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    Lenny Lemons Blog — parenting

    7 Greeting Cards Mothers Would Actually Buy

    7 Greeting Cards Mothers Would Actually Buy

    Around 15 years ago, Hallmark came out with a line of greeting cards under the brand Fresh Ink. I thought they were simply fantastic. One of my all time favorite cards in the line may still be: "Congratulations on your recent body piercing" and then it listed a variety of options of which you could check one. Celebrating real moments.....not just holidays that was their focus, and I loved the concept.   

    I recently decided that motherhood might do well to celebrate some of its more common milestones with its own line of cards. Imagine if after your friend navigated the choppy waters of motherhood…and you sent them a card…they might look something like these:

     1. Congratulations on only seeing one pink line!!    

    I know many women struggle for years with conception, but there is this small cross section of your friends who are beyond fertile. These women basically live in light terror every month that technology and or western medicine may have failed them. They buy pregnancy tests from Amazon in bulk. When the extra scary months happen, and they find they are a few days late.....there would be a card you could send them after they had to cave and pee on the little stick. Oh, and dark chocolate… you should totally send dark chocolate with the card.  


    2. Congratulations on your toddler pooping in a public restroom!    

    This card is obviously for the frazzled preschool mom who despite being taken seriously in the adult world before having children....cannot for the life of her get her preschooler to anticipate their bathroom needs in a predictable manner. Navigating the potty training process essentially forces a once capable woman to question all of her leadership skills, and shakes her to her very core. When "it" finally happens outside of the home...liberation is achieved...and you need to throw that woman a poop party, and undoubtedly hand her a card.   


    3. Congratulations on getting sharpie out of a sofa, chair, table, wall, toys.....(check one or ALL)    

    If you have one of THOSE kids....and by those I of course mean an aspiring artist who prefers the medium of permanent ink. First, there is a special club in heaven for you, and all the furniture is white just FYI. With each unauthorized artistic offense you are forced to cleanup over the years, your life span will shorten by 8 one else will tell you that, but it’s true. Buy the protection plan for your furniture, invest in magic erasers, and above all purchase 100 boxes of baking soda and a 5 gallon bucket of rubbing alcohol...just buy them. These women deserve not only a card after navigating upsetting moments like these, but very possibly would welcome a flask of something heavily proofed.   


    4. Congratulations on surviving your child's unauthorized scissor usage on: a dolls hair, their siblings hair, their own hair, or a neighbors hair. (I pray you only have to check one.)    

    The neighbor kid's hair part of this scenario is particularly painful. Luckily, this card comes as a two pack, one for the now mourning mom, and one to apologetically send to the neighbor if necessary. Let me stop you right now, because I know what you are thinking, "This could never happen to me." Friend, do you own scissors? Than this can happen to you. There's nothing more eye opening than realizing your child has performed both vandalism AND breaking and entering in their determined search for a pair of scissors. They will find the scissors.   


    5. Congratulations on surviving your first delousing!    

    Apparently, current etiquette dictates that teachers are now discouraged from notify parents of an outbreak of lice in the classroom. I get not wanting to make a child the target of any negative focus, but lets keep our eye on the true enemy here. This is about the lice….and I could care less about offending those bastards. The truth is this infestation-situation has a short and arguably controllable window. So can we all agree, to not only celebrate the mom who willingly steps up, and awkwardly tells her child’s friends and classmates that these little terrors may be on the loose. That woman deserves not only a bloody card….but possibly a spa day.       


    6. Congratulations on navigating a public display of emotions with dignity!    

    We've all been the mom whose child is causing a total scene out in public. We are embarrassed. Our child is irrational. The noise level, you have no doubt, is off the charts, and beyond annoying to every one else in the store. You are pretty confident every one is judging you for being bested by a tiny human. The real truth is....we all get it.....we've all been there.....we all know you are not your child. Hold strong mamma.....take your card, which comes with companion finger symbols, so you can rhythmically chant "strong children make strong adults, strong children make strong adults." You totally have this!!   


    7. Congratulations on sleeping through the night!    

    This card likely should have confetti in it because this is a very big deal. When you took that Meyers-Briggs test back in college no one ever warned you about the unspoken fifth component. Namely, if you are or are not a person who can function under torturous levels of sleep deprivation. Five hours never felt so critical until its gone....and when that magical full night of sleep is finally achieved.....look out.....and bring on the mom card.    


    You'll recognize this celebratory mom because she will periodically burst out skipping for what might otherwise seem like no reason at all. This milestone is just all kinds of happiness, it only happens once per child, and I think it also deserves a dinner out. That friend gets to stay up late…because no one is waking her up at 3 am. It's a party waiting to be thrown.     

    Motherhood lived in technicolor reminds me to truly celebrate these victories with each other....because what makes the world go round. Let’s be honest there is a lot about motherhood that is thankless, but as I see it there’s no reason we can’t do our parts to have a little fun with these mom milestones. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to open my own Etsy shop...this mom card thing really needs to happen.  


    Summer Smith

    Motherhood in Technicolor


    Stop, Drop, and Go

    Stop, Drop, and Go

    Growing up, my mom was always my best friend. I always felt close to her and could tell her anything. I crave that same bond with my own daughter. I want her to feel so special, and so loved. I want her to know her mommy is her biggest fan. I want her to talk openly with me and feel comfortable knowing I’ll always listen to her. I’m finding that the best way to create this bond is to just be together.
    It doesn’t take a lot of money or a lot of thought, but what it does take is my time. The greatest gift you can give anyone is your full attention and your time.

    We live in a time where we spend more time on our phones, computers or other devices than we do sharing eye contact and making memories. I can’t think of a time, when I was a child, looking at my mom and seeing her zoned out the phone or computer. It just wasn’t a thing back then. But how often do our kids look at us and see that our full attention is on our phone? We are great at limiting their screen time and blocking what they see, but how well do we limit our own screen time? There are so many screens in our lives; the TV, the phone, the iPad, the iPod, and all the little gadgets and electronics that we can be consumed with. Our parents didn’t face this problem to the extent that we do.

    This is something I struggle with, if I’m being completely honest. It’s hard to quiet my mind sometimes or to just put everything down and have no distractions.

    Maybe the problem isn’t just technology. Maybe it’s worrying about keeping a clean household, or finishing all your work. Maybe it’s your gym schedule or your make up and hair routine. Maybe it’s running from play date to play date or karate to swim to gymnastics! We are all together way too busy trying to do everything.
    One day, I noticed my daughter, Brynn, was particularly agitated. She kept whining and grabbing at me for everything. It was 9am and I already was losing my patience. Her big brother, Brax, was at school so this was my time to run errands. I needed to do laundry, clean, try to fit in a workout and prep some dinners for the week. “Come on Brynn, give me a few minutes pleaaaaase,” I whined back at her. When I stopped and heard the sound of my voice, I realized I was throwing a fit right back at her.  Don’t we do that sometimes? Throw our own fits! I may not have done a body slam onto the floor and cried like kids do, but I came close!  I wanted to do what I wanted to do.


    I realized, she’s only fussing cause she wants to do what she wants to do!

    So I stopped, pulled my fit together and became an adult again, bent down, hugged her and said, “Brynn bunny, what do you want to do right now?”
    Her fit stopped instantly, she looked at me with a sparkle in her eye and joy in her heart and she jumped up and hugged me so tight I almost fell over. She grabbed my hand and said, “Namir” (it’s her way of saying “come here”). Then she walked me to the door and said, “go on a walk with mommy, pweeeease.”

    She loves when we go in nature walks and talk about what we see in the great outdoors; birds, trees, flowers, airplanes and more! How could anyone say no to her excited face? Sometimes I just need to STOP for a moment, DROP what I’m doing, and GO along with my children….

    I left my phone at home on purpose, left all my to-dos on the list for a later time, didn’t care that my hair messy and we walked. We laughed. We shared sweet moments that would have been lost forever and never gotten back if I chose my tasks over my baby girl. I know she’s only 2 and won’t remember or care that the laundry wasn’t done or the dishes were in the sink. She may not even remember our walk, but she will feel the love stamped on her heart. She will feel important to her mom. She will feel secure and confident in herself one day knowing that her needs matter to me. The bond we are making now will be engraved in her heart forever. I like to picture us going on walks when she’s older and she will open up to me about bigger things in her life. 

    My kids THRIVE when I take them outside and kick the ball around, or go on a nature walk. Just being. Just looking. Just learning. Just breathing.
    It’s easy to get caught up in the to-dos and the tasks of right now. It’s easy to think we need to sign our kids up in endless activities so they’ll be well rounded. It’s easy to put pressure on ourselves to do it all.

    Might I suggest, that doing it all will get us nowhere.  It’s doing less but doing it well that creates success.  Spending one on one time with each child and learning who they are. Asking them what they want to do and watch them take the lead.  Getting down on their level and belly laughing with them.

    Kids find joy in all the small things, we really could learn from that.

    After all, one day I will be throwing a fit for my daughter’s attention and wanting to talk. Maybe she will be the one on her phone (if phones haven’t morphed into something even crazier by then. Like a device that’s implanted into our hand and we never have to put it down!) I hope and pray that she will put her busy teenage cares down every once in a while to tend to me. Until then, I’m going to model the behavior I hope she chooses. I choose relationships. I choose connection. I choose love. I choose her smile.   

    Lishele Wigand

    A Letter to My Husband From the Girl You Made “Mom”

    A Letter to My Husband From the Girl You Made “Mom”

    Dear Husband,

    You probably don’t recognize me these days. You know…without my pretty face on, without my wedding dress, without that “fool-in-love” look in my eyes. Believe me, I miss her too. I haven’t forgotten the way you looked at her, and that’s what makes this hard.

    So much has changed. So much time has gone by. Now, there’s less quiet. There’s less candlelit dinners, fizzy wine, and late nights re-falling in love, talking about the beautiful house we’ll live in and the children we’ll have running around.

    Today, those children are real. They’re here, in our beautiful house. I can hear our toddler’s feet pitter-pattering in the dining room as he chases his pullback cars, and another son is pressing his feet against the inside of my growing belly. I’m even at home, full-time, caring for them and watching them grow while you’re climbing the ladder at work, just like we’d hoped.

    We used to stay up so late, imagining these days we’re living in now. Can you believe it? We’re here. Our dreams came true.

    So…why is this so hard?

    You don’t have to say anything. I know you’re wondering…

    Who am I lately?

    I’ve wondered this too, for so long, and I’ve been trying to find the time, and the words, to explain how I–your bride, your forever love–have changed. I haven’t figured it all out yet, but…

    Here’s what I know:

    You see, I’m lonely. I talk to a tiny human all day–for at least 5 days a week, 10 or so hours a day, inside these same 4 walls. Half the time, the talking consists of animal noises, and I miss having an adult conversation. Sure, I have a few friends and my mom friends online, whom I do adore, but all we talk about are rashes, wonky sleep schedules, teething, and poop. And sure, I can get out of the house any time I want really, but 90 percent of the time, it isn’t even worth the effort it takes with a toddler in tow…and soon I’ll have 2 children to change, clothe, feed, pack for, and wrestle into car seats just to make a trip to Walmart, a place I already dread. And for what? Usually laundry detergent or one more avocado or a loaf of bread. Not worth it. Plus, the real struggle is once I get there. 

    Let the child run wild?
    Pick your adventure. They’re all exhausting.

    I swear some days I’d give my right arm just to be able to drop in to my parent’s house and get some grandma and grandpa relief time, just so I can breathe for a bit. But I don’t have that luxury, living across the country from home, so yes, that’s why I Skype every day. That’s why some days are harder than others to keep my sanity. Some days, just understand that I am lonely.

    It’s also like…I got a promotion with no pay. Don’t get me wrong: I cherish the fact that I get to be a stay-at-home mom and raise our children and witness all their “firsts,” and I would still give up my career for the time being to do this job, the full-time mom job. But just remember: I don’t get a bonus check, or an ego-boosting review, or even a pat on the back when I make it through the day without having to call 9-1-1 or clean crayon off the walls. I take the supermom job, I work overtime all the time, but my efforts often go unrecognized, and I must create my own gratification.

    Of course, the reward is when our baby takes his first steps, or he says “Hot” for the first time, or he solves his first puzzle without my help. Those rewards fill my heart and remind me that I’m not always failing at this, but even those rewards aren’t always enough to feel truly rewarded. As a stay-at-home mom, these shining moments elevate us until we turn our heads and see that the dog peed on the play mat again. Then, we go from the supermom to the janitor. And when we’re on our hands and knees scrubbing up the mess, we’ve come back down from that “high,” and we’re back on the ground again. So just please, understand that I don’t always feel like I’m doing a great job, and though you tell me I am, sometimes it’s hard to believe it. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough.

    Plus, I don’t have enough hands. Seriously…I have to pick my battles in order to survive, and I only have two hands to conquer with. I apologize that the house is often the aftermath of a toddler tornado, but I can’t always find the time to pick things up on those days I take on an extra freelance project and our child decides to go on a nap strike. And yes, sometimes I choose to not wash my hair and wear the same clothes for the third day in a row because a shower seems inferior to reading The Wheels on the Bus 10 times in a row and throwing in a third load of laundry before the stains and smells set in. This is my new reality.

    If I were badass human octopus, I’d fold laundry with pumps on, I’d have shiny spotless floors and a pan of lasagna in the oven, I’d have a well-rested and happily entertained child, and I’d look like a supermodel while doing  it all. But that’s not possible, so I have to make do with just two–tiny but mighty hands.

    And with just two hands, all of me is tired and bored and checked out by 5 pm. I know I ask you when you’re coming home at 3 o’clock most days (sometimes 9 am if the day’s extra delightful), but I hope you know that’s because my mind and my body can only take so much arts and crafts and dirty diapers and Sesame Street in a day. I do love to color and dance and sing and count and collect rocks and eat fake fruit with our child, of course, but doing it every day can get boring, believe it or not. And I can only be so creative for so long; sometimes I just run out of ideas to keep things fresh and new and fun around here, so I have to settle for a little bit more Elmo in a day than I’d normally like and that sucks and that’s boring. But I can’t possibly be a 24-hour circus. This acrobat needs a break.

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I get a little antsy when the countdown to you coming home is winding down to merely minutes. I’ll admit that I mentally check out by at least 5 pm, on a good day. I think it’s natural, and I’m sure working parents like you are ready to punch out well before the day is done too. Just know that even though I got to sit and fingerpaint while listening to Pump Up the Jam Pandora all day, that doesn’t mean I’m not drained when you walk in the door.

    And I’m sorry: I’m not always smiley. With all these things considered, I have a hard time putting a smile on at the end of days that are monotonous, or disastrous, or infuriating, or exhausting, but I’m trying to work on that. In fact, there are a lot of days that are good. There are a lot of days that I rock at this stay-at-home mom thing, and the house doesn’t burn down. I just may not always be smiley, and that’s usually because a mother’s mind never shuts off, even if she says her shift is done for the day. I’m probably already thinking about what to prepare for lunch the next day or how I’m going to adjust the nap schedule this week. But none of this means I’m not happy. I may not always run to you with a kiss and a hug when you get home, but I hope you know that inside I’m rejoicing. Whether the day was positively wonderful or a total shitshow, there’s nothing more beautiful than watching our child rush to greet you at the door. Some days I may follow behind him; some days I may just watch from afar because I’m spent. But just know that inside, I’m happy that you’re home, and really, it just boils down to the fact that…

    I miss you. We used to both get home from work and put our feet up. We used to whip up whatever for dinner whenever we wanted. We used to get dressed up and go places. We used to get out of town for the weekend because we could. We used to gush over each other and stay up until it was light out. We used to replay the details of our wedding day and relive our honeymoon by paging through photo albums and looking at souvenirs.

    But lately, I can tell you don’t recognize me. I don’t look like the girl with her feet in the sand or the veil in her hair. Frankly, I don’t feel like her most days because I’ve changed.

    You see, now I’m a mother. I am responsible for lives that are not my own, and it’s the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done with my life besides marrying you. Motherhood has brought out a side of me that neither of us has ever seen, so I just ask that you bear with me. I am my worst and my best self right now. But her…that girl, that blushing bride, that pretty smile across the bar, that carefree soul, she’s not lost; she’s still somewhere. I’m still her, just not all the time.

    My eyes have more bags.
    My hair is more frazzled.
    My clothes are stained, saggy, and sometimes smelly.
    The house is a sty.
    My smile may be fleeting.

    But I am happy.

    I’m just changed. I’m finding that this is just a part of motherhood, of parenthood. I’m still figuring it out as I go, but this is who I am lately.

    And my love, you may not always see it, but I still look at you like a fool in love. How could I not? You made me who I am lately.

    You made me “Mom.”



    Alyssa Britson
    Relative Redhead