Managing Your Time

Why the “big things” can wait

Does it ever seem like you wake up in the morning and you’re suddenly off on a marathon race that lasts all day long? All week long?

As a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and a preschooler, my days are filled with small, tedious tasks. It’s a constant cycle of make breakfast, pack lunch, clean up kids, dress kids, school drop-off, groceries, tot classes, errands, oops what’s for dinner, baths, mommy mommy mommy mommy, bedtime kisses, and then collapsing on the couch.

I’m often frustrated that I never get ahead in any of the big things I’d like to do. Do you ever feel that way, too?

Yet, this collection of little things that make up my day really is the big thing – at least for now.

As moms, we are the world to our children. Sometimes, I lose sight of that as I fret about yet another day that has slipped by with nothing accomplished.

I suppose I did accomplish something today. I sat down with my children to watch a video. Yes, we were staring at a screen, but we were doing it together. We were cuddled up and basking in that good feeling of just being with one another.

Before that, both my kids were crying about something or other, tired from another long Monday – same as me. I managed to get something in a pot for dinner and then just sat with them.

That’s really something. Whether it’s five minutes in the morning or thirty minutes after preschool, those times where I’m doing nothing but being with my kids make all the difference in my day. And it makes a big difference to them, too.

So for now, I’m happy with the mundane, because I’ve also got the extraordinary.

I just have to remind myself to see it and enjoy it now while it’s mine.

Soon enough my little boys will be no longer calling for mommy. And I’ll have all the time I need to do the “big” things.

Random Thoughts

Hard to say goodbye

A peek of a cloth diaper while sunning his legsI just dropped off my complete cloth diaper stash to be sold on consignment at the local Just Between Friends sale.

When you participate in these events, you place your items on the shop floor yourself. Last night, I had to tear myself away. My husband called to see if I was alright because I was taking so long.

After I had all my other baby items set up in the appropriate spots, I returned to see my diapers – twice. The second time, I went through them all lovingly and made sure they were displayed in the best way possible. I didn’t want to say goodbye.

I felt a little weepy over it all. And honestly, I was feeling foolish, too. Crying over diapers (almost)? Come on!

But these diapers had been a labor of love, as so much baby stuff is. I spent hours poring over websites, reading reviews, and waiting for sales, until I cultivated the cutest, fluffiest, most comfortable and convenient bunch of baby diapers I could find. All for my tiny little baby.

There was a minky tiger striped pocket diaper. Another that was made of denim with real pockets on the back! And one that was a deep, intense purple. They were so soft. There was bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, some cherished wool pieces, and a few fleece-lined diapers. I probably had more than I needed. (Here’s my diaper stash in the early days.)

I guess cloth diapers were an obsession for me.

But each diaper had a time when it played favorite and earned its price tag. Even prefolds and flats had their utilitarian role, amazing me with their resilience and lack of staining month after month.

As I left the sale setup area, I wished I had taken a photo of all my diapers together. Then I realized I barely had any photos of my son wearing them! Yikes! I had tucked away one newborn diaper from his tiniest days, but that’s it. The rest are likely gone forever now.

I was panicking on my way home. What if people take them out of their packages and the inserts get lost? Should I go check on them during the sale? Could I go back and grab them all up? Right now?

Should I have just kept my favorites as keepsakes? No. I had decided when I invested in cloth diapers that they were to be resold. Besides, then I’d have to keep them all. (I’m not a hoarder, really!)

I also realized this is just part of letting your baby grow up.

He’s mostly out of diapers now. In fact, I keep him in Blueberry Training Pants most of the time. But this event made me – insanely – wish he would still be in diapers. What mother wishes THAT?

Yeah, it was time to let go.

What about you? Doesn’t every mother have something of her baby’s she cherishes and holds dear forever?

P.S. I’ve heard our cute baby hats make great keepsakes, too!

Healthy Family & Home

Building bonding rituals and family traditions

Growing up, our dad would give my sister and I horseback rides to our room when it was bedtime. Sunday mornings we had pancake eating contests. In the summers, we camped around the White Mountains and rode in horse shows. (I thought no one worked in the summer, since my parents were both teachers!)

Those of some of the things that defined my childhood and what I remember most of growing up in our family.

Now that I have a family of my own, I am looking for activities that can become bonding rituals for our family. Things that we can look forward to and enjoy together now, and our kids can look back on fondly when they’re grown. And perhaps continue with us even after.
We still do the pancake tradition on weekends, only I add lots of banana and blueberries to build on my dad’s recipe.

But beyond that, I’m not sure we have anything we could call a family tradition yet. Maybe it’s because our oldest is only 3 still. Any rituals seem to be focused on sleeping, eating and bathing.

A couple of ideas we’ve brainstormed for family traditions:

• Once a year attend a major sporting event like the U.S. Open.
• A yearly trip to our favorite resort.
• Go blueberry picking as a family.
• A family picnic at the nearby springs when the weather turns warmer.
• Watching a certain movie together around a particular holiday.
• Researching a new destination together before we visit.
• Visiting a local exhibit that comes to town once a year.
• Choosing a new Beanie Designs kids’ hat every winter or spring for family photos.

I imagine there should also be lots of photos taken over the years as we grow our traditions…

Any ideas to add?