Jo and I are wrapping up each month with a look into everyday, real life with us. Jump over the the YouTube channel to check out her busy February.
Winter drags on in the Bluegrass and this mom of two is working through it one day at a time–some days being more successful than others.
Being creative has been a key to survival this winter. Not only does the weather stifle our abilities to get outside and play, but living where we do means that getting out and going isn’t exactly appealing either.
It’s such a drive to get anywhere.
The snow takes way too long to melt off.
We have to bundle up.
Germs are still abundant…
So we’ve spent a lot of weeks, day after day with the same toys, same books, same foods, same us. I’ve dug deep to find ways to mix it up and some days I feel like Super Mom while others I feel like the most boring/irresponsible/non-fun mom possible.
But that’s every parent, right? Some days we kill it while other days kill us. Let’s review my month of wins and fails…
Arts & Crafts
Winning: Dot’s a little artist: watercolor paints, crayons, Play-Doh, construction paper, glue sticks, Valentine cards, birthday cards. It’s all easy to clean up and I have the convenience to set Dot on a stool at the counter if I don’t want to worry about Jacob making a mess.
Losing: While I love arts and crafts, I supply these activities to NOT have to be involved–and I know I should take time to play along. I should encourage this creativity and development, but instead I use the time to clean up the kitchen/work/breathe.
Winning: The laziness of not wanting to suit them up for snow play resulted in a win. I brought snow inside on their play table and added some food coloring. GREAT fun and easy clean up. Another big winner: blanket tents. Entertainment brought on by merely throwing a blanket over any piece of furniture? Yes, please.
Failing: I see super simple ideas like the snow one online ALL. THE. TIME. But do I do them? Usually no…
Winning: We bake, baby! And we love it! Probably because most everything we bake is a tasty treat. It used to just be Dorothy, but Jacob loves it now too. We’ve made cakes, muffins, cupcakes, cookies. It’s always a hit.
Failing: I still can’t let go of trying to control it from becoming a complete mess. I don’t know if it’s more the mess itself or me hating to waste ingredients that don’t make it in the bowl. I really need to just let it go and let them participate more. (Although, let’s be honest… Licking the batter is really what they are in it for…)
Winning: Dorothy is a puzzling pro and loves to match. She knows a lot of her shapes and we’re improving with our letters. She’s known colors for quite awhile. Jake is embracing all sorts of new things from signing “more” to stacking and loading toys to making animal noises. Two little sponges!
Failing: I throw the towel in pretty easily. My children do not sit still. Dorothy has her own agenda. Jake wants to eat everything. I’ve tried to focus on one particular letter with Dot… She just wants to color and use stickers. Whatever. I try to read books with Jake, knowing I have not done as well with him as I did with Dorothy; he just grabs the book, closes it, makes some noises at it and then tries to climb the shelf….
Winning: We still don’t keep standard sweets in our house–only ones we make. We don’t eat fast food, we buy a decent amount of organic or home-grown stuff–and I try to make our snacks fairly healthy ones. (Dorothy LOVES frozen blueberries right now and Jake loves avocados and bananas.)
Failing: Dorothy asks for all sorts of food throughout the day that she partially/barely eats and is on to requesting more snacks. I’m TERRIBLE at allowing this and allowing food to go to waste. Meanwhile, Jacob has moved on to thinking he should eat the same food as me and freaks out when he can’t have what he sees someone else with–even if it’s a bowl of oatmeal JUST like the one RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. UGH. Oh and I don’t make smoothies nearly enough. (I feel a future One Simple Change challenge coming from this…)
Winning: Dorothy’s “Thank you” makes my heart swell. I simply tell her I like her painting and she says, “Thank you, Mama.” She tells me I look beautiful. She also listens so well. “Okay, Mama,” is such a common phrase. Jacob has finally warmed up to others and offers everyone hugs. He plays alone so well, but also loves to play with his sis. They offer each other hugs and I about die.
Failing: We’ve fallen into some solid TV watching… When you’re stuck inside all day, how can a mom resist it for a moment of peace (particularly when your kids are terrible nappers)?
Winning: We are explorers. The weather hasn’t been in our favor, but when it gives us any chance, we get outside for some fun and both kids LOVE. IT. Their grumpies go right away when they hit that fresh air.
Failing: Getting the two of them out the door is so much work, that I talk myself out of trips that don’t have much of an agenda… We only went on one play date all month and once to the library… I like to hope this fail will get fixed with nicer weather…
The bottom line is that no matter how much you do FOR your child or WITH your child, you are always going to think of what MORE you could have done or could be doing. This ranges from the creative activities you give your child, the amount you read to them and how healthy you feed them… to how much you play with them, how strict you are with rules and how many cool experiences you give them.
I guarantee you you can always find someone who appears to be doing more or better than you at one or multiple of those things.
Will it mean your child won’t be smart enough?
Not feel loved enough?
Will too much tv and screen time ruin their creativity?
Are you setting them up to be a spoiled brat?
I doubt I’m the first to tell you that you’re not ruining your child or his/her childhood. But we all need the reminder from time-to-time. We feel charged with such major responsibility with our children—to do everything BEST for them and it’s easy to see people doing it “better”. But the reality is, even when you look at how you prioritize for yourself, you will always find people who do things differently. It’s part of what makes us different.
Stop looking at social media and judging yourself off what you see others doing. Instead be encouraged by their ideas and encourage them in their successes and support them when they feel like they are failing.
And last but not least: don’t feel like you are failing as a parent when you take some YOU time. If that means putting on a TV show so you can drink your morning coffee, do your makeup or curl your hair, that’s OKAY. You are a MOM now, but it’s OK to find moments that are a piece of just YOU.
I challenge you to share you wins and fails with your network of friends a family in the month of March. Sharing our wins is easy. But share some of the failures too. More than likely, you’ll have friends who will appreciate those things more than the wins… It will be a reminder to them that they are not alone in their “failures” and that maybe they are being too hard on themselves. The reality is, none of it is “failing”. We’re just being parents in the best way we know how and the good news? Your children love you SO much for all of it.