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Fall book favorites

It’s Fall! Another turn of the seasons is here along with new fun family activities. We’ve started another school year, soccer season, and now we are filling our calendar with pumpkin patches and park play dates!
I love filling our shelves with a mix of season themed books and books pertaining to my kids interests! Here’s my current favorite books to add to our story time fun.

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Fall Family Bucket List

Fall Family Bucket List

Can you believe it’s already September? While it may still technically be summer, it’s starting to feel more like fall here in Indiana. I don’t mind it one bit because fall is my favorite season. I love everything about it: the leaves changing color, the crisp weather, the clothing, the food, and most importantly, the fall activities!

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Jaden’s first trip to the apple orchard last fall

 

With the season fast approaching, I wanted to share our fall family bucket list. Our list includes 15 activities we are looking forward to doing this fall together as a family. I hope our bucket list inspires you to create your own.

Fall Family Bucket List (2)


 

Have you created a fall bucket list? What activities are you looking forward to this season?

 

sierra-sullivanI am Sierra Sullivan, a wife and working mom to a 1 year old boy. After having my son in 2016, I felt compelled to start a blog ( A Labor for Love ) to share my experiences as a first time mom and connect with and learn from other moms. I enjoying blogging about my personal experiences with my family and sharing things that I am learning on this wonderful journey called motherhood.  Instagram

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The ups and downs as summer ends

Summer vacation is officially done! The kids are back in school and I am enjoying the peacefulness of school days.
Having 3 kids at home for three months straight was tough this summer. All 3 kids are so different from each other, each needing a different type of parenting.

My oldest have a development disability meant he needed me to get him up and dressed and fed every day. He needs physical support to get from one room to another which is hard in it own way but as a 12yr old big brother he also preferred to be in his room away from his wild and rambunctious younger sisters. So although he needed me through out the day for certain care, emotionally he was happy to go along doing his own thing.

My younger two need more of my direct parenting. I have a highly emotional 8yr old. She deals with varying levels of anxiety. With this anxiety it often affects how she can deal with normal sibling squabbles. As she gets older, she is wanting to independently explore her own hobbies and she’s not always keen on including her younger sister. She’s also my rule follower and when that’s mixed with my little 6yr old rebel it often creates fireworks… even if its just because the younger one doesn’t want to follow the ‘rules’ my 8yr old has set out for playing.

Now that we’ve made through and our days will be filled with school and soccer, I look back and part of me still wishes I had more of those days. But I now appreciate having my time back.

I remember how hard the days were before they were even in school. Getting through those toddler years seem like a blur. But it really was a fun blur!

Now I see them having friends and hobbies and becoming their own people separate from me. As a mom, this is our goal. Raise these kids to become who they are meant to be. For them to create a life of their own. But there is a certain sadness in this. I cherish the moments of hugs and cuddles where we connect in a way only a mother can with her child.

It’s that feeling of a piece of your soul being attached to your body and it gets up and walks away to be its own soul but my soul still feels attached. I can’t even put in to words the way it feels when that little soul comes back to me with a big smiles of all they’ve experienced in the day. Those moments make me feel so deliriously happy I’m their mom and I get to experience this life with them.

I know even though I’ll be enjoying my alone time to get things done during the day, every day I’ll be counting down to school pick up so I can hear all about their day!  Here’s to all the moms out there struggling to get through the toddler blur years and to all the mom’s sending their babies into the world to learn and grow!

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In the middle of the ashes – we will rise

We are in one of those times where it’s pouring – we’re taking hit after hit, one thing after another, being pummeled by financial and emotional stress.

My brain is running in circles, and I’m trying very hard to make sure those circles don’t turn into a downward spiral.  I can’t make up my mind about whether we can do this or not, whether I should go back to work or not… I don’t know what to focus on, so I end up doing nothing or a bunch of things not very well.  When my mental state is healthy and rational, I know getting angry doesn’t help.  I know I can focus on what I can control.  I can take small steps towards our big goals.  I can concentrate on forward movement.  I can remember that we can do hard things and the rising will come.

Right now, however, I just received news about all the money we owe (see my previous post), and I’m coming off of a weekend with someone who seems to have very little respect for me or my husband (seems to being the operative phrase here – I’m very aware of the trickiness of perception), and it feels a lot like we can’t catch a break and we’re the enemy no matter what.

Ah!  Everything feels so…unfair.

But… deep breaths.  I will focus on the rising and deep breaths.  Jesus was treated like absolute shit (not that I’m comparing myself to Jesus…at all), tortured, and brutally murdered, and He came back from the dead.  That’s who’s got my back.

FOR I AM THE LORD, YOUR GOD, WHO TAKES HOLD OF YOUR RIGHT HAND AND SAYS TO YOU, DO NOT FEAR; I WILL HELP YOU.
ISAIAH 41:13

Okay.  We can do this.

I CAN DO EVERYTHING THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH.
PHILIPPIANS 4:13

I’m just going to consider David and myself members of The Order of the Phoenix.  We rise.  I don’t know how or what we’ll have to do or how many more obstacles will be put on this particular path.  But I know we’ll rise.

My devotional (Jesus Calling) has had the theme of trust and thankfulness for the past several days, so I should’ve known more was coming.  I don’t want to deal with any of it, really.  But I’m looking forward to seeing what God does with it, how we’ll grow.

Just when you think you have a plan or some things figured out, someone (or something) comes in and messes it all up.  It’s like trying to fold laundry with a toddler – you get one pile done only to realize they’ve thrown the other clothes all over the house.

Perhaps I was making my routines and schedule an idol without realizing it.  Maybe God’s calling me out.  This is the devotional (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young) for June 5th:

But most people seek this fulfillment in other people and earthly pleasures or achievements.  Thus they create idols…Let Me fulfill your yearning for perfection.

DELIGHT YOURSELF IN THE LORD AND HE WILL GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART.
PSALM 37:4

Ha.  Yep.  I think Someone’s sending me a message.  Heard it, Father, loud and clear.

Thanks for listening, friends.

 
Hi! I’m Molly, author of Blogging the In-Between.  I am a wife to David, step-mom to Audrey (14), and mama to Lily (2) and Tommy (newborn).  I taught English for 8 years before making the decision to stay home with the babies.  I love camping and yoga and Harry Potter.  And I love learning new things.

I have realized life is FULL of in-betweens.  And it’s those moments that make us.  It’s the in-betweens that mold us into who we are and who we’ll become.  That’s where the magic is.

My intent with Blogging the In-Between is to share what I’m learning along the way, to build community for open and honest communication about parenting, step-parenting, and want-to-be parenting.  I want to share ideas and strategies through my trial and error.  Mostly, I want to provide some encouragement for you in your in-between.  Wherever that may be, you are not alone.

Instagram | Pinterest

 

 

 

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Tips & Tricks for Traveling with Babies

tips & tricks for traveling with babies

I find traveling with littles to be a bit tricky. It requires planning and frequent breaks and a lot of stuff. Oh, the stuff. I always feel like I have to bring half the house with me when we take a trip, especially now that there are two babies.

tips & tricks for traveling with babies

We have a 2-year-old and a 4-month-old, so we have to be strategic on our road trips. We leave super early in the hopes that they’ll fall back asleep. We make a huge packing list. We plan our stops according to the baby’s eating schedule and allow enough time for the toddler to run around. And I keep everything ridiculously organized in my secret weapon: Ziploc bags!

tips & tricks for traveling with babies

I literally use them for everything. You can label them, AND you can squeeze all the air out to get the most out of your suitcase or whatever you’re packing. I pack all the kids’ stuff in a Thirty-One bag because it’s so accessible and it fits perfectly in our trunk.

tips & tricks for traveling with babies

There are a few other tricks I had up my sleeve for our trip to the family cabin:

1. Dockatot – oh. my. goodness. This is one of the best pieces of baby gear I’ve ever bought. Our son (knock on wood) is a fantastic sleeper owing in large part to this product. He’s used to sleeping in it, so we took it on our trip. He fell asleep right away and slept through the night. Traveling victory!
2. Leapfrog Leapstart – Lily got this for her 2nd birthday. It made for excellent car entertainment! You have to buy the books separately, BUT they have books for ages 2-6. Lily loves it, even though she can’t really understand the games yet.
3. Amazon Prime videos – Amazon has a great selection of free kids shows and movies for Prime members. I downloaded an episode of Barney and one of Sesame Street to the iPad just in case, and I’m so glad I did. Lily didn’t sleep in the car like I was hoping (of course), so I let her watch a video when she started to get impatient. Worked like a charm 😉

Our 2-year-old has always been a little more high maintenance when it comes to falling asleep. I brought her white noise and music projector for the Pack n Play to create the same environment she has at home. It worked pretty well!

Overall I think we did a good job traveling with our little babes. It’s so hard to allow for the flexibility family vacations demand when you’ve got young kids. I think you gotta just do your best and remember to breathe and that it will all be okay.

I hope you find this helpful in your travels this summer!

Happy trails 🙂

Hi! I’m Molly, author of Blogging the In-Between.  I am a wife to David, step-mom to Audrey (14), and mama to Lily (2) and Tommy (newborn).  I taught English for 8 years before making the decision to stay home with the babies.  I love camping and yoga and Harry Potter.  And I love learning new things.

I have realized life is FULL of in-betweens.  And it’s those moments that make us.  It’s the in-betweens that mold us into who we are and who we’ll become.  That’s where the magic is.

My intent with Blogging the In-Between is to share what I’m learning along the way, to build community for open and honest communication about parenting, step-parenting, and want-to-be parenting.  I want to share ideas and strategies through my trial and error.  Mostly, I want to provide some encouragement for you in your in-between.  Wherever that may be, you are not alone.

Instagram | Pinterest

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Who runs the world?

Prayers for My Girls

I may not agree with ALL of the lyrics in Ms. Beyoncé’s anthem; however, it is indeed a remarkable and powerful thing to be a woman.

Some think being female makes us weak by default when, in fact, it is just the opposite.  There is such strength in pain and love and vulnerability.  I pray you find this within yourself.  I pray you understand that strength is so much more than physicality.

Some feel it is your job to be quiet and demur.  I pray you find and use your voice.  Your words and your story have power.  I pray you never fear either one.

Some may feel they have been granted access to your body just because you’re a girl.  This is not limited to men who are lustful with their words or hands.  Women, too, can feel it is their right to judge one another and comment on or correct certain body types.  Some people also tend to think pregnancy gives them automatic license to touch and to comment.  I pray you handle these situations with grace and wisdom and your body with great care.  Your body is yours and no one else’s.  Protect it.

I pray you take pride in your body and all the amazing things it can do.  Three things have taught me just how truly wonderfully made we really are: yoga, running a marathon, and pregnancy and childbirth.  These things repaired the hatred and distrust I had for my own body after the miscarriages and failed infertility treatments.  I’m not suggesting you take up yoga and running or that these things will save you from ever hating or distrusting your body, although I pray you never have to experience that.  You will find your own things that heal you and make you feel strong, things that show you the wonder and joy in growth and movement.  Your body is strong and beautiful and perfect no matter its shape or size.  I pray you love it well.

It is easy to feel at fault when your body doesn’t do what you want it to or what you think it’s supposed to, especially when the media or the opinions of small-minded individuals are taken into consideration.  However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Your body is how it is meant to be.  You may need to find another way to achieve your goals, or maybe it simply isn’t your path and you need to move on.  Either way, I pray you can be patient with yourself.  Forgive yourself, and allow yourself the time you need to heal.

Creating and nurturing life is one of the greatest parts of being a woman, and that’s not exclusive to pregnancy.  Adopting, fostering, wifing, sistering, friending are all pieces of the creation puzzle.  Loving well and allowing others into your heart and soul is also creation.  This is our gift, our sustenance, our purpose.  I pray you always find a way to forgive and let others in, even when you’ve been hurt.

I pray you embrace the joy and pain and wonder and fear and power that is being a woman.  It can feel a heavy burden at times, but I promise that’s all part of it.  We were made to do hard things, and I pray you can see the honor and privilege it is to be a girl, even when you want to hate it.  You are lovely.  You are a child of God.  You are a joy and a miracle.  I pray you remember these things when you are in the thick of it, in the battlefield, deep in the trenches.  I pray that you remember who loves you and who you are – or, at least, that you’ll allow me to remind you.

 

 

Hi! I’m Molly, author of Blogging the In-Between.  I am a wife to David, step-mom to Audrey (14), and mama to Lily (2) and Tommy (newborn).  I taught English for 8 years before making the decision to stay home with the babies.  I love camping and yoga and Harry Potter.  And I love learning new things.

I have realized life is FULL of in-betweens.  And it’s those moments that make us.  It’s the in-betweens that mold us into who we are and who we’ll become.  That’s where the magic is.

My intent with Blogging the In-Between is to share what I’m learning along the way, to build community for open and honest communication about parenting, step-parenting, and want-to-be parenting.  I want to share ideas and strategies through my trial and error.  Mostly, I want to provide some encouragement for you in your in-between.  Wherever that may be, you are not alone.

Instagram | Pinterest

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Back to School Food Storage Deals – Cutest Kids Packs under $20

**Disclosure- This post does contain affiliate links **

Kids can be so picky on what they eat, and when you want to make sure your kids get a good lunch every day that means packing their lunch for school every day. Some families need to go this route because of allergies and food sensitivities. You want to make sure the food stays fresh in the backpack until lunch time. The following are the best deals we’ve found on the best food storage available. Amazon is great for finding the perfect lunch set for your exact needs! So many options and prices for every budget.

I love the new designs coming out for lunch bags! These are all under $20 too! Click the pics to find the deals on Amazon!

 

I’ve found the bento boxes so perfect for keeping food seperate and perfect portions. You can find them in all different sizes and colors and materials. These ones are also all insulated to help keep your food extra fresh. Also make sure you grab some cute ice packs to help keep it all cool!

 

Happy School Shopping!

 

 

Shauna is the creator of The Mom Outlet and also blogs about family life over at Happy Chaos Family  , She’s  mom to 3 crazy awesome kids ages 6,8 and 12. Her oldest Chance, has Angelman Syndrome which is a developmental disorder that causes motor delays, seizures and no speech. Her goal in the blogging world is to bring moms together to share their journey and help each other on this crazy mom life.

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Devices at the dinner table: a parenting debate

Screen time. One of parenting’s hottest topics, and sometimes it’s ok to let the screen babysit the kids for a few minutes…

 

The other night I was out at a restaurant with some teacher friends, and one of my friends turned to a couple of us and said the following:

“I want to know your opinion about something. I just walked past a table where a family was sitting, and both kids were on devices – one kid on an iPad, the other on a cell phone. How do you feel about that?”

This particular friend has two girls ages 7 and 4, and utilizes technology very well in his classroom, so I knew this wasn’t at all a judgmental question, rather an honest question for discussion.

My other friend and I both paused a moment, looked at each other, and responded to the effect of “I think it depends on the situation.”

Before we had kids, my husband and I spent quite a bit of time in restaurants, and whenever we saw kids of any age sitting at a table on a device, we would turn to each other and say something super douchey about how we would NEVER have our kids just sitting with technology when we were out as a family because they would just be able to deal with being present and talking to us.

Oh, how stupid we were.

Oh, how time (and two children) has broadened our perspective.

screen time

The great debate…

I go back and forth in the whole debate about screens and screen time… How much is too much screen time? I want to make sure that as they grow, my kids are able to interact with other humans appropriately and have an attention span longer than that of a gnat.

The flip side of this coin, however, is that this is the year 2017 and screens simply aren’t going anywhere. My kids are never going to know a world without emojis or Twitter or wifi.

As a teacher, I see how much easier life is in a lot of ways for kids who are technologically literate. I also see how kids who aren’t well-versed in technology can get behind their peers both academically and socially.

Even as young as Kindergarten, students who are able to navigate a computer and manipulate a mouse have a markedly easier time with sequence-based activities. From my observations, these students often have an easier time tracking how steps in a process all connect to get to and end result, and this can translate to many academic areas such as math, science, and even writing.

 

It’s all about context…

I think the true reason for my hesitation when my friend asked my opinion on the kids with devices at the table during dinner was that I needed more context for the situation. The facts I knew were that it was a Friday evening and the restaurant was getting pretty busy. Add to that knowing what my own pretty well-behaved kids are like at the end of the week (bonkers), and that I rarely get to have a full conversation with my husband with the kiddos around, and I completely understand the devices at the table.

 

Parental discretion advised…

What this whole debate really comes down to is individual parenting styles and actually living in real life. It would be amazing to say that my kids get exactly 30 minutes of screen time each day, and that all of that time is educational and enriching their lives, but that is simply not the reality that I live in.

When I get home from work, I’ve spent the entire day with other people’s kids, and I’m pretty fried. Even though I spend a good chunk of my day relating my lessons somehow to something funny my 4-year-old said, showing a cute picture of my baby girl to my coworkers, and thinking about how I can’t wait to get home to them, the reality is that I am exhausted by the end of the day.

Every time, my working mom guilt kicks in and I want to make sure that I am giving my children the attention they crave and deserve from their mommy. For a while, I found myself trying to muscle through the afternoon and evening, but the attention I was giving my kids was half-ass at best. I felt scattered after rushing home from work and not taking a moment to defrag, recharge, and catch my second wind. I noticed how cranky I would get with my kids in the evening, watching the clock until bed time, only to miss them the second they were asleep I hadn’t been truly present while they were awake. (Cue mom guilt part duex…)

Now, when I get home and I’m totally spent after work, these are the moments when I get out my son’s iPad, set a timer, and let him watch YouTube Kids for 10 minutes. This gives me some time to settle in, have a little snack, and connect with my baby girl without the wild man trying to wrestle us.

(Added bonus – it gives the wild man some forced downtime. This kid gets home from preschool wound up tight and WON’T just chill out. These 10 minutes allow his body to slow down a bit and have a little quiet time. More on my love for YouTube Kids in this post…)

 

My wider perspective…

I think my simple answer to the question “how do you feel about that?” is that I feel fine about it. Sometimes you just need a few minutes where the kids are occupied.

No, I don’t think that it is our job as parents to make sure our children are entertained 24/7. (In fact, I think spoon-feeding them constant entertainment does kids a disservice, but that’s a discussion for another place and time…)

What I do think is that, like I said, it is the year 2017, and like it our not, our kids are going to encounter way more technology in their daily lives than we ever imagined. I feel good about my kids being accustomed to navigating screens because these tablets, phones, and computers are going to be the tools at their disposal.

While I do agree with those who argue that kids are going to have enough exposure to screens in their lives that they don’t need more at home, my ultimate parenting goal is to teach my children how to use technology responsibly and appropriately.

Phones, tablets, and computers are everywhere. The earlier kids can learn how to engage with technology without completely disengaging from the world around them, the better.

 

What’s your perspective?

What are your thoughts on devices at the dinner table, screen time, etc.? Please share in the comments below!

(As always, please only leave diplomatic and kind comments. Disagreeing opinions are welcome. Nasty words will be deleted.)

Marie, creator of A Working Balance, is a mom of two and full-time teacher. While her first passion, her career in teaching, started long before children came into the picture, Marie’s dream was always to become a mom. A Working Balance is a place where she shares tips and lessons learned from her adventures as a working mom, as well as stories and the occasional epiphany gathered along the way. Through A Working Balance, Marie aims to help working moms find solutions to problems, to be inspired in both small and large ways, and to feel a little less alone in this thing we call Motherhood.

Follow Marie on Instagram @aworkingbalance, Pinterest.com/aworkingbalance, and Facebook.com/aworkingbalance

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How to Cure Working Mom Guilt

Working mom guilt. It’s real and it sucks.

I have a MAJOR case of working mom guilt. I love my job as a teacher, but it is a job that demands a lot of my time and energy. I also have two perfect little humans at home who need me and my attention in the sweetest and purest ways.

My early mornings as a teacher have me out the door by 6:45am, and my late evenings as an extracurricular activity director can have me home past 7:00pm. Add long days at work with (albeit adorable but) energetic kids and a home that isn’t going to clean itself, and you get a sleep-deprived and cranky mommy who can’t focus at work or at home. Luckily, I have developed tricks here and there to tackle and simplify many of my home and work responsibilities (hence this blog!), but the working mom guilt lingers on…

So what are my solutions?

I can’t stop working because: 1) I love it, and 2) We’d have to sell our house.

Sure, I get summers off and breaks during the year, but I’m a mom ALL year long and I want to feel like a good mom ALL YEAR LONG.

After some major soul-searching as I tried to figure out what I can do to relieve some of this guilt, I found that there is one and only one sure-fire thing I can do that makes me feel like I’m a good mom and helps me put the other stuff into perspective.

And that thing is connecting with each of my kids.

I’ve read countless blog posts and articles about different ways to connect with your kids to make them feel special, but I’m not gonna lie here – my kids feel pretty damn special all the time. I’ve realized that I’m the one who needs their attention.

When I have time to really connect with my kids, especially one-on-one, where I can devote my attention to them and whatever we are doing, I feel like a million bucks. I am able to see myself the way that they see me – as their one and only mommy who loves them more than anything else in the whole wide world. This connection reminds me that I’m doing a good job and raising amazing humans.

And the rest of it – the guilt – melts away.

Connecting with my kids is my heroine and I am a sincere addict.

Even though I am home right now from work for summer break, moments of true connection with my kids are still hard to find because there is always something to distract either or both of us- dishes to clean, laundry to fold, Lego’s to build… Scheduled or spontaneous activities where connecting with my kids is the defined purpose are the way I have found to quiet all the surrounding noise of the world and focus in on just us.

I was recently able to surprise my 4-year-old and take him to Disneyland for a day. It was the BEST DAY. He talked to me, laughed with me, shared his snacks with me, and was my little buddy for the entire day. Consider my addiction thoroughly fed.

Working Mom Guilt Connect With Kids

Now, not everyone can drop it all and run off to the Magic Kingdom (we were given annual passes as a gift), but these activities do not have to be huge in order to be special. I find that even the simplest of things can help find real connection – going on a long walk around the neighborhood, getting ice cream cones, taking a coloring book and blanket to the park… So long as it is just the two of us, I feel connected to him and my working mom guilt lessens.

Connecting with my daughter, who is almost one year old, is a bit different and actually easier in a lot of ways. As long as she has my whole attention and I have hers, we can be crawling on the floor of our living room for 15 minutes and I’ll feel the connection. She hasn’t quite made it to the point where her independence outshines her need for Mommy at home. 😉

Connecting with my kids doesn’t make my home and work responsibilities go away – it doesn’t mop the floors for me or grade the papers that stack up on my desk. However, even the briefest moments of true connection with my kids bring me back to center and make it all a whole lot less overwhelming.

Okay. Now that I’ve given myself all of the Mommy feelings, I’m going to go cry into my iced coffee…

How do you connect with your kids? What are your tricks for relieving working mom guilt?

Marie, creator of A Working Balance, is a mom of two and full-time teacher. While her first passion, her career in teaching, started long before children came into the picture, Marie’s dream was always to become a mom. A Working Balance is a place where she shares tips and lessons learned from her adventures as a working mom, as well as stories and the occasional epiphany gathered along the way. Through A Working Balance, Marie aims to help working moms find solutions to problems, to be inspired in both small and large ways, and to feel a little less alone in this thing we call Motherhood.

Follow Marie on Instagram @aworkingbalance, Pinterest.com/aworkingbalance, and Facebook.com/aworkingbalance

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“Daddy Day Care” is Bullsh*t

Not too long ago, I was at a baby shower for a friend from work, and she asked what advice I could give her as a new mom. Of course, I began spewing stories about my pregnancies, breastfeeding, and how my kids slept as newborns. As I was telling my pregnant friend every story I could think of about the first days home with baby #1, another co-worker said the most valuable advice I think any expecting parent can hear.

“Daddy Day Care is bullsh*t. Never forget that.”

She went on to talk a little bit about a really great book (the title of which sadly escapes me at the moment) she had given her just married daughter about being in a marriage that is a true partnership, and how the book talked about raising feminist children.

Essentially, while each and every marriage has its own understood roles and responsibilities there within, children are the equal responsibility of both partners. (Amen to that.)

Just because one person grew and carried a baby in her body doesn’t mean that the other person is not equally that child’s parent.

I recently took a little weekend trip with some girlfriends, leaving my husband home with our kids. Like any mom leaving her kids for any extended amount of time, I felt an initial pang of guilt. I was going to miss my little ones and I felt badly leaving my husband to fend for himself, so I wanted to make sure everything was prepared and exactly in its place before I left. As I was rushing around the house, trying to make sure he would have no problems finding anything he needed while I was gone, my husband took me by the shoulders and looked me square in the eyes.

“You know I live here, too, right? Please stop. We will be fine.”

In that instant I felt like a grade-A jerk.

Of course he was going to be fine. I didn’t marry a moron.

And these babies are his babies, too. He doesn’t check on my every time he leaves the house because he knows I am a capable human who can take care of my own kids. Sure, when the babies were super small it wasn’t so easy for Mommy to just leave because we had breast milk and a number of other things to worry about.

Now, though? I was insulting him by trying to get the entire house in order before I left because my actions were saying that he wasn’t capable.

It isn’t just that the fair thing to do between parents is to share responsibilities when it comes to the kids. When one parent takes over the responsibility of childcare completely, it lessens the confidence and effectiveness of the other parent.

When our kids were super tiny babies, I was responsible for the lion’s share of the child care in our family – I was nursing and home from work on maternity leave, so it only made sense. Upon my return to work, I had a ton of anxiety about sharing child care responsibilities with my husband more equally. In order to try and relieve some of this anxiety, I had to really sit and think about WHY I felt this way.

It wasn’t because I thought my husband was irresponsible, because he isn’t.

It wasn’t because I thought my husband was incapable of caring for the kids, because he is more than capable.

It was because I didn’t want to relinquish control.

As a working mom, I struggle often with my identity as a mother. Part of that identity (and part of my own working mom guilt) was me trying to hold onto and control as many things surrounding the kids as I could. When I finally started to let go of that control, a bunch of undue resentment and stress lifted.

If I stayed home with my kids and my husband was the only one who worked, our roles and division of responsibilities would look pretty different that they do now. I would do my husband and our children a disservice, however, if I didn’t expect him to care for our children with the same attentiveness and concern as I do, even when we are both home.

He doesn’t do things the way I do them, and I don’t do things the way he does them. As much as my Type A personality begins to twitch at the sight of a PB&J with waaaaaay more jelly that I would ever put on it, my son likes it just fine and gobbles up his lunch. Sure, there’s a little cleanup afterward, but better that we use a couple extra face wipes than I swoop in and prevent my husband from making the sandwich in the first place. He is their dad, and this is how Daddy makes the stinkin’ sandwich.

Calling it “Daddy Day Care” is an unfair thing. It presumes that Daddy is not a primary caregiver to his own children, and that having him take care of the kids is somehow a favor he is doing for Mommy. Daddy is not only capable of watching his own children – he is happy to spend quality time with the kids without it having to be a special event, completely outside the norm.

From now on, whenever I have an expecting friend ask me for my number one piece of advice, I know exactly what it will be…

 

How do child care responsibilities get divided in your family? Share in the comments below!

Marie, creator of A Working Balance, is a mom of two and full-time teacher. While her first passion, her career in teaching, started long before children came into the picture, Marie’s dream was always to become a mom. A Working Balance is a place where she shares tips and lessons learned from her adventures as a working mom, as well as stories and the occasional epiphany gathered along the way. Through A Working Balance, Marie aims to help working moms find solutions to problems, to be inspired in both small and large ways, and to feel a little less alone in this thing we call Motherhood.

Follow Marie on Instagram @aworkingbalance, Pinterest.com/aworkingbalance, and Facebook.com/aworkingbalance

 

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Perks of Being a Young Parent

While I definitely understand the stigma that surrounds being a young parent, I find it absurd that others judge it when they’ve young parentnever lived it.

When my parents and Sam’s parents found out we were pregnant, I knew why they felt sadness. It’s hard making a living today in general. Add a baby to that equation? Your difficulties are multiplied by 100,000,000,000.

They’re expensive little things. They’re also time consuming, which isn’t ideal for two college students who live on their own. On top of that, babies are the perfect way to test a relationship to the max. Sleep deprivation, financial stress, and time consumed parents? That’s an equation that’s definitely tricky to figure out.

But there’s so much more to being young parents than the consequences listed above.

And, wait. Before I get into them, I’d first like to mention that this is in no way me encouraging young adults to go out and get knocked up. While there are so many advantages that I’ve found in being a young parent, there are also many to simply being young. Enjoy your time as an adult making their way into the world.

I can’t tell you how amazing its been to see my SO grow into the responsible, caring parent that he is. When the two of us met, he was 20 and I was 19. We were young (still are). We were definitely dumb. But we had love for one another, a love that has only grown stronger through the battles we’ve faced together. I’ve loved being able to be there to witness the growth, I’ve loved getting the chance to not only know, but love, the different versions of himself that he’s been. I know that I’m going to see many more editions of him, and he’ll see the same of me, but I truly cannot wait to love every. single. one.

I’ve also loved building our small apartment into our own place. We didn’t have much when we started out on our own, and still don’t. But what do we have? A home, a place we both love coming home to. And to me, that’s special. There’s nothing greater than having someone who has stuck with you through the tough times in order to thrive together.

My SO and I have also talked about how great it’ll be to be the young, cool, probably embarrassing parents of our little man when he’s a teenager. We’ll be in our mid-late thirties, an age where you’re young enough to know when something isn’t cool but old enough to do it anyway.

I also feel as if being younger parents will give us an advantage, we’ll be able to reflect back on our experiences as teenagers much easier, providing us with ways to relate to our children instead of not knowing how to go about the issues they’re dealing with. I’ve always wanted to be a mother who’s children go to when they’re down – not one who’s children view them as someone who doesn’t understand.

You know what else is just stellar about being a younger parent? No matter what age your children are, you’ll always be able to keep up with them! Sam and I are very active people, we love hiking, being outdoors, and doing physical activities. These are all pastimes that I want to enjoy with my children, while they are little and big!

Speaking of age, what about when we become grandparents? When I’m 60, my LO will be 39, hopefully he’ll had already had children of his own. I’ll still be able to run around and play with my grandkids, as well as taking them on walks, to the park, and enjoying all sorts of activities with them. That’s definitely a plus!

Let’s also not forget the fact that we’re providing these same advantages to or own parents. (I say we because I assume you’re a young parent just like me if you’re reading this!) My SO’s parents as well as mine are still able to make the most of these precious moments with their grandchild.

An even bigger plus is having our grandparents meet their great-grandchild, I know that is a memory they’ll never regret having as I will not either.

There’s one last point I want to make about becoming a young parent. The change I’ve witnessed in myself has been so apparent it’s oddly invisible. The moment I found out I was pregnant, there wasn’t any other decision but becoming a mother. That was it for me. I changed my perspective in that moment which set off the change in me in the months to come.

Looking back? I was a completely different person a year ago than I am today. I’ve become more responsible, driven, caring, humble and empathetic. My baby, and this life I’m living, has taught me more about life than the 20 years prior ever could have. They’ve taught me that no matter how you believe, or want, your life to turn out, it’s going to take some twisty, curvy turns. Don’t fight them, make the most of whatever is handed to you. It could quite possibly be the most amazing adventure (and lesson) you’ll ever encounter.

 

Kayla, the creator behind Adventures of a Young Mother, is a mother who popped her little one out at the age of 21. Her goal is to help other young women by offering parenting advice, reviews for helpful items, and everything and anything motherhood.

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How Growing Up With Divorced Parents Changes How You Parent

There is no denying that growing up with divorced parents is hard. But, before I go into my parenting style, I do want to make a parentdivorcepoint that this is not a slam against single parents. Even though my parents were divorced throughout my entire life, I still view them in the brightest of lights. They co-parented as best as they could, they stepped up as both mom and dad when it was needed, and they tried. That’s all a child can ask for, effort.

So to all you single parents, keep up the great work of being a mother AND a father, you are truly an incredible parent.

And even though my life may take a different course someday, it is inevitable to know the future, I know I do not want my children to grow up with parents who are not together.

As great as my parents were, and are, I feel as if I missed out. I wasn’t able to see both my mom and dad everyday, I wasn’t able to enjoy outings as a family, going on vacations together, having both parents making an appearance at sporting and academic events. I was consistently going back and forth between houses, communicating between the two, and missing the other parent while away.

As for the children who grew up seeing their parent’s apparent love for one another, I envy you. But, I also feel as if I have a bigger drive for making my (future) marriage work. As a parent, I want to give my little ones everything that I did not have.

I want them to wake up to two parents who love one another, two parents simply enjoying one another’s company over breakfast.

Two parents who show their love, setting a high bar for their children, never wanting them to settle for less than they deserve.

Two parents who spend quality time one on one and with their family.

Two parents who set the example that hard work and dedication makes a relationship go a long way.

Two parents who do not try and find something new when something becomes broken but two parents who put in the effort to fix it.

I want my children to grow up with a put together family, not a broken home.

I wouldn’t say there’s a pressure on my shoulders to make my future marriage work, you never want to feel pressure in such a delicate, important aspect of your life.

But I feel dedication. I feel as if it’s the most important thing on my agenda besides my baby. Because as parents, all we want is to give our children what they deserve… and this is what I want to give mine.

 

 

Kayla, the creator behind Adventures of a Young Mother, is a mother who popped her little one out at the age of 21. Her goal is to help other young women by offering parenting advice, reviews for helpful items, and everything and anything motherhood.

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