Motherhood

I guess Motherhood IS pretty powerful after all…

Tiaras & Swords V3

My daughter recently asked me: “Mom, can I be Super Man even though I’m a girl?” and I said “yes, of course….Super Man isn’t Super Man because he’s a boy….he is Super Man because he is brave and kind and generous.”

To be perfectly honest, I’m not too worried about Lucy feeling inferior simply because she is female. Not only is she surrounded by strong women but, maybe even more importantly, by men who respect and empower women as peers and colleagues. So while she may one day face inequality in school or the workplace, I feel pretty confident that she will handle it like a bad ass. I mean….she’s only three years old so I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself but I’m not too worried about it.

Due in large part to the current political climate, the topic of equality (or lack thereof) has been at the forefront of our society…and you know what….I’m glad. More people are discussing inequality than ever before…fighting for it….advocating for and recognizing it now more than ever. After deciding to leave the workforce and stay at home I felt a bit useless…..and guilty. There was part of me that felt like I let my “sisters” down by “giving up” my career to stay at home….and felt like I gave up my right or my voice….like I  had set us back…or let down all the women who fought so hard to give me so many opportunities. I was desperate to contribute to and be a propellant for positive change…and have spent a lot of hours thinking about how I can make a difference. So, as I continued to think about my role and what or how I was doing to contribute to society I realized I needed to dwell less on what I had done and more on what I could do moving forward and I have come to realize that regardless of whether or not I am working, the most powerful way I can make a difference is by raising kind humans who believe in and fight for equality. I can raise my family and my children in a way that paves a path for equality. It is something I can show them….day in and day out. I can do that. Regardless of a persons gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or any other magical reason someone is different from them….I am going to raise humans who see beyond any of that. I am committed to raising children who grow up loving their neighbors something fierce….I’m going to sprinkle kindness around like confetti. It’s going to be a kindness party up in here (okay, okay…I’m getting carried away….or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to drink during the day).

It’s amazing how at 3 years old my daughter is already recognizing the different roles genders play. She recently asked me why girls don’t play sports. Ummmm….I’m sorry….come again child. Not only does Lucy play any and every sport she wants…..but ummm…I’m her mom. I love sports. In fact, I would even say that I’m a better athlete than her dad (he LOVES when I tell people this). After discussing this with her in great detail (especially the part about me being a better athlete than her dad) she said….”yeah but why don’t girls play sports on TV”? Hmmm….you got me there kid….guess we’ll be watching a lot of softball this year!

Speaking of….we just celebrated Lucy’s 3rd birthday and this came up on my Facebook memories from a year ago:

Tiaras & Swords V1

“I am not one to easily take offense to something and I choose to keep politics to myself but trying to pick out the perfect birthday card for my smart, brave, hilarious, construction/dinosaur/monster/Paw Patrol loving daughter, I am disappointed in the selection. Every card I choose for her says Birthday BOY…..where my ladies at?? Good thing I have a Sharpie readily available!!”

Seriously….every dinosaur card was for a birthday boy. But you know what….it goes both ways. One of Lucy’s very best friends is Frozen obsessed. He LOVES Frozen!!! We wanted to give him a Frozen birthday card but they were all for the birthday girl. I recently saw a friend of mine post about how her son wanted to wear a Wonder Woman shirt. HELL YES. She has twins (yes, she is in fact Wonder Woman) and her son wanted to wear a Wonder Woman shirt but of course she couldn’t find one. See below:

MTD feature V3

From: @annda003 

“The kids wanted Wonder Woman shirts so we could match. Of course, there weren’t any in the boys section. Apparently girls can sport heroes, but boys can’t wear heroines. Females team members are missing almost always missing from boys apparel. You can see this with The Justice League, The Avengers (give Black Widow her own movie!), Star Wars, Paw Patrol, The Lion Guard…How can we teach our sons to respect women as peers and colleagues (let alone as leaders) if we exclude them from the narrative? My son will learn that women kick ass just as much as men. Not because he has a mom who kicks ass or his sister kicks ass. Because they are PEOPLE who kick ass. So yes, I found him a shirt. He’s wearing a girl’s size small and he loves it. His shield is in the way and the Invisible Jet is parked out back.” 

Anyway, I started thinking a lot about how I can show Lucy that gender doesn’t (or shouldn’t) mean a damn thing and it got me thinking about how brands play such an important role in how equality is taught and comprehended by our youth. You walk through clothing stores, toy stores, book stores, etc. and its clear….boys vs girls. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have separate sections but boys and girls should at least have access to the same characters….right? My kid loves Paw Patrol but all of the girls clothing and accessories are Skye & Everest….well Lucy loves Rubble damn it. My nephew thinks Everest is a bad ass yet he would be hard pressed to find some Paw Patrol paraphernalia with Everest on it in the boys section. I truly believe we have more power than we give ourselves credit for. I can’t help but think that by making small changes to what I purchase….what I watch….where I spend my time and money…..that collectively, we can slowly show brands that this matters. It does make a difference. It makes a difference in how our children see themselves and each other and that matters. Now don’t get me wrong, there are brands out there who fight hard for this but oftentimes they are too expensive and/or not as readily available to everyone like a Target or Old Navy would be and while I love some of these small brands fighting the good fight for us (like Budding Stem)…..I just can’t seem to justify $39 for a dress or $27 for leggings (I don’t even spend that on my own wardrobe) that my 3 year old will likely grow out of in a few months or rip a hole through them on day 2. This isn’t easy….I know this is bigger and more complex than I even begin to pretend to understand….but isn’t there a way we can show big brands that this is important to us? That this is how you win loyalty from your consumers. Give us something that supports our mission….our mission of raising a generation of lovers, scientists, politicians and friends who don’t see gender, race, religion or sexual orientation as something that makes someone different but something that makes them unique and magical and beautiful. It is up to us to raise a generation who can heal and re-build a nation…a world….a society that is worth fighting for. We have to demand more from the brands that dominate the aisles of our stores. Unfortunately, I really don’t have a solution here….I don’t have some wise call to action or brand to support…..but a virtual chest bump that we CAN make a difference. Where you shop, where you eat, what you wear….it matters.

This sounds and feels so silly but I believe that by making small changes…big and small…we can change the conversation. Something small we did recently was for Lucy’s birthday. She wanted a princess party….greeeeeat….and she wanted to give all her guests tiaras….even bettttttter. So, as we were packing up the bags she said, “what about the boys?” Ummm “what about the boys???” and then she told me that “boys don’t wear tiaras”. TO HELL THEY DON’T!  I told her that yes, they absolutely DO wear tiaras….and that girls carry swords….and that some people wear a tiara and carry a sword while riding a magical unicorn over a rainbow (…but seriously….I think I’ve actually seen this in Portland). The point is….I don’t want her to see the world this way but somehow her little brain is already recognizing and internalizing the bullshit stereotypes society impresses upon our youth. Boys and/or girls can wear a tiara WHILE carrying a sword….in a pink tutu with soccer cleats on. So, I got on Amazon Prime and ordered 25 foam swords to put in the bags so everyone got a tiara and a sword because they are not mutually exclusive and yes, I realize this is trivial and silly but its one small way that we can start changing the way our kids see themselves and stop assigning erroneous roles based on gender. It starts with us…it starts right now with our kids and you know what….that’s pretty powerful.

WE LITERALLY MADE HUMAN BEINGS YOU GUYS….INSIDE OUR BODIES. We are magical freaks of nature. We can change the world….by being good moms…..and dads….and aunts and uncles and friends. Raising our kids to fiercely love one another…..to be includers…..and to fight for equality. We can do that. We can do that right now so yeah, I guess being a mom is enough. Motherhood is in fact pretty powerful.

~Emily

IMG_1985

 

Motherhood

I guess Motherhood IS pretty powerful after all…

Tiaras & Swords V3

My daughter recently asked me: “Mom, can I be Super Man even though I’m a girl?” and I said “yes, of course….Super Man isn’t Super Man because he’s a boy….he is Super Man because he is brave and kind and generous.”

To be perfectly honest, I’m not too worried about Lucy feeling inferior simply because she is female. Not only is she surrounded by strong women but, maybe even more importantly, by men who respect and empower women as peers and colleagues. So while she may one day face inequality in school or the workplace, I feel pretty confident that she will handle it like a bad ass. I mean….she’s only three years old so I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself but I’m not too worried about it.

Due in large part to the current political climate, the topic of equality (or lack thereof) has been at the forefront of our society…and you know what….I’m glad. More people are discussing inequality than ever before…fighting for it….advocating for and recognizing it now more than ever. After deciding to leave the workforce and stay at home I felt a bit useless…..and guilty. There was part of me that felt like I let my “sisters” down by “giving up” my career to stay at home….and felt like I gave up my right or my voice….like I  had set us back…or let down all the women who fought so hard to give me so many opportunities. I was desperate to contribute to and be a propellant for positive change…and have spent a lot of hours thinking about how I can make a difference. So, as I continued to think about my role and what or how I was doing to contribute to society I realized I needed to dwell less on what I had done and more on what I could do moving forward and I have come to realize that regardless of whether or not I am working, the most powerful way I can make a difference is by raising kind humans who believe in and fight for equality. I can raise my family and my children in a way that paves a path for equality. It is something I can show them….day in and day out. I can do that. Regardless of a persons gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or any other magical reason someone is different from them….I am going to raise humans who see beyond any of that. I am committed to raising children who grow up loving their neighbors something fierce….I’m going to sprinkle kindness around like confetti. It’s going to be a kindness party up in here (okay, okay…I’m getting carried away….or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to drink during the day).

It’s amazing how at 3 years old my daughter is already recognizing the different roles genders play. She recently asked me why girls don’t play sports. Ummmm….I’m sorry….come again child. Not only does Lucy play any and every sport she wants…..but ummm…I’m her mom. I love sports. In fact, I would even say that I’m a better athlete than her dad (he LOVES when I tell people this). After discussing this with her in great detail (especially the part about me being a better athlete than her dad) she said….”yeah but why don’t girls play sports on TV”? Hmmm….you got me there kid….guess we’ll be watching a lot of softball this year!

Speaking of….we just celebrated Lucy’s 3rd birthday and this came up on my Facebook memories from a year ago:

Tiaras & Swords V1

“I am not one to easily take offense to something and I choose to keep politics to myself but trying to pick out the perfect birthday card for my smart, brave, hilarious, construction/dinosaur/monster/Paw Patrol loving daughter, I am disappointed in the selection. Every card I choose for her says Birthday BOY…..where my ladies at?? Good thing I have a Sharpie readily available!!”

Seriously….every dinosaur card was for a birthday boy. But you know what….it goes both ways. One of Lucy’s very best friends is Frozen obsessed. He LOVES Frozen!!! We wanted to give him a Frozen birthday card but they were all for the birthday girl. I recently saw a friend of mine post about how her son wanted to wear a Wonder Woman shirt. HELL YES. She has twins (yes, she is in fact Wonder Woman) and her son wanted to wear a Wonder Woman shirt but of course she couldn’t find one. See below:

MTD feature V3

From: @annda003 

“The kids wanted Wonder Woman shirts so we could match. Of course, there weren’t any in the boys section. Apparently girls can sport heroes, but boys can’t wear heroines. Females team members are missing almost always missing from boys apparel. You can see this with The Justice League, The Avengers (give Black Widow her own movie!), Star Wars, Paw Patrol, The Lion Guard…How can we teach our sons to respect women as peers and colleagues (let alone as leaders) if we exclude them from the narrative? My son will learn that women kick ass just as much as men. Not because he has a mom who kicks ass or his sister kicks ass. Because they are PEOPLE who kick ass. So yes, I found him a shirt. He’s wearing a girl’s size small and he loves it. His shield is in the way and the Invisible Jet is parked out back.” 

Anyway, I started thinking a lot about how I can show Lucy that gender doesn’t (or shouldn’t) mean a damn thing and it got me thinking about how brands play such an important role in how equality is taught and comprehended by our youth. You walk through clothing stores, toy stores, book stores, etc. and its clear….boys vs girls. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have separate sections but boys and girls should at least have access to the same characters….right? My kid loves Paw Patrol but all of the girls clothing and accessories are Skye & Everest….well Lucy loves Rubble damn it. My nephew thinks Everest is a bad ass yet he would be hard pressed to find some Paw Patrol paraphernalia with Everest on it in the boys section. I truly believe we have more power than we give ourselves credit for. I can’t help but think that by making small changes to what I purchase….what I watch….where I spend my time and money…..that collectively, we can slowly show brands that this matters. It does make a difference. It makes a difference in how our children see themselves and each other and that matters. Now don’t get me wrong, there are brands out there who fight hard for this but oftentimes they are too expensive and/or not as readily available to everyone like a Target or Old Navy would be and while I love some of these small brands fighting the good fight for us (like Budding Stem)…..I just can’t seem to justify $39 for a dress or $27 for leggings (I don’t even spend that on my own wardrobe) that my 3 year old will likely grow out of in a few months or rip a hole through them on day 2. This isn’t easy….I know this is bigger and more complex than I even begin to pretend to understand….but isn’t there a way we can show big brands that this is important to us? That this is how you win loyalty from your consumers. Give us something that supports our mission….our mission of raising a generation of lovers, scientists, politicians and friends who don’t see gender, race, religion or sexual orientation as something that makes someone different but something that makes them unique and magical and beautiful. It is up to us to raise a generation who can heal and re-build a nation…a world….a society that is worth fighting for. We have to demand more from the brands that dominate the aisles of our stores. Unfortunately, I really don’t have a solution here….I don’t have some wise call to action or brand to support…..but a virtual chest bump that we CAN make a difference. Where you shop, where you eat, what you wear….it matters.

This sounds and feels so silly but I believe that by making small changes…big and small…we can change the conversation. Something small we did recently was for Lucy’s birthday. She wanted a princess party….greeeeeat….and she wanted to give all her guests tiaras….even bettttttter. So, as we were packing up the bags she said, “what about the boys?” Ummm “what about the boys???” and then she told me that “boys don’t wear tiaras”. TO HELL THEY DON’T!  I told her that yes, they absolutely DO wear tiaras….and that girls carry swords….and that some people wear a tiara and carry a sword while riding a magical unicorn over a rainbow (…but seriously….I think I’ve actually seen this in Portland). The point is….I don’t want her to see the world this way but somehow her little brain is already recognizing and internalizing the bullshit stereotypes society impresses upon our youth. Boys and/or girls can wear a tiara WHILE carrying a sword….in a pink tutu with soccer cleats on. So, I got on Amazon Prime and ordered 25 foam swords to put in the bags so everyone got a tiara and a sword because they are not mutually exclusive and yes, I realize this is trivial and silly but its one small way that we can start changing the way our kids see themselves and stop assigning erroneous roles based on gender. It starts with us…it starts right now with our kids and you know what….that’s pretty powerful.

WE LITERALLY MADE HUMAN BEINGS YOU GUYS….INSIDE OUR BODIES. We are magical freaks of nature. We can change the world….by being good moms…..and dads….and aunts and uncles and friends. Raising our kids to fiercely love one another…..to be includers…..and to fight for equality. We can do that. We can do that right now so yeah, I guess being a mom is enough. Motherhood is in fact pretty powerful.

~Emily

IMG_1985

 

Motherhood

MOM TIME DELIVERED

MTD Logo

You may have noticed that on the first Friday of each month, we are featuring a mom who inspires us….encourages us and makes the world a better place! I obviously didn’t get around to publishing this on Friday but the purpose of these features is all that matters….right? Anyway, I am big on celebrating my mom tribe. You are what gets me through the good times and the bad. While I may be married to the best human being alive….there are some things that only another mom can understand…..like day drinking.

IMG_1985

I used to compare myself to and/or envy all of the moms out there who I thought looked happier or more “together” or their children were better behaved but after a year at home I have come full circle to celebrating their (your) successes and picking them up when they fall down (but laughing first if you actually fell). We really are better together. So these little features mean a lot to me. I want us all to be successful….to show the world that we really are super women….moms, wives, friends, entrepreneurs….we can do it all! We really can (with enough coffee and wine).

So far, we have introduced you to Short List Meals and Donuts + Dinosaurs.

Wellllllll…..we are SO excited to introduce you to (drum roll please………)

JP Image 1 MM

….beautiful Jackie over at Mom Time Delivered. It’s the perfect time to feature this mama  since we’ve been talking lots about #selflove on IG lately and with Mothers Day just around the corner and the fact that she has made it her business to celebrate and treat Moms everywhere! I know Jackie in a roundabout kind of way. I actually worked with her husband on a multi-family lease-up in downtown LA and if you know anything about real estate and/or new construction you know how stressful a lease up can be. This guy was patient, kind, honest and never even broke a sweat. I have seen grown men cry working a lease up and this guy was not only good at what he did but kind and generous to his staff and colleagues throughout it all. This was rare in my line of work. He was top notch and even better than his work ethic was the way he talked about his family. His wife…their wedding day…there was magic in his eyes.

MTD Family Photo MM

I briefly met his wife once….shortly after they had their first child….at an event for the project we were launching. She was strong, confident and beautiful. Years have passed, we’ve had more babies, changed jobs and probably all have more gray hair. That’s when I received a Facebook notification from Brook (the infamous husband) asking me to check out Mom Time Delivered. I checked it out and was so excited for them. I could feel how genuine their business was and loved their mission of supporting moms in taking a little “me time” as I have come to realize how important that time is. I have recently been on a quest to make sure I am taking care of myself so that I can be the best mom and wife I can be. I love this idea that motherhood doesn’t define us….it’s just a part of who we are….and just like Milk & Mascara….Jackie has made it her business celebrating both the mother and woman in all of us.

Name: Jackie Purcell

Age: 34

Where do you currently live: Los Angeles (born and raised in Metro-Detroit and lived in the Seattle area for 8 years)

How many kids do you have? Two! My daughter is almost 4 (yikes) and my son is 18 month old

Tell me about Mom Time Delivered: 
Mom Time Delivered is a subscription box for moms. Each month will receive 4-6 items including: spa products, indulgent treat’s and fun mom-centric goods.

How many boxes are there each month? When does the new monthly box become available? Our first shipment, to 20 well deserving Moms, went out on May 5th. Each month is a new box/theme and will be shipped the first week of the month.

How did this come about? What inspired you to start Mom Time Delivered?
I love getting subscription boxes and I love sharing them with my friends, so it seemed like a natural fit for me to start my own. And the concept of Mom Time Delivered, is because whenever I found myself with some alone time, I never knew what to do with it. I would just binge watch Netflix or scroll Facebook/Instagram. I want to make it easy for Moms to truly take care of themselves and do something that will help rejuvenate them…enter Mom Time Delivered.

How do you select the items/partners in the boxes? Each box is an experience and designed to be used all at once, so the items all need to compliment each other. I look for small businesses, especially Mom owned businesses, to partner with. This way the customers can try new products from great small businesses without having to search them out.

What is your hope for Mom Time Delivered? Of course, I have some business/financial goals (duh! Don’t we all?? Can someone pay me to write this blog?), but truly my hope is to brighten each Moms day that receives the box. Help them take time for themselves so they can be even better Moms.

What did you do before starting Mom Time Delivered? 
Before starting Mom Time Delivered, I was the VP of a children’s fitness franchise. I had been with them for 11 years, so it was very hard to leave, but time to focus on my family and dream.

What has been the most challenging part of starting your own business? The most challenging part is learning the E-Commerce business. I have owned my own business before and understand small business, but e-commerce is totally new to me. It is a fun new adventure and I am learning something new every day.

What’s your favorite product in this months box? This is a tough question, as I do try each product and only put the ones in that I love. The body scrub is something that I have been using for over a year and approached the company to be in the box. This scrub is always in my shower (in different scents). I hope the customers love it as much as I do.

Alright moms….and dads….alright….fine….humans….it’s easy to see why Mom Time Delivered is a great gift to give or a special treat for yourself but can I just take a minute to applaud Jackie and her family for chasing their dreams….taking risks and winning at life? I love this. I want to be more like this. What am I so afraid of? Maybe I will start my own business! Right? I can do it?!?! Jackie….you’re so cool and I for one cannot wait to get my box!!! Thank you for inspiring moms everywhere….celebrating your tribe and keeping it real.

To top it all of….Jackie is providing all Milk & Mascara readers with a coupon code for your first box!! Enter milkandmascara for $10 off!

ALL THE FEELS,

~Emily

Emily

*Still testing out photos because my friends are jerks and make fun of every one.

 

Motherhood

Lets be Includers

We’ve all heard it: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Well….William Congreve likely didn’t have kids when he wrote that because a woman has got nothing on a Mother. You want to talk about fury….I double dog dare your kid to push my kid at the playground.

Be an Includer

I have dealt with anger issues for most of my life….I just didn’t know it until I met my now husband. Long story short….I was angry. I was angry at my past. My parents. My siblings. The town I grew up in. The kids I grew up next to. Myself. The world. God. After years of therapy….forgiveness….growth and love….anger was no longer something that held me captive. Sometimes I still feel angry of course but I am able to easily combat that anger with joy. Peace. Love. Hope. I am happy. For all the right reasons. I know how good I’ve got it and I really do….I’ve got it good. You would have a hard time making me angry….or offending me because there is little that can bring me down without some serious self reflection, understanding and empathy. That is….until a week ago. When someone was mean to my kid. I’m not talking like didn’t share their toys mean. Lucy got mean girl…ed.

Let me start off by saying that I know my Lucy is not perfect. She is a wild little lady with all sorts of opinions. Every day…every transgression is a teaching moment….we teach kindness….we teach gentle hands….we teach inclusion….compassion….love….forgiveness…acceptance. I work hard at all of this every day. There are days that get the best of me….and unfortunately…..there are days that get the worst of me. I’m not perfect. I have bad days…..just like my almost 3 year old. BUT I assure you….my Lucy is also kind….and funny….and playful….and social. She….in its purest form….is a child. An innocent child. A child that I will fiercely protect for as long as I live.

You may see where this is going. Last week, I dropped Lucy off at “Kids Camp” at the gym where her and her brother spend an hour or two twice a week while I work off this mom bod. She ran in with excitement….hugging her teachers….her girlfriends and promising to take care of her little brother. There is nothing quite as wonderful as finding somewhere your kids feel safe, loved and heard at while you can work on a little #selflove. Am I right? I returned to her classroom an hour or so later to find Eli eating (per usual) and Lucy….in the corner of the room….playing by herself while her girlfriends (girlfriends we know well….friends, neighbors, etc.) were playing on the other side of the room….laughing, dancing, pretending. My heart fell to my stomach. This is so unlike Lucy. We saw each other and she ran to me with excitement….not a care in the world. She asked how my class went and if I had taken a shower (she doesn’t like sweaty mom) and I asked her how “Kids Camp” was. She said it was “wonderful” (her words not mine) and that Eli had a hard time going to sleep but that pita bread made him happy. As we packed up her snacks, I asked her why she was playing by herself when I got there to which she replied “oh, my friends wouldn’t let me play with them. They called me a baby. Then they told me to go away.” She didn’t even blink an eye. She was fine. I however felt rage. Hot blooded rage. Rage traveled through my veins and I could feel my face turn red. “You’re a baby?” I asked. “Who said that?”

So, Lucy is almost 3. She will be 3 on May 11th and she talks….A LOT. She uses words that I didn’t use until I was in my late 20’s….trying to impress a guy I met at a bar with a masters degree. Lucy has expressed frustration when kids her age aren’t able to communicate with her or talk with her as much as she might like so she sometimes gravitates towards kids who are a year or 2 older. The friends at Kids Camp fall into this example. They are 4 and almost 5. These kids join us quite often for neighborhood activities and events and are generally good kids. Sweet kids. So, I was surprised. Then, one of the girls ran over to us and said “It was me that called her a baby. She is a baby and we didn’t want to play with her.”

I mean…..she’s not wrong. I get it. Lucy isn’t even 3. She is a baby. MY BABY {insert Godzilla mom stomping buildings and eating small children}.

My heart was broken. Does mean girling really start this soon? I had NO IDEA what to do or how to handle this or what to say to Lucy. I was speechless…..and heartbroken. As we walked to our car, I asked Lucy about her day. She told me that she had a great day. She played and colored and tried to play house. Tried? “What do you mean you tried?” Well, {X} & {X} were playing house and I wanted to play too but {X} wouldn’t let me….so I played by myself.” My response? Nada. I had nothing. I was so sad. I think (know) I was hurting more than she was. I know it’s real. I know the mean girl factor is out there. I know it exists. I was bullied. I was bullied HARD. Elementary school. Middle School. High School. I was bullied and I was excluded. Excluded because of my parents. My siblings. My behavior. It was awful. Now…..I am not necessarily blaming anyone else. My behavior wasn’t great. I pushed boundaries. I was rebellious but as a parent today, I want/need to remember that even the most rebellious kids want nothing more than to be included. To be loved.

Anyway, what was/am I to do with this situation? I had no idea. My first thought was Google but that was overwhelming. So, I pinterested (is that a word?) “Toddler Bullying” and WOW….this is a thing you guys. A lot of more graceful and eloquent parents prefer to call it “peer rejection” since toddlers rarely know what they’re doing….they’re not bullies….or so they tell me. My first introduction to the topic was by Pennies & Playdough and I immediately felt ashamed. This woman showed so much grace….and love….and empathy in how she navigated her experience…..while I was over here googling how to give a 5 year old diarrhea. I immediately felt like a failure and while I loved what Crystal had to say about teaching our children about inclusion and empathy….I did not relate to her approach. Like at all. She didn’t even consider arson? I mean…..who is she? Jesus?

I also came across Playground Parkbench and I LOVED what she had to say…it made me feel capable….equipped….like I could handle this without going to jail:

“One of the best pieces of advice I received came from Terri, a retired elementary school principal who now blogs at Our Good Life.

Her comfort level was with the other kids in her class. She doesn’t understand exclusion and its effect on others. In this case, it is acceptable to show the mean girl how the excluded child could fit in. For example, mom walks with child over to the group and says, look! My child is wearing the same shoes as you, or both of you have barrettes today, or, I am friends with your mom! This gives the mean girl a way to fit the other girl into her set.”

The 4 year old girl isn’t in fact a ‘mean girl’, her social development is just at a point where she isn’t yet comfortable including children she isn’t familiar with in her social circle.  By pointing out shared commonalities, it helps young children find common ground which gives them comfort and helps them build friendships.”

Okay….so what you’re saying is that maybe this 5 year old isn’t Satan after all?

I also reached out to my tribe. This is a group of woman from all walks of life….teachers, Grandmas, wives, professionals, mothers, sisters and most importantly….people who dearly love my family. Their advice? Talk to Lucy. Talk to her about what happened. How it made her feel. Validate her feelings and then turn it into a teaching moment about why and how we love our peers. I know this sounds so simple. It is simple but in the moment I saw red. Then I felt ashamed and ill equipped to handle the situation. You know those moments in parenthood where you hit a wall and think….”I didn’t see that coming!”? This was one of those moments for me. What happened to that peaceful parent I had worked so hard to become? She was gone in a matter of seconds and replaced by a psychotic bully that wanted to fight a 5 year old.

So, how do we teach our children inclusion?

Well, I came across an article on PBS about Relational Aggression as a form of bullying and this is where I really felt empowered to use this incident as a powerful teaching moment and lifestyle choice. I am excited to intentionally roll out these tactics in our every day life and for my children to reap the benefits of being “includers”.

“The best thing parents can do is to empower kids to act as “includers.” When we instill kids with prosocial skills, we spread kindness and compassion. Follow these steps to teach your kids to include others.

  1. Listen and empathize. It can be very difficult to sit back and listen when a child tells a story of being excluded, humiliated or otherwise hurt at school, but listening and empathizing are the two best things you can do. While it might be tempting to respond, “What a terrible friend!” what your child actually needs to hear is, “That sounds terrible. You must feel so upset right now.” When we empathize with our kids, we teach them to do the same for others. Empathetic kids can create giant ripples of kindness in this world. All we have to do is be there for them and let them work through their emotions.
  2. Be an “includer.” Ever stare at your phone to avoid social interaction when you’re just not up for it or you don’t know anyone in the room? You’re not alone. Technology makes it easy to avoid uncomfortable situations, but using technology to avoid social interactions sends mixed messages to our kids. If we want our kids to learn to reach out to others and include new people (or people they wouldn’t otherwise sit with), we need to do the same. Show your kids how to make new friends by introducing yourself to new people and striking up conversations with people they don’t know.
  3. Look for someone who needs a friend. It’s normal for kids to get caught up in their usual groups. Young children like routine and tend to sit at the same table at lunch or play with the same groups at recess, but this can be limiting. Teach your child to scan the room (or field) to look for someone who might need a friend. Practice ways to invite a new kid into the group or ask others to join a game. When kids practice these skills at home, they are better able to use them out in the world.
  4. Talk about unintentional exclusion. Sometimes kids exclude others without intent to harm. In the case of my client above, she didn’t invite that other girl to the weekend outing because it involved roller coasters and she knew the girl didn’t like roller coasters. She meant to protect her friend, but in planning a secret outing with others she actually caused more harm than good. Talk to your kids about what it means to exclude and how they can include others. Ask your kids to draw connections between being excluded and possible negative emotions and between being included and possible positive emotions.Open and honest communication helps kids work through feelings and emotions. It also increases empathy and compassion. Host a weekly family meeting to talk about the good, the bad and the in-between. In helping our children process emotions, we show them that kindness really does count.”

I am going to work hard to instill this kind of behavior in our home so that I can raise kind humans who will love and include your kind humans. Join me! Seriously though…don’t raise assholes….the world has enough of those.

With love,

Emily

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Motherhood

I am an addict ….or something like that.

It’s true….I am an addict. I am addicted to….all the things. In all seriousness…I am a product of addicts. I come from a long line of alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. My Grandparents on both sides, Uncles, Aunts, parents & siblings. It would have been difficult to avoid. So, not only do I have an addictive personality but addiction is in my DNA. However, my “struggle” with addiction is a little different then what you might expect. I am well aware of the normal prospects of addiction…alcohol….drugs…prescriptions pills and such. Been there done that. I am even aware of the less susceptible addictions….social media…money…gambling, etc. I am cognizant of the risks associated with all of these. These (thank God) aren’t my problem(s). Where I can’t seem to find balance….is in….well….all other areas of my life. I am all in. All the time. 100%. There is no in between. I live in black and white. I’m in or I’m out. I love or I hate. It’s intense. Exhausting. All consuming. It’s my form of addiction I guess? Perhaps addiction isn’t the right word. Or the right terminology. I have no concept of balance. Maybe balance is the word I am looking for. Let’s go with that….I have no concept of balance….but what does that even mean? If one were to have balance? I’m serious.
Balance
My problem is that I can’t casually or recreationally pursue anything. There is a little bit of peace that comes with being able to admit this….or recognize it. Friendships….relationships….employment….all of it….I AM ALL IN. It may take me a while to figure it out or to commit but once I’m there…that’s it. I’m in. There is no turning back. I love fiercely. If working….I am a workaholic. If shopping….I am a shopaholic. When I started my journey as a Stay at Home Mom, there was no down time…I went from 0 to 60 in 2.3 seconds. You know my heartfelt post about #selflove last week? Well, I did it. I went to the local athletic club. I joined and I have been to the gym 5 out of the past 6 days. I am so sore I am currently trustfalling on to the toilet. I have sent an email to ownership on how they can improve their childcare and have already mapped out my classes for the next 30 days. I have committed to the gym in such a way that I now feel guilty for spending money on the membership or spending time away from my kids….or husband. Or another example is Revel Strategies….I started to pick up some consulting work (to keep my resume somewhat relevant) and I have full blown started my own business. Same goes for religion….I am either a full blown bible thumper or a full blown sinner. As most of you know….I like to keep a clean house. I’m not just talking “picked up” clean either. I’m talking bleach and q-tip clean. My friend Joe lovingly coined it as obsessive compulsive….neurotic….cray cray….call it what you will but I lack balance. I could name several more examples to prove my point but if you don’t get it by now….well you just don’t get it. The simplest way I can put it is I AM ALL IN…ALL THE TIME. It’s a good thing I don’t do drugs or I’d be shooting heroin on the regular.
In 6 days…..I am fully addicted to the gym. I crave it. I feel good you guys. I like it and I hear you….it’s ONLY 6 days….but in those 6 days….I have neglected housework….my marriage….my goals because I have directed my “neuroticness” towards something new….it’s like a new “high”….if you will. On Saturday….during nap time….a time where Andrew and I would usually tackle a house project….lay on the couch and take a nap together or catch up on our favorite TV show….I rushed off to the gym to get in a work out. This was/is usually a time we look forward to all week. We don’t do anything special but we’re together….and that’s enough. Insert guilt here. Andrew was of course supportive and proud of me for my newfound commitment to the gym but I felt like I should have taken that opportunity to be with him. I felt guilty for choosing the gym. There is that word again. Guilt. Was I wrong for taking the opportunity to do something for myself? No, of course not. Right? But how often do Andrew and I get to have a few hours just to ourselves? Not often. Not often enough. So am/was I being selfish? I still don’t know the answer to this. On one hand no….and on the other yes. In planning out my week….I decided I couldn’t go to the gym on Wednesday AND Thursday because it wouldn’t be fair to put the kids in childcare two days in a row. Right? Wrong? I seriously don’t know. Is there even an answer? I talked about wanting to prioritize my marriage….to a man I adore….and yet I was choosing to go to the gym rather than spend time with him. What a hypocrite?!?! If it’s not the gym…it’s cooking….or blogging….or consulting….or totschooling. I enjoy all of these things and none of things are “bad” for me but it’s how I approach them. I am so intense….in everything I do. I used to reference this as a strength in the professional world…and it was a strength. You were lucky to have me on your team….you would never find someone more dedicated, loyal and committed but in my personal life, this trait has evolved in to what I am starting to think may be a detriment….to my mental health. In a world where we want to do it all….with good intentions…..how do you find balance in your life?
With love,
Emily
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P.S. Candice made me change my picture because she felt like I was seducing her.
Motherhood

Self Love V2

Self Love

**NOTE: Originally, I had planned on this being about motherhood but it took an unexpected turn and ended up being about being a wife. This surprised me and made me feel super vulnerable but I’m just going to go with it. So here goes nothing.**

I want to start this off by saying that I really don’t know where I am going with it. I keep asking myself over and over WHY I feel the urge to express myself via a blog and so far, I have been unable to answer that question. I don’t have an answer. I guess I was looking for an outlet of some sort and if you know me at all….you know I almost always have something to say and its usually something sarcastic or awkward…or inappropriate. While I can’t put my finger on why I decided to start blogging….I like it. So, when Amy….someone I look up to in every way….as a wife…a mother…a friend….an entrepreneur…..ALL THE THINGS….posted about #selflove…..it got me thinking.

I’ve been staying home full-time now for almost a year and I love it. I do. Sometimes I feel guilty admitting that but I love being a stay at home mom. It is more than I could have ever hoped it would be. I knew I was missing out but I had no idea what I was missing. I have said it before and I will say it again. I do not think children are better off when they are at home with their mom and/or dad and I do not think mom and/or dad are better off if they are at home with their children. In fact, some days I think the exact opposite. When I was working full-time, I was more attentive at home. I was more focused, organized and patient. Surprisingly (or maybe not to you wiser parents), being at home, I have to actually work harder at being present. I believe this to be because I have come to take it for granted and that makes me feel like a real jerk.

I pride myself on being a peaceful parent. This is important to me because I lived many years of my life in complete and total chaos. So, peaceful parenting is my jam. In our home, we don’t yell. We don’t hit. We don’t berate. We communicate. We talk and hug it out. We love in all we do. But if I am being totally honest with you…which is what I am trying to do….being a peaceful parent is EXHAUSTING. I am constantly having to re-center myself….take a deep breath….and pray. SO. MUCH. PRAYER. Lately though, I have been feeling more anxious and impatient….with everyone. My kids. My friends. Even my husband. And I LOVE my husband. Like that annoying, gross love that makes people uncomfortable. There are days I want to shave off his eyebrows but I desperately love that man. He is the best human being I have ever known. Literally, ask anyone who knows him, there is no one better than him.

When we started the “staying home” conversation….it took us almost a year to make the decision. We made lists. We weighed our options. We discussed the pros and the cons. Andrew was always supportive….encouraging…uplifting….and one of the pros/reasons for me was that I wanted to “be a better wife”. I wanted to be more present in my marriage. More affectionate. More attentive to my husband and I thought I would be able to do this better/more if I were at home. However, after a year….I believe I am/was wrong.

I give all of me every second of every day to my children. I am a good mom. If we’re talking about #selflove….I can honestly say that I am a good mom. I mean….don’t get me wrong….I make mistakes and have hard days (give me ALL THE WINE) but I’d probably give myself a B+….maybe even an A- in Momming. I promise I am not saying this to brag or make myself feel better because it is not something that just comes naturally to me. I work very hard at it. You know those memes about whispering “what the f*{$” to yourself all day….that’s me….seriously….all day….

Scary Mommy WTF

Being a good mom is not easy. You guys….I DON’T EVEN LIKE BABIES! I am not one of those moms who dreamt about motherhood their whole life or believed their sole purpose in life was to be a mother. I was totally fine without having children. In fact….I didn’t really want to be a mom….until I met Andrew. I have made a lot of mistakes in my lifetime….I have done things I am not proud of….I pushed boundaries as far as I could and there were times in my life when I wondered if I was legitimately crazy…..I was lost for many years…crucial years of my life. After self induced heart break….a couple psychotic breakdowns and a near death experience….I moved on a whim (via a Greyhound bus) to a different city in a different state with no money, no car and no job….to “find myself”. At the time, I didn’t know what that even meant. I got a job and made some friends and honestly….I was having the time of my life. I finally felt normal and you know what….I liked myself…which was new for me. Then I met Andrew….at a club….at 2am. It makes me laugh every time…can you imagine Andrew at a club at 2am? Well, it’s true. He was there….dancing up a storm slinging gin & tonics to all the pretty girls. Like any good love story….I had no intentions of falling in love. I can’t really explain it but Andrew is just good. Andrew helped me to see the good in…well…in almost everything. Andrew made me believe in good again. Andrew made me believe in me again. I won’t say Andrew saved me because I saved myself….but Andrew made me believe that I was worthy of even more. For some reason….with Andrew’s amazingness comes my own self doubt. I still sometimes think to myself that I am not good enough for him. He is what movies are made of.

As you have probably gathered….I could not love my husband any more than I do and yet, at the end of the day, after the kids are in bed, the dishes are done and everything is put away….I don’t want to “chat”. I wince even typing that because I know it’s so mean…I know. I don’t want to play a game (we love cribbage), or work on one of the 40,000 house projects we want to do this year….or anything….I don’t want to do anything. I want to be silent. I want to sit in silence…I want to drink wine and stare at Pinterest or watch awful television that I am too ashamed to even list on here. I want NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE. You want to know why I don’t text you back??? I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU. There. I said it. However, I do want Andrew to be alone with me. Just having him THERE is enough for me. I want to sit on the couch….next to him….in silence….while staring at our phones.

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I know that marriage is more than this. This will probably come as a surprise to you (especially after reading about my gross obsession with my husband) but I am not a sappy love story kind of gal. If you have ever received my love….you know it is something fierce but I believe that marriage takes a whole lot more than just love. It takes hard work. You’ve got to put in the work. My parents were divorced TWICE and remarried TO EACH OTHER three times. Let that one sink in for a minute. I have nightmares about failing at marriage. At least once a week, I wake up in the middle of the night and pull Andrew’s arm around me and/or forcefully wake him up to tell him I had a nightmare. That nightmare is our marriage failing. What gives!?

You know….I thought cooking dinner every night and having it ready when he got home was one of the ways I could be a “good wife” or preparing his lunch for him to take to work.  I thought having a clean house, happy & well behaved children and clean laundry was another way for me to be a “good wife” but what I’ve realized is while we like all of these things and he appreciates all of those things….to him….none of those are the reasons he loves me or are reasons HE thinks I am a good wife. He thinks I am the best wife because I make him laugh. I encourage him and push him. I support and respect his goals. I love our children. I listen to what is challenging him and laugh at his jokes….even the bad ones. I love him something fierce….in sickness & in health….in good times & in bad. I love him. Unconditionally. Every. Single Day….and you know what….he literally thinks I am the best….even on my worst days.

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So, in honor of Milk & Mascara’s #selflove campaign, I’m looking to you to help me show some love to not only myself but to my marriage. For myself….I think I want to work out so I am going to head over to the local Athletic Club tomorrow to tour their childcare options and see if maybe that is a way I can show myself a little love (even though I feel so guilty spending money on something that will take me away from my kids when my husband has made so many sacrifices to make it possible for me to be at home). I’ve got to make “me time” a priority so that I can keep on being the glittery ball of sunshine my kids and my sweet sweet husband have come to know and love. How do you show yourself the love and how do you prioritize your marriage? I am looking to you to help me find some balance….what are your secrets? Tips?

>>> sending you LOTS of love >>>

Emily

Lucy Logue by Annie Helen-4352

Motherhood

Mom Love Campaign

selflove

If you are a mother, the term Mom Guilt is likely a familiar one (at best). At worst, you spend a large amount of your mental time hashing out what you could have done better, different, or maybe what you wish you’d not done at all. The first 4 years of my mothering life were plagued by mom guilt. The last year and a half, no longer living under that heavy rain cloud, has been joyful and liberating! And since it is exactly one month before MOTHER’S DAY, we think this is the perfect time to kick off a little Milk + Mascara Mom Love Campaign!

The background: my son had just turned 4 and my daughter was 1.5. It was early fall & a new preschool year had just started for my oldest. During a parent meeting, we were asked by the amazing teachers to share our areas of parenting strength and challenges. A list immediately formed in my head of my weaknesses (imagine a scroll unfurling & running the length of the room). I suddenly realized that my greatest weakness in parenting was my own self loathing and bullying. I was missing SO MUCH in my children’s lives because my head space was filled with would have, could have, should haves. I made a commitment to myself that evening (and I said it out loud to my fellow parents – an absolute key to my quest!) to combat my chronic mothering put-downs with some very intentional self-love. And I decided this wouldn’t just be a week-long endeavor, but one that I’d keep doing until I changed my narrative.

The challenge: every time a thought enters your mind that is nagging and negative (“I’m such a bad mom”…”I’m the worst mother”…”I shouldn’t have been gone so long”…”Did I really need that workout/massage/alone time?”), STOP mid-thought, acknowledge the tendency you have to criticize yourself, and identify something you are proud of as a mom. It doesn’t matter if it is a large, generalization of your mothering, or a small, fleeting moment that felt like a triumph: whatever makes you feel good about yourself on this maniacal mothering ride! And then repeat.

REPEAT

REPEAT

The result: FREEDOM! Sweet freedom from harsh, unhelpful thoughts! My brain tendencies have changed dramatically and I find myself naturally playing this little mental “put-up” game:

tinyheartI am NOT the crafting, home activities mom (just not my strong suit)…however I am the mom that provides a ton of local, out-in-nature adventures for my kids. Maybe this is you or are you the reverse?

tinyheartI’m not great at pretend play and actively engaging in Legos for long periods of time…but I might be THE BEST mother on the planet when it comes to daily dance parties and belting out tunes unabashedly.

tinyheartMy son will shortly be running circles around my math and science knowledge…but both my 5-year-old and 3-year-old will hit you when you least expect it with a rad (and hysterical) vocabulary word.

tinyheartI swing and miss constantly in “teaching moments” or explaining something in an exciting way…but I talk to my kids like they are big people and I’m a pretty dang funny mom.

tinyheartI don’t love to give my kids a lot of tv time…but when I do I make the MOST of it: instead of wasting it with mom guilt, I crank out a task I’ve really wanted to tackle, I sit in indulgent silence, drink a cup of coffee, I do a quick workout, or I lay on the couch next to them and close my eyes for 30 minutes. When it is over I give myself a little inner fist bump because my mom game is stronger and I did not, in fact, rot my children’s brains.
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The examples are endless and so is the breadth of your awesomeness! Please join me for this brain (and heart) reboot! And keep in mind: we have strengths and weaknesses as employees, friends, partners and relatives…how can we expect to be perfect as parents?

I also like to remind myself that the day my kids were born, I too became a newborn mother (initially as a first-time mom and then as a new mom to multiple kids). I have given my children all the space they need to grow at their own pace, so my mothering deserves the same nurturing love.

xo,

Amy

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