As a mother of 4 children, with my oldest quickly approaching pre-teen-dom, I feel like I have unlocked the next level of mothering and earned the title “Seasoned Mother”. We are well out of the baby years, and solidly in preschool/elementary years.
Ladies I have hit the sweet spot. That spot where the kids still need you some of the time, maybe ask for bedtime cuddles, everyone wipes their own butt (most of the time), but also do pretty fun stuff and are generally great to be around… when they aren’t fighting, that is.
I am opening my brain and giving you other Mamas, especially those of you with kids younger than 4, a heads-up leg-up on my top 10 Mama hacks I’ve learned along the way.
Buy the sissy clothes.
They are only so little for so long. If you love a baby boy in a blue bubble, or a little girl with a smocked yoke — or embroidered things — or any of the other sweet and precious items, buy them. They have the rest of their lives to be in polos and camo, or in their favorite ratchet Disney princess outfit. While they can’t complain DO IT. And take lots of pictures.
Always grab a short-sleeved holiday tee when you see them at Target.
Anytime you are in Target, and they have the holiday tees out, and you think to yourself “Hmm, I wonder if my kids will get to wear a holiday tee to school.” BUY IT. Do it right then and there. And buy the short-sleeved version if you want my honest opinion. I don’t care if it’s a Christmas shirt, we have 70+ degree Christmases too often to bother with long-sleeves. You can always throw a long sleeve tee underneath. Or, you know what? live large and buy both. Because, inevitably, you won’t purchase the shirt, and then get a note a week before the holiday, and be unable to find one in your child’s desired style/size.
Make a holiday shirt box.
While we are talking holiday shirts, save those shirts! If you have other younger children, that is. Stick them in a box, label it, and stick that box in the attic or a closet and you’ll gradually amass a lovely repertoire of holiday shirts to be shared with your younger children. You might even save another mother who did not hoard holiday tees and share your wealth. Bask in your glory.
Save the teaching materials.
Continuing with the saving shit theme… save teaching materials. NOT EVERYTHING EVER SENT HOME. But those sight word flashcards you made for your 1st grader — save dat. Laminate or put in a little box, whatever. Because believe you me, when your next enters 1st you will CURSE YOUR PAST SELF when you dedicate ANOTHER hour of your time making even more sight word flashcards #askmehowIknow #DONTask. Same thing goes for costumes for school projects. Save it. Kindergarten sight words — save it. Math worksheets — recycle please we are not hoarders.
Keep a travel potty in the car.
Know how many times my travel potty set up has saved me in the car? 100 MINIMUM. Hell, I have even used it on occasion when my poor Mama bladder just couldn’t handle the Venti Starbucks I picked up to get me through carline… I did mention I carried and birthed 4 kids. Just make your set up, store it in a large waterproof bag, like this one that I LOVE from Remember Me Green. And let it take residence in your trunk.
Buy all the same when you can.
Nothing will ignite a sibling fight like “She has the orange one!” “I HATE BLUE!” “Why does he always get blueberry” You catch my drift. If we aren’t home, I need it all the same. Blue pencil cases for everyone when we are homeworking in the car. Same boring brown clipboard to use too. No multi-flavor packs of anything please. Fewer fights mean a happier mother.
A little snack goes a long way.
90% of the arguments my kids have been around snack or mealtimes. I bring a small snack in the car to give them after school so everyone can level their blood sugar (or give it a good ol’ spike) and be a little bit nicer to each other. Sometimes just flavored water will help! Our favorite after-school car snacks are fruit strips, frozen GoGurt, Hint water boxes, or a DumDum.
Buy the matching clothes.
Sibling sets are LIFE until your oldest is outie on the trend. So match them as long as you can. Match them at church; match them at the beach; match them to the holiday; MATCH MATCH MATCH. Everyone will ask if they are twins or triplets or something else stupid, but match them anyway. If you are super lucky to have a sewing Shug like us, you’ll get lots of sibling sets that are extra special because they were sewn with love. And post those pics because Seasoned Mamas LIVE for sibling sets.
Mommy and Me until you can’t.
Again, Mommy and Me or Daddy and Me until they refuse. It warms my heart to see kiddos matching their parents. It reminds me of when mine were younger and would do it, and I have ZERO regrets about any matching that happened. This also applies to Mommy and Me classes. These weren’t really an option for me with my children because we had so many at home at one time, but I always enjoy seeing my friends cherishing time with their babies at Mommy and Me classes.
Please post everything.
Seasoned Mamas may not always long or yearn for a return of their kiddos babies… or toddlers… or really any stage that they have passed. It’s always fun to experience our children’s changes as they grow and mature into the young adults we are trying to guide them to be. But BOY do we LOVE seeing your pictures of your littles. It warms our hearts and reminds us of those sweet memories from that time in our lives. We want to cheer you on as you navigate the challenges to those seasons, and we want to revel in the cuteness overload that fills your feed.
P.S. Bergeron’s Seasoning is the best.