Why I’m a Good Mom

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These days there are so many posts, articles, shows, etc that express all the guilt that mothers (and fathers) feel about their poor parenting (real or imagined). And though I am no stranger to that guilt, I also realize that I do some things right.  There are three specific areas/stories that I try to keep in mind when I am having those “Bad Mom Days”

1) When my son was about 7 years old, we were driving home from school and he piped up from the back seat “Mommy, name your top 11 Heavy Metal bands”. It is important to note that he had recently started playing “Guitar Hero” as well as guitar lessons. Now even in my “younger” years, I was never a heavy metal fan (though The Clash is still one of my favorites) so I was hard pressed to come up with any favorites. But here’s the thing, I made sure that the next time he asked me that I could give him at least 7. Now, many years later, I have actually gained an appreciation for all kinds of metal (heavy, death, thrash).

2) Around the same time, he was also obsessed with Pokemon. I remember once when I was having an in depth conversation with him about the merits of certain Pokemon somewhere in public (probably Starbucks) and a woman commented to me “Wow, you know a lot about Pokemon!” to which I replied “If I didn’t, I would never have anything to talk to my kid about!” Because that is what he was into with at the time and if I wanted to have conversations with him, that was going to be it.

3) My son is now into a game called “Overwatch” which is a MMO by Blizzard that came out earlier this year. There are various “heroes” to choose to play as and they all have stats that you can view (there is more to it than that but this is the quick version). Often, when he is playing he calls me over to look at his stats. Now, I am a bit of a gamer mom (I do play World of Warcraft, occasionally, after all) but this game has no interest to me. However, again, he is excited about his stats and so I look at them, I discuss them, I praise them and then I go back to watching Real Housewives or doing laundry or whatever.

So what’s my point? My point is that this is the way he wants to interact with me and so I will do what I can to continue the conversation. I am not good at not getting mad when he doesn’t clean up his dishes or not getting frustrated when he doesn’t do his 20 minutes of reading a day (I mean it’s only 20 minutes!) or making sure his gym clothes are clean on Tuesdays and Fridays.  I let him watch too much TV and he probably has too much sugar and we order pizza way too much. But I can talk to him about what’s important to him right now and that is Thrash Metal and Pokemon Go and Bastian’s stats and the merits of the Patriots third string rookie QB. And that makes me a good mom.

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The Lazy Mom’s Guide to School Lunches

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Something weird happened this spring. As the days got warmer and summer plans beckoned, I was OK. I kept seeing posts about how moms were “so done” with school and I just didn’t relate. This was a true change from years past, when sock shortages and suddenly too-short shorts were routine. And the biggie: packing lunches. So many parents were limping to the finish line on that one, but (for once) not me.

Maybe it had something to do with my bete-noire: summer camp plans for four kids They all want to do at least two things that are in a direct time and place conflict with one another as well as what any given sibling wants to do. Or maybe, just maybe, I had finally slayed the lunch-bag beast.

Assuming it was the latter, I’d like to share my tips as we get ready for back to school. I will warn you, these are not pPnterest-ready and you won’t find any sappy notes from mom in these lunches. They are (for the most part) nutritious, filling, and I have never had a kid get sick from eating my lunches (knock wood). The best part is that it’s so easy to do I barely think about it.

Here are my tips:

  1. Leave reusable containers in the lunchbox. The whole thing can even stay in the book bag. This way, the kids (or you) only have to remember to put one thing where it belongs. In the morning, I dump whatever looks gross, hand wash the containers and voila: I don’t have to chase around for the right thing with the right lid. It’s all there.
  2. Leftover lunch can also be raided by the kids for an after school snack (and the lunchbox put back in the bookbag, don’t forget). We have a policy that no new snacks can be started until the lunch is totally eaten. I don’t usually pack stuff that they don’t like, but they might try to avoid it. Not on my watch!
  3. So my kids mostly have the same lunch each day. I know that variety is the spice of life, but it is also the enemy of the lazy mom. At least when it comes to lunches. So when we hit upon something that meets my nutritional standards and is appropriate for lunch AND a kid likes, I stock up. Most grocery stores will give you a 10 – 20 percent discount for buying by the case, and as long as it won’t spoil, that’s the way to go. I buy the mainstay for two of the kids, chicken nuggets, by the case, and then I don’t have to think about them for 12 days.
  4. The other thing that is great about opening up yesterday’s lunch as you prepare today’s is that you realize what portions your kids are really eating. One of my kids goes through long phases where she only eats half of her sandwich. So I’ll just pack half a sandwich. If I remember, I’ll put the other half in the fridge (and sometimes the thought of that as I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock really makes for a great morning) or if I forget, it’s already in there packed and ready to go. Wipe out any peanut butter smears or crumbs and who will be the wiser? Of course, don’t do this with anything perishable. Duh!
  5. You know how you sometimes make oatmeal cookies or brownies in a weak moment and then they just sit their in your kitchen calling to you the next day? For me, it’s rarely more than the next day because I just graze on that stuff. That’s not good! I save myself by packing that stuff in the kids’ lunch. I don’t normally pack them a dessert in their lunch, so they are usually overjoyed. And they’re the ones who are mad when the brownies are gone after school anyway. Am I passing on my sugar addiction to my kids? Probably. But I am also giving them the opportunity to pass it on to their future kids/pets.
  6. Having said the bit about variety being overrated, there’s always the case of the staple you ran out of and forgot to replace. Here’s where priming the kids with a boring daily routine pays off. Out of carrots? Pack a sliced cucumber and the family salt shaker! Exotic! Or if you run out of chicken nuggets, you can use your thermos as a cooler and put a mystery frozen fruit on the bottom and yogurt on top. Surprise lunch! Everyone hated that chili you made for dinner, you won’t be able to hear their complaints if you pack it for lunch!

A Prayer for My 13 Year Old as He Goes Off to Sleepaway Camp

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Please ensure that he wears at least 1/3 of the 22 pairs of underwear I packed for him for a 21 day session

Please make sure that cute girl I keep seeing in the camp blog pictures does not break his tender heart

Please make sure that he is not the one who gets in trouble the most but also that he is not the one that everyone else hates because he never gets in trouble

Please make sure that his special “pillow pet” pillow does not get ruined or he does not get made fun of for bringing it (though it has been cleverly covered with a pillowcase)

Please make sure he is safe when he is goes on the special like trips kayaking, a Red Sox game, and/or Boda Borg (whatever that is)

Please make sure that he puts sunscreen on, at the very least, when he is at the aforementioned Red Sox game and kayaking

and, please, if he does get a sunburn, let that be a lesson to him

Please make sure that he showers, puts on deodorant, washes his face daily or, at least, does so in a manner similar in frequency to the others at camp so he is not ridiculed for poor hygiene

Please let him call me, if not weekly, at least once, so I can hear his voice if only to hear him complain about the food

Please allow that he eats a vegetable and/or piece of fruit in at least one out of every 4 meals.  I am not asking for kale or spinach but that a banana or apple crosses his lips at some point

Please let not lice or bedbugs return from camp with him

And, finally, please let him come back saying he had a great time and really wants to go back next year, but maybe for longer?

The weight loss tips nutritionists and models won’t tell you (Because this is not how dieting works)

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These are the weight loss secrets I live by! I don’t know why I keep telling myself these work when the scale tells me other wise. Check back every day this week for more tips!

 

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I call BS on your hack

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Don’t you hate it when the internet tells you you’ve been doing it wrong? Sometimes THEY are wrong. Case in point, the idea that microwaving the squash (read about it at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/17/how-to-peel-butternut-squash_n_6159590.html) would make peeling a butternut squash so so so so easy. Wrong! And I made a video about it! Check it out at

Get it together at the grocery store

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Dear fellow shopper:

Ok

You are late for pickup, or you need to get home and start cooking dinner, or Downton Abbey is about to start. I get it. I’ve been there.

In the words of the immortal bard (Eminem, natch)You better put them breaks and let off the gas. And slow your roll.

I still get my personal space bubble. I know it’s hard to assess which loaf of bread you are going to get without backing up to see all of the shelves, but if your puffy down touches my puffy down, you leaned too far! A quick “Sorry” would help me not to end you right now.

And, no texting while driving the cart! I had to enact major evasive maneuvers at the blueberries just then! Proper shopping and texting etiquette is to stop the cart (preferably in front of the eggs or something else we are all trying to get to) and just text away! Muttering “Bars? What kind of bars?!?” is acceptable.

I’m going to coin a term right now, and it’s because of that lady. The one who parked her cart in front of the peanut butter and then — without taking her left arm off the cart — stretched across the aisle to look at the chocolate covered pretzels, elbow akimbo, talking on the phone and standing with legs wider than horse pose. It’s cart-spreading. Don’t do it.

Also, I can’t wait till I’m an old bird who doesn’t mind saying “Can I get in front of you, I just have one thing?” and then argues about whether the per pound price of salad bar items includes dressing or not.

Sincerely (pissed off)

The OG of Groceries

 

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A user named Anon posted this on Joyreactor. You can check it out at http://joyreactor.com/post/671276