Last year at this time I wrote an article asking for mom-friends. It went somewhat viral and was shared hundreds of thousands of times thanks to a republish by Scary Mommy.
The outpouring of comments, positive and some negative, was overwhelming. Believe it or not, I am still receiving emails about that article today. That tells me one thing…this topic is something so many women, especially moms struggle with.
Finding an army, tribe, fellow warriors is so important for a mom. A mom needs a group of women who have blazed the trails before them and those who are just embarking in the scariest hood of all…motherhood.
My blog is a no-judgement zone. The opinions expressed in my article reflect the kind of person who would be my ultimate mom-friend…and it should be noted that I do have a tribe of these beautiful women already.
So here it is…my previous article. I’d love to hear your comments below!

Will You Be My Mom-Friend?

It occurred to me recently that I don’t have a ton of friends. Stick with me here. I have a lot of friends from my past. I have an amazing family who oftentimes double as my best friends. I have former co-workers who are a call or text away. And I live in a kick ass neighborhood with lots of little rug rats zooming around on bikes and scooters.

But as for the ultimate “mom-friend”…I mean, the stick with you in the trenches of blowouts and temper tantrums, I don’t have a ton. Why? I think it’s because I’m picky. Finding a true mom-friend is like dating on steroids….but with the extra baggage of 2-4 ex’s (ie…the needy children).

It got me thinking of a list of characteristics one would need to be a true mom-friend of mine. Remember way back when, when you wrote out your dream guy’s qualities? Here’s my dream mom-friend. See if you fit the mold, or can at least relate.

  • Be real. This is the most important characteristic in my book. Cut the crap. Cut the “look how perfect my children are.” Cut the “#besthusbandever” b.s. Just freaking be real. See this pic I shared with this blog post? I legit didn’t have anyone to take it, so it’s fuzzy. My hair is frazzled. I’m carrying two bottles of wine and a baby, because real life.
  • Be chill, no high energy please. I have enough energy radiating off my three young children on the reg. 
  • Enjoy wine. And if you’re not a wine drinker, please don’t judge me when I go for the 2nd or 3rd glass. Raising kids is hard work.
  • While we’re on the subject of judging, let’s just toss out the white wigs. I judge myself enough already. I don’t need you, as a friend, judging me too.
  • Don’t get upset when I cancel. I’m tired. Like really, REALLY tired.
  • Don’t get upset if I accidentally leave you off an invite. Please know it’s not intentional, I probably just forgot. Because, I am REALLY tired.
  • On the same note, don’t comment about how fun it must’ve been. Or if I suddenly remember to invite you, don’t feel like an afterthought…I legit just forgot, because once again, I haven’t slept in 4 years. 
  • Don’t call. Let’s just text. Unless we set up a phone date and have a bottle of wine to share over the phone. 
  • You post a lot of crap on social media, which I’m cool with. However, I’m gonna pretend like I didn’t see it, because it’s so much more fun to hear it from you. 
  • Likewise, when I post a hilarious story (even if you don’t think it’s funny) just humor me and allow me to tell it again when I see you. I like to make you laugh. 
  • Your husband can’t be a douche. I want to have double dates with you dammit!
  • If my kids are acting horrible, scold them. I’m okay with that. I expect them to respect you.
  • My house isn’t always going to be clean. If yours is, I’ll feel like you’re trying too hard. Let’s just be equals here.
  • I appreciate your hustle. No matter what your job is…even if it’s just chasing the toddlers, I want you to know I support you in your ventures. It’d be cool if you supported me in mine.
  • We can vent, but let’s not fall down the rabbit hole of gossip. Let’s vent and then move on to something more positive…like what it’s going to be like to be empty nesters.
  • Let’s plan a trip together. Or at least a night away at a hotel to eat, drink and be merry. I think we both need that. Don’t make me feel like a bad mother for leaving my children at home. I NEED a break. WE need a break.
  • If we haven’t talked in awhile, shoot me a text. Let’s grab coffee. Let’s not act like it’s been forever…. let’s just catch up right where we left off.

We are an unique group of individuals trying to raise these tiny humans. Support me, and I promise to support you. 

I’d love to hear your qualities for that dream mom-friend. Let’s hear them, ladies!

Will you be my mom-friend?

Will you be my mom-friend?

 

 

Of course I knew it all back then. Don’t we all? It’s human nature to think at any given time during any given circumstance we know best. I can say with certainty that’s absolutely been the case through motherhood.

During my second and third pregnancy journeys, I wrote about the differences of baby #1 vs. #2 vs. #3. A couple of years and many, many, MANY sleepless nights later I’m revisiting the topic with recent observations on how different the third child really is from the first and second.

Child #1: Reading every book on parenting.
Child #2: Reading every article on siblings.
Child #3: Reading how-to survive manuals.

Child #1: Absolutely no TV or screen time until age 2.
Child #2: Starts watching TV when the older sibling is viewing a screen.
Child #3: Came out of the womb with a tablet in hand.

Child #1: Brand new clothes.
Child #2: Hand-me-downs from child #1 regardless of the gender.
Child #3: Here are some rags, the seasons don’t match up, so I apologize you’re wearing sweats in July.

Child #1: Listening to everyone’s advice on what it’s like to be a mom.
Child #2: Listening to everyone comment on how busy you are.
Child #3: Not listening to anyone. Three children deep, and I’m pretty sure I’ve encountered some serious hearing loss.

Child #1: Beautiful baby book filled with “firsts” and lots of photos framed around the house.
Child #2: Beautiful empty baby book, remains empty on 4th birthday.
Child #3: The child’s birth certificate has provided a wealth of information.

Child #1: Strangers lovingly ask, “Is he your first? How precious!”
Child #2: Strangers say, “Awww- two looks like a handful!”
Child #3: Strangers don’t even talk anymore. Instead they look at the 3 hood rats running wild through a crowded supermarket and scurry away hoping to avoid being hit by a flying cereal box.

Child #1: Please don’t let him play with those crayons, he could ingest them.
Child #2: Please keep a close eye on the baby to make sure she doesn’t eat the crayons her older brother is playing with.
Child #3: Did you know crayons are non-toxic?

Child #1: Hop in the stroller, let’s go shopping!
Child #2: Hop in the double stroller, be sure to strap in I don’t want either of you to fall out!
Child #3: Hey kid, can you sit on the ledge of that double stroller? If you fall out, at least you’re close to the ground.

Child #1: Hold my hand, we’re in a parking lot.
Child #2: Hold my other hand, we’re in a parking lot.
Child #3: Hold your sister’s hand, yes she’s only 4 but hopefully she’s responsible enough to not leave you behind.

Child #1: It’s so easy to find a sitter, people are thrilled to watch a baby.
Child #2: Sure, I’ll watch your two beautiful children.
Child #3: Grandma is really the only one brave enough to take on the tribe on a regular basis.

Child #1: It’s so easy to tidy up the toys.
Child #2: Let’s work together to clean up after ourselves.
Child #3: I walk room to room stepping over debris and whispering: “WTF happened in here?!?”

Child #1: Oh, I’m so tired!
Child #2: Ugh, motherhood is so exhausting…I can’t wait to get a good night’s sleep.
Child #3: I haven’t slept in 5 years, and probably won’t for another 18.

Child #1: Love with all your heart.
Child #2: Love with all your heart.
Child #3: I didn’t think it was possible, but my heart just expands and has no boundaries with each child who entered my life.

Who’s ready for #4?! HA!

Real life with 3 small children.

My life motto as a mom of 3 small children.

Scene: Marshalls. Approximately 5:15 PM. Tuesday.
Shopping needs: 1 black sweater.
Actors: 1 very loud, very hungry son. 1 very loud, very hungry, very ornery daughter. 1 very crabby baby. 1 very exhausted mother.
Backstory: I’m looking for a black sweater for an upcoming event. Simple enough. We’ve already been to Nordstrom, Anthropologie and Ann Taylor. I realize it is 5:00 and the dinner bell is going off for everyone, including myself. But in an act of desperation (the event was the following day) I decide to swing into Marshalls as a last-ditch effort on the way home.
Act 1, Scene 1, Enter stage left: 3 children and mother browsing clothes.

I pick up a nice blue sweater and check the tag.

Luke: “Oh, mom, that’s fabulous. Buy that, it’s perfect… let’s get out of here!” I had to laugh. I set the sweater down as it wasn’t the right color and moved on.

I pick up a bright tangerine color sweater and place it up to myself and look in the mirror.

Luke: “Ohhhh, mom! That color looks wonderful on you! Now let’s buy that and get out of here!” I realize now what he’s doing. He compliments the next 3 things I touch and suddenly falls to the floor. “MOM….MOM! OH MY GOSH! WILL SOMEONE PLEASE FEED ME, I believe….I believe, I AM DYING!”

Me: “I can assure you, you are not going to die here at Marshalls”

Luke: “That’s easy for you to say. You’re belly isn’t dying inside.”

I notice a lady is standing nearby listening to all of this go down. You see, with my children, when they notice a stranger looking their direction, you can guarantee their voices get louder and they really turn on their wit.

Luke looks up at the lady, “Ma’am, do you have any goldfish in that purse of yours?” She laughs louder and there is a part of me that is dying inside as I try not to chuckle. Laughter only encourages them.

Meanwhile, Eden is gone. She’s in a completely different aisle saying very loudly: “Will someone please feed us, my mom won’t. We will take goldfish, crackers or candy.”

At this moment, Adam decides he doesn’t want to be held any longer so I set him down and he starts following Eden on her goldfish crusade. Luke has managed to find the strength to get off the floor and follows me to another rack of clothes. I’m moving fast and keep promising them we’ll get food.

I found a sweater I like and suddenly realize I have no idea where two of my children have wandered off to. I grab the sweater without checking the size, and follow the loud conversation Eden has struck up with a nice lady in the next row. The lady told her she did not have goldfish. I grab Adam, and ushered Luke and Eden to the front of the store to check out.

Ever shop at Marshalls before? The line is always lonnnnng, but moves fairly quickly. It should also be noted, the checkout area is cluttered with kick-knacs and things for little fingers to break. Adam latches on to this Elmo book that has the (not-so-lovable) furry monster’s annoying laugh screeching with every page he turns. I move forward in the line.

Meanwhile, Luke has struck up a conversation with a man ahead of us about his siblings. Luke: “You see, the first-born is the most well-behaved. See those two over there? *points at Eden and Adam* They are not first-born children. They are what I like to call…’rascals'”. Side note, sometimes my children amaze me with their impeccable wit with complete strangers. The man is laughing so hard. I just eye-roll.

We finally make our way to the front of the line without breaking any of those knick-knacks. We pay. Suddenly, Luke needs to go to the bathroom.

Of course, the restroom is all the way in the back of the store next to the toy area. We maneuver quickly back to the restroom and I’m praying the children do not see the toys.

Victory.

We step inside the ladies restroom.

Eden: “ohhhhhh, mom! What is that? Why does it smell like poop and fish in here?” Both stalls are currently being occupied and I want to crawl in a hole and die. I shoosh her and she just gets louder. “Mom! I can’t breathe! It smells so bad in here! I think I’m dying!”

A stall opens up and I’m just praying the person who steps out has a sense of humor. She looks at me, I smile sheepishly and usher Luke and Eden into the same stall. As I’m waiting for them to finish, I open up the bag with my new sweater and notice I purchased something 4 sizes too large. Naturally.

We finish in the not-so-rosy bathroom and I stop to find a different size. On normal occasions I would just leave with the oversized sweater in hopes of returning it on a better day…but I really needed it for the following morning, so I take my chances.

I corralled the children back to the ladies clothes area. More groaning about their bellies dying inside. I successfully find a sweater my size and follow back in line. This time, as the children are getting louder and bolder a nice gentleman 5 people in front of me offered for me to cut line in front of him.

Needless to say, while we were quite the comedy act, I believe everyone in the store was ready to see us go.

Lessons of the day: Next time, pack the goldfish.

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*Warning: this article contains graphic photographs that may not be suitable for all audiences.*

They say “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Perhaps my dear husband takes that saying to heart and strongly believes his own trash is indeed my treasure. Or, perhaps he suffers from a highly classified disease. One, not yet technically recognized by scientists and is currently under review by the FDA. Yes, for the sake of this article I will just convince myself that his condition is a common disease.

It was early one Saturday morning when I found 3 photographic pieces of evidence in our refrigerator. Upon a little investigating, I diagnosed my husband with “Refuses To Throw Sh*t Away Syndrome.” Or RTTSAS for short.

I know my husband is not alone. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people are carriers of this disease. Who are the sufferers you may ask? Their poor, innocent partners who spend their precious free time discovering the “treasures” throughout the house.

If we’re being completely honest, I first noticed signs of RTTSAS in our early dating days. As most naive partners do, I chalked it up to the bachelor life and enjoyed cleaning things like his bedroom and refrigerator. I basked in the domestic duties with sheer joy and admiration for the new man in my life.

However, the RTTSAS condition did not seem to improve as the years ticked on.

If RTTSAS sounds somewhat familiar to you and you fear as though you have fallen victim or are perhaps a carrier of this disease, listen up. I’ve jotted down a short list of signs and symptoms. If you answer “yes” to 2 or more of these questions, you may need to seek immediate help:

  • Have you ever found a bag of chips with a few crumbs left in your pantry?
  • Have you ever found a bag of pretzels in your pantry with no pretzels left, no crumbs, just salt?
  • Have you ever found a jar of salsa, hummus or any sort of dip containing less than one scoop left in fridge?
  • What about tabasco bottles? Ever find one with one drip left in fridge?
  • Have you ever found a milk jug or orange juice bottle with approximately .5% of one swig left in fridge?
  • Empty Amazon boxes left in odd places?
  • What about appliances? Ever find an empty vacuum cleaner box belonging to a vacuum you no longer own?
  • How about an empty iPhone 3 box when you and your partner are on the 8th version?
  • And my personal favorite, empty and torn open envelopes left on kitchen counter….

Now, I wouldn’t be doing my journalistic duty without seeking expert testimony regarding RTTSAS. So, I found someone who has been suffering in silence from RTTSAS for much longer than a person should have to. With more than 40 years of experience, allow me to introduce everyone to my mother.

Me: When did you first start noticing signs of RTTSAS?

Mother: The second week of marriage, circa 1981.

Me: Did you feel alone, like perhaps you were the only victim or dad was the only carrier of RTTSAS?

Mother: No, I immediately knew that I joined a club. A tribe of wives suffering from the same disease.

Me: When did my father hit rock bottom with RTTSAS? Or did you have a breaking point?

Mother: Your father hit rock bottom probably 15 years ago. My breaking point happened around the same time. Despite my breaking point, your father was beyond help. I appreciate what you’re doing here, honey, but there is NO cure for him.

Me: What do you want to tell other wives suffering from RTTSAS?

Mother: Be very watchful for early signs and please nip it in the bud.

After interviewing my expert, I confronted my husband on my findings. He was in denial. Totally understandable for our first intervention. Would you believe he even blamed our 5 year old on being the culprit of some of my findings? I hope my innocent 5 year old son is not an early carrier.

In conclusion, I’m writing this article to let you know I’ve taken the appropriate steps to fully diagnose this disease and I’m proud it finally has a scientific name. RTTSAS is very serious and it’s currently being reviewed by the FDA. I am hopeful researchers will develop a pill, vaccine, or DUMPSTER very soon to help put us all out of our misery.

Shanisty Ireland RTTSAS

My weekend fridge findings….

I confronted my husband

Photographic Evidence #1 and step 1 toward intervention.

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Photographic Evidence #2 and husband’s denial.

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My genuine concern for his wellbeing.

“You have your hands full.” Five words I hear almost daily. From the post man. From the grocery store cashier. From a passer-by at the park. I always look down at my entourage and say, “Sure do. Full hands. Full heart.”

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, our son was only 8 months old. I was a little embarrassed. “How did THIS happen?” They warned me not to drink the water. But there I was standing in our kitchen, with a baby on my hip and a pee stick in my hand.

There was no Pinterest-y type announcement. No “surprise, honey! We’re going to be blessed with another child.” I legit waved that pee stick in the air and went, “What the hell are we gonna do now?!” We had just put our house on the market, I had accepted a new job in a new state, annnnnd we’re going to have a baby 16 months after our son was born. Brilliant.

When our daughter came into our lives, everything changed. I no longer wanted to work full time. I wanted to take a lesser role or stay home. Partially because I was so in love with my kids, partially because they were a ton of work.

Guys, I’m going to be completely honest with you. I like and I strongly dislike having my 3 kids so close in age. Here are the 10 reasons why:

1. Playing: 

Like: they play so well together. Since the older two are practically Irish twins, they have the same interests and enjoy the same things.

Dislike: because they are practically Irish Twins they fight and cry and whine like cats in heat.

2. Milestones:

Like: they reach milestones at the same time.

Dislike: because they reach said milestones at the same time, I’ve been changing diapers for half a decade.

3. Vacations and trips

Like: They all 3 enjoy the same activities while we’re out of town. So we don’t have one kid going here and another kid staying in.

Dislike: They’re still at an age where travel (especially in the car) is hella hard. I mean REALLY hard.

4. I have an excuse and “me” time

Like: I now have a legitimate reason for canceling plans. Or skipping things. Or going to bed at 8:00. I’m not saying I enjoy canceling plans, in fact, even with 3 small children I rarely do cancel….but when I do, people understand.

Dislike: I don’t have much free time. Scratch that, I don’t have any free time. Sure I get a girl’s night out with my mom to get our nails done or a dinner with friends, but it’s few and far between.

5. Shopping and outings

Like: Weird as it may seem, I actually really enjoy shopping with them because it’s hilarious. They talk about the most random things and I truly believe taking them on these outings helps them with manners, behavior, and socialization with adults beyond mom and dad.

Dislike: One tantrum can ruin an entire afternoon’s plans. 5 trips to the public restroom is enough to send me to the loony bin. Shopping with them is fun, adventurous and stressful at the same time. If I have a glass of wine at 4:00 after an all day outing, do not judge me.

6. School

Like: my older two are only a year apart, so they’ll enjoy preschool, elementary, middle and high school together. My first-born and third child are 3 years apart, so when my oldest is a senior, my youngest will be a freshman…which is kind of cool.

Dislike: fast forward 20 years and we’ll have 3 kids in college at the same time. So long retirement!

7. Their Friends

Like: they may have the same friends in school, or at least siblings of the same friends.

Dislike: sleepovers and drama. I’m already terrified for those awkward middle school years when my oldest’s friends may have a crush on my daughter, or vice verse. Can I just take an extended trip to the beach during middle school?!

8. Sleep schedules

Like: they’re on the same sleep schedules. My older 2 don’t nap, but they go to bed at the same time. My oldest wakes up every morning at 7 on the dot, but he does his own thing in the morning and doesn’t wake anyone up. Which is AWESOME.

Dislike: Buuuuut, it’s taken us 5 years to get here. I haven’t slept in 5 years. On the same subject, I also haven’t gone to the bathroom or showered alone since October. True story.

9. Built-in Best Friends

Like: I didn’t have siblings, so my friends and cousins were the closest things I had to a brother or sister. My kids have each other. Through thick and thin.

Dislike: I’ve been warned they won’t always love each other like they do. I know these moments of being best friends may be fleeting, but I can honestly say for now they love each other with all of their hearts and it literally melts mine.

10. Speaking of My Heart… 

Love: I never in a million years thought my heart could grow at such a rapid rate for these little rug rats. They stress me out, they exhaust me, they stretch my patience to limits I didn’t know existed. And just when I think I can’t possibly take anymore, the sun rises and I find a million new reasons why I love them like I do.

Enough said.

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