Blended families are complicated in the best of circumstances, and disagreements over where, when, and how family meals happen may seem like the least of a co-parent’s worries. However, when our electronic-free, relaxing meal times turn into a circus-like free-for-all, this momma sometimes finds herself at wit’s end! But then I remember the most important thing: We are together. We are talking about our day and connecting, practicing manners, and making memories. Her stepdad and I are showing our values to this wide-eyed little person who is absorbing every word and action. None of us want #familymealtime to be all discipline because they are only little once and therefore life should be a fun adventure for them. So, I’ve found that if I turn on a little upbeat music during dinner, we are all more relaxed, and when she breaks out into an impromptu dining room dance party, I’m more prone to join in.
MamaMia, Author at MOMcircle - Page 2 of 20
What summer plans do you have for your kiddos? Since both my husband and I work 8-5, all of our activities will have to take place on the weekends. I’ve come up with a plan for every weekend over the summer. My kids get out of school at the end of May, so that leaves us with about 10 weekends to work with. Not only do these activities build our bond as a family, but they also keep us active! (I added a “rest weekend” because rest is just as important as exercise.)
- Weekend 1: Go hiking
- Weekend 2: Visit the park
- Weekend 3: Ride bikes
- Weekend 4: Take a walk
- Weekend 5: Rest weekend
- Weekend 6: Scavenger hunt
- Weekend 7: Go swimming
- Weekend 8: Play sports
- Weekend 9: Yoga
- Weekend 10: Clean up the yard
Do your kids like to drink water? One of my girls does, but it’s always a battle with my four-year-old. I’ve put it in big girl cup, a fun cup with a twirly straw, and a water bottle so she feels like a “big girl”. These things only worked for the first couple of times, then it was back to the drawing board.
I can proudly say I’ve found something that works and is still working! I found a water bottle with a fruit infuser inside of it. I cut up fresh strawberries and lemons, then added water. Not only does it make the water look pretty, but it tastes like strawberry lemonade. I’ve also added fresh blueberries, cherries, and limes. It’s so easy to change up! I’ve even used a clear pitcher with water and ice for home.
It goes so fast, and I rest easy knowing we’re all drinking more water. I hope this can help your family drink more water as much as it has helped mine!
Spring is almost here, which means we get to play outside again. My seven-year-old is in dance, so I don’t worry about her getting enough physical activity, but my four-year-old tries to turn into a couch potato in the winter months. Thankfully, my husband is all about fitness (I’m trying) so we make physical activity a family affair. Here’s a list of our favorite physical activities, both indoor and outdoor:
- Bike riding
- Dance party (Always indoors because I dance like a newborn giraffe)
- Jumping on the trampoline
- Roller skating in the garage
- Walking around the neighborhood
- Indoor basketball (This is a cool trick to make your kids help with laundry)
- Scavenger hunt (Indoor or outdoor)
- “Hide & Seek”
- “Red Light, Green Light” w/ music (Indoor or outdoor)
- Clean house obstacle course (This is my personal favorite)
This morning, my four-year-old was in a horrible mood because of the shirt I put on her. My older daughter never acted like that. The fact is, they’re two different people with very different personalities, and sometimes I forget this. Because of their differences, I have to parent them differently, which makes me seem unfair to them.
I’m probably overthinking this, but I just want to be a good mom. I want to be fair. I want them to think I’m the best. After my daughter was upset with me this morning, I took it really hard. I felt like a bad mom. I looked her in the eye before I went to work, told her I loved her, and to have a good day. She rolled her eyes (Yes, she’s four) and she said she loves me too.
I think we mamas are really hard on ourselves. Sitting in the parking lot before heading into work, I stared in the mirror. I saw those tired eyes. I felt myself judging my parenting skills. Why didn’t I just let her wear the shirt she wanted? That’s when I decided that I am enough. I am doing a good job. She has a personality of her own, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Next time, I will let her wear the shirt she wants. And next time I get down on myself (because we all do), I will remember that this is just a season, and it may be a fuss over a shirt right now but later might be something bigger. So no matter what your hardship is with your babies, don’t forget you have the best job in the world—to be their mama.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! My kids’ school doesn’t allow Valentine’s gifts to be sent to them like they were when I was little. It makes me sad because I know how special it made me feel to receive flowers and goodies from my mom. It felt so good to get gifts in front of our friends because it showed that someone else cared about us, and we liked to show that off. I want my kids to feel that no matter what gifts they can or can’t show off on Valentine’s Day.
So, I’ve decided to start a new tradition for my kids around Valentine’s Day. I’ve made hearts out of construction paper, and every day I write something I love about them and tape it on their bedroom doors. My girls wake up to a new love note every morning, and as a result, I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many “I love you, Mom”s! My older daughter even took one to school to show it off! Not only is she spreading my idea to other parents, but showing off her “gift” and getting that same feel I got when my mom sent me a Valentine.
I’ll still have a teddy bear and flower waiting for them when they get home from school on Valentine’s Day, but I think these little love notes make it even more special.
Remember that your words as a mom are powerful. I have to keep reminding myself of this. When I call my daughter a “picky eater,” she becomes a picky eater because it discourages her from trying new things. When I call her a “veggie monster,” she is more likely to try the vegetables I offer. Calling your child a picky eater may discourage them from trying new things at all.
You know your babies better than anyone else, so if you’re offering foods (like vegetables) you know they won’t eat, try hiding it in foods you know they like. My daughter doesn’t usually eat spinach, but she LOVES omelets. I offered my little “veggie monster” a ham, cheese, and spinach omelet and told her “I made it pretty” and she ate the whole thing and loves spinach now! The next time, I snuck spinach leaves into our homemade pizza and she ate it happily. If I would’ve said “I know you won’t eat this because you’re picky and don’t like spinach,” I wouldn’t have gotten her to eat it.
Someday, not today, I will tell her exactly what it is. For now, I know that I am giving her the gift of a lifetime. I used the power of my words, and the trick of adding veggies to something she already likes, to create a “veggie monster”.
Because being a mom is so tiresome, I have found these quick tips helpful during those restless nights:
- It’s okay to ask for help.
- Sleep when baby sleeps.
- The dishes and laundry can wait!
- Sometimes, sleep is more important than a shower.
While I was breastfeeding my daughter, I struggled with knowing when to stop. I began offering her cow’s milk instead of the breast once she turned a year old, but she would cry until I gave in and nursed her. At that moment, I realized that I was ready to stop breastfeeding, but my baby wasn’t. I continued breastfeeding for two more months. At fourteen months old, my daughter gradually self-weaned. It’s easy to assume that they’re done breastfeeding once they turn a year old, but then what? Will my bond be broken? Of course not. We are their heroes for life. If you want to keep breastfeeding your baby beyond a year, go for it. There may be people telling you to stop, but at the end of the day, your voice is the only one that matters to your baby. Just like you began your breastfeeding journey together, together you’ll decide the right time to end.
I love it when my family is able to sit down together for a meal. We’re able to sit, talk, and laugh while hearing about each other’s week. We stay pretty busy so our family mealtime is usually only once or twice a week. Something my husband and I do so that we’re able to give our girls our full attention is put our phones up during mealtime. In this day and age, we feel the need to be attached to our phones — sometimes missing what’s right in front of us.
Since we started putting our phones away, our conversations are more intimate. I feel more in-tune with my girls’ successes and/or struggles at school. It makes me wonder what I missed when I was on my phone at the table. My daughter came home with a paper she made for Thanksgiving. It was a list of things she was thankful for. It said, “Thank you, mommy, for feeding me and talking to me and loving me.” This was reassurance that I was doing a good job.