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DIY Holidays Mother's Day

Mother’s Day in Quarantine? Here’s 10 ideas to help.

Working mom, stay-at-home mom, multitasking-badass-DIY-problem-solving-superhuman mom, whatever kind of mom you are – just know that you are awesome and that you are so appreciated during these crazy times. Hell, being a parent at all during the Coronavirus pandemic is a tall order in itself. Hats off to all of my fellow parents out there trying to get things done while keeping you and your families safe and healthy. That being said, delivering on the big occasion this year may be a bit tricky for some. I thought I would hash out a few ideas that I would appreciate as a mother myself while making sure it doesn’t ruin the already shaky budgets that everyone may be experiencing.

And if all else fails, just ask Mom what she wants. Honestly, this year has been a wild card so far. There have already been plenty of surprises. Asking about something like this upfront would probably be something for a mom to look forward to in all of the chaos right now!

So here we go! Let’s start with…

1. A back massage.

Or foot, shoulder, arm, whatever is aching on our bodies, really. I know I could definitely use a good one. Who knows, it may lead to another nice perk later… and if the US isn’t expecting another baby boom from all this, why not give it a go?

If you’re not sure what to do with your hands, here’s a handy little tutorial from wikiHow on how to go about giving a neck massage.

While we’re at it, we could pair that with…

2. Breakfast in bed or a homecooked meal of Mom’s choice.

I love my breakfast food. Bring me a plate of scrambled eggs with some toast and bacon, and I’m all set. Oh, and don’t forget the coffee.

3. DIY crafts from you and the kids.

My daughter isn’t in school yet, so I haven’t had any Mother’s Day crafts gifted to me yet, but I’ve read that is usually the go-to for those with kids in school.

This fingerprint heart tree would be an easy and very cute craft idea.

4. Give mom the day off.

This would be a big one in my book. Don’t let mom lift a finger! Let her relax and enjoy the day how she wants to. Do the things that mom is usually in charge of for the day.

5. Can’t visit mom? Send her a letter.

A good old-fashioned letter is a nice surprise these days. It’s really rare to get handwritten notes in the mail anymore, and it’s a nice gesture to do any time of the year. A phone call or a video chat on zoom would also be wonderful.

You know those drive-by birthday parties everyone’s been doing lately? Why not do one for Mother’s Day? Here are some updated guidelines to follow if you choose to do this.

6. Don’t feel like cooking? Order her favorite dinner!

This one involves spending a little bit of money, but if you have the cash to spare, go for it! It definitely is a time-saver for last-minute celebrations.

7. Bring on the cake!

You can either make her favorite dessert together or get a bunch of chocolates from the grocery store with a handwritten card. Either one would work for me. I also wouldn’t mind having some wine with all that, either.

8. Binge-watch her favorite movies or shows on Netflix.

I mean, if you’re stuck in the house anyway. Might as well make good use of what you got! Add some popcorn and come cozy pajamas and you’ve got a movie night in.

9. Do the thing Mom has been putting off for weeks.

Okay, this kind of goes back to #4, but if she isn’t able to fully take the day off, why not offer to help knock some things off of her to-do list?

Help with laundry would be amazing for me, by the way. It’s really a never-ending battle.

10. Don’t stress about the little stuff.

If you normally go all out for Mother’s Day, don’t worry about it this year. You have the perfect excuse to keep things simple and easy. Just showing your appreciation and recognition for her hard work is more than enough.

These times can be stressful for everyone and can make the mom guilt even worse. Here are some inspiring posts from other parents to keep the faith and hope alive in the midst of all the uncertainty we face.

You got this! Stay safe, everyone!

Categories
Holidays

Why Friendsgiving is better than Thanksgiving.

Let’s be real. Any occasion that gives me a pass to pig out on tons of delicious food and to see family members is fantastic, but there’s just something that’s extra special about surrounding myself with my friends and making a new tradition with them. These people in my life don’t come to the Friendsgivings I host by obligation; they actively choose to take the time out of their own hectic and ridiculous schedules to eat, drink, and be thankful alongside my family. There’s something really meaningful to me behind that.

I also like to open my home to those who don’t have anywhere to go during the holidays. Not everyone has a place to celebrate, and this alone can be depressing during a time where everyone is expressing gratitude for their families, significant others, etc.

It’s important for people to feel like they can be welcome and belong somewhere. 

So, what exactly is Friendsgiving?

At its core, it’s a gathering of close friends sometime before or after Thanksgiving. It’s like an extension of the holiday to include friends and other people who you wouldn’t think of inviting to a family event. Since the origins of Thanksgiving came from a place of fellowship and thankfulness, wouldn’t it be fair to extend that kind of celebration to include both family and friends?

According to Urban Dictionary, the term “Friendsgiving” officially became a thing in 2009 and has been celebrated by many since then. Since most people in their 20s and 30s nowadays are waiting later in life to have families of their own and delaying things like marriage and mortgages (because expensive), Friendsgiving is another way to create a sense of community and unity, and frankly gives us another reason to party, relieve holiday stress, and eat more delicious food.

Friendsgiving is also a great way to reinvent things. Who says we need to have turkey with all of the fixings? Who says anyone needs to spend hours slaving over a stove to bring a dish to the occasion? It’s definitely more casual than your average American Thanksgiving, flexible too. Some of us need to work on the holiday, and/or may not be able to make it to the actual event. Or maybe we just like parties. Any of these are valid reasons to hold one of our own.

In my group of friends, I don’t think anyone would be opposed to ordering a bunch of pizza and picking up some drinks for the occasion. Hell, some grocery store sushi as a side dish could also be a strong possibility. There are no rules, bring what you want, come as you are. The whole point is to kick off your shoes, relax, and stuff your face with no judgment.

(Personally, I think I would definitely get some weird looks if I brought some sushi to my family’s more traditional Thanksgiving meetups.)

My friends and I also like to play games. Card games, video games, whatever we’ve got available to have a good time. We aren’t the sports-y type (unless it’s League of Legends or something else nerdy) and the TV is only used for music purposes, or streaming a binge session of Breaking Bad or Letterkenny near the end of the night.

We also don’t care about how well dressed we are, either. Wanna go all out and dress up? No problem. Wanna wear your comfy pants? Fine with me. You do you, boo-boo.

And this may not look like a Friendsgiving that you may have attended in the past. Every meetup is different depending on the people you get with. Since it’s a relatively new thing, everyone’s got their own take on the occasion. Maggie from thekitchn.com writes in her 10 commandments of Friendsgiving to avoid paper plates and fold-up tables if possible, and to bring your A-game by providing legitimate place settings for each guest with real plates and silverware. Emily from Buzzfeed recommends securing a veggie dish that isn’t smothered in a casserole. Even some workplaces like Google have adopted the Friendsgiving shenanigans in place of their Thanksgiving potlucks of the past.

After some quick research, and by this, I mean maybe a dozen of Google searches on how to go about hosting a Friendsgiving, the three main rules of thumb seem to be these:

  • The host cooks the turkey and gravy (or whatever main dish).
  • The host delegates or makes a signup sheet for the side dishes.
  • Remember about friends with allergies while cooking.

I think the thing I like most about it is that the whole affair is intentionally low-key, no matter how you decide to have it. There’s so much stress during the holidays, so it’s nice to just not give a f*ck about traditional expectations once in a while. During a time when the weather sucks, work becomes hectic (service/retail, I’m looking at you!), and when you may have to deal with some family drama, there’s at least a way to unwind from it all while venting to your friends about everything. Usually, they’re in a similar situation and don’t mind lending a sympathetic ear.

Do you celebrate Friendsgiving? Share with us how you celebrate!

Categories
Holidays Uncategorized

What I really want for Mother’s Day.

It’s funny.

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m a part of this whole deal now.

Every time I think of Mother’s Day, I immediately start wondering what to get my own mom. Not the fact that I have been a mom for a little over two years now. And I really still have no idea what I’m doing.

I have a two-year-old now, and she’s wonderful. But full of temper-tantrums and fussiness lately. The “terrible twos” or “terrific twos” or whatever the hell you want to call it, she’s got it now. Sure, there are bad moments, but also a lot of great ones I get the opportunity to witness.

Dear reader, if you are reading my post and wondering how money is going to magically appear for a gift you probably can’t afford, fear not! I have some ideas for you that don’t cost you anything but a bit of time and sweat equity. If you have the cash to spend, great! I also have ideas for you, too. But don’t feel like you have to go crazy.

I am a very busy person. (What mom these days isn’t?) As such, I love things that save me time and money, as well as my own sanity. I have become so scatterbrained at times, even the simplest of tasks may not be done unless I write them down or put them in my calendar. So here are some ideas from my own hectic perspective. Keep in mind, these are things that I would like, and not necessarily every mom would want. I’m probably a bit weird.

Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

coffee-is-my-friend
I cannot brain until I has the coffee.

I somehow manage to wake up at 4:30 in the morning most days of the week. However, I really can’t start my day without this miracle in a cup. It would just not be possible. This is also one of the nice little things I have for myself to start my day off on a positive, caffeinated, and awake-enough-to-function note. I have a coffee grinder at home, so I like to have the whole bean stuff on hand. Nothing beats freshly ground awesomeness in the morning.

And a helpful beverage container for on-the-go.

yeti-tumblers-are-freaking-awesome
These have been life-savers during long days (and nights).

If you wanted to make a great pairing to the above, I definitely recommend one of these babies. I have two that have been through hell and back, and they still work wonderfully. I definitely wouldn’t mind adding more to my collection.

A helpful subscription service or membership.

treat-yo-self-box-subscription-box
Someone get me this. ASAP.

From subscription boxes like Smartass and Sass, grocery memberships like Costco, and the almighty Amazon Prime subscription, there are many options out there to choose from. If it helps me knock off stuff on my lengthy to-do list, or is just a nice way to treat myself at the end of the month, I’m down for it.

Cleaning services for the win.

maid-cleaning-services-send-help-plz
Did you see my sink? I need help.

Personally, I wouldn’t care if it was a professional or a friend coming to my aid here – I could always use a hand around the house and the yard to keep things clean and tidy. Seriously, it’s like a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders when I come back to a clean home after a long day of work.

Seriously, this one’s great if you know a new mom who is probably sending out SOS smoke signals from the burnout she could be experiencing. Even offering to cook dinner one night would not go unnoticed!

A chance for some alone time.

black headphones with mobile smartphone

A chance to recharge my batteries? Hell yeah, I’ll take it.

A moment of silence after weeks of noise, screaming and lack of personal space? Yes, please.

A nice, long, hot and uninterrupted shower that allows me to shave, exfoliate, and make me feel like a goddess again? Yes, yes, and yes.

I’ve always loved my alone time. After dealing with people all day (no offense, I love people most of the time), this allows me to reconnect with myself and how I am feeling. It’s definitely something I wish I could do more often.

Whether you offer to babysit or give the money to afford a sitter, this gift to me is a godsend.

Money for therapy. Or a spa day.

love romantic bath candlelight

Anything to help take care of my mental and physical health is a must these days. Making time for self-care is essential to my well being, and without it, I wouldn’t be able to kick ass as much as I do during the week. Whether it’s a gift certificate for a massage or a friend to vent my frustrations to, both are amazing things to have.

Wine and chocolate.

No picture or explanation needed here. Just because life.

A playdate without kids.

Moms need to stick together, but we also seem to be eternally exhausted. Can we just binge watch Netflix shows in our pajamas together? With some pizza and the above wine and chocolate, it would be perfect for me.

A thing from my own kid.

No matter what it would be, it would make my heart melt. It could be a picture of them, a picture they drew, or something that will remind me of them during the day, especially when I’m away.

And one last thing… Sleep!

alone bed bedroom blur

I need this to function. Allow me to take a nap once in a while. And I’ll be yours. Smitten forever.

 

Categories
Holidays

My top 5 last minute ‘gifts’ for mother’s day.

While I’m all for any excuse to get out of the house and pamper myself with special dinners and spa days and extravagant things, it’s not always realistic or practical to do such things. I’m sure there’s still a lot of you out there that wish you could buy your mom a private island and the entire solar system. (Or something.) But we’re obviously strapped for cash these days, I get it.

Since this is my second mother’s day, I thought I would share my quick list of things that I can think of that can help show your appreciation and won’t break the bank.

1. Favorite food.

Unless she’s got expensive taste, this is always a nice treat. Some favorites of mine are chocolate covered strawberries, some wine, and anything covered in cheese.

2. Get coffee.

I mean, you can literally do this together, but this is more along the lines of getting together and catching up with each other and having some quality chat time.

3. Give her a minute.

Or better yet, a whole day free of any responsibility! Do the dishes, laundry, mow the lawn, balance the checkbook – just make sure if there is anything that doesn’t sound fun to you, don’t let her do it. It may be hard to do but let her have the day off!

4. Support her hobbies.

Unless it’s something expensive like collecting diamonds or something ridiculous, get her something that she’d enjoy, whether that’s gardening supplies or sports equipment or whatever. If you can’t buy anything, then spend the day doing something she loves to do and just hang out!

5. (Hint, you are her greatest gift.)

It’s true. You came crashing into her world and turned it upside down for a while, but just know that at the end of the day, the retailers can try and make bank off of this occasion, but you can’t buy her happiness. So no worries if you haven’t been able to drop stacks of cash for the last few Mother’s Days, just know that you are enough and just go spend some time with her!

And I realize that there are other situations that can make that difficult (i.e. a rocky/damaged relationship or no relationship at all/being raised by someone else). If that is you, take that time and go spend it with your biggest supporter. Whether that’s your dad, a certain grandparent, or even a friend. Let them know that they’re awesome today.

And don’t let yourself feel inadequate because you can’t buy the world for them – just know you are enough.

Have a great one, guys!

Categories
Holidays Love

I’m married and I still think Valentine’s day is dumb.

Something must be wrong with me.

I mean, I have the perfect excuse to celebrate, right? I have a husband. He is pretty awesome. We have an amazing life together. So why do I still loathe the mushy, lovey-dovey holiday?

Blame it on any of my past relationships going sour. Or unrealistic expectations. Whatever the cause, my feelings for Valentine’s Day are anything but warm.

I honestly think it has something to do with the unwarranted pressure to drop a bunch of money on something completely useless, just for the sole purpose of proving our love for each other to those around us.

Hold on… Wasn’t marriage supposed to be the ultimate proof of that? Especially the whole legally binding bit, where we share the house, bank accounts, debt, the baby, basically everything? But I digress…

I definitely don’t mind an excuse to be extra affectionate towards my other half. Isn’t that something that I should be striving to do every day, though?

Sure, there are days where I feel less than loving towards Dan. Sometimes, he’s a jerk. Sometimes, I’m a jerk. Surprise – we’re both human and we’re both not perfect. So why is it that expectations for those in relationships (and those who aren’t) all of a sudden get so ridiculous around this time? It’s easy money.

(I’m looking at you, Fifty Shades Freed.)

fifty-shades-freed
Confession: I’ve never read the books or watched any of the movies. I’m just a hater.

We’re also learned recently that spontaneous romance (and other related things…) can become increasingly difficult to pull off after having a kid. The logistics of planning regular date nights out can feel forced and mechanical like we’re just going through the motions. My heart used to race with excitement and anticipation for a night out. Now it’s pounding from the anxiety of trying to figure out a sitter for PJ and seeing if we could drop the money/time on an outing when we could be using those resources for something more productive. (The coffee could also contribute to those jitters, but I embrace the nervous energy.)

Here’s the thing – Dan and I are comfortable, and that can make us both lazy. Most of the time, we seem to like it that way. Heck, that was one of the things we actually bonded over early on in our relationship. We spent our nights playing Xbox together while gorging ourselves with pizza. We still do that sometimes today for date nights. And I love it. It’s like our little ritual.

pepperoni-pizza-kirkland-costco
You had me at extra-large pepperoni.

Once in a while, I will long for the early days where we were still trying to look our best for each other every single day while going out to restaurants, parties, camping, traveling… all that magical, exciting, fun stuff. Valentine’s Day makes me feel like I’m not doing enough fun stuff in my life anymore and that I should drop an excessive amount of money just to feel like that again for just one day. It’s ridiculous, but sometimes I fall for that emotional marketing tactic. And I hate it.

But we don’t need a holiday like this to have a healthy relationship with each other. That’s the most important thing to take away from all of this, of course. We’ve been through hell and back together and faced times that definitely tested our bond together.

You don’t need a holiday to practice self-love, either! (I mean, it’s another good excuse to treat yo’ self.) Finding happiness within yourself first is key. It’s the most important. Making someone else solely responsible for your happiness is not healthy. Taking care of yourself first sets the foundation for the ability to share some of that love with someone else.

There is one good thing about Valentine’s Day, in my humble opinion: It helps me remember to take care of what I’ve got and to appreciate the good and the bad in my life. There are different kinds of love to recognize, too! I love my daughter. I love my friends. I love my family. I love PIZZA. The list of things that I’m grateful for can go on…

One of those things on my list? I love the end of Valentine’s Day.

Why?

Because I can get all of the chocolate in the stores for 70% off. That to me is something to truly celebrate.

 

 

 

Categories
Holidays Life

To those who are having a rough holiday season.

This is for you. I see you. I know the holidays can be nothing but an annoying and painful reminder that life is not always “merry and bright”.

Fun fact, did you know that Christmas Music may take a toll on your mental health?

I’m sure it has nothing to do with hearing the same song on repeat over and over while dealing with people who are filled with anything but the holiday spirit. Which may involve said people throwing temper tantrums and cussing like sailors when they don’t get what they want, almost every single day. (Can I get an amen from everyone in the retail/service industries? You guys are superstars.)

When all of these songs are about joy, peace, and love, it can get pounded into your head that you are supposed to be feeling all of these things and that you’re to be happy about it. I don’t know about you, but I do not like the cold. I picked the wrong area to be in during the wintertime in the US, I’ll tell you that. It is hard for me to remain bubbly and happy when I have to get out of a warm and toasty bed to go scrape ice off of my car and lose feeling in my face and hands in below zero temperatures.

Don’t forget the gift giving. Oh, how I loathe the gift giving.

*Queues favorite holiday song – You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch*

Everyone seems to be in a financial struggle these days. Gift giving can just make for more awkwardness and disappointment for already distant relationships with extended family members. I didn’t even have the time or energy this year to send out Christmas cards, let alone afford my bills this month. I’m thankful for those who know me and my situation well enough to not expect anything from me until the financials are in better standing, but it has been difficult. I would love to be able to afford presents, but when it is currently zero degrees where I live, it is more important to keep the heat on. I’m so glad the people I know get this.

 

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PJ’s first Christmas was both busy and tiring! We were all ready for a nap.

 

Dealing with people can be exhausting too, no matter how much you love them. All of the family get-togethers and closeness can be draining to some people. Happen to be hosting the holiday festivities this year? Great! You get to do most if not all of the cooking, cleaning, preparing, and more cleaning… Some people like that stuff. Props to them! I am not one of those people who are able to do that on a regular basis.

So in a world where excessive joy and happiness becomes the norm, it often turns our reality into a dystopia that can take a toll on one’s sanity. When you look on the phone or the computer, you can just see the happiness oozing out of the screen. Looking through social media with all of the group photos, the smiles and hugs between families, significant others, and even their dogs/cats dressed up for the occasion. Everyone on Earth appears to be happy right about now, except for you. Especially when this may be your first, third, or even the eleventh Christmas without a loved one or a friend. My heart goes out to these guys. The pain from this kind of loss can be unbearable, even with all of the support and condolences you get. It is never the same, and you have to slowly find your new normal without them.

Guys, do me a favor and let out your Grinch. It’s okay to feel this way. Take extra care of yourself this season and try not to let the happy police get to you. Have a good cry, break things (safely), embrace these feelings and then make like Elsa from Frozen and let them go. Then come January, you can have a go at trying it all over again. I’m right there with you.

Now excuse me while I go pick up a constipated, teething little girl from her nap. She hasn’t been happy the last few days, either. Luckily, we will both get to have the chance for a better Christmas next year.

Love you guys!