Ah, one year olds. All the moxie of a full-grown toddler, but none of the interest in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. And while the real fun and games of toddlerhood seem to hit around two, our kids definitely grow out of the “baby” stage well before then. We’re left with this not-so-fun in between time where our kids are more active than babies, but cannot yet be bribed. Worse still, they often will refuse to sit through a 21 minute episode of something bright and cartoony so we can just make dinner already! It’s not like I don’t love sitting with my one year old and playing Pat-a-Cake until my hands are raw, but sometimes I just have to get something done. And if I could find a way to entertain my toddler while they’re sitting next to me also doing something she enjoys, then hurray for us both!
Here are some things I’ve found that actually entertain a one year old.
Let me start by saying- I am not a Stay at Home Mom. I mean, I AM. That’s what anyone would call me. But the title is so, so inaccurate. I am a take-kids-to-swim-lessons mom. I am a host-a-playdate-mom. I am a go-to-the-beach mom, a running-errands mom, a might-as-well-be-a-chauffeur-mom. I don’t go to work everyday, but I’m also not likely to be found at home, either.
But sometimes? We HAVE to stay home. Because we’re potty training, or waiting on an appliance repair person, or someone is contagious (even though they feel fine). Maybe it’s too hot, or maybe there’s snow. But for whatever reason, sometimes you just have to stay home all day. And if you’re into that sort of thing? That’s likely not a problem. But if you’re not? You’re trying to fill the longest.day.ever. with activities for stir-crazy kids.
After a recent Hand-Foot-Mouth scare over at our place, we found ourselves quarantined. No one felt particularly sick, but we’d been advised to stay away from our friends for a day or two. Lila took it hard (I might as well have handed home a death sentence), but I took it upon myself to sieze the day and make it an amazing one.
When the babies were little, we used to take them on these “playdates” with our MomSquad. We’d pick a destination like the nature center or storytime, but what we really wanted was the companionship. And the desire to feel like we were doing something with the babies, because honestly, what are you even supposed to do with a kid that can’t even talk or move on their own yet?
So we’d lay them on the blankets and chit chat about our lives. We only had one veteran mama in our midst at the time, and she casually mentioned that the hardest part about parenting two was that you had to ignore one of your children from time to time.
What she meant, of course, is that one child’s small needs have to take a backseat to the other child’s BIG needs once in a while. Another mama literally put her hand to her mouth in horror. “I don’t care how many kids I have, I would never IGNORE one of my children.”
Spoiler alert: you would. You absolutely would.
Because when you’ve got two or more kids, the concept of “emergency” can take on a whole new meaning. And when faced with aa parenting emergency, you HAVE to favor the squeaky wheel. Because the squeaky wheel may be bleeding. Or trying to poop in a potted plant.
Oh, come on, like that hasn’t happened to you.
At any rate, when you’ve got more than one kid, there’s a whole new hierarchy of what needs to be prioritized. We’ve got the Levels of Parenting Emergencies below, ranked from most severe to “meh.”
When Jaymi and I were first exploring the idea of starting a blog, we did our research. Not about the “important stuff” like Pinterest strategies and Search Engine Optimization, but stuff like what colors we liked, what topics we could cover and what vibe we wanted. During this phase I came across a cautionary tale about a woman that blamed her divorce on her devotion to her blog. I paused, re-read it, and sent it to Jaymi. We decided then and there that priorities included staying friends, maintaining a strong marriage, and enjoying this gig.
Even with all our new goals and dreams, I never once imagined that the blog could make me a better friend, a better Mother, and help me build an even stronger marriage.
I was at the Aquarium, Izzie on my hip, one eye on Cole and the other on Evie. Wait – where’s Evie? Oh, there she is! Yes, one eye on Evie. Check. A woman with a toddler caught my eye and exclaimed, “Wow! I’m not even brave enough to bring both my kids to the Aquarium and you’re here with three!”
I never know how to respond to these confessions from other Moms. As a Stay-at-Home-Mom, if I didn’t brave the outside world and leave the house with three kids, I’d never leave. So hiding inside doesn’t seem like much of an option. And sure, some places we go are much more painful than other places. (Yes, I’m looking at you Costco and Trader Joe’s). But a place specifically made for kids? It’s not always fun and it’s basically never easy, but I promise you that if I can do it, so can you.
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2017 was a big year for my family and, to a larger extent, a big year for ME. I called it the Year of Jaymi, and I spent the year finding the best ways to relax, to indulge, and to carve out time for myself. I bullet journaled, I drank fancy coffee, I went on trips with my friends, and I took on two side jobs that helped me to put my unique talents to work in a way that brought more joy to my life. And it was AMAZING.
And also? It was busy. Really, really busy.
So how did I fit those extra jobs, side hustles, and self-care into my slam-packed, childcare and housework filled days? It took planning and mindfulness on a daily basis, but I found that “having it all” was easier than I thought once I started my day off with a fresh routine. And the best part is? You can do it, too. Here’s my tips for starting your day with a BANG. Continue reading “Starting Your Day Like A #MomBoss”→
‘Tis the season for parties – and no party is more quintessential than the “Office Holiday Party.” If you’re lucky, you’ll attend one that’s got good food, an amazing location and, God-willing – an open bar. If you’re not lucky, you may find yourself at a potluck – maybe at your bosses house or maybe just in the breakroom. But you will get to take a few minutes to set aside work and party.
Unless you’re a SAHM.
Because we don’t get work parties. Sure, we might get to attend our partner’s office party, which is cool. We can trail behind them meeting everyone they work with, plastered with a smile and laughing overly unenthusiastically at the bosses jokes. We can shake one thousand hands and introduce ourselves to people who gush that they’ve “heard so much about you!” But you’ve never heard of them so don’t have a great response, but feign a blush and say “Thank you!” Hopefully, you’ve made a ragtag team of other spouses that you see at these events and can go hide near the desserts talking about anything other than the super boring thing your partner does. (Because mine builds ROCKET SHIPS and it’s still boring AF to talk about for 3 hours with people you don’t know).
And it isn’t much better if you’re a working Mom, because you’re basically working two jobs and only getting to party with one set of work friends.
So, I present to you: The Mom Office Party. That’s right, as soon as you’re done reading this, message your partner and tell them you’ve got another party to go to. Decide if you want it to be “employees only” or if partners are invited. Grab a babysitter if necessary. Then call up your girls and tell them to meet you at Applebee’s tomorrow night for $1 Long Island Iced Teas (because unfortunately, as independent contractors, we’ll be covering our own bar tab).
Note: It does not HAVE to be Applebee’s, that just happens to be where Jaymi and I will be tomorrow night, and the $1 drinks just happen to be our reason. Also, happy hour prices on apps all night, but you do you!
Realizing that Christmas is one week away and there’s no way you’ll squeeze this festive event in before that? No problem! Plan one for after the holiday rush is over and add in a “Re-Gift Exchange” for guaranteed laughs.
I mean, people are always telling us that while we might not go to a job but that we have the most important job in the world right? So let’s party like it!
Happy Holidays – and let us know where and how you decide to party!!
Let’s face it. Working out is on the back burner in my life. I mean, yes, I YMCA for the free childcare and in theory when I drop them off I head straight upstairs and hop on the treadmill where I WORK IT for a full hour. But sometimes I just.need.to.sit. And read. Or bujo. Or BE without three kids climbing all over each other, refereeing fights, and doing the Mom thing.
But relaxing doesn’t help me fit into my old jeans.
Unfortunately, not fitting into my old jeans hasn’t proved to be enough of a motivator. However, I have learned, in my new fiscally-conservative role as a SAHM that money is a BIG motivator for me.
Step Bet is an awesome app where you can join Step Games (challenges) and WIN MONEY! The app syncs with your activity tracker as you compete against yourself – which is my favorite part. I am completely in control of whether I win this bet or not. So you can’t get stuck with someone that is a mail carrier and takes 40k steps per day or something insane, causing you to give up immediately.
Rather, the app takes your current activity tracker data and then sets you new goals. I had been particularly lazy just before I signed up, so my goals were pretty manageable 😉 My active goal was 7,279 steps and my stretch goal was 9,579 steps.
Each Monday through Sunday I had to hit my active goal 4 times, my stretch goal 2 times and I got one rest day. I also REALLY liked this, because, let’s face it, we all deserve a rest day!
Okay, okay, but how do you MAKE MONEY???
My Step Bet lasted 6 weeks and cost $40 to join. We had 517 players for a grand total of over TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS in the pot! (Okay, sorry, don’t get too excited, I’m not winning $20K!) BUT, if I hit my goals I DO win my $40 back AND a cut of the $40 from all the people that didn’t win! Step Bet also takes a cut (currently 12.5%) to pay for support during the game for you, game hosts and referees, so basically the money from the first few people to drop out.
You’re not going to win millions of dollars, but you’d be amazed at how motivated I’d be every time I checked to see 2 or 3 or 7 people drop out! Even if it only meant a few extra cents in my profits.
Which is why I walked and walked and walked and JUST finished my first Step Bet last night. I’m terrible at math and am waiting for the final results, but it should be around $10 profit, so I’ll be getting $50 back! (Which my husband likes to point out is a really good return on a $40 investment in only 6 weeks).
And YAY for my $50 cash-out, but I’m tossing $40 right back in and doing it again! Because I’m still money motivated and STILL not in those jeans!
For more info and to find answers to all your questions, check out the Step Bet FAQs – and be sure to let me know if you’re joining!!!
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Ahhh, the survey. The MicroHustle many of us love to hate/hate to love. This is probably the MicroHustle I’ve taken the most heat over in recent years, because from a short-game stand point, it just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes I spend twenty minutes on a 50 cent survey, and those numbers just don’t seem to add up. But the survey is the tortoise of the MicroHustle Universe. You earn money in very small increments sometimes, it’s true. But eventually, you can win whole races- and pay for whole cruises– using these little guys.
I’m going to start by introducing you to the survey site that seems to have the most potential to make big money. It’s called SurveySavvy, and it works like most survey sites do- they send you surveys, you take them, and you make a little money. (You can also earn referral credit when someone signs up using your link, so yes, I’d like you to use mine if you’re wanting to sign up anyways 😉 ) But the reason SurveySavvy ranks number one on my list of sites is that SurveySavvy is a screening site for CSpace, a company that businesses and brands hire to conduct panels. And that, my friends, is how you make the big bucks.
I’m not on any panels right now, but when I was, I would make about $60 a month per panel, and I was on two. They would ask me to do things like participate in discussion groups, or visit a store and take pictures of certain sections, or post a video of me discussing why I liked (or didn’t like) their brand. It is very much like a focus group, except you participate from the comfort of your home and on your own time. I found the activities to be kind of fun, and it was neat to see products that I had weighed in on showing up in stores a few months later. And, of course, the money wasn’t too bad.
So there you have it, my first and favorite survey site. Do you do surveys at home? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section!
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Note: SurveySavvy also has an app, called SurveyConnect, that you can download. This app will give the company some access to your phone usage and browsing history and, for what it’s worth- I don’t use it. The idea of having someone tracking my phone just gives me the ick factor. If you don’t have the same reservations, feel free to try it out, but I can’t personally speak for, or recommend, a service I’ve never used. Just food for thought!