Hey there mamas (& grandmas & aunts too)! I wanted to let you all know about a totally cool website a good friend of mine recently turned me onto. It’s and it’s awesome!

Once you subscribe to this free site, based on your zip code, each morning you’ll receive a Mamasource Daily Digest featuring questions from other mamas living in your area. You can post a question of your own, or you can respond to questions posted by other mamas.

It’s a great community of fellow mamas you can turn to for helpful advice, or even just the comfort of knowing that whatever it is you’re facing, you’re not alone. There are other mamas out there who have “been there, done that.”

Questions come from mothers-to-be all the way up to mothers of tweens/teens, and run the gamut from standard-type questions about potty training or trying to get your child to stop swearing, to more unusual questions like how to clean stinky sippy cups or deal with post-pregnancy deflation of, um…upper body parts.

I recently read a posting by a mama looking for someone who has the chicken pox, so she can have a “chicken-pox party” and expose her own children the old-fashioned way. Seriously! She even mentioned a website I’d never heard of called Who knew?!

It’s helpful to have mamas or aunts of older children, and grandmas join the community, because they offer the gift of their experience to encourage moms of younger children.

Questions don’t necessarily need to be mama-related. Recently my hubby and I were looking for a house painter, and within 24 hours we had 10 referrals by local-area mamas who had used and highly recommended a particular painter.

There is a Member Perks section offering exclusive discounts and coupons for mamasource members. And all the businesses listed are by fellow members of the mamasource community. Plus, if you’re a mama that owns a business like I am, as a member, you can advertise for free on their site.

I strongly encourage you to check it out!

Taming the Sugar Monster

I just lost my temper with my son.

Exercising my new grocery shopping habits (Let's Talk Turkey Blog), I purchased ten snack-size Three Musketeers candy bars for one dollar! I selected those candy bars especially because they are one of my daughter’s favorites. She’d had a particularly rough week, and I wanted to do something special for her.

After dinner I noticed her searching the cupboards for dessert and suggested she might like a Three Musketeers bar.

“There aren’t any Three Musketeers bars in here, mom.”
“Yeah, there are!” my son piped up. “I saw them.”
“Well, they’re not here now,” she replied.
I intervened. “What are you talking about, I just bought them this afternoon.”

Assuming she simply wasn’t looking hard enough, I began digging through the treat bowl we keep in the cupboard.

I dug deeper.

I dumped the entire contents of the bowl onto the kitchen counter.

No candy bars!

I looked at my son in astonishment. “You ate TEN candy bars!”

“No, I didn’t eat ten! No way did I eat ten!” He said, eyes wide.

But sure enough, he did. That boy came home from school and ate TEN Three Musketeers bars for his healthy after-school snack.

I exploded. What was he doing to his growing body! How could he choose garbage as his source of nutrition when he was feeling hungry after school! I ranted about how it wasn’t helping his muscles grow, how it wasn’t doing anything positive for his body at all. By the time I was done, he was in tears, and I was frustrated.

As he stormed off to be alone, I thought about the whole sugar issue. See, I think I got so angry because I know exactly where he got that Sugar Monster that lives inside of him. He got it from me. It’s hereditary. It’s in our genes.

The entire reason we even have a “treat bowl” is because of me and the way I grew up.

As a child, my parents were um…how shall I put this— health freaks, really. They made their own yogurt, we ate granola, and multi-grain bread that weighed as much as we did; and the only occasions we had candy in the house were Halloween and Easter.

When I went away to college, woo hoo! I lived on candy and junk food for about a year before I finally figured out I actually didn’t feel so good filling my body up with so much junk on a daily basis.

After I got married and we had children, I suggested to my husband, (who actually prefers a plate of vegetables to dessert—can you even believe that!) that perhaps we should have candy and cookies available for our children to eat in moderation. Then maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal to them, and maybe they wouldn’t become as obsessed as I had been.

This worked well with our daughter. She can take it or leave it. But our son…well, yep. It was fine when they were little and I totally controlled the amount they ate. But as they’ve gotten older, and I’ve gotten busier, the treat bowl seems to disappear faster and faster.

You know, God didn’t have to make sugar. He didn’t have to make flavors at all. He could have made a bunch of mush for us to eat and we’d never have known the difference. But instead, he made such a wonderful variety of foods in different textures and flavors: sour to sweet, spicy to bland, buttery, juicy, fruity. All these amazing sensations for us to enjoy. He did it because he loves us, and wants us to be able to enjoy food as well as take nourishment from it.

But for my son (as it was for me), the key is self-control and learning to tame the Sugar Monster. He’s a good kid. I’m sure he’ll eventually succeed. But in the meantime, maybe I’ll stop filling the treat bowl quite so often. Start leaving sliced fruit, cheese and whole-grain crackers out for him to nibble on. (Oh my gosh, I sound like my MOTHER! :) Live and learn, right.

Anybody have some healthy EASY after-school snack suggestions?

Mother's Day Protest

As we all know it was Mother’s Day Sunday. I know I shouldn’t whine, but mine was really…well, not fun.

Here in Michigan, the day dawned cold, gray and full of the promise of rain. And the reason I know it dawned that way was because I was up at dawn to get my son to his incredibly early morning soccer game played half an hour away, and which he was required to be 45 minutes early for. So there we soccer moms sat, huddled under overcast skies and shivering under blankets as our boys were pummeled 4-1. Oh what fun!

This is my son’s third year participating in this soccer tournament and it is always held on Mother’s Day weekend. Whose bright idea was that one I wonder.

His game was followed up later in the day by my daughter’s soccer game, which we attended in the still cold, gray, but now pouring-down-rain day. I’m not talking a light sprinkling here, folks. I’m talking a full-out drenching rain. And naturally, the game didn’t start on time, adding to our immense enjoyment of the situation. For this game, I bundled up even more—tucking handwarmers into my gloves and pulling on my battery-powered socks. (Hey, they work!)

Final score: Soccer 4-4, Mom: only slightly numb.

At my daughter’s game, I spoke with one mom who had attended her son’s early morning baseball game, and another mom who still had a hockey game to get to.

In between games, I did manage to squeeze in attending a local one-hour church musical, where I noted an army of mothers working hard behind the scenes serving the choir food and cleaning up afterwards. Ah, a mother’s work is never done.

After this day of fun, we arrived home by 8:00 p.m., too late to go out to eat—school tomorrow and all. So we popped popcorn and downed some sliced summer sausage and cheese. Voila! Dinner is served.

The last two years, I let it slide. But this year, I’ve finally rebelled. I didn’t open my cards; and I refused to acknowledge this miserable way to spend a day as Mother’s Day. I informed my family that I was officially moving Mother’s Day to a new date.

When the kids were little, the May date worked fine. But once kids get older and are involved in school and sports, forget about it. Mother’s Day should definitely be moved to a random date after the spring sports season is over, school is out, and the weather is more consistently warm. (A day a lot like…oh, I dunno, Father’s Day maybe? J )

Fortunately my sister (also a mom) and I already made plans with our own mom to celebrate Mother’s Day with her next weekend. (Hopefully, it will be sunny!)

And my own family awaits a still-to-be-announced day when we will celebrate a real Mother’s Day. When I’ll get to fully enjoy the day as it was meant to be enjoyed: with my treasured breakfast in bed, listening to the sweet sounds of peaceful play and joyful laughter amongst my children (cough!), maybe squeezing in time for a nap, and of course, a little chocolate to finish off the day.

So, how was your Mother’s Day?

Censor This!

Okay, this blog entry may sound a bit like sour grapes, but I got a rejection today. Nothing new there, of course. But it was the form of the rejection. As a writer, I’ve learned there are different kinds of rejections. There are “good rejections,” where the editor sends a note of encouragement along with the rejection. There are “not-as-good form-letter rejections,” and the dreaded “no-response-at-all rejection.” But up until today, I’ve never received a “bad rejection.”

I submitted an opinion essay to a magazine that supposedly provides an open source for essays related to the well-being of mothers—and provides a forum in support of social change. The publication has an opinion section. The primary point of my piece was to challenge mothers of today to take a stand, and stop allowing the male bashing that is currently going on in our society. I pointed to the media, sports arena, and even clothing slogans to back up my point.

The editor of the rejecting publication, instead of giving me the ever-popular “no-response-at-all rejection,” or even the “not-as-good form-letter rejection,” took it upon herself to provide me with her own negative opinion essay of my opinion essay. Gee, thanks. She didn’t agree with my opinion, so therefore, she “regrettably” wasn’t going to publish it.

The editor focused on only one of my given examples, then proceeded to explain to me why she was right and I was wrong. Thanks for sharing.

It’s one thing to reject my work because it doesn’t align with the magazine’s requirements; but it’s another thing entirely to not publish work because you personally don’t happen to agree with the writer’s views. Did I mention we were dealing with the opinion section? I guess the editor of that publication is only going to publish opinion pieces that match his or her own opinion.

Fortunately for me, the editor of the Detroit Free Press’ opinion section, whether in agreement or not, did publish my essay, and you can view it online at: Detroit Free Press.

It’s encouraging to note, that since its publication, I’ve received one negative response, and over 50 positive e-mail responses from people all over the country, and even one person as far away as Australia.

Obviously there are some people out there who agreed with my point of view. And I’m thankful I was provided a forum for expressing it. (Thanks Detroit Free Press!)

As for the rejecting publication, hmmm… can you say “censorship”?