That Mom in the Trench Needs Your Help, Not Your Criticism

Struggling mamas are everywhere and they are doing their best. That mom in the trench needs your help, not your criticism and judgement. Let’s create a movement of kindness where women receive support instead of condemnation.

that mom in the trenches needs you help

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a series of different memes floating around Facebook newsfeeds that have disturbed me greatly. In each of these memes, parents are called “assholes” for various parenting decisions. One meme shamed parents who spank. Another shamed parents who choose not to vaccinate their kids. Another chided parents for not rear facing their child in a car seat until a certain age. Yet another, humiliated parents who choose to tell their kids Santa exists. Every single one of these referred to the parents as “assholes.” Let’s be clear. Just because someone disagrees with your parenting decisions doesn’t make them an “asshole.”

A few days ago I saw a shaming meme that criticized parents who let their kids cry it out. It made them out to be callous, child-abandoning parents for not comforting their child every single time they cry. I don’t know a single parent who does this as a full-time method. You employ it in different situations. And let me be even more frank. Walking away from your child when you are frustrated and exhausted is an important skill. Babies get shaken when parents don’t learn to do that. I will never shame a parent whose safe alternative is to walk away for a while. Some parents have zero help. Some parents have different limits. Be merciful.

Since I’ve been seeing these, I’ve been paying close attention. There is an interesting similarity in all the types of posts I saw like this. Every single one was posted by a woman. Women criticizing women. Women tearing down other women. Women judging other women. It’s rampant. Over the last few months, I’ve slowly left Facebook groups that were once helpful because of the constant arguing and shaming that goes on. Stay-at-home moms criticizing working moms and working moms shaming stay-at-home moms. Vaccines. Special needs. Homeschooling. Allergies. Car seats. Breastfeeding. Discipline. Name the topic and there will be a line of women attacking, vilifying, and humiliating another woman. Please…let’s stop this.

I Was A Perfect Mom Until I Became One

I can recall before I became a mom. I was so arrogant. “My kids would never….!” Fill in the blank. Then I became a mom and my kids did all the things I swore my kids would never do. They had melt downs, talked back, disobeyed, you name it! As I eased into motherhood, I realized parenting isn’t black and white. There are so many variables and moving parts. Once I had my second son, I learned what worked for my first, didn’t work for my second! As a parent, you are constantly having to calibrate your technique and your decisions. We shouldn’t begrudge someone their learning curve. Each of us is doing what we think is best for our children at the time with the knowledge and experience we have at that moment.

Over the last few years I’ve learned I don’t have all the answers. Perhaps more to the point, I’ve learned my choices don’t fit everyone’s life. When did we become so arrogant as to assume there is only one right way to parent? I deeply regret some of the things I’ve said to other moms in the past. Parenthood continues to humble me and parenthood has stretched my compassion of others.

Over the last year, I’ve re-evaluated my conduct when it comes to other moms. My conclusion: I have been a sanctimonious jerk! I took a good hard look at myself and I was disgusted. I had made a habit of shaming what I thought was poor parenting in others. Because, you know…I’m so perfect! It’s been a hard, humbling lesson, but I totally feel like God was correcting me in this area over the last year. I still fail, but I’m making progress.

Life’s Greatest Teacher

I’m going to be completely honest with you, friend. I want you to know, I have a tendency to think too highly of my opinions too. A few years ago, I had some harsh words for my husband’s cousin on a parenting topic. Since then, I have deeply regretted my words. At the time, I felt this parenting method was non-negotiable! I still feel strongly about it. But it is not my place to impose that on someone else. Ultimately everyone is entitled to raise their kids how they want – that includes allowing them to be human and making mistakes with their kids. And I’ve learned that mistakes are often life’s greatest teachers. Far better than any other method of persuasion. Sometimes, people need to learn things on their own…the hard way. Let them.

Remember that old saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar?” It’s true. People don’t take kindly to judgement or you telling them how to live their life. In fact, most people respond to conflict with a fight or flight defense mechanism. They either get defensive, they shut down, or they run away. Most won’t hear what you are trying to say anyway. Social media has made it very easy to argue with people. It has unleashed a whole new level of venom because you don’ have to look anyone in the eye to tell them what an asshole they are.

Most arguments on social media are completely non-constructive because they lack human-connecting qualities like empathy and compassion. Ask yourself what your goal is. If your goal is to truly persuade someone to your opinion it’s unlikely that will happen by calling them an “asshole” or “ignorant.” People are more likely to take the advice of people they respect.

I am extremely opinionated, but as I’ve grown older I’m realizing how cocky it is to “correct” strangers and acquaintances for everything I feel they are doing “wrong” in their life. Part of being mature is realizing not everything requires your opinion. Restraint (self-control) and humility are beautiful qualities to possess. They inspire others, rather than beating them into submission.

Some People Are Just Surviving

Motherhood has taught me lots of things. But one thing I’ve learned is that lots of moms out there are just barely surviving. Some moms are in a pit of depression and are literally taking one minute at a time. There are new moms who don’t have mamas of their own to guide them through this journey and impart wisdom to them. There are single mamas out there who are stretched thinner than pantyhose. Some women have a husband that doesn’t lift a finger to help. Let me say it again, they don’t need your criticism. The don’t need your sanctimony and condemnation. They need your support.

After the birth of my second son, I was in a very dark place. Like, I was contemplating suicide. My postpartum depression was growing worse everyday. During that time I had a falling out with a good friend. Even after knowing I was suicidal, this “friend” chose to shame and berate me for every perceived wrong I had ever done to her. Her condemnation sent me spiraling out of control. Quite frankly, it pushed me over the edge and almost made me despair. (Don’t worry, we’ve since apologized to each other) We never know what someone is going through behind closed doors. Our harsh criticism, our judgement or condemnation may be the very thing that destroys someone. Let’s extend mercy and grace instead. Give people permission to be human.

If You Must Say It, Say It With Love

A few weeks back, a new mom posted in a local Facebook group for moms with what should have been an innocent question: “When do I stop rear facing my child in the car?” The post had more than 200 responses. Women of all ages and experience chimed in with varied answers.

Now I also believe children should stay rear-facing as long as possible. But the nastiness I saw was just appauling. Several older, experienced moms, suggested turning them around once their legs were too long and scrunched up (by about age three). That was the trigger that made women viciously attack!

There was lots of name-calling. One wrote, “Lies! It doesn’t matter how long their legs are. Your advice could get someone’s kid killed!” Other women piled on, “better broken legs that a dead child! Your advice is ignorant and outdated.” Another woman wrote, “it’s people you like you that are killing children with their ignorance. Stop spreading misinformation.” Now, really. Was that necessary? The same thing could have been said nicely. “I thought that too. You may not have seen, but doctors and safety experts are now recommending to keep your kids rear-facing as long as possible, even if their legs appear to be too long. Here is an article that changed my mind.”

If you feel you must speak up about something, fine. But we don’t need to be nasty to someone because they haven’t learned something yet or because they have arrived at a different conclusion. The rudeness is getting hard to stomach.

Final Thoughts

Life is tough enough for all of us. The world has enough cynics and critics. Be someone’s light in a dark world. I guarantee you that encouragement is far more productive than sanctimony. You can persuade others without badgering them. If you have to choose between being “right” and being kind, choose kindness. You’ll never regret being kind. Golden rule, y’all. It still applies today. That mom in the trench needs your help, not your criticism.


Before you go, be sure to find me on Facebook and share this post with a mama who needs this. Also, are you a mom who is feeling burnt out? Try the 30 Day Wellness Challenge.

20 Life Hacks For Busy Moms

Life on the struggle bus is rough, but there are some things that can make life easier. Here are 20 life hacks for busy moms.

20 life hacks for busy moms

Hey there, mama! I feel how busy you are. There is so much to do and not enough hours in the day. We’re always looking for ways to save us time and energy. Am I right? So today, I’m sharing 20 things, small hints and tips that have helped me in the past. Maybe some of these aren’t new to you. If so, congratulations on figuring this stuff out before me! But if you’re a struggling mama like me maybe these things will help you get through the day. Here are 20 life hacks for busy moms.

20 Life Hacks for Busy Moms

1. Disposable Placemats

I was first introduced to these things at Chick-fil-A. Then I discovered Amazon sold these in packs. These were amazing for me as a busy mom, which suddenly create any surface in a clean eating space when I was on-the-go. (Yes, even at restaurants. I don’t trust the rags they use to wipe down tables). I’ve always stashed these in the car and diaper bag.

2. Online Grocery Ordering

I’m a Texas gal and we have the best supermarket ever, H-E-B. That said, their online grocery ordering system has literally changed my life. First, I find myself buying less because I can see how much I’m spending when I add stuff to the cart, but I found it also stopped a lot of impulsive buys. Lots of grocery stores are following suit and getting into the online ordering game. Even Target, Wal-mart, and Sams Club now offer curbside or online pick-up-in-store ordering. If you haven’t checked out Shipt, they offer a delivery service from stores in your area.

3. Norwex

Let me introduce you to your new best friend – Norwex. Norwex is a brand of green cleaning products. It’s the best cleaning product you’ll ever use. Best of all, all you need is water. NO CHEMICALS! The special silver infused microfiber is designed to pick up bacteria once and for all. You’ll never go back to Clorox wipes again! All the products are enviro friendly because they are reusable and sustainable. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars over the last two years because I’m no longer using toxic commercial cleaning chemicals around my family.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. Just check out some of the amazing demonstration videos on YouTube.

You can purchase Norwex through independent sales consultants, directly through their website or even through Amazon. This was a game changer, y’all! Here are some of my favorite Norwex products.

4. iRobot Roomba

I admit. I was skeptical when my husband first suggested getting one of these. Certainly, I thought it would do a terrible job and have no real suction power. Boy was I wrong. My hubby surprised me with one for Christmas a couple of years ago and let me tell you – it’s impressive!

As it vacuums your house, it learns the layout of your house and will become even more efficient the more you use it. It has a downloadable app where you can schedule cleaning. I love to set it when I leave the house with the kids. I come back and the house is vacuumed!It has a soft rubber all the way around so it won’t damage the bottom of furniture. In addition, it automatically adjusts it’s height so it can go from carpet to hard flooring without any problems! It even detects stairs and steps. Also, it moves around objects that it bumps into. It’s self-charging meaning it heads back to the docking station when the battery is low. For the mama who doesn’t have time to clean, this is worth every penny!

5. Command Hooks on The High Chair

All you have to do is apply a large command hook on the back of the high chair and hook your bibs so you always have them at hand when you’re serving your little one.

command hooks

6. Potty Pads

Potty training is so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again with baby #2. I lie. Potty training is a nightmare and I’d rather have my head sewn into the carpet than do that again. That said, I found something that really helped. One of the hardest things to do is to get your toddler to stay seated on the potty. They don’t want to sit still and you’ll resort to anything, including bribery to get them to stay seated. That said, accidents happen.

I can’t count how many accidents we had early on. From standing up too early to simply not telling me when he needed to go, we had lots of pee accidents on our floors. Trust me, after you’ve mopped the floor for the fifth time in one day, these things will look awesome to you. It saves your furniture from urine and from you mopping all day long. Puppy training pads. Just put them under your toddler to catch accidents without all the awful clean up.

7. The Instant Pot

Maybe you’ve heard of the Instant Pot and don’t know what it is. Well, let me introduce this amazing whatchamacallit to you. It’s basically an electric pressure cooker and pressure cookers allow you to cook food very quickly and efficiently. It’s like if a microwave and a slow cooker had a baby. You get the amazing tenderness of a slow cooker, but 2 to 10 times faster than a conventional oven. Unlike a microwave it doesn’t dry out food or make it hard. What is really nice is it’s programable so you’re cooking things properly. Most of them also function as a slow cooker or just keep things warm as well.

If you’re looking for great recipes, take a look at my Pinterest board filled with loads of Instapot recipes.

8. Freezer Meals

I did this when I had my first baby and I’ve been doing it ever since. Freezer meals! There are lots of casseroles and dump dinners you can freeze and dump into the oven or crockpot on a busy night where you don’t have time for a lot of kitchen prep. Instead of eating out, you can still offer your family a home cooked meal. A lot of times when I make things like chicken pot pie, lasagna or enchiladas, I make two batches. One for that night and one to freeze. I can’t tell you how many nights they come in handy.

Take a look at my Pinterest board for ideas on Freezer meals.

9. Amazon Subscribe & Save

Make life easier with Amazon subscribe and save. If you are an Amazon Prime customer, this makes a lot of sense to do. You can automatically set up regular subscriptions to things you use all the time. Things like paper towels, toilet paper, Goldfish crackers, diapers, wipes, coffee pods, etc can be delivered right to your door on a schedule. Setting this can up saves you both time and money. Lighten your grocery load and let Amazon do some of the work for you!

10. Restaurant Busy Bag

Please tell me I’m not the only mamas whose kids suddenly decide to get fussy, moody, and full of energy any time we decide to have a nice dinner out at a restaurant. With my oldest son we struggled to enjoy dinners out. Then I decided to create a restaurant busy bag. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of busy bags. its just a bag you have full of small toys or activities that keep your kid busy by themselves. So I made one just for eating out and it was a life saver. You can see how I made ours here.

how to make a restaurant busy bag

11. Pacifier Clips

My oldest was so addicted to his pacifier. These things are so gross. They fall between seats, on the floor, etc. They get so dirty and you are constantly washing them off. Did I mention they get lost? Like all the time. But I found something that really helped. Pacifier clips. These little things helped us so much and minimized all the washing and hunting for pacifiers.

12. Door Latch Cover

There are times when you might need to check on your little one face to face instead of using a monitor. I don’t know why, but my boys would immediately startle themselves awake no matter how quiet I was turning the door knob. Before the door was open they’d be standing at attention at the end of the crib. So much for the rest of nap time! That’s where these door latch covers are a godsend. Hook it to both door knobs and it holds the latch back so the door makes no sound when it’s opened!

13. Car Seat Lap Table

Okay, I found this when my son was about 2 ½ and it was a game changer for us on our road trips. This handy dandy disk straps around the car seat to turn it into a portable table. This was great for keeping his little hands busy. He could play, color, and eat in the car all without ever leaving his seat. If you spend a lot of time on the road, I can’t recommend it enough.

14. The Potette

One of the most nerve wracking things when you first potty train your little one is being on the road for a long period of time without a potty. Suddenly trips across town or road trips seem impossible. That is where the lovely Potette comes in handy. This awesome potty chair is completely portable. This is great for storing in your car for potty emergencies. Best of all, it comes with disposable liners. So you can throw their “business” in a trashcan when they are done. It’s a lifesaver on long road trips.

15. Rubber Band Baby Proofing

I too have spend lots of money on baby proofing products, but I’ve also learned that having some spare hair ties or rubber bands around is super useful. Slip rubber bands around cabinet knobs and other things so your baby can’t open it. My favorite use? For toilet paper. It makes is harder for them to unravel the roll.

toilet paper

16. Mattress Pad & Sheet Layering

I don’t know what mama came up with this one, but I could kiss her. I can’t even remember where I saw this, but early in my mom journey I came across this nifty little bedding trick. You layer your baby’s crib mattress with a crib sheet, then a waterproof mattress protector then another fitted crib sheet. If you have a terrible poop-splosion or vomiting in the middle of the night, you can whip these off in the dark and have clean sheet ready in a flash without having to turn on lights and wake your child up further.

17. Pacifier Medicine Dispenser

My little one hated taking medicine, but then who could blame him. Most baby and toddler medication comes with this syringe and you awkwardly squirt it into their mouth. It was always a fight until I found this. This is just an ordinary pacifier except it has a vial to dispense medication through it so it isn’t a traumatizing syringe. For mamas who are at their wits end, this might help. It did for us.

18. Mess Free Baby Art

I did this with both my kids when they were around a year old. Put a piece of paper in a large gallon zip lock bag. Squirt some tempera paint and close up the bag. Tape it to the high chair and let your little one smear it and mix it within the bag. I used to love doing this activity when I was busy making dinner. It kept my little one occupied and bought me a few minutes and I didn’t have to worry about a mess to clean up.

19. The Yeti

I’m an avid coffee drinker. Since I’ve been a mom, the Yeti has been awesome. First, as a mom, you rarely get to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee while it is still hot. But now you can keep it warm even if it takes you a while to drink it. The Yeti is the best hot thermos I’ve found. But here is the clincher! I’ve also used it to keep water warm for formula feeding and I’ve even kept chicken nuggets warm for my kiddo while we were out of the house. The Yeti is great!

20. Keep Your Fridge Clean with Bins

I’m gonna share a secret. I’ve finally figured out how to keep my fridge clean. I use bins. How many times have you opened up the fridge to discover something has dripped all over the fridge? It’s over all the shelves and somehow manages to find its way all the way under the veggie and fruit bins. Suddenly, everything has to come out and you are washing every crevice with hot soapy water.

I found these bins. Not only do they keep all my food grouped and organized but if anything spills it catches it in the little bin instead of escaping all over the fridge. Here is a sneak peek into my own fridge. It cuts down on how often I need to remove, soak and scrub the shelves and drawers.

That’s it. 20 Life Hacks for Busy Moms. I’d love to hear about the things that have helped you. Have you learned any tricks? Don’t forget to PIN this post or share with a mama who needs it!

How to Make a Restaurant Busy Bag

Has going out to dinner become a nightmare? Here is how to make a restaurant busy bag to tame your toddler while they wait for food.

how to make a restaurant busy bag

I remember when our oldest son was around one. Something changed. Going out to dinner started to get difficult. He knew being at a table meant yummy food was coming. By the time he was 18 months he was really getting cranky at restaurants. So, I came up with something that ended up being a life saver! A restaurant busy bag!

Its a bag filled with the necessary things like bibs, utensils, placemats, etc. Plus it had things to keep my little boys busy while we wait for food. I even kept a couple of snacks in there so in case they were inconsolable, I had something to keep their hunger at bay. Hey, mamas gotta do what mamas gotta do!

The Bag

All you need is carry style bag that has some compartments. A hanging cosmetic bag actually works really well for this purpose. See my examples below.

Items to Add

Here is a list of some of the things I put in our busy bag. You certainly don’t have to copy me. These are just ideas for you.

  • Mini slinky
  • Crayons
  • Coloring book
  • Card Game
  • Little People / Toy Figures
  • Hot Wheels
  • Small dinosaurs
  • Board book
  • Mess Free Color Kits
  • Travel games
  • Bib
  • Disposable Placemats
  • Clorox Wipes / Wet Ones
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Kid Utensils
  • Stain treatment
  • Snacks

I always keep some disposable placemats and bibs in the busy bag. I never understood why some restaurants bought hot plates to the kids. Also if you are like me and you don’t trust the rags they wipe down tables with…then this is for you! I also kept some kids utensils since my little ones struggled with adult sized ones. In addition, I kept some Clorox wipes or Wet Ones to wipe their hands or surfaces. I even kept a couple of stain remover wipes because accidents happen!

The rest is for them to keep their little hands busy. Really as long as it fits, you can bring it with you in the bag.

I always kept this in our car so it was ready to go. It was so nice when my boys no longer whined and fussed at restaurants. Now they have a distraction. Over time, kids will learn how to sit still and patiently wait at a restaurant. But until then, I hope this idea helps you like it helped us.

Thanks for Reading

Don’t forget to PIN this post for later and please subscribe to my blog before you leave! Looking for other things to do with your kids? Take a look at Usborne Magic Painting Christmas Cards and Fun Holidays to Celebrate With Your Kids.

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How to Help Your Newborn Enjoy Bath Time

Is your little one hating bath time? Mine did too at first. Here are a few tips for how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.

how to help your newborn enjoy bath time

Both my boys learned to enjoy bath time, but they didn’t initially love it. Maybe it’s because they were both preterm babies. I think we tend to underestimate how scary it can be for our little ones to find themselves submerged in water, cold, with somebody scrubbing them.

Bathing my youngest had added challenges because as a newborn my clubfoot baby was often either in foot taping or a plaster cast. He hated being bathed, but the small little tricks I’m about to show you helped him enjoy bath time.

I’ve found there are three main reasons babies may dislike bath time.

  • They’re too cold
  • The water is too hot
  • They are insecure

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to share what helped us and maybe it will show you how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.

Tools of the Trade

  • Swaddling / Receiving blanket
  • Space heater
  • Hooded towel
  • Baby tub
  • A soft wash cloth
  • Cup
  • Your favorite gentle bath soap
  • Baby oil

Warm Things Up

The first thing I recommend doing is by closing all the doors in and around your bathroom. Set up a small space heater on the floor or adjacent counter top. Allow the room to warm up from 10-15 minutes while you prepare other things. Babies equate warmth with security, so the goal is to keep them as warm as possible.

Lay Out Clothes

Consider where you’ll be taking your baby directly after his or her bath. For me, I bathed them in my master bathroom, so I would immediately take them to a changing table on my dresser. I recommend laying out clothes in advance. Get their little outfit out and ready so you can lessen the time they will be naked or cold.

Additionally, lay a hooded towel directly near the baby bathtub for a quick transfer.

Prepare the Bath

Two to four inches of water is all you need. Babies have extra sensitive skin. Dyes and fragrances can sometimes irritate baby’s skin and may contribute to eczema. If this is the case, try opting for a natural fragrance-free, dye free soap. We loved Aveeno.

Pro-tip: Always test the temperature of the water with your elbow. It should feel warm, but not hot.

If water is too hot you can add cool water. Just make sure to swirl it around to eliminate any hot spots.

Bath Time

Undress your baby. Once naked, swaddle in a receiving blanket. Put your baby in the water with the swaddle. The swaddling blanket will not only keep baby warm, but will also make him or her feel more secure.

Always start by washing their face first while the water and cloth is still clean. I liked to think of it as a massage with a towel. I dip it in the warm water and slowly wipe their little eyes and nose like a gentle massage. Save shampooing the hair for last. (I’ve got a great way of doing it) Don’t forget to wash the neck well as milk tends to collect in the skin folds.

Continue washing your baby downward from head to toes. Remove one limb from the swaddle at a time so the rest of the body stays warm while you wash. Frequently pour warm water over baby with a cup to keep him or her from getting cold. Take care to clean well in the folds of skin.

Shampoo

Take your baby out of the tub and quickly transfer to a dry hooded towel. Swaddle your baby tightly to keep him or her warm. Put your baby in a football hold with one arm using your non-dominant arm. Support their head with your hand. Using a football hold will make your baby feel more secure when water is going over his or her head. Shampoo your baby’s head over the tub. Use a washcloth or soft brush to gently exfoliate baby’s head to reduce chances of cradle cap. Pour clean warm water over baby’s head while continuing to cradle. When done, cover baby’s head with the hood of the towel and gently massage hair dry.

Dry

Dry your baby well while still in the warm environment. Once dry, consider applying baby oil or rehydrating their skin to help reduce eczema or flaky skin. Make sure they are nice and toasty for a while after their bath, by putting them in warmer clothes (like long sleeves). Babies enjoy bath time a lot more if they are kept warm and secure throughout the process. This bath time only took me about 15 minutes on average.

I hope I’ve shared a few things that will make momming a little more enjoyable. Thanks for reading. Before you go, don’t forget to PIN this post for later or share it with a new mama. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog before you go.

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100 Life Skills To Teach Your Child

Your child doesn’t have to be unprepared for life. Equip them for adulthood. Here are 100 Life Skills to Teach Your Child.

100 life skills to teach your child

Many people are surprised when I tell them I went to live on my own in Europe at the age of seventeen. I don’t think there was anything particularly special about me. I just think my parents prepared me well for adulthood. At that age, I was well equipped to book a plane ticket and navigate a foreign airport. I made my way across another continent using bus and train schedules in multiple foreign languages – completely on my own. I’m not bragging – at least not about me. If any credit is due, it goes to my parents. Not only did they homeschool me, but they managed to teach me how to not need them.

My parents have never bought me a car. I’ve never borrowed money from them. I paid for college, my wedding and house without their help. If you’ve done a good job as a parent, your children won’t need a lot from you as adults.

Good parenting is working yourself out of a job

This isn’t a lecture for parents. It’s a reminder. It’s so much easier sometimes to just do things ourselves to get it done faster, but we do our “babies” a disservice. They lose out on life lessons. Today, I’m sharing 100 life skills to teach your children.

Include Them

As I wrote the list, I tried to think of all the things my parents taught me. I am one of three children, but I am the only girl. Our gender did not matter when it came to teaching life skills. My brothers were taught homemaking skills like cooking, ironing clothes, and how to properly clean. As a girl, I was taught how to change a tire, start a campfire, and basic survival skills. We all learned the same life skills.

The simplest way to to teach these skills is summed up in one word: inclusion. My mom loved to repaint rooms every so often. It was the cheapest way for her to redecorate. But one thing I remember is her including us. Instead of sitting us in front of a television to get us out of her way, she handed us a paint brush. She taught us how to open and store the paint and how to stir it. How to mask the trim and paint around corners. She taught us how to properly load the brush and rollers with paint. She’d show us how paint without streaks or splattering. I was able to fix up my first apartment thanks to the skills she showed me. “Everyone has four walls to work with. It’s what you do with them,” she used to say.

As a parent myself, I know tempting it is to brush the kids out of your way so you can get things done. But the best way to teach your children is by simply including them in your everyday activities. Paying for a check at a restaurant? Make them calculate a tip. Washing your car? Give them a sponge and put them to work. At the doctors office? Make your teen fill out their own forms.

Age Appropriateness

The list I provide, is for all age groups. Obviously there are things on the list that should be taught at an older age because of the dangers associated with them – like using a knife or learning to safely make a campfire. However, don’t underestimate introducing things at an early age. Introducing simply starts by talking and teaching your child why we do something a certain way.

Introducing also includes knowing they won’t likely master something until an older age. For example, when my son turned three, I started to include him on cleaning. I let him dry plastic dishes I’ve washed. I make him take his folded clothes upstairs to his room and make him scrub the toilet (I apply the chemicals and he swirls it around). Now four, he has chores every week. I know these things won’t be done perfectly. In fact, they may even create more work for me right now, but this instruction is about creating a habit in your child. It’s also about giving them responsibility, purpose, and sense of accomplishment. Young children especially love to help – so let them!

As a kid, when we went camping, my dad would first give us small unimportant tasks like bringing him the tent poles or gathering wood or kindling. As we grew older, so did our responsibility until finally we were capable of doing it entirely by ourselves.

100 Life Skills to Teach Your Child

  1. How to sew a button
  2. How to hem pants
  3. How to thread a needle
  4. How to use a sewing machine
  5. How to wash clothes
  6. How to bake a chicken
  7. How to cut up a whole chicken
  8. How to mow the grass
  9. How to file taxes
  10. How to balance a checkbook
  11. How to fill out a medical form
  12. How to buy a car
  13. How to bake a turkey
  14. How to stain a fence or deck
  15. How to wash a car
  16. How to change a tire
  17. How to check car fluids
  18. How to change a brake light
  19. How to get a state inspection sticker
  20. How to change a car windshield wiper blades
  21. How to repair a leaky faucet
  22. How to fix a running toilet
  23. How to organize a pantry
  24. How to crochet
  25. How to knit
  26. How to bake a cake from scatch
  27.  How to clean a toilet
  28.  How to descale a shower and shower head
  29. How to vacuum
  30. How to make a candle
  31. How to make soap
  32. How to start a fireplace fire
  33. How to build a campfire
  34. How to set up a tent
  35. How to fish
  36. How to swim
  37. How to change a baby’s diaper
  38. How to feed a baby
  39. How to bake bread
  40. How to use a fire extinguisher
  41. How to mail a letter
  42. How to play an instrument
  43. How to frame and hang a picture
  44. How to use a compass
  45. Basic etiquette
  46. How to use a drill
  47. How to clean a grill
  48. How to bake cookies
  49. How to preform the Heimlich maneuver
  50. How to perform CPR
  51. How to fold clothes
  52. How to iron clothes
  53. How to vacuum a swimming pool
  54. How to trim trees
  55. How to pull weeds
  56. How to mulch a flower bed
  57. How to paint a room
  58. How to save money
  59. How to calculate a sale price
  60. How to raise chickens
  61. How to navigate an airport
  62. Emergency preparedness
  63. How to mop a floor
  64. How to can food
  65. How to unclog a sink or toilet
  66. How to use a stand mixer
  67. How to chop vegetables / food
  68. How to check if food is ripe
  69. Basic first aid (dress a wound, apply pressure)
  70. How to read a map
  71. How to read a nutrition label
  72. How to pump gas
  73. How to write a resume
  74. How to apply for a job
  75. Critical thinking / logic
  76. How to set a budget
  77. How to BBQ food
  78. How to make basic meals
  79. How to check your credit score
  80. How to invest money
  81. How to calculate a tip
  82. How to write a thank you letter
  83. How to vote
  84. Basic politics and civics
  85. How to win and lose graciously
  86. How to apologize and ask for forgiveness
  87. How to set up electronics
  88. How to shampoo carpet
  89. How to use a camera (not a camera phone)
  90. Basic woodworking
  91. How to get to common places in your neighborhood
  92. How to polish furniture
  93. How to get a loan
  94. How to fix your credit
  95. How to filter water (survival skill)
  96. How to build a shelter
  97. How to meal plan
  98. How to shave properly
  99. How to pray
  100. How to carry on family traditions

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, 100 Life Skills to Teach Your Child. Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to pin this post for later and subscribe to get FREE printables every month!

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Biblical Baby Boy Names

Start your son off with a blessing. Here is my list for beautiful biblical baby boy names and their meanings.

Biblical baby boy names
This page montage affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

The joy of naming a baby is unlike any other. It’s a special season as you and your partner search for the perfect name for your new baby.

There is a beauty in blessing your child with a biblical name. The search for the perfect name is a very personal one, but I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you’re interested in some biblical baby boy names for your little man. Here are some tips before we get started.

Tips for Naming

  • Be flexible
  • Consider if any family members should be honored
  • For names that are loved by one spouse and not by the other, consider using it as a middle name instead.
  • Consider if the name will be shortened (example: Jeremiah = Jerry or Jeremy) and whether you want or like that
  • You may want to consider omitting the names of exes
  • Say names in full, out loud to hear how it sounds.

Other Advice

Choosing a name can be fun, but it can also lead to disagreements, especially if you are passionate about a name. Maybe there is a name you picked out years ago, but your partner doesn’t like it. That can be a tough pill to swallow. Therefore, I suggest praying before each naming brainstorm. Give your partner permission to veto names they truly dislike.

Lastly, picking a name is a very special event in having a child. Your child’s name will follow him all of his life and may even be passed down. I hope that you enjoy the process of naming your little. Finally, here is the best advice, I can give. Lots of people, family included, will have an opinion about the name you choose. But their opinion doesn’t matter. That’s between you and the child’s father. Don’t let anyone’s comments bother you or rob you of joy.

names proverbs

Biblical Baby Boy Names

Here is my favorite list of biblical baby boy names with the meanings in parenthesis.

  • Aaron (high mountain, exalted)
  • Abel (breath)
  • Abraham (father of many)
  • Adam (man, to make)
  • Amos (load, burden)
  • Andrew (manly, masculine)
  • Asa (healer)
  • Asher (happy, blessed)
  • Barnabas (son of the prophet)
  • Bartholomew (son of Talmai)
  • Benjamin (son of the right hand)
  • Boaz (swiftness)
  • Caleb (dog)
  • Daniel (God is my judge)
  • David (beloved)
  • Eder (flock)
  • Eleazar (my God has helped)
  • Eli (ascension)
  • Elijah (My God is Yahweh)
  • Elisha (My God is my salvation)
  • Emmanuel (God is with us)
  • Ethan (solid, enduring, firm)
  • Ezekiel (God will strengthen)
  • Gabriel (God is my strong man)
  • Gideon (feller, hewer)
  • Hosea (salvation)
  • Isaac (to laugh)
  • Isaiah (salvation)
  • Jacob (subplanter)
  • Jadon (he will judge)
  • James (subplanter)
  • Jared (descent)
  • Jehoshaphat (Yahweh has judged)
  • Jehu (Yahweh is he)
  • Jeremiah (Yahweh will exalt)
  • Jesse (Gift)
  • Jethro (Abundance)
  • Joel (Yahweh is God)
  • John (Yahweh is gracious)
  • Jonah (dove)
  • Jonathan (Yahweh has given)
  • Joseph (He will add)
  • Joshua (Yahweh is salvation)
  • Josiah (Yahweh supports)
  • Judah (praise)
  • Jude (praise)
  • Kenan (possession)
  • Lazarus (my god has helped)
  • Levi (joined, attached)
  • Luke (light giving)
  • Malachi (my angel)
  • Matthew (gift of Yahweh)
  • Mark (the Roman God of Mars, warrior)
  • Micah (who is like Yahweh)
  • Michael (who is like Yahweh)
  • Mordecai (servant of Marduk)
  • Moses (son)
  • Nathan (he gave)
  • Nathanael (he has given)
  • Nicodemus (victory)
  • Noah (rest, repose)
  • Omar (speaker)
  • Paul (Small, humble)
  • Peter (Stone)
  • Philip (friend of horses)
  • Phinehas (Nubian)
  • Ram (exalted)
  • Raphael (to heal)
  • Rueben (behold, a son)
  • Reuel (friend of god)
  • Samson (sun)
  • Samuel (god has heard)
  • Saul (asked for, prayed for)
  • Seth (appointed)
  • Silas (forest, wood)
  • Simon (he has heard)
  • Stephen (crown)
  • Thomas (twin)
  • Timothy (to honor God)
  • Titus (title of honor)
  • Tobias (Yahweh is good)
  • Uriah (Yahweh is my light)
  • Uzziah (my power is Yahweh)
  • Zachariah (Yahweh remembers)

Before you go

Don’t forget to PIN this list for later. Before you go, be sure to grab my Baby Registry Checklist. It comes with a FREE printable to get your registry started. Also, in the comments below, I’d love to hear what names you love and why.

How To Get Housework Done With an Infant

If you’re a mama staring at the tornado that is your house and wondering how to get housework done with an infant, this post is for you.

how to get things done with an infant

When I first became a mom, I wondered, “how in the world do you get things done with an infant?” Girl, let me tell you – I’ve been there!

Friend, let me tell you… I was totally that struggling mom. I struggled to get even the smallest things done. The first six months was a blur. My dishes were piled up. Counters were dirty. Floors were filthy. Errands were neglected. Laundry was spilling over every hamper. I can tell you, you’ll find what works for you – every mother does. But if you’re a new mom and need some solid advice, I’m here to share what helped me.

These days, I have two kids and I’m proud to say I’m amazingly productive for having an infant and toddler who are constantly vomiting chaos wherever they go.


How to Get Housework Done With an Infant

Include Your Baby

One of the main reasons babies fuss while you’re trying to get things done is because they want your attention. You are your baby’s whole world. The sun rises and sets with you. He or she loves you more than anyone in the whole world, and therefore, they want your love and attention. Let’s be real – when we have a to-do list longer than the Great Wall of China, we don’t care about that! We just want a few minutes to get some things done! Ass you already know, babies don’t want to be ignored. They are living, loving creatures that want engagement and attention. So bring your baby with you. 

Your baby also loves to explore! As long as your baby is safe, give them nearby household objects to explore. Sometimes these are better than actual toys! When I do the dishes, I give my little one measuring cups, measuring spoons, a clean sponge, or a pot to bang on. Talk or sing to your little one. These are great teaching moments. Engage your little one by explaining what you are doing. 

If you are folding clothes, give them a colorful towel or one of their own clothes. Let them explore it. Play peek a boo when you grab a new piece of clothing. Tell him or her what color it is. Is it rough or soft? Cleaning a bathroom? Give them some bath squeeze toys or some toilet paper to tear up – just make sure they don’t eat it! The point is, that babies love inclusion and they have lots of fun when you engage them.

Be Realistic

So, I’m gonna share a deep secret. When I first had my son, my mom witnessed firsthand my total and complete frustration. She pulled me aside and gave me the best advice. Gone were the days when I could wash dishes in 20 mins and clean a bathroom in a half hour. Those days will return one day, but for now, things had changed.

My mom said, “you’re still trying to clean as if you don’t have kids. Things have changed. Once you let go of that expectation, you’ll be happier.” I don’t know why it finally clicked, but a light bulb went off. In all my stubbornness, I had refused to let go of pre-child expectations. I was clinging to old standards. My inflexibility was making me miserable. I had to learn to adjust and embrace my new life. This may not be an actual tip, but I can tell you – you’ll save yourself a lot of anger and disappointment if you learn to adjust to your new normal. Dishes take me nearly an hour and bathroom takes about 2. That’s my new normal.

baby playing

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Use a Carrier

Sometimes, our sweet little ones just want to be in our arms and they don’t take no for an answer. When that happens, a baby carrier becomes your best friend! Most carriers adjust for baby wearing on your back or in front of you. Depending on the activity, one or the other may be better. Remember never to bend at the waist with your carrier. Babies can fall out even when they seem snug in a carrier.

Invest in a good carrier. I was frugal and bought an inexpensive carrier. When you have a newborn, all carriers seem comfortable. But as your baby gains weight, the quality of your carrier becomes really obvious. Learn from my mistake – buy a good quality carrier that is ergonomic and evenly distributes weight. Your back will thank you. I recommend the following:

Move Them Frequently

Babies get bored quickly. Naw, I never knew that! Haha. If you’re a mom, you’ve figured this out already. Babies and toddlers have a super short attention span. Working against it by insisting that your baby sit with the same basket of toys for an hour will be frustrating to you and baby. Instead, take a cue and change their scenery. If you’re working up high, put them in a high chair with some toys. Putting them at eye level helps to extend the time you can work with. Folding clothes? Sit on the floor with them. Fold one load in the washroom and do the second load in your bedroom. Sometimes babies just want a change of scenery.

Touch Them Often

Babies desire to be in your arms all the time. If it were up to them, you’d never put them down. Get what you can done. When they start to fuss, pick them up and reassure them, continue with your tasks one handed if you can, then after a few minutes, try putting them down again, this time in another place. Often, they just want reassurance. I’ve found you normally get more time by doing that. We forget about things like that when we are scrambling to get chores done.

I’ve also found if you frequently touch babies like stroking their face, brushing their hair, grabbing their hands and singing while you work – it helps them feel assured. I’ve found sitting babies in between your legs works wonders. They feel like they are on your lap and they can touch you when they want to. Babies just long to be physically close to you. Sometimes you just need to be creative about it while you’re working.

how to get things done with an infant

Break Up Tasks

One of the most helpful things I learned to do was to break up tasks. First, I use a planner. My Happy Planner really saved me when I first became a mom. Keeping a cleaning schedule really helped me. You can read about my planner journey in the post How Happy Planner Changed My Life. But I learned to prioritize my day with 3 things that needed to get done. Then, I would break it up into smaller tasks and work them around taking care of my baby.

For example, I’d start a load of laundry then feed and play with my baby. I’d make my bed. Then take my baby to change the laundry (yes, you do a lot of things with one hand). Then I’d fill up the sink with hot soap water so dishes could sit while I read a book to my little one. Work smart and work small! Learn to take advantage of small clumps of minutes. Over the day, things will get done.

Some people will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. I always had a hard time with that because it was the only time I could get things done. It’s perfectly okay if you use nap time that way.

Hang in there, mama. This season won’t last forever. I hope I’ve provided some insight with how to get housework done with an infant. In the comments, I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear what you are struggling with as a new mama. Trust me when I say, as your child grows things will get easier.

How to get housework done with an infant.

21 Bloggers To Help You Slay Motherhood

 If you need support, advice, and help on how to navigate motherhood and marriage, then this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, is a must-read.

21 Bloggers to help you slay motherhood

This post, 21 Bloggers To Help You Slay Motherhood, contains some affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may make a small percentage at no cost to you. I only link to things I love.

Blogging Tribe

I know for me there are times when I feel alone in this game. Maybe I was naive, but I never expected to feel lonely and unsupported in motherhood and marriage. But the truth is, our journey is personal and it can sometimes feel isolating if you don’t have support.

That is one reason, I started this blog. I know I seek reassurance, knowledge and tips on how to be a better wife and mother. I want to feel like there is someone out there that can relate to my failures and problems. Frankly, I want someone in the trenches with me who’s got my back. Today I’m sharing 21 bloggers to help you slay motherhood. Some I’ve recently started reading, but most I have been reading for years! You’ll love them!

Before you leave, please subscribe to my blog (yup, shameless plug) and while you’re at it, subscribe to these lovely ladies.

Farmhouse on Boone

If you’re a fan of Joanna Gains, you’re going to fall in love with Lisa Bass at Farmhouse on Boone. Seriously, I think her and Joanna Gaines are spirit animals. Her site is stunning! She focuses on natural living, minimalism, farmhouse decor and a simple lifestyle. If you’re a crunchy mama you will love her wholesome, scratch recipes, natural remedies, and lifestyle tips. I also love that she provides homemade tutorials like basic sewing techniques (like how to thread a sewing machine and sew a seam), how to make a macrame wall hanging and your own body butter. Seriously, she’s what I aspire to be.

Farmhouse on Boone

The Time Warp Wife

I’ve been following Darlene Schacht on The Time Warp Wife for some time now. It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten just how I found her. She is a New York Times best selling author. I love that her site is heavily Christian based (no problem if that isn’t your cup of tea). She is a mama of four and one thing I really love is her online bible studies. I love reading them over my morning coffee (and if I get to drink it while it’s still hot, that’s a plus). She also has tons of cute printables on her site. I would say Darlene focuses more on marriage and biblical living than anything else, but I find her posts bring me lots of peace.

The Dating Divas

Dating Divas

I love the Dating Divas! I’ve followed them for a few years. Their cheery, happy site is dedicated to loving your spouse in the cutest way imaginable. If you are a mom or wife struggling with date night ideas, this site is for you! At home dates, group dates, sexy date nights, out of the house dates, you name it – they have it all planned out. They have the cutest ideas. We rarely get a date night so the at-home date nights have been amazing for us!

Rookie Moms

Two women run Rookie Moms. I personally love their product reviews. But they have lots of really helpful articles. From postpartum issues to sleep regression and toddler development, they have lots of informative posts to help you survive motherhood.

Affair Recovery

I’m choking up just writing this. Affair Recovery is more than just a blog / website. They’re also a retreat center for crumbling marriages, in particular ones that are going though an affair or other sexual addictions. They have lots of free resources, but my favorite is the Vlog series on YouTube. Early in my marriage, my husband had inappropriate feelings towards a co-worker as well as a pornography addiction. For years, I just couldn’t move past the hurt, especially since he continued to work closely with the woman. I watched one video per day, in particular with Samuel because I felt a connection with his words. It was painful to process those feelings at first. But I’m proud to say our marriage has completely healed from this and we have Affair Recovery to thank.

Meet Penny

Tabitha runs this great blog, Meet Penny. Her blog is heavily focused on frugal living. I love all her helpful tips to save money. If you’re homeschooling, she has a huge library of free curriculum and resources to help you. Her parenting advice is also invaluable!

To Love, Honor & Vacuum

With over 42,000 subscribers, Sheila Wray Gregoire at To Love, Honor and Vacuum focuses heavily on marriage, marital sex, family, and faith. I found her when I was going through some heavy jealousy with a woman with which my husband works. A few of her posts, gave me some great insight on handling those feelings. I love that she focuses heavily on keeping the spark going in marriage. An author of eight books, she is also a public speaker.

On The Sunny Side of Something

I recently discovered Elease Colcord and her blog The Sunny Side of Something online and I can’t stop reading her! Her writing makes you feel like you’re her best friend and I have to remind myself, I don’t actually know her. Haha! She’s beautiful, entertaining, funny, but most of all – authentic. On her blog she shares recipes, parenting stories (both funny and tearjerking), personal growth, but my favorite section is MILP. Moms I’d Like to Punch. Oh em gee. It’s hilarious and totally relatable! Check her out. She’ll have you in stitches. Follow her on Instagram for more online fun.

Confessions of a Homeschooler

Confessions of a homeschooler - bloggers to help you slay motherhood

I’ve been following Erica for about 3 years on her site Confessions of a Homeschooler. On her site, she provides curriculum for preschoolers to grade school as well as homeschooling schedules for every grade, menu planning, lesson plans and tons of printables. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, I strongly recommend reading her site. She has a huge amount of learning resources for every age, including how to reduce test taking anxiety, how to take notes, and how to study for tests. You won’t regret it.

The Chic Site

How could I not include this, in 21 Bloggers to Slay Motherhood? If you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis, you’ve been living under a rock. Okay, that’s harsh. But seriously, this lady is truly inspiring to me. On days when I totally feel like giving up on this blog, she reminds me not to take “no” for an answer. Her amazing book, “Girl, Wash Your Face,” is a best seller and her blog, The Chic Site is equally motivating. When I first found her (before her book), I think she tended to focus more on style, but she has really dug her heels into personal growth topics. I think her writing style is so sincere and authentic. If you haven’t read her book, you can find it on Amazon (link below). Also her new book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing” is now out in book stores. I can’t wait to read it!

Live Wise Love Well

Live Wise Love Well - bloggers to help you slay motherhood

I recently discovered Erika at Live Wise Love Well. Can I just say that she is such a beautiful lady, inside and out. She just did an outstanding series on the fruits of the spirit. If you’re struggling in areas like peace, patience, and gentleness, you need her in your life! Her message is beautiful and inspiring. She’s cute too! Like, really cute. If you need a chuckle, read her post, “How the Instapot Saved My Marriage.” She also does regular podcasts so go have a listen and subscribe to her!

The Purposeful Nest

I just recently discovered Ashley at The Purposeful Nest. A former police officer, she is now a stay-at-hom mom and homeschooler. Her lovely blog focuses on homeschooling, DIY and crafts, and family-oriented travel. Give her a read, you won’t be disappointed.

Club 31 Women

I’ve been reading Lisa Jacobson at Club 31 Women for years. One thing I love about Lisa is that she’s an older mother of 8 children. Yes, you read that right, 8. She brings wisdom and experience to her posts. Also, her recipes are delicious. Just sayin’. I love her focus on marriage and child rearing from a woman who’s been through it many times over. But what’s really special is that her husband, Matthew Jacobson has a “sister site” for men. His site, Faithful Man, is equally inspiring and full of encouragement. My husband and I like to read them both.

How To Be a Fun Mum

Just as the title suggests, New Zealander Kelly, wanted to be a fun mom, but wasn’t. That is until she totally turned her version of motherhood around and became a fun mom. She learned to embrace motherhood and enjoy it! Something I firmly believe moms should do. Her site, How To Be a Fun Mum, is dedicated to fun activities with your kids and they are indeed fun. My boys love to do the activities and I know yours will too!

Chronicles of a Momtessorian

Anitra runs a cute educational Mom’s blog called Chronicles of a Momtessorian. On her blog, she provides tons of Montessori based activities for your little ones that you can do at home. What’s really nice is that most activities are very easy to do…and we all want things to make life easier. Head to her blog for great educational resources.

The Measured Mom

A mother of six, Anna is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Her site, The Measured Mom, is dedicated to teaching children at home. She has both free printables and a shop. Furthermore, she has tools and resources for just about every subject. Handwriting, spelling, math, book lists, and themed teaching. She has 180,000 followers because of her great learning curriculum. Again, even if you aren’t homeschooling there are lots of resources that can be used to supplement your child’s public school education.

It’s My Sustainable Life

Calling crunchy moms! Suzan at It’s My Sustainable Life provides beautiful online content. Similar to Farmhouse on Boone, she focuses on holistic living. Her subjects include, up-cycling DIY projects, scratch recipes, gardening, food preservation, and natural remedies.

Jessica Plemons Kindergarten

Jessica Plemons

This girl is amazing and I have so much for which to thank her! Her site, Mrs. Plemons Kindergarten offers the best tot school curriculum, baby activities and preschool curriculum I’ve ever come across. We used the tot school curriculum when my son was in the 2-3 age range. He learned so much from these lessons! Best of all they felt like play time to him and the lesson plans have a lot of flexibility. One of the best things is that Jessica runs a Facebook Group to go alongside of the curriculum. Here you can talk with other mothers and get advice strait from Jessica herself. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, you’ll love the themed activities that keep your little toddler’s hands busy!

Real Mom Nutrition

Sally at Real Mom Nutrition is a registered dietitian and mom. Her “no judgement” site is dedicated to getting your kids to eat healthy with her kid-friendly recipes and ideas. I love that she also posts often about picky eaters and provides real ways to get your picky child to try new things.

Mommy Knows Best

Jenny runs her blog, Mommy Knows Best. This blog is heavily focused on postpartum issues primarily lactation. Best of all she provides natural herbal remedies to treat low milk supply. If you are struggling to nurse, I highly recommend reading her blog.

Shay Budgets

Okay so Shay isn’t a blogger per se. She’s a vlogger on You Tube. But I think she is really valuable when it comes to budgeting, reducing debt and being financially responsible. She also uses the Happy Planner, Erin Condren and other cute methods to make boring household management fun! Hey 26,000 subscribers agree with me. Additionally, she has an Etsy shop with budgeting stickers and tools to make budgeting organized and more enjoyable.


I really hope this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, was helpful to you. Please subscribe to these ladies if you feel like they speak to you. If you have found a blogger you love, I’d like to hear who and why you follow them in the comments below.

How to Improve Your Toddler’s Speech Delay

If your toddler is struggling to speak, here are some of speech therapy takeaways to help us improve your toddler’s speech delay.

How to improve your toddlers speech delay
All photos courtesy of Unsplash

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The terrible twos are hard enough, but they are harder for the mom whose child isn’t talking. There are new levels of tantrums when your toddler is straining for you to understand him or her. I know. I’ve been there. We went through speech therapy that cost about $500 every two weeks. Today, I’m sharing the things that helped us and will hopefully help you improve your toddler’s speech delay.

Our Story

My toddler was two when I knew something was wrong. We had meltdowns multiple times a day when I struggled to understand him. He couldn’t articulate when he was sick, hurt, or angry. Therefore, these feelings manifested violent eruptions of emotion. I blamed myself. Was I doing something wrong?

But here is the thing, I’m a very hands-on mom. We homeschool. I sit and play with my little one. I read to him, talk to him and engage him. Sadly, I felt judgment from family and mom friends. My son knew his colors by 18 months and shapes by 24 months. He knew his complete alphabet by 30 months. His only delay was speech.

I took him to numerous doctors, starting with our pediatrician. The first specialist we saw was a Pediatric ENT since so many speech delays can be attributed to a hearing problem. Once that was ruled out, we went to a neurologist and neurosurgeon who assured us there was nothing wrong. Both told me they thought he’d benefit from being away from me (more on that later). We started speech therapy but it was ridiculously expensive because at two, insurance doesn’t consider it a true delay yet. While speech therapy didn’t work miracles, it definitely helped and here are the takeaways that helped us. Please know this should not be a replacement for medical advice. I’m not a medical professional. If you’re concerned about your child not speaking, consult a licensed medical professional for a diagnosis. There are physical and mental problems that can create a speech delay.

Focus on Beginning Sounds

When children start to babble, you may notice beginning sounds babababa and dadadada. As it turns out, children learn certain letter sounds before others. The b, m, a, h, p, n, w, t, and d are first sounds and first sounds are easy! Would you believe some sounds aren’t mastered until the age of 8? The J, Z, X, Zh, are some of the last letter sounds learned. Likewise, when children start forming actual words they also start with the same beginning sounds. Therefore, focus on words that start with the beginning sounds.

Alphabet

Consonant – Vowel Sounds

In addition to beginning sounds, children also do better when words are consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel. For example, ”mama” and ”dada” are both consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel. For instance, if your child is struggling to say train, model the word choo-choo instead. Over time, your child will master train.

Hold Things Close to Your Mouth

The speech therapist pointed out my son never really watched my mouth. He looked at my face, but he wasn’t studying my mouth to see how I was making sounds. So she had me hold objects directly to my mouth and repeat the word. The key is to get your child to focus on your lips all day.

Baby Sign Language

Studies show that babies who utilize baby sign language have an easier time transitioning to words. Baby sign language is not ASL, although there are many similarities. Many of the hand movements are simple so that a baby can do it easily. Baby sign language helps your child in different ways. It first teaches them they must communicate to get what they want. Grunts, pointing or whining will not make themselves understood – they can speak or sign. Intergrate signing into your everyday routine. Continue to say the word as you sign. Help your child by doing hand-over-hand teaching. In other words, grab your child’s hand and teach them how to make the sign. Signing helped us in the interim. It reduced tantrums because if he couldn’t say the word, he could sign it. Here are books I recommend for learning baby sign language.

Short & Sweet

Many people will tell you not to baby talk to your child. However, many children need things simplified into keywords only. Some children have a difficult time distinguishing where words begin and end in a sentence. To them, the sentence is just a rapid cacophony of sounds. For example, instead of saying, “Okay let’s go to the car. We need to go to the store and get stuff for dinner before daddy gets home” simply say “Bye Bye. Car. Store.” Let them clearly hear the key words. Over time, you’ll add additional words.

Say One, Add One

Which brings us to our next point. As your child says words, you will add an additional word. By modeling this, you demonstrate how to combine words to form sentences. For example, when your child points to the fridge for a snack, you might just model “open” at first because that is the most important word. Once your child masters “open”, you say “open fridge.” Once they can say “open fridge,” you might model, “open fridge please” or “open fridge snack.” The point is, once your child masters the word, you’ll add an additional word.

Don’t Correct

You read that correctly. I know what you’re thinking. Believe me, I had the same thoughts. I corrected my son all the time. He would say bapple instead of apple. So I would correct him and say, “no, it’s apple.” Many kids who are non-verbal also have confidence issues. They are less likely to talk if everything they DO say is wrong. The speech therapist said to model it correctly, but in a positive way. For example, “Okay, I’ll get you an apple.”

Read

This might seem like a no-brainer. But many non-verbal children aren’t that interested in books. In fact, when a child is watching TV, they hear 300 words less per hour. My husband and I are both avid readers. I read to my son every day as an infant. But once he learned to walk (12 months), he was no longer interested in sitting – especially for a book. I was so discouraged, but I kept reading to him. Well, it was more like “at him” and “over him.” Even if he was playing with something else, I read.

I got him reinterested in books, by finding “lift the flap” books, sometimes called “peek-a-boo” books. Books that kept his little hands busy as we read. He was bored otherwise. The other thing I did was just point to the pictures and say the word. In other words, instead of reading it verbatim, I’d point to the pictures and say “Dog. Dig. Grass.” Focus on the most important words.

Child reading

In fact, when a child is watching TV, they hear 300 words less per hour.

Play Time Is Learning Time

Playtime is a great time to teach your child because they don’t realize it’s a speech lesson! For instance, if you’re playing cars, drive the car along the track and say, “go, go, go. Stop!” If you’re playing with a baby doll, you can model words like eat, night-night, baby, etc. The important thing is to say the word over and over. Remember, stop and hold the doll or car up to your mouth occasionally when you say it. Stacking blocks? Use the words “up and down.” Take every opportunity to focus on vocabulary building. Submersion will ultimately help improve your toddler’s speech delay.

Even snacks can serve as teaching time. Instead of giving your child all their snack, give him or her a little bit and withhold the rest. This is a great time to teach the word and sign for “more.”

Outside Speech Help

As mentioned previously, there are lots of causes for speech delays, including hearing problems and mental delays. Children learning multiple languages (like English and Spanish) also can be delayed. You should definitely consult a doctor if you are worried about your child not talking. Speech therapists can work directly with your child, but it’s up to you to do the “homework” they give you. Ultimately, it’s up to you, the parent, to do this kind of teaching all day long. The public school education system also has resources for speech delays.

Today, my son is doing really well. He has made incredible improvements over the last year. Doing these things have helped exponentially! The last thing I want you to know is that it isn’t your fault. Sometimes there are no reasons. Children develop later than others. You’re doing a great job mama. I sincerely hope this helps you and your little one. Even if it isn’t on your time table, your little one will learn how to talk!


The post, How to Improve Your Toddler’s Speech Delay first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

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Covering Our Kids in Prayer

Please give a warm welcome to guest blogger, Jessica Schweikardt. Jessica’s blog, Forever and Evie, focuses on the highs and lows of motherhood and the things less talked about. Please be sure to follow her on social media and like her Facebook page. In this post, she guides us through covering our kids in prayer.

Covering our kids with prayer
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

As parents we all want to raise good people to leave for this planet. If you’re like me then you are a little bit scared that you’re doing it all wrong and you’re going to mess them up forever and whose idea was it to put these precious kids in your care anyway??

Well the answer is simple, God did. God gave you these little ones to raise and mold into kind and caring adults. He has entrusted them to you that you might bring them up in His word and teach them about His love. This is no simple task, especially in this day and age when this world is just waiting to pull our kids down with its dark weight. I, for one, know that I need help. I can’t do this alone, and even though my husband and I share the exact same goals for what we would love our children to become, we know that we are fighting against a force that we just do not have the power to battle without the help of the one who created everything.

Covering Our Kids in Prayer

So, I pray. I pray for my kids every single day. I pray for things that we are currently dealing with, situations that may arise in the future, and I pray that a love for God is sparked in my children and that they always seek to know and please Him. I pray against sickness, heartache, and anything that might be bring harm or pain to my children’s lives. I pray for their future spouses, future children, and for their future careers. I pray for next week, next month, next year. That my kids continue to grow up strong and healthy, and that they continue to learn and try new things.

Some of my prayers come from within my own head, and things I think about when they come up, but I also get a lot of my prayers from a couple books written by Aaron and Jennifer Smith. I highly recommend them. A few years back my husband and I started a 30 day prayer challenge, also written by the couple. So when I heard that they had written prayer books geared towards parents who want to pray over their children, I quickly snatched them up.

These books have a prayer for each day, for 31 days, as well as challenges and spaces to write down prayers of your own or any thoughts/gratitudes you might have. My plan is to use these books over and over throughout the years while adding in my own thoughts and prayers and I know that God is listening to my prayers for my children, and if it is His will, that He may bless us with all that we ask of Him.

Books

Some things I pray for that we currently face:

  • That both of my children continue to grow and develop and that I gain the wisdom to guide them through new life skills
  • That illness does not touch them this flu season, and if it does that I have great knowledge and discernment when taking caring care of them.
  • For my sharp tongue when I get frustrated or run out of patience. That I am always correcting and disciplining out of love, not anger. (I fail at this way more than I would like to admit)
  • That I am quick to apologize when I am wrong and that my children are quick to forgive my mistakes now and the many in the future I will surely make.
  • That I can step out of the way more often, and let my daughter learn by trying things on her own. 

Prayers For Their Future

  • That my son is respectable and upstanding, that he seeks and loves God, also seeking his council when starting a family of his own and values his wife and children above all humans or possessions.       
  • That my children are quick to forgive family/friends but also capable of standing their ground and speaking out for themselves or any injustice they may see.
  • That the anxiety that I face every day not be passed on to them but rather they first seek Jesus and his peace in every situation, and not worry about the outcomes.
  • That my daughter knows how valuable she is and that any man who is worthy of her, that seeks her attention, will first seek after and love God more.
  • That my son is respectable and upstanding. That he seeks and loves God, also seeking his council when starting a family of his own and values his wife and children above all humans or possessions.    
  • That both of my children bring up their own kids in the word of God, and they pray these things over and over again for their children, just as I have done. (And will continue to do for my grand babies as well!)
  • That both of my children know the value of hard work and dedication. That they work hard to provide a good life for themselves, not expecting anything to be handed to them.
  • That my kids are kind and loving, sweet and caring individuals that love others and will pray for and help anyone they can. That they are never intentionally mean to someone, or try to belittle or bring anyone down. That they are always uplifting and always a source of joy to others.

These are just a few examples of the prayers that have been/will be said for my children. It is so important to cover them with prayer, and speak life into them. I highly recommend the books 31 Prayers for my Son, and 31 Prayers for my Daughter by Aaron and Jennifer Smith. The prayers are more specific and more encompassing, and can be used over and over throughout the years, as I plan to do!

These books can be found on either of Aaron and Jennifer’s sites, The Husband Revolution and The Unveiled Wife


The post, Covering Our Kids in Prayer, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

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