Diaper Duty

Erin and her son Lincoln

Diaper Duty - Join Erin on the journey of a lifetime.  Along with her first born, Lincoln, (born in 2010), Erin is learning the "art of being a baby mama"




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Second-Hand Goodies

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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I LOVE hand-me-downs for the kids.

I’ve accepted clothes, toys, gear, gadgets, and everything in between. I ain’t shy about it either.

"Erin, do you want a bag of…"

YESSSSSSSS I DO!

These gently-loved things have helped us immensely – way more than I even thought they would. Clothes have been especially wonderful and much appreciated. It's a win/win situation when you think about it. They help me keep the kids looking fancy, and I help them get rid of that clutter. We all know that's a doozy!

These kids of ours go up sizes out of nowhere. Am I right? Lincoln will be looking good in his 4Ts, and SURPRISE his belly is poking out, and he’s prepared for a flood in the t-shirt and pants that fit him so well last week. (Maybe I’m not good with laundry?) Babies like Reagan expand and lengthen at such epic rates I don’t realize it until her socks are popping off.

It’s so nice to have my “stash.” Thanks to my friends, we have wonderful clothes to grab from until mama can get to Kohl’s, if needed. (I love Kohl’s.) My stash has also saved me every picture day. Every.single.one. Apparently, my friends’ kids go to fancier places that mine do. I’ve always got a nice sweater vest, Polo khakis, adorable, frilly dresses, and dress shoes of varying sizes and colors to pick from. Thanks, everyone!

I also share the wealth and preach the amazing-ness of the hand-me-down. Take it! Take it all!

Do you accept things second-hand? What won’t you take? (I don’t take underwear.)

 

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I want stuff and that doesn’t make me a bad mother

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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Sometimes I feel it’s implied that if you are a working parent and/or want nice things (that cost money), you somehow love your children less than “things,” and you’re a bad parent. I’ve wrestled with this for years, and I don’t know why. I know I’m not a bad parent. Why are others trying to make me feel that way?

I’m not the type to care what people think about me, but if I hear something like “time with your children is more important than <insert something that costs money here>,” it irks me. My children and husband ARE the most important things to me, but we need stuff. We like stuff. The “things” we buy benefit our family and home, and that’s why they are important.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that. To insinuate that that puts my kids lower on my priority list is insane and just stupid. And, yes, in order to get stuff, both my husband and I work outside of the home and our children go to daycare.

GASP!

My husband and I work at jobs we love doing what we love, and my kids go to a place they’re taken care of and safe and loved by a bunch of nice people. THE HORROR!

Am I selfish because of this? If you answer yes, then I’m the most selfish person on the planet and my smiling, happy kids are really suffering inside. I’m so blind to it.

There are things my husband and I want our family to have. I’m tired of being ashamed of it. We’ve done our research. We’ve talked the talks. We’ve explored and defined what we want our life to be. Right now, life is good for everyone in our family.

Take this post however you want. Some may read the words of a selfish, money hungry you-know-what, some may think I’m just not doing all I can to be their definition of a good mom, and some (you know who you are) might think they wrote this post themselves.

In the end, I’m done with trying to avoid shame or guilt. I’ve put it all on myself, really. I’m actually quite comfortable with what I’ve got going on today. Tomorrow it may change, but rest assured it’ll change because my family needed it to.

I’ve said it before (and I’m saying it again), whether you work 100 hours a week outside the home and raise a family or 24/7 as a stay-at-home parent, if you are comfortable and happy with how your family is jiving, you go girl (or boy). If your kids are smiling, they’re playing, they’re being kids, and you’re enjoying them, you’ve succeeded. You’re a winner!

Do you do something that makes your family happy that others try to shame you for?

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Siblings and activities before/after their time

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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For Lincoln, we planned a lot of his "firsts" carefully. First movie, first time to Kennywood, first bowling trip, etc. were all done at an age we felt it was appropriate for him and when we thought he could handle it (physically and/or mentally).

Reagan is nine months old. She’s already been to the movies, Kennywood, Idlewild, and will soon be on her first plane ride.

What can you do?

One of my friends said a while ago that her youngest at the time didn’t watch "Sesame Street" or Disney Junior shows because his two older brothers were always watching Sponge Bob or another show meant for older kids. He had to do some "older" things because of his brothers, and I’m sure they’ve had to participate in things that were "too young" for them because of him.

That’s just the way it goes, I guess. It’s not a bad thing. You can’t hold the older one up because you think the younger one can’t go somewhere or do something. It’s not like we’re putting Reagan on the Jack Rabbit or expecting her to follow the plot of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Also, I know Lincoln will have to go to participate in some things that may be too young for him. They are four years apart.

We are very lucky Reagan is so easy going. Hopefully, when Lincoln is in Storybook Forest when he’s eight, he’ll allow his four-year-old sister to get the same enjoyment out of it that he did at her age.

I'm not leaving anyone behind or holding anyone back. We'll just keep doing things that Lincoln wants to do, and he'll just have to do it all over again for his sister. (And she'll just have to behave herself at the movies and karate class.)

What experiences have your kids had that you thought were “too old” or “too young” for them because the activity was for another sibling?

{Side note: My brother was almost nine when I was born. I wonder what “baby” stuff he had to do because of me and where I got dragged to so he could do something.}

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'Mommy, what if you die?'

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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“Mommy, what if you die?”

Yep. That’s what my sweet four-year-old asked last night in the quietest little voice.

“WHAT?!” I said surprised. “What would make you think of that and ask that?”

He started to cry. I started to cry.

I was shocked! How does he know about death? Why would he worry so young about that? Were my efforts to keep him somewhat in the dark about my father-in-laws situation failing?

Well, after a few minutes I remembered how many “family-friendly” movies and TV shows mentioned or alluded to the death of someone or something. Think about it. It’s practically impossible to watch an animated movie these days without a little death in it.

Anyway, I knew exactly what he was feeling. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had what were sometimes overwhelming fears that my mom was going to die. Because of that, I don’t mention things I think might trigger that in him. My efforts were no good obviously.

Poor thing.

I can’t lie. So, I did my best to tell him that I was doing everything I could to be alive. I told him I eat good food, exercise, go to the doctor, wear my seat belt, and drive under the speed limit. I also told him that no matter what happened to me, I’d always be with him in his heart. Those were the things my mom told me. Those things made me feel better, and I hope they worked with him last night. We cuddled, talked about his favorite things (pepperoni pizza!), and he fell asleep.

UGH! I felt so sad for him. I couldn’t give him a guarantee and that sucks! I wish we all had the guarantee of long, healthy lives with our kids.

Have your kids brought up you dying? What did you say?

 

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Oh Crap! Am I raising a brat?

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

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A few weeks ago, I surprised Lincoln with a trip to Monster Golf, an indoor, monster-themed mini golf course that also has a few arcade games.

Lincoln LOVES playing games, however, I had zero cash on me that day, and I wasn’t taking him to play games. I was taking him to golf, the activity he’d talked about doing for at least a week. So, I didn't stop and get any cash.

I "warned" Lincoln in the car I had no cash for him to play any games there and that we were going to play golf, not games. I actually told him in the car on the way there, in the car in the parking lot, walking into the place, during our golf game, and right when we were done and would be passing the games on the way out. He never did ask, I just kept tell him "Now remember, mommy has no money for games. We won’t be playing any arcade games." To which he’d reply, "OK, mommy." "Well good," I thought, "he gets it."

Nope.

On the way out he told me he wanted to play this game and that game and on and on. I reminded him I didn’t have any money, but NOW it was a problem. He left with a sad face, and the whole way home he said "I really wish I could have played those games." He didn’t throw a tantrum or anything. He just repeated in a soft, kind of depressing voice that he wanted to play those games. I told him that we played golf and that should be enough for him that day. What I really wanted to do was remind him how he should be grateful he got to play Monster Golf. I wanted to remind him that he'd been talking about it all week and that I spent money for us to play together, and he should be happy with that...AND GET OVER THE GAMES!

Tuesday, we went to Chuck E Cheese's with some of his friends. He had an awesome time! We stayed until 8:30 p.m., and when we arrived at home, he told me he wanted to watch three of his shows. I told him three way too many for that time of night, and he could do two after his bath.

He. Freaked. Out.

What the heck?! I took that opportunity to tell him that a lot of kids his age were in bed at this time and that he should remember we spent a lot of time at Chuck E Cheese's.

He just kept crying. I was PO’d. How dare he, right?! COME ON!

With a stern voice I told him he was getting a bath and going to bed. NO SHOWS. I told him how watching TV, going to Chuck E Cheese's, and other things he gets to do are privileges, and we don't have to let him do that stuff. I told him about how other kids don’t do this or that and how he needs to learn how to be grateful (a term I didn’t know how to explain to a four year old). He was upset for a good hour. Then he fell asleep.

Frustrated and sad I thought, “Oh crap! Am I raising a brat?”

I preach to him to say thank you and please and religiously hold tight to my instructions that he can’t do x until he does y, and he does this?

It is clear gratitude needs to be taught at our house and that TV time and other activities shouldn’t be so willy-nilly. They should be earned more than given, but Linc is a good boy usually. To me, he does earn these special trips. It's just never said. Like, I never say "you were a good boy yesterday so you get to go today" and if he's not good, I don't take him.

What do you do with your kids to teach gratitude? Have you had this problem and were able to fix it? Is he just being a four year old? Should I be more diligent and say he earned this because of that? I don't really want to start matching things tit for tat and have him expect something every time he does something good. I want him to just be and do good!

 

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