Posts Tagged With: single parenting

Road trips with a potty trained nursing toddler…

This summer Tag (17 months) has spent close to 4,000 miles in the car. We have adventured around Disneyland and gone back and forth multiple times to the San Juan mountains. I’ve done my best to make most of those miles during sleeping hours for Tag, but there have also been many hours in the car while he is awake. Tag has been such a trooper!

Probably 1/4 of our road tripping miles were spent with my other Littles in the car, which actually made things much worse! Tag wanted to play having them there and sleep was much more difficult for him. One evening drive was probably the worst I have heard him cry ever.. he was exhausted, the other kids wanted to sleep and didn’t feel like playing… So we stepped out of the car and watched the sun set..

IMG_1918

Eventually Tag fell asleep and I was able to rive the remainder of the way home throughout the evening while everyone slept peacefully. Rare quiet moments for a Mom…

So what tips do I have for road tripping alone with a toddler? Glad you asked..

Be flexible- I know, easier said then done… Any time we hop in the car I assume something is going to go wrong. I try and have a general idea of when he will nap, where we will stopped for gas, when we will grab a real meal, but I also assume it wont work out. Being a potty trained toddler he knows saying he has to go potty will stop the car immediately, he uses it. He also is still nursing and will ask for the boob when he wants out of his seat. I try and distract if I can, but I also do everything I can to respect his words.

IMG_1508

Have extra everything- I have extra water bottles for him, toys, books snacks,            EVERYTHING! Toddlers love to throw, and I would rather clean up 5 water bottles from the back seat when we get where we are going then fumble around trying to pick up the only one we have while driving. I also try and have a new exciting something to distract him from the fact that he is in his carseat again. New toys, stickers, anything to make him forget he is once again doing the thing he does not want to do ever, sitting still

Caffeine- That should probably be #1! An over caffeinated Mom is much more willing to sing, dance, and talk things out with a toddler. I might be a little crazy RIE parenting style, but toddlers do understand a lot. When Tag is having a moment in the car we talk, about everything. I explain to him we have to be in the car for a while longer and talk about the things we can do. It’s EXHAUSTING! But it works. When I give him options he can usually find something that will make him happy. Then I have some more caffeine… (I’m going to need a Hi-Ball sponsorship…)

Podcasts or Audio books- For you. Not gonna lie, one of the most amazing things is driving through the night while your kids sleep and you listen to your own happiness. Do it. The best kind of alone time you can get!

And always be willing to call things off. This last trip home I had big plans of driving through the night and getting home while he slept. Well, after weeks of travel and living in the mountains with kids my exhaustion level was crazy high. No amount of caffeine could help me make it… So I pulled off the road into the mountains and slept. There is no reason to risk falling asleep at the wheel, and after a great nap and some breakfast my buddy and I made it home safe and happy!

IMG_1944

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To All The Haters…

I got a lot of crap before Tag was born for my “crazy ways” and “silly ideas”. Let’s remember, I have 5 other kids (and way more that came in and out during my fostering days) yet some people just knew I was making huge mistakes. No swings? No crib? No bouncer? Clearly I am insane! You cloth diaper? Well I’m bringing you disposable anyway, “just in case”.

Hi.

Hello.

I’ve done this before.

It’s rude. It’s not “being helpful” or thoughtful. If I say no and you don’t choose to hear my words, it’s disrespectful.

So to all those that did not believe I knew what I was doing, Tag has survived to nearly 7 months old…

Without a bouncer, swing, walker, jumper, bassinet, stroller, or even a disposable diaper!

I have held him, worn him, or set him down on a nice soft spot when needed. I’ve washed his diapers, by hand even, and never needed to use any throw away ones.  He has survived!

He is a happy healthy little man, even a little advanced if I do say so myself. (and I do, because I’m his mother)

You raise your baby your way, I’ll raise mine my way.

img_7929

 

 

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Alone Life

So I’m a single mom of 6 kids, who’s interested??

Yup, that’s the opening line to my stand up routine… hence why I don’t actually have a stand up routine…

But really, who sees a mom to 6 kids and thinks “hey, I want in on that mess”?

Six kids… That is a lot.

Five kids sounded like a lot….

I’ve had it together for these past couple of months since Tag’s birth. I think where most mer mortals would have folded, collapsed at the exhaustion and stress, I excelled. I’ve always taken a challenge well and doing this “single mom to an infant plus five other kids half the time” thing was my biggest challenge to date. I’ve felt in control of my emotions and very “put together”, but not these last couple of weeks. Somehow I have turned into an emotional wreck every time a love song comes on. I cry, in public sometimes- Sabrina does not cry!

So what is it?  I have zero desire to date and zero time.

I am happy being single- While my friends are telling me “you just had a baby, you’ll be interested in dating later”, in my head I’m daydreaming about all the running adventures I will go on in this “later” they speak of.

I have no one to answer to, it’s pretty sweet. My kids roll with all my crazy antics: breakfast for dinner, last minute adventures, impromptu dance parties, and we have no one to judge us. No one to question why we spent money on unnecessary things. No one to check in with. No one to judge my kid messy car. No one to kibosh any stupid (yet fun!) ideas we have. We like it.

If I did have any free time a man is not what I would want to spend it on. I would rather spend more time with my kids, read more, run, go on adventures, write, maybe make that “money” thing everyone speaks of. So much to do, dating is not even close to the table…

So why the sadness as of late? I think I’ll chalk it up to my hormones being a mess post birth. Maybe exhaustion has finally built up enough and I can no longer ignore it. Or maybe it’s just normal? Maybe it’s normal to be sad you don’t have something everyone else (ok not everyone) has but not really want it in the end? Nah, it’s just hormones, I’ll take an extra placenta pill and call it a day.

There was an old woman who lived in a running shoe… I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes.

IMG_4476-2

All the man I need! (well… Tag and the 3 others I suppose)

Categories: Single Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The emptiness of a clean house

I’ve spent a lot of time as a Mom cleaning. I may preach “the mess will be gone before you know it, they grow up too fast”, but really my OCD takes over and I clean. I hate walking into a house with toys everywhere. My kids play and make a mess and I follow behind them cleaning it up… not always, but much of my “Mom career” was spent being the cleaning lady.

Nowadays my kids leave 50% of the time. I could easily keep a super clean house while they are gone, but now a clean house is sad. A toy not on the rug means no one will be coming back to it in a couple of minutes. Clothes on the floor means no one is there for me to yell at to put them away. Is this something all single Mom’s feel? The loneliness of a clean home? When they are here I clean too much. I still follow them around picking up after them. Try and have them keep their messes contained. But when alone, the stuffed animal stays in its haphazard home… the dirty sock doesn’t find its way to the laundry basket, the straw hat used to play farmer sits in my chair without a head to don. Am I really the only one?

I’ve learned to clean sections. The joy I feel of over cleaning accomplishment can be had, but I always see my kids still here. Today it’s the kitchen and living room, everything is in place and the smell of way too all natural cleaning products is in the air. Their room is untouched. Beds aren’t made, they were too busy playing before they left to make them themselves. Clothes are on the floor, shoes out-of-place, they will be back. It’s comforting in a way, but still sad. They are still missing… Does this feeling ever go away?

Sometimes I find myself pretending it’s nice to have a “break”, and maybe some days it is. Yes, a day off every once in a while is helpful, maybe every couple of months. Sometimes I get the feeling Moms who have their kids all the time are jealous of my freedom. Sometimes they express it, just a little, and I can’t respond. I want to scream. I want to tell them I never became a Mom to have all this down time. I want them to see the days I’m without my kids and “free” and how lonely it is. Maybe it’s silly, maybe it’s that “grass is always greener” feeling…. Whatever it is I’ve had it both ways. I would always take being a full-time Mom with no breaks over being a part-time Mom.

So now I’ll go back to scrubbing things that have already been scrubbed and leave the bunny in the middle of my floor until it’s friend returns.

Categories: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crewing for 5.

What did I do this weekend? Well crewed my +1 at a 100 mile race with my four littlest Littles of course!

Let me just say here, my +1 is a very talented runner. Not only is he talented, he has a no quit attitude everyone should be jealous of. I often spend my “free” time crewing telling people how wonderful he really is. Watching him race is always a mixture of pride, admiration, stress, anxiety, and joy. I love every minute of it! But enough about him (he can write his own report!) this is about ME!

We left Friday, late. Now mind you, we had ZERO plan, but I like leaving early in the morning and that just didn’t happen. We honestly just decided to head out around 10:45, with zero snacks, toys, music, or any other “keep the kids busy” activities. I am the Queen of road trips so this is very unlike me. Between leaving late and overall feeling terrible, I was off my game. I spent the ride sleeping, sternly informing the children of how I WAS trying to sleep, and passing them snacks when they refused to say quiet. Oh and freaking out at them to not make a mess since we were not in our van. Yup, I am a clean nazi at times. We arrived at the end of the pre-race briefing and headed to our camping spot.

Like I had thought, camping was way too close for comfort for me. I wouldn’t normally mind, but a bunch of people trying to get to bed early while my little hoodlums who have been trapped in a car or hours throw a tent party did not seem like a good idea to me.  I sent +1 to the tent for the night and the Littles and I took the car (no big deal really). We listened to music and chatted until way too late and finally fell asleep.  You know what is awesome? Being awoken at midnight to a toddler SLEEPING ON TOP OF YOU POOPING IN HIS PANTS. Yup, fully asleep and having terribly sick poop in his pants… perfect. Life? yeah, couldn’t be better. So I grab some paper towels and get to cleaning. Ugh… who needs sleep before crewing all day?

It sure was a pretty view to wake up to though.

It sure was a pretty view to wake up to though.

We awake and head to the start. Nothing too exciting here… just a bunch of people heading out for 100 miles

+1 is there somewhere. Photo by a 9-year-old that clearly is still asleep.

+1 is there somewhere. Photo by a 9-year-old that clearly is still asleep.

 

And off we headed back to camp. A spot the runners would come through but we could not crew from this time. The kids hung with friends, well except Tru… He got exiled to the car for a much-needed nap. See, here’s where I am a genius (actually not just here, I am a flipping genius always),  I bought an awesome baby monitor. Before our trip last summer I needed a way to leave the children in a place (car, tent) and walk a short distance away (locking said car AND with them strapped in their car seats). If anyone wants in (or out!) I will hear the car AND I can hear if someone in the car wakes up and needs something. So Tru napped, Bigs played, and I watched across the lake for +1. He rolled in, I waved, he didn’t wave back, and we headed to the next spot we could crew from.

Kids and new friends. Life is good. so far...

Kids and new friends. Life is good. so far…

I tried to nap, kids made a mess, I cleaned it up, gave +1 his two new bottles, he ran off, headed to the next spot. My head hurts… Oh the crew life.

Honestly, things were working alright.

The kids passed the time-

IMG_0930

A little racing up mountains.

Oh and playing with nasty horse water. SAVE THE BUGS!

Oh and playing with nasty horse water. SAVE THE BUGS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I should have offered him his ultimate direction pack with ice in it here, but I didn’t. I promised it at the next crew spot and sent him along. Moving on.

Now +1 can usually be found in the front of the pack at a race. I count on him being near the same people he has been so I can usually judge when he is coming in. Not only that, I can usually look at the distance and elevation (guessing terrain) and guess pretty well when he will be coming in. So when he was late, the kids were pissed. The questions, interrogations really, of when +1 was coming in, where is he, what happened, and WHY oh WHY is he not here yet?!?! began flooding in.

“Snacks, we need snacks lady!”

“No, I need to watch for +1. He can come in any minute!”

Tru falls asleep on my back

IMG_0937

Tenny falls asleep on the pavement, basically in the runners way.

yeah...

yeah…

Tru wakes up.

“SNACKS”

Tay who has been holding +1’s pack with ice like a diligent little crew man gives up, hands me the pack, and heads to play.

Finally get word +1 missed a little out and back section and went back to check in at the aid station… Oh goodness this is no good…

Tenny wakes up.

“SNACKS!”

Me- Watching…watching… watching… not +1 not +1 not +1

Oh shit I haven’t seen Tay in a while…send Tea to check on him… OH! There is +1! Tea come help!

He isn’t in the best of moods but also isn’t a disaster like I would have expected. I give him some caffeine, his pack, and food and send him on his way. Tay apparently was building an awesome fort with a friend he had met and was having a great time, thank goodness someone had fun on this stop! On to the next one, and some snacks., lots and lots of snacks.

More fun was had! Apparently sticks and pine cones make for a great crew game of baseball!

Creativity makes the time go by.

Creativity makes the time go by.

Next stop the kids saw their friends from camp and were super stoked to play for a few minutes. I started to notice +1 was making a move up but tried to not show my extreme excitement. The kids had a ton of snacks but were definitely showing signs of the long day.

Somehow shoes became an issue. Crew lady and baby mover, I'm on it.

Somehow shoes became an issue. Crew lady and baby mover, I’m on it.

Back to our horse water/running up a mountain spot from before. We met some nice people who offered my kids a warm shower. Should I be offended or not? The Ladies decided to clean up their hands and feet a little and Tay checked out an awesome conversion van with a pop up. Tru wrecked himself-

"It's blood"

“It’s blood”

PLEASE don't clean it!

PLEASE don’t clean it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenny wrecked herself, and in all the waiting Tru fell asleep on me and +1 came in. Crewing with a sleeping baby in your arms is not so easy. Luckily he isn’t too needy and headed off.

One sleeping kid stayed sleeping, another fell asleep in my arms while waiting in the dark at the next aid station. Said Little Lady who shall remain nameless decided to awake from the dead (asleep) to scream, since clearly she needed to crew +1 and not sleep in the car. Look, it was dark and she fell asleep, I needed hands free. +1 had been slowly moving up and I knew that would only continue. Tea join her in the car, I spotted +1’s light coming in, Tay and I gave him what he needed and set him moving again as fast as we could. I was giddy inside with how well he was doing and that brought a new but of wind to my tired sails.

Now the drive to put everyone to sleep. I had one more spot (campsite) where I could crew him before the finish. For once this crewing journey I was alone and so happy to see my +1 roll in. He had an amazing couple miles and I could tell he was ready to race to the finish. I sent him off again, excited to have my day of crewing with kids coming to and end, and excited to see him finish!

I hoped back in the car…Oh shit, what’s that smell?? Oh yeah.. shit… So Tru and his *poop in him pants while sleeping* last night was special, but again tonight?!? Then it all makes sense, he REFUSED to use a non real bathroom all day AND refused to go outside. Ugh… does he know what family he is a part of?!?! Pooping outside is what we do! So now I find myself at a boat dock restroom in the middle of the night cleaning poop off a toddler I had to stir awake… luckily he was someone cooperative. Off we went to the finish!

Watching +1 finish was amazing. Not only did he wreck the second half (I told you he was talented), but I also managed to pull off crewing with 4 Little People in tow. YAY! Although exhausted from the day, they did (mostly) enjoy spending their day crewing (or is that just the promise of a beach day?).We all survived! With some cuts and bruises maybe, but we survived!

Let me just say it here, Crewing IS harder than racing. Yup that’s right, and I’ll say it to your face! I am tired, sore, and I’m pretty sure I could eat my weight in food. So now I’ll get back to letting the children watch TV while I *try to nap.

My life currently in a panoramic photo.

My life currently, in a panoramic photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: My world as a Single Mom of 5 kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.