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Five Things Toddler Moms Know To Be True

Being a toddler parent is like being part of a special club: a club of unwashed, tired people who live on broken goldfish crackers, dinner scraps, and coffee.

 

5 Things Toddler Moms Know To Be True 

 1. If you want to wipe a toddler’s nose you have to sneak up on them like a ninja assassin. This is why we wear soft-soled shoes. So they can’t hear us creeping up from behind with a tissue in hand. The next step is to put your toddler into what looks to the outside world like a chokehold but we know we’re just keeping their head still we get all of those boogers.
 
2. Baby wipes are not just for baby butts. Baby wipes can double as a toddler mom shower on days you don’t make it into the actual bathtub. They’re also great for wiping up stubborn vomit or yogurt that exploded in your diaper bag. Baby wipes are to toddler moms what a swiss army knife is to a survivalist.
 
3. Crying = better sleep. Toddler moms know that the harder a kid cries at the park, the harder that child will sleep later on. The trick is to not let them fall asleep in the car. Headbanger rock or gangster rap pumped at high volumes and keeping the windows down can help with that.
 
4. Toddlers want what you have. The trick to getting a toddler to eat is letting them think they’re stealing from you. If you act like your bowl of rice is your greatest treasure and that you’ll be devastated should your toddler take a bite, your kid will probably eat the whole thing while maintaining eye contact to make sure you’re suffering.
 
5. Never celebrate a win. Is your toddler sleeping through the night? Does your toddler finally seem potty trained? If you dare brag on Facebook your child will instantly regress six months. This is a fact of the universe. We don’t make up the rules, we just live by them.

 

 

Welcome to the club.
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Dear Mom. I Get It Now.

Dear Mom,

It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I began to understand what it is you did for me.

Now I know what it feels like to meet your baby for the first time and feel your heart explode in joy.

Now I know what it feels like to sit up all night with a feverish child.

Now I know what it feels like to go to bed knowing you did all you could but wishing you could have done more.

Now I know what exhaustion really means; not just your body being tired but your mind, every fiber of your being so spent, and then seeing that it’s only 4PM.

I know what it’s like to wake up every two hours with a newborn who needs to be fed and changed in the darkness of their room.

I know what it’s like to put a meal together only to have it rejected over and over again.

I know what it feels like to feel like it’s all too much sometimes.

I know what it feels like to wish there were five of you so you can get it all done.

I know, now.

And I want to say thank you. Thank you for being there, for not giving up, for not checking out or running away. Thanks for being there for me when I needed you the most.

You’re an inspiration to me. You rocked me, fed me, clothed me, and loved me even when you felt like closing your eyes and falling into bed.

Your sacrifice is not wasted. I’m who I am because of what you poured into my life.

I’m a mom now and have my own little one. On my hardest days I’ll look at my child and remember five little words that will make all the difference, “She did it for me.” You did it for me, I can do it for them.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Love, your child.

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The Five Moms You Meet On Facebook

Anyone else notice that there are five specific types of moms on Facebook? Here’s how they’d all respond to a simple question in one of those local Facebook groups.

Hey moms! My 2-year-old has a fever. Any advice? 


1. The Perfect Mom

“Oh poor you! My little one has never been sick on account of his amazing immune system. We also eat an organic, local, paleo, sugar-free, cruelty-free, vegan diet and he’s never had dessert. Homeschooling also cuts down on illnesses. I just finished creating his third grade curriculum and can’t believe he’s reading two years ahead of his peers. Did I mention his immune system? He tested three immune systems ahead of his age group. Good luck with your little one!”

2. The Mommy Shaming Mom 

“Shouldn’t you be calling a doctor and not on Facebook? What if your child’s fever spreads to their brain? Just please keep your little sickie home so he doesn’t infect the healthy children at the park. I hope you’ve stopped reading this and are taking care of your child. Maybe if you’d paid more attention in the first place your child wouldn’t have contracted the virus causing the fever. Way to go.”

3. The One-Upper Mom

“Fever? My child has ebola right now. It’s awful. And a broken ankle. And she stutters. And don’t forget the eczema. Here’s a link to 40 photos where you can see her skin rashes in full HD Feel free to print them out.”

4. The Natural Mom

“Fevers are a sign that your child’s root chakra is cloudy. Are you breastfeeding? I hope so. Mix two tablespoons of turmeric, 8 ounces of breastmilk, and one teaspoon of raw manuka honey in a marble bowl and that should clear right up. I also recommend a crystal healing session to clear any issues that are still lingering from your child’s birth experience. If you had a c-section that explains a lot.

5. The Relaxed Mom 

“Eh. Slap some Tylenol on that and it should go away on it’s own.”


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Dear Exhausted Mom

Dear Exhausted Mom,

I know you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep. I know you’re trying to remember what being rested feels like. I know you’re tired of being up before the sun, making breakfast while it’s still dark, and being so tired you could cry…or do cry.I’m not here to make it better because I can’t.

I’m not here to tell you it’ll all be over soon, because I don’t know that.

But I am here to tell you that you’re not alone.

Because I’m doing it, too. Miles away from you, I’m spreading butter on toast for a pajama-clad little one before sunrise, yet again.

You may feel alone, but you’re not.

Years from now, you’ll look back on these days and see the superwoman that you’re being for your child.

So carry on. And know that you’re a rockstar.

xox another exhausted mom

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I Miss The Village

Every day I go about my life: drive my children to and fro, make breakfast, lunch and dinner, and change my baby’s diapers in my four-walled house while the world buzzes around me busy and fast. My little plays on the floor and I watch him pluck toy after toy out of the large box in the corner of the room and although my life is rich with many things, I think about you because I miss the village.

 

 

I miss the village I never had. The one with mothers doing the washing side by side, clucking and laughing hysterically, tired in body but quick in spirit. We’d know each other so well: annoying one another from time to time, but never staying mad long because the truth is, we need each other.

 

 

The children would wake up early, as they tend to, and run outside, finding each other amongst the tall trees. They’d disappear into the field and forest for a day of play as we’d start our sacred work. We’d knead bread side by side, the littles at our feet, breasts, on our backs and in our arms. It would be impossible to tell whose children belonged to whom — we’d all attend to the group of toddling wee ones, check on the deeply breathing babies, wave little hands off of our floured table, pinch cheeks and kiss boo-boos.

 

 

The days would be full of conversation as we expertly flexed a muscle that has since gone weak: the art of listening. Quiet empathy in lieu of passive judgement, and when called for, gentle, sincere advice. In our village, our members are our estate and we build them up.

 

 

We’d laugh — too much and never enough at the same time. Whether it be stifled giggles overflowing out of covered mouths like a pot of water bubbling over or donkey brays loud enough to wake the children, we’d be skilled at finding the joy in the mundane.

 

 

We’d cry — never alone, but shoulder to shoulder over unborn children gone too soon or men who changed their minds. We’d stitch back the frayed edges of each other’s lives the best we could, wiping the tears off of each other’s cheeks. If any of us became lost in the darkness, we’d journey into the depths of her heart and pull her body back to shore.

 

 

When mealtime came we’d set the food out on long tables and the children would eat happily and hungrily, as they tend to when in the company of other small people. They’d talk about their adventures and, to their exaggerated disappointment, we’d make them take the younger children this time to teach them what we already know: we exist for each other.

 

 

When one of was feeling sick or needed extra rest from a long night up with a child, we’d swoop in and tend to your children as we would our own for as long as necessary — no need to even ask. You would drift off to a healing sleep with full confidence. We’d want you to be well because we’d know that we’re only as strong as our weakest member — and not only that, we’d love you, not with the sappy love of greeting cards, but with an appreciative love that has full knowledge of how your colors add to our patchwork.

 

 

You’d know me and I’d know you. I’d know your children, and you’d know mine. Not just on a surface level — favorite foods, games and such — but real, true knowledge of the soul that flickers behind their eyes. I’d trust them in your arms just as much as I’d trust them in mine. They’d respect you and heed your “no.”
And as our children grew up and out and our skin went paper thin, we’d keep making bread, sharing it with tea, stories of beautiful grandchildren, and how things used to be.

 

 

I miss that village of mothers that I’ve never had. The one we traded for homes that, despite being a stone’s throw, feel miles apart from each other. The one we traded for locked front doors, blinking devices and afternoons alone on the floor playing one-on-one with our little ones.

 

 

What gives me hope is that as I look at you from across the park with your own child in tow playing in her own corner of the sandbox, I can tell from your curious glance and shy smile that you miss it, too.

 

 

Maybe we’ll have it again. But for today, I’ll invite you and your little one over for tea. And maybe bread.

 

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The Four Types of Mom-Somnia

 

The kids are finally sleep, why aren’t you?If you’re reading this at 2AM, or 4AM, staring into the dark wondering why you haven’t floated away to dreamland yet, you have it. Counting sheep doesn’t work. Tightly closing your eyes will just give you a headache. Staring daggers at your husband who manages to fall into a deep sleep the second his head hits the pillow won’t help either but it’s still recommended.You have a case of Mom-somnia.The Four Causes of Mom-somnia1. Endless Worrying Nobody tells you how much of being a mom involves imaging all of the terrible things that could happen at anytime to the person you care most about in the world. We are literally thinking about this all the time. Why do you think we have our carseats inspected and cut grapes?Moms are always worried but it reaches new heights during nighttime when we finally have a quiet minute to ourselves. A typical mom-somniac’s worries:

  • If your kid’s cough is really just a cough or some terrible incurable disease (thanks Google)
  • The state of the entire world you brought your kid into. (thanks 24-hour news cycle)
  • If your spouse still loves you because he was snippy at dinner. Ok, maybe you were snippy first and he was snippy back but that’s not the point
  • Your own health and what if something happened to you and OMG THE CHILDREN!!!

2. The Never Ending To Do List 

Being a mom is kind of like being an air traffic controller. All of your tasks and the emotional state of everyone in your family are constantly on your radar and you develop small ulcers trying to keep them from colliding.

 

People with mom-somnia have a little yapping dog on their shoulder that randomly whispers To Dos into their ear just as they’re getting sleepy.

 

“You forgot to send in the summer camp forms,” the annoying but smart Yorkshire Terrier barks. “Camp is going to fill up and then you’ll lose your mind trying to keep them busy with crappy crafts for three months.”

 

“You need to soak the crock pot.”

 

“Your cell phone bill was due yesterday.”

 

“Ready to plan another birthday party?”

 

“Did you take your birth control?”

 

“Front door locked?”

 

“Stove off?”

 

The dog doesn’t know when to shut up. No sleep for you.

 

 

3. Being Afraid to Fall Asleep

No, you’re not 12 years old and didn’t just watch The Nightmare of Elm Street. You’re a mom of a teething toddler or 7-year old who can’t mange to get his own 2AM cup of water. Children can sense when their parents have finally achieved deep sleep and usually take that moment to violently snap them out of it.

 

The feeling of waking up suddenly to a child’s scream after you’ve just drifted off is pretty much hell on Earth.

 

So there you are in bed, eyes open because you know the second they close you’ll have an explosive diaper to change or small person’s back to rub while they beg for a string cheese.

4. Just Enjoying the SilenceThis form of mom-somnia is self-induced. After a day of meeting everyone else’s needs there are few things as delicious as a silent, dark house. It’s like a vacation. A spa, minus all of the steam and fresh towels.
You get to sip your tea (Long Island Iced Tea, of course), watch non-animated television shows, eat without hands grabbing at your food, lie down without having anyone jump on your chest, and breathe.
It feels downright luxurious. Even at midnight. I mean, who doesn’t love Facebook creeping on exes, taking BuzzFeed quizzes and doing it all with a giant bowl of chips in their lap?
Yeah you know you’ll pay for it tomorrow.
But that’s what coffee was invented for.


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My Daughter Loves Pink And Princesses. She’s Still A Badass

I know you’ve noticed it. How recently it’s considered lame for little girls to wear pink from head to toe and love princesses.

For some reason as we started declaring it wonderful that girls play with action figures and boys wear their sister’s clothes if they want, we started believing that girls who strut the grocery store runway in Disney gowns, show up at the park in an Ariel dress or want to have princess birthday parties aren’t as smart, original, athletic, or independent as their Iron Man costume wearing girlfriends.I’m here to tell you that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

If you’re quick to cheer on a 5 year-old girl who loves Minecraft Legos but think a kindergartner who rocks Cinderella outfits is self-esteem deficient, you’re an idiot. You’ve completely missed the point of what parents have been fighting for: the right for their kids to use their imaginations the way THEY want to.

If you’re embarrassed because your 6 year-old wants to have a Princess Sofia birthday party instead of some cool, edgy superhero theme so that you can show your friends how progressive you are, you’re not really progressive at all. Being truly open minded means letting your kids be who THEY are not who will make you look cool on Facebook.

If you pat your friends on the back because their let their son wear dresses to first grade but steer your daughter away from Frozen costumes because they’re too mainstream, you’re full of crap. Why is it ok for little boys to be who they want, but not little girls unless it follows the trend of being off-trend?

“Princesses teach girls to be weak and dependent on men.” Says who? I played with Barbies as a child but never wanted to be her. I just loved cutting her hair. Saying that being princess obsessed will make little girls grow up to be anything but strong women is like saying that playing with My Little Ponys will turn them into future horse trainers.

I’m tired of commercials like the Goldiebox one that ran a few years ago where little girls are paid to proclaim they’re so over being princesses as if that makes them smarter than the rest. If a girl isn’t into princesses, that’s fine, but stop acting as if that makes her more intelligent than those who are. I don’t appreciate the message that liking pink, tulle tutus, dollar store tiaras, or fairy wings makes my daughter any less badass than other little girls because I assure you, she is the fierce, opinionated, and 100% herself. And she can get halfway up a tree wearing an ankle length Merida costume.

  
So the next time you see a girl child walking down the sidewalk in pink shoes, pink tights, a mini ballgown, costume jewelry, a crown and an Elsa wig to top it off, don’t you dare give her a sideways look because she might be my kid and I’ll give you one right back.
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Dear Perfect Mom I Wanted To Be

Thursday

Dear Perfect Mom I Wanted To Be,

You’re probably really disappointed in me. Look around. The house is a mess. I know you thought I’d be the type of mom who would never have toys covering her living room floor. Right now my family room looks like a cross between Target’s toy aisle and a laundromat but with more crumbs. Sorry.

Look at my kitchen. I know the plan was to be the type of mom who never went to bed with dirty dishes in the sink, but after cooking, convincing the kids to eat, giving them baths, and finally getting them into bed, I’m tired. Anyway, some of those pans need to soak.

Look at me. I always said I’d be the kind of mom who would eat right, take care of herself, and never wear the same stretch pants and t-shirts day in and day out, but what can I say…I don’t have a lot of time to think about fashion. I spend my days chasing a toddler who is surprisingly fast- skinny jeans, skimpy designer tank tops that can’t contain my *cough* ample mom boobs, and heels just aren’t practical. No, I don’t look like those celebrity moms you see picking up their kids at preschool looking perfectly dressed down but dressed up at the same time. I look more like a yoga instructor who doesn’t actually do any yoga. Oh that stain, I think my kid wiped his nose on my pants. Change over a bit of snot, are you kidding?

Look, Perfect Mom I Wanted To Be, we had a lot of plans. My kids were going to be expertly disciplined and would never have meltdowns in public or walk out of the house wearing two different shoes. I was never going to yell. I was going to go grocery shopping several times a week at farmer’s markets and make meals straight from the Food Network. I was going to wash, fold, and put away laundry every day so that it would never get out of control. I was going to be perfect.

We had a lot of ideas, but life got in the way.

My living room is full of toys because happy kids live here. My kitchen sink is full of dishes because fed people live here. I’m wearing head to toe frayed 100% stretch cotton because I found my worth in who I am, not just what I look like. And these clothes are damn comfortable. It’s like walking around in a blanket. You should try it.

Sorry to disappoint you, but things are a lot better than they look. I learned that motherhood isn’t about projecting an image but being with the people who make my messy, crazy, and exhausting life complete. It’s hard to see the love in the mess from so high up on that high horse. Come down and have a look. You might like what you see.

xo Me

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10 Reasons Why Dinner Time Is Actually The Worst

I feel the dread rise up every day at around 3PM. Dinner time is coming. Before I became a mom I thought my family’s evening meal would look like one of those Hamburger Helper commercials.

You’ve seen them: the mom slowly places a casserole dish in the middle of the table. The children’s eyes grow wide with delight as they hold their forks and knives, poised and ready in each hand. The husband licks his lips and looks up adoringly at his wife for browning meat and mixing it with a $2 box of pasta and a pouch of questionable spices.That’s how dinner was going to be. Everyone would come to the table hungry. Everyone would appreciate my meals. Everyone would eat while talking and laughing about their day.

Yeah right.

10 Reasons Why Dinner Time Is Actually The Worst

1. You have to make it. This sounds easy to enough but considering that 5PM is when children are all on the brink of hunger-fueled insanity and exhausted, this is next to impossible. Small children and babies want to be held while you throw lasagna into a 400 degree oven. Older kids beg for snacks and swipe ingredients when you’re not looking. There will always be someone crying at your feet or tripping you with their body while lying like a starfish in the middle of the kitchen.

2. My husband comes back from work tired and needing a moment to himself before jumping into home life. I get it, I truly do, but that “moment” needs to hurry up and be over because I can’t wrangle children and cook at the same time.

3. I never know what to make. How many times can I make spaghetti or cook chicken breasts? I want to try new recipes but straying from the same old meals increases the risk of rejection so no.

4. By the time dinner is actually done my children’s hunger has morphed into anger that they’re being required to eat. They no longer know how to put food into their mouths unless I keep barking orders throughout the meal.

5. Then comes the nitpicking. “This is too hot.” “I don’t like these spices.” “What is this?” What is this? It’s called rice. Remember, those small white grains that you loved last week? Oh and those “spices” are butter and salt. Your food is too hot? Have you considered blowing or waiting? No? Too hard?

6. I can’t sit down and just eat. I have to jump up every 5-6 seconds getting something for someone. A different fork. A smaller spoon for said rice. More water. Who spilled their milk? Another napkin. I’m not sure why I even make a plate for myself. It’d be smarter to just eat over the garbage disposal, shoveling food into my face, when the meal is done.

7. Dinner takes forever. I always find myself sitting alone with the child who is eating the slowest and probably hoping I’ll just say, “Ok, screw it” and throw their food in the trash. I’m not a mom anymore, I’m a probation officer and my job is to supervise you until you stop stalling and take those last five bites.

8. “What’s for dessert?” “How many bites?” “I dropped’ my food!” By dropped do you mean conveniently let your broccoli fall to the floor? No worries, I have more. Dessert? Dessert is the fruit in your lunchbox that you didn’t eat. As for how many bites, I’ll let you know when you’re done.

9. Poop. Why does someone always have to poop during dinner? And why does that someone always need me to help them?

10. The dreaded “I’m hungry” that a child has the nerve to say 5 minutes before bedtime. You can ignore it and send them to bed knowing that they’ll probably wake up at 4:00 begging for sustenance or give in and hand them a string cheese. Neither one will make you feel good about yourself.

Cooking for a family with young kids is a pretty thankless job. I do it because they need to eat and I want them to be somewhat healthy. That said, I’m losing my mind. If you need me, I’ll be drinking wine in the kitchen.

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Dear Mommy, Thank you

Dear Mommy,

I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but thank you. Thank you for carrying me inside you for 40, no, 41 weeks. I know it wasn’t easy. You were sick. Really sick. And you still went to work, sneaking away to toss your cookies in a stall several times a day. One time you thew up in the car. That wasn’t pretty. You still can’t look at chicken breast the same way. You were so tired but didn’t want to show it because you were worried about your job. You cried a lot.

Thank you.

The day you had me was hard. I could feel how scared you were that something bad would happen. You mind was racing, hoping everything would go as planned. As the pain clutched your body again and again, refusing to let go even though you begged, you cried, wondering if this would last forever. You were afraid but you kept talking to me, telling me that you wanted to see me.

When I showed up you gently touched my face. I could tell you were tired, sore, and broken, but you still smiled and me like I made you forget about everything but my eyes.

Thank you.

Those early days were hard. I didn’t sleep like other babies. As I screamed in the dark you held me. I felt your warm tears fall as you rocked me back and forth. The only light was that of the moon and you sang with your shaky voice and patted me on the back until I finally got comfortable enough to close my eyes and let myself go heavy against you. We did this over and over. More times than I can count. During the day your eyes looked heavy, your face blotchy and exhausted, but every time you looked at me your eyes sparkled like I was your greatest treasure.

Thank you.

Life hasn’t gotten much easier. Sometimes I get so angry at a world where so many things don’t make sense. I scream. I hit. I throw things and laugh. You catch me when I fall. You sit with me and whisper the pages of books into my ears. You take me places and show me corners of this giant planet. You tell me the names for everything around me. You crouch down and pick up the meal I tossed down from my highchair. Sometimes you get angry and tired, and it’s my turn to meet you where you are. I snuggle against you and lay my head down on your chest and you look at me like we’re meeting for the first time.

Thank you for being someone I feel safe enough to let my emotions fall where they lay. Thank you for rubbing my back in the dark until my mind quiets enough to relax into sleep. Thank you for helping me feel safe where there are so many unknowns. Thank you for being mine.

I love you.

-Baby