Monday, November 27, 2017

Am I A Good Mother? A Real Answer

In a way seldom understood by even ourselves, we question who we are as mothers and whether or not we measure up.

To what?

We ourselves are not always sure. Society's expectations? Our mothers'? Our mother-in-laws'? Our husbands'? Our own?

You may find yourself trying to tick items off a list, looking for some kind of proof that you do, indeed, measure up. 'Am I patient? Am I kind? Do I read with them? Do I shout? Do I shout too often? Do I not discipline enough? Do I discipline too harshly?' The lists go round and round, always seeming to be longer the next time we review them.

But they all boil down to this: Am I A Good Mother?

I propose a long-sought after answer to this simple, yet humbling question, by answering the following three questions.

Ask yourself:

(for children around 12 and under)

1- Are my children safe? Physically, mentally, sexually, emotionally, etc.?

2- Do my children know they are loved?

3- Am I working to improve myself in 1-2 areas?

If you can answer yes to these, I say that you are. You are a good mother. There are many different lifestyles. One may shun the television, another may revel in its warm light for hours. One may enjoy McDonald's once a year, the other, far more frequently. One may read to their child for an hour a day. Another may not make it around to it. Choosing a different lifestyle, so long as it does not compromise your children's safety (McDonald's every meal, every day, for example, would be detrimental to their physical health) is merely a detail in their life and yours, not the definition of being a good mother.

We cannot be perfect in this life. Alas and alack. Would be that I could do everything right as a mother. But I can't. Nor can you. But you CAN work to improve, wherever you need to, bit by bit. That is all you can do and all that can be reasonably expected of you.

Ask yourself:

(for children around 12 and over)

1- Have I done all I can reasonably do to keep my children safe AND teach them to be safe themselves?

2- Have I done all I reasonably can to show love to them?

3- Am I working to improve myself in 1-2 areas?

The questions change slightly as your child matures, simply because we learn that we cannot control as much as we might like to. Children from good homes with good, loving upbringings can still make bad choices, things that cause them to be unsafe or feel unloved. This is something easily understood on paper but difficult to make your heart believe when you experience it. A child who strays, a child who deliberately chooses to endanger themselves, doesn't make you, their mother, bad or unworthy. If you can still answer yes to those three questions above, you are a good mom.

You can hear it from multiple sources, but until you yourself can believe that you are good at what you do, you shortchange yourself and your children. Have confidence. Be perfectly imperfect and still be just what your children need you to be.

Heavy the head that wears the crown. As queen of your own kingdom of children, you bear many responsibilities and all too often, useless guilt. Let that go. Believe that you can be, will be, and are a good mother.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Kid-Friendly Christmas Decor

I have a hand-painted, ceramic nativity set that my grandmother made herself when she owned her own ceramics shop. Every year when I pull it out, I take a little stroll down memory lane... And then I'm sure to place it on display where my kids are unlikely to ever reach or touch it.


What's the fun in that for your kids? Just one more thing they can look at but not touch? Christmas decorations are so fun, but most are very, lets say, best left along by chubby, tiny hands. I've loved Christmas my whole life, but now, as a mother with young kids, Christmas seems to take on an extra special meaning. I want to build fun memories and traditions with my kids that they can cherish their whole life through. (Let's be honest, though, that's basically every mom with young kids, right??)

Well, combine the desire to decorate for Christmas with the desire to build fun memories and you get- kid friendly Christmas decor! I have a few breakable, irreplaceable heirlooms that I display out of reach, but each year, I set up a kid-friendly display of Christmas decor that can be played with and then put back on display.

Please note the tiny fingers, ready
to wreak havoc on the display.
I love it.
What do I use? Felt elf hats with bells on top. A little metal pail filled with jingle bells. A plastic Nativity set. Christmas books. A sturdy musical snow globe. A small felt Christmas tree with 'gift boxes' filled with ornaments the kids can stick on it. A wooden sign with the word 'LOVE', all attached with double sided Velcro, so the kids can remove the letters and stick them right back on. Fun, hands on toys that can double as decor!

The display gets taken down and put up and scattered and re-set up multiple times, I assure you... But it's just so fun! My kids LOVE to be able to 'decorate' and play with decorations all on their own, with no mommy to come and scream 'don't you dare touch that, child!' I personally love that last part, too- no screaming! Yes, a handful of items are off limits, but the bulk majority (including one Christmas tree that is entirely filled with cheap, plastic bulk-store ornaments) are fun decorations that THEY get to be a part of doing. Over. And over. And over again. Because repetition is a mom's bread and butter, am I right? Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Furnishing Your Home on a Dime

For many years, it was necessary for me to decorate on a dime. By getting furniture at Goodwill, shopping yard sales, inheriting goods from my parents and above all, by grifting.

Image result for goodwill funny gross
Never know what
you'll find at Goodwill...
Grifting. This could well be one of my favorite words. A good friend has grown tired of something and decides, on a whim, to bestow me with it. It's like a gift... except it's used... and it's better than new! Through grifting, I have gotten sofas, chairs, cribs, mattresses, beds, rugs, toys, playhouses, you name it! In fact, if you look through my home carefully, you'll find an assortment of items that have been grifted to me, some as they are, some transformed through paint or new fabric.

As wonderful as it is to spend little to nothing on new decor for my home, it can be difficult to get the style you want without spending ANY money. Luckily for me, a new chapter has opened in my family's life, where I can actually go to the store and buy things I like! Amazing. Makes me feel like Cinderella at the ball to walk into a furniture store and be able to pick out anything I want!

That is, until I see the price tag. Perhaps it is because of my years of being on a tight budget. Perhaps it is my inherent desire to get a bargain. But whatever the cause, I have found it difficult to just waltz into a store and buy something at full price! Goodness forbid!

This is why I am a fan of They give you an assortment of retailers to peruse, as well as the ratings for each company, which is great! see, instead of merely offering a plethora of furniture and appliances all at full price, they have options for the budget-conscious mind (like mine, of course!)  and they make it possible for almost anyone to get the furniture and appliances they need.

  • Buy New or Second Hand
  • Use a Finance Option: Pay Weekly, Monthly or Pay Later
  • Make Use of Sales & Discounts
You can buy something new. At full price. If that fits your fancy. BUT. As a company, they offer second-hand merchandise, something unique with furniture companies (AND bargain saving). Not only that, they allow you several payment methods- right this moment, weekly payments, monthly payments, delayed payments (cause, hey, much as I hate debt, sometimes your fridge goes out and you HAVE to have a functioning one... immediately!) Then, of course, they have sales/discounts.

Bottom line, they have assembled with this company everything you need to make a worthwhile furniture purchase- many companies to select from, ratings included, AND the ability to buy what you need in the way that best suits you and your fam. Which, in the end, is the most you can ask for from any retailer- tailoring your purchase to your unique lifestyle.

(Did I mention they are based out of the UK? AKA, let my inner anglophile rejoice!)