A Happy Halloween in the Making

I love Halloween like a seven year old loves Halloween, but I do not have the mental bandwidth to stress about my daughters costumes this year.

I love Halloween like a seven year old loves Halloween, but I do not have the mental bandwidth to stress about my daughters costumes this year.

Here’s how this year’s costumes came together:

I had a lady bug costume shoved in the back of the closet that I bought at a garage sale for $2 long before it would fit my oldest daughter, in anticipation of her trick or treating days.

Then a couple weeks ago I saw an infant size lady bug costume hanging at a kids resale store for $2.

Perfection.

My two little love bugs would be lady bugs! Done. Settled. One decision out of my jam-packed brain.

Sometimes as parents we resist doing things the simple way because we don’t want our children to think we don’t care about them.

But simplicity is not the same as indifference.

As a young child you can probably think of instances of both. Sometimes simple things actually made you feel incredibly happy (making a homemade dice costume from a box), while indifference, or lack of planning, made you feel unimportant or forgotten (stopping at the grocery store on Halloween and picking from the leftover plastic masks).

Doing things more simple this year doesn’t mean that I don’t care, and it is important to me that my girls know that. Simple means that I am deciding how much of my precious time and attention can be put in to certain things, so that I have time and energy to actually invest in being present with them.

Simple doesn’t mean you don’t care, or didn’t plan. It can actually be a sign that you planned well.

Remember that as you enter the crazy holiday season ahead.

And…

Happy Halloween (month)!

From,

The Oldest Trick or Treater on the Block

PS My oldest is two and a half and already pretty obsessed with Halloween. My job is done here:)

A Toddler Mom’s Staycation

Happiness hides in everyday moments.  Go looking for it.

Sometimes ten free minutes can feel like gold to a busy parent.  

Take a minute to join me on a mental Staycation…

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***

I dance outside to seize a very rare moment in a young mother’s day where both her daughters are off in the loving care of a grandma-like figure, leaving me a few glorious minutes sneaked in between tasks on my monotonous to-do list.

The sun is so bright that I have to squint as I release my thoughts on the pages of a composition notebook in a quick, messy scribble that no one else will be able to read. I feel the instinct to capture them on paper before they float away like bubbles. Sunglasses would be ideal, except all four pairs are sitting on a wooden shelf just inside the sliding door, snickering at me for forgetting to grab one, yet again. But I am on a mental vacation, and I am unwilling to get up until I begin to sweat through my clothes.

My annoyance slips away, as the sound of our bulky air conditioner soothes me like shushing to a baby, as it sprints to run down the heat of the afternoon canyon sun. A welcomed breeze whispers through and helps my body pause momentarily from melting like a creamsicle.

I find myself enjoying the smell of bonfires tickling my nostrils as it brings back vivid childhood memories of Michigan summers; until I remember it is actually the heartbreaking scent of thousands of acres of trees blazing in the Holy Canyon fire.

Laying on a beige, outdoor L-shaped sectional, I get distracted when I look up and suddenly notice how confined I am by neighboring fences, squeezing me from all sides. Yet, I am oddly comforted knowing this little slice of the world is my families, and I get to watch my young daughters laugh and learn through play in this outdoor classroom made of skinned knees and chalk masterpieces.

The heat starts to get to me. I swallow and notice the dry flavor of black coffee lingering in my mouth. Licking the fuzz off my teeth, I imagine hydrating myself with an overpriced flute of anything sparkling. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs hearing a bell, I begin to salivate. Tonight is Mom’s Night Out with some old friends; our gathering is only six months overdue.

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Before I can feel good about heading out and leaving my family to fen for themselves, I feel an internal tug to finish my to-do list. I pick myself up off the warm couch, feeling completely restored from just a few minutes of silence and sunshine. I have renewed energy to tackle the pile of laundry that is staring me down. I will win. This Mom is putting on studded black heels tonight because I am tired of seeing them slowly wither in the back corner of my closet.

***

My staycation write-up was actually part of a writing exercise I took part in last week.  The assignment was to use all five sense to describe a vacation spot you traveled to this summer.  Because I have been busy starting a new job, getting my six month old in daycare, and juggling book releases, mental staycations are where it is at these days!

Coincidentally, this week my husband and I finally scheduled our ten year wedding anniversary trip to Palm Springs in October.  I am giddy.  I can hardly believe that an Adults-Only vacation is happening!

But if an adults only resort getaway isn’t realistic for you right now, take a minute to really explore the environment you are in – drink in the sights, smells, tastes, feelings, and sounds around you. It might just take something that normally blends in to a weekday afternoon, and reframe it.  For me it was ten minutes outside in my own backyard.

Happiness hides in everyday moments.  Go looking for it.

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Next Book Release Coming Soon!

Pieces of Me Died When I had Kids, and I’m Glad They Did

Not everything you did before kids was that awesome.  You had freedom, but I’m sure it wasn’t always used wisely.

If we’re being honest, little pieces of you die when you start having kids.

Hold up.  This is not some marter-fest where we sit around and talk about how our best days are gone now that we had kids.  I’ve actually come to see this as a good thing. Stick with me.

Not everything you did before kids was that awesome.  You had freedom, but I’m sure it wasn’t always used wisely.  You could have traveled the world.  You could have spent time volunteering at a children’s hospital.  You could have read more books.  I actually really hope you did!

But you all also spent a decent amount of that time picking the right filter for your rose’ picture by the pool, binge watching shows on netflix, and spending long hours sitting in front of your computer at the office.

And there is nothing wrong with any of that.

Except that kids are vacuums.  They suck up most of the hours you once had.

Because of that, pieces of you will have to die.  The great part is, you are an adult with a tiny semblance of control.  You get to pick which pieces you keep and which to let go, but you will be forced to be selective.

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@mommyconvos

Read the book or watch the show?

Do your make-up or snuggle with the kids?

Take the pictures or live the moment?

Run the extra miles or write the next book chapter?

Take on the extra work project or make dinner from scratch?

This is not a test, there is no wrong answer.  But you still need to chose wisely.  Not because one is bad and the other is good.  Chose wisely because there is less time that you have to work with.  If you don’t intentionally chose, you will feel like there is never any time, and feel resentful that all the former pieces of you were forced to die.   Thanks kiddos.

Your goals will naturally need to be fewer in number, incredibly focused, and likely with a grace-filled (ie longer than you would like) timeline.  Coincidently, that is actually a great formula for successfully accomplishing your goals with or without kids.

Before kids, it’s just easier to assume you will act later because you own all the hours.  But when kids are present, you don’t know which hours will be yours.  You have to be intentional.  You need the day’s game plan in your head so that when the minutes and hours appear, you can seize them.

Do you see how kids can actually be a highly effective tool at helping you decide what the best pieces of you are?  Go tell that sweet baby thank you.  Unless they are sleeping.  In that case DO NOT WAKE THEM!

My current goal is getting my third book finished up.  I literally have one step for it, each day, that I plan to complete.  Beyond that I don’t even try because with young kids I wouldn’t be setting myself up for success or happiness.  After I finish that one goal, I let my kids guide most of the day.  My goals are few and focused, and accomplishing them takes much longer than I’d like.  But I get to enjoy my kids in between.   It makes me happy knowing that there is a small, but very important, piece of me still thriving amongst that chaos.

Amazon Rank, My Mom is the Worst #1 Motherhood
My Mom is the Worst Children’s Book, Available on Amazon Here

Which pieces of you have you intentionally chosen to focus on once having kids?

Lady Logic: Wasted Money or Amazing Deal?

So there I was, saving money for my family, and then the Lady Logic creeps in.

You know the rationale you use to validate your crazy?

Well, that’s your Lady Logic.

Let me use myself as an example.

Today I left the house to run errands.

I had showered, and left the house by noon with a newborn.  Just for that,  I was pretty proud of myself.

Gold star!

Eventually I stopped by Old Navy to make returns. We had some extra outfits that we didn’t end up using for family photos this past weekend.  So there I was getting $29.00 in returns done, saving money for my family.

Gold star!

And then the Lady Logic creeps in.

On the way home I stop by a children’s resale boutique, just for a peek.

The kids don’t really need anything…but then again, maybe they do?

And apparently they did.

Browse all the cute kids Toms Here.  One of each please!

There were the mint condition kids Toms,  because I’ll regret passing up a deal like that…

A long sleeve baby sleeper, because it’s been colder than normal here in SoCal…

The black and white Nicole Miller outfit, because everything looks cute on a toddler…

And the toddler Roxy lounge wear, because…

Just because.

My Mom is the Worst Book Cover
My Mom is the Worst available on Amazon Here

The final damage came to $32.00.  And you know what? I left feeling pretty happy.  I made those $29.00 in returns earlier, so it’s like I only spent $3.00 and got all these adorable “essentials.”

Gold star!

And that my friend, is Lady Logic.

***

Wasted money, or an awesome deal?  You decide.

 

Where My Girls At? Crazy Moms Unite.

One time I got after my parents for wasting too many wipes when they were changing the baby for me.  

With my first baby there were so many unspoken rules.

Not the real rules like babies should sleep on their backs, but silly rules I created in my head.

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The strangest one, that I can remember right now, is that I decided we would use just one wipe for pee diapers and two wipes for poop diapers.  One time I got after my parents for wasting too many wipes when they were changing the baby for me.

Looking back it was ludicrous that I thought I needed to control the number of wipes we used each time.

It’s clear I just felt like I needed to be in control of something.   My world was spinning out of control those first few months as a new mom, and I didn’t know how to deal.

Well let me tell you, there is no counting of wipes with the second baby.  Not because I don’t love her as much to try to control everything in the world, but because I have more perspective.

cry baby
The second child gets the hand-me-down goods (like this repurposed sign:) and a more relaxed mama.

Besides, this baby has her own agenda.  The moment I start wiping her, she decides to start peeing again.  If I’m lucky I can whip the diaper back up in time.  But when she’s really cunning, she waits until I have just removed the old diaper, to swap in the new one, and she lets loose.  Needless to say, there is a lot of wash.  I thought getting peed on was supposed to be a boy thing?  Shows how much I know.

It doesn’t matter how many wipes I “intended” to use, I am wiping all the lady parts down again.  I burn through wipes faster than I can count.  And it’s ok, because #2ndtimemom here.  Who the heck cares?!

As annoying as she can be, that frozen girl was on to something.  LET IT GO.

First time moms, second time moms, all the moms – what are/were you trying to control in motherhood that is plain crazy when you can think rationally about it?

For some of you, you are probably too deep in to new motherhood for you to pinpoint it now.  But if your brain literally hurts all the time (like mine did), and you can barely think in full sentences, there are probably a few things on your list to start letting go of.

I don’t want to be the only crazy person up in here.  Feel free to share your #crazymom moment.

You’re in a safe place.  I’ve got your back mamacita;)

Did You Ask Your Toddler if They Wanted a Sibling?

Of course no parent actually calls it a demotion.  We tell them how lucky they are to be the older siblings, the big brother or sister, our big helper.  But I’m sure in their little hearts it has got to sting a little.

I was the baby in the family.  I never had my parents full attention.

I was born in to the notion of sharing it whether I liked it or not.  And even though it was all I knew, it was still hard for me as a child.  My parents said I always wanted their attention.  Apparently I did this thing where I grabbed my mother’s face and made her look me in the eye when I wanted to talk to her.

I’d say, “Listen to me Mama.”

I felt like she was distracted by everything.  And she probably was.  She was caring for the two other tiny humans, the two brothers that came before me.  I can only imagine it must have been a bit traumatic for each of my brothers when a new sibling entered their world and they received a bit of a demotion.

Of course no parent actually calls it a demotion.  We tell them how lucky they are to be the older siblings, the big brother or sister, our big helper.  But I’m sure in their little hearts it has got to sting a little.

Our second daughter is due any day now.  Our first daughter isn’t even 23 months yet, and it’s like she can sense that her world is about to change.  She has gotten more emotional, and has become a mama’s girl in the last few weeks.  And while I think our first born is going to make a fantastic big sister, I’m sure it’s going to be confusing that she has to share her mommy and daddy for the first time.

Just like she will be adjusting to life with a sibling, I’ll be adjusting to being a mother of two.  I am trying to soak up these last nights of rocking her to sleep as my only child, my first baby, the one that taught me everything about being a Mom.

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To My First Born

Life is about to change, and it’s like you can sense it.

We lovingly refer to you as THE BEST.

But in just days you’ll be our OTHER BEST.

It’s going to be hard.  It’s going to be different.

You were happy just as things were.

“Why would Mom and Dad try to replace me?”

Of course, we never were.

But some of the things we did for you last week, you’ll now be asked to do on your own.

And some of your hugs and kisses, will be reserved for a baby not yet grown.

So before life gets crazy, I’m soaking in these last nights rocking you to sleep as my only.

You’re the one who taught me everything about being a Mom.

And that will always be our special bond.

***Love you Baby Girl.  You’re THE BEST.

Open Letter from an Honest Parent; I’m Losing My Marbles

When will they sleep?  When will they grow out of this stage?  Where did they learn that?  When will they grow up?  Where did that attitude come from?

I am a parent.  I get tired.  I get frustrated.  I complain.  Daily.  The hours can feel so long.

I mean, I write children’s books about how crazy my child makes me and blog on a website called MyMomistheWorst.com, all of which I wholeheartedly stand behind.

I wanted to create a place for parents to say “I’m struggling every day.  Anyone with me?”  But I also want to remember –

I am a parent.  I love my child.  She cracks me up.  She brings me joy every day.

My husband and I attended a parenting conference this weekend.  He absolutely loves when I sign him up for this kind of thing.

But I know we both gained some valuable insight.  One of the analogies that has stuck with me this week is the idea of bringing home a jar full of marbles (936 to be exact) with your newborn.

jar of marbles

Every week, sometimes it feels like every hour, we run in to parenting situations that make us feel like we are literally losing our marbles.

When will they sleep?  When will they grow out of this stage?  Where did they learn that?  When will they grow up?  Where did that attitude come from?

But we are literally losing our marbles.  Each marble represents a week that we get with our child before they leave home at eighteen (give or take a few marbles).  With each week we lose one more opportunity to influence, to love, and to mold our children.

The analogy reminds me that the time with my child is not infinite.  Though, the hours can certainly feel that way.   It is human and honest to admit my child is driving me crazy.   I just don’t want to let myself forget to value the chaos and memories we have together now.

Like a wise children’s book once said…

“Everyday you make me crazy.  I love you to pieces. Beautiful Monster.”