October is September, Which is Basically January (Let Me Explain)

Life As Mom Tuesday, September 30, 2014

If you’ve read this blog long enough, you already know how I feel about the month of September. It’s a fresh start, a clean page, and I always look forward to it. This year, let’s just say September was not the freshest. It was kind of loaded and hectic around work and life in general, and I was tangled up in a lot of deadlines and To Dos. Plus, The Youngster started Kindergarten, and that was its own bag of stuff. Lots of change. Lots of adjustment.

Red Candy -- Nicole Blades| Ms. Mary Mack

And now here we are, getting ready to start October. So I’ve decided to hit the reset button on all of this. Tomorrow kicks off the third year (whuuuut) of #30WriteNow. Definitely hope you join us for that.

I’m also planning to get back on the meditation wagon. I feel off of it last month, and of course tried to beat myself up about it. But then I read something  in the NYTimes this morning. It was a chat between Kobe Bryant and Arianna Huffington, and they touched on meditation and sleep. Arianna said something that felt like she was speaking directly to me:

I try not to judge myself if I miss a meditation. Judgment creates the vicious cycle.”

Indeed, lady. So no more of that, Blades! It’s just about getting back up and trying again. That’s a cycle I can support.

On a Roll -- Nicole Blades | Ms. Mary Mack

I’m also returning to my #readmore goal that I set for myself earlier this year. I plan to attack the stack of books on my nightstand, adding nothing new until what is there is gone. To do this, I aim to read for one hour every day. No magazines, no links, just books.

Feeling good about this. Feeling good about all of it.

If you want to join me in any of these “projects,” drop me a line in the comments below, on MMM’s FB page, on Twitter or via email get[dot]msmack[at]gmail[dot]com.

All right, friends. Fingers on the reset button!

{mom.me} 9 Questions Moms Across the Land Are Tired of Answering

Life As Mom, MMM Showcase Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I get it. I do. There’s just something about babies that brings out the Barbara Walters in a lot people. These sweet, new, tiny human beings make folks feel like they can ask the mothers basically anything and, moreover, they expect us to be naturally ready with answers to all their queries — from the innocent to the downright intrusive.

The first few times we — if I may employ the Royal “We” here — are pretty OK with answering a couple of these questions. We’re even OK with responding to the same one a few times over. But there comes a moment where the line in the sand gets drawn and we’re done.

Lucille Ball

(image from GETTY IMAGES via Mom.me)

Maybe it’s the confluence of sleep deprivation and the ice-cold realization that our old life is at the bar laughing about us, and it all comes to a head. You’ve been asked that question too many times and it’s only causing the stress in the pit of your stomach to mount up at the back of your throat, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth. And if you had your druthers, you would look at the next person who rolls up on you toting those dingy queries with steely eyes and say: “Eff off! No, not yet!” It’s what I like to call FONNY™ (pronounced: phony).

Now, because we’re friends, and I want your friends and relations to be aware of the thin ice on which they are walking, here are nine of their questions that need to be voted off the island. Print it out and mail it over to them, with a real stamp and everything, because this is legit business.

Read the full post on Mom.me.

Who’s in Charge of Serving More Days Like This?

Life As Mom Monday, September 8, 2014

He could barely contain his excitement, and started talking to me from the top step of the school bus. It’s The Youngster’s third day riding the school bus like this. And by this I mean happy. He wanted to tell me about his new school library book about sharks and that it was “nonfiction book with real photographs.” As we walked home from the corner bus stop, he was smiling. So was I.

“Today was the best,” he said, a grin stretched across his sweet face. “Mondays are the best days.”

Uh, I was thisclose to busting out one of these right there on my neighbor’s lawn:

Then toss in a bit of this:

And strong finish with this:

All of the posing and dancing is because of last week. As you may have read, last week was the opposite of happy, for everyone in our little family. Our little guy went from enjoying the short bus ride to his new school to absolutely dreading it, and was having a tough time with the transition from Pre-K to Real K Life. Thankfully, his principal and her staff are fantastic. Together we came up with a plan to help the young’un smooth out the edges around all this. The new strategy involves stickers and a chart posted on a wall in his room.

The new system is working.  The change in attitude and stress levels was instant, and we’re all proud of how well he’s doing now — especially him. You can just tell. I mean, the kid is practically skipping down the street after school. And he’s always bringing home some fun little observations about the day.

More of this, please! We are open and we are ready for more of this. We’re even willing to spearhead the new and revolutionary movement: Mondays Are the Best Days. Who’s with me? …

Anyone? …


No, Ice Cube. Today Was NOT a Good Day

Life As Mom Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Maaaaan. Today was a real jerk. It wasn’t supposed to be. It’s anniversary, after all. Cue up that TonyToniToné!. Eight years of this wedded bliss business. That’s no small thing.

B + B Wedding Day | Ms. Mary Mack

I knew it was going to be tricky, slotting in any fun and excitement for the anni since it fell on a Tuesday. But I woke up ready to meet the day like it’s golden anyway. That’s until I opened the bedroom blinds to find that our roadside mailbox had been completely uprooted and lying flat on its side in the damp grass.

Who the hell did that?? My suspicious mind kicked in and I had a handful of theories — none of the comforting — before we got downstairs for breakfast. Tried to shirk it off and move forward with the morning. The Youngster was in a good mood — tired, but pleasant. He even got in on the anniversary gift-giving by presenting me with a small, sweetly wrapped box of truffles.

“Mom, instead of nibbling on me, here’s something better!” he said, smiling, and I just about melted.

We continued that way, calm and good-humored, for a little while longer. Then out of no where, the winds shifted our sails and this child of mine decided it was time to turn this mutha out. It started when it was time to get dressed and head toward the door. Everything was a complaint — a loud, whining one. He didn’t want to do this or that or anything. We got him outside anyway and started walking to the bus stop. This guy was literally kicking rocks as he grumbled about the “buffy bus and baby bumble school.” (These — buffy, baby bumble — are his curse words, you should know.) And by the time the bus pulled up, he burst out in this wailing forced-out cry. My husband and I froze.

Soured | Ms. Mary Mack

Do we push this howling child on the bus and walk (quickly) back home? Do we hold up the bus schedule by walking him on and trying to convince him to sit in the seat and he’ll be fine?

The bus driver’s facial expression was the visual equivalent of a shrug and lady, I don’t know — don’t look at me. I totally wanted to say, “Don’t look at me either! Is there a phone-a-friend option available up in here?” Instead, I apologized to the driver and told her that we would drive him in this time.

My husband went with us. I figured it would be easier (HA!) if he walked our son to the class line-up on the front lawn while I hung back. Yeah, no.

From my perch in the parking lot, I saw this normally assured, delightful kid flame owwwwt. He was shoving and tossing his backpack all over the lawn, flailing his hands, kicking his dad’s shins, and crying out to the heavens. This was the meltdown to end all meltdowns.

I rushed in to help out my husband. (HAAA!) I tried to reason with the child, calm him. But he was not about that life. He was not just upset, that guy was vexed. The whole school was outside on the front lawn lining up getting ready to enter the building. Parents were there. Teachers and support staff were there. And we were there, trying to contain this volcano of kid anxiety. It was shocking and embarrassing and the definition of out of control. I had never seen anything like it, not from this kid. All my compassionate parenting tools were hiding under a blanket trembling. And to top it off so perfectly, it was like 85 degrees (Celsius conversion: HOT AS HELL) and not yet 8:30 a.m.

Today, Ice Cube, was sho’ nuff NOT a good day.

His teacher called a few hours later to say that our guy was fine, and that he had settled down shortly after entering the class. I was still rattled though, and tried to figure out what I might do to help my kid find his center again. I know he sometimes bristles at transitions, and this one — from Pre-K to real K — is pretty significant. But we can’t have more days (or weeks) like this. We’d all be flattened pancakes by the weekend.

The best we can do is the best we can do, and for now that means taking each day as it comes. And DASSIT! I’m confident that this turbulence will settle and The Youngster will be cruising again soon. But right now? Right this very minute, someone needs to send all the tiny bottles and the entire drink cart back here to row 22F because it’s been earned. Plus, the seat back doesn’t recline.

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