"Thank you for letting me share this phase of my life with you. I hope it was helpful to discover that other parents have the same bad days. The same worries. The same embarrassing moments and joyful discoveries. This ongoing conversation between friends and strangers is what makes Momaha so awesome."
"With every drawer I dump and every cabinet I raid, I’m beset with a realization both obvious and surprising. So much life has happened here."
"I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize a hidden network of support that exists around me and Matt and every parent: strangers. Or, to put it less ominously, the people we don’t know who still know…you know?"
Nothing says, “I love you” more than cleaning up after someone in their most raw and revolting moments.
"Thank God January is almost over, amirite? JK. It’s April now, but you wouldn’t know it by the below-freezing temps, random snowstorms and sad crocus carcasses littering our icy lawns."
Everyone enjoys a good love story, right? I have one to share — a heartwarming tale of a girl and her Bite.
"Surround yourself with peers who make you feel at ease and understood. If they can help you feel comfortable in your own skin, they’re perfect. And if they can make you laugh, even better."
There was a time, not so long ago, when I used to scoff at the “parent as CEO of a family” analogy.
"I knew the day Emilia added 'diary' to her birthday list that we were crossing an invisible line into new parenting territory. Privacy is no longer a concept we’re teaching her, but a value she holds," wrote Catherine Kraemer. "There are thoughts she wants to keep to herself. There is a world she inhabits that we may not always be a part of."
"Since the past few weeks have brought us snow, which has in turn given us snow days, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to cozily coexist with our three kids indoors. Here are some tips I came up with for ways to hygge hard — because snow-day parenting ain’t easy."
"To Phoebe, babies are tiny. Babies are big. Babies are cute and bald. Sometimes babies are six feet tall with facial hair."
"In the next 365 days, I’ll be working to reframe my perspective. To let go of what 'should be,' and to love what is and be grateful for what I have – from my lovely family to my lukewarm coffee. To find happiness in a glass that’s full enough."
"There are “meh” people who muddle through, anxious to get on with it and start the New Year. There are people who get measurably excited for the holiday season, embracing traditions, exchanging gifts and genuinely enjoying all the trappings of this time of year. And then there are Christmas people. I’m married to a Christmas person."
"My 30s feel practical. Comfortable. Real. Not like the anxious, tipsy 'real' of one’s 20s. This is a more honest, easygoing authenticity."
"A friend once compared young toddlers to the raptors in Jurassic park — methodically tapping at the fences, testing for weak spots. Phoebe is like a caffeinated raptor. Caffeinated and astonishingly joyful."
Catherine Kraemer made it through the 2016 holiday season without an elf. Her kids were fine. Then she took a detour through a post-holiday sale section at the mall where she found a lone and neglected elf among bent wreaths, broken ornaments and seasonal throw pillows.
There’s a sequence in the Judd Apatow movie, “This is 40,” in which the main characters — a married couple on the edge of 40, and occasionally on the edge of insanity — get away for the weekend, sans kids, and have the time of their lives. They feel renewed, refreshed, recommitted to their marriage and parenthood. And then they get home, and within seconds they’ve stepped right back into the tense and rote dynamic they were trying to escape.
It’s funny, but also frustratingly familiar.
"I am grateful for the comfort you provide. The world is crazy. Life is changing. The kids are growing up so quickly, but you are a constant. You will always be with me."
“Happy Middle Child Day! Oh, you didn’t remember? Don’t worry. No one ever does.”
By the time the third child is born, there aren’t a lot of parenting firsts left to conquer. But the few that occur, while less monumental, are still worth noting.
"One day, Grace turned around, a spotlight shone down on Phoebe and a Thompson Twins song started playing in the background," wrote Catherine Kraemer about her daughters' new friendship. "Suddenly, Phoebe was no longer an invasive and ignorable baby sister, but instead a worthwhile human being..."
Lately, the issue of fairness has taken up space as a major theme in Catherine Kraemer's house. "The constant squabbling over fairness feels totally exhausting and paralyzing. I find myself orchestrating our daily lives to avoid conflict. Case in point: the pink plate."
"There’s a song by The National called 'Baby, We’ll Be Fine' with a chorus that rings true always, but especially right now with Emilia standing on the precipice of childhood’s next phase," wrote Catherine Kraemer.
"My legs are not my favorite thing. They aren't toned or tan; they're scarred by an ACL repair and ancient mosquito bites, and polka-dotted with bruises that broadcast my general clumsiness," wrote on Omaha mom. "When I was pregnant with Emilia, spider veins accumulated around my ankles, building webs that have only gotten more permanent and complex with each new baby." Still, she's wearing them anyway, and having a ton of fun with her kids while doing so.
You know the scene: You’re out at the grocery store or a restaurant, and your kids are going insane. You are visibly losing your mind. Then a kind, wizened veteran parent approaches you in the midst of the chaos and says something to the effect of, “Enjoy this. It goes so fast.” "If you are like me, you are all at once grateful, touched, annoyed and ambivalent," wrote one Omaha mom. "Because on one hand, how am I supposed to enjoy it when so often I’m just trying to survive it? And on the other hand, this stranger is absolutely right."
Tip No. 4: Investigate suspicious smells. "Pull over at a desolate highway exit because your 5-year-old is ranting about a mysterious odor. Check for cows outside the car. Check the baby inside the car," wrote Catherine Kraemer. "(Then) watch in horror as your 3-year-old shows you the poop inside her cowgirl boot. Clean her foot with wet wipes. Gag. Ask, 'How did this happen?' at least 50 times."