Dear Netflix

First off… on behalf of mothers everywhere – thank you for giving us at least one episode’s worth of extra sleep. We sincerely appreciate your ability to retain the toddler’s attention on our phones while we get just a sweet 21 more minutes before the day really begins.

But… we need to talk.

I think you’ve heard us by now… and you have ignored it for long enough. Stop judging us, Netflix. Stop asking if we’re still watching after 3 episodes automatically play. The kid freaks out when that screen pops up and we have to stop the cleaning/folding/sanity composing/coffee reheating/wine guzzling to push “continue watching”. Also… of course I’m still binge watching my garbage TV show with cuss words after bedtime. I’m only on my third glass of wine. I’m not a quitter!

Besides all of this, Netflix, why on earth do you have random nonkid’s shows on my kid’s profile? Seriously. My daughters share a “kids” profile. At first I selected the option “little kids only” and that caused literal riots in my home as that option does not contain Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell, Netflix… my six year old daughter needs Tinkerbell. Come on. So I upgraded her account to “for older kids and below” and wow, Netflix. Chill. Once Upon a Time is hardly kid appropriate. As is Hater’s Back Off and Star Trek Voyager just to name a few that are way above her level. What gives? I’ve gone to the website and tried to figure out how to change this but to no avail. The only “Parental Controls” you have is for me to add a pin for their profile… my two year old also needs to be able to work Netflix on her own, guys. I mean that’s literally why I own you. For the two-year-old. We all know toddlers run this place, anyway.

With all of these frustrations, it’s important for you to know that no matter what happens, I’ll always have and appreciate you. You could literally jump your prices through the roof and I’ll still be loyal. Like I said, the toddler runs this place and she needs her Netflix… sooooo it looks like we’re in this together. Just hoping you could get more on my mommy level and stop catering to the millennials who really are just using you to Netflix and Chill… I promise you, more moms are using you than you will ever know.

I’ll leave you to fix this. I trust you will. But I mean either way you’re still getting my money so this isn’t a threat or anything… just a tired mom.

Love always,

the world’s okayest mom.

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It’s just not possible to keep them away from the sick kids…

BearandNebfinal.JPGHer baby almost died, and it’s all the germs, asthma, parents, schools – the world’s fault. Keep them away!

I came upon a picture of a very sick asthmatic girl this morning while browsing social media. She was in the hospital connected to an IV and oxygen mask, suffering from a severe respiratory infection and asthma. I was well acquainted with the stress, terror, grief, anger, and helplessness that the family was experiencing. My heart wept for them as I read through the article, written by the mom about how parents should keep their sick kids home.

If only it were that easy.

Being a seasoned school nurse and a mom, I have experienced and seen all sides of this conundrum. Allergies, excessive school absences, no sick days, no babysitter, hypochondriacs, take time off and the rent doesn’t get paid… these are just some of the reasons.  It’s not always clear-cut and never an easy decision. For example, specimen one: my daughter – she has a runny nose, sneezes, and coughs fifty percent of the year. She was diagnosed early on with allergies. The problem with allergies is you never really know when it’s the actual allergies causing the symptoms, and not a virus or bacteria. The only way to know for sure is to have her mucous or blood tested every single time her nose runs. This is not feasible for anyone.

Specimen two is my son. He has had Reactive Airway Disease (RAD) then Asthma ever since he came down with RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) at seven months old. He contracted this from specimen one. She had her typical symptoms and he ended up with a respiratory infection. She obviously was contagious. Unfortunately the natural order of being a sibling cooped up in a small space for most of the day, is sharing germs. It’s inevitable that they both will get sick. Specimen two has been in the same situation as that little girl; very sick and in the hospital.

The problem is I can’t keep him away from sick kids. Specimen one is THE sick kid among many others. I know other households have this problem. So how do we prevent living in the hospital? Certainly not by relying on others to keep their kids home and a human bubble just wouldn’t fit in the car.

I have answers!

  1. Teach him to protect himself by HAND WASHING, practicing good personal space, touch only what you need to, no licking communal toys, no sharing snacks, keep your mouth off the water fountain, staying clear of other kids with symptoms, not going to enclosed places heavily trafficked by children on a school-free day in the winter. Whatever your kid does to germ swap, try to stop the behavior. This is the first line of defense!
  2.  If your kid does have Reactive Airway Disease (RAD) or Asthma, during flu and cold season keep him on a small running dose of a mild steroid. I also start this in off-seasons the second I see even a drip from his nose. The medication (budesonide) takes 2-3 days of administration just to start working but can take up to 3 weeks for therapeutic levels to be reached. This regimen was prescribed by his asthma specialist and agreed upon by his pediatrician. Most people do not want their children on a maintenance dose of medication. I don’t want my kid on it. But in his case, it could save his life especially during flu season. It’s a scary thing watching your kid struggling to breathe. If you need further convincing, one burst dose of prednisone for severe respiratory distress is equal to 1000 doses of your inhaled maintenance steroid. Yes, ONE THOUSAND. Check it out. This is what you want to prevent.
  3. Teach your kids, practice prevention and talk to your doctor about a maintenance medication.  We cannot rely on others to keep their sick kids home and we certainly can’t keep the world away from our asthmatic children. The world is a petri dish and this is not going to change.

 

Fellow Okay Mom Jennifer Holston is an avid gardener, mommy of two, cook, crafter, writer, wife, nurse and improv tradeswoman aimlessly roaming the ranges of Texas.

Woman! What are you doing???

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Are you doing anything for yourself? Besides sitting on the couch scrolling thru this with your thumb on your phone while holding coffee in the other hand with the sound of fighting children or a mind numbing kid’s show on the TV in the background….

Are you actively pouring time into your goals and dreams?

Do you know what your goals and dreams are? Or have you not had enough sleep to dream?

Who were you before you had kids? Were you a daughter? A student? A wife? … those things are all given to you by other people. You didn’t chose to be the daughter to your parents, you ended up with them. Sometimes that’s super shitty. And we have to grow up way too early and then we realize when we’re parenting our own little ones that we in fact were never really parented ourselves. That is a hard day. Or a student, a good one or a bad one… but you went to school for something, right? Are you doing what you had in mind while you were this young wide-eyed twenty-something with ambition? Did you marry your dream partner or are you stuck with a complete stranger? Are you taking to time to love your partner and date your partner, not just live with them like the two of you are roommates?

Who are you, really? Was your end all, be all to be a mother? Is being someone’s mother your goal? Girl… that’s a lot of pressure to put on a tiny human. How can they possibly be the entire source of your joy and completion when they don’t even know how to tie their shoes yet? Honestly, I fear that making motherhood your ultimate goal is more dangerous than living without goals. Kids grow up. They get married, they move, they have their own kids… they leave. Then what? Is your entire purpose in life gone? This is why most Empty Nester’s end up divorcing. They spent their entire adult lives focused on this one thing that leaves. When it leaves – they don’t know who they are. They don’t know who they married. It’s lonely, it’s sad… and frankly I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

So where are you, girl? What do you want? When was the last time you sat down and asked yourself what it is that you want out of your life? What are some goals?

Write a book?

Run a marathon?

Get a job outside of the home?

Go back to school?

Whatever it is – it’s going to take work. Work, time, and a commitment to yourself to just do it. It’s going to take daily work – even if it’s just five minutes to set your intentions and break old habits. It’s going to be exhausting. It might be the hardest thing you have ever done… but oh the feeling you will have once it is complete. Girl I promise you. If you take this time for yourself – think of the lessons you will be teaching your children. Do you want you children to grow up knowing their mom never reached her full potential and believe that it’s just not that big of a deal to take care of themselves or have any goals of their own? I have two girls. I want them to be taught how to set intentions, goals, create healthy habits, S O A R … who better to teach them than me? Can I be the one to give my daughters the fuel they need to become whatever it is they want to be? I tell them to chase their dreams constantly. Am I no different? How hypocritical is that?

When was the last time you got a pedicure? One hour. I’m saying one hour a week can you vanish? It can even be during nap time so that whoever is with the kid has it easy. And girl… your husband is NOT their babysitter. He does not babysit his children. You aren’t a babysitter. He isn’t a babysitter. The only thing you have to ask him is if he will be home… you are a grown ass woman. Tell your partner that you are leaving the house for one hour. Remind him where the diapers are and then G.O. Just go. If you are married to a man child who you do not trust to watch your children… then you need a whole different blog post. He is just as much of their parent as  you are and he has his part just as much as you do. He is not your babysitter.

If we are at our lowest of lows, lonely, depressed, missing what we love, lost our identity… how can we be parent our children the way they deserve? When they are old enough, they will thank you for following your dreams.

We are women. Who aren’t we? Who aren’t we to run after our dreams? Who aren’t we to have opinions that matter? It’s 2018… what do you want?? Tell us! Tell us what you want. Write it down! Put a timeline on it! GET IT. Get what you want and what you deserve, my love. You are a fierce woman who brought precious life into this world …. what can you not do?? Nothing! There is nothing you can’t do. Stop limiting yourself. Tell your family! Tell them what your plan is. Don’t ask. Tell them. This is not up for discussion. You have given up so much for the other people in your life to follow their dreams… they can do the same for you.

Get out there, girl. What are waiting for? It‘s never going to get easier. Now is the easiest moment. Now is the time to make the decision and LEAP.

Now.

Today.

Get it, girl.

Life Lessons in Social Etiquette (…for boys)

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(All antics have been honey badger tested)

Life Lessons in Social Etiquette 1-10

1. Laying across the entrance to the school will not stop school.
2. Biting your classmates’ hand when they try to help you at the computer because your hands are busy “typing” is wrong on all fronts.
3. Leaving your superhero underpants on the floor of the little boys’ room is not sharing.
4. Believing your classmates are “Stormtroopers” and you’re the only “good guy” is not fair.
5. “Pew-pewing” the “Stormtroopers” won’t make you any friends.
6. Throwing chairs when asked to do your writing work is not a bargaining tactic.
7. Stuffing your cheeks with wadded up balls of pink construction paper does not make you “Murl the Squirrel.”
8. Your game “Dangerous Windmill” which entails spinning in circles with your arms wide out and hitting classmates is not a team sport.
9. Your mouth is not a rock tumbler.
10. “Saving the World” by moving all the earthworms onto the grass is a pretty cool thing.

Stay tuned for lessons 11-20 next month!

 

This month’s life lessons are brought to you by our fellow Okay mom Jennifer Holston

When You Finally Grow the F Up

Another post written for you by one of our Okay Moms ::

KT Kinsey

I have never been the socially acceptable “normal” person I was intended to be by the people in charge of my education and upbringing. I’ve always taken the road less traveled, and that was usually the more difficult path. Baby was never meant to be put in a corner and was never meant to be told what to do! Painfully awkward, filled with incredible amounts of pent up rage from tragic events of my childhood, and lost in a big world with no real role model, I spent the first almost 30 years of my existence, well, lost.

My life never had a clear path. I didn’t have much in the way of future goals, I couldn’t see past the end of my nose and the borders of my small hometown. You know the type of place, small town, booming in population growth, where everyone either works for a plant or teaches school and everyone knows everyone else’s business.  I knew I wasn’t meant to be there, but I had no clue how to get out unless prison was involved, and I’m too in to my self-preservation for that shit. The opportunities for me weren’t plentiful and I had no idea how to get out there and make things happen myself. I was usually shut down before I could even try.

I was forced to attend college even though deep down I knew I wasn’t ready. I was too naive of the real world and had absolutely no clue what college involved or what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Seven years, three majors, three minors, and three institutions of higher learning later and I finally trucked out a half decent degree with a $40,000 price tag in student loans. I was finally done with the monotony of “formal education”, married and on my way to the state of New York for my husband’s first duty station with the Army.

The first tastes of real freedom, and what did I do with it? Immediately had a baby. Don’t get me wrong, I was so ready to have a child and I love my little boy more than anything else in the world, but I never gave myself time to consider options for just what exactly I would want out of life. By the time my husbands first contract with the Army was complete we had spent three years in the frozen tundra of upstate New York, racking up credit card debt, and doing nothing but hiding at home with my baby and eating. I was “that” military spouse. I made a couple of friends and tried a few new activities but my only true solace was junk food and fighting with imaginary people on the Internet. I was just a miserable person living a closeted miserable life.

All of the education and training and experience I had built up in the first 25 years of my life were going to absolute waste. This impasse basically slapped me in the face in 2013 when I decided to compete for the last time in an International pageant system I had been involved in for almost 10 years. I was aging out and decided to give the International competition one more go of it. I prepared my vocal selection for talent, shopped for the clothes, got in shape, had professional headshots made. I was ready! Or so I thought. I was 27 and aging out of the system and the part of the process that I hadn’t given much thought to was also the part that always came so easy to me, the Interview competition. About a month before the pageant I started thinking about things I could potentially be asked in Interview. It didn’t take me long to realize I had messed up. Questions that came to mind were things like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” “What is your greatest accomplishment” or “How do you plan to make an impact on the world”.

That’s it, time to call the whole thing off, I’m doomed. I can belt out a song and glide across the stage in a gown all day but I had absolutely no real substance to back it up. I am not a person who cries easily. I am also that solid rock in a rocky storm type of gal. I went into sheer panic mode. I ended up in tears during a conversation with my mother, whom I was living with at the time while my husband was deployed. I realized that while I had gone through the “expected” steps of graduating high school, graduating college, marrying a respectable man, and having a beautiful child, I had absolutely nothing to really show for myself that was any indication of who I was as a person and absolutely no future path in sight other than to raise my child.

Now, before anyone wants to rake me over the coals for my last statement, I’m not saying raising my child isn’t respectable. I consider it the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever had and will ever have. This is merely my way of saying that I had never given any thought to being capable of anything other than being a wife and mom. I love those parts of my life, but in this epiphany mess of tears I realized that I was a capable human being who really did want more than what I had settled myself to.

My mom talked me off the ledge, we managed to collaborate on some believable bullshit to put on my introduction card for the pageant, and off we went to spend a week in Vegas full of hairspray, rhinestones, and memories. I ended up pulling off my second trip to the Top 10 for my age group, and while I didn’t return home with a crown I did come home with a new found thought: I am not done living my life yet.

Fast forward four years and we now live in Tennessee where we own a home, send our son to a nice private school, I have an incredible job, and now know what I want to be when I grow up. In those four years I took a long look at where I came from and decided to embrace what I was capable of rather than wallowing in my pathetic past. I cut myself off from a lot of Internet connection, a lot of toxic “friendships”, even more toxic family relations, and decided to be who I really am.

I now rock purple hair, I got my first tattoo recently, I embrace my full on love of Harry Potter and all things nerdy, and decided to stop letting everyone else tell me who I am supposed to be. I saw a picture on Instagram recently with a quote on it that I have really fallen in love with. It said, “Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.” I’m done trying to fit myself into the molds I was never meant to fit into. I may not cure cancer, save Social Security, or win Miss America but for my child I’m going to be the best example of living my one and only life exactly the way I want to with absolutely no shame or doubt involved. If I can encourage one other person to be who they are without apology, then my work here is done.

Why Okay Mom’s Don’t Volunteer…

Monday is unique in the world of moms. It’s the day little zombies are pulled out of their beds after two days of a low demand schedules and whine their way through the morning routine; add in a school field trip and it results in deaf, screaming creatures with amnesia running in circles. They have little ability to function, but somehow mom pulls things together enough so that everyone is semi-groomed, dressed, and crammed into a car on their merry-ish way to school. I forgot to mention, in a moment of insanity, I volunteered to be a parent driver for said field trip.

The morning was further complicated by a rebellious stomach, starring a gaseous repeat of last nights chicken dinner and it was too late to find a replacement. 9:15amwas the hour of departure. Kids were due at a theater tour at 10am. I had one hour to prepare after the initial creature drop. Gas filled,  GPS programmed, grocery store trip for a variety pack of cereals (frosted mini-wheats were the only thing I could tolerate), child-friendly movie, garbage and clothing collected and ejected. I even removed the goo that lined the bottom of the rear cup holder! We were totally prepared for a smooth drive.

At 9:15 I lead a line of four vibrating 7-year-olds to the car while toting two booster seats, water bottles, and simultaneously unlocking and opening the doors. I felt like a sour-stomached super hero. They funneled in.

The normal whining that inflicts my daughter every Monday morning continued, except at a volume several decibels higher than normal. Having to use her brother’s 5-point harness booster ruined her day. I wrestled with seatbelts while the creatures hooted, hollered, and bounced. Even with each one safely buckled in, they still managed to make the van sway. I slid into my seat, flipped down the tv screen and started “Robin Hood” in one swoop. Cheers ensued as they rooted about their snack bags. The rocking motion of the van stopped, and I put the car in reverse.

“Wait! I brought the wrong bag. This is my lunch.” exclaimed one creature.

I put the car back in park, the glowing 9:35am caught my eye as I looked back. The theater was a 30-minute ride. “Isn’t there something in your lunch bag you could eat as snack?”

“Nope,” he said self-assuredly.

I remembered the boxes of cereal in the back of the car and ran to grab them. I held them up like a victory beacon for all the creatures to see. “What would you like?”

“Ummm…,” he contemplates.

A couple minutes go by and the whistling number starts on “Robin Hood.” I start making cereal suggestions. He finally settles on Rice Crispies.

I put the car in reverse.

“My snack is old,” piped another creature.

I put the car in park and held up the cereal. “Anyone else want a box?”

Prospects of sugared cereal caused a frenzy amongst the creatures. Songs were sung, gleeful shrieks rattled the windows, and once again the car shook.  One of them escaped the seatbelt to examine the cereal choices and the others followed.

After a bit, the creatures settled, were reseated, and buckled up. A murmur settled over the car, with only an occasional spastic shout. I looked back to see feet swinging in tune with the movie and looks of contentment.

I put the car in reverse.

The sound of pressurized plastic forcefully torn open, followed by a shower of crispy rice hitting the seats and windows made me freeze.

I heard “OH SNAP!” from the back seat and then complete silence.

I put the car in park and slowly turned around.

Everything, including the creatures, were covered in a fine sheet of Rice Crispies. They were even heaped along the window like winter snow. One creature stared in horror at the empty Rice Krispies box in his lap. The rest were like statues. I brushed the crispies off my shoulder and laughed.

One of the creatures shouted “It snowed in Texas today!” and they all laughed. After we cleaned up a bit, I put the car in reverse and had all the kids roll down their windows to hear the “Snap, Crackle, Pop” of our 10am departure.

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Today’s post was brought to you by fellow World’s Okayest Mom::

Jennifer Holston at dirtybadgerpaws.com  

Avid gardener, mommy of two, cook, crafter, writer, wife, nurse and improv tradeswoman aimlessly roaming the ranges of Texas.

Momming is lonely AF

IMG_9067Hi. I am a stay at home mom and I am lonely.

 

I also live with anxiety. Momming with anxiety is more than just hearing phantom cries while you’re trying to get in your weekly shower. It’s hearing the phantom cries and in a matter of seconds going through the entire process from running out and finding your baby pinned between the crib and the mattress and it’s too late just because you wanted to selfishly wash your hair for the first time this month while she was napping… all in your head. Before you even have the chance to make a decision if you want to jump out of the shower and check or not.

It’s more than just worry. It’s more than just concerns. It’s crippling and consuming.

A quick escape form these daily anxieties and worries is my phone. My phone is just a thumb print away from anyone and everything outside of my home filled with kids. Two minutes sitting down with the kids quickly turns into an hour of mind-numbing scrolling. It feels like a connection to the busy world around me. It feels like everyone is here to listen to my update and crack up at my wittiness. It feels like my world might not be so lonely after all. But in reality, I was addicted and it was making me even more alienated, and never present.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been experimenting with different lifestyle changes that I can make to possibly ease the anxiety and pressure I put on myself.

I’ve tried certain diets, drinking more water, exercising more, waking up earlier… but you want to know what has been the most freeing? Unplugging.

I made my “Hey I’m leaving social media so you should worship me…” post and I haven’t looked back. It’s been only a week now but man do I feel an instant change in my daily life.

I’m playing with my kids more, I have more energy, I’m actually reaching out to people I haven’t talked to in a while because I have to intentionally text them to see how they’re doing instead of “liking” their latest update… it’s amazing. I had no idea how much I was missing out on by staying plugged in. Facebook was a complete escape for me – somewhere to receive false validation from old friends and complete strangers. The higher the numbers on my Instagram the more empowered I feel. The absolute definition of a band-aid for my loneliness. 

Since unplugging – suddenly I’m not bombarded with news articles about kids being abused by their meth-head parents, or how the country is falling to shit. I don’t care that my family occasionally posts racists articles… because I don’t see em! It’s riveting!

Are you addicted? As a mom it’s so easy. Staying at home with small children is the loneliest thing I have ever experienced. I am an extrovert to the MAX and people fuel me. Missing out makes me feel unwanted, unloved, and invisible – which is all the kiss of death for an extrovert like me. I lived on my phone. Scrolling through people’s posts feeling like I was a part of some big conversation that was happening outside my tiny world consumed with diapers and Cheerios. But in reality, it was only filling me with anxiety, FOMO ((fear of missing out)), and whenever my kids needed me, I felt interrupted from my much deserved “me time” on my phone with my freakin thumbs. Even in my marriage – my husband and I were the couple laying down next to each other with our glowing screens. Sometimes we would show each other the funny cat video but was that really where our relationship had resorted too? We’re funny people! We don’t need cat videos – we need each other!

I had prioritized my Mom Group over my friends, my Instagram likes over living in the moment, my shares over my self love, and my screen friendships over my relationship with my husband and kids.

Would you try something with me?

Maybe you’re not ready to go rogue like I did but what if you deleted the app from your phone and only checked Facebook when you’re sitting in front of a computer? Just for a while. My plan is to go to the end of this year. Maybe I’ll reinstall the apps after the New Year but it will mostly be for my mom group that I run and keeping up with this lovely page. Just see what happens. Watch your mood, watch your sleep patterns… I think it’ll surprise you.

Either way… momming is stressful and lonely AF. Making little decisions like spending less time on social media or taking daily walks can make it easier – which ends up being healing.

Let me know how it’s going for you if you take this on. I’d love to hear from you!