Back to Normal

There’s something different about the back-to-school pictures this year. Anxious mothers write words like, “Finally,” and, “Not quite the start we expected;” but that’s not it. Children smile with some trepidation, but they always have. Is it those cloth pieces masking half of everyone’s smile?

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No, what’s different is what the masks represent: fear.

We are all of us, afraid. Behind the smiles and sighs of relief and happy waves is a great nervousness of what we do not know. Will my sweet, little, smiling kindergartener get sick? Will her teacher? Will I? Even those who claim conspiracy or good sense feel it. It’s written on their faces and in the doubts behind their eyes.

But, as the old adage says, time marches on. Children march the quickest, passing from babe to school-age to teenage in the time an adult might renew a mortgage or move jobs.

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Yes, we fear what the future might hold. We don’t know. What we do know is that the future belongs to the children -those same sweet, little, smiling children already anxious for what First Day of School might hold.

Hug yours; give them hope as well as fear. Their future will be bright again before we know it.

©2020 Chel Owens

Sleep: The Unattainable Dream

I’ve been gambling with sleep for awhile now. I hadn’t realized how much I intentionally did so, until I gave birth to another child. At that point, sleep became a gift I no longer controlled.

bed cute dog female
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And I missed it.

Desperately.

Oh, my missing it didn’t happen right away. First, I snapped at everyone. Then, I cried. I cried a lot. Next, I snapped and cried. Everyone and everything was wrong wrong wrong. Couldn’t they see how much the mess and my feelings were their fault??

So, I made sleep a priority. I snuck in naps wherever I could, even at the expense of cleaning. To help block out the light and sound of no one else sleeping, I set a pillow over my head. I set my phone’s timer for 45 minutes so I wouldn’t nap too long -then I’d often sleep another hour after it went off.

girl in white sweater lying on couch
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Slowly, slowly, the world wasn’t so horribly awful.

Actually; the world brightened up right away. It stayed bright once the newborn baby slept better and I could get sleep more consistently.

Hormones also play a HUGE role, of course. I need to remind myself of that as well. Sleep alone, however, was and is helpful enough that I highly recommend it.

If you are in The Newborn Phase, The Teething Phase, or even The Have Children Phase; don’t get caught in the trap of insomnia like me. Step back and take inventory of how many trips to deep REM you’re taking. There’s only so many times you can neglect your health, so many cups of coffee you can drink.

Trust me. Zzzzzzzz

selective focus photo of woman in blue tank top and shorts lying on a hammock
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©2020 Chelsea Owens

*As a parting note, there are way too many stock photos of women ‘sleeping’ in full makeup. That is gross, and no one actually does that.

What the Frick?

I’m not perfect. Hear that, Brain?! I admitted it!

Today’s episode of “I’m Not Perfect” deals specifically with my penchant to curse under extreme duress, or under not-giving-a-fudge-covered cookie.

My children are not ever, ever, ever, ever allowed to curse. Hence, a recent development: my son using an odd alternative, frick.

“What the frick?!”

“I’m frickin’ coming!”

And, yesterday:

“Frick you!”

Which is the point at which I said the substitution was not a good one.

We’ve been fortunate that none of the children has pushed the line with bad words …yet. Even my teenager, who admitted the school halls were alive with the sound of swearing, maturely resists Sailor Speak.

I know it’s partly because of the standard we set. It’s also because we’ve gone Ralphie of “A Christmas Story” with potty words on occasion. It’s also also because we consistently, patiently, and logically explain our reasoning behind language restrictions.

And so, till high school, I wish us all luck in teaching our children clean language. I also wish you a frickin’ good day.

upset woman listening to therapist
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©2020 Chelsea Owens

12 Indoor Games for Kids So You Still Love Each Other After the Quarantine

It’s like summer vacation! -during which everyone is home, everyone needs to stay home, and everyone might have to be in the home.

Oh, goodie.

Before any parents rush to their local Amazon for ear plugs and chocolate, however, consider the following list of screen-free activities for kids:

12 Indoor Games for Kids So You Still Love Each Other After the Quarantine

    1. Hide and Seek
    2. Tag
    3. Find the Hidden Object (Hot and Cold)
    4. Nerf Battle
    5. Arts and Crafts
    6. Lip-Sync Challenge
    7. Toilet Paper Dress-up
    8. Baking
    9. Indoor Snowball Fight
    10. Pretend School
    11. Tickle Monster
    12. Board Games and Card Games

You’re sure to build family ties with all this self-isolation and school closed togetherness. Why not make those ties more like bonds of love instead of bonds of a straitjacket?

woman and girl lying in bed while holding book
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©2020 Chelsea Owens