Who wants a relaxing lunch?

Remember lunch breaks? When we were kids, it meant lining up on those cafeteria tables with your best buddies – trading an orange for a pudding cup. In high school, it was getting in your car and leaving campus to buy a slice of pizza in town, just because you could. In college, it was cramming for a test with your classmates while wolfing down a burrito. After graduation and in my first job, it was lunching with coworkers at new restaurants. And then there were kids.

At first, when I was pregnant, my lunch break turned into a time when I drove home and laid on my left side. Then, when my daughter arrived, lunch became me rushing to her day care to nurse her for a few precious minutes before rushing back to work.

When you’re a stay at home mom, lunch breaks pretty much mean you turn into a short order cook – serving up the masses and, if you’re lucky, grabbing a leftover chicken nugget off your child’s plate. Good luck ever having a meal sitting down, served the proper temperature and uninterrupted by a child demanding you wipe their butt.

When you work outside of the home, lunch breaks turn into this hybrid event of “get everything you can’t do after business hours done in 45 minutes while also cramming food in your face.” It might be meeting with a teacher or dropping off a payment at the bank. Or, it could be my lunch today: driving to Lenscrafters to beg them to repair my 9 year old’s glasses after what appears to have been a Tiger fight gone bad.

This kind of hybrid lunch seems to be a larger trend – with most moms I know turning a few lunch breaks a week into a marathon errand run. Is it that our lives have gotten so chaotic that we now must multi-task all the time? While I wouldn’t change my life for anything, I do occasionally long for the days when my friends and I would pile in my truck and speed to town to exchange $3 for a slice of pizza, a soda and a carefree lunch where all we worried about was getting back to school before the bell rang.

Let’s Play Mommy Bingo!

When was the last time you went out with the girls? No kids. No husbands. Just a moms night out. A friend recently had such an event with several girlfriends and they found themselves discussing all the elements of going out, sans kids. They talked about how you should get bonus points for things like not wearing yoga pants. And from there – the idea of Mommy Bingo was born. And so, I present to you the official Mommy Bingo game board. Print and take this with you on your next moms night out. See how many squares you can fill. Compete with your fellow mommies and see who can get five in a row first. You’ll notice there are bonus squares for wearing matching bra and panties. That better be a bonus square! The chances of that happening are like that of spotting a leprechaun riding a unicorn. And now you know too much about my underwear drawer…

Mommy Bingo

Summer Brain Drain

My soon-to-be 4th grader has a handwriting journal he’s supposed to be doing every day this summer. There’s a question prompt for each day – you know, things like, “If I had a super power, it would be….” Children’s abilities to find a way to shorten an exercise like this never cease to amaze me. Like, “My favorite color is_______ because…….” And the child responds with, “My favorite color is red because it rocks.” The end. No more.

Meanwhile, my soon-to-be kindergartener comes home from preschool typically lamenting the fact that he’s had to work on “projects” – aka, writing his name, coloring shapes, etc. Pretty much all the prep-work for kindergarten. If he hates it now…

And my soon-to-be 7th grader is happy to just read, which I think is great. She brought home a book she was given at the library that seemed a little dark to me. And yet, we’re loving reading it together.

I’m really trying not to overload them with too much. BUT, I’m also wanting to keep my kids on track and prevent summer brain drain. I found some useful worksheets online. http://www.education.com/worksheets/all/ Oh yes, I’m sure my kids will be just loving me for it. I at least want to make sure to keep my 4th grader’s handwriting improving. As of now, it’s looking like it’ll head down the path mine took – serial killer/doctor signature/hieroglyphics.

Do you make your kids do homework over the summer? Oh, and how many of you are already back to school? I just saw a friend post that her daughter started her first day back today. It’s still July!

I Hate Hitting

My youngest son has a new dirty habit: hitting. And here’s the fun part – I’m his only victim. When he gets mad, really mad he lashes out. I’ve found it’s the small things that set him off:

  • Don’t let him hang out in the arcade at the movie theater
  • Didn’t give him food fast enough when he asked for it
  • Refused to read a third book at bedtime
  • Won’t allow him to stay home alone instead of going to preschool
  • Made him put his shirt away

Any one of these infractions could (and have) lead to hitting, slapping and/or choking. And yet, again, it’s only me he does this to. Apparently this is a fairly common problem for moms out there – enough so that I found a variety of websites offering advice – everything from, “help her understand why she is getting angry” to “notice when your child is doing something positive, and reward the good behavior” to “look for patterns.”

Most of these sites talk about ways to prevent temper tantrums and/or hitting – but few actually give you a play by-play of what you should do during the actual act of violence. I think I need something more like “karate for kindergarten moms” or something like that. Although, I must say I did find some nuggets of advice on dealing with an actual attack – primarily, take them to timeout or lower your voice (reminds me of that meme about whispering to your child and how much scarier that is than yelling at them.)

Do your kids hit you? How did you get the abuse to stop?

Top 10 Alarming Calls From Your Kids

My two older kids are staying home by themselves today. They’ve been checking in with me a lot, all the time, so much my phone’s battery is dropping faster than a dollar bill at a strip club regularly. Most of the time it’s with questions like, “Can I go out and play?” or “What’s (insert friend’s name here) phone number?” and even the question-turned-tattle “How many times do I have to vacuum the floor because my big sister keeps saying I have to do it three times!” Yet, sometimes the calls I get from them end with me scratching my head and wondering what’s the rest of the story and do I need to come home right now?

And so, I bring you – the Top 10 Alarming Calls From Your Kids:

10. “I finished the laundry. Now all your clothes fit me, Mom!”

9. “Don’t worry about making dinner, Mom. We’ve got it covered.”

8. “How do I get the microwave to stop sparking?”

7.  “The dog just ate something funny but it’s okay because he threw it up and now he’s being really quiet.”

6.  “You wanted me to get my hair cut. Wait ’til you see it!”

5. “What time did you say you’d be home?” (Followed by a hushed voice in the background of the other sibling saying “We’ll clean it up before she gets here and she’ll never know.”)

4. “What kind of snacks do bears like?”

3. “Mom, where do we keep the first aid kit?” <— an actual question from my son today who wanted to know, not because someone was hurt but because he and his sister wanted to reorganize it. What?!

2. “That stuff in the bottle under the sink tastes gross.”

1. “Should I answer the door for the man with the weird bushy beard?”


Any more you’d like to add to the list?

There’s Bound to be a Letdown

My kids returned home today from an epic adventure spanning from Chicago to Disney World. Their days have been filled with extended family and lots and lots of fun. Tonight, I will pick them up from this whirlwind adventure and plant them back into the reality that is the typical summer vacation: food cooked at home, bike rides and chores.

I know I’ve quoted my step mother’s words of wisdom before, “You’re not their cruise ship director.” And yet, I fear the letdown. I worry about what they’ll expect after two and a half weeks of constant stimulation. We do a lot of playing outside, reading books together and playing board games. That’s got nothing on Mickey Mouse.

While they adjust to normal life again – you know, the kind that doesn’t involve theme parks – I hope they take it in stride. I hope there won’t be a letdown. I hope there won’t be a meltdown. But, above all else – I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THEM!

The Mess Remains

My children have been gone for nearly two weeks. I’d like to say in that time I have cleaned their rooms, organized their toys and shelves and read a few good books, just for good measure. I have done none of those things.

When my kids go with their dad – typically a week at a time – I leave their rooms the way they left them. Despite my constant longing for fairies to come to my house and clean it while I am sleeping, they never do. When I wake up, the mess is still there. I want my kids to know, the same goes for them. I am not the magical midnight fairy that cleans up their messes while they are away. If they made a mess, it’s still there when they get back.

Having said that, I had looked at these two weeks on the calendar – a two-week vacation they are spending with their dad – and calculated all the things I could get done. My daughter’s room is chaotic, beyond the typical mess. It needs order. She needs a place for everything to go. And we definitely need to purge some of her things. (She keeps everything from a scrap of paper she once doodled on to projects she completed in 2nd grade. She’s going into 7th.) And yet, nada. I had hoped to redesign her room so she’d come back to something all new. Then life got in the way.

The past two weeks have been filled, instead, with gardening and lots of it, and work and a week of a clean eating challenge that took two hours a night to accomplish. Oh, and lets not forget about the wildfire that danced its way toward our rec cabin – causing us to spend two days rushing up there and retrieving as many valuables as we could. Life gets busy. Messes stay messy. And while I’m not exactly zen about it, I’m just going to let it go.

So, the mess remains. And that’s okay. Because what’s that they say about cleaning while raising children? It’s like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos.

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