Daily Play = My Parenting Goal for October

I’m not a stranger to setting a new parenting goal for myself.  Sometimes I meet those goals, sometimes I don’t, but I always feel like a better mom for having made the effort.  Lately, I feel like I’ve been lacking in the creative toddler play department.  Things have been hectic and busy.  I’ve been trying to get my house back in order, grow both of my websites, control my chronic migraines, and a bunch of other things.  All this means that I’ve dropped the ball on quite a few things.

So, now it’s time to get back to the basics of why I wanted to be a stay at home mom in the first place.  I wanted to be a stay at home mom so that I could actually be with my kids.  I missed out on a lot with Andy due to a variety of factors, and I always wanted to “do it better” with Norton and Eudora.

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Being a Better Mom in the New Year

I suspect I’m on an eternal quest to be a better mom.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, providing that I don’t think that my desire to be a better mom is because I suck or something.  I don’t think I suck.  (At least, I don’t think I suck right now.  Later could be a whole different story.)  I just figure that there are always things that we can be doing better.  After all, no one is perfect, right?

So, yeah.  I don’t do New Years Resolutions, but we’ve been fortunate enough to have something come up that will help make life easier.  My husband is getting a company vehicle in the next while (sometime in the new year), which means we will no longer be a strictly one car family.  A large part of the reason that I don’t get out of the house with Norton as much as I should is because, quite frankly, it’s a complete and utter pain in the rear to arrange having the van.  I have it a couple of days a week because the husband is car pooling, but I don’t always keep it because it’s easier for him to drive on days he doesn’t have to so he can stay late.  Whatever.  Either way, it means that I have to put effort into making arrangements to go places with Norton.  Spur of the moment things just don’t happen.  And that sucks, because I am totally a spur of the moment kind of person.  Making big plans just doesn’t seem to work out.  Ever. [Read more…]

Facing Parenting Fears – We Went to Toddler Time

A couple of weeks ago, I meant to go to toddler time at the library, in spite of the parenting fears associated with it.  The last and only time we went before?  Yeah, I spent hours at the hospital due to a toddler injury.  I felt like a bad parent and didn’t want to ever, ever experience that again.  But still, I got us ready and was determined to suck it up… only to have the husband not show up to drag us out the door.

But on Wednesday, I got brave.  I was determined to face my parenting fears and face down toddler time at the library once more.

It would only be thirty minutes.  We would not stay a second past story time.  I would bring Norton’s toddler leash with us to prevent any form of trying to run through the library like a little screaming savage.  We could handle it.  Right? [Read more…]

What the Internet Has Taught Me About Being a Better Mom

I have fretted about being a better mom.  I have worried that my failings, whether real or imagined, are a mark that I’m just not a good parent.   I’ve blogged about my perfectionism, my struggles, and my hopes that some day I’ll figure out how to be a better mom in my own eyes.

Lately, there have been some things that have helped.  And, honestly, most of them have been from things that I’ve found online.

1.) The Hands On Play Challenge.  I have not participated in this challenge every day.  I’ve written a few blog posts about our toddler play efforts from things that Jamie has sent out, but it’s been pretty hectic and stressful lately.  Here’s what the challenge has made me realize, though.  I do play with my kid.  I don’t think I realized how much time I spend just crawling around the house chasing him or playing peekaboo until I set a timer for fifteen minutes to play with him.  The challenge has also helped me in another way, which is awesome when combined with the next helpful internet resource… [Read more…]

Sucking Up Parenting Fears – It’s Story Time

Today is toddler time at the library.  I’ve been saying that I was going to go back every week for the last month now… and I never do.  I always chicken out for one reason or another.  Quite simply, I’m letting my parenting fears hold me (and Norton) back.

I know the cause of my parenting fears.  The last time we attempted toddler time at the library, it wasn’t all that pretty.  Norton tried to run away from me in the stacks.  Norton hurt his arm and we ended up at the hospital for five hours.  And then, of course, there was the wonderful damage that this trip did to my parenting self-esteem.

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Maybe I Don’t Need a Book to be a Better Mom

I do spend a lot of time fretting and worrying about the things that I perceive as “wrong” with my parenting.  Not a day goes by where I don’t take stock of what I’ve done and think about whether I’m doing what it takes to be a better mom.  Some days (like when we go to the library and things fall apart or we go to Strong Start and I nearly have a nervous breakdown), I think that I’m completely and utterly failing.  Other days, I think I’m doing okay… but could still be a better mom if I just tried harder, played with him more, or did some mythical thing that would make me “better.” [Read more…]

Fun in the Kitchen Makes Me Feel Like a Better Mom

Pumpkin Rice Krispy treats

On Friday, I’d have done just about anything to feel like a better mom.  The day was just rough, from the beginning of the day with Strong Start until the very end.  I tried to pep talk myself so that I’d get up, make dinner and let Norton help me, and then I’d feel like a better mom.  It really, truly did not work.

I spent Saturday trying to make up for what a flop Friday had been.  It was better.  I won’t say that I mastered scream-free parenting, but it went well overall.  We spent the majority of the day out grocery shopping (and that can take a while when you start out at the mall to get some new jeans for the kiddo and there are six stores on the agenda).  But Sunday was when the day was really awesome.  And it was a day that was even closer to scream-free parenting right up until we went to Grandma’s house for Sunday dinner. [Read more…]

Being a Mom in a Better State of Mind

I feel a bit better now.  I guess I just needed to get all of that worry and frustration out.  I know that it’s not possible to be a perfect parent.  Instead of focusing on all the things that I can’t do, I just need to suck it up and focus on what I can.  It’s not like I can just quit being a mom because I feel like a flop.  And it’s not like I want to quit being a mom, anyway.

I just want to be a better mom.

So that means getting over it.  I have to accept that being a mom doesn’t mean being perfect.

We’re going to cook dinner tonight, Norton and me.  Sure, it’ll be a great big mess.  It might be a really crappy meal since we’re trying an experimental shepherd’s pie recipe.  And since I don’t think I have enough potatoes, we’re going to try making instant mashed potatoes for the topping.

It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect, or even if it’s edible.  We tried.  And maybe the failures along the way are also important to being a better mom.  Maybe it’s important, at least, to being a mom in a better state of mind.


Parenting Stress and the Pressure to be a Perfect Parent

I know that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  I know that every parent has bad days when things go wrong.  But still, that doesn’t help me feel any better.  I feel like I need to be the perfect parent in order to be good enough.

This pressure results in more parenting stress than I need.  And no one in my life is putting this pressure on me.  I do it to myself.

I came home from Strong Start earlier today feeling like a completely inadequate and overwhelmed mom.  In fact, I paused while writing my blog post yesterday to just cry for a while… and spent the rest of the day feeling like a terrible mother.  If I were a better mom, I’d be able to handle Strong Start like a super star.  I wouldn’t have felt like an overwhelmed mom who just wanted to go curl up in a ball and hide in a corner.  If I were a better mom, I’d have been able to do something as simple as toddler time at the library without taking my kid to the hospital. [Read more…]