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Life

The Mommy Wars (A Poem)

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“So you are just a stay at home mom?” “Are you ever going back to work?”

Questions that are meant as accusations are asked with a judging smirk

 

“Working mom” is uttered as if it were a dirty phrase

What kind of mother would leave their child at this early stage?

 

A mother nursing in public makes people turn away their heads

While others look in disgust at a baby that is formula fed

 

Dr. Spock, The Ferber Method or channeling Dr. Sears

Women trying all they can to get through these formidable years

 

Courage of the keyboard comes out at home at night

With social media perpetuating the mommy wars fight

 

From disciplining your child to what you’re serving on their plate

The opinions flung out towards you, are full of judgment & of hate

 

Mother against mother, each thinking they are better than the rest

Just because it is your way does not mean that it’s the best.

 

You raise your child your way & I will raise my child mine

When it is all said & done, I bet they’ll both turn out just fine

 

 

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When You Think They Are Not Looking

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When you think they are not looking, they are taking mental note.

They learn through your actions & watch as you emote.

They can read the arch in your brow & recognize a blank stare

They can tell if you are interested or just too busy to care.

 

When you think that they can’t hear you, they take in every word.

They repeat the things that you wish that they never heard.

When frustration gets the better of you, think before you shout.

Choose your words carefully before you blurt them out.

 

When you think they don’t understand, they surprise you with what they know.

So talk to them and teach them and help their young minds grow.

When you don’t have time for one more book or one last kiss.

Remember that when these moments are gone, they’re the ones you’ll most miss.

So treasure every moment and dirty sippy cup..

because when they think that you aren’t looking, they will suddenly grow up.

 

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50 Family Date Ideas

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I have a little bit of a confession to make. I am sort of a home body. I am perfectly content to loaf on the couch after a day of work or once the weekend rolls around. Life is exhausting. When you have children, it is even more so. The thing is that you miss out too much being a sofa lounger. You miss out on life. You miss out on time with your family. Our daughter is growing at an alarming rate. She is no longer a baby. You cannot get these days back. Missed moments with your family remain missed. It is important to do things together. Here are some fun family date ideas for every season.

1. Dine out for dinner

2. Go to the park

3. Have a family game night

4. Visit a museum

5. Go to the movies

6. Have a picnic

7. Go for a hike

8. Go bowling

9. Got to the zoo

10. Go to the beach

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11. Cook together

12. Go to an arcade

13. Enjoy a local fair

14. Go to a sporting event

15. Take a craft workshop together

16. Take a scenic ride together

17. Visit a library – Many local libraries have fun activities for children

18. Go apple picking

19. Do a puzzle together

20. Go mini-golfing

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21. Color together

22. Go camping

23. Do a family fun run

24. Take them roller skating or ice skating

25. Visit a local historic landmark

26. Go to an aquarium

27. Take them to a kid’s gym or play center

28. Go sledding

29. Go on a whale watch

30. Build a snowman

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31. Have an at home movie night

32. Ride go-carts

33. Keep your eyes open for local events

34. Feed ducks at a pond

35. Look through old family photos together

36. Go to a spray park

37. Ride the trolleys – there are trolley museums scattered around the states. This was always a favorite of mine.

38. Go on a hayride

39. Read books to each other

40. Visit a botanical garden

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41. Go to a kid friendly concert

42. Play a sport together – Kick around a soccer ball or shoot some baskets

43. Keep your eyes open for local events

44. Go to a planetarium

45. Go for a bike ride

46. Have a dance party

47. Go out for ice cream

48. Take a boat ride

49. Visit an amusement park

50. Have a fun family photo shoot

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Please feel free to add your favorite family date night ideas.

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What Feels Like A Vacation When You’re A Mom

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If you were tuned into us a couple of days ago, you would have seen my thoughts on why God made our children so cute. Their sheer adorableness is their best defense. A few fluttered eyelashes & a couple of sweet smiles & you have almost forgotten why you were frustrated with them in the first place. There are days when even their cuteness can’t save you from cracking though. This week has been a good example of some of those days. Our daughter has been a bit more ornery than usual. When you have days & weeks like this, it makes you just want to run & hide.

When people are often stressed they say to themselves or aloud “I need a vacation.” For us mothers we know that going on a vacation is equally stressful, if not more so when you have children in tow. For us it really is the little things that feel like a vacation for us. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my daughter, but sometimes this mommy just needs a little break.

You might ask “What are these little things you speak of?” I am glad you asked.

Going to the grocery store alone – There are two different kinds of trips to the supermarket. There is the one where you enter the store with screaming toddler who is angry because the last car shaped carriage is already taken. It continues as you pass the deli section, triggering yet another meltdown because they need a piece of cheese, but not before they ask to go potty…again.
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There is the one when you go shopping by yourself & for once are able to get everything on your shopping list without having to leave abruptly with a carriage full of groceries left in the middle of aisle. Aah! It is just like paradise.

Doing chores – Many couples argue about who is going to do the dishes, but when you have children, you are fighting to be the one who gets to do them. “Don’t worry honey. I will clean up. You can get the kids ready for bed.” Who knew a dirty kitchen could be so relaxing? 

Taking a shower – I cannot even begin to tell you the detour my hygiene took after I had our daughter. There are times that I have gone days without showering. What once was just a quick and efficient method of getting clean has turned into a luxury. I used to hold the record for the quickest showers ever, now every drop of water, every bubble in my soap is savored & enjoyed. If I am lucky enough to be able to sink into a hot & bubbly bath, that is like a day at the spa.

Driving – On my drive into work every day I call my best friend. I do this because in the car is the only time that I can give her or anyone else my attention. If I have to call the cable company, it is in my car. If I need to schedule doctor’s appointments, it is in my car. If I am not on the phone, I kick on the radio & listen to music that is not sung by a Disney princess. Sorry Elsa, there is no room for you in the car today.

Nap time – Nap time is fewer & far between these days, but when do we manage to get a nap out of our daughter, cue the angels. “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” I have to take advantage of every last nap that we can get. What should I do? Should I pay some bills, mop the floors or clean out the junk drawer? Come to think of it mommy could need a nap too. Wake me in 1 to 2 hours.

Sitting on the toilet – Yes, I do spend a lot of time hiding in the bathroom. It is quiet & gives me a few moments to recharge my batteries. This is keeping in consideration that my daughter doesn’t bust down the door while I am on the can. Now I understand why men spend so much time on the toilet. 

Going on a date – Daddy needs a break sometimes too. Grab your hubby and have a night out together just the two of you.  You both deserve it & it will be a welcome change from squabbling over whose turn it is to put the kids to bed.

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The Art Of Raising A Child

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Raising a child is a lot like creating a great piece of art.

It all begins with the birth of your child.

Your baby is like a blank canvas, pure & untouched.

You have a vision of what your creation should be.

You formulate a plan in your mind of how you will achieve this vision.

You start with a solid base. Your love & nurturing will be the backdrop.

Color & textures are introduced as you try to shape something extraordinary.

At times it can get messy & often there is splatter.

You worry as it begins to take form. Is it going to come out alright or will you mess it up along the way?

You take great care not to make mistakes, but you do.

You cannot fully erase these mistakes, but you can work around them and incorporate these flaws.

As time goes on you may get frustrated and try different methods.

Contrast and light touch your canvas, as often do strokes of blues.

As the paint dries, you sit back and admire your masterpiece.

You realize despite the mistakes that you made and the various imperfections that you have created something truly beautiful.

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Stop The Judging

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I consider myself a pretty upbeat person. I smile at strangers. I sing & dance around my office at work & I try to find joy even on the days that I am feeling somewhat joyless. I try to remain positive, but it is not always easy when you are surrounded by so much negativity. I hear it at work. I read it in the paper. I see it on my Facebook feed. Even things that are meant to be beautiful get torn down and turned into something ugly. Friends are judging friends. Strangers are putting down other strangers. I am not saying that I have not done my fair share of judging. I have. I am not an innocent. In this world where we are constantly scrutinized for everything we do, what if we all could just stop judging each other?

Stop judging…

The way we raise our children – Whether I am a working mother or a stay at home mom, whether I choose to nurse or use formula, whether I follow Dr. Sears’s method of parenting or Dr. Ferber, I am a mother. I do not love my daughter less because I do not raise my child the same way that you do. I am just different. I am flawed. I am imperfect. I will make mistakes & I will learn from them. I will teach my child, love her & guide her the best that I can. Let me. 

Our grammar – Recently, I read a beautiful article in the Huffington Post. The post broke my heart, not because it was a particularly sad, but because of the comments that followed it. One reader commented that they were unable to enjoy the article because of the grammatical errors that were in it. There was a handful more comments similar to this. I found it strange that these people were unable to respect the beautiful content in her words simply because she had a misplaced comma or two. What a shame! I know that I do not have perfect grammar. I am not a writer. I am just a mother with a lot that I want to share & say. If you can relate to my words, look at my message, not my grammar.

Our political beliefs – I respect the passion that many of you have for your beliefs, but with that passion often comes close-mindedness & name calling. You do not know everything about me just because I am associated with a certain political party. Be passionate & fight for what you believe in, but don’t look down on those that do not share in your opinion because that is all that it is, your opinion.

Our choice of entertainment – The music I listen to sucks. The shows that I watch are mindless & the books I read are garbage. Who cares? If you don’t like what I am reading, don’t read it.  There is a reason that musicians & writers cater to so many different genres. There are many different tastes out there. It doesn’t make me an idiot because I like Adam Sandler movies. I am not weird for not liking country. I am just me. Get over it and worry about something real.

Our appearance – You have heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” We have heard it, but yet we tend not to look inside if we don’t like the outer shell. Our race, our weight or the uniform we wear does not tell our story, so don’t try to rewrite it with your preconceived notions. If you are ready to know the whole truth, open the book.

 

The Difference Between Dating and Married

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206791_1026029744268_167_nI frequently write about my relationship with my husband. I like to joke at his expense often. (Sorry honey) The truth is I know that I am no picnic. I am moody, cranky and many times I do not give him enough credit for all that he does around the house and with our daughter. I say to myself “Well, he knew what he was getting into when he married me.” Did he really though? You think that you are the same person that you were before you got married, but how true is that really?

Let’s compare…

Appearance

Dating: Bought a new outfit, shaved my legs, did my nails, makeup and curled my hair before every date. I continued to primp until he rang the doorbell.

Married: Get home from work and throw my bra on the floor. Wash all the makeup off my face, throw my hair in a bun and change into something more comfortable. “Hey, how many days have I worn these sweats on the floor?” They smell clean. I think these have one more day left in them.

Thoughtfulness

Dating: “Honey, can I get you a beer? Uh oh! I don’t have the beer that you like. I better go to the store. Let me chill this beer mug before I leave.”

Married: “You are closer to the kitchen than I am. Get your own beer.”

Bathroom habits

Dating: Excused myself to use the bathroom because I had to fart. Ran the water, flushed the toilet and sprayed air fresher to cover up the sound or any lingering smell.

Married: “The dog did it”

Conversation

Dating: “Oh my god, you are so funny” (Giggling and flipping my hair.)

Married: “I’m sorry hon, did you say something?”

Interests

Dating: “Oh Yeah, I love football. The Pats are my favorite.”

Married: “The games on? Uuugggh! I will be in the bedroom watching “Once Upon A Time”

Seduction

Dating: Gave him an erotic massage while wearing sexy lingerie.

Married: Unbutton the top button of my flannel pajamas and whisper “The baby’s asleep.”

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7 Reasons Why Exercise Sucks

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Exercisesucks.jpgHere is something that many of you might not know about me. I hate exercise. I don’t just dislike it. I have a genuine hatred for it, which is funny considering that I was a regional manager for a fitness chain for 10 years. I know that we need exercise. I know that it is good for us & all that other mumbo jumbo & I respect those of you that do it. My husband is a marathon runner. I think it is fantastic, but when he asks me to run with him I just chuckle & offer him a very dragged out “Noooooooooooooooo.”

My husband just purchased a new workout video, the T25 workout. He asked me if I would do it with him. He presented it as something we could all do together and somehow talked me into it. He must have offered me chocolates or something, either way I agreed as it is only 25 minutes long. This weekend we started it. Even our 3 year old daughter joined in.

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It was 25 minutes of sheer hell. Suddenly, I remembered why exercise & I have always had such a bad relationship. It is because it sucks

7 Reasons Why Exercise Sucks

1. It requires moving. I am perfectly content sitting on my ass. I am good at it. I am more of an artsy fartsy sort of girl. Give me some paints & construction paper and I am more than happy. Sitting burns calories too, you know.

2. I want to punch everyone in these workout videos in the throat. I know all these rock hard bodies & six packs are supposed be inspiring, but they make me want to start chucking donuts at the TV screen. Have you ever eaten a donut? Try one they are delicious. On top of it, why are they so happy? As they all have ear to ear grins on their faces, I have to keep wiping the moisture from my face, and by moisture I mean tears. Incidentally, the happiest person on the screen is usually the one doing the modified version for people like me.

3. Sweating is gross. Do you know what I hate almost as much as the act of exercise? I cannot stand being in wet, sweaty & smelly clothes. I sweat like a pig. If I could go to the gym naked, it would be done. Try getting out of those nasty clothes as they stick to your moist flesh. It is not easy. I have gotten stuck inside of a sweat soaked sports bra before. It was not fun.

4. There is just not enough time. I see people around me that have full time jobs, keep a clean house, raise their kids & go to the gym for 2 hours a day & I think “Huh?”. Can you run my life for me, please?

5. I hate sore muscles. If it is not bad enough that I just went through the torture of cardio or weight training on Monday, when Tuesday comes I have to endure the pain of the next day’s sore muscles. Forget about 6 pack abs, get me a 6 pack of Icy Hot and a glass of wine.

6. It’s embarrassing. Even when I did work out all the time, I felt inadequate. I always felt as if I was being looked at. In my head I thought “I look stupid doing this, don’t I?” “Am I doing this right?” “Do I have a wedgie in these yoga pants?”

7. It is just not fun. Working out is boring. I know some of you out there are like “I disagree.” That is because you are slightly crazy. All those exercise endorphins messed with your head. Music makes it somewhat bearable, but if my IPod goes dead, I pack my gym bag up & go home. Guess what! My Ipod has been dead for 3 years now.

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Do You Kiss Your Child On The Lips?

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There was a lot of controversy this week regarding a photo that was released of Bill Belichick kissing his grown daughter on the lips after the Superbowl. I saw all of the jokes on social media & the jabs at him from news outlets. Jokes of incest and words of disgust were aimed at this family over what people perceived as inappropriate.

I have heard this topic debated often. Should we kiss our children on the lips?

I am not sure if you can put a yes or no answer to this question. This is for each parent to decide. Who are we to judge how a parent kisses their child? Why is this so taboo? Why does it make on-lookers so squeamish? What makes it so weird?

I come from a family of mouth kissers. At 40 years old, I still kiss my father on the lips. I also kiss my aunts & uncles in a similar fashion. When my husband & I kiss our daughter, it is sometimes on the head, it is sometimes on the cheek & often times, yes, it is on the lips. There is nothing sexual about these kisses. They are not perverse. They are quick, close lipped smooches with our child.

For those that are looking at me with appall, I look back at you with equal appall. It disgusts me that a symbol of affection such as a kiss with my daughter could be viewed as anything but. It sickens me to think that a kiss from my father could be construed as passionate & not paternal. We all were raised in different households, with different family cultures. Every family is different. For me, I don’t know any other way. It is as natural for me to kiss my family on the mouth, as it is for others to give a peck on the cheek. While you may not understand it or agree with it, please respect it.

Some Day My Prince Will Come

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Like many young girls, my daughter is caught up in the fairy tale world of princesses and princes. She parades around our home in her princess dresses and tiaras almost every day. “Princesses don’t wear pants, mama.” They do however, wear gowns & sneakers like it is their job.

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Lately, she has been bringing her father into her world of make believe.
“Prince, prince, where are you prince?”
“Prince, please get me some juice.”

Her prince is always happy to oblige.

I think about this fairy tale world that she lives in right now. In these stories the prince is always dashing and handsome with great hair, a sparkling smile and the ability to slay dragons. It is love at first sight. True love is portrayed with song and dance routines and of course everyone always lives happily ever after.

In the real world if you went around singing & dancing, they might have you committed. Love is seldom at first sight & that dashing prince might be a wise cracking bald guy. Not every relationship is a whirlwind romance, but that does not mean that it is not a great love story. The man that wins your heart might not be handsome or dashing, but he makes your heart skip a beat. In a real fairy tale the prince & princess have their ups & downs. They fight, they make up. You might not get a happy ending. You might get left with a broken heart. Life is not a fairy tale.

I hope that as you get older, you realize that real love is not what you read in your story books or see in the movies. There are no big dramatic gestures. John Cusack will not be outside of your window holding up a boom box. There will not be a mail box full of love letters from Ryan Gosling. Real love is flawed, it takes work. It requires communication, patience & understanding.

Real princes are men like your father. They clean off your car when it snows outside. They make supper when you are running late. They get up in the middle of the night to change poopy diapers and they are great fathers. Prince Charming may have slayed a dragon, but he never slept on the floor at the foot of his sick daughter’s bed. That’s a real prince.