family fun motherhood

On mothering in the Septembers.


Dear MM,

I wanted to apologize for the quality of our afternoons over the last few weeks. Is it weird for me, your mother, to be apologizing for bad behavior? I’ll tell you a Secret that grown ups often don’t want their kids to know: we have no idea what we are doing. I certainly don’t. Despite having ten years of parenting experience under my belt, I’m still largely figuring out how to do this.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t given an owner’s manual when I had you and I’ve spent the last ten years figuring it out as I go. Sometimes I think I’ve got it all figured out and I make lists and plans and laminate things and pat myself on the back for having it down. But then life happens; and when life doesn’t follow my schedule, I have a tendency to get cranky about it. And sometimes you bear the brunt of that crankiness, along with your sister and father.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve relied heavily on your good nature, your helpfulness and your ability to adapt to any situation and roll with the punches. You make me so proud – I don’t know if you realize this, but I brag about you to pretty much anyone who will listen; about how smart, clever and kind you are. About how much you help out around the house and how you never cease to rise to the occasion in life. Sometimes I may take advantage of these things, but I want you to know that I appreciate them.


You have a lot of responsibilities these days between private school, karate classes, cub scouts and chores around the house and I know you are working your butt off to balance it all. But like every September before this one, we are having a hard time making all the pieces fit right now and I have been dumping my frustrations on you a lot. That isn’t fair to you.

As your mother, I’m supposed to pick you up when you fall and encourage you to keep trying. I’m supposed to tell you that it is okay to fail sometimes and that there are always opportunities to start over and try again. I’m sorry that I sometimes forget how to be that person. It’s not always easy to set aside my own frustrations and problems.

A lot of these frustrations don’t have much to do with you. It’s just me worrying about money and when to cook dinner and feeling bone tired from figuring out the flow of this new school year. It’s me trying to control things that cannot be controlled. It’s not about you.


Sometimes I forget that you are a ten year old kid, doing the best you can. Ten year olds aren’t supposed to spend all day stressed out about these things – that’s what moms are for. I rely on your helpfulness a lot but sometimes I have to remind myself that some things are not your burden. You shouldn’t have to worry about the cost of karate lessons or when I’m going to make dinner and you shouldn’t have to carry the weight of my frustrations. You have your own frustrations to deal with and I’m sorry that I haven’t been a very good cheerleader for you lately.

I’m sure you know how hard it can be to calm down when you are upset – sometimes you take it out on others even when you don’t mean to and even though you’d probably rather calm down and find a rational solution, sometimes the temptation to wallow in our problems is too strong. I’ve taught you little tricks over the years to calm down, but sometimes I forget to do them myself.

Did you know that when people are frustrated they tend to take it out on the people they feel the safest around? That means that sometimes I’m going to throw temper tantrums around you because you are my safe place – that doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t mean that they are your tantrums to control. I want you to know that people can be upset around you and that it doesn’t mean they are necessarily upset with you. Sometimes emotions just point in the wrong direction and it can take awhile to realize you’ve been misfiring them.

I’m not saying I’m never going to dump on you again. I’m human and I’m imperfect and I have a tendency to relearn some things constantly. I know you will spend much of your life trying to learn how to balance it all, too, but for now I want you to focus on being ten. Have fun at school, work hard, dream big and know that even when I am ragging on you about things that I am still your number one fan and that I’m proud of you. There will be good days and bad days for all of us and sometimes we won’t get it right. That’s what tomorrow is for.




books & reading family fun quick lit

3 YA novels to stay up too late shipping.

Quick Lit: 09.15.2016

It’s mid-September which mean’s Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy is writing about the books she’s been reading recently as part of her Quick Lit link up series. Wanna play along? Write about the books you’ve been reading over the past month or so, then head to her blog to link up!

I’ve read three books since mid August, not including the hefty handful of books that seem to be perpetually in the mid-read but never finish zone. I noticed as I was starting this post that the three I did finish all have something in common – they were all young adult love stories with characters and writing styles that were fresh and crisp and super binge worthy. All three of these books had me reaching for them in any quiet moment and all three found me staying up too late so I could maybe read just one more chapter…

They also all feature intelligent, funny if slightly romantically clueless leading ladies and their romantic counterparts are all going to be your next literary crush. Sound good? Here are the three books you’ll want to squeal to all your friends about:

22840421My Lady Jane by coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I honestly loved everything about this book from the premise to the characters to the writing style. Hysterical and well written with several characters that you will root for and an incredible story to boot!

I’ll warn you, the premise of this book is a little wonky so when you start trying to describe it to your friends they will probably wonder what drugs you are on. It’s kind of like that time when I said, “so there’s this cyborg Cinderella story that you have to read!” and only people who had also read The Lunar Chronicles didn’t smile uncomfortably and pretend to be on board. Get ready to justify being super excited to go read a few more chapters about a girl who unknowingly gets married to a horse. 

This book has multiple couples to ship, an historical timeline to learn more about… kind of… and some magical / fantasy elements for good measure.

23305614Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to read this one and it was definitely worth the wait. After just a few chapters in, I found myself carrying this book with me everywhere I went so I could sneak in a few more pages here and there until it was done.

This is a sweet love story, a very funny peek inside the main character’s family life that will have you relating to everyone and groaning in commiseration. It’s also an honest and up close peek at social anxiety at it’s worst and shines a light on teen bullying.

But did I mention the love story? Oh my gosh, it’s the sweetest. I love Sophie Kinsella and I was just super loving this foray into young adult fiction.

18189606Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I got sucked into this story really quickly. The main character, Emily, is extremely shy and totally oblivious but you love and root for her anyway and Frank is just allllll the things. I loved this book.

Aside from being a love story, it’s also a friend story. We’ve all had the Emily / Sloane friendship and maybe we’ve even had moments of being both Emilys and Sloanes. The list of items that Sloane left for Emily to do really made for a funny and interesting book and the characters are all very fleshed out.

And again, the family aspects of this book were great, too. There were a lot of different kinds of families in this story and I think each character probably thought their families were the craziest and their friends were so lucky, but as you work your way through the book, Emily kind of starts to realize that everyone feels that way and starts to feel more appreciative about what she has. I liked that the book felt real and honest – characters felt authentic even when you sometimes wished they wouldn’t.

Of the three, this book had my favorite love story and left me feeling super angsty that my time with them was over. I would not turn down a super self serving sequel just so I could spend some more time with them.

What have you been reading lately?

What’s your most recent favorite couple to ship?