Friday, December 18, 2015

You Never Know . . . Hug More This Christmas.

Dear Mommies,

Last week a woman passed away at my workplace.

They found her in the ladies’ room. Although her co-workers called EMT immediately, it was too late.

She was dead about 20 minutes after getting in the office door. She wasn’t old or sickly.

I’ll admit, it feels kind of odd to be in the same ladies room stall as she was in her final moments. To know that her last breaths on earth were taken in her place of work. 

I don't think anyone wants to die where they work—unless it’s your business. Even then, we want to be surrounded by those who love us and by those who want to help us die peacefully.

I hate to be morbid, this blog is about encouraging you in your mommyhood journey. But I wanted to tell you that no matter what happens this holiday season—life is too short to stress or feel negative or overwhelmed.

So, promise yourself you’ll shop less and hug more. You’ll bake less and smile more. You’ll tell someone that you love them even when they aren’t acting very lovable. 

Please know in your heart of hearts, your babies would rather you around for them than hand-crafted gifts, cookies or toys.

Relax Mommies, you've got this!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Peace & Quiet

Dear Mommies,

The one thing you need this Christmas, you won’t get.


Oh, I know you’ll try, but I have a feeling that like me, you’ll have a ton of last minute things to do and gifts to wrap and cookies to box, and so on…And sleep will be put on the back burner. You’ll promise yourself that you’ll catch up on sleep after the holidays. You promise yourself lots of naps on the snowy days to come. And you promise you’ll finally feel refreshed when you wake up.


The problem with that plan is that the holidays merge into the new year. Like a race car. And the craziness doesn’t end. You’ll still have the day to day busy-ness of kids and house and heaven help us, the pets.

My advice (and I promise to take it myself), is to go to bed early. As much as you can. Wake up early if you still have lots to do. But it’s better to go to bed early, than to wake up late. You can’t catch up on sleep by sleeping later in the morning. And it’s impossible to do with toddlers. Because of our bodies’ sleep-wake cycles and hormones we can’t get any of those hours back. The late night feedings, colic and/or fevers that keep our babies restless, take away any sort of rest we may try to bank in our sleep savings account. Add in stress, and it’s an instant recipe for sleep deprivation.

The reason I’m pushing for sleep is that it the lack of it ruins your day, makes you irritable, foggy and forgetful. It should be a vitamin that we can just swallow with water. Like time—we really can’t get any of it back.

So this Christmas, give yourself the gift of sleep. Early to bed—that means before 10:00pm!

Relax mommies, you’ve (yawn) got this!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Embrace the Crazy

                                                          You aren't in control today.

Dear Mommies,

A long time ago, I heard a very crass comment from a man about a woman being a “slave” to her hormones. That same man became my husband and has since learned to respect both a woman AND her hormones.

It’s a tough for men—being on the outside looking in. On the surface women may appear irrational, but what's going on underneath is orchestrated chemical chaos. No woman wants to be emotionally vulnerable. We want to be in charge of our selves. It’s difficult to explain unless you go through it. Little girls can have tantrums, however, it’s socially unacceptable for a “big” girl to lose it in the supermarket because she purchased six boxes of zip-lock baggies that were supposed to be on sale. She wouldn’t have bought them if there wasn’t a coupon, okay?!

On the other end of the spectrum, women on the edge of menopause are grieving. Sure, they’re elated they no longer need to deal with pain, bloating and skin issues. But, they’re no longer fertile. Their child bearing years are over. They are no longer young. It’s rough. And it’s scary too. Hair dyes and skin toners can’t erase the inevitability of death. Menopause is a due date—not the good kind.

No matter where you are in your mommy journey, pay attention to those days when Hallmark commercials make you sob uncontrollably. Or when you have just glue-gunned yourself into amazing holiday project oblivion. Or days when you’d eat raw meat (right off your ex-best friend’s leg). When I fight those powerful urges to create or destroy, I am extremely restless and frustrated. Unfortunately, I take it out on family and innocent passers-by. Working against nature is a recipe for disaster.

Don’t make me sit and balance my checkbook when I am fuming over child abuse injustices. Don’t force me to be creative when I can only think about sleeping. Please, don’t ask me to go shopping with you, when there’s a cute little burlap bag at home that I can whip up in a second. Okay, 2 hours (darn Pinterest).

I will write when I feel the urgings to write. Or I will whirlwind through the house, fueled by a mocha latte (or two) destroying dust bunnies in my wake. I will take off from work and select the best holiday dress for you—I promise.

I have chosen to embrace the ebb and flow of these powerful chemicals, which are themselves affected by even more powerful forces— the moon, age and The Divinity.

I hope you do too.

Relax, mommies you’ve got this!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Thanksgiving: The forgotten holiday

Don't forget Thanksgiving

                                            Over the river and throught the woods...

Dear Mommies,

As the leaves finally change and collect in piles on the ground, we enter into the final months of the year. But in the post Halloween rush, retailers plunge us head-long into Christmas. Thanksgiving is only a speed bump to many stores. Sadly, many are open on the holiday, luring shoppers with deals and promises of amazing sales.

Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays that we have. For many reasons.
      Practically speaking, we see many family members we haven't seen in years.
      We get to show off our culinary skills--and surprise a few people with darn good cooking.
      Our munchkins finally learn how to behave at a formal dinner.
      We slow down, take a day off and gather around the table.
      We express our gratitude for food, family and all the blessings we've received.
Has anyone ever been thankful for you, a mommy?

It's too bad there isn't more time between November 26 and December 25. We often need much more time to be thankful for everything. Including moms.

Relax, mommies. You've got this!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Back to school: Feeling empty

Dear Mommies,

Feeling empty?

It’s that time of year and many of you have had to let go of your babies in one way or another. Whether you’ve just finished driving your “baby” out to the college campus of her choice or you’re dropping your angel off at pre-school, you may feel like something is missing or lost.

In her book, A View from Saturday, E.L. Konigsburg’s wise character, Mr Singh explains why a teacher is feeling a sense of loss after her students win a final academic victory. He points out that we cannot experience missing something if we’ve never held it close in the first place. He also explains to the teacher that she and her students are on a journey. 

And you Dear Mommies are also that teacher. You have been in preparation for the special days of “First’s.” First day of kindergarten. First day of High School. First Day of college. All that work, all your blood, sweat and tears end with each milestone. You celebrate them briefly and prepare for the next, until one by one all your firsts are gone. There's a victory and a sadness with each achievement.

Sure, you can take pictures of the bus, the prom, the college graduation. But the instant is impossible to relive. So, stop, inhale, seal the memory in your heart. Your child is on a journey with you and you need to appreciate every day. And teach your child to savor every victory.

Relax Dear Mommies, you’ve got this.

Monday, August 17, 2015

One Great Mommy

Dear Mommies,

I want to reflect on the life of my sister-in-law. We buried her recently—her body, not her spirit. She battled cancer for 22 years. Almost as soon as she graduated from college, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. But it didn’t stop her.

She worked; managing an office. She married her college sweetheart. She adopted two boys. She became involved in school and her neighborhood. She vacationed with her parents nearly every summer at the family shore house. She travelled and celebrated life. Her home was beautiful and welcoming—much like herself.

She endured round after round of chemo. She lost and regrew her hair at least 5 times, that I can recall. She lost the possibility of ever becoming pregnant. Because of the medications she took, her body was plunged into menopause at age 30. She endured hot flashes and night sweats. She had issues with a poorly designed implant, infections in sinuses and teeth and an IV port that nearly caused congestive heart failure. She had tumors in her liver, bone and brain. One year, she spent more time in medical centers and hospitals than she spent at home.

She toughed it out. 
Put cancer on the back burner of her mind. She hosted Thanksgiving dinner and holiday parties with and without hair. And each time it grew back, she became more beautiful. She attended school plays, sporting events and recitals. She attended the weddings and graduations of her nieces, nephews and her one son. She was given the blessings of her delightful, albeit mischievous boys, who kept her on her toes. A husband who was able to manage the demands of his job, his sons and her care. A mother and father who were at the ready to drive her to chemo or just hold her hand from the vomiting to the blistering heartburn. A sister who always managed a sunny, but practical attitude--in life, love and food. Friends and neighbors that always dropped in to find out who needed what—a ride to lacrosse practice, a dozen cupcakes, a snow shovel, a stamp for a letter, a shoulder to cry on.

We didn’t lose her spirit. As her 9-year-old son told his aunt: “I’m sorry you are sad. But my mommy is with me.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Shark Week & Goldfish

Dear Mommies,

Forget about Shark Week, let's concentrate on snacks.
Toddlers typically eat three meals and a snack. When they don't, or if they refuse, there can be some parental panic.

No worries: As long as they're thriving, picky eaters are simply testing the waters of food likes and dislikes.

Small finger foods, like goldfish-shaped snacks are often a life saver when it comes to your hungry little predator. They also munch on Cheerios, chopped fruit and pasta noodles.

If you think your baby is underweight, make sure you check with your pediatrician--weight is not always an indicator of poor health. BMI or body mass index, is a better benchmark. And it's probably better to have a slender child, than one that tends towards plumpness (see Toddler weight).

What's your toddler's favorite finger food?

Relax Mommies, you've got this!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Best words of your life...


Dear Mommies,

There are words and phrases that you will hear over and over again throughout your life as a mother.
They include (but aren’t limited to):

“I didn’t do it.”

'I don't want to."




“But [insert name] has one.”

"I promise to…"

I'll never do it again!"

"I want it!"

 “Will it hurt?”

Your reaction to them should be the same—sighs, smiles and eye rolls. But no matter where you are in the child rearing process: "I love you" never gets old. Use it often.
What are your most heard words?

Relax mommies, you've got this!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Summer Reads

Dear Mommies,

Thinking of you all as I plug my novel: Find Me a Woman.

You, mommies, are the inspiration for my character, Kate as she goes through the trials of loving a toddler. Like you, she’s made a lot of sacrifices and put herself last. 

But like her, you too deserve a little romance in your life.

Put your babies down for a nap, put your feet up and put my novel in your hands. (download at Amazon link: Find Me a Woman)

Relax mommies, you’ve got this!

Monday, January 5, 2015

new year, new view

By now, you've heard the numerous resolutions made by family and friends (maybe you've made a few): lose weight, get fit, improve health and make a fresh start. In general, be a better person.

Here's one for you this year: Make this the year you take a whole new view--of you.

As women and mommies, we often look at ourselves through a very narrow prism. We see our mistakes and failings more plainly than our own reflections. Sure, it's easy to see the spots, imperfections and flaws. We've been trained as mommies to have that critical eye to discern what's wrong or out of place. Don't get me wrong, striving for perfection is a good thing. Beating ourselves up because we didn't have the right diaper bag or matching socks, is not.

Expand your view of yourself this year with a gentle eye. Forgive yourself. Become your biggest cheerleader, not your worst critic. Extract what lessons you can from the mistakes and move on. Honestly no one in Target will remember the mommy who lost the sippy cup. Your embarrasment, like a dirty diaper, is uncomfotable but temporary.

Relax Mommies, you've got this.

p.s. and if you did lose that sippy cup, try this replacement: Munchkin Click-Count Sippy Cup (it comes in a 2-pak)