The Most Important Life Skill To Teach Your Child

Past tense, if I had to answer the question of what is the most important life skill a parent should teach their children, I would have answered with something along the lines of kindness, respect, character, commitment, etc.

Furthermore, I would have also held up a blue, Lion King imprinted Pull Up along side the porcelain potty and described how I delivered an ingenious and convincing SWOT analysis on potty training to the four year old. Why? That was the focus of the day. The half bag of Pull Ups in my kid’s bedroom is a testament to the strong willed genetic predisposition my children are “blessed” with.

Current tense, I have more of a bird’s eye perspective.

Every single one of our children are strategically placed into a war the moment their DNA begins to replicate. For some, the struggle begins in the womb and the fight to live a whole life begins before the first breathe. Other children undergo environments and experiences that directly cause them to start life’s battleground on the front line with no training and no arsenal with which to defend themselves. The scary part is even those kids who have ideal circumstances are still failing to live whole, happy lives.

How do we as parents ensure that our children turn out okay? I ask myself this alot.

I don’t know if that is a realistic burden a parent should put on themselves. Do many of us ignorantly attempt to control their destinies anyway? Sure we do. So what can we do now while they are young and in the training stages of life that might make a real impact?

The most important life skill I want to teach my children is this:

Know what you will do when life gets hard.

The good times are fairly easy to navigate. The difficult times are the moments that define futures.

These are the conversations I’m now having with my kids, or, more accurately, ATTEMPTING to have with them.

“What will you do when things don’t turn out how you expected or when circumstances aren’t fair?”

“Bruh! I’ll go to college for a few years. It’ll be dope” Kid#1

What or who will you turn to when you experience devastating loss? How will you relieve negativity and sadness? What are the pros and cons of specific choices and paths?”

“Eat cheese puffs, go on my iPad with my headphones and watch videos” Kid#2 

“Here are the options laid out for you clear as day my dears. Guess what kiddo? It’s your choice. My job as a mother is to steer you in the right direction the best way I know how, communicate what can happen in this life either through our choices or by mere circumstances and direct you to find the best coping strategies based on your personality and interests.”

“What’s coping? You know what I’m interested in mom? You buying me a cell phone because I’m the ONLY sixth grader without one.” Kid#1

The world’s definition of success and real success are two different things. I want your life to be a real success, but in the end, it is your choice.”

“Mom, you have a weiner.” Kid#3

“Mama isn’t perfect. She messes up sometimes and it’s okay for YOU to accept that you will never be perfect. Never use imperfection as an excuse not to do the right thing. I love you no matter what but I will hold you accountable. You have a lot to learn and I will help you.”

“I don’t know what this subject is but I don’t like it.” Kid#2

“This is who God is. He is real, this is why we love Him, here are examples of what He wants you to become and this is why you are valued and loved by Him.”

“Wait what? I wasn’t paying attention.” Kid#1

“There are also bad guys that will try to get you to make bad choices every single day. Some you can clearly see and some you can’t. There are good guys that will be there to help you along the way. Some you can see and some you can’t. Sometimes you are that good guy and sometimes you are that bad guy. You’re learning wisdom when you can recognize the difference and change behavior for the better.”

“Zombies are bad guys. I kill dem. I cut off dier weiner. Hi-yah!” Kid#3

So there you have it. I think it’s the most important life skill I want to teach my kids. I never said it was going to be easy!








Top 21 Of Going Back To Work

I’d like to be able to say which is easier: being a stay-at-home mom or career mom. My verdict? Differing daily functions, yet both are equally challenging and rewarding in their own way.

Random observations from my first two weeks back at working in hospital sales and management and juggling family:

  1. Ditched my summer Yellowbox sandals habit for some stylish heels to match every black outfit in my closet arsenal. BLISTERS y’all. Blisters after ONE hour! I like fashion. I like comfort more. Amazon…two day shipping…$25 comfy, basic pumps. BOOM.
  2. I love the way a hospital smells. Minus rare C diff encounters and such, of course.
  3. Developing a keen distaste for hospital fluorescent lights. They bring out every facial flaw, eye bag, wrinkle and stray gray root hairs within seconds of exposure. I’m a 41 year old mom of three. Help a sister out!
  4. I like to get to work early. That means leaving the house an hour early for kid drop off.  Thank goodness for my in-laws with summer camp schedules. One word: Phew!
  5. My oldest two are becoming more responsible because they have to. Thumbs up.
  6. The wild child is LOVING full-time versus part-time daycare. Begged to go to school on a Saturday. Celebrate the win.
  7. I work with a lot of quality people. Since we spend just as much time, if not more, with our work family than we do our own family, that helps my heart.
  8. One night, the kids missed me so much they snuck their mattresses into our bedroom and camped out. Those mattresses are STILL there. It’s summer and mama picks her battles. New meaning to “piling in like pigs.”
  9. I’m so busy at work I don’t have time for luxuries like a lunch break. I scarf down something semi-healthy I bring from home and I’ve lost some weight. Raise the flourescent ridden roof people!
  10. I cleaned toilets one night at 10pm.
  11. Just found some dried slime on my couch from wild man intercepting his sissy’s daily collection from the last two weeks. Seriously considering just turning the couch pillow over and walking away.
  12. I wore my supermom cape a few times this week and threw dinner in the crockpot at 5:45am. Say what?
  13. One night I was so tired I completely forgot about the food in the crockpot and left it there overnight. (Yes, I remembered to at least turn the dang thing off.)
  14. I’m drinking more coffee.
  15. More socialization. Work has been like one ginormous family reunion because I know so many people and have missed getting to see them.
  16. I have ALOT to learn but I’m a lucky girl. I get to work in a job that mirrors my strengths. No job and no one is perfect but I’m going to be good at this.
  17. I haven’t mastered giving the family all of me when I’m home because I’m still adjusting to the transition. However, I will and it’s a positive that I understand that should be the end goal.
  18. The gym is still a priority because that’s my outlet and the one thing I do for myself. (Fist bump.)
  19. I ate a donut this morning. It was GOOD.
  20. Haven’t watched the news in two weeks and it’s been FANTABULOUS.
  21. Woke up spooning the dog this morning. Scandalous.

This season in life is an adjustment but it’s kind of one of those times where you dust off your super mom cape, maybe even iron it a few times (after you dust off the iron), and save the world one snotty nose, raging preteen hormone and customer complaint at a time. But first, more coffee and nerdy web content surfing…because it’s Saturday. 🙂



Finding Value As A Mother

I’ll let you in on a little secret I have learned. It doesn’t matter if you are a mother who works outside of the home or one that spends every waking hour with your children. All mothers struggle with finding their value.

In fact, every individual desperately desires significance and we often look for that in all the wrong places before ideally understanding our purpose.

Life circumstances, divine intervention and the financial reality that my husband and I will most likely have three children in college over a span of TEN years, has resulted in a major life change for us. Mama is going back to paid work! In fact, I start TOMORROW. Fortunately, I thrive on change and I’ll be resuming career work in a field that I thoroughly enjoy. However, regardless of job status, my “value” remains unchanged.

Interestingly enough, when my oldest two were little and I worked outside of the home, I always felt guilty for being away from them so much. Ironically, for the first three years of being with them full-time and adding on a third kid, I felt guilt for not contributing financially and frustrated with having little tangible goal achievement. In either role, I had a hard time determining my value. For the last three years, I found contentment in my role and changed my mindset. Now that my daily duties are changing again, I now know that my value is steadfast.

If you are a mother struggling to find your value in whatever season of life you are in, I share these three truths on motherhood that I have learned.

1. Our purpose as mothers is to love our children

It’s quality time not quantity. When we are with them, make the time count. Play with them, make lasting memories, meet their daily needs, allow them to grow up in the healthiest family environment you can provide and show them the discipline when they need it.

Also, when you have bad days and feel you have accomplished no loving of any kind, then that means you are normal.

2. Our purpose as mothers is to communicate with our children

This one is particularly tough. Why can’t they all be the same and why are we always tired, right? Of my three kids, one tends to keep emotions bottled in, the other won’t stop talking and the third tends to want to have heart to heart discussions right at bedtime after he has stalled for forty five minutes and I’m about to drop from exhaustion.

As they get older and spend more time at school and with friends more than they do with us, we have to make the increasingly limited one on one time intentional, introspective and investigative. Regardless of our employment status, there is the certain reality that our influence and talk time will become less but diligently working to communicate a safe and honest open door policy is a must.

3. Our purpose as mothers is to provide for our children

Whether that means through food on the table, a trip to the park, college funds, our limited free hours spent at their extracurriculars, etc., mothers make it happen.

Learning and accepting our value as mothers is a process and it isn’t how much money we can save for or spend on them. Nor is it how many awards our children can accumulate. Value also isn’t necessarily defined if our children choose to make the right choices 100% of their adult lives because at some point they become accountable for their own actions.

What mother is perfect? None. What mother tries their best? Most. What mother has value in what they do and who they are? ALL.

As I return back to career work tomorrow, I take these truths with me and believe myself to be a better mother and employee. When mothers are at work, we’ve got this, because we can juggle chaos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. When mothers are at home, we’ve got this, because we know that loving our family means putting the family unit first when we are together.

Mothers are imperfect, yet perfection in our own unique way.

Do what you do and how you do it mama because the value of motherhood is priceless.







A Mother’s Insomnia

insomniaIt happens to all of us.

A mother’s insomnia.

Exhausted, as soon as your head hits the pillow you know it’s going to be a monumental REM cycle. That is, until someone or something causes you to be wide-eyed in the early hours of the new day.

A mother’s brain can be downright scary at times, especially one riddled with sleep deprivation.

“Endust! Your furniture is crying to be seen once again. Shameful! First thing in the morning.”

“The kids don’t play enough outside. Change the computer password before dusk.”

“Time to have the parents and in-laws over and cook for them.”

“Will my child ever become potty trained and sleep in his own bed? You KNOW he’s the last one is his class that wears pull-ups.”

“Dang it! Forgot to fold that load of laundry.”

“Drink more water today.”

“WHY is the dog on top of me, staring directly into my eyes at 2am?”

“I luuub ewe mama (kid wraps little arms around my awkwardly positioned neck). Sigh. Ok, sleep with me a little longer and don’t ever grow up.”

“You shouldn’t have drunk that glass of H2O.” Potty in the dark.

“Meals for kids: fruit and veggies tomorrow. Stinkers consumed too many carbs this weekend.”

“Hubs need to go to the gym with me this week. Use persuasive skills stat.”

I need to…

Clean the car

Organize the bonus room

Have the kids’ friends over

Schedule a date night

Shave my legs

Clean the hardwood

Read a book

Write a book

Do my devotional

Grow website

Sign up for a webinar

Buy friend’s birthday present from a month ago

Getting wrinkles…ugh!

Are my kids going to be ok?

Is my husband going to be ok?

The dog seems to be recovering nicely from surgery since she cleared a three feet jump in the dark. Check.

As the sun comes out, I sit on the back porch watching the dog do anything but potty and listen to our neighbor’s dairy cows moan and groan across the pasture. What ARE they doing over there?

Us moms are way too hard on ourselves.

Many of us over think things a little (or maybe a lot), which that shows we care and love hard.

Dust off the insomnia fog and get yourself some coffee woman! A kid just peeked around the corner and your quiet time is over for the moment, or the DAY.

Speaking of which, today is a new day. There will always be things to clean and nothing is ever a perfect paradise. However, it’s your imperfect paradise and you’re incredibly thankful that you have it.

REALLY gratuitous for caffeine right now. One of God’s most generous inventions.

Now, time for that wrinkled load of laundry!


Our Pre-Parenthood Days

ourpreparenthooddaysAs an adult, do you ever find yourself thinking about a favorite thing that you loved to do before love, marriage and offspring? Maybe the one interest that allowed you to be ALONE with no interruptions? That’s a gem right there.

Parenting leaves most of us completely preoccupied and the “I” gradually fades into obscurity as time elapses. Dying to self is an admirable quality in anyone and our families deserve all of us. However, I wonder if bringing back some of the things that gave us enjoyment in our younger days would help make us better moms, dads and contributing members of society in general.

Examples could be lugging your neglected, post parenthood body into the gym for the first time in years, locking oneself in a closet with a flashlight to read a book or even picking up any hobby or talent that used to refuel your spirit.

Sometimes a memory from our former life pops up to remind of us past enjoyments.

Unexpectedly, that moment happened today.

I had just completed the morning grind of Monday mayhem, dropped all three kids off at school and was sitting in the parking lot of my next “to do” on the daily checklist.

Sometimes mama goes nerdy. Nerdy as in dissing modern radio for the classics. Classics as in 1800’s piano music. Remember, nerdy is cool. That’s my philosophy. Free country. To each his own.

My absolute FAVORITE classical piano piece of all time began blaring from the car speakers. “Fantasie Impromptu” by Frederic Chopin. AMAZING. The chill bumps raced from my arms, shoulders and then to the back of my neck and the memory trigger of sound transported me back to my senior year in college.

As much as a campus extrovert and involved student as I was, my time alone was something I coveted. Hardly anyone knew, but I frequently snuck off to a tiny chapel at Troy University where I once played for a sorority sister’s wedding. Upon opening the heavy, double wooden doors, your attention focused immediately onto the organ’s pipes that lit up the center stage wall. Opposite the pipe organ, was a regal baby grande piano that had the most pleasant and precise tone.

It was here that I would unload my arsenal of hymn and classical arrangements, with an audience of zero, and tickle the ivories for hours on end.

“Fantasie Impromtu” was the most difficult piece I ever attempted. It brought out so many emotions and presented such a challenge that I just had to TRY.

Why was it so ridiculously hard?  Well, the piece uses many cross-rhythms. The right hand plays sixteenth notes against the left hand playing triplets in cut time. To average musicians like myself, it’s an unnatural sensation and the irregular speed combinations required during the fast portions on the song are quite an impressive feat.

Nevertheless, a very rough version got performed to memory. Although never ready for a public performance the process was one of challenge and enjoyment. Piano was my outlet and I could have played in that chapel for half a day with no break and been perfectly content.

I began working a full-time business career shortly after attempting to master the arrangement. That meant that as the years went on, my time on the keys dwindled to zero.

The point.

I was reminded today of something that I got to do before adulthood that I MISS doing now. The most important end result was that of renewing my soul. Do you ever have moments like this?

How often as parents do we take the time to get our heart, mind and soul in sync? I dare say RARELY. Maybe we would be better moms, dads, friends, employees and children ourselves if we were able to bring something back into our current life that rejuvinated us in our past life.

What would a fulfilling activity from your past be?

Realistically, I know finding several hours of uninterrupted quiet with no responsibilities isn’t feasible. However, fifteen to thirty minutes a day is a real possibility and worth it for my mental health and cortisol level reduction.

Best of luck in finding your outlet and using it to be a better parent and adult! I say it’s worth the investment.

Why The New McDonalds’ Happy Meal Toy Was A Winner

Fast food boycotters look away! Everyday, “I never or sometimes feel guilty for buying my kid fried pink chicken goop” parents pull up a seat.

You know how every now and then, your kid comes home from school raving about a new trend? In my day, it was jelly shoes, stonewashed skirts, blue eyeshadow, teased hair, side ponytails and BEGGING my mother for Guess jeans as she emphatically turned me down because of the cost.

Well, lo and behold, the new thing that all the Third graders at my kids’ school are begging for is the latest McDonald’s Happy Meal toy. For real? Yep. You heard me right.

What is this diamond in the rough packed away with the Golden Arches’ staple children’s meal? A plastic “Fitness Tracker” pedometer bracelet.

Hilarous! It comes in a variety of colors and looks like this:

FullSizeRender.jpgWell unfortunately, I just learned earlier today that the fast food giant made the decision to pull the Fitness Trackers due to reports of skin rashes. No skin irritations going on in our neck of the woods. In fact, I know there are going to be some extremely disappointed kiddos next time they open up that kids’ meal.

It was a fabulous idea and, to date, a hit!

Apparently, over half the grade is sporting these babies around their elementary school loud and proud.

Now, I’m not one to encourage peer pressure antics or going along with the crowd but this one was GREAT!

Why? Three reasons…

#1 – It was CHEAP. $5 got your kid sustenance and social status in the blink of an eye.

#2 – It encouraged physical fitness. These third graders are competing to see which one has the most steps by the end of the school day. YOU ARE WELCOME PE TEACHERS.

#3 – It made me feel better as a parent. Now I know that the majority of moms and dads that I will be doing life with these next ten years or so feed their kids crap too! Thank goodness for the sliced apples and Go Gurt so we can validate ourselves after viewing how those deep-fried chicken nuggets are processed.

So there you go. We are not terrible parents for feeding our kids fast food every now and then, especially when our little ones get to feel cool and stylish.

Of course, what will we ever do now when that pedometer battery dies? Oh the travesty.

Until that day is upon us, I lift my child’s Minute Maid Apple Juice box in the air and declare a toast to not sweating the small stuff, enjoying the ride and much thanks to McDonald’s for trying to help us insanely busy parents get our kids moving with healthier food options.

I say fix the issue and bring those tracker jackers back.




‘Twas The Night Before School Started…


‘Twas the night before school started when all through the house

All creatures were stirring, even the spouse

The backpacks were placed by the back door so bare

Because there were no books or pencils in there


The children were wrestling with going to bed

While visions of tardiness danced in mom’s head

Maybe some Benadryl, or some arm straps

Would settle their brains so we could all get naps


When from the kids’ rooms arose such a clatter

Mom sprang into action to deal with the matter

Away down the hall she flew like a flash

Armed for stalling, forked tongues of backlash


She yelled, “Bedtime was thirty minutes ago!”

They said, “But mom, we’re just too excited though!”

Then, what to her mothering eyes should appear

Lack of melatonin in the eyes of her dears


She had a short window to pull out a trick

It was getting late and she’d better act quick

If the kids were not on time, she would get blame

So she hissed and kissed them and called them by name


Now eldest! Now middle! Now baby and dog!

You WILL go to sleep before morning fog

Tomorrow’s a big day. Super early I’ll call

“It’s time to get up kids…come on y’all!”


To the kitchen to eat breakfast, you will fly

You’ll want to roll back over..yes you will try

But NO, as the caffeinated beverage that I brew

Coats my empty tummy, you’ll brush your teeth too


And then, in a twinkling, as the dog goes “woof”

Sleepy or not you will provide more proof

That as the first morning of back to school comes ’round

Things WILL go smoothly, I’m determined and bound


You’ll all be dressed crisply, from your head to your foot

No waxy ears! Q-tip to the ear you’ll put

As you throw that brand new shirt on your back

You’ll thank your mama for the lunch that she packed


You’re eyes how they’ll twinkle, your dimples so merry

Your hair will be brushed, your breath so airy

You’ll let me put your hair up in a cute little bow

“Yes ma’am”and “I love you” wherever you go


There won’t be any residual plaque on your teeth

You’ll wear that angelic halo like a Christmas wreath

With a smile on your face and a full little belly

Shoelaces will be tied, your pits will NOT be smelly


As the alarm just went off on a nearby shelf

I run to your rooms and then laugh to myself!

All you kids jump right up, into the bathroom you head

You’ve relieved me as I see I’ve nothing to dread


It’s just way too early, but we all get to work

The eldest tries to swipe junk food with a smirk

Breakfast is eaten, baby has yogurt on his nose

Middle child has some drama, it’s okay I suppose!


In route to school, to Justin Timberlake we whistle

I smile and say “I’ll be here at dismissal”

Doing wheelies, tires smoking as I drive out of sight

“Happy back to school mama…time for some peace and quiet!”














Whiplash: The Family Vacation

whiplashThe baby daddy and I just spent an entire week in confined spaces with our three children on vacation. So many cherished memories were made and how fortunate that we were able to get away. To live only two hours from beach paradise is the stuff of Alaskan envy. So why do I feel like I have been on an cortisol roller coaster only twenty four hours of returning?

The energy a parent expends in making family vacation memories tends to give a mother major emotional whiplash.

For example…


Anxious anticipation coupled with laser focused urgency. Everybody can’t wait to get to the destination but only you have the mental knowledge of what must be placed in the vehicle prior to pulling out of the driveway. Cortisol level rise commences now. All clothing items must be busily washed and strategically packed all the while preventing small, mischievous children from speedily removing crisply folded items from suitcases and older kids from clawing one another’s eyes out.

In order to come home to a decently neat home, some cleaning and organizing is preferred prior to embarkation. The kids should assist with the cleaning. However, you quickly quantify that keeping them on task requires energy and time that, frankly, mama is unable to provide given the current situation. “Just keep you brother and the dog alive and inside!”

Now that you are all packed up and kids are situated with choice entertainment, the baby daddy charts course for a destination of family friendly fun.



“Mama, I need the iPad charger now!”

“Mammaaa he keeps kicking me!”

Toddler singing and screaming along to 1980’s Transformers episodes, “Robots in disguise.” and “Autobots, ATTACK!” and “Transformers, ROLL OUT!”

“How much longer?” “Are we there yet?” “Now?” “We have been in here FOREVER!”

Magic Kingdom is a six hour drive from where we live. We vow to never take them to Disney. Sorry Mickey! Maybe high school graduation? Oh wait. Can’t afford it then. College tuition.


Small win for mom and dad. The kids help carry a few things.

Elation and Delight: “These bunk beds are awesome!” “Look, the puppy LOVES the beach. She is SOOOOO cute!” “Thank you dad for bringing us here.”

While cortisol levels escalate again during unpacking, the kids start begging to leave the condo.

The toddler keeps messing with the patio door, letting all the cold air out. We are on the fourth floor and there is furniture that could be climbed on, near the rail, on the balcony. “Watch him babe! I’m up to my ears in underwear and ALL of baby girl’s loot she brought to sleep with.”

“Dad, my TV won’t work. That’s NOT fair mom. His works and mine doesn’t!”

We are all getting HANGRY at this point.

“When can we go to to da beach?” “I don’t want to go to the beach. I want to go to the pool!”

“Dad, when can we go to the arcade?”

“I’m hungry.”

As I am placing the kids’ clothes in drawers, I place the pizza order. Check. All is well again and we are in paradise for a week!


Predictably, in the middle of the dolphin watching, sand play and glorious Kodak moments, there are episodes of whining, fighting and gnashing of teeth. The sun wears out even the most chipper of personalities eventually.

Our bed is still crowded and the dog wakes us up every night. Thank you for lighting up the night sky with those fireworks at 1am young teens. It was epic.


My personal favorite is the whole beach versus pool tug of war with three children. For example, the hubs and I could spend all day on the beach alternating between hanging under the umbrella, reading a book and swimming in the ocean.

The kids, on the other hand, beg for the salt life and then annoy us until they are bathing in chlorine at the condo pool. I get it. I was once that kid.

If the week hadn’t been eventful enough, our fur ball decided to become a full-blown woman our last night at the beach. WHY did I reschedule that vet appointment for after vacation? One benefit of the toddler refusing potty training…Lightning McQueen Pull Ups! NEVER a dull moment.



Surprisingly EASY, except for the exhausted, grumpy, sun glistened offspring in the back seat duking it out over movie selection and such.


No less than thirty minutes of us sitting down to relax after putting up all luggage contents, we hear the following: “Mom and dad, PLEASE play Nerf war with us. We are bored. You must not love us. All you want to do it be lazy and sit on the couch.”

Whiplash I say! Whiplash.

It’s all just part of marriage, parenthood and life in general. However, family vacations with a bunch of little ones will gift a parent with every single emotion known to man.

Family vacations are a lot like childbirth: it’s painful, unpredictable and recovery is most definitely involved but you would do it again in a heartbeat to get the end result…eternal memories.

Be sure to like, share and subscribe for e-mail notifications! Thanks for reading…xoxo, ThreeKidsandaBabyDaddy.



Holy Hormones, Batman!


Our preteen Bruce Wayne hasn’t even grown a single arm pit hair and yet, we are getting a glimpse of what it may be like when our son is in the full throes of hormonal transformation. The little joker just turned ten years old and already is exhibiting signs of the “change.” Can the hubs and I survive what’s about to go down in our household? What do we prepare ourselves for?  How is a parent supposed to navigate the fine balance of letting the child become an individual while maintaining order and respect? It’s like mother nature just disrupted the 12,548 bats in the bat cave and mom and dad are confined at the bottom, paralyzed with fear. Holy hormones, Batman! Puberty.


For the past six months or so, I’ve known it was coming. The sheer nausea from him getting in the car after school while lifting his arm up to throw the back pack in the back seat was my first sign. I did what any good mother would do. Deodorant was swiftly delivered to his bathroom with application instructions. The problem? Bat Boy forgot to put the stuff on. Since then, he has gotten more consistent. Then, the obsession over his hair. He wants it long and thinks he can pull off the Beiber type do but he can’t! His hair is like a chia pet. Course, bushy and thick.

The new challenges are much more intense. It’s the ‘tude, the moodiness and the obnoxiousness! It’s like the hubs and I put him to bed one night and woke up to our eldest as a cross between The Hulk and Bruce Banner or an extreme of each. Sometimes he’s sensitive, calm and wants to snuggle and then other times he is a raging, smelly lunatic.

I’ve learned all this is normal. It’s going to be rocky at times but I have explored tips on how parents may can navigate the craziness.

Although boys and girls experience the “change” differently, the similarities are that their bodies are changing quickly and EVERYBODY feels weird about it. They may be self-conscious, worried, extra-sensitive to criticism, teasing or to just about anything. Little, insignificant things may set them off. They may also feel that no one understands them.

As the hubs and I attempt to navigate the seemingly bottomless pit of puberty, here is some knowledge that may help us all.

  • Mood swings/Most everything they feel will be strong and intensified 

Once a passive irritant, siblings now harness rage from the depths of their innermost being. All of sudden, they have this knee jerk reaction to disagree with basically everything a parent suggests or demands. Also, they used to just “like” the grilled cheese and cut up apples you whipped up, but now the kid “loves” them. Furthermore, the kid used to be a “little” sad because he couldn’t go play at a friend’s house, but now is “inconsolably” sad he isn’t getting his way. 

They become sassy, emotional, belligerent and annoying. It’s down right scary. Romantic feelings? Oh my. We are aren’t quite there yet but it’s sure to come swiftly. I’ll probably have to have “the talk” with my son. We have a very open communication type of relationship. I’ve told him most everything that is about to happen in his sheltered world, but there are a couple of things that may be best coming from dear old dad. Better yet, I think I’ll buy the baby daddy a book and insist that he take that beast of a subject on.

  • More independent thinking

As they begin the journey into adulthood, children may exhibit signs that they want to take more control of their own life in the form of making their own decisions and having strong opinions. Unfortunately, those opinions will probably be polar opposite of what you as a parent feels. “Why, why, why mom?” “Mom, that’s stupid.” “Well, I think it should be this way.”

Personally, I’ve noticed that when my eldest is trying to decide for himself what opinion he will hold for any given subject, I have to provide solid, factual evidence for him, explain the pros and cons and then back off. Strong willed kids like to think they came up with a conclusion or line of thinking on their own. Easier said than done if sass or defiance are involved. Meet Black Widow you winged infant bat!

  • They need hygiene intervention pronto!

This is the obvious one. Supply them with non anti perspirant deodorant, clean clothes and a hefty supply of underwear. Your kid can no longer pull off wearing the same clothes two days in a row. It’s not pretty. I wouldn’t advise it.


  • Physical Changes

My eldest is not a shy child. We see him fresh from the shower in all his glory on a frequent basis. The physical changes are obvious. Over the last few weeks a few pimples have even popped up on is forehead! So now I have to make sure he showers, brushes his teeth, eats veggies, puts on deodorant AND washes his face with appropriate cleansing products? Sheesh.

  • We shouldn’t stop being an involved parent

Although they act as though they don’t want or need our help, our kids need us more during this time. The most difficult thing the hubs and I are going through at the moment is finding the balance of disciplining the mood swings while letting the kid become his own individual person. I feel it’s important that one of us always be actively present to guide the kid into adulthood.

Also, this is the time when we need to be cognizant of drastic personality changes that warrant further attention. If we notice our kids pulling away from family and friends or avoiding things that were once enjoyable to them then that could signal a problem. Fortunately for us, we just have a smelly, sassy, Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde persona we are trying to raise living at the other end of our house, only in the infancy stages of what is to come.

Although still a freshman in the world of kid hormonal changes, I can offer this piece of advice. Remember that you’re not alone. It’s never an easy or popular thing for parents to admit that their kids don’t act like the perfect child all the time or that we don’t have all the answers. Even people who seem like they have it all together are probably struggling with the same feelings and parenting challenges. Every kid is different with a unique personality. That means parenting has to be tweaked to meet the needs of the child and it’s pretty daunting to get that right every day.

It’s unrealistic for people to assume that their way works for your child and unfair and even ignorant to say their way is the only way. That burns this Bat Boy’s mother up. Take freedom in doing what works for your child and remember to exercise some grace while parents like us figure it all out.

What worked for you in successfully transitioning your child through the “Holy Hormone” years? Any ideas relayed in kindness and thoughtfulness are always helpful. We are a community of parents just trying to be the best at what we do.

Our second child is right behind the first so it’s going to be a double whammy of hormone hades in our house soon. To the Batmobile baby daddy! Time to drop the crazies off at grandma’s and head to the beach!

"To the Bat Mobile Baby Daddy!"
“To the Batmobile Baby Daddy!”

The Pediatric Office Visit Per Jim Carey


We are now in our SECOND day of summer vacation and I already have two children scoring over 100 on the Fahrenheit temperature reading exam and another one attempting to obtain overachiever status. I am so very pleased that they sought to carry their love for knowledge and work ethic (or lack there of) into the week of our beach vacation. As always, I am one proud mother.

Somewhere between leaving the house with three cruddy children and arriving back home with healthy Happy Meals in hand, I have found myself on the verge of a breakdown. You know what I mean. The “I’m about to lose my freaking mind” moment. Certainly, I don’t have time for such things and must muster on and overcome! Therefore, I shall utilize my most recent form of therapy and chronicle the events of the past two hours.

One particular movie scene always comes to mind when these moments hit. Only those that have the utmost class and impeccable taste will know of which movie I am referring to. Ah hum…”Dumb and Dumber”.

Dumb and Dumber Jim Carey
Dumb and Dumber
Jim Carey

As told by scenes from this world renown movie and the unmatched facial expressions of Mr. Jim Carey, I proceed.

I gather all three offspring up, pry their iPads from their grasps long enough for them to brush their teeth (one fibbed and failed to do so) and load them into the car.

And we're off!
And we’re off!

We have an uneventful car ride (a rarity) and quickly arrive at the pediatrician’s office. As soon as the children walk through the glass doors into the waiting room, they pull a COMPLETE 180 on me. The older two start laughing and discussing what level they just beat on a video game and which has better rankings. Let’s NOT forget the wild man. As soon as his feet touch the floor, he bolts to the aquarium and starts beating on the glass window like Darla from “Finding Nemo”. They are loud, happy and, other than a cough, sneeze or snort here and there, they appear PERFECTLY healthy. Well, that’s convenient.


Fortunately, we are called back rather efficiently.  As they giggle, play fight and skip through the halls, we enter our patient room. I know the nurse personally, because let’s be real here. When you have three kids and have attended the same pediatric clinic for ten years, they KNOW you. My thoughts at this point are “You have just wasted $90 of hard earned cash”, “You appear to have come here for some social interaction because your kids are FAKING it woman” and also, “You look like one of those mom’s that has ZERO control over your kids. You are an embarrassment to motherhood”. “98.4 mom”, the nurse sweetly states. None of them have fever per her thermometer. I’m starting to drown a little.

DUMB AND DUMBER TO - 2014 FILM STILL - JEFF DANIELS as Harry Dunne - Photo Credit: Hopper Stone © 2014 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
DUMB AND DUMBER TO – 2014 FILM STILL – JEFF DANIELS as Harry Dunne – Photo Credit: Hopper Stone © 2014 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

In between the nurse checking vitals and the physician coming in, the kids are acting like chimpanzees on Redbull. They are playing loudly, laughing hysterically and the toddler is getting into any and every expensive equipment that is strategically placed within arms reach of a three year old. I’m screaming inside, “Seriously, you crazed animals were running temperature and being “sick perfect” all last night. Why??!!”. I”m trying all I can do to keep them quiet. Then, the doctor enters. Another familiar acquaintance. I charmingly muster up a smile and say, “Hey! How have you been? You have lost weight! Tell me your secret because you look great!.”

Mama"s got this
Mama’s got this

She really did. What’s my excuse for gaining 15 pounds recently? She has several kids and works full-time so I guess I have no valid excuse to make myself feel better.

Other than acting very loud, yet completely well, the older two cooperate nicely for her. However, once she gets to the caboose, the cortisol starts pumping out exponentially. He refuses to let her touch him or look at the necessary crevices. In addition, he starts taking pictures of her…with my phone that I attempted to contain him with. Don’t judge. It got real. During this insanity, the older two step up the play fighting a notch.

You guy are THIS close to groundings
You guy are THIS close to groundings

Fast forward to the prognosis. Two fever viruses and a severely inflamed sinus cavity. What this means it that I have, in fact, forked over $90 in copays to be told “Sorry, you’ll just have to wait it out with Advil and Tylenol.”

I'm about to cry
I can’t even…

I persuade a little. It’s my nature. She writes me a couple of scripts for antibiotics just in case we need it during the Memorial Day weekend. Finally, a break.

I then proceed to checkout where I wipe out the chip embedded debit card and the animals collect their Batman and My Little Pony stickers. After driving through and getting lunch, we arrive home to eat and settle in before we have to leave again in an hour.  Then Tasmanian Devil Angel child immediately refuses his food, starts talking deliriously, grabs his blanket and falls asleep on the couch WITH FEVER. Advil it is.

Assuming the fetal position and inserting thumb in
Assuming the fetal position and inserting thumb in mouth…now

As I am wrapping up this story on our morning endeavor, he just has woken up, stolen something from baby girl, started screaming and I am about to go drop them off at grandma’s so I can FINALLY get a couple of things done I have had to postpone for two weeks now. Thank you Jim Carey for your gift of expression. Pictures speak louder than words most times. I would post a picture that the child took of the physician but it was of HER CHEST!

There you go parents. You are never alone with your Pediatric Office escapades!