Tag Archives: motherhood

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

The Runaway Mama’s Guide to Getting Your Kid to Wear a Coat!

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What is it with kids and coats?! I love coats. I just bought another one last week. (It was on sale, I swear.) I’m already fantasizing about the coat I want to buy for next winter. Canada Goose, please! Coats keep me warm. Coats protect me from frigid wind and wet snow. Coats are my friend.

But not to kids. To kids, especially sensory kids and specifically my sensory kid, coats are sheaths of discomfort, veils of anxiety, and shrouds of misery. Coats confine, constrict, and constrain. Coats are the enemy.

As the mom of a kid who would rather eat worms than wear a coat, I have some practical advice for parents in the throes of coat season.

  1. Move someplace warm. I just moved my kids from South Florida to New Jersey, so evidently I didn’t get the memo.
  2. Do your homework. If moving isn’t in the cards (or you just moved to New Jersey), begin your coat research in mid July. You’ll need plenty of time to find one with no tags, zippers, buttons, pockets, Velcro, long sleeves, or too much “puff.” Good luck with that!
  3. Don’t make him wear a coat. Gasp! If he’s cold, he’ll put on a coat. Maybe, maybe not. Kids, and sensory kids in particular, have crap loads of willpower. If the absence of a coat, the fear of hypothermia, and/or the stares from judgmental parents are too much to handle, skip to #4.
  4. Adopt a litter of puppies. Wrap your kid in a cloak of said puppies. He’ll be warm and happy forevermore.
  5. Allergic to dogs? Find a basic coat (see #2) that’s lined on the inside with fleece as soft as a puppy (see #4). Then, break two toothpicks in half and place the pieces inside your favorite sock while humming “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” flush three ice cubes down the toilet, hop on your left foot six times, eat a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream, and say a prayer.
  6. Blame someone or something else. Where the hell is Daddy every morning at coat o’clock?! Buy an indoor thermometer that reads the temperature outside. Hang a sign next to it that says: “When the temperature goes below [fill in the blank] degrees, you must wear a coat.” Kids are excellent at torturing Mommy but far less skilled at whining and crying at small appliances.
  7. In exchange for wearing a coat, let your kid wear shorts. All the boys are doing it! A coat on top and shorts on bottom will create balance and order in the universe, and it won’t look ridiculous at all. Just avoid snow boots. Snow boots and shorts will turn heads.
  8. Harness the power of guilt. There have been many mornings when, out of pure desperation, I’ve reminded my son of all the poor and neglected children in the world who don’t have coats to keep them warm, how fortunate he is to have parents who can afford to provide him with a coat to keep him warm, and how disappointed I am that he doesn’t appreciate just how lucky he is to have a (flipping!) coat to keep him warm! It almost never works, but someone has to win the lottery, right?
  9. Distract him. Throw a pie at your kid’s face, hire a clown, or pop a confetti cannon when it’s time to put on the coat. Do whatever it takes to get him out the door without realizing his coat is actually on.
  10. Buy another coat. I hate this piece of advice because as much as I love shopping, buying a kid another coat is a fool’s errand. The only coat he wants is a notacoat (not a coat), and by the time he goes down the outerwear rabbit hole, stores will only have coats in stock that are XXS, XXL, or NOS (Not On Sale).

However bad your coat struggle is this winter, keep in mind that warm weather battles over putting on sunscreen are right around the corner. In the meantime, pay close attention to your kid’s coat hysteria and take notes so you can shop smarter next year. With my kid, it was the top of the zipper that poked his skin just underneath his chin that drove him batty. Zippers are the root of all evil. Obviously.

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Filed under clothing, sensory processing disorder, winter