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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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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Friday Favorites- Little Blueberryy Giveaway

Happy Friday! You know by now I only share the things I truly love and use in my own life with you, right? That’s what my Friday Favorites segments are all about. Today, I am sharing my new favorite jewelry designer- Brooke Michaels! She is the owner and designer at Little Blueberryy. Brooke herself is as energetic and fashionable as her original creations! She is the sole designer, creator, marketer and brand originator. She is an entrepreneur on the go and she creates stylish pieces to fit an energetic lifestyle.

Brooke began designing jewelry as a hobby when she was just 13 years old. Being creative just comes natural to Brooke, which is easy to see in her t-shirt and jewelry designs. She also creates jewelry with crystals, dream catchers and original wall art. When she graduated from college and returned home she realized that building a business is something she has to do fulfill her creative passions.

What I love most is that Little Bluberryy designs are simple statement pieces that provide fashion on the go.  The adjustable metal bracelets are perfect to wear to the gym, while chasing toddlers, to the grocery store, or for a night out with friends. Using pure metals in copper, brass and aluminum affords comfortable style and intrinsic health benefits. Every piece is uniquely hand crafted and stamped and packaged by Brooke personally. You can read more about the benefits of each metal on her Etsy page.

All of the metals used in the metal bracelets are sourced in the U.S.A. and are completely customizable. If you want a special birth date, or coordinates of a special location, or you want a personal mantra stamped into the metal for all of eternity Brooke can do that! Kid sizes are also available! How cute would it be to get a mommy and me matching set customized with their birth date, or your affectionate pet names for each other? She also crafts hand stamped necklaces that are super trendy right now. You can have your child’s name, or special poetic phrase you both love stamped onto a keepsake you will wear for a very long time!

Little Blueberryy designs also offers gorgeous crystal jewelry to suit every mood. Maybe you need to relax, or just ward of negative vibes, Brooke has a crystal for that! You can find her beautiful creations on the Little Blueberryy website.

As always I love to shop a brand with a love for charitable giving. Brooke’s pet passion is helping animals. She creates unique dog tags and donates 10% of every purchase to the ASPCA, an organization that advocates for animal welfare and adopting pets into good homes. I love that you can shop Little Blueberryy for such unique personalized gifts for every member of your household!

It wouldn’t be a Friday Favorites giveaway if I wasn’t giving away one of my favorite things right?! Out of all of Brooke’s designs my most favorite is the customizable metal bracelets! It is such an affordable way to custom design a gift for a friend, yourself,  your mom, a co-worker or a favorite teacher. It’s a really easy go-to gift that you can be a part of designing. You can stack different metals for a unique look and to soak up all the healing properties at once.

Not that you need an excuse to shop with Brooke, but Mother’s Day is right around the corner! What mom wouldn’t love to wear something customized just for her? Well here is your chance to win ONE customized bracelet in a metal of your choice! Pick from pure copper, brass or aluminum and you pick what you’d like Brooke to hand stamp! She does her magic and ships it off to you!! Easy peasy!! She ships all over the country, so you don’t have to worry about where you live! What are you waiting for? Go enter!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure notice: This post contains affiliate links. I make a small commission if you purchase through the Amazon links below for the products pictured. All social media links are safe and free to use.

If you sign up to follow Little Blueberryy’s newsletter you can keep up with sales alerts and receive 10% off of your very first order. Through the month of April all Birds Nest necklaces are 10% off! These are gorgeous symbols of family and strength- perfect for your mom or grandmother, or other favorite mom.

LB on Instagram Facebook Shop


Photo credit: All photos contained in this post belong to Brooke Michaels of Little Blueberryy Designs.

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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Friday Favorites- Make Your Kid A Money Genius (Even If You’re Not)

Teaching my kids to be responsible with money is a cornerstone of the foundation I am building for them. I grew up poor, but I learned very early the value of a dollar. By elementary school I understood that buying a toy that lasts for less than a few minutes wasn’t worth all the work I put into earning the cash to pay for it. By the time I was a teenager my mother (a single mom of four) was a full time employee and attending college at night. She entrusted me with the weekly grocery budget. I planned every meal and snack for our family of six, and I learned how to double stack store sales with coupons. That may sound like a lot of responsibility for a teenager. But I never had to work while I was in high school because whatever money I saved in the grocery budget, I got to keep ($30 a week on average). It turned out to be an amazing life lesson.

As a parent I worry how to teach my kids what I learned by doing. Age six is a little too young to clip coupons and meal plan, but I believe they can still be in charge of their own money. Our kids do not earn money for routine chores like dishes, laundry and cleaning their rooms. But we do want them to learn that hard work pays off. So we pay them for more labor intensive jobs like yard work, washing the cars and cleaning up the garage. Over the last year they have each saved up $30! Instead of marching off to the toy store to buy one item, we told them they could have it to spend while we were on vacation. The caveat being they were responsible for purchasing their own souvenirs. Why? Because when mom and dad are buying, they think the sky is the limit. It’s easier to spend someone else’s money when you don’t know how much work went into earning it. Our decision paid off because the girls really thought about their budget when making their selections. They asked about prices and we helped them do the math and talked to them about adding in tax. I am proud of how quickly they accepted the new money rules, and really proud of how well they stuck to their budget.

My friends reactions after hearing this made me feel like maybe I was being a little too strict about money with my young kids. But according to Beth Kobliner, author of Make Your Kid A Money Genius (even if you’re not) this is completely age appropriate, and the first step to helping our kids become money geniuses.

We are already following many of the tips Beth outlines, but one thing we never thought about was including our kids in the weekly discussion of household finances. We are so focused on teaching them what we know vs. allowing them to experience where all our money goes. I honestly did not think that needed to happen until much later. Thankfully, Beth breaks down money concepts kids should know in preschool, elementary school, high school and beyond. There is also a section on how to save and pay for college. I feel like that discussion is so far away, but it will be here before I know it. Thankfully, I’ll be prepared with Beth’s step by step plan.

I also really love that this book includes character building tips surrounding money, like when to donate and how to give generously. I tend to give whatever change I have in my pockets to a Veteran, or sports kid shaking a can outside the grocery store. But I never thought to talk to my kids about why I give. The book begins by outlining how to talk to your kids about money, and each subsequent chapter is broken down into talking about paying off debt, better, smarter, spending how to give back and even smart advice for parents. Which even as good as I am with money there is always room to learn more!

Unless you are already working a job in the world of finance, this book is essential for parents of children ages 3-23! It is the perfect primer for talking to your kids about money concepts at every age and stage. Helping your child understand the value of money and how to use their dollars wisely will set them up for future success!

In what ways have you helped your child become a money genius?

Find Beth on Facebook and Twitter or on her website www.bethkobliner.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 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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My Very First Podcast on Lose The Cape

I am so excited to share my very first pod cast with all of you! Not only because it was so much fun to record, but I have been a fan of the Lose The Cape blog for a long time! I interviewed with co-creator Alexa Bigwarfe who is a funny, busy mom to three kids. Alexa is also a published author, an advocate for women and families, AND we share a lot in common with our motherhood philosophy- there is no such thing as perfect!

Thank you Alexa for making this a really fun experience! I hope all of you enjoy listening as much I enjoyed recording this!

 

 

Feel free to comment below about the pod cast, or leave some tips on calming the chaos of a busy life!

 

 Alexa Bigwarfe is a freelance writer and author. Alexa co-authored the book “Lose the Cape: Realities from Busy Modern Moms and Strategies to Survive” (losethecape.com) published in Spring 2015. Her #losethecape philosophy as a mom is based on the idea that we are all doing the best that we can as moms, and should be encouraged in motherhood. She also edited and published a book for grieving mothers entitled “Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother” and has been published in several anthologies, including “The Mother of All Meltdowns,” and “The HerStories Project,” and “Mothering Through the Darkness.” She launched her writing with the the blog No Holding Back, as an outlet for her grief after the loss of one of her twin daughters to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). She can be followed on Facebook  and Twitter (@katbiggie).

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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My Marriage And My Expectation for Perfection

This week I thought I’d sit down and write about marriage. But every time I start to type something I feel like such a fraud. Mainly because I have zero clue what it takes to make a marriage successful. My husband and I have been together for a total of 17 years, yet I have zero wisdom to offer.  I have no authority or accreditation to qualify me to talk about relationships of any kind. I laugh typing this because just this morning I wanted to scream at my husband for his total lack of consideration for my day.

After dinner last night I asked my husband to please take out the trash and finish the dishes for me while I got the kids through their bed time and story time routine. I need to be in my office to write and I am hoping to get to bed before 11 p.m. (Never happened). I went about my routine, got the girls into bed and ran off to type up my thoughts. My husband forgot I even mentioned any of those things and sat down in front of the TV to relax. I assumed he took care of everything I asked him to. I went to bed an hour or so after he did, so I didn’t think to check on what I asked him to do.

This morning his alarm woke me up around 5:30 a.m. as it does most mornings. I could hear him resetting his clock. We had a huge blizzard yesterday and everything closed down. He wasn’t needed very early so he took a little extra time to sleep. Well, once I’m awake. I am awake. So, I decided to get up and get some coffee and maybe listen to a podcast for the first time. Maybe I’ll even get on the treadmill. (Never happened).

The first thing I notice is a sink full of dishes. I had to take deep breaths and swallow hard the bitterness. I made my coffee and rolled up my pajama sleeves to do the dishes. As I was dumping the remnants collected at the bottom of the sink into the garbage, I see that it is still overflowing. I may have snarled a little. As I close the lid and turn around I see several cups on the kitchen table left from dinner and a trail of food bits left over by one of our Tasmanian devils. *Sigh* well at least the dishes are done and so is the coffee.

I pour my cup and fire up a Ted Talk on YouTube (I know not a pod cast, but still info). Not even five minutes later I hear, “AAAAAAHHHHHGGG MOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!” and deep sobbing. I rush to my daughter’s room and see she had a potty accident which is very unusual so I’m guessing she has a urinary tract infection.  We can just add a trip to the emergent care to today’s list of things to do. I cleaned her up and got her to the couch to rest since it is so early. I cleaned up her room and started the laundry. Hubby gets up to get ready for work. He simply has to pick up his keys and lunch box and head out the door and his morning is under way. “Don’t forget the garbage,” I yell after him.

I really have to congratulate myself for not losing it right there in the kitchen. I really wanted to yell and give him the big lecture about how his neglect set back my morning. But I didn’t. After he left and silence fell over the house again I realized I don’t have to dig us out of the almost 3 feet of snow today. My husband, full of his annoying faults, went outside three times yesterday during winter storm Stella to snow blow our driveway. He even played with the kids in the giant snow banks. This morning he moved my car to the middle of the driveway before leaving so that I could load the kids in easier. He knew I’d need to get out to the doctor today.

When he arrived home, after battling whatever annoying things happened to him at work, and braving crazy people on the road, he transferred our pet fish into the clean tank because I was too nervous to do it myself. Then he finished the dishes and read the girls a book so I could run into my office to check email (and edit this post).  I realize now at 10:00 p.m. he isn’t responsible for making my day perfect. No one is. There are no perfect days, only perfect moments.  After 17 years I know enough about him to know he shows his affection through random little things I don’t always notice, like setting the car up for easy maneuvering, or setting the timer on the coffee pot.

So here is the small wisdom I learned today. When the stress of the day begins to pile up, it’s easy to dump it on our spouse. When we are tired and overwhelmed we want someone else to take responsibility, or sometimes take the blame. My husband isn’t as plugged into the household grind as I am. But I do have to give him credit for his supporting role and background efforts. They may not be as loud, or as messy, or as “perfect” as mine, but he is there and he is trying.

Maybe you have had similar moments with your spouse? Anyone have any married with children insight to share?

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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