Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Frantic Mama on Pinterest

I created a Frantic Mama profile on Pinterest a while ago, and I'm just now trying to figure out how to use it in a way that makes sense for me as a writer and as a mother.  I'm definitely not making rainbow-hued spaghetti anytime soon, nor am I planning on making playdough from scratch (they sell play-doh for a reason, right?).



But Pinterest is a cool way to share and read other people's blogs and make new connections.  Meredith @ Perfection Pending has started a board Blogs you Should be Reading that I (and other writers) share posts on regularly.  Be sure to check it out if you have a chance.  

I've also figured out how to add "pin it" buttons when you hover over an image on my blog.  To do so, I had to add HTML code to my template!  Yes, seriously!  I'm surprised at how much tech stuff I've learned by working on this blog.

So I'd love to hear from you:  What are your favorite things about Pinterest?  How often do you use it?  Do you find it inspiring or guilt-inducing?  
(And if you tell me your Pinterest page, I'll be sure to follow you).

~Frantic Mama

*Find me on Pinterest as Frantic Mama to see if I've made any headway.

 

Friday, October 25, 2013

3 is Better Than 2

I will confess.  There was something that really annoyed me when my son turned 3.  I would proudly announce that his 3rd birthday was approaching, and parents would roll their eyes and warn me, "oh, just wait-- 3 is way harder than 2!"  Really?  There's something worse than the Terrible Twos?  Aren't they called that for a reason?  

I found this common, if meant-to-be-funny, statement so deflating.  I had worked so hard for 3 years with my son.  I love him beyond measure but he was not an easygoing, happy-go-lucky baby or toddler.  There were some very long days with him as a 2 year old (and as a one year old for that matter).  2 year olds can just barely communicate their needs, and as a result they become so frustrated when you can't decipher their toddler-speak...it's enough to drive the most sane quite mad.

Tantrums weren't necessarily my son's biggest issue at two (though of course I experienced my fair share); it was the constant demand on my time and attention that I found the most draining.  There was virtually no independent play in my house.  I was his daily teacher, entertainer, caretaker, best friend, etc.  He did not like going to playdates or having people over to our house.  His anxiety could spike at the smallest incident. Add to that a new baby in the mix, and I think you get the point: 2 was a hard age for all of us.  And I was looking at 3 with guarded optimism.

Though I'd chuckle at people's warnings of the "horrible 3's," inwardly I refused to accept this Downer Debbie look at the 3rd birthday.  Why on earth would people keep having children if it truly just never gets easier?  I rationalized.

So, I have good news for you.  3 is better than 2.  Maybe it's my stubborn refusal to accept anything else. Or perhaps I have willed age 3 to be better.  Fine.  So be it.  It doesn't matter how we got here.

Because at 3 and 4ish months, my son is more fun to be around.  He can be my pal when we are out and about.  He is the sweetest older brother to his little sister.  He is affectionate.  He tells hilarious jokes. He enjoys watching a show or two.  He goes to preschool a few mornings a week.  He has crushes on little girls. He dances with us to country music.  He can use words to tell me what is worrying him (i.e. lots).  He even...wait for it...plays by himself.  Maybe just for five minutes, but trust me, this is progress in our household.



Of course we still have rough days.  Of course he can still throw an Oscar-winning tantrum when it's time to go to the doctor, or he when willfully refuses a nap.  But still.  Overall, it's better.  

I've always loved my son with my whole heart.  That hasn't changed.  It's just that now, he's, well, kind of fun.  Maybe it depends on the temperament of the child which age is better, but for this kid, 3 is where it's at.

~Frantic Mama

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Frantic Mama on Mamalode

I'm honored that my favorite online parenting magazine, Mamalode, chose one of my short essays to feature on their wonderful site.

I would love it if you checked it out.  You can find it by clicking here: Sometimes I Wonder on Mamalode.


                         (Image from Mamalode.com.  It's not me.  But it would be cool if it was, right?)

Sometimes I Wonder takes a humorous look at a challenge many of us face:  raising children far away from our own families.  For me, the biggest challenge I have had raising my two young children has been doing it hundreds of miles away from my own mother and sister.  Some days, I let myself wonder what it would be like to do it together...sharing preschool pick-ups, spending afternoons at each other's houses, meeting at McDonald's for lunch, taking turns babysitting...and then I stop.  Because that isn't my reality, and I have to focus on the here and now and be grateful for all of the wonderful aspects of my life.  But in Sometimes I Wonder, I let myself go there, in a way...

Being on Mamalode makes me feel like I got invited to sit at the cool people table at school [not that I'd know].  I hope you enjoy it as well.

Thank you for your support!

~Frantic Mama

And if you have a second, please click the below image to vote for Frantic Mama:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Trader Joe's Mystique

When there was a Trader Joe's near my old apartment (back when I was sort of cool and didn't have two little monkeys pulling at my legs), I often wondered what the big deal was.  There was never any parking. The store was always packed.  And they didn't carry any of my normal brands (you know, necessities, like diet Coke, Nutrigrain bars, Honey Bunches of Oats, etc.).

Occasionally, I bought a few of those cheap bottles of wine and felt thrifty for about five minutes, but every time, the parking alone made me question if it was really worth it.

Fast forward a couple years:  I live in the suburbs.  I have two kids.  I stay at home with them pretty much All. The. Time.

A Trader Joe's opened nearby.  People have been acting like it is The Second Coming.  The frozen meals, I'm told, are what people love about it.  They are supposedly inexpensive but actually taste good; which is ideal when you need to make an easy dinner [every night].

So, I went.  Yesterday.  On Opening Day.  With very little expectations.




But, alas!  You can mix different beers in a six pack!  Yes, really!  No one ever lets you do that anymore. I Highly Recommend:  Trader Joe's Pumpkin Ale.  (Yes, yes, all things pumpkin these days; I've joined the bandwagon).

My other favorite purchase:  Almonds "drenched in dark chocolate sprinkled with seat salt and turbinado sugar."  Dangerous.

The produce was also really good too.

I didn't get anything that needed refrigerating because I was going to be out for a while.  So, readers, what should I buy next time I go?  (Because I'm beginning to grasp the Trader Joe's mystique.  And I'll be back.  Oh yes, I'll be back).*

~Frantic Mama

*Update:  The four packs of little pepperoni Bambino pizzas (frozen) are the perfect size for little kids!  They would even make cute appetizers at a grown-up party.

Can't get enough Frantic Mama?  Check out my piece on Mamalode: Sometimes I Wonder



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shameless Plug


Hello Frantic Mama Readers!

As many of you know, one of the major goals of the Frantic Mama blog is to reach other new moms and help them see they aren't alone when it comes to the, ehem...less glamorous side of motherhood.  You know, the sleepless nights, the long days, the countless dirty diapers...

One way I'm hoping to reach more people is by making it into the Top 25 Family Blogs on Circle of Moms.  So, if you have a minute, could you vote for me please?

Just click the Circle of Moms button on my blog homepage to go to the Circle of Moms site to vote, or use this link to go to the site and cast your vote (click the heart) to show your support of Frantic Mama:  http://www.circleofmoms.com/blogger/frantic-mama?blogroll_id=113.

Thank you for your support...and since I know all the new moms out there have so much extra time on their hands, you can vote every 24 hours :).

Well, I'm off to wipe another nose!

~Frantic Mama




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

T.V. Time: 7 Awesome Shows

I recently wrote a post about the t.v. series I miss.  So why not discuss the ones I currently love?  I don't really care if people say I watch too much.  It's fun!

I lean towards comedies these days because they help me unwind at the end of a long day of butt-wiping and  blood-curdling tantrums.

Here are some good ones:

1.  Modern Family:  Let me guess, you already watch it?  If you haven't, you are missing out.  Phil Dunphy is my favorite character ("shower snacks" anyone?).  But Manny can deliver great lines too ("she's a rare books librarian; I'd love to pick that brain").

2.  The Middle:  Such an underrated show.  I think the oldest son, Axl, is spot-on as a college kid/oldest brother character.  This show is surprisingly realistic and funny.

3.  How I Met your Mother:  I jumped on the bandwagon a little later than most for this show, mainly catching up when I was nursing my baby at all hours (you can find this show on t.v. just about any time of day, playing in syndication.  Go on, try me.  Turn on your tv.. I'll wait... It's on, right?).



4.  Big Bang Theory:  I alternated between this one and HIMYM (above) when feeding my baby.  Because, again, it's always on.  And it's funny.  And that's what I needed.  In fact, I still need that.

5.  Shark Tank.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  It's reality t.v.  But it's so interesting!  I love watching the various entrepreneurs from so many different fields pitch their products, and I love hearing the sharks advice even more!  I don't like it, however, when some poor soul's dreams are crushed.  That can be brutal.

Here are some bad ones [that I watch anyway]:

6.  The Bachelor/Bachelorette.  No, I'm not 22 anymore.  Yes, I'm married.  So what?  It's fuuuunnnn.



7.  Big Brother.  I know-- terrible, right?  Frantic Mama Hubby is making me admit to it right here and now.  We've been fans for years.  Don't judge!  It's a force bigger than ourselves.

What are some of your faves?  Please share!

~Frantic Mama

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Blue Eyes vs. Brown Eyes: Enough Already!


My husband has blue eyes.  I have hazel eyes (light brownish-green).  Both of my kids have blue eyes.  I've never given eye color much thought, except that occasionally I notice someone's eyes and think they are especially unusual.  Unlike what I'm finding out there in the rest of the world, I happen to think all eye colors are beautiful.  A rich dark brown, to me, is just as pretty as the lightest green.  Because everyone's eyes are just a little different.  It is part of what makes us unique.

So why is it that so many people say this to me when I'm alone with my kids: "Oh, wow, look at their blue eyes.  Where did they get those?" (i.e. 'when their mommy has such plain brownish eyes?').  Uhhhh...their dad?  Do I need to draw you a punnett square?  

This weird (even if well-meaning) opinion that blue eyes are somehow superior reminds me of that 1950's experiment we all learned about in Psych 101. You know the one.  Where the teacher wants to impart the concept of group-think and an us vs. them mentality to her grade schoolers.  First she says the blue eyed children are better.  Quickly, the "brown eyes" feel dejected, and the "blue eyes" feel superior.  Then she "corrects" her previous stance, and informs them that actually the brown eyes are better, and just like that, the roles switch.  It's an experiment that would never fly in today's helicopter parenting, teacher-doesn't-know-best mentality (can you tell I used to be a teacher?), but it illustrates a striking lesson.

I know people are just trying to be nice and give a compliment to my children and me.  I think my children's eyes are beautiful too.  But I would think their eyes were beautiful if they were brown, gray, or purple for that matter.

There are similar opinions that certain body types, hair color, etc. are also "better" or "worse" than others.  I find it fascinating that in a world with such an infinite variety of looks, some are more valued than others depending on which culture you are born into.

Have you experienced similar attitudes or opinions since having children?  Please share!

~Frantic Mama

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