{vlog} Found a babysitter? Great, Now Pay Up!

Parental Intel Friday, May 16, 2014

We parents who are not fortunate to have built-in babysitters (‘sup, grandparents!) tend to do a little victory dance once we’ve land a great sitter. Sometimes in our giddiness we gloss over the costs of this most valuable service. A new survey checked into this to find “the most expensive place to hire a babysitter.” Can you guess where that city is?

*This vlog was shot using my new Samsung NX mini camera. Disclosure: I am a Samsung USA #Imagelogger, which means I’m an unpaid spokesperson and Samsung gave me the camera to participate in the program. 

Leave your comment below or head over to MMM’s FB page, “Like” us, then leave you two cents over there!

Something’s Smells Fishy (Oh, Yeah, Maybe It’s Our Dead Fish?)

Life As Mom Monday, May 12, 2014

Oh dear. My kid’s pet fish —  a pretty blue Betta that he named Venti — is no longer. We came home from a weekend away to find the fish flat at the bottom of his bowl. I was getting The Youngster ready for bed when I noticed and said it — surprised and not really thinking — “Oh, no! Venti died.”

(Not Venti.)

It took my son a few moments for it to register. He was surprised too, I guess. Then I saw his wide eyes welling up. “Mom, I’m a little sad about Venti right now.”

[Full disclosure: Venti is actually Venti II. The original fish died shortly after we bought him. A case of being overfed. But that's between you and me. Deal?]

I hugged The Youngster and try to soothe him. It was sinking in, and he was clearly broken up about it. There were questions.

Why did Venti have to die?

How can we make sure the next fish doesn’t die?

When we get old, will we die too?

What’s going to happen to Venti now? 

He asked for more hugs and wanted me to cuddle with him for a little while after storytime. “Mom, I’m crying a little bit — because of Venti.”

He was also breaking his parents’ hearts. We felt for our little guy.

We removed the bowl from his dresser, unsure of what to do with it. (Update: It’s still sitting on my dresser.)  I low-key mentioned the flushing down the toilet idea, but my son was not having that. When my husband mentioned maybe burying Venti in the backyard, The Youngster’s reaction was as if he was just told, “We’re going to strap the fish to a rocket and launch it into space.”  So, yeah … no.

When The Youngster woke up this morning, he didn’t mention Venti at all. Neither did I. A nice MMM reader suggested this Mr. Roger’s book. An oldie, but goodie — as is all thing things from our forever-friendly Neighbor.  I might pick it up before heading out with The Youngster to buy a new fish today. We’ll see where this new lesson on real life leads.

Have you faced the sad eyes of a child who has lost their pet? What did you do? Leave a comment below. Always good to hear your take.


Mama Juggling and the Definition of Ridiculous

But I'm Also Me, Life As Mom Thursday, May 8, 2014

It’s been said — often — that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

I’d like to add something new to the Grand Book of Definitions. It’s something that came up yesterday while talking about manuscripts with my wise friend and fellow writer-mom Colleen Oakley. We were chatting about time management, and I was yet again saying that I’m doing too much, trying to squeeze 14 things into a space that only allows for four or five, max. The crazier part is that I’m well aware that this pace I’m working at isn’t helpful or all that healthy in the long run, and it’s simply not sustainable. (Sidenote: I was having this phone conversation while trying to politely chug down a smoothie because I had missed breakfast … and lunch. I know. Do better, Blades.)

Colleen raised the great point about the importance of leisure time for creatives and artists. It’s during this “down” or leisure time that innovation, ideas, and general creative juices start bubbling up. This was one of many golden nuggets Colleen had gathered from reading Brigid Schulte’s new book  Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has Time

Feet Up | Ms. Mary Mack

 It was at that point that I said, “I still haven’t finished reading this book. I really want to, but I can’t find the time,”

– and here comes the new definition part –

“Basically, I’m too overwhelmed to read a book about being overwhelmed.”

That, my friends, is the definition of ridiculous. And it must end here, on the near-eve of Mother’s Day. So, I am re-committing to Project Self Care. Leisure time will be mine! Good sleep, I’m coming for you! Lunch, you will be eaten seated and at a respectable hour. And Realistic To-Do lists? You’re about to be owned, pa’nuh. It all leads to me being a better me — writer, mom, wife, human being — and I support that all the way through.

Easter Lily | Ms. Mary Mack


What about you? Have you found your leisure time? What are you doing differently? Do tell. Leave a comment below.

You Say Goodbye, and I Say, “This is all happening too soon!”

Life As Mom, Parental Intel Wednesday, May 7, 2014

This morning, I happened upon some workers setting up those familiar fold-up chairs and white tents at a local university. Graduation season begins. Watching the scene, it made me say that thing I always say: Time is flying. Obviously I’m not preparing for college graduation, but The Youngster will be stepping into a whole new world this fall all the same.

Graduation season | Ms. Mary Mack

I really cannot believe that I am the mother of a five-year-old. One who cracks me up every single day, and who has totally mastered zipping up his hoodie on his own, and who freely gives me kisses and hugs and flowers, and who makes me marvel at everyday things like the moon in the morning, and who likes to tell me that I am the best Mama ever. A five-year-old baby boy who stretches my heart to its very seams, making my life sweeter than brown sugar.

And thinking about him climbing onto that big yellow bus for the first time and heading off to kindergarten … man.

His new school gave all the incoming kindergarten students packets of sunflower seeds at registration last month. It’s such a cute gesture. The Youngster and I planted ours this week, and already he’s been asking that we check on them every day. “Nothing yet, Mom!”

Sunflower seeds | Ms. Mary Mack


Planting sunflower seeds | Ms. Mary Mack

Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll cry or smile until my face hurts on that first day, but I do know that I’ll be filled with deep pride and joy and a little bit of sadness mixed in there too.

Rob Lowe’s wonderful essay on Slate about sending his oldest son off to college covers this bittersweet “farewell, young one” moment so well.  I posted it on MMM’s FB page, and one mom friend sent a note saying I should have added a “tear-jerker warning” to the thing. Here, an except from the lovely piece:

“We lock eyes for the tiniest beat. I want to see what, if anything, he will say. His new ‘bros’ are already striding to the club and he doesn’t want to be left behind. This is the college good-bye I’ve heard so much about and dreaded so deeply.

I close in to hug him, but he puts just one arm around me, a half hug. “Peace,” he says, a phrase I’d never heard him use until he said the same thing to his little brother in the driveway. Then he turns on his heel and strides away. From his body lan­guage I know he won’t turn to look back; I know why and I’m glad. I watch him until I can’t see him anymore, until he’s swallowed up by his new friends and his new life.”

I know, right?. Awww.

Are any of you planting your little sunflower seeds in new ground this fall? How are you preparing for it? Are you already feeling excitement, anxiety or all of it? Do tell. Leave a comment below. Always like to hear your two cents.

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