For all of my friends, family, and followers who have questioned my sanity and my logic in moving my family and my businesses north to the Duluth area... ponder no more. Read my story on the Duluth Moms Blog site >> Read Article
Thank you to the Duluth Moms Blog for loving my story enough to share it with their audience!
Before I had children of my own, I always averted my gaze when my fundraiser radar went off... (usually at the entrance to my most frequented retail shops) but, you know, the reality is... fundraising isn't about the product that the child is selling, it's about the cause and the learning experience.
My oldest son Leighton (6) just joined the Boy Scouts, and as soon as I heard the words "popcorn fundraiser", I thought, "Here we go... now I'm THAT person. Do I really want to get into this?" as I groaned to myself as I stared at my computer... (yes, I talk to myself, but I think that's a sign of genius!) Did I duck-and-cover when I saw people with clipboards wandering the streets in my neighborhood? Yes, but unfortunately my kids always gave our position as they swarmed to the door screaming, "Someone's Here!", while I crouched uncomfortably under my desk.
Learning about fundraising from the side of the fundraiser, however, I have come to understand that the funds are raised in order to support operating costs as well as fun activities and (I know this sounds cliche like saying you wish for "world peace") a good cause. In the case of the Boy Scouts Troop 105 in Hermantown, MN where we now reside, they only do one large fundraiser (gourmet popcorn), and it funds the troop for the whole year.
What I find great about fundraising is that it's a great way to teach kids about setting and achieving goals, it's good parent-child bonding time, and any time spent fundraising is usually time spent away from an iPad or the television... and that's always something to be supported!
Well, I think those are pretty great reasons to donate... and that's really what fundraising is... it's donating. It's not about the product that you really don't need; I mean who "needs" more popcorn, chocolate, wrapping paper, water softener salt (yes, a child once tried to sell me some)? Fundraising is about supporting our youth, plain and simple.
People's responses to our children during a fund raiser also teach our youth something about humanity, no matter what your choice is when approaching (or avoiding) the banner-covered table. A short, snide remark sends a very different message than a smiling face who is willing to hear what you have to say.
So the next time you see a kid with a fundraising sheet, or a kid at your local grocery store or Sam's Club... don't do a 180, don't assume "well, someone else will donate so I don't have to" (if everyone thinks that, no one will donate), don't duck and cover behind the nearest vehicle, and don't run zig zagging back to you car (they can still see you if you zig and zag)... find out what they're trying to achieve, and support them however you are able!
And for laughs - click here to watch my son's fundraising video... it will make your day!
Happy Fundraising Season All!
Watch his 2 features on the local news WDIO out of Duluth, MN (below)! Thanks News Team for your support!
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a “mom” and a “mommy”? The younger children are and the more they are dependent, the likelihood of hearing them call for “mommy” is indeed high. Unfortunately, as life progresses and they become more independent, “mommy” gets shortened to “mom” as they hastily discard the “-my” as if to say, “Okay, I don’t need you anymore.”
However, isn’t it amazing how the comfort of your mother, no matter how old you are or where life has taken you, is all you need and want when life gets tough? I distinctly remember an instance from my early college years, calling my mother late at night as I sobbed over a silly breakup: “I’m leaving right now – I’ll be there in an hour!” she said. No hesitation, just unconditional selflessness and love that only a mother would exude.
And so, just a few days ago as my husband was leaving for a work trip, I found myself (a 36-year-old mother of 2 and an independent business owner) so ill and miserable that all I wanted was my Mommy to come and take care of me and my boys. Did she drop everything to drive 2.5 hours to come? Of course. Did she once mentioned hesitation because she feared getting sick herself? No. Did she rearrange her whole life to stay as long as I needed her? Yes. Did she take care of everything above and beyond what needed to be done? You know she did, she's my mother.
Yes, it feels strange to have to be taken care of when you yourself have assumed that role in your own life - caretaker of your own children and your own home. Mommy takes care of Mommy and those who call Mommy “Mommy”, very odd. But how blessed are we who have mothers such as this who are unimaginably wonderful.
What have I learned these past few rough days? Mothers are always “Moms”, but once a “Mommy” becomes a “Mom”, she only transforms back into “Mommy” when she becomes needed again… as if the Mommy symbol has been shone into the night’s sky… Mommy will come!
After being nursed back to health and after saying goodbye to my mother, all I can do is wonder if I will ever be able to be as good a Mommy to my own children whenever the role of “Mommy” is evoked. Will my cape be as shiny? Will my flight be as swift? Will my love be as selfless? I can only try my best and aspire to like my mother...
~ For my Mommy: You are my rock. I love you!
At the grocery store, at school pickup and drop off... I see these moms who look like they've totally given up on life... well, that's what their clothes are screaming! Gray sweatpants should be banned and pajamas should have tracking devices embedded in the lining so when they are worn outside of the house, they explode into a glitter bomb! (at least they'd die exciting)
We all still buy clothes, why not buy something colorful, something that makes you feel like a woman, something that gives you some confidence... not something that helps you blend into the Beige No.6 wall at the grocery store.
Yes, our bodies have all changed after having children, but even if you're not happy with your post-kid(s) shape, you can still indulge in a bright lipstick, colorful statement earrings, a jacket or shoes that aren't black or neutral!
I took this selfie while sitting in line at school drop off this morning. My new favorite statement earrings from Express (of course they're sold out online now, but you can still get the necklace), and this super cute off-the-shoulder tee from Express that I intend to buy in every color that I like... it's comfortable!
Come on, ladies, we all deserve to be happy with the way we look and feel. Go out and get yourself some colorful confidence!!
Check out my NEW Fashion Blog!
Within the last week, I found myself in new and uncharted territory... Tooth Fairy territory. My oldest son's first loose tooth threated my unpreparedness for such an occasion. Sure, I had received the free tiny tooth box from the dentist, but I wasn't super keen on the idea of giving him money at the ripe old age of five-and-a-half since he barely even knows what day it is let alone the value of money (yes, we will teach him that life lesson in due time).
Post-kid bedtime evenings have been spent scouring Etsy and Amazon for the perfect Tooth Fairy box - one that was large enough to hold small gifts or trinkets instead of money, but one that could also be customized with his name... Oh Etsy, Oh Amazon... you hath failed me.
What does a Type A mother do when she can't find exactly what she wants? She heads to the craft store the very next day with the goal of fashioning one herself (yes, I'm talking in the third person... I may have breathed in too many polyeurethane fumes).
Items Needed to Conquer This Project:
When I brought my crafting booty home, my husband inquired, "Could you have gotten a bigger box?!" Why is it always about size with men? But, to quench his unending thirst for knowledge, yes, actually, there was a larger box, and I did spend about 5 minutes pondering upon which size to purchase.
How I Made Mine:
The tooth fairy that visits our house is no "creeper"... meaning, she doesn't sneak into people's rooms and watch them sleep... she is polite and takes care of her business right outside the door. She also looks like the tooth fairy from the movie "Rise of the Guardians" (makes stories about her more believable since there's a movie with her in it!).
Luckily for me, I get to make another box for my second child; his will be silver with gold accents so yes, I did buy 2 of everything - you must think ahead. Does Leighton love his tooth box? You bet he does, and I can't wait to see the look on his face tomorrow morning when the he realizes that the tooth fairy is real... and it will all have been worth it!
Happy crafting, my fellow Type A moms!
Oh yes, it's a real thing people... gender disappointment is a very taboo topic because people will judge you for not just saying, "I don't care what gender my baby is as long as it is healthy".
Even if you have two of the same gender and are done having children (like myself), if people detect a hint of melancholy in your voice, in every an all instances you'll hear:"Well, you still have one more chance." What makes people think that you have another chance to have the gender of your preference when you are clearly finished? Maybe we should all wear those flippable signs like stores have on their windows that read "OPEN" or "CLOSED" except ours would read "The Baby Factory is OPEN" or "The Baby Factory is CLOSED!" (maybe I'll get some and start a new trend!)
I know I'm not alone in my thinking about feeling guilt for wishing for a specific gender. A friend of mine (a friend that had 2 boys at the time and was hoping for a girl) messaged me one day to tell me she had just found out her third would be a boy:
Me: Are you disappointed?
Friend: A part of me was, I'm starting to come around.
Me: I know how you feel.
Friend: I wish people would just say "I'm sorry you didn't get what you wanted." Is this wrong to think?
Me: I was actually just thinking that... how sorry I am for you. It is so hard when you find out.
Friend: Thank you. I know out of all the people I know, you would understand what I'm going through the most. Don't get me wrong... I'm happy that the baby looks healthy but...
And that "but..." pretty much sums it up. Unless you have been in that situation of wanting a child of a specific gender and not getting what you want, you have NO idea how hard it is and the shame that comes along with the unwanted feelings of disappointment that are supposed to be feelings of happiness.
Life is funny (not funny HAHA, funny ironic) - it never goes as you plan, which in my case, totally sucks because I plan everything, and I like to control everything! Another of my friends wanted all boys, and she got girls. I wanted girls and got boys... but would either of us change a thing? No.
It really did take a long time to get over the urge to have a girl, the tiny tingle that wished one of my boys had been a girl... but at this point, I have learned that I was given what I was meant to have - what I needed the most, and I'm reminded of that understanding almost daily. My boys love me SO much, and there's no drama... I mean, my oldest tells me when he's misbehaving... Besides, there is enough high-maintenance in this house with just me... I couldn't imagine how much there would be with another female.
And for my friend, the mother of now 3 boys, when she found out she was pregnant again and confided to me, "If it has a penis, I swear...", well, she's finally getting the little girl she always wanted.
Having overcome gender disappointment, I truly understand how many tears you might shed in solitude over your mixed emotions. Just know that your feelings are justified, don't feel ashamed, and the children that you were meant to have, you will love unconditionally regardless of what that ultrasound shows between their legs.
Working moms these days have it hard (well, frankly, mothers of any sort do). Most recently, with the start of my new business, PARIS HONORÉ, I find myself worked to the point of drop-dead exhaustion, crabbier than normal (which my husband would quickly attest to), and more than a little bit stressed. While this new company is indeed exciting and the opportunity of a lifetime, I find myself overwhelmed with the things I cannot control. Managing two businesses and a household is a daunting daily dilemma.
But what about the children?! Well, that's the issue... what about them? How does a working mother choose between her passion and her loves? My work is my passion, but my children are my loves. How can I be successful in both worlds? Is it even a real possibility? Does the perfect mother really exist?
The fact of the matter is, unless I develop the ability NOT to need sleep, I will never be able to accomplish everything on my daily to-do list. Why do I beat myself up about every little "failure"? It's the perfectionist in me that is never satisfied. Is it a failure to order takeout instead of making the from-scratch dinner that was the evening's agenda? In my mind, yes, but why do I feel that way? No one in my family would ever say anything that would give me that impression.
Honestly, we mothers are way too hard on ourselves, myself included. Does the family still get fed if we get takeout? Yes. Does the house get condemned if I forget to vacuum? No. Do we walk around naked if I can't finish the laundry? Most likely, no, but ALL of my boys would love the opportunity to do so.
Here's my advice for you and for me: Don't beat yourself up about the little things. Do your children still smile? Are they happy? If so, you are being a successful, wonderful mother. As for work, well, we all find professional achievement at different levels... some with a promotion, some with finishing another post-graduate online course, some with just making it through the day.
Focus on the things you have accomplished and the joy in your life, and you will find the balance and happiness that you desire.
For all of my friends who are mothers...
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When someone asks me, "What do you do?", why is my first inclination always to answer with what sounds most impressive, like "Business Owner" or "freelance writer"? Isn't being a mother also a job? Why are Stay-at-Home-Moms (SAHMs) often ashamed to answer that loaded question of self-important workplace validity with the truth? Even Work-Outside-the-Home-Moms (WOHMs) are always still mothers... it's not like they "clock out" of being a mother when they "clock in" at work, yet if someone were to ask them what they do, they wouldn't respond, "I'm a mom" first.
But aren't we always mothers first and foremost?
The thing I can't understand is that we all have a mothers, or we wouldn't exist. For those of us fortunate to have been reared by our mothers, there aren't enough cheese-ball gold watches or certificates of achievement to show our gratitude, love, and appreciation... so having acknowledged the facts, isn't it obvious that the most important job someone could ever have, to be a mother: overseer of someone else's life from birth through to adulthood?
In my quick estimation, being a mother encompasses ALL of these job titles:
If mothering embraces all of the jobs listed above with the caveat of being on-call 24/7 for at least 18 years, how can that feat not earn the right to have an acceptable job title? Additionally, most of those titles in the list come with real management-of-people experience (husband, kids, babysitter/nanny). In the entirety of their careers, many people will never rise to the level of a job that requires managing a team... as a "job", motherhood would earn an office with floor-to-ceiling windows, a saltwater aquarium, a REAL ficus, and with the addition of every child, that would (in theory) equate to getting a promotion... another person added to your team (except motherhood as a job is backwards in essentially having less money with each added responsibility).
I've had several jobs over my 34 years (cashier, retail salesperson, intern, interior designer, marketing assistant, writer, graphic designer, business owner, freelance writer, author), but none of these jobs has been as challenging, rewarding, or thankless as being a mother.
For most mothers, the "job" of being a mother is the one you'll have the longest. Shouldn't you get some recognition for that achievement, and shouldn't you be proud of your accomplishment? Stay-at-Home-Mom or Work-Outside-the-Home-Mom, being a mother IS worthy of a job title so the next time someone asks you what you do, say with pride, "First and foremost, I'm a mom!"
** Add your additional "unpaid" mom jobs in the comments! **
#TheHardestJobThereIs #Motherhood #SAHM #WOHM
Nose picking, spitting, and incessant talk of poop... am I enduring these things because I'm the mother of boys, or are all parents experiencing the same age-related, gender-unbiased attacks on their senses?
In our house, the word "poop" (or "poopy", rather) has actually become so prevalent that it has defied the laws of grammar and has elevated itself from noun to adjective... Example: "Poopy daddy", "Poopy house", "Poopy mommy" and so on... Hey, I didn't say that my son was creative in the exercising of his new addition to the English language.
What manner of thinking sparks inquisitions like this from my eldest: "Did brother poop? Can I see it?" Furthermore, why does he run to see the cat puke on the floor when I exclaim, "EEW! Gross!"? And why does he spit into the sunlight that filters hazily into the house so that he can play in the reflective mist that sprays from his lips? And why, why, why does he feel the need to pick and eat? I know he's getting enough food, and I'm going to take a leap here and assume that it tastes better than nose gold.
I guess in my parent-induced haze called "survival mode" I just learned to ignore the constant nose picking (and sometimes eating), but when my Ukrainian Au Pair asked me what she should do when my 4-year-old picks his nose, I guess I didn't have a good answer:
"Um... tell him not to because it's gross... but then he'll probably do it again because he's getting attention... but if you don't say something, then he might not know he's not supposed to do it....? I don't have a good answer for you, I'm sorry. Kids are just gross."
As an adult, of course I think I'm smarter than my children, but playing mind games with someone a fraction of my age and losing doesn't say much as to my higher intellect. I keep telling myself (and others), that they'll grow out of it and that being gross is just a "phase", but is it?
What about that line in the movie Frozen when Kristoff asks Anna about her precious Hans:
"What if he picks his nose... and eats it?"
"Excuse me sir, he is a prince!"
"All men do it..."
Isn't there always a twinge of truth behind any comment?? AND, it's Disney! Who are we to question them? But in reality, can you imagine a grown man on a first date... finger buried in his nose... having an off-menu appetizer? Yeah, that would be a "CHECK PLEASE!"-no-second-date-don't-call-me-EVER moment.
Maybe boys don't ever grow out of their "gross" phase... perhaps they just learn to hide it better... in the privacy of their bachelor pads and in the company of their male friends. As I sit here in my office at this very moment listening to my son making spitting noises outside my door, I realize that I may never know if growing out of the gross phase is even possible so to that end, I'll just pacify myself with our house motto of "Kids are just gross"... maybe I'll even have it crocheted onto a pillow so I can pass it down to them when they have kids!
Image Credit: Egypttoday.com
This lifestyle blog is my outlet to share and advise about the things I love. I always have an opinion!