Camille here, Anna’s assistant! Do you feel like your Mom is the hardest to buy for? It seems they already have everything you could ever want but you still want to find that perfect gift they will love. I have searched high and low and found a few gifts that I think your Mom or Yourself would love this Christmas! This may contain affiliate links.
When I became a mother, I remember my own mother telling me her own grown daughters were her closest friends. She said, "I don't have time to make other friends anymore."
I, of course, thought that was kind of sad. I had friends that weren't family. I had my close friends from high school and colleges, still. Some that I saw often and some that I kept in touch with over Facebook and email. I was making friends in church and in my neighborhood.
Of course, I also counted my mom and sisters as friends. Of course.
As a young mother, there are many hours where even though you are surrounded by people--the little ones you are responsible for growing into big ones--you can feel oh-so-very-much alone. The kind of loneliness that makes you weep when you finally see another adult who smiles at you. It's hard to explain if you haven't experienced it.
For the first twelve years of being a mother, I stayed at home. I was with my kids all day long and worked when they were asleep. My husband worked long hours and was generous with my need to leave the house alone as soon as he came through the door. We were both exhausted... but grateful.
Of course we were grateful. Of course.
But that doesn't change the fact that we were just plain tired.
I craved friendships. Other women and mothers to talk about our children and our level of exhaustion. Maybe just to smile and laugh and say "me too, girl. Me too."
In the last few decades, there have been many women who have filled that loneliness for me. As I have moved multiple times and changed states, cities, neighborhoods, church groups, school districts, there have been many wonderful friends to make those adjustments easier and give some variety to a sometimes monotonous life.
When I started to work outside of the home again, I noticed that it was more difficult to maintain those fellow-mother friendships. Being able to drop everything and head to the park wasn't an option anymore. And I didn't have any kids to take to the park as they were all in school. I've been at the park in the middle of the day and wondered about the lone adults, just watching everyone (my kids!) play. Yeah, I wasn't going to just head to the park without my kids.
Even a spontaneous lunch became more difficult. I often had a meeting or a lunch with a new or potential client... "but let's meet for lunch really soon."
I've had to learn to schedule! Me! Schedule!
"I can meet for lunch on Tuesday at 1 or Friday at 11. Do either of those work for you?"
And once my kids get home from school, I bust home to help with homework, music practicing, driving my kids to activities, spending some quality time. Oh yeah, and the family wants dinner, so...!
Sometimes I leave at night to spend some time with friends. But then I feel guilty. I should be with my husband. Or my kids. Or finally reading that book I need to know for work. Or, I don't know... maybe exercise???
It's weird, seeing friendships move and change without me physically moving. Friends going to concerts together. Friends traveling the world together. Friends having girls night together. Without me. Not because I couldn't, but because I haven't keep those relationships strong enough to be on the list.
Listen, I get it. I tell this shiz to my kids all the time: "You get what you give." "The more you put in, the more you'll like what you get out." "You can't expect a tree to grow without watering it." Etc etc and Zzzzzzz.
I have new work friends and relationships. I have a few friends who I am only growing closer to as we have to work harder to spend time together and serve each other. I have made a few new friends because of the new connections I have made working and not spending those hours alone at the park.
It's made me think a lot about the length of a friendship. It isn't always forever. It isn't always for a decade. Sometimes it's for a year. Or for an event. Sometimes a friendship is strongest on Facebook and Instagram. That doesn't lessen the relationship. It's just a different kind of friendship to add to your life.
Some of the friendships I have made online have been some of the realest I have ever had. There is such support and love. I have met a few of these friends in real life, and we embrace and chat as though we had been friends for decades.
Of course there are all kinds of friendships. Of course.
As I am getting older, though, I see my mom's comment differently. I serve my kids often. I tuck them in, I hold them when they are sad, I celebrate with them when they are happy. I take care of them when they are sick, I feed them, I work so they can have clothes, I help with their homework. It is true that you become closest to those whom you serve... and who you allow to serve you. My kids serve me with kisses and hugs and holding my hand.
They are becoming my best friends. The kind of friends I will have even if I move. Even if Instagram dies tomorrow. Even if they travel the world with other friends. Just like my mother is one of my best friends.
You're right, Mom. Of course you are. Of course.
So, maybe you will have to suggest your kids or significant other read this post for ideas to get you for the holidays this year. Or, if you're like me, you can buy your own gifts, wrap them, and act surprised when you open it up! Those are the best gifts I've ever received/given.
Who knows what you love to wear more than you do? I love everything from The StockPlace, so I would suggest my husband or kids just go and shop out of my online shopping cart or get me a gift card. I can always find something from The StockPlace--they have great prices and clothes you don't easily find on other clothing websites.
Remind the woman in your life every day how important she is with a wall quote from LatterDayHome. I still remember all the cross-stitched wall art my mom had hung in our home when I was a child. Don't just put up anything on your walls, put up something that has meaning and words you want to remember... and your kids to remember. LatterDayHome has beautiful quotes with the option to have it framed and ready to hang!
I love to give a little sweet in all my gifts, and I love receiving a little treat even more. I always say that nothing tastes as good as chocolate you didn't buy yourself. For the Sweet makes the most delicious cookies and macarons I have ever had. When we tried their lemon cookies, my son tried shoving them in his mouth so he could eat them all before we could get more bites. That is no exaggeration, either. For the Sweet is really that good. And she can send her cookies throughout the United States.
Maybe a bit sweeter than cookies is my love for jewelry. I love little necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. My mother says you can always buy a lady purses and jewelry, for they will always fit! I purchased a Made By Mary choker a few months ago and I love how dainty but sturdy it is. Plus, it's just rad. Customize a necklace for yourself or your mother from so many darling choices at Made by Mary. Hand-stamped bars and discs that will show your style and your personality! What would you have hand-stamped on your necklace? I think I'd choose "JK, yo!" Maybe.
More clothes? Yes, always! SonnetJames makes dresses that moms can play in. How genius is that? No worrying about bra straps showing or being too short when you bend down to play with your kids. And the great part about dresses is that all you have to choose when you get dressed is ONE thing and everyone thinks you're all dressed up. Hip hip hooray for dresses. And an extra HIP for the cozy and cool look for SonnetJames dresses!
When you get pregnant, amazing things happen to your hair. You get thicker, more beautiful hair because it's not falling out as quickly. And something about the hormones makes it all shiny, too! Then you have the baby and it all falls out. And then you have toddlers and they pull it out. And then you have kids in school and you start pulling out your hair. What's a girl to do? Laced Hair Extensions are amazing because you can clip them in yourself, when you feel you need a little extra. They are beautiful hair extensions, too. I am amazed at how many women use hair extensions to fill in their lackluster hair after pregnancy. When I tried Laced Hair, I understood.
What's cuter than pajamas for kids on Christmas? Mom in her own cute pajamas, ready to take photos with the kids. I tend to wear leggings to bed or old, ratty sweatpants. I need some new cool pajamas that I wouldn't be embarrassed to have my picture taken in for all posterity to see. LazyOnes have funny pajama sets for the whole family, so everyone can look presentable Christmas morning. And every evening. I love the Flapjacks from LazyOnes.
Inevitably, there will be a time in the winter where you will want to get in a hot tub or take a last-minute vacation to somewhere tropical (I want to! Can I go?). Be ready for any swimsuit occasion with the coolest thing to ever happen to swimwear: the DoliRay Romper. Put it on over your swimsuit or buy one of their very flattering and comfortable swimsuits and jump in, play, wear it in and outside of the water. I get compliments every time I wear my DoliRay Romper, probably because I'm so confident when I wear it.
Sometimes you just need to stay inside all day long and don't want to wear those ratty sweats or even the cute pajamas. Remember how our mothers used to wear house dresses? Well, what if I told you that lounge dresses are back, but now they are stylish, modern, and just as practical? LuckyLove makes a lounge dress you wouldn't mind leaving the house in. With pockets to grab all the items around the house, or to keep your smartphone close at hand... I love anything with pockets! LuckyLove is lounge wear that is classy!
So, what are you going to get yourself for the Holidays? Any specific shop or item you have your eye on?
This morning I was in a funk. It’s Monday (for one thing), we had dealt with one child breaking down all night and morning, and it is crazy gloomy outside. This type of weather I usually love, but today it just seemed to add to my slump. So I threw up an OLD clip on the @kidsaretheworst Instagram of a young kid giving a bit of side-eye to a crying baby in the car seat next to him. Because the crying and my emotional side-eye just seemed to identify and I couldn’t think of anything funny to write.
That’s what I say to myself after I do something without thinking about it much beforehand. Do you ever call out your own name in exasperation? Sure you do, right? Please?
When will I learn? I should NEVER post any kid ever in a car seat. Ever! Never ever. They could look appropriately fastened and have the chest clip at the right level and the straps all neat and straight and STILL it wouldn’t be right to somebody. That somebody will feel completely justified in calling me out and telling me to fix the straps. Even if it’s not my child, the video is crazy old, and that child is now driving and dating.
Listen, I get it. Car seat safety is a big deal. Babies have tragically died when they could have been saved. I am not saying that it’s not a really serious thing. It is. And I am grateful that I’m mostly out of that stage with my own kids, because MAN, people are ruthless when it comes to their own version of acceptable safety.
It’s a funny thing, the car seat social media patrol (I don’t capitalize the group, because as far as I am aware, there are no actual organizations that patrol social media for incorrect car seat buckling. But I wouldn’t be surprised, what with the fervor!). I rarely feel the concern and love that they so adamantly suggest is behind such chastising comments. Rather, I feel the heart-racing excitement that comes before judgement and unsolicited instruction. Let me repeat, these are not my kids. I did not buckle them in. I am merely trying to bring levity and acceptance to the sometimes stressful situation of raising kids. And every time I post a picture of a kid in a car seat, I mistakenly do the EXACT OPPOSITE.
People get so freaking fired up. They start instructing the other commenters on correct practices. But mostly they are instructing other fired-up commenters on what THEY think is the right way to buckle in a child and they cheer each other on (and sometimes even correct old practices—GASP!). If anyone DARE laugh off these sententious comments, they are accused of taking children’s lives lightly. How dare you try to laugh off a really hard day with a super old video of a kid IN A CAR SEAT!
I’m never going to convince anyone that their comments are unsuccessful. But maybe these comments are also way more divisive than anyone realizes. Maybe, just maybe, someone feels more exhausted and more judged and less likely to connect. Maybe some mother will feel even more drained on what is already shaping up to be a pretty crummy day. Maybe that mother is me, and maybe you don’t care. That’s cool. I don’t expect every day to be awesome and hilarious.
If you want to start an account that shows proper seat-buckling safety, I think you totally should. I legitimately think it could do a lot of good for a lot of people. If you want to tell people that you are “just trying to help” by speaking down to someone and treating them like idiots, well, that’s your prerogative. But, it kinda sucks. Chances are, it won’t make them change their mind.
I don’t know. Maybe by asking people to be more understanding, I have unwittingly condemned those who have reacted with passionate comments. And now I am the critical one.
Mondays will get you, amIright?!