PARENTS, CHILDREN, STEPPARENTS AND STEPCHILDREN, OH MY!

BLOG.STEPFAMILIES

1,300 new stepfamilies are forming every day in the U.S.  That’s about 40,000 new stepfamilies a month!  Let that sink in for a minute…

Stepmoms… stepdads… even stepbrothers and stepsisters… that’s a lot of change for everyone involved.  Change that some will embrace almost immediately, and change that many will take a lot of time to adjust to and eventually “accept”.

Stepfamilies can be beautiful and effortless… or they can be downright unbearable!  While some parents tend to let their emotions get the better of them (don’t be that parent), it’s so much more rewarding to embrace it and be the bigger person.  Your children will thank you later.  And if that isn’t enough, your sanity will!

I know, I know… it can be exhausting at times (trust me, I’ve had my share) BUT, when your children see that you’re able to get along with and even be in the same room with their mommy or daddy, at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.  Isn’t it?

Whatever differences you may have with your child’s mom or dad, or stepmom or stepdad, let it go.  Emotions are temporary.  Don’t build a house and stay there.  Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.  You not only built a house… you built a whole damn neighborhood and threw away the key!

Sure, it’s easy to be petty.  To judge quickly, and have the last laugh.  But at some point, that will fade.  Years will go by, and relationships that you could’ve been forming, have slipped away from you.

So, invite the steps over for dinner… for coffee… for a game of UNO… for a weekend trip together (okay, that last one is quite ridiculous!  Don’t do that.)

Get to know one another.  After all, when you’re not raising your children, they are.  And even if you’re convinced you are that Mom of the Year, give the other parent a little credit.  They may not be the best at their title or deserve a trophy, but as long as they’re trying, shouldn’t that count for something?

Embrace your family.  Love your family.  Stepparents, stepchildren, and all!

Cheers!

Shhh!

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It never fails.

There I am, minding my own business, and from nowhere, no warning, nothing, sneaking up on me like a puma in the night, I’m slapped in the face with unexpected humiliation!

I stand there, baffled.  I laugh.  Not because it’s funny, but because I’m mortified.

There he is.  My sweet, innocent seven-year-old son staring back at me with exaggerated eyes, smiling from ear to ear.

You see, my seven-year-old has this condition called tell-all-my-moms-most-private-moments-to-everyone-and-anyone, and for whatever reason (call me lucky), I have been the most affected by it!  I suppose it’s one of those “tokens” of motherhood everyone talks about, so I should embrace it, right?  Wrong!

Things I would normally do naturally without hesitation, now must be questioned twice when my son is nearby.

You know, little things.

Like letting loose in the cereal aisle at the grocery store.  I reach up to grab a box of Lucky Charms, and let one slip.  I play it cool, glancing over at my son to see if he heard it.  He didn’t.  Thank God.

But… just as I thought I was in the clear, he looks up at me, his eyes widened as if he witnessed something remarkable, and then it happens… “Mom, you FAAAARTED!”

As if I already didn’t know.

He does the finger pointy thing to make it clear to everyone that I am indeed ‘Mom’.

And it’s not a simple and calm declaration, no.  It’s an over-the-top announcement to everyone within a 5-mile radius!

You know, the little things.

Like shopping at Target for back-to-school supplies and my stomach unexpectedly starts doing the cha-cha dance!

I grab my son’s hand and race to the public restroom discreetly, careful to not draw any attention to ourselves.  I check every stall, making sure they’re empty, because when nature calls in public, I tend to get poop anxiety.  I mean, who doesn’t?

My son waits for me impatiently by the sink, playing with the soap and paper towel dispensers.

And just then, as if every customer in Target had to go at the same time, all stalls in the restroom are occupied, with a line out the door!  My son rushes me to finish and before I can flush the toilet to signal to him that I’m done, it happens… “Mom!  Are you done POOOOOPING?”

And it’s not a whisper, hush-hush question, no.  It’s a blaring interrogation that can be heard from aisle 17!

All my hard efforts to conceal my public restroom activity was sadly, for nothing.

And I can’t be mad at him.  He has no bad intentions.  He’s just being, well, honest… right?

So, to all you moms and dads that have been publicly humiliated by your sweet, angelic children… think twice about what you say and do in their presence, that innocent toot, or that public restroom run.

And to those that haven’t, just you wait!  Oh, just you wait!  It’s coming!

Cheers!

BUT THERE’S A MONSTER IN MY ROOM…

BLOG.3The house is dark and quiet.  Yawns are endless.  Pajamas are on.  Teeth are brushed.  And then, yeah, you know what’s next.

The… “Mommy, can I sleep with you?”

The… “But there’s a monster in my room!”

The… “I’m scared, don’t make me sleep in there!”

The sleeping-in-your-own-room battle kicks in full blast!

And it’s not because there’s a real monster.  No, of course not.  They know that.  But their animated imagination won’t shut off, and it seems to only amplify at bedtime.

And if you’re anything like me, you only make the situation worse by hiding behind doors, shower curtains, closets, and pretty much anything you can fit in, jumping out at the perfect time, and scaring the bejesus out of them!  Hahaha!  (Wait… is that wrong?)

I should probably turn it down a notch… Nah!  Where’s the fun in that?

Either way, they’d choose your bed time and time again over their own.  And you know how that goes.  After all the “I love yous” and the endless night cuddles right before they fall fast asleep, you know what comes next.

The sleep-kicking!  The eye gouging!  The head-butting!  The forehead slapping!  The elbow-to-rib!  The knee-to-stomach!  The chokeslam! (Okay, that last one might have been a little far-fetched).  It’s a full force wrestling match in there!

Your body clenches for dear life at the far edge of the bed, and if you dare to make one teeny tiny move, a sneeze, a cough, a fart, ANYTHING, you’re sent overboard like a frolicking fish on the deck!

Yep.  They’d choose your bed time and time again over their own if the decision was theirs.

Unless of course, they’re having a sleepover.  Then and only then, would they be okay sleeping in their own room.  Somehow, sleepovers cancel out any monsters, and falling asleep is easy as pie.  And pie sure sounds good to me!

So… for the love of God, have more sleepovers!  Your kids will appreciate it.  YOU will appreciate it.  Your husband will definitely appreciate it!

Or, get ready for your next wrestling match.

The choice is yours!

Cheers!

Just a Minute.

Friday.3Let’s break it down.  Just. A. Minute.  What exactly does that mean?

It means when I have five bags of groceries in my hands, plus my purse, my coffee tumbler, and my keys dangling on my pinky finger holding on for dear life and you ask me to grab your iPad and your Pokémon cards, oh, AND your DanTDM book… JUST A MINUTE!

It means when I’m stirring the pot of boiling noodles, browning the meat, pulling out the strainer, eyeing the garlic bread in the oven so it doesn’t burn (it happens to the best of us!), prepping the salad and you ask me to come and find the latest episode of The Thundermans on Nickelodeon and bring you a juice box plus those little vanilla crème stuffed cookies you like to snack on… JUST A MINUTE!

It means when I’m folding laundry, loading the washer, unloading the dryer, searching the house up and down for extra hangers (I never know where they disappear to!), ripping the gum that you left wadded in your pocket that’s been washed and dried and now permanently etched into your shorts and you yell from the restroom to bring you some toilet paper… JUST A MINUTE!

Now, when I say just a minute, it literally doesn’t mean please give me a minute, aka 60 seconds.  Oh, no.  Just a minute can take many forms – 5 minutes, 20 minutes, a half hour, and sometimes when I’m really wound up… an hour plus!

For some reason, my seven-year old believes just a minute means exactly that.  A minute.  A full 60 seconds.  A sixtieth of an hour.  Not only does he believe this, BUT he even goes the extra mile (at least for me), as if I didn’t already know what a minute is.

Welcome to, yep, The Countdown!

60, 59, 58, 57, 56, 54, 53, 52, 51, 50, 49, 48, 47, 46, 45, 44, 43, 42, 41, 40, 39…

And every single time, this countdown is louder and more commanding than the last. And as if that’s not enough, during each presentation he stares into the depths of my soul letting me know that with each scaled down number, we’re getting closer and closer to the end.  Hah!

Next time, I’ll ask him to give me 3,600 seconds!  At least that will buy me some time.

Cheers!

 

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

IMG_2245 (002)Do you ever find yourself off course at times?  Distracted?  Not focused?  Just… lost?  Taking a step to your left, when you should’ve taken ten steps to your right?

If you’re anything like me (human, that is, unless you’re one of those half human, half bot thingies, then it’s questionable) you can easily feel like this from time to time.

With all the chaos in the world… the right choices, the wrong ones, the things we should be doing, the things we shouldn’t be doing, everything we should know, everything we shouldn’t know, opening the right doors, closing the wrong ones, deciding between a venti iced skinny hazelnut macchiato, sugar-free syrup, double shot, light ice, extra whip (Phew! Try saying that five times!) OR… just a latte, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and distracted, and lose sight of what really matters.

My son drew this map for me several months ago, and it grabbed my heart and shook my soul!  I hung it in my closet to catch a glimpse of it every day.  It’s a constant reminder that I can’t lose my way in this life.

Of course, he could’ve drawn it with the intention of me suddenly developing short-term amnesia on my way home from work one day.  Being lost out in this big wide world, never making it home to plug in the secret password in his xbox live account… Nah!  That’s not it!

He needed me to know that regardless of the day-to-day madness that we’re constantly challenged with, it’s easy to lose yourself.  And while it’s natural to get lost, it is not okay to sink and get forever stuck there.

So, when you’re lost in fear, in pain, in stress, in doubt, in sadness, in gloom… know that you’re never alone, and that you can always find your way back to yourself… to your family… to what really matters… with love and faith.

If this little boy can see it, we all can.

Follow the yellow brick road, and stay on track my friends!

I’ll Take a Bullet for You.

LOVEThat’s a bold statement, isn’t it?

A statement that’s rarely said to others.

And if it is said, it’s unquestionably, genuine.

Last night, my seven-year old combed back his hair after his shower, while staring back at his reflection in the mirror, and said to me, “Mommy, I’ll jump in front of a bullet for you,” in a calm, yet, proud tone.

As if he were thirty years old, in a protective stance, ready to fight off all the wicked in the world.  For me.

I was speechless.

I asked what he said, even though I heard it perfectly the first time.  He repeated, still calm as ever.  Again, looking proudly back at his reflection in the mirror, slowly slicking back the hairs on his head.

I didn’t know what to say.

What do you say?  Thank you?  No.  That’s not enough.

Thank yous are for when someone holds a door open for you, or when someone tells you your shoes are too cool for school.

But not this.  This is different.  This is bold.  This is selfless.  This is unconditional… love without conditions.

A love that children naturally have for their parents.  That my son has for me.

I walked over to him and kissed him on his forehead.  I told him that I loved him more than all the water in the sea.  A smile took over his entire little face.  He nodded at his reflection in the mirror, as if in complete satisfaction, and walked off.

That’s all he wanted.  For me to show my love in return.

No matter how busy our days are, or how stressful and chaotic our lives are… moms… dads… love them back.  Show it often.  Express it often.  And tell them often.  Their little hearts are yearning for that love they need from you.  And it’s overflowing of all the love they’re wanting to give you in return.

Love big, or go home!

Stop Growing!

old-sneakers-on-the-wall

Yep.  That’s what I find myself telling my seven-year old more often than not.  And every time I say it to him, he looks at me with a sappy smile, straightens up his back, sits up tall (as grown little boys do) and asks me if it makes me sad because he’s growing up.

Um… yes!  I am ridiculously sad.  Can’t we just turn back the hands of time?  Or better yet, pause it indefinitely?  Surely, I’m not the only mom that feels this way.  Right?

I mean sure, I want him to grow up at some point.  But not right now.  And not even in 20 years from now.  I want him to be my baby boy, always.  To run to me when he scratches his knee.  Or pluck the cactus needles from his tush (still can’t believe that happened)!  To curl up next to me while we’re watching a movie, and fall asleep in a loose embrace.  To ask me what this means and that means, and that means and this means (you know that’s never-ending).  To tell me how his day went at school and to tell me that he loves me fifteen hundred million times infinity (yeah, he’s pretty precise).

I hear so many parents of grown children tell me “You better enjoy it while they’re young,” or my favorite, “You blink and they’re all grown up!”  Well, I don’t want to blink!

I know he’s only seven, but before I know it he’ll be seventeen, graduating high school, driving, working, dating (ugh, don’t even remind me).  He doesn’t have to date, right?  Don’t answer that.

So, until I figure out how to stop time, I will continue to enjoy all our moments together, and enjoy him being my seven-year old little boy.  And of course, I’ll keep telling him every chance I get to stop growing!

Cheers!

Motherhood

Motherhood

Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day isn’t just a day.  It’s a lifestyle.  It’s a gift every mother was given before she even knew she would be one.

It’s a way of thinking.  A way of living.  To all of those exhausted mothers out there (yes, I am one of them), this is for you.  Even when there are times (and there are many!) when we’re dangling by a thread, when we don’t feel we have the energy nor strength to push forth, our little one comes around the corner, reaches their little arms around our waist, squeezes as hard as they can, and tells us, “Mommy, I love you .”

And not just because they’re trying to sweet talk their way to your heart to buy them the newest Pokemon card set (because you know that can be ridiculously hypnotic), or because they want you to accompany them to their room because they’re scared of the dark (still!), or because they spilled their juice on the carpet yet again (even though you’ve told them a million times juice belongs in the kitchen), but… just because.

Just. Because.

Those are the moments that make motherhood absolutely beautiful.  It confirms our place in this great big world, and furthermore, in our children”s lives.  It’s a reminder that when we think we’re not doing the best we possibly can, that our children love us just as we are.  And they always will.

So moms, I congratulate you on doing an extraordinary job!  No one ever said motherhood would be easy.  We weren’t given an instructional book with a pat on the back and a good luck.  No.  This is fully DIY!

So, embrace it.  All of it.  And enjoy every second of it!

Cheers!