Category Archives: mess

7 School Supply Shopping Tips For Messy Kids

I know what you’re thinking. All kids are messy. Indeed, they are. I’m talking about kids who swim in the deep end of messy—kids who, despite their best efforts, are disorganized, sloppy, forgetful, oblivious of systems, and generally unaware of and uninterested in the condition of their stuff. I’m the parent of such a child, and I can tell you from experience, school is a stumbling block.

Whether your kid has an underlying learning or attention issue (mine does!) or he comes by his penchant for chaos honestly, an especially messy kid will struggle without the proper equipment. Here are seven school supply shopping tips to give your messy kid a tidy start to the school year.

1. Don’t be swayed by the 3 for $1 notebook sale. Those notebooks have flimsy paper covers that bend and rip easily. Buy notebooks with a plastic cover. They’ll cost more, but they’ll last. The same goes for folders and divider tabs. Make sure they’re plastic or laminated.

2. If your child is old enough to require a binder, buy reinforced filler paper. It has a strong, clear tape along the left edge to support the holes and resist tearing.

3. Speaking of binders, size up. It’s amazing how much stuff kids can cram inside a binder, and if you have a child who rarely never sorts through papers, a 1-inch binder will burst at the seams quickly. Go for the 1 ½- or 2-inch size.

4. There’s no correlation between using college ruled paper and future success. If your kid has messy handwriting and would benefit from having more space between lines, buy wide ruled paper and notebooks.

5. If your kid makes careless mistakes in math due to messy handwriting, buy ½-inch ruled graph paper. Lining up numbers on graph paper lessens the chance of errors due to disarray.

6. Get a zipper pocket or pouch that can be inserted in a binder or placed in a backpack. This is a clean, safe place for index cards, flash cards, and other small but important papers that would otherwise end up crumpled or lost.

7. Purchase or give your kid access to an e-reader so you can download ebooks when he conveniently forgets to bring his reading assignments home from school. Plus, you can adjust the font size and style and enable audio features, which is helpful for kids with reading challenges.

These shopping tips aren’t going to magically transform your kid from messy to neat overnight, but they’ll give your kid a clean, organized start to the new school year.

What school supply shopping tips for messy kids would you add to this list?

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Filed under mess, school

That Nugget

I started this blog over four years ago thinking it would be a great opportunity to share personal experiences, insight, and advice, keep track of aha moments and priceless things my kids say, and, of course, confess my worst parenting fails and lessons learned along the way.

I’m a pretty humble gal, so this is hard for me to admit, but I kind of sort of hoped at some point I would pass along a nugget of wisdom of such remarkable pure genius that I would singlehandedly rock the blogosphere and end up on the “Today” show couch opposite my longtime crush, Willie Geist.

You guys. Today (no pun intended), I hit the motherlode. This is it. This is that nugget.

You know that corner of your kitchen where you keep piles of recipes that you rip from magazines but never cook, stacks of field trip permission slips, event reminders, Scholastic book flyers, and fundraising catalogs from school, bags of chips, popcorn, and cookies that belong in the pantry but are needed so frequently that it’s easier to just leave them out, past-ripe bananas with which you plan hope (in your dreams) to make banana bread, Hanukkah gelt that you keep forgetting to throw out, the contents of a birthday party goodie bag filled with crap that you pray your kids will eventually overlook, a pile of chewed-up Legos that you found in the backyard because the dog’s new hobby is pilfering the kids’ toys, the shampoo and conditioner you bought two weeks go that you intend to bring to your bedroom the next time you bring a load of folded laundry to your bedroom (ha!), and the fourteen or so plastic cups filled with various levels of water that that your amazingly independent kids pour for themselves every ten to fifteen minutes throughout the day?

You know the corner I’m talking about, right?

You’re not going to believe what lies underneath that mountain of shit, I mean, stuff. It’s utterly spectacular. It’s space. Counter space.

S.P.A.C.E.

There is actual, real-life space in my kitchen to do stuff like cook. Or think. Or just stare at and feel calm, free, and open to receive the positivity the universe has to offer, because those who preach that nonsense that a messy house is a happy house most definitely don’t have children living among them.

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I can see the horizon from here, my friends, and it’s fucking glorious.

You can do this at your house, too. I believe in you.

Happy Sunday night,

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Filed under advice, aha moment, mess, motherhood

The Fall (Or Getting Back Up) – My Messy, Beautiful

Editor’s note: Almost eight years ago, I had a molar pregnancy. I don’t often write about it, but it’s not because I don’t want to. It’s because it’s hard. I mean, really hard. But here I go anyway, because I can do hard things.

I never thought of my body as a vessel put here on this Earth to procreate until my body proved incapable of the task. It was only then that I wondered about the hows and the whys of life and considered the consequences of having a body that didn’t do what it was meant to. It was only then that I shuddered from the sting of failure. Any previous feelings of disappointment were mere ripples compared to the wave that took me under when I couldn’t make a baby.

I’m not a religious person, but I believe in an energy that runs through the universe. It’s what drew me to dance. Very occasionally, moving through time and space allowed me to tap into that force and feel something larger than myself.   Those precious moments of light and connection gave dance significance in my life that went far beyond livelihood (not that I ever earned a penny doing it).

I’m fortunate to have felt light and connection in my life, but they’re not answers to the hows. They’re not explanations for the whys. When my first pregnancy turned out to be a molar pregnancy, which turned into choriocarcinoma (i.e. I wanted a baby but got cancer in my uterus instead), the ground crumbled beneath me. With nothing to grasp on to, I quite simply fell.

It was a bad math equation. A chemistry experiment gone horribly wrong.   A bunch of cells that didn’t do their job. None of it was my fault, and I know that now, but I struggled for a long time to figure it out.

Did having a molar pregnancy make me stronger? Maybe. Did it make me more determined? Perhaps. Did it help me not sweat the small stuff? Hardly.

For better or for worse, it taught me that sometimes falling feels good. That time doesn’t heal all wounds. That loss is lonely but must be felt alone. That in order to be privy to life’s most supreme miracles, we must surrender to our vulnerability.

More than anything, it taught me what I don’t believe.  I don’t believe it was fate.  I don’t believe it happened for a reason.  I don’t believe it was God’s plan, and I don’t believe it made my future children possible.

It might’ve been helpful to have faith in something during that dark time instead of a list of all the things I don’t believe. If I’m being completely honest, what eventually lifted me up wasn’t some grand aha-moment that motherhood didn’t define me; rather, it was the messy, beautiful realization that it did.

Beautiful because making and carrying a baby inside my body was the embodiment of connection and holding that miraculous human life in my arms was the epitome of light. Messy because had I not ultimately fulfilled my longing to have a baby, I don’t think I ever would’ve been whole.

There is a sense of gratitude that comes from enduring tragedy. It’s the appreciation not for the thrill of the fall, but for the more authentic version of you that emerges in the daunting process of getting back up.

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This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

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Filed under aha moment, dance, giving birth, gratitude, mess, molar pregnancy