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Tips for the Hermit that Has to Go.

Dear Al, 
Your post broke my heart, because I know that I have been there on numerous occasions and felt the exact same way.
And My Dear Jo,
Your post gave me hope that it won't always be intimidating to go out without back up.

After I had Boston I felt so over whelmed every time we (the kids and I) went out on our own. I remember telling mom, "I wish they (the hospital) would have told me how two kids safely in the car by yourself, instead of making sure my baby was perfectly strapped in (something that I had been doing for almost 2 1/2 years when she came)."
Well guess what, I figured out my own systems.
When Boston was little I figured out that by leaving Boston in her infant seat and keeping her in the shopping cart. I could with one foot hold onto the cart and with the other one I could anchor myself while I put Ryder in the car. This was an act of mommy acrobatics but it allowed me to get both of the kids in the car without sacrificing one of them to traffic.
Other day Ryder told me, "I am going to drive my mom's car."
Now that Ryder is a little older and Boston is no longer in her infant seat, I have now reversed the order. I have given Ryder strict instructions to put his hand on the gas tank door (this gives him a target to focus on so he doesn't go running in traffic). As I put her in her seat and then secure the buckle, then I grab his other hand and we walk to his side of the car where I strap him in then I start the car (get the ac/heater going), load the groceries and put the cart away.
I think one of the most important things us hermits (aka mommies) can if the shell doesn't fit change it. What failed today if you prepare enough might be a success the next. I like to think over my failures by saying to myself what could I have done/packed/prepared to make this experience easier on my kids and myself? I then make a mental note of those items and the next time we are in a similar situation I try to test out my hypotheses. If it goes significantly better I pattern the future after those preparations if the experience has no change or gets worse, I go back to the mothering drawing board.
Hermits have to have a tough shell. Anything embarrassing your kids actions are more painful to your pride than it is physically painful or annoying to the strangers you are around. People might give you annoyed looks, they might snicker at you and they might not help you at all.
Last weekend when I took the two kids out on my own to get some much needed groceries while Slim Jim was working an 11 hour shift. Ryder kept telling me that we needed this or that (coffee creamer he said, "I need this for my hot chocolate" and the brownie mix he threw into the cart without even asking) and I was pushing the cart in the wrong direction. And as I told Ryder that we weren't getting the brownie mix and we went further down the isle to grab some vanilla pudding an elderly lady chuckled and gave me the sweetest smile. It was like her eyes were communicating, "Good job! I know that this is hard for you but doing okay, just keep up the good work."
At that moment I realized that maybe we don't always need to be a shining example of how kids should behave maybe instead we can be a real example to how no matter how tough we will mill through it. The best thing that we can do for our children is pattern for them how they should behave and sooner or later they will pick it up. Until then don't be too tough on your little ones and especially don't be too tough on yourself. 
Boston's now crawling which means she is always getting into things she shouldn't.
On occasions you might ask your fellow hermits to lend a claw. This last Sunday Slim Jim had to work (after the 11 hour day he had to work a 10.5 hour day, we love our hard working Daddy). I put the kids down for a nap before church but it didn't go according to plan so I had to wake the kids up, run them down to the car and run into church. Before the meeting started I needed to take Ryder to the bathroom so I turned to one of my friends and ask her to hold Boston while we visited the bathroom. Through out the span of the 3 hour church block I had to get the assistance of two other friends (Ryder was sure that he needed to go potty so I was taken out of meetings to only have him dribble a few times).

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