Category: Parent

Closing our Eyes to Sandy Hook

Turning Our Backs on Sandy Hook

This week I am taking a break from sharing my favorite things to share with you my thoughts on gun violence. I don’t even have enough words to put together to express my feelings over the tragic loss of lives in Orlando. It has taken me this long to find the words you are about to read. I have been a weeping mess of sadness trying to make sense of my own feelings about this. My heart is aching while my kids are at school and I am a hugging machine when they are home. I have no idea what I should be doing to make things different. Then I saw this:

 

Stacey Wehrman Feeley

June 15 at 8:10pm

“I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our mischievous little three-year-old was up to. However, the moment she told me what she was doing I broke down. She was practicing for a lock-down drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom. At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.

Politicians – take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?”

 ‪#‎dosomething ‪#‎prayfororlando ‪#‎wecandobetterMoms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Photo credit: Stacey Wherman Feely. Her daughter drilling active shooter drills at home.

This photo was taken by Stacey Wherman Feeley, mother of this beautiful 3-year old girl and it is going viral. As it should! This is what we need to see every single day- the conditions in which we are forcing our children to grow up in. What Can I DO to help? This is the question every single person living and breathing in America should be asking right now. Every teacher. Every parent. Every nurse, doctor and lawyer. WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE A CHANGE? HOW CAN WE KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE AT SCHOOL?

I may be the Whatever Mom learning to keep my cool and let things go, but this is something that gets me really hot under the collar. The gun issue sickens me. Instead of tightening up safety measures we are teaching our vulnerable children to:

Hide.

Live in fear.

To think about staying alive during the school day.

Parents are on pins and needles leaving their kids at school, at day camp and dropping them off at the mall just hoping today isn’t the day someone decides they have the right to use a military grade weapon to kill and maim innocent people- of which could be their child.

My heart has been in pieces since Sandy Hook just thinking and worrying about my kids. And your kids. For the last few years I have listened to my friends talk about the active shooter drills in their kids’ schools. Their kids are coming home with anxiety about going to school and getting killed.

In the picture above a 3-year old is poised on top of the toilet practicing her balance and keeping quiet. THIS IS HOW WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO BE SAFE? How can we expect a child not yet developmentally capable of sitting still and keeping their emotions under control to fend for their own lives like this? They aren’t going to stay quiet long enough for a gunman to think, “Well, no one in there” and walk away.

Teaching our children to behave like sitting ducks just waiting to be plucked is teaching them to tolerate and accept violence as just a part of everyday life. Doesn’t that sound broken to anyone else? Doesn’t that sound like we have failed our children in some way? “Gee kids we’d really like schools to be a safe place for you to go to every day, but it just doesn’t look like it’s happening any time soon. And to the kid being abused at home and already living in fear every day we sure wish we could give you a secure place to let down your guard and find some solace in your day. Unfortunately none of us can agree on what that looks like. So for now just hang tight in the bathroom stalls and try not to make any noticeable sounds with your wiggly bodies and your loud personalities. We’ll just hope for the best.”

I don’t know about you, but I am mad. I am mad at our flawed system. I am mad at people who think mass murder is a justifiable act. I am mad there isn’t enough help for folks living with mental illness. I am mad at the people pointing fingers and blaming. And I am mad at myself. Sandy Hook happened four years ago and I have done nothing to be a part of the change I want for my kids. There have been how many more shootings since then? Sure, I signed a few petitions online and completed a few acts of random kindness to celebrate the lives of the kids who were murdered. How long can we close our eyes on what we learned from Sandy Hook? Another senseless shooting happens and I’m suddenly awake to how broken our system is. But what have I DONE to make change happen for MY OWN CHILDREN? Nothing. Until now.

Now, with a fire in my belly, I am calling every single representative, tweeting and a sharing on Facebook. I am texting #DisarmHate and hash tagging #wecandobetter like my fingers are on fire and the keys are going to put them out. I am educating myself on ways to close the loopholes in our gun laws. I am answering every call to action. I can’t stop until something changes for the better. It isn’t enough to teach our 3-year old children to suck it up and deal with the way the world is today. There has to be more.

Let it begin with me and you. Share this post. Sign up to follow your senators who are fighting for change. Follow groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and answer their calls to action. Please help me find a way to keep guns out of the hands of folks who just want to use them to hurt our children.

For more information on what you can do to combat gun violence in America read Senator Chris Murphy’s words here.

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.

Sharing is Caring:

What’s In Your Mouth?

Things in Kids Mouths

I’m constantly amazed at what my children put in their mouths. And their ears. And their nose.  My 2 year old daughter likes to put her big sisters Shopkins in her mouth. Granted some of them look like ice cream people, but really. And she keeps doing it. It’s not like they’re flavored. Why?

When my older two were little they would chew on their cribs. Not just a little.  In some parts they went through the varnish and down to the wood. I remember one time I went in and one of them had brown flecks of wood stain all over her mouth.

I don’t understand what makes kids want to do this, other than when they’re teething. It can’t taste good. It’s not like they’re hungry when they’re doing it.

The same girl who tried eating her crib also fed her brother raw pork fat once. I had trimmed a roast but hadn’t put the fat directly into the garbage, so it was on the cutting board. Apparently my son told his sister he was hungry, and being the resourceful 5 year old she is, she grabbed him some food. When I saw him and asked what he was eating, he said meat. GAG.

IMG_2790

A stray raisin that I missed when I swept the floor is fair game if I can’t snatch it out of their hand. My son actually asked if what he was holding was an old raisin, and when I said I think so, he popped it in his mouth. I have to tell at least one child per day to take something out of their mouth. Food, toys, rocks; really the possibilities are endless.

One of my older girls also went through a phase of chewing on her hair. I wouldn’t have cared really, except the section she chewed on would get all matted and if she had just finished eating her hair would get extra gross.

However, the all-time winner in this game of what-terrible-thing-can-I-put-in-my-mouth is my son, who decided he was going to eat our Christmas lights. Christmas lights you say? Yes, glass Christmas lights.

Some good friends of ours have Christmas lights on their patio for when they sit out at night, and I liked the idea so much I wanted to recreate it at our house. So I got some of our old Christmas lights and hooks to hang them up. Unfortunately, two strands didn’t completely light up, and they sat outside on a table waiting for me to come back and fix them.

Along comes my son. He’s playing with his twin sister nicely in the backyard, but I happen to glance outside and it looks like he has something in his mouth. Now, I can’t tell you why my brain went to the lights, but somehow I just KNEW what this crazy kid of mine had done. Sure enough, I ran outside and asked him to open his mouth. He ran away from me like all good kids who are trouble do. I get him and tell him to spit it out. Out comes 2 pieces of glass and then he hands me the chomped on light bulb. Whyyyyyyyy?

Luckily, he wasn’t hurt and somehow it didn’t cut his mouth, but I’m constantly wondering how humans have survived so long with the amount of potentially dangerous things they do to themselves as children.

Hopefully things will start calming down, but I have a feeling my Shopkin chewing daughter will follow in the footsteps of the hair chewing daughter. Plus it seems my son is a human goat, so it might be a long while yet.

Is there something I can even do for all this chewing? A friend of mine told me about necklaces that I could get that are specifically made for kids that like to chew on stuff, so those might be an option. Has anyone ever heard of something like that or tried it?

Jennifer at Sweet DiscordJennifer 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.

Sharing is Caring:

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.

Sharing is Caring:

The Benefits of Getting My Kids Out and Moving

The Benefitsof Keeping My Kids Moving

When my kids get exercise they are a lot less whiny and a lot less lazy. When we sign them up for sports, they have a place to focus their energy and make new friends. I have four boys, and all of them but my two-year-old play soccer. That doesn’t stop him from trying to cross the white line and see if he can help his brothers out every Saturday, because he loves to kick the ball around. In the winter they play basketball.

With school getting out soon I need to step up my own game and get them moving each morning. Most days I try to take them for a walk or to the park before the sun makes the slides too hot to play on. Every time I decide to have a lazy day and let my kids watch Netflix, I pay for it. They spend the day arguing over everything and they don’t want to do anything. Sometimes when they get like that I make really dumb decisions and take them to the store just so we can get out of the house. That right there is proof that once you have kids you lose brain cells. Letting them run around outside is more likely to snap them out of their orneriness.

If I can preempt the drama by getting them outside first thing then my kids are more pleasant to be around for the rest of the day. I’ve tested this time and time again—because I like lazy mornings—but the results are always the same.

I read over this study showing how exercise benefits boys academically (in addition to saving me from excessive whining). It concludes:

Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores in grades 1-3. Particularly boys with higher levels of physical activity, and especially walking and bicycling to and from school, had better reading skills than less active boys.

Interestingly, the academic benefits of exercise was not as significant in girls. The full study can be found here.  But if you just want a run-down of the parts you actually care about, go here!

I don’t need a study to tell me that when my kids have a physical outlet for their energy they are a lot less cuckoo, but it was encouraging to see it actually helps them become better learners.

Other than participating in sports, here are a few activities that will give your kids some exercise: run through the sprinklers, go for a bike ride, play “Just Dance” on the Wii or XBox, jump rope, hula hoop, or play a good old-fashioned game of tag!

How do you keep your kids active?

Amber Amber Christensen is a mom to four boys, a blogger and the 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!

Sharing is Caring:

Friday Favorites: Top Picks for Summer Skin Care

SAFE SUN

Did you know the first official day of summer is June 20th? But many of us are already enjoying some fun in the sun now! I spend hours outside in the back yard, or at local parks with my kids. I want to be sure each of us is protected from sun damage or sun burns. I am really careful about what I put on our skin. I also like products that multi-task and save me a little time.

Before I share my favorites here’s a quick word about SPF. The Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, estimates how long you are protected against sun burn. For example, if you know your skin starts to redden after 20 minutes in the sun, a product with an SPF of 15 will keep you safe approximately 300 minutes before you start to burn. The higher the SPF the longer the protection time. But it is important to apply properly and reapply in time to get the most benefit from your sunscreen.

Here are my favorite can’t live without summer skin care items:

Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 

I rely on my tinted moisturizer for a casual coverage that evens my skin tone. Using a tinted moisturizer with an SPF protects me  from damaging UVB and UVA exposure. I personally like Mary Kay’s CC cream with an SPF 15. The coverage is great and it is light weight enough for me to wear while at the park with the kids, running my errands or even working up a sweat at the gym. Not only does the SPF keep me from burning quickly, but it is the first line of defense against aging. (Sun damage = wrinkles). You can locate a Mary Kay rep online and purchase for $20.00.

cc cream

Lip Balm with SPF 

My absolute favorite is Kiss My Face Lip Treatmint with SPF 30. This water resistant lip balm keeps my lips smooth and tastes amazing!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a sunburn on my lips just standing at the park with my kids, or playing outside in our yard. Too much sun exposure to your lips can cause dehydration and aging. The antioxidant formula re-hydrates and heals dryness. I also love that it is gluten free and cruelty free. Kiss My Face also has a really great line of organic lip balms that I buy for my girls to enjoy. You can purchase online for around $2.50, or find in most retail drug stores.

kiss my face lips

Sunscreen with SPF 

I go with Kiss My Face Organic sunscreen. It is gluten and cruelty free and made with 87% organic ingredients. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes which means I can run through the sprinklers, or take a dip in the pool with the kids without worry. It is broad spectrum which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays. It may seem pricey at $13.99 a tube, but worth the peace of mind I get knowing it’s less chemical exposure for me and my kiddos.

kiss my face sunscreen

Sun Protection Tips:

To get the most benefits from your sunscreen you should apply 10 minutes before going out in the sun. It takes that long for the minerals in the cream to settle into your skin and create a barrier of protection. I apply my tinted moisturizer and lip balm as part of my morning skin care routine so I am set for the day. I try to cover the kids just before we leave the house, or before they leave for school.

Getting a little sun isn’t a terrible thing. It is actually medically necessary to get enough sun to help our bodies convert proper levels of Vitamin D. We only need about 15-20 minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure for good health. You want to be sure you are protected during the peak times of day which is 10 am – 3 pm. That is when the suns rays are most intense and you are more likely to get a sunburn. If you know you will be out in the sun for longer, say a day at the beach or at the pool, be sure to cover up and use your sunscreen!

Product links provided in this post are for your convenience. No affiliate links are included and I do not receive financial compensation if you use them. All opinions and reviews 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 and The Novice Mommy.

 

Sharing is Caring:

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.

IMG_8186

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.

IMG_2954

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.

IMG_1784

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.

Sharing is Caring:

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. 

mommy guilt cover

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. 

cara maksimow

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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. 

Sharing is Caring:

The Ways We Appreciate Our Mothers More

Motherhood can be such a great equalizer. We spend a lot of years thinking we know more than our moms and arguing against them. In our teen angst we feel like they just doesn’t want us to live! Then one day we become mother’s ourselves and we understand. For the first time we get it. We get all the pain and upset they felt when we rejected them and when we questioned them. Then we feel all the same insecurities they felt felt.

Personally, I did not understand the sacrifices my mother made until I became a mother myself. The many times she went without new things for herself so that I didn’t have to go without. The amount of worry that filled her day, now fills my day. I never knew how much she second guessed her choices until I’ve had to make the same choices myself. It wasn’t until we stood on equal footing as mothers that I began to truly understand how difficult it was for her to watch her children grow up and away from her.

Mother’s Day is this weekend and I hope you take a moment to tell your mom how much you appreciate her. Don’t wait for a sappy card to say it all for you. Take the time to reflect on what she has given you. And if you don’t have a good relationship with your mom, you can still send respect from a safe distance. There aren’t a lot of perks to this mom gig. But the most coveted award for any mom is hearing their child say, “I appreciate what you’ve been through.” If you are still having a hard time finding just the right words I’ve enlisted six of my friends to share how motherhood has helped them appreciate their moms even more.

 

Missy mom roundI never understood the amount of fear mother’s carry until the moment my first born was placed in my arms. Now I know why my mom was so “annoying” always telling me to “be careful!” Or why she expected to know I made it someplace safely. She still hasn’t settled into my career choice to be a police after 13 years. I understand more why my mother was so upset when my sister and I fought. I fell in love with each of my children on the day they were born, but never more than when I watched them fall in love with each other.  And I don’t ever want them to stop.  The fears that have been ticking inside of her now tick inside of me. Knowing that time is fleeting I feel moments are gone against my will and I will miss every cherished memory. I used to cringe every time she asked us about grandchildren. Now I get it. It’s that elusive wish we all have to go back in time and do it all again. She was gifted that with grandchildren. I know now that someday I’ll wish for the same. -Missy Seyfarth about her mom Tina.

 

 

molly and mom roundMy mother’s greatest gift has been to remind me that I have what it takes to be a good mother. I remember calling her and asking her advice, and she would often say in the first few weeks, “Well, dear, it sounds like this is really challenging. It’s been so long since I’ve cared for a newborn, so I want you to take a deep breath, find your calm, and call the pediatrician or nurse line. Meanwhile please know that you can handle this, and I say this with full confidence.” My mom said these things even knowing I was struggling with postpartum depression; she affirmed that no mental health challenge would remove my motherhood, my instincts and my wherewithal to handle tough situations. I carry this gift from my mother and hope to give it to my own daughter someday. What a wonderful mother to have—a mother who reminds me every time I doubt myself that I have what it takes to make it through. -Molly Wright Starkweather about her mom Deb.

 

 

Sarah mom 2For the life of me I can’t figure out how my mom kept her cool so well when I was young, and it inspires me as a mom now. There were five of us kids and she worked full time, yet I remember her as patient, calm, confident and always steady. I’m so grateful for that example and now I can fully appreciate the strength it must have taken her! It is a blessing to be able to call on her for wisdom during tough times on this motherhood journey. –Sarah Coppola about her mom Jeri.

 

 

somer mom roundMy mom and I have always been close, but my appreciation for her changed once I became a mom. Now that I am a mom to two beautiful girls ages 8 and 2, I have a better understanding of the emotional roller coaster moms live on. You may not intend to get on the ride, but it is impossible to not take things so personal and worry. I know the worry will grow bigger as my children grow. A mother’s love is never ending and neither is the worry. Thank you Mom for all your love and I’m sorry for all of the sleepless nights I have given you! –Somer Mayer about her mom Pam.

 

 

heather & mom roundMy mother was 19 and 20 years old when she had my sister and me. A few years later she became a single mom. My childhood was very unpredictable and hard at times. For many years, I had a lot of anger and resentment towards her. We have always been very close, but I felt very irritable and impatient and easily triggered around her. When I became a mom myself I was able to soften and fully appreciate her. Motherhood almost broke me the first few years of with my two boys born only 15 months apart. It was my mom who saved me. She is so much more patient and fun with my boys than I am. And she cleans my kitchen each visit without me asking and has listened to me sobbing in despair many times. Motherhood has humbled me and I mostly only feel gratitude when I am with my mother these days. -Heather Bunch about her mom Diane.

 

 

Amilyen az anya, olyan a lánya –loosely translated from Hungarian it means like mother like daughter. My mother was with me gizella 2when I had those words tattooed on my arm.  Many of us cringe when we hear the cliché phrase that “all women turn into their mothers.” We somehow view it as a curse and try to fight it. Once I became a mom I started to embrace the characteristics that make me in awe of my mother. Like a lightbulb turning on, I see it now. There are days I don’t know how I could do it without her. She knows what I need even before I do; call it motherly intuition. Whether it’s picking up the kids from school, helping with dishes or a quick stop at the store, these small things add up. There’s nothing I can say or do that will ever be a good enough “thank you.” But thank you mom, for protecting me, supporting me, listening to me, advising me, sympathizing with me, and allowing me to grow into the woman I am today. -Gizella Diverne about her mom Gizella.

 

 

Feel free to use the comment section below to give a shout out to your mom. What do you appreciate about her the most? Feel free to share with her so she can read your gratitude!

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. 

 

 

Sharing is Caring:

Interview With A Parent of A Child With Autism- Meet Kaitlin and Parker

rd autism

As we close out Autism Awareness month I want to share with you one more story. Meet Parker. His mom Kaitlin lives in my area and we are part of the same mom’s group on Facebook. I am grateful she is allowing me to share their story. It may sound familiar to you, or you may know someone who is currently going through a similar journey to find a diagnosis. Feel free to share this story with them: a real mom with a real struggle just like theirs.

Autism Awareness

How old was Parker when he was diagnosed?

Parker was 18 months old when he was diagnosed on the spectrum of Autism. I knew in my heart prior to the diagnosis. I think with knowing something was going on prior it was easier for me to accept. Two developmental pediatricians and a neurologist confirmed the diagnosis and still follow him.

 

What has life been like after diagnosis?

Everything I read about was so different than actually experiencing it. We began our journey receiving services through Early Intervention (OT, PT, Speech, Special Ed) and working with a licensed social work therapist (LCSW). All our services were in home so it was like a revolving door sometimes. It would be three services a day. We would make strides with speech and have some new words for a little while and then they would just disappear, like he forgets he learned them. One day they were here and the next they just disappeared. He had a lot of sensory needs. He would love being rocked, squeezed tight and disliked certain textures and loud noises scared him. Every day I learned some new.

IMG_20160319_085645

As Parker got older he became very aggressive towards others. He was hitting, biting, pulling hair and he would even bite himself when things would get overwhelming for him. It was hard to watch and accept. His activity level was extremely active and very dangerous. Parker has no fear whatsoever so, safety became a huge concern. He is also a runner/bolter. We recently became enrolled with Project Lifesaver with our local sheriff’s department. Parker wears a radio transmitter device that can aid in the location of finding him if he ever takes off.

 

How important is it to have support?

I am a single parent and having support is HUGE! I am thankful for my family who helps when anything is needed. My parents are our greatest support system and I would be lost without them!

 

What advice could you give to outsiders not familiar with autism?

Never judge a book by its cover. Prior to kids I told myself I would never use a backpack leash. But with his safety concerns I have too.

Kaitlin also recommends the following articles to help others understand more about what it’s like to be a parent with Autism.

The Mighty: 12 Things Not To Say to Parents of Kids With Autism

Today Parent: 11 Things Never to Say to Parents of A Child With Autism (and 11 Things You Should)

 

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. 

Sharing is Caring:

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.

Sharing is Caring:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)