Things I Did When I Was Kid-Free

This past weekend I was able to take a quick trip to Texas, my home state, to visit family and attend a concert. I tend to get anxious when traveling alone because I hate to leave my babies behind and at the mercy of a free-for-all schedule. At least when I’m home I know my kids eat, nap and bathe (just kidding, Adam!). Either way, I forced myself to go because everyone needs a break once in a while – especially moms.

Once I got to the airport I realized how much I desperately needed this trip and how nice it actually was to travel kid-free. I thought it would be fun to keep a running list of all the things I was able to do since I didn’t have my littles dictating all my time and energy on this trip.

Doing these simple things felt even more glorious than I remembered from my pre-kid days.

  • I traveled with only a carry-on. I have to admit it felt a little odd only having a purse and a carry-on – almost as if I was naked. I typically get to the gate and have twitching arm syndrome due to carrying kids, bags, car seats, strollers, etc. This time I leisurely strolled up to the gate and comfortably sat in peace while I waited to board the plane. Nothing short of amazing.

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  • I breezed through the TSA checkpoint. No breaking down baby gear, pulling out breast milk for testing, taking off layers of jackets, chasing down toddlers to guide them through medal detectors, or getting dirty looks from other travelers – just one bag and me. It was heaven on earth.
  • I sat up front on the plane. Normally I head to the back of the plane in case my kids act like raging lunatics, but this time I sat in front. Why is this such a luxury? Because when we landed I got off the plane within a few minutes, verses the normal 20 it takes to round up babies and personal belongings. I felt so VIP.
  • I read my book in-flight without interruption. I’m lucky if I make it through five pages of a book in normal life even when my kids are in bed. Making it through several chapters was a huge accomplishment.
  • I didn’t have to kid-proof the hotel room. When traveling with my babies I usually have to inspect the room and eliminate any dangers, move breakables, cover outlets, and look for small objects that can get lodged in my kids’ throat. It’s exhausting. This time I just walked in and fell into the plush bed that was all mine. Cue the angels signing.
  • I took a shower and used the restroom in peace and without locking the door. Women throw privacy out the window once they become a mom. I typically can’t go into the bathroom without one, if not both kids. They always barge in on my showers and if I lock the door I hear at least 10 minutes of knocking and crying begging for entry.
  • I had adult conversations without interruption. Another first in a long time. I always tell my friends I’ll just talk to them in five years when both my kids are in school. Until then they’ll have to put up with me yelling commands or hearing my kids whining in the background.
  • I went to a concert that did not include any Disney characters. My sister and I went to the New Kids on the Block concert (no judging) and it was so fun to relive our childhood memories. It was an adult show and even though there were a bunch of screaming girls, at least it wasn’t my kid screaming. I’ll take it.

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  • I slept on the flight home.  Unfortunately sleeping is something I rarely get to experience, especially on a flight. After a long few days of uninterrupted fun a quick snooze on a night flight was just what I needed.

Yes, living the dream for those few short days was awesome and it made me remember just how easy life use to be. But I have to say, the best part of my vacation was getting attacked with hugs and kisses when I walked through the front door. It was pure heaven. If that’s the kind of reception I’ll always get – than I maybe it’s time for another vacation? Wishful thinking. 

 

 

 

 

What Moms Really Want for Mother’s Day

Because moms only get one day a year to be nationally recognized, why not go all out for her this year? Yes sentimental gifts are nice and bring tears to our eyes, but what do we really want? Let me enlighten you now…..

Silence – Real, absolute silence. This means take the kids far, far, far away for the day. Quite time is not the same if you just go into the playroom and she can still hear screaming and crying from a few feet away. Doesn’t count. Moms need silence to clear her thoughts, hear herself breathe and be able to truly relax.

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Pampering – A massage package, mani-pedi day, facial; any of these will do. We need someone to work out those kinks and make us feel pretty since we’re normally covered in food particles and vomit. Also, you need to pay someone to do this. No offense, but your massages are bogus in comparison.

Maid Service – Even if it’s just a one-time service, the small fee is worth it! Trust me, mom will love it! Having someone come and clean the house just eliminates one of the many tasks on our plate, and is deeply appreciated. If you can’t afford a maid service, take over the cleaning for an entire week – and do a good job.

Girl’s Night – Give her a spontaneous girls night out! She’ll never make the plans herself because she’s always too busy – so do it for her. While she is out do NOT text or call her to ask questions. This ruins the night. Besides, whatever it is, you can handle it.

Date Night – If she doesn’t do girls nights; plan a date night. Adults only, and you do all the work! Make it a seamless night for her to enjoy herself and make sure it includes a lot of adult beverages.

Let her sleep in – Wake up early and take the kids to breakfast or to play outside so she can get some much needed shut eye.

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Let her go to the bathroom alone. Being able to pee alone is a luxury for a mom. We want just one day where we don’t have a little human staring at us in our private moment asking if we’re going poo-poo. We also don’t need their help wiping.

Change every diaper for an entire day. Just one day free from wiping poopy butts, snot, puke and what ever else my baby secretes would be magical.

Oh, and go ahead and throw in something shiny just for the hell of it. She deserves it.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

Strength Comes In Many Forms

Our parents shape who we are and on this Mother’s Day I’d like to thank my mom for always teaching (and showing) me how to be strong. 

At first site you would not think to use the word strong when describing my mom. She’s vertically challenged, coming in at less than five-feet tall, and she cries at every commercial on television. She’s always been an emotional person, but once you get to know her, you realize it’s because she only knows how to love deep. Her heart has always been showcased on her sleeve.

Fittingly, my mom was a nurse by trade. She started her career as an Army Medic, and then became an RN. She loved her patients and co-workers with intent. Most of her patients were older, or at the end of their days, so she often struggled not to get too attached. I could always tell, however, when she lost a patient that week. Even though she knew death was immanent, it never got easier for her. She finished out her career in hospice, which is something only the strong can do. She wanted to be someone for those who sometimes had no one – and her patients loved her for it.

My mom has never really been a stranger to tragedy. She lost her father at a young age, which devastated her entire family. She adored him and still, after 45+ years, she carries this pain. I carry his namesake. Before her father died, her boyfriend and first love, was killed in Vietnam. She joined the military soon after as a way to honor his memory. Shortly after joining the military she met my father, married and started a family. At the time, women could not be pregnant and go through training, so she decided to put her dreams on hold for love.

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After four kids (all of us lunatics) and several moves around the country, she sometimes lost herself in the chaos. As a mother now, I know that is easy to do. However, losing herself in her kids was not something she looked at as being negative. She loved us deeply, and would do it all over again even if it meant never realizing her dreams. We were always, and still are, her number one priority. When you’re able to love something more than you love yourself – that is strength.

Unfortunately my parents divorced when I was a teenager, and I saw my mom struggle even more. Struggle to find her ground and find her new place in life. Divorce is hard on everyone involved. She desperately wanted to keep things normal. At first, I would hear her cry at night and sometimes in the shower. I would sneak into her room while she lay fast asleep from exhaustion, and would pray that tomorrow would be a better day for her – for us. I know there were many times she wanted to wave a white flag in the air, but she always kept going – mostly for me. I didn’t know how to help her either. All I knew how to do was be a good kid so I didn’t add to her stress. I can’t say I always delivered, but even when I disappointed her she made it clear that her love for me would never falter – and we were in this together.

My parents had both always taught us to be strong and independent, but after this disruption in our lives, she kicked this lesson into high gear. She always emphasized that life could change in an instant, and I needed to know how to survive on my own.

She didn’t just teach me this lesson – she showed me. She went back to college and graduated in her 40s with a RN degree. She worked mostly overnight shifts because they paid more. Even after working 12-hour shifts at the hospital, she never missed one of my games in high school. She could also be heard the loudest, and sat front and center, beaming with pride for her daughter. You would have never known she hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours. Even though she may have not known it at the time, I was watching and learning how to be strong from her.

I always joke with her that she’s a crybaby, but what she doesn’t understand is I know there is strength in those tears. They are evidence of an unparalleled love, and a strong sense of pride she has as a mom. She taught me through strength I could do anything I dreamed of, and she was right. I know because I’m living out those dreams right now, and for that mom – I thank you. Happy Mother’s Day, I love you.

“Strength is not measured by how much you can take, it’s measured by how much you take – and continue to forge ahead.”

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9 Reasons Why We Should Spoil Mom

Being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet, but let’s be honest here – this job also comes with burnout, sleep deprivation and zero compensation.

Because my kids are little, most days I feel like I’m drowning. I check the clock what feels like every few hours only to realize a measly ten minutes have passed. When did the days get so long, and yet I still can’t seem to get caught up – the work never ends! I find myself trying to prioritize every little thing. Should I feed my kids or do the ten loads of laundry staring me in the face? Well, I guess I’ll go another day wearing these same yoga pants and a shirt laced with baby puke.

These horrendous working conditions deserve a day of pampering, and here’s why we desperately need one:

We get paid for sh*t – The going rate to be a mom is currently a big fat goose egg. If you added up all the things we do I’m sure we could easily rack in a six-figure salary, plus a few bonuses.

No comp days – Have the flu? Strep throat? Sorry, get your butt to work. When you’re a mom, there are no days off. You can’t tell your kid, “Sorry you’re not eating today because mommy is sick.” You have to pick yourself up and take one for the team.

No paid vacations – Taking a vacation with kids can get pretty pricy and even if you do get the chance to go – it’s not really a vacation for you. You’re doing all the same mom-work just in a different location.

We work 24/7 – Middle of the night? You’re on call. Weekends? No sleeping in. Evenings? Yep working those, too. No breaks for you.

No one cares about your CEO title – Just because you’re the CEO of the household doesn’t warrant you special privileges. You still have to wipe butts and snotty noises, and your kids won’t listen to you either.

We have to deal with hazardous materials – I’ve spent the last 5 years cleaning up vomit, feces and God knows what else. I’m pretty sure the hospital should just provide HAZMAT suits when they send you home with your baby.

We get beat up – Especially if you’re a boy mom. Everyday there’s flying toys and wrestling going on in my house. Enter at your own risk.

No recognition – We only get one day a year that is dedicated to us. What’s up with that? I think we should have a mom-hour every day. Who’s with me?

Hold several positions – Moms hold many positions to include: chef, maid, financial advisor, bookkeeper, superhero, monster killer and boo-boo healers.

Where’s Freddy Prinze Jr’s. soccer team friends when you need them? Where’s this village we say it takes to raise a child? All the people in my village are drowning, too. All I’m really asking for is a 15 minute break so I can at least pee alone, send an email without a toddler trying to attack my laptop, eat a meal sitting down and be on-time somewhere just once. I would also suggest throwing in a guiltless shoe fund. That’s not asking for much. Even though we do not get monetary compensation or much recognition for our endless efforts, we do get unconditional love and lots of kisses and hugs – which in the end makes it totally worth it. But it is nice to dream…

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What’s new with MGT2S?

Hi MG2S friends!

As you may have recently seen – my work has expended and is now published on many new sites. As a writer, this has been a dream come true for me. There is nothing more cool than seeing your name and photo on major global sites like Huffington Post, Scary Mommy and the TODAY Parenting Team.

This is happening!

This is happening!

I will continue to post regularly on here and have also provided my author pages below so you can follow me there as well.

Along with this expansion, I’ve recently signed two contracts for my work to be published in humor anthology books. I’ll post links on where to buy them as the information becomes available to me.

Reall 10motherhood book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to personally thank you for all of your support and for sharing MG2S stories with your friends and families for the last 2.5 years! I’m forever grateful.

*As someone who had a lot of help and support from other bloggers and writers out there, I’d love to now pay it forward. If you are a blogger and/or writer and need tips/advice on how to get your work published or gain a following – please feel free to email me at holly (at) hollyrust (dot) com.

Here’s to the continued success of Mother’s Guide to Sanity!

Xo,

Holly

 

 

If you’re a parent of a toddler you’ve already realized they come without a filter and essentially will say anything and everything unapologetically. As someone who gets embarrassed easily, I’ll admit that this filter-less jargon often sends me over the edge. I tend to turn bright red and run for the hills, or go into a ten-minute explanation about how my kids normally don’t behave like this. I’ve even gone as far as saying that I was the nanny. Just kidding, but I’ve thought about saying it on more than one occasion.

Toddlers also have an innate ability to know when to make a lot of noise at the most inopportune times. When my son was first born I welcomed every milestone with enthusiasm. My heart would fill with joy with each coo, babble or giggle. However now that he has found his voice, I find myself missing those infant days where he just quietly slept and I would gaze at him adoringly from across the room. Now everything he says has to be amplified by five decibels for some reason. I’m never further than a few feet away; I can hear you kid – perfectly. Stop with all the yelling!

I, for one, would love if there were a mute button for toddlers. I don’t need silence all the time, but here are ten times in which a mute button would be nothing short of amazing:

  1. In the car. I love when my son sings his favorite songs except when I’m in rush hour traffic trying to maneuver between all the cabs, bikers, and maniacs on the road. The last thing I need to hear in the middle of this mayhem is a very loud rendition of “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!”

NOT

  1. On the phone. Kids have radar, which notifies them as soon as you get on the phone. It doesn’t matter if they were perfectly content building their Lego tower or watching their favorite cartoon, because as soon as you get on the phone they need you right that second. If you do not give them your immediate attention – colossal breakdown.
  1. In church. Every time the father says, “Let us pray,” my kid picks up his invisible microphone and yells out his toddler thoughts. Never fails.
  1. When speaking to another adult. Anytime you try to have a conversation, interruptions immediately ensue. At least my kid says, “Excuse me,” but he says it over and over and over again.
  1. On Saturday mornings. Why during the week do you have to drag your kids out of bed kicking and screaming, yet every Saturday morning they are up before the rooster’s crow? Something tells me I’ll be happy when they are teens and sleeping in until noon!
  1. When telling a white lie. Like when I tell my other mom friends we don’t watch too much TV and my son interrupts and says we watch it all the time. Busted. It’s winter and I’m out of entertainment ideas – no judging! I thought we were on the same team, kid?
  1. When trying to watch TV. As soon as you sit down to watch your shows when the kids are in bed, and they suddenly now need more water, have to potty, etc., basically until your hour is up and it’s your bedtime too. So much for that brain-wasting hour of Bravo TV.
  1. When taking them along to OB appointments. This last pregnancy I had to take my 3 year-old with me to all my appointments, and he always tried to check out my lady parts and asked the doctor a million questions like “Where’s her pee-pee?” Mute button now, please.
  1. When they repeat things you didn’t mean to say in front of them. Like when I slammed my finger in a drawer and yelled out a profanity, which then snuck into his vocabulary at school. I’m sure his teachers think I’m the mom of the year.
  1. When you’re on the potty. “Momma are you going poo-poo?” “I want to see!” “Did it hurt?” Can’t I just go to the bathroom without getting interrogated? Not so much.

mom potty

How much easier would our lives be if these little people didn’t have a permanent megaphone attached to their mouths, or if they knew when they were being wildly inappropriate? I guess until that day comes, I’ll just have to pack on the bronzer to mask my flushed neck and face when my kids embarrasses the crap out of me.

Hi Everyone!

After a year of trying to put together this Vlog series, I’ve finally finished filming my first video!

I’m typically a jazz hand, flailing arm type of storyteller so it was very difficult for me to be “serious” when sharing my tips. My boys were much more tame because of the cameras, but we did manage to catch some great moments from the dreaded nighttime routine.

Few things:

First: Yes, my son thinks he’s Batman and has for the last several years. :)

Second: Thank you to Kerramel Studios for your patience and all the work you do for me! You’re amazing!

Enjoy!

Holly xo

7 Reasons Why Moms Really Are Superheroes

As a mom of boys, I spend a lot of time chasing villains and shooting spider webs out of my fingertips. Every day my son assigns me a new mission and then briefs me on what to do to catch the bad guys.

“Okay Mommy, today you are Elastigirl and Mr. Freeze is taking over Chicago, so we have to stop him! He is making it so cold outside and the flowers can’t grow!” As I run around doing yoga poses, because basically that’s really all Elastigirl does, I can’t help but laugh.

I love how my son thinks I just pretend to be a superhero, but what he doesn’t quite realize yet is that I am, in fact, a real life superhero. Sure my cape may be invisible, and my special powers may not be as cool as Iron Man’s, but my powers do help me survive the day-to-day grind of being – a supermom.

If you’re a mom and haven’t realized that you too have these special powers, let me know enlighten you now.

We have ninja-like reflexes. How many times have you saved a cup from spilling milk all over the table, dove to cradle your toddler’s head before it met the hard floor, prevented a scoop of ice cream from hitting the hot summer sidewalk, and saved their batman figurines from being flushed down the toilet by their baby brother? Too many to count, I know.

We can be invisible. Moms are the queens of the army crawl! I do this practically every night when I try to sneak out of my son’s room after I put him down for bed. I sometimes find myself scaling walls, ducking in closets, rolling under beds, and I once even pretended to be a floor lamp just to keep out of his line-of-sight.

We have the power to do multiple things at once. No one can multi-task like a mom! I can listen to a conference call, nurse my baby, cook dinner, fold laundry, and do squats all at the same time. Can you do that, Batman? Nope.

We have killer instincts. We really do have eyes in the back of our heads. We have premonitions, too. We can see scenarios play out minutes before they actually happen. We also know that whenever there is an uncomfortable silence, sh*t’s about to go down.

Elsa has nothing on our ice-cold stares. All it takes is one glare for those little minions to stop dead in their tracks. When mom’s eyes start to squint and are coupled with pursed lips – they know what’s up. It’s time to run.

We have superhuman senses. Moms can smell a dirty diaper from three blocks away! We can also spot a micro-speck of food on their face right before we lick our fingers to remove it, and we can decipher between our kids’ fake cries and the “maybe it’s time to go to the ER” cries, too.

We have magic witch doctor lips. It’s amazing how a skinned knee suddenly doesn’t hurt anymore once mommy’s lips touch it. Our sweet kisses truly do heal all boo-boos.

Living in an era that propagates endless mommy wars, we can at least agree on one thing – at the end of the day we are all pretty super.super-mom

 

 

Remember your pre-baby body? The one that could pull all-nighters and sneeze without having to change out your under garments? I remember it too, and I miss it immensely.

While pregnant I took every precaution known to man to try and preserve my pre-baby body. I did pelvic exercises to save my lady parts. I lathered myself up with oil every night to try and prevent stretch marks. I ate extremely healthy (well, minus the ice cream) and exercised religiously to help prevent excessive weight gain. I even wore special bras that claimed to help maintain “perkiness”.

Fortunately my efforts did prevent a few catastrophes, but sadly there were other parts of my body I had to bid farewell. Since both of my boys are apparently decedents of Bigfoot, my petite body took quite a beating. My once beautiful, bragging-rights, rack is now nothing but a couple of enlarged milk bags destined for surgery. Trust me when I say, they won’t even show their face in a pitch-black room until further notice.

Since every mom misses something about her pre-baby body, let’s compare to what once was. Shall we?

Boobs. Every mom I talk to misses her boobs. After babies, they end up too big or shriveled up little raisins. Why can’t we have an in-between? Why must our boobs now resemble deflated tube socks or look like they were set out in the sun for three days straight without sunscreen? Not fair.

Nipples. Now referred to as giant flying saucers. If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’ve lost all feeling too. Awesome.

Bladder. I once was the queen of holding my bladder all day at work. Not because I wanted to, but because I was always so busy. Now my bladder controls me. Go time – means go time. Who knew once you became a mom you would no longer be able to sneeze, laugh, or cough without saying a silent prayer to the bladder control Gods. (This was the second highest complaint I’ve heard from all my mom friends.)

Hair. Women with thick hair – beware. I use to have this lovely, thick flowing mane. My hair was my thing. People always complimented me on it. Now, after months of pulling handfuls out in the shower, I have feathered wings on both sides of my face. I would fit perfectly back in the 80’s.

Butt. For some reason my butt decided to melt into my legs with my last pregnancy. Nothing a few thousand squats at the gym won’t fix, because as a busy mom I have time for that, right?

Feet. With the rest of our bodies changing so much you’d think we could catch a break on our feet. Not so much. My feet grew a half size and never returned to their original state. Goodbye to all my old cute heels I spent a fortune on!

Brain: Riddle me this. How can I remember my telephone number from when I was five years old, but can’t remember where I put my phone or keys everyday? I also can’t remember what I did yesterday half the time. Having kids makes you lose your mind. Literally.

Tummy: Not that I had washboard abs prior to pregnancy, but I definitely didn’t look like I won a burrito eating contest everyday – like I do now.

Was going through all this worth it? Yes. Would we do it all over again for our babies? Yes. These obviously go without saying, but while we’re being honest here – wouldn’t it be nice if we could wear a dress without squeezing into Spanx, and play jump rope with our kids without peeing ourselves? I know the answer, and so do you.

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My Breastfeeding Truths

Note: Breastfeeding is a personal choice and I support any of my readers / friends who chose to either nurse or formula feed. This post is not about which is better because that is for moms to determine what works best for them and their babies.

Well I made it. We made it. My son officially passed his one-year mark in late November and we are still going strong with nursing. For mom’s who breastfeed, you know this is a huge accomplishment. The road was not always easy and even though he is my second child, he was my first exclusively breastfed. My older son never quite figured out the whole “latching” thing, and I was a clueless new mom who felt like a fish out of water.

Once I realized neither he nor I knew what the hell we were doing, I immediately began pumping and continued to pump every day for ten months straight. While I can say I’ve learned to truly love breastfeeding with my second son, I still definitely hate the pumping. Between both my kids I’ve spent, collectively, over 3 months time pumping. That’s a lot of nipple tugging people! I’m so over it, but because I’m a human cow – Mr. Medela and I have postponed our divorce, at least for now.

I chose to breastfeed primarily because it’s free! My first son was born during the recession and my second son was born right after I left my corporate job, so finances were tight. Also, I had heard it’s easier to get your pre-baby body back when you breastfeed. Lastly, it’s beneficial for baby.

I realize each person and each experience is different, but I thought I would share some of my “truths” of breastfeeding with new moms or soon-to-be moms who choose to nurse. Hopefully this will minimize the surprises because as a new mom – don’t we have enough of those already?

My breastfeeding truths:

  1. It HURTS. Like HELL. Then after a few weeks…. it gets better, much better. Eventually the numbness sets in and the pain subsides, so power through momma. You can do it!
  2. Know that every day you’ll eat like it’s Thanksgiving. You lose a ton of calories a day just from nursing, so you’ll feel FAMISHED all the time. I tend to take advantage of the vast amount of calories I lose and sneak in some cake.
  3. There will never be enough water to clinch your thirst. Keep a bottle of water by your bed because you’ll wake up feeling as if you spent all night crawling through the Sahara dessert.
  4. Be sure to line your bra with nursing pads. It’s all fun and games until you look down and see two large wet spots.
  5. One boob will always be bigger than the other and it’s very noticeable, especially after you nurse.
  6. When you experience the “let down” your nipple becomes a shower head and anything in its path will get sprayed, so watch out.
  7. Your boobs will never be the same again. Let the dream go. Looks like I’ll be investing in some nice bras in the future.
  8. When your breasts are full, they can knock out Evander Holyfield with one hit. He is no match for my mommy boobs.
  9. Prepare yourself for Mastitis or clogged ducts. I would consider myself to have a high tolerance for pain and Mastitis knocked me on my a**. If feels like the flu – times a thousand. If you feel like your breasts are on fire and they start to turn red DON’T wait, get on antibiotics stat! Keep nursing, massaging and use a heating pad.
  10. When teeth come into play don’t scream when they bite you, it makes them bite harder. Learned that one from experience.
  11. When they become mobile, nursing sessions turn into baby acrobatics complete with thrashing arms and legs.
  12. All of the above are worth it because of the indescribable bonding experience. Those precious moments will stay in my heart forever.

I know my nursing days are coming to a close and I will admit the thought makes my heart heavy. I’ll miss when he holds my hand or rubs my face during sessions, and I’ll miss the feeling of being truly needed. I know my schedule and body will eventually thank me once the floodgates are closed, but until then I’ll just continue to savor the bonding – and eat lots of cake.

Photo credit: Sylvia Stutz Photography

Photo credit: Sylvia Stutz Photography