Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday to My Son


My son turns 5 years old today. This is a big one, folks. He is my first-born. He is the one who I first carried in my body for over 9 months, and the first one who called me Mama. He is the first one who I got to hold and feed. He is the first one who taught me how hard and how wonderful being a mother could be.

It seems like everyone automatically says, "it all went by so fast" about their children's birthdays and childhood. Perhaps I will feel that way someday-- maybe when he starts school, or graduates high school, or leaves the nest-- I'm not sure. But I always try to be honest with you on the blog, and here's the thing: it certainly has not "gone by so fast" for me.


(My son for Halloween 2014 when he was 4: one of the singer's from his fave band, Florida Georgia Line!)


Every single day for the last FIVE years, I have cared for my son. We have experienced every emotion together, often all in the same day. Or even in the same hour. Happiness, frustration, fun, anger, silliness, exhaustion. I've felt it all. We've felt it all.

The days start early with young children, and they can feel endless. (Really, you can not truly understand how long the hour of 4-5 p.m. is until you have children.)

I have experienced many of the hardest moments of my life since becoming a mother. I don't think this is unusual, depending on whom you ask and how honest they are. You care so infinitely much about the wellbeing of your children that everything can take on monumental importance. Even little things can begin to affect you and tax your emotional health.

However, hands down, the best parts of my life have also occurred within the last 5 years. Many happy memories that were worth the struggles.

So here's to many more long days...that is, if they can continue to lead to the joy only a parent can understand.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Have a Laugh

Every once in a while, I stumble upon a comedy sketch I simply have to share with you.

This one is part of a stand-up sketch by comedian Jim Gaffigan where he dishes up some McDonald's humor.

*[Side note: What's that? You've vowed to never go to the evil that is McDonald's ever? He has a little something for you too ;)].

So turn on an old episode of Little Einstein's for your kids, sit down, grab a snack, and laugh along with me during this 9 minute clip.

Jim Gaffigan Clip on YouTube.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YDTfEhChgw&feature=youtu.be)




My favorite lines: the "bonus fry," how you feel 5 minutes after eating it, and if you're there after age 10, "you've given up a little bit."

Enjoy!

Who are some of your favorite comedians? Where do you go/what do you watch when you need a good laugh?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

All These Good Things

My spunky 2.5 year-old daughter looked at what she had placed on the red stool in front of her: a half-eaten apple, a full container of Gerber's Lil' Crunchies 'Garden Veggie-flavored' snacks [don't even get me started], and her beloved blanky, a.k.a. "Wobby."

"Look at all these good things I have!" she sang out, grinning from ear to ear.

What innocence! What insouciance! To exclaim out of pure joy that you've got your apple, your munchies, and your blanket, and that, yep, life is pretty good.
As we grow up, and life becomes more complicated, we lose some-- much?-- of that ability to enjoy, recognize, and express gratitude for life's simplest comforts, don't we? I love my favorite cozy throw blanket, but I don't know if I've ever called out with pure joy, "my favorite blanket, hooray!"  I also enjoy a crisp apple as much as the next guy, but I don't recall singing its praises anytime recently. I think I'll start.

I just read a children's book [for the 20th time at my daughter's demand request] called Gift of an Angel that mentions how having children lets adults appreciate the wonder of life all over again because we start seeing the world through the fresh new eyes of our kids.

That's a wonderful thought. Motherhood is much trickier than I thought it would be (unbelievably so, in fact), but it is uplifting to think of all of the positive changes-- such as this-- that have enriched my world since adding my 2 Tazmanian devils to the mix.

What have your children helped you appreciate all over again as an adult?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to my mom and the many moms who take time to stop by Frantic Mama.

I owe my mom an infinite round of thanks for the wisdom she imparted to me over the years, especially because I didn't appreciate much of it until I had children of my own.



(Mother and Child image from Morguefile.com)


Here are a few nuggets of her advice/wisdom that I wish I had appreciated when she first offered them:

A little t.v. time never hurt anyone.  Why did I so stubbornly resist this notion when my mom urged me to give myself a break and turn on a Baby Einstein video for my son when he was little? I could have, oh, I don't know, showered or made a sandwich or called a friend.  You know, things you need to do to survive.


A little formula never hurt anyone either.  Ah yes, but breast is best! Breast is BEST! Even if your baby wants to nurse every 1.5 hours for weeks on end and you feel like you can never leave the house because of it. It's worth it, right? Right?! No, it can't be, at least not for me, I now realize. When I finally pushed aside the immense guilt and incorporated formula to help feed my endlessly hungry babies, it was a huge relief and yielded happier babies [and a happier mama].


Let's go way back: curfew. In high school, my curfew was earlier than all of my friends, and I thought it sort of sucked. Looking back, what on earth good could a 17 year old be up to after 11:30 on a Saturday night? Nothing, that's what. Clearly she knew that. Now I'm glad I was in bed by then.


Last but not least, there's nothing attractive about a drunk girl-- her classic advice, featured in the recently released anthology, Only Trollops Shave Above the KneeThe Crazy, Brilliant, and Unforgettable Lessons We've Learned from Our Mothers. It's a priceless gem that surely saved my sister and me many an embarrassing moment.

Thank you to my mom and all the other moms out there who offer unsolicited advice... maybe, just maybe, we occasionally listen!

*Can't get enough of my mother's (sometimes unconventional) wisdom? Here's another post I wrote featuring some of her witticisms and thoughts on life. It's called The World According to Ceci.

What has your mom taught you? 

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Pssst!  Only Trollops is full of fantastic essays written by some very talented and witty writers. I would urge you to check it out even if I weren't in it!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sometimes Quitting IS the Answer

I'm not a quitter. At least, I don't want to be a quitter. Who does? I try to stick with pursuits even when they are tough. Though, if I'm honest, when looking back on my earlier years, there were fixations/interests/hobbies I thought I would stick with forever but that eventually waned-- sewing, cross country, baking, tennis.

There are other interests that may go on the back burner for years at a time, but that I always come back to (writing being one of them).

As a mother of two young children, now there's the added twist of kid's hobbies. I love that my kids are finally old enough that we can try out classes together-- music, Spanish, soccer-- whatever seems interesting and fits into our schedule (without bankrupting us).  I don't love the baby period much, and I think that is because I retreat into my hermitish nature too much when they are little. Learning new things and pursuing old favorites, however, is high on my happiness list.

One of the first classes my daughter was old enough to try last fall was a Parent/Child dance class, for just half an hour, once a week. I jumped at it. It started well enough. I enjoy music and dancing and so does she.


(Image from Morguefile.com; not my daughter)


But over the last couple of months, my usually joyful, fearless little daughter was no longer participating. At all. Many times, she started crying, running out of the room, slamming the door behind her, and just basically acting out. Other times, she would treat us to a full-on tantrum. This behavior certainly stripped away any joy I could experience from the endeavor. Plus, truth be told, who wants to be the parent of the crazy, tantrumy kid every. single. week?

I had hoped to make it to June with her. To stick it out for the full school-year. I kept telling myself it was just a phase or that she was having a bad day. Still, weeks later, things were only getting worse.

I made a decision: we're quitting.

I reasoned: It is no longer fun for us. She's getting nothing out of it. We are disrupting the other families who are participating. No more dreading the spring "show."

You know what? The world kept turning. I don't get tense on Tuesday mornings at 9:45 anymore. My daughter might have a little more screen time now during that time, but she also has a mom who isn't frustrated at a class she clearly wasn't enjoying.

I only wish I had quit when the going got tough with my highly sensitive son back when I attempted the classic "parent and child music class" when he was very young. It was way too much stimulation for him, and yet I tried to get us there every week thinking it was something we "should" do.

To quit or not to quit? This time, I quit, and I'm glad. I'm relieved and I think my daughter is too! If only I had followed my gut with her older sibling when he showed all the signs of detesting music class as a toddler; Mom Guilt made me stick with that miserable class to the exhausting, bitter end. Of course I want to find extracurriculars that she loves and that I appreciate, but for now, we are taking a breather!

Have you had any unsuccessful classes or experiences in an attempt to "enrich" your child's life?  What did you do?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

P.S. Please consider supporting Frantic Mama and other bloggers by checking out our new anthology, Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee, available on Amazon, iTunes, and Nook!