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#31 of 51 Old 07-08-2011, 06:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

Just another thought....

 

How much of parenting is trying to be the parent you wish you'd had growing up?


For me its very much the opposite - I'm trying to be as good a mother as mine was!  And I'm trying to fill my dad's shoes too b/c my ex is kind of a jerk.  My parents were pretty much the best EVER, and still are.  If I do half as well as my parents did, I'll be doing fantastic.  It gives me something to shoot for.

 

I'm told very often what a good mother I am, but I feel like those people only see the "good" parts, and I'm the one that see's the "bad" parts.  But, DS and I are very attached to each other, we have lots of fun together, and he's a very happy, bright, wonderful little boy with LOTS of love for everyone. 

 

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#32 of 51 Old 07-08-2011, 06:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


I want to amend my answer.  winky.gif

 

I have little moments when little things happen and I do feel like I'm a good mom. They aren't measuring sticks or standards, just things I notice and feel positive about my family and how things are going.

 

For example, at dinner the other night, one of my kids spilled a drink and it really went flying. No one got upset, and everyone quickly worked together to clean it up. There was no blame, no shame, no "I don't want to help cuz I didn't make the mess."  There was something to clean up, and everyone quickly pitched in without being told. And I figured that was the result of some good parenting. thumb.gif

 

It's just little things, though, nothing big. The little moments of connection with my kids, the little moments when they amaze me.



I always enjoy your posts, LOTM, and I'm really glad that you did amend your previous answer.  Even when life is throwing curve balls, and things are crazy, sometimes giving ourselves positive feedback is good for us.  Seeing, and acknowledging, when things go right is good for us - when I feel good about things I push forward, and keep trying to get better.  I'm certainly not perfect (goodness, no one is!), and there are things that I want to do differently, but I always try to take the good moments and make them last just that much longer, and revel in them a bit.

 

Like today, I took DS swimming at the pool before dropping him off at daycare.  We had so much fun, and he was singing his favorite song to me in the pool, he was jumping off the side so I could catch him, and just having a blast.  I felt like a pretty good mom then, b/c I was at the pool playing with my little guy.  It was a good moment.  And then tonight, he wanted me to lay with him at bedtime for a moment.  So I did, I laid down in bed, and gave him a few kisses, and laughed when he said, "Shhhh, its bedtime" in a whisper.  Then I left the room, and checked on him 5 minutes later to find a peacefully sleeping toddler - and I don't know about you, but I just love watching my little guy sleep, theres something so peaceful about it!

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#33 of 51 Old 07-08-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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"How do you know you're a good parent?"

 

I don't. I do my best. It's all I've got.

 


One of my family's favorite sayings comes from my grandma (or was it great grandma?): "Do you best, even the angels can do no more."

 

The other piece that I'd add: Sometimes, your best is better than than it is on other days. Or as one my friends put it when I was going through postpartum anxiety/depression and trying to teach a demanding college course at the same time: It's OK to be a B teacher some days. It's OK to be a B parent. Some days I'm lucky to achieve being a C parent. As long as don't descend into below average too often, I'm doing OK.

 

I was a B- parent this afternoon -- my back hurts and so I'm cranky. I was playing with dd, ds wanted to do something different with dd, and his negotiation failed. They descended into arguing. I descended into yelling at them and slamming my door while I calmed down. Not great parenting. But you know, I came and gave ds a hug shortly after that. When dd was finally ready to take her stuffed animals 'camping' in the front  yard she came down the stairs and said "I'll need help opening the front door." I was right behind her and thought I'd open the door. However, ds was in the kitchen, heard her and opened it for her. He did that despite the fact that he was still a little ticked with her for not playing soccer with him. That's one of those little moments that Linda on the move mentioned that made me think, OK, I must be doing a little something right.

 

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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


It's just little things, though, nothing big. The little moments of connection with my kids, the little moments when they amaze me.


yeahthat.gif I'm not sure if the little things tell me that I'm doing well as a parent, or if they just inspire me and give me energy to keep going.

 



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Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post

Just another thought....

 

How much of parenting is trying to be the parent you wish you'd had growing up?

 

For me, very little. My parents were decent parents. Not perfect, but pretty good. True my attempts at 'best' parenting look different from my parents' attempts, but I have different tools and different knowledge. They did the best they could in some trying circumstances and more importantly, they got one fundamental thing right: They loved and respected their children for who they are, not who they wanted them to be. I think if you can do that most days, you'll be OK.

 

For me, seeing my kids' behavior as a reflection of my parenting would feel a lot like viewing their blue eyes as a reflection of my parenting. I mean, yeah, they've got blue eyes because dh and I have blue eyes, but it's not like it's something we actively chose. Ds gets compliments all the time because he's a quiet, respectful kid. He doesn't get into trouble because he's cautious. Teachers love him because he does his work, he doesn't goof off or talk too much in class, he helps others, and he's creative. Nothing we did made him like this, he was born like this. Should we take credit for that?


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#34 of 51 Old 07-10-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cumulus View Post

  Noticing little things, being fully

present in little moments, seeing little changes

in people, sensing little changes in emotion, noticing

the little things people love or hate is the stuff of a

full life for all.


Thats beautiful, and so true.

 

I wanted to comment again on the 'using public behavior as a yardstick' concept. I mean, i think im a pretty good mom, most of the time. I do my best. But my kids behavior in public can make me pretty embarassed. At home, things usually run smoothly, we dont have bed time issues, we all eat at the table, and have reasonably good manners,  my kids are mostly respectful and affectionate.....*at home*.  Never had toilet training issues (we did ec), kids were rarely sick (breastfed), kids are confident  in general. People dont even  believe me when i say we never have bed time issues.

 

But once i take them in the subway, in a place where there are alot of people like a religious service, then i  dont get a moments peace. Their behavior can be aweful. I think if i had girls it would be easier, only because i see girls sitting quietly beside their parents, not my boys. If i were judged as a parent by their public behavior, then i would be judged very poorly.  Ive decided that my biggest fear is how people see me, and my biggest complaint is that i cant get to sit quietly and focus for at least 10 seconds in a row.

 

Im working on it, we are making improvements. Ive even tried to use rewards out of desperation, or threats (you wont get that icecream sundae). It doesnt work, and i kind of knew it wouldnt. Anyway, subject for another thread.

 

Anyway, look forward to catching up on the disussion.

 

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#35 of 51 Old 07-11-2011, 10:01 AM
 
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  Then I left the room, and checked on him 5 minutes later to find a peacefully sleeping toddler - and I don't know about you, but I just love watching my little guy sleep, theres something so peaceful about it!


This is heartwarming heartbeat.gif. I feel like the best Mom ever when DD is tucked into bed cozy, sleeping peacefully.
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#36 of 51 Old 07-11-2011, 06:16 PM
 
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I had another thought - I find that I'm quick to take the blame for any "bad" behaviour but I don't take any credit for the "good" behaviours.  Not very fair I suppose but nonetheless that's how I end up grading myself as a mom.  I'm trying to change that perspective and have recently been more successful at evaluating my day based on how my mood was (stable/happy vs moody/overwhelmed) rather than on how my childrens moods were.


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#37 of 51 Old 07-16-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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My overarching goal is to raise children who are healthy, happy, and whole. I want my children to be secure in themselves and in their attachments, to love themselves as much as DH and I love them, to know that our love isn't conditional or dependent on their good behavior or external achievements, and to understand that DH and I are whole adults who don't depend on our children to validate us. My parents set a terrible example--they were emotionally and sometimes physically abusive, neglectful, authoritarian, and often cruel. Their love hinged on whether we were being "good" or not. Our (typical, developmentally appropriate) childhood behavior resulted in them making us feel like we were less than, not worthy of parental care and affection, deserving of withering scorn and physical abuse. This created self-esteem issues in my siblings and me that will probably never be fully resolved. It's only now at just over 30 that I think I even know myself and like who I am.
 
In a way, my sad upbringing has made me a much more relaxed mother, because I know I'm not perfect but I also know that I don't have to be. It's enough to treat my children like fellow human beings, sovereign individuals, who are deserving of respectful treatment and endless love. Good behavior and self-confidence will follow from that.
 
I know I'm not the greatest mama but I try to be an intentional one. I do the best I can without sacrificing my own sense of self or becoming Mommy Martyr to satisfy some arbitrary measuring stick or expectations that don't reasonably apply to my family. I think as long as I'm being mindful of providing a safe, soft, nurturing nest for my little ones to grow in, I'm being a good parent. I slip up sometimes, like everyone else, and sometimes I have crippling doubts. But most of the time I think we're doing pretty well. Ask me again when mine are older and I'm sure I'll have a different answer! shy.gif

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#38 of 51 Old 07-21-2011, 07:56 PM
 
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I choose not to care about this question or its answer. Whether I am a good or bad parent is irrelevant and subjective. All I can do is my best to nurture and love my daughter.

 

It does no good whatsoever to evaluate our own parenting in these terms. 


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#39 of 51 Old 07-22-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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For me its very much the opposite - I'm trying to be as good a mother as mine was!  

 


Same here. I don't have an objective "measuring stick" -- I feel like that would place too much pressure on my kids, to always be burdened with reflecting back the quality of my parenting rather than being their own little people who need to make their own mistakes and forge their way in life. But, in the back of my mind is always that sense of absolute love that my mother projected, and I hope I'm projecting that toward my kids (I feel like I am). My mom was always happy to see us -- she had (and still has) a full life and interests of her own, but she still always lit up when we walked into the room. And she never made holidays or party preparations feel like obligations, she always seemed just as excited as we were about it. It's those little things that made me feel so loved, and I hope I make my kids feel just as loved and important. It wasn't until I was an adult and saw my adult friend's mom sighing her way through holiday preparations that I realized what a gift it was that my mom never acted like that -- it sucked all the joy out of the room, and made us feel like we were burdening her with our presence! 

 

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Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

I'm told very often what a good mother I am, but I feel like those people only see the "good" parts, and I'm the one that see's the "bad" parts.  

 

(I don't know why the font changed and I can't figure out how to change it back, sorry.) I feel the same way sometimes. People describe me as patient, calm, easy-going, etc., and I think, "Who the hell are you talking about, because that is NOT me!!" I think all of us feel like frauds sometimes, because of course no one else witnesses our worst moments. One quote that helps me when I start feeling that way is, "Don't judge your insides by other people's outsides." We ALL have those bad moments, and just like those people who tell us what a great parent we are have a narrow, positive perception of us and think we must be that way all the time, we have a narrow perception of others -- we only see the facets they allow us to see. And yet, those facets ARE accurate in some ways -- they do make up part of who we are, and part of how our kids experience us as parents. If I'm honest with myself, even though I feel like a fraud when people tell me how good I am with my kids, the truth is that I AM that calm, patient mama most of the time -- a huge portion of the time, that's who my kids experience as their mother. Yes, I have my impatient moments, but in the grand scheme of things my kids know that I treasure them. 


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#40 of 51 Old 07-22-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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In my six years of parenting I have learned to lighten up on my expectations of myself and realize that although I am an important influence in my children's lives, I am not the only one. They will grow to be their own people and I can no more take credit for their success than I can responsibility for their failures. I will stand with them and support them through their lives and they will always know that I love and accept them no matter what. I feel successful when my children show love for one another, use compassion when dealing with others, have understanding and kindness when interacting with people who are different or difficult, enjoy their creativity and know their own minds. I will feel like I have done a good job if my kids understand the importance of family and community and, in some way, promote justice and equality in the world. Sometimes I feel like a good mother when they are clean and well presented and don't embarrass me in public, but I know that isn't a terribly legitimate measure.


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#41 of 51 Old 07-22-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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Yep, i just try to do my best. I like the way i was parented.

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#42 of 51 Old 08-15-2012, 06:34 AM
 
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I wonder all the time if I am a good parent.  I try my best.  I don't use my son's behaviour as a "measuring stick" as he is only 3, He is often social, outgoing, will always go up to people and say hello, very friendly.  So, when he does have outbursts, I blame it on the age.  Kids all need to go through a developmental stage.  One, where they realize, they have their own thoughts that are separate from moms and no one else can read his/her mind.

 

I use how a parent deals with their kids as a measuring stick.  I know some parents can be the worse judge of others.  It's terrible.  And, if another parent gives advice, we get so defensive as if we are bad people.  We spent our whole life's as parents trying to be the best and out do other parents.  Some parents put their kids in montessori schools and keep them busy every day of the week so their kid knows more than anyone else by time kindergarten starts.  I can't afford that, so we only have him in swimming.  I have a lot of boring days, where we don't know what to do with ourselves, as I only get the car two days a week and I live in an isolated area.  I have lots of friends come over to the house to play with my son.  At least once a week, I schedule a playdate.  I don't worry about the house being clean.  I try to play with my son when I can, get him to a park, even if it is just the two of us and my 5 month old daughter.

 

I am guilty of judging other parents.  For example, at the park on the week end, my son went up to an older girl and asked "what's your name?" the girl did not respond, she seemed embarrassed.  She went by her mom and dad with a smirk on her face and looked down.  I thought, well she is just shy.  I did not say anything, because I wanted to see my son handle it, plus, when he starts kindergarten, I will not be there and he will be rejected.  Well, I did expect her mother to say something like: he asked your name, tell him your name, or to say hi.  Instead, she looked at my three yr old and said "what should her name be?" you better believe I judged her parenting.  I intervened quickly and said "Honey, she is just shy and doesn't know what to say.  Daddy will raise you to the slide." he forgot all about it and they ran off.  

 

I used that experience as a measure of good parenting.  I thought, she is not a good mom.  So, how mom's handle a situation is the measuring stick I use.

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#43 of 51 Old 08-15-2012, 07:36 AM
 
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That other parent wasnt so much a bad parent,(that anyway) as just a mean person.  I cant imagine  anyone saying such a mean thing to a 3 yo. 

Using the childs behavior as a way of measuring the quality of your parenting is misguided in many ways. What if the child has adhd?( i mean real adhd, not the over diagnosed version)  Just a thought....

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#44 of 51 Old 08-18-2012, 11:21 PM
 
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I guess I feel like a pretty good parent if my kids are mostly happy

I have this same view in parenting!


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#45 of 51 Old 08-19-2012, 06:12 AM
 
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I agree with a lot of others here in that letting go of the measuring stick is the way to a happier life. We all care about our kids and try to do the best for them. THAT is what makes us good parents, not the choices we make at the end of the day. 

 

Teaching our kids that perfection is not something achieved by humans is a better lesson than beating ourselves up over whether we are "good parents" or not!


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#46 of 51 Old 08-19-2012, 06:22 AM
 
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I consciously think about "Will I feel ashamed of having done this" pretty frequently with my kids. I don't have yes moments more than every few months and honestly I think I will let go of most of that guilt over time. How does that rate? Am I a good parent?

 

My kids are clean, well fed, they have many hours a day of free play, they get dirty, they love me and their dad and the other stable people in their lives. They haven't been hit, shamed, called names, or terrorized. (Well, they get really mad at me when I use the diaper sprayer to clean them up when they are muddy. Shanna says that is terrorizing. I think she doesn't know how good she has it. They get even more upset about a shower. I can't win.)

 

I was severely neglected and abused. I would say, "I am trying to do better than my parents" but that's done. My daughter has made it to four without being raped. My youngest daughter has a year to go before she passes the age when I started being assaulted and all signs point to her continuing safety as well. Check. I'm better than my parents. From here on out it seems like I need a better bar. I'm not sure where to find one.

 

I strongly recommend http://www.amazon.com/Your-Two-Year-Old-Louise-Bates-Ames/dp/0440506387 this series of books. I feel like a better mother because she very clearly explains all the various hormonal periods and behavior fluctuations. It's like someone has a video camera into my house. She gives me the freedom to understand where and how my children are not behaving the way they do because of me. I am grateful. It goes year by year. I love them. joy.gif

 

It's kind of weird because we tend to think that we are good mothers if our children are clean, well fed, and have a home. But I've seen very good mothers in homeless shelters. I was there as a kid. My mom wasn't one of them, but they were there.

 

I think that being a good mother means that you raise your kids to understand that they are a piece of the puzzle--an important piece. They need to take up exactly the right amount of space in the world. It's not a small amount. They need to watch how they are impacting the people around them. Their impact is positive *and* negative and it's good to try to be polite. Like, friendly little kids are usually awesome to have around. There isn't much that makes life more sweet than an upbeat, friendly three year old. (I think.) But sometimes you aren't in the mood. And the three year old has to kind of learn how to navigate "good target" vs. "not good target". But they are three. They make mistakes. They have to learn sometime and when is a better time to make a lot of mistakes than when you are three? Low stakes.

 

Every age and every stage has unique new things to learn. The best approach to learning in the world is to make a lot of mistakes as fast as possible. So I don't expect my kids to be perfect in public. :) But my job is to be an adult in the world modeling appropriate reactions--including to rude little brats who kick me in the face. Ahem. Not that my kids are brats. But being kicked in the face sucks. How do you deal with it?

 

I don't know. I don't know if I am a good parent. I am very insecure. But I'm trying. I'm trying really hard.


My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#47 of 51 Old 08-19-2012, 08:17 AM
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I don't know. I don't know if I am a good parent. I am very insecure. But I'm trying. I'm trying really hard.

 

You're a good mama.  

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#48 of 51 Old 08-19-2012, 12:13 PM
 
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You're a good mama.  

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My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#49 of 51 Old 08-19-2012, 12:29 PM
 
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I'll admit, I haven't been an excellent mom in the past..I am finally letting go of my previous freedoms that I held onto so tightly like playing on the computer for an hour or two or watching a movie uninterrupted, or grocery shopping without a kid screaming..I used to get pissy and irritated at the fact that my life is different now and I don't have any freedom anymore. After realizing that my son's issues with hitting, and acting like a baby and screaming and throwing tantrums(he's 3 1/2 now) were because I wasn't giving him enough attention(playing legos or jumping around or playing cars are so boring to me), I decided to just ramp up and give in. I now have a great routine where my day is completely focused on the kids and their needs..the cleaning, cooking and free time fits in around the child-raising and nurturing instead of the other way around. My children are much happier and my son doesn't hit nearly as much, not as much screaming, and is much more even tempered, because he's getting his needs met and feels happier I think. I'm not yelling at my kids all day and all of the chores are actually easier to get done now. My daughter is the same way. I can't say I'm a great parent, but I feel like I'm doing my best now. I didn't always feel that way, to be honest though.


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#50 of 51 Old 08-19-2012, 12:47 PM
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I'll admit, I haven't been an excellent mom in the past..I am finally letting go of my previous freedoms that I held onto so tightly like playing on the computer for an hour or two or watching a movie uninterrupted, or grocery shopping without a kid screaming..I used to get pissy and irritated at the fact that my life is different now and I don't have any freedom anymore. After realizing that my son's issues with hitting, and acting like a baby and screaming and throwing tantrums(he's 3 1/2 now) were because I wasn't giving him enough attention(playing legos or jumping around or playing cars are so boring to me), I decided to just ramp up and give in. I now have a great routine where my day is completely focused on the kids and their needs..the cleaning, cooking and free time fits in around the child-raising and nurturing instead of the other way around. My children are much happier and my son doesn't hit nearly as much, not as much screaming, and is much more even tempered, because he's getting his needs met and feels happier I think. I'm not yelling at my kids all day and all of the chores are actually easier to get done now. My daughter is the same way. I can't say I'm a great parent, but I feel like I'm doing my best now. I didn't always feel that way, to be honest though.

 

 And I'm glad that works for you.  But sometimes we need time to ourselves to recharge and therefore be a better parent.  What works for one person may or may not work for someone else.  We're all different.  


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#51 of 51 Old 08-22-2012, 10:55 AM
 
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Location: Oak Point, TX
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Oh, don't get me wrong. I need time to myself too..it's just that in the past, I was rarely giving my children any uninterrupted time..I always had the computer in front of me, an ipod, etc..and he could tell I wasn't paying attention to him. I knew what I was doing wasn't in the best interest of my kids, but I couldn't seem to get out of that rut. Now, I have 40 minutes during the day at nap/quiet time where I can be in my room, alone, on the computer or reading or taking a short nap, and when that timer goes off, back to mommy duty. I usually get 1-2 hours in the evening for me time as well. And I go out alone on the weekend. I just had a hard time finding balance with it all and now I do, that's all :)


DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)

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