Category: Parenting

Five chores to teach your kids this summer

Five chores to teach your kids this summer
Here are five chores to teach your kids this summer. I recommend having low expectations, some favorite kids' songs, and a bottle of wine on hand. Keep in mind that some chores take 5-50 times to learn. I've broken chores down into several age-appropriate skills. When it comes to chores, imagine a scaffold. Your kid isn't going to wash all the dishes on day one. Start at the bottom and work your way up. You may be surprised: this past Christmas, my husband let our 6 1/2 year old help with Christmas lights. For our son, he got to go on the roof with Dad. For my husband, he had an extra set of hands, and someone to talk to. Chores can be a bonding experience. Or, they can suck, too. Low expectations, remember? :)...

Five gifts for someone who just had a baby

Five gifts for someone who just had a baby
Baby Boy #3 is two months old, and my husband and I have been blown away by the kindness of our friends and family. Here are five gifts for the parents who just brought home a bundle of joy A home cooked meal. The appreciation of this gift cannot be overstated. My husband and I... Read more »

I don't want to fight about guns. I'm just one scared mama.

I don't want to fight about guns. I'm just one scared mama.
After the Sandy Hook shooting, one father's recounting of his final minutes with his son has always stuck with me: He stayed home a little longer before heading into work. His son was practicing piano, and he sat down next to him to listen. They played a few tunes together. That was it. Nothing epic. Just an every day occurrence; probably one that his son complained about doing, if he was anything like my six year old. And one that he never got to do again. When my son started full day Kindergarten this year, I knew that I would miss him like crazy. My intention was to spend at least 10 uninterrupted minutes with him before he left for school. On those mornings, when we get everything right, I am so grateful for these moments. We laugh together, and I send him off with a big bear hug. On those mornings when nothing goes right and we miss out on our precious moments, I'm flooded with guilt, and remember the Sandy Hook's dad's words. What if this was my last morning with my son? ...
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Five ways I suck as a mom...and what I'm doing about it

Five ways I suck as a mom...and what I'm doing about it
You can call them resolutions, goals, newfound awareness, whatever. Here are five ways I suck as a mom...and what I'm doing about it. 1) I have unrealistic expectations. This applies to me, my husband, and my children. Expectations can be extremely helpful. But for an anal retentive type A planner like myself, they often disappoint me. A few months ago, I was regularly feeling angry, annoyed, and frustrated more than I would care to admit. In almost every instance, I could trace it back to having an unrealistic expectation. What I'm doing about it: First, I'm identifying what I think will happen in a given situation. Then I'm asking myself, "How could this play out in a way that I'm not expecting?" It sounds simple, but it's made a huge difference...

Five Christmas gifts that won't annoy Mom

Five Christmas gifts that won't annoy Mom
Are you wondering what to get the kids for Christmas, but you realize that they don't need anything? And while the thought of more stuff makes you want to cry, the idea of awkwardly asking your family to NOT give presents makes your palms sweat? Here are five Christmas gifts that won't annoy Mom (and will still allow the giver to give something)...

Thank you for your many lessons, Difficult Child

Thank you for your many lessons, Difficult Child
Dear Difficult Child, Thank you for your many lessons. I was really starting to think that I was an amazing parent, based on your older brother, but now I realize that he is just a people pleaser who happens to be fairly EASY. You are neither of those things. But I want to thank you...
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The time that lady told my two year old to "SHUT UP!"

The time that lady told my two year old to "SHUT UP!"
When the random lady at the grocery store screamed, "Would you SHUT UP?!" to my two year old, it confirmed three things: The first was that people were judging me. Hard. How do I know? Because: Hi, my name is Erin, and I'm a recovering "judger" of other moms. My kid's screams would make strangers' heads turn, and make me want to hide my own under a rock. I'd pretend not to hear the annoyed "wow's" whispered in my direction. Several years ago, that would have been me, rolling my eyes and muttering under my breath. While that's hard to admit, I was definitely guilty of judging others. So I knew now that I was the one being judged. When the random lady at the store screamed, "Would you SHUT UP?!" to my little kid, it also confirmed... that he was- and is- LOUD. I don't doubt that every parent thinks his or her child can break the sound barrier. What I do know is that my son's scream is what it would sound like if a pterodactyl and a rooster had a baby, and then this creature infused its voice with essence of ambulance siren. When the lady at the store screamed, "Would you SHUT UP?!" to my son, it also confirmed, to my surprise, that people were on my side...

Three things that my screaming two year old is teaching me

Three things that my screaming two year old is teaching me
We've got a screamer on our hands, folks. I know that all kids scream at some point, but anyone who has heard it will agree: it is Ear. Piercing. Over the past three months, I've done just about every strategy in the parent handbook, but to little avail. The only conclusion I've come to is that I'm supposed to be learning something from all of this. Here are three things that my screaming two year old is teaching me:...

Meet Liam O'Shea: Our Irish Elf on a Shelf

Meet Liam O'Shea. He's definitely not from Party City, and definitely not meant to be worn on the shoulder of a drunken college kid...
One of my favorite family traditions arrives this month. His name is Liam O’Shea, and he’s our leprechaun. I’m not an Elf on the Shelf fan, as my husband is. I don’t like that his presence correlates to gifts, and honestly, my brain would explode if I added another thing to my to do list... Read more »
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Six reasons I want to be Ma from "Little House on the Prairie"

Six reasons I want to be Ma from "Little House on the Prairie"
Sure, life is hard when you have to worry about malaria. But here's how Ma got it right.
  1. Ma cooks organic. Maybe the family eats gamey meat, or fish for three months straight, but it's all fresh. Laura and Mary get candy once a year, on Christmas. I think about all the food my kids eat with added sugar, even though I'm fairly vigilant, and it astounds me.
2) Ma gets her workouts in. You know your jiggly triceps? Ma doesn't. It's called churning butter, washing clothes by hand, and every other task that she does. I find it ironic that we've invented all of these modern day conveniences, but now we have to squeeze in a workout, because we're not getting the exercise we once used to. 3) Ma's kids have no toys. Laura's doll for the first six years of her life is a corn cob. A. Corn. Cob...