What A Spouse Really Wants When They Are About To Crack

I was on my way home from work when Mel called and told me she was about to crack. The kids had been arguing all day, and making messes, and arguing, and making messes, and arguing… you know the feeling.

She’d finally had enough and was hiding in our bedroom to get a break.

I rolled my eyes. Hard. I let out a long exacerbated breath and told her to calm down. I told her she was overreacting and it wasn’t that bad. I said, “How hard is it to be home with the kids all day?!” I told her she was being ridiculous. I gave her a good toughen up talk, because women love that. And she agreed with me and changed her outlook on life and motherhood. And once I got home, she was so grateful that she made me a sandwich and we had sex.

NAH! Just kidding.

I didn’t say any of that because that would make me huge dickhead. And honestly, if you have ever said even a fraction of that, check yourself, because you’re a jackass.

What I actually did was listen to her. I didn’t make suggestions, or criticize, or talk down to her. I didn’t say a word. I just let her vent because she needed to get it out. I reaffirmed her from time to time, with an “oh wow” and “I’m sorry” and “that sucks.”

Kamilia M/Reshot

When I got home, I didn’t go to the bedroom to talk to her. I didn’t ask her to come out, or tell her to get it together, or state that I was home, and ask how I could help. I just started making dinner.

I talked to the kids about how they were acting. I sent one child to her room because she was throwing a fit and punching her sister. I got the other two cleaning the table and taking out the trash.

But, most importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, I left Mel alone in our room until she was ready to come out.

Listen, being home alone with three kids under 12 for weeks and weeks, trying to get ahead on projects, trying to clean, trying to do summer workbooks, while also trying to be a fun mom is exhausting and maddening with only the occasional brief Instagram-worthy moment.

I know this because I was a stay-at-home dad for one summer. Just one, and I couldn’t believe how long the days were. I couldn’t believe how much I wanted to get done at the beginning of each day, and each and every day, I was sidelined with fits and arguments and messes. I can remember cleaning the living room. I felt good about it. I dusted my hands and went to do the dishes. By the time the dishwasher was running, my kids had filled the living room I’d just cleaned with baby dolls and a race car set. I can remember sitting next to my middle daughter, trying to help her with a summer workbook so she’d be ready for kindergarten. It took 100% of my concentration, nearly three hours, and tears from both of us, to get through one lesson. I got nothing done, I was so frustrated, and I felt like a total failure. (Soon after, my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, but I didn’t know that yet, so I just felt like a failure.)

I didn’t get a break because the kids never stopped wanting and needing and fighting and asking for snacks. There were days that I just couldn’t do it anymore, and I put myself in our bedroom so I could breathe. I didn’t need someone to come in and tell me how ridiculous I was being. I didn’t need a pep talk or a put down. I just needed a some time, so when I come home from work, and Mel is about to crack, I watch those kids so she can take the time she needs.

Once Mel came out, she vented some more and I listened. Dinner was almost done. I’d let our youngest out of her room and had her picking up her coloring books. Our other two had set the table. In the time she was in her room, I’d broken up two fights and burned some of the beans, but things were moving along.

Close to an hour after I’d gotten home, we were all at the table, Mel feeling like a sane, slightly rested, and heard version of herself.

Listen to me, my wife is the best thing ever. Hands down. She is the mother of my children. She is the one person I can confide in. She is the love of my life, and frankly, giving her the time she needs to stay not only sane, but more importantly, happy, isn’t that much to ask.

It isn’t.

All it took was listening, pitching in around the house, and providing a short break so she didn’t completely lose it.

How hard is that?

Not that hard.

And totally worth it.

The post What A Spouse Really Wants When They Are About To Crack appeared first on Scary Mommy.

I’m In My 50s But I’m Not Living The ‘Empty Nest’ Lifestyle

Being a mother of five-year-old twin boys at the age of 53 is a whole other level of tired. Like 4th-circle-of-eternal-boulder-pushing-with-Sisyphus-riding-piggy-back tired.

Some days I just don’t know where I’m going to get the energy.

The boys’ constant demand for attention is so… demanding. The endless bickering, boundless messes, bottomless hunger… it all saps my energy.

While they themselves are unending bands of the stuff, bouncing and careening over any and all semblance of peace and order. And Legos and PlayDoh. And happy meal toys and wrappers. And the last remaining vestiges of nerves that make up my life.

I wonder… can I steal some of that energy? Harness it for the stamina I need to entertain these green goblins of go-gettedness for the next fourteen hours? The next 15 years? Because I seem to have zero reserves of go-gettedness left. Zilch.

I don’t recall being anywhere near this kind of tired when my girls where little. But then again, I wasn’t anywhere near this kind of age when my girls were little. I was a young mom to young kids. Now I’m a — well, let’s just say an older mom to young kids.

Which makes my life way more than a wee-bit more exhausting. I would swear I’m anemic, but they’ve tested me for that.

Mercy. Most days I beg for mercy. And mercifully, most days, there’s the swimming pool.

Swimming is their favorite right now. They love to splash in the coolness, to feel the ripples across their shoulders, to dive beneath the surface and hear their warbling words come out in whomps that burst in bubbles above their drifting curls.

So I take them to the pool. For them — and for me. It gives them play. And it gives me peace.

It’s the easiest part of my day right now. Demands diminish in the calm, soft ripples of silver and blue. The boys splash and play like sweet little sprites, and I’m granted a blessed disconnect from the harshness of my real — and really hard — world. Until…

My goggles are slipping! I’m hungry! My noodle is missing! There’s a frog in the pool! Parker won’t talk to me! Tate broke my head! I’m h-u-u-ungr-r-r-ry!!! 

The whines cut the calm like a chainsaw, severing it into the bloody little jagged pieces of pandemonium that is my life.

And it dawns on me. I’m not anemic. I’m exsanguinated. There’s nothing left to bleed.

I saw a story the other day from the Wall Street Journal celebrating a slew of women in their fifties, empty-nesters with newfound freedom to fly the coop and reinvent themselves.

One woman picked up and moved to the crater of a volcano. Another biked across the United States in a peace sign pattern. A third went snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands. None, though, said, “Hey, I’ll raise a second set of kids.” None.

Many women I know commented on the article, saying they’d had their children early, and now they were living their best lives.

Well… I had my children early. And I had my children late. My nest is ragged and worn, with a whole lotta years left to go.

Perhaps there’s a reason God made sure most women don’t have babies after 40, much less 48.

And now, in my summer of 53, with school about to begin again, and Sisyphus and his boulder on my back, and my 5-year-old twins in my nest, and me on my own for the next six months while my husband resumes his football duties — I refuse to believe I can’t still reinvent myself. In my fifties. With a far-from-empty nest.

I will work even harder to make this writing dream of mine come true.

I will continue to carve out words from the smallest slivers of time. I will keep stringing stolen seconds into sentences. I will keep climbing the steep and thorny path of progress while keeping my nestlings as content as two five-year-old boys can possibly be. Which isn’t very. And not often.

But I will not give in. Because inside the exhaustion of it all, there is also inspiration. And there is also breathtaking beauty.

This morning, my little goblins came creeping into my bedroom at Seven-Zero-Zero, as my oldest son says. (They are NOT allowed to leave their rooms until that six-five-nine has flipped. And they waste nary a second once it has.)

For a minute, I so wanted to bark at them to go back where they came from and just let mama sleep.

But then, they are where they came from… curled up on my body like fiddlehead ferns, tentacles tracing my cheek, lips kissing my eyelids, chattering away like baby birds about their daddy and the swimming pool and the desperate need to water the garden before it rains. We have to GET UP… NOW. And how could I be mad at that?

They are where they came from, and they are where they belong. For this season. And for always.

And yes, there’s a reason God made sure most women don’t have babies at fifty. But you know what? I’m not most women.

I can raise these boys with the grace and the grit they deserve. With the same grace and grit I raised my girls with. I will. They deserve no less.

And I can also write my memoirs and my musings and murder my little darlings (it’s a writing metaphor, please do not be alarmed…) with the grace and the grit that I deserve, too. I can and I will.

Because I’m not most women.

I had my children early, and I had my children late. My family is beautiful and messy and more-than-I-can-handle most Mondays and a whole lot of other days, too. But still… I am absolutely living my best life and reinventing myself, too.

And while I’m not swimming with turtles off a Darwinian desert isle, it is still survival of the fittest in all its glory. It’s all fight and all flight. And while most days I feel I’ve been exsanguinated, I’m not dead yet.

Have Mercy!

The post I’m In My 50s But I’m Not Living The ‘Empty Nest’ Lifestyle appeared first on Scary Mommy.

No One Tells You That You’ll Miss Your Child Before They Grow Up

I look into my daughter’s sweet face, and it’s strange, but I miss her already. I miss her young self and these years where she is still my little girl. Where she still thinks I am someone to adore and spend most of her time with.

I know that we are hurtling towards the teenage years when emotions and angst start to rule her mind and I have already started to miss her, and I wonder…

I wonder how long she will still climb into bed with me in the mornings for a snuggle before she has to get up to get ready for school.

I wonder how long before she will no longer naturally slip her hand into mine when we are walking through a crowded place.

I wonder how long until she stops thinking I’m one of the most important people in her little universe.

I wonder how long before she stops thinking that my corny jokes are hilarious.

I wonder how long before she starts to get exasperated over everything I say or suggest.

I wonder how long before her friends’ opinions start to outweigh mine.

I wonder when she will no longer run from whichever corner of the house she is at when I arrive home for the day.

I wonder how long before she stops getting comfort from me playing with her hair while she rests her head in my lap.

I wonder when I’ll stop getting hugs before leaving the house, even if I’m just quickly running to the grocery store.

I wonder when the promise of a hot chocolate will stop being enough to get her to do extra chores for me on the weekend.

I wonder how long before going out with her friends is more appetizing to her than staying home and watching shows with her Mama on a Friday night.

I wonder how long before she stops needing me so much. Needing help brushing the stubborn tangle out of her hair, needing help getting her cheerleading uniform on properly, needing help with figuring out her math homework.

I wonder how long before I’m not one of the first people she runs to when something great happens and the first person she turns to when she’s hurt and needs some comfort.

I wonder how long before she starts pulling away from my hugs (temporarily I hope, but I know that it might come).

I wonder how long before she doesn’t want me to come tuck her in at night and say bedtime prayers with her.

I wonder how long before she doesn’t beg me to volunteer for the school trip so that we can spend that extra time together on a school day.

I wonder how long before she doesn’t really care if I come to the class play or the holiday concert (and just a head’s up kiddo, I’m going to come anyways).

I wonder how long before she doesn’t curl up right beside me on the great big couch. There’s lots of space but she always wants to be squished right up against me and I wonder how long I will get to have that.

There are so many “I wonders” as I watch my girl grow up. It’s such a hard and beautiful process to watch her sprout her wings and grow up and away from me in her independence. And right now, it makes me sad. It makes me want to grab a hold of this time right now with both hands and try to freeze-frame it. It makes me want to press pause and soak it all in and to emblazon these memories on my brain.

Don’t get me wrong, I know she’ll still love me as a teen, and as an adult, but it will feel different. It will be different. And I’m not ready for the change. The good part is that it will not happen overnight. It will be gradual and while we go through these years, I will cherish each of these things that she still does with me that I love. As they slowly drift away one by one, I’m sure I will find new and still beautiful ways to relate to my girl. New ways to connect with my teen or my adult child.

But I’m sure I will still be sad when one day she doesn’t climb in bed for morning cuddles anymore.

We are Scary Mommies, millions of unique women, united by motherhood. We are scary, and we are proud. But Scary Mommies are more than “just” mothers; we are partners (and ex-partners,) daughters, sisters, friends… and we need a space to talk about things other than the kids. So check out our Scary Mommy It’s Personal Facebook page. And if your kids are out of diapers and daycare, our Scary Mommy Tweens & Teens Facebook page is here to help parents survive the tween and teen years (aka, the scariest of them all.)

The post No One Tells You That You’ll Miss Your Child Before They Grow Up appeared first on Scary Mommy.

The Day I Slapped My Child

It was a typical morning spent rushing to get my older kids out the door for school. There were breakfasts to be made, homework to finish and lunches to pack. It wasn’t a particularly memorable morning. We’d just gotten back from a trip overseas to visit my husband’s family in Scotland. I remember feeling jetlagged and cranky. My husband was out of town for work, so his usual helpfulness was absent. I have so many excuses.

Our son, who recently turned 4, had been sick with an ear infection. The pharmacy had forgotten to flavor his medication, so I had been trying—and failing—to get him to swallow his antibiotic. I bribed, cajoled and begged him. Finally, after an hour of tears, he reluctantly drank the yogurt and strawberry-laced concoction. It was to be his first day back at Pre-K in two weeks.

I noticed the time. I had a conference call starting in 30 minutes. We made our way to his bedroom to get him dressed. He’d begun wearing a uniform to school right before we’d left on vacation. That morning, I realized quickly its novelty had worn off. I set out his shirt and was met with immediate tears. “I no want to wear this shirt, Mama,” he proclaimed, fists tightly balled. I tried to keep my cool. I explained, as best as one can do with a toddler, that everyone in his class had to wear the same shirt. I told him it was the teacher’s rules—happy to throw her under the bus and save myself. The tears started to flow, and no amount of reasoning mattered. Every time I inched near him to put on the shirt, he would thrash and flail about.

I sat on the floor for what seemed like hours. I consulted the clock. With just minutes left to get him in the shirt and to school before I was late for my call, I attempted to hold him between my legs and force the shirt over his head. He arched back, and his head slammed into my nose. And I lost it. In that moment of pain and surprise, I smacked him clean in the middle of his tiny back. Hard. The sound was deafening. His big brown eyes met mine, and he started to wail. I sat, dumbfounded, equal parts surprised and disgusted.

I pushed the shirt the rest of the way over his head and hauled him crying into the car. On the short trip to school, I tried to talk my way out of what happened. “I’m sorry, Buddy, but Mommy is late for work. If I don’t go to work, I will be in trouble. Do you want Mommy to get in trouble?” Not only had I violated his trust, now I was also giving the impression that it was somehow his fault.

By the time we arrived at school, his tears had subsided. We walked silently to his classroom. As we turned the corner, his fat little fingers intertwined with mine. I lost my breath. What had I done?

I made it back to the car before collapsing into sobs. What kind of person was I? Would he ever look at me the same? Should I blow off work and spend the day making it up to him? But that wasn’t possible. I had violated a code. I am meant to be his protector. It is impossible to undo what I’d done.

When my husband called to check in, I could not tell him what had happened. I was too ashamed to admit what I had done. What kind of mother slaps her child? It was a mistake a thousand apologies could not erase. I am not a violent person. I don’t behave like this. This isn’t how a mother is supposed to behave.

At the end of the day, I went to pick him up from school. He was on the playground racing down a plastic slide. He spotted me and came barreling toward me, leaping into my arms. I felt elation and crushing guilt all at once. There is no amount of logic or explanation that can rationalize this event.

I know it is impossible to be a parent and not lose your temper. Having three children, there have been hundreds of times I was in similar situations, and I never laid a hand on them. Parenting is full of a million choices. But on that day, in that moment, I made the wrong choice. One I will never forgive myself for.

The post The Day I Slapped My Child appeared first on Scary Mommy.

When You’re A Parent Trying To Break The Cycle

To some extent, I think we all spend a fair amount of time comparing our own upbringings to our children’s. How could we not? We see our childhood selves in our children’s faces. Maybe we seek wisdom from our own parents about how to get it right. Or we decide that our parents didn’t make the best choice about a particular aspect of raising us, and we make a point to do things differently.

But if you come from a broken home – if you were raised by parents who were emotionally or physically abusive, or had a childhood marked by pain, loss, or turmoil – the comparison game can get very intense, very quickly.

Now, there are people who come from childhoods like these who simply raise their children exactly the same way they were raised. This is tragic, and while hard to imagine, it’s understandable to some extent, because breaking the cycle of pain and abuse is hard AF.

Many of us, though, are on a mission to change the narrative of our lives, to tackle the mental health issues and toxicity that run through our family. Many of us are doing everything we can to give our kids a childhood markedly different than our own. And oh my goodness, I applaud this. I am one of you, and I know how much courage it takes to get to that place of deep self-reflection, of positive and active change.

Luis Galvez/Unsplash

Yet I also know there is a downside to all of this. It’s called pressure. And guilt. And stress. It’s the feeling that you are constantly failing your kids. That maybe you won’t actually break the cycle. That the image of what you desperately hoped your kids’ childhood would be is totally different than reality.

It’s the realization that maybe you won’t ever be able to afford the house of your dreams in the kind of “white picket fence” neighborhood your struggling parents could never afford. It’s seeing your child battle with the same mental health condition or addiction that you have, that your parents had, that runs straight down your family line. It’s shouting, stomping, and yelling at your kids and hearing your mother/father/abuser in your voice. It’s realizing that your marriage is failing just like your parents’ did. It’s realizing that you married an abuser, a narcissist, an addict.

When my kids were little, I did everything I could to give them the childhood I never had. A dozen years later, I see so many ways that I succeeded. My kids have two loving parents who would never hurt them. Their lives are stable; they have everything they need.

But we struggle with money in much of the same ways my own parents did. I always desperately wanted to be able to afford to buy house for my kids. That was something my single mom could never afford. This year it became clear that is really never going to happen for us. And I have mourned it deeply.

One of my daughters seems to have inherited my anxiety disorder. I see her struggle with perfectionism, insomnia. Her anxious tummy has caused her to miss school more than once. I look into her eyes as I see a panic attack set fire to her soul, and I wonder: “Why couldn’t I have saved her from this? Did she pick up on all those times I struggled with anxiety when she was little? Did I cause this?”

Sometimes the grief and guilt of it all is too much to bear. I go over in my mind where I could have done better, in what ways I might have repeated the cycle of pain, loss, and abuse inflicted on me in childhood. I wonder if my daughter’s life has somehow been as unstable as mine was even though she didn’t move dozens of times, her parents didn’t bitterly divorce, and she didn’t experience verbal abuse from a stepparent.

But I also see the way she and her sisters are thriving. I see how they are happy, how much they love their lives, how real and honest and damn authentic they are. And I see that they are resilient – even when things are difficult for them, they bounce back, they persevere. Each night my kids pour their hearts and souls out to me, so I also know they have a safe place to land, something I didn’t always have growing up.

Besides all that, I know that no childhood can be perfect. That’s impossible. And anyway, experiencing zero pain or struggle is not what we want for our children. They need to know how to get through tough times. No one is immune to that.

I think the thing to remember is that simply by making a choice to make things better for your kids – by acknowledging that you are working on breaking the cycle – you are doing so much for your kids. So much.

Many of us who come from troubled or toxic homes were given the message that we are less than, that we are always going to mess something up. Maybe that’s why so many of us put this excruciating amount of pressure on ourselves to make perfect childhoods for our kids.

What a gift it can be to realize that you are enough, that you’re doing everything right – and that your kids have everything they could possibly need, and are going to be just fine.

The post When You’re A Parent Trying To Break The Cycle appeared first on Scary Mommy.

Free Printable School Lunch Box Planner

Last updated on August 21st, 2018 at 09:35 am

This Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 School Lunch Ideas is a life saver! Helpful back to school tips. Parents will love these healthy and new school lunch ideas for kids.

Free Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 school lunch Ideas. New healthy ideas for school lunch ideas for kids. Back to school menu calendar.

Free Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner

Isn’t it hard to come up with new school lunch ideas? I’m excited to share a free printable school lunch box planner to help you out! Because our school starts soon, meant it was time to start think about school lunch box ideas. I began writing a bunch of ideas down. Instead of packing the same school lunch each week, I plan to get a little more creative this year. I’ve made super creative school lunches like these Powerpuff Girls Sandwiches, but there is no way I can do that everyday!

To help with planning ahead for fun but simple school lunches, I designed a free printable lunch box meal planner – basically a weekly calendar to help parents get organized. I also put together a free printable list with 85 school lunch items to add to your kid’s lunch boxes.

I hope these school lunch box ideas will help you get organized for the school year with some new and healthier lunches for your kids!

Originally published August 25, 2014 

85 School Lunch Ideas with a Free Printable Meal Planner

 This Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 School Lunch Ideas is a life saver! Helpful back to school tips. Parents will love these healthy and new school lunch ideas for kids.  

Both of my kids are very picky, so I do my best to find healthy foods to pack for their lunch. My daughter is pretty easy and loves when I add cute notes or draw on her food with edible markers.

Finding creative school lunch ideas for my middle school aged son, who is the most picky, is really challenging. Here are a few school lunch ideas I have packed for him. They might not be the healthiest ideas around, but it’s a start to get him to try SOME healthy things.

 Free Printable School Lunch Box Planner with 85 Lunch Ideas. LivingLocurto.com

Make your own pizza bagels and writing notes on napkins is always fun! He is now in high school and I still make this for his lunch sometimes. Bagels are great for school lunch, because they fill up the always hungry boys and don’t get soggy like bread. We love to use these –> Easy Lunch Boxes!

Free Printable School Lunch Box Planner with 85 Lunch Ideas. LivingLocurto.com

 

Creative School Lunch Idea!

Watch the video below where I make Sandwich Sushi. It’s always a fun lunch box idea that kids love!

 

Get ready for Back to School with a School Lunch Box Meal Planner!

Free Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 school lunch Ideas. Enjoy this back to school menu calendar.

This Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 School Lunch Ideas is a life saver! Helpful back to school tips. Parents will love these healthy and new school lunch ideas for kids.

Download the School Lunch Free Printables

Start planning your kid’s school lunch by clicking the links below to download the free printable planners:

>> Free Printable Weekly School Lunch Planner

>> Free Printable School Lunch Ideas

 © 2018 LivingLocurto.com 

I’d love to see how you use these printables! Snap a photo and share on Instagram and use the hashtag #LivingLocurto.

Living Locurto Facebook Page

You might like these lunch boxes:


collapsible lunch box

 

You might also enjoy these back to school lunch ideas!

 

20 Hot School Lunch Ideas for Kids

20 Easy Hot School Lunch Ideas for Kids! How to keep food hot in a Thermos and simple back to school lunch tips for kids who don't like sandwiches.

 

Top 5 Tools to Make Animal Shaped Fun Food

Top 5 Tools to Make Animal Shaped Fun Food - Cute Bento Lunchbox Ideas

 

Back to School – Free Printable Lunch Notes

Back to School - Free Printable Lunch Notes!

Make a Back to school bento lunch box!

A fun food School Bento Lunch is the cutest idea ever! Kids will smile when they open their lunch box to find this adorable edible paper, pencil and eraser.

 

Pin It…

This Printable School Lunch Box Meal Planner with 85 School Lunch Ideas is a life saver! Helpful back to school tips. Parents will love these healthy and new school lunch ideas for kids.  

The post Free Printable School Lunch Box Planner appeared first on Living Locurto.

Days of the Week Closet Tags

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags are a simple way to get organized for back to school and help kids get dressed on their own in the mornings!

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags are a simple way to get organized for back to school and help kids get dressed on their own in the mornings!

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags

I love this idea for Days of the Week Closet Tags that I came up with to help keep my kids organized and ready for school. It’s been a lifesaver! No more stressful mornings and my kids learned their days of the weeks at a very young age.

Getting organized for back to school and ready for my kid’s daily routines is a huge help for a busy mom like me. To make mornings much easier, we chose clothes for each day of the week and hung them on a low closet rack for my kids to reach. Then I designed some cute Days of the Week Tags to hang on each outfit’s hanger. The Days of the Week Closet Tags have the day of the week written out and a giant letter for kids not old enough to read.

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags are a simple way to get organized for school and help kids get dressed on their own in the mornings! 

Originally Published on August 26, 2008

How the Days of the Week Closet Tags Work

To help you visualize how these tags work, I’m sharing a photo of my son’s closet from when he was in kindergarten. We still do this and he is now going into the 5th grade!

The night before school, he takes the designated outfit off of the hangers and lays it on the floor by his door. This way he won’t forget to get dressed before coming downstairs. We usually make silly poses with the clothes and that makes it even more fun!

Get organized for school with cute tags to help kids get dressed in the morning! LivingLocurto.com

These Days of the Week Closet Tags are also perfect for my daughter, because she can go a little crazy on the layering! This causes much less decision making stress in the morning! I designed the pastel pinks and purple Days of the Week tags for her closet.

More great ways to get organized for back to school:

 

Get Organized & Print the Days of the Week Closet Tags

Printable Days of the Week Closet Tags are a simple way to get organized for back to school and help kids get dressed on their own in the mornings! Print in primary colors or pastels. #organization #printables #kids #backtoschool #livinglocurto

Please visit my shop to buy these fun printable Days of the Week Closet Tags in primary or pastel colors. I hope this printable design helps you as much as it did me!

UPDATE: My son is now going into the 10th grade and I still use these!! LOL!! What’s great about a printable design is you keep the file and print as much as you like. Enjoy this one for years!

Click here to print Days of the Week Closet Tags

 

Printables By Amy - Party Supplies and Fun Printable Designs**IMPORTANT** If you have clicked here from a site featuring this as a free printable, sorry that freebie has been expired since 2010 (I created this design in 2008 and my readers enjoyed it free for over an entire year). You can purchase the tags here now at a very affordable price. – Thank you!

 

Days of the week closet tags to get kids organized for back to school.

 

 

The post Days of the Week Closet Tags appeared first on Living Locurto.

I’m In The Sweet Spot Of Parenting, And I Don’t Want It To End

A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with a writing colleague and we got to talking about our children. I mentioned something about my kids cleaning their own bathroom, and that I loved how independent they’ve gotten even though in a lot of ways they still feel little to me. “Ah, yeah,” she said knowingly. “You’re in the sweet spot.”

The sweet spot, she told me, is the enchanted period of a child’s growing up when they are past needing you to wipe their asses and tie their shoes and pack their lunches, but haven’t yet become so independent that they’ve decided they don’t need you at all. Sandwiched between diaper bags and poopy blowouts and unfathomable exhaustion on one side and attitude and sneaking around and pulling away on the other, the sweet spot is the golden age of parenthood.

My sister gave birth to her third child a couple of years ago after an extended gap. There are nine years between her second and third kid. That little boy is the most precious angel to ever grace the surface of the earth, but he’s still a baby, and babies are a shit ton of work. My sister had to regress her lifestyle back to scheduling her days around naps, always having extra diapers and a snack everywhere she goes, and planning vacation sleeping arrangements around a baby who goes to bed four hours earlier than the rest of the family. And someone always has to wake up early, because babies wake up freaking early.

I have friends on the other side of the sweet spot too, friends whose kids are firmly entrenched in their teenage years. My blood pressure rises when they relay their stories of explicit social media exchanges, drugs and alcohol and sneaking around, anxiety over grades and getting into college. I still have total control over what my kids see on the Internet, whether their homework gets done, who they talk too, where they go and for how long and what time they come home… How am I going to relinquish this control?

Seriously, I’m asking. How do you do it?? I think the teen years might actually kill me.

My kids are right in the beautiful, comparatively calm middle of these two extremes. They are capable of impressive levels of critical thinking, and yet still assume I know way more than they do. Just today my son and I had a conversation about terminal velocity. He had no idea he went over my head with his talk of how atmosphere and gravity limits the maximum speed of a falling object. He still thinks I know everything, and far be it for me to correct him just yet.

My 8-year-old daughter is independent, preparing her own breakfast, cleaning her own room, riding her bike by herself to the neighbor’s house down the street. But she still needs me to do a few small things, like brush her hair in the morning before school or read that special picture book just because. When she cries, I am still the first person she runs to. I love that she still needs me like this. She is still my baby, but minus the work of an actual baby.

It’s the same with my 12-year-old. He’s gotten to where he can cook with a fair amount of confidence (and without catching the house on fire), and when he does chores, it’s a genuine help. He cleans the bathroom as thoroughly as I do and even mows the lawn. And yet he still often climbs into my lap for a snuggle. He still likes me to lie beside him at bedtime while he reads his book. He’s not a baby anymore, but he still likes hanging out with me.

Here in the sweet spot, we get to stay out late but can still keep tabs on our kids. I no longer dread the nuclear meltdown that will happen at 8:01 because my baby is not in bed at exactly the appointed time. This past New Year’s Eve we stayed at a friends’ party until 3:00 a.m. My daughter crashed on the couch with a few other kids around 1:00, and my son stayed up partying with the other big kids until 3:00.

And yet my kids aren’t old enough to go out by themselves and get into trouble. I cannot imagine the fear and frustration of waiting up for a kid who is breaking curfew. What if they’re not responding to texts? What if they’re hurt? Or worse? How do parents get through this stage??

I’m going to cherish every moment of this sweet spot. The teenage years are fast approaching, and based on the stories my friends tell, I’ve got a serious roller coaster ride ahead of me. For now though, I’ll put on my blinders and enjoy what time I have left with these sweet babies who, thank goodness, aren’t actual babies.

The post I’m In The Sweet Spot Of Parenting, And I Don’t Want It To End appeared first on Scary Mommy.

One Of My Closest Friendships Ended, And It Still Hurts Like Hell

Around this time two years ago, I was facing an emotional crisis. I started to drift from one of the greatest loves of my life. And it hurt more than anything I’d ever experienced with any boyfriend in the past.

The falling out was spontaneous and I was accused of being neglectful and irritable during pregnancy. There was a time when I saw my moodiness as the cause of the falling out but, truthfully, it was just an excuse. We’d started drifting apart long before, and I didn’t have the heart to let go.

That lost love was the end of my relationship with my best friend. As a result, I began sulking and having nightmares a few times a year. But even though the relationship was over, that wasn’t the end of this person in my life. Whenever she needed someone to increase her confidence or reassure her that [insert name of current boyfriend] was the problem and not her, she’d reappear — only to vanish from my life when I’d seek closure or grow accustomed to her presence.

Each disappearance hurt a thousand times worse than the last. It didn’t take long to see that I was being used. I started catching her telling me pointless lies. And it was clear she didn’t want to commit to my friendship as much as she did her other relationships.

Then one day, she just stopped responding to my messages altogether. And it hurt like hell. 

Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll ever completely heal from that pain. But I know I have to learn to move on if I ever hope to be okay. I know I’m one of many girls who was left high and dry by their best friends after some huge life event. If I had the chance, here’s what I’d like to say to my former friend:

How are you? I hope all is well.

I spend a lot of time thinking about you. A lot more than I should. Especially for someone who decided they didn’t want to be a part of my life anymore.

Sometimes you’re in my dreams. Often it’s me sitting there. You appear and we’re in conflict, but it always gets better. We always reconcile and start the process of rebuilding what we had.

In the world in my head, it doesn’t take long for things to return to normal. We laugh like we used to. We smile like we used to. And we stay out until the wee hours of the morning, laughing at dumb shit like we used to.

The seven to eight hours in dreamland feel like months or years. It’s so convincing that I return to the times you were the first person I would call when anything happened. Certainly long enough for me to expect to see your name attached to the notification on my phone when I wake up.

But a return to consciousness means a return on pain. Each blink of my eyes erodes the world of hope for reconciliation and returns me to a contemporary land of abandonment and lies. More often than not, I cry.

I miss the way we could find something funny about a blank sheet of paper.

We’ve seen each other naked, without awkwardness, more times than I could count. We had a level of intimacy that knew no bounds. I would sit in the bathroom and talk with you while you showered or talk with you through the door while you used the toilet. 

You were more than my friend. You were my sister. We were Thema and Lousie.

I’ve wiped the tears from your eyes with my hand. In the past, you have given me the literal shirt off your back.

Our book of history had more stories than one could imagine. But now all I have are the pictures.

The pictures of my biggest successes that all have one thing in common — you are there. Until one day, you weren’t anymore.

Now I’m left with these pictures that I am afraid to delete because I would hate for you to come back one day and I’d have not saved them.  

We’ve fought before, but never for this long. We’re different people now.

I don’t know why, but I can feel it. I have little faith we will be together again, and it’s been painful.  

But then something changed. You found something that you always wanted, and we didn’t fit anymore.

It hurts that you went from self-proclaimed godmother to not acknowledging the birth of my first child.

But there’s something that I want you to know. Hearing your name might be like a punch to the gut, but I wish still you success in life. I check on you through social media to be sure you’re okay. I ask mutual friends how you’re doing. And I always will.

I do not regret a single late night rush to be at your side. I would not take back a single dollar spent to see you smile. I will never try to replace the hole that you left in my heart when you decided you didn’t want to be my friend anymore.

But I cannot hold on and obsess any longer. You have made it very clear where you stand. And I am now letting go.

Making Friends As A Mom Is Really Hard, But Here’s What I’ve Learned

I’d just moved 800 miles away from my family when I found out I was expecting a child. My husband’s job required that he work unpredictable hours and travel for extended periods of time. Like many expecting moms, I was lonely. To make things worse, I’m an ambivert — there are times when I crave and enjoy social interaction, but there are often times when I want to be left alone, only emerging to make sure that my son has food and someone to dump his potty.

In a perfect world, moms like me could type in their interests into an app and be connected to a compatible mommy buddy. Just think about it, a Tinder for mom friends — swipes and all. Imagine how much benefit we could get from that. So many of us have tried to use Facebook as a friend finder, but let’s be real, those relationships hardly ever turn into anything aside from broken playdate promises.

Bottom line: It’s really hard to find friends as a new mom.

And for people like me who battle anxiety and depression, making friends can be exceptionally hard. Thankfully, I’ve learned a little bit about some of the best ways to establish and cultivate new friendships. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned:

Be upfront.

I’ve noticed that things go better for me when I let others know exactly what to expect from me when I feel an interest in the relationship. I also understand that some people think that might be revealing too much too soon. But as I said before, there are periods of time when my friends won’t hear from me for weeks, if not months, at a time. There’s nothing wrong with taking the space you need as long as you are transparent about it within your relationships. No one deserves to be strung along and discarded suddenly.

If you are the type of person who needs space from time to time, let your friends know that. Any good friend will understand.

Don’t pretend.

It’s never good to pretend to be someone you’re not. This is especially important when trying to establish new friendships. When I first moved to the place I live now, I was in dire need of friends. So I started meeting up with mothers who shared some of my secondary interests — things that I thought were cool, but did not have a deep understanding of or desire to learn, like knitting and sewing.

At the time, I was excited to have moms to interact with and feel like I had a circle of friends. Fast forward years later and I don’t interact with any of those women. We had very different political beliefs, including ideas about religion, oppression, and gender equality. At the time, though, I saw those minor interests as a gateway to a long-term relationship. They weren’t.

There’s nothing wrong with trying new things, but it’s also okay if you don’t get along with everyone. It’s perfectly fine to miss out on a few friendship meet-ups if it saves you the few weeks or years of heartbreak.

Don’t take it personally.

There will be plenty of people who you think you hit it off with, but they feel completely different about the relationship. It’s normal to get a friend request, but they never respond to your messages again. It just means that you two were not compatible. I know it’s difficult, but don’t take it personally. You deserve to have friends who have mutual investment in the relationship. Don’t try to force any type of relationship that comes off as one-sided. You’ll feel better in the long run.

Keep searching.

I cannot overstate the importance of not giving up on the journey for finding compatible friends. I know, you’re tired of meeting duds and going on friendship dates with nothing to show for it. But I promise someone is out there for you. You can believe someone is out there based off of some kind of divine inspiration of the universe looking out for you. Or you can look at it through the lens of social science like I do.

As much as we like to believe we are extremely diverse as humans, we’re not. There is less than 0.1% difference in each of us regardless of race, religion, or gender orientation. That said, I can statistically guarantee you that there is someone out there who shares your feelings and will be compatible with your friendship style. All you have to do is find them.

Moving forced me to do a lot of thinking about the work involved in establishing friendships. I was surprised to discover that old cliche “I was looking for something that was right in front of me” was true. The people that you met earlier on in your life could be exactly what you need when you’re feeling lonely. I’ve gotten much closer to my hometown friends in the last few years. The distance may be great, but the love feels greater.