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Things I wish I had known…babies are the easy ones

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - March 26, 2012

It seems from the moment that you announce you are expecting the advise starts rolling in. ” oh all the sleep you will loose” ” I hope you are going to breast feed.” ” let me tell you all the diaper$ and wipe$ really add up” ” oh the stretch marks” “lets not even talk about your sex life” ” “your money & your time will never be yours again” Ahh yes all this wonderful advise that came my way when I announced I was going to be bringing a new life into this world. Yet know one, not one single person bothered to inform me that babies are the easy ones.

It’s true. Either all my friends were just scared of hard work, because lets face it babies are about 99% manual labor. Feed, change, rock, repeat. Or they were trying to save me from some truth they had learned but didn’t want to admit. This truth ..that in comparison to shaping someones spirit, personalty, and morals, babies are actually easier.

Lets recap shall we…. they hand you this warm, sweet mini version of you & your husband that you are now responsible for. Yes it is terrifying at first to have to be 100% responsible for keeping this little being alive. (if you had seen my house plant collection you would be nervous for my children too) but soon you get the hang of it o,r at least memorize the on call number to your pediatrician so you can reassure yourself you are in fact doing it properly . You can even measure your success based on height, weight, and the ever  popular compare your kid to others test. Yes you are tired, and may not be as fashionable as you once were (no spit up is not the new it accessory for spring) but as long as your child is growing and clean you are pretty much mother of the year.Despite all your baby sign language, breast feeding, & playing Mozart as long as you are meeting some basic needs your baby will thrive & do well.

Now fast forward 8 years. You have a moody 2nd grader trying to find his way in life.  The manual labor is really pretty minimal. He sleeps all night, can get himself a drink or snack. He can read so spell talking with your spouse no longer works. He can use the bathroom all on his own, he can tie his shoes, ride the bus, swim, ride a bike, do almost anything with out your help. However he does things like break rules, lies, test your patients, tries to be sneaky, beats up his little brother (ok, not really beats up but more than picks on)

So now instead of having to feed, change, rock repeat, you are responsible for discipline, shaping, moral teaching. You must let him learn & grow but keep him close  & safe. You now have to entrust his care & education to  a group of people, and a teacher that spends more time during the week with him than you. You have to help him through the tough parts of being a kid, being in school, friendships, competition, and growing up. When you catch him on the roof after he was caught up there last week & promised not to do it again, You have to now choose a proper punishment, give a grace filled speech that will shape his moral development all while holding on to his heart and letting him know how bad it is to be on the roof. Yes I think babies are the easy ones.

You see I am not one to shy away from hard work so manual labor really isn’t that big of a deal to me. You just do what you need to do to get it done. When you are done with physical work at least you can see the fruits of your labor. Right there in front of you..clean house, clean baby, folded laundry done! Zip Zap mom of the year! But this big kid thing is so hard. I never know if I am doing it right. I spend most the time worrying over how I have shaped my older son, what sort of therapy he will have to undergo when he is grown to fix all that I have messed up. oh babies are the easy ones! I spend a large amount of time thinking things like, did I do that wrong, or could I have said that better, I was too hard on him, I let him get away with too much, Is it this hard for everyone? You see when that little ball of sweetness grows into a smelly  toothless little boy figuring out he has is own will, and opinion often times separate from yours that is when the real work begins. Where was that advise?

why didn’t someone tell me to just enjoy the quiet smiles, the coos, the time when life revolves around you. yes it’s busy, and sleepless but it’s not the hardest part. It’s not guiding them, shaping them, having to discipline, or let them learn life’s lessons. I have no idea if I am doing this right. All I can do is pray that I am coming close to what my big kids needs. There is no bench mark, no gauge to measure if what you said sank in, or if something you did today will be the one thing he remembers & hates you for  or loves you for later.

So I say give me a fussy, baby that I can sooth and have evidence that I did a great job when they are happy & sleeping peacefully in my arms over having to guess as to whether I did a good job or not based on the expression on an eight year old’s face. Yes I say babies are the easy ones. While eight year old’s can be pretty great they are defiantly a lot harder on my heart.


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It’s Ok

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - March 6, 2012

Today I am reminded that it is ok to be imperfect. That is really hard for me to admit, but it really is ok and sometimes it is even necessary. So today try to think of something you usually perfect that you could let go for just today.Instead of doing that perfect thing perfectly, try to be with a perfect person imperfectly!

xoxo

Jenna

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It’s A Mother

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - February 11, 2012

Need I say more…….

 

motherhood_printable

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Grocery Diva

Kids & Family, Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - December 11, 2011

Recently we had a guest speaker in at our MOPS group to discuss several meathods  on getting the best bang for your buck with your weekly shopping. Everything from meal planning to coupon clipping. Most of the tips I had heard, and used occasionally but putting them all together this woman is spending $30 or less for her weekly shopping!

She has a family of four and makes four squares a day, has pets, and a baby in diapers , and is walking out of the grocery store for $30.00 a week. Simply buy clipping coupons, matching them to the loss leaders or  adds, and meal planning around what she has a flyer and coupon for.  She also shops at drug stores that give rebates and rewards . Last week a woman using these methods got two packages of diapers and wipes for $1.23 ! Now if that doesn’t make you want to go buy a coupon organizer and a pair of scissors I just don’t know what will.

There are several sites out there devoted to helping make this easier such as http://bargainbriana.com/ or www.iheartwags.com both of which are great.

I am ready. This will be my first trip  to the store and I can’t wait to see what my bill comes up to be. try it yourself and lets compare notes.

Anyone have any other super saver tips? Let me know!

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Work at home mom solutions

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - December 2, 2011

Lately I have found myself feeling like I live at my office…ok I do live at my office! I mean, I feel like my work is always there, I get no break. Working from home can be a big challenge, particularly with a family. When you are the one taking care of the house, the kids, the bills, the dog, and running a business all out of your house. It can feel like you live in an office with no break room.

Here are some tricks of the trade that I have learned along the way to help keep up, and separate work from play when they share the same address.

Make a work space

Your business needs its one square footage to grow. A place with a door that separates it from the rest of the house is best, but any barrier such as a screen will do. This will ensure you are focused when you work, and create a space that allows you to be at work when you are working, and leave it behind during family time. Not to mention keeping the kids out of that big presentation never hurt anyone. If you are short on space try a cool blind, revamp the garage, or even just a corner away from the rest of the family may work.

Plan out your day

Write it down & stick to it. Make sure you are not scheduling in too much, and only allow yourself to concentrate on the job at hand during any given time period. This practice will create peace and a sense of accomplishment when you have completed your tasks. Careful though, be realistic, and don’t freak out if things come up, and you can’t get it all done. Someone once told me, if you don’t get all the things on your list done, then your list was too long to begin with!

Get organized

This is the single most important thing to the success of a work at home mom, or any professional for that matter. Would you go to the office, and have your coffee pot next to your files, or your laundry on top of your desk? I don’t think so. Keeping things neat and tidy will help you stay on top of things, and create efficiency. You are busy enough why add that extra ten minutes of searching for an invoice, or project info to your load. To help me achieve this I use bins with labels to separate clients, and to prioritize. When it’s out in front of me I have to think less, I just grab the appropriate file and get to work.

Remember cluttered desk, cluttered mind:)

Take a time out

Remember keep your family life, and work life as separate as you can. We work at home moms walk a thin line, and wear a ton of hats. This can take a tole on us, and we can get burnt out really quickly. It is vital to our business, and family that we take care in not overworking just because the office is down the hall. Unlike other work situations our work is never done. There are no coffee breaks, or lunch hours. Our days are full of forgetting to eat, and cramming in as much work as we can before preschool release time, and while the baby naps. Try penciling in a coffee break in your daily to do list, any enjoy it! This five minutes may be the little sanity break you need to keep going. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it gets to be too much call in reinforcements! Try hiring a teen to come play with the kids while you work in the next room, or do the house work! Trust me a burnt out, over stressed mom is no good to anyone so don’t go there.

Hope these tips helped. If you have any ways you stay in the at home game, with out losing your mind let me know, I would love to hear some.

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Christmas with my feet up!

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - November 27, 2011

The Turkey is done, the left overs are put away, the gifts are purchased, and the tree is up! Yes, all before the weekend is up or December has even had a chance to make an appearance. So what you may ask is left to do?

If  you are a busy mom you know all to well what this time of year brings. School functions, sports, church activities, holiday parties, shopping, wrapping, crafts, baking, shipping, stocking stuffing, and oh you still have to pay for it all, keep your family fed, dressed & on time.  So you must do it all while working, volunteering, and just plain running your butt off. No wonder you can find yourself less than full of holiday cheer.

As you know this time of year can add stress to an already busy schedule so how does one get it all done and not become an overtired, growling Grinch? I have to admit this has been a mystery to me most years. My need to get it all done, frosted, hung with care & perfectly wrapped has  left me how would you say it ….plump certifiably crazy. I always seem to find myself the day after Christmas feeling like it all went by in a red & green blurr & I didn’t get to actually enjoy any of it.

This year I have found myself sitting here today the Sunday after Thanksgiving 32 weeks pregnant and burnt out. Granite there are gifts bought, the tree is trimmed, cards are started and it is feeling like Christmas around here. However I am painfully aware that there is just no way possible that I am going to keep the pace of my every day life and take care of myself like I need to. All the Christmas cheer I spread in the last two days has left me with my feet up  and totally wiped out.

It seems that even if I wanted to I couldn’t turn myself into that crazed women of years past. I have had to make some choices and cuts to say the least. The funny thing is is that I physically can’t so it all this year so I will be forced to just do what I can and enjoy the rest with my feet up. What a concept!

I have no idea yet if this will be the best Christmas ever. Will I be able to just enjoy it and use my physical limitations as the thing that makes me focus on the true meaning of Christmas? Or will the undone items bring be to my knees and send me over the Grinchy eadge? Honestly I have no idea this is all new to me. I will keep you updated ………all I can say is pray for me!

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U tube is the new grandma

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - November 21, 2011

Tis the season for home made goodies in my house. I am by nature a pretty crafty girl, but not all crafts can be tackled with sheer will, most need a little know how. So what happens when your want to andyour know how don’t exactly match up?

 In the decades past we had our Grandmothers and Mothers that naturally showed us the way & shared their skills with us. However for this reason & that it seems that those skills are  either being lost all together or being found in new places. So whats a girl to do that wants to learn new things in this fast paced, right now world……. U tube of course!

Anything you need to be tought or shown how to do is available on this vast library of web videos. I am amazed at the sheer number of things that are available to learn at the touch of a button. Do I think that a warm fire, and a cup of tea with grandma would be a better way to learn that new crochet stitch, well yes of course, is that possible? Do you think I would be writing this post if it were…… I’ll let you add it up!

For that reason I have declared U Tube the new Grandma! Or at very least the new source for show me how knwoladge . I have no idea what they will think of next and I really hope my Grandkids can come to me for their show me how to needs. To ensure that I think I may need to make a U tube video  for them to watch later!

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Be involved in school no matter how much time you don’t have!

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - August 28, 2011

Recently I read an article that stated the obvious…Children, teachers, and schools do better when parents pitch in. I will spare you the break down of the 1000 words of what you already know. DUH! But what do you do when you are a mother of 4 who works full time & already volunteer’s elsewhere? There are a number of ways you can help out and make a difference even if you only have 5 min a week!  Really!

Don’t think that if you can’t organize the next bake sale you are not of good use to your school.There are even things you can do with out setting foot in the school it’s self. All you have to do is ask and your child’s teacher, the PTO leader, the secretary, and the principle will have plenty of ideas. Here are a few I have gathered to get you started…….

If you have 5 min

Send an email reminder for you teacher to the other parents

Offer to help lead the bus line once a week

write a quick not to thank your child’s teachers or staff pick a new one each week and by the end of the year everyone that enriches your child during the year will know they are loved & appreciated.

Volunteer to bring a store bought snack once a month

Donate to the next food drive or clothing gather

Tell your crossing guard thank you

Take the time to sign and actually read what the teacher sends home each week

Pack a special note for you child

If you have an hour

Sign up to help once a month in your child’s class

Create a flyer for the PTO

Gather supplies for the next function

update the class or school web page

Take your child to a special lunch

Bring your teacher a coffee

Organize a study group for your child & her friends

Be a team parent

Sign up to bring a dinner item once during conferences or bring your child’s teacher dinner on your night

If you have more than an hour

Join the PTO

Become a class parent

Start a club for your school

Organize and spear head a fund raiser

Coach a team

Volunteer for recess duty

Some of these things may be very small, some may take a lot of commitment, but no matter the size of your contribution you will be making a difference for your school, your child, and thier teachers. What you do does matter, if we all do what we can then we are doing our best!

Happy school year mama’s!

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Missing Blogger Has Been Foun Alive!

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - July 20, 2011

It has been a while since I have checked in :) we have been hurrying around with summer activities, camping, baseball, ect. and I am officially burnt out! I am very excited to be on the otherside of the morning sickness woes,  and It looks like I am going to get a vacation from my vacations, kids activities, and general running.

This being said I promise to have some hot fresh posts for you all very soon! I am working on some things now you don’t want to miss, so stay tuned and check back soon :)

Love to all & happy summer!

-Jenna

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Babies, Excuses, and why I have been away!

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - June 7, 2011

It has been a bit since I have been on and I am sorry! But really I have a good excuse, ok well no excuse is a good excuse but it’s all I got.

Excuse #1

 First I was called 400 miles away to be with my sister as she had her first child. naturally I fell behind on my blogging duties as I am big sis. It is my God given obligation to baby my baby sister the best Ican. It was a great time. I got to be there to hold my sisters hand and wipe her tears,as she joined me in the mommy club! We were always close but now that we are both moms and have been there for each other as we  gave birth, I think we are a special kind of close. Also on my trip and as part of my sister duties.I spent one night in the hospital with my little sis so her husband could get some sleep on something other than the Chinese torture chair that was offered to him. 

 Yes, I am that good of a sister, and we can even make a hospitol fun so I was glad to do it. We chatted and rested, and gazed at the sweet little bundle of new life. After a midnight burger run my sissy and I settled in for a chat, where I brought up some things I had been feeling. I almost fell out of the Chinese torture chair when she threw out the idea that I might be pregnant. Your crazy and half drugged, sleep deprived, andhigh on hormones I quickly shot back. Sure I was tired, yes my breasts felt like they had been through the spin cycle, my gums were bleeding when I brushed, and the smell of cereal made me queezy, but so.

 We were done having kids and we had gonethrough allot to come to that decision, so we had been very careful. Plus I had two more weeks until my monthly gift was due to arrive . So I finished my sister duties and  came home. Of course this took up alot of my time and I just couldn’t find the time to get anything out, especially a blog post.

Excuse #2

Of course when I returned home I had a ton of loose ends to tie up and we don’t even want to talk about the laundry! It took me two weeks to even get to some of my errands. It was a quick stop into target for t.p. and a birthday card when I realized what the date was, which brings me to my second excuse! 

There I was in the t.p. isle and all of a sudden the dates became very clear, then like in a movie my sister popped into my head with her theory! So I purchased a test forgot the birthday card and rushed home. Downing a half gallon of water on the short trip home, sliding into the bathroom sideways, and ripping the package with my teeth. Then I waited, tick, tock, tick, tock. The longest three minutes of a girls life.

Well of course there it was staring me in the face… the second pink line!

This wonderful day was fallowed by about three weeks of panic, confusion, sickness, fatigue, mental math, and mood swings! Wich didn’t leave much time or mental capacity to blog!

So there you have it. My excuse’s! While I am still in the throws of the above side effects of the first trimester I figures I at least needed to let you all know I am still alive and full of excuses!

Love,

JM

There I was in the t.p.

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