New job ventures for Rob have meant a lot of solo-parenting nights with ETC. (A lot = 4-5 nights a week.)

With a day full of rambunctious 3-year-old shenanigans (cubed – because x3 isn’t really accurate), and the 70-30 chance I face bedtime meltdowns, I find myself in the dark more and more.

I tuck them in, turn off the light, close the door and retreat. I could be productive and clean up right away (like Rob does – he is a stronger than me) – God knows the pile of dirty dishes in the sink need washed or put in the dishwasher (which usually needs unloaded). There are stray toys left behind after ETC’s cleanup job (they’re 3 – they miss things). The laundry is forever in need of attention. I have to sweep the floors, wipe down the kitchen table, counters and ETC’s chairs (gross). Blankets need refolded. I usually need to look through the mail we brought in earlier.

There are Things To Do. Clearly.

Instead of retreating from the bedtime chaos and jumping right into my final cleanup duty, I collapse on the couch without turning on a light (bedtime currently happens just before sunset) and dive into social media.

I need that time with silence, stillness and the magic of adult voices inside my computer/phone that allow me to connect without doing anything at that moment if I don’t want to. Before I know it, I look up to total darkness, silence and a renewed motivation to get back to work and finish my day.

Or rather, so I can be left with no responsibilities but my writing, reading and marriage – when my husband finally gets home.

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Is there any better way to do a television marathon than with Netflix? I think not.

I was put on bedrest while 25 weeks pregnant with my triplets in 2010, and I binged Dexter and Veronica Mars, both shows I had never seen but had been dying to catch up to the rest of the world as a fan. I also overdid myself with a handful of TLC reality shows.

Netflix got me through long, solo hours of pumping. Rob used to joke with me, saying I had surely seen everything there was on Netflix, but we all know that isn’t possible. I did, however, introduce myself to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, White Collar, Downton Abbey, and I found myself sucked back into Grey’s Anatomy (I declared the show dead to me three or four seasons earlier, when they killed of someone and kept around someone else – no spoilers! – in the worst season-ending cliffhanger of all time).

I find myself missing my pumping days because the Me Time I had back then is a distant memory. The time I had for getting lost in new shows and old favorites is long gone.

Now, if Netflix is on in my house, it’s on something for ETC. They’ve fallen head over heels in love with Clifford, and they still can’t get enough of Daniel Tiger (though I can – will we ever see new episodes?).

Instead of devouring new shows, I struggle to keep up with the few new episodes I try to follow, and more than anything else, I just want some peace and quiet when I finally get time to myself.

What are your favorite series on Netflix? Are you a fan of show-binging, or do you prefer to spread things out?

As a Netflix Stream Team member, I was provided with a complimentary Apple TV device, and I receive free Netflix instant streaming service in exchange for sharing relevant topics and messages with you and your family. All opinions expressed on ActualJenny.com are 100 percent my own – those cannot be bought!

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I’m thinking about sexual abuse tonight. There are a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head, and I can’t pin most of them down. One I have caught and have pinned on its own thought board is this question:

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which popped into my head after watching this video:

I want my kids to know it’s important to assert themselves and that it’s important to choose people in their lives who will adhere to their assertions.

It can’t be an age-into-it thing because it seems an important lesson for all ages – one that helps build trust, confidence and danger signals. But at the same time, one can’t expect a 3-year-old to regularly make wise personal decisions without guidance, interference, coaxing and persuading.

I know I’m not the first mother to bribe my kids into their clothes so we can leave by promising them a Dum Dum in the car. (Eerily similar to the Bad Man who lures kids to his van with candy.)

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Parenting is scary and hard, and it boggles my mind when I stop to think about how all the tiny decisions I make on a daily basis could potentially harm or help my kids in the future.

Like with sexual abuse.

Yikes.

 

This blog post resonated with me this week, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since reading it. It popped into my head again tonight as I listened to the chatter around me in Starbucks as I did some work.

Honestly, truly, I don’t miss the stages I’ve passed with my kids. Infancy tested me in every way, and I’m lucky to have survived it with most relationships unscathed. I try to savor each day, and I certainly do savor each stage. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not wishing away any of it or even hoping we speed through parts.

I love each stage we’re in, and I’m thankful for each stage we pass. I teared up over my Starbucks tea tonight, listening to the teens who ambled in and out because I just can’t picture my own chubby babies as young adults, maxed out with drama and trolling the local mall for l-u-v. God willing, it will happen, and I will see it, but I’m so far from ready for that business that thinking about it hurts.

I may not wish for a repeat, and I won’t wish for things to speed up, but you had better believe I regularly wish for time to be slow.

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Whew! Where has February gone?!

I’m a good, attentive parent, but I have no problem admitting that I use my TV to help me parent. It zeroes my kids’ attention in like nothing else, and when I need them to switch off their inner Energizer Bunny, nothing can glue them to the couch quicker than the warm glow of our TV.

It’s maybe sad, but it’s true.

We love playing, but it’s free time, and anyone can wander in or out, change the game or abandon the effort at any given time. Playing is rarely a focused, quiet activity when you have three 3-year-old brains with three constant ideas of fun.

Books are great, but they’re short, and it’s easy to lose interest when one ends, and your pick isn’t what is next. I can’t hold the attention of all three for long.

But Netflix. Oh, Netflix. Not only does the calm last for at least 20 minutes (gold!), but we can easily switch between shows if the majority is displeased. There is no ejecting, loading, required trailers, or any of the other seemingly short hurdles that cause our Blu-ray player to eat time and make my audience drop like flies. I can cook a fast meal in safety and peace. It can distract from too much splashing and jumping around (it’s slippery!) during bathtime. Sitting still is a rare gem at this age, and I’m not about to say I don’t take advantage of those opportunities.

Lately, we’ve been watching a lot of Disney, as we just got back from a quick visit to Disney World. For all things Mickey, we love Mickey and the Beanstalk, The Three Musketeers, The Prince and the Pauper, and, of course, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally.

We are really excited that Netflix added Clifford – both big and puppy versions! I absolutely loved Clifford as a kid, and I’m really excited to share him with my trio.

Two random finds ETC and I were excited about recently were the Aquarium For Your Home episodes. Just like the Fireplace For Your Home, these aren’t shows, per se, but they’re just interesting to put on the TV for background ambiance. We have a lot of fun searching for different fish and colors and anticipating pretend sharks.

Oh, and did you see that Netflix added RENT? I own the DVD and have the Broadway show memorized, but I definitely squeed when I saw I can stream one of my favorite shows anytime without hunting down the DVD. Plus, ETC love the opening scene with the full cast singing Seasons of Love, but not much else is suitable for sharing with my trio … yet.

“To days of inspiration, playing hooky, making something out of nothing!” (La Vie Boheme, of course!)

As a Netflix Stream Team member, I was provided with a complimentary Apple TV device, and I receive free Netflix instant streaming service in exchange for sharing relevant topics and messages with you and your family. All opinions expressed on ActualJenny.com are 100 percent my own – those cannot be bought!

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