in For Moms

5 Habits of Mindful Parents

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We’ve all heard the saying, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Meaning you have to take care of yourself before you try to take care of anyone else. As parents most of us know that sometimes you have to find a way to pour from an empty cup. Kids still need to be fed, clothed, bathed, and cared for, even when we as parents are tired or sick. So many of us go through life and parenthood on auto pilot. We don’t stop to think about what we are doing, how we are responding, and how it is affecting those around us.

Do you ever find yourself rushing through the day, trying to complete every task on your to-do list, while playing and taking care of the kids? You might even make decisions you regret because you didn’t really put thought into it.

Mindful parenting is all about creating a different mindset. Creating a calm presence to your day that is still full of meaning and purpose. Having a balance of self-care and caring for others. Making logical well-thought out decisions that are best for you and your family.

You might wonder if this is even possible. As a parent of two young children, I know that sometimes it seems unattainable.

If you are looking to add some peace and balance to your parenting you’ll want to read more.

Here are 5 practices that can make you a more mindful parent. By doing one or all of these things each day you will begin to see balance and calm restored in your home.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you happen to buy something through an affiliate link, I will earn a small commission. This commission helps run Imperfectly Perfect Mama. Thanks you for reading!

 

 

Wake up before your kids

Having time alone before the kids wake up is essential to starting the day off right. I often find when I am woken up by the kids (rather than waking on my own) I am more exhausted and less productive throughout the day.

Obviously, you cannot predict the exact moment when your kids will wake up. If you plan to wake up about an hour before your kids normally wake you should get at least some alone time.

This is a great time to shower, get dressed and ready for the day ahead. I also like to have a cup of coffee and sit in silence for a while. You can read, pray, meditate or simply clear your mind before the chaos of the day begins.

If your children don’t sleep in or you don’t like to get up early, be prepared with a quiet activity for them to start the day. When my son won’t sleep in I like to get him started with breakfast and use that time to drink my coffee and relax.

Time Block your day

Another thing you can do during your quiet time in the morning is to set your day into time blocks. As always, as a parent of toddlers (or kids of any age) you have to be flexible with this one. Nap times and meal times may not always go as planned, but it helps to have a general time frame for each activity of the day. Again, try not to get stressed out if things don’t go as planned.

By blocking your day into timeframes, you are giving yourself a general map of how your day is going to look. You can mentally prepare for the times when you need to give your full attention to your child. At the same time, you know when you will have some down time for yourself.

Here is an example of how I time block my day as well as a blank template for you to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Block Template

 

You can also make your schedule as general or detailed as you would like to. Maybe you have one schedule for your kids, and one schedule for yourself and things you would like to be doing at each time throughout the day. You may color code your schedule for me time, kid time, and chores/tasks to be done.

However this works best for you. I just find you are more productive when you have somewhat of a plan for the day.

 

Provide Balance

 

The important thing when trying to be more mindful is to create balance in your day. As a stay at home mom it is easy to feel like I am giving everything to my kids 24/7. However, it is important to make time for yourself before you get burnt out. By making sure to leave time for yourself in the day you are better able to take care of your kids as well.

Another thing to be mindful of is how much time you are going, going, going and how much time you are providing time for unstructured play and rest. Yes, kids learn from structured activities, but they also learn a lot by being left to play on their own. Therefore, you should’t feel guilty if you don’t have something planned for them every second of the day! Sit back and enjoy watching them create, imagine, and (sometimes) make a mess!

 

Limit Technology

 

In today’s world, technology is the main thing keeping us from being more mindful as parents. It is so easy to waste an hour on social media while the kids watch T.V., but is that the best use of your time? Do you really get that much out of it? No. Not really.

I have found the best way to limit my technology use is to put it in another room until I need it. I can still check my phone throughout the day, but I am not tempted to mindlessly pick it up and waste an hour that I could be playing with my kids or doing household chores.

If your child is really into technology, you could easily add that into your schedule for the day. As long as you (or your children) aren’t just mindlessly surfing the web for hours on end.

 

Be Proactive
Being mindful means thinking ahead. There are many ways as a parent to be proactive (instead of reactive).

Feeding your kids before they get too hungry, preparing for naps before the kids are tired, and stopping arguments before they become a fight.

All of these things require attention to your children’s feelings, behaviors, and moods. Knowing what might trigger a meltdown and preventing it will save you a lot of stress.

Of course, there will be times when you miss those cues and a meltdown ensues. This is the time to pause, take a deep breath (or a few!) and respond calmly and appropriately. It takes patience and thought to respond in this way, but can almost always change a situation from chaos to calm in no time.

 

Giving these things careful consideration and planning will help your family home become more peaceful and happy.

 

Sign up for a Free 30-Day Trial of Audible to listen to some great parenting books like Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach to Setting Limits and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.

 

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What are some things you do throughout the day to be a more mindful parent?

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in Blogging Mamas

How to Create a “Pinnable” Image Using Canva

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Hey Blogging Mamas!  One thing I have learned on my blogging journey is the importance of making a great “pinnable” image for each blog post. This image is what will attract Pinterest users to click through to your blog.

When I first started using Pinterest to share content from my blog, I wasn’t getting much traffic. So, I have put a lot of effort into figuring out what makes your image Pinterest worthy. Something that people will want to click on and read.

I found that there are a few very specific things your graphic should have in order to be successful on Pinterest. Since I have implemented these things, my traffic from Pinterest has significantly increased.

 

 

 

What tools do I use to make graphics for my blog?

In order to make graphics for my blog, I like to use Canva. I know a lot of other bloggers use other things like Pic Monkey (which I do use to edit photos), but since I use Canva, I will just be writing about that.

I absolutley love using canva for several reasons. Number one, it is free to use. Number two, it is easy to use. Number three, it makes great graphics for my blog.

 

How do you use Canva to create a graphic?

To start using Canva, you will need to create an account (if you haven’t already). This is nessecary because they will store all of the graphics you make on your account. If they are ever erased from your computer, they will always be right there for you.

Sign Up

Once you have set up an account you want to click on the Create a Design button on the left hand side. This will pull up several design types for you to choose from.

I usually use the Pinterest Graphic as it fits images and text well. However, many bloggers will tell you that the longer the graphic the better. This gives Pinterest users more time to read your title as they quickly scroll through Pinterest. Makes sense, right? If you are looking to make a long graphic you can use the Infographic setting instead.

Image

Next, you will want to chose an image for your graphic. Your image can either be your own, or one from Canva. If you are using your own photos just click on the Upload button the left and upload the image you want to use. Otherwise, you can click Elements and Free Photos to pick a photo to use from Canva. On the bottom right corner of each picture you will see FREE or $1. If you use the search tool at the top, you can search for a picture with a keyword to match what your blog post is about.

Once you have found the perfect picture for your graphic you simply pick it and resize it to fit how you would like it. Note that if you want the image to take up the whole background, you should select a vertical image. If it doesn’t take up the whole back ground you can add a background color on the left.

Title

After you have done that, you will want to add your title to the graphic. This is another huge part of getting people to click on the link to your blog. If your title is vague or boring, people are not going to waste their time clicking on it. It must be specific and enticing. You also might want to add a sub title. As you can see below, I like to use different fonts, sizes, and colors for the text.

You also need to be sure that your title is visible. Having a picture in the background can sometimes make it hard to see the text. An easy way to do this is to create a “background” for your title. The background is simply a shape that goes between your title and the picture. If you want to create a background like I did below, you simply add a shape (under the elements tab), make it the size you want, and make it transparent. You can make it transparent using the little checkered icon on the tab in the upper right hand corner.

 

 

 

Create Multiples

I then made another graphic for the same blog post with a different picture and title. Different images or keywords will attract different readers. So for the next one I titled it How we cut $2700 from our Family Budget and Ways You Can Save More.

 

 

 

Illustrations

Finally, I add any lines, arrows, doodles, and my website at the bottom of the graphic. I notice that not all bloggers add their website or logo to their graphics. I just do it as an extra precaution so that others don’t use my graphic.

Final Product

That’s it, you’re done! Now, all you have to do is click Download in the upper right hand corner and save it as you wish!

I know it sounds like a lot of steps, but the more you use Canva, the easier it will become. It now takes me very little time to create a graphic for my blog.

This is by no means the only way to create a graphic on Canva, it is just the method I use the most. Take some time to play around, be creative, use the different tools and see what you come up with!

If you find that you don’t enjoy this process and rather have someone else make your graphics for you, I would be more than happy to work with you at a very low cost! Just contact me HERE for more information!

 

What are the main things my graphic needs to be a “pinnable” image?

The five things you should always include on your Pinterest graphic are:

  1. A great (and relevant) picture
  2. An enticing title
  3. Vertical layout
  4. Keywords that are relevant to your topic
  5. Your blog domain name

Some examples of pins I have made:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this is all a little overwhelming, you don’t have the time to create graphics, or you simply don’t enjoy making graphics for your blog, contact me HERE. I would be happy to work with you at a very low cost!

 

Have any questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below! You can also contact me HERE.

Happy Pinning!

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in Toddlers

Best Toys for Traveling with Toddlers

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Are you planning a family road trip this summer? Do you have little ones that need to be entertained?

I am planning to embark on a 10-hour road trip with my toddlers next week. In preparation, I have searched (and searched) for the best toys for car rides. You see, I have found that you can’t just bring any old toys on long car trips. Last week we took a 1 1/2 hour trip to visit family. My son cried most of the way, and was inconsolable. The only toy that made him happy was a ball, which he kept throwing overboard.

We do have a DVD player in the car, but I really don’t want my daughter watching it the whole time! My plan is to get some new DVDs at the library, watch one DVD and then listen to music while playing with a new toy. I notice that she learns a lot in the car when she is not watching the DVD player. So, I hope to keep the TV watching at a minimum.

So, in preparation for our big trip, I bought some toys that are made specifically for traveling. Here are some of the best ones I have found so far!