What My Second Kid Taught Me About Parenting

After the birth of my second child almost two years ago, I have been feeling more incompetent that ever but I’m not beating myself up over it because I know I’m outnumbered. I don’t have help with my children so they are with me all the time and it’s tough. My husband is in the picture but he works long hours and whenever he takes them off my hands, I still have other things to catch up on…like the tons of laundry that I often wish to discard.

The first thing I’ve learned as a parent the second time around is that no two children are the same. How naive of me to believe the second one would be carved out of the same stone as the first. I noticed from birth actually that she’d be a little tornado walking around, pulling things down, creating chaos as she goes. But she loves us equally as hard as my first and for that, I’ll let the broken candle holders slide.

Some of the things that you might be faced with as a second time parent are explained below.

Sleeping Pattern. My first child slept through the night around three months. My second will be two and although it has toned down a bit, she still wakes up during the night a few times a week. One is a late sleeper and can you guess which one wakes at the crack of dawn…at the sound of any kind of movement?

Different milestone pace. I’m not speaking on behalf of everyone but most people I’ve talked to had this to say. The first child took their time when it came to thrashing your house and your belongings. I could’ve left anything out unattended…a cup of coffee, important papers and I’d meet it in the same place when I get back. However, I can’t afford this  kind of trust with my second. Children also develop at different paces. My first was advanced with speech but way behind in walking and running whereas my second is the exact opposite. It’s important not to compare and feel as if something is wrong. Everyone is just wired differently, even kids.

Less Baby Paraphernalia and Toys. When preparing for your first child you watch every video, read every article and download every baby app. All of that makes you want to purchase everything baby related in case they might need it or you believe they might need it. Well I’m here to tell you that babies really don’t need that much stuff. Newborn things are expensive and they basically grow out of it by the time they can crawl. So for your second child, you don’t buy as much stuff and if you’re like me…you let them wear their siblings hand me downs and pass on toys.

Outnumbered. When you’re outnumbered, it feels like going from one kid  to two kids is more like going to ten kids. That’s how it was for me honestly. This is not a scare tactic but let me state some truths here. You’ll be pulled in two different directions while trying to balance everything else in life. I’d be lying if I said it was easy peasy lemon squeezy. Some mothers do their jobs flawless and although I believe myself to be a very nurturing and caring mother…a little cool at times, I am very sloppy. I get overwhelmed and if you came over to my place, you’d see a chair full of not so dirty/not so clean clothes. Yes! Those clothes that are not dirty enough for laundry but clean enough to wear again.

Defeat. I often feel defeated trying to juggle everything together…the kids, and my own life, and goals that I am still working to achieve. No one said it was easy and I don’t expect an easy route but boy is it tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Children, whether it be one or more is a full time job and it’s one that needs to be done willfully and skillfully, sprinkled with love. I feel inadequate as a wife and stay at home mom when I see my tired husband cleaning our filthy living room. Some days I cry wishing I could do better to manage everything on my own.

In spite of everything us parents deal with on a daily basis, our love for our little brats go deeper and deeper. They’re our pride, our joy and our reason for waking up in the morning and doing what needs to be done. My second child taught me that parenting on a whole is very challenging, not that it wasn’t before but now there are two children with different personalities and needs. Some thing I’ve learned along the way is that we don’t always need to have everything planned and figured out. We’re learning as we go. Our job is to be the best we can be for them and trust me when I say that it’s enough.

xo Coffee Doll.

Have a great weekend guys! What are you doing this weekend?

The Monday Syndrome

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Good Monday y’all! Let’s talk about The Monday Syndrome. I don’t know if that’s a real thing or not, pardon me if it is but it’s the only term that comes to my mind.

No, I’m not referring to our grogginess on Monday mornings when life resumes and we have to leave those few minutes of a weekend behind. I’m talking about the Monday “Go Getter” Attitude. Sometimes we leave things for next month, or next year but most likely everyone has a “leave it for the beginning of next week” attitude. I’ll start gym next week Monday because it’s already Wednesday and the week is practically over or I’ll start my diet next Monday or I’ll start to write at the beginning of next week(that’s me by the way). Our lives are consumed by a “let’s leave it for Monday” attitude. Right? I can’t be the only one.

There are procrastinators and then there are people who just can’t seem to get a handle on their lives. I’m both by the way. I know I procrastinate but I have a sound reason. My children just won’t zip it enough for me to hear my own thoughts and I’m always busy running behind them that the few moments of procrastination just to hear myself think are gold. But seriously though, it is hard to juggle everything already going on in your life so when a new task arises, we leave it for next Monday.

Whatever it is we leave for next Monday shouldn’t always be left for next Monday. I know, I know. It’s hard to find motivation to get yourself moving but it’s important to understand why our brains think we can’t start things right now, right this minute. I think my way of thinking is so uniformed that if I start something in the middle of the week, I feel all sorts of panic, like I’m running out of time, like life on Earth is coming to an end.

Wanting to be a perfectionist can hinder your progress believe me. Sometimes you won’t be starting next Monday, you’ll be starting five Mondays from that Monday. Not seeing the bigger picture and focusing on current struggles(which describes my case of The Monday Syndrome perfectly) makes you want to jump out of your skin and not start anything. Maybe it’s the fear of failing and not so much the fear of starting. Another thing I get hit with hard from time to time(more often that not) is bad estimation of time. My brain fails to process that things take time to reach a level of satisfaction, hence I’ll kinda put it off until next Monday, and then the next until I’m a hot panicking mess.

Do you suffer from The Monday Syndrome? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear!

See you next Monday!(jk jk)

xo Coffee Doll

Image: Pixabay.com

 

Having Your Kids Close In Age

Let me just start by saying I am in no way qualified to advise anyone on how to plan their lives. Whatever I post on my blog is either taken from experiences or my bottomless brain. In no shape or form is my opinion meant to disrespect anyone.

Now that we’ve got that covered…

This morning I saw a post somewhere on social media(I choose not to name or specify) about reasons to have your kids close in age and it was of a sarcastic and entertaining nature albeit some truth bombs were dropped. I’ve been planning to write about the downside of having kids close in age and by downside I don’t mean anything bad towards our little ones. It’s just overwhelming for people in different situations. This post is focused on the plus side of having kids close in age.

  1. They play together. I think this is the one we all look forward too. We want to get some things around the house done or cook a meal, even drink a cup of coffee in peace. When they enjoy each other’s company, you can get a minute or two to function elsewhere. It’s also a beautiful thing for me to experience because the age gaps between me and my siblings are a decade plus. Although my kids get into little fights over this or that I truly see and enjoy the camaraderie between them.
  2. They go to school together. When they are around the same age bracket eventually everyone will be in school within a few years of each other. If you plan on going back to work after all of your children are in school this might be easier than having to take leave from your job during the larger age gaps.
  3. They enjoy similar things. Both my kids think Chuck-e-Cheese is the greatest place on Earth (It’s really Target btw) and I’ve often felt like we hit two birds with one stone going there. Both kids have the time of their lives. I remember being dragged somewhere that wasn’t interesting to me when I was younger and I do feel like it’s something that’ll probably drive me crazy having to choose which kid to please on a particular day.
  4. I want to date my husband. My husband and I are the only caretakers that our children have and because of this, it’s hard to go on a date or get some alone time. I do feel like when the kids grow up together, we’ll eventually be able to do couple things again without having to worry about a younger child at home.
  5. I want to get rid of the baby stuff. After I had my first child, I knew right away I wanted another one, it was just a matter of time. After the second one, however, I didn’t feel the same. I knew that I was done having kids for the most part. My youngest is just shy of two and I cannot wait for her to be potty trained, I cannot wait to get rid of the last set of baby toys, items and clothes. One thing I had to do after the first baby was clutter my life to hold onto things that I’d have to use with a second child.

As always, thank you for reading and if you share any thoughts on the topic, feel free to drop me a line in the comments. Also, Have a great weekend 🙂

xo Coffee Doll

My Strange Addiction to Paper

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After I learned that this was an actual thing, I can be a little open about it. I’d often think that there was something wrong with me. Something childish that I never grew out of or just something completely ridiculous and it does still seem so, but it’s an actual thing and other people enjoy it as well.

So ever since I was a child, I would enjoy flipping through books, like all of the pages and smelling them. This is pretty normal, right? Everyone does it from time to time, especially avid readers like myself. Well here’s where it got confusing for me. I love to just sit and flip pages, each and every one of them until I reach to the end of the book and then flip them all the way back to the beginning. And while I’m watching TV or studying I keep doing this over and over and over, flipping back and forth.

I especially enjoy the feel of the paper against my fingers and the sound it makes, as well as the sound of the page turning. I can’t explain it, but I love it. I couldn’t make a connection whether it was therapeutic or relaxing to me until recently. I do this a lot in private and when my husband or anyone walks in, I quickly shut the book or pretend I was reading it, because I feel stupid about flipping pages for no reason.

A few months ago I was looking for a video on calming sounds on Youtube, I just love the sound of rain falling and thunder so I was looking. I then came across a video with a woman flipping pages of a telephone book or a magazine. It was labelled ASMR Page Turning. My curiosity of course got the better of me because it was still a strange thing to me at that time so I scrolled down to the comments and it was mind blowing how many people found this relaxing. It was amazing to me that people enjoyed different kinds of paper sounds whether it be thick, or newspaper etc.

I’ve never discussed my little habit with anyone before as I think I’ll still get some weird stares. Only people who share the same love of page turning will totally get this. Let me know what sounds relax you!

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a tingly experience characterized by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine, precipitating relaxation. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)

xo Coffee Doll

Image: Pixabay.com

Why My Facebook Activity Has Declined Significantly

A few years ago I’ve started recognizing people’s lack of ability to respect others’ space even on a social media platform. I’d share entertaining posts, posts that related to me on a personal level, posts that made me angry or sad…basically I’d share my opinions on a lot of things.

I would think that MY profile is my own to do as I wish and it’s nobody’s business if they approve or not of what I post. But this isn’t the case. As the years progress, it’s getting even worse. Anything can offend anyone and believe me when I say everything offends someone.

I don’t check my notifications as often as before, actually I dread opening my app now. The bad news puts me off but it’s a part of life, something we can’t completely hide from. But it’s the stupidity and the ignoramuses behind their keyboards who feel like it’s their duty to dictate what the content of another person’s comment is. It’s the bullying, the shaming, the lack of respect for differences. It’s sickening to a point where I feel like I’d love to delete the app some day. But I do use it as a means to keep in contact with friends and family living on a different continent.

I’ve removed my children’s photos from FB now as I don’t even wish to socialize on that level. I don’t have strangers on my friends list either, it’s either people I’ve gone to school with or were acquainted with, and family. And yet it’s easier to use platforms like WordPress, Twitter, Instagram with a pseudonym and get my opinions across. People choose whether they want to read my content or not and move on. Ugh, I hate to rant in my first post for the week. Does anyone else have this problem with expressing your opinions and being attacked for it?

xo Coffee Doll

A Mother’s Valentine(Short Story)

With a slouched stance, I look around the sitting room and let out a hoarse groan. Everything, everywhere. I lift my hand slowly with the intention of aggressively yanking out a few strands of hair but I made a fist instead.

I slumped into the rocking chair and a frustrated cry erupted from my throat. I lift my thigh and find a single pink lego. Those things are weapons. My feet and buttocks can attest to that.

One child is busy making a mess of the dominoes pieces, and I let her, because as a parent, you need to choose your battles. The other is singing, or dancing or, I just don’t know. All I know is, she’s moving around and it makes me dizzy and I also can’t hear myself think.

From the corner of my eyes, I see him swing the broom out of its usual dusty corner. He doesn’t have to but he does it anyway. We’re partners, equal halves. Although I feel like he bears most of the weight, I get treated like a more delicate half.

He sighs and looks at me before dragging the broom across the hardwood floor. “Honey, why don’t you take one child and go to the mall today? I’ll clean up around here.”

And my heart leaps.

I also feel this ball of guilt straining against my breastbone.

He doesn’t have to do all of this, for me.

Something he taught me, makes me jump at the opportunity to get out of the house for a short while. I didn’t always have an easy time accepting my husband’s kindness until I understood that he respected me as deeply as he loved me. He’s not as good with words as I am, but his actions speaks volumes.

© Coffee Doll All Rights Reserved

 

Pros and Cons of Being A Stay-at-Home Mom

Motherhood is one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll ever have, however, like with any job, it can be overwhelming and downright frustrating. As I was writing how to be a productive SAHM, I made a mental list of the pros and cons of being a SAHM and felt like it deserved its own post. Some points play the role of both a pro and a con.

PROS

  1. The best thing about being a SAHM is getting to be with your kids all day, getting to witness everything that they do and learn on a daily basis.
  2. You’ll be present for all of their growing moments, first words, first steps,  and there is nothing greater than witnessing your child hit milestones for the first time.
  3. If your child falls sick, you’ll be there and not at work which may be hard to get out of.
  4. You can focus on a routine for your children and house, and get things done in an orderly manner compared to the stresses of working and coming home to tired and cranky children.
  5. You’re the sole caregiver for your child.
  6. It’s cheaper for most women to become stay-at-home moms as it is very costly for childcare and work hours are very demanding.
  7. You’re in control of how your activities and days are planned. You won’t have to worry about being called into work and having to organize a last minute babysitter.
  8. You get to teach your children and guide them in a way that you see fit and it’ll be consistent as kids can get confused with different rules.
  9. There’s no one looking over your shoulder telling you what to do or how to do it. You’re your own boss.

CONS

  1. You’re never alone. You can’t use the bathroom without an audience and sometimes you have to skip a shower and swallow your meals.
  2. You almost never get “me time” to do anything for yourself and if you’re like me, you don’t have girls night out either.
  3. Your job never ends. You’re working 24/7 and you’re exhausted most of the time.
  4. You tend to get bored and frustrated living the same routine day after day.
  5. When your social life ceases to exist after motherhood, it’s really awkward and difficult to make friends. You WILL miss engaging in social activities and having adult conversations that don’t involve kids.
  6. When they start fighting, misbehaving and talking back to you, you’ll want to rip your hair out. You’ll be stressed beyond belief.
  7. Living on one income is not an easy thing to manage and you may often feel like a failure, like your life is not reaching anywhere.
  8. It’s been almost five years since I’ve worked outside of my home and it literally feels like forever. I feel like the unemployment gap only worsens your chances of getting back out there, however I hope I’m wrong.

One suggestion that I always make in my SAHM posts is to get a hobby, whether it be joining a gym, writing, painting etc. When you have something to call your own, apart from your family life, it’s a way to cope when the going gets tough. I love to wind down by day by reading just before I sleep. It’s a relaxing way to calm your thoughts before bedtime. That’s just what works for me. If you have girlfriends, organize outings or activities that are not kid related. Even though both things are closely related, in order to be a happy mom, there needs to be a balance between caring for your family and caring for yourself.

xo Coffee Doll

Toxic People in Your Life

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I couldn’t always detect the toxicity in people, hence I allowed their venomous aura to infect my life and cause chaos. Toxic people can present themselves in a very sheep-like manner leaving you feeling like the villain for being stressed, annoyed and sometimes disgusted by them.

Not all toxic people intentionally cause harm. Sometimes they are unaware of how toxic their behavior and words are, and other times, they can revel in your destruction. It’s important to detect and filter such people from your life. Not everyone is meant to be in your life and that’s perfectly okay. The most important thing is you…and your peace of mind.

Here are some ways you can detect a toxic person in your life:

  1. Second Guessing their intentions. If you feel miserable or bothered after a conversation with someone you consider a friend, then there’s a high chance that person is probably a toxic person. You may find yourself second guessing their intentions or loyalty.
  2. Constantly putting you down. You may feel like nothing in your life will ever seem good enough in this person’s eyes. They’re constantly putting your ideas and decisions down. And in most instances it comes off as a bit of envy but you’ll also second guess that maybe your choices really aren’t good enough.
  3. Lack of Confidence. Somehow this person thrives on your lack of confidence and is happy that you see yourself as they see you. Your independence and success may tend to eject negativity out of this person.
  4. Always competing. Competition is good until a certain point but if a person is always trying to one-up on everything possible, like the way you drive or the way your eyebrows are shaped, that’s toxicity.
  5. Manipulation. You may be blamed for something that goes wrong in your life and you will eventually believe it. You may also be manipulated into doing things you don’t want to do or shouldn’t even do, and yet you feel like a horse’s ass if you don’t. You don’t owe anyone anything.
  6. No apologies. One day you may feel like you deserve an apology and it’ll never come, because that person is always right, always has the upper hand and you have to constantly prove yourself to them.
  7. No remorse. They won’t show any remorse even when they knowingly caused you harm.
  8. Their word is law. They’ll judge you for the one thing wrong about you and it’ll  outweigh all of the good things about you. They tend to exaggerate your shortcomings and make you feel inferior and incompetent.
  9. Always about them. You know how you’re that four a.m. call and there’s no one else that you can call at four a.m. when shit hits the fan in your life? Yeah, it’s always about them and it’s always going to be about them. Even when they’ve wronged you, they’ll find some narcissistic way to turn the tables and make it all…about…them.
  10. Harm. Then there’s the toxic people who blatantly cause harm to you. Backbiting, betrayal, gossiping, you name it. They cause chaos in your life, chaos among your friends or family.

In my experience, the best way to deal with toxic people is to create a distance between them and yourself. Such people aren’t your friends and don’t have your best interests at heart. If you do feel like the person isn’t completely toxic but slightly alarming, hash it out and see if it’d work but if those red flags go up…cut them loose. Anyone that treats you less than your worth or disturbs your sense of peace isn’t right for you, whether it be friends, family or a significant other. It does more harm than good to force a relation that isn’t bringing you camaraderie. The last thing you want is for all of their negative vibrations to cast a net over how you see yourself.

xo Coffee Doll

Writing Day Off and Ruined Coffee

Yesterday morning, as I groggily made my way to the kitchen for my cup of “day-starter”, I did something I do more often that I’d like. Instead of the usual non-dairy creamer that I use in coffee, I poured the kids’ soy milk in there instead. Thankfully, I didn’t pour a great amount but my coffee was ruined nevertheless. I glanced at the clock thinking of the three long minutes that I’d have to wait for another cup of water to heat and thought I’d surely pass out on my kitchen floor by then. So I did the unthinkable. Yes, I added creamer to the ruined cup of coffee.

Although the funny taste, I had enough gulps to wake myself up. I have no shame when it comes to caffeine in the morning. By no means was this coffee a day spoiler, compared to some of the abominations I’ve drank before but my brain registered it as such. After dropping my oldest to preschool, I felt normal. The day would be fair, I thought. But my brain kept thinking about that cup in the morning and nagging me to have a different day.

I thought surely, I’d choose a topic from my handy book and carve together something for my blog, maybe write a few words for a story but as the day progressed, none of that happened. I didn’t laze by any means, I caught up on life aka laundry. I write my best at night when the kids are asleep and I don’t have that niggling feeling that someone is going to make me get up from my spot. But last night I felt like I should have a day off. Bear in mind I do study as well so I was taking a day off from all of that. I opted to look at a movie since it’s been a while that I’ve sat down and really absorbed myself in a film.

I chose Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and I assure you, the movie was nothing short of fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can I commit blasphemy and say at some parts I felt like it was almost better than Harry Potter. Oh no! I did not just say that. It’s not that it was a better story than Harry, but I felt at this age I enjoyed Fantastic Beasts. I grew up with Harry and my eyes glazed over as a teenager/adolescent when I read the books and saw the movies but if I were to see it now in my super late twenties for the first time, it may not have the same effect. Fantastic Beasts definitely hit the spot. It was absolutely terrific and I almost don’t feel bad for giving myself that day off.

xo Coffee Doll

At Twelve I Wanted to Be a Script Writer

This is something I was laughed at for, a lot. Growing up in the Caribbean in the nineties and early 2000s, there really was no creative opportunity at school. Almost everyone took an academic route such as accounting, business management, sciences etc. Computers and information technology was on the rise so everyone rushed to do that including myself. I was not advised according to my true skills and desires, hence I’m here as an adult, still trying to chase dreams.

Professing my desire to create something was a bit of a joke back then because there really was no way to make it happen. The avenues were far apart and unavailable to a wide audience and especially little old me with a middle class background and no influence. Who was going to encourage this bout of creativity in me?

I posted earlier how I escaped in my imagination, in worlds with different characters but I also escaped by watching a lot of movies. I just fell in love with carving a story, the beginning, the end and all the good stuff in the middle. This is what drew me in, the characters and the different stories that they had to tell. I also read some Shakespeare at a young age as we studied his work in Literature class and I was also gifted some of his books by my parents at Christmastime.

I self-learned how to put together my stories in mostly dialogues, and not descriptive. I genuinely wanted to write stories that you could see on a screen or a stage. I still do but as I got older, I have a better understanding of my capability and reality. This is something that has a slim to zero chance of ever happening but at twelve years old, it was a new dream, a pure dream. One that I had to suppress because I couldn’t foresee a way to make it happen. No tools or opportunities were available for me to learn this craft.

Whatever I know today is self-taught and I do intend to keep working towards just getting some good stories out.

xo Coffee Doll