Archive of ‘Sentiments’ category

A Mother’s Job is Never Done


A Mother's Job is Never Done | The Champagne Supernova

A mother’s job is never done.

It’s waking up early in the morning to make breakfast and school lunches. It’s getting the kids out of bed, fed, teeth brushed, and out of the house looking “presentable.” All while getting yourself ready to go about your day.

It’s making appointments. There are so many appointments. Dental screenings. Updated vaccinations. School assessments. Mole checks at the dermatologist. Physicals for sports.

It’s signing forms. Permission slips. School volunteer sign-up sheets. Liability waivers. Contracts. Insurance documents.

It’s planning birthday parties. Ordering the food, cake, and decorations. Reserving the event space. Setting up the bounce house and keeping your fingers crossed nobody breaks a bone. Cleaning up. Sending thank-you notes. It’s also sending your kids to their friends’ parties on the weekends, which means planning carpools and buying presents (Cha-ching $).

It’s being a house manager. Taking out the trash and emptying the dishwasher (or delegating others to do it.) Folding endless piles of laundry. Making beds only to have them undone several hours later. Calling the plumber because your shower’s been clogged for a week. Paying bills.

It’s being a therapist. You’re a referee to sibling and friend drama. Helping your kids navigate social situations and learning how to cope with life’s disappointments by being a good example yourself (even when you sometimes fail and that’s okay.) It’s dealing with a child’s tantrums why trying not to lose your mind.

It’s being a teacher. Forcing your kids to do their homework when they don’t want to and you’ve had a long day yourself. It’s re-learning things like fractions and long addition and all the other things you forgot in elementary school so you can explain it to your child.

It’s being a beautician. Combing knots out of hair. Watching YouTube videos so you can learn how to french braid. Brushing and flossing teeth when your kids are too young to do it themselves.

It’s being a zombie. Learning how to function after getting only a couple hours of sleep the night before because you couldn’t go back to sleep after your child woke you up in the middle of the night and told you they wet the bed. Oh, and insomnia, too. REM sleep? You haven’t had that since you were in your twenties.

It’s being a planner. Extracurricular activities. Sports. Summer camp. Spring break. What to do with your kids during holidays and teacher workdays when they don’t have school. Remembering to send a card to your grandparents for their birthdays. Remembering to respond to texts and emails.

It’s being an accountant because HAVING KIDS IS SO DANG EXPENSIVE and you have to budget. Health insurance. Diapers and formula. Clothes and uniforms. Daycare and school. More mouths to feed. Vacations and staycations.

It’s being a role model. Keeping your mouth shut about someone when you don’t have anything kind to say (or, at least, saying that unkind thing when your child isn’t around to hear it.) Turning the other cheek. Looking at the big picture instead of being petty. Keeping secrets. Trying not to obsess about your weight. Showing gratitude to service providers like store clerks and waitstaff.

It’s being a life saver. Holding hands in public parking lots so nobody gets run over by a car. Sitting on the steps of the pool to make sure nobody drowns. Knowing when an illness is serious enough to call a doctor.

It’s being a chauffeur. Sports. Parties. School. Dance. Gymnastics. Vacations and the beach on weekends. The grocery store and drugstore. Medical and dental appointments.

It’s being a soldier. Allowing yourself to get back up and try again after you defeatedly cried in your car after school drop-off because your mental resources are depleted.

It’s trying to do all of these things and still keep romance alive in your marriage, maintaining closeness with your friends, working out, eating healthy, and practicing self care.

Don’t let anyone make you feel like you aren’t allowed to be exhausted.

Being a parent is a job. It is the most important job.

You are doing a great job. Soldier on.

Cheers!

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    Cheers to Cousins


    Cheers to the cousins | The Champagne Supernova

    Me (white dress and knee-high socks) and some of my cousin crew in 1985.

    I come from a big family and have 23 first cousins.

    My parents always made an effort to bring us around them. This wasn’t like my grandparents’ generation where family members stayed in the same town and often lived only streets away from each other. In our case, there had to be an effort.

    Most of my childhood summers were spent with my cousins at our grandparents’ house in Eustis. We made roadside lemonade stands, went to the beach at the family timeshare, rode rides together at Disney (a perk of living in Central Florida), and put on plays during get-togethers my aunts and uncles humored us and watched.

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      You Are Enough


      Stop comparing yourselves to other moms because you are enough | The Champagne Supernova

      I stalked her Instagram account for weeks in preparation for her deposition.

      I was hired to represent a local company where the plaintiff, a former TV personality and “Instafamous” social media influencer, was seeking damages for injuries associated with a highly publicized car accident.

      The woman seemed perfect. She was in her early 40s but looked ten years younger. She’d post photos of herself in swimsuits and her body was flawless. She had a handsome husband and three beautiful boys and their home looked like something out of MTV Cribs. They went on exotic vacations. This woman was highly educated with a Ph.D. in history. She’d written two books and one was on the New York Times best seller list. She seemed popular- her Instastories featured photos with herself and friends and she seemed to get tons of likes and comments on every post. This lady was also “supermom”- photographing herself sitting along the sidelines of her sons’ soccer games and knitting them scarves in the winter.

      I was intimidated at the idea of meeting her in person and then interrogating her.  (more…)

        Cheers to the “Easy Friends”


        Cheers to the friendships that come easy | The Champagne Supernova

        I recently went for a walk with a girlfriend who has a son in Kindergarten.

        Despite the young age, there was already “drama” in the Kindergarten class among the boys.

        This was typical six year-old drama: excluding someone on the playground, not sharing snacks at lunch, and threatening to disinvite a classmate to a birthday party.

        Sigh.

        My friend’s son is laid back and easily makes friends. However, because the ongoing drama involved his small circle of buddies in his class, it was hard for him to get away from it.

        One of the little boys constantly stirred up drama. His name was Mark. Mark was moody and my friend’s son was always worried Mark would get mad at him about something dumb. The other boys walked on eggshells around Mark.

        Also involved in this circle of friends was a kid named Owen. Owen was easygoing and fun. Owen and my friend’s son had a lot in common. Owen wasn’t dramatic.

        One day, my friend asked her son what the deal was with Mark and why there was so much drama.

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          There is Magic in the Mundane


          Each night before bed, my kids and I share with each other our best and worst parts of the day.

          We call this tradition “best part, worst part.”

          We never miss “best part, worst part,” not even when we’re away on vacation.

          Usual worst parts: getting stuck in traffic, getting to the carpool line late, and having a meltdown (the kids, not me.)

          Usual best parts: playing outside, eating pizza for dinner, and “camping out” in the living room.

          Here’s the thing.

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            Signing Up to Volunteer Doesn’t Mean I’m Signing Up to Be a Slave


            Me signing up to volunteer for an organization doesn't mean I want to be a slave | The Champagne Supernova

            I love volunteering.

            Love it, love it, love it.

            Unfortunately, there is sometimes a poison that comes from the top that makes it less fun.

            People who run volunteer organizations, PTA events, and other organizations where the members are donating their time and money take heed:

            Volunteers are not slaves.

            After college, I joined a bunch of local volunteer and professional organizations because I was crazy I didn’t have kids or a family and, therefore, plenty of time on my hands.

            I made rich friendships and wonderful memories. It felt good to give back to the community and learn from civic leaders.

            However.

            While I certainly didn’t need a pat on the back, it would have been nice for some of the higher-ups at the organizations to once say “thank you” or acknowledge everyone else’s hard work instead of clogging my social media feed with self-indulgent posts about how awesome they are.

            For them to remember the volunteers who were gratuitously donating their time and opening their wallets and essentially the backbones of the organization.

            But no.

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              Dear World: I Will Not Be Shamed Because I’m a Woman Who Likes to Work


              I am a women who works because I like to and not because I have to | The Champagne Supernova

               

              I was at a meeting for a volunteer organization last month when I met a woman we’ll call Kristen. She was assigned to my small group and she was new to the area. Kristen was outgoing but loud, and it was obvious she was trying to make friends, which nobody could blame her. We went around the circle and briefly introduced ourselves so Kristen could get acquainted.

              I went last.

              “I’m Jen. I’m married with two young daughters and I live in Tampa. I work part time as an attorney and part time as a blogger. I joined this organization to meet like-minded women and give back to the community.” 

              Kristen looked at me and scoffed. Then she snorted.  (more…)

                How to Lose Your Life


                How to ruin your life | The Champagne Supernova

                I took the kids to get ice cream after school last week and left my phone inside the car because it was dead.

                We brought the ice cream to our tables. After about 10 minutes, an employee went out of her way to approach me and tell me how refreshing it was to see a parent in the store actually engaging with their kids instead of ignoring them and being glued to the phone while the kids either sat alone or entertained each other.

                I felt guilty saying “thank you” to the employee because I knew the truth.

                That if my phone hadn’t been dead, I likely would have been there with it in the store checking emails, responding to text messages, and scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds like what I was doing couldn’t wait until later.

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                  Dear Single Parents: You Are Seen


                  Dear Single Parent: You are Seen | The Champagne Supernova

                  I was annoyed when I received the text.

                  Hey Jen. I won’t be at the office this morning. Emma woke up with pink eye and I need to take her to the doctor. I’ll see if my babysitter can watch her this afternoon. I’ll be in as soon as I can. 

                  I’ll admit I probably rolled my eyes.

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                    What Childhood Poverty Really Looks Like


                    Being raised in poverty in America | The Champagne Supernova

                    My grandmother was an elementary school teacher in Cambria County, Pennsylvania (Read: poor!) for over 30 years before she retired. One of her more noteworthy memories happened at Christmastime nearly 40 years ago.

                    Her students participated in a “Secret Santa” gift exchange. While all of the other students were opening up neat presents like baseball cards, knock-off Barbie dolls, and Silly Putty in the middle of the class party (schools were allowed to have Christmas parties back then), one kid, John, gave his assigned pal, Donnie, a small bag of potato chips because that’s all his mother could afford.

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