Category Archives: advice

The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Must-Do List For 2017

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Stay-at-home motherhood is relentless. It’s always moving. It’s never still. But it’s also static, unchanging, and monotonous. It’s “Groundhog Day” with occasional location changes.

I’m grateful for every minute I’ve spent with my kids over the last decade, but I’m wistful for the version of me that performed on stage, planned press conferences, helped launch a non-profit organization, and lobbied for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

I’m a person who likes to take risks, surprise people, and get s**t done, but I’m also the default parent who runs the dishwasher twice a day but never seems to empty the sink of dishes.

I take great pride in the little people I’m raising to be happy, healthy, and caring adults, but I sometimes feel the weight of an elephant on my chest. I love where I am, except when I don’t. In other words, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, but I sometimes want to run away…just so long as I’m back in time for the afternoon school pick-up.

If there’s a stay-at-home mom equivalent to a midlife crisis or the seven-year itch of marriage, I’m waist deep in it. It’s not necessarily a bad place. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m on the cusp of doing something great. I’m bursting at the seams to take risks, surprise people, and get s**t done again, which has resulted in me doing some unexpected, inspiring, and empowering things.

If you identify as a stay-at-home mom, default parent, or any person feeling stuck in the daily grind of parenthood (or life), I highly recommend you tackle these must dos in 2017. They’re not resolutions. They’re simple and bold actions that will remind you of your value, power, freedom, and potential.

Update your resume. I know you think there’s a huge gap since you last held a “real” job. You’re wrong. Did you plan a successful silent auction or bingo night at your kid’s school? Did you create a meme about poop that was shared on social media a quarter of a million times? Did you learn how to code to connect with your kid? Are you a leader for your daughter’s Girl Scouts troop or a coach for your kid’s Lego League or soccer team? Did you collect a billion Box Tops for Education? Your resume is ripe with relevant skills and qualifications, professional development, and community involvement, and discovering that the rift isn’t as wide as you imagined is an instant confidence and happiness booster.

Declare bankruptcy. The electronic kind. You know that nagging sensation you sometimes often always feel that something is preventing you from achieving your dreams? It’s your inbox. Get rid of it. Sort through as many recent emails as you can. Deal with or save what’s important and then screw the rest of the seven (or seventy) thousand of them. Choose “select all” and “delete” and I promise you’ll feel like anything is possible.

Time travel. I sucked at making baby books and I’m a firm believer that less is more, but I did save a few babyhood relics, namely my favorite board books. They have bite marks in the corners and some of the pages are warped from milk stains, but they’re intact.  Recently, I read I Love You, Stinky Face to my seven- and 10-year old boys. They thought I was bonkers, but a sweet look of peace and relaxation emerged on their faces after a few pages and I knew their hearts recognized the words and the sound of my voice as I read, “Mama, what if I were a big scary ape? Would you still love me then?” They remembered – we remembered – and I was reassured that this journey is worth the anguish, chaos, and sleep deprivation. Read your favorite baby books to your big kids. You’ll be glad you did.

Pick A Hill To Die On. It’s hard to feel a sense of accomplishment when every load of laundry I fold and clogged toilet I clear is followed immediately by another one. Whoever said a messy house is a happy house didn’t have kids. There isn’t a single surface in my house that isn’t marred by my children. Until now. The coffee table may have succumbed to Lego/Stickbot Village and the dining room table will be swathed in Christmas clutter until, well, probably next Christmas, but the kitchen table is all mine. No one leaves the house or goes to sleep unless my kitchen table is cleared and wiped down. It’s glorious to wake up to her clean, smooth surface every morning, and, yes, it’s the battle I’ve chosen and the hill on which I will proudly die. Pick your hill and don’t look back.

The force is strong in you, Mamas. Take on 2017 like The Boss you are. Happy New Year!

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Filed under advice, motherhood, New Year's resolutions, New Years, Stay-at-Home Mama, Uncategorized

Dear Little Boy in the School Cafeteria

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Dear little boy in the school cafeteria,

I saw you sitting alone today. I don’t know if you wanted it that way. Maybe you did, but it kind of felt like you didn’t. You also weren’t eating your lunch. You didn’t take a single item of food out of your enormous lunch box, which is what prompted me to walk over and ask if you needed some help.

You said, “I’m not feeling very hungry today,” and then you grew quiet. It didn’t seem like you wanted to talk, especially to some random mom wearing a volunteer sticker. I told you to let me know if you needed anything and then I went back to walking around and monitoring the room, but I couldn’t stop thinking about you and why you weren’t eating your lunch.

Maybe you had a hearty and filling breakfast. Or, maybe you didn’t like what was in your lunch box. Or, maybe you take medicine that helps you stay focused and remember things better at school, but it takes away your appetite until dinnertime. Or, maybe you were nervous. It’s hard to be different. It’s hard to fit in. It’s hard to make friends. When I’m nervous, I don’t eat much either.

When my younger son came home after the first day of school, he said the worst part of his day was lunch. It’s a new school and he had never been in a big cafeteria before. He said it was busy and noisy. He said the table where his classmates sat was full and that no one would let him squeeze in. He said he didn’t know what to do, so he sat at a table all by himself. He didn’t eat much of his lunch that day.

I gave him some advice. I told him to pick one kid he wanted to sit with at lunch and stick to him like glue all the way from the classroom to the cafeteria. I told him it was okay to ask someone to move over if there wasn’t a lot of room left at a table. I told my shy, anxious boy to be bold and not take no for an answer. I promised him it would get better.

When I saw you sitting alone today, I realized the advice I gave my son was well-intentioned but missed the point entirely. What I should’ve told him was, “If you don’t know where to sit, sit with someone who is sitting alone.” Tonight at bedtime, I’m going to do just that.

Anyhow, it was nice to meet you today. I hope you’re hungrier tomorrow, and I hope the next time I volunteer in the cafeteria, you’re sitting with some new friends.

Sincerely,

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Filed under advice, aha moment, school

How NOT to Throw a Birthday Party in 21 Simple Steps

Hey there, Mamas!

I’m on Scary Mommy today with some tried and true (i.e. useless) and foolproof (i.e. idiotic) tips on how to celebrate a birthday but NOT throw a birthday party.

I’ll let you guess how the story ends.

Thanks for reading, sharing, commenting and all that good social media stuff.

Here’s the link:

–> http://www.scarymommy.com/not-throw-birthday-party/ <–

Happy reading!

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Filed under advice, birthday, list