Sneaky Life Lessons with Netflix!

When it comes to what we parents like to refer to as “screen time” for our kids, there are a few different purposes. Around here, it’s broken down into a few simple reasons.

  1. They earned it
  2. I just need a mental break from them fighting
  3. I want to watch it and I need a kid to blame it in
  4. BECAUSE WHY NOT. Everyone needs a bit of laziness
  5. It serves some kind of educational or life-building purpose.

It’s not complicated! If the kids want to watch TV and they haven’t earned it, and aren’t driving me nuts (which doesn’t happen as often as I like, but hey, every now and then they’re pretty calm!), and I don’t have a strong desire to sit and watch it myself, it needs to have some kind of value beyond being popcorn-worthy.

Luckily, there’s a LOT of great programming for kids these days that fit into every single one of those categories depending on which you’re searching for, and every. single. one. can be found on Netflix.

My kids have learned all about the importance and fun there is in history from the Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show, how to work as a team from Trollhunters, and why being greedy never works out in the end from All Hail King Julien, but I really think they’ve taken the most away from Fuller House. Which is kind of perfect, isn’t it? I learned a lot of (cheesy, yet warm) life lessons from Full House growing up, and now they get to do the same.

From the episode where Jackson lies in order to go to the wrestling match and learns that telling the truth is always the best way to go, to the episode where Max has to do his science project and learns that doing the work himself is always more rewarding- there’s a ton of lessons to be learned, all mixed with humor so the kids never feel overwhelmed with them. We love it!

If you’re looking for something more specific, I’ve got you covered with this parenting cheat sheet! 

 

Perfection. Happy watching & sneaky teaching!

 

Posted on April 27, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

Men: Here’s What you Should REALLY Know About Periods

It’s not just belly bloating, major moodswings, and cramps.

                       Not an accurate depiction

 

I’m not in a particularly educational mood today, so I’ll chalk this blog up to salt. I’m in the center of arguably one of the most horrific periods of my life, and so I’m leaning more toward salty after my death-cramps sent me to bed early where I just hoped to drift off into slumber while curled in the fetal position, only to be woken up twice by my husband loudly playing videogames, followed by repeated wakings due to his chainsaw snores…. yeah, salty. He grew up with women, he’s not a moron, yet, I think, deep down, he still thinks periods are no big deal. Or, that after over two decades of dealing with them, I should be used to the discomfort and side effects.

He’s wrong. And instead of doing something evil, like catching up on Game of Thrones without him, I’ll use my rage in a productive way: to spread the truth. The TRUTH, truth.

Men, and I don’t just direct this at you, this could be used for young girls as a lesson of what’s to come, but today I point out the men of the world– if you know that cramps are horrible, that periods aren’t just about “women being emotional”– if you can even come close to sympathizing, I appreciate you. But just summing up periods as bloating, cramps, and crying at Hallmark commercials, is doing us women a real disservice.

All periods are different, so while I can’t speak for all women, I’d like to set the record straight the best I can. Give you what some might call “TMI” but, y’know what? If we women can’t be comfortable, you shouldn’t be able to be comfortable either!

Let’s start with the ever-popular to be mocked “mood swings”. I don’t just go from manically happy one second to crying the next. Shit doesn’t work that way. I find more that random shit annoys me. Random things piss me off. I’m, in general, more irritable. But I’m not going to bite your head off. You don’t need to hide and throw chocolate at me from afar to appease my angry uterus. Chocolate is welcome, but it’s not going to instantly snap me back to “normal.” It could be that I’m in a nasty mood because my period seemed like it was over, so I put back on my “good” underwear, only for it to come back and destroy them. Yes, that’s right, we have specific “period” underwear– the kind we don’t mind ruining either because it’s dark colored, or it’s been ruined before and we kept it around so we won’t ruin OTHER pairs.
Look, I’m just as annoyed by myself on my period as anyone else.

That brings us to cravings. Why do we “need” chocolate before our periods? Because our bodies crave magnesium. What’s high in magnesium? Cocoa beans. Magnesium can help decrease PMS symptoms, such as cramping, tender breasts, bloating, etc. So, eating chocolate isn’t just part of being moody bloated beasts, it’s helping ourselves. Personally, I crave salt. ALL THE TORTILLA CHIPS IN THE WORLD! It’s not just being a lazy cow- when a woman’s body craves salt during her menstrual cycle, it’s because it has a mineral deficiency. OR, MAYBE, good, delicious food just makes us feel better when we’re feeling bad, so perhaps we should be allowed to indulge without the judgment.

Ahhh bloating. Good ol’ bloating. PMS? Balloon belly. What more is there to say? Well, what more there is, is that it’s not JUST belly bloating. Pants aren’t the only things that become unbearable.
My entire body basically turns into a sack of clay when I’m on my period. Nothing looks right, no clothes fit right. It’s almost like I’m in someone else’s body. Belly bloating is obnoxious, but it’s only one piece of the tiny puzzle. And I didn’t get “lucky” in the period department and get big boobs during my cycle, though they DO hurt like a mofo. There’s no “golden ticket” – no matter which card you draw, it’s not going to be fun.
Oh, and did I mention I itch? Because I itch like fucking crazy.

Who could forget cramps? ME! ME ME ME! Oh, right, I wasn’t giving the option, because it’s impossible. Cramps are a nightmare, and they come in all different forms. Low front stomach pain, back cramps, all-around the waist cramps, full body aches, mild enough cramps that may not put you out of commission but constant enough to cause fatigue, to “this feels like giving birth” cramps. Do you know what ALL of these cramps do? Tense up all of our insides. This can increase any pain we already experience, such as tight, sore muscles, or chronic pain/fatigue. It can flare up chronic illness, or make any bug we have feel ten times worse. Oh, and guess what the uterus is near? The stomach. And guess what happens when you tense up the stomach? Yeah. Poop. A lot of poop. And it doesn’t smell like roses… unless the roses were buried in the corpse of a bear left in the hot sun for three days.

What about birth control? Can’t that regulate things? My sister said…
HEY, look… stop. For one- it’s really none of your business about whether or not I’m a) on birth control and/or b) am willing to take it. Secondly, birth control is not for everyone. For many reasons. Did you know there is a male birth control in the works, and the reason it hasn’t gone to market is because of… GASP… side effects? The same ones women deal with? Yeah, look, I’m with you dudes, I can’t do it either.

Well if you’re done having kids, why don’t you have a hysterectomy?
LISTEN HERE, BUDDY. You want me to have incredibly invasive surgery, deal with recovery, and the after effects, just to stop my monthly visitor?

No. I’m keeping my period. I’m also going to keep bitching about my period. And I, along with all other women of the world, would appreciate a little bit of understanding. Maybe a little compassion. A lot of silence…. and hell, even some chocolate.

Posted on April 24, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

The ONE Reason Why I Kiiiiiiiinda Regret Ever Having Kids

It’s not for ANY of the reasons you might think.

 

There are many facets to parenthood that are less than pleasant. In fact, they’re downright fucking AWFUL. Destroyers of sanity. They can make you question your goodwill toward man. Question your beliefs… and what day of the week it is. That being said, they’re all doable. Survivable. You might even find that making it through them will mold you into a stronger, more resilient human being. More productive, even.

You might think lack of sleep is going to be the thing that pushes you over the edge, but over time, even though you will forever miss it as though it’s a missing limb, you learn to carry on. Changing disgusting explode-y diapers becomes less barfy and more like training to be a ninja as time goes by. Just HOW fast can you do it while still being efficient and not getting shit under your nails? Teething? …Well, teething sucks, but you’re certainly not going to die from it.

As often as I feel like I’ve lost every single last drop of my patience, I actually have a hell of a lot more than I did prior to popping out crotchfruit. I’ve become more aware of my health and what’s in the stuff that I’m eating thanks to wanting my kids to eat well. I learn things… or re-learn them… honestly, I’m not sure which anymore, since I have to help my kids with homework. I care a hell of a lot more about washing my hands and personal hygiene because I’m constantly trying to avoid catching their nasty elementary school plagues. My life has improved dramatically. I have more gray hairs to cover, but, hey, it gives me an excuse to get my hair done more often, so… win? Yeah. I’m gonna go with IMPROVED LIFE.

Still… today I find myself full of regret. Full of wondering WHY I ever procreated in the first place. WHY I would put myself in such a horrible situation.

It’s not the stomach flu and a house full of barf as far as the eye can see, although, that’s a close second. It’s not tantrums, or teacher’s conferences, or algebra. It’s not a feeling of inadequacy as a mother, or just no longer wanting the weight of responsibility that comes with raising tiny humans, no. It’s much, much worse. I don’t think I can do it anymore. I’M NOT CUT OUT FOR THE MOM LIFE!

I sat at breakfast this morning, groggily eating a bowl of cereal, as I usually do on weekday mornings before I have to get the kids ready for school. We may not all sit down at the same time, but I always end up eating at the same time as the kids, regardless of who sits or finishes first. This was a breakfast unlike any other, though. Beside me sat Parker, armed with a long string of dental floss by his father. WHY floss at the breakfast table? Good. fucking. question.

WHY FLOSS? There’s a perfectly logical explanation, if you ask Parker. His front tooth has been loose now for over a month. Actually, all four of his front teeth have been loose for over a month, but the top left tooth in particular has been dangling by a string this entire time. Loose teeth completely skeeve me out. Worse than snot rockets, worse than chunky vomit, worse than open wounds, pretty much worse than anything on this entire planet. One wiggle in my presence and my stomach flips over and I get that oh-so familiar barfy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m so utterly disgusted by the wiggling teeth and the bulgy gums, and the protruding big teeth, that if I see them, I run. If the tooth comes out relatively quickly, all can be right with the world. My blood pressure returns to a healthy average, the vomit rising in my stomach lowers back down, and I can still live in my house and claim my children as my own. 

THIS KID, THOUGH. THIS DAMN KID. His dangling chicklet of a tooth… he babies it like it’s his firstborn child. He pushes, and pokes, and shoves it forward with his bottom lip. He sits next to me and plays with it for hours on end. And this morning, at breakfast, with a fistful of floss, he made a noose for the last nerve holding onto that bitch and proceeded to pull. On my left? Holden, who just ripped off a molar cap yesterday and proceeded to place the bloody thing into my hand, was on my left, working on another loose tooth.

I tried to stare into the abyss of my bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, tried to find my happy place (on a beach with 75 tacos and margaritas) but the creaaaaaaaaaak sound of the floss pulling against his tooth was too much for me to take. I CAN’T! I QUIT! I’M DONE!

I’m considering moving out until the kids have lost all of their baby teeth… but Parker will probably have this thing hanging from his head until he’s a crusty old man, so that might not be possible. We all have a line that cannot be crossed or we’ll break.  Nasty hillbilly dangly baby teeth are mine. What’s yours?

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

My Kids are Growing up, and I’m Growing DOWN.

Has it really been so many years that it’s time for this already? I know, I know, it’s so tiny in the grand scheme of things. Even in just the grand scheme of parenthood, it’s nothing but a blip on the radar. Insignificant. Or, so you think, until it happens, and it WILL happen.

It comes with age, the years pass, and this has to change. It has to, there’s no other way, but you’re never fully prepared for how much something so small will affect your life, your mindset, your feelings, your entire friggin’ day– and it kind of pops out of nowhere, because things have been working so well as they are for SO long. Why fix what isn’t broken? Why change what’s worked for years upon years?

But you have to. You have to accept that times are changing. Life is changing. And things must change when life changes to adapt to the new route life is taking.

This includes bed times.

YES. I’M FREAKING OUT OVER THE CHANGING OF BED TIMES!

We had a good run. Nine long years with the SAME bed time was more than I could have ever hoped for. It couldn’t last forever, I knew that, but I wasn’t prepared to be dozing off by 9:30 and crawling into bed by 10:30 most nights. WHEN DID I GET SO OLD?? I guess hearing the songs I grew up with on the “oldies” station should have been a gentle nudge to coming to that realization, but NO. I refused to believe it. I still refuse! I’ve been a night owl my entire life, and suddenly, I find myself going to bed earlier and earlier some nights. If I stay up too late, it’s almost like I have a hangover the next morning, even if there was no alcohol involved before bed time.

And, of course, this would happen just as my 9 year old is asking to stay up later. It’s like he’s literally sucking the life-force out of me. Yeah! I’m blaming my tiredness on my children! 10 years ago, I was just leaving to go OUT at the time I am going to bed now.

This exhaustion has dredged up the creeping feeling of change I can’t seem to get away from these days. I’m well aware that my kids are growing up, but now I realize that I am growing down. Sooner rather than later, we will be ships passing in the night. My kids will be up late trying to cram for a test, or chatting with friends, or whatever the hell it is that kids do these days (I used to sneak online and use up our free AOL minutes) and I’ll be resting my weary old bones, being equally thankful to be past the bedtime battles stage, but missing the days where I could catch up on the DVR, work, have some drinks, and just relax for the hours after the kids went to bed. I need that time, and it’s slipping away!

Now, the question has really become- do I accept my little old lady ways and go to bed early to avoid nodding off in the middle of primetime television, or stay up late just to get those precious hours of ME time– the me that is the closest to who I was before kids- awake into the wee hours of the morning, doing whatever the hell I wanted.

The answer? …. I think I’m gonna have to sleep on it.

Posted on April 17, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

4 “Jobs” that came with Parenthood that I’d TOTALLY quit if I could

For the most part, I knew the basic requirements of motherhood before I had kids of my own. Long days, late nights with little to no sleep (usually leaning more toward the NO), scant pay–only coming in the form of snuggles and the occasional sense of pride and joy… that is, when you’re not dozing off. I knew about the ass wiping, the seemingly never-ending tantrums, the booboos, hell, even the homework I’d have to help with. I knew about all of these things. I wasn’t prepared for them, heeeeeeell no, but I knew they were part of the package.

There are things that I do now on a daily basis that did NOT come with the package. These, I feel, are defective, and I would like to return them for a full refund. I will not accept store credit, I just don’t want to do them!

Now, you could go all sanctimommy and tell me to better parent my kid, and if you wanna go down that path, yeah, sure, I could. But let’s keep in mind that not all kids are the same, so not all forms of parenting works the same on every kid. SO YEAH, I’M STUCK DOING THIS SHIT.

I’m cool with being woken up before my alarm, I guess. I’ve become immune to listening to my kids talk nonstop about Minecraft, even though I feel like I should be paid per minute. I’ve even accepted the fact that my kids are nearly in the double digits and I’m still wiping snot off of their faces.

I’m FINE with every weird nook and cranny of parenthood…. except these five things. FIVE jobs I’ve taken on as a parent against my will, that I wish I could quit.

1. Couch spelunking. I spend far too much of my time digging in between the cushions of my couches and digging crap out that my kids have carelessly left behind. Of course, it’s never shit I WANT to find, like money… my sanity. It’s nasty shit, like dirty socks, week-old Goldfish, and granola bar wrappers.

2. Cup collecting. No matter how many times I tell them, ONE CUP PER DAY. RE-FUCKING-USE THE ONE YOU HAVE. They don’t. They use a different cup for every. single. beverage. Even if it’s the same beverage. They even use cups for snacks. And then they proceed to leave them around the house, forcing me to pick them up like I’m on an Easter egg hunt, only what’s inside isn’t candy, it’s rancid ass milk.

3. Sherlock Holmes-ing. I am not a detective. I have no interest in going into the PI business. I don’t have heat-seeking abilities, or an implanted metal detector, or X-Ray vision, yet somehow, when the kids lose shit (which is ALWAYS) they immediately come to me to find it. Of course, they go on and on about how long they’ve been looking to no avail, but we all know they haven’t actually looked beyond scanning the area directly in front of them with their eyes.

4. De-Underwearing Pants. A hell of a lot more laundry would get done around here if I didn’t spend 50% of the time I have for it removing underwear from pants.

 

I’ll be honest- this blog was supposed to be 5 jobs I wanted to quit, but thanks to all the de-underwearing, Sherlock Holmesing, couch spelunking, and cup collecting I had to do, I completely spaced on #5, which I guess is fine, because there are really about 25 odd jobs I got roped into when I became a parent that I’d totally quit if I could, but I can’t. Maybe that’s #5. I’d quit not being able to quit ANY OF THESE THINGS.

What about you? What job would YOU quit if you could?

Posted on April 13, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 2 Comments