Sunday, March 29, 2015

You're Not a Parent

“You’re not a parent until you have at least two kids.”

Years ago, this is what a woman said to me.   

At the time, my daughter was about 18 months old.  I was excited to be a parent.  

I didn’t know this woman.  We were simply at the same party.  I can’t remember her face and if I saw her on the street, I probably wouldn’t recognize her.   

But I remember her words.

Now that I have two kids, I think about her words.

Now, that I have two kids, I’m not any MORE of a parent.  I may do things a bit differently. My son might not have as great of a baby book as his older sister.  Life is definitely different with two. But, I was a parent then and I’m a parent now.

"Don’t devalue a parent’s role in a child’s life." Click to Tweet:

Even though I am in awe of my friends with five children who keep it all together, I don’t believe the amount of children you have qualifies you to be MORE of a parent. After all, each child is a gift, a miracle, a source of joy (even though they can make life difficult at times).

Psalm 127:3  Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

At the time this woman’s comment didn’t really bother me.  However, I was planning to have more children. But this woman didn’t know that. She didn’t know if I had recently had a miscarriage or was struggling with infertility. She didn't know me at all.  

Perhaps, she meant I hadn’t experienced juggling two children yet. I wasn't a referee. 

But, if you think about it, most of us started out as one-child parents. In 2010 in the U.S., twins accounted for 3.3% of births, or 1 out of 30. Triplets (or higher multiples) accounted for 1 out of 726 births. I realize some people have never experienced life with an only child. However, most of us have.

It’s fine to recognize that parenting one child is different than two….or two is different than three, and so on!  

But don’t devalue a parent’s role in a child’s life simply because there is only one. 

Even though our journey to parenthood or our day-to-day schedules may be different, we are all parents! 

When you tuck your child/children in at night, you are a parent. 

When you lament the passing of the baby years but rejoice in the fact that you no longer have to buy diapers, you are a parent. 

We all experience the joys and trials of parenthood. 

Being a parent is a whole host of feelings, responsibilities, and life-altering experiences.  

And, I think it's important not to diminish the importance of a parent's role in a child's life, no matter how many children they have.

Have you ever had someone make an inappropriate comment to you about having one child? On the flip side, have you ever had someone make a comment because you have a lot of children?

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bras are Uncomfortable….and a Few Other Things I'm Noticing as I Get Older

I’m turning 36 soon. (Yes, now you know how old I am).  I’m now closer to 40 than I am to 30. And, in that time, I think I’ve become a little wiser.  As I get older, here are a few things I’m noticing. 

A lot of Bras are Really Uncomfortable

Victoria’s Secret Catalogs are misleading. The models always look so relaxed even though you know that lacy push-up bra is itchy and uncomfortable. No, not all bras are uncomfortable. It’s just those lacy, sexy ones that are supposed to lift everything unnaturally.  I have one of those things and every time I put it on, I ask myself “Why?” So, excuse me, but I’ll settle for my wireless bralette or sports bra that probably doesn’t give my I’ve-breastfed-two-kids-boobs enough support but hey, it’s comfortable. 

Target is like Disneyland for Moms

Going to Target (I mean going to Target ALONE) is a little bit like going to Disneyland. No, it’s not quite as fun. No there aren’t any rides (at least, not at my location). However, Target has magical things like nail polish in a rainbow of colors, candy you can eat without anyone asking for some, and even a Starbucks at the front.  Plus, there are a bunch of little souvenir trinkets in the Dollar Spot bins. And, I'm pretty sure you can find an Elsa, Anna, or Olaf shirt there too. Personally, I think the clothes at Target are cute so you can pick up a new outfit and laundry detergent all in one swoop.  SeeMagical!

Bras are uncomfortable, Target is like Disneyland, and Friday nights are not the same. Click to Tweet:

I Love Stretchy Pants

There may have been some hot debate lately over moms who wear yoga pants. However, I’m not wearing leggings to be sexy; I’m trying to be comfortable and, at the same time, look put-together.   I promise I’ll cover up my butt….unless all of my longer shirts are dirty.

Friday Nights are No Longer ‘Friday Nights”
In college, crowd floating, staying out past midnight and getting glammed up were regular occurrences. After having two kids, I started noticing I couldn't stay up as late. My husband and I still like to go out. However, sometimes, we opt for a matinee or an early dinner.  We joke that we’re enjoying the “Early Bird Special."
I Find Myself Worrying More
Ignorance is bliss. I wish I didn’t know about food safety and GMOs and Red #40.  I just want to drink some red fruit punch and not think about what is going into my body.  I also think once you have kids, you become more aware about ‘what’s out there,’ especially when they go to school or away to camp.
I Enjoy Spending Time with my Family the Most
And, now it’s time to get serious.  Despite desperately wanting me time and a Girls Night Out, at the end of the day, it’s my family who I want to spend time with.  It’s my husband who I want to confide in. It’s my kids who I want to snuggle up with and watch a movie. 

Getting older isn't so bad. Here’s to worrying less, finding a comfortable bra, and enjoying family time!

What are you noticing more as you get older?  How have your Friday nights changed since having kids?

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

15 Reasons my House Might Not be Clean Today

I love a clean house. Sparkling tile, clutter-free counters, and beds neatly made. And, when my house is spotless, I like to sit down and enjoy it….for about one minute. After all, it won’t take long before somebody spills juice and drops their toast, peanut butter side down, on the floor. Here are a few other reasons my house might not be clean today.

My Toddler Threw Something Down the Toilet

A while back, my then-toddler threw a bath toy and a building block down the toilet. This caused a few overflow incidents. I don’t know about you, but it grosses me out to have toilet water on the ground. Even after having a plumber come, the toilet was never the same. Thus, recently we invested in a new super flusher toilet. The toilet is only a month old and I have been policing the area to make sure nothing gets flushed that shouldn’t be flushed. 

My Children Think I’m a Ride 

Sometimes when I’m crouched over cleaning my baseboards, my kids think it’s an opportunity to get a free piggy back ride.  This makes the cleaning process go much more slowly. I tell them not to jump on my back because mommy isn’t that young anymore!

Bath Time got a Little Crazy

Bath time at my house sometimes reminds me of being in the soak zone at "The Shamu Show".  After the show is over, there are usually water droplets on the mirror, a drenched bath mat, and, for the encore, some pee on the ground.  

Having kids = having messes! Click to Tweet:

My Preschooler Likes Pouring Juice “All by Myself”

I like to encourage independence but sometimes that leads to messes. For some reason, my youngest just has to fill up his glass to the brim and then slosh half of it onto the tablecloth. 


Crumbs, crumbs….they are everywhere. With one little step, a cracker can be turned into a 100 little orange pieces.  

Someone Bought my Kids a Bunch of Building Blocks for Christmas

I think building blocks are great. However, when all of the ankle-twisting toys are on the ground, it looks like the aftermath of two moms fighting over, and ripping open, the last bulk Lego set for $10 on Black Friday.  Luckily, it’s pretty easy for kids to clean up and we have bins for all the toys. 

My Children Decided to Do a Mud Run

My kids like to make mud pies, dig, and plant flowers. It’s fun but when my kids are done, they look like they competed in a Mud Run. When they are not in the mud, we're at the beach or the park. Sand is almost worse than mud. Even when I use the baby powder trick and make my kids take their shoes off at the door, a little sand seems to sneak inside. I think I need an outdoor shower. 

A Box of Cereal was Left Out

There is something enticing about a big box of something on the counter. It’s so enticing that little ones want to reach up and grab it. Unfortunately, it can take a long time to clean up bits of cereal all over the ground.    

Animals, Kids, and Pizza

My cat is on a special raw food diet. This means he is often hungry.  In the event that one of my children leave the refrigerator open, the cat is all over it.  Last time this happened, the cat decided to grab my daughter’s leftover pizza out of the fridge.  Pizza=sick cat.  No further explanation needed.

Someone had a Potty Accident

The last room of carpet is going bye-bye this week. There have been enough potty accidents and norovirus over the last six years that I don’t really trust my spot remover to remove it.  With laminate and tile, when I clean up, I know I’ve gotten rid of all of the bodily fluids. 

Parmesan Cheese

I know I said I didn’t like crumbs but did I mention I hate parmesan cheese? Well I’m the only one in my family. The rest of them like to create cheesy mountains of the stuff on their pizza, spaghetti, and sometimes toast. Unfortunately parmesan cheese has an uncanny ability of ending up on the floor and in little cracks on dining room chairs. 

My Washing Machine is On Strike

Sometimes I think my washing machine is mad at me. I'm constantly throwing clothes soiled with boogers, mud, sand, and vomit into it. It never gets a day off.  So it will just break on me. In the time it takes me to call out a repairman and fix it, I'll develop an Everest-like mountain of dirty clothes.  

We Baked

actually love baking with my kids. What I don't love is the traces of flour that silently drift to the floor or when my preschooler gets carried away with the cinnamon.  

Someone Drew a Mural

I'm not really sure why I thought purchasing non-washable crayons was a good idea. I don't even think I remember purchasing them….until they were on my wall. Washable crayons are so much easier to clean off.  Lesson learned. 


Drips of honey on the ground are magnets for animal hair. I have four animals so it doesn’t take long for a drip of honey to look like a hairy mole. 

I'm so happy I cleaned my house today but I know I don't have long before it looks like this:

What are some reasons your house is messy today? Or, what is your best tip for keeping your house clean with kids?

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Home is Where the Heart Is

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. ~ Maya Angelou 

I think we all long for a place where we feel safe, loved, and valued. A place where we can relax and create memories. 

For the past 10 years, I’ve lived in my home in our little neck of the L.A. suburbs.   I sometimes wish I lived closer to the beach, somewhere where there was a little more nature, or even somewhere where I could look out my windows and see more excitement.  However, if you look closely, no matter where you live, you can typically find some beauty in your own backyard.

When we first moved into our home, I noticed a beautiful cobalt bluejay would frequent our yard.  Then, I noticed a female bluejay would often accompany him.  Her feathers were grayer and sleeker than his.  Sometime after came a smaller male offspring.

For the past 10 years, we’ve watched the bluejay family grow.  Typically, bluejays are monogamous and also co-operative breeders.  During mating season, bluebirds become quite territorial and will defend their nesting area.  Even when I don’t see them for awhile, they always seem to return to our backyard because it has become home to them.  

Tweet: We all long for a place where we feel safe, loved, and valued. via @MelissaMatters1

But it’s also become home to me.  And, even if it’s not my home forever, this place is where the most precious memories have been created. 

This is the place where I brought two babies home.  

The place where endless laughter has danced across the yard

Where tears have fallen and sibling rivalry has ensued.  

This is the backyard where my children have skinned their knees, climbed trees, and conquered our mountain (really it’s just a bank). 

It’s where we’ve sat on the grass watching the sun flicker through the leaves of the surrounding trees.

And, over the years, we’ve brought memories to our home.

From watching the hummingbirds fight over sugar water to creating chalk murals to sliding down that crazy slide my husband put on the bank, we’ve made that backyard ours.  

It’s where we had our first backyard family campout for fun, but also because our air conditioner was broken in the dead heat of the summer.   It’s where we watched the stars, shrouded by the city lights.

It’s where I sat in my hammock chair and rocked my little babes to sleep.  It’s also the patio where I took my firstborn out to see the moon in the middle of the night because it was the only thing that would calm her down.  

Your house and family are probably not perfect.  And, you might not be living in your dream home.   It may even be a broken home that you are trying to rebuild.

When the days are long or we’ve been gone on a trip, home is where I long to be.  I hope it’s where you long to be too. 

…..because home is where the heart is.

What makes you want to be at home or what unique characteristic makes your home where the heart is?

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

How to Look and Feel Like a Put Together Mom (Even When You're Not)

Some days I’ve got my act together.  However, other days I’m just acting like I have it together.   When my calendar is full and my kids have been driving me crazy, here are a few ways I look and feel like a put together mom, even when I’m not!
Tame that Hair
I try to take a shower every day.  However, washing my hair is another story.  I usually go about three days between washing my hair (I hope you don’t think I’m gross).  After spending time washing and drying my hair, I try to extend the life of my blowout.  If you don't have time to wash your hair in the morning, some shine serum on your ends and dry shampoo on your roots works wonders.  I like Oscar Blandi’s Dry Shampoo but I have dark blonde hair so I can’t tell how it works on other colors.
Tweet: A few tips for looking like you have your act together….even if you don't. @MelissaMatters1

Bright Eyes
I hate looking at pictures of myself when I look tired. I don't wear a lot of makeup. However, I use a hydrating eye primer and illuminating concealer to banish tired eyes. A coat of mascara makes me look awake even when I'm not. If my eyes are irritated, I will use lubricant drops for relief.  I also like this Endless Silky Eye Pen in oyster to help me look more awake.  I use it on the inner corners of my eyes.
Wake Up Before the Kids
Even getting up 10 minutes before my kids allows me to prepare for the day. I can throw in a load of laundry, make snacks and get ready before chaos ensues. I try to make lunches the night before so I have fewer things to do in the morning.

Nice Nails
A few months ago, I was introduced to Jamberry Nails, non-toxic, vinyl based nail designs that are applied with heat.  I love that they stay on for over a week without chipping or peeling.  A manicure always makes me feel more polished.
Stay Organized
Staying organized is the key to both looking and feeling put together.  I use Google Calendar to help me stay organized.  I have reminders sent to me about early release days, conferences, and writing deadlines.  This helps keep me organized so I’m not forgetting about important events.
Have Some Great Accessories
I’ll be honest.  Those infinity scarves confuse me.  I’m also pretty sure my three-year-old would grab at it and end up choking me.  Yet, one of my fashion goals is wear a scarf because the moms who wear them usually look so put together.  In the meantime, I’ll settle for some great boots and a fashionable purse.  Right now, I’m into crossbody bags.  They are great for moms who have to chase little kids around.
Wear Form-Fitting Clothing
Sweats are comfortable but if they are too loose, they can look messy. Leggings under a tunic looks more fashionable. If you are going to work, invest in some slacks with stretch. In general, wearing form-fitting, but not tight clothing, will help you look more put-together. This can work in your favor at the PTA meeting or a job interview.
Of course, a genuine smile will make any person look together. Thus, don't be shy about flashing those pearly whites….just make sure you don’t have any food stuck in between.
What are some of your tips for looking and feeling put together on those hectic days?

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