7 things they should have taught you in parenting school. Except for they don't HAVE parenting school. They totally should, btw. Read more at thesaltymamas.com.
Effing Four Year Olds, koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, Salty Mama Lists, Why We're Salty

Seven Skills They Didn’t Teach You in Parenting Class

For a first time Mom, I felt incredibly prepared when my son was born. I had 17 nieces and nephews and had been around kids a LOT. I was ready to change diapers. I wasn’t afraid of the dreaded first cold. I knew all the first aid and CPR you could want. I was prepared. And then the kids showed up and I learned all the things I hadn’t learned.

You probably haven’t learned all the things either. Add these to your to-do list.

  1. How to throw a ball.

Okay, I’m not a complete athletic disaster. I can throw a ball. But it’s actually WAY harder to throw a ball to a three year old than to another able bodied adult. You have to somehow throw it really slow. And make sure to avoid hitting them in the face. Because they won’t just catch the ball if it’s about to hit them. They’ll wait, let it hit them, and then freak out about it. And then make you throw it again and again until your arm falls off.

  1. How to draw every animal in existence.

Before I was a Mom I’m not sure I’d ever drawn a rhinoceros. Or a “water dinosaur.” I know I didn’t draw the animals/monsters/creatures that my children imagine – and then request for me to draw. To their exact, but undescribed, specifications. But I do know that a lot of the time my drawings are not up to my children’s standards. I should have spent more of my first pregnancy in an avant garde art class taught by opinionated toddlers. If they have one of these in your area, it will be worth every penny.

  1. How to move silently through a house.

When we were house shopping, I did not walk through the house listening for squeaky floorboards. FATAL mistake. Because there’s a board in my son’s room that has almost destroyed me. After spending countless hours lying on his floor praying he’ll fall asleep, the last thing I want to do is wake him up stepping on that board. Squeaky doors? I’m just going to take them all of their hinges. Or go to some sort of cat burglar crash course in how to be more sneaky.

4. How to Remove Objects from a Nose

Maybe you think this is covered under basic first aid, but not so, my friends.  There are actual techniques for this sort of thing.  For example, do not put any kind of finger or tool up there. Is it close enough to the nostril that you can pinch above it and push it out? Or should you try to blow it out like in that viral video that’s been going around (doctors say no, by the way, so THANKS FOR NOTHING VIRAL VIDEO)? Or do you have to go to freaking urgent care over this?? No one prepared us for A.) That level of decision making. B.) That kind of medical know-how.

5. Tetris Level Packing Skills

No one told me that I should have been spending WAY more time playing Tetris in preparation for parenthood. From packing a diaper bag, to packing my car for a day trip, to packing my daughter’s backpack on show and tell today (which is much more complicated than one would originally believe, I assure you), I use way more spatial awareness on the daily than I ever imagined I would.

6. Emotional Awareness of Others, Bordering on Psychic Ability

In the thirteen seconds it takes from when my daughter first appears in the dismissal line to when her teacher hands her over at the gate, I have to decide what kind of mood she is in and how to react appropriately. Will a big hug make her push me or melt her like a popsicle? Should I dare ask how school went? Does she want to walk or should I prepare for a battle about whether or not I am going to carry her to the car? It seems like an impossible task, one I am certainly untrained for. But I gotta say…for an impossible task, I’m getting pretty darn good at it.

7. How to Put Gloves on a Child

Ooooohhhhh, you think this is easy? That’s cute. Because guess what? Kids can’t move one finger at a time. And eight of their little fingers fit into one glove finger. So you sit there like a rational adult saying “Move this finger, no pull this one one, okay put the big one back in, no not that one, the other one, wait, now we’re back how we started!,” before you realize that you are fighting a losing battle. Better to take your chances with frostbite and save your sanity.

What other skills do you wish they’d told you that you’d need as a parent?

7 things they should have taught you in parenting school. Except for they don't HAVE parenting school. They totally should, btw. Read more at thesaltymamas.com.

 

Are your kids getting enough time outside each day? Find out here, along with a list of great ways to play outside with your kids!
Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting

Get Outside

This post contains affiliate links. The Salty Mamas may receive a small commission from items purchased after clicking the links.  Additionally, we’d like to thank SourceBooks for providing a book, “15 Minutes Outside,” for a giveaway. Thank you for supporting us!

Are your kids getting enough time outside each day? Find out here, along with a list of great ways to play outside with your kids!

According to experts, kids are supposed to spend at least two hours a day playing outside.

Stop and take that in for a second. TWO. HOURS.

Now this may seem crazy when you think about the amount of time your kids are at school, or the amount of time you are at work. But when you think back to when you were a little kid, it might not seem that ridiculous.  I remember getting home from school and taking off on my bike with my friends. Or exploring the creek next to our house for hours.  Or playing endless pretend in our backyard, or gardening with my mom, or swimming in our (above-ground) pool. There was SO much time outdoors, that it wasn’t even a thing. It was just something that we did. Do I think my mom worried about meeting the required two hours each day? Uh, no. Because that was not a thing back then. You just sent the dang kids out.

And we (I’m talking societally here), just don’t do that anymore.  Even when you talk about going “screen free” or unplugged, it usually means board games and books and hours of playdough play.  It’s not considered safe for kids to roam around on their own, and our green spaces are kind of being eaten up.  So we have to make up for it somehow, as forced as it may seem at times.  Because yes, it is another “requirement” of childhood, but from a scientific perspective, it is crucial (check out this article from the New York Post if you want to read more about this). Kids who spend more time outside are less likely to be obese and are less likely to be diagnosed with attention-related disorders.  Time spent in green spaces is good for anxiety and depression, and reduces stress-and that goes for little kids and grown ups alike. We were biologically just meant to spend time outside, and we have to make sure that’s happening for our little ones, and our bigger kids, too.

 

IMG_20170730_131845132I recently read a book called “15 Minutes Outside” by author Rebecca Cohen, that gives hundreds of concrete, easy examples on how to get your kids outside. And most of the ideas aren’t even that big of a deal. Take a basket of books into the backyard on a blanket and read there. Or eat your dinner at the local park. Take a nature walk through your neighborhood, or go on your balcony and make wishes on the first early stars.  I tend to think of outdoor play as an adventure, requiring prep and large stretches of time, but this book really helped me to see that those little stretches can add up over time and make a big difference. Not only in the amount of time you spend outside, which, obviously. But also in the amount of quality time spent together as a family.

So let’s all make an effort this week to get up, and get our kids out. Start small, and make a concerted effort to get out for just a little bit longer today than you usually do. The change of scenery may just do everyone some good.

 

Looking for more ideas on how to get out with your family and play? Here are six easy ways to get started.

  1. Take an Art Project Outside, like our friends at Little Mama Jama with this fun Minion footprint art. Read the instructions for this project here, or take any paints/crayons/chalk outside and create under a shady tree.
  2. Get Some Open Ended Toys. Here’s a list of really cool, open ended outdoor toys from Real Mom Recs. Most of them are fairly low-maintenance, low-prep ways to get your kids out and having fun.
  3. Put a Twist on Water Play. This little “fishing” game is the perfect way for your kiddos to practice learning to spell their name while they are getting wet outside.  It does take a bit of initial prep, but once you have it made, you can bring it out any time you need to change up your water play.
  4. Go On a Nature Walk. My kids had always been reluctant to amble around the neighborhood, until we put this fun twist on the standard stroll. Go on a nature walk- give your kids bags to collect items in nature (think flowers, leaves, etc.) and look for wildlife. You can even find printable Nature Scavenger Hunt checklists here to add some more fun and structure to your walk.
  5. Play some old school games. These little games have been around forever- and for good reason! Here is a list of old school games you can play outside with your children (or that they can play with the neighbors while you sit on the porch with a glass of wine lemonade. I’m just saying).
  6. Looking for even more outside fun? Imperfectly Perfect Mama has come up with a list of 50 fun and simple ways to get your kids outdoors.

 

Want to win your own copy of “15 Minutes Outside?” Share this post on the social media platform of your choice (buttons below!) and comment “Shared” here.  Giveaway is sponsored by SourceBooks, the publisher of “15 Minutes Outside.” Open to US and Canada only (sorry, International Salties!). Giveaway will close on Friday, September 29 at midnight PST and the winner will be announced by Sunday, October 1st. Good luck, and happy playing!

koefoe party of 5, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Why We're Salty

My Clock is Ticking

NO! Not my biological clock!! I’ve had three kids since 2013 and would very much like a break! No, unfortunately I’m counting down to something absolutely terrifying. I have nine years – or 8 years, 8 months and 21 days to be exact – until I get my first….teenager.

See, my kids drive my crazy, but they’re still pretty freaking cute. And they’re FUNNY. And they are so incredibly charming. And they make me smile for days. They are beautiful when they sleep and no matter how much we push each other’s buttons, at the end of the day they LOVE their Mama, unconditionally and, maybe more importantly right now, unembarrassedly.

Look, they’re not perfect. It’s taken me nine minutes to write this tiny bit because I had to referee two fights, get on my son’s case about throwing toys at the baby’s head and play three games of tic tac toe so that they’d leave me alone for a second.  Also this and this and this.

But teenagers…..that’s a whole different thing.

We spent a few days with four teenagers on our cabin trip this summer and their apathy made me want to scream. The way they sat with each other, but completely ignoring each other, with their ear buds in FOR FOUR DAYS STRAIGHT made me stare at them with utter confusion. I felt like I was eight hundred years old when I heard the words, “Did you BUY that shirt with that many holes in it on purpose?,” just FLY out of my mouth before I could stop it. I quickly tried to turn it into a joke, like “Ha, kidding! I’m a cool Aunt that would never actual say something like that! I’m not your Grandma! She’s the worst!” But jeez, seriously! There were holes! Everywhere!! And I could see her BRA through it!

But what pushed me straight over the edge and broke my heart was the way the brother and sister seemed completely and totally disgusted with each other. They’re 15 months part, a few months closer than my oldest two, and I have to assume that once upon the time they were enamored with each other like mine are. As much as mine fight over toys and torment each other by putting their feet on the other one, they are also self-proclaimed best friends. They love each other and aren’t afraid to show it. My son, who will one day be too cool to even hear this story, regularly walks up to his sister, offers her his hand and asks her to dance. Like WALTZ. While he sings “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s the sweetest thing I could ever even imagine my kids doing, and it happens almost every day. So to imagine a world where these two will seem to hate each other is more than I’m prepared to handle.

But it’s coming. Those teen years.

And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do to prepare. Is there anything I can do to stop this impending doom? Do I just accept that they’ll be apathetic and think I’m a loser and will have their eyes permanently set to “Roll”? I don’t know…I know I’m not on Team Friend, that I want to stay firmly in the Parent position, so I can accept a certain amount of “My Mom is SO out of touch” vibes heading my way, I’ve accepted that. But the rest of the stuff? I don’t know…the countdown is on though. And if the next 9-ish years go anywhere near as fast as the first four, I’m in trouble.

My Clock is Ticking.png

Bouncing Babies, Effing Four Year Olds, Mama Mojo, momlife, Terrible Twos, Threenagers, Why We're Salty

Truth Tuesday: I’ve Considered Running Away

Okay, maybe not literally. Maybe not totally seriously. But I’ve probably given it too much actual thought than I should have.

Lots of times, I love motherhood, I do. When all three of my kids are in a sweet spot, I think I could have three more. When two of them are delightful and one is going through a more challenging phase, I power through. When one is nice and two are little hot mess machines, I hunker down and know we’ll get through it. But when all three are hellions? I start making a list of possible talents I could contribute to the circus.

Right now? I’m in full on circus mode.

In the past few weeks all three of my children have thrown up on me. I’ve had many midnight discussions about diarrhea and why my son is “peeing out of his butt.” We had a solid week where at least one child was wide awake from 3am on, which leads for a very early wake up for Mommy and Daddy. We’ve had night terrors. A four year old that just. doesn’t. listen. A two year old that is in active transition from the terrible twos to being a threenager whose greatest joy in life is her abundant ability to tease her brother. A breast feeder that’s found out her big ol’ teeth make excellent weapons. And I ran out of coffee creamer.

It’s weeks like these that make me spend considerable amounts of time researching the standard working contract for cruise staff. Not that I’d actually drive down to the cruise terminal and go to the employment booth and fill out the application to work a 6 month tour on the Carnival Inspiration or anything. Of course I wouldn’t actually go and do that. I don’t think. But I’ve definitely gotten closer than my husband should find out about.

And yes, there have been good times, but right now? Right now I’m overwhelmed with yet another night of changing sheets filled with last night’s dinner, a 2 year old that comes tumbling out of her crib before the sun rises and a baby that has found she’s sure to get my attention by biting anything she can sink those chompers into.

I love them, I do, but just think how much more I could love and appreciate them if I took, say, a six month break. If I went off on an adventure and came back with arms full of treats and souvenirs and a heart full of missing them. I won’t do it, but I’m definitely still gonna dream about it.

Why I've Considered2

Want to earn a little extra money, but don't want to sell anything? Try this! thesaltymamas.com
Cheapskating, microhustle, side hustle

MicroHustle Monday Presents: SurveySavvy

This post contains referral links, meaning that the Salty Mamas will receive a small commission when someone signs up for SurveySavvy using our link.  As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. We cannot guarantee that your results and outcomes will be similar to our own. Thanks for helping to support The Salty Mamas!

Ahhh, the survey. The MicroHustle many of us love to hate/hate to love.  This is probably the MicroHustle I’ve taken the most heat over in recent years, because from a short-game stand point, it just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes I spend twenty minutes on a 50 cent survey, and those numbers just don’t seem to add up.  But the survey is the tortoise of the MicroHustle Universe.  You earn money in very small increments sometimes, it’s true. But eventually, you can win whole races- and pay for whole cruises– using these little guys.

I’m going to start by introducing you to the survey site that seems to have the most potential to make big money. It’s called SurveySavvy, and it works like most survey sites do- they send you surveys, you take them, and you make a little money.  (You can also earn referral credit when someone signs up using your link, so yes, I’d like you to use mine if you’re wanting to sign up anyways 😉 ) But the reason SurveySavvy ranks number one on my list of sites is that SurveySavvy is a screening site for CSpace, a company that businesses and brands hire to conduct panels.  And that, my friends, is how you make the big bucks.

I’m not on any panels right now, but when I was, I would make about $60 a month per panel, and I was on two.  They would ask me to do things like participate in discussion groups, or visit a store and take pictures of certain sections, or post a video of me discussing why I liked (or didn’t like) their brand. It is very much like a focus group, except you participate from the comfort of your home and on your own time.  I found the activities to be kind of fun, and it was neat to see products that I had weighed in on showing up in stores a few months later. And, of course, the money wasn’t too bad.

So there you have it, my first and favorite survey site. Do you do surveys at home? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

*  *  *

Note: SurveySavvy also has an app, called SurveyConnect, that you can download. This app will give the company some access to your phone usage and browsing history and, for what it’s worth- I don’t use it. The idea of having someone tracking my phone just gives me the ick factor. If you don’t have the same reservations, feel free to try it out, but I can’t personally speak for, or recommend, a service I’ve never used. Just food for thought!

Want to earn a little extra money, but don't want to sell anything? Try this! thesaltymamas.com

 

parenting, The Salty Mamas Bookclub

The Salty Mamas Book Club Presents: It’s OK Not to Share

Welcome to the second installment of The Salty Mamas Book Club! If there’s one thing that you take away from our latest book, it should probably be the Renegade Golden Rule:

It’s Okay if it’s not hurting people or property. 

Initially, this had me a little like, “Whoa. Then what ARE the rules??” But the more I read the more I realized it wasn’t about chaos and a complete lack of structure. There’s still discipline. There’s still order. I’m still the parent. And that’s when I decided I could really get behind this….So here are some highlights of what we loved – and what we didn’t.

Kids Need Conflict

As a teacher of young children, you can imagine the amount of tattling I dealt with.  “She hit me!” “He’s cutting!” “They said I can’t play!” And time and time again, my response was the same- “What did you tell them?” Because I’m not going to help you fight a battle you haven’t even tried to solve yourself.

So you can also probably imagine my delight when I found that “It’s OK Not to Share” has a chapter on the importance of conflict in kids’ daily lives. They are going to have problems with other kids and, sometimes, even with adults. Sure, we could rush in and solve the problems for them, which frankly just seems soooo much easier sometimes. But what if we gave them the tools to resolve conflicts on their own? The author recommends that we teach kids to speak up for themselves, to use strong voices to set boundaries, and that they are in charge of themselves.  And if they can’t do it on their own? That’s where the adult steps in as a negotiator, helping the kids to solve the problems for themselves.

“I Hate You!” Is Nothing Personal/Go Ahead and Let Him Hate the Baby

I remember the first time Lila told me she hated me. I had just made her leave a toy she very much wanted behind at a friend’s house, because she threw a HORRIFIC tantrum about it.  She was absolutely, ridiculously furious, and those big words just spilled right out of her tiny little body.  She looked vaguely terrified of herself, like she didn’t know what she would do next.  I pulled the car over, pulled her out of her carseat, and gave her a giant hug. She collapsed into me and sobbed and we worked it out. So yes, I agree that there was nothing personal about her “I Hate You.”

However, I disagree with the author on one big point here- I don’t think that she should be allowed to tell me she hates me. I think the author kind of agrees with me on this one too, because a few chapters later, in “Go Ahead and Let Him Hate the Baby,” she states that the child should never say she doesn’t like the baby within earshot because it will hurt their feelings. What about MY feelings? I deserve to have my feelings protected to, and so no, I will not allow my kids to say they hate me. Even if it ISN’T personal.

It’s OK NOT to Share…

It’s the name of the book, so we better touch on the attention grabbing rule that has people going, “But…But…But!” Probably like most of you, when my child has something another child wants, the words, “Okay, finish up and give your friend a turn” just come tumbling out of my mouth. I definitely do it with my own kids.  Heck, I literally wrote a whole blog post about how I mastered the art of taking turns! The words are mostly habit at this point, and to be honest, a little bit courtesy to appease the other parent as much as the child. “See? My kid isn’t a toy hog!” But what if my child was in the middle of some really creative play? What happens to my child when I end that before he’s ready? I’m pretty hardcore on team play. I love watching my son and daughter use their imagination in incredibly inventive ways – ways that I certainly don’t want to stunt.

I really enjoy the way this book has you “Take Off Your Adult Lenses” to see things as the children see them. This chapter talks about how “interrupting play – and instantly rewarding the other child – doesn’t benefit either child.” And that “young children aren’t ready to share, they’re ready to take turns.” So it’s not about encouraging your child to be selfish, but rather to communicate when they’re done with a toy and to then be courteous. We’ve implemented it around here, and I’m digging it BIGtime.

We’re Not All Friends Here/Hang Up a “No Girls” Sign

Ahhhhhh, why didn’t I read this book years ago? I can only imagine all the anguish and stress I could have saved myself, agonizing over why Lila was excluding kids and refusing to play with the male friends she had played with just last week.  It’s not that I would  have allowed her to be unkind, but I wouldn’t have spent months crying and reading “Little Girls Can Be Mean” and considering taking her to a psychologist to work on her mean girl behavior.  Because she was three.  There are lots of strategies in the book- again, like dealing with conflict and helping the kids find a way to work things out on their own- to help kids learn to play better together, but at the end of the day, there’s going to be squabbles, and that doesn’t mean my kid will be turning into Regina George anytime soon. Thank God.

Bombs, Guns and Bad Guys Allowed

This one was definitely the one that had me pushing back the most prior to reading. We have one water gun hiding somewhere in the garage, but other than that, we are a gun free house. We were those parents that made a conscious and very purposeful choice to “not keep guns in the home.” I was very skeptical that this book could do anything to sway me. So, of course, I changed my mind and told Cole he could play with guns.

Cole is obsessed with all things superhero. He loves to wear a cape. He rescues his sisters. And yes he was turning really ordinary things into guns. The strangest was the stand from the cleaning set. The mop, broom, and dustpan were thrown aside and a gun was born. I was trying to fight it. And maybe it’s just that the book let me stop fighting it. Because it helped me understand that Cole has very few opportunities in his life to be a hero. He gets things wrong, a lot. He’s always being corrected and having to learn things and all the scolding. But when he puts on his costume and grabs his “shooter” he’s a strong, powerful, good guy. And it’s fantasy. He gets that it’s not real and he’s four. I’m thirty four and should be able to figure that out as well. The book points out that children playing parents use dolls, pirates use swords (which we don’t seem to have a problem with), chefs have pots and pans and fake food, so good guys and bad guys need props too.

Furtermore, there are lots of great tips for how to ease into gun-play if you have a knee jerk reaction (like I did!). Plus, and I found this super important, the author makes it clear that kids should ABSOLUTELY understand the difference between play guns and real guns and has some great pointers for discussing that as well!

***********

Did we pique your interest? Watch us discuss the book LIVE on FB, Monday, Sept 18 at 8:30pm PST!

Need to devour this book yourself? Snag a copy here and let us know what you think!

The Salty Mamas Book Club

Bouncing Babies, Married with Children, momlife, parenting

The Cure for Smugness

If you find yourself being one of those parents that’s maybe a tiny bit smug? (She says with authority, because, confession – she’s been there) You’re in luck. I have the cure for you! It’s one simple step. Ready for this:

Have another kid.

That’s it. If that still doesn’t work. Try this:

Repeat step 1.

See, once upon a time, my husband and I thought we had it figured out. We had this sweet, perfect little baby that did miraculous things like sleep through the night, happily took a pacifier, let everyone hold him, was content in the Ergo, delighted at trying all944608_10202187715560688_862048644_n my homemade purees, and was just SO. DAMN. EASYGOING. People would somewhat jokingly ask, “What’s your secret?” Chad, taking this very seriously would start talking about routines and the importance of establishing good habits young. If I was within earshot I would launch myself into the conversation shouting, “LUCKY! We got very, very lucky, we did NOTHING, he’s magical!”

See before Cole was born, I had seventeen nieces and nephews. And I’d spent a LOT of time around them all. I knew their tricks. And I KNEW that babies were born with a baseline. They were good sleepers or they weren’t. They took pacifiers or they didn’t. They ate lots of foods or they didn’t. And YES, what you did as a parent could move them up a notch or two from their baseline, but you couldn’t totally change a kid that hated sleep and got up for the day at 4:45 into one that fell asleep in 2.5 minutes, slept 12 hours and would be chill until you were good and ready to get up too.

More importantly, I knew that we wanted to have another, and that the Baby Gods will smite you good if you get too smug. So every time Chad boasted our parenting skills as the reason our baby was so good I feared for our fate.

Sure enough, Evie was born. And remember all those badass parenting skills? Well wouldn’t you know it, they did JACK for our baby girl. No routine in the world could get her to sleep through the night. She flatly refused bottles, meaning she was basically permanently attached to her exhausted Mom. She gagged on all purees and decided it 11009959_10206477012350427_4296049865354671709_nwould be more fun to only accept giant, chunky solids, stressing us out every step of the way. She wanted NO ONE except Mommy, not even her Father for a good while. Holding her was a process far more complicated than tying a MobyWrap or folding a fitted bed sheet. She was So. Damn. Particular. She wanted to be held by me, except when she wanted to sleep at which time she wanted to NOT be held, but she wanted to swing and she wanted a blanket on her face JUST so (but of course it had to be monitored and moved when she fell asleep) and on and on and on.

It was like starting completely from scratch. We accepted that we had no role in our son’s excellence as a baby and took no blame for our daughter being such a bitch challenge.

Then, we had our newest baby, Izzie. She’s so freaking pleasant. She wakes up with a smile on her face every day. She doesn’t sleep or take a bottle. She loves to be passed around and held. She freaks out within seconds of pooping demanding that she be changed immediately. She’ll snuggle into you and make you want 17353147_10212748520534212_9024233825403400090_na thousand babies because she’s so incredibly sweet. But everyday we’re learning more about her developing personality – often trying to ascribe her characteristics to either her big brother or big sister. But everyday is a reminder that she’s not just like Cole, or just like Evie, but is Izzie. A whole new person we have to figure out.

And just when we start to get cocky, she does something new to remind us that no matter how many kids we have, we still may have no freaking clue what we’re doing.

How to cure

 

How Taylor Swift's new song, "Look What You Made Me Do," cost her a four year old fan. thesaltymamas.com
Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Why We're Salty

Taylor Swift: Look What You Made ME Do.

 

My daughter is a Taylor Swift fan. Like, a big fan.

She knows the words to pretty much every song on the 1989 album.  She knows what each song is about. She loves her music videos and her “fashion” and her pretty hair and she especially loves to dance to her TS jams. She loved Taylor Swift in the way that only a four year old can.

And now she doesn’t.

I let her listen to the song “Look What You Made Me Do,” recently, thinking she would be excited to hear something from her favorite singer. I thought the beat was catchy, and she could dance to it and learn the words easily.  I knew the video was dark, but I thought as long as I just played the song, the lyrics would be subtle enough to fly right over her head. I figured she’d be bopping and singing along in no time.

But you know what she said? “How come Taylor Swift got mean?”

If you haven’t heard it or seen the video yet, you’ll need to know that it is dark and edgy and the lyrics are full of bite. There are zombies and burglaries and car crashes.  The song is a lot more bitter and a lot harder than anything she’s put out before.   Clearly, she’s trying to reinvent herself.  And look, it is not up to Taylor to be anything for anyone but herself.  It is her life, and her brand, and she can do what she wants with it. That’s her right, and I stand by that. But Lila? Lila doesn’t.

And you know what? I’m kind of with Lila on this one.  You don’t have to get edgier, and sexier, and darker with each album. It’s okay to be kind, and sweet, and keep your optimism no matter what life throws at you. I’m tired of artists feeling like they have to constantly evolve.  You can have a truth and stick to it. You don’t need to keep up with the  Joneses Katy Perrys.  You don’t have to get mean in order to stay popular.  In fact, it may just end up costing you, and some of your fans, a little something in return.

So we’ll keep rocking 1989 in the car, and we’ll keep Shaking it Off. But otherwise, I think we’re done here.  Thanks for the fun, Taylor. It was good while it lasted.

How Taylor Swift's new song,

 

Caffeine, Mama Mojo, They Said WHAT?

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Coffee?

Hi, my name is Jaymi, and I am addicted to caffeine.

I first discovered my problem a few months ago. We ditched the kids and went away to a wedding, and had the best time ever. We were surrounded by people we’ve been friends with for decades, and it was absolutely amazing to get to do all the adult things I wanted, whenever I wanted to. Tops on my list? Hot coffee. And lots of it. Isn’t that every mom’s dream? We meandered down to this adorable little bakery and I told the lady, as I am apt to do, that I wanted a hot coffee the size of my head. And she gave me the biggest cup, and pointed me in the direction of the self-serve, and I emptied that sucker into my cup. Like, literally emptied it. And then I ate my delicious pastry, and refilled it. And refilled it one more time. And emptied the giant coffee dispenser again. And thought nothing of it, because I’m a mom, and everyone knows moms drink all the coffee. Except then my friends started giving me endless shit. And they’re like, damn girl, that’s some coffee consumption. And I laugh it off, and I’m like, “You guys drink coffee too!” And they tell me, “Lady, we did not empty those two giant carafes. You did.”

“But!” I tell myself. “But their kids are older! They are getting more sleep than I am! I shall ask my mommy friends, the ones with two or three kids under five. THEY know my struggle.” After all, we talk about coffee non-effing-stop. So I know they’re with me.

Not so, my friends.

I make a quick survey asking my momsquad to give it to me in ounces, their daily intake.
“One twelve ounce cup in the mornings.”

“Sometimes a latte in the afternoon.”

“Once in a while I drink two cups in the morning, but usually one.”

What. The. Hell.

On average, those coffee-obsessed broads are drinking between 12 and 20 ounces a day. While I’m putting away 50. But because I hear about coffee nonstop, and I’m not that vocal about it, I always assumed whatever I was doing was normal. Coffee isn’t even “My Thing.” It’s our cousin Daniel’s, who we sometimes call “coffeecoffeecoffee,” or my friend Courtney’s, who posts about coffee on her Facebook page about once a week. The ones who are constantly waxing poetic about their daily joe.

There are millions of memes, images, dialogues about coffee. There are shirts emblazoned with “All I Need is Mascara and Caffeine,” and mugs saying, “Heart, Hustle, and Coffee” (okay, that’s my mug, and I made it. But still). We’re smack dab in the middle of a culture that has us celebrating coffee, glorifying coffee, and making it a primary topic of conversation in mom circles everywhere. It’s a thing now. Moms. Love. Coffee. So when my one cup became two became three became five, I honest to God went full-teenaged, “Well everyone is doing it.”

Again. Not so, my friends.

So now here I am, wondering whether I should take this newfound knowledge, own it, and celebrate it. Give zero effs. Maybe post a few more coffee cup selfies here and there so the world can I see that I drink that coffee without shame. Maybe I scale down my use a bit, see how it goes, in a moderation-is-everything approach? Or do I take this new information and use it to find a program, and get myself some help? I feel like it’s gonna take a bit more than the Serenity Prayer to get me through a day with these little monsters, but hey, it’s worth a shot.

Of espresso, that is. Obviously.

We live in a coffee culture. But how much are people REALLY drinking? And how do you know when to say enough is enough? thesaltymamas.com

 

Bujo, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, Tips & Hacks

MicroLuxury Monday: Bujo to Pick Your Favorite Kid

As I’ve mentioned, I love me some bujo (bullet journaling). And God bless Pinterest for giving me all kinds of awesome inspiration – it’s a FABULOUS resource when you’re looking for monthly or weekly spreads, list ideas and trackers, ALL the trackers! But I have noticed a serious lack of bujo pages for Moms. So today I’ve got some tips for Moms that bujo and a couple page ideas I hope you’ll love!

Tip of the Day: Pick a weekly spread that is realistic.

I had to go through a few spreads before I found something that was functional for me, and that I could keep up with. Do not give up if you haven’t found yours yet. There is something for everyone – that’s one of the awesome things about bullet journaling.

Too Much WeeklyI started with this. Because it’s beautiful. And it’s got all the detail I could ever want in my life. I was gonna track my steps and my water and what I ate for every meal and snack and the WEATHER and I customized it a little so that I could have a cute little section at the bottom of each day to write something about each kid. Holy overkill, Batman. Check out how much I didn’t finish – and that was just the first three days. I fell off that one FAST.

Then I tried this spread. a little less info…I was only tracking one Medium Weeklymeal a day (better) I added some trackers for housework (for the record I did more than this, just didn’t track it) and health habits and then realized I hate daily trackers. I did like the little To-Do list and I thought it was an attractive layout, but after a few weeks I was over this one too. I still needed to simplify or this wasn’t going to be fun anymore.

Light Weekly

Then I went SIMPLE. And I LOVED it. Big ol’ blocks where I could write everything and a bonus space where I could add a family saying, something cute the kids did, etc. In the middle space I would write what I was reading, watching, anything over-arching for the week. I kept this spread up for a couple of months and then only switched it up for something different – but at least I’d found the kind of spread that works for me. Once you do, I promise it will improve your bujo satisfaction by like 500%.

Mom Friendly Pages

Monthly Stats

With three kids, I have fallen off the baby book bandwagon. Hard. When I had two I Kid Statswould say, “Cole was born at 10:56 in the morning. Evie was born at night.” With three? It got even worse. I did one of those Line a Day books with Cole that I kept up for like a year. With Evie I had little notes and post its and stuff in my pockets and purse and always was totally going to write them down somewhere permanent. With Izzie, I have just accepted that Facebook memories are going to remember for me. If Facebook shuts down I’m screwed.

Now I do often have a spot in my weekly spread to write a little something about each kid – whether daily or weekly. But it’s very open ended, and I know there are going to be a billion things I wish I remembered! So, inspired by Back to School printables with likes and dislikes and other kid info, I made a simple chart I can fill out for all the kids at the end of the month. Because like with the weekly spread style, I have to find a balance of what’s reasonable for me to commit to – and so far this feels good. I set it up at the beginning of the month so I can fill in as things happen or cram at the end. (Let’s face it – I cram at the end!)

How to Measure Which Kid is Your Favorite

Okay at the risk of tooting my own horn (toot! toot!) this is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever bujo’d. I was in a dark place with my baby’s sleep patterns. She was up. all. night. And then the other ones were getting up so early. (Or at least it felt early at the time). I felt like I had to channel my frustration with her into something tangible.

Enter: Kids Sleeping In Chart. Kids sleeping chartAs you can see, Evie, my little lavender dot, was clearly my favorite child that month. It was neck and neck for Cole and Izzie for a while, but Izzie had those God Awful open circles (which means she woke up but I eventually got her back to sleep). It was a silly chart, but the kids and I had fun doing it – every morning they would help get their colors and watch when I put their dots. Evie will still find the page and point to hers and say, “That’s me Mama?” Yep, my lovely little sleeper, that’s. you.

The cruel irony is that when I made that page – I thought the kids were getting up early. But these days they mostly get up in the 5:00 hour…..so I’m thinking it might be time to figure out which one’s my favorite again 😉

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Stay tuned next month when I’ll share some more pages for Mama’s Bujo! And let me know if you have any pages you’d like to see! Things you want to find a way to track! Or ideas for lists you need in your bujo 🙂

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