Category Archives: shopaholism

I’ll Start My Diet Tomorrow

I woke up on New Year’s Day totally and completely ready for a diet.  A financial diet.  (Please, Mamas, let’s be kind to ourselves.  Let’s just pat ourselves on the back for enduring the emotional and physical ringer of motherhood – and a two-week long winter break! – and be okay with where we are and try to drink more water and less wine and more fruit and less Skinny Pop without making ourselves crazy.  Deal?  Cool.)

My diet is one month (or two or three or infinity) of no spending except for the bare necessities (gas, groceries, Kefir, wine, and Chinese food delivery).  One month of simplicity.  One month of living with less.  This has nothing to do with being a shopaholic (don’t believe a word she says…shopaholics are liars!), but the excessiveness of the holidays has certainly left me craving a cleanse.

I would’ve started my diet on January 1st, but we went to the zoo as a family (which was lovely, by the way), and after we bought tickets, pretzels, popcorn, and lunch (for us and the giraffes), we had to walk through the zoo gift store to get to the parking where we spent another $10 just because.

When we got home that night, we found the floor was wet under the carpet in the boys’ bedroom next to the wall where the air conditioning duct enters the house.  That discovery didn’t cost anything yet, but the a/c repairman would have a looky-loo on Saturday afternoon.  The evening turned ominous after that, so we poured a drink, ordered Chinese food delivery (see list of bare necessities in 2nd paragraph), and called it a day.

I would’ve started my diet on January 2nd, but we met friends at the ice skating rink where we bought tickets and rented skates and a walker for Riley because he’s a hot mess on the ice.


(That $5 was worth every freaking adorable penny.)

We also bought snacks from the snack bar because I screwed up the time and we arrived an hour before the skate rental window opened, a bottle of water because someone was sooooo dehydrated, a pretzel, a blueberry muffin, and $1.50 in quarters because another someone wanted to “win” crap from the crap machines scattered around the rink.

Then, when we got home, I booked two nights at a local Marriott Residence Inn for when the house is tented for termites in ten days (gulp).

I would’ve started my diet on January 3rd, but we met friends at the children’s museum where we paid for parking, admission tickets, and lunch.  We got lucky at the end and snuck out the entrance instead of being forced to exit through (and spend more money in) the gift shop.

I would’ve started my diet on January 4th, but we had a babysitter.  I mean, come on!  I’d been on winter break with my (adorable, intelligent, lovely, etc.) nut-bag kids for seventeen days.  SEVENTEEN days!  I deserved a night off for everyone’s sake, didn’t I?  And after the diagnosis from the a/c repairman, I really needed a drink.  I mean, really needed a drink.  For some reason, I also had an urge to watch “Money Pit” with Shelley Long and Tom Hanks, which not only would’ve validated the crap sandwich that is home ownership, but also would’ve made me feel ancient because Shelley Long and Tom Hanks were younger than me when they made that movie and that movie was released in 1986.  1986!  Do you see why the babysitter and the drink(s) were legitimate – lifesaving, I dare say – expenses?

I would’ve started my diet today, but you see, parenthood is the ultimate money pit.  One kid needs shin guards for soccer and the other kid needs a mouth guard for basketball and there’s a preschool tuition bill sitting on my desk to the left of my laptop and it’s almost time to put a deposit down for camp and I need to go back to the grocery store because I have to pack lunches for school and I need cheese sticks and yogurt tubes and bagels and cream cheese and apples and would you believe me if I told you there is not one juice box to be found in my house?  Not a single one.

The point of all of this is that I’ll start my diet tomorrow.



Filed under money, New Years, school, shopaholism, Uncategorized


The Runaway Mama has been intense lately.  Harry’s medical crisis put us on a nauseating ride we just couldn’t get off.  He finally came home last Friday night – after spending ten long nights in the hospital and having surgery to remove an insulinoma tumor from his pancreas – only to have to go straight back on Sunday.  Our poor little pup began showing signs of possible pancreatitis, a fairly common (and fairly terrifying) post-surgery complication, and a new – that’s right, a new – herniated disc in his back.

At this point, I’m pretty sure Harry could be the star dog of a reality show about the medical mysteries and inner workings of an emergency veterinary hospital.   Mark Burnett, are you reading this?

On Wednesday morning, we did “take two” of Harry’s homecoming.


So far so good this time around, which is why I’ve officially lifted the veil of darkness from the blog.  It’s time to lighten up a little bit.  That, and being sad and worried and scared all the time is exhausting.

It just so happens that Harry was first hospitalized the day after my 38th birthday.  This unfortunate confluence of events unleashed my inner shopaholic, which was downright reckless considering the cost of pet healthcare.  (FYI: Obamacare doesn’t cover dogs.)

Like our favorite Chinese food delivery place (that we can no longer afford), the veterinary hospital has our credit card on file.  Hanukkah and Christmas this year (and next) (and the year after that) are cancelled, and family vacations will resume in approximately 30 years when Dylan and Riley invite us on their family trips to babysit their whiny and cranky children.  We’ve even given Harry-Barry Bo-Berry Bo-to-the-Berry a new nickname: Reno, as in, the kitchen Reno-vation that will never happen.

Yet… even so… but still… nonetheless… be that as it may… I. cannot. stop. shopping.

It started off innocent enough.  It was my birthday, after all.  I had some gift cards from friends and family, all of which helped make a little electric stage blue dream come true.


Happy Mama!

But then things got a little weird.  One morning, I found myself filling an shopping cart with pillows, clothing, and tchotchkes covered with Boston Terriers.  On that wacky online adventure down the “let’s turn my house and wardrobe into a shrine to Harry” rabbit hole, I found that the jewelry company, Dogeared, has a new line called “Wag” that features charms of popular dog breeds.  I quickly deduced that they didn’t have a Boston Terrier charm, so I did what any Shopaholic Mama with a sick dog in the hospital would do.  I emailed customer service.

Dear Customer Service, 

Please – oh please – make a Boston Terrier charm – for your new Wag collection!  Please.  PLEASE.  PLEASE!!!


Crazy Shopaholic (With A Sick Dog) Mama

Do you know what?  They actually emailed me back.  The same day.  They said they’d forward my request to their design team (or perhaps to their security team).  Either way, I’m cool, as long as they make the damn charm.  In the meantime, I’m seriously considering their dog bone necklace in silver.

While we’re on the topic of online shopping, I may or may not have purchased a blouse covered with owls from  (They didn’t have a blouse covered in dogs…that I know of.)

After my online binge (relax, I didn’t buy anything on Etsy…yet), I moved on to some good old-fashioned brick and mortar shopping.  Of course, I timed that spree with the fall Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family sale.  Of course.  And, of course, walking around the store caused me to fixate on what to wear to my 20th high school reunion on November 30th.  The reunion that’s seven weeks from now.  Of course.

I could wear the owl blouse, but I wonder what my high school classmates would think about me walking into the reunion dressed as creepy owl lady a month past Halloween?  After twenty years, we’re supposed to be past all the insecurities, right?  My owl obsession is totally cool, isn’t it?  Isn’t it?

A sweater and boots would probably be more appropriate for Massachusetts weather in late November, but somewhere between the denim and the shoe department, I became totally and completely obsessed with finding yellow sandals, because a splash of color on my feet would look great with the black and white striped dress that recently arrived in the mail from  (Did I fail to mention that online purchase?)  It doesn’t matter, though, because I couldn’t find yellow sandals anywhere.  Winter boots and metal embellished booties were everywhere, which should have turned my razor-sharp Crazy focus back to cold-weather fashion for the reunion, but instead it further fueled my ridiculous infatuation with buying yellow sandals for the sleeveless racerback voile dress that I could never wear in November in New England…unless I had a cardigan, but I digress.

I left Bloomingdale’s empty-handed and defeated, with my tail between my legs, and, sadly, wondered if DSW might still have a good summer sandal selection.  Back at home, I walked straight into my closet and practically tripped over a beautiful pair of yellow sandals with a cork platform heel THAT. I. ALREADY. OWNED.

Dear God.

My name is the Runaway Mama and I am a Shopaholic.

Harry is finally home for good (we hope), and it’s no coincidence that my shopaholic bender has subsided, too.  There are still some packages arriving on my doorstep here and there (look the other way, people!), but the frenzy is over.

Poor little Reno, er, Harry has a long recovery ahead of him.  He spends most of his time resting in a crate.  He’s not allowed to do anything but eat, take meds, pee and poop, and sleep.  Doctor’s orders.  This course of treatment might also be the perfect prescription for a helpless, hopeless, and accidentally unleashed Shopaholic.


Filed under birthday, Happy Mama, Harry, Shopaholic Mama, shopaholism, shopping

Breaking The Cycle (Or Not)

What do I want to do for Mother’s Day?

Hmm.  Let me think.


What the last lady said.  The one wearing the apron.

I feel this way a lot of the time.  In fact, it’s why I started writing this blog almost three years ago.  I had an overwhelming, chest-tightening feeling that my feet were cemented into my kitchen floor and the world was spinning around me at a nauseating speed while my adorable but nagging children pulled at my shirt (and I very much dislike when they pull at my shirt).

The stuck feeling is one of the more unfortunate, long-lasting side effects of being a Stay-at-Home Mama.  (Others include blurry vision, loss of sanity, a penchant for hiding in closets, and alcoholism.)  Symptoms are worse on weekends than on weekdays, especially on Sundays when laundry piles are high (how does that happen I’ve been doing laundry all week?), the refrigerator is empty (how does that happen when I’ve been grocery shopping all week?), and the stale parmesan cheese shreds and popcorn kernels imbedded in the couch cushions can no longer be ignored.

It should come as no surprise that on Mother’s Day (a Sunday), nothing pleases me more than having a few precious, un-rushed hours of kid-free, mess-free, shirt-pulling-free, and guilt-free (mostly) shopping.


Last year on Mother’s Day, I bought these yellow beauts:


The year before that, I bought this pretty lady:

Happy Mother's Day!

I don’t remember the year before that, but my guess is that I squeezed the squishy thighs of my brood and then got out of Dodge.  See you later, chumps!  Shopaholic Mama is outa here!

I pretty much do what I want on Mother’s Day (for at least a few hours), which generally entails being alone with a credit card in a shoe department, which makes me a Grateful Mama that my kids, my husband, and my family are cool cats about the whole thing, which got me thinking…

When Father’s Day rolls around, I assume Mike wants to hang out with the boys.  In fact, I expect that he wants to spend time with them, which makes my fondness for running away on Mother’s Day feel a little bit kind of a lot selfish.

When Riley was born, Dylan had a hard time.  Actually, to say he had a hard time would be an enormous understatement.  Not only did he experience an extreme case of sibling rivalry, but he also had (not yet diagnosed) sensory processing disorder (SPD).  Knowing what I know now about SPD, I can’t imagine the chaos he experienced inside his body when our lives were turned upside down with a new baby.  In the midst of great joy, it was a difficult and sometimes miserable time.  For all of us.

At one point – okay, at several points – it seemed like all I said to Dylan was “no.”  No this.  No that.  No.  No.  No.  To break the cycle, a teacher suggested that I commit to spending one entire day without saying no.  For instance, if Dylan kicked me, instead of saying, “No, don’t kick Mommy,” I was supposed to say, “Wow, Dylan you’re really good at kicking.  How about we go outside and kick a soccer ball?”  Or, if Dylan shook the Pack n’ Play in which his infant brother slept, instead of saying, “Stop that!  You could hurt your brother!” I was supposed to say, “It sure looks like you want to shake something.  How about we make a band and you can shake the maracas?”

Oh, that was a harrowing time!  I bring it up because I’ve decided on this Mother’s Day, I’m going to break my cycle.  Instead of running away, I’m going to stay put and soak in – and try to appreciate – the chaos, popcorn kernels, shirt-pulling, laughter, tears, and amazing-ness of motherhood.

I, The Runaway Mama, hereby commit to spending the entirety of Mother’s Day with my family (gulp) instead of leaving them high and dry for a jaunt of shopaholic bliss.

At least that’s the plan.  It’s possible that, in the end, I’m going to hightail it to Bloomingdale’s despite my lofty promise here, but I assure you I’m going to make an effort.  That, and I plan to do some pre-Mother’s Day shopping tomorrow because my clever husband recently traded in some credit card reward points for some mouth-watering Bloomingdale’s gift cards.  For me!


The way I see it, this is a win for Shopaholic Mamas everywhere. As it turns out, if you spend gobs of money, you’ll be rewarded with gift cards so you can do more shopping!  The cycle will never be broken!  [Insert evil laugh.]

Speaking of Bloomie’s, they recently mailed out a (very thick and juicy) “Mom Knows Best” catalog.


Inside are oodles of gorgeous and summery clothing, jewelry, makeup, and fragrance suggestions alongside some priceless nuggets of “good advice” for moms.

Editor’s note:

Dear Bloomingdale’s,

Please don’t hate me for making fun of you.

 I’m just having some Runaway

Stay-at-Home Shopaholic Mama fun. 

See you soon. 


The Runaway Mama

Here are a few of my favorites:

“Jewelry speaks louder than words.” – Bloomingdale’s

In my house, the Xbox speaks way louder than (my) words.

“Good things come in pairs.”

Indeed.  Pinkeye comes to mind.

“Invest in gold.”

My money’s in Lifeway Kefir.

“Things always look better in color.”

Except for crayon on the wall.

“When in doubt shine!”

My skin does have a bit of a sheen.  Did I shower today?  Yesterday?  The day before?  I can’t remember.

“You can’t go wrong with black and white.”

I wouldn’t know.  I haven’t worn anything white since 2006.

“Better to be an hour earlier than a minute late.”

I’m sorry, but once you become a mother, “an hour earlier” ceases to exist unless you’re referring to the ungodly time your children wake up in the morning. 

 “Time waits for no one.”

Especially in a public bathroom. 

“A great scent is the best accessory.”

All I ever smell is pee.  (#boys) 

 “A woman’s work is never done.”

I know this to be true if nothing else because of laundry.

“Elegance is a way of life.”

Whoever wrote this is not a parent.

“Seal everything with a kiss and a bow.”

This is excellent advice if you want to embarrass your six-year-old son at school.

 “Dress up, even when you’re not expecting anyone.”


“Be bold, brilliant, and beautiful.”

Especially at the pediatrician’s office, PTO meetings, and teacher conferences.

“Look chic in your sleep.”

For whom?  The four-year-old who insists on sleeping in my bed?  I’ll pass.

 “Learn to multi-task.”


“Put your initials on everything.”

Especially if you ever want to see your preschooler’s backpack, lunch box, Sippy cup, jacket, and/or spare clothes again.

“Make all important decisions in the bath.”

Whose bath?  The last time I took a bath was when I had postpartum hemorrhoids.

“Never leave the house without lipstick.”

This might be true, but I’d be in deep shit if I didn’t also leave the house with enough food and water to survive at least 36 hours with my kids. 

“Use the good crystal every day.”

Can “good crystal” go in the dishwasher?

“You’re an angel and a devil.”

After coffee/before coffee. 

What are your plans for Mother’s Day?



Filed under Grateful Mama, Mother's Day, motherhood, sensory processing disorder, Shopaholic Mama, shopaholism, shopping