Moving Beyond Thoughts and Prayers

My posts usually have many versions before I decide on the final draft.  This post’s rewrites outnumber all the others by far.  I don’t known where to start.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put my thoughts and feelings out there.  I spent a lot of time staring at the computer screen.  But, I wanted to get something out because since the Parkland shooting a little over a week ago I am still reeling. Thinking about the victims, their families, the survivors, and the problem with gun control in America.

I’m angry, sad, scared, overwhelmed, worried, frustrated, powerless and other emotions I can’t name.  The lack of control over the safety of my family is terrifying.  How do we make sense of these awful tragedies?  How do we move on?

I decided I needed to learn more.  The past week I have been researching gun control, gun safety, and gun violence.  The internet is not comforting, just in case you ever thought it might be.  Compared to other countries of the same socioeconomic status America’s gun violence rate is by far the highest.  Reading the statistics and studies, I was left even more distraught.  Why don’t we have similar laws to protect our citizens when the numbers are backing up the results?

I did find some comfort in the fact that Massachusetts, (where my family and I live) gun laws are tougher than most other states and has the lowest gun death rate compared to the rest of the country.  In 2015, Mass had a gun death rate of 3.13 per 100,000 residents (this number, to my understanding includes homicides and suicides).  The state with the second lowest rate, Hawaii, at 3.84 deaths per 100,000.*  More can be done on gun safety to lower those rates further.  Canada’s gun murder rate is 0.5 per 100,000.**

There is the argument that if someone wants to obtain a gun, they will find the means to do so.  But why does it easy have to be so easy? We don’t have to eliminate the second amendment, but continuing to allow people who have shown abusive behavior, suffer from mental illness, or have criminal backgrounds is not reducing the gun violence rate.

There are many facts slanting towards either side of the argument.  If you want to know more do your research and get involved.  Write to your local and state representatives, join and volunteer for groups that support gun safety (such as Everytown, Moms Demand Action, or Sandy Hook Promise), and most importantly, have open and honest conversations with your children about kindness/bullying, self confidence, and yes, gun safety.

I don’t want to feel powerless any longer.  I joined Moms Demand Action and a local community group promoting kindness.  I will research my elected representatives and vote with those who align with my stance.  If my children go to friend’s homes, I will ask the parents if they own a gun and how it is kept safe.  I will talk to my own children about guns even though we don’t own one and have constant conversations about kindness.  I’m also going to do my best and work to advocate for change.

*Boston Globe: Mass. has lowest US rate of gun deaths
**Everytown: Gun Violence By the Numbers

Realities of SAHM – Why are we more tired on weekends with help?

The weekdays are a constant marathon of school to class to play dates and on and on.  Then the weekends arrive.  We run around from activity to errand to birthday party.  Weekend and weekdays start to blur into one long endless obligation.  But Dad is home on the weekends, so shouldn’t the load be cut in half?  Why are we still so tired?  Why do the weekends not give us the break we keep expecting?

A girlfriend recently left the working world to become a full time SAHM.  She had feelings of anxiety and was overwhelmed by them before her first week even started.  I encouraged her but didn’t gloss over SAHM challenges.  It’s tough and tiring but, of course, extremely rewarding.

It was a tough first week when she had one baby with croup while trying to get into a groove as a SAHM and acclimate her toddler to a new schedule.  Finally, the weekend arrived.  Her husband was with the kids.  On his watch the baby nibbled the toddlers poop while he was trying to change a diaper.  She texted me in frustration and exhaustion, “How is it that we’re more tired when we have help!!”

That was just her first week as a SAHM!  It’s true though, we are just as busy on the weekends as we are during the week days.  Shouldn’t it feel a little lighter if there are two parents home to divide and concur that to do list?  The weekends often times feel like more work.

Didn’t You Know?

After stewing about this a little…  One of the biggest problems I noticed in our house is that do to’s are not always verbalized.  It’s more along the lines of me thinking, “The bedding needs to be washed, my other half should wash the table and counters while I get on top of this,” or “That indoor playground sounds cool, maybe a play date with our friends together!”  When I’m rushing out the door to get to the play date on time my husband is clueless and wondering why I’m rushing everyone out the door to do our usual Sunday morning grocery shopping.  Or, I’m ticked off when I finish up the laundry and the kitchen is left for me to still have to clean.  Can’t you read my mind?!

Even though it’s the same amount of work, it almost feels like more because there’s an assumption that I won’t have to do some of the things on my list.  The (un-communicated) list will be split up.

No Rest for the Weary

The other big chuck of it is, it’s hard maintaining the same momentum of your busy life constantly.  More downtime is needed than what we give ourselves and our family.  Saturday morning arrives and you just want to check out.  Can I check out on the weekend when we are finally all together?  Isn’t this family time?  I really want to get caught up with cleaning, or maybe sleep.  Am I a bad mom and wife for not wanting to spend quality time together when we only have the weekend to do so?

My mom guilt gets the best of me and I end up either continuing on with the constant go go go, or I take the break I need but feel bad about doing so most of the time.

Break Up Break Time

The past couple weeks, we have been doing less on the weekends and splitting up more. Thursday nights my husband and I try to have a mini house meeting and review what we want to do over the weekend.  If shopping needs to be done, most of the time I will go off on my own while Dad and the kids go to the gym. We also say no to a lot more birthday parties. If we are going to a birthday party it has to be someone our kids are close with or one of my mom friends.  No more rando class mate parties, sorry not sorry.

Our mini house meetings help to keep everyone in the loop of what we will be doing on the weekends and also helped reduced an overstuffed schedule.  Doing less on the weekends has decreased the pressure to get to the next activity so we can enjoy the activities we are at while we are there.  I’m sure there are other steps we can take to lighten our weekend load.  Open to ideas, please let me know how you reduce the weekend overload!

My Non Typical Favorite Milestones

Everyone talks about when baby first walks, talks, sits up, or crawls.  Those are exciting and sweet, but there are milestones that really get parents, or at least me, super jazzed.  You won’t even know how awesome they are, until they happen.  While reaching a milestone means one more step away from the beginning years and firsts, these milestones make so many complicated things about parenthood easier.



It starts with big open mouth kisses then evolves into little pecks.  This is a milestone that melts my heart.  One of the sweetest parts of my week is when I get twenty kisses in a row from a toddler who’s feeling very lovey dovey when they are usually more prickly then affectionate.

Mwah! Baby kisses
Mwah! Whether you want this kiss or not!

Drawing recognizable pictures

That moment you get more than just a furious scribble of back and forth lines or circles and can recognize what the story is in a picture – Cool!!  I loved all the scribbles and dots and very brown paintings.  When I started getting rainbows, people, and tree pictures though, it brought refrigerator art to a whole other level.  We love art in our family, so watching the progression over the years is fun.

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Being able to dress themselves

This is one of those milestones where they are able to do something, but it’s unknown to you because you’re so used to just doing this for your kids, you forget that you should mayyybeee let them try to do it themselves.  Then they try, and it’s annoying, slow, and frustrating.  Before you know it they’ve gotten the hang of it.  Even though the actual getting dressed can be slower for a long time, it’s worth the struggle.  With two toddlers it’s nice to be freed up to and cut down in the amount of steps parents have to do to get out the door.


Using a bowl with the stomach flu

This was by far my most celebrated milestone.  When my husband and I did a Parents Night Out event through my mom’s group, three other couples raved about how exciting this was.  Nothing makes you so happy while feeling so lame at the same time.  In our defense, it was the beginning of Stomach Bug season so on a lot of our minds, haha/boo! This cuts down on a lot of cleaning or bedding/carseats/rugs/etc which can make the whole being sick even more stressful. Once you reach this milestone, you will be thinking, “I have arrived!”

Sick baby lying down on couch

Holding your hand/No longer running away in parking lots

I feel like I got my sanity back when Reece stopped fleeing out into the parking lot without a care in the world.  This might not be as big a deal if you have an only child, but if you have two close in age, you dread having to get out of the car in a parking lot or street.

Parking lot
The Danger Zone!!!! Photo by Parker Gibbs on Unsplash
Toddlers walking down the street
Reece making sure Kat doesn’t run off

These are just a few of my favorite milestones that aren’t highlighted of baby books.  What are your favorite milestones?

Missing Items or Missing Brain?

Parent or not, there are always items you misplace, daily even.  Things you might routinely lose: your keys, phone, TV remote, or wallet.  These are items pretty much everyone can relate to misplacing regularly.  After kids, the list seems to increase exponentially.  Pillows from your couch can go missing for days.  I don’t even know how that can even happen, but it can.  We have packed everything up, moved, gone through everything while unpacking and still been unable to find outfits, books, or tools.

I’m not sure if it’s mom brain, or sneaky kids, or just complete loss of your bearings, but items just seem to disappear into a black hole, never to return when you become a parent.  

The list is endless, but these are my top missing items offenders:

  1. Nail clippers
  2. Thermometers
  3. Butt cream
  4. Shoes/socks
  5. Lovies
  6. Half eaten food
  7. Fridge magnets (Especially the ABC’s magnets)
  8. Toothbrushes
  9. Sunscreen
  10. Shoes

There are even multiples of most of these items (I’m talking about you most of all nail clippers!) and still we are unable to unearth it when we need it.  Below are just a few found (or half found) items over my past four years of motherhood.

Missing socks
Socks with no pairs
Shoes in dishwasher
Just… Why?
Moms shoes in play kitchen
Oh yes, right where I left them…
Shoes on play kitchen
The kids kitchen is a popular place for shoes
Unmatched socks
More solo socks
Kale in the play kitchen
Found this real kale cooking in the play kitchen

If you are in the same boat as me, always check the play kitchen first!  Did I hit the mark, or miss something in your top 10?  I would love to know.  Please tell me I’m not alone!