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Archive for the ‘Intentional Mommy’ Category

Our little family decided to go overnight camping.

Just the three of us.

To relax.

I can hear you laughing all the way over here.

Yes, I thought that I would relax by frantically buying groceries 45 minutes before I wanted to leave, doing laundry, rushing all over the house to get our stuff together, then trying to fit it all in our car (no more kids for us, they won’t fit!), so we can drive for 2 and a half hours (Google told us 90 minutes! They didn’t account for my lack of navigational skills apparently), during those two and a half hours Buddy Bear screamed like he was dying for a good 60 minutes, WITH.NO.BREAKS. And then we finally got to the camp site and we couldn’t setup our tent because there was approximately 62 bazillion feet of pure gravel/concrete/un-penetrable mass under the tent spot. Tempers flared. And then we had smores. For supper. And slept on the cold, hard, unforgiving ground that costs $25 dollars a night.

That’s my idea of a relaxing family vacation, how about yours?

I have learned many things from our little adventure. I will share several with you.

In list form of course.

I love lists. I may have said this 17 times before.

Its still true.

Because Buddy Bear is at/nearing the age where I need to be an intentional parent and not just a diaper-changer/milk-dispenser, this list will include a moral. Kind of like a fable, but without any talking foxes.

1. I am terrible at packing. For example, I planned to make breakfast burritos, but forgot the spatula for the scrambled eggs, salt & pepper and all the condiments for said burrito.

Morale of the story: Make a list and check it twice. Or delegate someone else to do the packing. Someone not in my family, because Mr. Man forgot the pillows…

2. Which brings me to my second point. You can never have too many diapers. This was our first overnight trip with Buddy Bear (I know, I like to make things hard on myself) so I wasn’t sure how many diapers I would need. So I packed 16 diapers for the less than 24 hours that we were going to be gone. I only changed Buddy Bear about 6 times. But those extra pre-folds I packed? They are excellent jack of all trades, because they  also served as makeshift pillows (not the best idea), impromptu diaper changing pads and even stood in as oven mitts (forgot those too).

Morale of the story: You can always use extra diapers, so bring ’em along.

3. Babies (at least my baby) love camping! So many things to see, smell and TASTE. At one point I had to dig a 1 inch rock out of Buddy Bear’s mouth because he thought it would taste good. But he thought everything else was absolutely fantastic!

Morale of the story: Next time bring a playpen to contain the little guy. Or just expect his diet to include more minerals…

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Copyright held by Melvin E

 

“If Mama aint happy, then aint nobody happy.”

And

“The best thing you can do for your kids, is to love their father (or mother if applicable).”

10 points if you’ve heard one of these phrases.

50 points if you’ve heard both.

1000 points if you’ve managed to apply both of them.

Yeah, it’s easy to know that your mood affects those around you and a happy marriage fosters a safe environment for your kids. But its a heap of a lot harder to actually DO it.

One of the pieces of advice I got as a newlywed was to continue dating my husband. To take the time and intentionally do stuff together. Which is a great idea. In theory.

But I also know that quality anything doesn’t just happen, you have to be intentional.

Andg’s Guide to Dating your Baby’s Daddy

  1. Just do it. If you wait to feel romantic or until you have a good hair day or until you can leave the baby with a sitter, or until anything you’ll always be waiting for something. Which leads to…
  2. Dates don’t have to be just two people, babies love dates! If you have the option of going on a date and taking the baby, or not going on a date at all, bring Jr.! Yes, you can’t spend hours looking all doe-eyed at each other with baby in tow, but nothing kills the mood faster (at least for me!) then forking out $40+ so you can go out to and talk about how money is so tight!
  3. Date like you’re in high school (i.e. cheap = good). Denny’s and a walk in the park (with baby in the stroller) is way cheaper than dinner and a movie. Or even better an iced coffee (from home), a blanket and some sunshine.
  4. Capitalize. Do you have to go shopping? Grab hubby and call it a date. Yes, you won’t see “Romance in the Canned Goods Aisle” coming to Netflix anytime soon, but time with your man is important, wherever you can get it.
  5. Shared time = good time. Mr. Man doesn’t know it, but I consider our 30 minute drives to church every week a “mini-date” because time in the car, means “Quality talking time. LOTS of talking.” Take a look at your calendar for the holes/places where you and hubby are going in the same direction and carpool. Yes, it might be a little inconvenient to have to go tool around at the hardware store (his stop) so you can go to the library (your stop) but going together, means time together.

Now I’m not saying that we’re the authority on post-baby dates, but these are a few of the things that have worked for us.

What tips do you have to keep your marriage healthy and happy?  Am I still a naive little puppy and need to be set straight? Let’s talk!

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Earlier this week I stumbled upon a series of “10 Small Things” by Amanda at I am Mommy. Just a list of 10 things that make her life better, improve it in some way or that she is grateful for. What a great idea! While I like to play the lazy card, A LOT, I really do want to be a good mommy to Buddy Bear and be intentional about the things I teach him. Like being grateful. So I’m totally stealing Amanda’s idea.

With props.

And also shortening it down to 7.

Because I’m a sucker for aliteration.

If only I could think of a S word for “Things”.

That’s not “stuff”.

I already thought of that, and “7 Simple Stuffs” does not bode well with me.

Any other suggestions?

1. 

My fans. We had our first hot week and have already pulled out our fans. Its only 30 degrees (Celsius, I can’t do Fahrenheit.) but I am already cooking!

2. 

This little $8 gizmo allows me to take Buddy Bear driving without him losing it completely. I don’t know if he knows its him in the mirror or if he just thinks there’s another baby in the car with him, but either way it means peace in the car. Also I can do a quick rearview mirror check and see if he’s sleeping yet which also rocks.

3. 

My library card. Call me a nerd, but I love having this thing. Right now Buddy Bear and I are devouring (figuratively and literally unfortunately) 25 books that we didn’t have to buy. That’s at least $100 dollars worth of books, maybe even more! Love it, I think you should get one too!

4. 

Buddy Bear’s cloth diapers. I’m not a fanatic, but only because that takes too much work. But I love, love, love having my little boy happy and comfortable. And that is possible because his cloth diapers are so much easier on his super sensitive skin.

5. 

Alberta’s Health Care System. Say what you want about Canada’s health care system (*cough* Mr. Man *cough*) but I needed to get a doctor’s note for the job I’ve applied for, and I called them on Tuesday, and had the medical done on Wednesday. I like that!

6. 

See that? That’s naptime. I love it. Buddy Bear is not the most consistent sleeper ever, but he always has at least two naps and I have the option of napping with him, working on my to-do list (right…) or most often just putzing around on the computer.

7. 

The non-dairy world. Before Buddy Bear’s milk allergy, I thought all those dairy-free products were expensive and the domain of vegans and well, vegans. Boy was I wrong! Well true, they are still expensive (2L for $4, ouch!) but they also mean that I can still have some of ‘my normal’ food, like smoothies, cupcake frosting, pancakes. You know, normal stuff. I will be the first to admit that Cheerios and coconut milk are not the same as their dairy alternative, but a rice milk pancake? I can’t tell the difference! So thank you to the non-dairy producers for making expensive non-milks for me and Buddy Bear. I will put you in my next 7 Simple Things again if you could please lower your prices. Thanks.

 

What are you grateful for? Am I the only one who has to take a conscious effort to be grateful?

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Confession: 87.3% of my parenting decisions are based on whether they will allow me to avoid more work. Case in point, elimination communication.

Day 1: I went potty shopping today and got some weird looks from the other Wal-Mart shoppers as I carried my 7 month old baby and two potties through the store. I wanted to stop them and explain that I wasn’t some wackadoodle who couldn’t let her kid be a kid and why elimination communication (EC) is a viable option for your baby. But I didn’t. Probably a good thing. I bought a European Potty for discriminating poo-ers or something like that and a cheap $5 potty seat that sits on your toilet. I didn’t think he would use that one much, but I didn’t want to have to drag our potty all over our two-storey house. Guess which potty Buddy Bear prefers?

You guessed it, the cheapo potty seat. He has his mama’s taste I think.

Having gotten our house all nicely outfitted with the appropriate potty paraphernalia, I was ready to give this a go! And surprisingly it worked! (I know, apparently hundreds of generations & cultures before me knew what they were doing, weird eh?) I watched the little man like a hawk and managed to catch all of his poos. Not so lucky with the pees, but that’s ok those diapers are way easier!

Life Lesson: I CAN do this! I bet with a little more time and practice this won’t even feel like work at all.

 

Day 2: Caught him first thing in the morning, and I felt like we were on a roll. Today was only going to get better than yesterday! And then we had to leave the house. BIG mistake. We came home to the exploding diaper of DOOM. I guess that’s only to be expected when he’s in his car  seat for the better part of an hour.  And it just got worse after that. I only caught him half of the time for the rest of the day. So much for that winning streak that we were supposed to be on.

Life Lesson: Pride goes before the fall. Because this isn’t as easy as it looked. But I am not going to be a quitter, so I’m sure if I just focus more we’ll get this.

 

Day 3: Today was a busy day and I knew it was going to be a bad one for EC. Was I ever right! I didn’t catch him all day, and I have the laundry pile to prove it. Do hardcore EC-ers just not leave the house or am I just missing something here?

Life Lesson: Never leave the house. No, that’s not what I was supposed to learn? Umm… Just say no to peer pressure potty-training?

 

Day 4: Was too lazy to get him to the potty first thing this morning, so as he laid next to me in MY bed I heard the result of my decision. It was a good motivator for me. Today has not been the best day ever, but we will keep trooping on and there is still a chance for my potty-training skills/sensitivity to my son/observational abilities to redeem themselves. Also, we can’t keep toilet paper on the roll anymore, its too great of a temptation for our little guy.

Life Lesson: I haven’t learned any yet, but I still have another 8 hours in my day. You can learn a lot as a parent in 8 hours!

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Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the first things you learn as a new parent is that “It takes a village to raise a child”. This is usually followed by a crash course in selective hearing, but that is a whole other story… You see, what they don’t tell you in this little proverb is that unlike most other life situations, for the most part you get to choose who lives in your child-raising village! It’s like you’re the mayor of Mommy-town!

 

 

You choose if you are going to let the crunchy mommies into your Mommy-town.

You can decide if you want that Tiger Mom wannabe taking up residence in your Mommy-town.

Is your Mommy-town going to be filled with trendy, of-the-moment, all the newest theories and ideas mommies?

Will I let the judgy-mommies take up residence in my Mommy-town?

 

These are decisions that we as moms have to make as we learn how to love and raise our children. The people that we allow to speak into our lives will affect how we raise our children and who we become as mommies. Within the confines of loving our children and wanting what’s best for them, there aren’t a whole lot of wrong ways to be a mom.  But there are many, many different ways to mommy your child and it can get so confusing trying to sort through the million different voices to figure out what works for YOU and YOUR family.

 

So bring alongside people who can help you raise your child. Who are on the same team as you. Who you can call when you’re having a very BAD day and have them remind you that “You can do this. You’re going to be ok. No one will notice if you haven’t swept in a month. Promise…” Maybe they practice the same style of mommy-ing as you. Maybe they’re your mom, your mother in law (you both rock, BTW) or your neighbour down the street. Maybe they have 10 bazillion kids and you have just one. Maybe they live in your computer and you’ve never seen them face to face. Maybe you’ve been friends since preschool and being moms is just one of the many things you share. Maybe they believe in Dr. Sears and you believe in Dr. Spock. But most importantly they believe in you. They are there for you when baby isn’t sleeping well and checking up on you when you haven’t been to a social engagement in weeks because your child is a terror whenever you leave the house. They’re a part of your Mommy-town and without them, being a mommy just wouldn’t be as fun or as sane.

 

Who’s in your Mommy-town? Has it been populated naturally or have you been intentional about the people that live in your Mommy-town? Do you live in anyone else’s Mommy-town?

 

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Mother’s Day is this weekend, my first one as a real Mommy! This time a year ago I was freshly pregnant and full of anticipation and great ideas about being a mommy. How little did I know? If only I had access to this letter a year ago…

Dear Pre-Mommy Andg,

You’re gonna be a mommy! Yes, you’re technically a mother right now to that little ball of fuzz hidden deep in your abdomen, but a mommy, that part is grown into not made. Having a 7 month old baby now, there are a lot of things that you/I have learned that you need to know.

1.       Having a baby means forfeiting your right and ability to eat an uninterrupted meal. In fact, you probably won’t be able to eat with both hands for quite a while.

2.       I know you’re all pro-breastfeeding right now, and that’s good, but. But, but, but, it is hard! So, so hard! But good. Push through the challenges, ask for help, and ask again if the first (or fifteenth) help didn’t work!

3.       Yeah, remember when you could sleep through the night? Well cherish that memory, because its not happening anymore. Only 17 and a half more years until he moves out and you can hopefully start sleeping again…

4.       The little guy is going to be just like you in so many ways, it;s so amazing. And also creepy.

5.       One of the ways he’s like you? N-E-E-D-Y. Like, “Mommy hold me all the daylong and give me your undivided attention!” Kind of needy. You are so lucky.

6.       Buddy Bear’s smiles can light up a room and make you into a puddle of mush.

7.       Having a baby is an instant conversation starter. In fact, you’ll start to wonder how you ever met new people when you didn’t have a baby!

8.       Buddy Bear will watch the door all day waiting for Mr. Man to come home and will smile and laugh at Mr. Man’s antics, but YOU are the one that can make Buddy Bear’s bad day OK again.

9.       Everyone will a piece of advice for you on what you need to add or change about parenting and everything, ever.

10.   But, you know for never doing this before, you’re doing alright. Remember that.

You can do this!

Love,

Mommy Andg

 

What do you wish you could tell your pre-mommy self?

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Mwah ha ha. Tricked you! There is no secret to having a perfect house, baby, marriage, dinner that will only take 15 minutes. There’s our lesson of the day:

 Anything worth having takes work, effort and consistency. Over and over again. And as soon as you think you got it down, it’ll start to slide and all your good habits go to pot.

Now I’m depressed.

But wait, what was I going to write about? Oh yeah. Taking 15 minutes a day to conquer some household chore that you hate. This has been my goal for the last 2 weeks.

Housekeeping and I are not bosom buddies. We’re somewhere in between friendly acquaintances (on days when my ducks are all lined up) to frenemies to full out arch nemesis. Those would be the days when I don’t even know if I have kitchen counters, when I am sorting through the dirty dishes to find something “mostly clean” to eat off of, when my laundry is stacked up so high I can’t get in my closet which wouldn’t help anyways because there are no clothes hanging up in there and our family room resembles a toy factory hit by a cheerio bomb with a few dried fruit, random clothing, and recycling bottles casualties (how does all that end up mixed in with our “stuff”?)

Oh and my kitchen/dining room floor is in itself a bio-hazard wasteland. I don’t even recognize half the stains and it is dangerous to walk barefoot through the feeding zone.

I wasn’t even good at keeping up with housework when I was one single, independent adult. The rate at which a little mess can become complete house disaster is astounding when you mix two adults with one toddler.

My biggest nemeses (that is how you pluralize nemesis? Cool.) are The Dishes and The Laundry. If I could magically have those two chores complete themselves I would have solved world poverty and taught my Boo concert violin in my free time.

My usual coping strategy has been Ignore and Procrastinate.  And like an infection it spreads. Simple dinner dishes become not-a-clean-dish-in-the-house requiring total amputation (of my free time) and a day dedicated to scrubbing, washing, stacking, unstacking, putting away, etc. And I have a dishwasher! But it refuses to load itself. Selfish machine.

Here’s my prescription: Take 15 minutes a day and focus on doing as much of the dreaded dishes as the time allots. Thankfully my Beardie usually gives Boo her bath every night. That time is my “free time” which is usually wasted on facebook or plucking my eyebrows and loathing the state of my disgusting kitchen. But avoiding doing anything about it.

15 minutes. Unstack the dishwasher, get all the dirty stuff in there, wash the pots/pans/knives, wipe the counters and table. Put away any of the clutter-y stuff that always ends up out on the counters. Funny thing is, it usually doesn’t take me the full 15 minutes to do all that. So then because I’m already in cleaning mode (a force to be reckoned with!) I take out the recycling, or clean the microwave, sweep the floor, sort the mail, pick up the toy bomb, throw a load of clothes in the wash.

No. Wait. That was going too far. I never impulsively do laundry. The Laundry is my nemesis. Right now I am focusing my energies on The Dishes and happy to report that the cleaning energy is spilling into a few more areas.

Later, when the Boo is tucked into bed and I have my next section of “free time” I can luxuriate in a clean kitchen and picked up family room. And I am at peace. Checking facebook and plucking my eyebrows. Or maybe doing something more productive because I am that person.

What really happens: Every night my butt calls out to me “sit on the couch, just check facebook first, you have lots of time” and if I sit for one second….nothing gets done! And one days dishes has become 2 days dishes and then it is a time commitment to get them done. So I set a teeny-tiny little goal. I’ll just unload the cutlery tray (that is so quick!) and once I start I will usually finish. Unlike tonight, where last night I didn’t run the dishwasher. That means that today I couldn’t unload and re-load that sucker. The days dishes are still sitting on the counter but I did sort them into neat little piles which makes me feel less slovenly. And I started the dishwasher, so tomorrow there will be clean dishes and a chance to start a new.

Hey! There’s the silver lining! Not that we will all have perfectly clean houses, babies, marriages, abs with only 15 minutes a day but that we can work on better habits every day. Somedays we mess  up but our success is in starting again the next day and not giving up. *cue sappy Full House-esque music and fade to black*

When do you have “15 free minutes”? What do you do with them? What do you want to do with them?

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