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Friday, August 15, 2014

The Dreaded, Yet Much Anticipated "Going into the big bad world" Day. Better known as: The First Day of Kindergarten.

I decided to blog with pictures for this post. This was my son's first day of Kindergarten. It was exciting for both of us.

The backpack and shoes, all ready to go. Probably the first and last time this'll happen lol

Wake up, wake up, my sleepy head. Real life has called, and you've answered.

It's all sinking in. He's going to SCHOOL!! YAY!

Looking spiffy in your uniform, my love.

Ready to tackle the world. Or kindergarten at least.

Was thrilled to see his bestest friend (and cousin).  Don't let that "I'm too cool for school" look fool you.

He didn't even look back. Sniff. I'm so proud. Sniff.

First Day of Kindergarten was a success. He's back in my safe keeping. Whew.

Life resumes (as usual) with his brothers.

I did tear up after leaving him, but no tears shed. I was very excited for him, as he had been looking forward to it for a LONG TIME. What about you? What was your "first day of the rest of his/her life in the big bad world" like? :)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why your kids (and YOU) need a NAP every.single.day.

Nap time. One of the loveliest concepts to mothers world-wide. A point in time where you can, perhaps, have a quiet moment in the home. A chance to breath. A change to do the dishes, fold the laundry, mop floors without little dirty footprints following you around...right? WRONG! At least, not right away.

I remember as a child, my father would come home from work and take a "quick 15 minute power nap". He would set the timer on the microwave, and tell us kids to "wake him up with the timer goes off." It was such a part of life, that I didn't even pause to consider it. It was only when I got older and left home, that I reflected back on this habit of his.

Now, we must also note, my dad has always been a morning person (scroll down to see my blogs on mornings). This ties in beautifully to the concept of taking a "power nap". Now, there are theories out there that would promote a couple, maybe even a few, power naps a day. I, however, would strongly encourage you to set your sights on trying to squeeze in even one nap a day.

That being said, there are two different kind of naps that I am referring to. Your little ones need their sleep. According to webmd, the "energy demand is tremendous" as they are growing. We all know how critical sleep is, at all stages of life, but your little one should fall into the following guidelines:

1-4 weeks old: 15-16 hours per day
1-4 months old: 14-15 hours per day
4-12 months old: 14-15 hours per day
1-3 years old: 12-14 hours per day
3-6 years old: 10-12 hours per day

So. You do the math. If your 2 year old goes to bed at 9 pm and wakes up at 7 am, that's 10 hours. He/She should fit in another 2 hour nap (at least) somewhere through-out their day.

Easy enough?


Here are a few tips from the PARENTS magazine:

1. Be diligent about routine.

This is so important. Some experts think you should plan your ENTIRE day around the nap schedule. And I will freely admit that I do. My boys know, as soon as lunch is over "is it nap time?" Honestly, not only do my boys thrive on taking naps, they thrive on the structure and predictability in their lives. I have one who asks me EVERY SINGLE DAY "is it nap time now?" So, even when I'm feeling lazy about getting them down, I almost always follow through. They expect it (and even want it). And they know, nap time follows lunch. Period.

2. Seize the moment.

Often times, we see those signs that our little ones are tired and we "just need to get this done first". While it's not the end of the world to finish said project, it's important to keep the nap time within a half hour window. We've all been at the over-tired, raging temper tantrum, and it's not fun. It would take a long LONG time to calm them down enough for that much needed nap. But if you can catch them when they start yawning, rubbing eyes etc...putting them down for naps is 1,000 times easier.

3. Create a sleep sanctuary.

This means, have a cool, dark and quiet place for your LO to sleep. We all know there are those times when we simply can't make it happen, but I try to make those the exception to the rule. I've found a fan works both to keep the air moving AND to provide white noise. It's handy, as most places they sleep (that is away from home) usually have a fan. I have noticed that a noise maker "machine" works as well. Even though it is tempting to try squeeze in naps in the stroller or car seat, we all know they don't rest as well. It IS better than nothing, of course, and sometimes it'll happen. For myself personally, I place a huge emphasis on their naps, and try to avoid situations in which they get skipped or shortened.

4. Keep it lively while they are awake.

This is a tough-y and I'm not always on top of it. But there is no denying how well they nap after an afternoon at a pool or a park. Or sometimes just a couple hours in the back yard with the hose. It actually takes way more energy on my part to keep them entertained inside. It can be done, but I have to be there and directing their focus with a greater consistency. And frankly, I much prefer them to get fresh air. Of course, we all know electronics of any type does not tire them out physically, therefore isn't a great way to tire them out before nap time.

5. Let baby drive the nap.

This one says "baby" as it sets the stage for napping as a toddler. So, whatever habits you introduce to them as a baby, you will maintain (or have difficulty breaking) later on. This step focuses on letting your baby fall asleep on their own. If you don't want to push them around in a stroller every time, don't push them around in their stroller to get them to sleep as a baby either. If you find yourself sitting by the back corner of the crib in the most awkward position in order to keep that pacifier from coming out (I've been there), you'll have a long road ahead of you. That being said, I have maintained the habit with all of my boys (I have three of the four napping presently) to read them a short story of their choice, while l lay down next to them in the bed. It's pretty simple, and really doesn't take that long for me to do. An additional benefit is that they get sleepy as I read, like it does for any of us. However, I'm prepared to do this EVERY TIME (and yes, there are times I've skipped it, much to my regret in the following hour).

The hardest part of training your child (actually, your first is the hardest...the others tend to do what the oldest does with less resistance) is letting them fuss in the beginning. I keep a baby monitor on, and give them 10-20 minutes to fuss. If it's obvious they are not settling down, there is probably an issue (teething, dirty diaper, hungry, too hot or cold etc..) that needs to be addressed. If all those needs are met, they will learn how to sooth themselves eventually. Believe me, it's a MUST (especially with the more kids you have) for me to be able to simply put them down and walk out. I simply don't have the time to fuss with every individual child for each nap. The funny thing is, my current baby just gets more and more squirmy when I hold him. I finally lay him down, and only then will he settle and go to sleep. Lol, he doesn't WANT me to hold him when he's tired!

6. Coordinate schedules.

I have people ask me all the time, "do they all nap at the SAME time??" Yes, they do. Our schedule is set up that "nappy time" is right after lunch. This makes it easier to do. I have the oldest child pick out his book and wait for me in the bed. He them flips through the book while he waits for me. I like to think this helps even educationally (he's figuring out story lines, and guessing as to what the pictures may mean). And while it may be tempting to simply sneak past that closed door of your older napper, don't. It might work a time or two that they fall asleep while waiting, but they stop trusting you when you say, "Go lay down and I'll be right in." The only reason it works so well for me, is they know with 100% certainty that I will read to them soon. So I put the youngest goes down on their own (as they are the baby), the second youngest get instant attention and book read immediately and the oldest one knows I will be in shortly. My children generally thrive on this routine. And I can't explain the wonderful feeling that moment I quietly close the last door behind me....Ah....peace in the home. My oldest child will be starting school this fall, but in the meantime, he has known this is "quiet time" for him. I mostly insist he entertain himself (reading, Legos) but there are times when I will do something with him (board games etc...).

Now at this point in my day, I'm tempted to do many different things. I want to relax, I want to clean, I want to eat snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. (uninterrupted treats, that you don't have to share?!) All of these are yelling your name. What you should do, is that last thing you think of.

Take. A. Nap. Yourself. 

Now, an adult doesn't need to long naps your child(ren) does. I literally lay down on the couch, wrapped in a cozy blanket (we keep our house cool, even cooler during nap time) with the fan on. I let my racing mind slow (this seems to take forever sometimes) and get to that point of warm drowsiness.  Ah....now THAT is a fabulous feeling. Especially after an entire morning/afternoon of none-stop "GO". And then? I wake myself up. I never let myself get into that deep sleep (well, almost never). If I go into the deep sleep, I waste hours AND feel groggy the rest of the day. If I get up right at that warm fuzzy stage (about 15 to 20 minutes after laying down), it only takes about a minute and I am flooded with renewed energy. And it's all worth it. NOW, I have the energy to all those activities mentioned above.

Please keep in mind, this is my ideal routine. I do manage to do it frequently, but I understand that life isn't perfect. And there are times (especially on vacation) that it just. doesn't. work. And I'm okay with that. But don't be surprised if I leave a function just for nap time. It's that important to me. ;)

So, am I overzealous with naps? Do I have it dialed in? What do you think? :) :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Father's Day to hubby this Sunday (and tips on how to talk to the guy)

Every once in a while, I think back to the days when Honey (that's my hubby's name..not really. But that's what I call him) and I were dating. Of course, you all know what I'm talking about. The world was in your hands. Everything was (relatively) perfect. You could sit for hours at a restaurant...usually fast food (who could afford a sit-down??) and just talk. Or you would sit in the car, trying to drop him off at home for about 3 hours, and just talk. Or you would walk around the lake and talk. "Should we pay for all (if any) of our kids college? What if we lived in MN? What do you think of discipline? What's your goal with your business? How many kids do you think we'll have? Do you have any names picked out? (...cuz...I do. since about 5th grade) Should we play volleyball tonight? or go skate at Ozzy Ice?" etc etc...

Then you get married. Then you start having kids. And you stop talking (at least to each other..the kids don't let you stop talking completely). Where did the communication go? Do you know what your hubby thinks about all these topic (and more)? Has he changed his mind? Is he even alive? (sometimes I wonder...but yep, still breathing thankfully).

Now I'm definitely not one to boast that I've been successful in this area. I most assuredly need reminders. In fact, we decided to go on a "date" once a week...even for just a couple hours. It sounds like exactly what any marriage councilor would recommend. Perfect. So, off we go on a date. Last week, we went shopping and ran errands. This week we went shopping and ran errands. Next week we'll probably go shopping and..WAIT A MINUTE. Just how much visiting do you think we got in, in the middle of all the racks? "Hey Honey, does Reagan need a new swimshirt?" "yah" Bliss. Wow, this is the stuff dreams are made of. Not. My 15 year old romantic self would weep if I knew my own future.

So I told Honey on the way home. We will NOT go shopping or run errands on our date night. It is SOOOOO incredibly tempting to do! Gotta get stuff DONE don't 'cha know?? Yes. I do know. But no. This is how you lose yourself (and your spouse) in a marriage. Don't get me wrong. I love Honey more with each passing year, and I thank God he gave Honey to me. I actually couldn't have imagined how perfect he was for me, even while dating and first married (crazy how kids will test your marriage like no other). But, we just don't talk like we used to. I understand that you can't as much once kids come, but it is SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT to make the effort (and yes, sometimes it's an insane amount of effort to go on a date) often. Not just once a year either. But often (you decide what that means).

So how can you communicate with the silent man on the other side of the table (funny....I probably dreamed of that "strong and silent" man as the 15 year old..I mean, now I got it and the silent part drives me bananas).

Here's a few tips:

1. Ask him about something you KNOW he loves. Don't tell my Honey, but I've done this often with him. It's actually insanely easy. "So Honey, how's your golf game?" "What kind of jobs did you do at work today?" or "What would you like to do on your truck next?" I usually have to reign him in after that. But the trick is, to get him started. After talking about your selected topic for a bit (and actually, I'm genuinely interested, simply because I love Honey) you can then veer the conversation to other topics of interest. "Oh, do you think Easton could come with you again to the range? How IS he doing with golf? You know, Reagan is really swinging the clubs well...." and off you go.

2. DON'T try to start any conversation the second they walk in the door. Moms can multi-task and switch direction at the drop of a hat. Not Dads. He is in one mode, and has yet to transition out of it. Of course, you don't need to lead him kindly to the couch, prop his feet up and offer him a Dr. Pepper (wow. Honey would wonder what I wanted)...at least not every day. :) But if you want any sort of meaningful communication, it'll have to wait for a bit. Frankly, anytime the kids are awake, you won't get any sort of lengthy conversation. So save it for a date, after kids go to bed or before they wake up.

3. BE DIRECT. I really can't emphasize this enough. THEY WILL NOT GET YOUR HINTS OR READ YOUR MIND. Yes, I understand that you want him to WANT to help you with the dishes, but it just...well...it just will not happen. This has been difficult for me, but I'm getting there. "Honey, I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed and tired, would you do the dishes?" Voila...! Dishes are done. I used to sigh...yawn...look at the dishes with exhaustion in my body language....look at Honey with pleading in my eyes...well you get the picture. But he certainly didn't. "You got something in your eye dear?" ...double sigh.. 

So now that it's all said and done, you will have no problems communicating with your husband. Right. ....But at least it may help. :) Marriage is work. Period. Don't ever forget that...(and yes, it's happiness and contentment as well, but not without work).

Wish your hubby a Happy (upcoming) Father's Day from me. They are worth it :)


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

HOW to become a morning person (and it's simple).

Now that you all are 100% convinced the morning hours should be spent awake, instead of snoozing (right?), I will give you some steps you can take to get there.

First off, set your alarm to 5 am and just get up when it buzzes/rings/screams.

Not. (that even sounds miserable to me!)

No, but seriously. Here are a few ways to help in that transition. And I CHALLENGE YOU. Just try this for a week (and com'mon, if you can do the #whole30 deal for a whole month, you can do this for a week...though I would bet some of you might do it longer when you see how wonderful life is hee hee)

So. Now you're committed. Please. I beg of you. DON'T JUST SET THE ALARM FOR 5 AM TOMORROW MORNING (sorry. this is how my hubby is. he loves Dr. Pepper to the moon and back, and then randomly swears off it for a year or so...cold turkey. It never works) You've got to do this gradually. So gradually, you won't even notice it. :) Some of these steps might be easier to do than others. That's just fine! Start with the easy ones and gradually add steps as you go. These aren't in any special order, because really, they are all pretty important.

Okay, let's get to it already!

1. Set the alarm 5-10 minutes earlier than normal. This one is so easy. Depending on how quickly you want to become a morning person, you could even do 15 minutes early. I wouldn't recommend doing more than 15 minutes, or you might have too hard of time getting up (yah. my hubby would set the alarm three hours early and last one day) ;) You need to give your body time to adjust. So do you normally get up at 7:30 am? Set your alarm for 7:25. In a couple days, set it for 7:20. Keep doing this. Trust me, as you add minutes to your day (and yes, I still feel like I have a longer day than everyone else...it just FEELS like it) you won't be able to keep that smile off your face. (right.)

2. Get to sleep on time at night. This one is SO critical, no matter if you are an early bird or not. You need to count backwards 8.5 hours from the time you get up. So if you arise at 7:00 am, you need to be going to bed around 10:30. But I thought you only needed 8 hours...?? Yep. That's right. But you KNOW as well as I do, how long it actually takes to go to bed. That extra half hour gives you a little time to pitter-patter around (or get the kids pjs on, brush teeth, read bedtime story...hm...maybe give yourself 1.5 hours) :) But this one is critical. You've GOT to set a bedtime for yourself. And yes, our boys stay up later sometimes. But as long as I've helped my hubby with that bedtime routine and all that's left is actually putting them in bed, you CAN simply go in your room, shut the light off and crawl between the sheets. Honestly, I KNOW kids might still crawl in with you, but as long as the light is off, they will either lose interest fast or fall asleep themselves. :)

3. Set out your clothes the night before. This one seems like it's not that big of a deal, but it is. It's funny, because a number of these step we enforce with our child(ren). Why? Because we know what is best for them, and what makes their life (and ours) run smoothly. So why does it change when we are adults? It doesn't really. It's just that we don't have to listen to anyone anymore. So we fall off the bandwagon. Now. Where was I? (ahem). Oh yes. Set your clothes out. Do it. In that extra half hour you've set aside in "going to bed" go put out your clothes. I do take the easy route sometimes right now, and simply throw on a robe in the morning. However, this step is critical for when I exercise in the morning. I've got to even have the tennis shoes set out. Also, my oldest will be starting school this fall (look for a billion blog posts as I sort through my emotions on this) and I have a funny feeling that I shouldn't bring him to school in my robe.

4. Have something specific (and FUN) in mind for every morning. Now this might sound like a lot of work right off the bat. It's not. It can be something as little as your cup of coffee (in the quiet stillness of your favorite Laz-y-Boy). You trying to tell me that's not fun? Or it could be those beautiful mornings that call your name from the mountain, bike path, beach or road (depending on where you live in the fabulous country we call America..."AMERICA AMERICA, GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE"....sorry, that song popped to mind and I inherited the "sing at every chance from my grandmother") and seriously, you might not be in America anyways....but you should come visit sometime! Now. What on earth was I talking about. Oh yah. Make it fun people. You've got to. What's the point of getting up and staring at a wall.

Oh and btw, this is the PERFECT TIME....I need to repeat this. THE PERFECT TIME to work on any sort of small business ideas you have. I started (and still do various aspects of the biz) mylittleclothesline in these morning hours. It definitely got me out of bed. So if you are running an Etsy shop, writing a book or blog or what have you, this is a huge block of time you get with no distractions.

5. Do not consume caffeine (chocolate, coffee, soda) after 4 pm. This one can be a tuff-y. I'm pretty good at the coffee and soda part, but chocolate...? ....sigh..... But no. This is a habit I have been working on for many years. My favorite time to eat used to be in the evening/night just before going to bed. Not only do the calories triple (I swear they do anyways) in anything consumed before bedtime, it also can disrupt your sleep. There have been times when I lay exhausted in bed, but my mind Will. Not. Shut. Off. The next morning, I remember that I had a chocolate chip cookie (or 4) the night before. So I've had to train myself to eat any sweets etc in the afternoons, after lunch and after putting my littles down for naps. If your littles don't go for naps, your just doomed to eating your treats with them. :D Sometimes though, I still want just a little "something". Then I drink some hot apple cider (you could do tea) or just water. Pretty boring with just water, but your body needs as much water as possible. And frankly, I find I'm so tired at night, that my interest to eat and drink has diminished. Which leads me to another rule I have. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EAT ANYTHING UNHEALTHY FOR YOU IF YOU AREN'T ENJOYING IT TO THE MAX. It just simply isn't worth the calories.

6. Leave your cell phone (or anything electronic) outside your room. Now, this being said, I don't use an alarm to get up anymore. You too can get to this point, but might need the alarm on your phone for now. That's fine. But you will need the superhuman will power to simply turn your phone upside down and not look at it. This does make a difference in your ability to fall asleep quickly AND deeply. Eventually, you might not need the alarm, and you simply get up when your body wakes up. How peaceful :) I also like to read a magazine (usually this Parents magazine) just before drifting off. Sometimes I only get a few pages in, other times 10 minutes. But is does relax me.

7. Take a warm shower. This one only applies to you "night shower" people, and isn't too critical. If you take showers in the morning, don't sweat it (seriously. the sheets will stick to you..ha. ha.)

8. Wake up at the same time every morning. Now this one is after you've adjusted your sleeping habits accordingly. You really should get up at the same time every single morning, even on weekends. It keeps your body's clock regulated. I will admit, I'm not the best at this. During the week and even on Saturday, I do it no problem (unless I have a newborn....I never set a schedule in any way, shape or form until they sleep through the night) But Sunday. I just love cuddling up to hubby until the boys wake up. And...it's okay. :)

9. DON'T HIT "SNOOZE" (and don't lounge in bed). If you do, you are just wasting precious time. Once your body wakes up in the morning, you simply can't fall back asleep without feeling groggy or tired later. We have all done this. You hit "snooze" and drift off again...hit "snooze" again...When you finally get up, you feel tired and just groggy. It is not worth the effort. If you simply get up when your alarm or body wakes you, you feel the best. After all, you just slept 8 hours (or around there) and your day is ready to begin. This one can be hard to start, but it's just a habit that can be changed.

10. If you really are getting desperate, get a "text" buddy. If you want to be an early riser, but just can't seem to do it, find another early bird in your circle. Set a time that you will text them, and you will feel some accountability. This works.

So? Are you up to the challenge?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Why Mom Needs to Wake Up at 5 AM. Every Day.

Does your alarm look like this?

It seems most people start their days at late as possible. Me? I wish I could get up even earlier, without it affecting my health.

Now stick with me here! I know you all are wondering if my early mornings have affected my brain. But I will lay it all out for you.

So. Are there really any benefits to being a morning person? I mean, is it all the same if you wake up early or simply go to bed late? Morning or night? Early bird or night owl? What's the diff??

I'll tell you the diff:

1. You savor your coffee. (seriously, drinking a cup while stuck in traffic or kids crawling on your lap does nothing for minä...that's Finnish for me btw)

2. You get to enjoy the peace and beauty of morning. Oh sure, you get beauty at night, but the peace..? I'd take a stab that the peace comes too late in the eve for me to stay awake. And let's face it, the world does not feel like it's sleeping, like it does in the early morning.

3. Want to be on level with Benjamin Franklin and Charles Dickens (or Darwin for that matter)? They all got up early to begin the day. Check out infowetrust.com for more famous early risers. 

4. Morning people are proactive people. In fact, they rule the world. Well....this article claims that anyways.

5. According to this study, morning peeps are happier peeps. Hm....here. Read it yourself. 

6. So. Imagine if you AND your spouse were morning people. You mean you actually get time together? Without others? Without distractions? WITHOUT KIDS? whoa....this alone should settle it, ladies and gents.

7.You can start exercising before your brain figures out what you're doing. AND, that means you've swallowed the frog.

“Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” -Mark Twain

(so this essentially means the rest of the day will only be better right?)

8.You rarely run out the door with your shirt inside out. Or go to the park in the same outfit your wore for the last three days (not that that is SOOOO terribly bad..I've done it myself hee hee) Hey. Don't judge. I still shower daily. :D Simply put, you have time to get your outfit together. Actually getting dressed at a leisurely pace?? Who does that?? (psst...morning people)

9. You are "ready" for the chaos that WILL COME EVERY MORNING. It doesn't just slam down your door and jump on your bed (not that kids do that right?) You get to just simply say "Good MORNING love! Did you sleep well last night??" (yes, I do say this to every child as they wake up...it gives us both warm fuzzies) You are READY (and even waiting??) for your little(s) to wake up.

10. You will be amazed how much you got done at the end of each day. A-MAZ-ED.

So. Are you Sold? Ready to be a morning person? I'll write my next blog post on HOW to become a morning person. It's really not that difficult (this is coming from a recovering sleeptillnoon-aholic).

Now, Good Morning to you. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day!

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Mother's Internal Battle

It was 5 am on Mother's Day morning and I couldn't sleep. I had gotten up to nurse my baby boy, and simply couldn't fall back to sleep. Finally, I gave it up and got up around 6 am. I sunk into my chair wearing my robe and sipping some freshly brewed coffee, and jotted down my thoughts.

It was Mother's Day. What is a mother? Well if you had participated in #WHPmamatoldme on Instagram (follow me @mylittleclothesline) or had used the hashtag #WonderfulMOM on twitter (follow us @mylittleclothes), you would have seen many different ways people view "Mother". However, if you were to google "Mother" you would see a couple definitions. The noun definition is "a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth." The verb is "bring up a (child) with care and affection". I would guess most of us think of the verb definition in reference to "Mother's Day".

As I pondered Mother's Day, sitting in the blissful quiet that comes from sleeping children, I thought about the change that has come about in society regarding motherhood. I have spoken with my grandmother, as well as mother, and I've seen a shift happen through time. In my grandmother's time, mother's simply didn't work outside the home. Granted, there are exceptions to every rule (in fact, my grandmother herself worked). In my mother's time, some mothers did work outside the home, but only out of absolute necessity. It hasn't taken long, but in my generation, mother's are almost EXPECTED to work. One almost feels a need to defend the choice in being a "Stay At Home Mom". Have you no drive? No ambition? No need for personal growth?

These are the thoughts that had me up at wee hours in the morning.

There are no clear cut answers, and this dilemma is not new to me. I have many friends who are in the work force, many who have stayed home since their first child was born and many in the middle (both in the work force and stay at home, depending on hours). I personally have been in the work force and a stay at home mom, while having children.

I was in a well paid job, with only a year left to earn my special education teaching certificate, when my first child was born. He was about 2 months old while I finished up a capstone for a two year assistive technology certificate I was enrolled in. With all the stress involved with your first baby, I was simply functioning.

Eat. Sleep (if possible).....and Baby.

In robotic fashion, I signed up for the next semester. I was enrolled and received the book list for the classes. I remember staring at the list, wondering what my priorities were. What did I want in life? Not in a year or two, but in 10 years. 20 years. 50 years. After my faith, that little scrunched up baby bundle was on the top of my priority list.

It was a revelation.

I dropped my classes.

Now does this mean I think moms should quit their jobs/educational pursuits and sit at home folding laundry, day in and day out?
I firmly believe that every single person should be, at ALL TIMES, pursuing personal growth and education (formal or informal).

Is this EASY with kids?? NO. Is it possible?? Absolutely.

After deciding to re-group and drop out of school (yes, that word "drop-out" made me cringe), I continued to work outside the home. The benefits were needed (by hubby was still getting his business off the ground), the pay was great, the hours were fantastic and, most importantly, I adored the special needs young man I worked with. What could I complain about??

My children (I worked until my third was born) would C.L.I.N.G. to me when I got home. I was lucky enough to have wonderful relatives who cared for them, and I never EVER worried about the kids while I was at work. And yet. I fought this guilty feeling. My kids needed me. Their mother.

As life would have it, that wonderful young man graduated around the time my third child was born, and I no longer had a personal attachment to my job. My hubby's business had picked up, and I finally made the decision to come home. OH, IT WAS SCARY! Only one income?? Paying for our own benefits?? What if my hubby's business went south?? WAS I CRAZY?!

We took the leap of faith. Not to worry, we certainly planned for the future as best we could, but you don't know what that future holds.

There are still no guarantees in life. I could be working again next year, or in ten years. Or never again. We don't know what that future holds, but I do know one thing. My kids will always have mom at home, as long as I'm able.

Do I still have time for personal growth? Yes. I get up at 5 am. I read books. I read magazines. I listen to podcasts while folding laundry, washing dishes and cleaning the house. And guess what? When my kids need me, I simply press "pause".

As Lotte Bailyn said:

"Instant availability without continuous presence is probably the best role a mother can play"

Mylittleclothesline.com started as a by-product of many different interests, but in the lead was this need for me to grow, while letting my kids take the top slot on my priority list (even now, I work a few hours a day and simply hire out the rest...instead of trying to put in more hours myself).

My life is by no means perfect. As a mother of now 4 boys (ages 4.5 and under), there are days I envy my husband as he walks out the front door. There are truly miserable days. There are truly delightful days.

But I want, no NEED, to mother my children. We might have to pitch a tent in the backyard instead of a trip to Hawaii, but I think they'll be okay with that. We might eat "out" at Costco, instead of Red Lobster, but I think they'll be okay with that. Their first bike might not have the shiny "new-ness" from the store, but I think they'll be okay with that. Mom is sleeping next to them on the hard ground, Mom is eating that greasy pizza next to them, Mom is helping them learn to ride that garage sale bike. Mom is there. And that's all the matters to them.

You've read my (continuous) quest to find balance. My earnest question for mothers everywhere is simple:

How have you found balance in your life?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mylittleclothesline.com mentioned by the Washington Post

Mylittleclothesline was mentioned in today's Washington Post! Our HUGE competitor may have more sales than we do but who has the smarter, funner customers!? Hah. What do you think?

Check out the full article here