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Ten Ways Children Are Like the Government

Growing up, I was so blessed to have parents who not only discussed with us current events and political/moral beliefs, but who also allowed us to have our own opinions — no matter how laughable or illogical those opinions happened to be. The same could be said with their methodology of parenting, though; nothing was off-limits as far as discussing why things were the way they were. We didn’t have to agree with their standards, we just had to respect them. Having since grown up, I realize that we, as kids, did respect our parents for this — even though it wasn’t necessarily a conscious effort. We recognized from early ages the work and effort our parents put in to our raising and, even though we obviously saw them from a childlike standpoint, my siblings and I developed strong work ethics and values.

That said, we were kids and made mistakes. Our parents allowed us to make those mistakes and we knew fully that there would be varied degrees of consequences when those missteps were brought to light. A lot of these occurrences were brought to light by discussing with us similarly-happening current events/politics and the outcomes that came from the choices that had been put into motion. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for those life-lessons; it’s something that my husband and I are subsequently (attempting to) instill into our own children. Now with that said — the one thing my parents never fully explained to me that, sweet Lord, I wish they would have, was how BLOODY FRUSTRATING it would be to develop and mold our children into productive, decent, non-life-sucking individuals.

Y’ALL. I. CAN. NOT. EVEN.

What’s more, since becoming a parent and a more involved adult, it’s occurred to me how similar raising small children and sorting through political garbage tends to be. Seriously, it’s baffling. Is it because our children are politically geared and diplomatically minded? Anyone who has ever listened to an argument between two or more ankle-biters know that that’s not the case. No, it’s because politicians and their individual agendas have become so mundane and juvenile. Think back to the latest presidential election if you aren’t catching what I’m throwing. I couldn’t watch or listen to the debates half the time because of how much they sounded like my kids’ arguments. No joke, sometimes I replaced the words “foreign affairs” with “sneezed on my pizza” and the comparison was uncanny.

I’ve decided to share with you all my epiphany, so sit back and enjoy my list of “Ten Ways Children Are Like the Government”.

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  1. Someone is always watching you.
    Never was I so paranoid — until I had children. These days it’s a miracle if I’m not constantly looking over my shoulder. Forget about “Big Brother”; it’s “Tiny Terror” that you should really be worried about.
  2. They argue even when they know they’re wrong.
    I tell my husband regularly that if our kids don’t grow up to be successful lawyers I’m going to be pissed. Seriously, these kids would argue with Jesus. My two oldest boys argued recently over whether the name of breakfast was “banana blueberry pancakes” or “blueberry banana”. Facepalm, guys. Face. Palm.

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  3. There’s a lot of name-calling.
    Look, I could be okay with this part if the names being called were at least witty or came from a place of some intelligence. But no. My kids dig down deep and go low and it doesn’t even have to MAKE SENSE. That’s the worst part. My kids were both in tears the other day because they both called each other, “Mick McBootyFace”. I cannot make this shit up, y’all.
  4. Denial, denial, denial.
    A few days ago I walked into our bathroom to get something or other. I don’t remember what. But that’s not important. What is important, is that upon walking into our bathroom, I noticed my once white and turquoise bath mat was stained a gross shade of mud. Naturally, both suspects adamantly denied having even been near the bathroom. One even blamed his sleeping (infant!) brother. Not today, Satan!
  5. They’re wildly out of touch with reality.
    And I’m not just talking about the Santa & Tooth Fairy stories we pump into our kids. No, kids in general, like most politicians, have zero sense of time & zero sense of reality. Case in point: Connor said we bought our house for $50 and a four-wheeler trade. Gabe threw in that if there weren’t so many of us that we could have a DeLorean or a motorcycle with a sidecar. SAY WHAAAA? Adulthood is going to hit these kids hard.

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  6. You never have a shortage of bed partners.
    Okay, so at least the only thing I’m catching from my bed partners is an occasional black eye or the flu. Nevertheless, co-sleeping can be a beeyatch and I’ve got a dislocated shoulder to prove it.
  7. Whatever it is, it’s never their fault.
    Oh, sure. You might have witnessed your kid dump an entire gallon of milk onto the floor because he was attempting to impersonate Captain Underpants. But was it his fault? According to him, no. Why? Oh, it could be anything. The floor made him slip; his foot was itchy; he got too “into character”.
  8. Things aren’t always what they seem.
    It’s quiet in the house? They’re all “sleeping”? Think again. They know they’ve got you where they want you… and they’re coming for you. “He’s right behind me, isn’t he? HE’S GOT THAT WATER GUN AGAIN, DOESN’T HE?!”
  9. It’s all a big mess.
    Nobody is ever on the same page, we’re always running thirty minutes late, and we’ve misplaced homework or doctors’ excuses for the millionth time. Our house is clean, but only because our closets aren’t, and if we can distract you with something over-the-top to keep you from seeing what a shambles our lives are then, dang it, that’s what we’re going to do.

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  10. No one ever really knows what’s going on.
    We’re all just winging it, guys. Doing the best we can day by day. So long as everyone is fed, (fully) clothed, & dry shampooed, I can deal. Did we throw out the permission slip instead of the two-year-old water bill? Probably. Did I make a grocery list and leave it sitting on the kitchen counter (again)? You betcha. Are my kids going to need therapy in adulthood? Psh — I’m not paying for it.

I’m just trying to raise kids who won’t grow up to be entitled man-children. If they grow to be successful and happy, then I’ve done my job. If they end up being life-suckers? See numbers 4 & 7.

However, if they grow up to be politicians…. eh, can’t say I didn’t see it coming.

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Final Countdown

We’re in the process of some life-changes in the Paul household.  Read: I’m studying for my insurance license exam until I can get back to school.  Because of this, household chores are being re-delegated according to age, capability, and efficiency level.  My boys have done piddly chores here and there, but nothing chore chart worthy since I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for so long.  I mean, hell — I get most everything done during the day (or week), so by the time they come home, tasks are slim pickins.  Don’t get me wrong — they’ve been exposed to yard work, laundry, and garbage detail; slackin’ is not allowed here!  But now that we’re looking at life and schedule changes, more daily chores added are pretty much a must.  I’m not staying up until midnight only to get up at 5AM every freaking day of my life.

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I’ve looked at lists on Pinterest of “age appropriate” chores for the boys and have modified accordingly.  Adjustments will likely still be made, but baby steps are the best steps in figuring out who is best at what and who can stand some improvement in other tasks.

One chore that both boys have been assigned is folding, putting away, and sorting their own laundry.  This is one chore that neither of them mind doing as it allows them some TV time — provided they stay on task and get the job done quickly and neatly.  This has gone off without a hitch…. mostly.  As with most things, there is one flaw that, by God, I’ll have hammered out by the time I’m employed.  Both Gabe and Connor have a SUPER annoying habit of showing off their (lack) of basketball skills by throwing their socks and underwear in the general direction of the washer.  Only their socks and underwear, and only in the general direction.

I don’t know if y’all know this but… I’m a big girl.  I’m also thirty going on one hundred.  My appliance climbing days are DEFINITELY behind me. But, since I’d prefer to not continuously repair or re-buy equipment attachments or hoses, I’m the one climbing behind the washer and/or dryer to retrieve the wayward foot and butt covers.  This wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t happening daily or if they weren’t running out of undergarments.  Really, I guess “issue” is the wrong word.  Nuisance, perhaps?  Because it isn’t the end of the world, obviously — just a pain in the ass.  Nevertheless, two straight weeks of me crawling my mom hips and carb-loving arse over and behind the washing machine has left me desperate for a solution.

I thought and thought about how I could get their attention that would get the message across loud and clear but without going full Ozzy Osbourne Crazy Train.  I considered making them do jumping jacks every time they missed the desired target, but they enjoy exercising and the goal, here, is for them to put aside their Kobe Bryant tendencies — not encourage them.

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I thought about acting like I was stuck between the wall and dryer, but I am 99.9% certain they’d take advantage of that situation.

And then one day it hit me.  CANTEEN MONEY.  Canteen cash is like gold around these here parts and I’m not above making a dollar for a large Diet Coke, no ice, from McDonalds (a dolla ten, y’all!).  I only ever give each of them a dollar for canteen anyway, so this works out perfectly.  Monday through Thursday they have an opportunity to keep their canteen money.  Every time I have to hoist myself to the back of the washer/dryer, they lose a quarter.  They’re fast learners, so each had seventy-five cents to take to canteen this past Friday.

I’m not above taking candy from a baby my kids, guys. This is especially true if it means I won’t get stuck in a place tighter than pleather leggings from the clearance rack at WalMart.  But I digress.

Other than our battle with “The Case of the Missing Skivvies”, chore completion and delegation is going pretty smoothly.  I’ll admit, I was planning for the worst.  Both boys like to help, but as with any new strategy, things get bad before they get better.  Luckily, there have been little-to-no hiccups and I’ve only had to issue threats of death a handful of times.  My night-caps have drastically decreased in volume and we’re making it to bed by 10:00 instead of 10:30 (BABY STEPS).  Also, my voice is slowly coming back from all of the Death Metal-esque yelling that took place ALL OF LAST WEEK.  Side eye to you, Eureka Math.

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Tonight I’m shooting for a 9:45 bedtime and only refolding the towels once.  Fingers crossed, y’all.  Fingers crossed.

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When Did Crayons Stop Being Basic?

The other night, I sat with my kindergartner as he did homework.  The assignment was a worksheet on differentiating between “left & right” on which he would draw/color on a pair of hands (I’ve included a link to the activity here).  I loved the activity and so did he; it kept his attention and allowed some creativity while also providing direction.  Everything would have gone off without a hitch. . . until crayons.  Seriously, y’all — when did crayons get so extra?!  They’re fancier now than I’ll ever be (and have ever been).  After five minutes of trying to find a non-pink red and a non-purple blue, I was left feeling miffed and, to some degree, pretty basic.  Honest to God, I don’t even have that many colors in my wardrobe.  And who the hell is coming up with these color names??  Is this an actual job?  Can people apply for this?  Because I can pull random words out of my butt to describe color shades, too.

“Uh, yes — I’m here to interview for Obscure Crayon Moniker Giver/Administrative Assistant.”  Dumb.

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courtesy of babyblues.com rick kirkman/jerry scott

In all seriousness, though — when we were kids (back in the day), color names were pretty straight-forward or at least let you know in which direction the color was headed.

“Strawberry shortcake red?  Eh… that’ll be pink-ish.”

“Celestial blue?  Kind of purple-ish.”

These days?  Our kids are left to use fifty-eleven sheets of scrap paper in order to figure out which red is actually red.  RazzmatazzFlamingo Pink (RED)??  Big Dip’o Ruby?!  Look, I can get past the ridiculous names.  And I love that there are so many color options available for crafts and general coloring.  But why isn’t there a box of crayons strictly for school purposes?  I’m talking ordinary, no-nonsense, no mystery basic. freaking. colors.  Red. Pink. Purple. Blue. Green. DANDELION.  My five year old doesn’t need these millenial-derived, newfangled, pieces of wax mumbo jumbo.  He’s still learning that everyday colors are combined to make other great shades — why confuse the situation?  Why waste time?

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“Just grab the crayon that says ‘red’, Sarah, geez.”  Don’t think we didn’t try that.  It wasn’t red!  It was a dark pink with a red tint.  We wound up using .  Not even kidding.

And don’t get me started on PlaySkool or CraZArt brands (although, what can you expect from brands who purposely misspell their names).  Hot Chili Pepper — red wrapper, dark brown (almost black) wax: colors like mud.  Red Clay — orangeish wrapper, red wax: it’s freaking pink.  But I digress.

No joke, I’d buy the crap out of a 24-count box of primary/pastel colors even if the name on the box were “Basic Bitch Edition”.  I DON’T EVEN CARE.  I’m a busy mom of three boys. I don’t have time to play musical chairs, crayon edition.  Adding to that — I’m frugal as hell.  I’ve been told to “just throw the extra colors away”.  How about I throw you away, Susan?  Because I paid $1.98 for this box of shenanigans and I intend on my kids eventually using these crayons — even if it means I use $4 worth of paper and ink for coloring sheets.

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Do your littles get frustrated when they accidentally mis-color an assignment?  I think that’s where most of my “angst” is coming from, personally.  Connor is very much a “must be the right color/shape/number/etc” for his homework and gets plumb beside himself when he can’t fix the mistake.  Gabe has colored pencils that are erasable and has been letting Con use them for homework time which helps — although the colored pencils aren’t as “deceptive” as the colors.  Where are my teachers at?  Parents of pre-schoolers/kinders?  Obviously, this is not so much a big deal as it is a nuisance, but what are your opinions?  Are there boxes of regular shades and I’ve just been missing them?  Comment below!

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5 Things I Wish I’d Known About Plumbing

Hey, y’all!  Sorry for the long absence; we’ve been battling bathroom plumbing issues the past week and tried to get a handle on them over the weekend.  Honestly, it’s been a long-time coming.  Our house is about 40-45 years old, and the previous owners did a rough job of “doctoring” the problems rather than properly fix them.  Nothing serious, but definitely a pain in the gluteus maximus.  One big problem we’ve been dealing with, especially recently, has been the bathroom plumbing.  None of it was installed correctly and totally half-assed.  The existing piping, according to our plumber, is likely as old as the house.  We decided to go ahead and get an estimate on what it would cost to re-pipe the entire house and, surprisingly, it isn’t awful.  Granted, we live in a small 1,350 sqft home.  Hopefully soon that will all be changed out, however, and we’re anticipating that the new works will at least slightly increase our home value.

Anyway, prior to calling a plumber my husband, dad, and I attempted to flush out the situation to attempt to save some cash.  I’m not currently working, so we’re on a pretty tight budget.  But, as luck almost always has it, we wound up spending twice as much on plumbing “band-aids” than we did on an actual plumber coming to fix our toilet disaster.  Lesson learned, ladies.  Occasionally, you may get lucky and be able to plunge or Drano the problem away.  But always, always, always stop after $30.  If thirty bucks ain’t solving shit, then an additional $20, $40, or $60 won’t, either.  HEED MY WARNING.  You are speaking to the queen of frugality, y’all.  When it comes to plumbing, tread lightly.  Which brings me to what I’m driving at today:

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1) Never, under any circumstances, pour grease down a drain.  This includes any type of grease and all drain types.  The damage won’t be instantaneous, but over time the fat and grease deposits collect and clog your system.  This can leave you with an overflow of sewage in your house.  Believe me, you don’t want that.  It may take 5, 10, or 15 years, but it’ll happen and it can be an expensive fix depending on whether you’re on septic tank or city sewage.  Don’t chance it.

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  • What to do instead: use a container (I use old detergent bottles) to catch the grease and a funnel (if necessary) to help direct it.  Wipe out any residue with a paper towel.  If any grease does get down the drain, pour some detergent that breaks down grease and hot water down the pipes to help further knock out the deposits.  Which brings me to….

2) Use a tough detergent.  Realistically, you can’t keep all the grease from escaping a pan or plate and going down the sink.  It’s gonna happen.  But, you can use a high-quality, non-store brand to help the eliminate any problems.  Again, I’m the Frugality Queen and I use a ton of store brand items, but dish detergent ain’t one of them.  I’ve even stopped using store brand and/or cheap laundry detergent due to the weird build-up they leave on my washer.  If it’s going down your plumbin’, make sure it’s properly suddin’.  You want your pipes as close to grime-free as possible.
3) On the opposite end of the toughness spectrum, you want to use something that easily degrades in the TP department.  Now listen, y’all.  I don’t mean use TP that don’t hold to blowing your nose, but it is SO important that you flush stuff that won’t clog or slowly disintegrate.  Our plumber recommends Scott or Angel Soft.  I’m not affiliated with either of those brands in a marketing sense, but I can tell you from experience that Angel Soft is where it’s at as far as being durable enough for a wipe but easily breaks down for pipes.  If you don’t use either of those brands, then be sure to follow-up monthly with toilet or plumbing enzymes such as Roto-Rooter.  In fact, Roto-Rooter has a toilet safe formula that is okay for those particular pipes.

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4) Invest in a good plumbing upkeep schedule.  Honest to God, this has really helped us keep BIG problems at bay.  There are all kinds of products that you can use to help things flowing well.  INVEST, INVEST, INVEST.  That bottle of Roto Rooter or Drano may cost $15, but fifteen bucks is a far cry from $1,500.  Again, been there — done that.  Looking for more of a green clean?  Check out Grove Collaborative for those options!
5) When in doubt, don’t flush it.  I’m not always 100% sold on “flushable” wet wipes and, as it turns out, neither are most plumbers.  Obviously you don’t want to stick other hygiene products, toys, etc., in the toilet, but sometimes crap happens.  You want to be prepared for the inevitable — especially if you have children or if you keep little incidentals around the facilities.  Lemme fill you in on a secret, guys: while it’s always good to have a normal vacuum, it’s also awesome to have a wet/dry ShopVac.  “What does this have to do with plumbing, Sarah?”  Well, I’ll tell you.  Having a ShopVac is freaking great for spills and floods.  Guess what it’s also good for?  Getting close-proximity clogs out of toilets.  Toys, stuck wet wipes, you name it — if it’s stuck within reach of an attached nozzle, you’re golden.  It’ll suck the lost item right out of there, no plumber needed.  BE CAREFUL not to push down on the object — you want the nozzle just close enough to pull whatever is stuck, out.  Bonus points: most ShopVacs have a reverse option.  Go outside or to a bathtub and let the vacuum do the rest (if using a tub make sure to have a drain catch installed so the object doesn’t relodge into another pipe).

Plumbing work is no fun and cleaning up water back-up is a nightmare.  Hopefully these five tips help you to have a better experience, whether you rent or own!

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Do you have any helpful plumbing tips?  Jot ’em down in the comments below!  I’m always game to add to my home-owner hack arsenal!

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10 Things I’ve Said to My Children in Walmart

As we grow older, we develop life stories.  Some parts of these stories are light-hearted and fun.  Other chapters are dark and gloomy.  Some are just “meh”; you know what I mean — we all wander out of the “wonder years” and straight into the “not-even-using-dry-shampoo-give-a-damn’s-busted”- ‘meh’ phase.  It happens to the best of us — don’t knock ya’self.  If you’re a parent, at least one and a half of those chapters take place at the grocery store.  If you’re an unlucky parent, that grocery store just so happens to be WalMart.

Now, look — if any of you are employees of WalMart, I’m not hating on your workplace (much).  WalMart is a necessary evil.  A necessary evil that I should be a stockholder of, but I digress.

Point being, we all hold our own dialogue, with our own children, from our own personal experiences in the aisles and check-out lanes of various markets.  My kids are generally well behaved in public.  Sure, they get rowdy on occasion and sometimes I threaten to leave them in the frozen food aisle (“WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS, RANDOM HEATHEN?!”), but usually, the most damage that is ever done is me having to say really. weird. SHIT.  No, Classy Cathy; I don’t mean stuff.  I mean SHIT.  I have said some seriously off-the-wall, where-in-the-world-did-that-come-from crap.  And if you have ever had to run into the grocery with your children for, “Just eggs!” and you come out with everything but eggs, then you know my grief.

With that said, I’ve compiled a Top Ten list of my personal favorite “WTF?!” WalMart moments with my kids.

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10. You don’t have to have a new toy every time we come to the store.  Yes, that includes the poo emoji beanbag chair.
09. STOP POKING THE CHICKEN.
08. I don’t care if this is only WalMart and not Target, quit farting on your brother.
07. Quit staring at the bras.  You’re right — I don’t have a tiger striped bra.  Oh, I’m sure dad would laugh, alright.

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06. You know, they throw kids in WalMart jail for eating grapes that haven’t been purchased.  Don’t think I won’t let them keep you, either.
05. Yes, I see that she is wearing her pajamas.  No, you may not wear your pajamas next time.
04. Are you lic– WHY ARE YOU LICKING THE BUGGY?!

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03. No, you may not scan the baby’s butt.  Why?!  Because we’ve already paid for him, that’s why.
02. GET OUT OF THE FREEZER.
01. Go get in the car. Go GET in the CARGET IN THE CARRRRRRR.

All of the above was said in one shopping trip.  Last week.  The final week of summer.  Y’all, Connor started kindergarten today.  Do you know what that means?!  That means I get to go grocery shopping, nay, to WALMART, alone.  Unincumbered.  In (relative) silence.  There will be wine and dancing in the aisles and I don’t care who stares!

I hope I’m not alone in most of these (and seriously doubt that I am) and also hope you’ll comment below with your own grocery shopping proclamations and weirdness.  Like what you’ve read?  Hit the links below to follow me and subscribe for email notifications!

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If Moms Put in Resumes

I’ve been a stay at home mom for going on three years now. Let me tell you — it isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. In fact, just being completely honest, it’s flipping hard. I went into my current “gig” thinking it would be a cinch; that I would be able to get SO MUCH DONE with all that FREE TIME I’D HAVE. Pftttttt. What is free time?! And y’all, I’m getting next to nothing done these days. Do you want to know when I’ve actually been able to achieve any of my housework/me-time goals? It was the three-month span between Connor starting pre-k in August and Mason’s birth in December of 2017.

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I got SO MUCH DONE. No, seriously. My house was clean. The baby’s room had (relatively) effortlessly come together. My laundry was largely kept up with. I SHOWERED DAILY. Hell, I even made it to the gym almost every day in those three months. It was amazing. And it all ended as quickly as it began. I don’t know what sparked my post-partum baby blues faster: the fact that my productivity levels would abruptly stop or the crashing hormones. In truth? Probably knowing that my house would, once again, be on permanent upheaval.

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I’m going to be real with you guys right now: I’m not a Mary Poppins, spoonful-of-sugar kind of mom. Nope. I’m definitely a weird mixture of Roseanne and Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond (minus the awful in-laws. I legitimately love my in-laws). My kids can attest to the fact that I put the “bear” in “momma bear”. With that said, three years in and I’m still not adjusted to this SAHM lifestyle. It’s just not something my personality type knows how to handle. And you know what? I’ve come to realize that’s okay.

Anyway, I’ve said all that to get to this: I’m very much looking for a job. Any job. I don’t care if it’s Hobby Lobby’s day-shift, I’ve got to have some Sarah-time, adult interaction before I blow a fuse. Unfortunately, my search has turned up a whole lot of nothing. I had an interview a few weeks ago for a school secretarial position, but the job was given to someone else with prior experience in that particular “field”, which — I get it. Really, I do. Total bummer and hit on the ego, but I understand why the decision had been made.

But that got me to thinking about maybe fixing up my resume, which got me to thinking, “What if moms put in resumes? What might that look like?”

This inquiry resulted in a surprisingly difficult-to-answer response. What makes moms tick? What makes us special? What makes us the so-called “glue” of the family? I don’t know about y’all, but I have a super hard time coming up with adjectives for myself — even those that are somewhat obvious. I also have a hard time giving myself credit where it is due. I’m the poster-child for being one’s worst critic. What I came up with was slightly humorous (not guffaw-worthy, obviously) and a little cliche. Okay, a lot cliche. But this little accidental exercise also helped me realize and remember some of my pre-mom self-worth. I was definitely given pause towards the end of my quick-ish presentation.

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Long story short: it’s hard being any kind of mom. At least, it’s hard if the mom in question is actually doing the “momming”. For me, personally, it’s hard because most of my mom friends work, live out of town, or have conflicting schedules. Sure, I have a tribe — but it’s a busy one. I can’t expect them to slow down to keep up with my pace. It’s also because my husband is gone Monday through Friday practically every week; the boys take that so hard and I really believe a lot of our week-to-week issues are because they just miss their dad. It’s because I went from being an independent, 3-job-working, college student to being a full-fledged mom. Obviously, this wasn’t an overnight occurrence, but y’all know how time flies. Gabe will be nine in August, and Connor five. I still vividly remember the days they were born. To further frost that cake, Mason will have his first birthday in December. My caboose baby is definitely not tee-tiny anymore and that hurts. It’s because I have literally craved peer-interaction since I was a toddler; it’s a weakness, I know — but that’s just part of my personality. Finally, I need to feel productive and worthwhile. I need to feel like I’m contributing to the cause and like I’m not just a glorified butt-wiper and toilet cleaner.

Is being a momma important? Absolutely. I love my boys; they are my heart. I’ve long-fought this, shall we say “demon”, of mine for a long time. Being a mom is part of who I am, now. And I love that. But this feeling that maybe I can find part of my old self in the chaotic toy-bin that is my head these days? That gives me some hope.

What would your mom resume look like?

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The Magical Jacket from Land’s End

I bought Gabe a jacket from Land’s End a few years ago.  It fit him well and I loved the look of it.  He loved that it was comfortable (score for my sensory processing kid!).  They didn’t have any in Con’s size, but I found a similar one for him elsewhere and we were set for colder weather.   The jacket was uh-may-zing.  The outer layer repelled stains and the inner layer was soft and warm.  It lasted the season well, so I put it up for Connor to wear later down the road — or so I thought.

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Fast-forward to the next fall:  I’d just left my job, so things were tight while we re-budgeted our lifestyle.  It hit me then that the kids would need new outerwear for the upcoming winter.  To quell my curiosity, I pulled both jackets out of storage before hitting the pavement in search of new Louisiana winter gear.  I tried Connor’s first — no dice.  “If Con’s doesn’t fit, there’s no way Gabe’s will.”  But I like pushing my luck, so I gave it a go.  Thank God I did — it fit!  I couldn’t believe my luck, but I chalked it up to a fluke.  The jacket continued to impress, showing hardly any wear whatsoever.  Back in storage it went, this time I was sure for Connor.

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Things weren’t as tight the following year but, being the frugal momma that I am, I pulled the coats out, anyway.  Once again, Connor would need a new jacket — but what about Gabe??  It would be waaaay too good to be true.  Nevertheless, I tried it.  Y’all, my poor kid was all but crossing his fingers that he’d need new digs.  I was crossing mine that he wouldn’t.  EUREKA!  I felt like a winning contestant on The Price is Right.  The damned thing FIT.  I couldn’t believe it.  Poor Gabe couldn’t either but, regardless, we were set for another season with what I dubbed as, “The Magical, Hunter Green Land’s End Miracle Jacket”.

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How my kids feel when hand-me-downs fit.

By the end of the final cold snap, the jacket finally showed signs of becoming too small.  My boy would no longer be forced to don the same coat for a fourth year.  But even still, the M.H.G.L.E.M.J still looked great.  It withstood playgrounds, pizza joints, field trips, and little brother sticky hands.  So back into the closet it went — waiting on the next time it’ll get to serve its purpose.  Am I intrigued?  Y’all know I am.

Any of you guys experience the gloriousness of seemingly magical kids’ clothing?  Drop your frugal but awesome finds below.  I’d love to hear from you!