The Parenting Olympics: Do YOU Have What it Takes?

The Motherhood Collective is very thankful to Lauren at for allowing us to share her post today!  

Every two years, nations all over the world come together to cheer on and celebrate the accomplishments of their elite athletes. It’s a wonderful and exciting time and those athletes deserve every ounce of recognition they receive.

But what about the millions of people living quiet, unseen lives who not only deserve gold medals, but also billions of dollars in sponsorship opportunities and a good night’s rest? Who are these people? Parents.

I propose a new world-wide event, The Parenting Olympics, in which parents of all ages and stages have a chance to show their stuff in front of an adoring audience and finally get the recognition they deserve. A sampling of events follows. What would you add?

Parenting Olympics

Do YOU Have What It Takes?

Baby Wrangling Triathlon

As the name implies, this is a three-part event. First, parents must safely remove a squirming, screaming, slippery child from the tub. Contestants will be judged on how much time it takes to complete the task, the amount of water that spills on the floor, and how well they wrap the wriggling child in a towel.

This kid knows what's coming.   Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici via

This kid knows what’s coming. Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici via

Second, parents must change the poopy diaper of a newly crawling baby. Contestants will be judged on how many times the baby rolls over during the diaper change, the amount of poop that ends up in a place it shouldn’t, and how secure the diaper is upon completion of the task. Finally, parents must dress an active toddler who much prefers nudity. Contestants will be judged on how much time it takes to complete the task, the number of times the child escapes their grasp, and whether all the clothes are put on properly (i.e. nothing is backwards, buttons are in the correct holes, etc). Immediate disqualification for any injuries to children during the event.

Running Late Dash

Parents must prepare themselves and three children to leave the house in record time. Everyone starts this race unfed and in pajamas. Parents are given half an hour to complete as many tasks as possible in order:

  • Showering and dressing themselves
  • Feeding everyone
  • Cleaning up
  • Dressing the kids
  • Packing all necessities for the day
  • Making sure everyone has used the bathroom
  • Getting everyone out the door and safely buckled in the car

Contestants will be judged on how many tasks are properly and fully completed in the allotted time. Points will be deducted for bad attitudes and yelling at the children. Immediate disqualification for swearing or any reference to what life was like before kids.

Pre-Teen Obstacle Course

Parents must navigate the murky waters of pre-teen emotions by offering the proper support at the proper time. Contestants will be judged on how well they ‘read’ the child’s current emotional state, how effective the offered support is, and how long it takes for the tween to fall into his or her next mood. Immediate disqualification for making the pre-teen cry.

Uh-oh, Mom! Don't make that kid cry!  Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici via

Uh-oh, Mom! Don’t make that kid cry! Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici via


Parents are kept awake for 48 hours straight, cleaning vomit and various other bodily fluids. They are then sent to work and must function as normal human beings. Contestants will be judged on how closely they follow traffic laws while driving to work, how efficiently they complete work-related tasks, and the number of times they doze off between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm. Immediate disqualification for getting into a car accident.

Hey Dad, you're not looking so good. Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici via

Hey Dad, you’re not looking so good. Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici via

Teen Embarrassment Sprint

Parents must behave in a way that will embarrass their teenager. Contestants will be judged on how quickly their teenager shrivels up in mortification and how serious a threat the teenager levies at the parent to stop the embarrassing behavior (i.e. ‘Please stop!’ will receive fewer points than ‘If you don’t stop now, I’ll never speak to you again!’). Immediate disqualification if the teen joins in the supposedly embarrassing behavior.

Have an event to add? Know any influential people we can petition to get the Parenting Olympics up and running? Let’s get this going! The world has lived in oblivion to the stupendous accomplishments of parents for far too long. It’s time we give credit where credit is due!

How to (Accidentally) Exercise Everyday

I hate to exercise. I know some women love it. It's like an escape to them - from their kids, house, stress, life. I admire these women; they inspire... and baffle me.

Personally if I want to escape, it's in a good book or Netflix series curled under a squishy afghan with a glass of milk and a slice of chocolate cake.

That, my friends, is my definition of "escape."

But, back to my hatred of exercise.

The only thing stronger than my hatred of exercise is my guilt of NOT exercising. Because I know I'm supposed to. I want to be healthy. I want to be a good example for my kids. I want to be a "hot mom". (Wait...did I just say that?)

But I am also a really busy person. I have three kids. I have a house to take care of. I have meals to prepare. I have a mountain range of laundry to cross every week. Oh, and I also work 30+ hours a week from home as an online professor and freelance editor.

I have 6-8 exercise DVDs that I attempt to do every 9.5 months. Usually by the time I get half way through, one of my children is crying or pooping somewhere inappropriate.

So, what's a busy mom to do? I decided that instead of trying to squeeze exercise in, I should take a backwards approach. I decided to look back at my day or week and see where I have accidentally exercised.

The Accidental Exercise Plan is simple. All you need is some creativity and a good memory.  Though once you add more than two children to your life, the later is hard to come by. Hang in there, mama!

The only equipment required for the Accidental Exercise Plan is a house and children.

And the exercises are simple--you are probably doing them all every day! You just need to recognize them so you can give yourself a pat on the back at the end of each day for exercising.

Tell me more, you say? Well, let's begin! I've broken the Accidental Exercise Program down into Legs, Arms, Abs, and Cardio.


The Basement Laundry Room

Do you have a basement laundry room? Lucky you! Don't curse the cold concrete floors, the swinging lightbulb, and the spiders that freak the living daylights out of you! Thank your lucky stars that you get to "do stairs" every day!

Yes, every time you run up, run down, lug up, lug down, you are exercising, my dear. So do your laundry with PRIDE! Your thighs are thanking you.

The Two Year Old

Do you have a two year old? Then you also have a personal trainer! The two year old will help you run every day. To take advantage of your two year old's expertise, take him to a grocery store, Target, or any department store. Turn around for 1.2 seconds then turn back around. Your child will be 100 yards away and will be urging you to begin your Accidental Exercising for the day. Run, mama, run!




Dinnertime Bicep Burn

It's 6:00 at your house. That means dinner time prep. It also means Accidental Exercising! Don't distract your clinging, crying baby with toys, wooden spoons, pot lids, goldfish, and a kitten! Hold that baby on your hip while you stir that pot!

Do you feel that burn? Ahh…your biceps are thanking you.

BONUS Workout: Have twins. Then you can do this:


Yes, these are my workout clothes.


Midnight Maneuver

This Accidental Exercise technique takes some skill but most moms are already completing this move with dexterity.

First, pass out from exhaustion in your bed while your baby is curled up beside you.

Next, wake up. Realize that it is only 8:45pm and you are an adult who promised herself that she would have an grown-up conversation with her husband that night.

Next, hoist your baby over your stomach, cradling her body with your arms. Do not wake your baby!

Carefully sit up without using your arms or elbows to help you. Flail your legs if necessary--no one is watching.

Place your baby carefully in bed.

Pat yourself on the back for getting your baby to sleep AND doing a crazy-hard sit-up.

Repeat as necessary throughout the night.

The Squishy Belly Laugh

Did you know that laughing burns 1.3 calories per minute? To take advantage of the Squishy Belly Laugh Accidental Exercise, pull up your shirt so your belly is exposed. Let your baby squish all that postpartum goodness while you blow raspberries. Your baby will laugh. You will too...WHILE YOU BURN CALORIES!! WIN WIN!


They say the point of cardio is to elevate the heart rate to strengthen the heart muscles. Here are a few ways to integrate an elevated heart rate into your Accidental Exercise regimen.

The Crash

Go about your day as normal. Hum. Sing. Be happy and joyful and unassuming. CRASH!!! In the moments after The Crash (usually from your child's bedroom), your heartbeat will elevate. If you hear the "bad cry," RUN (bonus exercise!!!) to your child's room. Your heart rate will continue to elevate until the crash and the "bad cry" are resolved.

"Cardio" accomplished.

The Daredevil

Is your child a daredevil? Lucky you! You get to experience Accidental Exercise cardio more than most!  To take advantage of your daredevil, look for ways to be scared out of our pants: jungle gyms, parking lots, bunk beds, knives in your dishwasher, etc.

Caution: a side effect of The Daredevil is gray hair.

Of course, you could always accidentally exercise by doing this too...


I call it "The Lift and Kiss"

So fellow mamas, if you are like me, let go of your guilt. Let the dust collect on those Jillian Michael's DVDs. Plan some quality "escape" time in your day, because you know what?

You already (accidentally) exercised today.


Do you Accidentally Exercise??? Share your tips below!!!

(All photos taken by Sabrena Carter Deal of scarterstudios).

The Mommy Nerve


Once upon a time I looked at my gorgeous husband and I asked him to give me a baby. He knocked me up faster than a sneeze. It was glorious (on both accounts). I loved being pregnant even though I puked my guts up a bazillion times a day for the first 6 or 7 months. It was magical. People smiled at me in Target and asked me if it was a girl or a boy. They wanted to know my due date. There I was, in Target, with perfect strangers talking to me about my unborn child and through their wrinkled eyes and gray hair they would tell me how wonderful children are. They'd tell me how much I will love having a baby in my life. What I didn't realize was...

These people were GRANDparents. And big, fat stinking liars. 

As I type these words my 7 week old is learning the valuable lesson of "Hey! Your mom can't hold you all day long. I have stuff to do! LIKE SHOWER! AND EAT!" So she's watching the blurry colors and absorbing the inappropriate sounds of Family Guy. (MOTHER OF THE YEAR!) Her father will walk through the door and want to play with her, but what he fails to realize is that as soon as the clock strikes 7:15PM my sweet, adorable little girl turns into her own version of Edward Hyde. I swear her sparkly, beautiful blue eyes haze over into this deep, dark gray and she scowls at me with hatred as she recounts her earlier "cry it out session" and the fact that I slammed her against my pelvic bone for an entire hour during labor. Those people brilliant scientists that claim have proven children don't remember their entrance into the world have clearly never seen the look of resentment, hostility, and disgust their infant gives them at random points in the day. It's as if they're saying,

"Yeah ... I remember you, Dilating Cervix Lady. I remember my cruel descent down your pelvic region. And my crapping on your leg at 3:00 in the morning is just the start to the hellacious plans I have to pay you back! ... Hold on tight, Dilating Cervix Lady." 

I'm the middle child of seven children. I was guaranteed to be special. What my parents and siblings failed to understand is that one day this sarcastic, semi-inappropriate individual would reproduce. Now, I am a fantastic mother. (If I say so myself...) I love being a stay at home mom and watching my little girl grow. I love laughing with her and having conversations that she can't understand. It is perfection. But you moms know what I'm talking about when I say every kid hits a nerve at some point. This nerve is buried under about 18 layers of patience, 46 layers of love, and 4 layers of self control. Somehow, someway that 7 week old infant burrows in and finds that nerve and tap dances the crap all over it. More often then not it is moments after she has pooped all over you, is screaming bloody murder, and refusing to nap (even though she needs it). You look around for help and you find two Labrador Retrievers staring at you like you broke the baby and you're going to hell.

Because I am a middle child and sarcasm is my love language, I have started to think of ways to laugh at these situations. And by laugh I mean think of hilarious ways to pay my child back for tap dancing all over my well hidden Mommy Nerve. I've written these down in her journal that I will give to her when she graduates college. If she is my child (my hooha says she is...) she will get a good laugh out of it - and I hope you do too. Better to laugh than cry. Lord knows I'll be crying way too much when she is 13 and realizes I'm not as cool as I think I am.


"Dear Emma,

You're 7 weeks old. And you stress me out sometimes. We'll get through it, but here are some of the ways I wish I would have paid you back. (Or maybe I actually do it ...)

Love, The Best Mom in The World

1) When you poop on me. Why does this keep happening, by the way? You've never pooped on your dad. Did I do something wrong here? Is the pooping ON me really necessary? I follow all diaper changing procedures to protect myself. I've worked in daycares, nannied, babysat ... I'm really good at diaper changes! What gives, kid? Are you some Pooping Prodigy? At any rate, I'm going to let you get that cute puppy that you want so badly. Because I know one day he/she is going to drop a giant one in the house and you're bound to get poop on your hands. Enjoy that, sucker.

2) When you scream for no reason at all other than you want to be held. This, well ... this one is my favorite. It will be really hard not to do this for real. One day you're going to be 13 and hate me. You'll think I'm a loser when I make fangs with candy corn and laugh at my awesomeness. (Shut up, I am awesome! And THAT IS FUNNY!) At this tender age you will ask me to drop you off a block away from school or not "embarrass you in front of your friends." So my payback? When you reject me I would love to throw myself on the ground and wail like I have nothing to live for. I mean go crazy. Tears, snot, running mascara and hyperventilating  I want people seeing this spectacle to believe that I am actually dying. I want them to call 9-1-1. And when they ask 'what's the emergency?' I want to scream, 'she won't let me hang out with her all the time and go everywhere she goes and she hates me and has abandoned me and I'm dying. I'M DYING OF A BROKEN HEART!' Sufficient payback. Sufficient indeed.

3) When you scream when I walk out of a room and you can't see me. This is easy. Super easy. Here we are in the living room watching your stupid television shows about some teenage girls liking vampires (because I KNOW it's going to come back like platforms and bellbottoms when you are in your teenage years...) and you get up for a glass of tea. You walk into the kitchen and then all of the sudden you hear a shrill scream. You rush back into the room to find me smiling and happy again. You roll your eyes and walk away. It happens again, only this time it is worse. You run into the living room to find me flipping out like I have demons inside of me and the worst case of constipation to ever occur in the history of mankind. You ask me five times if I am okay, when I hear your voice and realize you're there I smile again and all is right with the world. Repeat. Repeat every stinking time you walk out of a room I am in.

4) Sore breastfeeding nipples. Bengay in your training bra. That's all I'm sayin'.

5) Fighting sleep. Ahh ... my second favorite. I'd like to come into your room at night and tell you stories. Loudly. Screaming them. As I drink espresso. There you are just trying to fall asleep and then there's me yelling to you about the time your dad and I installed the backsplash.

6) Interrupting mommy and daddy's "special time" because your binky fell out. All those nights you try to sit in your boyfriend's car, well I won't be interrupting it just to prevent Mr. Handsy from feeling you up. It's called payback. The worst kind of payback. There's a form of blocking that you're doing ... and I refuse to say that word here. But a blocker? That's what you are.

7) I love you. And you're going to grow up awesome because you have the realest mom in town. Eat your peas. And remember ... the best payback of all? One day you're going to be a mom."

Salad Bar Parenting: How to Get Your Baby to Poop.

As moms, we have the glorious duty of dealing with doody. Sometimes it comes on a schedule, sometimes it comes as a surprise, but sometimes it needs a little help. But how can you help your #1 priority go #2? Never fear, mamas. I made a list.

How to get your baby to poop:

  1. If you cloth diaper, put most of them into the washing machine. As soon as you start the load, a load will come.
  2. If going to the pool, put a swim diaper on your baby and squeeze their sausage legs into a one piece suit. As you set them into the hot car, you'll smell their warm surprise.
  3. Be sure to run late for church. As soon as you're ready to go, they just went.
  4. Two words: white outfit
  5. Find the only gas station for miles and find that there is no changing table: Gassy lassie.

Good luck, mama. You're not alone.

Another Mother's Balancing Act

In September, the Motherhood Collective will feature posts on balance - having it or not! It's certainly a state most of us struggle to find. September is, for some, the calm before the storm. Our kids are back in school, fall activities have begun and we have a few precious weeks before we really have to start thinking about the holidays. What better time to take a few minutes to reflect on how we spend our time, juggle our lives and what we can do to achieve our own perfect balance! ~TMC If you want to make a mom laugh, ask her how she "balances" her life.

My response to that question?  Snort.

The truth is: balance is really hard...and ever changing...and REALLY hard.


I mean, some days it's easy.

You know, the days when: - the baby's slept well and you've slept well. - everyone's had a good breakfast. - you went for a walk - or even to the gym. *GASP* - you talked to a grown up for more than 5 minutes. - your husband had a great day at work. - you can share an interesting story - because you actually know one. - your "made from scratch" dinner was delicious. - and you all went to bed on time, so that everyone could sleep well again!

And then there are THOSE days.  The days where pretty much the opposite of everything above happens.  And those days stink.  Real bad.

Those are the days that people think of when you ask about balance.  The days where you're exhausted and there is no food in the house, all the laundry is dirty, the baby won't nap, everyone in the entire world is cranky, it's raining and blah, blah, blah...

Yeah, those days are a real downer.


But as to how to find balance - hmmm.  Personally, I just take it one day at a time.  Oh, and deep breathing helps.

But seriously, these are the things that are always on my mental "to do" list.

I try to go to bed on time. And yes, "on time" is relative. I try to get up, shower and be dressed before noon.  Stop laughing...goals are important. I try to plan for and complete chores and errands before my husband notices the lack of bananas or clean socks. I try to eat well and feed my family well. I try to keep my house "together" in, someone could show up unannounced and I wouldn't be mortified.  (P.S. - If you happen to stop by, please don't ever ask to see my basement.)

Those are the easy ones.  Then there are the harder ones.

I try to be a thoughtful wife. I try to be a kind mother. I try to be generous and thankful. I try to maintain good relationships. I try to learn constantly and be creative And mostly...I try not to take myself too seriously.

Of course, I don't do all these things everyday.  Usually, if something starts to get neglected, I'm reminded (by my grouchy husband, the overflowing hamper, the tumbleweeds of dog fur, the towering stack of unread and possibly overdue library books or the to-do list that takes up more than a page) that something needs to change.

"The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you've lost it." - said somebody smart, but anonymously, on the internet.

Everyone has their own balance and you do know when you don't have it.  The important thing is to identify the imbalance and try to right it.  And usually, something's gotta give.  (At least for me, it's usually the amount of time I spend on Facebook. Strangely enough, the amount of time I spend cleaning is never the thing that needs to be reigned in.)

So, was this helpful?  Maybe not, but that's because balance is so personal.  If anything, rest assured that most of us struggle with balance in our lives.  Even if you think someone else has it all together, they probably don' least not all the time.  As with most things motherhood-related, your situation is never exactly the same as someone else's.

So my three bits of balancing advice: 1. Identify the things that are most important to you. 2. Check in on those things from time to time and adjust your time and energy accordingly. 3. Forgive yourself when things get out of whack and try to do better tomorrow.

So simple, right?  You're welcome, Internet.  Next month I'll tackle the debt crisis.


Photo courtesy of