Go Ahead and buy me that “Stereotypical” Mother’s Day Gift

 

            Perfect gift, or kiss of death?

 

Now is about the time of year where husbands and children everywhere are scrambling in panic because they’ve just realized that Mother’s Day has crept up on them and they are standing around empty-handed. You’ve got less than a week! What took you so long? You’re totally screwed now! You’ll NEVER find the perfect gift for your beloved wife/mother. How dare you! You should be ashamed! Now you’re stuck getting something far less than special. Something stereotypical that will probably be talked about every mother’s day from now until the end of eternity, not because it was so appreciated, but because it was so bad.

But the easiest thing to get a mom, the most perfect thing to get a mom, is a Mom-ish gift, right? How could it be bad? Sure, it might be stereotypical. Maybe it’s not a fancy brunch, or a day at the spa, or a new set of earrings. Maybe it isn’t something she’s been hinting at for forever, or flowers delivered with a sappy card. Maybe it’s not a dinner at Cheesecake Factory, or sleeping in with breakfast in bed. Maybe it’s not something super creative you’ve been planning for the entire past year that will knock her mom jeans off, but she needs it. NEED outweighs want, right?

My whole life, I grew up watching and experiencing Mother’s Days full of moms not getting what they really wanted, and instead, getting something practical. Something only a mother could love. Something that kind of forgets that mothers are people, too. I have a very practical father, and he always bought very practical gifts.

The look on my mother’s face the day she got a new vacuum cleaner on Mother’s Day… I don’t know what she was hoping for, but it was absolutely not a vacuum. That combined with television shows that had episodes based around mothers getting the shaft on their very special day by similar household-ish gifts, and I began to believe it was the kiss of death. The single way to ruin a Mother’s Day other than food poisoning. Or having your family forget altogether.

It’s like being given workout equipment when you’ve never asked for it. Hell, you don’t even work out.
WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME?

I get it, in a way. I get the offense, moms. Getting a vacuum cleaner on Mother’s Day is kind of like being told you don’t clean enough, or that you should be cleaning more, or that cleaning is all you really amount to. We are more than housewives, more than glorified asswipers. We’re people with hobbies, interests, and loves, that have nothing to do with our role as mothers. We want to feel appreciated. We want to feel special. We don’t want to feel like we’re only good for scrubbing milk out of the carpet, or getting dinner on the table.

At the same time, I have started seeing things differently. Maybe it came with age. Maybe I take after my Dad in all of his practical wisdom. Maybe I just have no more fucks to give, or it’s lack of sleep and energy- but…. I’ll take the vacuum. I’ll take a vacuum, a new fridge, washer and dryer. Shit, I’ll even take the treadmill. I’d take a new front door, or a bathroom remodel, or a new dishwasher. And I’d take ANY of those gifts over being wined and dined, jewelry, or a spa day. Sure, those things would be nice, but a new vacuum to clean up the house with? HELL. YES. PLEASE.

My life is tough. Being a mom is tough. Managing a household is HARD. If you get me something on Mother’s Day that makes my life as a mother easier, BRING. IT. ON.
I want to be appreciated, I want to be treated nicely for blowing kids out of my crotch and continuing to raise them even though they yell at me about what color cup I give them. I want to feel special, and I want to be acknowledged as a person outside my motherly duties… but I also want to relax. I want to NOT spend all of my time doing household crap. I want to watch TV, and sleep. And a new vacuum/dishwasher/dryer that would get shit done around this house faster to accommodate all of that gives me exactly what I want. And a treadmill? It means I can eat more french fries. #winning

Posted on May 8, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

How I ALMOST Ruined my Kid’s Childhood

When I woke up two weeks ago with an ache in the right side of my jaw, I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t think much of it because it’s not exactly unusual for me, and through no fault of my own.

I get jaw pain quite a bit because I clench my jaw when I’m stressed (which is almost all the time), I occasionally grind my teeth in my sleep, AND I have TMJ. It’s the trifecta of dental fuckery. And it really sucks, not just because, duh, it hurts, but because I am absolutely terrified of dental problems. Anything that might send me to the dentist freaks me out to the point of panic attacks. Not kidding.

In life, I really only have two fears: spiders, and dentists. Don’t try to logic it. There’s no logic-ing phobias. I can’t be rational or reasonable when it comes to those two things. I just can’t. And the more someone tries to make me, the worst the anxiety over both of them get.

So, when it comes to mouth issues, I try to remain as calm as possible, try to remind myself that I’m always having issues, because if I start thinking about how it could be something more serious that may send me into that cold plastic chair, I feel my blood pressure rise, and there’s no stopping that downward spiral into madness.

About a week and some change into this jaw pain , and as quickly as it started, it disappeared. Relief- I was in the clear! I could finally chew on the right side of my mouth again!

To the pantry I went to grab a bag of my favorite rice crackers. I know they sound disgusting, but trust me, they’re delicious. And crunchy. And delicious. And on the third cracker I dared to chew on my right side, I bit into something especially hard. Like my intermittent jaw pain, it’s not unusual. These crackers sometimes have super stupid hard parts in them. I kept chewing. I swallowed. My tongue ran across the back side of my right teeth, and immediately I knew something was wrong. It sort of felt like I just had a build up of cracker on the back of my tooth, and it sort of felt like the cracker WAS the back of my tooth. Panic began to set in as I dropped the crackers and sprinted my ass to the bathroom, heart racing. I grabbed my toothbrush and vigorously tried to remove the cracker feeling from the back of my tooth, but it wouldn’t come off, because it wasn’t a cracker. It was what was left of my tooth. I’d broken the back half off.

The more I looked at it, the more I started to freak out, because reality was setting in. There was no avoiding the dentist on this one. In fact, in my terror-filled non-expert brain, it looked bad enough that it may not be able to be saved. Which meant not only would I have to go to the dentist, but I’d have to go to the dentist and have hands and machines and needles and drills in there, ripping and pulling and basically trying to kill me.

I ran back down the stairs, now in complete freak-out mode. And I don’t cry. My kids have seen me cry maybe 10 times in their entire lives, and that’s being generous. This wasn’t just crying, though. This was hyperventilating, melting down, feeling sick, end of the world kind of crying. Fear and panic and sheer terror took over. Phobia took over. The thought of dental surgery took over. The thought of losing my tooth took over. Anxiety took over.

Being that my kids rarely see me cry, and I probably looked absolutely terrifying because the tissue I’d been using to sop up my tears had fluffed all over my face to the point where I looked like the bear from the Charmin commercial’s ass, they just kind of stared at me for a while as I paced the room. It took a few minutes, but they finally worked up the courage to ask me what had happened. I explained to them through blubbery sobs. More silence as they contemplated what to do, or what to say.

The one to break the silence was Parker, my 7 year old.

 

He walks over to me and in his most sincere voice tells me

“Mommy, at least if you lose your tooth, you can put it under your pillow and get money from the Tooth Fairy.”

I may not have patience. I may not do crafts. I’m not a great cook, and I sure as hell don’t chaperone or set up playdates, but one thing I’ve always prided myself on his having self-control. I know when to, and not to say things, and who not to say them around. I’m very aware, and cautious, especially when it comes to the fact that my kids still believe in things like Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the mother badword Toothfairy. I want to let them believe in those things for as long as possible because there is no time in your life where you get that kind of belief in magic back. It’s there only for a short time, and then it’s gone. Poof. I cherish that they still believe. I think it’s sweet, special and adorable, but NEVER. IN. MY. LIFE have I been SO CLOSE to DESTROYING their childhood like the Incredible fucking Hulk as I was at that moment, about to scream that the TOOTH FAIRY DOESN’T FUCKING EXIST, LOSING MY TOOTH IS NOT A GOOD THING. I GET NOTHING BUT A HOLE IN MY FACE AND THE ONE WHO PUTS MONEY UNDER YOUR STUPID PILLOW IS ME.

Deep breath. Imagine the looks on their faces as I wreck their belief in magic because anxiety takes all prisoners.

I didn’t. I managed to lock it down, and the magic in this household is safe until some little shit at school ruins it for them, but as long as it’s not me, it’s okay.

As far as my tooth goes? It lives to see another day. There will be no Tooth Fairy visiting me, but she WILL be rewarding me, because even though my kids don’t know this, I know that she is me, and I’m rewarding myself for good behavior.

Posted on May 3, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 3 Comments

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Family Prize Package FLASH GIVEAWAY

One of the reasons my family loves Busch Gardens SO much is because there are always new and fun things for all of us to do. From the rides, to the food, to the shows, we’re never bored, and this year, they’ve really kicked up the fun– especially for families!

Elmo Rocks is currently back in the Globe Theater for a limited time, InvadR, which has a low height requirement for the littles, just opened, AND, they’re about to kick off their Kidsiderate Concert Series with CHOO CHOO SOUL!

Don’t know who Choo Choo Soul is? Flip on Disney Jr. and they’re impossible to miss.

Choo Choo Soul is a hip-hop duo- Genevieve, the train conductor and her partner, Jeremy, a dancer and beat boxer dressed as a railroad engineer. They teach all kinds of lessons in a really fun and energetic way that gets kids up and moving. I swear I can hear “All Aboard the Choo Choo Train” in my sleep back when  my kids were obsessed with all things Disney Jr.

The giveaway I have for you today would have made my kids freak out a few years ago, so I’m hoping to pass that kind of joy along to one of you!

This FLASH giveaway begins and ENDS today, so make sure you enter and check your e-mail tonight!

Here’s what’s up for grabs:

1. Four (4) Busch Gardens Williamsburg single-day tickets.

2. One (1) Parking pass

3. Reserved seating to Choo Choo Soul on May 6

4. Meet and greet for Choo Choo Soul

 

SO, HOW DO YOU WIN? All you have to do is leave a comment below (make sure to comment with your email address- you don’t have to put it in the comment) and tell me your FAVORITE ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg!

The winner will be drawn at 8pm EST TONIGHT, make SURE you check your email and respond before the day is over so I can get you your tickets if you win. Good luck!

Posted on May 2, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 41 Comments

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