Say No to Yes

There is a word for many of us that is hard for us to say.  We aren't sure what reaction it will elicit. Will you hurt their feelings, put your job at risk, or shatter someone’s perception of you?  No in context is negative, so we fail to use the word no in situations even when it's clear that no should be the answer.  I found my no when I became a mother.  While trying to balance a career, marriage, and motherhood, I realized the only way to thrive and survive is through the word no. 

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Chrystal NeelyComment
Resetting My Mom Goals

I recently had the opportunity to attend the MomLife event at Buckhead Church. David Thomas, the Director of Family Counseling at Daystar in Nashville, TN shared three things kids need from parents from birth through young adulthood.  This hour-and-a-half event re-energized me and reset my mom goals. 

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Chrystal NeelyComment
Paddleboarding Into Summer

Being a boy mom continues to take me outside of my comfort zone. I continuously seek out activities that my children will love and will make them want to put down their tablets to enjoy. For the past few months, my husband and I have discussed taking advantage of the various amenities available at Stone Mountain which isn’t too far from our house.

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It Was an Accident, but My Son Still Got Called a Terror by Another Mom

While my children enjoy the activities of the park, I people watch. I make sure my children are safe, but I also observe the interactions of others in the park. On this Saturday, all the benches were taken, so I slid my magazine into my purse, stood back, and watched my two boys play. I quickly scanned the park and noticed dads scrolling on their phones, moms talking to each other during their children's play dates, and energetic children transitioning from the slides to the swings.

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Chrystal NeelyComment
How to Survive Being a Working Mom With a Traveling Husband

I went from a working woman to a working mom eight years ago. The shift was challenging, but my husband and I were a team who made it work. Four years into that new gig, we happily added another child into the mix. But when my husband started traveling more with his job, we both overestimated my abilities. Balancing parenting, my work schedule, and the home responsibilities all by myself left me overwhelmed, exhausted, and resentful toward my husband

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Chrystal NeelyComment
How Ignoring Advice Actually Strengthens My Relationship

I met my husband on the campus of the University of South Carolina my freshman year of college. It was annoyance at first sight. No pick-up lines but a series of questions to challenge how well I knew the city of Columbia. Boredom or the challenge of future pop quizzes led to a phone number exchange. 20 later, I know answering his questions was one of the smartest things I've ever done. The second smartest thing I've done is ignoring relationship advice from well-meaning family and friends.

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Chrystal NeelyComment
Still not Rapunzel : Three Years Post Big Chop

My natural journey has been filled with highs, lows, and hats…. many, many, hats.  I stopped perming nearly 12 years ago, but I’m new to doing my hair in its natural state.  Three years post big chop, and I am sad to report that my hair does not sweep the floor the way the countless YouTube videos promised.  Coming to grips with my genetics, I am happy to report that I have a new level of swag that has arisen out of the ashes of my pressed hair. 

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Chrystal NeelyComment
This Is Why You Should Stop Trying to Grade Yourself as a Mom

There is a meme floating around social media that references how stressful it is to climb the corporate ladder, maintain a social life, have a relationship, have perfect brows, stay woke, learn the words to "Bodak Yellow," drink eight glasses of water daily, stay in shape, and stay sane and happy in today's world. To that list I will add rock my natural hair, stay fashionable, and be the best mom to two boys in the age of YouTube, Donald Trump, and constant social injustice.

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Chrystal NeelyComment
Can We All Agree That Participation Trophies Should Not Be Given to Kids?

A month before our local scouting program's boxcar race, my son excitedly outlined design ideas to make his boxcar a winner. Within hours, however, his excitement fizzled. The boxcar sat on the kitchen counter untouched until three days before the race. My husband talked my son around, and they worked in the garage for an hour before reappearing with a freshly painted red boxcar. 

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Chrystal NeelyComment
Shower Snacking Is a Thing, Because I'm Tired of Sharing With My Husband and Kids

I'm an only child, which means I'm used to being the only one around to enjoy certain things in life. One of those things? Food. But I've come to find that this particular nonsharing luxury never seemed that luxurious until I was married with children. One night after traveling by bus, train, and car to get to the leftover meal I fantasized about all day, I walked in to find my husband polishing off the final bite.

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Chrystal NeelyComment
Say No to Yes

There is a word for many of us that is hard for us to say.  We aren't sure what reaction it will elicit. Will you hurt their feelings, put your job at risk, or shatter someone’s perception of you?  No in context is negative, so we fail to use the word no in situations even when it's clear that no should be the answer.  I found my no when I became a mother.  While trying to balance a career, marriage, and motherhood, I realized the only way to thrive and survive is through the word no. 

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Chrystal NeelyComment
Kudos to CVS for Boldly Stating, “Enough Already!”

I take horrible photos. My husband, usually the victim taking said photos, tells me that the camera only takes what it sees. His statement always makes my blood boil.  I then proceed to take 57 additional photos until I get an “Instagram” worthy photo.  If someone ever looked through my cell phone’s photo trash I’m certain they would wince or turn to stone. 

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Chrystal Neely
Strive to be in the 8% in 2018

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions focused on getting out of debt, losing weight, traveling more, or career-related aspirations. Studies show only eight percent of people are able to keep their New Year's resolutions. The reason we fail is simple, we set too many resolutions and allow small set-backs to take us off of our course. Many people see their New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside by the 17th of the month.  How much did you really want it if the passion for your weight loss, debt reduction, or travel itineraries have fizzled within 17 days?

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My 2017 Top Reads

Last year, I set a goal to read at least one new book every month. There were some months I managed to read two books, and some months that I just was unable to find the time.  In 2018, I plan to continue to my reading journey and have recruited some friends to join me in my goal of reading at least 12 books per year.  I also decided to go old school with how I read my books.  When my children see me reading on a tablet, they think I’m watching a Youtube video or playing a game.  Holding a book in my hands is another way for me to stress the importance of reading to my children. 

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Chrystal NeelyComment