Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Let's give thanks for the little (like, tiny teeny) things!



It's Thanksgiving. Cue the #thankful lists on social media. Everyone loves to talk about what they are grateful for, what they love, what they value in life. And that's great. Except sometimes it feels like other people are giving thanks for finally learning to play the harp or a kid who got into college at age 13, when the rest of us are just happy we remembered to pick up the canned cranberry sauce.

You know what? You be thankful for that cylinder of fuchsia jelly. When you've been around the parenting scene for long enough, you know the little things add up to a big ball of grateful.

You're thinking, "But it's Thanksgiving and it feels big and important and shouldn't I be thankful for health and family and 27 people coming to my house for turkey and pie?"

Look deep into your heart. If you had your choice, you'd send everyone out for chicken nuggets on Thursday if it meant you could have 5 minutes just to brush your top teeth and your bottom teeth all in one go without one of your children needing help blowing their nose. That is the big stuff. That's worth a hearty "Thanks!"


Luvs surveyed a group of moms and guess what? We are all counting the little blessings. In fact, we kind of prefer it that way. According to a survey Luvs conducted, we parents would rather shower in peace than have a hot stone massage. Check out this infographic, which basically says that moms would value a full-sized candy bar they can eat while hiding in the trunk of their minivans. That's what they value.



What can we learn from the fact that nearly 2 in 3 moms have never taken a day completely for themselves? We can learn that we will take small doses of added value anyway we can get it. Also that we should really make an effort to find a good sitter.

Luvs discovered that small kindnesses are #WhatULuv. Lean in sister moms and brother dads, here’s more of what we love, of what we value most. Not the pie-in-the-sky stuff of fairytales, but the little victories that get us through the day.

We love hot meals, eaten alone. Even if we have to eat them while hiding in our closets.

We love babies who can be lulled to sleep by a short car ride.

We love it when our kids sneeze into their elbows and not our faces.

We love toddlers who can feed themselves.

We love baby's first full night of sleep after which we remember that sometimes the sun rises before we do.

We love when baby sleeps through the night and stays dry in her Luvs Ultra Leakguard with NightLock Plus.

We love finding that one crayon in the wash before we accidentally slip it into the dryer.

We love babies who are good burpers.

We love kids who think leftover night is the best.

We love clearance rack, wash-n'-wear tee shirts in patterns that mask baby spit-up.

We love when Grandma sends holiday-themed outfits for our infants and they actually fit in the season in which they were intended to be worn.

We love Luvs diapers because they are softer and more absorbent than ever, don’t leak, and don’t cut into our secret snacks budget.

We love it when we can get the baby through the grocery store in same outfit they left the house in.

We love washable art supplies.

We love the official diaper of experienced parents who can leave the house with two kids and less than 576 things in the diaper bag.

We love 5-minute couch naps while the toddler finishes watching cartoons.

We love surviving to see another day full of giggles and minor mishaps and cuddles and creative parenting.

So, this Thanksgiving enjoy #WhatULuv. Do yourself a solid and put an extra jar of store-bought gravy in the saucepan because who cares if the turkey is a little dry when you can drown it in gravy? The time you save not making homemade gravy will give you time to wash and dry your hair before guests arrive. Besides, everyone came for the carbs, not the protein.

And before you go and finish doing all of the things and doing them like a boss, let me invite you to something that will make your life a little easier and more fun. Join a bunch of experienced moms for a #WhatULuv Twitter party hosted by @iConnect and @Luvs, on November 29th, 9-10pm EST to share what you value as a parent. There are sure to be prizes and laughs and you can come in your PJs. 

BUT THERE’S MORE: Download this print-at-home coupon and save $1 on Luvs diapers.



SPONSORED POST ALERT: Happy Thanksgiving from me and my friends at Luvs, who sponsored this post. Yep, I get paid to talk about Luvs, but I talk about Luvs because I’m a Luvs mom. I have four kids and when they were still in diapers, they were in Luvs.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Summer Family Budget (Just Burn Your Money) #spon

LUVS AND I WANT TO GIVE TWO LUCKY READERS 
ALL THE THINGS PLUS A $50 AMEX GIFT CARD.

BUT READ THIS FIRST.

Where are you now? In your kitchen? Look around, are there grass clippings on the floor even though your swept 5 minutes ago? Have three children dirtied 23 cups and glasses today? Is half the neighborhood in your living room or backyard?



That's nothing. Summer's real parent gut punch isn't the giggly chaos of feral children on school break, it's the cost of actually living with your children. During the school year, when big kids head to the bus stop and little kids get carpooled to preschool, you aren't really living with your kids so much as running a hostel. A hostel, but instead of a smattering of UN-representative co-eds who don't shower often, it's just your own dirty kids in the mornings, afternoons and weekends.

When summer hits, it's no longer you and the baby waving bye-bye to big sissy. Remember that? It was only a few short weeks ago that you'd bundle off your older children and you and the baby would head to Target to unwind. Now, not only is your house crawling with short people, you can't afford a Target run.

Summer the time of year when the kiddos come home to roost, and it's the time of year when you may as well set your money on fire using a magnifying glass and the unrelenting rays of the sun.

For three seasons out of the year, you have a typical family budget. You spend on groceries and crayons and 27 pairs of gloves and new shoes for that one kid of yours with the abnormally fast-growing feet. But the summer budget is bananas. Not a euphemism, bananas are an actual purchase category along with watermelon and sweet corn and the other fruits and veggies that are in season.

Other line items in the summer family budget are:

  • Theme park admissions
  • Camp registrations
  • Vacation debt
  • Items you need to buy on vacation that you forgot back at home
  • Ice cream and popsicle allotment
  • Flip flop blowout replacement costs
  • Sunblock expenses
  • Sunblock restocking fees
  • Aloe expense
  • Pool toy expenditure
  • Weekly swim goggle replacement costs
  • Swim diaper fund
  • Snack inflation investment
  • Craft origination fees
  • Rash cream fund
  • Slushie fund
  • Impulse buys
  • Souvenir savings


By the time the end of August is here, you'll be seriously considering a second mortgage just so you can buy school supplies.

Unless you you've been smart enough to put your baby in Luvs. Not only because Luvs* keep a baby dry (with large stretch tabs, ultra-leakage protection, and a money-back guarantee), but they do it for less cash than other brands. And you need that cash to buy the baby sun hats that she'll keep ripping off and tossing in the pool while you stand there pushing her around in an inflatable floating unicorn.

The first point is summer is expensive, but your diapers don't have to be. Not only are Luvs affordable when they aren't on sale, this coupon for $2 off via Coupons.com and this Ibotta rebate (download the app on iOS or Android and search for Luvs to unlock the rebate) for $3 off any box of Luvs that's 54-count or larger, make them an even better deal. Now you have money leftover to spend on new beach towels, which you need because last year's towels smell funny.

The second point is that Luvs wants to help our with some of those summer budget line items by giving away ALL THIS COOL STUFF. Two people who enter this giveaway will win:
So go save here and here or here. Go enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter down there. And go take your summer cash flow back.




* Luvs is sponsoring this post, by the way, and not just because they like me, but because I was a Luvs mom when my kids were in diapers and I know they work and are affordable. So, compensation by Luvs, humor and opinions by Nicole Leigh Shaw. Also, this disclaimer: Luvs has only provided me with the product that I am using as the prizes for this giveaway. By entering the following giveaway you are accepting that, if you win, your contact information will be shared with a Luvs PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize. Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize.

Friday, May 27, 2016

I'm a Perfect Parent

I know you're feeling low about now, what with that food stain on your shirt and a few Legos in your pocket where your lip balm used to be. You don't have enough clean laundry to clothe all your children and the stuff that is clean, what's that smell? It's sour cream meets wet dog, right? Like it, in terms of animal instincts, it's a smell that says "Don't eat me, danger!" That's how the jeans your 8-year-old is wearing smell all the time, going into the laundry or coming out of the dryer.

Good news, I am perfect. So are you. Buy it now.


It's okay, pookie. It's just that you're a perfect parent.

I am, too.

I have half a chicken breast and 4 ozs., total, of two different kinds of pasta shapes I need to use to make a dinner that will feed six people. And I will. And they will like it and proclaim it the best dinner ever because that's what it means to be a perfect parent.

You're going to spend 18+ years helping a child make science projects out of whatever the hell you happen to have lying around and you'll succeed. You're going to make school lunches out of English muffins and dried apricots with a side of crunchy Chinese noodles and the kids will thank you for it. You're going to accidentally show up on time and sometimes be very late only to discover the meeting or game or spelling bee is actually tomorrow and that, friends, is winning.

You're not perfect because you iron the kids' sheets and always remember to write your their name on the inside of their winter jackets. You're perfect because you don't do those things and your kids are happy and healthy anyway. You're perfect because you MacGyver your way through parenting and somehow your child is graduating from high school in one piece and with honors (or, at least, not in jail).

Perfect parenting is the art of making it work even though the odds are stacked, enournously and unfairly, against you. Perfect parenting is emergency diapers made of an extra onesie and some duct tape.

I'm just about as perfect a parent as you'll find. And so are you.

So treat yourself to a little camaraderie with other perfect parents, like the ones in my new anthology (by which I mean someone else published it and I happen to have an essay in it). We are just a bunch of moms who have no idea where we left the car keys, but you bet your life we'll find a way to get the kids to school on time. Ish. Maybe 10 minutes late. Fifteen, tops.


BUT WHO ARE THE OTHER PERFECT PARENTS IN THIS ANTHOLOGY?
Glad you asked. Essays by:

Jen Mann - People I Want to Punch in the Throat / I Just Want to Pee Alone
Bethany Kriger Thies - Bad Parenting Moments
Deva Nicole Dalporto - MyLifeSuckers
Julianna Wesby Miner - Rants From Mommyland 
Lola Lolita - SammichesPsychMeds / MockMom 
Kim Bongiorno - Let Me Start By Saying
Alyson Herzig - The Shitastrophy
Kathryn Leehane - Foxy Wine Pocket
Harmony Hobbs - Modern Mommy Madness
Erin Dwyer Dymowski - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
Tara Wood - Love Morning Wood
Kelcey Kintner - The Mama Bird Diaries
Lisa René LeClair - Sassypiehole
Joelle Wisler - Joelle Wisler, Writer
Christine McDevitt Burke - Keeper of The Fruit Loops
Meredith Spidel - The Mom of the Year
Meredith Gordon - Bad Sandy
Allison Hart - Motherhood, WTF?
Jennifer Lizza - Outsmarted Mommy
Suzanne Fleet - Toulouse and Tonic
AK Turner - Vagabonding with Kids
Robyn Welling - Hollow Tree Ventures
Ashley Fuchs - The Malleable Mom
Kim Forde - The Fordeville Diaries
E.R. Catalano - Zoe vs. the Universe
Chrissy Woj - Quirky Chrissy
Stacey Gill - One Funny Motha
Wendi Aarons - wendiaarons.com
Jen Simon – jensimonwriter.com
Janel Mills - 649.133: Girls, the Care and Maintenance Of.
Jessica Azar - Herd Management
Susanne Kerns -The Dusty Parachute
Audrey Hayworth - Sass Mouth
Hedia Anvar - Gunmetal Geisha
Christine Organ - christineorgan.com
Shya Gibbons - ShyaGibbons

*Affiliate links appear in this post.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Your Suffering: The Perfect, Low-Cost, Last-Minute Mother's Day Gift



Yoo-hoo! Are you the spouse, adult child, or too-old-for-handprint-crafts child of a mother? Then you probably feel a tickle at the back of your mind, a whisper telling you you're about to screw up.

What could it be?! Have you forgotten to flush? Is the cable bill past due? Did you donate to the Cruz campaign?

Or did you forget that tomorrow you're supposed to celebrate the day you irrevocably changed your mother's belly button from an innie to an outtie? Has another year gone by that you couldn't be bothered to clue in to the social context? Ads for flowers, chocolates, and 345 inbox reminders to take advantage of free shipping on Edible Arrangements should have kicked you into action.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and you're about to set the record for eliciting disappointed sighs from the woman who birthed or adopted you. If you have two moms, you're about to double the disdain.

But it's not too late to give mom the one thing she wants most: your suffering.

"My suffering?"

What else could a woman whose episiotomy set hospital records want?

Ask yourself, Is my mother a martyr?

"No!"

You protest. But be honest. Your mom is a martyr. Am I right? I'm right. I know I'm right because every mother, even the ones---especially the ones---that swear they aren't, are martyrs some of the time.

Open your eyes. Consider the facts.

  • Has she ever sighed heavily while picking up someone else's dirty socks from the living room floor?
  • Has she ever made a family member's favorite dinner---on her own birthday? 
  • Has she ever started a major cleaning task, say, getting on her hands and knees to clean the baseboards because "someone has to do it, and no one bothered to be available when I was up at 6 am getting the good plates out so I guess now's the time and I'm the only person who seems to know where the rags are kept," during an active social gathering in her own home, and then retreat to the bedroom to "eat my meal alone, thank you, no I don't want company, no I'm not crying that's allergies"?
  • Has she convinced her children that everything, from her varicose veins to the fact that she never took a semester abroad in college, is their fault?

Ask yourself again, Is my mother a martyr?

"Maybe a little. But don't tell her I said that!"

You know what every martyr really wants?

"To die for her cause so that history will never forget the struggle!"

No. She wants you to suffer.



This Mother's Day, give her the gift she's been passive-agressively asking for since she she dropped her painting class so that you could take Tae Kwon Do. Be uncomfortable.

Sure, you could wait until you become a parent and are saddled with half your genetic equivalent, whose sudden-onset stomach bug leaves you scrapping vomit out of a car seat with the shopping rewards cards clipped to your car keys. You could call her in that moment and say, "For you mother, I have paid the vomit price. I, too, have become martyr." Or you could show her how much you care right now!

"How can I inconvenience myself for my mom this Mother's Day, when all I really feel like doing is getting her a token gift I didn't bother wrapping and then taking a long nap while she runs to the grocery store?"

It's nothing. It's next to nothing. It's almost no thing at all. Give her your blood, sweat, and tears. These are the things your mother has shed or endured on your behalf. Sometimes to keep you healthy and safe, and other times just to make sure your soccer team had enough snacks.

Why, you could risk cutting open your finger on dinted aluminum gutters when you finally clean them out like you said you would back in the 12th grade. You're 35 now, but it's never too late to say, "I realize I have dismissed your needs for two decades, but that doesn't mean I don't care."

You could work up a lather, literally, cleaning your own DNA from inside and around the toilet. Is there anything more sentimental than telling mom, "No, you sit. It's my turn to mop up the household's collective urine"?

And you could cry. Whether it's because you haven chosen to wait until next weekend to see Captain America: Civil War in favor of taking mom to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, or because you put a little soap in your eye and fake it, tearfully thank her this Sunday for being your everything. (Bonus points if you pull this stunt in front of your wife who mom has never liked.) Just find a way to well up and let mom know that your pain is a gift to her.

This Mother's Day, remember that it's never too late to make it hurt so good.

***



You know what it's also not too late to get mom? An e-book like this one, I Just Want to Pee Alone. Or buy the hardcopy and she'll get it by Tuesday, not only showing that you love her, but that you're a a little bit of a failure so that she gets to continue to be a little bit of a martyr.  Those hyperlinks bring you to one of the greatest books a mom could ever get: a book filled with sarcasm and a few heartstring tuggers. Essays written by and for moms. So, don't be a jerk. Get mom the book. After all, she gave up her youth, beauty, and sanity for you.

PS--Those are affiliate links back there, meaning that if you click one of them and buy a copy of the book, I get 2, maybe 3 cents from Amazon.com (full disclosure).