Category: mommy

mommy

Birthday weekend!

I know someone who had a birthday this weekend …

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Could it be … NORA?

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Yes, our spunky and feisty little girl turned four this weekend. We celebrated with Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Nelson, a whole bunch of Sofia the First decorations (Mommy may love Sofia just as much as Nora), and a Cinderella cupcake “cake.”

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Okay, maybe you have to squint a bit to see it, but it’s a Cinderella dress made out of cupcakes. I’m telling you, you haven’t truly lived until you’re pawing at your smartphone with buttercream-crusted fingers to find out exactly which shades of blue you need for Cindy’s dress. And kudos to my mom for taking the time to put the little pearls on as decoration! I pointed out that she’d made a “Hidden Mickey”, which was entirely by chance. 🙂

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Happy birthday, sweet girl! You are full of imagination, dreams, and drama. You might just be the funniest person I know, too.

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Things I’ve Learned (So Far) As a Mom

Things I’ve learned as a Mom:

  • There are never, ever enough AAA or AA batteries in the house.
  • There will be too many of the WRONG kind of batteries in the house when your child clamors for the other kind.
  • Always keep a Philips screwdriver in the kitchen drawer.
  • Nature’s Miracle is handy for pet messes and for a light spray-down of a potty-training kid’s mattress.
  • Check your own pockets for tissues and chapstick before doing the laundry.
  • Diaper rash ointment can be handy for Mom’s running problems as well as baby’s bottom
  • Every work of art is precious
  • But take a picture of it and get rid of it or it will BREED LIKE RABBITS
  • Only get rid of it when the kids aren’t looking
  • Or teach the kids the value of recycling early in their lives
  • Also: “This is how we make room for MORE art!”
  • Keep an extra storage tote handy for dropping in seasonal decor that didn’t quite make the Easter clean-up of Christmas decorations (what, is it just me?)
  • Sometimes a ten-minute timer makes cleaning into a game or a race, especially if there’s a prize at the end
  • That works on kids too
  • Throw the laundry detergent cup into the load after you add the soap. No more sticky residue!
  • Also: keep the extra ones when you buy new detergent.
  • Also: remember to get it out of the washer before you transfer the load to the dryer. Ha!
  • Finally … three hours of kid-free cleaning while at home and sick still accomplishes the same as two weeks worth of cleaning while the kids are around.

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I’m trying a Summer Blog Project to get myself to write more regularly. The project is – wait for it – blogging during the summer. I know! You can follow along by liking the Treacle.Net Facebook page!

 

My Homemaker BĂŞte Noire

Oh man, you guys. I need some help.

Since we’re among friends, I will freely admit that I have lots of shortcomings in the homemaker area. As in, I really don’t excel at it. I hate cleaning, I organize people and schedules better than clothes and dishes and laundry, and I can’t decorate a home to save my life. I see Pinterest boards of beautiful homes and rooms (here’s my dream board) and wonder how people come up with these ideas.

I want this to be my living room:

Pinned from Four Generations, One Roof

In reality, I have this – the laundry couch and the “what, you want to actually SIT here?” couch:

The Laundry Couch
The Laundry Couch
Wait, you want to SIT here?
Wait, you want to SIT here?

I’d love for the kids’ playroom to be this:

clean playroom that is not at my house
Pinned from Houzz.com

But right now we have this:

When children run amok
When children run amok
At least the window blows out some of the messy detail
At least the window blows out some of the messy detail

I’ve tried and failed at various organizational methods, so now I’m going to try again. Because like I said, no change means you stay in the situation you’re already in.

Fact: Five people live in this house. There will always be laundry.
Fiction: Laundry has to immediately be put away, wrinkle-free, and on color-coordinated hangers.
Deal with it, Erin: put the laundry away so people have a place to sit.

Fact: Children are messy and not naturally inclined to organize their toys.
Fiction: Children cannot be taught to clean up their messes.
Deal with it, Erin: Someone has to teach them and build cleaning up into their daily schedules. And they’re learning by watching, so you better clean up along with them.

Fact: Most of my days are spent away from home.
Fiction: I get a pass on cleaning when I am home, because I’m tired.
Deal with it, Erin: It’s not fair to hope someone else will magically take care of all the messes. It’s also not fair to get all crazy and upset every few weeks because you’ve let the messes spawn.

Ugh.

I have some other ideas of things I could do with organization systems, but right now it’s boiling down to this:

  1. Get rid of some crap and junk in the playroom. Okay, around the house in general. Look into toy rotation, too.
  2. Spend at least 10 minutes a day cleaning up, with a little more on the weekend.
  3. Get one storage tote for each child (maybe even the grown-ups) and label it “Next.” Next season, next size, whatever makes sense for the person. Then put all the other ones away.

How do you tame the household chaos you can’t stand?

Not as easy as they say.

One statement I’ve heard a lot about running:

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“It’s the easiest sport ever! You just put on some running shoes and go outside!”

Totally correct! Except when it’s not. I think it’s a gross over-simplification that breaks down pretty quickly for many people. For me, that could have been correct when I was under 30, single, or newly married.

These days – with three children (toddler up to now first-grader), an awesome husband, and a full-time job away from home – it’s more like this:

20140606-103204-37924347.jpgIs it worth it? Absolutely. Is it easy? No way, and I’m not even talking about the running part of running.

I love reading running blogs, but need to go beyond my usual reads. They’re great women, but they’re mostly child-free and younger than me. I am serious when I say that I love reading their posts and have learned a lot from them. I need to find some peers to round out my reading, you know? I start putting unrealistic expectations on myself otherwise.

I had a conversation online with some other mom friends who are working fitness into their lives in various ways. It is HARD. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom who stays and works at home or if you’re a mom who’s working outside the home. Filling at least three roles (individual, partner, and mother) takes a lot of time and energy. Adding a fourth role – RUNNER – brings in a whole new dimension of strategy.

I run in the early morning or in a gym at the end of the work day. For the early morning, I run outside in our neighborhood. I have had to think through the things that would make me feel safer … reflective gear, light-colored clothing, lower music volume, CONSTANT VIGILANCE (thank you, Professor Moody), sticking to well-lit sidewalks, and timing my run so that I’m running more toward sunrise than not. I totally bailed on running when DST started because it was just too dark. Also never pictured in my post-run photos: the pepper spray I try to remember to carry every time. Not just for humans, but for any dogs whose owners aren’t being smart about them. I’m also thinking about buying a reflective vest type thing to wear when I run early morning. Early mornings work for me because kids are asleep, my husband can shower and start to get ready, and it’s the coolest part of the day here. I hate getting up, but that’s the trade-off I have to make.

I think that’s the big conversation you have to have with your partner and yourself: trade-offs. If we both agree this is something important to do for my mental and physical health, we both have to agree to make space for it somehow and address associated concerns. If the concern is being left alone at a certain time with the kids, what are the alternative plans that don’t result in that and what steps do we take to mitigate additional concerns? If the concern is safety of running location or time, what are the adjustments to be made to meet those concerns? Which primary concern “wins” for both of you so that you agree to make the adjustments for the secondary concern?

Adding in the Runner role requires change. It is NOT the easiest sport ever for me. It requires flexibility from everyone. There is no absolutely perfect solution that requires no change, because no change keeps you in the situation you’re already in. Something always has to give – time, routine, or money for a gym with childcare so mommy can exercise and not lose her head.

The pay-off has been totally worth it. My daughter plays “runner” now, in the middle of being a princess-astronaut-doctor-mom. She went to go have her run “in space” after putting her babies in bed. My oldest son wants to start running with me every week. My toddler already loves the jogging stroller. I don’t want to smack strangers as often as I used to. It’s awesome … it’s just not easy.