Don’t Wait For Your Family To Give You A Mother’s Day Gift

On Mother’s Day,  Facebook is flooded with articles of What Moms Really Want For Mother’s Day.

For most of us, it’s nothing major.  It’s a day where we don’t have to take care of anyone else. Where we can sleep and have some alone time.

An opportunity to recharge.

But for many of us, it’s simply an appreciation for what we do every day.

My friend’s husband wrote this message on her Facebook timeline today:

Happy Mother’s Day to the glue to our family!  The lady that makes it all happen!

Oh, yes. YES, YES, YES!!!


That’s it!

And this isn’t to say that husbands don’t do a lot or that they aren’t an integral part of the family machine.

But boy that would be nice to hear.

Because moms get shit done. And they get it done with efficiency, forethought, and an attention to detail.


They perform some seriously impressive logistical gymnastics.

They keep things running smoothly when all hell breaks loose.

If it’s lost, if it’s broken, if it’s due in twelve hours, if it’s impossible, moms find a way to make it happen.

Even when they are sick.

And so, Moms, I’m putting this out there to you.

On this Mother’s Day, don’t wait for your family to give you the perfect gift.

Give it to yourself.

Give yourself the gift of self care.

Because you are the glue.

And when the glue breaks down, then the family falls apart. And then you’re all fucked.

In the long term, take care of your body. Break a sweat every day.

Make time to rest. Get enough sleep. Sleep is the zamboni for your brain.

Invest time in finding a person (or people) you completely trust to spend time with your children. Because there’s no greater stress than feeling like you are the only one who can take care of them.

Find something that makes you happy. Really happy. And then do it. Regularly. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you don’t get (or need) to have fun anymore.

Ask for help when you need it. We all need help sometimes!

Spend time with your friends.

In the short term, if you like having fresh flowers, don’t wait for someone to get them for you… get them for yourself. Book yourself a massage. Take the damn day off. Schedule a man-pedi. Go to the movies. Book a weekend at a hotel. Whatever gift you’d really like, get it!

You’ve earned it!

Sure, it would be nice if someone did this for us. But that’s not always how it pans out.

This Mother’s Day, don’t wait for your husband or your children or anyone else to do this for you.

Acknowledge and appreciate yourself.

You deserve it.

And just in case no one else has told you today, Happy Mother’s Day to the glue in your family!


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Sh*t I Made From Skinnytaste — Giant Turkey Meatball

I suppose you shouldn’t include the word sh*t in the title of a post you are writing about food, but, well, like I’ve said before, this isn’t the Pioneer Woman.

A couple weeks ago on Facebook I asked if you all wouldn’t mind sharing your favorite chicken recipes that were easy and that were also liked by all (or most) of your family, and I got like a bazillion comments, and one of them said “Anything from I’ve never made anything from that site that wasn’t great.”

I have seen lots of stuff from her site before, but I don’t know if I’ve ever actually made anything from it.

So I’ve been checking it out recently for a couple reasons:

1) I like her philosophy of everything in moderation.

2) She has lots of stuff that isn’t too complicated and doesn’t take long to make.

3) She uses real food.

4) She’s done all the work.

I would love to have the time to experiment and make up healthy and appealing to the masses dinners for my family.

But right now I don’t. And I probably won’t anytime in the near future. Plus, why reinvent the wheel, you know?

And then I thought about that movie with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep — I can’t remember the name but it’s the one where Meryl Streep is Julia  Child and Amy Adams makes one of her recipes a day for a year and blogs about each one  —  and I was like, Why don’t you do something like that with Skinnytaste?

Somebody may already be doing it. Who knows.  And I’m not going to try a recipe a day. But I’m gonna try a few.

Because I am on a quest to finally get a meal plan for my family in place, so I’m gonna start here.

Since ground turkey is one of my go-to grocery items cause they sell it at  Costco in a four pack, I went to, typed in  ground turkey in the search bar, and up popped a whole butt load of recipes. And this one was on the first page: Giant Turkey Meatball Parmesan.



So I tried that today.

I tasted it before I left for practice tonight, and the rest of the kids ate it while I was at the pool. So I had to wait until I got home for feedback.

And here is the verdict:

According to me: That sh*t’s good!!!

According to Number 4 (10 years old and not always a fan of big slabs of meat): “Mom! That’s actually really good!”

According to Number 6 (6 years old and my pickiest eater): “Yum! It tastes like lasagna!”

According to my husband (talking to Number 4): “Eat some of this. It’s really good!”

I’m not sure what Number 7 thought of it because she was in bed when I got home. Number 5 went to chick fil a with a friend, so she didn’t eat it. Number 2 isn’t home yet and Number 3 is recovering from the virus from hell and didn’t eat dinner.

So of the 5 people who ate it, it got 4 definite thumbs up and one yet-to-be-determined at this time.

A recap:

Very easy to make.

The recipe calls for these ingredients:

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup Delallo Pomodoro Fresco Marinara
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan, optional for topping

I had most of the ingredients.

I didn’t have parsley so I skipped that, and I used generic, jarred marinara sauce.

I also added about 1/3 cup of the marinara sauce into the meatball mixture (by mistake because I didn’t read the directions carefully) and I think that made it even better!

I made a double batch, so we could eat one tonight and freeze another one for later. (I took a gamble that we would love it and made double).

The packages of ground turkey from Costco are more like 1.6 pounds per package, and I used two of those. So rather than using  1 lb as per the recipe, I used 1.5+ pounds/1 giant meatball.

That was just enough to feed eight of us. There was nothing left over (a testament to how much everyone liked it).

My picture isn’t as pretty as hers, but here’s what it looked like:

Here are both of them:

One was a little saucier than the other, and one was a little cheesier. The one on the right is split because I wasn’t sure if it was cooked all the way through, so I cut it to check.

Here’s what it looked like when I cut it (I added a little extra sauce before we ate it):

Sliced like a meatloaf, but tastes like a meatball!

Delicious and a total hit! Prep time was minimal, it was super easy to make, and I highly recommend.

Click here to check out the recipe.

This one is definitely going in my meal plan!


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I live in the Land of the Free, and it’s time to start parenting that way.

This morning I went for a run.

And being the 4th of July, Independence Day, I was thinking about this holiday.

I was thinking about how one of the greatest things about this country is that we have freedom.

And then as I was running I started thinking about how, in this country where we have the freedom to live the way we want to, so many of us are living defensively.

We are feeling the need to rationalize decisions. We are worried about what other parents will say. We are trying to keep up with other people, to our detriment.

We are paranoid and overly protective.

We stress about every single thing that could possibly go wrong.

And living like that, constantly being on high alert, constantly worrying, constantly comparing is the total opposite of freedom. It’s constricting and suffocating. It’s being a prisoner.

In some areas of my life I have been living more freely, especially in the last couple years.

But there are other areas where I’m still operating under the assumption that I’m going to have to protect myself.

I’m not doing it anymore.

Maybe it’s because we are out of the very large shadow of financial ruin and I am finally able to see things in the light.

Maybe it’s because I’m 46 and at the halfway point of my life and it’s fucking game time. A mid-life crisis.

Maybe it’s because I’m 46 and I’m just a lot smarter and experienced and I finally get what’s important.

Who knows.

But it doesn’t really matter.

I live in the goddamned land of the free.

And that’s the way I’m gonna live the second act of my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to live with reckless abandon.

But I’m done living defensively.

I will not live my life with a perpetual zone defense.

I will take good care of myself. I will make the healthiest choices I can for myself and my family.

But we are gonna have fun while we are doing it.

My way may not be my parents’ way or my friend’s way or my neighbor’s way, and that is totally fine.

We will not live in fear of ticks and cancer and online predators and non-organic food and nitrates and whatever the hell else is out there.

We will go hiking in the woods(without long-sleeved, light colored clothing on), we will play in the sun and we will eat more hot dogs than we should in the summer.

I will not make decisions based in paranoia of what an ex-spouse or an angry local politician could potentially do to me or my family.

I will freely wear a bikini in the summer, no matter what the size of my waist is.

I will let my kids stay up too late sometimes.

I will use all forms of the word fuck whenever I feel it’s necessary. (Which is basically all the time).

If I think something is not cool and it affects me or my family, I will be vocal about it (but I will try to do that without being a complete asshole).

I will let my nine-year-old use knives as well as the stove, and I will let my four-year-old practice crossing the street on her own when I feel it’s appropriate.

I will let the kids skip school if I feel like it’s worth it as often as I want, even after the school sends home a threatening letter about attendance.

I won’t let the middle schoolers have a cell phone but I will let them walk down the road to school on their own.

I will continue to tell the kindergarten and first grade teachers that my kids will not be doing any homework if it is sent home, because I don’t believe in that shit for five and six -year-olds.

I won’t let my nine-year-old get her ears pierced even though every other girl in the whole school has hers pierced.

I  won’t let the  eleven-year-old on Instagram but I will let him cut the grass with the riding mower.

I will drive my eleven-year-old Suburban, with 110,000+ miles and rust on the bumpers until it becomes unsafe or completely shits the bed.

I will continue to do whatever I feel is the best thing for my family and for me. Without apology or rationalization or second guessing myself.

Because I have the freedom to do that, and in this land of the free and the home of the brave, I’m gonna exercise all of it.


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Dear Not Your Average Mom: Is our family complete?

Dear Not Your Average Mom,

You have 7 kids. That is impressive. My dilemma right now is this: I have 3 kids… one is from a previous relationship… I have a wonderful husband and we have 2 little boys together. The dilemma is should we have another one? There are a MILLION and ONE reasons not to… obviously we are considering it if I’m even writing these words but I’m looking for insight, advice, really anything from someone who gets it… Why did you have 7? How old were you with the last? I’m 37 right now and just starting a second career with the plans to go on for a masters degree. Agh, I need help… some days I feel too old to have another one… then I think, “Is our family complete?”



First, let me preface:

I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, therapist, social worker, and I do not have any degree in child development, marital counseling, or anything else like that.

Okay. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way I’ll start with the easy ones.

Why did we have seven kids?

Well, Number 1 and 2 were already in the picture when my husband and I got married ten and a half years ago.

They were four and seven years old. I got pregnant with Number 3 about a month after we got married.

I gave birth to Number 3 when I was 35. I had Number 4 at 37. I had a miscarriage at 39. Number 5 arrived when I was 40. Number 6 at 41. And finally Number 7 when I was 42.

Then, having given birth to five healthy kids in a little over six years after the age of 35, I  figured I had gambled enough and won.

So I got my tubes tied when I was 43.

Why did we have seven?

To be honest, I believe I’m one of the most fertile people on the face of the planet.  And we did not take many precautions.

Or any.

So the reason why we have seven kids is partly genetic, partly because I just love being a mom, and partly because my husband and I were irresponsible.

Now what advice do I have for you?

Here is what I think.

I love having a big family.


I love that the kids have so many siblings and are never really alone.

I love holidays and family dinners and being able to enjoy experiences through the eyes of kids at all different ages simultaneously.

And I love my kids more than life itself. I wouldn’t change anything for the world.

That being said, there are some things I think my kids are missing out on.

I don’t know your financial situation.

But obviously, the more kids you have, the more of a financial burden you give yourself.

And no, money isn’t everything. It doesn’t buy happiness.

But right now I am in a situation where I need to make money.

And so does my husband.

And I’m not talking about making money so that the kids can go to college.

We can’t even think about that right now.

I’m talking about making money so that my kids can eat.

So I can keep my house.

One of the kids definitely needs braces, and another is looking like she will, too. Who knows whether the three youngest will need any work.

There is no money in sight for that, not to mention sports and birthday parties and Christmas and field trips and school supplies and shoes and and movies and…

I never thought about this when I was pregnant the first time. Or the second. Or the third…

I certainly never anticipated the downturn of the economy or the fact that we’d lose money on the sale of a house rather than make it or my husband losing his business or a whole bunch of other unpredictable stuff.

And so now we are in trouble financially.

And the need to work is taking away from my ability to spend time with my kids.

I am making it work as best as I can, but I very rarely get to spend significant amounts of one-on-one time with my children.

And that bothers me.

A lot.

In addition to not having the time I’d like to have with my children, the financial issues have put a huge strain on my marriage.


So I would advise anyone thinking about adding to their family to really consider that.

If you have a really big nest egg, that’s good.

If not, well, you’ve been warned.

Then there is this…

There is a mom I know who just had a little baby.

She is one of the cutest babies I have ever seen.

And I mean that. I want to kidnap that baby. I see her, and my uterus immediately starts turning its gears.

My youngest is now three and a half.

She’s not even close to a baby anymore.

I miss that skin and that smell and those spastic flailing arms and the legs that kick when a baby is excited and giving a bottle and crawling and the “mamas” and rocking in the rocking chair.

But that only lasts for so long.

And that’s not a reason to bring another human being into the world.

Plus, yesterday was Mother’s Day.

And do you know what I did?

I sat by the pool and drank a beer.

While my kids were swimming.

I didn’t have to walk directly behind a toddler who was constantly about to run into the pool and plunge to his or her own death.

I didn’t have to follow a crawling nine-month-old who was shoving every bug, rock, and handful of sand she could into her mouth.

I didn’t have to change a diaper or whip a boob out or even get off my ass for over a half hour.

And that was awesome.

Initially it took me a while to accept that the baby-making phase was over.

But now that I’m no longer in denial, now that I’m sleeping through (most) nights, now that I can sit and actually watch my nine-year-old play baseball rather than chase around an eighteen-month-old who is  constantly trying to run into the parking lot and onto the field or who is about to fall ten feet to her doom off of a slide that she managed to climb onto in the five seconds I wasn’t watching her like a hawk,

now that I don’t have to worry about all that,

although it’s not the amount of time I’d like to have, I can at least give each of my kids some attention.

Not just the babies.

And now that I’m out of that really, really, labor intensive, dependent phase, now that I have a little more time for each of the kids, you know what I also have time for?


I neglected myself for a long time.

And I think my focus is not on whether or not my family is complete, but if I am complete.

And I’m realizing that sleep and money and a healthy marriage and financial security and the ability to challenge myself and do the things I want to do are what make me complete.

And if all of the members of my family and I are happy and healthy, then my family is complete.

I don’t think it’s about the number of members in the family, but the “completeness” of each person in that family.

Quality. Not quantity.

Lots of ingredients go into making a family.

Just like making a cake.

You can have plenty of flour, but without eggs or sugar or baking powder, it’s not going to be complete.

Just as too many eggs in the mix can make it inedible.

Or at least much less delicious.

The more kids you have in the equation, the less time you will have for yourself, and the less time you will have for each member of that family.

The less time you will have for your second career.

And for your masters degree.

Or for your other kids.

If that is a trade off you are willing to make, then it’s totally worth it.

But if it’s not, well, then you might want to fold your baby-making hand.

I don’t know if that’s helped you or not.

But for me, I’m realizing it’s about balance.

If you can add another kid into the mix and have balance financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and maritally then go for it. 100%.

But if adding another child into the mix is going to tip the scales too far in one direction, well, then maybe the answer to your question is right there.

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