We’re all guilty of it. We see a mom or family on Instagram or Facebook and think how perfect their lives must be, because they are only showing us their perfect moments. They aren’t showing us the tears, the screaming like a lunatic every morning at 6 a.m. because children don’t want to get up or worse, they ARE up and screaming like banshees and its the weekend. We don’t get to see the pile of laundry that’s been sitting in “the chair” clean and unfolded for 2 weeks or more. We only see what they let us see.

So many people feel inadequate due to looking at their high school friend’s social media posts. Oh, they have the perfect life. They have the perfect husband. They make meals like Ree Drummond herself. The truth is, you can’t tell what their lives are like from what is posted. We see a moment in time. Just a moment. Nothing more and nothing less. If we take the time to look at our lives without the judgement glasses firmly in place, we would also see that our lives are filled with perfect moments.

I admit that there are times when associates message me on these platforms and tell me how they wish their lives were like mine, or they wish their relationship were more like mine, but the truth of the matter is, nothing about my life is perfect. I do have perfect moments on a daily basis, but in between those moments are chaos, tears, yelling, self doubt, and a whole lot of forgiveness. This morning my 12 year old threw himself on the floor in a full on fit because he didn’t want to go to school since it was raining. 30 min later my daughter let her friend in the house when it was chaotic and atrocious. An hour after that, my youngest son sobbed uncontrollably because he wanted today to be his field trip day since school is stupid. To top off the morning shenanigans, I did not feel well, but I still had to adult today.

So, while I was seriously contemplating running away while the kids were at school, I won’t. My grumpy middle child will come home and hug me before telling me how much he loves me. My youngest will meet me grinning ear to ear and ask me what the baby did today (he’s still in my belly). And my daughter whom for  years did not know how to have a back and forth conversation will tell me all about her day while laughing about her friends. These are my perfect moments. These are the things I post about on social media, not the organized chaos. If you ever feel the need to compare your life to what you see on social media, stop. We’ve all got our crazy, some of us just hide it better.


Stop Yelling At Me…please



Consistency is Key

This week I am starting a new venture on my Facebook page. I will be completing weekly videos about a topic that I’ve been asked about several times. Each week will be a new topic and I am always open to new questions about parenting. This week’s topic is about whining and how to break the habit. Whining is such a hot topic for toddler and preschool mom’s because for some reason children have discovered that screeching at an almost inaudible tone, with words thrown in here and there for flavor was a great way to drive their parents up the wall. I’m sure if whining were used as a torture technique the bad guy would spill the goods within a few hours.

Children are learning to communicate effectively, and it is up to us parents to teach them the appropriate way to convey their wants and needs without causing severe ear drum damage. In this weeks video I share a quick little trick that helped me break the habit with all of my children when they were in their whinny stage. The key to this trick, and any behavior modification is to be consistent. It can be difficult to be consistent all the time, but it is a must to make sure you are helping them learn your family’s rules. I get it, mom’s are busy, busy creatures, and stopping doing the ten thousand things that you are currently doing to correct little Johnny’s behavior for the tenth time in ten minutes can make you feel a little crazy. I promise, the outcome is worth it!

Sometimes we have to take a break from shopping to supervise timeout in the middle of the grocery store. Sometimes we have to stand there and ignore their tantrum while in the library. Sometimes we have to pick them up and take them back to their mess five times before they pick up what they threw on the floor. The secret trick will always be consistency, no matter where that behavior occurs, they have to understand that the result will always be the same. It’s hard, and sometimes a little embarrassing, but the  end result is glorious.

After all of this hard work you put in during the toddler and preschool years, you’ll soon look back and be in awe of your determination and the great little people you have raised. The best compliment I have ever gotten was always from babysitters and teachers who tell me how well behaved and well mannered my kids were. So, when you are at the end of your rope from repeating the same thing for the millionth time, remember, it will all be worth it in the end. The mommy tribe salutes you on doing your best to raise well adjusted tiny people.


Stop Yelling at Me,


Should We Be Concerned?…I Am

There’s something that has been bugging me over the past couple of years. First it was the participation trophies for having your name on the roster. You didn’t even have to actually play. The snot nosed kid that sat on the bench crying every game because the grass was too wet or his cleats got mud in them (we all know that kid), well, even he gets a trophy. His total playing time was maybe 30 minutes during the entire season. Johnny Twoshoes that scored 85% of the goals and carried the team because his mother secretly banged Drew Brees (we all know this kid too!), well guess what; he gets the same participation trophy as Snotty McSnoterson over there. I don’t think that’s completely fair, and neither does a good majority of parents. Since most of us moms weren’t lucky enough to have a super secret affair with a professional athlete, we take pride in our child’s moderately deserved participation trophy. Heck, that’s the only way I can keep up with what sports my kids have already tried and how many years they have been in a particular sport. Don’t judge me.

Taking it a step further, there seems to be this “don’t embarrass the child/no one should ever have their feelings hurt/completely child centered bull-poopy movement”. Is this supposed to prepare our children for the real world? Let me explain where my frustration comes from. I taught pre-k and I absolutely loved my job and my kids in my classroom. What I did not love is all of the touchy feely, don’t hurt their feelings crap! We once received a memo about not using time out or separating them from the group as discipline for misbehaving. Now, this was preschool. Misbehaving is something that occurred on a daily…no, hourly basis. Some things are little like running in the classroom. Some things are big, such as slapping your friend with a book because she took the one with the ladybug on the front. Obviously one is more serious than the other. The first scenario needs a quick reminder of “we use walking feet in the classroom”. The second scenario should do what?! I don’t know, since “time out” was our only leverage.

The reasoning behind this was their feelings. Some where once upon a few months ago, some idiot did a study or not, I really don’t know. Anyway, this guy decided that, putting children in time out would hurt their baby tiny feelings and would embarrass them. Well guess what?! It hurt little Lizzie’s feelings when Jerkface Jr. smacked her in the face with a book. It hurt her feelings that he was only told to remember the rules. It hurt her feelings that 17 other children saw her get knocked upside the head with the dinosaur book. It hurt my feelings that one of my babies was hurt and upset and I couldn’t fix it. Jerkface Jr. will go to kindergarten thinking its OK to smack kids with books, blocks, trucks or whatever her decided to use as a means to get what he wants.

On to the next memo in how to create brats. We were told not to reward the children for good behavior. “Children should behave because it’s the right thing to do”. I call BULL CRAP! Yes, you have some children that will behave no matter what and we all love those children. Then you have children like Jerkface Jr. that need a sticker chart or some other behavior modification tool, to get him to behave. Eventually, he will learn to do the right thing because it IS the right thing. Right now, bribery is the right thing. It gets Jerkface Jr. to behave occaisonally, so he can have a special treat from the treasure box and sweet angel Lizzie gets treats regularly just for being Lizzie DoGood.

Let’s not leave out the parents that don’t want to hurt their child’s feelings. This was a class of 4-5 year olds. None of them could put on shoes that weren’t flip flops, and only a few could zip their own jackets. A good portion of my day was spent zipping and buttoning pants, tying shoes and honestly, telling kids to figure it out. These children nowadays are so behind with everyday things because their parents don’t want to hurt their feelings. I had a child in my class that did not learn how to put his own coat on until  well after his 5th birthday. Are you freaking kidding me?!? We parents get so caught up in the rush of everyday that we don’t teach our children the simple things and then when we try to teach them…they struggle. After watching them struggle for approximately 30 seconds, we do it for them. We don’t want them to lack any confidence by hurting their feelings a little. Even if we aren’t the ones hurting their feelings. His dang coat is hurting his feelings. I’m not going to be putting on my 16 year old’s coat because I didn’t want his feelings hurt when he was 2 and couldn’t figure it out in under 30 seconds.

I just want to know when we as a society became so caught up on feelings. In the real world, if I slap a kid with a book, I’m going to get time out. I’ll lose my job and do some time in jail. Time out at its finest for us adults. If I do an extra special how ya doin’ kind of job, I’ll get a bonus or raise or even just a small praise from my boss or colleagues. If I suck at something, I’ll know because my mom isn’t going to jump out of the bushes and fix it for me so I can have this false sense of confidence. Yes, my feelings will be hurt. Yes, I will get over it. Then I’ll take the knowledge that I suck at this one particular thing and find something that I’m super awesome at eventually or I’ll keep trying this thing I suck at until I rock it out. I don’t get a participation trophy for being a mom. I don’t even get a thank you for washing their stinky clothes. I know, motherhood is a thankless job, but dang it, where’s my trophy?!? My kids are polite, sweet, respectful little creatures. They didn’t come out like that! I just worry we are raising a society of overconfident, self-centered, egotistical Jerkface Jr.’s. Everyone’s going to walk around thinking that they’re the best until someone says they think their hair is stupid, then they’ll run screaming and crying with flailing arms to their moms basements and refuse to come out without their cubbie and a glass of chocolate milk with the special straw.

Super Happy Pretty Nail Salon

I’m currently at the Super Happy Nail Beautiful Salon getting a much needed pedicure while my best friend gets a St. Paddy’s  Day mani. The woman has spent about 20 minutes scrubbing my feet with the little cheese grater thingy, she rubs my feet and keeps scrubbing. Either this woman is really anal or my feet are horrible. Obviously I’m sitting here thinking my feet are just awful and I should never wear sandals again. I’ll have to be that crazy lady that wears Jesus cruisers with her party socks and booty shorts.

     I’ve been sitting here so long, my water is lukewarm at best. The massaging chair has come to an end, which I have mixed feelings about. There’s a buttocks massager part of the chair that kept pushing a softball sized bump into my vag. I’m not sure if I should be offended or titilated.
     Did this lady just upgrade me?! Hot stone massage that I’m almost positive I didn’t ask for. Did I?! Was I drunk when I walked in the door? No, I’m sure you can’t get drunk from thinking about a huge bottle of wine. These hot stones are phenomenal and so is Rose. Rose, I love you. My aching muscles want to ask for your hand in marriage. Thank you for the upgrade Rose, thank you! Ahhhhhh *heaven*

Every Mom Must Ask…”Am I a Horrible Mother?!”

Less than three weeks ago my beautiful, intelligent, thirteen year old baby girl was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Now, I know most of you must be wondering why she was diagnosed so late. I have no idea what I was thinking, honestly!

Let me back up. My daughter, for the sake of everything that is holy in middle school I will not use her real name because she might “literally” die. (If I said that to her she would most certainly correct me, by informing me, that one could not literally die from having their real name published or from embarrassment.) We will just pretend her name is Charisma; hence the title of the blog. Cari, I’ll call her for short, because to be sure I will forget how to spell charisma at some point during my life.

Anyway! Cari has always been weird. And I use the word weird, not to offend anyone, but because that’s what I always equated her “odd” or “quirky” behavior to. I’ve seen Autism, and my kid did not have it! I mean I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development. I should have been the first person to notice that something was a bit off, but alas, I was tardy to the party. Cari is a great kid and has always seemed as if she was a miniature grown up. She uses large vocabulary words, always follows the rules and has never caused me any major problems.

There was this minor issue though, Cari was weird. Once we moved away from her small, tight knit group of friends (whom she’s known since she was 3, some since she was a year old); I started noticing some things that were a bit off. Wait, I lied. Her second grade teacher Ms. Bradshaw (and by no means is this a Sex in The City reference, that was actually her name and Carrie’s name from the show was spelled with an “ie” and two “R’s”. Plus it was short for Carrigan not Charisma) told me that Cari had a difficult time making friends and seemed a bit awkward. I blew this off as her not having any of her close friends in the classroom that year. I was not an idle parent though. I took what her teacher had to say to heart and got her into behavioral therapy right away. She had been familiar with therapy since she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-Inattentive type ( That’s the fancy schmancy way of saying she has ADD not ADHD, but for some reason the doctors lumped it all under one big umbrella), the year prior.

Come to think of it, her first grade teacher said she thought my daughter might be psychotic. That was her word, obviously not mine! She felt this way because my 7 year old first grader would draw faces on her fingers and get them to have conversations with each other. Well, obviously this lady had never been around anyone that was psychotic. I wish I could give her a swift kick to the rear. Cari used to say “Don’t you think it’s weird her name is Ms. Payne since she’s a pain?” That child makes me laugh I tell ya!

Again, I’m getting side tracked. So, the signs were there at an early age, but I did not see them. I figured her teachers have just never met an awesomely weird kid like mine. I mean she had friends at home, right? Well that doesn’t end her quirky nature. She’s a picker. She’s always picked and I didn’t see it as an issue. I’d just tell her to stop and she would, without throwing a fit or anything. And when I say she stopped, that means she stopped doing it for a whole five seconds until she forgot you told her not to do it. I know you are wondering what picking means. Well, picture your child holding his/her hands about two inches or less away from their eyeballs and concentrating intently on the small blonde hairs that are on their knuckles and picking said small blonde hairs out. One. At. A. Time. For hours! If she was not picking she was (and still does) slamming her knuckles on the palm of the opposite hand repeatedly. I don’t know why she did this and I didn’t see this as a problem. She was smart, sweet, good and respectful.

Eye contact, she has that. Her gaze lasts about 5-10 seconds before she looks at the floor, off to the side, over your head or anywhere but your face. Again, not a problem in my book. She just doesn’t like looking at people. I know, it doesn’t sound serious, and you my friend would be correct. All of these are things she can live with. So what, she’s a little weird and has a hard time conversing with peers or anyone for that matter without blurting something random out about animals. She can learn how to have a give and take conversation. She’s already learned how not to make herself stand out. She has a peer group that she hangs around in school and dance. She rarely speaks to them unless they ask her a direct question, but she’s in their presence, their circle. She sits quietly and picks her tiny blonde hair out of her long thin fingers while her friends chat about boys and update their Facebook statuses for the millionth time.

I have not by any means even covered what would begin to be the surface of my quirky child, but this is only the first entry. I am now at the stage of “What comes next?”. That was preceded by the “I must be a horrible mother to not know my child had this!” and the second stage “My child has what?” I’m curious to find out what the next stage is. Hopefully that stage is “Awesome-sauce!!! We got this!”

I can honestly say, I can be so silly about this because I have an awesome support system. I have the most fantastical daughter I could ever ask for, Great friends and family, and an AH-may-ZING husband, who support me through all of this as well as an ex-husband that does nothing but love the person she is. My goal with this blog is to help others who may be going through this thing alone wondering if anyone has been there. I want everyone to know I’ve been there,
and though I currently cannot see everything as sunshine and roses, Cari is still Cari and she will always be one of the best things that has ever happened to me!