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The most realistic first-day-of-school sign you’ll ever see

Can we all just agree that this trend of holding up a sign on the first day of school should just go away? Consider this my personal boycott.

For one mom, the sign she made for her child could not offer a more realistic take on the busy life of a parent. Lindsay Sutton, the mom behind the blog Essentially Momming, posted a photo on her blog’s Facebook page earlier this month that showed her son on his first day of school in Missouri. Like many kids, he held a sign that included his grade. It also included a funny message.

Let’s hear it for the boy…and this mom!

What rules not to break in the school drop-off line

If you have kids in school, you’ve witnessed it. The fighting, the brawling, the all-out chaos that makes “Lord of the Flies” look orderly.

And, no, it’s not the kids in the schoolyard. It’s the parents in the car drop-off or pick-up line. Or, as I call it, “the Thunderdome,” a Mad Max-style dystopia where cars are king and respect for mankind goes out the passenger seat window.

In a study by British insurance company Allianz, more than 1,000 parents were surveyed for their levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, as they did their school day morning routine. Levels peaked just before leaving the house to drive to school, at around 8:15 a.m. each morning, researchers found. And the impact of the school run stress stays with parents well into the day. Also, nearly 25 percent of parents surveyed said that morning drop off stress sets their mood for the day — good or bad.

Susannah B. Lewis, author, comedian and woman behind the Facebook page Whoa Susannah, parodied the experience in her latest video.

So, for all of those parents who know somebody who could use a reminder as to how it all works, here are the 7 unbreakable rules of the school drop-off or pick-up line.

Sarah Maizes

Humor: Time to put away Fortnite for school!

Are you ready for your kids’ Fortnite addiction to end?

The Holderness family took a hilarious route with their frustrations by parodying the Black Eyed Pea’s pump-up song “I Got a Feeling” in a now-viral video. Of course, they swapped out some of the words to poke fun at their Fortniteaddicted offspring.

In typical Holderness family fashion, the song is really catchy and any parent who has had to turn off the game on their kids after hours of playing can totally relate. The parents touch on how all-encompassing the game can be, describing the “ring of junk food around the rug” that magically appears and the fact that their kids become so engrossed in winning that they only take “seven steps” in a day. But the kicker? In all his efforts, Penn ends up becoming addicted to the game himself by the end of the video.

Maybe we all need a dose of reality with back-to-school.

1 Newborn + 1 Toddler = No Party

At the checkout stand recently, a young cashier took notice of my newborn and exclaimed, “Only one month old; you must be having so much fun!”

Honesty is important when speaking with people you will never see again, so I let her know that she has it all wrong – newborns aren’t “fun.” The cashier seemed receptive to this correction though the pregnant woman standing nearby looked pretty freaked out. I could actually feel her eyes burning into the side of my head while she waited for an explanation or a take-back. I offered neither. As mom to two kids under the age of two, I ain’t got time to explain. She’ll find out for herself soon enough. 

In the meantime, I’m busy learning just how challenging it can be to juggle two little sleep suckers – both under the age of two.

Plan, Pack, Go

That lack of preparedness that used to fly — leaving the house with a kid in one arm and a nearly empty purse in the other — no longer suffices. Today I rely on super thorough todo lists with reminders like:

  • brush teeth
  • change shirt
  • take shirt off and try again — backward and inside out is neither comfortable nor cool

I also carry fully stocked diaper bags now-a-days. I trust myself to remember nothing and I’m fully aware that anything could happen any time.

Safety Is A Luxury

I sacrificed personal hygiene following the birth of my firstborn. This go round, in addition to failed personal hygiene, I’ve decided there is zero time to employ the abundance of safety measures recommended for child rearing. Safety schmafety. Who has time to abide by age limit recommendations, step carefully over baby gates or fiddle with cabinet locks? In all reality, one of us is bound to trip on a toy car, chug a swig of gasoline, or fall down the stairs sooner than later, right? We’ll consider it a success if all three don’t happen in the same day.

Gift Registries Serve A Purpose… And I’m An Ungrateful Gift Recipient

A gift registry is imperative if you want to avoid being up to your ears in baby blankets. I can’t change a diaper with baby blankets, people! 

Yours,

 Ungrateful and lacking sleep.

Effective Parenting Techniques Include Distraction… In Any Form

Distraction techniques are invaluable for parents and children. For that reason, I’ve befriended the mysteriously captivating and annoying YouTube sensation, Blippi. Not only is my son completely enthralled by this corny and, did I mention, annoying human clown, Blippy appeals to me (sexually) when I am practicing my selective listening skills.

Mom Friends Are A Must

As the mom of an increasingly self-sufficient toddler, I was convinced that mom friends were a commodity not a necessity. As the mom of two under two, I realize that mom friends are, in fact, saviors dressed in yoga pants.  I may not know your first name, mom friend, but I know the name of your kid, and I know I couldn’t sit through another story time at the library without you. 

A Little Poo On The Wall Never Hurt Anyone (Unless Your Toddler Licks It Or Something)

Nearly every nook and cranny in the house can (and probably will) double as a changing table. Now that we have two in diapers plus a new mommy with a wrecked pelvic floor, any clutter-free flat surface is fair game. Whether the flat surface is or is not horizontal is a non-issue. I suspect mom’s were placed on this earth to pick up poo and to problem solve.

Breastfeeding is For the Birds

The rhythm produced by the breast pump is equally catchy when pumping for kid number two.  Despite this, breastfeeding still sucks (no pun intended). Whether or not breastfeeding is a newly acquired skill, it’s stressful and anxiety provoking. No amount of lactation boosters — I’ve  tried pills, teas, smoothies and strums —have given me the mental freedom needed to simply enjoy being a mom to a newborn. And having a newborn truly is a gift for which I am (or eventually will be) grateful. 

True, newborns can be incredibly challenging especially when you already have a toddler on the loose. For the most part, however, having both a 2T and a NB is an undeniably rewarding experience. As long as the diaper bag is fully stocked all the time and never left behind, it is possible to maintain sanity and have a little, dare i say, fun.

Robin is a Colorado native living in Denver with her her husband and son.  For the past several months, Robin has been consumed by fear and excitement as she prepares for the arrival of her second child, due at the end of March.  Her go-to coping mechanisms are sarcasm, sleep and sweets, in no particular order.

Toddler hilariously swears at slippery food

Have you been there?

This adorable toddler was eating some Macaroni and Cheese, along with some peas, and apparently got a bit frustrated! As you can see her parents can’t help but laugh! Where did she hear that from?!

New Series “Single Parents” and “The Kids Are Alright”

Is the summer television series drought getting you down?

Here’s something to look forward to! ABC has released some of the trailers for its new comedies and dramas as part of the 2018-19 series orders. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am some of them are family-centric comedies that look like they’ll be hits! Here are a couple of my favorites.

The Kids Are Alright — Comedy
Produced by ABC Studios. Set in the 1970s, this ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves. The series is inspired by the childhood of writer/executive producer Tim Doyle.  

Single Parents — Comedy
Produced by 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. A group of dysfunctional single parents lean on each other as they raise their kids, look for love, and ultimately realize survival is only possible with the help of each other. This ensemble comedy follows a group of single parents as they lean on each other to help raise their 7-year-old kids and maintain some kind of personal lives outside of parenthood. The series begins when the group meets Will, a 30-something guy who’s been so focused on raising his daughter that he’s lost sight of who he is as a man. When the other single parents see just how far down the rabbit hole of PTA, parenting and princesses Will has gone, they band together to get him out in the dating world and make him realize that being a great parent doesn’t mean sacrificing everything about your own identity. 

Hilarious before and after school pictures

We’re on the homestretch for the 2017-18 school year! That’s why I found these before-and-after photos particularly fitted.

Remember waaaay back to the first day of school or work when you were filled with excitement and anticipation?

For mom Kelly O’Brien, her adorable 5-year-old daughter, Franky Meyer, gives a glimpse of what really happens at preschool by posting these before-and-after shots on Reddit

Before:

After:

We’re on the homestretch, Mamas.

May madness: 4 tips (and some humor) to avoid the “hot mess” and #momguilt

Mindful mamas out there, have you noticed that this time of year rivals the holidays as far as the level of activities, commitments, “busyness” and overall stress?

I don’t know about you but my schedule, all of a sudden, is crazy packed! Just trying to schedule a routine doctor’s appointment or lunch with my mom seems like an insurmountable feat when I look at my calendar.

How did life get so busy all of a sudden?

As I received yet another end-of-school event email I felt the panic setting in.

Then it hit me. I realized this is how it is every year!

In years past, come June 1st I am a vague resemblance of the calm, relatively organized and well-rested mom that I strive to be the rest of the year. I somehow have little recollection of May, other than the piles of unfolded laundry, unpaid bills, and a sad looking pantry. Proof that I did live it, my family survived it, but what a blur it was!

As I see the collective stress level rise among myself and the greater mom population I decided this year would be different.

I sat down, took deep breath and dug into my own personal toolbox for keeping myself happy, healthy and sane. I committed to the following four principles right then and there and want to share them with you too.

My goal this May is to as seamlessly, and gracefully as possible transition into summer. No frazzled, exhausted hot-mess here, but a sane, happy, healthy and present mama!

Won’t you join me?

4 Principles for staying Sane, Healthy and Present this May:

Self-care

OK, OK no huge surprise here. But ladies, we all know, just as it usually happens around the holidays, when we get busy, things are chaotic and schedules change, oftentimes our self-care is the first to go.

We all know what we need to do to stay happy and healthy, whether that’s keeping up with our workouts, keeping up with quality sleep (and enough of it), keeping our healthy eating habits in check, maintaining that meditation practice we fought so for, or something else completely. Whatever it is, lets recommit to it this last month of school.

No matter what.

Let’s commit to maintain those practices!

When mom is feeling good, everyone is feeling good.

If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no

While I try to remember this principle year-round, now is a super important time to embrace it. Right now we’re being asked to help out, attend social events and end of year activities, now more than ever. We’re cramming everything in before the kids are out for summer. How can we find more time to say yes to all-the-things?

Let’s offer each other collective permission to say ‘no’ to anything and everything that isn’t a ‘hell yes’ right now!

Let’s protect and prioritize our time, so that we aren’t that frazzled hot mess version of ourselves come June 1st!

Let’s say yes to the things that genuinely interest and excite us and graciously say no to the things that we dread or will drain us. Especially if they’re going to get in the way of us taking care of ourselves (see #1). There will be more opportunities, I promise.

Oh and a quick PSA: We are under no obligation to explain why we’re declining or give an exhaustive list of the things we’re already doing. We can certainly apologize for not being able to help out (although honestly, we should really never have to apologize for saying no, but I get it. #momguilt) Let’s just agree to just let go of feeling like we have justify a hell no, agreed?

Don’t sweat the small stuff

This may sound a bit cliche, but sometimes we need to be reminded. Piggy-backing on #2, if we miss an event, if we’re late for a performance, if we double-book and have to back out of something, or space something out completely, don’t sweat it! Seriously, let that sh*t go. A year from now (probably even a month from now), it won’t mean a thing. We’re only human. No self-loathing allowed. Let’s let go of the guilt and move on to what’s next!

Be present

This last month of the school year is going to fly by. In fact, before we know it, it’ll be the Fourth of July. (It always happens like that, right?)

Let’s enjoy these last days and weeks of whatever grade or season our children are in right now… because we won’t get it back.

Racing through this time with our hair on fire feels like survival modem so try this instead: Let’s stop, take a breath, sit down with our kiddos or just observe them from afar. Notice a few special things about them, how they are right now, and how exciting this time of year is.

Let’s just be in it. When we’re truly present, we can’t help but be grateful, often times even overwhelmed with gratitude. And that my friends is a good feeling; it’s a healing feeling and a restorative one. Embrace it because this time is precious and fleeting!

Alright, Warrior Queen Mamas, get out there and do your thing. Stay happy, healthy, peaceful and present. Don’t forget to have FUN, support each other and oh, will let me know how it goes?

In solidarity!

Katie

Katie Garces is a Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. She blends her professional background in traditional healthcare, wellness and nutrition with her passion for the healing power of spiritual wholeness to provide customized advice and life balance solutions for women across the country. Her customized programs work to achieve a “grown up” and empowered approach to life balance, so her clients will live lives that feel Spiritual, Sexy & Sane. Katie currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, her twin boys, and Bob, the hamster. You can find Katie at:
www.katiegarces.com or her private Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SexySpiritualSane/.

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To describe how hectic May can be, the Holderness Family did yet another project: an *NSYNC music video parody, “It’s Gonna Be MAY.” We will survive!

Transcript of a “conversation” with the school’s attendance line

Day One, 7:30 am

“€œYou have reached Neighborhood Elementary School’€™s attendance line. Please leave a message with your student’s name, class, reason for absence and number of days absent. Thank you.” Beep.

“€œHi! This is Gretchen, Ryley’s mom. He is in Mrs. Goodteacher’€™s second-grade class. He won’t be at school today due to a fever and a cough. Hopefully he’€™ll be better tomorrow. Thank you!”

Day Two, 8:05 am

You have reached Neighborhood Elementary School’€™s attendance line. Please leave a message with your student’s name, class, reason for absence and number of days absent. Thank you.” Beep.

“€œHi! This is Gretchen. Ryley won’€™t be at school today. He’€™s in Mrs. Goodteacher’s class. He still has a fever and a cough, plus a headache. I don’€™t know if he will be there tomorrow, sorry.”

Day Three, 8:24 am

You have reached Neighborhood Elementary School’€™s attendance line. Please leave a message with your student’s name, class, reason for absence and number of days absent. Thank you.” Beep.

“€œHello. Gretchen here. Ryley from Mrs. Goodteacher’s class won’€™t be at school today. I’€™m going to try to get him in to the doctor. Also Sam won’€™t be at school today. He’€™s in Mrs. Remindsmeofmythirdgradeteacherwhowasreallystrictâ’s class. He has a tummyache and a cough. I don’€™t know how many days he’€™ll be out. Thanks!”

Day Four, 5:30 am

You have reached Neighborhood Elementary School’€™s attendance line. Please leave a message with your student’s name, class, reason for absence and number of days absent. Thank you.” Beep.

“Hi, it’s me. Ryley. I won’t be there today. Of course. He has pneumonia according to the doctor he saw yesterday afternoon. He’€™s on antibiotics. Oh, he’€™s in Mrs. Goodteacher’€™s class €”theoretically. Sam is coughing his head off too. Won’€™t be there. You don’€™t want him there. Aidan is also sick. She’€™s in Miss Ryleyhasasecretcrushonher’s class, fourth grade and she too has this fevery coughy thingy going on. When will they be back? Isn’€™t that the million dollar question? I’€™m not feeling so well myself. How are you? Oh yeah, sorry, recording.”

Weekend intermission

Day Five, 8:59 am

You have reached Neighborhood Elementary School’€™s attendance line. Please leave a message with your student’s name, class, reason for absence and number of days absent. Thank you.” Beep.

“€œSam will be there! Yay! This is Gretchen, his mom, by the way. Unfortunately Ryley and Aidan won’t be joining him. They are still sick. I think I am going to try that Mucinex stuff you see on TV. You know, those commercials where the glob of mucus wearing a tanktop and a combover throws a party for all his mucus globule friends? So gross, but I’ve heard good things about it. One of my fr.”
” Oops, cutoff by the machine. Redial.

“€œMe, again. I forgot where I left off? Basically, Aidan and Ryley won’€™t be there. I hope maybe one or both of them will be there tomorrow. Okay. Thanks. Did I mention this is Gretchen?”

Day Six, 6:31 am

You have reached Neighborhood Elementary School’€™s attendance line. Please leave a message with your student’s name, class, reason for absence and number of days absent. Thank you.” Beep.

“No, Joel, I won’€™t put syrup on your Pop Tart. Oh, hi, it’€™s Gretchen again. Aidan from Miss Ryleyhasasecretcrushonher’€™s class won’€™t be there. Still with the cough. Says her feet feel funny, too. I’€™ll call you tomorrow. Or you can call me, if you want. We should have lunch sometime!”

(Hilarious) Third Trimester Tendencies

Pregnancy brain is: Requesting information from your midwife about postpartum contraception, specifically an IED, without realizing that you are asking to have an explosive devised placed in the uterus.  My amazingly professional midwife glossed over my comment and handed me several handouts for an intrauterine device (an IUD).

With just one month  left until the big day, I’ve got to admit, pregnancy brain is the least of my concerns. I’m scared to death. Up to this point, I’ve managed to suppress traumatic details from birth number one. I’ve simply been too preoccupied by our now toddler to reflect. As I take a moment to acknowledge my birthing fears, I think I may actually be more anxious about L&D this time around. After all, this time I kind of know what to expect. Jitters aside, I will allow this baby girl to vacate my body at some point in the near future lest I continue to experience these nutty third trimester symptoms:

Voracious Appetite:

It’s like I’m a bear waking from hibernation. These days, my uncontrollable appetite strikes without warning — like today while walking the dog around the block. After seriously considering dog treats for satiety, I pleaded with my husband to do a drive-by snack drop off. Words were not exchanged, but rather the hubs pulled up in his black SUV, lowered the passenger side window, and chucked food at me. I’ve never been more in love. I was literally just up the street.

Poo Problems:

Despite my conviction that I would remain constipated up to the very end, I have in fact, lost all control of my bowels. To the couple who strolled past me and my dog last night as I crouched behind a large tree to relieve myself: I’m sorry. I’m sorry, and I’m pregnant. I promise this is atypical behavior (pooping behind trees, not walking the dog).

Growing Bump:

At times an inconvenience, my growing baby bump frequently comes in handy. Not only is my bump an incubator of babies and a catcher of crumbs, my bump can also be used to propel my toddler forward in his stroller hands-free. I’m tempted to see if my bump is equally able to steer the car. I’ll keep you posted.

Off The Wall Dreams:

These days, my vivid sex dreams leave me feeling fully satisfied without having to go to the trouble of getting undressed.  It’s amazingly convenient.

Other Peoples Opinions:

I’ve come to expect unsolicited comments about my pregnant body, and have even gotten better at taking these comments in stride. Though I’ve yet to figure out the best way to respond to gratuitous body comments, my plans to lay around like a beached whale for the next several weeks are firm.

The Urge to Nest:

I spend my fleeting free time actively avoiding nesting. The nesting tendency didn’t really strike during my first pregnancy, and this holds true with baby number two. Don’t get me wrong, I’m keeping the bathroom clean in preparation for the flu-like labor symptoms I experienced last time, but that’s about as nesty as it’s getting.

Birth Plan:

I’m convinced that every sneeze, drop of pee and gas pain is, in fact, an indication that I am going into labor this minute. For this reason, I’ve developed a birth plan: When my water breaks I will give my lady parts a good rinsing, pack my hospital bag (no, I have not done this yet) and head out the door.

Truth: As long as I avoid stepping on the scale, the third trimester isn’t actually unbearable. Like I said though, I’ve got to let this little POW (prisoner of womb) out at some point. When that day comes, not only do I hope for a healthy baby and smooth pregnancy, I’m hoping to keep things poop free and as painless as possible.

Robin is a Colorado native living in Denver with her her husband, son, dog and cat.  For the past several months, Robin has been consumed by fear and excitement as she prepares for the arrival of her second child, due at the end of March.  Her go-to coping mechanisms are sarcasm, sleep and sweets, in no particular order.