I have been a mom for almost 16 years now. During this time, especially the early years, I have had to handle so many different things. A lot of people don’t realize the work that goes into staying home with your children. There are many jobs a mom must do throughout her day. She’s not just sitting around eating bonbons or watching soap operas.
It takes many different “hats” to handle motherhood. Nothing can prepare you for it. I often babysat when I was younger, but that was different than watching and taking care of my children. It has been interesting taking a trip down memory lane. Please forgive the quality of some of the pictures…these were taken a “few” years ago.
Some of the hats I’ve had to wear over the years?
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Probably the biggest amount of my time when I first became a mom was spent making a routine and sticking to it. With three kids under the age of 2, we had to be on a schedule. I had to write things out early on because I would forget (can we say sleep deprived?). This worked well for us. I enjoyed the nap times twice a day (sanity check).
But as they grew older, those times cut back, and we had other things to schedule. School, playtime, bath time, bedtime, etc. This is actually how all three boys learned to tell time. I would get them up at 8 am. We had a snack at 10:15 am. Lunch at 12 pm. Another snack at 3:00. Dinner at 5:30. And bedtime starting at 8 pm. Yes, there were other things built in there, like trips to the doctor, library, etc., but those were the basics for every day. They would compare the manual clock with the digital clock on the microwave and figured out how to tell time.
School years brought new changes. I still sleep until 8, but frequently the boys will get up earlier and start on school work they can do on their own. Our schedule is not so rigid now, but we still like to know what to plan out for each day.
When the boys were small, to help stop fights, we would have a particular day for each boy. They each had 2 per week. So one boy had Monday and Thursday, another Tuesday and Friday, and the last Wednesday and Saturday (Mom and Dad had Sunday). They were allowed to pick first, choose certain things, push the buggy at the store, etc. No more, “It’s my turn.” It became, “Whose day is it?”
When they were older, we switched to weeks instead of days. For certain things they still do this. It has become a habit.
Teaching begins as soon as the baby is born. They quickly learn to crawl, walk, run, etc. Time flies.
I decided to homeschool, but the first years were busy playing and just teaching letters, numbers, and shapes. When the boys were ready, I started to teach them to read. I was so intimidated and wondered if I was making the right choice. But then I found the book, How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann. It worked! My oldest was reading by the time he was 4. The twins were between 4.5 and 5.
I always said that I would continue to homeschool as long as I could. We are still going strong. The boys are now in high school, 9th and 10th. I am now more of a guidance counselor these days, and just have to help with a few subjects. It has paid off to teach them to work on their own. I try to schedule out the whole school year in advance and make checklists for each of the boys to follow. This helps them to stay on task and work at their own pace.
I can’t even count how much time was spent in the kitchen. I had to stop breastfeeding with the oldest when he was nine months old because I was pregnant with the twins. But then I went a full year of nursing the twins. And they wouldn’t nurse at the same time until they were about ten months old.
One of my “fondest” memories? I was sitting in the kitchen feeding my oldest with one hand, nursing one of the twins in the other arm, and rocking a car carrier with the other twin to calm him. Talk about multi-tasking! I still don’t know how I survived those years. Oh, yes I do. By the grace of God!
It was rough, but we managed. Most days weren’t like that. And the older they got, the easier that part became.
We used jarred baby food for the oldest, but by the time the twins came along, it was too expensive. So, every week my husband and I would make food for them. We spent a day cooking chicken, carrots, green beans, etc. and then putting everything in the blender. Now there are all sorts of options like this Magic Bullet Baby Care System that would have made things so much easier. Then when they could handle finger food, we would chop everything up in advance. That made meal times run a little smoother.
And now the boys make many of the meals themselves. Or Daddy helps. With my health issues, it is difficult to stand for any length of time, so it is challenging to cook. Fortunately, my husband loves cooking, and he has been teaching the boys. And they have watched a lot of the Food Network.
You don’t realize how much trash you can go through until you have kids. Diapers alone can fill up an entire trash can, especially when you multiply it by 3. And wiping sniffly noses with tissues. Cleaning up spills. And, and, and…
When the boys were about a year and a half, I started teaching them to take their diapers to the trash can. We had the type that you could press with your foot to open (similar to this one). They loved to help. Visitors would always laugh seeing the boys line up to take their diapers. The Diaper Genie worked great when we had one, but once we had 3 in diapers, we just started using trash cans and emptying them daily.
Oh, the number of bumps and bruises throughout the years. I’ve had to pull out splinters. Stop bleeding. Ice boo-boos. I was able to handle most situations. The oldest was running in the kitchen and hit his head on the side of the counter. It cut a gash on the side of his head. The wound wasn’t too deep, so my husband was able to shave a little of the hair off, and we put a butterfly stitch on it.
Then there was the time when the middle son swallowed a steel ball, part of a Magnetics Building Set. Fortunately, it was just the ball and not a magnet, and it was only one. “Why did you have it in your mouth?” I asked. “I just wanted to see how it felt,” was his reply. I had to check his poop for days. And when after three days it hadn’t passed, we finally took him to the doctor. They did an x-ray and said it was still moving along and was not stuck anywhere, and would probably be out soon. I was so happy when I heard a “plink” a few days later.
Same child was also hit in the nose by his twin brother with a baseball bat. A “comedy of errors” if you will. They were outside playing baseball. The oldest was pitching to the youngest. But the middle decided he needed to show his brother how to swing. He stepped in front of the youngest right when the oldest threw the ball. Swing…crack!
My husband and I were both inside when this happened, and the oldest came running in. We ran out, and the middle one is standing with his hands over his face trying to catch the blood so it wouldn’t get on the grass. I was still in a neck collar from surgery. But there I was applying pressure to his nose while my husband called 9-1-1. It broke his nose and required six stitches.
And the youngest was hit in the mouth by a fly ball while playing baseball. Loosened five teeth, and he had to have a root canal on one of them a year later. Do you sense a theme here? The boys love baseball, so they are bound to end up with a few bumps and bruises.
I would recommend a small first-aid kit because you never know what types of accidents will happen. We keep one in the house and one in the car. I also like to keep a clean washcloth in the bag that goes with us to games. We had to use it for another kid who was hit in the face by a ball and busted his lip. The concession stand didn’t have any ice, but we were able to use some water and clean him up.
We were fortunate not to have anything odd flushed down the toilet. I did, however, have to plunge numerous times until the boys were old enough to take care of it themselves.
I’ll never forget the sink incident, though. The boys mentioned that their faucet handle felt weird. I went to check it and noticed that water was still dripping out. I pressed it down to shut it off…and the handle broke off. Water started shooting up to the ceiling! I screamed as water was spraying me in the face. I did at least remember the shut-off valve under the sink and was able to turn it off rather quickly. One of the boys looked at me and said, “Well, at least you don’t need a shower tonight.”
This “hat” could be worn by anyone. It seems that the more people in a house, the more housework there is to do. I tried to get the basics cleaned every day/week. I didn’t let the dishes pile up because that could attract bugs. But I wasn’t so worried if the carpet wasn’t vacuumed weekly, especially since I was usually treating it for spit up during the first few years.
As the boys grew, we had them start helping with chores. We bought a little Shark Sweeper. It comes with a long handle, and we just took one of the sections out to have it be long enough for the boys to hold (see picture). It was lightweight and picked up most of the big stuff. We also had a little broom and dustpan for them to use to help with sweeping.
Now that they are teens, the cleaning has been passed on to them. They each take turns with cleaning bathrooms, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, etc.
Early on, we probably did two loads of laundry a day, if not more. Between spit up and leaking through diapers, we had a lot of clothes and sheets to wash. I’m not sure if all babies have this problem, but ours had a way of shooting out the back of the diaper and soiling the back of their outfit. We called it the poop shoot. We found the best thing to get it out was Pine-Sol. We said the Sol stood for “stuff outta laundry.” Pour a little on the stain, run it under warm water, and slowly work the stain out. Worked every time.
I also discovered it was easier to have a set of “outdoor” play clothes to go along with the everyday clothes. We lived in an area of North Carolina with red clay. It is hard to get the red clay out of clothing. So it was much easier just to have them wear play clothes. Now that they are older, we call them “work” clothes, clothes that we don’t mind getting dirty. But I don’t want paint on their good jeans!
Interesting title, isn’t it? I couldn’t quite come up with a term for running after littles and trying to keep them in one place. And when I was home alone, that was three against 1; not very good odds.
We tried to keep most of the doors closed so they had free run of the rest of the house. Fortunately, we lived in a single-story home. When I needed to keep them confined, we had a “gated” community. We were gifted a 6-panel set to use for the boys. Then we found another set at a garage sale. I was just searching Amazon, and found this 8-Panel Safety Activity Center! This would have been perfect for us.
We have fond memories of the boys wearing their little blanket sleepers. When they would crawl away, we could just pick them up by the back of the sleeper and turn them around. It was like a game to them. They were so cute in those. I doubt I could convince them to wear those now!!
I’m sure I could come up with so many more jobs a mom must do, but I’ll save that for another post.
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Until next time,
PS: I discovered Amazon now offers an option to subscribe to buy diapers. You can set also check out Amazon Family. Join Amazon Family 30-Day Free Trial. They offer 20% off diapers, exclusive coupons, and exclusive baby registry benefits. I wish we had this when the boys were babies. Here is a picture of diapers we bought for the first week the twins were home. It didn’t last the week. We bought in bulk from Costco, but it sure would have been nice to have it delivered.