Tag: parenting
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.

 

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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.

 

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

 

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

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in For Moms

Four Things we did to Save Thousands of Dollars

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To be honest, saving money has never really mattered to me. That is, until I became a stay-at-home mom. Now that we are living on one income, it has become my mission to find ways to save money. You may be in the same boat as I was and you’re not sure if you are financially ready to live on one income. Click  HERE. to read my blog post Living on One Income- Are You Financially Ready?

I would like to share with you a few things we have done so far that has saved us THOUSANDS of dollars each year. If you read to the bottom I will also share some posts about how others have saved money. Here is what we have done so far to change our budget.

in Newborns, Toddlers

Living on One Income-Are You Financially Ready?

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Making the Decision to Stay Home

Deciding to be a stay-at-home mom (or dad) is a HUGE decision. Maybe you are the parent who always knew they wanted to stay home. Or, you might be the parent that said you would NEVER stay home. Either way, there are a lot of factors to consider when making the decision for one parent to stay home with the kids.

Can you Afford to Live on One Income?

The biggest factor most families must consider is their financial situation. Are you financially ready to be a stay at home parent?  One way to find out is to try living off of one income. Automatically put one paycheck in savings for three months and consider how it affects your finances. Do you still have money left over at the end of the three months? Do you need to cut spending in some areas? Will you save any money by staying home? Will you spend more money by staying home?  I have listed out steps you can take to help you answer these questions below.

Figure Out Your Budget

I highly recommend signing up for a free account with Mint.com. It is a great free and secure tool for budgeting, tracking and paying bills, and managing your money. Mint allows you to enter your bills, credit and debit information, and create your own budget. It shows you easy to understand graphs of where your money is going. You will also receive alerts you when you are getting close to going over budget in any one area. I suggest signing up for a free account to track your spending for these three months to see where you might be going over budget.

Next, make a list of expenses that you have because of work including daycare, work attire, gas for commuting to work, etc…I like to think of these extra work expenses as income when you stay at home. 🙂 Subtract these expenses from your budget and do a happy dance!

Of course, while you will be saving money in some areas, you may spend more in others because you stay home. For example, you may not have to pay for lunch and snacks when your kids go to daycare. However, when you stay home this is an added expense you will have to pay. Some daycare providers also pay for diapers and wipes so don’t forget to add those types of expenses as well.

What Can You Live Without?

Now, at this point you should have a general idea of how much much you will have left at the end of each month. You may realize that you are way over budget and feel like staying home is not a possibility for you. However, if you really want to stay home, consider things that your family could possibly give up to save money. For example, you may be able to cut cable and use Netflix instead. Or, you might be able to get rid of your gym membership and work out at home. If you are over budget, make a list of things that are not a necessity and subtract them from your budget. Remember that this is potentially temporary and you may be able to add things back in slowly when you get a better feel for your budget.

Consider a Part Time Job

If you are still over budget after completing these steps, you might consider other ways to earn a small income on the side. You may be able to find a job that you can do from home such as blogging or customer service. Another option would be to find a part time job in the evenings or on the weekends. This may not be ideal as you wouldn’t be together as a family as much. However, if you are absolutely set on making it work, you might consider this as a temporary solution.

To Do Checklist

In order to help simplify the process, I have created a checklist of steps to take in order to decide if you are financially ready to live on one income. I hope you can use this checklist in order to get a better idea if you are financially ready to live on one income.

 

 

 

What else is keeping you from being a stay at home parent? Leave a comment below and let me know!

 

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