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.

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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.

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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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Lopped for Locks

Ever since I had my youngest 5 years ago, I’ve been growing out my hair.  I was not feeling sexy right after giving birth, as any mom doesn’t after having a baby, so I decided I was going to grow out my hair.  Clearly growing out my hair would automatically make me sexy.  Well that’s how I reasoned it in my mind and you don’t argue with a woman who just gave birth.  Long hair equaled sexy and that was that.  I was claiming my sexiness back one millimeter at a time.  I was so determined that I never stopped to really evaluate whether my theory of long hair really equaled sexy.  Every time I looked in the mirror lately and saw my long straggly hair, never did sexy enter my mind.

Fast forward 5 years and a trip to the salon to get my hair done and I decided I’m done.  Well I’ve actually been considering it for a few months now but every time I sat down in the salon chair I convinced myself I would regret it and I had 5 years’ worth of hair growing here.  But this time a switch went off.  I refuse to let anything define me, I’ll be damned if my hair will!  Lisa, who is my hairstylist and my sister-in-law, told me she once heard a guy tell her, “Short hair is hamburger and long hair is filet mignon.”  She said she always thought of that when she or someone else talked about cutting their hair.  Well for some reason hearing that actually was the deciding moment to cut if off.  Like I said, I don’t let anything define me, especially not the words from a guy I don’t even know!  Women are sexy.  Period.  Long hair or short.

Since I was considering taking off a lot of inches, I wanted to donate it to Locks of Love.  It was also my other sister-in-law’s 40th birthday, and she just battled breast cancer, so it was a sign that this was the right time and day to do it.  I wanted to donate hair in honor of her and her battle.  Lisa separated the top from underneath where I don’t dye my hair so I could donate my natural hair.  She then put a rubber band on it and lopped it off!

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She took off 12.5 inches!  The minimum that Locks of Love requires to actually use in a hair piece is 10 inches.  I guess you could say I’m an over achiever.  From the first lock to the last snip, I never regretted it.  Actually the more she cut, the more beautiful and sexy and less-defined I felt.  And knowing I wasn’t only changing my own outlook, but also changing another by donating my hair, is as beautiful as it gets.

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And the best part?  My husband loves it.  Nothing’s sexier than that.

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Check out Locks of Love at http://www.locksoflove.org/.

If you want to donate your hair for Locks of Love or just need a kick-ass hairstylist, go see my sister-in-law at Blonde & Beyond Hair Design!  Lisa offers 50% off your hair cut for anyone who’s donating their hair to Locks of Love.

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Flashback Friday – Taylor Tribune – 8/09/06

Front Page Forum

Today is going to be around 85 and sunny.  It’s a perfect August day in the Puget Sound; no wind, no humidity, no clouds.  What more could you ask for?  The rest of the week will be a little cooler with cloudy skies in the morning and turn into sun in the afternoon.  Pretty much a typical day here in the Seattle Metro area.  Keith and Levi are both sleeping.  Keith was up half the night with calls.  Levi is taking his daily nappy pooh.  I just fixed myself some lunch and thought I’d better sit down and write myself the Tribune!  It has been a pretty non-eventful week in the Taylor household.  Keith worked an extra shift on Thursday for someone, but other than that, pretty status quo!

Toddler Tantrums

Levi has been busy as ever.  He is constantly on the go with many things to do and explore.  He’s always back and forth from his room to the living room.  He will go and play in his room for a while and then bring out some toys and play with them in the living room.  He’s like his Mama and doesn’t like to be alone.  We keep half of his toys in the living room since he ends up bringing them all out anyway.  He definitely has his favorites.  He has a Weeble Wobble camper that he plays with most of the time.  He also has a few Matchbox cars that he favors.  Mostly he drives them all around and then tries and put the Matchbox cars in the Weeble Wobble camper.  He likes cars so much I decided to go get some more at Target yesterday.  We picked up one that after you shake it, it will take off for about 20 feet.  It’s pretty cool!  We also got a car from the movie Cars that he really likes.  That one he decided needed to go to bed with him last night.  It’s a soft cushy car and he likes that.  Levi continues to call us all Daddy.  Now he has resorted to calling everyone Daddy.  I took him to the grocery store this morning and he pointed to 3 different men in the parking lot and said, “Dada”.  I just sort of look at them like, don’t worry, he’s not yours.  I don’t have time to stop and explain to them that everyone’s “Dada”.  Levi has decided to start crying now when we drop him off at daycare.  He’s been going to daycare since he was 6 months old and has never cried when we leave him.  But that has all changed.   I remember from Logan that it’s best to just make the goodbyes quick and walk away when they do that.  And Darlene assured me the other day that the minute we walk out he stops and begins to play.  Kids are little dickens (that was a shout out to my Grandma Aukerman).    Levi is expanding his vocabulary on a daily basis.  His new favorite is fish.  Logan taught him that one.  However, it comes out, “shish”.  He loves it when he sees a fish on TV because he points and yells, “Shish, shish, shish, shish” until we acknowledge that he did in fact see a fish.  Shish!

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Life of Logan

Our little camper has an hour and counting until we ship him off for a full week of camp and outdoor fun!  We got his poncho yesterday which was last thing on our list.  I have everything marked with his name and packed neatly.  I have spent the day showing him where things are in his bag and explaining to him that he needs to be responsible for keeping track of all his belongings and making sure he puts things away when he’s done.  I explained that Mom and Dad will not be there to remind him of anything.  It stresses me out sending him for a week somewhere and me not being able to help him.  I explained to him that he can only wear one outfit per day because there’s no laundry service at camp (this one took a few times to sink in).  I explained that he needs to hang up his towel when finished and that there is a specific towel for after showers and one for after swimming and he need not mix them up.  I just want to hang out in his cabin to make sure he remembers everything I am telling him.  I showed him where I put his stationary and that he needs to put the pen back after writing letters so he doesn’t lose it.  I know Logan, and he can be very absent-minded when it comes to things like this.  I’m thinking about suggesting the camp add a “Mom Cabin” for us mothers who will stress out all week wondering if their child lost their toothbrush on the first day.  I have his undies all neatly packed and his socks all in a row for each day.  His friends were all playing down stairs while I was in his room packing and I kept yelling for Logan to come in so I could explain things to him.  I heard one of his friends ask why I kept telling him he only had one pair of underwear for each day.  That was my clue to shut up and let things be.

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Keith’s Korner

Keith’s still snoozing away.  He’s has about 10 minutes until I’m finished with writing the Tribune before I go ravish him and wake him up.  Oh wait, I will go wake him up which will end the dream where I’m ravishing him.  I had that confused.  Poor guy was up half the night.  He said at about 2 o’ clock this morning he was lying in his bed with the window open and could hear the cars going by on I-5.  All of a sudden he heard breaks lock up, tires spinning and screeching, and then a long round of crashes.  He knew it was only a matter of minutes before they were toned out for an MVA.  Apparently a young gal was intoxicated and slammed into the median and then into a vehicle with a couple and two kids and flipped them over several times.  It really makes you think about the dangers of drunk driving and that it does cause accidents and death.  Fortunately, there were no fatalities.  Friday night we had Keith’s friend, Ronnie, and his wife, Sandy, and their little one-month over for dinner.  Ronnie and Keith are in the band together and have been friends since they were in school.  Not sure what age (I’ll ask him when he wakes up).  We had a really good time and even managed to play some Trivial Pursuit.  We really like them and I know Keith enjoyed spending time with his buddy.  Keith put in the second garage door opener this week so now we have two fully functioning garage doors!  He amazes me with his ability to just put things together and have them actually work.  I know he’s proud of himself when he accomplishes things like that.  I know I am!  Keith goes back to work tomorrow and again on Wednesday and then has four days off.  A much needed break!

Hormonal Confessions

I have been continuing my inability to sleep well.  It’s mostly caused by Restless Leg Syndrome, but also coupled by a big tummy and a multitude of thoughts that just won’t go away.  Sometimes I think I do my best thinking at 3 o’clock in the morning.  I’m always thinking of things I need to do, things that are stressing me out, and things that have happened in the past that bother me.  It’s very strange.  So this morning at around 5 o’clock I started thinking why I only stay up and dwell on all the negative things in my life.  If I’m going to lie awake and not be able to sleep then why not think about good things?  So I started thinking about when Keith and I first got together and our whirlwind romance.  I was thinking how we just knew we were the one for each other and that was it.  Before I knew it I was back asleep and it was 8 o’clock.  So I think I’m on to something… I’m going to stop worrying so much and concentrate on the good.  The good apparently doesn’t keep you up at night!

Introducing Layton

Since Layton was my last I figured I’d introduce him last as well.  Only seemed fitting.  Layton is the baby, 5-years old, just started kindergarten, and is the most wonderful accident I’ve ever known.  I say “accident” because that’s exactly what he was.  After we had Luke, we were quite done having children.  We had 3 healthy boys and that was enough for us.  Or as much as we could handle.  Not so much.  Luke was 7 months old, I was still nursing him, I was on the mini-pill, just started sleeping fairly regularly with only one nightly feeding at that point, and I got pregnant.

To say we were surprised is an understatement.  To say we were thrilled would be a lie.  To say that my husband fell to the ground when I showed him the positive pregnancy test is a fact.  I remember sitting down next to him asking him what we were going to do.  After about 10 long deep breathes and a minute of silence he raised his head from his hand that had made an indent from gripping it and he said, “We’re going to have a baby.”

Layton Daddy

And that’s just what we did.  From the moment that little baby was placed into our arms, to every moment since, Layton has been the most joyous, amazing being a parent could ever want.  He was the missing piece from our family that we didn’t know was missing.  And he’s the perfect fit.  Now I’m not saying that we haven’t gone through some hard times.  I mean, I honestly don’t remember his first year much.  Picture yourself with an 11-year old, 3-year old, 16-month old and a newborn.  Now picture your husband gone for 24 hours at a time.  I don’t want to be left alone with a 3-year old at this point, let alone all the others.  I sometimes don’t know how we survived those first couple of years.  But I don’t want to think about not having all 4 of our boys.  You just make due and take it day by day — sometimes minute by minute.  Survival mode.

Layton is what you would call exuberant.  He’s the loudest child I’ve ever heard.  His volume is just usually turned up a notch higher than others.  At first appearance, you may think Layton is just this rough, loud boy that hardly settles down.  But the truth is, of all our boys, Layton has the most sweetest demeanor, even above Lukey, which is hard to believe.  He’s the first to give someone love if they’re hurt or upset, which is way more than what his brothers would do for him.  He’s lucky if they’ll acknowledge he’s hurt.  He’ll turn over a toy, even one he loves, to his brothers if they’re upset.  Again, not something commonly seen by the others.  He’ll just walk up and grab my hand and give it a kiss out of nowhere.  He also tells me I’m pretty.  I know Daddy trained him on that but I don’t care.  He can say it whenever he wants.

So did I ever think I would end up with 4 kids?  Not ever.  And did I think they would be all boys?  Absolutely not.  Would I change a single thing?  Not for all the money or sweet little girls in the world.  I’ll keep my boys just fine.  But would it have hurt for my husband to give me just one girl?

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Verity Top 15!

If you didn’t already know, I made it to the top 15 of the Verity Mom Contest.  Yay!  I finished my final blog post and video submission on Monday and submitted it yesterday to Verity Credit Union.  Can I get a hallelujah?  I put everything I had into that video — from the videoing itself down to the editing and music.  I think I could pretty much do a blockbuster movie now.  I’m thinking about collaborating with Steven Spielberg.  I haven’t gotten back to him so not sure yet.

Okay, maybe I’m not quite ready for blockbuster movies, but I do enjoy doing video editing.  It’s like a piece of art you can put your artistic spin on and mold into what you envisioned it to be.  I also learned a bit about compromise.  You don’t always get the exact footage you pictured, and you learn to adjust, and maybe cut out a few clips here and there.  I also learned that after 3 days of filming with 4 kids and a husband in 6 different locations while PMSing, isn’t always the most pleasant experience.  Mostly for them.  But we all survived and it’s done!

The next step is for the top 15 finalists to head down to Verity’s corporate headquarters in Seattle on Monday for a Mom Meet-Up.  We’ll spend two and a half hours meeting each other, eating lunch, and doing interactive activities so that Verity can get to know each of us.  They will choose their top 3 to go to the final round based on our final video, blog post, and the Mom Meet-Up.  If I make it to the top 3 I will count on all my friends, family, and anyone else to cast their vote for me.  I apologize now for the social media blast coming your way if I make the top 3.

So here’s my final video… Enjoy!

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Cooking with Layton

I like to cook healthy meals and incorporate vegetables into anything I can.  Yes I am yet another mom who talks about feeding my kids healthy foods.  I won’t go into the whole lecture on buying organic and staying away from processed and fast food — oops, maybe I just did.  I just try to educate myself on foods and select the best options I can.  And I’ll say this, if you cook your kids vegetables regularly they actually do end up liking them!  It’s true.  I have four boys who all eat their vegetables clean off their plate.

Okay I’m done lecturing.  Now onto the cooking segment.  Since I do like to cook, and I have a plethora of sous chefs eager to help, I thought I’d share a recipe that we like to make — Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread.

One of the most important cooking tools needed in our kitchen is a stool.

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Then add a kid, er, sous chef.

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Next get all ingredients ready for easy pouring and minimal spilling by learning chefs.

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There are many substitutes you can use in recipes to add additional nutrition.  Whenever we make bread we always use whole wheat flour and homemade applesauce in place of oil (although this recipe still calls for a little bit of oil, it’s significantly less than most zucchini bread recipes).

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Did I mention you need to make sure your sous chef tastes some of the ingredients to make sure they’re not “poisonous”?  This is always a task well-received by the sous chef.

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It took me awhile to be able to just let my little sous chefs pour and stir ingredients all by themselves because of the mess factor.  But I’ve learned the smiles and gratification you see in your little sous chefs’ faces well outweigh the messes that inevitably occur.

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And when you’re done adding all ingredients together, and stick it in the oven, what comes out is a priceless memory of making something together.  Even after the loaf is all gone.

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Oh, and my last tip for successfully cooking together?  Quickly make yourself scarce so the husband cleans up the mess.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until well blended. Stir in applesauce.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until moist. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Recipe courtesy of myrecipes.com

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Those “Other” Moms

IMG_3466[1]I’m going to start off this post by admitting I’m not perfect (shh, don’t tell my husband).  As a mom, I have my good days and then there’s those baaaad days.  Now keep in mind I’m just coming off a full week of being a single mom while my husband has been hunting.  So this past week those bad days may have outweighed the good.  This week and this week only.  Until next week.  Hey, I give it up to single parents!  I was one once and it’s hard.  And a third of the time I’m still one when my husband is on duty.  Mad props to single parents!

So have you ever been at the grocery store and you see a mom yelling at her kids?  Or maybe see her bending over and grabbing her child’s arm firmly with the look of a possessed demon in her eyes?  Did you judge that mom’s behavior toward her children and felt bad for the child, and then smugly prided yourself in your parenting skills?  Have you ever thought you would not act like those “other” moms?  I assume you answered ‘yes’ to all of the above.  I’m guilty.  So now here’s another question for you.  Have you ever been one of those moms?

Maybe you answered ‘no’ to that last question.  But are you really being honest with yourself?  I promise you don’t have to tell anyone.  Remember when I said I wasn’t perfect (we’re still not telling my husband by the way)?  Well I answered ‘yes’.  I think all us parents would have to admit that our social parenting skills can differ quite drastically to our at-home parenting skills.  I think maybe the difference is, most of us have mastered in which situations we should use each.  I wouldn’t dream of screaming at my kids in the middle of aisle 4 when they’re on the ground rolling around in a full-on wrestling match.  But if we were at home, you bet your bottom I’d be screaming my head off!  Usually the screaming is reserved for 7:00 at night after the 18th WWF match that day.

But I’ve been in the store before where maybe I was having a bad day, or the kids were particularly ornery that day, and their listening skills were a little lacking on this trip, and I’ve bent over, grabbed their arms firmly, and the demon literally entered my body and possessed me, and I yelled at my kids.  I say I was possessed because that couldn’t possibly have been me that just did that to my kids.  In public.  In earshot of others.  And then all of a sudden I realize what I must look like to others around me.  I was one of those “other” moms.  I completely forgot the rules of “social” parenting.  I’m a horrible mom and now others know it too.

But why did I feel worse about my behavior because it was in public?  I wouldn’t hesitate at home to discipline my children that way.  I mean, I’ve never spanked or hit my kids, but I don’t hesitate to yell at them or grab their arm firmly and set them straight.  I have four boys for crying out loud!  I’m not perfect (okay fine, tell my husband!).  I guess what I’m saying, is none of us are perfect.  94.58% of the time I think I’m doing a pretty good job as a mom.  The other 5.42% is what we call mother’s guilt.  We’re always hard on ourselves even when we’re doing the best we can and our intentions and actions come from the heart.  Those “other” moms are probably just like you and me and are just having a bad day.  Don’t worry, we don’t need to judge them.  They will have enough judgment and guilt for all of us.  So let’s give ourselves a break and the next time we’re having a baaaad day, remind ourselves we can always start over tomorrow.  Let go of the guilt and forgive ourselves.  And then pour a glass of wine.  Maybe two.

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