The 10 Gifts Mom Bloggers Really Want For Christmas

 

Gifts, Christmas, Mom bloggers

As moms and as bloggers, there are plenty of things that run through our mind. Many of which get an “Oh, wouldn’t that be nice” and are promptly filed away in our brain as unattainable and forgotten. Well, I think it’s time to do what we do best: compile a list. This list, specifically, consists of all the things we really want for Christmas. And if anyone reading it is able to make it happen, I’d call you Santa, I’d call you Saint Nicholas… honestly, I’d call you anything you want.

Canva

So, if you’re curious what the mom bloggers in your life actually want for Christmas, check out this list:

  1. Canva to have an app for phones. If you haven’t used or heard of Canva to create your designs, pull your head out from under a rock and check it out! It’s such a simple and quality way to create awesome images for your posts and they have so many free options. There’s also the option to purchase some designs for $1. Either way, it’s a win, and if I could access it on my phone, I would be unstoppable via mobile. You can be happy that I did receive the response in the photo above from Canva when posting this request via Twitter. Click on the photo to go to their suggest-an-idea page and suggest it!
  2. The ability to schedule texts. As a blogger and social media manager, I’ve gotten in the habit of scheduling E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I make calendars for content an entire month in advance. I schedule posts weeks in advance. I schedule social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) posts days in advance. Basically, the second I think of something, I either set a reminder in a calendar or schedule it. Otherwise, there’s a certainty possibility I’ll forget. Lately, I think of a text I want to send someone but it’s either too late or not appropriate at the moment and all I want is the ability to schedule the text ahead of time like I would a reminder or a post.
  3. A tool that will preschedule across ALL social media platforms. No, it doesn’t openly exist yet. And you know what? I’d even be willing to pay for it. I said it. I would pay money for a tool that allowed me to schedule my posts across every single one of my social media platforms. I’m so tired of going from tab to tab and app to app to schedule posts to all of my platforms because there’s no tool that encompasses any and all platforms I want to promote on. Come on, creators! It’s almost 2016, and it’s time we have the option readily available. Bonus points if this tool includes tracking, statistics and engagement charts.
  4. The ability to “like” as much as we want on Facebook without receiving the infamous like ban. I’m a social person. I run both my blog and a growing company’s social media sites. I “like” things A LOT. And although I have strategically avoided the dreaded like ban, I think there needs to be some appeal process in place that allows those of us with legitimate promotional marketing strategies to heighten our “like” quota, within reason.
  5. A discount on Adobe–InDesign or Photoshop, specifically–products. Students and teachers get discounts. They get HUGE discounts, as a matter of fact (60% to be exact). And you know what? I’ll be damned if moms who blog don’t deserve a discount too.
  6. A photography class. Seriously, if there’s one thing on this list YOU as the reader can legitimately buy the mom blogger in your life, it’s a photography class at your local college or studio. Get on Groupon or just skim over some local college websites, and if they’re offering a beginner or general photography class, we would be so impressed with the person who gifted it to us. It’s something we all want to improve upon but one of the last things on our list to invest in.
  7. A photogenic house. Yes, the messiness is great for the posts where we reach out to other parents who deal with crazy children who are also terrorizing lives and homes, but once in a great while, it would be nice to be able to snap a photo of a picture-perfect, decorated home. No toys, no laundry strewn throughout, no food splattered on all the surfaces. Maybe just hire me a cleaning service for a month. I can’t speak for all mom bloggers, but I promise you that I, personally, will not be offended.
  8. More time. There’s never enough of it. By the time we take care of our children, try to keep our house under control, fix a few meals, possibly work or run errands (and also attempt to create a coherent post), it’s 12:10 a.m. and we still haven’t had time to finish putting away laundry, respond to 1/3 of our texts or finish any of the other 99 errands/tasks we have left to complete.
  9. To not have our greatest ideas come to us in the shower or at 1 a.m. At some point in my life, I’m going to need to sleep more than three hours a night, and as long as my creative juices flow at 1 a.m. and my children awake anywhere between 5 and 7 a.m., that’s not a possibility. If you want to offer babysitting services from the moment our children wake up until around 9 or 10 a.m., we’d be forever grateful. A waterproof iPad case and suction cup display for the shower would also suffice because shower time is about the only other time we get to think coherent thoughts by ourselves, and even that is hit or miss.
  10. An appreciation. So many times, I think we’re ashamed to tell people what we do because most people really don’t understand. They think we write some stuff and press publish, but the reality is–just like any profession–we put a lot of effort into what we do. The content is one thing, but there’s also the research that goes into the content, creating images, promotion, interactions, emails, tracking statistics, finances, design, HTML, SEO, website specifics, ads and the list goes on. We’re essentially running our own business, and although it may be much more plausible than a single person running a large company by themselves, it’s still quite an undertaking. Just taking the time to think about and recognize that is much appreciated.

Whether you’re a mom blogger or not, what do you really want for Christmas this year? Comment below and tell everyone about it!

Might I also add, drinking a cup of coffee while it’s actually still hot would be nice, too, but I’m willing to overlook that for any of the ten above.

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Wading Through Motherhood

Just BreatheMelissa Matters - Wading Through Motherhood

There are so many words bouncing around in my head that it’s difficult to begin. But I vow to always begin and strive to finish strong, because if there’s anything the past couple weeks have taught me, it’s that sometimes the very best of us are gone, suddenly, leaving behind our most beautiful families and friends, completely shattered. And because that’s so, living life to its absolute fullest should never fall by the wayside.

So, I’ll put my thoughts down for you to devour and understand, in a way that I hope makes you live life a little fuller.

Whoever says you can’t develop friendships via social media isn’t doing it right.

Those were some very true words (maybe not verbatim) spoken by a wonderful blogger I originally “met” on Periscope.

I’m generally not the type of person who immediately enjoys something the first time I stumble upon it–it took me three-fourths of my college career to like my now husband, most of my adult life to acquire a taste for red wine and generally several plays of a new song on the radio to really appreciate it–but Sarah from Ruffles and Rain Boots is just one those people that I really enjoyed and related to from the first time I listened to her on Periscope.

One of the most powerful topics she brought up, shortly after Melissa Matter’s from Wading Through Motherhood passed, was that of developing relationships on social media.

Although I never had a chance to meet Melissa in person and although my interactions with her were strictly online, it was still such a shock and sadness that came over the community of bloggers and mothers I’m a part of as we found out the news.

That feeling is real. There is no question. And because I had the opportunity to connect with Melissa through her blog and through her platforms, I am so, endlessly, thankful.

She was a beautiful, kind, intelligent and caring person. And her blog brought happiness, helpfulness and a much-needed, relatable and kind outlet to so many.

Live life to the absolute fullest.

Because you truly never know how much time you may have. Since Melissa’s passing, I’ve been kicking myself for all of the little things I complain about and take advantage of. It’s selfish of me to waste the life I have left when so many deserving, beautiful individuals, mothers and/or wives, like Melissa, no longer have that opportunity.

Although there’s no way to change what’s happened, I truly believe we should learn from Melissa’s words: wade out into life and take advantage of every single opportunity because today, we still have that ability. And I refuse to let that go to waste.

Wading Through Motherhood.

Melissa’s writing was so beautiful and relatable. I would highly suggest you take a minute to go read some of her posts. I’d just recently gotten to know her and began reading her blog over the past year, and when she passed, I went to her blog and read back through all the archives I hadn’t seen before. I’m so glad I did.

I want to leave you with one of my favorites. It was her first. It’s simple, it’s comforting and it’s just so encapsulating, appropriate and bittersweet:

When I was about 16, we took a family trip to Hawaii. In Waikiki, the water was warm and shallow; I felt as if I could wade for miles through the clear water. It was then that I cut my ankle on some coral reef. Now, in my mid-30s, I still have a few faint scars on my ankle. The scars are a reminder of the fun I had that day but also remind me that even wonderful things have their drawbacks.

Motherhood is often like wading through unknown waters. You don’t always know what lies beneath the surface, however you keep going. One day, the water may be clear and warm. Other days, it may be frigid and rough. And, sometimes, you may get hurt or even scarred from a bad parenting experience.

Living in Southern California, I’m often wading through the shallows at the beach. My daughter is getting older and venturing out further into the ocean. My toddler son, still timid,  likes to splash in the wet, muddy sand. I love experiencing all these firsts with them. As I “wade” through motherhood with my children by my side, I realize there will be highs with the lows, just like the rise and fall of the tides.

May Melissa continue to wade and watch over her children as they venture out further into the ocean of life.

For those looking to extend a helping hand, a GoFundMe page is available here.

To the family of Melissa Matters, I am so deeply sorry. She is a beautiful soul. Please, continue to wade. 

5 Things to Stop Saying About the Crying Baby

5-Things-to-Stop-Saying

We’ve all gone out to eat or gotten on an airplane to see an adorable smiling baby, and before kids, our thoughts are generally somewhere along the lines of wondering if or when the crying will set in.

And that’s fine. As parents who were once child-free, we get it, but children are a part of this thing we call life. You were once a baby for crying out loud–pun intended–and if you don’t have the ability to civilly endure a couple minutes of noise from a tiny human being, life may get rough.

So, in an effort to help us all deal with it better, here are 5 things to stop saying about the crying baby:

Someone’s not happy. No, really? I think we can tell–there’s no reason to be that person who awkwardly brings up obvious things for forced laughter from everyone in earshot.

Why won’t he just stop crying? Oh, I’m sorry. Are you having to do anything but sit there and endure a little bit of noise while someone else struggles to find the actual reason their baby won’t stop crying and fix it in a huge, embarrassed huff because of people who are judging them like you? No, so just sit tight and it’ll pass in probably two minutes or less.

I hate going ______ and hearing crying babies. Well, then, cut your ears off or stay home because over 50% of Americans have kids (including your parents) and chances are they’ll always be in existence, probably wherever you go. Unless it’s the library or a rager at 3am, stop complaining.

I can’t believe she’s just letting her baby cry. Yes, because there’s a way to stop her baby from crying but she decided to just let her baby do it anyway, constantly, in public, so everyone would stare and judge. No, actually, probably just specifically to ruin a couple minutes of your precious time.

I feel so bad for them. No, no, don’t feel bad! All any of us parents want is for everyone to pay zero attention–whether that be judgement or pity–and continue on with whatever they’re doing like nothing’s happening. Like being flustered and worried about who’s annoyed isn’t enough, we don’t need your ‘oh, poor you’ looks unless you want to come over and offer a helping hand or kind words.

We’re raising the next generation’s society, and we know they can be annoying. Trust me, WE KNOW. But the annoyance of cliché, overused comments from grown adults is preventable. Help us out. Come up with more creative ways to dis our crying babies. Or at least wait until you get home to complain!

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5 Things That Are (Mommy Needs A) Break-ing Mommy

Breaking Habits

Throughout the week, I find the words “mommy needs a break” popping into my head–oh–about every hour. And I often turn to the same comforts, vices, what have you, when I do find the opportunity to take a break.

On one hand, I think what mommy really needs is a break from my breaks, because the things I’m turning to really aren’t that beneficial in the long run.

On the other hand, I know and often sometimes do many of the things I need to be ultimately, big-picture happier and healthier, but I also just want my breaks to be legitimate, mindless, indulgent breaks.

In the words of One Republic, “Every thing that kills me makes me feel alive.” And here are the 5 major things that are breaking mommy.

Staying up late. Lately, I’ve seen a quote circulating around Facebook that reads, “I’m so tired but I’ll probably be awake until 3 a.m. for no reason,” and I couldn’t relate more. Every morning I’d beat myself over the head for staying up so late if I wasn’t so exhausted, and every morning I swear tonight will be the night I go to bed early. Yet, every night 1 a.m. rolls around, and there I am, wide awake, doing absolutely nothing.

Drinking caffeine. Hello coffee, goodbye control. As much as I love my coffee, I must admit it’s become a vicious cycle that leaves me in dire need of more energy and leads me to adding another cup to my daily regimen. I feel like I can conquer the world … until I need another cup of coffee. I think I also just figured out why I stay up until 3 a.m. “for no reason.”

Drinking alcohol. And if I’m being honest with myself: yes, that still includes red wine. It shouldn’t because the doctor prescribes some people a glass of red wine before bed, but in reality, that was not a prescription I received, and even so, that glass shouldn’t equal half the wine bottle. It does counteract the caffeine though, so cheers!

Being a foodie. That’s actually FOODie, with a capital F-O-O-D. I love eating, making and trying all kinds of food. It’s what I do when I’m bored. It’s what I do when I’m celebrating. It’s what I do when I’m with family. It’s what I do when I’m PMSing. And least importantly, it’s what I do when I’m hungry. I swear, I’m going to eat healthy starting tomorrow…

Keeping up with the Kardashians. No, I don’t actually keep up with the Kardashians [insert overrated, cliché, judgmental, disgusted noise here]. I do, however, love keeping up with the latest gossip, news(feeds) and of course, all of my favorite t.v. shows. Does all of it really matter? No. Does it take precious time away from all the other things I could be doing i.e. productiveness and ability to change the world and better myself as a human being? Yes. But the next episode starts in 15 seconds and the remote is just so far away. I’ll stop tomorrow.

 

 

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10 sentences that perfectly describe being a stay-at-home parent

Stay at Home Parents

Photo courtesy of Flickr’s drinks machine.

1. You almost literally spend your entire day picking up, cleaning and washing clothes, but at the end of the day, for the life of you, you cannot explain how your house looks the exact same as it did that morning.

2. Someone comes to the door unannounced and you can guarantee they assume you’re a lazy so-and-so who’s spending the day on the couch and hasn’t washed anyone or cleaned anything in weeks.

3. That stain … everywhere.

4. What’s that smell?

5. You’ve almost completed a task uninterrupted, you realize it seconds before finishing, panic and quickly locate each child.

6. Is it nap time yet?

7. You see there are truly similarities between parenting and partying: cleaning up children’s–or grown children’s–vomit, being so tired–or recreational–that colors make sound, staying up until 1am every night and knowing half of the people around you only like you for your boobs.

8. People ask you to hang out when they’re off work and you’ve stopped feeling bad when you say ‘no,’ because, well, you’re never really off work.

9.You can honestly say you’ve held deep, intellectual conversations about poop.

10. Is it bedtime yet?

 

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What Moms Actually Want for Mother’s Day

I hate to say it but to be completely honest, the thing most moms want for Mother’s Day is to not be a mom for a day. Lucky for you–who’s reading this hoping to find legitimate Mother’s Day ideas and maybe some laughter … but complete seriousness–that generally will cost you nothing, monetarily.

1. To sleep in. And by sleep in, I don’t mean mom kicks dad when the baby wakes and dad goes to get the baby. I mean mom doesn’t even hear a baby wake up and doesn’t wake up, herself, until her body naturally wakes her up. This also means that breakfast in bed comes after mom’s already awake.

2. To cause dad pain. Most of us moms would gladly settle for the satisfaction and awesomeness of watching dad go through labor too.

3. To not clean anything. And that doesn’t mean the house just doesn’t get cleaned again until after Mother’s day. That means mom is not the one cleaning it.

4. To not cook anything. Once again, that doesn’t mean everyone starves for the day–just that mom’s not the one preparing food.

5. To be cuddled. By either the kid(s) or the husband. This means no talking, no expectations, no rolling of the eyes. Just cuddling, dammit.

6. To eat whatever we want to eat. With no judgment.

7. To not go on a family outing. The effort and idea is sweet, but I think I speak for most moms when I tell you that a family outing may be enjoyable but they are not relaxing. And they are not about mom.

8. To just be alone. I think most moms wouldn’t be one bit upset if dad scooped up the kids and took them far, far away for a day. Like a whole day–not just a couple hours.

9. To be pampered. Massages, hair cuts, mani/pedis, even just a long, hot shower–it’s all fair game. And it’s a glorious, rare treat.

10. To not even see a diaper or children’s potty. Because, moms everywhere would like just one day where the words, “Did you poop yet?” or “Ew” do not come out of our mouth at all.

This post is most relevant to Mother’s Day but is also valid for a birthday, anniversary, Christmas and Valentine’s Day too. Moms, anything you’d like to add?

 

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12 Things That Make Me Want To Go All ‘The Slap’ On Kids

Okay, don’t sue me or start the comment attack just yet. I’m obviously exaggerating about slapping children, but some things, they just hit all the buttons.

SONY DSC

Photo courtesy of Jake Davis via Flickr Creative Commons.

As parents, sitters, people who have observed the species called children from across the room, we’ve all seen kids who do things that can only merit the response of “What the actual frick?!” It happens, and although kids’ logic is brilliant at times, it’s completely nonexistent at others.

So, as I was going through my life with kids as of late, I decided to compile a list of all the things little ones around me were doing that made me want to drop the spaghetti bowl and throw my hands up in the air. I’m sure just about every parent can relate to at least one … or 12 of these.

1. “I don’t like peanut butter with peanuts in it.”

REALLY, kid? Newsflash, peanut butter is made from peanuts.

2. “I don’t like green noodles.”
But you like the white and red ones? Hmm, that’s odd because THEY’RE THE SAME THING!

3. Child 1 plays contently.
Child 2 picks up a toy that’s been gathering dust in a corner for LITERALLY–yes I’m using that word correctly in this scenario–Child 1’s entire existence.
Child 1 throws back chairs and all items in its way like a member of the SOA motorcycle club during a confrontation and screams, “That’s MY toy!”

No, child. You didn’t even know that toy was in your life until you saw someone else playing with it.

4. Parent: “Don’t do ___.”
Child: Immediately does it.

5. Child: Normal all day.
Parent: Makes a phone call.
Child: [at top of lungs] ♫ SINGING ANY AND EVERY RANDOM SONG THEY KNOW WITH ALL THE CORRECT LYRICS AND WITHOUT TAKING ANY BREATHS OR BREAKS MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO HEAR OR TO TELL THEM TO LEAVE WITHOUT TALKING LOUDLY ENOUGH THAT THE PERSON ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE HAS BLEEDING EARS ♫

6. Person: Goes in bathroom.
Child: [at top of lungs] “YOU POOPIN’?!”

Note: I personally find this one hilarious, but that’s for all you non-parents or bathroom-humor-sensitive people out there who probably want to just go ahead and flush yourself down the toilet after that happens.

7. 11:27am: Parent changes diaper.
11:28am: Child poops.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!

8. Parent: Sets [insert item here] on the table.
Child: Grabs it. Hides it.
Parent: Spends 47 minutes looking for it, is an hour late to wherever and receives death stares for the duration of time there.

Note: Although I more want to slap myself for leaving any items in the reach of grubby, child hands. I know better.

9. Parent: Says ONE thing on accident for the first time in the entire duration of child’s life because you let it slip after being very careful for years.
Child: Immediately turns into a parrot on repeat for the next 2 months.

10. Child: “Can I ___?”
Mom: “No.”
Child: [runs, loudly and obviously, to dad]: “Can I ___?”

11. Child smacks you in the face with hard object/pulls your hair/you step on a lego left out by child.

12. “Why? why? why! WHY? WHY!? Why?” [“Mom” may also be inserted into #12]

Why…

I’m sure I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg with this list, but the struggle is real people. What do kids do that you absolutely cannot stand?

 

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