What does a week day morning look like? Any tips to make it easier?
"Chaos! I have one very early riser (5:30-6:00)! He likes his routine of climbing into my bed and cuddling (ie--I'm supposed to be wide awake and scratching his back for twenty minutes). Then he gets sent to the kitchen for a breakfast snack and iPad time, while I shower and attempt to wake the girl child. She is NOT a morning person and from the moment she is up the peaceful morning is over. It becomes a flurry of dressing, double checking backpacks and taking care of the last minute whatever that comes up, "Oh Mom, I'm suppose to bring … to school today"."
"I've been a teacher for years now. I've told parents how to make mornings easier but now I'm living it! I wish I could take back all those great, "non-parent ideas". The only idea I still find brilliant would be all of us going to bed fully dressed, with the car fully loaded. It's just one of those things … we are a late running family."
Can you think of any activities your children do that give you a moment or two of free time?
"I have instituted 15 minutes of peace when we first get home from school. Everyone gets a snack and we all disappear to our rooms for 15 minutes. It's usually about 25 mins but now that Ava can tell time on her clock I'm notified at exactly the 15 minute mark. I have found it gives me just the right amount of time to adjust from "teacher mode" to "Mom mode".
We don't have cable or regular TV, only Netflix and Amazon Prime. It's a budgeting thing for me but when I really need time a movie or tv show comes out. Since we do not usually do this on a school night, it gets their attention."
Thanksgiving is coming, how do you teach your children to be grateful?
"My daughter actually just came this way. I often get a thank you or a hug of gratitude. I cannot say it's anything I did, it's just a part of her. My son, not so much. At four he still believes in childhood entitlement. However, we work on saying, "thank you" when he's given things."
"I try not to give them everything and keep their stash of "stuff" controlled. Some things I make them actually do jobs and save money for. I have seen better care and more excitement in these items than anything they've gotten just because they asked for it. Although, once when we were walking through Wal-mart and I let them pick something. You would have thought it was Christmas! I just don't do that, so it was kind of a big deal."
Can you share any of the funniest things your child has said or done?
"Of course I think that are a hoot, but then I know that's because I'm a proud Mama. Check out Facebook on August 7th and Feb 16th!"
How do you make quality family time?
"I think it's the small stuff. Ava and I doing dishes, Kaiden and I cuddling in the morning, eating dinner at the table and talking. Pizza and a movie most Friday nights, going out for donuts after church, reading books at bedtime. Once a week I try to play a board game with my kids."
"I try to stop and just "be" with them from supper to bedtime. Sometimes it's hard. I'm a single Mom and so many things need to be done, but I also want to just enjoy my kids. I waited so long to get them and I know how fast it goes. I resent things that take away my time with them in the evenings, but therein also lies my most guilt. Many times the stuff of life is exhausting and I'm just not energetic in the evenings or I just need to get other things done before my brain turns off for the day. Sometimes it's later in the week and I realize I have been at the computer too many evenings rather than with them."
What is your family fun play date location? Library, Park, Mini golf?
"I love to travel, so we hop in the car and take off. My kids love going to a hotel and swimming. We also go to museums and zoos, whenever possible."
Please finish this sentence: It's okay to ........................……
"It's okay to let the house go and just hang with the kids."
Some times parents face tough situations, a pet disappears or dies. Someone is terribly ill. What is your approach to communication with your child what is going on?
"Both of my kids have been adopted out of foster care and then my mother passed away within the first years they were with me, so loss is just a part of us."
"I have had some of my most serious struggles with my own faith during these times, but I try to be as honest with them as I can. I don't try to hide when I cry. We have talked about heaven I have explained that I do not have all the answers, but I know God has a plan. One thing we discuss is God's ability to bring "beauty from ashes" and restoration to our lives. We are, in fact, a "family of proof" that God does care about little children and does answer prayers."
"I think the harder thing is to explain (and live out) is that it's okay to love your first mother and to love your "forever mom" too. It's not a competition. My kids needed parts of three people to be who God wants them to be; bio parents DNA and to be raised by me. There is no guilt in wanting things this way and in being thankful to be in this forever family. I find I am a jealous Mom and want all of them but if I communicate that it's like saying I don't love the parts of them that aren't me. (which is quite a lot) So we have talked about love being a special thing-- the more you love the more you have so there is, in fact, enough for the three of us."
What is your go to snack when your kids need food 'Right NOW!'?
"Fruit Roll Ups and Apples."
When do you most feel Mom-guilt?