Ten Ways Develop a Child’s Attention Span

10 ways to develop a child’s attention spans for long term success.

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I just got back from Word Camp which is a conference for people that use the website platform Word Press. The crowd there was extremely diverse, but we all had one thing in common: websites, or more specifically Word Press websites.

One thing I heard over in over in the sessions was about the latest research on the attention span. The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, which is shorter than that of a goldfish. The point of this information was that we have to have eye-catching designs and content that will grab our visitors attention immediately before they move on. We want people to stay at our websites and we have less than 10 seconds to make an impact!

While other attendees are nodding and taking notes the mama bear in me is thinking Let’s back this truck up. Did I just hear that humans attention spans are now shorter than a goldfish? And we are supposed to be catering to that!? This is an epidemic! Not just because I am old school and want everyone to go back to the slower paced lifestyle of the 1950’s. I am a major multi-tasker and I love my modern, fast-paced conveniences. I do have one major concern though and that is the selfish implications that come with short attention spans.

The selfie lifestyle.

The entitlement mindset.

The era of entertain me now.

YUCK!

That is not what I want for my kids and I think we can do better.

Phil Vischer did an interview 6 years ago about the effects of certain types of media on our children and it has always stuck with me. He says:

What we’ve learned through recent brain reseach is that the part of our brains that process facts and data can be trained to go faster, but the part of our brain that process emotions and make emotional connections can’t be trained to go faster. So in some of these cases, like churches where they are wanting to speed things up because kids are used to faster tv, we are discovering that while they can collect the data faster they can’t have a feeling about it faster. So if we are trying to teach kids values or help them have compassion for people in worse situations than they are we have to slow them down. 

When I really think about it, it sounds like common sense. You can teach a kid reading fluency or to do multiplication tables at a rapid pace, but you can’t teach them to hurry up and feel compassion! Our generation is better than ever at multitasking, but you can’t multitask true empathy.

That’s what concerns me about the lack of attention spans. We aren’t taking the time to pay attention! So I thought about how to cultivate an attitude of long term attentiveness in the next generation.

Please keep in mind this list is not for short-term attention span improvement. It is also not professional help for those with actual attention deficit disorder. I have plenty of loved ones, adults and kids alike, in that category. There is no shame in that. This is just a list that I thought would apply to my children and might be helpful to some others.

1. Discomfort

It’s easy to want to shield our kids from feeling uncomfortable, whether it’s boredom, not wanting to share, or detesting chores. I’ve read two books on this subject that I love. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch and Cleaning House by Kay Will Wyma. I recommend either one.

2. Focus on Others

Putting our attention outward through community service or acts of kindness is a great way for children to pay more attention to the details and needs around us.

3. Sleep

This is a practical way for all of us to increase our attention span. On a side note, you sleep more peacefully without electronics in the room.

4. Exercise

Robert Melillo, a professor and specialist in childhood neurological disorders says “Lack of physical activity in early childhood is actually the biggest single problem that will hurt the growth and development of the brain.” Melillo talks more about this mind-body approach to attention span in his book Disconnect.

5. Passion

I’m not so stuffy that my whole list is going to be about diet, exercise, and chores. Help your child find what skill or hobby that they are passionate about! This is a great way to increase attention span in a healthy way.

6. Hydration

Drinking water has been shown to improve focus while dehydration can impair your attention span, memory, and motor skills. 

7. Reading

Reading helps us to use our imagination, ask questions, think about other points of view, and with practice can definitely lengthen our attention spans.

8. Turn off electronics

I’m not anti-technology at all, but this is the biggest culprit of our shrinking attention span and it has to be balanced. Hamlet’s Blackberry (excuse the outdated title) is a fantastic book about how technology isn’t awful and the addiction to it is not even necessarily a new problem. However, it does have to be balanced with time unplugged in order to get the most out of it.

9. Prayer

I’ve read a lot about using meditation to improve attention spans and I am sure that helps, but as a Christian I think prayer is even better! When we teach our kids to pray, they begin to process the world through communion with God which brings peace, purpose, and clarity.

10. Old Fashioned Playtime

Puzzles,  board games, dress up etc. The simpler the toys the more focus for the child. We have to tone down all the stimuli.

 

I admit I am preaching to myself with this list. I am the worst when it comes to going to my computer to look at my calendar and two hours later I have been on Pinterest, Facebook, and Email and forgot to ever even look at my calendar. I am also guilty of reaching for my phone when I’m  on the toilet for more than 12 seconds (TMI? Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about).

The goldfish information was a wake up call though. The good news is I don’t think this situation we find ourselves in is irreversible. We can expand our attention spans and I hope to be the first to model this for my kids.

 

By | November 16th, 2017|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Weaning Feelings and Other Big Emotions

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Elle has been weaned from breastfeeding for almost one week now. She is still a little restless at bedtime as she transitions into a new routine, but for the most part I think we’ve completely crossed over. And to put it bluntly I’m all dried up, so that ship has officially sailed.

I am done having babies and nursing. The goat picture will make sense in a minute.

I was talking to my friend with 5 kids, the one who has walked this motherhood journey with me from day one. I was there with her when her first daughter was born and vice versa. She asked me sympathetically how I was feeling, knowing that Elle is our last baby and I will never breastfeed again. I told her I was sincerely fine with this change.

I’ve been pretty vocal about our family planning on the blog, mostly because it’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about and sometimes it’s a random blogger on the internet that makes you feel a little less alone. I know this because I’ve gotten comments and emails from women who have opened up about the confusing emotional decision to not have anymore children.

In our case,  I knew Elle was the last one when I was pregnant with her. Shortly after her birth we took the leap into having a permanent birth control procedure. We would love to adopt some day so that makes our finality of being finished having kids a lit more murky. Do I save that cute little dinosaur costume in case we adopt a toddler? But back to the topic of breast feeding, that’s something I know I will never be doing again.

I was ready to be done with breastfeeding. It wasn’t sad for me. I nursed each of my four babies for well over a year and Ezie and Elle were basically two years. So I have paid my dues. I was even starting to resent it a little. That’s how I knew it was time to wean Elle. She’s definitely old enough so that’s not the issue. At this point it is a matter of comfort and bonding. For me I was very uncomfortable being woken up at 2:oo am and I don’t think a disgruntled mother scowling  and murmuring is the most positive bonding experience either.

I worked on a goat farm a long time ago and remember watching a not so tiny kid try to get to its mothers teat. As the mother was trying to back away from her child she would turn and bleat. She was done and the kid was old enough to stop. I feel ya momma goat. Even in the animal kingdom some kids need a little extra push and sometimes mommas gotta bleat.

As far as Elle turning two soon. I’m okay with that too, but I am a little wishy washy in my emotions about no longer having a baby. On the one hand I get sad thinking about aging and grown kids. I reminisce about how cute and innocent those precious early years are.

It’s the end of an era, and even with all of the exhaustion it brings, it is a sweet and delightful era.

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After I had Elle I was so hormonal watching her daily changes and rapid growth that I was really grieving the thought of not experiencing any of that ever again. So I made a list. A tangible list. I wrote down dozens and dozens of reasons why I look forward to having older kids and no more babies. Eventually those sad emotions just went a way and I swung the other direction. I started counting down the years until I would no longer need a babysitter to leave the house for a moment. I dream about running in and out of stores alone.

I had a conversation with friends recently that made realize how lucky I am to have four really awesome empowering pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding experiences. Still, after spending the past decade pregnant or nursing I am just ready for this next chapter. It’s time.

I have so many more thoughts on this transition, but I’ll just have to do part two, or three, or four even, because I may feel different after Elle turns two. I may feel different again when she turns three and I’ve crossed the threshold for longest time I have gone without being pregnant. Sigh. I’ll just keeping feeling and blogging.

Onward we go, upward they grow. Thank you God for this incredible journey.

By | September 11th, 2017|Babies & Toddlers, Motherhood, Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Top 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Motherhood

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I can’t believe I now have a decade of parenting under my belt. No more rookie status for this Messy Mom; I’m going Pro. Actually, I’ll save that status for mothers of teenagers, but I think I’m ready for semi-pro. Yeah, that’s me. One decade of experience. I’ve finally found my footing, even if it is on top of a few legos. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along this motherhood journey so far.

1. You don’t need all the junk they market to parents.  

If I were stranded on a deserted island to raise my children and could choose three things to have with me I would pick

  • The Bible
  • A double stroller
  • Chocolate chip cookies

and I would have it all delivered by Amazon and repurpose the box. I could totally live with that.

2. Moms aren’t the only ones who can have an appreciation for mini vans.

They are also well received by the hundreds of cars that will NOT have their sides dinged by careless children abruptly exiting a vehicle. You’re welcome.

3.  There is no amount of admiration that compares to what you feel watching your precious angel child sleep peacefully…

and the most frustration you will ever feel is often the moments leading up to that point.

4. Don’t tell kids ahead of time when a fun thing is happening.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT announce a fun upcoming activity until you are ready to listen to your child ask/talk about said activity incessantly until the moment the activity actually takes place.

5. Kids are fast.

Turn around for one minute and suddenly they’ve climbed on top of the counter and devoured half a sleeve of Oreos. They can run in the library at Olympic level speed while you “whisper scream” at them to walk. When I get tired of chasing my kids I hold onto the hope that it will all pay off someday in the form of some kind of athletic scholarship.

6. Kids are slow.

Forget what I said in #5. All of my dreams of a scholarship or college in general disappear when I see how slow my children move when we are trying to get out the door. Or when we are in public and someone needs to get by and says excuse me. I try to coerce the child who suddenly has a fascination with the ceiling and has lost the ability to understand English in that moment. Time to bring in the arm yank.

7 .Eating out at a sit-down restaurant is like going to the dentist.

It’s a great way to spend a lot of money on a painful experience.

8. Children aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.

Like when your four year old needs a new pair of glasses and you have a terrible experience at the eyeglass store. You walk away venting about how bad the service is and that you will never come back to that establishment again. Then an hour later when the frames are ready you go back in to pick up the glasses and the child shouts loud enough for the entire store to hear, “I thought you said you would NEVER come back to this place again!”

9.  Your “mother-age” is the age of your oldest child.

When you have your first child they are a newborn and you are a newmom. When your child is 5 you are a 5 year old mom. Keeping this in perspective allows us moms to cut ourselves some slack.  Now that I am a 10 year old mom I am starting to get pretty confident at this gig, but I’m still young. I’m still learning and I am also getting ready to go through a lot of hormonal obstacles, i.e. puberty!

10. Now I understand what my parents went through and how awesome they are.

Hopefully my kids will also have this same epiphany, even if it does take 20 years, give or take.

By | August 30th, 2017|Laughter, Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Meet Isabella

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For SJ’s birthday this year I thought it would be really special if she got an American Girl doll and and then we could take the doll to the American Girl Doll Hospital for hearing aids. The problem is I knew we couldn’t afford an American Girl doll right now. Normally I would just buy second hand, but even then I couldn’t find one anywhere near my price range. You can hardly touch them for under $75.

So I had this wild idea to post an ISO on some yard sale sites on Facebook.

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And the response was INCREDIBLE. Strangers were sharing my post and contacting friends and offering dolls left and right. I could hardly keep up with the outpouring of generosity!  I had one lady send me a private message saying that she was deaf in one ear and really wanted to give a doll to my daughter. She said that she would let me choose one from the three that she owns STILL IN THE BOX! I tried to refuse her offer telling her it was too generous. How could I accept such a personal and valuable gift from someone I don’t even know? She told me it was what she wanted to do and the doll needed to be played with. In almost no time at all I met up with her and gave her a huge hug while expressing my deepest gratitude.

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Then the doll waited  and waited quietly in my closet until the big day final came. The gift bag was so big we had to move it from the table to the floor so that our little birthday girl could reach inside. As SJ pulled out the doll she instantly fell in love with her new friend.

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I explained how her name is Isabelle and that she is going to get hearing aids. SJ calls her Isabella because she told me there is a girl named Isabella at her school who has cochlear implants.

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It’s only day three of having Isabella and SJ has hardly let her leave her side. Sometimes I mistakenly call her a doll and SJ will correct me saying “She is not a baby. She is not a doll. She is Isabella.”

It’s been really sweet to watch and later this week SJ and Isabella will take a trip with Mémé (my mom) to go to the American Girl Doll store at The Mall of America.

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The original idea of having hearing aids put in on the spot fizzled out when I learned that it doesn’t work that way. You have to ship the doll to the AG hospital which is not located in the store and then they will ship her back. That’s okay though, we still plan to do that and the outcome will be the same.

On top of all that I am wanting to start a non-profit for special needs girls that have hearing aids, or a wheel chair, arm crutches, a service dog etc. to be able to get a doll that they can relate to. All of these disability accessories that I have mentioned are offered through American Girl. Just think of all the dolls that need a new loving home that could be donated to girls that would otherwise never be able to have a doll that shared their uniqueness.

There is still so much that would have to happen to set up a doll sharing program for special needs girls, but I just can’t shake the idea so I do believe that it is something the Lord placed in my lap.

I want to give a special thanks to the two women that donated dolls already and for the many others that were willing to. These days “feel good stories” are hard to come by in this divisive political climate, but I am encouraged to know that there are still so many people out there whose hearts are overflowing with kindness. This whole experience has been such a blessing and I am encouraged to never stop paying it forward.

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By | March 6th, 2017|Hearing Loss, Special Needs|0 Comments

iPhone Cases and Apps That You Will Love

First of all I would like to say thank you to JimmyCASE for giving me the chance to review this awesome iPhone SE wallet case.

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The JimmyCASE iPhone card holder is  ideal for a variety of situations.

For dudes, it’s super slim so it slips in and out of your pocket with ease. It can also eliminate the need for a bulky wallet, which means a lot less junk in the trunk. The JimmyCASE can hold 6 cards plus cash. Everything slides in easily and stays put. It’s amazing.

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For moms like me, I still carry a purse most days, but I love this iPhone case. It especially comes in handy for the many situations when I just want to bring my phone and a little bit of cash.

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For example, when I go to the Children’s Museum I need to carry my phone, ID, membership card, and my debit card. Before the JimmyCASE I would carry everything loosey goosey in my pockets. I was constantly worried that I would loose something important because I have had stuff slip out of my pockets on more than one occasion. The alternative was to bring another bag to carry my wallet in. As a mom, I’ve always got my hands full, so I would rather not bring my purse. It was a conundrum! The JimmyCASE solves all of that. Whether it’s the beach, hiking trails, a concert, or anywhere else I want to pack light, it’s JimmyCASE to the rescue.

My only complaint is that the top power button and side volume buttons are difficult to push with the case on; I am told that it is because it is new and it should break in with time. That makes sense. My favorite shoes are the same way.

You get to customize the look of your iPhone card holder by choosing from an assortment of colors and combinations. Each case is handmade with a silicone bumper and genuine mahogany wood core. The “Magic Elastic Pocket” is designed to never ever stretch out.

The best part about JimmyCASE: they are all made in the good ol’ USA. You can’t beat that.

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Now onto my favorite apps.

  1. Cozi– A long long time ago when SJ was first diagnosed with hearing loss I had to get organized to keep track of all the Doctors appointments. So I went to you dear readers and asked for help. You all came through when you recommended the Cozi app family calendar/organizer. I use it everyday and would be absolutely lost without it!
  2. List Ease– This is my grocery list app. Cozi actually has an option for shopping lists, but I like List Ease because it automatically catogorizes the items in the department that they are located in store. Also, I keep multiple lists labeled and organized easily. Lastly, when you check something off of the list a little animated cartoon comes and checks it off with a pencil. If the kids are shopping with me I keep them entertained by letting them be in charge of Mr. Check Mark and they love this. It’s the little things.img_6640
  3. Disney Magic Timer– This is the Disney Oral-B app that helps kids brush their teeth, and it has been a huge game changer for their oral hygiene habits. First you select a brusher, then when you scan your toothbrush a screen of white bubbles comes up. The timer is set to 2:00 minutes and as the child brushes their teeth the suds are scrubbed away to reveal a colorful Disney picture. disney-timer-app-carsThen the picture acts as a reward sticker for their own personal sticker album. Finally, the toothbrush calendar is a way you can keep track of their brushing. BRILLIANT!brushing-calendar
  4. NBC– Nothing fancy about this app, just a chance to acknowledge that I am on the This Is Us bandwagon. I watch almost no TV at all, in fact I don’t have network television so the only way I can access an NBC show is online. For those that watch, wasn’t this weeks episode sooo good!? I love what they are doing with Kevin’s story. I did not see that coming.
  5. OverDrive– This is for my library audio books. I love me some free audio books, let me tell ya. This app gets the job done. I just recently finished “Raising Grateful Kids in and Entitled World” by Kristen Welch and I would definitely recommend it.

I’ve got other favorites like Trulia (we are currently house hunting, more on that later) and the Bible app, Walmart grocery pick up app, email, social media etc. Those are all the main ones. I keep it pretty simple.

Those are my picks for phone cases and apps. What is on your phone?

 

By | January 27th, 2017|Motherhood, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Digital Citizenship

Sometimes it’s scary to think of raising kids in the digital age that we live in. Terrorism, pornography, bullying, and so much more can creep into your home via the computer screen. It wasn’t like that when most of us were kids, but on the bright side our kids have such an advantage over this past generation and I’ll explain why.

The internet wasn’t really around until I was in middle school (I was born in ’82 by the way). I remember visiting a friend’s house who was not the best influence and fortunately that relationship didn’t last. We went down to the basement where that boxy cream colored IBM sat and she logged into the dial up AOL service. As the computer dinged and beeped for what felt like half an hour we talked about teachers and boys and acted like 12 year olds, because we were 12 years old. Finally we were online! She knew more about this world wide web stuff than I did and she quickly moved her mouse around on The Simpson’s mouse pad until she arrived at her determined destination. The chat room.

I just sat there and stared at the blinking cursor on the screen as she started typing away. It was totally random small talk with strangers. Supposedly boys. The small talk then esclated from How is it going? to I think you’re hot. faster than Homer can say Doh! She even said I love you (and other things). It was so bizarre, because there was no way for this guy to know whether or not she was hot and there was no way for my friend to fall in love with someone online within a few minutes. I was an adolescent and even I was mature enough to see how ridiculous it was! But for a lot of kids there were no boundaries when it came to the information they gave or what they looked at online. There wasn’t software to filter out objectionable content nor was there a way for parents to track what their kids were looking at or who they were talking to. There was no Youtube Kids or Kiddle. We only got those two sites within the past year! So as technology gets darker and scarier we’ve also made huge advancements to make it safer. That’s sad for the kids that were the pioneers of the internet, but really great news for this generation of children!

One reason this is on my mind lately is because Z got a phone for his 9th birthday.

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For the record it is his dad’s old iphone and it can’t make calls, text, or us data. He is completely connected to his dad’s account and if he tries to go onto a website or download and app it sends a text to J which allows him to choose whether or not to approve the action. Z doesn’t get to take it out of the house and only gets it with permission. There are a lot of cool educational apps that he uses and I am really happy that he has the device. Even with all the monitoring I know we can’t keep him in a bubble forever so we have had lots of discussions about internet safety and have even gone through the workbook “Good Pictures Bad Pictures“. I’ll do a separate post about that eventually, but if you want to discuss pornography with your child I HIGHLY recommend it.

On top of that he has had lessons in online safety from Cub Scouts in order to earn his cyber chip badge.

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One day I asked Z if he cared if I used his name online and he said “Yes and no.” I felt bad because I really want to respect his privacy and I asked him to elaborate. He said that while he didn’t really mind, he learned in Cub Scouts that you shouldn’t give your name or personal information on the internet. That was a proud momma moment for me.

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On a side note, I realize that I share a whole lot more than some people would be comfortable with. On the other hand there are people I respect (including famous people) whose children’s faces and names are out there for all the world to see online, on TV, and in books. I think it’s a personal decision and I choose not to judge anyone one way or the other.

Last night was parent information night at Z’s school and I learned even more how much the internet is integrated into their daily lives. However, the thing that they stressed over and over is how serious they are about online privacy and safety. They use a curriculum called Digital Citizenship and they went over all of the basics with the students right off the bat when school started and will continue to cover more throughout the year.

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Aside from being Amish technology is a part of life and just like proper hygiene, or safely crossing a street, or driving, internet etiquette and safety has to be taught. Thankfully I made it through the internet dark ages without too much trouble, but I have friends who can’t say the same. It was new and we had/still have a lot to learn. However, I am grateful for the resources that are out there and the leadership that is making internet safety a priority. There was no such thing as digital citizenship when I was Z’s age, but times have changed and as his mom I want to be proactive in equipping him for those changes.

By | September 14th, 2016|Parenting Tips, Schooling, Uncategorized|1 Comment

9 Month Photos

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I love photographing this chunky baby. After she was born I decided that I wanted to do an official photo shoot each month. These photos with the suitcase are her 9 month photos, but she turned 10 months this past Saturday.

I had an outfit in mind (got it from a yard sale) but I needed a suitcase that I could use as a prop to go with my old world theme. The same friend that provided the outfit for Elle’s 7 month photo session was able to loan me this gem.

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I always have people ask me if I cut her hair and I laugh. I know the short asymmetrical look is in style, but no. She just happens to have long bangs. The rest of her hair fell out and is just now growing back in.
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It’s hard to believe her birthday is only two months away, but let’s no talk about that right now.

By | September 12th, 2016|Babies, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Cleaning House Book Review

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A few weeks ago I got the book Cleaning House from the digital online library. I had no idea what to expect with this book, but about half way through I knew I had to share it with all of my mom friends!

Side note, if you are a book lover and not using your local libraries online options then you really need to. For one it’s so fast. If you finish a book you can download another ebook or audio book right then and there. Two, you don’t have to bring the kids with you while you look for your next book. Three, I like all types of reading material but audio is my favorite because I can listen to it on the road or folding clothes. Four, your online account customizes your experience. It’s like Netflix as far as making recommendations based on what you read or what other people are reading.

That’s how I found the book Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12 month experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wyma. The author has 5 kids and most of them are at least close to the teenage years. The book is about her battle against the entitlement and codependence that is rampant in her home. She decides to have her kids tackle a new responsibility each month to teach them necessary life skills and give them meaningful work. The projects are things like laundry, cooking, yard work, and hospitality.

A quote from the book that sums it up is “One of the biggest obstacles is parent induced over indulgence. What is the answer to over indulgence? Give them work. Meaningful work.” 

I love the idea that when you allow kids to have more responsibility in the home you empower them and encourage a confidence that goes deeper than words. Many parents, myself included, often want to help our kids out of the best of intentions. Whether it is because we don’t want to see them fail or struggle, or on a practical note we know we can do it better and faster. However, if you are always bailing your child out when it’s tough (like homework, carrying things, and making lunch are just a few that come to my mind) you are sending a message that they can’t do it. Another great quote from the author-

“Loving them by making them work puts energy behind my claim to believe in the kids. The assurance that you can do anything you put your mind to has greater meaning now that I’ve gotten out of the way.” 

I read a post recently by Amanda of Airman 2 Mom. She got a new van recently that has keyless entry and locks automatically when you walk away from the van with the key in your pocket and it unlocks as you approach the van. Amanda says the problem is that she likes to double check to make sure it’s locked so she goes back to grab the handle, but by doing so the door automatically unlocks. Do you see the dilemma? She can’t check the lock because she is inadvertently unlocking the door. She has to walk away and trust that the remote worked.

Amanda compares this to not trusting your kids. When you hover, and doubt, or refuse to let go you undo that independance that they were practice. Sometimes you have to trust that the door is locked or that your child can handle themselves and then walk away. I thought that was such a great analogy. It doesn’t mean you don’t ever check on your kids. She does a great job explaining the scenario, you should read the whole post.

That’s what cleaning house is about. The goal of parenting is not to provide a successful childhood, but to grow your child into an idependant adult. You eventually have to get out of the way.

I am so glad that this Kay Wyma book fell in my lap because I personally gleaned so much from it will need to reread it later down the road (although for the record the concepts can apply to ages 5 and up in my opinion). I never thought I would say it but I, The MESSY Mom, love “Cleaning House”.

By | August 17th, 2016|Parenting Tips|2 Comments

Four Kids in a Grocery Store

Every once in a while I go somewhere with all four children and seamlessly accomplish the daily tasks at hand. That happens about as often as I find the perfect avocado and consume it at its peak ripeness. It is an anomaly.

Last week I attempted grocery shopping with all four kids. I have done it before and managed okay, but I try to avoid it at all cost. On this particular outing I prepared ahead of time. I had them get their wiggles out before we left and I had something to entertainment each child while in the store. I searched around the parking lot until I found one of those shopping carts that have a car in the front.

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This is a different shopping trip.

Once I had the “shopping car” I strapped the baby into the baby seat, the two younger ones were side by side strapped in with their own steering wheel, and my oldest has, by the grace of God, reached the level of maturity where he can walk beside me for an entire 45 minutes (PTL).

The first half of our excursion went okay. They each got to pick out one treat for later while I scanned the aisles. Toward the end of our excursion we hit some rough terrain. Despite my threats and pleas I could see that we were headed for a crash landing. We barely made it to checkout when Elle started screaming. Then everyone started fighting and shouting at illegal decibels levels. The young man that was bagging my groceries was moving at a glacial pace and for some reason he kept asking me if I wanted my items bagged.

Do you want this bagged? He would mumble slowly holding up a package of gum.

Yeah, that’s fine. I tried to shout back over the screaming children.

Do you want your milk in a bag?

No that’s okay. 

Do you want your watermelon in a bag? 

No.

I finally unleash Ezie and SJ thinking they could help put groceries on the belt and they did, but afterwards they decided to climb on top of the plastic car. At this point the bag boy is still asking if I want stuff in a bag.

Now hold up a second. I’ve been to the grocery store a few times in my life. I get the question about the milk, the gum, the watermelon, but he even asked if I wanted my cinnamon rolls from the bakery which were in a plastic container in a bag! Huh? I was so desperate at the moment that I just told him No. Just throw it in the cart.

The bag boy  put all of my groceries in a separate cart from the one containing my children so I definitely needed his help getting it to my vehicle. Then I realize on my way out that I had pre-purchased a bag of ice. So I left the bag boy, the carts, and all of my screaming children in the doorway as I quickly grabbed the ice.

The ice is right by the door! Right there! But in that brief moment it was like a crowd rivaling that of black friday were trying to enter the doorway we were blocking. Really!? Why? How?

It happened quickly, but you know how in a car wreck or life threatening situation things seem to happen in slow motion? That’s how this was.

I saw all these people with carts wanting to get past my traveling circus and they are staring in horror and disbelief as Elle is screaming bloody murder, SJ is sitting on the car like she’s riding a horse and Ezie is running around wildly. It was like I died right there and left my body and my spirit was floating above watching the tragic scene and my spirit man was also staring down in shock at the four crazy children and screaming mother. Then my spirit came back into my body and I managed to get my cart and my clan out the door and into the parking lot.

The second that my key remote was close enough I popped my trunk and told the bag boy he could just load them on top of the stroller in the back. Except when he got to my vehicle he left the cart full of groceries and took off. He didn’t make eye contact or mutter a word. He just fled the scene like a victim escaping captivity.

I sighed. Who could blame him? I loaded up my kids as steam was evaporating off of my body. Z was the only one who got to have his good behavior treat that he had picked out. Every else including myself had acted out of control in the store.

I just have to take it all in stride knowing someday I’ll be able to go to the grocery store and maybe, just maybe I’ll find the perfect avocado.

By | August 12th, 2016|Family, Laughter, Motherhood, Uncategorized|4 Comments

Postpartum Haircut

It’s common to loose hair after pregnancy and I am not exempt from this hormonal misfortune. 

When I am in those first postpartum months I shed more hair than a Chow on a hot day. I can’t stand it. I decided after my second pregnancy that I would just cut my hair off to make it more tolerable. So that’s what I have done with each baby since then.

I am normally sporting a lengthy mane through pregnancy, but then I have it all chopped off by the time my newborn has cracked their first smile. This method has worked well for me.

So after Elle came I went short with bangs, which was a new look I have never tried before.

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I said I wanted the Taylor Swift bob, and the second stylist I went to really nailed it.

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Friends and strangers alike were lavishing me with compliments. One woman at church froze in her tracks, grabbed me, and sternly told me to never change my new hair style. It was the most threatening compliment I’ve ever received. Between that and all the people talking about how much younger I look I feel pressure to keep this style. Now hear me out. I like the style, but there are some things I don’t like.

I have naturally wavy hair and in order to maintain the right look for this bob I have to wash, blow dry, and straighten my hair every single day. I don’t though, which means most of the time I look like Dora the Explorer without conditioner.

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I can’t let it air dry. I can’t just pull it back into a pony tail. I can’t sleep on it and get up and go. This is really annoying because I am a no fuss kind of gal. I don’t mind getting gussied up every now and then, but for the day to day I like a low maintenance cut. Still, I had committed to trying this for a year. So that means I am half way there.

It’s funny how most of my friends commit to growing their hair out, but then cave. I have the opposite problem. Long hair is my fall back. One day while hiking and getting all sweaty my hair started curling up and my husband mentioned how much he loved and missed seeing my wavy hair.

AH HAH! I exclaimed, pointing at him with an accusing finger as if he had just been convicted of a crime. I knew it! You like my hair long. You haven’t said anything, but I could tell!

He is very sweet and gracious. He says he likes it either way and just wants me to like it. Fast forward a few days later when I was getting ready and complaining about my hair for the umpteenth time and he talked about how he doesn’t like his hair either. He said he wants to grow his hair out, but that’s not really an option (he’s going bald and recently shaved his head). That’s when it occurred to me that I can grow my hair out. The only thing stopping me is the pressure I put on myself. So I am going to cancel my next hair appointment and just let it grow, let it grow. I can’t hold it back anymore…

Go figure. I finally updated my blog profile picture and now I plan to change my look. At this moment it is current though. I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that.

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By | June 10th, 2016|Pregnancy & Birth, Uncategorized|0 Comments