Things that help me stay a good mommy

Homeschooling and working at home with four young kids is not easy. Here’s what helps me stay sane:

Ear muffs, the industrial kind of ear protection which we use for target practice. Helps me stay calm when my kids throw a particularly bad tantrum. To their credit, it doesn’t happen often. But when it does happen, I put my ear muffs on and enjoy a few moments of nearly perfect silence.

Cartoons. Yes, I know, the title of this post implies that I “think” I am a good mommy, but good mommies don’t use TV as a babysitter. I do sometimes, especially because we don’t have any other babysitters. In fact, my kids are watching a cartoon as I’m writing this, because right now I am too lazy to take all four of them out for a walk, and I blame the cold New England weather as an excuse for my laziness.

Baby carrier, namely, the Boba wrap, gives me both of my hands back while keeping my baby snuggled and sleeping quietly.

Dishwasher, which goes without saying. Thank you, Josephine Cochrane!

Dumbbells. My newborn baby is putting on weight pretty quickly, so it takes some serious physical strength to wear him in my baby carrier. That’s why I need to pump some iron to stay in shape. I even use the baby as a big kettlebell to help me exercise.

Punching bag. As every parent knows, even the best-behaved kids sometimes drive you insane. At the end of some days I feel like I want to punch somebody… or something. We’ve set up a tennis ball speedbag at home, which is a perfect stress-reliever and gives a great exercise.

iPod Touch. I don’t have a smartphone. If I did, I would probably be hooked on texting and online browsing. iPod Touch has all the conveniences of a smartphone, while keeping me offline and off call. I can use the apps to entertain myself while nursing, or save some stories using Pocket app for offline reading while I’m outside with the kids.

iNotes. When my latest baby was born someone gave me golden advice, “just don’t expect to accomplish much except getting through each day right now.” I found that if I slowed down and didn’t overwhelm myself, I would actually accomplish more, with less stress. So every day I use my iNotes list to jot down just a few main things I need to do. Despite all the distractions throughout the day, the app helps me stay focused on what needs to be done.

Work computer. My kids are trained to respect my work time, so if they are whining, I sit down and do some work, and usually the kids calm down. Working also helps me clear my head and enjoy some meaningful adult interaction with my clients and employees.

Cookie. My husband Kon bakes awesome coconut & chocolate chips cookies with almond flour. A cookie served with evening hot tea is the reward I look forward to at the end of each day.

Husband. Technically, he’s not just one of the “things” above. He is the man who makes it all happen. Thanks to him, I am still sane. He equally shares with me the joys and challenges of parenting, homeschooling, and working. I must confess that in our family he does the cooking and most of the grocery shopping (yes, I know, shame on me). He is also my business advisor, life coach, and my very best friend. If I am any good as a mommy, he is the true reason why.