Category Archives: Parenting

Being a Mom is Hard

Being a Mom is hard. There’s no way around it. I’m not whining, just putting it out there.

For me, being a stay-at-h0me-mom (SAHM) is really, really hard. Working moms certainly have their own challenges, and I remember that being really, really hard at times. But I honestly never thought I’d be a SAHM. I always just assumed I’d work. And I did for almost the first 5 years of my momming career. Sometimes it’s still hard to wrap my mind around my stay-at-home, homeschooling mom life.

I read this article the other day and it really hit home. This paragraph, specifically, really struck a chord:

“The times that I’ve felt most alone and unhappy as a SAHM were the times that I felt as though all I was doing for my family was completely overlooked or taken for granted. It’s not that I don’t have a kind and loving family—it’s just that so much of the work of a SAHM is the kind of thing that only gets noticed if it doesn’t get done.”

I’ll be completely honest. I’m not good at the “housewife” part of being a SAHM. At least once a week, there’s probably a full load of dishes ready for the dishwasher before it gets emptied of the clean dishes. There’s almost always an unfolded basket of laundry (or two or three…) sitting in my room. And my house still hasn’t been fully dusted from our drywalling experience a few weeks ago. When the house is a mess, it feels like I’m failing.

Then there’s the momming part of being a SAHM. (Wo)man. It exhausts me to constantly shape these little people. And let’s be honest, most of the time, it doesn’t feel like lifelong important shaping of their lives. Most of the time it feels like refereeing a fight between two monkeys or trying to reason with a dog barking at a squirrel on a power line in your backyard. (I’m speaking from experience on this one. Georges is ridiculous.) When I run out of patience and lose my cool, it feels like I’m failing.

Oy. Then comes the isolation. So many days go by where all my adult interaction comes during preschool drop off (D’s teacher must think I’m super chatty and outgoing!) and after 5PM when Aaron gets home from work. By then, I’m low on patience, and not always super chatty. It’s awful. When I’m miserable from lack of relationships, but I don’t have the energy for my most important relationships, it feels like I’m failing. 

So what’s the solution? Well, I’m well aware there isn’t a perfect solution. I can work on moving things in the right direction though.

Here’s what I think. I need is a tribe. I happened to read an article on that recently as well.

“We cannot do it alone.  We need a squad.   A tribe.  A village.

We have a deep need for community and relationships.  It’s in our XX DNA.

 What if you don’t have a village?  Well you need one.”

I need a squad, a tribe, a village – I don’t care what you call it. I need friends and fellow moms I can turn to when I need a break, when everything is going wrong and even when everything is going right and we just want friends to celebrate life with. But how do I find my tribe?!?

I’ve been staying home for almost 3 years now and I still struggle with this. I certainly have friends, but it seems like everyone is busy. It’s difficult to make real connections on a regular basis. I’m a huge “what-if” type of person, so I constantly wonder – would things be different if I’d been staying home since day 1? What if we went to a different church? Maybe if we didn’t homeschool I’d have more connections? Do I need to put myself out there more, make myself vulnerable and be more outgoing?

I don’t know what the answer is. But I’m not willing to give up. I’m going to keep trying, and hopefully some day (s00n) I’ll have my squad.

Although I’m sure, even then, being a mom will still be hard.

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Another Day, Another Mess

When my children are at their most creative, and generally getting along the best, they are also at their messiest. Sometimes, it seems as though the contents of an entire room have been rearranged or moved to another room for the sake of their game.


The kitchen of their tiny house, aka – the living room.

The problem is, when I ask them to clean up said mess, you would think I asked them to eat liver and onions while standing on their heads. I’ve learned that there’s a little less resistance if they’re given plenty of warning, but even still, it is a painful experience. C has to examine each individual item very carefully before putting it away. Sometimes, she has to reorganize everything before she can start putting anything away. And D, he just shoves things away. When cleaning out his bookshelf, I found dirty socks, dog toys  and used tissues shoved onto the shelves.

Additionally, D loves to keep everything he ever touches. Or sees. He might need it some day, you know, for an art project. To give the boy credit, he does like to create using boxes, empty bottles, cardboard tubes and tape. Lots of tape. And I love that about him. But, that doesn’t mean he needs to keep the plastic ring from a Cool Whip container or every single toilet paper tube that’s ever been in our house. Good luck trying to convince him of that though. Here’s what I hauled off the top of his bookshelf and the floor in front of it today:


Now, I’m trying to figure out how to keep everything in balance. I’m not a neat freak by any means, but I’d like to have some semblance of order in my house, without having to do all the work myself. This seems reasonable with a 7 and 5 year old – at least more so than a few years ago! And I’d prefer if my son didn’t end up on an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive some day. They’re good about helping with specifics jobs, such as laundry, dishes or even scrubbing toilets. Putting things away and knowing what’s important enough to keep are the things we struggle with. So, my question is, how do you teach your kids to keep a (reasonably) neat house, without nagging or stifling their creativity? 

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Shhh! Don’t tell my kids!

As soon as my kids were done with breakfast today, they were begging to go outside and use their new shovels on the snow we’re getting. 
 We need a little work on technique, but they kept at it for quite a while and were having fun. So, please, don’t tell my kids that shoveling is a chore most people prefer not to do!

After we got back inside, C asked to do school stations. D was totally on board. The kids spent about 10 minutes per station, doing spelling/drawing, creative writing/coloring and Think-it-Through tiles. So, please, don’t tell my kids that it’s winter break and they’re not supposed to be doing schoolwork!

For Christmas, C got some new fuzzy lined boots and D got a new bike helmet from us. They also each got a new book and a sled from us and they each picked out a toy for the other. Today is the 4th day since Christmas and the 4th day that C has worn her boots all day long. D has been out riding his bike in the cold, because he wanted to use his new helmet. They are in love with their fairly ordinary presents. So, please, don’t tell my kids that some kids get lots of fancy, expensive presents! 

Often times, when I’m emptying the dishwasher or folding clothes, one or both kids will ask to help. When Daddy is cooking, more often than not, a kid will ask to help. I’m not sure if they want to help because they truly enjoy the chore, or because they like to be helpers to mom and dad, but they ask to help and are improving each time they do. At 6 and 4, they don’t receive an allowance, so their motivation isn’t monetary 😉 So, please, don’t tell my kids that stereotypes suggest that they whine every time they’re asked to do a chore!

When we visit Daddy at work for lunch, and have a big, delicious buffet full of foods to choose from, the first thing D always goes for is a spinach salad with craisins. His other salad toppings and food choices vary, but that is a constant. At the same amazing buffet, C always has a slice of pizza and then tries something new – rock shrimp with squid ink pasta, a bison burger or miso salmon – just to name a few examples. And she usually likes them. (Now I’m guilty of this one, because I used to be a super picky eater and am still hesitant to try new things sometimes, so this reminder [well, really all of them] is totally for me as well.) So, please, just because my kids are young, don’t assume they won’t want to try new things or eat a variety of healthy foods!

I am certain I’m making my share of mistakes along the way, but I’m trying to raise loving, responsible and tolerant children. That’s the big picture. I think it’s the every day, little things, that will shape them the most. So I need to remember, and I need others in their lives to remember, that my kids are their own people. They are not the kids who have come before them, or the kids who will come after them. 

As a human being, it’s difficult not to make assumptions or judgements about other people. I find myself doing it all the time – both with the people I know and love and complete strangers, for things big and small. But if we had ignored our children’s desire for shovels, or discouraged them from helping, they would certainly become the teenagers, and then adults, who loathe shoveling. As it is, both kids had a blast this morning and D got a lesson in proper shoveling technique from his daddy this afternoon. Maybe in a few years, they’ll be able to take this skill and help our elderly neighbor, or a friend who just had a baby. Some day, they can be the spouse who does all the shoveling when their husband or wife hates the cold. (This is obviously a theoretical situation and not pulled from my real-life experience…) 

My point of all this, is that if people act like it’s the craziest thing in the world that my son likes spinach or are shocked when we’ve done schoolwork outside the hours of “normal school,” it will have an effect on my children. If people act like it’s weird that they like to shovel or empty the dishwasher, they might start to believe that too. However, I don’t think we’ll ever have magic chore fairies, so they need to know how to and not hate doing these things. And I don’t want my kids to change. These very things are what make my children the amazing little people that they are. So, please, love my children for who they are and don’t try to change them!

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Momcomplishment – Eating a Hot Breakfast

In typical mom fashion, I rarely get to eat a hot breakfast, especially on weekdays when Daddy isn’t here as back-up. So this morning as I sat down with my pancake (reheated from the freezer) and saw that C had quickly scarfed down all but one bite, I sighed and said, “I suppose you’ll need me to get back up and get you more food?” It wasn’t my best moment, but I was hungry! So when C responded with, “No, I’m okay.” I was relieved that I could eat my food.

Then 20 seconds later, she told me she was hungry. *sigh* I suggested that she get a banana to split with her brother. That bought me a minute. Really, just one. These kids can eat very quickly (when they want to.) But then something amazing happened.

C got down from the table and walked over to the freezer. As she was opening it she said, “Are pancakes 30 seconds?” I was confused at first. “What’s happening here? What is she talking about?” Then I realized – microwave time. So I told her yes, then grabbed another bite while I watched her reseal the ziploc bag and close the freezer. I took a drink of my tea as she moved the step stool over to the microwave. She opened the microwave, put her plate in and closed it back up while I had another bite of pancake. Thirty seconds later, with some more of my breakfast gone, she opened the microwave and came back to the table with her second pancake in hand.

I got to sit for several minutes in a row and eat my still hot breakfast! I just knew it was going to be a good day 🙂

To be fair, right after C sat down, I had to get up and help D make himself another pancake ‘all by himself.’ But the promise of kids who can do for themselves is there. This might just be the first in a long line of hot, fresh meals for this Mama!

**In other news, by the looks of this picture, C had learned the art of the duck face.**

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As a totally unbiased observer, I have to say, Chloe Mae is one smart cookie!!  🙂  Not only is she smart, but she absorbs and remembers everything  we say or do – for better or worse – and is always asking questions, counting, “writing” people’s names, etc…  I want to take advantage of her sponge-like brain and desire to learn by working on her letters, number recognition, shapes and anything else that her 2 1/2 year old brain is interested in learning about. 

I have no desire to send her to preschool at this point.  We’re happy with where she’s at during the day right now.  At this age, I don’t think she needs a classroom setting to learn.    With a little work, I’m fairly confident I can do a perfectly acceptable job of teaching her the basics.  With that in mind, I harnessed the power of Google and came across the Brightly Beaming Resources.  Their preparatory curriculum is 26 weeks long and features a weekly theme and letter of the week, along with a  color, number or shape.  There are suggested activities and books to read to fit the theme. 

The lesson plans are all laid out on the website for free, (which is totally in my price range) so I think I’m going to try to get the first few weeks put together and give it a try.  For all of the seasoned mama’s out there, what did you do for preschool??  Any suggestions for me??

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Christmas Crafts & Goodies

With 2 weeks until Christmas, we’ve been busy preparing around here.  DaddyMort’s a big fan of Christmas music, Christmas decorations, Christmas movies…pretty much anything Christmas and he’s definitely ready to pass that on to his kids.  This is the first year that Chloe has been really interactive and interested to what we’re doing.  Here’s a sampling of what we’ve been up to.

After decorating the tree upstairs, Chloe Mae and DaddyMort put this tree up in her playroom.  She thought it was pretty darn fun and even got a stool out so she could hang more ornaments on the tree.

Then she got to play with her Little People Nativity Set.  It’s a hand-me-down toy that someone gave us after Christmas last year and it’s a BIG hit!!  Although we need to work on the specifics of the story a bit, because she put baby Jesus on top of the manger, where the angel is supposed to be…

On Friday, we decided to take advantage of my last day at home and try our hand at making these ornaments.  Chloe loved every step of the process – mixing the dough, rolling it out and cutting out shapes.

By far though, her favorite was decorating them.

Aren’t they gorgeous??

After perfecting her skills making ornaments, she was ready to make sugar cookies to decorate during our Cookie Exchange.  This was the first year we were going to have little ones helping us decorate, so I pulled out all the fixin’s – 7 colors of frosting, 4 kinds of sprinkles, M&M’s, mini chocolate chips, peppermint chips and 8 different shapes of cookies.

Most importantly, to Chloe at least, was the classic ‘Christmas Purple’ frosting.

She and her friends were decorating machines.  Only a few knives and spoons were licked and about half the M&M’s actually made it on cookies and not into little mouths.

This is a sampling of Chloe’s cookies.  We’ll be available for catering soon 🙂

With 2 weeks left until Christmas, we still have presents to buy and wrap, more cookies to make and the Christmas Program at church, where Chloe will be performing Joy to the World and Away in a Manger.  Oh, and a few more Christmas movies if DaddyMort has anything to say about it!!

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4 weeks

We’re 4 weeks in and I’m needing to remind myself that this too shall pass.  Turns out, we weren’t blessed with an easy second child after surviving a very difficult first child.  I’m exhausted, impatient and frustrated.  As a result, I feel like I’m not being a good mother to Chloe or Devon, a good wife to Aaron, a good friend, sister, daughter, etc…

I don’t know why Devon is often so unhappy.  We’re trying medication for acid reflux and probiotics to help with digestion.  I’ve tried cutting out the dairy from my diet.  We’ve used gas drops and inevitably we bounce – at least we learned (and mastered) that trick with his sister.  Since we haven’t had a lot of success, we have an appointment with his pediatrician later this week so we can hopefully come up with a solution.

DaddyMort wrote about hitting his stride.  I haven’t gotten there yet.  I know it’ll happen eventually.  I just have to remind myself of that when I’m on the verge of tears (or in tears) because Devon just won’t stop crying; because I lost my patience with Chloe; because when Aaron gets home I haven’t even thought about dinner, even though I’ve been home all day.  I’ll get there though – Chloe’s proof that we can survive.

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