“Made some valentine’s crafts and treats this weekend! ❤️❤️” I typed out on Instagram and hit post with the pictures above. Looks super cute, right? Looks like these were our intentions, and the only glimpse of my real life is a somewhat untidy background, and my 4 year old Grayson’s dirty finger nails (I promise he got a shower after we crafted, there was just no point in bathing him and then doing crafts. I’m crazy, but not stupid). Looks polished. I even had a post mostly written here about how much fun we had because I wanted to share ideas with you for things to craft and make to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your littles. I thought that would be helpful. But then I remembered, I want to help you plan your best home, and your best life! Not give you perfect pictures to feel like you have to live up to and NOT share the failures and even the swear words, that lead to our end result. I want to give you tools that will build your confidence to try doing these fun things with your kids to and maybe not lose your shit. Or even if you lose your shit, I want you to not feel so bad about losing your shit a little.  I want you to feel like your are capable of being a more calm mom, I want you to feel like you can do this. Because I wholeheartedly believe you can!

I will still be sharing what we did, and some of the pictures really are kind of pinterest worthy, at least as worthy as they can get with my crazy house, and my cheap camera. But there’s plenty that aren’t pretty that I want to share with you. I’ll just be sharing it a little differently than one might assume a post like this should go. I’ll be giving you tips while walking you through our weekend, that saved us some tears (and saved me a few extra glasses of wine) along the way.

How to be a calm mom in 6 easy steps:

  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! It’s so easy to get sidetracked by Pinterest, and I don’t want to talk it down too much because, hi, I use that site to help me spread the word about my blog and online media. It’s part of my job to use it, and I WANT you to use it to find me, and to spread the word about me, and to find inspiration for other ideas to help enrich your life. But, there’s a plethora of information contained in those boards, and its so easy to go through and want to do. All. The. Things. and feel like you have to do them perfectly. Pick two recipes and two crafts at the most, for your kids to do, and spread them out over a couple days. On Friday we baked cake pops and made chocolate covered strawberries. By the time we got to the strawberries, my kids were in other rooms playing, they had had enough. But that was okay, as chocolate covered strawberries are a labor of love that I have NO problem committing to on my own. The next day we did a few crafts and each boy managed to do exactly two things each and then went and played with the puppets they had made. So honestly, one of each, or even just picking one thing total is TOTALLY find to do! Bite sized pieces!
  2. If something isn’t working out- take the path of least resistance! Here’s where the swearing came in for me. I have a cake pop maker and realized I hadn’t touched it in almost three years. I love using it though! And cake pops taste good! And I don’t like giving my kids the kind of cake pop that comes together with cake and frosting and THEN is covered in candy melt. That’s a little too much sugar IMO. But what I forgot about was that these cake pops don’t play well with cake pop sticks. We had only gone a handful in when our hands were covered in chocolate, the boys were busy licking their hands (gross!) and I had exactly ONE cake pop that was only sort of working out. I got pissed, I will admit. I think we’re all guilty of it (why else would you be reading this after all?) I took a step back, made the boys wash their hands (yes, wash them with water, please, wash them with soap too!) and decided these pops were NOT going to work. But what else could we do? I took the path of least resistance that didn’t involve wasting a whole cake mix, and let the boys drizzle the candy melt over the plate of cake balls, they then threw sprinkles on it. They taste good, no one cried, and they look pretty cute. The best part though? The boys were really proud to have made these by themselves! If it’s not working- don’t stay the course, get creative!
  3. For the love of Pete, keep glitter to a MINIMUM! Mom! Why are you letting them use glitter if you can’t keep your calm? Honestly, throw most of it out right now, seriously, put your phone down and “misplace” the damn glitter. You’ll thank me later. Your vacuum will send me an email thanking me for this! Keep it to a minimum. Our only glitter clad item were these glitter hearts from the dollar tree and I was nervous about it, but there wasn’t much glitter floating around the packaging, and when we took them out it wasn’t bad at all. So be cautious about the glitter. Kids like shiny things, I get it, I truly love glittery things, I was a moth in a previous life time and things that sparkle and shine attract my attention. But the clean up of glitter and the anger I will feel as the main person cleaning up this sparkle explosion of a mess is just not worth it. There are other ways to make beautiful things! I promise!
  4. Keep your expectations in check. My original idea of what to make and do this weekend didn’t look a whole lot like what my kids ended up doing. I dare say the best idea is to just put supplies out and let them go wild (hence why I don’t put out glitter…). But don’t expect your child to cut perfect lines, don’t expect them to glue things where they should be glued and don’t give them something that is a little too far out of their range of motion, or what they are capable of doing. Give them a few challenges, sure, but keep your expectations to a minimum.
  5. Have your kids help with clean up! This depends on their age and maturity level of course, but having them help throw out paper clippings, wipe up glue and put their projects in a place to dry or up on the fridge for all to enjoy, are ways they can help clean up the mess they made. We sometimes feel like we’re the only ones cleaning the house, and when we feel like that, we feel like we can never keep up; because no matter how often we clean, our family still lives in the house with us, making a mess behind us as we go. This does not lead to calm! This leads you to not feel confident, to feel like your purpose in that house is to be the maid, and you constantly feel defeated. When you already feel defeated, why would you take on something a little messy, why would you add on to an already full plate? Instead of feeling defeated, make helping clean up nonnegotiable.  If they don’t help clean up, they don’t get to participate next time! Its that simple! Now, remember to keep your expectations in check here too. Your toddler isn’t going to clean in the same way you clean, they aren’t going to do this like a professional and chances are, you are going to have to go back behind them and actually clean it. But this is how they learn and it’s building a habit so that when they are older they are at least a little more likely to tidy up after themselves and help take the load off of your shoulders. It’s helping them learn your expectation of them around the house.
  6. Talk about the good, but also talk about the messes and the failures too! That Instagram post that looked super cute and didn’t mention a single failure? It’s still there. I think it’s important to talk about the parts that really make us feel good, and I’m happy with how our projects turned out, and my kids are loving the puppets especially! But we cheat our friends, loved ones, followers and so on, when we don’t also share the bloopers in our life. Now, I’m not saying that you should go on Facebook and tell your friends all about you filing for bankruptcy, or every time your have to ground a kid, or you have a fight with your significant other, just for the sake of inspiration. Keep what you want to be private- private. But by sharing that you have a normal life, or sharing your bad hair day, or (yikes) that glitter mess you now have to vacuum (You didn’t listen to me and throw the glitter away, did you?!) we all feel able to start talking about more than just the highlight reel.  I’ll share more if you share more!

So, mom, I hope that gave you a little hope! I hope you are willing to try to let go a little more, and if you feel your calm starting to dwindle, remember these tips to help you reel it back in, keep it on track, and know that the most important part of doing fun stuff with your kids isn’t if it’s Pinterest perfect, but if those beautiful babies of yours are smiling and having some fun! Pinterest perfect is fun and be proud of the pictures that turned out really great, if you decide to take pictures, but what really matters is what happens in that loving, simple home of yours! And use this list for pretty much any occasion, from crafting to trips and just every day life with your family! Watch your calm flourish!

Until next time friends!

–Ashley

 

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