Brave Mom Decisions Archives - MOMcircle

A (Somewhat) Healthy Halloween

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It’s officially fall, and with fall comes Halloween. For many moms and our kids, this means that our efforts for a healthy family diet disappear for a couple of nights while we splurge on trick-or-treat candy. I’m okay with this because Halloween just isn’t the same without the thrill my kids get when they come home from trick-or-treating, spread out on the living room floor, and sort through all of their candy. I remember how exciting this was for me when I was young, and it just isn’t the same with healthy substitutes for candy (no matter how much us moms would love to watch our kids excitedly sorting through fruits and vegetables!).

So, in order to keep the Halloween candy high from getting out of control, I let my kids have their fun on Halloween night, then I take the candy the next day and hand it out to them sparingly each day after for as long as it lasts. I balance this with healthy, low-sugar and low-salt meals, and only give them a couple of pieces a night after they’ve eaten all the healthy stuff. This way, my kids have all the fun on Halloween night, but it’s enjoyed in small, manageable doses afterward.

Stand Your Ground

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We hear it from virtually everyone that our children need to drink more water. Yet more often than not, no one can give tips on how to get our children to drink more water. When my oldest son was around 3 years old, we had to take him to the emergency room because he had rectal prolapse. Thankfully, it wasn’t major and was able to correct itself before the doctor even saw him, but his pediatrician told his father and I to make him drink more water. He is 3. How is it even possible to MAKE him do anything, let alone drink more water?

Yes, I can leave it in his cup and let it sit there all day, but why would I not give him something I know he will drink so he will stay hydrated? Well, that obviously wasn’t working like I thought it would. I knew he was drinking too much pop and too many sugary drinks, but how was I supposed to get him to drink more water? I’ve tried the flavor drops in the water and stopping sugary drinks cold turkey in the past and it didn’t work. I think it hurt me more than it did my kids.

So, I finally decided I was going to do what I felt worked for my family. It may not have been the healthiest way to go but it worked for us. Instead of letting the kids drink Dr. Pepper and sweet tea all day, I had to figure out a way to incorporate more water into their daily diet. So for every can of pop they had, they had to drink one bottle of water. I started out with the small bottles of water since they’re kid-sized.

Trust me, it wasn’t easy; there were times I wanted to give in because I was worried that they weren’t getting enough to drink. But I had to ask myself, “How will that can of pop help? It will just make things worse in the long run.” My advice is to stay strong and firm on your decision. It’s not always easy but in the end, it’s worth it!

After a couple of weeks of doing this (and yes, I mean a couple of weeks) all of my kids, including my 2-year-old and my bonus daughter (I don’t like the term “step”), now ask me if they can have a bottle of water when they are thirsty! It makes this momma smile ear to ear! (Don’t get me wrong, they still get a pop or glass of tea every now and then) .

When You Know Better, Do Better

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A friend shared her feelings of guilt with me about her almost five-year-old child’s recent dental appointment. Several cavities, two teeth to be capped, and a stern talking-to from the dentist for mom. The dentist asked, “Who is helping him brush his teeth?” She said her boy had been able to do it on his own since he turned three. “Nope,” the doctor said, “kids need an adult to brush their teeth for them, twice daily, until they are at least six years old!” I immediately felt myself flush with dreaded mom guilt. My girl was nearly three at the time, and while I brushed for her in the evening, I was allowing her to brush her teeth herself each morning. My friend and I agreed that we were only trying to encourage our littles to be capable and independent, but we were putting them at risk for tooth decay. Talk about a #momfail! But as Maya Angelou said: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

It’s a Game of Give and Take

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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.

Turn Off the Tech

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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.

A Winning Team

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Family meals are important to me. In fact, I wish they happened more often. Between work, taking my daughters to dance class, and going to school, it’s challenging to do all the cooking and cleaning myself. If you’re like me, I try to take on EVERYTHING by myself, and I struggle with allowing my daughters to help out in the kitchen. In the back of my mind, I know this helps them build self-esteem and teaches them how to be independent, but as they’re asking me if they can help, all I can think of is how big of a mess they’ll make and how much longer it’s going to take.

That’s not the kind of mom I want to be. 20 years from now, I want my kids to think, “How long did Mom say to cook this?” not “Mom never let me help with anything!“ So this weekend, I decided to change that. I named one of my kids the cooking helper and the other one the cleaning helper (because they also need to do the dirty work behind cooking) and making it a rule to switch duties with every family meal. Not only am I teaching my girls how to be responsible, but they’re also learning healthy recipes while spending quality time with mama.