time someone said “time flies with kids” or “they’ll be grown before you know it” or “enjoy them while they are young!”. Okay, I now get it. Time DOES fly. The kids grow up way too quick. The trick is just enjoying each moment of it the best you can.
4. The most important things didn’t cost tons of money.
MONEY! If ONLY we had more money, we could buy…. Sure, money is essential, but let me give you some money saving advice….Money isn’t everything and your kids will love you regardless.
I’ve spent so much money on CRAP. Baby crap. Kid crap. Mom crap. You know that CRAP you buy, thinking it will make your life better. The best stroller, the nicest clothes, throwing the BEST kid’s birthday party. Blah – it’s all crap I tell you! I only can say this after spending way too much money and realizing that in the end, the kids don’t care.
The stroller that your child rides in will not dictate the quality of their life. The clothes your children wear will be pooped, peed and puked on.
And birthday parties, oh LORD. With 4 kids, I can tell you that our birthdays now are spent low key. We invite our closest friends and family members. We take good photos to captures the memories, but things like expensive decoration, outrageous cakes – yeah sorry kids, those things just cost way too much and the return on happiness… not worth it.
I still get caught every now in then in the money can buy happiness trap. Reality slaps me in the face each time. What does is that old song?? Money can’t buy me love… true. that.
5. People will judge you no matter what. Stand tall and ignore them.
Are you going to work? Stay at home? Use cloth diapers? Breast feed? Day care or nanny? It doesn’t matter people. But I’ll tell you this… whatever you decide to do – you WILL be judged. The best thing you can do is keep your head high and ignore the judgement, oh and not judge other moms.
6. Being a mom can be isolating, if you let it.
Facebook is great. I love the thing, but the people that you don’t see in real life in a some-what regular fashion – you can’t rely on them to provide you the human interaction you need. I spent months locked in the house, only seeing family. I felt like that was my only option. And you know what, it sucked. I joined a mom’s group, which I totally DID NOT want to do. But I did, and it made me get out of the house. It made me talk to people outside of the internet world. It was one of the best things I’ve done getting to know moms who understand the up’s and down’s of parenting children of similar age to your own.
7. The mom who has it all together is a fake.
No mom has it all together, for real. Even the ones that you swear just know how to do the mom thing right, yeah – each mom has flaws. Each mom deals with crap on the floor that didn’t come from the dog. Just some people don’t let other people know about things like that. Not that we should call these perfect moms out, just know that achieving perfection as a mom shouldn’t be a goal because it’s totally NOT realistic.
8. GMO’s are bad, but so is stress.
While my kids drink healthy smoothies in the mornings, they sometimes eat Macaroni and Cheese for lunch. I want kids with healthy eating habits, but stressing too much isn’t healthy either. All that said – don’t sweat stuff too much. Do what’s best for you (are you sensing a theme here??).
9. Have fun!
I love having kids. I always knew I wanted to have a large family. What I didn’t know was how fun having kids can be. Sure there are stressful moments and it took me de-stressing my life, learning to say no and saying yes to what really matters to understand this truth.
Our family likes to laugh a lot, we have fun whenever possible because people, this life is too short (and didn’t you read #3, it all goes by soo fast!)
10. You are doing a good job mom.
Despite the critics – and chances are you are your own worse critic…. YOU are doing a GREAT job MOM! Keep up the good work. Don’t compare yourself to others. Stop yourself from judging other moms. Don’t worry about how other parents are parenting. Ignore the haters – there are ALWAYS going to be haters (haters gonna hate).
10 Truths About Motherhood was originally published on April 9, 2014. These motherhood truths still ring true in 2017.
We finally did it – we GOT RID OF CABLE TV! The cord is cut! The last year has really had us thinking, do we need cable? But alas, we were stuck in a contract and it wasn’t worth us breaking it. Our contract ended in early December, and after quickly realizing that if we wanted to continue with the bundle service we had, we would have to pay around $60 more a month for the EXACT service/equipment – we didn’t hesitate to cancel cable TV.
Yay! Cable-free and we have an extra $60 in our pocket each month. Take it we have been subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, Feeln and Amazon Prime (try free for 30 days) for the last few years – so I don’t count that as additional money that we are spending. So now that we’ve been without cable for a month, what do we think? For the most part, we love it. BUT that said, we have learned several things that we just didn’t think about or know before we cut the cord.
5 Things To Know Before You Get Rid of Cable TV
1. Buy a Clock!
So, what we didn’t think about as we were packing up our old cable tv boxes was that we relied on the clock on the box way more than we realized. It’s bright and you can see the clock from across the room and in the dark. We liked it so much, we bought 1 for our bedroom and another for our family room.
Today’s antennas are nothing like the antennas of yesterdays! There is no tilting a huge antenna various ways to get channels. We bought 2 flat antennas (though if we want WFAA, channel 8 here in Dallas with an antenna, we do need to purchase a UHF antenna — not a big deal though!). We are able to pick up around 20 channels – and it’s all digital so the picture is just as good as you would have with a cable tv box.
Here are the 2 antennas we purchased. I had bought 1 on Amazon and then another was an impulse purchase at Best Buy. Both work great!
This is the Homeworx HW110AN Super Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna ($7.78). The reception is fine with this antenna. Remember that where you place the antenna will also determine your reception. We had this on our family room TV and everything was fine and dandy. I purchased the RCA HDTV antenna ($15.78) below and since it’s a cleaner design put it in the family room. When I moved the Homeworx antenna to our bedroom, I am not getting all of the channels — it’s due to the location of the television/antenna. The family room has 3 large windows that our TV is next to. We just have 1 bedroom window, and the TVs isn’t close to it.
I do like that it’s a nice slick design! I will say that if you are missing local channels – you may need to purchase a UHF antenna. This is something we haven’t done yet since there is only one main local channel that we don’t get.
Heads up DALLAS – FT. WORTH people – if you are trying to get WFAA ABC Channel 8 on your antenna but having problems, you may need to buy a UHF antenna. (Think rabbit ears.)
3. Network Television is JUST as Bad as Cable TV
So with cable tv, when we did watch TV – it was mostly HGTV, Food Network or Discovery Channel (or Sprout, Disney Channel or Nick JR.) While yes, occasionally there was something questionable – overall on those channels the shows were family friendly. Fast forward to network TV — oy vey.
From TMZ talking about a man with two male parts to Divorce Court where they are discussing threesomes… I have had to turn the TV channel way more than I ever expected. (I will say, I love PBS programming. During the morning and afternoon hours, they offer plenty of kids programming.)
4. Amazon Fire TV is Amazing
We have smart TVs, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, xBox 360 and an xBox One. Of all of these smart streaming devices, Amazon Fire TV (read our Amazon Fire TV review) outranks them all. Why? For some reason we get WAY less lag when streaming video from Amazon Fire TV. This is true with not only Amazon Prime, but Netflix as well. Second, TETRIS. Sorry, but I love Tetris and don’t tell the kids but I lay in bed and play this stupid game way too much when I really should be sleeping. Yes kids, no screens in the bedroom – except mom and dad’s (which we really should get rid of, because sleep…)
5. Dish Sling TV
While yes, we are loving not having to pay for cable – I will say after hearing the announcement of Sling TV – I am in! For $20 a month – Dish Network, the satellite provider is offering a service called Sling TV. What is Sling TV? For $20 a month yes, twenty dollars you get access to a lineup of cable tv networks that includes TNT, TBS, CNN, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, the Disney Channel, ESPN, and ESPN2. The service launches first quarter 2014.
I was able to demo Sling TV by Dish Network at CES 2015 this year. I have to say, the interface is slick. I was able to choose the channel I wanted to watch, it displayed the show. While the options were limited, it’s only $20 a month – you can’t expect everything cable provided you! Here is a demo of Sling TV:
There is also talk of being able to purchase add on content, say kids networks for an additional fee. The best part is there is NO contract and NO commitment. Sling TV doesn’t require dedicated equipment – it uses any of the following devices:
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PRINTABLE SIGNS – UPDATED FOR 2017! If you are looking for first day of school signs, here you go! We’ve done these the last few years, this year I just updated this page – all signs say 2017, plus daycare added in!
Free Printable First Day Signs!
First day of school printable signs are always a fun way to start off a new school year. We have taken first day of school photos with signs for the last few years (see 2012 and 2011 and we did them for 2014-2016, but just updated this post). Last year we added in first day of school signs for daycare and preschool, those were a hit!
I don’t know about you, but with 4 kids – I want to see what grade they are in – so instead of just 1 first day of school sign, I created several! I hope that these come in handy on your first day of school, as I know they will our’s. I snapped this photo of our soon-to-be first grader this morning for the blog. In his summer haziness “Mommy, this isn’t’ the first of day of school, is it??” No kid, you have a few more weeks – mommy is just a little bit more prepared for back to school this year (SURPRISED? I am!)
So let’s get to it. I created these back to school signs for each year, preschool to college. Yes, college kids – how sweet would it be to print out a sign and send a photo to your parents on your first day of college? Good luck getting your high schoolers to cooperate. Hoping that my kids won’t be stubborn as I plan on doing this every year, it’s a requirement!
First Day of School Signs – Daycare thru College!
Enjoy! Happy first day of school. I would love to see photos of your kids with these signs! Please post them on facebook.com/digitalmomblog!
Just click on the sign you want below – and wa-lah!
How to connect WIFI in the car – so here is the deal. I originally posted this tech how to on July 23, 2012. You guys, that was 5 years ago and my how technology has changed. This post still gets quite a bit of traction so I am updating this with new content on top and you can comically read how we got WIFI in the car in 2012 at the bottom.
In-Car WIFI in 2017
We are a family of road trippers. Last year we completed a road trip from Dallas to Colorado to Salt Lake City to Portland to San Francisco to Las Vegas and home. It was a WILD ride and did I mention that we have 4 kids? Yes, 4 kids and we lived to tell about it.
Using Mobile Hot Spot on Road Trips
Why was it amazing? Mostly because our kids were so well behaved. Again, you guys – this IS NOT something that I typically say about my children. I love them so much, but good behavior – let’s just say it’s not a strength. How we kept sane for those nearly 5,000 miles that we road tripped is by having WIFI in the car.
Each of our kids have either phones, tablets or laptops (or combination of the such.) We did NOT put limits in the car on the road trip and we had open WIFI the majority of the trip. In the Redwoods we did experience zero connection, but come on – who wants to be connected to the internet when in the Redwoods? (Okay, if you are lost that’s one thing – we were in the car.)
We used our mobile hot spots and while we did have a hefty bill from Verizon (several hundred dollars) – we did enjoy the peace and calm in the car. It was like having a nanny.
We now have T-Mobile. Our next long road trip – we won’t have to worry about the extra hotspot fees as T-Mobile has an unlimited plan we are SO thankful to have!
Side note: We believe in balance with screen time. At home we have a few policies: No Screen in the Bedroom and Screen Free Sunday. On 2 week road trips – we don’t enforce screen free time for our sanity. Parent well-being is a priority, especially when trapped in a vehicle with 4 kids!
2017 Vehicles with In-Car WIFI
In 2017, in-car WIFI has become the norm. Crazy to think how far we had to go to connect back in 2012 when now it’s built-in. It’s pricey, but convenience costs. If you are looking for a 2017 vehicle that offers in-car wifi – here is a list of vehicle brand and models to consider if that is a priority for your next car purchase:
Looking for a 2017 vehicle with in-car wifi? Check these options out!
There you have it folks. In 2017, you use your smartphone’s mobile hot spot for WIFI in the car. Another option, you can purchase that offers in-car WIFI. I love technology.
Below is the original post from July 23, 2012. My how things have changed.
Connect to WIFI in the Car
Connect to WIFI in the car and your road trip will never be the same!
Last week the husband took a few days off, we stuffed the car with kids, food and luggage and the family hit the road. About an hour into our road trip, the sound of kids quieted, it was just me and the husband, XM radio, a beautiful cloudy sky, the road and WIFI in the car. My heart was happy. We are fortunate to be able to road trip often, but the only reason we are able to is that my job can be done on the go. As long as I have my computer and an internet connection – I can work anywhere, even the car.
No more “are we there yet?” from the kids – they can look it where we are themselves!
Here is how we connect to WIFI in the car:
Verizon Mobile Data Hot Spot
To get WIFI in the car or WIFI anywhere, that has a good cell signal – we use the Verizon Mobile Data Hotspot on our phones. My husband sports an Android, we signed up using his phone – though I could of used it on my iPhone as well. To connect to WIFI is super simple and it runs us $20 a month. For $20 a month – the kids can all connect their devices and I can happily blog from the road! We did have a good 30 minutes of no data access when cruising through middle of no where Oklahoma, but other than that, from Dallas to Oklahoma CIty we were able to stay connected. The kids were streaming NetFlix, my husband was listening to music thru Pandora and I was blogging away with no major lags. While it appears Verizon has done some shifting on some of their new plans (we’ve been on Verizon for 18 or so months now) – the mobile data plan is month to month, so if there is a sadmonth we aren’t road tripping – we can cancel. If you think about how much WIFI is in a hotel room (I’ve paid up to $20 a night) – the $20 a month is a great deal. If your phone isn’t hotspot enabled, check out the various hotspot devices available that will do the same thing. I previously used a Virgin Mobile Hotspot – here’s a little food for thought from my experience with that.
Virgin Mobile Hot Spot Review
While working in corporate America, I had a Virgin Mobile Hot Spot. For around $25 a month, I could connect up to 5 devices – but there was a problem. The Virgin Mobile Hot Spot had to be charged and the cord was proprietary. The charge wouldn’t hold for long making the device useless. Another downside, I couldn’t get the hot spot to charge and use at the same time. Talk about dumb!
Before you know it, WIFI will be everywhere. Look at the way New York City phone booths are now WIFI enabled. McDonalds, Starbucks, Panera Bread – all great locations for WIFI! Now if only my car came WIFI enabled… that will be the day.
Cell phone etiquette for kids is a thing. It may seem silly, but before we give our kids a cell phone, we must teach them how to use it properly.
Many years ago, we gave our daughter a cheap cell phone. She was YOUNG, but the phone was cheap and the service was monthly so we thought why not. What we didn’t think about is that our daughter, Z has no idea about the basics of cell phone etiquette. She would call people, take all kinds of photos (like of me, cleaning – please no!) and so on.
The second go around when we gave our kids a phone, we did 2 things.
1. Made our kids sign a cell phone contract.
2. Taught our kids basic tips on cell phone etiquette.
Here are the tips that we shared with our kids. I hope they are helpful to you. Parenting is can be a challenge, but just remember – it’s our job to raise our kids to be good people and show them the right way to do things, even things like how to properly use a cell phone.
Cell Phone Etiquette for Kids
1. Times for Cell Phone Usage
Set times for your kid to use their phone!
Decide when your child can use their phone. My daughter was calling or texting (or BOTH) at 6:30 am in the morning. I am NOT a morning person, so this frustrated me to no end knowing that she was waking people up! I heard ALL about it from family members. While they wanted to hear from Z – they didn’t care to hear from her so darn early in the morning! This past year, I was reminded of setting cell phone times on phones when my darling niece proceeded to call and text me 10 times early in the morning. “GOOD MORNING” “HAVE Z CALL ME” “ARE YOU AWAKE?” “HELLO?” 10 minutes later “GOOD EVENING”. It’s really funny and cute – but not when you are sound a sleep.
Explain texting to your child.
Texting is the new phone call. Teach your child about how to spell b4 they get into the txt habit of short cuts.
On a similar note to the last cell phone etiquette tip, teach your child how to text one time not fifty times.
Explain to your child what photos are okay to take and what photos you DO NOT take.
While yes, sexting is a NO, teach your child what is appropriate. For instance, taking a photo of your brother’s BUTT is a no, even if it’s covered and even if you think it would be funny to send to a cousin – NO. Decide on boundaries in your house, such as do you allow photos in the bathroom (toilet pics, clothed are a thing and I have no idea why!), or in swim suits or pajamas? Those are answers you will need to come up with and decide best what is for your family.
4. Cell Phone Contacts
Decide who your child can give their phone number to and what contacts will be in their cell phone.
My daughter was giving her cell phone number to everyone she could at school. We quickly nixed this. We put the contacts in her phone of who she could call. We only put contacts in that knew would let us know if she got too annoying with the phone. Those were our rules, decide what is best for your child.
Kids Gotta Learn From Somewhere!
These tips may seem like common sense, but kids really just don’t know. Believe me, your family will thank you if you at least just put a limit on times for usage. Nothing like a niece wake-up call, proceeded by 20 texts. *I really do love my niece, it is just hard for me to show love before 9 am.)
Looking for the best iPhone accessories for your smart phone that are absolute must-haves? We’ve rounded up our favorites for 2017 – and BONUS – these will work with ANY version iPhone. (So in other words, if you are rocking an iPhone 5s, we’ve got your back!)
Best iPhone Accessories
Here you go – a round up of our picks for best iPhone accessories. We hope you fall in love with these products as much as we have.
First on our list of best iPhone accessories, the POPSOCKET! What is a POPSOCKET – you ask? A PopSocket is a phone grip and phone stand that expands and collapses using an accordion mechanism. PopSockets “pop” whenever you need a grip, a stand, a headset management system, or just something to play with. You can also wrap your cord around it – so add cord management to this list.
Our friends at YouTube Red sent us a YouTube Red PopSocket in a care package. I really didn’t know if I would use it, so popped it on my iPhone and now I’m in love. So much in love, that when I bought I new case (more on that) – I Gorilla Glued the Pop Socket to my new iPhone case.
Why do I love the PopSocket? I upgraded to the iPhone 7 Plus and while I do love it – it really is HUGE. Add-on my case, my hands are too small to effectively use the phone, but the Pop Socket – it’s lets me have a better grip on my phone. It acts as a handle when I talk or text. You can also use to prop your phone up with it.
My daughter loved mine and ended up buying one for her phone. I have had countless people ask me about it and several who have purchased (including my nail lady!)
When I bought the iPhone 7+, I wanted a case that wasn’t so bulky. I’m a grown-up and my kids are growing – surely I could just use a cute iPhone case and a screen protector. I did great…. for about 7 months. Then my son had to go to the ER for splinters stuck under his toenail (true story) and as I was rushing to get out of the car, guess what. BAM. Right on the pavement, my iPhone dropped. Facedown and when picked up cracked. I was devastated.
I took my phone in to get the screen repaired. The Apple Genius asked that I remove my cute phone case and then he made my day. What do you know, that cheap screen protector I had put on my phone HAD worked and IT cracked NOT my screen! WOOHOO!
Needless to say, I immediately – before leaving the Apple store, jumped on Amazon and ordered another screen protector AND a new case because this mom isn’t chancing that again.
Next on our BEST iPhone accessories list is a long favorite iPhone accessory of mine, the Otterbox Defender iPhone case. Well actually, Otterbox anything I go fangirl for. My husband has a Samsung Note and uses an Otterbox. My little kids have iPads with Otterbox Defenders and my older kids have iPhones both with Otterbox Defender cases, as well.
What I don’t like about the Otterbox Defender is the bulkiness – but folks, after experiencing the “OH CRAP, I AM GOING TO HAVE TO PAY $150 JUST TO FIX MY IPHONE SCREEN BECAUSE I DROPPED MY PHONE” panic. I quickly realized that you know what. The bulk isn’t that bad and it is so worth it. The bulkiness of the Otterbox Defender is less than what it use to be.
True story – when we had bought our kids iPod Touches years ago, we put Defenders on the case. A few years ago, I found my son’s old iPod and was scrolling thru his photos and videos. Sure enough, that boy of mine had rolled his phone down our stairs making a video. Like THUNK THUNK THUNK and then would do it again until he was all the way down the staircase. No damage to the iPod Touch. Another time – our then toddler, threw my husband’s phone from the second story foyer balcony to the tile foyer floor. No damage. Thank you, Otterbox!
OTTERBOX DEFENDER DEAL TIP! Check out Amazon’s Warehouse deals to see if you can find your Defender cheaper. I found my son’s for around $20 – the packaging was damaged but the product was not.
The selfie light ring for your phone – okay, before you judge read. My husband laughed so hard when he saw this on my phone. You GUYS, it really does make photos better with the light ring functionality. I use to use this often with product photos that I was taking with my iPhone.
The iPhone selfie light ring clips on to your phone. It even worked with the Otterbox Defender.
Here is the problem. My teen daughter used my selfie light ring once and then I found it in her luggage. I reclaimed it, but the girl has stolen it again. This is the life of a mom with a teen daughter. If it’s not my yoga pants and jeans, it’s my iPhone selfie light ring. You pick and choose your battles, and I just need to order another light ring (they are super cheap – under $10!)
Belkin is brilliant. They get tech and cute and have nailed it with their adorable lightning cord tassel keychain. That’s right, you will have your lightning cord wherever – whenever since you can easily clip this tassel keychain to your purse or wristlet.
Do you shoot photography with your iPhone? With the iPhone 7+, I only get my DSLR when I need specific shots or video. Check out this Amir 2 in 1 professional HD iPhone camera lens kit. This easily clips on to your iPhone (sorry, you will have to either have a thin case or remove your Otterbox – but it’s worth it!) For under $30 – you can be shooting photography with your iPhone!
Deluxe – Quality 0.6X Super Wide Angle Lens – Ultra-low distortion will occur on your images when you use this 0.6X Wide-Angle lens. It can help largely expand the field of view and enable you capture the entire family or a whole team member into one picture.
Enhanced 15X Macro Lens – Designed with knurling circled around for convenient removing. With it, you can capture clear photos that are in greater detail at a distance of 1.18-1.57 inches from the target object. More convenient and powerful to take clear and gorgeous pictures.
This may sound weird to some, but one of my favorite hobbies is mowing the lawn. We have a few acres and riding the lawnmower while listening to podcasts is just so stress relieving to me. I use my bluetooth wireless headphones and just zone out. Progress is made, my podcasts are listened to – winning!
Whoops, I said 7 but I totally meant 8 best iPhone accessories! If you don’t have an external battery/power bank – you are totally missing out on life. Actually no, you are probably living life but just not with a FULL BATTERY. I have a collection of these. Once I was stranded in the Las Vegas and then San Antonio airport and a power bank kept me connected and sane mid-travel-panic-attack. (CES 2015 – oh the memories.)
Anywho, the larger the battery the longer it will work (but longer it will take to charge.) A 20000 mAh is ideal, if you don’t mind a bulkier battery. This lasts me days! Definitely a tech must-have when traveling.