Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Six Advice Books I'm Pretty Sure My Kids Are Reading When I'm Not Looking

As the mom of a preschooler and a baby, I've read lots of advice books and blog posts on how to get your child to do - and not do - certain things. Sleep, use the potty, pay attention, learn the alphabet - if someone has written advice on it, I've probably read it. The problem is that, not only have my children NOT read those same books to see what their response is supposed to be to my awesome parenting techniques, I'm pretty sure that they're secretly reading advice books that tell them to do the exact opposite of what my advice books are trying to get them to do. A thorough search of the house has still failed to turn up any of these books, but we're also missing one of every single pair of socks my son has ever owned from birth through age three, so there's almost definitely a secret hiding spot somewhere that I haven't discovered yet.

1. Mommy and Daddy Sneak Away at Night, and Other Bedtime Truths
From the author of self-help book "Sleep is for Suckers" comes this behind-the scenes guidebook explaining what happens when you sleep and why you should avoid it as much as possible. Are you full, dry, warm and generally comfortable enough to sleep? You won't be after you explore eye-opening secrets such as "Everybody Does Fun Things Without You at Night" and "Someone Else is Drinking Your Milk When You're Not Watching." It's time to wake up to the truth... literally. Better wake everyone else up, too, while you're at it.

2. The Baby's Guide to Marking Your Territory
This quick read explores the basics of spitting up, diaper blow-outs, drooling and peeing while being changed as methods of letting everyone know what things - and people - belong to you. The newest edition of this book comes with a sneak peak of the next book in the series, "The Toddler's Guide to Marking Your Territory," including a preview of the first chapter - "Permanent Markers and You."

3. The Art of the Tantrum
Perfect the basics of the tantrum, then learn to build on them with advanced techniques such as the "Foot Stomp," the "High-Pitched Shriek," and the "Get Everyone in the Store to Look at You."

4. Eat This, Not That: Baby and Toddler Edition
Green beans? Bad. Pennies and pieces of fuzz? Good! Learn which foods you should reject without even tasting them and which food-like items will guarantee you a fun trip to the hospital where they'll give you stickers!

5. How to Watch as Much TV as You Want
Written by several experts in the field of parental control, this ground-breaking new book teaches you how to wear down even the toughest of parents to the point that they will let you watch cartoons all day just to get a break. Using the scientifically proven five-step process - sleep deprivation, incessant whining, excessive mess-making, interrupting all adult conversations, and asking difficult questions - you can be well on your way to watching 8+ hours of television a day!

6. Too Cute for "No!"
In this motivational and affirming self-help book, you'll learn to harness all of your cuteness potential to get whatever you want! Through the power of positive thinking, your parents' unconditional love for you, and that adorable little lip quiver you do when you don't get your way, discover how you too can be "Too cute for 'No!'" (Foreword written by that kid in the commercial whose mom just laughs when he makes a gigantic mess.)

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

So what do you do all day??

Sometime last year, Dan, Lucas and I were at a restaurant where you stand in a buffet-type line, load up your bowl with proteins and veggies, and then they are cooked in front of you and served over rice. The line was kind of long, so Dan and I thought it would be best if we went up one at a time so Lucas didn't have to wait in line for a long time (which, for the record, was a terrible idea, because Lucas and I were pretty much done eating before Dan even sat down with his food. Anyway...) I was waiting in line with my bowl and Lucas's, and I was in front of a twenty-something-year-old couple that sounded like they were on their first date. They were doing the whole awkward get-to-know-you conversation, and I was eavesdropping because A- the girl was about six inches away from me, and B- I don't get to listen to adult conversation all that often. It was pretty much standard first date conversation, and then the female started talking about someone she knew (her sister, I think.) And she said, "She's a stay-at-home mom. Her husband works, and she gets to stay home all day and do whatever she wants."

I couldn't help it. I laughed. Really, really loudly. Because, while I'm really thankful that I'm able to stay home with my kids, I have never, ever, EVER wanted to clean up vomit. But I do it. Sometimes several days in a row. Sometimes several times a day. (My son has a majorly sensitive gag reflex.)

Then a few weeks ago, a friend was telling me about how a neighbor who is in college was talking to her about being a stay-at-home mom, and she asked, "So what do you do all day??"

So apparently, there's still some mystery surrounding what stay-at-home moms do all day. And really, I should probably just let the mystery remain, because, well - most of us pee with the bathroom door open; this is the only mystery we've got left.

But an idea came to me in the shower (which is where all my ideas come, pretty much, because it's the only place I can hear myself think) that maybe we stay-at-home moms could maybe pull back the curtain and let the world in on the glamorous, fun, exciting world of what we do all day. So I started a new Instagram account called "What does Mom do all day?" And this is where you come in. If you're a stay-at-home mom, you're invited to take over the account for a day! I'll email you a temporary password, and for one day you can post between 2 and 10ish funny, interesting, or teeth-grindingly awful (because, you know, be realistic) glimpses into your life. I'll also periodically post photo "challenges" (like "show me your kid's biggest mess") for moms to post on their own Instagram account, and I'll repost some of my favorites. You can also submit one-time "stay-at-home mom slice-of-life" photos to be posted on the account by emailing them to bejaneum (at) gmail (dot) com.

(Just for the record, this is not a "stay-at-home moms are better or more busy or more hard working than work-outside-of-the-home mom" thing. Working moms are amazing! I just think that if you work outside of the home, people maybe ask the question "what do you do all day" less frequently, because, you know, people assume they know what you do when you tell them what your job is. Unless your job is confusing. Like transpondster*.)

Here are the guidelines:

1. You must have an Instagram account, public blog, or public Facebook page (and be able to verify that it is, in fact, your account) or you must know me in real life. (I just need to make sure that you're not going to take over the account only to post 100 pictures that say "Buy discount designer sunglasses!")

2. You should be a stay-at-home mom. (I'm not going to come to your house and check or anything, though.) And if you work part-time or work at night but stay home with your kids all day or freelance from home or something, that's totally fine. Just, you know, if you're a full-time TV news anchor or a member of Congress, you might not fit in the population we're looking for here.

3. Please don't use the account to try to sell anything! If selling something is part of what you do in the course of a normal day, you're welcome to include a relevant picture, but please don't post anything with the sole purpose of selling something, getting people to sign up for an email list, etc.

4. Try to make it funny, interesting, unique, etc. But you're not being graded on this.

5. Feel free to tag (and invite people to follow) your own Instagram account at the end of some (or all) of your posts! If you're looking to grow your Instagram following, hopefully this will help!

6. If the response gets overwhelmingly crazy, I might switch this to an email submission only thing.

Interested? Email me at bejaneum (at) gmail (dot) com and I can send you more details.

So... what do you do all day??

*Please tell me someone recognized that Friends reference.

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sign #4,432 That I'm Definitely a Mom

This past week, we went to an indoor water park for a few days. On one side of the building, there was a hot tub that was half indoors and half outdoors. While my mom watched the kids, Dan and I went outdoors to sit together in the hot tub. A light snow was falling, and the steam was rising slowly from the hot water. Dan and I sat, resting together in the hot water, arms entwined around one another, as snow fell gently on our exposed shoulders and warm steam enveloped us, and I turned to Dan, smiled, and said...

"Wow, this would be so great for a kid with croup."

Um, yeah. I'm so romantic.

(But seriously. So great for croup.)

What else have you said that was totally mom-ish (although maybe slightly mood-killing)?

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