Category Archives: Question for the Mamas

Question for the Parents: How to deal with sleep overs?

Let’s talk sleepovers shall we? I believe that my very first sleepovers began probably in about the 4th grade. I had a couple of best friends at that point, and I loved staying the night at their houses. As for large group sleepovers, I must admit that I kind of hated those growing up. I […]

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adrienne w - February 2, 2013 - 10:28 pm

This is a tough one. I loved sleepovers growing up. I never had any issues as a kid, but as a teenager, I will admit that I occasionally used it as an excuse to stay our later or sneak out (gasp!). Even though I never had any issues, there are too many stories of people who did. We decided that we weren’t going to do any sleepovers, except with cousins and/or grandparents. Our kids are lucky to have lots of cousins their ages. There may be some exceptions that arise and we will deal with that when it comes (close family friends that we feel completely comfortable with), but as a rule, we’ve decided against it. But I think there are ways around it. For example, Macartney has decided that for her 8th birthday party, we are going to have a pajama party, fake sleepover. All the kids will wear their PJ’s and bring a stuffie. We’ll have breakfast for dinner (her request, but I thought it was fitting) and watch a movie. We’ll do a few other things and then the kids will go home at bedtime (8:00ish). It’s not a sleepover, but for her age it is definitely close enough. Good luck with the decision.

Margaret - February 3, 2013 - 6:50 am

Let me start this by saying I had sleepovers at least twice a month 9-12 grade and I loved hem because they were with good friends. I like you didn’t love elementary ones because it had the same feelings you describe – I was scared to fall asleep early!!

But Austin and I are probably more with Chris on this. We’ve decided no sleepovers for our kids, except with cousins, grandparents. We feel really good about it right now and can reevaluate as they get older but there are so many people we don’t trust/know and how do we say you can have a sleepover with them but not with that person? And I feel like times are a bit different. I. Can’t describe it other than that Austin and I feel good about our decision right now. I think you know what I mean ;). I think everyone does what they feel best and that’s what we’ve decided. But I agree with you that most sleepovers wih a close friend are pretty harmless and sooo fun. So that makes me sad. And I Al’s know that this could become a battle as my kids grow. But I’m prepared for that. Sorry so long…

Angie - February 3, 2013 - 7:11 am

We had a no sleepover policy (except with family) until this year with Teagan (9). Blake (8) did stay the night with a friend a couple of times last year but it was a one on one with some very good family friends. You are correct in saying sleepovers start early! What worked for us was allowing Teagan to go (if I knew the parents) to the slumber party but only until bed time. Then I would go pick her up. It has worked really well. We’ve had very understanding parents, kids and no fight from our children. Even now I don’t like them. I think our kids get too tired! I do agree that some of my best memories are from having sleepovers at my childhood bff’s. But my parents knew her family extremely well and it was one on one.

kara - February 3, 2013 - 7:14 am

Thanks Adrienne and Margaret for your feedback. Adrienne, I have another friend who will let her daughter go to sleepovers but picks her up around 10:00 (she is 11). Margaret, it totally is hard if you have to explain, that your kids can go to some houses but not others. I just try to imagine what my childhood would have been like without my sleepovers at Jenny Pine’s house too though, and if one of my kids ends up having a best friend, I definitely will explore sleepovers more. I actually think that sleeping at her house kept me out of trouble. When a lot of kids were off partying a ton, I was usually at Jenny’s house hanging out :). We shall see what we decide together. I feel open to either way at this point, although definitely not ready to start right now with them.
Okay, so another story on the side of not doing them that happened the other night that I forgot to tell (and kind of got me thinking about this in the first place). I took Sofia and Gabe swimming the other night. I overheard a dad in the pool talking to a little girl (his daughter’s friend) in what felt like a pretty creepy way to me. He said to the girl, “When are you going to come and have a sleepover with us? We’d really love for you to sleepover, and if you have a hard time, I can take you home.” The little girl who was about 7 responded with “Umm… I don’t know.” He then said, “I think you and your mom are coming over on Sunday to eat. Any foods you don’t like that you don’t want us to make? Any foods that are your favorite? I could make sure to have a special treat for you if you want.” The little girl was looking at him uncomfortably, and then he said again, “Yeah… if you have a hard time… we will take you home.”
Okay, so maybe this seems harmless, but it felt to me like the dad was giving the little girl extra and strange attention. This was jut from an outsider perspective, but it made me feel uncomfortable and the little girl seemed to be as well. That situation definitely didn’t make me feel great about sleepovers, but I guess that whole key is that we have to do what we think is right for our families (like you said Margaret). Maybe we won’t do them for now, but maybe in the future their will be families we feel really good about doing them with. We shall see. Okay… that’s enough rambling :).

kara - February 3, 2013 - 7:16 am

Missed your comment before I wrote mine Angie :). I would love to hear from someone who has started earlier sleepovers to hear some reasons they felt good about doing them young. Always good to hear another perspective!

Joan - February 3, 2013 - 7:35 am

Our 7 and 5 year old boys are best friends with a brother/sister 8 and 6 year old, and we have done 2 sleepovers where the younger kids stay at one home and the older kids go to the other home. This is a family (single mom) we have been close to for over 4 years, we do many activities together as families, and the mom and I have had tons of parenting discussions and I have learned that we have very similar parenting values. Both sleepovers went off without a hitch, except that the children were allowed to watch “appropriate” videos at the other home, which I didn’t like–the one parenting value we don’t share-we only do nature videos when a kid is sick, otherwise no screen time. I know we are pretty extreme on this so tried to be understanding.
If my girl were having a sleepover at a home with a dad, I would probably feel different, and maybe that is sexist, but I think the statistics back me up on this. I think a lot of dads are accidentally creepy and some dads are legitimately creepy, and it’s hard to tell the difference.
It’s important not to doubt our gut instincts and if we err on the side of over-protection and our child gets one less sleepover or other activity in their life, so be it.
One thing I always try to ask when my kids have play dates, even with families we think we know well, is whether there are guns in the home. Hard to ask, but really important with all the accidents that happen.

Margaret - February 3, 2013 - 9:30 am

Kara that conversation you overheard totally creeps me out. Maybe nothing but if I heard someone say that to my daughter I might have a talk with that dad.

Cami - February 3, 2013 - 7:09 pm

Our kids have late nights. I love this because then they can still hang with their friends and sleep in their own bed.
There is also a conference talk about his in Nov 2010. Here is the link to it http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/courageous-parenting?lang=eng.
I hope it is helpful. It made so much since and has taken some of the stress of sleepovers off our backs.
I didn’t like sleepovers much either growing up. I also was talking to my mom. She didn’t like us having sleepovers either. So why have them. The late nights have been nice for us.

Kara - February 4, 2013 - 9:29 pm

Thanks so much for that link Camie!

adrienne w - February 6, 2013 - 11:00 pm

I also want to thank Cami for that link! Good article. It makes me feel more secure in our decision.

Audra - February 7, 2013 - 8:17 pm

We have not gotten to a point in our life where sleepovers are an issue. I know if and when my oldest gets to the point of a sleepover it will be a very select few. I am ok with telling my girls they can only have sleepovers with certain friends because I am close with the parents. I feel if the other parents and I are on the same page with parenting styles and morels then I may be ok with it.

Camille - February 7, 2013 - 9:29 pm

I remember sleeping over at a friend’s house when I was in kindergarten, and my parents didn’t know her parents AT ALL. It seems a little weird now, but it worked out okay. I slept over at friends houses often all through my school years, and although there were a few incidences where it just wasn’t that fun, nothing creepy ever happened. Most of my sleepovers were at a short list of “best friend’s” houses, and most of the time, my parents knew the other parents. I feel like my parents were appropriately cautious but certainly not over protective. Plus I have such great sleepover memories.

I’ve been thinking about sleepovers lately, too, but in a completely different context. I’m trying to figure out when and how it will ever be okay to have my kids’ friends sleep over if we’re still living in this tiny house with zero privacy. We might have to implement a summer-only rule and make everyone camp outside or something. It would make me sad if we COULDN’T host sleepovers for my kids’ friends.

Strangely, even though I think sleepovers are great for school-age kids, I’ve been really surprised by how many friends or even just sort-of friends have out-of-the-blue offered to babysit my preschool-age kids. Maybe I’m just totally spoiled by having my mom close by to watch my kids almost anytime I need to do something by myself, but I’m still not totally comfortable or eager to drop my kids off at someone else’s house for a few hours even though I know it would be totally fine.

While I’m all for sleepovers in theory, I guess we’ll see how gung ho I am when my kid is actually invited for the first time.

Lifting me Higher

You know that Jackie Wilson song, “Your love is lifting me higher… than I’ve ever been lifted before.” Well friends, I have been singing the same tune with modified lyrics almost every time I put on my new bras. “Oh this bra… is lifting me higher.. than I’ve ever been lifted before.” I think that […]

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Jen - June 23, 2012 - 8:52 pm

Kara, so glad I am not the only one that had this issue. I was way off on numbers and letters! I highly recommend Title 9/Bounce in Portland or online for sports bras.

Karli - June 24, 2012 - 5:32 pm

Oh I hear ya. Also being well endowed, I suffered unknowingly or far too long. I finally found my saving grace at Nordstroms. And they can be up to $70.00 a pop. So I take really good care of them and don’t get them very often, but man is there an amazing difference. I second the suggestion for Title 9 for sports bras. The 3-Reasons Sports Bra by Moving Comfort. It gets 4 out of 5 dumbells for support. They do offer one called “The Last Resort” sports bra that’s a 5 dumbell rating, which could be truly amazing, but it didn’t work for me because it didn’t have adjustable straps which I need because I am very short shouldered. If you want a friend to go to Title 9 with you, I need another one and would be happy to trek down there with you!

Robyn - June 24, 2012 - 8:14 pm

I was just there this week too – fantastic indeed.

I was fitted awhile ago and found out that the 36C size i’d been wearing for years should actually be a 32D. No wonder the bra never stayed in place every time I took off my shirt. DOH!

My $40 was extremely well spent – 18 months later my bra is still tip top. A good bra can change your life :)

kara - June 25, 2012 - 7:23 am

Jen,
I didn’t realize that Title 9 had a store in portland. Thanks!
Karli,
Now that I am done nursing, it would be easier for me to get up and see you without kids. Maybe in August sometime we could do a girl’s afternoon/night complete with sports bra shopping. Hey, did you end up doing the hippie chick?
Robyn,
I thought something looked a little different the last time that I saw you. Haa.. totally kidding, but I am glad that you got it figured out too. Took awhile for us, but bet better late than never :)

Elisabeth - June 25, 2012 - 11:10 am

Oh my gosh, you’re hilarious. About a year into breastfeeding I went to Donna Bella and got a couple nice nursing bras…changed my life, wish I had gotten them sooner! Looking forward to weaning Judah (he’s two next month!) and going back there to find some regular bras…kind of scared what size I might be, but will be happy to have something that actually fits. I’ve been wearing Champion sports bras from Target, I just have to wear two at a time. It totally works, but I’m sure there’s something better out there :)

Sarabeth - June 26, 2012 - 11:24 am

I, too, have always bought mine at walmart or target, but I’ll definitely be going in for a good fitting when I’m done breastfeeding (which will still be awhile). I’ve heard a good bra changes everything about the way you look and feel. On another note….I got your message! And I WILL call you back, I’m just trying to find the right time. You’re right, phone talking with young kids around really is hard. Is the middle of the day ever good for you, or should I try for an evening?

kara - June 28, 2012 - 10:02 pm

Elisabeth,
There has to be something better than wearing two bras. Been there done that, and I think that we must find one bra that can do the job :).
Sarabeth,
Enjoy those full nursing breasts :). I can chat during the day sometimes. Miriam usually naps around 12;00, and that is my best chance :). Just know that even if we can’t chat much, I think about you often and love you tons friend!

Jesse - July 2, 2012 - 12:50 pm

Hahaha, I love this post! I come from a very long line of women who have had a hate/ hate relationship with our crappy worn bras. In fact on our way to a baptism in Portland my grandma insisted all the way to the emergency room (and to the ER personnel) the she “was not having a heart attack its just that I am not use to wearing this bra.” I remember my mom sewing back in underwire that popped out. And I have been guilty of this myself. I MUST break this cycle!

Margaret - July 2, 2012 - 8:58 pm

Oh Kara. I can picture you singing that in my mind and it makes me laugh.
I went to Nordstroms after nursing Amelia and had to pick my jaw up off the floor when they sized me. Then I had to pick it up again when I felt what a good fitting bra feels like. It seriously changed my life, well, maybe not, but pretty close. I was wearing completely wrong bra size. I was sad when I got pregnant with charlotte my chest got huge and the wire popped out! Now, I treat myself to a new bra after nursing each child.
Also, I splurged on a nursing bra and it was the best thing. I basically slept and lived in it for a year.
okay, love you

To Facebook or not to Facebook… that is the question.

Some of you may have noticed my disappearance from facebook. This is not my first time taking a break, but my account has actually been deleted now. Facebook sometimes felt like such a complicated world and although there were some great things about it, there were also some negatives as well. Obviously I felt like […]

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Kelly - June 17, 2012 - 4:11 pm

I think I’ve found a happy medium though it is easy to lose time on facebook… the key for me was deciding who I would accept friend requests from in advance and have a response prepared for people I know but don’t want as a facebook friend. For example, I do not make facebook freinds with people at work and I do not have friends from high school that I didn’t really know then. When they send me a request, I send my prepared response and have gotten universally positive responses and understanding in return. I use facebook to keep up with my cousins and people I’m friends with in real life but perhaps wouldn’t communicate with on an individual level. I also have local friends. The new “groups” on facebook – where you can limit posts to a class of your friends – makes even more possible. Now, I can post just to my family, for example, and not feel like I’m polluting other peoples’ feeds with info on our reunion…

adrienne w - June 18, 2012 - 9:11 am

I have no advice, but I feel the same way as you. Sometimes I get on there and I just get annoyed by the drama some people (GROWN-UPS!!!) create with what they say or by someone’s political rant or, of course, the dumb “re-post this status if you have a heart” causes (because I’m sure my status on facebook is creating social change or actually doing anything to make the world a better place). Somehow, there are days when I let it put me in a bad mood. But the main reason I keep it is because of family and very close friends that are far away. I have so many family members (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc) that I have been able to keep in touch with and in some cases become way closer to because of facebook. With my parents far away and my in-laws even further (on a mission in India)I know they appreciate pictures and posts about the kids. And of course, my college friends that are far away! (I miss you!) One of the positives AND negatives is, that it is an easy way to be friends. Sometimes I don’t like that people have to make very little effort, but it is definitely an easy way to connect to those REAL relationships as well. I’m interested to hear how other people balance it.

Amy - June 19, 2012 - 12:58 pm

Thanks for bringing this up, Kara! I definitely have “Facebook issues.” I love it because it’s probably the only way I keep in touch with a lot of people, and I love seeing pictures of everyone’s kids. I also feel like it kind of keeps me in the know about events that are happening, when the farms open for berry picking, things like that. I hate it because I feel compelled to check it too often; I sometimes feel bad about myself and/or my family’s challenges because of the way it can make others’ lives seem “perfect”; and I have been unfriended by several people and not understood why, and been hurt by that. I have unfriended some people, too, but mostly I just hide people.

I have been thinking about deleting my account but haven’t decided for sure yet.

kara - June 19, 2012 - 9:58 pm

Kelly,
It sounds like you have really good boundaries. My family does have a little group, and I like the idea of focusing on that. We shall see what I decide.
Adrienne,
You are another pregnant woman I have stalked. Your profile pic is so cute! You are a real relationship that I for sure miss on facebook and in real life as well :).
Amy,
The unfriending can be hard to not take personally as you have no idea of what the intent/reason is behind the person who did it. I have unfriended people, but mostly just people who I had never even really connected with on facebook. I really do hope that in the future that I am able to find a balance and have better boundaries with it.

My Attachment-ish Parenting

I am assuming that you all have seen this cover? I have heard moms talking about it all over since it came out over a week ago. Pretty much everyone I have talked to has had a pretty strong opinion of some sort, so since this is my blog, it’s my turn to share what […]

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Rachel - May 20, 2012 - 10:16 pm

The cover doesn’t bother me much. I am desensitized from living in the Valley, though. I know a number of people still breastfeeding their 3+ year olds and it doesn’t phase me. I actually felt like quitting after 15 mos with Seamus was probably thought of as too early by some around me.

The thing I don’t like is the title. It implies that moms who don’t breastfeed are some how less of a mom and that REALLY bothers me. Breastfeeding means that you as the mom cannot be away from your baby for more than a few hours, that you are totally responsible for feeding your baby day or night, that you have to freakin pump if you do go back to work, that you will question every food you put into your body, etc., etc. Right now I am spending over 3 hours a day with a baby breastfeeding on my body. That is a lot of responsibility and really something that only privileged moms can do for years and years. Also, some women just can’t, and you know, it is really a decision between a mom and her baby–not our business and not our place to weigh in with an opinion. I love living in a place that is so breastfeeding friendly, but sometimes that friendliness comes with a dark side of judgmental attitudes for moms who don’t go that route. Okay, I’ll get off my box. :)

Karli - May 21, 2012 - 7:45 am

The one good thing about the article I’ve heard is that more people are disgusted with TIME for inciting a mommy war than those who really argue one side or the other. That’s at least encouraging.

Here’s an article that I posted on Facebook the other day that I think is a great follow up: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-howerton/mommy-wars_b_1510807.html

kara - May 21, 2012 - 8:48 am

Rachel,
This would be a hard community to live in if you weren’t a nursing mama. I think that nursing is a privilege, especially for mamas who breastfeed past the first year and not all mamas can do it (or have support to do it even if they want to). There can definitely be a judgmental vibe out there, and I have seen it many times (but hopefully haven’t been too much a part of that vibe).
Karli,
Yes, they are trying to start mommy wars. If there is one area that women can be fired up, it is about there children. I really like the last line in the article that you said that says, “Let’s stop quibbling about what competent mothers are choosing for their kids, and step it up for the kids that don’t have one.” Obviously we all have opinions about what is best for our own family, but there are many many competent parents out there perhaps making different choices than me. I am doing what feels right for us, and everyone else should do the same! Like the article said, there are much grander issues to fight for than whether or not a woman uses an Ergo baby carrier :).

kara - May 21, 2012 - 8:50 am

p.s….. I just read through my comment with tons of typos.. please don’t judge me mamas :)

Kelly - May 21, 2012 - 9:10 am

One thing I didn’t like about the article was that it painted attachment parenting in general, and Dr. Sears specifically as militant. The whole idea that moms could have PTSD from not living up to his ideas seems ridiculous. One thing I’ve liked about his books is that every chapter says something like “these are ideas that have worked for some people, here are a variety of ways to implement these ideas, but in the end, you have to do what feels right for your family”. I cannot/do not choose to follow strict attachment parenting but I felt like his advice always made me trust my gut which is so different from how I have often felt reading other parenting books. Of course, YMMV.

Margaret - May 21, 2012 - 9:20 am

The thing that annoys me the most about the article, as it seems to others that have commented, is the title. So condescending about mothers. It seemed contradictory too. The title led me to believe they were going to praise attachment parenting and show that “real moms” practice this way, instead it was kinda degrading about attachment parenting. I’m not a full blown attachment parenting type, but there are things I love about it and I look at someone like you Kara, where that type of parenting just fits your style and personality. I think everyone tries to parent the best they can with who they are. I hate that this article tries to pit mothers against mothers. What would make more sense is to focus on all the wonderful types of parenting styles there are out there and how they can all benefit from each other.
And to answer one of your questions, SEattle was much more attachment parenting friendly, Utah isn’t too bad. But sometimes I think it can go both ways, you can feel guilty living in the NW if you don’t nurse and don’t fit into it and other places you feel guilty if you do. I just try to do what I think is best for my kids regardless of culture or outside influence. Then I’m the happiest and my kids are too.
love you.

adrienne w - May 21, 2012 - 2:40 pm

I just hate extremism. I didn’t read the article, because it was obviously going to be sensationalized based on how they chose to portray it. What I don’t understand is why anyone cares how others choose to parent, as long as it’s safe. You don’t want to breastfeed your 3 year old? So don’t. There are a lot worse things going on in the parenting world than that. I also don’t understand why parenting has to have a label. I do a lot of these things, but I don’t feel the need to classify my parenting style. Actually, until the year or so I’d never even heard specifically of Attachment Parenting as a theory. I breastfed each of my kids for 12 to 14 months. We had a lot of challenges with it, so I felt lucky to do it for that long and didn’t feel at all bad about stopping. But I know A LOT of women who weren’t able to breastfeed (not their own choice) and they are heartbroken at the thought that they might not be as bonded to their baby because of something like that. We can’t assume that they have lost that opportunity because of something beyond their control. I used a sling a lot with my last baby, but that is because she loved it and as you mentioned, Kara, it was just easier. And I co-sleep with my babies a bit for the first 6 weeks or so, but again, I do that out of convenience. I don’t sit and analyze how much good I’m doing my baby or how much harm I’ll cause if I don’t. I’m just parenting. I stopped reading parenting books in general, with a few exceptions. I’m trying to focus more on what I feel is best. I feel like now, expecting baby #5, I have hit my stride and feel good about most of what I’m doing. When I have a specific problem, maybe I’ll do some research and see what suggestions are out there. Parenting is not black and white. There are a lot of ways to parent and it’s ridiculous to think that any one method is far superior. We should all be more understanding of each other and quit worrying about what other people choose to do.

kara - May 21, 2012 - 8:38 pm

Kelly,
Yes, in an interview I saw with him he talked about how his ideas aren’t “rules” but “tools”, and I think that that is a better way to look it them. Sometimes it’s nice to add another tool to the belt when I am feeling low on ideas!
Margaret,
I love you too! No matter which part of the country parents live in… guilt abides strongly everywhere with parents :). Margaret, we are coming to Utah this summer… I will give you more details in email.
Adrienne,
Yes, classifying parents into groups can be tricky. That is why I say that I am “Attachement Parentint’ish” because I can’t fully say that I practice or agree with all of it. I will say, that although I don’t think parents need to be classified, I will say that it can be helpful to relate to a parenting style a little. When I am looking for resources and if someone was moving to a new place, it would be nice to find some like minded parents to associate with. When my sister-in-law was moving to Texas, she was worried about finding parents with similar philosophies, so I suggested that she go to a La Leche League meeting to try to meet people. All of my friends most definitely do not parent the same way that I do, but it is nice to know at least some. ONe thing my friends do have in common is a whole lot of love and caring in their parenting, and that is probably what draws me to people.
Oh and I do agree that parents can read too much and depend on books to tell them what to do. For my job (and my own parenting), I have probably read far too many parenting books ,but I look to them for suggestions and ideas.. not to tell me who I am as a parent. Parenting based off of your own gut and the spirit are important with some wisdom from parents you respect, and yes.. a few ideas from books can be helpful as well on occasion. I am glad you have found your stride mama. You are awesome!

Amy - May 22, 2012 - 9:56 pm

As an adoptive mom, I was (maybe obviously) extremely offended by the headline. As for the nursing, whatever works for families is my motto! No judgment here…

Schedules/Routines

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting at swim lessons with another mom. She was poking fun at some new parent friends of theirs who left a dinner party at 7:00 to go and put their baby to sleep. She was reminiscing about how she remembers being an uptight first time parent who was […]

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Wendy M. - March 1, 2012 - 6:41 am

Good topic! I really believe scheduling or flexibility depends on the child. With Brenden we were rigid about his schedule when he was really young because he seemed to fall apart if he didn’t sleep at the same time every day/night. Allison was born more easy-going, so we became more flexible (although she’s still a 6-am-sharp kid, so both kids go to bed at 8pm.) As for the patience at night, we waited until Bren was in first grade to shift their bedtime from 7 to 8pm. By that time, he had a little homework. Now, it seems like with homework and reading, piano practice, showering and getting ready for school in the morning, the evening isn’t long enough!
I think the phase you are in right now seems endless while you are in it, but once you are through it you turn around and say, “that wasn’t so bad.” (Kind of like the diaper phase!)

Kim - March 1, 2012 - 6:48 am

I think routines are great! We have pretty established routines with our daughter too. When she was little I knew we could be out running errands from this time to this time and if we weren’t home by 11:30 I better have some snacks ready. If we aren’t home by 1:30 I better anticipate naptime grumpies. It helps with my anticipating what she needs. And when we are “off” for a family weekend away or special night out it’s easier to get her back on track too. Very early we started something that I LOVE now. We read a story every night at bed time. Tonight I read the story, Daddy snuggles for a few minutes after, says prayer, then does tuck in. Tomorrow morning I get up and do wake up, breakfast, dressing. Daddy will read story tomorrow night, I do snuggles, prayer, and tuck in. This way she is used to BOTH of us tucking her in separately so when one of us has a meeting she doesn’t melt at bedtime because Mommy’s not tucking her in. AND, I only have to be up super early and dressed for work before getting her up half the days of the week. Every-other Saturday I get to sleep as late as I want. And every-other Saturday she and I have special Silly Saturday pancake breakfast. Routines are WONDERFUL! Kids need structure. Someone recommended the book “Baby Wise” to us when I was pregnant. There’s some of it I don’t agree with and I wasn’t crazy about the next book in the series but it made a lot of good points about routines and how they are good for babies and kids because they know what to expect. It’s as much healthy for them as it is for us. I give that book as a gift to all my friends who are expecting.

Katrina - March 1, 2012 - 9:46 am

Bedtime and naptime are golden. It has to be something pretty important to shove them back very far. Unless it’s summertime. Summertime is golden, too. I’ve been made fun of for having dinner at 5:30, but I think it’s weird to not eat until 7:00 or later. I’m hungry, and so are my kids. And as for exciting, no that’s not how I’d describe my life… except maybe when my kids do something hilarious, or they start taking their first steps, saying their first sentences, reading their first words, etc. (Which isn’t every day, but it’s more exciting than a dinner party.)

adrienne w - March 1, 2012 - 1:03 pm

I definitely think that routine and structure are important. But I’m one of those parents that isn’t great at following it. I’m kind of a fly by the seat of my pants person. In some ways, that helps me a lot as a parent, because the unexpected doesn’t throw me off, but I know it’s something I’d like to improve on. We have routine, but it doesn’t always follow a strict schedule. As far as bedtime goes, I am DESPERATELY trying to get ours earlier. My aim for bedtime is between 7:30 and 8:00 for Macartney(7) and Thatcher(5) and to have the two littler girls in bed before that. But that never happens most of the time the 3 older kids are in bed by 8:30 (sometimes later, sadly) and I put the baby to bed after that. I’m lucky that all my kids are phenomenal sleepers who will sleep anywhere and through the night. In general, all the girls will sleep in if they were up late. Thatcher will not. He is a morning person and is up first everyday, but usually no earlier than 7:00. Don’t get me wrong- I know sleep is very important. I’m just lucky that my kids are incredibly flexible, which gives our family a lot of flexibility. As first time parents, we made sure Macartney could sleep wherever we were and that made life so easy. All the kids are good about adapting their sleep to the situation. I’m also terrible at eating dinner at the same time every night. I don’t often leave myself enough time to cook and we get behind, which is probably what is throwing our bedtime schedule off. I need to get better at it. As far as the day goes, life is so much easier for me and my 4 small children, if I just stay home most of the time. The baby can nap and I don’t have to worry about the stress of going out with them. We just go to and from the school most of the time. When we’re not in school, I do take them on outings, but maybe once a week. And as a family we often go out on Saturday afternoons, after Geneva’s nap. I don’t feel trapped most of the time, except when Denver’s out of town for work. Then I do everything in my power to get them to bed early so I can relax! :)

kara - March 1, 2012 - 1:43 pm

Wendy,
It is an interesting combination with my kids ages, because I feel like Sofia and Gabe are okay with having their routine shaken up a little more, but the baby falls apart. I think a few more years from now, and it won’t feel so intense.
Kim,
Sounds like you have a lot of great routines going on. Baby Wise was personally not for me and my style (I didn’t like the idea of putting tiny babies on a schedule… I like following their lead at that age), but I know that plenty of parents are happy with it. That is great that you and your hubby both do bedtime so she is equally used to both of you doing it!
Katrina,
I might make you stir up your routine a little bit to come and hang out in Corvallis in the summer when the weather is nice :).
Adrienne,
I’m sure that the more kids you add, the harder it is to have a consistent schedule, because their is probably more unexpected. I agree that staying home more makes life easier. I am a social go go go kind of gal, so it has been so nice for me to be at home more and just be more low key.