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Purposeful Parenting

Stay-at-Home Moms: I Salute You

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Stay-at-Home Moms | I Salute You | Chaos & Kiddos
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My kids have been sick for the better part of a month. Actually, it might be even longer than that…the days are starting to melt together into one endless cycle of slime, nebulizer treatments and pharmacy meds. I’ve been to the doctor’s office more times than I can count, and my house is a disaster zone. It’s ugly out there. Stay-at-Home Moms, I salute you.

I have a confession. I really don’t like my kids right now. I love them dearly, and it breaks my heart to see them struggling and not well. But I haven’t slept properly in about a bazillion years, I’ve been sick twice myself thanks to their inappropriately timed sharing (remember that?) and the latest and greatest? I am walking around like an elderly woman right now because I threw my back out lifting the 34 pound cement tank that is J. At 32 years old. My visions of holding onto my youth are slowly slipping away. I can’t put a proper sentence together (my husband is quite amused by this) and now, I can’t walk. If I hear “Mama! Wait for me!” one more time as I try to take 5 steps to the left of their immediate position, I’m going to scream.

Oh wait. Did I mention the “deep South” of Virginia Beach is also stuck in that Polar Vortex fun, which in normally non-snowing environment equals school cancelled (and day care cancelled) for days on end? I’m literally trapped. And now we’re in the midst of another snowstorm. I swear, I started crying when I heard the weather report the other night. Ugly tears.

What have I taken away from this season of horror? That I am in no way, shape or form, built to be a stay-at-home mom. And that those who are at home with their children are especially gifted, immeasurably patient, all-encompassing super heroes. Stay-at-home Mamas. I salute you. You blow my mind.

I need my office. Desperately. I am sure a great deal of it is due to my OCD. I need to enter an office bubble where I can go all Katy brain zone super focus for hours at a time. Working hard professionally recharges me emotionally. I actually feel more rested when I can go to work. And I miss my kids. I am a better me when I go to work. I admit when I am home too long, my patience is beyond thin, I have trouble focusing and I often find myself resenting just about everyone on the planet. I want to give up. Going to work reminds me that I enjoy pushing myself professionally to provide for my family. And in this case, pushing myself professionally not only provides for them financially, but emotionally as well. I am a better mom when I work hard.

Stay-at-home moms are a special breed. You have the most difficult job on this planet (I don’t care what anyone says and yes, I’ve read it and yes, you know what I’m talking about). I’m a special breed too. In this, as in all things parenting related, different strokes for different folks.

All of us moms are pretty awesome. If I do say so myself. And you should say so too. To yourself and any other moms you know. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me over the course of the past month to hear “Hang in there. You’re doing great.” from other friends and mothers while I sit in this mess and contemplate my repeated failures at being patient and caring among all of the tissues, spilled food and breathing treatments. Those simple words, coming from someone who knows, someone who might parent completely different than I do, it’s enough. It’s more than enough. It’s a pull back from the ledge. Say it loud!!! Make somebody’s day!

Image Credit: Katrina Mayer, Motivational Speaker

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Life Breath Present

    July 29, 2014 at 9:21 am

    What a great post! Not only do we each need to remind one another how awesome we are, no matter our choices, it’s important to know what and why we make our varying choices.

    I thought I wasn’t cut out to be a SAHM. Wait! I often will still think that. At the same time, it’s taken me a bit of time to develop into this role. We only have 1 right now, but he’s enough. I’ve heard it gets easier with more than one, I’m not sure if I’m sold on that idea. I may have to return to work because I really mayn’t be cut out for it…or maybe it’ll take me a long time again, or may not. Who knows!

    Good for you knowing what’s best for you and your family, Katy! 🙂

    • Katy Blevins

      July 30, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you!!!! The best part about that is knowing it is totally ok to go “Ya know, this SAHM thing just really isn’t for me” and the world will keep spinning. We all have such unique walks of life, it’s really out of place to project any opinions on the whys or the whats of other people’s circumstances. Showing support and encouragement is such a better way to share our hearts with the world!

  2. Crystal

    April 18, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you for this! I am a SAHM of 7 and often wonder how working moms get laundry done. I completely believe it is otherwise easier to keep house without the kids IN the house ALL the time, though. I have never had a ‘real’ job as I had my first at 18. Going to college was the closest I came to it, but that was still only like 18 hours a week. It would be great if everyone could understand that we all just have a different kind of ‘hard’.

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Purposeful Parenting

How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues

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How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide
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This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please refer to my Legal Policies and Terms of Use. The opinions here are entirely my own. 
How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child's Cues - Infographic

Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.

My system certainly isn’t perfect, and my kids give new meaning to the word tantrum (I have one that goes “no bones, limp baby, immovable and impossible to catch” and one that goes “cement block that weighs a bazillion pounds and can’t be bended, lifted and/or manipulated in any fashion,” with both adding crazy decibel, ear-splitting screams to boot). At some point in the insanity, I learned to anticipate the meltdown.
My husband and I can spot a meltdown coming from a mile away. We’ll give the other that “It’s time to go. Stat. Grab the kids and sprint. NOW. Forget your shoes! Leave them! Run!” look and as the rest of the human race looks on in bewildered dismay, we quickly head for the hills before things get ugly. I think we have our exit down to about 46 seconds these days (58 if I get to grab my shoes).
On a day-to-day basis, I’ve developed a couple of tricks that stave off most meltdowns. IF I’m paying attention. This is where the understanding your child’s cues part comes in to play. You have to catch the cue before it’s too late. “Practice makes perfect” is the phrase of the day here. Or is “trial through fire” more resonant? In any event, here are my go to lifesavers:

1. Mini Baby Blanket with Attachment Loop – Cold is the enemy. Nothing brings on the whine, which brings on the frustration, which brings on the ultimate refusal to act like a normal human being like frigid weather. I was lugging around blankets to tuck the kids in to their car seats (Remember to avoid bulky coats when strapping kiddos in!) and they were getting tossed, dropped, forgotten, you name it. Then I realized my mother-in-law had given us these super cute sensory blankets with a loop that could attach to a stroller and the light bulb went off. I strapped both blankets to the side of each car seat (they are small and hang to the side if unused, so unobtrusive and the loop is short and sweet, so no wrapping around anything else) and they’re always there when I need them. The link above is one of many Etsy shops that make these small wonders, and ours are even sports themed, so the husband is happy.
2. Baby Sign Language – I admit to being one of those people that eye-rolled the idea of baby sign language when I was pregnant. Never gave it a second thought until my kids starting screaming for reasons that I couldn’t seem to identify. A friend suggested I take a jab at it, and purely out of desperation, I did, still with a bit of attitude and skepticism. And then the boys started signing back. HALLELUJAH! We did only the basics – “More, All Done, Hungry, Please, Thank You” – and that opened up whole new worlds for us in communication. Not only were they excited to sign and overjoyed that I knew what the heck was going on, but I was immensely relieved and didn’t feel like Failure Parent of the Century. Big win. I eat my humble pie proudly. I was an idiot to think this was lame.
3. Snacks at the Ready – Baby Cooler – If cold is the enemy, hunger is the Antichrist. I’d say a good 50% of the time, the boys’ tantrums stem from being hungry. We’re usually in transition to our next meal when the tank slips below E. Low fuel = channeling Satan. And the perfect timing for this special little stream of insanity was pick up from day care. The kids were tired and spent and ready for dinner. Like, 5 minutes before I got there. The first words I heard daily were “Mommy! I need my milk! Hungry!” They were whining, crying, going all sorts of Apocalyptic on me because the last thing they wanted was to be strapped into their car seats for the ride home. They wanted to be teleported straight to the dinner table. I got tired of this daily warfare, especially at the end of my own long day at work, so I started packing snacks and milk in this convenient little cooler (which as an aside, a friend gave me with the promise that it would be one of the most handy baby items I received – she was right). It gets stashed in the community kitchen at work and I grab it on my way out the door each evening. Every morning, I repack and head off knowing that I’ve crossed one tantrum off the list for that day. Yay me.Insert random cuteness here…I mean seriously, people, how can these children have meltdowns that rival the End of Days?

Photos Courtesy of Somer Anne Photography

Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.

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Purposeful Parenting

How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues

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How to Speak the Right Language | Understanding Your Children's Cues
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Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.

What was I doing wrong? Who were these little hellions and where were those
sweet kids from day care?
Purposeful Parenting - How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child's Cues Purposeful Parenting - How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child's Cues

Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.

I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.

Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.

Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.

Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me: 

  • “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!” 
  • “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
  • “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.” 

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Emily Speaks

11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks

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Alternatives to Self Harm | Emily Speaks | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide
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If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles. 

11 Alternatives to Self-Harm: Emily Speaks


I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.

1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.

2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.


3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).


4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.


5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.


6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.

7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.


8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.


9. Listen to some music.


10. Read a book.


11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.

These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm. 

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