Whining and general grumpiness descending on our house at 6:45 this morning.  This is an early wake up for my kids, and didn't really bode well for the rest of the day.  By 8:30 I had raised my voice at them.  More than once.  I try not to be embarrassed about what our downstairs neighbor hears coming from our apartment.

image from mind soup.  as a parent, this picture makes my blood run cold.  i can hear the misery...

Chicken has pinkeye.  I think the little Monkey is teething.  Or is just generally pissed off at the world.  Hard to tell.  I tried to avoid both of them this morning.  This is hard to do in a 900 square foot apartment.  I think I was seeking the "me" time that waking up early usually affords me.

After yelling at them for the nth time, I tried to approach it a different way and actually engage with them.  You know- play with them.  Sometimes I forget to do that- I am so desperate for some space from them that I try to (figuratively) push them away, when what is often more effective is just engaging with them.  Then they are happier and, often, will be happy to play on their own after they've gotten some time with the best mom on the planet.  [Ahem].  Either my sister or my sister-in-law calls this "filling their cup".  Spend time being present with them, fill up their little selves with the knowledge that they are loved and cared for, and be intentional about it.  Sometimes their whining is because they haven't had that undivided (or any) attention from me.  I can get pretty intent on boxing out and trying to protect myself from having to actually, you know, parent.  Like be involved and that sort of thing.

But I digress.  Back to this morning.  9:00 rolls around, I'm yelling at the kids, cursing a teensy bit here and there, and feeling like goodlordthedayhasen'tevenstarted.

So I breath.  Pray.  Engage.  Try to switch gears and switch approaches.  Do that parenting thing that involves playing with them, and not just peeling them off me and trying to get away.

I got a sheet out of the laundry closet.  "Hooray!  Sheet fort!".  Thinking of a headline something like this:  Mom of the Year rallies, against all odds!  Builds best sheet fort ever!  Peace and harmony are restored!

image from assorted colours

It was awesome for about 5 minutes.  Maybe 6.  Then the Monkey pulled it down for the eighteenth time and I tapped out.

I remembered some other words of advice for me, when parenting times are tough.  "Go out to eat.  Have someone else make your food and clean it up.  Preserve your sanity and buy time until naptime."  With that line of thinking in mind, we went and got a haircut for Chicken (entertainment!), shopped for new cloth napkins (retail therapy!), and ate pizza at Slice.

And naptime is finally here...  Ahhh...  

Some other advice I have gotten along the way:
1.  Make dinner during the kids' naptime.  Don't start dinner at 5:00- the "suicide hour".  Nothing good happens in this hour for kids under the age of 5.
2.  Paper plates and frozen pizza.  Don't be ashamed to call in either.

Golden advice that seems so obvious and wise, yet I had not considered.  Thank goodness for friends who can enlighten me like this.

Anyone else have tips on basic survival, for those days that just seem so bleak?


  1. I so enjoyed your post today! Especially with River being home from school now, I have to be creative to keep our sanity. Since I needed to get out today, I took them to the craft store and we picked out crafts to make for daddy. Then enjoyed lunch out and came home to work on painting our crafts. Helped the day go by w/o so much yelling or listening to the boys argue. Everyone was much happier. I have noticed that if I am home 2 days in a row, we have to get out. Even if it is for a walk in a local neighborhood for fresh air like we did this morning. Im with you though when they wake up early, Im so much grumpier. It is like I think I deserve the me time every morning with 2 little ones:)

  2. Ps. wish we lived closer together..it would be fun to get the fams together...

  3. My sister shared that phrase with me, too. http://www.feminagirls.com/2008/01/30/enough-to-go-around/

  4. Wait, no, her phrase was "pouring the oil." Same concept, though.

  5. kelly i am with you on getting out. a walk, some vitamin D, a change of scenery- all good things! and totally necessary.

    keely i just read that post and love it. thanks for passing that on.


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