Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself

When I first mothered my young children I was fairly strict. My kids had structure, nutrition, consistency, and …a bit too much exposure to a mother with a perfection complex.

Then came The Time of Pregnancies.

My children were fairly young when I became pregnant with their next younger brother. This meant that they still needed things like that structure and nutrition and consistency. In actual practice (known as Survival Mode), they got the best I could do at the time. Between exhaustion and nausea, we all rode out the nine-ish months together.

Also as I first mothered, I felt a lot of guilt for the perceived neglect. Helpful people occasionally patting me on the back didn’t assuage the negative voices in my head. The few hints some said sunk deep into a pond of self-recrimination. Obvious acting out and emotional reactivity amongst my offspring also concerned me.

The lesson I’ve finally learned, that I wish I could convince my anxious past self of, is:

Do the best you can, and know that it’s okay to do so.

Despite what you think you see other people doing around you, everyone follows this advice. If not, they’re probably on something illegal and will suffer the consequences of that eventually anyway.

For real: life has ups and downs for all. Some downs require buckling in until the ups. Don’t be so hard on yourself for needing to back off a bit when the going gets tough; it’s the human thing to do.


©2019 Chelsea Owens

10 Tricks for When You’re Crazy Enough to Vacation with Kids

If you’re planning on a vacation with kids, don’t.

If you’re still reading this, it may be too late. You may have already scheduled the thing, or are driving or flying to your destination and are reading this to block out the nearby shouting.

I’m sorry. I feel for you.

Fortunately for you (and me), we live in the age of technology. Plugging a child into a device like a robot buys you hours of uninterrupted time, time they would have spent poking each other and using their imaginations and such.


Yeah; I’m not in favor of devices for each kid. I’ll go into that more later.

For now, I wanted to recommend some tips once you all arrive at the family vacation spot.

  1. Have a plan. Winging it is a terrible idea, unless your children are adults. Even then, there’s going to be a lot of, “I dunno; what do you wanna do?” questions, while you fume at them for doing what they could have done at home.
  2. If you’re brave, have the kids be part of the planning process. Always give them a monetary limit, but freedom of choice will make them feel more involved and guilt them into trying to enjoy what they chose.
  3. Get outside and do something you couldn’t at home. I mean, why did you even leave your house and its area?
  4. Get outside and do something you could do at home, like going to a movie or a restaurant. You’re on vacation, so label it as a ‘special activity.’
  5. Eat out a few times but don’t go crazy. Costs add up quickly with children, especially considering how often they don’t eat their $10 kids meals.
  6. Go to lots of free places; like parks, hikes, exhibits, tours, and drives.
  7. Ask other people who have been to that vacation spot what was fun, and what was not.
  8. Try to pack what you need. If you didn’t, most places have a Wal-Mart.
  9. Make watching hours of TV or tablet time part of your schedule, then you won’t resent their doing it so much.
  10. Consider babysitter services where you’re going so at least some of the time counts as a vacation for parents, too.


Photo Credit:
Image by Sally Wynn from Pixabay
Tim Gouw
Image by Andrea Pangilinan from Pixabay

Religion in the Home

I believe in teaching religion to children. I believe religion provides many benefits in terms of structure, expectations, service, faith, strength of character, honesty, work, belief, values, love, self-worth, and a foundation for life.

I do not, of course, believe a child ought to be raised in the sort of religious household where beating, belittling, or deprivation are employed.

A love and a learning of God and creation needs to come from a place of love and understanding. God must be taught with a lesson of broadening one’s own understanding and of seeking for a personal testimony.


If a parent feels the need to beat prayer into a child, that child is not going to learn to love prayer.

I currently raise my children as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (formerly nicknamed Mormons). I was raised in this church as well, and so was my husband. We have both gone through variations and broadenings of our faiths and knowledge. Yet, we have no desire to raise our children outside of religion.

My main reason? Besides the benefits I listed above, it is logic.

I know many people who, when they leave or drift away from organized religion, feel lied to. In their affront they resolve that their children will not grow up deluded as they were. They vow an open mind and freedom of choice for their offspring that they never had.

Which seems to be forgetting one thing: They, as adults, are at the position they are today because of the upbringing and religious foundation they received as children.

I fully expect my children to doubt religion as adults. They’re intelligent, curious, and stubborn. They feel they already know more than many authority figures. They will question and maybe even decide to leave their childhood faith.

Maybe, like others I know, they will still attend, but with a broadened perspective.

I can’t control that, but I can help to give them somewhere from which to leap. And so, I say to give a child a religious somewhere to start from. This doesn’t mean that I’m judging anyone for choosing a faithless family life; it does mean I do not choose that for mine.

As with any thing in parenting, I say to keep the conversation open. Encourage questions. Encourage them to work through the answers on their own. Ready or not, some day they will have to fly on their own.


Sunday, April 7: “Moderate Momming,” a moderate post about moderation.

Monday, April 8: Wrote a poem titled, “Bedtime.”

Tuesday, April 9: Shared an inspirational quote by Sir Gilbert Parker.

Wednesday, April 10: Recommended buying ahead in my Dinner Tip.

Thursday, April 11: “Your Mama’s So Fed Up,” a snippet about an unfair joke bias.

Friday, April 12: Advised against birthing one’s children near each other in, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Birthdays.”

Saturday, April 13: Shared Manic Mama‘s tweet about a son’s priorities.

Sunday, April 14: That’s today!

Photo Credits:
Aaron Burden
Alexander Watts

Bedtime, a poem

No matter the time
Or day
Or any old season
Except for Daylight’s Saving’s, the worst transition anyone without kids ever imagined
I cannot reason
Can’t say
Cannot even find

How to get them to sleep.


The Bedtime Routine

In order to maintain a sense of order and structure in our house, we follow a bedtime routine. I’ve read Facebook posts citing studies that my friends heard about that say a routine is imperative for children’s development.

So, 8:30ish: I turn to my husband. Actually, I do this sort of exhausted flailing against the couch I’m sitting on, making eye contact at an awkward angle. I say, “We probably ought to get the kids in bed.”

He sighs. He knows that, no matter what steps we take in the next hour, it will take at least that full hour to get from prompt to lights out for all four boys.

Because, 8:45: The kids are still not in pajamas and brushed. The more responsible of them usually are, but around 9:30 or so I usually find out they only used (kids) mouthwash and have to send them back in.

9:00: I tell my slowest child that -yes, he does need pants.

9:15: Twelve goes downstairs to get a drink while I’m telling Four that he can’t have a third serving of water.

9:30: We run a teeth-brushed check. There is always one who hasn’t.

9:45: I threaten removal of computer privileges if they ever stay up this late again.

10:00: I threaten a sleepover on the front porch if they will not stop throwing stuffed animals at their brother.

10:15: An uneasy quiet.

If you think the fun stops there: I can count on someone walking in around 11 to tell me he just hasn’t been able to sleep. Or, at midnight, one waking to use the bathroom. Or, close to 2 a.m., Four having a bad dream that makes him inconsolable until 3 a.m.


I wonder if there’s a study about parents needing sleep as well.