The other day, I legit chased my toddler around my street with no pants. ZERO pants. He was running all over the street and I didn’t have time to think about whether or not neighbors could see my saggy white rear end peeking out from underneath my shirt. I had a toddler to catch. If you happened to look out of your window and you live on my street… you’re welcome.
Calling all potty trainers!
Yes! I’m looking at you hiding behind the sofa.
I see you because i’m right there with you.
I’m about to start training the fourth and final toddler.
Even though I’ve done this a few times, each child is different and there’s always a certain amount of “misses” that go with the territory.
CLEANUP ON AISLE 7!!!
But nobody comes… because you’re the janitor too.
Before you start training, read Mom’s Not Wipin’ Your Bum with your trainee. It’ll take the edge off, you’ll learn some great pointers and you can go into it as a team.
Relax… you’ve got this.
If you know someone who is potty training or will be soon, this is the book for them!
Share this post because all of us in the trenches need some laughter and lightness to make it through the massive cleanup on aisle 7.
Use the link in the comments to follow our Kickstarter campaign as we prepare to send that book to print and help make potty training a smooth sailing adventure!
#kickstartmomsnot #steviedraws #pottytrainingtime #pottytrainingsuccess #pottytrainingfun #pottytraininginprogress #pottytrainingadventures #momsnot #momsnotwipinyourbum #thisbookisforyou #kickstarterbook
Here I am.
Mid-40’s and I completely changed careers.
As a writer (my new job) I’m pulling from years of content writing and reading books like it was my actual job. Turns out, that was the most helpful thing I could have done to carve a path into finding my voice and rhythm… and also some creative writing courses in college (I’m looking at you, prof. Johnny Wink).
And I found a motivation.
For years, I felt the voice inside of me, but didn’t have the life experience to say anything of true depth or value.
That is, until our kids came along and suddenly, the voice bubbled over. In real time, that voice in my head will not stop as I play back each slack-jawed parenting spectacle and add my own commentary.
I’m sure there’s some medication for that, but all the “Greats” are a little crazy and I’m going to run with it. Call it therapy, call it a purging… but I am called to write.
Which is where the *kind of* switching careers comes in.
I was a graphic designer. I still am. And you know where design comes in really handy? In book layout and design.
This writer just wrote her first children’s book and branded the whole kit and kaboodle, with five others in the series just waiting their turn in line.
My intrepid illustrator (Stevie Mahardhika) brilliantly brought the characters and story to life and our styles mesh well together.
Next move in this new career is “venture capital” in the form of Kickstarter. Deep breath… here we go.
March 1, we’re raising funds for an amount that makes my eyes pop, but to create the kind of beautiful hardback book that I KNOW I can produce, it’s going to take some coin. And I’m not talking about the bitcoin.
So wish me luck. This writer/designer is on her way to publishing for the first time and we’re going for glory.
#selfpublishing #momsnot #momsnotbookkickstarter #momsnotbook #careerswitch #graphicdesign #childrensbookillustration #childrensbookauthor #picturebook #picturebookillustration #kickstartercampaign #kickstartmomsnot
What had I just agreed to???
I looked down at myself. I had on my robe for gosh sake’s. I couldn’t even find the motivation to put on real clothes. My throat was sore, my nose was stuffy and I had sweated through a fever all night.
I was standing in front of my kids’ piano teacher’s house and Josh just ran past me to get in the car. We do lessons before school and Thursday was his day.
The Russian was standing in the doorway. She had on her mask and I had on mine. But this time I stood about 10 feet back. Through the surgical mask I yelled as best I could, “Hey! Tatiana! I have Covid so I’ll stand back here and yell at you!”
She pulled down her mask and smiled wryly in understanding.
We skipped talking about Josh since his comments usually range from “here’s how he can take things from ‘better’ to ‘perfect’,” and we cut straight to Sammy scheduled for the next morning.
I croaked, “Yeah, Sam has it too, so I think we’ll skip this week.”
She yelled back, “Do you want to do a Skype lesson?”
“WHAAAAAT???? You mean a Facetime call or a Zoom meeting??’
“No, no,” she said emphatically in her thick accent. “A Skype call. Is better that way.”
Although not certain, I’m sure what she was trying to say was, “I’m familiar with Skype so let’s do that and please don’t make a big deal out of my techno-fear.”
So I let it go.
“OK, I’ll download the app and we’ll do it that way.”
Please understand that alarm bells known as “mom’s intuition” were going off so loud they were drowning out my own audible voice. But I thought, “Hey, maybe we should try it and just see what happens.” Which I’m pretty sure is exactly how Johnny Knoxville convinces himself to do every blessed stunt in the Jackass movies.
“OK,” she said. “Let’s try for tomorrow around 10:45.”
“OK!” I said with a wave, and jumped in the car with the rest of the kids to dump Josh off at school. Josh had already had the plague and so he was bound for the promised land.
We got home and Sam was surprisingly cooperative with most of the school work. Sam isn’t usually know for being cooperative with anything, really, so I relaxed and let my guard down a bit. Never a good idea when your primary job title is “M-O-M.”
10:45 came around and I set up my computer near the piano and angled it. It took quite the back-and-forth to be able to connect with the teacher. My suspicions were confirmed. She and technology weren’t friends and so I did everything I knew how to make it happen. Soon we were up and running and I sat Sammy in front of the piano and computer.
If I’ve learned anything from my middle son, it’s best to just let him do his thing with the teacher. Otherwise, he’ll get agitated when I try and but in. So I did my best to just try and keep the other two entertained and let he and the teacher do their thing. I listened in with one ear while I played legos with another.
I heard Sam laughing downstairs and thought pretty smugly, “This is going great. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to that smug intuition. What does she know anyway? I should have way more confidence in Sam that I give him.”
A few minute went by and I heard him starting to get agitated. I looked over the upstairs balcony and could see him crossing his arms and pouting. AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN.
I could hear Tatiana get louder on the speaker, trying to get Sam’s attention and make him do what he needed to do. But alas. I had been there a million times before. He was turning into a statue before our very eyes. A very hot statue made of plastic explosives and the tears of dictators who had gone before him.
She started yelling.
So I ran downstairs, only realizing too late that I wasn’t wearing pants.
I crept in front of the computer screen, feeling very much like a bad dream I had shown up to my own piano lessons during college late and without pants.
But I was standing before a very real Russian who was about to lower the boom on my son.
“Sah-da… Sam is not cooperating. I need you to sit in on the lesson and help us out.”
In my head I though, “I give this 5 minutes, lady, before Sam absolutely degenerates into a brainless amoeba and blind range turns his brain into a can of applesauce.”
I looked down at my lower half. I had no pants on. My nose was dripping. I felt terrible.
“Tatiana, let me put the other two in front of the tv and I need to wipe my nose and find pants!!!!” I ran out of the room, leaving a seething Sammy behind me.
I plopped the other two in front of TV and desperately looked for pants or shorts or something. I must have been panicked because I couldn’t find anything.
I ran back down the stairs.
Screw it. Tatiana could look at my blindingly white thighs and T-shirt that says, “I really really miss Hawaii.” I missed more than Hawaii. I missed my sanity something fierce.
So I sat down on the bench and helped Sam plow on in my usual fashion, trying to not to let any emotion get into it and largely ignoring the ridiculous tantrums that tended to come in waves. But I was right. We were about five minute in and his attitude was steaming hotter and stinkier than the La Brea tar pits.
So I stopped and got right up next to the computer screen and stared at it with huge eyes. A scared Bambi would have applauded my efforts, her hooves clapping quietly so as to not further anger the bottle rocket of a 6-year-old.
I sat very close to Sam and whispered into his ear, “You are done here, go up to your room now, close the door quietly and stay there indefinitely.”
When he was gone, I turned back to the screen and looked at Tatiana. We were both silent for a few second and then we both sighed.
I love this woman. She’s tougher than nails but also manages to treat kids as they are kids. And he was clearly a kid having trouble controlling his emotions. She didn’t shame him or was overbearing… and she didn’t shame me. Although truth be told, the monster of shame was about three feet behind me and was nipping at my heels.
“Sah-da, you did good. You didn’t let him get away with nonsense. But you probably should have stopped pushing about 3 minutes back.”
I smiled. “Yeah… I just don’t want to waste your time, you know?”
“He has a cutoff and it’s all about taking him up to that cutoff and not going past it, because when we’re past it, there really is a point of no return.”
“I know,” I said. “I live this all day every day. Thanks for sticking with him and sticking with us.”
I realized at that moment that most of our communication had been through masks. She has to be extra careful with the viral situation, seeing so many households that come in and out of her house.
Neither of us had masks on. I could read her facial expressions and we had a good, long conversation about Sam and trying different strategies to help him take his practicing in stages.
She is exactly the kind of teacher my kids need. Absolutely no bull**** and tough as nails, but gracious enough to be aware that Rome was not built in a day. And she is not there to just teach them piano, but to help shape their character as well. Beyond grateful to have her in our village.
Generally, after these rage-fests, I let things simmer (for both of us) and I won’t even talk about it for hours after… maybe we won’t even talk about it at all. Because truly, he feels powerless to stop it and doesn’t understand why he does it.
Because I can see the intense pride and need for control… and that’s not easy for adults to control, much less a six-year-old boy. Obvious things like ‘disrespectful talk’ can be addressed later and reparations will be required. And usually, Sam has no trouble apologizing… a heartfelt apology. But in the moment or shortly after… no hope this side of heaven for any logic crossing that brain.
As I shut the computer and came down from that emotionally-charged high (only one of many that generally occur with my precious middle boy throughout each day), I sat on the couch with my shoulders slumped. I felt defeated and started going through everything in my head that I could have done different and/or better. I felt like I was failing that boy because I was not who he needed me to be… to help him with his issues.
I heard the door open upstairs and Sam silently padded downstairs. I was still staring at the wall when he sided up next to me and just wrapped his arms around me. I hugged him back and neither of us spoke.
I looked at him and managed a half-smile.
“Are you hungry, son?”
“A bagel, please, mom.”
As I fixed him his bagel with an obscene slathering of butter (per his request), I knew we were working through it, he and I.
And we just might have to “work through it” our entire lives.
But I would fight every second of every day to remain in relationship with each child. Experiencing the good/bad/ugly of life together. Apologizing when necessary, pushing them when necessary, hugging it out when no words will suffice.
Some days they will hate me. Some days they will adore me. And all the things in between. But one thing they will say: Mom never left us alone…even when we were jerks.
Because God will come running when we are *least* lovable to pick us up and hug us even when we’re pounding our little fists against His mighty hands.
But I’m pretty sure he’ll show up wearing pants. Because He doesn’t forget the basics.
As for me, I’ll just be hanging out here in my robe until I can find the motivation to put on real clothes.
My white thighs haven’t seen the sun or self-tanner in a few months and don’t even hold your breath.
One day my publicist is going to want me to start live speaking engagements and will suggest I start looking in a mirror more often.
My response will be this:
Tell them I’ll meet them on Skype.
I’ll be wearing my robe.
#momofboys #boymom #tinydictator #graceandtruth #raisingboystomen #ilikemyrobe #raisingboys #youwinsomeyoulosesome #raisingboys #booksforboys #boybooks #boysreadbooks #momsandboys #momsnot #mamasboys
I’ve said before how much I like words.
A few of my favorite happen to be, “aposiopesis,” “chicanery,” and “euphemism.”
But don’t let the high-brow tongue-twisters fool you.
I like the low-brow ones too.
Sometimes there’s no other description for something other than a good, old-fashioned epithet.
And let me tell you- I have never reached for them so much as after the little people entered my life.
I thought about why their frequency increased and my only conclusion is this:
They are beautifully descriptive words of despair when I am at the very end of myself… nay, the very end of my rope that I obviously forgot to knot.
I slip helplessly down the fibers as my hands burn from the friction.
Someone drops a glass. Someone almost falls over the back of the couch. I walk into a poo-tastrophy of epic proportions.
No one ever told me that my hardest job as a parent would be keeping my mouth shut when THE THING happens and suddenly I just went from zero to ER in two seconds.
I’m the best under-the-breath curser in the West.
I’m not altogether proud of that but I’m giving myself some grace while the little ones are causing our insurance rates to go through the roof.
I recently found myself in the wandering sanctuary (Pathfinder) and picking up my oldest from school. As I recall, dad was on a staycation, which is basically his opportunity to catch up on paperwork and live the life of stay-at-home dad.
So I was alone picking up Josh. He slipped in the car after a seamless pick-up maneuver.
After initial greetings exchange (for my boys it’s usually very brief), we both fell into silence. Neither of us are huge talkers, but when Josh has something to say, it’s usually good. And now was no exception.
“Mom, what are ‘bad words’?”
Many parents may feel their veins run cold at having to explain something like this.
I on the other hand was fairly rubbing my hands together with glee.
“This is going to be a GREAT conversation,” I thought to myself. “I wonder where and how far this is going to go!!!!” I was mostly thinking about it from my own entertainment. The educational component was completely secondary.
“OK, let’s start here: What have you heard? What are your classmates saying?”
I decided to start really low level.
Me: “Have you heard ‘damn’?”
Josh: “Yes, I hear that sometimes.”
Me: “What about ‘bitch’?”
Josh: “Um… no.”
*Me to myself* great, we’re only up to “damn” in second grade.
Josh: “What’s a ‘bitch’?”
Me: “Technically it’s the name for a female dog, but people have turned it into a derogatory name for a woman.”
He thought about that for a second.
Josh: “I know a REALLY bad word.”
*Me to myself:* Oh, here’s where it gets good.
Josh: “It’s the ‘P’ word.”
I searched my brain trying to come up with a bad “P” word.
Me: “Are you referring to another name for a kitty cat?”
Me: “You mean, ‘pussy’?”
Josh: “Yep. That’s it.”
*Me to myself:* Oh, great… all we’re working with is ‘damn’ and ‘pussy’.
I explained that ‘pussy’ is an actual name for a kitty cat, but people have come to use it as a derogatory name for female anatomy.
At that point I had to mom-splain because it’s my job.
“Josh, are ‘bad’ words necessarily sinful by themselves? God outlined certain things about our speech in the Bible. That we are to never to speak God’s name in a flippant manner. That we use our words to honor others, etc. So is saying the word itself wrong? Ehhhhh… It’s the intent behind the word and how others interpret it. We can’t control how other people interpret our words, but if there are specific words that have a very disrespectful connotation in American speech, there are plenty of other words we can pull from to use. Not to mention the fact that there is a certain rudeness attached to those words.
What I didn’t tell him is how many times I had muttered them that day.
Do as I say, child not as I do. I settled in to my fuzzy blanket of irony.
Josh: “Mom, I know a really, really bad word that you say with your hands.”
I flipped him the bird from the front seat.
Me: “Is it this? The middle finger?”
Josh: “No, it’s worse than that. But mom, what does the ‘middle finger’ mean?”
Me: “Well, my best guess is it’s a derogatory reference to sex. As we’ve talked about, sex is sacred and beautiful and any ugly word or gesture is meant to strip it of it’s sacred nature and make it gross and meaningless.”
Josh: “Well, mine is way worse.”
*Me to myself*: Is there anything actually worse than the middle finger? Suddenly I felt the panicky reality that I actually was not smarter than a 2rd-grader.
Me: “Okkkayyyyy…. show me your hand gesture.”
I pulled up at a stoplight and turned around to see.
I muffled a laugh as I looked at my son’s upheld hand.
He was giving met the Star Trek sign for “Live Long and Prosper.”
I almost laughed until I cried.
Me: “Josh, that is not a bad gesture. At least in this country. That was invented by a character from Star Trek and actually means “Live Long and Prosper.” So, it’s not even close to a bad gesture.”
This Christmas was the first year we watched “Home Alone” as a family. As a kid, I was so used to watching the edited version on Cable TV.
Everything was going along trippingly until the scene with the mobsters on TV.
“Now get the hell out of my office.”
Shoot. I totally forgot about that one.
Maybe it will go right over their heads.
About a month later, Sammy walked down the stairs and yelled, “MOM!!! WHERE THE HELL IS MY HAIR GEL?”
He looked at me with his eyes dancing gleefully, knowing exactly what he said and waiting for my reaction.
I lowered my forehead, knitted my brow and gave him “the look” to let him know his experiment with a movie curse word was unacceptable.
But I didn’t tell him that I was pretty impressed he used it effectively and in context.
Parenting is a funny experiment of trying to lead by example and failing miserably.
But just because we know we’re going to fail, doesn’t mean we stop trying.
The wins are worth a hundred fails.
And having an open conversation about cussing will go on my list of wins.
#transparentparenting #reallifeconversations #talktoyourkids #curiousparents #afterschoolconversations #talktome #icussalittle #trickytopics #trickyconverations #whatdoisay #hearttohearttalk #straighttalk