5 “Annoying” Things to Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is pretty much here, and while we all dream of stuffing our faces with delicious turkey and all the fixings, we also remember that it’s a day of giving thanks. It’s easy to give thanks on this one day, designated specifically for it, but much tougher to feel thankful on a daily basis. It’s also easy to give thanks for all the big stuff that we normally take for granted: our family, our friends, food, shelter, good health. But here’s the hard part: giving thanks for the gripes.

When I was pregnant, I was more mindful of appreciating the little things that I think most women would complain about. For example, every morning when I woke up with extreme nausea, I pumped my fists in glee because it was an indication that I was still pregnant. Or when I was 38 weeks along, I  didn’t mind that my belly looked big enough to carry twins, or that my feet looked like blown up gloves instead of feet. I was in no rush to give birth because I had a baby moving around in there, and I enjoyed being able to feel him growing inside me (I most enjoyed the hiccups!). I felt so lucky to be able to experience all of that, especially after having miscarried previously. All of the discomfort was temporary, and meant that my life was changing for the better.

As a mother, sometimes I get so caught up in life now that I don’t have that same mindfulness that I did when I was pregnant. There’s so much more to have to think about and do when your kid is outside in the world rather than safely nestled in your belly. There’s taking care of a tiny human (who now has a mind of his own!), and work, and household chores, and getting dinner ready, and squeezing in some “me” time. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming and I end up exhausted, annoyed, and not in an entirely grateful mood.

Except, when I think about it all (and I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently), a lot of the stuff I get annoyed by and complain about, are things I should really be grateful for. Thus I present to you:

5 “Annoying” Things I’m Thankful For

1. Being tired.
I wake up at 530 am almost every morning, and essentially am non stop doing something until well into the night. If I’m lucky, I can get in bed by midnight. Coffee is a good friend to me in the mornings, and I practically fall into bed when it’s time to go to sleep. I maybe grumble about being tired at least once every day. BUT. I wake up at 530 am every weekday morning because I go to a 630 am fitness class. I get to take that time for myself to exercise with my friends while husband takes care of getting Bash ready for school. This time to myself is a luxury and it keeps me sane! I’ll take exhaustion over insanity any day.

2. Having too many things to do.
A few months ago, I got a goal calendar to keep better track of my seemingly never ending to-do list. Sometimes (a lot of times), this list can seem so daunting, and I get frustrated to have so much stuff on my list with not enough time to get everything done. But after some thought, a lot of the things on my list are things I love to do, or are things that I do for people I care about. I’m so thankful that I have a life like mine where I can do all these things I like to do (like work out with friends and learn ukulele), and people I love who appreciate the things I do for them (like do laundry or make dinner or bake cookies).

3. Gaining and losing the same 5 lbs.
For the last 6 months or so, I’ve gained and lost the same 5lbs. It’s been a never ending cycle, likely due to my love/hate relationship with sugar and carbs. And yet, I’ve forgotten to be kind to myself. This body gained 70 lbs while pregnant (and only 8 of those were the baby), and then it birthed this beautiful baby boy. It then walked, and jogged, and squatted, and lunged and pushed several times a week every week for the last 3 years and lost almost 80lbs since giving birth. To fret over 5lbs is ridiculous. It’s a blip in the grand scheme of things, especially after all the amazing things my body has accomplished.

4. Bash calling out in the middle of the night.
Most nights, Bash is so tired  from school that he knocks out pretty instantly. But some nights, he will stay up way past his bedtime, beckoning for us to come to him. As Bash grows, so does his imagination. In the dark, alone, after we’ve read bedtime stories and sung songs, sometimes, his mind seems to imagine all sorts of things to scare him. And so, he calls out to us. A lot. “Mom! Dad! I need you!!” “Mommy! Will you do your work really fast and then come in and hold my hand?” These are phrases that repeat a few times over the course of the night, and sometimes I get frustrated and lose patience. But then I remember that this kid needs us. He loves us so much, and having us with him is his greatest comfort. Imagine being the one thing in the entire world that can make a person feel better. This won’t last forever, but while it does, it is amazing.

5. Bash’s forgetfulness.
My kid normally has an amazing memory. As in, he’s remembered the code to the iPad after having just shown him once. He remembers when people do nice things for him, or give him gifts. He even remembers a lot of the sign language they teach him in school. He’s like a sponge. Which is why it can be so exasperating when he forgets the things we tell him. Like he’ll forget that we told him not to do something, and then he will continue to do it. Or he’ll forget that we asked him to do something (like clean up his toys) because he got caught up in doing something else. I am a little embarrassed to admit that while I don’t like to, I sometimes I lose my temper and scold him for forgetting what I’ve told him, because then I have to constantly repeat things (which I hate!). But the thing is, this type of forgetfulness is one of his greatest strengths, and something I am actually really grateful for, because despite his excellent memory, he very quickly forgets those times I’ve put him in time out, or when I’ve scolded him. A simple “I’m sorry for getting mad,” elicits a quick, “that’s okay!” with a kiss and a hug, and then he’s off to play! That he never remembers to hold a grudge is something I’m truly thankful for, and a quality I hope he continues to have as he grows.

It can be so easy for me to find something to complain about, but going forward, I want to spend more time being more appreciative of the life I have. I know that I am truly lucky with a wonderful family, good friends, and a comfortable life, but I also want to cherish even the  less obvious stuff that may not seem so awesome.

What gripes can you think of to be thankful for? Sound off in the comments below!


The Best Kept Secret In Parenting A Toddler

Some parents love and look forward to when their kids get older. It means they are more independent, and more expressive, so they can essentially entertain themselves and also tell you what they want using actual words.

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed when my son Bash was a baby. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with now too, but before he could crawl or roll over, I could leave him under his little play gym for a few minutes without worrying he would go anywhere without me and possibly hurt himself. It was so much safer! Not to mention, when he cried, there were only a handful of options as to what could possibly be wrong. He was basically either hungry, sleepy, lonely, or had a dirty diaper.

A toddler, on the other hand, is a whole new ball game. Suddenly, you have this little person, who has so many new thoughts and feelings that they haven’t quite figured out how to control yet. And if they can’t control themselves, how the hell are you going to try and reign them in??

The answer is likely going to be BRIBERY! I, like millions of other parents in the world, am not above bribing my kid to do something he probably wouldn’t ever think of wanting to do for himself. Say, for example, potty training. Some kids DO decide on their own to stop wearing diapers, but I think it’s safe to say most kids don’t. (My own mother claims I essentially just stopped wanting to wear diapers at 17 months, started going to the potty, and never looked back…I still don’t believe it!)

Potty training is pretty foreign to a kid when you first introduce it to them. Imagine you’ve gone your whole life, taking a dump in your diaper, and all of sudden, your parents want you to sit on a seat with a hole in it, and try to drop a deuce where it falls out of you, in mid air into this pool of water? And then you push a button and it magically disappears down another smaller hole?? Inconceivable. You can imagine that it might take some time for a kid to get used to the idea. It could take a few days, weeks, or months even! Oh god, months??? No one has time for that!

Well, I have good news! You can significantly cut down the amount of time it takes to train your kid simply by bribing them to do it! Wanna hear even greater news? Here is, what I feel is the best kept secret to parenting a toddler: your secret weapon is STICKERS. Toddlers don’t need to be bribed with large things. You don’t need to bribe your kid with toys, or trips to the ice cream store or to McDonalds every single time you want them to go potty. You simply post a chart, and you give them a sticker to reinforce their behavior. They fricking LOVE stickers and it NEVER gets old.

Toddler jackpot!! Be sure you keep them hidden though!

We did it with Bash when we started potty training and he was fully trained in 3 days.

We also do it every time we have to re-train him to sleep in his own bed after he’s spent some time sleeping in our own bed because he was sick or we were on vacation.

I love stickers because not only are they relatively inexpensive, but kids are generally not sticker snobs and are genuinely excited receiving stickers. Getting stickers from Trader Joe’s is a treat, as is getting generic stickers at school from the security guards. With Bash, he gets super pumped about if we use “special stickers” for his chart. (Those are usually Star Wars stickers, or Avengers stickers, or some other character stickers that are too nice for me to allow him to stick on a piece of paper willy-nilly.) Those stickers ARE the reward. It may sound silly to those of us who have been in the world long enough to know that there might be better rewards out there, but I have never met a toddler who would ever say no to getting a sticker. In addition, stickers on a chart are tangible proof of a child’s accomplishments. You can instill a sense of pride in your kid for being so consistent by showing them all the times they did something good, which will then also positively reinforce the good habits you’re working on with them.

Aside from using as a training tool on a chart, they’re also great for distractions. Bash will happily spend some alone time sticking stickers on a piece of paper and making what he calls “a masterpiece.” A couple of good friends of ours have also tapped into the sticker love and given him a bunch of sticker activity books, which he absolutely loves doing. At the doctor, he had to get shots, and he started tearing up, and immediately stopped once the doctor offered him a sticker. Bash’s babysitter won him over very quickly just for bringing a sheet of happy face stickers. Stickers are so powerful!

They are your be-all and end-all.

If you want to potty train your kid: use stickers!

If you want to coax your kid into sleeping in his own bed: use stickers!

If you want to start giving your kid small chores: use stickers!

If you want 5-10 minutes of quiet time: use stickers!

If your kid is crying and you just want him to stop because it’s giving you a headache: use stickers!

When in doubt, USE STICKERS!

Do you use stickers for your toddler? What works for you? Sound off in the comments!



Joining the Club

Almost four years ago, I peed on a stick at 5 in the morning, and when that fateful plus sign showed up in the window telling me I was pregnant, I had unofficially joined The Club. You know, the Mommy Club. At least, I mark that moment as when I technically joined. My membership has been confirmed over and over again with each new milestone from that point on: the first time I saw my son’s heartbeat; the first time I felt him move in my belly; the day my husband and I found out we were having a son and not a daughter and needed to come up with a boy’s name since we only had girls’ names picked out; the day I started washing all the teeny tiny clothes and socks in anticipation of this kid’s pending arrival; the day I walked into the hospital and 72 hours later, gingerly walked out holding a tiny human. My son is 3 years old now, and there is no denying it: I am a legitimate mom. From now until forever, I will be in the Mommy Club and there is no getting out. (Not that I’d ever want to!)

Initiation complete!

Being a mom isn’t all I am; I WAS a fully formed person before I became a mom. I still love reading books from the YA section at the library, crafting random things if I can’t find exactly what I want in stores, going out for walks in the city just for the sake of walking, and finding good food to eat. That person is still there, but being a mom is a huge part of who I am now. It kind of has to be, since I’ve been with my kid roughly 95% of the time since the day he was born. In short, I’m just a lady, who moms a lot. 🙂

For the last three years, I’ve been able to stay at home while also employed at a company that lets me work remotely. It’s been awesome because not only is daycare in New York City ridiculously expensive, but I have been able to spend a LOT of time with my son. I feel really lucky that I’ve been able to do this, but being at home all the time means I don’t interact with a lot of people, and it can get a little lonely to find other people to connect with. Maybe this blog can help me, and maybe it can help you, dear reader (readers? I hope there will be more than just one of you!). I’d love to be able to share some of my thoughts and experiences on life (as a lady and as a parent), as well as some insights, tips, and tricks I’ve learned along the way! I’d also love to hear from any ladies in this lovely, crazy club with me ! Let’s celebrate, let’s commiserate, let’s discuss anything and everything!

Here’s to a future of happy beginnings!