Jun 172015
 

Dying your hair blue? Take it from someone who NEVER does anything crazy or wild--it was so worth it! Completely the right decision and the reason might surprise you!We play it pretty tame around here. Our wildest nights consist of deciding to start an episode of the fantastically addictive Orange is the New Black after 8pm. I’m sadly not joking.

So when I trekked off to BlogU the weekend before last and came home with blue hair, it was of note. Not of note in that my husband was particularly concerned. He asked if this was my version of a midlife crisis, I said “probably”, and we left it at that. We do a pretty decent job of letting each other do our own thing.

No, it was of note in the sense that my hair, depending on the last time I’ve made a pass at one of my at-home highlighting kits, has always remained solidly hued in the blonde-to-light brown spectrum. Blue was definitely something new for me and my strands.

My children captured the seeming lack of logic behind my new color splash best, “But why, Mommy?” I, of course, tried to pacify their questions by lying and telling them I did it because I knew blue was one of their favorite colors. A useless explanation and they knew it: “But why, Mommy?”

Why did I dye my hair blue?

Why not?

I’m 35 and work from home. I’m my own boss in more ways than one. This helps lend sense to my reasoning, but still doesn’t explain, I know.

A week before BlogU, I broke into one of my dye kits in the midst of a very full weekend. In my haste, well…let’s just say it didn’t go well. I posted a spoofy advance apology in our conference group for my wonky color job, and some how the conversation turned to how I should just dye my hair blue and forget about it. And I thought, “why not?”.

I mean if Kelly Ripa can rock her pink, and my beloved People Style Watch reports that vibrant locks are the way to go, why not bandwagon it up and hop in on the trend? Plus, in my book, blue is always prettier than brown.

So I had no reason not to dye my hair, but yet I had a very real reason to dye my hair.

You see, I’ve talked a lot about my mother dying 3 years ago. And while this will never become any less horrible, I do us all a disservice by not talking about the blessings that have come from her death. Screeeeech…hold the phone. What’s that, blessings from her death? Yes, blessings. Changes in family functioning, new friends, discovery of fellow kindred spirits, and most namely, abandonment of fear.

I have written about this before, but since my mom took her exit, the things of this world don’t matter as much. I have no control over what happens and I’m very aware of this. Clinging to a careful protection of what transpires seems pretty useless…and this is very freeing.

Four years ago? This would have been my hair! That which I cared for and styled and presented to the world at large. Now? It’s just hair.

It’s just hair. 

Still, this is only further explanation as to why dying my hair was of no consequence, not what the actual reason was that I did dye my hair.

There was only one reason. Jessica D’Pirate.

Dying your hair blue? Take it from someone who NEVER does anything crazy or wild--it was so worth it! Completely the right decision and the reason might surprise you!

Who is she? Until 10 days ago, I didn’t know aside from the fact that she has a cool blog (seriously, go check out Domestic Pirate, you’ll thank me later) and a fun online presence with a rockin’ Instagram account. Now I know she is a mom of four who loves her family so much. I know she has really boss friends who throw her awesome birthday parties and how incredibly gorgeous the bright shade of her purple hair is when you see it in-person. I know that she can cut a dance move like no one’s business and that she is so easy to laugh and is one of those precious people with whom you can be real.

She was the one who kindly offered to hook me up with the blue in that Facebook thread before the conference. And she’s the one who welcomed me into her dorm room at Blog U without knowing me at all and shared her color-changing magic.

I know that she is kind. That she is nice. That she has a sweet spirit and that I will miss her a ton if I don’t get to meet up with her again.

I know that she is a fellow soul on this earth and that if I had been precious about maintaining my ill-highlighted blondeness, I would have totally missed the chance to connect with her. What a loss. What a colossal, colossal loss.

The gift of sharing a moment with someone else? It’s a gift. Meeting someone as boss as Jessica and bonding over hair dye? Worth it–whatever the result looked like.

She was worth it. She was the reason dyeing my hair was a good idea. She was my why.

That I really, really love my blue streak? It’s only a bonus.

Go find your own blue, friends, it might be far, far more valuable than the color of your hair.

Jun 122015
 
Sometimes the very best gift we can give ourselves is LETTING GO. How one night out reminded me of so much of who I used to be--and why it was so incredibly freeing! You'll lkaugh over the memories of jelly shoes and neon t-shirts--along with a few other throw-back gems!

Binkies and Briefcases wears braces like boss!

Last weekend I had one of those Experiences-of-a-Lifetime-You-Will-Never-Forget. That’s perfect because I don’t want to forget it. Ever.

After a year’s worth of endless behind the scenes planning and four days worth of running like a mad woman lifting boxes heavier than my Jillian Michael DVD-trained muscles should ever be allowed, WE DID IT. We pulled off an amazing Blog U 2015 Conference.

It was boss.

Really, there is no other way to put it. It might be important to note that my hair is now dyed blue, but more on that later.

For now, let’s just focus on the fact that BlogU was incredible. Full of hard-hitting blog how-to that you need to know and tons of co-blogger bonding, it was, in short, EPIC.

I could go on and on about the pride that soared through my soul reflecting in the heart-bursting moments when the Term Paper of the Year awards were read (really, this ended me) or when the faculty showed off their savvy brilliance schooling us during sessions. It was beautiful, the kind of beautiful that words don’t accommodate.

But let me focus on the highlight of the weekend–the #MiddleSchoolAwkward Night sponsored by Nickelodeon. It was aces. A gorgeous mix of poignant ungainly pre-teen memories coupled with the extreme coolness of ginormous scrunchies. The chance to throw-back to these years was a gift. A really, really fun gift.

Sometimes the very best gift we can give ourselves is LETTING GO. How one night out reminded me of so much of who I used to be--and why it was so incredibly freeing! You'll lkaugh over the memories of jelly shoes and neon t-shirts--along with a few other throw-back gems!

The thing is, back when we were in Middle School, we were awesome. We were fearlessly committed to our hideous neon accents and off-center ponytails/t-shirts. It was a Lifestyle of Awkward and we were its spokeswomen. It was fabulous in its tragedy.

We were a mess and we didn’t know it. God knows if our mothers actually knew it or they were just too traumatized by our appearance to give us a polite head’s up. Either way, we were rocking it. We were rocking it in the way that we so passionately believed in our NKOTB paraphanelia, we wouldn’t have believed any naysaying anyway.

Sometimes the very best gift we can give ourselves is LETTING GO. How one night out reminded me of so much of who I used to be--and why it was so incredibly freeing! You'll lkaugh over the memories of jelly shoes and neon t-shirts--along with a few other throw-back gems!

You see, we were cool back then.

There was an intrinsic beauty in the awkward. There was a full sold-out dedication to ugly neon hues and our staunch refusal to recognize their hideousness. We were a culture, an age, a generation committed to our flashy colors and acid-washed denim.

I don’t believe teens and preteens today experience the same level of anti-fantasticness we did in our early years. Today’s generation nails it–they actually look human when they leave the house. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms explains this perfectly. We did not look enjoy this level of refinement. Back in the 80s and 90s, it was dicey. For two decades, middle schoolers existed solely on a continuum of awkward appearance.

Every generation has their tangible components, their jelly shoes and glitter-filled snap bracelets that are unique to their place in history. Ours were just far more ugly than those of today. In today’s world, the girls actually look pretty. In my day, we said, “screw pretty as long as our trainer bra straps hang out abundantly from our off-the shoulder tees”. Let’s be honest; no one ever looked good in neon. Ever. 

But do you know what I saw when I looked around at the Nickelodeon #MiddleSchoolAwkward dance at Blog U on Saturday night? I saw a sea of happiness, a sea of people who didn’t care.  As the beats of Mickey throbbed through the crowd, I saw a celebration of all that our younger years held, however ghastly they were. And this, this willingness to give it up and go with it regardless, is what side ponytails and t-shirt clips left behind.

And for one night, Nickelodeon allowed me and my fab middle-age homies to travel back to our age of neon innocence and live it up–live it up despite the modern siren call to abandon awkward. Live it up with all our clashing colors and too-large tops and too-tight bottoms. Live it up in the fabulousness of our Middle School selves–side ponies and t-shirt clips most definitely included.

Sometimes the very best gift we can give ourselves is LETTING GO. How one night out reminded me of so much of who I used to be--and why it was so incredibly freeing! You'll lkaugh over the memories of jelly shoes and neon t-shirts--along with a few other throw-back gems!

Being tulle twinsies with Christi Campbell? Rocked!

For one night, we were our stunning awkward selves, and this is why Blog U has captured my heart. It’s a chance to embrace yourself for whatever and whoever you are–poofy tulle skirts included. See you in 2016, friends?

****I wrote this post as part of Nickelodeon’s® sponsorship of The Blog University. The series “100 Things to Do Before High School” premiered on June 6 @ 8pm on Nickelodeon.”****

Apr 272015
 

Accepting that as a mom, my kids' needs come first has been a hard thing to get used to. The daily struggle of managing schedules and organizing it all is a beast, but here is the one thing I remember when it all starts to feel too overwhelming. Read on to learn how to press through this season of parenting--it can be done!I write a lot about working hard to accept our age and stage in this life, probably because it’s one of the things I struggle with the very most on a day-to-day basis.

It never seems fair. Or right. Or like it makes sense.

It is that odd 12 minutes you have in between herding children through their morning routine (why is it always such a surprise that we have to put shoes on every morning??) and shoveling them into the minivan for school drop-off. The possibilities reach far.

Do you make a quick pass at a shower and brushing your teeth?

Screw the shower and fight through some vigorous sit-ups in a shout-out to the approaching summer months?

Pop out a few quick over-due emails?

Tackle the towering pile of dirty dishes? Maybe this will be the morning God gives me a shot of super-speedy energy and I could actually get them finished before we leave!

Sit and play “birthday party” with your kids as they’ve been begging?

Speaking of birthday parties, if you don’t get those invites addressed and sent out, your son won’t even have a birthday party.

The problem is that these are all good things. Valuable, important things to you, your house, and your kids. The fullness of this life means that each activity is a calculated trade. Every thing done means that there is something else that is not going to get done.

I want to be the super-mom who gets up before the sun, exercises, dresses in a chic outfit, checks in with work stuff and has time to fill the juice cups before my kids come down the stairs wailing for breakfast. But I want to sleep too, because that matters, right?

I’d love to catch up with paperwork, but there are friends who need me. A nice walk after my husband gets home to watch the kids would be sweet, but when was the last time we actually had a real conversation? Dinner together might be smart. Scheduling a needed haircut, but I have a meeting. Writing a post, but kids’ homework. This but that, thisbutthat, thisbutthatthisbutthatthisbutthat….

One morning when breathing through all of this was especially challenging, talked with my friend. “It feels like I am always robbing Peter to pay Paul,” I whined, “I never get it all done.” “Honey,” she lovingly “got” me, “You can’t.”

She is right. So right. While I desperately long for less jiggly bits around my thighs and passionately organized closets, for this season, I can’t. It’s a season of selflessness. As much as our own wants and needs flare up and jealously vie for a prioritized seat, things like kids needing Mommy to draw intricate sidewalk chalk roads on the driveway and endlessly sit in school pick-up lines power through with their pressing realness.

Accepting that as a mom, my kids' needs come first has been a hard thing to get used to. The daily struggle of managing schedules and organizing it all is a beast, but here is the one thing I remember when it all starts to feel too overwhelming. Read on to learn how to press through this season of parenting--it can be done!

 

When you break into the territory of need vs. need, it can get desperate. Really desperate, friends, I know. Someone’s something is taking a backseat. It’s a very hard line to draw but one that has no choice but to be drawn.

Since we have that darn stickey wicket of not being able to do ALL THE THINGS and since we parents are the grown-ups, it might be time to latch onto some acceptance.

Acceptance in the form that smudgy handprints on the refrigerator are the norm, right along with my dusty baseboards, and if you don’t like that, please leave my home. Acceptance in that if I only squeeze in a few squats, I can choose to focus on my pretty earrings vs. the enormity of my thighs. Acceptance in that I may be dozing off during bedtime stories with my kids, but at least I’m trying to read to them.

Acceptance in that I’m not superhuman and I’m going to have to bag up a lot of the things I’m yearning for and toss them in the backseat. Feel free to throw yours in there too as you drive these kiddos and their world around.

Maybe some day we can unpack our own stuff and pay Peter back, but for now, settle in, it’s going to be a long ride.

 

Second image credit, depositphotos.com, image ID:35208743, copyright:IuriiSokolov

 

Apr 132015
 

Just a little over two weeks ago, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone hit the shelves and my fellow co-authors and I have delightedly been watching the rave reviews roll in. This, on top of the recent news that the first book in the series, I Just Want to Pee Alone hit the New York Times Bestseller list, has left us all feeling very boss about our work and more delighted that ever to share these funny books with you!

Ladies Night Out just got sweet! Complete with shopping, sales, wine, cupcakes, and bestselling books, grab a girlfriend and mark your calendar!

Christine Burke of Keeper of the Fruit Loops and I are so excited to team up with Sprouts Consignment in Malvern to host another Ladies’ Night Out/Book Signing Event on 4/23/15 to promote this new book. If you’ve never met Christine, she is adorable and her personality is bigger than the room; our last signing was too much fun! Together we are thrilled to sell and sign books (we’ll have copies of the second book in the Pee Alone series, I Just Want to Be Alone too) and chat it up with you!

But this event is about so much more than our books! Grab a girlfriend or two (or 10!) and come out for an evening of treats and shopping.

When:  Thursday, 4/23/15, 6-9pm

Where: Sprouts Consignment Boutique, 288 Lancaster Ave., Frazer, PA 19355

What: Shopping, sales, wine, snacks, & bestselling books!

Wine and snacks are available while you shop, including some of the fantastic Wildtree goodies I just raved about and delectable cupcakes from Cupcakes Gourmet.

Sprouts Consignment will be offering an extra 10% off of their consigned children’s clothing and goods, so this is the time to stock up your kids’ closets for summer!

And cross off all of the Mother’s Day and teacher gifts on your list in one night! Come May, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for getting it done so early. Maybe make a few fun purchases for yourself too while you are shopping the goods of these small-business ladies:

Clean Slate Designs–beautiful one-of-a-kind repurposed wood items for your home

Chesapeake Ribbons–handmade ribbon belts and accessories

Chloe & Isabel–fashion jewelry

Jamberry Nails–trendy nail wraps

Beauty Counter–safe and effective skincare products

Mark your calendars now and get ready to hang out with us in next week! We can’t wait to see you there and are so looking forward to a fun night out!

The perfect Mother's Day gift is HERE! Come get it signed and chat it up with the funny authors who would love to meet YOU!

 

Mar 042015
 

Feeling down and depressed? You aren't alone. Dark places are known by so many, even though we don't always discuss. Beating yourself over something stupid? Find light and hope here with this one simple realization.I’d like to report that Monday, the three year anniversary of my mother’s death, ended up being a day of blessing, a day of reflective happiness spent with my children, niece and sister. Instead, I drove the minivan through the garage door.

You know that AllState commercial when the garage door is shattered by the foolish home owner? THAT WAS ME.

I’d love to share happy, gainful sentiments on how the death of one’s mother can be a beautiful self-growth experience. But I cannot. Because I was an idiot.

I could blame my daughter’s incessant 3-yr. oldness for my break with sane, rational precautions. Like opening the garage door before I drove through it. I could blame my continued destabilizing grief for not thinking clearly. I could blame preschool for the last-minute curve ball of needing to find the perfect solution for Dr. Seuss Hat Day.

The truth? It was all these things.

But I was still an idiot.

I very cautiously guarded who I could share my mess with. Because it was so very real, so very desperate, and so very, very messy. With that one horrific crunch of metal crashing upon metal, everything quickly fell into a rather dark state.

I wasn’t just mad and sad, I was hurt. I was ashamed. I felt alone in my stupidity and lack of ability to get it together. And truth told, I might have bottled up my circus show and privately berated myself for the pain of my mess, except…

My sweet sister. She visited shortly after the savage garage door attack. As I expressed my disillusion with my life with her through broken sobs, she very sagely, kindly, cautiously suggested that I am not the only one in this world who does stupid things.

Huh. I still refused to believe that anyone could be as big as a fool as me, but wondering if there might be truth to her bold insight, I ventured to tell a few others of the colossal disaster my day had become.

Accidents and stupid mistakes happen--to ALL of us, really. Feeling down and depressed? You aren't alone. Dark places are known by so many, even though we don't always discuss. Beating yourself over something stupid? Find light and hope here with this one simple realization.

And you know what? Almost everyone else had a story of some bone-headed move they’d rocked with their own vehicles. Tales of walls side-scraped, parking meters nailed, even getting stuck teetering on top of a median. My sister was right; I am not the only one who has done something fantastically stupid with their car.

I am not the only who has cost my family 1500 unavailable dollars by doing something really dumb.

I’ll be vulnerably honest, readers, I am still in that dark place, still furious with myself and genuinely doubting whether I will ever competently function on this earth.

But I will accept this: I will accept that I am not the only one who has been in this crappy place.

And lest you are in this place too, my only prayer is that you will confidently know you aren’t alone either. Supposedly there is a flip side. Supposedly someday we will laugh about tossing money at maintaining our homes after we’ve attacked them in our fits of foolishness.

In the meantime, cozy up here for a hug. I love you; God loves you. And there is a really fabulous circus show going by that we are privvy to watch.

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:11093496, copyright:HASLOO

Second image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:10629308, copyright:ersler

 

Feb 272015
 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!My favorite day of the week! The hope, the promise, (albeit the very unlikely) dream that there will be a minute of relaxation or a snoozle of extra sleep hiding somewhere in the corners of your weekend…it could happen. Keep the fantasy alive, fellow warriors.

A few months ago, I started having a teensy celebration on my social media every Friday to recognize the day. I’m not sure anyone else is that into it, but it makes me giggle, so I’m keeping the weekly fun rolling.

Follow along with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to check out the latest Friday laughs. And please share any of your own ideas for how you revel-it-up come the end of the week!

For now, smile the it’s the week is over, and go bold with a true wild mom-style move. Inspiration below!

 

 

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

FRIDAY! The big day full of dreams of relaxation and maybe, just maybe a few extra minutes of sleep! Treat yourself to some laughs with ideas of how you can kick off the weekend Mommy-style--some of these wild ideas you would never have thought of, but I promise they will make your day!

 Happy Friday, friends! Go enjoy!

Feb 112015
 

Keeping a close eye on little ones all the time is TOUGH! Here is the perfect gadget to letting you make sure your kids are safe--while tackling your looming dish pile. It really works!We are entering a new stage in our household: independent play in our rooms. To those of you with older kids, this probably doesn’t sound like a big deal. For those of you with kids younger than my 3 yr. old and 5 yr. old, your mind is blown, “How does this even happen?!?”

But it does happen, trust me. Somehow baby gates get booted from staircases and your kids start saying wild things like, “Mommy, I am going to go up and play with my Legos.” The first few times, you will just nod numbly in shocked disbelief , stand at the bottom of the steps and hyper-vigilantly listen for the first possible indication that your child has injured himself.

Then, after a few successful unsupervised playtimes, you will start to relax a bit. You will enjoy the five minutes your children are happily occupied and begin to tackle the 16,000 tasks on your to-do list. Yet while the breathing room thrills you, your mom instinct won’t quit: “What are they doing up there?” “What is that thumping noise?” “Are they okay??” 

Obviously, we can’t watch our children for forever, but during this stage of not-quite independent, I would love to have an extra set of eyes. One that I could put upstairs so I can wash the dishes downstairs without panicking over the sounds coming from upstairs.

Enter the Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitor from VTech. With a camera that pans up to 270 degrees side-to-side and tilts as many as 124 degrees up and down, it has your little ones covered. With a feature that allows you to zoom in up to 2x and a range of up to 1,000 feet, it can fully be your eyes even when you’re in another room!

Have more than one kid you want to keep an eye on? The monitor is expandable up to four handsets from one parent unit. And the transmission, however many handsets you use, is quality and secure. It is equipped with digital transmission. The signal is digitized and encrypted, ensuring video and audio transmission is always private. There is high resolution with a 2.8-inch color LCD and full-motion video with up to 25 frames per second and automatic night vision.

  • Talk-back intercom: Sometimes all your baby needs is to hear the sound of your voice. Comfort your infant from any room with the built-in intercom on the portable parent unit.
  • Temperature sensor
  • Wall-mount bracket
  • Vibrating sound-alert on the parent unit
  • Rechargeable battery with low-battery alert on the parent unit
  • Zoom the camera from the parent unit
  • 5-level sound indicator
  • Volume control

Keeping a close eye on little ones all the time is TOUGH! Here is the perfect gadget to letting you make sure your kids are safe--while tackling your looming dish pile. It really works!

The best news for you, readers? You have a chance to win one of five nursery safety baskets featuring VTech Safe&Sound® Pan & Tilt Full Color Video Baby Monitors! Hop in the Twitter party on Wednesday, 2/18/15 at 1pm ET for your chance to win. Winner will be randomly selected from participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only.

Follow the #VTechBaby hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite: http://vite.io/themotherhood

I will be there, hosting the fun and eager to share more about this high-tech monitor while giving out a bunch of sweet prizes! Can’t wait to see you there–and here’s to keeping an extra eye on those young kiddos!

******This post is brought to you by VTech and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.******

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:10837621, copyright:Wavebreakmedia

Feb 022015
 

Trying to figure out your role and strengths as mom is hard! Here's how to embrace it smoothly and why you should celebrate your differences! You'd be surprised where my strengths lie, but I'm embracing them anyway!I’m not shy about not being particularly good at this kid thing. I love mine, of course. And sometimes I even enjoy kids’ activities and playdates, but in general, I’m a flop at understanding what to do with the younger set.

This bothers me. It’s the kind of thing you feel weird discussing with others, because what will they think? I’m not good at kids, and I have them. I can hear the warning sirens firing off, demanding I start stashing up for my children’s future therapy needs now.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering all the different kinds of moms. And I don’t mean the helicopter mom vs. permissive mom vs. any of the other parenting styles so often discussed. I mean different moms are good at different things.

Like, I have friend who is fantastic at doing crafts with her kids. I think her house must have a secret art supply stash room somewhere. And you know what? That’s cool because she enjoys doing creating stuff with them. Plus, when we visit, my kids always get to make something really neat.

Another friend is so darn good at playing with her kids outside. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, she is on it. Sleds and parkas in the winter get traded in for rain boots and sunblock as the weather warms. If it’s light out, she and the kids are out, soaking up all that vitamin D goodness.

I admire my friend who aces staying relaxed, something that is too often overlooked in our culture. She and her children chill, relax and play their way through their days. And don’t think she ever stresses. Her children are going to grow up to be the most zen creatures on this earth.

Another friend schools a bevvy of extracurriculars for her kids, another is the queen of fun kid vacations, another hasn’t stopped reading her daughter books from the moment she came out of the womb. Others are good at teaching, at laughing, at baking, at…you get the point, we’re all different.

And that’s okay, because we need a boatload of different people in this world. It’s a really good thing that people are raised in different ways with different focuses. Variety is the stuff of life, right?

Trying to figure out your role and strengths as mom is hard! Here's how to embrace it smoothly and why you should celebrate your differences! You'd be surprised where my strengths lie, but I'm embracing them anyway!

Recently I was chatting this over with a friend (you know, the real kind of friend, the one who doesn’t judge you for still being in your pajamas at 1pm) and she had a brilliant point. She noted that it’s not just the particular things we are good at doing with our kids, but the particular ages of our children that highlight our mothering strengths.  This made so much sense!

As in, at this age of my children, I might shudder with impatience at the idea of teaching them to play piano, but when my daughter is older, I would love to teach her to knit. My friend talked about the brutality of trying to entertain her little kids, but she now loves hanging out and catching movies with her teenagers. There will always be ages and stages we handle better than others, and this is okay too. We always love our kids, we might just have times that we shine a bit more than others.

What am I good at? Not young kids, for sure, but I do have hopes for future years. And while I suck at taking my kids to lessons, live in fear of glitter, and am terrible at Play-Doh, I’m not terrible at making a big deal of special little things. The silly days and events no one cares about? I probably do, and I celebrate them with our kids. Whether it’s trekking out to the Farm Show every year or throwing a rockin’ Groundhog Day party today, it’s probably a happening for our family.

So, it works. For us. And that’s the bottom line; everyone has her strength, and it might look nothing like the neighbor’s. Moms, find your glory, and go share it with your kiddos. Being you is one powerful gift to give your children.

 

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Jan 302015
 

Buried in the day-to-day of motherhood? Finding your inner cool mom isn't that hard, and bonus? It's A LOT of fun ;) Check out these tips to get your groove going--stuff you haven't done in ages, but it works, trust me!Let me be clear: I am not cool. I have never been cool. Nope, I’m solidly of the band-geek variety. Even in my 30s, which is impressive, as I haven’t picked up an instrument in about 15 years.

But while I’m sitting over here, stewing in my own nerdiness, I realize that I am uncool enough to not only recognize the things that make me feel hip, but to delight in them. What makes me feel like plastic side clip on a neon tee in the 80s?

Put on Cake’s “The Distance” and I rock the most boss dance moves of all time–or at least in my kitchen during dinner-prep time, which really, is the same thing…Make it Queen or any 80s power ballad, and you have yourself the same awesome. What can I say? My suburban mom hip thrusts while I heat macaroni are inspiring.

Blast a track that makes you smile and let your inner grooviness roll. Bonus? More steps on that Fitbit.

In general, I’m not a huge baby-lover, but when I hold my month-old niece I feel all the good things of this world. She is sweet, she is small, she is beautiful, and most importantly, she doesn’t rage at me when I make her do her rainbow popcorn words homework. It works.

Hold a baby, preferrably not your own.

I am not a knowledgeable woman on this earth, and I will never be, but during a recent social media consult, I found myself spewing off terminology I didn’t even know I knew. This latent savvy comes only from cumulative hours and hours spent absorbing know-how, even when I didn’t feel like I could stomach learning one more thing.

Go ahead and school yourself in something unfamiliar. The pride is stymieing and enough to feed your day-to-day soul for days upon days.

Listen, I hate working out. I always will. Jillian Michaels yells at me and makes me do it anyway. For this, I love her. And then when I’m done, I love myself.

Do the hard workout. You will feel like you want to die, but it’s worth it. Think spaghetti straps in the summer and gnaw on that celery.

I often look at my day’s agenda and want to puke. There is no foreseeable way that I’m going to win this to-do list, even in my wildest imagination. You know what? My best results come from just closing my eyes and jumping in. Gracious no, I’ll never get it all done, but I can make a decent attempt and then fist-pump the air for the things I did manage to cross off.

Don’t focus on what you can’t do; look at what you can. Then attack it with a vengeance and curl up with a book when the day is done.

I have a really, really comfy long-sleeve t-shirt that I love. It has holes, stains, and a permanent odor of sweat. I need to throw it out. This regular life doesn’t always demand going fancy, but clean jeans and fresh deodorant can be very nice. I have heard rumors about some crazy thing called eyeliner.

Take a minute to spruce up. The thing is, if it makes you feel good, and is a way to care for yourself, it might just be a good thing.

It’s not an always thing, but when I sometimes do some of these things, I feel kind of cool. I feel a little bit on-my-game. Best said, I feel like I’m ready to rock this thing.

What makes you feel boss? How do you find your fantastic? When are you in your groove? However you find friends, find the coolness. It’s so worth it.

In the meantime, step aside friends, a cool mom is coming through.

 

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Dec 052014
 

Didn't you know? Reading books is COOL! Snatch up a cozy read and hop in with our online book club. We're thrilled you're here!For those of you that have been reading with Carrie from Normal Level of Crazy and me through this online book club: WE LOVE YOU. Trying to make a go of anything new in this blogging world is can be tricky, but we’re going to keep up with this because, quite simply, we love reading. Also, most sincerely, we love you, readers.

After our last post, one woman told me how grateful she was to have someone else to read with, even if she never actually met them. She too is a book fan, but her young kids prevent her from the magic trick of leaving her house. Yet she still wanted to know someone else was reading the same book she was–and thinking about it and caring what she thought.

Being the sap that I am about connecting with others, I teared up when she shared this with me. And then I felt reaffirmed that this book club was a smart idea. I love my books. I can’t always go out like a normal person to talk about them face-to-face, but being able to read with all of you is a blessing.

So thanks for humoring us, friends–we are genuinely thrilled that you are here!

And make sure to leave a comment below to win a copy of our pick for this month!

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All that gushiness aside, our pick for last month was Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. This is hard review for me to write because I LOVE AMY POEHLER. But I was not a fan of this book.

As we noshed on chips and margaritas, I worked hard to put my thoughts into words so I could explain them to Carrie, but it’s tricky. My concept of Poehler is that she is sweet, genuine, very smart and wonderfully sarcastically funny.  I simply could not get this image to savvy up with the voice in her book, which to me came across as cocky and even foolish at times. All quotes and input from other people featured in the book served to confirm my original notion of her, but her voice itself confused me. Did anyone else feel this way??

My admiration of her was also disillusioned by some of the book’s content. It was disjointed and confusing. For example, on one page Poehler both noted the damage drugs can wreck on a family, only to then seemingly praise drugs for their redeeming qualities. The flow felt bizarre  and off to me.

Perhaps my feelings about the book mostly stem from my difficultly relating to Poehler. For while we have children the same age, our day-to-days are wildly different. Usually inability to relate to the people I read about does not color my opinions of books, but I think in this case, it did.

There were some very cool things about the book, though. Carrie noted her appreciation for Poehler’s recognition of the difficulty of book-writing, and I whole-heartedly agree. Poehler’s honesty about this was not only refreshing, but inspiring for those of us aspiring to write while feeling overwhelmed by the reality of actually producing a book.

I also delighted in the photos and excerpts that were included throughout the book. These served not only to break up text and provide levity but reinforced my original affection for Amy Poehler.

While I didn’t love this book, I remain a tremendous fan of Poehler’s work in general. I don’t think all authors are meant to write books, and this is fine. We need people to write amazing content for television so we can roll on the floor in laughter after we stash those kiddos in bed 😉

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After hearing WONDERFUL things about Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time, we decided to cozy in for the holiday month with one of our all-time favorite authors. Please join us and read along this month–we will look forward to chatting about it with you the first Friday of January!

And if you’d like to win a copy of Leaving Time, just tell us in your comment below. One winner, age 18 or above, living in the continental U.S. will be randomly selected from the comments left below before 12/12/14 at 5am EST.

Here is the summary for Leaving Time from Amazon, along with the link to buy the book:

Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time weaves elephant behavior into a search for a missing mother. The connection isn’t as odd as it might sound at first, and Picoult has written another page-turning novel, even as it focuses on motherhood, loss, and grief. Teenager Jenna Metcalf was just three years old when her mother disappeared from an elephant sanctuary. Ten years later, she takes up the search for her mother, Alice, by studying Alice’s decade-old journals on grieving elephants. The research itself is fascinating, the hints about Alice’s disappearance are compelling; but Jenna cannot find her mother on her own. By enlisting the help of a formerly famous—now infamous—psychic, as well as a down-and-out private detective whose career went south during the botched investigation of Alice’s disappearance, Jenna forms a sort of new family to help her in her quest. As the facts begin to come together—described in alternating chapters by Jenna, the psychic, the private detective, and Alice’s journals—it all heads toward a thrilling conclusion. And, yes, there is a big twist at the end. – Chris Schluep

Looking forward to reading with YOU, friends! Happy cozy holiday reading!

WE LOVE our books! Hop in with us every first Friday to talk about what we're reading and share your thoughts--we want to hear from YOU!

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:30508017, copyright:massonforstock

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