Ideal Parent….What Does that Mean?

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If you are anything like me you have dreamed of being a mother for a very long time.  You thought about what it would be like to raise your children and what you will and will not tolerate.  You some how in your mind created this ideal of the perfect parent.  What you aspire to be.

For me that was my mother.  I wanted to be the type of mother that she was.  She created the best childhood.  She was the mother that created craft projects and got down on the floor and played with us.  She created the best forts and always put our needs above hers.  No matter how hard it was she pushed forward knowing that in her eyes she was doing the best for her children.

I mean she hosted, put together, help decorate and facilitated Fourth of July parades for all the kids on the block for many years.  Usually this was only for the parents of said kids, but we all had a blast, putting red, white and blue cray paper, and sparkles.  Even before my sister could ride a bike, she decorated a metal red wagon for her to sit in.

One year during the Olympics she put together our own Olympics for all the neighborhood kids.  Complete with some sort of medal and ceremony for the best of the best.

These are just a few examples of things that she did for us.  Totally the Pinterest Mom before Pinterest was even around.  She would have home cooked meals most nights a week.

I had some big shoes to fill when I became a mom.  I found though very quickly that I was not my mom and I was actually completely the opposite of her.  It has taken me many years to learn that even though I am not the ideal mom I thought I wanted to be I am still a great mom.

So this is where I say that it is great to have a role model of the type of parent that you want to be, but it is also okay to find what works for you and your family.

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DIY Halloween Costumes

As a parent, I do not like spending money on cheap things for myself or for my family.  I think that overall it is a waste of money.  I would rather save and buy something that costs a little more, but is better quality.  This is really true when it comes to Halloween costumes.  Last year was the first year that my children kind of understood that they had to dress up and walk around to get candy.  So off we went to the stores to find the costumes that they wanted to wear.  My son wanted to be Jake from Jake and the Never land Pirates, my daughter it didn’t really matter.  After checking out a few stores, I was shocked at the poor quality of the costumes.

I really didn’t want to spend the money on those cheap costumes.  I proceeded to call my mom and ask her if we ever bought our costumes and if so, were they always that cheap.  She informed me that we always made our costumes.  She explained that it was cheaper and better quality to make our own, it may have not been exactly the same, but we didn’t know the difference.

So off to the fabric store I went with a picture of Jake in my hands.  We were able to create my son’s costume with a pair of sweatpants, a white t-shirt and some fabric.  Was it exactly like Jake?  No, but my son thought it was great.  So what is going to happen this year?  This year my son is going to be Batman, and my daughter is going to be a flapper.

Here is how we are going to do it and not buy a specific costume.  My son is batman, which really includes an all black outfit, a belt, cape, mask and a batman logo on his chest.  So he will have a black shirt, black pants, I have already made him a cape, the belt and logo I will be making using a pattern online.  The only thing that I didn’t really want to make was the mask, so my wonderful husband picked up a perfect better quality mask for $5.  He will have the whole outfit for less than $15.  The best part is that he will be able to wear the shirt and pants many times over.

My daughter is going to be a flapper, which is really a fun dress with fringe on it.  We picked up a pink one at a consignment event for only $12.  It is a little big, but she can wear it more than once.  The best part is it is a Children’s Place dress.  All I need to make or buy is the headpiece.  So for less than $15 she will be a flapper.  The best part is that she will be able to wear it again and again.

So how can you make your child’s Halloween costume this year?

Mothers and Social Media

In this generation, social media is in most parent’s everyday lives.  Whether it is through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest more and more parents, especially mothers are bombarded with the way that they should parent, creating picture perfect ideas of parenting.  These ideas are both unnatural and unrealistic for the average mom to achieve on a daily basis.

 

With one click of a button a mother can open up an app that have hundreds and thousands of different ideas and ways to be the coolest, craftiest, best cook, cleanest, calmest, and any other best way to be a mother.  With all this information at their fingertips there tends to a pressure to keep up with all that is seen. According to TODAY mom survey pressure that mothers put on themselves to be perfect is the top cause of stress. (Dube, 2013)

 

The pressure is already there to achieve above and beyond the call of duty and be the best mother, but social media has taken it to another level.  We are always shown the best of motherhood, which makes us want to mimic what we see.  No one will show you the hair pulling out, mess on the floor, with the children half dress because that would show the world that you are a bad mother.

 

We enjoy seeing all the pictures and reading all the blogs or Facebook posts about how wonderful life is, painting this picture that life is perfect, even when it isn’t.  We as mothers get this false sense that those pictures, blogs and posts should be how life is all the time and when it is not, failure is what comes to mind.  This failure can lead mothers to having depression and anxiety.  Both of which can be even worse on new mothers going through the changes and needs with a new baby.  The feeling of never being able to live up to what is being portrayed on these social media avenues.  There have even been some companies that joke on the matter of what is being portrayed.

 

There is a commercial by Valspar Paint, where the mother is away and the father has the children, they are talking via the computer.  All the mother could see was a clean green background, at the end of the commercial you can see the whole picture where the kitchen is a complete mess. (Valspar, 2014)  Social media has that same affect, where we only what the person wants us to see and why would we want to show the world the bad?

 

These feelings of inadequateness can lead to depression and anxiety disorders. We all have this idea of mother we want to be and it is exacerbated by what we see other mothers do and share through social media.   Not only do we see what others mothers are doing right, we also have access for other mothers to judge us on what we do and what we say.

 

Not only are these websites a place to gather information from, but they are also a place to participate, ask questions, and give answers. Sometimes vulnerable mothers get on these websites looking for validation that what they are doing or going through is right.  They want to feel supported and instead of turning to people around them they go to complete strangers to validate what they are doing.  These other mothers are not always being truthful and always portray their best foot forward.  This inaccurate picture that is being portrayed may cause an increase in anxiety and depression because they are not living up to what the other mothers are doing.

 

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we want to achieve self- actualization where we understand and accept our potential and strive for it. It is a mothers desire to be the best and understanding what our own individual potential is the key to being the best that we can be.

 

My mother was the typical stay at home, she was the ideal mother.  She was always there, did crafts, set up parades, help us set up lemonade stands, she would cook us home cook meals.  She was a very hands on type of mother.  Growing up I always wanted to be type of mother my mom was to me.  Fast forward a few years and now I have children, but as much as I wanted to be like my mother growing up that is not who I am.  This is something that has caused me great anxiety and sadness as I am not the type of mother I thought I would be.  Not to say that I am a bad mother, I am just a different mother.  Having the added influence of the social media did not help with the idea of the perfect mother.  It made me feel even worse because I thought to myself, if they can do it, so can I.  Which I know is not accurate because my life is completely different than theirs, but still made me feel inadequate.

With our lives on display, we sometimes are able to capture a perfect moment.  A moment that is perfect, but doesn’t give an accurate representation of how life is. A mother looking in on this perfect moment may not see that it is just a moment.  She may think that this is how life is all the time, which can cause her to put more pressure to be that perfect mom. This pressure can cause anxiety and depression when they don’t live up to the expectation.

 

 

References

Dube, R. (2013, May 9). Today Parents. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from Today: http://www.today.com/parents/pinterest-stress-afflicts-nearly-half-moms-survey-says-1C9850275

Sunstrum, K. (2014, March 14). World of Psych. Retrieved from Psych Central: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/14/how-social-media-affects-our-self-perception/

Unknown. (2013, May 11). Huff Post Parents. Retrieved from Huff Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/pinterest-stress-moms-social-media_n_3253475.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Valspar. (2014, April 29). YouTube. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/kHw0-QaGYVs

Preschool Chore Chart Printables

It is never too early for kids to learn how to help around the house.  It can be as little as learning to pick up their own toys, to helping set the table.  Children love to help, and what better way to help them learn to contribute to the household.

Now that my children are 2 and 3, we wanted a way to track things everyday to show our children what they have accomplished.  I have compiled a list of different chore charts for younger children.

Homeschool Creations has a Chore Chart that has pictures to help younger children know what they need to do.

Here is a Chore Chart from Chart Jungle.

 

My Frugal Adventures has this one

Here is another one from ChoreCharts

 

A Grateful life has this one

 

Coming up is how I set up our chore charts.

 

 

I never thought…..

I swore before I had children that I would not be one of those parents that would give their children electronics, Ipad, or playing on my phone.  Then I had children and my ideas changed.  It started with the phone.  We used it as a last resort to help occupy my son when we needed to do something for a couple of minutes.  We noticed that he actually really enjoyed the educational puzzle and games that we had put on the phone for him and that he was learning!  Then we moved to a touch screen computer, which offered even more educational apps and programs that my son could do. Then we were able to upgrade to an Ipad Mini (which we got at a great deal on sale).

Even now I cringe at the thought of my son playing these games on the phone, Ipad, or computer, but I have to remind myself that my husband and I consciously made the decision to allow these electronics in certain situations.  Before we introduced any electronics we decided in what situations we would use it and to what extent.  We also agreed that we would review and “play” and new educational game before either child plays it.  We wanted to make sure that they are appropriate and educational.  We didn’t want to have this be another avenue to get addicted to.  So we purposely choose apps and games that are all educational and grow their mind.

Now that we have these extra tools, I have noticed that not only my son, but also my daughter loves to “play” these games that are all educational.  They have learned so much and I can see how excited they get when they get to “play” these games.

Below are some of the rules we have to help monitor the use of the electronics.

  1. We monitor every and all apps that he plays
  2. They have their own folder so they are unable to get into any other games
  3. Lock, so they are unable to purchase any other apps
  4. They do not get it if they are misbehaving or whining
  5. It is a treat and used sparingly
  6. Preschool, which is on the Ipad or computer, is an actual program that the kids are apart of, or another educational app for writing, reading, counting, colors, shapes and more.
  7. They can not have it for more than an hour a day.  Broken up over spurts throughout the day.

Tips for Potty Training

So we now have 1 potty trained child and 1 that is very close to starting.  There are some tips that I have learned over the last year to help ease the process.

  • Start early: It is okay if you didn’t, but start now.  Start by putting them on child on the potty, whenever you change their diaper.  Don’t force it if they don’t want to, you don’t want to have a negative affect.
  • Ask often: Ask them if they have to go often.  Some recommend every 15-30 minutes.
  • Change them often: I know that this is a no brainer, but change their diaper after every time they have told you they have gone.
  • Take them every time they ask: Every time they ask to go, take them.  Encourage them, even if you know that they went 10 minutes ago.  You want to encourage the “feeling” they may have until they figure out the actual feeling.
  • Be patient:  They are learning, they will make mistakes and will have accidents
  • Wait until they are ready: If you try and push them too early, you will have more accidents and have more issues.  Wait until they show signs and understanding of going on the potty.
  • Once you put them in underwear do NOT go back to diapers:  Some days and weeks it may seem like there are many accidents or that they don’t know that they need to go or even regress.  DO NOT put them back in diapers.

There are some things that I have done that I feel have helped.  We cloth diaper with an all natural insert that lets my daughter know when she has gone.  She feels it and there is no pulling away that happens with disposable diapers.  We take my daughter when we take my son to go potty.  Every time she tells us she went pee we sit her on the potty.  We also stop using diapers all together.  Within a couple weeks after my son requested underwear, we took the diapers away during nap and bedtime.  It was rough the first week or so, we had to change the sheets almost every night, but he now wakes up and goes.  We also don’t make a big deal if he doesn’t make it to the potty.  We understand that he is still learning.

Mommy Wars…..

I know I have discussed the Mommy Wars here and here, but I feel once again to touch on this point.

A little history, as you may know I had severe Postpartum Depression after the birth of my daughter in April 2012.  It is now 2 years later and I can honestly look back and see that it was a lot worse than what I even thought!  During that time I know that other moms didn’t mean to say something that I took so deeply, but in some cases I couldn’t help it and in other cases it could have been said better.

Recently a friend on Facebook posted  “Me: “I used a great practice of midwives for my son’s birth.” Other mom: “oh, I couldn’t do that. I really cared about my baby.”” as her status.  I was appalled.  I know that 2 years ago and even 1 year ago a comment like that would have sent me into a spiral of self-doubt and would have been hard to get out of.

Now that comment was outright rude and judgmental, what about the comments that aren’t so outright.  The ones that are like Do YOU discipline your child? as the child is running around in a fit.  Or how about the comments like Do YOU EVER give your kids a bath because they always seem to have something all over their face.  Those questions were not meant to be hurtful, but to someone who is battling with themselves, they can be even more hurtful.

Please understand that what you say to people can have a good effect and a bad effect on that person.  You never really know what people are going through.  They only show you what they want you to see.

My suggestion is to be supportive, really try to read the situation.  Understand that not everyone does it the same way and what works for you may not work for them.  Encourage them to do their own research and not just go based off of what you said.

Climb out of the Darkness

So June 21, 2014 is Climb out of the Darkness which is where people all across the world are walking, hiking and more in promoting perinatal and postpartum depression and anxiety.  I will be participating in this absolutely wonderful event.

Please support me through this wonderful event either by walking or hiking or through here.