Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Misadventures in Gifting: Holiday Gift Guide 2015

Christmas gifts for kids 2015

Thanksgiving is Thursday, so hopefully you've ordered your turkey, stocked up on wine, and picked up your Xanax refill.  Of course, right after you're finished stuffing your face and giving thanks for all the blessings in your life, the Holiday shopping madness will commence; because nothing says "holiday spirit" like coming to blows over Tickle Me Elmo.

Hanukkah starts on December 6th, so if you're one of the Chosen People, you're really going to have to hustle to get all of your shopping done in time.  The good news is that I've done most of the hard work for you and you won't have to endanger your health or your sanity braving those black Friday sales.  I've got something for pretty much everyone on your list, and here's the best part: you don't have to leave your couch to do your holiday shopping.  So take off your pants, pour yourself a glass of wine, and start spending your spouse's money.

All Amazon links are affiliate links, so I'll get a small commission if you purchase any of those fabulous items.  Think of it as a little Hanukkah gift to yours truly for entertaining you this year.

For the Little Chef in your Life:
Christmas gifts for kids 2015

Because Kids have an attention span of three minutes:
Christmas gifts for kids 2015
1) Micro Mini Scooter 2) Indestructible Nursery Rhymes 3) Don't Break the Ice
4) Candy Matching Game 5) Foreign Language Blocks
6) Bookroo book subscription* 7) Wild Bingo 8) Kinetic sand
*My gift to YOU is $4.00 off your Bookroo purchase! (automatically applied at checkout)

For the woman in your life (AKA, YOU):
gift ideas for moms


For the Renaissance Man in your life:
Christmas gifts for dads

Because when you have kids you need booze (and practical stuff, too):
Christmas gifts for parents

For those people who DIY and watch The Food Network:
Christmas gifts ideas 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, my lovelies!  May your holiday be filled with moist turkey, fattening sides, and plenty of good wine.

xoxo

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving Before and After Kids


Thanksgiving is one week from today, which means it's only a matter of days until you can eat leftover pie for breakfast without people judging you.  It also means that we're only days away from dysfunctional family get togethers and the yearly seasonal joy of attempting to get wiggling children to sit still at the dinner table.  Ah, don't you just love the holidays?!

I used to love Thanksgiving; specifically the fact that it was a mid-week holiday during which one could rest, relax, and enjoy the mouth-watering smells emanating from the kitchen.  Now that I have kids, those midweek Holidays just mean that I'll have two kids at home that I have to entertain instead of one.

Thanksgiving, Before Kids:
You sleep in Thanksgiving morning and enjoy a hot, freshly-brewed cup of coffee while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade from the comfort of your bed.  If weird-looking floats and marching bands put you in the mood, you might enjoy some morning sex.  

Afterwards, you'll whip up a delicious brunch with the bounty of ingredients you picked up at the Farmer's Market two days ago.  

Your spouse spends several hours preparing a beautiful turkey and a delicious gravy that will be the star of the Thanksgiving spread at your in-laws house.  You tell him that he makes the world's best bird, and you think it's wonderful that he always cooks the turkey no matter who is hosting dinner.  

Before leaving for your in-laws house for Thanksgiving dinner, you take a long, hot shower, blow dry your hair, put on makeup and choose a stylish outfit that flatters your amazing figure.  

You show up for dinner on time, proudly carrying a homemade pumpkin pie that you spent several hours preparing the night before.  No canned pumpkin in this pie, just organic pumpkin that you roasted and mashed yourself.  The pie shell is also homemade with artisanal butter churned by a hippie living in Topanga.  

You enjoy a relaxing dinner, including several glasses of wine, but you do get slightly annoyed that everyone who has kids leaves at 6:30pm, before they've had a chance to try your spectacular dessert.  

After dinner is over, you and your spouse meet up with some friends at your favorite local bar for a nightcap because it's a holiday weekend and you don't have to get up early the following day.  

When you finally get home after midnight you eat cold Thanksgiving leftovers in your bed and probably have more sex. 

Thanksgiving, After Kids:
Your children wake you up before sunrise, because kids don't care that it's a holiday.  

You park your kids in front of the TV while you suck down your first cup of coffee and wait for the caffeine to enter your bloodstream.  It's possible that you nod off for a few minutes, because the next thing you know your children are fighting over the remote and there is strawberry yogurt smeared all over your couch.  You wonder if your spouse is losing his hearing because somehow he is able to sleep through the racket.  

Your spouse eventually comes downstairs, not because he's planning to help with the kids, but because he needs to get his turkey in the oven if it's going to be ready in time for dinner.  You and your spouse have a fight about why he always has to cook the turkey, even though you never host Thanksgiving.  

You decide to take your kids for a walk, because it's only 7am and you will go insane if you have to be locked in the house with them for one minute longer.  Also, you're pretty sure Starbucks is open on Thanksgiving, which bothers you on a moral level, but which, ultimately makes you cry with happiness.  

While you are out, your Husband manages to dirty every single pot, pan, and utensil in the name of the world's most delicious bird.  The sight of your kitchen makes you weep, because you know that you will be up an extra two hours washing dishes.  

While your kids nap you throw together a pumpkin pie with canned pumpkin and frozen pie crust.  

While the pie is baking you fall asleep on the couch, and inadvertently burn the crust.  

Just as you are about to get in the shower, your children wake up.  You get them dressed in their holiday finery, which takes approximately an hour, and then pass them off to your spouse so that you can take a five minute shower.  You don't have time to blow dry your hair, or put on makeup, and the only outfit that looks cute on your postpartum figure is at the drycleaners, so you throw on a pair of black leggings and a shirt that's passably clean, and call it a day.  

In the ten minutes that you spent getting ready, your children have managed to smear food all over their clothing because your spouse was busy basting his turkey and not paying attnetion to your offspring, so you have to change their clothes again.  You have no back-up holiday finery, but you do manage to find some clean clothes that (sort of) match.  

It takes another 30 minutes to load up the kids, the turkey, and the burned pie, after which you are irritable and running late for dinner.  You show up 20 minutes late to your in-laws, and discover that your younger child has pooped through her diaper, and that the turkey has leaked all over your trunk.  

You and your spouse fight, again, about how stupid it is to have to bring the turkey every year.  While everyone sits down to eat, you go to change your kid's poppy diaper only to realize that you have gone off without extra clothes, which means your daughter will be dressed for dinner in a diaper and nothing else.

When you finally get a chance to eat, there is no more stuffing left, and the turkey is ice cold.  Your kids refuse to eat any of the Thanksgiving food because it's not in nugget form.  You chug a glass of wine, eat a few bites of cold turkey, and then your kids melt down because it's their bed time.  

You and your spouse leave before dessert, and don't have time to pack up leftovers.  

You eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after your kids go to bed.

You fall asleep at 8pm, right after you and your spouse have a third round of the turkey fight.

This year, I'm thankful for wine.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Five Signs Your Kid is from LA

What LA kids like
New York has nuts, we've got fruit.
Lord help me, but I think I'm raising a native Angeleno.

I swore that I would never let it happen.  That despite raising them in LA, I would somehow be able to keep my children from becoming full fledged Southern California kids.  I guess I assumed that my Husband's New York-ness would be passed on through their genes like his nose, but it's starting to look like, as with most things about raising children, I was dead wrong. 

55 degrees is considered "freezing".  Yesterday, I saw a kid in a stroller wearing a snowsuit.  Let me remind you that it has not snowed in Los Angeles since 1949, and there was no snow predicted for yesterday afternoon.  However, when the coldest temperature most small children have expereinced is "hotter than Hell" I suppose that anything below 70 degrees can feel downright Arctic.  That being said, please don't turn your kid into a total weather pussy; a warm sweater, a vest, and a pair of actual shoes (instead of flip flops) will suffice for what passes as winter here. 

What is this wetness falling from the sky?  I think that kids in Los Angeles are more likely to see a Unicorn than they are to become accustomed to rainy weather.  Whenever we do have those all-too-rare rainy days, my children stare out the windows for hours, marveling at this amazing phenomenon of water falling from the sky.  I've met a few kids who are actually afraid of rain, which means they will no doubt grow up to be those LA people who become completely incapable of operating a moving vehicle at the first sight of rain.

Famous people are just...people.  If your kid doesn't already have the offspring of someone famous in his baby group, then he's sure to have at least one celebrity spawn in his preschool class.  While you may find it weird to see the star of an Emmy-winning TV show wearing glasses and yoga pants at preschool drop-off, to your kid that's just "Poppy's Mommy".  Also, unlike your parents, your kid thinks that being an actor/writer/director is a legitimate job.

Kale and quinoa.  Normal kids like to eat things that come in nugget form, or that are best served on a bun, and if you try to serve them green vegetables they turn up their nose in disgust.  Offer an LA kid a chip made of kale, and watch with amazement as he gobbles it up, declares it delicious, and asks for more.  Until 10 years ago, I'd never heard of quinoa, and I certainly didn't know how to pronounce it. LA kids bring edamame in their lunch boxes, chow down on sushi, and know their way around a bowl of posole.  My kids and their toddler food pyramid drive me insane, but one of the five things they eat is eel (yuck!), which I didn't even know was edible until I was an adult.

Beach babies.  You know you're raising an LA kid if she doesn't care about having sand in her lady parts.  Sure, the water is cold, and possibly polluted, but your kid isn't bothered by that; she's from Los Angeles!  Stock up on sunscreen and wetsuits, and get ready to sit in the traffic on the 10, because you're going to be spending the rest of your life driving your kids back and forth to parties in Santa Monica, Malibu, and Hermosa.

Eh, I suppose there are worse places to raise children.  I just can't think of any right now, what with my kids screaming about being so cold in these frigid 65 degree temps.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Five Reasons I Won't Be Sending Out Holiday Cards. Again.

holiday cards
You see what I'm saying??
Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, which means the Holidays will be here before I have a chance to shave my legs again.  This also means that we are just days away from the annual deluge of holiday cards about to hit my mailbox.  Before we had kids we would receive, at most, half a dozen cards from the small group of friends who decided to breed at a normal age instead of an advanced maternal one.  Now that we are fully in the trenches of parenthood and preschool and people popping out babies at every turn, our year is sure to end with a bang - from the mailbox falling off of the house due to the overwhelming weight of all those cards full of smiling, happy families who got their sh*t together in time to take professional photographs.

Every year I have grand plans of sending out a fancy card featuring a beautiful photo of my family, and every year I find myself staring down the barrel of New Year's Day madly scrambling to pull something together at the last minute that doesn't look like complete and utter sh*t.  Some year, it will happen.  Hopefully before I die of old age.

Planning Ahead.  There are 12 months and 365 days in every year, but somehow I'm always caught off guard when November rolls around and I haven't made any provisions for things like holiday cards or gifts. Considering that Christmas falls on the same day every year, and that Hanukkah is usually somewhere on or around there, it truly boggles the mind why this happens repeatedly.  It's like Groundhog Day for holiday cards.

My Husband.  The Husband patently refuses to pose for (or pay for) professional family photographs.  I guess he's damaged from a childhood spent being a subject for his Father's work, but he absolutely hates having photos taken, especially if they're posed.  Seriously, the guy didn't even want to hire a photographer for our wedding and, instead, wanted to just have candids from our guests.  Let's not even get into the sexual bribery I had to offer to get him to agree to the Monday Mornings series.  I guess I could spend my own money and hire a photographer myself, but nothing says Happy Holidays quite like a family photo...without your spouse.

Kids.  You know what's so annoying about kids?  They don't like to sit still.  This particular trait doesn't work all that well when a photographer is trying to capture four people, all looking in the same direction, without moving.

Money.  Setting aside the astronomical cost of postage these days, the cost for ordering some crappy printed photo cards online isn't such a bargain either.  And that doesn't even include the price of the actual photographs.  Theoretically, we wouldn't have to spend all that much money to have professional pictures done.  We could book one of the mini-sessions that last 20 minutes and cost $125 or so, but it's not like we can just roll-up in our usual wardrobes of "it looks clean" and call it a day.  Oh, no.  See, I would have to get my hair colored, because if I don't get rid of those greys people might think I am my children's grandmother, and that costs... too much.  Then I would have to get the Muffin Man's hair cut, and Chris's hair cut, and do something about the Little Lady's mullet, which would end up setting me back a total of about $100.  Then, of course, I would inevitably wind up buying a bunch of clothing for all of us because we have nothing in our wardrobes that even blend, let alone match, which would cost another who knows how much.  Lastly, the whole experience would stress me out so much that I would end up having to schedule an extra phone consult with my therapist to get a refill on my Xanax.

Time. You know what I don't have a lot of time to do?  Address 250 holiday cards.  Even if I did manage to convince my Husband to suck it up for professional photos, wrangle my kids, and get our sh*t together to take a decent shot, there's a very high probability that I would end up with a giant package of cards proclaiming Happy New Year 2016!!! sitting on my desk until Valentine's Day.  Unlike thank you notes for weddings, I don't think you have a grace period of a year in which to mail out your holiday greetings.

So, we'll be going rogue, like we do every year, and hoping that we can talk a family member into taking a halfway decent shot of us the next time we get together.  Chances are I won't be wearing make-up, and my kids will be dressed in dirty clothing, but as long as we're all looking in the same direction and one of my offspring isn't just a blur in the shot, I'll consider it a win.

Anyway, the one advantage to sending out your holiday cards via email on New Year's Eve?  Everyone is too drunk to look too closely at how filthy your kids are.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Post Halloween Blues


Maybe it’s because I grew up Jewish, but I never understood the whole “post holiday blues” business. Until now. Last week, I shared ourfamily love affair with all things October, especially the grand finale of Halloween night. And now that it’s all but a memory, I can’t help but want to count down the days until we can start the festivities all over again. I sort of, kind of, maybe, ok definitely want to cry. But alas, as I tell C when he gets super sad when a favorite outing of his is about to end, you can’t cry because it’s over, you have to smile because it happened. I know it’s an old adage, I know I sound cliché. But ladies and gents, it is just so because it’s true. As I fight the urge to drown my sorrows and laments for the passing of the Pumpkin Latte in the new season of Gingerbread, I figured I’d pen one last post as a fond farewell.

 The Halloween celebration kicked off with a bang at C’s preschool event. Since I worked (relatively) hard on his costume and feared its ruin if he wore it to school, I convinced him it would be best if he went to the school party as a rock star. So I dressed him up in (last year’s costume) of metallic leggings, a black tank top, a ripped denim vest, high tops and of course, a microphone and an electric guitar. Lord help me. I fear my child might be headed for a career in the dramatic arts as he totally and completely transformed into the role. He went up to his friends at school and sang them songs, when the music teacher came out he got up on “stage” with him and jammed along. And he told everyone he saw that day that he was a rock star. It was adorable. 

Even more adorable was the project we put together for the school – the Witch Wall. Earlier in the week I went in to school, suspended a witch hat from the rafters, put a chair underneath it and asked all the kids to make witch faces. They played along, got into the spirit, and during the party, the pictures served as a great focal point of decoration. Afterwards, the parents got to take home the pictures of their kid. And who doesn’t love a party that has you bobbing for apples, decorating wreaths, making play dough, painting pumpkins and enjoying tasty nibbles from the Fatburger Truck and Hannah’s Bananas? A good time was had by all.

 By the time Saturday rolled around, C was raring to go and ready to be a robot. Thankfully, I remembered before we left for the trick-or-treat party we were attending, that the folks we roll with usually do family style costumes. A lastminute trip to Michael’s and 15 minutes later, the Motherboard and Dadbot costumes were complete. I'm proud to say that our family costumes were a hit at the party and whilst trick-or-treating, since I figured out how to get them to light up. I’ll admit I was pretty stoked every time we got a compliment about how creative the costumes were until BAM! We bumped into another homemade robot costume. It was so much more professional looking than my piece of tinfoil wrapped box that it completely and utterly took the wind out of my sails. I desperately try not to be competitive with anyone but myself, but for those of you who know me, you know I’m my own worst critic. Needless to say, this other professional looking costume that was sewn together only lit a fire under my arse for next year.  Do you think it's too early to start planning? 

If you're still flying high on all the leftover Halloween sweets, I've got a Mommy pro-tip for you that's going to change your life. I successfully found a way to get C to part with his ridiculous haul of Kit Kats, Snickers and Tootsie Pops (minus a secret stash for Mommy, natch). You might be familiar with the famed Switch Witch concept, wherein your little one puts their Halloween candy out for the Switch Witch, in exchange for a present. I planned on doing this, until I discovered the Halloween Candy Buy Back program. Yes ladies and gentlemen, participating dentists are willing to give your child cold hard cash in exchange for the candy they collected. The sweeties are then shipped to troops stationed overseas, which makes me feel doubly good about participating. C happily parted with his treats and proudly displayed the money. I even gave him the choice that he could either spend it now and get something small, or save it, earn some more of it and get something bigger later. To my delight, he opted for the latter and said, “a SCOOTER”. 

And just like that, we're full steam ahead on the Holiday season.  Thankfully, Hanukkah has eight nights, which means that I'm so sick of latkes, presents, and overall merriment that I don't have the energy for seasonal withdrawal.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Lazy Mom's Guide to Potty Training


There's only one person in our house wearing diapers, and thankfully it's not my Husband.

That's right, the Muffin Man is officially potty trained.

You want to know what I did?  Nothing, I did absolutely nothing, other than ordering a little potty on Amazon.   I really wasn't all that interested in potty training.  To my mind, it's a Hell of a lot easier to go out and about with a kid in diapers than with one who just might crap himself at any moment.  Do you know how stressful it is to have to follow your kid around asking "do you need to go to the potty" any time you're at someone's house who has nice carpeting?  That's hard alcohol level of stress right there, my friends.

Needless to say I didn't push the toilet thing.  Truth be told, I was too overwhelmed to really focus on potty training, and I've never heard of any kid going to college still wearing diapers.  If there had been some weirdo at college who still wore diapers, changes are I probably would've slept with him.

But I digress.  The point is that I left the potty question up to Noah, and he answered by actually learning to use it.

And so, I present to you, the Lazy Mom's Guide to Potty Training:

1.  Purchase a potty.  Do this sometime after your kid's first birthday.  Show it to him and get excited when he sits on it the first time.  Spend 20 minutes discussing with your spouse how advanced your child is, since he's sitting on the potty at 16 months.

2.  Enjoy that new dust catcher in your bathroom.  Spend the next ten months tripping over the potty every time you walk into the bathroom, while your child refuses to sit on it again.  Kick the potty across the bathroom, breaking both your toe and the bathroom mirror in a particularly bad moment.

3.  Tell your kid that it's time to use the potty every evening before his bath.  He will refuse, but you are too tired to disagree with a willful toddler.  You secretly google "college student still wearing Pampers"

4.  Buy your kid some Batman underwear.  Try not to get discouraged when he puts it on his head and runs around the house like a character from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

5.  Continue to encourage potty use before bath time, not because you care if your kid potty trains, but mainly because you want him to sit still long enough for you to scroll through Instagram.

6.  Practically faint when your kid actually does manage to pee and poop in the potty.  You get more excited about your child's bodily functions than you used to when your dealer threw in a free dime bag.  Call everyone you know to tell them about your kid's pooping success, and then realize that your childless friends may not be interested in the bowel movements of a two year old.  Take a moment to wonder at just how far you have fallen when your phone conversations revolve around crap.

7.  Purchase a potty sticker book and put the chart on the bathroom wall.  No, it doesn't go with your fancy Water Works fixtures, but your kid will enjoy adding a sticker each time he goes.

8.  Hang out with older kids who already use the toilet.  Your kid will go in the bathroom with them and stare at them like a creeper, but it will motivate him to learn to use the potty.  Play into this by telling him that his friends don't want to hang out with people who use diapers.  Sure, it might give him a complex, but that's what therapists are for.

9.  Bribe your kid to use the potty by telling him that he can wear his cool superhero underwear if he uses the potty.  Let him sit on the potty as long as necessary by offering books and snacks.  Sure, it's gross to eat on the toilet, but we've all done it... right?

10.  Let your kid wear underwear out and about.  It might not end well, and you will probably need a glass (or two) of wine afterwards, but it proves to your kid that you have faith in him.  It's a good idea to have a stash of extra clothes on hand in case of accidents.  Try not to be too mortified when your child pees himself in the bedding section of Anthropologie.

11.  Keep it up.  Wear underwear more than diapers.  Try not to get annoyed at the sound of your voice asking your kid "do you need to go potty?"  You will quickly learn the signs of your kid needing to go and when it's time to drop everything and run for the closest toilet.  You will also learn every store within a 10 mile radius of your neighborhood that has a public bathroom.

12.  Buy a Potette.  I guarantee you that at some point your kid will scream "I need to go potty!" while you're on the open road, and you will be so glad to have this little portable toilet set up in the trunk of your car.  It also unfolds for use as a child-sized toilet seat, which is really invauable until your kid is an advanced pottier accustomed to navigating adult sized toilets.

13.  Rejoice that your kid is no longer wearing diapers (except at night).  Mentally calculate all the money you'll save on diapers, and how many bottles of wine and pedicures that will purchase.  Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dinner in a Box


One Potato meal kits
Mommy, I want One Potato for dinner!
When you're a parent you're expected to do things for your children, like love them, and care for them, and cook them dinner.  The first two I manage to do, no problem.  The whole cooking dinner thing, on the other hand, is not one of my strong suits.  Mainly because in order to feed my children, I have to take them with me when I grocery shop.

Which usually goes something like this:

You load one (or both) of your kids into the car and head to the grocery store.  In order to get them into the car you have bribed them with several different snacks and the promise of a cookie once you arrive at your destination.  By the time you get both your kids and yourself buckled into the car, you are sweating and in need of a nap or a third cup of coffee.  

The only good thing about having children who wake up before dawn is that you arrive at the store early enough to find a great parking spot and a cart that wasn't used as someone's home the night before.  You briefly consider using one of those sanitizing wipes on the cart, but then your kids start screaming for a cookie and you say "oh, f*ck it, germs are good for kids", and head into the store.

You put your younger child in the cart's seat, and put the older kid in the basket of the cart.  You are fully aware that this is unsafe, and that your older child will most likely get beaned in the head by something you throw in the cart, but you really don't give a crap because you are too tired to chase your rambunctious toddler up and down the aisles.

You must go first to the bakery section to get the cookie you promised your children because if you don't there is no way in Hell you will get any shopping done.  Yes, the bakery section is all the way across the store and you will have to double back, but this is far less of a hassle than your children having a simultaneous tantrum.  You learned this the hard way last time, when you and your screaming kids were escorted out of Whole Foods by security.

After plying your children with sugary baked goods, you make a mad dash through the entire store and attempt to get everything from your list before your offspring finish eating their cookies.  It's entirely possible that you have broken the world record for sprinting without even trying.

Your children have scarfed down their cookies and are now covered in crumbs and/or icing and demanding more snacks.  Your older child is hanging over the side of the cart using his long arms to sweep rows of boxes off of the shelves and onto the floor.  Your younger child is screaming "more, more, more!" and pointing at everything she sees.  You are, once again, dripping with sweat.

You run as fast as you can to the checkout counter in order to avoid further destruction by your children.  Several people in line inform you that it's dangerous to have your son in the cart basket, to which you respond "Thanks, for letting me know", but what you really want to say is "go screw yourself, you interfering idiot".  You realize that you have left your reusable shopping bags in the trunk of your car, but the thought of having to walk all the way to your car and then back into the store with both children in tow brings you to tears.  You decide that your sanity is more important than the Earth and pay through the nose for a bunch of paper bags that will no doubt tear before you even get them into the house.  

You shell out somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 for a ridiculously meager amount of food that will last your children all of two days because they are freaking animals.  You load up your bags, placing several directly on top of your older toddler in the hopes that the weight of the canned goods will force him to sit still.

You push your 300 pound cart out to the car, load up your children (who are screaming about not wanting to go home) and then put the groceries in the trunk of your car next to all of those damn reusable shopping bags you never remember to bring into the store.  This takes approximately 30 minutes, but nevertheless some lazy douchenoozle, who doesn't want to walk the extra five steps from the available spot three slots over, is waiting for you and beeps his horn to hurry you up.  Once you get yourself buckled in, you take an extra five minutes to check your email just to piss off the idiot who wants your parking spot.

Your drive home takes 20 minutes longer than usual because some idiot was texting and driving and took out a stoplight.  Your children, of course, start screaming for snacks again, because it is physically impossible for them to go without sustenance for longer than five minutes.  You silently count how many hours it is until wine o'clock.

You finally get home and unload all of your groceries and both of your children.  Your kids "help" you put away all of the stuff you bought, which takes about an hour longer than it would if you just did it yourself.  You realize halfway through this exercise that you forgot to buy something to make for dinner, but there is no way you are going back to the store again today.   Or ever.

You wish that there was a way to have the ingredients and recipes for healthy, kid-friendly meals delivered right to your door, because you are not sure your sanity can withstand any more trips to the market with your kids in tow.  

Here's the good news: The Hubster's new business venture, One Potato, is designed to save your sanity.  You can learn more at their site (and sign up - use code OP10 for $10 off!), but essentially One Potato delivers the recipes and partially prepped organic ingredients for three meals that you and your kids will enjoy.  Unlike other meal delivery services, these really are recipes designed to please picky palettes - direct from the pages of Weelicious - so there's no reason to be concerned that you're simply going to get four portions of an exotic lamb dish that your kids will never eat.

We've been testing recipes and I've been amazed at how much my kids have enjoyed the meals.  Seriously, I've been shocked at some of the things they've eaten that I never thought they would try.

Plus, it's kept me from having to take my kids with me to the grocery, which means I'm saving a lot of money on alcohol.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Work-Life Balance is a Joke


Last Thursday night, at approximately 6:55pm, I nearly had a nervous breakdown in the Halloween aisle at a Michael's craft store in Burbank.

I know that I seem an unlikely candidate to be shopping at a craft store, but I found myself in the land of glitter glue and BeDazzlers because I stupidly volunteered to bring cookie decorating supplies for the preschool Halloween party.  Ostensibly this particular chore seemed simple: go to my local grocery store, pick up some orange decorating sugar and a few festive toppers, and call it a day.  As is par for the course with parenting, what seemed simple ended up being a Sisyphean task.  Over the course of three days and six grocery store visits I had exactly one bag of sunflower seeds and a box of raisins.  Not exactly what immediately comes to mind when one thinks "festive" and "party".  Had I planned ahead, I probably could have ordered everything I needed on Amazon, but since I left it to the last minute I found myself merely days away from becoming the Grinch who stole Halloween.

Which is how I ended up sitting in horrible rush hour traffic, late for my writer's group, on my may to a Michael's store in the bowels of the Valley.   

Apparently, cake decorating is considered a craft, so Michael's carries a lovely selection of things like candy corn pumpkins, sugar skulls, and orange frosting in a tube.  Thanks to my inability to plan ahead, everything I purchased was 60% off.  The epic savings alone should have made me happy, but instead I found myself tearing up at the fact that Michael's was sold out of orange and black multi-colored sprinkles.

Before you close my blog in disgust because you think that I am officially the embodiment of First World Problems, I want to point out that I wasn't crying because they were out of sprinkles.  Yes, it was disappointing, but it was more that everything just felt like it was too much.  I was exhausted because the Little Lady had been awake the night before from 2-5am, I was coming down with a cold, I was so far behind on a writing deadline that I wasn't even sure I would still get paid, I was stressed out about being late to my writer's group, and I wanted to make sure that my kid and his little friends had something to put on their pumpkin cookies other than sunflower seeds and sadness.

As I stood there under the incredibly unflattering fluorescent lights in the Michael's store, I came to a realization: there is no such thing as work-life balance when it comes to Motherhood.  It's impossible to do it all, despite how hard one tries.  I truly enjoy working, and while I think it would simplify things if I were content to be "just" a Mom, that's not my personality.  I am incredibly blessed to be able to work from home, doing something that I love.  But I struggle mightily with balancing the demands of my work, with the demands of my children.  I'm the first to admit that I take on way too much - I didn't have to volunteer for anything, when it really comes down to it - so I constantly feel as though I'm a hamster on a wheel racing to keep up with the requirements of work and family.  I honestly don't know how one does it other than striking it rich and outsourcing everything except bedtime stories.

The only conclusion I've come to is this: you have to make peace with the fact that when you choose one thing, the other kind of falls to the wayside.  I couldn't very well look the Muffin Man in the eye last week and tell him that we wouldn't have anything to bring to the cookie decorating party because Mommy needed feedback on her latest Black-ish spec.  In the end, there will be plenty of opportunities to get critique from my fellow writers, but only one chance to experience the sheer joy of watching your kid and his friends get covered in surely toxic, overly-sugared orange frosting, and that's priceless.
Plus, those eyeball marshmallows I scored at 60% off were the hit of the party.