6 Things Every Mom Needs to Remember

My oldest child is heading to college this fall. That translates in mom talk to, “Friends beware. Spontaneous ugly cries may occur.” It also means I’ve gotten a little bit (okay… a lot bit) sentimental. While meandering down memory lane, I remembered two friends of mine. They were both older – one a grandmother with gray hair and dimples. The other an energetic empty nester. Every visit these ladies slipped in some piece of mothering advice before they left. Their perspective changed my perspective of how to raise my kids and I’m so grateful for it. Guess it’s time to pass that good advice on.

Things to Remember…

 

1. Don’t Stress About Keeping a Clean House.

It’s a phase. You’re not a slob. One day those sticky handprints on the glass are going to make you smile.

happy messy kids

2. Happiness is Not About Stuff.

Name brand clothes, yearly vacations, and presents overflowing under the Christmas tree aren’t necessary. Kids can be happy with a lot less than we think. Never go in debt for a kid’s want. Wanting is a motivating and healthy thing for every child.

 

3. Date Your Spouse.

Find a babysitter you trust and get out of the house! Weekly if you can. One day the kids will be gone and you need to still like your spouse! Dates can be as simple as going on a walk. Strengthening your marriage will strengthen your whole family.

 

4. Date Your Kids.

Your kids need time with you too. Not time with you and the baby. Not time with you and their little sister. Just you. Go grab a one-dollar ice cream cone together. That’s enough! Find ten minutes regularly that’s all for them. Doing this with my kids when they were young made them more willing to talk to me about the tough stuff when they were teens.

kids helping make dinner

 

5. Teach Them How to Help Themselves.

Chores teach hard work. Saving money teaches discipline. Talking face to face with unkind friends teaches bravery. Asking a teacher for help teaches self-reliance. Don’t save your kids when things get hard. Walk beside them and teach them how to save themselves.

 

6. Praise, Hug, Repeat.

Let the little things go. Praise the good more than you correct the bad. I know I would feel awful if someone only pointed out my mistakes while I was learning something new. Our kids are still learning how to be kind human beings. Be gentle, fun teachers. They’re going to turn out great.

love your children

 

 

About the Author

Hey! I’m Jenner –  a mother of four. A Texan. An author. And the wife of a beautifully bald elementary school teacher. I’m a wee bit obsessed with Christmas music and love writing. My writing has appeared in Jack and Jill, Friend, Ensign and Highlights magazines. You can also find it on storybird.com.  Catch me on my blog or follow me on Twitter here: @slushpilestory

 

 

 

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Guilt-Free Ways to be a Less Distracted Parent

My daughter loved the classic Curious George books when she was about two. Those stories are from another time when parents apparently had nothing to do. Each runs at least fifty pages. Fifty pages. To make matters worse, she had memorized the stories, which meant I couldn’t fudge it and skip over large swaths of text.

We’ve all been there, I’m sure, stuck doing the repetitive stories or imaginary scenes dreamed up by our kids. I have a love-hate relationship with these moments: sometimes I really need to get something else done. Other times, I am happy to spend time in a child’s silly world. But what was the difference? I wanted to figure out how I could enjoy that playtime more and still get dinner on the table in time.

 

Figure out what your child is asking for

All kid needs attention, affirmation, and love from their parents. Each kid is different in how they need to feel that love, though. Some children love being physical—wrestling, cuddling, or touching. Others need verbal encouragement. Still others want you to watch them as they accomplish something.

You know your kid best. When does she light up when you watch her draw? Does he keep asking for tickles? It doesn’t matter if it’s as mind-numbing as another round through Curious George. Choose to share a period of time when you play in their world, instead of asking them to live in yours.

Plan ahead to play

I know there are demands at work and home. But giving unfocused attention to your children is just as important. It’s also limited: I will be doing laundry for my entire life (ugh) but I only have a handful of years with these small kids who want to make messes of paint and playdough.

It sounds silly, but I schedule playtime with my kids. Doing so allows me to commit to focusing on them for a portion of my day. If I don’t designate protected time, my unending to-do list starts breathing down my neck. Other tasks seem so much more productive, seem so much more worthwhile than throwing a tennis ball on the roof. But when I pre-decide to play, I can shut up my to-do list for a little while. I’ll get back to it eventually.

 

Give 100% focus, and then go do your thing

The act of giving a child our attention is a generous gift. We can buy a toy or send them to a great school, but we can’t outsource sharing our attention with our children. But we have actual tasks that need to get done—dinner doesn’t appear magically at my house, either.

Once I given my child that pre-decided, focused time, I give myself permission to do what needs to be done. Too often, I have found myself giving 50% focus to my kid and 50% on what I’m trying to accomplish. That split focus leaves me irritated and unproductive. (I also tend to burn things.) My two-year-old tends to act up when I’m distracted, forcing me to give him my full, but negative, attention. When I have chosen to give him 100% focus, he feels loved. Then, thankfully, he is more likely to play on his own while I cook dinner or send an email.

Parents know, deep down, that they are often distracted while spending time with their kids. Sometimes it feels like we don’t have any other choice. Ultimately, though, we can choose to carve out specific windows of time during which we participate with our kids in their world.

This doesn’t happen accidentally. Deciding ahead of time becomes a commitment on my planner. Instead of my kids getting the scraps of attention that I have on the edges, they get all of me for a deliberate part of the day. The result? They feel loved and I feel like I am becoming the kind of parent I want to be.

About the Author
Laura Thrasher is the co-founder of HeartPlanner.com, a tool for parents to make small wins in the most important areas of life. She is passionate about helping others make the most of their time. Laura is a writer, marketer, and mom of two. Feel free to connect at laura@heartplanner.com.

 

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Do You Know the Secret to Raising a Safe, Smart Kid?

By Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media

When it comes to parenting frustrations, nothing beats the challenges of setting screen limits, picking appropriate media, and figuring out Snapchat. We’re raising “digital natives” but we’re supposed to be the experts? Actually, no. It turns out, the most effective way to help your kid have a healthy relationship to media is by being their media mentor.

Many of us think we need to have all the answers. Or we just stick our heads in the sand and hope for the best. But, as so often happens, the middle road is juuuuust right. Researcher Alexandra Samuel surveyed 10,000 North American families and found that some parents put strict limits on what their kids could watch or play (“limiters”), especially when they’re young, while others (especially parents of teens) let their kids control screen time and embrace the idea that more tech is good tech (“enablers”).

Photo by Lotte Meijer on Unsplash

But about a third of the parents — whom she calls “media mentors” — consistently engaged in media with their kids, despite their ages, and these kids had better outcomes. Kids of media mentors were less likely to access porn, chat online with a stranger, and impersonate an adult or peer online. Exactly what you’re hoping for as a parent, right?

So what does it take to be a “media mentor“? Here are the steps:

Talk about media and tech
Here’s where most parents are #winning. In the 2015 Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, 87 percent of tweens reported that their parents regularly discussed Internet safety. These conversations can include everything from stranger danger to creating strong passwords and should be empowering rather than scary.

Play, watch, learn together
Media mentors play video games, watch movies, and download apps with their kids. They share their favorite YouTube videos and explore new music together. It’s not all the time, of course — who has time for that? — but staying engaged and showing interest breeds comfort and camaraderie.

Teach new skills
Kids with tech-savvy parents have some advantages when getting up to speed on digital life. They can introduce kids to specialized websites and explain the ins and outs of Instagram. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us have nothing to offer. Parents can show kids — especially young ones — how to use a mouse, do a Google search, charge a device, and so on. Children’s librarians are another tech resource, too.

Follow their interests
You know what your kid is into — whether it’s dinosaursMinecraft, or Taylor Swift — and you can use these interests to support positive engagement with media and tech. Find cool dinosaur apps, sign your kid up for a Minecraft coding camp, or take a digital music-making class together.

Do your research
High-quality content makes a difference in how kids interact with media. Parents who seek out good content by checking reviews, surveying friends, and exploring content themselves expose kids to better stuff.

 

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Mama Law, It’s REAL

Here’s one solid truth about being a mama: No matter how you envision your life with children, crazy unpredictable things will happen, and most things never go as planned. It’s called “Mama Law” and you’ll have to get used to it if you want to keep your sanity.

For example, the most vomit your kid will ever produce will only happen in her bed at 2 AM, the school hallway, or at church. It will only happen in your car, where you might actually try to “catch” it in your hands. Vomit won’t happen when your kid is relatively close to a bucket or a toilet. Same goes for an “accident” of volcanic proportions in her pants. That little gem of an experience will only occur when you are on a boat, or at the grocery store.

 

mama law motherhood

 

“The call” from school will come in when you are in the middle of your very first and only “spa day.”  Your head will be in foils, and your nails will be wet. You’ll finally be using that spa gift card (the expired one) your husband gave you two years ago, but you’ll need to leave early. Make no mistake, the call from the school will not come in when you are in the middle of getting your long overdue root canal.

Your son Joey’s friend, the one who has a “cool mom” who doesn’t contribute to the snack schedule or come to his games, will be the best and most popular player on the team. Side note: your son will score his only goal of the season at the only game of the season you can’t attend. 

Mama Law states that you will, at some point, spend a few hours of your time baking homemade cupcakes with frosting and candy decorations made from scratch, only to watch at least 3 kids in your daughter’s class lick the tops, examine them further with crinkled noses, and exclaim that they are gross. In front of you, they will smash them into napkins and throw them away. They might even spit out the mushy contents into the trash bin for dramatic effect. Your daughter’s friend, whose mom sent in 2 boxes of Donut holes, will be hoisted atop her class mate’s shoulders, amid squeals of excitement.

Here’s one that’s fairly embarrassing to talk about: You will finally get your period 6 or 7 months after giving birth, but it will be during the train ride you’re taking to visit your mother in the city. You will not have a pad or a tampon handy, and you will be alone holding your baby and a giant, heavy bag of supplies on your lap. So you will use a diaper. Mama Law states that you will, at some point, stuff a diaper down your pants on a train.

No sooner will you get done judging and shaking your head with a “tisk-tisk” at another mom for something shitty her kid did at school, when your little cherub does something equally or even more heinous, thus landing you front row, center in that special venue most of us visit at some point. I’ll call it the “Mom Shame Karma Club” and you will become a member whether you want to be or not. 

 

mama law

 

There are two Mama Laws that never change from one generation to the next: Your first grader will lose his front tooth (or both!) the night before school photos, and it will take you five whole years to read one whole book. Any book.

Here’s one to ponder: The more you talk about how much you hate tattoos and piercings, the more your teenage child will want one or the other, or both. But if YOU get a tattoo, your child might not think it’s cool anymore. This works in much the same way a Facebook account works. Once you have one, they no longer want it. 

You’ll be on time for pick up 99.9% of the time, but the one time you are late (or you forget to get them all together) will be the only time they ever talk about. And they will bring it up at Christmas 20 years later, after you have lovingly placed a steaming lasagna with fresh mozzarella and homemade gravy down on the table in front of their fat, little faces. They never forget.

The creme de la creme of Mama Law? You will inevitably say something your mother always said. It will fly out of your mouth during an argument with your kids, and you won’t be able to stop it. You’ll go wide-eyed in disbelief and disgust at your words before realizing how very true they are, thus crossing that bridge to the side of life where you must begrudgingly admit that your mother was right all along. When this happens, and it indeed will, you may require a quiet moment alone, because your mother will of course be present when those words fly out of your mouth. And she will smile her quiet little smile of triumph, and you will see her smile and steam will come out of your ears.  

motherhood mishaps funny

 

And lastly, here’s a Mama Law that never fails to surface at some point during the wondrous journey through child rearing: It only snows when you do not have milk, or hot chocolate, or food of any kind in the house, except for some old-ass eggs, and a few stale granola bars. 

Our Mama ancestors actually wrote all these down in a book many moons ago. Don’t shoot the messenger. 

 

kimberly-valzania-bio-pictureKimberly Valzania practices mindful gratefulness. She is creatively driven to write about and share her personal experience and opinions on weight loss, fitness, life changes, adventures in parenting, day-to-day triumphs (and failures), and the truth-seeking struggle of simply being human. As words tumble out, they are sorted into cohesive piles and delivered via poetry and short essays. Her articles are featured on Scary Mommy, Rebelle Society, The Elephant Journal, BonBon Break, The Minds Journal, The Manifest-Station, and Imperfect Parent.  Read more at her website eatpraypost.com.

 

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Rules For My Son

1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down.

2. There are plenty of ways to enter a pool. The stairs ain’t one.

3. The man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.

4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer.

5. Act like you’ve been there before. Especially in the end zone.

6. Request the late check-out.

7. When entrusted with a secret, keep it.

8. Hold your heroes to a higher standard.

9. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas.

10. Don’t fill up on bread.

rules for my son father wagon

11. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look him in the eye.

12. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be.

13. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point.

14. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one in your back pocket is for you. The one in your breast pocket is for her.

15. You marry the girl, you marry her whole family.

16. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like crazy underneath.

17. Experience the serenity of traveling alone.

18. Never be afraid to ask out the best looking girl in the room.

19. Never turn down a breath mint.

20. In a game of HORSE, sometimes a simple free throw will get ’em.

21. A sport coat is worth 1000 words.

22. Try writing your own eulogy. Never stop revising.

23. Thank a veteran. And then make it up to him.

24. If you want to know what makes you unique, sit for a caricature.

25. Eat lunch with the new kid.

26. After writing an angry email, read it carefully. Then delete it.

27. Ask your mom to play. She won’t let you win.

28. See it on the big screen.

29. Give credit. Take the blame.

30. Write down your dreams.

*This was a list consolidated from my favorite sayings at this (Source).

For more rules like these, check out the book Rules for My Unborn Son and Rules for My Newborn Daughter by Walker Lamond.

 

About the Author

Aaron Conrad is a husband, father and follower of Christ. His thoughts, inspirations and insights can be found on his personal blog at http://www.aaronconrad.com.  In a addition to his website, Aaron also contributes to blogs at I Am SecondWhat’s In The BibleJelly Telly and Compassion International. Aaron spends his days living the dream as the Director of Business Development and Marketing for Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports.

 

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The Frazzled Moms Guide to Staying Sane This School Year

For some less than perfect, unorganized moms, the return to school brings more than the average level of stress and yes, even dread. I don’t know when the descent took place, but somewhere between Generation X and millennial movement, school has become so much more involved for parents, and so much more complex than it used to be. Any mother searching for three pairs of matching socks for multiple children each morning while couch-diving for lunch change at 7 a.m. knows this is where it gets real. I can hardly keep track of the school calendar alone, admittedly standing at the bus stop not once, but twice last year before realizing it’s a professional development day, therefore, no school. Sigh.

With more homework signature requirements than a congressional bill, checks needed for book fairs and candy-o-grams and parental involvement in a hundred different little projects, school can feel more bureaucratic than the IRS. In one month I’ve had to create a foot-long boat, decorate a turkey in ways that symbolize our family culture (who makes this stuff up?!), and write two handwritten notes as my children’s “pen pal,” thanks to another program initiated by an over- zealous PTO president. And who on the green earth do they think makes these projects for first graders? My youngest can hardly wipe his butt, let alone construct a watercraft with raw materials.

stay organized back to school

And let’s not forget the most overlooked, underappreciated school task that is the making of the lunches, lovingly prepared by executive chef mama at 9:30 p.m. with one eye open each night. No amount of blasting my favorite Jesus Culture Pandora station makes this assembly line of joy a rewarding experience. Although there are exceptions. I have a friend with six kids who makes a regular practice of posting a photo of her homemade, aesthetically pleasing lunch lineup on Instagram. And Facebook. Each day a different ensemble, but always with a fresh side of arugula-mandarin salad. I’m happy her children are experiencing culinary magic at lunchtime, but stuff like this drives me into deep dejection, comparing this to the squished Ziploc bags of pepperoni wraps and PB&J my kids pull out every day. I’m always tempted to upload a photo of three Lunchables with the caption: “Lunches are done—time for a bath!” I know I’d get more likes.

Managing school activities and requirements can be exhausting, but I’ve found some helpful tips and tactics to help maintain sanity, especially with school-aged kids:

  • Always. And I mean always, plan outfits (socks are the key!), pack lunches, hunt down school library books, sign homework, complete permission slips, and find any necessary money, the night before. There is nothing worse than dumpster diving in the couch for hot lunch quarters at 7:30 a.m. “Who took the singles out of my purse?!” or cringing as your first grader boards the bus with flagrantly mismatched socks. “Navy and turquoise are both in the blue family, honey—now run!”
  • Resist the overwhelming temptation to ignore school and teacher newsletters. If you can fight your way past the clip art, emojis, and superfluous details about which life cycles, seasons, sight words, and number charts your child is learning at that exact moment in time, you’ll find some informational treasures. I deleted all e-newsletters until standing at the bus stop not once, until sending my kids to school in their pj’s after missing the “slumber party Friday has been rescheduled” email. Sigh.
  • Turn homework time into quality time, especially if you have more than one child, where it can be difficult giving them undivided attention. Even when they don’t necessarily need help, I think kids like knowing you’re there and their work matters to us. Sometimes it can be the only twenty minutes of alone time you really spend together.
  • Try to bang out the homework before dinner, or right after dinner, if the kids have afterschool activities. There are few weeknight surprises as frustrating as your child announcing he has an extra homework page, reading assignment, or heaven help us, some kind of project he “forgot” about at 8:00 p.m. Any mother cutting up library-loaned magazines (Jesus forgives) in search of warm climate amphibians need only learn this lesson once.

Here’s to a new year of fresh starts, pre-packed lunches, readily available ice cream money, endlessly matching socks, and scoring the good bus driver who smiles at the kids no matter what. Amen.

Jessica Kastner is the author of “Hiding from the Kids in My Prayer Closet,” and a contributor for Beliefnet.com, Huffington Post’s Christianity blog, and CBN.com.  When she’s not on the trampoline with her three boys in Connecticut, she offers her “fluff free” commentary at www.JessicaKastner.com.  

 

 

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorJessicakastner/
Facebook Community: #UnMom

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessKastner

 

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Have Kids That Struggle With Anxiety? These 4 Strategies Will Help

It’s hard being an anxious kid. You already have to worry about making friends and doing well in school, and then you add anxiety? It doesn’t seem fair. Kids spend all day in school being judged on their intelligence, but when you are stressed, you can literally lose IQ points. You start overthinking and overanalyzing why Jack was mean to you at recess or in the hallway and you can’t pay attention to your teacher. Or your mind goes blank and you can’t think about anything.

Sometimes it’s obvious your child is anxious – she’s nervous because it’s the first day of school or she has a big test. Sometimes, anxiety looks like other things, like a headache, upset stomach, perfectionism, or even anger, disruptive behavior, ADHD, or a learning disorder. If your child’s anxiety is affecting their grades, hindering them from going to school, or otherwise seriously hurting them, do seek professional help.

There are also some things you can do to help your anxious child:

 

Validate Feelings

Kids need to know that what they are feeling is real and valid. Once you validate their feelings and convince them you understand, you can then help them figure out how to calm down. To validate your child’s feelings, you can say:

  • I’m so sorry you are feeling so stressed.
  • What can I do to help?
  • Tell me about how you are feeling.
  • What do you need from me?

Avoid saying “Calm down.” Even though the situation would be made better if your child would calm down and you have your child’s best interests at heart when you say, “Calm down”, the phrase naturally invalidates your child’s feelings and typically results in an even less calm child.

 

Talk about Anxiety

Talk to your child about the science behind the anxiety. Even very young children can understand the basics of stress and kids love learning about their own brains. Talk to your child about the tension that builds up and how it can affect them. Help them notice the signs that they are becoming anxious – heart pounding, getting sweaty, feeling flushed. Then give them the strategies they can use to calm down, namely: BREATHE!

For a good video on anxiety and the brain, check out: Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions? By Kids Want to Know, on YouTube.

parenting anxious kids anxiety

 

Practice Being Calm

We need to practice calming down so that when we get anxious, we can effectively calm down in that stressful moment. So make working on self-calming techniques a daily habit, so that when your child is anxious, she can self-soothe.

Here are a few ways to practice being calm:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation (use an app like Calm or Headspace) or Belly Breathing for younger kids. Use a stuffed animal and have them place it on their stomach. Watch it go up and down as you breathe.
  • Exercise. While meditation and yoga calm our racing bodies, exercise uses up that energy to calm us down.
  • Create a Relaxation Corner. When your child comes home after school, before starting homework, have a relaxation session. Read a book. Do a sudoku. Snuggle with a parent or a stuffed animal. Drink some hot chocolate or tea. Use the relaxation corner to reset after your long day.
  • Release Emotions: Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg suggests releasing emotions by “Blanking it out”: dance it out, cry it out, laugh it out, draw it out, rap it out, write it out, sing it out, drum it out – the possibilities go on. Use that abundance of energy to do something productive. Once you are able to release your emotions, you can move on because you start to deal with your feelings.

 

Provide Predictability and Reduce Uncertainty

Anxious children are often scared of uncertainty or change. They need predictability to feel safe and calm.

For instance, if your child gets anxious about school work, she may be worried about not being smart enough to complete the homework, so she goes blank and can’t answer any of the questions, even though you know she knows the answer. Help her avoid this stress by previewing the homework together first, then taking a break, giving her mind time to think about how to answer the questions without any pressure, and then going back to the homework. This technique takes away the scary, uncertainty of what the homework will entail and reduces the pressure.

The number one way that kids learn is by watching their parents and mimicking their behavior. So start practicing those daily self-calming rituals yourself. Be the calm person you want your child to be to help show them how they can overcome obstacles and stress more easily when they are calm and collected.

 

About Katherine Firestone 

Katherine had a hard time in school because she suffered from undiagnosed ADHD till her junior year of high school. What made her successful during this time was the support system she had around her. After college, she worked as a teacher, and saw that parents wanted to help their kids at home, but didn’t know what to do. She started the Fireborn Institute to give parents ideas on how to help because success at school is enhanced at home.  

 

About Fireborn Institute 

Fireborn Institute is a non-profit that provides parents with practical and easy-to-remember strategies to help their children in school. Through our lectures, podcasts & handouts, we coach parents on topics such as helping with homework or conquering a messy backpack. Our ultimate goal is to help parents help their kids thrive at school.

 

Resources:

Borba, M. (2016). UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. New York, NY: Touchstone.

Ehmke, R. (n.d.) Anxiety in the Classroom. Child Mind Institute.

Ginsburg, K. (2015). Building resilience: Preparing children and adolescents to THRIVE. The Learning and the Brain Conference: Boston.

Minahan, J. (2015). Between a Rock and a Calm Place. The Learning and the Brain Conference: Boston.

4 Ways to Tell You’re an “Un-Mom”

For those of us who find motherhood less ‘natural’ than we expected, life can feel more like a circus than a life choice. We love being a mom, and cherish our kids, but we’re a bit less Proverbs 31 woman and more Lucille Ball when it comes to the daily tasks of mothering.  But rather than feeling defeated or “less than,” when compared to our more organized, ‘together’ kind of friends, God’s showed me how to let go of my need for perfection and appreciate the free-spirited, joy-centered mom I am, despite endlessly burnt dinners and Pinterest fails. Here are ways that you can identify, and celebrate, if you too, are an un-mom:

 

Child-centered activities send shivers down your spine

All it took was one “mommy & me craft time” at the town library to realize I must be missing a maternal chromosome causing other moms to seemingly feel complete joy while gluing pipe cleaners to rocks and begging their kids to stop eating crayons.  I felt similar dismay after loneliness and boredom led me to the unthinkable act of joining a local “mom’s club,” in hopes of scoring some adult company and snacking with both hands if my toddlers detached long enough. But instead of adult conversation about hobbies, current events, or perhaps pre-child stories of days past, there was only chatter about proper breast milk storage and organic baby food recipes. “How ‘bout that Trump?!” Silence. Same goes for activities like volunteering for the church nursery, and basically any other activity related to other people’s kids. Bless each lamb of God, but the last thing we want to do is swaddle someone else’s newborn or ration Cheerios when this is the first time we’ve left the house without yoga pants all week.

 

Your domestic life isn’t for the faint of heart

We’re not talkin’ a little clutter and dishevelment that a quick run ‘o the Dust Buster can’t  remedy. We’re talking the kind of disorder and mess that causes a dead panic when an uninvited visitor arrives, or when a friend texts she’s stopping by in ten. Because for un-moms, “keeping house” brings more than the average amount of difficulty for those of us who’d rather do just about anything other than vacuum or chart the kids’ chores on a white board. It takes focus, self-discipline and constant reminders that if we don’t put the laptop down (okay, yoga mat) and do laundry, our kids will be left wearing their birthday suits, or a Halloween costume to school tomorrow. Dinner looks more like a health risk then a meal time, and I’m fairly certain my only food-related Instagram post was that of a meatball so over-cooked, it permanently melded to the oven tray.  Who wants pizza guys?

 

not a pinterest mom

 

School activities

True un-moms immediately recognize there is no need to expound beyond this heading. Because for us, school-related activities like finishing a science project the night before… “you have to bring in how many pics of tree frogs?!”… searching for ever-elusive school library books, and trying to “help” with eighth grade algebra can be altogether overwhelming. I don’t know when the descent took place, but somewhere between Generation X and millennial movement, school has become so much more involved for parents. We’re talkin’ endless amounts of signatures, checks needed for book fairs, candy-o-gram forms and a hundred different little projects that require our participation. In the course of one month last year I had to construct a “green” boat, decorate a turkey symbolizing our family culture (who makes this stuff up?!), and write handwritten notes as my children’s “pen pal,” thanks to another stellar program initiated by an overmedicated PTO president. I think we celebrate more than the kids on that last day of school, clicking our bare footed heels in the air to embrace a three month break from making mediocre lunches with one eye open at night or tearing apart the house for school store money at 7 a.m.


It’s not that we can’t manage to keep sharp objects out of reach and sanitize plastic all day.  We just sometimes question our very existence after getting stuck atop the McDonald’s play scape or massacring another weekly Cub Scouts project. Especially come summer time, we can be tempted to skip our quiet time with the Lord because we’re so busy with the kids, and well, it’s hard to find time. But I’ve learned to somehow get my time in daily, even if it means hiding in my prayer closet, because I’m more patient and energized when gaining strength from him, not just the Death Wish Coffee. We need the Lord, and we need him now. Jesus, take the wheel…

 

Jessica Kastner is the author of “Hiding from the Kids in My Prayer Closet,” and a contributor for Beliefnet.com, Huffington Post’s Christianity blog, and CBN.com.  When she’s not on the trampoline with her three boys in Connecticut, she offers her “fluff free” commentary at www.JessicaKastner.com.  

 

 

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