I want you to know that if you’re on vacation and reading this, you are not alone. Whether you’re hiding in the bathroom, reading on your phone in the dark while you try to breathe silently so you don’t wake the kids, or – mercifully – enjoying a cocktail and a moment of what vacation is supposed to be, I’ve been there too.
Maybe you packed for two, three, four, five – God forbid more than five people – all by yourself, while your partner clipped his toenails. Or decided it was a good day to re-organize the garage. Maybe when you arrived, he asked where the toothpaste was. And despite going over every list, and checking it twice, you still forgot that one thing. It almost goes without saying that you made vacation plans that you were sure your family would love, but you could hardly even think about them over the screams of, “Are we there yet??”
One of the BEST parts of the summer ending and the kids going back to school is the kids being gone finally getting to go back to school shopping. There is nothing I love more than getting tha list of everything my kid needs, heading to Target and buying only things that are on that list everything in the store. Let’s face it, backpacks and lunch bags and new markers and pencils and pencil boxes are all thrilling, but don’t we deserve a little something too?
Yes, yes we do.
Unfortunately, school isn’t going to send you a list of everything you need. That’s what we’re for. Check out our list of Back to School items for YOU and then get yourself all geared up for the first day of school!
Before having kids, I was firmly on team “We are NEVER Going to Chuck E. Cheese.” Then we were invited by my #Momsquad and the kids feel deeply in love and I knew my Chuck-Free days were over. We found ways to manage our trips, save some money while we went, and eventually Chuck E. Cheese made it’s way to become a regular activity in our rotation.
So when my husband started saying, “Wow, you go to Chuck E Cheese a LOT these days!,” I found myself trying to justify our outing. At first, I thought I was just trying to make it seem less pathetic that we went there so often, but then I realized that my son really was learning some valuable life skills. So now, I have zero guilt about living at the air-conditioned paradise that is Chuck E Cheese this summer.
And you can too! Just use these little life lessons next time you go with your kiddo and you can mark it down as a practically educational opportunity!
This week, as part of the Regal Kids’ Summer Movie Club, we headed to the theater for a cheap showing of Sing. I don’t know about you, but I tend to use my kids’ TV time as get-as-much-work-done-as-possible time, so I’d never actually seen the whole movie. Sure, I’ll get down to the part where Meena rocks out at the end, but otherwise, I come and go throughout. Not this week.
This week, I was forced to sit and watch as Mama Pig Rosita sat there on the screen, strumming my pain with her fingers for a full two hours (no really though- what’s with that crazy dull stretch three quarters of the way through the movie? It took SO MUCH POPCORN to keep Abe occupied during that part).
If you are a Stay at Home Mama, then you might have noticed before what I am just noticing now- Rosita the Mama Pig is ALL of us.
There are two kinds of toddlers: the kind that are super picky eaters and the kind that aren’t. And there’s a ton of helpful information out there to help your picky eater. Which is awesome! But as much as having kids that won’t eat anything is a major PITA, I’m here to tell you that having kids that eat EVERYTHING isn’t that great either. So whether your kid is a human garbage disposal too, or you just want to feel better about your situation, here are five things that are major downsides to having kids that everyone considers to be “great” eaters.
When Abram was a baby, he was an EATER. Whatever we threw at him- avocado, sweet potato, squash, carrots, cereal- you name it, he ate it. We were so proud of our adventurous eater, a baby who participated in baby-led weaning with gusto. As the months went on, that adventurous palate faded and we were left with a picky eater.
He still ate copious amounts- he had the chubby cheeks to prove it!- as long as it was chips, or something else he loved. When it came to his old favorites- avocado, sweet potato, squash, carrots, cereal- you name it, he took whatever we threw at him, and threw it back at us. Like, literally.
Abe’s pickiness really came to a head one night at dinner. Convinced that we had to get some food in him one way or another, we tried to force him to take some bites of his food. He stalled, we stalled. He cried, we cried. We tried to put the food in his mouth, he tried to take it out. It was a twenty minute battle of begging him to eat before we threw in the towel. The dinner went uneaten, and all we felt was defeated, and sad.
I wracked my brain to try to figure out where we’d gone wrong, and more importantly, where we could go from here. Lila was, and IS, picky, but we’d never had these battles with her. Why was that? And how could we replicate those results?
I hit the internet, scouring for the best tips to help picky eaters, and remembered all of the best practices we’d used to help our picky toddler the first round. It’s been a month now, but I’m happy to say that things with Abram have come a long way. If you, too, find yourself with a picky toddler on yours hands, here’s what research (and first hand experience!) recommend you do.
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 notmy 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.
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 ten ways that you are probably rocking this #momlife without even knowing it.
So screen time may be taboo, and the ultimate sign of a terrible parent is leaning too much on the friends that live inside the television. But sometimes Mommy just needs a little help. There is still laundry to do, dishes to wash, and watching a little TV makes way less mess than Play Doh does. So the Salty Mamas make zero apologies about sprinkling in a little (or some days a lot) of screen time here and there. Which is how our kids favorite cartoons, become our favorite cartoons.
We’d like to take this moment to publicly thank some of the cartoons that have helped us get through these past five years.