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Mamapedia City Voices highlights the inside scoop on your city by selected writers, from up-and-coming mom bloggers to well-known mom experts.

Photo by: Jessica D'Pirate

Even if You're Not a Seattle, Seahawks Fan... You Can Be a 12th Man, Too!

February 1, 2015

Friends. The air here is palpable. It’s electric. It’s exciting.

There’s a frenzy broiling beneath the surface of my town, Seattle. Everyone is going about their daily lives with an extra layer of exuberance.

I grew up in a house where football was the highlight of our television year. Sitcoms could come and go, news broadcasts were a dime a dozen, cooking shows weren’t even acknowledged, but football… Football was the lynchpin of our Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Before my siblings and I ever really had interest in the game, we would spend Sundays going about our business while my mom hooted and hollered at the players on the television. If anyone ever wonders where my louder than necessary attitude came from, you need only peek inside my childhood home during a football game.

We’re a Seahawks, Packers, Redskins family. ((Sorry, Nana. You make silly faces.))

As I got older and became more interested in football (read: after my skulky, attitudenal teenage years), I put an effort in to learn about the game. As I started to understand the process, the rules, regulations, and the roles that various positions played, football began to be a source of entertainment for me. It helped that my husband, the Captain, who is as big of a fan as my mom, is ever-so-patient with my (still) consistent questions.

I became more interested in football for another BIG reason; with family, and a spouse, that devoted so much time to watching this game they love, I felt that I had two choices: Be a part of it, or find something else to do. For me, it was a simple choice. There are few things better than snuggling up on the couch with Captain, enjoying snacks, and sharing in the triumphs of our team.

Our team, the Seattle Seahawks.

As fans, we are called the 12th Man. Thirty years ago the franchise decided that their fans were so important that they needed to be honored with an official place on the team. If you ever watch football, you may have come across a team getting a penalty for having 12 men on the field, since only 11 are allowed to be in play for each team at any given time. But the Seattle fans embodied such a fierce love for the game that the number 12 jersey was officially retired, just for the fans.

Recently, the 12th Man has become less of an honorary position and more of a physical one. The Seahawks have led the nation in false starts due to the noise level the 12th Man can incur. Seismic activity has been recorded as the 12th Man goes wild for their team’s extraordinary plays. It’s an amazing feeling, to be part of the tidal wave that comes crashing down on a team visiting the Emerald City.

I’m a 12th man, and it’s an amazing feeling! Many people want to be a part of this camraderie. But the term ‘bandwagoners’ is tossed around like a hot, filthy brand to mark people as ‘not real fans,’ people who are simply jumping on something popular in the moment.

But, we don’t care. And our team doesn’t care. If half of the 12th Man is made up by “bandwagoners”, I say, “Welcome!”

If you, my neighbor, want to climb aboard this train of excitement and skill and sweat and tears and hooting and hollering, then don your colors, whatever they may be, and scream loud when your teams gets that touchdown. Revel in the thrill of the goosebumps that will take over your body when a pass is dropped or an interception is made.

It’s not for love of the colors, the uniforms, the wins or losses, or the glory (I’m also a Buccaneers fan. There is NO bandwagon for them).

It’s for the love of the game.

I’ll see you on Sunday. I’ll be the loud one with the blue and green hair.

Jessica is the Domestic Pirate, Renn Faire Privateer, gone Mom. When she’s not blogging about anything and everything, she’s taking care of the Captain and their 4 Cabin Kids. She’s obsessed with Pirates and the internet, and is convinced that the dough is always better than the cookie. Aside from her blog, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Photo by: iStock

The 8 Moms You Meet (And Should Probably Avoid) at the Park

January 31, 2015

Sometimes, amidst the coffee cups and barf-stained yoga pants at the playground, you meet your mom BFF. And sometimes, well – sometimes you meet crazy. In the sleep-deprived haze of parenthood, it can be hard to tell kooky from run-the-other-way. And in the desperation to speak to someone larger than the average hobbit, it’s easy to overlook glaring personality flaws. But face it: there are definitely some mom friends you don’t need.

1. The Oversharer

Moms worldwide meet, chat for three minutes, then move into a comparative discussion of vaginal injury. It’s normal to talk about childbirth, boobs, nipple injury, and poop (your child’s) within the first ten minutes of meeting another mama. But move outside that mommy-experience realm, and you may be riding the crazy train. Things like infidelity, sex toys, drug use, and poop (hers) indicate a serious lack of boundaries. If she’s telling you about her husband’s vasectomy complications in the first five minutes of meeting, what’s she going to tell you five weeks later?

2. The Gossip

A whispered, “So, what do you think of so-and-so?” might be fun among friends. But if she’s always striking up a conversation that way, she might be an inveterate gossip – and you might be the next target. Your best bet? Pretend you have no idea who she’s talking about. Or that you don’t speak English.

The Swinger

Unless you’re into that, of course. But seriously: if she mentions her “open relationship” too many times, she’s either dying to overshare about her sex life (see above) or asking you out. A normal kinky mama would wait to make friends before she brought you into the tribe. If the first five minutes are a dating proposition, run.

3. The Peddler

Beware the multi-level marketing maven. She’s super into selling jewelry/tchotchkes/dildoes and gets more cash if you, too, begin selling the same jewelry/tchotchkes/dildoes. Most mamas who sell on the side are reputable, normal mommies making some extra money. It’s the starry-eyed saleswomen you have to beware of. You’ll know them by their cult-like fervor and the way all conversation circles back to the awesomeness of their jewelry/tchotchkes/dildoes. Do not under any circumstances give her your contact information, unless you want harassed for the rest of the foreseeable future.

4. The Critic

Mommy opinions are like poop: they’re inevitable, and sort of icky. Yes, we all hold strong opinions on diapers/birth/boobs/baby penises. But if a mama needs to constantly critique other mothers, she’s not furthering the cause, she’s validating her own choices. Do you really want to bond with someone by putting down everyone else?

5. The Hoverer

You don’t get a chance to talk to her often, mostly because she’s always right up Junior’s butt. But if she strikes up a conversation, beware: if you’re not hovering, she’s probably judging. Do you want to make friends with someone who insists you actually play with the kids during playdates? Go sit on a bench where she can judge you silently. Maybe take out your phone.

6. The Absentee

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Absentee Mommy. She doesn’t notice her toddler’s weeping in the corner. Her kids dismantle the brick sidewalks with nary a word from her, all while her four-year-old bashes babies on the heads with a truck. She’s too busy staring vacantly into space or pecking away at her phone to notice. If she tries to talk – and she will, because she doesn’t parent her kids – keep it casual. Otherwise, you’ll end up parenting them instead.

7. The One-Upper

Does your kid know his alphabet? That’s nice, but her kid can read. Your kid scored a goal? Hers made a hat trick and got nominated for varsity. Every conversation with the One-Upper turns back to her – and how she’s better than you. The One-Upper doesn’t make mommy friends. She keeps sounding boards. Sure, she’s actually fueled by a deep well of insecurity. But parenthood doesn’t keep a scoreboard, even if she does.

8. The Drama Queen

The playground shouldn’t feel like The Jerry Springer Show. If her baby daddy’s always cheating, she’s feuding with another mama and she wants to tell you all about it, stay away. The DQ lives to draw you into her mama drama, or at least make you pick sides. Stick around, and you’ll end up holding her earrings while she throws down with Jaden’s mommy over a stolen juicebox.

A mama to three sons, 4 and under, Elizabeth dropped out of academia to procreate and spend way too much time tie-dying. A certified educator with Babywearing International, she still misses teaching freshman English. Elizabeth practices attachment parenting out of sheer laziness, and writes about social justice and crunchy parenting at Manic Pixie Dream Mama. Her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, xojane, Mamapedia, Today Show Parents, and

Photo by: iStock

My Five Year Old and the "F Word"

January 30, 2015

I’m playing Polly Pockets with my five-year-old, because I’m such an attentive and devoted mother. Just kidding, I’m playing on my phone while occasionally cramming a tiny doll into an even tinier rubber dress, an act which I’m certain is a reenactment of the goings on in the ninth circle of hell.

As Mari plucks off a doll’s head to replace it with a new one (See? Hell. Evil.), she says, “Mommy, why is the F word a bad word?”

(((screeching brakes sound)))

“Ruh???” <<< Just like Scooby Doo.

Unfazed, Mari continues, “The F word. Why is it bad? Like why are there bad words, anyway? What makes them bad?”

Quick. Think of something momentous to say. THIS IS IT; YOUR CHANCE TO SHINE AS A MOTHER.

I put down my phone. “Err… can you tell Mommy exactly what word you’re talking about?”

Her eyes bug out. “No. No, Mommy, it’s a very bad word and I don’t want to say it.”

“Huh. Okay, well, to answer your question, bad words can hurt people’s feelings. That’s the main reason we don’t say them.”

“Yes, I know that. And I know the F word is the worst one of them all, just like sticking up your middle finger at someone. That’s also a really mean thing to do, right mommy?” I nod, but my heart is racing and I’m wracking my brain trying to think if I’ve ever flipped the bird in front of her… I can’t remember ever having done so… “But I still don’t really understand why bad words are bad. Like what makes them bad? What do they mean? What does the F word mean, Mommy?”

Dafuq? “Uh… well, if you say it at someone, mostly it means that you think poorly of that person or that you are intentionally trying to make them angry or sad. It’s like telling them you don’t like them.”

“Okay, mommy.” She callously rips another doll apart. I stare on in horror.

“So… where did you hear this word, anyway?” (Please don’t let her say me. Please don’t let her say me. Please don’t let her say me.)

“From Emma. She says it sometimes, and I tell her it’s not a nice word.”

What the what?? I like Emma. Really? She says the F word??? I cannot believe it. “Mari, can you tell me exactly what word Emma said?”

“No, Mommy. It’s a bad word. A very bad word.” She will not make eye contact with me. Her mouth is set into a tiny line, almost disappearing into the perfect baby skin of her round face.

“Are you afraid you’ll get in trouble if you say it aloud?”

She whispers, “Yes.”

“Then I give you permission to say it just this once. I promise you won’t get in trouble.”

She takes a tremulous breath, still unsure.

“How about if you whisper it? Would that make you feel better?”

She nods.

I lean towards her, ear first.

She leans in too, pushing her somber eyes as far to the right as her little eye muscles will permit, so that I mostly see whites. She takes another shaky breath and whispers, so softly I can barely hear, “Shit.”

Kristen Mae is a devoted wife and mother, ADHD momma-warrior, violist, health-nut, and writer. She is the voice of Abandoning Pretense, where her goal is to provide a community where women are free to be honest about their struggles with marriage, parenthood, and life. In addition to her blog, Mae shares hilarious and heart-warming tidbits of her life on her Facebook page, Google+, and Twitter.

Photo by: New York Daily News

#DeflateGate - Talking to Your Kids about Cheating

January 29, 2015

"Winners never cheat, and cheaters never win.”

Or so we thought.

The headlines the past few weeks in the New York papers are superb, and the story is now trending. It appears the Super Bowl-bound Patriots have been caught red-handed yet again. Deflate Gate is the lead story everywhere, and it highlights something that’s prevalent not only in sports but in life; people cheat.

I never realized it until we started playing board games last year with our daughters – this need to win. This need is so intense that our eldest started rigging the cards in Candyland. Or, she’d move her piece to premiere spots on the kids Monopoly board when she thought no one was watching. And, when she isn’t the victor, the tears flow. And not just crocodile tears, I’m talking pure agonizing defeat… over Old Maid!

Unlike our kids though, professional athletes are playing for the greatest prize, to be a champion. With that comes loads of money, but more importantly, glory. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to hear that the New England Patriots may have cheated again with under-inflated footballs, just as they were embroiled in drama in 2007 with Spygate. Obviously, someone on their staff knows something, but the story of athletes or teams cheating isn’t a new one. In baseball it’s performance enhancing drugs, same as cycling, and the great Lance Armstrong. Cheating happens, and if it didn’t, there would be no need for referees.

Watching their heroes fall, though, might be toughest for our littlest sports fans. And it brings up a vital conversation we all need to have about dishonesty.

While our children might be receiving mixed messages from the media (and their parents) about the importance of winning, we can all learn some lessons from the Patriots latest scandal.

Cheating is wrong. It’s a universal truth, karma will always come back and bite you. Though the people and athletes we admire might cheat, that doesn’t mean we do the same, or that we have to stop liking them. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s what you do afterwards that counts most.

No matter how much you lie about it, you will get caught. It may not be right away, it may take years before someone finds out… but deep down you will always know what you did. And most times our conscience is our greatest enemy. It’s vital to be truthful about cheating right away to avoid further consequences for lying.

There will be many times this may come up in our parenting journey. In sports, board games, and even in school. And when stories like this pop up in the mainstream media, it’s an excellent way to teach at home. And if your kids are Patriots fans ask them, “Do you think they deserve to be in the Super Bowl if they really did cheat?” Their answers might surprise you! And if they are frustrated with New England, remind them that life is full of disappointments, but it’s always better to win honorably.

Kristen Hewitt is an Emmy Award Winning Television Producer and Reporter for Fox Sports Florida and the Miami HEAT. Her favorite job though is raising her two daughters, and she chronicles her misadventures in sports and mommyhood on her blog mommy in SPORTS. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, but warning…she’s currently obsessed with Instagram!

Photo by: Linda Roy

To the Parents Hung Up on their Cell Phones

January 28, 2015

Maybe this bothers you too. God, I hope so, because I want to commiserate.

Let me give you an example. At one of my son’s soccer games, a woman sitting next to me spent the entire hour or so on her cell phone.

It kept ringing. And she kept answering it. And making lunch plans. LOUDLY. Something about pizza and “can we feed everybody on one large”.

I really don’t care what you’re having for lunch, lady. No one does. So why don’t you keep it down? Or maybe, you could just turn the phone off for the hour it takes your kid to play soccer. The kid was goalie and he was right in front of her. When I looked down the line of parents, I could see a few more of them staring down at their laps, lost in their own cellular worlds.

I’m not a perfect parent, and I love my gadgets. I am just as addicted to my phone as the next person, but as the debate goes, shouldn’t there sort of be a time and place for it?

Remember when we used to go to our kids’ activities and watch them? I do. It wasn’t that long ago. Forced small talk with other parents at my kids’ activities were some of the most fulfilling times of my life. Okay, maybe not. But it’s all about being in the moment, right? When the half hour class is over, you can check back in with the rest of the universe, who’ll still be there talking about Kim Kardashian’s ass. You might be a few minutes late in expressing your grief for the latest celebrity death, but that’s the chance we all have to take. Although, if Kathie Lee Gifford goes down in a fiery plane crash, I wanna be the first one to post that shit on Facebook.

When one of our kids scores the winning goal and looks up to see us staring at our phones, it’s probably a little soul crushing. Plus it annoys the bejeezus out of the people around us. Remember them?

Once at a school Reading Night, where the whole idea was to get parents out with their kids for fun activities and reading, we sat at communal tables. At practically every table there was a parent on the phone speaking loudly about something that could’ve waited. A Douchy Corporate Dad, leveraging weighty deals during his kid’s recitation of Green Eggs and Ham. “I’m just calling to reach out… touch base… crunching the numbers… giving you a shout out.” I’ve gotta admit, all I could think in the presence of all that Donald Trump-ness, was how exceptionally turned on I was by the power that asshole was wielding, but I did wish he’d shut the f#ck up and “reach out” to his kid.

The phone creates some kind of invisible, impenetrable forcefield around people that causes them to forget they’re with three-dimensional humans.

At the same reading night, a mom at our table obnoxiously discussed party plans on her phone, that I finally threw in the towel on the evening. This self absorbed twit, whose non-identical twin son were still dressed identically, drowned out the sound of everyone else’s voices with:

“Hi! I’m at Reading Night. No, it’s okay – I can talk. Shane and Bryce are doing an activity. Did you get my email? Right?! I KNOW! Well, I don’t want to do the invitations like that either. I don’t want anything too matchy matchy…”

Except for Shane and Bryce, apparently.

Which all leads me to the photo above. That’s my son Miles happily participating in Field Day. Those two women staring at their phones? Those are the two volunteers “running” the game. Sad. And kinda scary. Is this how it’s going to be from now on? Is everybody just going to check out until they finally look up and realize their kids grew up and now they’re staring at their cell phones and don’t want to talk to them at the nursing home, all because they wouldn’t put the phone down in the proverbial cradle?

Four words: “Cats in the Cradle”.

Linda Roy is a humorist/writer/musician who blogs at elleroy was here She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two boys, and fronts the Indie Americana band Jehova Waitresses. She’s Managing Partner and Editor-in-Chief at Lefty Pop. Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, In the Powder Room, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Aiming Low, Mamapedia, Midlife Boulevard, Bon Bon Break, and The Weeklings. She was named a 2014 BlogHer Voice Of the Year.

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