17 Jun
Who Wants to Win a Stefanie Wilder-Taylor Book?

Surely you’ve all heard of the lovely and hilarious Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay, Naptime is the New Happy Hour and It’s Not Me, It’s You, yes? Well, not only is Stefanie one of my favorite humor writers, but I’m also lucky enough to consider her a friend. (And not just because we’re the only two people in the world who love Lazlo Toth.)

Today I’m excited to announce that Stefanie has a new book out and one of you lucky bastards can win a signed copy! Just by leaving a comment on a TMH post between now and Wednesday, June 23rd! That’s easier than microwaving dinner, ladies!

I’m Kind of a Big Deal: And Other Delusions of Adequacy includes tales of Stefanie driving a limo for Justine Bateman, dancing in the dark for a rarely seen Bob Dylan music video and stalking a bachelor reject from TV’s Love Connection. How can you resist?

And if that weren’t exciting enough, here’s Stefanie herself to answer a Mouthy Housewives question. Thanks, SWT! (And don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the contest. DO IT.) –Wendi

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

School is over and I’m terrified. My kids are 6 and 8 and I’m going to lose my mind, aren’t I? We can’t afford camp, and they have few friends in the area (we moved here a few months ago). I’m screwed. Any advice so I don’t lose my mind?

Signed,

Trapped

____________________

Dear Trapped,

Hang on, I need to take a Xanax before I even think about something so horrifying. Damn, I don’t take Xanax anymore. But maybe I have a few leftovers stashed somewhere in my house in case of an emergency.

Look, the good news is that your kids are old enough to be entertained in ways that don’t have to include you 24/7. The problem is you need access to some of those ways. You say you have few friends in the area. Well, when it comes to knowing people in your neighborhood, it’s quality not quantity. And the quality I speak of is a pool.

Find yourself one family who lives close by and can offer ready access to their pool. Trust me, after a few days of lounging poolside while your kids frolic with borrowed pool noodles, you will thank your lucky stars that you didn’t plunk down a couple grand for two kids to go to camp just to bring home some useless crap they made out of popsicle sticks.   Kids don’t actually need camp to stay busy. But you need a break, so preferably the “pool family” will have kids around the same age as your kids and you can just drop your kids off and head to the mall, or gym or disco or whatever you people with free time do. The other family will never ask you to reciprocate because you don’t have a pool. It’s beautiful.

The truth is, you don’t have it so bad. You just need a little perspective. Imagine if you had to deal with toddler twins girls all day, every day for eight weeks. Seriously. Take a moment. Close your eyes and try to picture twin three-year-olds yelling “More juice!” at you, peeing their pants (despite being potty trained for over a year) every couple of hours, fighting constantly and destroying your house more thoroughly than if you adopted five stray lion cubs.  Don’t you feel a lot better already?

You’re welcome.

Now give me your address and I’ll put that Xanax in the mail to you…just in case.

Sincerely,

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, Guest TMH, StefanieWilderTaylor.com

 

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38 Responses to “Who Wants to Win a Stefanie Wilder-Taylor Book?”

06.17.11#1

Comment by windicindi.

What a fun book to read while lounging
in my hammock, sipping Chardonnay!
Many thanks, Cindi

06.17.11#2

Comment by elissameck.

Not sure when I have time to read a book…but I’d love one to add to my pile!

Elissa

06.17.11#3

Comment by calliope.

As far as the actual question goes…am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of crappy attitude to have about your kids? I mean, granted I don’t have any kids yet, but I remember doing plenty of fun things in the summer without going to camp.
Six and eight are ages where your kids can read and I know lots of libraries have summer reading programs. There’s riding bikes or slip and slides or the community pool as mentioned above.
YMCAs often have day camps that are more budget friendly and go by weeks, so if you can only afford to sign up for one week it’s no problem.
There’s arts and crafts, cooking projects, I’d hesitate to say movies and video games, but that’s an option too.

I just don’t get why a parent would feel “trapped” with two kids who are old enough to be semi-autonomous.

cate8 Reply:

Ooops, first mistake…’I don’t have any kids yet.’ (from previous comment)
oh, boy love those people….whatever
I like the pool neighbor idea.
and even library is nice and usually a/c. just don’t plan on looking for a book for yourself kids that age are a PIA,
gosh glad I don’t have 3 yr old twins. I have 8 kids but 3 are grown and those home are 17-5. I may think of asking for more hours at work for the summer months….oh,
got side tracked…ya!! send me a free book
love
Cate

skrink Reply:

Um, I do have kids and I totally agree. What’s the big deal? Plan some fun stuff to do *with* your kids and quit bitchin’. It won’t be long before THEY won’t want anything to do with YOU.

Marinka Reply:

I’m going to have to ask for your children’s birth certificates. Long form, preferably.

calliope Reply:

No, I don’t have any kids yet (I’m due for my first next week) but I work in daycare with children from 2-4, so believe me, I have plenty of experience with children and spent several summers entertaining 10 or more kids at a time. Kids that couldn’t read their own books or do their own art projects or even pee in a toilet yet.

So really, I don’t see how a summer with your own children should make you feel trapped.

I'm a big ol' b with a captial B! Reply:

“Granted, I don’t have any kids yet.” Hahahahaaaaa…… *wipes the tears* Yes, then you know EXACTLY what we as parents go through, right? You’re absolutely entitled to your opinion, just realize, it’s an outside and uneducated one.

What did I DO with all my free time before I had kids? I worked all hours at a stressful job and I still had more time on my hands than I do now.

Anyway, back to the topic:
Planning makes everything better. Seriously, scour the internet for fun things to do this summer and start planning at least one activity a day for each day. I’m sure your community has fun activities that you can schedule in. Check Facebook, too. I find out about a lot of my community fun things through local government pages. These activities won’t fall into your lap, but they are still pretty easy to find on the internet!

It’s when the days run into each other than things get bad. I’m not saying you can’t have downtime, but if Monday is Library hour, Wednesday is the mall and Friday is the pool it will make the days in between go faster, too. Do you have family in the area? Can they spend a morning at Grandma’s once a week or can grandma come over some? Also, keep the schedule posted so the kids know what to look forward to! Have them help you find some stuff to do, too. It will help make the summer better for them (and you!) too.

calliope Reply:

You can feel free to take a peak up to my response there.
Believe it or not, a person can have a lot of experience with children without giving birth first.
Just like plenty of women who have given birth can be completely crappy mothers.
Why do mothers always assume someone who hasn’t had kids yet is completely uneducated/inexperienced with them?

I'm a big ol' b with a captial B! Reply:

I taught kids for six years before having kids and also moonlighted as a behavior specialist/tutor for kids with disabilities after hours in a really difficult area. I had kids who ran the gambit from being the most compliant angels to the kids who used to try to spit on me (I actually enjoyed working with the latter the most). After working for six years and having a masters in two different areas of teaching I thought, “Dude, I got this kid thing! I can do this! We can have kids and it will be fine!”

Then I had kids and realized I knew nothing of having MY OWN kids. Totally. Different. Thing.

Given, it’s all fine like and yes, my background has helped in some ways, but being a parent (from my womb, adopted, foster parent, raising someone else’s kids, whatever, etc.) is not the same as having experience with kids and not understanding what it means to be with them 24/7/365. Sure, you can be GREAT with kids and they may love you a ton. But you can NOT sympathize with a person who’s with them ALL THE TIME.

I'm a big ol' b with a captial B! Reply:

Oh, and it should be noted that I *am* with my kids 24/7/365 as I am blessed and privileged to be able to stay home with my kids. I am not saying that sarcastically. I am very glad I’m home with my kids. I’ve put my career on hold to do so without qualms and fortunately, we can afford to do so (not without some sacrifice, but it’s all good).

That said, there are days my kids drive me NUTS. I am not ashamed to admit it nor do I feel guilty for saying so. There are some days we have a GREAT morning and then an atrocious afternoon. It happens.

You know about this cause you are in daycare. I know this because I taught school. Some days are better than others. The difference? I sent those kids HOME.

StephanieG Reply:

Anyone who doesn’t have kids isn’t allowed to judge another parent’s crappy attitude until you’ve been there. You cannot honestly understand what it takes to feed, house, clothe and entertain another human being 24/7/365 unless you’ve actually done it. I’m just saying. So judge gently, Young One. Your time will come.

Find out if any of the daycares in your city offer a partial week option. Maybe putting them in a program with field trips would provide them new opportunities to make friends and give them a change to their

If that’s not an option, steal some ideas from your local daycare and just do what they are doing that day. Our daycare offers at least two planned excursions a week – bowling, skating, movies, splash time at the local pool. There are always kids that show up at the same time and place as the daycare kids, and everyone just plays together.

I TOTALLY agree with the schedule. Put a calendar on the fridge and pencil something in a couple times a week, even if it’s something simple and cheap like going for snowcones or to the public library to get some new books. Then use that as motivation (or threats) to keep things moving along.

September will be here before you know it, and hopefully you and your kids can make some fun memories together without driving each other nuts….good luck!

StephanieG Reply:

should be change to their routine.

Note to self: proofread BEFORE posting.

Saskadoodle Reply:

Great ideas and so true about judging others gently. As a bonus, the kids would have more friends by the time they’re back to school.

calliope Reply:

You cannot honestly understand what it takes to feed, house, clothe and entertain another human being 24/7/365 unless you’ve actually done it.

If you’re a stay at home mother who’s never used a babysitter before in your life, you’ve got me on this one. But if you ever used daycare or your kids go to school, you haven’t had to do this either…at least since your child was an infant.

Karin Reply:

You can plan until the cows come home (believe me) but the real issue is separating the kids. I love my kids but summer of togetherness (not me and my kids ’cause that’s fun – just the kids with the kids) makes me anxious (thanks for this – I just did 30 minute of relaxing yoga probably for the last time until September and now my neck is tensing up again!)

This summer, I have camps planned for about every other week. Irish Dance camp for my oldest next week, then VBS Mid-July (hey OP – check into Vacation Bible School! usually fairly inexpensive if not free!!), then cheer camp for my other daughter at the end of July, then vacation with my husband and parents mid-August (where adults outnumber the kids, muhahahah!). Oh, and swimming lessons for 2 youngest (my oldest is a decent swimmer already so while the other 2 are in lessons learning not to drown, I’m working on stroke development with her).

06.17.11#4

Comment by erin@mommyonthespot.

Great advice! I would also suggest taking them to the park so you can meet even some new people, maybe even some that have pools or have friends that have pools.

I love Stefani! I have read her books, follow her blog, and even recorded The Today Show when I thought she was going to be on. . . Even that crazy 4th hour with Kathy and Hoda. Thank goodness for fast forward. Anyway, I would really love to win her new book.

06.17.11#5

Comment by hokgardner.

Not only do I love Lazlo Toth, I’ve written about him TWICE recently.

Can I be your friend?

06.17.11#6

Comment by Bean.

Oh, I heart Stefani!

My kids are 4 and 6 this summer, and it’s the best summer ever so far! We do one big outing a week (zoo, bouncy place, etc) as a reward if the week goes well, set up play dates, hit the playground at least twice a week. I have crafts stocked up for rainy days, and we got one of those butterfly houses. The rest of the time, they’re running around the yard with nets catching bugs & frogs while I sit on a blanket with a book & my camera.

If you have a zoo, or a Discovery Center, JOIN. It usually pays for itself in 2 visits.

One other hint: Do groceries on the weekend, and leave the kids with Dad. The biggest stress of my summer is trying to grocery shop with two kids.

Good luck!

Karin Reply:

my biggest stressor (since I order my groceries from Harris Teeter and have have hubby pick them up) – my house doesn’t get cleaned b/c the kids are constantly in and out of it. I spend all the energy that I would spend on cleaning, simply picking up or reminding my children not to leave their toys out.

Bean Reply:

This is me, jealous. I live in the sticks & don’t have grocery delivery. And though my goal for anything beyond basic keeping-up-with-the-mess cleaning is one small thing a day (yesterday I cleaned the mirrors in the bathrooms), mostly I’ve just given up.

Karin Reply:

they don’t deliver – they just shop for you. Before HT came, I paid a teenager to watch my kids while I shopped. HT costs $5 to use that service. I save $5 to $10 each time now. And honestly, I can take 1 child to the grocery store with me (occasionally 2 if done early in the morning) without losing my cool before leaving the produce section (first section from the entrance)!

06.17.11#7

Comment by Plano Mom.

Right ON, Bean. Way too difficult to get any errands handled that don’t involve a drive-thru.

With that, if you are like me and you work from home, at that age you must have someone else to tend to them. Other than that, the experience you get is directly (and some would say exponentially) related to the amount of effort you put into it. Baking homemade cookies is a lot of fun as long as you don’t sweat the mess. And cleaning up the mess can be part of the fun too.

However, with that said, Xanax does truly help with keeping up that happy attitude. I highly recommend that your first friend is a reliable doctor.

06.17.11#8

Comment by Karin.

Damn it! I have the pool that doesn’t charge for guests! Thanks a ton Stephanie!

06.17.11#9

Comment by Julie.

I could really use a real live book ~ one to put on the shelf when I’m finished reading it. It’s really hard stocking the shelves with nothing but my kindle archive list …

06.17.11#10

Comment by Allison.

I would love to read that book!

06.17.11#11

Comment by BrittanyandTahn.

I love it! Great advice!

And, Stefanie, you’re hilarious!

06.17.11#12

Comment by Orbsmom.

Wow. Some folks are taking things WAY to seriously. Get over it, this is supposed to be funny. I can’t wait to read this book. I LOVE Stefanie Wilder Taylor. She rocks.

06.17.11#13

Comment by BrassyDel.

Nice! I’d love to win, as her other books are already on my “to read” list.

Also, I totally get the trapped feeling with being the SOLE ENTERTAINMENT for semi-not-actually-autonomous children. Does our friend without children not remember the end of summer break? Of whining to her own mother CONSTANTLY about being bored already? It’s okay to not look forward to summer break and still love your kids.

Oh, and might I recommend Google Maps? Turn on the satellite (image) view so you can snoop those backyards for evidence of a pool!

06.18.11#14

Comment by Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him.

Great advice. It’s daunting to stay at home all summer without reprieve. I’m in the same boat with kids who are 3, 2, and 6 months. And I can feel like I need those cardiac paddles by 2pm. But, Stefanie is right. It’s a small problem to have in comparison to big ones.

Also, I sent some emails around till I came up with a few moms willing to do a rotating playdate (drop offs). One day a week my life will absolutely suck watching 7 kids, but two other days I unload mine.

Pay that horror forward, I say.

And I loved It’s Not You, It’s Me. I’m sure her latest is wonderful.

06.19.11#15

Comment by Sophie.

OK. There is an 8 year old involved here. Unfortunately it is just around this age that kids stop being enchanted by the playground, start to be bored by childrens toys, become all-round not so easy to amuse. Suddenly, keeping the kids from an All-Day-Every-Day-TV-and Video-Games-Fest becomes a challenge.

I feel for Trapped, especially if like me she can’t afford multiple field trips in the month (a museum visit in the wrong town can cost over $100 once you factor in parking and food).

Our basic plan for summer is this: playgrounds in the early morning, taking along books, scooters and snacks to stretch out the novelty as long as possible. Community Pool in the afternoon. Trapped, if you have a community pool, or maybe a YMCA type one, use it!! I used to avoid busy times, now I make sure to go when it is most crowded. Voila – instant playmates for my kids and I can sit in the shade and relax.

In between the playground and the pool, I allow some TV and video games. We also run quick errands (bang, there goes another hour). I do grocery shop with my elementary school age kids – as often as possible – and bribe them with donuts for good behavior. For emergencies, I set up a sprinkler or water slide in the yard or bring out the bubbles, sidewalk chalk and water balloons and that at least keeps the younger kids from whining for a while. Occasionally we also plan visits to the pet store (ours has small animals and shelter cats) or the dollar store.
Of course, playdates are the best entertainment, but if you are new to town, not always easy to arrange.
Good luck!
(And BTW, I too would like to win that book 🙂 )

06.20.11#16

Comment by Not Having Kids Yet Doesn’t Make Me Stupid | A Patchwork of Daydreams.

[…] Do I have to give my credentials to be considered a valid member of this particular community? Go read the comments here on this post by a woman who says she feels trapped because she has to spend the summer with her 6 and 8 year old […]

06.20.11#17

Comment by hotmamamia.

what a crock…IF you don’t want to deal with staying home and taking care of your children, DON’T HAVE THEM IN THE FRST PLACE. It really is that easy! I lived very nicely taking take of my two children when they were home during the summer…I did NOT plan every single minute of their time (part of the problem helicopter mommies and daddies out there)…I did NOT ship them off to day camps or sleep away camps…I did NOT plan field trips for them…I did NOT have annual beach vacations with them…I TALKED TO THEM..OMG!!!! I COMMUNICATED and read and played games with them…OMG!!! They learned how to do a load of laundry and clean a toilet…OMG!!! They watched some TV…OMG and they lived! Whining on their part (or any other form of tantrum was not an acceptable mode of communication…it IS THAT SIMPLE)…They did NOT have their own cell phones until they were in high school sports, so they had to actually TALK TO PEOPLE…OMG!!! They even ACTUALLY FAILED at some of the stuff they tried to do…OMG!!!! And guess what…they grew up JUST FINE and I grew older just fine….neither of them made me walk behind them in the mall…neither of them thought I was a bitch or a dork…in fact, their friends all thought me and my husband were rather rockin-cool parents.

Get a life folks and enjoy that life with your children…enjoy every single second because it could be gone in a flash…don’t whine, bitch, moan, or send them away for the entire summer to camps…ENJOY, LOVE, and RESPECT THEM!

Marinka, TMH Reply:

It’s possible to love and adore one’s children and still ask for help when the endless days of summer vacation stretch before you.

I’m glad that you found a way that worked for you and your family. But everyone’s different and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

I'm a big ol' b with a captial B! Reply:

Pssst…

http://www.themompledgeblog.com/

06.22.11#18

Comment by Kim.

Sounds like a fun book to read.

06.23.11#19

Comment by dapoppins.

Had an older (wiser?) woman tell me once that “parenting was the hardest, most thankless job in the world.” I looked at her and thought, “Huh. That’s why there is birth control, right?”

I will admit. I looked forward to the day my youngest would be in school all day. I thought, wow, I’d get a job, I’d have a clean home again, I could do things, and then months later, realizing that school wasn’t cutting it, and all four kids would do better in homeschool. With me. At home. Every day. Yeah. I guess I did feel a little trapped on that day.

But I wouldn’t change a thing. And I tell you, I totally looked forward to long summer days…

07.11.11#20

Comment by Brynn.

Vacation Bible School is a great reprieve during the summer. They’re usually free. The most I’ve paid is about $10 a child. Kids love it and Mom gets a break for a week. They usually run about 3 hours a day. Check out your local churches. Have a great summer. And don’t let the Judgmental Judiths of the world get you down. Honesty is refreshing when it comes to topics on Motherhood.

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