Today in our Moms in Progress series we are excited to feature another one of our blog team members, Jen Moore! To get us started, Jen, can you share with us a recent photo?
Sure! Here is a picture of me with my twin four-year-old boys.
Such a sweet picture of you three – all full of laughter and summer sunshine!! ? Jen, have you heard any truth in a podcast, book, or conversation that has been a help to you this week?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” (Historian Will Durant, commenting on Aristotle) When I read this recently in the book, “The Collapse of Parenting,” by Leonard Sax, it stuck with me.
I don’t know what it is lately, but it seems our boys have upped their toddler game to the next level – most days it feels like they are literally bouncing off the walls? until they collapse into bed at night! Trying to parent with intention and be a model of strong character, myself, requires energy reserves I have to reach way down deep to access most days??.
This quote reminded me that when I take the time to use teachable moments, or instill virtuous attitudes/behaviors (for the first, second, twelfth time), I’m not only making that positive parenting choice a habit, but I’m also increasing the chance that those strong character choices will become habits for my boys, as well?.
I love that! What a great reminder that my million little, everyday decisions and choices add up to really make a difference – even if it doesn’t seem like it in the moment of 100th repetition with my three year old.? So, what is your hardest parenting struggle currently?
Now that it’s summer?, the rhythm of our days has changed. While it has been a refreshing change of pace, it’s also presented new challenges in regards to my personal stamina for handling two toddlers all day long?. By late afternoon I start counting down the hours ⏰ until bedtime and a break from the noise, or a chance to sit for five seconds without someone hanging on me.
In response, I’ve been forcing myself to get to bed earlier? (which is hard for me!) so that I can wake up an hour or so before the boys each morning. That quiet time refuels me ⏳, and gives me what I need to get through the day (most days!). Four year olds seem to have an unending supply of energy?!
I hear you on that! And it’s hard for me to go to bed earlier, too – I need to learn from your self-discipline there! What would you say is going well in your parenting right now?
One of my most recent personal victories has been the ability to take the boys to church by myself ⛪️. My husband works in the medical field, and his hours constantly vary to include both night/weekend shifts. Our boys are twins, both toddlers now, and O has substantial special needs. Add to that significant sensory processing disorder, with extreme sensory-seeking behaviors, and it can certainly make single parent outings a challenge?. It took me a long time to work up the courage, but when faced with a streak of weekends on my own I decided to go for it – church with the boys, just the three of us.
That first solo mass was a perfect storm? of hair pulling, head hitting, and toddler meltdowns. About halfway through the service, I shuffled all of us to the Women’s restroom with tears in my eyes, little hands yanking out pieces of my hair, and my toddler asking (loud enough for all to hear), “Mommy, why are you crying!”?
If it weren’t for a sweet friend’s family sitting nearby?, we may not have lasted through Communion (and made it to our car in the downpour that greeted us after Mass)?.
Since that day I’ve employed a few new strategies, brought along a few more sensory toys, and asked for a little more help. I am so glad I didn’t give up after that first go-round – that feels like the biggest victory of all✨.
Way to go, mama! I love that you said you implemented some new strategies, asked for help, and just kept trying. It’s easy to forget that the best things are rarely easy on the first try, but so worth it when we just keep going!
On a lighter note, what is your least favorite household chore? Which one would you pay someone else to do for you?
Dishes! ? Our dishwasher cleans everything well, but every.single.dish comes out soaking wet. ? I do love getting the dirty dish pile out of my sink and into the dishwasher – but when faced with a full dishwasher to empty and a sink packed with dirty dishes?
Give me laundry. I’ll fold that all day.
Absolutely! Dishes are my nemesis! What is your most embarrassing mom fail?
Oh, goodness, there are many, but recently I was at my son’s swim lesson and I had his brother there with me.
O was in his wheelchair as I knelt to wrap his brother up in a towel. Just as I went to stand, I felt my head yanked swiftly backward?. I knew immediately that O had me by the hair with not one, but both, hands. We’ve dealt with sensory processing disorder for 3+ years now, and it’s only gotten more severe as he gets older and stronger.
Long story short, I had to pull so hard to free my hair from his little fingers that I toppled completely over onto my bottom in the middle of the floor?. With hair that had been yanked sky-high, I quickly shuffled both boys into the changing area – where C promptly slipped in a wet spot on the floor and wiped completely out (cue toddler waterworks ?).
I reached over to pick him up, and turned back to see ? my blond-haired little guy bouncing freely in his wheelchair through the changing area ♿️. The wheelchair had taken off on me ?!
I lunged forward to grab the handles before his chair could collide with the oncoming wall (though he absolutely loved the bumpy ride), swept his brother into a changing room to settle him down, and eventually got all of us out of there in one piece – but not before O snuck in a couple of head thuds against the changing room wall ? (another favorite sensory-seeking behavior).
Oh, I can just picture it! You and your sweet boys after swim lessons.?
To finish up here, what is your favorite summer activity to do as a family?
One of our favorite things to do is get the recommended book lists from the library and work through them together ?. This time of year the boys also love to partake in the library’s Summer Reading Challenge. The boys soak up the time they spend on our laps ??? or snuggled up next to us on the couch, and as a former reading teacher I love getting great books in their hands?.
We will also pick a topic, like fishing? – one of C’s favorite activities to do with his Dad right now – and check out every picture book we can find. As simple as it may seem, regular trips to the library have become a family staple.
We LOVE our library, too! My kids are so motivated to complete their summer reading logs. Thanks for sharing with us today, Jen!
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