I am a former kindergarten teacher, turned stay-at-home mom to three boys 5.5, 2.5, 1.5. I spend my days trying to keep my boys entertained in a positive way while maintaining my own sanity. I blog about my experience at www.queenbee-momofthree.blogspot.com
When do you feel like you're doing your best job as a mom?
When we are all "unplugged". I have no problems with technology and letting my kids watch TV and play a reasonable amount of video games... but when we are all focused on doing something "together", whether a project, a game or just a walk... I feel most "tuned in" and positive. I have the ability to really listen, focus on my kids and most importantly, ENJOY them!
You knew this one was coming... when do you feel like you're doing your worst job?
When I take on too much. I love to volunteer, be involved in outside activities and entertain... sometimes my priorities get skewed and my kids are usually the ones who suffer.
What surprised you the most about motherhood?
How difficult the day-to-day activities can be. When I was teaching, I had 25 kids who I could pretty much entertain or at least maintain for 7 hours every day. It is MUCH harder to keep 3 kids entertained on a daily basis when they're your own children. I am still often surprised how long a simple activity can take... like getting everyone dressed and out the door to get someplace.... amazing.
What is your go-to activity when you know a meltdown is coming?
We try really hard to use diversion... some might call it "bribing" or "giving in"...we don't look at it that way. If you can diverge a meltdown, by allowing something unexpected to happen (stopping what you are doing and allowing a new game without cleaning up...a surprise few minutes on the computer or ipad) I look at that as a positive. There is time for clean-up or really "talking it out" when the chance of a meltdown is over.
We used to talk, talk, talk our oldest until we were blue in the face... never realizing he wasn't comprehending anything because he was so upset. We divert... calm... got back to the problem later and try to solve it.
My second tactic is whispering when they are about to melt down. Often they'll quiet down because they are curious about what you are saying.
What have your children taught you?
Perseverance, patience, enjoying the simple things, how to slow down, laughter, joy, silliness, forgiveness... I could go on forever.
What will you miss the most about these years with young children?
Their innocence. How much they genuinely love and need me. Their cuddles. Them WANTING to hold my hand. Their footed jammies.
You can follow Beth and her family at her blog: www.queenbee-momofthree.blogspot.com