Community, Happy Mama, Mom Life

I Get It.

Just the other day I had a conversation with a friend who’s also a mom. After chatting for a while we both walked away saying we enjoyed our talk and that we felt a little bit better for it.

What did we talk about? Being a mom. And that mom life is hard.

Did we offer each other magical solutions to make our lives easier? No.

Did we tell each other how to fix our problems or how to magically have a clean house every day? Absolutely not.

So what was it that made a difference. Three little words, (that are really huge): I get it.

I do! I get it! I understand when you tell me that the laundry is never ending. I am right there with you when you say that that you’re worn out and exhausted at the end of the day. I have lived through it when you say that your kids whine and complain about helping out around the house.

I get it.

Dear friend, mom life is hard. Even if it’s been your dream your whole life to be a mom. Even when you love your kids so much and you really want to do everything for them. But you just can’t.

Yes, there are snuggles and kisses, and there are a million joyful moments of watching them grow up. (And, of course, that’s why we actually do it.) But there are hard days where no one listens and there is so much to be done.

So I’m just here to say, I get it. Maybe I don’t have the same kids or the same life situation, but I get it. And really, most of the time, I think that’s the best encouragement we can give to each other. You’re not alone. I’m here walking that road with you. And in a time of “perfect” social media posts, I want you to know that I don’t have it all together. I’m still figuring this thing out too.

So momma, go hug your kids. Tell them you love them (even if they’re dirty or whining about something). It’s a season and it won’t last forever.

And go text your mom friends. Tell them you get it too.

Happy Mama, Homeschooling, Routines

Back to School Tips for Homeschoolers

It’s almost time for Back to School!

OK, well, for homeschoolers that may or may not be true. Maybe you homeschool year round, or maybe you started school in July, or maybe you’re not starting back until September – you can do whatever you want! But we have chosen a traditional school year so we’re getting ready to start soon! These are some practical and fun things I’m planning for this school year.

Side note: As a fairly new homeschool mom, I sort of feel unqualified to offer “homeschool tips”. I’m still figuring some of this out! But I’m also a second generation homeschoolers and was homeschooled from kindergarten to twelfth grade, so I do have a little experience under my belt.

Create a Routine

Homeschooling offers lots of freedom and flexibility, and while we love that, it’s helpful to give your kids (“students”) an idea of what to expect from day to day. It doesn’t have to be a rigid schedule of time blocks (unless you want it to be), but a general idea of what is coming next is helpful. I’m planning another post on our family’s routine soon! Maybe take some time to explain the routine the night before, or on the first day of school and then implement it each day your first week to get everyone used to it.

Plan your Lunches

I don’t know about you, but lunchtime can be a little hectic and I can end up standing in front of the fridge just wondering what to feed everyone. You might consider it a perk of homeschooling that you don’t have to pack lunches every day, but planning ahead can create a peaceful mealtime with minimal interruptions to your school day. You can make this as simple or as involved as you want. You could prepare lunches the night before (Maybe even put it in lunch boxes for fun!) or just make a note of what you’re planning to eat. If you have older kids who can fix their own lunch you could put a “Menu” on the fridge of lunch options that are available. I recommend some Simple kid lunch ideas here  And don’t forget your own lunch! My favorite is to have a salad for lunch (which I eat with lots of dressing!) so I feel like I had something healthy and filling.

Give Yourself Quiet Time

As homeschool moms we are with our kids ALL the time – which is great! But it can also be exhausting. With little kids, nap time is a helpful time to take a breather and refocus for the rest of the day. But older kids (and moms of older kids) need rest and quiet too. So I recommend that you have a set “quiet time” every day. After lunch in the early afternoon seems to work well, but do what works best for your routine. Send everyone to their own space for rest or for reading, drawing, listening to music, even playing quietly. My younger kids still nap, but my oldest has time in her room and has a clock so she knows when it’s time for her to come out. I use that time for my own rest or reading.

Remember to keep it Fun!

There is plenty of work involved in schooling our kids, but I always consider that my biggest job is to help them develop a love for learning. I don’t want to just stuff them full of information and hope they remember it. I want them to discover how to learn for themselves and to dive into subjects that they are interested in. And I truly believe that when they think it’s fun to learn, they will learn more and learn well. Let your kids choose fun science projects, or make messy art. Read books with them about adventures and wonderful stories and about nature and the world around us. Math facts are important, but alongside those be sure to play games and sing songs and enjoy the journey.

 

We are looking forward to a fun year and I wish you the same!

 

Happy Mama, Lunch, Meal Prep, Mom Life, Preschool, Simplify

SIMPLE LUNCHES FOR KIDS

Do you ever find yourself staring into the fridge around noon while your kids are climbing the walls and declaring that they are starving just hoping that some prepared meal is going to suddenly appear for you to take out and serve for lunch?

Me too!

Lunch is one of those things that use to stress me out. I would try every day to come up with some grand meal for my kids that wasn’t the same thing they had eaten yesterday. But I finally figured something out: my kids don’t care if they ate it yesterday! They don’t care if they have the same meal every day for lunch all the time. So I stopped trying to be super creative and decided to be super simple instead. I do have a few different options that I pull out, but for the most part lunch for kids is pretty much the same things. Here’s what we do:

Protein Choices: Cheese and Turkey cut up into bites (or something fun shapes if I’m being really fun), yogurt, peanut butter sandwich, or peanut butter spread on crackers, or a spoonful of peanut butter

Grain Choices: Whole wheat crackers, pretzels, cheese crackers

Fruit Choices: grapes, bananas, apple sauce, or oranges. (I’ll pick one or two that they have all week)

That’s it! Super simple, super quick, super happy kids, non-stressed mama.

 

Part two of how this works really well for us is this: Make lunches for the whole week!

Since I’m a stay-at-home-mom and we homeschool, we are home for lunch most days. But I figured out it was still easier to pack a bunch of lunches at the start of the week and then when my kids are unable to live without food a second longer ready for lunch I can just grab the containers from the fridge and set them on the table. It also works great for days that we have co op or head out for a playdate or even need to run errands during lunch time. I don’t have to even think about it, I just throw the containers in a bag and we’re ready to go. I like these Bento Divided Lunch Containers the best, especially since they have different colored lids for each kid.

 

Do your kids have a favorite lunch?

 

 

Community, friends, Happy Mama, Mom Life, Stay-at-home-mom

BUILDING COMMUNITY AS A STAY-AT-HOME-MOM

I have a passion for building community and living and sharing life with the people around us.  But as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) it can be a real challenge to find community and build solid relationships in between diaper changes and nap times.  Here are a few suggestions for building community as a SAHM:

  • Attend or start a playgroup – Playgroup can be so simple if you just get started. All you need are some moms, some kids, and a place to meet.  A group of moms from our church gets together every other week.  We take turns hosting at different houses so no one person feels overwhelmed, and whoever shows up, shows up.  It’s not a big commitment, and it just works as an automatic plan.  See if there are playgroups already going on in your church or neighborhood, and if not, start one!

  • Meet new people – Kids are a GREAT way to meet new people and make friends because it is SO easy to start a conversation about your kids.  Take your kids to the park or indoor playground and just start making conversation with other moms.
  • Video chat for Coffee – Let’s face it, some days it’s just too much to get out of the house.  Schedules might be crazy and getting everybody dressed and ready to get out the door can be a lot of work.  So once your kiddos are down for a nap or having quiet play time (or a movie!), grab a cup of coffee and “meet” a friend over a video chat.  Be sure to schedule it ahead of time, and be and mindful of each other’s time, but this can be a great way to sit down for a conversation without leaving the house.

  • Make friends in your neighborhood – There’s nothing better than having a friend next door or just down the street! Start building relationships with the people around you by inviting a neighbor over for coffee or to take your kids for a walk in the neighborhood.
  • Communicate frequently – It’s hard to build relationships when you only see someone once a week or a couple of times a month.  Make it a habit to communicate frequently with your friends, whether that means getting together, talking on the phone, or just sending a “How are you this week?” text once in a while.

Having children is a true blessing, but the time when they are little can be difficult to build and maintain relationships.  Take the time to make friends and invite people into your life where you are and walk through the childhood years in real community.

What are some other ways you can live in community as a busy SAHM??