So-So Mom's Improvement Guide
This is mostly for entertainment, but don't you always feel like whenever you focus on one area, something else falls apart?
In honor of my new blog theme and graphic that depicts just how much I enjoy sleeping, I thought I should write about how much I hate getting back into the routine of getting up early and wrangling little people into clothes and shoes in a timely manner before I have even had coffee. Sure, I am going to miss spending time making sure they don't kill each other, um, I mean playing and snuggling with them, but truly and honestly I mostly dread that horrible, awful, painful moment I have to get out of my bed each day an hour and a half earlier. I recently read that your natural sleep rhythms are genetic and mine apparently don't sync with the rest of the world and most of my kids inherited this trait from me. I view waking a sleeping person as cruel, so the next step of prying all these kids from the warmth of their covers is almost as bad as getting up in the first place. As you can imagine, this doesn't make for pleasant getting-ready-for-school experiences. Some strip to their underwear and stare blankly at the wall as if they have fallen back to sleep standing up, while others cry in despair, another yells at them to shut up, and one complains about being late again. The fact that school is starting five minutes earlier this year feels like the sinking Titanic and I am left wondering how. Just HOW am I going to do this?!?!
And then, as if Facebook could read my thoughts, along comes a post through my news feed all about how to streamline this chaos and make it all better. And in my usual moment of weakness/insanity/hope I clicked to read this helpful advice.
The following are the tips given in this painfully long slideshow on mom.me and my stream of concsiousness response to each, and yes, I am fully aware I sound like a petulant, excuse-making child:
1. Communicate the plan
Me: Oh, so just tell the kids what they are supposed to do each morning, huh? Yeeeah, that'll solve it. I am very sure I will be 'communicating the plan' with increasing frequency and volume all morning, every. freaking. morning!
2. A Visual Guide
Me: Sure! Just what I need! Add 27 minutes to the routine by having the kids go 'check their list' to find out they are supposed to wear shoes to school. I do have chore charts. I know that's how this works.
3. 10 Minutes Ahead
Me: I actually already get up ten minutes before them most of the time to make sandwiches. It does nothing.
This one also suggest that some mornings you go ahead and sleep that extra ten minutes when you need it. Me: I need it ALL mornings.
4. A Little Time for Yourself
Me: Bwahahahaha. That is all.
5. Give it time and practice
The author likens this to training for a marathon rather than just trying to run one all of a sudden.
Me: It's an apt metaphor because it is another thing I will never, ever have the desire or ability to do regardless of practice.
6. Sleep Routine
Me: When it comes to torture, would you like to torture yourself gradually a little more each day for two weeks before someone else tortures you? Okay, I know that's irrational, but you know what? I just don't have the will power. I am going with the band-aid approach and I am hoping, or rather lying to myself about how it makes for an easier bedtime routine.
7. Assign jobs
Me: Some of my kids forget to pee in the morning! And you think I should give them more jobs? I do have to give a shout out to my two oldest girls here though, they do try to help out a lot.
8. Divide and conquer
Me: Wait! What? Some people's spouses are still home to help with this? They suck! Just kidding, I'm just jealous.
9. Night Prep
Me: Sheesh, original, like no one has thought of that advice before. Having the clothes laid out is not all that helpful when the following conversation has happened multiple times at my house: I say, "Get dressed." The kid says, "But I don't know where my clothes are." I say, "Right next to you." Kid looks left and says, "Where?" I say, "Other side. You are actually sitting on the sleeve of your shirt!"
This paragraph also included the words detailed, overly-prepared, and ironing.
Me: Wow! This person is a very different person than I am. She would totally be a 'SJ' on the Myers-Briggs test. Hmmm. Maybe I should start having the kids put on their school clothes the night before. Too bad they can't pee the night before and still have an empty bladder in the morning. You know what though? I seriously should start checking the sandbox for a random shoe the night before.
10. Prepared backpack
This one is about 'drilling the good habit' of putting everything away in their backpacks.
Me: Ah, since all those other good habits like tooth brushing, hair combing, showering, and putting shoes away properly are going so swimmingly, I should totally try this! Oh wait nope, they do NONE of those things without constant nagging and sometimes bodily force. I think I will stick with forgetting to check if they need to get out homework in the first place. That's worked for me in the past.
11. Attitude adjustment
Me: Oh, they mean MINE. That's usually not what I am thinking when I say attitude adjustment. Anyway, are we more worried about everyone's good mood or actually getting to school this century? We can't have both.
12. Reset the home
Ah ha!! You are one of those moms who stays up late and goes around and fixes everything. Drilling good habits, my butt! You are putting that homework in the bag in a semi-comatose state because you refuse to go to bed until everything is just so. I know your type, you tell your kids to do stuff, then later you do the stuff, and then think you have kids who do stuff.
13. Eat together whenever possible
Me: Very sarcastic yay! We are doing something right! We are eating granola bars and PediaSure in the car together on the way to town all the time.
Here is my more practical back-to-school advice: Click here to buy some Pediasure to toss at your kids on the way out the door when you are running late. Get vanilla so it doesn't make a mess and NEVER put a partially drank one in a backpack because if it leaks, the whole class will be trying to find that smell and your poor child will be sent home humiliated with her bag in a trash sack. Not speaking from experience or anything here.
14. Keep it in perspective
Me: I already have the 'no big deal' attitude down pat. Let me know when the rest of the world gets it and quits threatening to suspend my high schoolers if they are late too often.
Next slide show: 10 Must-Try Back to School Crafts
Me: Are these people high?!?!
Part of Mom Life Mondays Link-up!
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Toddlers are known for a certain stereotypical disposition, but a wide variety of distinct personality types still exists within this group of fun, exhausting little people. Our local pool separates the baby pool from the regular pool with a chain-link fence and gate. I've noticed over the years that the way each of my kids and their little friends has dealt with that gate says a ton about their personality.
Heads towards the gate a few times and throws a mini-tantrum when you lead them away and tell them 'no', but soon gets distracted by a pool noodle and resumes baby pool fun.
This is 'typical toddler' behavior. Typical toddler often translates to typical kid in the future. While it might seem tiresome, it is not soul-sucking exhausting and that is hopefully what you can expect from here on out.
Doesn't notice there is a gate.
When you have one of these, the other moms are totally jealous and consider asking you to trade kids for the afternoon. Just remember to enjoy it while it lasts. Total oblivion of surroundings, while an excellent trait in a toddler, is much less pleasing in a grade-school kid.
Goes to gate each time it opens to ensure that it gets shut properly.
Uptight, anal, whatever you want to call it, this kid has it! These kids are fun. They like to follow the rules and even when they do not, they might tell on themselves. At four this child may berate the lifeguards about not blowing their whistles when he gets too excited and accidentally runs. However, there is also a good chance you have many hours ahead of you spent waiting for this kid to finish buildings or puzzles before life can continue. You will also discover very few children and even many adults do not know how to shut a gate, because you will have to make 85 trips per hour over to that gate so he can shut it.
Sprints to gate, swings it violently into your legs, sprints to edge of deep pool and possibly jumps if you do not get there in time. Maniacal laughter may or may not be involved before the blood-curdling scream let out if you do catch up.
This kid is desperately trying to drown themselves basically every second you are at the pool and very irritated with you for not allowing it. There is no sitting quietly with a toy or cuddling with mommy to stay warm. I have one of these right now, which serves as a shocking reminder that not all of them are like this! If you have one too, I am sure you have the same fears I do about the implications this has for the child's future behavior. I am holding onto hope that it won't be so bad because this one did not jump into the big pool like the first one I had. Maybe she will just flirt with the edge of expectations rather than cannon balling them in the future. You pray for me, I'll pray for you.
Tell me. Which type do you have? Or am I missing a type?
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I envision the creation of toy ideas coming from a bunch of nineteen-year-olds sitting around saying, "Oh man, that would have been so cool to have as a kid!" There are no thoughts about practicality. They never ask themselves what could go wrong. It is apparent that they are not living with children and toys in their daily lives or they would take a very different approach.
I would greatly appreciate having the name and address of the person who created the 8 pack of Super Hero-themed lenticular puzzles and the one who decided Polly Pockets shoes ought to come off. Then I would grab that person's shoulders, shake them very hard while screaming, "What the heck were you thinking?" in their faces, and then probably slap them.
Does this person not realize that the type of child who is stoked by Super Heroes is probably not meticulous enough to do one puzzle at a time and then return its pieces into a segmented plastic tray before starting a second and then never shake or tip this box thus mixing up the pieces?
I would toss a handful of uncooked rice on the carpet of the Polly Pocket creator and have them find each and every piece and cry if they did not, so they could see what it is like to mother the owner of this toy.
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If I made toys, I would not be bragging up the excessive number of pieces. Instead the box would be plastered with the following:
His backpack is still in the car.
He does not have a pencil.
He does not like any of the pencils his mom gives him.
He spills the basket of pencils on the floor looking for one he likes and has to pick them up.
He needs to pee.
He forgot to have an after school snack, and now he is hungry.
His baby sister looks hungry watching him eat, so he has to make her a snack too.
He is thirsty.
He needs to wash his hands from playing outside. Before the snack would have been good, huh?
He can’t find the page he was going to do first.
He can’t decide what he should do first instead.
He needs crayons.
He needs a green crayon, but not lime green. He is very sure he will get in trouble if he uses the wrong shade of green.
He is arguing with his mom about whether or not colored pencils can be used instead of crayons.
The green colored pencil needs sharpened.
The electric sharpener needs new batteries.
The sharpener needs to be emptied.
He has to clean up the pencil shavings he spilled all over the floor.
The extremely pointy tip he sharpened broke off and needs sharpened to an extremely pointy tip again.
He is coloring at the rate of one square centimeter per minute.
He is arguing with his mom about whether or not the coloring has to be perfect.
He needs to pee.
His baby sister is sitting in his chair when he gets back from the bathroom.
He must play peek-a-boo with her for ten minutes now because taking her down makes her sad.
He doesn’t know how to do the next paper.
He thinks his mom’s advice about how to do the paper is wrong and stupid.
He has to pick a different paper to work on, but he can’t decide which one.
The eraser falls off of his pencil, and he has to find it because it works better than the erasers on all the other pencils.
His brother shoots him with a rubber band, so he must spend ten minutes hunting him down to exact his revenge.
The answer to the reading question is NOT in the story.
He does not understand how the part his mom points out in the story has anything to do with that question.
He is arguing with his big sister about whether or not he will have to stay in from recess tomorrow.
He is working math problems at the rate of one per three minutes.
He needs to eat dinner.
He must erase five math problems that his mom discovers are incorrect. Good thing he found that eraser earlier!
He is insisting his mom does not know how to do division problems, forcing her to gain a consensus from the three older children in the room that 45 divided 4 is, in fact, 11 remainder 1.
He is possibly plotting world domination. No one knows for sure, but something phenomenal must be happening in that brain for him to be able to sit stone still for 20 minutes staring at a blank spelling worksheet.
He needs to pee.
He is distracted by his mother beating her head against the wall.
I am creating a series of blog posts styled after some of my favorites from around the blogosphere that have entertained me the most in my past year of blogging. I read these posts thinking that I could see myself writing the exact same thing, so I got permission to sort of do just that.
When I began blogging, one of the first posts I ran across was "42 Signs You Have a Large Family" by Jenny Evans at Unremarkable Files. It was perfectly relatable and made me laugh. My list is considerably shorter even though my family is slightly larger than hers because most of her list is still spot on for an even larger family, especially numbers 4, 10, and 20. My list will make a bit more sense if you click the link above and read hers first.
And now, here are the 19 signs you have a very large family:
Are you tired of being conned into clicking school lunch posts by the siren's song of the words 'easy' and 'kid-friendly' only to discover labor-intensive recipes your child wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole? Me too. Here are a few article titles I ran across on PopSugar including my appropriate additions to the titles.
5 Easy-Prep Sandwich-Free Lunches ...unless your child is bright enough to realize that the same ingredients rolled up in a piece of bread and sliced into cute little circles is still the exact same food.
The other four options listed in this post require actual cooking with an oven. Cooking to then create a cold lunch does not qualify as 'easy-prep' and may fit the definition of insanity. If I put something in a lunchbox that was hot at one time, it is leftovers from some other meal that we originally ate while hot.
16 Easy Wraps That Will Have Your Kid Begging For Lunch Time ...as long as you have one of those 1 in 1,000 kids who like avocado, hummus, edamame, tomatoes, pesto, black beans and spinach. Or heck, even cold tortillas!
If my kids ate a small fraction of these ingredients I would not need new ideas; I would be able to come up with my own. I am working with about five things on the face of the planet that my kids will all be willing to eat cold. The definition of 'easy wrap' at my house is a piece of turkey lunch meat rolled up. Who needs help getting their kids to beg for lunch time anyway? They are thrilled for any time that isn't class time at school.
5 Fun Ways to Get Your Child Excited About Brown-Bag Lunches ...that are a gigantic pain in the rear for moms.
My kids are impressed if I remove the grapes from the stems or slice the cucumber. (side note: I have one child that will eat cucumber, I know you are jealous.) Stuffing a pretzel in each grape to make a wand or scooping the guts from a cucumber to make a dip cup is out of the question. Also, I don't get out cookie cutters to make cookies, so I am certainly not making extra dishes and wasting half a piece of ham to cut out stars for lunch!
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Thank you, Thank you Jenny Evans from www.unremarkablefiles.com! It is always nice to get awards, but it means even more when you are given one by somebody you think is way awesomer than you! Sorry for the tween-speak, but it expresses my feelings best. When you blog, it is easy to feel that no one gives a C-R-A-P about what you are writing, so awards are a major ray of sunshine!
Here are my answers to Jenny's questions. I apologize for everything being numbered with a one; not sure what is going on there. I figured in the spirit of this award, which is to learn more about our fellow bloggers, I would let it go, and you could also discover that I am technically-challenged!
My kids have apparently stolen all the lime light. The closest thing to a story about me starts, "Crystal's kids..." Yes, I know, total cop out:)
And now for my end of the deal! My nominations are:
Sharon at http://herorganizedchaos.com
Leslie at https://lesliesholly.wordpress.com
Becky at http://beckykopitzke.com
Ashley at http://www.smashleyashley.com
Louisa at http://icecreamoffpaperplates.com
And here are your questions:
1. Who is your favorite "Survivor" this season or are you rolling your eyes because you think this is a stupid question?
2. Which drives you crazier, lying or giant mess-making?
3. What dumb song gets stuck in your head the most often, you know, the one that will be there all day since I brought it up?
4. Do you know your personality type and if so, what is it?
5. If you had to do one of these chores the old-fashined way, would it be cooking or laundry?
6. When you procrastinate, does it make your work better or worse, or do you almost never procrastinate?
7. What is the last thing you said that you wish you could take back?
8. What is the prettiest thing you see each day (humans excluded)?
9. What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?
10. Is there a question that I got to answer that you really wanted to answer? Go for it!
Please be sure to share a link to your post in the comments or my facebook page when you are done so I can read your answers!
I am the mother of seven children ranging from teens to a toddler, living out in the middle of nowhere, USA. I aim to hone the craft of giving advice without pretending to have this whole mom thing figured out. I am Christian, but not the really nice kind that is good at it. I am also conservative, but I promise not to be in your face with political agendas very often. I like to infuse humor into my writing, so don't freak out if you are offended or appalled by what you read here. There is a very fine line between serious advice and sarcastic hyperbole.
Some posts contain affiliate links and advertisements for which I may be compensated. All opinions are my own.
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