10 Things I've Learned While Being A Mom

(for a week)

by - 11:21 AM

Hayden and I got to be parents for a week. Kind of.

I have some dear friends that have 3 little ones whom I love tremendously. The parents were taking a vacation for 7 days and when they asked if we would mind watching the kids while they were gone, I didn't even hesitate to accept the invitation! I have always dreamed of the day that I would get to be a mommy, and love doing anything remotely close to living up to that dream. That's actually how I met this family--4 years ago I responded to a job post from them through Care.com and it was love at first sight for all of us! We have been pretty inseparable ever since. They even let me live with them for a while when I came home from my mission. What a gosh darn blessing. 

Anyway. I went to their house Tuesday evening to begin the week-long endeavor. I was so excited. The week was filled with a lot of fun activities! Hayden had to work a lot, so I was doing most of the baby-sitting. Which was fine with me, because it was sort of a peek into the future, since I want to be a stay-at-home mom. 

I was blessed and grateful that the kids were as well behaved as they were, but MAN. Watching kids for 24 hours a day for an entire week is EXHAUSTING. Mad props to all of you hard-working parents out there!! I had a lot of insights during that week that have helped prepare me for when I actually am a real mom to my own kids:

1. Kids remember EVERYTHING. If you tell them you're going to do sparklers in the driveway tomorrow night because it's too late to do it tonight... they'll remember. Even if you don't. If you tell one kid that they can't have a fruit snack, but an hour later, a different kid asks if they can have a fruit snack and you say "yes", the former will remember. And you will feel bad. Then everyone will have a gosh darn fruit snack.

2. Kids have a lot of energy. When I was a kid, all of the adults would say to me "my goodness, how do you have so much energy?!" I was always confused by that question as a youngster. But now, I ask that same thing to kids ALL of the dang time. Kids are rambunctious! Let them burn off that energy! You wanna jump on the trampoline until dinner time? Go for it! You wanna play hide-and-seek until you forget how to count to 25? By all means!! It will certainly make bedtime easier!

3. Have an abundance of options for them to keep busy. Day 1 of Mission Babysit-For-A-Week, I hopped on my Facebook account and looked up all of the kid-friendly events that were going on during the week. I explored all of the possibilities and it ended up being a big hit! And the best part? The majority of the activities were FREE! We went to a Pioneer Celebration a couple of cities over where the kids got to jump in bounce houses and later enjoyed a free concert! We explored museums, parks, and went to a magic show! My personal favorite, though, was a "Harry Potter Birthday Party" in the middle of a local strip mall. The kids got to make their own magic wands, plant a succulent, and taste "potions". And I held a snake!!

Free stuff is the BEST!! 

4. Let them exercise their creativity. It is so easy these days to let kids just glue their eyeballs to a screen. They don't bother you, and you generally don't have to worry about them getting into any trouble. I, however, prefer drawing, dress up, and legos to iPads, computer games, and Netflix, any day. Although those things aren't necessarily "bad". Sure, glitter glue and cut up art work makes for a big mess to clean up, but the children get a chance to grow their brain instead of fry it. And a lot of the time, their creations will surprise you.

5. Be careful of your actions. During this week, I was made more aware of how I should act. I have a habit of using a handful of phrases that aren't exactly kid-appropriate (freak/sucks/etc.) I was extremely careful of my choices of words because I didn't want them to follow my example. If I don't want my child to do that, why should I?

6. Routines are good. I admit it. I am terrible at keeping up with any kind of routine outside of a dance studio. I don't get up or go to bed at the same time every day. I'm horrible at eating a decent breakfast (or even eating breakfast at all sometimes). I don't always "get ready" for the day, and if I do, it usually doesn't happen until about lunch time. These kids were taught really well by their parents to get up early, eat, be productive, and make the most of your day. They would get up and get dressed on their own, make themselves breakfast, do their chores, and be playing games with each other all before the time that I usually get out of bed! I was so impressed. I felt like we had so much longer of a day--in a good way!

7. It is okay to say yes. If they want a fruit snack, let 'em have one! You get the munchies too don't you? And what do you do to solve the problem? Eat a snack. If they ask you to play hide-and-seek with them, but you feel too tired--and frankly, too lazy-- say YES! I ended up playing the game with them for like 2 hours and we all had so much fun!! But be careful not to let them take advantage of you saying "yes". Which leads me into my next point...

8. They will try manipulate you. Kids are kinda funny that way. I think they think that since their parents aren't home, they can try to get away with more things. For example: one night before bed, one of the kids asked if they could take a drink up to their room with them. "My mom always lets me!" I think they forgot that I lived with them for like 5 months and I'm pretty sure that was never a thing. Another kid asked if we could spend some of the money that was left for gas, groceries, etc. on a new toy. *eyeroll* I'm pretty sure legos aren't a necessity, love. 

9. Its okay if messes are made. Going back to point #4, kids will be kids. If they splash water all over the kitchen because they were trying to be helpful and wash their own dish, oh well. If they get red slushie all over their white shirt, so what? Us adults make messes all of the time, and we always learn from our mistakes. It is the same with kids. They need those experiences too! Just laugh it off and help them tidy up.

10. You will get tired very easily. Babysitting for a few hours while parents are on a date and watching after kids all hours of the day for multiple days are two completely different things. Take time for yourself! One night, when the kids were all in bed, I treated myself to a nice bubble bath and read a good book. Another afternoon about 3 or 4 days in, I was SO. TIRED. My sweet Hayden came home from working a long shift and told me to take a nap and he would watch the kids. He gets it. He'll make such a good Daddy some day. Bless him.

Over all, I had a total BLAST spending the week with these little loves. The day their parents came home, we make them a cute "welcome home" sign, and came up with a fun song to sing upon their arrival. We also cooked a big fancy dinner for them to enjoy, with plenty of left overs for the next day. I understood how much work they really do at and away from home, and wanted to give them even more of a break. Parents are so stinking cool and I can't wait to be one someday. 

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  1. Wow! You will make an awesome mom! I love that shirt you are wearing in the pics ;)

  2. You are so amazing! Your future kids are soooo lucky! I adore you! Keep it up

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