For the mom with a new baby… the most comforting thing anyone ever said to me.

Baby Joe July 2007
Nine years ago today, I brought my first born home from the hospital.  Although much of the following months and years are a blur, I remember 2 things very clearly from July 2007.

First, I remember the most comforting thing anyone has ever said to me.

Nothing I had done in life had prepared me for bringing home a new baby.  I knew a lot about being a sister, about being a daughter, even about being a grown up… but I had no idea how to be a mother.

I had been pretty successful for 20 some years… and suddenly I was lost.  My newborn son ate all the time, never slept and cried a lot… and I never knew why.  After weeks of no sleep, my mom kindly told me the most simple and encouraging thing…  “Your baby does not know what he is doing either”.

We were in it together.  He was figuring it out, I was figuring it out and we had each other.

The second thing I remember is holding my little baby and thinking that if I loved him any more, I would burst.  My heart would just explode.

And 9 years later we are still in it together and I love him, and his sister and his brother so much that I am close to bursting. And now I’m expecting baby #4 and thinking more and more about July 2007.

So if you are a new mom that is overwhelmed with a baby that you love more than you could have ever imaged, let me tell you this… you baby does not know of a better mom… he just knows he has you and you’ll figure it out together.  You do not need to be perfect, you just need to be there.


Can we take kids to weddings, restaurants and on airplanes? If we do not give them the opportunity to behave, how do we know that they cannot?

BrookeLearningThis morning I walked by a TV showing a talk show.  On it, an audience member was asking if she should take her 4 year old daughter to a family wedding.  The family hosting the wedding really wanted the 4 year old to attend but the audience member was not sure if kids belonged at weddings.  To this, the talk show host said that she was a mother and that there were certain places that kids just did not belong.  According to her, this included restaurants with tablecloths, airplanes and weddings. And the audience member thought this was good advice.

This clip has been eating at me all day.  My question back is, how are kids to learn how to behave at restaurants, in airplanes and at weddings if we do not teach them?  And if it is a family wedding, and the hosts are asking for the 4 year old to attend, why is there a concern?  Is it better to leave a child at home with a babysitter, where no one can see when she misbehaves, or to have her spend time learning to behave with grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins?  She may not be perfect at all times, but her mom has legs that could walk her daughter out of the room when needed.

I agree that kids need to behave.  I do not really love sitting next to a screaming toddler or wild kid.  Especially when they are my own.  But if we do not give kids the opportunity to behave, how do we know that they cannot?  And if we tell them they will not behave, how can we expect them to do anything but misbehave?

Maybe a fancy restaurant is not the place for all children.  But, a mature kid should not be banned from tablecloth restaurants.

For weddings, the host can decide if children are invited.  If the host is asking for kids to attend, then they are asking for you kid to attend.

And as for airplanes, do children automatically act worse than others?  I fly a lot and have met some very rude adults on airplanes.  They did not cry the entire flight, but they were generally unpleasant and irritating for several hours.

Also, if children should not be on airplanes, how exactly will you get them to grandma’s house or some other grand adventure?  Is it better to leave a child at home with a babysitter, where no one can see when she misbehaves, or to have her spend time learning to behave?

I recently read a post on Momastery  saying that when she flies, she spends her time:

  1. Planning exactly what I will do if the plane is taken over by terrorists…
  2. Searching for and glaring relentlessly at anyone who dares to glare at crying babies or screaming toddlers.
  3. Stewing about how it seems men always take BOTH the arm rests…

I’m actually on business travel now and will fly home, without kids, in a couple days.  I plan to spend my 3 hour flight “Searching for and glaring relentlessly at anyone who dares to glare at crying babies or screaming toddlers.” and considering how to recover from the 1 minute of a talk show that ate at me all day.

How can we make our children confident in this world if we imply that they do not belong in all of it?  And more practically, how do we create a new generation of adults if children are something we do not want to deal with?

Let’s teach our children manners, let’s be considerate of parents as they do this and let’s know that we can try the restaurant, airplane or wedding, misbehave, CORRECT and try again.   Try.  Correct.  Try again.


Funny Things Moms Do – Yoga in Public Parking Lots

Yoga5I used to be a very shy person who was sensitive to how I looked and how I was perceived.  And then I became a mom.

As a mom, I have spent entire days in a shirt with spit up shoulders.  I have loudly sung happy birthday, at restaurants, in my not so good voice.  I’ve discussed potty in public.  And this is just the beginning.

It is funny how a person can suddenly change.  My level of “I just don’t care” seems to have risen to a healthy level.

Just this weekend I found myself doing made up yoga poses in a public parking lot.

HEB offers free kid’s yoga each month.  There was some sort of mix up this weekend and no instructor showed up.  But we were there and I had kids who wanted to do yoga.

One other mother and I decided that we could certainly do our own yoga class on the HEB sidewalk.  Neither of us actually knew any yoga poses, but we were doing some darn good superman, spider man, tree and flamingo poses.

It was a good 10 minutes in that we realized we were getting some smiles and questioning looks from the patrons.  But this just made us smile.

My kids seems to have put things into perspective for me.  A dozen curious HEB shoppers is nothing compared to 3 sad kids that missed out on yoga class.

I am sure glad I’m now the mom that just doesn’t care about things that don’t matter.

So, what funny mom thing have you done today?

 

 


Why Moms Need Moms – A Messy Tribute to Moms for Mother’s Day

WhyMomsNeedMomsMother’s Day Weekend is nearly here and this is a tribute to moms everywhere.  Not to this mom specifically, but to all moms and the moms that support this one.

Moms are very good at taking care of what is needed.  On the job training has taught moms how to clean up messes, sooth hurt feelings, bandage up injuries and make life better for those around them.  Moms encourage.  Moms comfort.  Moms get things done.

Although this training is in taking care of kids, mom’s super powers can benefit all.  Let me tell you about the Super Mom and the queso.

Last week I was preparing queso at my daughter’s school party.  As the cheese was melting, I managed to spill a bowl full down the entire length of my jeans.  And it was hot.  Hot, hot, hot.

For a moment, I was stunned by the burning cheese.  And then I was alarmed that I would be wearing queso covered jeans for the entire day.

In the next moment, I had a mom handing me a wet towel, wiping up the floor and offering to cover for me while I ran home for new pants.  And I was grateful.

I did not ask for help.  I did not know the next step to take.  I just got taken care of. 

***

Most days I do not have burning hot queso dripping down my leg, but moms still take care of me.

Not long after the queso incident, I took the kids out to lunch.  Some friends met us to celebrate a birthday, and all was going fine until baby James threw up.  On me.  Several times.

For a moment I was stunned by explosion.  And then I was alarmed that the chicken nuggets would be ruined.

In the next moment, I had a mom handing me napkins, another handing me wipes, another moving the food and another watching my other kids.
Once again, I did not ask for help.  I did not know the next step to take.  I just got taken care of.

***

Fortunately, I also do not get thrown up on most days, but moms still take care of me.

Not too long ago I took my 3 kids to an indoor play place.  No one got hurt and not one got sick.  In fact, there was nothing exceptional about the trip except that it came at the end of a long day.

By the end of the visit, I had used up most of my mom tricks and was exhausted.  At the point when I was not sure if I would ever get my kids to the car, another mom came over to me.  She told me that she had been watching me and that I was a very good mother.

And I was no longer tired.
Once again, I did not ask for help.  I did not know the next step to take.  I just got taken care of.

***

So thank you moms, for taking care of moms.  And thank you specifically for taking care of this mom.


“Should Have Known Better” List – 7 Things I do repeatedly as a mom that get in me in trouble with my kids.

I’ve been a parent for nearly 6 years and very frequently I find my self thinking, “I should have known better”.   And still I keep on doing these things.  Let me share some of the items on my “should have known better” list.

1.  Throwing out anything while the kids are awake.  I don’t care how sneaky I am, my kids have some secret sense about items going in the trash or donation pile.

2.  Throwing out “artwork” and leaving it visible in the trash can.  If I’m going to throw out 1 of the 100 masterpieces, with a single scribble across it, it must be done at night time and then buried deep in the trash can.

3.  Telling the kids we are having salmon for dinner.  They hate salmon but they love fish.  Even if it’s the same exact dinner.

4.  Letting anything perishable go in the 3rd row of the van.  “But Mom, I’ll be sure to throw out the leftovers” fools me at least once a week.

5.  Believing that my kids will carry anything for more than 1 minute.  What starts with, “I swear I can carry my doll in the store” ends with, “Moooooooom, it’s tooooo heavy.  Carrrrrry it!”.  It is completely rational.  I mean, if I’m already carrying a diaper bag, groceries and a baby, I’ve shown that I am capable of carrying anything our small circus may need.

6.  Thinking that 1 baggie of Goldfish is enough.  If I have 1 for the baby, I better have 1 each for the big kids and 1 more to replace which ever one gets dumped out in spectacular fashion first.

7.  Saying I see something cool out the window of the car. Especially if it’s moving at fast speed, like a train.  One kid will miss it and insist we chase it down.

So, what’s on your list?  I bet we can have at least 100 unique, and completely true, “should have known betters”.


In Need of a Mom Cheerleader? Check out Lisa-Jo Baker, Tales from a Gypsy Mama

Lisa-Jo BakerDid anyone else have trouble getting back into the school schedule this week?  Getting 3 kids out the door at 7:00am is painful.  And, it’s even more painful when the kids are whining, you spill your coffee, you’re operating on 4 hours of sleep and you look like it too.

From the number of tardy slips I saw being handout out this week, I’m guessing we’re not the only household readjusting to the school schedule.

Lucky for me, a friend sent me a Cheerleader for the week:  Lisa-Jo Baker, Tales from a Gypsy Mama.  Check out her blog HERE.  And more specifically, check out her post about What mothers can do for one another.  And funny, the day I read this, my good friend called and offered to do school pick up for me.

Do you need a Cheerleader?  Go HERE to find one.


That Damn Fun Run – Sometimes Parenthood Isn’t Fun (But Don’t Worry)

If you follow this blog, you know that our thing is to go on adventures.  We explore Houston daily, look for new things to do each week and even travel across the country for fun.  We generally have a lot of fun and make a lot of great memories.  But, I want to reassure you that this is not always the case and that we often have days where we wished we had stayed home and watched TV.

So, with that, let me tell you about the damn fun run.  I enlisted my husband to join us on the 3 mile family walk as part of the Jingle Bell Run.  We like to walk and we love Downtown Houston, so it was going to be a great day.

Last Saturday we packed up 2 strollers and headed to the Downtown YMCA.  The plan was for my 5 year old to walk, which is very capable of doing, and for the 3 and 1 year olds to ride in the single strollers.

We started the race in high spirits.  We had on our foam antlers and jingle bells and were walking through the streets of Downtown Houston.  For about 3 blocks.

After 3 blocks, Joe decided he needed to ride in the stroller.  At about the same time, Baby James started wiggling out of his stroller seat belt.  So after a few blocks of struggling, and just as we are leaving Downtown and heading down Allen Parkway, we have a baby screaming and 2 big kids fighting over the stroller.  The only kid that wanted to walk was the baby.

This went on and on.  We tried to put 2 kids in the stroller together, we tried to carry the big kids, we tried to carry the baby and we tried to have dad push 2 strollers at the same time.  This fun run was so not fun.  And we were miles from our car.

Still not at the turn around point, we hoped the curb and headed back to the YMCA.  We strapped the screaming baby into the stroller, let the 3 year old fall asleep in the other stroller, and convinced the 5 year old that we were practically to the finish line and he needed to run across it.

My big boy soon figured out that we weren’t close to the finish line, but I think he realized the position his parents were in.  He went along with the walking and after a another mile, we sprinted across the finish line.

The walk was really quite awful.  We should have brought the baby carrier or a double stroller or another adult or waited for a few years.  Instead we struggled along for 2 hours and wondered why we paid money to punish ourselves.

My point in telling you about our terrible afternoon is not to put down the Jingle Bell Run.  It was just the BigKidSmallCity crew that was having a hard time.  The point is that things don’t always go as planned, but it’s not a reason to give up.

By the time we got back to the comfort of our car, we were feeling better about parenthood.  A few hours later we were out having fun at Lights in the Heights.

So, when you go out and explore with your kids, and things don’t go well, remember that we were out in the middle of Allen Parkway and feeling the same way as you.


Getting Your Mom Confidence Back

With BigKidSmallCity, I am hoping to encourage parents of young kids to get out of the house and enjoy life.  Prior to the blog, I was a working mom who could just never get her house (and life) as clean or as organized as it was before kids.  Yet ever spare minute I had was spend cleaning and organizing as a tornado (kids) swept through and messed it up again.  I would then be even more desperate to get some order back into my life.

After a few years I met some moms who were out at every Houston event and showing their kids around the big city.  It hit me that cleaning up in the middle of a tornado was not the best use of our time.  So, overnight, we became the family that saw and did everything in Houston.

Our house is not extremely clean, but since we are home less often, there are fewer messes to clean up each night.  The kids are happy because we go on daily adventures and I am happy because I am finally spending real quality time with the kids.  I’ve given up the goal of having every minute of my day and every corner of my house organized and have replaced it with something new.  And life is better than it ever was pre-kids.

Now, let me tell you about going out with the kids.  The kids and I talk a lot about how we are going to act when we get to our destination.  We talk about what to expect and what will happen if there is fighting or fits.  The kids are generally very well behaved but we stay flexible because 3 little moods can be hard to predict and manage.  It is very common for us to step into the restroom to discuss our behavior or to just leave all together.

I’ve always thought the our traveling circus was generally well behaved and well managed by mom.  But let me tell you why I started to have doubts.

Last week we were at the grocery store.  Sometimes I take the kids and sometimes my husband takes the kids.  We’re never there together, but because of our kids, the staff knows who we are.  On this trip to the store, the kids were hungry, the store was packed with Thanksgiving shoppers and we were doing our best to be quick.

At the sushi counter there were samples, which we usually try, but the kids did not like the available variety.  This threw off the BigKidSmallCity equilibrium.  Joe began searching for sushi that he wanted to buy, James started squeaking and Brooke was sure she should get out of the cart.

In these 10 seconds, the lady at the sushi counter had the nerve to say to me, “You cannot manage your kids.  Your husband can manage them.”.  Uh, what?  So not only could I not control my kids that I tote all over the city and the country, by myself, but my husband does a better job?  This may have been the very best insult ever directed at me.

Although I knew that the sushi lady did not know anything about me, her insult ate at me all week.  I began to wonder if I’d lost my touch.  If maybe my recent business trips had made me lose control of my kids.  And naturally, I told all my girl friends about that damn sushi lady.

Today I took my kids (that I cannot manage) on a few errands and then to McDonalds for ice cream and to play.  I did my mom thing in corralling 3 little kids while ordering, eating and then playing.  We had some minor spills and a brother-sister tiff.   All were managed quickly but at one point, baby James had just had it.

We packed up our things and before we left, a woman came over to tell me that I did a very good job taking care of my kids and that she could see I was a very good mother.  And just like that, I had my mom confidence back.

On the way home I thought about how simple it was for that lady to come up to me, but how uncommon it is.  And I don’t know that I’ve ever done anything so sweet.  She made a point of talking to me and it changed my overall outlook and attitude.

Next time I see a mom or dad doing a good job, I think I will tell them.  All parents should be brave enough to get out of the house, and then be recognized for this bravery and hard work!

 


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