Halloween: It s Scary Out There

img_0010

No sooner have  we put the pool toys away, it seems that we are stuffing our shopping carts full of candy. No sooner have the temps dropped into the 70s, we are carving gourds and developing a taste for all things pumpkin spice. Halloween is here and with twin 6 year old boys it is THE most important thing on the agenda and childhood squared right now.

You gotta love

Fall Weather 

The temps are cooler, in that great ” break out the fall sweaters but no need for thermals yet” kind of way. Sunlight is mellow and the sky seems more blue. A leafy smell pervades, along with a hint of woodsmoke, as mother nature slows down. What was that about  pumpkin spice?

School Activities

Now that school is in, the kids are busy, busy, busy. They still get outdoor recess. Halloween anticipation is on. There are costume to choose, parades, class parties and fall themed class projects to keep even the most antsy boys on task. Read tired kiddos ready for bed at the end of each day.

The Pumpkin Patch 

This is a heap of fun and a right of passage each fall. Nothing beats a pumpkin patch visit, a hayride and the harvest bounty at this time of year.

Other Peoples Decorating

I am no Martha Stewart, so I love to walk around the neighborhood and enjoy other folks creative talents from ghosts to ghouls, lights and even large inflatable pumpkins .

Other people’s costumes 

Not being a dressing up kind of mummy, unless it is Chanel, I do enjoy other Mummy’s featured looks. There are some incredibly talented and creative costumes out there. Thank you ladies for bringing  your A game to the table.

Trick or Treating 

It is just flat out heart warming to watch the kids get dressed up, compare costumes and enter into the dizzy realm of make believe for a night.

 

img_0024

 

But wait, You gotta hate

Fall Weather 

Argh! It suddenly hits below 60 degrees. Fall sweaters are the precusor to winter’s thermals and the brutal reality of cold weather and dark evenings.

School Activites

Trying to remember all of the activities at school puts the most organized of mummys in a tail spin. Supplies for fall crafts, fall library books, halloween costumes, parades and parties keep Amazon afloat and that is before the plethora of fall and winter birthdays!

Pumpkin Patch

Any time you load boys in to a car on the pretense of an outing,  it can be a recipe for disaster. There will be fights (boys), there will be swears (Mummy) and someone will invariably get car sick. They will argue over who gets to play where and what first, who has picked the best  pumpkin and who sits where on the hay ride and beyond. There are no limits on what is tantrum worthy!

Other Peoples Decorating

The pressure is on and rivals christmas. Giant spiders hang in hammock like cobwebs, aerial witches fly through the trees and outdoor lighting resembles the Griswoalds at Christmas, only all in orange. 

Other Peoples Costumes

I hate the idea of choosing a costume. The very though fills me with anxiety. I can never choose anything. Should I go chic and fashionable, irreverent, fun, tasteful, sexy,memorable, warm and Cozy? It is a mummy minefield. The pressure is intense and the choices best left to mummy professionals. Cosequently, I am that mummy on the side lines, dressed in jeans, admiring all my more adventurous and creative friends….

Trick or Treating 

The level of dread as kids embrace their costume alter egos (usually fight inspired super heroes) and embark on a parent sanctioned sugar fest is too much. In this age of child safety, it still leaves me flummoxed that 364 days a year we urge our kids not to eat candy and avoid strangers and then on one glorious evening, as it gets dark no less, we urge them, shy of not, to knock on people’s doors and ask for candy ?!!

Love it or hate it, Halloween is the rabbit hole down which we dive into the holiday season. It is fun, it is joyful, but it is peppered with potential pitfalls. Excess is key, but needs to be tempered. Love it or hate it, a crazy schedule needs to be managed, so the kids get much needed down time. Love it or hate it, dressing up is fun but not at the expense of kids whos costumes aren’t deemed so cool. Love it or hate it, parties, cakes and way to much candy are fine, but not to the point of  a sugar coma. Love it or hate it, halloween will be over in one twitch of a witches cat’s tail. Mark your calendars. On November 1, the costumes will be passé, the candy super cheap and christmas stuff plentiful.  Ah ha , onwards and forwards. Shopping anyone?

 

img_0014

Raising Boys in This Woman’s World

img_0715

It is a mans world. Locker room culture persists.  A boys will be boys mentality is still tolerated in the mainstream. Crude language, lewd behavior and rampant sexism against women are part of the everyday drum beat. As a mother and the guardian of two very male little souls, it occurs to me that if change is to happen, I have the responsibility to do my part. I have the responsibility to teach my boys the pitfalls of the Lad Culture. I have a responsibility to teach them to live their lives above and beyond. It boils down to one simple moment. When my sons knock on your front door, to take your daughters out,  I want you to know:

My boys will understand their own worth and will not seek power by demeaning women in their words or actions.I will teach my boys to first look inward and not to judge,  to focus on their own strengths and weaknesses. I will teach my boys to listen, observe and think before they speak or act. They will know to respect women  and understand how women have shaped our culture today. They will know that success is never accomplished by treating others badly.

My boys will treat their female friends with respect. 

They will know to communicate their needs openly, commit to nurturing their friendships and be consistent in their behavior towards their female friends. My boys will look out for them always. They will stand up to any young man who is acting aggressively in the playground and beyond. When they fly the nest, they will be the ones to call a cab after a night out and make sure all their female friends get home safely. They will enjoy the company of other boys, but never leave their wing women out. They will enjoy their friendships and know the difference if things develop further.  They will understand that the bar is set high on both fronts.

My boys will see young women as their equals.

At home, school, college and beyond, they will be taught to value their female friends opinions, collaborate with them, support them and defend them as valid individuals not just “girls”.

My boys will know that Chivalry is not dead .

My boys will know that old fashioned good manners go a long way. Yes, my boys will open doors, carry heavy bags, help a lady on with her coat and in to a car. My boys will call when they say, follow up on promises, write thank you notes and never forget to send their mama flowers :).

Finally, my boys will understand what it means to be a man .

They will know this poem by heart and live this poem to the core:

Enough said.  I have some work to do!

 

 

 

We are all Good Mummys. 5 Tips for Keeping it Real.

thBeing defined as a Good Mummy is something we all aspire to. But the title really lacks definition and is open to interpretation. Us mummys know that being a mother is a 24 hour a day seven day week proposition. There are no off buttons, job descriptions, performance standards or feedback, other than mummys and kiddos surviving the day in one piece. The pressure to excel is constant and aggravated in todays  “Mummys must have it all, do it all and in heels, looking fabulous” culture. When things get a bit cray cray and the wheels fall off the bus, here are my tips for keeping it Mummy Real!

Good Mummys Define Their Own Truth 

To be a Good Mummy requires some honesty and introspection. You don’t have to undergo a detailed personality assessment to get it. Just knowing yourself and being honest with yourself  is the key. Are you and introvert mummy who likes her own time or and extrovert who thrives on others company? Who are you at your core?  What energizes you and what depletes you? Who are you at your most joyful and free ? For that matter, who are you at your ugliest most naked moments?

Good Mummys Know Their Strength and Weaknesses 

Good Mummys know their limits. Good Mummys know if the are patient or not. Good Mummys know if they have a sense of humor, or not. Good Mummys know their buttons and how to offset a Mummy Meltdown. Good Mummys know if they are exceptional organizers or the most fun and unstructured mom on the block. Good Mummys embrace their superpowers and those that aren’t so super.  Good Mummys don’t  fight to  excel at everything, but take a step back. Where they fall short, they find Mummy Friends  and other resources for support and understanding.

Good Mummys Can Say NO 

Good Mummys have a sense of balance in their lives. They understand the delicate dance that is family life and work to maintain that. They understand the benefits of limits and are comfortable defining their boundaries for themselves and others. Good Mummies say yes to NO!

Good Mummys Know The Value of Self Care and Support Others Self Care Too

Good Mummys know that they need to put on their oxygen masks first. Tired? They rest. Hungry? They eat. Depleted? They call a friend, attend church, meditate, go to a yoga class, watch Real Housewives. They do whatever is needed to reset the Mummy Thermostat to the right temperature. Good Mummys  also recognize when others in their tribe need self care too. Their Mummy Friends know that they can be counted on to step up and take the kids for and hour for reciprocated breaks and Mummy Time Outs.

Good Mummys Don’t Judge

Good Mummys don’t care if others go breast or bottle, promote screen time or none, go private, public or home school, stay at home, work part time or full. Good Mummys don’t care about cloth diapers or disposables, organic foods versus McDonalds. There are no bad choices in Mummydom and therefore there is no need for judgement, of  themselves or others. Good Mummys know to keep it real and recognize that there is strength and sustenance in the shared Mummy Experience. Regardless of the good, the bad and the ugly, Good Mummys respect themselves and others as part of the Mummy Tribe.

th-7

What do you think when I tell you that I am a stay at Home Mummy?

 

th-8

 

I am a Stay At Home Mummy. Score one for a nuclear statement and a sentiment that causes a frenzy in popular culture today. However, to say that I was a working mummy 30 years ago would have garnered the same reaction. Research shows that in 1970, 43 % of mothers, women caring for children under the age of 18, stayed at home. Since then, there has been a steady decline in these numbers. In 1999, a meager 23 % of women stayed at home to care for families. That said, in 2012 there was a slight uptick, where 29% of mothers categorize themselves as Stay at Home. Now, educated and financially stable women are more able to choose to leave the work place and have husbands or partners to support that decision. However, many women who stay at home today are single parents. They often belong to minority groups and have little choice but to stay at home, despite the financial challenges and lack of available support.

While our older sisters  campaigned, rallied and forged successful paths in the work world, it was not without a cost. This steep price was a devaluing of the benefits of the  Stay at Home mother and increased pressure on women to work. What was a welcome freedom at first, seems to have backfired, as women take on careers without being able to relinquish the care taking role at home. The total acceptance of the career and working mummy is still challenged, leaving us caught between the proverbial mummy rock and the proverbial mummy hard place. Inadequate policies and societal support often make staying at home a privileged choice. That said, in the work place, poor policies fail to support women, by limiting the flexibility needed as a mother, a wife and woman. Yes things are changing, but not quickly enough .

As a result, we are bound by two emotions. Guilt is woven around our choices. What ever decisions we do make are generally perceived as being the wrong ones.  Anxiety is guilts unwelcome side kick. Embracing being a mother, a wife, an individual with our own life either at home or out in the big wide world is fraught .  ” Lean in ! ” “Lean Out! “Do the hokey pokey!” ” Turn About!”  There is always someone on the sidelines with an opinion counter to our circumstances, choices and the lives we lead. We collectively question the decisions we make, but as there are no right answers, we turn on each other as we search for our own credibility.

 

44708423-vector-illustration-in-super-mom-concept-many-hands-working-with-very-busy-business-and-housework-pa

 

I realize how lucky I am. I met the hubs later in life, when our careers were firmly established. This allowed us to make a choice for me to stay at home to raise the boys we went on to have. I realize that with our age and stability comes a certain gravity that I would not have been able to enjoy in my 20’s or 30’s. I am not in the business of decrying other womens’ choices to work. I am a Stay at Home Mummy and relish every minute, but love that many of my friends have a brilliant handle on motherhood  and a professional life, balancing all their hats brilliantly. What I would like to accomplish  here is to get us to think. As mothers, wives and women we have the opportunity  to support each other in our choices, to be kind. We are indeed all fighting a hard battle. The hand that rocks the cradle does rule the world, just as much as the mummy in heels doing the school run before a 12 hour surgery shift, or a grueling day in court, or for that matter, holding down two minimum wage jobs to put food on the table. For those women who do not have the benefits of stability and education, we need to reach out and offer support. We need to lobby for better pay, flexibility and options in the work place. We need to lobby for  greater opportunities for women, regardless of their backgrounds and education. We should lobby for more support for women at home so that being a Stay at Home mother is as respected as any other career. Our choice in how to raise our families should be just that and should not be hindered by guilt, anxiety and the unspoken limitations that we and society dictate. Whether we work inside or outside the home we are mothers, wives and women. This accords us superpowers. We just have to use them wisely … all for one and one for all!

th-11

Preparation, Patience, Pinterest and Pinot: How Mummy Does Back to School

The furious pace at disney was just a warm up for the true event of the year, BACK TO SCHOOL. Many mummys are well seasoned and used to the craziness, but for this new kindergarten mummy, it was a logistically challenging, emotionally exhausting and physically demanding couple of weeks preparing for the man cubs to head to full time school. Another parenting milestone has been survived but not without learning a few things ….

It’s All about Preparation, Pinterest and Patience. 

Don’t wait until the last minute to get a start on school prep. Sure, you might get a few last minute deals at the local Target, but the choices will be limited and the back to school section will picked over and and looking  like something from the Zombie Apocalypse.  Getting started on back to school stuff well in advance is a wise strategy. As soon as that school supply list is available,  jump on it, whether you do it all at once or in bits and pieces … Carpe Diem and any tax free shopping days! For more ideas and how to’s here is a good starting place: https://www.pinterest.com/pinterest/back-to-school/

 

IMG_0641Its not just about a back pack, cool stuff to put in it and a coordinating lunch box to fill with yummy Pinterest approved kids lunch specials. What about clothes? It’s difficult to think about when it is 100 deg plus outside, but fall will arrive one morning when you are least expecting it.  For those with a uniform list, I salute you! For the rest of us, its hi ho to Target again.  Do your kiddos need new rain jackets, coats, hats, gloves and snow gear?

This company has it all and is favorite of mine:  https://oakiwear.com

How about new shoes? It never ceases to amaze just how quickly kids grow. There is truth in the adage that kids grow exponentially after a summer of sun and fresh air. Make sure to select easy to care for items and Label EVERYTHING . A permanent marker and labelling kit will become your new accessory of choice. Here is a great resource for some cute cute labels: http://mabelslabels.com

Other things to consider before school starts include a school visit. We were lucky enough to have an open house before school started, where the kids got to meet their new teachers, see their classrooms, locate their cubbies and coat hooks and get a sense of how things were going to be. This was a great experience and prompted a lot of discussion about their new routine. My kids are busing it too, so I did a dry run.  I walked them to the bus stop and home again a couple of times and chatted about the change to make it seem  as normal as possible. Don’t forget that the schedule will be morphing drastically from the lazy, more relaxed summer hols. It didn’t hurt us to start shifting bed times and get ups a little earlier in the day and talking about how things will be different once school starts. The new schedule is a lot, so sleep is the most essential component to keeping things on track.

That First Morning

The kids will be excited and ready to rumble.  Enjoy it as it won’t be long before you are having to drag then out of bed while threatening PJs at school if the don’t get dressed NOW !!!! That first morning I found it helped to have clothes out ready, backpacks filled and lunch made ahead. For some quick easy and yummy lunch ideas i looked here

https://www.pinterest.com/schoollunches/

Sure, it was a lot of work, but it helped maintain a sense of calm, despite the excitement. The kids will be bouncing of the walls, but be prepared for a few poignant moments to sneak up on you and say boo! It seems like yesterday that my boys they were wee ones.

 

IMG_0074

 

It is quite something to see them all dressed and ready for school. The days are long and the years really, really, really, really short.

 

 

All Set

All Set

 

Bus Stop

I love my bustop tribe. We are all busy mums and dads with things to do and places to go. Getting to know new neighbors is a plus. There have been a lot of swapped emails and phone numbers and the all important ” just in case ” contact info. We are indeed a village and one that is mutually responsible for all the kids at our stop.The rules and regulations of the bus will vary for us all, but it doesn’t hurt to talk the kids through riding the bus. Finding a seat , sitting with new friends , staying in their seat and behaving nicely are so important. Getting to know the bus driver is a must too.  There is an element of comfort in knowing your bus driver and them knowing you. It has been helpful to further build a sense of community by just saying hi at pick up and drop off.

 

wonder-129-school-bus-static-image

School 

Prepare them for longer, longer busier days. I was shocked to see their daily school schedule. There is not a dull moment. Prepare them for meeting a lot of new people all at once. There are new teachers, new friends and a new routine to embrace. It can be overwhelming and that is just for us Mummies! Model making friends and embracing everything new by getting to know the teachers and other parents of children in the class . Signing up  for class volunteering , the PTA and other parent activities as your time allows can leave you feeling exhausted, but there is no time like now for jumping into your new community head first.

 

letras-abc-600x386After School

“What did you do today? ” “Nothing …..”

Don’t expect a garrulous outpouring of kindergarten details here. The kiddos experiences will be shared in snippets in five year old time.  It is not uncommon for the boys to suddenly remember an activity from last week that they share at that evenings bath time.  Asking specific questions does help. ” Who did you sit next to at lunch? Did you go to the media room today? Did you learn a new wordI am loving the following three dinner time questions, “Were you brave today?” ”  Were you kind today?’  “What did you learn today?” For some other ideas depending on the age of your wee ones again Pinterest  has some good resources:

https://www.pinterest.com/crystaljking/questions-to-ask-your-kids/

Remember that challenging  couple of hours back in the day after naps and before dinner where melt downs were a given??? That is just training my friends . Nothing says meltdown like tired, hungry kids with an hour to kill before dinner, baths, stories and bed. We have played around with a few ways to kill that time without bloodshed. Post school play dates are great, but while they keep the kiddos occupied, managing a gaggle of tired hungry children who have energy to expend can be ” tricky” and activities can quickly devolve into warfare . Or is that just my kids???

Clever mummies know that a post school snack is the most essential meal of the day. QUICK and  EASY saves the day. Of course the trick is to not have it too filling before dinner, so it is back pinterest for great post school snack ideas :

https://www.pinterest.com/5dollardinners/after-school-snacks/ 

 

th

 

A time to sit down for a few minutes doesn’t hurt either a quick snuggle and a family reconnect keep things on an even keel. Reading, coloring, origami, playdoh …. you get me?

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/after-school-activity/

240_f_102780423_i7j9qzekxwr7vw7bacoxgd1nlyc5mn6u

Can you say outdoor play? This has been the savior for us. The boys get far less time outside now than at their previous school  and are ready to run around or ride their bikes for a while .  I am learning that there is a very subtle balance between after school activities and having over tired 5 year olds who are past the point of reason and sanity. Dont fall in to the TV trap! The easy button is tempting, but is is the worst way to end the afternoon and just increases the likelihood of meltdowns and ultra drama. After an hour of playtime things  early dinners are a mummy must.   Yeh an early dinner can be followed by family time, maybe some screen time, early baths, storys and bed. After a another harried day in the parenting trenches my mummy friends, it is time for the a re group with my new back to school mantra:

Preparation, Patience, Pinterest and of course that well earned glass of Pinot Noir.

 

th-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to be a Disney Cruise Mummy Warrior, or Not!

IMG_0438

Our first port of call

A Disney cruise is a fabulous experience. It is seamless, well run, super guest friendly and convenient. A Disney cruise is a unique experience. It is supremely kid centric. It caters well to adults and provides everything a family could possibly need or want while on board. A Disney cruise is incredible! A Disney cruise is wild ! But a Disney cruise requires special mummy planning powers, super human foresight and  unrelenting energy to endure. There are Disney Cruise Mummys out there who are hard core warriors. These Disney Cruise Mummys rival Martha Stewart. They are serious crafters decorating, bedazzling and personalizing their stateroom doors. They know ahead that there is a website where you can order customized magnets, door decorations and other Disney stuff. They know you can even get family t shirts made ahead of time. Check it out at https://www.disneystore.com or https://family.disney.com
IMG_0448

Mummy is no Martha Stewart

7511055880058

The all important Lanyard

Disney Cruise Mummys are organized enough to bring lanyards, not only to display buttons and pins collected, but to keep cruise keys safe. Nothing is more irritating than , ” “MOMMA, WHERE’S MY KEY ???” 1000 times a day, apart from having to buy lanyards on the ship.

 

 

 

Speaking of buying disney paraphernalia, Disney cruise mummys  get into the spirit of it all, shopping for and wearing Minnie ears as a point of pride, before breakfast and beyond. The ones with sequins are superior and confer extra special Disney Cruise Mummy love.

7505002521645

Nothing says Disney love like these sparklies

Disney Cruise Mummys happily rock bikinis, tankinis and a variety of other beach casual outfits but also know that formal means just that. They come prepared  packing gowns, heels and full makeup, while Disney Cruise Dads squeeze into tuxedos without complaint. Disney Cruise Mummys also know that theme night means just that and come prepared to dress as pirates for a costume extravaganza that rivals Halloween. To avoid costume overload, Disney Cruise Mummys come prelaoded with a princess buffer zone. This allows them to embrace and absorb a shitload of  sparkle and fluffy stuff before it all gets too much! You can check out the whole princess thing right here:

http://princess.disney.com

deluxe-pirate-wench-costume

Ahoy me hearties! Searching for Johnny

Disney Cruise Mummys are always mummys, but they leave their mummy rules on land. They don’t mind if their kids live on fruit loops, blue juice, pizza, hotdogs, ice-cream and cookies for the duration of the trip, after all it is vacation!!! They don’t mind if the kids are totally off schedule and don’t go to bed before 10 30pm every night because there is too much to do and too much fun to be had to waste time sleeping. Above all, Disney Cruise Mummys know that Disney is just that, time to reconnect with their inner child, their family and embrace the magic and wonder of it all. There are so many Disney Cruise Mummy Warriors out there.  I am just a foot soldier and have a lot to learn.

IMG_0443

The Boys finally meet Minnie

The challenge is on ladies…. If you want a great vacation and can embrace your inner energizer bunny crafty dress up and have fun mummy selves, Disney is for you !
http://www.disney.com

The Five Ps of flying with 5 year olds.

So I left DC in mid June to take the boys to visit Nanma and Papa Bill in England. I was lucky to be flying with kindergarteners. While a lot easier than toting the younger set, there a still still a few things to consider before heading out of the door.

PLAN

I am going to sound like one of those hyper organized mummys here, but this is key item number one.

Ask the obvious questions first .Where are you going? Where will you be staying? How long will you be there?

These details are easily overlooked, but provide that mental foundation before abject craziness sets in.

PREPARE

If you are traveling over seas…GET YOUR PASSPORTS WELL IN ADVANCE and check to make sure they are current. You can do things last minute as an emergency, but not without forking out a chunk of change and knocking a few years off your life expectancy. Passport details are best accessed here:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html

Do you and or the kids need any specific shots or medical care prior to the trip ? Get on it!

Do your kids need doctors  appointments for routine care or school physicals for the fall? Get on it!

Do you or the kids have any specific food issue or allergies? Call ahead to airlines and hotels to see what accommodations they can offer and pack snacks and special food items as needed. Get on it!

When did they last go to the dentist? Get on it!

Check out the airline you are using. How much baggage can you take? What specific procedures are there when traveling with littles? A lot of airlines at least will let you board early. Think about the length of the flight too. I have the boys take a back pack loaded with a few new toys and games to play and things to do. Of course an I pad loaded with games is never a bad plan when things go nuclear.

PACK

Now that you have answered the above,  you should be able to focus on what you need to take. The key is to minimize. Write a list . Determine your essentials. Less shlep = less stress.

The first thing on the list should be the necessaries for your tote: hand sanitizer, babywipes, ziplock bags, rubber bands and a pen  and any other items deemed as must haves. I take a cooler bag as my carry on filled with the snacks and what not . Unless you are spending a month in Outer Mongolia, anything you forget can be purchased on arrival. My mum suggested hitting the local charity shop for play clothes when you get to your destination.  Nanma genius! Make sure your passports are easily to hand ,saving time during the dreaded check in and security.

Pack things that have double duty. Light weight sweat pants make excellent pjs. Heavy weight pj pants can easily double as sweat pants . Layers are a must . I have found that it is better to pack for cooler weather than you expect rather than warmer weather that never happens , with everyone grumbling about being cold.

Have a rolling suitcase case and carry on for each child. That helps to keep things light while teaching them to be responsible for their own stuff. Check these bad babies out from www.trendykid.com

Kid Friendly and Very Durable Travel Gear

Need booster seats ? These are a hit  as they deflate and can be packed in a suitcase @ www.bubblebums.us:

Great travel booster seats

PROTECT

When traveling alone, safety is the name of the game. You only have one set of  eyes and one pair of hands. In a busy airport, one distracted moment can lead to panic and in worst case scenario, heartbreak. While there are some high tech apps available, I have enjoyed making ” dog tags” out of old jigsaw pieces on a string . Each child has one with name, address and my name and cell phone.They can wear these l  under clothes. This way, should the littles get lost , they are easily identified. Also helpful are colorful distinctive clothes and bright base ball hats that are easily recognized from a distance.

I have given the boys the talk to  include the importance of staying close to mommy at all times and talking through what to do if they get lost. My big rule is that they MUST STAY TOGETHER. I then take a few moments in any situation to point out who to ask if they get lost. I keep reinforcing how to identify official adults and who is safe to stay with so I can  find them easily. Reminding them to not talk to strangers or go anywhere with a non official person is of course hugely  important!!!

PROSECO

And finally  during the trip…….

Feed the kids  at the gate while waiting for the flight. This helps keep them occupied and means that they are fed if the are any delays or upsets. Befriend other moms flying. We are all in the same boat and there is safety in numbers. Get to know your assigned flight staff. Need that extra Proseco once the kids are settled? THEY are most definitely your friends! Set an example and insist kids use their manners, talk to people and enjoy their experience. Traveling  is a teaching opportunity and one that can increase their confidence. Exposing them to the outside world improves resilience and teaches them when something “isn’t quit right”. Safety is in exposure to risk and things that differ from their norm. Kids love learning. The more they travel, the better they get. Set clear expectations. Make it fun. Make it an adventure. Get them settled  and get that well deserved proseco. Bottoms up, my dears!

Keep calm and drink proseco

Keep calm and drink proseco

Fashion Esssentials for this Busy Mummy

imageimage

Summer is here. Living is easy, or it used to be, before a somewhat fashionable wardrobe was relegated to the back of the closet, in favor of anything relaxed that screams,” Help, I have no choice but to go to the gym now!”

Dont mistake me for a fashion snob who wouldn’t be seen dead in yoga pants. I am a huge fan of comfort and practicality: T shirts, Skorts, Leggings, Clogs, Fit Flops = LOVE!  Gap.com works for me for the basics.

It doesn’t matter where the day takes me, it boils down to a few simple questions.

What’s on the days agenda?

I try and dress for the weather, the activities and all things in between.

How much thought will this require? 

When I have a head full of mummy stuff and very little room for anything else, getting dressed in the morning is the final straw. I invest in some good basics from a few brands that I like and that fit well. I stick to lightweight neutrals. Easy dressing is all about a pair of well fitting pants or a skirt that can be worn with heels or flats. A nicely tailored jacket and a few tops that can be mixed and matched and work well with jeans are a good investment . Don’t forget that summer is a great time for a pretty dress. Tunics with leggings are a mummy must. Boden.com is a great place to start .

Is it comfortable?

Stretch fabrics. Enough said.

Is it washable?

No one who has children under 18 should bother with anything the has the dreaded “dry clean only ” tag.

Will it last? 

There is nothing more irritating than having a favorite clothing item frizzle and fall apart after two washes. I try to invest in the best quality items I can afford.

On any given morning just fulfilling one of these criteria is a mummy  sartorial score. But here’s what I know:

Plan Ahead

We all know that laying out the days clothes the night before is a joke, but I would like to think I can get things organized enough in the closet so my fav go tos are right there. A few minutes planning ahead has saved me a number of times during the morning crazies.

Accessorize!!!

A colorful scarf is great for hiding stains of any nature. Thanks to You  Tube, there are some great tutorials on how to fashion them. An unusual pair of earrings or a statement necklace can up the game considerably. A foldable “oh so chic ” sun hat that can be a conversation piece is worth a try.

I buy the best functional tote I can afford.  I make sure it always has my necessaries in it. My boys call mine the ‘busy bag’.

It’s summer, so don’t forget your sunnies! They work magic. No make up? No problem. I am a huge fan of the international jet set look , aka sunnies pushed back on the head ! Hello Jackie O !

Never underestimate the power of lipstick

Despite the daily chaos, the never ending demands, spending a few minutes on an ‘outfit’ is a little dollop of me time. I am learning that getting up, looking  good and feeling better  is not about a vavoom Jessica Rabbit re do. It is  about how I feel on the inside and my place in the world that day. A happy mummy makes for a happy family and  if all else fails, there’s lipstick !

Love and Forgiveness

13320862_10201947497046671_6439103478640244008_o

Kano has the day off:)

Kano has the day off:)

As older moms, we are supposed to have our stuff together. Despite a few wrinkles, we are expected to exude calm strength, guiding the family seamlessly, while hubby hunts and gathers and children morph into respectable adults. We balance a million things on the head of a pin before 10 am. Mummy is calm. Mummy is dependable. Mummy is the root system of the family tree. Mummy might nag a bit and fuss a lot, but essentially the equation remains the same. Mummy rocks the cradle and rules the household. This a genius and time honored concept. Apart from the fact it is flawed. Because mummy is just a person. She has unique strengths, but unique weakness and blindspots. She has her own joys and sorrows and her own moments when it all gets a bit too much. Sometimes mummy can’t be calm.  Sometimes mummy can’t be strong. Then what? The touch paper is lit, the rocket is launched and mommy turns  in to a she devil of epic proportions, unrecognizable to herself, her partner, her children. The blessed release from loosing it evaporates into the ether. Stunned, the family grab  at Mummy’s heartstrings and a big fat seed of guilt is planted deep in the family garden. The initial response is to cry, apologize and recant, to fuss and rush around, to put salve on the families’ mummy inflicted wounds, to patch things up and minimize the drama . Go mummy ! But this older mummy has learnt something. Apologies only count if you learn something and initiate change. Unconditional love is only unconditional if it is never questioned and true forgiveness only happens when the family can move on, hand in hand taking, care of each other’s hearts . Love and forgiveness are the most precious commodities . Love and forgiveness should not to be underestimated. Love and forgiveness  are the soil on which the family can grow.

Mother’s Day

Is it just me, or has Mother’s Day morphed into a hunger games like battle of the wits?

What is billed as a day to celebrate mothers, motherhood and all things feminine, has morphed into a veritable battle royal for a solid chunk of the market share of cards, chocolates, flowers and jewelry. It’s a meal fest of brunches, lunches and dinners, that seem to outstrip the excess of Christmas and Easter combined—the abject fuss of over celebrating has trumped any sense of poignancy and reflection.

But the gravity of Mother’s Day is more apparent as we age. As time trundles on it condenses our need to reflect on what has been lost as our parents age. It allows us pause to consider how quickly children grow, boobs and tummies sag and marriages and relationships get battered by the intensity of modern life. Once a very personal day that was ripe with hugs, kisses, burnt toast and cereal in bed, homemade cards and cute drawings, Mother’s Day seems to have been hijacked into another Hallmark holiday rife with stress and pressure to entertain.

Rather than a personal family celebration of love and togetherness, Mother’s Day has become a competitive event. The sad reality is that it requires more hard cash to fulfill all the expectations, gifts, meals etc. and a large family unit to pull off the extravaganza.

As a mature mom, I hope I have gained some perspective. My thoughts turn to those who are grieving long lost grandmothers, mothers, wives and friends, to those who are single parents who are struggling, empty nesters whose kids are too busy to care and to those desperately trying to become mothers as school, longer career trajectories and delayed marriages place a burden on young women racing against their own personal biology.

For all the brave ladies, no cards, expensive gifts or fancy meals can replace what is lost or absent. To truly honor the women who made us and molded us in to who we are, I plan to take a moment. I want to be grateful and raise a glass to the wonderful, wise and strong women who have come before me. Motherhood requires love, care and sacrifice on a minute by minute basis. There is no gift or meal that suffices when the gift is the joys, sorrows, loves and wonder that defines motherhood today.