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It was the
Saturday before Thanksgiving. I was sitting on the couch at my parent’s house,
remote control in hand, mindlessly watching "Saturday Night Live" as I indulged
in the type of snacks I would never keep around my own home.
That was when
the parody video for "Back Home Baller" came on.
There I was,
literally surrounded by bowls of snacks. Lounging on the couch like I had
nothing better to do. Controlling the remote and listening for the load of
laundry I had started that, really and truly, contained only the outfit my
daughter had been wearing that day.
I realized I
was the epitome of this song: a back home baller, taking full advantage of the
luxuries of being home for the holidays.
Only, I like
to think of it more as being reduced to a teenager during those visits.
I left home at
18 and never really looked back. At first, it was just a short distance, the
difference between Arizona and California. But today, I live 3,000 miles away
in Alaska. Trips home tend to center around the holidays, usually only lasting
for a few weeks at a time. And as a result, you could say my family spoils me a
bit when I am there—particularly now that I bring the first grandchild along
I am a woman
in her 30s with a mortgage and a job. I work for myself and always pay my
bills on time. I manage responsibility like a champ and like to think I do this
whole grown-up thing pretty well. But send me back to Arizona, sleeping in my parent’s
guest room, and I am once more reduced to the maturity (and responsibility)
level of a teenager.
If you live
away from home yourself, you likely know what I’m talking about. And when you
make those treks back to your hometown, these are the ways you are probably
reduced to a teenager too.
1. Sleeping In
I have always
been a night owl, the girl who could easily stay up until 4 every morning and
sleep until noon if you let her. In high school, I missed my first period class
more often than I made it—somehow only passing because the teacher decided
not to take my attendance into consideration. But since becoming a single
mother, my sleep-in days have been pretty much nonexistent. After all, I’m the
only one around to get up with the baby.
I’m starting to think there isn’t much I could ask for during our holiday visits home that wouldn’t be provided.
It’s not that
my kid isn’t a great sleeper, because she is. And most days, she can be counted
on to let me stay in bed until at least 9. But there is just something
different about being able to sleep until I wake up all on my own, no matter
how late that may be. And while home for the holidays, I get to do just that—because it turns out, grandpa kind of likes stealing the baby monitor and
getting up with our favorite girl all by himself. Which means mommy gets to
sleep in until 11 without guilt.
2. Your Personal Menu
before my sabbatical home, my dad requests a list of items I would like from
the grocery store. I try not to diva it up too much, but it’s kind of exciting
to have someone else doing the shopping for you, when you are so used to doing
it yourself. Plus, when I’m there, I can pretty much request whatever I want in
terms of restaurants and takeout—my family takes pity on me for living in a
state where not as much is available in terms of popular chains and Mexican
I would be
about 300 pounds if I ate the way I do there all the time. But for a few weeks,
it’s kind of fun to be a glutton.
3. Slovenly Ways
I swear, I am
not a slob. In fact, I work hard to keep my house neat and tidy. You will never
find dishes in the sink at my place, and laundry is always neatly folded and
put away. But in Arizona? Well, it’s not
entirely my fault, but my dad is pretty good about preventing me from lifting a
finger. Every time I try to clean up the dinner dishes, he tells me to sit down
and play with my daughter instead. Spills that my little girl makes are whisked
away before I even have a chance to respond. My stepmom and sister are masters
in the kitchen, so I find myself just trying to stay out of their way, instead enjoying every morsel they put in front of me to taste. And no one questions me
when I go days without a shower, which happens at my real home too, but it
feels more like a personal hygiene issue when others are around to witness it.
4. Driving Daddy’s Car
make you feel more like a teenager than having to ask to borrow your father’s
car. But when you’re home for the holidays without a vehicle yourself, it is
sometimes the only option.
When one of your parents winds up chauffeuring you around town, which is bound
5. Ask, And Ye Shall Receive
Day trips to
both zoos? Done. An entourage to take my girl to visit Santa? Taken care of. A
request for real mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving as opposed to boxed? Ask, and
ye shall receive. And that new camera I didn’t even know I had been coveting?
Happy early Christmas to me!
to think there isn’t much I could ask for during our holiday visits home that
wouldn’t be provided. One might think I should consider just moving back,
seeing how much they clearly love having me there. But I maintain that if this
was a full-time situation, the magic would disappear and I would no longer be a
Back Home Baller.