Author Archives: Kim

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

I Sacrificed My Professional Dreams to Become a Mother 7 Times Over

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www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

I wish I could paint this fairytale picture that where I am now in my life is what I’ve always wanted, but that’s the furthest from the truth.

With a Bachelor of Science in International Business, I thought I was going places. It didn’t matter that I didn’t land my dream job fresh out of college. I was willing to work my way up.

My dream was to travel the world.

Whether it was running my own business or working for some major corporation, I did not care as long as I could utilize my degree and travel.

Working for a travel agency was as close to my dream as I would get. At the time I was content because my traveling expenses were discounted or free. However, that lifestyle left no time for a husband or children.

My dreams became just dreams.

Fast forward a few years, I met my husband then one baby after another. Whatever dreams I thought I had were all just that, dreams. Instead of no time for a husband or babies, it was the opposite, no time for pursuing my dreams of traveling and progressing up the corporate ladder.

My mother would always say, a woman always sacrifices her dreams and goals once she has children. This was hard to accept and process internally. I started to question then what was my purpose. And with having to pay off my school loans, I asked why I allowed myself to waste four years of school if I’m not utilizing the degree I earned?

I just could not comprehend this transition in my life.

No matter how much I tried to do things my way, having children changed my life dramatically. It changed the way I thought, the way I dressed, and how I spent my time. This was not just me sacrificing dreams and goals. This was me sacrificing SELF for my husband and children.

After our fourth child, it came a point where I had to make a decision.

I didn’t want the most important people in my life to be neglected or suffer all because I wanted to be a success.

As my family grew, my faith grew. And as my faith grew, my views of what it meant to sacrifice self for children changed.

But how has all the sacrificing of SELF become a blessing?

It was either stop having children or stop pursuing my goals. Even after our fourth, I still had a desire for more children. I learned that children are an inheritance, not simply a byproduct of a couple’s intimacy.

Children teach you things that nothing else in the world can teach you.

Children taught me my strengths and weaknesses. There is nothing wrong with having dreams, but it is more of a blessing to share those dreams with others and fulfill them together. I’ve discovered the difference between my wants and necessities and what is temporal and what is eternal. All the accomplishments I would have gained on my own pre-family life would have made me happy but not joyful. There is a huge difference.

Sacrificing SELF for my children has taught me that my children are my success story. And I look forward to seeing every chapter of the story as I continue learn, love, teach and grow with them.

Have you made sacrifices to your dreams? What were your dreams before you became a mother? What are they now?

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

5 Mentalities You Need to Make it as a Homeschooling Mom

Considering homeschooling is overwhelming. It’s a major transition to opt-out of the traditional school system and move forward with your children’s education fully in your hands.

During our life-changing journey to homeschooling, we questioned ourselves often about whether we were ready for the upcoming challenges. Now that we’ve found our rhythm, we can certainly say homeschooling isn’t for everyone. If you do want to make it as a homeschooling mom, here are 5 mentalities you need to have.

1. A Willingness to Sacrifice

If you are not willing to sacrifice, don’t even think about homeschooling. Having seven children, I thought I knew about sacrifice, but homeschooling is another level.

When the oldest two were attending traditional school, my husband and I shared responsibility with their teachers for their education. Now that responsibility is all ours. Homeschooling requires so much time.

2. Patience, Patience, Patience

If you have no patience at all, then get on your knees now and start praying. My husband has more patience than I do, but I’m the one home all day.

When my children see me losing patience, it deters them from wanting to learn. They assume that they are the problem when it’s really me. So I have to work hard to be patient.

3. Courage

Not everyone agrees with our decision to homeschool. It takes a lot of courage to answer questions about why you chose this journey, especially when you are a rookie.

We also needed courage because we questioned whether we made the right decision and if we were doing it right. I still pray for courage.

4. A Readiness to Research

If you don’t like to do homework, then forget about homeschooling. Whether it pertains to curriculums, state requirements, or social events for our children, I am always researching.

There is no single best method to homeschooling. Finding what works for each child’s style of learning and your style of teaching can take more research than you’ve ever done. The benefit of doing all the research is you will be confident in your choices.

5. No People Pleasing

If you are looking to please friends, family, or even yourself then homeschooling is not for you. I want to give standing ovations to parents willing to accept such a life-changing experience for the sake of their children, but outside of homeschooling circles you probably won’t find many people happy for you.

Instead of praise, you’ll often find challenges– challenges with teaching your children, challenges from friends and family, challenges even with yourself. To homeschool is to take on challenges, especially if you don’t have a teaching degree.

My family members with teaching experience often suggest ways I should go about teaching and testing my children. But I’ve learned to take good suggestions, ignore criticism that’s not constructive, and stick to what’s best for me and mine.

If you are a people pleaser, forget about homeschooling. You’ll be too busy trying to make everyone happy to get any real work done.

6. An Open and Willing Heart

So far my husband and I have learned that homeschooling requires a whole and willing heart, guided by prayers and wisdom from the Lord. While this has been very challenging, it’s also strengthened our faith.

So if you’re not ready to sacrifice, test your patience, and open your heart, homeschooling may not be for you. But if you are, oh what an experience awaits.

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: My Honest Thoughts On My First Few Months of Homeschooling

We have seven children. Our oldest two were the only ones in the traditional school system. Since they’d both been in school since age four, they were used to the routine of going back to class after summer vacation.

Their initial reaction to learning everything would change this year and we’d be homeschooling hasn’t been wholly positive, and honestly, my feelings aren’t either. After these first months at home, I’ve experienced some major pros and cons.

I reclaimed time with my children.

Consider the hours per day, per month, per year that your children are away from you being influenced both negatively or positively by teachers and friends. On the short end, it’s seven hours a day, five days a week, 10 months a year.

We had to really meditate on the fact that during the school year our children are out of our care more hours than in our presence. When they arrived home from school, it was a short re-telling of all that went on during their day, homework, dinner and bedtime to prepare for the next day, only to do it all over again.

Since our children have been home schooled, I’ve learned so much more about them because we have more of each other’s undivided attention for a significantly more time.

I’ve increased the quality of our days.

The goal of homeschool has not primarily academic for us. With the new ability to spend more quality time with our children, we can better value each other’s presence. We can also emphasize discipling them so that the ways of the Lord are their foundation.

Now that they’re home, I like that there are no more surprises about what new songs, dances, words, games, or teachings they’ve been exposed to at school.

It hasn’t all been easy.

The idea of not returning to school to see their classmates was difficult, especially our daughter, who had attended the same school since kindergarten.

Though she was excited about the idea of homeschooling when she made the connection that she would not see her friends on a regular basis, the enthusiasm slowly diminished. We reassured her that she would make new friends through new social activities, but she still mourned the loss of those school-based friendships.

The messy reality of being home all the time.

With seven kids, we are obviously home the majority of time. When the two oldest were in school, it was a little easier to keep the house clean throughout the day. Not anymore!

Juggling teaching the older children while keeping the babies occupied has left some chores neglected. Often times when certain things are not clean and orderly, I feel as if I’ve lost control. During those times I have to remind myself that I am a wife and mother to 7 children, teaching four during the day, discipling all of them, preparing meals, potty training, all while trying to keep the house clean.

I had to learn to let a few things go to the wayside, though everything eventually gets clean because we enjoy a clean house.

Honestly when you have children, your time is never really your time anymore.

While two were in school, I was able to steal away to have some time to myself. Since starting homeschooling my time is their time.

I am blessed when my husband arrives home and sends me away for time for myself. But even when I am alone in the house, I am never off-duty. With eight others in the house, I hear everything happening on the other side of the walls and eventually someone gets to me.

But family is what life is all about. When we chose home schooling, we knew we weren’t signing up for a life of ease. Some difficult days are absolutely normal.

This is a journey of learning.

Home schooling so far has helped us obtain wisdom and become stronger. Before choosing home schooling, we spent a year soul searching. We asked ourselves not only if this was what the Lord wanted us to do, but if we ourselves were willing to do it. Now months later, I can say that we definitely needed His direction and guidance because the mass of homeschooling can be overwhelming, but with His help, it’s been mostly positive.


Have you ever considered homeschooling? What pros and cons do you think it would present for your family?

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

I’m Pregnant With Twins and Raising 4 Young Children — The Challenges and the Joys

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I never thought that after already being blessed with four children my body would carry twins. When I went for my first prenatal check up I was so surprised yet giddy when I got the news. I always entertained the thought of having twins, but never thought it would actually happen. But once I got off my excitement high, and acknowledged this blessing from God, the reality hit! I had so many questions, and encountered many things that I really just wasn’t prepared for.

People reaction’s are always nerve racking to me. Once we found out we were pregnant, I was ready to shoot down the negative comments that were certain to come my way. We have four now, and those four alone generate so many judgmental opinions. But once family, friends, and strangers learned two more were on the way…hmmmmm… Let’s just say I had to really go into some major praying. For the most part strangers were more encouraging than close relatives. My kids got a kick out of letting everyone know that “mommy has two babies inside of her!” I had to ask them why they kept telling everyone. Their response was, “because we love when their mouth opens wide and their eyes get real big.”

Morning sickness for the first three months — which was double the sickness I had from carrying one. House work and taking care of the kids have all been pushed on my husband. Headaches felt like my head was burning. There were times I could not get out of bed, or I’d have to stay in a room with no lights on. I had to eat literally every hour on the hour or who knows what would come out of my mouth. Now it’s every two hours. Oh and I spit all day everyday! If you live here in Portland you would see me either with a plastic cup in my hand, a bottle of water to keep the spit down or me going off to the side to spit in the street somewhere. It’s so embarrassing but what’s worse is trying to hold a conversation with someone with a mouth full of saliva because I have no where to spit. My husband and kids cannot stand it because while Im trying to talk to them they have to run and get my bucket and ask me to start all over again. For those that haven’t heard of this, it’s called Ptyalism. You can read more about it here.

My doctor appointments have been challenging because now that all four kids are home for the summer, my husband has to take off time from work or we have to ask someone to babysit. Being pregnant with twins is considered “high risk” and my past experience with stillbirth means I am being monitored even more during this pregnancy. I have to do more ultrasounds than I want to so the doctors can make sure the babies are growing and getting their proper nutrients. I really wanted to go with a midwife and experience a natural child birth, but many midwives here in Portland won’t touch a twin pregnancy, or I’m not comfortable with their level of experience.

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Figuring out who will watch the kids when I go into labor has been major for me because I really don’t have the same support out here that I had back at home. And not everyone is game to watch four kids all at one time. One night/day to watch all four might not be a problem, but three days/nights in a row can be. Splitting them up is not an option for me, but God is a miracle worker and He has never let us down, so my husband and I will continue to pray and see what happens.

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A larger vehicle was recently purchase due to our growing family. We had a 7 passenger van but with two more on the way, making a total of 8 of us, we had to upgrade to an 8 passenger truck. If we have any more babies we will have to get a mini school bus…YIKES!!!!

I’ve slowed me down a lot. My husband has taken most of those responsibilities off my hands and Lord knows I am so grateful. But for the most part I take it one day at a time and often have to explain to the kids they can be a big help to mommy by listening and being patient as I take longer than usual to do my normal activities and tasks. They actually are making this pregnancy go fast because they keep me so busy and distracted from it. But there are times when I get so out of breath that I can’t finish my sentences. ? But it’s will all be worth it once we meet and welcome our twins!

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Kim is the author of  where she discovers what it means to be a woman of GOD, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur. You can follow her on Twitter @Reboryn.

 

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

5 Fun Summer Activities that Cost Little Money And Keep Kids Entertained

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One more week of school and I will have all 4 kids home for the summer. My two oldest have hit the age where the cost of fun is not fun anymore because we are paying full kid prices. Things like amusement parks, flying, eating out and resort stays have become a lot more expensive, so we’ve had to come up with ways to save money and have fun at the same time. Here are some ideas we’ve come up with;

1. Ice Cream Party
My oldest is turning 7 next month and we were debating whether or not to go all out for her birthday. Going all out for us is inviting more people than just family. To be totally honest we don’t have it like that right now and often have to remind our daughter that we will do something for her birthday but not the type of parties she has attended with her friends. Last year was a big hit when we had a BBQ outside with family and instead of doing cake, we did ice cream with every topping you could think of. It actually worked out cheaper this way. For one we had it in our backyard, so it was easy clean up and no cost for venue. Also, we kept it simple with the food — hotdogs, chips, veggie dish, grilled corn, water, lemonade and — everyone’s favorite — ice cream. Guests had fun making their own cones (or cups) and adding different toppings. Can we say ‘success’!

2. Day Trips
We are a family of six so hopping on and off a plane does not always work for us. But we find that going to places that are no more than 2 or 3 hours away is an adventure for us! We live in Portland, and have done trips to Seattle — which is only two hours away. We stay in a hotel for the night and tour the city the next day. Another big hit with our family is spending a night in a hotel that is no more than 5 or 10 miles away from us. You ask how is that fun? Well if the the hotel is a 3 star or better, has an indoor pool for winter months or an outdoor pool for the summer months, has a nearby store for snacks and comes with a free full buffet breakfast, this family is there!!!! I did a post about it on my blog here. Check it out .

3. Keep a Cooler in the Car for Snacks
Going to fast food restaurants are a treat for my kiddies when on the road. But we try our best not to depend on fast food entirely when we are traveling. So we keep a cooler in the car. This has been a life saver and will be even moreso this summer. It’s good for water and juice, lunch meat to make quick sandwiches and even fruit. No quick drive by to McDonalds this summer!

4. Grow a Garden
Not only will this be a money saver, but a fun filled project for me and my family. I mean have you seen the price of produce lately? We eat a lot of fruit and veggies, especially in the summer months. When we saw how much our neighbors, a family of four, were growing right in their back yard, we knew that, as a family of six, this was something we definitely needed to attempt. There is nothing like eating produce grown right in your own yard.

5. Free Local Events
In my family, ‘free’ is our middle name. Lol, just kidding. But seriously there is no shame in seeking out free events — especially if they’d normally cost $12 or $15 a person! This summer we will be attending “Movies in the Park.” This event is really big out here in the Portland area and I’m sure if you check your area there may be a few around too. They play popular recent releases that would cost quite a bit for our family to go see in a theater. Sometimes these events give out free popcorn and do raffle prizes for extra fun. We also like to attend “Concerts in the Park” where local bands or dance crews come out and do performances in the park for FREE! Oh and don’t forget about your local library. There are always free events going on — especially during the summer months.

So in other words..TAKE ADVANTAGE of ANYTHING FREE! I believe we will have a great summer this year and will save a lot of money doing so. Your kiddies will just appreciate the fact that an effort was made to create fun and new adventures for them. It does not take money to have fun.

Kim is the author of  where she discovers what it means to be a woman of GOD, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur. You can follow her on Twitter.

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

How I Kept My Home Screen Free for 1 Week

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At the beginning of my son’s school year I attended a workshop about the importance of reading to children. To be totally honest I was really there to get a free gift card for sitting through the workshop. But I gained so much more. I already knew the importance of reading to my child, but I didn’t know that too much TV and screen time (iPads, video games, smart phones, etc) can have a detrimental effect on children under the age of five.

According to Kidshealth.org;

the first 2 years of life are considered a critical time for brain development. TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development. As kids get older, too much screen time can interfere with activities such as being physically active, reading, doing homework, playing with friends, and spending time with family.

It bothered me to learn that by the time kids enter kindergarden teachers can tell which were allowed to sit and watch TV all day and which were read to and encouraged to do non-screen activities. A warning sign of excessive screen use is when children can’t sit at their seats for at least 5 to 10 minutes without interrupting class or getting distracted.

As much as I’d like to say that my husband and I limit TV time for our kids to 2 hours a day, there have been occasions when we’ve allowed them to exceed this limit. And I’ve seen some of the negative effects of screen use in my own kids when it comes to their favorite movies and TV shows. We thought we were okay because we don’t allow TVs in the children’s rooms. But I’ll admit that when I need to cook or sit and make a phone call, television has been my best weapon to keep my kids occupied. I did my best to put on shows that are worth watching. But it did bother me that I was promoting screen time over toys and books.

Given all this, when I heard about the national “Screen Free Week“, I decided to take on the challenge! And let me say it really was a CHALLENGE! But it was so impactful that my husband and I have decided to try it at least once a month (no promises). We want to show our kids how to learn and be creative on their own, and that they didn’t need TV, computers, and games to stimulate their innate gifts and creativity. Besides, it’s recommended that the very first thing you should introduce to a toddler is a simple box for them to explore. Interesting right?

Here’s how we kept busy and free of screen time for an entire week!

1. We invited family and friends to join us for Screen Free Week
We told other families and friends about the Screen Free Week. Some were not too crazy about the idea, but the ones who were committed helped the week go by much faster. We set play dates with them, giving our families an opportunity to sit, play games together, and talk.

2. We attended free events in the neighborhood
I checked our neighborhood listings for anything that was free and fun. It just so happened that my daughter’s school had a family game night that week. The library was always open and full of activities for the kids. And the park is ALWAYS free!

3. We took walks
This seems like a simple and normal thing to do, but if it’s not your family’s habit, it can feel like a brand new experience. We took walks right after dinner with the kids. It helped us to get exercise, talk and ask/answer questions that we probably wouldn’t if we’d been watching TV to kill time.

4. We caught up with long distance relatives
This was my favorite! I’m originally from New Jersey and have lived on the West Coast for two years. Because of the time difference and our TV viewing habits we are not always able to call and speak with relatives. Well there were no excuses this particular week. We had the opportunity to speak to plenty relatives back home, and they were just as excited as we were. We even FaceTimed a few relatives and friends and it made our week so much more special.

5. We donated old toys
I got to see how many toys my kids have and do not play with! We made room in their closet and donated their old toys to Goodwill. The kids were very involved in the process and surprised to discover how many toys they had at the bottom of their trunk.

6. We read more than usual!
You can never read enough. My husband usually does this with the kids every night before bed. He usually reads a couple book, but he was able to slip in an extra one which the kiddies absolutely loved because they fell right asleep after the extended story time.

7. We made up games
We made up a game to dance in the living room until we got tired. The goal was to see who could last the longest without stopping. It’s something we probably wouldn’t have normally done as a family. It was a workout and a lot of fun. The kids still ask to this day if we can play the made up game of dancing. Who knew?!

So that is how we succeeded with our screen free week. We communicated and interacted with one another much more and we learned that we could be creative, more social with friends, and give back. Most importantly we had our children’s attention and they had ours. ? Of course we could have done all these things whether or not there was a screen free challenge, but many of these areas in our lives were being neglected because we were giving away time to television and electronic devices.

Mommies, how do you limit screen time in your home?

Kim is the author of  where she discovers what it means to be a woman of GOD, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur.

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

5 Ways to Dress for Pregnancy Without Buying Expensive Maternity Clothes

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Pregnant at 16 weeks
During my first three pregnancies I struggled GREATLY with maternity clothes. No one ever explained to me that you should buy maternity clothes according to your normal size and that the only difference in maternity clothes is that you have more room in your belly area. Because I didn’t know this during my first pregnancy I went a size up in maternity clothes assuming I needed to to accommodate my stomach. WRONG! I ended up looking even huger than I actually was, and feeling very boxy and frumpy. I can’t even show you pictures from that pregnancy because I purposely stayed away from the camera. By the second pregnancy I learned how to purchase my size, but the cost of maternity clothes took a toll on my pockets. They cost more than my regular clothes, especially if I sprung for the nice quality ones. By the third pregnancy I was a little smarter, and swapped maternity clothes with friends or bought them from thrift stores. But that excitement soon ended because, well, let’s just say not everyone has my sense of style.

But I didn’t give up! On my next pregnancy I was determined to be comfortable and look and feel presentable. Plus, at that point, I’d gotten rid of all my maternity clothes and decided not to buy new ones, so I had to find an alternatives.

Here’s what I came up with;

1. Stretchy tank tops with cardigans and jackets
I started by wearing my stretchy tank tops from Forever 21. The prices are fairly reasonable and the quality of the clothing is not bad. My shirt size has always been medium. Once I started growing in the belly area I moved up a shirt size to large so my shirts could stretch with my belly. I would then wear a light cardigan or cropped jacket over my tank or cami.

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2. Bottoms that fall below the waist length
For bottoms I wore anything stretchy that fell below the waist line. I love Forever 21’s thick long leggings for the Fall and Winter months, and their light capri leggings for Summer.

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3. Only buy clothes that have at least 5% spandex
If you’re buying clothes made out of cotton or jersey knit fabric make sure they are at least 5% spandex, and go one size up so they will grow with your belly. Another benefit of spandex is that it will shrink back down so you can wear the clothes after your pregnancy.

4. Flowy dresses
Anything that was flowy and gave me room to move around worked for me.

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Pregnant at 14 weeks, maxi dress with belt added
5. Bodycon dresses as long tank tops
Another cool item to snag from Forever 21 are their Bodycon dresses. I turned these babies into long tank tops. They fit snug to my shape, covered my protruding belly and grew with me through my pregnancies. And the prices range anywhere from  $3.48 to $9.48

Taking this new route in maternity wear has helped me tremendously with my confidence in being pregnant. Here are some pictures below of my current pregnancy as to date.

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Pregnant at 17 weeks, Forever 21 Bodycon dress underneath loose fitting shirt
Mommies, do you have any tips to add? How did you dress during pregnancy without splurging on maternity clothes?

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

7 Key Questions to Ask A Potential Babysitter

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I have four children, which means my husband and often need babysitters. We prefer to have reliable family members watch our kids, but sometimes that option isn’t available to us, and we have to take a chance on parents from our children’s school or family members we wouldn’t normally ask.

Before Rick and I choose someone to watch our children we always pray first! We then pay attention to how our potential babysitter acts around our children, their own children and how our kids interact with each other. We also ask the following questions to get a better sense of who they are;

1. Tell us a little about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests?
This gives you a chance to learn more about who they are, how they spend their free time, and whether you can see them watching your kids.

2. Do you have previous experience watching children? If so, please describe.
Does your potential babysitter have a history of watching children? If so, get references to verify. If you are dealing with an agency, make sure they’ve done a background check.

3. Have you ever watched multiple children at one time?
If you have more than one child, then this question is a must.  Some babysitters don’t have the experience or patience to deal with more than one child.

4. Do you charge by the hour, and if so how much?
We have been blessed that friends and family don’t ask us to pay, but if we can bless them with a little something we try. But if you are dealing with a professional babysitter who works for an agency, make sure to get the payment information up front and in writing. No one like surprises — especially if it means paying more then what you were expecting.

5. How you would plan a typical day/night for our children?
Rick and I try our best to limit TV time for our children and we expect the same from our babysitter. Is your babysitter creative with crafts and activities? How would she use the resources she had on hand to keep your children occupied?

6. If one or all of our children had a tantrum or meltdown how would you respond?
You know your children better than anyone else, so you know your babysitter will be tested one way or another. Have them describe a meltdown incident on a previous job, and how they dealt with it. This will help you determine whether they have the technique and ability to calm your child.

7. Do you have any health restrictions or commitments that may interfere with babysitting?
The health of your babysitter affects the care for your children. No one wants to get a surprise call from a babysitter who has to leave on short notice because of a health emergency.

So there you have it! Straight to the point.  There are plenty more questions that you can ask, but these are the obvious and important ones Rick and I always ask. And never be afraid to ask a ton of questions! Don’t stop probing until you feel confident that you can trust this person around your child.

Ladies, what would you add to this list?

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

5 Reasons I Stopped Arguing In Front of My Children

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My husband and I had known each other for just a year before we decided to tie the knot. Soon after that, we had a little one on the way. It all happened so fast. And after moving in together and seeing the people we really were, there were times we bumped heads and disagreed, usually leading to loud arguments.

When we had intense arguments during my first pregnancy I knew that our little one, though in the womb, felt and heard everything that was going on whether she understood it or not. Shortly after our second child was born, we finally realized that arguing in front of our children was not helpful to our family as a whole. Children learn by following the examples set by those around them. As parents, we realized that we should always be conscious of our actions and words around our children.

Here are the reasons we stopped arguing in front of our children;

1. Arguments frighten children
Growing up when I heard my parents argue, the first feeling that came over me was fear. I didn’t know or understand what exactly was going on. All I knew is that I didn’t feel good. I usually hid in a separate room until things calmed down. Even when I thought things were calm, if I then asked a question of either parent, I could still feel the flames in their response, so I learned to keep my distance altogether.

Sometimes as parents we get so caught up in our own emotions and feelings that we forget there are little ones watching who can feel those same emotions. And they are too young to understand that, even though mommy and daddy may argue, they still love each other at the end of the day.

2. Children feel forced to take sides
After witnessing a fight, children will begin to take sides, and they usually choose to stay away from the parent that seems most aggressive in the arguments. They will cling to the parent who seems the most vulnerable and innocent. This is not good! This will then cause friction between the child and the parent they see as more aggressive. They will begin to assume that that parent will take that same aggressive stance towards them, causing loyalty and trust to diminish.

3. ‘Mommy and Daddy do it, so can I’
Children are like sponges. They can and will imitate anything that looks and seems normal. If arguing and having disagreements are normal in your house, they will conclude that it’s ok to act out their feelings by yelling or going back and forth with their siblings or friends at school. They might even begin to communicate aggressively with you.

Children learn to manage conflicts based on how we manage our conflicts. My husband and I try our best to discuss important matters behind closed doors when the children are asleep. We have a large family, so ears are always open.

4. Even if you fight using “code words”, children can pick up on them
Our children are smart and they can pick up on a lot of things. Often times when my husband and I are talking, we notice our children are staring at us and listening intently.

5. A home should be a place of respect and security
The environment in your house should be a place of security, growth, and love. Not hostility and disrespect. At the end of the day you want your children to respect you both as parents. If they respect you first, they will learn to respect other people.

Ladies, how do you manage conflict in your home?

Kim is the author of  where she discovers what it means to be a woman of GOD, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur.

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com

The Mommy’s Guide to Cloth Diapering: Everything You Need to Get Started

My interest in cloth diapering started with a YouTube video I came across, and escalated when I started doing research on my own. Next thing I knew my youngest was wearing cloth diapers around the house. The experience has been trial and error, and for a while I felt like I was going backwards. But once I told hubby how much money we were saving, there was no going back. I just don’t understand why I did not start sooner! My husband and I started this transition from pampers to cloth diapers on our fourth child. And get this. Not as a newborn! At 9 months!

So if you’re interested in cloth diapering, here’s everything you need to know:

Cloth diapers are more economical
This is the #1 reason why we chose to make this huge transition. At the time I had a two year old who was potty training with disposable training pampers and a 9 month old who was in pampers. You do the math! We were literally throwing money away every time they pooped. Reports show that parents spend $2000 per child on disposable pamper from birth to 3 years, while cloth diapers cost anywhere from $200 to $400 per child from birth to 3 years. Can you say SCORE!

Cloth diapers may facilitate faster potty training
Some parents think it’s because they are less absorbent, so children feel more uncomfortable when they are wet or have a poop. Others think it’s because, from a young age, kids see you shaking the cloth diaper out in the toilet, so they have a better understanding of what a toilet is for. You can read more about this here.

1. Changing a dirty cloth diaper
This was my main concern when I was considering cloth diapers. After little man poops in his diapers I easily shake that poop out in the toilet then rinse the cloth diaper with warm to hot water and put it in what’s called a wet diaper bag or a diaper pail. These come in handy because they hold all my soiled diapers until wash day.

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You can get away with putting the dirty cloth diaper directly in the bag or pail without rinsing it, but I personally like the thought of a semi-clean diaper going into the washing machine.

2. Frequency of washing cloth diapers
This depends on how many cloth diapers you’ve stocked up, but you’re typically looking at washing every 3 to 4 days. To save money hang your washed diapers outside in the sun. This naturally sterilizes them and kills any leftover bacteria. The dryer works well too, but we’re trying to save money here.

Make sure to wash your cloth diapers separate from the rest of your laundry, and to use detergents that are free of perfumes, enzymes, brighteners, and fabric softeners so you don’t irritate your baby’s skin. I found a cool detergent chart here.

3. Finding the right cloth diaper for your child
This is where things got very overwhelming for me. Cloth diapering is not what it used to be. We’re far from the days of pins and a white cloth diaper. Now there are diaper covers with snaps that fit just like a pamper would! There are so many options out there right now, it’s kind of ridiculous. And some can be very pricey. My goal was to find cloth diapers that were affordable, easy to use and easy to take care of.

So far I have bought all of my diaper covers, cloth diaper, and inserts on Amazon.

The All-In-One size works for me right now because they grow with my lil man. These were especially perfect because I started him at 9 months. The cool thing about the All-In-One is if we were to ever have another child, I could use the very same diaper covers for him or her from newborn to toddler size. All you have to do is adjust the diaper covers according to their size and voila!

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4. Cloth diapering overnight and for heavy wetters
Now if your baby is a heavy wetter like mine don’t freak out. Just double up on inserts at night. Inserts go into the diaper cover and help to hold in pee and poop. You can buy micro fiber or bamboo inserts like these;

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Or just use a couple regular prefold cloth diapers overnight.

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5. Alternatives to pins for fastening
If you choose regular prefold cloth diapers, you don’t have to use a pin. You can use what’s called a Snappi to fasten it. It easily secures the diaper underneath the diaper cover and never comes off.

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6. Prepping your cloth diapers for improved absorbency
In order for cloth diapers to have the best absorbency, they must be washed two to three times (and dried in between). This is particularly important for natural fibers like cotton and bamboo. If your diapers are made of man made and/or micro fiber, then you only have to wash and dry once.

I found this out the hard way. I only washed my cotton and micro fiber diapers one time before using them, which led to countless wet beds. Once I did the research and increased my washing, baby Micah was DRY!

7. Cloth diapering is not for everyone
Trust me! It’s not! It all depends on your motivation. Do you want to keep the environment a little cleaner? Save more money in your budget? Potty train your little one faster? Then I’d say that cloth diapering is for you.  If you need more information on cloth diapering, check out these videos:

Ladies, are any of you cloth diapering? Share your tips and experiences!

Kim is the author of  where she discovers what it means to be a woman of GOD, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and entrepreneur.

Kim

About Kim

A Christian Wife and Stay at home mom to 7 beautiful children whose names all start with an M. I enjoy writing with my husband about our FAITH and all things FAMILY as we grow in the Lord. You can learn more about my family and I at www.encouragegrowingfamilies.com