Tag Archives: Sunday List

Lessons from a Super-Nanny

No, I’m not really a Super-Nanny.  They say I am but boy-oh-boy, if I am, then we all need to aim higher.

BUT I have learned a great deal from my two years as a nanny for triplets, and given this is the month we celebrate Moms, I wanted to share with you some of this knowledge.

Looking back on raising my own kids, I can see how stressed and anxious I was all the time.  I honestly feel like I didn’t enjoy the experience at all and spent most of my young mom days worrying about them.  And me.  And life.  And my marriage.  It’s crazy the places your mind will go when it doesn’t have enough sleep or balance.

So let me say these words first… Everything is going to be okay.  You cannot ruin a child, especially one you love more than anything else.  Even on your worst parenting days (we all have them), your kids are just fine and will wake up the next morning ready to make you crazy all over again.

I promise.

That being said, here are a few other reminders you can bank on…

10 Lessons From the Nanny

  1. The most important trait you will need as a parent is a sense of humor.  If you can’t learn to laugh at A) yourself and B) your life, then this parenting thing is going to feel like a really long rollercoaster ride in the front seat.  Humor will at least make the tough stuff more doable, or at least less fearful.
  2. Your mood/reaction is always a choice.  Patience is a choice.  This is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned.  Parenting is exhausting, monotonous, exhilarating, crazy, fun, scary, and did I mention exhausting?  I think I did.  Start every day knowing you’re just going to be challenged in many ways, and know how you want to react… or not.  It really is that simple.  And there will be days when they get the best of you – it happens – cut yourself some slack, and start over tomorrow.  Grace over perfection, people… grace over perfection.  Thank you, Emily Ley.
  3. At some point you’ll have to learn the beautiful art of balance.  Total engagement and quiet time.  High active time and reading on the lap time.  Kids of all ages need balance, just like you do.  No one can be 100% in the moment at all times.  Not even kids.  Sometimes they just want to chill out too.  Let them and take the moment for yourself.
  4. Kids are messy.  I don’t think anything could prepare me for the yogurt eating/milk pouring/condiment loving children that I am caring for now. Nothing.  While it’s true I can be a little “structured” when it comes to clean, I have learned to embrace the mess.  It just is what it is, and me stressing about a mess at any meal time is just a losing battle.  See #2.  At the end of each day you can take 15 minutes to pick up and reorganize.  Until then, let it go.
  5.  After my second son was born, I literally couldn’t believe how different he was from my first.  Polar opposite, to be specific.  And they have remained different for the duration.  Every child has their own personality, especially in triplets.  It is amazing to see the differences all at once.  Given this information, it means you have to learn to parent each child a little different.  Figure out what makes them tick and you’re ahead of the game.  One size does not fit all with kids.
  6. Teach your children compassion.  Helping them respect someone else’s feelings will be one of those gifts that keeps on giving.  Soon they’ll be teens, and you’ll be blown away at the kindness they have for others.  I am so not kidding here.  Somehow I have managed to raise two boys in a social media world, and they are genuinely good people who care about others.  I truly believe this starts when they’re young, and as a parent you have to make sure they know how their actions have repercussions, both good and bad.
  7. Give them the gift of forgiveness.  The only way you can teach your kids, anyone really, is through your actions.  Kids learn forgiveness when they see it happening in their own home.  Let go of grudges.  Don’t hold past mistakes over their heads.  Let them know that everyone makes mistakes… yes, even parents.
  8. Living in Michigan, weather is a part of our daily life.  Good, bad, and ugly can happen on any given day, and sometimes all three in the same day.  We are lucky enough to escape the weather catastrophes that a lot of other places have, but 40 and grey is a very common forecast around here.  This is another one of those things you just have to embrace.  The triplets got rain boots last week, and I was seriously grateful for the couple rainy days we had, so we could go outside and splash in puddles.  Did I do that when my own kids were 2?  Not a chance.  I would curse the rain.  But I’ve learned that nothing will make you tolerate bad weather like a trio of stir crazy two year-olds bouncing off the walls.  Nothing.
  9. Capture the moments, but save some for your memories too.  Sometimes in my quest for the perfect picture for their parents or grandparents, I realize that I’m missing out on some pretty amazing moments too.  Kids need to see our faces, not our phones all the time.  Again, this is about balance, and I’m still learning this one.  Capture the quiet times and be present in the chaotic ones.  Everyone wins with this one.
  10. Plan, plan, plan, and then remain flexible.  Nothing with kids goes according to plan.  Well, almost never.  Have a plan, but also know that it will probably change many times.  That really amazing image in your head of taking a trip to the zoo?  That could be ruined before you pay for admission.  Plan, but be prepared for anything to come your way.  Learning to go with the flow will save you many headaches.

There are so many things that I would do over as a parent, but as I said earlier… they turned out okay.  I didn’t totally ruin them.  If I had this list when I started out, it might have saved myself some parental trauma, but would they have turned out differently?  I’m not sure.  All I know is that being a parent is the hardest job you will ever have.  There are highs and lows, and the words it’s just a phase will be said almost daily.

Love your children.  Be kind.  Everything is going to be okay.

xo, Mo

So Long April

The Sunday List is coming to you from the last day of April.  Normally, my first response is good riddance to any month, but April 2017 was one that I’d like to remember.  I guess any month that includes a vacation is always going to be a good one, but this one seemed more giving than most.  Here the list…

The Top 5 of April

  1. We literally started the month off in Florida this year.  Destin, to be exact.  First time there, and would definitely go back again someday.  Given I have made Siesta Key my home away from since I was sixteen, I was a little nervous/excited about going somewhere else.  As it turns out there is sun, palm trees, and bars in Destin too!  Who knew?  No, the sunsets weren’t the same, but somehow we managed.
  2. Books!  No, I didn’t read as many as I anticipated in April, but the ones I did were keepers for sure.  The Girl Before, by J.P. Delaney – 21 Rituals to Change Your Life, by Theresa Cheung – and The Arrangement, by Sarah Dunn were all added to my Read column on Goodreads.  Three very different books, but all three worth the time.
  3. You can’t talk about April in my house without mentioning the Masters.  Yes, my husband is a golfer, so Masters Weekend is considered a holiday here.  After watching so much golf over the years, I’ve acquired a list of my favorites with Sergio being one of my all time faves (insert heart-eyes emoji).  Plus it was his first time winning a Major and that is always so fun to watch.
  4. Music.  Earlier this year I became obsessed with Spotify.  I signed up for the 30Day free trial and never looked back.  I took a tip from Emily Ley and started making my own monthly playlists.  Here’s my April list, which will always take me back to a perfect afternoon in Destin 🙂
  5. Must-See TV.  If you haven’t checked out the HBO series Big Little Lies or the Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why, you MUST.  Both series are based on books I have read, but you don’t necessarily need read them first.  Very rarely do I like the TV or movie version of a book, but these are both done exceptionally well.

Life brings simple pleasures to us every day.  It is up to us to make them wonderful memories.  ~ Cathy Allen

Start the habit of looking back and remembering what makes you smile.  I think you’d be surprised at how many little things in our daily life create the best memories.

Thanks April!  It was a good one…

xo, Mo

The Sunday List

Starting today, every Sunday will include a Favorites List for the week. I have always been a list maker, and it seems that the older I get, the more I like them. I love to check things off, to find ways to praise or encourage, and of course books to read. Is there anything better?
The name alone, The Sunday List, comes from a book I read years ago and loved her idea of “tweaking” her life list every Sunday.  My list will be different each week, as opposed to her static list.  Not that I don’t have a “bucket list” but for the sake of your sanity and mine, I’ll spare you that weekly post.  Think of it like David Letterman’s Top Ten list, but without all the snark.

Well, maybe.  I make no promises.

The only promise I will make is this week’s list comes to you from the center of grief, and the only way I get through it is to write about it.  I took a running class years ago, and the only thing I remember from that class was her weekly comment, “Embrace the suck, people.  Embrace the suck.”  And she was right.  Sometimes running sucked, and if you didn’t expect that fact and embrace it, then you were done before you started.  So, I’m lacing up my literary bootstraps, and putting one foot in front of the other.

This week we had to say goodbye to the best dog ever, Goldie Girl.  And when I say best dog ever, I mean BEST DOG EVER.  Fourteen years ago, we drove to Ohio to see about a dog.  We live in Michigan.  Everyone but us knew we weren’t just going to “see” her.  We walked into the foster home, and this beautiful golden sat down in front of us and placed her paw in my son’s open hand.

“Thanks for coming!  When are we leaving???” She was asking.

The rest is history…

Goldie’s Top Ten List

  1. Everyone loved Goldie, and she loved everyone.  Except for the mailman.  To her, he was an intruder that should be barked at until he fled the house at a rapid pace.  It made us giggle every time.
  2. I can’t really talk about Goldie without mentioning one thing that drove us crazy about her.  Hair.  OMG, the hair.  It’s ironic to me that God created the most gentle and beautiful creatures on the planet, and then gave them hair that may or may not stay on their little doggy frames.  Usually not.
  3. After a solid year of provoking our cat, Putter, she finally won her over.  I’m not sure I would ever call them friends, but eventually it did become friendly.  Putter would even find his own way to play with Goldie.  It usually involved thwapping her on the nose as she walked by, but hey, it was progress.  And it made a funny little hollow sound I can still hear in my head.  It’ s the little things… 🙂
  4.  Before her hips started to give out, she would jump on our bed every night and lay in between us.  She would stay up there till we fell asleep, then get down and sleep by the bed.  Every.  Single.  Night.  It was her way of helping us fall asleep and was one of my favorite things about her.
  5. Playtime was Goldie’s favorite thing about her humans.  And with two boys, there was never a lack of playtime.  Hide and Seek with my oldest was her game of choice.  He’d throw a toy upstairs.  She’d chase it.  And by the time she came back down, he’d be hiding.  It was hours of entertainment.  Literally.  It didn’t matter if he hid in in the bathroom every time.  She was still so excited to find him.  Paper airplanes were her second game of choice.
  6. As she grew older, she learned to hate the camera (our phones) as much as George Clooney hates the paparazzi.  She would duck, turn, and walk away every time.  We still managed to find ways to capture the most photogenic dog on the planet.  Her eyes always seemed to be talking to us.
  7. Begging was not beneath our Goldie Girl.  Whether it was breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snack, she was on us like stink on a monkey.  Making popcorn was music to her ears, and smelling bacon would create so much anxiety in her, she would be barking at us by the time we sat down.  Her head in our laps, brown eyes looking up through her lashes for effect, she would blink her way to getting whatever was in our hands.  We couldn’t say no to that face.
  8. Goldie was a weather extremist.  If it was 95 and humid, she would lay in the open sun on the deck.  If it was 5 and snowing, she was laying on the deck.  We couldn’t understand why she seemed to be such a glutton for bad weather.  But that was how she was happiest.  In the extremes…
  9. Love.  To know Goldie was to love Goldie.  Our friends and family seem to be as sad as we are.  The support we have received has been nothing short of amazing.  It’s been a blessing for sure in this dark spot.
  10. As much as she has taught us to love, she is now teaching us about loss.  For my boys, this is the first real death to them that they can feel true, honest grief.  They have learned to reach out to friends, and to us as parents.  We have all learned that we never go through anything alone.  Good, bad, and ugly, we are all together in this world.

Josh Billings once wrote, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”  We have been forever changed by this furry soul that came to us so many years ago.

Thank you, Goldie, for teaching us all how to love more.  You will be missed…