Mommy Reset

Autumn ===> School & sports start. Chaos begins!!!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love autumn and everything to do with it. BUT… it takes me a few weeks to get back into the groove. And this can sometimes make me feel very overwhelmed and guilty. Guilty I am not as efficient as I could be. Frustrated that everything is not falling into perfection. And simply tired from all the running around.

This is the time of year that all three minions have activities. So, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, we have soccer; Tuesdays and Saturdays, we have softball; and Thursdays, we have gymnastics. Sundays are for Church and family. Then, of course, we have homework and spouse time that need to be placed in here as well. Not to mention personal Mom{Me} time.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but WOW! The running around really catches up to you!!! I actually think I forgot was exhaustion felt like, but the last couple of weeks has definitely reminded me.

So last week, I took our household’s resting time {1:30-3:00-ish and after 8:00 p.m.} and made a point to do nothing. I recognized that I needed to reset or else I would become cranky and nearly useless.

The importance of Mom{Me} time is so imperative, and yet it always seems to be the first thing cut from the list. Why is that? Well, it’s because we are moms.

Moms are created to be nurturers, so when there is a need for our family, we fill that need. It is our vocation gifted by God.

We naturally put our sanity aside to keep the others sane 🙂

The good news is that the joy that our little ones have in doing the things they love actually help fulfill our hearts as well. This helps for a little bit, but at a point, you just need to take a guilt-free break before you break!

The problem for me is falling into old habits. I am very much a go-go-go person and I have created three on-the-go minions, so remembering to take personal time for me does not come naturally. I go until I can’t go anymore and then I need a reset.

So, basically, this is my reminder to all. TAKE PERSONAL TIME & STAY SANE 🙂

Once I regain sanity, I remember all my tricks and enjoy each moment more.

Key takeaways for you from this post:

  • Always find time for Mom{Me} time;
  • Planning ahead helps the days run smoothly;
  • This is a season in life and it too shall pass {far too quickly}.

Have a great day!!!
andrea-sig

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Parents, Your Reaction Matters Most

While at the park today, we had an incident with another child.

I took five kids to the park – my three minions {8, 6, and 4} and our little friends {2 and 7 months}. We do this often and never have issues. While the two year old was playing on a train, another two year old came over and before you knew it, he scratched her face, starting at the eyes and going down to her lips. Oh, it was bad!

Here is where reactions matter.

The boy’s mom immediately picked him up and removed him from the situation, as did I with the little girl. His mom talked calmly with him. I talked calmly with our little friend. I consoled her and checked her face. I got her some water and cleaned her up.

I didn’t hear what the boy’s mom said to him at first, but she stayed close by – holding her son – and once my little girl was calm, we connected again. She apologized for the incident and checked to make sure the toddler was OK.

Yes, it sucked that it happened. But, when two year olds are involved, anything can and will happen. They are quick as a whip and don’t always have the words to communicate what they want. In this case, the little boy wanted to sit in the exact spot the little girl was.

Here’s what impressed me about the situation:

  • The mom reacted immediately. This was not a situation of negligence by any stretch of the imagination. He was quick!
  • The mom stayed. She could have taken her son and left then and there as a punishment for his behavior and/or to save herself from the embarrassment. But she didn’t. She stayed a few feet away holding her son to make sure we were okay.
  • The mom used the moment to teach her son. You know that whole cause and effect thing that we learn in science? Two year olds are still learning them. A horrible example, but he now knows what happens if he scratches someone. I heard her tell her son, “See what happened when you did that? It hurt her and now she is sad.”
  • The mom scolded in a loving way. She didn’t fly off the handle and shout at the boy. She didn’t scream “look what you did!” {Well, at least from what I heard.} She calmly spoke to the boy and used basic language so that he could understand how his actions hurt someone. By mom staying calm, it actually kept the moment calm for the four of us involved.
  • The mom did not make him apologize. I have read conflicting books/articles on this. From this, I feel that if you force a child to say sorry, they don’t necessarily understand it and it becomes just a word. When they comprehend what it means to be sorry, that is when it is meaningful. The mom apologized a lot, but I actually do understand her not forcing the issue.

In a few minutes, our little girl was fine, playing and smiling. We kept on playing for another hour {we were at a great park with lots to do!}. The mom came up to me as we were getting ready to leave and she thanked me for my reaction to her and the situation. It didn’t dawn on me that others might have been cold to her in that situation, but looking back, I do get it.

With all the mom-shaming, you never know who you may come into contact with. I could have very easily blamed her and shouted at her for allowing her child to do this horrible thing. But, let’s face it. I have three kids who have gone through these phases, or at least something similar. I get it.

Toddlers are fast little things who want what they want when they want it. When they don’t get it, they act out. In this case, it was at another child.

  • I know that it is simply something that happens.
  • I know the mom didn’t send him over to hurt us.
  • I know that the little boy is probably a good boy who was overwhelmed by all the play things and then felt cheated that my little girl got to what he wanted first.
  • I know that this mom probably just needed a moment of grace, as we all do from time to time.

Later, my minions were trying to figure out why the little boy didn’t just sit in the other seats – there were three available. Why did he need her to move? My only response was that sometimes two year olds are simply illogical. 

The best thing that we can do is to react in a positive way. Not only for our kids’ sake, but other moms’ as well.

Be blessed and have a great day!
andrea-sig

 

P.S. I came across this article and I think it fits perfectly here: Six Ways to Show Solidarity with Other Moms. 

Making Fitbits Work for Mom

My husband bought me a fitbit HR last month before a trip to Canada. I absolutely love it, BUT it does not count my “mom” steps!

You know… “mom” steps. Simple things like holding a baby, pushing the stroller, or pushing a shopping cart. Essential things that all moms must do.

Here is how a fitbit counts steps {from fitbit itself}:

Fitbit trackers have a finely tuned algorithm for step counting. The algorithm is designed to look for motion patterns most indicative of people walking. One condition for a motion pattern to be recognized as a step is the motion must be large enough. The algorithm implements this by setting a threshold. If a motion and its subsequent acceleration measurement data meet the threshold, the motion will be counted as a step.If that threshold is not met, the algorithm won’t count the motion as a step. Other factors can create enough acceleration to meet our threshold and therefore cause some over counting of steps, such as riding on a bumpy road. Equally, it’s possible for the algorithm to undercount (not meet the required acceleration threshold).

In plain english, your ARM MOTION and foot step must be involved in order to count.

The problem each “mom” step has is that each of these require our arm to be stationary. I discovered that each walk with the stroller was not counting! That means that literally thousands of steps were not being counted each day. No fair!!! I wanted to reach 10,000 each day like I had on vacation.

At first, I blamed my children’s little legs for slowing me down. Then one evening, when I realized I had less than 200 steps to go before hitting 10,000, I started reading my book while pacing my floor. After about 10 minutes of walking {way more than should be necessary}, I gained 42 steps! My arm was holding the book rather than moving with my steps. Grr…

So, I started testing the various tasks I did each day and discovered that with my fitbit on my wrist, my “mom” steps were not counting.

{Yes, I know these are very much so first world problems, but I wanted that little burst of pride I got when my fitbit vibrated to alert me I had achieved my goal. Shallow, yes. Still, what I wanted.}

How to resolve this and make my steps count!

I thought about putting the fitbit on my ankle, but

  1. Fitbit does not recommend this
  2. I don’t know if I would realize if it fell off, wasting money, and
  3. I didn’t want to look like a mom on house arrest.

So, I tried my belt loop. This worked really well!!! The first test was a biggie – the zoo! I easily achieved 2,500 just walking to an exhibit in the back. Great!image

New problem… I don’t always wear pants with belt loops. I do wear workout gear a couple days a week. Hmm…

Solution! Fasten the fitbit around one of the tank top sleeves. It’s not the most attractive, but it counts the steps and I will definitely be aware if it falls off.

Now, ALL of my steps count each day. Take that fitbit! #momwin

I am posting this as this was simply something that I was not aware could be an issue  and so I figure if I didn’t know, other mamas might not either. Don’t get frustrated, simply figure out a solution that works best for you.

Have a good day!
andrea-sig

I Love You, Don’t Touch Me.

I love my family more than anything else. However, there are times when the last thing in the world I want is for any of them to touch me.

This phrase has been helpful in certain situations in order to help my family {husband AND kids} understand that while I have absolutely more love for them than I ever imagined possible, there are simply times when I feel disgusting or I am busy and I don’t want them within six inches of me.

We have a relatively active family and are outdoors often. Lately, it has been upper 80s to low 90s every day. And STICKY! Bleh! After we go for a walk, ride bikes, work in the garden, etc… that seems to be the exact moment my children want to be picked up and snuggled. Ugh! No, no, no!!! I love you, don’t touch me.

Once we cool down or shower, I will give you as many snuggles as you can handle! But please, please, please, don’t touch my sticky skin with your sticky skin. 

I know. I’m heartless.

My husband apparently became aware of this when I was pregnant with our eldest minion. She is a July baby. Nine months pregnant in July? Not fun. I love you, don’t touch me.

List of times mama doesn’t want touched:

  • I’m sweating,
  • I’m working in the garden,
  • I’m cooking dinner,
  • I’m nine months pregnant in summer,
  • I’ve been holding children more than six hours of the day, and
  • As needed.

The kids are actually very good about this and they are understanding. I make a point to let them know that I feel icky and will love on them soon, just not now.

I know it is a silly thing, but it is my thing. Luckily, my kids are understanding and I always have extra morning or nighttime snuggles ready as needed upon request. 🙂

Have a great day!

A Child’s Reminder

My time and my minions’ time hardly ever match up.

While I want my children to do certain things in a certain time frame, it is important to remember that they will do it in their time, when they are ready.

Case in point: My eldest is more timid than my younger children. She is much more cautious and worries more. When it came time to learn how to ride a bike with no training wheels, she was not exactly on board. The fact remained that my little girl has very long legs and simply could not ride her little girl bike any more.

She got a new “big girl bike” when she turned six and showed a little eagerness, but it faded quite quickly. After trying multiple ways of teaching her how to ride, she simply wasn’t getting it and had no desire to do so.

We would get our excited voices going and ask, “Are you going to ride today?” and her response was always a shy, “I’ll try…” I would even get my Yoda parenting on and state, “There is no try, only do.” She didn’t.

After months of trying, she discovered she would much rather ride a scooter and actually got very good at riding the scooter. Great speed and endurance. OK. It was something.

image

The eldest minion preparing herself.

Well, today, nearly TWO YEARS after receiving her “big girl bike” she simply declared, “I’m going to try to ride my bike today.”

She put on her helmet, knee guards and elbow pads and got on her bike.

After a rough start, I asked if I could help. “YES!” was her emphatic response given in a tone of “Thank God, mommy offered!” almost too proud to ask. I gave her a quick boost and off she went! And she kept going!

The smile on her face was from ear to ear! Almost as big as mine 🙂

This was a huge reminder for me.

Our eldest minion is incredibly smart, kind, and creative, but she’s also nervous about trying certain things. Of course, to me, the things she is nervous about is silly at times. But the thing that I must remember is that she will do things in her time.

These moments are not about me. They are about encouraging her!

image

The minions chased her down the road encouraging her. It was adorable!

As her mommy, I need to remember this. I need to join in her celebratory moments and I need to remember to be patient when she doesn’t achieve a childhood skill in my timeline.

In the grand scheme, does it matter that she didn’t ride her two-wheel bike when I wanted her to? No. It doesn’t. The answer is that simple.

The important thing is that she did it in her time and she did it with confidence! May I always remember to share in her joys and not try to hurry her onto my timeline.

Today, we rejoice 🙂

Have a great day!
Andrea-sig

Why he matters

I know we live in a world where women can do anything and we don’t need men in our lives, but in my world, I do. I need my husband.

People often compliment the activities that I do with my children, but the reality is that my husband found many of our favorite things: Art for Kids Hub, the Metro Parks Explorer Program, and the perks of the Westerville Library to name a few. Now, yes, I probably would have been able to find these items if I were looking, but I wasn’t. He was!

When a weekend occurs like this past one where I was simply out of commission due to sickness, he tells all the kids that mommy is off limits and then takes over all the duties. He typically has to tell me to go nap so the kids actually do let me have quiet 🙂 In this time, he plays with them, cooks for them, and even cleans up.

Most importantly, my husband supports me and my decisions with all his heart. He listens to me and speaks truth in love. We have amazing conversations and some really nonsensical ones. {Those are the fun ones!} And I never feel judged by him. All I feel is genuine love and support.

Without him, I would probably go crazy. He is my outlet. He lets me escape family life to simply be with my girlfriends. He is so incredibly thoughtful of our needs in any decision he makes. He is mine and I am his and I am happy about that.

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Now, I’m not saying this to gloat or spark jealousy by any stretch of the imagination. I simply feel that in article after article, couples aren’t experiencing this. As I am a mom, many times in these articles, the husbands play the role of dunce who can’t do anything right nor do they give any support to the mom. I just want people who read this to know that respectful men exist. They do teach, love, and support their families.

There is no magic lesson as to how to achieve a happy balance as I know that we were very blessed to find one another and we just happened to click with one another. But I do know that talking openly with each other about expectations has been very helpful for us.

I have several friends with great marriages and radiate the same happiness. I also have some friends who have had some very sad marriage stories.

To me, it’s all about respecting one another – not just as husband and wife, but simply as humans.

Perhaps if more stories/shows/articles promoted the happiness that does exist within marriage, there would be less cynicism regarding marriage in our culture. And maybe, if we can simply get back to a world where we respect each and every person, the world will be a happier place.

Have a nice day!
Andrea-sig

No-Stress Resting Time

I don’t know about your family, but my minions do not nap anymore. I’m not certain when the Sandman went from putting my children to sleep at 1:30 p.m. each day to being a villain in the Spider-Man comics, but it has happened. I, for one, was not about to give up my Mom{Me} time each day, however. This mama NEEDS her me time to recharge, clean up and plan for the next day.

Since boycotting naps, we have tried various methods and, luckily, my kids are very good about staying in their rooms and entertaining themselves. My most favorite – and my minions as well – has been the introduction of audio books.

It sounds so simple, and it really is. {My minions are now 7, 6, and 4 – my 4 year old absolutely loves it!}

Audio books have been a staple for us as we have family out of state and my family is accustomed to ten hour car rides – something made very smoothly through the help of audio books. We aren’t anti-media, but find this to be a way we can all listen to a book together and talk about it.

We have listened to various books from The Wizard of Oz to The Chronicles of Narnia to Darth Paper Strikes Back {I highly recommend the Origami Yoda book series to any young Star Wars fans 😊}.

We invested in a set of headphones for each minion and simply check the audio books out from the Westerville Library; their selection of audio books in both CD and Playaways is phenomenal!!!

iHeartRadioFamily also has some great channels that play nothing but stories. We just discovered this and the kids have been requesting that this week. Aesop’s fables, 1001 Tales, and many more! I simply place my iPad/iPhone in a central location and turn on the stories.

We have discovered some wonderful book series this way. The Whatever After book series tells the real stories of Disney Princesses in a fun way and, as mentioned earlier, Origami Yoda is a family hit! Many weekend mornings, the minions all meet in the eldest’s room and let us sleep in!!! {Bonus!!!}

Now, I know that all kids do not have the book obsession as mine do, but this may be something to consider if you are looking for a way to have some added “quiet time” to your schedule.

Enjoy your quiet!

Andrea-sig