Have you ever wanted to take a picture of your child, advertising his or her stats, and soliciting for a playmate? Something like this …  

When I first realized I was going to become a mom, I pushed the fast-forward button, excitedly thinking about the rapidly growing list of fun things I could do as my son grew – making homemade sports jerseys with his number on them for game days, the excitement he’d bring to life as he experienced things for the first time I’d long lost enthusiasm for, and generally discovering his personality, likes, and passions. 

You’ve seen her. She’s the mom at the grocery store that is the epitome of everything you are presently trying to accomplish. She’s athletic, and her workout shoes look well-worn (yes, her thigh gap proves it), but they look perfectly presentable to wear in the grocery store. Her shopping cart is filled with healthy(ish) foods, compared to your array of Tuna Helper and DiGiorno Pizza. And what really catches your eye the most: her child is with her. Sitting quietly in the buggy. With no hassle. With no crying. And, as your preschooler pulls you by the arm to the tiny toy section scrunched between the paper towels and magazines on aisle 10, you wonder how she did it.  

Remember what travel life was like before motherhood? It was often as simple as sending your husband a text on a Friday afternoon.

“Atlanta or Nashville?”

It was a quick and easy process: Toss a few outfits into a duffle bag and hit the road for a spontaneous, easy weekend out of town. 

Enter motherhood, where nothing is “quick” or “easy” – especially family trips. We must plan, save money and, above all, we must prepare ourselves for vacationing with kids. 

Recently, I called my husband on the way to work to discuss a pressing matter. Months ago, we agreed that this morning drive is the best time for us to talk about serious matters – everything from home repair ideas to bills. With over half of our small family commuting to Birmingham each day, scheduling these tougher conversations frees up our evening time for relaxing.  

Hard realities tend to hit us at the most inopportune times. Like your deciding another baby may be great, and, on the very same afternoon, you witness the biggest meltdown you’ve ever seen in Publix by a 25-pound bundle of Huggies with a pacifier? This happens a lot during the holidays. Reality is amplified. Be prepared this year. 

My goodness, I feel like I just wrote this piece … time flies when you are a busy mom – ahem, when you’re having fun! It’s been another jam-packed year full of new experiences. My son, Beaux, is now three, and my heart stays so extremely full. This year, I’d like to share a few things I am thankful for from my sweet son. As moms, I think we can all identify with so many of these. Enjoy every precious moment. 

Beaux, this Thanksgiving, and all throughout the year, I am thankful for …

When my three-year-old son was first born, my husband and I decided against buying a bassinet to place in our bedroom, in large part because we were gifted with a great crib from my mother-in-law. However, when it came down to his falling asleep, and me having to actually leave him alone in his crib – well, I struggled. His bedroom was located directly across the hall, in full view from my master bedroom, but it seemed extremely far away. What if he cried and my husband and I didn’t hear him? What if he rolled over and suffocated in his pillows? 

For those of us parents who tend to work often, relying on Friday and Monday holidays to extend the normal 48 hours of relaxation and summer sun and fun with our kiddos, we sometimes have to become creative with the ways we entertain our little ones. This is especially true if beach vacations and road trips aren't in the immediate future.

By Marlena Rice

Sometimes, our children are labeled with titles as they develop unforeseen habits that make even the best of us moms cringe: “Defiant.” “Biter.” “Whiner.” As a toddler mom, I have watched my son’s cries evolve from the “I’m really aggravated” cry to the “I’m crying although there are no tears” cry to the “I have my mouth open to make noise, but I really just want to see if you’re going to do what I want” cry. I have also gone through a terrible biting phase and an annoying (but thankfully) very brief “no” phase. How do we control these things? By knowing that we cannot control everything, and understanding that each of our babies is different. We can change their habits by taking a look at how we interact with them, and by paying even more attention to their surroundings.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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