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.
Inspiration Archives - Page 2 of 4 - MOMcircle
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
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.
Last night when I came home from work, I noticed the beauty of the maple tree in my front yard. I see it every day, but I don’t always realize its beauty and what it represents to me.
We planted it soon after we moved into our house, in an earlier season of my life. My children were small and so was the tree. I took pictures of my daughter and son standing in the front yard every year on the first day of school. The tree grew with them every year. Eventually, there was only one child in the photo on the first day of school, and now the tree stands alone on that day each year.
It was in photos of every milestone of our lives, from honor roll to confirmations and graduations. I have a memory of my mother-in-law standing by it with my husband on her last visit to our home. We lost her a few months later.
The tree changes with every season and has grown with the seasons of my life. It tree represents memories and family. It represents growth and change. It represents life.
Gather your children close this holiday season and be grateful for the MOMents together.
Taking my baby girl to get her shots was hard on me as a mom. I would watch them give two or three shots in each leg, and she would look up at me with tears in her eyes like she was asking me why I let them hurt her like that. I asked myself that question many times: why did I agree to these shots if they cause my baby pain? What kind of mom would allow that?
A mom who protects her baby would allow that. In trade for a few seconds of pain and a few days with a slight fever, I was protecting my baby from horrible illnesses. I was protecting her from whooping cough, measles, mumps, and rubella. I was protecting her illnesses that cause far more discomfort that a few shots. I was protecting my baby’s health and life by allowing the immunizations.
After the nurse was done giving the shots, I held my baby girl close. I comforted her. I told her that I loved her and that I would always do everything I could to protect her.
I was blessed to spend a full 8 weeks at home with both of my babies after they were born. When I was home with my baby boy, my husband still took my three-year-old daughter to daycare so my son and I could have that special time for us. I was proud to nurse him through his six-week growth spurt with no formula. Every ounce he gained was because of me.
When I went back to work, I had to pump twice a day. At first, it was exciting to pump. It was amazing to me that my body could produce so much milk. After a few months, it wasn’t exciting anymore. I had to remind myself every time I pumped that this was for my son, and that my milk was something only I could give him. My milk had benefits for his whole life, which was more important than taking a break with my friends. I am so thankful for the support I had at work. I had a private place to pump and a boss that understood how important breastfeeding was to me. My co-worker had a baby a few months after me and was also breastfeeding. We supported each other through that first year.
It isn’t easy to work and breastfeed. Expressing breastmilk for my baby was a selfless act of love.
When I had baby, my life changed instantly. I never knew I could love one little baby girl so completely and yet feel so unsure of myself and tired all at the same time! It seemed like life became a continuous stream of feedings, diaper changes and sleepless nights.
I could not have made it through those early weeks without her dad and my mom helping me out. When she woke up at night, he changed her for me and brought her to me to nurse. When she got fussy in the evenings, he would walk around with her and sing to her. That allowed me to get outside in the fresh air and walk around the block a few times and take care of myself. It really helped me to feel refreshed and ready to go again when I got back home.
My mom was there for me too. She has always been my hero! She would come over and rock and cuddle the baby while I got some much-needed rest. She loved the bonding time and I loved the naps! When my daughter started sucking her hands and was ready to eat, my mom brought her to me and we snuggled in to breastfeed. Mom loved to watch us nurse and said it reminded her of the time she spent breastfeeding me. She was so supportive!
I love the way my family helped ease my transition into motherhood and supported me on my breastfeeding journey. I couldn’t have done it without them!
I was so excited when I found out I was pregnant, and even more excited when I found out I was having a baby girl. I imagined the perfect baby and having her dressed perfectly in pink. When she was born, she was everything I had dreamt of.
When she was about two weeks old, her temperament changed. She started crying A LOT, for hours at a time every evening. Nothing neither my husband nor I did helped. I felt like a failure as a mom because I couldn’t comfort my own daughter. The doctors informed me she had colic.
There is a lot of information out there about what for to do for colic. There are formulas that claim to help with colic and special drops you can give your baby. A friend even suggested adding cereal to the bottle to help her sleep. I was desperate for help and didn’t really know what to do for her.
My doctor recommended trying the “5 S’s”: swaddling her, turning her on her side while holding her, making a shushing sound, swinging her from side to side as I held her, and giving her a pacifier to suck. Turning her to her side and swinging gently as I held her did help a little. Thankfully, my husband was right there to give me a break when I couldn’t take it anymore.
After a few months, the constant crying stopped. Colic wasn’t something I had envisioned for my baby girl, but we made it through that time, and I learned I wasn’t a failure as a mom.
As a new mom, I was given a lot of unsolicited advice from my mother, my grandmother, my mother-in-law, and even my hairdresser. It was very overwhelming, and it was hard for me to know which voice I should listen to.
My mom is the perfect mom — she is my hero, and I wanted to be just like her — but her advice for me to feed my baby solid food at 2 weeks didn’t seem quite right. She assured me that her doctor had recommended adding cereal to the bottle for my brother, but all of the books I read recommended solid food at 6 months.
My mother-in-law raised the most amazing man I have ever known, but she encouraged me to stop breastfeeding my baby after just a few months and start giving him 2% milk. My baby was thriving on breastmilk, and I treasured those special moments when it was just the two of us. I couldn’t imagine giving that up.
I cherish every day I got to spent with my grandma and I miss her terribly, but some of her mothering advice may have been a little outdated. She recommended I have my breastmilk checked by my doctor to make sure it was good enough. She said when she was breastfeeding my aunt, her milk looked like skim milk and my aunt didn’t grow well. My baby boy was growing perfectly, so I knew my milk was perfect for him.
I love and respect these women in my life. They have so much more experience than I do as a mom, but recommendations change over the years. I needed to find my own voice to be my baby’s hero.
Life is so busy and now that my son is in school and plays organized sports, it’s busier than ever. This is why I put such a strong emphasis on family dinners and spending time together around the table. This is the best time for us all to slow down and dedicate time to each other to find out how everyone’s day was, ask questions, and have conversations to make sure we’re all on the same page. Some of my favorite memories as a child happened around the dinner table, and I want to provide the same wonderful memories for my family. Our dinner table is a safe place for everyone, and I will always make sure family mealtime never gets put on the back burner.