Need some Valentine's Day inspiration when it comes to buying budget-friendly gifts for your kids? Look no further! Here are my top five recommendations for Valentine's Day gifts, which treat the ones you love without breaking the bank. Oh, and you can buy most of them online and have them shipped (which is love-ly for YOU).
For 7 Great Valentine's Day Gifts For Your Nerdy Girl, click here!
I have been burning the candle at both ends (and getting fried while doing it). I am the full-time, main caregiver, and mom to three beautiful children. I am also a freelance writer who works inside the home. Kids, groceries, sports, errands, assignments—there are never enough hours in the day—or time for me.
Let me start by saying that I know what a privilege it is to stay home with my kids. I am thankful to be the main caregiver. (And I do identify myself as a SAHM rather than a WAHM—staying at home with one busy boy and two crafty girls certainly is my full-time job).
I "mom" (we can use that as a verb can't we?!) all day. And I write during nap times and past bedtime. It's a killer schedule that really just sets one up for failure.
I thought I had Killed SuperMom but apparently she still lives in my house. Why do I do this to myself?!
Because—and I am somewhat ashamed to confessing this—I want more than SAHM life.
Being at home with the kids is a tough job. No sick days. Fairly isolated (amazing how despite being with little humans all day long how lonely one can feel). There is very little appreciation by the greater world (ever gone to a dinner party and have been asked "So what do you do?" to reply "I'm a Mom" and then the person turns the conversation elsewhere...yeah I've had that). Not to mention that being a SAHM is highly, tangibly, unproductive (just look at my half-done laundry, half-done dishes, half done cleaning).
I like writing. I like having a tangible "thing" at the end of my day. I like being able to contribute to the family budget. I like having a grown-up activity that goes beyond the laundry basket. There are reasons why Blogging Makes Me A Better Mother. My writing time is my ME TIME.
ME TIME doesn't just happen for stay at home parents (there is always a play date, homework supervision or bedtime story to derail ME TIME)—no you have to make ME TIME come about. Schedule it. Make it happen.
ME TIME was needed. Remember me saying I was burning the candle at both ends and frying myself? It was draining and doing no good at all—not for my kids and their needs, not for my career and reputation, not for me and my sanity.
So I gave myself permission to hire a one-morning-a-week babysitter. (Yes, at first I felt guilty about this: what would June Cleaver think about me outsourcing my childcare?)
Hiring a babysitter was a turnkey solution for finding ME TIME. It was on the weekly schedule. It was at a time of day which worked best for my whole family. I covered the cost of ME TIME with my paid writing. The fact that I have committed to a paid babysitter means I will not skip a ME TIME because of an overflowing laundry bin.
Finally, I am free from the burn. I am working towards life/work balance. And a better, more productive, happier me because of making ME TIME happen.
Check out Kim’s Finding Me Time: WOHM Edition, the sister post to this one.
I used to laugh at my mom friends who had their boys running them in circles. "Just give them some paper and a box of crayons" I would advise with my Activity Mummy expertise. It wasn't until I had a boy (after two girls) that I realized how delusional this advice was...boys don't sit still. Ever. Boys VS Girls—is it nature or nurture?
Both my girls, were (and still are) quiet kids. They prefer art activties over sport challenges. They colour, craft and bake with reckless abandon. My son colours on walls. And furniture. And himself. We have realized that this boy is simply going to do the oppositie of everything our girls have done.
And my—un-expert—presumption...it's nature.
Same parents. Same genetics. Same child rearing. The math in this equation hasn't changed (ok, add in older parents and more siblings). Nature has it that my boy is just more peppy than my girls.
Boys really don't sit still do they? I apologize to all my mom friends of boys (oh, how you must have rolled your eyes at my crayon suggestions).
I gifted my son a toddler trampoline for his second birthday to try to harness some of that boy energy. So far...work in progress.
Where my girls sat at the kitchen table, my son yells "DOWN."
Where my girls read books, my son throws them.
Where my girls sat in the grocery cart, my son hangs off of it singing "weeeeeeee."
Just when I thought I had this parenting thing down, it all changed and I became a newbie once more.
I am learning there is not one magic activity to entertain a child. As parents, we need to recognize the activity needs of our kids, and meet them as best we can.
That trampoline—it's meeting a need. Just as those crayons did.