Thursday, January 29, 2015

Random Thoughts Thursdays: Mom Phrases

My friend and I were just discussing the phrases we use, and okay, overuse as a mom. She suggested I make a random thoughts Thursday post listing the things we moms say...and say...and say. Since I take all fan requests seriously, here you go. As usual, add your own.

Think about what you are doing.
This is the last time I am going to tell you!
That ship has sailed.
Take another bite!
Don't put that in your mouth/nose/ear.
Get your hand out of your pants (boys).
What did I just say?
Mommy's tired.
Five more minutes.
I don't listen to whining.
Come on, we have to go RIGHT NOW!
Get in the car.
Get out of the car.
Go to sleep
Stop running.
Get off the coffee table.
Get off your brother.
Just because.
Just a minute.
Don't hit your brother with that tractor!
This is the last time I am going to tell you.
That's unacceptable!
Don't throw your food. Starving children would love to eat that.
Do you need a time out?
We'll see how you behave.
Do you need a hug?
Can I have a kiss?
I love you.

How about (from a mom with teens),

Don't drive so fast, you're scaring your girlfriend.
If you want money, get a job.
Please, for the love of God, get your ass out of bed!
You are on my last nerve.
(In response to "What's for dinner?") I don't know, what are you making?
(In response to my 10 year old wanting her own phone and telling me that everyone else's parents let them have phones), That's their problem.

Random Thought Thursday: Comfortable: 50 People 1 Question - What if we viewed our bodies like kids do?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Social Anxiety NOW?!

Jan's Experience
I am forty-six (wow, that’s an eye opener – almost like going to an AA meeting and being forced to face that you are an alcoholic), and I think I suffer from later-in-life social anxiety. How did I get to this revelation? Why do I think I suffer from it? And how can I overcome it? Are all questions I have asked myself.
First off, I have always been shy; it’s just a part of who I am. I was the little girl hiding behind the leg of her mother, the kid who sat in the back of the classroom to avoid being noticed or called on, and the grown-up who more than likely, wouldn’t raise her hand to ask a question for fear she would look stupid to those around her. I guess experts would call this covert avoidance. I’ll even pretend I’m on the phone or fiddle with it just to avoid certain types of interaction. Yes, shyness followed me. While I pushed through some of my fears in college, ending up with a Speech Communications degree and a teaching certificate, I still had to fight with myself to not be afraid in certain social situations. Maybe this all stems from worrying about what others thought of me; never wanting to be seen as dumb or insignificant.
Fast forward to middle-age. As a stay-at-home mom, raising three kids, I no longer had a need for my skill in public speaking. Instead, I learned how to stay awake with very little sleep, change diapers in the most inconvenient places, live through countless tantrums, learn how to deal with teenage eye rolls and the list goes on. Most of my interactions with people were either with kids (who, when they were younger, thought I was the smartest person on the planet) and in intimate settings; play dates, scout meetings, room parent duties, etc. So now, I am entering into the professional arena once again greatly out of shape.
I have been working on a couple of novels and signed up to attend my very first writer’s conference this weekend. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to learn more about the craft as well as the business side of this new-found love of writing. Yes, I knew I would have opportunities to meet fellow writers and even opportunities to meet agents, editors, publishers and published authors. People who love to read and write just as much as I do, all in one room, would be fantastic right? Uh…uh…uh, (that’s exactly what came out of my mouth the first day I was there!).
I was the proverbial deer in the headlights, scared shitless and ready to run for the door. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like anyone came after me with a machete ready to chop me into a million pieces, but I was so overwhelmed and underprepared that I felt I didn’t belong, and in return, couldn’t put together a proper sentence to save my life. I had the opportunity to pitch my book to editors and agents, but I passed because, well, I didn’t want to put myself through the agony of it all. During the Friday mixer, two agents sat at my table and I watched as others went in with their pitch, wishing I could open my mouth and get something out without sounding like I was swallowing my tongue. Yes, this was not going well for me, and I was pissed at myself. I knew I needed to sell myself and my book, but I didn’t feel prepared. What if they asked me a question I couldn’t answer? What if I said something idiotic and they made a note never to look at anything with my name on it that enters their email box EVER AGAIN?! It was just easier for me to keep my mouth shut and observe, while in my head, lash out at myself over and over again for being such a dinglebutt.
I guess it’s not uncommon for people to suffer from social anxiety later in life, but the reasons listed in the articles I read don’t really relate to me – or at least I don’t think they do. I don’t believe I suffered from any traumatic social experience unless you want to count being shy as one of them (although they do go hand in hand). Some professionals list that it could be due to society’s view of woman’s beauty or that woman are overwhelmed with the care of ailing parents or children (okay, maybe children but I still don’t think that’s it either), or both or just a lack of support while being loaded with responsibilities. And let’s not forget hormones – those damn hormones.
But I think mine stems from what I mentioned in my #Idontunderstandhashtags post. I have been out of the workforce for an extended amount of time and while on hiatus, I lost touch with the outside world and its transformation. From low to high tech, from flip phone to smart phone and from the written letter to email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, and hashtags. My ten-year-old knows more about social media than I do, and she doesn’t even have a phone. This disconnect from the emerging world of social media has created the anxiety that consumes me and overwhelms me – social media anxiety.
So, what am I going to do about it? How am I going to overcome my brain farts and the inability to make a sentence when confronted with things or people I feel are intimidating or daunting? Huh, sigh. I’m told that I have to put myself out there; not be afraid of rejection or the feeling that I am coming across as a stupid, babbling idiot. Take deep breaths, create goals and keep a positive outlook. I need to jump into the arena and stare fear right in the face and give it the finger. I need to learn as much as I can about my craft. I must learn how to hashtag, Instagram, Facebook, and so on. I need to put my work out there and create a thick skin, so it doesn’t hurt too badly when the sticks and stones are thrown my way. And I must network, network, network! Yes! I am not going to be afraid or intimidated or insecure. I am going to kick this anxiety in the ass. But first, I’m going to crawl into bed for a while and pull the covers over my head, because just the thought of the above mentioned makes me anxious and exhausted!
Do you suffer from social anxiety or social media anxiety? What do you do to combat it? Please comment and share! #socialanxiety #socialmediaanxiety
Kat's Experience

I am definitely with Jan on this one. I kind of figured by the time I hit my thirties I would have “grown out” of my insecurities, and in some ways I suppose I have, although I will never be that confident put together woman who doesn’t care what people think of her. And there it is; the root of social anxiety: what will people think? My husband has asked me more than once, “Why do you care what people think?” Indeed, that is the million dollar question. Why do I care? Maybe it is his Y chromosome that inoculates him against the same insecurities that plague me, or maybe it is the fact that he has a successful career and receives validation at work. Maybe it is just his personality. I am in no way saying that men are immune to social anxiety, but I think in a lot of ways women tend to have a deeper emotional memory. Research shows that memories to which we attach strong emotional significance get stored in our hippocampus readily and can also be recalled even decades later when prompted by an emotional trigger. So, where does this social anxiety originate? Part of it is innate – some of us are naturally more introverted than others. As adults, some of it comes from emotional memories, some dating back to childhood when we were embarrassed or socially awkward.

I am both blessed and cursed with a vivid long term memory. Although much of my childhood was idyllic, grammar school was a warzone for me. Like Jan, I was a painfully shy child to begin with, which made me vulnerable to bullying. Middle school and junior high were especially brutal in that regard. I went to a small Catholic school and had the same classmates from first through eighth grade, so once I secured my reputation as that awkward, quiet loner there was no going back. Of course, there were plenty of kids who weren’t bullies and a few who even tried to befriend me, but I always shied away, never sure of anyone’s motivation. The kids that were bullies were relentless, especially at gym and recess where there was more free reign. I was often plagued with nausea and stomach aches. My parents took me to several GI doctors but they could find nothing physically wrong with me. All this was before the dawn of cyber bullying. Kids have it harder now. It almost makes me want to homeschool. But, I realize that we all have to learn to navigate the sometimes harsh social waters eventually.

I debated whether or not to share my experiences with bullying so publicly. After all, we are talking about events that took place two decades ago; shouldn’t I be over it? It is quite embarrassing that at the age of thirty one I am impacted by my earliest social interactions. The thing is, for most of us school is our first experience with peers. We begin to self actualize, or develop our sense of self independent of our parents and caregivers. For a person who is not extroverted or confident to begin with, negative first social interactions can have far reaching effects on the way we see ourselves and the way we see ourselves in relation to others.

I know, I know. We cannot rely on external factors to make or break our self worth. We have to be okay within ourselves and with who we are. It took me many years to learn this and I still struggle to put it into practice.  I am a grown woman with a husband and two children, yet sometimes I am still that awkward seventh grader coveting the “cool girls’” secrets. When I had my first child at twenty five and chose to be a stay at home mom, I found myself in no man’s land. I was in my mid twenties, fairly newly married, and out of the workforce before I had ever really become a part of it. I knew literally no one with babies or small children. I wasn’t about to sit around in my nursing bra watching the clock until my husband came home well into the evening, so I had no choice but to build my social circle from scratch. As you can imagine, this was quite an undertaking for an introvert. I started with an online meetup group. I met a few people but made no lasting friendships. Besides, walking around the mall with a stroller was not that appealing to me. I trolled story time at the library and book store and discovered that the question, “How old is your kid?” is not a very effective opener. I began to get discouraged. Irrationally, I felt like all stay at home middle class moms were part of an exclusive club that I didn’t know how to join. I was back in seventh grade again, although now I had a developing human being’s social life to worry about and I didn’t want him to grow up to be Norman Bates.

Finally, I met a woman at the bookstore who had a child only a month older than mine. I was impressed that her child could crawl and she was impressed that mine could sit up unassisted. Finally, the subtle contest of whose baby did what when seemed to melt. As fate would have it, this woman and I attended the same church and she informed me that there was a moms’ group that met bimonthly. Imagine that, I had been searching for a place to meet moms and it was under my nose the whole time. I began nervously attending the moms’ group. I almost chickened out at the first meeting but they offered child care and free coffee. What new mom wouldn’t jump at that? It was difficult to move from casual relationships to friendships, but I did make some lasting and wonderful friendships. I had a chance to make more friends when my son was in preschool. Apparently not inheriting his mom’s social awkwardness, he made friends quickly and began requesting playdates. This is how I became friend with my son’s friend’s moms. Really, he is my social coordinator. He will come out of school and inform me, “Mom, Alex and I planned a playdate at our house today”. The irony is that it took having a child to force me out of my shell and encourage me to take social risks.

Today I am still an introvert, which will never change. I still have difficulty trusting people’s motivations. I still tend to please people at the expense of being who I am and living authentically. I have had to live with the sting of a good friend who stopped talking to me for an unknown reason, and I have to trust that it’s not me. I am still a work in progress, but I learn from my boys every day. They are not afraid to go up to another kid and join in playing. They are not afraid of rejection. Today, I run that moms’ group along with a friend. I have a few good, reliable friends, and to quote my favorite movie, It’s A Wonderful Life: “No man [or woman] is a failure who has friends”.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Mother ‘Hood Official Video

Random Thoughts Thursdays

I thought I would start a trend. Every Thursday I will publish a random thoughts post. Yep, that is exactly what it sounds like - just a jumble of completely random, not sequential thoughts. Feel free to add your own.

I really like the new design that Jan put in our blog's background, don't you?

Why does my five year old tell me he doesn't feel good every day in the hopes that he can stay home from school? If it hasn't worked by not it isn't going to, and aren't five year olds supposed to like school? Besides, I don't feel good either and I still have to be Mom, so...

Why does my husband bother to tell me every morning that he will be able to "leave the office earlier tonight?" If it hasn't happened by now it probably won't

You know it is time to join your brother and sister in law in California when it hits twenty seven degrees and your kids say it is hot outside.

Having cats is a lot like having children except you can lock your cats in the basement when they misbehave and no one calls DCFS.

I wonder if my son really does tell his teacher that I am "being mean to him" like he threatens to. Note: being mean to him = giving him a times out.

I wonder if my son's teacher goes home and drinks heavily.

I wonder if the fact that I am wondering about my son's teacher is an indication that I need to get a life.

Enough about kids. Well, I guess I should add something about my two year old so he doesn't read this one day and tell his therapist that I mentioned his brother and not him. He has entered the why phase. That is all.

I am addicted to seltzer water. I seriously drink six cans a day. My mom says it is leaching calcium from my bones. I say I could have worse addictions.

I should really get off this computer and unpack the suitcase that has been sitting on my bedroom floor since we arrived home from California three weeks ago.

I find it ironic that we have many more appliance at our disposal than we did in June Cleaver's day and yet we still seem to be busier. I bet her hamper never overflowed. Then again, she wasn't distracted by going on Facebook and comparing herself to the other wives and mothers, so...

I would write more but my two year old wants to read a book and I don't want him to one day tell his therapist that Mom was too busy typing on the computer to read to him.

After I read a five page book seventy two times I am going to head upstairs and not unpack the suit case. Adult ADD is real, people.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Letter To My Younger Self
By Kat
I know there are many things you think you won’t do/say/think and a few that you shouldn’t but will anyway. I am here to tell you what to expect.

You will pay money for a crappy apartment/house with a landlord who is most likely a drug addict. Thanks for funding his habit.

You will make the unfortunate decision to drink bottom shelf tequila straight – and then allow your parents to witness the aftermath.

You will spend your 21st birthday crying into a bottle of cheap red wine because you’ve discovered that alcohol does not lead to happiness. At least not cheap alcohol.

You will maintain a string of “friends” with questionable judgment before realizing that life is too short to follow the crowd. Or waste time repeatedly stealing drunk people’s keys.

You will get married and come to realize that the distant relative at your wedding who told you that the first year is the hardest didn’t know what they were talking about.

You will come to realize that most people who offer you unsolicited advice don’t know what they are talking about.

You will fake a headache to avoid having sex.

You will get annoyed with your husband and then with yourself because you can’t stay mad at him.

You will go through ups and downs, job losses and promotions, and a neighbor who is most likely a drug addict. What, do you attract them or something?

You will get pregnant. You will turn into THAT insufferable pregnant woman. You will throw a television remote at your husband and cry in front of a very uncomfortable air conditioner repair man all thanks to hormones.

You will have a baby. You will subsequently decide that your baby is perfect, you have it all figured out, and YOUR child will NEVER throw a tantrum in a crowded Babies R Us.

You will drag your tantruming child out of a crowded Babies R Us. You will subsequently decide to have no more children

You will have another child.

You will sleep less than you believed humanly possible.

You will survive a pregnancy loss.

You will allow your children to watch television in exchange for thirty minutes of peace.

You will laugh in the face of the Academy of Pediatrics dire warnings about screen time before two.

You will allow your five-year-old to wear his boots with his shorts in the middle of August because you have learned that picking your battles is essential to surviving this parenting thing.

You will yell, “STOP YELLING!!!! MOMMY HAS A HEADACHE!!!” at your children. Your husband will want to have sex that night.

You will forgo a shower for sleep because, meh, you showered yesterday.

Your mother in law will see your uncleaned house and your unwashed hair.

Random old ladies in the Target checkout line will scold you for not dressing your kids warmly enough, dressing them too warmly, and taking them out in this weather. You will silently congratulate yourself for not committing murder.

You will own a closet full of torn, stained clothes but lack the motivation or money to buy new ones.

Your will be grateful when your sister in law gets you out of your mom jeans. Thanks, Jan!

You will choose to stay home with your kids and field questions such as, “Oh, so you don’t have a job?” and “So what do you DO all day?” You will handle these questions gracefully while mentally slashing the tires of the asker.

You will be amazed by working moms, and you will realize that they have to field their own rude questions.

You will be dumped by friends and never know why.

You will learn that fair-weather friends were never friends to begin with.

You will spend the aftermath of your baby’s second birthday party crying into a bottle of cheap red wine because your baby is two. And you are still drinking cheap alcohol.

You will survive many trials and come out a better person. You will learn that life is fluid. You will learn to appreciate the little things. You will learn which relationships are worth saving and which need to be let go. You will learn that even the darkest nights give way to sunrise.

When all else fails, you will drink your brother and sister in law’s expensive red wine.

 A Letter To My Older Self
By Jan
While my sister-in-law wrote a letter to her younger self I decided to write a letter to my older self and it goes like this:

Your name is Jan and it’s not short for anything, so don’t think it’s because you just can’t remember your full name – it’s just plain Jan (thanks to your sister who named you when she was five). You have a husband and three kids (hopefully they have kids which would mean you have grandkids – yes, you’re old, deal with it!).

You love to travel – keep it up and see as much of this beautiful world if you can.

You should have had more friends, but you were too busy to make it a priority. On the bright side, you will have fewer funerals to attend.

Tough beans if you don’t like the person your son or daughter marries. If they make your son or daughter happy and treat them well then be happy for them – even if it’s painfully hard.

When you are a grandparent, your only job is to spoil them rotten and send them home.

Do not tell your children how to raise their children – it’s their turn to be the meanest parents in the whole wide world and to make mistakes – like I said, all you have to do is spoil them.

Never yell at your grandchildren. It’s not your place, and you don’t want them to be pissed at you. They may be the only ones who come and visit you in the loony bin.

Never give advice to those not seeking it.

If, at your age, you can’t see your glass as at least half full, you are not someone I want to hang out with.

Do not share your bodily functions, or your inability to control them with your children, grandchildren or people at a party – no one wants to know these things. While you may think it’s just being honest and open, you are reminding your children that you are old, and let’s face it, if they love you, that reminder will be painful.

Stop your worrying – you made it this far, sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of the ride.

Don’t save your money to eventually pass down to your kids – spend it all and let them earn their own.

If you wear granny panties, I’m very disappointed in you.

If you become extremely opinionated, keep it to yourself and if you can’t, at least respect other’s opinions with grace.

Don’t ever expect your children to take care of you – they shouldn't feel obligated to stop living their life to take care of you, and never make them feel guilty about it.

No amount of face cream is going to wipe away those wrinkles so just stop already!

I tried very hard to keep that body of yours in shape – keep it up!

Drink in moderation. Oh hell, you’re old so drink as much as you want – you've earned it!

You are very blessed. Make sure you continue to show God how grateful you are for all that you have, (even if you can’t hear, see or carry on a lucid conversation).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I know I have been out of the loop for a while, raising my kids but, when did technology completely pass me by?

When I left the workforce in 1999 to stay home with my two little ones, technology – at least social media, was in its infancy.  I didn’t own a smartphone, I didn’t surf the internet, and I didn’t have a Myspace page. If fact, as a teacher, I still had a real, paper grade book and used a calculator to figure out grades. Jump forward almost sixteen years, and I feel like I have woken up and emerged from my cave and am completely overwhelmed!

When I was young(er), I embraced technology. I remember when my dad brought home our first VCR (video cassette recorder for you young ones), and I was the one who learned how to work it and became the resident expert.  I was the one who brought home the first computer; an Apple IIc (portable but still like carrying a cinder block), which I thought was such an incredible advancement in modern technology. I learned how to work it, like every new technology that came out for years after. But, once my kids were born, it’s like I went into technology hibernation.

When did this new technology begin to smack me in the face? I think it was when my son started high school (four years ago), and I went to the back to school orientation. All the students were to have iPads, and many of the tasks that were done on paper were now going to be transferred to this new, handy-dandy electronic thingamajig. Then they gave us a website to check our kid’s grades, another website for supplemental materials, another website for turning in homework, etc. In addition, each teacher had his/her own website and so on. The kids seemed to take it in stride, flourished in fact, but I flailed like a whale without a tail – I wasn’t getting anywhere, and I was sure to drown.

Then, a couple of years ago, my husband started his own company. Because he was working full time at another company while working on the start-up phase of the new one, I was appointed the CEO as well as the Corporate Secretary. It wasn’t a big deal; all I had to do was open a bank account, write some checks and sign some non-disclosure agreements – easy peasy. But, as the company grew, I had to step into the real corporate world, and I was completely out of my comfort zone. I had to learn Quickbooks to keep the finances in line. My husband would ask me for reports using terminology I had never heard of and asked me to put it into Google docs – huh, what?! That was the first time I had a work related melt-down. “I don’t know what the hell you’re asking me to do!” I yelled at him. While he stayed in the workforce and kept up with the latest lingo and technology, I was still, very much, stuck in a different time. I felt utterly inadequate and extremely disappointed in myself for not staying in touch with the ever-expanding world.

Let’s top all of this off with the beginning of this year, when my sister-in-law and I went to the coffee shop to get started on our blog. We both struggled with how to set up our blog, not being able to figure out how we could both be on the account and be administrators. It took many deep breaths, sighs and “how could this be so hard?” comments before we finally figured it out. Unfortunately, it took us too long to work out the basics (since we are the blind leading the blind) and had to postpone our launch. Last Friday we made plans to video chat to get this blog published, but couldn’t figure out how to get my computer webcam working (because I never use it) and then, how we can both access and edit our blog at the same time. It was like we were walking down a rocky path and tripped every few steps. Maybe, with each step, the path will get smoother before I break my neck!

Now, I try to educate myself on what’s new but I still can’t keep up. I still don’t get the whole hashtag thing. I’ve attempted to understand it, and my kids and husband have tried to teach me, but I don’t see the point. My kids get impatient with me, grabbing my phone out of my hand or taking control of my computer because I don’t know how to do something. They find it’s easier just to do it for me than to tell me how. I have a Facebook page, but I don’t know how to use a lot of its features. I also have a Twitter and a Tumbler account, but I don’t use those much – it’s just another thing to keep track of.  So I wonder…do I really not understand this stuff or is it that I just don’t care to? I think it’s a little of both really. While I would prefer a more simple way of doing things, I know that if I want to survive in this big, confusing world of technology, I’m going to have to step up to the plate and swing. I just need to figure out where to start – is there a class to teach us how to look like we know what we are doing? Hmmm, maybe I should just play with hashtags and see where it takes me.

But seriously, if there is one bit of advice I can give to the young moms and dads of today who find themselves at home, loaded down by dirty diapers, meal prep, and endless errands, it’s this: Never lose touch of the outside world. Take the time to keep yourself updated on the latest of things. If you have put your career on hold to raise your kids, find time to hone your skills and stay in contact with those in your field. It’s easy to lose touch of these things and trust me, time will fly by faster than a game of Candy Crush. So #keepitup, #stayeducated, #itsreallife, #IamsureIdidallthesehashtagswrongbutohwell.

How do you keep up in today’s technology surge? What advice can you give to the young and old? Feel free to comment! #helpusall.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Truth About Yelling

At least once a week it happens. I am on Facebook minding everyone else's business, looking at a picture of the salad that bitch from high school had for lunch when it pops up. A very helpful not at all sanctimonious link to an article about Positive Parenting. Positive Parenting means not yelling at your kids or saying anything negative to them. Ever. Not at five o'clock when your kids resemble gremlins with full bellies after midnight. Not at nine thirty P.M. when you are trying to catch up on last week's DVRed episode of The Real Housewives of Somewhere More Exciting Than Here and your son needs one more something or other. Not even when your teenage daughter spills your nail polish all over the bathroom counter after she has been told 7,858 time to stay out of your flippin things and after you bought her her own nail polish in every color of the rainbow. No, you are supposed to take a deep breath, count to ten, channel your inner Stepford, and say something like, "Now Sweet Cheeks, we need to try and make better choices, okay?" That is what I say. When I am under the influence of alcohol. Or muscle relaxants.
After seeing one such article I decided to consult Doctor Google, PhD on the matter because these articles never fail to make me feel like like a shitty mom. Sure, I am not dropping f bombs on my kids and I shower them with love, but after the third spilled cup of milk that morning or when called a stupid poopy head I have maybe raised my voice several octaves. I figured Google would make me feel better because it never does. Surely I would find funny yet wise parenting confessions from great moms who sometimes every day yell at their kids. Surely Psychology Today would comfort me with a study proving that children who are yelled at do not grow up to be Norman Bates. As a result of my Google search I found an insightful article by the Huffington Post (always a reliable source, by the way) listing ten ways to stop yelling at your kids. Oddly, none of the ten things cited were, "drink more". Judgey McJudgerton from Nowhere, Ohio wrote a lovely blog post about how she gave up yelling at her kids for good and now the whole family spends evenings hugging each other and chanting positive affirmations. Ah, Google. You never make me feel better and yet I keep coming back to you.
I guess it is up to me, now. Please sit down and read carefully while you pretend to have your full attention on your daughter's fourth rendition of the story about the cute boy in her class. I need to tell you a secret about yelling that the other parents don't want you to know. Are your ready? If the feds read this I may disappear. Here is the truth about yelling:
Everybody Does It.
I am going to say that again. Everybody. Yells. That mom in playgroup who bakes kale carrot muffins and says things like, "Sweetie, please put on your listening ears and stop throwing sand at your brother"? She yells. The lady who teaches baby yoga at the park district and always smells like essential oils? Or pot. You can bet your Merlot that when dinnertime rolls around and she has cooked four different meals only to be given a look of disgust and told, "I don't want that,” her inner zen goes the ways of Kim Kardashian's judgement. That woman coming out of Whole Foods with her matching diaper bag and car seat cover? There are days and nights when she can give the Dance Moms a run for their money. While wearing sweat pants. How about your son's preschool teacher who seems  to have the mood of a chronic opiate user? Come on, you think she can keep up that enthusiasm and patience with her own kids after dealing with yours four two and a half hours? Nope.
Before you get all, "enjoy every moment, maybe you should take antidepressants" on me, let me clarify: I am not saying that yelling at your kids is good. I am saying that we are all human and patience is a limited resource, and if it is not constant and the interim is filled with hugs and encouragement and art projects and snuggles your kids probably won't end up on the Dr. Phil Show. He only picks the serious loonies. Sure, you shouldn't have told your son to get back in his damn bed at ten o'clock last night, and you probably did over react to that spill and it would have been better to ignore it when your teenager gave you that look AGAIN instead of flipping your shit. These are not graceful, attractive, Facebook worthy moments. They are human moments. They are not moments that define you as a mom, or as a person. They don't make you a bad mom. You are a good mom, albeit a human one. Listen, kids are beautiful wonderful blessings and we are so lucky to have them, but they know how to annoy the living shit out of us. I think they might take a class on it in the womb. Sometimes you are going to lose your cool, overreact, and not have one shred of patience left by bedtime. That's okay, me too. Any mom that tells your she never ever yells is either a pathological liar or heavily medicated. So what should you do when you go all Abby Lee Miller on your kid for a minor infraction? When everyone calms down give them a hug, explain that even moms have bad days, pour yourself a glass of whine and move on. Make sure little Caillou understands that he didn’t make a good choice, though, okay?
At the end of the day, your son won't remember that you yelled at him. He will remember that you checked under his bed for monsters and snuggled with him. Your daughter won't remember that you yelled. She will remember that you commiserated with her about the mean girls on the playground. Your children won't remember the yelling; they will remember the nights you stayed up with them when they were sick, the hours you spent researching the right school, the crafts you did, the adventures you planned, the time you bought that lego set instead of that pair of boots you needed, and the fact that you were there. I hope that in the midst of blaming ourselves, lying awake at night thinking about how we could have said it, done it or reacted to it differently, and constantly trying to do better, that we can remember those things, too.

The Blog That Almost Wasn't

As we sit at the local coffee shop, trying to figure out how to create this inspiring blog, we have been called by both of our husbands asking things such as, where's the Tylenol? Do we have any pasta in the house? What time are you coming home? Is Kraft Mac and Cheese dye-free? etc., etc.

You see, we don't live the fairy tale life of those on Facebook. Instead, we live the realistic life of wives and mothers who are stretched and pulled and our bodies are proof of that.

Jan (that's me), is, let's just say, in her forties, with three children ages 10, 15 and 17.  She has lived in Chicago, San Diego, Seoul, and Beijing - following her husband around as he climbs the corporate ladder.  Her oldest, a boy, has ADD, her middle child, a girl, suffers from middle child syndrome and her youngest is going to cause her to drink...more. It was a rude wake-up call when a friend de-friended her on Facebook because her life seemed too perfect. Well, her life is anything but perfect although, it's been a great ride full of ups and downs. At her age, she finds being a conformist to society's expectations exhausting. What she recently realized was she really needs to surround herself with women who fight the same battles every day. She hopes that this blog will be anything but normal. She may go as bold as posting less flattering pictures of herself or how her house really looks when no one is scheduled to visit - you know, REAL life. She's excited to be working in tandem with her much younger sister-in-law Kat who she knew before Kat turned four. She is married to Kat's brother.

Kat is the sister of Jan's husband which proves her brother can do some things right since he married someone similar to his sister. I know, weird, right? At two and five, her boys keep her on her toes, out of bed, and drowning in laundry, toy trains, and snotty tissues as well as hugs and slobbery kisses. When she is not running her mom's group at church or writing you can find her behind a loaded grocery cart, stuffing a resistant two year old in a car seat, dragging an equally resistant five year old into a kindergarten classroom, and answering questions such as why do moms sit down to pee? why do I have to go to bed if I'm not tired? and how do I boil water. That last one came from her husband. She doesn't usually let her kids use the stove, although isn't it about time they learned to make their own damn macaroni and cheese? Efficient and organized are not words that describe Kat, but she has learned to juggle the demands of motherhood, her husband's long work hours, three cats, and a fixer-upper house with the help of a caffeine addiction, doting grandparents, a few good friends, beer, and of course her sister-in-law.

So, if you desire some validation that you are not losing your mind and that it's okay to be human, then you have come to the right place.  Feel free to comment, vent or go ape-shit here - we will not judge! This blog isn't just for the stay-at-home mom. This blog is also for the stay-at-home dad as well as working parents and people who don't have any kids at all. We hope to host a wide array of topics such as child rearing, friendships, ailing parents, wine and beer, why we need wine and beer, etc.