Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Note to Self

This morning I watched my kiddos sleep soundly as I scurried around to get ready for work. Feeling the effects of summer on the horizon and what two kiddos at home has in store prompted me to coin this little note to myself. Because as many of you know, the joy that some feel when summer comes, is not always shared by us moms.

Dear Self,

I have a few things that I need to say to you. Things that cross my mind often, but like so many words and thoughts, do not get spoken out loud enough.

I am sorry. Just like the my children, you have needs. Lots of them. And while I answer my children's needs and ensure that they have all that is required to be happy and healthy, I do not do the same for you. I sometimes ignore what you are telling me, asking you to go without rest, food and heck, sometimes even water. I expect you to stop complaining and deal with it even though the needs that you have are so easy to fulfill. I would never ask that of a loved one and, unlike my little ones, at some point you just stop complaining.

Thank you. While I push you around, ignore your protests and place expectations on you that I would never place on a loved one, you continue to come through for me. You find energy, strength and  courage in all that I ask you to do. You are tireless and relentless in all that you do.

You deserve more. There are so many times where I think about pampering you. Getting a massage to ease your tired muscles, a pedicure to console your feet (that carry me for miles - literally) and whisking you away on a vacation where you can rest in peace and quiet. But I don't do these things as much as I think about them and you remain ignored yet faithful.

I know that you feel that summer is coming. And while so many relish in what that means, I know for you, it means less peace, less quiet. more activity, more chores and more energy. I can feel you quietly asking me to allow you to take a load off before the little ones are home everyday, playing tirelessly and relentlessly.

I will whisper more promises in your ear - promises of quiet time and pampering although it may only be for a few minutes a day. But unlike many, you will appreciate those few minutes and restore yourself quickly so that I can be a tireless, ambitious, energetic, marathoning mom. And know that, if I forget to tell you daily, I love and appreciate you and what you allow me to do.

I am nothing without you.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Missing Milestones and Avoiding a Meltdown (for both mom and child)

Oops, I did it again.

Nope, not the Brittany song but the real life, mommy moments that I have. Just when I feel like a mom rock star, I do it again and feel that dreaded, pit in the stomach, "I am a mom fail" feeling all over again. 

I missed a moment. Not like a temper-tantrum moment or a "watch me mom" moment but a really, crucial, it only happens once kind of moment. 

If it sounds like I have done this more than once, you are right. And it doesn't feel good. The missed first lost tooth, the Christmas recital...and now, the second missed pre-school graduation ceremony. (Yes, I said second.) I know, I know, "it's just pre-school" says every non-mommy out there. But you all get me. And I missed it. 

Now the reasons why these things happen are not important, but what is important here is that there are ways to cope with the missed milestones, ways that will benefit both you and your
child. The bottom line is that, no matter how hard you try, unless you are Wonder Woman (and we all want to be her), you are going to miss moments. At some point in time, it is going to happen.

So, the bigger question is HOW can we cope when these moments are missed? What are some strategies to use when that time actually comes? 

I have three strategies that not only will sooth your soul, but also that of your child's.

Forgive Yourself
Memories in the Making: Celebrate by having a family adventure,
going to your favorite restaurant or making a favorite meal!
We all know that "mom guilt" is a tough one. I am sure most moms, at some point during the day feel a sense of that and it is at its strongest when we miss a special moment. You are an amazing mom. Your children are fed, clothed and loved. That is really what matters.

Talk to Your Child
Whether you know you are going to miss the special moment or realize it in hindsight, talk to your child about their accomplishment. Remind them how much you love them, how proud you are and that there is no other place that you would rather be then there with them. It is not as important to give them the reason why you were absent but rather the fact that you missed not being able to be there.

Celebrate in Your Own Way 
All things can be fixed with a proper celebration. Who needs to traditional award ceremony in the dark auditorium anyway? Decide how to celebrate and make the milestone special. Better yet, ask your child how they would like to celebrate their accomplishment. Make your little one feel special and recognize them in your own, unique, family way. These are the memories that will last.

It is not about the missed milestone but rather the make up moment. You can create the joy and celebration of what your child has accomplished on your own time and in your own way. Chin up mama, I know how important it is to be there for EVERYTHING but unless you are going to follow your kids around FOREVER (please, don't be that mom), there will be missed moments. But you and your magical mom touch can still ensure that the special moment is celebrated and captured forever. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Spending Time: Quality or Quantity?

We spend plenty of time with our kids, I mean, practically all our time, right? But have you ever stopped to think about what KIND of time you are spending?

Think about it, is your time simply time spent (quantity) or is it truly focused and uninterrupted (quality) time?

Remember the "good old days" when dinner time was simply that, the whole family sitting down catching up on one another's day. Or bed time included stories, possibly bible readings and prayers?

Quality time is crucial for connecting with your family. It is when bonds form, values and ethics are taught and honest communication is encouraged. Further, what messages are we teaching our kids about relationships and bonding when we allow time to together be constantly interrupted by television, iPads and phones? That our time with them is important...until our notifications sound?

I know this is hard! We are moms and we will multi-task! It is in our nature to try to do a bunch of things all at once, but when it comes to our loves ones, we need to make time for quality.

Here are three tips:

1. Include Your Children
Sometimes it is inevitable to have to get things done when your kids are carving attention. Try including them in the tasks that you have to do when possible. Take them with you to the grocery store and allow them to pick up a fruit or vegetable to purchase. If you can't avoid working from home, perhaps there is something they can help you with - stacking papers up neatly, sorting, etc.

2. Turn Off Technology
Hiking is one of our family faves for spending quality time.
Ok, I know, I am ADDICTED to my phone. Like sheer panic, the world is caving in when I can't find it addicted. But when I stop and think about how much I allow checking my phone to sidetrack me when I am with my kiddos, it saddens me. So...it's time to turn it off. Whether this mean ringers on silent, putting the phone in another room, enabling "Do Not Disturb", shut it down, at least for chunks of time and show your kids that they have you full, undivided attention. Better, yet, go someplace that is just not phone friendly. Our family's new favorite is going hiking - can  you say limited cell phone reception?

3. Divide and Conquer
Sometimes your kiddos need time with you one on one. When this happens divide and conquer. If you have more than one child, this is the perfect opportunity to split the kids up among parents or family members and give each of them some one on one time. Remember those special moments you spent alone with one of your parents or family members? Your kiddos will too. :)

Do you have special things that you do for quality time? Please share them with us!

Don't forget to join our rock star community of moms over at Haute Mom!