When Responsibility Goes TOO FAR- A Parental Horror Story

You know that old saying “Once in a blue moon”? Does it ever leave you wondering “how can it be once in a blue moon if there’s literally never a blue moon?” Logic would lead you to the conclusion that once in a blue moon isn’t just rare, it NEVER happens. That, for me, is alone time with my husband. When the kids are upstairs drooling on their pillows doesn’t count. I mean REAL alone time. Time they can’t come waltzing into the room to tell me their sock fell off.


When’s the last time you had it? I can remember the exact day, though the details are a bit fuzzy, because it’s been that long. We’re lame, cheap homebodies. We don’t like hiring babysitters. We kinda prefer to hang out at home.
I know. It’s sad. We should make time for ourselves more. I KNOW. YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL ME. But it’s tough to make the plans and take the time when you’re not used to it, so honestly, the only real “us” time we get is when the fates work in our favor. And wouldn’t you know it– fate was on our side yesterday.

The kids had to go to school, the husband did not have to go to work– which left us by our lonesome, not just for a measly hour or two, but all. day. long. 8am – 2:45pm. That’s a hefty chunk of time!

There was so much we could do in that time without crotchfruit tugging on our sleeves. We could finally go see an R rated movie in the theater and not only get two bites of popcorn because they ate it all before the damn previews. We could have gone to one of the fancier restaurants we’ve always wanted to go to but haven’t been able to because they aren’t “kid friendly” or we don’t want to hear them whine about there being nothing to eat, or pay the cost for an adult plate for a picky 8 year old. We could go shopping and MAYBE not buy the kids anything for once. We could even touch each other’s butts like the olden days, but not quite with such reckless abandon because NO MORE KIDS.

As far as I could see, the options were endless. We could do any of those things, or even a combination of a few of them, and still have time to spare. It wasn’t until I was doing my makeup to go into the world, not as “Holden and Parker’s Mom”, but as JENNY that a feeling washed over me. A familiar, yet unsettling one. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. It frittered away in the back of my mind until I walked down the stairs to tell Thomas I was ready to go and he said “We need to stop by the grocery store for a few things.”

HA HA. RESPONSIBILITY. That was the feeling pirouetting in the back of my brain. Creeping up on me like someone from high school I try to avoid upon seeing them in public. On a day we could do anything, the last thing I wanted to do was succumb to responsibility. That is my EVERY day! NOT today!

I fought it to the best of my ability, but where did I find myself an hour later? In the damn checkout line glaring at the sticker next to the credit card reader that read “anyone on or before this date in 1996 can buy alcohol.”

Responsibility has aged me more than children.

Posted on October 10, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

20 Memes that Prove Kids are Absolute A-holes

Before you have kids, you should know that this is what you’re life is going to be full of. It’s too late for us, so all we can do is laugh at memes. Or cry in the pantry trying to quietly eat chocolate covered potato chips…. not that I’ve ever done that….







































Well, shit.


Is anyone else tired? Because I’m tired.

Posted on October 4, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

The Sisterhood of the Shitty Moms


Walking through Busch Gardens yesterday, per usual, I came across all kinds of different people from all walks of life. The ones I always notice, when I’m not scrunching my brow at the latest hideous “fashion” trend teens are trying to dredge back from the depths of 90’s hell, are the fellow moms. I always wonder if it’s that whole thing where you don’t notice how many people have the same car as you until you buy one, but I definitely never noticed so many moms until I had kids of my own. Now I can’t take my eyes off of them.

We moms are “so strong”, aren’t we? Or that’s what everyone likes to tell us. We’re just the strongest, bravest creatures to ever walk the earth. Growing, birthing, raising children. Go us!
I’m not trying to be a sarcastic asshole. I DO think we’re incredibly strong, a hell of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for- and that’s the thing. We may be it, but we don’t always feel it. Or maybe we never feel it.

The mom who was really laying into her kid for acting like an ass in public when he’d been told repeatedly to cut it out? Bet she didn’t feel strong. Contrary to what our kids believe, we don’t like disciplining them. We have to learn to enjoy pulling out “mean in public” mommy or it makes us feel low, and humiliated, and even embarrassed. It makes us feel like we haven’t done our “job” correctly. It makes us wonder who, at that moment, is judging us, because perish the thought we EVER discipline our children in public!

The mom frustratingly trying to pull off a standing diaper change with a wiggly toddler in a bathroom full of people milling in and out. Did she feel like a parental powerhouse? Doubtful.

The mom I saw later in the night carrying her kid that is way too big to be carried (and I say this in a non-judging way, but just by weight alone), probably because their feet got too tired, or they said their legs didn’t work, or any number of other excuses that she was probably tired of hearing and gave up and decided to just lug the kid out. I guarantee she didn’t feel strong, even with the added weight.

And me. I’d promised to take Parker to Busch Gardens yesterday for his birthday (yes his birthday was Saturday, but we avoid busy places on Saturdays). I was not feeling the greatest, and my stomach made it worse. Parker’s attitude made it even worse than that. We had a bunch of errands to run before leaving and he was directly disobeying me, so I snapped, in public, and told him his birthday plans were cancelled. He lost it. Everyone stared. An overreaction on my part? Absolutely– but he pushed me when he knew he shouldn’t have been pushing. Am I proud of it? No. I’m not ashamed, we all have moments, but I’m certainly not proud.
When we got home, and I had time to rest and feel better, and he had time to think about what he’d done wrong, we resolved our issues, went to Busch and had a great time.

In these moments people like to tell us we’re strong for powering through is when we feel our weakest–our most vulnerable. We don’t feel like good moms, supermoms, whatever-name-you-want-to-call-us-to-make-us-feel-better moms. We feel like shit. The shittiest moms on earth.

This is where I know words are mostly empty. I know it’s nice to hear that you’re doing a good job, or you have great kids, or that you’re a wonderful mother– but what do they do for you at the end of the day? Not a whole lot. What I take solace in, is knowing that I’m not alone. I know that’s kinda shitty, taking comfort in knowing that other parents had shitty parenting moments too, but in a way, it’s the best kind of comfort. Knowing that no matter what, there’s something else out there slugging through it, too. There’s someone else out there who knows that you don’t have to have the most perfect of days to still have happy, healthy kids at the end of it. There’s someone else out there that proves that you don’t have to be the “best mom ever” every moment of every day to still be a great mom.
We’re all struggling in our own ways– some more than others.

Some days are easy, some days we put our “Shitty Mom” pants on one leg at a time. Some days we miss both legs completely and fall straight on our asses, but we’re TOGETHER. We are the Sisterhood of the Shitty Moms, and while we might not be out there yelling “YAYA” at another woman who is dealing with a tantruming kid in public, we have each other’s backs in sometimes silent solidarity. A warm smile, a knowing nod, a non-judging look. We’ve been there, we’ve made it through, and so can you.

Posted on October 2, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

Do you feel Beautiful?

“You look beautiful!” my daughter exclaimed when she saw me standing in the kitchen this morning.  I was dressed in sweat pants, a baggy old sweater that had seen better days, and my hair had been hastily pulled back into a messy bun.  My body was slumped tiredly against the counter; a strong cup of coffee in one hand, cold, weak toast in the other.
“Thank you,” I said, setting my breakfast down.  I knelt down, and my soon to be 4 year old launched herself into my arms.  Her little body was still warm from sleep, and her hair held the soft, sweet smell of apples.  I pressed my lips to her forehead.  “You are beautiful too, sweetheart,” I said.
She pushed back, abruptly.  “Not yet!” she exclaimed.  “I’m not dressed in my beautiful clothes!  And my hair doesn’t have anything beautiful in it!”
“Huh,” I said, thoughtfully tilting my head to the side.  I studied her for a moment.  Golden hair cascading gently down her back, blue eyes filled with laughter and wonder, rosy cheeks flushed with the excitement of a new day.  My daughter is, in fact, quite beautiful.  Yet I didn’t rush her over to a mirror in order to point that out.  Instead, I shared a secret.
“I guess I haven’t told you about the secret to true beauty yet, have I?” I mused.
“What is it?” she gasped.
“Well,” I began.  “True beauty isn’t something you see at first.  It’s something you feel.”  My daughter looked confused, but snuggled in closer and listened intently.
“The most beautiful people in the world are kind, helpful, loving and good.  Their beauty is inside of them.  So when you meet these people, they have the kind of beauty that shines through from the inside out.  You feel good when you’re around them.  Sometimes you feel their beauty before you see it.”
“What if we put jewelry on?” my daughter asked.  “Does that make us beautiful?”
“Jewelry can be very pretty,” I said, nodding, “and it’s fun to wear, but it doesn’t make us beautiful.  It doesn’t matter what clothes we have on, or what our hair looks like.  If we are not beautiful on the inside, we can never truly be beautiful on the outside.”
My daughter thought about this for a moment while she played with a thread that was slowly unraveling from the cuff of my sweater.  “Mom?” she said, looking up at me.  “You feel beautiful to me.”
“You feel beautiful to me, too,” I said, hugging her closer.
And she is.
Posted on September 29, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream 2017. Prepare for FROSTBITE!

Some Haunts have the best scares. Some haunts have the most creative ideas. Some have the best costumes, and others might have the best attractions for kids, and I’ve been to a lot of haunts over the years, and there’s just nowhere that hits all the marks better than Busch Gardens Howl o Scream– and this year, it’s back and better than ever! I know I say that every year, but this year they have expanded in a way that includes everyone– from the littles who don’t want to be spooked but still want to have a great time, to the adults who love things that go “AHH!” in the night.

It is my absolute favorite time of the year (sorry, not sorry Christmas) and there’s no place I’d rather be enjoying it than at Busch Gardens!

On top of the already great event Busch Gardens has been throwing for years- the scare zones, the houses, the shows (seriously, if you haven’t gone to see Monster Stomp in the Globe Theater… or even if you have… this is something you NEED to do) there’s more to add to your list this season!

(I apologize in advance for the lack of photos. My camera was on the fritz and my phone wasn’t much better).



Weekends in October, before the sun goes down and the ghouls come out, bring the kids (9 & under) decked out in their Halloween costumes to Count Von Count’s Spooktacular! They can dance and play with their favorite Sesame Street characters in the Sesame Street Forest of Fun, ride rides, go Trick or Treating, and participate in kid-friendly activities!

This event runs from 10am – 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays from October 7th through the 29th.


FOR THOSE WHO LIKE SCARES (hey, this can include kids, too!)

Once 6pm hits, Busch Gardens turns into a dark, scary, and fun place. The lights turn down, the music turns up, and you can choose from SEVEN haunted houses, FIVE thrilling Scare Zones, and TWO spooky escape rooms (I’d list the 3 shows, but they run all day long!)

Now I know what you’re REALLY wondering…What’s new this year?



a frozen castle nestled in Germany, prepare to be chilled to the bone in this brand new haunted house.
I honestly think it’s my favorite. The Curse of Dark Kastle was the perfect setting to install a new maze to get lost in, which special kinds of jump scares I’ve never seen before (and definitely didn’t see coming).



The brand new Scare Zone, goes perfectly with Busch Garden’s new ride InvadR. Blood thirsty Vikings have taken over New France after a raiding party gone wrong. Can you make it through the smoldering ash and angry Norseman who guard the walkways?


If you really want to test your fate- try one of Busch Gardens escape rooms! The Case of Mr. Karver (and his CREEPY doll collection) is back this year with new mysteries, and BRAND NEW this year- The Case of the Haunted Hotel. Follow clues and solve riddles to escape, or you’ll never check out! (These cost extra on top of park admission).


Of course, these aren’t the only things to do. You also have the coasters to ride and, all kinds of yummy food to snack on while you watch a show or run from chainsaw wielding demons on Demon Street. You just never know what’s lurking around the corner, so head over to Busch Gardens and check it out!

Howl O Scream is running on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, now through October 29th- with even MORE chances to get spooked this year, as the park will be open until midnight on Saturdays in October, AND added two Thursdays, Oct. 19 and 26, to its schedule!

Hope to see you there!


Find out more about tickets, specific dates & times on the Busch Gardens Williamsburg website!

Posted on September 26, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment