Raising Young Kids: 5 Ways to Keep From Losing Your Mind

Being a parent of small children day in and day out is taxing on your mental health. Here are the first few tips from a long list of things to keep you from going totally crazy.

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1. Don’t expect them to happily do anything that you’re not happy to do.

You guys….I don’t enjoy cleaning. I would rather do almost anything else. I put it off as long as I can. If I don’t want to clean, chances are neither do my kids. If I EXPECT a little bit of resistance when I tell them to do their chores or homework, or eat their vegetables, or put on pants, then I won’t blow my lid when they complain about it. **NOTE: this is not to say you should not make them do things they don’t want to, or that you should tolerate bad behavior from them while doing these things. Just don’t expect them to go all Snow White and whistle while they work.

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Baby: How to Travel with One in Public & Live to Tell About It

Taking care of a new baby within the comfort of home can be…really something. Taking a baby into an actual public setting, where there are onlookers, can be completely traumatizing. At least it was for me. As a new mom, a lot of stress can reduce you to acting on only your most basic instincts. For example, that first outing with your baby might actually look a lot like one of those nature shows on the Discovery Channel, dramatically narrated by Alec Baldwin…

“Here we see a new mother and her young. Having already eaten through her stores of frozen casseroles and pop tarts, she is forced to go out in search of food. She emerges from her safe home, blinking in the harsh sunlight. It has been 6 weeks since she has seen the sun, 6 months if her baby was born during RSV season.”

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Loaded Mashed Cauliflower

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So about a month ago, my husband and I decided to do a 30 day clean eating challenge. We pretty much we’re able to eat fruit, vegetables and meat. During one of my desperate searches to find a recipe that would imitate some sort of comfort food, but was still healthy of course, I found a recipe for mashed cauliflower. Now I know what you’re thinking, CAULIFLOWER? I myself am not a big fan of cauliflower, but decided to give the recipe a try. If I wouldn’t have known better, I would have thought I was eating mashed potatoes.  Now that our clean eating challenge is over, I decided to jazz things up a little and make a “loaded” version. It was pretty much amazing and I’m sure will make an appearance at our house regularly.

Ingredients:

1 bag frozen cauliflower (fresh would also work)

3 tsp minced garlic

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup milk

3-4 Tbsp real bacon bits

1/2 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp chopped green onion

1 tsp salt

 

Place cauliflower florets in pan and cover halfway with water. Steam until very tender. Drain excess liquid from pan. With a hand blender or countertop blender purée cauliflower until smooth. Add milk, garlic and sour cream and blend until desired consistency is reached. Stir in remaining ingredients. Garnish with extra cheese, bacon and onion if desired.

Serves 4

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Surviving Motherhood With a New Baby

Motherhood is a tricky thing. I truly believe it is life’s greatest calling. Nothing else can make my heart swell quite like my children do. Except maybe for hot fudge. But at the same time, motherhood can be brutal. I’m a mother of four kids, ages 8, 6, 4, and 2. I bet you just thought to yourself, “You’ve got your hands full, huh lady?”. Yes, yes I do. A little bit of time has passed since I was a brand sparkly new mom, though, and if there’s one thing time gives you, its perspective.

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Classic Banana Bread

imageBanana bread is a classic recipe in my opinion.  Everybody loves it and although there are many variations, I always find myself coming back to this basic simple recipe. It’s delicious and moist and the perfect way to use up those over-ripened banana that are sitting on your counter.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed bananas

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp lemon juice

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat. Mix in bananas, milk and lemon juice. Mix all dry ingredients together and add. Add nuts. Bake in a well greased loaf pan on 350• for 45-60 min. Makes 1 loaf.

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Why You ARE a Good Mom

Moms have, in my opinion, the most important job in the world. That’s a big responsibility. All of us feel inadequate at times, like we don’t know what we’re doing, or we are just doing it all wrong. We feel judged by other moms who seem to have it all together. And we think mean things about ourselves! Hello put-downs!! If I heard my kids talking about themselves the way I talk about myself, I’d put them in time-out. Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I’m not a very good mom!”.

What makes us overcritical of our mom skills?? We are bombarded by everyone else’s “Mary Poppins moments” and think of them as the standard. What’s a “Mary Poppins moment”? It’s that phenomenon when the planets align and everything is lovely and we want to share our triumph with the world. You know the ones I’m talking about: you’re wearing makeup and actual clothes. The kids are playing happily with the organic homemade play dough that you made together. You snap a happy little selfie and post it on Facebook. We all do it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

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What’s wrong is comparing all your other moments to all the Mary Poppins moments floating around on social media. You know the moment when you yell at your five year-old to “just try one flipping piece of the dinner I made for you” and they bawl as you shove the food into their mouth and they gag and end up hurling all over their dinner plate. And you step back and want to hide your face in shame at your lack of patience….your human moment. Are you about to post a picture of that on Facebook? Heck no!! Well guess what…the mom that “has it all together” has those moments, too. You just don’t see them.

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We moms are all human. Not one of us gets it all right all the time. We are all in the same mom boat. So give yourself a break. You’re doing the best you can and no one can ask for more than that. And your kids love you for it. Even on your worst days, there is no one in the world they would rather have tuck them into bed at night. God put your kids into your arms because you are the perfect mother for them.

I asked my kids, “what makes a good mommy?” and my wise six year-old son said,   “A good mommy loves her kids”. From the mouths of babes, people. A good mommy loves her kids. That’s it! There was no mention of keeping a perfectly clean house, or never yelling, or always making a nutritious dinner…none of that. A good mommy loves her kids.

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We all love our kids more than all the stars in the sky, more than all the fish in the sea, more than we love our own selves. And that is enough. You are enough, adequate, amazing. Love your kids as hard as you can and show them in as many ways as you can think of. Tell them, hug them, discipline them, kiss them, sing to them, teach them, play with them, protect them, and nurture them. Just love them. And you do. And that’s what makes you the BEST mom in the world.

If you enjoyed this post, check out its sister post especially for new moms here.

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Fruity Green Smoothie

Fruity Green Smoothie

My boys love smoothies…. and I love that they love them! What better way to get your kids to eat tons of fruits and even vegetables(I promise, you can’t even taste them) then throwing them all in a blender and making your kids think they are getting dessert for breakfast! It’s a win win for everybody if you ask me. This smoothie is one of our regulars, but ingredients can easily be substituted depending on what you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberry’s
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (I used vanilla)
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach (believe me when I say you or your kids will not even taste it!)

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

*Note: if you use frozen fruit you may have to add some water to get the correct consistency. If you use fresh fruit you may need to add a little ice to get the correct consistency.

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