“I’M READY TO LISTEN”…SAID BETWEEN HEAVING SOBS AND STOMPING FEET!

“Have a kid”, they said!

“It’ll be fun”, they said!

“Three years is way harder than two” they said.

“WTF?!?” I said.

Why do people tell you to have children and then when you do, they tell you all the shitty stuff??

It’s like this big prank the world plays on you!

The social media outlets show the highlight reels; your parents regale you with stories of how cute you were as a baby; you nieces and nephews only show the best sides of themselves when you are around; your friends with kids tell you how great it is…

And then you pop this screaming, needy, pooping thing out…AND THEN they tell you all the horror stories.

I feel like this is a terribly unfair method of convincing someone to have a kid. I mean, if you heard all of the ways children rob you of time, money and sanity, who would do it??

I know our population would seriously suffer (but honestly maybe that’s a good thing)!

And in full honesty, I am writing this is the midst of one of the most epic tantrums we’ve ever experienced so I am being a bit harsh, but really, I mean REALLY…OH MY GOD MY EARS ARE BLEEDING!!!

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Ever just want to yell “SHUT UP!” but then you come to your senses JUUUUST enough to say it in a really quiet but exaggerated-faced whisper?? Me. Right. Now.

Ok, so I’m going to put a positive and productive spin on this because it’s what always keeps me sane during challenging times.

Here are my tips to remaining calm and sane during 3 year-old tantrums.

  1. We just discovered the fact that we can send her to her room so we don’t have to hear it. Maybe its the fact that we can trust her up there now, or maybe we’re just slow to come to this, but the dulled screaming is a lot more manageable.
  2. The Whining Chair. A lot of our tantrums escalate from whining. And we learned to intersect that quickly so it doesn’t end up in a full-on thrash-fest, with, The Whining Chair. It’s just what it sounds like. A chair in  another room for her to sit in when she starts whining. Once she has settled down for a full minute we start the timer and she needs to sit there for 3 minutes. This is different from a timeout because it is expressly for whining.
  3. Recognizing the triggers. For our child, TV + Tired = RUN FOR THE FUCKING HILLS! So when she is tired we don’t even think about TV. Except today, we fucked up. And now I’m writing this.
  4. Rather than distracting the child, I prefer to distract myself, hence, writing right now! A lot of “distractions” for kids when they are behaving badly come in the form of rewards and i don’t believe we should teach them this is ok. So I don’t reward the bad behavior. We have consequences, such as timeout, and if there is a melt-down, we adults, distract ourselves with something fun!
  5. If there is a certain behavior that is a problem and leads to tantrums or whining and is done in an appropriate manner, we reward. So, when our daughter is hungry, if she starts immediately whining that she wants something to eat she goes to The Whining Chair. If she is hungry and asks nicely, we overly praise and then she gets to put a sticker on her chart. 3 stickers per day for a week = a tiny toy reward form the dollar store.

So, there you have it. 5 ways to get through or avoid a tantrum. And as I finish up, the noise is slowly quieting down from upstairs so I will now go talk to her about why she was up there to begin with.

Thanks for sticking with me.

 

Choose Your Own Napkin-Adventure

Going out to eat with children can be stressful to say the least. We’ve actually had times where we decided not to go eat somewhere because we didn’t want to have to figure out how to keep her occupied in a 5×4 box of hell!

We’ve used the phone and books and toys. The phone always works if we need adult time – real conversation without interruption. But now with #2 here, the idea of a peaceful meal with the kids is completely out the window … AND I prefer to keep screen time to a minimum if possible.

So I’ve come up with a new strategy that seems to work great, at least for 30 minutes or so.

I call them napkin adventures.

  1. Take a napkin and unfold it. Preferably a paper one depending on how much you want to piss the restaurant off (and if you’re going to a cloth napkin restaurant with kids, you’ve got your shit together and probably don’t need this…or else you’re just crazy and don’t need this either.)
  2.  Begin in the lower left hand corner with a pen and let your imagination go where a child’s would go with your kids. I prefer to go the route of “once up on a time there was a little girl named Rowan who decided to take a walk in the woods.” This is when I take my pen and draw a stick figure and some lame trees and a curvy road.
  3. Next I ask my kid, “then what happened?” And she tells me and we draw it. At every intersection I ask the same question: “then what happened”. The key is to draw terribly and dramatically while making exaggerated faces and listening with intense enthusiasm!

Then you’re pretty much it in. You follow the napkin as far as it can go with the story.

Then you switch roles.

Child becomes the artist and mom or dad becomes the story teller.

This sounds lame, but how many of you have kids that play with the cardboard box rather than the toy inside? Same concept.

Simple + enthusiasm + engagement = happy child.

Today we had an encounter with a monster pig who ate our whole family then barfed us back up because Isla was sad and then somehow we all ended up in a hot air balloon stuck to a cloud full of lollipops…go figure, tough luck I guess?

Let me know when you try this how it works! It’s been a gem for us lately!

 

 

SELF HELP & SOUR LEMONS

Feeding a baby is hard.

It’s messy.

It’s frustrating.

You have to do a lot of trial and error to see what said baby likes to eat.

A lot of time it results is some funky looking shit.

But you do it right?

You feed the baby because the baby needs to grow. You feed the baby because once in a while the end result is sheer joy. The end result is a realization that opens that baby’s eyes to a whole new world. Oh hello sweet potatoes!! I love you smooshy peas! Bananas in a jar? Yes Please!!

So we go through all this hassle to see the smile or the sour-lemon face on our kiddos and the truth is, we should be doing the exact same thing for ourselves…but for our souls, our habits, our behaviors, our brains, our LIVES!

Personal Development is just that, personal. It’s not a one-size fits all gig. A lot of people peace-out on personal development because they read one book and it gave them the sour-lemon face. But that’s no reason to bail. FEED THAT BABY.

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You just may find something that sets your soul on fire!

So how does this relate to being a mom? Or just being a human?

How does it NOT?!?!

Learning patience with your kids, learning how to optimize all of the hours you have in your day, learning how to save money, learning how to make money, learning how to have a better relationship with your partner or family. Learning how to cope with stress and anxiety…Yes these are all forms of personal development!

If you are feeling lost, frustrated, fed up, low on patience. Try it. You can’t change unless you do something you’ve never done before!

 

COMPLAINING ABOUT COMPLAINERS

I have so much to say about people who complain about things that are 100% in their control.

“I’m fat”

“I don’t eat well”

“I have no motivation”

“My kids are out of control”

“I have no money”

If you are unwilling to fix the problem that is bothering you then do not complain about it. By not being proactive and at least trying to fix the problem you are saying to the world that you are OK with the way things are, and if you are OK, then you should not complain.

Right?

“I’m fat” Then workout. There are plenty of resources to help you get in shape. I am one of them. And if you’re just saying it so people say “no you’re not you’re perfect” then stop, and tell yourself that you are perfect because that is the only person that matters telling you that.

“I don’t eat well” Then don’t buy garbage and don’t eat it. Buy vegetables. Look up recipes online, they’re free.

“I have no motivation” Nobody does, the successful ones have discipline. And discipline can be learned.

“My kids are out of control” Set limits and boundaries and stick to your rules you set. No empty threats, no bargaining, no compromise. Turn the TV off and play with them.

“I have no money” Stop spending on unnecessary things. Get a side job that you can do from home. Network marketing jobs are quite lucrative.

Point is, there is no point in complaining. It gets you nowhere, it wastes time and it drives other people crazy.

yes, I just complained about complainers. #callingmyselfout

IN A WORLD OF MOMBOTS, BE YOU

There are millions of articles now telling us how to mom.

Millions of books

Buzzfeed lists

Pinterest Boards

Mom-Groups

Play-dates

Facebook groups

The list goes on and on and on.

 

So in a world full of people telling you how to parent your children, I tell you this:

Be YOU

Do YOU

Treat your children kindly.

Make them laugh.

Make them feel loved.

Give them boundaries.

Feed them.

And know this is enough.

 

Do not feel the need to keep up with the Tiger Moms, the Helicopter Parents, The Fab Moms, The Hot-Mess Moms (please, oh please, don’t compete for who’s life is messier!), The Volunteer Moms or the Pinterest Moms.

There’s no way to keep up with all of the hot trends on how to parent anymore.

Cry it out; no, don’t let them cry, they’ll feel unloved.

Push them in academics and sports; no, don’t push them, they’ll push you away.

Talk through their emotional melt-downs; no, don’t talk to them, walk away.

Give them gender-neutral toys; no, get them what they want, it’s in their nature.

AHHHHHHH!!!!!

 

Do you think our parents went through this in the 70’s and 80’s  with us? NO!

Why not?

I’ll tell you. Social Media, that’s why!

 

Social Media has cause a Trending Frenzy of mom-sharks who jump at each other’s throats the moment they smell blood (or see skinned knees because you didn’t put knee pads on your kid riding their trike).

It has created what I call MOM-BOTS: the meticulous, trend-conscious mamas who follow every child-psychology article to a T on the current do’s and don’t’s of parenting.

I say, if your kid is smiling 75% of the day, knows that you love them and is on the path to becoming a kind human-being, then congratulate yourself.

You’re winning.

You’re awesome.

And I applaud you.

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Imperfection is the New Perfection

Families and marriages are far from perfect … and its trending.

Going public with faults, difficulties and struggles is the norm, and I applaud it.

For so many generations, people lived with the expectation of perfection. Now that we are out of the era where family strife was a guarded secret, where children were always clean and perfectly dressed, where egos were stronger than empathy, and where no matter how hard life got, failure NOT admitted, will imperfection begin to reign?

Thanks to the glory of social media and the trend of HONESTY, people are now putting their reality front and center. The public admittance that toddlers are raging lunatics (or possibly sociopaths), that marriage is hard work, and that we do not feel guilty when our kids fall asleep so we can finally have a quiet moment are all indicators that we are beginning to open up. As a society, we are beginning to air our mountains of unfolded laundry to whoever will LOL or emoji high-five us  just for making it through the day.

At first this idea was off-putting to me and I assumed this to be attention-seeking behavior.

Until I gave it a try.

I posted my first tantrum photo when my daughter was 2 years old. It was my first attempt at pigtails and she was NOT pleased…seeing as this was my hair-styling debut they were probably too tight so the tantrum was most likely justified…So I put that pic loud and proud on IG and FB.

The result?

Camaraderie.

Every other parent out there, no matter how old their children were, understood the teeth-grinding affect of the toddler wail. They also understood my desire to laugh and point at the ridiculous scene in front of me (I mean, a screaming toddle with a mullet in pigtails?? Come on!!)

So I began to see this sharing as something more than attention-seeking. IT IS THERAPY! It was cathartic, like “Look at my messy life! Here it is! I’m not going to stress over the need to show perfection anymore!”

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And I realized, why would people with normal life problems pay a stranger to listen to their gripes about their kids making them crazy, about the stupid tiff they got into with their spouse, and how life is not always its cracked up to be?? Why pay, when we can use social media to open up to strangers for free!?

What I’ve seen and felt is that, for once, instead of pushing each other away, people are joining together to offer support, laughs, and the much-needed “oh man I’ve been there too, don’t worry it’ll get easier!”?

So let’s continue to ditch the highlight reel (don’t get me wrong, please still celebrate those moments when it all falls into place), but lets also celebrate the fact that life is a roller coaster, and even though we may have never met, we can be there for each other — we can lift each other up and we can get through this crazy life together.