Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Whatever You Do, Do it WITH Them

I recently heard this saying...

"Whatever you do, do it WITH them."

So, I'm definitely not always doing things with my kids... even though I'm completely passionate about motherhood and blog about it :).  And involving them in everything is just not realistic or possible.  Kids having some play time alone is great... my kids are just not quite at the stage yet where they can play alone together for a long time without some serious issues :).  Some days can be so tough and I can so easily lose sight of my vision and hopes.  I find myself getting easily agitated with the littles when I'm just trying to get something done! Sometimes a little show or movie is my saving grace to whip up some dinner, to clean up the spills, to squeeze in a two-second shower :), or to just have one ounce of time to attack my to do list or a deep breath to feel a moment of peace!!  And, I also find myself feeling guilty about the times when I'm not with them giving them my whole best self.  But... I will not give up!   I re-vow each day to try again and be a little more like the mother I want to be.  

You hear many experienced mothers talk about how fast your kids grow up and how it's gone all too quickly. These mothers are about in tears as they talk about how important the little daily moments are (especially when they are all gone captured only in photographs).  It's funny how while in the trenches, certain days can feel like an eternity.  But, in 10 or 20 years, I'm not going to care about the to do list that I had accomplished.  I'm going to care about the cute moment tonight when Brayden and Hailey chugged their fruit shakes together while sitting on the kitchen table.  And the way he put his arm around her and how they giggled together ...  

I'm going to care that I took the time to develop deep relationships with my husband and children.  I feel like I have to learn the same lesson over and over again!!  But I just so desire to BE there more WITH them... to laugh more and to share more and more meaningful moments together.  THAT is what really matters most... not just spending time living in the same house, but pouring out my whole focus and love to them!    

So recently I've been trying out the power of INVOLVING my kids a little more in what I am doing.  

In an attempt to help my picky eater be somewhat healthy, TOGETHER we made raspberry wheat rolls with cream cheese frosting.  He pretty much only licked the frosting off, but we had so much fun making it - and making a big mess too :)

This week, I actually had Brayden put all the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. With a little training, I was completely amazed and how well he did!! He was just beaming with excitement and giddiness that he could do it.  (Here's a post about how to train your kids to work and another post about why working together is so important... both things I need to remember!)
For the first time, "all the buddies" (a.k.a. me, steve, brayden, and hailey) washed our car TOGETHER!  Both kids had a blast in all the bubbles and feeling like they had a job to do.

Even though we had a ton of housework to do when Steve got home from work, we just took off and hiked to a waterfall TOGETHER!... something we have talked about doing for years!  And if you can believe it - instead of being so rushed to get there and back, we actually took time to throw rocks over the bridge and to explore around...

And so I write this post to remind myself (since I need the reminder every single day!) to do and be MORE WITH THEM.  In all of your life's craziness, I hope you forgive yourself when you're not your best and feel encouraged to enjoy your children more!!  Your precious children need and want YOU desperately, and now is the precious time to make it happen.    

Friday, June 22, 2012

DIY Children's Bookshelf - with book covers showing

One of my dreams has recently come true... I finally made the kids' bookshelf that displays the front covers!  Brayden and Hailey already read so much more these days so the effort and costs were totally worth it.  

Just imagine if this bookshelf was mounted on a beautifully painted, non-cyderblock wall and was not painted with cheap white paint that I got for $1 :).  Wouldn't it look amazing?!  I got all the wood supplies at Lowe's for just under $30:

-Backboard (we bought white beadboard, but I think a plain wood might look better)
-6 dowels 1/2 inch in diameter. We just predrilled the holes on two sides to fit the dowels.
- 1 x 4in x 6ft (it's really 3/4 in. rather than 1 in.) wood boards
-2 in wood screws and wood filler to fill in the screw holes

You just make up your own plan for your desired dimensions and then have Lowe's cut all the pieces for you.  This blog post inspired me to create this DIY bookshelf and she got the idea from Pottery Barn Kids.
Her bookshelf is square which actually looks even better.  She cut four pieces to be 35 3/4" (top and bottom and both sides) and two 34 1/4" (for middle shelves).

Ok, so my bookshelf doesn't look anything like this Pottery Barn one... which is kind of depressing :), but oh well, at least my kids are reading more books now!  Some moms put out all their checked out library books on the display or others put out themed books depending on what time of the year it is... christmas books during December, books about love in February... 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Emotional Overload?

Isn't it interesting the emotional roller coaster we travel on as a mother?! One moment we feel we could conquer the world and the next moment we wonder if we can keep doing this.  One moment we are just bubbling over and melting inside with how much we adore these little people and then the next we are ready to pull out our hair or crawl up and cry!  Well these sayings made me cry yesterday from laughing so hard... 

and my personal favorite :)

For me, many of the really tough parenting moments boil down to this:

  • My kids (and I) are tired
  • we're hungry
  • we've been inside the house for too long
  • sibling rivalry/fighting
  • they need more love and attention
  • I need some chocolate... and an ounce of personal time
  • the house is an absolute mess
  • and/or I'm trying to get something "done"
So in your hard times, ask yourself, "Do they [we] need more sleep? Do they need to eat?  Do we need to get out of the house or find some friends?  Can I drop my to-do list right now and pour out more love and attention?  How can we carve out some time to get this house in better order :)? What do I need to thrive and not just survive? ...
You're not alone.  Whether mothers admit it or not, none of us ever could have imagined how tough motherhood would be.  We also could never have previously fathomed how beautiful it is ... you know those precious little moments when you are filled to the brim with immeasurable joy and love which keeps you going through all those challenging times!  YOU CAN DO AMAZING THINGS as a MOTHER.  You have the MOST IMPORTANT, IRREPLACEABLE, INFLUENTIAL job on the planet!  It's going to be okay... we all have (I'm assuming I'm not the only one) hard days, but know that THERE is HOPE!  There's always a new day with a fresh start. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Q & A: the working mom

Whew, we are all moved in and it has been hard to keep up on the blog!  It has now been 7 months since I started busybliss, and I just have to say what a fun and amazing experience it has been to connect with and learn from all you women!  THANK YOU all for your interesting and insightful feedback.  For all those who have contacted me, I do think about you and so want to respond to every one - I just have to find the time to do it!  The other day I was trying to go through my emails to reply... Hailey was napping and Brayden was on the couch watching a movie, so I thought I'd have a moment to catch up!  After a few responses I looked over at my cute little boy, left the computer, and decided to massage his back with lotion and giggle with him.  So thanks for your patience as I try to balance this blog and you wonderful women who are so important to me AND taking care of my family which is the MOST IMPORTANT thing.  I thought I'd start doing Q & As and open it up for all your wives and mothers to comment!  If you have any questions, you can either comment or click on the "Contact Me" tab.

Q: "Hi! I found your blog on pinterest and I've been reading it for the past few hours! Your words are so encouraging! I was just wondering if you have any advice for a working mom? I have a 20 month old precious girl and I was blessed to be able to stay home with her for the first year but had to go back to work last November. I struggle with it every day that I have to drop her off at the babysitter's. I don't have many friends who are mom's and the ones that I have are stay at home moms. It's just so hard to handle all the guilt that I have leaving her everyday but yet knowing that I have to work. My husband is very supportive but I don't know that he understands the reality of what it's like for a mother leaving her child everyday, because men are made differently, and although he listens to me and tries to understand it would be nice to hear from a woman."

A:  You are not alone!  So many women are faced with similar situations where they have to work (or enjoy their job) but also want to be there for their children!  Right now I'm working part time to help out financially - luckily my hours are somewhat flexible, but it can be so hard to be pulled away from our children during the day and/or our husband at night.  I think it's natural for us women to take responsibility and ownership over our kids - even when we have husbands who are really involved and supportive as dads.  Guilt is such a universal feeling mothers can have and we just never have enough time and just can't do it all.
     That's so awesome that you were able to be home the first year!!  I've thought about you lots and here are just a few thoughts... I think being selective in choosing a babysitter or daycare that you feel will be a positive influence and environment would be encouraging.  And since you do have time away, I'm sure you value the time you do have with your children so much more.  Even though you're likely exhausted and have lots to do after a long day's work, I bet you're doing what you can making the most of that precious time with her!  And I think simplifying and saying no to whatever else you can so you have more time to be there after work.  It also helps to find ways to give one-on-one time and attention... like maybe you could have a "girl's night" or a "date night" with her or have a special bedtime routine. You can have a great relationship with your little girl and work at the same time - I wish you the very best and hope someday you'll be able to stay home if that's what you want!