Amy Maxwell, World’s Most “Okay” Mom

Hi all, Amy Maxwell here again! Sorry I’ve been MIA… I’ve been busy doing that crazy thing called “parenting”; you know, when you have all intentions of actually doing other (productive) things besides flecking dried eggs off the counter and removing crayon from the wall, but that sucks the life out of you so you don’t end up doing anything but falling asleep on the couch at 9 pm???
Anyway, I took my two younger kids to the park the other day since it was the first nice day in a while. The temperature was creeping up around 50 degrees so after a frigid winter, the park was crawling with parents and kids alike bursting with a touch of spring fever. I sent Colt and Evan to play on the swings while I attempted to catch up on the five hundred and seventy two emails on my phone(no, I am not even exaggerating a teensy bit…I wish I was). I was glancing up from time to time to make sure nobody had cracked their head open on the ground and Evan wasn’t putting mulch in his mouth. It was then I noticed these three mothers spread out through the park. There was nothing overly remarkable about these women; they weren’t wearing pearls and they didn’t have blue Mohawks or anything, but they were sticking out like sore thumbs…all three were obviously suffering from “First Child Syndrome”.
As I leaned back and drop my phone in my lap, I found myself watching these women with amusement…ah, how I remembered when I too suffered “First Parent Syndrome” or aka “Helicopter Parenting”. Back when I was young and naïve and had a bunch of energy. I glanced over at Evan (who was flinging his jacket off at the moment) and realized that there are huge differences between the first child and the fourth (actually, this probably applies to the first child vs. any subsequent child…you just get successively more exhausted with each one you pop out).
1. When Allie was Evan’s age, I made sure all of her food was organic and homemade. I poured over recipes each week to compile the healthy grocery lists, taking in account all the necessary components for brain development like omega 3 fatty acids. Each meal contained foods from every food group; she didn’t eat fast food ever. She didn’t even know what McDonald’s was until my father mistakenly brought her there one day (she was 5).
Evan’s first word WAS McDonald’s.
2. Allie was always dressed meticulously, hair combed neatly, gathered into a ponytail or braid. Her clothes were new, clean, and fit perfectly. She had a bath every single night with Johnson’s Lavender Sleepytime soap and I made sure she brushed her teeth for 2 minutes every single morning and night (she had a sticker chart and a timer).
Evan is currently wearing hand me down sneakers from Colt that are too big and have a hole in the sole. His sweatpants are too small and are gathering around his calves. His hair is sticking up, I can’t remember the last time he had a bath, and I’m pretty sure his shirt not only has a hole in it, but a huge juice stain down the front. Oh, but he regularly uses his toothbrush…to comb his hair.
3. Our living room walls are covered with pictures of Allie; 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, Allie at preschool graduation, Allie at her first recital, Allie at Disneyworld, etc., etc. I had a membership to the JcPenny’s Picture Club and I sure as heck wanted to get my money’s worth. I have an entire Rubbermaid container of Allie’s photo albums and videos stashed at the bottom of my closet.
We have a picture in the living room of Evan when he was born and several on my phone that I haven’t gotten around to uploading to the computer yet.
4. When Allie was little if she so much as coughed or had a temperature that broke 100, I would rush her to the doctor, certain that she was going to need IV fluids and breathing treatments and maybe even a croup tent. Needless to say, she picked up even MORE germs from those doctor’s visits and ended up with a cough or fever half the year. She’s now allergic to three different antibiotics and has full blown asthma.
I took Evan to the ER when he fell down the stairs and split his lip. He’s only been to the pediatrician for his immunizations and well visits. Oh and once he had an ear infection.
5. Allie was only allowed to have one hour of screen time a day. That was computer OR TV, not both. I was so rigid about it that if we watched a movie that was an hour and a half, I deducted a half hour from her next day’s screen time. I played Playdoh with her, did puzzles, made crafts, MADE Playdoh…anything to keep her occupied and away from the screen that was going to melt her brain.
I don’t even remember the password to my iPad…that’s how long it’s solely been in Evan’s possession.
So maybe it looks like I’ve gotten lazier with each child, but I’m thinking I’ve just gotten smarter, a heck of a lot smarter. After all, who has TIME for all that stuff with more than one kid??? Who has time for it with ONE kid??? I spent half my life beating myself because I didn’t think I was doing enough, I didn’t think I was “mothering” enough. It turns out I was doing TOO much and screwing up by being neurotic. My advice to new moms? Stop beating yourself up and RELAX. Your kid didn’t get to bed at 8:00 on the dot? It’s fine. They’re resilient. You didn’t read to your child tonight because you had to help your other kid with his four hours of homework (don’t even get me started on homework)? It’s ok…they’ll live. Maybe they’ll fall asleep faster or something. The kids had frozen pizza for the second time this week? Give them carrots with it…it’ll even out in the end.
You’re one person, and an amazing one at that, no matter what you do because the bottom line is, if you get them out of the house at 18 (or 23) all in one piece and they’re decent human beings, you’ve done ok. And that’s what I strive to be…forget the “World’s Best Mom” mug…I want, “Amy Maxwell, World’s Most Okay Mom”.

Check out the rest of Amy’s parenting mistakes in : “The 8 Mistakes of Amy Maxwell”

Have No Regrets

MikeI started The Bad Mommy Diaries blog as a place that I could relay funny tales of what was going on in my life; stories that I hoped other parents could relate to and laugh along with. My only unwritten rule for my blog was that it had to have humor. Today I’m going to break that rule because sometimes life isn’t funny.

Last Thursday, my brother in law was tragically killed at work. It wasn’t something I was going to blog about simply because of that unwritten rule. Who wants to read something so upsetting and depressing in a place they go to for lighthearted stories? So much was racing through my head that I couldn’t sleep for days. There were no words to describe how I felt. I couldn’t find anything funny within me or write anything amusing. Then, at the wake, a friend’s husband suggested that it might be cathartic to just write. The words didn’t even need to make sense. I thought about that for a few days and I realized that he was right.

My brother in law got up for work last Thursday, got dressed, ate breakfast, drank his coffee, and drove to work, all without knowing that it would be the last time he would ever do those things. He was probably thinking about what he was going to eat for lunch (and dinner and lunch again) or devising a witty text to send my sister.  Maybe he was plotting what TV show he was going to make fun of that night or planning his next paintballing excursion with my nephew. And then, he went to his first job of the day and never left. He never did any of those things. He never came home. Think about that for just a second because that’s all I’ve been thinking about for the last week. He. Never. Came. Home. 31 years old.

His 32nd birthday is next month. He won’t see it. He won’t see his new baby born. He won’t see my nephews graduate high school or get married. He won’t know what happens on The Walking Dead this season. He won’t know who Chris gave the final rose to on the Bachelor (not that he really cares…he would just like to mock the whole thing). All things that we take for granted; all things that we assume we will do in our lifetime because none of us think we are going to leave for work and not come home.

We never know when we will wash our hair for the last time or kiss our spouse for the final time or see our last sunset. And that’s scary as hell. Because we always think “I’ll do that tomorrow” or “I’ll have time for that next month” or next year. If I’ve learned anything in the past few days it is, DON’T wait. There might not BE tomorrow or next month or next year.

Mike DIDN’T live for tomorrow though. If there was one thing everyone would say about him (besides the fact that he was the nicest, biggest jerk you’ll ever love), was that he lived his life. He lived more in his short time on earth than people in their nineties have. He embraced his life in everything he did. He was never serious. Nearly every single picture we have of him he is either making a ridiculous face or clowning around. He played video games and read comic books…he was a kid in an adult’s body. When the mood was dark or there was fighting going on, he would strap on a bra and slip into a pair of heels and talk in a high pitched voice until you were rolling on the floor and completely forgot what you were upset with to begin with. He never wanted to grow up, yet he could be the best father and husband you could imagine. It always amazed me how he could be like a child but be so mature at the same time.

Maybe that’s what we all need to do in this life. Stop worrying, stop obsessing about stupid things, stop putting things off till tomorrow. Oh there’s things we can put off till tomorrow: the dishes (unless you just used your last bowl), the laundry (unless you don’t have any underwear), and the vacuuming (unless you have guests coming that are allergic to dog hair). But when the opportunity presents itself…DON’T put off: hugging your family, telling someone you love them, putting your work aside to go play in the snow, and making your dreams happen.

Ironically, I made my own bucket list the weekend before last. I had 50 things I wanted to do before I was 50. And already, there’s one thing on that list I can’t do. Mike was an MMA fighter and I wanted him to teach me. But I will make it a point to do as many of the other 49 things on that list in his memory. Because in the end, that’s all we have…it’s not about whether our house was clean or we were the best dressed or drove the nicest car. It’s about our memories…the ones we have and the ones others make with us. Stop saying “One day I’ll….” Have no regrets. Live every day like it’s your last. Because you never know when it will be.

If you are able to, please consider donating to the Go Fund Me site set up in Mike’s honor. While nothing will ever replace him, every little bit helps to ease the financial burden of raising the children without him.

Amy Maxwell…Fairy Princess…sort of.

Ok, so I’m sitting here dozing on the couch while Evan is playing with Colt’s Legos (yeah, yeah, yeah…I know, but he’s been pretty good about NOT putting them in his mouth lately. If it gets me ten minutes of Evan Downtime during the day, I’ll take it). Suddenly, I am ripped awake by the peppy sound of a show coming to life on the TV and Evan screeching with delight.
“Mama! Tink!” Evan is excitedly clapping his hands and pointing to the TV. It must be some show about trucks that talk or ninja pandas that fly planes. I can’t bear to look to see what Evan’s new TV obsession will be.
I blink several times to adjust my bleary eyes to view the pixelated nightmare that rules Evan’s life and my jaw nearly drops. He’s on his feet, swaying back and forth to the music of…Tinkerbell?

Oh, fabulous, Roger is never gonna get over me letting our son watch Tinkerbell. And then I think…Good. Screw Roger. I like Tinkerbell. At least Evan and I can watch something together for a change.
As I sit with my littlest baby curled up on my lap and watch our little pixie friend screw up one thing after another (kind of like me), I feel my head bobbing and my eyelids growing heavy.
“Tink! Tink! Wake up!” I rub my sleepy eyes and look into the steel blue eyes of none other than… Jason? Why is my sexy fantasy man neighbor here in my house? I glance around and see that I am in…a TREEHOUSE??? And lying in a…what the hell is this? A walnut? And why the heck is Jason dressed like that with a pointy little hat and green stockings? He looks like an elf! (He still looks totally hot dressed like an elf, though).
“Jason?” I rub my eyes to assure myself that I am not seeing things.
Jason cocks an eyebrow at me. “Jason? Who’s Jason? I’m Peter!” He thrusts his fist upwards and twirls around in a circle…in the air?
I sit up and immediately realize…holy crap! I’m Tinkerbell! I, Amy Maxwell, have morphed into one of the greatest Disney Princess (okay, fairy princess) of all times! My daughter Allie’s favorite princess (way back when she wasn’t busy hating her mother and painting her fingernails black).
I guess it makes sense. We’re both really short and have big hips and no boobs. And we both screw everything up. In fact, I haven’t gotten one thing right since I’ve been born. At least Tinkerbell found out she was a good Tinkering fairy once she tried everything else. When am I gonna figure out what I’m good at? It’s certainly not motherhood.
“We have an adventure ahead, Tink! Pirates and bad guys that need to be taken down! Follow me, and I’ll lead the way!”
“Where are we off to, Peter?” I ask excitedly, anxious to follow Jason, er, Peter to the ends of the earth.
Suddenly, Cammi from next door comes waltzing into my tree house in a blue nightgown, exposing her heaving bosom over the top of the lacy camisole.
“Wendy!” Jason/Peter grasps her hands and twirls her around. “Thank goodness! We couldn’t possibly have an adventure without you, now could we Tink?” He glances at me, his eyes urging me to agree with his statement.
No, of course we can’t have an adventure without Cammi/Wendy. I’m starting to realize just how much I’m like Tinkerbell. Remember when I gave Roger a bloody nose because he was looking at that bimbo leaning over the seat in the movies in front of us? I’m suddenly having the urge to do that to my slutty neighborhood nemesis over here. tink

“Not so fast!” A booming voice fills my treehouse as a rotund figure busts through the door (really, this place is way too small to have all these people squeezing into it…)
Speaking of “squeezing in”, it’s apparently Roger who has joined the fun. Dressed like a pirate. He’d actually look quite dashing if it wasn’t for the mustache…not a fan of facial hair. Let me guess, he’s Captain Hook?
“Egads!” Jason/Peter is wielding a sword at my husband, aka. Captain Hook. “Tink! Get up and help me fight the evil Captain Hook! He wants to steal Wendy!”
I glance at “Wendy” and then I glance at the “Evil” pirate. Hmmmm. Just like the real Tinkerbell, I’m weighing my options here. I’m jealous of “Wendy” and I give her up to Captain Hook to destroy, well, that leaves me alone with Peter Pan now, doesn’t it?tinkerbell gif
Stop that Amy! You can’t be alone with Jason! And what about Roger? You’re throwing Cammi into his lap…doesn’t that make you a little bit jealous???
I don’t have time to be jealous in my daydream as I am ripped awake by the sound of Evan screaming in terror. My eyes pop open to find that he has scaled the bookcase and is swinging precariously from the top, wielding his own plastic sword.
“Jake, Mama!” He is pointing at the TV again. I can see “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” is now blaring. I sigh with my never ending exasperation as I pull the step stool over to the bookcase and detach my toddler from his fortress wishing I could sprinkle myself with pixie dust and fly away. So much for life as a princess. I’m just a lowly tinkering fairy after all.

If YOU were a fairy in Neverland, what would YOUR special power be? Enter your  answer in the comment section with your email address. (We need the email address to contact the winner or the prize will not be valid).

The Grand Prize for this hop is the Congratulations Magic Morsels 48 Gift Box from Fairytale Brownies, which includes a bite-size assortment (Caramel, Chocolate Chip, Original, Raspberry Swirl, Walnut, Cream Cheese) of 48 delicious gourmet brownies. brownie Mmmmm…doesn’t that look delish??? This giveaway is open to US residents ONLY and a winner will be selected at random and announced on Monday, February 16th.

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Make sure you visit all the other blog sites on this blog hop for a chance to win! You have 19 chance to win if you visit all the blogs!
Don’t forget to check out Amy Maxwell’s other adventures in “The 8 Mistakes of Amy Maxwell” available on Kindle and Amazon!

Amy Maxwell’s Top 10 List

Hi everyone. I’m Amy Maxwell and Heather has asked me to be a guest on her blog. As flattered as I was that she would turn her blog over to me, I have to admit I’m not quite sure what that entails. So I’ve been reading a few blogs on the internet. I got this newfangled phone that makes it easier while I’m waiting for the kids at pick up time…(not that I’m ignoring my toddler in the backseat or anything…I assure you we are singing along to specially selected kids’ music and I’m stimulating his brain receptors by asking questions about the song lyrics like all the articles say to do). The bloggers are usually praising their kids are writing about their top 10 favorite things about being a mom or the top 10 things all moms should say to their kid so I’ve been working very hard on my top 10 list. Here goes:

Top Ten favorite times of the day:

1. First thing in the morning when I’m the only one awake. I like to make a list of my goals for the day over a steaming hot cup of coffee. Sometimes I prep the dinner for the crock pot or tidy up what I’ve missed during my post bedtime clean-up the night before. (You know that stray sock sometimes falls out of the laundry basket!) I miss my children, but I know they’ll be springing to life shortly.

2. When my darling cherubs wake up. What better way to start my day than seeing my beautiful children smiling and bounding out of bed, eager to begin the day on a positive note.

3. Breakfast time. I am happy to make my sweet loves a homemade and nutritious breakfast they all enjoy and thank me for.

4. Dropping them off at school. Even though I’m sad to see them go, I know their education is the most important thing in the world. They also know this and they NEVER give me a problem about going to school.

5. Evan’s naptime. I miss my energetic little boy when he’s a sleep, but I love to watch his angelic face as he gets the rest he needs to grow.

6. Pick up time. I get to be reunited with my cherubs again!

7. Homework time. My children are all brilliant and at the head of their class so it’s never a hassle to get them to do their homework. They know doing their homework is pivotal to their educational process and look forward to it with relish.

8. Dinner time. Everyone loves to get together and share their day over a hot homemade meal that I’ve spent hours preparing. Everyone ALWAYS eats everything and NEVER picks apart the food or complains that they don’t like the meal. And after dinner, the kids all pitch in and help get the dishes done so it’s not all on me.

9. After dinner family time. We all sit on the couch and choose a movie together. Everyone gets to watch because homework and chores have long been accomplished. We wind down with prayers afterwards.

10. When my babies are fast asleep in their beds. They’re so sweet and…ASLEEP and QUIET. Who am I kidding??? The first 9 things on this list have pretty much been a lie.

Ughhhhh!!!! I don’t think I can do this! How do these blogging mothers manage to keep their sanity and savor every last moment with their children??? My house is not cleaned up at night (I barely have energy to crawl into bed), I don’t make dinner every night, I never have time to make breakfast inn the morning, and my children are not pleasant either time of day!

You know what I think? I think all those lists are lies and made up nonsense to make those moms look like mother of the year in front of their friends and family while they’re all silently counting down the moments to their kids’ bedtime when they can pour a glass of wine and pat themselves on the back for actually surviving the day and not losing their $hit on their kids. Because that’s what I do almost every day. I love them to pieces; don’t get me wrong. But I’d love a day where nobody fights me about putting on a jacket or eating the dinner that I made (or ordered), doesn’t throw a fit when I try to detangle their hair, or doesn’t cling onto the car seat for dear life when I try to extract them from the car at drop off. Just one day! Does that make me a bad mommy? Yeah? Well, then I guess I’m blogging in the right place.