One of my biggest parenting lessons as a previous control freak has been you simply cannot control everything all the time when you have children. That being said, I do like to have a semblance of order and peace every day, for me it helps me keep my sanity and thus help me be a better mama. I can’t always keep the bathroom spotless and I can’t always have all the laundry put away (ok, maybe ever on that one hahaha!) but I have found a few easy, doable daily things that help me feel better about everything. I call them my daily sanity savers! These may not be your five things, but if you don’t have them already, I hope they can at least help you maybe find five things that help YOU feel on top of it all, even when you have tiny humans using you as a jungle gym and your house resembles a disco with the world’s tiniest ravers alive. And please share below I would love to hear what yours are!
First of all, I want to give credit to my wonderful sister, Hayley, for photographing Charlie’s birth. It was no easy task in our cramped, tight and very dark little room, but it means the world to me to have Charlie’s birth documented, both in photos and videos. Working in such a dark room is nearly impossible for photography, but the twins were born under fluorescent lights and I was SO grateful for the dim calm this time! She also photographed the twins birth, (as much of it as she was permitted to at the hospital!) and I am eternally grateful for her love and labors at both events. She even hung in there when it got super gnarly, bless her brave heart.
I will admit to feeling quite vulnerable in sharing all of this, but, being able to read other’s birth stories and see their photos and videos gave me such strength before both of my births, and I am sharing our story in the hope that I can do that for someone else.
Watch Charlie’s birth story video here, and scroll down to read it <3
Allow me to preface this with the statement that I am not an architect, nor am I a DIY expert, just a mom on a mission, so please feel free to ask for clarification on construction for this bed! 🙂
Ever since the twins were born, we’ve been a cosleeping family, and loved it. Many things contributed to that decision, not in the least of all which was space. (When you have one bedroom you do what you gotta do!) When our queen bed got too small we purchased a twin bed off of Amazon and sidled it up next to the queen mattress to make one bigger bed. When we found out we were pregnant with Charlie, I started making plans to transition them into their own beds as part of our home renovation. Well, the renovation took longer than expected (don’t they all) and suddenly Charlie was here and the only progress I had made was to remove the extra twin mattress and in its place put some toddler mattresses on our bedroom floor, so essentially we were all in the same bed still, it was just a LOT smaller!
**as always, my parenting posts are simply my sharing what has worked for my family in the hopes that it can help yours. I am not a parenting expert by any means, I am simply learning as I go (as aren’t we all!)**
So first of all, I’ll admit straight up, the concept of potty training terrified me from the beginning. It just seemed, so, HARD! And stressful! And messy! And nebulous! For me and my littles! But I felt like there had to be a better way, and what I would like to propose in this post is, I believe there is. I took a rather non-conventional potty training approach with my little ones and it worked absolutely beautifully for us. It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t messy, it was so, NATURAL. And honestly, it wasn’t training. I just let them take the lead and they did it themselves. And, dare I say, it was so EASY. It really was. It was so so easy. When my son was barely over a year old, he suddenly started refusing to poop. It was seriously stressful and traumatizing for both of us. On a whim, I got a little potty hoping that perhaps the only issue was he didn’t want to mess his diaper. Lo and behold, he pooped on the potty that day and we never had another issue (or another single poopy diaper from him!).
Let me preface this by saying three things: one, I am not a parenting expert. I simply love to share what has worked (or not!) for my family and hope others may benefit. Secondly, I do not believe that all screen time is all bad all the time. Thirdly, there are seasons of life and I believe some of those seasons will benefit from more screen time than others. I had been having that type of season, twin toddlers, very pregnant, and doing a major home renovation project. When we were in the thick of drywalling and it came down to my kids potentially eating drywall compound or watching more PJ Masks than I would preferably want them to, let me tell you what I chose….(hint…it didn’t involve a call to the poison control hotline).
I recently traveled to Tulsa Oklahoma and back from our Colorado home in my mighty but little RAV4 with my two and a half year old twins and my very kind parents so that I could attend the annual SeneGence Seminar. The trip was over 1500 miles roundtrip, over 750 each way! We drove it straight through each way, leaving early in the morning on a Thursday and returning that Sunday. It took us about 13 hours each time (including stops). I was pretty nervous before we left as to how my littles would handle it, we never spend a lot of time in the car let alone 13 straight hours. And so, I super prepared for the trip. And, it not only worked, they actually had FUN. Granted, by the time we arrived home Sunday we were ALL (adults included) ready to get the heck out of the car, but nobody was having hysterics. I always loved road trips as a child and want to do them with my family, so I was ELATED that this was such a good first experience for my littles. What I did to prepare really worked incredibly well, and while I do not wish a 13 hour straight through road trip on anyone, I hope these tips and tricks may help you be successful with any road-tripping you have in your future!
Have you heard that Audio Adrenaline song Kings and Queens? I cannot listen to it without crying…
Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
While the focus of the song is primarily about children in need, it always hits me HARD in the gut because in this fast paced world that only seems to be getting faster, children can so easily become caught up in the fray and forgotten.
It’s been (another) one of those weeks. You know the kind I’m talking about? Where no matter how carefully you plan, your plans blow up like a grenade hit them, one thing does lead to the other and no, absolutely none of it is something you can ignore and not deal with or there will be serious consequences. The coffee is ALWAYS cold no matter how many times you heat it, at least one of your children is constantly doing the finding boundaries/pushing buttons thing like their life depends on it (which in all fairness, it kind of does…) and the related tantrums to the boundary finding are ALWAYS in a public place you cannot escape from quickly and somehow always around judgmental folks that apparently were never children themselves but dropped from magical trees as fully poised perfectly behaved beings. And so you find yourself vacillating quicker than ever between feelings of passionate unstoppable burning love and pride in your kids and yourself to feeling like the most inept mother ever and wanting to drown in your continuously cold coffee.
Hello dear readers! This week I am so truly thrilled to feature one of my favorite mama bloggers, the lovely Amy of discoveringwhimsy.com. Her blog is such a beautiful place to escape to while simultaneously being a refreshing dose of reality. I adore her writing and I know you will too. Make sure to subscribe to her blog and follow her on her social channels below so you can continue to enjoy her wonderful posts, ideas, and encouragements, then scroll down to read her fantastic post on parental patience!
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Parental Patience: How to keep from Losing It
My lovely great aunt always says patience is a virtue. I believe it is especially true when spending time with kids. Hats off to teachers since they are some of the most patient people out there. Kids will test and push your patience to the limits. Some days you have more patience and can deal with their testing with humor and teachable moments, a la Mary Poppins . And then there are the other days, the dreaded days, where you are not the parent you want to be. You have a lot less patience and you lose it. So on those rough days, what do you do to get back to the parent you want to be?
Over last few weeks, I have tried to be mindful on what made me feel better and what steps I took to avoid losing it. I also reached out to the community of awesome moms on Instagram to see what they do when they feel like they are losing it. Here are some of the things we do as parents to try to keep it together when our kids are pushing us to our limits. These were the top 3 responses from my informal Instagram poll.
Top 3 Tactics to Keep it Together
- Take a Mom Time Out! Many of the moms who responded said that stepping back and taking a break really helped. Some lock themselves in the bathroom, others go to the next room, but ultimately it is about giving yourself a bit of your own space to regain your composure.
My favorite quote from Jordan of Beautifully Imperfect Mama https://beautifullyimperfectmama.com/home/
â€œMost of the time when my toddler is losing it and I’m on the verge, I count to 4 for him and it tends to calm me down right along with him. If that doesn’t work I go into the bedroom and scream into a pillow then regain composure and go for round two 😂
- Breathing and Counting: The next most popular coping tactic was just breathing. Some moms use self-talk to remind themselves to breathe and others will count breaths.
Do what Daniel Tiger’s mom says and “when you’re feeling mad and you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four “, or ten or whatever you need.
- Fresh Air and Exercise. The third most popular tactic was to get outside and get some fresh air. I would agree that getting outside can really change your mood; usually for the better.
Here is a link to the Instagram post, if you would like to see what some of the moms I follow said, https://www.instagram.com/p/BVkqVb-ltla/ , check it out and feel free to add your own thoughts or tactics.
For me personally, I envision my patience like water in a well. There are some days my patience well is full, easily filled and I have bucket-loads of patience. Then there are other days I’m scrapping the bottom of the barrel for just a drop of patience. On days where my well is half full and the kids are pushing my buttons, I use the tactics the other moms listed above, but I also have some other things that really work for me.
Here are 4 things in addition to the list above that really help me refill my well.
Well Half-Full Tactics
- Perspective: I try to remind myself that there are 1,440 minutes in each day (Thank you Google for that fun fact). So even if we have a rough 20 minutes, I still have 1420 minutes to try and do better.
- Look at something relaxing: for me I love looking at stock photos, beautiful Instagram feeds or pictures of my kids, when they weren’t pushing my buttons, help me re-center.
- Coloring together is really relaxing and its fun for the kids. I have seen so many fun adult coloring books at craft stores, I finally broke down and bought one. I must say it is really is fun and I am enjoying it. Clearly for me, a creative outlet helps.
- Turn up the music: Music can be so soothing and a mood changer. Pick an upbeat song, turn it up and dance around! I dare you not to feel better!
Hard Days: where my well is close to being dry
But there are days, where my well is dry, very early on. These dry days are usually due to sleep deprivation, feeling overwhelmed with a messy house, plies of laundry, wanting to do something for me, but feeling like I can’t, or some combination of these things. These are the toughest and I feel the most guilt about these days. These are the days I’ve yelled and/or cried in front of the kids for something or another. Get out and Go
One thing that usually helps is to put everyone in the car and go somewhere. It doesn’t matter where we go, we just need to get out of the house and go! For me this helps because everyone is restrained in their own space. We will drive around, often we end up in the Starbucks drive thru and I get a chai. That first drink of spicy chai helps me escape for a second. After the chai, we go to a park if it’s not raining, if it is raining we go to Target or a bookstore wander around. People wonder why you see moms wandering around Target; sometimes you just have to get away.
Ask for HELP Another thing I’ve learned that helps to fill the dry well, I need to say when I need some help. I can’t expect my partner to read my mind to know when I need a break. After a really hard day or days, I ask my husband for more help. Sometimes instead of doing family time before bedtime, I might see if he can hold down the fort so I can have an hour or two just to myself. This helps so much and I can do whatever I want. This time is a chance for me to be just me and go to the bathroom without someone wanting to sit in my lap.
I hope these tactics help you think about what really helps you regain your patience. What fills my patience well, might not fill yours, so you will need to do a little reflection. Try to think about what you do when you are on the verge of losing it or when you lost it, how did you recover? Do you need a physical outlet to refill, a solitary or creative one? What does your partner do? Make sure you share these with each other. Write them down if it helps. If you have no idea, reach out to the community of parents you belong to like I did and see what they say. Parenting can be challenging even on our best days. Being mindful of what refills your patience well will help you get back on track on the half full or tough days of parenting.
Last night, you both slept so very poorly, you wanted to nurse all night long. I can’t really blame you, we’ve all been sick and you’re starving cause you can’t keep anything down. We were a sweaty mess of tears, tangled legs, arms, and completely messed up sheets. I needed to use the bathroom and every time you’d have fallen asleep and I’d try to sneak away you’d wake up, root for me desperately and cry as if your heart was breaking.
I found myself so frustrated and wishing you would just go to sleep already and STAY asleep. I finally decided to just run for the bathroom and tried to temporarily shut out the cries I heard intensifying from the bed.
I rushed back, my frustration at an all time high, and you both latched on frantically for what seemed to be the umteenth time that night. Then, both of you reached for me with tiny, sweaty little hands and grabbed on to mine, and you each a let out a loud sigh of relief upon the contact. I looked down at both of you, felt your bodies relax and the utter relief on your faces that you were back in my arms. And it hit me, hard. Right now, I’m literally all you need, all you want. In your mind, I am all powerful, the answer to everything, the omnipotent ruler of your universe. No matter what, you believe I can fix it, make it better. Right now, I am literally your entire world.
And at the same moment it also hit me, one day, so soon, this will change. You’ll become more independent, as you should. You’ll see God is omnipotent, not I. You’ll need me less and less, which is also how it should be. One day you’ll realize I am not all powerful, your world will expand and other people will become important. One day the sheets won’t be so sweaty and tangled with all these arms and legs, your little mouth won’t root and your little hands won’t reach for me anymore because you will have grown into your own bed and things will have changed. It will be quiet, oh so, so quiet.
One day you will have moved out and your own children will reach for you with their sweaty little hands and tiny mouths, and I will go to the bathroom at my leisure.
The only cries I hear will be memories in my mind, you will call me but it will be different.
And it will be a beautiful thing, we will celebrate your family and I will still be there for you, but oh, how I shall desperately miss being your entire world.
Some days it’s hard, and sometimes I get tired, and that’s ok. Parenthood IS hard. One day, it will happen to you and I hope I can comfort you and hold your hand again when you’re tired or need to cry, and all you want to do is pee in peace.
And I hope, with all my heart, above all else, one day you will know, how very much I love you, have always loved you, and will always love you, and that no matter how big you get, you’ll always be MY world.