Mother’s Day as a Single Mom

When you’re a single mom, Mother’s Day looks a little different.

There isn’t any sleeping in. When little man wakes up at 4:10, then again at 5:25, there isn’t anyone else to push out of bed to go get him.

But then when you pick him up and give him a good morning hug and he tells you, “So happy!” you’re pretty damn glad it was you who went in to get him, and you could care less what time it is.

Breakfast in bed is out, too. So you have some fun and make yourself a gourmet version of the frozen Spiderman waffles your toddler son likes. And, hey, they’re not so bad.

img_7912

Despite the cold and damp, it’s you who takes your kid to toddler soccer, which is basically equivalent to herding baby cheetahs who’d rather run away and pick dandelions on the muddy field than actually touch the ball with his feet. But when your future florist gets freaked out by another little dino roaring at him (something he was doing to you all through that spiderific breakfast), it’s you who gets the hugs and the request to “go home now.

img_7851img_7855

And since it’s Mother’s Day and you’re cold and wet and just not into pushing a two-year-old to play team sports quite yet, you go with the flow. And go in search of smiles—his and yours.

His comes easy. Find a swing and wag your tongue back at him as he wags his at you.

img_7925

Yours might cost a bit more but it is worth every penny and every calorie—even if it wasn’t eaten in bed at a decent hour.

img_7931

The rest of the day is about the same as any other Sunday. Busy. Exhausting. Too short to even dent the to-do list.

But it is also overflowing with gratitude and laughter and love.

img_7691

Mother’s Day as a single mom, as any mom, is more than being pampered or having time to take an uninterrupted shower (though those are nice perks if you can get ’em). It’s about being appreciated, and the best part of being a single parent is getting all the hugs, “thank you, mom”s, “ugga mugga”s, and sloppy wet kisses. I am loved by the little person I love more than anything else. That’s all this mom really needs.

Well, that and the donuts.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

Egg Dying With a Toddler

Alternate Title: Why Parents Shouldn’t Rush Holiday Traditions

Baby’s first everything is exciting, so of course I went nuts with Little Man’s first Easter last year. I had an Easter basket made with his name on it, bought the books and knick knacks for it months in advance, and planned his outfit from head-to-toe. But while I might have gone nuts, I wasn’t totally insane. I understood that an 11-month-old wouldn’t be able to partake in the Easter traditions I fondly remembered: dying eggs with mom, hunting for hidden eggs with my brother, and raiding the candy when no one was looking with my dad.

This year, though, Little Man is almost two. He’s grown from a baby to a little boy. A little boy who loves eggs, stickers, painting…and smearing anything messy all over himself and the cat. So dying eggs was definitely happening, definitely would be the start of a favored new holiday tradition, and definitely was a wise parenting decision.

Or definitely not.

IMG_7027
Tiger Lily knew I was nuts.

First, I gave up precious nap time to prep, time I should have used doing laundry so either one of us actually has clothes to wear come Easter. But I thought of the fun we’d have, and knew it was worth the time. At least I was smart enough to do the liquid dye while he was asleep and safely confined in a crib.

IMG_7031
And I dig messes. Let’s do this.

Upon his waking, I shared my genius plan with my still groggy toddler who thought it was brilliant, so brilliant he threw a fit when I told him painting eggs required a clean diaper. But once we got past that, it was great.

Except when control freak Mommy didn’t want him to mix the two colors of paint. Or when destructo toddler decided smashing or throwing the brightly colored “balls” sounded more fun than putting stickers on them. Or when we both realized our hands were permanently green, and we were showing up to Easter brunch as Mini-Hulk and his mom.

IMG_7042
Not of fan of Momma’s artwork. Or my green hands.

So the only egg with stickers is the one I modeled for him. The shaving cream eggs aren’t edible (a common sense thing I should have realized before buying all the supplies)—not to mention they left us both green from our elbows down. And for an hour of prep, he spent about 15 minutes interested in any of it—except eating the broken eggs. He liked the eating!

IMG_7061
Mmm, I should have broken more of these.

So was it wise to attempt the tradition of egg dying at the wonderful age of almost two? Definitely not. Was it fun regardless of the mess and stress? Hell yes.

And we’ll try again next year, but in the meantime, wish us better luck on the egg hunt!

Happy Easter & Passover weekend to all!

Book Advent Calendar

A mommy friend posted on Facebook last year about doing a book advent calendar or book countdown to Christmas for her child. Apparently this was already a thing, and she did not invent it, but being the first time I saw it, I thought she was a genius. Twenty-five days of celebrating the holidays through books? Twenty-fve excuses to share my love of reading and the Christmas season with my little guy? Twenty-five ways to spoil him with stories and snuggles? Sign me up!

So this year I pulled together twenty-five winter and holiday themed books, wrapped them up, and stacked them artfully (as artful as I get) with a Santa hat plopped on top. Tonight we dove into the pile and explored our first new book, Elmo’s Countdown to Christmas, because, ya know, toddler. (And yes, I’m starting early because I want to end on Christmas Eve with The Night Before Christmas.)

Little man was pretty impressed when he realized the stack of Mickey Mouse wrapped packages were all books and all for him. He was so impressed, in fact, he strung together four words “one book more…please” which is pretty good for a pint-sized beggar and the polite please almost had me caving—but not quite.

For those who think this is as awesome as I did but worry about the cost or work, here are a few ideas to simplify it:

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. My little guy doesn’t know that 20 of his 25 books were gifted, donated, or bought used. Even as he gets older and might remember favorite books from year to year, it’s still okay to reuse because it’s about the fun of opening and (re)reading the story, not about ‘getting things.’ I plan to rotate in a few new titles each year to fit his interests and age. This year the new ones were Mickey, Daniel Tiger, Elmo, Mac the Tractor, and Little Blue Truck.
  • Involve the relatives. If you have plans to see aunts, uncles, or grandparents a few nights over the holiday season, see if they’d be willing to share a favorite story with your little one as his/her book that day.
  • Make an outing of it. Take a weekly trip to the library and pick out books for the week to read each night.
  • Do the 12 books of Christmas or the 8 books of Chanukah. Or for the older kids just pick a special novel and read a chapter or two each night.
  • Skip the wrapping. Stick the books in a festive bag or box and pull one out each night. Or maybe that creepy Elf can deliver a new, unwrapped book each night. (Sorry, I have elf issues.)

I can never pass up a chance to read to my little man and am lucky beyond measure to have the time and means to be able to share stories with him on a daily basis, but however you choose to instill the love of reading and/or the magic of the holidays in your child, you are giving them some of the best gifts there are to give!

Happy reading!

Here are the books I included in our book countdown to Christmas this year. The covers below are affiliate links to Amazon:

IMG_5270