Category: Healthy Moms

Friday Favorites – My Best Lip Balm Picks

Anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for a good lip balm. I have one stashed in nearly every room of my house. Being that I have so many favorites, I thought I’d share them with you. Growing up my favorite was a cherry flavored name brand. Since that has just too many things I can’t ingest, I’ve switched to organic brands using only essential oils and vitamin E instead of lengthy, unpronounceable preservatives. All of the lip balms listed are cruelty free and are made by companies with an eye on caring for the earth, or contribute to greater causes.

Lasting Smiles Lip Balm

Not only does the peach balm taste perfectly peachy without overpowering, but every purchase helps fund cleft palate surgeries for children in need. The balms are organic, vegetarian, cruelty free and free from harmful chemicals commonly used in cosmetics. I keep this one in my desk drawer to apply during my late night writing sessions.

Kiss My Face Lip TreatMint

This is my go-to lip balm to wear while outside in the sun. I keep it in my purse so I am ready to combat those UVA/UVB rays while running errands, or playing at the park. This is the best lip balm with SPF I have ever used. Everything else tastes like sunscreen, or contains so much fragrance to cover up the sunscreen scent. Kiss My Face is vegetarian, preservative free, it is also gluten free, and does not contain artificial colors.


Poofy Organics Lip Balm

The Cherry Vanilla is my favorite. It reminds me of being a kid and getting a cherry lip balm as a treat. But this one tastes better, feels better and is better for my body! This balm is vegetarian and certified organic. I keep this one in my medicine cabinet to use as part of my day/night time routine. I put it on right after brushing!

Savor Beauty Organic Lip Balm

Created with organic essential oils, this balm comes in five different flavors. It glides on so smooth and the flavor isn’t perfumey or over powering. I keep this one in the drawer of my night stand to apply just before bed. My lips are still moisture rich by morning. One of my absolute favorites!

You may not think it is a big deal to use organic, or chemical free products on your lips but here’s a fun fact: we swallow approximately 6 pounds of lipstick/lip balm in our life time. Are you sure you want it to be full of things you can’t pronounce? It may be too pricey to keep one in every room (each balm lasts me nearly a year), but it is definitely worth investing in one good one to carry with you.

Some other brands I’m excited to try:

Disclosure: Contains #Amazonaffiliate links. Links are safe to use and shop with. When you purchase using the above links I receive a very small commission. Just enough to keep me in lip balms for a little while. No financial compensation received for writing this review. All the opinions expressed belong solely to The Whatever Mom. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Taking A Break From Being Perfect

Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not really perfect. I do spend a lot of time trying to make things perfect though. I am always in a rush to get places on time or earlier than on time. I’m in a hurry most days to check things off my list. I try to out best myself the next day to see just how many things I can actually finish in one day. As much as I feel like I’m in control of things, I’m really not. It feels like being busy is the same as being productive. But being busy, and checking things off on paper doesn’t equal a quality life.

While I’m busy and rushing I’m not really living in the moment, or enjoying the simple pleasures of life. In fact I most often don’t even notice them. That is until one of my kids stops to point them out. While I’m rushing us from one errand to the next, or trying to make better time than our last shopping trip, one or both girls want to stop to pick dandelions. It never fails as I am ushering everyone out of the door because NOW WE ARE RUNNING LATE, one or both of my girls will stop to notice the puffy clouds shaped like a puppy, or maybe they’ll stop to talk to a neighbor. I have not left any time in my agenda to participate in any of these things. I read off my list and move at a quick pace that will get us perfectly from point A to point B in the mot efficient manner.

That isn’t living.

Living is in the slow moments. It’s in the time we take to create a magical bouquet of flowers in our front yard while our groceries warm a bit in the car. Living is in the time we take to watch clouds roll into different shapes, or wait for the kids to pick the perfect stuffed lovey to bring in the car. Those are memories we carry with us. In another week I won’t remember the 20 things I was able to finish in a day. But I will remember the way my kids’ faces light up when they hand me a bunch of tiny flowers. And my kids will remember that I took the time to smell each one with them.

I think this week I’ll trim my to-do list and task myself with living a little slower. Here’s to getting one step closer to letting go of perfection.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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4 Reasons You Can and You Will Get a Cleaning Lady

Years ago a friend of mine, newly married and about to have her first child, said “I have to get a cleaning lady. Working 40 hours a week and having a kid AND cleaning my house- it can’t be done.” I remember judging her so hard. I admit before kids I was the judgey single girl who slept as long as she wanted and had no idea how much work (and house cleaning) goes into parenting. My immediate thought was, “do you know how many single moms are raising several children at once, working two jobs and still cleaning their own house? It CAN be done.”

Now that I am a mom, and I know other moms, you know what we want? A cleaning lady. I can’t count how many moms answer this question, “what would you do if you won a million dollars?” with “HIRE A CLEANING LADY!” Why? Because our families don’t stop with the messes! I spent an hour and a half cleaning the house the other day. I scrubbed two bathrooms, vacuumed AND mopped the floors and finished a couple loads of laundry. Just as I was patting myself on my back for a job well done I looked back to the kitchen table now filled with crumbles of the snacks I let the kids eat to keep them occupied, and then I tripped over the trail of toys they pulled from the four corners of the earth to play with while I CLEANED THE HOUSE! GAH!

When you tell people you are hiring a cleaning lady they are thinking one of two things:

  1. You must be rich.
  2. You are being lazy.

Turns out you don’t need to be rich to afford a little extra help, and it actually makes you smart not lazy. Here’s why you should hire a cleaning lady, even if you have to sell a pint of blood to pay for her. Kidding. But I’ll totally do it if I have to!

You save your time. It is actually very rare for moms to get time enough to clean everything that needs to be cleaned in a day without a child asking for a snack, or complaining about the atrocity their sibling just committed. You can’t focus on both things at once. But a cleaning lady is there to JUST clean your house. Her attention isn’t divided so the whole cleaning process goes smoother and faster. What might take you two hours may only take her an hour. That means one more hour of your time to spend it the way you want. Play outside with the kids; sip a beverage on the deck, read a book! Just don’t feel guilty you aren’t the one inside scrubbing out the toilet.

You save your energy. The big misconception of hiring a cleaning lady is that you need her to come to your house every week. Not true! I actually hire someone just to do the bigger cleaning. The summer months are the hardest for me to manage. I can just about keep up with the bare minimum, but having a pro come in twice a month to do the bigger clean is a huge help to my stress level. I feel more energized to do more with the kids like watch them run through the sprinkler while I sip my iced coffee on the deck.

You won’t have to break the bank. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on hiring cleaning help. Just pick out a few hot spots in the house that are difficult for you to keep up with and find someone willing to do those specific tasks. For me I can’t keep up with the bathrooms and the floors in the summer. The kids bring in so much water and dirt from playing outside, and bath time happens every night. It always looks like a show at Sea World after bathing two kids. Hiring someone to mop my floors and scrub down two bathrooms every two weeks costs less than having someone come every week. And so worth the extra time I get back! You can also hire someone to come do a deep cleaning once or twice a year. No harm in asking Santa for a little extra help during the Christmas season!

You can help another mom. Hiring a cleaning company is going to be more expensive than hiring an individual who cleans homes. I found another mom who started cleaning houses so she could have extra cash to be home with her child. She selected when she wanted to work and how much to charge. I was happy to help another local mom provide for her family, and I got shiny floors in return! Total win-win!

You can definitely make having a cleaning lady more affordable by limiting the amount of cleaning hours needed. For example, I make sure my kids pick up all the toys beforehand so vacuuming and mopping are a breeze. I also make sure things are put away in the bathrooms so there isn’t anything to clear out of the tub. Before your help starts they will assess the size of your home and go over everything you’d like to have cleaned before giving you a time frame. Once you agree on a plan they know exactly where to clean and waste no time in getting it finished. Everything is negotiable, so knowing what you want help with really counts.

I only hire extra cleaning help during the summer to maximize my time with my family. Otherwise I couldn’t afford it. I am deeply grateful for the extra help every couple of weeks. The rest of the year I am on my own. Oh and one more bonus, I am less likely to get upset about a new mess in the bathroom after it’s just been cleaned when I wasn’t the one that “just cleaned that!”

Do you ever hire extra cleaning help?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Taking The Night Off

 

Taking time for myself.

So I am coming at you surrounded by my favorite friends. My pillows. No one comforts me like they do, and I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with them.

I am typically in bed around midnight and up for the day by 6 am. I still cannot fit in everything I need to in a day. So as a result of never getting enough sleep, and resisting down time, the exhaustion has caught up with me. If you look closely you will see the extra baggage under each eye. You don’t get a matching set like that from sitting around the spa eating bon-bons. Those are like hard earned badges awarded after years of surviving never ending tantrums and fevers and bed wetting (the kids not me).

Normally I’d push myself hard to make the invisible blogging deadline I create for myself, but tonight, I am taking the night off. I am slathered head to toe with linaments and ointments that promise a restful night’s sleep. I have my cozy cup of tea and my over due library book I keep meaning to read. I am ready for some peace and quiet.

Until next week when I bring you something much wittier and with better spell check, I bid you adieu.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Self Care Happens While Driving 60 Miles Per Hour

As your kids get older folks will tell you how much easier things get. There are less tantrums and physical demands than a toddler, or a new born. But what no one tells you is that life is just never easy with kids. Life will throw you curve balls and you may find your kids still tantruming at age 5 and you’re making calls to various doctors for answers. You might find yourself in the principals office for the very first time because your Kindergartner kicked over a chair at school. And even though you were never once in trouble ever in school, you’ll suddenly sweat bullets like you are the kid in the hot seat. Nothing is easy as a parent. There are just no simple hacks for getting through the day with a houseful of people people making demands of your time. In my world, it seems I have very little time to myself to enjoy anything. It can take grand efforts and tremendous planning just to get a little time alone to myself.

Fun fact, I started typing this blog at 6:00 a.m. this morning. Usually I like to write days, or weeks in advance, but life has been hectic. We have had appointments and started traveling for swim lessons. I am not a morning person AT ALL but 6:00 a.m. tends to be the only time of day I am not being asked 20 questions about why the dinosaurs “went extinct?” or “how many miles is it to the moon?” Those early morning hours are all mine to think groggy thoughts and count down to that first sip of coffee salvation. Then the day just spirals into chaotic motion from there. It could be hours, or days before I get back in front of my computer to type up a blog post for ya’ll. It is now 7:00 p.m. and I am praying I get this done before the kids bed time so I can veg out in front of the T.V. later.

So are you wondering how an over worked mom with zero extra hands finds a little “me time?” Well, first I am learning to drop the expectations for a perfect amount of time, or the perfect set up for relaxation. Instead of putting parameters on what is the perfect way to spend my time, I am learning to take what I can get whenever I can get it. Besides early mornings, I often steal away while the kids are playing to read an article on Facebook, or to read a few pages of a good book, or phone a friend. It’s nothing special, or huge, but it’s just a few minutes to plug into something else and I am learning to let that be enough.

The other evening I noticed my kindness wearing thin, so I told my husband I was going for a drive. What I really wanted was to run away to Mexico, change my name to Rosita and live on the beach. Instead I drove to the local gas station and filled up my gas tank. After that I had no idea what was next. Five minutes later, I found myself driving as far away from my home as I could get. I took very scenic twists and turns over the mountains. I turned up the music, opened the windows and let the wind mess up my hair. As I drove toward the sunset at 60 miles per hour I saw a rainbow up ahead. I took a deep breath and soaked in the final minutes of the sunset. I spent the next thirty minutes belting out a tune at the top of my lungs, then I decided to head back home. After an hour of doing just nothing productive I felt recharged. It was exactly what I needed to “get away” from the stress of being a mom that day.

Although my me time used to look like an hour long yoga class and shopping with friends, I find simple, small ways to just be alone invigorating now. These stolen moments driving fast and alone is what helped me unplug for a moment before heading back home. I’ve noticed when I unplug from the stress, everyone else in my family unplugs too. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

How do you find stolen moments of me time?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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If You Give Your Mom An Attitude

I remember the day I was standing in the hot shower, shampoo lather in my hair, and one thought stopped me in my tracks, “In just a few weeks the girls will be three! The terrible twos will be over!!” I was almost too over joyed upon thinking of this. Later, when I shared it on Facebook, someone had the audacity to tell me about the “Trying Threes.” It totally crushed my hopes and dreams of compliant, happy little kids. Thankfully, I survived living with two ‘threenagers’ and can tell the tale.

Here we are at age six and if I had to give it a name I’d call it ‘Sassy Six.’ Oh my word the sass. The strong opinions and the absolute knowing mom is just plain wrong. Ya know, the mom who went to college and had a career for over a decade before they were born? She is just dumb and wrong about EVERYTHING. Six is really feeling a whole lot like SIXTEEN! I am sure this too shall pass, but I can’t say with certainty which one of us will make it out alive. (Kidding of course).

In order to deal with it all I use a planned ignoring technique. It goes like this: when my child is listing all the reasons why she can’t do something, like I just don’t know the struggle, I do the dishes and pretend she isn’t having a fit right now. Then, I repeat my instructions to do what I’ve asked as calmly as I can. As if she never lost her mind in the first place. After using this technique for the 14th time in a day on more than one child, a mom could go a little insane. And that’s when I write things like this in my head:

If You Give Your Mom An Attitude

by Roxanne Ferber

If you give your mom an attitude, chances are she will send you to your room. Then she’ll want you to clean it. She’ll tell you to pick up all the toys and put away that pile of clothes. Then she’ll say, “make your bed if you want to go out to play.”

If you give your mom an attitude, chances are you’ll have to go to bed without any dessert. She’ll tell you, “you can’t have any” because her feelings are hurt.

If you give your mom an attitude, chances are you’ll start to feel bad. You’ll wish you never said that and wish you hadn’t made her mad.

If you give your mom an attitude, chances are she’ll love you just the same. She’ll hug you and squeeze you and call you by name. And, chances are you’ll tell her your sister is to blame.

You may notice this is a loose parody of a familiar childhood series (and one of my personal favorites). Obviously, keeping a sense of humor helps when dealing with kid drama. If you missed it, that’s my one tried and true way of coping with the stress of motherhood- humor. I’ve read the If You Give … series a million times to my kids, so naturally it’s easy to recall while I am rage cleaning. Rewording these stories in my head to mimic my reality makes it easier to deal with the brash accusations that I am THE WORST MOM EVER!

How do you survive the kid tantrums at your house?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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The Golden Girls is All a Mom Needs

Iconic hit series The Golden Girls makes its streaming debut on Hulu February 13, 2017. Four previously married women live together in Miami, sharing their various experiences together and enjoying themselves despite hard times. From left, Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty), Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) and Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan), shown. (Photo Courtesy of Hulu)

So it has been about two weeks since my last post. Life has been hectic and I have to say this parenting gig is harder than I ever imagined. There are so many meetings, and so many feelings about life lately. I never knew this could be so complicated. Don’t ya just send your kids to school and blink, then they graduate and start a fabulous life? Easy peasy.

Ugh so wrong.

As I am stressing out about life I discover The Golden Girls is on Hulu. Man oh man does this show bring back memories! I was 12 when this show began. I didn’t get half the jokes back then, but it was such a comfort just to watch every week. I could count on Dorothy’s sarcastic whit and Rose’s naivete. No matter where I was in my house, the sound of those first few piano notes sent me running to the TV to watch. Sitcom life is so much easier when all your problems are solved in 30 minutes and end with cheesecake. Now I can count on the wisdom of these best friends every morning as I hop on my treadmill and cue up the next episode. They make me laugh and make me realize how important my mom friends are to me. Especially the ones who love me for me and do not judge me by my kids behaviors. They know I am a dedicated parent doing my best.

This morning I watched the episode where Blanche’s grandson comes to visit. The women put their cumulative knowledge of child rearing together to create a chore schedule and curfew for her belligerent nephew.  In less than 30 minutes he is cured of his bad behavior and is toasting to his new found self esteem. I was jealous. If only it were that easy to cure kids of their melt downs and behaviors. And how awesome would it be to have some seasoned moms in my crew right now. Instead, we wait months or even years to get the positive change we want to see from our kids. I know hubby and I are still waiting for the sensible sevens to kick in so we can experience less drama in our lives.

Just as Blanche’s best friends rallied around her to help set her wayward nephew on the straight and narrow, I realize how lucky I am to have a very small, but tight knit circle of friends who watch out for my kids just like one of their own. The day to day may get stressful, but having friends who see my kids as something wonderful and amazing makes all the hard work seem worth it. It doesn’t help me solve our problems in a half an hour, but it sure does feel good to know that so many of my friends are willing to take the time to understand and offer to help.

No matter what age and stage your kids are in you need a good mom friend to support you. Your relationship may not involve cheesecake, but as long as they are willing to listen without judging and recognize and celebrate your hard work then you have a friend worth more than gold!

Until next week my friends, remember it is OK to do whatever it takes to make it through your day! 🙂 And watch The Golden Girls whenever you can. Those ladies are funny and offer some serious life lessons about parenting!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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When Your Kid Is a Perfectionist Too

True to my perfectionist character I feel like I have failed if I cannot put out a blog post every week. No one else is saying a word about it, but I put this pressure on myself to have everything outlined and finished by a certain time every week. As you can see I didn’t post anything last week. Sometimes, being in charge of so many humans with their own personalities doesn’t leave room for me to execute my projects and meet my own deadlines. It kills me to stare at a blank page the day after I was due to publish. In the grand scheme I know it doesn’t matter. But I am so hardwired to finish a task in a very specific way. I feel like I let down everyone when I don’t come through.

The last few weeks have been incredibly difficult as a mom. I’ve discovered that my daughter is taking after me with expecting perfection. She is only six years old and already has a very deep need to make things happen the way she has planned. She becomes anxious when she makes a mistake on her homework and now she feels like she just wants to impress her teacher so badly. I have a kid who used to love school suddenly protest leaving the house to attend school. This is just Kindergarten. She is already under so much pressure to perform perfectly.

Seeing her struggle to do her best and feeling crushed when she doesn’t match the expectations of her teacher, or already feels like she let everyone down, is incredibly painful. I want so badly to upload my wisdom to her little brain to help her understand that hinging your self worth on impossible standards is not going to bring her any peace, or happiness. The peace I feel when things are perfect is only fleeting because as a perfectionist nothing is ever good enough. Nothing. I can’t imagine feeling like this at six. I can barely handled it as an adult.

I am trying to focus more on helping her learn how to be OK without perfection. It’s hard to put my perfectionist out look into the head space of a six year old, but I am going to try. I am going to give myself some slack that I am not going to find the perfect solution for her. But I am going to do my best. Then I am going to cut myself some slack when I let a post or two go while I am figuring this all out. This parenting thing. Man. It’s hard! Letting go of perfection is hard too.

Thank you for reading and hanging in there with me from week to week! I appreciate all of you! If you have any advice on how to get a Kindergartner to lighten up I’d love to hear it! Anyone else ever have a kid put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect? Feel free to comment below or drop me a line at whatevmom@gmail.com.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer toHudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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Stuck on the Track of Perfection

The other day I saw a video clip in my Facebook news feed of a car stuck on the snowy railroad tracks with a train coming toward it. Some good citizens abandoned their cars to assist the driver in the disabled car. I noticed the driver was determined to stay in the car, not give up and just kept driving until they moved forward. But it was with great assistance that they got off that track before the train passed where they were seconds later. I thought that is such a perfect metaphor for life. Especially for me, being a recovering perfectionist.

I can’t tell you how often I get stuck on my own track, completely focused on my own expectations, trying to force a particular outcome. I am determined to stick to that singular path before me. Whether it is pushing the kids to get ready for school on time, or finding a solution to a new parenting challenge. It can feel like life is that train barreling toward me and I am just stuck. When I am really lucky a friend, or neighbor will help steer me in a new direction before I am pummeled. Sometimes it is just a kind word, or even a blunt question that can snap me out of my one track thinking.

Life with kids moves at a quick pace and I don’t always take time to slow down and really appreciate that my hard work counts for something. Being a perfectionist I often discount my efforts, or second guess my parenting skills. It is so much easier to tear myself down than it is to build myself up. Sometimes it is easier to stay “stuck” than it is to persevere and move forward. I often think there is only way to be a good parent, but that mindset is so limiting. I am actually good at many different parts of parenting, but I am not a perfect parent.

So what do you do when you feel stuck on a one way track to perfection?

Take a break. This doesn’t always have to include a sandy beach and little umbrella drinks (though that is awesome), sometimes simple quick things can get you off the track in front of you. Read a chapter of a new book, take deep breaths, go for a walk, just get yourself away from that stressful sticking point. Sometimes I find better solutions when I hop off that one way track. I can stop worrying about my struggles for a little bit and find a new perspective.

Remember what you are good at. Maybe you can make any situation funny. Or maybe you are really good at caring for your kids, or keeping everyone wrangled. Maybe you are good at loving your kids through their really horrible moments. You may not be perfect at every part of parenting, but celebrate the parts you are really good at. I know I am really good at seeing the best in my kids even during a meltdown. That does nothing to keep my house organized, but it is one thing I am good at!

Cut yourself some slack. So you forgot to pack lunch the night before and there are dishes still in the sink before breakfast, but everyone has clean socks today! Perhaps you forgot there was soccer practice right after school today, but you remembered to grab a granola bar and bottled water for kid snacks from the store on your way! Giving yourself options keeps you from feeling like you just got pummeled by that train. I am getting much better at giving myself credit for the things I did do right in my day.

Talk to another parent. I always find the best parents to talk to are the ones who have already been down my road. They can offer practical advice that worked for them, and share a sympathetic ear. Sometimes it’s just good to know you are not the only one who struggles with parenting (and perfection). Join a group online, in person or talk to parenting friends at work. I am really lucky to be surrounded by so many people ready to guide me.

I hope this is a good time to remind you that you are a great parent just as you are! No one is winning a prize for having themselves more put together than you. No one else is putting pressure on you to give more than you can. No one else works as hard for your kid(s) as you do. So, take a deep breath and don’t let perfection keep you from moving forward.

Have a great week everyone!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer toHudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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I Fear My Kids Will Be Terrible People

I confess that I often feel like nothing I say has any significant impact on my kids. I can’t stop them from fighting and rough housing turns into shoving matches. I am always breaking them up and shouting a line from the movie, Rush Hour, “do you hear the words that are coming out of my mouth?!”  I feel like I say the same things over and and over again. I am always lecturing my kids on how they need to grow up to be respectful, appreciative humans. I worry if they will ever get along and if they’ll ever learn to be kind.

On one particularly difficult morning of too much chaos I commanded the girls to get in the car. “Every body in, we’re going to the store!”

My daughter asks me, “Will Michael be there mama?”

“I don’t know we’ll have to look around when we get inside.”

“Oh I hope he’s here! He is SO funny!”

Michael is the man that we see every time we shop at our local club store. He is one of the employees that hands out food samples. Both of my daughters love to visit him during our shopping trips to get their free snacks and a good laugh. Michael has a quick wit and ease when talking to little kids. I think they enjoy how he talks directly to them and not just about them to me. I told my kids that Michael is my friend and someone I used to work with. I was also the maid of honor at his wedding and I even introduced him to his wife. Which is all true.

But what my daughters don’t know about Michael is that he is categorized as “Intellectually Impaired.” I met him during my last career as a case manager. I worked for the agency that provides him with services like job coaching and residential assistance. I was part of the staff that came to his home to help him pay his bills, balance his check book and made sure his needs were being taken care of. Michael and his wife are capable of living on their own with support, and together they are like any typical couple managing their apartment and caring for their small dog.

I have never shared with my girls Michael’s diagnosis because I don’t want that to be the first thing they think of when they see him. Right now they enjoy sharing jokes with him and asking him for samples. To them Michael is a funny guy and a good friend. Too often folks living in the “disabled” community are made to feel less than and struggle to fit in seamlessly with their peers. Society often sees people with disabilities as incapable of advocating for themselves, or having little power to sustain a productive life. I don’t believe those are true. Michael and his wife have certainly proven those ideas wrong. If I describe Micheal as disabled (I prefer the term differently-abled because everyone has abilities) I basically hand my children a distorted lens in which to view people. I want them to look at people through a singular lens that shows everyone as a human being.

We arrive at the store and my girls are delighted to find Michael at his station. (And I am delighted they finally stop bickering).

“Hi Michael!” They both shout in unison.

“Hey girls!!” he replied. “It’s so nice to see you here!”

Today’s samples are snack bars. He hands them the little cups and asks how they like school, and they share with him the newest set of knock-knock jokes they just memorized. He laughs a very genuine laugh and reminds them to listen to their parents. Nothing about this interaction is “special.” We talk to Michael the same way we do any of our friends. In a world where people receive praise for showing kindness to persons with a disability, my children get no recognition. I ask them if the are happy to see Michael today and thank them for remembering their manners. As they say goodbye to their friend I realize my children will grow up to be OK. My kids are kind and they are genuine.

My girls still knock each other down and argue over petty things. At age six they are not good listeners, or follow directions. But they are doers, and one day they will grow up to do ordinary things. Like treat (other) people equally and with respect.

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer toHudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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