- Routine is key. My kids have strict bedtimes, because they need it. When their routine is off, they are off, and then I am off. For example: I thought it would be a good idea to bring Kinley along with me to a home party for cleaning products. She usually goes to bed between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm, however, I thought "she's a baby, she can roll with it". Wrong. So wrong. After about an hour of fussiness and being passed between very helpful friends, she finally fell asleep. At that time I figured I'd better head out. Party was still going, wine was just opened. Parenthood. Before children we were not routined. Not at all. Now we have a daily routine that works for us. The skeleton of the routine is there...ensuring we are home for naps and that meals and bedtime happen on schedule. When all this happens the rest flows well...we can get out of the house easily and without too many issues. Another example of a routine gone bad: We recently had Caleb's first dentist appointment and decided that we would take a trip to the mall to go on rides (his first time) as a reward for a job well done. Well, it was fun. We rode rides, we had a great time. Then we thought we would get some ice cream. It was of course on the very opposite side of the mall than we were on, so we had to go up some floors and walk a lot. I could sense that Caleb was getting tired (Kinley was fine sleeping in the ergo), but thought we could make it. We finally got to the ice cream place, ordered ours and his, and then tried to stop to give it to him. He wanted nothing of the sort. I forced him to take a bite, and he was not happy. He wanted to hold it, just not eat it. I figured we should walk back to the car. On the way he started to get crabby and I got short with him. Eric then said, "is it his fault he is crabby or ours because he has not napped and is tired?" He was right. I knew it too. Fast forward about five seconds, and he fell asleep in the stroller. We got him in the car and he fell asleep before we pulled out of the parking ramp. He is almost three, and will probably continue to nap on schedule for a couple more years. I suspect Kinley will be the same way. We have just had to learn to adapt to them, and their need for routine.
|Just chillin' in the dentist chair|
- Prepare for a disaster. I should pack extra clothes for me, and for the kids. I always remember an extra outfit for Kinley, and three times now in the past two months, I was the one who could have used an extra shirt. I have been spit up on (massive amounts) these times and have had to continue on, stinking. Argh. And to add to that, I have also been peed on. Joys of having a boy. We have had one too many conversations about what is okay to pee on, and that people are not part of that. I should note that I have never been intentionally peed on, always accidental. Still not fun.
- Breathe. Just breathe. When I have a screaming toddler, and a screaming infant I am on damage control. It is not fun. So just breathe.
- Limit distractions. With all the nursing I have been doing, I have been on my phone a lot. An additional factor is not having any grown ups to talk to during the day, every day. I have now developed a bit of a facebook addiction. I am now on a 12 step program to end it. First step, deleting it from my phone and iPad. It has been hard. I am on the mend. Not sure I am ready to quit cold turkey. Actually, I tried for about three hours, and it was too soon. Should I totally quit? Is periodic facebook checking on the computer okay? Time will tell I suppose. I should note that my husband is a total enabler. He says things like, "did you see what ___ posted?" all the time. Then I want to check, but I am limiting it.
- Talk about it. What am I referring to? Anything. But, especially life issues that seem overwhelming. Lean on people. Lean on friends. Times can be tough, but it is a heck of a lot harder if you are tackling it on your own without support from people who love you. And, in addition to that, make an effort to maintain those friendships. Life gets crazy busy for everyone, but having good friends is uber important...an incredibly necessary for you to not always feel like a "mom" and to sometimes feel more like yourself. So get out of the house, and socialize. This is something I need to do more of.
- Go on dates. Dates at home, and dates out an about. Your marriage will be better for it. This is something we do not do often enough, and is now a new priority of mine (ours) and it will hopefully help with the natural disconnect that happens when your bring a baby home or have young children.
- Go to the bathroom with the door closed, maybe even locked. Take that 5 minutes to yourself. The other day I went to the bathroom to do my business, and the door was open (rarely closed). My husband proceeded to come to the door to talk to me, while holding a screaming baby, and with an upset toddler nearby. I politely (I think) asked him to please move away from the door. To please give me a minute to do my business, ALONE. I would never do that to him...seriously?! So now, if I am not the only one home with the kids, I will sometimes close and lock the door. Since when is a minute on the toilet or a five minute shower a break? I guess since I had a child three years ago.
- Your children are always watching. Always. Don't behave in a way you would not want them too. And watch what you say, cause they will repeat it right back to you. Verbatim.
- Try not to be so hard on yourself. Try. This has been especially hard for me lately. Mostly in regard to my body image, but this obviously applies to many other aspects of life and parenting. In regards to my body image, I am not anywhere near the body I want, and realize that it will take time to get where I want to be. However, nothing in my closet fits right, and a mama that does not feel good about herself is not a joy to be around. So, today, I ventured to the mall...after almost aborting the mission due to a cranky baby, and bought myself some new clothes. I got five items that are interchangeable and can be worn with each other. They should all last beyond this body image issue, so that was a plus. I am looking forward to wearing something new during Caleb's birthday party, and looking forward to having choices when leaving the house that make me feel better about how I am looking these days.
- Big tasks are much easier when broken down into smaller tasks. This is more apparent to me lately when I no longer have any amount of time to do any task completely in one sitting. I can barely get myself ready along with children in the morning. How am I going to do this when I go back to work? It's fine now when I can usually stay in my pajamas all day. This applies to cleaning, projects, getting ready, blogging, etc. I have always been a person that likes to finish a task from start to finish in one sitting. However, now with two children this is impossible. I have learned to break it up, prioritize, take shortcuts, and multi-task like a mo-fo. One example is Caleb's birthday party. I ordered invites and got them out in the mail. Check. I took a trip to home depot to get supplies (construction theme). Check. I went to the party store to order balloons and to get supplies. Check. Chose and ordered birthday gift (bike). Check. Things left to do: cake, goodie bags, wrap presents, menu planning and buy food, and prepare the yard and activities. I have been working on this party in small doses over a month. It will all get done, and it will not be very stressful because I have done it over time. Thankfully. As for cleaning the house, well, that is a lost cause. Same with laundry. Never ever done.