I’ve been in this mom gig for a little over twelve years, and in that time, I’ve had many successes and failures. For some reason, my brain is wired to focus on the failures way too often. However, in this journey, there are quite a few times when my husband and I got it right. This post is for celebrating those moments.
We learned early on that our first born is a Type A, control-focused guy. When he was younger, if we just left a party or a park abruptly, he’d have a melt down. It took me three or four times to realize, if I gave him time increments or a countdown, he would exit beautifully. This was so crucial for us. If we said, “Okay buddy, we have about ten minutes left.”, ten minutes could turn into twenty, but at least he had been warned. After the first warning, a countdown could ensue.
Now that he’s a middle schooler, he still likes to wake up and go over the events of the day with me in the morning. Knowing that this works for his personality makes all of us a little happier. We are his parents, so we are the ones in control, but if we can help his organizational brain even a little bit, then days and nights go smoother.
The Gift of Sleep
In our family, bedtimes have been mostly non-negotiable. We aren’t monsters, so we will let them stay up for special events like holidays, sleepovers, or a party, but for the most part, our kids have been in their beds at bedtime almost every night. This gave me sanity in their early years, and it now provides my babies a kind of stability they need to be successful in school.
I teach high schoolers, so I know the ramifications of too little sleep. Kids that don’t use the night time for sleep struggle in almost every aspect of their school life. They are sleepy in class, sluggish in physical education, and inconsistent on where they place their priorities. I want my children to have consistent bedtimes–that at times seem strict–because sleep is something we can usually control. According to CBS News, “Early child development has profound influences on health and well-being across the life course,” study author Amanda Sacker, professor of lifecourse studies at University College London, said to HealthDay. “Therefore, reduced or disrupted sleep — especially if it occurs at key times in development — could have important impacts on health throughout life.” I want to make sure my kids have advantages in the classroom that I can control.
When they were younger, we’d place our kids in their beds at their bedtimes even when their friends were still playing. I would feel a little bad about that, but I knew my children, and if bedtime didn’t happen when it was supposed to, we’d have meltdowns at night and in the morning. Even as they age, my kids are little monsters if they don’t get good sleep. I’m pretty sure they get this from me.
Now, my kids wake up very early for their school day, so we try to keep consistent bedtimes even with homework and sports practices. We are usually successful, and when we aren’t, all of us face the consequences the next day. Research proves that consistent sleep is a gift that keeps on giving.
Packing Food for All Day
As my kids age and stay active, we find ourselves camped out at football fields and volleyball courts for an entire day. One year, I was very unprepared, so my kids’ meals consisted of concession stand hot dogs and popcorn. These last two years, I have killed it with meal prep so much so that my kids don’t even ask for concession stand treats. I’m not kidding. I pack a cooler bag and a dry foods bag and we snack as we watch. We don’t only use this menu for sports, if we are swimming all day, going to the apple orchard, or playing at the pumpkin patch, we are eating well.
My kids view lunchables as a delicacy, so grabbing the $1.00 kind at the store the day before is probably what clinches my mom-win.
In the Cooler, I pack:
Baggies of carrots
Chicken wrap (for me I put lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, avocado, and cucumbers in a tortilla)
Slices of salami
PB and J sandwich baggies
In my dry bag, I pack:
With a little planning, my kids are eating well, performing well, and not whining for the sugary snacks at the concession stand at all. It’s really something. I’m taking the mom-win here.
Moms get a lot of flack for many things, so celebrating what works is tons of fun. Where do you kill at as a parent? Let us know.