WMDW: Starbucks Edition

Mama’s drinking wine tonight because this is how we left Starbucks today. Let’s just say, my Cascara Latte didn’t cut it after this.

My glass of sauvignon blanc came to the rescue at home and is reminding me to have a gratitude attitude. Thanks to Starbucks whose amazing staff immediately made a sobbing four-year-old a new hot chocolate and mopped up our mess with a smile. Another thank you to the old men sitting across from us who didn’t even blink an eye when we made our scene. Also, a huge thank you goes out to the woman who gave me a smile and a knowing nod as I walked past her holding a pile of dripping napkins.

To the group of college students standing next to us: you’re welcome for the reminder to refill your birth control.

Cheers!

Mama Makes You Feel Better: “Collection” Edition

cup collection
A view under the book shelf.

Mama makes you feel better because your kids have normal hobbies. Some kids collect things. Perhaps yours collect shells. Or stamps. Or Pokemon cards. Maybe you complain because sometimes your lives seem to revolve around that collection. Wow, that must be rough for ya’ll. Your kid showing an interest in something that can teach them about their world, their history, or ignite their imagination.

You know what my kids collect?

Used cups. That’s right. The little cups they use to swish and spit when brushing their teeth cannot be thrown away in this house. They are stored securely in their rooms. And by securely, I mean, they’re everywhere.

A glimpse under any bed, dresser, or book shelf reveals a collection worthy of awe and reverie. Used paper cup collectors from around the globe would marvel at what my children have meticulously collected.

What is the purpose of this collection? Well, who doesn’t find themselves in need of a cup now and again? Need a place to put the change you have stolen from your parents’ pockets? Grab a cup. Did a beaded necklace break and you’d like to store the parts so your mother can throw them away when you’re not looking fix it? Well, there’s a cup right behind the door jam perfect for that.

Whenever we attempt to dispose of a cup, my husband and I are met with angry protests. We have learned that our children are not above rummaging through the garbage.

When we last ran out of cups, my judicious daughters ran to their rooms to fill dust-covered cups with water. And we let them. Because it filled them with pleasure to make use of their beloved collections. Mostly, we were too lazy to go downstairs to fetch clean cups from the kitchen.

This Thanksgiving, be thankful that your children have not caught the cup bug. And by bug, I mean cholera. No one should be drinking out of these things…

cup collection
Every nook and cranny is filled in the little one’s room.

 

Mama’s Drinking Wine…

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Because sometimes you get to shop at Whole Foods all by yourself, which means one thing. You get to eat all the cheese. “Would I like to try that triple creme brie with some strawberry rhubarb jam? You bet your ass I do!”

Throw in some fancy crackers and a hunk of soppressata, and I had the fixings for one hell of a charcuterie board. Not bad for a night at home with the fam.

Once I put the cheese board out, how did my children react? They ran into the fridge, took out the package of processed American cheese singles, and begged to have one.

If I was a glass half empty kind of girl  I’d be drinking due to my children’s horrifying palettes. But Mama’s glass is half full tonight (not for long), because I’ll toast to anyone who leaves more cheese and hard meats for me!

Random Acts of Kindness

Yesterday, there was a shooting at our local mall. Home to numerous restaurants, play centers, a bowling alley, and movie theater, in addition to the many stores stocked for Christmas shoppers, it was filled. Santa was taking pictures with children when the shots rang out.

I was not there, but the mall is a popular spot around here, and it didn’t take long for this shooting to become personal. A woman bringing a group of children to the movies to celebrate her son’s birthday. Another having lunch with a friend. A family out shopping for children’s clothing. My Facebook newsfeed quickly filled with announcements of safety.

No one was injured in the shooting, which is thought to be gang related. No one has been arrested. Yet, countless families will now question where they will bring their children today. Countless mothers will decide against a visit to Santa this year. Countless children will have life-long memories of being forced to get down and take cover as shots rang out in a crowded mall.

In times like this, it’s easy to believe that the world is a dark, cruel place. It’s hard to feel safe when our news is filled with random acts of violence. Today, I will try my best to remember the words of Fred Rogers. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

My friend Kelly was in the mall yesterday. I can’t imagine the fear she must have felt and still feels. Yet, this morning on Facebook, she chose to send a message to her helper. It brought me to tears, yet also brought me comfort. It reminded me that, in the midst of one act of violence, our local mall was home to a bounty of random acts of kindness yesterday.

Kelly has graciously allowed me to share her words with you. I hope that they make you feel a little bit better about the world today.

mr-rogers

To the stranger in DSW,

Yesterday when my husband and I decided to go to the mall to buy our daughter (3) some new dresses, I didn’t expect to leave holding your hand, especially since I never even caught your name. The mall was so crowded, we decided to park near JC Penny’s because, let’s face it, it never gets too packed there. Where did you park? Did you have to walk far after we were evacuated?

My husband, I think you saw him, was so frustrated when we arrived because he had left the attachment to the baby’s (5 months) stroller in the garage, but I of course am always prepared and had my wrap. (Looking back it was a sign not to have the stroller because we had to evacuate through stairs.) We weren’t there long, a stop in Pottery Barn, a quick stop at H&M, and then down the escalator to DSW. Were you starting your Christmas shopping early or there for yourself?

Our daughter Madigan loves the escalator, but she didn’t love Santa sitting at the bottom, so we quickly made our way to DSW and that’s where I met you. I was with the baby in the bootie section. I have a large foot, 9.5, and luckily they didn’t have anything to try on. What were you looking for?

As I made my way across the store to see where Dan and Madigan were, I noticed people yelling and running towards Penny’s. I looked around DSW, and oddly enough no one but me noticed that chaos that was ensuing. When I heard someone from inside the mall yell shooter, I did as I was trained and began to yell “shooter, shooter, everyone run” as loudly as I could. Did you hear me?

Dan didn’t hear me either so I started screaming his name. I’m sure you heard that. Finally, we made eye contact and I once again yelled out “shooter.” Although Dan had our daughter, he did what he was trained to do as a police officer and began to run towards the shooter. When he and I were talking about it last night, I was angry that he would have thought to leave us, but he explained it was his duty to put others before himself in the event of an active shooter. This is something that as a wife of an officer I need to accept, although yesterday I screamed at him to stop. I watched as he assessed the situation, and agreed, he needed to get our daughter to safety, after all I was still three isles away.

He quickly picked up Madigan and at that time the store clerk yelled for us to head to the back. That’s where I met you. I was the girl with the baby wrapped around her. I was the girl with the long brown ponytail and tears beginning to form in her eyes. I was the girl while walking up the stairs you asked if I was alone. I was the girl who told you my husband was here, but further down the stairwell. I was the girl who you explained to that my husband looked calm and had our daughter tightly wrapped in his arms. And I was the girl whose back you rubbed.

I was also the mother of that little girl screaming she was scared. I was the mother trying to explain that we were just in a fire drill, like the ones we practice at school. I was the mother of the sleeping baby lying across her chest, so innocent. I was the mother who took the biggest breath she’s ever taken as the door to the outside world opened, because it was in moment, I knew my children were safe.

And I was the stranger who was grateful that she had parked in JC Penny’s because I could see my car. I was the stranger who turned back, looked you straight in your watery eyes and said thank you. And I was the stranger who will forever be grateful to you, a woman whose name I don’t even know, a woman who in a time of great uncertainty cared enough about me to make sure I was okay, a woman whose face I will never forget.

In debt,

Kelly Webster

Mama Makes You Feel Better…

 

 

 

 

 

 

star wars family
What we went through to get this shot!

Because you’re not the only one who spent money and/or time on your child’s Halloween costume, only to have them refuse to wear it. We have been planning our Star Wars themed costume for months. We went through three garbage cans in order to find the perfect one for R2D2 (or, Arty D2, according to a certain kid in this family), and my husband worked for hours getting the design right. Which is why, when it came time to put it on, she flat refused.

So, yes, I posted the adorable family pic above on Facebook, and don’t we look like the happiest darn family on the block? What I didn’t include in the caption is that this kid cried for 15 minutes prior to the photo being taken, and only put the costume on long enough for us to take a family picture – – and that was after we threatened her with no trick or treating. Because Halloween, after all, is about Mom and Dad getting the photo op they earned with countless trips to Joann Fabric and Home Depot!

So, take solace. You are not the only family on the block who brought a child in a sweat suit door to door to beg for candy last night! Now, go raid their candy bag and feel better!

sweat-suit-lily
This little bugger does look happier in this photo, doesn’t she?

Mama Makes You Feel Better…

milestones
Is “No Effing Clue” an acceptable answer?

Because you aren’t the only one who forgets your children’s milestones. I recently had to fill out some paperwork for my soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter. It was all fun and games until I got to the questions about her “Developmental History.” Say whaaat? You expect me to remember how old my kid was when she pulled herself up to stand? I can’t even remember to sign the field trip permission form that I got yesterday, but I’m supposed to remember something that happened over three years ago? At least, I think it was three years ago. Seriously, how old are kids when they do this?

For a while I considered just writing “typical age” across this entire section, but then I realized that I had gotten a little too specific on previous answers. On the question about accidents, you might notice that I wrote in that she chipped her tooth when she was two. With that type of ridiculous specificity, they would now know that my “typical age” answer was not due to my practicality in form completion, but know that it was my pathetic attempt to avoid saying, “I have no clue.”

So, like any reasonable mother who never got around to making a baby book, but is overly concerned with stranger’s opinions of her, I lied. Well, in my defense, I searched through old emails and iPhotos to find the answers. When I came up short on a few, I googled the typical ages for these milestones and put it down on the form. Now the occupational therapist would think I was Mother of the Year for sure. Unless she receives the form late, which will most likely be the case. I’m not good at mailing things.

In related news, my own mother was aghast when I told her that I do not have a baby book for either one of my children. She then suggested I have a third baby so that I could get a baby book and do right by that one. Well played, Mom. Well played.

An Open Letter to the Parents in my Child’s First Grade Class

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I am deeply sorry. Truly. I humbly ask you for your forgiveness, though I surely do not deserve it.

My transgression is one that I’m sure you believe to be inexcusable. I agree. Had I been on the receiving end I’d think the same thing. I’d be cursing your name, gossiping about you, and questioning your ability to function in society, let alone raise children in one. Please believe me that I know what I did was wrong. It was a mistake. An honest mistake made in a mother’s rush.

I am so sorry that I hit “Reply All” in response to the email asking for Halloween party volunteers.

You see, I never get to volunteer for school day events. As you know from my email, my work schedule rarely allows me to get to school while it’s in session. I long to experience the climate of my daughter’s school while the students are there. I desperately want to see her interact with her classmates and teachers. If I could be a fly on the wall of my children’s classrooms, I would spend all day spying on them. So when I realized that I actually could volunteer for this event, my excitement caused me to act in haste.   

Please know that this one act does not define me. I (almost) never do this. In fact, when I saw an email at work recently that asked people to kindly respond only to the sender and not to all, I scoffed. What heathens were on this email list that would need such a reminder? What kind of adult doesn’t know that no one else cares whether they are attending a meeting? By my own standards, I am one of those heathens in need.

The minute I received a “Delivery Failure” notification, the first thing I felt was confusion. How could my email have failed when I’m simply replying to an … Ohhhh, noooooo. If I could have taken back what I’d done just a moment before, I would have. But that’s not how life works, is it? Decisions, mistakes, actions made in a split second do not get a do-over. Think of the utopia we would live in if they did.

I understand if my infraction ostracizes me from the PTA or earns me a cold shoulder at birthday parties. Sure, I could argue that my intent was not to inform you all of my work schedule or my willingness to send in a healthy snack for the party, but that doesn’t really matter, does it? Negligence, after all, is just as alarming as a flagrant misuse of email.

All I ask is that you not force my daughter to pay for my mistake. Sure, she’s posted random YouTube videos to my Facebook page and accidentally called folks and left them 6 minute voicemail messages, but believe me when I say that she would never do this. I’d like to say it’s because I have raised her well, but, after tonight’s incident, many of you will likely assume she was just lucky enough to be born with character more becoming than her mother’s.

Regardless, please don’t allow a child to suffer for the sins of her mother. I beg you, fellow first grade parents that I have wronged, please don’t cancel playdates with my daughter or skip her name when writing birthday party invitations (unless it’s at Chuck E. Cheese, and then feel free to “lose” her invite). I promise to do better next time.

All I can do now is ask for your forgiveness. If it helps my case, please know that this incident has left me with a greater sense of empathy. No longer will I be filled with a fiery rage when I receive an email that I, under no circumstances, needed to read. Instead of assuming that the sender has deliberately shattered the laws of email etiquette, or, perhaps worse, lives in a bubble and is unaware of it, I will consider alternatives. Perhaps, it was a simple mistake and I shall react with kindness. Unless someone sends me a group text. Then it’s war.

Yours in Regret,

Teresa

Mama Makes You Feel Better: The NSFW Edition

NSFW or family of an older generation

Most of us know that NSFW means “Not Safe For Work.” We know to interpret that to mean that the material following includes some mature content that you wouldn’t want on your computer screen when your boss passes by. We also know it means that what follows has the potential to be lewd, offensive, or crass. You know who might not know that? People who retired long before the Internet came along and reduced office productivity by 87%. People like the lovely folks I call mom, aunt, or uncle. People who should probably just stop reading now.

Seriously, I’d say we should invent a new acronym, NSFFOAOG: Not Safe For Family Of An Older Generation, but I’m pretty sure they would see that and just assume anyone using it was another illiterate victim of the Whole Language movement of the 80s. Alas. The bottom line is, you have to spell it out for them phonics style. If you were born before the Truman administration, STOP READING THIS NOW! Seriously Aunt Cathy, just stop.

You see, today’s Mama Makes You Feel Better came to me with a little message that said, “I hope this doesn’t offend you.” Offend me it did not. I LOVED it! If my thighs looked this cute, I’d have done it myself long ago. I’m pretty sure that every single mom and dad with a kid under 8 at home (please tell me this stops when they’re 8) can relate to this picture.

no potty privacy Today, Mama is making you feel better because you, my friend, are NOT the only one who has company every time you need to use the facilities. Every. Single. Time. You are not the only ones whose children take your entrance into the bathroom as a sign that you want a hug or to hear a lengthy recap of the latest episode of Sofia the First. You are not alone. Literally.

Thanks to Kiera B. for the photo!