ten things moms with littles need


1. Patience. Of course, I had to start with this, but it is entirely true. You know that saying don’t pray for patience because then you’ll be put to the test? Well, there’s no getting around it – motherhood is the ultimate test of patience. So you might as well add it to the things that you need because there is beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will need that patience. Bunches of it. I’d like a Supersize order of patience, please.

2. Excellent Books. Invest in books for those littles. Keep a book basket full, find a curriculum that you can use with them and then do it. I’ve found that my little ones love to read the same book again and again and again. The Five in a Row series is great for pulling activities out to do from those repeated books.  They are eager to learn – we as moms just need to make sure to cultivate those moments and to grab the time to sit and read with them.

3. Good DVDs or Netflix. I’m giving you grace, right now, moms to put a dvd in during the day. If you don’t do any media, just ignore point three, but I can seriously tell you that there have been many times {like dinner prep time} where I absolutely need those little ones to sit still and not get into almost everything. Some of my favorites? Leap Frog Learning DVDs, Veggie Tales (love the original ones – from, sigh, about sixteen years ago), and Curious George. It’s okay moms if you use media wisely with them – use it as a tool, you control it, and you have set the times.

4. Simple Puzzles. Keep them in a box that you take out now and then. I don’t always keep the puzzles out – for one the pieces get lost – but also I love to use them during times when I’m working with an older, or cooking, or cleaning up the kitchen and I need those littles to be safely occupied in my sight. The puzzle pictured below? It’s one of our favorites – Elijah and Samuel have spent many hours working on those various puzzles. And fighting, of course, over the orange pieces. But, despite that, I can truly say this puzzle by Melissa and Doug is a favorite.  Here’s the link if you’re interested: Melissa & Doug Animal Pattern Blocks Set

5. Crayons, Markers, Paints {yes, sometimes}, and other Art Supplies. You probably don’t need to many reasons why – but let me just tell you – keeping the supply of crafty stuff for them helps keep them busy. Busy = good. I keep all of the art supplies {minus the markers and paints} on our main floor with the rest of our curriculum and books. The littles have a cabinet shelf full of coloring books and paper – and they are free to draw and create at anytime. This gives them a sense of space and purpose within our very busy days. They’re watching Grace paint {part of her Trail Guide to Learning Curriculum by Geography Matters} and she’s using the Klutz Watercolor For The Artistically Undiscovered Book Kit. When she paints she’ll teach them what she’s learned.

6. A Good Friend. There have been many times where the day is overwhelming {see my posts dear overwhelmed mom and dear overworked mom} and I just need a friend to tell me that it will be okay.  And just so you know, it will be okay. Those days with littles can be long and draining and defeating {after all didn’t you just put all those blocks in the box?} and exhausting. Your long day is not a reflection of you as a mother – it’s just life – and no matter how hard and tiring the day you are still accomplishing a great deal and raising a new generation. So find that friend. And be that friend.

7. Some type of PlayDough item. We can’t use playdough since it’s made with wheat flour – I either make my own {using a rice flour blend} or have purchased some gluten free dough. There are many options online though they are a bit pricey. Playdough is like point five – creativity items – these are the things that you need when you are working with olders and need five minutes of stillness.

8. Laminator. I love mine. My kids joke? Watch out mom has the laminator fired up — guard your papers and things! I might like laminating just a bit. I use my laminator to laminate file folder games, simple projects, and more for them. It’s worth the investment. And of course here’s the link to my favorite laminator ever Scotch Thermal Laminator  {it should be a staple in a mother’s home}.  Beyond the stuff for littles {I’ll laminate book pages or make stories with them or letter projects} I use it for chore charts, bookmarks, labels, and whatever else I can get my hands on to laminate. 😉

9. Coffee or tea or whatever you need during those days. You know I love my coffee. And that’s okay. Busy moms, homeschooling moms, moms need our treat during the day. Maybe it isn’t one of those, but have something set aside for you that’s a calming go-to when the milk spills on the floor at 9am. I love to have my warm mug of coffee {or a latte from Starbucks or Caribou} with me in the morning. I’ll read or work, or give spelling words, or look at the pile of laundry that was just dumped out by the four year old that used to be folded, and I’ll smell that coffee and exhale.

10. Grace. And finally, you truly must have grace during these days. Patience with yourself, with your children, with your spouse, and with well, the needs of life. When they are little you are almost always in a state of catching up. So even though you’ve got your schedule made, and your olders working, those little ones can quickly tear apart everything that you patiently put together. Expect it. Embrace the moments of calm and clean houses and everyone getting their work done and then don’t be surprised when chaos ensues ten minutes later. That’s grace. It’s the ability to sit, to be still, to be grateful, and joyful and loving in the midst of busy. {to read posts dedicated to grace hop over to grace it’s needed and giving yourself grace}

Ten things, moms, that can make those hanging on, with the preschooler hiding in the bushes along the side of the deck, days at home with the littles just a bit easier.

To read my letter to you, the mom with the littles, simply click dear moms with littles.


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18 Responses to “ten things moms with littles need”

  1. what a beautiful list ~

    I love your approach to this top 10 topic… the good books and treats for mom are my favorites.

    Happy Monday, Rachel 🙂

  2. May 29, 2012

    Tait Reply

    I have a laminator! Great post 🙂

  3. May 29, 2012

    GAHCindy Reply

    I love your writing, Rachel! (But I have to admit, half the reason I come here is to see the huge smiles on the faces of those beautiful youngin’s. Love your pics!)

  4. May 29, 2012

    Emily Cook Reply

    Great list! I shared it with my friends via twitter! 🙂

    I am glad you appreciate the necessity of SOME TV/movie time, and also caffeine!

    The books are my favorite though- if I am having a bad day, sometimes I just drop everything to read to them. If the book is good, it can transport us out of our grumpy home and make things look different when we come back!


  5. May 29, 2012

    julie Reply

    I’m not homeschooling (my kids are only 2 1/2 years and 7 months) but I definitely need all these things!! Thanks for this list, Rachel!!

  6. May 29, 2012

    christina Reply

    yes to all!!

  7. May 29, 2012

    Jeanette Reply

    Thank you for these simple and helpful reminders! I just finished our first year of homeschooling with our oldest (she’s six). Next year, I will be homeschooling three of them (ages 4, 5, and 6) and taking care of our sweet baby also. It is challenging to make sure everyone is included and busy.

  8. May 29, 2012

    Anonymous Reply

    rachel, i am homeschooled and my mom gets so irritated and angry with me at math when i don’t get the answers right or when i miss a lot of them. like she starts sighing angrily and freaking out when i am thinking of what to put, get it wrong, or get confused. it then just makes me annoyed and angry as well. help? please?

  9. May 29, 2012

    Anonymous Reply

    also, i so wish you were my teacher haha. you seem like you’d be so much more calm.

  10. well, i guess i need a laminator! ha. totally give you a hardy har har on this list!!!

  11. May 30, 2012

    Susi Reply

    I’ve always wanted a laminator. I so enjoyed using one when I was teaching preschool. I love these tips and agree with you about a lot of the little things to have around… I have books, crayons, Netflix and even my Samsung tablet ready to go whenever my little one needs to be occupied. 🙂

  12. May 30, 2012

    Lynn Reply

    There is hope in the Lord! Praying right now!
    Psalms 16:7-9 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
    My email address

  13. May 30, 2012

    JDaniel4's Mom Reply

    This is a truly wonderful list! Grace is on the top of my must work-ons.

  14. I am, sadly, laminator-less. =(

    Lovely post, lovely list. =) I’m a big fan of coffee, too.

  15. May 30, 2012

    Jenny K Reply

    This is my first time stopping by your blog. Love your list!

  16. May 31, 2012

    Anonymous Reply

    LOVE this post…Is “littles” a subjective term? I am just curious as I once asked another large family blogger who she was referring to when she said “littles”…in thsi particular family it was kids as old as 5 and 6….mind you she has 14 kids…

    I have 4 kids under 7….The fact that we have 4 and the ages are 6.5y, 4.5y, 21 mo and 12 weeks…… I used to refer to the 4 yr and 18 month old as “littles”…then we adopted again so quickly so now i mostly refer to the two youngest as the “littles”….

    then I was curiosu that maybe a baby is a “baby” and not a “little”…so maybe I have one “big”(6.5 yr)…2 littles( 4.5y and 21 mo) and a baby?

    I know thsi must sound nutty I am just suprised I have never seen anyone else ask this question..


  17. Really lovely list, Rachel! My kids are getting not so little anymore, but I still think most of the list applies. 🙂

  18. November 5, 2012

    fruitfulvine Reply

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE my moments on your site and usually cry as I relate to you and learn from you!
    Today I had a special treat while surfing around ‘finding joy’…my 14yodd was reading over my shoulder and loving the photography and the wisdom shared. Then we had a LOL-only-a-homeschool-mom-and-daughter-would-appreciate-moment!
    She saw this: “the pile of laundry that was just dumped out by the four year old that used to be folded…” and we got the giggles—yes, life is full of misplaced modifiers.

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