Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pockets of time

The girls enjoying a treat
A post by Amber got me thinking about how I organize my time as a mother who works outside of our home.  I am outside of my home for approximately 41.25 hours a week.  In that time, I do what I can to keep my home organized and my family happy and well fed.  And I've come to realize that the time I get at home is very valuable to me.  I am constantly organizing and preparing at lease a week in advance.  The more I can do in my pockets of time, the easier it is for me to work and prioritize on a daily basis.  When I'm home (which is usually 1-4 days a month, plus weekends outside of my working time) I try to organize my home in such a way that I get more time with my children and less time doing "stuff" at the last minute, which is frusterating and time consuming.  Some examples of this are: 

When I put away their laundry, I put it away in pre-organized outfits. 
When I go to the grocery store, I plan for big healthy meals, quick meals, healthy snacks and lunch items. 
When I have time to clean, I do a deep cleaning of all items so that they are reasonably clean until the next time I get to them.  For example, when I clean the bathroom, I clean the floors, corners, sinks, walls, wash the shower curtain and mirrors. 
I always put my keys and work stuff in the same spot every night. 
The children's sports stuff is always in the same place.
I have a bag of extra clothing, sunscreen and hats packed at all times and in the van.
I keep a case of water in my van at all times.
I prepare our lunches the night before work/school.
I have a vegtable garden which saves me time grocery shopping.

Tonight starts a 4 day vacation for me and besides the day trips I'm planning with the children, I'm looking forward to cooking some great meals and getting my house in order for the next 5 days until I can get another deep cleaning/reorganizing done.  My little pockets of time are so crutial to me and to my family and they help make the most of the time I have with them, which is so important. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Parenting a three year old

I’m totally in love with this little tyke. She’s got big blue eyes and cute rolly knees. She’s still totally my little baby - mostly because she's the youngest and my last. But she can be so stubborn and defiant. She wrinkles up her little nose and clenches her teeth and says “I don’t want to do that momma!” or “I’m not going to” or flat out “No!” It’s gotten worse since summer started and our daily routines have changed. What do you do with a flat out NO? I usually say “You don’t tell me no, I was telling you to brush your teeth not asking you if you wanted too.”  Or I change the subject and try again in a few minutes.  Did I mention that on a daily basis she tells me that she doesn’t like kisses anymore? I kiss her anyway because I suspect she doesn’t mind them but she’s just finding yet another way to assert herself.  I’ve been reading that three year olds are experiencing a lot of strong emotions right now and she is no different, so I talk to her about the feelings behind the behaviour but there are still consequences for not listening.  I read this article on natural consequences and logical consequences that spoke volumes to me.  It’s really a lesson on “pick your battles.”  For example, if your child refuses to wear their jacket outside in the cold, let them go without it – but bring it along just in case because chances are they will ask for it as soon as they get out the door.  The logical consequence would be if they refused to wear their helmut while riding their bike – the bike stays in the garage.  She is so different from my mild mannered Madelyn.  Tegan likes to experiment with noises, bang on everything, scream, climb and jump.  She is an adventure.  I can only hope that this phase passes soon because I miss my sweet, charming little girl.  What do you do when your three year old tells you No?