Friday, May 25, 2012

Second Child in Braces...Oh MY!

Yesterday my nine year old got braces. By the end of the day, she was ready to have them off. The next three years should be fun!

When my son got his braces last August, he was in a lot more pain. But my daughter is just bothered by them. Her teeth hurt to a degree, but she hasn't asked for ibuprofen every 4-6 hours like he did. I think her mouth is just irritated by them. She is a grinder, so I purchased a $6 mouth guard that is meant for playing sports. The orthodontist suggested it might help her at night, since she was already having jaw pain and frequent headaches which could possibly be caused by the grinding. She has used the mouth guard to help protect her mouth from the braces as well.

A word about mouth guards, from my experience... I purchased one for my son which has proven pretty handy. It cost $20. In less than a year, he had chewed completely through it. Apparently, he clinches or chews when he plays sports. As I was looking for new ones yesterday, I was able to compare the cheap one to the more expensive one. The expensive one was more rubbery, while the cheaper one was harder plastic. It seems that the cheaper one would be harder to chew through. They are shaped completely different, and the cheaper one is easier to talk with in your mouth. We shall see what happens...

Anyway, wanted to give another shout out for kids with braces. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get your kid an oral irrigator! Heck, even if they don't have braces, it's handy. I can't tell you what a difference it makes in your child's teeth and gums. It also massages the gums when they are in pain. If I ran an orthodontist office, I would include it in the price and give them to my patients! This one's awesome... (click on it to learn more!)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Being Able to "Afford" Staying Home

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how I am able to afford to stay home with my children. I am a single mom, but hear often how two parent households are unable to become a single-earner household. How can I do it, but they cannot?

I usually end that thought with, "Because God works things out," and that is true. I've never been late with a bill (unless I forgot about it, or thought I already paid it!) and my kids have never really gone without. I mean, they don't get everything they want, but if they want to do a sport or activity, I am able to make it happen. God provides for us, there's no doubt about that. But should I assume God doesn't provide for the others who "want" to stay home?

I say "want" because the reality is that some moms say that, but they don't really mean it. They "wish" they could, but they "just can't financially swing it." Truth is, they don't know what they would do with themselves (or their child) if they were "stuck" home all day with them. But that's a whole 'nuther topic for another day!

So how can I afford to stay home with my kids? Well, obviously I make money. It is not a lot. But it is enough. It seems to expand...because I don't drink Starbucks, get my toenails done, get my hair cut, go to the dentist, go to the doctor, take vacations, buy work clothes, or eat at expensive restaurants. These are the things I've noticed that parents from two-earner families do. That's great for them. But if that is you, don't come up to me and explain why you can't afford to stay home with your child...while you judge my toenails, homemade haircut, missing teeth, and worn out clothes! We all can "afford" what's important to us. I just hope that you realize that before your kids are grown and all you have left is fancy nails and vacation pics!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

When Children Leave Home

I'm sitting here in my super messy, very cluttered living room, realizing how tired I am of trying to get my kids to clean up after themselves. And then it hit me. I'm officially about halfway through my "stay at home mom" career, and before I know it, it will be over! The kids will move on (hopefully) and I will be left here with my own messes to pick up and no one to nag about finishing school work, cleaning up art supplies, or picking up their toys. What will I do with myself?!

No...really...what WILL I do with myself? Obviously I will still have my business to run, because I'm sure I will still enjoy eating...and a roof over my head... But other than that, what will I do with my time? When the kids were little, I enjoyed scrapbooking. But I quickly realized it was too stressful, because I'm a perfectionist who is never happy with my creations. Same with sewing. Sewing is fun, but when something goes wrong, you have to stop and fix it...yuck.

These days, my time is spent going to or watching kids' activities. There is dance, baseball, basketball, soccer, Taekwondo, swimming, cheerleading, and football... I just can't imagine not having these things anymore. I guess after the next nine years, I may feel differently. As they are able to drive themselves, or drop some activities, my time will slowly become mine again, and when they finally move on to college, or career, or whatever is in their futures, perhaps I will appreciate the time and find things to fill it. Like Bingo...or Bridge...isn't that what old ladies do? Perhaps I will garden. Who knows?

All I know right now is that SOMEBODY needs to pick up this living room. What a mess!