Mommy Tales and Tools

The Benefits of Preschool.

Are you on the fence about sending your little one to preschool? Some parents would rather have their child stay home with them for extra bonding before they start grade school. Others, can’t wait for them to get a head start on their education. Here are my thoughts!

 

I sent both of my kids to preschool. My middle child is currently in his second year of preschool. We started him a year early so that he could have some socialization and so that he felt like he had a place to go just like big brother!

The first year was amazing for him to learn how to act around other kids. The second year is where all of the things he was taught last year, are finally clicking and I’m really seeing him blossom. He is begininning to write, too!

I decided preschool was important for my son to attend because I had my second son and he was quite a handful. It was difficult for me to give my oldest my undivided attention and I could tell it effected him. He was jealous and distracted. The times I COULD sit down and teach him, he would just want to play with me. That’s when I figured that sending him somewhere for a few hours a day would be fun, educational and it would give him some time away from the baby brother.

For my oldest, preschool was important because I was able to see some behavioral issues during that time, and have an experienced preschool teacher work with me and guide me through this time. She was awesome in so many ways and really understood how each child is different and there is no cookie cutter way of teaching or handling their emotions. I’m glad I learned this before Kinder because, Man, I was in for a tough adjustment. My son got into some trouble, had a detention, a meeting with the principle, and even had a Google Doc dedicated to his daily behavior. Now these are things I was able to start working on in preschool, thankfully. I understood he would have difficulty adjusting to a new school and a longer school day. But he was prepared the year before with a routine to wake up early every morning, get dressed, be responsible with his book bag every week, and have to do what was expected of him in class.

As a first grader now, he’s an awesome student. He loves his teachers and loves helping them any chance he gets. He’s confident in class and on the playground. I owe a lot to his preschool teacher. When you find a good one, they can really work wonders in your child’s life.  He’s reading at a second grade level only 3 months into the year!

 

My middle son will finish his last year with his preschool teacher in 6 months. He’s excited to start at the big school with his big brother, and he’s pretty thrilled for the bigger playground, too!

As for me, I know he will be prepared and excited for school. Preschool is a great way to acclimate your kids to school.

 

No matter what you choose, give your little one a big hug and kiss every chance you get. They grow up too fast and you don’t want to miss out on a single snuggle before they’re pushing you away!

 

XOXO Patty

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Ramble Ramble

Why I Shop Black Friday.

 

For the last few years I’ve gone out at the wee hours of the night to be around the buzz of Black Friday Shopping. Up until last year, I never actually bought anything because I didn’t know what I was looking for so nothing ever really seemed like a “deal”. I thought the only thing that really mattered was a T.V. because you would hear everyone talking about how they got one last year or plan to get one this year and you always see people with their carts brimming with that huge T.V. they just purchased on Black Friday.  Well, I didn’t need one of those. So, I would go home empty handed and wondering what the appeal of this  day was.

 

Now, last year was different. I decided we were going to go out on Black Friday and get our Christmas shopping finished for our kids while we had money and while we had time. Normally, we are still shopping on Christmas Eve with an ill equipped budget and stuck in the last minute shopper traffic all day just trying to get whatever is left.

Anyways, so last year I went out to the outlets and to Target. I was able to find awesome deals on warm beanies and mittens for each of my children and a cute long sleeve top from Carter’s for a decent price. The Clearance was an additional % off. At Target I found them board games that were 50% marked down and a fun age appropriate toy for each that I knew they would enjoy. We spent under $200 for all 3 kids and had so many toys for them to open on Christmas. It was awesome! We picked up a gift for our parents and teachers, something small but thoughtful… And my shopping was done!

 

Do you know how much more enjoyable the holidays are when you know you have all your gifts already?? For the first time since becoming an adult, I finally felt like I could breath for the holidays and take it all in for what it’s meant to be. Family, faith, love, joy.

 

So, even if I could still get those deals closer to Christmas, I wouldn’t wait. Because I think getting it taken care of and out of the way before the real crazy-of-the-season happens is well worth staying up a little later and walking off that Turkey dinner.

 

What are you looking for this year during Black Friday? When do you prefer to shop?

 

XOXO Patty

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The Downside of Becoming a SAHM

Many working moms are probably envious to some extent of stay at home  moms. As a stay at home mom, I get to spend lots of time with my kids and be here to help with school projects and do fun crafts for the holidays and the best part of all is I don’t have to worry about work. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not all butterflies and sunshine. And if you are thinking about becoming a stay at home mom here are some things to consider beforehand.

 

  1. One Income

Okay, so this is pretty obvious. If you choose to stay at home that means that your spouse is the only one bringing money into the house and there’s a lot of pressure on him/her. What happened in my situation was a lot of fighting when it came to bills because my husband couldn’t handle following a budget and seeing his whole check go towards bills every week. Maybe this was due to our young marriage and him not being prepared for everything marriage includes, i.e. “Our money”. I always had this same phrase shoved in my face, “Have fun paying for that yourself, then”, whenever there would be an argument.

 

Now, this left me constantly feeling like I was in deep trouble because I realized that I had no backup. No emergency funds, not a stable career I could get back into. How would I pay for daycare for three kids and still make enough to support myself and my kids?!

That was a reason I became a stay at home mom in the first place. I simply wasn’t making enough to afford daycare and it became more of a burden than anything. But now that I’ve been at home for 3 years, it seems like that’s still all I am, is a burden.

 

This made me more determined than ever to find a job I could ROCK at home, make a decent living, and still be here for my kids instead of dumping them at daycare all day and running myself into the ground.

The point is, even if you are surviving off of one income, it’s always best to have a backup plan if shit hits the fan or just to have a rainy day fund. It will take a lot of stress off of the family budget. And as women, I think we should always have a Plan B. We shouldn’t have to always rely on a man, especially if they will use it against you. You should never be tethered to someone that way. Hopefully, ya’ll are luckier in that department than I was.

 

2. Transporter and House Cleaner

this is what your new title is. Once your kids are school aged there is drop off and pick up on top of the drs appointments, grocery shopping, and any other activities or errands. Most of your day is scheduled around these things which leaves little time to get anything else in.

Kids make messes CONSTANTLY. You turn you back for a second and the whole house is upside down. When you aren’t driving, you’re probably cleaning. And nothing is left clean for long. I have a son who isn’t in school yet but gets into everything! Then my older boys come home and it’s kitchen raising time. Food and dishes everywhere!

The upside of working is that the kids aren’t home for long and you’re not stuck to clean up the mess of the day which lingers to an all day event.

 

3. There is no safe space

 

Anywhere you go, the kids WILL find you. There’s always a fight or something to tattle on. Or a crying kid. And the worst part of all? You can’t cuss at the top of your lungs to let out all of your pent up frustrations.

4. Family Will Say You Have It Easy

Seriously. I’ve had family tell me it must be nice to stay home and not do anything all day. Because if I’m not making money, I’m doing nothing important. Wow. Yep. Morons. I would trade them a few days doing what I have to do and see if they survive. I’m not watching tv all day or shopping or hanging out with homies and throwing back beer. I don’t get to sleep in or stay up super late. I wake up and have a job to do. From the time I wake up until I go to sleep, with hardly a break in between. When hubby gets home, my day isn’t over. He gets to use the “I worked all day and I’m tired” card. So have I! But because there’s no paycheck, my work is meaningless to some.

 

Being a stay at at home mom is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I love what I do, but it’s the social backlash from society, friends and family that makes me take a step back and reevaluate my efforts. The reality is, the kids will be grown before you know it and won’t need Mom at home. What will you do with yourself then?

 

XOXO Patty

 

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Parent Teacher Conferences

Ahhhh Parent Teacher Conferences. A time to meet with your child’s teacher and hear how smart your kid is and how well he’s doing in the classroom……..Or is it?

Typically, you’ll hear how well your child is doing and get some tips to help with what needs to be improved.

When I hear that term, I know all my dirty laundry is about to be aired. How many days of school your child has missed, the tally of all the days my son has been late. How he’s turned in his homework late for the third week in a row. And how important it is to show up, be on time, and be prepared.

 

Now, im not complaining about any of these. Really! I agree 100%. However, I’m not perfect. I am that “Hot Mess” everyone reads about on Facebook. Which means that these parent teacher conferences are more of a parent report card than anything. And you know, I just don’t look forward to these things.

 

I feel the need to remind myself, and everyone else if this helps at all. So here it goes. Moms and dads, it is your responsibility to raise kids into responsible adults. You set the example for them and teach them about priorities. Teachers can only do their job if there’s a student sitting in that class and who is prepared to learn.

When I go into that meeting today, I will fully take responsibility for the late days and no shows because that’s on me! No homework had been turned in? Yes, I’m aware, and that also is on me. But I will walk out of that classroom more committed to showing my child that his education is important to me even if it means waking up a little earlier to make time for missing shoes and meltdowns. I will stay up a little later to make sure the homework is finished and packed in his backpack. Because one day, he’ll be responsible enough to take care of these things himself, thanks to Mom, Dad, and awesome teachers!

 

Just maybe, next year I won’t be scared when this time rolls around!!! Fingers crossed!

 

How do you feel about Parent-Teacher Conferences? Leave a comment!

 

XoXo Patty

 

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Helping Others

As the holidays creep up on us this year and we get excited about shopping and holiday parties and the cheery feels of the season, Let us not forget about the men, women, and children who will be on the street this year. If you live in a town similar to mine, you see the homeless everyday looking through garbage for cans and bottles to recycle, or lying on the cold concrete trying to get a nap in to sleep off the hunger. Many of these people don’t have family, they definitely don’t have a warm home many barely have warm enough clothes, and they won’t be getting everything on their Christmas list.

So, before you think you have all of your gift lists put in order and that you’ve got everyone covered, Take a moment to add one thing on that list that could help someone down on their luck. Maybe donate warm clothes, purchase some extra packs of socks. When you get together with your family, consider making some care packages of toiletries and snacks together and hand them out or donate the care packages to your local shelter/resource center.

Let’s share our blessings and get into a habit of helping others. Our world will be a better place when we choose love and show compassion.

 

How will you use your helping hands this year?

Here’s an example of how to put together a Blessing Bag from Thrifty North West Mom

https://www.thriftynorthwestmom.com/blessing-bags-assemble-bags-keep-hand-need/

 

XOXO Patty

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Play Date Ideas!

You found fellow friends that associate with being parents. Now what? Well, now you get out of your Pj’s and throw on your best mom jeans and then get out and have fun with one of these great ideas.
1. Old fashioned park play date.

Choose a park that accommodates both parties. It’s helpful to pick a park that has bathrooms and allows for lots of running around. Think about weather. Is it hot outside? Make sure there is shade. A good playground goes a long way,too!

2. Kid-friendly indoor park/arcade.

My kids looovvveeee Chucke E Cheese! I think they even serve wine now for us parents 😉 WIN! And you only need a few bucks per kid for tokens. You don’t have to order food there, which makes this play date a great rainy day activity. Choosing one with a play structure extends the fun after the tokens are all gone. Afterwards, they get to turn those tickets in for a small prize. A play date that keeps on giving. How awesome is that?? 

Any sort of fun indoor park will work. Research what’s nearby. We have a Pump It Up, our local YMCA, soon we will have a trampoline park! Even minigolf, bowling, Or your library (most have kid corners now). 

Even big book stores usually have a kid corner with a train table or an area for kids to sit and read. Usually, there is also a cafe. Talk about family friendly!

3. Family amusement park or museum.

Have season passes to a local amusement park? Use them! We have special days where we can get friends in free, which is a win if your mom pal doesn’t have a season pass also. 

A children’s oriented museum is also a great way to spend a play date! So much fun to be had and things to learn from a museum! 

4. Nature walk

Lastly, you can’t go wrong with a good ol’ walk. Fresh air does everyone good. Make it fun. Bring the scooters and bikes. Collect trash and clean up the neighborhood, throw rocks into a pond. The opportunities are endless when you are out in open space. 

Sometimes, finding a paved trail near you is best for younger kids. Always use safety precautions.
I hope these have helped you get some ideas for your next play date! Let me know what your favorite excursion is with the kids!

Xoxo Patty

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Motherhood Is Lonely, Let’s Change That.

Why are so many moms sitting at home right now finding someone on a blog to connect to….like this one? I get it, I was a lonely mom. I tried mom groups, park play dates, friending other moms online, friend apps. I’ve even tried reconnecting with old friends that are not parents. Unfortunately, I have nothing in common with them anymore. They don’t understand the troubles we go through or the simple fact that going out to a club on a Friday night seems like work and not a good time after the thought of getting dressed up, walking around past bedtime, and being away from your cozy bed and the Investagtion Discovery channel.

Well, sometimes a social life can be hard. Especially in the beginning of it all. I’m still getting used to marriage and sharing all of my things. And I’m still getting used to 3 kids that seem to have an infinite amount of energy and feelings. I’ve come to accept my lack of social life, because it’s not important to me to have friends just because society says “this is the amount of friends normal people have”. I’m not normal and I don’t have a problem saying I have 3 friends. But I do think it’s important to have some people to have play dates with or grab a quick cup of coffee with in the morning.

So here’s what I did. There wasn’t a mom’s group or meetup in my city. The city over had one but they required you to attend a hosted meetup once a month, and c’mon, anything that kicks you out for not following rules is not my thing. So I created a social page on Facebook for my town for moms. It’s up to a good number of moms. We ask questions, we get together for coffee, I create a monthly list of events. Sometimes nobody comes, sometimes it’s a great turnout. Either way, it’s a starting point towards meeting and taking to local moms.

 

check your Facebook for a local group, and if it’s not there, create one yourself! You’d be surprised how quickly it grows! Then, you’ll need a list of ideas for play dates! Coming soon! 😉

 

Hang in there parents. Drop expectations of a social life and recreate your own. You don’t need to follow social norms after motherhood, you create your own.

 

 

xoxo Patty

 

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It Must Be Nice…

To all of you who judge mothers, especially stay at home moms, and tell us…”It must be nice…”, SCREW YOU!!!

 

Why?

It must be nice to have ZERO alone time?

It must be nice to wipe asses all day long?

It must be nice to have an empty bank account?

It must be nice that the highlight of my day is my morning trip to Starbucks which is the only money I spend on myself personally?

It must be nice to watch everyone around me get out of the house and socialize?

It must be nice to have to fix everything in the house by myself or be stuck with it forever broken, water squirting all over my bathroom every time I shower.

It must be nice to be the glue that holds everything and everyone together, even when you are almost empty?

 

It must be nice, isn’t it?

 

I love my family, but sometimes its so hard to hold it together. You feel lonely, and forgotten. You want to support your husband with his work and his personal life but can’t help but feel jealous when he goes out to breakfast and lunch without you, especislly when y ou are in serious need of a date. Or when he is too tired from work to help you when he gets home. All “motherly” tasks are left to you because you are better at it. No break, no help, no life.

 

That’s how I feel at this very moment.

 

That will change.

 

Because from now on, I will put myself first, so that I can be an even better wife and mother. I will go to mom groups, I will go to that MEETUP for 20/30 year olds, I will go to the gym and proudly frop my kids off for 90 minutes of freedom, I will travel 40 miles to see my friend in another city, I wil make myself a priority. Because I shouldn’t have to cry that nobody else does. That’s up to me.

 

Rant over.

Mommy Tales and Tools

Daily Stay at home mom schedule

Here is what a day in my life looks like. I have a 2 year old, 4 year old, and a 2 month old. All Boys. This is not a guarantee that my day will run smoothly, but my kids respond better to being active and knowing what’s ahead, so here it is:

 

7:30am Wake up, get dressed

8am Breakfast

8:15am Take B to preschool

8:30am Grab my coffee and head home

9am Time with Brad, Take a walk or just snuggle together. Whatever Bradley wants to do with me, this is his special time

11am  snack, then pick up B from preschool

12pm Lunch then toy cleanup/chores

1pm Quiet Time/Nap (Except my kids don’t nap.Ever.) I try to get in some cleaning at this time then catch up on some tv

3pm Snack, Outside time like park or walk, or a movie if it’s too much for that day

4:30pm Music time and dancing while I make dinner

5:30pm Eat dinner

6pm Family time with daddy

7pm Bath time/ water play

7:30pm jammies, brush teeth

8pm Read stories in bed

8:30pm Bedtime

8:30pm-10pm Time for Hubby and Me 🙂 A moment of peace!

 

That’s basically the gist of it all. I am trying to do 2 organized activities a day and also work on adding in alone time with my oldest because he rarely gets time away from his younger brothers. He has suggested a walk around the block at night so I might add that in sometime after dinner.

What do your days look like? And if you have 3 kids or more, how the heck do you keep them all busy and engaged? I’d love to hear!

 

-WonderMommy

 

 

Ramble Ramble

Balancing Act

My life is one giant balancing act. Spreading myself between my husband, my 4 year old, 2 year old, 2 month old, 2 dogs, and a messy house. Wait….I forgot to add myself in there…….Sound familiar?

 

Sometimes I just need a break from it all. I am spread very thin as a stay at home mom. Making sure everyone and everything has their needs met so they can enjoy a happy and fulfilling life. I always feel super accomplished when everyone was able to have my attention for the day, but I also feel very burnt out at the end of everyday. I haven’t really been able to figure out where to find women to socialize with. And quite frankly, I don’t want to join a mommy group, because I want to be able to have a civilized convo with the ladies without having sporadic outbursts at my kids mid sentence. How do you go about finding ladies to chat with and go out for coffee with when you are a stay at home mom?? Million dollar question right there.

 

Tonight was so bad, I actually had to “check out” mentally for an hour (as I write this, of course)! But us mommas do what we have to do to still feel normal. I can’t offer any advice on how to have a life right now, because it is a work in progress for me still, but I will share my journey with you all along the way. There is strength in numbers and I feel like there is nothing better than women learning together and through each other. We aren’t always perfect but we are kickin ass and taking names in the game of MOTHERHOOD. 😉

 

Back to balancing…Make sure that each member in your family gets one on one time with you, ESPECIALLY yourself. You can’t give when all has been taken. Refill your cup every single day. Take a bath, zone out, read a book, exercise. Do something for you, even if it’s just using the bathroom with the door closed and locked. You deserve it!

 

Have tips on balancing family, husband, and yourself?? Comment below!

 

-WonderMommy