After the kids are tucked away in their warm beds Eric and I spend at least 4 nights a week just talking about life. By life I mean, about kids. We spend nights laughing, reflecting on those funny moments from the whirl wind of a mess that is our lives. We decompress, forgetting the screaming, and welcoming all that we have become as parents. Recently, we reflected on our childhood. Of course, its comparable right? I can honestly say, no, no it is not. Today, there is so much more to fit into a day. Times are no longer as simple as they once were.
Saying that, this, hopefully, will give you a light to sail away on. I remember spending time with my parents when I was little. I remember having a good time in my one on one time with my parents, together, and individually. Here's the kicker! We were not playing one on one with dolls, cars or running a jungle gym at the local park. Nope. None of that. Majority of the time I spent with my parents one on one was doing what my parents needed to do to make a living. AND I loved it!
Let me say, my version of childhood was different. I was raised by my dad alone from age 7 on. Rare I know. Both my parents worked and no damage was done that I can see as a grown adult from this. Many summer mornings, I woke up early, I mean early. My dad would make a nice cozy spot in the car, blanket and pillow, lifted me from my bed and tucked me back in to the car seat. That day would be a day of sales calls. I felt special to wake up to a gas station variety of breakfast treats and a McDonald's lunch. All in a days work. It WAS special.
My summer weekends were spent giving the minivan a bath in the most traditional sense, scrubby, soap and a whole lot of hose water. We would take the boat out and the day was spent with my dads friends and him being who he was as a person not filtered by fatherhood, okay maybe a little. I was that little girl playing with fish eyes and giving the best fish kisses. My dad continued on with who he was even though he was a dad, my dad. I do not believe as a dad he ever lost sight of who he was as a person, like so many of us moms do today.
Though I do not still carry these skills, I spent many nights with my dad in the garage fixing snowmobiles and other home projects. I knew the tools, where they were if he needed them and exactly where they would be returned to. I have one fond memory of testing my dad, I was asked to get my room clean. He asked once, I didn't follow through, and he dumped every dresser drawer in the center of my room, all the clothes from my closet - center of my room, and everything from the surfaces - in the center of the room. I remember his stern face, "now, clean it up." I did, and I didn't come out until it was done. I never challenged him again.
In my youth I knew my duties. I didn't have a mom there everyday to show me the duties. I had watched my dad and my mom do daily tasks. There was never a question in my mind that those things were not also my responsibility. Reflecting I back I fondly remember a conversation with a girlfriend at maybe age 12 - "why don't you just do these things for dad", I knew in my experience if I just handled what needed to be done I would get what I wanted and life would be easier for everyone.
Watching Shark Tank the other night Sonnett James Ply Dresses for Moms rolled across the screen and boy do I ever ride on this woman's dream! #supportmoms #gomoms #momsforever
I am a working mom and I often deal with the issue of being uncomfortable getting down and dirty with my kids and looking put together, but do I need to in today society? I am a mom. I have no issue with disclosing that to one of my clients. If there is an issue with me being a mother, why would I choose to work with them as a client? I have dubbed being a mom to my brand, you can tell by my Instagram feed. Would I knowingly show up with spit up on my shirt while representing my brand - well I would try not to, but I believe today it should be explainable. My spit up is no different than your juggling coffee, papers, and spilling. Likely, I was juggling coffee, papers and a child and only ended up with spit up - what does that say about your skill set?
If I am out there working hard to make a living for my children, why should they not fall into knowing that I will provide for them, whatever they need from baby to adulthood from material things to life skills. When I left home at 17 for college I did not need to call my dad and ask how to do laundry - I had been doing laundry side by side with him and having fun doing it since I was 7 and alone since age 9 and I ENJOYED doing it. It pleased my dad and took off his plate so when he got home from work we could sit and take our television time together or cook dinner together. All, again, I loved.
Am I saying never play with your child... no! I am saying the pressures of today can be uplifted by the way you are raising your child. My daughter is 2 right now, she knows dirty clothes go in the laundry or laundry basket. Grandma was over one night and put her dirty clothes in the clean clothes basket, oh she heard about it and not from me, but from my two-year-old! My mom screams, "what's she saying?" I walked in the room and said, "oh, only clean clothes in that basket," while my two-year-old nods her head and frowns at my mother. My mom laughs, and watches her unload the laundry from the dryer into the clean basket and push it to the living room where I fold it. My four-year-old folds towels like a champ.
Laugh all you want, but chores are fun and if you do them without a fuss YOU set the expectation. Enjoy the time you get with your kids doing whatever it is that you have to get done today. They will appreciate you for taking the time with them.
When I was young, I heard a radio announcer while I was driving proclaim, "you can tell a lot about a women by looking at her feet." He went on to say, "a women that took care of her feet also took care of herself in overall." This odd theory stuck with me.
I rarely if ever take the time to do my finger nails, prior to children I did not have a dishwasher so dishes took a tole on my finger nails. I have always enjoyed cleaning the floors on my hands and knees with chemical agent cleaners. And now I have children... painting my finger nails for me might last a day. Not worth it because I cannot stand cracked nail polish.
Maintaining my feet on the other hand, makes me feel good. I cannot stand when my feet get dry and cracked. I have been known to wake up in the middle of the night to file my feet because I could not stand they way they felt under the covers. Weird, I know. My little regimen usually happens once every 2-3 months when I lay out the hand towel on the living room floor and sand away at my feet. Afterwards, I like to put on some aloe socks with a heavy moisturizer. Usually after I shower I will put on my polish, more of the heavy moisturizer after my nails dry, and if I do not have anywhere to go another set of aloe socks.
When you become a parent, holidays are totally different. It’s not about you anymore – not even a little bit! Have you noticed this? There are so many things that are incredibly different as you become a parent, but as a mom now, life has its changes and especially around the holidays!
Prior to kids, it was all about you and the husband and who could get the best presents. Now it’s about who can pick up the Elsa castle or the toy trucks and where you will hide them! Santa had disappeared for a long time and now all of sudden, Santa is a sacred entity! With a 3-year-old in the house, Santa is the most important thing that happens to the month of December. Another thing that happens is that you are going to visit family, but they could care less if you are there or not, but for some reason, you have to be there!
The priorities of drinking wine with your siblings and then helping children open gifts has changed significantly! Unless you are staying at the same place you are celebrating Christmas, holiday drinking is frowned upon – whereas when you didn’t have kids, no one even batted an eyelash! Now that you have kids, you are exempt from sitting at the kids table. Congratulations! Unfortunately, you will most likely be eating there anyway because you will have to help feed your children.
As an adult, the holidays are a fun and a not so fun time. They’re fun because you get to experience all the enjoyment of the holiday times that your kids are experiencing, but at the same time, you are the one buying and wrapping all of the gifts. Being broke and tired are two very serious key events going on for adults during the holidays. Before being parent, you only had to spent as much as your significant other spent and then you might even be able to afford to go somewhere fancy for New Year’s.
Speaking of New Year’s, as a parent, how do you celebrate New Year’s? Is it anything like how you celebrated it before babies!? I would bet it’s not! The thought of staying up until midnight is almost unthinkable. If you make it to 11pm, you are super lucky! Going out to a place? Forget it. Having kids up hours past their bedtime is not only not fun but seriously criminal. When they start crying (which they will because they are tired) you and everyone else will wish that New Year’s was at 9:30pm instead of midnight. Anyone want to celebrate New Year’s from London time? Dressing up for New Year’s all sexy like you used to? As a parent you will feel lucky to not be in your pajamas at midnight! Oh, how the times have changed. But honestly, does anything good ever happen being out after midnight? Kind of like Cinderella… shit gets real. I cannot remember a New Year’s being out after midnight when it was still really fun! So, it is a total bad thing that you are not staying up to watch the ball drop? Definitely not – don’t feel bad, you can watch it the next morning on DVR.
Even though everything is different now as parent, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being able to watch my daughter get super excited for Santa Claus and to freak out when she sees presents, it is so worth it. Watching my parents with my daughter during the holidays makes it all worth it.
Happy Holidays! <3 Teach.Workout.Love
THE DVD MESS
THE MOM BAG
It was the night before Christmas 2016 or somewhere around that night when we received this bed and two mattresses from Amazon in the mail. Holden was gone for the evening and we invited friends without kids over to "help" us put together our little boys BIG boy bed! We didn't intend on them being so eager to jump into our mess, but it allowed for us to get them beer and wine. Four of us together (basically 2) the assembly took about an hour, one of us is very handy (not me!).
We were happy to get to show Holden Santa had came and was he ever EXCITED! Holden was just over 2 years old when we decided to make the commitment to a bunk bed. We couldn't be more pleased with the cost of this purchase and how it has held up to him jumping, playing and going crazy all over this thing. The stairs were the scary part, but we decided to not make a big deal about them, so far he has been safe. You can take the twin bed and full bed apart if needed which was another selling point for me. I personally felt $550 for the entire setup was a steal.
OH OH OH MERRY CHRISTMAS
Simple answer here is: You are FORCED to make the trasition!
We transitioned Holden early here's why...
Actual reasons why you should decide to transition...
Holden was 14 months old when we started the toddler bed transition because I had heard many times in our ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) classes that regression in many respects is common with the welcoming of new babies. We would welcome Gretta (#2) when Holden was only 22 months old so I felt like I needed that "time" so regression wouldn't happen. I had already bought a toddler bed on deep discount while I was pregnant with Holden (cheap ass, I know). The Dream On Me Classic Toddler Bed in White is very close to what we started with.
We made this experience EXCITING. First, we set it up in the living room and left it there for a few days. This may have been because I had to order a fitted sheet (don't waste your money on a sheet set!), but it worked out because he was able to play on it, have movie night, and sniff it out like a dog with a foreign object added to the home. Honestly, we may have made this thing too exciting because... well, you'll find out later. A few days later we moved the bed into his room.
A great recommendation is, if possible, put the toddler bed in the same place the crib was in this will help with familiarity of the space. First thing you need to consider once the bed is in place, SAFETY! If they can touch it, they will. Make that room so unappealing no one would want to be in that sucker! Eliminating the fight will make things easier. Once you think you have made the room so unappealing no one would want to be in the room, go grab a glass and fill it up with wine. Sit in the middle of the room and look around. If you can find something to touch, stick something in (hey, where did you find that to stick in there anyway), something you can pull down then YOU DIDN'T DO YOUR JOB! Now, redo it. Ah, there - now your done.
Here's comes the fun part. It's bedtime. I have read other blogs about making this time exciting. For me personally I do not recommend amping your child before bed in a new place. If you haven't already, start a routine. If you have a routine stick to it as close as possible, but move the end pieces to the bedroom. Do not make this a time you deviate from how you would leave the room. Leave the room as if you were leaving your little in the crib. Make bedtime the same as much as possible. If you have been a jellyfish until now, now is time to get a backbone! If you don't here that little crawl out of bed, CONGRATULATIONS! If you survive a toddler bed transition without a fight - GOLD MAMMA STAR.
Options for leaving the room:
Ultimately, after trying all of these things and not succeeding. We went back to the cry it out. Did Holden kick the door? Yes. Did Holden pound on the door? Yes. Did he scream at the top of his lungs? Yes. Did he cry? Yes. Did I sit outside the door for over an hour the first few nights and cry? Yep. Did he fall asleep next to the door from being exhausted from those episodes? Yep. Guess what? Again, a week later SLEEP for Holden, SLEEP for me... SLEEP!
I am in no way saying our way is the right way, hence offering other options. I believe persistence ends up being the key here whatever your child's personality, ALL kids thrive in a structured environment and enjoy knowing what to expect from their caregiver. Provide them that expectation and watch them grow.
In the Dear Mom Working household I want to believe we have tried pretty darn close to everything with my first. Since Holden was my first and I was single, I definitely spent a lot of time with cuddles and co sleeping. Realizing I would again want intimacy in my life and someone may actually want to be with a single mom we had to stop this terror of a trend. Initially, Holden had a hard time in the the crib in his own bedroom, which was understandable he was almost six months before I had even attempted the transition.
If you are a nursing mom you can probably relate to the fact it is easy to flop a boob out and not only is your baby happy, but so are you, ahhh sleep. If we move into the crib I have to get my butt up, walk to a room across the house and find somewhere to sit or lay in the kids room and pray to not fall sleep in whatever weird position and place you decided to nurse. There were nights I crawled into the crib, BAH, I know EXTREMES! At 9 months I started making the transition to formula because Holden was walking already. Crawling up me, tenting his booty in the air and dancing while nursing. Things got too weird for me.
After a successful doctors appointment our pediatrician recommended, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I am going to be honest. I have only ever got through half this book, 3 times! All three times reading halfway through I took something new, Myla (#3) is only 2 months now so I may try to read in full one more time, HA! At about 11 months I had realized I was not only doing Holden a disservice, but I was EXHAUSTED. We cried it out for about a week and to my surprise HOLY CATS, he was a good sleeper.
Here's what I know, the transitions ARE HARD for moms and children. Here is something to consider, so many times we as mother's hold our children back because WE are not ready. This is not about you, it is about your child. WE put limitations on our children's development. When kids get the sleep they need, they may have a lower risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes as well as fewer learning problems and attention issues. To ensure your child gets what they need YOU have to make the decision for them at a young age. I now know this was a ME thing with Holden and again, it was HARD. To make this transition there will be tears. Mom tears. Baby tears. Tears. The stronger you are the tears shouldn't last longer than a week.
There have been several articles written about, your tot being a little angel at the playground, at nursery school, and at his grandparents’ house, but he’s a howling, whirling dervish at home. This can be applied to traditional behavioral issues after visits to dad's house. Why do we have to deal with these behaviors while dad proclaims he has an angel? Answer: He’s completely secure in your affection, so he knows he can let it all hang out in your presence. There are a lot of emotions behind co parenting transitions for children and you may be the punching bag when your child returns.
When my son was about 16 months old we faced some pretty sever night issues after he returned home from his dad's house. Holden would wake up screaming, kicking, hitting, and crying, completely unable to be consoled. I held him tight, rocked him, tried to tell him things would be alright, but at his age he had no words to explain what he was going through. This is where flashbacks start for me. I was around 7 years old when my parents divorced. I remember being at 7 so lost and confused. I had no idea what was going on. I remember the same, waking up crawling into my dad's bed bawling, fighting, screaming for several hours. Though I had so much heartache, I have fought with my inner child to find what that feeling was. Sadness? Anger? I am not entirely sure. I can say I know I just needed my dad (my primary caregiver) in the moment. So this is what I have provided Holden those nights. This lead to behaviors at daycare and an inability to gain composure and develop cognitively for the entire week after his return.
Shortly after these extreme behaviors started I removed Holden's overnights from his dad. Just after that we started a custody battle which my attorney was able to prolong a bit for Holden to get a little older. Still seeing his dad every other weekend, but no overnights. This seemed to help greatly. It was about a year before we moved into one overnight for a month and then ended our custody agreement at every other weekend with overnights. Thankfully we only dealt with a few issues in the night a year later after the custody situation had ended. About a month after we came to a custody agreement. Holden's dad took a job out of state and only see's Holden one weekend a month with overnights. We still deal with behaviors after dad's house during the day, some weekends are worse than others, but that is for another blog.
Home is where your child feel safe. You are where your child feels safe. The loss or attenuation of important relationships may cause depression or anxiety, particularly in the first two years, when children lack the cognitive and communication skills that enable them to cope with loss. Offer your child some grace. Support your child when he or she comes home, but maintain structure.
I have always been a go-getter. Marking off a to do list brings some sort of joy to my life. In years prior to becoming a mother I worked very predominately for a direct sale company. That company is still a leader in the direct sales industry and led to many valuable training's that still guide me today. During my time with this company I had the pleasure to train with the CEO of the company, several top trainers and motivational speakers and enjoyed many recommend reading materials. I will say I probably have many "self help" type books that have lead me in a better direction and will continue to recommend them as I think of them. It is because of this company that I still indulge in these type of reading materials.
I consistently refer back to "Eat That Frog" as there are a great deal of productivity solutions in this book, but the key ends up being to eat the biggest, yuckiest, juiciest frog right away. Do your dreaded tasks first! Now, on a mom note this book could be a bit reformatted as sometimes is it best to choose the tasks best done before the children wake up or while the kids are preoccupied. However, you look at it books that can guide you to create a better you in a format that works for you, and while making you a better mother.
Isn't it funny how many times it is a product that provides us solution to daily issues? It wasn't until my second, Gretta, was sleeping through the night around 7 months that I realized my 2.5 year old, Holden, was capable of doing the same. Being mom it is common to feed into each child when they wake creating a common wake up issue. This leads to minimal sleep for mom and poor sleep quality for the kids. We didn't implement all of these at once, but have found resolve in all the sleep issues we have encountered at some point in each of these products.
Products that may help solve sleep problems in babies and toddlers:
Some of these may feel extreme, but coming from a mom of 3 children ages 3 and under. I need as much sleep as I can get. If I can find a solution I will use it. I have found these options, they have worked. Reminder, things generally only work with children if you remain consistent for several weeks. Things that may not seem like they are working may feel like a god sent after two months. Stay persistent!