As a parent in 2018, it’s easier than ever before to preserve memories of our kids. We carry devices in our pockets that can (and do) capture thousands of images of them. We take video clips of their precious voices and ridiculous dance moves, and share their “firsts” and their best quotes on Facebook.
But recently I’ve wondered whether the thousands of disparate parts add up to an in-depth picture of who our kids are. My memory is terrible, and I have this nagging fear that this whole phase of life with small kids will just be one huge blur. Even if I write down all the major milestones (which I’ve done at best a half-assed job with), there are countless aspects of life with my kids that are so commonplace, it doesn’t occur to me to make a note of them. I’m sure I’ll always remember them.
But then my husband will make a comment about that period when my son insisted on bringing every single stuffed animal from his bed downstairs with him each morning… and I stare blankly Read more ›
Before we were married, my husband’s signature move before Christmas was buying exactly zero presents until around December 22nd, and then having one manic night of shopping at all the stores with crazy all-night hours in the final run-up to the big day.
I used to just see it as one of his lovable quirks. And it always seemed to work out fine. If the gifts didn’t make their way to the nieces and nephews until halfway through January, it was just chalked up to typical uncle behavior.
But a funny thing happens when you get married. Along with combining your households and finances, you end up merging Christmas lists too. And by merging, I mean the wife magically becomes responsible for all the presents.
It’s not that my husband has EVER asked or even hinted that I should take care of the gifts for the people on his list. But now that the presents come from us as a couple, my anxiety levels *do not* permit me to sit idly by and hope that my husband finds something fitting for all his relatives at Kohl’s at 1:00 in the morning.
So my holiday anxiety levels went up a notch after we got married, and then up several more once kids came into the picture. Read more ›
I’m pretty obsessed with fall… like just shy of pumpkin-spice-latte-deodorant-wearing obsessed (and yes, that’s a thing). Sandwiched in between the long stretch of sweatiness and mosquitoes and the cabin fever-inducing frigid weather, we get this little window of perfection. Crisp morning air gives way to pleasant afternoons. We bust out the sweaters and drink apple cider and everything is magical.
The real object of my obsession is the changing color of the fall leaves. I’m a full-fledged leaf stalker. I’m always seeking that moment of optimal viewing, when most of the trees have turned but before the early changers have dropped all their leaves. I stress about whether a lack of rainfall will mute the fall colors, and check foliage tracking websites for leaf peak forecasts (nerd alert, amirite?)
Fall is an in-your-face reminder of how quickly the beautiful things in life can slip away. I took a picture last year of this gorgeous tree – a vibrant yellow that just glowed brilliantly when the sun lit it from behind. I passed it a week later and the tree was virtually bare.
Watching the transition from trees exploding with fiery color to streets littered with crunching leaves practically forces you to focus on everything awesome and fleeting about this season of life. Fall has been giving me the kick in the a** I needed to start following my own advice to be in a mindset of gratitude, which has been a struggle sometimes with two kids under five.
It’s not a perfect metaphor, though. The seasons cycle. If I don’t consume enough pumpkin-spice lattes Read more ›
Most of the time I think about parenting from my own perspective – making decisions about how to best raise my kids. What’s the best way to potty-train? Am I striking the right balance of discipline and affection? Will I ever get my son to eat a vegetable?
But sometimes I stop and think about the relationship in reverse. It’s not just that my son and daughter are my kids. I am their mom. 30 or 40 years from now when my kid’s spouse/child/therapist asks what their mom was like, that person they’ll be talking is ME. Holy crap!
There are always these moments in books, movies and television where a character reflects on their mother – some oft-repeated piece of wisdom, the smell of her perfume, the swish of her skirt as she’d move around the house. I’m just picturing my kids, in contrast, wistfully recalling their mother’s messy mom bun and old ratty yoga pants Read more ›
So you’re the Partner of a Stay-at-Home Parent. Like most modern parents, you probably struggle to find the right balance between your work life and family life. The cliché of the man returning from work and putting his feet up and leaving all childcare responsibilities to the womenfolk has largely been left in the past. So I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you, POSAHP (do you mind if I call you that?), are an involved parent who sincerely tries to be as supportive as possible to your stay-at-home husband/wife/partner.
I’ve been blessed with an amazing POSAHP myself. He’s understanding, extremely involved with the kids, and a ridiculously good cook (I’m talking drool-worthy meatballs, y’all). But even if you are in the upper echelon of POSAHPs (which I’ll go ahead and assume you are since you’re reading my blog), there are certain realities of life as a SAHP that are just hard for you to fully grasp.
I certainly don’t claim to speak for all the SAHPs of the world, but I suspect that I’m far from alone in the struggles that have me wanting to pull my hair out by the end of the week (or halfway through Tuesday). So here are four truths that would be helpful for you to understand.
1) We Just Want you to Take the Kids
I know, I know – when you work full-time, you have a super limited window to get stuff done at home. Your weekend hit list may include mowing the grass, mulching, and reorganizing the garage. And all that stuff matters (I guess?). But I can almost guarantee Read more ›
My kids are cute (I’m talking legitimate Gerber-baby level cuteness). They are smart and curious and they crack me up. But they are the *actual worst* at sleeping. My 3 year-old didn’t consistently sleep through the night until he was 1 ½ years old. For months, the only way to get him to nap was by taking him for walks – I can’t even tell you how many miles were clocked on his stroller in attempts to get this child to sleep. My 7-month-old is the queen of the 20-minute nap. That in itself is an improvement; for months she would only nap on my body. Working from home meant standing with my laptop on the kitchen counter while my daughter slept in the baby carrier on my chest. Allegedly, after 6 months there is no nutritional need for babies to eat during the night, but my little one definitely did not get that memo. It’s basically an all-night buffet around here.
Getting my sleep in 1-3 hour increments for months now has completely melted my brain. I was trying to pay for my haircut last weekend, Read more ›
Ever since my daughter was born, my status as a sort of stay-at-home/sort of working mom (part-time from home) has been leaning way more toward SAHM territory. It’s a struggle to work even half the number of hours I did when we only had one kid. My rational mind knows that taking care of two kids under four is plenty of work in and of itself, but part of me feels vaguely guilty that my financial contributions to the family are so minimal at this point. If I’m not doing a whole lot of working, it feels like I need to step it up in the homemaker department. Trust me, I never aspired to be the cliché 50’s housewife vacuuming the house in pearls, ready with my husband’s robe, slippers and a stiff drink the moment he walks in the door. But somehow I do find myself feeling inadequate Read more ›
The moment the ultrasound tech announced that you were a girl, I burst into tears. She confirmed what my maternal instincts were already telling me. I had already been mentally designing the nursery, and trying to figure out how many of your brother’s baby clothes we could get away with dressing you in (I mean, who cares if we put you in blue PJ’s?) I am overflowing with joy. At the same time, there are worries that creep in when I look into the future. When my thoughts turn to your teenage years, I can’t help but remember my own struggles at that age and worry about how you will navigate your way through.
I hope that you will manage, against the odds, to see how beautiful you are. Of course I don’t want you to base your self-worth on your physical appearance. But neither do I want you to walk through life feeling perpetually self-conscious about how you look. This will be an uphill battle; you will be confronted non-stop with airbrushed images of women that will create impossible standards to compare yourself against. I hope you will be able to see that these women are illusions, and that real women have freckles, scars, and blemishes, thighs that touch and body parts that jiggle. Our skin will always seem pasty next to the artificially bronzed women Read more ›