When I got my latest free copy of American Baby I was excited to see that there was an article that might actually apply to me, a mom with a small handful of children. I should have known, however, that it would be much of the same crap normally spewed in this incredibly mainstream magazine. I should have just tossed it right into the recycle pile, but I didn’t, I opened it up to the table of contents so I could easily find my way to this article.
On the top, right hand side of the page is a picture of not one, but two children (there’s a large family for ya) sitting at a table with spilled cereal everywhere. I know this is going to go downhill, why not show at least 3 or 4 children sitting at the table, and why the mess? My breakfast table isn’t a mess, my kids don’t pour cereal everywhere. In fact, Dustin is quite neat, as is Dorothy, and one of them will help Liam to fill his bowl as I fill all of them with milk. So far, this article is already unhelpful to me, and has already given readers with small families the impression that large families automatically mean chaos and mess. Off to page 50 I go to read the tips.
“Buy good quality, gender neutral clothing that can be mixed and matched”
Um, no. I like my girls to look girly and my boys to look like little boys. We also like jeans, and you can tell the difference between boy jeans and girl jeans. I agree, buy good quality so that it can be handed down, but there is no reason to dress all your children in mixed and matched sweat suits and t-shirts to save a buck. Buy second hand, use hand-me-downs, look for good sales, buy in advance, but for cripes sake, let your children wear more than green, blue, red, black and white.
“Eat what is on sale”
Meh. I suppose, but wouldn’t it be smart to go to Aldi and buy good quality foods that taste great at low prices all the time? If I can normally buy perfectly good cereal for $1.89 a box, why would I wait for a sale and also be tempted to add high priced items to my cart? Food co-ops could have also been mentioned.
“Reduce morning chaos by having 5 hanging bins filled with each child’s clothing for the week.” One slot for each day I suppose?
Sure, everyone should do this. We all have an extra closet sitting around our homes, and who doesn’t enjoy extra work? How about this, put all your clothes away on the weekends and during the week, socks in sock drawers, pants in pant drawers or hung with the matching shirts, etc. Each morning your children, once they are about 2, can get a pair of pants, a shirt, socks and undies and dress themselves with your help for the smaller children. It is amazing how kids can figure out the whole dressing business without micromanagement from the top. Another option that is reasonable is to lay out clothing the night before, letting your children help decide what they want to wear, this is great for little girls who like to lolly-gag, you can even put out her hairbows and matching shoes. Really, I’m saying forethought is a good thing, but micromanagement is not.
“Take time for yourself.”
Great idea, but the picture with this advice is a lady sitting in a white room with white curtains, during the day, painting her nails. I’ll take this moment to point out that white rooms with kids is A BAD IDEA, it just is…kind of like my blue carpet, it will show everything. Also, how the pictured mom finds time alone to paint her nails in the middle of the day just defies logic. All moms of more than two children know that if you try to paint your nails during the day, as you paint the last nail someone will start screaming, “MOM,” and something other than your nails will soon have polish on it, whether it is the dog, the cat or the baby you pick up because they chose that exact moment to try to eat the cat food because they learned to scale the gate. And, if you have nail polish in the house at all, it will be used for an art project – like painting the living room wall – when you least expect it. Yes, take time for you, go get a hair cut, go to the nail salon, but do it when your husband is home, your mom is babysitting, or the kids are all at a friends house. The operative word in the preceeding sentence is, “go.” Don’t try to do this things at home behind a locked door or even at nap-time, because inevitably, someone will need you and it won’t be “YOU TIME” at all. Oh, and be realistic, most moms with small children don’t get much ME TIME….if you get 10 minutes, just be happy instead of wishing for more.
Okay, so this article was a bust. I could spend the rest of my day analyzing and critiquing it, but like I said, I could spend all day doing it, and as a mom with a large family, that is quite impossible.