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Mom Life

Bella & Gabs @ first day of Kindergarten pick up! Awwww!

It seems for the wee ones, absence does make the heart grow fonder. My girls are 2 years apart and they are best friends and enemies in any given 24 hour period. They seriously will be hugging and kissing on one another in one moment and in the next telling me how they wish they didn’t have the other. That was until Kindergarten. Oh blessed Kindergarten, that which has caused my girls to absolutely adore and fawn over one another. Every morning it is big strong hugs and kisses and when we pick our Bella up at half day, Gabs runs to her, Bella grabs her little sister, and picks her up in the most adorable pint sized embrace I’ve ever witnessed.I live for this moment. It makes me a little teary eyed. It may be one of the best things to happen to their relationship. They may come out as best friends and put this ” I wish I never had a sister” nonsense aside for good. A Mommy can hope.

OMG, Seriously, does it get any more precious than this? To ME, it does not!

If you are a Mommy Blogger and proud to be so please feel free to snag the new Proud Mommy Blogger Badge for your own blog! The HTML for it is on my right hand side bar! Happy Mothering!

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Friday’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 20 – Keep a journal
I’d love to say I did a fabulous job but that would be a total lie. I had visitors from out of town and it was impossible to find time to post , little lone journal. I am however going to give it a try this week. I’ll keep you posted. How did you ladies do?

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 21 – Fake it

Try curtailing your “anger” (which The New Girl determined was more of an impulse control issue rather than anger) by actually faking it. Rolling your eyes, moving along, and pretending.
You’ll see in the comments that she’s not at all saying that you should fake how you’re feeling. Big difference. So that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

But in many cases, we often let ourselves blow up quickly when really, if we just rolled our eyes and looked at the bigger picture, we’d have way fewer massive blow-ups.Basically,we need to fake our reaction. Feel your feelings but fake control:)

Let me know how that works out for you. I know I will have to work hard on this one. I have a quick temper and I have to work hard to step back and think. I am interested to see how this works out.

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 22 – Dates with your kids

Whether you’ve got one kid or a bunch, it’s really important to spend individual time with them. It’s obviously a little easier when you have just one, and then, increasingly more challenging the more you add to your brood.God knows I spend most days feeling like one is being left out. It was so much easier for me when I only had one. I adore both, but its hard work making sure everybody gets the same attention and no one feels left out or slighted. Lucky for me, they have no issue with letting me know!

So #22: Plan a date night with your kids
Granted, it doesn’t need to be a night, obviously, and it certainly doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. In fact, it could be something that you always do together, month after month. Breakfast out? Trip to a special playground? An afternoon at a museum? This is difficult for us Mommies who are part time single Mothers or those who are actual full time single mothers but it is possible. It’s hard for me to give them each individual personal time because they are so close in age and I can’t justify leaving one out. I am planning on making the time while my 5 year old is on school, special time for my 3 year old and I. I will do the same for my 5 year old, while the 3 year old naps. It’s the best Ic an do.

There are so many fantastic ways for you to connect individually with your kiddos, especially outside of your home, which always seems to be bogged down with 400 things that you need to do other than spend alone time with them. But if you can look past the laundry and the ignore the dishes, quality time can easily be spent int he comfort of your own home.Let me know what ideas you have fro “Date Night” with your kids. How did it go?
And how did faking it go? 

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 23 – Give ’em choices

Only a little over a week left, folks. I hope you’re still with me.I hope that you are feeling like you’re getting something out of this. I am loving the challenges and feel like I am being proactive in my parenting.
I also have noticed by utilizing these techniques I have eliminated a lot of the regular tantrums and meltdowns that we were having, which is AWESOME!!!

And I do hope you found some ideas for date “nights” with your kids. I realize that those are a little hard to do impromptu, but you can certainly plan ahead.

#23: Give ’em choices
Giving your kids choices is a fantastic way to get them to do what you want without a battle (ha) but also to allow them some control, which is super important – particularly for the younger set (i.e. 2-5ish). The key here is to only give them TWO. Yes, and only choices that you actually want to abide by, Don’t make offers that you have no intention of keeping. This is how I have always done choices and it seems to work pretty well. It creates a sense of autonomy without letting them get out of  your realm of control.

Forget “What do you want for lunch?” questions and give them options. Just two.
Or when it comes to getting out of the house “You can put your shoes on and come with us, or leave them off and stay here.”This is one of my favorites, Basically, look kiddo you can do as I say and get to go do something fun or we can just stay here. My girls chomp at the bit to get out of the house ( they have their Mama’s cabin fever gene) so usually it goes as I plan. Of course, if you are dealing with a overtired  or sick child, expect the unexpected sometimes they go rogue and  you find yourself punished and unable to leave the house:(

My favorite: “You can pick up your clothes off the floor or I can pick them up and take them all to Goodwill.” Desperate times, mamas.Desperate measures. This works with my girls because they are clothes fanatics. But you get the picture….”Pick up the Barbie dolls or I will pick them up and give then to the homeless!” See, its easy..just be sure to follow through or you will lose all control….forever!

Anyway, you get the idea. Now go give it a try. Let me know how it goes!

Just a reminder, the Month of September, I will be doing a month long Be a Better Me (You) Challenge in celebration of my Birthday! Hope you can all join me. There’s more to us than just being a Mommy, so next month we will give some attention to that woman:) Also, I am trying to reach a goal of 1000 followers by my birthday September 25, so if you are not already following please do.If you already are please pass it on to your friends who you think might like it, tweet it, Facebook it. Only 432 more followers needed:)Happy Mothering!

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Friday’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 20 – Keep a journal
I’d love to say I did a fabulous job but that would be a total lie. I had visitors from out of town and it was impossible to find time to post , little lone journal. I am however going to give it a try this week. I’ll keep you posted. How did you ladies do?

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 21 – Fake it

Try curtailing your “anger” (which The New Girl determined was more of an impulse control issue rather than anger) by actually faking it. Rolling your eyes, moving along, and pretending.
You’ll see in the comments that she’s not at all saying that you should fake how you’re feeling. Big difference. So that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

But in many cases, we often let ourselves blow up quickly when really, if we just rolled our eyes and looked at the bigger picture, we’d have way fewer massive blow-ups.Basically,we need to fake our reaction. Feel your feelings but fake control:)

Let me know how that works out for you. I know I will have to work hard on this one. I have a quick temper and I have to work hard to step back and think. I am interested to see how this works out.

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 22 – Dates with your kids

Whether you’ve got one kid or a bunch, it’s really important to spend individual time with them. It’s obviously a little easier when you have just one, and then, increasingly more challenging the more you add to your brood.God knows I spend most days feeling like one is being left out. It was so much easier for me when I only had one. I adore both, but its hard work making sure everybody gets the same attention and no one feels left out or slighted. Lucky for me, they have no issue with letting me know!

So #22: Plan a date night with your kids
Granted, it doesn’t need to be a night, obviously, and it certainly doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. In fact, it could be something that you always do together, month after month. Breakfast out? Trip to a special playground? An afternoon at a museum? This is difficult for us Mommies who are part time single Mothers or those who are actual full time single mothers but it is possible. It’s hard for me to give them each individual personal time because they are so close in age and I can’t justify leaving one out. I am planning on making the time while my 5 year old is on school, special time for my 3 year old and I. I will do the same for my 5 year old, while the 3 year old naps. It’s the best Ic an do.

There are so many fantastic ways for you to connect individually with your kiddos, especially outside of your home, which always seems to be bogged down with 400 things that you need to do other than spend alone time with them. But if you can look past the laundry and the ignore the dishes, quality time can easily be spent int he comfort of your own home.Let me know what ideas you have fro “Date Night” with your kids. How did it go?
And how did faking it go? 

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 23 – Give ’em choices

Only a little over a week left, folks. I hope you’re still with me.I hope that you are feeling like you’re getting something out of this. I am loving the challenges and feel like I am being proactive in my parenting.
I also have noticed by utilizing these techniques I have eliminated a lot of the regular tantrums and meltdowns that we were having, which is AWESOME!!!

And I do hope you found some ideas for date “nights” with your kids. I realize that those are a little hard to do impromptu, but you can certainly plan ahead.

#23: Give ’em choices
Giving your kids choices is a fantastic way to get them to do what you want without a battle (ha) but also to allow them some control, which is super important – particularly for the younger set (i.e. 2-5ish). The key here is to only give them TWO. Yes, and only choices that you actually want to abide by, Don’t make offers that you have no intention of keeping. This is how I have always done choices and it seems to work pretty well. It creates a sense of autonomy without letting them get out of  your realm of control.

Forget “What do you want for lunch?” questions and give them options. Just two.
Or when it comes to getting out of the house “You can put your shoes on and come with us, or leave them off and stay here.”This is one of my favorites, Basically, look kiddo you can do as I say and get to go do something fun or we can just stay here. My girls chomp at the bit to get out of the house ( they have their Mama’s cabin fever gene) so usually it goes as I plan. Of course, if you are dealing with a overtired  or sick child, expect the unexpected sometimes they go rogue and  you find yourself punished and unable to leave the house:(

My favorite: “You can pick up your clothes off the floor or I can pick them up and take them all to Goodwill.” Desperate times, mamas.Desperate measures. This works with my girls because they are clothes fanatics. But you get the picture….”Pick up the Barbie dolls or I will pick them up and give then to the homeless!” See, its easy..just be sure to follow through or you will lose all control….forever!

Anyway, you get the idea. Now go give it a try. Let me know how it goes!

Just a reminder, the Month of September, I will be doing a month long Be a Better Me (You) Challenge in celebration of my Birthday! Hope you can all join me. There’s more to us than just being a Mommy, so next month we will give some attention to that woman:) Also, I am trying to reach a goal of 1000 followers by my birthday September 25, so if you are not already following please do.If you already are please pass it on to your friends who you think might like it, tweet it, Facebook it. Only 432 more followers needed:)Happy Mothering!

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Yesterday’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 18 – Get happy!
was fantastic and timely. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the big K that was looming for today but I embraced it. We had a special last couple of days,with play dates with some of our favorite friends and Bella’s favorite meal. I was happy to be having these moments with her, living in the moment and trying to avoid dwelling on the sadness that I knew I would feel when she started kindergarten. So, I put on my big girl panties and I got HAPPY! How did you do?

Today’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 19 – Let the other parent parent
I’m positive that this challenge would be much easier for me if my husband was home more so that I’d be used to having another parent in the house, but it’s very hard for me to keep my mouth shut and let him do his parenting job when he is only here on weekends. The sad thing is that he is a very hands on Daddy, truly one of the most awesome Daddies that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. My husband is a testament to the term Father, seriously. Everything that I can do, he can do too; kiss boo boos, snuggle at bedtime, read stories, calm fears, rub legs riddled with growing pains, mend hearts broken by the pains of growing older and realizing the ways of the world. I trust him implicitly with the kids, so it’s not that I’m worried something will happen, but when I’m here, and I hear some of the things he says, or his reaction to some situations,or whatever it is that I’m listening to from the other room, it’s very difficult to keep my mouth shut ( refer again to my control freak nature).

If the kids were in imminent danger, or he was wrong I would certainly say something. But they never are and he’s usually not. Just because we parent differently doesn’t mean his way is wrong; its just different. He and I talk a lot  about what is acceptable reactions to the girls behavior and what is not. The biggest problem is me relinquishing control, especially when I am in full control the entire week long. But, I will admit, sometimes on the weekend when I am super spent from the previous week of doing it all on my own,I want need the Big Guy to come in and rescue me. I guess the answer to my own request is to let him.

I do believe that there is a fine line, particularly when one of the parents is escalating, for the other parent to step in and remedy situation; take over the lead in the situation. That’s what I believe co-parenting is; two people working as ying and yang to help their children survive until adulthood:) When I’m about to lose my ever loving mind, I really want the Big Guy to step in and give me a breather and reign me back down to earth.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen very often as I’d like because the big Guy is gone. When he is home he tries to take control so that I don’t have to…always be the discipline tyrant. Really,sometimes the best co parenting is the Big Guy saying “Go take a break, I got this! ”  We’ve been together so long, that he recognizes the crazy in my eyes almost immediately. He gives me the nod ( which means remove yourself lady you are about to lose your shit and you’ll feel really guilty if that happens) and I try and go.I think stuff like that can save both parents from unnecessary outbursts.I just he was around more to save me more.The Big Guy, my hero.

So today, do your best to let your co-parent (if you have one, that is) parent the kids in his/her own way. And if you have criticisms or issues, wait until after the kids are gone (or asleep) to discuss them.

Tomorrow, Bella wants the Big Guy to take her to school by himself. She draws her strength from her Daddy, when she is filled with trepidation. I will let him do his parenting thing and I will be happy that he can comfort her and be her Daddy, just like only he can be.

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Yesterday’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 16 – Say what you mean…
was a little difficult. I am a talker and I tend to over think and over talk everything. I think at my girls’ young ages they have already learned that Mommy likes to make idle threats. Its not intentional. I just threaten and then I hate to actually punish them.But I have been working on it.For example, the other day my girls got shots and they were very brave. I promised them that for their bravery I would reward them with a trip to Target and the luxury of each picking out 1 item ( Not to exceed $10). We finally made it to the store and of course they both headed right for the $30 dress up dresses, bypassing the $10 Barbie clothes they had said they wanted. I almost (ALMOST) bought them the dresses but I felt conflicted because what kind of message was that sending to them? I mean it was only a innocuous dress but what kind of life lesson would this parlay into..one day, I will tell them I’ll buy them a used sedan as their first car and they will go to the car lot and head straight for the brand new sports cars. NO thank you. I must stick to my words. I must say what I mean and actually mean what I say. So, after a couple of tired girls having a couple of major meltdowns. I issued the either we stick to the $10 limit or we leave and if crying continued…we are still leaving. Amazingly enough,they both quieted up and we left with the $9 ( clearance) dress up shoes, leaving the $30 dress up dresses behind for Santa to buy:) How did it go for you ladies?

Today’s  Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 17 – Don’t Ask. Tell. We’re a question asking society, particularly the fairer sex, who often end statements with some sort of question mark – perhaps not intentionally, but all the same. We inquiringly raise our voices at the end of most sentences instantly turning it from a statement to a question. Why? Do we need constant validation?

Even worse, many people (moms and dads alike) ask their kids questions when they probably should be making statements. Seriously, the biggest mistake we make today is asking questions that we already have the answer to. It’s like we are giving them just enough rope to hang themselves. They are children, there should be no choice of whether or not they want to eat their broccoli, go to sleep, or brush their teeth when they are young. We are their parents, we need to guide them; not confuse them with unnecessary questions.

“Do you want to get down?”
“Can you turn off the television?”
“Time for bed. Okay?”

In this time of parents treating their children like little people, instead of actual children, we have lost our authority. I feel like we are also putting unnecessary pressure on our children to make decisions that they are not equipped to make logically. When they answer with their id and say a resounding (my personal favorite) “NO!”,we’re screwed.Rhetorical questions really are lost on children. Haven’t you ever heard, if you don’t want my answer then don’t ask the question? This is what these questions set us up for aggravation and disappointment. We bring it on ourselves. Our challenge is to tell them what is expected of them. To be their parent and let them be the child. Once they are old enough and have been guided enough, they will make the right choices. I’m not saying to be a tyrant but we do need to be the adult.

We’ll talk about giving your kids choices later on, but for today, work on making statements and losing the whole “okay?” or “alright?” – most importantly when you’re giving directives. Those really shouldn’t have a “yes” or “no” option.

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Challenge #16 – Say what you mean and mean what you say
I realize that this is somewhat similar to the “in a second” challenge that we had a few days ago, but it really does take things to another level. It’s probably no surprise that we often say way more than needs to be said – whether it’s because we don’t say it effectively, we say it when our kids aren’t really listening to us, or we just say it because it sounds good at the time.
But then we have to follow through on what we said.Because we want our kids to trust us. I am really big on following through, even if its just a good description or postponement of what I said we’d do until a later date. Believe me I always come up with some legitimate reason because if I don’t then basically, I am just a lying asshole. There are already too many of those in the world. I don’t want to be the first for my child.
However, we’ll worry about all that good stuff later. For now, just concentrate on what you’re saying.Take a second to think about what’s reasonable and what makes sense. Are you just saying stuff to say it or do you really want your kids to listen and understand? Do you mean everything that is coming out of your mouth? I want them to listen and understand the words that I am saying.But I also want to be sure that I am not making idle threats or false promises, so I really have to filter what I say. In fact, most of the time, I am filtering the big guy too. It’s so hard having to tell a grown man to watch what he is saying so he doesn’t permanently fuck them up.
That could really change what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. And really, truly LESS IS MORE, especially when it comes to kids. Isn’t there some statistic out there that says they really only catch like 2-3 out of every 10 words or something? I’m convinced my girls have selective hearing and only really hear the parts that benefit them.
I’m not surprised. They are 3 and 5, they are total id! How I wish I could live that way, damn you super ego! We Mommies are riddled with super ego! Super my ass. What’s so super about guilt?( Anyways, sorry about the tangent.)
We’ll have plenty more challenges that deal with this because I think it’s a biggie. But today, give it a try and see what happens.

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Yesterday Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 11 – You’re not perfect, and that’s okay 
was good for so many reasons.  I totally gave myself a break yesterday and it was awesome. Letting myself off the hook is great. It made me realize the only one holding me to these ridiculous standards are me. Who cares if I’m not perfect as long as I love my children and do what’s best for them,I’m a good Mommy. So are you. How dd the accepting tat you are not perfect and  letting go of the guilt affect your day yesterday?
Today’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 12 – Play what they want you to play is a little harder than yesterday’s challenge, for me. I know it sounds easy enough but I tend to really get caught up in the whole “Wait a minute”,”As soon as I finish this..” spectrum. I don’t want to be like that. I feel like I am letting them down but things need to get done. Maybe I will try and ignore some of my responsibilities and have some fun with the girls.I’m sure they don’t care if the laundry is piling up. That is not going to be the memories they have of their childhood. The memories will be Mommy dressing up and having a royal picnic with them on the living room floor, or a royal tea on the veranda but if I keep doing the whole “no thing” the memories will be “My Mommy was mean and we never did anything”. That’s not what I want so, I will make a conscious effort to stop what I am doing and go play.
So, grab a cup of coffee or your other Mommy juice of choice and go for it. No fair if you’ve got the television on in the background. Give them your full attention and full focus, whether it’s dressing up like the 3rd dancing princess or chasing them around the house playing ninjas.
Have fun Ladies. I’ve got to go, I hear a tea party calling my name. Play on , my friends. Let me know what you did fun to play with your kids today!

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Yesterday’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 10 – Be the fun one was a total blast and I took full advantage. We went shopping, hung out at the mall, played at the park, went to out to their favorite joint  for breakfast, watched a kiddie movie on the big screen, and there may or may not be some ice cream cones in their very near future. We all had a great time having fun. I realized that sometimes just by not having to be the “enforcer” it really makes a big difference. I feel like I had a mini break from my kids yesterday because I go to be in the moment and enjoy them! How did it go for you Ladies? I think I should be the fun one at least once a week. It’s good for all of us.

Today’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 11 – You’re not perfect, and that’s okay
is pretty self explanatory. We are Mommies, we try our best to do our best for our kids but we are only human. So cut yourself some slack. Take a deep, deep breath, exhale. Repeat after me…I am a good Mommy! I love my children. I’m having a bad day. I’m human. Accept it and get past it. We’ve all had our days when our children has sent us into what can only be described accurately as lunatic land. I, myself, have been known no ferociously roar..I mean ground shaking roar. I realize almost immediately that I have crossed the line. But what can I do at that point? So, I feel guilty. In fact, I am completely consumed with guilt when I lose it.  Guilt is a totally useless emotion…at least for the person feeling it. I am not going to sulk and feel guilty anymore. I am going to try my best to be a grown up and keep my perspective. I know its easier said than done. I will try not to lose it but if/when I do, I will simply apologize. Let my children know that I am human and I make mistakes, but I am sorry for overreacting. I will allow them to verbalize and express their feelings and then I will forgive myself. I will get over it and move on. That is my plan.Let me know how you accept that you are not perfect.

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Yesterday’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 9 – Find your triggers 
was an easy one. I already knew most of my triggers but had forgotten to lost one very important one. When Mommy’s monthly friend is visiting ( Mommy is extra tired, crampy, moody, migraney) that is certainly a trigger fro me. I have no tolerance for anything or anybody. Even when I try to step away from the situation and be aware, I can’t. I just want to be left alone in my misery. How do I remedy this? I try to be tolerant, work it so the kids can got o bed earlier and I think if I plan ahead and fill the it me that keeps them occupied and relieves me of the need to think spontaneously on those occasions, it might help. I’m trying it today! How did it work for you?

Today’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 10 – Be the fun one I am so ready for this one.Usually Daddy gets to bet he fun one. With my husband being out of town a lot, I have to be the enforcer and the one to keep the schedule.He gets to come home and have fun. After having to do everything and be the schedule nazi/ punishment enforcer, it gets hard for me to be the fun one because I am so use to being regimented and so tired from having to exert all of that energy being the tyrant Mommy. Not today, Today, Grandma ChaCha is visiting and I have planed a day of fun with Grandma….shopping, lunch, ( oh, its supposed to be fun for them?)….park, pool, splash pad and a whole lotta Grandma ChaCha. School starts next week so this is the day we make a bang. I am going to try and make an effort to do more spontaneous ( because you don’t want to tell them beforehand or you will be asked about it 1000 times a day until it happens) fun things. I have been known to do the spontaneous ice cream cone but I will get more creative.

Remember that I wouldn’t just drop a fantastic trip to the zoo if the kids have been terrorizing Mommy for the last few days. That’s not the message you want to send and its reinforcing bad behavior. But if you can find a reason to do something fun, then I say do it! Choose something you’ll all enjoy together.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money, or even any money – whether it’s an ice cream treat after dinner, a trip to the zoo, a fun picnic lunch, a game of Wii, spontaneous trip to the local splash pad, just do something that’s FUN. And enjoy it yourself too.

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