Musings on #workingmom Life and Some Half Assed Halloween Crafts


I meant to blog about returning to work the week before I started. No Dice.

I meant to blog about returning to work at the end of my first week. Still no dice.

Two weeks in and JUST NOW I’ve found the mental wherewithal to post. Thankfully my mom is pretty much the only person who really gives a shit about my blog and she’s been too busy putting out the fires in my brain to realize I’ve been slacking.

Better late than never, right?

Here’s the thing about returning to work post-baby… this isn’t my first rodeo. I dutifully returned to work at the end of my maternity leave and practically skipped out the door. Thanks to a real gnarly case of colic, I didn’t experience any of the emotionally conflicted feelings one generally speaks of. I was READY. See you all later, thanks. Don’t get it twisted… I loved my son. I still do. Infancy and I weren’t buds. I’ve made peace with it and we can all just move right along. Still, having done this before – and handled it fairly well – I was unprepared for the emotional shit show that would ensue. It’s as though I stepped foot on the train that first day and my brain fired a starting gun and said “Let the games begin!”

So, two weeks into the journey, I feel coherent enough to muse a bit about the experience thus far. I find “Top 5 Lists” work well for random musings. So, without further ado, I present:

Top Five Things I’ve Learned About Being a Working Mom 

  1. One Can Have 45 Different Feelings at Any Given Moment: Let me illuminate for you (because this has been the biggest struggle for me thus far). It’s Friday afternoon. I am elbow deep in an exciting new project at work. For the first time in years, I’m in a room surrounded by adults debating layouts, cracking jokes and tossing around ideas for streamlining branding processes. I feel alive. Professionally stoked. Full of possibility and potential. I have ideas. People are listening to my ideas. My brain is firing off ideas while my social anxiety is desperately trying to keep my mouth from vocalizing these ideas. CREATIVE STUFF IS HAPPENING AND THIS IS AWESOME. Then… I remember my child had a meltdown at school the other day and “mouthed off” to his teacher and I realize I should be missing him. A “good mother” wouldn’t feel so jazzed. Who am I to enjoy the possibility of a career while my poor child is forced to play with his peers and take naps in between occasional visits from the dance teacher and the fire department? I have failed. Enter mom guilt. Cue tears. Within minutes I’ve gone from professionally excited to a failure as a mother. After discussing my alleged transgression with some trusted folk, I realize perhaps I’m being silly. Now, I’ve added self consciousness and judgement to the list of feelings I’m experiencing. We are quickly brewing a stew of crap in my brain. This pretty much sums up my experience with returning to work.
  2. I Am Not Cool: The strange part of that statement is that it took me so long to realize this. But, I’m not. And rarely is this more apparent than at work. After spending 3 years with my mini me, it is a struggle to interact socially with my coworkers. They have things to say. Exciting tidbits to offer about their lives. They have fashion sense and well rested brains and are just full of youth and coolness. I have spent two years playing trains, reading every single parenting book that exists and agonizing over whether my child will starve to death because he refuses to consume food on a regular basis. My victories consisted of long naps, good lunches and playdates that didn’t result in hysterics or physical violence. At the library with other moms, this was acceptable conversation. Suddenly, however, I find myself facing down my lack of identity outside of my child and it’s really alarming. Lest you think the other working moms are a source of comfort, let me assure you. They’ve got this shit figured out and are also buckets of cool. Or maybe they’re not and they just play the game better than me. Or, maybe they’ve been back to work for more than two weeks. All are possibilities. What remains true is the fact that I’ve immersed myself in “being mama” for two years and lost a lot of what what makes me Lizi and this has been made crystal clear.
  3. Your Child’s Face Can Actually Cause Physical Pain: Catch me at the wrong moment and the sight of my adorable little dude can actually cause my heart to hurt. “I don’t want you to go to work mama” can bring on an episode of physical distress that is simply ridiculous. Seeing him smile when I return home is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s that face I miss during the day.
  4. I Am Not In Control and It’s Ok: Welcome to last week’s lesson. There was an incident at preschool. Mateo made some snarky ass comment to the teacher and they took him aside to speak to him. Before I go on let me clarify one thing. No one else referred to this as an Incident. In fact no one else found it particularly snarky. Everyone else was able to see that my child was being a toddler and testing limits by informing his teacher that “you can’t make me” sit down for story time. I did not respond nearly as calmly. This was a behavioral issue that needed to addressed immediately and swiftly and was absolutely the sign of future delinquency. Thanks to a few solid friends, I was able to calm down and see it for what it was. But, the fact remains that I am used to being able to control every aspect of how that child is raised during the day. I am used to be able to decide how I discipline, what’s acceptable and what we do in the face of unacceptable behavior. Now, I have turned that responsibility over to the teachers at a really wonderful preschool and letting go has been far more challenging than I anticipated.
  5. Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail: It’s only two weeks in and I’ve finally started to get my shit together in terms of planning. The laundry is done. My clothes are ready. His clothes are ready. Food is prepared and frozen for the week. His lunch is packed. His breakfast is ready for him tomorrow. I have tweaked the schedule for our evenings. I’m anticipating problems before they arise. I’m ON THE BALL. Last week, not so much. Preschool kindly reminded me that perhaps my child would like to eat with utensils and it might be good if I sent a set. A peak into my closet mid week reminded me that “winging it” in the morning won’t fly when you are battling an annoyed toddler and some bodily fluids. I now have an entire closet of options awaiting me. Bring on the last minute fluid explosions. Tonight, as I type this, I feel calmer than I have in a month. I have prepared and in doing so have at least tricked my brain into believing we’ve got this. That’s good enough for me.

There’s your top five. Because lists are so neat and tidy. I haven’t “got this” and I probably won’t really have this ship under control for a couple months. Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve learned is to be gentle with myself. This is a huge transition for him. As a result, I’ve been super gentle with him. I’ve made sure to give him more snuggles, let him have more one on one time with me, coddle him a bit more and give him the emotional space he needs to process. What I failed to do was give that same emotional space and gentle handling to myself. This week, my intention is to kill it at work and life… and to be far gentler with myself.

Now, for some crafting goodness.

I call these Halloween crafts our Half Assed Version and they prove true what I’ve always maintained — if I was a working mama, we wouldn’t do half the crafts we do. Turns out I was right. Strange how often that happens.

Paper Plate Pumpkins


Truth bomb: This craft happened after we had gotten halfway to my moms before actually speaking with her and realizing she was not actually going to be home. That’s right. My first instinct was to drive my pajama clad child to Grandma’s to let her take over for a hot minute because I was exhausted. Well, Grandma has a life so we crafted. This is a super simply pumpkin craft that requires little more than orange paint, construction paper and glue. Mateo’s favorite part? “The little eyes be everywhere. I so silly.” The eyeball stickers. That was his favorite part of the entire craft.

Materials:

  • Green card stock paper
  • Paper plate
  • Small pieces of black, white, brown and yellow construction paper for the eyes, nose, teeth and stem.
  • Glue
  • Orange paint
  • Eyeball stickers (entirely optional)

Directions:

  • To Prep: Cut a couple funny shaped mouths out of the black construction paper. Make sure you make the mouth large enough to accommodate teeth. Use the white paper to cut out small rectangles for teeth. Then, cut out circles for the eyes and use the yellow paper to create a nose. Finally, cut a stem from brown construction paper.
  • Explain that you’ll be making a pumpkin and allow your little one to paint the plate orange. Allow time to dry.
  • Once dry, glue to the green card stock paper and spread out the materials your tot will use to create the face. Allow him to glue the facial features in a manner that suits his fancy. Finally, let your toddler loose with eyeball stickers and watch the entire craft take a turn for the ridiculous. Or, maybe that’s just my kid.

Pumpkin Carving with a Toddler 


This is fairly self explanatory since pumpkin carving is a staple of Halloween tradition. However, as with anything that involves toddlers, rarely do things go as planned. So, rather than give a step by step explanation of how to carve a pumpkin, I’ll simply list a few helpful hints I’ve picked up.

  • The real fun is letting them draw the facial features. After I explained to M that we were going to carve the pumpkin, I put my hand over his and let him (mostly) guide the sharpie. This was his favorite part. We had a lengthly chat about what his pumpkin should look like and where the eyes should go and should they be triangles or circles. I was surprised and impressed by how much ownership he took over his pumpkin’s face and how he was genuinely serious in contemplation over what his pumpkin should look like. Also, it’s pretty much Christmas any time he’s allowed to come anywhere near a sharpie so this was a huge hit.
  • Obviously, don’t let your 3 year old carve the pumpkin. Duh. To help with trouble waiting patiently while I carved, I told M that I could only carve correctly if he sang while I worked. Otherwise my muscles wouldn’t work. This kept him occupied and away from me while I wielded a knife.
  • Not all kids love getting elbow deep in pumpkin guts. Mateo was really not stoked about the idea. It took some serious negotiation to get him to stick a spoon in that pumpkin and pull out the guts. In the end, we did part of it together and I did the rest while he told me how dirty I was getting.
  • Expect awe. While he didn’t totally love the act of scraping out the pumpkin, he couldn’t have been prouder of the final result. Success!

Melted Crayon Decorating


“Pinterest says…” Oh… the story of my life. Well, Pinterest said that crayons would easily melt atop a pumpkin with little more than a hair dryer. Hmm. Is that so? Sort of. I take issue with the word “easily” and would offer a disclaimer that “quickly” isn’t how I would describe the melting process. This craft was not a success. Melting the crayons took too long. The hot air from the blow dryer made Mateo nervous. Melted crayons bits splattered everywhere. I shall refrain from listing the steps involved because I can’t actually suggest this craft. For a hot minute, it was cool to Mateo. The melting was cool. The colors were cool. Wielding the hair dryer was cool. For approx. four minutes. The rest of the time was spent trying to convince him how fucking cool this is.

Eh. You win some, you lose some.


In the event that you want to try this at home anyway, the gist is simply. Glue five or six broken crayons atop a pumpkin. Use a hair dryer’s hot air to melt the crayons and let the melted crayon drip down the sides and create a uniquely “painted” pumpkin. If you have success with this, please let me know.

That’s our story, folks. Two weeks down, many more to go. Slowly but surely we are finding our way and I’m choosing to embrace the excitement I feel at work rather than use it to beat myself up. Ain’t that life. I’m gonna savor all the little moments we have… 

The Absurdity of Motherhood

Color me over it. 

That’s my kid. Standing in my mom’s kitchen, crying over something trivial for the 10th time that hour. 


This is him sulking because we had to leave the grocery store. It looked very similar to the face he wore when told we had to go into the grocery store. Dammed if you do. Dammed if you don’t. 

The poor little nugget caught a nasty ear infection and cold more than a week ago and has been a whiny, crying, sleep refusing disaster ever since. Literally a week straight of listening to this kid sob over everything from not being able to magically transform into Catboy from PJ Masks to the sudden disappearance of the popsicle he just ate — while also being up every hour soothing coughing fits and fielding tears and vomit. Nothing – I repeat, nothing – was acceptable to him for seven long days. 

Thankfully, there’s light at the end of the proverbial tunnel and he’s mostly well again. The smile has returned sporadically and we’ve even had a good laugh or two. 


Still, the intervals between these happy moments are long and I just fielded a meltdown that could slay a dragon over ….. well, I’m actually not even sure what prompted this display of outrage. But outraged he was. 

Every mom has had these weeks. Whether you turn to wine, chocolate, Netflix binges, Amazon prime or all of the above to decompress after bedtime, we all have our coping strategies. 

Last night, I turned to my favorite vice — fried dough and cheese — and tore through a pizza and garlic bread. Let me assure you, it temporarily solved the problem. Or, at the very least, it induced a fried food coma that blotted out the exhaustion. 


(Please be sure to notice the super sexy socks I wear… because I’m nothing is not fashionable) 

This week has torn through my physical and emotional reserves and left me feeling alarmingly reminded of the depleted state I was in during newborn life with M. Yet, as I strolled through my errands today and noticed families with multiple kids, my ovaries did their familiar dance and that familiar ache of wanting a sibling for M happened. Even in the midst of the unsolvable toddler insanity I find myself thinking “gosh. Know what I should do? I should have a couple more!” 

THAT. That is insanity. And it’s a particular brand of insanity that is unique to moms everywhere. 

It’s the ability to go from “good lord I might die if he doesn’t get his shit together” to “my heart is so full” in an hour. 

It’s the selective memory that allows us to forget the half hour of kicking and screaming over not being allowed to eat a bug when he whips out something like “i push you in rocking chair and you can dream, ok?” 

It’s desperately begging family to take your child for the weekend and then missing them and kinda wishing they were snuggled up in bed with you after 24 hours. 

It’s spending three hours getting him to sleep before settling in with some cookies and scrolling through baby pictures and smiling. 

It’s nuts. That’s what it is. 


Whether you’re a “one and done” kind of lady or dream of a house full of tiny minions running around, the absurdity of motherhood is real. 

And that’s actually kind of what makes it such a hoot. I’ve always been a bit of a cut and run kind of gal. To heck with this shiz, I’m outta here. Momming is the first arena I’ve entered without seriously entertaining the idea of fleeing. It’s the first time something has felt important enough that no amount of pain could possibly cause me to call it quits. 

Sure, I’ve given it some good solid daydream space. But to feel truly unable and unwilling to bounce during some of the most trying periods? To spend day after day and night after night giving of yourself and have that still not be enough to soothe your kid and STILL know that a life without him isn’t one you can even fathom…. 

That’s an experience I’ve previously never encountered… and one I wouldn’t trade for anything. If it came with a lifetime supply of calzones and coffee, it would be better. Not gonna lie. 

Here’s hoping he sleeps. Here’s hoping he remembers that he – at one point in the not so distant past – had coping skills. Here’s hoping we make it to noon tomorrow without one of us dissolving into tears. But… here’s hoping I never forget what a gift motherhood is. Here’s hoping I never lose sight of the fact that I’ve been shown how to love unconditionally and how wonderful that feels. Here’s hoping I get to expand the brood and worry that two or three kids will actually be what does me in. Here’s hoping he remembers that through it all, I was there with a hug and a big ol’ ROAR. 


Here’s hoping to future snuggles with my boy and his little one… if that’s what the universe has in store. 

And, of course, here’s hoping I never forget my Seamless delivery password… 

Toilet Paper Roll Binoculars and a Rant about Personal Space  

I’ve vowed from the get go to keep it real here. So, here’s the real deal today… what the fuck happened to personal space???? If people had to guess what I most miss about pre-baby life, I’m sure they’d place their bets on sleep being my answer. Wrong! 

Personal. Space. 


The ability to go from point A to point B in my home without tripping over my toddler because god forbid he be more than a foot away from mama for more than 8 seconds at a time. All day. Every day. And most nights (since he almost always ends up in my bed or me in his), the 3 foot version of me is underfoot calling my name. Don’t get me wrong, obviously I adore my child. But man, what I would give to be able to pee alone…. 

I’ve begun looking for full time work and have all the feels about leaving SAHM life. Recently I took an interview for a job that would likely require me to commute via train for an hour and a half each way. People are very concerned about the length of this commute. Really? Do you have toddlers? Because the idea of 3 hours a day where I sit alone and no one climbs on me or calls my name 16 times a minute sounds like heaven. Most days I would cut off a limb for a commute to work. The chance to gather my thoughts solo, be by myself, listen to my music, ease in and out of the day… that will likely become my favorite part of being a working mom. Mateo is a delight. Except when I trip over him. End rant. 

Now, onto our craft. 


I wasn’t feeling a mess today… and I was strongly hoping for a bath free evening. Therefore, I opted for these adorable toilet paper roll binoculars. The craft was made even more perfect by the fact that we just checked out a new book called “Pretend” from the library and it’s a current favorite of Mateo’s. His favorite part? The binoculars and looking for pirates. It’s like the universe wanted us to make this craft. 

Super easy to make and incredibly mess free, this was a huge hit that resulted in every room in our house being cased by a super jazzed explorer with high powered binoculars. 

Check it out below and get crafting. It truly doesn’t get easier than this . 


Materials: 

  • Clothespin
  • Toilet paper rolls (2) / or one large paper towel roll cut in half. 
  • Construction paper
  • Tape
  • Stickers 
  • String
  • Hole puncher 

Directions: 

  • To Prep: Hot glue the clothespin in between the toilet paper rolls and punch a hole on the outside of each roll (to thread your string through to create a necklace). Cut strips of construction paper. Gather tape and stickers. 
  • Let your little one choose the order of the colored strips and allow them to tape the strips around the toilet paper rolls. (Since my toddler loves few things more than getting into a roll of tape, this was a huge hit). 
  • Once that’s done, let your little guy go to town with stickers. We chose a delightful combo of PJ Masks, Thomas the Tank Engine, Minion and star stickers for our decorating. 
  • Finally, loop the string or yarn through the holes and show your little one how to use them to find things (pirates, specifically). 
  • Let the exploration begin!! 

3D Flower 

#keepingitreal for a moment before we begin…

I’ve been on the receiving end of many an “oh you’re such a good mom… you do SOOO much with him!” This is usually followed by examples of things that make the person in question somehow less than. “My kid is watching moana again.” “I let daycare handle that shit. I don’t have your patience.” And so on and so on. The implication is that my kid never watches tv and lives in an oasis of patience and homeschooling divinity. Let me set you straight. Today we made this craft. It was lovely. We also got play dough lodged in our ear on purpose. Dumped milk on my bed intentionally. Tried to climb in the oven. Chucked all our trains at our door and had a meltdown the size of Texas at the library. I raised my voice. Many times. He cried. I cried. He’s now watching Lion Guard while I write this and I have #noshame. We may craft, but this is by no means a bastion of calm, screen free parenting. Don’t get it twisted.

Now, onto the craft. I’ve seen a few of these on Pinterest (otherwise known as my home away from home) and felt like Mateo would enjoy the texture of the project and could master the folding. As with many a craft, envisioning the end result was the tricky part for him. Getting him to visualize that the folded paper would become a flower (and therefore motivate him to participate) took a bit of explanation. Once he caught on, he enjoyed figuring out how to properly fold over the strips of paper to make the petals and was very pleased w the end result.

Some tips:

  • I generally use card stock paper for crafts like this. It just holds up better.
  • Skip fretting about whether strips are the same size. This is supposed to be fun. No one gives a damn if your petals are uneven in size or ripped a little. Your little one certainly won’t care. We aren’t trying for the best crafts in Connecticut. We are trying to enjoy our time together.
  • For the stem, I used hot glue once he glued the pipe cleaner to the paper with Elmers. I do this for a lot of crafts. Once he is finished, I’ll peel it off and replace the Elmer’s with hot glue. It simply prevents me from having to glue and re-glue pieces back on every hour.
  • I glued all the strips around the center of the flower before we started– to give him an idea of what we were doing. Older kids could probably glue the strips around the circle AND fold over.
  • Speaking of glue, I’ve taken to letting him apply glue with a paintbrush. This is easier for him and it reduces the chance of him squirting glue all over the place or sticking the nozzle up his nose (which is strangely appealing to him).

Now, here’s how to make it happen


Materials: 

  • Blue, yellow and red card stock paper (any other thick paper will work)
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • One dark green and one light green pipe cleaner.

Directions: 

  • To prep: cut 8 thin strips of yellow card stock paper, cut a small circle for the center, collect one dark green and one light green pipe cleaner. Draw a circle near the top of your page. Leave room for the petals. Glue the strips around the circle. Fold light green pipe cleaner into petals.
  • Show your little one how to fold over the paper without pressing it down to create the 3D or “fluffy” petal. This took a few lessons for M to grasp but he really enjoyed trying to get it just right.
  • After all the petals are glued, use the red card stock paper circle to make the center of the flower. Glue in place.
  • Ask your little one to apply glue to the dark green pipe cleaner and adhere to the paper. Don’t expect it to stick all that well.
  • Let dry- use hot glue to adhere the stem at this point.
  • Hang and enjoy

Also, originally my plan was to use this a chance to teach M about the parts of a flower and what each does. Given our day (and the fact that I was operating on 3 hours of sleep), I skipped the education today. He didn’t seem to care 🙂

10 Reasons #momlife Is So Worth It… An Honest Look at the Joys We Can Overlook During the Chaos


Dude! Facebook’s bumming me out lately. No, I’m not talking about the compare and despair phenomenon that leaves folks like me in a puddle on the kitchen floor. I’m talking about the seeming onslaught of Mommy blog articles lamenting the struggles of #momlife.
Like many moms, I follow a host of mommy blogs. Stay at home mom blogs. Crafty mommy blogs. Toddler mommy blogs. I’ve got it all covered. Like many, my mornings are spent giving Facebook a quick scroll as I drink coffee and make breakfast for my wee one. Lately, this has left me feeling a bit sour. Link after link pops up with titles that clearly spell out the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

  • The meltdowns.
  • The lack of sleep.
  • The never ending todo lists.
  • The unhelpful spouses.
  • The helpful spouses who still just don’t get it.
  • The kids who are slowly trying to kill us.

All of it. None of it is untrue. Yet, somehow, after skimming the third article, I feel overworked and under appreciated.

I get it. The bombardment of #soblessed posts has left too many moms wondering why they’re the only ones feeling like they’re constantly sinking. I’ve yet to encounter a more lonely feeling than sitting at home with an infant who simply will not stop wailing and feeling like everyone else has this motherhood thing figured out and you’re just an epic fail. Or scrolling Facebook in the middle of the night after you’ve had yet another tango with your toddler who won’t sleep and realizing everyone else is in bed… because they’re good moms who have figured out how to get their kid to sleep. I’ve taken the unshowered, pajama clad walks around the neighborhood with my kid in the stroller and stared enviously at the put together moms I saw passing me by. What do they know that I don’t? And then I’ve gone home, scrolled some mommy blogs and realized that I’m exactly where I should be… and likely doing far better than I give myself credit for. So I understand the need for these articles.

All of us, at one time or another (sometimes multiple times an hour) need to be reminded that the glossy pictures we see on Facebook are just the surface of mom life. The women we see who clearly have it all figured out and are sailing through momhood with nary a self doubt are actually struggling just like we are. (I laugh as I think of the specific woman in question that I’m thinking about. I foolishly lived in jealous fear of her and her momhood prowess for months only to accidentally stumble upon a friendship with her and realize she’s no different than I am. The same fears. The same self doubt. The same sense of being overwhelmed. Lesson learned.) I’m not saying these articles are untrue or unneeded. They absolutely are!

If today is not your day, your week, your month or even your year, you are not alone and the collective we totally gets it. Keep on trudging, mama. You’re doing fabulously.
If, however, you need to be reminded of the good that makes motherhood the joy that it can be, this is the post for you.

Top 10 Reasons #momlife is #SoWorthIt


1- The Smiles: Sometimes I see that smile all day. Sometimes I get a rare glimpse every 3 hours because life is just doing my kid wrong over and over that day. But every time, no fail, that smile slays me. Why? Well, who doesn’t love to see their kid happy? Duh. But, really, have you looked at a kid smile big? It’s a true, genuine display of pure unadulterated happiness. No self consciousness. No “smile with your mouth closed because your teeth are weird looking” thoughts. Just pure joy. Who doesn’t need a reminder every so often to stop sweating the small stuff and be happy. (Disclaimer: that smile is often quickly replaced by tears when the “small stuff” is suddenly threatening to ruin your kid’s entire life)

2- The Milestones: I’m not talking about how early your kid crawls or how many words they can say by the time they’re 3. I’m talking about the little, daily milestones that no one would notice but you and your little one. The first time he can put his dish in the sink. Realizing he couldn’t do that puzzle last week. Seeing him struggle with fixing a train track and succeeding. Watching a kid take his toy and seeing his little brain working to figure out what to say.. rather than resorting to tears or pushing. The first time you walk to daycare without having to remind him 212 times that he has to hold your hand when you cross the street. These are the moments that stop me in my tracks and remind me that I’m doing something right and he’s working hard at life as well.

3- The Unconditional Love: Disclaimer for this one– last week I was informed that my son likes the neighbor’s mama more than his. That said, pay attention the next time your kid looks up at you. Stop and take in their face when they see you first thing in the morning. That’s love at its purest and that look makes every hour spent drowning in the world of “I’m not good enough” and “this kid is going to be the death of me” worth it.

4- The Purpose: I’m not talking about living for your child or making them the be all and end all of your world. Lord knows I’ve struggled with that and have recently made a conscious decision to get a life outside of my kid. Still, there’s a purpose that comes from raising another human. An immediate answer for the question of “why” you keep on keeping on even when it feels insurmountable. Little people are relying on you. Your little people. There’s no greater feeling, in my mind, than the sense of purpose that comes from raising a tiny human to be a respectful adult.

5- The Sudden Willingness to be Silly: Perhaps this doesn’t apply to everyone. But, I’m a shy, quiet, socially awkward lady. Rarely does pure silly come out of me. And even more rarely does it appear in public. My son is a 2.5 year old crazy person who lives to be silly and loves nothing more than getting ridiculous with mama. He’s also the first person in 34 years of life who brings that out in me. He’s the first person who overrides my feelings of self consciousness and compels me to get on the floor and be a little nutty and possibly even roar at him in public. Because, apparently that’s the greatest thing in the whole damn world. This silliness in me is something I didn’t know I missed until It showed itself with him.

6- The Appreciation for Sleep: Yes, yes I know. You’re tired. Believe you me, I get it. My little small fry is 2.5 and still rarely makes it through the night. And strangely, this is actually not the worst it’s been with him. Honest to god, I can probably count the amount of nights I’ve gotten more than 4 hours of sleep in row since he arrived on two hands. But, the flip side of this exhaustion is what I experienced this morning (after my guy spent the night at grandma’s). THE GLORY OF A FULL NIGHT OF SLEEP. Before Mateo, I was simply unable to recognize the divine nature of sleeping for seven hours in a row.

7- The Empathy: I cared about the world before Mateo arrived. Absolutely. But not quite as deeply as I do now. Seeing news stories of children in crisis, families struggling to get by, schools closing because of lack of funds, and people fighting for justice for our kids slays me in a way it never has. That child in crisis is someone’s baby. And, for the first time, I know what not being able to take your baby’s pain away feels like. That family struggling could be us at any moment and I can practically feel the late night worry they must be experiencing. Motherhood has opened the flood gates of empathy in a way I never expected.

8- Internet Friends: Wait. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. It’s no secret that it takes a village to raise a child. Sadly, however, many people’s villages are spread over the country and family isn’t as readily available as it was once was. Finding mom friends you click with is not nearly as easy as it sounds. College friends grow up and move away. I had some wonderful work friendships that inspired laughter daily. Since leaving to stay home with M, I’ve not seen them more than a couple of times. Life happens and it can be lonely. Bring on the world of Facebook mom groups. Sure, yea, an entire article could (and has) been written about the drama that can EASILY take over in these forums. Still, there’s a sense of shared purpose and fellowship that I know eases the struggle for many a mom. I mean, where else are you gonna turn to post a picture of the nasty rash your child has developed before asking for some suggestions for relief until your doctor can see your kid? Where else are you gonna turn when your everything is handed a truly upsetting medical or psychological diagnosis? I’ve seen these groups rally like no one’s business behind these mamas and I can only hope it’s provided some relief and comfort. Who else cares that you’re in Target alone for the first time in a year? Guarantee your internet mom friends give a damn and salute your solo shopping excursion.

9- Watching the Growth of a Personality: Hands down, the coolest part of parenthood has been watching my son turn from a squishy little newborn into a person with opinions and likes and dislikes and a unique personality. Watching him develop into his own person has been mind blowing. He’s shy, yet silly. He’s cautious in public, yet tries to end his life through daredevil stunts at home on a daily basis. He rarely acts without thinking first… especially in social situations. He’s smart as all get out, yet as illogical as they come. He’s obsessed with whether he has a hangnail at any given moment and is currently holding firm to the statement that his name is Potato. No one is really sure why. But that’s my guy. And watching him develop into who he will eventually become is a gift unlike any other.

10- The Gut Wrenching Love: It’s been said that having kids is like removing your own heart and letting it wander the world outside your body. This sounds exactly right to me. The level of love I feel for this hooligan is absurd. Simply absurd. Yet so wonderful. Five days from now he begins at a new daycare. His first “real” daycare. This has occurred to me daily … actually many times a day for weeks. Why? Worry. The worry produced by a love that feels like it might physically overtake you sometimes. Will he be fine? Absolutely. Will be likely enjoy it? For sure. Will I cry? Oh god, yea. Probably more than once. My unfortunate friends (and probably those internet friends I spoke about earlier) will be bombarded with my need for reassurance that he’s fine all day. I will pick him up at the end of the day and be almost genuinely amazed that he is really, truly fine. While insane, that’s a love for someone I’ve never felt before and I am so grateful to experience it.

There you have it. My top ten list. 

Parenthood is hard. It’s hard for us all. It is often times thankless. No one is handing out medals for figuring out how to entertain your toddler while ALSO showering. And, I’ll be the first to admit it. My sister took Mateo to grandma’s house yesterday and is keeping him until Saturday and I nearly cried tears of joy. And then took a nap. But it’s also the bee’s knees and the cat’s meow and the jelly to life’s peanut butter. It’s simply the greatest thing I’ve experienced and sometimes I just need a reminder when it feels relentless.

-sticker makeover courtesy of my toddler-

What The Mini Sees…


Ask my kid to think about something and you’ll witness him place his tiny little pointer finger on top of his pursed lips and tap it a few times while he ponders the matter.

Catch me in a moment of contemplation and you’ll witness the same gesture.

The fact that I birthed a mini me is no secret. In fact, for most of his life he’s actually been referred to as “mini” by friends of mine. From the getgo, this kid has been a spitting image of his mama and has prompted many an exclamation of “oh my goodness, y’all are twins!.” The novelty has actually worn off for me. And, as he gets older, he starts looking less and less like my little twinie. This fact will likely serve him well in middle school.


What I have noticed recently is how much of who I am – as a person – is being mirrored back to me by him.  My mannerisms. My gestures. My sense of humor. My cautiousness. My preference for books over people. So much of what makes me who I am is being reflected back by my son. While this makes for more than a few adorable anecdotes (my personal favorite being when he responded to the offer of a bath with “not diggin’ it, mama”), it’s recently prompted some self reflection.

Like every other mother out there, the vast majority of my mental activity is focused around him. Is he meeting his milestones? Was that rash there yesterday? Will today be the day that his food refusal results in starvation? Should he go to preschool this year or next? Will kids make fun of little gremlin teeth?

I know that kid like the back of my hand and obsess about everything from what he eats, to how many numbers he can properly recognize to whether he will ever master algebra (something I’ve yet to accomplish). Who he is, who he is becoming and who he will end up being occupy an awful lot of brain space. Pretty par for the course as a parent, as I understand it.

What I haven’t given nearly as much brain space to is who I am. Who does he see when he wakes up? Who does he hear when its three in the morning and I answer the middle of the night calls for Mama? Who does he see when I think he’s not looking? And, how is this shaping him?

Two and a half is a challenge in many ways. Between the whining, the sassy comebacks and the sudden need to assert himself in all matters, toddlerhood has given me a run for my money (as if I get paid for this shiz) and has resulted in many an exasperated exclamation of “for the love of god, Mateo.” It’s also been mind blowing to watch. He’s coming into his own. He’s turning into a little human with cognitive thought processes, very clear likes and dislikes, a response to everything (usually a sassy one) and a wild streak that will serve him well as an adult but will ensure I never sleep during his teen years. These days I’m literally watching him become a person. Every day new aspects of his personality emerge. Some are adorable. Some I could do without. But all of it is fascinating and I’m often left in awe of the tiny little dude who races around my house making poop sounds (all day, every day).

I’ve also been caught off guard on more than half a dozen occasions recently by a sudden and very clear demonstration that he’s paying attention. He sees me. He hears me. He hears what I don’t say. He’s taking it all in and mulling it over as he navigates his days.

What is it that I want him to see and am I that person?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Like everyone else, I’m flawed and wonderful and snarky and selfless. I have days when I am nowhere near the mom I want to be. Days when I have failed at being a decent friend. Days when I go to bed thinking “for the love of god, Lizi.” And vow to up my game the next day. But, overall, am I modeling what I want for him?

Am I showing him what kindness looks like – both in how I treat others and how I let others treat me?

Am I handing him delicious lemonade when life throws me lemons? Or, am I sulking over things that don’t go my way and wallowing in the land of “it’s not fair?”

Am I showing him what a strong woman looks like? Am I serving as a living, breathing example of the truth that women are powerful beings who deserve respect?

Am I turning the other cheek metaphorically when he comes at me with toddler hostility and rage? Am I showing him how to respond to those who hurt his feelings, put him down, try to infringe on his rights?

Am I the face of tolerance and love for others? Does he hear me make disparaging comments about people? Or, does he witness unconditional acceptance for those around us?

What am I saying to my friends on the phone when he’s around? Is he hearing optimism or a sense of victimhood?

What’s my general mood? Is life a vale of tears or is each day greeted with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm? Obviously, no one actually wakes up and radiates sunshine and happiness all day, every day. Let’s be real. But, overall, does he see a woman who is enthused about the life she gets to live? Or, does he see the frustration, worry, exhaustion and stress that sometimes plagues me?

I don’t claim to have the answers to all of these questions. And, in some cases, I know the answer and it doesn’t thrill me. What matters, however, is the realization that my little Mini is picking up what I’m putting down and it’s my job to make sure he’s picking up gems instead of glass. Bring on the sunshine and optimism!

Cat In The Hat Paper Bag Puppet

mateo_cat in the hat collage

Small fry is recovering from a nasty fever that left us couch bound all of yesterday. To pass the time and keep the little one content, we watched The Cat in the Hat Goes Camping more times than any human should in any given 24 hour period. Add to this the fact that the Cat in the Hat is one of our nightly books, it seemed an obvious choice for our next crafting adventure. Now that he’s feeling a little more energetic but still isn’t ready for public interaction, we opted for an adorable Cat in the Hat paper bag puppet.

The craft was a HUGE hit. Practicing his puppetry skills, on the other hand, could not have been lower on his list of interests. The Cat proudly took us residence on our fridge and was the first thing anyone who entered the house in the following weeks heard about.

One note I will make…

Mateo’s strong suit is not coloring inside the lines. Therefore, if I were repeating this craft (or walking someone else through it), I might have painted the stripes on the hat ahead of time. His enjoyment of the activity would have remained the same and we would have simply bypassed the frustration over not being able to paint where ever he wanted. Reluctant to give up the painting aspect of the hat? Another strategy would be to cover the white striped portions with masking tape and let your little one let loose with the red paint. Once it dries, simply peel the masking tape up and you’ll have perfectly placed stripes.

Wanna get started? Here’s how.

Mateo_Cat in the hat face

Materials: 

  • Brown paper sandwich bag
  • White and black construction paper
  • Googly eyes (you can also draw the eyes on)
  • Red and black paint
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Directions: 

  • To prep: cut a face out of white construction paper (simply an oval). Cut three black whiskers for each side of the face. Cut a hat out of white construction paper. To assist with keeping the stripe aspect going and prevent Mateo from painting the entire thing red, I painted a small red line on the top and bottom of each portion he was supposed to paint red. Then I instructed him to paint in between the lines. See above note about how well this went.
  • Have your little one paint the entire bottom half of the paper bag black.
  • While that’s drying, help them use glue to assemble the face. To save time and reduce the amount of steps (I mean, he loves to craft but he’s still got a two year old’s attention span), I drew the mouth and nose on the face ahead of time with a sharpie.
  • Next, paint the red stripes on the hat. (Or, be a little smarter than I and hand your little guy or gal a pre-painted hat to glue).
  • Once all parts are completed, have him glue the face on the paper bag’s flap.
  • Lastly, add the hat with glue. (A note: have your little one glue the hat on with a good portion of the hat’s brim covering the paper bag. Otherwise, it will flop backwards and lessen the effect.
  • Show your little one how to make it work like a puppet. Take a deep breath and contain your disappointment that they have zero interest in it being a puppet (maybe that’s just me……).

Enjoy!