Humble Parenting

M: I feel extremely lucky to have already had numerous nieces and nephews before I had kids.  I got to see my siblings’ struggles with parenting and some of their successes and failures.  We all still laugh with my sibling over their decision to say “it’s best that we not” instead of “no” to their kids.  That lasted about 2 weeks. One child reaching for an electrical socket with a paper clip?  Yeah, “it’s best that we not” didn’t have quite the effect of screaming “NO!!!”

One of the biggest things I gained from watching my siblings with their kids was to realize that there is a lot of luck involved.  Sure, we have an influence over our kids – I am not arguing that you don’t – but each kid is different and a decent part of it is just the luck of the draw.

T: I have to agree with this. Although I am the first of my generation (in my family) to get married and have kids, I have 16 first cousins on M’s side alone and am the oldest of 4 kids. I am certainly no expert but I do feel I have been exposed to way more than most first time moms have.

M: If I hadn’t had the experience with my nieces and nephews, I would have thought I was mom of the year with my first born – and possibly with my second as well.  I would have been preaching all kinds of advice for other people.  We are amazing parents! Look at us!  This parenting thing is not so hard at all!

T: Wait….I’m not mom of the year? 😉

M: Luckily, we both know better.  Some kids are easy, some kids are more challenging, some kids have more “personality” (I’m being nice here), some kids are more difficult from the day they are born.  We can help to try to sway them and we can certainly help by using rules, discipline, etc. (a free-for-all rarely turns out well when it comes to raising kids).  But if you have a difficult kid, it’s likely not your parenting that is making them that way.

T: Not going to lie I am absolutely terrified of having a second. I know that the second child could be great, but the second in my family was a terror. And my dad is the second….also a terror. But my 9 month old has been such a chill baby that it can’t possibly be this easy a second time around.

M: Well hold on! None of this is not to say that you just throw in the towel.  It’s important to pay attention to the different needs of each child. I have found that each of my kids needs a different type of parenting.  My first born is a rule follower.  There is no need to yell, no need to harp on mistakes, no need to be overly strict.  She listens to advice (so far), believes in moderation in all respects, and worries about her future.  (When my daughter was about 8 years old, she asked her brother why he didn’t save his money.  She asked “aren’t you worried about things like taxes, insurance, and other expenses?”  Where do kids come up with this stuff?)  Others of my kids are not affected by yelling, are ready to push the rules, and need to have emotional breakdowns.  I don’t have them all figured out and don’t know what to do with each one – I just know that they are different, they each need different things from me, and when they are being more difficult, it’s likely not my fault.  I’m just trying to do my best for each one.  I also know that I’m likely messing up some of the times.  That’s OK. There is no perfect way to parent and no one way to parent.  Do your best and take the pressure off yourself.

T: You always make me feel so much better about messing up. I think one of the best things I’ve learned from you and the other moms in our family is to not sweat the small stuff. I’m still getting to know my son and he’s getting to know me and there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road. And knowing those bumps will be continuing for the foreseeable future…probably more like ever…helps keep me humble. But it does also make me feel good to know when I get things right and can say “Man I #crushed parenting today.”

M: And that’s great! All this is really to say, enjoy your successes – you need them to feel better about the failures.  Just don’t get cocky.  When things are going well, be humble because you never know when another kid will be ready to knock you off your parenting pedestal.  We are all in this together and almost all of us will have our issues with our kids at some point.

T: I also think this is really important to keep in mind as you look at the moms around you. Everyone is in the SAME boat. That meltdown at Target is not their idea of fun and they aren’t letting their kid cry on the plane just because it’s fun. They are trying to figure it all out as much as we are. When my angel baby smiles, waves, and flirts with all of the girls at the restaurant I enjoy it…and also privately brace for a meltdown that could occur literally at any moment…with no notice…because I didn’t serve him bean dip fast enough (#truestory).

Hang in there mamas. Without the bad days you wouldn’t appreciate the good ones. And when you are really at a breaking point just know that it’s a moment and it’s not forever. Do what you can, hope for the best, and try to enjoy the ride!

Happy Parenting

Xoxo, T&M

Wall Murals

Growing up my mom painted a rain forest/jungle mural on our play room wall. I vividly remember what it looked like. I also remember being traumatized when it was painted over. When I found out I was pregnant that was one of the first things I knew I wanted. I wanted my mom to paint a new mural in the baby’s bedroom!

Throughout the duration of my pregnancy I referred to my unborn child as Baby Beluga…I may or may not still refer to him as that. I have a major love for all things whale. And his room now reflects that. He’ll probably grow up to hate whales, but I hope not! Anyway, my mom and I began discussing what I wanted. Definitely wanted an underwater scene. But did I want to see the waves and a boat on top? Did I want realistic looking fish or cartoon fish? What color blue? There were SO many decisions.

Before you get started it helps to have a pretty clear vision of what it is you are wanting. Do not start drawing or painting until you know. I decided I wanted it to be a little cartoony with lots of bright colors. So my mom got to work drawing the fish. There are several ways to do this. You can either 1) Freehand directly on the wall 2) you can freehand or trace your image on a smaller piece of paper and then use a projector to put it on the wall in the size you want. We did a mixture of both.

We google imaged different fishies and found ones we liked. We used a couple that reflected the characters in finding nemo, we found a couple we could trace that were just awesome looking. And then my mom found some that she then added features too. For instance, my husband is obsessed with all things University of Texas. So my mom found an awesome puffer fish but then added longhorns to it!

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It’s one of my favorite parts of the mural. There are other fun hidden gems like the snorkeler’s shorts say Fordham my alma mater. She also found images for a submarine, treasure chest, message in a bottle and some other fun things.IMG_3936

Once we had all of our images it was time to start getting them traced onto the wall. (Note: You should Ideally be starting with a white wall). TAKE YOUR TIME! Make sure you get the images the size you want and don’t be afraid to erase if it’s not what you want or the right size. All of those pencil markings can be covered up with paint. We started on one side and worked our way across

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Once we had a few images on the wall we started playing with the paint. We used regular acrylic paint for the smaller images and then a Sherwin Williams wall paint for the ocean. We would do a small area to make sure the color was what we wanted and then filled in. Almost every color needed more than one coat. But you MUST let it dry all the way before adding the second layer. We also found that using sharpies to outline the images or pieces of the images was super helpful, and made the images stand out.


As I type this all out it seems like way more work than it actually was (not to downplay how much effort my mom put into it) But anyone can do this especially if you’re tracing! If anything it is really just time consuming. But it has made my son’s room SO fun and brings back memories of my own mural. I am SO SO SO happy we chose to do this for him too.

Good luck and happy painting!

P.S. if you did any fun painting projects in your playroom or nursery walls I would love to see them!