10 Survival Tips for New Moms

1. Change your clothes.

Every day. Even if you don’t go anywhere.

Bring a cute cozy outfit to the hospital and as soon as you are able, get yourself cleaned up and out of that hospital gown.

If you only have one pair of favorite yoga pants, go get at least 2 other favorite pairs.

2. Take a shower.

At least every other day.

Even though you aren’t sure if the sun is coming up or going down you need to take care of yourself too.

Baby is crying? That’s okay. Bring the bassinet in the bathroom so they can get some humid air.

3. Brush your teeth.

Every morning. Every night. Even if 11 o’clock at night means the party is just getting started.

The lines between day and night may be blurry, so set an alarm if you need to.

4. Eat on paper plates for at least 3 months.

It’s okay to eliminate chores, so you can spend more time resting and cuddling.

5. Don’t put pressure on yourself to cook.

You need to rest and recover. Don’t eat crap though. Get fresh fruits & veggies.

Drink plenty of water.

Get food that is ready to eat or stick in the oven/microwave – fruit, veggie trays, humus, frozen pizzas, frozen lasagnas, cereal, instant oatmeal, bagel/cream cheese, at least until baby (and you) sleep for a long stretch at night.

If your husband cooks, hooray! If he doesn’t, he surely can put a pizza in the oven.

6. Go outside once a day.

You don’t have to take baby, I mean like check the mail or make sure the sun is still there.

Just to breathe some fresh air.

If the weather is nice, put baby in the stroller and go for a walk.

7. If someone offers to help, take it.

I would love to take a nap in my room with my baby while you sweep, mop, and vacuum my house! Seriously!

People that offer help, want to help.

So let them. Even if it’s picking up dinner for you and dropping it off.

8. A messy bun is beautiful.

Did I mention enough to take care of yourself? Do you need a haircut? Have you shaved your legs?

You don’t have to put on make up, but you are not being selfish if you do something for yourself.

9. It’s okay to not go out in public.

It’s okay to not go to church, the store, or social gatherings. My babies were born small.

Which also means tiny immune systems.

A common cold for an adult is more serious to a newborn.

You don’t know who has a cold sore, who didn’t wash their hands, and who will pinch your baby’s cheek before you can stop them.

I waited 3 weeks, but I would have waited more if it weren’t for social pressure.

But when you do get out it’s okay to say no to your baby getting passed around (aka tell people she’s fussy, getting ready to eat, etc).

The first time you do show up, if you want to prevent an awkward interaction, wear a baby wrap.

I had some crazy anxiety about my babies catching germs. There is a polite way to keep them from being touched.

Put mittens and socks on them, so if anyone does wiggle their toes, it is not skin to skin contact.

People do want to see baby, but not everyone is thinking of germs.

I would rather people think I’m a little too overprotective than risk my newly born baby to get an infection.

(My son still gets fever blisters from a cold sore he got…around Christmas time…at 3 months old).

You also can’t put your baby in a bubble. Get out of the house when you feel ready.

Remember you are recovering too. If by 3-4 weeks you are still healing, just stay home.

10. Don’t isolate yourself.

Get out of the house. Don’t get stuck in the daze of diapers and feedings. Get out even if it’s just to get a drink in the drive thru.

If you are having challenges with your own recovery, call your doctor or another momma who’s been there and can help you out.

You don’t have to invite everyone to your house, but don’t close yourself off if you are feeling overwhelmed.

It’s okay to cry if you are tired. It’s okay to need a 5 minute break.

Talk to your husband about how you are feeling. You are not crazy, it’s just a crazy season.

The first 3 months go by so slow, but when they’re over it’s hard to remember.

If you are going back to work, it’s okay to be sad, but it’s not healthy to be depressed.

Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling. Connect with other moms at work who have been there.

You will figure it out and you will be an amazing momma!

Your baby needs you, so do what you need to do to take care of yourself too.


Parents: 28 Reasons to Put your Phone Down

I spent 17 hours and 6 minutes on my phone last week.  9 hours and 5 minutes on social networking.

An average of 2 hours and 25 minutes looking at my phone per day.

7 hours of the 17 on Facebook.  3 and a half on YouTube.  51 minutes texting.  30 minutes using the camera.  16 minutes talking on the phone. 15 minutes on email. 7 minutes on the calculator.

Most of the other time was just spent “checking” apps.

My phone sends me “screen time” alerts and keeps track of my usage.

Looking at the total is embarrassing.  In my defense, I try to use it when the kids go to bed.

But that’s not always true.

I’m showing you all this before I show you what my students had to say.  So you wouldn’t think I’m pointing fingers at other parents.

If anything, I’m pointing the finger at myself.  So much so, that I put a limit on my social networking to 10 minutes a day.

Read on to see why.

I start the new semester in my English class with a poetry unit.

To capture their interest, I show some “spoken word” poetry videos and the students answer questions about the messages of the poems.

This is the third year in a row I’ve done this unit.  This year, the answers seemed different.  Sad.  I don’t know why this year.

The poem called “Look Up” by Gary Turk shows how we spend so much time on social media or on devices in general that we let special moments in our life slip by.  [Sorry for the one potty word, but I think it was for the sake of rhyming.]

Sometimes we pass up opportunities all together.

I play the video, then display the journal prompt:

Make a connection: Do you experience this [people looking down at devices] when you are with your friends and family? How does this affect you?

Here are 28 responses from my 13-year-old students:

  1. It doesn’t feel good when people ignore me from there phone.
  2. My family and I are on our phones all the time and it makes me feel that I missed every moment with them.
  3. It makes me a little mad because you can’t do anything with your friends.
  4. It makes me feel like we are hardly know each other.
  5. My experience with my family is that my parents are always on their phones and they argue a lot and they always argue about stuff on Facebook and I spend time on my phone all the time because I have nothing to do.
  6. I get to watch 30 minutes of Netflix a day.  When they [my parents] get to have their technology themselves all day. It kind of makes me feel worthless.
  7. It makes me feel unwelcome to where we are.
  8. My mom is on her phone most of the time and doesn’t really pay attention to anything else.
  9. Yes it makes me feel sad because they don’t pay attention.
  10. Yes because when I want to talk they ignore me.
  11. Yes I feel like I’m left out and nobody listens to me.
  12. Yes I feel this with my mom it makes me feel like I’m worthless.
  13. Yes mad because they never talk to me.
  14. Yes because it makes me feel left out.
  15. Yes, I feel kinda sad while my dad and lots of my friends play on their phones.
  16. Yes my grandma’s always on her phone and my grandpa’s always on his iPad.
  17. Yes my parents are always on their phones around which makes me quite sad.
  18. Kinda because sometimes my grandma just plays on her phone like going on facebook and not paying attention to me.
  19. Sometimes I wish I could speak to my sister more but we are both on our phones. It makes me feel a bit sad.
  20. Yes I experience this with family members who don’t look up and pay attention and it makes me feel like they just don’t care about what I have to say.
  21. My family and friends can tend to do this sometimes. It makes me feel like we are not as connected when they are on their phones. They don’t want to listen to anyone.
  22. It makes me feel left out and that they don’t want to talk.
  23. I do experience it with my family quite often and honestly it makes me feel terrible and makes me feel like they don’t have enough time to ask how my day was or how everything is going.
  24. Yes my family is definitely on our phones and computers and TV a lot and it makes me feel sad because we never do stuff as a family.
  25. Sometimes. It doesn’t make me feel too great because if I’m talking and they’re on their phone it doesn’t seem like they’re listening to me.
  26. It’s the same with my family.
  27. It makes me sad that family does this too, due to their screen time being more important to them.
  28. My mom is always on her phone and whenever I try to talk to her she never listens, or it takes her like 5 minutes for her to even notice that I was talking to her. It makes me feel upset.

I saw similar responses from all types of students.

Shy and outgoing.  Unstable family and well-established family.  Well-off and well-fare.

Just to show there’s not one factor that influenced their answer.

There were a lot of kids who said it wasn’t a big deal at home because they played outside as a family.

Some kids said it didn’t bother them because they enjoyed being on their phone too.

Whether we are guilty of staring at a screen or not, I think we all [being a family member or friend] could do better at just being present with the people around us.

I want to start planning activities (I’m talking about like 30 minutes because life still requires me to cook, clean, and get my kids ready for bed) to make sure we don’t get stuck in the routine of staring at a screen all evening.

  • Park Monday- play at a different park in our town, there’s at least half a dozen in our small town.
  • Trampoline Tuesday- play on our trampoline.
  • Walk Wednesday- walk out to our pond.
  • Trampoline Thursday- play on the trampoline again or ride bikes in the garage.
  • Fun Friday- some kind of fun family outing or just go get a slushy or treat, then go home and play a game.
  • Messy Saturday- get messy, were I let them paint, play in the sand, or bake with me. Invite family or friends over.
  • Soda Sunday- a day already known as “soda” Sunday, but also family movie night with popcorn or candy.

Spending quality time with family may look different as the kids get older.

I’m going to post this, put my phone down, and go play with my kids.


5 Signs That It’s Time to Change

1. Stressed.

I used to be stressed. All. The. Time. Over every. Little. Thing. I lived in a state of stress. I think I could attribute it to being overly tired and exhausted from being a teacher, wife, and mom, but I reflected on just what I was getting frustrated over.

A lot of it was having too much to do and either too little time or energy to get it done.

Some people would tell me the dishes can wait, the kids are only little once. Things like that.

But really, if I have a sink stacked full of dishes, 5 baskets of laundry mocking me on the couch, and clutter piled high on the counters I don’t enjoy digging for a black sock on the morning of the day I have breakfast duty at school.

I don’t enjoy spending an hour emptying the dishwasher, loading it up, and washing the rest of the dishes because they wouldn’t fit in one load.

So I changed that.

Instead of coming home and plopping on the couch, I rush to get all the “chores” out of the way while my kids watch a show or eat a snack.

Then I can focus on relaxing or playing with my kids without having the nagging feeling of needing to get something done.

I try my best to “keep up” with the chores before they turn into mountains.

I stay weeks, even months ahead on lesson plans so that when “something comes up” during my plan time I’m not stressed about my lesson for the next day.

I keep a list of things that are running low, or better yet stock up, so I don’t have to run to the store at 9 o’clock at night because we ran out of toilet paper, diapers, or deodorant.

I try to stay ahead. Keep up. So I don’t feel the stress of being behind.

I feel like I have more time to actually relax than “relaxing” (procrastinating) myself into a state of stress.


2. Late.

While semi-potty training two toddlers, you can imagine why it takes us 20 minutes from the time I say “put your shoes on” until we are actually pulling out of the driveway.

This one was really bad. It was so bad, and we would be so late, that sometimes it would make me want to just give up and stay home (mainly getting to church).

I would set my alarm to have just enough time to get ready, in a frenzy, yank the kids out of bed, get them dressed, and run out the door holding them under my arms like footballs.

I would be late because of “red lights” or “slow drivers.”

I since figured out a genius idea.

Wake up earlier.

Earlier and earlier until I find a time that I don’t have to rush and have accounted for time if I do hit every red light.

I can kiss my kids good bye, follow a slow driver to work and still walk in 5 minutes before I have to be there.

I lay out our outfits for the whole week and pack everything the night before.

We get ready for church as soon as we wake up. We leave “30 minutes early” because remember it takes 20 minutes for them to put their shoes on, go to the bathroom, get in their car sets, and drive away.

Late still happens in our house occasionally, but it’s not a habit we put ourselves in anymore.


3. Dread.

Dreading Sunday nights. Monday mornings. Waiting for Friday to feel relief. Not looking forward to a majority of the days in the week.

That’s a sad way to live.

Maybe it’s time for a change in what you do during the day. Start something new. Shift around or change within where you are.

Step away from former responsibilities or commitments that take away energy from what matters most.

Pick up a passion or hobby that you once enjoyed or dream to do.  I started painting again, a couple times a month when the kids go to bed.

boy sign

I taught English for 7-12th grade (yes every grade in between, each hour of the day) in Alaska for a couple years, then back in Missouri at a high school, and then finally landed at a middle school.

I gained something from every experience, but I feel like I’ve finally settled in the right place, where I feel like I’m making the biggest impact with my talents and personality.

I don’t look forward to every aspect of my job, but I do feel an overall sense that I’m where I’m called to be at this time.

I find joy knowing what I do during the day, and at home matters.

If you don’t, reflect on what you dread and what you might be able to do to change that.

4. Cranky.

You probably have one, two, or a handful of people who truly know the real you. Not the polished, jeans wearing, casual conversation you.

I’m talking about the I-had-a-rough-day, I’m at the end of my patience, and I just changed into my comfy-not-for-public sweat pants you.

The you that is ugly and doesn’t think before you speak. The you that pouted, and rolled your eyes, and said mean things to your husband.

What is the root of your crankiness?

Is it because you stayed up too late too many nights in a row?

Is it because you are stressed because you are late because you are dreading going to wherever you are headed?

Figure out why you are cranky and knock it off. Quit complaining about how things are and do something about. Don’t blame other people for your lack of happiness. (This is me talking to myself).

5. Exhausted.

Not just tired. But like running on empty, chugging coffee, and too too too busy.

You give everything to everyone else, and you have nothing left at the end of each day.

You lost touch with what you once enjoyed. You aren’t using your talents. You don’t feel like you have enough energy.

This one seems like common sense, but it takes some self-discipline and maybe a shift in your family’s schedule.

Get more sleep.

Can’t sleep in? Go to bed earlier.

Got kids? Put them to bed earlier.

I need at least an hour or two after the kids go to bed to myself or for my husband and I to hang out. So that means I need the kids to go to bed earlier. We set alarms just like in the morning.

My son helped pick out the sounds.

The ducks quack at bath time. The dogs bark at book and snack time.

The motorcycle rumbles when it’s time to brush teeth. A song plays when it’s time to go potty and say bedtime prayers.

Our whole house is a lot happier when we go to bed at a decent time and stick to our routine to keep things normal.

We made a lot of changes this year and I’m still learning as I go. Take some time to think about it.  Are you sick and tired of how things are going? With your health? Job? Mood? Parenting?

Then make some changes.

Don’t waste your best days being tired and wishing for the weekend.

Go for it. Change it now.




Top 5 Ways to do the Holidays on a Budget

1. Make a list with a price limit.

Getting gifts is the same as grocery shopping, make a list or else you’ll end up spending too much or forget what you already bought.

Make a list of every person you definitely will give a gift to. Parents. Spouse. Kids. Nieces + nephews. My kids’ teachers. Don’t forget the price limit.

Add up all your price limits. Is that okay for your budget?

Write a couple gift ideas for each. When you buy, check their name off + write down what you bought. I prefer to do all my shopping at one time + one place (Walmart or Target).

If there’s something special like the Amish store or Bath & Body Works, I plan for that too.

2. Stay home.

I don’t mean skip your family get-togethers, although this year I’ve asked my parents to travel to us (we live 2 + 1/2 hours away).

We can’t afford unnecessary spending, so all those cute craft fairs and holiday open houses, I’ve had to resist the urge to even go. Trust me, I’ve wanted to. I love crafts. I love homemade soaps. But I’ve just stayed home.

There’s an awesome concert in Kansas City coming up, but I know if we just stay home we’ll save money.

Of course some day I hope we can enjoy the extras “things,” but it’s just not wise for our wallet this year.

3. Wait 3 days before you buy.

I’m talking about big purchases. You want it? Wait 3 days and see if you still want it.

I’ve really been wanting a Christmas tree this year, but our budget says no. Sure, I could swipe my credit card and get a fancy one.

So I set a budget and started looking for used ones online. I found a beautiful one a lady was selling in my town for $50 with all the decorations.

I really really wanted it. I waited 3 days. And it was already sold.

When I thought about it, why get something that sits out for 4 weeks, and spends 48 weeks in storage?

I had given up on the idea.

I decided to take the kids to Lowe’s just to “window shop” the trees and to have something to do on a Saturday morning.

We were in the outdoor center and I was looking at the 2 foot real trees that were 50% off because those were in my price range [insert laughing-crying face].

I was wondering if buying a tiny real tree for $9 was a wise decision, when the sales associate asked if I needed help.

I just asked her which trees were 50% off and she told me about how someone that morning had asked for a 6 foot real tree to be freshly cut. They never came by to pick it up, and it was being discounted down to $8.

I bought it and at the register she pulled out a tree stand she said they had given away for free on Black Friday. She told me she couldn’t give me one for free, but could charge me one penny if that was okay.

One penny.

I almost started crying and I should have hugged her.

Even though my budget was tight, and I’ve been restraining myself on things I “want,” I still got it and for just using the cash in my wallet.

Anyways, waiting can pay off, save you money, or prevent you from an impulse buy.

4. Don’t covet thy neighbor.

Your budget is not your friend’s budget. Your budget is not your family member’s budget.

Another family might be giving each other Apple watches, $100 bills, and miniature ponies, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

Your kid doesn’t have to have the monkey toy that clips to your wrist. I don’t need a name brand fill-in-the-blank.

Honestly, I’d just like to sleep in for 2 mornings, get 2 meals cooked for me, and drink some cocoa while watching a Christmas movie. Let’s see if he reads this.

Be content. Be realistic. Appreciate what you have. Don’t live this holiday wishing you had what they had.

It’s okay to unfollow someone for 30 days (or just put your phone down) if you know you’ll be battling jealousy when you see their Christmas morning photos. Wow, I just said that.

Last year I took a crisp 20 dollar bill into the dollar store and bought 10 items each for my kids. On Christmas morning, they each unwrapped 10 gifts- their favorite things. Bubbles, fruit snacks, candy, hot wheels, baby dolls, stickers, art supplies. We had a blast.

I’m going to do the same exact thing this year (for my now 1 and 3-year-old.)

By the time I don’t have to pay for diapers or daycare, my budget should allow for a nicer toy.

Take joy in the simple. Spend quality time with people not things.

5. Spend time, not money.

Don’t spend every weekend leading up to Christmas shopping. Stay home, clean out your closets and go donate it.

Spend time with your family, not just on Christmas Eve.

Even with gifts, you can put more time than money into them.

I’ve got a nephew who recently moved out on his own. [I’m assuming he doesn’t read this.] I plan on making him simple-one-person recipe cards because he’s now cooking for himself.

I could still buy him a pot or pan, but the main gift is the recipe cards.

Make a gift basket- bags of popcorn, candy, and a family DVD. It’s something they can do, make a memory, and can be under $10.

For small gifts for everyone, we usually do the instant print 4×6 family photo as a Christmas card.

In recent years, I’ve just given the older nieces + nephews money, but let my kids “decorate” the envelopes. I saved time (and probably extra dollars) from shopping and I also got to spend quality time with my kids while we decorated homemade wrapping paper and envelopes.

Whatever your budget is, be realistic. Don’t put everything on your credit card just because you have to “live up to” what you did last year or what other people can give. Enjoy the holidays without hurting your family’s finances.

Check out my $8.01 tree!

5 Ways to Not Hate Sunday Nights

I used to be a Sunday night hater. That feeling of dread. Back to responsibility. Back to stress of the week. Spending more time away from my kids. Waking up to an alarm.

That’s how I used to see it.

I’d say a lot of how I felt Sunday night depended on what I was doing Monday morning.

Hopefully you love what you do. If you just flat out don’t, it may be time to consider a change. Within your job, or… a new perspective.

As a teacher, I can shift my thinking:

Am I “dealing with kids” or influencing young lives?

Am I “putting up with their behavior problems” or showing them, as an example, how to be patient and control my emotions?

I’ve shifted around 3 schools in 7 years, and I’d say I finally found my “spot.”

I’d also say a large part of how I feel on Sunday night is my own doing.

Did I leave a sink full of dishes? Mounds of undone laundry? Lessons unplanned for the following week?

I’ve been there. It’s stressful. It’s a recipe for the grumps. Ugggh.

While I thought I was “relaxing” all weekend because I was too “tired” from the week, I was actually setting myself up for a dreadful Sunday night.

In the last couple years, I’ve flipped things around. I’ve gotten all the not-so-fun chores done on Friday nights or Saturday mornings.

Do I enjoy doing chores then?

Actually, they’re not that bad. It’s the feeling after, that it’s done that makes it enjoyable.

They have to be done at some point, right? So why not do them first, to start off the weekend?

They are done and not mocking me Sunday at 9pm. I can truly relax without that nagging procrastinating feeling.

Here are some practical things I do *before* Sunday night that make Monday morning and the week ahead not something to dread.

1. Laundry & Clean Sweep the House

This one is not a genius idea. A lot of times I just have to suck-it-up & get started. It’s not so bad once I get going. The best way to have a stressful Monday morning is to have to dig through a basket of laundry for a matching sock.

I try to get all the loads done on Friday night or during the day Saturday.

At the latest, I fold and put away laundry Sunday morning while the kids watch cartoons before church.

I also do a quick (hour or less) clean sweep of the house. (Benefits of a small house!) I work my way from the bedrooms up to the living/kitchen.

Restock the soap and toilet paper. Refill diaper changing station. Whatever is running low, put it on a list for the next time you run to the store.

Vacuum main areas. Sweep kitchen. Change the sheets. Declutter the counter.

2. Lay Out Outfits for the Whole Week

I used to always lay out my outfit the night before, but once I had kids with tiny clothes, I went ahead and put outfits together for the whole week. Shirts + Pants + Socks. Stacked in order Monday-Friday. (I usually pick out outfits while I’m putting the folded laundry away)

Call me crazy, but I even check the weather for the week and pick outfits based on that. Plus, if we have any kind of event or church, I pick out a certain outfit for that day.

I do this for myself and my kids. It makes mornings so easy. Sometimes I still do this in the summer.

3. Get my Classroom Ready for Monday Before I Leave Friday

I set a routine with my last hour class on Friday’s. In the last 5 minutes, they happily wipe down the desks with disinfectant, fight over who gets to vacuum my little rugs, plug in all the computers, and tidy up the room.

Before I leave, I change my dry erase calendar, make sure I have supplies/the white board ready for Monday’s lesson, and sanitize my desk.

When I walk in Monday morning, I have no prep other than turning on my computer. My room is freshened up and clean. Ready for a new week.

4. Pack the Bags & Prep the Food

I don’t really have much to pack. Maybe 15 minutes. I stuff clean blankets back in my kids’ backpacks. Put clean utensils in my lunch box. Stack my tupperware lunch in the fridge. Fill up 5 baggies of cereal for my breakfast for the week. Set the coffee timer.

I really try to do these things before Sunday night, usually Sunday morning or afternoon.

As far as lunches, I usually take leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

5. Do Something Fun on Sunday Night

Now that the weather is colder, we will rent a movie and make some popcorn for a lazy Sunday night.

I’ll make brownies or we’ll lay down sleeping bags and pillows in the living room.

Play a family game. Bake something. Go on a walk. Go out for an ice cream treat.

Whatever is fun for you, get all those not-so-fun-chores done so you can look forward to relaxing on Sunday night.

If you aren’t enjoying your Sunday nights, think about what you do… or don’t do that can help make it feel like a reward.

Soda Sunday

Soda. Candy. Junk-food.

Do kids really need it? No.

Is it good for their tiny teeth and little tummies? No.

How do you teach your kids parameters for things that are not-so-good for them?


Compared to most of the people I’m around, I would be considered an “uptight” and “over-protective” mom.

I’m known to say a lot of no’s and people have begun to say to my kids “let’s go ask your mom first.” I like that by the way.

Why did it matter so much to me if my kids were given candy, a full cup of caffeinated soda, and a popsicle?

Well, in the moment they were happy. They asked and immediately received. Nobody had to say no.

The real price was paid later. For me. Cranky kids. For hours. For evenings. Hard to settle for nap. Refusing to eat dinner. Wired and not tired. When they asked for more _____ and I said no, they threw a foot-stomping fit.

This happened almost every time they were given candy or soda before a meal or before a nap.

It was too much of a coincidence to say that the junk didn’t have an effect.

Sunday’s were the most challenging because we weren’t on our usual routine. Sunday school always had candy and lunch always had soda. Not my choice, but it was there.

I didn’t want to always be the bad guy. I wanted to be the person that got to yes too and watch their eyes light up.

So I made some rules. Compromises.

Soda was a big fight. So here’s how it works.

We call it “Soda Sunday.” It’s the only day of the week they can drink soda. It’s also a ploy to get them to eat their food at lunch.

(We go to my in-laws every Sunday for lunch).

Any other day of the week it’s a no. It also helps that we don’t keep soda at our house (mainly for financial reasons).

(If my husband needs caffeine we make sweet tea or coffee).

The cool thing was, if we were at the store and my son saw the soda in the check-out line, he would shout “I want soda mom!”

I would tell him, aw sorry buddy it’s Tuesday, it’s not Soda Sunday.

That would be the end of the discussion other than him looking disappointed that it wasn’t Sunday.

No fits. No tantrums. Just an understanding that it wasn’t the day for soda.

My favorite part about all of it is that on Sunday’s my son get so excited and shouts it’s Soda Sunday! Yay!

I love celebrating with him and don’t stress about the one or two cups of soda that he will drink and then burn off while playing outside with his cousins.

I’ve used the boundaries with more things as they come up.

My son started to whine about the DVD player in the car. I set parameters on that too because he was wanting it every single time. I just couldn’t take listening to the movie Sing for the 34th time.

It was mama’s turn to listen to the radio.

I wanted him to enjoy the farms and cows we pass on the way to school.

So I set a parameter that we only watch the DVD player after “school.”

Mom can we watch a show?

Sorry buddy, it’s morning. Remember, we can watch it after school.

Oh yeah.

That’s it.

I feel good that I’m teaching him about boundaries. It’s okay to have some things sometimes. Not all the time.

Celebrate when you do have them. It’s okay to say no. Feel good about when you decide to say yes.

Wherever you are on the parenting spectrum, from care-free to over-protective it’s good to set boundaries. I’m working on when to say yes.

What do you need to set boundaries on? Saying more yeses or saying more no’s?

The Chore Chart for Toddlers

We are in a new season at our house. I don’t know what to call it other than the throw-a-tantrum-for-no-reason season.

Like literally everything.

Fits over a particular cup. Fits over a food that we don’t even have. Fits over “my turn.” Fits over the wrong color of the dinosaur on a pull-up.

The struggle was particularly real in the mornings.

So I finally listened to my Parents as Teachers educator and made my own version of the classic chore chart.

I took the 1-year-old and now 3-year-old to the store and spent $5 total on poster board + 4 pack of paint dab markers.

The 3-year-old helped me pick out clip art images online of all the things we struggle to do cheerfully.

We settled on 8 tasks.

Go potty. Get dressed. Brush teeth. Comb hair. Shoes on/off. Bath. Book. Prayers.

Those are the things we are using as a starting point. Not all are a struggle.

We cut out the pictures and taped them to the poster. We stuck it on the side of the kitchen cabinet at a height they could reach.

We also went back over the pictures with packing tape after the 1-year-old thought it was fun to pick them off.

Every time they do one of these tasks they get to “put a dot” on the chart. Just getting to use the paint dab itself has been a reward and motivation.

I can see for the future– filling up the chart leading to a trip to the dollar store. For now, we will just use the dab markers.

We will also change this up once they master these routines without fuss. This can become a real chore chart in the future.

After a couple weeks of the “dot chart” as we call it, it has definitely been a tool to get the kids motivated and excited to do these routines.

It has cut down on the fit-throwing.

Cut-down is the main phrase there.

I would highly recommend this chore chart for toddlers if the struggle is real at your house.