Tag: #thewhatevermom

Why I Like to Spend Time Alone

I took a walk all by myself today, literally over the river and through woods. It was glorious!

I rarely get time to myself, but this week my husband is on vacation. It means I am on vacation too.   I know, I know “but he works!” Well, so do I. I work from home as a freelance writer while making sandwiches and packing two kids for a day at the beach. He works only one job at a time, albeit stressful he isn’t managing meltdowns while trying to look professional to a client. We both deserve a break. But while he is working 70 hours a week, I am covering all the childcare needs while simultaneously running a business. I’m not kidding when I say, if I go down no one knows how to the food gets in the house or when the toilets get cleaned. It’s all courtesy of moi!

I walked 1.28 miles one way without pushing a stroller or with any kids hanging on me!

Today, I chose to visit one of my favorite walking trails because it is quiet and has such beautiful views of the Hudson River. I’ve only ever walked this trail with my kids, so it felt strange not pushing a stroller or pulling a heavy wagon full of screaming kids. I made pretty good time walking nearly three miles. I had my favorite music pushing me on and no one to talk too. The silence was golden.  

No answering questions about sea creatures.

No organizing lunches.

No packing up a swim bag.

No blowing up pool toys.

No slathering sunscreen and carrying an armful of towels to the pool.

It was a glorious start to my vacation!

This is the first break for myself I’ve had all summer. My kids and I have been tethered since their last day of school. It’s OK, I love them. But as a work from home/stay at home mom the daily tasks of motherhood can become the weekly grind. It’s almost cliché to call my job as a mom exhausting. Everyone knows how tired we are because we can’t stop telling everyone we are tired.

View from 212 feet in the air walking over a converted train bridge.

Taking a walk while you’re that kind of exhausted sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s exactly what I needed! To roam freely, unattached to a to-do list, or locked into mealtime demands. Listening to my own thoughts without interruptions helps me declutter things that are bugging me. Do I really need to hold on to that friend if she clearly let me go? How about cleaning out some of this guilt about letting my kids eat so many hot dogs? Being alone allows me to regroup a little and feel lighter. It’s like therapy.

Are you someone that likes to be alone in your head? Or do you enjoy escaping from the mom demands with friends? Leave me a comment below, or feel free to join the conversation on Facebook! 😊

Roxanne Ferber is a freelance writer and owner of The Whatever Mom blog. Nearly nine years on the coffee wagon and she still doesn’t have enough energy to keep up with her twins. But she is a survivor and she’s gonna make it; even if she has to white knuckle it through each day until her kids graduate. Follow her on FacebookTwitter or Insta.

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A Cynic’s View of Valentine’s Day – Celebrating Love and Grief

Valentine’s day seems to bring out two kinds of people. The ones who love everything about the holiday and the ones who hate everything about it. I used to be one of the folks that hated it. I thought it was some dumb made up holiday created to dupe people from their dollars with useless trinkets and overpriced flowers. Gift giving is easy but loving someone every day is the hard part. A total cynic, even after I found love with the man that is now my husband.

We were dating only a few weeks before Valentine’s day, so I gave my new love a card and a funny pair of joke boxers out of obligation. I was clearly in the no frills, less is more camp. Only after arriving at his apartment for a home cooked meal, a surprise dozen roses, some chocolates, gold jewelry and a sappy card did I realize he was in the other camp. And that made for some very awkward dinner conversation.

A lot has changed since our first Hallmark holiday. For our second Valentine’s day, we celebrated the birth of my nephew. Our third Valentine’s day we celebrated my niece’s victory over childhood cancer and on our fifth Valentine’s Day we attended my father’s funeral. Valentine’s day has not always been all roses and chocolates for us. We’ve watched friends marry and divorce on Valentine’s day, and we’ve watched atrocities of mass shootings unfold on Valentine’s day. This Hallmark occasion has become a mixed bag of emotions for me. I’m always torn between throwing love around like confetti or sobbing in a closet. In between all the gifts and romance, funerals and cancer diagnosis’ we’ve learned that we need this one day on the calendar to remind us to slow down and check-in with those around us. I am always thankful for that extra reminder.

Today marks our 19th Valentine’s Day and again it is a day of celegrieving
(Note to self: coin the term “celegrieving”). We lost four amazing people in the last month. Grieving on Valentine’s day isn’t new to us, but it does put a crimp in our celebratory mood. Yet in a way it doesn’t. (There’s that mixed bag of emotions. You just don’t know which one I’m going to pull out). We don’t need flowers, or grand gestures to celebrate our family and friends. We are grateful for the memories we have with our Uncle Mike, our friends Michael, Jennifer and Erica. They are among the reasons we rejoice. We celebrate them and the wonderful gifts they’ve given us. Each of them taught us something, showed us kindness in every day gestures and made us laugh. Oh, how I will miss hearing their laughter. And their smiles when we talked. The run-ins at Walmart. And our shared stories with funny inside jokes. This holiday wasn’t invented with grievers in mind, and it isn’t my fault that my grief comes with a side of glittery wrapped dark chocolates. I guess grieving on the high holy day of chocolate has this one small benefit.

Despite my sadness this morning I decorated our kitchen with red and white crepe paper and scattered chocolate kisses all over the breakfast table. I surprised my girls with some special gifts, and I wrote love notes in everyone’s card. No, my husband’s presents and impressive dinners over the years have not converted me to the commercialism of Valentine’s day. But living in a world where it is easy to become so busy that we lose track of time and each other has changed our view of what this day means for us. All the materialism celebrated on this day will fade, but the lasting memories we forge together will get us through the low points, like when we can’t make sense of death. Even if this holiday is just another day on the calendar, I can still gift my family with joy over the cynical harshness of life. And what I’ve learned from the last 19 Valentine holidays is that every second we are alive is worth celebrating. Also, if you buy your brand-new boyfriend a pair of goofy boxers for your first Valentine’s day, when you get married, you can coast along on those low standards for another two decades.

Roxanne is the head writer, creative force and marketing guru at The Whatever Mom. She started this crazy blog before her babies grew into smarty pants little people leaving messes all over her house. Eight years on the coffee wagon and still folding nine million pairs of socks. But she is a survivor and she’s gonna make it. Even if it means white knuckling through every morning until her kids’ graduation.     Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Why is School Picture Day Such a Struggle?

Am I the only one that hates school picture day?

I mean I love the cute pics of my kids, but the struggle leading up to the big day is one I’d rather miss thank you very much.

I love that I have very strong-willed children, but there are days I have to suck it up that I am not going to get my own way. Picture day is one of those days. I would love to have my girls dressed in something cute and fluffy with perfectly coiffed hair. The problem is they aren’t having it. I can lay out the outfit I’d like them to wear the night before, and by morning there will be a tearful protest simply because I am “making” them do something.

So here is what I did today… nothing. I let them have full control. I did not coach them on how to smile. I did not remind them to check their teeth before they go in for photos. And I did not pick out their outfits or adjust their mix of patterns. Today was just another school day. Nothing special.

I know it sounds totally crazy for those of us “control enthusiasts” who love things perfect. It definitely feels weird letting my elementary school kids have total control over pictures I am going to pay for (and I don’t even get a preview). Now that I have a few school picture days under my belt, I know those photos are a freeze frame moment in time- a time in my kids childhood when they can fully express who they are without judgement. The superhero and cutesy character t-shirts are a glimpse into the personalities and treasured favorites of their past. They have plenty of time to be perfect in the future.

Letting go of making things perfect isn’t easy. But I am learning to meet my kids half way.

Today, there were no tears. No one complained. No lines drawn in the sand. Both of my kids picked out appropriate and clean shirts to wear. One insisted on giant bows for her pigtails and the other wanted to wear the same hairstyle she does every day. We made it to the bus stop on time in glorious harmony. Zero struggle. Zero tantrums on school picture day. We even laughed at their suggestion to “dab” as their school picture pose. (Please don’t).

Today, was a much smoother send off than on previous school picture days. #totalparentwin

Also, I ordered the smallest portrait package so there will be minimal evidence if this little experiment goes sideways. #promomtip

 

 

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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Queen Girls Has 5 NEW Inspiring Stories!

I’ve partnered with Queen Girls to promote diversity and positive content in children’s books.  They have created a collection of fairy tales, inspired by the lives of real women – Marie  Curie, Isadora Duncan, Savitri Phule, Bessie Coleman and Frida Kahlo. I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions shared are my own. Read to the end for your free copy of a Queen Girls story and activity book.

Today I am excited to tell you that Queen Girls is launching a whole new series of books written to empower young girls! I only share with you the things I love most and this is one of them! I love the illustrations, the language and the stories. Most of all I love sharing these age appropriate true life stories with my own girls. I hope it plants the seed that they can be and do anything they want to in life.

Meet The Queens


This new book series includes 5 new stories about Frida Kahlo, Savitri Phule, Junko Tabei, Isadora Duncan, Bessie Coleman ​&​ Marie Curie. These are the souls behind this collection.

Each book combines reality with elements of fantasy, captivating the attention of our youngsters while at the same time showing them the power of determination. These fairy  tales are geared at girls aged 4 to 8, definitive years where perspectives are sharply  defined. They show our girls that anything is possible if we set our minds to it!     Queen Girls wants to stir the conversation around stereotypes in children’s literature. More  often than not, women are portrayed simply as exotic beauties, love seekers and  homemakers.

‘We believe that as parents, we need to be more conscientious about the content we read to our children. Story telling is an intimate, powerful and often underestimated privilege. It is not just about acquiring new vocabulary, but also instilling ideas and perspectives that will support our girls’ dreams. Telling them new stories will hopefully change theirs.’

 

Queen Girls is a collection of books for CONSCIOUS families, for parents who are  aware of the importance of the content we consume and read to our children.    

The Collection 
Diversity is at the core of this collection. Every woman portrayed comes from a different  walk of life and diverse background. The writers and illustrators are also unconventional.  Jimena Durán, Founder and Creative Director, intentionally invited different women to be  part of this adventure, hoping to create alliances beyond stereotypes.

‘We want to teach girls that our diversity makes each one of us unique beings, equally capable of doing anything we set ourselves out to do!’

How Queen Girls was born 
As a new mom, Jimena started paying closer attention to children’s literature. She found  herself changing the lyrics of songs and books because their messages didn’t always  resonate with her. She did not feel comfortable delivering much of the content to her son  and wanted to do something about it. Her sister in law, Andrea Doshi, Co Creator, speech  pathologist and passionate traveler, didn’t hesitate to jump into the adventure. Together  they brought this concept to life with their first, co authored book, ‘Bessie, Queen of the Sky’  (image above).

How to get involved? 
The first book was printed thanks to a supportive community and successful Kickstarter  campaign. They are now running a second Kickstarter campaign with 5 new titles! They need all the love you can give them to make their dream to publish this collection a reality!

Learn more here: Queen Girls Publications

SHARE to receive free e-book + coloring book + activity book of ‘Bessie, Queen of the  Sky’ – fairy tale inspired by the story of Bessie Coleman, the first black woman to receive  her pilot’s license ​https://goo.gl/DSt4vBi​ #queengirls  Share this and tag Queen Girls on social media to receive your free download of Bessie, Queen of the Sky!

 

 

 

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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#TheWhateverMom Army Still Charges On

The term “Mommy Wars” just doesn’t sound right to me. As moms we are supposed to be peaceful role models for our children. We teach our kids not to fight, to think of other people’s feelings, and to be kind to others. So how can we be at war with each other and still teach our kids how to be decent, inclusive, thoughtful humans? We can’t. Four years ago, I was inspired to create my own photo montage in protest of the mom war struggle I was feeling. I enlisted the help of my local mom friends and got to work.

 

All the moms in these photos are friends I met as members of a mom’s group on Facebook. Over the years we’ve celebrated birthdays together, brought each other meals, and have encouraged and supported each other through the trials of motherhood. On this day four years ago, we were standing next to each other smiling and holding signs reflecting our “opposing” mom choices. It was all the proof I needed to see that even though we make different choices for our families, we can still be friends and even respect each other’s personal choices. I have come to realize that without the different opinions and choices lived out by other moms in my circle, I wouldn’t know I have options in my parenting.

 

 

 

Seven years into this mom gig and I have learned to let go of the pressure to make the same choices as other moms. I have also learned that it is par for the course for every new mom to grapple with her confidence as a mom.  That’s really where the mom wars start. It begins with that first wobbly step into motherhood. As we put one foot in front of the other, we learn the path that works for ourselves and our families. We also begin to realize that choices other moms make in their own homes really do not affect us. For example, nothing in my world shakes when another mom feeds her kid formula because she can’t breast feed. There isn’t a slight shift in the wind when someone feeds their kids McDonald’s for dinner because they are too worn out to cook. And if a mom uses bleach to clean her floors instead of the finest essential oils, I can still sleep at night. I firmly believe that if a mom falls at the playground and no one is around to hear her she will still swear like a trucker (all moms do that right, not just me?).

 

 

I haven’t done any hard research on this, but I have yet to see any viral social media clips of a Harvard grad mentioning their mom’s meticulous house as the reason for their success, or that her perfect dinners and over the top birthday parties drove them to the top of their class. If at the end of the day your kids are safe and alive, you deserve a round of applause. We all bear the same burdens of motherhood so why do we put so much pressure on ourselves (and each other to be perfect?).  No matter what your style of mothering is, we will all run the same course: stomach bugs, sleepless nights and feelings of self-doubt. All of these quintessential mom moments level the battlefield for the “Mommy War.”  Certainly none of us makes perfect decisions, but we all have the same end goal- to raise healthy, happy and productive humans. Does it really matter what path we follow to get them there?

 

My call to arms remains the same: do whatever it takes to let go of your fears and worries that you are not enough. Take up the charge to own your mom choices. Decide right now to be confident in your decisions because any decision you make in the best interest of your children is the best decision you can make for them. Never ask yourself, “Which side am I on?” Instead ask yourself, “How can I stand with my momrades?”

 

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- Busy Mom’s Guide to Self-Care during the Holidays

I received a free 2-week trial from Aaptiv. All opinions expressed are honestly my own.

It is hard to believe we are already on our way to Thanksgiving! Didn’t we just start the New Year with new intentions? I know my priority at the beginning of the year was to try to fit in more time for myself and not feel guilty about it. So far I’ve been pretty good at carving out time for myself. That’s not to say it happens on the regular, but I definitely have made time to meet with friends and I am doing much better at recognizing when I need to take care of just me.

As we enter the busy holiday season I am going to focus on self-care as much as I do my shopping list. Not only do I need to make sure I have the energy to keep up with the demands, I need to enjoy the fruits of all my labor! I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and I want to enjoy all of it as much as my family does.

Here are 5 easy ways to add some self-care into your already busy mom life this holiday season:

Schedule it! If it’s on my calendar I’m more likely to stick to it! I write on my calendar when I plan to take time to be alone, take a walk, phone-a-friend and even nap. Nap time may not be happening for either of my kids, but I am definitely not ready to give up on my power nap!

Exercise! I recently gave up my gym membership because I just could not fit a workout into my day. Instead, I found this really great app that I installed on my phone, because my phone goes where ever I go. It’s called Aaptiv and it has been such an amazing tool to have in my busy mom arsenal! I can go for a walk and take a trainer with me for a short, easy walk set to the perfect play list! I’ve used it while on my treadmill, started my day with some yoga, and the guided savasana by Amanda really helps me settle into my naps. I like that my workouts can happen where ever I am and I can customize my routine by selecting workouts by time, type and ability. If I’m short on time I can do a shorter workout which makes it super convenient. I was able to try it for free and so can you for 7 days! It is so easy to use, and makes finding the right work out such a breeze, you’re going to want to keep it longer than a week!

Hydrate! I completed a 7 day hydration challenge and tallied 80 ounces a day. Can I just tell you what a HUGE difference that made in my energy levels alone?! So busy moms if you want to do more in your day drink plenty of water to keep your energy up!

Skip the guilt! The holiday obligations can pull you in so many different directions and make you feel like you simply have too much to do. When you start to feel overwhelmed, or drained see what you can eliminate from your schedule. Then skip the guilt you feel about it!

Stick with tradition! Is there a tradition you love but always run out of time for? Set aside one weekend where you can shop with friends, make ginger bread houses with the kids, or just go get a massage alone (absolutely my favorite tradition!).  Taking the time to connect with the traditions you love most will make the holiday season feel enriching and maybe a little replenishing.

Self-care is always at the bottom of our lists, but it really should be our top priority. If we are depleted and always running on empty, then we have nothing to offer others, let alone our families. Now, go schedule a power nap and drink your water! Most importantly, don’t feel the least bit guilty for taking any time for yourself!

What is one thing you can do to take care of yourself during the holiday rush?

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 – Cool Cats GIVEAWAY!

Cool Cats Lead has generously offered promotional product to give away to one lucky The Whatever Mom reader!  I did not receive compensation for this post, but it does contain affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I may receive a small commission if you use those links to make a purchase. All honest opinions posted are my own.

At the beginning of the new school year I introduced my girls to the Cool Cats Leader Deck. We use the cards before school to review the important characteristics of a leader. It has been a great conversation starter for us, and I love that it is another tool for me to use as a parent. Teaching my girls to be leaders and independent thinkers is one of my top priorities.

So when my daughter came home with an award for being the most respectful in her class, I was one proud mama. The very next day my other daughter came home with a note from her teacher stating she was very kind to another student in her class. One of her friends was having a bad day and she offered her own teddy bear as comfort. The teacher was most impressed by her empathy and understanding of her classmates feelings (another proud parenting moment). This is not an exact result of using the card deck, because I know I have worked hard to teach my kids these characteristics. I think using the cards routinely keeps these traits front of mind for my kids. The cards make it easy to review!

Today, you can all enter for a chance to win a Cool Cats Leader 3-Pack! This amazing set includes a copy of the Growing the Leader in You book, 22 Easy Ways 2 Lead Card Deck and a Top 10 Tips for Leadership poster. All of it will soon belong to ONE LUCKY READER! (Look for my future review about some of those products)!

If you aren’t the one lucky winner don’t worry! Cool Cats is offering a FREE poster to the first 25 moms to place an order! For your convenience here are my affiliate links to take you right to their products on Amazon (links are free to use).


To enter simply click on the entry form below for directions! Get a bonus entry by visiting the Cool Cats website and clicking on the special enter button! Winner announced on Monday November 6th on The Whatever Mom Facebook page!!

 

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 

 

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Perfection Is Not a Place To Live

 

The other morning was really rough. My kids didn’t want to get out of bed and I was getting really impatient. I may have blown my top once or twice and barked some commands. Of course I always feel like a jerk after. In my defense motivating my one daughter out of bed in the morning can take up most of our morning routine. When she wakes up in a grumpy mood it makes the morning even harder.

What made this particular morning so rough was during our heated exchange she shouted back at me, “you just want everything to be perfect!” It literally caught me off guard. My kids can tell me they hate me and it rolls right off my back, but this hurt. I think it hurt because I work really hard to let go of expecting things to be perfect or pushing things to be perfect. I mean I only write a blog about letting go of perfection, so I MUST be an expert already right?

But she is right. Old habits die hard. I can’t escape how I am hard wired to be any more than she can escape her hatred of mornings. We have several home projects that need to be finished before winter; I have a house to manage and a few blogs to write each week, plus all that pesky meal planning and laundry to do. I try to stick to segmenting my time for each thing I need to manage. As a result I can seem a bit like a drill sergeant because I EXPECT this will get done in the exact amount of time I have allotted for it. That would be a symptom of perfection by the way.

If only life were that neat and tidy.

Last night I decided to loosen the reins a bit with our evening routine. I am also exhausted from the constant running around and finishing things, so I called it a make your own sandwich night for dinner, which seemed to make everyone happy. I know I was happy to not spend my time cooking something no one would eat! Then we put on some tunes and chatted through dinner.

After dinner my husband agreed to make the lunches while I sat down to play a board game with the kids. I am always rushing to make lunches and getting two kids showered – usually at the same time. So getting to take a break from that was simply amazing. My girls and I spent 30 minutes rolling in laughter because we just caught a case of the sillies. And it was exactly what we needed. You can’t script those moments and when my kids look back on their childhood they will remember it wasn’t perfect, but it did have perfect moments like this.

The night time routine was a little easier, no one kept fighting for more attention and both kids drifted off to sleep easier. Best of all there was zero yelling in the morning before school. It seems unplugging from the race to keep everything in order and on time was exactly what I needed to do. I can’t say I won’t get caught up in it again, because I am hard wired with a drive for perfection. But maybe now I can recognize it sooner and let go of it much quicker. That’s always my goal anyway.

It’s funny how when I think I’ve got this perfection thing licked, or under control, my kid will make sure to remind me that I’ve gone off the rails. Thanks for keeping me on track kid, and thanks for helping mommy grow!

 

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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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 

 

mamapedia-badge  HVP Individual Badge   Mom blog badge   Mass Hole Mommy blog-lovin

 

 

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Helping Kids Develop their Leadership Potential with Cool Cats

Do you ever worry if your child will be a leader or a follower? When I was growing up my parents always told me to be a leader and inspire other people to do the right thing. If I just followed along with the crowd I’d miss the chance to be my own person. Being a leader is the one characteristic that has helped me walk away from bad friendships and pushed me through promotions while climbing the corporate ladder. I actually had two amazing careers before I started my third career as a mom all because I learned early on to follow my own lead.

One of the most important things for me to instill in my kids is the ability to be be a leader, not a follower. I want them to follow their own desires vs. following along with the crowd. Leadership doesn’t always mean becoming a CEO, or high level manager, but rather thinking for oneself and making wise choices with confidence. That requires learning to lead. So, when I received this unique leadership playing deck from Cool Cats, I was thrilled to introduce it to my kids. Each card defines a special characteristic for kids to understand. It isn’t about memorizing the definitions; it’s about exposure to leadership language. These cards label each characteristic for success and defines them in short, kid friendly sentences. As kids read them over and over, they begin to internalize these characteristics. As they see themselves as being successful the language now becomes the script for how they describe themselves.

My kids are only in the 1st grade so their attention span for going through the entire deck of cards at once is minimal. To incorporate some fun into our morning routine, we like to select one card at a time to read aloud and talk about as we walk to our bus stop. My kids like to play card dealer and suggest, “Draw a card mom, any card!” then we carry it with us while we walk and discuss. This is a really great way to introduce things like integrity, perseverance and patience. It sets a great tone for the day and sets my kids up for a positive mind set. They may be learning math and reading at school, but at home (and bus stop) they are developing character and values.

I love how the definitions are short and the key concepts are highlighted in yellow. This makes it easy to sprinkle learning moments throughout the day; whether we are running errands, talking at the dinner table or on our way to catch the bus- these cards get the conversation started!

Using the cards at the beginning of a new school year is perfect for us. My kids are starting over at an entirely new school with new teachers and new peers. They need now more than ever to recognize their own strengths, courage and confidence. They need to receive the message that they are capable and can do great things even at their young ages. Reviewing a new card each morning fills their emotional back packs for the day.

Cool Cats playing cards were created by Judith Addington who has an impressive amount of degrees and experience working in childhood development. It is her vision to help kids recognize their own talents and strengths as early as they can, to be our strong leaders of tomorrow. Addington created a variety of tools to help parents and teachers cultivate leadership skills that help children to thrive and grow. The Cool Cats award winning team is comprised of skilled childhood development specialists, brain development specialists, cutting edge media designers and family and child counselors. A lot of expertise goes into creating these tools with parents in mind.

You can find additional Cool Cats leadership products available to use at home, or in the classroom on their website or on Amazon.

I did not receive financial compensation for this review. All honest opinions are my own and are given in exchange for a sample product of Cool Cats playing cards. The links below are affiliate links that provide me with a small commission when used to purchase these products. #affiliates #Amazon


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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