A Day in the Life with Mom Guilt — February 7, 2020

A Day in the Life with Mom Guilt

Hey y’all. It’s been awhile because life has been beyond crazy here lately. Hence why I’ve decided to write about how I feel guilty sometimes and how I’m trying to deal with it in case any of you feel this way from time to time. If not, don’t mind the crazy lady 😉

Guilt by definition means a feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation.

Take today for example. I woke up early to a text. Tried to get back to sleep but I’m never that lucky. Got up, made a cup of creamer. I mean coffee. I turned on the news and eventually heard Jaxon moving around his bed. I finally go to grab him and see that he had an accident. I immediately feel guilty that I didn’t go grab him earlier. (Both our kids around this age always stay in their beds until one of us goes to get them. Weird but also amazing not to have the creepy in your face wake up.) Throw said sheets and jammers in laundry, get him into the shower and get him dressed while once again explaining that big boys don’t go potty in their beds. Olivia wakes up during all of this commotion so I send her downstairs. Then I start to feel guilty for being a little too harsh with Jaxon since he rarely has accidents. I also had guilt over not giving Liv a hug and shuffling her away. It’s just going to be one of those days I can already tell. As I’m getting the kiddos set up with breakfast, Olivia is getting pumped that today is the 100th day of school for her. So, I switch my focus to her now so she can get ready to look like she’s 100 years old. But, the silver hairspray that I ordered a week prior was delayed. Cue mini meltdown from Liv bc she only wants grey hairspray. I grab baby powder to dump it in her hair and make it white. Another problem solved. On to making lunch, grabbing Jax’s share toy and getting myself dressed. We drive JJ to school. Oh crud, we’re signed up for snack day. So, we drop JJ in his classroom and I hustle to drive and drop Liv at her school. I then drive to closest grocery store to pick up a treat and drive back to Jax’s school. I rush home because I only have Wednesday and Thursday mornings to myself to workout and run errands. I have about 20 minutes to complete a workout so do a quick HIIT session. But then I feel guilty because Olivia wants me to decorate house for Valentine’s Day even though her birthday was just the day prior. So, I get the ladder out to grab the spring decorations tote down from the garage ceiling. I do some quick decor for the Hallmark holiday and then I feel guilty that the dog isn’t outside in the few hours we have without rain so I take him for a quick walk. I start to feel bad about not getting in a great workout but override that feeling as I need to run to Costco to grab a couple things. On the way I call the church we are joining and feel guilty as we are missing our introduction to the congregation with Chris’ TDY. The Pastors are going to have to have a meeting to see about when they can fit us into the schedule next to introduce us to the rest of the members. I rush home to put food into the refrigerator and then back to Jax’s school to pick him up as his two and a half hours are up. We go home for lunch and then out the door to speech. We’re only home for less than an hour before we have to go get Liv so I put Jax’s clean sheets back on his bed while he has some quiet play time. We walk to pick up Olivia and once home, put her school stuff away, talk about her day and get her some much needed calories. By dinner time, the kids have had some play time and completed a “homework assignment”. I heat up some leftovers for me and get the kids something easy. I feel guilty about not making anything too fancy but it’s just the three of us. Oh good, the silver hairspray is delivered now. We watch the Gruffalo and a Pete the Cat episode on TV and snuggle because I will feel guilty if I don’t get snuggles in with them as they pile on me (including Gunner). Up for showers, 10 minutes of iPad time, book reading, teeth brushing and bed. Jaxon squeezed out about half of my shampoo and body soap so I might have raised my voice a bit here too. Again with the guilt and why can’t I have more patience.

The kids are down but not yet asleep. I’m exhausted. And it’s just crazy. I still feel guilty about forgetting Jax’s snacks, getting upset with kids and not getting to talk to my hubs much today. I feel like I’m not giving the kids my best self even though I’m trying my best. I feel like I need to look for jobs to help provide even though we’re doing just fine. I feel like I should volunteer at kids’ school more. I feel like I need to get outside and exercise as that usually helps me feel like myself. I feel like I need a girl’s night, date night and vacation. I feel like I need my Mom. I feel like I need to be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, in-law, friend etc. It’s just a lot on some days (especially when Chris is TDY and so busy we don’t get good chats in).

And it’s funny. I am obviously an overthinker. I used to work in what I would consider high stress environments doing Human Resources and Relocation at various companies. I had a few months before we moved from ABQ to GA that I was both a working woman and a mother. But with the kids getting older it seems there’s more to do than ever. My stress and guilt may vary from others but I’m trying to own it. We have a lot going on. Chris listens to me even though his stress can literally be life or death situations (whether it’s active listening is another discussion 😉 ).

So this year, I decided to set a few goals which isn’t something I normally do. I’m trying to sit down with the kids (mostly Jaxon as he’s still home with me more often than not as he’s only four) and really force home/school work time daily. With Olivia it’s helping her learn to read and just picking whatever she’s interested in to read to/with me. With Jaxon it’s improving letter recognition and helping his mouth/tongue make the correct speech sounds he’s a tad lazy with.

But I’m also making small monthly goals. In January, I decided to do “dry January”; however that only lasted 10 days because see above feelings. But in all seriousness, that was all I needed and I actually did not feel guilty about breaking that goal. 🙂 December was just a bit heavy in birthdays, celebrations, TDYs, ear drop giving, Christmas planning, travel to Iowa, the “lice gate”, etc that I just needed a reset.

In February, I’m doing frugal February and trying not to buy anything unnecessary (aka, no clothes, no coffee shops, no extra pantry items, limited “fun” expenses etc); however, with Chris missing half the month, I’m trying not to feel guilty if I’m not quite as diligent as I could be about this. Hello Chick Fil A. But I also am doing 20 push-ups a day. I do this every now and again as I’m more of a jogger but it’s an easy way to feel stronger and accomplished. I’m just trying to set small goals that I can hit.

Thankfully, when I get in one of these funks, I just need to look to my kids. They are happy and healthy. Both of them have told me what fun days they’ve had today and how much they love me. Matter of fact, Jaxon just went to the potty and shouted that he loved me as he was going. Both good things at this point. They don’t notice these little things so I’m going to try not to as well. Jaxon thought it was cool to see me in the middle of his circle time when I brought his snacks. Olivia loves to help me and wants to be just like me when she gets bigger (apparently while living at my folks’ house and having them wait on her – atta girl).

We’re going to finish the month with Daddy coming home and potentially a small trip so the four of us can just have fun and get away from it all. But do we bring Gunner or do I feel get to feel guilty about leaving him at home? Or should we finish our flooring instead? The cycle begins again in the life of a Mom with guilt…

Have a good one folks!

~Mel

Ear Tubes — November 19, 2019

Ear Tubes

Hey y’all. It’s been awhile. This summer/fall has been no joke. It’s flying by and we have holidays and birthdays that will continue to make this year a blur.

Today, I’m hoping to take a few moments to reflect on Jaxon’s speech journey. I do not plan on going into it too much as I think the kids should be able to decide what we discuss about them on social media (and Chris for that matter) but let me know if you have any questions.

One year ago today, Jaxon had his ear tubes placed. One year ago today, Jaxon could not say more than maybe 15 words. He had been in speech therapy since he was a baby to help with his feeding issues (wouldn’t drink anything from any bottles), but there weren’t any signs to point to hearing issues. 

We knew he was behind in speaking but that all kids develop differently.  I mean he was walking at 11 months; but there’s always something to point to.  Girls and boys are very different.  Boys speak later than girls.  He’s a physical boy and walking/running/climbing are easier for him.  He had a tongue tie.  His sister is chatty and won’t let him get any words in.  Oh wait, I added that last one only because it’s true. 

Obviously everyone’s lists are different. We are all going through something. But with Jaxon, we finally followed our gut and requested a hearing test once we moved to the PNW away from the typical military Doctor who we were accustomed to seeing. The Audiologist could not perform the hearing test because his ears were so blocked.  No “waves” could get through.  The ENT could not clear out the blockage as it was so backed up along with Jax’s general disdain for doctors. A surgery was scheduled to not only clean out his ears but place tubes because the ENT Doctor was 90% sure there was a fluid behind his ear drums. We consented because we knew something was up.

Jaxon had never had an ear infection. He didn’t rub at his ears.  No Doctors stated he had buildup or may have fluid behind his ear drums previously at his wellness appointments. His Speech Therapist never mentioned any potential issues with his hearing.  The signs for needing ear tubes were not present.  But we knew Jaxon was smart and were trying every avenue to find a solution.  

Today, Jaxon can speak in three to five word sentences. He knows thousand(s) of words. Family and friends understand the majority of what he’s saying now. He’s in preschool.  He’s the best snuggler you’ve ever met.  He will yell at his sister if she doesn’t let him speak.  He continues to attend speech therapy as he needs to work on his enunciation and a couple difficult sounds for him but we want him to be as successful as he can be.

I am so thankful for following our Mom and Dad guts. I am so thankful for speech therapists. What a cool profession!  He has gone from feeding help, to letter phonics to beginning sounds to final sounds to two words to sentences.  We’re still learning but seeing how much this crazy kid has grown this past year has been so wonderful.  

For anyone having any speech questions, please let me know.  We found a site called mommyspeechtherapy.com that has wonderful content to practice at home.  Since slowly talking more about his speech issues over the past few years with others I have learned so many of my friends/family have children in speech.  

To be completely honest, Jaxon’s tubes are still in; however, he now gets ear infections more frequently.  If he’s anywhere near a pool or hot tub, he gets an infection (splashing or swimming are usually the causes here).  Chris checks them regularly and we have a lot of yucky drainage and pricey ear drops to help us along.  But we would do the ear tube surgery again in a heartbeat in order to have conversations with our son.  

Let’s end with listen to your gut. Love your kiddos just as they are but push them to be the best they can be!

Last Few Weeks of Summer — August 10, 2019

Last Few Weeks of Summer

Hey y’all! It’s been forever I know but this summer has been flying by. And we haven’t really done anything so I’m not sure why it feels so busy! We have three weeks left or so until school starts back up so thought I’d hop on here to just let ya know what we’ve been up to.

It’s our first full summer up in the ‘Couve and we have made some wonderful friends! I’ve loved a neighbor before but having a neighborhood FULL of friends is so much fun! We started meeting neighbors last year and every month it seems we’re adding another awesome family to our mix. Our newest friends even have their own three-year old Jackson (ours is Jaxon but samesies)! Let’s just say we have a wild bunch of friends now and it’s wonderful after moving cross-country to have friends who make you laugh as well as have children to entertain my children. lol

We’ve had plenty of adventures too! Great hikes, camping, bike rides, swim lessons, visits with old friends and amazing family time.

This summer has had it’s hard moments with work stuff, kids bickering, house projects, carving out quiet time, etc but overall I just feel so grateful for my family. The other night Chris came home from work and we threw the kids in the trampoline, made some moscow mules and just sat outside and talked. Liv decided we should go to her favorite brewery to sit outside and who are we to say no to that so we just continued our fun.

Though we’re definitely starting a new chapter here with Olivia starting Kindergarten soon; and as much as I’ll miss her, I’m going to love hearing her stories about her new adventures. She is my social butterfly and I love seeing her meet new friends and watch as she grows from these experiences. And Jaxon will be at our new church’s Preschool4 class and continuing his speech therapy so he will be slammed too. Just seeing how much he has grown this past year with potty training and hearing him talk in sentences is so special. He can now keep up with us and tries to put one of us in our place with his new words (“No Ya-Ya, get out of my face!”).

Carpe Diem folks! Off to make more memories as soon as this darn drill weekend ends.

~Mel

PS. My new favorite sprinkler/Splash Pad is this in case y’all are interested. We may have borrowed it from friends, poked a hole in it and are still using it (and bought a new replacement one for our friends). Sorry Tara 😉 But the kids have been using it daily the past week or so!

Potty Training — May 20, 2019

Potty Training

OK folks, I’m going there. The place no one wants to talk about. Potty training. Ugh. Just typing it makes me hate it more.

Not everyone wants to talk about it because some kids get the hang of it very quickly, and some take much longer.  And it’s usually the parents of the kids who’s kids are potty trained first who want to bring it up.  But it doesn’t matter. It will happen. And if it doesn’t for some reason, it’s no big deal either. You’ve got this!

Potty training for us has been a journey. With Olivia, we started her very young and just made it a fun thing. Sit on the potty before bath time and go.  Oh, and here’s a jellybean. Around two-two and a half, she figured out how to go number two in the potty and never looked back on that particular number.  But we were still working on catching every pee in the potty when she started Preschool3.  We had a wonderful program and teachers in Georgia who helped with potty training during the three mornings a week she went to school. The teachers had even stated “all children will be potty trained by Christmas”.  By November, the teachers were telling me I could send her to school in underwear because she got it.  And that was that.  Or at least how I remember it as we’re working with Jaxon now.

With Jax, potty training has not gone as smoothly.  Really, life has not gone as smoothly if I’m being real.  First off, Jaxon doesn’t talk as much as Olivia did/does.  He’s my happy lazy snuggly boy.  We started him off the same way with sitting on the potty before bath time.  Followed by said jellybean.  But oh boy, is having a little boy different than a little girl.  lol.  Jaxon liked to sit on the potty but only if we took him.  He never wanted to initiate going to the potty. (And yes, I say potty and not bathroom, restroom, toilet, etc as it’s easier for kids to say so get used to it.)  We got so that every time we took him to the potty, he would go potty.  But he never initiated.

Once we moved to the PNW, we enrolled him into a Preschool3 class as well but this one stated he had to be potty trained.  WHAT?!  Where are my helpers at?!  So, we pushed Jaxon harder to try to meet this deadline.  I tried the three day potty training method after we moved into our new house.  And Chris was on TDY (travel or away for any non-military folks).  I set a timer.  We went to potty.  He peed in potty.  Another timer.  More pee.  An occasional poop.  But never once did he initiate having to go potty.  Not once over these three days.  While he did get better at holding it a tad longer and actually going to potty when I said it’s potty time, this method did not work for us.  So, Mommy told a little white lie and he was in Preschool3 as a “mostly” potty trained boy who still needed pull-ups.  Oh, and help going potty sometimes because he was nervous.  lol.

I’m not trying to put Jaxon on blast or anything because like I said, every kid is different.  He just wasn’t ready and I’m not sure pushing him didn’t make it harder on us.  The teachers would somewhat help him into the bathroom at school but if he ever had a number two accident, I had to go change him.  I think this happened two or three times in almost five months; and by Christmas, the school told us we needed to step up our potty training game.  And by the way folks, by potty training, this school means fully going to the bathroom all by yourself.  Initiate it, shut door, pants down, go potty, WIPE and pants up all by himself.  I’m sorry, that’s just a bit much for any three year old in my opinion.  I know six year olds who still don’t wipe after number twos.

So, we refocused on potty training.  First off, I started by waking him up by 6:45am so he could eat and drink and run around before school or errands to ensure I could get him to go number two on the potty before leaving the house.  This worked great for most school mornings. But, we had to find something else that would work for Jax.  For us, and him, it was the beloved iPad.  We started with poop accidents.  If he had a poop accident, he didn’t get his five to ten minutes of iPad time like he normally does before bed.    And then I think he may have had one or two poop accidents resulting in no iPad time before bed that had him initiating going to the potty more.  And maybe a meltdown or two.  And then bam, it sunk in.  This worked amazingly well for us.

Now, I’m not saying we haven’t had blips on our radars from time to time whether it be sickness or forgetfulness, but he’s been doing great.  After he grasped initiating going potty (we had him say potty as well as grab the privates/bottom areas to ensure others understood his meaning), we started the no iPad time before bed for pee accidents.  And again, it took a few sobbing night time routines after having an accident that day for it to sink in for him.

And now, I’m knocking on wood before saying we are nearing the end. Jaxon still uses a pull-up at nights but has been dry the last two weeks. He’s even been waking up crying at night because he has to go potty and is a bit confused in his tired state.  But we manage to make it to the potty during these middle of the night wakes as well as first thing in the morning.  I do still send him in a pull-up to school just as precautionary as his teachers don’t always seem very responsive to him.  And hello, he’s not there with wiping yet so that’s safer than the skid mark tundies.  I also help him fix his tundies and pants as he just yanks them on up with no regard for the waistband being folded in and pants twisted.  But in my eyes, he’s potty trained.

To close, hang in there on your potty training journey. We’ve hit both ends of the spectrum and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Jaxon is almost three and a half and we are close to being diaper/pull-up free.  And if you’re like me, don’t feel embarrassed or bad for Jax as he’s doing the best he can.  We’re rocking life the best we can!!  And next year in Preschool4, Jaxon will continue to grow and learn and be his best self!! As I will.  (and Chris and Olivia too for that matter)

As I always say about life, “Everything is temporary”.  So if you’re in the diaper phase or the potty training phase or the up all night phase or whatever your baby/kid phase is right now, it’s temporary and will pass soon before you’r on to the next phase.

Adios.

~Mel

Babysitting — April 5, 2019

Babysitting

OK, for all you mamas and papas out there. What are your must haves for a babysitter?

So, first kid, in Georgia, we had the BEST babysitter which set the bar very high. I’m talking getting her Masters in Childhood Education, CPR and First Aid trained, won awards for her grades and work with children in the community, remembered Olivia’s birthday and bought her a better gift than we did, etc. And in South Georgia, they called it “keeping” your children (versus babysitting). “Yes, I can keep your kids on Friday.” Um, done. Keep them and we’ll see you on Sunday was what I was thinking. Ha!

Now, flash forward to 5 years later. Our standards have lowered some. The girls growing up in South Georgia wanted to be Moms. It was strange because the other college-aged sitters we used down there, all talked about when they become a Mama, etc all the time. Now, in the PNW, even further away from family, we are relying on friends to recommend sitters. And we all know how close everyone keeps their babysitter’s information because a good sitter is like gold.

So I’m hoping for this A+ kid-keeper while my husband, Chris, thinks the sitter only needs to be able to call 911 if anything bad happens when we’re away. Not sure we’re on the same page there. Lol.

But, in the almost year we’ve lived here, we’ve found a great 16-year old girl to watch the kiddos. Having a young high school student watch the kids is different for sure. A parent either has to drive her or we have to drop her off. Her authority probably isn’t quite as much as it is with an older sitter. School nights are mostly off limits as well as too late of nights (who am I kidding? I like to be in bed by 10pm too). But the kids enjoy their nights with her.

And maybe I’m just projecting as I hated babysitting as a young girl. I tried it a couple times even after attending the Red Cross babysitter certification class. I thought it was going to be my calling. My money maker.  Until crying kids and sitting alone at night in a random house came into play.  Then came the call to my Mom to come help me or hang out with me.

But we may keep on this trend. Because if you can get a good younger sitter and groom her for your family, maybe she’ll stay your sitter throughout the next 2-6 years depending on what she does after high school.

Go forth and schedule a date night. And maybe order a Nest Cam for your kids rooms’ so you can check on the nighttime routine like we do when we’re away from home. We have one for each kid’s room and the doorbell cam too. Though at first, it was our doggie monitor, now it’s a way my husband can check on the kids in their rooms when he’s traveling.

And my one tip that works well for my family is to build up these babysitter nights to your kids so that they look forward to your date nights. I tell the sitter to basically give the kids whatever they want…snacks, food, drinks, movies, painting, etc. So now, when we get home and wake up with the kids, they are so excited that they got to eat four marshmallows and watch a movie upstairs that they didn’t even care that we were gone.

~Mel