Mamapedia National Voices

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
Photo by: iStock

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.

Photo
Photo by: iStock

What Would You Do if You Weren't Afraid?

April 19, 2015

My family moseyed on up the field where our church community group was gathering with our lawn chairs and cookies. I was looking forward to hanging out and chatting with my girlfriends on a glorious spring day. This group is the best kind of chatty. There were plenty of kids around so I knew my own brood would be easily occupied, and I could hang out with little distraction.

My family came in jeans. I wore my Chaco’s. It took my husband about 10 minutes to realize everyone else was wearing workout style clothes and sneakers. It’s a casual group. We have a couple of personal trainers among us, and some of the group even meets to workout during the week, so this wasn’t abnormal. I made a mental note to self, “yoga pant friendly crowd! Yes!”

When a few more families arrived, I realized several of the adults were “organizing.” Then I remembered the group email, there was talk about playing a game of kick ball during this outing. My first thought was, the kids are gonna love to play. Except now it appeared that EVERYONE was going to play kickball. Ev.ree.one.

Then they began picking teams and bad memories of middle school P.E. class surfaced. I held out hope that a few women would sit out, and we’d chat while the men folk played. Yeah… that didn’t happen either. With the exception of a few little girls that went to explore the nearby pond, ev.ree.one. was going to play kickball.

I began to get nervous. Also, I’d worn sandals.

I fantasize about being a roller derby girl, but that is as far as my athleticism goes. Fantasy. I currently hold the record for having my glasses broken the most times in Junior high school P.E. It’s true. I was that kid. Also, I have raised those kids. We all lean more geek than we do jock. Besides a couple of short soccer seasons, we don’t really “do” sports. Don’t get me wrong, we play. We like the outdoors. We are just more likely to take a nice hike than toss a ball.

And so, with my lack of athletic ability and my sandals, I was starting to feel like a really awkward fish out of water. To give you an idea of the crew we were playing with, this guy was on my team.

But I still agreed to play, and our team was up to kick first.

The plan was to alternate kids and adults at the plate. My 4 year old, Johnny, went just before me. If there is going to be a jock in my family, I’m going to predict it is this kid. He was so excited. Everyone was cheering for him. He kicked that ball as hard as he could, and as we all yelled and encouraged him to run to his right toward first base, he grinned, and ran left after the ball he had just kicked because dude… there was a ball to play with!!!!

I laughed so hard.

We finally talked him into getting to first base and both teams gave him a round of high fives.

I, in my sandals, was up to kick next. It was a lousy kick, but I didn’t realize it untill well after we coaxed Johnny to 2nd base and then all the way in for a “home run”.

I guess I was having… fun?

Then, when our team headed to the field, they asked me to pitch. (Is that even what you call it in kickball?) I seriously looked behind me to see who they were really asking to pitch. But there was no one behind me.

I laughed, and took the ball to the pitchers plate. Then, as a total shock to myself, I continued to have serious fun with this crazy new community of friends… for the next hour and a half! I’ve never had so much fun losing a game in my life. Although no one said it, I’m pretty sure I was a terrible kickball pitcher, because we lost by a lot.

Somehow, as I went beyond the borders of my comfort zone, and in spite of my reservations and footwear, I was in the game. I wasn’t only in the game, but I was even having a good time. Like, a really good time… in spite of… myself.

This weekend, I accidentally tripped across the line of my comfort zone. It happened without much of a fight. I was with a crew that made it easy, and they didn’t even know they caught me when I stumbled. Maybe you are walking with someone that is having a hard time getting out of that comfort zone? Have you thought about how to make it easier for them?

This all got me thinking of all the times I didn’t say yes to the game. And how much fun I have missed in my life because I was afraid of falling. And maybe, how I can help someone else feel comfortable doing something scary.

Have you done something lately that scared you? If so, tell me. If not, then what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Sasha Johns is married to her chiropractor and doing her best to homeschool three little kids. She writes for middleplaces.com on Tuesdays, and recreates new things with old things at True Vine Gifts. You can catch her daily antics with family and art on Instagram when you look her up as middlesistersasha.

Photo
Photo by: iStock

To the Well-Intentioned (but Ignorant) Parents of Teens

April 18, 2015

I’ve been mulling over this topic for quite some time, but this morning it became increasingly clear to me that I must say something. Folks, stranger danger is a real thing. And even more real today than it was ten years ago thanks to, you guessed it, the internet.

I speak specifically to the parents of kids old enough to be on social media. Of course, I am no such parent, but I am a teacher of those kids. I am also only 6-10 years older than the high school students I teach. Maybe that makes me unqualified to speak out, but maybe it makes me the most qualified candidate. Many of my colleagues, and the parents of my students, are old enough to be my own parents, so I tend to share a comaraderie with my students. And yet, I am far enough removed to be able to speak in ways that they cannot yet speak for themselves.

The reason this subject has become suddenly so urgent to me is because today I read an article about a new website called YouNow which is essentially a livestream site. Basically, a person can set up a camera feed, and you can watch it constantly. Users can connect with cameras using hashtags like #sleepingsoundly. In other words, people – teenagers – are setting up cameras in their bedrooms so anyone, any stranger, can watch them sleep… or whatever.

And while the stream is happening, there is a constant commentary by all watchers. I watched one today (for about ten seconds because I felt totally creepy) of a teenager somewhere singing on his porch. The comments ranged anywhere from, “you have a great voice you should date me” to much more obscene things like calling the boy a “fag” and telling him he looked like various parts of genitalia.

Now yes, this website is not specifically marketed for teens, and yes, there are terms of use that technically prohibit obscenity and illegal acts. But if you know anything about teenagers, you know they quickly find loopholes to most rules. The internet, especially social media, is NOT safe. And it is sobering how real this is.

You may be thinking, “I’m smarter than that. I have a Facebook and I watch my kids online.” You might have a Facebook. So do I. And so does my mom and my grandma and all of her friends. But you know who doesn’t have a Facebook? Your kids’ friends. I took an informal poll of my 150 students at the beginning of the year, and 60-80% of my students don’t even have a Facebook. They connect with each other on Kik, an app that allows users to text each other without exchanging phone numbers. They use Snapchat, an app that allows users to send pictures that supposedly disappear forever after ten seconds. They use Whisper, an app that a user can “anonymously” tell their deepest secrets to a vast community of other secret sharers. They use Yik Yak, Vine, Tumblr, Twitter (do you know about subtweeting? you should.), Instagram, Oovoo, WhatsApp, Meerkat, and sometimes even dating apps, like Tinder.

The problem with thinking you’re smart, is that I would almost guarantee that there is at least one of those apps you’ve never heard of. And if you aren’t on it, your kids probably will be.

Teenagers typically do not yet understand the importance of internet safety. Along with the age-old feeling of invulnerability that adolescence has always carried, now there is an unprecedented and intimate access to a world-wide community of strangers. So, instead of driving too fast or sneaking out at night, your kids might be posting naked pictures on a website you’ve never heard of to people they’ve never met.

I know, I know. Your child would never do that! Let me tell you something: You. Don’t. Know. That.

You know those tiny feelings you get every day but you cope nicely because you’re an adult? Feelings like insecurity, boredom, even the loneliness of being at home when your friends are all going out – well these feelings are massive to teenagers. A combination of hormones and inexperience create a veritable powder keg of unpredictable behavior. Insecurity might lead to seeking acceptance from strangers by posting a selfie and waiting for people to reblog, like, or comment on it. Boredom might lead to extended conversations online with someone they’ve never met about deeply personal matters. Loneliness can lead to online sex. No, really. It can.

Please please hear me, parents. I am not an outdated, irrelevant old person sitting on my metaphorical front lawn griping about “kids these days”. I spend more time with teenagers than I do with people my own age. And in many cases, I spend more time with your teenagers than even you do. I am begging you to give a crap about your kids. When I was a teenager myself, social media was just gaining popularity, and my mom had my Myspace and Facebook password. I never sent a message, posted a picture, or added a friend without her knowing it. It sounds extreme, but I’m safe today because of it. I can’t even count the many times I would have done something incredibly unsafe and irresponsible if not for the fact that I knew my mom was watching.

My success as an adult today can be blamed almost wholly on the fact that my parents were involved in my life. I could go on forever about the rising rate of teen suicides, sexual miscreance, and drug abuse problems that can be traced back to beginnings in social media. These things are real. And if you don’t show up in your kid’s life and give a crap, maybe no one will.

That is all.

Originally appeared on Kayla’s blog on March 27, 2015.

Photo
Photo by: iStock

I'm Going on a Solo Vacation to a Developing Country Because I Am Burned Out

April 17, 2015

I have a confession to make.

I’ve reached the point. I’m done. Fried. Toast. Put a fork in me.

There are not enough phrases to capture my current mental state. I should be funny, and laughing, and I don’t know… happy? And I am, but I’m not. Does that make sense? I have moments of happiness, but an overwhelming general doneness describes myself at this point. I am burnt like a piece of f#cking toast, and not in the oh shit I forgot to put on sunscreen burnt way! Or wow, I smoked a shit ton of pot today kinda burnt. Nope. I am mentally fried like the egg, over hard.

Everything I come into contact with annoys me some way or some how. I want to get in my car and drive and drive and drive. Does that make sense? I have no real destination, and the reality is I hate driving, and after a 12 hour drive last week I swear I don’t want to drive one more f#cking place.

I want to scream at everyone I see or that does stupid shit. Like a-holes who stop at round-a-bouts! HOLY F#CK JUST GO! But really it’s not that big of a deal. Or my kid who every day complains about something, I just can’t even. It’s groundhog day, in negativity, and my ability to spin it into a pot of gold every time is failing miserably, and has for years. The lowest point is that I got upset with my daughter about Punch Bug. Seriously, the stupid f#cking game Punch Bug – you know when you’re driving and get punched for a VW Beetle (BTW there’s like a bazillion of those on the road). Yeah that game.

This is where I am at.

EVERYTHING is making me sad or mad. There are no other emotions. No other options. No in between.

So know what I am doing?

I am actually going to my doctor. I had no intention of going but when I went to refill my prescription for the medicine that keeps me from losing my shit/mind the pharmacy said, “oops sorry no refills!”

I was all, “WTF!”

So I called my doctor and said, “seriously, I need my pills.”

Then they looked in the computer and were all, “yeah, well you haven’t been in for a check in a really really long time. So you gotta come in.”

I assured the girl, “Pfft! I’m there ALL THE TIME WITH MY KIDS!” Nope they weren’t having it. So I had to make a damn appointment. And you know what, I need it. I need the appointment. Sure I was pissed at the time, but the reality is I NEED this appointment. So thank you doctor’s office for making me come in because I probably wouldn’t have, and would have continued on my decent into hell.

It’s not just meds though. I’m doing something else. I am going on a trip – alone. By MYSELF for ten days.

Not one f#cking meal is going to be cut up. Not one person is gonna roll their eyes at me. I am going to eat what I want, I am going to sleep in if I want, I am going to sit on the balcony of my $45/night studio apartment in a developing country and have a beer if I want. I am hiking eight miles, with a guide, to visit an Unesco World Heritage site. I am going to the Emerald Pool. These are things I want to do and no one else does, or can when it is conducive to my schedule (or the plane schedule when it’s cheapest). So I am doing it regardless. I am strong enough in myself that I am taking a ten-day trip to another country alone.

A year ago I probably wouldn’t have.

I was inspired by a woman on a recent scuba diving trip with my son. She traveled solo from New York City to multiple islands in the Caribbean. When we spoke she said she wanted to do this itinerary and no one else did, or could, so she went ahead and did it. I swear my mind exploded. The IDEA that she just did it! With no one else! I thought F#CK YES I am going to do this. I AM going to go where I want to go and do what I want to do.

So I am.

I have 16 days until I go and I swear to god I am not sure I can actually make it for the next 16 days mentally, but if I do I am getting on that plane with my head held high, a box of milk duds in my hand (that I am not sharing with one soul) and I am giving the proverbial finger to my reality for 10 fanf#ckingtastic days. Alone.

With my thoughts.

So yeah… there’s where I’m at. I think I’ve hit bottom and I pray I resurface with energy and perspective.

Thank you for being there for me, listening to my funnies and my crazies.

Originally from NJ, Alyson now lives in the Midwest but has kept her sarcastic cynical Jersey attitude. She is the mother of two kids who provide constant fodder for her blog, The Shitastrophy. She is the editor of a new anthology, Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor. Her husband lives in fear that every thing he does or says will be highlighted in her next post, Facebook update, or Tweet.

Photo
Photo by: iStock

What It's REALLY Like to Need Food Stamps

April 16, 2015

I was a tad irritated when I saw the Gwyneth Paltrow Food Stamp Challenge tweet but I think she’s a douche anyway, so it really didn’t matter to me. Then I read a Huffington Post article that pretty much defended her in a roundabout way.

Honestly, the whole “challenge” doesn’t raise awareness; it ridicules people who are already feeling low to begin with. How do I know this? I was once one of those people.

It wasn’t that long ago, my daughter was about six months old and my husband lost his job. Being a stay at home mother at that the time, we had no other income to rely on. What little savings we did have went quick, and the paltry $200 we received every two weeks for his unemployment couldn’t even pay the rent. To say we were between a rock and a hard place would have been an understatement.

I will never forget the day we had to swallow our pride, for our daughter’s sake, and go down to the social services office and apply for SNAP. I never would have thought in a million years that I would be on welfare but there I was, surrounded by 20 other moms with screaming kids who were tired, hungry and just wanted to go home. If they even had a home to go to.

We received $423 a month on our SNAP card. To this day, I remember the exact amount because whenever I went into the store I knew I had to buy $200 worth of baby formula to get my daughter through the month. If she hit a growth spurt, and drank a little bit more than usual, I would literally scrap the bottom of the can, dump it out into a bowl – do whatever I could to get every last drop out. We didn’t qualify for WIC because he got unemployment. That’s what they don’t tell you in that article either, in some states some other benefits disqualify you from getting others. You have to pick and choose what’s more important. Sometimes you wind up losing the roof over your head so you can have food on the table.

Going to the store was the worst. The first time, I didn’t even think about it. I walked into the store, grabbed all the items on my approved list, and went to the checkout line. It never dawned on me that I should ask if they actually took the EBT card. Back then, not every grocery chain did, now they do.

I stood there, Coach Bag on my arm, trying to pay for groceries with an EBT card they didn’t take. The woman behind me rolled her eyes, she didn’t know that the Coach Bag on my arm was five years old at the time and bought with my own money when I was single and childless. I could feel the judgment roll off her in waves. To her, I was just another stereotypical welfare mom. In reality, I was a college educated, married, stay at home mom who had the misfortune of having her only income stripped away. I wound up leaving the groceries and driving out of my way to a grocery store across town that took EBT cards. I also left my purse at home.

Every time I would take the card out, I was embarrassed. The clerk would always give me that look; they were never discreet about it. They always had to announce that if anything wasn’t covered by the EBT card, I would have to pay for it separately. I knew the rules. I memorized them backwards and forwards. I had no money to pay for anything extra. That’s what people don’t understand about being in that situation, we’re not proud about it. I wasn’t happy I had an EBT card. I was grateful it existed, but mostly, I was ashamed. Every time I pulled it out, I felt like a failure to my child because I wasn’t able to take care of her basic needs.

I didn’t have the luxury of buying limes and kale. I had to make sure every meal was filling. We stopped buying organic and all natural products mostly because the preservative filled stuff was cheaper. My EBT dollars went farther when I bought what I considered to be “crap” food. Stonyfield YoBaby yogurt was out of the question when the store brand was a dollar or more less. You have to do what you have to do to get by.

We lived like that for seven months until finally he took the first job he was offered, which was a lot less, but it was work. We barely survived. During that time our car was repossessed and we were behind on more bills than we could possibly count. Every cent we had went to our daughter and keeping a roof over her head and the lights on. I could not imagine living that way for years on end. All the times when I would go to my fridge or pantry and see nothing there, knowing it was another week until the card reloaded. There were times when we couldn’t stretch it, and we painted fences or other odd jobs around our neighborhood for money to buy her food. We swallowed our pride and took care of our child.

When you have nothing, pride is something you can’t afford.

When I see articles like the one on Huffington Post, I try not to judge the writer too harshly, even when it’s my knee-jerk reaction to do so, because then I’m no better than the woman behind me in the checkout line. She knew nothing of my life but figured it was just fine to comment on it.

Gwyneth Paltrow knows nothing about what it’s like, $29 a week in groceries is as foreign to her as being a millionaire is to me. We can contemplate it all we want but our assumptions are always wrong. The reality of food stamps is a bleak and stressful one. The recipients are not all scammers trying to buck the system.

All I ask is that people don’t assume anything about them. Odds are they’re beating themselves up enough as it is.

Michelle D. is a graduate of the George Washington University where she studied many things that never prepared her for motherhood. A self-professed movie and TV snob, she also has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things musical. When she’s not chasing twin toddlers and a kindergartener, she’s blogging. Scattered Wrecks showcases her short stories, social commentary and advice. Michelle lives in Philadelphia with her three children. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

Recent Blog Posts

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.