Mommy Dates: One-On-One Time with Your Child

With a million Mom jobs and life that rushes full speed ahead, making that one-on-one time for your children can be a challenge. You blink and your baby is starting school, the years seem to melt together and at the end of the day, you lay awake wondering if you connected with your children enough. Did their eyelids sink closed in peaceful slumber knowing they are special and loved by you? Or with all three clamoring for your attention, did you find a way to give each of them what they deserve? Making special time for each child strengthens your relationship with that child, helps you learn new things about them and see them in a different light, and allows them to know that they special to you. That is why we try to create a monthly Mommy Date for each child.

What is a Mommy Date?

A Mommy Date is exactly that…a date with just you and Mom! Special time together where you can do things that you enjoy to fill their memory bank with moments. It doesn’t need to be big or elaborate, expensive or lavish. It just needs to be focused and purposeful one-on-one time with that child. The time where all of life’s distractions (including your phone) are put aside and your undivided attention is on that one child.

Why is a Mommy Date so important?

Everyone needs to know that they are important. Your child is no exception. In this busy world where the internet is at your fingertips connecting you to friends, social media, and work your child is now not only competing for your attention with their siblings but with technology as well. With all distractions aside, your child will know that they are more important than any of those other things.

Your child will open up to you and share things with you that you otherwise might not know. It will feel like a safe space to share their worries, celebrate their successes, and discuss their challenges. Children will flourish in this setting and you may see them in a whole different light. My best example of this is when I take my middle baby girl on her Mommy Dates. She is normally my strong-willed child. She has learned to “fight” her way into this world, continually competing with a big sister and a baby sister. When it is just her and I, she is the sweetest little soul. Things that would normally erupt in temper tantrums or outburst are simply shrugged off. She models the behaviors and the word choices that some days I feel like I’m a broken record reminding her to do.

Ideas for Mommy Dates:

  • Go to the park.
  • Visit the library and snuggle up with a bunch of books.
  • Jump into your Mommy/Daughter matching DREAMLAND COMPANY LUXE cotton nightgown and snuggle up to a movie. Of course, don’t forget the popcorn!!! Plus, when you are cozy in your nightgowns, you can tell your little girl that they were sewn by women in a female-owned factory in the USA. It’s always important to discuss strong females in the world and this is the perfect opportunity! And I can honestly say that my daughter looked super cute in her little red nightgown and was glowing with pride because she matched her mommy.  There is a DEAL FOR MOMS if you use the code ‘ihelpmoms’ you get $5 off!
Us in our matching DREAMLAND nightgowns on our most recent Mommy Date!
  • Take a walk together.
  • Try out a class. Maybe you will both find you have a hidden talent for pottery.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Kick the rest of the family out and enjoy special time together in your own home.
  • Go shopping.
  • Escape to your bedroom, shut the door and play games.
  • Go out for ice cream.
  • Volunteer together

The list could go on. Sometimes I simply ask the child what they want to do and if it is feasible we do that.

Our time here on Earth is fleeting and our days are not guaranteed. My hope is through these Mommy Dates, I’ve filled their memory with moments that they can treasure forever.

A Mom’s Jobs

They say, “A Mother’s work is never done.” I’m realizing more and more how true that is. It got me thinking the other day…what exactly are a Mom’s jobs?

Pre-warning…pour yourself a LARGE cup of coffee and sit back and marvel at all that goes on in a day. I recommend putting your coffee in a SIC (Seriously Ice Cold…but don’t worry it keeps things seriously hot too!) mug. If your day is anything like mine you won’t get to just sit and drink your nice warm coffee. Thankfully this mug can keep my coffee toasty hot for hours! Before this mug, I would retrace my steps after getting sidetracked by twelve of my other jobs only to find my coffee cold. I, of course, go for the BIG 20 oz. mug since I need all the caffeine kick I can get to fuel me through all my Mom jobs.

Mom's jobs

Okay, got your coffee? Grab a seat, this may floor you a little so it may be best to be seated as you read.

Awhile back I wrote a post about my little girl telling me that I don’t work. Her comment really resonated with me. It left me pondering life through her eyes. I wanted to be a good role model to her and show her that:

*Women work and work hard!
*The jobs that are happening here at home are work, and they are important.
*A Mom’s jobs impact us in so many different capacities of our life.

After reading the post, my sister-in-law said something to me that really stuck. She said, “Ash, you have so many job titles. Some days you are a cook, a taxi, a nurse, a housekeeper all wrapped in one.”

LIGHTBULB!!!! She was SO right!

I may not call the things I do by those names, but she was exactly right!

Wait. Please don’t close the tab and think I’m just on my soapbox complaining about all the work that goes on in my day. I promise this is not that! I want it to be known to everyone what goes into a Mom’s job. It is good for everyone to be aware so that they can be as responsive, helpful, and thankful.

As you read this, think about the Moms in your life.

A Moms’ Job consists of being:

CEO of the Family

We manage it all. We are the go-to, main contact, household manager.


Shuttling to and from activities and playdates is no joke. Getting four kids under the age of five in and out of the car in Wisconsin winters should be an Olympic sport. I’m not going to lie when I say I literally have to climb in and out of the back hatch to get one in and out! You should see some of the looks I get! Thankfully my SIC 12 oz. travel cup fits nicely in my cup holders so my coffee can go with me to help keep me fueled up! It’s either that or a caffeine IV at this point in the day!

Check out my post with some helpful car seat safety tips with all your winter gear!


“Order up!” Seriously, I swear kids are always eating! I try to limit the times that the kids can eat to one snack between meals, but some days it feels like I’m always in the kitchen cooking something! We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and two snacks a day. If they are hungry between those times I have to tell them, “the kitchen is closed.”

And then, of course, you slave away on a good, healthy meal and the first thing you hear is, “I don’t like this!” When I look back on my childhood, I’m so sorry to my own mother for all the times I have said those exact words to her after she worked hard to make us dinner.

Culinary Prep Cook

Finding all the recipes and ideas for what to eat is daunting. Some days I feel like we come up with the same five ideas! I love Tater Tot hotdish, but we have to change it up every once and awhile! After the meal planning, you must make sure you have all the ingredients and most likely make a quick run to the grocery store, but anyone with kids knows that there is no such thing as a “quick run”. So with that being said if you have a good go-to dinner suggestion, send them my way!

Personal Shopper

Of course, along with shopping for the groceries, someone has to make sure that the hubby has deodorant and all the kids’ shoes fit! Thankfully Target has my back on this one! Nothing beats a one-stop place to get ALL the things you may need!

Wardrobe Assistant

Getting a squirming toddler dressed and ready for the day is my morning work-out. Finding clothes that aren’t “too tight” or “itchy” some days seems impossible. Then don’t forget that between the spills, messes, and accidents this process will happen multiple times a day.

I also have to make sure that the sizes still fit. You would think that it wouldn’t be that hard, except no two companies size things the same! Currently my four-year-old is wearing a 5t shirt and 3t pants and her drawers are filled with a wide range of sizes. That doesn’t even begin to touch on the fact that the I need to keep two bins constantly out, one to grow into and one for clothes they have outgrown.

One week we were all eating ice cream and the next we were making snowmen and snow-witches!

In WI, one week we will be eating ice cream cones in shorts and the next we will be making snowmen. Living in the Midwest, we have all four seasons with a wide range of temperatures. This means I need all types of clothing (short sleeve, long sleeve, shorts, pants, etc.) out and organized. Planning and preparing for all elements is a must. Layering is a lifesaver.

Couponer/Deal Finder

As I’ve mentioned before, much of what we own has come from “Treasure hunting”. I have gotten almost all of my clothes and the girls’ clothes from thrift sales or thrift stores. All the toys and much of the decoration and furniture we have acquired the same way. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy this job but it takes planning to buy things ahead that the kids will need. As a Mom, we are always looking for the best way to save money and cut corners. Cost and budgets are swirling in our head.

Interior Decorator

Although I love my husband to death, if it were up to him there would be nothing on the walls except the TV. But without complaint, he allows me to find unique pieces of furniture to redecorate, and he dutifully hangs the pictures that I insist need to adorn our walls. I will admit, as many of my friends and family will tell you, that I often re-arrange the house. I’m always looking for ways to change it up. It is the running joke that the next time you come over, everything will be in a different arrangement.


With kids, there is always something to worry about, a rash to examine, a bug bite to question, a scrape to kiss. The list is endless. I am the administrator of the medicine, the one on hold for the on-call nurse, the late night fever checker all wrapped into one.


All these new emotions, experiences, fears, and adventures call for a good listening ear to sort through all the feelings. It is my goal to be the “Lorelai Gilmore” type mom in which my girls can come to me and talk to me about everything! I want to make sure that I make time to talk about the day with them. I want to listen intently to their worries and triumphs. My hope is that home is always their safe landing place.


Sibling battles can be brutal. We fearlessly dive in and separate everyone. We listen to both sides and help them work through the struggles to come to a compromise. Some days it may feel that this is all we accomplish.


Whether it is extracurricular activities or just making sure everyone is staying on schedule with their well-visits, it’s my job to keep the schedule up-to-date and make sure it’s adhered to. I can only imagine as the kids get older this job will become even more of a task!


As you have probably seen on my Instagram, I make a point of planning a lot of play-based learning for the children. As a former 2nd grade teacher, education runs thick in my blood and there isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t reading books, practicing some skill, or trying out a new project. Don’t get me wrong, my main focus for these babies is play since they are so young but there is so much you can do through play to help them learn! All of these things take careful planning and prep. They are worth all the time and effort when I see the excitement and knowledge the kids gain!


That daunting pile of laundry that never seems to go away. Yep, I do that. The floors that need scrubbing after the sticky juice and little feet running in and out. I got it covered! All those little tasks to keep a house clean are for the most part a Mom’s job.


A Mom is a daily documenter. We take a lot of pictures of our kids and our lives. We want to soak it all in and remember every detail! With these photographs, we can look back and relive all the moments.

I have made it a personal goal of mine to do what I did for the first for every child.

Many people have told me that the first child will have an elaborate scrapbook filled with pictures and details and the third or fourth will have none. I have decided that won’t happen with my children. Each one has pictures of each month of their first year as well as photo books of their birth and other photobooks recapping adventures we had together. Trust me it takes a long time but the fact that we can go back and relive these memories any time is priceless!


No one else will love your babies like you do! No one else will build them up and stand by their side for everything. A Mom’s job is to push them to be the best that they can be. We give them the encouragement to take risks with the security to know they have a safe place to land if they fail.


The haircuts, the tangles, the ponies, and braids we have it covered.

Professional Party Planner

Baptism, birthdays, and all the unique things that make each holiday special do not happen by themselves. Behind each great party is a Mom that has racked her brain for the best ideas. A mom who has coordinated the food and make sure the decorations were hung just so. A mom who lost countless hours of sleep to make that day special.

Professional Organizer

Organizing the wardrobe is one tiny aspect of the day-to-day organizational skills we possess. Everything in the house needs a place. All the projects need to be filed into what is kept and what is stored in the recycling bin. Trinkets and toys need to be stored in a way so that the house doesn’t look like it is filled with toys when we all know it really is!

But beyond the physical things that we organize, we keep a filing cabinet in our brain of so many important things. We know who needs what each day, how many diapers we should pack, who loses it when they are “hangry” and the warning signs to recognize that a meltdown will ensue if we don’t act fast. We can spot the signs of the potty dance a mile away and have already planned out the quickest route to the bathroom no matter where we are.

A Mom’s Job or Just Being A Parent?

Some may feel that all of a Mom’s jobs do not need to be listed or posted since it is what we signed up for when we become parents. While that is true, we made that choice… sometimes all we need is support and acknowledgment. In a job, there are many ways that you are recognized during the day in the workforce. There is built in acknowledgment. Salary, bonuses, awards, thank-yous, lunches, treats in the lounge…These things are not received when you are at home as a parent.

Acknowledge the Invisible

It is hard to see what a Mom does during the day. As a working parent, you can see them getting up early, going to meetings, scheduling, planning, answering emails, and responding to phone calls. It is more traditionally valued being the breadwinner in society. Keeping the humanity of their children, raising humans to become mature adults. It may sound like our days are filled with playdates, trips to the park, construction paper crafts, and snuggles. What may not be seen is that it was an emotionally taxing day.

Acknowledge the invisible. Many of the things that are considered Mom’s jobs are not noticed. Be cognizant of the things that Moms do every day. Things that are expected. Sometimes we just need to know that you see our value in the family.

It is not a competition of who is working harder. We all work hard during the day. Sometimes all we need is our day to be acknowledged.

We Do A LOT!

That’s correct Mom’s out there, we do A LOT! We have a lot of different roles and job titles. We do it 24/7 without raises or pay, but it is hands down THE BEST JOB we will ever have!

By now you have hopefully finished your coffee and are floored with all the things that you do. Your mind is buzzing thinking about each job that you do and didn’t even realize it. Pour yourself a glass of wine in your 12 oz. SIC cup and sit back and relax a minute. Marvel in what you have accomplished. Watch those tiny humans and be in awe of how far they have come and all the things that you do for them each day.

If you can read this….bring me more wine….


The next time my little one ponders the idea of Mommy having a job, I now know the answer for her.

Cheers to all your jobs Mama!

Do you have other jobs to add to the list? Let me know!

Where To Get One of These Awesome Cups…

If you are interested in ordering your own SIC cup please check out their website. Use the discount code ihelpmoms for 15% off! Plus, your product comes with a lifetime warranty so you never have to worry. You can choose from 12 powder coated colors to get the perfect cup to match you!

Embracing the “Mom-bod”: Tips, Tricks, and At-Home Teeth Whitening

“Mom-bod” vs. “Dad-bod”

Click the here to read about how my husband felt as a Dad to a newborn.


With all the news about the new hot “dad-bod”, I can’t help but think we ladies need to rally around the beauty of the new “mom-bod”. I mean hell “Dad-bod” is the new fad for men, so much so that Men’s Fitness and the Washington Post are writing about it! And they got that “bod” without creating a living being inside of them! So ladies, I’m here to raise a glass to the new “mom-bod” we ALL proudly say we have after growing a child inside of us.


There are a million different programs, shakes, pills or diets out there that I’m sure you have seen or tried in some capacity. Some work for some women and others not so much. Shaun-T and his Insanity work out program is what built back my stomach muscles after having a crowbar pry them apart for each c-sections. Still, there is no set of crunches or diet drink that will put you back to the twenty something girl you were before you had children…three of them in my case.

Even if you are back to your pre-pregnancy size or weight, there are still definite changes!

And while I have heard so many people say they are embracing their stripes and learning to love their new curves, it can be a challenge nonetheless. Your body will never be quite the same, but that is OKAY! You grew a person inside of it for heaven sake! Give yourself a little break and be proud. Instead of focusing on so-called “flaws” that you see when you look at your new “mom-bod”, let’s instead embrace the beauty and find ways to make you confident in the new you! It’s time to change our mindset and perk up what we can. Oh gosh, no pun intended on that one…I guess some things won’t “perk up” no matter how much positive energy we put into them!

It’s the little things…

Mom-bod or not, I’ve found that doing the little things can boost your confidence in yourself. Finding things that make you feel good about yourself after having children is crucial.

Mom Jeans, Maternity Clothes, and Muffin Tops

If you are anything like me, you have a closet full of clothes that fit well before kids and clothes that fit while you were pregnant. It’s time to change that! You need to make sure you have clothes that fit the new you! It is okay to let go of your pre-pregnancy jeans and toss the maternity clothes out the window. Start over and find a few outfits that really flatter YOU. Your body has changed and while your old clothes may be tight, your maternity clothes are probably frumpy. Invest in a few key articles of clothing that you can mix and match. Make sure you feel comfortable in them and like the way they feel. And don’t think just because you are a mom, that you can’t be trendy! You don’t need to settle for “mom jeans”.

Put Your Best Face Forward

No one warned me of the excessive amount of hormonal acne that would plague my face and jawline after having babies. It was to the point where I was trying everything including putting a call in to the dermatologist who was booked for MONTHS!

Finally, I went and had a facial which I’d never done before in my life. It was amazing! Painful, but amazing. The aesthetician was so real. She gave me a few washes and tips for some make-up that would help. I felt like I had been inundated with people trying to sell me their products lately and it was so refreshing to hear someone give it to me straight. So far, I can honestly say that my skin is starting to clear up. It feels smoother and healthier. Best of all, it is free of the  harmful chemicals that were in the other products. I spent more on cleansers and make-up than I ever have in my life, but feeling confident in my skin has been priceless. Instead of trying to hide my face, I’m ready to show it off!

This hat was my go-to when I wanted to help hide some of my face!

The moral: take care of your face. Spend the time and money on it because it’s what everyone sees each day when they look at you. Start now so you don’t regret not doing it a few years down the road.

Smiles Are Always In Fashion

Coffee is a mom’s best friend. If you are like me, you quickly slam a cup in the morning to get it pumping through your veins to keep up with the kids. Then evening comes and the wine is calling your name. You deserve it after all for keeping up with the kids all day. That combination, along with a few diet cokes here and there, do a number on the whiteness of your teeth. I’m sure your teeth have seen better days.

A smile truly is the prettiest thing you can wear.

Thank goodness for Smile Brilliant, a teeth whitening system that truly works wonders! I’ve tried the strips that slide off my teeth, I’ve painted on whitening with a little brush, and I’ve even gotten systems from the dentist. None of these really make a noticeable difference in my teeth other than the intense tooth sensitivity they created. This was not the case with Smile Brilliant!

Smile Brilliant has you make a mold of your teeth (that may sound daunting but trust me, it was super easy-I did it with three littles running around!) and then they ship you back custom fit whitening trays. This eliminates the need to go to the dentist and pay excessive amounts for them to create the trays.

Every day or every other day, you put the gel on your trays and leave them in for about an hour or longer. Then you brush and put a desensitizing gel on the tray for another 15 minutes. That’s it! Those that follow my Instagram story may have seen that I was taking walks, playing with the kids, and cooking dinner while whitening my teeth because it was that easy.

The Proof is in the Picture
Before (Top) and After (Bottom) pictures!

I feel so strongly about this teeth whitening system that I will be doing a giveaway to one lucky person for a $139 Smile Brilliant credit so that they too can up their “mom-bod” game with a brilliant white smile!

Enter here:

This giveaway is open for one week to all U.S., U.K., Australian, and Canadian residents. Smile Brilliant hosts the giveaway on their own website so that you do not have to worry about your email being sold to a third-party website.

Or use the code parentingtheprincipal10 to get 10% off your order of Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening System.

Cut, Color, Style…But Make It Easy

With all the hair that is falling out after having a baby, start popping those Biotin vitamins and book your appointment at the salon. Get a new cut and color that fits the new you! Make sure it is something that is easy to manage. Taking the time to style your hair every morning as a busy mom is darn near impossible. In my case it was the dark plum color for fall and long layers for a little body but still the ability for the mom bun!

You Gave Life…

Spruce up you but always remember, your “mom-bod” is amazing. It grew another human and that, my friend, is something to be proud of…stripes, loose skin, widen hips, flat butt and all.

Rock it Mama, because you are beautiful!

And our children are always watching us…







Tooth Whitening Gel

A Mom’s Letter to the New Teacher

Dear New (Fabulous) Teacher to my Baby,

Welcome to the new school year!

It is time to embrace the hustle and bustle of new friendships, adjusting to schedules, and saying goodbye to late summer nights.

I know you, as a teacher, have spent countless hours prepping your room to make it warm and welcoming. You have lovingly arranged each seat and meticulously written out each name tag. Each book on the shelf has been hand-picked and each pencil sharpened to fill the room with the aroma of pencil shavings. Your bulletin board is a work of art that you spent hours arranging and removing staples until you were sure it hung straight.

You’ve lugged in boxes of treasures from thrifts sales and second hand stores that you have scoured to find this summer and pulled crumpled bills from your wallet in order to pay for all the things to make the space as inviting as possible. Money that will most likely not be reimbursed. I know your late evenings have been filled with pinning ideas on Pinterest that fit with the units that you can’t wait to dive into. Your lesson plans are arranged and color coded with the new fine tipped sharpies that were calling your name in the office supply aisle of Target! Oh and don’t even get me started on Target! (I’ll remember that for teacher appreciation week…) It has been a teacher haven of gorgeous materials that some how they knew you needed to have!

I know all these things in such detail because I was that teacher once. The start of the school year was always my favorite.
Now as a mom, it has a slightly different pull on my heart. A mix of such bittersweetness.

I’m handing you my baby. I’ll warn you I may cry. She is my world and my everything and I’m giving that treasure to you. I’m entrusting that you will build her up with love and positive affirmation. You will guide her in her choices and remind her to always have a kind heart. You will hold her to high standards because just like me, you believe she can achieve them.


When she fails, which she will, you will remind her that mistakes are how we learn. You will guide her to hold her head up high and continue to try. Leading by example, you will show her how to include everyone and think of others feelings before making a choice. That beauty comes from within and not just by the cute dress that she wears. She will look up to you with those big blue eyes and drink in every word that you say. She will believe that SHE truly can be and do anything because you have built her up and shown her the world of possibilities that are out there.

And if that isn’t enough, you will also teach all that academic stuff.

It’s a big job. I know. But like I did, you will create a family with these children in the year that you call them yours. And for that I can’t thank you enough. You have the hardest, most important job but I believe in you.


A choked-up, teary eyed Mom

My babies and me in from of my former school where I taught for six years.

*Featured picture Dear Humanity shirt from Future Idealist.

*Best Job Ever shirt from Ezra + Eli.

Another article that ties into this perfectly can be found on the Huffington Post here.

“Mom-xiety”, Irrational Fear or Just Plain Crazy


A single word that resonates with so many. A word that became more accentuated in my life after having children.

After the news of another sweet 7 month old rainbow baby passing away in his sleep, I’m sitting here gripped in fear. That is my absolute worst nightmare that they are living. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what they are going through. My heart is breaking for the DeRosier family.

I have had friends who have lost their babies. Even my grandmother lost her little boy. That though terrifies me. It grips me like a vice. Just the thought alone makes my heart race and my chest tighten. These women have strength that surmounts anyone I know. I can only pray that I never know that pain or have my strength tested in that way. I don’t know that I could rise up strong like other courageous women.

I have mentioned briefly before my anxiety and fear in something happening to my children when I wrote the post entitled I’m Sorry Mom-I Get It Now. As a mom who suffers from anxiety and depression, I often do not know if what I am feeling is normal or part of my disorder. Maybe you can help me sort through it all. Maybe you too have these feelings or you know how to ease my constant worry.

I am that mom…

I am that mom that goes in to check on the baby (and the big kids) each night to make sure they are breathing.

I am the one who has monitors in all their bedrooms in case for some reason I can’t hear them cry out.

I am that mom who will probably dream up all the worst-case scenarios for any situation.

I am the one with the inner voice giving myself a pep talk, reminding myself to let it go and it will be okay!

I am the one who hears a segment on the news about many places not having carbon monoxide detectors and immediately jump on Amazon to buy a battery operated travel carbon monoxide detector. (Yes, I do bring that to hotels and people’s houses when we spend the night.)

I am the one who made my husband install a dead bolt on the door to the garage.

I am the one who double checks all the doors to make sure they are locked before heading to bed.


My more level headed other half:

Thankfully my husband is much more laid back than I am. I guess they say opposites attract for a reason. We balance each other out.

While I am over here worrying about the Zika virus or some other random thing I just saw on the news, he is right there reminding me that the chances are very rare. He dutifully installs the deadbolts and gets out of bed, even though he is already half asleep, to double check if he shut the garage door. Slowly he coaxes me to be okay with our one year old sleeping with a blanket. He helps me calm my nerves as I try not to let my fears cripple them or stand in the way of letting them live their life to the fullest.

Together we joke about some of my silly nuances. Yet truthfully, it is always in the back of my mind, that plaguing “what if”.

You are probably reading this thinking, “Wow, this lady is a paranoid nut job!” I get it. It sounds crazy.

Most things have a backstory as to why I worry. Like the carbon monoxide detector, I know of two people who passed away as children from carbon monoxide poisoning. And I will say that it is true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My mom did tell me on Mother’s Day that the glitter in the water table may get in their eyes and hurt them. (I can safely share that because I know she will read this and know she too has spent countless sleepless nights worrying about her babies. You know I love you Mom!)

But other times it is just me thinking that life is circular and something bad is around the bend. It is my way of prepping myself for a bad situation that may come my way.

Is it irrational or just normal “mom-xiety”?

Maybe it is out of the ordinary to worry so much about your children.

I try to embrace the idea that everything is in God’s hands. I truly do try to let it go a little. And I envy the mom who is so relaxed. One day maybe I can be the mom who shrugs off the thought of something happening, letting it roll off my shoulders without a backwards glance. I need a little of that in my life.

I’ll continue to keep working on myself. For now… I need to go put my hand on the baby’s back to feel her chest rise and fall with each breath so I can rest a little easier tonight.

The Power of “No” as a Parent

N-O- sure is a powerful two letter word. What happens when we use “no” too frequently?

“Say yes more often so that when you say “no” they know you mean it.” These words spoken on Zen Parenting Radio hit home. They made me stop and think about all the times in a day I say no.

As a parent to young kids, I feel like I’m always saying no.

“No, you can’t have another snack.”

“No, we already watched a Goldie and Bear so the TV is staying off.”

“No, I can’t push you on the swing right now.”

“No hun, I’m sorry we aren’t getting the paint set out right before dinner.”

Baby smiling on a swing with hands in the air.

Okay, you get it! The list just seems to go on. These are all true statements that I uttered just today!  I really should make a point of counting the number of times I say “no” verses the number of times I say “yes”. Sadly, I wonder if my “no’s” would be more frequent than the “yeses”. I understand there is a fine line to walk between spoiling your child by giving in to their every whim and begin too firm all the time. But somewhere in there I need to make an effort to find a better balance.

I need to realize that it really isn’t a big deal if they have more ketchup. Just squirt a tiny bit more and move on. And if they want a push on the swing, go do it! I’m going to miss their little giggle as they “fly” on the swing. One day I’m going to be wishing they would want me around. I’m going to be the one begging them to spend time with me!

Or instead of saying no to something they want to do, what about offering up something else instead. “Instead of painting before dinner, let’s grab these crayons and you can draw me your plate filled with your favorite foods!” I need to work on finding other ways of saying things so that I can save my “no” for when I truly mean it. I feel that compromising and relaying my message in a more positive way will have a profound impact on who they are and our relationship!

Mom and three daughters all covered in color from the Color Run.

It’s a goal of mine to start making a conscious effort to say yes more often. Life is too short and they are little only this fraction of a time. I’ve got to loosen up. I’ve got to put a more positive spin on how I approach things. I want my No’s to have meaning when I use them.

Leave the dishes, let the table stay dirty, the toys can be picked up later. Go and say yes! Be present! Say yes to the next book they ask to read or the game they have been begging to play. Do it and you may find that you truly enjoyed it as well. It feels good to let go a little.

Mom and three daughters by a scenic river.

Try it out and get back to me! Count the number of times you say “no” to your child. Then the next day try to find a more positive way to approach things. Tell me what you discovered!!

On a side note, if you haven’t checked out Zen Parenting Radio I highly recommend that you take the time to check them out! I listen to their podcasts all the time. I find myself relating to so much they say! They are so real about everything they discuss and make you really ponder how you are thinking and responding to different aspects of your life! Above is a direct link to their website and here is a link to their Facebook account Zen Parenting Facebook.

I try to make it a point to follow ZPR motto: “the best predictor of a child’s well-being is a parent’s self understanding”

Also for more on behaviors and positive parenting, check out our post about how we use a positive behavior plan on Yes, the Principal’s Kid Can Be Naughty!

I’m Sorry Mom-I Get It Now: 7 Things I Realized After Having Kids

Things I Realized After Having Kids

  1. Dinner time is a challenge.

    You worked really hard on that delicious meal. You probably racked your brain trying to come up with something you could throw together. It was carefully planned to meet the criteria–healthy and fast. You spent time prepping it and baking it. And then I wouldn’t eat. I get it now Mom. I get the frustration. And I get the debate as we wager how many bites must be forced down to be excused. I get the exasperation when everyone is hungry and asking for a snack an hour later.

    We are very strict about the kids eating what we eat in our house. I refuse to cook a special meal for each kid. And for the most part, it has worked out just fine. Our kids have a pretty wide range of items that they enjoy eating but, we all have those days where it just seems they won’t eat anything!

2. Everything becomes a hazard or fear of what might happen.

Danger is lurking at every corner. I remember distinctly being unable to grasp why I couldn’t ride my bike around the block myself. I remember climbing up on top of the garage roof and peering at the cars below only to be summoned down by a frantic mom. At that time, I didn’t see the big deal, but man do I get it now. I mean seriously, I ordered a travel carbon-monoxide detector because what if they spend the night at a friend’s house and they don’t have one! (That’s a whole other post…all about “mom-xiety!) I get it Mom, I couldn’t live with something happening to my children just like you couldn’t live with something happening to me!

I’m serious when I say that everything becomes a hazard. This is from a Frozen microphone. The jack that you use to plug into your phone or computer somehow got lodged in her head!!!
3. Signing up for every camp, activity, and event that “everyone else is doing” is just not feasible.

First of it would cost both arms to afford and secondly who has time for all that running!? While it is crushing as a kid to see “all” your friends in a million fun activities and not to mention the five different summer camps, I now understand.

As an alternative to all the camps and sports clinics, we often find local events around the community for the children to attend. This is from the Maker Faire. The kids got a first hand look at some amazing STEAM projects!
4. Mom needs alone time!

You were probably thinking, “You are a pretty cool kid, but NO YOU CAN’T SPEND EVERY WAKING MOMENT WITH ME!” You need a break too. I hear ya! You need a time-out from kids. A chance to just be, to breath, soak in a few minutes of silence and regroup. I mean really, you should be pretty flattered that I wanted to spend that much time with you right?! 😉 But in all seriousness I get it! My kids are amazing and I love them with all my being but sometimes I just need a little time for me.

5. Laundry never ends.

No, the laundry didn’t get done today and we will be lucky if it gets done tomorrow. Your favorite pair of jeans are not clean and if you want to wear them to school you will have to wash them yourself. I GET IT NOW LAUNDRY IS NEVER ENDING!!!! My current view is three heaping baskets of laundry that need to be folded and put away and lord knows I’m being honest when I say that they have been that way for days now.

The Laundry Monster is one of our favorite books to read when the laundry is piled up for a few days. We now joke about our own “Laundry Monster” coming to get Mommy!
We are starting early learning how to fold, hang laundry, and match up socks! As Daniel Tiger says, “We are all BIG helpers in our family!”.
6. Making time for family is important.

Going to see your Great Aunt Betty Jo Lee is important. She may be slightly senile and have a hard time hearing. She may have a thousand breakables that you are only aloud to look at and not touch. But you still need to do it. As a kid, this can be so hard to understand! You just want to be outside or nose deep in a book or really anywhere but there. I get it now. The family is so important and one day you will regret not investing as many hours as you possibly could with those people. Life is short and unexpected. They may not be here tomorrow and we can’t take that for granted.

Check out the fun tradition we created for our entire family!

7. You learn to love where you live not because of the location but because of the people.

You picked our town to live in even though the winters are brutal and you never moved and now I see why. As a kid, I swore I would get out of here as soon as I possibly could! I’d go somewhere warm with sunshine year round! Nope, I stayed put and as my husband would say, “my roots are planted deep here.” Our family is here and if you read number five you understand the strong feelings I have come to realize about being around your family. I need my family around and if that means taking more vitamin D pills a day to get my dose of sunshine then so be it!

I have a feeling this list has only just begun. And I probably haven’t said this enough but, Mom, your job was hard. Thank you for sticking with it and for doing everything you could to raise us to the best of your ability. You have shown us a strength and love unlike anyone else. I know so the reason for so many things that as a child I never could understand.

What is something that your parents did that, after becoming a parent yourself, you were able to reflect on and see in a much clearer light?

My mom and me on my 1st birthday!