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A First Time Mom’s 4 Best (Technological) Friends

February 1, 2018
First Time Mom

First time moms get a lot of advice about the gadgets and gear they’ll need after their babies are born. This is not that type of list.

Sure, you may be interested in the latest advancements in baby swing technology, but, for at least the first several weeks, your little bundle will likely be more interested in the innovative crook of your arm than whatever new flying saucer 4moms has on the market.

I wouldn’t deny any new parent the latest bouncer, Boppy, or bottle warmer—it is a rite of passage for new parents to fill their abodes with twelve different lounging pillows, forty-five new swaddle blankets, and six variations of what essentially amounts to a basket on wheels before finally realizing their child will sleep in anything and anywhere as long as it is directly on top of them.

That said, brand new moms definitely need help during those early days. Thankfully, technological innovation is a first time mom’s best friend.

God only knows what parents did in the days before pay-at-the pump gas stations and drive-thru Starbucks (no, seriously, what did parents do?).

New parenthood is tiring. It helps to let the machines do the work for you. These are a first time mom’s four best (technological) friends.

First Time Mom

Amazon Prime

First Time Mom

Can you hear it? That’s the sound of a chorus of angels singing.

Or at least that is how it will feel when you’re one week postpartum, haven’t left your house since you returned home from the hospital (there may have been a pediatrician visit or two thrown in there, but that could have been a fever dream), can’t remember your last hot meal, haven’t peeled your baby off of you since the doctor announced “it’s a boy,” just realized your nesting instincts didn’t remind you to buy baby wipes and toothpaste, and you hear the glorious THUD of a Prime package arriving on your porch.

Amazon Prime is a life saver. Can’t find that tube of lip balm you threw into your hospital bag a month ago? Prime it.

Everyone lied and your little one actually does need those newborn size diapers after all? Prime it?

Lost your sanity? Prime it. Err, you get the picture.

You will leave your house eventually after having a baby (promise!), but in the meantime, having the essentials sent to your home at the push of a button will make you feel as though you aren’t a grizzly recluse cast away from society.

Opening a postpartum Prime package is like opening a mystical time capsule from 48 hours ago, only better, because a postpartum Prime package has snacks and fresh t-shirts.

Netflix

First Time Mom

In addition to your friend Amazon Prime, you will get up close and personal with your other best friend, Netflix.

Newborn babies eat and sleep a lot, most of the time while tethered to, or at least very close to, their moms.

There won’t be a whole lot of opportunities for interpretive dance during those early weeks, and regardless of whether your nature is up and at ‘em or couch potato, you will likely spend a lot of time hanging out in bed, on your couch, or on that expensive glider in the nursery while your baby eats…and eats…and eats, and maybe sleeps.

You will, of course, spend hours staring lovingly at your little cherub, and rightfully so.

But, eventually, you will look up, and unless you like staring at the wall, you will likely end up catching a few (hundred) episodes of your favorite show.

Voice Texting

First Time Mom

Do you have three hands? No? Then you may want to consider using voice text if you don’t already.

I had never used my phone’s voice texting feature before I had my son.

What can I say? I’m old fashioned and don’t like to speak into my phone unless it’s directly into someone’s voice mailbox when I call at a time I know they won’t pick up.

You will spend approximately one-hundred-and-seven percent of your day cradling, feeding, or snuggling your baby, which will occupy at least one of your arms.

Your remaining arm will be used to eat or drink, and, of course, hold your phone so you can text friends and gawk/recoil/gaze whimsically at social media.

At some point, you’ll want to type more than a single word to those friends and unless you possess Gumby-like dexterity, texting with one hand will get old.

Your baby will also appreciate you not dropping your phone on their head as you passionately argue on your mommy board about the relative merits of cloth-diapers versus regular and co-sleeping versus never sleeping again.

Smartphones in General

First Time Mom

In addition to kindly storing access to Amazon Prime, Netflix, voice text, and all your friends, smartphones offer several other features helpful to new moms.

Need to check your baby’s weekly milestones? There’s an app for that. Need to track feedings? There’s an app for that, too.

You could buy a sheep-shaped sound machine to play gentle ocean waves so your baby can sleep, or you can download the same thing on your phone and carry it with you all throughout your house, your friends’ houses, your car, and the grocery store.

Don’t want to throw on the lights for a midnight feeding and the nightlight is in the nursery where your baby still doesn’t sleep? Use your phone’s handy dandy flashlight while you stumble around and change diapers.

In sum: your smartphone will save your sanity. So, try to keep it charged.

New moms receive a lot of advice about what to buy before the baby comes.

These four technological innovations are the only thing a mom absolutely needs. Prime will take care of the rest.

Humor

12 New Year’s Resolutions Your Toddler Won’t Be Making This Year

January 3, 2018
Toddler Resolutions

Toddlers are a special bunch.

I’ve written before about the joys and challenges of parenting toddlers, and how painfully beautiful it is to watch them grow.

They are energetic, loud, playful, demanding, expressive little people. While parenting them can be exhausting, there is a lot they can teach us about life.

There is no question that toddlers live life to the fullest. They max out the potential of every millisecond.

This time of year is filled with talk of reflection and resolutions–things you did well the past year and things you’d like to change going forward.

You won’t find toddlers entertaining such discussions though.

Instead, they are content in their perfect innocence, bending each day to their will the way Superman bends steel.

While we desperately love our toddlers, there are probably a few things we’d change about them if we could.

Since our toddlers won’t be making any resolutions this year, I took the liberty of putting together a list of resolutions for them.

Of course, your little one won’t be sticking to any of these, but you will still love them to pieces anyway.

At the end of this list, I’ve also included 5 beautiful things your toddler already does that they will keep doing this year.

12 New Year’s Resolutions Your Toddler Won’t Be Making This Year

Toddler Resolutions

1. Eat more vegetables. 

2. Try to take less than two hours to wind down and fall asleep at bedtime. 

3. Sleep through the night and wake up at a reasonable hour (remember to ask mom and dad to define “reasonable.”).

4. Calmly accept that chocolate and ice cream are not breakfast foods.

5. Let mom and dad watch a television program they like once in awhile (they only watch what you watch because they love you).

6. Drink more water (pool water doesn’t count).

7. Sleep in on weekends–and let parents sleep in, too!

8. Gracefully accept the limits parents set.  

9. Carefully select toys to play with instead of haphazardly dumping everything on the floor twelve times a day.

10. Remember that “I don’t know” is not an actual meal mom or dad can make.

11. Give mom and dad at least a second to finish responding to a request before making another request.

12. Remember that the floors and walls at home are not blank canvases for art projects.

And here is a list of five beautiful things your toddler will continue doing this year.

1. Amaze you with their growth and understanding.

2. Express love and gratitude to family and friends in the most surprising and thoughtful ways.

3. Say hilarious things you’ll want to write down for posterity.

4. Model your behavior–the good and bad–and make you reflect on yourself.

5. Grow perfectly into the individual they are meant to be. 

 

 

Humor Motherhood

The 5 Things You’ll Forget as a New Mom

December 1, 2017
new mom

When I was a brand new mom, I found myself suddenly forgetful about almost everything in my life.

Having a baby ushers in a whole new world of things to remember.

In addition to the basics–remembering to feed, clothe, and diaper your baby–there is also the matter of remembering an entirely new set of stats for this brand new person: first, middle, and last names; heights and weights that change faster than the seasons; and a new birth date and Social Security number.

Not to mention all the other numbers you’ll have to commit to memory: the pediatrician, poison control, and the nearest pizza place for when all of this remembering inevitably makes you forget to make dinner.

Here are the other things you’ll forget as a new mom:

1. Your Wallet

new mom

Most likely, you never had a reason to carry a diaper bag pre-baby. Before I had my son, I carried a variety of cute handbags that I would carefully pick out and match to the day’s events. I had one wallet, and whenever I’d swap out a bag, I had the time and wherewithal to ensure that my wallet and whatever else I wanted to bring was in my new bag before I went out.

Post-baby, I still had nice bags, but most of the time, I was stuck carrying an overstuffed Vera Bradley diaper bag that was supposed to whisper “chic mom” but instead screamed “confused, help me.”

I didn’t always keep my wallet in the diaper bag, and on several occasions early in my son’s life, I left the house with him and my burgeoning baby bag only to realize later that I forgot my wallet at home.

Being a new mom, the journey to even get out the door was like climbing Everest, and realizing that I forgot my wallet was like realizing that I didn’t have my climbing gear.

Strangely, each time that I came to this distressing realization, it happened in a Starbucks drive-thru after I placed my order, but before I paid (because of course).

Very likely, you too will forget your wallet at a crucial moment, though I pray that it is not as important a time as being in line at Starbucks.

2. Special Occasions

new mom

Pre-baby, I was the Queen of Birthdays. I had everyone’s birthday preset on my calendar, and when someone’s special day came, my gift to them was often the first gift they received.

Frequently, I led the charge on birthday parties, in addition to anniversary gatherings, graduation celebrations, summer bashes, and anything else that warranted personalized gifts, cake, and a cheese platter.

After having my son, however, the only special occasions I was able to recognize with consistency were the ones that involved sleep.

Sister’s birthday? I’m sorry, but this Amazon gift card sent two months late will have to suffice.

Baby only woke up once last night? Party time.

3. To Pay your Bills/Renew Something

New Mom

When my son was about six months old, I somehow managed to forget to pay three different bills.

Each time, I resolved the issue and got the company to waive the late fees, but by the third time, I was gritting my teeth as I proclaimed “this has never happened to me before.”

Around that same time, my husband found a months’ old letter from the DMV stating that it was time to renew my vehicle registration. Of course, I had forgotten to do that as well.

Maybe you won’t forget to pay your bills or renew your car registration during the first year of your child’s life, but I guarantee, you will forget something, and it will make you feel like a delinquent adult.

4. The Day/Month/Year

new mom

 

My son was born on the cusp of late winter/early spring. Following his birth, I barely knew what hour it was most days, let alone what day of the week or month it was.

I returned to work during the summer, and, following my return, I continued existing in the timeless vortex recognizable only to new moms.

In early fall, a couple of months after my return to work, I participated in a networking event at my alma mater with a group of first and second year law students.

Typically, in the early fall, first year law students are engrossed in their studies and not allowed to look for outside employment. I should have been aware of this, and yet, I was somehow operating under the belief that it was late spring instead of early fall.

During the event, I kept wondering why every student casually responded “no” when I asked if they had found a summer job yet. I spent the entire event thinking to myself that this class of students was bizarrely unmotivated until I realized that it was early October and not late May. New mom fail.

5. A Spare Outfit

new mom

At some point during the first year of your baby’s life, you will forget to bring a spare outfit.

When this happens, you will find yourself frozen dead in your tracks as you hover, panicked, over a plastic changing table in a public bathroom.

You will find yourself wrapping your baby in a blanket, or a sweatshirt, or whatever you can find that will allow you to escape to the exit with some dignity and grace and not result in a call to CPS.

You will rush outside with your blanket baby into questionable weather, hoping none of your neighbors want to stop and chat when you get home.

It’s OK–it happens to the best of us.

Yes, at some point during the first year of your baby’s life, you will forget something that will make you wonder what happened to the composed, competent adult that existed before your little bundle came into the world.

Hopefully you don’t also forget to laugh.

Did you ever forget something important during your first year as a new mom?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Humor Motherhood

9 Small Luxuries I’m Thankful for as a Mom

November 23, 2017
thankful mom

Happy Thanksgiving!

Recently, I came across this piece discussing the things exhausted moms are really thankful for this year. It made me laugh, but it also made me think about what would be on my list if I were to create one. So, in the spirit of giving thanks, I give you the nine small luxuries I am most thankful for as a mom. Let me know if any of these are on your list!

1. Kid Gyms

Thank you, kiddie gyms for giving my toddler a safe space to run loose and burn off crazy amounts of energy before nap time. Whether we show up for a scheduled class or for open play, I know that my little guy is going to safely have the time of his life.

Rather than dangling from the towel rods at home, he can hang from a horizontal bar intended for little bodies with actual mats in place for when he takes the inevitable spill. Instead of bouncing off the walls and furniture, he can flip around an enormous bounce house intended for such shenanigans.

So, thank you, again, kid gyms for sparing my home and my sanity.

2. Apps that Deliver Things to my House

Where do I even begin? Thank you, delivery apps, for saving my time and sanity on dozens of occasions.

You’ve delivered dinner to my home on evenings I was too busy or exhausted to throw anything together myself.

You delivered sushi and gallons of milk to my door on days I was trapped at home with a sick toddler.

You are like a reverse drive-thru window, which is somehow even more convenient than a regular drive-thru window.

You are so appreciated, delivery apps. Thank you.

3. Remote Servers

Thank you, remote servers, for without you, I would have no way to work outside the office.

Working from home can sometimes feel like working on a desert island, but the remote server helps me feel connected to everything that’s going on. Plus, without it, working from home likely wouldn’t be feasible, which would mean less time spent with my little guy.

So, thanks for existing, remote server! I am glad you’re around.

4. Nap time

Nap time, you have given me so many hours of uninterrupted productivity and relaxation.

Constantly attending to the needs of a small child requires more focus than studying for the bar exam.

When the morning has been 100 hours long and it looks like a toy tornado has stormed my family room, you swoop in and save the day. You arrive gallantly, placing a momentary pause on the chaos.

And when you leave, everyone is recharged, refreshed, and ready for Round 2.

Thank you, nap time. You are a true hero of the parenting world!

5. Family Memberships

This list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t thank family memberships.

We have family memberships to basically every place that sells them. The zoo, every museum, our botanical gardens. They are a surprisingly cheap way of securing endless hours of family entertainment nearly every day of the year.

Because you only pay one time for the year, it feels like you’re getting in free every time you go. Just don’t blow $30 in the gift shop every visit and you’re golden (ahem).

Rainy days, snowy days, lazy weekend days, no school days, no nap days: they are all made easier by the family membership.

If I could change one thing though, I would make every museum or zoo open earlier and close later. The hours between 5 AM and 10 AM can be a real bear when everyone is wide awake with no place to go. Then again, I suppose that’s what Target is for (thank you too, Target!).

thankful mom

6. Online Workouts

Online workouts are the greatest thing since sliced (whole grain, organic) bread.

I’ve been a regular exerciser all of my adult life. Pre-motherhood, I spent hours in the gym every week. I was still able to hit the gym fairly regularly after I became a mom too until a move and a change in work schedule meant I could no longer get there as easily.

Enter the online workout. There are so many reliable programs from which to choose. Some of my favorites have included BBG by Kayla Itsines, Adidas Runtastic and Results, Peloton, and online barre classes from Buffalo Barre (my personal favorite).

Online workouts, you’ve made it possible for me to continue my favorite activities while also providing the steady stream of endorphins that makes me a generally pleasant human being to be around. My family thanks you–as do I!

7. Starbucks

I know: a mom thanking Starbucks is super original. But this is my list, and my list would not be complete without it.

I don’t even like coffee, but I love Starbucks. As a teen, I loved their hot chocolate. As a college and law student, I loved their quiet tables, hot chai, and wi-fi. As a mom, I love the quick snacks, Refreshers, and drive-thru window.

Whether it be a sleepless night, looming deadline, or generally rough day, a stop at Starbucks is an instant pick-me-up.

So, thanks Starbucks. For as long as I can remember, you’ve made the crunch time better.

8. Amazon Prime

Of course Prime is on this list too.

In my pre-mom life, I had occasionally relied on our Prime account for various things, but it wasn’t really a necessity. Why would it be? As a non-mom, getting out the door was simple, and I definitely wasn’t concerned about things like diaper subscriptions.

After I became a mom? I’m pretty sure I placed my first Prime order from the Mother Baby Unit at the hospital.

And I haven’t stopped since. Thank you, Amazon Prime!

9. Spa Days

Finally, I must thank spa days.

After spending 105% of my days taking care of my home and family, it’s nice to just relax and be pampered a little.

Plus, there’s nothing like a good facial to hide the fact that you haven’t slept a full night in two years.

Thanks, spa days!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you enjoy this day with family and friends.

What small luxuries are you thankful for this year?

 

 

 

Humor Parenthood

The Ten Commandments of Parenting Toddlers

November 21, 2017
parenting toddlers

Parenting toddlers is an experience. They’re navigating the big world as brand-new people with their own thoughts and feelings, which they can’t wait to share with you every minute of the day.

They have big preferences and big emotions.

As a parent, it can be difficult to guide someone who is innocent enough to believe in talking trains, but independent enough to defy directions.

Thankfully, there are some simple rules you can follow to ensure you survive your child’s toddlerhood relatively unscathed. So without further ado, I give you the Ten Commandments of Parenting Toddlers.

The Ten Commandments of Parenting Toddlers

parenting toddlers

1. Thou shall repeat thyself. Loudly and often. Practice talking to some of the walls in your home. Have a conversation with a blaring television set. This will be good practice for trying to converse with a stubborn toddler.

2. Thou shall adorn thine home with shrieking plastic battery-operated toys. The louder, the better–in color and in sound. It does not matter what your previous decorating styles were. Your home is no longer Transitional Contemporary. You’re a Marvel/Disney family now.

3. Thou shall throw all home cooked meals directly into the trash. No one’s going to eat that.

4. Thou shall line thy pockets with M&M’s lest you find yourself without a bargaining chip while trying to leave the park with your offspring. M&M’s are no longer just a sugar-laden treat you find loose at the bottom of your purse. They are your ticket to a quiet car ride home. They are your negotiation strategy. They are the only currency that matters.

5. Thou shall never watch a television program thou enjoy. In fact, cut the cable and subscribe only to YouTube channels that specialize in unboxing Kinder Surprise Eggs. Had a long day? Good. Flip on a YouTube video and watch an irritating family build a trainset in their living room. Do you feel relaxed now?

6. Thou shall never get a full night sleep. A toddler is like a newborn that can walk, talk, switch on the lights, and hop into your bed at 3 AM.

7. Thou shall have a filthy car. Get a head start on the mess by vigorously shaking a soda can and then cracking it open. Pour a gallon of milk in the backseat. Crumble a bran muffin and crush the crumbs into the floor.

8. Thou shall never arrive on time. Even if you managed to survive your child’s new babyhood as a perpetually punctual person, toddlers are a different animal. You’ll be on time until your toddler spends twenty minutes running away from you while you try to put his shoes on, or hops into the rear of the SUV instead of climbing into his car seat.

9. Thou shall never finish a sentence. Or a thought, or a conversation, or a meal without being interrupted 746 times so they can tell you all about Thomas the Train or Batman or Dory.

10. Thou shall be patient and loving. For all their challenges, those little people are a wonder. For while they can be salty, they are still generally sweet, and usually still cute enough that their antics will make you laugh instead of cry.