Often, when rainy-day activities come to mind, people think of arts and crafts or board games. We do those things as well, but sometimes we like to be a little bit more creative. Whoever said you had stay inside the house on a rainy-day? Provided there's no thunder and lightning, you can bet it wasn't me. That's for sure.
As long as there is no sign of thunder and lightning, my kids and I will gladly go right in the yard, just like any other time. Of course we wear jackets and whatever other rain gear might be necessary, but running in the rain is a rainy-day activity that the kids and I enjoy as often as possible. Just seeing their cheerful faces enjoying the fun is always a great motherhood moment.
A while back, my kids and I had one of those fun, rainy-day adventures. It was my job to crank up the music and act as DJ, while the kids danced on the patio in the rain. They requested songs and danced away until the rain stopped.
At the time,. my kids ranged in age from preschool to middle school age and they all enjoyed this fun activity. When you add creativity and think outside the box, it's often a big hit with kids. One of the best things about kids is that they are always open to having fun, even on a rainy day.
For me, parenting is all about living in the moment and taking things as they come. These tiny little moments of fun in motherhood mean everything. My mom always taught me to treasure the small stuff. Before you know it, the kids will no longer be kids and motherhood will have taken on a whole new meaning and role.
Oh no! Summer break is fast-approaching and supermom just isn't ready. How can you maintain your sanity while still being everything your kids need this summer? Supermoms may look cool and collected on the outside but on the inside it can be a whole new story. We moms can have so much responsibility and so little time. Do you have your supermom sanity checklist ready for summer break?
Go into summer break with an open mind. It's fine to plan some things. But remember that this is supposed to be fun -- for you as well as the kids. Leave room for those last-minute moments of fun that come along. Schedules can help ensure the kids won't be bored and you don't miss any important business plans. But don't be afraid to stray from the schedule when warranted. Stay sane by remembering that it is OK if things are not perfectly planned out all the time. After all, it's summer time. Let loose a little and be open to changes.
Have plenty for everyone to do ahead of time. Be it scheduled activities or coloring books for road trips, make sure you have something for the kids to do. Otherwise be prepared to have your sanity tested each time someone blurts out "I'm bored" several times each hour. Outdoor and indoor toys and crafts can help busy the kids. For the younger set, bubbles, large beads and laces, blocks, balls, and outdoor push toys are good choices. For older kids, try a soccer ball and goal, skates, and puzzles and games (both board and book). You will likely have much more on your list, but that's a start.
It's OK to mix business with pleasure. If your boss will allow it, try doing some of your work at home to cut back on the hours you'll be in the office. This way, you get more time with the kids, even if some of it will be spent working. Won't this make a supermom even more insane? I personally get a certain peace of mind from being at home with the kids. As a work at home mom, I know how frustrated kids can get when the focus is on work. But each time the kids and I talk, all in all, they would still prefer I work at home. Kids want to play outside? Set yourself up a workspace in the backyard and let them have at it while you get work done. Best of both worlds.
Always have a backup plan. This cannot be stressed enough. You may think you have everything planned out perfectly. But sometimes things don't go the way they are intended. An event may finish up early or get canceled. Transportation plans may fail. Be sure you have an alternative activity for the kids to do in these cases. This includes packing "emergency packs" of toys and books in the vehicle (in case there's a breakdown), knowing alternative recreational options, and keeping a list of local places the kids enjoy.
Relax. No matter what you are doing this summer, remember to take a breather. Nothing can drive a supermom insane more than overworking herself. And trust me, this is something very common in a supermom. What mom doesn't believe she can do it all? But guess what? Doing it all should also involve taking time out to relax. Include the family in part of that. For instance, everyone can do yoga together to wind down at the end of the day. Then mom's personal relaxation time can be a warm bath after the kids are fast asleep.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
The other day, my two teen girls and I were browsing around in a few stores. When we got to the clothing section in the thrift store, a kind helpful employee overheard our conversation about the affordability of this particular store. So we struck up a conversation with her.
About mid-conversation she says "Oh yeah, we have lots of great stuff for girls your age." She then proceeded to talk about fashion and such. Once she finished, I said something like "I'm the mom, by the way." She was in disbelief for a second because she actually believed that I was a teen, like my girls.
She then asks me how old my kids were. She thought my kids were at home and smaller. Well, she was halfway correct. The younger two were at school. I informed her that the 15 and 17 year old were those ages and were in fact my kids.
The conversation continued into more talk like that for a bit.
I’m never sure whether to be flattered or feel immature when people mistake me for a teenager. This isn’t the first time. Most of the time I take it as a compliment. But sometimes I wonder if looking too young may not always be a good thing.
Until the next adventure!
*I originally published this on PersonaPaper (I have since removed it).
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
You've seen it before. A child is running around the establishment and playing like he's at home while the parents do nothing. Perhaps that's your child or maybe you want some behavior tips to prevent it from ever happening to you. My four kids wouldn't even dream of trying this stunt. But I've witnessed it enough times in other children. While fast food restaurants are more lax than some, it doesn't mean your kids shouldn't behave themselves. As a side note, some kids have been diagnosed with mental, physical, and behavioral issues. These tips are for the average child who has knowledge and control of emotions and behaviors.
The restaurant is not a playground. On a recent visit to an area Chipotle, my kids and I were shocked at the behavior allowed by two kids. They ran past our table countless times and I was honestly afraid they were going to get hurt. Their mom only paid attention to the friend she was talking to. The scariest part was when they took their drinks along for the run. What would have happened if one of them had choked on the straw or dropped the drink and slipped on the floor? This mom should have made it clear from the beginning that the kids were to sit down. By sitting the kids down right away and intercepting when necessary, it teaches them that the table is where they belong.
Don't send mixed messages. Kids will be kids. But for a parent to not even try at all saddened me. It's probably the very reason they felt it was alright to run around. It was not until well into their time at Chipotle that this mother finally told the kids to sit down. However, the way she did it was not respectful at all. Once they ran around for at least thirty minutes, they were told to sit down and shutup. What? These poor kids were probably confused at that point. Why was there no problem with the running before? Nothing changed.
Be mindful of your own attitude and behavior. If you want your kids to behave themselves, you should do the same. Don't tell your kids to act one way, while you are doing the complete opposite. The kids weren't the only ones being disrespectful. Their mother spent time loudly talking to her friend, doing the same on the phone, and also walking around all over the establishment. No wonder the kids didn't know how to act in public. No matter how many people gave her 'the look' she just kept on about her business. She practically ignored her kids until the point at which her friend left. Obviously, they were both mimicking her behavior and also trying to get her attention. At not even two years of age, it was obvious one child had already learned these tactics well. The other was entirely too old to be going along with his baby sister on this mission.
Keep the kids fed and entertained. Perhaps the most disturbing thing to me about the whole Chipotle experience was the fact that the mother did not even buy the kids anything to eat or drink. Why bring your children to a fast food restaurant if you aren't going to feed them? They only got the drink because the Chipotle workers supplied them to these kids for free. No wonder they were restless. They were probably bored, hungry, and thirsty. Kids behave best when all their basic needs are met. This means they need to have some nourishment and they need something to do. Some coloring books and crayons or a couple books or small toys could have solved this mom's issue. Oh and she could have maybe fed them too, since they were at, you know, a restaurant...
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Ever bought your kid an expensive toy only to have the box be the best entertainment? Of course you have. There's a reason for that. Kids belong in boxes.
Boxes hold a treasure trove of possibilities for kids. They can use them for lemonade stands, dollhouses, playhouses, cars, circus tents, posters, and so much more. If you haven't let your kids play with boxes, they're missing out big time – and you are missing out on some long-lasting busy time for them that you can take advantage of.
About a month or so ago, a new neighbor moved into our building in the apartment complex. The kids were fascinated watching them come out with so many boxes to leave them on the patio. Since they appeared so interested, I suggested they go ask if the neighbors needed help.
Turns out they were going to take all the boxes to the dumpster. So the kids offered to do it for them. But I suggested they actually bring all of the boxes inside for some fun. Well of course they were thrilled by that and invited their friends over to build for hours on end. It was the weekend so the fun went on for a few days straight.
Even though a few rooms in our apartment were filled with cardboard box concoctions (including the living room), I let the fun go on until the boxes were pretty much unusable. Even the pets got a kick out of this and could be found lounging in a few of the playhouses.
Am I a "ghetto” mommy? Some might say so where things like this are concerned (I prefer “resourceful” or as my friends affectionately call me “Black Martha” – yes, they mean Martha Stewart). But am I a fun mommy? You bet. So give me all the labels you want. My kids (and all of the neighborhood kids) love it.
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Positive discipline consists of more than disciplining your child in a calm manner. Positive discipline for children should consist of steps that lead to the child's well-being and development, teach a lesson about the issue at hand, and not be condescending in nature. In positive discipline for children, the action taken should lead to the child understanding why his or her behavior was wrong, as well as teach that child a life lesson that will help to prevent similar incidents in the future.
First, there are a few things to remember about positive discipline for children. Every family will not follow the exact same methods, as every family is different. Also, different methods should apply to different situations. A child who has hit another child should not be getting the same form of positive discipline as a child who forgot to make his bed before breakfast.
Different misbehaviors have different consequences and the discipline should fit accordingly. Also, remember to always follow through. Any form of positive discipline for children that is discussed, yet not carried out, will be ineffective. Not following through shows a child that he or she can do certain things without consequences and that isn't a good idea because that is not how the world works.
Daily Chore Add-Ons - One good form of positive discipline for children is to add on an extra daily chore for a week. Doing this can teach a child responsibility. At the same time, it also teaches a child that there are consequences for actions.
Misbehavior Journal - Another good form of positive discipline is to have a journal for each time a child misbehaves. The child should write down what his or her feelings were during the time of the act, as well as why he or she committed the misbehavior. This should be a private journal between parent and child. None of the children should ever see each other's journals. Once the child has written down the thoughts, the parent should in turn, respond to those thoughts with understanding, as well as a way for the child to resolve that type of situation in the future.
Behavior Money Jar - I also like to keep a jar for each kid in a place easily accessible by older children, but out of reach of younger children. In each kid's jar is any money they have that isn't for savings. Each time one of the kids does something that hurts another in some way, they have to take out a pre-determined amount (depending on what they've done) and place it into the child's jar who they've hurt or offended. Each time they do something good for someone, I might place a certain amount of money into their jar, but not always. This form of positive discipline for children reflects what may happen in adult life. In adult life, if we hurt someone, we are likely going to be paying for it in the long run. Likewise, if we do good deeds, eventually they will come back around. However, it doesn't work that way every single time, which is why I only give the money sometimes.
Volunteering - Volunteer work is also a great form of positive discipline. You never want to insinuate that the volunteering is a form of punishment because that sends the wrong message. You instead want to say something like, "I noticed that you were unhappy about some of the food choices we made in the grocery store. How about we go together and donate those foods to people who don't have the same type of choices we have?” Then, go from there with the volunteer work. This will likely trigger the child's thought process and let him or her realize that they cannot always have everything they want. It hopefully will also cause them to think twice about complaining when they know there are kids out there who don't have a fraction of what they do.
Good Deeds - Similar to the volunteer work, another great method is to elect the offending child as "Favor Giver of the Day." For one day, this person has to do at least one requested good deed for each member of the household. This form of positive discipline for children is good for when the child has disrespected one or more family members. This lesson usually teaches a child that it's more fun to help others than it is to mistreat them.
Note: The author's positive parenting method has evolved into what she calls Upstream Parenting.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
A few weekends ago, the kids had some good friends over and being a holiday (though, not one we celebrate in the most popular way), I had promised I wouldn't work too much. I never promise a whole day off because I'm a workaholic and a single mother. I also work at home so my work is readily available, but I digress. An opportunity presented itself to wing it, so I did.
Forming A Brilliant Idea
Because we had nothing better to do, I get this brilliant beyond brilliant idea to take all of my kids, both of our dogs, plus some of their friends and an extra dog to the park. I don't have a vehicle, so of course the plan was to walk on the trail that led us to the intended park. Our nature trails can take us to several parks, depending on which way we choose to go. We chose the largest park and headed that way. Yes, I am insane enough to take a walk with six kids and three dogs with only me as the sole adult. Us single parents know how to work it whatever it may be.
Learning the Many Ways To Wing It
The kids wanted to play on the way, of course. So who was going to walk the dogs? Why me, of course. Yep, winging it because I had never walked the extra dog before, nor had she been walked with our dogs and here I was about to hold all three of their leashes together. Thankfully, it worked out well. They had been introduced briefly a few times and apparently that was enough to satisfy them all. In some situations, you just have to go with the flow and let the chips fall as they may.
The restroom and drinking fountain were closed and of course the kids needed both so we made use of a nearby store for both purposes and went right back to playing. The dogs wanted to run around and the kids wanted to use the playground so I found a spot in the field that was next to the playground so I could run with the dogs while watching the kids.
Life Lessons In Winging It For Everyone
Throughout this walk and park visit, many interesting situations came up where I had to wing it. But that's life. No matter how much you plan things, sometimes you just have to wing it and in the end, you may find out that winging it is the both the best lesson and the best fun you've had in quite a long time. It's quite fine to plan things. You have to have goals. But it's also good to just let it go and let it flow.
All of these scenarios could have been stressful and some may not have gotten involved in the whole thing, to begin with. But I've quickly learned in many experiences that if you have an open mind and are aware of your surroundings (and all the many ways you can use them to your advantage), life can lead to some fun adventures.
Just wing it! Your life is waiting for you!
“What?! Girl, you need to get out there and mingle.” This is a typical reaction from well-meaning friends and family about me being single. I mingle. I have many friends and have met many nice singles, like myself. I enjoy the company of several people that could possibly be a good match for me. Lack of available potential partners is not the problem. In fact, there is no problem – unless you call being happy a problem. There are however, some personal reasons I am choosing to stay single on purpose for now.
Where is the time?
I hardly have time in a day to get through everything on my current schedule. Imagine adding a partner to the mix. I honestly feel sorry for anyone besides my kids, pets, and job that would be in need of large amounts of attention from me right now. I can't give it anywhere else.
There's just no time between homeschooling, transporting kids to extra classes, running normal errands for myself and four kids, walking three dogs several times per day, working, housework, family fun, and everything else a single momtrepreneur has to handle.
I'm sure that I would make time if somehow in my busy schedule, I was able to connect with someone on that deeper level. But right now, being single is the most considerate option for myself, as well as any potential partner – unless I happen to connect with one who is just as busy and understands this.
Independence is huge.
I am one of those people who needs this – and lots of it. Staying single lets me keep that. I am sure there are potential partners who would as well. But at this moment in time, I am not ready to give up my independence if I end up with one who can't handle that.
Freedom to be me and handle my busy life without answering to another is very necessary for me right now. All of the important things in my life are necessary and all of them need to be done on time and without anyone else's possible objection.
Is that selfish?
If meeting my family’s needs and doing my job efficiently is selfish, then I guess so. But I doubt it. It's just life and right now, I need to be free to live it. I can't drop these things if someone else has an issue with any of them. This same independence is necessary for my children and no one else will change that.
Both in work life and home life, I am a workaholic.
If my kids need to get to a class, I will make it happen, no matter how many other things are going on that day. If I get a last-minute call to attend a business-related meeting, I'm there. If my kids and pets want to go play at the park, I will go, even if I have to do my work from there. I will always squeeze in more tasks when it comes to both work life and home life.
Many partners cannot handle this aspect of my life. I am not going to change it. My work always comes first, be it managing my household or managing my career. Both are my job and I do my job well – and twenty-four hours per day. If my family or my job needs me, I am there. I cannot choose the time of day someone might get sick or or otherwise need me. I am at work all the time.
Being single is the best way for me to ensure this stays exactly how it is. This is my life. I love it and will always be a workaholic. Of course, should there ever be time for a partner, you can bet I'd be a workaholic at making that work too.
I am too open-minded.
When it comes to relationships, and life in general, my ideas are a bit too free for some to handle. I am one of those people who respects others whether our beliefs and actions align or not. You'd think this wouldn't be a problem because it means in a relationship with me, both people are free to be who they are and do as they please. But some people cannot handle this kind of thing at all – because if they are “free” then so am I.
You want an open relationship? Cool. Just let me know. If we mesh, let's make that happen. Do you like to collect something strange and disperse it all over your house? Fine with me. I'll probably ask you to explain the history behind some or all of your items. Even if we end up living in the same house and I hate your taste in collectibles, you can put them where you want them, even with some of my prized possessions if you wish.
Sound good to you? Awesome. Does it sound just as good if you have to give me the same rights? In my experience, most say no with their actions and that’s where the problem lies. Our family life could be considered a bit eclectic. I “allow” my kids to be loud, as long as it's a happy loud. In fact, I join right in most of the time. We are a silly, fun, and zany family.
My son goes in public in his clown outfit often and sometimes I join him. Sometimes we all dress up in costumes when it's not Halloween. The welcome sign on our door says “Welcome to the jungle. Enter if u dare.” It has a jungle scene painted on top with the first sentence and a Halloween-esque scene on the bottom half with the second sentence. Trust me, to handle our lifestyle, you need an open mind.
Single and misery are not synonymous.
Neither are relationships and happiness. Life is always what you make it. A person can be happy and single. You don't see me moping around the house, crying to my friends that I need a life partner. No way! Why not? I'm happy. I will always be happy, no matter my relationship status.
If I do get in a relationship, it won't be to create happiness. It will be because I have found someone that I bond with. We will both be a good accent to the other, but we will not be responsible for each other's happiness. If we are truly happy, then happiness together will come naturally.
I have no objection to having a partner. I am simply not willing to settle for just anyone to say I'm in a relationship. I'd rather be happy myself unless and until I truly connect with someone. The word “single” is not an evil word.
When other moms are dishing out the latest gossip, making date night plans, and getting excited over the latest fashions for moms and kids, I can't help but feel out of place. The things I want to discuss seem so different and I am often way out of touch with what everyone else is interested in. I'm not like many other moms. In no particular order, here's five reasons why.
I don't look forward to dropping my kids off at school -- or anywhere. I'm all for quality education. In fact, that's one of the main reasons I eventually chose to be a homeschool mom. You'd think after all those years of seeing my kids all day every day, I'd be glad to drop them off at school every morning. I'm definitely glad they are getting a great education, be it at home or elsewhere. But I'm never excited to spend the whole day without them. I can't relate to that relief many moms seem to experience when dropping their kids off at school or with the sitter.
I'm so lost with the latest gossip. I'll never knock those who are into it because we all have our own things. But I never know who the heck these famous moms are everyone is talking about. I don't even get into the business of the people I know all that much, let alone people I've never met. So when all the other moms are gossiping about each other and celebs, all I would have to offer is what I've done with my own kids -- and firsthand gossip is just, well..not really gossip. So generally I am sitting there with a blank face nodding and pretending I know what they're saying.
Date night? What's that? In our home, it's more like family night, but with a plural. When the other moms are talking about getting all dolled up and going out for a night on the town with their husbands, I can't relate. But wait, don't feel sorry for me yet. Our family values are just a little bit different and they work for us. We believe in doing things together, but that means all of us - not just me and the hubby. We used to have date nights without the kids but all we did is talk about the kids and wish they were there. So now they are. Problem solved.
"Play dates" are unorganized and don't have a formal name. When other moms are discussing Jimmy's play date with Sarah and Sam, again I cannot relate. We don't call it a play date when the kids visit with their friends and they are not planned and scheduled. It's more like this: "Mom can we go to the park? James says they'll be there." "OK, Honey, let's go" While other moms seem to be checking schedules and planning out specific play dates and activities, my kids and I are on the nature trails, playing games we invented, or going to the next thing planned at the last minute. We have never been to a "Mommy and Me" class, but we sure happen to have lots of mother and child time. I think those things are great for those who are into them, but they just aren't for us. As they say "to each their own."
I don't have a professional photographer. That's me. Some moms constantly ask me why we never go to a professional photographer. "Photos you take yourself are just not the same as professional ones," they tell me. I know they aren't. That's why I prefer them. When I look back on our old family portraits, I don't want to think of crying kids trying to straighten themselves in a studio. I want to think of all the fun we had together while I set the camera on auto to snap whatever we were doing that day. The picture you see in this post? Professional, right? Wrong. That was taken with our camera on auto while we were walking a nature trail.
I'm not like some other moms in these and other ways -- and I'm perfectly fine with that. I appreciate all moms for who they are. At the end of the day, we all may be different in various ways, but we all have the same goal - to raise happy, healthy kids and that can be done in so many different ways. Are you like other moms? Whether you answer yes or no, you can still be a good mom. At the end of the day, it isn't about where we go, what we're interested in, and what we do. It's about the love we all give to our kids. If you do everything in parenting with love, you're a good mom.
More from Lyn:
Say What? That Wasn't the Plan...
Raising Kids Who Love The Outdoors
Positive Parenting: Why Doesn't My Teen Trust Me?