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.
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!”
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.
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.