I’ve decided that it’s somewhat unfair that I know the challenge before you do. Going forward, I will post the challenge in the evenings. This way you can wake up ready to go and we can really feel like we are doing this together. So spread the word. As you can see, I am no parenting expert, rather, just another mom trying to get through
When my son got home from school today, I told him I had a surprise. I passed over my phone and asked him to read (the challenge) aloud. His eyes seriously lit up and he called his sister over to read it again to her. “Mommy is going to play with us every day!” That alone makes this challenge worthwhile.
I left them alone for a minute to discuss their “game plan” (ha). When I returned, my daughter had Candyland in her hand and my son sat busily assembling electronic Battleship. The set up alone of Battleship took 15 minutes, during which time I did sneak a few looks at my phone. We had a nice pace going in Candyland until my daughter picked a card that sent her spiraling back to the beginning, and easily added another ten minutes to our game.
In the end, however, my daughter laughed for most of the game, despite her defeat and due to technical issues, my son and I amicably agreed to end our game prematurely.
My kids are still bouncing around upstairs way too late, laundry still awaits me, and my family room looks like a playroom, but at this moment, I feel like for an hour (yes, it took an entire hour), I made the right choice this evening.
And, now for Day 2 of the challenge . . .
With summer vacation staring me in the face, I choose now to make some personal changes: 30 days of mom goals. I hope my children and I will benefit from the process.
My daughter just graduated pre-K. She has 88 days of summer break. Yes, I counted. Sure, there’s a few weeks of camp thrown in but a quarter of a year together without complete structure may possibly break me.
My kids are 5 and 7. They play together. They fight. My daughter idolizes my son. My daughter hits my son. My son teases my daughter. They wake up way too early and go to bed too late. They watch TV. They melt-down. They like to help me. They get bored helping me. They make huge messes and are “too tired” to clean. I reward chart. I bribe. I threaten. I doubt. I praise. I re-tell the adorable things they say. I yell. My blood boils. I am overly excited for bedtime. I lay down with them and read them stories. I come back for more hugs and kisses. I vow to do it better the next day.
So, this challenge is created with my own sanity in mind. I love a challenge. So, game on!
Here’s how it works. Every day, I will post a challenge to myself (and to you if you partake). If you have a suggestion, I may add it to the challenge. After all, this is a work in progress, as are we, as moms.
So, here it is Day 1 of the Challenge. . .
As a new mom, the most important thing you can do is to find a group of like-minded moms whom you trust. You will trust these moms with your new mom questions, your deepest, darkest mom confessions, and eventually, the care of your child.
I moved to Hoboken, New Jersey when I was eight months pregnant, about to embark on life as a stay-at-home mom, knowing no one. I describe this place, a tiny one-mile city, minutes outside of Manhattan, as magical, although I didn’t know it yet. Urban and completely kid-friendly, the streets runneth over with strollers and babywearing mamas. At the time, I had no idea how much support a new mom needed, but it was here in Hoboken, that I found my circle of moms, the women who got me through daily life as a first-time mom.
When we finally came up for a breath from mommyhood and realized how much more we could accomplish without children in tow, it was only natural that we decided to create our babysitting co-op together. At first, it allowed us to get that overdue haircut or make a doctor’s appointment, but soon we progressed to date nights with our husbands. This co-op proved so successful that I did not hire my first official babysitter until my son was close to two-years-old. And, with a sitter costing 12 to 15 dollars for one child, that added up to quite the savings.
What You Need to Create a Babysitting Co-op:
C’mon, I know you’ve thought about getting rid of cable at least once. Do you really need all those channels? What could you do with more than $1600 this year? Even if you bought ten series on iTunes, you still come out ahead. What do you have to lose? Cut the cord! Cut the cord!
For more on watching your favorite shows without cable, click here to read my previous blog post.
If you decide to go ahead with ditching cable, you will need:
A Netflix account or Amazon Prime account. My kids were already Netflix-junkies. If you don’t already have a Prime account, click here for a free one-month subscription. You not only get free two-day shipping from Amazon but also access to over 40,000 movies and TV shows.
One or more streaming devices (there are others out there that I will not discuss):
Apple TV: this is what I use. Many apps are included such as CNN, PBS, PBS Kids, and Lifetime. FYI: I find the remote control too small and hard to navigate so the remote app on my phone eliminates this problem. Although
Cord-cutter: that’s who I am. Two months and proud. My kids haven’t complained yet.
You may think that my sizable cable bill motivated this decision, however, the real reason was that I simply could not justify paying one more month for my home phone. With the exception of telemarketers who dialed me incessantly (despite my placement on the no-call list), my home phone sat silently accumulating dust until I finally unplugged it. FIOS informed me that if I chose to keep internet and cable TV but dropped my home line, my bill would actually increase. (I had the Triple Play package).
Frustrated, I shopped around online and discovered CableVision’s Cord-Cutter package. For $50 per month including taxes, I could receive high-speed internet, a router, and digital antenna. My FIOS bill cost me close to $200 per month. Do the math. At the end of the year, I would have an extra $1600 in my pocket.
Sure, cable makes channel-surfing convenient, but I can honestly say I do not miss it. I still manage to watch all my favorite shows: Downton Abbey (may it RIP), Vinyl, The Affair, Girls, Shark Tank, Real Housewives, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
I never have cash on me. Truth. After the tooth fairy made her first appearance, my son referred to his stash, which he had already misplaced, as “the green stuff.” Obviously, he rarely sees me using dollar bills as I pay for virtually everything online, with a card or with my phone. At the end of a lovely date night with my husband, nothing screams