The Things We Poo For Love.

It would have been nice if someone had warned me. Knowledge is power, and there really is no way to truly understand how much poop is involved with parenting. We do a disservice to new parents by keeping quiet on these big questions: How can I survive changing diapers for that many years? Will My heart still swell with love and affection when my baby is covered in excrement? It’s time to break down the truth about the brown.

They ease you into the poop, the babies. And it’s conceptually easy, “yeah, I’ll be changing diapers, but look how cute and tiny the diapers are! And they have Elmo on them!” They start you with the tiny smear poos; they don’t fill the diaper but leave an odorless-mustardy-liquid streak and you think, “I can definitely handle this!” You don’t want to brag, but two weeks in and you’re nailing his parenting thing.

Then a few weeks later, it really hits the fan. Suddenly it’s escalated and you’re dealing with blowouts, which you’ve heard veteran parents laugh about all the time. But then it happens to you and you wonder, WHY WERE THEY LAUGHING?!” Your baby is covered in feces and removing the poop covered outfit (that you just put on five minutes ago) only makes it worse. You’ve managed to spread the poop, literally from head to toe, undoubtedly necessitating a bath. And you best hope baby is done for the moment, lest he grunt and fill your bath with a mustard-toned cloud, slowly spreading beneath the surface of the tub. 

You start solids and enjoy the new routine, watching baby experiment with new flavors and textures. Now you’re also inevitably experiencing some new flavors and textures during diaper changes. Overnight, the innocuous baby manure transforms into straight-up human feces. It’s foul smelling and distinct. Somehow your diaper pail (regardless of how much you spent on it) stops working and walking into the nursery smells like you’ve walked into a port-a-potty at Rib-fest in the dead of summer. You come to terms with the fact that you keep a bin of human waste in the same room where your precious child sleeps.

That sweet baby becomes a toddler and the “number twos” persist. You convince yourself that once your little one is potty-trained, your face-to-face interactions with other peoples’ feces will decrease. Don’t believe this lie. You’ll still spend just as much time cleaning bottoms. And should your ambitious little toilet user decide to attempt wiping themself, you can add walls, clothing, floors and fingernails to your list of surfaces you’ve sanitized due to poo-contamination.

If you’re lucky, your child will be regular. Of course this means wiping multiple butts daily before you’ve finished your first cup of coffee. At least you’re not stuck along side the less fortunate parents of irregular children, who spend much of their time using assitive methods to help their poor child pass a bowel movement. The supplements, the dietary considerations, the enemas; Suddenly the waste basket full of soiled pre-moistened toddler wipes doesn’t sound so bad.

You send them off to school, out into the world, off to wipe their own rears. You enter the “skid-mark” years and you constantly revisit proper wiping techniques to avoid the hamper full of brown-streaked undies. At this point all the poop becomes one big crass metaphor for parenthood in general: You wade through all the early poop-proliferated years, trudging through the feces-filled trenches and then suddenly your little skid-marked birdie has flown the nest.

You surprise yourself and disprove what you had believed all your life, that poop is a real relationship deal-breaker. Ends up, the relationship involving the most fecal matter is one of the most precious relationships you’ll ever have. Despite the truly immense quantity of poop you end up handling, (multiplied by the number of children you have) it’s just a phase.

So I won’t tell you to enjoy the turd-trodden years; That just seems cliche. It is helpful to prepare yourself, at least mentally, for the massive amounts of waste handling that parenting requires. While knowledge IS power, so is love. Love, especially in parenting, means rolling up your sleeves and getting elbow deep in that $#£%.

Local Mom Finally Realizes That Leggings are Not Pants

Earlier this week, local stay-at-home-mom, Jill Lestare of Wausau, Wisconsin finally realized that leggings are not, in fact, pants. After the persistent hints dropped by friends and acquaintances along with passive-aggressive commentary on social media, Lestare admitted that the message has been received.

“I can’t believe how selfish I was.” Lestare stated. “It was so inconsiderate of me to be concerned with my own comfort and style preferences over the penchants of the other adults I come into contact with. It was a mistake. After much reflection, I have decided that I will now only be wearing what others consider acceptable”

In addition to her husband expressing his distaste for leggings, hostilities reached a near breaking point at a local park last week when other Mothers whispered and cackled behind Lestare’s back about her personal clothing choices. “We almost said something to her. ALMOST.” Said Cheryl Trimbleu also from Wausau, Wisconsin. “I’m not sure how productive that would have been, though. These types of issues are much better dealt with through gossip and bad looks.”

Initially, Lestare had assumed that both her husband and the other local mothers wouldn’t be concerned with her clothing choices. “I always thought it was fine for people to express themselves however they wanted through their clothing choices. I realize that was naïve. I see now that if they wouldn’t be comfortable wearing what I’m wearing, then I shouldn’t be either. It makes so much more sense now!” Lestare noted that a complete play date freeze-out and excessive amounts of side-eye really helped her come around on the issue.

Lestare told reporters that as a busy stay-at-home Mom, she liked the comfort and mobility that wearing leggings offered, but that no amount of comfort or freedom of choice was worth how upset other people seemed to be about something that doesn’t affect them in the slightest.

“Now that I’m on the other side of this terrible phase in my life, I understand how important it is to be concerned about what other people think of me.” Lestare added, “And if I don’t teach that lesson to my children, what kind of Mother would I be?”

How to Celebrate Your Birthday With Your Kids

Happy birthday! You probably won’t hear that from your kids unless first prompted by your spouse. First they’ll beg you for food and cartoons. Once they are overtly reminded that it’s your birthday, they’ll whine that it’s not their birthday. Make this a teaching moment and explain how the calendar works while calculating exactly how many days it is until each of their birthdays. Do this more than once because they’ll keep asking. Go ahead and make yourself a mimosa. It’s ok, no one’s judging since it’s your birthday. (But don’t make yourself one tomorrow; Tomorrow is no longer your Birthday and that would make you a day-drinking unfit mother.)
Make sure you don’t expect to sleep in. Inevitably, one of them will wake up early and refuse to go back to sleep. They probably won’t be pleasant about this, yet they’ll insist that they aren’t grumpy and would very much like to start the day. Their persuasion skills could use some work, but their will is iron-clad, so you forgo the battle and start the day earlier than most mammals find acceptable. This will ensure you’re also in a foul mood. The day-long grogginess and foul mood are actually your gifts, since your kids accidentally told you what your real gift was over a week ago. 

Try and plan a fun outing. It’s great to spend time with your kids and celebrate another year of life as a Mother. Partially brought on by the early rising and partially by pure irony, at least one of your children will pick this outing as prime time to throw the fit of their life. This public embarrassment is also part of your birthday present. It pairs well with the grogginess. Feel free to call the outing a wash and pack everyone back up. You can always try again in the afternoon after naps, assuming you haven’t been banned from said place of outing. If this is the case, you can use this as another teaching moment on “not trespassing” and following “norms of socially acceptable behavior.”

When you get home, your spouse will feel bad that nothing has gone according to plan and may tell you to just leave. It’s wise to capitalize on this opportunity. Some quality time alone, sobbing in your minivan in a gas station parking lot can be mood-lifting. It’s your birthday, after all, so treat yourself.

Wipe the smeared mascara off your face and go order yourself some type of high calorie ice cream coffee drink. Enjoy your dessert beverage in solitude. While you’re lapping the whipped cream off the top of said drink (like all same and totally normal people do) you will spill your drink all over yourself. This is because you were about to enjoy something, be careful not to do that again today. 

At this point you’ll feel compelled to repeat your gas station parking lot sob-fest. This would be an acceptable next step. If you’re brave and want to temp the Mom-Birthday-Karma-Gods, you could attempt to reorder your meal-replacement coffee dessert, but by the time you go to reorder, they’ll undoubtably be out of whatever you want. So you should probably just head back to the gas station.

Once you’ve grown bored of looking at your phone in your parked car, feel free to head home, since there aren’t a lot of places you’re excited to go to while covered in sugared coffee syrup. Once you’ve worked yourself up to walking into the house, announce that you’re ordering pizza for dinner. Declare with authority that you get to pick the toppings and that no one is allowed to complain about them. Have a glass of wine with dinner while everyone complains about the pizza toppings.

After a second glass of wine, call your own Mother and apologize for all 18 birthdays you probably ruined for her.

Delicately suggest that your spouse should put the kids to bed. It’s your birthday after all, and you shouldn’t have to spend it arguing over which PJs to wear or getting 17 glasses of water for the thirstiest children in all the land. Kiss them goodnight after your frazzled spouse has wrestled them into bed and tell them how much you love them. 

Make your escape quickly. You don’t want your kids thinking they get to stay up late for your birthday. As you close the door, you hear a soft whisper, “Happy Birthday, Mommy.” You feel your heart melt and you realize this was actually the best birthday present. Embrace this moment as it swells large enough to overshadow the long list of mishaps that filled the rest of your day. 

Happy Birhday, Mommy. 

But don’t forget to do that load of laundry with those coffee soaked clothes right away. You leave that until tomorrow and it’s totally going to stain.

A Letter From My Anxiety

Hey, Hi! It’s me again, your anxiety! We’ve been friends for a while now so I feel like we can skip the pleasantries and I’ll just jump right in. You should really switch your kids to nitrate-free lunch meat. Yes, you’ve thought about it a couple times but haven’t quite had the time to do the research (I know you’ve been super busy with raising those munchkins AND using that endocrine-disrupting scented lotion again, I see…) So, I went through the trouble of doing all the research for you. I’ll spare you all the details, but suffice it to say, it’s slowly decaying your children’s organs. You should definitely switch. BUT, I mean, only if you want to raise humans with functional kidneys. 

While you’re at it, have you considered switching the milk to organic too? I don’t want to sound pushy, but you don’t want to know what all those artificial hormones and whatnot are doing to their poor little developing nervous systems. Trust me, it ain’t pretty. I know it’s pricey, but sacrifices, right?! This is totally the right call. I’ve crunched some numbers and if you just stop heating your house in the winter you can definitely afford the $7 a gallon liquid cow gold.

Speaking of gold, unless you want your kids to end up looking like those rappers with all the gold teeth, you need to make sure you’re using a clay-based tooth paste. I know I’ve warned you about fluoride before, but did you read those pamphlets I sent you? It’s good info with some terrifying statistics. 

Also, I’m aware that the kids hate it and act like you’re torturing them, but you should definitely be flossing their teeth at least twice a day. Skip your shower and that should make up the time for all the resisting, writhing and physical restraint you’ll have to do in order to get those itty bitty teeth flossed. It’s about time management and priorities. Slap on an extra coat of deodorant; You can stink for a couple years if it means no cavities for your little sweeties!! But since we’re on the subject, please make sure you don’t bribe them to sit still during flossing, that’ll make them entitled and manipulative. 

Not to be nosey, I just happened to notice that your kids have a bit of a summer tan. I know you’re applying sunscreen before any outside time, especially after I got you those statistics on skin cancer forming before age 2. But since you went against my advice to have them enjoy the sunshine from inside in long-sleeve shirts and pants, I wanted to make sure you are reapplying the sunscreen every 20 minutes. I know it takes you a full 20 minutes to put sunscreen on all three, but that works out pretty well if you just start over again with kid #1 once you finish up #3. 

I guess one upside to your ill-advised choice to expose your children to deadly UV rays and all the free-radicals that make most sunscreens fatal, is that they are getting less screen time. Any more than that one 24 minute PBS show could really inhibit their development. I know some days you would like to make dinner without kids hanging on your body and screaming, but letting them watch another show could have some pretty dangerous side-effects. I’ll keep it brief, but the list includes loss of muscle function, facial ticks, language delays and full-on brain melting. I think we can both agree that the high blood pressure and stress you experience during dinner prep are a small price to pay for those precious little brains. 

Listen, I feel like this was a good talk. Of course, you’re the Mom so it’s ultimately your decision…you can’t keep your kids in a bubble, after all! (Although I did send you an email about this fantastic new bubble suit for kids, did you read it yet?) So, yeah – this was great, let’s do it again multiple times a day for the rest of your life!

Looking forward to it!

– Your Anxiety

5 Times My Toddler Accidentally Insulted Me.

Just the other day, my daughter told me that my panties were “so big and beautiful, like a princess!” I was unsure which Disney classic features Princesses in large parachute style panties, so I tried to focus on the “beautiful” and ignore the “big.” Considering the possibility that my briefs could legitimately fit her as a shirt, “big” was probably an appropriate adjective. I’d like to say that this was the first time my kids have made me feel like less than the young, hip and svelte Mom I know I am, but they rock the backhanded compliment like it’s their job. Kids have such a special way with words that far too often ends with me sob-eating Rice-Crispy bars in my closet.

“I like your yellow shirt. It makes you look like a minion.”

Listen kid, I know that you’re just pulling from what you know and what matters in your toddler world, but I can’t help but feel the burn of being compared to a babbling turd-shaped dweeb dressed in overalls. I’d like to think I’m still rocking some sweet lady curves, but realistically my figure may have shifted from “hourglass” to “tic-tac” after birthing twins and a singleton, making the minion reference more accurate than I’d like to admit. Since you love minions, and probably think the idea of having one as your Mother is fantastic, I’m going to try my hardest to take this as a compliment.

“I love snuggling with you; Your belly is so squishy!”

Nothing melts my heart more than my littles wanting to snuggle, but I’ll take those snuggles without the running commentary on my less than firm midsection. I’m well aware that your former house, that stretched to capacity while simultaneously providing free rent for you and your twin brother, looks a bit like a deflated balloon. Or chewed bubble gum, or any number of unflattering comparisons that might pop into your filter-less brain. Just snuggle up and be quiet so I can pretend that you’re actually saying “you had twins and another?! Three kids?! You look fantastic!.

“When will I grow lots of hair on my arms like you?”

So I wasn’t ever self-conscious about my arm hair…until now. I would have been slightly less traumatized had the follow up question not been, “do you brush it, Mommy?”

Do I really have a lot of arm hair? Is it too dark? Are arm cornrows the way to go? Should I wax it? Maybe I’ll get electrolysis, or maybe I’ll just wear long sleeves the rest of my life. OH MY GOODNESS a three-year-old just made me spiral so hard that I purchased a laser hair removal package on Groupon.


“I want to wear my hair all lumpy, like yours.”

I‘m not the most manicured or put together Mom. I might not always be the cool Mom, wearing “clean clothes or “real pants,” but I’d like to think I am on the cusp of emerging fashion trends when it comes to the “messy Mom bun.” Critics might argue “you should at least brush it first,” or “one lump would be plenty,” but that really takes the “messy” out of it, now doesn’t it? Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but if my daughter is admiring my hair lumps, I’m going to say I’m doing something right.

“Why you got those lines on your face?”

It wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always a sleep-deprived, legging-wearing, messy bun-sporting, minivan-driving, child-rearing referee. That’s the stuff wrinkles are made of, so I’ve likely acquired a few. Botox isn’t a part of my Mom-life beauty regiment, which mostly just involves scrubbing my face with a baby wipe once a day and a quick prayer to whichever Saint protects from pimples. Wrinkles happen, but so do first steps, first words, and the first unsolicited hug and “I love you.” For those moments, I’d wear a million wrinkles. Ok, maybe not a million, but if that’s the case, I can always reevaluate Botox.


We are experiencing a bit of an early summer, which is all kinds of wonderful. The weather is fabulous but I’m not completely thrilled about the “open door policy” that comes with the sun and heat. It’s not the kind of friendly and voluntary “open door policy” that I’m sure you’re  thinking of. It’s the kind where our door is always open because no one can remember to CLOSE THE DOOR.

It’s that special time of year were insects and rodents take up residence in our home because my kids never CLOSE THE DOOR. It’s not that hard; You remembered to open it before you tried to walk through it, now please, CLOSE THE DOOR. You are skilled and coordinated enough to open the door, so I know you are physically capable enough to CLOSE THE DOOR. 

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, but I have to be real careful about not yelling it, since as I previously mentioned, the door is wide open. The neighbors have to think I’m a crazy lady at this point, so I’m not sure why I try to keep up the charade of “normal-completely-sane-person-who-doesn’t-yell ‘CLOSE THE DOOR!’ every -3-minutes.” I’m living a lie, because that’s not the woman I am. I’ve been forced to wear these crazy pants and they actually fit quite well.

It’s not just the constant indecision between playing inside or playing outside that causes the tiresome slide of the patio door. It’s the running commentary I receive on every thing that my children experience while playing outside.

*slide* “Mom! The bumble bee is back!”

*slide* “Mom! We found a dead June bug!”

*slide* “Mom! We filled your garden with sand!”

*slide* “Mom! Nolan ate an ant!”

I’m experiencing most of these happenings in real time as I constantly poke my head out of the door to ensure that no one has expired or done irreparable damaged to the exterior of our home. So logistically, I don’t need to hear about the June bug for the fourth time. I can appreciate the sense of wonder that comes from being a child, but is it asking too much for efficiency in wonderment? Could they save up three exciting insect sightings and then open the door (probably still inviting at least one of said insects into our lovely home) instead of reporting each one independently? It would cut the door openings by a third. I don’t want to be the efficiency-over-fun Mom, but I’m already the neighborhood crazy person, so I’m feeling pretty good about starting the lessons in efficiency early. 

Lesson one: CLOSE THE DOOR.

5 Ways Parenting Toddlers is Like a Day at the Beach

If you are currently in the trenches parenting toddlers, it goes without saying that you could use a vacation. Unfortunately, you might not be able to escape for that much needed R&R. Fear not; your toddlers can bring the vacation to you! Kick back and relax, here are five ways that parenting toddlers is likea day at the beach.

1) The feeling of sand between your toes.
Don’t you love stepping onto the beach, barefoot, and feeling the sun-warmed sand between your toes? Having toddlers is a similar sensation, only it’s the soft crunch of Cheerios beneath your feet and the feeling of tiny pieces of everything-your-child-ate-today between your toes. Why go to the beach when your toddler can create a sand-like experience covering your entire kitchen floor? Every meal is a new experience, a new sensation. Might I recommend day-old dried peas combined with crusted who-knows-how-old Playdoh crumbs? Pure paradise!

2) The sound of waves crashing against the shore.

The repetitive and soothing sound of loud waves crashing into the shore is universally relaxing. There’s a reason ocean sounds are included on most white noise machines; they drown out other noises and offer a sense of calm and focus. The constant dialogue and questions that toddlers emit can offer an equivalent sensation. Since toddlers will summon you no less than ten times, you can relax to the therapeutic soundtrack of “Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommmmmy!” Or “What’s that? What’s that? What’s that? What’s that?! What’s that?!” Much like the lapping waves at the seashore, your toddler’s questions can take you to a place of serenity and calm. As you learn to drown out the noise, (wine also helps with this) you’ll eventually start imagining yourself on a beach. Without toddlers. And more wine. Voila, vacation!

3) Long walks searching for seashells.

The quest for a delicate unscathed seashell is a challenge, as the force of the ocean and its journey to the shore often shatters or damages most shells. It’s the search to find beauty in the rough. Living with a toddler is similar, in that they will destroy everything that you own and hold dear. Searching for a piece of unstained clothing, a pair of unbroken sunglasses, or a book without a freaking page ripped out can give you the same sense of delight as a peaceful hunt for shells on the beach. Such a satisfying scavenger hunt!

4) Easy breezy wind-blown beach hair.

When you hit the beach, it’s time to let your hair down and feel the breeze flow through your locks. Beach hair is a natural and effortless look that you can also accomplish by caring for toddlers day in and day out. Usually you’re too tired to shower, so your hair takes on a matted and tangled texture sure to impress. Combine this with the number of airborne foods your hair will intercept and you’ve mastered a style similar to that casual and simple beach look. Your wind-blown beach waves will be easy to pull together, since most days your brush will get stuck in your hair (probably on some yogurt or applesauce). So just scrunch it a bit while your toddler tugs on the other side and you’ll have instant trouble-free tropical tresses!

5) The fresh ocean air.

You know that smell unique to the ocean, a combination of salt water, sea weed, fresh air and freedom? Having toddlers kind of smells like that, only what you’re really smelling is poop. It always smells like poop. So maybe this isn’t that similar to the beach. I just wanted to remind you that having toddlers smells a lot like poop, all the time.

So suit up ladies! Although I’m guessing that since having kids you probably dread wearing a swimsuit. A smock or just your bathrobe would be fine too. Ain’t life a beach?