• Amanda Grace

Surviving the Weeks

So this parenting gig is tough. like WOW! Don't get me wrong, I love it and it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love my girls and my family more then anything in the world and would not want life to be any other way but it's not always easy. One thing that makes it harder for me is that I am a lone wolf a lot and doing it alone most of the time. My husband works shift work out of town. I love our life, we make the distance work but sometimes it's a struggle. I work full time and am on my own for parenting for 3/4 of the month. Some month's schedules are better, some months are worse. Either way it is our life and we are happy but it can be tough sometimes.

I think most parents feel like this sometimes, other shift workers partners, farmers, stay at home parents, single parents, part time working parents, all parents. There are times in our parenting situations when we feel like we are doing it on our own and need some tricks to make it through.

I'm not an expert by any means but I think I have learned a few things over the last 5 years and would like to share some of my wisdom with you. Are you ready for it? It's groundbreaking...………………. well not really but I hope you can find some helpful tips.

1) Do not feel like you have to do it all.

You can't do it all, you don't need to do it all. So don't try! I am very lucky and I have family that live in town who are a huge help. It's not easy asking for help all the time but it is necessary to make things work. Use what you have around you to get the help you need. It doesn't have to be in the form of free babysitting how about:

- grocery delivery,

- hiring someone to help with cleaning the house,

- getting a babysitter so you can go to the gym or so you can go eat ice cream in silence,

- hiring out some of the yard work,

- Using meal delivery system like Hello Fresh or Goodfood,

- Or asking a neighbour to borrow something that you ran out of, such as milk. Or if you are me an avocado.

There is so much that is available when you start to look for it or start asking.

2) Priorities and letting go

Become one with the chaos. Or pick and choose what chaos you can put up with and what needs to be done. Every day I decide what is a priority and what can wait. But I have to be willing to let go the things I put on my waitlist. Some times I find this really difficult but most of the time I am okay with my decision.

3) Creative solutions

I can be very creative when I need to be! I know this is common trait of my moms and parents. I have learned lots from others. So thought I would share some of the ones we use at our home. Here is a list of our creative things:

- When I'm dusting or wiping down cupboards, I give me kids towels with water spray bottles and they have fun "cleaning" with me.

- When I really need to get something done but need some space, I let to girls colour on the windowns with washable marker. They love it!

- I stole this one from a friend, thanks @jennabroda. We make people with the kid's clothes in the morning. You lay out their clothes like a person. My girls find it hilarious. They also have to get dressed quickly or else we won't have time the next day to make our special person. It is a great game and now my oldest is the one who makes the 'person' in the morning with her clothes.

- When I am cooking or baking and everyone wants to help, I give the girls medium sized bowls and let them add things to make a trail mix. They add whatever they want and then stir it all together. If we don't need anymore trail mix, I just let them put cereal in a bowl to stir. Simple but effective.

- I hide coins in the living room and Georgia has to tidy up and try to find them. I know that I need to teacher her to just clean up after herself and we most often do just clean up but when they need an extra incentive and I just need them to clean on their own while I make supper, we do this!

So be creative, think outside the box and see what you can come up with to make life easier. I would love to hear other's lists!

4) Music

I am making music it's own section instead of putting it under creative solutions because I use it that much! We play music when we brush our teeth and to then dance to the front door every morning. For some reason everyone does what they are supposed to do when it is to music in my house. I also love putting YouTube kids music on the TV and letting the girls dance their hearts out while I cook supper every night. We play dance freeze when we are dancing/tidying the girls stuff. Clean and dance for 20 seconds and freeze! Then do it again and again til your done! Definitely takes longer but there is no complaining and everyone is helping. We also LOVE a good ol' fashion dance party. Music is our life! hahaha!

5) Mom time

Find some time for yourself everyday, if you can. This is impossible when you have a sick child but every other day. Try really really hard to take a little bit of time for yourself. Having little side projects that I am working on makes a huge difference for me. I love having projects on the go. I am currently redecorating our living room so am making some shelves I got from Ikea look fancier. Sometimes I make it a goal to journal everyday or to read a bit every day. Some nights I just pick a TV or movie to sit and do nothing. Whatever works for you, do it! You deserve it! And remember, if that means you put the kids to bed early that night or let your 4 year old watch her iPad for a bit while the youngest naps and you can blog about parent survival, then do it!

SO there you go, there are some of things that work for me and my family. These might not work for you, but maybe it gives you an idea of something that would. Do what works for you.

And just remember, you are doing a great job! Even if your toddler tells you that you are 'thumbs down', don't listen. You are rocking it!

Amanda Grace

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