The Desert Chronicles – an interview with Paula Reynolds
Tell me about your family and your blog?
I first began blogging about three years ago. My first blog was a very different type of blog than I have now. It was raw, edgy, and sarcastic. It started out as a way to vent my frustrations on being a stay-at-home mom with three wild children and a husband with an enviable job, and a desire to do something more with my life than dishes, diapers, and doldrums. But then I grew up. I still have the same three wild children and a husband with an enviable job, but now I am content and happy in my chosen place in life. Blogging is no longer about complaining but a chronicle of my humorous, crazy, expanding, and always exciting life.
What is one thing about your family that not many people know?
When I was growing up, my sister and I were the center of our mom’s world. We were her all, her everything. She had a good relationship with our father, but when push came to shove, we were her heart and soul. When I met my husband’s family, I was astonished to see that his parents were more involved with each other than with their kids. Sure, they love their children, but the love they share with each other spans all time. My husband and I have that type of relationship. Yes, I love my children. God gave them to me. But first, God gave me my husband. He is my teammate, my soul mate, my partner, and my friend. As much as I love my children, I love their father a wee bit more. Children were born to love and release. Spouses were given to love and hold on to forever.
What is your biggest challenge being a mom?
I have a really fancy college degree, useful for nothing but going back to school. I have big words, lofty goals, and high ideals. I also have three wild children who need me. The hardest thing I’ve had to adjust to was the fact that my intelligence may not serve me in the immediate future, but my children may benefit greatly from my wisdom and experience. I call it “transferring intelligence”. I may not use my brains to the fullest today, but what I don’t use may be passed on to my children for them to use later.
What do you use coupons and special offers for when you shop?
Who doesn’t love to save money? Who doesn’t have to buy groceries? I started clipping coupons as a way to save a few dollars every week on our enormous grocery bill. So far I save around $10 to $12 per week using coupons, and that’s just buying only the things I would normally buy. That adds up to a yearly savings of $520-$624. I’ve scored a bunch of “free” things, too. And even some extreme couponing, when the store actually gives me money back for buying a product! I have more dental floss and bars of soap than I think we will ever need.
What are your top 10 tips for moms?
1. When you get frustrated with your children, instead of fussing at the kids, praise them first, and then make the correction. You get more with honey than with vinegar.
2. Be on your spouse’s team. Don’t tell him what to do. Don’t belittle him in front of anyone. He is your partner. Be nice.
3. Never act out in anger. Learn to swallow your bitter words for a few minutes until you cool off. You can’t win with an impulsive mind.
4. Don’t be afraid to buck the system. Public school not working out for you? Try private. Private school not working? Try homeschooling. It’s tough. It seems impossible. But it is awesome.
5. Only keep close the friends that really mean something to you. Let the rest move on. Life is too short to spread yourself thin on non-meaningful relationships.
6. Tell your children you love them. Every day. Tell your spouse you love him, too. Every day. And mean it.
7. Teach your children to respect their elders. Teach them to answer adults questions, to look them in the eye, and to say, “please, thank you, and your welcome”.
8. Call your grandparents. They love you. And may be terribly lonely.
9. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You will be heard.
10. When your child cries, give them a hug first. Ask questions second.
What are your favorite brands and where do you buy them?
To be honest, I’m not a huge, over-the-top shopper. I love things. I love new things. But as we all are, my family is on a budget. My favorite clothing for my children is the Circo brand from Target. My groceries come from a Texas-only grocer, H.E.B.. My clothes come from Wal-Mart, with the occasional T-9 or Athleta item mixed in. I love Old Navy jeans, Nine West shoes, Saucony running shoes (now available in wide), and Adidas workout clothes (on sale from an outlet center). I also recommend IKEA for inexpensive home furnishings. We have slowly, over the years, converted our house from a newlywed collection of junk furniture to an ever-expanding IKEA showroom of awesomeness. I can’t say enough about IKEA. Great styling, great prices, great quality, great meatballs. Can you tell I think they are great?
The Desert Chronicles www.thedesertchronicles.com
Paula Reynolds Art www.paulareynoldsart.com