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5 Creative Ways to Get FREE Babysitting!

5 Creative Ways to Get FREE Babysitting!

If you are like me, you have meaningful relationships in your life that need to be cultivated besides the relationship you have with your kids. You may be a wife needing to spend time away from home with your husband or a single mom wanting time with your friends.  Regardless of your situation, spending time cultivating relationships with other adults is vital to your mental well-being! Finding that time is not always easy; especially when your kids are not old enough to be home alone. Sure, you could pay to hire a sitter or you could take advantage of these five ways to get a sitter for FREE!

Be Eventful – Taxiing your kids to birthday parties and sporting events can crowd out your personal time on the weekends. Maximize those moments!  Check with the party host or another responsible adult at the event to see if you can leave your kids there under their watchful eye. Use that time to catch a movie and go to dinner if time permits.

Be Creative– Who says a date or alone time has to be relegated to Friday or Saturday nights? Try day time dates. Use those valuable hours while your kids are at school to plan a day out! Take advantage of the smaller crowds and inexpensive pricing of movies and lunch menus that are offered through the daytime only.

Be Giving– Who understands your need for a date or alone time more than anyone? Another mom does. Work out days and times where you can keep each other’s kids at no cost. Perhaps every 4th Friday night she can drop her kids off at your house, and you can drop your kids at her house every 2nd Friday night.  Each of you stands to benefit from giving free time to each other. You can never lose when you give!

Be Relative– Family matters, especially when it comes to needing a sitter. Grandparents, mature teen nieces, younger siblings, and other trusted family members should be at the top of the list when it comes to needing someone to keep the kids. Their familiarity with your kids and loving family bond can make them an easy choice when you need to get away.

Be Community-Minded– Your local community churches or fitness centers may offer FREE Parent’s Night Out services on a monthly basis. A gym in my local area offers it to those with gym memberships. Look out for free babysitting services like this in your community. Check your local newspaper, or ask around. What you need could be right there in your neighborhood!

Supermom Tip– Do not compromise cultivating other meaningful relationships in your life because you don’t want the hassle or expense of getting a sitter.  Your other relationships matter, too! Occasionally dedicating some time to those relationships will help you achieve an overall balance to your life.

Do you know anyone who could benefit from these ideas? Please share this with others via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Fire the MAID, Hire the COACH- Making the SHIFT

I confess I was sort of late learning to ride a bike. I was so girly, I didn’t want to fall off a bike and scar my legs (don’t judge me). By the time I got the courage to learn how to ride a one speed bike, most of my cousins I wanted to ride with had moved on to the ten speed bike. It was bigger and better, yet a little more complicated. The ten speed bike came with gears that I could shift to adjust the bike, making for a much easier ride up or down a hill. That feature alone made the ten speed bike better than the one speed bike. If you have ever had to walk alongside your one speed bike instead of riding it while going up a hill, you know exactly what I mean!

Moms, can you imagine life in one speed? I can. I did one speed for a while, but the journey got hard. Living life in one speed wasn’t intentional. It was subtle—very subtle. I imagine I was like most moms. My husband and I brought that beautiful bouncing baby girl home from the hospital and I went into action—feeding, changing diapers, bathing, changing clothes, combing hair, doing laundry, packing baby bags, and on and on and on. I did it day after day, month after month, year after year, and I neglected to shift. It just became natural for me to do it all, even after I had my second child. I was too exhausted as the mom of two young girls, only 18 months apart (yeah, almost twins). I did manage to make some minor adjustments along the way, but I can’t say I had actually shifted gears. I didn’t even realize I was supposed to shift gears. The realization came when my 7-year-old niece came to stay at our home for the weekend. She was about the same age as my girls, but she was extremely independent. She took showers (not 30 minute baths with the perfect water temperature, bubbles, and toys). She had selected and packed her own clothes, managed her own hair fairly decently, and much more. I was SHOCKED! It had never occurred to me that my girls were at the age where they could do more for themselves. Somewhere along the way, between the hustle and bustle of life, and the longing to just get things taken care of, I had become like a maid, an unpaid maid I should add.

That day I did what any good mom would do- I FIRED the MAID, and HIRED the COACH! This revelation did not mean I would no longer serve my kids, it just meant I would start training them as well. I honor and respect the position of a maid, and in no way am I putting it down, but in the life of a mom, the maid must be a seasonal position. You must know when to shift gears and start coaching instead. A maid does everything for you. A coach trains, instructs, and prepares you. Prepares you for what? They PREPARE you to WIN the upcoming game (of life). Once the game begins, the coach isn’t allowed to get in the game and play for the player. At best, the coach can give guidance from the sidelines. A great coach uses practice time to show the player what to do, watches them do it, and then gives them any needed correction or further guidance until they can successfully do it on their own. The coach is satisfied from seeing the player use the preparation he or she taught them, and score big during the game! Just like game day comes for the player, the day will come where your child will be on their own, putting all your instruction into action. Prepare them NOW to WIN when that time comes. But keep in mind, WINNING TAKES TRAINING!

That ten speed bike I mentioned earlier is much like the life of a mom. As our children grow, we have to make the necessary adjustments for a much easier ride. I have seen it time and time again, you know, that burned out feeling you get when you don’t shift gears. That is because LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO BE LIVED IN ONE GEAR. Most of the time when the moms I know get burned out I ask them what are their responsibilities and what are their kid’s responsibilities around the house. I have usually found it’s the mom doing it ALL! Some moms do it all because they got in one speed and stayed there. Due to a lack of knowledge, they missed the shift. Other moms do it all because they don’t want to teach and train. They figure it will save them time and frustration just to do it themselves. That way they know it will be done right. Then there are some moms who have a need to be needed by their child. They attach what they DO for the child with their VALUE to the child, so they joyfully do it all. Moms, please know you are an invaluable treasure simply because of who you ARE, not only because of what you DO for your child. You are valuable just because you are their mom. Remember, when you do it all, you rob your child of the benefit of being responsible and knowing HOW to do things. If the President and First Lady of the United States make their daughters have responsibilities in the White house, why can’t our kids have some responsibilities in our house? Let’s evaluate where we are now so we can make the SHIFT!

Evaluate What – Make a written list of what your household responsibilities are. The best way to get a complete list is to write down every household related thing you do over the next seven days. Seeing it in writing will give you much more clarity than just thinking about your responsibilities in your head. If you’re exhausted just looking at the list, you probably need to shift!

Evaluate Why– Look at each task on your list and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Is it because your kids are infants? Is it because your kids are too busy (this busy kid thing will be in an upcoming blog)? Do you pity your kids, and think giving them responsibilities is unfair? Be HONEST with yourself. There may be some good reasons. There may also be some not so good reasons. It’s okay, that’s why you are doing this evaluation.

Evaluate Who & When– Who can do what you are doing? When can they start? This is about establishing age appropriate duties for your kids. If your toddler can take toys out the toy chest, they can also put toys back in the toy chest. Have you ever observed all the duties a child has at their school? Even the kindergartener has to empty their own lunch tray. Why can’t they empty their dinner plate at home? Can your 7-year-old access the cabinets? Have them help put away clean dishes. Maybe they can put canned goods neatly in the pantry. Are you still waking your kids up every morning? Why not get them their own alarm clock without a snooze button? Are you still telling them when to get in and out the shower? Put a timer in there; let them set it to 10 minutes before they get in the shower; when it goes off, they have to get out the shower. Can your child fold towels, move clothes from the washer to the dryer? Do they know their colors? If so, get a dark, white, and bright-colored laundry baskets and have them sort the clothes accordingly. Teach them to make their bed correctly, instead of you doing it for them. You get my point, right coach? Show them how, do it with them, watch them do it, make corrections as needed, and then let them have it. You will always OVERSEE everything and hold them accountable, but you don’t have to DO everything.

SUPERMOM Tip– Making the necessary shifts can help you not to burnout quickly. It’s not about making lazy moms, but making responsible kids! Coach your kids on how to do things for themselves. When game time comes, they will be ready, and you will be proud to watch them WIN!

What are your thoughts? Have you been the maid for too long? Do you plan to implement these steps? I enjoy your feedback and comments.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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PREP(aration) SCHOOL

PREP(aration) SCHOOL

Frustration and tension you could cut with a knife…..These were not feelings of a woman that had just found out some heart wrenching news. Oh no. This was ME getting my two beautiful little girls ready for church every Sunday morning– alone. My husband would leave early to play in the band at church, and I was left to myself to find tights, dresses, bows, shoes, and all the other things little girls wore. (Insert sympathy here). Oh and somewhere along the way I was supposed to get myself together and show up at church on time, looking fabulous, feeling refreshed, and ready to worship! This was NOT my reality however. While I hoped and wished it would all work out, every distraction imaginable would come up. The tights I thought they would wear had a huge hole right in the knee area. The hair bow that matched the dress would be missing in action. I would manage to locate the right foot dress shoe, but what happened to the mate of that dress shoe when I needed it most? The ticking away of my precious time made it more and more apparent that my desired departure time was NOT going to happen. The tension would mount as I came to the harsh realization that I would be late…..again. Arriving late to church also meant there would be no space left in the nursery for my kids, and no seat left in the sanctuary. I felt defeated before I even left my home. Oh happy day……
During one of these Sunday morning drama filled episodes, I threw myself a pity party and invited the Lord to join me. I needed Him to tell me why this was so difficult for poor me to get to church on time. With tear filled eyes, I heard Him speak this within me clearly, “YOU are in control of your time.” What???? Did I misunderstand something here God? How is it that I am in control of my time when all these unexpected situations keep getting thrown at me? I mean, I AM THE VICTIM HERE, right? He said, “Everyone gets the same 24 hours.“ Finally, I got it.
You see, I felt like nobody had circumstances quite like MINE. I thought my available time was shorter than everyone else’s. I started to believe I was the only person in the world who had the horrible plight of getting two kids ready for church alone. Those, my friends, are the thoughts of a VICTIM, and a VICTIM never gets VICTORY, only SYMPATHY.
Once I recognized that dark evil forces were not congregating together every Saturday night to plan my Sunday morning demise, I saw who and what the REAL problem was. It and she could be found in my mirror. It was ME. Understand this–the mother of ten kids, the surgeon that spends 14 hours in the operating room, the pastor of a mega-church, the single mother that works full-time while working on her college degree, the elementary school teacher with the overcrowded class, the single father of a special needs child, the business owner, and I were all on a level playing field when it came to TIME. Each of us were dealt the same 24 hours to make it happen, regardless of our circumstances. Suddenly the tears dried up, the tension left, and I went from being powerless to powerful in an instant. Now all I needed was a STRATEGY. After I accepted the responsibility over my use of time, it was instantly clear what I had been doing wrong. I had not PREPARED. I was getting up every Sunday morning rolling the dice, hoping and wishing I would win, instead of planning to win. A WISH is NOT a PLAN. There is a great saying that says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Use the following tips to make your plan and WIN:


1) PREParation– Decide the night before EXACTLY what you and your kids will wear, and then do a dress rehearsal to identify any issues. Are the tights free of holes and do they still fit? Do their clothes have any missing buttons, stains that were not removed during the washing process, etc.? Inspect everything and address any issues. Once each piece passes inspection, put it all together on a hanger. Place smaller items such as jewelry, hair bows, socks, bow tie, etc. in a small bag, and place it on the neck of the hanger. This may not seem like a big thing, but it is. It is those little details we overlook that snowball and eat away at our time.

2) Plan– Write the vision. Write out a schedule and allot a certain amount of time to it. A written plan increases the chances of it being an accomplished plan. If your kids can read, give them a copy. Both time and money must be given a specific assignment upfront, or they will aimlessly wonder everywhere, accomplishing nothing. Write each task that needs to be accomplished and delegate a frame of time to it. What time will you be in the shower? How long? What time will you comb their hair, feed them breakfast? How long will each task take? How long does it take for you to get ready? Is it better to do that before you wake your kids up or after? Be very specific and don’t leave out even the smallest of details.

3) Delegation– What are you doing for your kids that your kids could do be doing on their own? (We will discuss this more in a later blog). Is there anything you can delegate out? Can you put premeasured cups of milk in the refrigerator and covered bowls of cereal on the table and let them take it from there? Can they dress themselves? Make their own bed? Can the older child help the younger child with some things? Sometimes we think we have to do it all, when we don’t really have to.

4) Organization– This is a blog subject within itself! Elimination and organization will make all the difference. Organization involves creating a systematic place to put things, and a systematic way of doing things. Why didn’t I make this step #1? I did not make it step #1 because getting organized is a project that can take time. You can make a lot of progress by doing steps 1 & 2, even though things are not quite organized yet. Designate time to get everything in order. You won’t regret it!

5) Celebration– You finally got it right so celebrate, and get the kids in on it! Create a special little dance, handshake, or facial expression with your kids when you all accomplish a goal. That celebration will create a special memory between you and your kids. Celebration creates motivation. Motivation helps create repeat performance!

SUPERmom Tip: Super moms don’t have to be stressed out moms. Eliminate the stress, strain, and frustration that come as a result of improper planning. Creating a winning plan will help you enjoy the life you deserve with your family!

Do you plan to implement any of these steps? Do you currently implement any of these steps? If so, how is it working for you? I would love to hear back from you!

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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