When boredom strikes

Let them be bored. I’ve heard that so often lately…in this age of electronics and just plain old busyness. So I decided to try it one morning.

S woke up and as usual said “mama what are we going to do today?” It was Saturday, so usually we would have an outing of some kind planned in the morning, and then we’d spend the afternoon around the house, outside, etc. But this time I said “we’re actually going to have a family weekend. We’re going to spend all day today and tomorrow here at home and play inside and out!”

That didn’t go over well. C just turned two so he was oblivious. But S whined and complained. “I’m so bored. There’s nothing to do.” I encouraged her to go to her playroom and pick out a game. Or that we could bring the easel up from the basement and she could paint. Or we could do a puzzle. Or we could read. She stomped off to her room about an hour into the morning.

Then I found a piece of paper slid out under her door.

And she was. She made a few ‘books’ that day. She used her imagination and when given a big chunk of unstructured time, she came up with fun illustrations and words that she asked us to staple together for her later that day.

Having spent time in her kindergarten class, I know how structured her days are. We are a common core state; so much has changed from when I was in kindergarten. Kids move from one activity to another quickly. There is a not a lot of time for free play or socializing apart from the 15 min morning recess and 20 min lunch one. Their days are filled with worksheets, reading books, math puzzles and the like. This reinforced for me the need for more “boredom days” where there is time and space to let the mind wander.

So we’ll be doing more of these days. S may not like it – but especially with summer coming, I think we’ll have plenty of opportunities and she’ll learn to love them.

are we done? or do we want another?

This is what my husband sprung on me in the midst of a TV show. I don’t even remember what we were watching.  The kids were both in bed so we were having our nightly “date” to catch up on a show when the house was quiet.

I have to admit, I’ve thought about it. C just turned 2, and S is 5 1/2.  It seems like the last few years just flew by. But every time I thought about it, I just couldn’t see starting all over. Both hubby and I are in our 40s, and admittedly the sleepless nights were much harder with #2 than #1.

But, every time I asked myself this question, I also though how nice it would be to have a little one again. That baby that makes those sweet cooing sounds – sounds I would never hear from my kids again as they grew older.  My oldest is even too big to carry (but I still do at times). But, I didn’t think my husband was asking himself the same question, so I was shocked when he verbalized it to me. I thought for sure we were done. A family of 4 and a dog.

So that made me really think.  Are we? Or do we want a third?

It’s still on my mind. We sort of ended that conversation agreeing that we didn’t think we could handle it. That it would be too hard for S and C with us already being pretty tired. If we were 10 years younger…we would.

But then I woke up this morning and thought about it again (obviously). How do we know…I mean really know, when our family is complete?

the balancing act…is there really one?

I’ve had so many people ask me recently…how do you do it all? Like most people, I have multiple roles in my life. Mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, employee. But recently, with my daughter starting kindergarten, it seems a bit more concentrated on mom and work.

I’ve tried to remain active in the school…taking time off work to help out the teacher, zipping over to help for the 20 min lunch period (those lunch periods are crazy!), volunteering for the classroom holiday parties.  Then there are playdates. Then homework. Then lunches.  All the same stuff that all families go through with their kids in school.

The truth is, I have help. I have a nanny who helps out at home a TON, and let’s face it, she does more for our family than just watch my kids and get my daughter off the bus on days that I’m working outside the home (I work from home a couple of days a week). I also have a pretty involved husband. And the other secret? I feel like I’m always dropping the ball on something. Like when I’m at work, I’m not caught up at home…and when I’m at home, I feel like I missed the mark on something at work.

So I feel like I’m not really balancing at all…more just juggling. And, at times, I feel like I’m just catching the ball that’s closest to hitting the ground.

I guess that’s a bit of what motherhood can feel like, maybe?

Date night

Hubby and I do a pretty good job with our date nights.  We try to go every other week when possible, and it’s something we both look forward to.

This past Friday we went to Flemings, one of our favorites.  A little nicer than we sometimes do, as we were celebrating our 11 year anniversary. It was nice. And, we’ve gotten to the point that although we discussed the kids (when should we start C in preschool? Do we want S to continue learning over this summer between kindergarten and first grade?), we also discussed many other things.

We’ve gotten pretty good at making the time “us time” on date night but it wasn’t always like that. When S was little and we first had our scheduled date nights, we’d spend the evening talking about her. Then gradually as we got used to the concept of heading out without her and using it as time to actually reconnect, we made a conscious effort to use the time to really talk to each other. So much of our day to day adult interactions are coordinating parenting tactics (can you take S up for bath? C didn’t eat well at dinner, let’s see if he will finish his milk before bedtime) that this time really helps.

So this date night, we talked about work, about our parents, about the recent vacation we had just taken, what we’d want to do for our next family vacation, and a bunch of other stuff. And it was nice!

What are your date nights like?

daily prompt – inkling

I think when you have kids, your sense of having “inklings” goes up dramatically. I was always an intuitive person…early on, I learned to listen to my gut. Whether it was fear, dread, or eager anticipation – I could feel it.

Now with kids, that sense is even sharper. Except it doesn’t always manifest itself in my gut – sometimes, it’s just a thought. Whether it’s that strange quiet that descends on the playroom when the kids are out of sight or that quietness that my daughter exhibits when something happens at school, I sort of know when something is up.

I think it comes with having kids. You develop this sixth sort of sense, that guides you. That tells you when your child is about to get sick. That tells you when something made them sad at school. Part of what being a mom is all about!

via Daily Prompt: Inkling

Why is it so hard to RSVP?

I came across this post on the Love What Matters Facebook page. And my heart broke.

It’s a mom talking about the importance of RSVP’ing to kids birthday parties. And I completely agree with her. I’ve been there….you send out invites to your child’s classroom of 24 and you get 4 people that RSVP. Then you wonder, are only 4 people coming? Did the rest not get their invites? Should I plan for a few more just in case they show up? How many kids should I make favor bags for? Is my kid going to have enough friends at her party?

Although in this post, the mom in the video is also talking about parents who chose not to send their kids to the party of a special needs child; the other parents also didn’t have the courtesy to RSVP. So the party mom had zero kids show up. Zero. I just don’t get it.

My kids may not make every party we are invited to. But anyone that sends me an invite will always know if they can count on us joining in the fun or not!

‘tacking

This was what dinner looked like today for little C. A stacking game. But, who cares? When you have little ones, you sort of realize that messes and play are all a part of it. So he took his three bowls and stacked and unstacked. Stacked and unstacked. And while he did, he ate every morsel of his spaghetti, green beans and strawberries.

Decent amount of clean-up….but again, who cares?

disney cruise…with kids

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We just returned from the most amazing trip.  I’ll write more about some details/tips later, but I am so amazed that WE DID IT!  Anyone that has traveled with two small kids knows it is no walk in the park. There are those amazing moments when your kids faces light up and you realize it’s all worth it. Then, there are those moments when both kids are screaming, you didn’t sleep well because the youngest kept trying to climb over the bedrail in the middle of the night, and you wonder, should we have waited a year?

I’m glad we didn’t.

This picture above is from Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island. It was the last stop on our one-week cruise and it was the most amazing part. That hammock right there? I got to lay on it (after nearly falling out twice trying to get in) while my kids played in the sand and water. The water is SO shallow – S could go out all the way to the rope and it was only up to her hips at high tide.

So for anyone considering a Disney cruise – do it!  I’ll write more later. But for anyone thinking through family vacation plans on a Sunday morning like today, it’s well worth it.

Now off to unpack and do laundry!

there really is no strategy in parenting

Posting for the daily prompt challenge and I realized, I have no strategy.

I mean don’t get me wrong…I want to ensure my kids are healthy; that they’re being raised to be kind people, help others, and that they do well in school. That they think about their future and how they can contribute to society.

But I don’t have a strategy.

I read a lot; I talk mommyhood with fellow parents.  I try to gather as much information as I can, in order to make the decision that is best for my family. But as far as what sports they will play? That’s up to them (I rotate my kids in activities so they can pick the one that is the best fit for them. Plus, they’re nearly 2 and nearly 5 1/2, so still early). What sorts of careers I will nudge them towards? That’s up to them. I’ll make sure to discuss pros and cons with them when the time comes. How to deal with today’s meltdown? Again, I read tips and see what works.  How to make them eat their veggies? I’ve learned to negotiate. 🙂

I guess it’s not as much not having a strategy; as I write this, seems my approach is to gather the info and then do what works best for my kids.  Is that a strategy? Maybe it is!

via Daily Prompt: Strategy

Taking a moment

I was little absent for a bit. I found myself a little overwhelmed with the holidays (we host Thanksgiving for my family), planning our winter vacation, and getting ready for Christmas. Work was also ramping up as the year came to an end. 

So I found I had to narrow down what I spent my time on – and unfortunately some of those things were my hobbies and the time I take for myself. But I knew it was temporary, so that was okay!

I feel more balanced now – and not like I’m behind on life. Phew!