Stephanie Pletka

Inspiring Moms To Live Their Greatest Life

Strength Developed From Motherhood

Written for scottsdale.citymomsblog.com 

Before kids, I slept in as late as I wanted, on Egyptian Cotton sheets with the highest thread count, waking up to the peaceful sounds of nothingness. Remember those days, girls?  No kids, extra money and after putting in a 50 hour work week, weekends were made for adventure and exploration.

Running to the grocery store was a breeze. It was just Me, Myself and I. Grab wine, grill the steaks and voila, dinner was served.

Fast forward 6 years and leaving home for the weekend is like renegotiating the Geneva Convention. It’s nearly impossible. I found myself with 4 kids under 7 and life had become a car seat toting, stroller loading, baby crying, minivan driving, two baby carrying, kind of life. Is that a booger and what is that smell?

I had no idea the strength I would need to haul, install, comfort and carry all these children. Something my personal trainer never prepared me for. Driving to Target was like moving. Strollers, binkies, blankies, diapers, food, bottles, snacks. Forgetaboutit. The list is enough to make a grown man cry.

I had no idea I could carry a toddler in one arm and a 17 lb baby in a car seat on the other while saying NO to a child begging for candy that’s been placed at eye level on aisle 9. Curse those marketing folks.

I wasn’t prepared for the physical aspect of raising children.

The arms that comfort a fearful child, alleviate the boo-boos and console the hurt.

I should have these arms insured by Lloyd’s of London. If Heidi Klum can insure her legs, why not my arms?

The arms that hold, hug, console, pick up, throw in the air, carry on their shoulders, flip upside down and tickle. These are the arms that lacked the strength before kids, yet found a way to push through and grow stronger as the needs of life created the ‘iron sharpens iron’ mentality.

We feel tired and worn, like our favorite blanket we held as a child. A piece of fabric that brought comfort, delight, calmed fears, provided security when we felt all the feels. As moms, we’re the saving grace to our kids; though at times we don’t feel enough.

Oh, girlfriend, you’re enough.

You’re more than enough.

If a stranger tried to provide the same comfort to your child at a Big Box store, can you imagine the squeals and screaming, the running and bucking in the cart. Because guess what, you are the magic, the one with the pixie dust. You are the one and only.

When you feel like quitting, remember, you are the only one they’ll allow to console, love and comfort, so take heart. Your world won’t be their world forever. You have the strength of motherhood. It may be 2 weeks or 6 months from now.

Their little worlds will expand. Before you know it, their crawl becomes a run, and you won’t be their complete world, only a piece of the larger puzzle.

Embrace the moments that create your strength. For one day, you’ll sleep in those crisp, high-thread-count sheets and hear the peaceful sounds of nothingness. Then the doorbell will ring and just as your family has doubled in size, so will your heart and your strength, once again.

Here’s to living the Best Version of You.

 


Keep the Change

Do you ever feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders?  In my case, it came in the form of a purse.  I bought this cute, sassy little bag and before I knew it, I had stashed inside, a pair of socks, a kid’s iPad, extra snacks, 3 home repair receipts and a Big Bag of Change.

The very thing that was holding me down, weighing on my shoulders and hurting my back was a bag of change; $13 in quarters to be exact.

As I cleaned out my purse, it hit me, of all the junk I’m throwing out, receipts, a mismatched shoe, the one thing I truly needed to keep – was the BAG OF CHANGE.  Not the endless quarters, dimes and nickels, but a BAG OF CHANGE.

What an Epiphany.

We find ourselves in the Rut of Life, walking down the aisles of the SAME grocery store, looking for the same food, cooking the same meals, paying the same bills, folding the same laundry, when what we’re looking for is CHANGE.

I had replaced my own thoughts, needs, and dreams for those in my household under 4 ft. 2, allowing their emergencies to become my own.

I’m hungry.

I need school supplies tonight, for tomorrow.

My days were filled with:

Don’t holler, quit fighting, drink your milk, stop touching that, put it down, stay out of the road – and before I knew it, I lost myself.  I had become one of those items in my purse, weighing Me Down!

 

I wanted to be the “Leading Lady” of my own life, not the Best Friend next door.  So I began to give the kids more responsibilities.  They could help with meals and laundry. They began to appreciate how much work it took to complete a task. I began to hear:  Thanks, mom, and I appreciate what you do for us.  It was a win win!

I began to put myself on the “To Do” list, take tennis lessons, set aside time to exercise – in PEACE.  I read an interesting book, listened to an inspiring podcast, placing me back on Top!

Selfish you might say: If they see a haggard mom who’s chasing her tail, am I an example of what the kids want their future selves to be.  I think not.  I would be running for the hills.

Take Responsibility for Yourself.  Show your children that life is what you make it. Shake things up.  Try new recipes, visit a new grocery store, change your style, volunteer.  Life is full of Color, Adventure, and Opportunity.  You just have to clean out your “Purse of Life” and remember to Keep the Change.  Here’s to Living Your the Best Version of You.


Family Adventure Podcast: Why We Travel & Lessons Learned

We were interviewed by Erik Hemingway of the Family Adventure Podcast.

Want to know WHY we travel, How we PAY for it, LESSONS LEARNED from the road?

How to get UNSTUCK from the Hamster Wheel of Life and Raise Selfless Kids in an Entitled World?


Warning: Escaping Your Comfort Zone May Lead to A Life of Adventure

We visited the Wisconsin Dell’s Waterpark this summer and frankly, I was good with dropping the kids off and going antique shopping. But no, they were begging me to go. Please, mom, go on the rides with us.

In my head, I found myself kickin’ and screamin’-  tired of doing things out of my comfort zone. I had the case of the Don’t Want To’s. 

I’m already driving a 36 ft motorhome cross country with 4 kids, in an RV that I learned to drive from a YouTube video. Everyone says: You should do Facebook live.  But what if I stutter in the middle of a message or I have a booger? No more change for me. I’m done.

But then I caved and bought a ticket to the water park; upon arrival, I realized there was no Lazy Log ride. Wha? They took me straight to death con 5. You step into this elongated phone booth tube, and they lock you in; you’re sure you made a terrible mistake, as you stand on a trap door that could release at any time.

With your fate in the hands of a 17-year-old ready to press the button of death, you ask: How did I get here? Do my kids really love me? I began to question my sanity.

All the while the sounds of a heartbeat on a loud speaker, beat harder and louder. I couldn’t tell which was mine or it! Y’all, my anxiety was off the charts. I was praying to Jesus, Joseph, and Mary.

And then the countdown:

Three . . . Oh dear God, I’m sorry for everything!

Two . . . My life flashed before my eyes!

One . . . And nothing. Whew! Hey, when’s this thing gonn-A . . . Boom!

They OPENED the trap door and I flew 90 mph down a rabbit hole, in total darkness.

There was no air, just water whippin’ my face too hard to open my eyes. I couldn’t breathe for 13 seconds. I thought this was my last day. Who would do the laundry? Had I given loved ones my Facebook password?

But afterward, the look on my kid’s faces was priceless. I earned immediate hero status. I was cooler than cool for that moment in time.

Facing change and walking outside our comfort zone is hard. But taking those risks and making it to the other side, where few have gone, is worth the letting go.

Continue reading…


7 Reasons Moms Feel Isolated

I sat on the end of my bed in tears, with 3 kids in tow, a supportive spouse and a good life, but something was missing. I had started a Video Production Co. a year earlier, and with the juggles and struggles of work/family balance, deciphering how many ways to cook a chicken, and dropping off 3 kids at pre-school, keeping up with the Joneses seemed an impossible task.

I felt isolated. Don’t get me wrong: there were people all around, but the connections of like-minded women, discussing, listening, the “I’ know how you feel – I’ve got your back” sort of connection, was missing. Deep rooted relationships had fallen by the wayside. I had become an expert plate spinner, swirling in “organized” chaos, but it turns out, it was just chaos.


Suddenly, I found myself separated from the human race with little beings needing my full attention and sleepless nights had become the lowly standard. 

My carpool attire had become LuLu Lemon with a ponytail. But most days, it wasn’t even that. I found myself in the midst of moms who made motherhood look easy.

As I reached out for advice, tips, and authenticity, I found myself listening to women up the ante on how their pre-schooler was learning Japanese. Another multiplication. Seriously?


My child wasn’t potty trained, their first word was Hurry, and I caught one eating dirt in the backyard.


I fell into a depression, too vulnerable to show my vulnerability, rather I padded myself with isolation. The perfect breeding ground for disconnection.

Social media and decorating sites created the perfect storm for mom guilt, judgment and comparison traps, reflecting only the beautiful parts of life, the perfect angles, vacation spots, and happiest moments. There were few pictures of moms struggling, laughing about their mistakes, posting pics of destroyed laundry rooms or applauding you for being the “World’s Okayest” mom.

My husband looked at me and said: You should write, post and blog about these issues. Become your own answer. And that week, spitupandheels.com came to life. The Solution: Authentic Relationships! Find your tribe, your people. And celebrate.

It’s been my goal to help other moms connect, laugh, relate, discuss and empower one another through authenticity, vulnerability and intentional living.

It’s so easy for us women to fall out of the pack and go it alone. Don’t allow vulnerability to create isolation, rather let it empower you, catapult you to greater levels.

Per the abundantmama.com there are various reasons for isolation.

7 Reasons We Find Ourselves Isolated
1. Comparison Traps
2. Money
3. Socializing is Difficult
4. Your Kids Ages & Stages
5. Geography
6. You Don’t Think Like Other Moms
7. Feel Too Vulnerable to Share

Don’t worry about what others think. “Those who MIND, Don’t Matter and those who MATTER, Don’t MIND” – Bernard Baruch.


Splash color on life and allow yourself to be the real deal.

We need more Authentic YOU’s in this world. Besides, dirt never hurt anyone and why is it important to keep up with the Jones’s anyway? Here’s to living the Best Version of You! Tell us how you connect with other moms.