A PINCH OF SALTUS

A PINCH OF SALTUS

Parenthood in Color


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Same Me, New Name

Same Me, New Name

Hey, friends!

To those of you who are new here – welcome! And to those who have been around for a while, thanks for sticking with me through the change!

I had been taking My Mommy Doodles in a few different directions, and not all of those directions were doodles. So I had been contemplating a brand change for a while. I finally made the jump and turned My Mommy Doodles into A Pinch of Saltus. Don’t worry. I’m not changing much else. I’ll still be doodling, crafting, writing about parenthood, and finding inspiration and positivity through all things color.

So what’s with the name? Well, Saltus is my family’s last name (that’s pretty obvious). Our entire bunch (the four of us, grandparents, aunts and uncles, you name it) are really into playing with words. So it made complete sense to pick a phrase with the word ‘salt’ in it and go from there.

Here you’ll find a pinch here and a pinch there of our lives. A Pinch of Saltus.

And there you have it, folks.

Take a look around!

xoxo,

Hilary

Going Solo: Days with Only One Kid

Going Solo: Days with Only One Kid

Happy Friday, peeps!

I seem to have settled into a groove of getting a blog post up every Friday, so I’m sticking with it. Patterns and schedules keep me sane (Type-A represent!).

The weather here has been downright horrendous. It’s been so cold that we haven’t gone much of anywhere since last week. That wasn’t so bad when we were having family time over the weekend, but now I’m downright fed up. Don’t even get me started on the Bomb Cyclone that buried our house in three-foot snow drifts and cancelled school today and tomorrow. Once the holidays pass, Winter and I do not get along.

If you saw my Instagram post yesterday, you know that our little guy went for a solo trip to Grandma and Grandpa, since his school doesn’t start back up until next week. Well, in came the Bomb Cyclone, and instead of getting him back home today, he’s still there and will be hunkering down until it’s safe for us to pick him up. I miss my little guy and his snuggles. But he’s in good hands and is being spoiled rotten, so it’s all good in the big picture.

Before Christmas, our daughter went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for her solo visit. Having these visits so close to one another got me thinking about having one kid versus two (in terms of logistics, not philosophically – I love having two kids). In some ways, the one-kid days are easier, and in other ways, they’re harder.

Here are my thoughts (in list form…duh):

Easier

  • You have to contend with only one schedule. Lunch with a friend after school pick-up? No problem! We’re not running home for nap today. Need to stop at the store quick? I’ve got this, since we have nowhere else to be!
  • Getting in and out of the car a million times per day is way less annoying. Extra stops are not as annoying as they are with two rugrats. I have to hold only one hand in a parking lot. And if my one kid runs away, I can chase after him/her without dragging a small human behind me.
  • Less noise! Oh, I love this one. I struggle (a lot) with the loudness of my two kids. Somehow the decibel level quadruples when a second kid enters the room. When I’m alone with just one kid, they somehow know to keep their voices down. My house is…wait for quiet (ish).
  • Bed time is calm. Everyone says bath and story should be a nice calming times for children. Not with my two. Bath is basically a trip to the splash pad, and story is an open invitation to jump on the bed. With one kid, bedtime is like a peaceful meditation session.
  • I realize how well-behaved my kids actually are. I’ll be frank here: my kids bring out the best and worst in each other. Bad behavior and poor listening is 95-percent of the time because they’re feeding off of each other’s manic energy. When they are solo, they are angel children, and I have hope for the future.

Harder

  • They miss each other. My daughter has cried a few times because she misses her brother so much. My son was a mess without his sister when she was gone. We are so lucky that they are so close and share such a special bond. But it is heartbreaking to see them miss each other so much.
  • Boredom sets in hard. Our kids are only 21 months apart in age. As each month passes, I realize just how close in age that is. They are built-in playmates and spend every minute we are home playing with one another. And when you’re stuck inside because of the weather and don’t have your bestie to play with… you’re bored AF.
  • With no playmate, who do they look to? Mommy! Instead of building LEGO together, or playing hide and seek together, my solo kid looks to me to be his or her playmate. So that time I carved out to do work? That’s replaced with a small person tugging on my clothes begging me to play games. I call this the Barnacle Effect. It’s frankly easier to do work with the kids entertaining themselves, so my only job is to make sure someone doesn’t get hurt.
  • Neediness gets ramped up when my kids are solo. Somehow they seems to need more when one or the other is alone with me. “Mommyyyyy, I need a snack!” “Mommyyyyyy, will you sit with me?” “Mommyyyyyy, will you go potty with me?” It’s like they know I’m vulnerable and will give them extra attention because we’re having solo time. Kids are master manipulators.
  • Mommy guilt ramps up when you’re solo with just one kid. What excuse do I have to not take just one kid to do something fun? To do a craft? To cook something special and have him or her help? None. I’m just a lazy mom if I don’t, right? With two (or more) kids, activities are all exponentially harder, so it’s easier to justify not doing them.

Today was hard. And I had only one kid. The older kid. The easier kid (on most days, since the other one is a toddler). I barely made it through the day (granted, we were snowed in, which didn’t help). Parenting is hard. One kid. Two kids. Three kids. Or more.

In parenting, nothing is easier or harder. Some days are easy. Some days are hard. Some days, kid 1 is easier and then next day that same kid is harder. Some days, staying home all day is just what we need to recharge. Some days, staying home all day is sheer torture.

Keep on truckin’, mamas (and papas). No matter how many kids you have, you’re doing a good job. And if you get a “break” from one of your kids and get a long stretch of solo time with the other, try to enjoy it as much as you can, even if it doesn’t turn out like you’d hoped.

Happy weekend!

Mama out.

 

New Year’s Resolutions: Rugrats Edition (If My Kids Made Resolutions)

New Year’s Resolutions: Rugrats Edition (If My Kids Made Resolutions)

I’m not one for making New Year’s Resolutions. I suck at keeping them. So why bother? And, let’s be honest, I’m close to perfect, so who needs resolutions?

You know who has room for improvement? My kids. Unlike their mama, they’re a few notches below perfection. So I sat them down with some No. 2 pencils and lined paper and had them draft New Year’s Resolutions. My 2.5-year-old has perfect penmanship already, and my 4.5-year-old corrected his (very minor) spelling mistakes.

In no particular order:

  1. We will eat the food placed in front of us at breakfast, lunch, and dinner without complaint.
  2. We will try new vegetables, no matter what color (the greener, the better).
  3. We will sleep until 7 a.m. every day and wait patiently in our rooms until Mommy or Daddy come to get us and will not wake up Mommy or Daddy unless there is a real emergency.
  4. We will put our clothes and shoes on when asked the first time and do so in an efficient manner.
  5. We will not remove our shoes and socks while in the car and toss them at Mommy while she is driving.
  6. We will sit forward and still in our car seats so that Mommy can safely buckle us in.
  7. We will ask questions just once, patiently await an answer, accept said answer, and then not repeat the question.
  8. We will not follow Mommy into the bathroom.
  9. We will not whine, scream, or cry when we do not get our way.
  10. We will not spill full cups of milk all over the floor right after the floor has been cleaned.
  11. We will not fight over just one of the ten million legos.
  12. We will get into bed at bedtime and stay put.
  13. We will clean up our messes without being asked, bribed, or forced.
  14. We will lower our voices and practice being quiet.
  15. We will use tissues to wipe our boogers instead of picking them and handing them to Mommy.
  16. We will not use Mommy’s clothes to clean our hands and will seek out the napkins.
  17. We will not throw and flush foreign objects down the toilet.
  18. We will admit when we are tired and voluntarily go to bed.
  19. We will say “yes” more than we say “no.”
  20. We will say the word “Mommy” only once per every 5 minutes of each day.

So there you have it. My kids have committed to cutting Mommy some slack in 2018, and I’m holding them to it. I expect nothing less.

Happy New Year!

Mama out.

Retro What? Why are My Kids So Whacky?

Retro What? Why are My Kids So Whacky?

Okay, people.

So I’m generally (read: basically never) one to believe in crazy phenomena. Like when the dog acts crazy and someone says “Oh, it’s the full moon.” Eh, not so much.

But lately I’ve been wondering…

My kids have been certifiable for the past few weeks. Back in the days when I wasn’t an old lady, I’d pull all-nighters, usually for school. Around 4 a.m., I would always break into hysterics, either by crying or laughing uncontrollably. That’s essentially how my kids have been acting every single day. Last week was a particular doozy (tantrums up the wazoo and a work emergency had me wanting to pull my already-greying hair out). Who are these children?! Please return the sane ones (or regularly crazy, just not over-the-top whack ones).

I kept reading about this Mercury in Retrograde poppycock, so I consulted the ever-reliable Dr. Google to see what it was all about.

Let me tell you – my cogs started turning.

What is Mercury in Retrograde, anyway? Mercury allegedly appears to move backwards for a period of time. Apparently, this year’s Mercury in Retrograde ran from December 3 until December 22 (that means it ends today…). In a nutshell, everyone’s lives go into chaos for these 2.5 weeks. Take note of my skepticism by my use of the words “allegedly,” “appears,” and “apparently.”

But don’t get your hopes up. Even though Retrograde ends today (woohoo?), there’s the two-week nonsense that comes after it called Mercury in Retroshade, which allegedly (again, allegedly) lasts until January 10 (or thereabout). So I guess I can expect my kids to act like complete maniacs until then. I suppose this is the scientific version of giving shade (we parents take a lot of s&*#).

So is everything being turned upside down because of the planets? Is that really possible? Or are my kids certifiable because the excitement built up between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is enough to make any person, let alone a small person who lacks impulse control and delayed gratification, lose his or her freakin’ mind?!

Will I ever know? Likely not. Not unless our family stops celebrating holidays (and going outside and coming into contact with other humans). So as long as Mercury decides to move backwards around the holiday time, we’ll all be wondering why our kids are acting like caged monkeys.

And, let’s be frank here. Isn’t it easier to blame the planets (a.k.a forces beyond our control) for our children’s whackadoo behavior than to point our fingers back at ourselves for the endless amount of holiday hype we assault them with daily? I don’t know about you, but I’m sure as heck not blaming myself for their behavior! Why take responsibility when I could deflect?

Now excuse me while I overstimulate my kids for the next two weeks. When they inevitably break down, I’ll just blame Mercury.

Happy Holidays from our band of whackos to yours!

Mama out.

Dear Santa

Dear Santa

We have been in full-on Christmas mode since the day after Thanksgiving. Decorations and Christmas music, blah blah blah (you know the Christmas drill).

Now that I’m a parent, my love for Christmas is on overload. This year, both of our kids actually understand what’s going on, so I’m finally in that Christmas sweet spot, so to speak. Of course, our children have been certifiably cray cray since Thanksgiving, which I’m starting to understand is typical (should your kids still be babies, be forewarned).

Despite the insanity, I’m still ecstatic for Christmas to get here, because I can’t wait to give my gifts out. This year, we committed to a low-budget and low-volume Christmas. As a practical matter, we’re moving, so our money is best spent elsewhere and we’re focusing on de-cluttering. As a philosophical matter, we’re working on being more minimal (I’ve committed to more minimalism in our new house) and appreciative because we’re blessed as is.

So this year, I have tried to be very intentional in my gift buying.

For our kids, I asked two questions: (1) does this jive with their interests and will they love this?, and (2) does this teach them something important and valuable? I now have a set of gifts hiding in our basement that I am stoked about, and I’m not crying when I look at my bank account.

For the adults, I continued my tradition of (1) shopping small and (2) shopping companies that give back. This is how I’ve been shopping generally since becoming a mom (I now take very seriously my purpose on this planet, so if I’m going to spend money, then I should spend it with purpose and give back to those who have less). I’m super excited to give some of the awesome gifts I’ve found for my fellow adults too.

As for my Christmas list? I didn’t really have one, per se. I asked for one actual gift (that money can buy) and then one “gift” (that money can’t buy).

What did I ask for, you ask?

All of you stay-at-home parents should relate to this one. I’m home with my kids 24/7. Yes, this is a choice I made. My career was flexible and allowed me to work from home, so I decided to take that route in my (unrealistic) pursuit of “having it all.” So not only am I with my kids all day long, I’m also cramming in about 20 hours of legal work (yes, I’m an attorney… guilty as charged) every week. Then why not tack on a blog for extra torture? No, I’m not complaining. I’ve got it good over here. But I’m tired as f@$%.

My husband is a brilliant dad. He works hard and parents hard, and without him, we wouldn’t have this picture perfect life. But he’s not home every day like I am. And in a lot of ways I’m bitter, since I’m basically a Jane of all trades juggling all the balls of life. On the days he’s home, we parent together. Sometimes we split the kids up, sometimes he takes them both out for an hour or two, sometimes he stays home with them when I have to go away for a day, and sometimes he takes them to his parents’ for the weekend. But he’s never parented them alone (without me at all) on a weekday. So yes, I’m (potentially unreasonably) bitter about his not knowing what those days are like.

That brings me to what I asked for. All I want for Christmas is for my husband to do what I do on a Monday through Friday, just once, without my helping at all. Feed, wash, and dress the kids. Do both school drop-offs. Come home to clean up and work. Do both school pick-ups. Feed them lunch. Attempt to put one down for a nap, resulting in a boycott. Have the other one cling at his ankles for two hours. Cram more work in while the clinger clings. Get them back out of the door for the afternoon activity. Entertain the toddler in a small waiting room for 45 minutes while they wait for the activity to end. Wrestle them back in the car to come home. Handle a bazillion tantrums, fights, and meltdowns. Cook dinner. Feed them (or more accurately, attempt to feed them) dinner. Bathe them. Read to them. Put them to sleep. Deal with the older one getting out of bed 10 times making countless excuses to not sleep. Clean up the disaster of a house. Do laundry. Work more. Exercise and hobby, if there’s time. And finally sleep, which is only 8 hours if I cut out one or more of the previous activities.

You catch my drift. I think what all stay-at-home parents want is validation that what they do every day is effing hard. What we all want isn’t for our partners to say “I go to work every day and not see my kids; that’s hard too.” Yes, we know. The thing is, I’ve worked that hard before. I’ve worked 14-hour days, wearing a suit, commuting 3 hours a day, dealing with clients and all the crap that comes with a “real job.”

But truly, staying at home with kids is harder. I can’t take a lunch break, or even a coffee break. I’m expected to produce quality legal work while simultaneously keeping two small humans alive and entertained. Then somehow I need to factor in self care so I don’t explode. This is the hardest job on the planet. And my bitter mom brain desperately wants my husband to acknowledge that my day is harder than his (even if maybe it isn’t in his mind).

If I do get my Christmas wish and my husband takes over the weekday grind, I likely won’t get the acknowledgment I truly want. Because if he admits that my job is harder, he’ll be admitting that I was right all along. And we know there’s zero chance of that happening.

So a happy holiday season to you and yours. May all your holiday wishes come true.

Mama out.

World Kindness Day

World Kindness Day

Happy Monday, people!

We are coming off of a long (literal and figurative) weekend in this house. All four of us are under the weather, which we all know is the pits.

But, I wanted to throw a quick blog post up here for World Kindness Day.

Our kids are still little, but we’re really working on the whole “kindness matters” concept. You’re never too young to learn to have a big heart, right?

And, let’s be honest. I’m not a perfect parent. I probably let my kids watch too much television. I don’t always serve them vegetables. One time I even washed my daughter’s eye out with lemon water (in my defense, I forgot I had squeezed lemon into my water that day, but you get the idea).

Even if I’m messing up left and right, one thing I am dead serious about doing right is raising good humans.

Our world seems to be going into the toilet lately, and I have moments when I wonder what kind of world my kids will be living in when they grow older. My job as their parent is to equip them as well as I can and then watch them fly, so to speak.

My daughter is just now figuring out the concept of friends. Who does she want to play with and why? We’ve sat at the dinner table every night and had the same conversation: “You don’t have to play with everyone, but you do need to be kind to everyone.”

I wasn’t particularly popular growing up. Middle school was actually quite a struggle, one which I hope my children do not experience. Should my children grow up to bully anyone, I’ll consider their behavior my own personal failure.

Kindness goes a long way. I don’t expect my kids to be the best at anything (grades, sports, [insert activity here]). But I do expect them to be KIND. To treat everyone, no matter how alike or different from them, with respect. To give back to those who have less and to be thankful for the abundance of things they do have. The list goes on.

We shouldn’t need a designated day of the year to celebrate and encourage kindness. But, since we do, I challenge everyone to do one thing today, beyond your usual daily routine and behavior, to be KIND to someone else. Pay for someone’s morning coffee. Hold a door open for a struggling parent with a gaggle of kids. Throw some extra change into a tip jar.

Imagine the enormous global impact should everyone do even just one extra act of kindness today. Maybe your act of kindness with inspire another. And maybe your kids will do the same. And so on and so forth.

So get out there, people, and spread kindness all over the place. Throw your case of the Mondays out of the window and do some good stuff today.

Mama out.