How much should I play with my kids?



I’m lucky that I get to spend so much time with my kiddos.  I really am.  And as much as I, or any other parent, may joke about them wearing me out and stressing me out, the bottom line is that time with our babies is priceless.  (Side note: I officially sound like one of those cheesy mommies that I rolled my eyes at once upon a time.  We’ll talk about non-parents being annoyed by parents on another post though.)  But one thing that I have always wondered is, how much time should I spend actually playing with and/or entertaining them?  Now, my babies are just 10-months-old and 3.5-years-old, so they’re not old enough to be real independent yet.  Maybe when they’re older they won’t even want to play with me, right?  Oh, geez.  Okay, that’s a whole other story.  Anyway, if you’ve ever spent some days home with your kiddos, you know that there is always plenty to do, not counting any play time.  There’s prepping and cooking meals, cleaning up after meals, changing diapers, washing, drying, folding and putting away laundry, personal business like bills, errands and phone calls, and for me, actually doing my work from home.  Some days, it seems that there isn’t even much time to do any playing, but once you get a good groove and organize all of your tasks, finding time to play with the babies is easier.  So when I’m faced with a moment where I could play with them and just put off other tasks, should I?  And if so, should I do that every time?  Am I being too hard on myself?  Am I catering to them a little too much?  Or am I selfish for wanting to get some work done instead of play with them?  And don’t even get me started on when I do something fun for myself instead of playing with them – guilty city, baby.  Some of you may think I sound like a crazy person, but plenty of you probably have these exact same thoughts.  So, what’s the answer?  I imagine that an expert would tell us that we should find balance by playing with them some and also encouraging some independent play.  And although that obviously sounds like the logical answer, I hope I’m able to convince myself of that and not feel guilty if I’m not constantly playing with and entertaining my babies.  Mommy guilt – another term the old me probably would have rolled my eyes at – but it’s real, it exists, and it exists within me.  Okay, that’s enough writing for now.  I’ve gotta go play with my kids. 

My Boy, The Tin Man

IMG_7152

I have loved The Wizard of Oz since I was a young child. I was Dorothy twice for Halloween, and even as an adult I have continued to love it, although I obviously don’t watch it as much…until lately. You see, my little boy, Rowdy, wanted to watch the movie a few weeks back when he saw The Tin Man on the cover (he’s currently obsessed with robots and The Tin Man looks like a robot to him). Since then he has watched the movie many times and even watched this morning dressed as The Tin Man (in a box – see pic above). He was so into the character that he had me oil him about 9 times throughout the duration of the movie and wore that damn box the entire time. That’s commitment. As parents we all have or will find ourselves hoping our children will love some of the things we love. It helps us connect with them and establishes a sense of tradition. Yes, sometimes parents take it too far and live vicariously through their kiddos in a not-so-healthy way, but for the most part I think we have good intentions. We try and try to introduce them to things we’re familiar with in hopes they will love it like us, but you just never know when they’ll catch you by surprise and do it on their own. That’s what Rowdy did. And now, if even for just a small moment in time, I have my very own Tin Man.

Flying With a Preschooler and a Baby Alone – You can do it!

KK Brit Rowdy Romy airport      KK Rowdy computer airplane
My little family has recently gone through some big changes due to my husband’s career.  He is working out of state for the better part of this year, therefore the kiddos and I are spending much of our time with him.  But we are also going to be traveling many times throughout the year without him to be with family and friends in Texas.  I must say that the thought of traveling on an airplane with a 3-year-old and a baby made me feel a bit nervous.  Wanna know what the first thing I did to prepare was?  I googled it.  And guess what I read… a mom blog!  Perfect!  (Thanks for the inspiration and confidence boost Jen Loves Kev!)  Okay, good.  I was already feeling better about everything after reading her tips.  So, here’s my story about the very first time my babes and I flew 1,000 miles together.

First of all, we flew on Southwest.  I love Southwest Airlines.  No, they’re not perfect.  Nobody is.  But compared to their competition, they really do shine.  The fares are typically on the low end, and you get a carry-on, a personal item, 2 checked bags and a free snack and drink all included in the price of your fare.  Yes, please and thank you.  I chose to only purchase 2 tickets for Rowdy and myself, and have Romy, my baby daughter, ride on my lap (babies under 2 can ride on your lap).  Doing this saved me about $300, BUT this was the main part of the trip that made me nervous.  There are 3 seats in a Southwest plane’s row, and I was already picturing her reaching and grabbing the stranger next to us while screaming crying and spitting up in my hair.  But did I mention I saved $300?  Yeah.  Sorry to whomever was to sit next to us, but money talks.

We arrived at the airport that morning with my husband escorting us all the way to security.  Checking in our 2 suitcases was easy.  I carried on a backpack and my cross-body purse (this allowed my hands to be free to handle my babes).  Rowdy had his own backpack filled with snacks, a book and his Leapad, and we were able to use the stroller throughout the airport.  Going through security was rather pleasant, actually.  The TSA agents at the Indianapolis International Airport have to be the kindest that I’ve ever dealt with.  Kindness may always be a beautiful thing, but it’s especially beautiful when you’re at a strange airport going through security alone with your preschooler and baby.  So, thank you, nice people.  :)  We got to our gate, found a seat and I started feeding my cute little dependents right away.  After all, hungry kids on an airplane sounded pretty disastrous to me.  It wasn’t long before it was time for us to board the plane.  Once we got to the bottom of the ramp right before entering the plane, I had to fold up the stroller and leave it there for them to load it in the bottom of the plane.  The only problem here was that I have to use both hands to fold up the stroller, and Romy doesn’t walk yet.  So I literally just had to sit her on the floor hoping nobody would step on her fingers as I folded up the stroller.  I got an offer of help from a dude behind me, but I was already almost done folding it up. The offer was nice though and really made me feel more at ease.  We headed toward the very back row of the plane because I felt that’s where we belonged.  I mean, come on.  That is definitely where we belonged.  And then the most wonderful news I’d heard all day – the flight was not full and we were allowed to use up all 3 seats in our row!  It was our lucky day!  The flight attendants were very nice and even helped me juggle the kiddos when Rowdy and I needed potty breaks.  Unfortunately, I also had to change Romy’s diaper during the flight.  These plane bathrooms are smaller than porta-potties, so you can imagine how fun that was.  But all together the flight went well.  Rowdy spent the majority of the time watching Frozen on my computer.  Romy napped for a bit and only fussed minimally.

Looking back, these are the highlights for me.  Using a backpack and cross-body bag was super helpful and allowed my hands to be free to do all the millions of things you do when you’re hanging out with little ones.  Also, bringing along snacks that I knew Rowdy loved was definitely smart.  Yes, we got a free snack on the plane, but he’s a picky eater.  It felt nice knowing that we were prepared in that aspect.  (I also brought a full baby bottle, enough supplies to make another bottle and some baby snacks.)  And finally, because we were lucky enough to have all 3 seats in our row, it made me realize how crowded things would have been with just 2 seats.  Because of that fact, I was inspired to purchase 3 tickets for our next trip instead of 2.  Saving $300 is nice, but my sanity is worth a little more…a little.

Stay tuned for more updates on our traveling adventures throughout the year.

KK Brit Romy airplane