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10 Moms You Are Guaranteed To Run Into This Weekend

The Close Talker: This is the mom who always lures you in closer and closer to her personal space. Not to get verification on how well or bad her breath smells, but wants to make the two of you feel like you are in a more intimate situation where she can deliver some scandalous gossip. She really just wants to tell you that she has a special coupon to get half off your single purchase, but shhhh!

The One Who Can Never Remember Your Name: This is my favorite mom in the whole wide world. You’ve seen her 50 times at school events, she’s invited your children to birthday parties, she’s even half-smiled at you when you held the door open for her once. However, you can be standing in line right next to her at the coffee shop and she won’t even flinch when she recognizes you…Um you think she saw you right?

The Busy Mom Who Is Always Busier Than You: She’ll give you her entire itinerary for the weekend that takes up 10 minutes of your valuable shopping time at the grocery store and then when she asks you what your plans are she doesn’t wait for an answer and tells you she’s just to busy to chat.

The Texter: You’ll never hear her utter a word to you in person. But she’ll randomly text to ask you a question about something insignificant. For example, what time does soccer practice start?

The Know-It-All: For Realz…from the hottest restaurants to eat at to the newest toy your child should own right now- to having a holistic doctor’s number on speed dial to look at your kids rash. She has all the answers. It may make you angry (and a little jealous), but you want her in your circle.

The Complainer: It’s been a while since you’ve seen her, but she’s talking about her lower back pain again! You don’t even remember asking this time or last time.

The Competitor: She is not coy about her agenda. Her first question is, “Is your son talking yet? How many words? Is he potty trained? Does he know all the words to Adam Levine’s Animal, like my little star?”  Enough said!

The Religious Mom: She’s the sweetest most approachable friend who just like some well-known celebrities at award shows always thanks God first for granting her this wonderful life. Then screams, “damn” because she can’t find he car keys.

The Nodder: Probably my second favorite mom. Your conversations are usually kept very short and simple. You get so self-conscious that you start talking about generic stuff like the weather. She offers no feedback except a quick nod to let you know she is half listening, but really she could give absolutely two shits about what you have to say and then excuses herself once her “mom” calls on her cell phone. Sure it’s her mom!

The Apologizer: This scenario usually plays out the same exact way every time you see “Miss Full of Excuses.” Here is how the conversation goes:

You: Hi.
Apologizer: I’m so sorry I haven’t been in touch.
You: That’s ok we’ve both been busy.
Apologizer: I just feel bad that life gets in the way of being more social.
You: No worries. We’ll catch up when we have the time.
Apologizer: Definitely. I’m sorry if it takes me some time to reach out.
You: No rush.
You walk away. Your phone gets a text.
Apologizer: Sorry for running so soon. Kids making me so frazzled. Truly sorry.

Next week, I’ll give you the next 10 mommy friends you will love, avoid or cringe seeing, but guess what friends, there’s no denying we fall into at least one of these categories. Have a great weekend

Take The Angry Selfie Dare. I Did!

Have you ever felt the intense heat from anger travel through your jaw line to neck to limbs to toes? You get so revved up that you’re sure your body temperature has skyrocketed, your muscles have tightened and you are convinced that you can spit out inconceivable huge balls of fire with a simple exhale.

Of course you have. You’re a mom.

I would love to switch bodies with my son or daughter to witness what they ACTUALLY see when I get enraged (I like to call it a “little upset”). I’m most curious about which facial expression frightens them most? Do my mood swings happen in stages like an artist draws a smiley face that goes from happy to sad to mad or is it the final smug or evil glare that seals the non-negotiating discipline deal? I’ve been told in the past when I flare up my eyeballs pop out of my head. I’ve also been told that when I yell my mouth stretches open much wider than ever expected. It’s as if I become the Incredible Hulk (with lady parts of course and a prettier shade of green). Many times, I feel absolutely horrible (and self-conscious) that my kids get so frightened by my Momster transformation. Even though I feel all of this madness from the inside I can’t visualize what it looks like on the outside. I decided I needed to get a real, true depiction of my angry face sans Photoshop and cover up. That’s when the “angry selfie” was created.

angryselfie

Here’s how it works. I imagine a usual misbehavior my kids do that irritates me. I feel the impulse to react and then SNAP. It’s an angry selfie masterpiece in real-time. After weeks of taking several freeze frames I concluded being mortified and feeling guilty about my hideous mean mug was a huge waste of energy. Instead, I wanted to embrace the hilarity of these unpredictable and very unappealing poses that qualify me as a real, unrefined mom.

To all my fellow moms, I urge you to take the angry selfie challenge. Not only is it courageous, but cathartic. Always have your iPhone in hand and quickly zoom in on your “glam”mad face minutes before you start raging, threatening and turning into a storybook parent villain. Does your toddler terror have the power to turn you into the she-devil? Most of us would say no freakin way! Like our little rascals, moms can’t always be expected to act composed, mature and do the right thing, but we can be more grown up and make little tweaks to our snappy tone and own temper tantrums. Hopefully our efforts will be noticed by our children so we don’t encourage mini-copycats and our selfies will make us more self aware of the many faces we want to display and the ones we simply want to delete forever!

A Journey To Blankie Rehab

“Just one more bite.”

“Just five more minutes.”

“I won’t be able to sleep if you take it away.”

“Pleeeeassse mommy, it relaxes me.”

Those were the daily pleas I would hear from my 5-yr-old daughter. Her begging and desperation would make me cringe but weakened me at the time. I automatically would give into her binge.

My name is Hope and my daughter is a recovering blankie sleeper and sucker.

Just like the pacifier or thumb my baby relied on her blankie to soothe. At first, her habit was innocent, common almost an adorable behavior most infants and toddlers go through. Of course, as parents we want to believe our child is more advanced than we were as kids and we have wiser more effective strategies to help them take the “edge off” rather than rely on a crutch. However, when I witnessed my child go from a moody irritable monster to the most beautiful precious sleeping angel every night once that blanket hit her lips, I found myself becoming the enabler instead of the enforcer. I would assure myself it wasn’t so bad by saying things like, “It’s only a phase. If it calms her down let that be the worst thing she does. But she’s only 2, only 3, only 4…”

Then one month after her 5th birthday I panicked, “Holy shit my daughter is a blankie addict and I’m her dealer.”  I was making the product look too good to give up. I mean she had a beautiful stash. They were washed, folded and sat perfectly in her bottom drawer for her to choose. Ballerinas one day, blue elephants the next and pink polka dots with satin finish as back up, just in case she went through her supply before she fell asleep. They looked so scrumptious; even I was curious how they tasted. I knew she would never be able to kick the habit unless her father, family members and myself supported her through this scary and stressful change. Finally, my husband and I got on the same team. Our cheer was, “Say no to the blankie no matter what!” We shook on it.

First, came the intervention. “Sweetie we challenge you to not use your blankie for five days. In return, you can stay up late, watch TV and get a reward in the morning.” I was fearful we would replace one bad habit with another, but helping her stay away from her “fix” was my first and only priority.   Then came the withdrawal process. We survived it, but it was tough. There were many times she would give me sad eyes and whimper. I just wanted to cave. I would whisper to myself, “Say no to the blankie no matter what!” We also used positive reinforcement. We reminded her how much we loved her, encouraged her to be a big girl and find big girl things to help her sleep, like music or books.

After five sleepless nights the true test came. Could my daughter sleep in her own room without her dependent? She did it! My princess may still give us an hour-long argument about her bedtime, but at least it’s no longer with the blanket hanging from the side of her mouth.

 

How To Lose The Minivan Mom Label

IMG_1596One of your biggest fears as a mother is approaching…

You kiss your kids, hug your spouse extra tight and wave goodbye as tears stream down your face. You reassure them everything will be okay. But as you witness your first baby; your red-hot, black leather interior, 6-speed convertible high tail out of the parking lot, you know you just fibbed. As a new automobile pulls up to your feet, you turn to your supportive family and find the strength to say the three words you’ve been dreading…

“It’s a minivan.”

Although most moms don’t have a problem giving up their sexy, sporty car for a roomier, practical and safe vehicle others hope their trade in doesn’t have to be a trade off. A New Mom In Town asked automotive expert Lauren Fix, The Car Coach, for her family car picks. Fix, who openly brags that she never drove a wagon or minivan, gives her Top 5 List that helps moms ditch their minivan mom status for cool, hot mama on wheels.

Volvo XC60: Fix says the Volvo is perfect for demanding drivers. With world-class safety features like all wheel drive and booster seat cushions for little passengers this car provides an elegant design with dynamic performance and outstanding comfort. Families who are looking to simplify their lives will also love options such as the pack and load organizer for their everyday groceries and electric cooler and heater box for those lengthy road trips.

Porsche Cayenne Diesel: A sharp looking car for sophisticated and savvy street-smart moms. One of the biggest draws to this SUV is its fuel consumption. Fix says, “The Cayenne offers more than Porsche performance, the diesel engine gives 33 mpg combined and 700+ miles to a tank. It offers great safety and luxury appointments too.” It is more efficient with horsepower and longevity making it a smooth ride for everyday trips around town.

Ford Flex: The Flex is a crossover utility vehicle also referred to as a CUV. It’s a sports car combined with passenger vehicle features from station wagons or hatchbacks. Expert Lauren Fix finds that the vehicle offers an impressively spacious interior and surprisingly efficient engine. Other great options include technology with “speak to text” and a refrigerator in the center console to name a few.

Kia Soul: Fix, who gets a rush test driving today’s hottest cars, confirms this sleek urban hatchback is the right car for the cost-conscious consumer who is shopping for a vehicle with a long warranty, great sound system and a lot of fun to drive.

Mini Countryman: Don’t let the name fool you because this mini is not as small as it appears. It has a four-door exterior and seats 5 inside. Fix is impressed with the Mini as it is recognized as one of the top picks from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS). It’s all-wheel drive, ample cargo space, and stellar fuel-efficiency makes your family getaways and joyrides a blast.

10 Ways My Son Drives Me Nuts…

But is too cute to yell at.

1.  Being a menace:
Throwing a very big, very dry and very clean towel into the tub while I’m bathing his sister.

2.  Being a jokester:
Finding the two back pockets on my jeans to grab on to while I try to clean up his spilled milk.

3.  Being an actor:
Uses his movie star looks and smile to lure me in and slap me in the face.

4.  Mocks Me:
Starts off his morning in tears and says he needs coffee.

5.  Challenges Me:
Steals my phone and calls my contacts. When I go grab the phone he throws it aimlessly in the air.

6. Plays With My Emotions:
Says he has to go potty, but really only wants me to read his favorite book to him, “The Hungry Bunny”.

7.  Disorganizes Me:
Ransacks my closet and walks past me in my black pumps.

8.  Confuses Me:
Will beg, cry and stomp to go outside, but refuses to put pants or sneakers on.

9.  Bosses Me Around:
Demands me to stop whatever I am doing to get his Mickey Mouse, but tells me to be careful as I go.

10.  Loves Me So Much…it hurts:
Goes to hug me, but head butts me in my lip. (It’s an accident…I think.)

 

 

10 Tips For Grandma When Talking To Grandchildren

Kids can learn many things from the special bond they form with their older, wiser and more mature grandparents. For example, how to bake the perfect cake, how to clean the right way in between your toes in the bath and how to save money from collecting coupons. However, even our most formal and conservative elders can forget the age gap between themselves and their grandchildren and sometimes may make a comment (or many) that gives little ones an advanced education in life, death and everything in between. Here are the top 10 comments Nana should think twice about saying in front of her impressionable grandkids.

1. When referring to the child’s mom and dad you should try to refrain from calling them nick names, like: Schmuck, stupid and putz.

2. When swearing in front of a minor you should always S-P-E-L-L the bad word. Not curse first and spell it second.

3. When your grandchild is telling you a story about one of his or her peers don’t shout out physical cues to refresh your memory about them. For example, “Oh the chubby one” or the “One that looks like an Old Man” or the “Five-year-old with the connecting eye-brows”.

4. Try to keep your humor within age appropriate limits. It’s probably not a good idea to make jokes like, “Your grandfather is worth more to me dead than alive.”

5. If your grandson misbehaves or purposely pushes your buttons you may want to reprimand him with words like, “There will be a consequence for your bad behavior” NOT “I am going to kill you.”

6. When whipping out photos and videos from your youth, stick to sharing the fun and crazy moments you shared with your friends. They don’t really need to know how many of them died from cancer or heart disease.

7.   Try to keep your competitive nature in check when playing cards or games with your grandkids. You don’t always have to talk smack so you can win.

8. When you are relaxing and watching TV with your grandchild, if a “Viewer Discretion Is Advised,” warning flashes on the screen it’s probably best to choose another show.

9. When playing with your granddaughter, remember you are supposed to be the responsible one. Teach her how to do fun, physical activities like how to use a hula-hoop around her waist, not her neck.

10. Don’t get down on your age. Instead of focusing on the number just keep reminding your kids no matter how old you are, you will always be the most fun, playful grandma they ever hung around with.

*Originally published for WEtv.com

Seven Names I Like To Call My Mother-In-Law…

Just like an ambiguous fine piece of art a mother-in-law is worth a thousand words. However the words applied vary based on circumstance, comfort level, situation and let’s just say lots of patience and a killer sense of humor.  When I think about my kids nanny, a.k.a their Grammy, a.k.a my husband’s doting mother a.k.a my “you’re lucky to have me” mother-in-law I would like to share a few words I tend to think about her.

The Rotator: On a bi-weekly basis, after I do the laundry, she reminds me to rotate the family’s underwear and socks to avoid wearing the same pair.

The Advisor: Fortunately and unfortunately her rigidity has become a household “bugger.” Through the years, she has attempted to outwit my family with her coy micro managing tactics. She believes stalking, texting, and throwing out the phrase “I strongly suggest” repetitively will help promote her agenda. We’re on to you mom!

The Committed Customer: She is so loyal to the products she uses that she likes to check in with customer service regularly.   She believes it is her duty to inform them when she is pleased or livid with their services. For example if her Wednesday latte is not as sweet as her Tuesday latte, she uses her speed dial to contact corporate!

The Protector: Only she has the right to call me a “Putz” or “Nuts” but she will take anyone down who criticizes my crazies.

The Inspector: If it wasn’t for her my fridge would be off an inch, my couch would be too close to the wall, and my husband would have less closet space.

The Peacemaker: She’s always right.

A Specialist at everything else: Thank goodness for all the years she has mastered watching the news, making random friends at stores and researching the internet because without her knowledge my daughter would have the wrong percentage of cotton sheets, my son would learn to pee upside down and my eyebrows would go unwaxed.

Crop Tops and Confidence

So…I think I have mommy dysmorphia.  Technically it’s not a real medical condition, but since my
4+ years of being a mom and staring at myself in the mirror on a daily basis, I think it’s pretty safe to say, I definitely have it. Mommy Dysmorphia (defined by me) is a mom who is critical of her appearance, body image or sexual attractiveness now that she has gone from bride to baby maker.  Other than being self conscious about the common flaws many women complain about: boobs, booty, aging, wrinkles and peach fuzz growing in areas that once used to be hairless, the major contributing factor that made me realize that I can no longer stay silent about this self-diagnosed disorder is the crop top comeback.
Celebrity mom Kim Kardashian has been photographed in several.   Yes, she looks beautiful.  I even applaud her for her bold and daring fashion choices, but I can’t stop obsessing whether I would confidently be able to bare my tummy in public now that I am a mom.  Although Kim K. is able to pull off the look and most agree that she is one hot mama, I still have my own reservations about the code of “clothes” conduct I choose to display for myself, and the ones I secretly wish I could flaunt.
Before I go on, there are two important statements I need to make so I don’t receive any negative feedback.  One, this is not a pity party blog where I am hoping readers will want to help me overcome my insecurities and two, I am not a hater of crop tops.
I’m simply just pointing out the simple truth that as women get older, married and start a family they overcome some of their immature “isms” but find with the pressures of their new everyday life they develop another set of insane and most likely false ones.

What flaw or trait makes you cringe since you’ve become a mom?  I would love to hear and let you know you are not the only one.

 

Top Toy Predictions

Moms always want to be ahead of the game when it comes to tracking down cool, creative and educational toys for their kids, but it’s not always the easiest task.  From finding the best blocks that will stimulate your baby’s brain to encouraging your second grader to use his thinking cap when building a top-secret spacecraft, one NJ toyshop helps ease the pressure moms put on themselves when selecting the perfect gizmo.

Margaret Spicer, the owner of Distinctive Toys in Fair Haven, NJ looks at three important features when buying products for her store, “We like toy companies that have won parents choice awards, have long play value, and quality.”
While witnessing the Rainbow Loom craze in full bloom, when asked what is the next big toy trend, Margaret’s answer was simple, “Girls will always love crafts and boys will always want the next cool outdoor game.”  Check out her best toy picks kicking off 2014:

Infant/Toddler Toys

Courtesy of ToySmith

Courtesy of ToySmith

Bristle Blocks from Toysmith
Puzzle Match Memory Game by Wowopolis
Deluxe Build a Road by International Playthings
Discovery Space Center by Hape (also their play kitchen and accessories)
Xylophone Roller by Janod (and their wooden play sets for tea and birthday)
Original Tonka Trucks in Steel by Reeves International

Preschool Age and Up

speedstax

Speed Stacks with Timer by Speed Stacks
Squishables by Squishable – Distinctive Toy’s Faves: The new pink owl and the blue or pink octopus.
Kinetic Sand by Waba Fun
Demolition Lab by SmartLab Toys
Craft Kits by either Alex or Creativity
Pulsar PowerBalls kit by Orb Factory
Plush Dogs by Douglas
Fastrack by Blue Orange Games
Zingo! Sight Words by Think Fun
Calico Critters by International Playthings

***A New Mom In Town’s Time-Saving Tip:  Buying a gift?  Leave the wrapping to the pros.  The boutique wraps presents perfectly for the occasion.

 

Get Your Laugh On

Have you ever just needed a time out?  Winter break might be over for the kids, but what about a little break for mom?  My son has ransacked my house, proudly I might add, with his little evil laugh and my daughter has called for me, “Mommy,” 367 times in the past 4 hours.  Today is a good day for a laugh and I know just where to get it.  Crack up with “Will & Grace,” all day long on WE tv and catch up with the cast, in an article I wrote, Will & Grace Where Are They Now. 

Enjoy the weekend.