Posted in family, momlife, motherhood

Not-That-Hacky, Mom Hacks

This was the longest Christmas Break of my life. My son missed the last two days of school before break for high fever. He ended up laid up in bed for 5 days straight with a constant headache and fever. At night he was hallucinating to the point where I was almost convinced he was convinced and I swear I almost kicked him out of this house. This mama does not play with angry spirits. No thank you. He cleaned up just in time for Christmas, however, immediately after baby #2 got sick. She was laid up in bed for 5 days with no solid food during that time. She was admitted into the hospital for IV and tests (which came back pos for influenza B).

Alas… a week into January, my son is back in school, and my daughter is feeling better and back to normal. Time for mama to get back to her pre-crapchristmas routine. I am back on the phentermine, working out, and drinking smoothies. The house is cleaned, de-christmased, and sanitized. So let’s get back to work. Let’s talk mom-hacks. I’m sure we’ve all seen the cute no talking, hand demonstration life-hack videos on social media. Spoiler alert, these are not as good as those videos.

My mom hacks may not be a fit for everyone, after all I’m working with a non-verbal autistic 2 year old over here. Honestly, who knows. Just scroll and find out!



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1. Toilet “lock” If you know me personally then you may know that I am broke and stingy. I hate spending money on things. My daughter had so much fun with her water table last summer, even though all she did was dunk her barbies in the water for 6 hours straight. Now that it’s winter guess where she dunks her barbies now….. For a while I had intentions of ordering a toilet lock so keep her barbies dry and sanitary. But because of who I am as a person, I just never ordered it. So when its time for me to get in the shower and she won’t allow me the luxury of a closed door, I grabbed a fresh roll of painters tape from the laundry room and threw a strip on a side of the toilet lid. Voila! Toilet lock. It’s also easier than a toilet lock for my 6 year old. Don’t need to show that guy how to unlock a piece of tape!


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2. Easy store Legos- My son has moved on from the nice and big Lego Duplos to the annoyingly small regular Legos and boy did we get a lot for Christmas. I’m too cheap to buy him a Lego table so finding an open hard service to work on was difficult. Not to mention, every single night when I come in to announce bed time the thing I always hear is “MOM IM BUILDING SOMETHING I CANT CLEAN IT UP” BAM- easy solution. I gave him my beloved bed tray. It gives him a hard flat work area, and when its time for bed, the pieces he wants to keep intact or the pieces that are works in progress stay on the bed tray, and the rest of the loose pieces go back into their storage bins. When we get back to business the next day he pulls out his tray and picks up right where he left off.


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3. This one isn’t exactly a DIY hack, but it is something that I highly recommend for our babies that struggle with language. If you’re a Netflix subscriber, I highly recommend the show “Word Party”. The main characters are baby animals, they speak in correct English and also some relatable baby talk since they are learning new words. Much like how Mickey Mouse and other characters ask children to answer questions, this show asks very early age appropriate questions. While watching this show, my non-verbal 2 year old had repeated words, answered questions, sang songs, and danced. All of which she does NOT do outside of watching this show. It honestly blows my mind. Today she sang Happy Birthday from memory of the b-day episode of Word Party, but still can’t call me mama. This show is some kind of magic for my daughter!



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4. Easy-Grab Bubbles- Ok I’m not gonna lie here…. I stole this one….but it’s genius. Fine motor activities can be challenging; not only for delayed children, but all kids in general. Plus whoever thought that putting a 2” too short stick inside a skinny bottle filled with soap was just asking for trouble. I saw a mom online open the bubbles for her kids, grab the wand, put a chip clip on the end, then put it back in the bottle for her kids. The stick stays inside the bottle to reach the soap, but the chip clip keeps it from going all the way back in the tube. Seriously. Genius.



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5. Subliminal toy selections- Now that Christmas is over…how much crap did y’all get? This year for my daughter I only picked out learning toys. You can’t feel guilty if the toys are teaching her something, right? She needs work on her fine motor skills, so I got a lot of toys to help her harness those abilities. Of course we still told people barbies too because hers are disgusting from being dunked in the water table and toilets every day. Plus a girl needs friends, ya know? Learning toys aren’t just Vtech toys, they can honestly be anything.  Examples: 

Toy Story 4 race track– During speech therapy we were working on actions and reactions (saying ready set go then then a reaction of tickling her) so I got the racetrack to give the ready, set, go idea to a new reaction. 
Chomp & count Dino– Equipped with light and sound buttons, a spinner on the top, and a pull string, this toy is great! The best part is it has a piggy bank style mouth where you feed the dino colored discs.
The Learn With Me Color Fun Fish Bowl. Cute, small, piggybank style fish tank. You insert the plastic fish into the slot at the top and once they’re pushed down into the bowl, it tells you what color the fish was! Perfect for fine motor and color identification. 




6. Car storage- Ever go somewhere and your toddler (who you don’t pack a diaper bag for anymore) shits through their pants? Maybe you think giving your kid strawberry donuts in the car is a good idea but when you get to your destination their entire shirt looks like puke. I keep a zip up tote bag in my back seat full of extra clothes, diapers, wipes. There are side pockets that I fill with my sons water bottles, an empty sippy cup, and extra snacks for both kids. After I use something I fill it up so it’s ready for the next disaster. Id like to say that this helps keep my car more clean and organized, but alas it still looks like a cheez-it bomb went off back there. 

When I had the idea for this blog I swear I had a lot more hacks than 6. haha. That’s it for today, they may not be much but hopefully I helped someone out there!

Posted in momlife

Finding Financial Independence

Whenever somebody asks how I’m doing these days I always give them the classic-
“…Just living the dream” answer. Of course we all know that saying is complete bullshit. Do you really want to know how I’m doing Brenda? I’m tired, my back hurts, my children are animals, I am drowning in debt/laundry and I’m broker than all get out. 

Our family is a single income household. My husband is the sole provider for our family. I am merely the dependa. (If you’re unaware of this title, google is your friend.) Is our family dynamic by choice? Kind of…..but also kind of not. There are many reasons why I don’t, or am unable, to work. Excuses, excuses, excuses! I know, just save your judgements for the end of the blog, ok?

Any of my working parents out there can attest to the outrageous price of childcare. Now before I discuss this further, just know that this isn’t a slam against daycare providers, at all. It’s all about the numbers, baby. They need to pay staff, pay rent, insurance, supplies. I get it. 100%. However, for two children, good affordable childcare is out of reach. If I get a full time job, my paycheck would basically pay for childcare with no room for much else. 

There are definitely some income eligible options out there.  Our town has a great Head-start program for those who meet the qualifications. The wait list is long, however, and often unobtainable. For the first time ever, I was told my family makes too much money to qualify. Let’s all laugh about that together. Now… I’m not blind, I know that there are many families out there that are in worse financial situations than myself. They should get help before me, I know that. But, a lot of families out there find themselves in the same situation as me… too broke for private daycares, yet too “rich” for federally funded free daycare. My only way out, is to find a job that pays more than the cost of daycare. In a small town, that can be hard to come by. There is still the difficult conundrum much like the chicken and the egg. Which do you get first? The job or the daycare? You either scrape the money together to cover daycare until you find a job, or you get a job and have to scrounge up babysitters until you can get into daycare. 

Moving on. If you’ve read my past blogs or know me personally, then you are already aware that I have children who require therapy. My oldest is now in school, so his therapies are during school hours (for the most part.) My youngest, however, does speech once a week. I would like to get her into ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy. BUTTTTTT, if you’re unfamiliar with that- it is a very intensive, time-consuming in-home therapy. So, do I sacrifice having a career, financial independence, and a life outside of my children by helping her develop, grow, and learn in an in-home therapy that could ultimately help her the most. Or do I put my financial situation first, and hope that a daycare environment will be enough to teach her all the things she needs to learn? 

I have so much hesitation and “rock and a hard place” decisions to work through when it comes to me working. I am constantly stuck between putting my children first, and needing to help my husband support this family. Don’t get me wrong, the military pay is decent. For a family of four, though, it just aint cutting it. My husband does not get the credit he deserves for how hard he works and financially supporting his wife and two children. I want to have the chance to get out there and take some of the weight off his shoulders.

Before I got married I worked and supported myself. Ok… I mean fine, I was on my parents cell phone plan longer than I probably should have and my dad paid my car insurance basically until I got married. BUT YOU GET THE PICTURE. At one point in my earlier days I was working two jobs and going to college… LIKE A BOSS. Yet, here I am, 10 years later, relying on someone else to pay my bills and give me lunch money. I am 30. Years. Old. It is time for me to get out there and regain my independence. Financially, emotionally, physically. My depression and anxiety constantly tell me, “but if you get your independence, you’re a shit mom for throwing your kids needs on the back burner.” I know this isn’t true, that’s the dark beauty of depression folks. On the flip side, when I tell myself I’m doing the right thing by staying home with my kids and working on getting them the help that they need, that dark beauty comes back and says, “Nah girl, you’re a piece of crap because you’re broke and have nothing in your life for yourself. You need to start making money for yourself!” This inner voice contradicts everything I try to do. No matter which decision I make, my depression always tells me that I’m wrong. It is a constant battle that I have with myself. 

I try different things to balance it all out. I became a consultant for Usborne Books & More. I work from home, throw parties online where people buy the children’s books (which I honestly love, and that is NO LIE, these books are adorable.) Some women make a full time living off of it. It helps me, but does not cover true expenses, for me it’s more play money.  I’ve done a lot of surveys online with Swagbucks. Again, just play money. I most recently got approved to start doing closed captioning work online. This I’m sure will be, again, play money. None of these at- home solutions have turned out to be a long term fix. 

It’s time to break through my inner voice and finally do something. I KNOW I will not be a bad mom for working out a daycare/job situation and start putting myself first. I KNOW that I am not a loser for not working. I need to stop letting myself feel guilty for these decisions I need to make, not only for myself, but my husband and my children. No matter which solution I pick, I know that it will be what is right for our family.