Are your summers filled with quick weekend trips? My middle daughter enjoys playing travel softball but I do not enjoy super early mornings so we tend to stay overnight near the playing fields.
I believe if you work hard, you deserve to spoil yourself a little bit, and if you can afford to stay away a night to be just a tad less sleep deprived, I say go for it.
Traveling with two teenagers and a five-year-old in a mid-size SUV is a little challenging, to be honest. My teens are amazing but they have a lot of stuff. And my littlest needs to be entertained. Did I mention the teens have a lot of stuff?
Organize your vehicle before a quick weekend trip
When organizing my car I try to think of what all of the kids need on hand first: tissues, hand wipes, drinks, snacks, and, for the littlest, activities.
These back seat organizers hang from the back of the driver and passenger seats. There are compartments for anything you could imagine as well as a clear compartment to slide an iPad or Kindle for the kiddo to watch.
I also use something like this to organize the trunk. We take several folding chairs with us, my daughter’s ball bag, which is huge, a few backpacks, and a laptop or two whenever we go on our quick trips.
Entertainment for the drive on a quick weekend trip
There are a few activities that we love to use when we go on our quick weekend trips:
- The Kids Kindle Fire is always a winner. Cheaper than an iPad and you can control everything that happens on the device, which I love.
- Driving Bingo comes printed on heavy cards with windows that can open and close so you don’t have to worry about searching for chips.
- Scavenger Hunts are fun even for the older kiddos
Pack the favorite snacks – always
We pack all of the favorites such as fruit snacks for the little and fruit, chips, and water for the big girls. A cooler is an amazing asset while you drive. Placing it under the feet of my youngest works out well because she has all the leg room currently.
Once she gets a little longer the cooler will move to the trunk in easy reach for long-armed teens to reach. I throw everything in the cooler so that no bags of chips or anything else gets crushed.
Pick the perfect quick weekend trip hotel
When our weekends are full of softball field times I don’t worry so much about having a huge room, just enough beds, as we will be away from the room most of the day and sometimes evenings.
We’ve had amazing experiences at several low-cost hotels. Honestly, hotels now are even more equipped for families and are very transparent about their amenities. A pool is almost assumed these days but definitely check when reserving if the pool is functioning.
Drury Inn and Suites take my all-time favorite spot. The rooms are spacious and the one we stayed at in Evansville, Indiana had an amazing breakfast and dinner spread along with offering up to three drinks at their limited, but a still amazing, bar.
Pack your patience and prepare early
Traveling, even quick weekend trips can cause a lot of stress. This is why I start preparing as early as possible in the weeks prior.
- Make a list on a whiteboard or somewhere obvious on what you need to take with you including how many outfits each child, and you, need to take with you.
- Lay everything out before you start putting it in bags and coolers. Check your supplies off as you pack
- Clean out your car prior to loading up
- Know where everything is as you load – it’ll save from little fingers searching while you’re driving
What are your best tips for those quick trips?
I’m often asked by other women who’d like to start their own business from home, how to do it while the kids are home.
I always answer that it’s difficult but doable. I don’t believe in giving fancy, flippant, unrealistic views of what life looks like at home while I try to work. It’s messy, difficult, and frustrating and some days I get nothing finished. Other days, everything works like a dream and I accomplish all the things I didn’t think I would.
Here are my best tips for creating a successful business from home while parenting.
Be clear with your children
The first step is clearly laying out with your children what you need to accomplish daily, weekly, or monthly.
No matter the age of your children, they can understand mommy will be busy during a certain time. I used a red sticky note on the door near my office when my littlest couldn’t understand time or read a clock. When the red sign was up, she was to be as quiet as possible and raise her hand if she needed something important.
With older children, you can use a dry erase board with meeting times clearly labeled. Keep a clock near the dry erase board so that no one can claim that they didn’t know what time it is. Mark out when you have deadlines so that it is clear if you have a busy week that you might be working more than is normal.
Use block time when working from home with kids
Using block time when you are working a business from home with kids will help you a million times over especially when you have several clients.
I schedule each client for a block of an hour or two and that’s when I try to accomplish the bulk of the work for that particular client. This helps me, especially when the kids act like they don’t have manners, to know what I’m working on and when.
Then, when you end up with extra hours here and there, you can wrap up any work that still needs to be completed.
Advocate for yourself and your time when running your business from home with kids
It is very important that you are willing and able to advocate for yourself and the time you need to work your business, even with the kids at home.
Whether you have a partner, hire a babysitter, or are trying to do it on your own you need to be able to say you are working now and ignore everything else. Well, unless there’s a fire or broken bone, of course.
When you lay out clear information about when you need to accomplish tasks, what housework needs to be done, and what errands you need to run. When you advocate for the time you need and pull in the resources available you’ll only be successful.
What tips work well for you while you are running your business from home with the kids?
Spending time with our kids and connecting with them is so important, as we’ve seen over the last few RockingMama Journeys. We have encouraged our kids and found ways to gently spend time with them.
The goal of this week is to physically do something together. Work together as a family unit to do reach a goal. As a group, a team, a family make something amazing together whether it is a successful game or an amazing project.
RockingMama Journeys #9
Game night! Find your, or your kids, favorite board or card game and play together.
Why a board game? While I have nothing against video games, the point of these journeys is to build or rebuild a connection with your kiddos. A board game forces you to all look at each other.
Our favorite game is Uno because it is simple enough for the littlest to play without the big girls getting bored. If you have a big age range I definitely recommend a game that keeps the interest of all of them.
🤔 Connect Four
🤔 Old Maid (for those with younger kids – although my big girls still play this if asked)
🤔 Guess Who
ᴏʟᴅᴇʀ ᴋɪᴅ ꜱᴜɢɢᴇꜱᴛɪᴏɴꜱ
🤔 Phase 10
Cook a meal, snack, dessert, or treat together!
Now that the world is opening back up and summer sports have started finding time to eat together is going to be difficult. So this week chose a day and make it a priority to cooks SOMETHING together.
I’ve always found it super amusing the things I learn about my kids when we attempt to create things as a group.
This past week has been especially hard. The world and circumstances have been hard on a couple of my kiddos so we took the time to connect the best we could. Walking my children through any type of grief, whether it be the death of a loved one or the death of a friendship, has been difficult on my mama heart lately.
📝 Pick an easier recipe that you’ve already cooked
📝 Don’t try a new or fancy recipe unless you feel at the peak of your patience
📝 Start early enough in that you won’t have a kitchen full of hangry people
RockingMama Journeys #11
Do a project together!
There’s nothing better than reading directions and figuring something out together. No sarcasm here at all.
I learn so much about my kids and their decision-making processes and their creativity that it constantly amuses me. One kid is better at physical labor and another is better at determining what the instructions are actually explaining. Together we get through projects like putting together shelves and cleaning rooms with a lot of laughter, a few eye-rolls, and we have a really good time.
What kind of project?
Here are some ideas:
📝 Build a dollhouse out of cardboard boxes
📝 Paint some pictures for a grandparent, co-parent, neighbor, or shut-in
📝 Make a birdhouse
📝 Plant a small garden
📝 Plant flowers
📝 Do the yard work together
📝 Clean a room together, or the house, depending on age
👉 Pick a day nice day if you are doing an outside project
👉 Keep the conversation going while you work together
👉 Give everyone a turn to make a decision
👉 Make sure to keep everyone involved and included by passing the responsibility around
The second week of RockingMama Journeys has kicked off with some fun journeys to keep the connection going by spending time with our kids.
When we get a little busy, as life often does, it can be difficult to come up with ideas of things to do. More than anything our kids need our time. They need to feel that they are important enough for you to think of something to do and then stick with your commitment to do it.
It’s a $25 family fun night!
Your challenge is to take $25 or less and create a family fun night. The goal is to have a fun time as cheaply as possible. Ideas?
📝 Pack up a picnic, put a blanket on the ground, and eat in your yard
📝 Make a homemade meal together from scratch
📝 Find a fun painting craft and make something together
📝 Search Groupon or other coupon services for cheap tickets to something you all enjoy doing
📝 Grab an ice cream cone and go for a hike
What’s your pick?
It’s time to have dinner together!
This sounds a little simple, huh? But it can be a challenge due to schedules, sports, and bedtimes. So your journey for today is to have an intentional meal with your kids, talking about their day, and what was good and bad about their day.
📝Pick an easy to gather meal
📝 You can totally do with your favorite take out meal too
📝 Ask open-ended questions
Have at least one meaningful conversation with your kid.
We talk to our kids every day. I’m trying to do better at using encouraging words and spending quality time – even if I have just a little bit of it to share.
📝 Take a drive in the car for your chat. Sometimes my kids feel more comfortable talking when they’re not looking at my face
📝 Do not force it. Just show interest.
📝 Let your kid lead the conversation. They have things to say. We just need to listen.
Grab some one-on-one time!
This might be tricky for a lot of us. Especially if you have several children. But it is so important to take the time to spend with each child to make sure that you are hearing them, addressing any problems, and encouraging them.
I’ve found the easiest place for me to grab a few minutes with each kid is in my car while driving. They are more likely to talk and tell me what is going on in their life. Or they also feel comfortable telling me things that they don’t want to say while looking directly at me.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be hours of time you are spending, although that is great, even fifteen minutes to stop and connect is the point of this journey.
📝 Make sure to eliminate distractions
📝 Choose a low-pressure situation and approach
📝 Use your heart to hear what they are saying
What are your favorite ways to spend time with your kids?
The First Week
Hopefully, you all enjoyed this first week of RockingMama Journeys as much as I did and are starting to reconnect with your kids. The first week we’ve spent doing little things to really build up our kid’s confidence. Everyone needs a confidence boost occasionally and who better to give one than their mom?
Encouragement to confidence is a huge first step in RockingMama Journeys. Next week we will be moving on to actual activities that we can do with our kids to build a connection. Want a recap of what we are doing and why, check out my blog post here.
Today you are going to fill every conversation, even the hard ones, with encouraging words.
Yep. Try to make every interaction with your child filled with encouragement!.
📝 No matter what the situation is ~ try to find the positive and point it out
📝 Sneak in the encouragement when they least expect it
📝 If you’re frustrated take a deep breath before you speak
📝 Give yourself some extra points if you not only speak encouraging words but also keep yourself from speaking critical words. 📝
Let’s make our homes a safe space…to communicate.
By safe I mean making sure that our kids feel heard, that they know they can tell you how they’re feeling, and that they feel confident that you’re listening.
Today, examine the words you are saying, or said, as your kids left. Think about what you are going to say when they get home, and see if there are any changes you can make so that they have all the warm fuzzies.
I used to be fairly frazzled and frustrated in the mornings. My mood was awful, I was cranky, and that led to me being short with the kiddos. This was probably ten years ago.
What changed is that I realized my being frustrated and short with them when they got on the bus or dropped at the sitter, was kind of ruining their day. And then I got to thinking…what if that was the last thing I said to them?
Since then I’ve worked – not always successfully but tried – to have the last thing I say before they leave for wherever they are going and the first thing I say to them when they get back from wherever they went to be positive.
I also learned to be a better listener. I never realized that listening was a skill (thank you therapist) and that active listening can really change the tone and success of a conversation – especially with kids.
📝 Look your kid in the eyes when saying good-bye or hello
📝 Hold off on mentioning things such as “why wasn’t your room clean before you left,” or “who left their shoes right inside the door” until you’ve at least said hello
📝 Remember that our kids have bad days too and sometimes a little smile and hello is all they need to feel tons better
**If you stumbled on this post and are in an unsafe family situation please call or reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (SAFE)**
Brag about your kids…
Our kids are amazing. They are the best part of us and we love them to bits…usually.
When you brag on your kids it doesn’t have to be for some amazing ball game or winning an honor’s award ~ although those are good things to brag about ~ but just brag about how amazing your kid is. Do they help you around the house? Do you just love them so much?
Whether you post on social media, if you do things like that, or if you just leave them a note, tell them with words and a hug.
📝 Be sneaky and surprise them
📝 Think of something good they’ve done that they don’t think you know about
📝 Make it as big a deal as you can
Send your kiddo a positive note. It can be a sticky note on their door when they get home. A cutesy little card in their lunch. Even a message over social for us parents of older kids.
📝 Make it a surprise. If you always leave notes do it in a different place this time
📝 Find something new to tell them or something you haven’t told them in a while
📝 Be sneaky and make it fun
Go here to follow along on my Instagram and leave your own ideas.