finding a teaching moment in a difficult one

Today was a tough evening for my almost 5 year old. She was playing outside with my husband before bed and saw a couple of the neighbor kids in their pool…with some friends.  Of course she wanted to go in, and had trouble understanding why she wasn’t invited.

I watched out the window as my husband carried her in, sobbing. Initially I was a bit mortified that we caused a scene outside, but as soon as I saw her my heart softened.

She looked so sad, so little. And she said to me, “Mama, I wasn’t invited. Why wasn’t I invited? Why didn’t they want me to swim with them?” I picked her up and sat on the couch with her, and hugged her. I could feel the disappointment in her little frame as she cried into my chest.

I realized that this was probably a teaching moment. That I should try to use it to explain that this is how it feels to be left out, and let’s make sure we show kindness so nobody else feels that way around us. So I tried.  I tried to tell her that that didn’t mean they weren’t her friends “but mama, they NEVER invite me to swim and I always see my other friends there.” (that was a tough one). Truth is, that does happen. We have had playdates with the kids that live there, but she hasn’t gotten a “swim invitation.” But I know it’s their home, their pool, and they are under no obligation to invite my child. I was in no way upset with them.

I know this is a lesson that my daughter would be learning soon anyway…the first of many. But it was so hard. The look in her eyes were of genuine hurt.  And confusion. Even though I tried my best to explain it to her in a way that she could understand (we don’t always have playdates with everyone, sometimes friends like to play with other friends) it really hurt my heart to see her sad. Because to her, it was so easy.  Everyone plays together.

But I used it as a lesson about inclusion. How when she is playing on her swingset with a friend, how she can call out and say “do you want to come play with me?”

Although she cried a lot last night, she woke up her usual happy self. I am hoping that tonight’s outside playtime doesn’t rekindle the same sadness, and that she knows what to expect and can move past it. I hate seeing my kiddo hurting, but I know this is the first of many difficult life lessons for her.

let’s hear it for the single parents

Whenever I’m home alone with the kids for more than a day or two, I start to think…how do single parents do it?

I mean, I can get through a couple of days. The crazy mornings, trying to get everyone out the door, the meals, the cleanup, the baths, the tantrums, the cleanup again, etc. But I’ve realized I don’t stop to think often enough about how grateful I am to be a part of a two person team that works side by side to keep things running smoothly.

I’m lucky enough to have a husband who definitely pulls his weight, both with the household chores and raising the kids. From the time we both get home to the time we go to bed, he participates alongside me every step of the way. Sometimes together, sometimes in a divide and conquer sort of way. And we both help each other out – one of us will often say to the other – “you head on up to bed, I’ll finish up these dishes.”

But those single moms – or dads – it’s THEM all the time. No backup, nobody else to help with cleanup…or tantrums…or baths. How are they not exhausted all the time? Maybe they are.  Maybe I need to think about that a bit more the next time I bump into someone I know that is handling it all solo.

So tonight, this is a shout out to all the single parents out there.  You rock.  I don’t know how you do it, but you impress me and give me strength at the end of a long day!

it goes so fast

My little itty bitty graduated preschool yesterday.

I picked her up from school just like any other day, but had a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. She started here when she was 3…and she will be 5 in a couple of months. I feel like it was just yesterday when I had to leave her crying in the arms of her teachers. Teachers that I just can’t begin to thank enough for taking care of my heart.

Her graduation ceremony was yesterday evening. My little baby…that I feel like was just born, walked across the stage in her little cap and gown (so cute!) to accept her “diploma.” I was sure she would cry. I was sure she would get stage fright. But nope, she walked right across, accepted the diploma from her teachers, then followed the instructions to pose with the piece of paper so mommy and daddy could get a photo.

Flashback to her first holiday concert at just over 3 years of age. Same auditorium. Same stage. The class started singing and she walked to the front of the stage sobbing to be rescued. Where did that little preschooler go?

She’s blooming right in front of my eyes. Posed for pics with the grandparents…enjoyed a celebratory ice cream after (and a bedtime that turned out to be way too late).  She amazes me every day, my firstborn.  I just can’t believe we are already starting kindergarten.

It goes by SO fast, doesn’t it. And I’m worried it will even go by faster with her younger brother. Time, slow down please…

You stole my heart, little man

I don’t even know how to really describe it or when it happened. Of course I loved him even before he was born. And then fell in love with him again the minute he took his first breath. But then sometime after that, he stole my heart. 

Maybe it was when he first said mama. Or maybe it was the first time he smiled. Or maybe, it was th first time he held my hand when he was learning to walk. 

I watched him at the park the other day. He’s so curious right now at 15 months of age. And he kept turning to me as if to say “did you see that? what is that? what does that do?” And even though he would run off exploring, he would keep looking back at me to make sure I was still there. 

Then when he had had enough exploring, he walked back over to me, lifted his arms up to be picked up, and then came in for a snuggle. 

Boys are so precious. I secretly hope this little one turns out to be a little bit of a mama’s boy. My daughter is such a daddy’s girl, it’s only fair, right? Even if he doesn’t…every time he looks at me with those giant blue eyes I just melt. 

There’s just something about a baby boy. 🙂

what a nice, full weekend

That’s what my husband said to me tonight, and boy was he right.  Our weekend was full of all the usual 3-day weekend “stuff” – outside play, inside chores, and a family BBQ.  But for some reason, it felt exceptionally long this time (in a good way).

We had great weather, and I think was the combination of this plus minimal plans that allowed us to really free-flow with the weekend. No birthday parties, no hard-core plans to do xy or z. I felt like we were really conscious of the kids – not in a rush to the next thing sort of way, but in a “what would you like to do after your nap today?” sort of way.

At the park, I put my phone away except to snap a few photos. I noticed every other parent on their phone (I’ll admit, I do that too at times). But I played. I mean I really PLAYED this time…climbed the rock wall with my daughter and swung along instead of just watching.

It taught me something – that I enjoyed the time at home much more, and appreciated my kids more when there was unstructured time to spend together. I think I’m going to make more of an effort to leave our weekends a bit more free…and say “no” to certain invitations and be okay with it.

Hope everyone else enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend as much as we did!


Infusing joy


I hadn’t really thought about this until this word challenge (which I’ve never done, being a newbie to this site). But, I actually have something to say about it. 

It’s something I’ve been working on as a person and a mom. Infusing joy and happiness into whatever I do. I’ve noticed I may run into people that don’t seem happy…or seem to be in a rush….or are just having a bad day.  I also catch myself running from one task to another on the weekend. 

So I’ve been trying to slow down and infuse positive emotions into what I’m doing. With the kids – how do I turn an ordinary moment into something that brings them joy? And how do I use my interaction with a stranger at the grocery store to brighten their day?

I’ve found this is starting to fill my own bucket too…so I’m going to try really hard to focus on it going forward. 

Good morning! Shhhh the kids are not up yet…

I have this sign next to my coffee canister and coffee pot. It makes me smile every morning. 

Some mornings, like today, the weekend allows me to relax for a few minutes while the house is still asleep. And it captures how I feel. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my kids (even when they’re just sleeping!). But I have a few minutes to myself to sit in the sunroom and enjoy the morning. 

Soon the kids will be running around. My soon-to-be 5 year old S will be asking for our Saturday tradition of pancakes. C will be ready to climb into his high chair for breakfast. My husband and I will start planning out the day’s chores and fun. 

But right now, before I make my grocery list or call customer service at Bath & Body Works to find out why they cancelled my order of smartsoap for my kitchen, I’m going to peruse blogs and enjoy my hot beverage with the birds chirping outside.

Hope you friends all have a wonderful morning as well. 

Please stop judging, fellow momma

Something has been on my mind for a while now.  Something that as a parent, you can’t help but notice. It has been nagging me to the point where I think my husband is exhausted hearing me talk about it (and I’m pretty sure he’s ready to go buy some earplugs).

It’s the way lots of us judge our fellow mommas.  It’s something you don’t really notice until you become a mom, and I think dads are either oblivious to it or just don’t work that way (which is nice).  But fellow moms, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s the looks, the comments of “oh, we use x” or “our family does y.” Topics like:

  • organic vs. not
  • GMO vs. non GMO
  • disposable vs. cloth diapers
  • cows milk vs. other options
  • food dye
  • grains vs. no grains
  • vaccines
  • stay at home vs working mom

And the list goes on. It’s the mom that starts the conversation with “so what kind of milk are you transitioning C to when he turns 1? Oh, you’re going to do cow’s milk? Oh we don’t believe in that.”  Or “Oh, your poor kid has the flu? Didn’t you say your family got the flu shot? That’s why we don’t do the flu shot, we just wash our hands.”  Yeah, like I don’t wash my kids hands. I just let them run around putting their mouths on water fountains and eating their food off the mommy and me class floors. (for the record, I do wash my kids hands and they don’t eat off the floor.)

What happened to the village? To supporting one another’s choices…to be a cheerleader for your fellow moms? We moms put enough pressure on ourselves already – questioning everything from whether it was the right choice to start solids at 6 months to whether it was the wrong choice to start kindergarten at age 5. We certainly don’t need to add to another mom’s second-guessing. And I certainly don’t need “friends” making me ruminate about the non-organic green beans I fed my kids with dinner last night.

Social media  has something to do with it, I’m convinced of it. Whereas before, conversations were more personal, more one on one – we now have the ability to blast opinions and share our position to the world.  It’s much easier to hide behind a screen and use that free speech thing. Think your friend shouldn’t have given her kids pop tarts as they walked to the bus stop? You can now “coincidentally” share an article on Facebook (targeted but not targeted, you get what I’m saying) on why pop tarts are bad for kids. Anti-vaccine and have a friend who just posted about 12 month shots? Easy to just happen to come across an article that talks about why vaccines are unsafe…and share away that afternoon.

So one thing I’m promising my friends and myself – you won’t see me sharing things on social media that make you feel bad about your parenting decisions. I will not condemn you for choices you make for your family that are different than mine.  I will not coincidentally post “Wow!” and share a post that talks about how you’re poisoning your kids if you give them anything that isn’t organic.  There is a difference between sharing information and strategically pointing out choices you don’t agree with…and us women know exactly what we’re doing when we pick one approach or the other. We’re pretty smart, except sometimes not when it comes to standing with one another.

Who’s with me?

what a happy end to mother’s day

I was tucking my 4 1/2 year old daughter in to bed last night as I usually do. We laid there for a few minutes before I said “what would you like to say thank you to God for tonight?”

She thought for a minute and then said “for making me your daughter.”

I couldn’t believe that such an amazing thing just came out of her heart like that… especially on Mother’s Day. I’m sure the holiday had something to do with it, but I was still so touched. 

All the flowers, handmade cards and gifts at school, everything combined, as great as those things are, pale in comparison to her recognition. Whether she remembers it today as she’s running around outside or not, she meant it in that moment. 

Her little heart spoke and it touched me in a way I’ll never forget. 

You got this day!

I’m up before the kids wake up….but only for a few minutes. So I’m going to just have. FEW sips of my coffee….before the craziness of the tag-teaming starts. 

I’ll get my son up with his warm milk….my husband will drag my preschooler out of bed. Then it’s a mad rush until we take my daughter to school and then we swoooosh rush off to work. 

I got this! And you got it too! With a little help from your friend, coffee.