Pigtails in the Rearview Mirror
Twice a day for 15 miles I look in my rearview mirror and I see little pigtails, swaying to Raffie, bouncing along to every perfectly silly lyric and in that moment there is nothing more perfect to look at. I could drive for hours just knowing that I can look in my rearview mirror and see little pigtails swaying back and forth, up and down.
know I write about the swiftness of time and the element of awareness around looking back one day and knowing how precious these moments are. I like to share these simple moments because it is a reminder of how the complexity of it all can be boiled down to nothing more than tiny pigtails blowing in the breeze. So when something that simple can bring so much pure joy into my life, I feel as though every hard, exhausting, mind-breaking moment is absolutely worth it.
Take a moment today and look in your rearview mirror so that you will always have a moment to remember.
Accepting what is
I have been thinking over these last (almost) 12 months, about the changes we have all been required to make in order to assume this new role of pandemic parenthood. It has not been easy, as we all know. For some of us there have been devastating outcomes to personal health, loved ones, mental health or job security. Never before have we as a global nation been able to empathize with one another without borders, judgment or the capacity of not knowing. None of us know what COVID 19 is doing to our lives, we all know that the outcomes will long surpass what we can fathom and we all know that life has become normal while at the same time has become intolerable. Trying to accept what is has been part of my mindfulness throughout this pandemic because I felt I had no other choice. I have referenced this before and had I only known how relevant it might be I would have waited to analyze the theory but here it is again. Sometimes you can’t go over things, sometimes you can’t go under things, sometimes you just have to go though things. While I wish I were only reading lines from Going on a Bear Hunt, I am unfortunately talking about life. In life we find many ways to convince ourselves that being in control is actually possible because often times with money, resources or time you can indeed find a way over, around or under the situation you find yourself in. Right now in this moment I want you to close your eyes (maybe finish this sentence first) and take a deep breath in, focusing on filling your lungs and silently, or not silently say “fuck”. Okay, that was a big word, I know and I actually just bought myself a sweatshirt that says “good moms say bad words” because while my husband and I do not use strong words as a practice, around our children, there are just some situations that welcome, warrant and need a strong word in order to express the situation at hand.
We have been locked inside our lives for almost a year, friends and relatives are filing for divorce, people are literally losing their jobs, homes and lives, people are abusing alcohol and drugs, children are being impacted academically, socially and emotionally in ways we do not understand and to me, that warrants a well thought out, calm and deep breath surrounded “fuck”. Okay so we have it, we have said it, we have identified it and now what…? Hmmm, the question that no-one can answer because there is no answer. What a puzzle this is, we always have answers. There is either a person, a place or a thing that can fix everything. Your college boyfriend is being a jerk, answer - best friend and bar hopping. Your kids are stressing you out beyond measure, answer- send them to the babysitter and hit the spa or put on a movie and go take a bath with a glass of wine. Right now, the ability to get what we need or get what we want from the world is very limiting and that can feel oppressive and scary so I thought about it and I realized there is one thing I can control. I can control my output, I can control my thought process around what is happening and I can control my actions towards the situation I find myself in. Now don’t get me wrong, I have had my fair share of temper tantrums and they were not pretty but life is a journey, that was part of my journey and here is where I find myself.
What I realized was that my biggest passion lies in the union of home and education. I fundamentally believe that if children are able to be supported, feel supported and learn from a place that doesn’t feel disconnected from their home life, that children will be able to learn more, learn faster and learn more foundational tools to build on through their academic life. Since I started my business five years ago I have wished for a way to try out this concept of really marrying together the home-school connection. So while I am not trying to say that COVID 19 has made my dreams come true, I am able to look at the current circumstances I am in and realize I have been handed a gift and one that I both asked for and am passionate about. So while the world does seem to be coming apart at the seams and while there are certainly a shortage of answers to the questions we all have about when and if this will all be over, I am trying to accept the gift I have been handed and allow myself to cherish this time with my children.
The reality is that we will never again have this much time with our children and we will never again be able to be this involved in their academic lives and while it feels overwhelming now, we perhaps will look back and miss these moments of closeness. Just a thought, one which can be discarded but one I urge you to breath into, just to see where it lands. Sometimes the most simple answers are the ones hardest to see.
I recently had a friend share with me a very intimate moment of motherhood and the raw emotion that can come bursting out of us moms with almost no warning. At times, as a mother it can feel almost impossible that our children would not perceive our presence in our home space. We are always there, we are harping on or asking for or comforting with or demanding from or…always something and so it feels very natural to assume that our presence is a given at all times. My friend shared that her daughter, who is in kindergarten, was setting the table for dinner and held the last plate up while looking confused and trying to figure out who the “extra” plate was for. My friend, with absolute forfeiture in her voice reminded her daughter that it was for her, for mom, mommy, mother, the woman standing there, the human who had cooked the meal in the kitchen she had spent all day cleaning.
I recently had a similar experience when my daughter made her list of who she wanted to buy presents for during the holidays and while the dog (and my brother’s dog) made the list, mom and dad were nowhere to be found. I looked at her list, her budding handwriting and her organization of who would be receiving something from her and the pride in this feeling of owning the gift giving. I knew there was no malice, I could see that she was genuine in her desire to give and be kind and share her love and compassion. So why had mom and dad been left off? And why had my friend’s daughter so easily and unceremoniously forgotten that her mother was the fourth spot at the table? The answer came to me so undramatically that I had to laugh at its truth. It is because we are there, we are there day in and day out. We are there for every moment, good and bad and in-between. We are there and our children know we are there. When they think of who is going to be at dinner or who should be receiving a show of gratitude they are thinking of those in their lives who come in and out, those they love and cherish because the moments with them are not dependable but rather scheduled or spontaneous and infrequent.
You moms, and you dads are the ones who are there, we are always there and in the same way you never think to thank your hot water for just being there when you need it most, we are the dependable, stable people in their lives. They don’t remember us because they never have to imagine us not there.
While it never feels good to be “forgotten”, I urge you to rebrand the idea of what it means when you aren’t the receiver of a gift or a shout out. It means that your child never has to imagine you missing. Trust me when I say that one day, your child will think to themselves, as they are frantic in the holiday splendor “okay, what do I need to get mom for Christmas” and “oh crap we need to buy an extra dining chair because mom and dad are coming for dinner and we are one chair short”. These moments will come, you will be named. There will come a time when you re no longer the constant in their lives. So I urge you to wear your forgotten badge of honor proudly, and know that that oversight of your tiny human is a reflection on your stability in their lives.
Have a happy New Year and may 2021 be a year of reflection, observance and acceptance of who we are, where we are and what we are to those around us.
Covid-ing with Kids
It’s time to quiet the noise and listen to your internal parenting voice. Right now the amount of external noise is deafening and you might even be finding yourself feeling “normal” in these abstractly abnormal times. Let’s get you back to center.
Close your eyes
A reminder that once upon a time (or perhaps this time for you is now) this perfect little being, in this perfect moment in time was overwhelming, engulfing and absolutely strengthening. Right now the world is overwhelming and the external static that fills the empty space of our mind is blinding and deafening. This moment in time is also overwhelming, engulfing and absolutely strengthening.
You are a parent and YOU are stronger than you know.
How to Set a Smart Baby Budget and Save Money on Every Purchase
Babies are cute, but boy are they expensive! If you’re a parent-to-be, you may be wondering how you’re going to get ready for your little bundle of joy without busting your budget. We know how overwhelming this feeling can be, but don’t worry! With a smart plan, it’s possible to stock up on everything you need while staying under budget.
Set a Budget
Besides setting a budget for your general household expenses, use this time to plan out your financial big picture, along with baby expenses. We like Mint’s guide for using coupon apps and determining ways you can get by while spending less.
For baby gear, it helps to consult a checklist so you can get an idea of exactly what you’ll need. If you plan on registering and having baby showers, you can anticipate receiving some items as gifts, but you still want to know how it will all add up.
With your budget in hand, the next step is to find ways you can cut costs on everything from regular household expenses to the nitty gritty stuff like diapers and wipes.
One of the first things to do is to look at your overall household budget for where you can reduce ongoing expenses. This includes adjusting your spending on more frivolous items like box subscriptions, takeout, and cable. You can also look for ways to cut costs by assessing your taxes, health insurance and even car insurance. The blog Living on the Cheap recommends investigating any bank fees, credit card interest rates, and other ongoing bills like your cellphone plan to see if you can get a discount or even cut some fees altogether.
The trouble with buying maternity clothes is that you don’t want to spend too much since you will only wear them for a limited time, but you still want to look nice, especially if you need professional clothes or comfortable clothing for after the baby arrives. To work around this problem, look for sales and discounts, but allow room in your budget for a few splurges, particularly for items like a multitasking nightgown, soft and cozy leggings and sweaters and even a plush robe.
One of the best ways to save on baby gear is to buy used. You should always buy car seats new, partly because of expiration dates and recalls, and also because a seat that has been in an accident or dropped is no longer safe. However, online deals and store coupons can make car seats more affordable, and other big ticket items can definitely be bought second hand.
Another rule of thumb is to only buy what you really need. Remember, too, that you won’t need everything right away. If you don’t receive a high chair as a gift, there’s no need to rush out and buy one since baby won’t be eating solid food for a while!
Any parent will tell you how these repeat purchases add up, and that’s on top of investing in gear. The good news is that quality baby items are made to last, so you can use them for subsequent children or sell them second hand later on. There’s no doubt that your budget will look different with a baby in the mix, but that cute little nose and toes will be 100% worth it!
Photo credit: Rawpixel
Thank you to our guest writer;
I am a mother, not a wizard. I share what is hard, what is scary and what is real. The rest I leave to you.