In case anyone forgot, kids are gross. All of this came out of my daughter's boots:
In case anyone forgot, kids are gross. All of this came out of my daughter's boots:
She was just walking around, living her best life, with half a park in her boots. And she's just all, yep, kids are gross, Mom:
Is it weird that I'm a little proud? Yeah, I'm a little proud.
Thank you for the letter regarding the ever-evolving kindergarten standards. I appreciate the pickle you’re in, teachers especially. But, in regard to the summer homework?
Short answer: Nope.
Slightly longer answer: This is my last baby’s last summer ever to be a tiny human with no concept of performance metrics or academic pressure or time management or the simple notion that anyone ever could think she isn’t enough. It’s summer for crying out loud. And she’s 5-years-old. We will read – every day – and we will create artwork that sometimes involves letters, and we will bake cookies which will require counting and measurements. We will find shapes in clouds. We will eat a lot of popsicles. We will run and swim and play. We will let each day lead us into whimsy and adventure.
It’s summer vacation. I suggest you do the same.
It’s because of lunch bags. I know, sounds irrational, right? But hear me out.
Elementary school is hard on parents, especially full-time working parents with long commutes who have multiple school-aged kids involved in all the activities. I’m not talking about missing out on Muffins with Mom or having to leave work early in a shame spiral every other week for this, that and the other. No, mamas, I’m talking about all the papers. The forms, the permission slips, the reading logs, the spelling sheets, the rocket math, the sign-ups for Duck Hatching Party donations, the request for rocks the size of a 7-year-old’s fist, the early dismissal reminders and the summer camp info. The slow build of crinkled corners and friendly fonts that has been filling my recycling bin and eating my soul since August.
As some sort of twisted mind fuck of a finale, my son came home last week with a schedule of “fun activities” planned for the last two weeks of school, all of which require special clothing and/or items each day. Camp day – bring a flashlight! Movie day – wear pajamas! Etcetera ad nauseam. But, the straw that broke this grouchy mama’s back is the oh-so-specific direction we received regarding today’s field trip:
Please understand that (1) I love and respect teachers, (2) I’m so thankful my son’s teachers are making the final weeks of first grade feel special and (3) I’m sure it’s annoying AF to be on a wagon trail with 60 first graders and have brown bags just disintegrating before your eyes because of poor planning.
Surely… surely the paper bag can just be eliminated. If the brown bag/sweaty drink is the issue here, why aren’t we just eliminating the brown bag? Why do I have to put a bag inside of a bag? Why is a PB&J and a banana a double bag situation?
I just can’t, mamas. And yet, I did. Please help. Will someone else homeschool my kids for me?
She’s so incredibly hot. The fire in her is showing through her tongue, her red cheeks, and the rapid pulse I can see in her neck without having to palpate. Her heart is pumping so fast, faster than I’ve ever felt with her previous fevers, trying to cool the body down. Her lungs are working hard to keep up. Each breath simultaneously brings me comfort that she is alive and terrifies me bc it’s taking so much work.
But all I can do now is wait.
It's one of the most excruciating parts of motherhood: the wait. The wait for the medicine to kick in to cool her down. The wait to see if this is simply some annoying virus that will pass. The wait to see if it’s something more dangerous. The wait to call the pediatrician until my gut or mother overrides my insecurity – I’ve been through many fevers before, “Don’t be ridiculous,” I say to myself. I dial anyway. The wait for the nurse’s return call when I’m berating myself for not bringing her in...
As parents we do a lot of waiting. We wait with great anticipation, with fear, with excitement, with exhaustion, with hope, and with love. We wait for moments to come, for the big milestones and the small ones, for the recitals and the performances, for the hugs and the kisses, for the “I love you, Mom” and “I love you, Dad.” We wait and hope endlessly for the good news. And we wait in absolute worry and angst for the bad news.
Yet, the hardest wait of all is the wait to know if your kiddo is gonna be OK. This never-ending and ever present wait lives deeply and powerfully within each cell of your body. This is the wait that keeps you up all night with your sick child. It is the wait that has brought to your knees in prayer asking someone you never before believed to exist to help your child. It is the wait that constantly reminds you, “I am because you are.” It is the wait that will keep you waiting the rest of your life. It’s the hardest and most beautiful wait there is.
Congratulations on your new smartphone. By signing this document, I, your mother, agree that I have put these thoughts in the universe and can stop obsessing over them. I will not bombard you with this information but will sprinkle it throughout our conversations over time. This is an agreement, for better or worse, to let you go a little bit more.
Please never use your phone to be unkind. These shiny black rectangles in our pockets embolden people with the enormous capability to hurt others. The screen lets us hide, lets us be ugly and small in ways that real people can see and feel… but whose experiences of our behaviors we can neither see nor feel. Don’t gang up on people. Don’t send cruel words. Don’t ever take candid pictures of strangers or acquaintances and share them to laugh or judge. Don’t do it at all. Let people enjoy the freedom of occupying space in the world without stealing a rectangle of it for your own enjoyment.
You will be curious about a lot of things in the coming years. Your body. Your sexuality. Your tolerance to alcohol or drugs. It’s OK to ask the magic Google machine in your phone these questions. But it’s better to ask your mom.
Your body is absolutely beautiful and powerful and delicate. It belongs to you. Only you. Please do not use your smartphone to share images of your body with anyone, no matter how much you love the person. I believe that young love is real. I’ve known it. I’ve lived it. I’ve been changed by it. But I am eternally grateful that I never had to make choices about sharing images of my body when I was in the swimmy, aching midst of it.
Try not to do duck lips when you take selfies. And don’t over-edit them. Your selfie game is pretty strong right now, but I see what’s out there. Resist.
I see a lot of what’s out there. Resist.
Don’t get sucked into YouTube all day. It’s gross and annoying. Read books, do crafts, bake, go outside, live a full life.
Ahh, spring is in the air! Warmer weather, ballet flats, early panic about summer childcare and, oh yeah, the school’s spring fundraiser. Our school switched this year to a king-size candy bar sale. Maybe you're thinking, wow, that's even bigger fun for you and family this spring! If you are thinking that, I can pretty much guarantee you're not a parent – because this is the worst fundraiser I've ever been a part of. Here's why:
1. King-size gas station candy is disgusting. Do you know what’s in a king-size package of Reese’s cups? 407 calories, 37.26 grams of sugar and 24.12 grams of fat, that’s what. We have a child obesity epidemic in this country, and rather than having a wellness-based fundraiser like, say, a walk-a-thon (where the school profits on almost 100% of the donations), we are filling our cupboards with enough chocolate to break a young, healthy pancreas. And it’s not even good chocolate! The school used to sell human-portioned chocolate bars from a small, family-owned company where you at least felt good about supporting a local business and purchasing something with a high-quality, small batch message. But this? If I can buy it at Sheetz, I don’t want to buy it from a second-grader.
2. The school only makes half the profit and parents have to hound acquaintances to buy overpriced shit they don’t need or want. I know you have to spend money to make money, and I’m sure product sales offer a quick-turn opportunity for schools to make a decent amount of money in a short period of time (uh... three weeks for us with little advance notice that this big spending was coming right before a major holiday) with very little effort. But it sure is putting a lot of effort and expense on the parents (many of whom, mind you, have multiple kids and are in a public school system to begin with because they can’t afford a lot of out-of-pocket school expenses.) In most product-based fundraisers, the school only makes $0.55 – $0.65 to the dollar… you can certainly see how it leaves many parents thinking, “Can I just pay the school $30 instead of buying $60 worth of chocolate?”
Oh, and at $2 a bar, gargantuan gas station candy bars that represent a quarter of your daily calorie intake aren’t so easy to push off on coworkers in today’s corporate offices where employees are more interested in Fitbit challenges and paleo recipe swaps than they are in increasing their risk of heart disease.
Sure, lots of mamas are hip the the perks of podcasts. They are clutch for keeping your brain busy during long work commutes, deep cleaning sessions, brutal workouts and more. But, have you considered the ways a podcast can help salvage parenting duties like evening events at the school? Or how they can get you out of mindless chatter with the other parents? Right now, I'm in the school auditorium waiting for the Spring Sing to begin... but, my mind is in Canada solving cold cases with the highly addictive true crime podcast Somebody Knows Something.
Too far? Or just MOTY enough. You decide! I can't talk anymore. I have important testimonies to listen to, er, I mean angelic children's voices to admire.
5 Pictures of my Kids Sitting in Ways That Will Make Any Rational Parent Want to Leave it all Behind
Kids are annoying, no doubt. The inability to speak in inside voices. The open-mouth chewing. The innate and overwhelming lack of respect for anything we hold dear. But, sometimes, our children can take it to the next level and inspire a soul-rattling reaction just by sitting still and minding their own business. Check it out:
Don't feel annoyed by these images? Keep looking. It will kick it... any second...
"Tryouts for the first grade talent show? Well, maybe the students will learn that you don't always win and you can't be a little bitch🤷♀️"
By Mandy & Layah
Ah, yes. The dreaded Valentine treat bags, given with love, germs, anxiety and disdain in Pre-K classrooms across the country. Politics and religion may seem like divisive topics, mamas, but it’s the Valentine treat bag that truly divides us. See, there are two kinds of mamas: those who adore the Valentine treat bag, feel genuine inspiration and affectionally assemble jaw-dropping, Pinterest-worthy masterpieces full of punny greetings, highly designed labels and homemade treats… and there are MOTYs. Here’s how it goes down in our world:
No matter which type of mama you are, please know that we have nothing but love in our hearts for you this Valentine's Day. But, if you are the the type who loves treat bags... can you do ours for the next holiday??
We love our kids. They drive us crazy. We write about it instead of going insane.