Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Secret Weapons: 6 Secret Mommy Weapons

I'm a good mom.
I'm not a perfect mom.
I'm not Supermom.
I'm pretty much just a normal mom.

And that being said, I often lose my sanity. And I often forget how amazing these two little stinkers lovelies are.

So today, my secret weapons are a few secret tricks I use to keep the chaos of motherhood in perspective.

1. Letters to Baby
For both of my children, I have kept a journal for them from the time I found out I was pregnant. I try to keep it current, although with Landon I had a lot more time on my hands than I do with Adelle, so his is a little bit more thick.

When they are grown, and gone off on their own, I will give them their book of letters. These journals will hopefully give them a glimpse into how much I love them. When I'm at my wits end, I often sit down and either write them a letter or pour over previous entries. It is only a matter of moments before I check myself, and start feeling grateful for them.

2. Letters to Mommy
Similar to my individual journals for my children, I have a "mommy journal" for myself. I have other journals, this blog, a private blog, etc. But my "mommy journal" is just for entries about my kids, documenting funny things they say, or big milestones. I've found, going back and reading them, that I would have forgotten so many of those things. Oftentimes, my entries are just lists. Things like, "Landon's Favorites" and a list of the things that my son is currently loving is a staple in my "mommy journal". Reading over or adding to this also really reminds me that I'm one lucky mama.

3. Playtime
It's so easy to get caught up in the craziness of life. It's easy to stress about the bills, the housework, the homework (for other students like me), relationships, family, work, etc. But to our children, those things aren't a worry (or they ought not be). Those children will never be children again. And there will come a time when they're "too cool" for us, or would rather be with their friends. Getting on the floor and coloring, busting out the (I know, I know. I hate it, too) play-doh and cookie cutters, or spending an hour pushing giggling toddlers on the swings reminds me about what is really important. The rest seems to take a back seat, if only for a moment.

4. Enlist and Reward
I believe in working. I believe in teaching our children to work, and how to do something efficiently and effectively. And I start them out young. My four year old has his list of daily chores, and a significantly longer list on Saturday's. It's just the way that it is in our home. Even my 18 month old knows how to pick up her toys. When the housework gets chaotic, or the kids are too wild, we often put on some music, make a list on the whiteboard with our reward written at the end. We spend some time doing our work, and I've found that my kids are a lot better about their chores if they get to use the dry-erase markers to cross off each job after it's completed. And who doesn't like a reward at the end?! (I may or may not tailor said reward to my personal preferences/cravings. BECAUSE I'M THE MOM, THAT'S WHY!) I'm an OCD mommy who likes order, lists, and a clean home. These things make me a very happy lady! And if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

As long as I have children in my home (I'm talking well into High School, people), I will probably be single handedly keeping Costco in business with the amount of baby wipes used in my home. We use baby wipes for everything. Diaper changes, sticky hands, dirty faces, yucky picnic tables, questionable restaurant high chairs, crayon masterpieces on the walls, spills in the car, four-year old (and sometimes daddy...) clean up at the base of the toilet, makeup removal (yes, sometimes for mommy, sometimes for curious diva-esque 18-month old's), dirty shoes, those endearing yet annoying hand prints on the walls, quick wiping up of the bathroom counter/sink in between scrubbings when little one's good intentions with toothpaste go awry, etc., etc., etc. Literally, the list goes on and on. We keep some in every room in the house, a package in the car, a package in each of the 14 million diaper bags we have, some in mommy's purse...everywhere you can imagine. Baby wipes are my right hand mommy man. They don't hurt eyes, they are soft on raw, runny noses, and if you buy the skinny travel container, they fit well pretty much anywhere.

6. It Takes a Village
You cannot raise your children alone. Even single parents (kudos, you're phenomenal) require some help. We have to swallow our pride sometimes, and ask Grandma to come get the kids for a minute, or take up your neighbor on her standing offer to let your little one come play for a bit. Some of my closest, dearest friends are known as "Auntie" or "Uncle" to my kids, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My sister and brothers are superheros at my house, and when Grandmas and Grandpas come by, it's smiles all around. It's good for our kids to know that they're loved by so many, it's good for us to see the people we love being good to our kids, and it's good to have a break and let our little ones bond with the people who love them.

Well ya'll, there ya have it. 6 of my secret weapons that help me to be just "that much" of a better mommy. Sometimes I need help, sometimes I need reminders, and sometimes I need routines and order. But in the end, it's all about trying to do those little things to remember how much of a blessing it is to be their mother.

And quite frankly, I'm honored..

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