Dear Husband: Here Are The Only Things I Want For My Birthday

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1. Time away from the children. Yes I love my kids. Yes, they know it’s my birthday and yes, I do want to receive their crayoned cards that only a mother could love. But after that initial card-giving breakfast, SEE YA! I’m outtie. Check ya later. Insert other 90’s slang here, mofo.

2. A gift that indicates you know who I am as a person and find me unique, adorable, and delightful. What’s that, you think this is “a trap”? How about you look at my Amazon wishlist or Etsy favorites? Is that TOO OPAQUE FOR YOU, Inspector Gadget?

3. Dinner out without the kids. You get the sitter. You. YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU. What was that? No I did not get the sitter! Jesus Christ.

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4. A card that you write in. Yourself, in your handwriting. It should talk about how awesome I am. If you want to bring up how you would be lost without me and how you knew you wanted to marry me from the moment we met, that’s up to you. Meaning, include one of those two phrases.

5. An entire day of love and doing everything I ask. If this is talking over dinner about the intricacies of The Bachelor, so be it. If I want you to clean out the garage, avail yourself of the cleaning supplies. Do NOT ask me where they are. That ruins it.

Here’s the fine print: I am not supposed to be aware of you doing any of these things. Get off my computer and don’t ask my Etsy log in. Write the card at work. You’re smart. Figure it out.

25 Reasons I Let My Kids Watch Three Hours of Daniel Tiger

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1. It was raining.

2. I kept getting Facebook notifications.

3. I needed to contemplate my navel in blessed, blessed silence.

4. I turned it on to poop alone, and just never summoned the strength to turn the TV off.

5. The Cat in the Hat is boring.

6. The moon is in Scorpio.

7. I wanted to read a novel in more than five-minute chunks of time.

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8. It’s too cold outside.

9. It’s too hot outside.

10. It’s too outside-y outside.

11. I gave them coloring books and crayons so it doesn’t count as TV time.

12. It’s nominally educational-ish or something.

13. I had to hear the voice of another human being, and Mad Men isn’t appropriate for small children.

14. I had to beat the next level in Candy Crush.

15. Daniel Tiger is based on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and everyone knows Mr. Rogers doesn’t count as television.

16. I wanted to knit/crochet/decoupage/paint/sew/beat back the existential despair.

17. Three hours is how long it took from me losing my shit to my husband returning from work.

18. I got Fifty Shades on my Kindle.

19. I got Moby Dick on my Kindle.

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20. I got Webster’s Dictionary on my Kindle.

21. We had the sniffles.

22. The playdate got canceled.

23. It took that long to wash the dishes.

24. The Play-Doh got all hard and crumbly.

25. I didn’t feel like parenting.

Related post: My Kids Watch Way Too Much TV And I Don’t Care

21 Invoices I’m Sending to Other Families

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Remember that family who sent a bill to the kid who was a no-show to their birthday party? Well I, for one, am a little relieved that the whole thing has been brought up, because this entertaining other kids stuff is expensive.

Now that it seems possible to recoup some funds, I’ve made a list of expenses I’ll be invoicing other families for, starting with these…

1. 87 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I’ve made your kid that he takes one bite of and pushes away.

2. 800 kilowatt hours of electricity used to power the Wii U.

3. The three “must-have” Wii U games that my children learned about from your children.

4. Carpool expenses including mileage, gas and vehicle depreciation. (This Siena isn’t getting any younger!)

5. My billable hours for the playdate you decided to “stay for a while” at.

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6. Plumber (at holiday rate, Happy Labor Day!) for backed up toilet.

7. Six rolls of toilet paper that your child tried to stuff down said toilet.

8. A variety of art supplies that were not actually used to create anything but were somehow destroyed beyond repair.

9. 18 rolls of paper towels used in trying to teach your kid how to use a regular glass.

10. Goldfish, goldfish, goldfish.

11. The case of ZBars that mysteriously disappeared.

12. The living room rug that according to your kid “wasn’t that nice anyway”.

13. The wine I had to drink to recover from your visit.

14. 367 Magic Erasers.

15. New balls (all have been sent over the fence or mysteriously lost).

16. One gallon of ice cream that had “too much chocolate” and ended up in a melted puddle on our kitchen table.

17. Two cups of hot chocolate that also had “too much chocolate” and were left to cool on the coffee table.

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18. One bag of microwave popcorn that I had been hiding for my Bravo binge that your kid managed to find. And burn.

19. 300 gallons of water from July 2014 when the hose was left on for five hours.

20. Six boxes of Band aids, three tubes of Neosporin (I told your kid at least four times not to eat it.)

21. Three days at a all-inclusive resort in Jamaica.

We take credit, but of course cash is preferred. Because of the PTA wrapping paper fiasco of 2012 we’ve determined we can not take personal checks. Please remit your payment before you send your kid/s to my house again.

Related post: 10 Ways Having Children Saves You Money

10 Things The Internet Has Killed For Kids

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The internet is a beautiful thing and serves a great many purposes. (Hello, it has literally made my career possible.) Of course, like all good things, there are also some bad points. I have no doubt that the internet has improved my kid’s childhood in many ways but I can’t help but think about the ways that it is ruining it too. Overall, the internet has eliminated a lot of mystery from our lives and for kids, that is not always a good thing. I think there is a such thing as knowing too much too soon. The internet makes information very available and also, nearly eliminates the need for human contact. When used improperly, it has the ability to change our kid’s lives- not necessarily for the better. Here are 10 things the internet has killed for kids:

1. Learning Patience. Do you remember hurrying to Blockbuster Video after school on a Friday to rent the latest video game or movie only to find that it was sold out? You would either pick something else or shuffle out and know that you had to wait another week. Of course, it kind of sucked but it also taught us to be patient and that certain things are worth the wait. This is true across the board with our kid’s “On Demand” lives. They really don’t have to wait for much anymore with entertainment and I’m not sure it’s doing anything to build character.

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2. Getting Real Letters In The Mail. Of course, we still have the ability to receive letters in the mail but no one really does that anymore. I remember having pen pals from other countries via Girl Scouts or history class and learning about other cultures that way. The internet can definitely perform that function too but there is something about getting a real letter in the mail that the internet cannot top.

3. Passing Notes In Class. Don’t we all remember that nervous tingle when we successfully passed a note to a friend in class? Not anymore. There is Snapchat, texting, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It is now so easy to communicate covertly. It just doesn’t seem as exciting.

4. Playing Outside. Kids still play outside but if they are super into their Smartphones and tablets, it becomes more an obligation than an exciting activity. I mean, that Play 60 campaign being put on by the NFL- did anyone need to convince you to play outside for an hour when you were a kid? To get you to move and up off the couch? Hell no. It was all I wanted to do.

5. Anonymity. Parents start putting pictures of their kids on the internet for upvotes beginning with that first ultrasound photo. Kids mostly don’t have the option to be non-existent on the internet.

6. Using Books For Research. I used to love going to the library to track down books for my schoolwork. There was something about carrying home a stack of books and weeding through them that a quick Google cannot match. Of course, it’s easier now- but is easier always better?

7. Not Knowing What Your Friends Did On Weekends Until Monday. I can remember as a teen feeling a pressure on weekends to do something fun but even on my “loser” weekends where I sat at home I had no way of knowing if my peers were having more fun than I was until the weekend was over. Now, Instragram is loaded with pictures and kids can see who is hanging out with whom, and possibly, discovering they have been left out. Ah, blissful ignorance was not a bad thing.

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8. Awkward Photos From The Teen Years. Why keep them when you can delete them?

9. Learning About Sex From A Person. You can now find out about sex from Google instead of your cool, older cousin or even, your parents. And who even knows what our kids will be able to see when that time comes?

10. Talking To People In Person. I have teenage nephews and have noted their discomfort during in-person conversations. Of course, teenagers have had awkward social interactions since the dawn of time but now that the internet is here, we have entirely removed the need for talking to someone in person. I firmly believe it is doing them no favors in the social skills department.

Related post: 7 Things We Did Growing Up that Our Children Would Never Understand

This first ran on Mommyish. Read more here.

8 Things Never To Do Before Mom Has Had Coffee

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Dear Sweet Children of Mine,

By now you must know that your mother is NOT a morning person.  For your personal safety, I have composed this list of things you should not do before I have had my coffee. (Oh, glorious nectar of the gods, which doth bring me consciousness in an otherwise stressful world!) I can no longer be held responsible for what befalls you should you disregard the list. You have been forewarned.

1. Do NOT stomp up and down the stairs like a crazed herd of elephants. Wooly mammoths might be a better metaphor. Even a herd of wild elephants could not make as much noise as you, my darling children, first thing in the morning.

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2. Do NOT ask me what is for breakfast. You are no longer small incapable toddlers. I abdicate responsibility for feeding you first thing in the morning. I fed you dinner last night, and that was less than 12 hours ago. I do not care what you eat for breakfast. Scavenge what you may. Cold leftover pizza and mayonnaise sandwiches are viable alternatives should we be out of cold cereal.

3. Do NOT ask me questions. Do not ask if you can spend the night at a friend’s house. Do not ask me if you can have an advance on your allowance. Do not ask me if you can have the last container of yogurt or if you can get your ears pierced or if you can have a puppy. I promise you the answer will be “NO!”. Also do not ask me random math questions, or the distance from the earth to the sun, or who was the 21st president of the United States. I promise the answer will still be “NO!” It’s probably best for everyone’s safety if we just save all questions until your mother achieves consciousness.

4. Do NOT turn on the television. I have no stomach for Sponge Bob or the Disney channel before I am amply caffeinated. (I really don’t have the stomach for it post-coffee either, but caffeine generally reminds me that I love you and should not shout obscenities.)

5. Do NOT make random annoying noises. There will be no whistling or humming or giggling or gargling. No “beat boxing” or fart noises or burping just to hear yourself burp. Do not sit behind me and loudly chew your mayonnaise sandwiches with gusto. Also do not sing annoying Disney songs that will get stuck in my head and drive me crazy; you are doing a fine job of that all on your own.

6. Do NOT inform me of injustices, real or imaginary. Do not tell me your brother called you “stupid”. Do not tell me your brother hogged the last of the bread and now you only have mayonnaise (minus the sandwich) for breakfast. Do not tell me your brother locked you in the bathroom for 4 whole minutes. Do not tell me that your brother tried to push you down the stairs… On second thought, we’ll just lock your brother somewhere until I’ve had my coffee.

7. Do NOT allow non-family members into the house. I realize this only happens on weekends when your friends aren’t in school and you want to play, but no one unrelated to me should have to witness the mess-of-a-human being that is your mother before she’s had her coffee. Also you are much more likely to engage in #5 while your friends are here, and I refuse to be held responsible for what may happen should that occur.

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8. Do NOT tiptoe up behind me to peer over my shoulder just to see how close to empty my coffee mug is. This is only going to piss me off. It may even make me need an extra cup of wonderful consciousness-bringing caffeine, and then you are just going to have to wait longer…so just don’t do it.

Do not fret Fruit of My Womb, your mother will generally be back to her normal, patient, positive self after one mug (two if it was a particularly long night involving kids with stomach bugs or horrific nightmares). Just allow your mother a few minutes of peace until she has the mental and emotional fortitude to deal with the crises of the day. Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

Your Loving, Yet Uncaffeinated Mother

Related post: The Morning Routines of Four Regular Women