“When your oldest kids were toddlers, were you able to do all of the amazing stuff you do now?” This question was emailed to me last week. The letter went on to say, “My kids are 3 and 2 and try as I might to be frugal, we just can’t manage to do a lot of fun stuff.” I’m guessing she is not the only one who may feel this way when following our family adventures, so I wanted to share some of my reply with you all. May you enjoy the toddler years.
Oh those toddler years! No, my life was very different when I had just the first three kids little at home. We just had money for necessities and not much left over. I was dying to get out and do things, but it was practically impossible. Here are some things I did that helped me enjoy the toddler years:
Celebrate at Home.
I became the holiday mom. Since I couldn’t travel and go places, I made every holiday a big deal with meals, games, culture…whatever I could think of. You may remember some of our holiday celebrations:
I celebrated as much as I could, and the kids and I had things to look forward to. My husband couldn’t complain about the good food!
Find Free Things to Do.
Another thing I did was look for free things to do. I didn’t just go to the Fall Festival at my own church, I’d crash three or four church festivals. It’s ok. Laugh. I’d go to bank and car dealership parties. I’m not kidding. Sometimes just going to Costco or Sam’s Club to get samples was an outing.
Fellowship at Church.
We went to all the services at church and were as involved as possible. We did take our turn in volunteering, but sometimes I’d literally run the other way when I saw the lady in charge of childcare coming my way on Wednesday evenings. I was so desperate and needed a break that much. That story and how hard it was for me as a mom with young kids here: Give Mom’s a Break!
This photo summed up my life. I tried so hard to be upbeat and fun, and just look at my kids. Ha ha!
Find ways to do what you enjoy.
I actually started my blog to have money to travel and get out and do things. It has been a blessing, and if you follow our travels, you see some of the fruit of that work, but actually my older kids remember when I was holiday mom, and they miss that. I just can’t do it all!!
The baby and toddler years are hard! While there are other challenges with older kids and teens, it’s so different from the exhaustion in the younger years. The days seemed to drag. On this end of it though, it went by in a flash! It does get easier!!!
My sister-in-law used to tell me that things would be easier when my youngest turned five. It took a while for me to reach that, since I went and had five kids that are two to three years apart, but she was exactly right. At that point, kids are doing so much more for themselves and mom isn’t required every moment of their day.
I pray you all find ways to enjoy the toddler years!