Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

I forgot to move the elf (again), the light-up snowflake fell off the top of the house and the living room looks like a toy factory for Santa’s elves. I’ve unsuccessfully attempted to cook meatballs for the last two nights only to give in and order take-out. I didn’t take out the garbage this morning because I forgot last night. I forgot last night because I was rocking my 9-month-old to sleep while my 4-year-old continually crept in with requests every five or so minutes to either put cream on her back or change the music on Alexa. Her version of tip-toeing, of course, is unlike an adult’s version and it is always accompanied by a loud and mischievous “shhhhh,” willing the baby to wake up so she can torture-play with her some more.

What was I saying? Right. I forgot a lot of things this week. I printed out our Christmas card list that I had drummed up proudly. This year no family member would dare make fun of me for not sending out my cards! I’d send a card out to every single person we knew . . . just as soon as I remembered to bring the dumb list home from work. Tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. There was always tomorrow.

Tomorrow came and I was getting the girls ready for daycare. My older one wanted chicken nuggets for breakfast and the baby wanted to chow down on my shoulder like I was a chicken nugget. Ouch! Who knew 9-month-olds bit? I thought that was a toddler thing? I threw strawberries, yogurt, and a side of Entenmann’s coffee cakes on the table for my daughter, smiling proudly that I had not only won the breakfast battle but that I had also managed to serve her something half healthy, when the baby reached just far enough over her high chair to knock over the entire plate. My 4-year-old looked at me and said, “It’s OK, I’ll just have chicken nuggets.”

I moved the Elf on the Shelf to the banister (someone had to teach the girls a little pole dancing) while my daughters destroyed the playroom, again. I packed up the car for school before Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick brought it home at the end of Trolls Holiday. These millennial trolls sure beat the crap out of their fugly counterparts from the 90s.

On the drive to school, I played the role of Joan Cleaver and belted out Christmas carols with my 4-year-old. I wore a huge holiday smile accompanied by an equally huge drool stain on my favorite scarf, which reminded me that the baby was teething and needed a CVS run during lunch. Did it ever stop? After putting the baby’s items in the school’s refrigerator and hanging up her pink puffy coat and little winter hat, I took my older daughter’s hand and told the teacher to message me as usual if she needed me.

“The baby?” Her sweet teacher inquired.

“Yes, if you need anything with the baby,” I smiled cheerfully thinking I must not have been the only sleep-deprived one. I questioned leaving the baby there. I shut the door behind us and walked halfway to my other daughter’s classroom when I felt a tug on my hair. OH, the baby. Yes, I tend to wear my baby like an additional bag. Don’t judge until you have tried it yourself.

Her teacher and I had a good laugh at my expense while the baby gnawed and drooled on her sleeve. I then dropped off a very excited little girl who couldn’t wait for the creepy puppet show to start and drove my tired self to work.

When at work, my girlfriend picked half a Goldfish out of my hair and helped rinse the drool stain out of my scarf. I cared more about the fact that a Goldfish in my hair meant my daughter didn’t follow the breakfast rules and less that it had acted as temporary hairspray for the right side of my head. In my pre-kid youth, I had been told once I resembled Sarah Michelle Gellar and here I was the doppelganger for the lady with the pitchfork in the famous American Gothic painting.

This is my life. This is my life while my husband travels. Any questions?

Sometimes, my husband is away just one day. Other trips, he is gone four to five. Those trips humble me. Single parents deserve statues resurrected in their honor at the very least. I am truly in awe of their abilities because when my husband is gone just a few days, I’m forgetful with a side of impatience. This doesn’t mean I don’t love my children, it just means I have an insatiable hunger for serenity. I will admit though, I do relish in the chaos just a bit as well. Sometimes I pretend like I am in a sitcom and the director has asked us to really let loose on the next take and let me tell you—my kids nail it every time.

I forget a lot sometimes, especially when my husband is away, but I never forget to give love. Oh sweet slobbery baby kiss, love. It’s the kind of love that leaves drool on the side of your face after a face hug and makes your nose tickle with baby boogies after an Eskimo kiss.

The hectic mornings and exhausting nights are all worth it. We are all worth it as working mothers.

‘Tis the season for chaos personified with a side of love, right?

Originally published on the author’s blog

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Nicole Tynan

Nicole is an advertising executive by day, Momma by day, night and carrier pigeon and struggling writer by . . . whatever free time she has left! She's been published on BluntMoms and Theo Media. 

I Love You At Every Stage

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three children at park, color photo

Confession: I love the 1-year-old phase. Our youngest is one and such a joy to be around. He’s still so cuddly, finds such joy in the smallest things, is learning new things every day, and smiles at every little thing his big brother and sister do. I love the 3-year-old phase. Our only girl is three. She has a flair for the dramatic, but she is very forthright with her feelings. “I’m having a hard time.” “I just miss my daddy when he’s at the Fire House.” “I’m a princess.” “God made me beautiful.” She is quick to be a...

Keep Reading

10 Lessons I Hope You Learn Playing Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy dribbling down basketball court, black-and-white photo

Last night was my sixth grader’s last basketball game of the season. He played with many of the same gang of boyhood friends he has known since kindergarten. This year, however, they were introduced to a traveling team, older players, and much stiffer competition than they had encountered in the past. They stood the test and played their little boy hearts out. I am proud of my son, his team, his coaches, and all the familiar faces we came to know in the Greenwood Laboratory School cheering section each week, sometimes two to three times in one week!  Here’s to...

Keep Reading

Simple Moments Shape Childhood

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in shallow water of beach

Sometimes it’s the little things that can turn out to be the biggest things. Motherhood has made me appreciate the everyday moments, the simple moments, differently.  Being outdoors with my boys can be simple in theory, but I absolutely love the adventures we take. Whether we are hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, or checking out a new park, this momma knows it is time well spent.  RELATED: I’m Watching You Grow Up in the Little Moments Because whether they realize it or not, these memories being made are the special ones. The ones my boys will carry with them in their...

Keep Reading

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading

1-Year-Olds Are Wonderful

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
1 year old baby smiling

Newborns—who doesn’t love them?  The captivating scent of a brand new baby, their fragile little bodies laying so delicately on your chest. Everything that comes with a newborn baby is just absolute magic. But have you ever had a 1-year-old? I used to think the newborn phase was my favorite, nothing could ever be better than having such a tiny helpless little human rely on you for absolutely everything. I could hold my newborn for hours, soaking in every tiny little detail before it became nothing but a beautifully distant memory. But I’ve realized it’s 1-year-olds who have a special...

Keep Reading

My Kids Are All in School Now and It’s a Little Lonely

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman looking out window alone

I had just dropped my children off at school. All of them. My youngest has just started full-time. It was my first full day on my own since she began, and I had really been looking forward to it, so I took myself into town to do a bit of shopping and grab a coffee. Just me. The kind of days dreams are made of, right? I could suddenly breathe again.  I only had myself to answer to.  I got my latte and something to eat. And then I cried.  My eyes filled with tears as I sat in the...

Keep Reading