Being home with my kids is a blessing. I know it. Most days, I’m grateful. Most days are fantastic. And then there are those OTHER days. The days where you’re bored, and the kids are bored, and everyone is just a little bit off. The fact that the day is SUPPOSED to be a blessing somehow makes the whole thing worse, and you find yourself with a case of the Mondays on a Wednesday morning. The toddler schedule isn’t working, you’re not the fun and funny mom you usually are, and you’re questioning your ability to actually parent these tiny little monsters. You start to spiral, and then decide that, come Hell or high water, this day will be salvaged. You will BEAT these stay at home mom problems. You pour yourself a cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and begin your journey through the various levels of parenting desperation.
Having a Miracle Morning as a Mom sounds like a great idea. However, the miracle at my house would be being physically capable of waking up before my kids. I was blessed with three children that are so excited to start their day that they are running down the hall and into my room by 5:30. So the idea of getting up in the middle of the night to get my miracle morning on is less than appealing. Since the morning would not be the time for me to prep for my day, I had to turn to the night before. Thankfully, there are some super helpful nighttime hacks that have helped me get myself, my kids, and even my husband started on the right foot in the morning.
About a year ago, my daughter asked me why my hair was turning white. I proudly told her that my hair had sparkles, and that I was proud of my silver. But increasingly, I began to feel that my hair was just looking dull. The ratio of brown-to-grey was just not working for me, and I decided that I needed to color my hair. I consider myself to be a frugal mama, so I was not about to start dropping hundreds in a salon on a regular basis (let alone find child care while I went). So I partnered with eSalon, and received the full diva treatment in their studio. They have the best semi-permanent hair dye, and I was thrilled to receive in-studio advice about which color to choose. While I was initially a little shocked by the transformation, I soon grew to love it. I WAS thrilled with how the hair color held up, and the self-confidence boost the change brought.
And then the time came- I was gonna need to color it myself. My eSalon shipment came right one time, but me? I stalled.
I’ve heard so many horror stories about at-home hair dye- tales of women spending hundreds to fix their color, and unintentional light or dark streaks, and poor coverage. I’ve heard of girls who have had their hair turn orange and girls who have had their scalps stained black. So do you really blame me for being nervous to do it on my own?
Well I am proud to say that I freaking NAILED it in the at home hair dye department. It was nowhere near as scary as I’d thought, and the in-studio lesson at eSalon really did teach me everything I needed to know to get the job done. So if you find yourself as scared as I am, I’m here to tell you- I know you can do this. And here’s how.
I’ve got a Mother’s Day hangover. And not the good kind that implies that I spent the entire day relaxing and drinking too much champagne. No, I’ve got the kind where I find myself asking, “What happened yesterday??” Now, I’m not the kind of person that traditionally builds up holidays. I’ve never had high expectations for a life changing New Year’s Eve. I’ve never thought that Valentine’s Day was going to be the most romantic day of the year. But somewhere along the line I saw one too many Mother’s Day commercials with happy kids showering their Moms with love, crafts, coffee and breakfast – even if it was poorly, yet comically, made with egg shells hidden in the omelet.
That was not my Mother’s Day. And as I scrolled through Facebook, I started to think maybe I was the only Mom that didn’t have that picture perfect Mother’s Day….crafts everywhere, Moms thanking their families for the outpouring of love, and me feeling more and more empty. Then I remembered I was on Facebook and decided to go to Twitter, where complaining is more accepted. And I found my people.
But you might be my people too. So here’s what I fantasized for Mother’s Day, and how my day differed dramatically.
We have the most fabulous aquarium here in Long Beach, and we take our kids on a regular basis. We go so often that we are familiar with almost all the creatures that live there, and we are past the point where I need to direct my kids attention. We go for an hour or two at a time and I let their interest and attention spans guide the day. Sometimes we gravitate towards the sea lions, and others they just want to sit in the little cutout under the penguin habitat and watch the birds swim above them. On our most recent trip, they were all about the touch tanks. We looked, we touched, we tried to keep Abram from injuring the poor little creatures, and we splashed a bit in the water. I pointed out a red sea anemone with white polka dots to my daughter. “Look Lila! This one looks like it’s wearing Minnie Mouse’s dress!” She giggled and touched its bumpy surface.
Then here comes Hyper Academic mom.
First of all, let us be clear- YOU ROCK ALREADY. Your kids don’t care whether you made homemade brownies for the bake sale or whether you spent 1,110 hours creating cut-out dinosaurs on the Cricut for their birthday party. You keep your kids fed. You keep your kids safe. You kiss them and hug them and love them and sometimes they eat candy and sometimes they eat kale and THAT IS ENOUGH. So if you’re asking yourself how to be a better mom, lady, we’ve got news for you- you are the best mom your kids could ever have. Period.
We asked a lot of amazing mommies just like you to tell us about the mothers in their lives- their mamas, their friends, their kids’ aunties and the random mommies they pass in Target who are keeping their cool while their child goes feral. And we were so, so happy to see that it isn’t always the BIG things that make a person a great mother. It’s the little things, done sweetly (or even begrudgingly!), on a regular basis that shows your kids that you are there for them. And if your kids don’t notice it? Well, WE notice it, and odds are, the other people in your life do, too.
So keep on keeping on, Mama. You are doing an AMAZING job. Here are twelve ways that you are probably rocking this #momlife without even knowing it.
I spent some time as a preschool art teacher, so you better BELIEVE I was bound and determined to get my kids excited about art from an early age. I had big ambitions about art projects for babies, and I expected I would spend much of my time coming up with cute crafts for toddlers. I even pictured them with little paint brushes in their chubby little hands. And then the day came when I handed Lila her first paintbrush, lovingly dipped in non-toxic red paint- and she stuck it right in her mouth. We THINK these things are going to be amazing. But when it comes to art for babies, sometimes we need to tone down our expectations just a little. Or, at the very least, come up with alternatives that won’t have our toddlers spitting red paint all over the living room floor.
One of the easiest compromises to make is by swapping out typical paints with edible paint for toddlers. Pinterest abounds with plenty of non-toxic options to make your own paint (often involving flour, corn-starch, and the like). We wanted to move beyond paint that simply won’t hurt them. We’re bringing you an art experience that integrates sensory play, taste exploration, and color experimentation in a truly edible fashion. Our yogurt fingerpaint art activity is sure to fill some time with yummy fun for your littlest Picassos. It’s a process-based art project your babies will love.
From the moment you have a baby, people will start giving you advice. One of those helpful tips is to make date night a priority. Everyone tells you that you need to not just be “Mommy and Daddy” but need to find a way to remain husband and wife, or to some degree, boyfriend and girlfriend. When this happened to us, we’d smile and nod and agree in theory. And then every Friday and Saturday night, we’d be on our couch, in sweatpants, watching some crap on TV before sloughing off to bed. Now, I’m not going to lie. That’s borderline my perfect night. But at some point it got to be so routine and so impersonal. It was then that we started to understand why date night is so important.
It was one thing to make date night a priority in theory, but it was time to make it a priority in practice. Here are 5 ways you can.
Summer is almost here, and with it will come these LONG stretches of time that need to be filled. You can put your family on a schedule that breaks the day into manageable chunks. You can run to all the activities, spend your days at those dollar movies, head to the beach, and swim at the pool. And yes. We do think you should do those things, if you and your kids are into it. But also? Sometimes you need a BREAK. The best way to
get your kids to leave you alone encourage independent play is to send them outside, and then leave them to their own devices. We recommend you splurge a little on some amazing outdoor toys for toddlers that will grow with them. The best outdoor toys for kids will last you for YEARS, and most of them aren’t even a huge investment. Even if you need small outdoor toys that don’t take up a lot of space, you can find some amazing, open-ended outside toys for kids that will help them learn to love to play outside. So do some Amazon shopping, and then grab a cocktail and get ready to make outdoor happy hour a THING for your family this summer.
For years, I thought wheat basically gave me life. I love to bake, and I love to eat all the gluten-filled things. I am known for my creative recipes, and my Browned Butter Cookies have been a potluck staple for as long as I can remember. So when my doctor told me I should limit my gluten consumption, it was like a punch to the gut. No bread? Only gluten free cookies?!? For now, I’ll spare you all the tears, but saying it was an adjustment would be an understatement.
Now, a year later, I still enjoy baking and sharing what I’ve made with my friends. Some recipes, like this one, still contain ALL the wheat in their original form. But I also find a slight thrill in trying to make things gluten free. If there are any other gluten-free friends out there, this recipe is easily adaptable, and equally delicious. You can use any cup for cup flour exchange. I also recommend adding an extra tablespoon of cream cheese to help make these Gluten Free Cookies amazing. However, for the sake of this post, please know all the photos use wheat flour.
My favorite part of this recipe is the bag of Nestle Triple Chips. I typically have to buy one bag of white chips and one bag of semi-sweet chips for this recipe. And while I don’t mind having extra chocolate around the house, I loved being able to just dump the whole bag into the dough. We even get the extra flavor of some dark chocolate- yum!