Raising Humans Guest Post: 5 things I Never Thought I’d Do (That I Do Now Because of My Children)

Hello, friends,

Please join me as I welcome Tricia, author of Raising Humans, as a guest blogger today.

Tricia combines masterfully a tender heart and inquisitive mind on her blog, as she examines the journey of motherhood that has recently expanded to two kids. Tricia has a wonderful ability to both live in the moment, and contemplate what it all means in the grand scheme of learning to raise humans.

Please check out her blog. You’ll be glad you did!

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There is always such a stark contrast between one’s life without children and one’s life as a parent. As a child-free adult, I had no reason but to think that I could make all of my own decisions and do only the things I really want to do because I’m an adult now and nobody is the boss of me and why would I do anything different than exactly what I want?

And then my children arrived, proving before they were even born, that they are now the masters. And what I want to do (or don’t want to do) has little role to play in the course of our day.

And so, I share five things I never thought I’d do that I now do regularly, because of my children.

1. Lay my hands on raw chicken

Yes, raw chicken seems like an odd place to start any list. But earlier today, I stood in my kitchen, cutting a raw chicken breast and preparing it for dinner. And this post was born.

Raw chicken and I don’t have much of a history together. Because of the consistency alone, not to mention the occasional vein and a fear of salmonella, I’ve kept my distance. At most, I’d slide one of those little slime balls from its package to a plastic bag for marinating – all without ever coming into direct contact. Usually I just made pasta. A lot of pasta.

But little bodies need protein and exposure to new foods and flavors and, as much as my daughter would love it, we can’t eat pasta every day. And so for her, and someday her brother, I now touch raw chicken on at least a weekly basis.

2. Blog

My roommate in college kept a ‘web log’ (remember when that’s what we called it?). At the time, I remember thinking that writing on a web log seemed like such an odd thing to do. Why not just keep a journal? I was convinced, then, that my life would never be interesting enough for people to want to read my words about it.

And then, my children arrived, bringing with them stories to tell. Suddenly, it was all I could do not to write for people to read and connect. Suddenly blogging went from odd pastime to my primary method of making sense of this wild and crazy journey of motherhood and connecting with others on parallel journeys.

3. Cry at everything (including commercials)

I’ve never been one to cry at movies or books. I walked out of The Notebook with dry eyes and my makeup all in place and a bit of concern that maybe I am just all cold inside.

Then I had kids. And suddenly, I see two kids running through the park on a sunny day and I’m blinking back tears.

The world becomes a much more emotional place once the littles that you carefully nested inside you, arms circling around big bulging belly, and then lovingly pushed into the world, screaming and helpless, begin wandering around on legs of their own. Suddenly you are raw from the emotion and exhausted from the psychically taxing and overwhelmed with the love and everything scratches more easily and deeply than it used to.

And so when that Dad hands the keys to his Subaru to his little girl who has been adorably playing with the seat belt while he tells her to drive carefully and then suddenly she’s a teenager? I’m a puddle.

4. Eat healthy foods

Before kids, the delivery people at several local restaurants did not need directions to get to our house. They knew us well.

Now? Now I hold little contests for myself to see how many super foods I can cram into one meal. I’m well versed in when to buy organic, what develops little brains the best, and what a balanced diet should look like. Wholesome dinners and carefully packed lunches and I wonder where I spent all my time before, when lunch was a cup of coffee and dinner required little more than a phone call.

5. Celebrate every moment

For my children, even Monday mornings are a reason to celebrate. Please don’t let them enter the grind of week days spent pining for the weekend and saving the special dress for the special occasion or keeping the fancy stickers for a special project. I’ve lived so many days waiting and reserving for a more special day. And so, for them, I now throw reservations to the wind. We go out for milkshakes to celebrate that it’s Wednesday and we wear our fancy party dresses just because it’s Thursday. Because of my children, I look for the good in Monday morning.

And, because of them, more often than not, I find it.

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Tricia is a mom and a freelance writer, finding opportunities for growth in the most amazing places. Read about her growing triumphs and pains as she walks along this journey called motherhood on her blog, Raising Humans.

Guest Post: Ashley from Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn’t Play Well With Others, on Getting Punked, Mommy Style

photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc
photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc

I am excited that Eli invited me over to have coffee on his virtual patio today. He came and sat around my fire pit last week, so it’s nice to see someone else’s crib. Don’t worry E, I won’t rifle through drawers and cabinets, but I will help myself to a snack and a beverage.

ARphoto

I am Ashley. I am from Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn’t Play Well With Others. I have five kids from ages 4-14 and another on the way. I write about the general shenanigans and tomfoolery that happen over at my place. I used a little more language over there, so if ya go visit don’t say you weren’t warned 🙂 pull up a chair, top off your coffee, and let’s have some fun.

People say so many rude things to me on a daily basis. None of them have come up with anything new or clever, although they wholeheartedly believe they do. I like to have fun with it. So off the top of my head these are the best things I have used as a comeback. In real life, nine times out of 10, people wonder if they are being PUNKED when I open my mouth. When it comes to strangers, Shock and Awe are generally your best friend.

1. Bless your heart …

 

This is the southern F you. It usually comes at a time of high stress, and is delivered with a head tilt and a look of pity. “Kids are not a disease,” is my usual response. People generally start vehemently apologizing. Heck, one time my kids each scored a candy bar as an apology because the lady actually though she hurt our feelings….

2. Are you done yet? I can’t handle my two. I don’t know how you do it.

I still am not sure if this is a compliment or a condescension. It could be taken either way. Generally, the look of disgust on their face says its the latter. “When I only have three, I consider that a vacation. “Run along quitter, I don’t want to catch anything.”

3) Are you quiverful?

“Yeah, especially when I parallel park.”

4) Do you have them all the time?

“No, I picked them up from boarding school to go to the grocery store.”

5)You should get a TV in your bedroom …

 

“I do, we use it to drown out the sound.”

6) How are you not drunk all the time?

“That’s expensive…. Ooh wait, I have an alcohol fund…”

You would be surprised how many people start to go for their purse or wallet before they catch on.

photo credit: Mikael Colville-Andersen via photopin cc
photo credit: Mikael Colville-Andersen via photopin cc

7. Did you use fertility drugs?

“Yes, the extended release version. It stays in your system for 10 years. I figured I’d get my money’s worth.”

You wouldn’t believe how many people ask for the name so try can give it to someone who is having trouble getting preggers….idiots

8. Wouldn’t it be easier to have multiples?

“When God called, I told him it was OK, I can take one for the team and go one at a time.”

9. You and your husband are pretty active, huh?

 

* Usually with the recurrent head nod, little eyebrow action and if I’m lucky that day a cute little wink. I know what they mean but it’s more fun pretending not to…* “Yeah, we play baseball, volleyball. We do like to swim a lot. I mean we play soccer with the kids. I look like an infant with a weight on one side of their head trying to ride a bike…. Oh… Oooh…oh… How about you? Pretty kinky or wear a snuggie to bed?

10. How do you fit them in the car?

“we put seatbelts on the roof… We really like to reward the children when they are good.”

11. So you aren’t pro-choice?

in my best country twang

 

“Sometimes Daddy lets me pick out the cereal. One time I got to get the expensive soap. I was just tickled when he let me pick out my own Christmas dress.”

12. Are they all yours? You had them all?

“Hey look, there’s a loner – go get him. Hurry, before anyone notices!”

The horrifying look on their face is worth their ignorance….

13. Do you work?

“Well, I was a guinea pig for this condom company, but they shut down last week.”

The person I told this to was severely concerned. She begged for the name. I told her I couldn’t tell her because I signed an non-compete. (Which, by the way, has NOTHING to do with keeping quiet.) Stupid people are so amusing!

14. Do you know what causes that?

“Yeah… I’m pretty sure it’s contagious.”

*cough cough*

They hit the road fairly quickly after that…

15. You’re crazy!!!

“I haven’t been caught since the last time I escaped the asylum… So I guess I’m good now.”

16. Do you use government services?

“Quick…look… Over there, behind that bush. No not that one, my kid is squeezing the lemon over there. THAT ONE. It’s the secret service…quit looking…don’t let them see you, they will think I told you….”

When he asked what? Very concerned and anxious to find out I just answered “the secret of mass fertility to the general public.”

17. Your hands are full …

Usually I answer with a “better full than empty,” but one day this broad had followed me through the store watching, just waiting for her chance to be an arse. So I handed her the biggest thing in my cart, a small bookshelf, and said “now yours are too.”

Did I feel bad when she dropped it on her foot? No….I call that karma.

For some reason people think they can have an opinion on large families. This is me starting a rebellion. Join in. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t count my kids as we walk by…I always know.

 

On The Road Again: At Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn’t Play Well With Others

 

road ashley
photo credit: #10 The Nail Art Squad via photopin (license)

I decided to take in some day baseball today with the Charlotte Knights. Dad and I didn’t miss many chances to skip school and work to get to the ballpark on Getaway Day. I didn’t want to start now.

So I bought one general admission ticket, printed out a scorecard, and soaked in the sun.

I also left the post posting to my friend Ashley at “Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn’t Play Well With Others.” The name of the blog says it all, really. So while she’s held hostage at the hospital with Kid No. 6, I left all the heavy lifting to her. What a gentleman, right?

 

Ashley’s honest, smart, and pretty hardcore. She says the stuff we’re thinking, but don’t have the guts to say out loud. And usually with a dash of spice tossed in.

Check out her posts, such as this love letter to Target. She says the stuff we wish we said!

So check out my contribution over there, while you’re at it. It’s about a convo I had (in my head, at least) with a really smelly dude at the gym. Back when I was the gym type. (I’m kind of over it. Thanks ZX Fitness.

I’ll have Ashley to my place next. You’ve been warned. Don’t miss it.

locker room quote

Guest Post – Five For Friday: 5 Places I’d Never Take My Kids

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

This week, Ilene Evans, writer of Fierce Diva Guide to Life blog, is handling 5 For Friday duties while I work on a batch of garlic and Parmesan wings and a Philly Cheese steak. Ilene writes an awesome an inspirational blog, and is a closet New York Mets fan. She is unafraid of the board of education, Sarah Palin comparisons or life as a cheer mom.

She’s highly-recommended reading, amigos. Add her to Google reader before time runs out. On Google reader, that is.

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I have a confession to make. Attachment parenting was never my “thing.” There are times I felt a bit criminal over this, coming of age as a mother during the era of Dr. Sears sensibility.

“Breastfeed on demand and let the baby take the lead on weaning!”

“Keep your baby close at all times by wearing her in a sling!”

“Never deny a child the chance to co-sleep if they ask.”

Fail, fail, and fail.

But there were more failures on top of these. My kids went to day care, which made me a pariah in some circles. They didn’t always get that requisite hour of floor time with me at night when I got home, and the dirtiest confession of all:

When I’m not working and have the opportunity to spend time with my kids, there are still times that I prefer to leave the house alone.

Let’s face it, even if you are the most hands-on, attached parent in the world, there are situations where children don’t belong. For me, these are five instances where I’d prefer to leave my kids behind.

1. Costco

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc
photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Living in New Jersey comes with its own brand of crazy. We’re the most densely populated state in the union, which is never more apparent than when I try to navigate a New Jersey wholesale club on a Saturday with three children. In a store like Costco, we literally have to elbow our way through Snookis and Pauly D.’s to get to the produce aisle or the bakery.

Want to score some cheesecake or pizza from a sample cart? Fuggedaboutit! The certainty of your getting to the front of that line safely is about as certain as my fellow New Jerseyan Tony’s fate in that final episode of “The Sopraonos.”

Keeping my kids out of Costco is simply being protective of their well-being. Back in the day, I walked out of mosh pits with fewer injuries.

2. Yoga Class

Yoga Class

If I get stuck without a babysitter on a night I teach yoga, I plunk my kids down in the back room of the studio while I help you get your zen on. Honestly, you’ll have a better chance of finding your zen in Costco than performing sun salutations with my unruly brood raising hell down the hallway.

My kids will find anything to fight about, and they fight loud. While I want you to get in touch with your enlightened side in my class, enlightenment can easily be upstaged by three boisterous children.

3. School

School Bus

I know this one sounds counterintuitive, but I should never have to take my children to school, since they are supposed to ride the bus…unless of course they miss it, which is often. The problem is that any minor attachment parenting skill I have is at its worst in the a.m.

I wish I could tell you that I spend my mornings cooking my kids organic spelt waffles from scratch for breakfast followed by a group meditation session to set good intentions for the day, but you’re more likely to find me screaming at them from the shower to brush their teeth and my running around in circles trying to find clean clothing to wear to work.

4. The Nail Salon

photo credit: AlaskaTeacher via photopin cc
photo credit: AlaskaTeacher via photopin cc

A few months ago, I decided to “squeeze in a pedicure” between Saturday afternoon errands with my youngest daughter in tow. Except, the experience wasn’t the same while trying to entertain a 4-year-old. When it comes down to it, a pedicure is about more than maintaining your feet.

It’s time to catch up on People Magazine and US Weekly or have uninterrupted texting chats with your best friend. Is it not?

5. Dora Live

photo credit: clevercupcakes via photopin cc
photo credit: clevercupcakes via photopin cc

I’m not here to knock Dora. She’s an excellent role model for young girls. She’s a great problem solver. She’s clean cut. She’s clearly the product of good attachment parenting. Yet, after nine years of having Dora in our lives, I’ve given her enough money.

There have been the DVD’s, the backpacks, the action figures, beach towels, sippy cups, puzzles, coloring books, the tent and lawn chair set, and the Dora themed birthday parties. In my rough calculation, I have spent almost eight hundred dollars on Dora merchandise, so purchasing Dora Live tickets at upwards of $40 each for three kids plus myself is not high on my priority list.

Don’t get me wrong. I love live concerts. But the $120 price tag is beyond what I’m willing to spend for just about anyone. Not even the Black Keys for that matter, or Jack White, or Justin Timberlake. OK, maybe for my beloved JT…

I’m not a perfect mother. I’m nowhere close. But for all of the places that I’d rather not take my kids, there are many places where we’ve gone. There’s bowling and the movies, and mini golf, and the self-serve frozen yogurt shop.

There have been the flights to California to visit family, the trip to cheer nationals with my oldest daughter, the warm winter days that we steal away to the beach as soon as they get home from school, and the lazy summer afternoons at the town pool.

There are many more places I wish to take them. Disney World, New Zealand, Tampa for spring training games, surf vacations, cruises, tropical islands, and the list goes on.

If I can get in a pedicure first – alone? I’ll be good to go anywhere.

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Ilene Evans, the Creator of The Fierce Diva Guide to Life, is a writer, yoga teacher, soccer mom, foster parent to over a dozen rescue dogs, and a believer in tough love advice as much as she believes in love for all mankind. Transparent, perhaps, to a fault, there is practically nothing Ilene does not blog about.

You can find Ilene blogging at The Fierce Diva Guide to Life, as well as Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.

This Time, It’s Coach Daddy’s Turn To Ask The Questions …

And the answers are at The Mom Cafe.

Remember when Mom Cafe’s Christine Carter lobbed a few questions at men that I fielded right here at Coach Daddy? The tables have turned. We fellows are the road team this week, and we brought it.

Check out what Chris had to say about purses, feminine hygiene products and the culture of mom worry on her site today. Let me know what you think, and be sure to leave her some comment love, too.

Go Ask Daddy, Grown-Up Edition: Mom Cafe’s Chris Carter Questions Coach Daddy

photo credit: homard.net via photopin cc
photo credit: homard.net via photopin cc

When a team lets a player go, he must turn in his playbook. It’s a sacred text. So sacred, in fact, you might end up let go if you lose or compromise your play book.

I’m about to answer questions about my team – my, gender – posed by one of my favorite girl bloggers, Chris Carter, of The Mom Café.

I do this at the risk of having my playbook yanked, my spot on the ‘team’ taken away, my membership card revoked.

Pay attention. That’s a steep price to pay.

Continue reading “Go Ask Daddy, Grown-Up Edition: Mom Cafe’s Chris Carter Questions Coach Daddy”

On The Road Again – This Time, at Raising Humans

humans lede
photo credit: IMG_0030 via photopin (license)

I promise, someday, I’ll write on my own blog again.

I have cool stuff to write, like my Christmas wish list, a rundown of favorite injuries Grace and I made from the waiting room in the children’s urgent care a couple of weeks ago, and my girls’ ideas of how they’d spend my paycheck if they could each have one.

I’m on the road again, at Raising Humans. Tricia has an awesomely written blog about motherhood (check out her well-written, thoughtful posts), and she asked me to write a guest blog about growth this week.

I decided against writing about the growth caused by pizza buffet visits. Maybe another time. Seriously, I wrote all serious over there.

Continue reading “On The Road Again – This Time, at Raising Humans”

Jester of Confusion, Meet Queen of Chaos

I’m on the road again.

Well, not technically. I made it back from Dominica intact and happy to be in America (even though there’s no rum in my Coke Zero).

I’m taking my show on the road this week to another blog: AnnMarie’s Tidbits from the Queen of Chaos. I love reading her stuff, so it’s cool to stop by, drop off some words, and hopefully get a slice or three or Malnati’s Pizza in the process.

Come check me out!

Guest post: What makes a dad a father (from a daughter’s perspective)

photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc
photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc

Here’s the first guest post on Coach Daddy – from Erica Stewart, formerly of Modern Parent Online, and now mom behind the blog DevinandErica, which serves to find order in the world of parenting, even as dads like me are kicking up the dust and tickling the kids at bedtime. Be sure to check her out!

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When you sit back and think about your dad, my question to you all is, “what makes your dad a father?” I’m sure that at some point, you have come across one of those Facebook posters with a saying such as “anyone can be a dad, but it takes a true man to be a father.” I posed the question on our fan page on Facebook, DevinandErica, but only had one response from Nicki Webster-Schreiber: “I always believed a father was a protector. One who builds you a fort, kills the spiders and scares the monsters away. I never had a father around but my best friends dad always did those things for us.”

When reflecting back into my own childhood, my father did all those things as well for my brother and I. However, most of my precious memories of my father are those from when I was a teenager. One of the best gifts that my father taught me was that unless I was in immediate danger, he allowed me to make mistakes and was there to catch me when I fell. He would tell me if he thought whatever I was doing was a mistake, but would allow me to make the mistake if I was dead set on doing whatever it was (this included dating – oh the horrors that went through his mind I’m sure… Haha).

Then fast forward a bit to the mid-1990’s when the movie, Father of the Bride, was released. Steve Martin’s character stated something within the movie that I always believed to be true with my own father: “While watching your teenage daughter grow up, as a father you always fear of her meeting and the wrong guy. Then there comes a point when you no longer have that fear, but the fear of her meeting the right guy.”

When thinking of that thought posed within the movie, I wonder how my husband will react later in life when our daughter brings home her first boyfriend; or when she talks about marrying her first love. I’m not going to lie, when I think of these things that will happen in just over ten years I get a chuckle. I have no clue as to how he’ll react, but I know that I’ll be there to let him know that all will turn out the way it is supposed to.

But the questions in between are what is a dad supposed to do until his daughter reaches teenage years? My advice: Allow those girls to be tom-boys if they want. Play softball? Sure. You want to play soccer? Why not? Karate? Absolutely (what father doesn’t want his daughter to know how to defend herself). Also remind yourself that you are raising a future woman. Don’t criticize decisions that she wants to make; instead allow her to make them. Be there to catch her when she falls. This may be hard, especially during the teenage years but it is something that is an absolute must. You can’t expect her to have trust in you later in life if you never instilled trust in her to make her own choices, good or bad.

photo credit: Andrew Morrell Photography via photopin cc
photo credit: Andrew Morrell Photography via photopin cc

At the end of it all, once she is off at college or married with her own children she hopefully will be able to reflect back on her own life and the cherished memories between herself and you with the same thoughts that I currently have. I’m not saying that my father is perfect, but that’s okay – neither am I. Who wants perfection anyway? Without the bumps in the road you wouldn’t have anything to look back on and laugh at yourself about. Mistakes make us and one another who we are. Without them we would all be Hollywood movies and – – – BORING! =)

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Erica currently is trying to find ‘normal’ in a world of ‘abnormal’ raising a 2 1/2 year old toddler and a newborn on his way. Although this may seem typical for most parents, Erica does not have any family or close friends around and is trying to build her ‘family’ from neighbors and others that she meets along the way. Follow her journey here.