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.

Toddler Tenderness

Is it poop or chocolate? A misunderstanding with my toddler

My toddler entered the kitchen and stopped in his tracks when he saw me. He said loudly: “Poop!”

Usually he tells me just after he has done a nasty in his diaper. But how can that be, I thought. I just changed you a minute ago.

Then I looked at the chunk of chocolate cake in my hand.

He thought I was eating the poop!

Thinking back to that very recent diaper change, yes, I could see how he might make that connection. The area where I normally change my baby was cluttered, so I’d laid him on the bathmat on the floor. Somehow the ball of poo had rolled out of the diaper onto the floor, to his amusement. (It was that not-yet-smushed-because-I-did-it-standing-up-and-didn’t-sit-in-it-yet kind of poop.)

After cleaning everything thoroughly, and lamenting a pile of other things that seemed to be going wrong that day, I had next ventured to the kitchen for some chocolate therapy. That’s where he found me a minute later.

“It’s CAKE,” I told him earnestly, grasping what he now understood one was to do with the poop after a diaper change.

“POOP,” he insisted, looking confused and skeptical.

It actually was the same color, though I certainly hadn’t been thinking of that when I was eating it…

“Cake, cake, cake!” I showed him the spot where the cake had been kept covered on the counter. Only now it was empty.

I was losing the battle. So I offered him a taste. He inched forward and took a tentative nibble. He said, “Good!”

I only hope now that I haven’t convinced him poop tastes like chocolate cake!

Healthy Family & Home

One year later – what it’s like having two kids now

As I planned for the arrival of our second child, I polled other parents I knew to glean advice from those who had experience parenting more than one child (here’s their advice Part 1 and Part 2).

Then I wrote about how it was going for us after several months, and recently I jotted down all the best parts of having two.

As a parent yourself, you know nothing ever stays constant with children. They are always changing, growing, developing. So now that Nik is 15 months and Rohan is four, the dynamics are different yet again.

Here’s what’s going on with our family now

The preschooler tries to keep the toddler in check

My four-year-old son is constantly yelling “No!” to the one-year-old. Now that Nik can walk, he gets into everything, and Rohan feels it’s his duty to police him. It actually seems to bother the older brother when the little guy puts something into his mouth he’s not supposed to or does something he knows I wouldn’t approve of.

But I’m much more relaxed about things

Food flung from the high chair, books pulled off the shelves, magnetic toys slammed off the fridge door – I don’t mind any of it now. I just pick it up when I get a chance later, or even better, get Nik’s help to “put it back”. (I figure my anal retentive obsession with keeping everything tidy when son #1 was little may be the reason for the issue we’re having above.)

They play together more now

There are moments every day when the two siblings get along great and do something together. It might be just making the same noises and laughing at each other, or it might be a silly game where we turn the kitchen into a bowling alley while I’m cooking. Rohan surely loved being with his brother when he was a baby, but now that he’s older they come closer to really playing together.

The preschooler has lost his interest in sharing toys

This one has me baffled. The four-year-old never had a problem sharing until recently. Now he doesn’t want Nik to have anything, even going so far as to snatch things from him.

Big child is in preschool = easier days for Mommy

Rohan goes to school 9-2:30 Monday to Friday, so I get alone time with Nik. I try to balance special time with him and errands, so he can benefit from my full attention to help his reading, potty training and his general feeling of being important. Until we had this time together, I always felt he was being short-changed in his Mommy-time.

Still a challenge to spend special time with older child

I have a couple hours with both kids until Daddy gets home, and that’s usually when I cook dinner. It’s a challenging time, and I always wish I could find a way to really connect with Rohan after school before we start down that stretch of time. Still working on this…

 How about you? Do you have it down or are there still areas you’re challenged with while raising two kids?

Managing Your Time

When your day goes awry

Oops, upset Mommy's plans again! Oh well, that's life...It seems that nothing ever really goes as planned anymore, at least since I started having babies just over four years ago.

I imagine it’s hard for non-parent friends to understand. But the smallest member of the household winds up dictating what we do most days. Plans often don’t come to fruition – at least in the manner and timing we initially plan.

Take today for instance.

Our latest visitors had just left yesterday (our family is all from different places, so we have many long-term guests) and we were looking forward to getting back to our usual weekend activities.

My husband was golfing in the morning, so we planned to go to the park and then out for dinner after the baby’s naptime.

It only took one little thing to throw it all off.

My baby pooped during his naptime. And I didn’t know it.

I pulled off his training pants while he was still lying down to take him to pee, as he is normally waiting to go. But lo and behold, a nasty, smushed up poop greeted me – and promptly became part of the duvet cover. (He sleeps in our bed!!)

If you use a comforter with a cover, you know how hard it can be to change those things. I knew instantly with the cleanup I was facing that there would be no park today.

Luckily dad stepped in and played with the kids in our yard for an hour while I stripped the bed, dunked poopy pants in the toilet, ran laundry, spot washed the comforter (because the smell had penetrated the cover in that spot!) and finally got my shower for the day – the only part that had been planned.

Oh, and I was cooking dinner for the baby to take out, too, in case he couldn’t eat anything at the restaurant. (Last time that happened, it resulted in baby trying to pick a food fight with anyone else who looked his way. Wait staff were not impressed by his throwing abilities though clearly advanced for such a tender age.)

So, long story short, the kids had a great day, we made it to the restaurant and everyone ate, and I’ve got a cozy, extra-clean bed waiting for me tonight. Not part of the plan, but somehow it all turned out just fine.

What about you? Does your day go awry often? Or am I perhaps particularly disorganized?