Moving is tough. We’ve done it about 13 times in 17 years, not including the year we spent living as nomads.

Five of those moves were of the cross-country variety. All of them were of the do-it-yourself variety.

As much as I love to try out a new place (I’m kind of a change junkie that way), the actual moving part never gets easier. Every time, I feel like I’m going through labor again. We just bought a house for the first time in six years, and though we moved less than a mile, I’m still feeling it.

In fact, I’ve realized there are a lot of similarities between moving to a new house and having a baby:

1. You know you have a lot of work ahead of you, but you look forward to it with intense anticipation, picturing all the good memories you’re about to build.

2. You get to pick out new things. Nesting!

3. People bring you food and offer to help.

4. As it gets closer, you start to feel nervous, and a little overwhelmed. So much to do, so little time.

5. No matter how much you prepare, things always go differently than you plan. Labor stalls. An appliance at the new house inexplicably stops working. You believe the nurse on the phone when she tells you you don’t need to come in until you can’t talk through your contractions, so you go through transition in the car and barely make it to the birth center in time to push. You find out that the large armoire the previous owners left in the bedroom was hiding a big hole in the wall that’s probably full of asbestos. There’s always something.

6. As you get into the thick of it, you feel completely disoriented, you don’t know how much time is passing, and you feel slightly out-of-body.

7. As it starts to become more painful, you say to yourself, “Wow, I knew this would be work, but HOLY COW.”

8. Then it gets worse. “WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I MUST HAVE BEEN INSANE TO HAVE EVER WANTED THIS. NEVER. AGAIN.”

9. The first night after the move/birth, everything feels so different it’s hard to sleep.

10. You’re sore in places you never knew you could be sore.

11. You’re busy all day, but you can’t figure out what you’ve done. And you somehow can’t manage to squeeze in a shower.

12. Good golly, how can there be this much laundry?

13. After a few weeks, things start to level out, and you start to feel somewhat normal, but in a whole new place, with a whole new perspective.

In case you’re curious, I’m at #11 right now. Love our cute old house. Will love it more once we’re unpacked (and once we fix that big hole in our bedroom wall—true story).

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

…or five rules on how to not gross everyone out.

Potlucks are a very popular way for church and school groups or large offices to throw a celebration with lots of food. It keeps costs down and you get a huge variety of food for relatively little work on the hosts’ part. People are typically split down the middle when it comes to their fondness of them: you either love them or hate them.

I’ll agree. You have to keep your mind pretty sheltered and not think too much about the fact that you have NO idea what the condition of someone’s kitchen is. If I walk into a restaurant and their sanitation grade is below a 92, I turn and walk out – no questions asked. Truth of the matter is, most people’s home kitchens would get shut down if the health department showed up. But really, don’t let that stop you from enjoying that macaroni and cheese.

We were at a banquet recently, and as I stood in the insanely long line, I had a lot of time to watch everything that was happening around me. And as I watched, I realized that there are a lot of people who either have never been to a potluck. There’s something about the 7 different types of macaroni and cheese or baked spaghetti make them lose all common sense of basic etiquettes.

But before you get your crock pot in a wad, this is NOT directed at anyone who plans these things. Until you’ve tried to plan ANYTHING for more than 50 people with multiple moving parts, you’ll have no idea how real the struggle is to get people to respond to your emails, requests, emails, threats, and sobbing ugly-cry emails. It’s no joke and it’s no walk in the park.

This post is for all those people – the planners.

Here’s how you can be a good potluck dinner guest:

Rule #1: Just because there’s a lot of food doesn’t mean it should all go on your plate.

I mean come on… do you really need to put a whole fried chicken on your plate at one time? And then plop 4 pieces of pizza on top of it? This is not Golden Corral. There is not a host of cooks in the back whipping up more food. See that line behind you? Those people want to eat, too.

Rule #2: Just like a traffic jam, you can only go as fast as the person in front of you.

Chronic offenders of this are the elders and the youngins. I think the elders are pushing because they were supposed to eat 2 hours ago and the youngins do it because let’s face it… what kid can resist the pull of 20 different desserts and jello salad?

Rule #3: Don’t use your fingers. For anything. EVER.

Nothing makes me want to drop my plate and run for the nearest exit like seeing someones fingers get even remotely close to community food. Just. Ew. If you hit a dish that has no serving spoon, use your fork – but this is only good once. And do I even need to mention double-dipping??

Rule #4: If you drop it, pick it up, and put it away.

I witnessed at least 2 people drop serving utensils on the ground that night. I get it.. stuff gets slippery and it drops. But for the love of God and all that is holy – do NOT even THINK about picking it up and putting it back in the dish.

Rule #5: Clean up after yourself.

You came, you brought your dish, you ate, now pick up your styrofoam plate and throw it away. Remember, this is a volunteer thing and the people who will end up cleaning up after you  probably had to organize the whole thing and they are tired. So. Very. Tired.

I’m sure I’m missing some other “no-no’s”. What would you add?

This post was originally featured on Kristen Daukas’s blog, Four Hens and a Rooster. Featured image via.

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1.) Whether you breastfeed your six-year-old

2.) Or never breastfed at all because formula just seems less gross than attaching a miniature person to your boob.

3.) What your baby’s hair looks like (looking at you Beyonce)

4.) Whether you circumcised your son

5.) How clean your kids are

6.) How clean your house is

7.) How stained your clothes are

8.) Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or work outside the home

READ MORE: Can We Stop Mom Judging?

9.) What kind of birth you had. The fact is you no longer have a human inside of you so kudos to you.

10.) How much unmicrowaved deli meat you ate while pregnant

11.) How much television you let your kid watch (or computers or video games)

12.) Whether you share a bed with your kids or they have their own rooms. Or their own houses.

13.) Your stance on childhood vaccination

14.) Whether your kid is a brat or hyper or not a good listener. I get it. There’s only so much you can do. They are their own annoying little people.

15.) How much junk food you give your kid

READ MORE: Are You Mom Enough?

16.) Whether you spend your whole trip to the park on your cell phone

17.) If you sometimes give your kids ice cream for breakfast. I mean, it does have dairy in it so it’s kind of healthy right?

Things I WILL Judge Another Mother On:

1.) Whether you’re skinnier and/or prettier than me. I don’t care how hard you worked to look like that. That shit is just unacceptable.

This post was originally featured on Eve’s blog, That’s My Apple

I had just settled myself into our empty nest when our youngest son, Dylan, decided to ditch dorm living and move back home. It had been a rough entry to University for him — with pain and back surgery overshadowing his first year of freedom — so while I knew that his return would ruffle some of our routines, I was secretly breathing a sigh of relief to have my youngest child near me again. The kid had barely unpacked his suitcase and I was back into full-time mom mode.

“Did you brush your teeth?”

“Have you eaten anything today?”

“Did you study?”

“What time did you go to sleep? You need more sleep.”

“When are you going to get a haircut?”

“Didn’t you wear that yesterday?”

“Where ya going?”

“Who’s going to be there?”

“Drive safe.”

“Drive safe.”

“Drive safe.”

And so on.

Dylan humors me, most of the time. Thankfully he’s well past the eye-rolling stage of teenage-hood, and a tad more understanding of my necessary mothering (I think?). He knows I can’t help myself. He knows I’m just looking out for him. And I’m sure he knows that one day he will be free from my constant reminders to brush his teeth or pick up his clothes.

What he doesn’t know–what none of my children could possibly know — is that it’s not the act of letting go that I struggle with, it’s the being let go of that does me in. And the letting go usually starts with the “I got this.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” “I got this, Mom.”

“Do you want me to go shopping for jeans with you?” “Mom, I got this.”

“Did you sign up for classes yet? You know…” “I got this.”

And they do. My children are making decisions about their future. They are managing adult relationships and negotiating car loans. They are decorating their homes, picking out furniture and learning new skills. And half of these children of mine are taking care of babies! They’ve clearly got this. Making this shift from first string mother, always in the game — to one that sits on the bench, suited up and waiting to be called — is not easy.

Sitting on the bench, I don’t have any input into what’s going on in the game. The plays are made without my approval. As skilled as I am in my position, the kids have drafted other (life) players on their team now and so I wait. Don’t want contribute to “too many men on the field” or have a penalty flag thrown at me for encroachment, so I wait to be called. Ok, yes, I’m a football fan, and the more I think about it, the more similarities I see between the game of football and motherhood. Our careers typically last less than 20 years. And even when we’re good for a few more years, we’re tired. As many times as we fall down, we know we have to get up and keep playing. We have to stay conditioned, both physically and mentally, because we never know where the next “hit” is coming from. And as hard as we try, we don’t always win.

There are disappointments. And there are celebrations. And, we hope, lots of touchdowns and happy dances in the end zone. And just when we think we’ve figured out “our” game, one of the plays change and we are forced to adjust. Accepting the fact that my youngest child has benched me is getting easier. It helps to have him close, where I can watch from the sidelines. From the bench, I’ve learned that he will give his last $20 to a homeless man. That he takes his new role as uncle to his two adorable nieces so seriously. I’ve learned that family is the most important thing to him. And I’ve learned that he wants to learn sign language and loves algebra (what!?).

During these past few months, I’ve learned that he’s got this. And I couldn’t be prouder.

This post was originally featured on Gwen Morrison’s blog, eat drink ‘n play. Featured image via.

Are you prepared to go on the most wild ride of your life, as told by one couple’s Twitter accounts?

Marco Rogers and Aniyia Williams of San Francisco recently had quite the interesting experience with the birth of their daughter – Marco delivered her himself! In their home! With no medical staff on site. 

We’ll let their tweets do the talking:

We are waiting with bated breath.

And now our nerves are kicking in. 

Of course.

Aniyia, we praise you. 

Oooooookay….

THERE IS AN APP FOR WHEN YOU’RE GIVING BIRTH? 2016, baby!

Keeping it in mind, yes.

What an amazing team. A strong, badass woman and her helpful husband? YEP. Love it.

Oh god! 

ANIYIA, you are amazing. Never forget that. WARRIOR.

Out of all the words in the English language, we’re very glad they picked “banana.” Hell. Yes. 

Oh lord! 

Did we mention Aniyia runs her own damn company?!

We can’t even imagine. Oh wait, yes we can, SEEING AS WE KNOW HOW HORRIBLE CHILDBIRTH IS. Can’t even imagine it without the care and comfort of a hospital, quite honestly.

YES! Go to the hospital, go, go, go!

KAISER you need to calm down right now, what are you even doing?!

Okay, this might help…

WE ARE STRAPPED IN, MARCO. WE ARE READY.

Now for the flip side of things – let’s check on Aniyia.

Girl, you do what you gotta do. 

Now back to Marco – 

AHHH, IT’S ALL HAPPENING.

Are we in the movie Twister right now? We’re sweating. Are you guys sweating? Seriously, this is some serious stuff. 

Oh god, we know that. 

MARCO YOU ARE A DAMN GOOD MAN.

Back to the brave queen herself – 

F*CK THE BRA, F*CK THE WIG. Can this please be made into a motivational poster?!

LAY DOWN AND REST? Who can rest at a time like this?!

OHSHITOHSHITOHSHIT IS RIGHT.

Except this is real life. And it’s somehow more intense than a movie!

Back to Aniyia – 

BACK TO MARCO – (THIS IS MORE INTENSE THEN ANYTHING WE’VE EVER EXPERIENCED)

We seriously can’t deal.

FORGET THE DAMN CAR, MARCO!

“I don’t have time to read shit.” Maybe our favorite quote from this whole thing?!

We’re starting to cry.

Our hearts are literally stopped.

No. Words.

Holy. Moly. Anyone else feel like they burned a thousand calories up until this point?!

Noted. 

Oh no! Oh god.

We can’t breathe, we can’t move. 

TEARS, EVERYWHERE, DOWN OUR FACE, ALL OVER.

We’re weeping. 

LOL HEY EMT’S  WE GOT THIS.

*Claps* *Lifts hands in praise*

Look at HER!

So beautiful. So perfect. Marco & Aniyia – you are our heroes. 

Featured image via. 

It was one of those every day moments. At least it seemed like it until a fellow mom, a complete stranger, stopped me in my tracks and talked some sense into me. We were at the American Girl store celebrating my little girl’s birthday. I was squatting down to take her picture so we could commemorate all the girly goodness of the afternoon. All of a sudden there was this random mom with a stroller and two kids standing next to me.

“Oh, why don’t you let me take a picture of both of you so you can remember this day,” she said sweetly.

Out of habit I awkwardly refused. “Oh, um, no, that’s okay. Thanks though.” What I really wanted to say was, “Ugh. Not today. I’m feeling fat and I’m not happy with this hair cut and I know I’ll look enormous standing next to my skinny little daughter. And do you see these black circles under my eyes? They’ll give away how tired and old I’m feeling. I don’t really want my child to look back on this picture some day and see her mom looking so… flawed.”

But this stranger wouldn’t accept my answer. She was actually insisting that I get in the picture with my daughter. I was starting to feel uncomfortable. We went politely back and forth for a few rounds and she was adamant that I take a picture with my daughter. For a moment I thought she was bordering on pushy.

“No, seriously. Just go stand next to her. Just do it,” she said insistently, but still smiling.

Ugh. Fine. Not wanting to make things feel any more uncomfortable I sighed and walked over to pose with my daughter, feeling both annoyed and maybe a little glad that she actually talked me into it.

“Smile. You look great!” she said cheerfully.

Oh my gosh, is she really this sweet? How did she know how I was feeling? Okay, this is clearly a mom who just “gets it.”

She handed me back my phone and said “There you go. I took a bunch so you can pick your favorite.” She was already starting to push her stroller away.
Felicity Huffman's What the Flicka-American Girl

“Thank you so much,” I called to her. She stopped, walked back over to me and gently touched my arm and smiled so incredibly kindly. “I had cancer…So I know how important it is to be in pictures. You’ll be glad you did it.”

Before I could even speak she was walking away with her two young kids in tow. Everything just stopped for second as I let the significance of what she had just told me sink in. Then I realized I was just standing there with my hand over my heart and a lump in my throat.

It wasn’t a coincidence, it wasn’t just one of those things. It was exactly what I needed to hear. And I got it. I got the message. Thank you, fellow mom for reminding me how lucky I am. I hope you know you made a difference. Whenever I look at this photo I will resist the urge to immediately find the 38 things I don’t like about the way I look. I will think about you. And how you didn’t just capture the day we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. You captured the moment you changed my perspective and my priorities. Life is good.

This post was originally featured on Marie Bollman’s blog, Make Your Own Damn Dinner. Featured image via.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: 

“It was one of those every day moments. At least it seemed like it until a fellow mom, a complete stranger, stopped me…

Posted by What The Flicka? on Thursday, January 7, 2016