Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Please Don't Tell Me to "Just Wait"

It happens at least once a month. I’m in the grocery store with my two kids. They are riding together in the much-loved race car shopping cart, holding hands or hugging or snuggling with arms draped over one another’s shoulders. They are both giggling over something: a game they made up, maybe. The one that just involves shaking each other’s arms up and down while you laugh.

An older parent sees them: my two little love bugs who bicker just like any other siblings but who are best friends and utterly inseparable. The parent smiles and approaches. “They’re so sweet together!” And this is the point where I wish they would stop. Smile and let me smile back and then we can each happily go our separate ways. But they don’t stop there. They never do. “Just wait. They’ll be at each other’s throats before you know it.” Sometimes I’m given a timeframe: “Just wait, they’ll hate each other when they’re teenagers” if the parent is feeling generous. “Just wait, in six weeks they’ll be fighting nonstop” if they’re not.

Honestly, I don’t think they’re trying to be mean when they say it. Perhaps they’re trying to warn me, to help me brace myself for the inevitable. Maybe they’re remembering when their own kids were little and wishing that this kind of sibling relationship had lasted just a little longer. But however it’s meant, whatever the motivation behind it, it always sounds the same in my ears: "I can see that your kids are getting along right now. That for one, brief, beautiful moment, parenting feels easy and you think you’re actually doing a reasonably good job at this whole mom thing. So I feel that it is my job as a complete stranger to let you know that soon your kids will be crying and you’ll be crying and everyone will be crying and life will be terrible. Just wait."

But this minute of peace in the shopping cart is all I’m clinging to some days. The holding hands in the grocery store is what my one last shred of sanity is hanging on. Because last week I was wiping endless snot from both noses, and the week before that I cleaned up a whole lot of puke. There was a temper tantrum as we were getting ready to leave the house this morning because my two-year-old hates pants and another one because I had the audacity to try to help my five-year-old buckle himself into his car seat, and then as soon as we were finally all dressed and buckled and actually in the minivan ready to go, somebody needed to poop. I’m tired, and I have a nagging fear that I am screwing everything up. But at least my kids love to hold hands in the grocery store. Yet it seems like every time my kids openly get along with each other in public, someone feels the need to come over and stomp on the moment.

I know that things change, parents of older children. I’m only five years into this parenting gig, but I’ve learned a few things about change here and there. The baby who was my “good sleeper” gave up naps completely when she turned two, and my “good eater” recently declared that a dinner he has always loved “tastes like bleh.” I realize that nothing stays the same and that kids change overnight. I grew up as the middle child in a family with three children, and believe me, I know first-hand how much siblings fight. I’m not under some weird delusion that my children will be the first brother and sister in the history of the universe who get along every second of their lives, spending their twilight years sitting side-by-side in a retirement home, reminiscing about how they never once fought, not one single time in 85 years. 

But right now, they really like each other. Right now, they are best friends. Right now, they are holding hands in the shopping cart. Please just let me enjoy that.

It’s not just good moments that elicit a “just wait” response, either. Heaven help the pregnant mother who declares herself to be tired. “You think you’re tired now??? Just wait until you have a newborn waking you up every thirty-five seconds all night long!!” Don’t dare complain about the terrible twos, because – just wait – age three is so much harder. If things are going well, just wait, they’ll be bad soon, and if things are already bad, well – just wait, they’ll get worse. I’m not saying these things aren’t true, I’m just saying they’re not helpful.

Parents who’ve had more experience than I have: I love talking to you. It’s reassuring to know that my kids won’t still be begging to sleep in my bed when they’re 16 or going to college in diapers. Your “been there, done that” attitude can be so helpful in reminding me that no stage of childhood lasts forever. Last month, a mom at an indoor water park watched my kids playing happily in the shallow end of the wave pool. We smiled at each other, and I said hello. She told me that she’d taken her daughter to the water park every year when she was little, and that she’d brought her back again this year for her sixteenth birthday. The daughter and her friends were off riding slides together, and the mom was reminiscing as she watched my little ones splash around. We chatted for a few minutes, both watching my kids play with their daddy, then went our separate ways. And I loved the reminder to enjoy the moments when my kids are always nearby, when I am their favorite person in the world. Keep reminding me of that, experienced parents. Tell me your stories. Share your wisdom.

But please – don’t tell me to just wait. 


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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"So Glad They Told Me" Book Giveaway!


As some of you may remember, last year I had an essay published in an awesome book about motherhood called "So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood". I was so excited then, and frankly I'm still so excited now! I have at least three copies in my house, and sometimes I think "I should totally autograph this book for myself" and then I don't because that's weird. Right? Is that weird??

Anyway, since I have more copies of the book than I actually need, I figured I might as well give a copy to one of you! Want to win it? Here's how to enter:

1. Like my blog's Facebook page. (If you already like my Facebook page, ta da, you're already halfway done!)

2. Comment on this post on my blog's Facebook page with your own "Get Real About Motherhood" moment. It could be anything - a photo of your giant pile of laundry or the Legos taking over your living room, a description of what you fed your kids for dinner (frozen pizza, anyone??), your most embarrassing or awesome or terrifying motherhood experience - whatever! Just get real about motherhood with me.

3. That's it. Seriously, those are all the steps. We're parents; we don't have time for some long, ridiculously involved contest entry form. There's probably a kid asking you for a snack RIGHT NOW.

(If you want to share the post on your timeline so your friends can participate, too, that would be awesome and I will be eternally grateful, but Facebook says I can't make that an entry criteria, so it's not!)

And because I have to, here are the Complete Terms and Conditions:
Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada 18 years old and older, except where prohibited by law. (But if you live in a place that has a law that says you can't win a free book, maybe you should move.)
One entrant will win a free copy of the book So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood, ARV $11.99
Contest runs from May 30, 2017 through Friday, June 9, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm EST.
This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook, and if you enter the contest, you agree to release them from any liability, though I'm not sure how there could be liability with giving away a free book, but it's important to them that you release them from it anyway, so RELEASE.
Winner will be chosen at random on or before Sunday, June 11, 2017 and will be notified via Facebook. If the winner doesn't respond with an address for me to send the book to by Sunday, June 18, 2017, they forfeit their prize, and I will choose another winner at random.

So go ahead, what are you waiting for?? Enter!!

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

My Social Book Review - It's all of your Facebook posts, in book form!

Ok, so I've held off on recommending My Social Book for... years, even though I've ordered five of them. But every time someone sees them in my house, they LOVE them and exclaim how they never knew such a product existed: it's a website that turns your Facebook posts into an actual book, kind of like a year book. And since I clearly love them, too, AND since I have a link that will give YOU $15 off of one and ME $15 off of one, whatever, I'm just going to share this. (For the record, I think this is just a link they give everyone who orders one. I didn't contact them or tell them I was a blogger or anything. It just came in my order confirmation email. They didn't ask me to write a review, and I didn't tell them I was going to.)
First, the bad (and the reason I've never recommended them before now): they're kind of... glitchy. (If books can be glitchy.) Sometimes the page numbers are wrong. Often the posts in the book are slightly out of order for some reason, and a few of mine have been left out altogether. You don't get to pick the sizes of each picture or the layout, so a picture you don't particularly love might be huge while an adorable photo might be small. My books from past years have an annoying amount of white space on the pages (which is mostly annoying because you pay for the books by page, so it's frustrating to pay for half-empty pages,) but that seems to be a lot better in this year's book. If you want to choose your layout, sizes, etc for professional photos or a special vacation or something, order a book from Shutterfly. (I also have a bunch of those.)
But, the good: every picture of my children that I've put on Facebook, every time I've posted something hilarious they said, is now IN A BOOK. You know how people always talk about how nobody actually prints pictures anymore and how someday our kids will have no photos of themselves?? I have a book of big events and small, everyday moments for EVERY YEAR OF MY KIDS' LIVES. Not just pictures, but funny things they've said and photo captions, too. And it's SO much easier than designing a book on your own, because you literally just log into your Facebook account through their site, tell it which types of things you want to include (photos only, photos and status updates, comments left by other people, etc,) and order it. It can be done in under 10 minutes. (Though if you want to, you can also go through and remove individual posts that you don't want to include in your book.)
To me, the glitches are worth it, because I know I would literally never print all of these pictures and put them in an album otherwise. Plus if you're like me and forget to write things in your kids' baby books but DO remember to post milestones on Facebook, ta da, you suddenly have all of your kids' major moments in a book and look like a rock star instead of a slacker. Since discovering My Social Book, I make even more of an effort to post pictures of my kids on Facebook regularly, because I know I'm just adding to the book I'll order at the end of the year. Bottom line: I recommend these books, with the caveat that you shouldn't expect to be 100% thrilled with the formatting. If you want $15 off of your first order, click here! (And full disclosure, I also get $15 off if you do that.) They almost always offer a percentage off your order (I've seen anywhere from 15%-40%) so search on a site like Retail Me Not first to see if you can get a discount, too.
Have any of you tried My Social Book? Are there other sites that make a similar product? Let me know in the comments!

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