The Honest Mommy

Uncensored thoughts on parenting & more

Discipline July 29, 2014

Filed under: Child Discipline,Parenting — lotsofopinions @ 2:47 pm

This parenting thing? It can be really tough.
We have a vacation coming up. Lately, we are so fed up with DS age 5’s behavior that Hubby made a behavior chart outlining how many (if any) days of fishing DS5 will lose due to misbehaving.
No doubt, many, many parents would take issue with this approach. However, in our way of viewing things, behavior just has to measure up. We don’t have super high standards by any means. Now that DS5 is almost 6, I just can’t accept certain things any longer.
Here’s hoping he gets to go fishing while on vacation.

 

Thoughts on the GTD Coordinator August 11, 2009

Filed under: GTD,Parenting — lotsofopinions @ 6:41 pm
Tags: , , ,

It has been about a week since I received my GTD Coordinator. Wow, what a difference it has made.

Of course, using a paper-based GTD solution is not perfect, but then again, neither is an electronic solution (for me, anyhow).

Benefits I have noticed so far:

  • The pages are big enough where I feel I can write what I need to write (not like using notecards, which always seemed cramped to me). (However, I have no problem using notecards as a capture tool, in my purse, for example.)
  • It is a nice, calm feeling to have place to collect things like project notes. For example, I just spent 5 minutes mind-mapping my son’s upcoming birthday party. This is not all that unusual for me, but what is unusual is having a logical, organized place to keep the mindmap. A mindmap isn’t much good to me if I can’t remember where I put it, or if I’m subconsciously trying to remember where I put it.
  • “Ubiquitous capture” is a goal that is much nearer now than it used to be, because the GTD Coordinator makes this fairly simple and painless.
  • This next point is a bit difficult to explain. It has to do with how I feel about myself as an individual and as a mother. It seems that having and using the GTD Coordinator not only makes me feel calmer and more productive, but it also makes me feel better about myself (more confident). I think it’s because in my role as a SAHM, I have a lot of things to do and responsibilities to uphold, but society doesn’t always recognize this. I don’t have a fancy office (or even a desk, for that matter) or an assistant. The fact is, I do need things like a menu planner and a family-friendly wall calendar, but I need much more than that! I need a way to capture, process, etc., EVERYTHING that’s going on in my life. I have tons of stuff coming at me, projects to manage, goals to work towards. Having the GTD Coordinator solidifies the role of GTD in my life, and provides a sense of validation for the challenges I face.
  • On a related note, getting deeper into GTD forces/allows me to deal with areas of my life that tend to slide to the back burner, such as having fun, getting exercise, and generally doing anything enjoyable.
 

Organization and the overwhelmed mom January 12, 2009

Filed under: FlyLady,Parenting,Personal Struggles,Productivity — lotsofopinions @ 11:04 pm
Tags: , ,

Going from having one child to two, I am amazed at how organized I (feel I) need to be. By “organized,” I don’t mean having everything in neat, labelled bins. I mean having to use my noggin’ every moment of the day to try to stay one step ahead of the chaos that threatens to overtake my home.

Almost every evening, I write out a rough outline of the evening schedule and its associated to-do’s. When I have a free moment or two, I tackle whatever items I can do at that time. This means that I sometimes take out my contacts or wash my face at 8:00 p.m. I also make an effort to prepare for the next morning; on Sunday nights I make my 3yo’s snack for Monday morning playgroup. (In FlyLady-ese, this is my evening routine.)

Why am I so structured in the evenings?

  1. It is difficult to get out the door on time in the morning. The more I do the night before, the smoother my mornings go. It is really good for my mental health to know that I just have to flip the switch on the coffeemaker, grab a ready-to-go snack out of the fridge, and so on.
  2. It has been difficult for my 3yo son to get enough sleep lately. As part of our “Sleep Rehab Program,” we want lights out for him to be around 7:30 p.m. If I don’t plan ahead for dinner, bath, and so on, he doesn’t get to bed on time.
  3. In order for me to get my life back together after having baby # 2, and have enough mental and physical energy to do things like take care of myself and lose weight, I need to get to sleep as early as possible, as often as possible. Therefore, the more efficiently I use my time in the evenings, the earlier I can get to bed. (As FlyLady says every evening, Get to bed!)

I don’t know whether other moms feel the need to be this organized. Comments?

 

Too many toys? January 11, 2009

Filed under: Toys — lotsofopinions @ 12:05 am
Tags: , ,

A year or two ago, a lot of my mommy-friends seemed to think that we had a LOT of toys at our house. We did have a fair number of toys, and they were kept in our living room since we don’t have a place for a play room.

Since then, I have changed my thinking about toys, and my 3yo son has also moved into a different bedroom, which is on the main floor. Now, we have almost no toys in the living room, and all of his toys (the ones that aren’t being stored in the basement) are in his relatively small bedroom. He has just a few toys in his bedroom because I believe it’s important for kids to have the opportunity to play creatively with a few toys and not be overwhelmed with too many toys all at once.

And so, I recently realized that now that my friends’ kids are getting older, their houses are being overrun by toys, whereas at any given time, we have just a few toys underfoot at our house. It is funny how things have turned topsy-turvey in that regard. I am often relieved when we return home from a friend’s house because I don’t feel overwhelmed by gazillion toys everywhere. I also feel that my everyday life is a good deal simpler because I’m not trying to operate in a house that’s overrun by toys.

Another benefit of having fewer toys is that I don’t feel that I’m being unrealistic to expect my son to pick up and put away ALL of the toys that he’s pulled out.

I’m sure my friends think I’m a little kooky. Like when we have playgroup at a local church’s nursery, when I arrive I put out of reach at least half of the 150 pieces of play food. Why? Because I hate picking them up after they’ve ended up in every corner of the room. I also think kids have just as much fun with 75 pieces of play food as they have with 150 pieces (okay, I may be exaggerating a bit here, but not by much).

All in all, I still feel we own too many toys. My strategy for dealing with the problem is

  • We keep just a few toys in my son’s room at any one time. The rest of the toys are tucked away in the basement and we rotate in different toys every so often.
  • We try to limit the number of new toys coming in to our house. For birthdays, we ask for no gifts (though we don’t expect the grandparents to comply).
  • I make an effort to get rid of the toys that don’t seem worthwhile. This is getting more difficult as Adam gets older, however.
 

Sleep rehab for my 3-year-old January 9, 2009

Filed under: Parenting — lotsofopinions @ 4:35 pm
Tags: , ,

Earlier I posted about the need to lower the boom on certain behaviors from my 3-year-old son. On a related topic, we recently started a sleep rehab program for him. You see, over the last few months, he started to take naps later in the afternoon. This led to him staying up later at night (sometimes we would still hear him awake at 9:30 p.m.). This was all fine and good, but…. I bet many of you parents know where this is going.

He would rarely, RARELY, sleep late enough in the morning to make this whole schedule feasible. And we all know what effect lack of sleep has on a child!

So, we now put him down for a nap by 1:30 p.m. (rather than by 2-3 p.m.) and have lights out at bedtime around 7:30 p.m. I can tell this has made a difference in his behavior and demeanor already. Even if he takes an hour to fall asleep at night, he is still asleep by 8:30 p.m. This means that if he wakes up at 6 a.m., it won’t ruin his whole day (and everyone else’s day, for that matter).

It is a drag to have to have him in bed by 7:30 p.m., if we want to be out and about doing anything in the evening. But this child simply won’t sleep late in the morning — more than once every few months or so, that is. This is what we have been struggling to accept ever since he was a young toddler. We know other kids who aren’t so affected by losing sleep, and/or they are more likely to sleep later in the morning if they get to bed late. Hopefully hubby and I will finally quit trying to fight our child’s natural tendencies, and just get him to bed on time as often as we possibly can.

 

Mom, interrupted January 8, 2009

With a 3-year-old and a 2-month-old in the house, it is challenging to get much of anything done. My biggest challenge is that Mark, the baby, naps for only an hour at a time during the day. Here is a typical scenario – one that I’m certain many parents can relate to:

2:45 p.m. Mark starts to get fussy. A nap is in his near future. 3 o’clock, perhaps? He won’t settle for anything less than being held.

2:55 p.m. I settle down with Mark for a feeding. Perhaps this will be the magic potion to conk him out.

3:10 p.m. The feeding is done, but Mark isn’t nap-ready. Ever the optimist, I swaddle him anyway.

3:15 p.m. Mark seems to be no closer to falling asleep, but I know he is due for a nap soon. I take off my shoes and lie in bed for a few minutes, listening to him fuss.

3:22 p.m. I decide Mark has fussed enough. I try feeding him again. He complies, and is asleep by 3:30 p.m.

Note that for the last 45 minutes, I have been able to accomplish nothing besides waiting for Mark to fall asleep for his nap. I make my way downstairs, use the bathroom, grab a quick snack, and take my breastpump stuff out of the fridge.

3:45 p.m. Time to pump breastmilk.

4:10 p.m. Pumping completed, I measure the milk and store it in the fridge. Pumping is time-intensive, but it is the way that my baby gets breastmilk, so it’s worth it.

At this point, Adam is awake from his nap and I prepare a quick snack for him. I look at the clock; it’s almost 4:20 p.m. David will be awake in about 1o minutes. How depressing! I haven’t been able to “get anything done” (besides the bare necessities, like using the bathroom or taking care of my other child) since around 2:45 p.m.

I now have to decide what to do with the next ten minutes. I am reminded of FlyLady’s saying, “Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have time. Tell yourself that you have five minutes!” and proceed to zip around the house, doing things like wiping down the counter, washing a few dishes, and so on. True to form, Mark is awake by 4:32 p.m.

I believe that every stage of life has its productivity challenges. The “mommy of a baby and preschooler” stage is no exception. My main task is to keep a positive attitude and to tell myself that I do have five minutes to do something, even if it’s just a quick trip to the basement to “re-boot the laundry,” as FlyLady puts it. Other times, that five minutes has to be spent using the bathroom (as a parent, even finding time to complete bodily functions can be a challenge) or finding something to eat so my blood sugar doesn’t end up in no-man’s-land.

 

Rest and the worn-out mom January 6, 2009

Filed under: Parenting,Personal Struggles — lotsofopinions @ 11:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I spent 2.5 hours this morning hovering around the edges of a preschool classroom while my oldest son, Adam, gave the preschool a trial run. Meanwhile I tried to keep Mark (2 months) content, which wasn’t as difficult as I had thought it would be. The main thing I worry about is getting him to nap, since he takes many short naps during the day. I am pretty good at getting him to nap in his infant car seat; I dread the day when we have to transition out of that car seat. I have no idea how I will get him to nap then, but hopefully by that point he will have settled into 2 longer naps per day.

Anyway, the preschool trial run went well, and Mark will start attending 2 mornings per week right away. When we got home, around noon, I was pretty wiped out. Adam went to MIL’s house this afternoon, so it’s just Mark and me. I have taken this opportunity to “rest when the baby rests,” as people are fond of saying.

I am at the point of fatigue where when I lie down, I get a warm, exhausted feeling all over my body. Sleep can overtake me quite quickly, which is unusual for me.  When I wake up from a nap, if I am still tired, it is so difficult to get myself up and out of bed. I really hate feeling this way. (I’m also so tired that it’s hard for me to write in a clear and organized manner!) I also tend to feel guilty for resting when I “should” be doing so many other things. However, I am slowly changing my feelings in this area.

When I start to feel guilty, I remind myself that it is normal and no fault of my own that I am so worn out. Most nights I do my best to get to bed as early as possible; it’s not as if I’m out painting the town red. So, when I get a chance to rest, I try to do so without feeling guilty. Rest is a biological need, not a luxury. I am a better wife and mother when I am rested, and if the laundry has to pile up and the dog hair has to accumulate in the corners, then so be it.

If other moms of young babies have energy to volunteer, have a spotless house, and cook dinner 7 nights a week, that is great for them. I am just not capable of that, and I’m (mostly) okay with that.