Sunday, April 26, 2015

How to Do the Laundry, with Kids, in 22 Steps

Laundry is my biggest housekeeping foe. I always seem to over-sort and wash too many things separately. I wish I could be like my husband and throw everything together and just hope for the best. I’ve tried to do that but my clothing seems to suffer. As for my kids, they go through more wardrobe changes than the Kardashian family. They also like to soil freshly washed sheets. And that makes for a lot of laundry.  

So here’s how the laundry process goes in my house, give or take a few steps (and perhaps a little exaggeration thrown in). 

1). Sort laundry: Gross, really dirty, and dirty. Then separate by lights, darks, red/pinks, and fuzzy (see I told you I over sort). Remind myself not to purchase fuzzy pajamas or clothing.  Say thanks to three-year-old who insists that the white shirt belongs in the red pile.

2). Take clothes that say 'dry clean only' and 'wash separately' and put those off to the side in the ‘Yeah right’ pile. Those are going to sit there for a long time.  Laugh at myself for buying too many ‘high maintenance’ clothes. 

3). Go around the house and pick up stray clothing...underwear that missed the hamper, rogue socks under the sheets, and the clothes my three-year-old took off and threw on the ground, because that’s just what three-year-olds do.  

4). Return to sorted clothes to find my little angel has thrown a pile of the ‘really gross’ laundry into the air.  

5) Just grab the clothes and bring them out into the laundry room.

6) Remind myself to organize the laundry “room” (if you’re like me, the laundry room is just a fancy name for the section of the garage that houses the washer and dryer).

7) Stain stick clothing.  Heck, who am I kidding?  Just rub the stain stick all over everything. As you know, kids are messy! 

8) While small child clings to my leg, put really gross and dirty laundry into washer and wash on hot...pray all clothes are pre-shrunk.  

9) When laundry is done, put in the next load, and the next load, and the...wait that’s enough...because who wants to put away all of those clean clothes in one day. I know they'll just end up wrinkled again from sitting in the laundry basket too long.

10) Ding!  The last load is done.  Bring clean clothes in from the dryer!

11) Face palm!  I missed a spot or spots.  There’s a green stain on that new light blue shirt I bought, an oil spot on a black shirt, and, ew, what is that?

12) Toss the light blue shirt back into the dirty clothes and hang up the black shirt..because no one will probably notice...or I’ll wear it as a house/workout/pajama shirt….who really cares, it’s technically clean. 

13) Now to sort  the socks.  I have 50 socks and only 22 matches.  Even though I followed through with my New Year’s resolution to only purchase white socks, there are still other leftover colored socks, different sizes of socks, and different styles.  Soccer socks, boot socks, holiday socks.   

14) Decide what to do with mismatched socks.  Sock puppets?  Dusting mitts?  Get frustrated and toss socks into empty drawer.  Get used to the fact that, unless I throw out all my old socks and purchase all new ones, I will be wearing mismatched socks to bed and under my yoga pants for the rest of the year. 

15) Hang up clothes and fold towels, intermittently while dealing with sibling rivalry, spilt milk (literally), homework, dinner

16) Put older child’s clothes on bed for them to put awayhopefully.

17) Encourage three-year-old to put away his underwear.  Laugh when he puts it on his head. 

18) Smile!  All the laundry is done! Okay fine….. MOST, of the laundry is done.

19) Wait, what’s that mound of laundry in the hamper?

20) Oh, realize that’s the laundry that’s accumulated while I’ve been doing the laundry. Wait, What?

21) Start again at number #1.  

22) Or, go to bed!  It will still be there in the morning.

So how many loads of laundry do you usually do in a week? Do you sort too much or just throw everything in together?

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Staying Calm When Your Child Gets Hurt

Head injuries, broken bones, nasty cuts and falls…..

It’s scary when your child gets hurt.

When my son was about 18 months old, he twisted the clean out in our bathtub around and then fell on it.  The spout cover was on the spout, the water temperature was perfect, but he managed to hit that dull little edge on the clean out and cut open his chin.

When I grabbed him out of the bathtub, my eyes got wide. 

The cut was thick and meaty. 

I started to freak out a little bit and expected blood to start spurting out all over the place. 

But then I said, Stay Calm.

The gash did start bleeding.

I pressed a clean washcloth against my son’s chin and accessed the situation.

Tweet this: Staying Calm When Your Child Gets Hurt via @MelissaMatters1

At the time, my daughter had just turned five and I had to make sure she stayed calm too. So I assured her and my son that everything would be okay.

I didn’t need an ambulance. I waited for the blood to subside and was able to get both children in the car to go to urgent care.

It was brutal watching my son get stitches. He was mostly upset because he didn’t like strangers holding and touching him. So, his arms had to be bundled up and I had to hold his head straight while the doctor stitched him up.  

And, I had to stay calm and talk to him, even though it was hard to see him cry.

Staying calm when your child gets hurt can be hard. Here are a few tips* to help you stay calm when you child gets injured.

Remember, Your Kids are Watching You

Your child/ren can feed off your emotions. If mom and dad are scared that means I should be scared too. Often times, a scared child will be harder to treat because they may be squirming around. So try to stay calm!

Be Prepared

If you have children, taking a first aid class is a good bet.  Having worked as a teacher, I have had to take first aid classes. However, I have been thinking that I need a refresher course. Having a first aid kit is another good idea. I have these small first aid kits that I can put in my purse. Typically, they have gauze, bandages, antiseptic, and a few other odds and ends.  It won’t help a broken arm but it’s helpful for those frequent knee scrapes my children often receive.

Get Advice/Help

There have been a number of times when my kids have hit their heads and gotten a giant goose egg.  With head injuries, I think it’s always good to get advice, and not just from a Google search. If I’m ever in doubt, I always go to urgent care. Of course if it’s more serious, such as your child has uncontrolled bleeding or isn't breathing, you’ll have to call an ambulance. My health provider has a nurse hotline I can call for advice too.

And then there's this:

Prayer helps me get through any rough time with my kids. I know God is there holding my hand as I'm dealing with blood and tears. 

Have you ever been in a situation where your child had a serious injury? What did you do? Tell me in the comments.

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*Information in this post is not to be substituted for professional advice.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

13 Things You Might Think About More After Having Kids

Kids….they change your life in so many ways.  Before having children, I had no idea what a pee tent was (in my opinion, it’s really just a glorified washcloth to prevent getting peed on).  I worked during the week and spent my weekends doing pretty much whatever I wanted.  Now, my life is different and my head, and my iPhone, is filled with to-do lists, go-get-this lists, and don’t-forget-THAT lists.  Even though I sometimes suffer from mommy brain, I think about certain things more since becoming a parent.  Here are 13 things you may think about more after having kids. 

1. Diapers and Wipes

When you have a newborn, there’s nothing worse than not having enough diapers or wipes.  Not having diapers and wipes on an outing is like forgetting your money at the grocery store…...except it’s messier and more embarrassing, especially if your baby has a diaper blowout. 

2. Sleep

I remember being somewhat sleep deprived in college.  However, I always ‘caught up’ on the weekends.  When you have young children, there really isn’t ever any time to catch up.   The good news is now that my kids are getting older, they will sleep in until 8:00 on the weekend, and it’s amazing.  

3. Food

Don’t get me wrong.  I have always liked food.  Still, there are days I could live on Kind Bars, green juice, and whatever randomness I can find in my refrigerator.  After having kids, I realize I have to plan meals.  Now that my daughter is going to school, I’m constantly making sure that we have enough food for her lunch because six hours is a long time to be gone without a proper meal.  I also never thought I would enjoy eating ice cream by myself so much. 

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4. Corners

I have never been so aware of corners and their proximity to my children’s heads. In fact, before having kids, my house had about 25 percent more furniture.  Over the years, I’ve slowly donated it because:
a) my cats scratched it up.
b) It was dangerous.
c)  it got peed on, spit up on, etc. one too many times.
d) all of the above

5. Flushable Things in Close Proximity to the Toilet

Ever since my son flushed a bath toy down the toilet, I have become increasingly aware of small things near the toilet.  I think he’s out of that stage but you never know.  

6. The Little Things

When you're an adult, sometimes I think you forget about the wonder of blowing a dandelion or seeing fireworks for the first time. However, seeing all the firsts through the eyes of my children helps me appreciate the small things.

7. Safety

Baby gates, outlet covers, oven locks….I don’t think you can completely baby and toddler-proof your house.  I have relaxed a lot since my kids were babies. Yet, in the car, I still double check my kids to make sure they are strapped in properly.  I still worry about falls from jungle gyms, strangers, and yes, sharp corners.  

8. Coffee 

My son had GERD (that’s an entirely different post) so between being pregnant and nursing,  I couldn’t have caffeine for almost three years. When I was living caffeine-free, the smell of coffee drove me wild.  I know plenty of parents who survive on coffee to get through the day. How about you?

9. Poop

As a parent, you are constantly faced with poop.  When your kids are babies, you are changing their diapers. Then, they potty train, and they are asking you to “watch me poop” or “look at my poop.” Then, the poop jokes begin.  I’m not sure when this stage stops….if it ever does. 

10. Time

When you have kids, I think you really have to use your time wisely.  Although I think it’s good to take a break and sometimes do nothing, I also believe you need to be efficient.  This might mean making lunches while I’m making dinner, so I only have to clean up once or watching a show while I walk on the treadmill so I get 'My Pretty Little Liars' fix (yes, I watch that) and some exercise. 

11. Being Prepared

Having been a teacher, I'm used to preparing lesson plans and having an activity planned for pretty much every second of the day.  However, when going somewhere with young kids, you have to have an extra change of clothes or two, a snack (in case your errand/car ride/appointment takes longer than expected), a book or some little toy for entertainment, and a plan. 

12. Love

I love my parents, my sister, and my husband. Still, I never realized I had room in my heart for so many people. Every time, I leave my daughter at the school gate, I feel like a little piece of my heart is walking away.  And there is something about watching kids fall asleep that is so beautiful….and not just because I know it will finally be quiet. I enjoy watching my kids love each other too. 

13. Cleaning

With kids, I’m always in awe how messy my house gets in a 24-hour period.  It can be really frustrating. However, I’m realizing my house doesn’t always have to be perfect. 

I know there’s more but, at the moment, my mommy brain can’t remember.  Maybe you could help me by telling me a few things you think about more now that you have kids.

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

How to Recover From a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Parenting Day

Have you ever had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad parenting day?  Perhaps, your baby has colic or acid reflux and cries for hours on end.  Perhaps, on top of that, your toddler fell and split open his chin, requiring a trip to urgent care and a lot of stitches.   Maybe, your kids started fighting like animals in the middle of the grocery store (Can you tell I’m speaking from experience?)  Perhaps, your high schooler was caught ditching school (not speaking from experience, at least not yet) .  Perhaps, all of these things happened, all in the same day.  
I’ve had plenty of days where I screwed up and felt like a crappy parent.  However, when I’m in the mommy trenches, I try to look for that silver lining, that little glimmer of hope that tomorrow will be better.   Here are a few tips for recovering from  a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad parenting day.
Good Intentions
We may not always have successful parenting days.  However, in the end, it's our effort that really matters. Those good intentions will hopefully lead to more good days than bad. It's also important to realize that even with the best intentions, your kids will likely get sick or hurt. We can't control everything.

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Realize You are Not Alone
Each day, I imagine millions of parents are struggling. I can think of dozens of times, when I have seen other children crying or throwing tantrums while my kids were perfectly content. Other days it is one of my kids making a scene. I know I am not alone when I have a bad parenting day.

It's Not Always as Bad as We Think
In my book, some days are an epic fail. However, to some, my problems probably appear to be small.  After all, most of my problems are first-world problems.
  • Oh no, there’s no more hot water.
  • I want to pee in silence.
  • Why isn’t my Netflix working?
Thinking back to when my four-day-old son had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance, I realize these problems were not very big at all.
Look for Support
When I am having a tough day, I pray for help. In addition, I look to my spouse, my parents and my friends for support.  When I feel like I need a break, I make sure to ask for it.  
Recently, I watched Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day with my kids. Watching this funny tale was a reminder that everyone has bad parenting days! We are not supposed to be perfect!

Do you have any tips for recovering from a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad parenting day? Tell me in the comments.

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