How to Manage a Toddler Meltdown in Three Easy Steps

Let’s face it. Being a mom has many amazing rewards, but there are also some challenges along the way. This can be especially true when you are a new mom and your child has officially reached the toddler stage.

I don’t know about you guys, but everyday is an adventure when you have a toddler. The mood swings, the temper tantrums, and the laughter that comes along with motherhood during the toddler years is a rollercoaster filled with all of the emotions you find in the movie Inside Out.

By the way, if you have yet to see that movie go buy and watch it right now! It will be well worth your money and time and your kiddo will love it for a family movie night! 

Something I have found myself asking is how to handle meltdowns that happen as quickly as the flip of a switch. One minute your toddler can be happy as a clam and the next –BOOM– screaming at the top of their lungs because you took their sippy cup to refill it for them.

Meltdowns are no joking matter and I have come to find most of the meltdowns my son has are due to communication problems. He can only say a few words and sometimes I don’t understand him and vice versa. When my son has a meltdown there are a few things I do to help him through them.

Remain calm or the situation will only escalate. 

Our toddlers rely on us to help them through any situation that occurs. This could be something as simple as a spaghetti noodle that fell on their shirt and upset them to the toy that fell on their toe and made them cry.

As a mommy we have to remember that these meltdowns are a huge deal to our toddler and if we get upset because they have been upset 95% of the day that will solve nothing and will actually make matters worse.

I don’t know about you guys, but I hate being told to calm down, it actually causes me to be more upset, so I can only imagine my little feels the same way when I tell him to calm down.

This stage is crucial in their development and we have to help them along the way and with as fast as meltdowns happen, they’re over in the blink of an eye and everything is back to normal like it never even happened.

Patience really is a virtue when it comes to meltdowns so just remember to breathe and count to 10 and you will get your little through this meltdown all while keeping yourself cool, calm, and collected.

Remember that whatever the meltdown is over is a big deal to your toddler even if it is not to you.

Sometimes it can be easy to forget that something that may be minor to you is a huge deal to your little one. For instance, my son has recently become a picky eater and sometimes if I put something on his plate that he loved 24 hours ago he gets upset over it because in a 24 hour span he has decided not to love that particular food anymore.

Or when it’s time to go to bed and he wants to keep playing so I start to put his toys away… talk about a major meltdown at that point.

When your little cannot communicate what they want to with you they can get frustrated and this can bring on one of these meltdowns. My son is always so happy-go-lucky and a big goofball so when something bothers him I know it is a huge deal to him.

At that point I know he is having this meltdown because he cannot communicate what is wrong with me.

Try to cheer your little up when they are nearing the end of their meltdown.

Something I have come to find with my son is when his meltdown is almost over and he’s starting to calm down I will try to make him laugh to lighten the mood. I’ll give him a big bear hug and a smooch on the cheek and usually poke his belly because he can’t resist laughing when his belly is poked.

Usually I am pretty decent at realizing when his meltdown is coming to an end, but sometimes when I think it’s about to be over he starts up full blast again so I just give him a few more minutes.

Like I’ve mentioned earlier, it is easy to forget the communication barrier that is there with your toddler so they may not understand how to calm down and they just need a minute to be upset over whatever is bothering them.

I have come to find though that the cheering up method works quite well. Every child is different so you have to find what works best to help your toddler get over this little meltdown and it will soon be forgotten that it ever even happened.

What are some things you do to help your toddler overcome their meltdown? 

 

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How to Manage Your Time Wisely as a Working Mom

A huge challenge working moms face is how to manage their time wisely between work, raising your child(ren), and still having time to yourself. Not to mention, if you have split custody working around all of the extra scheduling that comes along with that.

This may sound difficult, but it’s actually easier once you sit down and plan it out. I would know because I fit all of the criteria listed above. I work an 8-5, currently bartending one night a week for the extra income (and because I love creating new drinks), and I raise a toddler. Oh yeah, I have a boyfriend and a family that I enjoy hanging out with as well.

The term “stress” is an understatement in this scenario. However, I have managed to make things work and I am going to share my top three tips with you.

1. Get Organized

Where to begin with this topic… Back in December, before I started my current 8-5 job, I was bartending full time at night five days a week and 3-4 days a week I have my my toddler (we switch up 3 and 4 days every week, so if I have him 3 days this week I will have him 4 days next week) who is an early riser.

I was not really that organized, mind you I have always been a fairly organized person. Once you have a child though you can lose your ways and forget how AWESOME a planner/calendar can be. Not to mention, working nights and getting home fairly late and having to be up early is extremely difficult – at least for me!

So when I started my new career I rediscovered how awesome planning things out really is. For work I plan out what I will be doing a whole day in advance so I can stay on track with my tasks and get my work done efficiently. I also write out a to-do list on an actual piece of paper with an ink pen, because yes this is still a thing, and crossing items off of a to-do list makes me feel incredibly accomplished.

I’ve gone a step further and hung up a white board calendar.I write in each month and any appointments my son and I may have, upcoming birthdays, etc.

(I’m honestly not a huge fan of calendars you hang on the wall and have to flip from month to month because I manage to keep it on January for an entire year.)

In all honesty, being organized makes me much happier because I do not feel like I am living in a world of mad chaos 24/7.

2. Make Plans Ahead of Time

Now I know this can be difficult because plans do change last minute sometimes and there is no way around that, but if you can make most plans ahead of time it helps so much when you are a working mom!

There are still certain things I procrastinate, such as buying birthday gifts and cards, and even planning out holidays and what not. What can I say, we all have our flaws, but planning this out, especially if you are a parent with 50/50 custody, helps so much in the long run.

Like I’ve said, not only do I have to plan holidays around my family with my toddler, but we also tend to spend time with my boyfriend’s family as well.

The more you can plan larger events in advance, the better it will be in the long run, I promise!

3. Spend You Days Off Wisely

Something I try really hard to do on weekends when I have my son for two full days is limit the amount of errands we have to run so I can soak up every minute I have with him. While I thoroughly love getting out of the house, I also enjoy just hanging out with my little sidekick and playing with toys and teaching him about life on those full days we have together.

Usually we make one big outing on the weekends to the store and I save smaller trips and errands for the weekdays after work when he’s with his dad. I enjoy every minute I have with him, and I don’t want to take away from that by dragging him all over stores on the weekend when we could be doing something much more fun like coloring or exploring the great outdoors.

All in all, it is totally possible to be a working mom and have time for your child.

There will always be small bumps in the road but finding a way to balance things really helps out. My son is two and it has taken me almost two years and a major career change to find the balance that works for us, and now that I have found it I will not give up hope that I can truly make things happen while being a full time working mom.

To all of you other working moms out there, go you! You are doing an amazing job and don’t ever forget that you are working to provide for your child(ren) and your family.

Even on the days you feel like you’re struggling to make ends meet, just remember you have a full force support system out there of other working moms who know the pains and struggles you are dealing with. With that being said – don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you ever just need to vent or talk! 

What are some other ways you have found to balance your time as a working mom? Any tips for new moms just going back to work?

This Past Christmas Eve

This may be several weeks late, but it is something I just have to get off my chest.

Christmas is supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year. When you have a child it makes it that much happier and that much more special. My son is about to be two, so this past Christmas was his second Christmas and I was beyond thrilled to see his reaction to all things Christmas. Last year he was still too small to realize what everything really was and this year he loved all of the lights and of course the presents!

Like I mentioned in my last post, I had to wait to take Michael to see Santa until he got over his spell of pneumonia. I also have to plan everything out with him because for those of you who do not know I have 50/50 custody with his dad so we work together on creating weekly schedules and Holiday schedules that are fair to both of us, and most importantly fair to little Michael. I had planned to take Michael to see Santa at the beginning of December, but the many adventures of life change plans sometimes.

Considering Michael is a year older than he was for his first Christmas, and his first trip to see Santa, I was super stoked to see his reaction this year. I was not quite sure what I was going to get: scared, screaming, crying toddler OR happy and excited about this jolly old man dressed like Santa. I decided on which mall we would be visiting and made reservations for The Ultimate Santa Experience. It was different than any Santa I had visited as a kid, and way different than the one I took Michael to see last year.

Our reservation was for Christmas Eve, so that morning Paul and I got Michael ready and started on our 30 minute trip to visit Santa. We arrived at the mall and made it inside with ten minutes to spare for our reservation. We waited about 30 minutes before we got in line to enter Santa’s house. When we finally made it in the first room of the house we got to attend “flight school” where Michael got to learn to fly the sleigh, with a lot of help from the adults of course. The setup was super cool and there were two other families going through each room with us.

After we all completed flight school we moved on to the “sleigh ride” where there were three rows on a life size sleigh in a movie theater like setting. Paul, Michael and I sat in the middle row and the other two families were in the rows surrounding us. The flight simulator started and it actually felt like we were riding on Santa’s sleigh! All of a sudden, about what I would consider half way through the sleigh ride, families that were in the room next to us attending flight school came running the the room where we were on the sleigh ride and things took a turn for the absolute worse.

As a parent, the very last thing you would ever expect to happen when you are merely bringing your toddler to visit Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve is to hear the words: gun shots, shooting, lockdown. I have never in my life been as terrified as I was that very moment. My heart stopped. I held my son so tight to me, not knowing what was going on. One minute we are all enjoying our Ultimate Santa Experience, the next there is a shooter in the mall. As one of the dads rushed to block us in the Santa house, and I sat there holding my son tight and having Paul tell me everything was going to be ok, I had so many thoughts going through my head and the biggest one was why.

Why would someone decide to come into a mall, a mall that doesn’t allow guns mind you, with a gun on Christmas Eve? Why would someone open fire in a mall on Christmas Eve? Why was this person not thinking about all of the innocent bystanders? Why, why, why…?

When we were finally ushered out of the Santa house after police had placed the mall on lockdown and had the situation under control, we basically sprinted to our car. I remember looking around while we were leaving and seeing Starbucks cups people had clearly dropped when they heard the gunshots and as we were going through the food court it looked like a war zone, honestly. These are images I will never get out of my head. This is an experience I will never forget. I am incredibly thankful the situation didn’t turn out worse than it was. I hate that someone had to lose their life, on Christmas Eve to say the least, but I am also very thankful no innocent bystanders were hurt from stray bullets.

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A picture I captured as we were going to our car.

As a mother, and after gathering my thoughts on the whole situation, all I can say is I am thankful my son is ok. I am thankful Paul and I are ok. It could have been anyone rushing through the door of the sleigh ride we were on, and I am so very thankful it was just the innocent families that actually heard the gunshots because we didn’t hear them.

While I didn’t get a picture of my son on Santa’s lap or get to experience his reaction to Santa this year I won’t lose sleep over it. There’s always next year for Santa pictures. I am just happy I got to spend Christmas with my family and for all of the good laughs to get us past the whole mall situation.

A Little Life Update

Back when I started this blog I was super excited to get back into blogging and had written out so many plans for my site. However, life happens and I got a little sidetracked and I am just now getting back into the flow of things. I promise I haven’t neglected it though! So you’re probably asking where I’ve been, or maybe you’re not, but I’m going to tell you anyways.

My son, Michael, has been sick on and off for almost a month. He had pneumonia at the beginning of December so that was rough. I didn’t get to take him to see Santa until Christmas Eve because I wanted to make sure he was a lot better before taking him around lots of people where he could potentially get sick again. While I was excited to see his reaction to Santa this year, our visit was cut short by someone that thought they needed to bring gun violence into the mall during the Holidays. That’s a whole other blog post that I’m planning to write at some point, but we were safe and that’s all that matters.

We started January off with a minor cold, then a horrible rash that turned out to be the hives, and now recovering from an ear infection that was so bad the doctor was surprised his ear drum hadn’t ruptured. Needless to say, the past month has been spent trying to get my sons health back up to par. He’s finally starting to feel better which makes for a happy mama.

Recently I had a huge career change that I am super excited about. Bartending is something I am very passionate about, but not something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. When I started working at Carrburritos I was thrilled that I was finally getting to bartend full-time and absolutely loved every minute of it. I had planned on staying for a good while, but like I said at the beginning of this post, life happens.

Back in December I started browsing around for a part-time writing job that I could do from home to get a little extra cash for Christmas. Let’s face it, the price of Christmas gifts can add up, especially when you have a toddler to shop for. While I was looking for a quick writing job I discovered my dream job and debated applying to it for a good 10 minutes. I finally caved and applied thinking I would not hear back because I have yet to complete my college degree.

Nowadays it is almost impossible to start your career without a degree. I had always planned on going back to school when I moved home, but having a child changes a lot of plans you have in life. Anyways, I heard back from the employer, completed a quick project they asked me to do, interviewed and signed the acceptance letter without looking back.

My first day was January 4th as the Content Marketing Assistant at Optimized Assets and I have been in love with my job ever since. I am doing what I am most passionate about: social media. Obviously being a content marketer there are other things that go into the job, but I absolutely love it and am looking forward to this new adventure. Everyone at the company I work for is absolutely wonderful and that makes it all the better.

Well there you have it guys, the reason I have been so M.I.A. on my blog lately. I promise I am back to my regular blogging routine though. I have some major plans for my blog this coming year, so stay tuned and join in on the adventure with me.

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Red Sangria I made while bartending before Christmas.

Taking a Day Trip with a Toddler

A few weeks ago, my family and I took a quick day trip up to Boone, NC to hang out for the day. This was the second day trip I’ve taken my son on and it went just as smoothly as the first. Knowing we were taking this trip a few days in advance helped me to prepare and plan ahead. While I made a mental list, I would always recommend writing a list out on paper so you don’t forget to pack anything important.

I must say, traveling anywhere with a baby or toddler takes planning, even if it’s a simple trip to the grocery store! You just never know what may happen so you can never be too prepared. Within 10 minutes of being in Boone at our first stop, the Dan’l Boone Inn for lunch, I had left Michael’s sippy cup in the car and decided he would be ok with a kids cup for an hour. Boy was I wrong! The cup was styrophone and my wild child poked a hole straight through the bottom and he and I were covered in tea. Let’s just say it was a good thing I packed lots of extra outfits!

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One of my favorite pictures from our Boone trip! 🙂

On that note, here are three tips for packing and preparing for a day trip with your toddler. Enjoy! 

  • Plan in advanceThe sooner you can plan a day trip, the better. While last minute trips are always fun they become a little more difficult when traveling with a toddler. That may not be true for everyone, but I always give myself an extra 20-30 minutes when leaving the house for just a short trip out. You just never know your toddlers mood because they can change so quickly! Michael has his days where it’s just a struggle to get clothes on him. He likes to just be in a diaper. While I don’t take day trips often, both of the ones I have taken him on I’ve planned at least a few days in advance for.
  • Make a listWhether it be a mental or written list, make a list! Plan ahead for things you need to take with you. Luckily I don’t have to worry about having enough formula for the day anymore, but with my constantly snacking toddler I have to make sure to have plenty of snacks packed. Things to remember to take more than enough of are diapers, wipes, a few outfits, snacks and toys. You just never know what may happen! Also, if you have a teething baby or toddler tylenol or motrin just in case those gums are causing problems. It may also be a good idea to pack an extra shirt for yourself. When the tea incident I mentioned earlier happened I didn’t have an extra shirt for myself so I smelled like tea all day, which I suppose there are definitely worse things to smell like.
  • Little pit stopsLuckily my little man doesn’t mind riding in the car for the most part. He loves to watch out other cars pass by and look at nature. However, the two day trips I have taken him on I have stopped going and coming back at least once to get him out of his car seat because he can get quite grumpy sitting still for long periods of time. Both of the trips have only been 1 1/2 – 2 hours away, but but for such an active 22 month old he likes to run around. Something that also helps to keep him entertained while riding is telling him to look at the airplanes in the sky, the big truck passing by, or anything that will grab his attention and get him chattering about it.

There are so many other tips, but these three have been life savers for our day trips. Obviously taking a camera is a must to capture priceless memories in pictures or video form.

What are some tips you guys have for taking a day trip with your toddler? Any funny stories of a trip? Let’s start a discussion in the comments below! 

 

Tis’ the Season to be Thankful

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving, and while I have previously mentioned I would be updating my blog every Tuesday and Thursday I decided Thanksgiving was an exception. It’s also pretty difficult for me to get on my electronics around my toddler, because as all of you fellow moms and dads know our small tots just have to be doing everything we parents are doing. Anyways, today is December 1st, but it is never to late to mention the things I have been incredibly thankful for this past year. I mean come on, Thanksgiving just happened and Christmas is literally right around the corner. Now is the time to reflect on the past year after all. 🙂

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This is the only picture I managed to get of Michael and myself on Thanksgiving this year. (Ignore my messy car!)

Here are a few things I wanted to share that I have been incredibly thankful for over the past year. Enjoy!

  • My son. I will never be able to say enough how thankful I am for this small human that I was blessed to be the mother of. He has literally taught me more than I can ever imagine and has made me grow as a person. He reminds me to enjoy the small things in life and his big personality can light up any room, after he gets over the whole shy aspect that is. Every single day is amazing because of him. He is my absolute world!
  • Family. While we may butt heads from time to time, I would never trade my family for the world. They have always been supportive of me, but especially this past year. They offer me free childcare, and the best kind because they are family!  It’s also a huge perk that they are able to spend so much time with Michael and watch him learn and grow as well and I know that makes them really happy.
  • Happiness. I am a strong believer in true happiness. We all have our ups and downs in life, but this past year has been mostly one big up for me. The beginning was a little rocky, but having the support system I have and taking the time to figure out who I am and what I want out of my life has helped me to find my happiness and I will forever remember this year for it.
  • My boyfriend. Going off of my previous point, Paul has really helped me find my happiness and do some deep thinking. I am thankful I met such a kind and caring person that has really pushed me to not give up on my dreams and goals in life because I used to think they were silly. We have a blast together and we both push each other to be the best we can possibly be. Not to mention, I am thankful I have Paul’s mom Laurie in my life. She has also helped make me realize not to give up on my dreams and is a huge reason why I have started blogging again.
  • Coffee. Because coffee. Really though, this will just always find its way onto any list of things that I am thankful for, or things that make me happy, because caffeine. That is all.
  • My current job. Bartending is such a blast and something that I am passionate about. It took me a good two years to work my way up to this position in the restaurant world, and then it took me leaping out on a ledge to apply and accept a full time bartending position at my current job when I only had a little experience in that particular area. I work for great people, and with great people. The atmosphere is awesome and I actually enjoy going to work because I have made so many friends, not just regulars that come to eat and drink.

There are definitely many more things I am thankful for, which means this list could go on for a very long time, but I will end it here for now. While this is the time of year to reflect on things we are thankful for, we should all remember we need to be thankful all year round. On that note, happy first day of December everyone! Santa will be here before you know it. 😉

What are some things you have been thankful for this past year? 

What Being a Mother has Taught Me

No one ever said being a mom is an easy job, and if they did they would be lying to you. Mind you, I throughly love every single minute of being a mommy. Taking care of a child is incredibly rewarding and worth every single second of it. It is easily one of the greatest and most wonderful gifts in the whole entire universe. You get to watch another human being grow and learn, all while being their caregiver, teacher, and biggest fan.

Up until you have a child you don’t fully understand what it’s like to care for another person 24/7, 365 days a year, every year for the rest of forever. Sure, we care for our family members and significant others, along with friends, but not in the same way you care for your own children. You don’t know patience like a parent truly knows patience. Fear is also something thrown into the mix of things you do not have a large grasp on until you’re the one having to kill that ginormous spider in the corner that your toddler is freaking out about, all while your biggest fear is freaking spiders.

Here is a short list of things I have learned so far on this journey called motherhood. I’m sure later on down the road I will create another blog on this very topic.

  • A small person becomes your number one priority. When my son was a small newborn he was very sick with pyloric stenosis. I spent many sleepless nights just to make sure he was ok until the diagnosis and surgery to fix this issue. To me, I could care less if I get sleep just to make sure my precious baby is ok.
  • Patience is a virtue. Throughout my whole life I have always been a very patient person. I think a large part of that had to do with being in band, especially marching band, and holding leadership roles all through various jobs and school. Having a child has turned me into an even more patient person. You are your child’s biggest teacher, which means you have to learn to slow down and teach your baby everything. It’s a very rewarding experience!
  • Becoming the role model you need to be. Babies, toddlers, and children watch and follow all of your actions. When they start talking they say everything they hear you say. While Michael hasn’t started talking to much yet (just the basic hello, bye bye, mama, etc.) I try my very best to watch what I say around him because he is getting to the talking age. I had various role models growing up and until I became a mother I never considered myself to be a role model. However, now I try my best for my son. I want him to always look up to me and come to me throughout his life with anything that is bothering him. Toddlers are incredibly impressionable! Trust me, when I cook he needs pots and pans too so he can cook beside of me. 🙂
  • Being afraid of bugs is a thing of the past. Every time Michael sees a bug, he freaks out! It is probably the cutest thing in the world, but he truly hates bugs!! The hardest issue with this is I hate bugs too! However, I am no longer the one that can call my mommy to come in my room and kill the spider I was talking about before. I’m the one that has to get that bug away from my little man. Obviously if someone else is around they get the honor of taking that bug outside, or killing that super creepy spider. 😉
  • Spending money carelessly doesn’t happen anymore. Before motherhood I would see something I wanted really bad and just go buy it. My spending habits have changed tremendously and money now goes to toddler clothes that get outgrown super fast, diapers and wipes that never seem to be in surplus in my house (thank goodness we’re potty training!!), toys, and the list could go on forever.I have become so much better at budgeting since becoming a parent, which is also a great thing for me.

While this list could go on forever, this blog post is starting to look like a novel so I will save more for another day. Like I’ve said before, I wouldn’t trade being a mommy for anything in this world. It is seriously the best and most rewarding gift I have ever been given and it has truly changed me in so many great ways as a person.

 

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What are some things you have learned along the way as a parent?