Reinharts Do Disney

This summer we decided to take our kids (ages 3.5+ and 1.5) to Disney World, and it was nothing less than magical. Our three-year-old was looking forward to it all Spring, and actually would behave better because of the planned trip. (“I’m going to be good today, so I can go to Mickey Mouse’s house and the Princess castle” etc… Bad parenting? I call it a win).

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting and babyWe spent a day at each park, and two at Magical Kingdom (our kids’ favorite). You definitely need to take your walking shoes. On average, we stayed about 10+ hours each day, sometimes more, and still didn’t get to do everything. Most days we walked Continue reading

This summer we decided to take our kids (ages 3.5+ and 1.5) to Disney World, and it was nothing less than magical. Our three-year-old was looking forward to it all Spring, and actually would behave better because of the planned trip. ("I'm going to be good today, so I can go to Mickey Mouse's house … Continue reading Reinharts Do Disney

Raising a Threenager

People are quick warn you about the “Terrible Twos.” Frankly, I thought I had this parenting thing in the bag, because we didn’t deal have to deal with those… Until she turned three. As much as I was crossing my fingers to skip all of the “terribles,” I finally understand the warnings.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you I am no parenting expert; in fact, I may be just the “okayest” mom in Arkansas. Because honestly, I’m just taking it one day at a time (mostly winging it). But, I have learned a few things since my sweet, baby, two-year-old turned three, and it’s only fair to share my findings with my readers… because hell hath no fury like a three-year-old who didn’t get to buckle her own car seat buckle (can I get an Amen?).

1. Choose your Battles

Life would be hard to live in constant rage from constant battles. I’ve learned to choose my battles with my daughter. I mean is it really that big of a deal for her to wear a princess dress to dinner? No. Not in comparison to holding your hand in parking lots. Right? So what if she wants to carry an umbrella everywhere on a perfectly sunny day… #shade So what if you have a mermaid in tow with you at your yearly eye appointment… #keepingitreal Sometimes parents have to act like Elsa and just “Let it Go!” (Even if it’s the 13902356th costume change of the day…)

Not everything has to be a fight. Not every decision she makes has to be a no, which leads to my next point.

2. Give Her Some Independence

I find that giving her acceptable options can prevent tantrums (at times). This way she feels like she is still making her own choice. Would you like carrots or broccoli with your dinner? Would you like your running shoes or sparkly shoes? Sometimes, she’ll come up with a third option… and sometimes you have to go back to step one and choose your battles. So if she wants to wear her Dollar Store Elsa shoes on picture day, is it really that big of a deal? (It depends: will her shoes be in the picture?? Kidding! (kind of)).

3. Plan Ahead

Another strategy that helps in my house is planning ahead. My threenager is always ready for her next adventure… unless that adventure is getting up to get ready for school… Then she can’t get out of bed, because she’s suddenly “too tiiiiired… *yawn*”

On school mornings, I used to try to let her sleep as long as possible and have everything ready to go (her clothes laid out, lunch packed, toothpaste on her toothbrush, shoes by the door). I thought this was planning ahead. But getting her out of bed became a thing, then getting her to get dressed became a thing, until everything became a thing. My energetic-always-on-the-go toddler becomes a snail-sloth-turtle on school mornings.

So now, I make her get up earlier. This way she has time to adjust and get her mind ready for the day, and I don’t have to rush her to brush her teeth or put her shoes on (because sometimes this task alone takes 198234 minutes).

Anytime we go anywhere, I try to leave at least 10 minutes early to avoid the big car seat buckle debacle (and to account for some of the shoe time). She wants to do it, but the straps can’t be twisted, but I can’t help, because she “CAN DO IT!!,” until she “CAN’T DO IT!”… So yeah, planning ahead for the inevitable meltdowns may not prevent the tragedy, but it can save some of your sanity.

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4. Accept Her Emotions

If you have a threenager, then you know they can say hurtful things prior to, in the midst of, or after throwing a tantrum. Things like “I don’t love you anymore,” “You’re not my friend,” “Don’t talk to me,” “Only daddy and bubby can look at me.” (It’s not just mine, is it??) 

I used to ignore these phrases thinking it would show her I wasn’t affected, but this seemed to only encourage her fury. I had to remember she is only three, not a real teenager. She doesn’t understand what she is saying, and she probably doesn’t understand what she is feeling.

Now, I try to talk her through her emotions. Addressing the emotion face-on, let’s her know it’s normal and it’s even okay to feel these ways sometimes. “I know you are frustrated that your Play-Do dried, but next time ask mommy for help putting the lid on.” “I’m sorry you’re angry you can’t sit on the counter right now, but these pans are hot and mommy doesn’t want you to get burned.” Explaining her emotions and giving her reasoning for whatever she is frustrated with may not always prevent a tantrum, but it can help take away some of the sting.

Also I’ve found that when she is all-out kicking-and-screaming tantruming, this is when she needs me most. Even if she tries to fight me away, I just hug her and let her know I’m there for her even when she’s acting ugly or hurtful. This lets her know I don’t only love her when she’s nice, I love her always. I’ve been trying to let her know when she says hurtful things too, so that she will grasp that isn’t a correct way to deal with her strong emotions.

5. Praise Her More

Lastly, I’ve made it my mission to praise her multiple times daily. To make her feel special. To make her feel appreciated. To make her feel loved.

I do this by telling her how strong or smart she is. I tell her when I am proud of her for being kind or brave. I give her specific examples of things I love about her including physical, mental, and demonstrative things.

To conclude

Threenagers are little, but man, they are fierce! And it is up to me to help my children through the good and the bad times and give them grace that my Heavenly Father so freely gives to me. I’m just striving to be a model of His unconditional and unfailing love through the “Trying Threes.” And beyond.

Final advice from my husband’s perspective: may the force be with you.

People are quick warn you about the "Terrible Twos." Frankly, I thought I had this parenting thing in the bag, because we didn't deal have to deal with those... Until she turned three. As much as I was crossing my fingers to skip all of the "terribles," I finally understand the warnings. Now I'll be … Continue reading Raising a Threenager

Sanity not Vanity

I’ve hinted before that since becoming a mom, I suck at self-care. (Can I get an Amen?)

These days moms are held to higher standards than ever before, and not just by our peers–but by ourselves too. Or at least that’s the case for me.

We are wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, Christians, professionals, and a million other things than just the primary caretakers of our children. So when you think about it, it’s really not surprising when our needs get put off until everyone else’s are taken care of.

Personally, I did lose myself during the first years after the births of both of my children.

I dedicated ALL of my time to my babies: nursing them, playing with them, rocking them, reading to them, bathing them, sleeping with them. I’m not going to lie; caring for a newborn is hard work. It’s dedication. It’s both physically and mentally draining… but it’s also so very exciting and extremely rewarding.

Y’all go on and clutch your pearls for this next statement…

In my opinion, losing yourself after the birth of your child is okay.*insert gasps, whispers, and “no, she din’ts!” here*

Yes, I said it. It’s our maternal duties to care for our babies, to nurture them, to protect them. So, once again, I’ll say it’s okay and even normal to lose yourself after having a baby. Just as long as you don’t lose yourself for good; it’s not okay if you don’t find yourself again.

Like I said, I suck at self care:

If my daughter wants the last bowl of my beloved “strawberry cereal,” I give it to her. If I burn eggs or toast while making breakfast, I eat the burnt ones. If I get money for my birthday or a holiday, I spend it on my kids.

I make sure they get the best, but I don’t do the same for myself. I’m sure most moms out there can relate, but I’m here to remind you that you owe yourself the love that you so freely give to others. You deserve it!

But why should you?

Your kids need to see you as more than a mom. As someone with her own interests, goals, and dreams. By modeling self-care, we show our kids that taking care of our bodies, hearts, and minds is important so they can grow up and do the same.

I’ll tell you honestly that I’m a better mom when I get to take of myself first sometimes.

I challenge you to find yourself and love yourself. Because one day those sweet babies will grow up and leave us… and then who will you be?

Here are some things to consider on your journey to self-care:

1. What do you enjoy doing? Or…. what did you enjoy doing before having kids?

Now a spa day would be amazing, but so is reading a book, or going for a walk, or taking a shower alone. Pick one thing and make it happen this week. Just take some time to do something for yourself that makes you happy. It’s okay to start small.

2.  Get some sleep

When I don’t get enough sleep, I’m cranky, snappy, easily frustrated… I’m not the best wife, mom, or person.

Do whatever it takes to get the sleep you need. For me, that means co-sleeping *insert more gasps and judgment* and early bedtimes. It makes all of us happy, and in turn helps me be a better wife, mom, and person.

3. Involve your kids.

If what you enjoy doing can be done with your kids, take them along! Put makeup on and fix your hair with your daughter, get out the stroller and walk the neighborhood, go exploring and take pictures of birds and bugs. Get out in the yard, and let them help you plant some flowers or pick the tomatoes. Include them in your old hobbies, so they can watch you enjoy yourself as more than just a mom.

4. Get a babysitter

I’m not type-A about many things in my life, but when it comes to my kids I am definitely type-A. Like as a parent, I’m above and beyond type-A. Letting others watch my kids is extremely difficult for me… Thankfully with my second child, I’ve learned to let go of some of that control (even if that means they only want hot dog buns with yogurt for supper on occasion *gasp*).

But find someone you trust, and let go. Baby steps. Start out going off for just a few hours to test the waters. Then next month, make it a little longer. I’m still in the process of taking baby steps with this one and have started to date my husband again (day-dates, but alone day-dates!). I still have yet to make it where the babysitters stay for bedtime… eventually… maybe…

5. Know your worth

We should be able to love ourselves without facing judgement and criticism from others. More importantly, we shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something just for ourselves from time to time.

Don’t let the expectations of society limit your self-care. We all want to be the picture perfect Pinterest mom, but it’s okay to be the Amazon Prime mom instead. The main thing to know is you are enough. Your kids already think you’re the best mom in the universe, so invest in you, take care of you, love you–and show them just how much more awesome you can be.

After all, loving yourself isn’t vanity, it’s sanity!

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I've hinted before that since becoming a mom, I suck at self-care. (Can I get an Amen?)These days moms are held to higher standards than ever before, and not just by our peers--but by ourselves too. Or at least that's the case for me.We are wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, Christians, professionals, and a million … Continue reading Sanity not Vanity

Thank You, Sweet Baby Jesus, for These Mommy Treasures

Thank you to the great Lord above for these too-overlooked inventions many moms (myself included) too often take for granted.  Continue reading

Thank you to the great Lord above for these too-overlooked inventions many moms (myself included) too often take for granted.  The woombie: a straight jacket made especially for infants. I mean what other option does it give them besides to go to sleep? Seriously. This creation was definitely heaven-sent! The nose frida, aka the nose … Continue reading Thank You, Sweet Baby Jesus, for These Mommy Treasures

First Night Alone

Being a mom is scary. The past two+ years (Whoa! Where has the time gone?!) have been full of fears and failures. As the time is getting closer to have your brother, I can’t help but remember the first night you cried Continue reading

Being a mom is scary. The past two+ years (Whoa! Where has the time gone?!) have been full of fears and failures. As the time is getting closer to have your brother, I can't help but remember the first night you cried inconsolably. You had been such a good baby, a good eater, and a … Continue reading First Night Alone