Growing Up Made Me Ashamed to Relax

We’ve got responsibilities.  We’ve got bills.  We’ve got goals.  We’re adults now.  But really, we’re also just horrible at pausing and seizing the day. 

For most of us there is always a to-do list.  We are always thinking about what’s next.

But some times life hands you a 90 degree day in January and you just can’t ignore that kind of gift.

Except we do.  All the time.  Because, life.

We’ve got responsibilities.  We’ve got bills.  We’ve got goals.  We’re adults now.  But really, we’re also just horrible at pausing and seizing the day.  I’m preaching to myself here, but honestly, probably you as well.  

Toward the end of both of my pregnancies I have been reminded of this.  I have a to-do list and I work feverishly to complete it because I know there is a huge productivity wasteland coming at me in the near future.  And then all the boxes get checked.

But each time I’ve reached forty weeks pregnant, neither of my babies have arrived.  So I have some unaccounted for time.  I am forced to remember what I used to do for pure pleasure before I was a grown-up.  Ummmmm?!  What?!  But then it starts to slowly come back to me…hang out with friends…do something creative, like drawing a picture…go to the beach!

Lifes a beach bag
This Beach Bag was given to me on the last day of my position at a corporate marketing company.  I think they assumed I would use my new “free time” at the beach.  Today was the first time it’s been used.

So that’s kind of what I’ve been up to this last week.

The productive adult in me is embarrassed to admit it.  I feel the need to mention the admirable, grown-up things I’ve done this week (attend a children’s book writing class, write query letters to agents, track stats and book sales) so you don’t think less of me.  But honestly, doing things just for fun has been super strange, and super fulfilling.  

I’ve gone to a chick flick at the theater (who knew movies were only $6 if you go at 11 am?!), I’ve done some pencil drawings in my sketch book, and another preggo mama and I spent three hours at a cozy little spot in Laguna Beach chatting with the sand between our toes on a  beautiful 90 degree day in January.

Mermaid chubby Baby twins

It’s like my Baby Girl is already forcing me to mentally slow down and be present and grateful for the moment in front of me, a skill that surely does not come naturally as an adult.

Watch out world, she already wants to be in charge.

pregnant laguna beach 1 (1)
Um, Do I look fat in this? 😉  41 wks. baked.

 

 

 

 

Super Preggo Ladies, Could You Just Relax?

Which was harder for you – the last two weeks of your pregnancy, or the first two weeks home with your newborn?

Here’s a recipe for an internet disaster:  Tell a bunch of tired and hormonal women to RELAX already.

But I can’t. I literally can not hear another women complain about needing her baby out NOW without adding another perspective.

pregnant mom 2
Comment Credit:  Nurture Pregnancy App

Note:  If you are a nurse or a well meaning friend or family member – please don’t add to that notion either.  Help these women relax!  Buy them ice cream, rub their feet, but don’t make them feel like their baby NEEDS to come out now.

pregnant mom 1
Comment Credit:  Nurture Pregnancy App

This P.S.A. is coming from someone that is currently “past due” by almost a week, so I’m in the trenches too.  But not for a second will I be fooled that I can’t wait a few more days for my baby to arrive.  Passing your due date is not a reason to panic.  It doesn’t mean something is wrong with your body or your baby.  You don’t need to start planning your induction the second you reach your last month of pregnancy.  I mean, your baby WILL arrive.  I have never heard of one baby that grew up and graduated in their mother’s womb.

pregnant mom 5
Comment Credit:  Nurture Pregnancy App

Don’t get too caught up in the labor signs either.  Some of us have Braxton Hicks and start dilating weeks before baby makes an appearance.  Some of us go from 0-10 cm dilated in less than twenty four hours with no prior labor signs.  Neither is right or wrong.  Our bodies are unique.  Our babies are unique.  Relax mamas-to-be.  You are almost there.  Your baby will arrive any day now.

pregnant mom 4
Comment Credit:  Nurture Pregnancy App

Trust me, I get it, you are uncomfortable right now.  Your ankles may be swollen, your skin may be tight and itchy, you can’t find a comfortable sleeping position.  That’s all real.

But I hate to break it to you, you aren’t going to be comfortable for awhile.

If you’ve never been through it or in case you’ve forgotten, once baby arrives, your body is still not the one you are longing to return to for awhile.  The unglamorous truth is that your body will be bleeding for a few weeks afterwards, statistically you’ll probably be recovering from stitches (vaginally or a c-section), and you still won’t be getting any sleep.

pregnant mom 3
Comment Credit:  Nurture Pregnancy App

Sure you won’t be waking up to pee and reposition every few hours; instead it will be to soothe and feed a crying baby.  Your boobs will be huge, leaky, and overly sensitive.  Your mind won’t be able to shut off because you have a newborn to check on.

I’m not saying this to scare you.  I’m just honestly wondering, do those sound like great alternatives to rush through the last days of your pregnancy?

pregnant mom 6
Comment Credit:  Nurture Pregnancy App

Personally, I am in no rush.  Baby will come, and I will be thrilled when she does.  In the meantime, I am trying to relax, even in my super preggo body.  Because relaxing and thinking in concise thoughts is something the newborn stage doesn’t often afford.

Have you read Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster or My Mom is the Worst?  These children’s books offer a good laugh to a tired parent, and make a great gift.  Check them out here.

JK Coy Books

For the women on the other side of pregnancy:  Which was harder for you – the last two weeks of your pregnancy, or the first two weeks home with your newborn?

Did You Ask Your Toddler if They Wanted a Sibling?

Of course no parent actually calls it a demotion.  We tell them how lucky they are to be the older siblings, the big brother or sister, our big helper.  But I’m sure in their little hearts it has got to sting a little.

I was the baby in the family.  I never had my parents full attention.

I was born in to the notion of sharing it whether I liked it or not.  And even though it was all I knew, it was still hard for me as a child.  My parents said I always wanted their attention.  Apparently I did this thing where I grabbed my mother’s face and made her look me in the eye when I wanted to talk to her.

I’d say, “Listen to me Mama.”

I felt like she was distracted by everything.  And she probably was.  She was caring for the two other tiny humans, the two brothers that came before me.  I can only imagine it must have been a bit traumatic for each of my brothers when a new sibling entered their world and they received a bit of a demotion.

Of course no parent actually calls it a demotion.  We tell them how lucky they are to be the older siblings, the big brother or sister, our big helper.  But I’m sure in their little hearts it has got to sting a little.

Our second daughter is due any day now.  Our first daughter isn’t even 23 months yet, and it’s like she can sense that her world is about to change.  She has gotten more emotional, and has become a mama’s girl in the last few weeks.  And while I think our first born is going to make a fantastic big sister, I’m sure it’s going to be confusing that she has to share her mommy and daddy for the first time.

Just like she will be adjusting to life with a sibling, I’ll be adjusting to being a mother of two.  I am trying to soak up these last nights of rocking her to sleep as my only child, my first baby, the one that taught me everything about being a Mom.

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To My First Born

Life is about to change, and it’s like you can sense it.

We lovingly refer to you as THE BEST.

But in just days you’ll be our OTHER BEST.

It’s going to be hard.  It’s going to be different.

You were happy just as things were.

“Why would Mom and Dad try to replace me?”

Of course, we never were.

But some of the things we did for you last week, you’ll now be asked to do on your own.

And some of your hugs and kisses, will be reserved for a baby not yet grown.

So before life gets crazy, I’m soaking in these last nights rocking you to sleep as my only.

You’re the one who taught me everything about being a Mom.

And that will always be our special bond.

***Love you Baby Girl.  You’re THE BEST.

Open Letter from an Honest Parent; I’m Losing My Marbles

When will they sleep?  When will they grow out of this stage?  Where did they learn that?  When will they grow up?  Where did that attitude come from?

I am a parent.  I get tired.  I get frustrated.  I complain.  Daily.  The hours can feel so long.

I mean, I write children’s books about how crazy my child makes me and blog on a website called MyMomistheWorst.com, all of which I wholeheartedly stand behind.

I wanted to create a place for parents to say “I’m struggling every day.  Anyone with me?”  But I also want to remember –

I am a parent.  I love my child.  She cracks me up.  She brings me joy every day.

My husband and I attended a parenting conference this weekend.  He absolutely loves when I sign him up for this kind of thing.

But I know we both gained some valuable insight.  One of the analogies that has stuck with me this week is the idea of bringing home a jar full of marbles (936 to be exact) with your newborn.

jar of marbles

Every week, sometimes it feels like every hour, we run in to parenting situations that make us feel like we are literally losing our marbles.

When will they sleep?  When will they grow out of this stage?  Where did they learn that?  When will they grow up?  Where did that attitude come from?

But we are literally losing our marbles.  Each marble represents a week that we get with our child before they leave home at eighteen (give or take a few marbles).  With each week we lose one more opportunity to influence, to love, and to mold our children.

The analogy reminds me that the time with my child is not infinite.  Though, the hours can certainly feel that way.   It is human and honest to admit my child is driving me crazy.   I just don’t want to let myself forget to value the chaos and memories we have together now.

Like a wise children’s book once said…

“Everyday you make me crazy.  I love you to pieces. Beautiful Monster.” 

 

 

How to Love Your Maternity Pants, Then Return Them for A Smaller Size

So why am I raving about pants that aren’t even mine, that I plan to wear to the max, and that I’m going to return? 

I’m in love with my pants.  Hands down they are the most comfortable thing I’ve worn, pregnant or not.  The weird thing is, they aren’t mine.  Even weirder, I intend to return them.

I’ve worn them three days in a row now and I plan to wear them every day until Baby Two arrives, and probably for a week or two after that.  Then, back they go.  No point in keeping them since I’ll soon be out of maternity sizes.

Le Tote Maternity
My Current Obsession:  These Pants!

So why am I raving about pants that aren’t even mine, that I plan to wear to the max, and that I’m going to return?

It’s because over three years ago I joined a rent and return clothing exchange called Le Tote.  I initially joined long before I was pregnant, but now this service has carried me through two pregnancies, and all the time in between.  Weddings, interviews, casual days, parties, business meetings, trends I wasn’t sure I could pull off, trends I didn’t want to commit to, a growing belly, a shrinking belly – the service has been there with me through it all.

For the first two trimesters I can typically craft something together to wear – a rubber band to give me more room on your pants button, a flowy dress, or leggings and a long shirt – but by that third trimester it starts getting really iffy.   That’s when I switch from the regular Tote Box to the Maternity Box for a few months.

Pregnant or Not, Here’s How the Service Works:

  1.  Sign up for Le Tote here, and get your first BOX FREE!
  2. Fill out a style profile.
  3. Sign up for a monthly plan (cancel at any time).  When I’m not pregnant I do the five piece box (three clothing items/two accessories).  When I’m pregnant I do the Maternity Box with three pieces (two clothing items/one accessory).  They have plenty of name brands to pick from – Lucky, Kate Spade, Jessica Simpson, Vince Camuto, Calvin Klein, etc. and accessories include jewelry, scarfs, and handbags!Dec le totes
  4. Le Tote curates the shipment for you based on style preference, fit, time of year – and then you have 48 hrs. before they ship it to go in to your account and swap items if you want.  *I do this almost every time because I usually have an event coming up that I want specific items for.
  5. Your Tote clothing arrives in the mail with a preprinted mailer for your free return shipment.
  6. Wear the items as long as you want (you don’t even have to wash them before you return them), and drop them in the mail.  If it’s during the same month, you get to pick more clothes without paying anything else.  I typically get three boxes a month for one monthly fee.  Ladies, that’s like 15 items for about $60 a month!  Plus you can add insurance for five bucks a month in case anything happens to the clothes.  Mother’s of little ones, it’s worth the peace of mind.
  7. If you ever want to keep items – they offer awesome discounts off the retail price.  But don’t feel like you have to.  The premise is wear, return, repeat!

Hoping you find some clothes that make you as happy as my cozy pants make me.  Everyone deserves to love their pants and everything else in their closet!

Other Recent le Totes

A Solid Productivity Tip from the 1980’s

Do you remember when you were a kid and your 1980’s Nintendo started freaking out for some unknown reason.  You would just hit that reset button multiple times until it finally worked out its kinks.  That’s exactly what I needed, a reset. 

I started this morning on the wrong page.

I logged in to my January sales numbers and was not excited by what I saw.  Effort and sales were not matching my expectations.  It made me freeze up.  It made me question myself.  It started a negative reel in my head.  And negative thinking is a slippery slope.  It breeds self doubt.

After an hour I noticed I was sitting in the same spot, getting no where, just feeling worse than before.  Do you remember when you were a kid and your 1980’s Nintendo started freaking out for some unknown reason.  You would just hit that reset button multiple times until it finally worked out its kinks.  That’s exactly what I needed, a reset.

old school nintendo
Neil Godwin | GamesMaster Magazine | Getty Images

So I finally pulled my butt out of the desk chair, got away from my computer, and decided to actively participate in a reset with an easy fifteen minute workout.

Here are some “resets” that typically work well…

Positve Thinking tip

A Workout:  Sometimes this means a really good sweat session if time allows.  Other times it means getting away from the screen and just committing to moving.  When I used to work in an office this would often take shape in a walk around the complex to clear my head.  Now that I work from home, it often means walking the dog, or grabbing the pair of 10 lb. weights I keep in my office and setting my phone timer for 15 minutes.  Other times it is just stretching.  Ideas seem to come to me more clearly when my body is active.

Ideas On A Page:  Walk away from the computer and go old school (as old school as that 1980’s Nintendo I referenced).  Grab PAPER and a PEN.  Weird, I know.  Spend five minutes jotting down a list of all the things you could do next to get to your big goal (Your sales quota, the next meeting you are trying to get, the blog traffic goal you set, the promotion you are going after).  All ideas are fair game.  After the five minutes are up, reread your list.  What is the ONE THING on that list that will have the biggest impact on reaching that big goal in the long run?  You know which one it is, even if it’s not the one you feel like doing.  That’s the one you must do next.  Stop rereading the list looking for an out.  Get to work on THE ONE.

Gratitude:  When I seriously can’t get a grip on my negative thoughts, I have to force myself to pause and think of somethings I am grateful for.   This morning my list included:  I get to work from home right now, my efforts today will continue to pay off in the future in ways I cannot see yet, and that I live in a place where “winter” means sixty degree weather on a rough day.  Gratitude can also manifest in what we do for others.  Pause your negative track long enough to write someone an encouraging note, or grab a coffee for your childcare provider, and see how you feel afterwards!

My fifteen minute workout actually ended up being a five minute workout and a ten minute dance party.  My dog told me I looked ridiculous.  And I did.  But I was also in a much better head space by the time I finished.

It might be hard to start a full on dance party at the office, but one of these other tips should do the trick to reset your thinking.

Otherwise a conga line is always worth a try.

 

How to Become a Millionaire, Even If You Are Still Trying to Master Facebook Ads

Who knew coming to a children’s book website was going to make you a millionaire and save you thousands?!

Numbers never came easy for me.  My math grades consistently weighed me down throughout the years.  But as I grew up, I’ve become fascinated by what math can do.  I

think I first got into it when I learned about compound interest while reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, around the same time I was starting my first “real job” as a mortgage loan officer.

As soon as I found out there were simple formulas for things like becoming a millionaire (hint: the earlier you start saving in a 401k the less you have to put in later to become a millionaire – more on that here)

Start investing early
Assuming a 12% interest rate, photo cred. @DaveRamsey.com

and paying off your mortgage seven years early (don’t pay a company for this advice – the trick is taking one of your monthly Principal and Interest Payments, dividing it by 12, and adding that to your monthly payment so you have essentially made one extra payment per year).  You will save THOUSANDS in interest.

Who knew coming to a children’s book website was going to make you a millionaire and save you thousands?!  You can now spare a few bucks to check out my children’s books, and maybe even send a set to a friend.  ***Hey I’m about to have another baby and you don’t get maternity pay when you are self employed, so I can’t be above shameless self promotion.***

Anyways, today I wanted to share some other numbers with you.  They are the metrics behind the Facebook ads I’ve been placing (you can follow me on Facebook @StoriesbyJKCoy).  As marketers we know social media advertising is important, but it can become overwhelming and difficult to know if our spending is moving the needle.  Hopefully these will give you a point of comparison for your own social media marketing efforts.

There are so many metrics that can be tracked, and I am still learning.  I’m also experimenting with Amazon ads, so expect future posts on that.  But today I am going to throw out where my different Facebook ad types are bench-marking.

Below are results for the last 45 days.  That is around the time I published my second children’s book (My Mom is the Worst), launched this website, and have gotten more focused on testing and tracking my marketing efforts.  I am going to refer to everything at Cost Per Click (CPC).  Facebook sometimes refers to these metrics as Cost Per Result because some ads have different goals:  getting viewers to watch a video, leave a comment, like a fan page, visit a website, sign up for an event, etc.)

Facebook CPC 1.16.18

1.  Traffic (Blog):  5 ads, $0.12 CPC Avg., $0.05-$0.38 CPC Range

2.  Post Engagements (Comments/Shares/etc.):  3 ads, $0.06 CPC Avg., $0.04-$0.16 CPC Range

3.  Facebook Fan Page Likes:  2 ads, $0.59 CPC Avg., $0.40-$1.80 CPC Range

Engagement is good.  Engagement creates a relationship with customers.  It creates fans, and raving fans are happy to market for you even when you aren’t around.  So for that, I am pumped to be able to drive a potential fan to this blog to read about a topic that connects with them for $0.12.

But as I said, maternity leave is just around the corner, and we gotta keep a roof over our heads.  So, I need to know how this all equates to book sales.  Sign up to follow the blog to get email updates as soon as I hit publish on the next marketing results post.

And be sure to add Love You to Pieces Beautiful Monster and My Mom is the Worst to your book collection.    (Yep, I’m still trying to fund that maternity leave.  The more books I sell, the longer my husband will let me stay home.  Kidding….maybe…).

$$$ Remember the thousands I saved you, you awesome little millionaire?!:)  $$$

Feel free to let me know how your own Facebook Ad CPC’s compare, and whether you have seen a direct impact on your sales, in the comments.  I appreciate your vulnerability.  We can all stand to learn from each other.