Meet Justine Binkowski
Hi! I'm Justine. I'm a stay at home mama to my 2-1/2 year-old son, Logan. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I was a special education teacher and then a fourth grade teacher. I really liked teaching, but being a mom is where it is at (at least for me).
My husband and I have been married for five years, but together for 10. We started dating when I was 18, however, we were in the same kindergarten class together. He moved away and we met again as teenagers. We also share our home with two cats who are adored and spoiled by all members of the family. They are rescues from the Humane Society.
My blog, You'll Thank Me One Day, is mostly is about my little guy and the activities that we do during the week. In my blog, you will find some crafts. We also do a great deal of open-ended art activities. I also am starting to create play centers, and I am beginning to start alphabet themes. I also include some stories about experiences in Logan's life and the funny things that he does or says.
When do you feel like you're doing your best job as a mom?
I truly love being a mother. It makes me so happy when I see Logan happy, learning, laughing and thriving. I try very hard to provide a loving and safe environment where he can discover, learn, and play. I think that children learn through play and real life experiences so when I am encouraging him in those things, I feel like I am doing my best job as a mom.
You knew this one was coming... when do you feel like you're doing your worst job?
I feel I am doing my worst job when I am letting outside stress or anxiety influence me. Sometimes my preoccupation does not allow for me to be as actively engaged as I would like to be. It is during these times that I feel as though I can become more easily frustrated with behavior that I know is often developmentally appropriate. I am definitely mindful of those times and am working hard to insulate our relationship from moments like that, but it is not always easy.
What surprised you the most about motherhood?
Before having kids I would imagine my hypothetical children. I used to think things like, "When I have kids, I'm never going to....." or "my kids will never......." I am just grateful that I didn't share these feelings out loud (often).
Looking back now, I see how unbelievably ignorant (and kind of obnoxious) I was with my imagined view of parenthood and children. I just had no idea what it was like to have kids, even though I was a teacher and had been attending school to learn all about them. Everything changed once I actually had a child. I didn't understand how much one little person could change your world and your heart in just a matter of moments. My sweet little guy may watch television sometimes and occasionally cry in restaurants, but he completely eclipses my hypothetical perfect children.
What is your go-to activity when a meltdown is on its way?
I have a few. Sensory bins are a big hit in our house. They seem to have magic calming effects. Occasionally, I will break out the paint. My son is a painting fanatic. He can't get enough. Finally, if he just isn't having any of that, there are always bubbles..... that I blow inside the house. Shhhhh..... don't tell my husband!
What has your son taught you?
I have learned so much! One big thing that my son has taught me is to take time and cherish the little things. We, as big people, often take for granted things that do not go unnoticed by children. Now I stop and relish the little things like a gorgeous flower in my garden, my favorite song on the radio, or how stinking adorable kids in footie pajamas are (add some bedhead and my heart melts even more).
What will you miss the most about these years with a young child?
I'm going to miss all those little moments. I'll miss the way my son will run up to me and wrap his arms around my legs. I'll miss the request to read another story before bedtime, and the splashes in the bathtub. I'll miss the silliness and the snuggles. I try to soak up every minute.
You can follow Justine and her family on her blog: http://youllthankmeoneday.blogspot.com/