A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom


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



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


The Mother Brings the Calm


I realized something the other day when I holed myself up in the bedroom to work while my husband was on baby duty. My epiphany really put a lot of thoughts and ideas in a few proper boxes. I’ve been known to get jealous a time or two watching my children play with their dad because they just have so much fun. Laughing and squealing. I even heard of a research study that showed children’s heartbeats speed up when they see their father. Speed up because of the anticipation of fun and excitement that is sure to come. Well. Doesn’t that make me happy I’m the one who makes my daughter clean up her toys, sit like a lady at the table, and go into time out? Wow. Being a mother rocks.

Okay, I jest. No, actually I’m serious. Being a mother does rock. Here’s what happened. I was working and from the other room could hear our 20 month old squealing and laughing and having a great time with her dad. I could tell she was having fun because the decibel of her voice and squeals kept growing. Then, oddly enough, I noticed that she kept getting frustrated too. For no reason, I can tell the frustrated-for-no-reason noise from the others, she was getting annoyed. Then in another moment she’d be happy. Then the next moment she’d yell. She was hyper and having fun with her dad, but at the same time I could tell that level of fun couldn’t last much longer without major tears.

Here’s what it made me think. Continue reading


What I Learned when my daughter woke up the entire 2nd floor of our hotel

A Mother Far from Home

And it was not a small hotel. In fact, resort would be the more apt description. It went something like this. She was up late the evening before because we hosted for Thanksgiving. After being put down for a nap in the hotel she had been sleeping roughly an hour when the neighbor’s very loud industry type door (I said it was a resort, I didn’t say it was super classy) slammed and woke her up. She cried and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, that evening, she woke up around 11pm inconsolable and screamed bloody murder for an hour or two. She was super over tired and when she’s like that nothing makes it better but time. You can hold her, hug her, give her something to drink, bring her in your bed and it will all work for two seconds but when she hits the almost asleep phase, she screams again. So, after two hours of this and knowing we were getting mental death threats from everyone on our floor, we decided the next day we would have to be diligent to get her rested up again.

Here’s what I learned.

1) Let go of things that are less important but guard the things that are highly important. At home I make homemade baby food for my 7 month old. I just think it tastes better, it’s less expensive and it just seems easier. While we were gone we bought baby food. In my mind, a weekend of baby food out of a jar was not a big deal. I knew he wouldn’t mind and I wasn’t going to be OCD about it because I knew it’d be a pain. Her naps, however, ARE highly important. It is important to me that she doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night screaming because she’s over tired. When she’s well rested you never hear a peep til morning. So, the next day we decided to guard her nap like watchmen. We put her playpen in the bathroom hoping for an exhaust fan. When there wasn’t one, we turned on the tumble dryer up high and closed all doors that would possibly let in other noise. Daughter sleeping in the bathroom? Weird? Yes. But you know what? She “slept like a baby” and couldn’t hear the loud doors closing or even her little brother making all sorts of noises. Guarding the nap kept the rest of the weekend enjoyable.  Continue reading


Are you Afraid to make your Children Angry?

A Mother Far from Home

I agree. No one likes to have an unhappy baby/toddler/child. I’m not talking about the kind of frustration that comes from being hungry, sick or teething. I’m talking about when our kids get angry because they don’t get their way. When they pitch a fit because they’re told no. When they throw a temper tantrum because you won’t buy them a toy. I don’t mean a one time occurrence. Let’s face it, asserting their will is a developmental milestone and we should be happy our children are growing up and starting to have opinions, preferences and desires. However, lying is also a developmental milestone. Just because we can expect it does not mean we should ignore it, or worse, condone it by lack of intervention. Continue reading