The Honest Mommy

Uncensored thoughts on parenting & more

Feeling a little glum today September 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 10:24 pm
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Late in the afternoon I realized that I was starting to feel a little down and low on energy.

I guess the reasons are:

  • Yesterday I received news that a family friend had passed away.
  • Lately we have been disciplining 5yo Adam a lot, to the point where I “miss” the fun things that he does and that we do together. When he misses out, I do, too.
  • I’m trying to stay within Weight Watchers Points for the day, and it takes energy to keep from turning to food to soothe myself.
  • The last several days, I have had more time to myself than usual, which is definitely a good thing. However, with all the time I’ve been spending on hobbies (at the computer), I think I’m feeling detached from and unmotivated about the everyday grind stuff like cleaning, cooking, laundry, and so on.
  • Knowing that winter is coming has me concerned about how I’m going to get through the winter with a 2yo who insists on going outside to play every chance he gets. And when he can’t go outside, it is exhausting to manage his fussiness and naughtiness. Many times I feel like we have a house full of toys (not literally, thank heavens) and nothing that he is interested in.

The kids will be in bed in two hours, and Hubby is home from work and aware that I’m having an “off” day.

Here’s wishing all of you moms a good rest of the day!


Self-directed activities for kids September 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 5:18 pm
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Thought of the day:

I think that some of children’s best, most positive, memories come from things that they come up with to do on their own, without adult participation or direction. It could be a craft, a game (even a board game that they play by themselves), or any activity that they dream up.

At present, my 5yo son is riding a “Big Wheel” through a loop that he discovered on his own. The loop goes through our garage, out the door, through a fence gate, and back in through the garage door. Clearly there is something imaginative going on, since he is talking to himself and is very intent on this activity.

If I were outside with him, even keeping to myself by reading the newspaper, he probably wouldn’t have come up with this idea. I think that the very presence of an adult can keep a child from fully exploring his/her imaginative protential.

I don’t advocate neglecting a child, and I believe that babies and younger children “need” more from adults than older children do. But all in all, it seems to me that a preschool-aged child benefits a great deal from having time to him/herself, with no direction or any kind of interference from adults.


Checking email when I already have unprocessed “stuff” around September 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 4:46 pm
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Here’s a question that just popped into my mind.

When I have unprocessed stuff around that I still need to deal with (notes, ideas for projects, etc.), then why do I sit down to check my email, where I will potentially have more “new stuff” come my way that I have to process?

I guess one reason that I check my email under these circumstances is that I’m wondering whether someone – Hubby, friend, etc. – has sent a reply to me that will answer a question for me or move a project forward.

Another reason is that I tend to sit down at my computer when I am taking a break, and naturally I tend to check my email at that time.

And, finally, there is new “stuff” coming in daily via email that I want/need to deal with in a timely manner, such as friends making plans to go out to dinner that night.

But it still leaves me in a bit of a quandary when I sit down to check my email and find a new item, such as a friend wondering about making plans to take a trip. I could decide to leave it unread until later; or, read it and see whether I can deal with it in two minutes or less; or, read it and put a stake in the ground somewhere to remind me that I need to deal with/reply to that email.

I am certainly not at black-belt level when it comes to email, but I am thankful that I am, at the very least, aware of the pitfalls that email can create.


Wanted: David Allen, to shadow me for a week September 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:08 am
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It occurred to me today, as I was paging through David Allen’s Ready for Anything, that it would be fascinating to have someone like David Allen shadow me, a lowly SAHM, for a day — or better yet, a week.

What I wouldn’t give to get his input on how I could improve my implementation of GTD, and how to optimize my productivity given my working conditions.

As every mom knows, the working conditions may include any or all of the following

  • sleep deprivation
  • lack of control over the day’s schedule, due to things such as child getting sick or waking up from a nap in a demonic state; child skipping a nap or waking up early from a nap
  • limited ability to complete any given task, due to interruptions (child needs snack, potty help, conflict intervention; child unable to occupy him/herself; child getting into mischief)
  • copious amounts of time required for mundane tasks like: laundry, picking up toys, wiping up messes, cleaning kitchen, prepping food, grocery shopping
  • feelings of guilt and uncertainty over not spending more time with the kids: reading to them, playing with them, etc.
  • limited living space (a.k.a., small house) with limited space and resources for storage and organization of necessities — everything from measuring spoons to winter boots
  • limited financial resources for adapting the home to the family’s needs
  • limited financial resources for hiring outside help for childcare, cleaning, etc.

When I think about what areas of responsibility a mother has, especially a SAHM who may not get sufficient time and space to clear her head, plan her day, and so on, it is no wonder how frazzled and overwhelmed I feel sometimes.

David Allen, if you are reading this, please come alongside me for awhile!


GTD and FlyLady: What they look like in my life right now

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 1:45 am
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Lately I’ve been spending some time revamping my use of GTD and thinking about my time, priorities, and so on. I did some looking into Mind Organization for Moms, which is based on GTD, and while I didn’t buy their system, I did realize that I could improve some of my GTD strategies/tools.

I have a large dry erase board next to my kitchen, and I re-claimed it from whatever junk had been cluttering it up. On the board I now have a daily checklist for my 5-year-old son, Adam, to help ensure that certain things get done every day, preferably as early in the day as possible. Having this checklist helps Hubby and me to be on the same page about “where we’re at”; it also helps Hubby to be aware of what things need to be done (brush teeth/get dressed/take meds/put on eye patch), particularly for mornings when it’s Hubby’s turn to get up with the kids. My day gets off to a good start when I come downstairs and find that things are rolling along nicely. I am a big believer that we are both responsible for our kids and that it is not solely my responsibility to do things like give Adam his meds or put his eye patch on.

I also set up areas on the dry erase board for Next Actions (@Phone, @Computer, @Errands) and Waiting and Current Projects. In one corner I have a space for a basic plan for the day [Baths for Kids (Yes/No), Mom to Gym (Yes/No), Dinner Plan].

Overall I’m finding it quite handy to have all of these things right in front of me all the time. I still keep lists in my GTD Coordinator, and it does feel sort of strange to have things “living” in the Coordinator and on my dry erase board, but somehow it all works. It seems that I have so many interruptions in my day that by the time I open up my GTD Coordinator and find the proper page and find a pen, my chance to complete my thought is already gone and my 2-year-old is running off with my pen. Since the board is out of the reach of my toddler, and markers are always at the ready, I can easily jot down a Next Action or erase an item. (To think I used to take such things for granted!)

On the board I have my daily FlyLady list (Kitchen/Bathroom/Laundry/Floors) and it’s nice to check these things off as I complete them. I have never figured out how to get these things done first thing in the morning, but they are generally my first priorities in the day even if they don’t get done until lunchtime.

In Ready for Anything, David Allen (the creator of GTD) talks about how the brain isn’t good at reminding the self to do things, therefore it’s best to have a system in place to take care of those reminders. I am finding this to be true during my daily grind: When I have a chance to work on something, instead of flipping through my mental checklist to think of what to do next, I simply glance at my board to see what remains to be done.

Granted, there is a lot more to my life than churning through a daily checklist of things to be done, but it’s difficult (impossible?) to get to the “more to life” stuff as long as I’m still wallowing in the chaos and confusion that results when the basic things are still undone.


Just another manic … Sunday September 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 5:07 pm
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I knew that being a mom would be a lot of work. But honestly, I never imagined how hard it would be. I never imagined how difficult it would be to keep on keepin’ on, day after day after day after day.

I didn’t realize how tough it would be to go to bed on Friday night knowing that the weekend held in store yet more of the same … preparing and serving snacks, cleaning the kitchen about 12 times per day, constantly working on the laundry, helping little ones with the potty, keeping little ones out of danger, giving baths, putting children to bed. Meanwhile, trying to tend to my marriage, make nutritious food choices, stay on top of anything “special” that’s coming up (like holidays or birthdays), spend time doing things that fill me up (like praying, reading, or doing anything enjoyable at all).

Weekends can be pretty rough on me, perhaps just as rough as weekdays, albeit in a different manner. Our church schedule just doesn’t jive with my youngest (22 months) child’s nap schedule, so it’s not uncommon for me to stay home and tend to Mark while Hubby takes Adam (5 yrs old) to church. This morning, Hubby left at 8:30 so he could run the soundboard for worship team practice. Hubby and Adam stayed for 9:30 Sunday School, and then, of course, for 10:45 church.

This morning I was fortunate that Mark “slept in” until 5:45 a.m. After jumping into my clothes, I whisked him out the door right away so that he wouldn’t wake up Adam. We did a grocery run and returned home around 7 a.m. The  next hour was filled with getting breakfast for the kids, putting away groceries, and tending to Mark’s crabbiness and giant tantrum (this child is, once again, overtired). And, oh yeah, brushing my teeth and grabbing something for myself to eat. Hubby was up and helped out some, but he was also busy getting showered and ready for church.

By the time Hubby and Adam left for church at 8:30 this morning, I was worn out, wigged out, and not looking forward to keeping Mark happy until naptime at 11:30.

Now it’s noon, and “the boys” will be back from church soon. It’s always a bit stressful for me when they come home because Mark is napping, and I get pretty wound up about keeping things quiet. It is no exaggeration to say that my entire day rests on whether Mark gets a good nap! So the moment Hubby and Adam come home, it will be a circus of getting Adam to put his things away (quietly) and settle down for lunch (quietly), meanwhile trying to keep on an even keel and not raise Hubby’s ire, because he thinks I’m far too particular about keeping things quiet.

Plus, I have been On Duty for a good six hours now, and mentally/emotionally, I feel ready to hide myself in a cage for a few hours, which is a far cry from what the next hour holds for me.

Moms, I would love to hear what your weekends are like!


Ugh. September 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 5:23 pm
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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah I am feeling so unhappy and stressed out. It’s hard to put my finger on why. I guess I’m tired of having so much to do all the time, the endless housework. Tired of being at the mercy of Mark’s moods, sleep schedule, etc. Unhappy with myself because I am feeling the effects of eating so much junk this week.

It is a holiday weekend, so I’m “supposed” to be having fun. but my day has been rough ever since my feet hit the floor this morning.

I truly feel I could just cry right now. It’s not that I’m tired (very much) or in pain (very much) or feeling ill.

The proposed trip from some friends of ours is bothering me a bit. The proposed trip from my mom is bothering me a bit. I do not want to have all of our weekends scheduled. I do not want to deal with Mark getting off schedule and over tired  and waking up super, super early like he has been this week. I do not want to have yet another argument with Hubby where he wants to go and do things (trips) and I don’t want all of the resulting hassles from them (tired, cranky kids).

I do want to get to the gym today, and I’m hoping that won’t cause too much friction between Hubby and me. I just feel that I need the extra boost from a workout.


A must-read for at-home parents September 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 8:51 pm
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All parents, especially SAHMs or SAHDs, who have wondered whether they are the only ones to struggle intensely with the demands of parenthood should check out the comments at the end of this article.

Last night I spent an hour or so reading through all of the comments, and I was blown away by the honesty of the many moms (a few dads) who poured out their true thoughts and feelings. I wish I had found this thread a few years ago. It is good to know that I’m not the only one going through these struggles.


Not doing so hot today

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 8:33 pm
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A rainy afternoon here, but the rain doesn’t bother me. It’s sort of nice to have a respite from the constant pressure I feel to Get The Kids Outside. That being said, I should really do a grocery run before it gets too close to dinner and to my gym time.

I gave in yet again to cravings, boredom, etc., and dug into junk food this afternoon. This means that my scheduled trip to the gym is going to be a real drag. I already blew off one workout this week, so things are not headed in the right direction with making my health a priority.

Just have to keep slogging along. Tomorrow is a new day, and more importantly, there is no reason I have to keep eating junk today. With any luck, I will manage to press my internal re-set button and make the rest of today something to be proud of!


My journey as a SAHM, part I

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:19 am
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I have been a SAHM for five years, ever since my oldest son was born. He is now 5 years old, and my younger son is 22 months old. I had a college degree and worked in a variety of areas, including marketing, before quitting my job to be home with my baby.

For me, quitting my job was a relatively easy decision (though I knew we’d have to pinch every penny) because the circumstances surrounding the job that I had while pregnant with my oldest were spiraling downward, and I had little desire to deal with all the hassles I saw coming my way.

In addition, I wanted to embrace everything that motherhood had to offer, and I was honestly scared that I wouldn’t be able to handle the stresses of working outside the home and also being a mother (kudos to ALL of you who do that).

My journey as a SAHM has been interesting, to say the least. I can see that I have come a long way when I compare myself to the weak, exhuasted, hormonal woman who brought her jaundiced baby home from the hospital five years ago.

I spent the first year or two of my child’s life trying to figure out “who I was” as a woman, wife, and SAHM. I joined our local MOPS group, and while I loved the spiritual aspect of the group, I always, always struggled to fit in. In the end, I realized that being a MOPS member was causing me way more stress and heartache than it was worth.

Here I was, trying to get my baby and myself out the door on time, typically worn out and looking like H-E-double-hockeysticks and wondering whether anyone else found this motherhood thing as difficult as I did — and I was expected to show up with an egg bake because it was my small group’s turn to provide food, and “egg bake” was the only item left on the list by the time it got to me at the previous MOPS meeting.

Then there was the MOPS Easter event, where each small group was expected to decorate a table with china, linens, etc., for a MOPS Easter meal. My second year in MOPS, I had gotten myself pulled together a bit and therefore had the guts to tell my small group leader that I simply was not going to participate in this event, in part because I had a hard enough time getting Easter pulled together at my own home, thankyouverymuch, never mind hauling decorative items across town and into a church basement for an event that I wasn’t that interested in to begin with.

I’ll never forget the time that one of our local MOPS steering team members asked me to be Moppetts Coordinator for the following year. This is the person who coordinates the childcare aspect of MOPS, and it was obvious to me that it was a complicated, stressful, and time-consuming position. I’m sure she expected me to give it some thought and get back to her at a later time, but — I was getting smart, you see, and had my “No” muscles toned and ready for action — I thanked her for thinking of me but said that I wasn’t going to be able to take on that position.

After two years in MOPS, which had some bright spots but also more than a little stress, sadness, and frustration, I quit altogether. I am thankful to my MIL for encouraging me in this area; she could see the writing on the wall long before I could. (Sadly, she and I are now all but estranged, but that doesn’t change the fact that I admire and respect her in many regards, and I will always be thankful to her for helping me to think for myself and be my own person, SAHM or not.)

I see my decision to quit MOPS and instead embrace our local ECFE (sort of like Mommy & Me) as a turning point for me in my personal development and journey as a SAHM. I was finally ready to accept who I was and not worry so much about being like other moms/SAHMs.

I was the ONE mom among sixty or seventy at our MOPS meeting who chose not to do the craft, and instead take a few minutes to relax (and also avoid bringing yet another piece of clutter into my home).  Can you imagine the strange looks and questions that I got that day? I guess it was unthinkable to the other moms that someone would be so independent.

I get quite a lot of visitors to here at this blog, and I have to wonder if any moms who are reading this have dropped out of MOPS or any other “mommy group” because of not fitting in. If so, please leave a comment!