Weekend 4.23

16
6946

As Raines loomed over me on Monday, coming in for a morning hug, I was rifling through the “lunchbox” drawer in our kitchen. It’s the one with the assorted water bottles, thermoses, plastic containers, lunch boxes and bento accessories (this set, specifically). Those tiny little round containers are still the best things for packing salad dressing, and who doesn’t like eyes on their burritos? Also, the little animal picks help keep sandwiches together!

But as I’m pulling out — literally this exact lunchbox — I realize that even if I packed it full, it’s barely enough to feed my 14-year-old a snack, much less an entire lunch.

Right on cue, Raines moans, “Moooommmm…breakfast?”

Which, OK. I know he’ll just pick at his breakfast – he’s like his Dad that way. And then he’ll be ravenous at lunch. And I also know, even on a hugely successful lunch day (I don’t bat 1,000 when packing lunches), he’ll be an absolute monster after school, so hungry, in fact, that I’ve had to relax my standards and allow the junkiest of junk foods: chips, M&M’S, and — god — even pop tarts.  

The shame

But frankly, there’s not enough hours in the day for me to make the sheer volume of healthy chocolate chip quinoa nut bars this kid requires. And I know that somewhere, out there in the universe, Toddler Mom Shana is devastated by this news.  

I’M DOING THE BEST I CAN, Toddler Mom Shana! Also, FYI…your whole family hates quinoa.

While I’m reasonably sure that my kids have been growing at some constant, linear rate…it seems like I only notice their sudden growth all of a sudden, in bursts. Their growth is a set of points, firmly fixed in time.  

Like the moment they outgrew their swaddle.

The first time I couldn’t carry them all the way home. 

When their little socks suddenly peeked out of too-short pants, and that one time Raines grew out of his hiking boots, while on a hike, and we had to cut the toes open.

Or, more recently, the house quiet after dinner because both boys are upstairs doing homework.

Now, it’s Raines looming over me in the morning, asking about breakfast in a deep voice, while I stare at a lunchbox I’ve just realized is the same one I’ve been packing him since preschool.

I have an entire drawer dedicated to toddler lunches. How am I just noticing this now?

There was something about that moment: the holding up of the precious, tiny lunchbox, with its cutesy little animal picks, next to my giant man-child, that I found deeply unsettling. 

I only have four years left with this guy. Four. He is my sun and my stars, the kid who taught me how to be a mom. How are we down to just four years?

Later, my youngest, Pax, finds me in his room, sitting on his bed. “Mom?” He asks, tentatively. “You look…sad.”

I hold up a board book that I found in the playroom. Yup — only last year(!!) I relocated the board books from his room into the playroom.  Yet even now, his room is still filled with picture books. Granted, they’re really good picture books (timeless, even), but even little Pax has long moved on to chapter books.

“It’s OK, Mom!” Pax says brightly, instantly understanding what’s going on with his crazy mother. “You can keep your books in my room if it makes you feel better!”

Oh GOD.  

He’s right, though. Those board books…they are mine. Just like the blocks and the toddler dress-up costumes, and the little Safari figurines, all of which are still easily available to all in our…playroom. 

Our virtually unused playroom. It’s more of a mausoleum of Toddler Mom Shana.

I was a really, really good mom of tiny, little, boys. Of colicky unsleeping babies, challenging toddlers and curious preschoolers. I was even a pretty good mom of young boys.

But this mom-of-teenagers thing?  

I don’t know guys. I’m…really struggling. 


First things first: I had picked up some sort of trench/raincoat by Italian brand OOF Wear at Archery Close in Stowe. Taice, the owner, urged me to try it on simply because it looks like a shapeless bag on the hanger…but is actually unbelievably amazing on. Per usual, she was right, and I’ve been wearing the darn thing everywhere (you can actually see it on me, here). I randomly found the trench on Yoox, for almost 60% off and gang: it is WORTH IT. Of course, since that article dropped, this trench is selling out, but if your size is in stock, it’s worth snapping up. Fit is a little big (I’m wearing a size 2, or 38). Actually, Yoox has a pretty great selection of OOF Wear (suuuper hard to find) and this one looks similar to the green jacket we featured on our TikTok channel, @themomeditofficial.

Very French-girl chic. I’m still loving my Freda Salvador cut-out sneakers (a small women-owned business, handmade in Spain), but if you’re interested in a similar style at a lower price point, Lucky Brand has a similar pair that happens to be on sale. (Available at Nordstrom, too.)

Hey, Sailor. I’m thinking that sailor shorts like these miiiight be my jam this summer. I’m clearly not the only one, because they keep selling out. I’ve also found those exact FRAME sailor shorts at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

Same thing, under $100. If you’re looking to just dip a toe, Anthropologie has a seriously cute pair of sailor shorts, as does Lee. Both pairs are under $100.

Such a find. Our TME Insiders frequently find the coolest stuff. And the latest item they’re raving about? This under-$35 swimsuit from Amazon. They’ve been uploading pics, and it’s gorgeous. Sexy and fun, yet still enough coverage to function as a ‘mom suit’. I also love how the back isn’t exactly cheeky…but it’s definitely not dowdy, either.

Warning, hikers: color ahead. Ever since working with Julieta to have my colors done…I’m branching out. And this windbreaker from Cotopaxi is my latest purchase. From a technical perspective, it’s bananas-lightweight (like, I think it would fit into a tiny clutch with room to spare) and is seriously cute on. I ordered a couple of different colors (I’m still learning how to recognize mine), and ended up keeping ‘Sailor’s Sun’ even though I still think “Bull’s Eye” is the more sophisticated colorway. Anyway, the fit is great (TTS), and this whole thing makes me soooo happy (looks super-cute with my fav hiking boots, too).

How is this still a thing? We’ve been drowning in junk mail lately, and it’s making me enraged. I’ve been following the steps outlined here to get rid of it. Fingers crossed.

Vegan bowl recipes, please? Mike is trying to help out more with dinners. After some stops and starts, we’re figuring out that the best way for him to help is to be completely in charge of Monday “bowl night”. This requires that he finds a good grain bowl recipe (preferably vegan), cook the grains the night before, then make enough for dinner Monday night and a few lunches throughout the week. Last week he made this vegan Chimichurri Couscous bowl recipe and, frankly, I was blown away. It is…really, REALLY good (and the kids loved it, too). He found the recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Bowls Cookbook, but…I think he needs to find a better cookbook. While there is a section of grain bowls, the other sections, while titled “bowl” something, are probably better known as…pasta. Or soup. If you guys have a go-to source for good grain bowls, we’re all ears.

Convertible heels? Anyone else gotten sucked into ads about those shoes that can be high heels and then — pop the heels off — they’re flats? Scotti just did a full review on YouTube and I am totally intrigued. (It’s also funny watching her try to “effortlessly” pop the heels on/off.)

Hate shorts? Our next special newsletter (coming out Tuesday) is a roundup of lightweight summer pants the TME editors swear by, especially when we don’t feel like wearing shorts. If interested, subscribe to our newsletter, here.

Yay, Philly!! Remember No More Secrets, the Philly-based mom and daughter duo tackling period poverty? The same folks who launched the first ever menstrual hub + uterine wellness center (located here in Philly)? Well, they’ve just launched SPOT on the GO, the world’s first menstrual health unit. The idea is that they can now travel to schools, colleges and community events to provide pop-up period care resources and education (also, it’s adorable). We couldn’t be more proud of Lynette and Nya. And if you can, please join us in DONATING to support their work.

Thanks, Erin. Mother’s Day is coming up, and for some it can be a really difficult day. One of our longtime followers, Erin, works with empowerHER, an organization that supports girls and young women who’ve experienced the loss of their mothers. They offer free year-round events, mentorship and remind girls they’re not alone in their grief. You can support the org and remember someone who’s lost their mom by participating in their Luminaria events (held in NYC, DC, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Boca Raton + San Francisco).

Have a relaxing weekend, everyone.

xo,

S

16 COMMENTS

  1. Shana…you may not believe me at “this” moment…but the best is waiting for you to evolve with it. It reads like you’ve raised amazing emotionally responsible respectful loving humans. (insert commas where you like). If you will accept *unsolicited advice* from a mother of adults (27 and 24) the next step is to deepen your relationship with them, loosen the reigns, let them shine and bask in the glow from the light you have sparked. Consider it Packing up the past and making room for the future. Feel the love 🙂

  2. Over the years, I’ve developed a whole routine around reading my favorite TME posts on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Dare I say, it’s my favorite time of the day…it involves coffee and alone time. Anyway, getting to my point. I love Saturday mornings because who doesn’t dig the idea of finding a gem on sale?! But Sundays are my favorite because, SHANA!!! your writing is magic. Your voice is so unique and I wish I lived in Philly so I could make you be my BFF. My only complaint is that your articles are too short and feel like perhaps you should try a short story for all of your TME fans 😉 No, seriously. Thank you for TME and for sharing your very relatable thoughts with us every week. XOXO

  3. One of the main reasons I began following your blog was the way you write about your boys. My boys are still tweens with the teen age years right around the corner. Everything you share is so so very relatable. I find myself looking at them in awe some days and how they have changed. Yes, I also have those board books. They are totally mine! Toddler mom Lan would cringe at the handful of Doritos my kids grab at birthday parties these days. They are changing, but so are we.

  4. I am not a Saver of Toys For My Grandchildren (my kids are older, in parenting FB groups for older kids, you would be surprised (or not) how many women save EVERYTHING). But I’ve saved all of my daughter’s American Girl dolls and clothing. I took back a treasured anthology of childhood stories from my SIL (she didn’t want it, don’t worry). I’m saving all the Pokemon cards and figurines. I regret a few things I’ve given away. But then I’ll get to re buy them and see my kids say “I remember that!” when the grandchildren do come.

  5. Shana, I have followed you for years- since ANMJ. My boys were 4 and 2…they are now 16 and 18. And while I have learned a lot and honed my style over these years thanks to your posts, I have found even more wisdom and inspiration from your writing about life, family and parenting. I read this post with tears in my eyes. I am in the thick of senior year- watching my son move through this year. I am filled with awe of the young man he is, excitement for his future, and it’s such a bittersweet feeling. I am right there with you; no words of wisdom, simply solidarity. And I am embracing Tamara’s wisdom- feeling the love…every day. PS The food? Same. My husband reminds me that we “fed them well” as toddlers through tweens to give them a solid foundation before the “feeding frenzy of junk food” as teens and college students.

  6. Have the same one! Once I realized the key was to really use the sauce, I loved it. Usually I try to do less dressings but since the veggies and grains are cooked plain, your sauce is key to the flavor. Plus then I can have two sauces ready for different family members. It’s super easy.

    I’d love to hear more recs though!

  7. Another mom of adults over here (26 and 24). I fully endorse this. it sounds like you’re raising your kids to be great adults which should be everyone’s goal because the bulk of you relationship with your children will be as grown-ups. I loved reading ‘Moo, Baa, La La La’ 17,000 times but this glass of wine while talking politics part of life fills me with joy.

  8. Oh my goodness I definitely identify with this post! My daughter is almost 14 and I have been doing lots of cleaning out old toddler things and wondering where the time went! I also have a 10 year old boy and just moved picture books out of his room. My almost 14-year-old is now a good 3 inches taller than me and is it an amazing basketball player… as well as a smart, responsible beautiful girl. It is crazy to think that we are going to be looking at colleges soon and the one who made me a mom will be off on your own. Sigh. There are super challenging moments parenting teenagers and I’m not sure what I’m doing either… so solidarity, mama!

    I look forward to these newsletters every Sunday.

    Thank you ☺️
    Jen

  9. I feel you, Shana. I think none of us thinks we’re doing a great job in the moment. But you’ve laid the groundwork so that you can now step back and let your teen discover the world on his own. He’ll still need you as backup, though. <3

  10. Thank you for this. I have a 7 (and a half) year old who is insisting we say Mom and Dad now, no more Mommy and Daddy. I really enjoy the little guy he’s growing into but secretly mourning that long haired toddler who thought I was everything. I worked so hard and spent hours and hours playing with him and he barely remembers anything. So, yea, the memories are just for me. It goes way too fast but I’m looking forward to seeing the person he grows into. I always enjoy your writing! So relatable!

  11. Try the PaperKarma app to get rid of junk mail! It’s magic. You scan the return address and the app sends a request to remove you from the mailing list. I think it costs $5 these days, but well worth it for the hassle saved!

  12. Lan, my oldest son thought he was allergic to Doritos until he was 5 because I told him we “don’t eat Doritos.” Why else would I be keeping it from him?!

  13. I am right behind you – my oldest is 12 – and ugh, all of a sudden it feels like it’s going so fast. I love this stage where I can see him coming into himself and he has his own distinct likes and loves and passions, but I wish I could slow it down!

    As for grain bowls, Pinch of Yum has some really good ones!

  14. I have a 17 yr old girl who towers over me (I wear her hand-me-down shoes from when she was 12 or so). It is not unusual for me to find favorite childhood books back in her room. She also pulled out a poetry project from first or second grade for some reason. I don’t want to embarrass her by asking too much about it, but she finds comfort–and possibly wisdom–in them sometimes. So keep some of the favorites around. <3

    How does one even fit a teenage-boy-sized lunch in a backpack and still have room for anything else?

  15. I’m right there with you Shana – my kids are 13, 12, and 9. I was just looking at pics of my kids as babies and I can’t believe how long ago that was – it’s bittersweet. It’s both easier and more difficult now (bigger kids, bigger problems as they say). Anyways, I love following both your fashion and life stories (we are also a skiing family!). Thanks for sharing the personal perspective 🙂

Leave a Reply