Friday, April 29, 2016

The G Word

I think guilt might be the number one mental plague of most mothers.

In summary, below you'll find just a few of the things I've felt guilty about in just the past week alone:

Not getting my kids outside enough.

Too much screen time.

Not signing my daughter up for a winter or spring soccer group.

Working too much.

Not working enough.

Drinking too much coffee.

Letting my son wear shorts to school when it was still cold out.

Not being a good enough friend.

Avoiding playgroups and playdates.

Spending too much money at Target.

Not being a good enough daughter/sister/wife.

Losing my temper/yelling.

Being overly permissive with my kids.

Eating too much processed food.

Letting my daughter have a chocolate chip muffin every morning for breakfast.

Not getting my kids to drink enough milk.

Not helping my daughter stop sucking her thumb.

Putting off weeding my garden.

Letting my kids eat chips whenever they feel like it.


Yes, some of these are contradictory. 

That's part of the problem. The illogical aspect is what adds to the overwhelming, impossible nature of mom guilt.

So what to make of it all? Is there a way to give up the guilt permanently? To accept that good enough is good enough?

Ideally, yes, with some introspection and forgiveness, guilt would gently fade into the background.

On a good day, I think it can. There are days and evenings I feel pretty positive and optimistic. Other days-- the hard ones-- the guilt doubles down and multiplies.

I'm not listing my thoughts for someone to make me feel better. I know that deep down I'm doing the best I can. I'm sharing my own guilty thoughts because I know there are other moms out there who feel the same way. Many of you are also haunted by guilty thoughts.

You aren't alone.

I don't have all the answers, but I can offer you that. I'm like you-- just trying to survive enjoy one day and the next, and mostly doing the best I can.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I Love My Husband

There are so many negative portrayals of husbands in the media. They're either the clueless buffoons, the strict disciplinarians, or worst of all-- the workaholic, cheating jerks.

My husband, however, is pretty great. And from the look of things, many of my friends think their husbands are pretty great too.

I'm not sure where the disconnect comes from with t.v. and movies. I suppose producers think it's more entertaining to watch a nutcase?

In any case, I have a few nice things to say about my husband, and here they are:

He plays with our kids. He actively and enthusiastically gets down on the floor and plays with them, is up and running to shoot baskets with them, read stories with them, dance around with them, and chase them around the yard. All this, even though he is just as tired as anyone.

He watches my silly shows with me. The Bachelor, The Bachelorette-- you name it. Just about anything I want to watch, he'll succumb to, and it makes it all so much more fun.

He thinks I look great without makeup, and his favorite outfit I wear is sweatpants and one of his t-shirts. I'm not kidding. You would think I looked like a total slob if you came over unannounced at about 7 o'clock at night (I swear), but for some reason he still finds me cute! It's amazing!

He often plays with the kids on weekend mornings so I can sleep. Enough said. It's the best thing ever.

He is genuinely excited to get to our messy, loud, chaotic home after work Every. Single. Night.

Of course, like all of us, he's not perfect (that loud chip bag might be the end of me!), and he may not constantly do all the grand, romantic gestures that (again) movies imply men have to do to prove their love.

It's the little things he does every day that I appreciate.

I told him on a recent date night that he is irreplaceable, and I meant it. He is.

What about you? Who in your life do you appreciate beyond measure?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

P.S. My little meme was shared on the Today Show's website recently! When was the last time you ran your dishwasher at "light wash," or even more rare-- "crystal?!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Small Business Time (and giveaway)!

I love small businesses. I will often go out of my way to eat at a local place rather than a huge, national chain. It's so sad to see cute little local shops go out of business!

May fast approaching, which is National Small Business Month; I was recently invited to take part in a group effort to support small businesses sponsored by the UPS Store, and I am excited to take part in it!

Nationally, The UPS Store will be encouraging people to “salute” their favorite local small business owners by giving them a shout out on social media with #smallbizsalute. The goal is to celebrate these businesses in our communities.

The Small Biz Salute campaign recognizes small businesses for their hard work and gives them an opportunity to network and support each other.

With more than 4,500 locations nationwide, The UPS Store is committed to helping small business owners everywhere launch and grow their business. The UPS Store locations are locally owned and operated. The stores are not only run by small business owners, but are there to support local startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses, help solve their problems, and connect with their peers.

I recently tried the online print services offered by the UPS Store, and I found it easy and fun to create 100 custom business cards for my freelance writing career (photos to come!). They are SO cute! I used pink and turquoise lettering, of course, to match my blog.

Guess what?! I'm hosting my very first ever giveaway! One reader will win a $25 gift card to try out the UPS store small business services. To enter, just e-mail me your name and address through the Contact Me gadget on my blog, OR leave me a comment below and I will follow up via e-mail to get your address if you are the winner. I will choose a name at random and you will be mailed the gift card! 

May 2016 Update: **Giveaway is complete! Thank you to everyone who participated!**

Psssst! Here's a UPS store promo code for you! Use SALUTE25 for 25% off the entire online print site!

In the meantime, be sure to use #smallbizsalute in social media posts when posting about your favorite small businesses!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Could it be that Spring has arrived?

Minnesotans really earn our spring. I don't know if anyone celebrates spring like we do here in Minnesota. Well, maybe people in Maine, or Montana, or North Dakota. Other states with long, cold, dark winters.

The sun is out today, and despite the fact that my daughter and I are both suffering from God-awful sinus infections, I'm looking forward to my favorite springtime activities.

Here are just a few:

Going to the park isn't hellish anymore. Once you are past the baby and toddler phase (all hail!), you can go to the park in warm weather and your kids will actually run and play and get their energy out. You might have to do a little damage control, but for the most part, let them be free (and try to sit  and rest on a bench for 5 minutes!).

Say goodbye to the hefty jackets/coats/mittens. Leaving the house without the extra 10 minutes it takes to get snow pants, boots, mittens, hats, etc., is a total luxury. I relish it.

The days are longer. Sunlight! Oh dear, dear sunlight. How I've missed you. 

Walks. Walks with my kids are not like what you see on t.v. and in magazines with mothers blissfully pushing strollers of quiet, calm children while she sips a giant latte.

Our walks are kind of ridiculous because I either attempt to put my kids in our double stroller which usually ends in a standstill because they decide they're too big (and they probably are), so they choose to "walk" with me, which really means stopping and starting and going backwards and running ahead and so on and so forth. We probably cover about .2 miles in all. But all in all, it's still nice to be able to take walks without getting frostbite.

Date Nights: Is there anything more blissful than sitting on a breezy patio in the evening with your husband and sipping a cocktail while the kids are at home with a sitter for a couple of hours? I think not.

What about you? What simple spring joys are you anticipating?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

By the way, if you are interested in checking out my rural/country life/horse photography site, it's up and running at 

Thursday, April 7, 2016


April has been off to a rough start in the Frantic Mama household.

We returned from a wonderful family trip on a warm, sunny beach, to cold, rainy April weather. I had an annoying cold, and I could tell both of my kids had one brewing as well. Ugh.

Then our furnace stopped working. Ugh again.

In Minnesota, you still need your furnace to work in April. May too.

My husband is fix-it-yourself-er, but after we were without heat for 3 days (and no homemade solutions were to be found) we called in the pros. The worker (of course) said we would likely need a new furnace, estimating around $5,000.

But guess what? My husband researched and watched videos and in one last ditch effort, he fixed it! All he had to do was clean something. Yes, seriously. It works like a charm again and we called the company and told them we just saved 5,000 dollars.

So that was good.

But by then my daughter's cold was raging-- a cough with a thick, runny nose-- the works. I also woke up feeling worse. She was home allllll day long with me from Monday afternoon to Thursday morning. We didn't even leave the house (except to run to the "bottle shop" [i.e. Trader Joe's liquor section]). This means no preschool for her, which means no writing or working for me. Ughhhhhh.

This is when, yes, our water started acting weird.

It sometimes works, and other times, nothing comes out of the faucet. Remember the movie The Money Pit, with Tom Hanks? That's how it's feeling around here.

Everyone with kids knows that you need to run the dishwasher every day and the washer at least once a day to even attempt to stay on top of things. Needless to say, we're behind on clothes and dishes.

Plus, it's still cold and rainy outside.

And I'm still chugging DayQuil.

Alas, all hope is not lost, though: my daughter was at least well enough to go to preschool this morning (all hail the power of preschool!), hence this brief blog post in attempts to break out of my funk.

How do you get yourself out of a funk? No one's going to do it for us, right? This blog post, an extra up of coffee (I used bottled water for that), and a handful of peanut butter pretzels is my big attempt to feel better!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

P.S. Reading Mindy Kaling's book and creating this meme also cheered me up:

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A little check-in...

Hello friends!

My poor little neglected blog. It's kind of like a favorite toy a child doesn't want to play with as much anymore. Except, wait a second, for me in this analogy, I do want to play with that toy! I do, I do! I love my blog!

Life can keep me from my blog, though, as I'm sure we all can relate. Plus, I am submitting more of my work to bigger sites with the goal of adding more readers and 'meeting' more of you out there in wi-fi land.

So here is a virtual gift of sorts to my most loyal readers:

I am popping in to tell you something fun that you must add to your Netflix queue (that is, if you aren't so cool that you do streaming now. I don't know what that is. I still look forward to my little red envelope in the mail every couple of weeks).

The show is this: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It's produced by Tina Fey. 

It's just great. Even my husband has gotten sucked in a bit (though, yes, it seems to be geared towards the fairer sex).

It's fun, funny, uplifting in a weird way that I like, and if you are an 80's/90's girl like me, you'll love all of the references from your previous decades.

Have you seen it? What do you love to watch (and don't even think of replying "I don't watch t.v./movies!")?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Oh, if you are missing my parenthood writing, look no further! just published an essay I wrote about what I prefer to do with my precious, delicious, rare alone time. You can read it here!