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I used to love July 4. The
food. The fun. The fireworks. Oh, yes, I used to adore fireworks. Then I had a child and suddenly hated them—with every fiber of my being.
Well, not the
large, sponsored fireworks displays put on by most cities across the U.S. I like those, and they only happen once, at a planned and known time. Nowhere near where I live. What I hate is the way every Tom, Dick and Harry in my area shoots off professional-grade fireworks nonstop. It turns me into a near homicidal maniac.
It is actually illegal in my
municipality for people to shoot of fireworks. But there's a lovely loophole in
the law many take advantage off. (Others flat out ignore it.) And there is little
or nothing the police can do.
In talking to other moms, I
have discovered I am far from alone. Motherhood and July 4th do not mix well.
1. You become an insane person
You just got your baby or little one to bed and
collapse on the couch. Suddenly, there is a loud boom. You bolt up, hold your
breath and listen. Did your child awaken? Is she crying? Calling for you? If
the answer is yes, you will spend the next several hours in a rage. Prepared to
go outside and do things that could get you arrested or hurt. Because when
someone awakens your child, after all the hard work you put in to get her down,
you will want to seek revenge. As soon as you manage to get her back to sleep.
For the umpteenth time.
2. You will not get any sleep
Whether or not you have a child awaken due to the
will be up most of the night—in a highly alert, anxious state
until the early morning hours. You will be convinced your child IS going to wake up. Every
single time there is a boom, you will cringe. Curse. Try to determine exactly
where it came from. Think of the things you'd like to do to those responsible. Pace back and forth. Take another drink of your beer or
wine. You will not be able to settle down, let alone rest.
3. It is not just one day
Sure, July 4 is only one day on the calendar. But
people will be shooting off fireworks for days and weeks on either side of this
date. Why? I guess they just love to extend the "fun" as much as possible.
Their fun will be your torture. And it will go on and on and on. My Facebook
feed fills up with status updates that read, "Fireworks already?" and
"REALLY?" weeks before the holiday officially arrives. By July 15 people
are posting things like, "Mother f----r!" and ready to do very bad things to their neighbors.
4. It's already a challenging time of the year
means lack of routine. Less structure. Longer days. Major changes for your
family. These can be welcome and wonderful. They can also be challenging. Chances
are bedtime or sleep could already be issues in your home. Before the first fireworks
start going off. By the time July 4 arrives, you are over it. And now you have
more problems. All because people love to blow stuff up. And have an excuse to do so.
Much of this will apply if you have a combat veteran or someone with sensory issues living at home. And often, pets. Fireworks can cause a great deal of stress for the fur kids. I don't think moms are the only ones who would rather not have their neighborhood sound and feel like a war zone.
So, while our nation's
independence is awesome and certainly something to be celebrated, don't be
surprised if you find you feel differently about this annual holiday once you
have become a mother. In fact, it may just become a date on the calendar you dread.