My official title is mom. It was a decision I made before I even had kids. I was one of those annoying girls that thought she wanted to be a stay at home and didn’t want a career. It was probably a decision that shouldn’t have been made by a 24-year-old girl. Anyway, I loved that I did get to spend all that time with my babies, even though I didn’t love it every day!
Now that my boys are fifteen and eighteen, it seems weird not to have an “exciting job”. I know people are always wondering about what I do all day. Well, I do all the stuff that you wish you could do when your kids were little — like walk out of the house all by myself anytime I want (lol!).
After getting divorced, I went to work when my kids were ages six and nine. It was out of necessity and I didn’t like what I was doing. Five years later, I found the love of my life on match.com and got remarried. Together we decided that leaving an eleven and fourteen-year-old at home alone all day for the summer was not in their best interest and I quit my job. That’s when I started my blog, Just-Browsing.
Your blog, Just-Browsing, has been around for a few years and offers a great peek into your world while keeping things funny and quite raw. What made you decide to start writing and what’s been the biggest thing you’ve learned since that first post?
I told my husband one day that if I was in college now, I would start a fashion blog. He said I didn’t need to be in my twenties to do that and encouraged me to just go for it! With his constant encouragement, I decided it was a wonderful way for me to have goals, keep learning, share my love of fashion and “keep myself busy”!
I have learned so unbelievably much since starting my blog. The biggest thing for me is getting out of my comfort zone. I am a very private, shy person and writing about myself (and taking pictures, ugh) is not easy for me. It is so rewarding when someone stops me in the grocery store and says they loved my post or think I’m funny. Then I think, “Wow, I love this blogging thing!” The very best part is that I have met so many amazing people because of it.
Late last year you did a post about sending your oldest son to military school, which I found to be particularly moving. All the mamas out there will know that this is not an easy choice to make. Would you tell us about what your journey was like making that decision?
Yes, my older son attended military school in Wisconsin for his junior and senior year of high school. He did not want to go there and I didn’t want him to go either. I mean, who sends their high school kid away? Just the parents that can’t deal, right? For selfish reasons, I did not want people to think I threw up my hands and got rid of him, that I didn’t care about my kid or that my kid was a very bad boy.
He was simply not having a great time in high school – he met some friends that I did not approve of, was being disrespectful and lazy, had no plan for college and thought he should get his own place when he was eighteen. It caused everyone so much stress: me, his dad, his stepdad and his brother. It was like we were all constantly on edge and fighting. I always had a knot in my stomach about what this kid’s future looked like. I loved high school and for me it was a launch pad to college and a future. His mindset was that high school was a dirt road to a job at Chick-fil-A.
The actual decision to send him to military school did not happen overnight. We visited four military schools, one of which, I cried the whole way home after the visit. I hated it. Not to mention, this kid is my first born and the thought of him not sleeping under my roof was terrifying. Was I sure I wanted to be cheated those two years of his life? For some, these are the last two years before they leave for college and don’t necessarily ever move back home. There were so many tears — I cried all the time.
Now that he has graduated from military school (this past spring), I can’t believe we waited until he was a junior. He was so successful there and it literally changed his life!
I wrote the blog post about him, not because I wanted to expose him, but to help other parents. Not one child is the same as another, so how can one high school be for all kids?
Since my post I have had so many parents reach out to me about their sons to say, “My son sounds just like your son!” and that they have decided to or are contemplating military school. This is why I love blogging, oh the connections!
My son will be leaving for college next month and I cannot believe it. Not one mom on earth is ready for that day. Not even the mom that sent her kid to military school! Military school taught my son how to work hard, achieve goals and he graduated as a Captain (highest rank). The school completely changed his future. On graduation weekend, he even said that he was glad he went there and maybe he wished it would have been sooner. Yep — those words came out of his mouth and you know if you are a parent, that is pure joy.
As I’m sure you know, being a mom isn’t easy. Most of the time if feels like you’re being pulled in a million different directions. What do you do to make sure you don’t lose your mind?!
The best way to not lose your mind is to talk to other moms! Just when you think you are the only one with this “certain problem” or this very “unusual child”, you find out that someone else is dealing with the exact same thing! If you open up, other moms open up too and then you either laugh your butt off or cry your eyes out, but you do it together and realize it is not the end of the world.
What is an average day for you?
Five days a week, if we are in town, I go to the gym at 6:30am. I really do not stray from this for fear I will quit all together. Consistency and routine keep me motivated. I travel with my husband quite often. He travels a ton for work and I can go with when my kids are with their dad. This is when I take most of my blog pictures and do the blog writing.
My days are always different — which I love! Whether I’m out of town or at home, I am usually in bed by 10:00pm.
Children’s names & ages: Kees 18 (Pronounced Case, it’s a Dutch name — yeah we did that to him….) and Gage 15
What is your top beauty product that makes mom life easier?
What piece in your wardrobe is on heavy rotation? Good American jean shorts!
What activity do you love to do with your kids? I love to go out for a great dinner — somewhere with awesome steak like Prime & Provisions. That way everyone is happy and the boys dress up and maybe even brush their teeth.
What closet staple can’t you live without? I would say great fitting, comfortable jeans. The ones that are never on the bottom of the pile!
What is your dream destination for vacation? I love this question because we are currently researching a dream destination! I really want to see Santorini, possibly on a Mediterranean cruise that would also include stops in the Amalfi coast.
What is your secret obsession when you get an hour to yourself? Online shopping!!!
What is your favorite dessert recipe that your crew flips over when you make it? Texas Sheet Cake is everyone’s fave!