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Uncategorized

I’ve Been MIA & Here’s Why…

It has been about month, geez maybe two?! Since I have written anything on my blog. All of a sudden I just stopped coming on here & went MIA.

I have been trying to make some extra money for our family, so I do Shipt when I can get a moment away from the girls. I was doing an order the day before my daughters birthday when I was in a car accident on a delivery.

Thankfully I only suffered a very bad headache and a beat up car that took forever to get fixed from the dearler. & oh yeah a heafty deductible fee.

But I was safe, the other driver was safe and I went back home to my family.

But that was the start. I could tell I was getting into a funk after that. Something I do when I become overwhelmed and burdened with anxiety.

You see, right now my husband and I are in very busy seasons of our life. He is working, going to school, and doing his rotation for his program. (Cath lab tech.)

I am over here trying to keep my sanity with my two little ones, Melina & Delilah, while racking my brain with how to be able to contribute financially without committing to a full time work schedule.

For a while I just wasn’t myself. I was reserved from my husband, easily frustrated with my toddler and just unhappy. A wave of the blues had washed over me and I couldn’t shake them.

But I have rounded that corner and feel so much more like myself again. We are still in this crazy season but we put a pause on the vlogging right now and decided intentional family is more important without complications.

My writing is starting to sound appealing again as I know it keeps me level headed.

So I don’t know know where we are going from here yet. But I do know, that for as many times as I have taken breaks from this blog. I always come back. And that says something to me. (I have an issue with starting things and just moving onto the next thing without completing or mastering them.)

I really hope this blog is the one thing I can learn to master and stick with. For now, I guess we will see.

Right now I am gathering some ideas for upcoming posts. Motherhood? Baby updates? Toddler food ideas? Respectful parenting tips?

Please leave some suggestions in the comments below!

Categories
Raising You

Toddler Gift Guide

The time has come to start shopping for Christmas! I am so excited because my daughter just turned three and she now understands Christmas and Santa and all of the fun festivities that we can do this time of year!

However, if you know me, you know that I do not like a cluttered house or more things than what we actually need and use.

We are so fortunate to have such a giving family, as I am sure most of you have as well. Deciding what to get family members or friend’s children can be a difficult task. There are endless amounts of toy options out there.

This year I am putting together a gift guide for toddler of products that I feel are valuable to my family and yours! Whether or not you have a boy or girl, the majority of these toys below are gender-neutral.

Now when I think of a good toy/product for my children, a few things come to mind:

  1. My child finds joy from it…more than once.

  2. It can be manipulated in multiple ways…as they develop.

  3. Passive toy…leads to active playing.

  4. Aesthetically pleasing…wooden toys create a calm and inviting environment for both me and my child.

As an Amazon Associate, I do earn a commission on purchased items. However, I am only recommending these items because I feel they are genuinely great children’s products that enhance their childhood and encourage learning.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Fold & Go Barn, Animal & People Play Set

  • Easy to travel with handle once folded
  • Wooden sturdy toys
  • Promotes imagination play

Hape Eggspression Wooden Learning Toy with Book

  • Encourages communication about emotions
  • Helps develop emotional maturity

Magnetic Building Blocks

  • Easy for toddler’s hands to control
  • Not going to lie…I like building with these!
  • Encourages creative play
  • Endless ways to use these blocks

House Cleaning Set 

  • Imagination Play
  • Encourages helping around the house, teaching responsibility
  • Invites children to be involved with our daily routines

Kidkraft Trainset

  • Open-ended play encourages creativity
  • Convenient storage with the bin included

Melissa & Doug Wooden Jumbo Stacking Train

  • Large train – more than 2 ft long!
  • Nice and simple design
  • Creative play with endless ways to incorporate wooden blocks

Cartoon Superhero Capes & Masks for Boys

Cartoon Superhero Capes & Masks for Girls

  • What kid doesn’t like to play dress-up?!
  • Perfect for children who have siblings to play with!

Melissa & Doug Wooden Snacks & Sweets Food Cart

  • Seriously, how cute is this little food stand!! Debating or not to have this be my daughter’s “big gift” this year.
  • It comes with pretend food too!
  • Encourages group creative play
  • A child can continue to play with this toy as their imagination grows
  • Suitable for a large age range (3 – 7 years old)

Melissa & Doug Scoop & Stack Magnetic Ice Cream Cones

  • My daughter got this set for her 2nd birthday and still loves playing with it!
  • The magnetic connection makes it easy for young toddlers to be able to stack the ice cream
  • Fun set to add to pretend play

Kinetic Sand Folding Sand Box 

  • Great for sensory play
  • Comes with a sandbox for easy cleanup
  • Encourages creative play
  • We just got some kinetic sand and I love it. Very therapeutic to play with!

Duplo Legos

  • Develops hand-eye coordination
  • Encourages creative play
  • Various different sets depending on the child’s interests

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Puzzles

I love puzzles for children! I believe it helps them develop logic skills at an early age. Puzzles are something that can most definitely grow with your child.

We have started simple puzzles as young as a year and a half and now watch my daughter do those same ones by herself. They start off as a group activity and then can transform into independent play once they are ready.

Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks 

Melissa & Doug Dinosaur Jigsaw Puzzles

Melissa & Doug Underwater Floor Puzzle

Melissa & Doug Wooden Latches Board

Games

Games are such a fun way to build connection and play with the family! My 3-year-old daughter has been in a game craze lately!

Games are great for teaching young children how to take turns, build patience, and enhance logic skills!

Some days are better than others with her attention span during games, but we let her lead. If we start playing and she decides shes had enough we accept that and move on to something else. Week by week we have seen her attention span grow.

I have linked all of the games through Amazon, but make sure to check and see if Target has any deals. Sometimes they do buy 2 and get 1 free on Games, Books & Movies.

Candy Land

Alphabet Bingo

Connect 4

Trouble Olaf’s Ice Adventure

Sequence for Kids

I hope this toddler gift guide helped you find the perfect gift for that special little person in your life. Playtime time for children is such a magical time for them! What a rewarding feeling it is to see a child enjoy an item that has been given by you.

Let me know in the comments below some of your favorite gift ideas for toddlers!

Categories
Maintaining Me

Confessions Of A Working Parent

My husband and I decided to write out how we felt about our own roles within our family and create a vlog about it. He is the main provider and I have been at home with the babies these past years.

Let me tell you, the first time he shared his feelings about his role in our family I couldn’t help but get emotional.

I felt like a jerk for not realizing all of the stress and pressure he has been under. And selfish for being so wrapped up with my struggles at home with the girls.

Whether you are a part-time working parent, full time or even a parent in school. It is hard to find a balance in it all. While I do not feel that it is possible to have everything truly balanced, I do believe in prioritizing your attention to what is most important at that time.

For my husband, his top priority with his time has been school and work to better our family financially. Here’s how he feels about his current role in our family as the main provider.

Hi everyone,

My name is Tom. A husband to an amazing wife, and a father to two beautiful daughters.

I love my family so much and will always do whatever I can for them. That is why I make sure I go to work all that I can for them.

As being the provider I take great pride that my long workdays are going to make my family finically stable. It gives me great value in what I do, and helps give me that “I’m needed feeling.” 

Also, going to work gives me the opportunity to meet different kinds of people and learn about different backgrounds. With working at a hospital, it is usually nice having healthcare types of discussion with my coworkers.

With going to work, school, and having a few days, I am also able to switch up what I’m doing which is nice not to be bored.

So overall everything is pretty positive for being the main provider for my family.

That is very easy to say until you weigh the negatives.

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How can one stay so happy when they want to be home with their family but need to be away at work almost every day?

I spend about 50-56 hours at school and work every week. Think about that for a second. That is easily more time then I get to be home each week.

I am one of the lucky ones where I enjoy my job. Other people live their lives like this and hate their work.

Don’t get me wrong I love it when I get home from work and I get to hear a little two-year-old scream “Daddy’s home!” But I would much rather her wake up and ask me “What do you want to do today?”

I would much rather be giving my wife a good morning kiss, then a goodbye kiss.

When I am gone at school or work all day, I try to make sure to cherish and enjoy the last few hours in the day I have with my family. Some nights though this is a lot easier said than done.

Working Parent

There are some weeks where the constant waking up early makes me very exhausted, This makes me feel that somedays my body never truly wakes up.

I get home from work and will get a burst of energy from seeing three girls with the most beautiful smiles, and one crazy dog that is jumping with joy. That’s all it is though, a small burst.

As soon as things slow down it is like my body is shutting down, preparing for the next day.

I start to feel like that hamster on a wheel, doing the same thing but not feeling like I’m getting too far.

I would like to tell myself that this doesn’t happen but some nights I just feel out of my own head. I’m sure my wife notices or can feel it.

It’s not that I’m not there physically, I am just not as engaged.

Sometimes it is as if that feeling of being needed as the provided, turns into pressure. The pressure to take no days off, the pressure to get the best grades I can. All of a sudden everything that was giving me the value is turning into stress.

Stress usually leads to me not acting that way I should, which at times can cause me and my wife to fight. This is where everything can go bad since my one safe place when I feel stressed is to be with my family. And if I can’t feel unstressed there than, that can really affect my mood.

That is how fast things can change.

I am sure I speak for most providers when I say I wish I could be home with my family every day. The funny thing is most stat at home parents probably wish they could work a few days a week.

I guess that is why they say you want what you can’t have. The constant looking for greener grass. 

I’m sure at this point you are wondering what helps me get through this and that I owe to my wife.

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When I’m gone at work, thank you, Chelsea, for taking care of our children and raising them up right.

Thank you for all the dinners you make, laundry you do, and cleaning of the house so that when I am home I can enjoy our family time we have.

Thank you for allowing me to be the crazy dad I am to our daughters.

Thank you for all of your hard work to keep this family going.

I cannot imagine how it feels chasing around a toddler all day, stopping her from climbing all while tending to a newborn, while being able to keep the house in order.

I will never be able to thank you enough for all that. But I do want you to know I truly appreciate that when times get tough, I know I can always count on us to figure it out together.

Yes, I do not prefer to be at work as much as I am. But I will always feel better knowing you are the amazing mom you are to our daughters.

-Tom

To read my confessions of a stay at home mom click here

 

Categories
Maintaining Me

Confessions Of A Stay At Home Mom

My husband and I decided to write out how we felt about our own roles within our family. He is the main provider and I have been at home with the babies these past years.

It is important to take the time to check in with your partner to see how they are feeling. No matter what role you have, you encounter different stressors that may be hard to handle sometimes. Being there to listen and support one another is so important to keep your relationship strong and maintain a healthy relationship.

I am hoping that some mothers can relate and realize it is okay not to enjoy every moment of motherhood but still being in love with our role in our family.

Below are my honest feelings about being the stay at home mom. We also did a vlog about our different viewpoints here.

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Hi everyone,

My name is Chelsea, and I am a stay at home mom to two little girls, Melina and Delilah.

This November marks three years of being a stay at home mom to my daughter Melina.

Three years of watching her fall asleep.

Three years of being the first face she sees when she awakens. 

Three years if learning her toddler language and translating to everyone else.

Three years of learning I have no idea what I am doing but giving it my all.

Three years of accepting my new role as the homemaker, and not the provider. 

I spend my days answering to mom/mommy 3,000 times a day! The days seem to drag on but the years are fleeting.

When I envisioned being a stay at home mom, I thought of all the amazing moments making memories of providing my children with the best childhood possible.

I thought of doing crafts, being silly together playing, and going on fun playdates. Basically the Pinterest mom. 

Let me tell you, I have learned that those crafts are only fun for five minutes, being silly together sometimes ends in a tantrum, and those playdates are sometimes more stressful than fun.

I know that this is just a phase like all the other ones we have experienced.

I never imagined motherhood to be such a rollercoaster. I never envisioned loving someone so much and yet becoming so overwhelmed with them.

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When Melina was a baby I would look at her and be filled with so much love and joy that tears would fill my eyes.

I couldn’t imagine how challenging the next two years would be transitioning into toddlerhood. And I don’t even want to think about the teenage years.

This motherhood business does not come with a manual. ANd to be honest, sometimes I feel like I do not know what I am doing.

Most days, from the moment I wake up, I am met with demands from a wannabe independent toddler, growing baby, and playful pets.

My role in our family is based on servitude. It is my responsibility to make sure all basic needs for survival are met and more.

Delilah needs to be nursed every 3 hours and soothed continuously. 

Melina needs constant attention with what she finds interesting and wants to explore. 

Tending to the house with the never-ending meal prep, cleanup, laundry, and routine cleaning. 

At times these demands can feel too heavy.

I become overwhelmed and frustrated. Frustrated for feeling like I shouldn’t be struggling with my role.

After all, I am the one who gets to stay home all day. But it is hard work to constantly put someone else’s needs in front of yours.

It is difficult when you have an active toddler that wants to be a monkey in the house and climb everything, while you are trying to nurse your hungry baby. At the same time as you are realizing that you are starving and have to pee.

Mothers are constantly putting their needs second, third, or even dead last.

At times, I know I can take my frustration out on Tom when I am feeling overwhelmed.

He will come home and ask how my day is. Some days, I can share all of the fun memories we have made from playing, adventuring, and just being together.

Other days, it all seems like a blur. He can’t tell that I have picked up the floor three times and finally gave up. Or that the screaming tantrum that she is having, is the tenth one today.

It feels as if we have been busy all day but didn’t accomplish anything that was on the list of needing to get done.

On the good days, I can’t fathom the idea of having to leave my children daily and dread the idea of school. It is amazing to be able to watch your children discover how to do something for the first time. Whether it is how to roll over or how to ride a bike. These moments are truly magical.

My heart aches in happiness when I catch a moment of pure joy in their face or hear that giggle.

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I am grateful for all that Tom does to provide for us.

On the challenging days, I envy his freedom. His freedom to drive in the care to work by himself. Worrying only about him. And of course, listening to whatever music he wants, however loud. Boy, do I miss my car jam sessions. 

I envy his social world. Even though it may only be his classmates or coworkers, they are adults. Engaging in real conversation having similar interests as him.

They are not demanding more food or their butts be wiped…At least I sure hope not!

I have learned that after these hard days, I need a time out. A time out from the constant demands, to-dos and just to have at least one hour to myself.

Whether that is a bath, a coffee date, Target run, or simply a drive. I need that time to refresh to come back to serve my family to the best of my ability.

While I sometimes loathe Tom’s freedom, I am forever grateful for his efforts.

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For the past three years, Tom has worked alongside going to school. He does his very best to show up and be present with us in the time that we have together, making us a priority,

I can’t imagine how exhausted he must feel waking up before all of us, and sometimes the last to sleep.

I know I do not tell him enough how thankful I am for all that he does for our family.

It can be so easy to get caught up in my own day to day stuff that I forget all that he has on his plate. 

Thank you for getting up early every day to provide for us and even on your days off so that I can sleep in.

Thank you for your willingness to better yourself with schooling so that our family can become more financially secure.

Most of all, thank you for giving me this time with my children. Thank you for not pressuring me to do any different than what my heart wants.

There will come a time when the house stays clean, the social life comes back, and the job offers are accepted, but the days of raising my babies will come and go.

And thanks to your hard efforts I am able to be present for the most important work in my lifetime. 

Being a stay at home mom s hard. No doubt about it. You are tested in ways you never imagined.

But there is also nothing more rewarding than being there for your children and providing them with your service of love.

Don’t ever doubt the importance of your role!

-Chelsea

Check out Tom’s viewpoint as a working parent here: Confessions Of A Working Parent

 

 

 

 

Categories
Raising You

Toddler Interview – FREE Printable

Do you ever stop to listen to what silly things your toddler says sometimes? What a fun way to record your toddler’s personality by doing a toddler interview!

Our daughter, Melina, is almost three and let me tell you, she has a lot to say!

Toddler Interview

My husband and I thought it would be fun to sit Melina down for a toddler interview and ask her some questions. We knew some questions she would understand and others we were going to get some pretty funny answers. Toddlers certainly have a mind of their own. You can ask them the same question five times and get a different answer.

I have made a FREE Printable with the questions that we used along with some space for the unique questions that you would like to add specifically for your child. Those questions are my favorite!

 

We weren’t sure how this was going to go because well she’s a toddler and let’s just say she doesn’t have the largest attention span. But we figured if we gave her a snack to munch on she would be much more willing to cooperate. And we were right!

For our toddler interview, we decided we wanted to record it as well for our family vlog that we have on Youtube known as Raising Us Vlogs.

If you are in the mood for some cute toddler talk and some funny answers watch Melina’s interview below!

By the way, I do not make her stay in bed until 10am! My rule is that we can’t get up until the sun is up. 

 

I can’t wait to do this for years to come to see how much she transforms throughout the years. It will be a fun memory to look back on with her once she is older.

I want to cherish the sweet personality that she has right now! She will be grown before I know it.

Related Content:

Pumpkin Decorating For Toddlers

Dealing With Challenging Behavior Using Positive Discipline

Our First Month as a Family of 4

 

Categories
Raising You

Pumpkin Decorating For Toddlers

Decorating pumpkins is so much fun, especially for kids! We decorated 4 pumpkins with easy ideas that our toddler, Melina was able to participate in. These ideas are free from carving with easy ways for the child to participate in.

Our daughter Melina is almost three and had a blast decorating the pumpkins with these ideas.

Watch our vlog about it here or continue reading below.

 

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Melted Crayon Pumpkin

Supplies You’ll Need

Pumpkin of any size and color – we selected a small white one

1 Box of Crayons

Hot Glue Gun

Hair Dryer

Cardboard Box

Instructions

After you and your little one picked out your pumpkin, you will need to peel your selected crayons. We placed a piece of crayon in each divet around the pumpkin. Count your divets and that is how many crayons you will need.

Next, you break your crayons into smaller pieces. I suggest letting the kiddos do this as it is a simple way for them to be involved. Melina loved doing it!

Glue your crayons into the divets all around your pumpkin. We chose to glue the crayons on the top and the side of the pumpkin for maximum color.

If you do not want to do that, leave your crayons whole and just glue them on the top.

Place your pumpkin in the box and start to melt the crayons with the hairdryer. This takes some time so try to be patient.

You will start to see the crayons run down the pumpkin once the wax starts to melt. This is a cool way to teach your children the effects of heat on certain materials like wax.

After the wax is melted, let the pumpkin cool before placing it on another surface so you do not get wax on anything else.

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Potato Head Pumpkin

Supplies You’ll Need

1 Pumpkin

Potato Head Pieces Or Pumpkin Insert Decorations

Screwdriver

Instructions

Does your child like potato heads? If so this pumpkin idea is perfect for them!

We purchased these pumpkin insert decorations at the Dollar Tree that are to insert into a foam pumpkin like a potato head.

However, we decided to poke wholes into a tiny pumpkin and place these faces into them to create our pumpkin head. The Dollar Tree had a Frankenstein themed insert or an angry face. We purchased both so Meina could mix and match them.

You could also you Mr. Potato Head pieces that you already have at home.

Then all you have to do is poke the holes into the pumpkin for your child.

After that, let your child create the silliest or scariest pumpkin that comes to mind!

Remember the key is to involve them as much as possible with these designs.

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Mummy Pumpkin

Supplies You’ll Need

Pumpkin

White Duct Tape

Google Eyes or Permanent Marker

Instructions

After selecting the pumpkin, cut your duct tape into different length sizes. There is no right or wrong here on the size.

Tip: Tom thought that he was able to wrap the pumpkin with the duct tape instead of cutting. But he quickly found out that it was not working and creating too many big lumps on the pumpkin.

When the pieces are cut, you can let your toddler start placing the tape around the pumpkin.

You will want to help them make an opening for the eyes and the mouth. Other than that, they have freedom of where to place the tape.

I have found that the fewer limitations a project has, the more my daughter enjoys it.

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Customizable Pumpkin

Supplies You’ll Need

Pumpkin

Any or all of the following:

Stickers

Glitter

Sequins

Tempora Paint

Permanent Markers

Instructions

The last pumpkin that we had Melina decorate was completely up to her and her art supplies. So there are not really and real instructions on how to do this one.

You know what your child enjoys doing best so I would base your decorating off their preferences.

We purchased some Halloween stickers from the Dollar Tree for her to place on her pumpkin. She enjoys using stickers.

We originally thought she could color on the pumpkin but did not realize that the washable markers would rub right off. Permanent markers are an option if your children are older or you are comfortable with them handling them.

Melina recently found my stash of glitter for our crafts and has been itching to use it. We figured why not make a glittery pumpkin!

It was a bit messy but she really enjoyed being able to have the freedom to use it and get her hands messy. After all, that ‘s what this was all about!

Tip: Use a larger sized glitter or sequins. The glitter that we had on hand was very fine which made it harder to see on the pumpkin and use overall.

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We hope this gave you some inspiration to decorate pumpkins with your toddlers! Carving a pumpkin can be a lot of fun but also frustrating for the little ones that want to be more involved.

Comment below with your favorite Halloween activities to do with your toddlers!

 

Categories
Maintaining Me

15 Affirmations For Moms

Affirmations are such a powerful tool to transform our mindset. It is a tool that I wish I implemented more into my own life because I believe in the potential power they have.

The words we speak and the thoughts we think are crucial for the type of life we are going to live.

It is so easy to get stuck in that negativity trap. One thing goes wrong and the next thing you know, you are just having a bad day with everything else going wrong.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

You can stop the negativity cycle.

You have the power to transform your day and energy.

Focus on the thoughts that are going on inside your head and the words coming out of your mouth.

Are they helping you create the life you want or are you just complaining?

I know I get stuck in this negative mindset sometimes.

I was scrolling on Instagram the other day. Frustrated and overwhelmed with the lack of control I felt over my time because of how my demanding my toddler and newborn were being that day.

I know sounds silly right, of course they are demanding! It is the phase of life they are in. But this particular day I was having a hard time keeping up. And I was getting frustrated with myself.

Related Content:

Perfectionism In My Motherhood

How To Make Time For Yourself

15 Quotes That Will Inspire You

10 Tasks That Improve Your Mental Health

Anyway, I read a post about another mom complaining of all her to-dos and responsibilities that she too had for her family. She was saying how she was complaining to her husband about it all. His response to her is what got my attention.

She wrote that his response was to stop thinking that you HAVE to do anything. Start thinking that you GET to do all of those activities that you are complaining about.

I let that sink in for a few moments.

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Instead of: I have to entertain my toddler all day.

I transformed that thought into I get to be with my child all day. 

Instead of: I have to clean the house again.

I transformed that thought into I get to create a warm loving home for my family.

Instead of: I have to cook dinner tonight.

I transformed that thought into I get to prepare nutritious food to fuel our bodies. 

 

See how powerful words can be? They make a difference.

The key to affirmations is to use them often, daily preferably. You are working on retraining your brain to think the way you want it too.

In the past, I have even written down my affirmations and posted them around my house. Sometimes this is easier than reciting them.

Or I make pretty wallpapers for my phone so I see it every time I use my phone. Use the graphic I made below and save it to your photos!

Here are my current 15 affirmations that I use to transform my thoughts about my motherhood.

  1. I am an amazing mom, even as I work hard to become a better one.
  2. I am capable of amazing things.
  3. My dreams and desires matter too.
  4. Motherhood has revealed my strengths.
  5. To my children, I am the perfect mom.
  6. Taking care of myself is not selfish, it is necessary for me to be a great mom.
  7. I am leaving a legacy of love.
  8. I find joy in the everyday moments of my life.
  9. I will let go of how I think today is supposed to go and accept how it imperfectly happens.
  10. It is okay to ask for help.
  11. My home is a safe place.
  12. I will laugh with my children today.
  13. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my children.
  14. I will be present and in the moment when talking to my children.
  15. I am more than just a mom.

Check out: 30 Affirmations Every Child Needs to Hear

If you feel like you need a change of mindset, give affirmations a try. Find a routine that works for your lifestyle and let the repetition do the magic.

A few months from starting, you will have more positivity and confidence within yourself.

15 Affirmations for Moms

Comment below with your favorite affirmations! I am always looking for new ones!

Categories
Maintaining Me

Perfectionism In My Motherhood

Perfectionism by definition is the refusal to reject any standard short of perfection.

When I sit back and think about it, perfectionism is the main trigger for my anxiety. It is the main reason why I say I have had a “hard day” with my kids. Or why I get frustrated with my husband.

The need for perfectionism has stolen so much joy from my heart.

You see I have set all of these unrealistic expectations in my head that I feel pressured to carry out.

When I fall short of these expectations, feelings of guilt and doubt of worthiness creep in. Some days even anger.

The saddest part about this whole situation is I am the only one that is placing these expectations upon myself. It is all from my own inner dialogue inside my head.

I am definitely one to envision what the future looks like, or I should say, how I expect it to play out. But when the actual time comes and the reality alters from what I have planned out, I freak out.

The let down from not meeting my expectation becomes heartbreaking, ultimately Mothering with Anxietystealing my joy. It is a frustrating habit that I have had most of my life.

After some time of working with my therapist with dealing with my anxiety, I have come to see how so many of my emotional problems are my expectations. If only I could get rid of them completely. 

Read more about my journey with anxiety here.

When I became pregnant I envisioned what motherhood may be like, the type of mother I would be, and also how my kids would behave. I know I am not alone in daydreaming about these situations and hoping they play out just the way I hope them to be.

Well, obviously life does not always work out as we have planned. In fact it rarely ever does.

Here are some hard truths that I have realized:

Motherhood is a lot harder at times than I thought it would be. Because I am not in control of my time and my daughter’s behavior, 

Sometimes I am not the mom I wish to be, I can be impatient, angry, and short with my daughter. These are the feelings I experience when I am disappointed or feeling out of control.

My daughter is not perfect and has her mama’s temper. My daughter is her own person who observes how I handle difficult situations. 

During my three years of motherhood, I have gained plentiful knowledge about myself that I wish I would have observed sooner.

Perfectionism and the need to control situations are not traits that I am proud of. But they are traits that I have learned and been living with for some time now.

Luckily I have been able to identify how these traits truly impact my life and how they make it difficult for me to enjoy life in the present moment. Perfectionism makes it hard to accept life as is. Without trying to force the outcome that I wanted in the first place.

 

I think all moms can agree that being a mom is hard, brutally hard in fact.

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You do your best at making sure all of your family’s needs are met, the house is in order, financial responsibilities are met, and then after all that, THEN you think about your needs.

After having some difficult days adjusting to being a mom of two young children, I started observing why I was having these feelings.

Most of the time it came back to the desire to control and perfectionism – things not going how I felt they should have. 

My oldest daughter, Melina, is almost three. Let me tell you, she is full of personality and opinions! She knows what she likes and what she does not. Melina has her ideas of what is considered fun and what is not.

She has feelings from situations that occur that differ from the feelings that I have from the same situations.

Melina is her own person.

She is not a puppet or a barbie doll under my complete control. She is human, experiencing her own desires, interests, emotions, and actions.

Related Content:

Dealing With Challenging Behavior Using Positive Discipline

Basics of Positive Discipline

How To Make Time For Yourself

Can I be honest with you?

I forget that sometimes.

I forget that it is not my job to control her.

I forget how awful and annoying that would feel to her. 

When I sit back and think about our difficult days I see that they are difficult for both of us. We had different emotions, intentions, and both were disappointed with the others.

It saddens me to observe how many parents act as if they should be their child’s dictator. It’s even harder for me to realize that I too fall into this pattern.

The desire to control our children steals our joy from parenthood. It makes our children feel as if our love is conditional. “If you don’t listen to me I won’t treat you respectfully.” We are not directly saying these words to our children but we are communicating it through our facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language.

That is not a message we want to send to our children.

Lately, I have been trying to take a step back to remind myself that the only person I am in control of is myself.

I must work on me in order to transform my mindset. Setting unrealistic expectations is a sure way to have bad days filled with disappointment. If you to catch yourself doing this, call it out. Realize that it is okay not to have everything the way you want it.

Goodbye Perfection!

In order to let go of perfectionism, you must get over the idea of comparing yourself to someone else.

I never realized all of the social pressure in motherhood. But let me tell you it is heavy!

Here is where I am letting go of the perfectionism in my motherhood right now…

It is okay if the house gets messy. 

Better yet it is okay if people see my house messy…this has been a real trigger for me. Ask my husband! I used to rush around cleaning before someone came but now I try to resist that urge.

My daughter is in the stage of dumping her toys out and then in five minutes moving on to the next task. So if I compete with her of cleaning up after her every time that happens, I am most definitely going to lose that battle and become irritated.

Instead, I have agreed to two pick up times, before naptime and bedtime.

Letting go of being so strict on the food Melina consumes.

My husband and I have tried our best to make sure that our daughter is consuming healthy foods. It is very frustrating trying to guide her to select healthy choices in a world of some many temptations.

Sometimes I think we have stressed ourselves out more than it is worth, especially when we are out. Now I am okay if we splurge here or there as long as I know she is eating nutritious foods majority of the time.

I am not in control of what she eats when she is in someone else’s care and that is okay.

Restricting TV time.

Gosh, this one is hard for me. I have extreme mom guilt on the days that we have a lazy movie day. Even though most days we are out and about or playing intentionally at home.

I seem to get hung up on those few days where the TV is on a bit longer than normal. Since having Delilah, we have had more screen time to occupy Melina during Delilah’s feeds. Setting realistic expectations and realizing this is only a phase helps me eliminate the mom guilt.

Being the Mom I Wish To Be

I have read several parenting books informing myself of different parenting styles. Somedays I feel like I got this whole motherhood gig down and then other days I feel that I am failing miserably.

I get discouraged that I can’t respond to my daughter’s needs the way I would like to. I still lose my temper, I still seek control, and I still react emotionally.

But I am learning. I am proud of far I have come and the habits that I have changed in order to become a better mom.

At the end of the day, I am human, just like my children. My children are fed, provided a safe home, and loved unconditionally. That is what truly matters.

We are going to have bad days. Our tired days. Our days where it feels like nothing is going right. It is okay if somedays I am just there to cuddle and love on them on the couch instead of being the “Pinterest mom”. 

Life is messy. And I am learning that it is okay.

Remember everything is about balance.

I will continue to learn to let go of perfectionism in motherhood and choose joy instead.

I will choose to see the good in the chaos. 

What are some areas you struggle with perfectionism? Comment below!

 

 

 

Categories
Raising You

Dealing With Challenging Behavior Using Positive Discipline

Tantrums and angry children are downright exhausting and frustrating. Let me help you learn how to handle children’s challenging behavior using positive discipline.

We first have to go back to the basics of positive parenting and remember: It is not our job as the parents to control the child.

If you are unfamiliar with positive discipline, start here: Basics of Positive Discipline

Attempts to control children, especially when they are angry, creates more problems and power struggles.

It is best to allow the child to feel whatever emotion they are feeling, even in public.

A lot of the time we hold children to very high standards when dealing with difficult situations or emotions.

But the reality is that young children are not able to express anger or frustration the way that we adults are able to. They simply do not have the skill or maturity yet.

This is why many adults view angry children as misbehaving children. When in fact, they are just struggling with handling these difficult emotions.

And to be honest, a lot of adults still have a difficult time properly expressing these emotions in a healthy way.

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What We Can Do When Children Are Angry

The best thing we can do for our children is to remain calm through the situation. I know this can be very difficult to do sometimes. Remember it is not about perfection, but progress when starting this new way of disciplining our children.

It has been studied that children rely on mirror neurons to perceive physical action, facial expressions, and emotions and then the brain duplicates what it sees.

So when you are feeling angry, anxious, or excited your child’s mirror neurons will catch those same emotions and create a similar feeling in your child. Or vice versa.

Mirror neurons are the reason why it is so important that you understand what you do is so much more powerful than what you say. 

 

If you need to remove yourself from the situation before you lose it, simply communicate to your child that you need a moment alone. You can say “Mommy is going to cool off in her bedroom for a few minutes. I am feeling very angry right now.” Then as long as your child is in a safe environment to be briefly left alone, continue on into your room.

Taking that pause to regain control over yourself will empower you to handle trying situations with patience and love instead of anger and punishment.

After all, the only person that we can control is ourselves.

When we are angry, our prefrontal cortex disconnects leaving us unable to think clearly and logically. This is kind of a big deal because the prefrontal cortex is responsible for emotional regulation, impulse control, and good judgment. Pretty important stuff!

Always offer a hug and allow the emotions to be processed. This teaches your child that they will survive challenging situations and are still worthy of your love.

Related content:

Become The Mom You Were Meant To Be Not The ANGRY Mom You Have Been

Basics of Positive Discipline

30 Affirmations Every Child Needs to Hear

Intentional Parenting: Why & How To Start Your Journey

Validate Feelings

Children display their sense of feelings through many different ways, talking, crying, tantrums, screaming, whining, and even nonverbal cues.

Resist the urge to try and stop their expressions. Even when they are unpleasant. Observe and listen to what they are trying to communicate, then validate their feelings.

Just because you validate the feelings does not mean you have to agree with them. You are allowing your child to feel these emotions and process them appropriately.

I grew up always being told not to be sad hearing the famous line “why are you crying” or “there’s no need to cry”. Even to this day, I have a hard time expressing my emotions correctly.

Often times a lot of parents will downplay an injury to limit the crying after the fact. But why? Why is it so wrong for them to express their pain? Reassure the child that you understand the pain. Try saying “Gee that looks like it really hurts, would you like some ice?”. Instead of “You’re okay, brush it off. You are a tough girl/boy.”

Other examples:

“You seem like your sad about being ignored by the other children.” Instead of “Why don’t you find someone else to play with.”

“You look like you are having a lot of fun playing with Kate. You are feeling disappointed that we have to stop playing.” Instead of “It is time for us to go home to take our nap.”

Behavior Is Communication

According to Michigan Alliance For Families, all behavior, positive or negative, is a form of communication with others.

Typically we see a misbehaving child and think “Wow that mom need’s to get a grip on that situation.” But we should really be thinking “Wow that child is having a difficult time, I wonder what she needs right now.”

By changing the way we think about misbehavior, we change our reaction to it.

When a child has challenging behavior she is communicating that there is an unmet need. It could be that she is hungry, sad, scared, hurt, tired, or even angry and she isn’t able to put those feelings into words. Some children even act out because they feel a lack of control or need to fulfill a sensory sensation.

Before you react to challenging behavior, try your best to figure what the cause is.

Emotional Literacy

Developing a child’s emotional literacy encourages healthy mental and physical health throughout their lives. It is an important skill to be able to express one’s feelings from the time we are young children to grown adults.

Now in the early stages of development, this means teaching basic emotions such as happy, sad, mad, excited, afraid, upset, worried, etc. The best way to do this is to show them pictures of containing these emotions and asking them what they see.

At first, it may be difficult for children to read these emotions correctly. You can assist them by encouraging them to look at the facial expressions and body language presented in the pictures.

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If we can help our children master this skill, they will be much more successful communicating with others leading to healthier relationships throughout their lives.

Let Go Of Control

If you find your child frequently not listening to you. Ask yourself are you setting realistic boundaries?

Are these boundaries important to protect their safety or health? Or are you just setting these boundaries because you expect your child to listen to what you have to say?

Maybe it is time to reevaluate why your children need to listen to your commands 100% of the time.

I remember when I was younger I would question some of the boundaries that were placed upon me. More times than not the response would be “Because I am the parent and you are the child.” The result would be a power struggle. I didn’t understand the reasoning behind the limitation and my mother wanted my obedience just because.

The need for control has crept into my own parenting journey and I despise it. When I catch myself falling into this trap, I do my best to question the limits I am placing. If they are unnecessary and based on convenience, I let them go. positive discipline

Our children are their own person which means they have their own interests, desires, and motivations. Even in their youngest days.

Majority of the battles causing your child to get angry in the first place probably links back to control.

Take a step back and ask yourself if you are guiding your childing or dictating their actions?

Consistency Is Key

We all know that one family that acts like they have strict rules one day and then the next its whatever is convenient at the time.

Children need consistency and routine in order to feel confident and secure in their environment.

Take a moment to figure out what are your must-have rules. Most families create rules around safety, health, and time.

The simpler your rules are, the more likely that you will be able to consistently enforce them.

Remember, it should not be our goal to set unnecessary boundaries on our children. Our rules should help guide our children in the right direction in life.

There is nothing easy or convenient about being consistent.

It takes up more time, more energy, and forces you to be a mindful parent.

But the tradeoff is worth it.

When we give in to a certain undesired behavior we are actually reinforcing it to continue. We end up being the enablers.

When we demonstrate consistency, the child knows what is expected and understands the natural consequences.

Create A Cool-Off Area

Punitive time outs are a very popular parenting technique. Positive discipline uses a positive time out referred to as a cool-down area. Establishing a safe and positive area that your child can revert to when dealing with difficult emotions helps provide a sense of security.

This method is most effective for children over 3 years old. If they are younger, you can start by teaching about the cool-off area by going with them.

The key is that this area should remain positive for your child. Make it cozy with items your child enjoys.

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Refrain from sending them away to this spot and forcing them to stay for long periods of time. You can offer it with another option so they do not feel forced.

When my husband and I started implementing this technique, it took us a while for us to stop insisting our child go to her cool down area. After catching ourselves many times we have trained ourselves to simply invite her to take a break and cool-off.

If she decides she does not want to do that than I offer a hug and just sit with her until the emotions have passed. During this time I sportscast the situation and validate her feelings.

Like I mentioned above, sometimes I need to cool-off myself for a few minutes when we are having a difficult time understanding each other.

Things To Avoid When Using Cool-Off Area “Timeouts”

  • Demanding the child sits still for long periods without moving
  • Forcing the child to go away
  • Making a child put their nose in a corner
  • Humiliating child in front of others
  • Nagging and reprimanding after the situation is over

Learning how to handle challenging behavior respectfully with our children can make parenting a lot less stressful and more enjoyable. After a while, you will start to see your child respond to your changes.

I hope you consider these tips the next time you are faced with challenging behavior. I know Mama it is not easy to handle.

By no means am I saying this will be an easy transition. For years we have watched how our parents and other adults handle these situations and learned from there.

But implementing these techniques along with the ideology behind positive discipline can transform your parenting journey as well as your relationship with your children. 

Categories
Raising You

Basics of Positive Discipline

Discipling children are one of the toughest yet most important tasks a parent does.

Are you tired of the constant power struggles with your child that leaves you both frustrated and overwhelmed? Positive discipline techniques have the power to bring the peace back in your home and relationships with your children.

When you decide to have children and become pregnant it is recommended that you read pregnancy books to best prepare yourself for your experience ahead. After that, the majority of parents decide to just let parenting come naturally to them, reverting back to styles that their parents used for discipline.

I think it is safe to say the default disciplinary action is typically punishment.

Positive discipline is based on the belief that we should teach our children right from wrong where punishment is based on the role of parents controlling their children.

Trying to control a child creates more problems and power struggles.

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This is an area that has been very difficult for me to change my belief system. I grew up where I constantly heard the saying “children are meant to be seen not heard” and was disciplined with the typical punishments.

In my own parenting journey, punishment has been my default style when handling misbehavior.

Early on I realized that I was uncomfortable with this type of parenting style. It did not feel right to slap my daughter’s hand when she acted out or yell at her when she is not acting right.

In fact, it felt pretty hypocritical.

How can I sit there and tell my daughter that she needs to be nice to others but not model that behavior towards her?

How can I ask her not to raise her voice when I do not control mine?

You can’t.

It will not work without damaging the relationship between you and your child.

Something I was not willing to let happen.

That’s when I started researching how to handle children’s difficult behaviors in a respectful way. I found positive discipline and have continued to educate my husband and myself on how to implement it into our lives.

I hope to help other families transition into this method of discipline.

Let me tell you, it is not something that you can just start doing perfectly. We catch ourselves many times reverting to our default style. It most commonly happens when we are tired or overwhelmed.

We give our daughter a sincere apology explaining that our behavior was not right and try to handle future situations more respectfully.

We are not perfect and by demonstrating that to our children we teach them that mistakes are okay.

I have found it is helpful to read different texts on the various parenting techniques. I really enjoy Jane Nelson’s work Positive Discipline For Preschoolers.

 

The main difference is between punishment and positive discipline:

Punishment usually takes the approach that children must experience some type of negative emotion to learn that they did something wrong.

Types of punishments used most often:

  • yelling or lecturing
  • spanking or slapping of hands
  • take away toys or privileges
  • punitive time out

Positive disciplines main belief is that children do better when they feel better, using kind and firm methods to teach children life’s lessons.

Alfred Adler based positive discipline on the principle that human behavior is motived by a desire of belonging, significance, connection, and worth.

Belonging comes from a sense of connection and unconditional love.

Significance is a sense of feeling capable, being responsible, and making a contribution. 

All children have many wants but just a few basic needs. It is important to make sure you are not giving in to everything that your child wants but fulfilling their basic needs.

4 Basic Needs of Children

  1. Sense of belonging and significance
  2. Personal power and autonomy
  3. Social & life skills
  4. Kind and firm discipline that teaches

As you can see, positive discipline aligns with children’s basic needs. Punishment tactics encourage doubt, shame, guilt, and rebellion.

What is Positive Discipline?

First, we must understand the building blocks of positive discipline a bit deeper.

  • Mutual respect (treat your child with respect in order to receive it)
  • Understanding belief behind behaviors (ALL BEHAVIOR HAS A PURPOSE)
  • Effective communication (invite the child to think/participate in decisions instead of demanding)
  • Understanding a child’s world (educate yourself on developmental stages)
  • Teach rather than punish
  • Encouragement (celebrates improvements and efforts)
  • Connection before correction (hug and validate the child’s feelings)

Many parents believe that their job is to control their child and make sure they are behaving in an appropriate manner.

Especially in public.

There are two things wrong with this belief:

  1. Our job as parents is not to control our children. It is to offer guidance in the right direction.
  2. Appropriate behavior according to adults is much different than what children can realistically provide depending on their developmental stage.

Do not expect a two-year-old to sit still for long periods of time. It is an unrealistic expectation setting you and child up for frustration which leads to misbehavior.

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Implementing Positive Discipline

Implementing positive discipline into your parenting style is going to take some effort and time. You will have to be patient with yourself, your spouse, and most definitely your child.

First, eliminate your previous beliefs that children need to obey. Realize they are exploring the world around them and understand their developmental capabilities.

Yes, there are dangers and yes it is our job to guide them away from those dangers. Just remember to be kind and firm.

You can start by:

Getting your child involved with decisions

  1. Create Routines Together
  2. Offer limited choices
  3. Provide opportunities for them to help

Children are more likely to participate if they are involved in the process of setting boundaries. Demands invite resistance.

It is helpful to create routine charts using images for the morning, naptime, and bedtime. Routines set clear boundaries and inform the child what is expected of them.

Both adults and children feel more confident and secure in their environment when routines are set.

Teach respect by being respectful

  1. Model the behaviors and traits you wish to see in your child

Children learn respect and other traits by experiencing them.

Keep in mind that it is not respectful to expect a child to stop what they are doing right then and there. Especially in activities that they are thoroughly engaged in.

Show respect by providing the child with a five-minute or two-minute warning. 

Common desired traits parents wish upon their children:

  • Self-discipline
  • Decision making skills
  • Self-motivation
  • Cooperation/Collab Skills
  • Creativity
  • Values
  • Endurance
  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • Honesty
  • Self-reliance
  • Self-confidence
  • Resilience
  • Adaptability

Think about your actions that your children see.

Do they align with what you wish upon them?

If not, you have some homework for yourself.

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Use a sense of humor

Following rules and directions become a light easier and enjoyable when laughter is involved. Some tasks are difficult to get children involved because they do not see the fun in it.

Try spicing it up and getting your little ones to laugh. No one said you had to be a serious parent all the time!

Read my post about transforming into a fun mom here.

Remember that discipline says “I’ll teach you how to do it right” where punishment says “I’ll make you regret doing it wrong.”

Disciplining your child does not have to be a negative experience for you or your child.

It may be challenging but you can still make sure to add lots of hugs and cuddles too. I have read that daily rations of hugs encourages children’s emotional health.

Children need to feel a true sense of connection and belonging in the world, especially from their parents. 

Handling Misbehaviour with Discipline

As I mentioned early it will be an adjustment phase of replacing punishment with discipline techniques.

Provide Opportunities

When a child misbehaves or makes mistakes, try replacing punishment with an opportunity for the child to help.

Example: Child spills a drink on the carpet. Try to resist yelling and lecturing and offer them to help you clean it up. After the mess is cleaned up you can remind them respectfully to hold a drink with two hands etc.

Positive Time Out – Cool Down Area

If the child is acting out by yelling and screaming or using violent actions, a non-punitive time out might be effective.

Time-outs are commonly used as a punishment technique but you can transform it into a “cool down”. To do this, you and the child must agree where this spot will be, making sure it is a positive environment.

It is not meant for the child to be sent to this spot or to go against their will. That will make it a punishment.

I found the best way to incorporate this is to demonstrate it yourself. There have been many times where I have lost my patience or temper when dealing with Melina’s difficult behavior.

I simply state to my daughter, “mommy is going to cool down for a few minutes, I am feeling very frustrated.” I will then head to my bedroom and regain my calm.

After demonstrating this a few times, I started asking Melina if she would like to cool down when she was overwhelmed with her emotions.

Adding in hugs after you and your child cool down helps build the connection between you.

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

How many times have you made threats to your child in hopes they would change their behavior?

Most times the child still continues the behavior fearlessly of what you just said.

There is probably no action taken because you really didn’t want to have to follow through with that threat.

Children are very smart, most likely that situation happens often and they have learned that mom and dad are not going to follow through with what they say.

My husband is famous for this. 

Now it is time to break the routine!

Only say what you are actually willing to do.

Example: Let’s say you and your child are at the park. Your child refuses to hold your hand while in the parking lot while walking.

Instead of saying, “You need to hold my hand or else we are going home”.

You can say, “You can either hold my hand or I can carry you.”

Providing children choices allows them to feel that they are somewhat in control of what is going on and invites cooperation.

Act, Don’t Talk

Majority of parents spend a lot of their time lecturing and yelling at their children. Resulting in even more frustration because they most likely continue to not listen to you.

This is very ineffective, especially in the earlier ages. Instead of wasting your breath, start to take immediate action. The fewer words, the better.

Example: Your child has decided that she is going to stand on the kitchen chair. Simply remove your child from the chair saying “butt down please”.

Remember the key is to positive discipline is to be kind and firm. 

Parenting is a hard task, especially when it comes to disciplining young children.

Transforming your mindset to believe that it is not your job to control your child but to guide them in the right direction will be freeing.

Take one day at a time making small changes towards parenting using positive discipline.