YouTube Giveaway! ft. Eventide Creations Wi

Hey blog readers!

I just wanted to pass along a giveaway opportunity that is going on my YouTube channel!

A fellow momma makes some wonderful embossed coffee mugs, and I’m giving one away on my channel to celebrate our 50 subscribers!  (Which is actually now 65 subscribers…)

!!! I HAVE EXTENDED THE LENGTH OF THE GIVEAWAY FOR AN ADDITIONAL WEEK!  NOW ENDING SUNDAY, 6/18/17!!!

Best of luck!

March Favorites

Happy Friday!  My five March favorites:

Style: John’s Crazy Socks!

Beauty: Tony Moly sheet masks

Kids: Activity books

Random #1: Our Q&A: 3 Year Journal for 2 People

Random #2: Locally sourced coffee

 

*This post contains affiliate links.  That doesn’t impact your online shopping or prices.  If you choose to purchase the items linked, I may receive a small affiliate commission from Amazon.  (Literally something like 5 cents.)

When Your Toddlers Says He Doesn’t Love You

“Do you love Momma?”

“No. Ninus love Daddy.”

crumpled paper. Text: When your toddler says, "I don't love you!"

Well, stab me in the heart, why don’t ya.

First of all, never ask a child that question.  I know this, intellectually, but it just slipped out as part of regular banter with my three-year-old.  And just as quickly and uncalculated came his response.  “No.”

Now, this child has ALWAYS preferred his Daddy.  Since the day he was born, no exaggeration.  When he gets hurt or scared he will run right past me to my husband.  This, I am used to.

But what parent wants to actually hear about it, straight from the tot’s mouth?!

I am deeply familiar with child development.  I know he isn’t actually developmentally capable of understanding “love” as an abstract concept.  To him, it’s the same thing as “like” or “prefer.”  And he is a very honest, transparent child, so of course he answered that way.

He still calls for me from his room in the morning.  He still wants me to read him a book every nap time, and lie with him at bed time and sing songs.  He still wants to sit on my lap (sometimes) and help me cook and follow me around all day.  I can be sure he does love me, because of his actions.

That thought gives me pause.  Is this just the opposite of what we so often do as adults?  We verbally tell our children that we love them, but do our actions prove or disprove that?

My toddler’s actions hold much more weight to me than his words about not loving me.  I bet my actions do the same for him.  A million “I love you, baby!”s are not worth as much as sitting and playing trains (a cluttery activity that makes me impatient) or singing a 27th song at 9:00 pm (when I’m practically asleep myself!) or patiently helping him clean up his messes (no matter how gross… thank you, potty training.)

 

To summarize:
1) Never ask your toddler if he/she loves you unless you’re prepared for a “No.”
2) Toddlers can remind us that loving actions are far more important than nice words.

How To: Motivate Yourself to Finish Tasks

Raise your hand if you look at your mountain of dishes or laundry or paperwork and just feel defeated before you begin.  Here’s some ideas about how to motivate yourself to tackle those chores.

(a cup of coffee next to a mountain of paperwork) Text: How To: Motivate Yourself to Finish Tasks

Get Dressed

I mean, I hope you’re wearing some kind of clothes, anyway.  Awkward.

But what I’m getting at is actually getting ready in the morning.  Whatever “ready” is for you.  Get out of your pajamas, clean up, fix your hair (whatever that means to you, again.)

For this momma, that means putting on the same level of real clothes every day, whether I’m leaving my house or not.  It usually means a little makeup – personal preference.  A washed face and brushed teeth and the same hairstyle I wear literally every day (my hair is its whole own saga.  Ha.)  I could fly out the house without doing anything but putting on shoes.

Looking put together helps you feel put together.  If that sounds shallow, try it.  Game-changer.

Coffee/Tea

I enjoy my morning tea and afternoon coffee while working on my planner, writing up my shopping list, working on goal-setting, or other seated tasks.  Sometimes I use “sitting down with a hot beverage and doing nothing” as a self-imposed reward for accomplishing my chores, as well.

Speaking of Rewards

I don’t believe that every self care should be dependent upon you finishing some chore.  That’s a dangerous slope of self-induced guilt and stress.  But sometimes it can help to do something special, just for you, after completing something you’re particularly dreading.

For me, that looks like painting my nails if I get my nighttime routine done before 9 pm.  Going to the coffee shop on Sundays (have you seen my Instagram?!) if I do a sink of dishes first.  Things that are entirely extra, just for fun, occasional indulgences.

Music

Playing music can be a great motivator and stress reducer.  I find I especially appreciate music while cooking dinner – it’s the witching hour when my antsy kids are waiting for Dad to come home, and I can’t carry them around because I’m using knives and stoves.  They are entertained by my ridiculous dancing (I’m a HORRIBLE dancer!) and my frantic waiting-for-backup feelings are kept at bay.

Timer

This one doesn’t work well for me, personally, because my dog barks at timers and my dog’s barking grates on my nerves.  But I’ve heard of people having great success with setting a timer for just 5 or 10 minutes and seeing how much they can pick up in that time, or how many dishes they can wash, or how many clothes they can fold.  It proves that the actual time commitment of completing your housekeeping is not as big as it sounds, and is a fun challenge.  Instead of using a timer, I do the next trick…

Finish something while waiting

There are lots of little pockets of waiting in my day.  I wait for a toddler to use the bathroom, my husband to get out of the shower, tea/coffee water to heat.  For the resulting tea/coffee to steep/brew.  I wait for the kids’ 15 minutes of playtime after lunch before nap, for the washer (which takes longer than the dryer) to finish, for the kids to get done with their baths (that’s a Dad duty).

I smash a task into each of those time slots, which has the effect of the task getting done quickly, and added benefit of saving bigger chunks of time for more enjoyable activities.

Specifically, I wipe down the bathroom while my toddler’s in there.  I pick up our bedroom and check the weather and pick out my clothes while my husband showers.  My phone comes out to check social media while my water is heating (it helps me keep that time in check!) I do as many dishes as I can while my kids play before naptime.  I fold some laundry while I’m waiting for the washer.  The house gets picked up and vacuumed while my kids are in the bathtub.

This method is doubly helpful when it comes to things I MUST do while the kids are awake (vacuuming, cleaning their Jack-and-Jill bathroom) because during many of these little pockets of time, they are otherwise occupied.

Your turn! Do you have any tricks to motivate yourself for your tasks?  Leave them in the comments!

You’ve arrived safely at our new site!

Our old content all migrated, so you can still find those posts below.  Let us know if you experience any “glitches” or if there are any readability problems on any of your devices.

 

On Being Almost 30

Maybe that seems young to you.
Or maybe it seems old like a dinosaur.
Whatever.

I’ve enjoyed periods of self-reflection before most of my milestone birthdays… probably because I’m an introvert.  I tend towards existential quandaries.
But 30 seems different.

At 14, 16, 18, 21, I was just wildly excited.  You know, the way you’re excited for Christmas.  I figured something big and amazing was coming because of this age I was turning.  Somehow I would wake up that morning and suddenly be more mature, have extra privileges.  And of course, I did incur some of those extras when I turned those ages… but also they were a bit of a disappointment.  My life wasn’t much different when I woke up those ages.  I still yearned for another milestone.

At 25, I thought I’d really made it.  I could finally rent a car.  I was convinced that when I was 25, others would be able to see the adult in me.  I look young for my age, and have felt (as many do in my generation, I think, more on that later) that I wasn’t taken seriously as an adult.  I had been married for several years already, graduated college, had a full-time career, was expecting my first child.  But I felt like that number, 25, would signify that I was truly a “big girl” and people would take me more seriously.  Value my opinions.  Stop trying to help me and tell me what to do.

The thing is, once you’re in your 20s, nobody asks your age.  They might still think you look young for your age, but they’re not going to ask.  Adults don’t ask other adults how old they are.  So nobody ever asked, I never got to use that cool new number “25” that I thought sounded so mature, and nobody treated me as more of an adult.
Essentially, 25 was a big letdown.

Here I am, almost a decade of marriage and 2 kids later.  Almost 30.  And this year, everything will be different.

Because I’m not anticipating anything.
I’m not waiting for other people to treat me like an adult.
I’m not hoping someone asks my age rather than assuming I’m 17.
I’m not looking forward to the maturity I will gain, or the new experiences I can have, or the extra dose of privileges afforded me.

I am already content.
The big difference here is that I don’t mind if people assume I’m a teenager.
I don’t need to proclaim my age to feel validated.
My worth as an adult is not defined by how strangers (or even acquaintances… even family!) treat me.

I’m sure I will encounter the same patronizing that I did in my 20s.  I’m fairly certain it’s inescapable for my peers and I (again, more on that later) but that’s alright.  People can’t help their natures.

The difference as my 30s approach is that I know that I’m an adult.  I know how hard I work at having my life together, raising my kids, keeping my home, and helping others.  I have my own standards for adulthood, and I’m meeting them.  My life is organized around my own priorities, and the only validation I’m looking for is from my immediate family.
I’m not waiting for 30 like a momentous occasion, after which some kind of amazing changes will happen for me.
I’m welcoming 30 like an old friend.  I’m already comfortable in my own skin, and with my own life.  I have absolutely no qualms about being 30 (I do not feel at all “old” or like I’m missing out on some kind of crazy fun that my 20s supposedly should have been full of.)  I feel like my 30s, as a range of numbers, will finally be accurate to describe me.  Maybe I don’t look my age, yet, but inside I know that 30 is how I feel.

Accomplished.  In control.  Content, settled, level-headed, confident.  Caffeinated, to be sure, but not in a panicked frenzy chasing after someone else’s version of “grown up.”

Let Go of Mom Guilt: Put Yourself on Your Schedule

Among the HUGE list of “Things I Was Clueless About When I Became a Professional Mom” was the entire concept of planning.

But that’s a topic for another day.

This is just about planning YOURSELF.
Yes, that’s a thing.
Yes, it’s a thing you need to do.
Yes, it will actually improve your parenting.

Whether you’re an on-paper planning aficionado, or all your vague scheduling is in your head, think about it.  Where are YOU on the schedule?  When do you partake in your hobbies, or personal growth activities, or real, intentional leisure time?

Hint: “whenever I can fit it in” is the wrong answer.

That’s how I operated for over a year of full-time at-home parenting.  In practice, it turned out that I did hobbies/personal growth/intentional leisure exactly zero times per week.  Really, almost zero times per year!  Not okay.

The result was a very grumpy, lackluster momma.  One who felt irritation rise at the very first whine of the morning, who felt guilt and exhaustion every time she spotted the half-finished novel on her bedside table.  (The novel I promised myself I would finish before moving, and didn’t finish until months afterward.)  I was a mom who didn’t even feel at leisure on vacation – I would bring along a hobby and it never made it out of the suitcase.  Ugh.

Enter 2017.  This year began with a little Parents’ Getaway (something I always said I’d never need or participate in.)  The epitome of scheduled leisure.  I planned this little vacation to intentionally include nothing but scheduled leisure – the dead of winter in Wisconsin, in the middle of farm country, in a tiny vacation home with nothing but two bags: one of face masks, board games, and novels and the other of groceries.
And this spurred an entire lifestyle change.  (No exaggeration!)  I realized that the only thing preventing me from reading, relaxing, etc was that I didn’t treat it as important.  That if I didn’t create pockets of time for my own adult brain, I was going to lose my patience/sanity/creativity/intellectual prowess during my years as a professional parent.  And that prospect was NOT ACCEPTABLE.

So here’s what I did:  I took out my planner (because I’m old fashioned!) and quite literally penned myself in, every day.  In the first slot of my planner, every day, I schedule a cup of tea and either blog writing or professional development reading.  In the very last slot, every day, I schedule fiction reading, movie nights with my husband, nail painting/face masking, etc.  The last weekend of each month, I spend my early morning at the local coffee shop (read: my literal happy place) setting goals for the next month. I actually think about this at the start of every week and pen. it. in. with equal weight as my cleaning schedule and meal plan.

And a lot of the time, I actually do it!  I don’t fall asleep on the couch at 8:30 thinking of all the wonderful things I could do, but feeling like I should do housekeeping instead.  I don’t drag myself out of bed to the sound of little boys pounding on bedroom walls.  I’m actually pumped to get up early each day for my “me time” and I can dive right into a relaxing activity as soon as the kids are tucked in at night.

It’s given me the “permission” to nurture myself, in addition to looking after the hearts of my family.

And a peaceful mom runs a peaceful home.

What’s a hobby or leisure activity you claim to love but never have time to do?
Make an appointment with yourself!