I Lost count on how many times a day I say “what’s in your mouth” “come back here please”, “no get down.” It must be enough because my toddlers favorite word is NONONO now…oops! (She’s a week shy of 17 months by the way.)
Yet still my baby who likes to be rocked and cuddled to sleep and is still so so sweet. I miss the baby stages I really do, but this new adventurous toddler stage is so fun and so exhausting.
How does one have enough patience in the day without full break down and exhaustion… the answer is.. well you nearly don’t.
I became a “stay at home mom” the week my daughter turned one and this pandemic shut down began. I was and am SO excited to stay home and spend more time with her but it was so draining to not see any friends or family or basically the outside of our house since it was still cold out.
Now that we are looking at this being the new “normal” for a while here are some tips that have saved me!
Tip 1: The mom guilt! Don’t feel guilty about napping when they nap. Or even to binge watch TV all day. There’s so many expectations that the house should look immaculate if you’re a “stay at home mom”, but let me tell you, its just going to be messy in 5 minutes again, so TAKE THE NAP! Or do something for yourself mama.
Tip 2: Make mommy friends! It can be the most uncomfortable feeling putting yourself out there to make mommy friends but its been so worth it for me AND my toddler! Find a local group if available and reach out you never know you might have a reply within 5 minutes (I did!) Pre Covid we attended a weekly music group and newborns support group and I’m so thankful to have met some lifelong friends from those groups, so it’s never too late to find mommy friends! I also used the peanut app briefly when my daughter was first born, it’s a great way to connect with other moms either in your area or not in your area.
Tip 3: Get adventurous, and don’t be afraid to get dirty ! Check out the site “busy toddlers and beyond” on Facebook it’s been a lifesaver. Parents/caregivers provide pictures of activities to do with your toddler or any age! Some favorites for us have been sensory boxes, water activities, or using recyclables.
Or another way to get adventurous is to try out a new park and have a picnic! I know for a while the playgrounds were closed down, it was even refreshing to go for a daily walk or two to a local park and just let your toddler RUN!!
I hope my three tips helped you maybe get out of a funk of feeling like you’re going crazy or out of ideas and remember YOU’RE NOT ALONE, and THEY ARE ONLY LITTLE ONCE!
(The following is not advice, I am not a doctor or a dietician, these are only my personal views/experiences)
Weaning – What the fuck?
Ok can I just say the following may be considered a rant, it may be considered off loading or a touch too honest, but if you have a child, especially a fussy arse child with reflux and a CMPA then YOU my friend will probably relate to the following!
So I had my baby in a stressful environment, it was stressful due to the fact the kid was trying to but his way out of my bumhole for the best part of 12 hours before the midwives realised he didn’t know what the fuck he was doing. But when he was here, I had flashes of this spectacular duck to water situation where all this motherly wisdom would wash over me like a waterfall on a secluded pond, but let me tell ya… I was wrong!
I trust my gut 99% of the time but dieticians, anxiety, GOOGLE SEARCHES, drs, lack of health visitors and friends personal worries unfortunately have their effects. If you know you know.
Now I started weaning my terror tot at just over 5 months, no I didn’t have drs say so, I didn’t have health visitor or dieticians agreement but let me just tell you, I’m his mum. I told the dr he had reflux, I told the dr he had a CMPA, and I’M the one who kept in touch with the health visitor who, once COVID hit, quite frankly couldn’t give a shite, so instinct is all I had, back to the caves we go! At first he was brilliant, he LOVED the purees, however my son is the type of child who learns fast but then gets bored quickly. So two days in and the refusal started, in all honesty look at my site the kid picks things up at the drop of a hat, masters them and then thinks sod it I know I can so lets stop.
Changes. People have said ‘oh soon as you feed him you’ll notice he’ll sleep better’ well, what a lying sack of shit that was. Soon as he started weaning BAM the mid night feeds came in, and I don’t mean feeding at midnight, no no, I mean 2,3,4,5am you name it we’ve had it! My son was sleeping 9/10 hour nights through, I look back on them times fondly. I thought shit, have I done the wrong thing, have I broke my baby? So I did what every good mum does with a good internet connection, I hit Google. And you know what I found? It’s NORMAL! Normal! Not to mention he’s at prime sleep regression age, like we just got over one what did I do in a past life to deserve this
. So now he’s slamming his legs in the night, he’s waking crying and he’s desperate for a feed. I know you’re probably thinking ‘are you sure it’s nothing else?’ Well, slap on your I’m sorry smile, because trust me he’s perfectly fine. Oh, other than teething, out of nowhere the little shit bit me last week and I realized he had sprouted not one tooth at the bottom front but two! My 5 month old now has 2 teeth, beats me on the regular and refuses to sleep. Can I sue him for this? Like if this was a relationship and it was his dad doing this it would be out and put abuse, but when it’s a baby people say it’s CUTE! You know what I’m saying if you have kids. They scream ‘aw the baby’, they rag your hair with their tiny raccoon hands ‘haha ohh he’s a cheeky one, but look how cute’ HE shit on ME and my friend goes ‘aw it’s cute though’ SQUEEZE YOU! How is walking round smelling like a soggy nappy cute? I digress…
So weaning, as great as it is it’s not as easy as people make it out to be. Reflux = a lot of research, dietician appointments (via phone atm, fuck you Rona!), and major guess work. We have now realised blueberries are a no no, with in 10 minutes he had launched them back up, but as many with a child with reflux know, it’s as if it’s perfectly normal to throw it back up. Mums on the case. Pears and apples are his absolute favourite but I still find myself eye hawking my son like a food stalker, because that’s kind of what we are. Also I have tried him with free from bread, this means free from gluten, soy and dairy, and whatever other ingredients they can’t have, I also used dairy and soy free butter to taste, for those who are so fast to say ‘you shouldn’t do that’ he had been weaning for 3 weeks and I had hold of it, and you’ll be pleased to know he licked it, took it off me and squashed it into his jumparoo whilst smiling, sooo, more fun for me. Nothing says piss off with your shitty fake food mum, like having to clean greasy crumbs from underneath a plastic monkeys arse
How did I know he was ready to wean? I did my research, I also got the dietician sheets from my friend whose daughter is 5 days older than my son and has exactly the same dietary needs as him. My son can hold his head up with ease, he was fully sitting up and rolling over. He was always reaching for our food and trying to bite it. He was also mimicking us chewing our food and on top of all of this, when we had food and he had a bottle he would completely lose interest in his bottle and throw it and go for our food. He has a brilliant appetite so I knew what was going on there, but as always you know your baby best I will NEVER tell someone how to parent, I’m not you and your child, every need and dynamic is different.
So what I take from this weaning is, slow and steady wins the race, go in with an open mind your child may not like what you’re trying first off (my son likes avocado but not bananas the weirdo!) And make sure you do your research. Honestly we have all of these wonderful resources at our disposal to not make the most of them is silly to me. It’s hard work, but after my own health visitor telling me my son may ‘just have a bug’ when he was having a reaction to milk he had been put on and get his age wrong, I decided his well being is completely on me. I wont rely on strangers to tell me how to raise him. And to be honest, he is flourishing, he is doing brilliantly (our doctor told me I’m doing a great job so I’ll take that) and I’ll only try him on natural things (bar the bread and butter he didn’t care about). You do you but make sure you are safe and only doing what is best for your family.
I hope you enjoyed this post, I’m nothing if not honest.
Until next time stay safe and don’t be a stranger.
You know how when we were little and were playing house and you would dream of a beautiful picture perfect life with a spouse and 3 children living in a mansion just happy as can be? Cooking up breakfast, lunch and dinner every day on your little plastic kitchen set?
Well, all of that can defiantly happen but the reality of what your days are actually like vs. what you used to dream about??
Am I right?
Today I would love to talk about reality vs. expectation in the parenting world. I feel like we expect so much but then get disappointed when the outcome is different and it’s totally normal but we need to embrace the reality, because this parenting gig? Hardest thing in the world but it is just the best ever!
Expectation- My children will never throw a tantrum in aisle 5 at the grocery store.
My child will be perfect and never show their feelings or have a meltdown because that’s just embarrassing.
HA HA…..hahaha. The minute you said no coco puffs was the minute you lost that perfection battle. Tantrums are so normal and you just have to embrace them. Haven’t you ever had a meltdown in aisle 5? You might not have shown it the same way, maybe you had a quiet one because you were so tired from working all day but had to go to the grocery store anyway. It’s just how feelings are shown and kids just like us have every right to feel…even if it is embarrassing.
Expectation- Social Media.
I made this homemade perfect meal, I must post on Instagram. My baby just can’t stop smiling right now, always so happy! I cleaned the whole entire house, I need to show it off.
Bribing is just the best way to get great pictures I will tell you that! Oh and that perfect clean house? Yeah…that is just one area, you should see the rest of it! That perfect homemade meal I made? Only happens about once a week….if that. Social media can be so toxic, I promise you that all the perfect mama’s you think are on there all have the reality of daily life happening as well so remember…DO NOT COMPARE!
Expectation- What my kids eat.
All organic, no added sugar, fruits and veggies galore.
Oh my goodness, I thought I could be a total organic mom and I do try to as much as I can and my son does love fruit but I mean lets get real. This kid also loves French fries and popsicles and that’s ok too!
Expectation- I will not change after having children.
I will still have my social life and pamper myself and eat healthy and exercise just like I am right now.
Oh man this was a big one for me. More on the social life, I can’t believe how hard it is to keep up a social life with children. I feel like there isn’t even enough hours in the day to go to work and come home and be a mom and a wife! My body has changed, my thinking has changed, my whole life has changed and I am defiantly not who I was before having my baby and you know what? THAT’S OK!
Expectation- Being a mom.
I will have it all together all the time. I will be able to balance my life perfectly. I will find the joy in every situation and be the best mom ever.
Most nights I will cry with a glass of wine wondering what I am doing wrong. I will think, how am I supposed to handle all of this? Working and being a mom just aren’t doable and I just can’t stop feeling guilty all of the time!
The truth is being a parent is hard. I rarely go to the bathroom alone these days. I don’t get more than a quick 5 minute shower most of the time. I feel like I am constantly cleaning or washing bottles or doing laundry and most of the time? I am just exhausted beyond repair and when I wake up in the morning? I still feel exhausted but do it all over again.
All these expecations we put out there? They just aren’t reality. They shouldn’t be though. Life isn’t perfect, whether you are a mom or not. That’s what makes life with these little’s so fun though. Yes they deserve our best, but sometimes it just dosen’t happen and that’s ok! Give yourself a break mama, you are doing amazing and you need to remember that!
Give into all of those cuddles, all of the boo boo kisses and the giggles and hugs. Also give into all the cries, the tantrums, the feet stomping and the yells because this life we call motherhood?
It’s so fun thinking back to last summer I did not so much at all because I had a newborn baby. But now it’s fun to enjoy the sunshine with my little man.
I had a hard time thinking of summer toys that I thought bub (our nickname) would enjoy.
I am learning that the attention span is nonexistent in these little ones. And that the tantrums are constant.
So here in Michigan we had a super hot weekend and we finally got to enjoy all of our outdoor summer toys we accumulated with bub turning 1!
I have rounded up a few that I think are perfect for 1-year-olds and up!
Bub has been absolutely loving his water table and truck! The truck he can’t yet get the hang of that he can actually walk with it but he loves being pushed around. And the big wheels on this one is perfect for rides in the backyard!
Wagon rides in the backyard have also been a fav! I absolutely love this radio flyer wagon. So much storage space, two seats with seatbelts and once again with the big wheels for rough terrain!
Small swing sets and slides are also so great for the younger ones! He loves climbing all around this swing set and it’s fun to watch him.
Who else just loves their backyard? I enjoy being out in ours so much just relaxing and playing!
The last thing we have but I don’t have a picture of is this awesome bike! It’s so fun for short walks and bub loves it. It also turns into a little bike for him when he’s old enough so you defiantly get your moneys worth!
As for me? I enjoyed a great 3 day weekend full of family.
Oh and High Noons which If you haven’t tried, you must! They are so refreshing. I’m not much of a vodka soda girl but I love grapefruit and I did really enjoy them.
Plus I am now sporting a really nice sunburn! My first of the Summer and I totally forgot how much it sucks to sleep with a sunburn!
You know what the best part about this weekend was though?
I forgot about the laundry piling up in my room.
I forgot about the dirty dishes filling my sink.
I forgot about the toys scattered around my house and the pillows that get thrown on the floor each day.
And you know what? I loved it.
These days we won’t ever get back, so I am trying to soak up every fun filled day I can with my guys!
The first man who asked me was my publisher. He has a wife and three kids. The next man was a man from my critique group. He read every chapter of the book and still didn’t understand. In fact, he thought I should scrap the whole project and work on my surrogacy book instead.
It wasn’t until my boyfriend, Larry, asked me that question and another question that I started realizing that men just don’t get it. The other question was, “Why is it such a big deal?”
I explained to Larry about the guilt I felt about my son’s babysitter being inappropriate with him. His response was, “That’s something you should feel least guilty about. There was no way you could have foreseen what she was going to do. Even statistically, women are less likely to molest children.”
My response, “That’s the thing I felt most guilty about. That’s what hurt him the most. That’s where I should have known better. That’s what I should have protected him from.”
All of this got me thinking about men not understanding mom guilt. So why don’t the?
I think the first reason is obvious. Men, aren’t moms. Even if they are a dad, they aren’t a mom. So it makes sense that they don’t understand mom guilt. If a man in your life doesn’t understand why you feel guilty, it doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t valid. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t care enough to understand. It simply means he’s not a mom, so he doesn’t get it.
Another reason men might not understand mom guilt is because men typically are more logical and women are more emotional. Larry proved that point to me. He looked at the babysitter situation logically. Is there any way I could have possibly known that a 12-year-old girl could hurt my son while babysitting him with her mother in the home? It’s pretty unlikely.
The point I want to make is that men and women are different (duh!) but that difference doesn’t make one or the other wrong. Our differences are meant to complement one another, not shame one another. I bet if Larry and I had been dating at the time, I wouldn’t have created so much guilt around the situation with the babysitter because we would have talked about how I was feeling, and he would have shown me the logical side. I can’t say that for sure obviously, but that’s the type of relationship we have and I always feel better after we talk things through.
I feel like it was just yesterday that I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test.
When the kicks and the excitement of hearing your heartbeat was like no other feeling.
When my water broke and your daddy and I had a panic attack thinking, “this is really happening. We are parents.”
When I held you in my arms for the first time.
When daddy and I were wondering how in the world we were going to be able to do this at home on our own.
Your sweet smiles and cuddles have been the absolute light of each day.
Watching you grow and learn and be the sweet, outspoken, adventurous little boy that you are has been the best ever.
Through these uncertain times, you and your daddy have been the constant joy I needed. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for you to grow up in this world.
As we approach your first birthday on Friday (silently crying) I can’t help but think of all the things I want to teach you.
You’re so sweet and innocent and I love being a mommy to such a precious, wild boy. As you grow I want you to know things, especially in the world we are living in now and even more so when you are older.
Your feelings matter. You matter and don’t ever forget that.
Dream big and chase those dreams because we will always be there chasing them with you.
Be kind. Always. People will always remember the way you treated them.
Treat everyone equally and don’t be afraid to.
Be whoever and whatever you want to be. You are forever supported.
No always means no, no matter what.
Stand up for what you believe in, your voice is always heard.
Use the words, “I love you” wisely. Three small words that have the biggest meaning.
Choose good friends, they have such an impact on your life.
Know that you will forever be loved, supported and taken care of, I promise you that.
I am so lucky to be your mama. I just want you to know that I will be there always, no matter what.
I love summer! The sunshine and being outside all day truly does the body good.
The kids are out of school, and I FINALLY took some vacation time to enjoy these long summer days, and these warm summer nights. But what are you going to do with your vacation?
I love when we all go camping as a family. We have done a trip to St. Ignace to visit Mackinac Island, Port Austin to kayak around Turnip Rock, we even took a trip to our most favorite spot, Great Wolf Lodge in Ohio!
Summer Time is the best time to make lasting memories with your family. Some of my most favorite memories as a kid would be camping with my mom and my siblings, or showing animals at the local 4-H fair.
I wanted to share with you all some of my families favorite summer activities!
We love to swim! We are surrounded by so many beautiful bodies of water, and we are so fortunate to live just miles from Lake Huron. We love a good beach day. Just us on our “secret” beach and some snacks. It’s like heaven on earth!
We love to camp! Just last weekend for Father’s Day, we decided to pitch the tent in the back yard. We love going to different camp grounds here in MI too! Michigan is so beautiful and there is so much to explore, camping can be a good low cost way to travel and see your home state. Our favorite part would probably be the s’mores though!
Which leads me to our next favorite activity…
We probably have a fire going in our little pit 3-5 times per week. We don’t always have s’mores at the campfire, and maybe we’re just burning up some sticks after we picked up the yard, but we’ve made some great memories around the fire. We like to play little games like “Would you Rather?” or “Never have I Ever” while we sit around the fire. It’s such a good way to bond with our girls!
Our girls are little chemists, I’m telling you! Slime is the messiest, grossest, and hardest thing to clean, but the girls LOVE it! I need to buy stock in Elmers glue, and food dye. LOL! We are constantly making it, and most recently the girls found “Slime Baff”. Yes, you read that right. It’s a slime bath, and they can’t get enough of it!
I went to Five Below, and picked up some fun outdoor activities! We got Velcro ball, a new basketball, a giant checker board, and a frisbee game. It’s not super expensive, but it keeps them occupied. We even made our own paper airplanes, and had a little race. Dad won of course!
Summer comes and goes so fast, so we really try to make the best of it. It’s hard during the week since both my husband and I work out of the home, but what ever time we do have with them, we make it count!
What are some of your favorite activities you do with your kids? Or if you don’t have kids, what do you enjoy doing?
I say that because I think one of the hardest things about being a working mom is having to walk away to go to work.
My son is at the age where meltdowns have started and you could find me wiping tears from my eyes the other day when I had to leave for work and he cried and held his little chunky arms out for me.
Don’t get me wrong, working and being a mom is bittersweet. In one way it’s an outlet when you just need something for yourself and human interaction but on the other end it’s one of the hardest things because you feel like you aren’t present enough.
My son is 11-months-old so he is SO close to taking those first few steps and through this whole first year that was my worst fear, not being present for all those big milestones.
In this crazy life and these even crazier times I think that’s the one thing all of us moms struggle with, being present as much as we can. And I don’t mean just being in the same room. I mean in the moment, doing whatever silly things our kids are doing and just really being there!
We have work, we have laundry overflowing, a house to clean and everything else in the world to do but I am learning all those things are important, yes. But being with your children, making little memories takes the win!
So here are five great ways to be present for your kids.
My son is still little but I still love having a family day! I know in this pandemic it’s hard to get out and about but really, staying at home counts too! Get some burgers and hotdogs, start the grill. Turn on the sprinkler/splashpad. Have a pool day. Start a bonfire and indulge in tons of smore’s. Set up a projector in the backyard for a movie night. Go for a walk or to the park. Have a game night. Summertime is the easiest way to have family day’s so make the most of it!
Put Your Phone Away.
This is the biggest thing I am working on right now. Keeping my volume on incase of emergency but just setting it aside for the day. The last thing I want is my son to view me from behind a screen. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram can all wait until nap time or bedtime. I know how much of a struggle it is though, I am having a hard time staying away from my phone as well. Which makes me want to even more though, because it’s so sad how much these phones have taken over!
Find Fun House Chores Your Kids Will Help With.
I remember growing up, I used to love to help my nana clean up her house. I don’t know if it was because I was involved and felt like I was helping out but to this day I still enjoy cleaning! So find things your kids want to help you with around the house, even if it’s simple. You may be surprised at what they end up enjoying and helping with when given a chance!
Make Sure Your Ears Are Open.
I think one thing children want the most is for adults to listen to them. Like for us, communication is so important. Kids love to babble on about everything. Even our baby babbles, they love you to listen to them. To focus on them. Just listening is an easy way to be present with your children. Learn about their day, what they are thinking, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
It also opens up that area of being able to know what is going on, especially with your teens. It gives you a chance to ask questions, and to just be involved. Listening is such a crucial thing when being a parent.
You’ve probably seen a lot about self-care floating around lately. Have you ever had those days or weeks where your frustration takes over and you just can’t be there for anyone because you don’t even have time to be there for yourself? Yeah, me too! So that is why self-care plays such a huge role in parenting. To be able to be fully present with your children, to take care of them and do fun things with them you need to first take care of yourself.
Have a cup of coffee and turn your show on for an hour. Take a bubble bath. Read a book you’ve heard so many good things about. Buy a new outfit. Take a walk.
Self-care doesn’t have to be hard, and it really helps you focus back on what’s important, yourself and your family and not focus on the negative.
There are so many ways to be present with your kids. I am going to try my hardest to use all these tips and really make the most out of this Summer with my bub!
Giving our full attention to our children when we are home or spending a day with them should be easy, not hard!
Do you use any of these tips to be more present with your children?
If you have any other tips, please share them with us!
After becoming a mom, I love finding any useful hack that I can to make days just a little bit easier.
The days can be long with our kiddo’s but I am forever grateful for the genius mamas out there who have come up with some amazing mom hacks (Motherhood Sprouting)! I swear I spend lots of Pinterest time just scrolling through hacks and trying them out.
I will also tell you, my mind is blown by most of them.
So today I thought I would share with you the best mom hacks I have found and you will most likely be like me and think, HOW HAVE I NOT DONE THESE SOONER!?
Let’s check them out!
Bathe Your Baby In A Laundry Basket.
I know, I know sounds so weird! But I am telling you guys, I have huge anxiety about my wild 11 month old slipping in the tub and hitting his head so I have been trying to find the best way to give baths without an injury and when I saw this hack a lightbulb instantly went off in my mind.
THIS IS GENIOUS! And I can’t wait to try it because not only will it help with my slipping fear but his toys will stay right by him as well so he won’t try to venture out to get them.
Use Tape To Prevent Doors From Locking.
Another one of my fears as my son is getting taller and more curious is locking himself in a room! Right now he is so into climbing on doors and swinging them back and forth so once he starts walking around and can reach door knobs I am so using this hack to hopefully prevent any breaking down doors in the house.
DIY Stain Remover.
I just tried this on old sweet potato and carrot stains on my sons clothes and WOW! I am telling you genius, and so easy! No other stain remover that I tried to use fully got those orangey stains out so I am so happy I found this!
Mix a little and equal parts of hydrogen peroxide, dawn dish soap and baking soda together. Let it sit for a little bit and throw it in the washer! Magic, I am telling you 🙂
Attach Cupcake Holders To Your Popsicle Sticks.
It’s Summer and popsicles are all the rage with the kids. The sticky mess though afterwards? Not so fun, especially when you are out in public so how awesome is this hack? I can’t tell you how many unused cupcake holders I have sitting around so this is on my to-try list when giving my son his first popsicle.
Put Water In A Pacifier And Freeze For Teething Relief.
Oh teething! THE WORST! My son started teething very early, as soon as he turned 4 months. He just turned 11 months and now has 8 teeth! So I can tell you, this is an awesome hack! Something to defiantly try on your teething baby.
Mom hacks can be total life-savers and we need as many as we can get.
Do you use any of these hacks yourself? Be sure to let us know the best hacks you have used that work.
We have lived in our house for 7 years now. What?! Little by little I’ve redone a part of the house.
Over our “quarantine”, we did a mini kitchen renovation!
I have always loved the look of open shelving, but I always wondered where I’d put everything? Don’t worry, a little purge helped, and we have PLENTY of room!
Our kitchen is so small, but it serves its purpose.
First I took off the cabinets. I knew I wanted the cabinets higher to accommodate a shelf under them, so we removed one cabinet, for the open shelves, and made the other one touch the ceiling.
Then I ship lap’d the walls. Calling all Joanna Gaines lovers! She is so inspirational in her simple farmhouse decor, I couldn’t resist!
Then came the shelves…. my husband is a genius. He made sure they were all secure but also supported my vision.
He measured and cut the boards. We used 2×8’s for the shelves. I needed them to be sturdy to hold my heavy plates & cups. I bought brackets from Home Depot to hold up the shelves.
I stained them the natural color because I wanted it to be light and airy in the kitchen. Before it was so dark!
Trying to decide on a light fixture was the hardest part. I had probably spent an hour between Lowe’s and Home Depot looking for the PERFECT light. It had to be bright, but also follow my “theme”.
Over all I’m so happy with the outcome.
I am currently remodeling the rest of the house. We know we eventually want to find a home a little farther out, but that’s pretty distant into the future, so now our little house is becoming our home!
I will keep posting my DIYs as I do them! Thanks for reading! 💕