Mornings at our house.

I’ll be the first to say I’m NOT a morning person. Neither is my husband. We’ve clearly passed this down to our kids. Honestly, happy people in the morning make us all a bit stabby.

Mornings are normally kind of frustrating for all of us, because we’re all just kind of passing the pissy mood back & forth. Most mornings, I rush out of bed to get R fed, because she’s always the first to rise. She likes to make sure L wakes up with her, so I have to get some liquid happiness into her before she gets a chance. I’ve gotten this morning exchange kind of down to a science. I change her while she’s eating because I don’t have it in me to wrestle my alligator baby first thing in the morning. But before I even bother, the coffee maker is started. I have priorities, y’all.

Our morning is likely not “typical”, because as well as hating mornings, we also hate breakfast. Unless it’s in liquid, caffeinated form. Lately, once L is awake & I’ve had my first cup of energy, I’ve taken to pulling what I’ve dubbed a “smoothie kit”(which is just frozen fruits and veggies already cut up & frozen together in a bag) out of the freezer in the mornings, whipping up a quick smoothie for us, and then we all sit around, pissy & waiting for daylight to become acceptable to us.

It should be mentioned that we’re LATE risers. Like 10-11am. All of us. It stems from when B used to work nights and we kept really weird hours. Now we just can’t shake it. For the most part, it’s nice. Except that in the “normal” mom world, playdates start at 9am, and we aren’t even cleaned up until after “lunchtime”, which is more like breakfast/smoothie time for us. I really don’t have it in me to adjust our whole life for that, though.

When the girls finally get up the energy/tolerance to play, I hang out on the floor until we’re ready to extend our bubble to the outside world. If we’re doing something, it usually doesn’t happen until 2pm, because I don’t really have my $#!& together the way I should. By the time we’re all clean, dressed, and human, morning has long since passed. Even then, none of us are super dedicated to the idea of being around other people, but we manage enough to be normal citizens for awhile.

Maybe it’s not that we aren’t morning people, but that we aren’t daytime people. I’m beginning to think we did better at this whole thing when we were halfway to nocturnal.

Activities with small children.

We’ve passed around cold after nasty cold this spring, resulting in a ton of time indoors when it would’ve been lovely to get out & see the world. We’re finally on the upswing of a particularly nasty bout of plague, so today, my husband’s day off, we decided to get out & do something fun.

We frequent the zoo (our zoo is one of the best in the country), and we basically live at our local science center, but today called for something new & special. My bright idea was mini golf, and since we have a Games & Golf fun center nearby, we decided that was as good an activity as any. It was a lovely 75 degrees, sunny with a slight breeze, so the perfect day for it.

We loaded up and headed there. We popped the 10 month old in the baby carrier on my back, paid for our golf, grabbed our golf balls and putters, and headed out. Fun hopefully to ensue.

L, at 2.5, has never played mini golf. We have high hopes that she’ll find the idea interesting, and at first, she watches intently, taking our golf balls with her on a journey far past par. She delights in walking up to the hole and plopping her ball in. We think we’re doing okay. Two holes in, a mother and elementary school age kid are behind us, so we decide to let them pass us by. Mistake #1 is made. That’s given L the time to entirely abandon the idea of playing the game. She’s now just running around the greens, standing in the way of our potential holes-in-one. This turns into her spinning in circles, swinging her club around. Thankfully for my shin, it only connected with a plastic toddler club.

When we finally come to the end of our 9-hole game, having long since abandoned the idea of asking her if she’d like to take a turn, we convince L to drop her ball in the final hole. This particularly course has a final hole that feeds your ball into some dark abyss beneath the green, never again to be seen by tiny toddlers. L is not impressed. Luckily, there are arcade games inside to buy us time before we hit our first tantrum. Thankfully, R has ridden happily the entire time on my back, and has barely made a peep, so we have this on our side.

When we’re done with our games, we cash in our tickets for a $.05 fairy wand at the counter. Big win in a toddler day. Not so much for the parents who will be responsible for refereeing the fight to come over who gets to play with said fairy wand…

We had a fun day, if not a bit aimless. But that’s kind of the name of the game when you have small kids. They will inevitably find fun in everything but the intended activity, which is fine, especially when you consider how nice it was to feel some fresh air on our faces, and watch her spinning around in the sunlight, and had zero tantrums the whole time. I’d call that a pretty successful day on the books.

 

Mom groups FTW.

If you’re a mom (or a dad) on Facebook, chances are, you’re part of one. These groups of seemingly put-together, all-knowing, been there done that, types of parents can be really daunting. In this modern world where everyone has an intimate view into your life and your parenting choices — like… On a blog — being judged feels like a constant pressure.

These mom groups can be difficult to maneuver when you’re figuring out where you belong. And frankly, some of them are not going to be a good fit for you, maybe even downright BAD for you. But if you keep looking for your niche to fall into, mom groups can become your best asset as a growing parent. It’s okay to ditch the others. Maybe even good.

As a member of many (too many?) mom groups, and creator of my own group, I know how quickly things can turn from seemingly innocent discussion to WWIII, because mama bears will attack. But I can say with complete and total honesty, I would be an entirely different parent if I hadn’t joined the Facebook group scene. I was introduced to cloth diapering, home births and intactivism via various local mom groups. I met some of my good friends in them, and reconnected with some people I knew in school but hadn’t really known. I found guidance, I gave advice, and I struggled alongside other parents who had similar lifestyles.

I found out just how much it can mean to have a virtual stranger say “I’ve been there” and really understand in a way that the real figures in my life just couldn’t. I rallied behind moms like me when they needed someone to understand.

In the isolated world of parenting, I found a place where I could be real, instead of putting on a brave face for the “outsiders” that I occasionally saw in my real life. The amount of weight that lifts when you no longer have to respond with a smile & a “we’re fine” is life changing in such a small, but huge, way.

When you find a group where you can be a flawed and struggling parent, and still be seen as strong and amazing, you’ll know you’ve found a good place.

You’ll know when you find yourself wanting to tell these people all your joys and all your pains. You’ll know when you feel safe telling someone you’re failing today. It’ll be a turning point in your journey as a parent. Because in a way, you’ll be stronger and better for having found them & they’ll be better for having received you into their world.

If you’re a parent, and you haven’t found that group, I urge you to keep trying. They don’t need to be local. They don’t need to be perfect. They just need to be there when it sometimes feels like no one else will.