See Shortcut Girl on Momma Be Thy Name!

Check out my post today on Momma Be Thy Name!

Last year, I was lucky enough to be a part of Momma’s 12 Days of Christmas. This is a group of lovely women blogging about the holidays and spreading Christmas cheer. PLEASE read mine posted today and keep reading all week! Even better than reading is COMMENTING. Just by leaving a comment on the 12 days posts (up to 13 comments will get you up to 13 entries…or maybe it’s up to 14 now. Anyway, one comment/post), you’ll have a chance to win an Elf Pack FULL of goodies including a Kindle Fire and a copy of Monster’s University!

Hallmark 2013 Snowflake Keepsake Ornament http://www.hallmark.com/products/general/keepsake-ornaments/2013-snowflake-1495QXG1375_DK/?searchTerm=keepsake+ornament+2013

Godiva Gold Ballotin http://www.godiva.com/8pc-holiday-ballotin-stocking-stuffer/78218.html?cgid=All-Holiday-Gifts#start=11&sz=24&srule=priceLowToHigh&cgid=All-Holiday-Gifts

Monsters University on Blu Ray or DVD (Winners’ choice)

Kindle Fire HD 7″

$25 Target Gift Card

Two Elf Packs are awarded–one for a reader, one for an author!!!

The posts have been hilarious and touching in the past, so look for more this week! Comment on them, enjoy the 12+ Days Of Christmas, and keep your fingers and toes crossed that you win!

Please leave a comment for a chance to win an Elf Pack full of fantastic prizes!! A winner will be drawn at random at the conclusion of Momma’s 12 Days. Valid email address required to be eligible.

She is also doing a great donation for a cause of the author’s choice (I chose Special Olympics) which will get you an extra entry into the raffle. You can go through Paypal to send $1 to mommabethyname@gmail.com and indicate Bridgette Gallagher and Special Olympics to give!!

I have enjoyed reading and posting with Stephanie at Momma Be Thy Name and am really excited to have this opportunity!

#spreadingmomlove

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Momming is a popular blogging topic these days. Whether it’s this fabulous site or another you enjoy (there’s SO MANY to
choose from!), there’s a lot of good stuff out there discussing the frustrations, the hilarity, the ridiculousness and the moral conundrums of parenting.

And there’s no blog-category I would rather be a part of than the Mommy bloggers. We are a spirited and reflective bunch. And we lift, inspire, support and give each other words to both the brightest and the darkest spots of parenting. The metaphorical full night of uninterrupted sleep as well as the not-so-metaphorical spit up on your shoulder.

We laugh, hiccup cry and smile, so appreciatively, when we read words that only makes us think, “I’m not the only one! Other people think this way!”

I had such a feeling when I read this post. I told my husband a while ago, “The best compliment you can ever give me is to tell me I’m a good Mom.”

And it is.

But, pardon my vanity, why don’t we hear it enough? The internal Mommy voice (headvoice, remember her?) talks to us about whether we are good or not all the time. We question, we wonder, we analyze, we tell friends stories and hope they will laugh instead of judge. But we never say it. To ourselves. To each other. And I think it’s because some of us don’t really believe it.

I am (in?)famous for asking my husband for affirmations. I frequently want to hear I am doing a good job at being a wife and mother. If you buy into the love languages, I am affirmations. Tell me, tell me, tell me what you think about me! I mean, you know that’s why I have a blog, right?

But hearing you are a good Mom is uncharted territory. Because the majority of the “good” you do isn’t on the city street. It isn’t in line at the grocery store or on the at playground. It’s cuddled into a bed with a pile of books at bedtime, at 4 am with a fevered child, it’s in the car when they ask you to sing to them, it’s in the lessons of manners and behavior and kindness and love that you teach them inside the walls of your home that you show yourself– I am a good Mom.

And even though people might see it in your hand-sewn Halloween costume or the way you blow kisses to your child through the window as you wave goodbye to him at day care, you need to know that your good mommy-ness is walking around in that child every day.

We think our good mommy-ness is automatically nixed if the child has a public tantrum or runs away from us into the street. We think because our little ones acted more like wild animals than children at the bookstore that people must be saying, “Wow, that lady has her hands full.” We never think of the positive ways our Good Mommy-ness is emulated. Because, that would mean complimenting ourselves. And we learned a long time ago not to brag, right? Bragging mommies are annoying, overbearing and full of themselves. So we sit in Mommy silence. Just parenting and praying that along the way we did a few things right.

But I am here to tell you, Moms. Your good Mommy-ness is everywhere! It’s in the way they share, the way they love books, the way they don’t tease others they know need a friend. The way they listen and the way they play. They are oozing good Mommy (and Daddy, yes, him too!) every day.

It’s when you are #ninjamommy, #jugglingcircusmommy, #zombiemommy or just #regularoldmommy. It’s when you are worn down, when you perk up, when you collapse on the couch and when you pour the first cup of #mommyenergy for the day.

It’s in everything you do. So tell yourself, tell your friends, tell your own mother especially. “You did/are doing a great job. You should be so proud.”

Dear Mom, I get why you sat on me

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Dear Mom,

I get why you had to sit on me when I was four. I get that you were frazzled, felt like you were at your wit’s end and sought a counselor’s advice for how to deal with me. I get that I was challenging, I get that I was bold. I get that I might have given you gray hairs, bags under your eyes and may have inspired some violent thoughts that involved me and well, I won’t finish that thought.

But I get it. Okay? I call Uncle! You were right, you were right, you were right. You were right to sit on me, yell at me, lose your temper with me, temporarily hate me, ground me, time out me, put me in my room for all eternity and yes—- even sit on me.

Because if I was 55% like the little boy that lives with me that’s almost four, then I deserved it.

This morning I arrived to work not with my normal pluck and zest for the school day to begin. No, not really at all like that. Like I had been dropkicked a little, maybe dragged behind a truck for a few blocks, and like I had been subject, unwillingly, to torture by a tenacious toddler. By a toddler who had been overtaken by a mix of hormones, adrenaline and lunacy. By a toddler that very well may have been like me the day (days, was it days?) that you sat on me.

You sat on me because I argued every point until you were practically speechless. You sat on me because you couldn’t come up with another reason why I can’t go to school with my pajamas. You sat on me because you could think of no other way to end the conversation. You say on me because you had. Nothing. Left. To give.

And I get it. I get it like I get why you worried about me when I went to kindergarten, my first sleepover and abroad to London for a semester. I get it like I get why you said, “you will never love anything like you love that baby.” I get it like I get why you cried when you dropped me off at college.

I get it because I am raising a little red headed boy-version of the Bridgette you raised.

And it takes everything I have somedays. Somedays I look at him and can’t believe I made him myself (well, not really) and somedays, I just sit. On him.

Thanks for sitting on me, loving on me and doting on me for thirty three years and counting.

Because without your strength in doing that, I would have no strength to do the yelling, the disciplining, the hugging and the loving that I am doing with him as of late. So, thank you.

Love,
Your “Little” Girl

Shortcuts You Will Thank Me For Later…No, Really

Do you remember when this blog used to have shortcuts, awesome tricks and recipes and stuff? Yeah, me too. Although I think I have a lot of witty banter to give to you, I also have some top notch shortcuts too. So, here’s the latest.

 

Volunteer Spot: Sick of 800 reply all emails about who is bringing napkins to the class party? This website has a place where you sign up and can see what everyone else is bringing. Great for roomparents, coaches, preschool classes, etc.

Tempo: Have a work calendar through Microsoft and a personal calendar through Google? Have one calendar that pulls from all accounts and combines them on your SMARTphone. So easy and also pulls from emails that discuss the event.

Red Stamp: Want your invitations-texts-pictures-photos to look cute, professional and incorporate text? Use Red Stamp right on your phone! It’s a great way to look like you might have a degree in graphic design when you really don’t, you’re just on your phone too damn much.

Picasa Web Album I use this as an app and as a desktop program. It’s great because you can get all your pictures from your phone so easily and know that they are stored properly. It also makes little gifs for you of the images if you have taken a lot of pictures that are similar. I sometimes just log in to watch my little gif children frolic on the webpage.

Carrot, The To Do List With a Personality: I am a list maker from way back and although I always have my to do lists going written by hand, sometimes I only have my phone with me. In the car, I will often make voice lists or dictate blog posts, emails or other things I want to write. This To do list makes fun of you as you add and delete things from it, which is just what you always wanted in a to d0 list, right?

Keratin Shampoo and Dry Shampoo: I just can’t reiterate this enough. Dry shampoo will save your life. Keratin dry shampoo will smell good AND save your life and well, Keratin regular (wet) shampoo will solve all hair problems you have ever had in your life. Okay, not really, but your hair will look awesome. And people will want to be you. And steal your hair. I promise.

Essie Nail Polish: I am a my-nails-are-always-painted person. So, Essie is what helps me do that and still have nails that look good, shiny, dry fast and don’t chip. I <3 Essie. My favorite colors change with the seasons. Right now, I like big spender.

Trader Joe’s Recipes: Even though you might not have to time to run to Trader Joe’s to purchase their ingredients, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make one of their recipes! Such great ideas and use healthy food and creative ingredients.

Pintester: Are you overwhelmed by Pinterest? Jealous of your friends’ pinboards? Feeling Pinferior? Then just read this chick’s blog Pintester and laugh your butt off at all of her Pinterest tests. She can show you what works, what doesn’t and what was a near miss:)

 

 

 

 

 

#JugglingCircusMom: My Awkward Moment at Target

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Like Murphy’s Law, my reign as #ninjamommy has come to a very abrupt end. While I do feel like I have been a #zombiemommy at times. I also would like to introduce you to #jugglingcircusmommy. She probably needs very little introduction. Juggling Circus Mommy mysteriously keeps all balls in the air. She seems like an optical illusion. She is amazing. She is strong. She is ever-so-efficient. But, unfortunately, jugglingcircusmommy has no idea whether she is coming or going. She is a little confused, frazzled and quite obviously overwhelmed. She takes on more things to juggle with aplomb but often seems like she it teetering, just on the edge, of losing all of it. She’s a circus act. In every sense of the expression.

And with that allusion, I bring you my story that will be called going forward: My Awkward Moment at Target.

I wasn’t even wearing red. I was wearing pink. I was feeling blissful and rebellious. I had fulfilled all my lunch and dinner making responsibilities for the day– even got in a workout– and was delighting in the wonder of a trip to Target alone. Meaning by myself. Meaning my kids were at home. Oh they weren’t alone, my husband was there. But I was alone. Did I mention I didn’t have my kids with me?

And like all funny and terrible stories start– that’s when a lady I can only refer to as Blind- like really blind-lady, “where are the sweatshirts?”

I blinked at her and paused ever so slightly. She could not be implying that me, standing there looking at workout pants– me, who just juggled myself through a horrendous day—me, who was wearing PINK could possibly look like a Target Team member.

She COULD NOT be implying that the woman who had wiped butts, made lunches, tutored kids, graded papers, led discussions, sent professional and eloquently worded emails, shuffled children and attempted to potty train a two year old all-in-one-day could possibly look like she had a second job in retail?

Really, lady? Really?

I saw the look in her eyes. You obviously have a sloppy cart and an almost red shirt and an all business look about you— so you must work at Target. She followed up with the classic, “Wait you don’t work here?” The sting of imminent tears tugged gently, followed by the instinctual desire to make a joke of what just happened. But I was not ready to laugh about it. Not at all. It took the whole rest of the shopping trip and my ride home to assuage my complete (and—I realize— irrational) anger. Knowing I shouldn’t marinade in these feelings, I texted a friend. While I know she had a good laugh, she also was able to agree with me in thinking that this woman must have been completely crazy and possibly a little bit color blind. Because, well, that’s what good friends do.

Please don’t misunderstand. Being mistaken as a Target salesperson is not the ultimate insult. I have worked my fair share of retail (Welcome to the Gap!) and food service (“Iced grande non-fat caramel macchiato for BILL!”) jobs. But, on this particular day, at this particular time, I just wanted to be a Working Mom by herself at Target.

There’s a backstory here. As there always is. Minutes before my unfortunate Target encounter, I had confided in another Mommy friend through text how conflicted I was feeling about my return to working out. I have relished in my time at the gym or a spin class after work while I knew my kids were playing hard on the playground. Taking the extra time for myself is both unnatural and at the same time glorious. Wouldn’t a good Mom rush to get her kids? (Answer: Never ask any question where you are trying to categorize what a good Mom and a bad Mom do) Have I undone all the quality time spent this summer by just a few weeks at work? (Another ridiculous question, shut up) Are people in my spin class wondering where my kids are while I just exercise as if I am a single woman with no obligations? (Now this is just pathetically vain– because how would they even know you have kids?)

Guilt as a Mom is at the same time the most frequent feeling and the most useless. But peel back the pluck of any poised and put together Mom and you see it. Big. Fat. Guilt. Glaring at you, with yogurt around its mouth, and unfolded laundry strewn about its feet. Big, looming Grade A, top of the line–guilt. The kind only a jugglingcircusmom can understand.

I dedicate this blog post to all of you who juggle. To the stay/work at home Moms, the working Moms, the stepmoms, the foster moms, the like a moms and the in place of Moms, I salute you. May you never have a woman at Target who makes you unintentionally feel crappy. May you be able to juggle without dropping a ball, and if you do drop a ball, I hope you have a slew of friends on speed-text to cheer you up. And when you get sick of the juggling, sick of the tug of war between laughing and crying, I hope you remind yourself that if you weren’t worried about being a good Mom, you wouldn’t be there here juggling to begin with.

Juggle on, Circus Mom. I see you. You’re awesome at juggling, awesome at multitasking, awesome at laughing at yourself and more than awesome at being a Mom. So don’t let anyone (even a lady at Target) tell you different.

I Still Can’t Believe That You’re Mine: Happy Birthday Celia

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I Still Can’t Believe You’re Mine

Today, Celia “sweetie baby” Gallagher is two.

And I am still in awe that only two years ago, she was given to me.

Carrying a child and not knowing the gender is the best thing in the world. I never wanted it any other way so I enjoyed the surprise to its fullest. Twice.

But few events changed my life more than the day my husband said, “It’s a boy! I mean, it’s a girl!” (Her umbilical cord was between her legs).

I have said this all before. And it’s still true. But, the wonder that I have when I look at my daughter still sometimes throws me for a loop.

She will be someone’s best friend someday, someone’s shoulder to cry on, someone’s voice of reason, someone’s reminder to laugh at their self. Someone’s wife. Someone’s mother.

She will be a voice I look forward to hearing in the telephone, a young woman I will look forward to chatting with over lunch and shopping.

She will be me and not me in all the ways (I hope) I would want her to be. She will be stronger than I ever could be, brighter in spirit and intelligence than I ever thought of being and rock solid in her determination and will.

She will be beautiful and it will only be complemented by her beautiful blue eyes. Her beauty will come out in the crinkle of her smile, the love in her voice, her sharp wit, her warm nature, her contagious laugh.

And when I see this all in her– I can already predict that even then, I still won’t believe she is mine. I will still be full of awe, wonder and pure humility in seeing my daughter grow before me.

Happy Birthday, baby girl. Thank you for making me a better Mommy.

#ninjamommy

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Who is #ninjamommmy, you ask? Oh, you know her. She’s Shortcut Girl in Mommy form. She has color coordinated outfits, manicured nails, lip gloss that isn’t in her teeth and of course, witty repartee with her friends, husband and colleagues. She doesn’t seem to have bad hair days or bad moods. She is really just nailing life. Like. Nailing. It.

She is the Mom pictured in Parents magazine. She is the wife from that cheeky sitcom. She is the employee that gets mentioned by her boss at the big meeting.

She drives with the windows down, hums pop songs to herself and sips coffee casually. Drive thru coffee, that is. Cause yes, she even has time for drive thru coffee.

There are some weeks none of us can be #ninjamommy. You are a frayed and tattered character they sometimes call #zombiemommy. But every zombiemommy has her days or maybe even weeks of being ninjamommy. And when you do, you just want to brag about it. I usually just get my Mom on the phone, but since well, you are here already reading, I’ll brag to you too.

I have had such a ninjamommy week, I’m shocked at myself. After heading back to work, moving from camp back home and just encountering the craziness that is the back to school rush, I have settled into what I would like to say is my new normal: Ninja normal.

I am witty. I can make up songs on the spot. I can play the cup song from the movie Pitch Perfect and not miss a beat.

I can make a mean bread dip, do some serious damage at Forever 21 and learn all the words to the Bubble Guppies song, “Outside.”

I can sniff out a tantrum 15 minutes away. I know how to name a food so my son will eat it. Want some bullseye cake? (pineapple upside down). How about some orange pudding (sweet potatoes)?

I can mentally plan a two year old’s birthday party while getting my butt kicked at a spin class. I can pack two lunches for 5 days straight that have only about 3% unhealthy food.

I can make my kids clean up their toys, make their own bagel pizzas and drain the bathtub. I can get them to empty the washer while I load the dryer simultaneously.

I can make Dora cupcakes (okay, so they kind of look like Oprah) for preschool after bedtime and bring in donuts for my colleagues the next morning. I can navigate the jam packed aisles of any big box store with the agility of a tiger while also buying and selling three different items on Craig’s list.

Because I am the Queen of Awesome. I am #ninjamommy.

Sleep? Sure, I sleep. But that’s only because sometimes being awesome is so freaking exhausting.

Here’s to all the ninjamommies I know. You’re amazing. You’re awesome. You nailed it. And I noticed.