When it comes to parenting everyone wants to offer their expert advice, and by expert, I mean mothers with children and degreed nonparents. Well, rest assured that I am not here to offer you advice, prejudge or even tell you what you should be doing.
Even as a mother of ten, yup 10 children, I do not consider myself an expert mommy. On the contrary, I still learn new things every day. What I will offer are some mommy hacks and tips that keep me from running away from home on a daily basis.
Don’t worry. This is not some ‘How to get organized’ article because around here we run off of 80% chaos and 20% right in the nick of time.
As a wife, mother, and business owner there is always something to do and something else that needs to be done, like, LITERALLY. I am up and running before my feet hit the floor in the morning but I still have to feel special. That leads me to my very first tip.
1. Do you.
Oh my gosh, for years I was miserable as a parent, no lie. I gave up law school, smoking, drinking, cussing, and OH MY GOD, coffee! I was trying to be the best mom I could be for my family but I lost myself in the process. Everything I did was for someone else. Then one day I walked past the mirror and had to step back to reassess who this bum was in my house. Adorned in sweatpants, a holy t-shirt with a UFO (unidentified food) stain on my shoulder, mismatched socks, and a very unkept ponytail. “Did I wash today?” I couldn’t have its only 6 a.m. and I look like last week. No ma’am/sir, don’t let this be you. Set a day to get out of the house even if you go down to the local coffee shop and watch Netflix on your phone. Give you some ‘you time’. It helps, trust me.
2. Stop saving everything.
Even before I had a baseball team of children I could not stand clutter and unnecessary paraphernalia. That includes the plethora of pictures laying around. Trust me no one is coming to your house to look at photo albums full of baby pictures. Put them on a hard drive and they will be just as safe as in an album. I am the queen of decluttering. In my house, if you haven’t used it in a month, its trash. I am logical though, although my husband would definitely disagree. The purpose of this hack is two things. 1. It helps keep the house clean and 2. a clean house helps keep a clear mind and who doesn’t want a clear mind when you have children, right.
3. Price hop
Now let me first say that I hate shopping. I hate store hopping. I hate long lines. I hate waiting. (Hate is such a strong word…. Yup, still hate it.) Always think, can I get this cheaper? The answer is probably yes, but the cheaper usually means longer wait time (insert lines and shipping). For example, my family is book lovers. I can easily spend a thousand dollars on books from Amazon and Barnes and Noble in a day and that is not exaggerating in the least. However, I have found that a quick trip to the library or local school can get me a trunk load of books for five bucks! No lie. We catch sales at The Children’s Place as well. Now going back to hack #2 I do not buy a size up, sales always come around.
4. Write. Sing. Dance.
Find a release every day. For my mom it was singing, she has such a beautiful voice, something I cannot say I inherited, but I do like writing (can’t you tell). I have a blog that I post in, not as often as I like but I do write down little bits daily in an effort to write a blog about it. Writing is therapeutic for me, it always has been. Plus these are things that won’t take away from parenting duties. You can dance with your children, sing to them, or write with them. Its all in fun and release.
5. Go to timeout more often.
We need breaks during the day. I send the children outside and watch them play from the window as I sip tea and enjoy the quiet. Although I am not an advocate of television, I will pop in a learning DVD so the children will calm down momentarily to help me catch my breath. Children hate timeouts but they are so lovely when you are a parent. Sometimes I hide in the nook of my closet for a few and pretend we were playing hide and seek. Either way, you choose to do it, send yourself to time out more often, you’ll thank me later.
Yup, bribery, and even blackmail if it works. It’s usually bribery for the little humans and blackmail for the bigs. Children can be bribed with more than candy too, (we want to avoid bad habits and cavities). A trip to the park, a fruit salad, a visit to grandma, anything that makes them smile and gives you peace. Unfortunately, I don’t get to use blackmail on my bigs often because they are pretty well-behaved children. Maybe I’ll be able to use it in a few years on my littles.
7. Quick Meals
We are not meat eaters so the crock pot is a no go for us. But I can throw a whole meal together in 15 minutes and that includes plating. Remember, we are 80% chaos so I never plan meals. Who needs that kind of stress right. I usually grab some veggies and create some type of concoction. The downside to this is a meal is rarely able to be duplicated in this house, but I hate repeat meals anyhow so it actually works for us. But if you are meat lovers, go friend a crockpot, it makes life so much easier.
That’s all I have for now.