Monday, November 13, 2017

Shut Your Mouth and Act

I’m finding that being a first-time mom is exactly like being a first-year teacher. Every day I am faced with new experiences, behaviors, and thus opportunities to ‘act’ or ‘react’ as I did my first year in the classroom. My gut reaction is to turn to books (and other moms, of course!) to offer some sound guidance and advice.

I was lucky enough in my first few years of teaching to find an incredible book called Teach Like a Champion which changed my teaching and made me much more effective. Sadly, I have yet to find a Mom Like a Champion book, but there is one book I have found that offers practical advice and has books divided by age.

Jane Nelsen wrote one of the first books I read in college on the topic of classroom management, Positive Discipline in the Classroom. Little did I know, she has a series of parenting books as well! Thank goodness!

This book is full of anecdotal stories with practical, concrete strategies to help with the many mysteries of toddler behavior. At the heart of the book, the message is to be “kind but firm” when teaching. And in reality- that’s what I’m doing- teaching Connor how to handle the many emotions that come with being a human being. For him, he doesn’t have the words or the maturity to understand the swirl of emotions he feels, which is frustrating for me but even more frustrating for him.
Although she offers many strategies throughout the book, the one that has become my mantra is “shut your mouth and act.” It was actually Rudolf Dreikrus that coined the term, but she references it in her examples all throughout the book.

This little gem of a phrase helps me every single day. I may find myself washing dishes and Connor wanders over the that enticing little blue light on our DVR box wanting so badly to push it. My instinct is to stand at the sink and say, “No, Connor! Don’t touch the button!” Now, with that mantra in my head, I leave the sink, soapy hands and all, and calmly walk across the room, gently grab his hand, and say, “That button is not for Connor” and lead him away to something else. (Distraction, she notes, is the single best way to handle “misbehavior” at this age- more on that in another post maybe.. lol)

Connor is very persistent and sometimes it may take me saying that phrase and physically moving him away three or fifteen times. But eventually, he realizes that boundary and he moves along to something else. Of course, twenty minutes later he may try to go right back to that button, and thus the routine repeats. When I do this consistently enough, he learns the boundary is there and isn’t going to change and he doesn’t even try for a few days, LOL!

Anytime I find myself needing to say, “no,” this phrase is in my head. If I’m across the room, I wait until I am right next to him to say or do anything. Of course it doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it has been much more effective than simply saying, “no.”

Just like in my first year of teaching, I am finding that this whole mom thing is a constant learning process, one that comes with a roller coaster of emotions, tears, and a few tantrums even from me! LOL! But I am comforted by the many wonderful moms I have in my life and for people like Jane Nelsen who have worked to give parents and teachers insight into little people’s minds and offer simple nuggets of advice like this one. 😊

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Adjustable Waist?! Who Knew?!

Now that I've finally figured out a rhythm to this whole being a stay-at-home mom thing, I'm discovering that I actually know VERY little about... well... a LOT of things. One of the things, apparently, is how to properly dress my child.

Connor has always been small, but here lately finding pants that fit him has been almost impossible. He has been able to wear shorts for most of the year thanks to our wonderful Texas weather and the lack of four seasons. Mind you, I haven't really searched all that hard. A few online searches here, a quick trip through the baby section at Marshall's there, but now that the weather has turned colder I realized yesterday that my poor child has no pants that actually fit him! Nine month pants fit him in the waist but are too short and the 12 month pants are long enough but literally fall off of his little waist. I seriously sent my child to school today in dumpy pants praying they wouldn't fall off his little body.

In the car on the way to Nutcracker Market as I was complaining about my pants problem, a friend of mine changed my life forever when she said, "Why don't you just get the ones with an adjustable waist?"


Adjustable waist??

How did I not know about this?

Where does one find such things?

Apparently everywhere in the world and I have just failed to see them. Ever.

Major mom fail.

So tonight, I drove myself down to my favorite store, Once Upon a Child, and found not one- but TWO pairs of adjustable waist pants that I'm pretty sure are going to actually fit him!


Seeing that little piece of elastic and those cute little buttons inside those pants just made my day.

So now I can add this little tidbit of knowledge to the ever-growing list of things I didn't know about being a mom. But at least for tomorrow my child will have pants that fit.



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Easy Label Upgrade!

So, this week Connor started going to his little preschool. He will go twice a week for a few hours and even though he was in daycare full time when I was working in the spring, leaving him was harder than I thought it would be! It was nice to get housework done without having to keep one eye on him, but I missed my buddy.

One of the things I did was put together a little first day gift for his teachers. Nothing big- just some small lotions from Bath and Body Works. I had gotten a bag of brown gift sacks from Hobby Lobby with the cute little chalkboard labels and when I went to write on them my chalk markers were nowhere to be seen! Major boo!

I thought about using just plain address or shipping labels on the bags, but I had the idea to fancy them up a bit with some of my decorative scissors. These things have sat on my desk for years and I hardly ever use them, but they were just the thing to add a nice touch to the labels.

All I did was cut all the way around the label with the scissors and it created a whole new look! Since I have several different pairs of scissors with different designs, I can create lots of different types of labels!

So the next time to you need to stick a label on something and want a little fancier look, jazz that label up using some paper edgers! So quick and easy!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A New Chapter, New Blog Look!

I can't believe I am writing these words, but I am starting to feel like an actual stay at home mom now! My husband and I made the decision that I would stay home about a month or so before school let out in the spring and I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it come August. Well, now it's August, teachers are heading back to work, students start next week, and I can honestly say I don't feel a twinge of regret. CRAZY!

So, this badly neglected blog of mine is getting a makeover! Not that I have even used this thing in a while, but seeing as I will no longer be teaching full time, and I will take any excuse to buy new clip art, I decided to give it a new look.

I'm really not sure what I will have to write about, but I'm sure I will be able to conjure up something. Mom life is a pretty awesome life, and seeing as I just have my little man and lots of time on our hands thanks to his hard-working daddy, maybe I'll actually be able to come up with a post or two a week. Or not. Who knows!

As with writing about my experiences in the classroom, I really don't care who or if anyone reads what I write. It's really more for me to document my experience and if there is a chance someone might read something that helps them out in some way, that would be just awesome. Teacher life is hard, and mom life is hard. Although I am extremely blessed not to have to juggle both anymore, I feel the pressure to make sure I am the best wife and mom that I can possibly be- especially since I can't blame my laziness on being at work all day anymore! Ha! I love sharing with others, and love that I have the outlet to do so.

So, if you feel inclined, join me as I document (or possibly not!) my adventures in mom life. I of course will still have some posts related to teaching since that part of me can't be put away completely, but those will most likely be few and far between. Or maybe not! Who knows! I am honestly done trying to make plans-especially when it comes to this blog! John Lennon says it best:

I am embracing this new life of mine and loving every minute.

To all of my teacher friends- I hope you have an amazing start to the year!!! You are in my thoughts and prayers. Remember to pack some extra deodorant in your purse for after recess!! LOL!

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Reality of Being a Teacher and a Mom

It's 8:05 on a Friday night and I could literally fall asleep right at this moment. I'm exhausted. Besides the fact that this week has been absolutely nuts- think two days of no recess, lunch break or conference, a history-making storm resulting in fearful children crouched in the duck-and-cover position for what seemed like an eternity, throw up, bloody noses, poopy toilets, the list goes on!- this feeling of exhaustion has come to be the norm.

However, my Facebook keeps reminding me of all the things I've posted in the past on this little ol' blog of mine, so I felt the urge to write. And I miss it. Not only do I miss writing, but I miss the person I was when I had the time and energy to write all of those posts. Back when life was more simple and I had fewer priorities. Not that I would trade my life now for anything in the world, but sitting here writing this is making me feel all nostalgic.

I never realized how hard it would be to be both a teacher and a mom. There's a certain guilt I've carried with me my entire teaching career about never being able to do enough, or be enough, for all of my students. There are always a million things on my mind. Right now as I sit here, I remember that I didn't finish filling out the dyslexia paperwork that's been on my desk for WEEKS, I still haven't put together a folder for a parent who asked for extra work, and even after setting a reminder on my phone, I STILL forgot to meet with a student and help them understand subtraction. With all the things that happen during the course of the day and all the needs of my students- it seems impossible to give any one child everything that they need, much less all of them! I'm sure every teacher in the world knows that nagging feeling of teacher guilt. It's tough.

Now that I have my own child, that struggle is even more real. I've been used to being able to spend as much free time as I wanted to working and thinking about my students and school. Now, all I want to do when I get home is play with Connor and when he goes to bed all I want to do is SLEEP. So that teacher guilt? It's even more magnified.

I absolutely love my job and "my kids" at school. I absolutely love my child. And I absolutely NEED some relaxation time. So what's a girl to do? I guess the only answer is learn to live with doing the best I can do with the time I have, and let the rest of it go. Not an answer I love, but it's reality for now, and it's what has to be done. I can't even IMAGINE what it would be like to have another kid - or two!

I'm learning to live life with a child of my own and balance it with the life I used to know. I'm getting better at it, and slowly but surely I know I'll find ways to better maximize my time. But for now, I'll try to hush that inner voice telling me all the things I should be doing and truly enjoy my time with this little guy. And I just might make a little trip up to school this weekend and finish that paperwork. Maybe.

And to all you other teacher mommas out there- hats off to you! Especially those of you with two or more kids!! I honestly don't know how you do it and you are truly my heroes. Keep fighting the good fight and know that you are amazing and an inspiration to me!