Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 Ways To Survive Motherhood On The Long Days

I have been a mom for approximately 3,253 days.
(That's nearly 9 years, but counting days sounds much more dramatic.  And I am nothing if not dramatic.)

If I am being conservative, I have probably been with my kids for 90% of those days.
Because we don't have family in town and my kids have never been in school, the only breaks I get from them is a few hours of week when Brett is home with them (and I leave the house even if I have nowhere to go) and a few weekends a year when Brett's mom and dad graciously keep them.

This is not bragging.
Believe me, if my mom or mom-in-law were in town, they would be tired of me by now with how much I would ask them for help.  I mean, just ask Brett's mom.  She casually mentions she has a day off of work, and I practically pack my kids' bags before her sentence is finished.

This is also not complaining.
This is the life I have chosen.....and a life I love 90% of the time.
Brett is an awesome dad, but building a business requires tons of time and energy...and he gives all he has to our business and our family.  During easier seasons of life, I had more breaks...and I look forward to those days in the future!

This is purely a fact.  A fact, I would venture to say, is true of most stay at home moms.
(Working moms, you know I love you and value you!! I know what you miss in quantity time, you make up in quality time.  So this is not 1% a slam.  It may just be less applicable.)

Because I've had to attempt to keep my sanity in tact for approximately 51,000 hours (is my drama making you feel for me?) and somewhat entertain my children, I've figured out some ideas along the way for dealing with the gloriously long days.

These are not rocket science, and I've probably mentioned them before on here.  But sometimes in the monotony of your days, a fresh idea can spark new life and joy into your journey....and make you remember how much you love this job!

10 Ideas To Survive Motherhood On The Long Days:
(Everyone knows to go to Target or the park, so these are more creative--and inexpensive-- ways to spend your days.)
I mean, who among us hasn't experienced this?
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That's Luke, not Levi.  I don't think Levi has ever been in Target.  I have raised the white flag of taking toddlers to the grocery store.  

1.  Anyone who has read my blog for awhile probably knows that I solve most every whining problem with water.  Bath tub, pool, water table, kitchen sink....I don't care what it is.  If it has water, it instantly invites children in and changes attitudes.

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Sheer joy.  

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Caleb at our house in Kansas. So little.  

When Caleb and Chloe were 1 and 2, I think they took like three baths a day during long Kansas winters.


2.  If water is not a possibility, outside is a close second.  If you have a baby that just will not quit crying, a walk in the stroller changes everything.  Even if the baby continues to cry, the screams are way easier to withstand when they aren't reverberating off of every wall in the house.
Outside is a good decision at any age.  Even if it's cold, bundle up.  It's worth it.

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Outside and water = double win!


3.  Strap the kids into the car and drive.  I don't do this as much anymore (because, as I've said a million times, KIDS GET EASIER!), but I did it ALL THE TIME when I had three babies under 5.
I would drive to a McDonald's like 20 minutes away (there was one closer, but it was too close), order a Diet Coke, park the car, and just sit.
I would drive back home, reenergized to make it through the day....having spent $1 and some gas.


4.  Find a coffee shop with a play area, invite a friend, and go!  Because these places cost money, there are usually less kids and therefore, more relaxing than, say, Chick Fila.

(I am all about going to any play place, but if you only have little kids, those play areas are anything but relaxing.  Now that my kids are older, I send them in and pretty much ignore them---and the stares of the moms sitting in the room---but that's a relatively new phase for me.)

The coffe shop/play areas seem popular, so maybe there is one in your area!  Even if you aren't a coffee drinker (I'm not), there are usually delicious treats.  Eating your feelings is an essential part of surviving motherhood.

If a friend can join you, even better!  Friends are also essential to survival (says the extrovert).


5.  Watch your favorite TV show (or read a book, if you have more brain cells than I ever did).  There is always the temptation to do one more load of laundry or load the dishwasher, but some days (read: a lot of days), you just need to leave those undone and veg out.  You really cannot overestimate the power of relaxing.


6. Eating out with a one year old is never worth it.  This is the opposite of an idea, but it will save you a lot of frustration.  If you're like me, you eat out to get a break (from cooking, cleaning, thinking, etc).  Going out to eat with a one year old is the exact opposite of a break.
Save yourself the frustration, and get take out (or delivery).  Put the kids to bed early, and enjoy an in-home date night with your husband....or if you're a single mom, yourself!


7.  Stop reading articles about how TV will destroy your child and turn the stupid thing on.  Turn on Dora (if you can stand it), and boom, they get a Spanish lesson for the day.  Now you can feel less guilty about TV and look impressive when your toddler counts to ten in Spanish (no one ever has to know where they learned it).


8.  Most super fun, exciting, homemade Pinterest inspired crafts for kids that take you hours to create will hold their interest for about 14 nanoseconds.  So let go on the guilt you feel for pinning a million of them and doing exactly none of them (unless you enjoy doing them....then be you and party on).

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Painting with shaving cream.  Super fun.  For like 3 minutes.  The clean up took forever....and stained my grout!  

It is so cliche....but a box, some kitchen utensils, and a bowl....are free and way more fun.
And if you choose to go beyond that, choose small projects.  Kids are super fine with simple.  It's adults who try to make it all SO. AWESOME.  It doesn't have to be.

Save the Pinterest stuff for when you have grandkids.  I sort of feel like that's the time for those.


9.  Invite a friend over and linger together as long as possible.  Nothing gets you through the early days of motherhood (or any days, for that matter) like a good friend.  It takes work, yes, but it is always worth it!!  (On a similar note, try to say yes as often as possible to playdate invitations.....it is SO. MUCH. WORK.....but really, really shortens the long hours in a day).


10.  Even the longest, hardest, worst days end.  I can remember very few days as a mom of only little kids feeling like I had rocked the day.  Most days ended in exhaustion, frustration, guilt, and wondering if it would ever get it right.

Those little babies and toddlers that are so, so hard (even when they're so, so cute) grow into the most precious kids.  What you are doing is worth it.  You see such little fruit.  Experience such little victory.  But the fruit and victories come.  I promise they come.

Survive the day.  Do whatever it takes to make it til bedtime.  Even if it's letting go of ideals of what you believe makes a good mom.  There is still time; there are a lot of days left to figure it all out.

But for today, put your kids to be early, watch some trash TV, and down some ice cream.
There is always the hope of an awesome tomorrow.




Kids

Chloe: "look what I made for Mia!!" (Showing me a gift she made)

Caleb: "Chloe, you're going too far with his Mia thing."


The dreamer and the realist.
Their constant conflict.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Reading

As a family of night owls, sometimes I feel guilty my kids stay up later than many.

Then Caleb reads two complete Magic Treehouse books in one night (142 total pages).......and I'm like, "nah, we're good."

This is even more remarkable because neither Brett nor I are avid readers.

Yes, this is a mom brag. #sorrynotsorry

Friday, January 23, 2015

Miami

Luke asked, "Are we going to Mom's Ami today??

What is Mom's Ami, yoy may ask?!?

Miami, of course!

He hears me say things like " We are going to Miami " and thinks I'm referring to MY Ami.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday, Luke!!

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My sweet Pookers turns 5 today.  Five.  I know every parent says how quickly time flies, but his five years have particularly been very fast.  Lukey, in recent months, has truly become a boy.  No longer a whiny toddler, he has moved into the little boy phase.  And I just love him so much.

Luke and I share a bond.  He and I have the same birth order of our biological siblings.  We are both third children with an older brother and sister and a younger brother.  So while he is stubborn and wild, he is so much like I was as a kid that I am way more entertained by it than bothered by it.

Luke is HILARIOUS.  His words are often inappropriate (mostly potty humor), but he is so, so funny.  And so, so cute.  He still has trouble with some verbal sounds, so his voice is the most precious ever.  (We are, of course, working with him to correct his speech...and none of his struggles are out of the ordinary....for those who are concerned.)

This boy is, by far, my most snuggliest child.  His love language has to be physical touch because he is always touching us.  He is the kid who sits in our laps while we watch TV and requires snuggles before bed.  He burrows in to snuggle as closely as he can.  Which we love.

Luke has the funniest quirks.  He does not like skin or armpits.  Once, he was playing a video game and wouldn't finish the level because there was a character wearing a tank top....and Luke didn't want to get near his armpits.
When Luke lays with Brett or me, he will not touch any skin (except arms).  If Brett has his shirt off, Luke pulls the sheet up.  If part of my stomach is showing, Luke pulls my shirt down.
I don't know why, but this little quirky thing about him makes me laugh!!
This is his biggest quirk, but he definitely has a few (just like his mama).

I am so proud of my Pookers.  He brings so much joy to us.  He is so confident.  So brave.  He is so thoughtful.  Any time he is out with Brett or I for one-on-one time, Luke always thinks about what he can bring back for his siblings.  He is as sweet as he is wild.

Luke is very observant.  He notices the smallest details and is always the first to notice if I change something.  I often wonder how this trait will come into play into his life, because it seems significant.  He has always been very attentive to detail.  If nothing else, it will make him the best husband in the future!!

I am so grateful for Pooker Dookers.  I adore him so very much.  Getting to raise this boy is a great joy, and I treasure him deeply.  

Teach Them Young

Caleb: "Did the Seminoles and Gators used to be football enemies?"

Me: "They still are."

Caleb: "I don't think so. It's just they're so far apart since the Seminoles are better than them."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

City Kid


Each night when tucking my kids into bed, I play "Would You Rather" with Caleb and Chloe.

A question from tonight,
"Would you rather live on a dude ranch or in New York City?"

Chloe: "Ranch."  (Obviously, given her love of animals.)

Caleb: "I have to say I love wifi, so I pick New York City."