Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Last week my husband and I stuffed our car with two suitcases, a stroller, the diaper bag, the beach bag, snacks, sippy cups and a mountain of sand and water toys and headed to the beach for a few days. I can't help but think to myself that whoever came up with the expression “life’s a beach” surely has never been to the beach with a one-year-old and a four-year-old.

This thought first crossed my mind after we had all settled in with our beach chairs, towels and umbrellas. I decided to sink into my own chair with a drink and a book and got about three pages in when my husband called me over to help. Big bro was desperate to start building his sandcastle, while all little bro wanted to do was eat sand. I reluctantly put my book down and picked it up again exactly zero more times. The book sat in my beach bag taunting me alongside the four magazines that I had also brought (silly me, I had previously contemplated whether that would be enough reading material).
I realized that I probably wouldn’t be making it to the spa this vacation.

Then it started raining.
With my family huddled under umbrellas trying to stay dry, I decided it would be a good time to pick up some lunch for us. By the time I arrived back with a bag of goodies, the sun had come out again and I started to get back into vacation mode. I doled out chicken fingers, French fries, fish tacos, pulled pork sandwiches, and frozen lemonades. I sank into my chair and was about to bite into my fish taco when suddenly a seagull swarmed down right in front of my son and ripped into his chicken fingers. The seagull flew away, I recovered from my mini heart attack, and we all just sat there staring at the nibbled on chicken. I made the neurotic mommy decision that it would be too gross to let my son finish his lunch, and after much cajoling he finally agreed to share my lunch. Surprisingly, he ended up finishing a whole fish taco.

After lunch, we endeavored to get little Bro down for a nap. We were certain that the ocean air and soothing sounds of the nearby waves would lull him to sleep in a matter of minutes. Instead, we ended up spending the next half hour struggling to get him to stop squirming away from us in his quest to find more sand to ingest. I looked around at the other adults sitting nearby, lounging with drinks in hand, napping, reading or just gazing at the ocean. Feeling defeated, I turned back to my one-year-old, who was grinning at me with a mouthful of sand. I couldn’t help but grin right back. Then I looked over at his big bro who was busy at work burying his poor daddy in the sand and I couldn’t help but start giggling.
I’ve decided to change the meaning of the expression “life’s a beach”. For me, that now means that sometimes life can be hard, but it is also totally worth it. You may not be able to read your book like you planned, but you may end up helping to construct your child’s first sandcastle. It may start raining at any moment, but when the sun comes back out you appreciate it even more. You may lose a chicken finger or two along the way, but maybe your kid will end up trying something new. You may try to get your one-year-old down for a nap….yeah, there really wasn’t any silver lining to that one…

So yes. Life’s a beach. It’s messy and unpredictable and exquisite. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013


I’m not a sports fan (much to the chagrin of my husband) but I’ve always loved how baseball can be symbolic of so many crucial life lessons. I thought it might be valuable to consider how baseball can teach us all a thing or two about parenting and what lessons to pass on to our children.

Learn how to lose

My four-year-old hates to lose, whether he’s playing basketball, a board game or a computer game. That doesn’t mean that when he insists on climbing up a chute I don’t patiently explain to him that he can only climb up ladders. Little kids might throw the occasional fit if they don’t get their way, but the only way to stop those tantrums is if they realize they can’t change the rules of the game. Learning how to strike out is just as crucial as learning how to succeed.

Realize the importance of the sacrifice

Once in a while you’re going to have to give something up for someone else on your team. Sometimes you may have to share your toys, finish chores before going out to play, or miss out on something because of the family’s busy schedules. The good news is that the team you sacrificed for will also be there for you if you need something.   

It’s ain’t over till it’s over

The thing I love most about baseball is that unlike so many other sports, a team can be down by a lot but they always have a chance to win, even in the last inning. A day in the life of a parent is long and there are countless ways to screw up (both for the child and the grownup). But you can always end the day with a good bedtime story, and as long as your kid goes to bed happy and in one piece, consider it a home run.

Watch out for curve balls

The one thing you can plan for as a parent is that you can never count on anything going as planned. Excited for that vacation you have coming up? Someone is probably going to get sick. Planning to make a phone call during your child’s naptime? They will only want to nap for twenty minutes that day. I find the hardest thing about being a mother is the uncertainty of knowing from minute to minute what problem you will have to solve. Once I relinquished the idea that everything would go as planned, parenting all of a sudden got a lot easier.

Don’t forget about the 7th inning stretch

Kids have a funny little habit of making everything about themselves, but sometimes you need to step away from whatever you’re doing and give yourself a break, even if it’s for five minutes. Modern parents pride themselves on getting down on the floor and playing with their kids, on keeping them away from the television and computer, for making all of their organic meals from scratch. These accomplishments are all definitely things to be proud of, but once in a blue moon it’s ok to turn on Disney Jr., hand your kid a lollipop (organic, of course), and take ten minutes for yourself. As long as you’re not singing Cotton-Eye Joe, this time out will be worth it.

If things get really boring, get everyone a hot dog

Or at least some Cracker Jacks…

…but stay away from the juice.

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