Have You Lost Yourself in Your Kids?

This was a comment left on the I Just Want to Pee Alone Facebook page. As soon as I read it, I knew I had to share it with everyone. Dede Sylvester put into words exactly how I feel every single day. I bet you'll feel the same way.

A friend with no children asked me the other day if I ever feel like I've lost myself in my kids. I really had to stop and think about how to answer. 

I guess I've given up a lot. I've given up late night parties, sleeping in, naps, going to bed early, hell, sleeping in general. I've given up massages, regular haircuts, new clothes, a clean house, cooking big, elaborate meals, and going to the bathroom by myself. I can no longer read more than a few pages of anything at a time,watch non-animated movies or walk through a room without stepping on a Matchbox car or a monster truck. My body is no longer my own, I am a human jungle gym and the idea of "personal space" is completely foreign to both my boys.

But I can't say that I've lost anything. Quite the opposite in fact. I've found things. 

I've found kindness in the stranger who opens the door for me when I'm balancing a baby, a toddler, and two bags of groceries or from the man next door, who out of the blue one day says to me "I want you to know that I can hear you outside playing with your boys and I think you're doing a great job." 

I've found compassion every time I see a sick infant or read an article about an injustice done to a child. YES, I will donate to your cause. YES, I will sign your petition. YES, I will share your post in hopes that your child's voice will be heard. 

I've found hope that one day my child might make a difference in someone's life. I've found the strength to stand up to bullies, both large and small. To send my kids out into the world even though I know how terrifying it is. 

I've found the courage to be silly in public. To pretend to be a monster truck and jump in puddles in the grocery store parking lot. To dance like an idiot in front of 200 people I will (hopefully) never see again. I found my inner child. The one that I thought was long gone, crushed by overdue bills and laundry and the hum-drumity of every day life. 

I've found the patience to sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" 5, 10, 20 times in a row. To watch the truck episode of Bubble Guppies until I know all the songs by heart. To get out of my warm bed again and again and again to rock a sick child. I found love like I never knew existed and I find joy every time they laugh. Every. Single. Time. 

But mostly, I found my future. I found a reason to get out of bed every day, to go to work, to take care of myself, to reduce, reuse, recycle, to share my bacon and make Halloween costumes and hide Santa presents in the suitcase in my closet. 

So no, I didn't lose myself, I found myself in these two little people that I'm building.

Dede Sylvester is a 43-year-old working mom with two boys under the age of five. She enjoys being a mom and writing.

10 Things My Mom Knew But Didn't Tell Me

First off, for those that don't know, my mom passed away tragically and suddenly in 2006. So, before I start, I have to say this: Mom, God rest your soul. You are dearly missed. We all love and miss you tons. Amen.

Ok, now what I really want to say is: Mom, you sneaky little snake! How dare you keep all these Mommy secrets to yourself!

Anyway, in my two and a half years of Mommyhood, I have learned many things that I never thought I'd ever need to know. Of these things I've learned, I have realized how truly essential they are to remaining sane as a Mommy. So, here are ten of the things I have learned in my Mommy life. Shake up a cocktail and take notes.

10. Sleeping children can sense the moment you sit or lay down, start to read a book, clean, cook or do anything not child related. There's like an alarm attached to their Mommy bone or something. Seriously.

9. Your reaction time to the sound of vomit will marvel that of an Olympic hurdler.

8. By telling a child no, you are essentially challenging them. Pick and choose your battles.

7. If you leave the house without the lovey/stuffy/blankie/friend of the week, be prepared for public displays of crazy. Regardless of how far you've gone, either stop to buy a new one or turn around to get the one you forgot.

6. No matter what time you put the kid(s) to bed, they will undoubtedly be up with the sun.

5. You know that scene in "A Christmas Story" where the kid gets all bundled up and then has to pee? That's not just Hollywood. That's real life, people. Same rule applies when entering any type of watery fun, including bathtime.

4. Baby Einstein DVD's are a gift from God and provide 24 minutes of silence. Use them.

3. At some point in childhood, only one meal will become suitable for your little darling. Keep it in stock both in your house and in the diaper bag. Bring it to restaurants or only go places that have it on the menu. Or stay home.

2. Children do not care or understand how disgusting something is until you make a big deal about it. It is only then that the poop on the ground or the smashed bug or the puddle of vomit becomes exponentially more interesting.

And the number one lesson I've learned as a Mommy is.....

1. If you are asked to read the same book for the 1,756th time, do it. Don't grumble. Don't huff. Don't slam down the last dish in the sink. Smile and read to your baby. One day, you'll be begging for them to look at you, let alone ask to spend time with you.

This was originally published on Mommy Needs a Martini.

Jeannette is a wife, going on 7 years, and a full-time working  Mommy to two adorable and very opposite little girls under age 3. My life consists of work, diapers, bottles, stories, naps, power struggles, booboo's, attempts at crafts and, of course, martinis!

National I Just Want to Pee Alone Day

Last year I wrote a post called Friends Are Hard to Find. I mentioned that believe it or not, I have a little difficulty in finding people who have any desire to hang out with me. When I wrote it, I was talking about myself, but suddenly my inbox and comments section blew up with "Me too!"

It got me thinking. There were a lot of us who were feeling the same way. Wouldn't it be cool if we could get together and have a laugh? I decided to invent PIWTPITT's Friends Night. I figured if nothing else it would get some ladies out of the house and they could talk about how funny/insensitive/annoying/adorable/foul-mouthed/stupid I am.

Many, many women across the country stepped up and agreed to take charge of their local Friends Night. I planned the one for Kansas City, but I wasn't going to go.

It was a terrifying thought. Plus, I'd have to shower and find clean clothes to wear. That's a lot of work for strangers and I'd just downloaded a new book to my Kindle. I was busy, y'know?

And then the Hubs said, "Of course you're going. This is your idea. You're the one complaining you want a friend. All of these women are going because they feel the same way you do and now you're going to stay home and read all night?"

He brushed my hair and told me I was pretty and sent me on my way.

You know what happened?

He was right. I had fun. It was exactly what I needed. I needed to laugh and talk and just let loose.

This summer I started hearing from women who missed last year's night. "When are you planning one for this year, Jen?" and "I'd love to go if you have one in my town, Jen."

I was reading some of these emails in my "office" (AKA the bathroom) while my children pounded on the door demanding food and help with homework. It was like Divine Intervention. I realized what I needed to do.

Sure, I could use a few more friends, but what I really want now is to PEE ALONE.

I don't know if you're aware or not, but this spring I put together an anthology called I Just Want to Pee Alone. I pulled together 36 women from across the country to write some of the most hilarious stories about motherhood you'll ever read. The book quickly became a best seller. It resonated with moms everywhere. Any woman who reads that book can find at least one story that speaks to her. I didn't know many of the contributors when I asked them to join me in the book, but over the past several months, we have formed a community together. It showed me that women need a place where they can go to escape the day to day drudgery. We all need that. It doesn't matter if you're a mother or not - I've seen those pictures of pets pawing under your bathroom door.

So, I am declaring a new holiday. I Just Want to Pee Alone Day!!!

Mark your calendars, ladies, because October 16th is a day for you. This isn't like Mother's Day where you still have to go and see your own mother or do the dishes after your husband "cooks" for you or wear a lovely hand-crafted macaroni necklace all day. Nope. This day is all about doing what you want to do - guilt free!

To celebrate the First Annual I Just Want to Pee Alone Day (hereby called FAIJWTPAD) several of the contributors to the anthology and other blogger friends have come together to host National Ladies' Night Out (AKA #Peealonenight) in a city near you and they're inviting you to join them.

BOSTON - Hosted by JD of Honest Mom

CHAMPAIGN, IL - Hosted by Kerry of HouseTalkN

CHICAGO -  Hosted by Karen Alpert of Baby Sideburns
1150 Willow Rd.
Northbrook, IL 60062
Wednesday, October 16th at 7:30 PM

COLORADO - Hosted by Johi Kokjohn-Wagner of Confessions of a Cornfed Girl and Rachel Kargas of Get Real Mama
Ace Gillett's
239 S. College Ave.
Fort Collins, Colorado 80524
Wednesday, October 16th at 6-9 PM

CONNECTICUT - Hosted by Amy of Funny is Family
J Roo's Restaurant
249 State Street
North Haven, CT 06473
Wednesday, October 16th at 6-9 PM

HOUSTON - Hosted by Rachael Pavlik of RachRiotPatti Ford of Insane In The Mom-Brain, and Kelley Nettles of Kelley's Breakroom
BlackFinn American Grille
1910 Bagby Street
Houston, TX 77002
Wednesday, October 16 at 6-10 PM

INDIANA/MICHIGAN - Hosted by Robyn Welling of Hollow Tree VenturesAlyson of The Shitastrophy, and Noelle Elliot of Bow Chica Bow Mom
Uptown Kitchen 
7225 Heritage Square Drive, Suite 208
Granger, IN 46530
Wednesday, October 16 at 7-10 PM

KANSAS CITY - Hosted by Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat and Stacey of Nurse Mommy Laughs
Barley's Brewhaus
11924 W. 119th St.
Overland Park, KS 66213
Wednesday, October 16 at 7-10 PM

MINNESOTA - Hosted by Michelle of You're My Favorite Today and Joy of Evil Joy Speaks
Jake's City Grille
3005 Harbor Lane North
Plymouth, MN  55447
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 16 at 6-9 PM

NEW JERSEY - Hosted by Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By SayingAmy Bozza of My Real Life, Anna Sandler of Random Handprints, and Kim Forde of The Fordeville Diaries
End of Elm Restaurant & Lounge
140 Morris Street
Morristown, NJ 07960
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 16 at 8-10 PM

PENNSYLVANIA - Hosted by Meredith Spidel of The Mom of the Year and Stephanie Giese of Binkies and Briefcases
Rt. 30, 2321 Lincoln Highway East
Lancaster, PA 17602
Wednesday, October 16th at 6:30 PM

WEST VIRGINIA - Hosted by Teri of Snarkfest
117 E. German Street
Shepherdstown, WV 25443
Wednesday, October 16th at 7-10 PM

I know the idea can sound a bit daunting, but I can guarantee you that it will be worth the effort it takes to leave the house. If the thought of going alone sounds awful, then bring your sister, your neighbor, your co-worker, or even your mom (you owe her a night to pee alone).

You can find all of the events listed above and more here: in the Events section on the I Just Want to Pee Alone Facebook page. We're adding more all the time, so keep checking in and be sure to RSVP so we know who is coming.

If there isn't one planned for a city near you, don't fret, because YOU can host. You don't have to be a blogger to host, it was just easier to ask my bloggy friends at first, because they looooove this sort of stuff. 

It isn't hard. Just pick a location near you and a time on October 16th that works for you. It doesn't need to be fancy. Something casual tends to work best anyway. Once you've got the details figured out, send me an email at sweetsadiecreations@gmail.com and I will add your event to the page.

Look for a location near you and keep watching for new ones to be added. We hope to see you there!

The Party Doomsdayer

So then…she asks, “Do you have a lifeguard on duty?”

I look at my backyard. All the kids are on the sport court or grass. The pool cover is pulled tight over the pool, completely obscuring the water — and the pool itself is surrounded by a 5-foot-tall locked iron fence.

And it’s November.

“No,” I say to the concerned mom. “Tucker’s birthday party is really just on the sport court and patio. There won’t be any swimming today.”
“Well,” she says, with a little self-righteous cock of the head. “You never knooow with kids…”
Oh, but I do know. That’s why I locked the pool fence, ensured the pool cover completely encased the pool, and invited all the kids’ parents so they could enjoy lunch out on the patio while simultaneously keeping an eye on their kids.

Also, the kids aren’t 4. They’re in 4th grade.

But I calmly reassure the mom, Karen, that no one will be admitted to the pool. I’ve just met her today – and I’m committed to making friends with all the parents of the kids at Tucker’s new school. It’s why I invited the moms to attend the party in the first place.
Karen seems slightly mollified by my assurance and wanders off.
I greet some more parents, stack the birthday gifts, and snap a few photos of Tucker having a blast with the kids from his class.
Then Karen sidles up next to me and says in a loud whisper, “Some of the kids are riding scooters and bikes!”

I look over to see a few kids riding around on the sport court.
“Yeah, that’s great,” I say. “Some of Tucker’s and Chloe’s old bikes are a little small, but the kids seem to be having fun.”
“But you don’t have enough helmets for all the kids, do you?” she asks.

Um, no. I don’t keep 25 helmets at my house. I have 2 kids, for God’s sake. So I have 2 helmets. And a couple of their old smaller helmets. Was I supposed to buy 25 helmets for this backyard party? I want to say this, but instead, I say politely:

“Oh, it’s just a flat sport court; they’re not going very fast. We’re in the backyard, so we’re not near the street at all. I think it’ll be OK.” I find myself feeling a bit defensive.
I check out the kids – will they be OK? They’re 9 and 10 years old – they look pretty hale and hearty – I think they’ll be OK, right? Right? This chick is messing with my head.

Chloe calls me over to refill the chip bowl. She’s so excited to be at her big brother’s birthday party hanging out with older kids.
I meet some more moms; we laugh and talk; I keep an eye on the kids; all seems to be going well.
Karen approaches me with a determined look. “You’re going to let the kids jump on the trampoline?”
As opposed to what? Sleep on the trampoline? Eat the trampoline?

“Um, yeah, it’s ok. My kids and their friends jump on it all the time,” I say.
“Trampolines are so dangerous!” she exclaims. “Someone could be paralyzed for life!”
“Well, um, OK, but it’s completely enclosed by that netting that’s like 10 feet tall – and it’s on the grass. I think they’ll be OK.” I say. “Besides, everyone’s parents are here, so if they don’t want their kid on the trampoline, I think I’ll let them tell their kid.”
She stares at me.
“And the party entertainment will be here any minute, so the kids will be doing that soon anyway. I think it’s all right if some of them are on the trampoline for just a few minutes,” I say cheerfully, biting my tongue.
She says, “OK” with that tone of voice where the “K” part goes up an octave – like OKaaaaay, it’s on your head…

Now I’m second-guessing myself. Should I have forbidden kids on the trampoline? Was it a bad idea to have a backyard party?

Someone asks me where the ice chest is, so I hustle over and start handling other party duties.
The doorbell rings and the Sports Coaches enter. Tucker is so excited! These are the Coaches who run the after-school sports programs in our district – and you can hire them to entertain the kids at your party with a bunch of different playground games. The Coaches start setting out cones, flags, and a ton of different balls on the sport court. The kids are hopping around, eager to start playing.
I glance in Karen’s direction to see if she’s going to grill me on liability insurance waivers in case the kids are injured while playing Capture the Flag. Thankfully, she’s engaged elsewhere – she’s skulking around the perimeter of the yard, no doubt hunting for other hazards – poisonous mushrooms or a perhaps a rusty nail.
Meanwhile, Tucker’s grinning from ear to ear, running around the backyard with his classmates and the Coaches. We’re cheering and laughing as the kids play the games. It’s a gorgeous crisp sunny day and I’m really happy everything is going smoothly.
I slip into the house to set out the lasagna, pizza, salad, and the rest of lunch, along with some cookies in case someone prefers those to birthday cake.
Just as I set the cookies on the dining table and I’m about to relax, Karen is at my elbow saying, “Is everything here nut-free? Some people have severe allergies, you know.”
OMIGOD! She is like the Harbinger of Doom! Honestly!

I ask through clenched teeth, “Karen, is your child allergic to nuts?”

“No,” she says, “but other people might be. Some people can die from eating nuts.” She says ever-so-helpfully.

“OK, well, all the parents are here, so if one of them has a kid with aFATAL nut allergy, then they probably would have mentioned it by now,” I say, with just a teeny bit of exasperation seeping into my voice.

I am trying so hard to remain friendly and cheerful – but I swear to God, every time I turn around today, she’s like the frikkin’ Grim Reaper telling me how everyone at my party is going to die!! I’ve never been so stressed at a party in my life.
She cocks her head, shrugs, and says smugly, “Well, you neverknooow…”
I stare at her. I march over to the patio, with her trailing quickly behind me.
I loudly ask the parents, “DOES ANYONE HERE HAVE AN ALLERGY TO NUTS?”
People look at me and shake their heads.

Now they look bewildered, but they still shake their heads.

And you know what else has nuts? This party. And Nut Numero Uno is Karen.

And the only person in danger of meeting her maker at this party is Karen.

Because if she says one more thing to me about drowning, fatal allergies, being paralyzed, or head injuries – or starts yakking about asbestos, choking, rusty nails, snakes, or enemy insurgents suddenly appearing in my backyard to mow people down with AK-47s, I swear to God, I will kill her.  (In the pool. While wearing a helmet. And eating nuts.)

Have you ever met a parent like Karen? Ever had a party where one guest drove you crazy for a different reason? Share your tales of kids’ birthday parties or infuriating parents or bizarre guests! Or post a comment! Darcy would love to read them!
This was originally published on So Then Stories.

Darcy Perdu shares short, funny, true stories about well-meaning relatives, exasperating co-workers, rambunctious kids -- and her many bodacious blunders. Come share a funny story at www.SoThenStories.com.

And Then, She Peed on My Leg

You know those orange juice commercials that hilariously demonstrate a person’s catastrophic day that lays before them, and it ends with the person replying that they will be able to handle the pitfalls of the day because, “it’s a good thing they had their orange juice”?
Yeah, I had one of those days. There was no orange juice in sight.
Picture this: A day filled with traveling from Denver to Chicago via airplane to visit my family for the holidays. Me and two kids. How bad could it be, you ask?
You tell me. Picture this commercial…
Me: Okay, people, what’s on the agenda?
My Son: At 2:00 pm, I am going to have undetermined leg pains that will make getting through two large airports damn near impossible. Throughout the day in the airports, you will look like the most insensitive mom begging me to “Please, hurry up!” as I do my best Tiny Tim impression.
Airport Customer Service Agent: After you realize that there is no longer a skycap at the airport and you have to move four large pieces of luggage, two backpacks, your daughter in a stroller and Tiny Tim inside and through a very long line, I will not be able to find your children’s flight reservations, make you sweat for a good five minutes and make you almost miss your flight.
TSA Agent: The new stroller you bought for the trip will not collapse and we will have to take 10 minutes to ‘hand check’ your umbrella stroller, which will result in you directing your children like a traffic cop diverting traffic around an accident. The people around you will think you are crazy and this close to losing your shit.
My daughter: I will refuse to suck on a pacifier during take off, and drink 16 oz. of apple juice, so you will have nothing for me to drink during landing which will make you BEG a flight attendant for water (in which she graciously provided) during the descent. Oh, and I will then give all those liquids back to you in flight, by peeing on your leg.
Me: Awesome. At least I have my vodka and orange juice.
Okay, maybe my version of the commercial isn’t as ‘G-rated’ as the rest, but hell, neither am I. Case in point: at one point I was praying that small little bottles of vodka and/or wine would come pouring out of the overhead compartment of the plane.
Seriously, after this trip, this is the *only* way I want to see  orange juice served on a plane... laden with alcohol...
Seriously, after this trip, this is the *only* way I want to see orange juice served on a plane… laden with alcohol…
photo credit: ginsnob via photopin cc
No such luck, y’all…
This was originally published on To Black Belt and Beyond.
Jess is a rehabilitated higher education administrator, who has traded in her corporate office badge and lanyard for stay-at-home mommyhood and a karate gi. Jess also has a tendency to share way too much with anyone within earshot, so she created To Black Belt and Beyond to showcase her inappropriate humor, utter lack of physical coordination, the everyday not-so-blissful moments of parenting, and also to document her and her son's path to earning a black belt in tae kwon do. In essence, Jess is like the Karate Kid, but older. And fatter. And with kids. And uncoordinated. And, well, you get the point...

Holiday Horror

Ever traveled around the holidays? Not such a blessing.

Ever done it, flying standby, by yourself, with a toddler?

Um yeah. Welcome to the seventh circle of hell.

Picture this if you will ...

A holiday ... An insanely crowded airport ... People rushing around, various flight delays, pissed off passengers, pissed off ground crew... Add one tired, stressed out mommy who has been bumped off of two flights, and a toddler who has sailed past nap time and is fighting valiantly against full, atomic meltdown.

We get bumped off a third flight, but know we can make the next one in a few hours. Shoot. OK, we can do this ... We can survive lunch, naps, and the general madness of the airports.

So I throw the kidlet in the BOB, drop the back on that sucker and cover it with a blanket. I pace, dodging in and out of grumpy travelers, trying to avoid their bags and deadly glares as I bump into them with my monster stroller. I must have walked a mile in the damn airport, trying to get the kid down... Then silence.


Until they page someone over the PA system and I hear a whine coming from below, the rumbling sound of a volcano about to blow...and then the screams start.

These are not normal screams. These are the blood curdling screams of a toddler who has blown his nap and is f-ing DONE people. DONE. So he screams, and screams, and howls, and people are unabashedly staring in horror at me and the sounds coming from the BOB.

Women all over the airport start popping their birth control like tic tacs.

And it continues, until at one point I am inside the BOB with a thrashing toddler who is trying to extricate (read:hang) himself from the straps in the stroller as gate agents and hundreds of people watch on. I'm surprised no one called CPS on me from this sheer noise this child was producing.

Holy Hell.

The good news? We finally made it to spend a delightful holiday with my family and no one died in the process.


I hate the holidays.

Or at least traveling on them.

I'm never leaving my house again.

This originally appeared on It's Fitting.

About Ashley: Oh the difference a few years makes... Where once Ashley was a professional event planner and fundraiser in beautiful Southern CA, now she is a full-time SAHM in a gorgeous-in-it's-own-way, semi-rural cow town in Sonoma County. Three chickens, two kids and a struggling vegetable garden. Hey at least there's wine, right?