While I’m “away” on “maternity leave” (lol), I’ve invited some amazing women to come and share their hearts with y’all. These ladies will be dropping by to inspire you with their strengths + their shortcomings–because in this age of Mommy Wars, what we really need is a reminder that none of us can Do. It. All.
Today, I want to welcome my dear friend, Caitlin, to our series. For those who haven’t had the chance to peruse your lovely blog yet, Caitlin, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am so glad that we met up and became friends!
So, Caitlin, as a stay-at-home mom, I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: “What Do You DO?”
- Documenting our family life. It must be the history major in me! I keep all our photos organized by month in Flickr. I have a small obsession with making photo books. I’ve used Blurb to make our wedding album, our daughters’ baby books, and our annual family yearbooks. I have taken photos each week of my pregnancies and each month of my babies’ first years. I write down all the funny things my toddlers say and take pictures of their best artwork. I make little slideshows for their birthdays with our favorite photos and videos. And, of course, my favorite hobby is chronicling our comings and goings on my blog.
- Planning vacations. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work in my job besides the obvious cooking, cleaning, and caring for children. I pay bills, I keep us all clothed, I shop for gifts, and I make our travel plans. I love organizing the details and logistics of our vacations. Finding the best times and prices for airfare, choosing suitable accommodations (we’ve had great success with Airbnb), researching activities and restaurants to try, collecting little surprises to keep our children busy on the plane. We really love to travel and are glad to have relatives to visit in really fun cities.
- Decorating and tidying our home. The five of us live in a 1200-square foot, 3-bedroom rental home. Because we live in a relatively small space and I spend most of my time here, it makes me very happy to have a beautiful, uncluttered home. We have a limited budget, so we’ve made some of the furniture, art work, and linens ourselves. I’ve always been the kind of person who cares more about things looking tidy than actually being clean, so I spend a lot of time puttering around the house, putting things back where they belong. We also go room by room once or twice a year purposefully decluttering. It just fills me with joy to walk through our home at the end of the day finding clear counters, toys put away, and decorations I love.
Oh, decluttered space! We are kindred spirits. Viewing immaculately clear kitchen counters is actually a form of therapy for me.
And may I be so bold as to add a 4th thing Caitlin does really well: she and her girls (and frankly, her husband, too) are always impeccably dressed! Like, seriously, these pictures are a very accurate representation of them on an average weekday. They are so dang cute, she has actually inspired me to buy hair bows 8 years into this mothering daughters gig.
Okay though, Caitlin, it’s time to dish. What Don’t You Do?
- Make gourmet meals on a regular basis. I’m a pretty decent cook, but I only pull out the stops for special occasions. My husband’s birthday was this past week, so I made homemade cinnamon rolls, pot roast, and his favorite chocolate peanut butter cake. This is highly unusual at our house! Most of the time, we have easy things like spaghetti and quiche. Homemade pizza is a weekly staple. I get a rotisserie chicken every time I grocery shop and use the leftovers in a variety of ways, but most often in quesadillas. With a newborn, I’m relying more on prepared food – pierogies, ravioli, pot stickers, Trader Joe’s orange chicken. I like to cook, but when it comes down to it, I’d really rather spend nap time writing a blog post.
- Clean! When I was nine months pregnant with our third, we found room in our budget for a weekly housecleaning. This probably won’t be a permanent thing, but at least for the next few months I don’t have to do much besides vacuuming and constantly wiping fingerprints off the windows. If we could afford it, we would keep the housecleaning up forever and probably also hire a yard service. Try as we might, we’re always struggling to keep on top of the mowing, planting, wedding, and watering.
- Play with my children daily. My two older daughters are 18 months apart. Although having 2-under-2 was rough at first, we’re now reaping the benefit of them playing really well together. They fight like all siblings do, but most of the time they don’t need me for entertainment. I read them stories every day but I definitely don’t sit down to play with them on a daily basis.
Well, it’s a huge relief to me personally to know you aren’t Superwoman. (There have been days when I began to wonder.) Before we sign off here, are there any tips + tricks you could share with us?
Who are you?
What do you DO?
What DON’T you do?
What tips + tricks can you share from the trenches?
I can’t wait to hear from you!!
Photos by Erin Crum Photography. (Incidentally, Erin is another amazing + super-talented mommy friend from my parish.)