Monday, October 31, 2016

Mom2MomEd Gift Guide: Pre and Early Readers Children's Book Advent Calendar

Mom2MomEd Blog: Holiday Gift Guide--Pre and Early Reader Advent Book Calendar
With the winter holidays pretty much just around the corner, McKenzie and I wanted to share some of our favorite gifts to both give and to get! Over the next few weeks we'll have a weekly gift guide centered around various age groups, specific categories of gifts, and more.

Today, we are sharing BOOKS for younger kids--toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarten. And, although we these are the best age groups for these kids, please don't be afraid to read them to your babies--even newborns!--or to have fun with them with your older kids. In fact, if you have kids older than these groups who happen to be struggling to read at their grade level, encourage them to read some of these books for a boost of confidence.

Some of these books are cute, simple picture books while others may become cherished keepsakes. 

While you can give them for any holiday, birthday, or just because, we particularly like the idea of giving one book per day from December 1st through Christmas day (or Christmas Eve, depending on when your family celebrates) for those that celebrate this holiday. Often this is called a Christmas Advent Countdown or Christmas Advent Book Calendar.

To do a holiday Advent Book Calendar/Countdown, you will need to gather 24 or 25 books (depending on whether you end on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day) and wrap each book individually. You can put them in a particular order for giving and opening or you can make it random. If you decide to use a particular order, be sure to number the outside of each package!

Below is a list of our picks for your Advent Christmas Book Calendar include--we've listed more than 25 so you can pick and choose. Also, for your purchasing convenience, each title is linked to

Giant Children by Brod Bagert 
Golden Books (any or all of them!) 
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle
Shel Silverstein poetry books

We'd love to see pictures of your Book Advent Calendars! Post pictures on social media with the tag #mom2momed! While you are at it, follow us on Instagram HERE and Facebook HERE.
This post contains affiliate links. 
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Book Review: Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze

Mom2MomEd Blog: Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of attending a women's entrepreneur conference called Business Boutique. My boss at the time--and good friend--was gracious enough to invite me to attend with her and it was fantastic! I actually only was able to be there for the second of the two days, but I still learned so much--that conference is responsible for McKenzie and I really moving forward and turning Mom2MomEd from an idea into reality!


This post is not about Business Boutique.

Instead, it is about the book Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze. I had never heard of Cruze until Business Boutique, but I was already familiar with her father, Dave Ramsey. My friend mentioned that she had picked up a new book, Smart Money, Smart Kids, by Dave Ramsey and his daughter, the aforementioned Rachel Cruze, and let me have a look at it. The book looked fantastic and I decided to buy a copy myself.

Surprise, surprise! Smart Money, Smart Kids came with a bunch of bonuses, mostly centered around Rachel Cruze's new book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs. The bonuses included a hardcopy of the book, an audio copy, an emailed link to a video of a related talk, and more. The book wasn't actually out yet, and copies were finally mailed out in October. I started reading my copy as soon as I received it.

And, what did I think?

Well, I'm not totally in love with the book, but I do think it's worth reading.

First, the ONE thing I didn't particularly enjoy:
Cruze's age and the extent of her life experience really shows--at times, the book and her perspective seem a bit out of touch with the realities of a large portion of the population. There were many sections that I just couldn't relate to and many sections where I felt like Cruze has lived a bit of a charmed, sheltered life and hasn't had to face some of the very real hardships many people face every day. I don't fault her for this--I'm glad for her!--but it made it hard to take her advice seriously on occasion. It read like advice you would give to someone much younger than yourself and with a lot less worldly experience and far fewer life problems and issues. The book also mentioned but glossed over issues relevant to single adults and single parents.

Secondly, the things I did like:
I was expecting Love Your Life, Not Theirs to be much more religious in nature. I am not religious myself. It was a pleasant surprise to find religion only touched on here and there--and not very often. It was easy to look past those passages.

Love Their Life, Not Theirs was incredibly easy to read and did not come across as preaching, condescending or adamant that you have to do things Rachel's way or Dave Ramsey's way (although if you watch Dave's videos, you'll know he is a "My way or the highway" kind of guy).

I also really liked how Cruze explained mortgages and her thoughts on home buying. I mean, honestly, how confusing is the whole process? She breaks down the process into manageable, bite sized bits of information and uses vocabulary and terms that are easy to understand. Honestly, she changed the way I have been thinking about mortgages and home buying...I'm a long ways away from being ready to buy a house, but I feel a lot better about it and like I have a plan in place for when the time comes.

Rachel's advice is down to earth and her tone and style are friendly and supportive. Life has been chaotic for me lately, and I've needed light and easy. Love Their Life, Not Theirs was exactly the reading level, speed, and mix of information and support that I needed. It was also a good reminder that it's ok to slow down, to say "No thank you" to invitations or other potential financial quagmires, and so on. Cruze's book did a good job of helping me be ok with NOT keeping up with the Joneses.

The take aways? It's ok to...
  • Say NO.
  • Be ok with what you ALREADY have.
  • Be content with your present situation, knowing things can be better in future.
  • Enjoy your life NOW, even if you don't have all the *things* you want.
  • Recognize that the Jones's are likely going deeper and deeper into debt...eventually you'll be living far better; you just have to be patient and put in a little work.
  • Be weird and NOT have debt.
  • Delay gratification, knowing you can have bigger and better later if you put in the hard work of being financially responsible now.
Interested in reading Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze? Pick up a copy HERE. Or, if you'd rather read Smart Money, Smart Kids by Rachel Cruze and her dad, Dave Ramsey, just click HERE.

I'll be reviewing Smart Money, Smart Kids in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Book Club Wrap Up: The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre

Mom2MomEd Blog: Book Review -- The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre
Hello, are you there? Do you remember when we were reading The Trouble with Boys? Yea, us either! It's been that long!

It's another one of those best laid plans gone awry moments. We were chugging along, keeping up on our reading and then BOOM! Life happened. Then it happened again and again until we were so far removed from the book that it was hard to get back to it.

Guess what? We're wrapping it up, FINALLY! I guess we could technically take the easy way out and just let the book fade on into the distance and never bring it up again. 

But, you know what? 

Not only is this book awesome and actually really timely for me, BUT...Peg Tyre, the author (YES, the author), reached out to us during the book club and agreed to let us interview her! 

What?!? When does that happen? We were so thrilled and excited that we wanted to wait for the perfect moment to do that. But, the perfect moment never came, until now!

We're finally wrapping up our reading of The Trouble with Boys and hoping that Peg will still agree to speak with us! We can't wait. For those of you who are interested in reading this book for yourselves you can purchase it HERE.

I won't be able to recap the entire book for you, but I did want to comment on some points that stood out to me. As you should know by now, I have a son who just started kindergarten and I really struggled with the decision about where he would go to school. As an educator myself, I know that it is difficult to meet every child's needs all of the time, but I wanted to make sure that my son has the best chance at success that he can get. This book mirrored some of my fears at the time and also reinforced concerns while offering realistic solutions.

The bottom line is that The Trouble with Boys made me think about education in ways that I hadn't before.

In some of the final chapters, Tyre talks about many topics to keep in mind when sending your sons (and daughters) to school. Boys are typically stereotyped as being less good at reading and writing than their girl counterparts. Do we stereotype them and lump them all into this one specific group? How does that impact their reading and writing success in the long term when we've set them up to fail before they have even begun?

Another important topic to note is the varying development between girls and boys. We tend to look at the obvious ones like physical stature and maturation. However, have we ever thought about the components that we can't see? For example, brain development happens in much the same way that physical development does. It doesn't happen over night, and it happens at different ages for boys and girls. It's a progression and no two children develop at the same rate.

It's our job as parents and educators to make sure that we are paying attention and keeping our expectations appropriate not just for age and gender, but also for where our own particular children are at the moment.

As the parent of a young boy, I found the chapter on video games that boys play particularly interesting. My son has never expressed interest in playing video games and we don't play them as a family, so I haven't really put much thought into this topic to be honest. It seems like there is a split opinion on the impact of video games. Some parents completely ban them entirely while others set limits and place parameters around playing them. Once you open that door by allowing video games into your child's life, have you reached the point of no return? Even though the average gamer is supposedly in their mid to late 20's there is still huge number of impressionable young boys playing video games. Essentially, the concern is how do video games, especially those which are violent in nature, impact the behaviors of our boys? Does it create violence? Does it encourage them to commit crimes because they have a false sense of reality and what consequences they will endure? What long term consequences could gaming have on these young boys?

Tyre states that teachers have found that boys who play video games (not just heavily but regularly) are harder to teach in general. Their attention span tends to grow shorter and weaker. This is interesting to me because in order to play video games for any period of time you must be focused and therefore it would lead you to believe it's actually good practice for lengthening attention spans.

Tyre found that teachers have noted that boys who play video games at home are seeking more instant gratification at school, much like what they would gain from playing a video game.

This isn't to say that video games don't have their place and we should just turn our back on them and ban them entirely. 

It's about using gaming to increase learning and to not allow them to become a barrier against learning. Also, keep in mind that as parents it is our job to teach our children balance and how to prioritize various aspects of their lives.

{{Malea has A LOT to say about video gaming and education!}}

While reading Chapter 16, "Smart boys who get bad grades," I felt my own concerns for my son coming to life. With expectations for academic performance increasing with each coming year, it's difficult for children to not be caught up in the rat race of academics. Girls just tend to weather the storm a little better than boys. 

Why is this? 

Boys are not intentionally set up to fail by teachers and schools, but the current system results in boys being more prone to fail. As a culture, we view sloppy handwriting as a sign of disorganization, poor performance, and even lack of ambition. The examples that Tyre gives for class assignments in this chapter are enlightening. It's amazing to see that, yes, assignments can really be geared towards one gender or another. One example was that all students had to draw a map of the world free hand. The girls were able to complete this assignment, but none of the boys were able to do it. Quite simply, boys tend to be slower at developing organization skills, homework tracking, and just overall neatness and life organization.

The Trouble with Boys ties up all of these concerns and reiterates the fact that educational reform should not be just focused on increasing academic achievement for boys. It's supporting ALL children. 

What can we do as a nation to support all children in learning? One of the biggest things Tyre notes is to stop thinking that girls are still an under served population. While at one point they were in fact, now girls are thriving and boys are lagging behind. Teachers are starting to realize that more needs to be done to help boys, but it's a matter of what. It boils down to this being a larger system issue. We need to make sure that we are starting at the ground level by advocating for our own boys and working within the schools and districts to help make changes. Larger changes will hopefully come from showing that our nation will not sit back and allow any children to lag behind simply because we don't have all of the information necessary to reach all students. 

It's not a choice. 

Children are our future leaders, mentors, and role models. We owe it to them to give them the very best start that we can with their educations. Blaming biology for these discrepancies is just an excuse and we need solutions.

Coming down the pike will be our very first book club interview with Peg Tyre herself. We can hardly wait to share it with you!

Pick up your copy of The Trouble with Boys by Peg Tyre HERE.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

5 reasons why you NEED downtime

Mom2MomEd Blog: 5 reasons why you need downtime
I'm an expert multi-tasker, over volunteerer (is that a word?), perpetual burning-both-ends-of-the-candle person, and chronic I-need-to-reset-my-lifer.

I am on a 60 day cycle. I can go and go and go for about 60 days, and then I crash. 

It happens again and again, almost like clockwork. I start out strong, and then over the course of those 60 days I begin to waver slowly until it's time to crash and then start all over again. I've always heard people say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

Does that mean I'm insane? Likely.

Today is day 1 of a crash. The last 60 days have led to me sitting with my daughter on the couch at 9:30am and eating popcorn and gummy bears while chugging coffee and apple juice. 

It's less important to share what I've been doing these past 60 days and more important to share why it's perfectly OK to plop down on that couch and give yourself a break once in a while. 

(I'd suggest for your own mental health you do it a little more often than every 60 days.)

I'm also going to just float this out there--self care is not my thing. I preach it and I love it when I do it, but I'm just not very good at making self care a priority in my life. I can't really give a lot of good advice on self care practices, although I blogged a few of my favorites HERE, but I can give you some reasons as to why it's important to create some down time or space in your life.

Here's my take:

1. You can't pour from an empty cup.
You may think you are Superwoman (and I bet that you actually are), but the truth is that you are useless to your family and to yourself if you are so run down that you get sick. Did you know that being too busy can actually slowly deplete your immune system? When you are crazy busy and not taking care of yourself, you are likely experiencing more stress than you realized, not sleeping well, and note eating as healthily as you should be. All of this means you are more likely to end up getting sick which in turn means you are less productive. 

2. You'll be more productive in the long run.
It's true! Taking time for yourself to unwind, decompress, and unplug is important for long-term productivity. You can't go and go and go non-stop and expect to be an effective but run-down, exhausted, zombie mom (or mombie). It's just not going to happen. So, you need to take breaks from life now and then. You don't have to devote an entire day to unwinding, but you do need to step away and veg out for a few minutes here and there. That looks different for everyone, and I'm not one to say you need to entirely unplug to decompress. I find it relaxing to look through Facebook on my phone or to read an article I've been saving. The key is just to do SOMETHING for yourself.

3. It affects your mood.
Seriously, this one is huge for me! I get really--dare I say it--bitchy when I don't have any time for myself. I'm one of those people that has a really big bubble and I need life to stay out of it. That just isn't possible with two kids who are attached to me like Velcro, a husband, and a 150-pound lap dog (seriously). I need physical space as much as I need mental space. I can feel it building up when I haven't had enough physical freedom. Some things that are good for giving me space when I don't have much time are: 
  • going for a quick walk around the block
  • running out for a coffee ALONE
  • taking a shower
  • doing some yard work
  • or the old tried-and-true man trick...pretending to take a poop! I kid you not--this must be universal!

4. You need space to reflect on what's working and what needs to give.
Often, just putting some space between you and life lets you figure out what you really value and if you need to shift your focus. I get really one-track minded and it's hard for me to see outside of my to-do list. If I break the cycle and change my focus, I can sometimes completely eliminate entire tasks. I write down things when they are important to me, but that level of importance changes after a while--things can be crossed off the list or they can wait. I can't tell you how many times I've listed things as a priority only to later have forgotten about them or to have them lose their luster.

5. You deserve it, damn it!
Seriously...we work so darned hard for this life and we certainly want and deserve time to enjoy it! All work and all play equals absolutely no fun. You've got to make yourself a priority. I'm not one to give myself a spa day or to do my hair and makeup, but I do love to light a candle and read while drinking coffee. Or, I enjoy tinkering in my garden and rearranging my flower pots. Whatever it is that gets your gears turning, do it! I am horrible at this one in particular. This is the big goal that I'm working on. I have always felt that taking time for myself was taking time away from my kids. Instead, I have come to realize that it's actually the exact opposite. I realized that I was sending mixed messages to my kids about my own self-worth and that my own needs aren't important. These are not things I want them to think about themselves or their spouses when they get older. 

There you have it!

Five big reasons why you NEED some downtime in your life! Everyone has their own reasons, but hopefully this list will reinforce for you how important personal time and space are to your health and to enjoying your life. 

What are your favorite ways to unwind and enjoy life more?
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Real Moms: Kids say the darndest things edition

Mom2MomEd Blog: Kids say the darndest things
Hopefully by now you've had a chance to read our first REAL moms interview where I had a chance to sit down and talk to my mama. It was fun and is leading into some really cool new adventures for Mom2MomEd as well!

Since my kids are into being in  the spotlight right now (Lord, help me!), I thought it would be fun to interview them about me and to see what they had to say. My daughter (3) has the world's best memory and my son (5) is articulate beyond his years, so I thought this would be easy enough, as long as it was age appropriate.

I'll let you see for yourself.....

1.What is my name?
Hank- Mama. Oh wait, McKenzie. I think?

2. How old am I?
Delilah- 35 or 48. Maybe 200, is that it? (I'm 36 so she was close!)

3. What do you like best about me?
Hank- Hugs. You give good hugs and snuggles.
Delilah- Hugs and snuggles and kisses. You're kind of like Ms. Storey's rats. (Um, ok...? I later realized that is the name of her preschool class's pet rats.)

4. When I was little, what did I want to be when I grew up?
Hank- A mommy. You wanted to have babies.

5. What is my job?
Delilah- To work. You are a printer company. You write a lot. You walk around writing "McKenzie" on everything. (Then she sighed and rolled her eyes.)

6. What do you think my perfect day is?
Hank- Work, write, be with us, play babies, and cook and clean. (Hmmmm, it looks like I have my perfect day every day!)

7. What is my favorite thing to do?
Delilah- Play with Hank and me and dress up babies.

8. What is something that makes me mad?
Hank- Not listening. Talking about poop and butts. When you are mad you yell and stomp your feet.

9. Tell me some words that make you think about me.
Hank & Delilah- I love you, smart, pretty, happy, silly, intelligent ("Intelligent" was from Hank and totally fits something he would say. He's always using words that are way beyond his years and then just throwing them in there like it's totally normal.)

10.  What makes me laugh?
Hank & Delilah- Silly words, making silly faces, playing silly games, and making noises.
{{Malea interjecting here: I totally have a fun game based on making silly words and noises! I'll share in a blog post soon!}}

11. Who is my best friend?
Hank & Delilah- Daddy and Gunnar and Hank and Delillah. Oh wait, Felix and the chickens. Maybe that is it?

12. What is my hobby?
Hank- Playing with us.
Delilah- Working on your printer company. (I have no idea where she got this because I do not have a printer company nor do I do anything related to that!)

13. What is my favorite animal and why?
Hank- Birds because they are pretty and are fun to watch. You like the different colors and sizes and you like them a lot because your mom never would let you get one so you always missed having a bird. So now, you get to do what you want, so you have chickens.

14. What is my favorite food?
Delilah- Rice, chicken soup, iced coffee, chicken, water, coffee, iced tea, and beard (beer). (It appears that I'm really into beverages?)

15. What do you want people to know about your mama?
Hank- I don't like answering questions. Please stop.
Delilah- Yea, me neither. I'm going to go be a princess with big boobs instead.

And....there you have it! Out of the mouths of babes.

I love doing activities like this with my kids because not only is it funny to hear their answers, but I also learn a little bit about myself. It also gives me a point of reference for what I need to address as a parent (note the boobs and beard)!

What would your kids say about you? I LOVE hearing things kids say.

My kids have done their fair share of embarassing me as well! One day, at the grocery store, with just my daughter in tow, I ran in to get one item. Of course, after picking up 15 items, I finally made it to the checkout stand. My arms were so full that items were starting to inch their way to the ground. I quickly grabbed the first thing I could and handed it to my daughter. It happened to be a single beer. She grabbed it and looked at me and said (in a very crowded store and line), "Ooh, mama don't hand that to me because I'll probably just stand here and drink it."

She's 3!!!

I'm sure that looked like I had earned the parent of the year award.

Just to clarify.....I don't drink very often or very much. When I, do it's usually well after the kids go to bed because nobody has time to just sit and drink with tiny terrors running around, right? 

I'm sure you also have some funny stories of things your kids have said. Please share, we'd love to read their answers to our questions or hear your stories!
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Friday, October 21, 2016

5 Reasons to Choose Montessori Education for Your Kids

Mom2MomEd Blog: 5 reasons to choose a Montessori education for your children
We’re almost a month into the new school year and starting to get into our groove. We had some difficulty getting into our top choice school. I had my heart set on my kids going to a Montessori school, but it turns out so did a lot of families in my area. We were stuck on a waiting list and with a lottery system. 

Thankfully, it all worked out, and we found out practically at the last minute that my son was IN!
Prior to looking into education options for my children, I knew only a little bit about Montessori education. As I began to research more about it and speak with families who involved, I grew to love the Montessori philosophy. 

If you don’t know much about Montessori education and are interested in learning more you can read about it HERE.

I’m in love with the philosophy, the teaching practices, materials, and just the overall vibe of my son's new school. As you can probably guess, I feel like we made a great choice and I cannot be any more grateful that we were able to get in.
Are you wondering why we chose this route rather than going with a more traditional school?

It really all boils down to one simple fact: I know my kids.

I know that the public school system would not be a good fit for either of them.
I know what types of environments they will learn best in and sitting in a desk for hours on end will not suite either of them. I’m not knocking desk sitting at all--in fact, I am actually the type of student who can sit in a desk and take notes and be perfectly fine with that.

That is not who my son is though.

While my husband and I discussed our hopes for our children’s educations, it was really my job to go and seek out the options available to us. We aren’t able to afford private school without taking out a second mortgage, but we refuse to do that. As I explored our options, I kept gravitating back to Montessori or similar type schools.

In our brief experience so far, here are just a few of the reasons I love Montessori education:

My child is free to move at his own pace and won’t be held back if he is moving faster or slower than the rest of the class. He is free to master a concept on his own time and has some control over how and when he completes his work. It’s giving children freedom of choice while also teaching them to be accountable for the outcomes of their choices.

Montessori doesn't promote conformity and it does discourage (aka doesn’t allow) commercialism of any kind. I have always disliked children’s items that are covered in characters and all of that hoopla, although I have given in (reluctantly) over the past few years on a few items. Montessori solves that issue once and for all. No battles in the morning because it’s simply not allowed. It’s also less distracting and doesn’t continue to promote materialism and consumerism to our kids.

They encourage (require) parent participation. Honestly, this is one of the most important things to me. I want to be involved in my child’s education. I want to volunteer, help out and get to know the teacher. That seems natural to me and I can’t imagine not being invited into the classroom, yet I've heard from parents at non-Montessori schools who say they either aren't allowed into the classroom or they are only allowed in under specific circumstances. Since parent participation is a requirement for all families, I feel like my child's school lends itself to attracting parents who are highly invested in their child’s education and want to be a part of the school. Therefore, the school forms a community for families as well as for the students.

I love that academics are a part of the classroom environment, but that is not the ONLY part of Montessori education. In fact, Montessori philosophy places a strong focus on life skills, social skills, and being a part of a community. I like that children are encouraged to be independent and to learn do things for themselves. This not only builds their skill level but also their confidence. Win and win! Plus, these are concepts I have personally been trying to work on with my children at home, so it’s nice to have the extra support at school too!

The classroom at my son's school is so inviting! I wouldn’t mind sitting in there all day myself. There are no overhead, glaring florescent lights and no desks all set up in neat, straight rows. Instead there are house plants, natural light, rugs, coffee tables, stations, bean bag chairs, and other touches of comfort. The classroom smells good and there is usually music playing in the background. The classrooms all have a calming force that you can pick up on by just walking in.
It feels conducive to learning.
It feels safe.

Now, I’m not saying that other schools do not offer some or all of these same concepts. After doing my own research, and considering what was best for my family, Montessori education won! I’m so glad it did. I feel at home there, and so do my kids, and that is so important. My son loves his school and is excited to go every day. I can’t ask for anything more.

I’m not going to be all Pollyanna about the school and think that everything is going to be rainbows and butterflies forever. I’m just happy that we’re having a good experience so far and it really is all that I hoped that it would be. 

I am so excited to continue our kindergarten journey and to see what the rest of the year has in store for us!
I've had several people ask me what I love about Montessori education and why I chose it for my kids, so it seemed like a good time to share just a few of my reasons for choosing it and why I think it is a good fit for my family. Honestly, it hadn't occurred to me until recently that others might be curious! 
Now, I want to know...what type of education did you choose for your children? How did you make that choice? Did it work out the way that you had hoped? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Build up your mom tribe

Mom2MomEd Blog: Build up your mom tribe
Let’s just be real for a minute.

The mommy wars are real.

Like kids, moms come in all shapes and sizes, personality types, and temperaments. Some are destined to be our friends while others are ones we feel like we simply cannot compete with. Let me tell you...


We all know those moms who are perfectly put together--they dress super cute, their homes are large and clean, and on and on….we tell ourselves, “She probably is lacking in other areas” or “She doesn’t have a good relationship with her husband” or “She’s so fake”...

...just to make ourselves feel better.

I know some of those moms who seem to be “perfect” and some of them really are always put together and really do have a clean house most of the time AND they have good relationships with their husbands and are far from fake. I too, used to be intimated by some of these women but realized over time that it’s not them creating the mommy war its….GASP….ME!

It’s no secret that I’m sort of a frazzled mess most of the time.

I always (and I mean always) have a medium sized rat's nest tucked somewhere in my hair.
I forget to put on makeup (yea, that’s just my excuse..I forgot).
I have crumbs/stains/who knows what on my clothes
I am perpetually running late.

However, I do keep my house pretty clean and can easily bust out a dinner party on an hour's, notice if necessary. 

Here's the deal--we all have our things. Not all of them are visible to others either.

My mom is one of those people who always has her hair done, has nice clothing and ALWAYS (and I’m not kidding...even when she’s sleeping) is wearing lipstick.

I guess you never know when the queen is coming to visit right?!?

Anyway my running joke has always been that I am the WORST kind of daughter for her. I’m not into dressing up, I have very few accessories, and I have probably never worn a shade of lipstick that isn’t my natural lip color. So far, she hasn’t shunned me, but instead builds me up and focuses on the things that I do well. She’s always telling me how nice my house looks or what a good cook I am. I have to admit, I eat those compliments up!

Nothings feels better than being reminded of our strengths. 

As we are heading into the holiday months, we all tend to get busier, more stressed, and we have less time for ourselves to reflect and be thankful for what we ARE doing well. It’s important now more than ever to lift a fellow mom up and show her you stand with her in this parenting journey. It’s sometimes as simple as a text saying, "Hey….you’ve got this!" Or, you could send a little card in the mail or have a hot cup of coffee delivered to her door on a busy day or just be in the moment with her.

I have a tribe of women in my life who totally rock. Not all of them are moms, not all of them are married, but all of them have my back, and hopefully they know that I’ve got theirs too. Let’s all take a minute this week to extend support to our tribes. Reach out to a fellow frazzled mom/women/friend and hold up a peace sign in solidarity.

We can do this…..we have to do this.
Did you know we also have some inspirational lunchbox notes in our Etsy shop that can be used for adults as well as older kids? Find a note that speaks to your fellow mom's struggles and send it to her in the mail, press it into her palm when you see her at school pick up, or drop it into her bag when she's not looking. Support your fellow moms (and dads and non-parent tribe members too). Or, click through the image:

Stay tuned for more notes and stationery specifically geared towards moms and adult friends.

And, if you are needing a little self-care, take a peek at our gratitude journals on Etsy to remind yourself of numerous awesome blessings in your life. Or, check out our shop on Teachers Pay Teachers! through the image:
And, now, take a moment to check out these additional articles: