I have a saying when it comes to the number of children I have:
One kid plus one kid equals two kids.
Two kids plus one kid equals three kids.
Three kids plus one kid equals a million.
I have a million children.
I’ve learned a lot over the past eight years of being a mom and getting all the advice (both solicited and unsolicited). I have been in the trenches and had to learn (and relearn) what works and what doesn’t work in the years between my 8-year-old and my 18-month-old.
For those moms that want to know the things that no one tells you – here you go! For those that forget everything between kiddos- I got you!
Poop and the Water Hose
It happens. It happens a lot. And everywhere.
On days when there is a blowout or you have a potty training toddler, forgo the rinse and repeat in the bathtub. Take those things outside to the driveway and turn the hose on high. The pressure gets it out so much quicker. It’s cleaner for you. And as it dries in the sun, the poop stains magically disappear. I learned late in the game to run that load of poopy/pee/vomit stuff with a load of Lysol Laundry Sanitizer, and all will be right in the world with less cleanup for you!!!
Hugs for Everything
The days are long. The homework is hard. My daughter “has a hard day” about every other day (nothing like having an overly self-aware Kindergartner). I have hard days too, but whining is my kryptonite.
I don’t want to give in to the tantrums or the tears. I want to finish my task. However, I have learned that if I stop the task with my soapy hands full of whatever, sit down, and hug them, it makes us all breathe easier. The homework magically gets figured out. The day suddenly looks brighter—the whining stops. And we can all move on. I can finish my task.
My kids feel connected and complete, all from a two-minute, mom-on-the-floor, sitting-in-her-lap hug.
White Line Near the Car
I am convinced kids have a death warrant. They run into the street. They jump out of your car into the space next to you. They wander around the car parking lot. They are asking to get hit, I think.
A friend shared with me the “white line trick.” When you children get out of the car, the white line of the parking space is their boundary. Once they touch it, they are stuck to it until mom releases them. It’s a genius method that keeps kids close to the car while also saving them from wandering. There are also really cool car handprint magnets for kids to touch with the same idea.
Answer a Question With a Question
Miss Ann gave me so many nuggets of wisdom when I was pregnant with my oldest. One that I kept in my back pocket until recently was “answering a question with a question.”
My son has ALL. THE. QUESTIONS. Why is blood blue and red? Why do boys have nipples if they don’t work? Why did God make bad things? Where do babies come from? You name it. I have gotten caught off guard by it.
Rather than sticking my foot in my mouth, I turn it back on him to gauge where he is coming from, his level of knowledge, and to see what he is really asking. Learn from me… he wasn’t asking about babymaking. 🤦♀️
Water Bottles With Lids
I was so proud when I assigned each kid a water bottle color and stocked up on Nalgene water bottles in four different colors. They last for years. It was an organizational win, and we got our money’s worth.
This year, I considered replacing some of them until the amazing Miss Kaci requested a specific type of water bottle for her class, a water bottle with a lid. Once I realized why I couldn’t unknow it. Think about water bottles getting dropped, touched, and left out in the open… uncovered! And we want our kiddos to drink out of those water bottles.
Nope. New water bottles with lids for us.
Lullabies for Each
This is my favorite. All of my kids have their own lullaby that I would sing them to sleep as infants and I still hum during those hugs mentioned above. It is a special something just between that child and me.
Daddy doesn’t get to sing it. No one else hears it. It is ours.
It’s a time of connection, safety, and comfort, no matter the age. Each lullaby takes me back to all the times and ages that I have sung to them. It is so very special.
Need some inspiration? Hush Little Baby, LaLaLu, You are my sunshine, and Baby Mine are our special ones.
It’s OK for Them to See You as Human
I wholeheartedly believe this. I mess up. Often.
I forget promised burritos for lunch, I yelled because I was frustrated, I cried because I was hurt, and I have a favorite thing that isn’t what they wrote on their Mother’s Day sheet. I am a mom. They know it is the best job I have. They also know I try my hardest, and sometimes I mess up. They see me make a mistake and ask forgiveness, and they witness what it means to forgive.
We talk about good and bad ways to handle a situation and how we can ALL do better. They see me cry, and that tears are OK. They see me as a whole person who loves them more than the universe and as a whole person who hates green beans, loves Disney, dances to any song, and has friends that I do things with.