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Phone Etiquette for Parents

My son was pretending to talk on the phone before he said his first word..... wonder where he learned that from......

My son was pretending to talk on the phone before he said his first word….. wonder where he learned that from……

Before I had kids, I can remember calling my sister who lives about an hour away from me to catch up. My sister has two children, a three year old and a six year old and she has always worked from home as a free lancing graphic designer. Before I even begin here, I just want to point out that anyone who works from home while taking care of kids must be a multi-tasking saint, because I can barely get a load of laundry done while I’m at home with my son, much less attempt any actual work. Anyways, I can remember calling my sister and without fail during every conversation, one of the kids was talking to her, somebody was crying, or someone needed something. I can remember feeling bad that I was holding her up on the phone when she clearly had her hands full and trying to offer her an out, saying things like, “Do you want to call me back?” But she always replied no, she handled the situation with whatever the hell was going on the background, and we’d get back to talking. Like I said, people who are home with children all day (and work from home on top of that) are literally incredible.

Yesterday, as I was trying to talk to my mother about our plans for the weekend, my son was crawling all over me, crying and whining for my attention. My mom asked me if I wanted to give her a call back after he was calmed down, and all I could do was laugh, remembering saying that same thing to my sister.  Now that I am a mother who’s home with kids during the day, I have even more appreciation for my sister’s ability to chat with me on the phone while wrangling two children at the same time. For the most part, trying to have a phone conversation without constant interruptions is pretty much the same as trying to leave the toy store without any tears. It’s nearly impossible.

This morning as I was getting ready for work (nannying for two children in my neighborhood), I was trying to talk to my husband who was out of town on a business trip. Picture me brushing my teeth in the living room, loading Sesame Street on Demand for the baby, and trying to talk to him about what time he’d be home (hopefully sooner rather than later……). It wasn’t pretty. The baby was crying and I was spitting toothpaste all over the carpet. Needless to say, I hung up on him rather quickly.

After feeling a little guilty for getting off the phone so fast, it occurred to me that there is an entirely separate set of phone etiquette guidelines for people who are trying to converse while caring for kids. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable to hang up at any moment due to the severity of whatever mayhem might be happening in the household. If you’re talking to me on the phone, you should probably just expect that I may interrupt you to scream things like, “Stop eating the dog food,” or “Get off the kitchen table.” If you hear my son throwing a tantrum in the background because, god forbid, I stopped entertaining him for two seconds, don’t bother asking me if I want to give you a call back. I don’t. I want to keep talking because sometimes a quick phone chat is the only social interaction I might have with an adult for several hours at a time. There is no way that a little crying or screaming is going to stop me from enjoying that. And one last thing – my son is totally obsessed with my phone (wonder where he gets that from…..) so if you’re talking to me, you’re obligated to spend at least three minutes talking to him, too.

Last week, I replaced my iPhone for the second time. My husband wonders how it’s possible that in the last sixteen months, I’ve dropped and cracked two phones. Honestly, based on what kind of shit I’m dealing with when I’m trying to talk on my phone, it’s actually amazing that I haven’t broken several more. If you are expecting a child, I’m going to ahead and advise that you invest in the $10/month to get insurance on your phone. Between trying to give your kid a bath, feed the baby breakfast, or change a shitty diaper while chatting on the phone, you’re bound to break it at some point. And just remember; don’t feel bad about hanging up on your husband because when you’re a mother, phone etiquette is totally irrelevant.

 

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Wordless Wednesday

I swear, I had nothing to do with this. But I did take advantage of having both my beasts in one place and got the room vacuumed.

I swear, I had nothing to do with this. But I did take advantage of having both my beasts in one place and got the room vacuumed.

Less is More.

While we swore our house wasn’t going to become baby central when we welcomed a child into the family, it’s tough to avoid. For the most part, we are able to keep toy mania mayhem to a back living in our house. Luckily, this room has sliding doors, so if we want to reminisce about the days in which our house wasn’t run by the toddler king, we can close the doors and avoid staring at toys all night after he goes to bed. But the problem with having too many toys is that most of time, the king sticks to a few old favorites. I swear, out of 1000 toys, he plays with about three of them.  We’ve learned to rotate them by putting half in the basement. This way, when you bring them out a few weeks later, it feels like Christmas and they totally catch his attention all over again.

When you have a child who gets tired of his toys, you have to constantly plan outings and play dates to keep him from completely bouncing off the playroom walls. Luckily for me (sort of….), I work as a nanny three and a half days watching two other children during a normal week. Grey tags along with me to their house on the days that I work. It works well because he has other kids to entertain him and toys that don’t belong to him, which are most interesting kind. Mondays are usually my day off and I typically fill them with planned activities to stay busy. We attend story time at the library, we go out to lunch, or we go to the park – pretty much whatever I can come up with to entertain a 16 month old busy body.

The mother whose children I nanny for is a teacher, so of course my schedule has lightened up for the summer. I’m going to work two days a week or so, but still, that’s A LOT more time at home alone with a baby than I’m used to. I’ve been stressing about keeping us both sane for the next eight weeks, especially since I have a child who isn’t totally interested in his toys. So, when we woke up today, I had a list of things ready to go. I set up the pool, I filled the water table, and I registered for a new baby “Sing, Sign, and Play” class. However, it didn’t go quite as planned. Today, my son reminded me that sometimes, less really IS more. Let me tell you about how we filled our eleven hour day before daddy got home from work.

The king was whining to go outside at 7:30 this morning, so out we went. We walked up and down the side walk, stopping to watch some ants along the way. He spent about a half hour holding the nozzle (which was not connected to the hose, by the way) “watering” the flowers.

 

Maybe next time, I'll actually hook the hose up to that nozzle....

Maybe next time, I’ll actually hook the hose up to that nozzle….


 After a snack, we headed out for our first baby sing, sign, and play class. Unfortunately, Grey was exhausted from all the outdoor play and fell asleep before I turned out of our neighborhood. I took him home and put that kid to bed. Never wake a sleeping baby, right?

When he woke up from his nap, we headed downstairs for my next planned activity: art projects. Grey had a different idea. He got distracted by the light switches on his way down and we spent the next half hour turning the lights on, then off, then on, then off…. If it had been dark out, it would have looked like we were having a baby rave in the house.

On, off, on, off, on, off. Exciting stuff.

On, off, on, off, on, off. Exciting stuff.

After the exhilarating light switch experiments, we headed back outside. Luckily, my kid enjoys doing chores, so he spent the next 15 minutes helping me push the trash can and recycling bin back up to the garage. I wonder if he will still enjoy chores when he’s a teenager.

I'm going to save this photo for when he's a teenager and I can tell him about the days when he actually pulled his weight with the household chores.

I’m going to save this photo for when he’s a teenager and I can tell him about the days when he actually pulled his weight with the household chores.

We saved the best activity for last. Now remember, we have just as many outdoor toys as we do indoor toys. Bubbles, chalk, soccer balls, sand and water table, a climbing structure, etc. You get the idea. Who needs toys when you have a roll of painter’s tape?? Grey had a kickin’ time setting up the tape on its side, then watching it roll down the driveway. Really thrilling stuff.

 

Painter's Tape: the cheapest toy ever.

Painter’s Tape: the cheapest toy ever.


All in all, it was a much more slow paced day that what I’m used to. I mean, when you’re typically taking care of three crazy kids all day, there isn’t really time to watch painter’s tape roll down the driveway. While we didn’t do any of the things I had planned, I have to say, I had an awesome day. Who knows? Maybe I’ll stop stressing about plans and play dates and let the king lead the way more often.

 

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Blog Hop!



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You Know You’re A Mom When…..

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Thank you to all of the awesome Moms that helped me compile this hilarious list! I had planned to add a few of my own, but I think you ladies pretty much covered it. Enjoy and check out their blogs, businesses, and websites as well!

You Know You’re A Mom When……

  1. A trip to Target alone feels like a weekend getaway. – Gianina C.
  2. Your lunch consists of torn off crusts, uneaten pieces of green beans and puffs. – Dawn S.
  3. Sleeping in = 6am and staying up late = 10pm. – Jessica A. at http://yourhealthyhappylife.blogspot.com/
  4. Your purse always smells like rotten milk from the dang sippie cups leaking! – Jamie B.
  5. You have to really search your closet for non-elastic waisted pants for those rare occasions you actually get to dress up. And by dress up, I mean clean jeans, a clean shirt, and my hair not in a ponytail. – Jessica A. at http://yourhealthyhappylife.blogspot.com/
  6. You have learned how to dodge projectile poop. – Tara L. at http://www.lapinskasfamily.blogspot.com
  7. You’re at a dinner party and you say you have to go potty. – Kristin R.
  8. Your left leg is shaved and your right isn’t, you only have mascara on one eye and you’re at the grocery store looking like that wondering why people are looking at you funny. – Shanna S.
  9. You ask,”Is this chocolate or poop?” – Sherree T.
  10. You’re so used to rocking your baby in your arms you sway even when giving presentations or while talking to people! – Annika B.
  11. You can multitask by doing at least 16 different things at once. – Kaylee D.
  12. You’re walking with friends and say, “Oooh! Look 4 tractors! Isn’t that cool! Let’s count them!” My husband always says you can tell a parent of toddlers by asking them when the last time was that they ate a cheerio off the floor. A parent won’t even flinch and probably say it was earlier that day. A non-parent will look at you like you’re crazy. – Ann Z. at http://tragicoptimist.wordpress.com
  13. You pee…when you sneeze, laugh, or your bladder is the tiniest bit over full. – Tammy F. at http://www.chi-townmommymayhem.com
  14. You’re in public and raise your kid up in the air to smell his butt to find out if that smell is coming from your child. – Jamie P.
  15. Using the toilet alone is a luxury. – Alexis B.
  16. Your boobs reach your belly button. – Diana M.
  17. You’re at work and go more than half the day before someone lets you know that your whole left shoulder is covered in dry snot (from comforting the toddler when they freak because they realize you’re leaving for work). – Jackie Y.
  18. You sing to yourself, but slightly aloud, “I’m a little pony, clippedy clop clippedy clop, such a pretty pony, clippedy clop clippedy clop” while grocery shopping alone…. – Dawn S.
  19. You are begging your husband for a minivan! – Jennifer L.
  20. You wake up each am singing the Little Einstein’s theme song!!!! – Peggy C.
  21. You dream of a hot lunch. – Candace H.
  22. When serving a banana, you ask, “Do you want to eat that like a monkey?” – Jenna E.
  23. You say things like, “Don’t put your finger in your sister’s butt.” – Laura L.
  24. You know you’re the mother of a small child when you watch that child gleefully devour her corn, and all you can think is, “That’s gonna be a lot of poop later.” Melissa S. at http://homeonderanged.com
  25. Your car looks like a Babies r Us threw up in the backseat. And also you think The Nose Frida is one of the best things ever created.  – Emma G. at http://ourfreshfamily.com
  26. You haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in 9 years, showering before noon has become a luxury, and you can’t remember the last time you actually sat down to eat breakfast. – Marie B. at https://www.facebook.com/makeyourowndamndinner
  27. Talking about poop color and consistency is normal conversation. – Kelly S.
  28. You haven’t looked in the mirror in….you can’t remember when. – Chelse T. at http://eieiophotography.com/
  29. A night in the hospital has its pluses. – Jodie G.
  30. You try to grocery shop, take care of groceries, start wash, fold wash, take care of the wash, start dinner all before baby wakes up!! – Kristen E.
  31. All of a sudden, your life means more because you can’t imagine your baby navigating this world without you. – Kristi C. at http://www.findingninee.com/
  32. You go to the mall to get new clothes for yourself and come home with a bag filled from Gymboree! – Kim C.
  33. You hide in the bathroom for a few minutes of quiet time. – BreAnne at http://www.thepinspiredmom.com
  34. It’s 10 am and you been up for five hours already. – Laura C.
  35. You no longer question what that stain or wet spot on your clothing is. The last big purchase you made as a gift to yourself and were EXCITED about is a vacuum. Erin P. at http://www.unconventionalmommytails.com
  36. A vacation is more stressful than daily life. – Christine P. at http://www.musingsofasinglemama.com
  37. You are so tired that you almost walk into the shower with your bra on. – Jacquelyn T.  at http://thenonmarthamomma.com
  38. You find Cheerios in your purse! –  Leah M. at http://www.sandytoescreations.com

 

Got something to add to this list??? Leave me a comment with your “You Know You’re A Mom When” moments!

 

 

Click here to send a vote once daily!

Click here to send a vote once daily!

 

 

Wordless Wednesday

This about sums up my day.

This about sums up my day.

 

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Happy Father’s Day!

father's day

 

I SO wanted to suggest that my husband spend some quality one on one time with the baby in honor of Father’s Day, but I’m not THAT selfish….

Hope all the awesome dads out there had a wonderful, relaxing Father’s Day and hopefully you took good notes so that you know exactly what we want for Mother’s Day next year (ahem, we want to sleep in, we want alone time, maybe a thoughtful craft from the kids, and we don’t want to change any diapers all day…).

Happy Father’s Day!!!!!

Bribery at its best.

When I was expecting, I had a long list of things I vowed that I was never going to say or do when I became a parent. While I’ve tried my best to stick to the list, desperate times call for desperate measures. For example, the phrase “Because I told you so” used to drive me crazy, especially as an early childhood educator. I remember thinking that when my child asked me why they had to do something, I’d simply take three minutes and give them a valid explanation rather than forcing them into doing things that they don’t want to do. Then, when you actually spend every second of your day with children, you realize that sometimes, the only answer that you have the time or patience for is that simple phrase. Because I told you so.

I was also the expecting mother who said I wasn’t going to use TV and other electronics, like my iPad, to entertain my child. Well, guess what? Sometimes mommy needs to shower or eat a meal, so TV it is. A little Sesame Street never killed anyone.

Biggest on my list of parenting no-no’s was bribery. I believed in the importance of teaching your children how to behave and how to listen without bribing them with rewards like toys or treats. For the most part, I still believe that a child has to learn that they don’t always get their way. Tantrums are inevitable when you say no sometimes, but ultimately your child will learn an important lesson.

That being said, I have realized that the occasional bribe (like the occasional public tantrum) is also inevitable. On Tuesday, I took my 16 month old with me to Hobby Lobby to pick up some supplies for our Father’s Day crafts. If you haven’t been to a Hobby Lobby, it’s like a craft store on steroids. They literally sell everything. It’s like a child’s dream. Tons of interesting (and fragile) things to be touched. Lots of little toys and art supplies. The minute we walked into the store, Grey was trying to climb out of the cart. The store is also the size of warehouse, which made the specific, tiny items I needed like trying to find a needle in a fucking craft store hay stack. It took me about fifteen minutes to track down the only apparent employee they had working that night. As she described the 4000 different products I could use for my crafts, Grey decided to keep himself busy by browsing the items on the shelves. When I looked down, he was wearing a hideous, tan, foam safari hat. Yup. They actually make foam safari hats.

Normally, I try to avoid buying random crap to keep my kid occupied in the store. It’s a waste of money and he needs to learn that he isn’t going to get a toy every time we go out. But, it was getting late. It was dinner time. My husband was out of town. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with a major tantrum. So, I bought the damn hat. He loved it so much that I had to pry it out of his hands to pay for it. I don’t actually consider this bribery, per se. It’s more like I was teaching him about good negotiation skills….. I’ll buy this hat if you be quiet and sit in the cart. Done deal.

How could I say no to that face???

How could I say no to that face???

Turns out, he REALLY loved the hat. He insisted on wearing it at dinner.

Safari hat at dinner. Why not?

Safari hat at dinner. Why not?

And when we got up the next morning, he wore it while doing some squirrel watching with the dog.

All this kid needs now is a pair of binoculars.

All this kid needs now is a pair of binoculars.

If I had known that he was going to love this ridiculous hat so much and was actually going to wear it around and play with it for days, I would have bought several of them. Turns out the occasional bribe doesn’t make me a bad mother after all. One thing I know for sure though, next time I go to Hobby Lobby, I’ll leave the kid at home.

 

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Wordless Wednesday

pong

I was trying to create a game yesterday for the kids similar to the carnival ping pong ball toss where you can win the goldfish. After showing them how to throw the pong balls into the cups, I realized that my subconscious mind was apparently craving a game of beer pong.

Mommy Must-Have Guilty Pleasures

essential items

There are three essential items needed to survive in my house on a daily basis: vanilla soy milk, coffee and vodka.

There are a small percentage of women who excel at motherhood in an extraordinary way, much like how a small group of people are talented and successful in sports or music.  I described them in an earlier post called Professional Parenting. It’s like they were born to raise children. These moms spend their free time browsing Pinterest, collecting the latest organic and delicious recipes for the home made baby food that they exclusively serve their babies. They’ve read all of the parenting books and their kids have been sleeping through the night since they were four months old. They are perfectly patient parents all the time…and why wouldn’t they be? Their children are always well-behaved.

Unfortunately, this isn’t me. My days can pretty much be described as damage control – pulling Play Doh out of my son’s mouth, scrubbing his hands after he’s played in the toilet, rerunning the same load of laundry over and over because I keep forgetting to switch it to the dryer. You get the picture. It’s insane, really. To keep myself from completely blowing my stay at home mommy stack, I have a few guilty pleasures that are crucial in getting me through my day.

1.) Coffee – Did you know that a Keurig can brew a cup of delicious coffee in under 60 seconds?? Having access to a cup of coffee in 60 seconds any time of day is amazing. When your kid insists on waking up before the sun rises every day, caffeine is a necessity. I’m not going to lie; I’ve definitely dozed off during the 7:00am episode of Sesame Street. (Don’t judge me. At 7:00am, I’ve already been up for two hours). Coffee is literally the only thing keeping me from falling asleep at the parenting wheel on a regular basis.

 

Keurig is not even paying me to post this.

Keurig is not even paying me to post this.

2.) Mindless Television – Spending 15 waking hours a day with a toddler can make you feel as if your head is spinning. A quick fix to a mentally exhausting afternoon is an hour of some good, trashy television to put my mind back on track. Dance Moms, The Housewives of Wherever, The Kardashians – anything will do. I can’t explain why, but zoning out while watching people that are crazier than I am always makes me feel better. 

I don't even care how many different shows they have, I will watch all of them.  photo via eonline.com

I don’t even care how many different shows they have, I will watch all of them.
photo via eonline.com

3.) Vodka – Or any other alcohol for that matter. I have one cocktail every night to wind down after a long day of baby chasing. (Sometimes more, depending on how insane the day was….) Thus far, vodka is the only fix for drowning out the Elmo’s World theme song that is constantly streaming through my head. Plus, when you’re dealing with teething induced tantrums like the one picture below, it’s actually impressive that I’m capable of waiting until 7:00pm before pouring my first drink.

A tantrum from a Mother's perspective.

A tantrum from a Mother’s perspective.

4.) Internet – As a stay at home mother, more than a week can easily pass and the only public places I have been to are Wegmans and Target. Due to my serious lack of socialization, the internet is sometimes my only connection to the outside world. Facebook, Twitter, Yahoomail, and WordPress are some of my closest friends these days.

Who needs a new phone if you can still Facebook?

Who needs a new phone if you can still Facebook?

For the amount of time I spend on my iPhone, it’s actually amazing that I have only broken it twice. But who the hell cares if the screen is cracked as long as it still has internet connection? Am I right?

Pinterest, chocolate, or whatever it may be, I think every mother has a secret list of must-have guilty pleasures. While sometimes I feel bad for indulging in some trashy reality TV while sipping a strong cocktail at night, if it gets me through the day and keeps me sane, then it’s totally worth it.

 

 

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