Thoughts of a mother when the kids go to bed.

A bad day.

Pick up all the toys off the floor one more time for the day, you made it Momma you’re gonna be OK.

I know you’re stuck thinking about all the things you could have done better.

All the things you missed, or opportunities to teach them something or show them the value or just expand on life but it’s hard and that’s OK. Don’t let the Mom Guilt. Swallow you.

So, maybe you yelled a little too much today or maybe you got frustrated when any other day you wouldn’t of. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mom, it just means you had a bad day.

We’re human, whether we want to admit it or not. Just because we’re a mom doesn’t mean we don’t have a fuse that can be blown, it doesn’t mean that you’re not gonna have a bad day yourself.

So today didn’t go as planned and maybe bedtime was rough. Maybe nothing went right, the dishes are still in the sink, and the toys are on the floor and just getting dressed felt like a fight.

But maybe we don’t have to look at it this way, maybe we don’t have to look at a bad day is a bad day. Maybe it’s time we change the narrative, and realize that a bad day can have good teaching moments. Can set foundations for healthy emotionally well-rounded children.

Instead of looking at it as we didn’t do the dishes or clean the kitchen after dinner. We’re showing our children that sometimes things are more important than making sure things are spic and span. Spending time with them comes before doing the dishes, comes before cleaning the kitchen.

That having emotion and feeling anger or frustration. That sometimes being overwhelmed is normal. No we don’t have to yell at our children. God I wish I didn’t sometimes, but they’re learning that emotion is normal. If we show healthy ways to deal with having a bad day, then it won’t impact your child badly, it shows them how to deal with these bigger feelings.

Take that opportunity don’t look at it as completely negative, because at the end of the day every single thing we do impacts our kids. Whether we want it to or not, and that’s scary. However, it is the reality of being a parent.

A good day.

Bedtime already I can’t believe it, smooth sailing and happy faces they make you wish the time stood still.

To just have five more extra minutes, to hold them a little longer to hear them giggle a little louder.

The days that reassure you, you are a good mom and you’re doing something right. That all the bad days are worth it because it’s the days like this, that show you how amazing and wonderful motherhood is.

The days that make you excited to wake up tomorrow to be able to do it all again. Not to say that you’re not happy with your children on the bad days, but when the good days are good in motherhood. Man are they ever good.

So you go to bed yourself you don’t worry about how you did today because you know you did OK.

Now hold onto that.

Whether you’re consumed by mom guilt, or you feel like mom of the year come bedtime. You’re still an amazing mom, and you’re always going to worry how we are doing because we care. We feel joy and pride in our children, and some times question our parenting because we love them.

The bad days don’t have to feel so bad, and the good days should absolutely be celebrated. Bad day or good day ultimately it’s our decision to decide. If we’re going to take the bad day and use it as an opportunity to teach our children important life skills, or if we’re going to let it eat us alive.

So rest easy mama you still taught them the things, you were still there. And if you ask me you just being there, you just being their mom. Taking care of them that makes this a good day.

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Unsolicited parenting advice.

At the rate it’s given these days I’m sure we could all right our own books.

We have all been there, someone wants to give you “advice” or their opinions on how you and your partner “should be raising your child”. Insert massive eye roll here.

It sucks.

No of ands or butts, about it. Most of the time you try to be polite and say thank you, carry in with your day. But really, some of the things I’ve heard are just absurd. So I thought why not ask others what the worst, or most annoying parenting advice they ever got was.

I got quite a few similar ones, or ones that all fit into the same category so here are the 3 major categories of responses I got.

  • Installing fear is the only way to gain respect.
  • Baby’s are just “seeking” attention and you’re “spoiling” them by giving it to them.
  • You’ll just know, but here let me tell you the “right way” aka my way.
  • Let me diagnose your child.
  • Post-partum depression and all the stigma.

“Installing fear is the only way to gain respect

This one. This one makes my blood boil. Children do not need to beads scared to respect you. They do not need to learn to fear their parents. So let’s get into it.

What happens when we teach children to fear their parents? Nothing good if you ask me. Studies have shown that when you teach your children to fear you, you can cause a lot of long-term damage. This also goes for Spanking, hitting, yelling to a certain extent, belittling, and locking them in their room as a form of punishment. (For a more in-depth read Click here for an article on the CNBC news site.)

This sort of reaction to “punishing” your child is simply causing harm. When your child feels like they’re a parent is going to lash out, and physically or emotionally harm them. For misbehaviour or an accident they forms a lack of miss trust. Which can create a cycle of your child lying to you in fear of punishment.

To simply put it, if you wouldn’t react this way to an adult. Don’t react this way to your child.

Though they may be small, and you can’t always communicate like we would like them too. You as the parent need to be able to calm and collectively talk to your child. To sort out the issues and get to the root of what is going on. I am not telling you to let your child get away with everything.

Sometime a time out, or appropriate punishment such as: not being able to play with side you that was involved in incident for a period Amount of time, having to apologize, timeouts, and or leave it losing a privilege depending on the child’s age. And simply talking to them.

Baby’s are just “seeking” attention and you’re “spoiling” them by giving it to them.

Yes. You read that correctly.

Now I’m not sure why or how this is a thing. Along with “your baby/toddler is “manipulating you” all of it is just bullshit. (in my opinion of course) How could a baby or toddler who Literally depends on you for every single one of their physical, emotional, and mental needs can manipulate or attention-seeking? They NEED you. If this is your mindset I don’t think parenting is for you. (Again in my opinion of course.)

Holding your child while they sleep is not spoiling them, comforting your child when they are sad (no matter the age) is not spoiling them. YOU ARE THEIR SAFE SPACE. You where they’re first home. You are the one they depend on. You are their entire world. You can not spoil them, for simply loving you.

Do not let anyone tell you any different. I said it before in Stop telling Moms how to feel. You have no right how to tell a mother how to parent or how to feel.

You’ll just know, but here let me tell you the “right way” aka my way.

“Don’t pick that baby up every time he cries’s… Here let me have him I’ll show you how to make him stop crying.”

Sound familiar? what about, “You should just know how to do this by now. No not like that. I did ______ with you.”

We have all been there. We’ve all politely just smiled grit our teeth and say “thanks”. Or say that’s nice but I do it this way. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to explain that we don’t do things that. All because some one who feels “they know best” has the answer I need.

Every single child is different, every single way to parent is different. What worked for you will not work for everyone. What you were told to do at one time. Is probably not the way any longer.

Let me diagnose your child.

There’s no easier way to piss a parent off than to try and tell them the diagnosis from a doctor for your child is wrong.

When I asked women in a few of the mommy groups I am part of on Facebook, and on my personal social media accounts things they’ve been told. I was shocked at how many women came forward and told me about people claiming their child’s diagnosis was wrong.

I am going to take a direct quote for the following one.

“You just need to pray harder for the seizures to go away.”

This one. I understand faith, though I may not openly practice any, or talk about a higher power I do or do not believe it. THIS IS NEVER OKAY. My heart hearts for this women. To have a child going through such a serious thing and for some one to tell you, you need to “pray harder” makes me sick to my stomach. This will be one of the only times I let anything political or of anything about faith be in my writings. But, if you ask god for an answer and the scuff at the advancements of medicine. You are spitting on his answer. You asked for an answer and if you believe in god then you believe he creates everything and everyone. Which means he would have created the person WHO MADE THE MEDICAL ADVANCES TO MAKE THE MEDICINE. You do not need to think this same way. But that is where I stand and where I will stand.

Far too many people replied about people being told their child’s autism diagnosis was. “Just ADHD, ADD, they’re just hyper, they’re just spoiled, are you sure something is wrong with them, they will grow out of it… And so many more.

Autism, is more often than not misdiagnosed as something else. Compared to being diagnosed when it is something else. the sooner we can accept this, the sooner we can move forward with people learning to not be so ignorant. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a child being autistic. And quite honestly it is quite harmful in the long run. The worst part is, the more you try to educate people on autism they seem to choose to unlearn anything they did know.

Post-partum depression and all the stigma.

“You don’t need medication it’s just a phase“ “cheer up, you have a beautiful baby, you should be happy.” “post-partum depression is real” “it’s just baby blues get over it”

Before I go any farther. There is absolutely no shame in having or struggling with post-partum depression. If you or someone you know is struggling please talk to a medical professional and seek the help you may need.

post-partum depression is so often looked at as something to be a shamed of, or to hide. When in all actually that is not the case in the slightest. Hiding it or trying to deal with it on your own, will only cause more harm. For more information on post-partum depression read Here.

In conclusion.

People want to shove their advice or opinions at you. Whether you choose to smile politely and ignore it, or take the advice. At the end of the day what you choose to do with your children is up to you. You know them best, and their health, the way you raise them, or the decision you make about their life are yours and your partners to make.

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Baby number 4 and how she changed our family.

Four kids is a lot of kids. There’s no other way to put it. Yes, the number might be small, but when we are talking about the number of humans to take care of. It’s a lot.

My home is not quiet.
Or ever as clean as I want it,
There are unfinished art projects and colouring pages that will go forgotten.
Messes in places that make no sense,
There’s never not an appointment or task on the to-do list.
Baby socks scattered around like hidden eggs on Easter,
My husband and I are clearly out numbered.

But I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. People stare and ask why when they find out we have four kids. I don’t have an answer this is just our life, and the way we choose to live it. If you ask me it’s exactly how we were supposed to do it.

*Now before I start. I feel I should point out between each of my children their is either under or just over two years age difference. Ages 6,5,2,10 months so my experience with 4 children is going to vastly different than someone’s else’s. Everyone one’s motherhood or parenting journey is going to be different no matter what, and in no way am I saying mine is more challenging either because they are small it is simply to help show my situation.*

My husband I talked about have baby number four, and then we talked about it some more. We talked to family and friends, and in the end decided we would wait till our youngest was about 2. However, the universe had different plans, we were about to find out in just a few days after deciding we would wait. That we were indeed pregnant.

While I was pregnant nothing really changed. Yes we had to rearrange the house, and upgrade our Honda Civic to a Mini Van. I would highly recommend even if you only have three kids the amount of room is fantastic. But it wouldn’t be until she arrived that things would really change.

She came as perfect as perfect could be.

We got home after a nights stay and waited for my parents to bring home the other 3 kids. I was so worried and excited for them to meet her. My older two already knew the drill when I came to babies, but our youngest not so much. She wasn’t even going to be 2 until the following month.

As you may have guessed they absolutely love their baby sister. They all got a turn to hold her and give her sweet little head kisses. Talk to her and just enjoy the moments as they happened. To say my heart has never been so full is an understatement.

It wasn’t until about a week after we brought her home, that my husband has to go back to work. Did things start to feel completely overwhelming. I was now alone most of the day and most of the night 4 days a week, juggling all four kids, and all the household needs. And on top of this, my father Inlaw got very sick. So when my husband wasn’t working he was needed at his parent’s house. (Now before you get the wrong idea. I have no ill feelings, no negative comments nor do I hold any anger towards my husband for hardly being home. The first month or some of her life. His father was sick, and I would have done the same if it was me.)

This photo is the day we told his parents we were pregnant with Baby number 4.

But that was the time I realized she came into the world when she did so that her GiGi would be able to have met all of his grandchildren.

However, the situation left me to figure things out and how to manage it all on my own. This is when our household and daily routine became non-negotiable. (For more on the importance of a routine check out Routine, schedule, repeat.)

Now I would love to sit here and tell you “it was so easy” but that would be a lie. In the beginning I struggled with Mom Guilt. And honestly sometimes I still do. My husband still works that same shift so it’s just me and the kids a lot. I often find myself juggling life and stretching myself thin. I mean there’s only one of me and four of them.

Some of the big changes.

Groceries are now something that has to be done with two carts, or at least one with a double seat. Going anywhere has to be planned to a “Tee” so that we can just simply get there on time.

Not to say we have to plan every single thing out, yes we can wake up in the morning and decide we are all going to go on a family walk. But when it comes to really going out or to someone’s house. It’s a full game plan, and a long process. You’d think Adding one person wouldn’t make this much a difference but it really does.

We’ve come to find that just keeping the diaper bag constantly stocked, for all four kids is what works best. This we just grab and go. We gave up the normal diaper bag and went for a back pack one. Game changer. It’s so much easier to carry and it holds so much more. (this Diaper bag backpack is the one we have )

Now as you could imagine things started to also take a lot longer. Things like bath time for example, with all 4 kids being small I still need to at least be there. My oldest (6) showers on her own and only needs me to come to wash her hair for her, (she’s very big on wanting privacy so I will respect her and that she no longer needs reminders. Because and I quote “I’m almost 7 mom I know what to do”) I’m always just in the next room but I must respect her want to do it on her own.

It is basically the same thing with my 5 year old. However, he’s 5 so when he shower I’m in my bedroom getting the youngest two dried off and dressed for bed. While giving him reminders on what’s next. And of course I’ll wash his hair for him too.

The younger two well they’re obviously to small for them to be left alone. So that is always where our nightly bath/shower routine starts. What went from 15 minutes with one child and about half an hour with 3, is now roughly an hour-long nightly escapade. It blows my mind how simply adding one more person could make it that much longer.

This also counts for bedtime, each child has their own bedtime, but they all have roughly the same routine because I mean I’m only human. I’ll never forget the day my brother called about 6:30 pm and when I said I’d call him back around 8, I have to start bedtime routines he was shocked. I get it sounds surprising but the bath, PJs, snack, story, and tucking everyone in. It takes up a lot of time especially when there’s four of them and one of me. ( I can’t lie by the time I’m done getting the last child to bed, I am also ready to go to bed)

One of the biggest changes however did not come to how our routine flows, or in the amount of food why buy when doing groceries. No, it came in redefining on how we spend one on one time with the older kids.

It’s not a simple oh come with me, we will sit and read a book, let’s play a game. Yes I do those things with my children, but to get that one on one time it’s important. So now we plan a special day or activity that’s just myself, or my husband and one of the older kids so they can still get their special time.

Life with four is what we needed.

Baby number 4 is still so small and will only just be a year old in April but it feels like she has been here forever. Yes we’ve had to learn new systems of getting things done.

Yes I feel out numbered even when my husband is home. At the end of the day though, 4 kids feel just perfect, it’s like our family was just meant to function this way. We just didn’t know it until she came.

Having a 4th baby changed our family, but it was for the better.

There’s one more person who smiles every day,
One more hand to hold,
One more giggle to be heard throughout the house,
One more beautiful soul,
Four may seem like a lot,
But really she is just a lot more to love.

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I don’t want a perfect marriage.

Growing up I watched all these different hallmark movies with my mom, saw the love my parents had, saw other adults married around and developed this “idea” of love.

As I became older I thought I knew what live was. I was so sure it was supposed to be one way, and one way only. That things happened exactly as I thought I was seeing them as a child. Now I know that’s not true at all.

The love you need, the love you want, and the love we think is the only way. It may not be the love you end up with. And when you find it, it you will be blown away by how different it is, than how you perceived it for so many years.

Growing up, I never saw my parents fight… or even be angry with each other for that matter. Not to say they never fought, or were angry with each other but if they were. They choose to not show it in front of my brothers and I. (Which I’m not saying is a bad or good thing) But, I grew up thinking that is what love would be.

The reality of it is, you will get angry with the person you love. You may fight from time to time, you may accidentally hurt their feeling or have yours hurt. Never on purpose, or with ill intention but because we are all human it will happen.

We are so often fed this false promises of love, of what caring is and does have to be. What it has to look like, the things and money equals higher levels of love. That blasting your partner all over the internet is the only way to prove yourself faithful.

It’s all just so ridiculous if you ask me.

I do not want everyone else’s perception of perfect. I do not want hundreds of dollars spent of things. Not to have my face and name all over my husbands social media. Yes those things are nice from time to time. But, they do not equal how much he loves me.

I want our perfect.

I want Sunday hikes, and Monday mornings filled with trying to decide who dropping the kids off at school.

I want him to keep asking me if I’ll work in the living room while he plays his video game with his buddies on Saturday night. Just because he wants to know I’m there.

I want to keep waking him up in the morning. Because it’s nicer to wake up to a kiss and a coffee rather than the sound of an alarm.

To make little jokes in passing, that no one but us would understand.. Words and sentences that bring only us to belly laugh.

I want stupid fights that last 10 minutes all to end in, both of us saying sorry and realizing it never mattered to begin with.

I want the good, the bad, the ugly. The joy on Christmas morning, the memories of the point in our life we struggled to make ends meet. All the moments in the future when we will be given good Fortune and all the obstacles we will have to over come.

All of these things that shape us, that make us grown on our own and drive us closer together. The ones that make us stronger as a couple.

No I don’t want a perfect marriage. I want the one I’ve got. It may not be the hallmark idea of marriage and sometimes we might not agree. Sometimes he might be the last person I want to talk to, be he will always be the last person I want to see before I go to bed.

I wouldn’t change it for the world. They’ll never make a movie or write a book out of our love story. But if you wrote it down, I’d read it forever.

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Streamlining day to day life.

As a mother of four, to say there’s a lot for me to do in a day is an understatement. From housework, caring for the children, and cooking all the meals. It can get a bit overwhelming and tedious.

So over time, I started to find a way to make things a bit easier for me. Now a lot of it is some work up front but it has a great payoff in the long run. Some of the things I will mention have been briefly mentioned before in my writing, however, I thought it would explain how each one comes into play.

Let’s start with the most daunting.

Housework.

When it come to cleaning the house I’m sure you have seen my chart I made that is in Routine, schedule, repeat. Going over the things that have to be done daily and ones that get done once a week.

Doing my house work this way makes it so nothing get left out on a weekly basis and so that I can stay on top of it. Some things need to be done daily no matter what. Like sweeping, dishes, laundry and picking up around the house. I mean after all 6 of us that live here.

That being said doing the dishes after each meal, can really cut down on the amount of time and dishes there are that need to be done. Now, this sounds simple enough but when put into practice it can make a huge difference. It also helps keep the kitchen much cleaner and again in return less of a job to deal with.

Things like sweeping I will also do twice a day once after taking the bigger two children to school. Then again at the end of the day. (Sometimes I also need to do this after meals)I know I shouldn’t be but, man am I shocked every time by the number of crumbs my kids make a meal times.

Laundry is another thing I had to learn how to make more efficient. We have multiple laundry baskets in my house. 1 for each child, and then a large one that all of our dirty clothing goes into. As soon as the laundry is clean and dry, I almost immediately put it on my bed. This way I can’t avoid folding it for days on end. I fold it, put each child’s clothing into their basket, and get the bigger kids to put away their clothing right then and there. And I will put mine,my husbands, and the small children’s clothing away then too.

Again I know sounds so simple, but I really had to break out of the habit of washing, drying, and then allowing it to sit for days and days. Leaving a massive pile to fold at one time.

Cooking.

How do I make cooking easier? If you follow my Instagram or personally know me you know I make a lot of things from scratch. Not for any particular reason, I just genuinely enjoy it. So cooking can take up a lot of time for me.

However, there are a couple things I do that can make the whole thing seem much less time consuming. Planning out meals for the week not only cuts down on trying to figure it out each morning when pulling out things for dinner that night. It also makes groceries much easier, when you know just what you need. Yes it takes some time the night before grocery day to sit down and plan but, it save so much more in the long run.

Cooking things ahead of time can also make things much easier come dinner, or even lunch. Most days I will cook the protein for our meal earlier in the day. This way when it comes time to cook dinner I just need to worry about carbs and veggies. I also like to make enough of a protein or two for a way have a quick and healthier option for lunches for a few days at a time.

Not that I probably don’t need to mention this, but your crock pot or slow cooker can also be heavily utilized for cutting down on time spent cooking. Nothing better than a good old “set it and forget it meal”. Especiallyin those super busy days throw it all in the crock pot and come hack a few hours later to a beautiful meal.

Making things easily accessible.

I can not stress this one enough. Things like bins, containers, and other little things to help keep things organized. Can save you so much time!

Taking my cupboard from this.
To this. Here’s the lonknfkr the brand I have, I have both the 24 piece set and 14 piece set for this cupard and two other in my kitchen.

This made a huge difference in how snack time and pack lunches go. Everything is right there and ready to go. Now, these pictures are from just before baby #4 came so we did have to change up some of the snack bins to accommodate baby cookies, food, etc, however. All of my cupboards and even my fridge are all organized in this same way.

Why? Because it looks pretty, and because it makes everything much more accessible and easier to see. It’s all right there, I know what we need I know what we have lots of. Where each thing is and where to find it, and the labels are a bonus so my husband can’t ask “well which one is it”.

I also utilized bins around my house for, crafts, supplies, toys, diapers, a lot of things. Again it makes things easy to find and accessible. I known repeated this a lot however, it is a very important part of making a day run on a more streamlined way.

Caring for the kids.

I really don’t have some magic way to streamline this, I mean honestly you can’t. But making changes in other areas of your life can make it so you have more time to spend with your children.

Just because you have to do all these things, doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time doing them. Make a few changes and just see what you can do with your day.

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Leprechaun treats and traps

My son keeps asking if we can catch a leprechaun this Saint Patrick’s day. Honestly I don’t have the heart to tell him they aren’t real. So I took a page out of Sometimes I lie to my kids. And told him we will try and catch him a leprechaun.

Will we catch one? No, obviously not, but he will have a whole lot of fun making a trap, and baking some treats to “lure” one In. After all, all this does is give us a reason to bake and make something together. So I’m not going to pass up on making those memories with him.

First we had to bake the treats.

They definitely aren’t professional, but they’re cute enough for us!

Cindy at Devilishly Sweet was sweet enough herself to give me a cooking and icing recipe for these delicious cookies.

Cookies

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ‐——————
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Set aside.

Step 2

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Or,
Roll out to about 1/4 inch and use cookie cutters.

Step 3

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

keep eye on cookies while in oven, don’t let them get too dark.

Use parchment paper instead of greased sheets, cookies won’t run together.

Royal icing for sugar cookies.

  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Food coloring in desired colors, optional
  • If you need to thin it out, add a little more lemon juice.

These cookies and icing were so much fun to make and ice. My son was able to help with most all of it, and loved that he was able to do a lot of it. This is a recipe I recommend you give a try with your kiddios.

Now it’s time to make the trap.

First we decided we need to sit and talk about a plan. Bubs came up with a list of things he would need.

  • Cardboard box
  • Paper towel roll
  • Pompoms
  • lucky charms
  • The cookies we made
  • Scissors
  • Markers

Next he had to figure out how to use these things to catch the leprechaun. So he decorated the box, to make it look like somewhere the leprechaun would want to come. He made fake gold coins, and put out the lucky charms so make him want to come in the box.

I asked him what the cookies were for, and if we would use them in the trap. I can’t say I was shocked when he told me “they’re for me, building make me hungry.”

Next he had to set the paper towel roll holding up the box. So it would fall when the leprechaun bumps, it to catch him.

It’s not the prettiest but my boy worked hard and he’s so very proud of himself.

Now we are ready to roll.

Not to point out the obvious? But I can’t produce a leprechaun for my child. The next best thing? He gets to wake up to crumbs, a letter, and a little treat.

I love that he has such sense of wonder, so much creativity and wonder and I’m so lucky I get to help it blossom.

If you enjoy todays content I recommend checking out How to keep the kids busy this spring break. Or any other the other post on the Blog it’s full of all things mom.

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How to keep the kids busy this spring break

With spring break just days away, it’s time to call to action a plan to keep all the tiny people in my house busy, and entertained so I don’t lose my sanity. But what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share that plan with you.

I won’t sit here and outline our entire itinerary, I will give you a few ideas broken down into categories. So, if you’re stuck with what to do with your kiddos you are in luck, you got some ideas to help you.

Crafts.

One of our favourites to make at home is caterpillars, butterflies and spiders. They’re pretty easy to make, and give a variety of options so that all of the kids can enjoy this craft. You can also take this opportunity to talks about the life cycle of a butterfly, starting from caterpillar, to cocoon, to butterfly.

All you need:

  • pipe cleaners
  • toilet paper roll
  • googly eyes
  • hot glue gun
  • Pompoms
  • Egg carton (for caterpillars)

Homemade puzzle

Taking a cardboard box out of the recycling bin, let your child draw a picture on the blank side, and cut it into puzzle pieces. This gives them to opportunity not only to be creative but feel pride in themselves when they have not only made their own puzzle but put it tighter too.

What you will need:

  • -carboard box
  • colouring tools
  • scissors

Borax crystals.

This one I think I find just as fascinating as the kids do!

Take 1 cup water add in the borax and stir. Together, separate into jars. Shape pipe cleaners into the desired shape, tie one side of the string to pipe cleaner shape, and other ends to the middle of the popsicle stick. Place popsicle stick across the top of the jar with pipe cleaner hanging in the water mixture. Leave for 12-24 hours, and the crystal will grow the longer they are left the larger they will grow.

What you will need:

  • -1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons of borax
  • Jar
  • Pipe cleaner
  • popsicle stick
  • string

Outside activities

Take a walk, or a bike ride.

No walk is complete without a cake pop from StarBucks if you ask this girl.

Now I know, we already know this. Sometimes it’s always a good reminder, that we need to get outside and get moving. After an icy cold winter trapped in the house, a walk or a bike ride could do us all some good.

Rocks to paint.

We made these last year for my Mother in-laws garden. I think they’re just the cutest!

So this goes hand in hand with crafts and a walk! You and your child can go out and look for rocks to paint for the garden, or as a gift for someone else’s garden.

  • rocks
  • Acrylic paint.

Start a garden.

Now depending on where you live you may or may not be able to get this one started just yet. But, taking the kids out picking an area, and getting the ground ready can still be lots of fun. And maybe a way to grow something delicious over the spring/summer months.

Spring scavenger hunt.

Feel free to use this one or have some fun and create your own!

I’m really looking forward to doing this one with my kids, they’re always so excited to go exploring out in nature.

A little bit of this and that.

During the March break, we will also make some time to bake a sweet treat, have a play date or two with our friends. visit family, play some Just Dance, and maybe even build a pillow fort.

A week… or I guess 9 days if you count from the Friday to the Monday. Can either feel like a really long time when your home with the kids, or can fly by and be filled with fun.

It’s really just all what you make of it. We will be making the most out of the time we can, spending it together. Just like I said in Top 5 things to stop doing as a parent in 2022 it’s not what you do, it’s the time spent together. we will take the week off and learn a little, explore and just have some fun.

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Things I wish I knew, with the first pregnancy.

10 things I wish I knew the first time around.

Before I start. I just want to set a disclaimer I am not now, nor have I ever been any sort of medical professional. I have no medical training or education. I am simply sharing my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Looking back on my first pregnancy, even my second… possibly even my third. (sometimes I don’t just don’t learn till the fourth time around I guess.) There are so many things I wish I knew. So I thought I would take a moment to share them with you. Here are the top ten things I wish I knew, the first time I got pregnant.

Number 1. You don’t need many Ultrasounds.

You do not need 100 ultrasounds. Yes, they are great, and it’s amazing to see the baby. However, it can cause a lot more stress than it can help. We all stare at the screen, basically holding our breath, hoping and praying baby looks good, and everything else they’re looking at in there. Stop and enjoy the few that you get. Don’t stress, if they were worried they would send you for those extra ones.

Number 2. You can’t avoid stretch marks.

You cant avoid stretch marks, (unless you were genetically blessed) there’s very little information that is scientifically backed that can anything can make them not happen at all. You can do things that could, lessen their intensity or not make them so painful/itchy. But nothing can truly stop them altogether.

Number 3. Don’t scratch your stretch marks.

While we are already talking about stretch marks. DO NOT SCRATCH THEM. I know they are itchy, I know but don’t scratch them, doing this can make them worse. If you really have to itch, take a damp cloth, and rub it on them. Add a little pressure but not “rip your skin off” pressure.

Number 4. Stop wearing your pre-pregnancy clothing in the second trimester.

Put your pre-pregnancy clothing away. For the love of God, I know you don’t want to let it go, but once you start to show, you’re going to stretch it and you may not notice at first. But you’re going to be real upset once you are no longer pregnant and the belly on everything is stretched out.

Number 5. You don’t have to spend a fortune on maternity clothing either.

You don’t need necessarily need to spend hundreds of dollars on maternity clothing. Go check out your local thrift shop, check buy and sell websites. Accept the hand-me-downs. Maternity clothing can be so overpriced and you only wear it for a short time. (okay well, maybe the pants you’ll wear for a while after having the baby. I know I wore my maternity jeans for months after. They are so comfortable.)

Number 6. If it’s baby number 2 or more people don’t get as excited.

So this one is for subsequent pregnancies. People don’t care about as much about, your second, third, (from the personal experiences they’re shocked at the fourth) pregnancy. Not in a rude way, but you’ve been there you’ve done that. It yes exciting, but it’s not the first so it’s an old story you know what you’re doing now. They don’t “need” to loom and aw over you.

Number 7. It’s not like T.v.

Your water does not break as it does in the movies and T.V. It will not be this huge gush of water, soaking your clothing, shoes, and the floor. Yes, there can be a big gush, but it’s not as dramatic as movies and T.V would make you think.

Number 8. Your hormonal, not crazy.

You aren’t crazy, you’re hormonal. I promise there is a difference. Your body is changing everything right now and that’s including your hormones. You are going to laugh, cry and get mad all in the same hour timespan and it’s normal. You’ll get back to normal a couple of weeks after having the baby. For now, find something soothing like yoga, meditation, or a hot bath to help you keep yourself level. (If you are concerned about your emotional and mental well-being, please do seek the attention from a medical professional)

Number 9. Mommy brain is real.

Your memory does actually suck right now. “Mommy brain” is a real thing. It happens because during pregnancy your brain actually shrinks a little. And a little more than that if you are preeclamptic. Change in brain size durring and after pregnancy.

Number 10. It flys by.

This particular photo are all photos from my last and final pregnancy.

Even though nine months feels so far away. It’s really not a long time. It will fly by and before you know it your baby will be here. So take all the picture, write it all down. And enjoy every moment.

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Birth: Lets talk about it

Birth, whether you have been through it, or are about to go through it. Or maybe have no desire, or can’t, we are all curious about it. At least I know I am. After having four babies there is so much I don’t know. For so many reasons, mainly because every single birth is different, all pregnancies are different, and each and every experience should be validated and celebrated.

I spent some time talking to other women who had very different experiences than I did, and with their permission, I get to share that with you. Maybe you can find some comfort in the words of these amazing Mommas and their experiences.

I asked for the reality that was their life within the time of giving birth and right after having their babies. You will hear from a Mom who had two C-sections after a vaginal birth, a Mom who took the home birth route after having a previous hospital birth, and a twin Mom. I will also be sharing my one of my own birth experiences involving medical induction. We all have had such different births and each one is as amazing as the next.

Twin Birth – Jade Mother of two twin boys.

How many kids do you have? 

2 boys. They are twins 

Was it a home birth or hospital, if hospital was it vaginal or c-section? 

It was a hospital birth and I had them through c-section 

Did you have any pain management? 

With c section you’re required to take the needle in your back. Epidural I believe.

After the c section, I was given extra strength Tylenol to help with the pain.

How long was the time between each baby being born? 

They were born 2 minutes apart 

Did you get to go all the way to your due date? We’re they born early, or were you induced? 

My original due date was September 15, 2017. Twins are usually only in until 38 weeks so my induction date was September 1, 2017. My water ended up breaking at 36 week and 4 days. 

They spent a total of 4 days in the NICU for low blood sugars which tends to happen in babies with low birth weight. 

Did you formula or breast feed? 

I breast fed for two weeks, and then formula fed. It became super difficult for me to manage breast feeding twins. Especially being a new first-time mom.

Was it hard to bond with two babies at one time? 

It wasn’t exactly hard. It was just exhausting trying to get into the jest of things and figuring out how to manage twins. I did cry a lot. And to be honest, I was an emotional wreck and can barely remember the first two months of their lives.

How was healing after twins? 

Later that night after having my twins I was super scared to walk but the nurse was super helpful. It was very painful. When I stood up it felt as if all my stitches have ripped. I wont lie when I say it was very painful. 

But healing was not so bad. My c-section scar healed up nicely and I was doing regular things within two weeks. Within two months, I barely had any pain from my c section.

Will you have anymore? 

Although I love my children, kids are just not for me. I think twins is enough for me. 

Any final final thoughts, or things you want other momma’s expecting twins to know? 

My whole pregnancy I was under the impression that I was going to delivery vaginally. My water broke naturally, went to the hospital. My babies were in the correct positions to deliver vaginally but the doctor said it would be safer if I had a c section because after baby A was out baby B could flip around. I was terrified and wish I knew my rights then. I didn’t need a c section. But I opted for it as the doctor frightened me. I did not want to tear and need stitches and then possibly need a c section also. 

Just make sure you twin mamas know that you don’t always need a c section. Speak Up! 

I also know it can be very emotionally draining becoming a mom of twins, especially a new mom of twins. Its okay to cry, its okay to ask for help, its okay to talk somebody. Youre not alone. 

One thing that helped me cope as being a new mom were Facebook groups with other twin moms who could relate. I even found a friend local to me with similar due date and who was close in age to me. It helped so much. 

My twins are 4 now and raising them is a breeze. Now it just come naturally. 

It gets easier, you got this!

C-section (Emergency and planned)- Brittney Mother of 3.

How many kids do you have?

I have 3, there are 7,5, and 1.

How far apart were all of their births?

3 ½ years between my first and second, and 2 ½ between my second and third.

How is a C-section set up different from a vaginal birth?

Emergency, it’s very rushed, I mean it’s an emergency. I was taken by myself into the OR, the Dr. who gave me the epidural quickly explained everything and then put it in my back. They then laid me down and strapped my arms down. (This is so you don’t twitch or make any sudden movements.) Then they set up a screen so you cant see. They put the yellow stuff on my stomach, and they called my husband in. He was fully dressed like up in hospital wear. Booties, gloves, hat, a scrub gown. All of it.

At some point before they took me to the OR they removed my clothing, and gave me a cathider. They said I would feel pressure, but honestly I didn’t feel it.

If you do have an emergency c-section, try and ask them tell you in recovery the time of birth and weight of the baby.  When they know. Dad will leave the room right after baby is born with the baby and go back to your hospital room where they take the weight, and other measurements. Dad will also get to do skin to skin with the baby at this time.

Was a planned c-section different?

It really wasn’t to different. Not so rushed, but my second time there wasn’t so much fear. The scariest part is having another new born baby. I knew what was going to happen, and what healing would look like.

Was healing like the first time V.S, the second time?

The first was horrible.  No other way to put it. They give Advil and Tylenol for pain management to take alternating. I feel like it was doing nothing and I didn’t wan to abuse it. So the first few weeks I hardly took anything. Only if the pain was really bad. After a few week of this I talked to my Dr was told to take both at one time every six hours. I need assistance rolling over, getting in and out of bed, for the first three weeks. I also needed help out of the car, and oh god the bumps. Do not ride in the car if you can avoid it. Even just the bumps hurts your incision.

Healing the second time around as so much easier, with the first I couldn’t even lift my leg over a baby gate for the first three weeks. With the second I was up walking around stepping over baby gates, cleaning the house and basically just getting back into life within five days.

How was bonding with your baby after a C-section?

When I gave birth to my first child he was a vaginal birth, they flopped him on my chest, I could feed him in the hour, and we just started the bond. Bonding after my emergency C-section, was very hard because of the pain. The first two days were “bliss” because in the hospital they were in charge of my pain management. Then when I got home, it was hit with Postpartum depression. I was warned about the possibility of postpartum depression when I was pregnant by a friend, but who thinks they would be the one. I was beating myself up, I felt like I am a women I was made to give birth, and my body couldn’t do that. With postpartum depression and the pain from the C-section, it made breast feeding in the beginning extremely hard. This made it incredibly hard to bond with my baby, I just kept getting so frustrated.

I don’t know what caused what, if the C-section pain caused the postpartum depression or if the irritability was caused by the postpartum depression and the pain just made all of it worse. After that six week mark, I stopped supplementing/topping up her feeds with formula and only breastfed. Our bond from that point was instant. I think it may have even been stronger than the one I had with my first. I continued to breast feed her until she was 1.

Bonding with baby and a planned C-section.

With my planned C-section it was an immediate bond from the moment I found out I was pregnant, this pregnancy was planned and we knew we wanted another baby. So it was just there from the beging because of this I choose not to breast feed because I dint feel like I need to build that bond that we already had.

Final thoughts, or things you want to tell other moms who will have a C-section to know?

The biggest part of healing is pain management listen to your Dr. and your body no matter what.

Don’t freak out if you choose to look at your incision but I suggest getting your partner to change the bandages for you, infection can happen, but just take good care of the wound, and most fo the time it looks way worse then it is and will heal just fine.

Home Birth- Sarah Mother of 3.

How many kids do you have?

3 kids.

How far apart in age are they?

First two, two years apart, the second and third are 5 years apart.

How many of them were home births?

The first one was a hospital birth, and the boys were both home births.

What was the biggest difference between home birth and hospital birth?

I was more comfortable at home than at the hospital. They were very similar tother than that. Other than the long drive I arrived at the hospital at 5:55 and had her at 7:11 and was out by 12 I barely made it there before my first came.

Was bonding with your baby easier with a home birth?

Bonding was easier at home, I was in my own home. When I gave birth in the hospital everyone we knew showed up. I was going to take a shower but becasue everyone came in, and wanted to pass her around I had to wait. I had to kick them all out, but while I was in the shower. The hopstail staff came in and gaver her, her first shots and my husband got her dressed.

Did you have any pain management?

No, I always kind of wanted to do it with out. Plus I don’t like needles and hated the idea of not being able to feel my legs!

What does set up and clean up with a home birth look like?

They tell you to make your bed like you would then up a shower current on top of that then make your bed again on top of that. They do bring all the pads and that stuff. They tell you when your all said and done there will only be one garbage bag worth of things to get rid of. You also have to get rid of your placenta yourself.

Okay, so how do you go about getting rid of your placenta?

To get rid of your placenta, you freeze it and throw it out in your compost on the day it’s collected. If not freeze it and throw it out when you take out your trash.

What made you interested in a Midwife and home birth?

The reason I looked into midwives was I was watching “The business of being born”. It’s a documentary about how hospitals are more inclindedto rush you into labour. Push for epidurals, medical interventions and C-section. Where as with a midwife they are more inclinded to listen to you and your desires. As long as everything is safe, they let you go at your own pace with your own birth plan.

( Here is the link for those of you who want to check out the documentary Watch The Business of Being Born | Prime Video (amazon.com) )

Final thoughts or things you want other mommas to know who are looking into homebirth?

I would say just go for it, it’s an awesome experience. I felt safe and comfortable. They have everything you need and all the safety precautions in place. I was completely taken care of and so was baby. My husband even got to be really involved and got to catch two of the kids as they came out.

I also really liked the fact I could walk around my house, I wasn’t confided to a bed or a single room. I didn’t like being told to keep walking up and down my stairs.

Medical Induction- Ashley (myself) Mother of four.

How many kids I have?

Four kids, 6, 5, 2, and 10 months.

Where my baby’s C-section or vaginal delivery?

All four were vaginal delivery.

How many times was I induced?

Technically twice, my first baby they started the “drip” when I was already in labour because things weren’t moving fast enough for their liking.  My second came with in 45 minutes of my water breaking, after a “stretch and sweep” from the Dr. earlier that morning. So, no medical induction needed. My third baby, we had to do a full medical induction to force my cervix to dilate and start active labour, due to my blood pressure. My fourth, came on her own free will for a smooth and easy labour and delivery.

Why I had to be induced?

With all of my pregnancies excluding my last, I had an issue with my blood pressure. With each pregnancy It kept getting worse and worse. With baby number three at 36 weeks 6 days I had to be induced to keep myself and baby safe. It wouldn’t be diagnosed, or told to me  that I was diagnosed anyways that I had been dealing with pre-eclampsia during pregnancy until I got a new OB with my forth baby. (who put me on different medicate then I was in with the other three and we were able to keep my blood pressure at a safe space)

What was full medical induction like?

Terrible. My labour was 27 hours long and I had no pain management by choice. Which around the 26th hour mark I was regretting hard. But I digress. They started with inserting basically a tampon soaked in Cervidil to make your body dilate and then they started the “drip”. From about hour 7 to 24, my contractions were every three minutes, and strong as all hell. From hour 24 to 27, they were 1 minute and hurt so badly I was ready to just die. (Yes I am dramatic, I know) the Dr. cam in the room to check me because I told a nurse I needed to push and he told me I wasn’t ready. So shamelessly I peed right then and there in the Dr. and he turned around to leave  and get cleaned up. I told the nurse I was going to push and she said “no” and then immediately yelled “wait I see a head.” Three pushes and me almost passing out later. There she was.

Trust your body, you know best.

Is bonding with a baby who was medically induced different than one that not?

I would say no, I mean I was just so happy and relieved she was out. The second they laid her on my chest it’s like I was brought back to life. I was no longer tired, scared, and I couldn’t feel the pain. I couldn’t breast feed her however, no matter how hard I tried it wasn’t working for us so that in itself, made it slightly harder to bond. But, extra skin to skin, and talking about my struggles with it and we made it through and built the best bond.

Final thoughts or anything I want momma who have an induction planned or will have to know?

No matter how much it hurts, and how long it can last. Your baby is worth it, you will forget just how intense the pain really is, as soon as that baby is laid on your chest and lets out that first wail. Nothing else in the world matters.

No matter how your baby comes you are an amazing Momma for simply bringing life into this world, you carried that baby, and no matter how it left your body you did that. You gave birth, and you should be so incredibly proud of that.

what we wish we knew?

To end this post I asked any women who wished to answer “if they could give their past self any advice before giving birth what would it be?” So I could share it with you.

No matter what we can’t change the past, but we can tell other women about our experiences. Share what we wish we knew, and answering the hard questions. I hope you found some comfort in todays post. You are an amazing mom and what ever your birth experience was, it is valid and should be celebrated.

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If you are lookin for more content like this check out some of my other work. Learning to love my “Mom bod” , Confession of a Mom. Part 1, Stay at home mom: The not so bright side.

How I get anything done with 4 kids.

So is this the part I give you the generic, “do it while they’re sleeping”.

“Eat when they eat, sleep when they sleep”

I hate that saying because really do it while they’re sleeping? Don’t they also say that’s when I should be sleeping? Which is it? Am I supposed to be productive, or should I be taking a nap?

The advice for parents is all so counterintuitive that you just have to find your own flow. That’s exactly what I did, and today I am going to go over and share exactly what that looks like for me. How I make time to clean the house, cook dinner, work out and find the time to write all with 4 kids. And even find time for myself. In hopes that maybe this will also be helpful to all you moms out there who feel like they just can’t get anything done.

We will break it into specific sections, for those who may be looking for certain ways in which to get things done with their children.

  • Getting the house clean
  • Cooking
  • Working out
  • Writing
  • Time for myself

Getting the house clean.

So as I mentioned in, Routine, schedule, repeat. I do clean my house on a schedule. However, there are day to day things I do have to do. I also have to find the time to do it all.

This is my day to day cleaning schedule.

When it comes to things like sweeping I generally do that twice a day, the same with dishes and wiping things down. I’m also constantly picking up toys… Does it ever stop? But I find breaking up into multiple times, it’s quickest compared to saving it all for one time. So you want to know when it comes to having to get things what I do! I use distraction like the same way I would when menting the art of distraction in Surviving a toddler.

When it comes to cleaning up. I set up the babies floor playpen, set the bigger kids up with crayons or play dough or something time consuming. To get whatever cleaning needs to be done that day. What I have to do multiple times in a day I will just get done when they’re randomly distracted throughout the day. And the probably again once they’ve gone to bed.

Things like after dinner clean up. I do while they are having their bed snack, all fresh and clean from the bath winding down and relaxing from the day. Basically, it’s just another time of day that happens at a set time so I use that distraction to get the kitchen and dining area cleaned up.

Cooking.

So there are a couple of ways I go about getting the cooking done. 4 days out of the week my husband’s work schedule makes it so he’s only home and awake, for a couple of hours out of the day when the bigger kids are at school. So, this makes cooking at any point in the day a little difficult.

Obviously I’m a huge advocate for Cooking with your kids. (Considering I have a whole blog post about it) But what happens when I can’t have them cook with me, or I just don’t want extra little hands in the kitchen? Because let’s be honest, sometimes you just don’t want people in your kitchen when you’re trying to cook.

There are many times I will ask the older three kids to help in different ways like; setting the table, five minute tidy up before dinner, making “menues” to pretend we’re eating at a restaurant. This was they still feel involved, and they aren’t all over the kitchen when I’m trying to get a meal made.

Then there’s good old tride and true, can you go play upstairs/in the living room, while Mommy cooks dinner. Yes it’s not the most “fun,” and it’s doesn’t have them helping but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. Also cooking things like your meats ahead of time can cut down on cooking time. Making slower cooker or “set it and forget it” meals also really come in handy for cutting down on time spent cooking.

Working out.

Working out… Like I said in Losing weight as a mom. Not every mom has the time to go to the gym or the childcare to do so. I know, I don’t.

These adorable baby “weights” and shaker cup are little beans “workout equipment” when she’s awake and with me when I work out. For those of you who want to check it here’s the Amazon link Baby Biceps

So a lot of the time they work out with me!

Mister bubs can be seen here following a kids workout video while I was doing my own.

My point is, a lot of the time I will just let them join me. Yes, there are many days I will wake up extra early and go straight to the basement to get a workout in before the kids get up. When that doesn’t go as planned though, I will put a workout from YouTube on the tv and the kids will try and follow along with me. Or do they’re own. (They always have a blast following along.)

Sometimes we will put on Just Dance (the sweat I work up playing that with the kids is unreal some days!) At the end of the day though, working out with your kids being there isn’t an easy task. You either have to learn to let them “workout” too or carve out a hunk of time when they aren’t awake or can be distracted.

Writing.

Finding the time to write, in the beginning this was a little tricky to say the least. I utilize early mornings and night time after the kids go to bed most days. However there are many days I need to write during the day, or do other things on the computer for the blog and social media accounts attached to it.

So I had to come up with my own schedule and plan to be able to sit down each day and write/work on things. This is where the floor playpen has really come in handy.

The baby can crawl and play safely while I sit at my desk and work 2 feet away. This also helps her learn independent play. Evenflo versatile play space this is the one we have.

As I just mentioned this half hour to an hour a day happens while the older two are at school, and the younger two have independent play. My two year old has the option to colour, play with play dough at the kitchen table or play in her room while the baby’s in her play pen.

This gives me a good amount of time each day to be productive while I have the chance. Now, this doesn’t always go as planned, because life happen and kids get fussy. But on the flip side, if the baby and toddler both happen to take a nap at the same time. (My two-year-old doesn’t nap often anymore, as she will be three this March and has pretty much outgrown her nap) Then I use that extra time to get more work done.

Figuring out how to balance it all was hard in the beginning (I took my own advice stated in There’s no shame in needing help) So I talked to my husband and we made a plan: every other Sunday I lock myself in our bedroom and get a few hours to get work done. He takes care of the kids and the house and I get a few hours of uninterrupted time, I feel much less stressed and unbalanced this way.

Time for myself.

I would love to say I make time for myself every single day. I would love to say I do it multiple times a week even. That’s simply not the case. I have four small kids, a house hold to take care of, and a husband who I want to give my time and attention too.

That being said. Every Monday night I decided to make “my night”. After putting the kids to bed, and the days end tidy up and getting things like lunches ready for the next day. I do nothing, no blog work, or social media planning. Just do what ever I feel like, play on my phone, call a friend, take an extra long hot shower.

I said it in What the hell is even “self-care”? I’ll say it again a shower can be self-care if that’s what you need. My point being I just do what ever I feel I need to do, as a form of self-care for that day.

Even if for the next 18 years, I only get to have one night for me to take extra time for myself. That’s okay, because I know I’m taking that time for myself and it gives me something to look forward to on Mondays.

How I get anything done with 4 kids.

You can really break it down to:

  • Distraction
  • Opportunity
  • Bringing them with me
  • Getting them to help
  • Asking for help
  • Finding time without them

I hope this gave you some insight on how I manage to get anything done with my kids. This takes a lot of trial and error to find what works best for us and will change with each family. It will vary from household to household. It can and will even change depending on the number of children you have. Remember to always use the tools and opportunities you have throughout your day to get what you need to done.

All that aside, remember to give yourself some grace. Being a mom is hard, and perfection isn’t needed. If you can’t get something done today because your kids need you don’t sweat it, things can always be done tomorrow. I hope todays post helped, or gave you some sort of direction on where to go from here.

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