Trying to figure out what to do next

Do you ever just feel lost?  Right now everything is changing around me and I’m feeling very lost as to what to do next.  My dad got a job in Oklahoma in July and so has been living down there but my mom has been living up here while trying to sell their house.  All of us knew selling their house would be a challenge as they living in a dying town of 500 people and their house was built in the 1800’s.  We all felt horrible that my mom was playing the visit my dad and then come back up here but yet my family enjoyed that she was still here.  With her being here she still played a major role in my daughters life and in mine.  She was around if we needed a babysitter, if we needed help with anything, or just when there was a concert or something that we wanted her to attend.  Yes we were selfish but with her being the last family of mine to still be in Minnesota I wanted someone here.  I wanted someone here for holidays, for summer outings, for shopping with.  I’m not one who goes out and socializes easily and family has always been extremely important to me so I enjoyed having my parents nearby.  So anyways in December, they got 2 offers on the house, one with an inspection and one without.  They jumped on the one without and are now officially planning on moving January 24th.  I spent my last night visiting their house last weekend.  It was hard.

Now of course this makes me question a few things, we have been talking of moving for a while but have unfortunately been stuck in a house that had been underwater (bought it and then the bubble burst).  Do we move?  My husband is fortunate enough that he can work wherever he wants to but he never moved in his life until he got to college and has definitely never lived outside of Minnesota.  I on the other hand had moved every three years until I was in High School.  To me moving is exciting and expected.  To him moving is scary and doesn’t necessarily need to happen.    Plus then there’s the fact that his family is still here.  Unfortunately with his family we aren’t as close to them.  We don’t see them as often and when we do its usually just a day trip here and there.

Next there is the fact that I’m supposed to be getting a job here this year.  This scares me to no end as I have been staying home with our daughter for the past 3 years.  It doesn’t help that now I look at my family spread all over and I think of all the vacation days that will be spent visiting family versus doing our own thing or spent on a sick child, or school closed now that we don’t have someone who can come up.  I loved staying home with our daughter and am very sad to be thinking about it ending.  I look into Homeschooling her as I thoroughly enjoyed doing her preschool at home but there are so many questions about this that make me worried.

So many questions about things lately and nothing being decided.  I’m one who has to plan things and knows where things are going to go.  Quitting my job to stay home with my daughter was the first thing I did without having a back up.  It scared me but was so worthwhile.

Stay at home to working mom

So for the past 3 years I have been blessed in the fact that I got to stay at home with my daughter.  It was a very tough decision to come to originally as I was working hard at being an accountant and was definitely rising to the top but the question I kept coming back to was at what cost.  I was working probably around 50-55 hours in a 4 day week plus driving 45 minutes each way to work.  By the time I got home at the end of the day after starting at 5 AM I was exhausted and not much good to my family.  On the weekends I would stress about trying to get done those things that had been missed and then start stressing about my upcoming week at work.

To say the least I wasn’t very happy.

Then work started making some changes which pushed me to realize I needed to make some changes in my life.  I did and became the stay at home mom that I am today.  It has been 3 years and I don’t regret much about it.  The biggest fear now is the day that its time to go back to work.

Now that my daughter is in Kindergarten I have decided that I need to start thinking about next steps in my life and probably get a job.  Can I just say this terrifies me on so many levels?

First off I keep thinking that I need to go back into accounting as I was obviously good at it but after being away for 3 years can I still do it?

Second its going to be a huge adjustment on our family in so many ways.  I currently plan all of the meals and home cook most of them, I am hear when our daughter is sick and can’t go to school, I clean the house thoroughly, I research and plan things to do, and I help my parents who are currently having issues selling their house.  If I go back to work how do I balance all of that and a job.

I have time before I have to go back but I’m using some of that time to actually research what is out there.  Ideally would be staying at home and working from home but I’m not sure how to find a legit opportunity.  Stress!:)

Kindergarten Expectations and Realizations

So my daughter started Kindergarten this year and let me tell you I was not expecting everything that came with it.  You try and prepare your child and ensure that they know their ABC’s, 123’s, address, phone number, writing (as best they can) and if you are able reading.  You don’t want them too far ahead as then they get bored and in some cases become problem children and you don’t want them too far behind as then they can’t keep up and get frustrated/sad.  It just amazes me about kindergarten now compared to 30 years ago.

The first difference which we were aware of going in was the class sizes.  My daughters class is 24 kids with 15 of them boys and 9 of them girls.  Her class is one of 5 classes this size and there are 4 elementary schools in our town (2 private and 2 public).  We knew going in that this was going to be a change for us as my husband and I grew up in small towns and the difference between small town and a suburb of a major cities means more kids.  I tell you though after volunteering a few days that I give the teacher kudos as there’s a lot of energy in that classroom.

The second difference was that every weekend they have homework.  Since when do they do homework in Kindergarten.  Oh yea and part of it is supposed to be done on an IPad.  What if you don’t have an IPad well too bad you better figure that out or find a way to practice some other way.  And its that hard line of kids spending too much screen time to trying to keep up with technology issues.  But back to the homework every weekend she comes home with 3-5 homework assignments although they do not have to turn them in.  Me being the parent that I am always makes sure that she does them.  But who knew there was homework in Kindergarten.

Next every night they are supposed to read for 15 minutes or have there parent read for 15 minutes.  That’s not a big deal for us as we read every night anyways.  Then besides that they are supposed to practice their numbers thru 20 or patterns every night also and document it so that they can win a coupon at the end of the month.  Trying to find a way to get your child to want to practice/work on things after spending all day in school is definitely a challenge some days.  I can only imagine parents who work.  I’m blessed that I get to stay home for this first year with her.

Another thing which we knew but didn’t know…. Sickness.  You all know that when your child gets in to school that they are exposed to more germs.  Our daughter has had a cold since the second week of September.  It comes and goes but never officially goes away.  We finally even got to the point of taking her in to the doctor pretty much to be told its just a cold.  Its hard though to have her always having a cold.

The last thing is the separation/mood adjustments.  Ever since she started kindergarten she has been having major mood swings it seems.  I’m sure that she is just trying to understand the actions/consequences of what she sees at school but let me tell you its not fun.  At times its I don’t want to have anything to do with you mom to the next day being why can’t I stay at home with you mom?

Kindergarten’s hard and don’t let anyone tell you differently.  Its good and our daughter loves it but its hard.

My little girl started Kindergarten

I can’t believe its been five years already but somehow it has and my one and only little girl started kindergarten on Wednesday.  We debated as she just turned 5 in August and as parents we weren’t ready to let her go but also as parents we knew she was ready.  The first day when we dropped her off was hard.  My husband didn’t want to leave her there…. he thought he should spend the day with her.  You would have thought it was the opposite as I stayed home with her for the last 2.5 years; but I knew if we were going to find out if she was ready for this then we had to drop her off and walk away.

Did she do fine on that first day?  Of course she did; she came home and couldn’t wait to go back the next day.  Now I’m finding myself with a lot of time to do things and also to think about things.  So many thoughts have come into mind about her:

  • Did we give her all the tools to be a leader and not a follower of the wrong crowd?
  • Did we teach her how to stand up to kids that aren’t very nice?
  • Did we teach her its OK to stand out from the crowd?
  • Did we give her enough hugs and tell her that we love her?
  • Did we teach her all the basics that she needed to know?
  • Is she ready?

So much more have crossed my mind also.  We debated so many times about the school system and whether to send her another year instead of now.  We debated about doing home-school, we debated waiting since we were talking about moving but now we just have to sit back and hope we did everything we needed as parents.

Its hard being the parent and wondering if she’s remembering her pleases and thank yous, her manners, to be nice to other kids, to not climb up the slide only down.  At the end of the day though you have to realize you did as best as you could and even though you aren’t there to remind them the still remember.  So the first week if you are like me you just try and keep busy, not think to much and give them a big hug when they come home at the end of the day!The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.

Mom to a 3 year old-Decisions/Struggles/Joys

So my daughter turned 3 in August and can I tell you I can’t believe how time flies.  It feels like it was just yesterday that I was holding her in my arms.  Now though I struggle with so many tough decisions.  Since she just turned 3 in August we decided to not send her to preschool yet.  She is ready but we decided that she would stay home with me at least until January as we were starting her in dance and a couple of other things.  We didn’t want to overwhelm her all at once.  I do wonder though if we made the right decision.  I don’t want her to fall behind developmentally.  I have decided that the internet in many ways is evil as you start looking at everything you read makes you wonder if you have already caused your child to be behind.

We have the firm belief that a child should enjoy their childhood and not be forced into learning at too early of an age.  That being said you read things online and everything I see is a child should be able to recognize every letter of the alphabet and numbers up to 20 by the time they turn 3.  First I must say my daughter was in daycare until last March and they exposed her to the alphabet but didn’t work on having to know it or teaching her cutting or any of those things.  We also exposed her to these at home but I can honestly say she doesn’t recognize all of her letters.  She knows the alphabet song, she recognizes a lot of the the letters and some of the numbers up to 10.  She can count to 20 and she knows how to spell her name (aloud), but doesn’t know how to write her name.  She knows her shapes and colors.  Is she behind, should she be in preschool to catch up?  I don’t know.

I do know that my daughter is a very loving, caring, smart little girl.  She loves to share, loves to read, loves to play games.  I do know that she has the most vivid imagination and creativity.  I do know that she loves being able to hang out with mommy, or yama.  She is learning more and more every day and she makes me learn something new every day or reminds me how to appreciate things a little more.  I do know that the internet is great in many respects such as getting good ideas of fun ways to teach the alphabet or numbers or creative crafts.  In the long run though you have to realize that they will learn at their own pace and that if a project doesn’t go as planned maybe that means today is a day to build a fort or play outside, you are still teaching them with everything you do.  So when I start beating myself up over something another kid is doing or something I read online, I just step back and remind myself that everyone matures differently and its about exposing your child to something as you never know when it might just stick:).

Life changes-from full time working mom to stay at home mom

In February, my husband and I made the decision to move from a two income family to a one income family.  After much deliberation we decided that I would stay home with her everyday.  It was a very tough decision as not only was there the money impact, there was the socialization impact for her and I, along with the thought of what the heck am I getting myself into.  I love my daughter dearly but I wasn’t sure if being home with her everyday would be the best plan for both of us.  In the end, I looked at the fact that I was working part time and still putting in 50-60 hours a week plus a round trip commute of 1.5 hours everyday and I just didn’t want to be away from our family that much.

So with much trepidation I made the leap into being a stay at home mom and I have to say I do not regret it.  I can’t say it’s always easy in fact some days I’m ready to pull my hair out by the end of the day but the time that I have got to spend with my daughter has been irreplaceable. Not everyone is as fortunate to have the option and I still don’t know how long we will do this for but I figure I got to enjhop the summer with her and am looking forward to spending the holidays not stressing about work on top of things.

Flying with an infant under 12 months

So we just booked a trip to fly to San Diego from Minneapolis with three adults and my daughter who will be just under 12 months at the time.  The flight is 3 hours and 45 minutes.  I’m very nervous about flying with her as I don’t want her crying the whole trip and disturbing everyone on the flight… Any advice as to what to take, what to know what to plan for?  My husband has already asked the question about what we do if we need to change her diaper… but any advice I would greatly appreciate!