11 ThisGratefulMama Confessions

1. I covet one-on-one time with each child

In the morning, I run in to our daughter’s room, change her diaper and whisk her back to my room before she can make a ruckus. I cherish those morning snuggles.  Sometimes if our son is awake, I do it anyway. In the afternoon our son takes a ‘rest’ while our daughter sleeps. We sneak our time alone in the afternoon. These moments are sweet, restoring, and special.

2. I will do almost anything to hear our children laugh

A child’s laugh is like crack and I’m an addict. I will do anything to get just one more laugh – act silly, tickle them until they pee, you name it. I love the way their laughs make me laugh. Every. Single. Time.

3. Thunder isn’t fun anymore

I love loud thunder that startles and falling asleep to the sound of pouring rain. The problem is, there is little sleep in our house if there is any indication of thunder. Our son has struggled with fear of storms since we got 2-3 inch hail a couple of years ago (understandable – it sounded like the sky was falling).  I can not sleep on his twin waterproof mattress with him so he ends up on a make-shift bed on our floor.

4. Date nights are much different

Before kids, date night had a much different meaning…a special event, a nice dinner, and getting all dressed up. Now, a date is quality time spent with my husband, in ANY location, at ANY time. Dates require a little more creativity and either require a baby-sitter or scheduling around the kids. Many of our dates have changed from nighttime activities to coffee and lunch dates. Sometimes worshipping in church, holding hands while the kids are in Sunday School feels like our little Sunday morning ‘date’. Or, after kids are in bed, a candle-lit dinner, Netflix movie night or game of Scrabble. I’m just happy to have time with my hubby, no matter the circumstance.

5. Pinterest is seriously distracting

I. Cant. Stop. Seriously, follow me, you’ll see.

6. Changing diapers is easier than potty training

Diapers are gross. Our son is pretty much done potty training except for the occasional nighttime accident. I am NOT ready to start with our daughter although I think she could do it. I’m just not ready to return to tear-inducing potty reminders, waking up in the night to take a trip to the potty, or to have to pull over for an emergency bathroom break. SOME days I wish we could stay in diapers forever – accidents are even grosser than diapers.

7. I admire working moms

I worked outside the home when our son was a baby. Getting out the door on time and getting all the proper supplies to daycare with a child was NOT easy. Leaving a crying child in the arms of a caregiver and going to work wasn’t easy either. Working all day, running errands, picking up a child and trying to get dinner on the table so we didn’t starve was HARD! And the laundry…putting laundry in after work and remembering to move it to the dryer…is the reason we had a monster laundry pile to get through every weekend. If you are a working mom, YOU. ARE. AMAZING. You are a great mom and I salute you!

8. My house will never be as clean as I want

While I clean something different every day, I simply don’t have time to clean it all at once. This means the whole house is never really clean at the same time. Especially the floors. Our kids may eat off of them, but it’s not a good idea! Between the sandbox, crumbs, and tiny pieces of cut paper from our son’s crafts, our floors are dirty immediately after I mop, and potentially smeared with water, drool, or applesauce. The 10 second rule does not apply here – throw that away!

9. I still feel like I don’t have enough time

When working full-time, I was sure my morning time with the Lord, working out, and house cleaning would be easier when I could stay at home. Truth is, these kids keep me busy and I find the same time struggle as when I worked. Making these things priority takes effort and discipline I didn’t expect! I can get up early or my kids can play while I sit and pray, read or workout – I just have to be disciplined to do it!

10. I rely more on the Lord

Parenting is a humbling experience. It reveals my shortcomings in the mirrored responses and behavior of our children. I need grace, peace, patience, and wisdom more than I ever have. For them. For me. I am so grateful that the Lord is faithful to supply all we need. I rely on him daily (sometimes minute-by-minute) to supply what I lack and so desperately need in parenting and life. Without Him…this would be a true disaster. But WITH Him, I can do ALL things and trust that His mercies are new every morning, even when I fail.

11. This is the best job that ever was

Hands down, being a wife and mom is the best job I’ve ever had. I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Even if in demand all day long, I wouldn’t have it any other way. These kids make my day, every day. I am grateful for my husband’s hard work and dedication to make it possible for me to be here. No matter what happens during the day, I’d rather be paid in giggles than any other currency the world has to offer.

11 ThisGratefulMama Confessions | thisgratefulmama.com

 

Advertisements

5 Questions to Consider When Setting Your Family’s Fall Schedule

5 Questions To Consider When Setting Your Family's Fall Schedule | thisgratefulmama.com

Hello September.

I can’t believe my second summer as a stay-at-home mom is finished already. Unlike last year, our mornings were free since our daughter dropped her morning nap. With no scheduled activities, we kept a very loose schedule.

The freedom…It. Was. Lovely.

We met friends at parks, went to the zoo (A LOT), ran errands on rainy days, and spent a lot of time relaxing, reading books, and playing at home.

My husband and I allowed bed and nap times to be more flexible than the rest of the year. If neighbor children were outside, we allowed the kids to play longer, and stayed later at events. We also allowed our little one to even skip naps for special family events (although she and WE all paid for that!).

The loose schedule did sometimes yield overtired, overstimulated, unruly and exhausted children. But, because it was summer, we simply stayed home the next day (or two) to get back on track.

While I have enjoyed the flexibility, I am ready for a change of pace.

With no structured activities, I had very few opportunities to spend time with adults (away from the kids). I miss it. Without it, I find myself less patient, and more easily frustrated. Not the way I want to be.

My son will be attending preschool two half-days a week.  I am excited for him to experience new things and meet new kids, but also feel unexpectedly emotional at the same time. He will never be home with me as much as he is now. Starting now, time devoted to school, sports and friends will increase year by year.

This realization that the time we have at home is fleeting makes me committed to make the most of our time this year (of course, while making a concerted effort NOT to smother them). I am looking to maximize quality time at home, while exposing both kids to educational and social opportunities. This summer, we were barraged by flyers for sports, ECFE, swimming lessons, church activities and more. I had a pile of things that looked worthwhile. So much to do…So little time.

As we set the schedule for fall, there is a real need for balance. It is imperative that we avoid the danger of being TOO busy. Being TOO busy will run children and parents ragged. Suddenly activities that are supposed to be fun and begin to cause stress, angst, and lose their effectiveness.

There are SO MANY great opportunities to learn and play, but we CANNOT and WILL NOT do them all.

Here are 5 questions we considered when setting our family’s fall schedule.  These questions helped us sort through what was important and to choose activities wisely. Our answers are noted with each question.

5 Questions to Consider When Setting Your Family’s Fall Schedule:

1. What takes priority?

What are the priorities for your family this year? What activities MUST happen each day/week? This may be different depending on the season. As a general rule, if anything interferes with these priorities, it is unlikely that we will participate.

Our family:

  • We put God first. Church and Small Group every other Sunday night are a MUST.
  • The kids will be allowed to sleep until they wake up MOST days
  • My daughter will have a consistent afternoon nap, otherwise she just is not herself
  • I am committed to staying home all day with the kids at least one day a week to just enjoy them
  • Family dinners are priority
  • Bedtime will be consistent
  • The schedule needs to allow me to run errands, and keep the house in order

2. What is necessary and what ‘would-be-nice’?

Is the activity something that NEEDS to be done? Or is it something that would be fun, or nice to do if time allows?

Our family:

  • Aiden: NEEDS to attend preschool. Swimming lessons, maybe a sport or two during the year, or time to play with other kids ‘would-be-nice’
  • Adelyn: NEEDS the opportunity to spend time away from me and to interact with other children. Swimming lessons ‘would-be-nice’
  • I: NEED one activity during the week that allows me to interact with other adults away from my children. It ‘would-be-nice to have more than one since my husband travels a lot
  • My husband: NEEDS to meet with a group of men from church before work

3. Is the schedule fair?

Once you have the list of activities you’ll participate in, determine if it is balanced (for children AND adults). Each member of the family is ONE of {insert size of family}; the schedule won’t work if it is at the expense of any ONE. Can everyone benefit from this schedule? Does the schedule meet the NEEDS of everyone? 

Our family:

  • The kids and I will attend Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) on Thursday mornings and the women’s bible study at church on Tuesdays. These precious hours allow me to study God’s word and get to know some amazing women. The kids learn about God and play with some very sweet children. These breaks leave me feeling refreshed and restored; they allow me to be a better wife and to parent with more patience and grace
  • My son will attend preschool, two days a week, in the afternoons. He will go just after lunch, and my daughter will go down for her nap right after we drop him off. This gives ample time for her to rest, and I am especially looking forward to some special time alone with her before we go pick him up.
  • We signed my son up for a 4-week gymnastics class during the month of September, along with 2 neighbor kids. It starts early enough in the evening that we can have family dinners when we get home (as long as I plan ahead), and is a chance for us to see how things go having another activity in the schedule.  

4. Is it feasible?

Can you meet your priorities, and make it to everything without undue stress? Is there enough time between activities?

Our family:

  • Our current planned schedule does allow me to run errands and clean the house during the week
  • Our schedule will allow me time to prep meals and for family dinners, and does not interfere with the kids waking up, nap time, or bedtime.
  • Our Thursday schedule was NOT feasible. We were going to attend a BSF class across town (where our friends are) but it would not be feasible to get eat lunch, and get to preschool on time without undue stress (and even then we might be late). SO, we transferred to a different class, which allows us more time

5. What needs to go?

If the schedule looks full, are there some activities you can put off until later in the year? Is there an activity that needs to be given up? Have you taken time to ASK your child what they want to continue doing, or if there is anything they would rather do instead?

Our family:

  • We want both kids to do swimming lessons this year. With the school year just starting, we’ll get into the swing of things and see if we can add classes on Saturday mornings during the second fall session
  • If any activity is causing undue stress, frustration, over-stimulation, fear, or just isn’t going well – we will reassess and determine if we will continue or not

 

5 Questions To Consider When Setting Your Family's Fall Schedule | thisgratefulmama.com