Summer isn’t a Cruise, and I’m not a Cruise Director

I’ve never felt more like my mom than I do right now, on the brink of summer vacation. Wherever you are, if you’re in the states, it’s either it’s here, or it’s near. We can’t avoid it. It’s coming, along with the inevitable questions I seem to

Yeah… this isn’t me

get every fucking summer — “so how are you gonna keep the kids busy?”

Did I miss something? Do I somehow get a summer break, too? Is my house going to suddenly transform into Camp Mommy with brand new crafts, games, activities, and excursions to enthrall the children?

I don’t know why this bothers me as much as it does, maybe it shouldn’t– but my summers were full of me occupying myself once I was old enough to. They meant I was getting my ass tossed outside to play in the sun until the streetlights turned on. It meant I was going to need to figure out what I wanted to do, and I had plenty to do, because it isn’t like my house was an empty box of nothing. I had books, I had toys, I had games.
And now, suddenly, us parents are supposed to plan for every waking hour of our childrens’ lives as if they cannot possibly figure out how to keep themselves at all busy?

How about no.

Of course I want to make sure they have a fun summer, and I do have plans to do some cool things with them- but I’m not dedicating the next 3 months to being Camp Counselor Mommy. I’ve still got shit to do. Summer is no different for me. I have work, responsibilities, and all the other crap I have to do during every other time of the year that I still have to do now to keep this house from being overcome by dog hair, boy smell, and dirt until it’s condemned. I wish I could just take the next few months off and spend it complaining that there’s nothing to do, but that’s not reality. The kids should enjoy being bored. I miss being bored. Part of life is learning to deal with being bored and entertaining yourself instead of expecting someone else to do it for you all the time.

You want planned activities to fill your days? Go on a cruise, but even if this WERE a cruise– I’m not the cruise director, I’m the captain. I get the feeling a lot of people are going to be walking the plank this summer.

Posted on June 12, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 2 Comments

Hey, Moms. Can we Stop Being Assholes to Each Other Already? Thanks.

Listen moms. When I said that we are the “worst” in my last blog, I didn’t mean for you to go out and PROVE it to me. Only sort of kidding.

I’d like to think that most of you reading this blog aren’t doing what I call “hate-reading”. Where you intentionally read shit that pisses you off through narrowed eyes while snarling just to talk shit about it, or make shitty comments. I’m totally alright with you reading about my blunderings to make yourselves feel better, or a little more normal, but I don’t aim to piss people off. I aim to commiserate. The way I’ve learned to get through the wild rollercoaster of parenthood, where days are mundane yet maddeningly unpredictable at the same time, is through humor. Those of you who have found that kind of solace and camaraderie in my words on this blog, or by following my social media accounts, understand that that’s what’s going on here, and I love you for it. As much as it makes you feel better, YOU feeling better makes me feel better, too.

And then there’s the ones who don’t get it. And I suppose those are the ones I’m writing to tonight, though I don’t know if this will ever reach you… I have hopes that, like my other posts that piss you off enough to lash out at me, this one will somehow find its way to you as well.

My question is this: What are you doing?

It’s a rhetorical question, because it’s one you have to ask yourselves.

I am not dishonest, but the jokes I make aren’t always serious. Take this one, for instance:

Obvious joke is obvious, right? I mean, I’ve written entire blogs about my fuck ups and how I make sure to be honest with my kids about them because I don’t ever want them thinking that I am perfect, or that they have to be.
It’s so silly there’s no way anyone would take it seriously, would they? I But someone did. And that someone decided to let me have it.

Not only was my tweet “bullshit rhetoric”, but my “line of thinking” is what is fucking up kids as a whole, y’all. If I had the response, I’d screen shot and paste it here for you, but unfortunately I don’t. Trust me when I say that it was a lot of misplaced hostility to unpack.
The thing is, she and I don’t disagree. I don’t believe in teaching kids that parents are perfect. i DO think that “line of thinking” is the wrong one to take. The problem lies in how she chose to attack me. She didn’t ask questions, she didn’t come at me with respect. She instantly lunged for the throat of a fellow mother. It’s not just that she was incorrect in her assumption, but she ruined a chance to open any kind of positive dialogue. This isn’t how we should be speaking to one another.

We were probably never going to be friends, but we at least had a chance of coming to an understanding. She never gave me one. She didn’t care that she was wrong, just that she felt right and justified to attack me and my parenting over a silly tweet. In a single moment, she became exactly the kind of person she was accusing me of being– the kind who is setting a terrible example for children. I don’t know this lady, and I’ll never know her, and maybe she was having a bad day, but y’all. Mommin’ is hard enough. We don’t need to be giving each other shit over dumb nonsense. We really don’t.

What I’m not saying is that you have to find everything I write funny. You don’t have to relate to it, understand it, or get it. Us moms aren’t all meant to be besties. It’s like I tell my kids every day–not everyone has to even like each other. What we can and should do is show each other a little bit of respect. We all deserve, and owe each other that much.

What do you say?

Posted on June 7, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

Helping Your Children Embrace A Diet That Is Sugar-Free

This is a sponsored post. 

 

A Tough Sell

Pure, raw cane sugar isn’t bad for you in the proper dosage. But unfortunately, you’re probably not going to get the proper dosage anywhere but from the plant itself, growing from a field of its brothers. Most food today is saturated in sugars that have been processed, corn syrup, and foodstuffs that truly aren’t nutritional. In fact, they’re probably toxic to your body.

This is manageable for adults, but it’s less manageable for children. Children don’t understand the risks of sustained poor nutrition. Jerry Seinfeld, incidentally, has a great bit about this which has become a staple of his comedic persona. In the bit, he talks about how the only thing children want up until a certain age is: candy.

Today’s “foodstuffs” are confections that are tasty to the tongue, but filled with chemicals, synthetic sugars, and a conglomeration of other bad things for the body. Getting children away from the sugar isn’t going to be easy! What you’ll want to do is create alternatives, and help them not see what you’re doing not as a permanent shift, but as a primary means of living.

Think of them like little addicts, and understand that an ultimatum against their addiction won’t bode well psychologically. Your goal is to facilitate a change that is self-actualized; as in: the kids don’t want sugary things anymore because they simply…don’t want them, not because they can’t have them.

Candy is best appreciated as a treat. Think about it: if you have one Dove chocolate to reward yourself after a few hours’ strenuous activity, you’ll enjoy it more than should you eat an entire bag of Dove candies after a bad day at the office. In the second case, the moment you’ve finished the last aluminum foil-wrapped candy, you’ll immediately feel bloated and guilty.

Photo credit https://www.pexels.com/photo/carefree-child-childhood-countryside-259704/

 

Moderation In All Things

Everything is good in moderation, everything is bad when it is used to the point of abuse. Teaching moderation is a great way to get your child on a sugar-free diet—you get two lessons for the price of one!

So first things first: design an incentive system which rewards your children for physical activity and healthy eating. If they do X, then they are rewarded with Y. Having a sugar free diet doesn’t mean you can’t have any sugar; what it does mean is that you avoid the majority of sugars, and don’t make sugar a staple of your daily intake.

You may help incentivize through SweetServices.com, “…the bulk candy store you’ve been looking for. …. Remember when you were a kid and looked forward [to] shopping for candy at the corner store? We have all of your favorite retro and nostalgic candies…” You can get their favorite candies cheaply, in one purchase, and pursue your goal of helping your child eschew the bonds of sugary foodstuffs with greater convenience. When they’ve been good all day, or for a few days, they get a candy.

Fruits are another excellent way to help your children overcome sugary diets. There are natural sugars in fruit which aren’t toxic to the body—the same is true with vegetables. When your child has a sweet tooth, make them a smoothie! There are additionally fruit-based sorbets out there which are a fine treat even if you’re not on a diet, and healthy for you otherwise. Frozen yogurt can also be a great way for children to enjoy sweetness without the fallout from that which is full of processed, unnatural sugars.

Photo credit https://www.pexels.com/photo/assorted-color-fruit-decors-1011337/

 

Guidelines And Natural Consequences

As a general rule of thumb, you want to combine good diet with good exercise for fullest flourishment in terms of health. Eating healthy is best accomplished by finding foods which would go “bad” if they were left alone too long. Today’s foods have the term “foodstuffs” because so many synthetic and preservative elements are added in. “Natural” foods don’t have such chemicals.

You want meat that has been sourced from a real farm somewhere that doesn’t have a conglomeration of flesh-creatures hooked up to machines until they die, as is the case with much of the chicken we consume today. Beef jerky can be okay, but again you’ve got a lot of preservatives to deal with. It’s better to buy fresh and cook quickly.

If you can provide your children with healthy, natural foods that aren’t overladen with chemicals, their palate will naturally shift toward such nutrition. Incentivizing the switch through their favorite candies given out as rewards can help this process—and you may find that, in the fullness of time, they actually don’t even like candy anymore!

Posted on June 7, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

Let’s Admit it Moms: We’re Literally the Worst.

The terrible twos might be, well… terrible. The threes? Horrific. Fours? Fucking awful. What’s worse than all of those combined? The moms of kids those ages. And not just those ages, but all moms.
Before anyone goes screaming into the comments section, can we have a quick reminder that I am also a mom? I am. I have two beautifully obnoxious crotchfruit who push me to the brink of insanity every single day, and I still think it’s time everyone, myself included, admit that we moms are worse. We’re THE worst. We’re awful.

We’re dedicated, fierce, loyal, loving, strong, horribly irritating and overbearing humans.

It’s like this switch gets flicked inside of us when we have kids that make us the people we need to be to raise another human. We have to be able to function on little to no sleep. We have to be able to communicate with a creature who understands us less than a wild animal and chooses screaming as their main source of speech. We have to be short-order cooks, therapists, nurses, teachers, pillows, and a ration of other random shit in the blink of an eye. Sometimes we have to be multiple things at once. And we always, always have to be bodyguards. All of these things make us great mothers (whether we feel like it all the time or not) but they also make us the most awful people to be around. I acknowledge this. I accept it. I own it.

We protect our kids from themselves, and from others, of course we do– but that switch flicking made some wires short out, because even when we KNOW our perfect precious is wrong, and we want them to own up to and learn from mistakes, something in us just wants to go animalistic and lunge at whomever said they could do anything wrong. We’re great conversationalists, we have to be to keep a one-sided conversation going as long as we have had to do with tiny human blobs, but when it comes to other adults? All we talk about is poop. We beg to go out and spend the entire time just kinda wanting to go home. If someone who isn’t our kid is hungry, we want to feed them. If they have issues, if they’re down, we want to mom them and make them feel better. We can’t help but feel deep inside that we know better in a lot of situations, even if we don’t. Even if we accept all other moms for who they are, we still can’t help being a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittle judgy. Sometimes a lot judgy.

We’re obnoxious, and we don’t even care most of the time. Or if we do care, we can’t help it, because we’re trying to keep another human alive and that outweighs being pleasant. We’re hard to make friends with because either we’re too busy judging or too busy worrying other moms are going to judge us.

Trying to be the best moms, for better or worse, can sometimes make us the worst people to be around. I can live with that.

Posted on June 5, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

What it’s like Being the Idiot Parent to a Genius Child

Alright, so maybe the title is a bit of an exaggeration. I’m not a total idiot. I consider myself rather intelligent, decently well-read, but perhaps not the classic “smart” person. I don’t know if my kid is a genius, I’ve never had him tested, as I don’t see the point- but I’m pretty fucking sure he’s off the scales smart because he constantly makes me feel like a moron.

When you’re a new mom, you focus a lot on milestones. Everyone tells you to. Your doctor sends you home with sheets listing the ages they should be doing certain things. It stresses you out when you see an age for a milestone pass and your kid still isn’t doing it. That was Holden. He was “delayed” in a lot of things and it worried the hell out of me. Was it the tuna I ate, or the times I said “fuck it” and didn’t microwave the cold lunchmeat before eating it? Am I not teaching him enough? Should I be forcing him to watch Baby Einstein even though it makes my brain melt? Should I have put headphones on my enormous gut and blasted classical music into my uterus? What did I do wrong? Is this one defective? Is there a factory I can send him back to, or is he past warranty? Did I forget to even BUY the warranty? Is there a lemon clause?

Yeah… pure parental panic. But it’s basically bullshit.

Kids are like fingerprints–none of them are the same. They won’t do the same things at the same time, and “milestones” are more like guidelines. Something to keep in the back of your mind, but not be followed like the gospel. Doctors don’t always make that very clear. I knew my kid wasn’t a moron, but it was hard to trust that instinct at first.

I don’t know the exact moment I realized he was beyond “normal” smart. It wasn’t a light switch that flicked on out of nowhere. I think I had an inkling when he could remember things in minute detail from when he was two years old. Even more so when he finished the entirety of War of the Worlds in a single morning at eight years old. Could have been the hundred times he answered seemingly impossible Jeopardy questions, or when he started finding gifted classes boring.

He was smart. It was obvious. We accepted it, it didn’t change anything (certainly not his maturity level. Tweens, man.) He has a history of being a very smart kid with high anxiety, so I’ve spent the past schoolyear just relieved that he hasn’t had any issues. A good year, with good grades, and nothing to worry about until end of the year testing- which is always a huge deal. In the fifth grade, they have three big tests- English (reading comprehension), Science, and Math.

The day of the first test, Holden comes trotting into the cafeteria where I pick him up at the end of the day and tells me his teacher wants to see me. I got that pit in my stomach like the one you get when someone says “we need to talk.”
WHAT DID HE DO?
He swore he wasn’t in trouble, but do you EVER believe a kid when they say they didn’t do anything wrong? If you said yes, you’re a liar.

We got to his classroom and his teacher was waiting outside for us. She pulled me aside and proceeded to whisper in my ear. “Holden got a perfect score on his test. The only one in the 5th grade.”

OH. Really? Oh wow. Super smart. Neat!

He got ice cream that night.

The next week is his next test. I walk into the school to pick him up and the effing PRINCIPAL calls me in to his office. Are my shorts too short? Is my little one being a jerk? Last time I was called in to the principal’s office is when I was in school.

Nothing was wrong. He got another perfect score. Not only the only one in the school, but rare for the entire state.

Now it hit me. I knew he was smart, really smart. But this was beyond any kind of smart I can relate to. I haven’t really been able to help him much with his homework in two years. He teaches ME things I didn’t know almost every day. He schooled me on the reproductive system of a damn lobster. I’m not ashamed to admit the kid is smarter than me. The question becomes- how do I parent a kid that’s smarter than me? I’m supposed to teach him, but what can I teach him if he already knows everything?

The long and short of it is this: I might not be able to help him with his math homework, and he might not even ask me for help much anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t teach him what I do know. I know how to be a decent human being. To be accepting of others. I know how to put together an outfit (a skill he sometimes lacks and ends up looking like a tomato). I know how NOT to treat women (or other humans in general).

My job, as his parent, isn’t always to teach, but to guide. Because he might know everything, but kids don’t know it all.
Not to mention, he didn’t get a perfect score on his math test, so… let’s hold off on calling Mensa and sending him away to medical school– he needs to figure out how to properly start a load of laundry first.

Posted on June 1, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 3 Comments