3 things you should know when traveling with a toddler.

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I have had my fair share of traveling with a baby/toddler. It’s not an easy feat. Definitely not for the faint of heart. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and just plain stressful. Once you get to your destination, whether by train, plane, or car, you can breath a little easy. Until that point you have to make sure you pack up the kitchen, the house, and everything in between.

When my oldest was younger I felt like it was a breeze to travel. She didn’t need much. A DVD player to watch and re-watch her favorite movies. Some coloring books and crayons. Snacks and beverages. Her blanket, and a change of clothes. Not awful. She would have her mini freak out moments here and there but for the most part she was the ideal travel buddy.

My youngest on the other hand is in a category all his own. We have taken a trip by car and by plane. Both were character building exercises when it comes to parenting. My husband is usually the driver and travel agent. While I take up the rear and watch over the kids. I am in charge of care, organization, feeding, and entertainment. We kind of have a system. It works.

Here’s the outline I follow to ensure a fun and happy time while traveling…

  1. Electronics are your friend. If you don’t believe in kids movies, games, or apps for your little ones then you’re missing out. I can not tell you how many times a Disney movie saved our lives from a catastrophic meltdown because he couldn’t have this or that. We had games and movies at the ready for him. I mean who doesn’t love a little mindless entertainment once in awhile. I’m not saying he was glued to the screens but they did help distract him during those moments when we were all ready to throw ourselves down and weep uncontrollably because the line for food was ridiculously long.
  2. Pack those snacks. It’s easy to go with out a meal here or there, maybe not if you’re a diabetic like me, but even then…when I get busy enough I can lose track of time. My kiddos love snacks and they can usually hold them over just long enough for real food to come or for them to pass out from exhaustion or boredom while waiting for flights to board. Don’t be afraid to pack a little bit of everything because of course at that stressful moment of trying to find your gates is also the time they decide the treats they once loved  and cherished are now kryptonite and they want nothing to do with them.
  3. Lastly, a mental tip. Traveling can be a hassle but it’s like that for everyone. The way the kids act while trekking across the states or even countries is not a reflection on you as a parent. More than likely they are exhausted, hungry, bored, and probably too excited for wherever you’re headed to think about sitting still in a seat with nothing but sky to look at. Kids cry, some adults do too, just remember that you will eventually get to where you need to go and all will be right with the world. You’ll get through it, trust me, I’ve done it.

Have you recently traveled with little ones? Any tips and tricks you’d like to share?

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The Insecure Mom.

The other day I found myself questioning, yet again in my motherhood journey, whether I was a good mom or not. Some days I really feel like super mom getting everything done and feeling an overall productiveness wash over me, then there are times I feel like I’m still figuring things out, but in between all those moments what really goes through my mind is what the heck am I doing right now. If you are like me and carry the same kind of worry around your neck then I am here to share my epiphany. I am here to tell you it’s not you…it’s them. Our kids stink. Of course, I am completely joking. Well, sort of. What I mean to say is that you are amazing and these tiny little humans full of so much excitement, energy, and pure destructiveness are beautiful blessings that like to test our limits. We did it to our parents and these kids are now doing it to us.

It is the circle of life in the most perfect of ways.

They run on their own little schedules, they have their own little demands, and sometimes they have no idea what they want. And all of that is fine except when it leaves me feeling like I am doing this whole mom thing wrong.

Here is an example for you.

Lately my two year old has been taking the wheel on what he wants to eat and when. I am used to picky eaters and I am used to having to make different meals for the children in my life. What I am not used to is the refusal to eat. I’ll make a perfectly executed “kid friendly” meal that everyone can enjoy and my son will simply say no. I’ll make him things I know he likes and has eaten in the past and still I get a no. I’ve gotten to the point where I will literally give him just about anything so long as he is eating. Now, I do have my stipulations, I don’t do dessert as substitutes, and I will not buy fast food when I have created a delicious feast for the family. His foods of choice include; peanut butter sandwiches, cheese, peppers, and cereal. He accepts salad and applesauce on specific days…I am never sure when those days are though. He will also take pretzels and chicken. But even the chicken is a hit or miss entree.

Cue feelings of hopelessness as a mom. If I give him cereal for dinner am I doing him a disservice? If I settle and give him a peanut butter sandwich instead of the meal I’ve planned out am I stunting his pallet? These are actual things I think about. Most of my mom friends say that toddlers will not starve themselves, and I get that, but if he is refusing to eat and instead chanting for cookies what am I suppose to do?

You see my dilemma?

I try not to cave when he is crossing his arms and asking for cheese and crackers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I feel like if I don’t give it to him he will never eat again for the rest of his little life. Slightly dramatic, sure. That doesn’t change the fact that this little guy is making this mom feel like I’ve never done this whole parenting thing before.

My goals for this stubborn little man are to keep trying. Possibly be just as stubborn. And silently rejoice when he actually exclaims that the meal I have slaved over is, “Yum!” Scratch that. Openly rejoice when he likes what I feed him. Right? Right!

The thing is, motherhood, parenting, it’s all a learning process. Whether you are a first timer or this is your fourth baby. It’s a never ending opportunity to grow, explore, and sometimes compromise. What worked with the first, or second, may not work whatsoever with the next one. So if you find yourself feeling insecure about your decisions surrounding your babies just know that if you love them with every fiber of your being, if you are willing to sacrifice, if you are okay with sleepless nights, then you are doing this whole thing right and you are amazing. Advice I will try to carry with me, too.

Don’t forget to smile. The kids love smiles.

 

Who inspires you?

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I remember being asked this question when I was younger. In school you’d have to write papers explaining in detail who inspired you and why. Sometimes I would pick authors and sometimes I would pick my sister or my mom. Truthfully, I was just picking people because I had to. I admired certain individuals because they had attributes I liked but to say they inspired me to be a better person, a better writer, a better anything, wasn’t usually the case. I feel as though the two are similar but also very different.

Then I had children of my own.

My daughter is now having to choose people in her life who inspire her and write little papers about them. It’s neat to see and read what she writes. Her thoughts come together so effortlessly when it’s something she’s passionate about. Her pieces are always well thought out and beautiful. In discussing her inspirations I got to thinking about who I would write about now, now that I am older, now that I have grown up in more ways than one, and you know who it came down to? My children.

Super cheesy, I know.

But it’s so undeniably true and real and wonderful.

Both of my children inspire me in so many ways every single day.

They inspire me to always be a dreamer, because no matter how old you get you are never too old to dream. They inspire me to make those dreams into reality, because hard work does indeed pay off and we are all allowed successes and victories at any stage in our life. They also inspire me to be present in each and every moment I am blessed with, because time is fleeting and we never know when our time will be up.

But most importantly they inspire me to love. To love with all of my heart and soul and without judgement, because love is not weighted by expectations or preconceived notions. Love is pure and it is perfect and it is for everyone.

Who inspires you?

Grocery store blues.

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Life with children can get a little hectic.

Life with diabetes can get a little hectic.

Life with both can be downright outrageous at times.

If I am giving all my attention to one sometimes the others are being ignored. It’s not awesome but it’s the truth.

So far my husband has handled all of this very well. Our daughter has been the best big helper and we have fallen into a nice routine. It is a bit rough around the edges here and there but it works for us, for now. Every one is happy and healthy which is always my main goal in life.

Once in awhile we try to do things as a family which involves all of us being apart of it. It’s fun. I guess I’m weird because I actually enjoy grocery shopping. I especially enjoy grocery shopping with my husband. It’s something we’ve always done together. I don’t know why. We’ve considered it our time though. Sometimes our daughter will be there, or we’ll go while she’s in school. The only time there’s a solo trip is if one of us isn’t feeling well. The other day we ventured out as a whole unit to grocery shop..here’s how it went from awesome to a bad idea in a matter of seconds…

The baby was already a bit fussy. Normally he falls into a deep sleep in the car but this time he wasn’t having it. Our daughter was tired and feeling fidgety. My husband and I were exhausted from lack of sleep the night before and of course my diabetes decided to be a jerk.

We’re at the end of our grocery shopping adventure when on our way to pay my blood sugar decides to plummet. It was so inconvenient because my son was screaming his head off and my daughter was not cooperating. My husband was focused on getting us out of there as quickly as possible and there I am, a stone, unable to think or move. My husband asks me to type in our phone number for the in store coupons and I couldn’t even remember it. My dexcom reads LOW and I just keep staring at the words on the screen. It’s like I was in a trance. I just kept thinking, how did this happen?

My daughter hands me her skittles to open and I vaguely remember asking for some. Before I know it I’m shoveling little rainbow colored bits into my mouth while the cashier stares at me. My husband’s telling me to go sit down and my daughter is asking for her candy back. I laughed like nothing was wrong and began calming the baby down. My was head still foggy but I could feel my senses slowly return to normal. I signaled to my husband that everything was fine and we finished up our transaction and left.

I was thankful that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I know that things like this will happen and it won’t stop me from family outings but boy was it tough. Hoping to be better prepared next time. That’s all I can ever really do. Hope that the next time diabetes decides to keep me on my toes I will be ready to tackle it down and keep it there.

9 months and beyond.

People like to label me an overprotective mother. Some friends, family, even my husband at times, think that I should relax a bit when it comes to letting my kids, and more specifically my oldest, go places with out me. I’ll admit that if I could keep them in a bubble, snuggled up by protection, for the rest of their lives, I would. They are my everything, an extension of my husband and I. No one ever wants to think about something happening to their children and as a mother, as their parent, it is my job to ensure their safety and well being.

Maybe I should take it back further then this. I carried each of my babies for nine months. Nine scary, overwhelming, exciting months. I watched my belly grow as they did the same inside my womb. I spoke to them, sang them lullabies, promised to always love them. I giggled as they wiggled around, just me and each of my babies. I cried late at night when my blood sugar wasn’t perfect, I was my worst critic, I bruised from the countless blood drawls and poked my fingers raw for blood sugar checks. I have the scars from pump sites gone wrong. I’m the one who had to eat properly and drink enough water and didn’t forget to do this or that. It was me. So forgive me if, yes, I am a bit selfish with them, if I am a bit overprotective when it comes to where they are going and who they are with. That is any parents mentality but especially a woman with diabetes. I have been trained from the start that it is my duty to keep them happy, healthy, and safe inside and out of the womb.

One day my oldest may hate me for questioning everything, needing everyone’s number before she heads out, calling to make sure she is where she said she would be. But I don’t think this is a crime, I don’t think I am a horrible person, and I would hope that people would understand why I feel this way.

I suppose that is where this post is coming from. I am completely upset by the assumption that I should be okay with people taking my kids wherever they please. I didn’t work so very diligently for nine months and beyond to just hand them over to anyone.

Maybe this makes me a bit neurotic. I can’t help feeling the way that I do.Of course lets be reasonable I have let my daughter go places with out me and I have done so by trusting that the person watching her will treat her as though she were their own. With the same kind of care and love her father and I show her. Some have come through and kept my trust in them intact and others have not.

You can agree, or disagree, with how I raise my children but until you’ve had your own or until you’ve had to care long term for these tiny little humans it shouldn’t be up for debate.

My babies are my world and I intend to keep them whole.

Beginning and end of story.

What are your thoughts on this topic? As a parent or caregiver do you agree or disagree with my viewpoint? Or even if you don’t have children, how do you feel about this?

I’m interested in hearing from you all.

Motherhood

Five truths about motherhood from my perspective.

1. It’s difficult: I know. I went there and said it. It’s a beautiful blessing but it can be stressful. When your newborn cries all night no matter what you do. When your seven year old is sick and can’t sleep. When you worry about your parenting skills and hope to the heavens you’re doing this right. It’s all so difficult. Not something I’d give up but I’m allowed to wish things were a little easier sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time.

2. You’ll fall in love: As a mother, no matter what, you’re going to fall so deep in love with these little people in your life. The sticky, crying, kissable little people you’ve created will steal your heart. After having my first and giving her every drop of love I could muster I thought for sure I’d never be able to love another person so much. And then I had my son and somehow my heart grew ten times bigger and I fell in love with him, too. My heart overflows for these two kids. It’s an amazing, incredibly breathtaking, experience. That’s the only way to explain it.

3. You’re going to be exhausted: People told me lies. I’m here to tell you the truth. Those long sleepless nights with your newborn don’t go away. They are fewer and far between but they’re still there. At 3 am when your toddler has a tummy ache, when your seven year old has a nightmare, you will be right there. Wide awake. While they sleep, toss and turn, or are puking up their guts… You’ll be there. Every cough will startle you awake. Jolt you from the deepest slumber. For the rest of your life as a parent. That’s the truth. But it’s okay because it shows you care. That’s how much you love your kids that you’re willing to go nights without sleep and then juggle the world the next day. The good part is you won’t remember how exhausted you were when you look back. You’ll just remember all the sweet moments.

4. It’s expensive: I know that’s a give in but lemme tell ya…I didn’t realize how expensive. Between diapers, formula, and everything in between you’d need quite a few bucks in the back. And they don’t get cheaper as they grow. They’ll wanna play sports or they’ll decide they want to be an artist so you’ll need all those supplies. On the other side of that coin is the pride and joy you’ll feel when you’re cheering them on after kicking the winning goal. The excitement that runs through you when you’re showing off their latest art piece. It’s what makes spending your last dime on them worth it.

5. It’s all worth it: Despite the mixture of emotions I’ve displayed here I can say with my whole heart that I wouldn’t give up a second of this crazy, beautiful, exhausting thing called motherhood. I just wouldn’t. My life wouldn’t be the same without my children. They’ve taught me so many things in just the short time they’ve been in my life. Patience, unconditional love, patience… Yeah you’ll need a lot of that, and most importantly appreciation. An appreciation of all the tiny moments. The laughs and giggles, the smiles, and all the hugs.

Raising girls and boys.

For a very long time I only had to worry about raising one kiddo. My daughter. I wasn’t intimidated by raising a girl, I know all about them, because I happen to be one.

I knew from the word go that I wanted to teach her independence because support from others is wonderful but sometimes you have to dig deep within and pull yourself up by the bootstraps. I wanted to teach her strength because there will be days where you will feel defeated, for whatever reason, and just want to give up but with strength you’ll be able to find a little extra something inside of you that will keep you moving forward. I wanted to show her through my example that sometimes life doesn’t always turn out the way you’d think or hope but that shouldn’t stop you from following your dreams and achieving goals. You can be whatever or whoever you want despite obstacles with so much hard work. And speaking of hard work, I wanted to teach her that you will feel such pride when you accomplish something with hard work and a positive attitude.

Overall I want to teach her through our everyday life that people, as well as yourself, deserve love and respect. It’s okay to trust people so long as you are alert and aware that not everyone is nice. Be you and don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Don’t ever, ever, change who you are for someone because anyone that doesn’t accept the beautiful person you are doesn’t deserve to be in your life. The same goes for how we treat others.

These, and so many more, are lessons I want to be instilled in her soul.

When I found out I was having a boy I wondered what I would teach him. What lessons am I supposed to instill in him? But other than the obvious differences between the two nothing changes. I want them both to be helpful, honest, wonderful people. Beams of light in a sometimes murky world.

I won’t know how I’ve done until they’re a bit older but I can see such potential in my oldest. Her heart is filled with so much love. I hope my son follows suit.

What are some important lessons you’re instilling in your children?