Parenting


 

*I am not  an expert. I’m sharing what I am still learning along the way because I’m still new to this parenting thing too.*

I’m sharing what I’ve learnt so far and what I consider to be important and beneficial. I wanted to say more because I loved the conversation but I was dealing with two excited little people getting ready for bed.

If there’s one thing I’ve realized is a constant for other parents my age, it’s that we are not our parents. I’m not saying that in a negative way either! We’ve all had different upbringings but there are a lot of experiences that we have to in common when it comes to how our parents raised us. 

Expectations.

As I said above, throw them out of the window because you’ll be setting yourself up for soooo much disappointment. I wanted to breastfeed my son, my milk wasn’t coming in and as a first time parent, with only my husband to help, my focus was making sure he was being fed and we weren’t running ourselves ragged in the nursing/feeding/pumping cycle. Having a healthy thriving baby was more important than stressing about something that was only making me miserable and not enjoy him. But that milk came in for my daughter when I had no plans of nursing her! That was a lot for me because I was not used to the attachment that came with breastfeeding. And she was adamant about breastfeeding as she didn’t really like the bottle! I’m still coping with her strong personality 😅. If things don’t work out, don’t be hard on yourself, do whatever is best for you and your family. I’m not saying don’t try! If you try and you don’t feel like it’s something you want to continue with, don’t be hard on yourself. I don’t just mean breastfeeding either, I mean everything. Definitely don’t rush potty training either, it’s  better for your kid to be ready with that! Kids just require you to go with the flow while trying to hold on to whatever expectations you have had that you’d like some variation of it to come into fruition.

Something else to consider… You and your partner are two different people who met in your older years. You don’t know what they were like as a child (hearing stories is different to experiencing it) and you don’t know who your child will favor. Seeing your partners traits in your little person is going to have you rethinking how to parent a mini version of your partner/spouse.

A partnership.

If you’re going into parenting in a relationship, please have discussions about how you want to parent with your partner. Now I’m not saying you will agree on everything! You won’t. But it’s important to discuss how you handle things. I let my husband know I don’t want to quarrel about the kids in front of the kids. We keep it neutral or move to another room and make decisions or hash out whatever the issue is. We also call each other out when we don’t think a situation is being handled in a manner that benefits everyone. Kids are a riot. And after a long day, we don’t always feel proud of how we handled a situation, but accountability helps. I often try to wait until the kids have gone to bed to release all of my steam and to discuss how to handle similar situations in the future. Again, this is a partnership. I’m not saying to draft something up for reference but take note of what you want/expect from each other. Just like how communication is important in your relationship, communication between each other about your kids is important. Do not expect things from your partner without discussion because you will pay dearly for that lack of communication. Discuss who will take a night shift – my husband is a night owl and with our son who was bottle fed, he took over so I got some rest. The same didn’t happen with our daughter as I breastfed her but he helped in other ways. If you normally do pickup but you can’t and you mentioned that you can’t that day, send reminders, the average person doesn’t remember something that isn’t in their normal routine, BUT, don’t nag. You don’t want your partner to resent your parenting style and find you overbearing and clock out when you need them most.

Communicate. Talk. Repeat.

Support systems.

When people mention support system, I think the automatic thought is support system = family. It’s not. I’ve been blessed to experience two different types of support systems.

Family. Growing up, my sister and I spent a lot of time with our grandparents. From sleeping over when our parents went out, to having our grandfathers pick us up from school, grandmothers feeding us and looking after us after school while our parents worked. I have some of the fondest memories of those times. And as an adult and parent, I realize how important they were. Living in a different country away from our family, I miss it as well. It’s amazing whenever we go home to visit to have our parents participate in the way my grandparents did but I don’t have the luxury of having them here with me. One of the reasons I am a stay at home mom is because we don’t have that family support and the nature of my husbands job and how he works. So I’ve found a different kind of support – friend who are family.

Chosen family. We can’t choose our family but we can choose our friends. When you find friends who are like family, it makes raising your kids in this scary world a lot easier. The thing about support systems is what can be covered under a support system. You have your mom friends, who help you on the journey and you bounce things off of each other to make sure you’re not the only one going totally  insane. You have friends who you can add as your emergency contact because you know they have your back and are also trustworthy. They treat your kids as their own and vice versa. You have the friends that bring you meals/order meals to you when you’ve just had a baby, or come over and wash dishes/do laundry/tidy the house or even send a cleaner your way just to ease your load a little. All of this support matters. Also, a person or group that you can declare a no-judgement zone with.

Parents.

As my friend mentioned above, she wanted to honor her parents’ recommendations. Well, that’s just what they are – recommendations. Someone you trust recommends a restaurant to you but when you see the menu and realize it’s not a place you’d enjoy as much as them, you say thank you and then make your own decision on where to eat. It’s kind of the same here. You know what’s best for your kid(s) and you. You have to consider how you want your child to be raised, what is different about you now than when you were kid and what you want for your child going forward. There’s more to consider – a different environment, different cultures (you and your partner), different upbringings… the list goes on. But this is your family now and while recommendations from family/friends are always great to receive, never feel obligated to do it because of who said it to you, and trust your gut. Some advice can bring you peace. Like when my mother recommended adding rice cereal to my son’s last bottle to help him stay full longer and not wake as often to feed. He was about 9 months+ and a hefty kid that loved to eat. He was still waking every 2-3 hrs and after I added the cereal to his “last” bottle for the night, he was sleeping in much longer stretches and so were we. Then on the other spectrum, she also suggested the standard discipline we grew up with when he misbehaved sometimes, but I wanted to change that narrative. Again, you do what you know is best for your family in your situation.

Love.

Love is the underlying reason for everything in parenting. You do everything out of love, even when it pains you to see how your child responds. Shots, punishment, limiting snacks, you name it. Your guidance is grounded in love. Parenting is one of the biggest and most extreme emotional rollercoasters you will ever experience in life. You will question every decision you make, you will have many sleepless nights before they’re teenagers. You will love them so much that you cuss them (in your head) about how they left your bodying what you went through to have them, but turn around and have 2 more babies lol. No matter who or what your child grows up to be, that love will always be there. Never forget it, and never stop using it to guide them. Tough love is a real thing, and it sometimes hurts you more than it hurts them.

Never stop loving.

x

Drained.


This was a hard week.

I had big plans for 2020 as well but now it’s dealing with the emotional toll attached to this week and the weeks since the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s death was released. I had my break down moments. I had my moments of wondering how do I even start to broach this subject with my 5 year old son. So I baked for therapy. I’m not a person to go out there and take action. I ain’t trying to get arrested or anything. I’ll support it financially or some other way, but I’m in a country over 3000 miles away from my family, I’m not trying to put my family through that, even more so, my kids.

I spoke to my husband about moving back home. If you know me, you know that’s a lot. Not indefinitely but to have a mental break from it all. We’ve been fortunate where we live. The racially based encounters I’ve had were just being followed around in a store. Nothing new for us right? Otherwise, nothing. I always hold this fear when my husband is driving alone, most of the time, I’m on edge when he calls me while he’s out. Especially after events like last weekend… I sit on edge when he leaves. Luckily right now, we’re all home.

But my silence on these topics is not because I turn a blind eye to them. I have the conversations, I see the posts. I may like a post. But to put words down to say something, I become overwhelmed. The level of anxiety I begin to feel, the emotions that just come flowing, because my husband could be George Floyd tomorrow. The anxiety I have when I watch my very social son and let him know that we can’t just walk up to people and be friendly because not everyone is like that or has the same intentions as you.

I decided to do a post because something on Instagram or Twitter encourages conversations that I’m not mentally ready to be dragged into because someone wants to play Devil’s advocate without acknowledging the mental toll I’m already dealing with. Sometimes sharing your thoughts is all you want to do.

I’m not African American, but I’m black, and to some extent, where we live, that’s been a tiny blessing for me. When my accent is heard, I get a different response. When I go to a store, I’m always cautious of how I hold my phone or put it in my bag because you never know who is watching you and just waiting to accuse you of something. This is not a way to live just because of the color of my skin. Don’t even begin to talk about how pets have more sympathy and are more important that the lives of POC. That outrage for Amy Cooper was more for her dog than a whole human that she almost had killed by police… because that’s where we have to go now when a black person and police are mentioned together.

This is not an easy topic. I have friends (non- POC) I can talk to about it openly and others that not a word is said, yet, I have no doubt that if anything ever happened to us, they’d be there for us in a heartbeat. Sometimes, I don’t even know how to take that. I feel like I’m rambling at this point, and that’s just where I’ve been most of this week. So here are a few articles that sum up my feelings this week:

With my scanning, I learned about the ACLU app to record Police Conduct. It can’t hurt to keep it on your phone.

Final thoughts…

Stay safe x

SAHM Quarantine


I won’t lie.. this shit has been hard. Even though I’m a stay at home mom, my kids are in school 9-3 3 days of the week and 2 days are extended for extra curricular activities, so I had time on my hands.

When the first death in the US was announced, we basically began our “quarantine” from then. It was at the hospital 5 minutes from our house. From then until last weekend, I’ve only attended appointments and began slowly gathering things in the house since we were cooking more than usual and expected the quarantine to be somewhat imminent. But there was a lot I wasn’t prepared for. Namely, feeding 4 people 3 times a day. I already had subscriptions set up on Amazon’s Subscribe & Save, so cleaning products weren’t exactly lacking around here, but food was enough to last 5 days. We would normally eat out/order in 3-4 meals of 6 on the weekend, again, not cooking this often. So if you had to ask me again how I’d prepare for being home for 2 weeks, I’d say buy 4x what you normally buy and don’t expect to have the healthiest diet either. You can’t stock up on fruit. Vegetables you can freeze and cook as needed but we are a family that is heavy on fruit consumption more than vegetables. We do salads more than broccoli, squash etc. so again, nothing you can put in the freezer. But I’m having to go more veggie and purchase stuff we can freeze and cook.

Lots of baking going on as well…

Then there’s keeping a 2.5 and 5 (in a few days) year old occupied all damn day. NO NAPS. Why no naps? Because our soon to be 5 yr old doesn’t go to sleep until 11pm if he sleeps for barely 20mins a day, and our 2.5 yr old makes me take an hour to get her to sleep and then she too will stay up very late. I’m sorry I had to deal with y’all the whole damn day. I’ll put up with tired tantrums to ensure I get an hour or two to myself at the end of the day. There’s been a COVID19 Schedule floating around and I thought “oh that seems like a great idea!” but then realistically, it didn’t apply to me due to my kids’ ages. So I made up my own yesterday finally and had to make one tweak to it today after today’s test run (which went well surprisingly):

  • Breakfast
  • Morning Work
  • Reading time
  • Lunch
  • Outdoor time//Afternoon Walk
  • TV//iPad time
  • Dinner
  • Bathtime

This is exactly how it looks. No times are allotted on purpose. We get out of bed when everyone is up and we’re ready we’ve been asked 20 times for milk. Then there are 2 different breakfast requests going on so no one ever has the same thing unless it’s pancakes/scones, anything other than those two is personal preference and changes at least 3 times. I want them to eat so we have to narrow it down. Then I ordered a few books on Amazon and visited Michael’s just before the quarantine and I ordered more craft supplies on Amazon to keep them busy for the morning work period. This consists of the 5yr old practicing his writing/math skills, and the 2.5yr old drawing and going over the alphabet. Once his work is completed, we have craft time. I’ve made it so that this time is TV/iPad free. We usually have it on in the background but now it’s off until afternoon. On Monday or Tuesday (I’ve lost track of the days honestly) we made play doh and that kept them occupied for sooo long. Like 30mins minimum. If you have toddlers aged kids you know that’s long for them to sit quietly working on something. It was nice.

Button picture activity for 2.5yr old

That time actually passes quickly because I’m always caught off guard that lunch is in half an hour or so, and I start to scramble trying to figure out what the hell to feed everyone. I’m NOT used to this. I usually have to fend for myself not 4 people, and two extremely specific ones at that. I’ve always got dinner covered but lunch for them has always been a tough one. They don’t really do leftovers for lunch and they don’t eat sandwiches. Leftovers are fine for dinner, but lunch is always a killer. I went as far as buying a guide for feeding kids to give myself ideas and options to try to keep them satisfied.

Sorted the pom poms to take out his favorite colors and then we used them for a counting activity. Also, takeout containers make great impromptu storage options for crafts.

The reading time was inserted today because it was a given before but I realized my 5yr old would give me less stress about doing it on his own before lunch than after with the itis. Since my husband is working from home, and because it’s been sunny but cold, I put outdoor time after lunch so it would still be in his lunch time and it wouldn’t be as cold as if we went out at 5pm. After that, I’m clocking out. I purchased Osmo for the kids to give them something educational on the iPads, and that is going to be used after outdoor time. 5yr old was very interested and worked on it for half hour today, 2.5yr old was tired and liked the idea of it but wasn’t interested in working on it properly and wanted to just play with the sticks for the ABC game. I have decided this is a work for her in the morning when she’s more eager to learn than afternoon and more tired. (See how I’m switching things up for their moods? I hope she does better tomorrow though). I take a breather in the afternoon and then pry myself up to start dinner.

Camp Castle printable – 4 pages put together

Now, I made a list for my most recent food delivery order to basically double and give myself easier options for lunch and dinner. In that aspect I feel a little more prepared.

A few resources:

  • I downloaded some drawings and this Point Chart which helped my 5yr old stay on track a little more today from Rachel Parcell. The points chart gives my son (5yr old) a sense of accomplishment when he does things and keeps him in check when he’s not keen on doing activities, like reading after lunch. My daughter (2.5yr old) pooped on the toilet 2x today after reading to her that she had to poop on the toilet on her chart today. HUGE PROGRESS! As usual, pooping in the toilet has been the hardest part of potty training but today was a great success.
  • Camp Castle playmats are great for bringing out your kids imagination, as a subscriber you can also receive printables during this quarantine time.
  • Here is an idea list on Amazon that I created with everything I’ve bought. I do expect this quarantine to last longer than the 2 weeks put forth because people aren’t taking it seriously. Also my kids LOVE crafting and I’m all for building imagination through sensory play.  Disclaimer: my daughter loves all things girly and pink and princessy and fairy… It makes me happy but it kills me how much pink she’s obsessed with. I didn’t even have her in lots of pink as a baby!
  • Also follow @robinpsychology on Instagram for more ideas and good accounts to follow during this time.

It took a quarantine to get me to post again, but you know I post when I have something I think will be really useful to others. Hope this helps a mom or two!