Got Grief? Oh, and a Mallet?

How to fight grief one hedgehog at a time......more

Meet My Friends, Irrational Fears

 There’s a reason you won’t see me jumping from a high pier into the deep, dark ocean, like my nine year old daughter did today. It’s because I have Active Irrational Fears, and they are large and always sit very close to me, breathing on my cheeks with dubious breath. They are extra-friendly, never leaving my side, not even to hit the facilities! My fears are relentlessly loyal to me, and they also have camel bladders....more

Is My Boyfriend Abusive? And Other Questions Feminists Ask in Secret

Hello. First off, if you found this page because you’re trying to find out if your boyfriend is abusive, I recommend talking to a professional or at least reading through a website meant specifically for that purpose. RAINN is fantastic, and they also offer a free chat with a real person (like a help line without having to talk on the phone), and if you prefer the phone, they also have a helpline at 800-656-HOPE....more

10 Proofs I'm Failing Mommy Math

 In a world where #commoncore can be a four-letter-word, it’s not surprising math doesn’t always add up. Seven years ago, I unknowingly enrolled in an upper-level math course.Mommy Math (Math 701)Explore never-before-understood mathematical concepts in this graduate level course. Learn how fundamental methods flip upside-down in parenthood. Prerequisites: Genetics (Bio 307), Dynamic Systems and Chaos (Math 654), Theory of Numbers (Math 623)The course has a broad scope and wide reach, covering topics previously-considered mastered.Fractions1 = 1/8How it works: After a 40 minute battle of “stay in your seat” and “but, you eat yogurt every morning,” it’s finally time for Mom’s breakfast. A perfectly toasted & perfectly buttered bagel is millimeters away from Mom’s mouth when little hands shoot out to commandeer . Toddler cheers “bagel! bagel!” Preschooler declares “but I love bagels!” Just like that, 1 bagel is reduced to 1/8.Counting∞ = 3.How it works: No one knows if a number exists after 3 anymore. Start counting at 1 and if you get to 3, bad things happen. Bad things. Arithmeticx + 1 = ∞How it works: Add 1 child to any number of children and while you expect a linear expansion, you instead approach infinity. Infinitely more laundry, infinitely more dishes, infinitely more toys, infinitely more schedules, infinitely more crumbs, infinitely more words, and, yes, infinitely more laughter. Patterns♥ Δ → ♥ Δ _How it works: Mom knows what to expect, based on carefully observed patterns. As long as Mom is convinced things will play out a certain way, Mom will be wrong. Patterns exist to throw Mom off the trail.GeometryTriangle ≠ Rectangle ≠ Circle ≠ Square ≠ StarHow it works: While appearing to be a standard mathematical rule, sandwich-cutting brings on new story problems. Only one shape is ever “right” and is dependent on the family surname, the child, the external temperature and the phase of the moon. Get it wrong and expect an untouched sandwich at days’ end.Time0 minutes = 20 minutesHow it works: Mom says “now” (0 minutes) and child waits 20 minutes before responding, obeying, eye-contacting or breathing.2 minutes = 20 minutesHow it works: Child asks for “2 more minutes” to complete an important task such as “the next step” in the Lego instructions, the final minutes of Ruff Ruffman or mindlessly shoving puzzle pieces under the couch. 20 minutes later, mom is engrossed in whatever task she busied herself with for 2 minutes and now everyone is 18 minutes late for whatever came next.5 minutes = -5 minutesHow it works: A perfect play-date nears the end. The 5 minute warning is issue as an epic wrestling match ensues, a toy is broken, a child is traumatically injured, something red spills on something irreplaceable and former BFFs are no longer speaking. Play-date should’ve ended 5 minutes earlier. 3 hours = 1 hourHow it works: Half-day preschool sounds like a dream. One day into “parenting paradise,” mom does some mental math to discover 3 hours is really 1 hour. Factor in drop-off, questions, paperwork, chit-chatting with drop-off moms and then driving somewhere, anywhere – home to nap a baby, meet a friend, run an errand, slip into a meeting. Account for checking out, packing up, corralling a toddler, traffic, driving back, and a 5 minute buffer so yours is not left in the horrific role of last-kid-at-preschool. What you are left with is 1 hour. No more, no less. Every day. 1 hour. Schedule an appointment:1 hour. Get groceries:1 hour. Call customer service:1 hour. Play-date: 1 hour. If your plans cannot be made for precisely 10:00am, you cannot make plans. 1 hour.Moneykid tax = 30%How it works: For each child taken to the store, receipts reflect a 30% tax. Sneaking stuff in the cart, begging for “just this one thing,” bribed for behavior, promising to eat it because the sample tasted “sooooo good,” lack of brain-silence for decisions – all increase volume and cost of overall purchase.Measurementx units = x+2 unitsHow it works: In store, child’s foot fits seamlessly in size 3 cleats. On Opening Day, child’s foot has jumped 2 sizes, necessitating amplified screams. Mom prepares snack for a team/class/party. There will always be 2 extra kids. Pack 2 diapers; you will need 4. LogicHow it works: There is none. If mom has it, the kids won’t buy it. If kids have it, they won’t be silenced. #childlawyers for the win.ProbabilityP = 1How it works: If a mom thinks it, the probability of it happening is 1. Will child need the bathroom as car passes last-exit-for-miles or as cart hits the back corner of Target? Yes. P=1. Will she wish she had packed more than 10 baby wipes? Yes. P=1. Will it rain on the only day friends could meet at the park? Yes. P=1. Will someone get sick while Dad is out of town? Yes. P=1. Will something crash loudly in the half-second baby’s door is closing after finally getting baby down? Yes. P=1. Will the phone and doorbell ring at the same time, all while a child is screaming at lung-top levels? Yes. P=1. Will child have urgent-important questions as my on-hold call is pushed through? Yes. P=1.Math is hard. Mommy Math is even harder. Especially when Mom is the one always expected to make Pi. #tokenmathjoke...more

How Mommy's Summer Died a Quick Death

Every summer starts the same. For 10 months, you’ve been #hadittogethermom,#nearlylostitmom or #crusheditmom, but on the eve of summer break, you are #optimisticmom. You’ve got 10 weeks.10 weeks wide open for anything you want.Take your pick from vacations, picnics, free concerts, outdoor movies, art fairs, camps, reunions, weddings, graduation parties, farmers markets, fruit picking, the beach, splash pads, pools, nature hikes, bbqs, ice cream runs, parks, creative projects, yard sales, sidewalk sales, walks, bike rides, little league, cleaning out the garage, festivals, boating, the zoo, ball games, fun runs, photo shoots and, oh yeah, relaxing!10 glorious weeks.Expectations are high for chore charts, argument-free days, enrichment learning, personal goals, finished projects, diet & exercise, time with friends and good weather.By day 0.3, disillusionment sets in as the first “[sibling name] won’t share” shouting match erupts outside the baby’s/toddler’s/mom’s room. Naptime is officially over. Summer hopes die a quick death. #realitymom is back on the scene.Just like that, you are in the throes of jury duty in Sibling Court, constant sunscreen applications, coaxing kids out of yesterday’s clothes and driving a camp bus that looks strikingly similar to your minivan. You find yourself asking questions like “Would Mr./Mrs. [teacher name] put up with this?” and you aren’t sure if your tone is more bazinga or panic.Bedtimes tiptoe past you, delaying 15 more minutes with each new night. But, this is our first/last/third night of vacation. But, there are fireworks. But, friends are over. But, we didn’t get ice cream, yet! But, they are (finally) playing nicely together. But, wouldn’t it be fun to do a flashlight walk around the neighborhood? But, it’s so peaceful to listen to the rain together! But, the Olympics are on. But, they’ve still got three more days to adjust back to school schedules. Every night beckons to consume bedtime. In summer, the world comes out to recruit the next big thing – your child. The next volleyball champion. The next dance sensation. The next coding expert. The next Broadway star. The next scientific genius. The next Olympic hopeful. If they can dream it, there is a week long niche camp to launch them into their fame and fortune future. And if these seem too practical, you can always find a daycare or gymnastics studio hosting a princess or ninja camp. You know, for your child’s future as a princess or ninja.If you puzzle it right, you can drop your kids off at sports/nature/dance/art/acting/twirling/climbing/music/pottery/piano/dojo camp, lunch them on the way to swimming lessons, get them to the library for lego/robotics/minecraft/photoshop/comic/circuitry camp in the afternoon, hit up a park or parking lot for whatever company/church/store is giving out hot dogs in exchange for recycling their advertisements (in summer, hot dogs count for dinner, all by themselves!) and make it just in time for drop-off at a nighttime VBS (followed by the aforementioned delayed bedtime). 5 days a week. 10 weeks of summer. You’ll finish with well-rounded kiddos, mileage on your bus…van, and 15 tie-dyed t-shirts to re-color the rest of your laundry. It’ll be a summer to remember!If you somehow still have those 10 glorious weeks after the parade of recruitment…(oh, and, yes, the parades! Every week of summer calls for a different parade!), your kids might have time to complete their bridge work. What is bridge work, you ask? It’s the remedy to the “summer slide,” of course! That phenomenon where in 10 weeks of summer, your kids forget everything they learned in the 943 hours of the past school year. Bridge work spans the gap, so they roll into their new grade unscathed.If you find a proven way to get your kids to do bridge work or pick up a book during the summer, send me your Kickstarter link. Otherwise, I’m banking on a week long August power-outage (hey, it nearly happened in ’03; anything is possible!). Then, the only option my kids will have is to read. That should give them ample time to conquer the library summer reading challenge and bridge work it like a boss.Oh, summer. It’s a bowl of (hand-picked) cherries. Complete with sidewalk chalk, slip ‘n slides, porches, fireflies, s’mores, bare feet, bug spray, farmer’s tans, band-aids and ice cream trucks.What can I say? It’s the stuff memories are made of.Even if it is a slight departure from #optimisticmom’s (swan) song....more

18 Events I've been Competing in During The Mother of All Olympics

They’ve warmed our hearts with their stories and pulled us off the couch cheering them to gold. They’ve represented us, bested us and kept us up late. They are the athletes of the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. But, while these Olympians have been training, qualifying, competing and triumphing, parents across the world have been contending in our own Olympics.(Kitchen) Table TennisAthletes put healthy, balanced, farm-raised, grass-fed, gluten/soy/dairy/nut-free, hand-churned, all natural, organic, non-GMO, omega-3-rich, kid-friendly meals on the tableunder intense time pressure.The timer goes off at the whim of a child’s warning-less “I’m so hungry and I have to eat now, now, now.” Sets include  rounds of airplane-spoon, “you at least have to try it,” and dessert-bribes.Greco-Roman 19kgWrestlers go one-on-one with a 19kg toddler, buckling them into a car seat.Competitors dig deep into years of agility, strength and mental training. Typical training regimens include wrestling toddlers into pajamas, shopping carts, strollers, high chairs, bibs, and arm floats.Individual All-AroundA combination event showcasing an individual’s ability to leave the house.Individual All-Around puts Mom or Dad flying solo. Includes gathering items needed for 1-3 days of feeding, diapering, entertaining, dressing and slumbering multiple children. Typical preparation environment consists of an accidentally snoozed alarm clock, a non-functioning vehicle, a yogurt-and-oatmeal spill, a small kitchen fire, no clean shirts, a screaming infant and a forgotten dish-to-pass.Team All-AroundA combination event showcasing the entire parenting team’s ability to leave the house.Mom and Dad must work together to achieve similar results as the Individual All-Around. Communication is key, with phrases like “did you grab the _____?” and resisting blaming the teammate for the accidentally snoozed alarm clock, poorly maintaining the non-functioning vehicle, giving the two-year-old yogurt and oatmeal, causing the small kitchen fire, forgetting to move over the laundry leading to a clean shirt shortage, not tending to screaming infant and forgetting about the potluck. Winners of the Team All-Around reach the podium only after a handful of arguments where neither teammate remembers how the argument started.Mens/Womens 24kgWeightlifters perform sequential tasks on an obstacle course while carrying a Pack ‘n Play in one hand and a fully loaded & occupied infant car seat in the other.Athletes must maneuver flights of stairs while taking important phone calls and set-up Pack ‘n Play, in the dark, without waking the baby or dropping either item.2 x 9,460,800m RelayAn 18 year race run by a two person relay team.Instead of the traditional single hand-off, the 2 by 9,460,800m relay involves irregular hand-offs as far apart as multiple days and as often as every minute over the course of 9,460,800 total minutes. Unlike any other relay, teammates run much of the race side-by-side. Hand-off zones are filled with anticipation/frustration/agony/triumphant when athletes choose to use a blind hand-off.Beam A lifelong balancing act mixed with an assortment of superfluous kicks, spins, jumps, flips and sticking the landing.The Beam brings out the crème de la crème of balancing. Crushing it at work while prioritizing family. Responsibly rearing while leaning on “a village.” Training without indoctrinating. Providing opportunities without forcing. Limiting while encouraging curiosity. Modeling excellence and modeling imperfection. Embracing personality and shaping character. Selflessly parenting without kids running their life.Floor ExerciseA routine consisting of floor puzzles, Legos, reading books, watching “this,” and eating plastic salad & invisible dressing prepared in a Fisher Price kitchen.Floor Exercise athletes must avoid going out of bounds or they face disqualification. Choreographed as a 90 second routine, a typical performance may last up to three hours. It involves bends, cracks and aches and is followed up by three to six months of out-of-network physical therapy.Modern P(ar)entathlonAthletes compete in five crucial events over one August week: school shopping, garage organizing, summer squeeze, doctor appointments and Pinterest execution.School Shopping: score is based on overall discounts, coupons applied, number of stores visited with children actually in tow; points are subtracted for items returned to store and anything ruined, stained, broken or outgrown before October.Garage Organizing: score based on timeSummer Squeeze: score is a percentage calculated by number of summer bucket list activities crammed in the final week over number of activities on original bucket list.Doctor Appointments: score based on penalties for missed vaccinations, unfilled-out paperwork, minutes late or no shows, being outed by child for considering chicken nuggets “healthy,” and failure to follow the preventative schedule.Pinterest Execution: score is based on number of pins attempted with bonuses for homework stations, reading lists, teacher gifts, dinners kids actually eat and inspirational quotes on canvas, but penalized for #pinterestfails, #overachieving, #photobragging and #bentoboxlunches.Horizontal BarAthletes are required to remain horizontally asleep for a six hour stretch.Having training facilities all over North America, the horizontal bar is the most widely participated event. First time athletes call this event downright impossible. No Horizontal Bar athlete has ever medaled twice.3m YellAthlete needs to grab the attention of their child at an approximate distance of three meters.In the newest event of the games, athletes choose any relevant or irrelevant phrase they want to lock in a child’s response. Common strategies include basic commands such as “SHUT THE DOOR!” but extend to strategies of bribery, whispering, throwing (soft) things, sending a sibling or giving up.10m PlatformAthletes dive into difficult parenting decisions and are judged on raw scores and degree of difficulties.Parent-athletes are judged on execution of “choosing their battles.” Fostering independence vs. enforcing obedience. Encouraging individuality vs. teaching societal norming. Developing educational aptitude vs. cultivating playfulness and creativity. Comforting vs. building grit. Resolving conflicts vs. challenging perspective. Setting the tone vs. inviting open expression. Training in appropriateness vs. cultivating passion. Raw scores are based on five elements: starting position, approach, take-off, flight and entry, and then combined with the dive’s degree of difficulty. Judges are randomly selected from extreme parenting styles and judge on a scale from “they must not love their child” to “they’re such a better parent than me.” The synchronized version of this event requires both parents to simultaneously make battle-choosing decisions while appearing to have coordinated ahead of time.Long JumpAthletes stretch explanations to justify parental inconsistencies.The ultimate test of athleticism and the Parental Olympic spirit, athletes attempt jumps such as explaining why being tactful isn’t lying. Why going “five over” isn’t breaking the law. Why only Mom/Dad are allowed to stay up late, eat whatever they want and watch forbidden tv shows. Why you should always be yourself yet can’t wear your ninja costume to meet-the-teacher. Why we “always share” but not cups, combs and toothbrushes. Why we celebrate poops & pees in the potty but aren’t allowed to use “bathroom talk.” Why we say the baby “is stinky” but we don’t call people names.CyclingAthletes face the challenge of cycling through the same patterns over and over and over again.Cycling is a seemingly never-ending event. Cycles of lunches returning home untouched. The nightly homework battle. Being consistently late for drop off or pick up. Sitting through a [thirty]eighth viewing of Frozen/StarWars/LegoMovie. Eating at McDonalds again so we can “collect them all.” Stocking up on kid-approved sampled-Costco food only to be tossing out freezer-burned mini-spinach-cakes eight months later.TrampolineAthletes navigate a course of selflessly tending to a young one’s illness while managing their own gag reflex.Trampoline has no qualifiers and the majority of competitors end with a disappointing result of DNF (“Did Not Finish.”)TriathlonA multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous endurance disciplines: answering time-sensitive work emails, supervising children and engaging in a conversation with another parent at the park. Unlike its traditional counterpart, the Triathlon of the Parental Olympic Games is a simultaneous trifecta.VolleyballA day(s) long event of back and forth between a #parentathlete and a #childlawyer.Exchanges include: “Why?” & “Because I said so,” “But, you said” & “I don’t care what I said,” “But, I was just…” & “Do what you’re told,” and “But, I need it now!” & “Well, you’re going to have to wait.”∞ Freestyle SwimmingAthletes attempt to keep their heads above water for the duration of parenting.While the a freestyle swim may seem like the simplest of events, it is harder than it looks to keep your head above water. Athletes admit to underestimating the challenge of this event prior to qualifying as Parental Olympians.The Parental Olympic Games.Most will train. Many will qualify. Few will win. Host Cities are everywhere, as the games are funded by the athletes themselves and events can be held in any venue with adequate minivan parking. Prior to the next Summer Games, the International Parental Olympic Committee will update uniform requirements to reflect more current trends. The IPOC recently replaced the archaic gold/silver/bronze medals with World’s Greatest Dad mugs and #1 Mom plastic plated necklaces....more

Courage

Sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops in Downtown Charleston, I start to look back over the last 2 years of my life.  It's been nothing short of mishaps, confusion, and getting lost multiple times along the way.  Yet amongst those, it's been full of uncontrollable laughter, building strong foundations for lifelong friendships, becoming stronger in my faith, and finding me again.  For the better part of my 20's, I felt as though I was having an out of body experience.  I was getting up everyday, going to work, sitting in traffic, but I felt nothing....more

#FanExpoDallas: A Fangirl Nerdgasm

I love getting away from work and kids once or twice a year, but you know how hard it is to say goodbye to these precious little children of mine:...more

Cup Size Matters!

We all have our little obsessions. Did you know.... you can walk into someone's house and get a pretty good idea for who they are, what they like and maybe even what their hygiene habits are like, in about four seconds? For example, walking into a house that clearly has several indoor animals (judging by the pet hair wafting through the air and the dog peeing in the corner) and you are already picturing the piled up dirty laundry and someone who may not have washed their hair for a few days and may be just slightly off their rocker. Or poised to chop you up with a hachet. Whatever....more
Menu