The Everything I’m Grateful For From 2016 And What I’m Looking Forward To In 2017 Post

I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I know it’s been a year because tomorrow I will find myself back at Chuck E. Cheese, exactly where I was one year ago on New Year’s Day, when I launched this blog and posted it’s first post. Oh, good old Chuck E. Cheese, where a kid can be a kid…or really where the dreams of parents go to die or at least be overtaken by every nasty germ living on this planet, cold, soggy pizza, and useless, plastic prizes that your kids will cry over because they don’t have enough tickets to buy them. You can clearly guess my feelings about Chuck E. Cheese, but now, I’m getting off topic…

2016 was a big year for me. So much has happened since I decided to launch this blog on January 1st—things that I could have never anticipated happening in just a year’s time of declaring myself to be a writer. But rather than write a long, boring blog about this year’s accomplishments and next year’s resolutions that I probably won’t keep, I’m going to list what I’m grateful for from this past year and what I’m looking forward to most in the year to come.

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Written For Suburban Misfit Mom: Five Moms That Just Aren’t My Type

All moms are different. We find what works for us. We do what we have to do. We parent in our own unique ways, but the stuff of motherhood makes us all part of the same tribe. We all carry life. We all bring that life into the world by destroying our vaginas or cutting open our stomachs. We sacrifice our tits to be food sources. We give up the privilege of full nights of sleep, daily showers, and the right to pee or poop in privacy. We rock our scars and battle wounds with pride. We sport our children’s leftovers, spit up, vomit, even poop that somehow made it on to our clothing without us noticing. We love and give and teach. We juggle and schlep and sacrifice, fight for, and would die for our children.

We should all be able to admit that some days we represent the picture of perfect parenthood while other days we epically fail. I’m not here to tell you what kind of mom to be, but some of you ruin it for the rest of us when you refuse to admit the clusterfuck of contradicting emotions and daily ups and downs you experience as mothers, just like the rest of us. So if you fall into one of these categories, we probably won’t end up becoming best mom friends. And that’s okay.

  1. The Martyr

Why make yourself extra miserable when there is so much built in misery that comes with this job —shitty sleepers, picky eaters, the tantrums, the nagging, and the obsessive neediness. Stop breastfeeding if it makes you seriously unhappy. Don’t refuse to ask for help if you need it. Quit ignoring the fact that you’re miserable in the first place. If you want to stay stuck like that, that’s your choice, but don’t make me feel like I need to join you. Don’t act like you’re better than me because you’re sticking it out. You don’t get a medal for being a martyr. I stopped breastfeeding after five days because it made me miserable and I chose to take care of my health so I could take care of my baby. I’m not interested in hanging out with any mom who would try to make me feel guilty for any of my parenting choices. And I’m definitely not interested in being the company to your misery.  

  1. The Doer

You know those moms who literally do it all, smile, and look like they love every minute of it? (I’m sure they are dying a little inside). They volunteer on the PTA, attend every meeting, sign up to be classroom mom, go on every field trip, never bring store bought anything, go to the playground every day and make you feel bad about yourself if you don’t? Well I don’t really like to spend most of my free time volunteering or monitoring my son on the playground. I won’t be the first mom signing up to be class parent or field trip chaperone. It’s MY time! I want to be friends with the mom who wants to come over and sit her child in front of the TV next to mine for a Mickey Mouse binge-watching session while sipping on some Sauvignon Blanc.

  1. The Every-mom

The every-mom is friends with every mom. When she hosts a party, she invites every mom she knows–close friends, acquaintances, moms she doesn’t even like that much. Why? Why don’t you just invite the people you actually want be with? And how can you invite someone to a party when you were badmouthing them yesterday? How do I know you weren’t gossiping about me before I got the invite to your party this weekend? No one expects you to be friends with everyone. I get being inclusive when it comes to children and parties, but when it’s just the adults? I favor small groups activities. I despise small talk. I prefer intimate conversations. Keep it small. Keep it real!

  1. The Pretender 

I do not believe in pretending when it comes to motherhood. Moms who pretend everything is perfect all the time make the rest of us who don’t, think there is something wrong with us. If you are a mom who repeatedly uses the word amazing, then I say you’re most likely full of shit. Be honest. You’re having sex at least three times a week? You cook a homemade, organic meal every night for your kids? Your child would never hit someone? You don’t believe in iPads, ever? You don’t imagine running away even just for a few hours? You’ve never hidden in your closet, crying, eating chocolate ice cream in secret? I don’t buy any of it. No one has it all together all the time. Fall apart. Cry. Yell. Confess that you fed your kid cereal for dinner last night or that he hasn’t had a proper bath in almost a week. Admit that it took you much longer than you expected to bond with your child. I want to be around other moms who aren’t afraid to embrace these common feelings. Moms who have no issues calling their children assholes when they are in fact, being assholes.

  1. The Helicopter 

I want to sit back and let my kid be. Let him figure out how to take turns, work out his own disagreements. Tell him to shake it off when he falls down. Not run to him or give him what he wants immediately when he wants it and screams for it. Most importantly, I want to have adult time and conversation, but how can we when all you do is hover over and tend to every single one of your child’s needs. How can we go out for a drink after the kids go to sleep when you won’t let anyone else watch them? How can we take a girls’ trip when you refuse to leave your little ones for even a few hours? How dare you try to make me feel like a bad mom because I do all those things. I will never agree with you that your kids should have been invited to that wedding. It’s an adult party and you probably need to dance your face off more than you realize. Get a friggin’ babysitter. Drop the kids off at Grandma’s. Teach your kids to be independent. Train them to be less dependent on you. I promise you will thank me for it later when you finally agree to meet me for that drink.

This post originally appeared on Suburban Misfit Mom.

Ugh Playdates!

Yes, I’m saying what I know you are all thinking. I cannot stand playdates. I fucking cannot stand playdates. I CAN’T STAND PLAYDATES!  I swear, they are often more work than they are worth. Maybe this will change when my son gets a little older, but for now, the playdate is not as easy as going to one of his friend’s houses where I sit at the kitchen table gabbing and drinking coffee with his mom while our kids play independently, share toys, and never need their mommies.

Currently, playdates go as follows: We either arrive at a friend’s house or they come to ours. For the first ten minutes, there is excitement and the desire to show off and share all the toys. After ten minutes, one kid wants to play playdough and one does not. My kid wants to play with a truck, but his friend thinks it’s too noisy. Friend’s mom and I have to stop talking and leave our delicious coffee to negotiate a peace deal between our children. What if you both do play dough for ten minutes, then you play with the truck together? You can even make play dough shapes to put inside the truck and transport to other places in the room. Thank goodness they liked that last idea and now they are playing together at the table with playdough. We go back to our coffee in the kitchen, which is now cold. Ten minutes later, “MOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYYYY!”

Playdates also make me feel insecure about my parenting skills and level of likeability. A few days before a playdate, I’m always stressing, especially if it’s a mom I don’t know very well coming over to my house. What food should I serve? Should I make brownies? Does this mom make everything from scratch? My brownies come from a box. If I only serve brownies, will she think I only feed my kid junk? Okay, I will put out fruit too. And maybe I should also have Pirate’s Booty, veggie sticks, fruit pouches, organic cheese sticks, Annie’s cookie bunnies, and juice boxes–you know, just in case.

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Dethroning Your Inner Critic With Joanna Kleinman – Is The Queen Of Chaos Driving The Bus?

Do you ever wish that you could just take a vacation from your mind?

Do you wish that you had an “on-off” switch on the side of your head that you could turn off your worry about the future, your regrets of the past, the things you keep telling yourself over and over that you need to work on or change?

Our mind, the Queen of Chaos, can literally drive us crazy.  We live in a culture that fosters an overactive mind, that creates worry, frustration, dissatisfaction, sleeplessness, and a feeling that no matter what life we have, something (or many things!) about our life needs to be different. It is as though our minds create a war inside of us, and we think that the way to peace is through continuing to examine what we need to change, how we need to improve, or we fixate on changing or improving someone else, like our spouse or our kids!

The bottom line is this:  We will never feel the content, joy, love and satisfaction that we want to feel in our lives by remaining at war with ourselves.

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F**k Disney World…Campowerment is the Happiest Place on Earth!

(UPDATED: On this day where we give thanks, I’m posting an oldie but a favorite to show the immense level of gratitude I have for everything Campowerment-the movement, the founders, the experts, the rangers, the women, the lessons learned, the playtime had-just everything I am so fortunate to be part of. This third camp was different for me (and all camps are different because I am different at every camp), as I took a lot of time to just look around, observe, and take it all in rather than do every single activity offered. And yes as I turned 35 on the first day of camp, I was celebrated in a big way, but what I found to be most rewarding was to watch other incredibly beautiful and strong women experience their own transformations on that hilltop in Malibu. I want to bottle that feeling and take it with me wherever I go, since I can’t live at camp 365 days a year! Oh and being named color war captain and winning didn’t hurt either! So again, F**ck Disney World…Campowerment is the Happiest Place on Earth!) 

I’m moving to camp. You heard me…camp! A magical place where women of all ages and from all different walks of life come together to be each other’s cheerleaders. A place where women support women no matter what. A place where no one gives a shit about what you do for a living, what clothes you wear, how much you weigh, how much money you make, how many children you have, if you are married, single, divorced, etc. Trust me…makeup doesn’t matter at camp. Sometimes showers don’t even matter at camp.

A place where there is no bullshit, no noise (except the cheers of your fellow campers while you take on the Leap of Faith at the ropes course as in the above photos–yes that’s me being all brave and badass), and you can be who you are. You can do you and just be. Doesn’t camp sound amazing? That’s because it is. Where else can you go and find yourself and your tribe made up of all women? And we women need each other. I always say to my close female friends that I don’t understand mom-shaming or women-shaming for that matter. Life is hard enough. Women need to support women and whatever choices they make. Well, they do at camp!

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Dethroning Your Inner Critic With Joanna Kleinman – The One You Feed

There is an old Cherokee Indian legend that illustrates the battle between US and our INNER CRITIC beautifully.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” 

He continued, “The other is good–he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” 

“The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

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Written For Suburban Misfit Mom: I’m Not That Pinterest Mom

Some moms spend hours every day searching on pinning on Pinterest. I’m not that mom.

Some moms pin their own recipes, crafts, and décor with their own photos from their own lives. I’m not that mom. 

Some moms make cute little signs for their kids’ first day of school. I’m not that mom.

Some moms cut their kids sandwiches into shapes like stars or monsters. I’m not that mom. 

Some moms make eyes, noses, and mouths on said sandwiches. I’m not that mom.

Some moms pack their kids’ lunches full of colors so it looks like the bento box threw up a rainbow. I’m not that mom.

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Dethroning Your Inner Critic With Joanna Kleinman – Who Are You Really?

All of us think we have some idea of who we really are. We may be a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. We may be a teacher, a doctor, an office worker, or a stay at home mom. We may have been told that we are fun, funny, a good listener, and kind. We may have been told that we are cold, selfish, controlling, judgmental. It runs the gamut.

Where did our sense of self come from? Primarily from our thinking…a collection of thoughts about our selves. Our thoughts about ourselves include who we think we are, and what other people tell us. We have developed an identity from our childhood experiences, our ideas from our parents and siblings, and from our culture.

What we often fail to realize, is that who we think we are, actually begins when we are first figuring out the world around us, and how people in our world relate to us. As a child, we don’t have an understanding of how the world works. The beginnings of our sense of who we are, and who we are not, start to take shape when we are about three or four years old. That’s pretty scary when you think about it! Our three and four year-old selves are starting to form opinions about how important we are, how loved we are, whether we are smart enough, how much we think we matter to others. And not only are these beliefs becoming a solid part of our sense of self, but it is these early beliefs that will play a huge role in almost every aspect of our lives, from our self esteem, to the people we choose to be in relationships with. And it all starts around three years old. Yikes!

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Five Steps To Dethrone Your Crazy “Bad Mom” Inner Critic

I’m calling November Inner Critic Month–because we all have one–and she can be a raging bitch. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to punch mine in the face on most days, if I could only just stop listening to her so much. Last month, I was fortunate enough to meet the amazing Joanna Kleinman, psychotherapist and mom of three, who works with women to silence their inner critics once and for all. For the next four Mondays at The Medicated Mommy, Joanna will be sharing her tips for how to silence yours. And she is starting with motherhood! Make sure you subscribe below so you don’t miss any of her incredibly valuable advice!

FIVE STEPS TO DETHRONE YOUR CRAZY “BAD MOM” INNER CRITIC:

I have been waiting for the premier of Bad Moms all summer long. I have heard fellow moms talking about it for months, rallying packs of moms together to see this movie. So, I was so excited when I finally went to see it last week. I wanted to find out why it is that this movie is resonating with so many women in a way that no movie has done in years.

This movie really hit home for me, as a therapist who has helped thousands of moms struggle with feelings of guilt and inadequacy, and as a mom of three kids. It also hits home with millions of moms out there who struggle with the feeling that they have no idea what they are doing, and they are not doing a good enough job.

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Go Back to Sleep! Advice from Dr. JJ Levenstein

Take Back the Night – A Guide to Getting Your Toddler Back to Sleep!

From the moment our first babies are born, we respond to every cry and squawk with parental love and attention, because it’s in us. Face it. And babies NEED us.

But when our angels start to manipulate us, especially at night, it’s sheer exhaustion.

So essentially from day one, our babies become the boss of us. Why does that happen? Out of necessity we must 100% meet our babies needs in those first few months. By 4-6 months they are intelligent enough to know how to use their cries very specifically when they need us – and they do, brilliantly.

It’s no wonder that they push back when we start to put up boundaries to protect them, say no, and all of a sudden have to become the boss of them! It’s the reason why toddlers sometimes cry and protest excessively – these rules, gates, boundaries and no’s weren’t asked for…..but are necessary to help structure their days and keep them safe.

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