Can We Make Girls’ Bathing Suits Less Sexy Please?

Last week I took my girls bathing suit shopping because they had an indoor pool party coming up.

Perfect! They’ll be plenty of bathing suits to choose from because it’s so early in the season. We shouldn’t have a problem.

Boy was I wrong. Who knew shopping for a bathing suit for a seven-year-old girl (not so much my 5-year-old) could be so tedious and disturbing at the same time?

As we looked through the racks, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of one-piece bathing suits available for my daughters.

Hmmm. Okay, perhaps a tankini? I’m a fan of those myself.

Hmmm.  A few of those out there.

As I continued to survey our options, one disturbing animal print bikini after another, my daughter chimed in that she found one.

Great! I thought. Boy was I wrong.

She proceeded to show me a teeny weeny bikini, made just for her size. When I immediately said no and was questioned why I wouldn’t be buying that so-called bathing suit. I told my daughter, “There’s no reason for a 7-year-old girl to wear something like that.”

Meanwhile, my 5-year-old went straight for the Shopkins one-piece bathing suit and said she wanted that one.

Sold! That one was easy.

Back to the 7-year-old who has now picked up a crocheted number, bikini-style of course. I just looked at her and shook my head. This cycle went on for a few more suits through some ruffles and leopard prints until we found and agreed on an appropriate tankini set that even came with a matching skirt. It covered everything and was cute at the same time.

Sold!

By this time I was mentally exhausted. I thought the days of difficult bathing suit shopping were still at least another six years ahead of us. Boy was I wrong.

Here’s the thing I have an issue with…when it comes to bathing suits for little girls, why are manufacturers producing such sexy numbers? Is there anyone on the decision-making team who has children and who may think that it’s inappropriate? Or is it a case of “anything goes” much like a lot of things these days?

When little girls see these bathing suits out there made in their size, of course they’re going to want them. Of course they’re going to think it’s okay to wear them. Call me a prude, but I have a problem with that. I think we’re just feeding into a culture that is making it too easy for our kids to grow up too fast. All the innocence that existed when I was a kid is long gone. As a parent that’s downright scary.

Some may say to lighten up, it’s just a bathing suit. But, it’s really not. It’s troublesome that these teeny bikinis are more the norm rather than the exception. If you thought they didn’t exist for my five-year-old too, think again. There were plenty of bikinis for her, but she was blinded by Shopkins as usual. If parents weren’t buying those suits, clothing makers wouldn’t still be putting them out there. That tells me that many parents don’t find issue with this.

As a mother, it’s not easy to explain to your daughter why she can’t wear something that everyone else seems to be wearing. I constantly tell her I don’t care what others kids do and to be her own person when it comes to bathing suits and everything else in life. That’s the best I can do as a parent…that and write blogs like this to express my frustration!

Would it be so bad to provide clothes and bathing suits that show less of our young daughters’ skin? You don’t need a bikini to swim or make sand castles at age seven or any other age for that matter. Clothing makers, can you hear me? Can you help a momma out?

 

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

“What do you do?”

“I’m a freelance writer.”

“Where?”

“Oh, I work from home.”

Crickets. Then a snide smirk.

Yep, that’s the what usually happens when people ask me what I “do”.

When people hear you work from home it can go two ways. One is that they think you really do nothing all day but surf social media sites. Two is that they think working from home is a dream. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part it is great. Especially coming from a unique schedule where I used to get up at 4 a.m. for my 9-5 gig. People love the idea of working from home for many reasons. The biggies are that you can mainly make your own schedule, take vacation whenever you want, and can stay home when your kids are sick. Everyone wants to be on team work from home. But, like anything, it has its drawbacks. Drawbacks like not getting a steady paycheck because some weeks there ain’t much out there and you spend a lot of time cleaning your closets. Drawbacks like trying to balance the kids at “Camp Mom” while trying to be somewhat productive.

I started thinking about all of these pros and cons over the past few days when my kids had two snow days in a row. This after having a three-day weekend the previous week due to yet another snow day. The kids thought it was the best thing since “Frozen” came out. Me? I was hiding like Elsa when my kids kept asking me if I wanted to build a snowman. So what does a day look like when you work from home and unexpected days off arise?

6:55 Kids wake up even though there’s no school.

7:10 First round of “mommy let’s play a game” happens

7:11 Mommy makes a cup of coffee

7:30 Switch games

8:00 Breakfast

8:30 Mommy tries to get work done while kids play “nicely”

8:40 First round of “I hate yous exchanged” and “Mommeee” come from playroom

8:41 Mommy says go back and play and work it out until she’s done

8:45 “Mommy are you done working yet?”

8:50 Kids go back to playing and mommy goes back to work

9:00 Dance party karaoke begins

9:10 Mommy shuts down dance party karaoke because kids not get a permit

9:15-10:00 Kids play nicely and Mommy actually gets work done

10:01 Mommy plays for a bit

10:30-11:30 Mommy gets more work done! Yeah!

11:30-12:30 Prep, make and eat lunch

12:30-2:00 Playing & reading time

2:00-3:00 Mommy back to work, kids are once again trying not to kill one another

3:00-3:30 Cleaning the breakfast and lunch dishes to get ready for the dinner load later

3:30-4:30 Google Justin Bieber facts for daughter who is writing a book while trying to fix Baby Alive’s diaper and explain to daughter number two why we can’t feed her doll milk

4:30-5:45 Prep, Cook & eat dinner

5:45-6:15 Clean up

6:15-6:30 Sit down & chill out

6:30-7:00 Prep for day ahead, make lunches, pack snack etc.

7:00-7:30 Showers

8:00 Down to start the bedtime process

8:45 Mommy pours one…okay two glasses of wine…and tries to get more work done

9:30 Time to shut it down, watch TV and pray there’s not another snow day tomorrow

At some point it’s time for bed.

Trust me, I know it’s hard for parents who work outside the home too when a snow day pops up. I’ve been there before. Working from home brings a different set of challenges. In a nutshell you get an unorthodox work day interrupted by various rounds of games and dance parties, but you do get to stay home.

Kids’ scheduled days off when you work from home are also like trying to solve a Rubix cube. You work around the kids and hopefully send them to Grandma’s house for a few hours so you can get stuff done without Justin Bieber playing in the background.

Would I trade working from home for working a regular 9-5? Probably not now. It’s nice being your own boss even when your little bosses are around unexpectedly.

 

 

 

LuLaRoe Giveaway

Chances are you have heard about the clothing brand LuLaRoe and their buttery soft leggings. If you haven’t heard of LuLaRoe, let me be the first to tell you that this company makes the softest leggings. Ever.

LuLaRoe not only makes amazing buttery soft leggings in a gazillion fun prints, they also make tops, kimonos, skirts, and dresses. Soft fabric and colorful patterns galore!

The exciting part is that each LuLaRoe print is made in limited quantities, so when you see a print you like you should be sure to grab it!

If you haven’t had a chance to try LuLaRoe, I urge you to give them a try. Once you try some items on for yourself you will see what all the rage is all about.

Now, you can’t simply go to a store and pick up a pair of LuLaRoe leggings. LuLaRoe is sold only by its consultants. Sarah Cool is a wonderful LuLaRoe consultant who stocks a variety of LuLaRoe styles with sizes ranging from XXS-3XL. She runs a Facebook Group where she posts her LuLaRoe inventory for members to browse and shop. Join Sarah Cool’s VIP Facebook Group here to browse her inventory! The Mommy Rundown has info on a great giveaway!

Host: Dorky’s Deals

Sponsor: LuLaRoe Sarah Cool VIP

Prize: $50 credit to spend in LuLaRoe Sarah Cool VIP

Open to US residents, ages 18+ only

Ends 3/24/17 at 11:59 PM EST

Enter to win using the widget below.

Good luck!

 

 

Terms & Conditions: Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. Dorky’s Deals, nor other promoting bloggers, are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media. Winner(s) will be chosen randomly via Giveaway Tools and contacted via email. Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn. US only, Ages 18+. For any questions contact Jaclyn at [email protected]

Nice, Chocolate-Free Kids…Must Be Lent

Daughter: “Mommy, I’m going to be nice to my sister for Lent.”

Me: “You know, Lent lasts for 40 days.”

Daughter: “That’s a long time. Never mind.”

Yep, this was a recent exchange I had with my 7-year-old daughter this past weekend. She learned about Lent in her CCD class. They learned about doing nice things for Lent and maybe even making sacrifices when it comes to their favorite things. My daughter’s CCD teacher said my daughter told the class she was going to give up McDonald’s and chocolate. I find this more doable than being nice to her sister for 40 days. Even then, I know this is not going to happen.

As with anything else that goes on in my house, my younger daughter needs to follow her sister.

Daughter 2: “What should I do for Lent?”

Me: “How about not pinching your sister when she wins a game and you lose?”

Pause….

Daughter 2: “I don’t think so.”

Me: “Okay…how about only using nice words?”

Giggle…

Daughter 2: “Sure.”

For some reason I think that “sure” was to appease me. I can see that lasting for about 40 seconds, not 40 days.

Daughter2: “Mommy, what are you going to give up for Lent?”

I paused and thought about this for a few minutes.

Chocolate? No. This is unrealistic seeing that Girl Scout cookies come in this weekend. I’m Team Samoa all the way.

Wine? No. Just no.

Soda? Sure. But, that really wouldn’t mean anything to me seeing that I don’t really drink soda anyway.

Finally I got one.

Me: “Mommy is going to try not to yell as much.”

Dramatic pause. Some giggles. Then, serious faces.

Daughters: “Sounds good.”

It was settled, my Lenten “thing” will be to try to yell less. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. But, we’re going to see how it works out…at least for 40 days!

As for the little divas, they’re still undecided. I’m trying to get them to do something rather than give something up. I know Lent is about sacrifice, but I don’t really see how giving up something like Oreos is going to make them a better person at the end. If they can’t have an Oreo, they’ll have a chocolate chip cookie. There’s really no sacrifice there.

But, not throwing a shoe at your sister or pinching her takes much more restraint. That is a real sacrifice around here. You see, if there’s less of that going on, chances are there will be less yelling on my part. So, it’s a win-win for everyone. Go Team Lent! Let’s have an Oreo…or two!

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy Blogging Has Evolved into Big Business

If you’re a mommy blogger or are thinking about becoming one, check out this informative guest post from Jessica about how mommy blogging has evolved into big business.

There are now more than 4.2 million mommy bloggers on the Internet and they have become a powerful marketing army for businesses. Over time, blogging has evolved from just talking about the day to day adventures of being a parent, to incorporating sponsorship and reviews.

According to research, Moms now mention brands 73 times per week on average on their blogs and with their huge online networks, brands are increasingly recognizing this unique opportunity for them. Mom bloggers have a huge list of subscribers to their blogs along with their other social media. A popular and established mom blog is expected to have a monthly audience of around 20,000 or more views. When brands work with blogs, they can tap into those followers.

A 2012 poll showed that 61% of U.S. online shoppers make purchasing decisions based on recommendations they’ve seen on a blog. It’s no wonder then that there is money to be made from mommy blogging.

 

Why I’ve Decided to Lead a Cursive Crusade in my House

The other night my girls were getting ready for bed when my 7-year-old daughter was looking at a book and said something that blew me away.

As she pointed to a page where someone had signed their name, she said, “Look, she wrote her name in cursive.”

I froze.

Cursive?

Right away I asked her how she even knew what that was because I know she hasn’t learned it in school. She went on to tell me that one of her classmates writes her name in cursive.

Impressive.

Wait, it gets better.

“Mom, I want to learn how to write my name in cursive.”

So, I said what any penmanship award winning mom who grew up in the 80s and 90s would say, “I’ll teach you.”

After I put my kids to bed I began to think about how cursive has become the black sheep of the writing world. It was something I thought about before, but never really zeroed in on to be honest with you. Since Common Core standards don’t require teachers to teach cursive writing in schools anymore, many kids don’t even know what it is. When they hear the word cursive, they probably think it’s some kind of disease.

I know I sound like my mother, but “when I was growing up” there was a big emphasis on cursive writing. I remember the upper and lower case cursive letters hung around the top of the chalkboard all around the classroom so that we could always be reminded of what the letters looked like. We also had those papers with the dotted lines so that we could practice our penmanship. Cursive was where it was at.

Not now.

Fast forward 30 years and we are raising a generation of cursive-illiterate printers.

Here are some questions to all of those who have written off cursive. How are our kids going to sign documents when they grow up if they don’t know cursive? How are they going to sign checks? Will they even know what a “signature” is? Are they just going to print for the rest of their lives?

I know there are a lot of people who could care less about cursive writing, that’s probably why it’s no longer mandatory in schools. But, I care and I find it a sad commentary on our little society.

As a society we’ve thrown out so many of the “old school” things that used to be important and have value. Things like cursive writing for one. What have we gotten in return? Technology? Tablets and phones? Sure. While technology has helped in many ways, it’s also created a generation of kids who don’t have the social skills to have a conversation that doesn’t involve a text message. Many kids would be outraged if they could no longer text. But, not learning how to write in cursive doesn’t faze them in the least. OMG! BTW we need to bring back cursive kids!

I’m excited that my 7-year-old daughter wants to learn cursive. Although I wish it was still mandatory in school, I’m ready to take on the challenge of teaching her. Maybe I’ll even break out my old penmanship award for inspiration. Perhaps cursive will make a comeback like the boy bands of the 90s. Until then I’ll be leading the cursive crusade in my house so my daughter will always have the “write stuff”.

 

Heartfelt Valentine’s Day Gifts

As a mother, I have a unique bond with my daughters. But, the bond they have with their father is immeasurable and indescribable. There really is something to be said about “daddy’s little girl”.

My girls can be with me all day, but once their father comes in, I suddenly become invisible. It’s all about daddy. I totally get it. Daddy does cool tricks with them, lets them eat more than one rice krispie treat at night, and sings karaoke becomes he’s just as tone deaf as they are. Who wouldn’t want to be around daddy?

So when Valentine’s Day rolls around it should come as no shock that they want to get something special for him. Homemade valentines are a given. Not only are they super-cute, they also make for a great winter activity that’s time-consuming , if you get my drift. Beyond the valentines, we usually look for a gift that’s heartfelt, useful, and meaningful.

Usually I find these types of gifts in photos. Photos in different forms make great gifts because they capture a memory and a moment that has meaning. Some photo gifts I’ve done in the past include photo albums, photo mugs and photo blankets. This year is no different. I’ve done the blankets before as Mother’s Day gifts, but never as a Valentine’s Day gift. Cue this year’s gift.

Living in the Northeast, you can never have too many blankets. That’s why they make such fantastic gifts.

IMG_7534

This year I decided to get a photo blanket from Personal Creations for my girls to give their father. Choosing a photo was the hardest part. As a parent, we always take so many pictures of our kids and the things that we do that it’s hard to pick the perfect one.

After scrolling through all of the jpegs in my computer, I settled on a picture of the four of us from this past Fourth of July. It was the first time we spent the holiday away from home.  We ended up having a fantastic time and made many memories.  

Hopefully when my husband opens up this year’s Valentine’s Day gift, the memories of that day will warm his heart just as much as the blanket. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

My Love-Hate Relationship with My Kids’ Homework

As a kid I was never a big homework fan. I did it because that’s what I was supposed to do. I’ll admit I was pretty good at it and did well in school.

As a parent, my relationship with homework is more complex. Being on the other side of the coin, you begin to question the benefits of homework. Kids spend the better part of their awake time at school. When they get home should they do more school work or should their time be spent doing something else? Hmmm….

For years there’s been a “10 minute rule” attached to homework. Many educators seem to follow it from what I’ve read. It means ten minutes of homework for each grade level. Ten minutes for grade one, twenty minutes for grade two, etc., etc.This tends to ring true in my house. Both of my girls come home with homework four out of five nights a week. My oldest daughter is in second grade and her homework takes her about 15 minutes, maybe 20 on a bad night. My youngest daughter is in Kindergarten and her homework takes about five minutes.  In the big picture, I know this is not a lot of time out of their day. Still, my girls do not want to do more work when they get home from school.

I know some parents who wait until after dinner to tackle homework. I’ve always been a “get it done early” kind of parent. I’ve tried the after dinner thing and it doesn’t work well in my house. My kids are even more tired and less interested. Many after school programs also have students do their homework right after school for this same reason.

The big question is, should kids have homework at all? There’s research to support both answers to that question. Some say it helps when it comes to self-discipline and problem solving. Others argue it can lead to negative attitudes towards learning. There is also an argument to limit or eliminate homework for elementary school children. I know my kids would love that right about now!

The “love” part of my relationship with my kids’ homework stems from the fact that seeing them do their homework gives me a first hand look at how they’re understanding the material. I can tell right away if they get it or if they’re having trouble. Sometimes asking your kids how their day at school was and what they learned is like pulling teeth. Parents, I know you know what I’m talking about here. You get the appetizer and the dessert, but you never get the full-three course meal.

For this reason, I think homework is useful.

There are other days when I don’t want my kids to have to worry about doing homework. I want them to have all the time they can to play or draw or do something they choose to do. They can worry about school the next day when they’re there for six plus hours. Let there free time be just that…free. I wonder if teachers find it time-consuming to correct all of that homework the next day. Couldn’t that time be used for something else? Just a thought.

For this reason, I think we can do without homework.

But, I can’t see a universal no-homework rule on the horizon any time soon. I’m sure there are many parents who would raise an eyebrow or two if their kids didn’t come home with homework. Some may wonder if the teacher is doing his or her job or what’s being taught at school. Either way, you’re never going to please everyone.

So, perhaps the status quo will remain. Teachers will give homework. Kids will complain. Parents, like myself will continue their love-hate relationship until the next worksheet shows up tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it Too Late to Unplug Our Kids?

Kids and technology. It seems to be a love-hate relationship for parents. For me these days it’s more of a hate relationship. Everywhere I go I am seeing more kids plugged into technology, glued to a screen, walking around like zombies. This frustrates me and makes me sad at the same time.

I wish we could rewind to the days when Atari was considered ground-breaking technology and the thought of having a cell phone seemed like something only the Jetsons could achieve. But, the reality is many kids are obsessed with their various devices to the point they don’t know how to have a conversation or use their imagination.

Market research found that children ages five to sixteen spend six and a half hours in front of a screen everyday! If you take into consideration the fact that they sleep for at least eight hours if not more, that means there’s less than ten hours left in the day. When you factor in school and activities, there’s hardly anytime left to have a simple conversation. Is it too late to unplug our kids or have we lost them to technology forever? I guess it depends what side of the screen you’re on.

Have you ever watched a child while they’re on a device? It’s like they’re in a trance. It totally consumes them. Part of me thinks that’s why so many parents let their kids spend so much time on them. It acts like a free babysitter. No parenting required. No interaction needed. Sad isn’t it?

Before you think I’m a technology hating mother who only lets my kids play with pen and paper, I will tell you my kids do play games on my iPad and my phone. But, they do not have their own devices. Why do a 7 and 5 year-old need their own iPads or tablets or kindles? I’m sure many people have their reasons, but they’re not enough for me to take out my credit card.

I am fully aware that kids need to understand and work technology to exist these days and to compete with the rest of the world. I know there are a lot of educational apps and games and books to read. Does that mean we throw out real conversations and books or imaginary play or the arts? I surely hope not. From what I see that seems to be where we’re headed, if we’re not there already. So many kids don’t know how to interact with real people because they spend so much time interacting with their devices.

In order to change the tide, there needs to be balance, as with anything in life. While my kids are allowed to use technology on a daily basis, I usually limit their usage to 15 minute intervals. Once the time is up they have to go and do something else that doesn’t involve a screen. Most of the time they agree, other times I’m “mean.” I can live with that title if the result is that my kids go out and play or use their imagination instead of gluing their eyes to a screen.

When it comes to technology addiction many kids are only copying what they see their parents do. Truthfully there are times when we’re no better. I know I’ve been guilty of a little phone addiction every now and again. Do we really need to constantly check our Facebook feed to see who is blowing their nose every minute? I think we all know the answer to that.

That’s why I have a little rule called “no phones at the table”. It means just what it says. My husband and I are not allowed to have our phones at the table when we’re having a meal. This way we can pay attention to each other and have real conversations. Crazy, I know. But, it works.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s tempting to run over and check a dinging text or go back and finish scrolling through Facebook. But, it’s also important to set an example. If kids see their parents glued to their devices, they may be more inclined to do the same. If we set the example that technology is not king, then maybe we can start to slowly unplug our kids, one device at a time. Hopefully it’s not too late.

 

 

More Patience & Presence in the New Year

It’s almost time to watch the iconic ball drop in Times Square, signaling the start of another year. It’s the time many of us make a list of cliché resolutions like losing weight and exercising more. While those are important, often times we make them, can’t or don’t keep them, and then feel like a failure…again. Aren’t resolutions supposed to lift us up instead of pull us down?

I love the start of the new year for the fact that it’s a time to start with a clean slate. This is not to say that everything that happened the year before doesn’t matter, because it does. You can learn from what the previous year left behind, but you can also embark on new journeys with the hope a new year brings.

A chance to do better.

A chance to be better.

A chance to make a difference.

A chance to chase your dreams.

A chance to appreciate the things around you.

As a mother the days are so jam-packed with work, kids, and everyday nonsense that you forget to appreciate the things around you. In fact, instead of appreciating them, you often ignore them and tell yourself you’ll have that extra five minutes tomorrow to take it all in. But, tomorrow doesn’t seem to come. There’s always something to occupy that extra five minutes.

If 2016 has taught me anything, it is to truly value each moment and day because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Things can change so quickly that you’ll think you’re living someone else’s life.

That’s why 2017 will be the year of patience and presence.

Patience with my kids when they yell “mommy” for what feels like the hundredth time in a day. One day they’ll think they’re too cool for their mommy. That’s why I need to appreciate every minute I have with them now.

Patience when my kids want to play another board game when all I want to do is sit and enjoy my coffee. Time will pass so fast that those board games will end up in a tag sale quicker then I can say “go fish”.

Patience when I need peace and quiet and my house feels like it’s out of control. One day the house will be too quiet and I’ll miss all the noise.

Patience when things don’t happen fast enough or when I think they should. Everything does happen for a reason. Every time I get frustrated and look back it’s clear why things turned out like they did.

Patience when I get down on myself for one thing or another. No one is perfect no matter how things may appear.

Presence with my family. Facebook and e-mail can wait. Our parents didn’t have their heads buried in their phones, so why do we? I can admit I’m guilty of it.

Presence in “little” moments…a laugh, a smile, a sunset. Not to sound morbid but you don’t know when it will be your last.

Presence in everyday life. Many of us, myself included, just seem to go through the motions. We do what we do because it’s what we’ve always done. Are we really into it? Many times the answer is no. It’s time to tune in and take in every moment, even the mundane ones. Sometimes being present in your life means saying no to people every once and awhile and doing what makes you happy. This is not to say we should all become selfish people, but there comes a time when you have to put yourself first. Be present in your life.

The list can go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  I simply felt compelled to write this because I think patience and presence can get pushed aside when we’re dealing with our kids and busy lives. They are the things that we sometimes need to be reminded about from time to time. There’s no better time than the start of a new year. Hopefully I inspired just one person to try to be more present and patient in 2017. If I didn’t, that’s okay too.

Here’s to a new year of new memories and possibilities…and to patience and presence! Cheers!