I hate you…I love you…You’re my sister

Growing up as an only child, I missed out on the sibling spats that so many of my friends had the luxury of enjoying. As much as I wanted and truly thought my stuffed animals talked back to me, they didn’t.

Fast forward thirty years and as the mother of two girls, I can see how siblings fight and can change their moods in a matter of seconds. It’s like watching an animated film turn into a horror movie right in front of your eyes.

I’ve heard all the stories but really never believed them until I experienced them when my girls started to talk. Ever since, the pendulum has swung from hot to cold in a matter of seconds.

It doesn’t really matter if I’m in the room or not because they get their crazy on right in front of me. There’s no shame.

One minute they’re playing Barbies or a game and it’s so serene I swear I can hear “The Sound of Music” in the background. Barbies are going to a party; my girls are telling each other how much fun they’re having. Then before you know it, I think the Barbies are fighting over the corvette when in reality it’s my little Skippers who are engaged in a battle royale. I let it play out until push comes to shove…literally. Then I have to “momaree” the event and it’s never pretty.

It’s certainly not my finest moment and definitely not theirs.

There’s yelling, there’s crying, then it all stops with the signature ending of my girls saying they hate each other. Yep, another banner day of parenting!

They huff off into their separate corners while I retreat into another room to regain my own sanity.

As I replay this latest episode of “I hate my sister” in my head and try to think of ways for them to stop, I hear something else from the other room.

I peak in and see they’ve each come out of their separate corners. They look at each other and one asks the other if they want to play.

Wait! What?

Five minutes ago you wish you had different mothers, now you want to play? I’m still reeling from the headache you gave me and counting down the hours until you go to bed. Now you’re ready to play nice?

Then I hear three words that must signal I’ve entered the Twilight Zone; either that or I’ve actually slept long enough to have a dream.

“I love you,” says one child. “I love you too,” says the other.

For the love of Christmas! You girls are nuts! More importantly, you’re driving me nuts!

Don’t get me wrong I truly do enjoy the fact that they can make up that quickly, but why all the drama before? I was pretty sure Barbie was going to slap them upside the head because they were acting so crazy!

This is why I’m getting gray. Yep. Totally why.

I know, I know, it’s normal and it’s only going to get worse. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it all before. But, if you go through this too you know how much it sucks in the moment.

It feels like someone kidnapped you and put you on a crazy train. I guess this is what I missed out on by not having a sibling! My Care Bear never told me he hated me. He never told me he loved me either, but I digress.

So what’s a momma to do? Buy ear plugs? I’ve seriously thought about it but realized I would still be able to hear them.

Nope, guess I’ll just grab a book and cozy up on the crazy train because it’s going to be a long ride…




Why Do I Love Them?

Okay, so it’s a given that we all love our kids. They drive us nuts but we love them to death. Hopefully you tell your kids you love them a couple of times a day. When they leave for school in the morning and when they go to bed are probably the two biggies.

Sure you say the words but do you know why?

Do you know why you love your kids besides the fact that they’re you’re kids and that’s what you’re supposed to do?


Think about it. We say the words all the time, but have you ever said to your child, “I love you because…” I know I don’t. That’s why I found a particular project interesting.

You’ve probably seen it (and maybe even done it before). It’s all over Pinterest and the web and often dubbed “Heart Attack” for the bedroom door. It looks like this:

Basically you cut out paper hearts and write something positive about your child for the first 14 days of February leading up to the big heart day…Valentine’s Day! There’s a number of ways to do this, but I chose the “I love you because…” and filled in a reason each day.

At first my kids thought I sniffed the glue gun too much and didn’t quite know what to make of mommy’s new project.

“What are you doing to our doors?” they asked at first with skeptical looks on their faces.

But, when I explained what the project was, they smiled.

“That’s cool. So everyday you’re going to put a heart with something on our door?” my oldest daughter asked.

When I told them yes, they actually let out a big “yeah!”

OMG! They actually liked it! I haven’t lost them yet! One point for Mom!

So, for the past 13 days, that’s just what I’ve been doing. The first couple were easy. But, honestly, it’s been getting hard to come up with 14 unique reasons why I love my kids. I know that may sound horrible but when someone asks you to actually think about it, it’s tough! Not find new “Elf on the Shelf” hiding places tough, but tough in its own regard.

Despite the challenge, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed doing it. It really made me think about what it is about my kids that’s so awesome. I think it’s a great confidence builder for them too. So many times they hear so much negativity in the world that it’s comforting to know they can find happiness and positivity in these little hearts. They can know what it is about themselves that makes them such wonderful kids. It’s something I think they truly internalize and remember.

Although this little “heart attack” is over tomorrow, I’m going to make more of an effort of telling my girls the little things that make them big stars in my heart everyday, not just the first 14 days of February.


Read by Example

If your child is in elementary school, chances are reading is part of their nightly homework. While my kids truly do enjoy reading, getting them to do it after a day of school and other homework isn’t easy, to put it mildly.

I can’t say I blame them really. After I write all day, the last thing I want to do is more writing at night! As much as I want to tell them I totally get where they’re coming from on the reading thing, adulting must happen which means I must encourage reading.

After realizing that telling them to read wasn’t really cutting it, I had an “a-ha” moment. You see, I always complain I don’t have time to read or that I’m too tired. One of my many resolutions this year is to try to read more. What better way than to do it with my kids? I get to read, they get to read, and there’s peace and quiet in the house, even if it’s just for ten minutes.

I wasn’t sure they were going to buy it at first, but I pitched it anyway.

“How about we all read for ten to fifteen minutes tonight together?”

Blank stares followed by, “What do you mean?”

“I mean we all pick a comfy spot, grab a book and just read…together…but by ourselves. You read your book, I read my book, but we’re all doing it at the same time.”


“Okay, sure…and then we can tell each other what we read,” chimes in my oldest.

Praise Jesus! Maybe you are my kid after all!

“Yes, that sounds like a good idea,” I answer.

So, we read…together…but by ourselves for about 15 minutes. When we’re done, my kids actually do start talking about what they read. It’s working, it’s really working!

I follow the rules too and tell them about my book…which means no reading any “50 Shades” type of stuff with them.

The next day we didn’t have our reading time because we were doing other things. I know, I know, after only one day and I screw it up!

Before all hope is lost, my kids tell me at night, “Hey, we forgot to do our reading. Can we do it tomorrow?”

Amen and Alleluia! I didn’t screw it up…yet!

It’s always the little things that really turn into the big things when you’re a parent.

Why 2018 Should be the Year of You

As moms we tend to put everyone else’s needs in front of our own, and that includes Barbie who always gets her hair knotted in her elastic and needs help buttoning her pants.

Why do we do this? Is it just a case of our mothering nature? Maybe it’s a part of that unspoken oath we all took on the delivery table as we gave birth. Whatever the case, it can leave a momma downright exhausted and feeling empty.

That’s why it’s time to let 2018 be the year of you.

Isn’t it time to give yourself some of that energy you so quickly give to others? Sure, it’s easier said than done. I always say I’m going to do it and then something happens. Who’s fault is that? Is it my kids? Is it Barbie’s fault? No, it’s my own. I’m not saying we, myself included, need to start being narcissists and let our kids fend for themselves 24/7, but a little more self-care never hurt. After all don’t all the experts say you need to be happy and take care of yourself before you can make anyone else happy? I know I’ve heard that countless times before.

That’s where choice comes into play. I’m a firm believer in choice. We all make choices and those choices affect how we live our lives and how we feel about ourselves. If you choose to forego that workout because you’re afraid your kids will miss you too much and no one will be able to do Barbie’s hair like you do, that’s on you. We all know how guilty our kids can make us feel. Plus, Barbie can wait. She’s not going anywhere. But, think about how bad you’re going to feel if you miss that workout you so desperately want. You may become so resentful that you end up taking out your frustrations on your kids instead of zumbaing it out. Get to the gym!

What about skipping out on that date night with your significant other just because the thought of getting a babysitter is exhausting? Trust me, they’ll survive. That time away is a good thing. It gives everyone a much needed time out and time to refresh. I always feel like I’m a better parent once I’ve had some “time off”. Sometimes you need a break, even if it’s just a quick dinner out for a couple of hours. Go out!

When you become a parent your hobbies seem to get lost in the Legos if you know what I mean. I used to be an avid reader, and not of kid’s picture books…of books with actual chapters and paragraphs longer than two sentences. It used to relax me and give me a much needed escape. Why did I stop? I could blame it on my kids, but it really was my choice. I chose to do other things, like folding clothes, putting dishes away, etc. with whatever free time I had. If 2018 is going to be the year of me, it means more reading too. Get reading!

Another “mom thing” seems to be the incessant need to say “yes” to every invitation you and your kids receive. You wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, would you? What about your feelings? What about what you want? I’ve learned the hard way that it’s okay to say no. Quite frankly, no one really cares if you make it to their event as much as you think they do. Ouch! I know that’s hard to hear, but it’s the truth. Sometimes free time is more important than taking your child to a birthday party of a classmate she hardly knows just because she wants to be nice. Get used to saying no!

I think by doing these little things or whatever else you’ve been neglecting can truly help you make 2018 the year of you. What do you say?




The Santa Interrogation

So, I’ve been off the grid for awhile, dealing with all things holiday…shopping, decorating, waking up in a cold sweat when I realize I forgot to move the darn elf, and oh yeah, dealing with the Santa interrogation.

Up until this point, I’ve been able to play the Santa thing with no problem. No questions. No doubt. My kids just took everything I said about Santa as gospel.

He lives at the mall until Christmas Eve.

He has elves that go to Target while the other elves stay at the North Pole to make the other toys Target doesn’t sell.

He manages to come down the chimney without setting the alarm and yes he eats ALL the cookies ALL the children everywhere leave him. That’s why he’s so big.

But, this year, both of my girls want to know more about this man we call Santa. Anyone who knows me can tell you I don’t have a poker face. So, lying is not my specialty. But, for the sake of Santa and all things Christmas, I do my best. I think it’s working…well sorta.

Cue “The Santa Interrogation”.

My 8-year-old has been asking me about all the other “pop-up” Santas we’ve been seeing at different craft fairs, tree lightings, and other events.

“Those aren’t real, right mom?”

Think fast woman!

At the risk of having her believe that Santa runs around all over and leaves his post at the mall, I answer, “Right, those aren’t real. They just help Santa because they know he’s so busy. They’re kinda like elves, but just a step up.”

Buy it, come on, buy it!

“Yeah mom, that’s what I thought. But the one at the mall is the real one, right?”

Quick answer here.

“Of course, the mall Santa is the real deal.”

Now the trick is to only go to one mall so they don’t see all the other ones. Oh yeah, he sleeps in the food court at night too…no I didn’t say that, but I wanted to.

Whew! Dodged that one.


Now my 6-year-old is getting in on the action.

“Mom, how does Santa make it to all the boys and girls on Christmas Eve?”

Why, why do you want to know? Think fast…

“It’s part of the magic of Christmas. No one really knows.”

Really lame answer, I know. 

Silence. No response. She may be on to me.

“Santa always remembers what I want, that’s cool.”

Yes! Faith restored. We’re good! 

“Mom, what does Santa do when it’s not Christmas?”

Who cares?!?

“He takes a nice vacation because Christmas makes him so tired.”

That was an easy one.

“How does Santa know where we live?”

He googles us.

No, really, “He just knows. Santa knows everything.”


Exit children from the table.

The Santa Interrogation is over…for now.


Although the endless questions can get a bit much I know I’m going to miss this time. When else can I tell my kids that it’s okay to sit on a strange old man’s lap and it’s even more okay to let him break into our house once a year to leave presents without taking one thing? What’s even better is that he knows when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake, so don’t bother sleeping with one eye open because he’ll know that too.

Christmas truly is a magical time, isn’t it?


Too Sexy for Halloween

Halloween costumes have come a long way from the plastic outfits with matching masks that tightly pinched the back of your head. I remember buying them with my mom in the grocery store for under $10. Looking back, those masks weren’t probably the safest, nor were the 100% plastic costumes we walked around in, but in the ’80’s, E.T. and Strawberry Shortcake never looked so good!

Fast forward thirty years and good luck finding a costume for under $10! Not only that, if you want to dress up to go trick-or-treating or to go to a Halloween party with your kids, good luck finding a costume that doesn’t look like you walk the streets the other 364 days of the year for different kinds of tricks and treats.

I’m not saying we need to go out covered head to toe, but I also don’t think some of these super sexy costumes are practical for the average mom on-the-go at Halloween time.

Recently I went to one of those pop-up Halloween stores…you know the ones that disappear November 1st. I just needed a costume that I could wear to a party with my kids and for Halloween night. Shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Well, you name it and nearly every costume was way too sexy! From nurses to police officers to maids, there wasn’t anything I could see myself wearing comfortably. On top of that, I couldn’t find a costume for under $30.

It’s funny, when I clean my house I don’t look anything like those maids do on the costume bags, nor do I look like any of those nurses when I’m cleaning puke at 2a.m. I think having a maid costume consisting of old bleach-stained sweats, a tank-top and a headband is more appropriate. But, what do I know?

Needless to say, I walked out of the store a half-hour later costume-less. So, I went to a few more stores in search of something that was fun, practical, and somewhat comfy. I was disappointed to discover the same types of costumes. Unless I wanted to be a bottle of ketchup, a minion, or a hot dog, there wasn’t much out there for this mom. So, I went home without a costume.

I was ready to dust off my kitty cat headband and wash my black leggings and shirt for yet another Halloween when a lightbulb went off. Well, not really, I saw a pair of my husband’s shorts and I remembered a costume he put together to make the kids laugh. It was a nerdy looking guy with big knee socks, shorts hiked up, a sweat band, and funny glasses.  So, I re-created the costume for myself and couldn’t be happier! This was far better than anything I saw in any of the stores. It was comfy, funny, and practical.I added my own touches with some new socks and a t-shirt that was on clearance in Target. The bonus was that I spent under $20! Take that over-priced Halloween stores!

So, here’s the bottom line. Costume makers, can moms have some variety? Can you make some fun stuff for those of us who don’t want to catch pneumonia on Halloween by going out in barely nothing with our treats hanging out? Something besides ketchup bottles and hot dogs, please? Many of us would greatly appreciate it! Thank-you and Happy Halloween!





The Day the Butterflies Went Away

There are certain expected milestones in your child’s life that make you happy, sad, and sometimes a little bit of both. First steps, first words, first days of schools…they’re all pretty much lumped together and spark a flutter of emotions.

But, it’s the unique milestones that really hit you right in the mommy gut. They’re often ones you thought would have no significance at all.

For me, it’s the day the butterflies went away.

When my youngest daughter was born we decorated her nursery in a butterfly theme.  There were butterflies all around her room; purple and pink, everything matched, from the crib sheet to the curtains. The butterflies never seemed to bother her…not like she had a say in the matter anyway.

As my daughter started growing and developing her own little personality, I could immediately tell she wasn’t the purple and pink butterfly kind of girl. She was the one to chase them away, not to admire their beauty.  Nevertheless, the butterflies stayed where they were. It was their home after all. Even as she moved from the crib to a “big girl bed”, the butterflies hung on.

When she turned four and was waist-deep into “My Little Pony”, we changed her bedspread and curtains to match her current obsession.

But, the butterflies remained on the wall. She didn’t seem to care as long as her ponies were around.

From the ponies we added “Shopkins” decals on the walls…next to the butterflies. The “Shopkins”, ponies, and butterflies all seemed to live in perfect harmony, although they had nothing in common except for the fact they shared a room.

Then a couple of months ago, my then 5-year-old daughter said, “Mommy, I want to take the butterflies off. They’re babyish. I’m a big girl.”

What? No more butterflies? What did they ever do to you?

As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew she had a point. She was growing up whether I wanted to face it or not. When my older daughter changed her room décor, it didn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I welcomed it. But, when it’s your youngest, it’s just different…at least for me.

Since the butterflies were going bye-bye, I figured we might as well get rid of the ponies too. So I suggested buying new bedding for her sixth birthday. She immediately jumped aboard that train adding, “something for big girls”. I agreed to that. It would be nice to choose a bedding theme that could last the test of time…or at least through her little phases and fads.

She chose a zebra rainbow pattern. I have to admit, it is very nice and is “something for big girls”. While we’re still making the transition and adding decorations here and there, the butterflies are gone.

They have a new home, in her closet, along with toys that aren’t exactly for “big girls” anymore.

While I can’t hold on to the butterflies, I’ll still grab onto those mommy hugs and snuggles whenever I can get them before they fly away.

Did You Get Your “Mommy 10” Today?

As a mom, any quiet time you get to yourself is better than gold. Between work, the kids, activities, and everything else life throws at you, you look forward to your quiet time even more than a new season of “Fuller House” on Netflix. At least I do.

That’s why I need my “Mommy 10”.

What’s the “Mommy 10”? Well, I’m glad you asked. The “Mommy 10” is that precious time (usually about 10 minutes) in the morning after you’ve gotten up and ready for the day and before your kids get up.

It’s the time before the daily arguments about what to wear although outfits are picked out the night before.

It’s the time before needing to explain why Cheetos and Doritos are not good snack options, even if sanitizer is used afterwards.

It’s the time before explaining for the 100th time why sanitizer won’t get that cheesy stuff off fingers.

It’s the time before the first argument about whose Barbie is going to use the car and which one will have to walk.

It’s the time all moms need.

It’s ten minutes of quiet in the morning to use any way you’d like. Whether it’s to sit down and enjoy a few sips of coffee before it gets cold or scroll through your Facebook feed to see what everyone else was doing while you were sleeping, or even watching TV; it’s your time.

I need this time at the beginning of my day to just set the tone for what’s ahead. I look at my planner to see what assignments I have to complete. I look at the calendar to see what’s going on for the day and mentally prepare myself, especially when it’s back-to-back soccer practices at dinner time when I don’t want to use the crockpot.

Getting my “Mommy 10” means not hitting the snooze button and walking like a ninja through my house so I don’t wake the kids. Annoying…yes.

Well worth it…absolutely.

Then there are the mornings I hit the lottery.

Those are the mornings when I get the “Mommy 60”. Those are the days when I get really crazy and hit the gym even before the garbage men are out. It’s nutty, but truth be told those are the mornings I feel phenomenal, even if I’m ready to crash after dinner!

The days I don’t get my “Mommy 10 ” or “Mommy 60” and wake up when my kids do or even slightly after are about as fun as watching a Caillou marathon. I honestly feel the difference of not having my “Mommy 10”.

I know a lot of women who get their “Mommy 10” at night once everyone goes to sleep. While this time has its perks too, there’s just something about getting time to yourself first thing in the morning, even if you’re not a morning person.

Laugh all you want, but once you try it, you won’t knock it!

So did you get your “Mommy 10” today?



Can we stop putting labels on parenting?

When I became a parent eight years ago, I knew I would be getting the new title of “Mom” or “Momeeee” as my kids like to scream. I knew there were a lot of responsibilities and expectations that came along with that prestigious name. I was ready to take it on, and that I did, some days better than others, but you get the idea.

What I didn’t know was that there was a chance I would be labeled as a certain type of parent. I thought a parent was a parent and that was that. That’s the way it was for my momma. She was my mom. That was pretty much where it ended.

Fast forward a few decades where parents of my generation have the pleasure to be categorized into certain parent molds. I’m sure by now you’ve heard of them all.

You have the helicopter parents. Those are the ones who apparently are overprotective and take an obsessive role in their kids’ lives.

Then you have the lawnmower parents. Those are the ones who stop at nothing to make sure everything goes smoothly for their kids and there are no obstacles in the way.

Don’t forget the “free-range” parents who let their kids explore the world. I thought only chickens could be “free-range”? Who knew?

On the opposite end is the “tiger” parent who doesn’t let their kids explore anything. They’re pretty strict and lay down the law 24/7.

Then there are the attachment parents. They love, love, love to be with their kids 24/7, some even at bedtime.

The list goes on and on…and on. Am I the only one who finds this type of parenting labeling downright annoying? I’m still confused as to how we got to this point, but I wish it would all go away.

If you’re like me, you take a little chapter out of each of these parenting styles.

Do I tend to hover over my kids at times like those so-called helicopter parents? Sure.

Do I try to make things easy for my kids? Sometimes.

Do I let my kids explore and do their own thing? Absolutely! Especially on days when I’ve heard “mommy” for about the 100th time and my head is ready to explode. Explore all you want my young Dora…explore…and take your sister with you!

Am I strict with my kids? You bet. They call me “mean” at times, but it’s all good. They’ll thank me later. I used to think my parents were mean but now I get it. They’re lucky that all they had to worry about was me wanting “total phone” so I could have a conversation with more than one of my friends at the same time. That was technology at its best in the ’80’s! I think if my parents had to deal with all the pitfalls of cell phones and social media their heads would explode.

Am I attached to my kids? Of course? Just not at bedtime.

So would that make me an attached helicopter, lawnmower, free-range tiger momma?

If you want to classify yourself as a certain “type” of parent, knock yourself out. I’ll take a time out on that one. There are already so many self-imposed and society pressures on parents these days without throwing parenting labels into the mix. Like I tell my kids, I don’t care what everyone else does, I only care what you do. I just wish we could all make it a little easier on one another.

As parents, I think we’re all constantly trying to figure this thing out and wonder if we’re doing it right so we don’t screw it up. But, what’s right for you may not be right for me and vice versa.

I think if everyone just tries to be the best parent they can, we’ll all be better for it. Let’s leave the helicopters and the lawnmowers out of it.



10 Things I’ve Learned After the First Week Back to School

School has been in session for a little over a week now. It feels like they’ve been back for four months already. Anyone else feel that way too? It’s weird.

Even though this is not my first time at the rodeo, I always feel like the new school year teaches me something new…besides how to do common core math, which by the way is ridiculous.

It doesn’t take long to be reminded why I actually look forward to the summer and days off. Between work, school, activities, and meetings…it feels like it should be wine o’clock all day long!

So, what have I learned since we hit the play button on the new school year?

  1. I hate making school lunches. If the school lunch menu gods would understand that my kids don’t eat pancakes and French toast sticks for lunch then maybe I wouldn’t have to make sandwiches that I hate to make and I know they hate eating.
  2. There is no “fun” in fundraisers. Yes, I know they idea is to raise “funds” and not have “fun”, but I still find the name deceiving. It’s no fun seeing family members cringe when your child walks up to them with their trusty little sheet and book of “goodies”.
  3. Realizing you’re giving up half your day on Saturdays to sports. I proudly wear the title of soccer mom, but when you have two kids on two different teams, that’s your Saturday in a nutshell. The bigger problem is realizing you’ll have to use the porta potty if you opt for the medium coffee over the small.
  4. Apparently a closet full of clothes=nothing to wear. Funny how I was ready to poke my eyes out with a  spork while doing back-to-school clothes shopping, yet my kids tell me they have nothing to wear. My wallet tells me otherwise. Perhaps I need to get their eyes checked. By the way, uniforms were so much easier.
  5. My kids are allergic to waking up early. That is the only explanation. Riddle me this…in the summer they were ready to jump in the pool by 8 a.m., yet we can’t get up at 7 a.m. no matter how early we’ve gone to sleep.
  6. I don’t care where everyone in class sits. While I love to know who is in my kids’ classes and who they’re having lunch with, I don’t need to know where everyone sits and how many feet away they are from the door. If Jenny sits directly across from Michael who sits next to Thomas, that’s great, but I don’t care.
  7. I can’t keep every worksheet my kids do at school. I love seeing what my kids do at school, but am I supposed to keep every piece of work? Who has the space for all that paper? Why in creation do my kids think we need to keep everything? Yes, I know it’s special because they did it, but that work can still be special somewhere else…like not all over my house.
  8. My car is a disaster. All of a sudden, my car is full of soccer cleats, socks, shin guards and half-empty water bottles (okay, a lot of those are mine). It’s chaos in the car. I’d much rather go back to when sand in the car was public enemy number one.
  9. Getting to bed on time must be an Olympic sport. It seems like we’re jumping through hoops to try to get to bed on time every night. It’s a 100 meter dash that we are desperately losing. It seems that everyone is dehydrated or needs to give me the answer to a question I asked five hours ago just as we’re going trying to get to bed. In this event, we’re barely getting the bronze.
  10. I can’t do third grade math “right”. If my daughter has a question about her homework, I’ve tried to help but I’m told I’m not doing it “right”. Hmmm…but I know the answer is right! It’s downright annoying.

As the year progresses I’m sure I’ll learn many more life lessons! For now, it’s time to pack lunches and secretly hide all of those worksheets that have wallpapered my home!