Cheat Sheet to Decode What Your Wife is Saying 

We have all heard the complaints from men that they don’t understand women. Why don’t we just say what we mean? I like to think that I am a pretty straight forward, say what I mean kind of gal. Sometimes, however, even though I am visibly upset, when my husband asks “What’s wrong?” I respond with “Nothing.”
Why do I do this? Well, probably because saying “nothing” is a lot easier than saying “I am exhausted from taking care of the kids, the cat, the house and the yard during the summer while you are in an air conditioned office, eating lunch by yourself, while I am cleaning up the floor for the 8th time today because someone spilled something AGAIN and don’t tell me going to work is hard because I work, too, during the school year, and let me tell you, mister! Staying home with the kids is WAY harder than going to work, and the only time you call me during the day, thereby giving me a chance to talk to an adult and a reprieve from the endless whining and arguing I hear all day is to ask me if you can go out with your buddies tonight when all I want is for you to be home to see your children and to give me a much needed, freaking BREAK!”

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How My Failure To Participate in the Love Your Spouse Challenge Almost Ended Our Marriage

I thought we had a good marriage.
I thought we were happy.

I thought that 16 years and three kids later, through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, we could get through anything. Together.

Apparently I was very wrong.

Let me back up and start from the beginning.  

It started with a simple request. Looking back, I should have responded differently. I should have replied right away instead of just ignoring it. Then more requests came. In total, seven requests. I ignored them all.

Seven invitations to participate in the “Love Your Spouse Challenge” on Facebook. All I had to do was post a photo of me and my husband online for seven days. It doesn’t sound too hard. Why didn’t I just do it?

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Why Waterparks Suck for Grownups

When I was a kid, my number one favorite thing in the world to do was swim. I didn’t care if it was in a pool, a lake, a horse trough, a backyard puddle; I loved to swim. For about 10 years the only thing on my Christmas list to Santa was a swimming pool. I never did get a backyard pool, and, over the years, my love for swimming has waned a little. My children love the water just as much as I did as a kid, but my feelings have slightly changed. Here are the top reasons why:

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The Pedicure from H—

One morning I got a text from my mom.

“Are we still getting pedicures today?

Crap! I had totally forgotten that I said that we could go that afternoon. I had bought my mom a gift card for pedicures last Mother’s Day and the deal was that my daughter and I would go with her for a fun girl’s day out.

My mind raced over all the things on my to-do list for the day; driving kids to swim team, grocery shopping, picking kids up from swim team, making food for a potluck, taking youngest to a friend’s house, packing for a trip…..

Just thinking about the list made my heart beat faster. I decided that I probably could use some stress relief. I have been a bit high strung lately. A nice pedicure in a relaxing massage chair would be nice. I had exactly one hour between all of the day’s errands and activities to fit it in.

“Sure. How about 1:00?” I texted back.

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The Worst Types of Kids at a Playdate

When we were growing up in the 80s, the term “play date” was not yet in the collective vocabulary. We played outside with our friends and went home when the streetlights went on. As far as I remember, my mom didn’t have much to do with my time with my friends. She certainly didn’t organize it. I just shouted “Mom! I’m going out to play!” as I walked out the door and left her to watch Days of Our Lives and drink sweet tea on our brown, floral sofa.

My, how times have changed. Nowadays moms get reported for letting their children be outside alone. Police are called if children walk to the neighborhood park unsupervised. We parents have to arrange playtime for our precious snowflakes and their friends. We text or email days in advance to arrange time between harp lessons, toddler yoga, and 3D printing classes for our kids to play with other children.

During the summer I tend to plan more play dates for my three kids because it helps break up the long days and gets them out of my hair for an hour or two. The best play dates are the ones where the kids entertain each other and keep each other occupied long enough for me to do a load of laundry and unload the dishwasher.

And then there are these- the worst types kids to have over for a play date:

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Handling Stress, Right Way vs Wrong Way aka: My Way

I don’t handle stress well. I am ridiculously, comically bad at appropriately coping when I am feeling overwhelmed. There is the everyday stress of trying to keep three children alive, taking them all to their myriad of activities and trying to keep the house from looking like hoarders live here. And then there is acute stress, like trying to move a family of five and 15 years worth of crap into a new house. I would love to say that I am a pillar of strength when times get tough, but that would be a big, fat lie.
It is ironic because, as a school psychologist, I spend a large part of my workday helping students learn coping skills for handling all sorts of emotions. It is a case of “do what I say, not what I do” I suppose. Luckily my students don’t have the pleasure of witnessing my disastrous ways of handling stressful situations.
There are many well-established, researched based tips for handling stress and anxiety. I can spout them off to kiddos in a heartbeat. I just am not great at taking my own advice. The following are top tips from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for handling anxiety and stress.
Right Way: Take a time out. Remove yourself from the anxiety-inducing situation.
My Way: Hide in the hall closet looking at Instagram on my phone while the kids are screaming my name and asking for a snack.
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Best Games to Play with Kids

I often hear parents complaining about having to play with their kids and I just don’t understand. I love playing games with my kids. They just have to be the right games. Sure, I want to poke my eyes out if I have to sit through multiple games of Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land. I would much rather sit in the shade and catch up on the latest news on my phone than try to play tag at the park. Running in sand while wearing flip flops is not my idea of a good time. But I have learned through many years of experience that there are some tried and true games that I will always willingly play.


Massage Parlor

What? You’ve never played Massage Parlor? You are missing out. This game is the best. The main rule of this game is pretty simple: don’t hurt Mommy.

I announce “Hello! I’m here for my massage!” Then I fall face down on the floor or the couch. After three hours of listening to my kids fight over whose Minecraft world is the best, this is a pretty natural position to assume. My kids massage my back and my feet and it is glorious. If they start getting a little wild with the shiatsu, I make it into a contest about who can give the best massage and then their best work comes out. It’s easy to declare a winner: Me!

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Following Rules Isn’t all it’s Cracked Up to Be

There really is such a thing as “honest to a fault,” and my 12 year old is it. Like good old George Washington, the kid cannot tell a lie. I don’t dare ask him how I look in my new swimsuit. He will tell me. And I probably won’t like the answer.

He believes in order and routine and rules. He follows rules to the letter. I never have to worry about him getting into trouble. He doesn’t. This will serve him (and me) well as he grows up. I highly doubt he will touch a drop of alcohol until his 21st birthday. He will be one of the safest drivers on the road once he gets his license. Rules are good; they are usually for our safety. I am glad he follows them.

Having said that, however, there are some times when I wish that, just once, he could maybe bend a rule here or there. In fact, his adherence to every rule can really cramp my style.

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House Hunting on Nyquil


We recently bought a house after a month long search during which I thought we would never find “the one”. Luckily, we did, because the search almost killed me. We only looked at about twenty houses, but it felt like 13 million.
Sometime during our house hunt I came down with a nasty cold. One day the kids and I were going to meet my husband at a house over his lunch break. I was tired of my constant coughing and nose blowing so I decided to break down and take some cold medicine before we left. I usually try to avoid taking medicine because it either makes me sleepy or jittery; but drastic times called for drastic measures.
I grabbed a DayQuil and swallowed it. I registered a second too late that the pill I had taken was not an orange DayQuil, but, instead was most assuredly a green NyQuil.
“Oh well”, I thought, “I’m a little sleepy anyway.” I didn’t think I would even notice.
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Summer Stages of Grief

The chorus “schooooooooooooool’s out for summer!” has been running through my head for the past week. It’s hard to believe summer is upon us already. I, for one, am NOT swimsuit ready. I’m barely even t-shirt ready. If I could just stay covered up in my winter coat for a bit longer, that would be great.

I work in a school three days a week. While I am as eager as all other school employees to enjoy some time off of work; for me, summer vacation is a double edged sword. While it is nice to not have to wake up at dawn and shower every day, I do miss the two days per week when I am just home with my youngest. This year he went to preschool in the mornings, so I had some time to get stuff done around the house, run errands, go to the gym, etc. The afternoons were also fairly peaceful and I enjoyed my time with my little guy.

The peace and quiet that we enjoyed is soon to be dramatically shattered. The older kids are done with school for the year next week. I don’t know what it’s like in other people’s homes, but in my house we have a pretty solid two week period of hell at the start of every summer. The kids fight, they don’t know what to do with so much unstructured time, and I silently grieve the peace and quiet that I previously enjoyed while the kids were in school.

As with all types of grief, there is a process. It happens every year beginning mid-May or so, and it looks like this;

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