I've become a big fan of the "Mommy Don't Be a Hero" mantra. I cannot and do not want to do it all, and life with two young kids requires help. As a part of my mission for more peace this year, I intentionally identified a few areas where something had to give and then called in the professionals for a little assistance.
Part of moving out of survival mode for all of us means Mommy needs to be able to focus on something other than the kids 24-7. V started preschool this fall three mornings a week, but J was still home with me full time. In many ways I needed to swallow my pride and admit that for me personally, full days all week long with a two year old was not fun and was taking its toll. Even on the best of days it takes energy and focus to keep things going well, constantly thinking two steps ahead of a mischievous toddler. She seemed a bit bored and particularly defiant when her sister was at preschool three mornings a week, so I decided to ask if part-time was an option at our beloved child care center and preschool. It was, and as fate would have it, the same hours as V was going to preschool were available for J in the 2 year old class. So, I now drop both of them off three mornings a week, and I can't tell you the difference it has made. It gives me a break from them, and them a break from me. It's allowed me 9 hours a week to get back to writing, dedicate specific time to the podcast, catch up with errands, and just breathe and experience my house without other people in it once in awhile, which I'm finding is essential to my sanity. It is not cheap, and there have been a few adjustments to new schedules and everything, but it couldn't be going better for everyone involved.
I love cooking, and had even figured out a rhythm to our afternoons that included Sesame Street and wind-down time for the girls and time for me to focus on making dinner during that dreaded witching hour. What remained difficult were the logistics of planning and shopping for well-balanced meals. So, my brother and sister-in-law recommended Hello Fresh , and I decided to give it a try. We are currently just getting the plan for 3 meals a week, for 2 people, and I love it. Fresh ingredients show up at my house with three dinners per week I can rely on. All the hard work of gathering and measuring ingredients is done, and I just get to do the fun part, which is cooking it. I've even been pleasantly surprised at how it's expanding my cooking skills and ideas. I've filled in the other nights with simple things like spaghetti and tacos, and we're getting carry out one night a week now, which feels like a treat instead of dinner desperation. I highly recommend it, and was not compensated in any way to tell you about this - just really want to share what's working for me. You can use my referral code (MVDHXJ) if you want to give it a try at a discounted price!
For the past two months, Mr. Ladd and I have looked at our calendars at the beginning of the month and picked out a few potential days that may work for dates. Then I contact our favorite babysitter (who is now student teaching and only available nights and weekends) to make sure we get on her books. Last month we went to the Cardinal/Packer playoff game, a Phoenix Suns game (courtesy of awesome floor seat tickets from Mr. Ladd's work), and a movie date to see The Revenant. This month we have a full day of Jeeping planned already. I feel like we've done a good job of prioritizing time away as a couple from the beginning, but it's so important to keep it up. This gives us guaranteed time and something to look forward to.
How do you keep your parenting peace? Any changes you're making or ways you're calling in help? I'd love to hear ideas from you.