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Back To School Blues

MINA BAIE

It's Back To School time already! Can you believe it? (I'm jk, I've been counting down the days until the local hoard of school-aged kids is occupied somewhere other than my doorstep all day, so obviously I CAN believe it). I've been trying to conceal my wistful joy that mornings in the neighborhood will be calm again, while simultaneously feigning interest in all the Spider Man pencil boxes and Monster High folders they show me. One little neighbor girl spent fifteen minutes describing the color and design of her new Moana backpack, before finally going, "Actually, I can just go get it and show you!"
Me: "oh ya? Are you sure? Cuz I'd LOVE to see it but your house is so far awa-"
Her: (already running toward her door) "No it's fine I'll be right back!"
Anyway. Her backpack was totally cute and I loved how excited she was to show it off.
But then I started asking her about school- not her new school *stuff*- and her excitement faded. She told me she wasn't excited for school to start. When I asked why, she replied "it's boring. All we do is sit." She is going into second grade.


My heart sank and I remembered that I also dreaded 'back to school', even as a little kid. It felt like a punishment. Even if there were fun moments throughout the day and interesting topics throughout the week, overall the end of summer and the beginning of school was something to dread.


Dude, this isn't right. Right? Is this just the way things have always been? WHY? Cuz it seems to me that six year olds are so naturally curious and filled with wonder that they shouldn't have to be bored by the activity that covers the majority of their waking hours.
My daughter is only three so she isn't ready for school yet, and I'm thankful for that. But time flies and in a few years it could be my little girl, telling the neighbor that she hates school.
Are your school-age kids dreading the school year? Short of moving to Denmark and putting your kids in one of those nature schools, what can we do to turn this around?

#backtoschool #momlife 

The Definitive Guide To Throwing A Baby Shower People Will Actually Want To Attend

MINA BAIE

The days are getting longer and the weather is heating up, and that can only mean one thing, ladies. Well it actually means a lot of things but none of them are quite so eyeroll-inducing as Baby Shower Season. Yep, it's right around the corner! And yes, these gatherings usually suck and yes, we all still show up. Because we love each other and every soon-to-be-parent should be celebrated.

So if you have the honor of hosting one of these things, and you don't want to make everyone uncomfortable and bored, here is My (Fairly) Comprehensive List of Baby Shower Do's and Don'ts!

1. DON'T play the game where you measure the pregnant belly. Just don't do it, okay? No game in the history of games has led to more awkward silences and nervous laughter.

Do: Ask the guest of honor if they have any specific games they'd like to play at their shower, or if they would prefer to not have games at all. Their answer just might make your hosting duties a lot easier!

2. DON'T put on any games that require extra work or shopping trips for guests. I already have to find time to shop for a gift, get ready, find childcare or get the kids ready and loaded up and buckled in. All of this on a Sunday! Please do not make me find and print out baby photos of myself or go buy packs of diapers in addition to the gift. Ugh.

DO plan some kind of entertainment if you aren't doing games, especially if many of the guests don't know each other. If the mom-to-be is artsy, maybe do a non-cheesy craft station (not onesie decorating, please. The paint peels off in one wash and they usually look like crap even before that.)

If she is more of a laid-back type, I recently learned that Sperm Cornball is a thing, and it looks like the kind of game modern gals can get down with. So there's a thought, ya know?

Get one or two non cringe-inducing games going, slap on a playlist of Mom's favorite tunes, and you got yourself a party.

3. DON'T make me guess baby food flavors. Cuz that means I have to eat baby food, and that stuff is slimy and bland.

Has anyone ever enjoyed this game? Why do people keep doing it?!

DO play the baby animal guessing game. Cuz it's kind of cute and it takes like 3 minutes. But again, ASK! (Your guest of honor might hate baby animals with a passion and totally love puréed green beans or something?)

4. DON'T make walnut brownies and wrap them up in newborn diapers to give as favors. You might be thinking, "hmm, that's oddly specific.", and that's because I actually did this at my poor sister in law's shower, six years ago. I thought it was kinda cheeky and clever, and everyone else thought it was super gross and most likely toxic.

DO stick to consumables like chocolates or cute little soaps when it comes to favors. Nothing baby themed and nothing with names and dates on it. It just becomes clutter or trash.

Alternatively, you can just skip the favors altogether. Your guests are there to visit and support the parent/s-to-be, not get low budget swag.

5. DON'T serve alcohol without mom-to-be's enthusiastic approval. If you ask and you get a "well I guess so...", then simply skip it. There are plenty of other times to show off your bartending skills.

DO serve alcohol if your guest of honor is like, "Ya totally!" Get that enthusiastic nod of approval and party hardy, y'all.

Also DO: whip up a refreshing mocktail for Preggers. I remember tearing up a little when I saw that my aunt had made a mixed berry punch for me at my shower, and a ton of other guests loved it as well. Win.

6. DON'T request 'No children' at a baby shower. Like what on earth? I will never understand throwing a party to celebrate the birth of a child and not allowing actual, already-born children to attend.

*Note: If the guest of honor requests a child-free shower, then you need to be all like, "Oh ya, for sure. No kids. They're so annoying, right?!" Because it's HER day to celebrate and You are an awesome host.*

DO see if mom-to-be would like to invite not only kids, but also dudes! Coed baby showers can take a lot of pressure off of expecting moms. Especially if they don't have a ton of close female friends and family, it can make the event go from unbearable to relaxed and fun. Added plus, guests are way less likely to dread the event if you aren't demanding that they find childcare and spend one of their precious weekend days away from their partner and kids.

7. DON'T: get a cake that looks like a baby sleeping on it's stomach. You know the ones I'm talking about. With the little fondant feet at the bottom.. little fondant toes. It's all fun and games until someone goes to cut the cake and they find themselves dismembering a fondant baby. And they're all, "I mean do I cut over here? or more like along the spinal cord? Which way of cutting this cake will feel the least murdery?"

Nobody wants that. Choose a different cake.

DO get a cake that isn't even vaguely murdery. Mmkay?

8. DON'T guilt trip those who decline the invite. You don't know what they are going through, and why they can't be there. Baby showers can be really tough for loss parents, and those struggling to conceive or adopt.

Do: try to make every guest feel comfortable and welcomed, whether they have five kids, are childless by choice, are waiting and wishing for a child, or are in mourning. I mean really, baby showers are about connection, community, and supporting each other.

Offer activities that aren't hyper-focused on all things 'baby'. Maybe set up a table where guests can write a sweet note, or draw a silly cartoon of their favorite memory with the mom-to-be? Maybe set up a few simple yard games that guests can escape to if the hyper-babyness becomes too much? Like just regular corn hole, without the sperm?

Or whatever. Just give it a thought, you know?

One last DO! (This one is for guests)

DO stick to the gift registry. So many brand new parents find themselves with piles upon piles of impractical newborn clothes that they do not want. When shopping for gifts alone, focus on the registry. If you will be attending the shower as part of a group- like 'work friends' or 'small group from church' or 'college roommates', consider pooling your resources and going in on a big ticket item that they really need/want. Seriously, this is how you win at baby shower gifting. Not that it's a competition.. So get your group organized and then ask the mom-to-be if there is a high-quality stroller, baby carrier, or diaper bag that she would love to have.

What Baby Shower 'Do' or 'Don't' would you add to this list? What did you love or hate about your own baby shower?

Dear Husband, This Is The One Thing I Really Need On Mother's Day

MINA BAIE

Since I'm not big on subtlety, I'll lay it out for you. I just want to be left alone on Mother's Day. I want to know my children are safe and well cared for, and I want that to be done away from me. Or I guess I don't mind if we're together, I just want you to do all of the thinking and calculating and risk management that keeping children alive entails. All of it. Not just the butt wiping and the snack making and the booboo kissing- I want you to make sure their car seat is installed properly, with the chest clip in the right place. I want you to notice which cars in a parking lot have a driver in them that could suddenly back out with no warning. I want you to anticipate and pack up all the crap they (might) need when we leave the house. I want you to carry on nonsensical conversations with them in the car so that I can just listen to music and not be like, "oooh yeah? And then what happened? The pirate stole ALL of the bananas and the whatevers? Wow. Mmm hmm." I want you to be the one who notices that they've been quiet for too long in another room, and then I want you to go sort out whatever mischief they've gotten into. And I want you to keep 'em alive totally on your own. That's the big thing. Mama's tired, k? My mind needs to rest for a full day. More than I need jewelry, flowers, and wine, my mind needs to rest. Don't get me wrong- I totally need all that other stuff- but this is numero uno on the list. 

Okay so that's settled then, right? Cool Thanks! Love ya. 

Moms, what is the One Thing you really want for Mother's Day? Do you want to be with your children, or do you want a rugrat-free day? Sound off in the comments below (and then send a screenshot to your partner for future reference ;)