Eirene Heidelberger is the founder of GIT Mom (or Get It Together, Mom) a site that teaches healthy methods of guilt-free parenting. She is also a mother of 3 young boys and enjoys working out, traveling, and Pinot Noir.
My son Cole just turned 10, he is a natural born leader and is very calm. He sets the tone with the other 2 boys and takes pride in showing them how to do things. Grey is 6. He is the cutest, sweetest, most loving boy. He is a quiet character and always wants to please others. Wells is 25 months. Grey calls him Mr. W. Wells is a traditional “boy.” He is extremely curious, fast, smart, and inquisitive – I can barely keep up with him! He started walking at 9 months and the rest has been history. I have a feeling he will be running the world before he can drive.
As a first-time mom I was a bundle of nerves, worry, and anxiety. Cole (now 10) was not an easy baby. He pretty much cried all of the time, and it completely stressed me out. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or how to be a mom and I missed my pre-baby life.
When Cole turned 9 months, I was rushing around all the time and felt a giant pit in my stomach. I decided there had to be a better way. I started to compartmentalize his crying and my desire to get way too many things accomplished. I learned how to put Cole on a better sleep schedule, and I hired a babysitter so I could have mommy time on Friday afternoons. These small adjustments have made a huge difference for our family of 5.
Becoming a mom has really changed my core values. I am solely concerned with my 3 boys and their welfare. I’ve learned not to worry or concern myself about what others are doing or thinking. I have a very busy household and limited brain space, so I focus narrowly on our family’s welfare.
When I’m struggling with a situation and need parenting advice, I go to the parents of children a little bit older than mine. It is important that these parents are people whose parenting I emulate with, and that their children are only 3 years older than mine at a maximum. Otherwise they can’t remember how they handled the problem and can’t put themselves in my shoes.
I absolutely love watching my 3 boys interact with each other. The first thing they want to do in the morning is see each other. I love seeing them smile and play together and really love each other. I’m extremely proud of this accomplishment because I know I’ve facilitated their respectful relationship; I’m not going to put up with bickering, fighting and wrestling.
I started GIT Mom because I realized I have a very special talent for raising kids while also being able to accomplish a ton without the family falling off course. The glue is the kids are on a schedule, they are rested and know what to expect next in their day, plus they’re given endless choices to run their lives so they’re confident little beings. I noticed as my boys were growing up that I was the only mommy I knew who had time to work out, go to happy hours, watch TiVo, and travel. I discovered that it was because I was giving my children the type of parenting they needed and they listened and respected me. If you only have to ask your child one time to brush their teeth, then the entire family can move on quickly to do something more fun. I wanted to share my parenting principles with other moms so they, too, can enjoy being a mom as much as I do!
I am able to juggle work and family because I am very organized. I write everything down and study my calendar like a hawk. I’m very good at monitoring my stress levels when it comes to work and family. The family comes first, my work-out is second, (because I know that it will both calm and energize me) and work is third. I try to be as present as possible when I’m with the kids, engaging without hovering. Then, when it’s time to work, I’m able to focus and not feel guilty because I know my children feel happy and safe because I’m raising them well. I characterize myself as a self-aware Type-A personality. I love to get things done, but if I run out of time I’m not going to stay up late to finish. I can let them go until there’s time open in my calendar.
Our entire family’s existence runs on routines. It is like ground hogs’ day in our home: the kids know exactly what to expect throughout their day, yet they are given choices all day long within the schedule so they can direct their own lives. For example, our after school routine consists of playing basketball, taking a bath, and eating dinner. I always ask the older boys the order they’d like to do them. I already know what they’re going to say, but they feel they’ve had control because they decided how to spend their time. The bonus for me is that I’m able to get through the night routine without complaining because they’ve made their decisions.
I had a pit in my stomach until my first son was 6 months old. During that time, I was constantly worried about him and knew I wasn’t handling motherhood well. While I wish that I had the skills right off the bat to properly sleep train him, get him on a schedule, and hire a babysitter without feeling guilty, I recognize that going through that brutal learning process is what made me the knowledgeable and confident GIT Mom that I am today.
My husband and I have daily routines just like our children. Over the years we’ve figured out a pattern that allows us to do what we each like to do best. For example, he enjoys sitting down to a nice breakfast, so he always feeds the boys in the morning. He also practices spelling words with the older boys while our 2 year old shouts out a letter here and there. At that time, I’ll swiffer the house, make the beds, and get myself ready to walk out the door. When the kids have finished eating, I’m calm and ready to take them to brush their teeth and get their backpacks together. Brian and I have a very busy household and we respect each other’s time and needs so we are able to accomplish a lot without any yelling.
I do lots of things for fun and to unwind. As much as possible I schedule a siesta for myself after I put the baby down at noon for his nap. I watch an hour of TiVo, gadget free. I often nap for 10 minutes or so and afterwards my brain is re-charged and clear and the house is quiet. This is great for thinking work time. I also love to work-out, drink Pinot Noir, and travel.
I love taking my kids out to eat. Every Friday the 4 of us go for an early dinner together. Some parents may cringe at the thought of being at a restaurant alone with 3 children, but it doesn’t stress me out because my children know how to behave in public. I get to have quiet, quality time to really talk and connect, plus I don’t have to clean up the kitchen!
The most important value I want to instill in my kids is compassion. I really want them to be able to think outside of themselves and consider other people’s feelings. I want my boys to be in touch with their own feelings and know that, even though they’re growing into men, it’s okay to be sensitive.
To find out more about GIT Mom, check out Eirene’s website!