Category: Parenting

Exciting News- The Whatever Mom Community Grows!

Introducing

 

I am excited to share with all of you wonderful readers some exciting news! The Whatever Mom Army continues to grow!

Starting TOMORROW you will see some new faces on my blog! You will see posts submitted by guest bloggers and contributors who are lending their voices to our incredible Whatever Mom community! Why is it important to have some new voices? Well, I know you could never get sick of hearing from me *wink* but my kids are growing and I am entering a new season of parenthood. In those really rough sleep deprived early months of life as a new mom, I never thought I’d get here. HERE I AM MAMAS!! One day you will be to!

My mission has always been to expose those struggles we all face as parents and ease the pressure to meet perfection. But, it wouldn’t be fair to my readers to only hear my struggles. There are new moms out there who need to know they are going to survive and they need to know there are other moms right there in the trenches with them. Mothering can be so hard. We put so much pressures on ourselves to make it all perfect.

Well, moms I am happy to share none of us are perfect. I want this site to be a place of comfort and understanding. Any parent in any stage of the game will find something they need. Whether it is connecting with someone else’s story, or a craft you need to keep the kids happy, or a recipe to hopefully get that picky eater to finally eat something (fingers crossed). Or, just simply a place to know you are not alone. We all struggle and that’s OK. *Breathe*

Thank you to everyone who reads each week. Truly, from the bottom of my heart I mean that! It is a dream come true to be able to write my thoughts down and send out to the masses. It amazes me each week that there are a couple thousand of you who look forward to what I have to say (my husband and two children do not count in that number, ha!). Someone once told me I couldn’t be a writer and I believed them. I also told myself I couldn’t be a good mom, and I believed that too. Thankfully, I was wrong on both accounts.

Guess what? You can find more really great moms to connect with right here in the very near future. Please check back often, or even better subscribe via email so you won’t miss a post again! You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Bloglovin’. Just check out the sidebar for all those links. I love getting the chance to connect!

Happy reading!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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Gift Guide for New Moms

Good morning everyone! I’m so excited to introduce you to my new niece, Juliet!

Baby J

Isn’t she beautiful? And, so tiny! I haven’t held a baby this small since my girls were born. There were two to hold at the same time, so it felt different to hold one sleeping, tiny little baby. I swear my babies only slept like this a short amount of time before it was all crying all day. I think that’s just par for the course with twins.

Once Juliet arrived I wanted to get her something cute. After all, it has also been a long time since I got to shop for a cute little girly baby outfit. As much as I wanted to buy a baby gift, I really wanted to buy a gift for my sister in-law. This is child #2 for her. I feel like the more children we have the more effort we have to put into taking care of ourselves. By effort I don’t mean make up and expertly coordinated outfits. I mean managing stress and being able to feel refreshed. That’s hard to do with a newborn who doesn’t sleep through the night. Her son just turned six and I teased her that she was finally free from the sleep deprivation, but now she’s going right back in! So my gifts were inspired by those early days when self care is critical care.

Inside the gift bag for my little peanut Juliet I included some things I knew my sister in-law would enjoy. I didn’t want to just get her stuff she needed. I wanted to get stuff just for her to enjoy. Moms deserve a little something JUST for themselves to celebrate that giant feat of birthing another human being!  Here is my list of gift ideas for new moms:

Really Good Tea

Harney tea

A good cup of chamomile herbal tea (no caffeine) will help soothe those frazzled nerves from not getting enough sleep at night. You don’t have to break the budget to get good tea. Most grocery stores now carry some really great choices for around $5.00. Many of which look very fancy.

Chocolate

Taza Chocolate

If she doesn’t like chocolate then add in a different special little treat just for her. If you don’t know if she likes chocolate you can still put it in the basket. Worst case scenario she can always share the chocolate with hubby, or friends who stop by to see the baby.

Luxurious Lotions

HelloMellow Body Butter

A nice mild lotion with minimal fragrance so as not to irritate her skin or her baby’s skin. It’s just nice to have a soothing lotion on hand to feel pampered.

Lip Balm

Kiss My Face Lip Balm

New moms can dehydrate quickly so a lip balm will help keep lips kissable soft for baby’s tender skin.

Essential Oils

 

Essential Oil Roller Ball

A roller ball gives mom the chance to apply a mood changing, or uplifting sent when she needs to. Or, if she has a diffuser she can easily use to fill her room with a calming scent. Lavender is great for calming and soothing, and orange mixed with peppermint is great for an energy lift.

Gift Bag

RuMe organizer

You can easily put all of these lovely gifts into a paper gift bag, or even a basket. But, why not put them in a cute little accessories bag she can reuse later. Moms NEVER run of out uses for extra bags! Adding a monogram truly makes this gift personal.

What else would you add to this list of gifts for new moms?

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

 

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April 2nd is World Autism Day

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Happy Saturday!

I know, I typically do not post on a Saturday. But, today is an important day to share. April 2nd is now celebrated as World Autism Day and it kicks off a month long celebration of difference and spreading awareness about Autism. Not only are the statistics alarming (1 in 68 are diagnosed), but it is more alarming how difficult it is for autistic individuals and their families to find acceptance and understanding. This boggles my mind because we are so much more alike than we are different.

Years ago, I worked as an assistant in a school for autistic children. I worked in the preschool classroom during the morning and then in the afternoon I worked in the older classrooms. I have witnessed miracles happen and I have witnessed heart breaking sadness for children working so hard to cope. That experience changed me forever. In fact, after two weeks on the job I said one day I would write a book titled, “Everything I Needed to Know about Life, I Learned from Autism.” Later, I found a deeper passion linking parents to therapeutic services for their children. My wish would be that everyone could see autism the way I do- through love, compassion and understanding.

I found this post when I logged onto Facebook this morning. It is written by my friend Erin who is an amazing mom, a “Coastie wife” the owner/designer at Rose Door Designs; and now mother of an autistic son. I agree with her message and I simply love how beautifully she has shared her and her son’s story.

Erin and Liam

erin d

“Today is World Autism Awareness Day. And while I think it’s great (really!) if you want to change your profile pic, Light It Up Blue, or even share my cover photo, those things won’t necessarily make you or anyone else more “aware” of autism. But knowing someone who is autistic might.

My Liam was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in June 2013, just before his fifth birthday. He doesn’t “look autistic;” for many people he “seems normal.” But the more time you spend with him, the more pronounced his differences become…and the more amazing you realize he is. Liam struggles every day in a world that often overwhelms and doesn’t make sense to him. He shows up and he does his best and he fights his way through. He’s brilliant and funny and talented and sweet as can be. He’s my hero.

So today, you can say you know a person with autism. One person. Because every person with autism is unique. There are no cookie cutter signs or symptoms; you can’t spot it from across the room. Autism doesn’t come wrapped in a blue puzzle piece ribbon.

For anybody out there facing an ASD diagnosis–whether it be your kid, a friend’s kid, a family member–IT’S GOING TO BE OK. I promise. You will find your way. There are helpers. Liam has been able to make remarkable progress since his initial diagnosis thanks in large part to the incredible work of some really amazing special educators, regular classroom teachers, therapists, school psychologists, aides, and paraprofessionals. So, to those of you doing that really difficult, really important work: THANK YOU. I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but you make a huge difference in the lives of kids like mine every single day.

If you have any questions about Liam, what autism looks like at our house, or about ASD in general, I’d be happy to try and answer them. It is, after all, World Autism Awareness Day.

Love and light,
One Lucky Mom”

When I asked Erin for permission to share her post she asked me to really emphasize the value of the hard work special educators put into helping kids like Liam, “Special educators are absolutely saints and deserve millions of dollars and their own velvet roped VIP area in heaven. We are so, so thankful and forever indebted to his teachers and aides. They have loved him like their own and have made it possible for us to be better parents.”

I also asked Erin if she could offer any advice about what kind of support she needs as a parent, “I guess the best support anyone could offer me would be to try to understand. Ask questions, be observant, and offer to help maybe (though I’m not big on accepting help! LOL). It drives me nuts when people say things like, “Oh, he’ll be fine,” or “He looks so normal,” or “He doesn’t seem so bad.” It may be true in that moment, but they haven’t seen the day to day struggles.”

I would like to add to Erin’s advice by saying don’t judge a parent by their child’s behaviors. A child struggling to cope in public can often look like they are “misbehaving” and believe me EVERYONE has an opinion on how to handle THAT child. None of that advice is helpful. Instead, ask, “What can I do to help?” “Is there anything I can do to help you right now?” Sometimes just offering help with compassion offers enough room for a parent to take a breath and face that struggle. Sometimes knowing you are not alone in the struggle is all it takes for families living with autism to feel accepted.

autism ribbon

To learn more about Autism and how it affects families visit http://www.autism-society.org/

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

 

 

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Spring Cleaning (Not A Guide)

Spring Cleaning

Phwew! Spring break is over and the kids are back at school FOR SIX HOURS TODAY!! We survived!                I survived!!! Now, to update you on our week!

Last year for spring break we took an amazing road trip to Mystic CT (<—click it) to see the aquarium and a few fun little museums. This year (are ya ready for this?) we stayed home to spring clean our house! I know…that crazy Whatever family! It’s all about balance right? Amazing fun doesn’t come without the price of cleaning up a mess. Don’t worry; this isn’t another blog about how to clean your house, or what schedule you should follow to spring clean in 30 minutes or less. This is a blog about survival.

Although I do love me a good clean house to live in, having me tell you how I clean my house really doesn’t matter. You know how to clean a house right? Even if you clean your house in a different order than I do mine you’re not doing it wrong. It may set you at ease to read this next confession of mine; I haven’t cleaned my home in five years. OK that’s a little misleading. I have cleaned my house, but I haven’t been able to clean my house for FIVE. YEARS. All the sticky parts were cleaned up and the most trafficked areas maintained, but cleaning any deeper just did not happen.

When you have two little kids always stuck to you like Velcro, and zero extra help you do what you can to survive. Even if that means stacking things high on top of the fridge, or into as many distant corners as possible to keep them from destroying things. That’s what you do. Survival. Survival can get dirty. I didn’t even take pictures to share with you because, well things were dirty. We cleaned behind furniture and found things we thought we lost years ago. Did you know spiders can create webs that connect your furniture TO the wall? Yep. Found a lot of those too.

We washed curtains, shampooed carpets, washed windows and here’s my favorite part: we threw things away!! If you’ve read my posts before you know I am an avid “chucker.” I love to throw out duplicate items, small random toys that have no meaning and riding my closet of tiny clothes I’ll no longer squeeze my mom bod into. I admit I felt a sharp pang in my heart when my five year olds fit into my old concert t-shirts. I’d be lucky if I could get even one of those shirts over my thigh now. *sigh*

We moved furniture to new locations and organized kitchen cabinets. So much work. But, so happy it’s all done. I am having a lot of emotions about the girls starting Kindergarten and I feel like settling things in our closets and cupboards will help me feel like I have some amount of control over this new season of parenthood (and maybe breathe a little better without the inch of dust on my walls). In some weird way it makes me feel more prepared. I feel like we are closing a chapter on their early childhood. All the baby stuff. All the toddler games. It’s all gone. We are no longer spending hours piled under tents and learning our ABC’s. My kids know their ABC’s.

This spring cleaning was about tucking away the memories of our lives at home the last five years. It was about me carefully and lovingly packaging those moments up neat. I packed away all evidence of our preschool years now preserved in a box on a shelf. We can visit those days again, but we won’t have those moments to live again. I’ll miss being at the park at 10:15 a.m. on a Tuesday soaking up the sun while listening to my kids gleeful screeches. I’ll miss watching them in the backyard lost in a daydream while swinging higher and higher.

As I blew off the dust that collected during the last five years of survival, I began to look forward to surviving the next five years. Bullies. Heartache. Bus rides. Science. Learning. Navigating friendships. Understanding more about the world. This spring cleaning was a way of holding on and letting go at the same time. It is so hard to let go of those “little” years, but I have to let them go to make room for what’s to come in the next five years.

I know I’ll never have everything perfectly crossed off of my list. I’ll never accomplish all the things I want to with my kids as time passes by too quickly. But, I’m doing my best to hold onto who they are today, before leaving those little people in our past. Now that our house is clean I feel like we each have a fresh place to start this next leg of our journey. Join me five years from now when I “deep clean” our house once again. *wink*

Got a great been there done that survival tip for the Kindergarten year? Please share it below! You can also share it on my Facebook Page or Twitter!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

 

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How Far Do I Have To Run To Leave The Madness Behjnd?

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Have you ever had a day just so insane you wanted to run away? That was my day today! After months of my husband working 6 day weeks and traveling I was feeling pretty streched thin!

This week my kids have been especially crazy. They are constantly arguing and not listening and just not nice to each other. I knew my nerves were shot when I sent hubby this text:

Me:”I had to take away all the chairs from our kids today. I banned them from using CHAIRS!!!!”

Hubby:”I don’t know what to say except what kind of wine do you want me to bring home?”

Me:”THE BIG ONE!”

I felt like the harder I tried to settle the kids so I could have space to do a little work and maybe wash some dishes, the harder it was to wrangle them. So , I turned on the TV, went to my own room and called my mom.

Me:” This morning I told my child to get in the car and for some reason she starts running around the car and dancing across the front yard. I have yelled so much this week I swear the neighbors set their clock, brew a nice cup of coffee and watch out the window just waiting to see what $#@+ show my kids are creating each day”

Mom: Laughter. Of course she laughed. Not because I am funny but because she remembers what it felt like (and now she’s free from the tyranny that was the “know it all” me).

As soon as my husband arrived home I ran out the door to grocery shop. I had no list. No idea what I needed to buy. But I was gonna walk every aisle in each of the stores I regularly shop! First, I’ll treat myself to a chai latte from Dunkin Donuts. Uggh…except my driver side window is stuck and won’t open!! What is this day trying to do to me?!?

Never mind. I will drive to the Quick Check gas station and get something. I settled on a decaf coffee with chemical creamer. I didn’t even care. I wanted a stinking vanilla caramel latte darn it! As I looked around for a brownie (because I like my emotions to taste sweet) a beacon of light shown forth and there it was! A gluten free chocolate chip brownie. For ME. Waiting so patiently.

I didn’t even wait to pull out of my parking spot before snarfing that little slice of perfection into my mouth!

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#noregrets

I continued to my stores in absolutely no hurry. I read every single label on my food selections. I even offered to read the lables for other shoppers on their products. I am so not in a hurry to get back that I am actually sitting in the Aldi’s parking lot typing this post!

I knew I had to share this with all of you. Someone out there is having a day just like mine. Maybe they need to hear they are not alone, or permission to just laugh at the craptastic events of today. And, maybe I feel better knowing I’m not the only one who fantasizes about running away.

Whatever the reason you have read this far, thank you! Tomorrow is another day. I am hoping it is a better one. If not, I at least have the big wine! 😉

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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It’s OK To Let Some Things Go

OK to let some things go

Oh boy does life get overwhelming sometimes! I have a lot on my plate as a mom working from home. I have writing deadlines, I have advertiser deadlines and conference calls to make all while making sure my little sweeties are all comfy at home. This can be really hard to manage on top of everything else the household demands of me. You know- the laundry, the dishes and the broken handle on the fridge, and pretty much everything else.

A few weeks ago I decided there is no reason to take all of this on myself. I know I am the one home most of the day, but there are four able bodied humans living here! We should all be pitching in to maintain our home. I’m also very lucky that my kids like to help out. It isn’t without grumbling some days because no one here is perfect. But, they do help out.

The last few weeks I have delegated much of my evening/after dinner routine to the hubby and kids. I hand off a chore to each of them while I do the dishes and clean up the kitchen. The girls are five now and can easily wipe down the table and chairs, or sweep up under the table while hubby takes out the trash. Once all of that is complete we move on to toy pick up.

I do not own the Strawberry Shortcake doll house, nor do I own an entire collection of Care Bears. So, why am I the only one putting them away? Now, after dinner we all work as a team to put away the toys and mess we’ve made during the day. My kids even help me get their school bags ready for the morning and lay out their own outfits for school. This is great prep for Kindergarten in the fall! (They don’t know it yet, but that’s when they’ll start packing their own lunches too).

The kids have started taking care of their own laundry. They carry their own hampers to the washer, put their clothes in and start it up. (Obviously, I add in the detergent). I put it in the dryer and fold it then they put it away. I know they won’t enjoy this chore for very long, but I am taking full advantage of their enthusiasm now.

When either kid complains (because every kid complains) we remind them we are a family and a team. We pitch in to help. We do not pay them for chores. But, their eagerness to pitch in does count! We take into consideration how helpful they are and how much they are growing into their responsibilities and we reward them with a trip to Build-a-Bear, or a surprise trip to their favorite ice cream store.

We aren’t using any chore charts. I simply hand off a task when I need help. Also, I’m not looking for perfection in their efforts. I just want things to feel livable. If all the clutter and crumbs are put away I really do feel better, and it truly makes for fewer items on my to-do list.

I’m not sharing this for any accolades or to impress anyone. Because really there are times I let the crumbs and clutter pile up because I can’t make it all work. I am sharing to let you know it’s OK to hand off items on that to-do list to your family members. We often feel like we have to do it ourselves because no one else can match our standards. Well, to that I say change your standards. Maybe you feel like your kids are too young to help, and to that I say they have to learn some time! If you are like me and find there aren’t enough hours in the day and you feel like you are always behind, give out tasks to your kids, or spouse. Start small and then add on. Even toddlers can help by wiping a table with a cloth or sponge or clear their own place at the table.

As much as I miss my little babies being babies, I am actually excited about this new phase. We can now work together as a family to get things done quicker. This makes less work for each of us. On the days this all works right (again we’re not perfect) we get extra time to snuggle and sit on the couch together and talk about our day. That to me is worth it!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley ParentandMasshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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Learning To Fall with Grace

Learning to Fall With Grace

This week a group of my mom friends trusted me to take them on an adventure. We traveled an hour to take an Aerial Yoga class with my friend Delia. Delia has instructed newbies on the “silks” for about three years now. She is a natural at it and really great at letting people find their own comfort zone.

When I suggested this adventure I really had no idea what I was getting us into. I had zero reservations about the experience. That is until I arrived at the studio, took off my shoes and got into place in front of my silk. Silks are 10 feet of hanging fabric clamped to a chain and attached by a cable to the rafters or some other structure. I had no clue how demanding it would be to stay steady on them.

I followed Delia’s instructions very closely. I tried to mirror her movements as accurately as I could (and this old body would allow). But, half way through the class I was stuck upside down and swinging inches from the floor. I could not figure my way out and she instructed me to simply drag my hand over the floor to slow myself down, and then how to stop myself and lower myself out of the silk.

In that moment my instinct was to panic. I wanted to fight against the momentum and drop to the floor. Instead, I embraced this new feeling of flying and stretched out my arm to emulate the grace of an ice skater. I joked with my group and made silly faces as I slowly, and as gracefully as possible, came to a stop. I stood up with confidence and said, “I like to fall with grace and style.” My friend Delia commented, “Isn’t that what life is about, learning to fall with grace?”

That statement stuck with me. How many times do we find ourselves in new and sudden situations outside of our comfort zone? Parenting for sure will push you into realms of discomfort you didn’t know existed before. Do we brace ourselves against the momentum of life or do we embrace the chaos? Do we slow ourselves down long enough to gain confidence to get back up?

I feel like every new stage has brought about new challenges with my kids. From their behaviors to their food preferences to a first time with a new sickness. Most often I want to bristle and try to control things into perfection and make them more efficient and convenient for me as a parent. That seems to only make things worse. But, when I truly lean into the moment and just go with the flow and leave behind the instinct to panic things seem to get easier for me.

I stumble most days on this parenting journey. I rethink my choices daily. I wake up with zero reservations about my life with kids. That is until I am standing in front of the empty coffee pot with one or both of them screaming at me. When I find myself pushing back and yelling I remember to take a breath, find that amazing mom I want to be and let go of making the outcome perfect. If I fall, I get up and declare my grace through humor. I dust myself off and try again.

I wish I could say the rest of the class was easier after that, but it wasn’t. I got stuck two more times, thankfully not upside down. Delia came to my rescue with a boost both times. That’s what friend’s do.

Who knew taking a yoga class would help me discover that I am stronger than I realize? That when I am faced with a challenge I have a deep inner strength and determination that doesn’t allow me to give up. Who knew I would get a life lesson from a yoga class?

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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Kids Get Sick – Get Over It

The Whatever Mom (7)

 

I am on day 10 of this crappy sickness with my kids. Is it a cold virus? Is it strep throat? There’s no fever or vomiting. They have tons of energy. But, I keep them home for their comfort. Thankfully, I work from home and can afford to keep my kids home as long as they need. By afford I mean not paying a baby sitter; I didn’t mention the cost to my sanity.

When my kids get sick I am wary about sharing on social media for fear of judgement. There is always a parent out there that has an opinion on what kind of cold medicine you give your kids- is it organic, dye free and homeopathic? “You do know you shouldn’t give kids too many antibiotics.” “There are alternatives to eye drops for treating pink eye.”  Then, there are the teachers who blame the parents for letting their kids get them sick. “Keep your kids home if they are sick.” No one intentionally sets out to spread germs. Germs are everywhere and during every season. If I post what we are sick with and show up to a party 3 days later I’ve just branded us as the source of everyone else’s illness.

So what is a mom to do?

  1. Don’t post every illness to social media. I have been guilty of posting about our second round of pink eye. I administer the drops and release my kids back to school three days later (per doctor’s permission) and suddenly another kid in the class gets pink eye. Now my kids are the target of blame. Really does it matter where the pink eye came from? A kid can get pink eye from a shopping cart, play spaces or a doctor’s office. If your kid gets pink eye identifying the source isn’t going to cure it. Following the doctor’s orders will.
  2. Use the medicine that works best for your child. If you are not one to follow homeopathic methods because you don’t feel they work for your child, then don’t waste the time or money paying into the guilt of “over medicating” your kid. It is completely OK to seek out the advice of a pharmacist or doctor on which over the counter medications you can safely use to comfort your child through illness.
  3. You don’t have to rush your child to the doctor for every sniffle. It is OK to use the wait and see approach. Most often that is the response a doctor will give you anyway. You are not neglecting your child if you wait a few more days to see how they are feeling before taking them to the doc’s office. Not only are you saving co-pays, or an extra bill but you are saving your child exposure of additional germs.
  4. It’s OK to send your kid to school with a runny nose. Every school has a different sick policy. Learn what your school’s policy is and follow it. Typically, it is the rule to be free of a fever and vomit for 24 hours before returning to school. If you have followed the rule and your child is fever and vomit free, but still has a runny nose and a cough with no other symptoms; it’s OK to give them cold medicine and send them to school. If they have the energy to make it through the day and their doc doesn’t see a reason for them to miss any more school. Always have a doctor’s note for their return to school. It won’t save you from judgement, but it will save you from some guilt.
  5. Disclose your kid’s sickness when necessary. It’s OK to cancel plans or disappoint your kids because they are too sick to attend an event. It might be tempting to send them to school or a party at friends while not recovered 100% to see if they can make it through. This runs the risk of exposing other kids to germs and setting them back a bit in their healing. I promise kids will get over the sadness of missing a birthday party, or a fun play date.

Most importantly, don’t judge another parent’s methods for dealing with their kid’s sickness. Unless you can see definitive proof of neglect there is no reason to suspect a parent isn’t doing everything they need to, to ensure their child’s health.

Instead of lashing out on Facebook about the types of meds a parent administers, or judging a parent for not keeping their kid home long enough; why not offer to help? Would you be willing to bring a meal, some cold supplies like tissues and cough drops? Can you send a get well card, or drop a note saying you are thinking of them? Taking care of a sick kid and balancing the rest of our life is stressful enough; we don’t need to hear someone else spouting their own opinions and standards.

I have the fortune of staying home with my kids on sick days. I understand not every parent has that luxury. When I drop my kid off at school and hear another kid coughing, I don’t think “man, couldn’t their mom keep them home longer?” I think, “Poor kiddo he/she must not feel well.”  Then I ask the teacher if she needs any additional supplies for the classroom and I make sure my kids wash their hands. The best way to safeguard my kids during cold season is to worry about what we are doing in our own home to stay healthy. I don’t have the time or the energy to get caught up in how everyone else is living.

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

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Friday Favorites- GoNoodle.com A Website For Kids

Friday Favorites

The Whatever Mom does not receive any financial compensation for this review. All opinions shared are solely that of the Whatever Mom. (It’s just a really cool site).

I hear a lot of parents request suggestions for apps and websites that are appropriate for little kids. Someone suggested GoNoodle Home Edition and despite being a low tech family I thought I’d give this a try. It is such a hit! I use it on my phone or on our computer. The best part is it is FREE!

This website offers different challenges that encourage movement and emotional management tools for young kids. Teachers can use in their classrooms and parents can use at home or on the go! To get started parents sign up and select a password. The site will verify parent information to be sure it is OK for kids to interact with the website.

Then, kids pick a champion, or a character, who will grow bigger and stronger as kids complete videos and games. The more minutes kids spend dancing to videos and moving through the challenges the bigger the champion grows. Once the champion is maxed out kids select a new champion and continue with their favorite games and videos. Sounds pretty easy right? That’s because it is!

Gonoodle.com Champ

Select from video channels which is a grouping of your favorite videos, or a specific category such as calming, stretching or sports, etc.  Creating a favorites list allows you to tailor your kids experience to their needs.

Gonoodle.com

 

Here are some of our favorites:

Gonoodle.com Empower Tools

Empower Tools– offers yoga poses that encourage movements to help kids manage frustration, anxiety and strengthen focus. This has been a great tool for us during those pesky moments when my kids seem emotional but cannot really tell me what is upsetting them. I pull this one out for the after school melt down. My kids are more tired after school and need help focusing on the transition to home.

 

Gonoodle.com awesome sauce

Awesome Sauce– this channel has super silly and fun songs that encourage kids to get up and move. My kids love this any time of day, but we primarily use it for that afternoon slump when a dance party is the only cure.

 

Gonoodle.com think about it

Think About It– these short minute long videos offer affirmations and positive lessons on how to have a great day, practicing patience and forgiveness. I like to use these during those sibling scuffles. It helps all of us to take a short breath and distracts us from the negativity happening. When we are all calm we can talk about solutions for the next time we argue over a toy, or whose turn it is.

 

Gonoodle.com Maximo Monkey

Maximo– this little blue monkey is our absolute favorite. He is entertaining, yet my kids can focus on all the stretching movements under his tutelage. We love to use this any time of day! I especially pull these out on rainy days, or when I’ve noticed we’ve been sitting for too long.

 

Gonoodle.com Recess

Indoor Recess- these adorable and energetic videos are typically 10-15 minutes long and designed to get kids heart rates moving. Coach Terry gets kids up and running in place, performing jumping jacks and more. I have one super energetic kid who wakes up and wants to exercise. I let her complete one or two of these before school to get her morning started. The happy side effect is her sister always joins in too.

You can find all of our favorite videos as well as Zumba Kids, Brain fitness exercises, Kidz Bop videos and more at www.gonoodle.com. Parents have full control over passwords and access to the site. This makes it a really safe experience for kids. You can take it with you when you travel, you can use it before school or even before bedtime. Movement really helps change up my kids’ energy and moods. This has been a great tool for managing the craziness of our day! Be sure to find the GoNoodle 101 in the Explore section. It will help parents and new users learn how to use this awesome site!

What websites do your kids like? Share below and it may be featured in a future 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. 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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The Socks vs. The Souffle

Why I Hate Mornings

I am not a morning person. Even though I am early to rise I do not like people in my space first thing in the morning. I am up an hour before my kids so I can enjoy my hot coffee in the silence of the morning. I’m happy to sacrifice that extra hour of sleep for an extra hour of sanity in my day.

My one daughter bounces out of bed and runs laps through the house with a smile on her face. My other daughter rarely wakes up in a good mood. I enter her room with trepidation because waking her up is like lighting a stick of dynamite. You only have a matter of seconds before the big BOOM! (If I had bothered reading her instruction manual at birth I might have noticed the warning label, “Danger Explosive.”).

After I have my coffee and I tiptoe as long as I can, I wake up my girls and ask them what they want for breakfast. My first daughter replies, “Cereal with milk.” I quickly accommodate her. My second daughter replies, “A soufflé.”

Me: <blink. blink.> “Really? A soufflé?”

Her: “Yes, a soufflé!”

Me: “How do you even know what a soufflé is? I’ve never made a soufflé.”

Her: “I know I will like it and I want it, NOW!”

Me: “Well, since it is 15 minutes before we need to leave and you are still in pajamas you can have Cheerios, or Rice Crispies.”

Her: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I WANT A SOUFFLE! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!”

I walk away and leave her crying on the floor over the soufflé she’ll never get. I have no idea what this ridiculous request is about. Is she testing me? Is she pushing a boundary? Is she delusional? I’m not sure what in our history together leads her to believe I am going to make her a soufflé, but it’s just not going to happen. Sorry kid.

Twenty minutes later her screams finally die out. I wipe her nose and explain, “Sometimes we just need to accept from the two options we are given. Making up a third option does not make it an option.” She takes a breath, “OK Mama. I’ll have the Cheerios.”

I felt exhausted, but victorious.

That is until she puts on socks. This is what my child wore to school:

 pink socks

After the go-round about the soufflé I didn’t have anything left in me to argue over pink, glittery, knee-high socks over top of her purple pants. It was simply dashing when coordinated with her pink and gray camo jacket and neon green trimmed sneakers. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and thought to myself, “Oh whatever… it’s just socks and it’s preschool.” Besides we are already 10 minutes late and if I say no to the socks we will have to tango for another 20 minutes.

I have learned to let these little things go. If she feels like she has control over the small things then she feels like she can be a winner. One day she’ll learn that I will always win at the big stuff because the big stuff is important. The big stuff is where she will know my love for her.

I consider it an important lesson in life to teach her that screaming and yelling to get her way is not acceptable. I know we are going to bump heads a lot in life thanks to our very strong wills, but butting heads over socks is not what I want her to remember. I want her to remember I said no when it really matters. In the grand scheme of things her outfits do not personify her character. So, I give up expecting her to wear “normal” outfits. But, I won’t give up expecting she use kind words and a calm voice. 

If you have a strong willed child like mine, hang in there!! And, don’t be afraid to stand your ground on the big things and just let those little things go (like socks). Let your kids have these small victories. I promise you’ll both walk away feeling like a winner. 

 

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

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