Category: Mom War

Picture Day Revelation – I’m Nailing This Mom Thing

This year I had the chance to volunteer for picture day at my kids’ school. My last school picture day was over 20 years ago, so it was fun to reminisce. The kids were all so cute and so nervous. I took my role very seriously. Not one kid was getting away with a crazy alpha top on my watch!  I hear you parents complaining on Facebook…”who lets a kid take a photo with their hair sticking up like that?” Not me I can assure you!

My motive for volunteering was purely selfish:  I wanted to spy on my kids. They are in a different school than last year and I wanted to see how they were doing with the change. By now some of you may realize from my posts, that I am blessed with two kids who walk to the beat of their own drums. They are amazingly strong willed and super smart. They can negotiate their way out of anything and school me in critical topics like how the dinosaurs really became extinct, and reason why there should be a first kid to walk on the moon. They take a very heavy stand on these subjects by the way.

Having strong willed kids isn’t easy. I have learned to pick my battles and when to draw the lines, but it is rarely met with a tone of acceptance. Every tiny decision my kids make can take on an entire discussion of its own. Very early on I had to embrace the fact I have zero power when it comes to my kids clothing choices. They have insisted on picking out their own clothes since they were two years old. One year at preschool drop off a parent took one look at my daughter’s outfit and gasped, “I thought wacky Wednesday was next week?!” It was. But my daughter was going through a heavy stripes phase and wore all of them at once that day. No amount of arguing or even gentle nudging was going to change her mind.

Thankfully, school picture day has never been a battle for us. I already know it’s a fight I am going to lose. So I let my kids wear whatever outfit they want to have their youth immortalized in.  I’m prepared for some crazy colors, a demand for accessories, or an oddly placed hair bow. But those aren’t things that will scar them for life so I let them pass. This year my girls did not disappoint. My oldest twin decided she was wearing a hot pink shirt emblazoned with a Batman Symbol, and my youngest twin landed on a Shopkins t-shirt. She liked the colors. I liked that it was still a passable shade of white, and it was stain and wrinkle free. (Those are my set standards for most of their outfits).

Fast forward through picture day and I see kids wearing all different things. Some boys are wearing t-shirts and some boys are wearing ties. Some girls have GIANT sparkly bows and bling and some girls are wearing mini semi-formal dresses (but not one girl wearing Batman). What I realized at the end of the day is that not many of the girls (and some of the boys) were wearing the kind of headstrong confidence my girls were. They were asking their friends to validate if they were pretty enough for their photo, or if their outfit looks cool enough. These youngster were so worried about what their peers think of their physical appearance, or if their parents will approve of their photos. I assured each kid they have a great smile, and that their hair is perfectly in place before handing them off to the photographer. As I watched my girls step into place in front of the camera, with a wide confident smile that declares, “This is me!” I let myself be proud. My girls already know how to be true to themselves and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Some days living with two independent and persistent 6-year-olds can be exhausting. But it pushes me to grow in ways I never expect.  Today, I let myself be proud of how far I’ve come in letting go of making everything perfect. There is more to this mom thing than keeping the kids clean and making them wear outfits I chose for them. Raising good humans is hard work. Tears will be shed during this process. Voices will escalate and doubts cast upon my abilities. But when I catch a glimpse of how free my kids feel when they are allowed to be themselves- when I catch them truly liking themselves – that’s where I’m nailing it. Raising little humans who are secure with their own person-hood has been my mission from the start. And it only took a couple of t-shirts on picture day to remind me of that.

 

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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Defining Moments In Parenting Not Found on Social Media

Easter will be here in two more days. That’s when the slurry of pictures crop up on social media and the judging starts. Not that we are judging others because we are Whatever Moms, and Whatever Moms don’t judge other parents right? But how often are we judging ourselves? We wonder if our efforts stack up to be enough compared to everyone else’s. We start to compare how we show our love and measure it against how other parent’s show theirs. Maybe you’ll see pictures from a mom who handmade her kids baskets, or a mom who made all her kids candy from scratch, or maybe from a dad who assembled a bike for his kids. Now you are looking at your offerings with scrutiny and worry it’s not enough.

I’ve been there. Actually I’m there right now. I haven’t even started shopping for my kids baskets yet. I have a working idea of what I want to put in them. There simply wasn’t enough hours in the day this week to sneak away to buy everything. We were busy enjoying our break and having fun. We spent our days outside in the sun and taking each of our kids on special date days. Now I’m feeling the time crunch and I see all these pictures of great baskets popping up in my news feed. I’ve even posted a blog for “non-candy” ideas and yet, I have not picked up anything for my kids’ baskets. Does this mean I love my kids less? Nope.

The defining moments of being a parent do not come neatly packed with pretty bows and delivered on time. The material things we supply our kids with do not reflect how much we care. Being a loving parent happens when your kid dumps an entire glass of milk across the table and you don’t scream at them. You calmly help them sop it up with a towel and explain it’s OK accidents happen. Even if it is the third time in the same meal. There’s nothing pretty, or neat about that. Love for our kids shows up in the every day moments when we bandage up the scraped knees, or teach our kids hitting isn’t nice. None of those things are unwrapped once a year with eager anticipation. When our kids grow up they will look back at how much fun they had during the holiday, but that holiday fun won’t be what defines how much we love them. Our value as a parent can’t be counted out in exquisitely colored Easter eggs and giant baskets of gifts.

So, as we head into the Easter weekend know that everything you have to give is enough. All the time you spent pouring over the details of kid baskets and the meal you’ll prepare is enough. Being present with your children is enough. Set aside the worry and self doubt and just know you are enough.

Happy Easter All, and if you do not celebrate Easter Happy Weekend All!

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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Moms, You Won’t Ruin Your Kids If You Don’t Celebrate Every Holiday

I’m sure by now you have read a post or two written by moms asking, “Am I the only one that doesn’t need to go over the top for EVERY holiday?” I see it in nearly every one of my Facebook mom groups during the week of some calendar holiday. I get it because I was that mom too. Only now I realize I was saying it because I was feeling inadequate. I was second guessing what kind of mom I am because I didn’t take the time to invest in a craft with my kid, or spend time planning a surprise for the morning. Of course this completely minimizes all my hard work planning kid activities through the year, simply because I didn’t do it close to a holiday. We do a lot for our kids every single day and it doesn’t always come with glitter and balloons.

So with St. Patrick’s Day and Easter right around the corner, let me share what I’ve learned since making that same statement.

  1. People are who they are. Some moms are hard wired to express their joy openly and with big colorful decorations. To them this is fun. Maybe their mom did the same, or maybe their mom never did anything to celebrate and now celebrating with their kids feels special. Whatever their reason for celebrating, how they celebrate is part of their story and their business.
  2. Social media is meant to be social. Just like in real life, some people are way more social than others. Many folks use their social media accounts to keep their long distance family members included in their daily lives. It is no longer the norm for families to live on the same block any more. So sharing photos on Facebook is the modern equivalent to how our parents used to send pictures in the mail to grandma. Except now instead of just grandma getting to see it and gush over it all 347,000 friends on our list get to see it too.
  3. “No one is parenting at you.” That’s a direct quote from a mom friend. No parent is up through the night plotting to out do you as a parent. There is no trophy we are all vying for and certainly no one is going to recognize you or me as THE ONE, THE ONLY, THE PERFECT MOM!  If other moms are up sacrificing sleep to make magic happen for their kids inside their own homes let them have it. They aren’t looking for you to validate them (or criticize them).
  4. I know who I am. I am not going to be able to recreate someone else’s magical moments in my house. I am not crafty and I don’t have a ton of money. I like things simple and I like to have fun. I am also a last minute mama who can barely handle putting out a nice table cloth and throwing a few coins on the table. Keeping a week long, or even a month long running gag of leprechaun tricks, or elf shenanigans is too much work for me. But I am not judging any other mom who has that kind of stamina. I also know it doesn’t mean she loves her kids more than I love mine. I am willing walk to the ends of the earth for my kids. I’m just not willing to fire up the glue gun for them.
  5. I can enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor. Since I already know the amount of work that goes into motherhood, I can totally appreciate any mom who can find the time to finish a craft, organize all her closets and design a command center. I can barely finish the dishes most days, so I consider all of those projects to be extracurricular. It’s really fun to see how creative my friends are without it being a competition. And since we are friends why would I want to spend my time showing them up, or complaining about their hard work. You go mamas! I’ll give your pic a like from the comfort of my couch. Oh and thanks for filling my news feed with your happy photos of smiling children.

Essentially, don’t go judging other moms for making a day bigger than you are willing to. Everyone is different and expresses their excitement in different ways. If you are a low key mama embrace it! Celebrate your minimal ways by not posting about it on Facebook. Or post your efforts on Facebook anyway without stacking them up against someone else’s. Our kids are watching how we do things and if they hear us tearing down the way others live in their homes we can expect that will be their views when they become parents too. If you are like me and just want the holidays to hurry up and be over with so you can pack everything away, your kids’ lives will not be ruined. I assure you there are a million other things you can do to land them in therapy.

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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I Need You To Know You Are Loved. Always.

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When I first began writing this blog two years ago I was still in the throws of learning how to be a mom. I thought sharing the messier parts of our lives would show other moms I wasn’t just another pretty blog. My target mom was (and still is) the one just like me: lonely, afraid and in need of a good friend.

Today’s post (is late because life gets crazy) is written by my good friend Dawn. We met each other as new moms just walking aimlessly around our neighborhood; both pushing our strollers lap after lap trying to find solace. I was trying to make sense of my life as a twin mom and she was trying to process the loss of her mother.

My blog has changed a lot in the last couple of years. New designs, better photos, and I think better writing. What is the same is that I hope my words serve as a beacon for other moms who need to feel connected, and that they can think of me as a friend. I am so grateful to Dawn for sharing this story with us, and for allowing me to find solace in our friendship.

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I still remember the exact words my mother said to me when I told her I was going to have a baby. After an enormous gasp, she shouted into the phone “you better not be lying to me, little girl. You almost gave me a heart attack!” I laughed outwardly, the hyperbolic reaction of a soon to be grandma who had longed for a little one to love, but my insides turned cold.

See, my mom had already had a heart attack and a subsequent quadruple bypass. She had lived with diabetes for over 50 years, and the disease had taken her vision along with her mobility. Simply the passing, joking mention of another possible health disaster, one that could push her over the edge and take her away from me, was too much.

In spite of the fact that she lived four hours away, we talked every day. I rattled off my plans for my pregnancy – prenatal yoga, hypno-birthing classes. She listened to endless descriptions of my ideal birth, in water with no interventions, a soothing playlist to comfort me. Those idealized descriptions were so different from her own real life experiences, but she listened and encouraged and fantasized along with me.

And still, those fantasies were already so different than the ones I had had when I was younger, dreaming about what it would be like to become a mother. In those fantasies, my mom and dad, beaming grandparents, would babysit the precious bundle in my childhood home. My mother would hold my hand as I labored, my father would pat my husband on the back, soothing their joint nerves.

But these dreams were not to be. My father never met my husband because he had died less than a month after my sixteenth birthday. The childhood home was sold soon after, because my mom said it held too many memories before slipping into her own depression.

I allowed myself to indulge in adjusted fantasies, where my mom would come to stay with me and we would beam at the baby together, never mind that she could no longer drive. My heart quietly broke during one of our phone calls when she revealed her own fears, that her vision had diminished so much she would not be able to see the baby.

But! But! When the baby did arrive, my beautiful, sweet, wise, Leo Lennon, my mama moved hell and earth to get a ride here, to come to the hospital and meet her first grandson. She cried and cried, and told me how beautiful he was, and I believed that meant she could see some part of him.

And when she went back home, she never tired of my frantic phone calls. I remember calling her in a tizzy, wondering if it was okay to lie the baby on a blanket while I went to the bathroom so I could actually use the toilet. No matter that she wasn’t there to hold him, she listened, and loved so loudly through the phone and she was there. Always there. Even when I yelled, which I did frequently because I was exhausted since my baby never slept. Even when I told her that her advice was useless, since she had never breastfed a baby. She never got upset. She was always there, always loving, always supporting.

Six months later, though, she wasn’t. Diabetes had caused her organs to fail, and during a Christmas visit to see her grand-baby, she took her final breath.

My guilt about how I had treated her was paralyzing. I wanted to take back every harsh word that had filled the previous months, the previous years. I had squandered the greatest gift in the world by taking her for granted and not appreciating everything she was. The guilt was tangible, a thick wet ball sitting in my chest.

Her last hours showed me the biggest truth about motherhood, though, that none of it mattered. As she lay in a coma, I sat by her side and repeated “I love you” over and over again. She didn’t react at all, until finally I followed one of my repeated “I love you”s with “and I know you love me.” Her chest heaved, she let out a gasp, and her face twisted with what looked like tears. That’s all she cared about at the very end of her life – that I knew I was loved.

Becoming a mom confirmed for me that she was right. As I look at my two sons, my youngest not even conceived before she was gone, I know the only thing that matters ever is that they know they are loved. No matter what, no matter if I am angry or if they are, if they feel like they’ve let me down, if we disagree intensely on an issue, I need them to know none of it matters. They are always loved. Always.

dawn-bio-picDawn Green is an amazingly talented writer and teacher. When she isn’t writing she is hard at work raising two kick-ass kids and teaching them how to save the planet. 

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The Type of Friend You Become After Having Kids

I've Become The Friend That . . .

I love being a mom. I love being a friend. At times, it’s tough doing both, especially when you are raising toddlers. They are loud, unpredictable, clumsy & messy. It’s amazing how much motherhood changes you, especially concerning the dynamic you have with your friends. Here’s what I noticed about the friend I’ve become after having kids:

 

I’M NOW THE FRIEND THAT:

Texts more than talks. I remember when I had an infant that slept the majority of the day. I still called my long distance friends and talked for hours. Then as she got older, it became more difficult when my daughter started to get into things. Now that my daughters are 4 & 2, it seems as if they have radar on me. If mommy is on the phone, that must be the time to squeal, fight and scream. Communicating is so much easier texting than talking.

 

Yells mid-conversation. This goes back to the previous point. If my friend is lucky enough to have more than a 5 minute conversation with me, she’s bound to hear me yell mid-conversation. At one point, I can hear the uncomfortable silence in my single friend’s voice, and in the next few minutes, she’s asking me if I need to go. Even though I tell her the wailing she’s hearing is unreasonable, the conversation usually ends. A few minutes later, my child is happy and no signs of discomfort arise. My friends with kids either laugh or tell me they just did the same thing 10 minutes ago.

 

Finishes eating before everyone else. I’ve noticed that I’m the first one done when my girlfriends and I go out to eat. Even though I’m out without the kids, I’m eating like I’m running a marathon race because that’s what I’m used to at home. If I want to finish a meal without interruption, it’s got to happen fast. It’s hard to get out of the habit.

 

Always has a sanitizing item in their purse. Kids are unpredictable. So are their messes. I’m the mom that has something to sanitize with in my purse either in the form of a Boogie wipe, regular wipe, hand sanitizer or sanitizing hand wipe. I’ve started keeping these items in my purse even when the kids aren’t with me. It comes in handy when I’ve spilled some coffee or bits of lunch on myself.

 

Shops online. Before kids, I loved to browse for hours in the mall. I tried everything on, and took back what I changed my mind about once I got home. Now when my friends ask where I’ve purchased something, more than likely I’ve purchased it online. Don’t get me wrong, I love a shopping trip, but shopping with kids limits the amount of time I have to try things on. I also have to keep them still and semi quiet in the dressing room, so it’s much easier to just buy online.

 

Can’t take a group picture because my phone is full of pictures of my kids. No matter how many pictures I download or delete I just can’t get enough of my kids; their messy faces, pouts, smiles, nakedness and beauty.

 

The nice thing about true friends is that they stick around no matter how you evolve as a mom. They understand that motherhood makes you a little absent-minded at times, but they charge it to your head and not your heart. They also realize that it doesn’t change the quality of your friendship, perhaps just the quantity of time you spend together.

What have you noticed about the friend you’ve become after having kids? 

Diedre Jason photoDiedre Anthony is a full time school counselor, mother and wife.  In her blog Are Those Your Kids? , she focuses on her experiences of raising her biracial girls in an interracial marriage.  Her posts are filled with helpful tips about raising children, diversity, curly hair as well as entertaining stories, and anecdotes.  Several of her posts have been published by the Huffington Post .
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All Moms Could Use a Little Help

 

Ways to Help A Struggling Mom

Every Sunday at church I am greeted with different showings of love from my fellow sisters. From a casual hello by a rushed mom, arms overflowing with stuff, trying to get her kids seated to hugs from a mom already settled. Each week questions fly about how my daughter is sleeping, what is she eating and friends ooh and ahhh over her and request to hold her. Week after week since my daughter’s birth this has been the usual way I start my Sunday morning.

That is until one Sunday when a sister came over and sat right next to me. She looked me directly in the eyes and asked, “How are you doing?” That simple, innocent question threw me completely off balance. I was not prepared to answer.

How am I? You mean you don’t want to know about my daughter? Wait…. am I falling apart? Can you see me struggling to keep my head above water?

I struggled to hold back the tears and and to compose myself before I showed how frazzled and lost I felt. That simple phrase made me feel like I mattered. I was not just my daughter’s mother in that moment but me, just me. I existed. I was noticed!

This made me think about how many times a mom walks into a room and all eyes look directly at her children. How many times do we not see her? I mean REALLY see her. Why does this happen?  I honestly believe we often get excited to see a cute little outfit, or little a cherub face and get caught up in the awe factor.

It isn’t often enough that somebody offers to help a mom, or asks her if she needs an ear or a hug. It seems like a little thing but in that moment a mom wouldn’t feel so alone. For that moment, her burdens would be shared and lightened.

Not all struggling moms look as if they are struggling. I know I personally hide my struggles very well. So why not offer a gesture of kindness to any fellow mom? Here are some suggested ways to offer help:

  • Call her and ask to stop by for coffee.
  • Offer to watch her kids for a few hours so she can enjoy a few hours alone or with her spouse.
  • Cook dinner for her at your house.
  • Join her at the park and chat while the kids play.
  • Send her an old fashion handwritten letter telling her you have been thinking of her.

We all walk around balancing our own emotional teeter-totters. Most moms (especially new moms) are precariously balancing in their own corners hoping nothing else is added to topple them over. I can say from experience that the simplest gesture makes a world of difference. Next time you see a fellow mom, who may or may not look like she is struggling, ask her how she is doing. Or Can I get you anything? Or how can I help you in this moment? I promise you she will be relieved beyond your understanding.

Who knows the next time your own emotional teeter-totter is feeling unsteady, that mom you helped just might have the ability to balance you before toppling over. She might even become your next close friend.

 

 

deb editDebra is a first time mom to her beautiful rainbow baby Skyler, a wife, a blogger and an ordained minister. She enjoys crafting and creating educational fun for her step sons and decorating her home. Find Debra at Crossing New Bridges on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Getting Over The Embarrassment About Speech Therapy

I have four kids who have basically been on track developmentally their entire lives. They all had to do some time in the NICU when they were born due to being premature, but it was never anything life threatening. There were differences in the ages of when they rolled over, crawled, and took their first steps, but nothing outside the norm.

Then our youngest daughter Alexis still wasn’t talking at 2 years old. And I don’t mean not putting words together, I mean she had a handful of words she used and everything else she said was unintelligible, even for me, who was home with her all day. She understood everything we said to her, but she couldn’t talk to us beyond ma, da, up, and that.

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Our pediatrician originally brought up Alexis’s lack of talking at her 18 month check up. It wasn’t a concern yet, just as something to watch for as she got closer to turning 2. When we went in for her 2 year check up I wasn’t surprised when the recommendation came to have her tested for speech delays, but I wasn’t ready to say she needed help. My older two kids had a big verbal breakthrough at just over 2 years old, and so I waited to see if the same might happen with Alexis, even though I knew she wasn’t picking up on everything like my other kids did.

By December, Alexis was almost 2.5 and still hadn’t made much progress. Her and I were getting into serious meltdowns because I couldn’t figure out what she wanted, and she couldn’t figure out how to tell me what she wanted besides just pointing, babbling, and then crying and screaming when I had no idea what she meant. Luckily we came across Zia Therapy, and got her tested. She qualified for services, and although I went back and forth a lot on actually signing her up, I ended up enrolling her.

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I know there are plenty of kids that need help learning to do things. That’s why they go to school, and parents teach their kids things constantly, but I was stuck on the fact that Alexis needed outside help. She was going to be in speech therapy. Therapy. For some reason that word just lodged in my brain and I couldn’t shake all the negative associations I had with it.

Intellectually I know there’s nothing wrong with therapy. It’s there to help people until they don’t need it anymore, not a sign she’ll wear for the rest of her life. Everyone I told reacted positively and was excited that it was going to help her, and one friend even said she had been thinking of testing her daughter because she wasn’t talking either.

So what was my deal?

I’m a little embarrassed I’m even saying this, but I was embarrassed she was in therapy. It’s 100% all in my head, but I was embarrassed she needed help. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that everything wasn’t just going along perfectly in our little idyllic life. I also think part of it came form her being a twin. Her brother is off the charts verbal, and I was so worried someone would compare them and she would be the dumb twin because she was in therapy and he was telling me about the purple umbrella in the picture he’s coloring.

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But once I opened up a little, I was rewarded with so much support from all our friends and family. They have all checked in with us periodically to ask how it’s going with her, and how she’s doing. The friends we see regularly have commented on how much clearer she’s talking and how well she’s doing. There’s no backlash on her for needing this, and I’m 100% convinced it was the right choice for her.

I’ve gotten over everything now, and she’s made amazing progress. 4-5 word sentences, dozens of words, and most importantly to me, she can communicate what she wants. She’s still stubborn as a mule when she wants to be but I think that’s just the personality of our little spitfire. No amount of speech therapy will change her saying ‘No, I do it!’ into something else 🙂

Jennifer at Sweet Discord Jennifer is a stay at home mom with two sets of twins. She copes with having four kids ages 5 and 3 with wine, desserts and cooking. But at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her crazy life for anything. You can read more from Jennifer at Sweet Discord.

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Friday Favorite- Lose That Mommy Guilt {Giveaway}

WELCOME TO

Happy Friday All!

This week guest blogger (and new mom) Debra shared with you how she’s read all the latest books on baby sleep and none of them work. Guess what I’m sharing with you today? A book written by an expert. Wait, wait, wait!!  This isn’t just any expert. She is an expert at letting go of perfection. Lose That Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom by Cara Maksimow. 

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I know most days it’s hard to find time to read the back of a shampoo bottle let alone an entire book. But the 150 pages is a quick read! Instead of the pretentious lecture about the exact steps you should follow to execute efficient routines, Cara gives a few options with the understanding that not everything works for everyone. 

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Cara is a certified therapist, writer, mother and owner of Maximize Wellness Counseling & Couching, LLC. Everything written in this book encapsulates my exact mission as The Whatever Mom. And it touches on nearly every area of motherhood where I feel guilty. From potty training, to pacifiers to dealing with kid drama Cara shares her own guilty moments and what works for her.

I love that Cara encourages us mommies to embrace our imperfections as part of this motherhood experience. We are all going to make mistakes and it isn’t worth our time to continually beat ourselves up over them. “As the baby grows the mommy guilt grows. It doesn’t matter how good of a mom  you are, you will find a way to beat yourself up over something, I am here to say that it does not have to be that way. As moms, we are amazing and we don’t recognize it enough! . . . You do not need to let “perfect” get in the way of amazing parenting.”

I literally felt myself breathe a sigh of relief after reading those words. I wish I had read them sooner! Cara delves deep into the mom psyche and pulls out the big things we stress ourselves out with and then tells us, it’s going to be OK! I don’t know about you, but for me, I need to hear that now and then. I need to hear someone tell me that I’m not the only one worrying about ruining my kids lives (don’t worry we aren’t ruining anything).

We all get caught in the big trap of anticipating judgement from bystanders. Even a woman who has degrees and is educated on human behavior gets stuck in those real moments. You know the ones where you have to make a snap judgement to let your kid pee in a parking lot?

“I admit I taught my three-year-old girl to squat in the mall parking lot once (maybe more than once) to avoid unbuckling the baby from the car seat and going all of the way back inside the mall to find the nearest bathroom. I was smart enough to know we would not make it in time. Driving home quickly would have at best lead to a urine soaked car seat, so I made my choice.

Thankfully, it was summer and she was wearing plastic jelly shoes. I was worried someone would see me and judge my parenting. My negative self talk was on high that day. What mom lets her three-year-old girl pee in the parking lot? Clearly, I was that mom. It is what it is. I am not particularly proud of it, but I have learned to let go of that particular guilt.”

That’s why I enjoy this book so much. Cara writes from an authentic place of struggle and humor. I feel like she gives us permission to be real about the crazy choices we make as parents. And isn’t that what being a Whatever Mom is all about? Letting go of the idea of perfection? Life is messy and completely imperfect. You do whatever works to get through the day even if it is just surviving from one moment to the next!

Cara has also published a few other books that you can find on Amazon. One lucky reader is going to get a copy of Loose That Mommy Guilt and a bonus planner for a Kick Ass Month! You know the drill, enter below!

kick ass month

Thank you Cara for writing this book so the rest of us can realize not one single mom has it completely together and none of us is escaping motherhood without feeling guilty.

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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 and The Novice Mommy.

Disclosure: There are no affiliate links contained in this post. Product for giveaway provided by Cara Maksimow personally. No financial compensation was received for this review. All opinions contained herein belong solely to The Whatever Mom. 

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Guest Post – A Defeated Mom’s Manifesto

Guest Post- Defeated Mom Manifesto

 

Amber by lineAmber Christensen is a mom to four boys, a blogger and author of  Memoirs of Mayhem: The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious. She is learning to find the humor in her parenting which she shares on her blog Watch This Mom. You can also find her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

The Problem

You know what MY problem is? (Well, one of them.) I think everything is my fault.

The kids don’t have clean clothes for school? My fault.

The kids are whining? My fault.

The kids turned the house into a disaster zone in the five minutes I left them quietly watching a movie to make a phone call? My fault.

It’s easy to feel defeated when I blame everything that happens on myself. I’ve taught my kids to do laundry. Even the two-year-old knows how to throw clothes into the washer. If they have to wear dirty clothes to school, the least I can do is let them share the blame.

You know what OUR problem is, fellow parents?

We like to pretend we have no faults. That’s why we couldn’t possibly let one of our children go to school in a shirt they wiped their face on. Other people would know we didn’t write, “Wash your disgusting shirt,” on our Pinterest-inspired, save-the-world job chart. They’d know we’re terrible parents for not teaching our kids responsibility and letting them out in public with Cheeto powder on their clothes. (You feed your kids Cheetos? What is wrong with you?!)

My Three-Part Solution

1. Make Connections by Admitting the Realities of Life

People make connections when one of them is brave enough to tell the truth and the other says, “Me too.” I’m not talking about becoming a whiner. But if someone asks how you are, it’s okay to say, “I seriously need to get out of my house. Without my kids. Like, yesterday.”

When they respond with, “Me too!” BAM! Girls Night Out!

You have a baby with eczema who scratches the heck out of his cheeks and don’t want to put steroid cream on his face so you’ve spent a lot of money looking for something that else that works? ME TOO! At least, I did. Then a mom at the doctor’s office gave me some suggestions and we got it figured out. Let’s help each other out!

2. Find Humor

I’ve learned to find humor in parenting. I even wrote a book about it. Because reality is quite funny. Watching a two-year-old get stuck trying to take his shirt off then turn in circles until he’s both stuck and dizzy is hilarious. When I laugh instead of cry (or yell), we’re all happier people.

3. Learn From Faithful Women Who Actually Had Hard Lives

The women in the scriptures have much to teach us. First and foremost, that life is hard no matter who you are. Reading about Mary, who gave birth to the Son of God under the least ideal of circumstances and had to hide him in Egypt to keep alive, really puts my life into perspective.

Hard? Hardly.

These are faithful, courageous, stalwart women who relied on faith and pushed forward despite their trials. I want to be like them.

Are You With Me?

Are you ready to stop blaming yourself for everything, admit reality, and find humor in everyday life?

Me too!

Want to read more great articles like this one? Subscribe to this blog via email (over there in the sidebar) and never miss another great post again! Follow The Whatever Mom on Twitter, Facebook and BlogLovin. If you don’t? Whatever.

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Friday Favorites – Alyssa Milano

Good morning!! I hope you will watch this clip of a very honest discussion about breast feeding. I like that it shows opposing views and each party is respectful in their exchange.

 

Breast feeding is one of the most divisive and controversial topics in parenting today. Growing up I don’t remember it being such an issue. I remember being curious about it as a kid and my mother explaining to me that’s how some moms feed their babies. Notice she didn’t say all moms. She left room for other moms, like herself, who formula fed. She was a working mom and if she had wanted to breast feed she would have. But, no one questioned her or shamed her for her choice.

I have steered clear of this topic until now because it can be so alienating to some moms. Myself included. I wasn’t able to breast feed my babies and most people think it is because I have twins. I know several twin moms who breast feed successfully and for over a year! Unfortunately, I couldn’t feed my babies because my milk supply never came in. I was ready and prepared to breast feed them. I felt a truly deep despair when it couldn’t happen. I felt like a failure before I even left the hospital five days after giving birth. So, for the first year I had to feed my babies formula.

It took me nearly three years to get over that feeling of guilt. I felt like it was my biggest failure as a mom. Not only was that because of the pressure I put on myself, but also because of the pressure of “breast is best.” Since I couldn’t give my kids the “best” I had failed. I stood quietly in the middle of the mommy war hearing judgments from both camps. I’ve met the finger wagers who spout statistics about health benefits of breast milk. I’ve met the moms who are too ashamed to feed their babies in public so they let them cry out, or hide themselves away. I’ve met the moms who participate in breast feed-ins and feed their babies openly in defiance. I’ve also met moms who have said breast feeding is not for me and boldly choose formula.

Here’s the thing… moms just want to feed their kids. Why is this deserving of media coverage, argument and a division? Why are we (moms included) relegating motherhood to the peripheral? Not only are breast feeding moms expected to remove themselves from view, but so are moms who have kids melting down in public, or moms who have “too many kids.” Why is motherhood so marginalized and minimized? Doesn’t it take a village to raise a child? So, why is my village sending me away and shaming me for my choices? Every family is different so why are we trying to put each other into a box that makes other people’s parenting a more acceptable and palatable experience for ourselves?

Here’s to the moms who choose to put their baby’s nutritional needs first- whether you choose formula, or breast milk you are making the right choice for your child. No one can ask for more than that! 😉

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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