Friday, July 19, 2013

Top 5 Things Moms Should Never Feel Guilty About

Top 5 Things Moms Should Never Feel Guilty About

I heard a saying once that goes, “Behind every great kid is a mother who’s pretty sure she’s screwing it up.” Motherhood and excessive guilt seem to go hand-in-hand. Here’s a list (in no particular order) of five things moms should never feel guilty about.

1.       Not sharing your ice cream, especially if it’s really good ice cream, you know the kind served by the pint. Now, the recommended serving for that really good,  pint-sized size ice cream is a half a cup (I laugh), but let’s be honest, what mother,  in her not-so-right mind (because that’s when we eat ice cream) stops at a half a cup? So technically, there are four servings. One, for you, one for hubs, and one to share with each of your two kids.  You could share, but why would you? This is really good, pint-sized ice cream and your kids would be just as happy with an orange Popsicle. Don’t waste the good stuff on them! Sharing your ice cream with hubs, on the other hand, is inherent in the marriage vows and must be done unless you enjoy eating your really good, pint-sized ice cream in your closet next to your shoes… and who wouldn’t?  

2.       Not pairing socks. I gave up on pairing socks about three years ago and the feeling of freedom lingers with me to this day. Pairing socks is for people who care about wearing matching socks. Your kids don’t care and they may not care until they are adults and maybe not even then. So why waste time pairing them? I pair my husband’s socks, but he pays the bills around here, he deserves matching socks, although he is color blind and wouldn’t be able to tell either way.  But, let’s say you are one of those moms who has to have everything matchy-matchy, (It’s okay, there’s no shame in that.) and you wouldn’t dream of sending your kids to school with mismatched socks. My question to you then would be; why would you do a task that your kid learned the necessary skill for probably as early as the age of three? Put that sock basket in front of them and let them match to your heart’s content!

3.       Not playing video games with your kids. I do everything for my children: I’ve fed them, burped them, cleaned up their vomit, coached their basketball team, sewed on their badges, tolerated their ornery friends, but I am not going to let them kick my can in Mario Cart! You may say, “But Annie, don’t you believe in playing with your kids?” Sure, I do! We hike together, bike together, play cards and kickball together, but I refuse to pick up a game controller for them, unless they want to play Tetris, then there may be some room to negotiate. 

4.       Not breastfeeding your baby. Now before you get all hysterical, let me explain. Do I believe that breastfeeding is better, more cost-effective, and important for bonding and good health? Yes, a thousand million times. I also know that sometimes it does not come naturally and try as you might to make that happen for you and your baby it just doesn’t.  I did not breastfeed my twin sons. That was my first test of motherhood and I felt like I had failed. After all the rigors of carrying 15.3 lbs. of baby and then the sleeplessness nights and the adjustment from just being responsible for me and now being responsible for these two new lives was overwhelming, and I’m sure it was the stress and malnutrition of not being able to properly care for myself contributed to not being able to produce enough milk for these not-so-tiny newborns.  I was able to relinquish some of the guilt of breastfeeding failure came when my baby daughter came into the world and latched on as if she’d read “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” in the womb.  I abandoned the rest of my guilt for not breastfeeding my twin sons on their first day of kindergarten when I looked around the room and thought to myself, “Can you tell which of these kids have been breastfed and who hasn’t?” Nope. 

Cancelling time with the extended family to be with just your immediate family. Living near grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins is the biggest blessing. Being able to get together frequently and having them close enough to share in the events of our lives brings even more joy to our celebrations. But, there are also those times when your immediate family needs to circle the wagons and pow-wow on their own.  Make time to have your very own traditions and your very own special moments to enhance bonding between you, your hubs, and your two kids, because, remember, there are only four servings in that really good, pint-sized ice cream

Monday, July 15, 2013

One thousand little trips for one big one

We've been planning a big family adventure to Costa Rica, Land of Pure Life, or as they say in Costa Rica, "La tierra de la Pura Vida." This is our first time to take the children out of the country. There's a lot to consider: passports, shots, safety, Spanish lessons, family-friendly accommodations and adventure gear for a family of five!

I've been taking a thousand little trips in preparation for our one big trip. Several of those have been to Mesa Mall. With the variety of activities we'll be doing in the Central American rainforest, preparation is key. We needed shoes and clothes to go from beach to trail to city streets, spelunking gear for cave touring, hydration packs for our hike up Volcan Arenal, motion sickness meds for mom:/ and heavy-duty bug spray to avoid illnesses contracted from insect bites.

I contracted dengue once before while living in Venezuela. It's like turning yourself inside out and rolling down a mountain of hammers. Dengue is definitely one of those revenge-type illnesses you wouldn't (or would;) want to wish on your worst enemy.  A recent report I read in an online Costa Rican newspaper said that cases of dengue were up this year. I shared my concern with the salesperson at Cabelas and she assured me that this repellent was highly effective and what she uses herself when she travels to tropical climes.

                                                                        (Unless you are my worst enemy.)

A couple shopping tips:

Be sure you check all the colors of the item you want to find the cheapest price. I saved more than half (no exaggeration needed) on my daughter's surf-to-trail sandals just because she was willing to go with blue and purple instead of gray and pink.

Sign up to receive texts from retailers and use coupon apps to score big discounts. I used my GeoQpons app to save a few extra $$.

Follow Mesa Mall on Facebook and Twitter to get the inside scoop on sales, last-minute bargains and activities for the kids with the Kidgits program

I don't know how many more little trips it will take to finally have all the things we'll need for our big trip, but at least I know I won't need a head lamp or bug spray to find it all at Mesa Mall.