The Mom Next Door Series: Sania M

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I am happy to introduce you to Mom Sania; someone with whom I've become web friends over the past two years thanks to our common interests in blogging, raising energetic boys, and our dedication to kindness as a family goal. So much of her interview answers remind me of myself and I am grateful to have her voice included in the series.

Just last Wednesday, Sania gave birth to her second son (she answered my interview questions a few weeks prior).  Here in this interview,  she shares her life with her first boy, Ali, who fills her days with more superheroes, mess, and laughter than she ever imagined.  A New Jersey native transplanted to Florida, she is learning to make her family at home among DisneyWorld and beaches while still maintaining the traditions and connections to her family up north.

Please grab a cup of coffee and learn more about Sania's life that just now is taking another inescapable but wonderful change with the addition of her newborn; Adam.  I know if interviewed today, Sania's answers would vary and hold new perspective - but that's the story of all moms, isn't it? Constantly evolving and changing. (Please also send her a little well wish out into the universe for patience and energy for those first few weeks of a new baby)!

Who are you?  Sania,  27 years old Pakistani-Muslim mom from Tampa, Florida (moved down south 9 months ago, originally a Jersey Girl born and raised!)  I blog at 

Who is in your family?  My husband Wajih and 3 year old son Ali. We are also looking forward to the arrival of Ali's little brother coming up in the middle of June!

Family Disneyworld visits since moving to FL
What do you do for work?  Up until we moved to Florida in September 2013, I was a full time working mom as a CPA accountant. So my journey through SAHMhood is relatively new and mostly all of it has been while I was pregnant! Needless to say, its been amazing and also exhausting at times!
first big international vacation with a toddler!  Istanbul, Turkey
What has become (at least for now) you're parenting mantra or guiding principle? Listen to all the advice people dish out, read all the books you need to read to feel more confident. But in the end do what works best for you/your child and what works best will evolve over time. The only constant with kids is change, learn to accept this! You might finally have a great bed time routine down and then out of left field suddenly he starts waking up at night for no reason (could be teething, viral infection, nightmares, boredom, really at 4am does it matter WHY he's up). Be ready that this will be rough, but you will get through it; you both will. 

I feel like after 3.5 years of parenting my mantra has become that children work best on a routine, but the routine needs to be flexible. So go easy on yourself, you might make mistakes along the way but the best part is your kids are usually oblivious to them. Essentially, all children really want or need is your love and attention. So what if you make mistakes at first or if things don't go as planned all the time. They will eventually, and most importantly, he may not show it now, but I know he will grow up and cherish these memories we've made. 

Halloween festival in FL
What would your pre-mom self be surprised to know about motherhood?  There was so much lack of reality that my pre-mom self had about motherhood. I loved kids, I thought I wanted 4 maybe 5! I thought the moms who complained about how 'hard' everything is were lazy or unprepared. I had this naive impression that I would fall in love with motherhood immediately. And I totally assumed that hyper kids were a result of bad mothering, 'Puh, my kids would be way more disciplined!' 

In reality, I had a pretty tough time recovering from an unexpected C section and then my son was an awful sleeper for the first 2 years! I breastfed for 6 months before I went back to work and I struggled a lot with milk supply or wondering if he's getting enough. My first experience with a newborn was like a slap in the face. While I did love him, there was a lot of experiences I had never imagined and loving motherhood came to me gradually over time which is not how I pictured it happening. Being a perfectionist, a list maker and an organization freak, for me motherhood really was one of the toughest tasks I took on, mostly because at first I was full of self doubt, trying too hard to do everything perfectly and to raise a perfect kid. 

I think pre-mom Me would be surprised to learn that motherhood is a lot about accepting yourself, improving yourself, and loving yourself so that you can be the best mother possible for your child. As he grows older I still struggle, now more with the type of morals and values I want to instill, but I realize that the best way to teach him anything is leading by example. Our actions as parents speak volumes compared to our words. 

Mother's day breakfast in bed tradition
What would your pre-mom self be proud to know about you in motherhood? I was able to learn a lot about 'boy things' like superheros (DC Comics is totally different from Marvel). And I (mostly) got over my fear of dogs and lizards because of my animal obsessed child. I passed along some of my clean freak qualities to my child like running for a towel every time there is a spill, or having all his toys line up perfectly in height order. 

Also, it took some time but I was able to channel my organizational skills to successfully set up a weekly routine where we're able to do all the activities I had imagined doing with my kids. Things like story time and arts/crafts at the library, swimming classes, trips to every single park and playground in our area, ABC flashcards, counting games and bath time painting occupy most of our days. These activities may be Mom energy draining too but worth it when I see him learning, exploring and growing. (They also make me feel better about the days he watches 3,489,320 hours of cartoons!)

The many faces of Ali
What keeps you up at night? I'm 38 weeks pregnant, what doesn't keep me up at night? I've come to terms with the fact that sleep and I will not be buddies for a few years.

What big projects, worries, or events have you busy right now? Besides the fact that I have a baby due in three weeks and have yet to get the crib ready, Ramadan is coming up at the end of June. It's the month for Muslims where we fast from dawn til dusk for 30 days. It's like an intense detox of the body/spirit, and personally, I love it. This year since I will be recovering from childbirth I won't be fasting (women do not fast while menstruating or breastfeeding if it's putting a strain on them) and I'm kind of bummed out about missing the experience. 

Also, every year my husband and I like to prepare baskets full of dates (it's tradition to break your fast with a date as it's packed with vitamins) to gift to all our family and friends. This year we have no family nearby but I still want to get the baskets done for the few friends we've made. I also want to do some charity projects where Ali can get involved too. Just hoping I'll find the time for it all!

last family trip before baby#2 arrives!  NYC
How do you unwind or re-charge? Blog reading, putting items in my online shopping cart to feel the rush of impulse shopping but then never checking out, warm tea and a good book.

What do you feel like you wish you were better at being a mom? Worrying less. I think its an innate mom thing, because I haven't met a mother yet who hasn't shown concern about something her kid is doing/not doing. We measure our children against other kids or ourselves against other moms. I try to focus on channeling the worrying toward positive improvement instead of letting it spiral into 'Mom Guilt'.

face painting and balloon figures at the local mall
Who are the moms you look up to? My own mom. She raised 5 kids while working full time. My grandparents lived with us so they helped watch us, but she did all the cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, waking up for night feeding and somehow didn't lose her sanity. I'm constantly searching for her level of patience and superpowers (my sisters and I refer to her as a Spartan Warrior, because none of us can figure out how she does it). 

Sania and her Mom
The main thing I always admire about my mom is how she does not let life get her overwhelmed. She is constantly making herself available to others no matter how hectic her own schedule is. She would always tell us not to hesitate when given the opportunity to help someone no matter how big or small the gesture, that the blessings in opening your heart and doors to someone else are worth all the effort. She strongly believes being a kind friend isn't confined to just those within your community or culture. I saw her pull up a chair and share tea with our Jewish neighbor or babysit for someone at work who was going through a rough time. 

Another trait I admire is how she made time for herself despite all the craziness at home (for many years we were 9 people living under one roof and she took care of us all!). She loves gardening, sewing and painting and with everything on her plate I am honestly baffled at how good she was about keeping up with her talents and hobbies! 

Sania's entire family
Also, other blogger moms definitely encourage me. Tabitha with her 12 months of kindness project has inspired me to implement it in our own family along with a (failed) attempt at Screen Free Week. I love being inspired by all moms around me, I feel like there are opportunities to improve yourself and learn from others everywhere - its just a matter of seeking them out! (Editors Note:  Thank you, Sania!  You inspire me as well, I am so glad the internet brought us together!)

What are the small joys of being a Mom that you treasure most right now? I really am so happy to have the opportunity as a SAHM to teach my son things he would've otherwise learned from someone else. Over the past month I've been working on teaching Ali new prayers in Arabic. Getting a kid who loves to run around to sit and recite words in a language neither of us speaks or understand isn't easy. Sometimes it takes bribing (so wrong I know, I like to call it 'negotiating') or turning it into a game/song. And nearly always when I ask him to recite in front of someone else he doesn't want to. Yesterday when he saw his dad and me praying he sat down without being asked to and recited the two prayers I taught him. It was a really proud moment for me because I could say I taught my son that myself. I know he would've learned them anyway once he goes to Sunday school or from anyone else and I would've still been proud, but it was something special that he and I worked on and I was so happy to see my efforts become reality! Its moments like these I hold close and remind myself of when I'm having a case of 'whyyy did I leave a well paying career to chase after this monster?!'

FL beach days
What do you miss most from Mom days already gone by? Honestly everything! I think as moms we get so future focused at times, anticipating when our little one will reach the next milestone, we sometimes forget to enjoy the now. I remember when he was a few months old he wanted to be held all the time and I was desperately trying to get him to sleep in his crib not my arms, but now I miss how I could cuddle him up close to smell that newborn scent hiding in those adorable neck rolls! Every moment is fleeting, even the ones that drive you nuts. I've learned the hard way to enjoy the crazy moments, because just like the sweet ones those too are short lived.

Sania, Wajih, and Ali snuggled up like most evenings

The Mom Next Door Series: Shellie M

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I am happy to introduce you to Mom Shellie; one half of the musical couple; We Are the Monks.  She's still somewhat new to the Mom scene; she has a 5 1/2 month old son, Oliver - which makes her perspective fresh and wonderful.  Shellie's voice is positive, sweet, and full of gratitude.  As a traveling Mom, she has learned quick that sometimes, especially on the road, you just have to roll with it; which I greatly admire and am still trying to learn how to do four years later.

Please grab a cup of coffee and take a minute to let Shellie's cheerful outlook and Oliver's sweet smile bring some sunlight to your morning.


Who are you?  My name is Shellie Monk and I am 34 years young.  I'm originally from Texas but now live in Nashville, TN with my little fam.  I blog at

Who is in your family? I live in a cozy (i.e. tiny) one bedroom apartment with my husband Trent and our 5 1/2 month old, Oliver.  No pets yet =)  

What do you do for work? My husband and I travel full time as musicians:  We Are The Monks, hence the move to Nashville and we travel with our little guy.  We hit the road when he was 7 weeks old and he's been to 14 states so far!  We are all together 24/7.  When we're not on the road, we work from home, so we're a little bit of both…paycheck and SAHPs (stay at home parents).

What would your pre-mom self be surprised to know about motherhood?  My pre-mom self would be surprised to know that I've driven with our boy a total of only 3 times by myself and 2 of those times were less than 5 miles.  What can I say?  My husband's the driver.  

What would your pre-mom self be proud to know about you in motherhood? I'm not going to say that my pre-mom self was selfish but she would be proud to know just how selfless I've become and how easily it happened.

What has become (at least for now) your parenting mantra or guiding principle? I try to not flood my brain with lots of Google searches and tips and advice on mothering.  I do some, but I've found that trusting my gut and my heart leaves us all happier.

What big projects, worries, or events have you busy right now? My husband and I recently released our debut record and we are touring in support of it.  The booking process is non-stop and sometimes there's dry spells.  Dry spells are scary and that leads to worry.  But we trust the Lord has us right where we're supposed to be.

How do you unwind or re-charge? I like to dabble in crafts when I have time and painting my nails.  Listening to music, reading, a glass of wine, getting caught up on our favorite shows (binge watching our favorite shows!).  One day we will have a fancy bathtub and then that will happen.  And my husband gives great back rubs! =)

Which chore is your least favorite? Other than toilets and kitchen sinks (Oh, and putting laundry away.  Hate it.), booking our shows is not my favorite.  It's not my husband's either but we have to do it in order to eat!  And working from home is proving to be quite challenging with a little one, but we knew that going in. 

What do you feel like you wish you were better at being a mom?  Even though Oliver isn't eating "real" food right now, I wish I was a better cook.  His daddy is the cook and that's great!  I just wish my children will grow up with a mommy whose a good cook.  Who knows, maybe it can still happen. 

What do you feel like you are really good at as a mom? I feel like I am really good at being flexible on the road.  Sometimes, we just have to roll with it and I hope we are teaching our son that as well.

Who are the moms you look up to?  My mom and my two older sisters.

What are the small joys of being a Mom that you treasure most right now?  I absolutely love rocking my boy.  I know I probably shouldn't and he should go to sleep by himself and one day we'll have to train him in that, and blah, blah, blah...but right now I adore it.  And his laugh can heal, I swear.

A mish mash today

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I wanted to give you a proper post today, but I have one of those draining headaches that only come after you've spent most of the day crying from heartbreak.  That's happened today, as we laid one of our cousins to rest this morning; gone too soon at 22.  Please send a prayer into the world today (or anyday) for mommas who have to bury their babies.

This week I've been reflecting a lot on a very helpful article I read a few weeks ago about responding to tragedy to those that you love.  No one really ever knows what to say or how to act, but this article; How Not to Say the Wrong Thing put out by the LA Times is really helpful for thinking about responses in times of tragedies.  The main idea being to think about where you fall within circles of closeness to the person most affected by the tragedy and recognize that only comfort should be given to anyone in circles closer to the center than yourself.  You can 'dump out', or cry, complain, lament to anyone in circles farther out than yours - but only comfort in.

I saw this video and it was a good reminder that despite what the world sometimes feels like today, our babies and young people have big dreams for a beautiful, bright future.  I think it's important to think about encouraging and supporting those bright dreams rather than always worrying for them.  (by the way; Grey wants to be a police officer and a farmer.  Gemma would like to play.)

Ainda dá Tempo (There is still time) from Ainda da tempo on Vimeo.

I took this buzzfeed quiz last night and it was a great reminder of all the ways in which I am very privileged in my life.  This I already know, but going through the list and actually checking off items that apply to me was a good reminder of just how grateful I am to live this charmed life  (thanks, Weller for sharing!)

I haven't posted about Gem and Grey's birthday parties out of sheer laziness (sorry) but as a quick recap:  Gem had a 'babydoll' party with picnic style snacking including both regular size foods (m&ms, oreos, etc) and babydoll size foods (mini m&m's, mini oreos, etc).   We made foam paper dolls and fed bottles to our babies while MY baby turned two!  How?

Greyson had a 'Messy' Birthday party on a cold, rainy day spent in our garage.  They fingerpainted (read: hand/face/foot painted), spit food out of their mouths, and pie'ed Brandon in the face (i love my husband).  Also, a cake exploded.  And my first born turned four!  How?

A few months ago, I walked outside and saw that Trixie had dug up out of the front flower bed three rosaries that I have never seen before.  Totally bizarre, but I could see that she dug them out from under one of the tall bushes and since I didn't know what else to do with them, I hung them up on one of the branches of that bush.  Well, this is the first year ever that the bush has bloomed?! It has had these beautiful pale pink flowers on it for weeks now, so I'm taking it as a good omen.

We have a very busy week coming up while we prepare for the 5K & Superhero Fun Run/Walk that I'm planning with our high school Alumni Association and also for our Summer Roadtrip vacation.  Plus, we are in the midst of getting bunk beds for the kids, some new developments for The Hunting Daddies, and regular house/bills/blog activity.

..blah, blah, blah - anyway, it's easy to get bogged down by distractions, but I loved this list from HandsFreeMama:  8 Suggestions for a Live More/Love More Summer.  I need to keep coming back to this list, especially in the next few days.

I also wanted to take a minute and say thank you to all of you for your enthusiasm, participation, and sharing/commenting on my The Mom Next Door Series.  I'm almost sorry that it's only every Tuesday that I share these amazing interviews with you all - I wish it was more than once a week!  The first two were fantastic (thanks Mum & Jamie) and there are so many more to come that will inspire, help you reflect, and laugh in the coming weeks.  Thank you for reading and thank you to the mummas that have contributed interviews.  I really truly love this series, and it's because of all of you.


The Mom Next Door Series: Jamie A

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I am so happy and honored to bring you this week's Mom Next Door Interview from one of my favorite Mommas, Jamie A.  You may recognize the name from my recent Thank You Thursday dedicated to her for being my internet guide of happiness and inspiration (which is actually the exact phrase I use to describe her to my family when detailing where I found some gem of information on the web). 

Jamie and I worked from home for the same company for about a year or two (motherhood has erased all existence of time in my mind) and actually only ever met in person once or twice on business trips.  But somehow our love of inspiring blog posts, hashtags, and Joe Manganiello have kept us in each other's lives long past our connection to a common workplace.  Our conversations are limited to facebook messages and email - but somehow in the way only people who have kindred souls do - we consider each other real life friends and mums on the same journey just wearing different shoes (hers very stylish and heeled; mine regrettably neither stylish or heeled and probably chewed in some spots by our pitlab Trixie).

Without further ado, please grab a cup of coffee and get ready to be both humored and inspired to hear more about my dear friend, Jamie A: 


Who are you? My name is Jamie A and I live on the gorgeous New Hampshire coastline. I am truly a city mouse trying her best to be a little country. The ocean view doesn't hurt my “tolerance” for the bugs and wild things that roam around at night. I sleep with a stiletto in one hand, Speaking of shoes, my all but forgotten blog is Agent Stiletto’s Closet  and I SWEAR I will get back to it someday when I have a moment to breathe and expl…. Wait, are we not at a support group?

Who is in your family? I have one son born to me, Cohen. I also have an amazing son, Cale, born to another mother. Cohen is 3.5 years old going on 21 and Cale is a sweet 16 year old who is wise beyond his years. My beloved, and the man who helps me navigate the roads of Mommyville is Joshua. We currently do not have any pets but the promise is that when Cohen enters kindergarten we will get “one girl dog and one boy cat.” I very much miss having furry friends and I can’t wait for Cohen to know the love of a family pet.

Jamie and Cohen
What do you do for work?  I daydream about owning my own bakery, The Flour Garden, with specialty cupcakes and delicious coffee but until that is a reality, I work outside the home educating people on financial risk and the controls they can put into place to mitigate the…hey, is anyone still there?!

What has become (at least for now) you're parenting mantra or guiding principle? Make life fun and full of love! I want Cohen and Cale to know that childhood is magical and while there will be a time to be serious and buckle down, being a kid is the dream that only lasts for a few precious years and it is important to make life an adventure.

Cale and Cohen
Omigosh, Cale looks like an adult!  Is it hard to see one son so big and the other so small each day - the contrast and emotion of it all!?  Oh Tab, it is really hard. Cale is growing up so fast. Well both of them are but seriously, Cale was a tiny little 11 year old when I met him. Now 16 and a man. There are days when I am stricken with the knowledge that my own baby will be a man before I know it. The scent of toddlerhood is growing fainter and I am not sure my heart can stand it. I have seriously considered putting one of Cohen's shirts in a zip lock and trying to keep "the scent" forever. But then that would be creepy right?

What would your pre-mom self be surprised to know about motherhood? I can’t program manage a child. I honestly thought there was a science to parenting and if my business plan was sound, I would rock it. I can hear you laughing from here.

Cohen aka Captain America
What would your pre-mom self be proud to know about you in motherhood? I can birth a child and tend to him and help navigate him through his little life to see greatness and prepare him for the not so great parts.

Which chore is your least favorite? Interesting. I love chores – garbage, laundry (I was dubbed The Laundry Master by my brother-in-law and sister), dishes, scrubbing floors, all of it. I clean when I need clarity of the mind. If I had to choose something, I would say meal planning. I would rather go out to eat every night or hire a personal chef than plan our family meals. The kicker? I went to cooking school. I just do not feel like cooking unless I have to. 

What keeps you up at night? I worry “something will happen.” I try hard not to read those horrible news stories about babies being taken from their loving families. I can.not.fathom life without my sons. It paralyses me.

Josh and Cohen
What big projects, worries, or events have you busy right now? Cohen is having his tonsils out in a few weeks. I made the mistake of Googling “toddler tonsillectomy.” DO NOT DO IT. I am currently nursing my catastrophic thinking self while preparing our family for the adventure of saying goodbye to the tonsils and moving on to nights of good sleep and easier eating.

What do you feel like you are really good at as a mom? I am pretty darn good at keeping our lives on track. See, my program management skills CAN be used as a Mumma!

What do you feel like you wish you were better at being a mom?   I wish I had more patience. I constantly worry – Am I being too harsh? Should I let him watch just one more tv show? Am I trying to rush him while he pees/eats/plays/etc or am I teaching him good time management?

How do you unwind or re-charge? I like to stand on my porch and watch the water. I also love to dance! If it has been a REALLY bad day, a long glorious bath is my go to.

Who are the moms you look up to? You mean other than you, Tab? Seriously, how do you do everything you do, have gorgeously happy children, start companies, and make it look effortless while maintaining your beautiful self? Even my eyebrows are envious of yours. Just sayin!   (Editors Note: Thank you Jamie!  'I am pleased to see my optical illusion is functioning so well'...she says behind the wizard's curtain?! xxox)

Another Mumma I look up to is my friend, Sara. She is my longtime friend from high school and she has two wonderful children, Ethan and Viviane. Sara works outside the home, maintains a company, and all the while her children are some of the most well-adjusted humans I have ever met. I watch her navigate motherhood with a confidence that I envy. She knows just how much to mother and then how much to let them be and make their own mistakes. It is as is she knows the magic formula of “just enough.” Sara had Ethan before I had Cohen and I watched her mother him and told myself when I had a child I wanted to be like her. Now that I have Cohen and can put some of those actions into play, I still strive to be like Sara.

What was the most difficult Mom moment you've had (so far)? Cohen has had 2 surgeries to date and each time he was taken away to the operating room, it is as if someone is tearing away a limb. I felt physical pain as I watched them wheel him away.

What are the small joys of being a Mom that you treasure most right now? Each night before bed we share what our most favorite part of the day has been. It is in that gloaming, while he twirls my hair and tells me about the mysteries of his day, I know that my life has been made. Peace comes from within. I birthed my peace.

What do you miss most from Mom days already gone by? I miss him being so tiny that I would hold him all day. Thankfully he still likes to snuggle but now it is kinda like a bear holding an elephant. No more nook :(

One of those weeks...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It has just been one of those parenting weeks over here.  In exasperated sobs last night I recounted all of the ways in which I feel like I've failed this week as a Mum to B.  Each day, at least one child has had what we call over here "A Hard Day:" the kind of day that is just ceaseless whining and unhappiness, no matter what happens.

One of the kids' favorite read alouds is My No No No Day by Rebecca Patterson because it so honestly recounts what a 'Hard Day' looks like.  We love at the end the poor Mom (who looks so exhausted as soon early as breakfast) explains to Bella that everyone gets hard days sometimes but perhaps tomorrow she'll be more cheerful.  Spoiler alert:  tomorrow she is!

The thing is, this week, when one child has a more cheerful tomorrow, the other is having a 'Hard Day.'  Yesterday was this poor, exhausted (23 week pregnant!) Mum's tipping point.  We were on our way to the playground when a battle of epic screaming erupted in the backseat that Gem wanted her window down and Grey wanted all the windows up.  We talk a lot about compromises so Gem and I got to keep our windows down (as it was 80 degrees outside) and Grey would get Daddy's jacket to cover up with.  Oh Hell No.  That was just not going to fly with my normally very sweet, mature for his age, blessed son.

As he furiously belt out scream after scream of "Gemmi's window up!" I pulled over to the side of the road and told him I would wait to go to the playground until he calmed down.  Calm down, he did not.  And after about five minutes of honestly contemplating what kind of crap mother has a child who endlessly screams about something so ridiculous, I broke.  We TURNED AROUND AND WENT HOME.  I was not having that shit, my friends.

Grey screamed more and louder upon realizing we were no longer going to the playground while Gem asked confused, 'playground, mumma?'  I got them both in the house, Grey threw himself on the floor in a total tantrum in the dining room while I held Gem and told her she was being such a good girl and that maybe we could go to the playground later after we all try our best.

Gem got the ipad and I took Grey up to his bed and laid down beside him and rubbed his back while he continued to scream, and then cry, and then whine, and then looked up and said, "Happy now."

This did not make me feel better.  As we continued our day post meltdown at 10:30am - a WHOLE DAY LEFT TO GO (!) my mind wheeled with possible reasons of why my kids were having such hard days this week.

that's peanut butter all over them.
Why I was such a poor excuse for a mother, apparently, as my kids were having so much trouble behaving like anything other than rabid, feral animals.

Maybe I'm too lenient?
Maybe I'm too harsh?

Maybe I don't play enough with them?
Maybe they don't play enough independently?

Maybe I'm yelling too much?
Maybe they need to be more afraid of me; yell more!  louder!?

Maybe I'm not meeting their needs for attention?  love?  holding them?  alone time?
Maybe I'm not taking good enough care of myself and I'm overly tired?  stressed?

Maybe they need more stimulation; toys?  trips out of the house?
Maybe they are too spoiled and expect to just get everything.  Go outside & play in the dirt like I did, children?!

When recounting all of this to Brandon he responded, "You're a great Mom.  Why can't you just chalk it up to a shit week instead of second guessing everything you do?"

Well, wouldn't that be a concept...but tis not the ways of Mommas, amirite?

I read an article yesterday too that contributed to my mom guilt spiral of despair about a woman who left her child in the car to run into the store for 5 minutes.  I read it first because I related, I've done that; left my kids in the car to run into the post office or the local deli for milk.  I know that it's wrong (even though I myself was left in the car many times, once even my sister and I put the car in reverse and we drifted down the parking lot a ways until popping it back into park; trying to pretend like the car hadn't moved at all when our Mom came out and gave us a good talking to - sorry Mum!  Kayla did it!), but I've still left them in the car because of a trillion contributing factors of the day that led up to that moment.  Just like every single bad or great decision I make as a Mum, it comes down to assessing the risk/benefit and deciding how to get our entire family through any one thing as best as possible at any given time.

The thing that struck a nerve about this article was not that she made an bad impulse choice as a mom in the heat of the moment...but because a bystander videotaped the scene from the parking lot. If the bystander thought the child was in danger - you'd think they would have spoken to the mom, certainly embarrassed her and everyone's day would have moved on.  But the bystander called the police.  long story short, the mom was arrested, taken to court for endangering a minor and received 100 hours of community service and parenting classes.  She was told to confess that she had a "lapse in judgement" and it was 'not worth losing her kid over' to fight it.

'A lapse in judgement' basically describes most of my entire day parenting two little humans:  my kids play outside by themselves, they buzz each other's hair with clippers unsupervised, and sit on countertops regularly.  I'm just trying to do my best and figure it out over here - as I imagine most moms are.  I understand that people want children to be safe, but shouldn't the first response be to speak to the adult?  I'm pretty sure that no one is constantly beating themselves up about every single parenting choices more than Mom.  Socially shaming on facebook or involving the legal system seem like the least effective ways to help Moms make better choices.

So I spent part of the day yesterday also stressing about the fact that not only do I have to worry about things like natural disasters, car accidents, disease, bullies, and strangers that want to kidnap or harm my children - I now need to add to the list, "good Samaritans' who call the cops on me behind my back for what they deem poor parenting choices that could potentially land me in jail or lose my kids.

--sorry if this sounds like a rant.  It's not.  It's more like a 'why do we do this to each other' question out into the world of parents.  why can't we try to support each other instead of making parenting a full contact competition?

If you want to help kids, here are some great sites that can help you do that today:
Feeding America
Adopt US Kids
Starbright Foundation
Children of Fallen Soldiers
Boys & Girls Club of America
Save the Children/Syria
Nothing But Nets
Global Giving - The Girl Effect

Anyway, the good news is that today appears to have at least started better.  Kids are already outside, attempting to entice bunnies with carrots tied to string and we have a playdate with our best friends this afternoon, followed by dinner & a meeting with The Hunting Daddies crew.  Plus, this weekend is our annual Grandmas & Kids to NYC trip.  I mean, we really only have up to go from here, right?