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.

Preschooler Pandemonium

What those other moms really think of you…

I have a friend who always seems concerned about what others think of her as a parent. She worries what people think of how her daughter is dressed, what she says, the lunch she sends with her to preschool, and so on.

I only had a few moments of “what must they think?” in my parenting life up until a year or two ago.

For instance, there was a mom I really wanted to get to know better but every time she brought her child over for a play date, my son would do something like throw up or pee on the floor. I know she thought we were loony, though my son was perfectly behaved 95% of the time when she wasn’t around. Did your child ever do weird things in front of one particular person?

Now, I think I finally understand how moms can fret about what others must think. Kids will always have their moments – and it seems they happen in front of those other moms whose children are so well behaved.

But know this: those moms also have trying moments. You might be seeing their kids at their best, but there is no mom on this earth who doesn’t want to pull her hair out over her kids at least five times in a week.

And if they don’t feel that way now, they should know it’s coming down the road. I know, because my son was one of those who shamed others with his seemingly impeccable manners and calm demeanor – until he turned three.

Certainly, children are a reflection of their parents and home life. But should we really get wrapped up in what other moms think when they witness a meltdown at the end of a play date? Or when your kid tells a stranger they’re fat?

Kids are going to do and say embarrassing things, probably for the rest of their lives, I figure. I am going to try to give less thought to what others are thinking of me and my family while we’re doing our best to wade through the trying moments of parenting. After all, that other mom has her own embarrassing moments to contend with, right?

As I write this it’s sounding quite noble and perhaps a tad unrealistic.

Tell me, how much do you worry what others think of you and your children?

Healthy Family & Home

When Mommy is sick – what happens in your house?

Moms run the universe, and everyone finds this out when Mom gets sick. At least in our house they do. How about in yours?

What happens in your house when Mommy is sick?

  1. Not much differently – she takes whatever medicine she can and ploughs through it all in a fog.
  2. The babysitter and a maid are called in (otherwise known as grandparents and willing friends to some) while Mom gets much needed rest.
  3. Daddy takes over and most things happen as they need to (well, except for the massive cleanup required upon Mom’s recovery).

I found out that ours is a Type C household recently.

I came down with a stomach virus that knocked me off my feet for about 36 hours. I almost never get sick, THAT kind of sick, so I was pleased, grateful – and also vaguely unaware (at the time) of just what a great job my husband did taking care of the kids.

He did exactly what was needed to keep the kids safe and happy – all I could have asked for.

When Daddy takes over                                                                

My husband is not the sort of guy who comes home from work, juggles two whining kids, cooks dinner and ushers in bath and bedtime all by himself normally. (I know they're out there!)

While he has strategies for when he has to care for both at the same time, he’s never done it for more than two or three hours at a time – and usually one is sleeping.

I spent the entire Sunday in bed, delirious and shivering under mounds of blankets. My husband scrounged leftovers from the fridge for lunch, ordered dinner out for a special treat, and made sure he and the kids ate well. He had them bathed and in bed on time. There were few tears throughout the day, and both kids had a bit of mommy cuddling time – but not too much.

I was impressed.

Granted, when I woke up nearly normal the next day, the house was in complete disarray and laundry had piled up. (I’m sure the babysitter and maid would have made an appearance had I been sick for a week.) But all in all, I was just so happy to have been able to get the rest I needed to kick that stomach bug without the stress of worrying about the kids, too.

So, do tell. What happens in your house when Mommy is knocked out?

Newborn Madness

The magic of babies

Baby hat with tassles and flower, from Beanie Designs

The sweet magic of babies, wrapped up in the softest baby hats ever

I was lying down with my baby after our walk this morning, getting in some quality cuddling before his morning nap – and basking in all the wonderful magic that is a baby.

Babies are completely enchanting, wouldn’t you agree? Whether you have one baby or you’ve had five, you can never get enough of those squishy legs, that soft hair and sweet baby smell.

Their little fingers, so curious about everything. A gentle touch from baby sends a mother thrills of joy. (But watch out when those little fingers go for your hair!)

Padded little feet, plump and rounded, yet to take real steps. You wonder how those fat little toes all fit side by side!

Knees and elbows that you can hardly see for all their squishiness. A bellybutton in the middle of a big, rounded tummy, contentedly filled with milk.

Milky breath. A soft mouth that plants sloppy wet kisses on your cheek.

A baby’s sweet little head, protected gently by the softest of baby hats, turning to see every noise. That rounded forehead and cute-as-a-button nose. Sleepy eyes peering out from under long eyelashes.

A soft, warm little baby cheek pressed on yours.

When your baby turns toward you and smiles, it’s hard to imagine anything more beautiful. You want to freeze that moment forever.

Indeed, babies cast a spell on moms everywhere.

Oh, what to do as your baby takes on the form of a long, bony, busy preschooler, the independence of a teenager and finally a real grownup?

What magic it must be to become a grandmother, so many years after!