Category: Parenting

How To Not Go Broke.. Or Insane.. While Evacuating From A Monster Hurricane

When we moved to Florida last year I was elated. I’ve always loved the beach and jumped at the chance to live close to it. Perpetual sunshine and palm trees? Sign me up! Then hurricane season comes and I think most people would be lying if they said it didn’t make them question living near the Florida coast.

I still love Florida with all my heart but hurricane evacuation is not easy. I totally understand why a lot of people stay. First of all, the predictions are so flexible you can easily talk yourself into thinking it won’t come your way, it won’t make landfall near you and the pre-storm hysteria will be much ado about nothing. Second, a lot of people have nowhere to go and/or no way to afford to go. Aside from being emotionally draining, evacuating to another town or another state can be expensive. Here are a few ways to keep some of your money and sanity. (more…)

Why Your Kid’s Birthday Party Doesn’t Have To Be Pinterest Worthy

How did we even have birthday parties before Pinterest? I can’t hardly remember not scrolling endlessly through a sea of ideas. That’s the good part, endless inspiration. But on the flip side, there’s also scrolling through endless images of immaculate three tier fondant cakes and perfectly dipped cake pops (who can even do that?) knowing anything you do will be a failure in comparison. (more…)

Two Simple Words That Made Me A Nicer Mom

Do you ever have so much on your proverbial plate that if one more thing gets added, you just might lose your sh*t? If you’re a mother, that’s probably at least once a day. And that one more thing is usually in the form of a sweet little voice (or multiple) saying, “Mommy.” A THOUSAND times a day, “Mommy” “Mommy” “Mommy” “Mommy” “Mommy” “Mommy” .. you get the point.

When I was working full-time I think this made me lose my sh*t at least three times a day. And I’m embarrassed to say I reacted by snapping at them. I mean for crying out loud, haven’t you learned to cook your own meals, wash your own clothes and google your questions yet? Oh wait, no. Because you’re 5.

And every time I would snap at them I would feel like a super jerk. Especially when my exasperated “WHAT!!!?” was followed by, “I colored a picture for you.” (face palm) Talk about a mom fail.

So one day I decided that every single time my children said “Mommy” to get my attention I would answer with two simple words. (more…)

Totally Free Family Bonding Activities

As summer wears on into the second month, I’m looking to rev up our daily schedule a bit. Despite my good intentions there’s been way too much screen time. So I’m pretty much just dragging them out the door and figuring something out along the way. My goal is to leave the house in the morning and not return until late afternoon.

As someone who grew up on a farm in the country and played in the woods all day until I was called in for dinner, it seems funny to me that this is even a struggle. But, there you have it.

Here are some totally free ways I try to get my kids out of the house and promote family bonding.. this summer and year ’round. (more…)

My Daughter Was Born Fearless – I’m Just Trying Not To Screw It Up

I asked her several times if she was sure she wanted to do it. I’m sorry to say I even tried to talk her out of it. And she not only said she wanted to every time I asked, she said ‘of course’ she did, as if not doing it was the silliest concept she’d ever heard.

So race day came and we stood at the starting line about to set off on a 5K that would take us across a 34-hundred foot long bridge over a river, down two more miles of highway, then back over the bridge. In 90 degree heat. In July. In the subtropics.

As the starting horn sounded she took off like a bullet, stopping to take a break only after making it up the 55 foot incline and down the other side to the one mile marker. We walked off and on through the next two miles but my 6-year-old’s spirit never skipped a beat. (more…)

What NOT To Do As A New Stay-At-Home Mom

I’m kind of late to the stay-at-home mom thing. About eight years late in my opinion.

That’s how long it’s been since my first baby was born. 18 months later I had my daughter. The years after were filled with sadness, guilt, exhaustion, and lots of conversations about whether we could be a one salary family.

Finally last year the opportunity presented itself and we took the leap. I quit my high-stress, 24-7 career and we moved six hundred miles away where I became a stay-at-home mom.

But the irony is that when I could finally raise my babies full-time, they were no longer babies. In fact, I was working to teach them to be more independent and self-sufficient.

Without infants to feed and care for constantly, I was hit with a much different life than I had been dreaming of for so long. But it was a blessing nonetheless. I’m thrilled that I can always see them before and after school, I can take them to any extra-curricular activity they want to try (which is a lot), and I can control what they’re eating and kiss them goodnight every night.

But you don’t stop being you. Your mind doesn’t stop going 90 miles an hour. And old habits die hard. These are the reasons why I learned a lot of things not to do as a new stay-at-home mom. Unfortunately I learned them after I’d already done them. (more…)

Guide To Summer – Theme Park Survival

It’s summer! Let’s go to a theme park!.. you say. It will be fun!.. you say.

It’s the hottest time of the year! Let’s go somewhere that costs a fortune with thousands of other people for attractions that we’ll need to stand in line for, for hours at a time!.. is the reality.

Theme parks do have their challenges. And the best times to go, frankly, are not summer, spring break or around any holidays. But the reality is, those are busy times because that’s when people are more able to go.

So go in the summer you must. But first, check out this advice to make it a little easier. (more…)

Guide To Summer: What NOT To Do While Traveling With Kids

I would estimate that I’ve spent about 960 hours on road trips with my kids. That’s a total of 40 entire days people!

And after 960 hours you learn some things you should do. Pack electronics loaded with lots of games and movies. Pack lots of snacks. Make regular potty stops and make them go whether they think they need to or not. (You can check out more tips from a dozen awesome moms in my previous post, Traveling With Kids.)

Along the way to 960 hours you also learn lots of stuff NOT to do. (more…)

Guide To Summer: Traveling With Kids

Traveling with kids is, in a word, challenging.

In more words, it can make you want to stick a red-hot poker in your eye. But not all the time. Sometimes they fall asleep.

But seriously, it does take work to keep things from spinning out of control, or before you know it, you’re driving with the windows down praying for an exit while your little boy pees (or tries to) in a soda bottle. Let’s say that happened to a friend.

So here are some of my tips, gathered painfully over eight years of nine + hour road trips between the south and midwest with two little cranky humans. And some tips from 12 other moms who’ve been there, done that and lived to tell about it.. possibly over a glass of wine.. or to our therapists.. or over wine with our therapists. (more…)