There are a million books for new and expecting parents out there, but every mom I talk to has said that there are things she wishes someone had told her, before she had the baby.

I felt that way, too. So I’ve compiled a list of my top 8 things I blundered through the first time I had a child. These are also things I am having to remind myself that I have learned, now that I’m doing it all for the second time, so that I don’t think I’m being all high and mighty by sharing this shit. I’m just trying to pass anything that might qualify as “wisdom” along.

1. Whatever piece of hell you’re currently going through right now? It’s going to change.

Nothing lasts forever with babies. This means that those crazy nights of colic will come to an end. Or that sleep regression will disappear as strangely as it showed up. I know it doesn’t feel like it’ll end, right now. But it will. For real.

And you smug parents in the corner, with kids who started sleeping through the night at 3 weeks? It’ll change for you, too.

2. Breastfeeding can be fucking hard. Trust me, it ain’t all instinct.

And it’s not for the faint of heart. However, if you decide to feed your child, you are still a good mom. Unless you’re giving him caramel frappuccinos or something. Just sayin’.

3. At some point, you will find yourself touching your child’s poop with your bare hands.

That’s right. You will get shit under your fingernails, find yourself scooping a turd out of the bathwater at the speed of light, or something else that you would’ve found beyond disgusting in your pre-baby life. Don’t worry. If it hasn’t happened already, it will.

4. You will find yourself holding a handful of your child’s vomit.

Don’t believe me? When you’re over at your friends’ place and your kid gives you the 3-second warning like, “Mommy, I don’t feel so good”, you will automatically shove your hands in front of his mouth to prevent that puke from hitting your friends’ sofa. A better option than footing the cleaning bill, right?

5. You will inevitably compromise on one or another impossibly high standard you set for yourself as a parent, and then feel guilty about it for years.

Try to forgive yourself.

6. You are not alone and whatever you’re going through with your little one right now, you are more than likely not the first one to experience it.

In other words, Google that shit. If you need support, I bet you’ll find someone out there who will give you advice, or just commiserate.

7. It will all be over in the blink of an eye, so cherish every moment!

Just kidding. Some days will feel like they are fucking WEEKS long but they will come to an end. Most likely, there will be a glass of wine (or a pillow) waiting with your name on it after it’s over.

8. Your child will be an asshole, at some point or another.

And trust me, you will not be a bad parent for thinking this. You will still love your child, despite thinking this. She or he will still be an amazing, intelligent, fantastic human being, despite this stage. Why else do you think I called this blog “The Joy of Cooking (for little assholes)?”

Do you have anything you wish you had known, early on, as a parent?

~g

This article was originally published on Glynis’s blog, Little Assholes. Featured image via.

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When your tearful six-year-old bursts into your room in the morning sobbing that the Tooth Fairy didn’t come, you’re going to feel like crap, so it’s a good idea to avoid such situations at all costs.

1. Don’t Forget

Make yourself a reminder of some sort. This is especially important when the six-year-old puts her tooth under her pillow after school and then doesn’t mention it again at bedtime. Apparently, our children are not dependable reminders, so be sure to remind yourself. Post-It notes on the bathroom mirror work well.

(Don’t write on the Post-It, you’re sure to get caught. The presence of the note itself will be enough of a reminder).

2. Don’t Be Drunk

It’s hard to remember to be the Tooth Fairy. If you killed a bottle of chardonnay while watching two hours of Game of Thrones after your kid went to sleep, it’s impossible to remember to be the Tooth Fairy. Don’t Fairy while intoxicated. It won’t end well.

3. Don’t Set the Bar Too High

I once “heard” of a drunk Tooth Fairy who got very excited and decided to give her daughter a new paint set in addition to a dollar bill. Not only was it cumbersome slipping a set of paints under the pillow, but now my her kids expect toys and cold hard cash for every lost tooth.

4. Think Fast

If you screw up your Fairy duties by forgetting, tell your child you will go check out the situation yourself. Then “find” a quarter that your child overlooked. Also, be prepared to think fast if your child wakes and catches you in the act of Fairying. Be ready with lines like, “Are you okay? I thought you were having a nightmare so I came to check on you. Yes, I know, I am the best mom in the world.”

5. Don’t Keep the Bounty

Throw those teeth away. Don’t keep a gruesome collection in your bedside table, because your kid will find it and then the jig is up. Some parents won’t budge on this. Some people keep locks of their kids’ hair, too. If that’s the case, why stop there? Get a jar of fingernail clippings going to add to the collection. No, wait. Don’t. That’s gross. Also, throw away the teeth and hair.

6. Play Dumb

If your child starts asking questions about the logistics of the Tooth Fairy’s operations, don’t pretend to have all of the answers. Feign ignorance. Get a little defensive about it, too. “How would I know? I’m not the Tooth Fairy!” This tactic also works well for covering up your Santa Claus and Easter Bunny duties.

7. Keep a Stash

Have a hidden bank of whatever currency your Tooth Fairy deals in, be it quarters, dimes, stickers, or toys. Not having a stash is one way parents accidentally raise the bar. Don’t find yourself as the Tooth Fairy with nothing smaller than a twenty-dollar bill.

8. Be Stealthy

Don’t try and Fairy ten minutes after you’ve put your kid to bed. Make sure they are well into la-la land. Wear socks, know where the creaky floorboards are, and get your ninja on.

9. Buck Convention

Save yourself a lot of stress. Tell your kid that the Tooth Fairy has instituted new policies in an effort to limit the instances of lost teeth and quarters. Henceforth, the Tooth Fairy requests that all teeth be placed prominently on the kitchen counter. The Tooth Fairy will retrieve teeth from this location and replace them with the appropriate swag. If this won’t fly in your household, at least convince your child to put the tooth in a Ziploc before putting it under the pillow so that it’s easier to retrieve when you get your ninja on.

10. Tell the Truth

No one wants the fairy tale to end, but it’s your child’s job to grow and learn and figure things out. When they do so and the charade is up, don’t mourn the end of an era. Fess up, answer their questions, and appreciate that your youngster is entering a new and equally exciting stage of childhood.

Featured image via. 

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“Do I look beautiful mommy?” asked my five year old son in the middle of an aisle at Target. He held up a shirt against him and wanted to know if he looked good.

“You look so beautiful,” I responded, bending down and planting a kiss on the top of his soft head. He smiled back and put the shirt in our cart (I don’t really remember telling him he could get it but whatever). I heard people snicker around us as I told him he was beautiful. Only one other mother in the boys clothing section smiled sweetly at us. I paid no attention to the snickers and kept on shopping. My kids followed suit and the snickers and one rude comment (regarding my response) made no impact on our day.

At five years old, my middle son has the brightest, bluest eyes, a sweet little face (it fools the best of em’), and a cute little body (totally not weird when a mother says this). He really is a beautiful boy, as is my seven year old son who has dark grey eyes and a long, lean body. I didn’t always tell they them were beautiful. I would tell them they were funny, sweet, smart, strong, quick. I didn’t begin telling them they were beautiful until I had my daughter.

She was a petite baby, with the same bright eyes as my middle son. She really was a gorgeous baby girl. I didn’t think twice saying this to her, whispering it in her ear as I rocked her to sleep as an infant. When she began playing dress up with her little friends at one year old, I had no qualms telling her she was beautiful then too. It was during one of those dress up sessions that my middle son put something on and after hearing me tell his sister she was beautiful, innocently asked “am I beautiful too mommy?”

I didn’t hesitate one second as I responded, “Of course you are my little love.” You see, in our house we don’t have gender roles. Nor do I really teach my kids about them. I’m (hopefully) teaching all of my kids to speak for themselves, speak up when something is wrong, not to let anyone take advantage of them, never judge any person or situation, that they are strong, smart, and quick. All three of my kids, even though two are boys and one is a girl, are all being taught this.

Several friends of mine shared a post on Facebook with the line “I’m going to teach my daughter to be strong and not let any man tell her what to do. I’m going to teach her to be courageous and be leader.” I was instantly irritated. Teach your daughter(s) that, great, but what about teaching your son(s) the same thing? At three years old, my daughter is more out spoken and more courageous than either of her brothers. Yes, these are qualities that I will help nurture, but also I will instill them in my boys as well.

Teach boys how to be gentleman? Great, then teach girls to be ladylike. Teach boys how to “treat a girl right” (as many of my friends have claimed)? Then teach girls how to treat a boy. The street goes both ways in gender equality.

When I first met my husband we were 15 years old and working our first jobs together. From the beginning, our relationship was built on equality. We had a friendship and a partnership. We did the same job, learned the same things, and supported each other from the start. This partnership has carried into our marriage and how we parent our children. We both pay the bills, we both take care of the household chores, we both make important decisions together. It’s not one of us wears the pants and the other takes orders. I mow the lawn and my husband cleans the kitchen every night (he also scrubs the toilet better and has more patience painting our daughter’s nails than I do).

People want gender roles to disappear, for gender equality to take hold in all areas of life: jobs, pay, leadership, etc. What about never teaching our children gender roles in the first place? What about teaching our sons that they can play dress up, be beautiful, play football, and are the smartest? What about teaching our daughters that they can do the same things?

The next time you claim to want to teach your daughter something, be sure you teach your sons as well. Imagine a life without gender roles, with gender equality, with no “who’s better than who” mentality. Food for thought.

This article was originally featured on Ashlen’s blog, The Kid Sperts. Featured image via.

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When our first child was a baby, I had plans to never yell at my kids.

Not surprisingly, that parenting ideal jumped ship about the same time as “My kid’s are never going to watch TV.”

I do try to only yell when necessary. Over the years, I’ve learned some surefire ways to get my kids’ full attention without having to raise my voice at all.

In no particular order:

1) Try to pee in peace.

There’s a sensor on the toilet seat that triggers a dire curiosity/desperate hunger/urgent emergency alarm inside kids’ heads. If you want your kids’ full, rapt attention, head straight to the bathroom.

2) Take a shower. 

See previous post, “My Morning Shower (a True Story).”

3) Sit down to read a book.

A leisure novel is like a beacon to my children. It took me two months to read the first half of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” at home. I finished the second half on a two-hour flight by myself with time to spare. Go figure.

4) Try to sneak them some candy.

My kids can smell chocolate from three rooms away. They can also teleport to arrive at the exact moment I’m popping it into my mouth. Works every time.

5) Start a conversation with a friend.

Particularly effective if you want your kids glued to your side, sprawled across your lap, or using you as a jungle gym.

6) Make an important phone call.

They won’t be able to fight the urge to come to you. Mom’s on the phone? Goody! That means she secretly wants me to come tattle on my sibling or ask for a snack!

7) Drive in traffic.

You’ve never had so much attention. “MAMA.” “MAMA?” “MAMA.” “MAMA!

8) Try to get some work done.

Absolutely. The more important or deadline-driven, the better.

9) Climb into bed.

That sensor on the toilet? There’s also one on your pillow.

10) Head toward funky-town with your spouse.

If simply climbing into bed doesn’t work, just start getting busy with your partner. You’ll have kids standing at attention at the foot of your bed in no time.

You really never have to yell to get your kids’ attention. Just try to get some alone time, do something important, or relax for a few minutes, and you’ll have them right where you want them.

This article was originally published on Annie Reneau’s blog, Motherhood and More. Featured article via.

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Today, Ashlen and I are discussing our differing opinions on sharing our kids’ names and faces on our blog, social media, etc.

Like so many parenting topics, there is a lot of passion and emotions involved in the topic of online exposure. There are a few big issues that are important to me. Other than the “biggies”, i’m more of a “you do you” kinda person. For example, all of our leftover food containers are glass because I worry about microwaving plastics. But if you’re all about rubbermaid or tupperware, that’s fine! You make the decisions that are best for you and your family and I make the best for me and mine. While Ashlen and I may not fully agree on this (or other) topics, we agree 100% that the we are both making the best choice for their family.

Lauren’s View:

In my previous posts about my insanely awesome bonus-daughter, I haven’t shared her name or face. Don’t get me wrong, she has a super cute face! But I’ve chosen not to identify her on the blog by blurring, obscuring, and/or cropping out her face from the photos I’ve shared. Sure, it wouldn’t quite take CSI-level sleuthing to figure out her identity, but our blog’s Terms of Use hopefully discourages people from sharing our photos to other platforms. I’d like to take this time to share why I’m not sharing her identity on the blog:

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Parenting Choices- How Much Do You Share Online

  • She’s sixteen. Remember when you were sixteen? Not exactly the easiest of the teenage years. I’m just grateful social media wasn’t around when I was in high school!  Her peers could easily find the blog, read posts about our personal trips, etc.  How awkward could it be if her classmates or teachers tried to chat up about the specific snacks we had on our road trip last spring break?
  • Hopefully she’ll have a summer job this year, and as you may know, many employers analyze your social media profiles before they decide to hire you. Her social media presence should probably reflect her, not her wicked stepmother.
  • Stranger Danger. One of my secret talents is to worry about EVERYTHING. As in, setting our home alarm with panic button, iPhone’s Find My Friend’s activated, etc.  If sharing her identity welcomed any unwanted attention from some crazy person, it would be really hard to remove her presence online. Ya know?
  • I’m not her mom, but I love this kid like crazy. I have known her since she was six, but if her mom wants to blog using her identity all day and night, that’s between she and her parents.

Would my opinion change if I had a child of my own? Hard to say. I LOVE seeing photos of Ashlen’s crew adventures but totally respect a close friend who has zero photos of their son online. Would I use a nickname? Choose not to show their face? or maybe show their face for the first few years until grade school? I can’t seem to put myself in that mindset.  IF that were to happen, I think my husband and I would figure out an approach that works for us. In the meantime, I stand by my decision for what to share and not share for my bonus daughter, and respect the opinions of anyone who feels otherwise.

Ashlen’s View:

As everyone knows, I show my children’s faces on the blog as well as other social media platforms. I share their stories and different narratives about my parenting choices. Alternatively, I don’t share absolutely everything about my kids. Stories that may be embarrassing, the names of their schools, and any daycare child’s faces (unless approved by their parent(s)) while taking a shot of is a no-no. I have a few reasons for my “being an open book” status:

  • This blog is a joint venture. Not just between Lauren and I, but also our families. My kids take part in the activities, photo shoots, and brainstorming story ideas. I ask for THEIR permission before I tell a certain story or share any picture. If they aren’t okay with it, I wouldn’t think twice about not posting something. My kids and I talk a lot about all types of things. I’m not sure how much they understand at seven, five, and three, but they understand enough to tell me what a blog is and what we’re doing for the blog.
  • I view the blog as not only an opportunity for me, but for them as well. As they get older, I fully intend to let them write blog posts and whatever else they’d like to take part in. My kids are creative and I think it’s pretty cool that we can create outlets of creativity for them. We’ve written a book together and they’ve given me blog post ideas, advice on pictures, and other things for the blog. I mean, how many kids can search for themselves on Amazon and be listed as authors?
  • Am I worried about stranger danger? Yes of course! Luckily, I think we’ve got some pretty fantastic readers who have yet (and hopefully don’t) make things feel creepilicious. Also, I’ve got Lauren to look over my posts to make sure we don’t divulge too much personal info such as where the kids attend school or our home address (yes, I nearly accidentally gave this away in a post! Oops!), etc.
  • Will my opinion change as my kids get older? Possibly. I already feel some of the things that happen in my home may not be “blog-worthy” or appropriate. Not because it’s inappropriate, but because I highly doubt it’s something my children are going to want to see on the internet when they’re sixteen. I try to keep that in mind.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka-Parenting Choices- How Much Do You Share Online- 2

If there ever comes a time when my kids ask me to stop telling their personal stories (and there’s been a few so far) or taking their pictures, I will stop everything, have a discussion with them, and respect their wishes. My mindset at the moment is ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.’ For now, we’re thoroughly enjoying all of the adventures the blog has to offer, the various opportunities, and the support we get from our audience.

This post was originally posted on Lauren Parker-Gill’s blog, “The Kidsperts.” Featured image via.

Shortly after meeting my husband, he introduced me to A Song of Ice and Fire, knowing how much I loved great fantasy novels. I devoured every book in the series that had been written up until then, and spent years wondering when George R. R. Martin would have the next one finished.

Then the announcement came that HBO was making it into a series. We were so excited, but so very nervous to see whether it would live up to the high bar the books had set. The series premiered the spring I was pregnant with my first child, and excitement turned into glee, as each episode exceeded our expectations.

Now, five seasons and 2 children later, I have begun to draw parallels between Game of Thrones and being a parent. I’m not sure whether Mr. Martin intended for these similarities to be so apparent, but to me, they’re clear as day.

1. Sex is necessary to advance the plot.

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-GOT

Tell me you don’t miss this dude. TELL ME.

Hell, they invented a term for what GoT does: sexposition. The story moves forward via conversation during a sex scene, in the series. Your story moves forward because of the actual sex. If you don’t know what that means, Google “birds and bees.”

2. Every time you think you know what’s going on, the rules change.

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-GoT

But this is his wedd…oh, shit.

All those stages your baby goes through give you just enough time to catch your breath, figure things out, and then start scrambling again, as things change for the umpteenth time. Sounds exactly like every season of GoT.

3. “The night is dark and full of terrors.”

Felicity Huffman's what the flicka-GoT
For the night is dark, so get a night light for your kid, already.

In the beginning, this refers to all those midnight feedings and diaper changes. As your kids grow, though, it begins to refer to the act of actually getting them to bed. “I need to pee again.” “Can I have a bedtime snack?” “I had a bad dream!” “There’s something in the closet that I’m afraid of…” Wanna know what you should be afraid of, kid? The look on my face when you wake me up in the middle of the night for the sixth time!

4. The “dragons” get bigger every year.

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Dragons

They’re always so cute when they’re little, aren’t they?

They start out so tiny and cute, and you think to yourself, these things are the best EVER! Everyone should have one. But they are as unpredictable in real life as they are on the show. Plus, the possibility of them becoming assholes grows exponentially, as they themselves grow.

5. “A very small man can cast a very large shadow.”

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-Small Dude

Sorry dude. My son is WAY cuter.

I know this refers to Tyrion in the show, but I’m pretty sure it’s also rather prophetic of the role our one year old son has in our family. That boy owns us.

6. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-GoT

I don’t think there’s ever been a television quote that captures parenthood more accurately than this one does.

7. The ladies know what they want.

This is who I hope I raise.
This is who I hope I raise.

Maybe your daughter is like Arya, strong, determined and takes no shit. Or maybe she’s like Margaery, sweet, determined, manipulative and takes no shit. Or maybe she’s more like Cersei, a total asshole who also takes no shit. Note the theme here?

8. You have theories on how the story will go, but you’re really just guessing at this point.

Not saying I agree with this theory, it was just the only one I could find on giphy.
What happens, as time goes on, is up to one person and one person only: George R.R. Martin. Or your child, depending on what we’re referring to. At a certain point, you’re just going to have to trust that what they’re doing is the right thing.

9. “Valar dohaeris.”

Valar dohaeris
Indentured servitude? Why yes, sweetheart.

Translated from high Valyrian, it means “All men must serve.” HAHAHAHAHA. Yes, that just about sums up parenthood, doesn’t it? All parents must serve…their child’s every whim. Anyone who has had a toddler or a threenager knows that it doesn’t get any more accurate than this.

This post was originally featured on Glynis’ blog. Featured image via. GIFs via. 

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