Never underestimate the power of a mom with a need.
Carie Connell is a resourceful mom. When her son was born with gluten intolerance and food allergies to dairy, wheat, egg, soy and beef, Carie spent a great deal of his early life making radical changes to his eating patterns and dedicating herself to education about what was best for his health.
Unimpressed by her packaging options, she partnered with Tracey Ross, who like herself makes organic nutrition a top-priority. Together these two mothers are responsible for creating smart packaging that is fun for kids and good for our planet.
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Learn more about Wexy Lunch & Munch Bags here.
Today’s guest post is written anonymously by a mother of four boys:
When Lainie first asked me to write a blog about being the mom of 4, I figured it would be quick, easy, and take about 2 days – one to write, then one to review, edit and send. It is now over a month later and I have yet to email it to her. Sure, it would be easy to blame the delay on the craziness that comes with being the mom of four wildly rambunctious boys ages 17 months to 12 years, with all of the school projects, homework, play dates, sports teams, doctor’s appointments, bill paying, cooking, cleaning and laundry that entails. Sure, I could blame it on working a full-time job with no “end” time (I’m a travel agent, and my clients constantly call me at all hours of the day and night, despite time zone differentials, whenever they need me) – or on the fact that I am also a religious school teacher, the “go to” mom for my friends when they need someone to watch their kids due to work or school conflicts (did I mention I work from home? That’s its own bucket of worms….) or the coach of two different soccer teams who each meet twice a week, plus games. Heck, if I were truly desperate, I could even try to add in the two cats and the dog who constantly demand to be let in and out and in and out and in and out all day long.
But the truth? The truth is that no matter what I wrote, no matter how often I edited, re-edited, or plain old started over, what came out in my blog was anger. Why anger? And at whom? Good questions…. in the end, ones I figured would be more important to address rather than a plain old description of the helter skelter / willy nilly chaotic schedule that is my daily life.
Quite honestly, it doesn’t take much introspection or hard thought to figure out when this whole anger thing started. By the time G, our third, turned a year old, my husband and I had the routine down pat. J, our oldest, was a fantastic assistant – he absolutely LOVED helping with the baby, running to get me clothes, or a diaper, or a sippy cup. A, a mere two years older than G, was a bit hesitant at first with the whole middle child idea but soon grew into a strong, independent little man. In fact, he never did the baby babble thing; he went straight from pointing for things to speaking in complete complex sentences by the time he was 20 months, including proper noun and verb placement. His Montessori preschool teachers were floored, and loved to bring him out to show off to prospective parents. As the boys grew, it seemed everyone had found their own niche – J was the sports man, A loved to cook, clean, and care for everyone in the family, and G was our little Romeo, quick as whip with eyes and a smile that could melt even the Grinchiest of hearts. We were chugging along, secure and strong, a solid family unit.
And then……….. And then. Despite precautions to the contrary, I found myself pregnant once again. As the shock wore off, my husband and I braced ourselves for the gentle ribbing and teasing we were sure to get from our families and friends, just like when we found ourselves pregnant with our third child. What we WEREN’T prepared for was the veritable shit storm that we ended up dealing with instead. Apparently, unbeknownst to us, there is a magical line in the child-bearing sand – 3 kids, and you are a cute family; 4 kids, and you are a crazy, selfish, irresponsible redneck family whose only goal is to do all you can to end up not working, living scot-free off of the government dime. Think I’m kidding? I only wish I were! I can relate numerous times when I have been out with all of my boys and had people look at me and the kids, and then deliberately close doors in our faces rather than hold them open. Instead of helping the woman with the stroller, people stepped in my way, refusing to let me through the aisles, frowning at me as I said “excuse me” and tried to wiggle through. I have been subjected to glares, eye rolls, and whispers any time and any where I take all four of my kids at once. And while they are indeed kids, they certainly aren’t hooligans – my boys know better than to not use their manners, or to run screaming through a store knocking things off of the shelves. They are always clean, dressed in appropriate clothing, and know how to use their indoor voices. In fact, these same children receive nothing but smiles and praise from strangers when out with us singularly or in pairs. So how did I miss the memo on the “appropriate” number of kids per family?
I think the worst episode happened before I even gave birth to little J. There I was with my 3 already born boys, walking into Motherhood Maternity as a very obvious 6 month pregnant lady. Some random woman, a complete stranger, jumped in front of me from out of nowhere and spent about 10 minutes viciously blessing me out for being pregnant again – telling me how awful I was for being selfish, how I would be denying my existing children opportunities due to the expense of another baby, to say nothing of the one-on-one time that would be taken away from them. I was subjected to accusation upon accusation, calling into question my fitness as a mother, my intelligence level, my financial status, my sexual habits (yes, really), my ulterior motives……. and she finished her speech with the assertion that “people like you should be sterilized for your own good.” All I could do was stand there, mouth open, in tears. My first gut response was to slug her in the mouth just to get her to shut up for a second – but I managed to realize in time that having the boys watch their pregnant mother get arrested for assault probably wouldn’t be the best solution or teaching moment in this whole wonderful scenario. I ended up telling her, “Thank you for your opinion,”, as I took out my cell to call my husband (a few stores away in the mall) and continuing inside Motherhood, ensuring that all of my kids were directly in front of me and not anywhere near where the psychotic nutcase could grab them.
What makes the ‘having 4 children’ situation worse is that all of my kids are indeed boys. For the record, it wouldn’t matter if they were all boys or all girls – the questions from friends, neighbors and complete strangers would be the same. “Are you going to keep trying for a boy/girl?” “Wow, giving up yet?”, “Don’t you know what causes that by now?”, “Have you tried a different (sexual) position yet?” “Man, you must really like being on top / doggy style / in the shower / etc” or my personal favorite, “So, were you disappointed that this one was the same as all of the others?” – this last one usually said directly in front of my children. That query always sends me into a blind rage, for many reasons: 1) How DARE they ask that in front of my kids, and possibly give them a guilt complex for something that could never, ever happen! 2) As if I could EVER be disappointed in ANY of my children’s existences – don’t project your own issues onto me! 3) My last son was born extremely early in an emergency C-section, after I spent 21 days in the hospital (over the winter holidays, might I add) on lock down, flat on my back, allowed to sit up for only 5 mins at a time 3 times per day. He was then in the NICU for 23 days himself, and had to have kidney surgery at 4 months….. and when he did, they discovered he was within about a week of losing the kidney permanently. And no, you had no way of knowing that before you asked your inane question – WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. All of my kids are miracles, but little J even more so, with all that he has battled and overcome. The whole concept of “disappointed” doesn’t even exist for us. 4) “The same as all of the others”? I am going to assume here that by “same” you mean “same sex” – but still, to equate one as interchangeable with the others completely invalidates who they are as individuals, including what they have accomplished and what or who they might yet become. My children are NOT mass produced items – they each have their own specific likes, dislikes, fears and strengths – and to insinuate otherwise is one of the gravest insults imaginable to me……. But thanks for asking. I realize that at this point, I am once again infusing this blog with anger and vitriol, and I apologize.
I wish I could say that my experiences were isolated incidents, but every one of my friends who have more than 3 children have all encountered the same prejudices, the same nosey questions, and the same ignorance. One day, a few of us decided to bring the gaggle out to eat for lunch – 3 moms and 11 kids. When the maître d’ asked us if we were escorting a school group (never mind that all of the kids were obviously different ages) we just laughed and said, “No, they are all ours.” Her response - “Seriously? On purpose???” We just smiled at her. Our waitress kept looking at all of the kids and then us, and finally worked up the nerve to say, “You’re brave to take so many of your kids’ friends out on play dates all at once.” When we assured her they were all siblings, and all ours, she smiled at us as if we were playing a joke on her. I don’t think she ever quite believed us. However, the lady sitting one table away from us came over after her meal, leaned in between us moms, quietly handed us each a card for Planned Parenthood and said under her breath, “There are resources available to help women like you – you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask” and walked away. Unfortunately, you just can’t make this kind of stuff up…….. but MAN, did we have a great time laughing over the whole thing that day!
I guess, to answer Lainie’s original question, being the mom of 4 is more than just an extra round of diapers and bottles, more than the realization that your youngest will be graduating from high school and first starting his life when your oldest will be 30 and firmly established with (hopefully!) a family of his own, or that you will still be driving the mommy van long after the rest of your friends begin their second honeymoon……. It is more than the struggle to decide which hand-me-downs need to be retired, which passed on, and when a child has just been drowned in too many clothes from others and truly deserves his own things, financial constraints aside…… it is yet one more round of Little People, Barney, sports games, art shows, musical concerts, science fairs and parent teacher conferences; it is one more body burrowing into your bed, shoving you out onto the floor; it is one more teenager to roll their eyes at you, or argue that “everyone else has it / is doing it / is going!”; it is one more plea to stay up juuuuuuuuuust a little bit later and by the way, can you come read and snuggle with me? It is one more set of handprints on the heart-shaped picture frame in your office; one more “I love my Mommy” present made in kindergarten and warped looking clay pot made in 4th grade. It is one more set of arms ready to crush you close and whisper “Thanks, Mom” as you drive him and his girlfriend to the movies – and allow them to sit by themselves for the first time. It is also 4 little (and eventually not so little) ones who depend on you to meet rudeness with a smile; disrespect with a gentle rejoinder; ignorance with information – and all of it delivered with a swift kick in the proverbial rear when needed. Or maybe not so proverbial…… I’ll get back to you on that one.
Since Emily cheated us all out of the fantasy suites, I have decided to forgo doing anymore Bachelorette posts.
I get that Emily has to set a good example because she is a mom. I can respect that. BUT….
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we’ll just let these speak for themselves:
I’m wondering if anyone really holds the key to Emily’s heart.
This season of The Bachelorette feels as contrived as the mega-Hollywood marriage that just went kaput. Let us observe some similarities:
While no one has jumped on any couches, the suitors have been professing their undying love and affection.
WANTED: Dogs with cat eyes, tortoise shell or wire-rim glasses. In celebration of Barney Saltzberg’s latest book, Arlo Needs Glasses, share a funny photo of your dog wearing glasses for a chance to win a signed copy of this delightful book.
Post the pic on Pinterest from now until July 31 with the hashtag #ArloNeedsGlasses. Then follow Workman Publishing’s board: www.pinterest.com/workmanpub. The five photos with the most likes and re-pins will win.
Arlo is a shaggy, free-spirited dog who loves to play catch until one day he is no longer able to see the ball because he needs glasses. One out of five school-age children need eyeglasses. Going from two eyes to four becomes a rich adventure for Arlo. Every child who wears glasses will know just how Arlo feels. And every parent will want that child to know that glasses are cool and fun and enable us to do the things we want to do.
Barney Saltzberg is the author of more than 30 books for children, including Beautiful Oops!, Good Egg and the bestselling Touch and Feel Kisses series, with over 800,000 copies in print. Additionally, he’s recorded four albums of songs for children. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two dogs, and a pond full of fish.
My son and I really enjoy reading this bright, colorful and fun interactive pop-up book. We tried on the three pair of glasses included in the book and decided that Arlo looks best in the superhero pair. We also had fun reading the eye chart and looking through a phoropter (the big machine optometrists use).
Can’t wait to see how cute all your dogs look with four eyes! Good luck!
The first day of summer, Wednesday, June 20, 2012 was quite the heat wave but even the high temperatures couldn’t put a damper on the extra special late morning Ian and I shared.
I was invited to a special sneak peek of Hotel Transylvania, a Sony Pictures Animation film, which won’t be in theaters until September 28, 2012.
The plush Sony screening room was the perfect place to beat the sweltering heat. I was a bit apprehensive that Ian might be loud and unruly. I kept telling him that we were going to be the firsts to see a new carton. But Ian has very specific tastes when it comes to his viewing pleasure. He is even opinionated when it comes to cartoons. When we have Nick Jr on, after a view minutes he generally demands “babba” (his word for Yo Gabba Gabba) I would have cringed if during this press screening with Emmy award-winning director Genndy Tartakowsky and producer Michelle Murdocca, he shouted “babba.”
After the first clip was shown, Ian requested “More.” Whew! I could breathe easy. We continued to watch scenes or rather he watched and I marveled in watching his reaction to the animation on the big screen.
The premise of this film is the celebration of Dracula’s beloved daughter Marvis’s 118th birthday. So following the presentation, there was a full-blown birthday party complete with delicious cake, fun finger foods and even crazy drink potions, along with airbrush tatoos. Everyone was so impressed by how well-behaved Ian was in the screening room and shocked to learn he is only 2.5. He even managed to score an invitation to return in September to an advanced screening of the film.
I couldn’t have been more proud of my son. And who knows, maybe he’ll have a future in the film industry. I feel so lucky to be able to give my son such special experiences. We capped the day off with lunch at Pinkberry. I will cherish the memories of today. We may have to celebrate Mavis’ birthday annually. I think we’ll take Daddy along for the full screening.
“Hotel Transylvania is a story about a father and daughter- it’s just that the father happens to be Dracukla,” said director Genndy Tartakovsky who is a dad himself. “Like all fathers, he’s an overprotective, psychotic and endearing guy who’d do anything for his daughter, but unlike other father’s, he’s the Prince of Darkness.”
Hello, my name is Michael and I agreed to do this guest blog for Lainie. I’m supposed to “shed insight on how to raise well-behaved, adorable children just like [my] 2 daughters w/ sparkling personalities & great heads on their shoulders.” Here is my advice…
After conception, before birth
Michael is 41, lives in Texas, and stepped on his daughter’s sewing needle the other day.
* Editor’s Note: If only it was this easy! But common sense and a good sense of humor help a lot!
Ahhhh, another Tuesday. It’s a good thing I am not writing this week’s Bachelorette recap because I was disgusted with last night’s episode and wondering why I continue to watch the show. Instead I am thrilled to be offering a heterosexual man’s point-of-view.
Ben Robinson was nearly considered to be nominated for a Webby for his groundbreaking Bachelor/ette/Pad recaps for TheKingsburyFactor.com. He’s 6-foot-1, tons of fun, and only tucks in his shirt at weddings. He also really likes your shoes today.
In week 3 of this Bachelorette season, I didn’t even know who Sean was. Now, I’m 100% certain he’s going to win. Here’s why.
Let me first say that I avoid spoilers like the plague, even though thanks to the Internet, spoilers are more communicative than said zoonotic disease that killed everyone. I don’t even read US Weekly covers during the season. And trust me, being a good boy and staring intently at the chewing gum section while waiting in line at the grocery checkout is really not that fun. Although those Trident Layers are pretty cool. So rest assured this is 100% untainted analysis, and all conclusions are derived from a combination of keen observation, recurring tendencies I’ve picked up on over my years of writing about the show, and a Magic 8-Ball I bought at a yard sale last weekend.
After this season’s first episode, I consulted on a Bachelorette office pool (they have those!) for a friend of mine. The idea was basically to distribute a set amount of points among the guys you thought were going to make it the most weeks into the show. I gave her an airtight Top 5 and told her to figure out how to actually award said points, because I can’t add. Right at the top of my list were Football Ryan and Arie, along with Doug because of that note he forced his kid to write under threat of no protein bars for dessert, and Nate, because he was handsome and Emily said he smelled good when he got out of the limo. For the fifth slot I tossed in One-F Jef, on a hunch I can barely even explain.
Obviously Nate was a weird mute who loved mispronouncing edible seeds beloved by healthy people, while dining in caves (“Is this keeen-ohhh-ahh?”), so that couldn’t have been more off-base. It was also very difficult to tell that Ryan was a sociopath with an overriding god complex as we watched him instruct children on the proper form for high-knees during sports warm-up drills. It’s really so much easier to pick which chick’s gonna win.
Notice that Sean is nowhere to be seen. My entire take on him after the first episode was “Sean: My only note, from when he got his rose, was ‘don’t remember him.’” Like I said, I didn’t even really notice him until week 3, when Emily’s oddly old, frighteningly horny “friend” Wendy forced him to strip and do push ups. But despite all that, and even though his early unremarkability probably cost me a friend because her me-guaranteed bracket has since gone bust, Sean’s winning this thing. And here’s why.
Let’s break him down:
Looks: Probably because I’m remarkably straight for someone who writes about the Bachelorette for fun, I’m not always the best at telling exactly how attractive women find men. But he seems to be at least handsome enough, and his Men’s Health, ex-college football player deltoids don’t hurt things. Let’s give him an 8, mainly for said deltoids.
Career: He sells insurance. 2.
Personality: Obviously not a “hey, look at me!!” kinda guy, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially since Emily wants to ensure everyone spends their time looking at her. At least somewhat intelligent. Quiet. Treats her how men from Texas who aren’t that possibly lobotomized dude from The Glass House tend to treat women. Easygoing; seems to get along with the other guys, which isn’t always the simplest thing. Very nice. Kinda boring. 6.
Father Potential: Claims he wants kids, but he also says literally everything right when he talks to Emily, so who knows. Sean is not a boat-rocker. He couldn’t rock a dinghy in the Perfect Storm. Seems even-keeled enough to be up to the challenge, especially with Lil’ Ricki, who you know Emily KNOWS she knows how to parent, and will not tolerate any alternative views on that, like, hey, “maybe we should get her a My Little Pony bedroom set instead of an elevated Persian bed with flowing drapery.” 7.
Intangibles: Played college football, yet is not Ryan. 9.
As I’m sure you notice, those numbers are ok but certainly not mind-blowing. And that doesn’t matter. Because when it comes down to it, this will be essentially a win by default. Everyone else is seriously flawed; Sean just happens to be less so. This is like Reagan v. Mondale, if Mondale was put up against a bunch of former or current fitness models and an Indy Car driver on a reality dating show. Sean, obviously, is Reagan, but less senile. The problems with everyone:
Jef: Ohhh, Jef. So yeah, Jef is probably not-straight. He compares children to vintage Chloe handbags and refuses to kiss Emily on highly romantic beaches. His hair takes four hours every morning to get so perfectly asymmetrically imperfect. He wears knee-high socks with shorts. His suits are way too nice. He’s very oddly good at puppeteering. He uses said puppets to tell Emily’s puppet that Jef’s puppet loves Emily’s puppet, because he is afraid of her, and probably not-straight. While I’m sure she already has a gay best friend, I can’t imagine Emily also wants a gay husband. God bless ya, though, Jef.
Arie: All season long, I’ve said Arie is going to go deep but won’t win. This is because Arie doesn’t want to win. He’s an insanely wealthy playboy race car driver who’s probably slept with as many women as Wilt Chamberlain slept with in August 1973, but that was like 700 women, so it’s pretty good. The whole sleeping with producers thing certainly didn’t help, but it did get him to a place even further along than he had been, with all the love talk she seemed to eat right up. But the fact is, he doesn’t want to be locked down at this point of his life; I always assumed his plan was to make it to the final two, then come up with some excuse to get out, so he can either 1) become the next Bachelor or 2) just go back to banging the daughters of the dudes on Dario Franchiti’s pit crew.
Chris: He’s younger than her and more than kinda losing his grip on the whole situation. His breakdown at the rose ceremony last night was more of a reason to cut him than to keep him, and I’m honestly not sure why she chose the latter. She seems to dig him for some odd reason but it’s just not happening; she can’t trust her kid with him and he’s not the smartest crayon in the shed. The advantage he has going into hometowns is he doesn’t really have to fight for her attention from here on out and keep freaking out like he likes to. Everyone gets an equal look, and he doesn’t even have to worry about even seeing the other dudes he hates so much the rest of the way. He kinda reminds me of Brad in certain ways, but you have to remember that Emily didn’t choose Brad, he chose her because she was the hottest, which she accepted because she saw the imminent value (i.e., ability to one day star on this very show) of the long con. There’s no point in conning this dude. Also, he’s kinda a spazzy loser
Which leaves Sean. Congrats, Sean! You’re just weeks away from being kinda-maybe-engaged to an admittedly knockout woman with possibly serious attention-craving issues and a daughter named after an I Love Lucy character. Now do some push ups.
Read Ben’s full recap of Episode 7 in Prague at http://www.thekingsburyfactor.com/2012/06/this-weeks-bachelorette-recap-because_26.html
Do you agree with Ben?
Yes, my son is what society would refer to as a “Mama’s Boy.” He’s only 2.5 years old and I am a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) so he’s with me practically 24/7….even when I go to the bathroom. If he could climb back inside of me, I swear he would. But I wouldn’t change a thing about our relationship. And after reading The Mama’s Boy Myth by Kate Stone Lombardi, I feel like I don’t have to.
Oh Freud would have a field day with this. Yes, she covers the Oedipus/Electra Complex in Chapter 2. She also discusses “car talk” in Chapter 5.
“For at least a century, the common wisdom about mothers and sons has been something like this: a mother who stays emotionally close to her son after he reaches, say, the tender age of five, is acting inappropriately. She’s that smothering mother destined to prevent her boy from growing up to be a strong, independent man. The mother is needy and controlling and refuses to cut the apron strings. She is on track to create the archetypal ‘mama’s boy,’ an unappealing wimp who will never be able to form a mature adult relationship with women.” (page 15)
I found this point to be extremely interesting: “A ‘mama’s boy’ might be a reviled creature, but everyone looks tolerantly on ‘daddy’s little girl.’” She has been singled out for an elevated status.” (page 19)
“Look, mothers through the ages have wanted the same things for their sons-we want to protect them and we want them to be ready to face the world. But the world our sons are entering is a very different place from the one their fathers and grandfathers navigated.” (page 27)
“Our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generations might have idealized a man who was the ‘strong silent type,’ but today that guy is no longer considered a desirable catch. Stoic and restrained men are seen as frustrating and irritating precisely because they are so uncommunicative. It can be difficult to create emotional intimacy with them. We don’t want our sons to retreat behind a similar wall of silence. And just because they are sometimes difficult to reach and reluctant to talk doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to connect with our sons.” (page 149)
“Yet being the mother of a son requires a balancing act. We do want to support our boys’ emotional growth and develop their sensitive side, but rejecting some of the worst elements of the boy culture doesn’t mean throwing out all of it. We do not want to isolate our sons from their peers or set them up for torment.” (page 167)
Since I minored in sociology (human sexuality and gender studies to be exact), reading this book made me feel like I was back in college. Admittedly, reading this book for pleasure for insight on raising my son, I did find parts of it very dense and textbook like and I did skip over certain paragraphs and pages.
I wonder what kind of relationship I will have with my son when he is older, the type of man he will grow up to be and how he will describe me. I think it’s usually true that the way a guy treats his mother is very indicative of how he will treat his girlfriends and ultimately his wife.