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Crazy 1st Birthday Mom: Who's the Real Jerk?

April 25, 2015

I’m a fan of the gift giving experience. I love selecting them, wrapping them and presenting them to their intended recipients.

Watching people open gifts (that have been thoughtfully selected by me) really is my idea of fun times.

I also love receiving gifts and can honestly say, I’m easy to please. There is something about the surprise-factor that still excites me, despite being an almost-40-year-old, full grown woman. If you’ve chosen it for me, I will be grateful to receive it.

I know that not everyone shares in my gifting enthusiasm. In fact, more often than not I have noticed friends and family taking a practical approach to gift-giving by asking specifically what I, my husband, and the kids would like for our birthdays and Christmas. Which is fine with me; I don’t mind sending them in the right direction. I know that not everyone enjoys, has time for, or feels like they know our tastes well enough to make selections on their own.

In fact, some people actually find the idea of choosing presents for others… stressful. These practical-natured folks like to be certain that a gift will be used and appreciated.

These peeps are precisely the type who would appreciate being sent a list of pre-selected gift ideas, with handy links to websites from which to order these requested products. Have you seen the email making the rounds on Social Media this past week?

As it turns out, one of the email’s recipients didn’t appreciate the practical (and yes, over-the-top protective & micro-managed) nature of the email’s contents. And, unfortunately, despite being a member of her immediate family, this recipient didn’t have enough respect for the mom who’d sent it, to keep it private.

So she is now known as: “Crazy 1st Birthday Mom,” and is being insulted in a variety of ways ranging from tacky to psychotic.

Is “Crazy 1st Birthday Mom” a bit over the-top with her military operation of the gift giving process? Sure. But, this is clearly her first child she’s catering to here. For those of us who have been there, as a new mom, we all had an area or two that we were overly-something about. But, lucky for us, nobody was taking notes, quoting us, or tossing proof of our irrational behaviour out to the sharks of the internet world.

Does “Crazy 1st Birthday Mom” take the “fun times” out of the gift selecting process? Yeah. She does. Where there are rules, fun is inevitably hindered! You’ve got to admit, though, the woman is thorough and, dare I say she’d be a fab Personal Assistant. She is extremely practical and proactive. She makes reference to not wanting to waste money and is obviously quite frugal with the cash of others, as well as her own. Another perspective to consider is that perhaps she and her husband have limited space in their home and she’s concerned about where she’ll put all the gifts (hence the two gift limit). She could work on her delivery but she has reasons and worries and, in my opinion, her family should do their best to respect her wishes no matter how they feel about her rule-laden approach.

Does “Crazy 1st Birthday Mom” need to take a chill pill? She absolutely does. And I am sure, in her own time, she will. Unfortunately, her family members (who could’ve just had a little chuckle or uttered a simple “yikes” and moved on) chose to drag her through the trenches, instead.

So, on behalf of “Crazy 1st Birthday Mom,” I feel compelled to send out this message to the email sharing family member: You’re a dick! And, somehow I have the feeling you are a long way from being forgiven. And all for an email’s five minutes of fame.

Shannon Day is wife to one gorgeous, yet slightly overbearing Brit, and mom to three little ladies. Once a teacher, now a story maker and occasional cocktail shaker, she shares her tales, martini recipes and her shenanigans over at Martinis & Motherhood. Shannon is a regular contributor for BLUNTmoms and is co-founder of Tipsy Squirrel Press. You can also find her on Scary Mommy, Mamalode, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Do You Get Down When Your Favorite TV Show Ends?

April 24, 2015

My favorite TV show ended… hold me. I fall into a funk when my favorite shows go on hiatus. Yes, when that season ends I get down. Really down.

Down like the time my BFF left the entire summer for sleep-a-way camp, and I was stuck in summer school doing Folk Dancing. It was a heck of a summer. But I digress.

Tuning into my favorite weekly shows is like visiting with good friends each and every week. Friends that don’t judge, friends that are deliciously flawed or incredibly brave, friends that show up no matter what – well, except during award season, state of the unions, and unscheduled pregnancies, but still.

I always knew regardless of how my day went I had these guilty pleasures to look forward to to soothe my weary soul. Yes, this might sound pathetic, but I know I’m not alone. In fact, I found these handy tips to help you cope when your favorite TV show ends. And, for all those wondering -why yes, yes I do have friends in real life.

But, I miss my TV friends. I miss my kids too when they’re away, but at least they text or call once in a while. But this? This is torture. Waiting for next season to begin is a test of patience. When a beloved show has been cancelled, it’s nothing less than a test of strength and will.

You see when the season ends it’s like a bad breakup. You’re just not ready for it to be over even though you knew it was coming. You go through withdrawal. Maybe watch some old episodes. Search online to watch their interviews to find answers of why, oh why, it happened, what they’re doing now and, most importantly, how they look? (Maybe that’s just me.) Totally normal, right?

It is easy to get entwined in their lives of our favorite characters, even the ones we love to hate, and live vicariously through their craziness and drama and messy lives without ever lifting our collective tushes off the couch, unless it’s to replenish the snacks. Sometimes I visit the graveyards of sitcoms past: Friends, Sex and the City, 30 Rock, and of course, Seinfeld.

What pulls me into these romcoms and sitcoms, you ask? It’s a mixture of wonderful comedic writing, vibrant acting with likable, or even better, unlikeable, charismatic characters, a great story line, and most importantly, because I love to laugh. Laughing is good. Modern Family and The Mindy Project are pure unadulterated bliss delivered in half hour segments. Every word delivers. Light dramas are a delight too. Nashville and the recently cancelled Hart of Dixie are fun, sexy, southern dramas that satisfy like a large glass of sweet wine.

So what to do when your favorite TV show ends? Find a new one! I always do. When Gossip Girl went off the air I was devastated. What would I do without Blair, and NYC, and the love triangles, and the clothes? Lucky for me, Mini-Me, my muse and partner is crime, was still living at home and turned me on to The Mindy Project. So many of my sitcom love affairs started while curled up on the couch with my sweet girl.

It’s just a matter of time until I start binge watching a new show on Netflix until my beloveds come back in the fall. So what to watch, my friends? Downton Abby, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Game of Thrones? Please share your favorites.

When one TV show ends, another one begins. Pass the popcorn.

Linda Wolff writes the lifestyle blog Carpool Goddess where she shows us that midlife, motherhood and the empty nest aren’t so scary. Her essays have been published in numerous anthologies, and is a frequent contributor on Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, What The Flicka, and many more. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Truth About Scars

April 23, 2015

Sitting on our bathroom counter, staring into the mirror, my five-year-old ran her fingers along the scar on her forehead.

“Will my scar ever go away, Mama?”

“No, baby girl. It will keep fading, but it will not.”

She ran her fingers along the pink, tender area, smiled a few times, furrowed her brow, stuck her lips out like a duck goofing around, and then darted out, “Do you have scars, Mama?”

****

I had let them stay up late that night to watch just “one more show”. As the credits rolled across the screen, I was about to say, “Time to go potty and brush teeth,” when she twirled around and fell.

It was but a nanosecond in time.

Her back was to me, but I heard a scream that still echoes.

I saw her clutch her face.

When she turned around, all I saw was blood.

“Mama!”

Reaching for her, I heard my voice come out of my mouth, calmly telling my oldest daughter, “Go get some paper towels now, and call Nonnie.”

Fluidly, calmly, I sat cross-legged and began searching through the blood smeared across my three-year-old’s face. The screaming, hers and her terrified siblings… and so much blood. My hands, covered in blood. Her hair, her little eyelashes, soaked with blood, as I attempted to find where exactly it was gushing from. Her eyes? Her mouth?

Her forehead.

She had a gaping hole in the middle of her forehead.

The hospital.

The doctors.

The paper they placed over her eyes so she could not see the stiches going in. The way she gripped my hand as they did. The nurse who said, “Don’t worry. She’ll forget all of this.”

Me, on the other hand…

Nearly three years later, she doesn’t fully remember the horrific event, or the hospital.

She doesn’t remember my calm voice instructing her sister. She doesn’t know that I was most likely in shock – inside, I was frantic, scared and screaming, too. She doesn’t understand why I told my daughter to “call Nonnie”. Or, how I immediately knew this was bad, and instinctively sought my own mom even though my partner was in our home.

She certainly doesn’t remember me watching her as she slept that first night, on-my-knees-thankful that she was okay, yet fearful… for what she might encounter. This wasn’t a scraped knee. This was her beautiful, precious, never-to-be-the-same-again face. Would it be a big scar? Would this change her?

She doesn’t remember how we were suddenly catapulted into… reactions. People who unabashedly pointed at her, meaning no harm but still blatantly and outright asking, “What happened to your forehead?” She doesn’t remember the unintended ignorance, and she’s unaware of how many times my lip quivered or I stuffed my hands deep in my pocket so as not to physically swat the finger-pointers, squash the questions from small children in her preschool to full-grown adults.

“Ooh, that’s a nasty cut you’ve got there. What happened?”

She doesn’t remember how she would look down at her little feet, unsure of what to do or say in her new reality.

She doesn’t remember how her father and I tried to help, tried to give her an understanding suitable for a 3-year-old, tried first, to answer the questions for her, defend her – but soon realized we’d need to equip her with her own answers.

She doesn’t remember us naming her red mark her “strawberry boo boo”, or the day we bought bright, loud, pink, Barbie Band-Aids, or how they drew attention to her forehead in a manner she was comfortable with, that helped her find her voice; recognize her story.

“That’s a pretty/bright/pink Band-Aid you’ve got there,” people would say.

“Thanks! It’s my strawberry boo boo,” she’d respond, “It’s part of my story.”

She doesn’t remember the morning she decided to not wear the Band-Aid anymore, or the strength she showed that first day she walked into preschool – no Band-Aid, no shame, no fear.

She couldn’t know how I pulled over on the way home that day, the road dangerously blurry from my tears. The whole experience washed over me. She was okay. Scarred, and okay.

Nearly three years later, Hope’s scar has faded to nearly unnoticeable. People no longer point and ask. I no longer feel the need to defend. Yet, I think of all of our Mamas and parents and children whose scars are far more extensive than my daughter’s. Whose scars will not fade as Hope’s has. Parents of children with autism, who will always feel the finger-pointers. Parents of children with disabilities, or those who have been drastically maimed or bullied… parents of ill children, fixing wigs and offering what little they can to help their children feel anything like they did before everything changed. Parents who visit a grave, yet still grocery shop in the aisles amongst us.

Hope carries a physical scar from a horrific nanosecond. As her parent and protector – as her Mama – I, too, was wounded that evening; scarred for life with graphic memories I’d rather not have seen or heard or felt, and peoples’ actions I would rather have never experienced, glimpses into yet another of the uncontrollable circumstances parents persevere… functioning the only way we know how.

We were granted an escape. Her’s turned out to be a very minor scar, and as it fades, so do mine.

Others’ scars don’t fade. Others’ stories aren’t just glimpses. Others are far beyond pink Barbie Band-Aids and strawberry boo boos…

****

“Sure, baby girl, I have scars. Everyone does. Some you can see, and some you can’t.”

Jen is a freelance writer, parent to three, and she’s been a stepparent for over 15 years. She is well-equipped to discuss and write about the details of all-things-parenting. Along with spending quality time with her family, Jen enjoys music, chocolate, camping and relaxing. And laughing! You can find more at Jen’s Zen.

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That Time I Gave Away an Organ But Gained Faith

April 22, 2015

Proverbs 16:8: The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

The hospital room smelled of gauze and alcohol. As my body was scrubbed clean with a harsh orange soap, a nurse walked in twirling a Sharpie. I changed positions on the bed and fidgeted with my bright green bracelet. Donate Life, it said. I’d been wearing it for a month; a badge of honor I hadn’t yet earned.

“You are donating your right kidney, correct?” Sharpie Nurse asked without really needing an answer.

“That’s what my kidnappers said,” I cracked, as she pulled aside my hospital gown. She scrawled a big YES on my right side and a NO on my left. I felt cold. The color was draining from my face. The nurse snapped the marker top back on and paused to look me in the eye.

“Honey, are you sure you want to do this?”

Was I sure! I had prayed and fasted and cried and wrestled over this decision. From the day my mother was ruled out as a possible donor, there was a tug at my heart. A silent whisper that spoke to me saying, “Step forward. Have faith.”

Stepping forward, it turned out, was the easy part. Having faith…?

“Yes, of course I’m sure,” I croaked, sounding anything but.

I was terrified. I knew exactly what God was asking of me, but still doubted every part of His plan.

I hadn’t even started a family. Would this cause risks to my future pregnancies? What if I got sick in adulthood? What if my husband did? What if I needed this kidney I was giving away? What would the scars look like? Could I handle the pain?

Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In pre-op, Ian hovered over my bed. His blue eyes held a sea of worry, but he offered only assuring smiles and a kiss on the forehead. He told me he loved me, how brave I was, and how proud he was to have married me.

I smiled, drooled a little, and asked if he would go buy me a double cheeseburger. The drugs were kicking in. My husband’s floating head was the last thing I saw.

When I woke up, there was hole where an organ used to live. It screamed inside of me. The inflation gas from surgery had dissipated and settled in my shoulders, burning like coals beneath my skin. I’d never known such pain. For 12 hours I drifted in and out of a narcotic sleep, crying for my mother.

There was a knock at my door.

“MK, there is somebody here to see you. He wants to know if you can go for a walk.”

“No freaking way,” I grumbled, reaching to press the button that released meds into my blood stream. Then I noticed something. A lime green bracelet had found its way back on my wrist. Donate Life, it said.

And holy crap, I had done it.

My heart filled with gratitude as I recalled God’s voice encouraging me. “Step forward. Have faith.”

Slowly, carefully, I hung my legs over the side of the hospital bed. I placed one foot in front of the other and I walked toward my uncle, whose cautious smile hinted at something he hadn’t known in a while: Hope.

We shuffled our way around the Nephrology unit making small talk between gasps of pain. Uncle Mikey had a new craving for Starbucks. The very idea of coffee disgusted me.

“Must be the kidney!” we laughed.

My uncle had a new lease on life. I had a new set of scars. He had a new kidney. I had a lime green bracelet.

But in that moment, walking around the hospital wearing IV bags and puppy dog slippers, I learned a powerful lesson about God and giving.

Because it wasn’t my Uncle Mikey who had received the greatest gift that day.

Acts 20: 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

You see, through all of my fear and doubt, my anguish and physical suffering, God was leading me to one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not because I had done something to be proud of. Not for the accolades or the grattitude of my family.

The gift, you see, was in the giving. And all I had to do was step forward and have faith.

Mary Katherine and her son Nugget reside at MomBabble.com. There you can find the dreams, recipes, and musings of a Southern mom. Not a perfect mom. Not a crafty mom. Just a normal, messy, slightly opinionated mama who is obsessed with coffee and front porch swings. Y’all should be friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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30 Reasons Modern Motherhood Has Lost its Damn Mind

April 21, 2015

My mother has made it abundantly clear on more than one occasion that some of the crap we ‘modern’ mothers do is just insane. She thinks we analyze and dissect our kids emotions too much. We coddle too much. We keep them in a bubble of misting hand sanitizer and sunscreen.

Are we modern moms too much? Are we extra… everything? Have we morphed into mommy monsters?

I have witnessed my mom’s eye-rolling on a few occasions. And I have to say, I agree with her on some points. I find myself rolling my eyes at myself, too. Especially, when I’m like, “Let’s throw a themed birthday party that looks like something out of a Pinterest picture!!” (That will carry a $500-plus price tag.)

And then I come back to reality and wonder, why can’t we just kick it old-school with some balloons, cake and ice cream?

So here are my 30 Reasons my Mom thinks Modern Motherhood has lost its damn mind:

  • 1. Video Baby Monitors. She claims the reason moms now aren’t getting any sleep is because of these suckas. We’re constantly looking at the glowing screen, checking for signs of baby discomfort, a baby rolling over on its belly (gawd forbid) and SIDS. We can’t stop. We’re obsessed. The point is, if the baby is crying, you’ll f#cking know it. You won’t need a 4-D, LED, whatever-the-hell baby monitor screen to tell you THHHAAAATTTTT. You’ll hear those screams.
  • 2. The way I line up activities for my kids. As if, my kids will die if they are bored for one gawd damn second.
  • 3. All foods must be organic, grass-fed, no added hormones and dye free. My mom agrees with the milk situation. After all, me, and girls my age were getting armpit hair and periods by age nine. But, I imagine my mom goes coo-coo cray-cray when she sees my grocery list (ahem, organic, shmorganic non-GMO, gluten free, free-range whatever, list) upon my arrival to her house.
  • 4. All clothes have to be 100% cotton. My kids have sensitive skin. And so do like a million other kids these days.
  • 5. All lotions and body washes have to contain 100% natural ingredients and be fragrance free. Again, sensitive skin.
  • 6. Also related, that laundry detergent. It better be Biodegradable, Free and Clear of all dyes, fragrances and chemicals.
  • 7. Pre-school being a two-year application process. It is just like applying for college. Waiting lists, interviews, rejections and all.
  • 8. My kids beg for kale smoothies. I swear.
  • 9. Car seat contraptions take a doctorate and engineer degree to buckle your kid, and unbuckle your kid.
  • 10. The fact that it took me 30 minutes to get out of the house with all of my baby gear. Actually, it’s just the shear amount of baby gear ‘required’ now to have a happy baby.
  • 11. My private preschool bill, is the amount of a mortgage payment.
  • 12. My kids have never eaten a hot dog. Choking hazard.
  • 13. Balloons aren’t allowed at birthday parties. Choking hazard.
  • 14. My kids call their vagina a “Woo Hoo”.
  • 15. My kids don’t know what a period is. Even when I’m in some public stall with them changing my tampon I tell my girls, “Mommy has a boo-boo in her woo-hoo.” Done.
  • 16. My kids sometimes dance like strippers on a pole. Hello, I grew up with MTV’s “The Grind.” I don’t know any other dance moves.
  • 17. We analyze our kids poop to see if they’re getting enough fiber. And we’ll even explain the consistency and color of said poop to our parents on the phone. We might snap a pic (I won’t, but I’ve heard stories).
  • 18. My kids never set the table. (We’re working on it)
  • 19. My kids don’t fold laundry. (We’re working on it)
  • 20. My kids don’t make their beds. (We’re working on it)
  • 21. We don’t own a bible.
  • 22. Birth plans. And a million sonograms.
  • 23. Related to above, gender announcement parties.
  • *24. My kids beg for Starbucks. This is me ordering for my kids, “Hi! Can I getta kid’s hot chocolate with 1 inch of whip – and a double shot of cocoa powder sprinkled on top. SOY!”
  • 25. That I drink so much wine, to cope with motherhood. And that my kids know when it’s “Mommy’s Wine Time.”
  • 26. That my kids can do downward facing dog and other yoga poses.
  • 27. That I allow thousands of kiddie music c.d’s to be played in my car.
  • 28. That there’s such ‘thing’ as too much screen time. And more so, that doctors and experts weigh in on this subject ad nauseum.
  • 29. Hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer. A million f#cking times a day.
  • 30. I analyze the shit out of my kids. Every second. Of every day. So much so, that I write about my kids on this blog, write articles for other publications about motherhood AND read about motherhood and all things kids on the internet. (eye-roll)

Sarah Hosseini writes profanity laced musings about motherhood on her blog, Missguided Mama. She is an introverted urbanite, temporarily hiding out in the suburbs, wondering with a glass of wine in hand, where is everybody? But, secretly hoping no one comes out of their houses to talk to her. Sarah is a former local TV news producer. She hopes to produce mommy-centric documentaries one day. She lives with her two girls and husband in Atlanta-ish. You can follow her mostly rated ‘R’ mommy rhetoric on Twitter.

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