Category: Parent

Sit Down! Shut Up! I’M In Control Here!

This week has been full of so many great things: great friends, great food and great conversations. What surprises me most is the number of moms I talk with (friends and strangers) who absolutely agree with me that parenting is the hardest job. (I thought for sure I’d find someone who thinks this is all just breezy). It’s not just the monotony of the daily routine that’s hard, although that can wear on a mom too, it’s the emotional ups and downs our kids have that have us reacting like someone just scratched their nails along a chalk board. (Or insert any other spine tingling, nerve attacking sensation).

I find it reassuring when I meet other moms who have “difficult” “spirited” or “challenging” children. It makes me feel like; OK I’m not the only parent who questions their abilities on a near daily basis. I’m not the only mom losing her mind trying to understand why … just WHY can’t my kids wipe their own butts? Why do they fight so much? Why can’t they drink from a cup without spilling it all over themselves? (Seriously kids, it’s not rocket science it’s a cup!). Why do they need a band aid for an imaginary cat? Why does their teddy bear need a band aid too? And for the love, why does the world screech to a halt when someone’s sister sits THISCLOSE?!

Some days with two talking Tina’s duct tape is tempting.

Kids. I love them, but they drive me crazy! Mine can certainly test my limits. But, isn’t that what childhood is for? Testing limits and learning just what makes this crazy world tick? I have to keep reminding myself that my kids are learning something about life and the world around them whenever they freak out when someone bumps ahead of them, or they cry because the shopping cart they want is gone. It can seem like such an annoyance, and yes some days it is when I’m in a hurry. But, (grrrr) it’s my stinking job to teach them how to get through these moments. I have to use my “nice” voice to model for them how to correctly and appropriately respond. I can’t say things like, “shut up and sit down! I’M in charge here!!” no matter how much I REALLY want to!

OK, don’t shut up entirely, but sitting still for a full minute might be nice!

I think some days the hardest part about parenting is digging deep to find that self-restraint, that self-control that is going to teach my kids the right way to handle a situation. Guess what? I fail. A lot. Like, really fail. I may or may not have ripped the handle off of my husband’s driver’s side car door in response to a screaming child who just bit her sister. In my defense, I did a spectacular job ignoring her glass shattering screams for the first two hours of our two and a half hour road trip. It was that last half hour that did me in. I also confess I had no idea what I was going to do once I got that door open. All I know is I pulled over and wanted to get out of that car FAST. I am happy to report we all made it home in one piece (of which I reminded my husband as I hung my head in shame and handed over the door handle to his car). 

(Full disclosure: I don’t have 4 kids, but I do have twins. That’s like drowning and someone throws you a bagel).

My point in all of this is, well we’ve all been there. It’s really true. At some point every single parent will feel like they have zero control over their child’s behavior. I think those of us who take this “raising productive humans” thing so deeply serious are the ones who are freaking out the most. We are feeling the pressure of doing everything right the first time. Truth is, no one gets it right the first time. That’s why most people get a practice kid (sorry first born). You get a chance to see that all that freaking out isn’t going to change a darn thing and it is certainly not going to motivate your kids into getting their shit together either. 

So to my mom friends who keep me real and help me see parenting from a broader perspective, I thank you. If it wasn’t for all of you screwing up your own kids first, I’d never feel this good about doing whatever I’m doing just to survive my day! (Don’t worry I’m messing up my kids too *wink*). 

Do you ever feel like you’re alone in your parenting struggles?


The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

On The Fifth Day of Service Give Some Swag

12 Days of Service

My twins birthday is just before Christmas. So, I often like to tie in a holiday give back to their party or on their actual birthday. I found a local agency near me that offers a Birthday Booth. Families who utilize the food pantry began asking for help to provide a birthday cake for their child’s birthday. The director of the agency decided to take it step further and offer a birthday swag bag and one free unwrapped toy along with the cake.

What is a birthday swag bag? It has party supplies (decorative plates, napkins, cups, etc) and a few decorations for a family to enjoy at home. It can also include a gift card from a bakery to purchase a cake. Kids can feel special getting a party of their own and parents can feel relieved being able to recognize their child’s birthday.

Birtday Swag Party

Families who face food insecurity often have difficulty providing a birthday party even for their family at home. Friends of mine who are teachers share that they often host (at school) the only party some of their students will get. But, the birthday booth will help kids get a special party with their family.

How can you help? If there isn’t a specific agency in your area that offers a birthday booth, perhaps you can ask a teacher at your child’s school to start a birthday closet. Teachers often know which families need the help and can hand out swag bags. Ask your friends and family to help you stock the closet by dropping off items at your home. Host a party where the guests can help pack the bags then you can make one easy drop off. For around $10 or less you can fill a small gift bag with coordinated essentials like a table cloth, paper plates, cups, napkins, crepe paper, a package of balloons, a birthday banner and a package of birthday candles. All of these items can be found at the dollar store, or on clearance at other retail stores.

Swag Items

If that sounds like too much for you to coordinate and it’s easier for you to make a donation online here are a few places to donate: The Birthday Project Birthday Wishes The Birthday Box

I am very fortunate that I have some seriously generous friends who donated enough supplies to fill 25 swag bags. After rounding up the donations at my home, the girls and I sorted, packed and delivered the bags on their actual birthday. They got to see the birthday booth in action and I felt like we gave an amazing gift on the day I received my two most precious gifts!

On The First Day Of Service Host A Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host A Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Service Make A Special Delivery

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

On The Fourth Day of Service Send Some Cheer

12 Days of Service

I am loving the positive feedback about this series! I am so grateful my experiences with making holiday giving simple and easy is inspiring others to do the same. My kids have honestly enjoyed helping in these projects. I hope yours will too!

Today I am sharing how I started my own small charity. I don’t have a board and I don’t have an operating budget, but that is the beauty of using social media to ask for help. Four years ago, I started a small card writing charity called Operation Christmas Cheer. It began when my friend Gloria asked me to send just one Christmas card to two kids in our town who were battling cancer. I sent my two cards, but it just didn’t feel like enough.

I’ve shared before that my niece Ashley was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) when she was just 3-years old. Watching what she and my family endured month after month of chemotherapy, surgeries and hospital stays had a significant impact on me. Having been in the hospital room with other cancer kids (including tiny babies) I know firsthand the grief and anxiety families feel. What these kids really need is a cure. I don’t know how to make that happen, but I do know how to make a kid smile.

Design credit: Rose Door Designs
Design credit: Rose Door Designs

I made an event page on Facebook and asked my friends and family to make a card to send to each child. Then I found a few more kids who could use some cheer too. I had a total of ten kids on my list and over 65 volunteers, several class rooms and scout troops mailing cards to the kids on my list. I thought that would be the end of it. But, everyone started asking the following Christmas if I was going to do it again. My kids and I have continued this tradition every year since. Now I have several hundred volunteers sending cards.

How can you get involved? This operation is found solely on Facebook. You can like the page and get names of the children who need your cheer. Or, if you know of any children in your own home town that needs love and cheer this Christmas, start your own group on Facebook. Send an invite to all your friends and family to ask them to send out cards. Keep them updated with posts and photos of your kids making cards and encourage them to do the same. You can also contact a local children’s hospital and ask if you can deliver cards to kids staying in the hospital at Christmas.

This has been a great way to get my little kids involved with giving back. It isn’t expensive and I don’t have to leave the house (except once to gather stamps and cards). You can send store bought cards, or make them. No matter which kind of card you choose to send you will help bring some cheer to a family in need!

One The First Day of Service Host a Food Drive

On The Second Day of Service Host a Coat Drive

On The Third Day of Servic Make a Special Delivery

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

On The First Day of Service Host a Food Drive


12 Days of Service

The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving is called “Giving Tuesday.” How fitting is it that I premier my 12 Days of Service starting on Giving Tuesday!? Why 12 days? Well, it’s a play on the 12 days of Christmas where instead of getting gifts we give gifts of service. You don’t have to serve on a soup line, or build a house to give back to your community. For the next 12 days I will share suggestions for easy yet effective ways to volunteer your time.

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Volunteering has always had a special place in my life. My mother used to take me along with her to volunteer when I was a kid. As a teenager I was a candy stripe at our hospital and served meals in our local soup kitchen. I love the instant gratification of putting a smile on someone’s face. As a mom I want to give my kids the gift of volunteerism. But, the logistics of getting all three of us out of the house and onto the soup line is just too much. So, I found ways to volunteer with my kids without leaving home.

Our very first service project together was collecting canned goods for our local food pantry. For the twins second birthday party we asked guests to help us collect items. On our invitations we offered suggestions for donation. At the party we put out a box to collect all of the items in.  Having party goers bring their donations to our house was easier than trying to collect from several different locations. At the end of the party my kids helped me bag up the items and deliver to the collection basket at our church. Even though my kids were just turning two it was a super easy way for them to get involved.

With all the holiday gatherings coming up why not ask each of your friends and family to bring along a contribution of one canned good, or a box of pasta? Find out where your local food pantry is located and call or email to ask for what their biggest need is right now. Your kids can help make the final delivery and see the pantry in action. If you are strapped for extras this year because of holiday spending, food pantries are always in need. People tend to be very generous during the Christmas season; while donations tend to dry up the rest of the year (about 40% of food pantry annual donations are received around Christmas time). If you can’t swing it this holiday, why not host a Souper Bowl party asking for canned soups during the big game, or ask for food donations in July (and then you can call it Christmas in July!).

You do whatever works for you and your family and enjoy getting the kids involved! Kids of any age can help collect food items, sort and deliver. It’s never too early to help kids learn to give back!

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

May You Always Have Enough- Announcing 12 Days of Service


The girls and I baked our Thanksgiving pies yesterday. I was feeling caught up in the nostalgia of baking alongside of my mother when I was their age. She taught me how to make a pie crust from scratch, and shared with me her secret family recipes that we all cherish today. I remember thinking these were important moments.  As I mentally tallied this moment with my girls on my list of things to be thankful for, I realized not every family gets these kinds of memories. From your neighbors down the street, to the homeless we see on the corner, to the Syrian refugees now in crisis around the world there is no denying that other humans are lacking at this very moment.

Growing up with a single mother who worked three jobs so we could survive, I am acutely aware of the struggle so many families face during the holiday season. Not everyone gets a warm, home cooked meal surrounded by family, and not everyone will be in their own home on Thanksgiving Day. Not every child is getting a gift to unwrap at Christmas. My heart not only aches for them, but my heart knows exactly what it feels like to be them. I remember the year my mother couldn’t afford a holiday dinner so we went without, or how hard it was for her to sign up at the church for a box of food. I remember feeling so embarrassed that one winter the school nurse called home to ask if she could send us some hats and scarves because she saw us walking home without them. It hurt to be in need of some of the most basic essentials.

This intimacy with poverty is what drives me today to help other families. It is so important that they know no matter what they deserve dignity and they aren’t a burden. People give because they want to help and there is never any shame in accepting help when needed. If you are someone in need of help just know there will come a day when you can pay it forward, and you will because you will remember how good it felt to have help.

If you are someone looking for ways to give back this holiday season (and I encourage you to give other times of the year too!) then keep an eye out for my upcoming series- 12 Days of Service. I am sharing 12 ways you can give back with little to no cost, and sometimes without leaving your home. I firmly believe that charity begins at home. Let’s start making a difference in each of our home towns and watch the waves ripple outward to the rest of the world!

Thank you all for reading each week and supporting my message of acceptance and understanding! It is truly a joy to share with you each week.

Happy Thanksgiving! May you always have enough!


Related Post: Charity Starts At Home- 7 Ways To Give Back With Little Ones In Tow



The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

Love Me Or Leave Me

Love Me Or Leave Me

I hope you enjoyed  Part I and Part II of my Body Beautiful series. I asked moms everywhere to accept the beautiful bodies they have been given through pregnancy and child birth. During this process friends kept asking me why I wasn’t posing in front of the camera and including my own post partum body. Well, I didn’t want this project to be about my image, I wanted it to be about the journey’s. I thought I’d offer a more intimate look at my post partum body acceptance journey by sharing my story and how I got here.

Nearly five years ago I stood in my bedroom and cried. I was only a few months post partum, but this was the first time I had looked at my body. I was so big during my pregnancy with twins that I couldn’t see the stretch marks forming. Now they were bright red lines stretching out like lines on a map. I was also left with a C-section scar and what most twin moms are lucky to receive, the “twin skin.” That’s a nice roll of skin that will never snap back into place and so it just kind of hangs off of your mid section. I was feeling pretty powerless.

My husband walked in just as I was in the moment of taking it all in. I covered myself up quickly because I didn’t want him, or anyone else to see me like “this.” He asked me what was wrong and I told him, “I am hideous now.” Then he stepped closer and said, “show me.” I wasn’t prepared for what he said next. He looked me in the eye and said, “how could you ever think this isn’t beautiful? This was our babies first home. It kept them safe and healthy.” I was absolutely stunned. So stunned I stopped to really soak in what he said.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just flip a switch and suddenly love my body. But, that moment is the touch stone that keeps me on this path of acceptance. I worked my body hard after having the twins. Despite five months of bed rest and a painful year of physical therapy I made myself lose the baby weight and then some. I felt accomplished. But really what did I accomplish? There wasn’t a trophy or award handed to me. No pat on the back with “atta girl.” What I accomplished was satisfying everyone else’s expectations of what I was supposed to look like after having children. I mean every mom is supposed to make it her mission to lose the baby weight, right? I started to really wonder where that pressure comes from.

People made comments about how I looked good “for having twins.” I wondered what they would say if I only had one baby at a time. Did their comment mean I didn’t look as good as my singleton mommy counter parts? Did they mean I look healthy after coming through medical complications and a major surgery? Did they mean I looked great now because I looked like a giant whale before?

Maybe I don’t have the time in my day to really focus on my flaws like I did before having children. Or, maybe since turning 40 I am just tired of listening to my inner critique. I’ve gained a bit more wisdom about what’s really important in life. I don’t really care that I now weigh more than I did right after having kids. I don’t really care for people’s judgement of my body because they don’t know the story behind my body. They don’t know how fit I used to be, or how months of bed rest reversed all of that hard work. They don’t know what my body has lived through and survived. I don’t really need them to know either.

So go ahead world, judge away. What  you see on the outside isn’t a reflection of the love and care I’ve given to my body to be able to create two healthy and amazing little humans. It isn’t equal to how big my heart is, how generous I am, how much I love to laugh or how much I love my children. I’ve always had a “love me or leave me” attitude. So, if someone isn’t going to love you for the person you are (not the body you are)… just let them leave.


The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here, Find her two party Body Beautiful project here and here. 

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy


Friday Favorites- Beauty Counter Cleansing Balm!

As promised last week here are my new favorites from Beauty Counter skin care. I know a cleansing balm sounds strange. Rubbing a balm with the same consistency as my lip balm all over my face feels a little odd … at first. After a couple of days using this method I am totally hooked and in LOVE!

Nourishing cleansing balm

I received a small sample of the CounterTime Nourishing Cleansing Balm in my face kit. After applying to my face I used a warm wash cloth to remove the balm. I don’t know why this just feels so relaxing and simply luxurious. It’s like a hot towel service for your face.

Beauty counter nourishing balm

After using the balm, I apply the Lustro Face Oil 2. This part made me incredibly nervous! We have all learned that oil is what causes break outs. But, with the mix of oils in this little bottle there is no worry about break outs. My skin felt so soft and completely hydrated after using. I was completely amazed!

Lustro Face Oil 2

Again these products are all toxin free and score low on the Environmental Watch Group database. These products aren’t cheap because Beauty Counter uses quality ingredients. Chemical additives can be manufactured cheaply- so cheap products can give cheap results and have long term harsher effects. A little bit of these products goes a long way!

Take a look at the Beauty Counter website to learn more about the company and read the list of ingredients in every single product they offer.


Tune in next week for more Friday Favorites!


The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry and writing her blog. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

That’s Where You’ll Find Me!

Where You'llFind Me

Hey All! Do you know you can now follow The Whatever Mom on BlogLovin’ ?! It’s true! If you are not using BlogLovin you will be soon! It’s a great way to keep all your favorite blogs organized in one place! (Think Pinterest for all your favorite blog posts!). Go check it out!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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Yes! The Whatever Mom is on Pinterest too!

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If you can’t find me in any of the places listed above it means I am hiding from my kids and enjoying a cup of icy cold coffee. You know, my happy place. *wink*


The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

Keep Your Kids Safe Around Water

Be Your Own Life Guard


At 12:45 p.m. on Saturday July 18th I nearly lost my mind, but thankfully I did not loose my cool. I was at a birthday party with my girls at a local beach. It was a beautiful day and everyone was having a great time. Typically, I do not consider myself a helicopter parent. I feel like I allow a reasonable amount of space between me and my children for them to feel safe, confident and independent. However, that amount of space significantly decreases when water is involved. Anyone can drown in less than 2 inches of water if not carefully supervised, or respectful of water safety rules.

I am not a super strong swimmer, and I am outnumbered 2 to 1 when it’s just the girls and me at the beach. I am hyper vigilant, especially when they go in opposite directions. While we were at the beach both of my daughters were wearing life vests and only approximately 15 feet away from me. Suddenly, a rough set of waves came to shore and I saw my daughter topple over. She lost her footing and I could see very clearly she began to struggle to catch herself. She started moving her arms like she was trying to swim, but I know she does not know how to swim yet. I could tell by the look on her face she was in trouble. I immediately ran into the water and began shouting, “you’re OK! Mommy is coming!!”

I reached her in a matter of seconds. I scooped her up into my arms and sat her on my hip and began to sooth her. I was impressed at how little she panicked and she didn’t even cry. Another mom came over to chat and I told her what happened. All of this took approximately 30 seconds of time. The life guard on duty, a young teenage girl, never left her guard tower. She didn’t even come down the ladder to ask me if my daughter was OK, she leaned forward in her chair and casually called over, “Is she OK?” I was so angry I could see red. How could this life guard not identify a dangerous situation that happened literally several feet in front of her guard tower? She gets paid to keep an eye out for signs of struggle in the water. Doesn’t she know that drowning is silent?


I was incredibly agitated by the fact she didn’t rush down as soon as she noticed what had happened. It is her job to assess if someone is in danger. Even while I was soothing my child on my hip it was her job to confirm we were safe. That means leaving her chair to come down and speak with me directly. I was so angry I couldn’t even talk to this girl. I was terrified of how I was going to verbally rip her to pieces. Man, that mama bear instinct is STRONG!

I’ve had many friends tell me not to worry while at the beach, that’s what the life guard is there for. I have witnessed many parents lying out on the sand (sometimes napping) while their older children are in the water alone. I know I am the first one to say hey, you do whatever it takes to get through your day with kids, but water safety is one of the things where I draw the line on saying Whatever too.

Thankfully, I was very vigilant. I know that accidents happen so quickly in water. So, parents, no matter how old your children are, do not take your eyes off of them for a second. Do not leave their young lives up to teenagers who are paying way less attention. I heard from friends at the party afterward that the young guard was texting on her cell phone. Perhaps that is why she completely missed someone struggling in the water only 15 feet from her station. If you are the parent of a teenager, or parent of a young life guard, please share this story with them. Let them know their job is important as people’s lives are in their hands. It may be my child’s precious life in their hands. No text message is worth the loss of anyone’s life.

I may not have been a helicopter parent before, but I am now! Especially while at the beach!

Click here for safety tips and quick lessons from Lifeguard 101. There are options for water safety inside the home and outside of the home.

Technology Killed The Teenage Romance

Teenage Romance (1)

We were so lucky to have my niece Ashley stay with us last week. My girls were smitten with having an older cousin to snuggle with and play with. They couldn’t stop staring at her the first two days she was here. It was very adorable. I was thankful for the extra set of hands when corralling two little ones. Ashley and I had fun watching TV and eating snacks, shopping and just laughing once the kids were in bed.

Ashley is dating a new boy and left him behind for the entire week. (OMG!) They would text each other from the moment they woke up until the moment they went to bed. This made me kind of chuckle when I remembered my own teenage romance… circa 1990. I was just 15 when I started dating. I fell in love with a boy who’s family lived on opposite sides of the country. Every summer he would hop a plane and travel between families for a few weeks before coming home. I remember thinking this was the biggest heartache I could ever have. Ahhhh teenage naivete.

To pass the time until we were united again we had to write each other actual letters. . .  on paper. . . using a pen. It was so exciting when we discovered email!! We could fire off a love letter at any time and just had to wait for the once a week we were able to check it! Today teenagers have entire conversations via text messaging! No more hand written letters on carefully selected (and scented) stationary.

If we wanted to include a picture of our fun adventures we had to drop off our entire camera at the drug store and wait two days for it to process. Then we put the pictures into an envelop, added a stamp and placed it in a mailbox. It could take up to 5 days for a letter to reach our love. The crazy kids of today can send pics via Snap Chat, Instagram, Twitter, or post on Facebook in a matter of seconds!

If we wanted to talk over the phone we had to wait until a certain hour of the day for the cheapest rate. Then we could only talk to each other for 30 minutes (45 if our parents were distracted). We had to pay actual money to talk to each other on the phone. Today teenagers can talk as long as they want at any time of day via Face Time, or Skype, or through any number of apps without the meter running!

There are apps and websites that exist today that allow you to track your loved ones airline flight. Back in the dark ages of the 1990’s no such thing existed. I had a hand written itinerary that I copied off of my boy friend’s airline ticket and I just had to wait. It was a guessing game of how much time it would take him to get home.

Technology has ruined the teenage romance. No more wondering, “Is he thinking of me?”  when you can text him 17 times a day, “are you thinking of me?” “how about now?” “Still thinking of me?” No more mystery of “what is she doing right now?” when you can see all the pics posted on Facebook.

I caught myself saying things this week like, “in my day” or “back in the days we didn’t have iphones.” I had to laugh a little at the thought of my 16 year old self tethered to a portable electronic device. It isn’t just the device I’d be tethered to, but the boy on the other side. It might seem convenient to have instant access to your sweetie, but where is the mystery and the romance in that?


The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy






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