Because Little Girls Should Dress Like Little Girls

I lean pretty far to the left when it comes to politics.

And every one knows with regard to curse words, I use those fuckers liberally.

But there are some areas where I guess you’d call me conservative.

And one of those areas is the clothing my daughters wear.

I believe little girls should dress like, um… little girls.

And I believe pre-teen girls should dress like pre-teen girls. Not like 24 year-olds.

Since we are coming out of a really bad financial situation, I have not bought new clothes for any of the kids for a few years. (Except for things I see at Costco, like pajamas, and you know, the robes).

Plus, I am not a shopper. I hate shopping.

But we have our swim team banquet in a couple days, and Number 5 and Number 7 really didn’t have any dresses to wear that fit them, so I told them I’d take them to Kohl’s to get a new dress. I had some Kohl’s cash to use, so it wouldn’t really cost me anything.

So we went to  Kohl’s yesterday. Number 4 came along for the girl time. Since I never ever take the girls shopping, this was a big deal.

Number 7 acted as if she’d never set foot outside of our house before.

Number 5 has just moved up from the little girl section of Kohl’s to the regular girl section.

She and Number 4 ran to check the dresses there out while I took Number 7 to look at the ones in her size.

I found some great dresses for Number 7. Some appropriate, modest, super cute dresses.

After we had picked out a bunch, we found Number 4 and 5. They had an armful of dresses.

An armful of cheesy, crappy, and borderline slutty dresses.

In a size 7/8.

What. The Fuck.

I vetoed almost all of their choices.

25% of them were inappropriate. 50% were super cheesy.  And 20% were just plain ugly.

Half the stuff she picked out looked like something Tess from Working Girl would have worn.

Why do girls’ dresses and clothing in general need to be so goddamn grown up?

I know little girls like that. I know they like to put on their mom’s high heel shoes and dresses and they dream about the day they can wear that kind of stuff.

But let them dream! Let them wait! Let them wear fucking kids’ clothes, for chrissake.

Who is designing this shit?

It’s terrible!

I sent Number 4 and 5 back to the drawing board about three times.  Each time, Number 5 became more and more upset.

“MOM! Everything I like, YOU HATE!”

She was right. I hated almost every single cheesy thing.

I went with them and searched. And searched. And searched. I found a few things that were cute.

And Number 5 hated all of my choices.

“MOM! Everything you like, I HATE!”

We finally found something adorable and appropriate. But it was amidst a whole bunch of horrible garbage. And Number 5 was really, REALLY distracted by the garbage.

And by the time we found it, I was a sweaty and out of breath and ready to gouge my own eyeballs out.

So while the deals at Kohl’s are pretty good, the selection is horrendous. At least for eight-year-old girls.

If I didn’t hate shopping before, I sure as shit hated it after taking three girls who are ten and under dress shopping there.

Sure, there are some good deals at Kohl’s. But I think the next time we spring for something new, I’m just gonna bite the bullet and go to Janie and Jack.

That shit’s expensive.

But I think keeping my daughters’ dignity intact is worth a few extra bucks.

 

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I Want To Help You Burn Off Your Crazy. Or Just Get Up Off Your Butt.

One of the things I feel super passionate about is exercise.

I don’t view exercise solely as a means to lose weight.

It can definitely help in that department, but for me, exercise is the foundation for pretty much everything.

For me, exercise is an antidepressant.

I have been Zoloft/Celexa/Lexapro/Everything Else free since exercise became a regular part of my routine. For about the last seven years.

Exercise also keeps me disciplined in other areas. When I am able to exercise early in the day, the rest of my day is much more productive.

Exercise enables me to keep up with the kids.

Exercise shows me that I can push myself  way out of my comfort zone and come out even better on the other side.

Exercise helps remind me that I can get through anything. Not just anything physical, but other things. Financial problems. Marital problems. Emotional problems. Kid problems.

Exercise makes me feel much more confident in the bedroom.

Exercise helps me sleep better.

Exercise makes my skin look better.

Exercise obviously makes me stronger.

And exercise is improving the quality of my life. Not just now, but  in the future.

And one of my goals is to help moms lead more active lives and to make exercise a part of their normal routine not because they want to drop a few pounds, but because you need to take care of your body, dammit!

When you don’t take care of your body, you can’t take care of your kids! Not the way you want to, anyway.

And eventually, it will catch up with you!

I don’t know about you, but I have a shit ton of plans and I’m not going to get to some of them for another thirty years. Plus I wanna be an active participant in not only my kids’ lives, but my grandchildren’s lives (if my kids don’t kill me first).

If exercise is an area of your life that you are struggling with, I can help you!

Not Your Average Fitness Course 2017 is back!

It’s a flexible, sustainable, and maintainable 6 week course where you receive daily e-mails, daily prompts, daily motivation, live Facebook chats available only to the course members, and tons of support.

Registration is now open, and the course starts Monday, May 1st.

This isn’t about massive lifestyle overhauls. It’s not about insane amounts of exercise. It’s not about cutting out entire food groups and foods.

It’s about being part of a community where other women can relate. The goals are to get you to be more active than you are now, to have more healthy habits than you did when you started the course, and to appreciate your body right now, no matter what your shape or size is!

It doesn’t matter where you live, how old you are, or what size you are. You don’t need a gym membership.

You just need the desire to take more control over your life.

If you are ready to make a change, CLICK HERE.

You will get immediate access to a closed Facebook group upon registration where you will receive daily support and can ask questions before the course officially begins.

Register by Friday, April 28th, and receive a Not Your Average Mom t-shirt (choose from 5 designs including the one below) as part of your registration!

If you have been waiting for a sign to make a change, here it is!

Take control of those out-of-control areas of your life starting right now!

Click here to register for Not Your Average Fitness Course today!!! You won’t regret it!

 

Could You Go 24 Hours Without Saying No To Your Kids?

Gymboree Sale On Now!

How many times do you think you say NO to your kids every day?

Five times? Twenty times? A hundred times?

I bet if I kept track, it would be in the triple digits. Easily.

Sometimes I say no to them before they can even finish a complete sentence.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

Because Number 6 is giving me a serious run for my money lately.

He’s super defiant, and I find myself embroiled in power struggles with him way more often than I’d like to be.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint the source of the issues I’ve been having with him. I believe there are a few main reasons he’s such a challenge right now.

And one of them isn’t that he’s being a tool.

It’s the way I’m talking to him.

I tried to be very conscious of this yesterday. I paid attention to our interactions.

Mommy, can I ride in the car without a booster seat?

NO.

Mommy, can I have some orange juice?

NO.

Mommy, can I have two granola bars?

NO.

Mommy, can I play on the iPad?

NO.

Mommy, can I stay home instead of going to the Y?

NO.

Mommy, can I have one of those juice boxes?

NO.

Mommy, can I –

NO.

Yikes.

These are just a few of the times I said no to Number 6 yesterday.

Forget about all the rest of my kids.

Between all of them, I very, very easily say no hundreds of times a day.

So when I ask my kids to do something, or, more accurately, when I tell them to do something and they automatically say no, why am I surprised?

I mean, it only takes one time for you to let a shit! or a fuck! slip out for your kids to memorize that word and use it at every embarrassing and inopportune time possible.

So what are we to expect when they hear us saying no hundreds of times a day?

I have become what Positive Discipline would refer to as a no monster.

I am no-ing my kids to death.

And that immediately builds the foundation for a power struggle. And power struggles are exhausting and infuriating.

Obviously we can’t say yes to every single question our kids ask.  We need to set limits and boundaries.

But how can that be done without saying no?

Well, I am going to focus on the following three things:

First, I’m going to do my best to stop with the demands. 

I’m getting better at this.

What do you need to do to be ready to get on the bus? has been MUCH more effective for me than progressing from:

Go get your shoes.

to

I said go get your shoes!

to

Didn’t I just ask you to get your shoes?

to

Why are your shoes still not on?

to

HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO ASK YOU TO GET YOUR SHOES???

Next, I’m going to try really, REALLY hard to ask questions that can’t be answered with yes or no. Those just invite the power struggles.

Instead of Can you help me bring something in from the car?

I’m going to try something more along the lines of What do you want to carry inside? Your swim bag or a bag of groceries?

That gives Number 6 a choice so he has some control and it also gives hime an opportunity to make decisions.

Finally, I’m giving myself this challenge. I’m going to try not to say no for a whole day.

Yep. For a whole day.

I will find a way to either give him choices, or to say yes.

Before you lose your shit about the saying yes thing, hold on.

First, as far as the choices go, instead of saying “Get ready to go to practice” I’m going to try:

“It’s time to get ready to leave. What do you want to do first? Pack your swim bag or eat your snack?”

When it’s time to get out of the car, (one of the things that drives me f&%$ing insane because he takes like five million years to get out) rather than barking, “Hurry up and get out of the car!!!!”

I’m going to try, “How many seconds do you think it’s going to take you to get from the car to the front door?”

We’ll see if we can make it fun instead of turning it into a battle.

Now back to that saying yes thing. I don’t mean I’m just going to give up and let the kids do whatever the hell they want.

When I tell Number 6 it’s time to get ready for bed and he says,  “NO! I DON’T WANT TO GO TO BED!”

I’m going to try “Yes, I can understand you want to stay up, but it’s time for bed! Now what do you want to do first? Brush your teeth or put your pajamas on?”

That’s a whole lot different than saying, “GO UPSTAIRS AND GO TO BED.”

If your kids are giving you a hard time in the defiance department, take a look at how you are talking to them.

How many times do you say no to them every day? It might be more than you think!  You might be unknowingly inviting the responses and behavior.

If you find you are in the same boat as me, maybe you can take the just say no to saying no challenge with me.

Think you can make it through a whole day without saying no?

I don’t know if I can, but for my sake and Number 6’s sake, I’m sure gonna try.

 

 

Gymboree Sale On Now!

 

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What I Learned Over Spring Break

Last week was our spring break. It was the first spring break in about five years that we haven’t had major money problems.

Where we weren’t in danger of losing our house, where the Man from CL&P wasn’t coming to knock on our door on an almost monthly basis, where we weren’t on food stamps, where we didn’t have to return cans and bottles or hold a tag sale in order to pay for groceries.

We aren’t anywhere near rolling around in bags of money. We aren’t in the position to do whatever we want whenever we want. We are nowhere near that. We still have to be frugal and cut the fat wherever we can.

But we aren’t destitute.

Being in a terrible financial black hole for years had put me into the mindset that I couldn’t relax. That I had to spend just about every second of every day working or trying to find ways to make money. And so for the past four of five spring breaks and Christmas vacations and summer vacations, I have basically ignored the kids.

Going away anywhere was clearly not an option. But I had also convinced myself that taking time to do just about anything with them wasn’t possible. Or allowed.

It’s hard to get out of that mindset.

For me, anyway.

So this spring break, I made the conscious decision to be much more available to the kids.

I did this for a number of reasons.

First, Number 7 is five years old.

Five years old!!!

How did that happen so fast?

There are phases of life that have passed us for good.

We are done with diapers and highchairs and strollers and carrying kids. I find myself feeling nostalgic for some of these things that are long gone sometimes.

Although I appreciate where we are now. I am enjoying the kids having more independence. I am enjoying relating to them on a different level.

But damn is it going by fast!!!

I definitely have regrets. And I’ll see an occasional video show up on Facebook from five years ago and it’s scary how quickly I forget. I forget what the kids looked like and what they smelled like and what they sounded like. I know that happens.  But has it happened more for me because I’ve been letting so many opportunities with the kids pass me by?

I spend a lot of time with my kids. I mean, I’m the one who is usually home with them.

But I feel like I’ve been absent for a lot of that time.

I’m in the same place as them, but I’m not really present.

You know, like the stereotypical husband sitting across the table from the wife, reading the newspaper, and not listening to a thing she ways and just uh-huh-ing her without even looking up from the paper or actually listening to a word she says.

So there was that realization.

Then there is the fact that some of the kids are having issues with behavior. They happen to be the kids I spend the least amount of time with.

Maybe it’s just coincidental, but I don’t think so.

I am certain there is a direct correlation between kids behavior and the amount of or quality of interaction between them and their parents.

My kids need my attention. My focused, undivided attention. They don’t necessarily need hours and hours of it.

But they sure as shit need more than they’ve been getting.

So for the first time in years, I made the conscious decision to spend a significant amount of quality time with my kids while they were home last week.

And something ironic happened.

I didn’t get sick of them. I didn’t find myself getting pissed and annoyed and short on patience.

Don’t get me wrong. They did stupid and infuriating stuff. They still tried to annoy the shit out of each other and me. The are kids. That’s what they do sometimes.

But they started doing it less and less.

I spent more quality time with the kids than I have in a long, long time. And instead of me getting to the end of our vacation and feeling exhausted and exasperated and desperate for a break, I felt kind of sad that the break was over. I could have used a couple more days.

What the fuck?

I have never, ever felt that way.

I have spent every vacation for the last couple years desperate for the kids to go back to school so I could have a break.

And the kids (who are usually at least a little bit excited to go back to school and see their friends) were bummed, too.

Number 4 had no desire to go back to school. That’s never happened before.

At least ten times last week, she just looked at me — not in response to going on one of our adventures or in an effort to get something but just out of the blue — and she said, I love you, Mom.

Whoa.

I guess I am having one of Oprah’s proverbial light bulb moments.

I’m not going to stop working, drop everything I want to do, start homeschooling and construct a huge family bed.

But it’s clear that my priorities need to shift. Or at least the way I structure my time does.

Last week the kids and I had one of the best weeks we’ve ever had together. Possibly, the best week we’ve ever had.

I know we did some fun things. But it wasn’t really the fun things that made the break so great.

It was the fact that we did them together.

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