The “Little Things” are the Biggest Things

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

I have this little quote on one of my wall decorations in my house. I bought it because I thought it was meaningful and “deep”, if you will. If you think about, it really is true. The things that we often classify as little and “meaningless” have the most meaning…especially when you have kids.

This rang true for me this week when I chaperoned my daughter’s field trip. It was just a simple trip to a farm to see some animals, pick a few apples, and get a pumpkin. We’ve done these things plenty of times during her six years of life. But,  it was different this time.

Rewind a few weeks ago when the permission slip came home. Actually, a few minutes before that when I picked up my daughter the day the permission slips came home.

“Mommy, mommy, we’re going on our first field trip and you have to come!”

“Okay, okay, “I remember answering. “Take it down a notch and we’ll check it out when we get home.”

“But Mommy, we’re going to pick apples and pumpkins!” she said as we drove home.

As soon as we got in the house, she ripped open her book bag to hand me the paper.

The first word that stood out to me was Tuesday.

Tuesday.

See, I picked up a little freelancing gig and Tuesday is one of the two days that I actually work outside the house. It’s only for a few hours a week. But, half of those hours happen to fall on a Tuesday. They couldn’t have picked a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. Nope, they had to pick Tuesday.

Anyway, it really was a no brainer. As much as I felt silly saying I couldn’t work that day, I knew I had to try to go. That was one of the many reasons why I decided to be a stay-at-home mom…to do things like this. I know there’s going to come a day when choices like these are going to be made for me and I won’t have the luxury of deciding whether I want to go.

“So, Mommy, can you go?”

“Yes honey, I’ll make it work. As long as the teacher says I can go, I’ll be there.”

Hugs and kisses followed. I felt great for making her happy.

Fast forward to this week.

All morning my daughter was buzzing with excitement over the “big” field trip. I dropped her off and told her I would see her soon. When I walked into her classroom and gave her a little wave, she was already grinning from ear to ear. My little mommy heart did somersaults. She introduced me to some of her little friends. I know there are days ahead when the thought of me meeting her friends will “embarrass” her, so I’ll take these little moments all I can now.

So, we went on the trip and had a nice time with her classmates. The two-and-a-half hours were over before I knew it. The bus dropped us off. I kissed her goodbye. She went back to school. I went home to her little sister.

Field Trip Fun!

 

Fast forward to pick-up time.

My daughter was happy to see me (score for Mommy again). She started telling her sister all about this huge pig we saw…and how it pooped…of course. She told her about the apples and the pumpkins and everything else. The pooping pig was the only thing that got any response…of course.

The rest of the afternoon was status quo…homework, snacks, playing, dinner, etc. Then as we were sitting down for our nightly dose of Caillou, my daughter held on to my arm really tight and said, “Mommy, thank-you so much for coming on my field trip today.” It made my mommy heart all mushy to hear a thank-you for such a “small” thing. Just to know how much those tiny two-and-a-half hours meant to her meant even more to me. So, the next time you think you’re doing something “small” for your kids remember to , “Enjoy the little things. For one day you may look back and realize they were big things.”

 

My Kid The Food Critic

“Mom, this service is horrible.”

“Mom, this mac & cheese is nasty.”

“Mom, how can a restaurant run out of ketchup?”

My 5-year-old is a food critic. She pays attention to every detail of each dining experience and has a comment about everything.

While some people may think this is obnoxious, my husband and I find it hilarious. The really funny thing is that most of the time she’s right!

Case and point. We walk into a rather new restaurant and get seated. We get handed our menus. We decide what we want. We wait. And wait. And wait. No one has come over to even acknowledge us.

“Mommy, they haven’t even come to ask about our drinks.”

She’s right. We’ve been sitting for nearly ten minutes and no one has come over. It really does border on poor service and my kid knows it.

“Mommy, the service here isn’t too great.”

Thankfully she doesn’t say it too loudly because just as she gives her first critique, the waitress finally comes over to take our drink order. Of course my daughter is all smiles. Little does this waitress know she’s being watched by one of the harshest food critics on the east coast.

“Mommy, she’s not too friendly.”

OMG! This kid doesn’t quit. But, once again, she’s kinda right. The waitress kinda seemed like she was either tired or didn’t want to be there. My kid picked up on it right away.

I just nod my head in agreement.

When the waitress comes back to take our food order, both my daughters ordered for themselves. The waitress just looked at them as if they were speaking another language. My daughter gives me that “what’s wrong with her?” look. I pretend not to notice. Instead I translate for the waitress so we get the right food. God forbid the wrong stuff comes out!

So now we wait for our food. And wait. And wait.

“Mommy this is taking forever. I’m hungry.”

Then little sis chimes in too. My mini-food critic in training. I try to tell them to be patient, but I’m hungry too and it has been a long time.

Sigh.

Thankfully once the food finally arrives, it’s actually pretty good. Both my kids eat without complaints. While this may not make up for the slow service, it certainly is a brownie point.

Now onto the ice cream that comes with their meals. They order chocolate. Another waitress brings out vanilla. They stare as if they were just handed a bowl of boogers.

We tell this new waitress we ordered chocolate. She tells us they don’t have chocolate. That’s all fine and dandy, but why didn’t our waitress tell us? That’s a strike.

Ugh.

My kids eat their vanilla ice cream. It is ice cream after all.

When we’re all done, I ask my little food critic what she thought.

“It was okay. Food wasn’t bad, but they need to work on the service part.”

Lol, from the mouths of babes!

 

 

 

 

Can We Stop Complaining About Our Kids Being Home All Summer?

The kids are home for the summer. The summer is long and hot.

We all know this.

Kids can be a handful at times with all their neediness.

We all know this.

Since all of this is not rocket science, can we stop complaining about our kids being home for the summer?

I’ve been reading so many Facebook posts, tweets, and blogs about parents whining about how they can’t wait for school to start again.

Parents complaining about their kids being home for the summer.

Parents complaining about kids being bored.

Parents complaining about having to entertain their kids.

Parents complaining about having to wake up their kids for camp.

Parents complaining how the kids being home cuts into their time.

Quite frankly, parents complaining about being parents. Sorry school is not open year-round to keep your kids busy. Sorry if I hurt your feelings, but I think it’s the truth Ruth.

I can count on one hand the number of things I’ve read about parents actually being happy to spend extra time with their kids or parents who are actually happy about taking family vacations.

Are there any parents happy about taking advantage of five-dollar Tuesdays to catch a movie because the kids don’t have to be in bed early?

Are there any parents who are happy about spending a late Sunday evening at the beach?

Anyone? If you’re out there, let your voices be heard!

Did you ever think that if you stop complaining you may actually find some joy in having your kids around for the summer? I am a true believer that kids feed off our energy. If all we’re doing is spewing out negativity with our complaining then it should come as no surprise that our kids are going to be whiney little minions too.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been days this summer when I’ve yelled at octaves higher than an opera singer. I’ve punished and threatened to take things away. There’s been tears. There’s been timeouts. It’s not all ice cream sundaes and smiles around here. But, we manage to enjoy the summer and each other.

There’s been days when trying to figure out how I am going to get all my stuff done becomes more exhausting than actually getting it done. But, it all gets done somehow, even when the kids are lurking 24/7.

Honestly, I enjoy having my kids home for the summer. It means not rushing to get ready for school. It means no drop offs, pick-ups, or half-day nonsense. It means no homework. It means no rushing to get dinner, bath, and bedtime done at a reasonable hour. It means no soccer practices or soccer Saturdays. It means no Friday night Girl Scouts where I’m trying not to draw blood as I help my daughter make crafts. It means no PTA meetings or volunteering.

It means relaxing and having fun!!

Here’s a wild and crazy thought…why not save your whiney pants for when the kids are in school? If you feel the need to complain, it seems like there’s more to work with during the school year. Just sayin’.  Better yet, why not throw away your whiney pants for good? Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

 

 

How Much Time Do You Spend Playing With Your Kids?

“Mommy, can you play with me?”

I hear these words either more times than I can count in one day or not any at all.

It’s weird.

Some days my kids, or more so my younger daughter, want to play with me 24/7, other days, they don’t even know my name.

It’s weird.

They like playing together, but sometimes they want me too.

There are days when I feel like I’ve spent all my time playing. That means I’m ignoring the clothes that need to be put away, the toilets that need to be scrubbed or the dishes that are whispering my name from the sink. I’m surprised those dishes aren’t screaming at me by now since it feels like I’ve been ignoring them for so long.

There are days when I can spend hours playing “Go Fish”, “Crazy 8’s”, Barbies, or even school. It still amazes me that my daughter wants to play school after being in school nearly all day, but she does.

We play.

They’re happy.

I’m happy too but sometimes I’m secretly twitching on the inside, thinking of all the things I probably should be doing rather then pretending I’m in a student in my daughter’s Kindergarten class.

I know there will be days when my kids will probably not want anything to do with me. So, I should cherish these days when they actually want to spend time with me. Right?

Then why do I feel like there are days where I’ve done nothing at all? Having only a few “Go Fish” wins under my belt and one beautifully dressed Barbie seems like anything but a productive day. At times, it feels like I’ve even wasted my day. There is still a list of chores that need to be done, articles that need to be written, e-mails that need to be answered, etc.

When these feelings start creeping up, I try a little game with my girls. I play something of their choice for awhile, praying it’s not school! After a half hour or so, they have to let Mommy do what she needs to do. This little pattern continues until I feel somewhat accomplished for the day. It’s all about finding balance, right?

I stay home with my girls so that I can spend extra time with them and help them as much as I can, but I don’t want to lose myself in the process. While it may sound a little selfish to some, I think those of you who are in the same boat know what I’m talking about.

So, how much time do you spend playing with your kids? How do you find a balance?

 

 

 

 

 

Great Reads for SAHMs

I was recently cruising my news feed and I found several great reads for SAHMs. Sometimes you just need to hear someone else’s perspective! I’ve listed them all here if you want to check them out. Trust me, they’re worth the time! My favorite one is the one from Babble. How about you?

 

From the Huffington Post:

To The Employer Reviewing My Stay-at-Home Mom Résumé

From Modern Mom:

Are We Teaching our Daughters to Settle for Good Mom Jobs?

(This one really got me thinking. I don’t think anyone is “settling”. This is definitely a good read.)

From Babble:

Why Staying at Home is a Luxury for Your Spouse.

Sleep Routines Work…Who Knew?

Although I am a highly organized person, okay maybe a little OCD, I was anything but when it came to my kids’ bedtimes. I would kinda try to read them and see when they seemed like they needed to go to sleep or when I needed them to. I honestly never had a regular nightly bedtime. When I tried it a few times, it was an epic fail that ended in tears and frustration for everyone involved.

When your days’ activities consist of coloring and puzzles, I felt like there really wasn’t a need to have my kids on a strict schedule. On days when there weren’t any time sensitive activities, I would let them get up when they wanted. We would do our errands, and then the rest of the day was left for playing, reading, and whatever else.

Well, fast forward a couple of years to a regular school schedule and this momma has a bedtime routine that actually works…for the most part (we still have our nighttime wanderers). No more tears, no more frustration. Some nights my kids actually ask me to go to bed without any prodding. It truly is one of the best things to have ever happened in my house.

I honestly am surprised that my kids are asleep by 8:30 (the latest) each night. I know for some out there, that is still late, but in my house it is an amazing feat.

So, this is what we do….

7:00 Bath or shower

7:30 Shortened versions of two shows (Thank you God for on demand! Both kids pick one show and I fast forward through half so they both get to watch “their” shows). Some nights we never make it to the second show because they are so tired. Sweet!

8:00 In bed with two books…once again, one for each child. We snuggle and read.

8:15 Prayers and lights out

I usually linger until I know both kids are asleep. Then my little one gets brought into bed and mommy is free at last! It’s a win-win for everyone…my kids are more rested and I am more relaxed because I’m not fighting World War 3 to put them to bed.

Now, I heart sleep routines more than coffee! I know it’s a big “duh” for many of you who have had a sleep routine since your little one left the womb. But, for someone who is new to the gig, it is so refreshing! I feel that at 8:30, I still have a couple of hours until I have to call it a night. Even on weekends when I am a little more relaxed with the bedtime thing, I find my kids are so tired they follow the routine on their own, give or take a half-hour. I can’t believe it took me five years to finally get it right. Better late than never, right?

What kind of bedtime routine do you have? What time do your kids go to bed?

 

“Mommy, The Sleep Fairy Came!”

Once upon a time in a land far, far away lived a little girl who just couldn’t sleep in her own bed the entire night alone. No matter how hard she tried there was always something that got in her way. Sometimes it was the “monsters” that were hiding in the closet. Sometimes she “forgot” what her mommy looked like, so she had to come see her in the middle of the night. Other times, she just wanted a cuddle.

So, in the middle of the night, she would toss and turn and then make a mad dash down the hallway to her parents’ room. Sometimes her mother didn’t even feel her climb over and nudge herself right in the middle of the bed. Other times, she made herself known with an elbow to the nose or a cuddly head butt. Other times she would take over the bed so much that her mother would clench to the edge as if she were going to fall off Mount Everest.

Tired of always being interrupted, her mommy created “The Sleep Fairy”. This clever little creature, who also happens to be the Tooth Fairy’s cousin, appears in the middle of the night (or when mommy wakes up). She leaves little surprises under the pillows of children who sleep in their own beds the entire night alone.

One night, the impossible happened. The little girl, who could never sleep in her bed alone did. The next morning she was so excited, she ran into her parents’ room, gleaming with pride. “Mommy, I slept in my own bed.” Surprised at what actually happened, mommy was speechless. She didn’t say much as she just rolled over and smiled. But then, a little light went off. She slept so well she didn’t have a chance to let the sleep fairy do her magic. It was months since the Sleep Fairy’s name was even mentioned in the house because her services were never ever needed. Never.

Wanting to keep her word, mommy distracted both her little girls so the Sleep Fairy could go to work. An hour or so later, mommy sent the girls into their rooms to take their pillow cases off so she could change the sheets.

“Mommy, there’s a dollar under my pillow!” Seconds later mommy hears, “me too.”

“Mommy, the sleep fairy came!” Seconds later, “me too.”

Thus, the Sleep Fairy final got a day’s (or night’s work).

The Sleep Fairy has yet to visit again. She is back counting teeth with her cousin (yuck!). Mommy hopes she visits again really soon.

As with any good story, there is a moral. Here we learn parents will go to extremes to get a good night’s sleep. Sometimes that means bribing…I mean, offering incentives. Sometimes it means creating fictional characters. Whatever it takes my friends, whatever it takes. I will keep you posted on the Sleep Fairy’s activities. Until then, sweet dreams.

Just curious…what do you or have you done to get your kids to sleep better?

‘Twas the Night Before Pre-K

‘Twas the night before Pre-K and all through the house, all my babies were sleeping believe it or not.

The lunch bag has been packed by the door for weeks. It’s filled with all the food your tummy will seek.

For your first day, Elsa and Anna will be on your shirt. We all know you love “Frozen” more than Ernie and Bert.

There are so many things I want you to know before you get up and go.

First of all, be sure to share the toys with all the other girls and boys.

If they don’t let you play with a doll or truck, please don’t say the other word that rhymes with luck!

Your finger is not to be put up your nose, you know the tissue is where your booger goes.

Remember to be kind and keep the feelings of others in mind, if you do this a friend or two I’m sure you will find.

You’ll learn so many things like how to color in the lines, as well as letters and numbers. I know you’ll be just fine.

When it’s time for me to say goodbye, I’m hoping a tear won’t fall from either one of our eyes.

Oh my little one, your time is almost here, there is a lot of fun to be had and nothing for you to fear.

Big sis goes to Kindergarten, this we all know, but tomorrow is your day little sis, to pre-k you’ll go.

 

Kids Are Expensive!

Kids are not cheap. We all know that. Now we have more proof. The Agriculture Department has now broken it down for us to the tune of $245,340. That includes everything from food, shelter, clothing and healthcare. Their estimates only cover from birth to age 18, so that doesn’t count if they stick around after that! Geez, that’s a lot of cups of coffee!

Dealing with Mean Girls

We’ve all been there. Either you’ve been the target of a mean girl or you’ve been a mean girl yourself. It’s okay to admit it if you were a mean girl. I can honestly tell you I wasn’t one, but I certainly was one of their favorite targets. It doesn’t help when you have a mullet and purple-framed glasses…just saying.

As the mother of two girls, I knew dealing with mean girls was going to be part of the gig. I just didn’t realize it was going to happen so soon. My daughters are only five and almost three.

We were at a birthday party recently where a seven-year-old who was invited decided to play a game called “monster babies”. Apparently you choose which kids are the “monster babies” and you run away from them and don’t play with them. Great frickin game.  As you can probably guess, my girls along with a couple of others were the “monster babies”. That meant they were locked out of a couple of rooms while the non-monster babies yelled at them and played together.

I quickly realized what was happening and resisted the urge to deck the little ring leader. Instead I sat back to watch how my girls reacted. At first they played along, but only for a minute or so. Soon, my older daughter realized the real deal and called for her sister to come over so the two of them could play together…alone.

I was very proud that they didn’t run over to me and whine that no one was playing with them…not even the little girl who invited them to the party. She was too busy playing “monster babies”. My girls just did their own thing and had their own fun.

This dumb game went on for much of the party. As I was walking to the bathroom I saw them leave another little girl out. Tired of biting my tongue all afternoon, I told the little mastermind the other kids were not “monster babies”. I told her that was mean and that was a mean game she was playing. She just looked at me as she continued to play.

I know she didn’t care what I told her, but I felt better saying something. It’s funny because the rest of the parents thought it was a cute and funny game. No one said anything. Yeah, not so much for me.

I always tell my girls to include everyone, especially when there are some kids who may not know each other. I’ve had plenty of parties at my house with all kinds of kids. I can’t think of one time when some were purposely left out in the name of “fun”. Some people may think I overreacted because “kids will be kids”. I can tell you, you will never catch a game of “monster babies” in my house.