Earnest Mom Squad Feature: Peaceful Parenting of a Tween.

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A guest article from a member of The Earnest Mom Squad,  Kahentiiosta.

I have one girl amid the tween stage and two just beginning.  You would think that I would be a pro since I’ve had one girl as a tween for two and a half years now. Alas, I am still learning something new every day.  A Tween is no longer a little child, but not quite a teenager.  A tween is a child between the ages of  9 and 12. Their emotions and behaviors reflect this in between stage.  The term tween has become very popular in the last few years.

Even if you thought having an easy child, would make tweenhood easy as well.  You may come to realize it is very different.  There are new challenges with each stage of your child’s life.  Learning to deal with your newly independent tween can be frustrating, for both the parent and child.  There are so many new things to think about, discipline, school, homework, spending time with family and friends, and learning independence. 

Many parents react to the them by distancing themselves due to the tween’s moodiness, increasing independence, and maturing physical body.  This can cause some strife to the tween, as they begin to lose that connection with their parents.

One of the main ways to make it through this stage is continuing to build a firm foundation with your child and this will ease the transition to the teen years. 

Here are six tips to peacefully parent your child.

  1. Recognize and work with your tweens need for independence and reduce rebelliousness. As parents we often feel less powerful and become overprotective to compensate.  Instead of hovering over your child, learn to agree and enforce rules that are reasonable and meaningful. Example no phone until after dinner and homework, setting a curfew for the weeknights.
  2. Continue to stay connected.  Spending one on one time with your tween is crucial for this age.  Even if it is a quick check in with them each night, a dinner out together once a month, or taking a walk together. Allow your child to voice their concerns, inspirations, and goals for the future.
  3.  Learn to re-think your ideologies of discipline.  Learning to repair rather than punish, ask open ended questions instead of lecturing.  This will assist in your child learning how to have better judgement with new life challenges.  Learning to base the consequences on the actions, will only work for so long until your child begins to talk back.  Learning to reciprocate the love for one another, will lower the power struggle of one thinking they are always correct. 
  4. Preteens are actively shaping their identity.  It seems as if every week there is a new popular fad, you just caught up to one and another one your tween has jumped into.  Offer support to their experimenting and exploring.  It may be difficult but try not to comment on their fashions if their body coverage is appropriate and keep an open mind about their music. Be supportive of their deep passions and add guidance as needed.
  5. Don’t take it personally!  If they yell at you, don’t overreact.   They may hurt your feelings, and your first line of defense is to walk away, take a deep breath and stand your ground.  Responding with love and calmness will get a more respectful reaction.
  6. Teach your tween about healthy physical self-management.  Tweens need at least nine hours of sleep each night, regular meals with low glycemic snacks, and protein.  Along with regular exercise.  Find ways to maximize on learning mindfulness by encouraging them to listen to guided meditation.  This can assist with fueling creativity, concentration, and reducing moodiness.  Working together as a family can be beneficial, instead of centering your tween out.

It is natural for a parent to worry about their ever-growing child, but we must be mindful of our reactions to the ever-changing world, and culture around ourselves and tweens.  Enjoy this newfound freedom and learning together as a family as the new norm for a developing tween.

What are some of your advice for families with growing tweens?

Head Lice Bugging You? It Earnestly Bugs Me.

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Please note, I am not selling or promoting any specific products for profit – I only recommend what I use because I am sure of it’s quality and effectiveness. Also the recipe included is not certified to treat head lice, it only helps with prevention.

When I was in the 7th grade I got head lice so bad that my mother (bless her heart) cut my long hair above my ears with kitchen shears. I cried, I remember holding my ponytail recently separated from my body through blurry sobs. In 7th grade I knew not to share hats, brushes, sweaters or lay next to friends for worry I may get head lice – but I got it anyway. So I showed up one day after all the dreaded “Head Lice Memos” went home, with a boy’s haircut (we went to a pro once I was all cleaned up from lice). I was mortified, I had such bad head lice that I still cringe at the nick names I received from the whole experience, ‘lice queen, lice hotel,’ and other creative names I do not care to mention. My 7th grade self is still petrified of getting head lice, and now that I have a long haired daughter starting school – I have worries, naturally.

Before my 7th grade experience, I got head lice for the first time, in Kindy; I remember sitting to get my bum length hair french braided and sprayed before school. I can still taste the mist of that choking aerosol spray we used to help prevent any louse wanting to get to my scalp. Of course, I ended up getting lice and my first experience with that nasty, stinky shampoo and painful nit catching comb. God bless my mother, she had 4 girls and head lice was quite an event in our house.

I know when I was in school there was a lot of myth and misinformation about lice, and today I still hear the same stuff. Here are some facts, head lice are:

  • 1 of the top 3 reasons kids miss school
  • Extremely common! Between 6-12 million U.S. kids 3-11 years old get head lice each year
  • Not dangerous, but are contagious (and SO annoying)
  • NOT signs of unwashed or unclean hair – they thrive in clean hair
  • Unable to jump, fly or swim
  • Unable to live on your pets
  • Unable to live in your environment (couch, carpet, furniture, pillow, sheets, mattress, car, movie theater, airplane)

Now, I also know that there are A TON of sprays and solutions out there that promise prevention and they are CRAZY expensive so I am going to share my recipe that is super easy and effective, but also will not break the bank. I will also share the prevention tips I follow and so far so good while my littles have attended PreK, VBS and play dates!

Lice Prevention Spray

Recipe:

  • 4 oz Distilled Water
  • 1 tsp alcohol free witch hazel
  • 8 drops dōTERRA Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 5 drops dōTERRA Lavender EO
  • 5 drops dōTERRA Rosemary EO (optional)
  • 4 oz glass spray bottle (I recycled this one from Urban Oreganics Rose Water Spray)
  • Shake well and spray on wet or dry hair before and after styling.
  • I use this daily with my kiddos, lice can attach to any hair that is 2 inches or longer so if you have young lads with longer hair they can use the spray too!

    Witch hazel – Since head lice do not like clean hair, my kids wash their hair every two/three days, a very small amount of witch hazel can help reduce oil build up

    Tea Tree Essential Oil (melaleuca) – anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties make it effective for preventing lice, treating dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. It can clear the follicles and allow your hair to breathe; also moisturizes the scalp while preventing buildup of excess oil on the scalp.

    Lavender Essential Oil – has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which can prevent head lice and improve overall scalp health. Lavender is also known for properties that can generate the growth of cells and reduce stress.

    Rosemary Essential Oil – can counter hair loss by stimulating blood circulation in the scalp, which, in turn, promotes hair growth. Its high nutritional value and anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent ingredient for nourishing the hair follicles and soothing the scalp. It is also known to aid in lice prevention.

    Other oils that are good for preventing head lice – eucalyptus, peppermint and neem.

    Lice Prevention Tips:

    • Weekly lice checks, not sure what to look for? Google human lice/louse/nits
      Wash hair infrequently
      Style longer hair in braids or ponytails
      Use above spray daily before going to school/activities
      Encourage children not to share combs, brushes, hats or shirts
      Keep on the look out for frequent scalp itchiness or complaining of tickling feeling on scalp/hair

    Good luck mamas! If your kiddos end up getting head lice take a moment, breathe and do not panic. There are several ways to treat, kill and clean lice from heads and home. It can be quite a task but worth the work of preventing re-infestation; some natural and OTC treatments may not work as some are resistant; if necessary feel free to call and see your child’s practitioner.

    Please know, and I speak from experience, that parental reaction can have long lasting effects and staying calm, reassuring and supporting to your child who has lice is worth it’s weight in gold.

    You’ve got this!

    x. earnest mom

    The Middle Matters. An Earnest Book Review.

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    “Because grilled cheese without the middle is just toast.”

    – Lisa-Jo Baker, The Middle Matters

    Having been a fan of Lisa-Jo Baker since Surprised By Motherhood, I was thrilled to receive her recent book to review.  Lisa-Jo has an amazing way of storytelling that takes your life, intertwines it with hers and once you put one of her books down, you feel forever connected.  The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Good On You definitely delivers true to Lisa-Jo form.  It is honest, loving, filter-free and raw; when I read that last line of the final page, I closed the book and again, felt connected forever.

    This book consists of truth-telling letters/essays to the middle parts of Lisa-Jo’s life; from the middle of her muffin top, to the middle of her failures.  She shares stories of motherhood and marriage that will leave you in tears; laughing tears, sad tears, happy tears and realizing you are not alone tears.   Lisa-Jo takes the hard parts of life and makes them bearable, especially when you know someone out there has experienced the same.  I love the idea of building villages by sharing our stories, this book was made to build villages; villages made up of all of us here in our middles.

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    I remember as a teenager Chicken Soup for the Soul books were all the rage, they were the books I read at my beginning – I love food so this will be a food metaphor – Chicken Soup for the Soul was like my appetizer in life and The Middle Matters is the main course, right in the middle of appetizers and desserts.  It is a hearty helping of comfort food that is necessary in this middle life of ours.  A warm serving of exactly what we need to remember, the scale is not the boss of us and we are the boss of our own emotions.  It brings delicious satisfaction to read Lisa-Jo’s words and know that she has been there too sister, and together we can all get through it.  This middle part is not always easy, often quite busy but is so worth remembering.  She reminds us not to rush through the middle just to get to the end, we must finish our main course before the dessert.  Slowing down to try and see the days as they pass is totally worth it.  Worth every moment.  Lisa-Jo dedicates the book to her late mother whom she says taught her: the harder the moment, the greater the story.  I love this.  Let’s savor those hard moments so we can share great stories with our fellow and future middle mamas.

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    This book is one I wish I could buy for every woman I know, whether in the beginning of the middle, the middle of the middle or the end – we all need a book like this.  The Middle Matters is everywhere you can buy books, get out there and grab one for yourself and a few girlfriends!

    Stay tuned to my Instagram for an (extra)ordinary giveaway next week!!

    x. earnest mom.

    The Middle Matters is published by Waterbrook and Multnomah and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free advance reader copy for my honest opinion.

     

    It’s Happy Here. An Earnest Anecdote.

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    “It’s happy here!” My oldest earnest little cried out amongst the laughter at the dinner table. As we all laughed together trying our best “dad” jokes, my heart leapt when I heard those words.

    As a mom, I am constantly bombarded by the world, social media, parenting books telling me who and what I should be. That is all well and good I know, I do glean what works in our earnest home; but there are times I cannot help but look to those picture perfect Pinterest-Insta-Worthy pictures and compare.

    Maybe if we did more crafts.

    Maybe if we did more alphabet practicing.

    Maybe if we played more sports.

    Maybe if we ate more organic.

    Maybe if I was more, more, more!

    It is sometimes overwhelming to try and be more than I could ever be and in those moments, those self-doubt enemy of my peace moments, I need to tell myself “I am ENOUGH.” And when I cannot voice it to myself, the Lord does through my kids.

    “It’s happy here.” Just three words but oh, the weight they carry. My children do not look to me and think “I wish you were more (fill in blank).” No, they run to me with huge open arms, squeeze me so tight sometimes I lose my breathe. It is incredible how they see the world – happy. They love me, as I am, whether my hair is combed or not, whether there are boogers on my shirt or not, whether I am perfect or not. Which I will tell you reader, the latter I am most definitely not.

    “It’s happy here” is now my mama-motto. (Seriously, I had vinyl stickers made up and stuck to my kitchen door!) Remembering no matter what, in our home, or wherever we are together, it is happy here.

    I do not know what it is in your home that will make you want to shout out “It’s happy here!” as my eldest did, but I charge you to find it. Seek it. Welcome that happiness with open arms, do not let the “picture perfect” ideals take away the happy time you have together. These sweet, sticky and delicious summers fly by in a flash. Find your happy, and keep it there. Sometimes, just ten minutes of happy a day can change the entire year; that is 3,600 minutes of happy in one year. You got this mamas, one day at a time, let’s look around and find moments that cry out “it’s happy here.”

    x. em.

    The Heart of the Matter. Our Earnest Miracle.

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    Photo Credit: stock.adobe.com

    It has been one year.  A full year since my otherwise fit, happy, energetic (and adorable) husband AKA earnest dad suffered a massive heart attack.  I remember watching the doctor in a cold fearful fog as she said “ma’am, your husband is experiencing a cardiac event.”  I will never forget the way she said those words: cardiac event.

    It was a typical Wednesday afternoon, we have bible study on Wednesdays and so from 3:30 – 5:30 pm is becomes a mad dash to get kids, myself and dinner ready before 5:00 pm so we can be out the door by 5:30 pm.  It is in the middle of this ordinary chaos I get a call from earnest dad, “Babe. I am driving to the emergency room.”  The chaos stilled, silence fell upon my ears and all I could hear was the quick, quiet and worry filled breathe of my husband as he explained what he was experiencing.  I listened as he described NOTHING I would think would be related to a heart problem.  A bit of dizziness, a menthol feeling in the back of his throat, but something just felt off – like maybe he waited too long to eat lunch.  I sent my oldest across the street to fetch my mother in law – but insisted my husband stay on the phone until I was at the emergency room with him.  After a quick exchange with my MIL I was off to the hospital.

    I walk in, my husband is already being evaluated, has already had an EKG and was quickly being whisked off through triage to a room where they could monitor him.  My husband had high cholesterol, and unusually high triglycerides that he had been taking medication for – but the doctors could not find anything wrong.  He was not experiencing pain, or tightness in chest, he was breathing fine and all of the tests were coming back normal.  There is an enzyme your heart releases into your blood stream (troponin) that came back minimally elevated – and doc gave him a slight sedative to ease anxiety, since he felt with earnest dad working 2 full time jobs, plus being a full time unpaid pastor could all cause a lot of stress that can easily present as a panic attack.  Panic attacks can produce of the symptoms he was experiencing.  Our emergency doctor (who happened to be the brother of a MOPS friend) gave us the option to stay for observation or go home.  I insisted we stay.

    Within a few hours we were moved twice and finally arrived on the cardiac floor since after two more blood tests, his troponin was massive heart attack level. I was so scared, could this be it?! 9.5 years of an amazing marriage, three beautiful children and being able to share it all with my best friend – could I be losing it all in one night?! He was only 41 years old. That night I prayed, selfishly I begged that I would not lose my husband, I asked the Lord to keep him alive, for me.

    By the next morning, we were waiting with bated breath, longing to hear good news from every nurse, doctor, orderly, ANYONE who walked into the room. The news only got worse, although my husband was smiling, joking, laughing and only felt headache created by the nitroglycerin patch on his chest; his blood was still reading massive heart attack levels. The doctors were astounded he was not feeling any other pain. Our next step was choosing a stress test or straight to a heart catheter to look for any blockages. We chose the catheter since it would be the most conclusive.

    We got the call from the catheter lab; they were ready for him. As he went to get ready, an orderly came in to wheel him to a stress test. We stopped and called up the doc – again he said our choice. Again, we chose the catheter – and thank God we did. After 3.5 grueling hours of waiting in the cath-lab waiting room the doctor came to see me. All three of his main arteries were blocked, 2 about 90% blocked and the other one 100%. Had we chosen a stress test, the doctor was sure he would have dropped right then and there. We were floored, hot tears of relief alongside loud cries releasing the emotion and fear I had been choking down burst from me like a levy giving way to the powerful rising tide. Although he was not 100% out of the woods quite yet, he was saved from this cardiac event.

    Hours later, in recovery we met with his cardiologist (now a someone he sees at least twice a year). His doctor looked at us in amazement, with two things he needed to tell us. 1. If we had gone home that Wednesday night, there is no doubt my husband would have not woken up the next morning. 2. The artery that had the 100% blockage should have caused damage in his lower ventricle – but from what he could see there was ZERO damage.

    By the grace of God, less than 48 hours after 5 stents were placed in all three of my husband’s arteries, we were home. He was sore but our hearts rejoiced seeing the hand of God so powerful in this whole event.

    Secretly, I was praying as I awaited the dreaded hospital bills. I had told myself, “no matter the cost, my husband is alive and that is priceless.” When that worry about medical bills would wake me in the middle of the night, I would look over at my sleeping husband and place my hand on his chest so I could remind myself of the most important thing – he is alive.

    As the days passed, we adjusted to the medicine regimen, the nutritionist recommendations and, as the family we were now having gone through this together. We received dozens of cards from members of our church sharing their love and prayers and some even gifts of money knowing the medical bills would be piling up. And then it came, the explanation of benefits from our insurance and as I was reading the numbers, the more than quarter of a million-dollar total cost, I swallowed hard. My stomach dropped, my face felt flush and worry squeezed down on me, but I kept reading. I saw deductions, insurance payments, in network discounts and the total we owed was the EXACT amount we had been sent in cards over the last few weeks.

    My knees were weak, the relief felt like I had been lifted from some invisible weight that I had been dragging daily. Could it be?! I checked again, read it aloud, cried as I read it the third time. It was 100% accurate; not only had God saved my husband’s life, He made sure it was done at no cost to us.

    Here we are one year later. Together, healthy and so incredibly blessed. At moments of stress or worry, I give my hubby a hug and listen to his heartbeat as it reminds me who truly is in control.

    x. earnest mom.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Me & My Earnest Mouth

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    I am a mom, I am a blogger, I am a sister and I am a friend; and in all of those roles, I am a sharer.

    There is a huge trend today where us mamas feel judged, or overwhelmed by advice and tips in the mama world and to be honest – I get it. We are so quick to put up the “advice not welcome here sign” and stop lending an ear to generations of wisdom that maybe we miss the intent of the advisor. I am a sharer, big time. When I see a fellow mama in need of help, asking for help or simply seeking mutual supports in different aspects of motherhood I cannot help my earnest mouth and I excitedly share my experiences and what I have learned along the way.

    When I was brand spanking new to the mama world, I was one of the first of my close friends and the very first on both sides of our immediate family to have a baby and to be honest, I was totally clueless. I did not know what to ask, where to look or what to do! I sought advice but was left short; I read books, I googled all the baby and new mom articles. I overwhelmed myself in written media and wished I had found a tangible example in my little village. Do not get me wrong, my mama and mother-in-love helped a lot – but no offense their children were grown and advice was slightly antiquated.

    From that experience I made sure to add mamas more experienced than I to my village, plus pick their brains for tips and advice relevant to my life. I love when someone notices me and my children and have the thought to want to share their sage wisdom with me – do I take in all advice as absolutes, no. However I do sift through to find the gems that can work in my own life while raising my wild and amazing littles.

    Sometimes, I feel maybe today we are too quick to stamp down or hush those around us who are only seeking to help – and while some of the advice may have been best left at the door, this verbal interaction is what makes the village of motherhood. Mind you I still hear the occasional rub rum on teething gums (I am sure as more of a joke than advice) but I glean so much from listening to other mama’s birth stories, sleep training tips and so on. What may work for one family may not for another but that is what makes us all unique and successful in our own paths.

    I am very conscious when offering advice to fellow moms, I also work hard to read body language when I am chatting. However I always follow up with, this is just what worked for us and what works for one may not for another, but sharing is what I do! I share my experiences, tips and help I have found along the way in hopes another mama would not feel so underprepared and overwhelmed when needing to seek it all alone. Storytelling helps us all get through life and share ourselves with one another even if there are tips laced through the storyline.

    Me and my earnest mouth come from a place of love, understanding, accepting and a true desire to help lift the mamas around me. I would only hope that articles, chats and interaction from me would only express the love and hopes to help that I have for others and never put down another mama. In this vast world of social media, perfect Pinterest examples, ideal Instagram images and fantasy Facebook posts – they are OVERWHELMING. We are the most connected we have ever been in history yet, it feels so lonely.

    Mamas, let’s not be quick to push away or hurry through the conversations that we are having, lets get out there, find (or create) our villages and be encouraged to share your stories. Stories and experiences help us see likeness in others, visiting and listening help us connect. Let’s do more of that and less scrolling, trust me it will feel less lonely. Listen to the advice (and take only what you need), be willing to share yours – it may take a village to raise our children, but it also takes a village to support their mamas.

    x. earnest mom.

    Earnest Bedtimes + the 5 Stages of Grief.

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    A slightly comical look at our bedtime routine, remember what may work for one family may not for another. Glean what you may and enjoy!

    Typically these two things are not correlated, well not formally but I have come to discover that every single night my children (particularly my darling sweet middle child) experience ALL five stages of grief at bedtime. Here is a typical night at the earnest household, where both earnest dad and I are usually home as we try our best to have dinner as a family and visit together before bedtime.

    Stage one: Denial.

    Picture it: dinner is done, the kiddos are finishing homework, or chores; then we like to enjoy a show on Netflix before bedtime starts. So we are usually all snuggled up in the living room together and around 7:20 pm I announce “5 minutes and it is time to start potty and brushing teeth.” The reaction: my 9 year old instantly bolts from the couch in disbelief to check the clock in the kitchen; my 4 year old laments, “whaaaaat?! We have just had dinner, it is not time for bedtime yet.” And my 16 month old yells out “teeeeeeth” (he is just excited to brush his teeth). This first stage usually last about 2-3 minutes before the next stage hits.

    Stage two: Anger.

    Earnest dad or I typically reply to the confusion, “yes, we have about five minutes and then we need to start brushing teeth and going to bed.” My 9 year old, “ugh, why can’t I stay up????” And he may or may not be stomping or dropping to the floor. My 4 year old, “what?! Bedtime?! No!!!” Followed by her loud, tear-filled cry and hugs. My 16 month old, “teeeeth.” He is still excited to brush his teeth.

    Stage three: Bargaining.

    My 9 year old calms and slyly sits down next to me and asks the following in a hushed voice, “mom, can I stay up just a little bit later tonight? Please? Just a little.” My 4 year old, wiping tears and calming down, “wait” sniffle, sniffle, “can we watch just one more episode?” And my 16 month old, he has gotten up walked to the bathroom and is waiting for someone to open the door to hand him his toothbrush.

    Stage four: Depression.

    Here we get full on tears, and earnest dad and I stay firm. “Okay guys, time is up let’s go potty and get our teeth brushed.” All kids sadly get up, turn off the TV and head to the bathroom where the chaos of toothpaste, toothbrushes, potty time scheduling and a quick diaper change for the littlest happens. Then boom, we are all walking upstairs together and this is where the final stage sets in.

    Stage five: Acceptance.

    Kids are calm, I am usually with our 4 year old daughter and earnest dad takes the boys to their room. I tuck her in, we read a book, say prayers, give kisses and back scratches and, as I wind up her musical unicorn jewelry box she turns to me and says: “mama, what we doing tomorrow?” We review the plans for the next day and as I walk out of her room I get one final “night mama, I love you.” As I close her door I hear the same events taking place in the boys’ room. Their love tanks are full and, my earnest heart is overflowing.

    By 8:00 pm all three are in bed, where they stay all night. And since realizing this routine they experience every night before bed, I am able to know just what to expect. There is so much joy in that, I find our bedtimes even in the 5 stages are smooth and fun. By the time we are heading upstairs the tears have turned to giggles, the cries have turned to ‘I love you’s’ and the one goal earnest dad and I try to meet every night in our marriage is being met with our children: never go to bed angry.

    I know I am comparing parts of our night with the stages of grief, but when you are little and every day is the ‘best day ever,’ why would you want it to end? I am so blessed by this predictable, earnest little event we have every night; it is in this routine we all find the comfort we need to sleep peacefully in our earnest little home. Let me know what your bedtime routine looks like? What works for you, and do your children experience any of the 5 Stages of Grief before bed??

    x. earnest mom.

    Motherhood: A wild and incredibly blessed ride!

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    Wild and blessed, two words that can describe exactly where I am right now.

    I am always shocked when I hear the words: ” I do not know how you do it” or “how do you get anything done in a day?” Honestly, I never feel like I hit the mark, I rarely feel like I have gotten anything done in a day and sometimes the only gage I have that I’ve accomplished something is by my husband’s reaction when he come in the door.

    Seriously, as a stay at home mom to an 8, 4 and 1 year old my time feels like it is spent assessing risk factors from wild toddler antics, throwing snacks out like candy at a parade and refereeing disputes over claims of “bad words being said, walking passed someone too fast or slow, and simply not agreeing on the next show to watch on Netflix.” And yes, my children watch Netflix, I mean yeah, I could totally parent without screen time – I could also churn my own butter but let’s not get too crazy now.

    Friends have told me how I seem to have it all together and that my kids are so lucky. I am here to tell you, looks are deceiving. There are days when I get up before my children, make the coffee and have laundry and dishes running before 9:00 am. Those days are rare. To be honest that happened once last week. The rest of the week looked more like me walking out of the bathroom to my two oldest using a half a stick of butter in each hand from the fridge to butter their toast because there was not any softened butter available. No kidding, this was last Wednesday and I chose to look at the fact that not only did they make their own snack, but they did as a team! Yay, MOM WIN!!! Another day I turn around from loading the dishwasher to my one year old eating a burnt waffle he took from the garbage. Perfection?! NO WAY, but like I said I am wildly blessed by this.

    In my days as a stay at home mom I have learned to let go and let live. My children are growing so fast, right before my eyes and if I do not stop all of my busyness I will miss on theirs. My house is not always tidy, some days my sink of full of dishes and there have even been times that we have run out of clean laundry; but my kids are loved, happy, fed and safe. Those four elements are a language of love for this mama’s heart, and perspective is everything. My home may be messy but we have a place to live, my sink may have dishes but we have food to eat and laundry may be dirty but we have clothes to wear. My kids may be loud but they have a voice, they may be busy but their have a love of life to live. Pretty soon, in a blink, my kids will be on their own; the house will be perfectly clean and too quiet, and I will miss these wild and blessed days.

    I know that I am in no way a perfect mom, but I know I have been made perfectly by God to grow these tiny humans He has given me. I hope that when I fall short I can give them an opportunity to see humility and compassion; when I make mistakes I can help them learn to forgive; and when I hold them, they feel what true love is. I am mothering the best way I know how, I know that the best of me as imperfect as I am is exactly what they need. By this mere fact, I am able to forgive myself the moments when they eat from the trash or use way too much butter, and find joy no matter what. This is us, this is our little life and our little home is massive in love, for truly we are wildly blessed.

    Mamas, no matter what season you are in, please know you are perfect just as you are. I love the saying “to the world you are just a mom, but to your children you are the world.” Our little ones have this amazing God-given power to love us mamas unconditionally, let us too start loving ourselves unconditionally too. Doing our best everyday is the best we can for them, and even when we totally fail, guess what?! They will be right there, still loving us.

    You are seen, you are loved and you are everything to those little eyes that look to you every morning. You are just what your family needs. Be wild and blessed, the days are long but the years are short.

    x. earnest mom.

    Review + Giveaway: Stewie BOOM! And Princess Penelope: Snowflakes, Handprints and Playdates.

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    April is National Autism Awareness month and this month I really wanted to focus on being inclusive, and gaining more understanding and sensitivity with my earnest littles about Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    Many children that have Autism can go undiagnosed for a long time and the spectrum is so broad that even a diagnosis is not the full answer. I wanted to be sure we learned that no matter the behavior we see, every child deserves a friend. I found this exact message in Stewie BOOM! and Princess Penelope: Snowflakes, Handprints and Playdates by Christine Bronstein.

    This book highlights what it means to play with someone new, making friends, understanding differences and every character is completely relatable for adults and kids. Following the story there are some stellar tips on reaching out to new friends, being accepting of differences and starting a conversation about Autism with kids.

    When asked what her inspiration was to write Stewie BOOM! And Princess Penelope: Snowflakes, Handprints and Playdates; Christine said:

    It is a book I wish I had when my kids were younger.  One of my children had some special needs and I know how isolating it can be.  Too many families with children with ASD are struggling with isolation and bullying and these are two things that are actually solvable if we all work together to embrace these families and children into our communities.

    This book speaks to me on so many levels and would be the perfect addition to any home or classroom library to help open dialogue on all of the points that Christine listed above.

    GIVEAWAY: Want to win a book of your own?! Comment below if you have been or plan to be involved with Autism Awareness this month (or longer!!). Examples could be you did a community walk, changed your Facebook frame, bought cookies that will benefit the Autism society, or maybe simply talking to your children about what the spectrum is and how we can be more kind, outgoing and accepting. Please share your plans, ideas and activities below! Giveaway now CLOSED. The winner has been announced here in the comments and on earnest mom’s Instagram (@earnestmomblog), be sure to be following to find out if you have won!

    x. earnest mom.

    Earnest Mom x Sage Spoonfuls

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    Guys!! I am so excited about this, earnest mom is OFFICIALLY a Sage Spoonfuls Brand Ambassador.

    Okay, so what does that mean?? It means over the next few months I will get the privilege to share with you some of their brand new products plus awesome discounts!! Woo hoo.

    I began using Sage Spoonfuls back in 2015 when I starting making baby food for earnest babe. (Check out my article here, An Earnest Attempt At Homemade Baby Food.)

    In our earnest home, we used Sage Spoonfuls’ Baby Food Making System for making baby food, but once we were passed the baby food stage this system has been helpful for much more. The immersion blender has been used for shakes, soups and applesauce. The mini food processor has made pesto, freezer jams, breadcrumbs, cookie crumbs and chopping veggies. The glass jars (freezer safe) have served as Oriole jelly feeders, storage for home-made jam, tartar sauce and applesauce; stashing snacks in the diaper bag and even reusable wipes. This whole system grows well beyond the infant feeding years, definitely an investment. (Want more ideas? Check out Sage Spoonfuls).

    Now that earnest boy 2.0 is 5 months, I am getting ready to start making baby food all over again. Sage Spoonfuls has a wonderful cookbook that gives delicious, fresh and healthy (and safe) recipes tailored to each specific baby food age/stages. I am excited to do it all over again, and with my mom brain forgetting all I did 3 years ago – this cookbook helps a lot.

    That is my story on why I love Sage Spoonfuls SO much; go ahead, get your own Sage Spoonfuls and start your love story!! Want a discount while you shop?! Use SAGE25REBECCA at www.sagespoonfuls.com for your 25% discount today.

    x. earnest mom

    PS: Stay tuned for some new products from Sage Spoonfuls!