Meet Becca Whitson, stay at home super-mom to two boys, ages 3 and 9 months. She's also a wonder-wife (just ask her husband), painter & writer extraordinaire. FortSmithMoms.com posed a few questions to Becca about managing mommyhood. Here's what she had to say.
Describe a typical day with the boys.
Will comes in our room around 6:30-7:00 and climbs in bed with us, then remembers that he needs to pee-pee. I say with a smile, "Daddy will take you," and he does. We snuggle in bed until Cy wakes up, usually a few minutes after 7:00. The little boys and I eat breakfast while Matt gets ready for work. Matt leaves, sometimes to the sounds of crying from Will, who would like for him to stay home and play all day. From this point on, the boys and I play, I discipline Will for pushing Cy down or taking toys away from him or numerous other things, repeatedly remove Cy from lamp cords or speaker wires or other dangerous objects, and then put Cy down for his morning nap. I use that time to check my email and shower while Will watches Thomas and Friends. After the nap, we run any errands we have that day, play, and eat lunch. Then begins the choreographed dance of afternoon naps. Every moment that one of them is not sleeping is a moment I alone that I have lost. They must nap. I must have a break. I use this time, sometimes only an hour of overlapping naps, to clean, do laundry, mess around on the computer, pick up the house, start dinner, paint whatever project I'm currently work on, etc. The rest of the afternoon is spent playing. Will eats a snack and watches a show while I make dinner. Cy usually follows me in the kitchen and plays with measuring cups for about 30 seconds while I attempt to cook. Matt comes home, kisses Cy and me, then wrestles with Will immediately. I think they both need that release. Will looks forward to it all day. We eat dinner, usually home-cooked and sometimes with some sneaky veggie purees added in, and talk about our day. Bathtime is fun and wet for all involved. Cy goes to sleep around 7:00, then we get some one-on-one time with Will. We read, talk about what we did that day and what we'll do tomorrow, and enjoy that quality time with him. His bedtime consists of brushing teeth, sometimes more books in bed, and saying our prayers. Depending on the night, we'll often see him 4-5 more times before we go to bed. He needs to poop (his favorite excuse, rarely true, but you can't ignore that request), he needs a drink, he needs to see Mommy, whatever. Eventually, he goes to sleep, and we're exhausted from the day. Sometimes we talk, and sometimes we just sit in our own chairs and stare at the TV. I work part-time from home, so if I have work to do, this is when I get out my laptop and start working. At the end of the day, we're worn out and happy. We wouldn't trade it for anything.
What is the one thing you vowed you would never do when you had kids that you find yourself doing?
Saying, "Because I said so." I was not going to be one of those moms; I was going to explain everything. But I realized that kids have to obey, even when they don't know or understand the reasons behind the rules.
Do you have a date night with your hubby?
We go on dates, but we don't have a set day of the week or anything. We know when we need one. We try to go out alone at least once a month, more if we can.
How do you find the time to keep the romance going when you are juggling 2 boys ages 3 and 9 months at home And a husband that works full time away from home?
I should probably answer with some cliche like, "We make time," but honestly we try not to look at it like work. We both work all day, so we want to have fun together. We don't schedule in time for romance-- that's not fun. We laugh a lot at home and try to stay creative. You have to be spontaneous and creative when you have two kids. We know things aren't going to be like they were when we were first married, and that's okay. The romance part takes a back-burner for a while, but it doesn't have to be put on hold. We just have fun! Oh, and we leave each other notes often. We always have. It's a good way to stay connected.
What is your best tip for maintaining balance or at least some semblance of sanity?
Grandparents who live relatively close! Seriously, though, I've realized that at least a little time by myself is crucial, even though it's rare. I try to do my grocery shopping alone, whether Matt or my parents are keeping the boys. It's not the most fun thing to do, but it allows me to make good choices without being a one-woman show trying to keep them entertained. It's also faster and much more productive. I'm grateful to actually leave the store with everything on my list and not to be drenched in sweat from carrying around a 25-lb. screaming baby while pushing a full cart.
What do you do when you feel totally overwhelmed?
Cry. Pray. Try to take a step back and realize that whatever is overwhelming me is temporary and that I'm living the life I've dreamed of my whole life. The frustration is merely part of this season of my life, one which will pass too quickly. I try really hard to soak up every moment, not always successfully.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
Snuggle. There's nothing like the smell of my baby's breath or my little boy's hair to melt my heart. No matter what is happening in my life, a hug from them will put a smile on my face.
What are the last three dinners you made for your children?
Oh, great. Last night was Blueberry Eggo Waffles, the Nutri-grain kind (so I can feel like it's healthy) and strawberries. Vegetable soup with cornbread. Pizza at Will's birthday party. Hey, it's the week of Christmas. What can I say?
What is your guilty pleasure? Do you ever have time for it?
TV. I DVR lots of shows then watch them at record speed after the kids go to bed, especially if Matt's not home. I love to sit down with a yummy snack and watch one of my favorite shows uninterrupted (you know, with no "Mommy!!!!!!!" or laundry or ironing while watching). That doesn't happen often.
The best thing about being able to stay at home with the kids? The worst thing about being able to stay at home with the kids?
The best thing is being here for everything. Every first, every skinned knee, every memory we're making together. I don't want to miss a moment. The worst thing for me at the ages my boys are now is the lack of adult interaction and time to myself. I have very little of either. Even getting together with other stay at home moms is hard between the kids' nap schedules and illnesses.
If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?
I would travel through time and space. I could drop the boys at my parents' and transport us to Mexico in the blink of an eye. Then as I grow older, I would be able to travel back in time to where I am now, when my boys are little and at home with me. I know this is a fleeting time, one I will miss dearly later in my life. It would be nice to have the wisdom of a grandparent, then come back and view my own children through that lens.
What inspires you?
God is my ultimate inspiration. He is the filter through which I put all of life. His Word, His grace, His presence in my life drive me and keep me sane in the thick of whatever is happening. Music is another thing that truly inspires me. I am moved deeply by music, whether I'm listening or playing it.
What are some of you favorite sites?
People.com, poshtots.com (for painting ideas), babystyle.com, gap.com, postsecret.com, freerice.com