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I Am A Bad Mom.

I Am A Bad Mom.
I AM A BAD MOM.
By: Monica Plath 

…Or at least that is what one social media commentator wrote on a recent news clip of my children and me. Truth be told, there are a lot of moments where I would agree with her. Parenting is hard and even harder when I am doing my best. I constantly feel like I should do better. That’s the mom-guilt speaking.

“I bet she makes macaroni and cheese from a box,” said another online commentator.  Well howdy-doody if that is the bar for BAD MOMS then at least I know I have some company! 

As parents, we are all fighting daily battles to get through the mental gymnastics of schedules, meals, enrichment, and family, and somehow make time to be ourselves while being SELFLESS.

The TV news segment in question took me from the sanctuary of privacy in to a public forum.  I simply wanted to tell my story about how motherhood spurred me to innovation as I saw a much needed change in caregiving.  It was not long into my first pregnancy that I realized the “village” that other generations spoke about in reference to raising children was dead. 

THE VILLAGE IS DIGITAL shouted the mom bloggers and mommy sites, which was great for late-night scrolling on sleepless night. BUT who was there to catch me when I fell?

The support system that came together for my family was a mesh of babysitters who became like sisters, friends who picked up the phone when their own children were crying, and daycare providers who let me drop my children off an hour early so I could make an appointment before work, and the extended family that went out of their way to help me create my family’s version of normal.

Even in our woke era, the stigma of the “working mom” still burns more than the “working dad.” For those of us that don’t have a choice to not to work, it is a burden that follows us as society where “they” expect us to “work like we don’t have children, and parent like we don’t work.”  The struggle and balance is very real and overwhelming. 

Well, I guess I am a "BAD MOM" because I need to provide for my family and that upsets some people’s paradigms. However, I am a "GREAT MOM" because I give myself grace and do my damn best every day while showing up for my family and friends. 

To all the working moms, dads, care providers, and everyone in between - you are enough!  Keep rocking it, the bar is low, make whatever version of macaroni and cheese that makes you happy.

With love and gratitude,

Monica 

 

 

 

"21 Questions" w/ Meredith Sinclair

"21 Questions" w/ Meredith Sinclair

 

"21 Questions"
with Meredith Sinclair
Author, “Well Played”
On Air Lifestyle Contributor, Today Show, Access Hollywood LIVE & KTLA
Podcast Host, “Our Halftime Show” (Fall, 2022)
Truman & Maxwell’s Mom 

 

Meredith Sinclair, resident ringleader, perennial cheer captain, and author of “Well Played: The Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family's Playful Spirit,” went from ruling the classroom to running the playground all in an effort to bring silly back.

With a Masters in Education, Meredith is an expert in the toy, family, and corporate play spaces, and is booked regularly as a spokesperson for brands like Nintendo, Juicy Juice, and Genius of Play. She is also a frequent contributor to the Today ShowFox & FriendsHallmark Home & Family, and Access Hollywood Live, speaking to the art and aspirations of play.​​  You can see Meredith in action making life fun over on Instagram @Meredithplays or online at www.meredithplays.com


1.) What was your childhood nickname?

Merrily” (A mash-up of  my first and middle names Meredith &  Lee, and the name I went by exclusively  until college)  

2.) What is your favorite lullaby? 

Tired Desperado…a song I used to sing to my sons when they were little 

3.) What is your favorite bedtime story?

The Seven Silly Eaters

4.) What did you want to be growing up?

An actress and/or dancer…I enjoy an audience,

5.) What is your most treasured childhood item?

An orange 1960’s tall metal step stool I always sat on  in my grandmother’s kitchen while she cooked.  It’s now  in my kitchen and holds the dog food, but whatever.

6.) What was your favorite snack as a child?

Big puffy Cheese Doodles. They’re still my downfall, only now I buy the baked ones and pretend they’re healthy.

7.) Who was your favorite cartoon character?

I  was a total Smurfs sorta girl. I gravitate toward pretend utopia.

8.) If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

The ability to go back in time and experience one day with my boys at various ages.

9.) What was the name of your childhood pet?

Sadly, I only had a kitten for about a month when I was in kindergarten, until our landlord  made us get rid of it.  I’m now a dog person.

10.) If you could bring one thing back from your childhood what would it be?

The non-existence of social media 

11.) What is your best excuse as a parent to get out of something?

My kids are now grown and flown, so I more often invent reasons to be IN something with them.  

12.) What’s your coffee order? 

‘Honey!… don’t forget to make the coffee!!” (a splash of oat milk is my scene)

13.) Are you an early bird or a night owl? 

Unfortunately, kinda both. 

14.) What is your walkout song?  

Shut Up and DANCE

15.) What is your favorite childhood memory?

Getting in my Pj’s, my mom piling my two brothers and me into the back of our station wagon, hitting the gas station for snacks (hello, cheese doodles), and going to the  Drive In movies for a double feature.  Small town bliss.

16.) Where is your favorite family vacation spot?

A Cowboy Cabin on a ski run in Big Sky, Montana. 

17.) What is your secret TV guilty pleasure?

The Real Housewives of Everywhere 

18.) What is your idea of perfect happiness?

This is SUCH an existential question and I’ve grown to love it.  So here goes… Knowing that my family is thriving and safe and  living each day staying true to who I am, unabashedly and unapologetically, as best I can. Oh,  and a dirty martini with my husband on a Friday night. 

19.) What is your best parental advice?  

I’m on the other side, so trust me on this. Focus on the joyful process of raising your kids rather than the product you aim to achieve.  What you’ll cherish most when they’re all raised up are the hours you spent playfully and thoughtfully connecting with each other, building trust, instilling character traits you value,  and slowly building a firm foundation. The natural outcome of that is a child that’s ready to fly out into the world confidently on their own.


20.) What is your favorite movie line?

Whatever anything else is, it ought to begin by being personal (You’ve Got Mail)


21.) What is your life motto?

Work hard, play harder 

 






Let Your Love Be Little!

Let Your Love Be Little!
LET YOUR LOVE BE LITTLE!
By: Paige Nolan 

Sometimes life gets big, too big. It feels big in our world right now. So much violence, division, confusion – storms between us and upon us. People fighting in the streets. Rain pouring and water rising. The destruction is so vast. Homes are ruined, people lose everything. Even their lives. There is big sadness. Big loss. Big fear.

It would be easy to say – that’s over there. Not my house. Not my people.

But that would be pretending not to know what we already know – we’re in it together – on the upright side of aliveness at the same time.

Regardless of how “close” you are to bad news today, there is and will be a knock at your door eventually.

At some point, life gets big in a personal way.

There will be challenges. The problems come for everyone, everywhere. There will be a wolf. We are the pigs.

We know something about those pigs from the story – they are little, and with a little cleverness, they do survive – together.

The little is the hero of the story. Though, often big steals the show.

I don’t start things because they seem too big. Like cleaning out the folders in my filing cabinet or organizing my summer pictures. I don’t finish things because they seem too big. Like making a decision about the dining room chairs we need to buy or completing the online mindfulness course I bought last year.

I don’t call friends when too much time has passed – it seems too time-consuming to share all of the big things that have happened.

I don’t get back into writing easily after the summer months with the kids – it feels like a big deal. Like it has to be really good or especially meaningful or profound. It’s kind of like sex with your partner if you’ve been in a dry spell – this better be good. What if it’s not? Or a night out with a group of women you haven’t seen in awhile – I need the perfect outfit – in style but also effortless. Do I have the clothing that can pull that off? Do I even want to go?

Sometimes I don't give money to important causes because I think the amount I can give isn't big enough.

A woman told me the other day she hasn’t started her non-profit business idea because she doesn’t think she’ll make a significant impact. Is it even worth her time? The issue feels so big, she said. I don’t know that I could make a difference.

It all seems so illogical doesn’t it? Something is better than nothing. Obviously.

But that’s not how it feels. It feels too big. It feels overwhelming.

We could all use a little more little.

Especially now.

In our family, school starting is one of those times. New grades. New teachers. New routines. New wake up hour and new rules around screen time.

The simplicity of the summer is gone. The bigness of the school year looms. That paperwork. The sign-up sheets. The scheduling. The idea of homework for nine (long) months.

And in the midst of feeling all of it, the night before school began a few days ago, little found a way to teach me a lesson.

I sit on the floor with my fifth grade daughters and check off the items from their school supplies list. Mid-printing, our label-maker runs out of tape. (Of course, it does.) I invite Ryan to join me on a quick Office Depot run. I’m not typically concerned about the details but I’m also not willing to begin the year with inconsistent labels – especially as I know my inconsistency is going to be in full force by the end of September, might as well be as organized as possible out of the gates. She’s delighted.

“We should do this more often,” she says to me as we’re leaving the store.

“Do what?” I ask.

“Little outings.”

“I like that idea,” I say and start the engine.

“I like when you DO something for me…”

The car is still in park and I whip my head around. I don’t mean to react so quickly but in my pre-first-day-of-school angst and the general stress I feel about being at the office supply store at 8 o’clock at night when I could have done the damn labels TWO WEEKS AGO, I am ready to lay into her if I need to defend how much I “do” for this family.

She gets all of that in a flash, as children (especially sensitive ones) can perceive – the slightest change in the size of our eyes says it all – and she clarifies, “I mean, you do a lot for me. You do a lot for ALL OF US – but I like when you do something for me like there’s no one else. Like a little outing one-on-one.”

Got it. That’s right. This is love. Paying attention. In little ways. I know what she means. A very small, intentional act is one of the most powerful and loving things we can do for each other.

So no, I’m on a mission.

Starting now, I am making little the biggest thing in the room.

And why wouldn’t it be? The best things in my life started so little.

My marriage started with a kiss. Each one of my children started as a fertilized egg no bigger than a grain of sand. My friendship with my dog Luca started when I glanced out of the car window and saw a sign that read PET ADOPTIONS HERE on the side of the road. sign My coaching practice started with the shortest conversations with mothers in the preschool parking lot. My writing life started with a journal entry – a poem, a phrase, one word.

Little is necessary. Essential. Little is how things get started and how they get finished. Even the biggest problems are addressed little by little.

It is true that little is easily lost. Sometimes totally forgotten. But when it's found - it transforms. It heals. It is everything.

How did the little pigs survive the big, bad wolf after all? With a little fire.

Find your little.

 Look for it.

There is a little love, a little hope, a little faith. Everywhere.

-Paige

 

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