We Work Better Together.

I don’t have a label for how my family works. Hubby and I both work part-time, flexible hours, and are both home a lot with our kids. We have a lot of family time – more than most families are able to pull off with work schedules, school schedules, etc. Since we’ve only got one in preschool twice a week, and the other is home all day, we have a lot of time that the four of us are hanging out together. Hubby and I truly are great at being each other’s advocate, staying away from the good cop/bad cop game, and not becoming the “default” parent.

We work better together.

Sometimes, our schedules lend themselves to passing the kids back and forth, and hardly seeing each other. Those are the rare, busiest days or weeks. I can see the kids (and myself) suffer. I’m not as great a cook as he is (my daughter says, “You’re a good cooker-man, Daddy!”), so when they’re with me, they get a great breakfast, okay lunch, and whatever I can find (or, let’s be honest, pick up) for dinner. When they’re with Hubby, or when we’re all together, we have well thought out, home-cooked, delicious meals. I like to be out of the house a lot, so when I’m there, we go to parks, play dates, running errands, and little trips to do other things. Hubby is a little more of a homebody, so they don’t really go anywhere if I’m gone.

The kids also get more one-on-one time with us, because sometimes if I go out, I just take one of the kids. It’s a little easier logistically (a little less buckle-unbuckle-buckle-unbuckle, am I right?) and I get special time that they aren’t pulling each other’s hair, or trying to play with the same toy. They get our undivided attention, feel our love for them as they are, not them as a group. And we are lucky to be able to love them so singularly so often.

So although my family isn’t in an easily-labeled umbrella of parenting style, I think we have our best possible situation going on. Our kids get equal parts mom and dad. As mom and dad, we get equal parts  of our kids. We share responsibilities at home, like laundry, cleaning, cooking and grocery shopping. We share time off, time alone, and time at work. We share preschool drop-off, doctor’s appointments, bedtime routines, and afternoon naps when we aren’t feeling so hot (addendum: if we’re pregnant).

Am I suggesting that you all go quit your jobs, pick up part-time ones, and try to do what we’re doing? Absolutely not. I know for some people, they’d go crazy in the different-every-day schedule, and the whaddya-mean-dad-does-the-cooking? situation. But I am saying that teamwork makes it better for us. Working together is what we like to do, it’s what’s best for our kids, and what’s best for us as parents and as a married couple. We can both put our best foot forward, take a break when we’re burned out, and never worry about whether we can remember when naps are and whether or not we cleaned all the sippy cups. Being equally yoked and collaborative partners in our lifestyle brings out the best in us, and in our kids. Is there anything better than that?

No Pull-Ups During Naps: Parenting Fail #397

Today, my daughter took a nap. Unremarkable, right? She took a nap. No big deal. But let me back up.

We’re in the throes of potty training. EK’s wearing big girl panties about half the time, and a pull-up or diaper the other half. She’s not sleeping in underwear yet, of course, so for today’s nap, Daddy didn’t find any diapers in her room (you know, because she’s only wearing them half the time, and we’ve only just moved her down to her new room), and put her in a pull-up. Most of the time, this wouldn’t present a problem; it holds pee fairly well and we change her directly after her nap every time. But today, when she woke up and came upstairs, she had a massively gross pull-up, which had gotten on her pants a bit, so Daddy cleaned her up, and let her run pantsless while I went downstairs to retrieve the underwear. (And then he ran away to “help his dad with something.” Yeah right, Daddy. You must’ve known what was coming…)

When I got to her room, I noticed two things: 1. There were wipes all over her bed. 2. It smelled awful. These are two bad things, that when put together, are truly terrible. The massively dirty pull-up had also caused a problem in the bed, which EK had so graciously tried to clean up before she came upstairs. Mess. Was. Everywhere. Every single item on her bed needed to go straight into the washing machine on the “hot” cycle. Y’all, I am not kidding. My heart started beating faster as I tried to not smell anything.

I bundled the wipes up (including the ones spread all over a book, which is now soggy and half-ruined) and threw them in the trash can, and started stripping the bed. I carried several loads of pillows, sheets and the waterproof (thank God) mattress cover to the laundry room (thank God we have a laundry room now! Ahhh!) to start the process of cleaning up. I sprayed everything with stain remover, switched the laundry over (because of course, something was already in the washer AND in the dryer) and put in the first load. Y’all, how did it happen?!

I know how it happened.

My kids sleep like tornadoes. And when they finally do find a resting place for the majority of a sleeping session, it’s typically a strange one. For instance, EK likes to sprawl across all her pillows, instead of have her head on a pillow and her legs down. She sleeps up against the headboard of the bed 90% of the time. Hence poop on the pillows. (Sorry. You should’ve known there might be a gross detail or two.)

Back to the clean up… Now my pantsless daughter is upstairs, so I call her downstairs, just to get her side of the story.

Me: Did you get poop on the book?
EK: No.
Me: Did you get poop on the pillows that are on the floor?
EK: No.
Me: Did you sit down before you came upstairs?
EK: …..

And now I’m freaking out about the BRAND NEW CARPET.

Trying to keep my cool, I remember she’s still pantsless. I start to help her with her underwear, and notice she doesn’t seem to have been cleaned up well. Then, I notice there’s a little poop on the inside of her shirt. “Oh well,”  I think. “Daddy must not have noticed it.” So I take her shirt off, and now I see the poop on her back. I start to clean it off, and a thought pops in my head. “If Daddy didn’t know all this had happened down here, I’m sure he didn’t wipe her hands off. HE DIDN’T WIPE HER HANDS OFF!” And then, I start freaking out about how many things she’s touched since the initial accident, and where all the poop might be and how I’m going to find it/clean it off, and then I’m all, “Screw it. It’s bath time.” J just happens to be lurking around the corner, trying to decipher and smell and the ruckus, so I toss him in, too. Clean babies, right? Right. Babies who are never wearing pull-ups during naptime ever again.  

Currently

Life is good, y’all. I’m at the end of my 26th week, and feeling really well! I’m tired, but hey- what’s new? Just a little exhaustion on the side of my normal life doesn’t seem that unusual. I’ll hit the third trimester next week, so I guess that’s why.

I already miss the warmer weather – here in NC we’ve had a little regression, between the rain and some cooler temperatures coming back in… and I’m not excited about it. I was LOVING wearing shorts and flip flops. Bring it back!

Anyway, I’m a day late, but I’m linking up with Becky at Choose Happy for her Currently link party. Join us! I love finding new blogs and hearing what you’re up to!

currently button

Thankful for || a Hubby who let me sleep in this morning (yay!) and who is consistently the meal master at our house. He’s an amazing chef, who is creative and quick. What better two things could a chef be?! I also love that it typically means we have friends over a lot, to help us eat up the yums. It’s a win-win.

Baking || two batches of muffins on Sunday! One is technically a friend’s adaptation of an Against All Grain cupcake recipe, but because there’s no sugar and they’re gluten free, I’m calling them muffins and eating them for breakfast. The other batch was from Not So Desperate Housewife: Apple Pie Muffins. Let me tell you – also extremely delicious! The kids have been eating them up, too, which for me is a huge win.


Feeling || exhausted. I guess it’s pregnancy and two little crazies combined with a fierce desire to not be lazy and to still do all the things I like to do… which sometimes means I’m running around town all day and staying up late at night… aka not getting quite enough rest. Even if I’m not napping, I need to let myself have rests, and I’m not great at it. Here’s a little selfie of the big bump so you can see why I’m tiring a little more easily…


Needing || to slow down and chill out. This is piggybacking on my feelings… I’m also a little short-tempered right now, and every time I notice it, I hate it! But there are times that my mouth speaks before I’m able to stop it, or I let my feelings get the best of me. I know that stress is a little bit of it, going stir crazy on the days we’re mostly at home is a little bit of it, and I’m totally gonna blame a little bit on hormones. But I need to chill out – I know this. Doing it is just harder than admitting I need to do it.

Can’t believe || that my daughter is 3! We went yesterday for her 3 year check up, and she’s 30lbs, a little over 37 inches tall, and has only had one sick visit to the doctor in her life. I’m thankful she’s healthy, smart, and awesome, and if we could just get her potty trained, we’d be feeling 1000x better. I know… kids eventually potty train. But let’s be honest. If I’ve gotta buy diapers for three kids in July instead of just two, I may cry a little.


Well there’s my update! What’s going on with you currently?

Things Toddlers Say

Happy Tuesday! Sorry for being afternoon by the time I got this post out. It’s been a busy couple of days! This week there was a lot of Hubby being funny, so enjoy!

Hubby: This one (pointing to something on his plate) is my favorite.
EK: (pointing to the same thing) yeah, this one’s my favorite, too.
Hubby: I’m a big do-do.
EK: yeah, I’m a big do-do, too.
Hubby: it’s the little things.

EK, holding a (kids’) fork and knife: I gotta cut your hair!
*J, holds very still*
EK: okay, all done!
Me: thank God that wasn’t gonna cut it anyway.

Writing lesson:
EK, as she’s writing: M-O-P-O-M. Mommy!
Me: I can totally see it!
Writing: Thumbs up. Spelling: Needs improvement.

Hubby, holding J: This is his fifth poop today! It’s like he sat on a thousand tootsie rolls. Except it smells like Mordor.

Hope you enjoyed a little laugh today! What have your kiddos been saying this week?

We’re All On the Same Bus.

Some situations are inherently leveling for a group of people.

  
For instance, this week, I worked in a showroom at the High Point Furniture Market. I parked at the local shopping mall each morning, and rode a shuttle (read: bus) to and from the building I worked in. Everyone on the bus was in the same boat. Busy, a little late, and semi-awake in the mornings. Tired, anxious to get home, and in a cut-the-shit sort of mood in the evenings. I’m sharing my seat this evening with a girl about my age who is overhearing the same conversations in front and behind us, eyeballing the same over-the-top outfits, and grinning with me about the bus driver who doesn’t know how many people his bus holds.

Being in the same situation right now has built a bridge of common experience between us. She didn’t work in my showroom, I don’t know her name or where she’s from, and I’ll likely never see her again. But we are having a great time, giggling at the girl whose “professional attire” is a backless, sideless (frontless?!) dress. We are bonding, if only for a moment, because we’re in the same boat. We are having many of the same feelings- mainly, I can’t wait to get home! For me, it’s a “put on sweatpants, snuggle my kids, and let Hubby cook my dinner”. For her, it might be the same, or it might be a “put on my sparkly top and meet my girlfriends for drinks”. Either way, we aren’t home. We’re sitting on the shuttle after long days on our feet, finding anything and everything a perfect combination of slightly annoying and deliriously funny.

How much more might we be able to bond over long conversations about similar life situations, shared goals, and common interests? Instead a single instance leveling us and making us momentary friends, much closer we’d probably be if we were meeting there after a day apart, dishing about our jobs, talking about our kids’ most recent milestones and setbacks, and chatting about weekend plans.

The more you have in common with someone, the more drawn to them you often are. When two people are outgoing and funny, it can bring them together because they both might have a lot of fun. If they also both happen to be moms of kids around the same age, then even moreso. Add on a few more things like a shared interest of cooking, a connection made through folks at church, and a teaching background? We’re basically besties by the end of the conversation. We’re all riding the same bus in this thing called “life”, and randomly choosing a good seat buddy can be an incredible blessing. It can take a long, bumpy ride, and turn it into an amusing, not-so-bad sort of journey.

Dear Lady Who Labeled Me…

I had a strange (read: annoying, frustrating and sad) thing happen to me yesterday.

I was out running errands with J, and I had a few things to do that shared a parking lot, so I popped him in the stroller, and went from store to store… to Starbucks. Obviously. After I’d ordered my venti decaf iced coffee (because… pregnant) we waited at the end of the counter for it to be finished. An older lady (probably about my grandmother’s age) said, “Oh look! You two match!” J was wearing a green shirt and I was wearing tie-dye that had some green in it. Okay, lady. She proceeded to say how cute “she was” (seriously? He’s wearing a green tee, baggy jeans, and huge sneakers. She?!) and I was like, “Yeah! He’s a cute, big guy!” to nicely emphasize that she wasn’t right about the “she” part. Next, the lady said something that began to really get to me…

“He’s just really happy to have a stay-at-home mom.”

Hold on there, lady.


It’s not that I’m not a SAHM. It’s not that I don’t like and appreciate that I’m a SAHM. It was 3:00pm, I was in my bum clothes (gym shorts and a big t-shirt), and I’m out at Starbucks with my son (aka obviously not at work). I guess it’s a fairly safe assumption that I don’t have a 9-to-5. It’s just that it frustrates me that you had to label me, without knowing me. You had to give me a label – even if you weren’t judging me. You were actually applauding me… I think. But let me tell you something. I’ve been a working mom, too. I’ve had a full-time job. I’m still working a part-time job. In fact, I had been at work that very morning, and was enjoying time with my son I had missed while I was gone. I don’t think I’m a better mom now that I was when I worked full time. I don’t think J loves me more now that I stay home with him more hours a week. But it was what she continued to say that baffled me even further.

“You know, I think it’s finally coming back into vogue now.”

What?! Are you implying that staying home with your children is something you do because it’s in style? Or that you don’t do it because it isn’t? AND thankyouverymuch I made a choice to be home with my kids… to quit my job, to put a halt in my career, to take a financial (and let’s be real, emotional and personal) leap of faith and stay home with my children. I wanted to try it, to be with them while they were little and needed me more than they might need me later. I wanted to help them learn and grow and see their precious little selves learn to walk and talk and potty train and see what happened when we added another sibling to their ranks. I DID NOT decide to “stay at home” (which, by the way, for me, doesn’t include that much staying at home) because I thought it was in style, popular, likeable, or more acceptable than what I was doing before.

Staying at home was (and is!) what I wanted, and my family was able to make it happen. I am grateful every day for that, even when I’m driven crazy by the lack of routine (or the drilling sameness of it) and I’m an unshowered, goldfish-eating, coffee-guzzling wreck. I don’t make choices for my family because of what other people will think or say. I also don’t judge what choices other people make for theirs. Every family has its own system that works, and its own choices that make it special. What my family does won’t necessarily work for everyone. What other families do won’t necessarily work for mine. But when I get labeled and targeted as a member of a group, and then given a reason to do it, such as “it’s in vogue” to do so, my feelings get hurt, my 26th-week hormones get a little… well… ragey… and I have to call my gal pal to vent about it so that I don’t let my crazy fly in the face of this old lady who shares her opinions a little too freely.

Anyway, sorry for the rant, but I apparently needed to vent some more. Situations like this, and feelings like hers (and like mine that resulted) are the reason that I signed this petition and made a #mommitment to end the judgement surrounding being a mother. Every single mama should do her best, and not be judged for it. Every single mama should feel supported and loved, and not labeled or lumped into a category for her choices.

everyday mom link up

Downstairs Living

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I kept thinking I’d wait to give y’all and update and a few pictures until things were looking a little nicer. But the truth is we just aren’t in a rush to get furniture arranged and boxes unpacked, so it looks like that might be quite a while. So, without further ado, here’s a little bit of the settling back into our home we’ve been doing!

Even the kids were (kinda) helping with the clean up!
Trying to find the best place for a princess castle…
Hubs taking a break. I am still loving the rug.
The princess’s bed. Nothing on the walls in this photo… I’ll take a better one soon. She’s been sleeping in there for about a week, with no transition issues! Yay!
Even though this is a bit of a dark shot, I like how it shows the sunlight the kids will still get in their rooms. It’s a basement, but it’s not so, you know, basementy.
“Anna” showing off her digs.
J’s current set up with lots of furniture. I know he’s gonna move into that bigger bed at some point, and I figured he’d get used to it more quickly if it was a fixation in his room. That’s my bedroom suit I grew up with in my room, complete with the quilt!
First new room nap for this guy. He’s basically loving it – aka slept for a little over three hours. That’s about as much as I’ve ever gotten out of him for a nap!

Well there’s a little glimpse of our new space! I’ll keep taking photos as it gets set up, as the temporary guest room gets some furniture, and as I start turning the nursery into a space for baby D. I have a feeling time will fly and he’ll be here before I know it, and the goal is to be settled before then. Three months and counting!