Loving the difficult child

Despite our best intentions as mothers, some kids go through really tough phases.  If you find yourself struggling to show love to a certain little one, you’re not alone!

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When I first became a mom, I remember just kind of assuming that not only did moms always love their kids, but they always liked being around them, no matter what!  It wasn’t until Liam became a naughty toddler that I saw just a glimpse of the other side of motherhood: the challenge of loving a difficult child.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, our family has had it pretty easy: no kids with special needs or major health issues, no diagnosed behavioral or mental health problems. And yet, I’ve found myself struggling to show love to some of my kids when they’ve exhibited less than lovable behavior.  That’s not an easy thing to admit as a mom…but if you’ve ever felt this way, you’re not alone!

After Liam’s naughty preschool years, my first real struggle with this came with our older twin, the fiery redheaded Vivian (in fact I often blame her spunkiness on that wild hair!).  She has pushed me beyond the limits of my patience more times than I can count.  She has a mind of her own and when determined, she simply cannot be convinced otherwise.  In fact, if she had been my first child, I might have seriously questioned my mothering abilities!

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Vivian’s now getting considerably more mature and easy to reason with- but she’s still a spicy little one. Finn has now become my more challenging child, and sometimes it just breaks my heart that I spend all day dealing with his outbursts instead of enjoying his cute face and personality.  

It’s also extremely frustrating to parent these difficult children in public. For example, I’ve learned that Finn’s meltdowns are best diffused with humor or distraction but when we’re out in public, I feel pressured to scold him when he acts naughty.  It’s a struggle to remain calm and collected when strangers are staring and judging you and your screaming child!

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In the end, I try to remember a few important things when I’m dealing with a child in a naughty phase:

1. Separating the child from the behavior is one of the most powerful ways of continuing to love our sweet kids, even when they’re driving us completely crazy.

Our kids are good people who sometimes struggle with bad behavior.  Just as our mistakes as adults don’t define us, kids are also allowed to throw fits and melt down without being classified as “bad”.

2.  Keeping my cool as a mom goes a long way in helping my children overcome their emotional outbursts.  When children are dealing with a lot of crazy emotions and frustrations, it’s important for their grown up to stay calm and rational (when anyone figures out how to do this while a toddler is kicking you and screaming he hates you, let me know, eh??).

3.  Showing more love is always helpful.  I know how hard it is to give compassion to a child who’s hurting others or pushing your buttons, but I believe this is what we all need the most!

Hang in there moms! And, next time you see another mom at the grocery store pushing a screaming child around in a cart with a maniacal look on her face, just give her a fist bump and maybe slip her kid some candy.

Harry Potter Fan Tee

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We kinda, sorta missed a couple kids’ birthdays while in France, so we did a little late celebrating this past week.  Liam turn 11 (ELEVEN!!!  How did we get here??) this month and I’m absolutely in love with the little man he’s becoming.  Now that we’ve figured out his stomach problems, he’s such a pleasant, sweet kid with a hilarious sense of humor.

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He’s also completely obsessed with Harry Potter and has now read the entire series through FOUR times!  That’s dedication, man.  I decided to make him a fun HP-themed shirt for his birthday and this is what we came up with.

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Easter & Pattern Updates!

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I apologize ahead of time for the ridiculous onslaught of pictures in this post.  Prepare to be bombarded.

Here are all our Easter pics plus more shots of and details about the updated Infinite A-line Dress Pattern!  Check them out!  (Click Read More)

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Sewing for Boys: Spring 2016

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I’m excited to be a guest contributor over at Project Run and Play today!  Head on over there for details on this look, including a tutorial for tracing a ready-to-wear T-shirt and creating this fun graphic!  It’s time to do a little sewing for the miniature men in our lives!

Now sit back and enjoy these super studly pictures of my 8 year old model, Toby.  Man, I love this little lady killer!

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Teach a Child How to Match Clothes – Free Printable!

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Matching fail

Kids have, how shall we say…a unique sense of fashion.  Some children seem to choose their clothes solely based on comfort or whatever’s within easy reach.  Others put a bit more thought into the process, attempting to combine as many colors and prints as humanly possible into one outfit.

While I’m all for freedom of self expression, there comes a time in a kid’s life when learning how to match their clothing becomes less of a whimsical guessing game and more of a social skill.  I generally give all my children the freedom to dress themselves, while retaining veto right on special occasions (holidays and family picture day).

I’ve been trying to slowly teach Juliet (age 6 1/2) how to match since she now attends school once a week.  It’s been a mild catastrophe.  I somehow manage to either completely confuse her or wound her pride by insulting her fashion choices.  We were both frustrated and she avoided getting dressed at all cost…until now!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

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I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas jam packed with family, traditions, cozy pjs and hopefully an excited child (or 7) since they make Christmas so much more fun!  I’ve been dying to show you all our family pictures we took on Thanksgiving and now that our Christmas cards are out, here they are!  

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DIY Holiday Gift Roundup

 

Handmade gifts are some of my most favorite to give and get!  There’s something about the love and time put into a gift that makes it all the more fun.  With 2 weeks left till Christmas, there’s still plenty of time left for a handmade gift (or several!).  Plus, handmade gifts are often much easier on the shrinking gift budget.

I’ve compiled a list of some super simple DIY gifts that your kids, sisters or friends would LOVE.  Time to get cracking!

For the LADIES…

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Do you DIE over this mug?  Check out Like the Cheese for more great travel mug ideas using vinyl!

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Holiday Shopping Guide: Best Wholesome Toys for Kids!

 

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Now that Black Friday’s behind us, I’ve checked off quite a few gifts for friends and family members…but still find myself with lots of shopping to do for my kids.  I always go a little overboard during the holidays because, come ON…it’s CHRISTMAS!  If you can’t spoil your kids during the holidays, when can you??

We’ve done some major Kon-Mari-ing up in this hizouse lately and so I’ve had to reevaluate our toy situation over and over again.  I find myself asking “Would I replace this if the house burned down??” And to be honest, there are only a few actual “toys” that I feel are valuable enough and get enjoyed enough to meet this criteria.

If you’re looking for wholesome, non-electric toys that will guarantee hours and hours of imaginative play, check out our favorites below!

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Sewing and Swimming

 

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Sewing swimsuits really freaks a lot of people out.  I was one of those people until last year when I found a cute vintage-style one piece pattern for myself.  I tried it out and, after some tweaking, got one of the most flattering swimsuits I’ve ever owned.  YESSSS!

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Meltdowns and the Meaning of Christmas

 

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The last couple years the hubs has been out of town for most of the month of December.  Thanks to kindly Mr. Amazon and his free 2-day shipping, being a single mom at Christmastime hasn’t created too much of a problem.

Except, of course, for the stress.  Luke left this week for his second trip of the month and everything was going well the first day, until about bedtime (sound familiar??).  I was trying to get my littlest ones to bed and my big boys kept running upstairs.  I yelled one too many times, they yelled back and then, out of nowhere I found myself sobbing in their room, telling them how hard it is being a single parent, even part-time.

Whoa…don’t even know where that came from.  Get a grip, crazy lady.

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It must have made an impact though, since when I calmed down enough to come back a little while later, Liam was still visibly upset.  I suggested that we needed to make some changes around the house in regards to our relationships and I asked each boy what they thought needed to change.  Toby said something about Mom being nicer (haha!  typical) but Liam just sobbed, “No one needs to make any changes…just ME!  It’s all my fault!”

Wow.  It broke my heart to hear my sweet boy blame himself for my shortcomings.  He even added that this wasn’t shaping up to be a very good Christmas.  Luckily, it humbled me enough to have a heart to heart with him.

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We talked about the reason for celebrating Christ’s birth and how Christmas isn’t simply a chance to remember the day Jesus was born but to celebrate His entire life, especially His sacrifice for us.  We discussed how Christ sacrificed for our sins, but just as importantly, He also paid for our small, daily mistakes.   Jesus made it possible for us to overcome any action, big or small that separates us from God, including when we lose control, yell or treat others unkindly.  Christmastime is a chance for us to remember that because of Him, we have reason to hope to improve every single day and reason to experience JOY.

I’m thankful that my little boy reminded me of this, the greatest truth in the history of the world.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:5

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Merry last-week-before-Christmas!!