A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom


4 Comments

How to prepare your child for another baby (reader Q + A)

A Mother Far from Home

I recently received an email from a dear friend in a similar situation to myself, having babies very close together. My first two are 13 months apart and, as I type, my third bun in the oven will be only 16 months younger than my second. Here’s what she writes.

“I was wondering how did you “prepare” Ella Kate for Judah’s arrival since she was still very young? My daughter will be 15 months when baby No.2 is born and I wonder how she will deal with the fact that another baby will take up a lot of Mama’s time which she previously had all to herself. Especially since at 15 months they are still very dependent on Mama Bear.

 Any thoughts and tips, fire them my way !! -H”

Excellent question, H. I grappled with this topic myself since I knew that my firstborn would be too young to have a conversation about the whole thing. It was more about preparing her as a tiny person to cope with change as opposed to preparing her mind for change, as you would an older child. Here are some thoughts.

1) Get her a baby doll and role play. An aunt suggested I get my oldest a baby doll and roll play changing a diaper, burping and feeding. We would both hold a baby and do this together (as approximate as it was) in hopes that when a real baby came home she would have a frame of reference to put it in. We didn’t do it every day but we did it frequently enough. I tried to hone in the concepts of baby and cry so the noise didn’t bother her, and we just hoped for the best. Then when the baby arrived, I made sure to give my daughter the baby doll and so she could feed, change and burp with me. She didn’t really turn into a copy cat baby mommy, but I think it helped her realize, even at her young age, what I was trying to communicate. Continue reading


5 Comments

Creating a memory book of quotes (+ a Typo giveaway!)

A few years ago…okay….almost ten years ago now, I lived a grand adventure with 4 best friends in Italy. We lived and taught English in Rome. One of them had a genius idea to keep a quotes book where we’d write down funny stuff that was said. To this day when I read it I laugh so hard I almost cry. It’s the type of stuff that would be weird, gross and completely unfunny if you weren’t actually there. Even when I read it, though, sometimes I find the memory of it fuzzy. As in, I know we said it and I see it written down – some in my own handwriting – but the memory is not clear as day. I know that if it was’t written down it would be filed away somewhere in the recesses of our big brains never to be laughed over again.

With my babies now becoming toddlers then becoming kids then becoming preteens (tranquilize me, please) and so on and so on, we decided we wanted to keep a journal of sorts, to write down all the funny and sweet quotes and memories that were sure to happen. Like the other day, when we gave my daughter her first lollipop, she called it a “poppilop.” It was so cute we thought we would die. We talked about it days later…. I know….we are in love.

Some pros for journal keeping. Continue reading


4 Comments

How to prevent having children who are always “bored”

how to stop your children from always being bored

In the words of my wise grandmother… boring people get bored.

Now I know that is cold, but let’s be honest. In a world where there are 1,583,353 things to do at every waking moment, being bored simply means you are ready for the next thing to entertain you because you can’t be bothered to entertain yourself. I was an only child and still had to go play outside and find something to do. And you know what? I cannot remember the last time I’ve even thought of being bored as a possibility.

I am from the country and my high school friends and I are from a really – and I mean 8,000 people small – small town. I have a memory of us away at college (Go Gators) in a town with about 45,000 college students where we made a few friends from the big city. About 10 of us were sitting in our living room and one of our big city friends said “I’m bored, what are we going to do?” I looked at my small town friends and said, “What does she mean what are we going to do? We’re sitting here talking…aren’t we already doing it?” Come to find out, she meant what kind of activity are we going to do or where are we going to go to eat or be entertained or see something cool. I’m sure we eventually went out, but it really got me thinking. We small town kids were used to entertaining ourselves and thinking of inventive things to do while our big city friends were used to being entertained. What sounds more fun to you? Playing hide and go seek in your cars with walkie-talkies or going bowling?

We were used to being creative and they were used to receiving the fruits of others’ creativity. There is a big difference.  And trust me, one is easier to live with as a characteristic in your children than the other.

1) You are not their 24-hour birthday party paid entertainer. We will love our kiddos and want their smiles, laughter and hugs. Of course, it’s great fun to play horsey and peekaboo and do all manner of things to see them happy when they are babies, but being the nonstop source of entertainment for your child (sort of like your smartphone is for you) will get old very quick. You do not need to be the one to pick out every game, activity, book, Barbie or video. They are opinionated and are discovering their interests so let them have a say. If you have more than one or two children with you at home and they all are in constant need of you to stimulate their brains all.day.long you will quickly lose patience for it all. And we know that losing patience is a one way ticket off the happy cycle.  Continue reading


2 Comments

The difference between protection and over protection

The Difference between protection and over-protection

Perhaps it’s because I am neurotic, paranoid about my children’s physical safety or just because I think too much about things, but the term over-protection has grated on me. I would think “how can you over-protect?” Then, it hit me, when people speak of others – negatively – as being over-protective what they really mean is that the children are being sheltered. Because, after all, protecting our children from harm is a god-given and natural instinct.

Here’s what I think about the difference between protection and over-protection.

PROTECTION IS ABOUT:

1) Health and safety. It is our job to teach our children how to stay safe, remain safe, and act wisely. This will encompass many different things from their infancy to their adulthood. At first, we teach them not to climb on bookcases, the sofa, walk into the road or play with knives, the hot oven or the neighbor’s mean dog. As they grow older we teach them about strangers, how to ride a bike, good driving skills, which neighborhoods to avoid, etc. In the training aspect, I believe we can focus on this fairly heavily, though not to the detriment of other areas of training. Continue reading


1 Comment

How to teach your children what you don’t know

Every mother wants to teach their children wise, wonderful and winning things. But, because we’re human, we will find there are things we desperately want our children to take hold of that we simply cannot teach them ourselves. Why? Because we aren’t perfect and we don’t know everything. I want my sons to be handy and, while I can figure things out, I am not naturally handy. I want my daughter to be able to play a musical instrument well. I play the piano but probably not well enough to teach her properly. I want to teach them hospitality but I’m still learning the art myself. My husband wants our children to understand car engines, but he was never taught so doesn’t know where to start.

First, let’s admit we don’t know everything. Second, let’s admit we want our children to know more than we know. Third, let’s think of some ways we can do just that.

1) Get outside help. Piano lessons, art lessons, sewing lessons, and on and on. If you can think of it, there is probably someone else who can teach it. If you are not musical yet want your child exposed to some training, find someone nearby who can help. If money is an issue, find a friend and trade a service. If you can sew and they can sing, do a lesson swap. Get creative to think of ways that you expose your child to things you don’t do at home. Church groups and community groups are often ways to do so at reasonable (to free) prices.  Continue reading