Category Archives: Family Life

Twelve Things I Love About Being a Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, this week I want to reflect on my favorite things about being a mom. It’s hard work being a parent, and it’s not always fun. But the last two years that I’ve been Buddy’s mom have been my favorite years of my life. Here are a few reasons why.

  1. Unconditional love – The love I feel for Buddy is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I can’t imagine life without him.
  2. A stronger bond with my husband – I love watching Hubby and Buddy together. Hubby is a great dad, and that makes me love him even more. We also are a team who support each other as parents. Buddy brought us together as a family, and he has changed our relationship in wonderful ways.
  3. Reliving my childhood – It’s fun to be a kid. And as a parent, you get to relive a lot of the fun things again. Right now, we spend a lot of time drawing with sidewalk chalk and playing with bubbles. I didn’t do those things as a childless adult, but now I do them all the time.
  4. Lots of hugs and cuddles – We have a family hug almost every morning before Buddy and I leave the house. Buddy gives lots of hugs throughout the day. Sometimes we rock and cuddle before naps on the weekends.
  5. Being someone’s whole world – Buddy needs me. Even though there are times when I’d like a little more distance (Really? You’re going to cry because you’re playing with Daddy and I need to get something downstairs?), it’s flattering. A hug or a kiss from me can fix a boo-boo or help Buddy if he’s nervous. It’s amazing to be loved so much.
  6. Lots of music – I’ve always loved singing and music, but I never did it as much as I do now. Buddy’s on an “Old MacDonald” kick, and we sang it today going up and down the aisles of Walgreens.
  7. Reading kids books – I love reading, and it’s a lot of fun to share that love with Buddy. We sometimes reads old books from my childhood, but we also read lots of new, fun books as well.
  8. Being silly – It’s so much fun making Buddy laugh. Being a mom gives me an opportunity to be silly and playful.
  9. Making new friends – I have made a couple great new mom friends, which is so fun. Adults don’t often make new friends, and it’s exciting to have friends that I can socialize with while our kids play. If I wasn’t a mom, I wouldn’t have ever made these friendships.
  10. Creative activities – I love finding new fun activities for Buddy. We have so much fun together doing arts projects or sensory activities. I wouldn’t do nearly as many creative projects without Buddy as I do now.
  11. Spending more time with family – Hubby and I both have families that live out of state. Before we were parents, we saw our families once or twice a year. Now, we see them much more often. Buddy is a perfect excuse for us to visit or for them to visit us. I love our families, and it’s great seeing them more often.
  12. Seeing the world in a new way – There are so many things that I notice that I wouldn’t have before Buddy. He loves it when I point out trucks or construction equipment as we drive around. We spend time watching birds and people walking their dogs. There are so many exciting things in the world when you are two – it’s fun to find them.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my readers! And thanks for reading.

Cooking with Kids: Easy Ham and Cheese Sliders

Buddy is very interested in trying to imitate others and being a “big kid”. As a result, I look for ways to include him in my daily routines around the house. I’ve already blogged about many of these chores in this blog post, but recently, I’m trying to include Buddy in the kitchen as well.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to try out this recipe for ham and cheese sliders. I realized that it would be easy for Buddy to help, so I let him.

I cut apart the Hawaiian rolls an put the bottom part in a glass dish. Buddy helped me put the ham and cheese on top of the rolls. Then, I put on the top part of the roll. I melted butter, and Buddy helped me brush it on the top of the Hawaiian rolls. Finally, we put the rolls in the oven at 350 degrees to bake for 20 minutes.

The ham and cheese sliders were delicious and took less than 10 minutes to put together. Buddy was so proud of himself for helping make dinner.

I’m hoping to find some other easy recipes to try with Buddy. If I find anything I’ll like, I’ll share it here. I’d love suggestions if you know of some good recipes for kids.

Five Easy Chores That a One Year Old Can Do

My students have jobs in my classroom, and I love their help. They earn extra credit, build responsibility skills, feel good about helping, and I have less work to do. Now that I have student helpers, I can’t imagine doing everything by myself. Even though Buddy is much, much younger than my middle school students, I still want to do a similar system at home.

I have seen many lists of kids’ chores online, but every one I’ve seen starts at age two. In my opinion, one year olds are capable of helping out around the house. Just like my classroom, my end goal is to have less work for myself. At this point, these chores are about giving Buddy opportunities to help. Yes, it will be faster for me to do them on my own, but eventually, he will be able to do more independently. And Buddy loves being my helper.

Here are the five chores that Buddy does in our house. Buddy was a very late walker, so he started doing all of these chores before he could walk. Now that he’s walking, he’s even better at these chores.

Putting Away Toys and Books

We started making Buddy put toys away around 10 months old. Most of his toys are thrown in the bins that are on the lower part of the bookshelf pictured above. Around 12 months, we started expecting Buddy to put books on the shelf correctly. He knows which part of the book is the spine, and he knows that he needs to have that part face out.

Some days, Buddy’s very willing to help pick things up, and some days it takes a little more effort. Giving options (“You pick up one, I’ll pick up one. Which one do you want?”) and counting (“Let’s see how many toys you can put in the box.”) are my best ways to encourage Buddy on days that he’s not interested in picking up.

Putting Clothes in the Hamper

Buddy started putting clothes in the hamper at 17 months. This one doesn’t happen that often right now. I usually undress Buddy on the changing table and throw his clothes in the hamper as I change him. But there are times that we ask Buddy to put things in his hamper. We talk about playing hamper basketball, and he loves it!

Dusting

This one is my personal favorite. I hate dusting, and Buddy thinks it’s so much fun! He has a great time cruising around our coffee tables with the duster. I do have to do the very center once he’s done. I have also walked around with Buddy and held him up to dust higher objects. Buddy started dusting after he became confident in cruising, which was around 16 months.

Cleaning up Food Messes

One of our house rules is you make a mess, you clean it up. When Buddy started on solids, he had a lot of problems with throwing food. Hubby and I decided that if Buddy threw his food, he would have to pick it up. If that food is sticky, Buddy also has to wipe the floor with a wet paper towel. Making Buddy clean up after himself helped quite a bit with the food throwing. We started this chore around 14 months.

When Buddy is at daycare, he has to wipe the table in front of his space when he’s done. He loves to wipe now, so we let him do that as much as possible. (It’s also a great way to help Buddy wait in a waiting room or when we’re going out to eat. We give him a napkin, and he starts wiping the table.) I also have Buddy wipe the table after he’s been coloring to clean up the crayon mess.

Laundry

I know that some people think I’m crazy for having a one year old help do his laundry. But I don’t want to do Buddy’s laundry for the next 17 years, and it’s easier for him to learn now while he’s interested. I’ve had Buddy help with every part of the laundry process. When I’m loading the washer, Buddy will hand laundry up to me so I don’t have to bend over. Then he pushes the power and start buttons. When I switch things to the dryer, he helps me push in the wet laundry and put in the dryer sheet. He also helps with the power and start buttons on the dryer. When everything is done, Buddy helps put the laundry into the basket.

While I’m folding, Buddy will go through the basket, pull out the socks, and put them in a pile. Sometimes he can do this well, sometimes it’s just laundry everywhere. In the last few weeks, Buddy has started to put things away in low drawers like socks, bibs, and washcloths. Buddy’s favorite part of the laundry process is when we’re done, so he can play with the laundry basket. (Read more about some of our laundry basket fun in this blog post.) Buddy started helping with laundry around 15 months.

Other Ways to Help

I wouldn’t classify these as chores, but I like to give Buddy every opportunity I can to “help”. He loves it!

  • Turning on/off the light
  • Closing a drawer or door
  • Bringing something over to me
  • Carrying something so I don’t have to carry it
  • Putting trash in the trash can
  • Pouring or stirring when I’m cooking

As Buddy gets older, I plan to increase the amount of chores he does independently. Hopefully, Buddy will become confident in his independent skills and be willing to help our family. If you have any ideas for other great chores for toddlers, please leave them in the comments.