Life Hacks, Parenting, Shoes, Simplify, Toddlers

Get Out the Door Faster

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? It’s time to go (or past time to go) and you’ve just spent the last 20 minutes running around getting diaper bags packed, your crew rounded up and ready to go, bathroom breaks done, and you’re just about to head out the door when…it happens. The Battle of the Shoes. The battle lines are typically drawn in either two ways. You bark at the toddler to “Get your shoes on, it’s time to go” and they either fall to floor with all the drama they can muster and feign helplessness demanding that you HAVE to put their shoes on for them, they can’t possibly manage on their own. OR they suddenly become Ms. Independant and demand that they “can do it myself!” but only manage to mess it up in more ways than you can even count, or tolerate. This can leave even the most seasoned among us frazzled, frantic, or feedup (or all of the above!)Here’s where it gets real ladies. I’ve been there and done that WAY too many times. But I’m excited to tell you THERE IS ANOTHER WAY! And what’s even better is this way feels like a game, it takes only seconds to do, AND even a toddler can manage to do it WITHOUT you having to drop the 50,000 things you are trying to drag out the door and help. Sound to good to be true? It’s not! It’s as simple as Rainbows and Butterflies. 

I know half of you are thinking I’ve totally lost my marbles at this point, or this is just another one of those Pinterest Perfect Posts that have no shred of reality in it. But I promise you it’s not. And this simple trick has been life changing. I’d like to take credit for it, but actually my 2 year old came up with it. That’s right. She came up with it all on her own, and honestly when she first said it I thought she was just trying to stall more and was annoyed we were going to be late. But what I witnessed next was so magical I couldn’t believe it. She simply grabbed her shoes and put them together before she put them on her feet and looked down and said “Look Momma! It’s a rainbow!”

You see, when shoes are put together correctly (left shoe on the left, right shoe on the right) the arch at the top of the shoes makes a rainbow. Like this: 


BUT when the shoes are matched up incorrectly (left on right and vice versa) the arch at the top of the shoes points out the other direction, kind of like the top of a butterfly’s wings. Like this: 

So now when it’s time to get shoes on I simply have to tell my toddler “It’s time to go, let’s make a rainbow!”. And POOF she runs to her shoes, lines them up, and puts them on! I STILL can’t believe it sometimes. And even on those days when she’s trying to be crazy and tries to put her shoes on the wrong feet she’ll stop and say “Oh! That’s a butterfly!” and switch them around on her own

Now of course, the other part of this equation is the fact that she has shoes she can put on by HERSELF. We started with Crocs and have now moved on to simple Velcro. You can find some great ones on Amazon and they’ll deliver them right to your door! These ones (Lined Crocs) are great because they are soft and warm enough to wear without socks. And when you’re ready to graduate to Velcro, you can’t get cuter than Hello Kitty πŸ˜‰.

So what tricks do you use to get out the door faster? Or what battle drives you batty? Comment below! 

Anger, Emotions, Feelings, Parenting

Getting REAL about AngerΒ 

I remember awhile back a dear friend of mine and I were chatting. She had her second child about the same time as I had my first and her oldest was only a few years older, so she was a great “Mom” friend to have. While we were chatting she was sharing about how she struggled with Anger towards her kids. And while outwardly I mumbled something lame like “I’m sure that’s rough”, inwardly I was looking at my sweet bundle of newborn sweetness sleeping away in her stroller thinking ‘Wow! How could anyone ever get angry at their own kids? They’re just kids after all…’
Fast forward two years later and there I was with a two year old whirlwind who had lost most of her sweet newborn sweetness and I started to begin to understand how Anger could creep into a Momma’s heart. Fast forward another year and now I have a three year old (oh how she’s three!) and a one year old and I battle Anger it seems like everyday! 

God has used that conversation and my daily struggle to teach me a few things. First of all- keep your thoughts, judgements, and words soft and sweet, because you will probably have to eat them one day! How I wish I would have listened to my friend with a soft and understanding heart and been wise enough to learn from her struggles! Maybe then I could have put some practices in place to help me avoid this struggle. Or at the very least, I wouldn’t have a nagging voice in my head saying “How could you get angry at your own kids? They’re just kids after all…“. I guess my Mom was right when she said “Never say never!” Funny how Moms seem to get smarter the older we get, right?

Second of all, God’s Word is full of helpful advice and warnings about Anger. My go-to verse when I’m struggling is James 1:19-20 “β€œMy dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Now let me first say, I need this verse because it’s the exact OPPOSITE of how I typically respond. I’ve always been a fast talker. In fact, most of the time I start talking before I really think about what I’m going to say! Anybody else fall into that trap? So being slow to speak is exceptionally hard for me, especially when I’m upset. 

Slow to become angry“- This is a challenge and a comfort to me. It doesn’t say “don’t ever get angry”. Sometimes it’s okay to get angry. Even Jesus got angry. But as Ephesians 4:26 says “β€œβ€œIn your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”. We are not to let anger lead us into sin and we are not to let anger linger in our hearts. 

Which brings about the last part of the verse- “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires“. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? God desires righteousness. And I’m learning that there are some lessons that I just don’t learn the easy way. But God knew that about me, and I think that’s just one of the reasons He allowed me to become a Mom. Because there were parts of me that needed tuning and I wouldn’t have had to face them any other way. Like anger. And that’s something I need to remember, especially when I’m starting to get angry towards my kids. It’s not about doing things MY way, it’s about, or at least it *should* be about, God’s righteousness. And yelling at my kids probably isn’t going to lead them down the path of righteousness. And most likely will lead me to sin. 

So now for a little real life. I’ve found that I’m far more likely to become angry when I haven’t taken care of myself right first. When I’m tired, hungry, and cranky, anger just comes far to easily. But when I’ve been purposeful about getting rest and taking care of myself some too, I can at least realize that I’m starting to get angry and that I should slow my heart down. Remember, this is real life for real moms. I’m not going to give you “5 tips to get rid of anger forever” or even tell you that with just a little (or even a lot) more sleep and a few verses under your cap you and I can be perfect if only we try harder. Because that’s just not the point. We can’t fix ourselves and especially not by ourselves. We need Christ. We need His forgiveness, gentleness, patience, peace, kindness, and the self-control that only He can give. And sometimes a time-out, deep breath, or a quick walk around the block gives us a chance to remember that! 

Don’t just take my word for it; here are some other resources that I’ve found helpful in my journey: 

  • From Grouchy to Great: full of helpful devotionals about anger. I especially liked this one about the root of anger and 3 ways to control it:
  • The Fringe Hours– an awesome book about the importance of self-care and HOW to find time to do it. 
  • The Miracle Morning– a great guide to some powerful self-care practices. 

So what things have you done that help with anger? What do you do to slow your heart down? How do you take care of yourself? Comment below and let’s keep the conversation going! 

~Keeping it R.E.A.L. 

      Sara Odell