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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Right Time for Resolutions

Jules here-

It's almost the end of January- time to start on those pesky resolutions....

Honestly, I haven't been motivated even to reflect on what needs self-improvement with my time being consumed with extra work hours, finding a home, and homeschooling-- but, since I might have found a new home (I am NOT going to jinx it, I have had some cruddy luck lately with home buying) I am ready to consider some lofty goals for the new year. 

With kids, after awhile one tends to give up on "keeping up" with chores, cleaning, and organizing. I definitely gave up on my last home--I let them win.  I am hoping with the new home I can re-focus my efforts to start fresh. So instead of New Year's Resolutions, I give you my New Home Resolutions:

  • Sticking to a Meal Plan- At times, I have been fantastic with planning my weekly meals, following a budget with groceries, and rotating through healthful dishes for the family.... but when I get busy I tend to "whip" up quick dinners without much thought, and the children tend to eat quite a lot of pasta.  On pinterest, there are dozens of boards that focus on weekly meal planning, schedules, and freezer-meal-making that should make my cooking life easier.

    I like the magnet idea, less writing on my part
  • Coming up with a Chore Chart- My children know they have to clean their toys up, brush their teeth, etc., but I hate to nag, threaten, and reward constantly.  I want a silent system. I want a daily board that they can glance at and realize, "Hey, I haven't finished what needs to be done, so I better not even think of asking Mom for dessert or screen time."  Plus, I want my children to have more responsibility so as they get older they will continually make contributions to running the household.  I have to make this system non-reader friendly as my younger two need this more than my older one, so I am thinking of coming up with some kind of picture/magnet system.  Once I hone this- I will post my results.  
  •  A Receipt-Based Budget- I am fantastic at estimating budgets, but I want a more specific budget this year, in which I need to keep all of my receipts to track spending. It sounds old-school but I think it will help me stay on top of my spending even more.  I want a whole financial "center" on my desk so I can always have a place for receipts, bills, and financial documents.

    The Muppet Show Night!  They LOVED it!
  •  More Scheduled Fun- Sounds tedious, right?  I always see these fantastic ideas about hosting a "Family Game Night" or "Movie Night", preparing a "Theme Dinner," or "Dates with Each Kid".  I love those ideas, and my children love it when I plan something special/different for them.  I would use my meal plan to reinforce the "Fun" night by preparing an appropriate menu! 

    Courtesy of
  • Cleaning Schedule- My most ambitious goal of all: stick to a chore chart for myself.  I want to have the "clean house" feeling every day not just once in awhile, but I don't want to go crazy. I have read all the blogs, posts, and Internet sites claiming if you just keep a daily schedule, life will run smoothly- we shall see....
Start your betting now-- how long do you think my new ambitious schedule will last? Odds are not in my favor.... but I am going to try! 

Easy Rule #5352- It's never too late to start anew.

Easy Rule #523490- If your house gets too dirty or messy- sell it and buy a new one.

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How we are passing the winter: James is waiting outside of Pop-pop's door to play pool with him.  And, yes, he is wearing "basketball" shorts as he is still obsessed with sports.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mommy Shaming--Nursery or Not?

Ems here (believe it or not)--

I've told you all before that I am a naturally lazy person. I know some of you didn't believe me, thinking to yourselves, "Oh, she's so modest!" or "No one can be lazy and have that many children!"  Well, now you know better, don't you.  I am not shy about my faults, and laziness is a big one. I have felt completely uninspired to write in this here blog, and like a student given an assignment that is not to be graded, took the easy way out and simply didn't participate.  Poor Jules. Luckily for me, she is naturally industrious (although ironically my name actually means industrious) and will frequently perform onerous tasks that lazy folk shirk--like cleaning and working out and blog posting.

Anyway, I've been filling my time with my favorite pregnancy occupation: reading various posts on  Not only does the website have a fantastic Baby Names board (of which I will post at length another time), it also maintains a Birth Club forum that a gal can join depending on her due date. Thus, I am a member of the February 2015 club. Often the posts are repetitive and written by first time moms, e.g. "Do You Think My Water Broke?" or "How Long Did You Push For?" Sometimes the posts are drama-filled ravings about cheating boyfriends or baby showers gone horribly wrong or insane in-laws. By the 3rd trimester, the board is inundated with the exciting news of "She's/He's Here!" and beaucoup adorable wrinkly newborn photos flood the site.  Frequently, the ladies are up in arms over controversial topics: breastfeeding vs. formula; to vaccinate or not; circumcision vs. intact; working moms vs. stay at home moms; epidural vs. natural.

Can you see why this is my go-to site during these 9 months? Never a dull moment!

Typically, I don't offer my .02 unless I feel particularly passionate on a topic, or if I feel like I can be of assistance in directly answering a question.  Because I don't often engage in the online debates, I thought our blog would be a better forum for me to share some concerns that I've had when witnessing mom interactions across all types of posts.  I'm not sure if you all are familiar with the term "Mommy Shaming" but it is often used to describe the one-upmanship and subtle snobbery that mothers experience from their peers when it comes to all aspects of child-rearing. Although I could talk for years about all the examples I've seen on the hot-button subjects mentioned above, one recent thread caught my attention because it sneaked up on us all by being truly controversial: "Will You Let Your Newborn Go to the Nursery at Night?"

Now first thing of interest was to note that many moms jumped on the thread announcing that their hospital doesn't even have a nursery anymore! Those rooms--the images we all have in our heads, with rows and rows of darling sausage-wrapped pink and blue bundles of joy in clear plastic bassinets--are apparently becoming a thing of the past.  The hospitals sans nurseries are being termed "Baby Friendly," essentially meaning that the baby remains near the mother approaching 99% of the hospital stay, for both feeding and bonding purposes. The skeptic in me (the part that is the wife of an overworked nurse) wonders how much of the nursery abolition is due to staffing shortages...hmmm.......

Whatever be the motivation, however, moms were quick to pronounce, "Why would you even WANT to send your baby to the nursery??" and "I just can't stand to let my baby out of my sight for one single moment during the hospital stay!" Or even "I wouldn't want some stranger caring for my baby!"

And thus the mommy shaming begins.

Anyone posting after this, indicating that she may take advantage of the nurses' care for a few hours in the night so she can rest and recover from an arduous labor, is now perceived as less nurturing and less attached to her new child.  It's so interesting to me that in this feminist society, which has no problem with daycare at 6 weeks so mom can get back to her career, mothers have been convinced that the two days in the hospital post delivery are the cornerstone for a nurturing bond. I found myself wondering how mothers who adopt a child ever truly bond with the baby if that's the case? Or what about those poor women who have emergency surgery and can't hold the baby for hours afterward ergo missing the lauded "golden hour" of nursing which is a hallowed event in these hospitals?

I just feel bad for moms everywhere that we have to feel this constant gnawing of guilt and competition, and that it starts even before our babies emerge into the world.  There's no way we can do or be everything, and the sooner we stop presenting ourselves as perfect to each other, the sooner we can get about the difficult business of motherhood.

Will you shame me because my children are eating Nutella out of the jar? Perhaps you will try, but you will not succeed!!

Easy Rule #55446--There's no shame in needing a break or in asking for help; baby needs a healthy and happy mom!