25 October 2016

When Your Kids Drive You Crazy: 7 Funny Ways to Plot Payback For the Older Years

Over the last 20 years in my career, I’ve had some pretty crazy jobs. I’ve been an event planner and worked in marketing for a Chamber of Commerce, the Girl Scouts, a law firm, a board of realtors and currently, I’m working in the health field. Along with this diversity in jobs comes diverse people: the know-it-alls, the goody-goody, the trouble maker, the crazy one. The list could go on forever. Trust me when I say that I’ve dealt with some pretty shitty jobs, circumstances and people. I’ve seen a few things along the way that would make your head spin. Having said all of this, none of it even comes close to my most challenging position to date…


Being a mother.


Being a mother is a never-ending, thankless job and yes, while I get paid in snuggles, hugs and kisses, it can totally boil itself down some days to being that employee who works their tail off for the team with zero thanks whatsoever from the boss (I’m looking at you, Maddy). Between the tantrums, lack of sleep, attitudes and drama, you have to really work some days to find the humor in it all and just like any good employee, you keep a running list of all the ways you plan to payback your boss if you ever get the chance.


To that end, and to keep me sane, I’ve been thinking of lots of little ways I plan to payback my daughter when she’s older for all the crazy, embarrassing, and little asinine things she does to drive me crazy on the daily. Revenge is indeed sweet, my friends.





KID MOVE: Wakes up at 2:00 AM to tell you that one of her Paw Patrol toys is broke.
PARENT PAYBACK: Waking her up at 2:00 AM when she’s a teenager just to tell her that my sock fell off.


KID MOVE: Throwing a huge, embarrassing tantrum in public.
PARENT MOVE: Dancing in the isles of the grocery store when your jam comes on.


KID MOVE: Leaving all the lights on in the house.
PARENT MOVE: Going over to see her first apartment and leaving every single light on in every room you go into.


KID MOVE: Dumps her toys all over the house after I finish cleaning.
PARENT MOVE: Find a huge Rubbermaid container, fill it to the top with Legos, take it to her home, and dump them all over the floor and leave.


KID MOVE: Asks a million questions.
PARENT MOVE: Ask her a million questions: “When will you be home? Who will be there? Will her parents be home? What’s your friend’s phone number? What time does it start? What time does it end? What are the passwords to all your social media accounts?


KID MOVE: Asks random strangers embarrassing questions like, “Why aren’t your boobs as big as my mommy’s?”
PARENT MOVE: Ask her friends if they need to poop when they come to the house to visit.


KID MOVE: Simply being a child.
PARENT MOVE: Become a grandparent. The ultimate revenge. When my mother hands Maddy back to me after giving her a chocolate milkshake for dinner, don’t think for a moment that I don’t see the twinkle in her eye.



On the days when it feels like the kids are winning, it helps to imagine all the ways we can get back at them one little embarrassing moment at a time. What are some things your kids do that you can’t wait to give them a little fun payback on when they’re older? 

24 October 2016

When Your Only Child Wants a Sibling

The truth is, I expected the questions and curiosity… I just wasn’t expecting them so soon at the ripe old age of five. Sure, we’ve talked many times about how babies grow in a mommy’s belly, the diversity of families and how some people have kids while others don’t but lately, the questions and demands for a sibling have become more frequent and as a result, have often left me questioning my own choice to be one and done with regards to parenting.


At first the statements and requests of having a brother or sister happened occasionally and usually without warning. “Maddy, can you please pass me the ketchup?” I’d say over dinner to which she would casually reply, “Okay. Hey mommy. Why don’t I have a brother or sister? Can I get one?” she asks, as if it’s that easy, like we’re doing our normal Target run on a Saturday and oh hey! While you’re getting that twelve pack of TP, don’t forget to swing down isle seven for a sister!


The truth is, I expected the questions and curiosity… I just wasn’t expecting them so soon at the ripe old age of five. Sure, we’ve talked many times about how babies grow in a mommy’s belly, the diversity of families and how some people have kids while others don’t but lately, the questions and demands for a sibling have become more frequent and as a result, have often left me questioning my own choice to be one and done with regards to parenting.





When you become a parent, your main objective immediately becomes: give your child the best life possible; schooling, personal care and development, guidance, healthcare – everything. In every choice you make that involves your family, your thoughts and considerations always turn to the child first – “Will this choice be a good one for my child? How will it affect him/her?” I can only speak for myself but I’ve always tried to consider Maddy’s feelings, wants and wishes when it comes to a few of my choices. It’s not always easy and rarely is it ever cut and dry. Most of the time, there is a huge grey area in parenting, especially with choices that not only affect the child, but yourself as well. Yes, you want to consider your child’s feelings but at what cost? I’ve always been a firm believer that just because parents want to give their child the best life possible, that doesn’t mean that said parents have to completely forfeit theirs.  At what point do your own wants outweigh your child’s? Here’s another way to look at it…


When flying, have you ever noticed during the flight instructions that the flight attendant tells you in situations where oxygen masks are released, to give yourself oxygen first before trying to help others? I’ll admit, the first few times I heard that I thought, “How selfish!” It’s only been since I’ve become a parent that I’ve come to really understand this philosophy, which is simply, you have to be okay first before you can even think about helping or making decisions for others. Your own foundation has to be solid in order for you to know how to move forward. Sometimes in parenting, it’s a dire necessity to be selfish. Sometimes in the messy and chaotic thick of the everyday, it’s imperative to your own well-being that you think of what’s best for yourself first, then consider others and what their needs might be. This is why Maddy will always be an only child. I know what my limitations are. I know that in order for me to breathe and to be the best parent possible, I can only be a parent to one.




Do I ever feel guilty about my choice? Sure. It’s hard not to when the child you love more than anything and want to make happy comes to you and asks for a brother or a sister and you have to be the bearer of bad news. It’s hard to try and explain such grown up things to a five year old, but I try. I’m honest with Maddy and I share my true feelings and I think she understands. Most times, I get the feeling that what she hears is Charlie Brown’s teacher saying, “Wok, wok, wok, wok, wok.” Time will tell. In the end, I hope she comes to know that our choice for her to be an only child never came from a selfish place. Quite the opposite, really. I hope she understands that our choice to be one and done came from a place of love and concern. A place that in order for us to be the best parents possible, she was enough.


So in the end, I’ve decided to do what every normal, only child parent does. Compromise. I will get her a dog instead.  

21 October 2016

INSTA - FRIDAY



Hands in the air if you’re happy to see Friday! The last couple of weeks have been so busy that it has left me little to no time to blog and honestly, I’ve been okay with that. I needed a break. Between work, life and dealing with some kiddo growing pains, my tank has been sitting far past empty at the end of most days.  


Having said that, we’ve been enjoying a great fall as well so today, I thought it would be fun to hit you guys with a little picture overload of our fall adventures and shenanigans.












On tap for the weekend: We are headed out to a pumpkin farm (eeeeeek!), lots of relaxation and baking. Enjoy your weekend friends, and I’ll see you next week!



19 October 2016

How To Offend A Working Mom: Five Comments That Have No Place in the Year 2016

Yesterday, I was talking with a co-worker of mine about how I love working and having a career and how I feel I’ve grown so much as a person, a mom and a mate by having the opportunity to work outside the home while being fortunate enough to have Maddy in a school that I trust to leave my child with every day. I thought the conversation was going well; two professional women and mothers talking about why they love to work when out of nowhere, my co-worker says to me, “Well, I think it’s great you feel so comfortable working but when my kids were young, I would have never dreamed of working outside the home while having someone else raise them.”


I’m sure you all know how well that comment went over with me.


It took every ounce of willpower I had to keep my composure and not let my ghetto side ugly show. While I understand that this woman raised children in a completely different era than me with different expectations and societal “norms,” I was still so completely offended for women, especially working moms, in general. Haven’t women worked harder to deserve more than this? In the year 2016, have we not yet truly learned that in order to have a society of strong, independent, confident women we should all be uplifting and supporting one another in our decisions, hopes and dreams? I was completely and utterly befuddled and sad all at the same time. 


Let me be clear: I don’t think anyone sets out to be rude or judgmental, but I’m often surprised at what well-meaning and generally thoughtful people say to mothers who are not staying home full-time with their children. It’s not in every case but more than I would like, there is a subtle hostility or judgment that comes from statements, like my co-worker, that makes me wish more people would be conscientious enough to think before they speak. 


As her comment marinated in my mind for the rest of the day, I couldn’t help but to think of all the other comments and questions regarding my choice to be a working mom that gets thrown onto me more than I like. So here they are – the comments. And before anyone gets their feathers ruffled allow me to be crystal clear: I 110% support SAHM’s. They work hard all day, every day and truly believe that bottom line, all moms are working moms. The choice SAHM’s make to be with their children daily is both amazing and selfless so please, stop giving me the stink eye, okay? This is simply my point of view as a working mom outside the home.


I’m often surprised at what well-meaning and generally thoughtful people say to working mothers who are not staying home full-time with their children. It’s not in every case but more than I would like, there is a subtle hostility or judgment that comes from statements, like my co-worker, that makes me wish more people would be conscientious enough to think before they speak.



ONE. “Can’t you afford to stay home with your child?” 

Let’s assume for a minute that I can’t. Let’s say that in order for my child to have the education her father and I want her to have, I work so that she can go to school or have braces or for any other need our family might have. Where exactly does this conversation go now? Awkward, right? Furthermore, I’m then tempted to put you on the spot and ask how much money your husband makes so that you’re able to stay home. Let’s just both agree to not go there, okay?

Having said this, sometimes it’s not all about the money. Sometimes, mothers such as me, work because we actually want to work. We enjoy it. I value my education and the years I’ve put into my career. I also think it’s healthy and beneficial for our daughter to see me working so that she knows there is more to life than being a wife and a mom. Bigger than this, I also know that one day, my child will grow up and leave us. I want to keep a footing in the professional world so that there isn’t a big gaping hole on my resume making it harder for me to find a job. So you see, there are many reasons I choose to work but honestly, it really shouldn’t matter because the question devalues my choices. Simply put, please don’t do that.


TWO. “I could never have someone else raising my child.”

What I really want to say to you: “am raising my child you stupid, ignorant %*&@#!!!

What I’ll actually say to you: Refer back to #1. Loving and raising a child is not incompatible with having support to do that. Yes, my child may be with other people during the day but make no mistake about it – her father and I are deep in the trenches raising her. If the old saying goes, “It takes a village” than let’s all encompass every aspect of what this saying means and stop being just a little less judgmental, thank you very much.





THREE. “There’s plenty of time to work later. These early years are so precious.”

 The last time I checked, all the years are precious so your point is…?



FOUR. “It must be amazing to get away from your kid every day.”

What I really want to say to you: “It is! You know, it’s just like a mini-vacation and can you believe they also pay me??!!”


What I’ll actually say to you: How about we all just STOP polarizing the conversation and the debate about who has it worse. There are pros and cons to each choice. Instead, how about we join forces by saying, “I know you’re at home all day with the kids and I really need a break from work. Want to do a spa day together?”





FIVE. “Don’t you have family nearby that can watch your kid when she’s sick?” (A pretty standard and famous questions by co-workers)

What I really want to say to you: “My child is my responsibility, especially when she is sick. She wants and needs her mother and I will not deny her that need.”


What I’ll actually say to you: Regardless If I have family or not nearby to help me, I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for taking care of my child, period.



If you’re a working mom, what challenging conversations or statements have you had to deal with from others? 

13 October 2016

Dear Donald Trump: Thank You For Your Comments On Women

Thank you, Donald, for your words which snapped my head back into the reality of the world in which we live. Thank you for your sobering and harsh comments about women that remind me of how far we’ve come have come and sadly, how much further we have to go. Thank you for reminding me that among us still remains an antiquated and bigoted species of men who genuinely feel that women are only good for sexual pleasure and fodder, making your dinner and raising your children. Thank you for showing us rape culture in action so that all moms everywhere know what it really looks like and how to combat it in their own homes for both girls and boys. Thank you Donald, for reminding all of us that sexual crimes are only a sliver about the act of sex but more-so to do with men like you who feel so small that they need to abuse women in order to feel big.


Dear Donald,


Can I call you that? Donald? Considering some of the names you’ve called women over the years, simply calling you by your first name should be no big deal, right? By now, the world has had the privilege of hearing your conversation with Billy Bush back in 2005 where you proudly talked about how easy it is to fondle and grope women simply for being a rich and famous guy. Out of the many things this tape reveals, it certainly drives home the fact that money will never buy class, standards or morals. But talking about your status isn’t why I’m writing this today so let’s move on, shall we?


Your words, your bravado, your arrogance, is nothing new. You’ve been treating women like sexual objects and anything but human-beings since your youth. You have a well-documented history of accusations of sexual assault and have publically called women and young girls fatties, pigs and dogs. You’ve been in and out of more relationships and marriages than one can count, leaving all of your exes with nothing nice to say about the guy you are, and you have even talked about your own daughter as a sexual conquest, so to hear the words you spoke so proudly in 2005 did not come as a complete shock to me or anyone else for that matter. It’s ironic, really. With all the material from your past to pull from, it’s this audio recording that will be the nail in your coffin. So before your certain political and professional demise unfolds, I want to take this opportunity to express how thankful I am to you for those words you spoke.


Yes, thankful. You see, up to this point, I’d become complacent to the struggles women face on a daily basis, especially with regards to rape culture, sexual abuse and misogyny. Sure, I’ve always been aware and know it exists. I see articles as I casually scroll through my Facebook timeline or news website while leisurely sipping my morning coffee but I had become immune to the gravity and brevity of it all. It’s kind of like sun: You know that it’s constantly there and you’re aware of the potential it has to harm you but because you’re wearing your sunscreen, you become complacent to the potential for harm, but forget your sunscreen a time or two and you’re bound to get burned. Regretfully, this is how my attitude had become about men like you – complacent and comfortable. In our society today, men like you have become all too common resulting in women like me becoming numb to your ignorance. You see, when you’ve never been on the receiving end of such behavior, it’s easy to think, “This doesn’t affect me. No need to worry” and this is where I’ve been horribly, horribly wrong.


You see Donald, I’m a mother of a little girl. Today she is five but as you very well know being a dad yourself, she will grow up to be a woman and in being a woman, will have to deal with a whole different world than you could ever imagine. She will be denied jobs because of her gender. She will be dictated to on a daily basis as to how her body should look, how much she should weigh and how a lady should act. If she decides to have a family, she will always be pit against whether to stay home with her children or be a working mom and in the end, someone will tell her it’s the wrong choice regardless of which one she chooses because that’s what we do to the women in our society. She will have to fight to be taken seriously if she’s a female athlete because apparently, only men can play sports well and succeed and above all of this, she will have to deal with men because, well, you just can’t ignore half the world’s population. And this is where I’ve failed my daughter in raising her up to this point.


Thank you, Donald, for your words which snapped my head back into the reality of the world in which we live. Thank you for your sobering and harsh comments about women that remind me of how far we’ve come have come and sadly, how much further we have to go. Thank you for reminding me that among us still remains an antiquated and bigoted species of men who genuinely feel that women are only good for sexual pleasure and fodder, making your dinner and raising your children. Thank you for showing us rape culture in action so that all moms everywhere know what it really looks like and how to combat it in their own homes for both girls and boys. Thank you Donald, for reminding all of us that sexual crimes are only a sliver about the act of sex but more-so to do with men like you who feel so small that they need to abuse women in order to feel big.


Thank you for reminding me that as a mother of a girl, it’s my job to make sure that my daughter knows her worth in this life because sadly, she will always encounter men like you.


Sincerely,
A mom who just grabbed you by the ballot

12 October 2016

Mommy Confessions




I absolutely cannot stand when people blow their nose at the dinner table. Case in point: A few weeks ago, I went out for lunch and the woman sitting behind me blew her nose and then proceeded to exclaim to her husband, "Oh, look honey! That's the big one I've been trying to push out for a while now!!" Need I say more?


Being a working mom lately has been a challenge and honestly, one I’m not handling well at all. Due to a hiccup with Maddy’s afterschool care, I spend half my day in the office, leave the office around 2:30 to pick her up from school and then spend the remaining two hours of my work day working from home. I’d like to say that it’s the best of both worlds, being able to be home with Maddy while still being able to work, but it’s just not for me and it’s literally driving me crazy. It’s very hard for me to get into the office to start my day to only have to put the brakes on my momentum halfway through and then attempt to get motivated again when I get home. I just don’t do well with my days being so disjointed; I need routine and order and right now, it’s all disorder. Hopefully a resolution is in sight soon!


While out clothes shopping with Maddy, if she picks out an item of clothing I don’t like, I tell her the store doesn’t have it in her size. Don’t judge. The way I see it, my days are numbered on being able to dress my girl in all the things I love before she starts to figure out that I’m full of crap and to be honest, I can’t stomach spending another penny on one more Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig or My Little Pony shirt, outfit or hoodie. I know all this will change as she gets older and at that point, I’ll be happy to let her have her choices but for now? NO.


I still own one pair of maternity jeans and wear them on a regular basis. They are so comfortable and so soft. I haven't been pregnant in over five years. 


I usually forget to brush Maddy’s teeth at least twice a week. I don't really know why this happens which in and of itself is worse. Is my memory really that bad??!! Parent of the year right here, folks.


Once, about five months after giving birth, a woman asked me if I had any intention of losing my baby weight. I asked her if she shaved, waxed, or went au-natural "down there." What's that? You don't like personal questions from strangers? Neither do I. 


I seriously contemplate joining the gym for no other reason than having access to the free day care. Work out? Maybe. Spend most of my time in the gym café enjoying a smoothie while reading a book or magazine? Absolutely. Priorities, people.


I’m already listening to Christmas music. Actually, I listen to it on and off year-round and feel no shame.


I love going to the salon to get my hair done but I hate having to make small talk with my stylist. I talk all day at work. I talk on the phone for work. My five year old talks, talks, talks. All I really want while I’m there is silence and a great blowout.


With every fiber of my being, I hate when I ask a mom how old her kid is and I get some bullshit answer like, "52 weeks." 

#girlbye

You are aware that's a year, right? Why don't you just say, "He's a year old" ??!! I don't do math. Here's a confession within a confession: My father had to literally beg my geometry teacher in high school to pass me because I was that bad at math. True story. Ask Jim Patterson, he'll tell you - I suck at math. So please don't make me have to do the math to get an answer to a very simple question. Why can't parents just say "Oh, he just turned 2 months" or something like that? Please parents, let's unite and put an end to this silly talk. Deal?



How about you? What things would you confess? 

06 October 2016

Fall Comfort: Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

One of my favorite soups to make during the cooler months is my crock pot broccoli cheese soup. This soup is so delectable and so easy to make. How easy you ask? How about only 4 ingredients, 15 minute prep time, cooks for 5 hours on its own easy. You can't get much better than that! Plus, I think this recipe is pretty versatile; if you want to switch it up, you can. I know people who've added things like bacon bits, veggies, ham, etc. to this soup and it is delicious!




During the fall and winter months, there’s nothing better than enjoying a hot bowl of soup. Actually, I take that back. There is something better…


When the crock pot does all the work for you.


One of my favorite soups to make during the cooler months is my crock pot broccoli cheese soup. This soup is so delectable and so easy to make. How easy you ask? How about only 4 ingredients, 15 minute prep time, cooks for 5 hours on its own easy. You can't get much better than that! Plus, I think this recipe is pretty versatile; if you want to switch it up, you can. I know people who've added things like bacon bits, veggies, ham, etc. to this soup and it is delicious! 


Here's What You'll Need:
2, 10oz. Cans Campbell's Cheese Soup*
4 cans of Cream of Celery soup*
1 quart of half and half*
2, 10oz. bags of frozen broccoli

*If you want a healthier alternative, you can always substitute the lower-fat, lower sodium soups and low-fat half and half in this recipe - still delicious! AND...If you're looking for a smaller amount, you can also cut this recipe in half!


Budget:
$15 - feeds a family of 3 for ~3 days. 


How You’ll Make It:

Start by placing your broccoli in a covered microwave safe dish and cook on high for about 4 minutes, according to the bag's instructions. This should be just enough time for your broccoli to thaw out so you can chop it.


Once cooked, place your broccoli in a food processor and use the chop setting to cut up the broccoli into small pieces. 


Once completed, place the broccoli and all the remaining ingredients in your crock pot and stir until it is all mixed.


Cook on low setting for 5 hours, stirring occasionally.  That's. It.


The only thing left to do is plate and eat and trust me - you will. A lot.





Optional
Around the 4th hour, I like to put in about 3 large fist-fulls of grated mild cheddar cheese. It adds a depth and flavor that is amazing. You can also use it as garnish as well if you feel like you need more cheese. More cheese is never bad.


I have also experimented by adding some garlic powder, black pepper, and just a tiny hint of cayenne pepper and it's also very delicious. If you want it, the cayenne pepper gives it a slight kick. 




My favorite thing to do is pair this soup up with a grilled cheese or a crusty baguette for dipping. It’s pure joy. What are some of your favorite soups to make in fall and winter? 

04 October 2016

Finding Time to Blog as a Working Mom: The Real Truth No One Talks About

For me, this blog is a hobby. My life as a mom, partner, and employee isn’t. Those things must, and will always come first, so really it’s all in your mind-set. The truth is that we will always make time for the things we really want to do regardless. Just remember what your priorities are.



As a full-time working mom, I often get asked, “How do you juggle it all?” This question often makes me cringe and makes me feel as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs because honestly, I don’t juggle it all. Not even close, and most people don’t want to hear that. They want you to tell them that you have the perfect secret formula to being a super mom when really, I’m just a hot freaking mess. Just this morning I was 10 minutes late for work, smeared lipstick across the side of my face and almost ran out of gas during my morning commute. To add insult to injury, yesterday, I busted a hole in my pants during a presentation in front of 20 people. It was glorious.


Zero time. Hot mess. Walking disaster. So when do I find time to blog? Well, let me back up for a second. I figured a few things out quickly when I started this blog:


//I would never get more hours in the day for simply deciding to take on another project.
//Blogging takes work. It’s not going to do it on its own.
//Albeit work, I want it to be enjoyable and fun.


Having said this, I think the main way I find time to blog is by remembering my priorities. I don’t blog at the expense of my child and my own well-being comes first meaning, if after I’ve put Maddy to bed and I’m exhausted, I’m not blogging. I love you guys but chances are I’m going to bed to relax and will not be up just so I can finish a blog post.


I also don’t put a lot of pressure on myself to constantly post every day. I know most bloggers will disagree with this tactic but it’s what works for me. I don’t feel the need to have to post something all the time just for the sake of posting so it really frees up my time to give me more wiggle room on being able to focus on more important things when I need to or to simply just set the blog aside for a bit. Remember the fun aspect I mentioned above? Not putting the extra stress and pressure on myself to constantly have something to say helps with keeping the fun in my dysfunctional. This space will always be here. There’s no need in rushing things.


I’m also notorious for having several blog post drafts going at once. I constantly have ideas floating around in this head of mine so I may log into my account and briefly get out those ideas and then leave it alone for a while. It also allows me time to think, research, or decide how much effort I really want to put into a particular topic or issue.


So when do I find time during the day to get it all done?




Lunch breaks at work. Quiet mornings like today before anyone gets up. Evenings after Chickie is asleep. Nap time on the weekends. I keep a running list of blog post ideas on my Wunderlist app and update it when a thought or idea pops up. I also keep a calendar with important dates noted for the days I definitely want to post or for reminders of link-ups but I still give myself leeway to not participate if I’m just not feeling it. I wish I could tell you that I have the magic formula for making it all happen but I don’t. The good news? No one else really does either. We all have full, busy lives and have to find our own unique ways of making it work. It’s a juggling act for everyone. Don’t let any other blogger tell you otherwise.


For me, this blog is a hobby. My life as a mom, partner, and employee isn’t. Those things must, and will always come first, so really it’s all in your mind-set. The truth is that we will always make time for the things we really want to do regardless. Just remember what your priorities are.


I’m curious to know other blogger's tactics, thoughts, and ideas. How do you make it all happen as a blogger and working mom?