A Pearachute Moment Explained

Yesterday I took our youngest child to My Gym in Frisco. My oldest was at school and my husband, who was working from home, was able to keep an eye on our middle child. So, this adventure was a rare time together with just the baby.

The class was a “mommy and me” environment which included circle time, free play on all the equipment, baby friendly exercise moves, and even a set independent time for play while the mommies stood to the side.

As I sat there watching my son play, I overheard two moms talking about their kids and where the other lived. They ultimately exchanged phone numbers in hopes of a future playdate.

We ended our time together where we started on the circle mat singing and clapping.

Pearachute Kids has given me an excuse and an easy on-ramp for trying new things without the added pressure of wondering if it will be a good fit or not. Not a good fit? We move on to the next Pearachute Drop-In opportunity. And when I find the right dance studio or karate class, I’ll know my investment will not be wasted.

I love every moment of it. Not because the class was amazing, although it was, but because I was spending time with my son doing something new. Something that was hard to do with three kids. I kept thinking: “Wow this is such a cool class. I wish I had been brave enough to try something like this with my first two kids!”

I’ll be honest I’m an introvert and I have children. That’s hard. I’m also a homebody. And I have children. That’s harder.

That’s why I am so thankful for Pearachute Kids. Pearachute Kids is the reason I got out the door on Monday and many other days in the past few weeks to try something new with my children.

What is Pearachute Kids?

Pearachute Kids began in Chicago after a mom of boys signed her kids up for soccer. After the first practice, it was blatantly obvious that the World Cup was not in her boys’ future and either the next 8 or so weeks would be miserable for her and her boys or miserable on her pocketbook. Wouldn’t it have been easier if her boys could have dropped into a soccer class? They could have tried it out and determined pretty quickly it wasn’t for them. This is what birthed Pearachute Kids.

Pearachute is an incredibly neat membership program that allows you to try out some of the neatest classes in the area before you commit to a membership or class session .

In the past 6 weeks, we have tried out Bounce U, Le Ballet, Carefree Colors, and My Gym. This weekend my little ballerina will try out a tumbling class at Studio Three Dance and I can’t wait to see what my eldest thinks of Undaunted ATA Martial Arts in a few weeks. 

Pearachute Kids has given me an excuse and an easy on-ramp for trying new things without the added pressure of wondering if it will be a good fit or not. Not a good fit? We move on to the next Pearachute Drop-In opportunity. And when I find the right dance studio or karate class, I’ll know my investment will not be wasted.

These have been awesome opportunities to give venues a try. Some I’ve been able to determine were not age appropriate or really too far of a drive for us. Others I would have never known existed. Carefree Colors, for example, is literally one building over from my favorite Starbucks! Thanks, Pearachute!

Pearachute Kids has given me an excuse and an easy on-ramp for trying new things without the added pressure of wondering if it will be a good fit or not. Not a good fit? We move on to the next Pearachute Drop-In opportunity. And when I find the right dance studio or karate class, I'll know my investment will not be wasted.

And our most recent adventure: I have to say My Gym just blew me away with their excellence, the cleanliness of the equipment, and their beautiful kindness. However, I never would have walked through their doors on my own.

Pearachute Kids has given me an excuse and an easy on-ramp for trying new things without the added pressure of wondering if it will be a good fit or not. Not a good fit? We move on to the next Pearachute Drop-In opportunity. And when I find the right dance studio or karate class, I’ll know my investment will not be wasted. 

A Wise Investment

My almost six year old has been taking piano lessons since this summer. I felt like he had an affinity for music and would truly enjoy and excel with lessons. It was a gamble that did work out. What if that untapped musical ability, however, was better left untapped? What if I had started him in lessons and it was a train wreck? I would have been out my money or my child would have been miserable. I would have been stuck taking my child to lessons he didn’t like or had to make the painful pocketbook decision to pull him from those lessons. 

Pearachute Kids helps make those expenses for classes and memberships a much wiser purchase and, for the homebody-introvert like me, a little easier to give new things a try.

 


Would you like to give Pearachute Kids try? If you are in the DFW, Kansas City or Chicago area, there’s a Pearachute Kids near you! You can use my code and get a 3 class membership for a $1 (or $38 off a larger plan)! After that, you will renew at the normal rate. Click HERE to sign up and enter the referral code: PATTY2017 at check out. Please note the referral code is case sensitive. If another Pearachute Mombassador referred you to this post, PLEASE use her code instead. 

Fine Print: In exchange for this blog post, I have received free services and will benefit from each person that uses my code. The opinions expressed in the post are honest and mine and in no way swayed by my compensation. 

THANKS FOR VISITING! I SURE HOPE YOU ARE ENCOURAGED BY WHAT YOU READ. IF YOU’D LIKE TO READ MORE, YOU CAN CHECK OUT MY NEW WEBSITE: THE ME TOO! COMMUNITY

Romance after kids

Romance: How To Keep It Alive After Baby

Romance. It sure looks different from the day you married to the day you find yourself rocking an inconsolable babe in the middle of the night. We all know it but until you have kids it is really hard to understand how much it affects your marriage. Although children are a gift, you have to work at it to keep your marriage a priority. Dates are an obvious way to keep the romance alive, but it isn’t always possible to find or even afford a sitter. 

Here are 5 tricks my husband and I have learned along the way to help keep the romance going even when kids make it complicated.

#1 Stroller dates

When we only had one child, my husband and I would strap our son into the stroller and we would walk around IKEA talking and dreaming. It was a perfect date. Our son enjoyed the scenic people-watching and we enjoyed the time *alone*. I know a couple who would load their kids into the car, with their jammies on, and grab take out. Then, they would drive around for a few hours while their children slept and they talked. They would often go to the state border! Whatever it takes to get alone time with your spouse, right?! I have friends who do date night’s in. We’ve done this before. You can get the kids to bed and make a special evening together watching a movie or baking cookies or insert you favorite past time. Find activities that are still doable while kids are sleeping or in a stroller or in a pack ‘n play. The point is to have adult conversations, dream a little, hold hands and date!

#2 Coffee Dates

We now have three kids and limited opportunities alone. We’ve started having coffee dates in the mornings. While the kids sleep, we sit in the family room sipping our home brewed coffee and talking. It’s not very glamorous but it is nourishing our relationship. Each morning, we are bridging the gap that having lots of kids and little time creates. I want to note that rhythm was very important in making this happen as well. Until I could guarantee the baby was going to sleep through the night, getting up early for coffee was not going to help our marriage! It may not be a coffee date for you and yours but find a DAILY activity that you can look forward to that provides adult conversation without the constant interruption of little ones. 

#3 Resource free or affordable childcare programs

Couples need times when the kids have a safe place to be and you and your spouse have a place to be without them! In our area, both our church and a local non-profit offer Parent’s Night Out programs on a regular basis for a very affordable price. These are priority one in the Parker Household! We block our calendars on these dates. We know that our children will be well loved and cared for and we can have much needed time alone without breaking the bank! The kids have a wonderful time and my husband and I come back refreshed, more connected as a couple, and better parents. There is likely similar programs in your area. Sometimes, you just have to know where to look or who to ask.

#4 Schedule Time Together

I remember sitting in a MOPS meeting this past spring listening to a panel of women sharing their wisdom on how they kept their marriages alive while their children were little. The honesty and ideas that came out of that session were gold. The most priceless advice was to schedule time together both for conversation and intimacy. There will always, ALWAYS, be something or multiple little someones clamoring for your attention. You have to make the decision and steadfast commitment to date, get away without the kids, and remain intimate. It will not just happen. Put a big X on the calendar. Schedule reminders. Carve out times to make your relationship a priority. Having kids has a way of removing the spontaneity of all things romantic but please, still be romantic even if there has to be a big red circle on your calendar reminding you to be intimate with your spouse. I know there will come a time when scheduling quality time alone with your spouse won’t be so hard, but until then do what you gotta do!

#5 Ask for help

Whether this is your first baby or your fifth, you and your spouse just can’t do it alone. Family is not nearby but our church and life group have become our framily. If it had not been for the love, support, and willingness of our friends,  I have no idea how we could have cared for our children, when our second and third child was born. We all need a village. Find yours! Plug into a church. Get involved in a small group. Get to know your neighbors. If you’re near family, please invite them into your life and resource the free babysitting! Connect with people who can help you keep your marriage a priority. Swap babysitting with other couples. Watch their kids one week while you have a date, then they can watch your kids while you get a date! You need this. Your spouse needs this. Your kids need this.

Romance with kids is tough!

Jon Acuff said recently: “Toddlers are amazing, but they are also a crisis. They never stop moving, like raptors constantly testing the boundaries of their containment for weak spots. Your life is upside down when you have young kids.” Let’s own the fact that kids make our marriage relationship difficult. You can, however, find ways to stoke the romance flames between spit up, meltdowns, and night terrors. It will get better. And it’s going to take work. Keep pursuing one another. Your definition of romance may need to change for a while but your love for one another doesn’t have to.

Have kids? Here are some tips on how to stoke the romance flames between spit up and night terrors!

Your Turn! How have you kept the romance alive between raising littles and the every day demands of life? Comment below with your tips for finding time with your spouse! 

Read the introduction here: Bringing Home Baby, Again

Read last week’s post here: How to Help Your Child Adjust to Baby

Next Week! 

Having kids does a number on your social life. It brings the spontaneity and late nights to a screeching halt. And if they don’t stop, someone is paying for it in meltdowns and chaos. Join me next week as we discuss how kids change your social life!

Photo Credit: Rhonda Ramirez (header image), Captured Photography by Emily (content photo)

Bringing home a baby is hard on the siblings too! They have to get used to another person in the house that is interrupting their sleep or crashing in their room or possibly taking over their room and now they have to share their toys! It can be overwhelming for a little tyke. Check out these tips to help your child adjust to baby.

How to Help Your Child Adjust to Baby

Having more than one child is a fun and beautiful adventure. It is also complicated and messy! As your heart multiplies, your children feel the impact of your divided time. Just like mom and dad, children also have to wrestle with what they are feeling and it often manifests in childish ways because well..they are children after all. You can wade through all the feels by finding moments to focus on them, celebrating their new role in the family, and making sure they know how much you love them.  It takes time and effort but you can help them adjust and maybe even grow to like this alien life form taking over their space.

Here are 13 Ways You Can Help Your Child Adjust to a New Baby

  1. Plan “just you & me” outings–  Right after our youngest was born, my husband took our eldest to a glow-in-the dark putt-putt place. Although the concept of putt-putt escaped him, the time alone with daddy very much translated. From this adventure, we determined we needed to create one on one time with each child as often as possible. Some people call this dating their children. We have done this intentionally on occasion but as our children get older, we’ll start putting actual dates on the calendar.
  2. Bring a child along for errands– Every errand or pit stop can be turned into a few minutes alone with mommy or daddy. Recently, I needed to pick up a few gifts for upcoming birthday parties. My husband suggested I take our eldest along and grab lunch while we were out. It was a very special outing for just the two of us that ended in ice cream!
  3. Verbally share your delight in spending time together– This means saying out loud some version of : “I am so glad I am spending special time with you right now!” Our actions paired with sincere words can make a huge difference! These little love deposits can make the time your child is losing, because of baby, a little easier to handle.
  4. Stagger bedtimes– Once everyone is on a pretty consistent routine, space out each child’s bedtime so you can have special one on one time reading books or playing a game or insert your favorite activity. It may only be 10-15 minutes later than other siblings but that time together is gold.
  5. Say “yes” as often as you can– When there is a baby in the house we have to say “no” quite often especially when feeding times and nap times are the priority for a baby. This can be so frustrating to older siblings. When you can say “yes”, do so emphatically. It speaks volumes to their little hearts when you agree to watch a program together or play a quick game at the table. Then when you do have to say “no” because of the demands of the new baby, your child can take it in stride instead of blaming their misfortune on the new addition.
  6. Help them through the behavior issues– When our daughter was born, it never occurred to me that bringing home a baby could affect my son so much. We had talked about the arrival of his baby sister and did what we could to prepare him for her arrival. His aunt had even given him a baby doll that looked just like a baby fresh out of the hospital complete with a hospital bracelet. Even with our prepping, he started acting out. He loved his little sister but he was having trouble processing all those big emotions and made a lot of poor choices. I am so thankful for preschool teachers who got it and assured me that he would even out. Understand that your child is adjusting to a new life as well. Work with teachers and caregivers as your child(ren) wade through all the emotions they are feeling. It is never okay to hit or act out in a way to that brings harm to them or others but understanding why they are acting out goes a long way in how we respond to their behavior and help them through all the emotions!
  7. Spontaneously sneak away– I have yet to meet a child who did not enjoy a bit of intrigue. Look for ways to slip away unplanned for a few minutes with your child. The day before my eldest started Kindergarten, we slipped outside to eat ice cream while his younger siblings napped. It wasn’t planned. I just looked up at his sweet face, remembered the ice cream in the freezer, and invited him to come with me..quietly. Before I knew it, we were whispering and giggling and tip-toeing outside to enjoy our sugary feast together all the while talking about school!
  8. Get sitters- Babysitters are not just for dates. You can get a sitter for the other children while both parents have a special outing with one child. I love when my husband has a date with one of our children. I treasure even more those times when we can share that memory together. Recently we were able to walk our son into his kindergarten class on the first day. That was made possible because of the kindness of a friend who watched our other children.
  9. Talk about it– Find ways to talk them through this transition.  Talk about how grown up they’ve become.  Find ways to hash out their struggles and be willing to admit to them that the adjustment is hard on you, too.
  10. Make events out of the mundane– Each of our children has the opportunity to check the mail with daddy during the week. There’s six days of mail so it works out well for our kids to check the mail twice each week. It’s a 45-second round trip from the front door to the mail box and back but each child treasures this time with daddy. So much changes when a sibling is added in, find traditions and activities that your child(ren) can can count on when so much is uncertain.
  11.  Solicit their help with baby– Find ways to make your child “mommy’s helper”. He can help retrieve a diaper. She can pick out baby’s outfit.  They can turn on the noise machine. They can help close the door when baby goes down for a nap. Find ways to invite your children into this new world with baby.
  12. Provide special privileges– Make bringing home baby a rite of passage for them as they can now stay up later, or do a special activity during baby’s nap time. Allow them to watch special programs while baby naps. Big brothers and sisters get privileges that babies do not!
  13. Affirm your love for them and their new sibling– Your child needs to know that you love them deeply. They also need to know how much you care for their new sibling. Find ways to tell them how thankful you are to have all your children in your heart and in your arms.

Embrace the Adventure!

Bringing home a baby changes everything. What we fail to realize, however, is how deeply this affects other children in the home. To a child, what comes with the addition of each sibling is their loss of time with you. Kids are very resilient but that doesn’t mean that the loss of prime time with you isn’t impacting them. That is why it is so important to find ways to spend one on one time with each child. The more loved and secure a child feels in his relationship with mom and dad, the better the relationship with his siblings will be. Yes, devoting time to assure each child feels loved can be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. Embrace the challenge of loving each of your children well.

Having more than one child is a fun and beautiful adventure. It is also complicated and messy! As your heart multiplies, your children feel the impact of your divided time. Check out these tips for making the transition a little easier.

 

What about you? What challenges or solutions would you add to this list. What have you done to make bringing home baby a smoother adjustment for your children? Comment below!

Next Week!

Intimacy after one child can be challenging. Add in more sweet bouncing babies, and carving out time with your spouse feels impossible! It really is possible but it takes some work to keep your marriage a priority. Join me next week as we discuss how to stoke the romance between spit up and night terrors.

 

Read the Introduction here! Bringing Home Baby, Again

Read last week’s post here! 4 Practical Tips for Gaining a Routine After Baby

Photo Credit: Captured Photography by Emily