What’s for Dinner? No seriously…What’s for Dinner?!

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Didn’t I just make supper last night?  Why do they need to eat again so soon??  Why can’t they cook for themselves yet?  I don’t know what to make!!  Oh, don’t mind me.  I’m just going through one of my “I’m sick of coming up with meal ideas” phases.  It happens every so often and it absolutely drives me bonkers!

Everyone in the family has their favorite meals which I try to make on occasion, but not too often of course.  I don’t want us getting bored of the same dishes.  I would really like to try a number of new dishes to help broaden our family menu, but it’s hard to find the time to dedicate to doing that.  My children have busy schedules and most of the activities take place around supper time.  I know, I know, I can hear some of you shouting “You just need better time management!!”  Stop yelling at me!

Now that I think about it, why do so many of us have trouble choosing what to cook for dinner?  There are endless options out there, even for the pickiest of eaters.  Why do many of us stick with the same meals over and over and over?  Why is it so hard to pick out one meal for dinner?!  Why am I typing so many questions?

Well I am going to make you a promise.  Tomorrow, the kids do not have any scheduled activities or events so I am going to make the time to research a recipe I’ve never tried before.  Afterwards, I will share the experience with you, including pictures of course.  So check back with me tomorrow!  Wish me luck!

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Wait a Minute…THIS Wasn’t In the Parenting Books!!

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Did anyone ever tell you “make sure to read the fine print before signing that”?  Yeah, that’s sort of what parenting is like, except the “fine print” isn’t listed anywhere.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought that I knew a lot about what it took to raise children.  I had friends with kids and I was also a proud Auntie of two.  Despite that, I read the books and interacted on pregnancy websites learning all that I could so that I would be prepared.  After my Son was born, slowly but surely, I began to discover the aspects of parenting which were unwritten…things that your friends don’t tell you in fear of scaring the crap out of you!

The biggest change in my life was the addition of worry.  Holy moly b’ys…the worry!!  The reality hit me the second time I was feeding my Son.  I looked at him and realized the huge responsibility which had been placed on my shoulders – I was responsible for a life.  A life which was not my own.  This tiny, precious being was completely dependant on me (and his Daddy too of course).  It was up to us to keep him alive, to help him grow, to help him discover who he is meant to be in life.  Do you realize how HUGE that is?  I would check on him constantly at night to make sure he was still breathing, obsess over how much he was eating and was totally strict on his sleeping schedule.  Not only was I worried about my Son, I suddenly became fully aware of my own mortality as well as my Husband’s.  Yes, I’ve always known that life is fragile and it doesn’t last forever but now I feared death.  The thought of not being around to watch my child grow up caused great anxiety as well as the thought of losing my Husband and having to raise our Son alone.  Five and a half years have passed since my Son was born and I have learned to deal with my worries, however there are still times when I find it hard to cope.

Don’t worry, my next paragraph isn’t as “deep”!  Do you guys remember what it’s like to use the bathroom alone?  No?  Me Neither!  Ahhh the good old days…the days when one could walk into the bathroom alone and do their business without interruptions.  I have yet to figure out what is so interesting about me going to the bathroom.  No matter what I try – books, games, coloring, even T.V. – the moment they realize that I’m in the bathroom, they’re right in there with me.  It’s not just quiet speculation either!  “Are you going poopie Momma?  Poopie stinky!  Can I see the poopie!  Good poopie Mommy, good job!”  I guess I just have to see the bright side – at least I get praise?  LOL!

Trust me, I could write a book about all of the things that you experience as a parents which nobody warns you about.  Not all of these experiences are doom and gloom, some are funny and some are even eye-opening.  No matter what, it’s all worth it in the end.  My children are blessings and I will do anything for them.

“I Have NO Idea What I’m Doing!!”

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My Sister was the first in our family to have children and I remember her first pregnancy so well.  I was so excited to learn alongside her about what it really takes to raise a baby.  At first we did a lot of reading both in books and on credible websites.  We watched TV shows which featured parenting segments.  Then it happened…the advice started to come!

“Oh you definitely have to breastfeed, it’s the best thing for your baby.”

“You need to bottle feed your baby.  That way others can help during feedings and it will give you more time to take care of yourself.”

“Do you plan on co-sleeping?  It’s a great way to develop a bond with baby and get some extra sleep.”

“Make sure you never co-sleep with the baby.  It’s dangerous and you may smother him/her.”

By the time my Niece was ready to be born, the only thing I could think of was – I’m sure glad it’s my Sister having the baby!  Holy moly!!  So many choices, so many things to think of!  How on earth do you decide what’s right?

There is a question that I’m sure the majority of us ask ourselves, and perhaps others, several times a week – “Am I doing the right thing?”  It’s a question we keep asking ourselves until well after our children are grown.  Make no wonder we are second guessing ourselves!  There are mountains upon mountains of information out there which seem to dictate how we should raise our little ones.  We read one article and then another pops up which contradicts the first.  Then there’s all of the free advice we receive from the people in our lives.  Mothers, Fathers, Siblings, Aunts, Cousins, Co-Workers, Friends, Strangers…and the list goes on and on!  It seems that everyone has something to say about how we are raising our kids.  So which way is the right way?  Well come closer, I have a secret to tell you!

There is NO one way to raise a child!  There are countless parenting styles out there.  If there was one “right” way to parent, then someone would have written a book about it and that one person would be very rich!  The fact is, there are so many ways to parent our children.

The key to our journey is to find the way which works for us and to be comfortable with that “style”.  People are going to question your methods.  They will share their own experiences and stories.  They will make suggestions.  Please, try to not let things like that bother you nor make you second guess yourself.  You have to do what works for you, not what other people think is best.

You also have to remember that just because something works for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for someone else.   Not only that, but the parenting style you use for your first little one may not work with your second or third.  That’s the reason there are countless books out there on the many different aspects of parenting.  They all present different solutions for different problems.  Take discipline for example, a child from one family may respond very well to time outs while another from the same family may respond to having a toy taken away.  Every child is different.

So take a deep breath and relax!  As long as you are doing your best to help your child grow, learn and thrive, then I’m sure you are doing just fine.