Momma's groove

Turn off your brain!

Ok momma, we are all guilty of this one!  Is it almost impossible for you to turn off your brain when you need to?  Or for that matter, to know when you need to…?  I go to bed at night and I swear my brain is spinning in circles at full speed! It’s like I just can’t slow it down.  I love having goals, and working toward those goals.  I love working and having projects that excite me and require something of me.  I love that my kids are involved in clubs and extra curricular activities.  And I love making crafts for said clubs, events, and school parties, etc.  However, all of these things require time, thought, planning… you know, brain power.  And when I lay down to go to bed, (or take the occasional much loved nap) it’s sometimes hard to turn off my brain and go to sleep.

Sometimes it’s not even a matter of trying to sleep.  Sometimes it’s that you’re trying to work on something but your brain is all jumbled and you can’t think straight to do it.  Equally frustrating, and rather unproductive.  I thought I’d share a few things with you that I do to calm all the chaos that’s going on in my head.

  1.  Brain Dump.  If you’ve followed me here, or on social media for very long you know that I love a good brain dump.  If I can’t think straight and it’s really causing an issue, I know that it’s time for a brain dump.  You can do this many ways, but I just grab a piece of paper and start writing.  You might think it best to only write projects and big things.  Or the things you want to do in the next specific amount of time.  And if that works for you, do it that way.  But for me it’s everything.  I mean everything.  I just start writing and I write down everything big or small, present or future (even past if it’s on my mind).  Once I get it all down and out of my head I can start to focus on what I’m actually doing, or what I need to do.  That or go to sleep, if that was the purpose of said brain dump.
  2. Doodle. Doodling is similar to a brain dump except it helps when you don’t know what to write, or don’t want to write for some reason.  Sometimes you just don’t feel like writing everything down, but you need a brain release.  Doodling is great for that.  Sometimes I even doodle for a bit before I do a brain dump.  It just helps me to loosen up the cobwebs so to speak.  You can draw random things or take some time to learn/practice an art form such as hand lettering!
  3. Break out your planner.  I am a planner girl so I love planning.  I know not everyone does, but it really does help.  When you are thinking about dance practice, gymnastics, tae kwon do, hair cut appointments and a big work project…  It helps to grab your planner, or a simple calendar, anything that represents the days to come, and write it all down.  When you can see what is going on and when, it helps to get perspective and not feel like you have to remember everything.
  4. Pray.  When I feel like I’m losing it and I can’t get a handle on things, I take some time alone to talk to the Lord.  I ask him to help me and to give me perspective.  To get my stuff figured out and be able to keep up with it all in the best way possible.  If you’re not the praying type, I still recommend taking a few quiet minutes to yourself to clear your head.
  5. Get some fresh air.  Fresh air works wonders!  Open a window, and sit next to it; go out and sit on your porch, maybe with a good book.  If possible, maybe even take your work outside with you, you might find it much easier to accomplish.  Or go for a walk.   A nice walk outside can do wonders for a jumbled brain!
  6. Exercise.  Some love to work out, some hate it.  I have a love hate relationship with it.  So while I will tell you on most days that I love it, other days I might say it’s awful and if I run I will die.  Yes, I’m that fickle!  But it’s been proven that getting your heart rate up for a few minutes a day is good for you and I personally feel like there’s little that helps more in the attempt to release the fog inside the head.
  7. Veg out.  I offer this tip reluctantly because over use of this one can lead to less health and productivity rather than more.  However, if you can’t give your hamsters a break, it might be time to just plop yourself in front of a movie, or favorite tv show, and forget all your worries for a bit.  Especially if your situation is rather stressful.  Sometimes we need that bit of escape to be able to reboot.  I personally recommend this after the options above so that when you wake up the next day, things have been dealt with and are ready to be addressed, rather than just having been pushed aside, leading to more overwhelm when you pick back up where ever it was that you left off.

It might take some time, but try to teach yourself to relax when it’s time to relax, focus when it’s time to focus, and not think too much when it’s time to not think too much.

Smile through the Trials,

Tiffany

Momma's groove

Mommy. The worlds best jungle gym!

Dude, what do I look like to you?! Lol! You ever find yourself saying that to your kid? I have. They climb all over you like you’re a standing obstacle course. I’ve been talking to people before and my child fell and I caught him with out interrupting the conversation, and went on as if nothing had happened. Except that the ladies I was talking to started to laugh and made a comment about how I caught him with out even thinking. It happens when you’re about 4 kids and 11 years (at that point)  in to the mommy thing… I didn’t think much of it until I saw another momma with a young boy having a similar, olympic training vs Mommy talking to a grown up, type of endeavor. It made me smile. She never skipped a beat. Though he was climbing on her, playing with his toys all around her, it didn’t distract her. Do we do this because we love them and know that they just want to be near us? Or because we are so desperate for grown up conversation, that we will have said conversation regardless of the frustration? Is it a skill, or a desperate plea for interaction?! I”m not sure, but I am sure that it’s just the way Mommy talk goes.  It’s also funny that it seems so much different to us when it’s someone else than when it’s us. When I saw this young lady I thought she was pretty awesome. But I don’t think I’m awesome when it’s me. When it’s me I usually just wish they’d sit still! Conversely I think some young women might see this and think of how they long to be that momma. But when they become a momma, realize that it can be very overwhelming! So I thought I’d encourage you with three things to remember when you find yourself a human jungle gym in the midst of trying to just be a human.

 

1) You probably missed your workout today. If you did get it in, well that’s ok, you just got a bonus work out!

2) If your kid is all up in your grill, you know where they are. They’re not off making sugar high deals with the other toddlers! (“I’ll give you my sucker for those two pixie stix.” “Nah man, that’ll only keep me up until midnight, I’m going for an all nighter. There’s a Power Rangers marathon tonight!”)

3) If you jump up and down and make it more challenging they are likely to sleep on the way home!

Ok, so I’m kidding. Well, a little serious, but I just wanted to make you laugh! Here are my more serious three things to remember:

1) They do truly do it because they love you and want to be near you. They won’t be small enough to climb on you for long, or interested in those hot wheels for that matter. So take a deep breath and embrace the affection and the desire to be in your presence.

2) It does mean that you know where they are. If they are physically touching you they aren’t wondering off and getting lost or hurt.

3) If it’s too much for you, or its beyond proper behavior, if they are being too loud or disrespectful, there might be a way to deter them. A coloring book would be a good alternative for many kids. (I have one that has never been at all interested in coloring, but most kids are.). You can also play a game with them that involves them being a super spy and being very still, or finding clues around the room, if space allows. If they feel like they have your attention to some extent and are given something exciting or at least interesting to do, they just might do really well while you finally talk to a grown up. (Or at least for five minutes…!)

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

Momma's groove

Find your groove, momma!

The mind is a very interesting thing isn’t it? We are all so different and that’s what makes life interesting. But it also means that we would do good to quit thinking we have to be so much alike. There are so many different ideas about how to better manage your time/day and many of them sound great, although they may be very different. You can read numerous blogs, or magazine articles and think “Oh, that’s it! that’s what I’m going to do!” But when you try it, it doesn’t work out at all. Or as is often my experience, it might work to an extent, but doesn’t end up being the complete solution like you might have hoped. Many people see a significant jump in productivity by getting up even just an hour earlier every day. But… to the momma with an infant that needs fed every hour to two hours through the night, that suggestion probably seems crazy! Some women can stay up for hours after their kids go to sleep and be extremely productive. But the momma that had to get up super early to take kids to school, or go to work, might want to cry at such a suggestion! Some get lots of things done while their kids are at school, while others homeschool. Here’s the thing; there is no right or wrong. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. It’s just a fact that we all tic differently. I challenge you to think about what time of day is best for you, and plan based off of that, not off of what seems to make sense to the rest of the world.

For each of us, there is a time of day that we feel better and more “with it”. Pay attention and try to learn yourself just a bit better, and know when your best times of day are to do certain things. For example, I am just about useless in the morning. I’m not a morning person AT ALL and I hate even being awake early in the day! For real. Like, the alarm clock beeps, and I get up and I’m literally mad that I’m awake. So, planning to get up early to write my blog posts, or grade papers really isn’t wise for me. That’s why I only do things in the morning that are very routine and take very little thought. Unload the dishwasher. Start a load of laundry. Its a blessing later in the day to have these simple tasks started, but doesn’t take me really thinking or putting forth much effort when I don’t feel like functioning. I’ve also realized that I get a better work out if I wait a few hours. it kinda stinks because I’m more likely to let other things get in the way of me working out if I don’t do it when I wake up. But in the morning I have very little time, so it’s rushed. I also don’t have the energy to put forth the same effort so early. When I work out after I take the kids to school, I have more energy, I don’t modify as many of the moves and I feel great when I’m done. But when I work out in the morning, I barely survive and feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. (Have we established that I’m not a morning person?!).

So the things that are required of us: Patience, creativity, energy, effort, diligence… These things are all things we may need to practice every day. But there are certain times of day that we can probably better offer these things. There are also things we can do to help set ourselves up for a better outcome. You might feel more creative after a walk outside. Or need an hour to veg when you get home from work with absolutely no talky. Whatever your groove is, I suggest you do some trial and error and find it, and then plan the tasks of your day accordingly. That way you stress less, and accomplish more.

Remember, what works for someone else, might be a great suggestion, and give you some great ideas. But it doesn’t mean it’s gonna work for you. It’s time you find what works for YOU and don’t worry about being able to do things the same way as anyone else. (It’s also worth noting that seasons change, and as they do things change for us. So what works for you today might not work as well in 6 months. And that’s ok. Just another go at some trial and error and you can adjust things as needed.) Find your groove, find your time, and structure your day according to what works best for you!

Smile through the Trials,

Tiffany

Momma's groove

Words hurt. They also heal.

Do you ever say something and then wish you could take it back? It’s pretty frustrating when that happens, but I think it’s especially disheartening when what you said was to your child. Ya know, we spend so much time telling them to be kind and think before they speak, but we are still human and we still mess up at times. I felt so bad the other day.  My four year old was sitting next to me on the couch.  Now, my son is not only very trying at times, because he’s excessively hyper; but he also has a tendency to talk 90 to nothin with very little stops for a breath! I was working on something that I really needed to finish and he was crawling all over me and just about pushing me out of my seat.  It was frustrating and I got upset with him.  I said something along the lines of  “Can’t you just sit down and be quiet for a few minutes?!”  He made a sad face and walked away.  I’m not gonna lie, though I’m not proud to say it, at first I was just relieved he had stopped.  I needed to get some stuff done and he needed to understand that sometimes he has to give Mommy a little space.  But then I looked over in the hallway and saw him.  He’s naughty, that’s for sure! But he’s my baby. and he can be so ridiculously sweet.  He was just sitting on his little bench with his head hanging down.  He was sad.  I started wondering what he was thinking.  Because to me I was letting him know that he has to respect the fact that Mommy has to get things done at times.  But to him, to him what was I saying?  Was I saying you’re annoying?  Was I saying I don’t have time for you?  Or, you talk too much?  I don’t want to deal with you?  I don’t know.  I don’t know for sure what he took it to mean, but I know something was going through his little head that made him sad.  I looked up and called his name and he smiled and came running.  We should really appreciate how forgiving kids are.  I told him that I love him and I wanted him to sit next to me, but I needed him to be quiet.  He was so happy.  It really made me think about how much my words mean to him, and to all of my kids.  It’s a blessing to know how healing my words can be to my children.  But also should be reverenced with caution how much power they have to hurt.  I hate it when I realize I’ve been short, or dismissive with my kids.  They need to know I love them and care about what’s important to them.  Words hurt.  And they also heal. I want my words to help my children, rather than hinder them.  

Remember; A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Proverbs 25:11).

Let’s speak life and joy to our children. Not the opposite.

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

Momma's groove

5 tips to start your Christmas shopping in July!

In honor of my Christmas in July series, I figured today we would talk a bit about early Christmas shopping.  I know it’s hard to give it much thought 5 months early.  But if you can do a few things now and in the following months, it will make things a bit easier come jingle bell time.  I have a number of ideas, but today I’m going to focus on a few that involve shopping.

  1. Decide where you will put your early purchases.  Do this first! You really don’t wanna get to the beginning of December, and start looking in all the places you might have put things, not even remembering what you’ve bought.  I have a snow man thirtyone tote in my closet that I store gifts in.  That way, even if I forget what I bought, I’ll have it all in one place when I need it.  (There’s also a secret place in my basement that I hide things that won’t fit in said tote.)
  2. Watch for clearance prices on things that you can use for gifts.  I was at JCPenney’s looking for maternity clothes.  (They’ve gone to only online like so many stores have, we can talk about that frustration another time…) They didn’t have what I wanted, but when I was walking out I saw scarves for $3.97 and… $1.97!!  If you have anyone on your list that likes cute scarves, you’ve just scored!  I bought 7, and with the $10 off coupon that comes in the mail, my total purchase was just under $7.00.  I got them for under $1 each!  If you happen upon a great clearance price on something you know would be a great gift, grab it!
  3. Amazon Prime Day!  If you are starting your shopping early, and are an amazon prime member, mark your calendar for July 12th!  They are advertising more deals than Black Friday, so it’ll be something to check out!  If you don’t have a prime membership, make sure to get one before the 12th.  We’ve been prime members for years and for us, it’s totally worth the price and the quick shipping is great!  I feel obligated to tell you that I’ve read that last year this was a bit of a disappointment, but, I’m definitely going to check it out and see what they have to offer this year.
  4. QVC Christmas in July!  I’m pretty sure the term “Christmas in July” is in my head from watching years of QVC having fun Christmas stuff for sale in July!  Not only do they have decor, but toys, and other fun things at sale prices.  I’ve already browsed and will be making an order in the next couple of days.  I recommend checking this one out, as I’ve already looked and I’ve seen some cool stuff!
  5. Buy a gift card every couple of weeks.  This can be done for two reasons.  If there are people on your list that you know you want gift cards for, make a list of those people and the places you will gift them cards to.  Every other week or so, pic up one of the cards off of your list.  You could even grab a few extra to common places like Walmart, Amazon, Starbucks, etc for people that you might forget.  OR you can periodically purchase gift cards to a place that you do a lot of your shopping and put them in a specific, safe place.  Then you can use them to buy gifts when you are ready to shop. That way you spread out some of the expense over a matter of months rather than spending the money all at once.

I hope there’s something on this list that can help you out in making your Christmas a bit less stressful!  We have more Christmas fun to come, make sure you check back and join me!

(If you go to bloglovin.com you can follow my blog on there 🙂 You can even download the app and make it super easy!)

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

 

Momma's groove

Christmas in July!!

Hey guys, Happy Holidays!!  Ok, do I sound crazy?!  I’m sure I do… But, I am doing a little Chrismas in July fun at my house and thought I’d share a bit with y’all!!  Here’s the deal; I love Christmas.  Love like crazy, I’m totally a Christmas freak and it makes me so happy just to think about it, love.  But I also plan all kinds of things I want to do and only accomplish about half of them.  To be honest, that’s probably if I’m lucky.  We still have a special time as a family and there are at least a few things that I make sure to keep consistent through out the years.  That’s kinda the point of it being called a tradition, right?  But I still get a bit sad about the big plans and things I had hoped to accomplish but didn’t.  I also get stressed trying to do it all during the limited time that I work on it.  But on the flip side, if I “Christmas” for too long I get burnt out.  As much as I love Christmas, and I do, I tend to want the tree out of my living room, and the decor all cleaned up, pretty quick after December 25th.  So here’s my thought.  I’m going to do some of the things I want to do for Christmas now, in July.  Then I’m going to put it all up and not think about it any more until I start to get the Christmas spirit.  (Ya know, like, September… lol!)  That way there’s less pressure, and I take a break to avoid burn out.  Now there will be a few things I try to do from here until then, such as use swagbucks, and buy things on clearance, or pick up special items I know someone will want.  But the point is going to be mostly a “set it and forget it” or “make it and forget it” type of thing.  Are you with me?!  I’m not sure how many projects I’ll do, but I have list going that I’m going to attempt to knock out.  I want to include the kids in a few things that they can make for gifts (we love to make gifts) and just enjoy some stress free Christmas crafting.  Which, is another thing I’d suggest because it can be stressful to do all the crafts with the kids in the short time they are off of school for Christmas.  Even if you homeschool, it can be difficult to take off much time for Christmas.  (One year I started almost a month early so that we could take almost the entire month of December off.  I have to say I really loved that!)

I’m still pretty busy, but I’m going to try to accomplish as much as I can.  I’d love it if you want to follow along and I’ll be keeping all of my social media platforms up to date as well.  If you don’t follow me I’m @tiffanysmiles_ on instagram; @smilesntrials on periscope; and smilesntrials on youtube.  I am hoping I can get my youtube issues worked out because I really want to be able to do some videos for you guys!  But I’ll let ya’ll know here when I post videos.  Oh yeah, and I got set up with bloglovin’!  So if you search smilesntrials on bloglovin’ it will make it even easier to follow along!  I hope we can have lots of fun doing a little low pressure Christmas prep!

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

 

Momma's groove

Why I have to get back to meal planning even in the summer

So, I wrote a post about meal planning a little while back.  But now it’s summer.  So you don’t have to meal plan in summer right?  Well, you might think not, but that’s not working out so great for me!  I felt like I wanted to be more relaxed for summer.  I figured I could just leisurely pick some yummy ingredients, and make meals on the fly and enjoy making meals with plenty of time in the day to enjoy it.  Yeah… Ok… What part of me forgot that I still have four busy, demanding children, and a long list of things that need to be done every day?!  Or that I’m pregnant and might just not feel like cooking or ya know, thinking, on any given day?!  Or the “minor” fact that with out a plan I might not have ingredients in my house that go well together to make an actual meal?!  Or… or… or…!  Yeah, so, not the best plan! I think it’s wonderful to allow things to be more laid back in the summer.  I think some leisure helps us to appreciate the structure we need during the rest of the year.  And on the same token I think we need to have a bit of release from structure at times just to be able to relax and maybe feel a bit rebellious!  Unfortunately I tend to be a bit rebellious by nature, so allowing myself to rebel here and there helps me to “adult” better when I really need to!

I do enjoy being able to spend more time on breakfast and lunch.  During the school year I only have so much time in the mornings to feed everyone and pack lunches.  So breakfast prep needs to be minimal or everyone ends up eating cold cereal or packaged granola bars!  The lunches I pack tend to also be pretty typical and not real exciting.  Which is a good reason to be prepared.  Since I can do things that take more time, it’s nice to make sure that I have all the necessary ingredients.  It’s really nice being able to make different things and try them out.  Other issues as far as lunch goes can be many.  If I don’t have a plan I often end up telling them “You know what we have, go grab something.”  Leaving it up to them is ok sometimes, but often leads to poor choices being made.  And, I know, you are going to think I’m a terrible mother, but I actually forget to feed them lunch sometimes!  I think “Oh yeah, I need to make some lunch.”  And then before I decide what to make I’m  distracted or busy, and the whining starts because everyone’s starving!  Yes I eventually feed them, but later than normal, and closer to dinner time than I would prefer.

Speaking of dinner, no plan often means no meat set out to thaw!  So late lunch isn’t the worst thing because we just might have a late dinner too!  And the sides are pretty repetitive and boring if I haven’t made a menu and thought of different options to offer with each meal, and compliment it nicely.

I leave days blank and try to have the ingredients for a few extra slow cooker meals in case I decide to go somewhere and won’t be home in time to cook.  I still try to keep it flexible, but for me it’s best to have a plan!

Oh, yeah, and as a bonus tip:  pre-planning snacks in the summer is a great idea.  One that I highly recommend.  Kids become bottomless pits when they’re home all day and want to snack just about as much as they breath!  I get annoyed when they make a lot of bad decisions, so I try to have some healthy, or at least kindof healthy stuff available.

What about you?  Any tips on Summer meal planning, cooking, or snacking?  I’d love to hear all about them in the comments!  I hope you’re having a great summer!  I’ll talk to you soon!

 

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do enjoy being able to leisurely cook breakfast, and can do things that are more time consuning

LUNCH:

Kids eat junk, or make poor choices

I forget to feed them

We eat later than we should, gets too close to dinner time

Dinner same as always, just easier with a plan.  Might forget to get meat out, not know what I have, etc.

 

 

Momma's groove

Calm like a duck!

Have you ever seen a duck floating on the water?  They look so peaceful don’t they.  They just seem to be sitting there floating. But do you know what’s going on under the water?  Even when it looks like the duck is perfectly still, it’s paddling ninety to nothin!  They have to move their little legs super fast to stay afloat, and to keep from being washed away in the currents.  (I’ve read that they don’t paddle nearly as fast when they are in relatively still waters, but that’s irrelevant to my point. 😉 So anyway….)

Do you ever feel that way as a Momma?  I do!  I actually think of ducks a lot.  Especially when I’m out by myself with all four of the kids at a restaurant, or worse, a clothing store…!  (I don’t know what exaclty happens when we walk into Kohls, but my two year old completely loses his ever-lovin mind!)  I’m trying desperately at times not to lose it.  At times it goes really well and it’s gotten easier as they’ve gotten older.  But there are times when I have a little one that doesn’t want to cooperate, I’m trying to figure out what everyone wants to eat, someone needs to potty, and I can feel the eyes of a not so understanding couple sitting a few tables away…  I’m trying not only to not get stressed, but not to act stressed.  I don’t want to look like a crazy, out of control woman that can’t handle her own children and needs a three week vacation!  Although, I might feel like one at times.  (For that matter, I might actually be one at times.)  So I think of those ducks.  No matter how frantically I’m trying to stay afloat, I want to maintain a peaceful demeanor.  For the sake of the kids too.  It’s not helping anyone out for all their memories of doing things to be filled with Mom being a stress ball and having an anxiety attack, snapping at everyone, and giving up and rushing out in tears.  Thankfully that hasn’t happened, but I’ve feared it a few times.

I can remember a particularly trying visit to IHOP.  At the time my third child was my baby.  She wasn’t happy at all to be there.  She was being crabby and my older two were complaining that it was taking too long to get our food.  Which it was.  I know it wouldn’t be fair, but seriously, they should expedite orders for tables with kids!  I don’t remember everything about the meal but I do remember that it was stressful.  A very kind elderly man came up to me and complemented me for how calm I was.  He clearly doesn’t know me personally, but that’s beside the point!  He saw me as a very calm Momma and that made me feel better because I was feeling anything but calm.  You know what I said in response to his compliment?  I smiled and said “Calm like a duck!”  He laughed and went on his way.  It did make me feel a bit better, but I definitely felt like a duck that day.  Paddling for dear life, to peacefully float on the surface.

So remember my mommy friends, think of our friends on the water when it’s taking everything you’ve got not to sink!  You can do it.  You can stay afloat, and have a good time.  Generally after the overwhelming craziness calms down, you can actually have a nice conversation or laugh about something with the kids.  And then you start to wonder what had you so worked up in the first place.  Until it happens again…!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

Momma's groove

To plan, or not to plan…? That is the dinner question…

I’ve been talking to some friends lately about meal planning.  I might make a video for y’all or do a periscope on exactly how I make my menu.  It’s a bit of a process so I’d have to show you to be able to explain it!  Do you like to have a plan?  Are you someone that can plan it enough in your head, that you buy the right groceries and can work it out with out much stress?  Or do you frantically search your refrigerator and pantry at 4:00, trying figure out something that you can cook by 5, or 6 to your starving crew?!

If I don’t have a plan I’m frantic when its time to cook.  I’ll remember early enough in the day that I need to get some meat out to thaw, but I’ll put it off and then end up not getting anything out!  That’s the beauty of a plan.  When I do remember, I can check my menu to see what I’m going to cook, get it out, and not think about it again until time to cook!  If it’s something that takes a little longer I can do some of the prep earlier too so that we aren’t eating super late.  It’s really a blessing to know what I’m making for dinner and not have to stress about it.  So why do I not always do it?

The funny thing is I love to have a menu, however, I don’t always love to make the menu.  It can be pretty time consuming.  It’s not really hard, and I’ve done some things to make it even easier.  Some things you can do to help are: Make a list of some favorites and what cook book and page # to find each;  Divide the days of the week into categories to make the decision making easier. i.e. ground beef, chicken, slow cooker…; Keep all your menu stuff in one place so that you’re not searching for something during the limited time you’ve set aside to plan.

I don’t love going to the grocery store either by the way!  That’s another way that having a menu really is a blessing to me.  I make a grocery list off of my menu and then get everything that I’m going to need, meaning less small trips back to the store!  It also helps me to spend less money because I’m less likely to grab things that I won’t use.  I know that I put plenty of meals on my menu, so if an item isn’t on my list I know that I don’t need it.

I’m trying to have a certain day of the month set aside for planning the next months menu.  I get it done very efficiently sometimes, and sometimes I don’t…  So I’m thinking if a certain day (The last Mon of the month, the 25th of every month, something like that) is always my meal plan day, it might help.  I’d love to hear from you!  How involved is your meal planning process?  I hope if you haven’t tried it you’ll give it a try and see what a burden it really can take off of you!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

Momma's groove

7 things to remember when your child doesn’t want to talk!

It breaks my heart when one of my children is upset about something and doesn’t want to tell me about it. That’s only happened a few times, but I fear it will happen more the older they get. Thankfully they are talkers (imagine that!) so I usually get the scoop from them with out much effort. But when it really matters, I hope we’ll be able to keep those lines of communication open.  Not much is worse than your child getting in the car looking like they’ve been crying, or trying not to.  Then you ask what’s wrong and they say “Nothing.”  Well, it’s obviously not nothing and the more you try to find out what it is, the more they refuse to tell you!  I’m no expert, and I’m sure once we are well into the teen years, I’ll have to revisit this post.  But here are a few things I’ve picked up on so far to keep in mind in those situations.

  1. Don’t push too hard.  If there’s anything that makes a person shut down, and not want to talk, it’s someone pushing and smothering them.  “Well, you need to tell me what’s wrong.”  “What did they say?  You can tell me.”  “Who? Who upset you?  Where are they?!”  These things usually do not help.  I’ve said these things during an actual conversation, and that’s fine.  But when you don’t know the story and you’re begging them to tell it to you, these questions are usually not helpful, and annoying.  As hard as it is, if they are asking for some space, it’s usually best to give it to them for a bit.
  2. Wait for a better time to talk about it.  Remember, there’s a good chance that whatever is bothering your child is embarrassing to them.  Yes you are Mom, but they can still be embarrassed to tell you about some things.  So it’s a good idea to hold off. That way some of the sting can die down, and you can talk to them in private, when no one else will hear.
  3. Offer to pray with/for them.  Ask them if they’d like for you to pray with them.  Prayer is conversation, so often listening to you converse with the Lord about their struggles, will encourage them to talk about it too.  If they don’t want to tell you what’s going on, you can pray in general for them.  And if they don’t want to pray together you can say “I’m going to say a prayer for you, what can I pray about?”  They might just say “That I will know what to do.”  Or something vague.  Or they might continue to shut you out and say “Nothing.”  But I think knowing that you are praying for them still means a lot to them even if they don’t say it.
  4. Be ok with them confiding in another trusted adult.  Now this does not go for everyone.  Don’t just say “As long as they are talking to someone, it’s ok with me.”  Unfortunately you can’t trust every adult you know with influencing your child’s thought process.  But, it’s good to have one or two other like minded, honest adults that they can talk to.  I know you hate to think that your child would ever not want to share with you.  But, sometimes they need someone other than Mom to talk to.  Sometimes Dad is better.  But often times a trusted aunt/uncle or grandparent is preferable.  My kids have a very close relationship with my sister.  Not only does she know my kids just about as well as I do, but she’s more patient than I am!  If they need to talk, and prefer it be with my sister, I’m totally ok with that.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of your child’s well being!  And if one of them were to talk to her and it be something they ask that I not know, it would be hard on me, but I could accept it.  Because I know she wouldn’t keep anything from me that I really needed to know.  (Like drugs, alcohol, a serious bully problem, etc.)  Not only do I trust her to tell me anything that I need to know, but I also trust her not give my child fuel for rebellion or to mistrust me. (It’s better they not talk to someone who will say things like “Your parents are being so unfair.” Or “Well that teacher shouldn’t be bossing you, she’s an idiot.”)
  5. Let them know that you are on their side.  If they aren’t wanting to talk and you can’t crack them, make sure you leave them with the right words swimming around in their mind.  Rather than “Fine, if you don’t want to talk, I give up!  Figure it out on your own, and we’ll see how that goes for ya!”  maybe something like “Ok, if you really don’t want to talk right now, I can respect that.  But the problem probably won’t just go away, so when you do need to talk, I’m here.  Whatever it is, I love you and nothing’s going to change that”
  6. Don’t let your imagination get the best of you!  Most the time when this happens it’s because the other girls wouldn’t sit with her at lunch.  Or the boys didn’t pass him the ball in gym class.  Things that made them feel really bad, and embarrassed.  Things that do have a real effect on them, but will pass.  When your child is huffy and is obviously dealing with something, don’t get too crazy in your head about it.  Most of the time they will tell you about it later on, and get passed it.  And most of the time it’s not that they are pregnant or decided to try smoking in the bathroom.  Don’t borrow trouble!  Wait until you know just how serious it is, to start having anxiety!
  7. Be willing to be there if it really is really real.  If it is something that’s for reals, like they really are pregnant, or did do something very wrong.  If someone hurt them on a deeper level, or any of the unthinkable things did happen…  Make it serious to you.  Don’t just ignore it and try to reason and make light of it.  I’m pretty sure it would be easy for a parent to go into some sort of denial.  So make sure to be willing to get them the help they need.  Be it counseling, rehab, medical treatment, or whatever.  This one could be it’s own post, so the short version is, remember that we already committed to #5 on this list, so stick to it.  Once something has happened, you can’t change it.  So help them to at least move forward.  No matter how the situation effects you, it’s about them and you have to see it that way and be there for them.

One thing we have to accept as parents is that hard times will come.  It won’t always be the happy, close relationship that we hope for.  There will be set backs, and real life issues.  The key I think, is to handle it the best way we can, and keep on keepin on!

Smile through the trials

Tiffany