Wow Your Kids Are Well-Behaved

Do you ever take your kids out in public and think yours are the only ones not behaving or listening?  Oh, is that just us?  I mean, I think my kids are pretty well-behaved and I have control over them most of the time, but there are times (often) when we’re out in public, mostly at the grocery store since we don’t go many other places, it seems I’m constantly having to remind them of proper behavior.

“Stop fighting!”

“Stop running!”

“Stop licking that!”

“Stop grabbing things off the shelf!”

“Wait, where did Layton go?”

Then I look around and it appears there’s these little angels of children standing next to their mom or dad, patiently waiting for them to make their next food purchase choice.

Angel Kids

You see the occasional baby crying or toddler throwing an I-want-that-and-I’m-going-to-scream-bloody-murder-until-you’re-embarrassed-enough-to-buy-it-for-me fit, but those are the rare sightings it seems for me.  Mostly I see these children that just quietly walk two paces behind their parents allowing them the peaceful, thoughtful grocery-shopping experience I only get when I sneak out of the house and tell my husband, “I’ll be back in just a bit!”  As if I need to proclaim that my trip will be quick in order for my departure to be guilt-free leaving my husband home with all the kids.

Now keep in mind, my husband absolutely encourages me to go shopping alone or run errands without the kids, it’s just as moms, we still have that little trace of guilt whenever we dare to find a moment with just ourselves.  And as the kids get older, the guilt does seem to diminish some.  Not sure if we think the kids get somehow easier (they don’t) or we’re so worn out we’ll take those moments and run.  Guilt left behind.  I think I’m somewhere in that phase.  The alternative is taking the kids with me, making rushed food purchase decisions, darting evil glances from the mom with the perfect angel trailing quietly two paces behind her as my children tumble in a WWF heap in front of her cart abruptly ending her peaceful shopping experience.  Ya, I’m sorta getting over the guilt when leaving the kids behind.

I’m sure my kids aren’t as loud and obnoxious as I’m making them out to be.  After all, they are boys.  Boys are loud.  They have lots of energy.  And I have four of them.  And come to think of it, I think most the perfect little angels I see at the store are girls.  In ten years, their moms will be giving me the evil glances because she has to deal with a hormonal teenage daughter and I’ll be walking blissfully through the store as my non-hormonal sons are at home doing the list of chores I left for them.  Life’s all about trade-offs, isn’t it?

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Next Verity Mom

This has been the longest, most intense interview process I’ve ever experienced.  I started this process mid-September and just found out yesterday that I will take the reigns as the next Verity Mom!  I’ve said from the beginning that this would be a dream come true, and I’m here to tell you, I’m either dreaming, or I’m about to live out a dream.  If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me because I’m just too excited for it to end!

This whole process started out 2 months ago with 35 applicants, then narrowed down to 15, then the top 3, and just yesterday, it was announced I would take over for the next year to represent Seattle area moms and Verity Credit Union as the next Verity Mom.  During this entire process I learned a lot about myself, what I thought were my limits and going beyond, and also a whole lotta ’bout some amazing people in my life.

I also learned what an amazing organization Verity Credit Union is.  I came fresh off working for a large corporation for eight years submersed into a corporate mentality of sink or swim and forgot how awesome companies who genuinely care about their employees can be.  There are many amazing and motivating companies out there.  I am so glad to be back with one where the energy is felt from the minute you walk in the door, to each person you meet who works there, to the extraordinary vision it has giving Moms a voice and platform to represent other moms.  Go Moms!

I am lucky and fortunate enough to be that person.  What a privilege, honor, and great responsibility I have.  I look forward to this challenge and can’t wait to share it with all of you.  Thank you for joining me in this journey!  Good things are coming our way.

I can’t do it myself!

If I had a nickel, heck even a penny, every time my kids told me they can’t do something themselves, I’d — yes I’m saying it — I’d be rich.  I know, horrible saying.  But it’s popular for a reason.  I’d totally be rich.  My kids are in serious need of some boot camp.  Or more accurately, us parents are in need of a boot camp. After having one kid after another for several years, we just got into this routine of doing things for our kids for several reasons:

1) Because they were all little and needed our help.

2) It’s quicker, and let’s be honest, we’re better at it.

3) We’re trained!  We, as parents, are trained by our kids to do things for them with a simple, and somehow convincing statement, “I can’t do it myself!”

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It’s amazing the things my husband and I will do with just a whine or slight resistance from our children whom we somehow envision as still being 2, when in fact, are all now in school.  We got stuck in this pattern of doing things for them, and in some ways, enjoyed doing these things for our children because it made us feel useful and that it’s our job as parents to wipe our kids’ asses until they are 5.  Yes, I said 5.  Our youngest has been potty trained since he was 3 (age 3 is the youngest of any our children to be potty trained, so this is obviously not an area of strength for us), so he’s had plenty of time to practice wiping himself.  But for 5 years we’ve been doing it for him.  I mean, why should he do it when he’s got these suckers around him to do it for him?

If you think your children are helpless, or like us, think they’re just too young to do something for themselves, go watch them at daycare or in their schools, and you’ll see just how not helpless they are.  It’s a clear case of enabling.  The tail wagging the dog!  It starts young and is a very powerful (and sneaky) phenomenon used by kids.  It’s not like they’re intentionally doing this, it’s just that us parents make it so easy for them.

Parenting is hard.  All kids are different and all parents are different.  We each have different personalities and each of us parent differently.  Why we do the things we do is a puzzle so big, with so many pieces, it’s nearly impossible to connect them all.  But I know that kids are usually not hard to figure out.  Sometimes it just takes us parents to take a step back and look at what we’re doing and why.  And we need to ask ourselves, do we want to raise the type of children who expect someone to wipe their asses for them?  I don’t.

Update:  Layton is now wiping his own ass.

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Dreary = Lazy

What is it about dreary days that automatically make you lazy?  And moody?  And irritable?  Living in the Seattle Metro area, this can be very debilitating and lead to piles of laundry, days without working out, and a bad mood I can’t blame on my period.  I prefer to save up my moody days for my cycle.  I’m afraid my husband will leave me if I’m moody the other 4 days of the month I don’t blame it on my period.

I woke up yesterday and it was dreary and cold and rainy, and that’s also pretty much how my day felt.  I had no reason to feel this way besides I looked outside and the weather was basically flipping me off.  It’s like it knew I had plans to get a bunch of stuff done around the house and that I hadn’t worked out in many days and it said, “Add one more day, Toots!”  I wanted to flip it off right back and get a bunch of things done and go sweat it out for 2 hours at the gym.  That would show it!  I ended up on the computer most of the day, talked on the phone with a couple of girlfriends, and barely picked up the house before I had to get the kids.

Today I got up and the sun was peering through the clouds and I was immediately rejuvenated (probably also had something to do with the nine and a half hours of sleep I got), but I prefer to think that the weather felt bad for its apparent lack of respect for me, my mood, my ambition, my husband’s sanity, and my parenting abilities that also seem to diminish when it’s crappy out.  Today I made my juice, hummed while I made the 3 rounds of waffles and 3 bags of lunch, and didn’t yell at my kids once!  I’m also about ready to head to the gym.  Yes, today will be marvelous.

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So now that I sit here and ponder the weather’s bizarre control over me, I immediately am frustrated.  I am the type of person who will chant to my friends and family when they’re having a bad day, or year, “You make your own happiness.”  And I truly do believe this.  So why, will someone with this mentality, allow the weather to dictate the type of day, wife, mother, and all around productive person I am going to be?  Why am I to be controlled by the weather that is clearly attempting to taunt, rule, and decide how my day will go??

I’m done being controlled, weather.  You can blow all the wind, pine needles, rain and hail you want because, one, after I get done posting this I’m heading to the gym (and I don’t care that you made the sun go behind those now questionable clouds as I rant about you), and two, my husband will totally clean all those pine needles out of the gutter and sweep the driveway and walkways, so again, you have no control over me.

Now, if I can just somehow tell my menstrual cycle, period, the 10 days leading up to my period, and the 10 days after that it takes to recover from my period, that they don’t rule me either, I would be eternally grateful.  Okay, my husband would be eternally grateful.  And my house would be a lot cleaner.  And my kids would probably smile more.  And my dog would stop hiding from me when he has this 6th sense of what’s happening.  I can’t be expected to be responsible for all my moodiness, can I? I didn’t think so.

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Am I A Good Mom?

How many times have you asked yourself, am I a good mom?  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my abilities as a mom. After getting laid off I can no longer include my occupation in my self-identity. I now must rely on my abilities to be a good mom, loving and devoted wife, supportive friend, and positive contributor to society in whatever way I can.  And unfortunately, I also feel like I must up my housekeeping skills since I can no longer blame my job for taking me away from them. Ah yes, the joys — and pressure — of being a stay-at-home mom.

For the first time in almost 17 years I find myself in a new role of being a stay-at-home mom. I’ve never had the desire or privilege to dedicate my focus and identity to solely being a stay-at-home mom. I felt working from home for the past 8 years made me a semi stay-at-home mom since I could still take my kids to school, pick them up, and sneak away to do mom-essential duties of taking kids to appointments and volunteering occasionally in their school.  Plus I didn’t spend hours each week away from them to commute to and from my job. I had the perfect balance.  Or so I thought.

So now that I’m in-between jobs, I’ve been forced to look in the proverbial mirror more and ask myself if I’m the type of mom I want to be.  Plus being up for the next Verity Mom, I of course question if I am the kind of mom that can and should represent other moms.  If I have my own self-doubts of my ability to be a good mom, does that make me not qualified?

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I watched a video online the other day that is going viral that shows moms being interviewed about their parenting (prepare yourself, it’s a tear jerker!).  Most of the moms stated all the negatives they see in their parenting and the things they wished they were better at.  After all the moms were interviewed, they sat each of them down to watch the videos of what their kids said about them.  The kids listed all the positive things about their moms and all the reasons why they loved their moms.  To watch the moms’ reactions to all the amazing things their children were saying about them just reconfirms every mom’s existence once becoming a mom — to know our kids know how much we love them.  It’s to hear that even though we may not be perfect, we are perfect for them.  Even through all the doubts we have of our ability to be a good mom, our kids love us unconditionally.  They don’t focus on all the negatives.  So why then, as moms, do we?

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Yes I question my parenting abilities.  Daily.  But I think it’s important to stop doubting ourselves.  Stop the constant negative commentary going on upstairs about our abilities and focus on being the mom our kids already think we are.  Our kids deserve more and so do we.  And to answer the question if I’m the type of mom that can represent other moms, my answer is officially yes.  I’m just as imperfect, vulnerable, and filled with self-doubt as any other mom out there.  But my kids know I love them so I must be doing something right.

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I’m over you Halloween

Get out of my house witches and goblins and come on in pumpkin pie and fall foliage.  I love Halloween but by the time October 28th rolls around, I’m sorta over it.  I’m so ready for it to arrive but probably more ready for it to leave.  Now I have thoughts of thanks, warm fires and hanging with family.  It always amazes me how much an upcoming holiday consumes our daily lives, thoughts, plans, house décor and entire sections of stores.  I love each and every one of our fall and winter holidays, and I give each of them my undivided attention.  That’s why when one holiday is over and another one is approaching, I switch modes immediately in order to give the appropriate dedication to the upcoming one.

I woke up the morning after Halloween and I could barely stand to look at my Halloween decorations.  I wanted to rip them all down in one dramatic sweep of my arm like those hot love scenes in movies where the man shoves everything off a desk with one arm sweep right before he takes the woman.  In my version I would place Thanksgiving décor in place of all the Halloween decorations that are now laying all over the floor.  I do feel a little guilty about my sudden abandonment of one of my favorite holidays.  But I must admit, I’ve moved on.

As my parting gift to Halloween, I am sharing some of our moments this past Halloween season.  Until next year, Halloween!

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Could I be the next Verity Mom??

The applications, videos, blog submissions, and votes are in from the top 15. The Verity Mom Meet-Up is over (and was amazing by the way), and the Verity Mom Team has made their decision. The top 3 have been decided upon, and lucky me, I’m one of them! It’s been a long process — I submitted my application on September 3rd! — and it’s still not over. But I would have to say the hardest part is behind me. It started out with 35 amazing moms, then narrowed down to 15, and now down to the final 3. I feel lucky to have been a part of such an unbelievable journey with all 35 moms, let alone end up in the top 3.

I woke up at 5:00am yesterday morning anxiously awaiting Verity’s decision on who they selected for the final 3, as were all the final 15 candidates. We spent several hours on Monday at Verity Credit Union’s headquarters in North Seattle meeting with the final 15 candidates and the incredible Verity Credit Union team. And when I say incredible, I mean incredible. From the moment you walk in their doors to each moment we spent during the intense “stations” and camaraderie-filled break room conversations, we were treated with enthusiasm, excitement, and the genuine respect you can’t fake or force — it’s something that emanates from people who are genuinely happy with where they work. This is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about this organization.

Being in the top 3 leaves me with mixed emotions including pride, excitement, determination and a little bit of sadness. I know how much I want this opportunity and the hours I’ve spent dedicating myself so that I represented the best possible me I could. But I know each of the top 15 put just as much of themselves into this opportunity hoping for the same result. So with that I feel sadness.  I am proud of the company I held, and still do with the final 3.

But now that it’s down to 3, I need your votes! In case you need some reasons to vote for me, I put together a video of the reasons why I would make the best Verity Mom and why you should vote for me.

Click Here to Vote for Mollye

It’s the little things…

I try to appreciate something in each of my days that I am either grateful for, or just take a moment to appreciate something that brought me happiness or peace. It can be a 30-second moment, an hour activity, or an all day event. Raising kids is stressful and each day brings along new emotions. As moms we understand the multitude of emotions that come with each day. And depending on our cycles, there could be 15 emotions encapsulated in just one minute. Men, don’t try to understand this. Just accept it. And it’s also wise to just go along with it as if you find this normal. Because it is.

So when those moments come along in the day that are worth taking pause and recognizing it for the value it holds, whatever that may be, I make sure to take a moment to appreciate them. Most of the time it’s the little things that grab me. Last Sunday I had one of those moments. I can’t remember the last time I was up before my kids when I didn’t have to jump on the computer and start working. This past Sunday morning I was up, showered, and had some time to myself. It just doesn’t happen that often. I took pause and appreciated every single minute. It was better than therapy.

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DIY or bust!

I debated whether I should admit this, let alone post it.  After all, when you log into Pinterest or Google ideas for the home, decorating, frugal living, money-saving tips, and anything else to stir up your creative juices or save a dime, all that appears in your search is DIY this, DIY that, DIY Halloween costumes, DIY crafts, DIY decorations… DIY, DIY, DIY!!!  I didn’t know what DIY was for an embarrassingly long time.  Oh, for those of you who still don’t know and are embarrassed to ask, I’ll save you the time of Googling it.  It stands for Do It Yourself.

I’m actually not opposed to doing things myself.  I love to cook wallet-friendly meals and doing DIY home projects.  Although, my home projects usually involve my vision and my husband’s manpower.  One of my favorite visions is the one I had for our back patio.  We ordered a cement stamper from Amazon and the description said “create a patio in just one afternoon!”  Well let’s just put it this way, it didn’t take one afternoon and my husband will never let me order DIY parts or tools by myself again.  Ever.

Patio

Half Complete

But let’s look on the bright side.  I got to watch my husband for many days working outside with his shirt off.  Plus he really came out on top on this one.  I mean, he did get a cement mixer out of the whole deal after all.

Patio Keith

Cement Mixer

So I guess we could call it DIH (Do It Husband).  But regardless of who does the actual work, me or my husband, it does get done by one of us.  So that’s technically DIY.  I mean the acronym isn’t important, it’s more about saving money, right?  And we now have a beautiful outdoor patio and fireplace area where we spent hours hanging out and roasting s’mores all summer long.  Thank you, Honey!

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But the DIY home projects is not the part I’m ashamed of.  I know my husband secretly likes to do these projects.  The thing is, as moms, I feel like we are expected to do DIY crafts.  You can’t get through a complete scroll on Pinterest or half-way down WordPress reading Mom blogs without seeing some amazing mom’s crafts she did with “simple instructions” and “only a few items” that “only takes an hour”.  My head starts to hurt when I read these supposedly simple instructions.  It’s like as moms we’re supposed to have this innate ability and desire to do crafts with our kids.  And to make things worse, our kids beg us to do them!

Okay, it’s not like I’ve never sat down to do crafts with my kids.  It’s just that they’re usually very simple.  For realsies.  A five-year old can do them without a Martha Stewart workshop to prep them.  I’m just one of those moms who feels inept sometimes (or probably more likely guilty) that I don’t have this overwhelming desire to do all these amazing crafts.  Please tell me there are other moms out there who feel the same.  And those moms out there who are gifted in this area, I give props to you!  We all have our strengths.  Crafting apparently isn’t mine.

Now if you want to know what brand of Pinot Noir is the best buy for your money, call me.  Like I said, we all have our strengths.

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