Browsing Category: Stay at home moms

All in a day’s work…

I am a curious person.

I love to know the little details about a person, from how they organize their day to their favorite type of book. For whatever reason, life’s details are terribly interesting to me.

Below are the details of my day, from beginning to end.

***

4:45am: Alarm goes off for the first time. I hit snooze button for the first time.

4:52am: Alarm goes off for second time. I contemplate getting out of bed, then decide against such foolishness. I convince myself I can still sleep a few more minutes before rushing out the door to the gym. I hit the snooze button for the second time.

5:01am: Alarm sounds for the third time. Before I can hit the snooze button for the third time, the husband gives me a nudge. Apparently he does not appreciate the repetitive sounds of my alarm clock. I switch off the alarm, fall out of bed and stumble into the bathroom. Fortunately my eyes adjust quickly to pitch black. I manage to only walk into the wall and desk chair on my trek to retrieve my gym clothes. Perhaps my eyes do not adjust as quickly as I thought….

5:20am: I jump in the family station wagon. Gym clothes are on, mini peanut butter sandwich in hand, water bottle and weights sitting next to me in the passanger seat.

5:30am: Join the other crazy people in my suburb who believe getting up at the crack of dawn to exercise is a great idea. Participate in boot camp. Dream about the warmth and comforts of my bed as I run sprints while carting a 15 pound weighted ball. Question my sanity.

6:20 am: With post-exercise endorphins coursing through my body, I return home. Start the coffee maker, greet  the husband, and jump into the shower.

6:30 am: The door to the bathroom opens. A voice begins asking a million questions at an alarming rate of speed. “Mommy, what are we going to do today? Mommy, can I have some chocolate milk? Mommy, I was thinking about that new park in our neighborhood. Mommy…mommy…mommy…..” I remind the 4 year old that people need some privacy while in the shower and encourage him to find his father who can surely answer such questions (sorry, babe!).

7:00 am: Apply make-up, fix breakfast, answer question number 92 from Isaac and start getting into my “mommy groove.”

7:30 am: Retrieve Evelyn from her bed. Question how much longer she is willingly going to stay in a baby bed. She informs me of her chosen character name of the day. After a quick diaper change and choosing of the desired princess underwear, she flutters away to the breakfast table.

8:00 am: Breakfast is winding down. Dishes go into the dishwasher, children attempt to scamper off before I have the chance to tell them it is time to get dressed.

8:40 am: Everyone is dressed. Inevitably someone loses a shoe, a jacket, a prized animal, a small scrap of paper that is important to the earth’s ability to rotate on its axis, etc. I wrangle everyone out the door and into the car, instructing them to get buckled up while I search for lost item.

8:42 am: I peek out the door to see a light show going on inside the car (which is turned off with no keys in the ignition) as a certain four year old boy performs a light show for his sister using only the car’s interior lights.

8:45am: I jump in the car with lost item in hand. No one seems phased when I reveal the location where I discovered said item (master bedroom closet, bathroom trashcan, kitchen pantry are all good options).

9:00 am to 1:00pm: Someone goes to school while someone stays with Mommy. Errands are run, play dates occur and quality one-on-one time happens during these hours each week.

1:00 pm: I pull into the preschool pick-up line, silently wondering what time little Susie’s mom has to get there in order to be first in line. I vow to arrive thirty minutes early the next day just so I can beat her.

1:25 pm: We pull back into the driveway of casa de phillips. Backpacks, lunchboxes, coats, shoes and other random items are unloaded from the car. I send children inside to put up said items and to start getting ready for nap time. I contemplate taking a nap in the car, wondering how long it would be before they noticed that I had not followed them inside.

1:45 pm: Everyone is tucked into their beds for naptime. I sit down to enjoy a moment of silence before I get started on my afternoon duties.

1:47 pm: A certain little boy wonders from his room, letting me know he is done resting for the day. He is not too thrilled when I inform him that I am not done with him resting for the day and send him back to his room.

1:53 pm: Loud singing is coming from a certain little girl’s bedroom. When I go in and ask her sweetly to lay down and be quiet, Miss E. informs me that she is asleep. Hmmm…

2:00 pm: Silence fills the house. It is glorious.

3:30 pm: I start putting the finishing touches on my writing for the afternoon. Snack is laid out on the table (on days that I remember) and I check and see what is planned for dinner that evening. I realize I never thawed the chicken so immediately check the pantry to ensure I have the necessary ingredients for pancakes. Ingredients secured. Children began waking from their naps/quiet time.

4:00pm: I struggle to remember that glorious sound of silence that filled the house less than two hours ago as I listen to children talk/fight/sing/complain/just be children. Such sounds are glorious too, just in their own unique way.

5:oopm: The husband arrives home from work. The children greet him as if he had been gone for months. I smile as I watch the three of them catch up on their respective days.

5:30 pm: Chow time. One child asks skeptically if he has eaten such a meal before (By the way, the answer is always “yes”. I figure if he technically has never eaten the meal himself, he most likely has eaten it or some version of it while in utero.) while another child lets us know that she does not eat _______ (Yes, this is a fill-in-the-blank. Unless I have served yogurt, chicken nuggets, french fries or ice cream, Miss E. lets us know that she does not eat said dinner items. We then let her know “Oh well.”).

7:00 pm: Dinner is over, kitchen cleaned (thanks to the husband) and the family has spent some time playing together. Both kids pile into the bath. I again am impressed with those natural mommy skills the Lord bestows on us women that allow us to successfully (and quickly) bathe two wet and squirming children.

8:00 pm: Both children have been bathed, put in clean PJ’s, taken part in family devotional time and read their respective bedtime stories. Both children have also informed me and the husband (in no particular order) that: 1. They just cannot possibly sleep 2.They need more ice/water/blankets/kisses/hugs/etc 3. They wonder what we will do in the morning 4.They love us.

8:15 pm: Husband heads off for the gym. I finish tasks around the house.

9:15 pm: Husband and I catch up on the events of the day, read, listen to music, talk about how funny our children are, contemplate waking up said children to give them one more kiss good-nite, come to our senses about what a ridiculous idea that would be, watch the weather, etc.

10:00 pm: Crawl into bed, set the alarm clock and mentally prepare to do it all over again the next day.

*****

That is a day for me. What is a day like in your world?

Snow…the unknown cure for SAD

This morning I peered out the windows to discover a white winter wonderland in our front yard.

It was breathtaking.

After watching no less than three hours of local news coverage about the snow, in which they basically repeated the same sentiment of “It’s snowing!” for 180 minutes, I bundled the children up and headed outside.

They loved it.

Until they did not.

Because we are not accustomed to white stuff falling from the sky around here, I did not realize that young children go from loving to play in the snow to be utterly miserable in the snow in about 2.7 seconds.

Such a delicate time hit when we were in the middle of hiking the neighborhood to check out the scenery.

Many apologies to the neighbors who heard the cries of my 2 year old on this serene morning as we trudged back home to enjoy the rest of the day from the comfort of our warm living room.

more pictures to come…

(Keep those prayers coming for Jenny. She had a hard time being off the vent this morning and doctors plan to try again tomorrow. Pray for her to be calm and at peace during this painful procedure. )

The view from here

I thought I would give you a little peek into my writing world. There is no large office or spacious desk from which I write. Rather, I usually clear a spot at the kitchen table every afternoon, pull out the laptop, spread out my research and check my facebook account start writing.

Occasionally I work in the living room and sometimes on our home computer in the master bedroom, but for the most part I sit at the kitchen table. Usually a little person joins me as the afternoon wears on,  (I will set out a snack and a table project for Isaac on days when I really need to keep writing after his quiet time ends) asking no less than 47 questions. The company is always welcome, even when those 47 questions are the same 47 questions that were asked earlier in the day.

Some day I hope to write at a large desk that has plenty of space for all my notes and books, is near a spacious bulletin board that can house my ideas and is situated by a scenic picture window. Even in such ideal conditions I likely will still check my Facebook account and see what is going on Twitter before I ever manage to get one paragraph written.

So, where do you sit to write your blog?

Confessions of a SAHM

Let’s be honest…who doesn’t love a good confession post? I personally love to pull up another person (read: another mom’s) blog and read their confessions. It makes them seem a bit more real and makes me feel a bit better about my own misgivings.

Confession 1: When Isaac was three, he became obsessed with chewing gum. I told him he had to be four. Now that he is four, I have pushed the age up to five basically because he forgot all about the whole “age four” rule.

Confession 2: There are still Christmas plates hanging on a rack in the wall in my kitchen and a Christmas doormat at the front door. Decorating for the holidays is terribly fun. Undecorating for the holidays is just terrible.

Confession 3: In a burst of new year organization, I purchased several new plastic containers. Said plastic containers are living in a corner of my kitchen, waiting for the day I will fill them with something grand. I am hoping this day arrives sometime before Spring.

Confession 4: (Almost) every Monday morning, the two little ones in our house have a “picnic” breakfast…meaning they eat their breakfast at the picnic table in front of Playhouse Disney. I know eating and watching TV simultaneously is one of the contributing factors to America’s obesity problem, but picnic breakfast days just make them terribly happy. And make one meal time a week a lot less “chatty”.

Confession 5: The other day I asked Miss E. what she was going to do when she was a mommy like me. She first informed me she would be a doctor (like PopPop) and also be a mommy who would 1. Check her emails and 2. Go to the grocery store. I asked why she chose those two things to which she replied, “Cause that’s what Mommy’s do.”

Confession 6: There are a few veggies out there that I DO. NOT. LIKE. Since I am the cook, I “conveniently” forget to add these veggies to my plate (a little fact I attempt to hide) yet make my children eat them.

Confession 7: My children are looking forward to a big activity later today: playing in the mud. Our backyard is a bit of a mud pile right now, which makes for some excellent digging. Yesterday afternoon the two had quite the time creating a garden. They plan to finish these plans after nap time today (I established the rule of “No mud before nap”.)

Confession 8: Isaac brings how little reading books each week from preschool. He reads them and we send them back. Last Thursday…on the way to preschool… I realized we had never pulled out that week’s books to read. Nice. Fortunately we have about an eight minute drive to school, in which time I made Isaac read his books aloud to us several times. Then I prayed he would not reveal to his teacher that we had waited to read his books until on the way to school that morning.

Confession 9: I secretly pray every morning that the vitamin we give E. makes up for her poor eating habits. The girl would live on carbohydrates if we let her (which we don’t).

Confession 10: Isaac and I have been working on how to tell time on a “real” clock. He has the basics down and is starting to understand the more complex ideas behind time. Last week when we were working on it at the table, I got myself confused with my attempt at explaining increments of time. Sometimes I question how I got to be a mother.

Confession 11: This week is going to be an exciting week on the ol blog here. Be sure to check back often for details (and a possible give-away!)

What confession do you wish to share?

Ending the isolation of being a stay-at-home mom

Forgoing the workplace and opting to stay at home with one’s children can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It can also be a very isolating experience. In the attempt to find the balance between maintaining a household, parenting children and meeting the basic needs of the family, the stay-at-home mom (SAHM) can often feel lost and alone in her 24 hour workday. Unlike a corporate workplace where individuals can discuss such woes with fellow employees, the stay-at-home mom’s colleagues are typically under three feet tall and are much more interested in being given a snack of goldfish rather than listening to mommy vent (to read more, go here)

Life on Planet Mom…MOPS 2009

Despite the fact that many people in our area are contemplating building a boat due to the extensive rainfall we have been blessed with since Thursday, the children and I loaded up in the family station wagon this morning and set out for our first MOPS meeting of the school year.

See how excited the children were to attend MOPS?

(Yes, they wore jeans. The temperatures were in the 70’s…something we haven’t experienced since April. I jumped at the chance to make their outfits look a bit more “fall-ish”)

Actually, they were thrilled because they love them some Moppets (the children’s equivalent to MOPS…and they should love it considering I am now in charge of Moppets). They especially love when Fruit Loops are served for snack and they get to play in the church gym…both of which occurred today. Although they could only vaguely recall that the Bible story was about David and Johnathan, they both could give a play-by-play of who rode which Little Tikes car and for how long.

Ah, the wonders of childhood.

Today’s MOPS meeting was great. One of our fabulous mentor moms spoke about how a healthy homelife is created by an intentional mom. There are days when I really focus on being a perky mom or a disciplined mom or a slightly sane mom…but often times I simply scurry about my day without much intention. I get lost in the routine, in the struggle to feed two children and a husband, in the quest to read random people’s Facebook updates, and in life in general. Being intentional needs to be more of a focus for me.

Our main speaker was a local counselor who spoke to us about Parenting with Love and Logic. Being a former special education teacher, I have gone through several Love and Logic trainings and have read several of the books. Although there are a few aspects of Love and Logic I am not 100% on board with, I think it is an excellent resource for anyone dealing with children. It was great to have a reminder of how to empathize with one’s children rather than constantly expressing frustration. I found myself utilizing a few of the tactics before the children and I even pulled out of the parking lot on our way home.

Two years ago when I joined MOPS I did not know what to expect. I did not know anyone in the group, had never walked through the doors of that particular church, and had an infant and a clinging toddler to pass off to strange childcare workers. It was one of the smartest moves I have made as a stay-at-home mom. I found a place where I could connect with fellow moms, eat a tasty breakfast, have a break from my children, hear some great speakers (She was the first speaker I ever heard at MOPS…how right up my alley, huh?), and make friends.

Are you involved in a MOPS group? If so, how has it changed your experience as a mom?

Summer Schedule 2009 (UPDATED!)

This morning the children and I met some friends for Library Story Time and lunch at Chick-fil-A.
I think such a scenario is the standard “go-to plan” of all stay-at-home mommies with young children. Before birthing these two little precious children of mine, I had no idea my life would quickly become quite so stereotypical. I just had to giggle a bit this afternoon as I unloaded two sweaty children, one purse bulging with a variety of sippy cups and half-eaten boxes of raisins, one book bag of library books, and one chick-fil-a cup….all while wearing my “mom-a-form” of Capri pants and t-shirt.
Fun times, my friend.
Although we had a pretty typical morning today (and a relatively peaceful one at that…no meltdowns until the last five minutes when a certain boy became unglued over the fact the air-conditioner was not running in a manner he felt was desirable), I have big plans for our summer. Such plans go beyond the traditional treks to the library and Chick-fil-A (so yummy…but so expensive these days!). Check out the link below to see a copy of our summer schedule and then keep reading for an explanation as to exactly what we are doing for the next three months.
 
 
Fruits of the Spirit: This year we are once again learning the Fruits of the Spirit here at casa de phillips. We discussed these traits last year, but I think they are always worth discussing. Each Monday I plan to post my weekly curriculum for this study, so follow along if you want (just know…in reality, my kids are going to be a week ahead than the blog post. I do this in order to include pictures and to keep my sanity somewhat in tact.). My friend Robin is doing the same with her children and I will be sharing some of her ideas as well.
 
 
School Work: Evelyn and I will be focusing on letter recognition and letter sounds this summer while Isaac and I are going to work on his reading skills. He and I have been messing around with reading for quite awhile and he can read some things right now…but it is time to take a serious crack at learning to read. We are both quite excited about this little adventure.
 
 
Park Hopping Extravaganza: We are fortunate to live in an area that has a multitude of great parks. Honestly I do not feel like we take full advantage of such resources. This summer I have a list of parks in our area and surrounding suburbs that I would like for us to try on for size. Due to the heat factor, we must do such testing in the early morning hours. If you live nearby and have a park to recommend, please let me know!
 
 
House Cleaning, Part 1: I have decided to vary my cleaning schedule, mainly because cleaning schedules are so
incredibly dull that they simply scream for variety on occasion. This summer I intend to sweep/mop, clean bathrooms, and dust on Wednesday mornings.
 
 
House Cleaning, Part 2: On Thursday mornings, I wash all bed linens, clean the kitchen, clean showers, and vacuum.
 
 
Morning Chores: Everyday we make all the beds, straighten the house (this actually happens before nap and before bedtime), wipe down counters (kitchen and bath), unload dishwasher (the NEVERENDING chore) and do a light sweep (who knew children generated so many crumbs?). Such chores are a family effort. The kids help with making of beds, straightening (cleaning up toys, putting clothes in laundry basket), and with cleaning of table (Evelyn’s favorite chore…the child even moves the booster seats and wipes under them which is something her mother does not always do).
  
Playdate: We always love getting together with friends!
 
 
Friday Field Trip: This year, I finally feel like I have two kids who would both equally enjoy particular “field trip” type activities. I cannot express how greatly this excites me. I have generated a list of activities which I plan for us to do on Fridays this summer. If you would like to know what we are going to do (and possibly like to join us!), just send me an email. If you have any suggestions, pass those along as well!
 
 
Swimming: Being a former “water baby” my own self, the Lord has blessed me with two children who love the water just as much as their Mommy. We try to hit the pool most Saturday mornings as a family, but this year I believe the children and I can venture out one or two afternoons a week as well. I had planned on doing this last year, but wimped out because I had one kid who was crawling and one kid who was still a bit unsteady in the deeper parts of the kiddie pool.
So that is our summer in a not-so-short blog post. Although it appears to be relatively structured, please know that it is flexible. For example, one week the kids are in swimming lessons all week which will throw all other activities out the window. I am also contemplating a local science camp for Isaac and considering sending the children to our preschool’s Mother’s Day Out a few times at the end of the summer. This schedule is not etched in stone and mandatory, but rather serves as a guideline for our summer so we all are alive and sane by the end of August.
Anyone else care to share a summer schedule?

The Secret Life of This Mom

Last night I laid on the couch in a bit of a feverish mess, flipping channels, when I came across the encore broadcast of yesterday’s Oprah.

The topic was “The Secret Lives of Moms“. The show centered around various mommy authors and bloggers discussing the trials and tribulations of motherhood. This was no “I sneak three vicodin during the 10am snack time” expose, but rather confessions of “At first I thought having a child was the biggest mistake I ever made.” or “I had to use a diaper my own self on an extended car trip.”

It was cute, interesting, and a tad bit whiny. The gals who authored these books along with Cheryl Hines who currently stars in “In the Motherhood” (used to love those webisodes…have only caught one on actual television), were the on-stage guests. It was a bit frustrating to watch the two perky blonde authors talk from their expertly manicured California homes about how tough life is as a mom, hear Oprah wonder aloud why every mother does not have “help” (as in a nanny), and watch Cheryl Hines prepare for her daughter’s reptile-themed birthday party complete with petting zoo. Not a lot of similar experiences like that are going on in my neighborhood, so it was a bit difficult to relate.

I suppose a mom discussing the battles of dealing with a chronically-ill child or of a woman talking about the crisis her family had endured during these economic times would have railroaded the “I cried all the way to the car dealership on the day I had to buy a mini-van” discussions, but I did feel like some major issues of motherhood were left ignored.

The question/eternal debate of “Can women do it all?” was briefly touched on, everyone seeming a bit fearful to tread such a murky water. In the end, it was agreed that being a mom is the great selfless act of womanhood and the episode concluded with everyone giving themselves a bit ol pat on the back for wearing the title of “Mommy.”

I am still pondering my thoughts about the opinions expressed during this 47 minute show. I wanted to “Amen” some things (I believe someone mentioned how mommyhood was the never-ending job with no sick leave) and sigh about others (Is motherhood really such a selfless act? Didn’t most of us have kids because we wanted a baby? Sure, it is pretty darn taxing at times but is parenthood not something a great deal of people consciously choose to do?) The show did reverberate how women are their own worst enemies at times, attacking each other for the slightest of difference in opinion on raising a child, from how you feed the baby to how you discipline the teenager.

I am trying to give other mothers the grace I hope they would extend to me, from friends who appear to have it all together to the mommy who made a thinly veiled snide comment about something I said last week in a group setting to another mommy who appeared ready to fight me after my child accused her child of stealing his chicken nugget.

(For the record…her kid totally stole the nugget. However, she was a bit gruffer than I and the friend who was with me is eight months pregnant. I didn’t think we would come out on the winning side of such a battle so I attempted to smooth things over quickly without asking for the 57 cents the lady owed me for the swiped nugget.)

I know that personally there are days I have my mommy stuff together, whipping up some educational crafts, prompting some intellectual conversations in the car, and then serving everyone a completely organic meal at suppertime. Then there are days when I am thankful I at least read the kids a book (likely a short one…but still a book) before naps and am about 72% sure they ate their vitamins at breakfast that day.

Balance in life is hard.

Balance in life while attempting to parent someone is extremely hard.

Anyone else catch this show and have a thought to share?

Anyone willing to hunt that mommy down whose child stole a chicken nugget from Isaac and demand my money?

A Conversation with Simple Mom

In case you haven’t heard, I am a big fan of the household notebook.

In fact just this morning I spilled half a cup of coffee on my own, handcrafted household notebook and literally thought my heart had stopped beating for a few seconds.

Fortunately I had the wisdom months ago when I crafted this thing to put my pages in plastic protectors. That Dunkin Donuts coffee wiped right off and I was able to continue on with my day and avoid a untimely and costly trip to the local ER due to an off-kilter heartbeat.

If you have not read about my household notebook, check it out here. Also, click here for some links to websites with more info on Household Notebooks.

Recently, I contacted Simple Mom (one of the “Queens” of the household notebook) and asked her a few questions about this book. I thought it would be a great time to share this conversation with Simple Mom, as we are approaching the end of 2008 and many people are considering what resolutions that will make in January (organization of one’s home is usually top on that list!).

What led you to create a household notebook for your family?
SM: I just wanted a place to store all those little thoughts, papers, and ideas in one central location. I detest paper clutter, so this was a way for me to streamline what I need and focus only on the necessities.

How has having a household notebook helped structure your day?
SM: It provides me a central landing pad for all my tasks, so I routinely go through it and check things off, add to it, etc. I don’t bow down and worship it, however, so when my day calls for change, I don’t freak out over it.

What are some easy, “quick start” tips/techniques someone with limited amounts of time can use to create their own household notebook?
SM: Just START. Don’t wait to do it perfectly, because it will always be a work in progress. Start printing some things you think you might need or use, and see how it goes. You could even start with blank paper, and start jotting down things you think of throughout the day. Then use that as your research for what you need to include.

Is there something currently not in your personal household notebook that you wished you had included or are planning to include in the near future?
SM: It started off as my go-to for everything, but now it’s more of a storage solution for papers, checklists, and the like. I eliminated a lot of things I didn’t need, so now it’s mostly my master forms I created (and are free for download on my site).

What section of your household notebook has been most helpful to you personally?
SM: My Daily Dockets, easily. A close second would be the financial section, where I store my current monthly budget and ongoing financial goals.

Thanks, Simple Mom! Be sure to check out her website and use her handy search engine to read more of her thoughts on how to create a Household Notebook!

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