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Confessions of a Fantasy Football Mom

One of the many upsides of having a large family is we have enough people for our own in-house fantasy football league. There are 10 of us, so we fill out our brackets nicely and split into 2 neat divisions.

One of the downsides of having a family fantasy football league is when the 13-month-old’s team dominates. As he’s busy splashing in the doggie’s water or clearing bookshelves, his team remains undefeated. His QB is throwing, his K is kicking, his RB is running, back. Our baby spent as much time on the research and development of his team as he’s spent on learning calculus.

Thanks to technology and the ability to autodraft players, kids of all ages can be oblivious to the fact they are in a league. The littlest members of our family, our two toddler boys, will be gratified someday to know they weren’t left out of the festivities. Our older kids are active participants in their teams, taking an interest in critically important details like team names and helmet colors. Some of them are even working on the ever-important team logo. I have some suggestions for them:

“Eating Yards Like Mac N’ Cheese”

“34, 28, 6, Hut Hut Pizza Hut Can We Eat Pizza Hut?”

“Like, My Team is so Random, Right?”

“Groin Injuries Sound Funny, But They Aren’t”

“Temporarily Relaxing on That No-Kicking Rule”

“Where Excessive Celebration is Allowed and Encouraged”

“Where Holding is Allowed and Encouraged”

“Personal Foul: Filling the Diaper, 10 Yard Penalty, Mommy Down”

Of course, real-life players get injured or face other game-changing calamities each week, so my husband and I step in to help the kids make substitutes or find new players. Our aim is to find the best player possible, even if that means they will end up with better players that we have on our miserable, depressing, bothersome, under-achieving, loathesome, tiresome, boring, perturbing, oppressive, disheartening, weak, dum-dum rosters.

Can you believe I started Kyle Orton week 3? It’s because my other QB, Michael Vick, was questionable. See what I have to work with, people? That’s why I named my team The Mama Dramas.

With the exception of our toddler boys, all the kids named their teams. Their personalities are reflected in these monikers. One of our kids named his team Dave. Just Dave. Dave is not the best team in the league. Dave has a running back named Beanie, so that amuses the owner of Dave tremendously. Every child finds value and fun in our league, even if they can’t throw a spiral. Like me.

Creating a fantasy football league for our family has been tremendously fun, even though we aren’t rabid football fans or terribly knowledgable about the players. It has forced us to step out of our comfort zones. Watching our teenaged daughter log on to check out her roster before the Sunday games was refreshing. She had no idea who to move where or why, but I predict with her competitive nature she’ll learn quickly. My husband and I hope 25 years from now, The Daddy-Os will be taking on The Football Freaks. The Hello Kitty Robots will continue to impress and The Tramping Turtles might take it all.

It’s a seasonal hobby that can grow with us, year after year, snap after snap.

Mama Drama: School Anxiety Support…for Mom

Dear Mama Drama:

I was bullied in school and have a lot of anxiety for my daughter who just started preschool. I worry that the teachers won’t stand up for her and that she’ll be picked on, so I’ve told her to hit anyone who bothers or hurts her.

Her teachers say that she will end up in trouble instead. How can I help her stand up for herself if she can’t hit?

~Scared Mama

 (photo credit)

Dear Scared:

Bullying is a real problem, but you can empower your daughter to stand up for herself without teaching her to hurt others.

Our experiences growing up have a big impact on how we view school for our children. It is easy to project these onto our children, but is more important to support them in creating a positive outlook about school so their experience can be better than ours.

Hitting it not a socially acceptable behavior and if used as a first response will lead to a great deal of difficulty for your daughter. Children who hit are often ostracized in school, as other students don’t feel safe playing with them. They are also more likely to have consequences that lead them to miss class time and learning opportunities.

Talk with your daughter’s teachers about your concerns and the reasons for them. Ask them about how they monitor the class, handle problems between students, and teach social skills. Knowing their strategies should help ease some of your fears.

Encourage your daughter to see the positives in school and in her classmates. Model noticing safe and friendly choices and ask her about the things she enjoyed in school each day. Make sure you are looking for the positives as well and not being critical or overreacting to typical interactions that happen in preschool. When you have questions or concerns, try to share those with the teachers out of earshot of your daughter.

Find resources to teach your daughter pro-social skills for problem solving and making friends.  The Mama Drama column on Bully Busting Basics describes skills to teach and books to read with your daughter.

The bottom line is that you don’t want other kids hitting and bullying your daughter and other parents don’t want their children hit or bullied either.  Teach your daughter to be strong in her social skills, rather than to be afraid that others will hurt her.

If you still feel overwhelmed by anxiety, seek professional mental health support to help you work through these issues.

Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to, and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! Lisa is also available for private consultations. All emails and identifying information will remain confidential.

TV Preview: NBC’s “Up All Night”

NBC promised a reshot, reworked pilot and they delivered: since the first draft, Maya Rudolph has been given a larger part — which she turns to advantage — and the focus shifts a bit from the rigors of new parenthood to the trials of working for an Oprah-esque talk-show host.

“Up All Night,” which debuted yesterday at 9 p.m. on Channel 9, is now ready for its closeup.

The abundance of talent is

How to help your child make friends and fit in

An interview with Dr. Jeffrey I. Dolgan, Senior Psychologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Q: How can parents help their children choose good friends?

A: Parents need to find out who is in their child’s peer group. You can get a good idea about the other kids by making connections with their families. I suggest hosting something to get everyone together, like a back-to-school BBQ or a soccer team party.

Q: How can parents discourage “mean girl” or “mean boy” behavior?

A: Being a mean girl or mean boy has to do with set-ups. Kids will say,

Talking with Kids about 9/11: Lessons in Compassion

With the ten year anniversary of September 11th looming near, many parents may be wondering what to tell their children about that infamous day. Most of today’s school age kids were either very young children or not yet born when the attacks occurred. They likely don’t have their own memories of the day, but have grown up in a world significantly impacted by its events. Terror alerts, Al-Qaeda, the TSA, and the wars of Iraq & Afghanistan have been a constant backdrop to their young lives.

(photo credit)

For many parents this anniversary may bring up surprising emotions including memories of the trauma they experienced on 9-11 and the days and months following as we learned more and more about the events surrounding the attacks and the

How An Innocent Pep Rally Can Invoke Future Child Humiliation

Two years ago, my daughter Hadley and our family were delighted to walk the parade route of the Arvada Harvest Festival with Arvada West High School’s cheerleaders. She was one of many kindergarteners from six elementary schools that feed into the high school who took part in this local tradition.

We looked forward to doing the same thing with our newly-minted kindergartener Bode this year until I realized I would be having knee surgery the week prior. As I started conjuring up possible solutions like decorating a wheelchair or handcart and having my pioneers haul me around, I stopped dead in my tracks. And remembered The Parade Walk of 2009.

It was my first event since my daughter entered elementary school. Parents were encouraged to participate and, if they were pulling wagons, to decorate those as well. It was then something very ugly was triggered. Something that I did not know even existed in the deep recesses of my mind. Some would call it school spirit. Others would call it

5 Things You Need to Know for a Successful Juice Cleanse (JuiceCleansingHealtyChick Update)

An official member of club #JuiceCleansingHealthyChicks AND officially toxin free – well, I *was* for a few days anyhow! For three long days, I squeezed, squished and blended anything (and most everything) grown naturally on our planet. 
How do I feel about it? Well, I have a few tips to share – things I wish I had known! …official update to my “juicy” story… How JuiceCleansingHealthyChicks Invaded My Pizza Craze.

Grandparents as Daycare – How to Maintain Your Relationship While Sharing the Care of Your Kids

Are you a mom who has a job outside the home? What do you do when you are a professional with outside responsibilities as well as a mother? If you are considering asking your parents or in-laws to help with the childcare, make sure you think it through and discuss it before taking the leap.

I made the decision to work part time and mother full time when my first was born. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I wanted to stay active in my career while also taking care of my baby. You could say I was trying to have it all.

While I was pregnant, I visited several daycare centers. One was beautiful, clean and staffed with grandmothers. Problem – it cost more than my mortgage, more than I made a month working part time. Another had a “baby room” which had cribs lined in rows. One end of the crib was cutout and filled with plexiglass so the care provider could keep an eye on the babies from the rocking chair in the back. They could only feed one at a time. There were babies crawling on the floor, babies lying in cribs. It was a scene straight out of Raising Arizona. I left in tears.

Why I was blamed when my child went missing

On Friday, my 7-year-old daughter did not come home on the bus as expected.

In a frenzy, I tore over to her school and was terrified when the staff was unable to locate her. “Haddie’s teacher said she got on a bus but we’re not sure which one,” they assured me.

As I was conjuring up every worse-case scenario in the book, they located her on the same bus she rides in the morning, which is different than her afternoon bus. Call me crazy but switching up the route…and bus number…is confusing for young kids.

And mortified parents.

I posted my angst to my friends on Facebook and while most were sympathetic, some of my closer friends blamed me,

Tell the truth: Are you a control freak?

If you’re a mom, chances are you’re some sort of control freak. You try to get your kids to eat well, to sleep well, to study well, to respect well, to learn well and to live well. TO PICK UP THEIR FREAKING SOCKS.


As any of the three people who live with me will attest, I fit nicely into the Control Freak category.

On a recent evening while driving home, I noticed a stunning sunset over the mountains. The clouds had mercifully rolled in and created a canvas on which the sun painted various shades of pinks, blues, purples, and all hues in between.

This sunset happened without any impetus from me.

So I started thinking about other amazing processes and events that I don’t have to influence. They pretty much happen when I just go about my business. Here they are in all their random glory:

  • My digestion, respiration and other bodily functions happen without a lot of controlling on my part.
  • When I go to a store expecting to buy certain things, 99% of the time they are there.
  • Neighborhood streets are clean and passable.
  • Trees shade my house.
  • Water evaporates, becomes precipitation, hits the earth only to evaporate again.
  • My children keep growing taller and wiser, no matter how I might unwittingly thwart their efforts.
  • Sunrises and sunsets like this happen all over the world every single day.

Truly, I am part of something much grander than I. I can relax. I don’t have to try so hard.

Now if I can just remember that today. All day. Every moment.

Or is that too controlling?

Lori is a mom via open adoption to Tessa, 10, and Reed, 8, and they live in the metro-Denver area. She writes regularly at, the small corner of her world in which she is in complete control.

Image: suphakit73 /