Hi friends! Today I won't be writing my daily activity blog, because our activity will take place late this afternoon and tonight. It will be up tomorrow, so I will be writing two tomorrow :) I'm really loving writing my blogs everyday, so I figured it would be fun to write an "ask me" blog. I have people ask me questions a lot. Mostly when I go out with all four of my kids ;)
I asked my friends to ask any questions they wanted, so I will be answering them here!
Let's get started...
1- How do you deal with being a step mom?- I don't. I am in no way a step mom. I have 4 kids. 2 sons, 2 daughters. 3 grew in my belly and 1 grew in my heart. Period. I just don't believe that step moms raise their step children. I've been raising Nicholas, since he was 3 years old. I'm his mom.
2- How do you handle tantrums?- Depends on which child is having the tantrum. Yes, ALL of my kids have their own type of tantrums, from time to time. It's normal. I try my best to stay calm, and think outside of the screaming and crying. With William its hard because it isn't easy to explain to a two year old why he can't do each and every thing he wants to do. I believe that time outs work for him, when he has done something that isn't allowed, like hitting, screaming, biting. Those times, he goes directly to time out. I sit with him for 2 minutes, and the entire time, I explain to him why he is sitting there, what his hands are for (being soft and loving), and then when 2 minutes are up, I ask him "do you want to say something to Laura?" USUALLY he will immediately go to her (or whichever sibling he hurt), and say I'm sorry, and give a big hug, and kiss the owie that he caused. I don't want to TELL him to say sorry, because it didn't come from him....so asking him if he has something to say to another child, hints to him but doesn't tell him to do it. It works for us.
With Katie, she is a bit easier. If she is upset, its usually because she is tired, or she is in need of one on one time. Usually with her, a hug and rocking on my chair will really help to pull her out of her funk. If she does something that isn't allowed, she goes to sit on her bed. I learned early on with her that timeout in the timeout spot (by the front door) hurts her heart. It embarrasses her, so I had to think differently. Sitting on her bed (for 4 min) removes her form the situation, and she doesn't feel like her siblings are starring at her. I truly mean it when I say every kid is different, and it takes time to learn what each child needs from you as a mother. She too says sorry, hugs and we move on.
With Laura she sits on her bed. She doesn't get embarrassed by sitting in timeout, but she will get herself into more trouble. She lets her mouth control her sometimes, so having her be alone helps a lot. She will sit for 7 minutes in her room and then I have to usually have a big talk with her. I get to the point and ask her to be an example for her siblings. We've been saying "fill every ones buckets with love", which is something she learned in school.
With Nicholas, this is a hard one. My son is 13. He doesn't cry and scream like my little ones will do, but he is a pro at back talking. He knows that I count. When he continues to back talk after I say 1, he usually catches his tongue. On occasion he will continue and I have to go to 2, by that time he has lost tv for the night, or his video games, and if I ever get to 3 (which is rare) he will lose video games for 2 days.
Like I said, each kid is different and they all need different things from their parents.
3-How do I potty train girls? My girls were both very different when it came to potty training. Laura was quick, she did amazing with a prize at the end of the week for no accidents. She just didn't like the way being in a diaper felt. I've always believed in having your child help clean up the accident. No yelling or saying anything that could hurt their little hearts and embarrass them. A simple "oh no, we need to clean up our mess, and try hard to make it to the potty next time". It worked for all of my kids. With Katie I started potty training her when I was pregnant with William.....in MY opinion not a good idea. She knew I had a baby in my belly and that things were about to change. She was almost potty trained all the way when William was born, and then regressed. She would have damp undies for months.....it drove me crazy but I then realized I needed to ignore it. It worked. I never mentioned it to her, if she had damp undies, she had to clean it up herself and that was that. She did great with that and never had an accident after. Honestly, I think each child shows signs of when they are ready, and letting them lead the training, works amazing! Pick out fun undies, LET THEM SLEEP IN THEM, and make a BIG deal each time they go in the potty!
4-What are some ways I save money (clothes, toys, groceries)- BUDGET! I budget big time. We are in no means rich, so we have to pinch pennies sometimes. For food, I spend about $800 a month on food. Sometimes about $900. I have a teenager who eats like 2 grown men! I buy things on sale, and only what we will eat. I make a list that goes by the store layout, so I am never wondering around. I shop ALONE! Having kids with you, means you WILL end up buying more than you planned on. I plan out each and every meal. I WANT to get into couponing, but right now I don't have the time.
For clothing, I used to go to yard sales, and used baby clothes stores for my BABIES. I feel that a baby grows so fast and doesn't care if what they are wearing has been worn by another baby before. That saved me a lot of money. I can't do that for my 3 big kids now, because I feel like they might notice if what they get is used, and I don't want them to feel like they get all hand me downs. Katie DOES get hand me downs because Laura's clothes are in great condition and Katie loves them, so it works out. Otherwise we wait for sales!!!
For toys, I buy Christmas and Birthday stuff ahead of time. I don't like to wait until the last second. I usually let the kids pick out a toy randomly through the months, when they have been doing their chores, and behaving, doing good in school, etc. But we try hard to look for good deals when it comes to Christmas time. Buying for 4 kids is HARD, but we do it.
5- How do you deal with the stress of 4 kids? I have an amazing husband who helps me a lot. I RARELY do the laundry, because that was just something else to add to my never ending list of to do's. So he has taken that as his chore. I'm lucky!! I get my kids to help out. They have chores....and they are musts. If they don't help out they won't learn responsibility. They don't get paid for chores....but they do get rewarded with little things like picking the dessert that week, picking the family movie, staying up late, stuff like that. Having them help reduces a lot of stress. My life is full of kids though, so stress is inevitable. Having people to talk to, who understand what I'm going through is a great help. WRITING is my outlet. I believe every mom and dad need ME TIME. It's crucial to remember to take care of yourself, and not forget that you exist!! A good drink at the end of the night might help sometimes too! ;)
6-When did you become a stay at home mom? When I was 18. I met Nick at 18, and he already had a son. I quit my job at the time, to stay at home with Nicholas. I saw the mother he had at the time. She quickly took off and created her own life away from Nicholas. I couldn't leave him motherless, so I took over. I took on this role as mom, head on, and haven't looked back. It's been 10 years.
7-Where do you find the energy for 4 kids? Some days coffee is my best friend!! I'm not a robot, so there ARE days that feel like they are awful, and never ending. Being at home with kids every day of my life, teaching them to be good people.....it's hard. It IS work. It's not always easy and fun, so some days I have to remind myself that what I'm doing, is more important than anything. Knowing that my kids are making their childhood memories NOW is what gives me energy! I want them to look back and love their childhood. I want them to have great memories, full of love and happiness. I try my best to take care of myself. I don't always succeed, but I do try. ;) I NEED sleep to be a good mom. So I usually make sure to get to bed early.
8-Do you have a favorite child? Yes. They are each my favorite, in their own way. I tell each of them "you are my favorite 4 year old".....or whatever their age is. Some of my kids do frustrate me more than other's, but that is normal. ;) They all go through their own phases of growing.
9-Do you ever need a break? YES!!!! Don't we all? I HOPE I'm not alone in this. I said it before, I'm not a robot. I get frustrated, sad, and lose my patience all the time. It's GOOD for kids to see this. It's good for kids to LEARN how to deal with frustration, and know that these feelings are all normal and OK to feel. I am trying to teach my kids that NOBODY is perfect. We are all perfect in our own ways, but nobody is happy all the time, and does everything perfectly. We all make mistakes, learn lessons and feel angry sometimes. That's ok.
10-If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be? This one made me smile. Don't we all want to change a FEW things??!! If I could change one thing, it would be my family living closer to me. I miss them so much, every single day. Sure, I'd want more money, and less cellulite, but those thing's don't really MATTER in the grand scheme of things.
11-If you could change one thing about YOURSELF, what would it be? This got me thinking a lot. Right off the bat, I thought "I'd be thinner"......but then I thought deeper.....I would change the way I THINK I need to look. Period.
12-If you could write a letter to the Kristin of 5 years ago, what would you tell her? This one is awesome! I have learned so much in the last 5 years! Her is what I would say....
You are now 23 years old. You have an 8 year old, a 2 year old and are pregnant with your third. I want you to know that it's ok to ask for help. It's ok to GET help, and to let others control things sometimes. You are a great mom, and you shouldn't worry all the time about EVERYTHING. Enjoy every moment with your kids, because one day you will have 4, and it will feel like you blinked and you had a car full of kids! Trust yourself, and believe that you are don't need anyone else's approval.
Love Your 28 year old self. <3
13- Do you put on makeup and get dressed everyday? 99% of the time, I do. If we are being lazy at home, I will get into comfy clothes, and no makeup. But if I leave the house (which is just about every day) then yes, I do put makeup on and get dressed. :)
SO there ya have it friends! I will be doing another ASK ME post in a few weeks, so I would love to hear from all of you. Any question, that you are curious to know, just message me and I will answer it in my next ASK ME post!! I had fun going through these questions, it really made me do some thinking! Thank you so much everyone!!!