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Though you swore to yourself last year that you’d get all
this year’s gift buying done by Halloween, it’s already well into December and
all you’ve bought so far is a chew toy for your dog and a salad shooter for
Aunt Peggy. And now not only are you faced with the daunting task of ticking
off the rest of the names on that gift list, but you have to do it in a sea of
other shoppers while waiting in mile-long lines during the crazy holiday shopping
season. But even better (worse), you have to get it all done with a toddler in
tow. Oh mama, don’t despair. It can be
done. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for Holiday Shopping with your toddler.
The early bird gets the slightly less crowded shopping
mall. The earlier you head out to shop, the less people you'll have to deal with, compete with and push through in the stores. You're also more likely to avoid the junior high-aged
kids sweeping through the mall, seven girls across, moving for no one, and pausing
only for a selfie at Claire’s.
2. DO feed the cub first.
Make sure your little one is fed before you go—unless you love waiting in line at Panda Express for 30 minutes for orange chicken and a fortune cookie while trying
to wrangle a small bucking bronco shaped like a human. Meanwhile, that half-human, half-horse creature keeps elbow jabbing the guy in front of you and kneeing the lady behind you
while they try to calmly sample the Beijing Beef.
3. DON’T go at nap time.
If you do that, you are writing your fate with a Sharpie.
And don’t go at your nap time either, meaning don’t go if you are already in a
pissy mood. Shopping with a toddler won’t
turn that frown upside down, champ.
4. DON’T take her to the mall play yard.
This will only lead to 1. You leaving the play yard five minutes later with a crying toddler because some annoying 9-year-old, who was
way too big to be in there, crane kicked her in the head when he jumped from the
turtle to the kangaroo. 2. You spending
at least 30 minutes chasing, shouting and lunging for your
toddler who does not want to leave and then throws a killer tantrum when
you finally catch her. 3. You getting cuffed by mall security and hauled off on a Segway because you tried to fight the parent of the 9-year-old who rolled
her eyes at you when you confronted her about her Karate kid. Trust me, though
it seems like a good idea at the time, you’ll regret it. Besides, your little angel will have no fun
eating fruit cake with mouth and foot disease.
5. DON’T be too proud to bribe.
You’ve got to get 14 people crossed off your gift list before your toddler calls it a day for you. She’s like a ticking time bomb,
really. And there's no way of knowing how long the fuse is. So what I’m saying is, bribe
away. Guarantee yourself a good 15 minutes of uninterrupted shopping time at
Target by getting her a bag of popcorn as soon as you enter the doors. Eek out 10 more minutes at Macy’s by giving
her a bag of fruit snacks. Or hell, just
buy her a toy at the Disney Store if she lets mommy go to two more
stores. Sure, you’ll be out $50 for a
Queen Elsa flashlight that she’ll use to burn out her retinas by
shining it in her eyes, but you made it to three more stores and knocked four more
things off your list. And also, New
Year’s and a resolution to not bribe your children with toys and candy is just
around the corner.
Pack your bag with stickers, a coloring book, and OK, let’s just get real—bring your friggin’ iPad.
6. DO wear running shoes.
So you can literally run from store to store to make the
most of that sweet, short and slightly eerie time when your toddler is just
sitting there content in her stroller.
7. DON’T go into See's Candies
It’s not worth it. Unless they are giving out samples of the
caramel-covered marshmallows. Then, it’s
totally worth it. But be ready
to go home right after that. This is because you slipped up and also let your
toddler have one of those caramel-covered marshmallows, and you must dip up out
of the shopping scene before the sugar kicks in. But mostly because you ended up buying $75 worth of Nuts and Chews, and that right there told you it’s time to
quit shopping now.
8. DO have a game plan.
Map out your stops. Carry your gift list with you. Have in
mind what you intend to buy. Get shit
done! Don’t waste time. This is not a picnic!
9. DON’T go into Sephora
Unless you want to leave with your 2-year-old looking
like she just did a color run or be asked to leave because she’s licked every eye
shadow sample within reach. Really, DO NOT enter this store with a toddler!
Pack your bag with stickers, a coloring book and OK let’s
just get real—bring your friggin’ iPad. And make sure it’s good and charged.
11. DON’T fool yourself.
You will not even come close to finishing off your gift
list. Just aim at getting one gift
bought. And you may even have to leave
before you buy even one gift. Toddlerhood
is full of nervous breakdowns—I mean surprises.