Easter is already next weekend which means Mother’s Day is right around the corner. It’s hard to believe how fast spring is moving along this year.

As a child, I always struggled with picking out the perfect gift for my mom and usually settled on a trip to the nursery to help her plant her yearly flower pots. It was something meaningful to her and it shaped years of memories for me. We always chose experiences over presents.

Now that I’m a mom of 3 (almost 4!) my husband seems to struggle with the same problem and usually just asks me what I’d like for Mother’s Day. If you’re reading this and searching for a wonderful gift this year that will surprise mom and tell her how much she means to the family, I may have an unique idea for you!

I recently stumbled upon an awesome company called PatronArt. PatronArt is on a mission to make original and commissioned art accessible to everyone while helping independent artists thrive. PatronArt was built to connect talented artists with passionate art buyers, and make original art accessible to everyone. Their online concept is simple and inviting as it always helps hard-working artists thrive by purchasing their original pieces of art.

A commissioned piece of art would be an amazing gift idea for mom this year! It sort of combines the present and experience idea I always struggled with for my own mother. PatronArt makes it really easy to get in contact with the perfect artist to make your mom’s masterpiece come to life. Turn your mother’s photo into a beautiful custom artwork through PatronArt as hundreds of independent artists are ready to create that once in a lifetime gift for mom.

We all know mom deserves the best this year, so treat her to a thoughtful, creative Mother’s Day gift she’ll cherish forever!

*This post was sponsored by PatronArt, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Mother’s Day gift she’ll cherish forever.

A new baby is such an exciting time for the entire family. My older two children were 3 and 2 years old when Adam was born, so while they may not have fully understood the entire pregnancy journey… they were thrilled to have a new sibling coming home from the hospital!

Adam was born full-term and weighed a whopping 9 lbs. 8 oz. at birth. We thought everything with him was perfectly normal, until he was diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) at 6 weeks old.

It was a terrifying time for our entire family as Adam was admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for several days. He was hooked up to breathing machines and oxygen as he fought for his little life.

During that time, Luke and Eden didn’t visit him at the hospital. We made that decision because we knew Adam would be coming home soon and seeing him in the hospital would be such a difficult thing to explain to them. I fully understand that is not reality for all families, as the older children will spend a lot of time in the ICU or NICU.

Many of the questions we were faced with: Why is our baby brother in the hospital again? What’s wrong with him? When will he come home? When can we hold him again? Am I as important as the baby?

I wish there was a simple way to explain what was happening to Adam, but my husband and I had to rely on simple conversation to try to answer their questions to our best ability.

I recently attended a summit with the National Coalition for Infant Health in Washington, DC where parents, physicians, researchers and other advocates gathered to discuss all aspects of infant health. A lot of the conversations spotlighted preemies and what life is like in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

It’s at this summit that I learned about a wonderful organization that is working hard on providing resources for families, teachers and parenting professions. Platypus Media‘s goals are relatively simple. They are educating adults and children about the world around them. They publish books that foster warmth, closeness, literacy, curiosity, and an openness to other cultures. Specifically, they have two products to support siblings of children in the NICU–both are coloring books, a format that keeps young kids involved while they learn. One of the coloring books my children love: Come Home Soon Baby Brother/Sister!

The coloring book does a fantastic job explaining to older siblings why their baby brother or sister is in the NICU. The short story follows an older sibling’s journey at the hospital as he explains to the reader what is happening to his baby brother/sister. The child then encourages the reader to draw a picture of him/her for the baby at the NICU. It challenges the reader to think outside of the box and focus on the health and safety of their baby sibling. It’s also important for the older children to know they are just as important and just as loved as the sick baby, even though mom and dad are spending a lot of time at the hospital.

I really wish I had these coloring books when Adam was in the ICU at Children’s Hospital. Even though the books focus on the NICU, I think they are extremely valuable resources for any family with a small child in the hospital.

You can purchase any of Platypus’s Books on their website, here! They are also available in Spanish.

*The post is sponsored by Platypus Media. All opinions are my own.*

Come Home Soon, Baby Brother! (Platypus Media)

Dear Luke, 

You are the one who made me a mother 6 years ago today. I can say with complete honesty, it is my favorite job and greatest adventure. 

Now, where do I begin with you? 

Luke, you are a very very special child. Of course, all mothers think that about their children…but there is something truly unique about you. There is not a jealous bone in your body. Sure, you rival with your sister as siblings tend to do, but at the end of the day you just want to make her happy. Sometimes you get in trouble for doing something for her, it makes you cry and you’ll say to me: “Mommy, I was just trying to make Eden happy.” You would fall on a sword for her and it makes my mama heart melt. 

You don’t like being the center of attention, but oftentimes you are. You are loud, and hilarious. The imaginary games you come up with amaze me. You and your siblings have a basement full of toys, but you’d rather create a scavenger hunt for your brother and sister or battle it out on a board game. Gosh, do you L O V E board games. 

Speaking of games, sports are your passion. Since this letter is a way to brag on you, son… you’re pretty darn good at them too. You started hockey this year. Your favorite sports are still golf, baseball, hockey and soccer, but if we’re being completely honest there isn’t a sport you don’t enjoy. 

Some mornings you wake up before me and rewatch Alabama football games or the Golf Channel. You love Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar. Matt gave you a high-five once… you like to remind us of this fun fact often. 

Luke, you are smart. You learned to read this year in Kindergarten, and you have mastered math. You are obsessed with math. If I’m being completely honest here, I don’t enjoy math so you are going to need to be patient with me. You like to tell me 43+2 is 45, but also 44+1 is 45 and also 40+5 is 45. It amazes you that so many numbers can have the same solution. Santa brought you an additional and subtraction calculator for Christmas, you take it everywhere with you. 

Luke, you love learning about the human body. You had a hospital stay at Nationwide Children’s earlier this fall for your respiratory issues, and actually really enjoyed your stay. You asked the doctors and nurses 5,938 questions and wanted to absorb every single moment there. You recently hit your hand on the table by accident and said to me: “Mommy, did you know that I just hit my hand and I could see the blue blood in my veins? It’s actually always red, but it looks blue. Did you know the blood is working hard to circulate back to my heart.” My jaw dropped, you want to become a doctor at Children’s Hospital and I don’t doubt you for one second. 

Luke, you are so caring and inclusive of your friends. Your teacher shared a story with me this school year that made me cry. At the end of the day you like to have the class sit in a circle to play “rock, paper, scissors” once you lose you like to pick a friend who is being a good listener. This child is usually one who hasn’t been included in many activities for the day. It’s important to you that everyone is included. You are extremely sensitive to that.

We watched Prancer this holiday season. A simple 80s flick about a girl and Santa’s reindeer. You came over to me and told me you wanted to shut the movie off. I asked why? You told me you didn’t like the way the little girl was disrespecting her father. As I mentioned… extremely sensitive.  

Luke, you love to make people laugh. You adore your sister and brother. You love listening to music and dancing. You love Star Wars and LEGOs. You love the Columbus Blue Jackets. You love learning about geography and historical figures. You love eating at Bibibop and you think the Rusty Bucket is the nicest restaurant in the world.

I can’t believe you are 6, but I also love that you are 6. You are learning and growing and becoming such a wonderful young man. I could sit here and write a complete novel with stories and accomplishments, but I know it would continue to embarrass you. 

Luke, you are the greatest leader and set such a remarkable example for your siblings. You make us so proud. You make us so happy. You made us a mommy & daddy, and for that we are forever grateful. 

Happy 6th Birthday, Luke Myers.

Love, 

Mom

Do you remember that Tim McGraw song, Angry All the Time? Even if you’re not a country fan, it’s a great song with a powerful meaning. Some suggest the wife in the song became an alcoholic and her husband couldn’t live with the disease any longer. However, I believe it’s a story of a husband and wife who raised their children and simply grew apart. Perhaps due to guilt, anger and frustration. Perhaps due to mental illness. Perhaps due to life.

I heard that song again recently and I cried. Like big, fat, ugly, can’t stop tears. I do not want to be that wife. I do not want to have that life. I do not want to be angry all the time.

Present day, I’m sitting on the couch in our living room.

My 5-year old is begging for attention in new ways. His dad is working a lot, so he’s entered this “feel sorry for me phase” because he wants me to coddle him. It’s challenging.

My 3-year old is begging for attention in her same temper tantrum ways. The tantrums are lasting longer and getting louder.

My 1-year old is weaning. He also has a bacterial infection in his eye and an ear infection. My boobs feel like bruised beached whales and it hurts to hold him but he’s begging for my attention by crying louder and louder.

Suddenly, I screamed. At the top of my lungs. As loud as I possibly could. I didn’t say anything, I just screamed. Louder than my 3-year old and louder than my crying baby which is impressive. I’m crying as I type this out of embarrassment. Also, my throat hurts. I’m not even kidding. I screamed that loud.

Let’s assess:

  1. I realize I probably need help with childcare. But that’s just not an option for us right now.
  2. I realize the kids probably need their dad to be home more. But we are going through a season, and that’s just not an option for us right now.
  3. I realize I definitely need a break. I get small ones, but a long break is just not an option for us right now.

I do not consider myself an angry person. I’m actually quite bubbly and funny… at least I think I am. I also do not consider myself type-A either. I think I have a pretty good ability to go-with-the-flow when things don’t work out. But there are trigger moments throughout my day that make me want to scream, and this week…I did.

I am sharing them with you for two reasons.

  • I want to be held accountable for the changes I am about to undergo as I seek a happier mom life.
  • Perhaps, you can relate. I realized recently I sometimes am an angry mom because I started to feel it from the kids. My 5-year old will say things, like “Are you mad, mommy?” “I’m scared to tell you what happened.” or “Can you just smile?” That last one rips my heart, soul and gut out. He knows it brings an immediate smile to my face so he uses it frequently…but he shouldn’t have to.

Here are some reasons I get angry. The first step is to admit your faults, so I can work toward being a less angry mama:

  1. They don’t listen to me. If you’re going to judge me, go elsewhere. I don’t need it. I instill discipline with them, but sometimes that makes me feel even angrier or meaner, so it’s something I struggle with. My husband tells me they don’t respect me. That hurts. But he’s also rarely here. Don’t judge him either. He’s working toward something for our family like millions of Americans are doing.
  2. My expectations are too high. Oh, this is especially true with my oldest. Almost every single day I get frustrated with him for one reason or another and I quite literally have to step back and say: “he’s only 5.” I was an only child, so while my parent’s expectations were also high, I was also their only child so all attention was on me.
  3. It’s hard for me to put myself in their shoes. But, I’m trying. I’m reading books like Siblings Without Rivalries to better understand how their brains work. I didn’t have siblings, so it’s hard for me to relate. I’m not using this as an excuse, but there are many times I completely forget they are just babies. These children are my life, my best friends, my entourage, my hood-rats….I often forget they are also just little kids.
  4. I have guilt. We all do. Whether we work from home, work away from home, don’t work at all, etc. But my guilt lies at the end of the day. When they are all tucked into bed. I feel guilty for my frustrated I LOVE YOU TOO! when they say goodnight to me for the 37th time. Recently, my husband was a little frustrated with how the nighttime routine was being prolonged and I overheard him get stern with our 5-year-old. I waited about 5 minutes and went upstairs and my son was sobbing, and my heart shattered. NEVER EVER EVER do I EVER want to put my children to bed scared, sad or mad. I understand some life un-expectancies are inevitable, but not something like this. My husband didn’t even realize there was a harshness in his tone. He joined me in our son’s room shortly after and laid with our son in bed all night long.
  5. I need an outlet. We all do! Whether it’s a night out with friends, or reading a book and a bubble bath…we all need an outlet to let go of our anger so it doesn’t boil over on our children. For me, it’s this blog. It’s the words you are reading right now. The truth. The rawness. The embarrassment. The hardcore facts of our life full of challenges and triumphs.

So back to the couch…

After a screamed, all the kids looked up at me like baby deer in headlights. They were scared, and they didn’t know what to do. So I laughed. I laughed so hard my bruised, beached whale boobs were throbbing. And you know what? They started laughing too. We all sat there for about 5 minutes making each other laugh louder than the next, and it was genuine. It was 100% true love.

Smile. Laugh. Hold them. Take a deep breath. Breathe them in. These days are fleeting, and I refuse to let them remember me as an angry mama.

It's alright mama, I'm angry too.

It’s alright mama, I’m angry too.

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Dear Husband,

It’s that time of year again. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I’m sure you’re scrambling, last-minute to come up with something really special for the woman in your life. You know, the one who takes care of you, your children, your household, without thinking of herself. Yes, that amazing lady in your life will be celebrated tomorrow and you’re probably thinking….. crap! I procrastinated, again.

Fear not, dear husbands. Because I have the most epic solution for you. In fact, you will be a hero … dare I say legendary … if you follow my free advice.

Are you ready for it?

Just leave your wife the hell alone.

That goes for your children too. Tell them to get lost.

Brutal? Perhaps. Stunning? Maybe. Confused? Probably.

Allow me to spell it out for you. I’m not trying to talk down to you the way I speak with my 1-year-old, I just want to make sure I paint this picture clearly.

Here are 15 reasons why Moms want to be left the hell alone on Mother’s Day.

  1. Moms want to use the bathroom in peace.
  2. Moms want to not have to make 5 different breakfasts, only to clean up and make way for lunch.
  3. Moms don’t want to change diapers. News flash, I know.
  4. Moms want to watch a 1 hour Netflix show in less than 6 hours. That means no interruptions.
  5. Moms want to walk through the house without silently whispering to herself: WTF HAPPENED IN HERE!?
  6. Moms want to take a bubble bath without an audience.
  7. Moms might want to have a mimosa at 10 AM or a coke or whatever her potion.
  8. Moms don’t want to have to referee the screaming, hitting, fighting and whining.
  9. Moms want to go to Target without an entourage of hood rats running down the aisles, hiding in clothes racks, screaming at the top of their lungs about bodily functions. Moms want to go to Target A L O N E.
  10. Moms want a clean house. Sure, they may clean up the house the night before Mother’s Day but since you and the children are leaving her the hell alone she won’t have to pick up another Lego, Barbie shoe or your dirty smelly socks for the rest of the day.
  11. Moms want to lounge in their yoga pants without judgement. Or maybe a mom wants to get dressed up without the glaring eyes of a child followed by: “whoa! mom! you got dressed nice, where are we going?!”
  12. Moms want to binge on candy without hiding in the closet.
  13. Moms want to sleep. Not sleep like a baby, because moms know babies don’t sleep. Moms want to sleep like their husbands.
  14. Moms don’t want to have to spend 2.5 hours trying to get the kids to bed. Moms don’t like it when the “I love you too” sounds angry and frustrated.
  15. Moms don’t want to feel the guilt. That means if you’re going to give the lucky lady in your life this day of luxury, don’t make her feel as though she owes you until the kids are 18.

So there you have it, dear husband. The simplest, greatest gift you could give the amazing mom in your life. And think of it this way, you and the children can enjoy a wonderful day together. I’m sure the children will obey and not make crazy demands and not fight and not scream and be the perfect little angels that they are.

After all, mom knows best.

mother's day

Happy Mother’s Day!