Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ann Abler of the Week - #6: Hanger Management

Each Saturday I give an Ann Abler of the Week Award  to a person that embodies the essence of your Dear Ann Abler's advice. In other words, someone that agrees:
  • Most problems can be solved with an impromptu dance party 
  • "Snacks" is a food group
  • Advanced avoidance skills and expert excuses come to those who wait
Generally I would say that avoidance is the first (and easiest and therefore best) step in dealing with a problem. However, this does not hold true if you are 36 weeks pregnant and need a sausage egg and cheese biscuit at 5 a.m. STAT! That's why Sarah del Rio of est. 1975 is the Ann Abler of the Week.

Image via
You can read more about her heroic efforts to satisfy her hanger in her post featured on Blunt Moms entitled McDonald's and the Humongous Army Green Dumpster.

If you would like to be considered or nominate someone for this very prestigious award, send me a message via this site (comment section or homepage email form), Facebook, or Twitter, and include #AnnAblerOfTheWeek.

Bon appétit!

Your Ann Abler  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Babies v. Barneys: Baby in a China Shop

Dear Ann Abler, 
I often think I can't bring my 5-week old baby into fancy stores, like I can't bring in my dog. How do I get past that? 
~ Baby Daddy Dawg

Dear Dawg,

Buy, buy!! No, sell! Wait - Elmo!!
Kudos for having enough energy to compose this question, let alone summoning the will to enter a fancy store. In case no one told you before, babies can be a total bummer. Not only do they keep you up at all hours and soil your clothes with spit-up, but it turns out they know nothing about online trading. 

They are also a lot like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman before she gets her makeover. No, I’m not calling your baby a high-priced call-girl, I’m just saying that fancy-store people frown upon both.

Well, I did some brainstorming and I have an idea (and just so you know, office policy states there are no bad ideas in brainstorming). You are onto something with the dog thing, but you have it backwards. Designer dogs actually make you fashion forward. So I say dress up your little one like a dog, put the ‘childhuahua’ in a Burberry bag, and strut into any store of your choice. If the store is fancy enough and your ‘childhuahua’ is small enough, you will actually be adding to your je ne se quois, and by that I literally mean I don’t know what. On second thought, since you’re not a lady in Beverly Hills, you may skip this suggestion.

The Childhuahua is known for its wimpering
Instead of baby-purse-dog, try this next idea:
Lure a bunch of children into the desired shopping destination – you know, with candy or something – I haven’t thought this one all the way through, so here’s your chance to improvise. Once the store is overrun with smelly sticky kids who’ve been promised candy, that quiet little bundle in your Baby Bjorn will be the least of their worries.

Image via
Still, if a fancy-store lady tells you you’re “obviously in the wrong place”, be sure to come back with a bunch of shopping bags and say, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.” Make sure a good song is playing in the background while you do this.

Now go buy your little cutie a Cartier and say it’s from Her Auntie Ann Abler.  But you should pay for it. It’s the thought that counts, though, and I had the thought.

Also, it’s never too early for babies to start following Ann Abler on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Kid's Jokes are Killing Me

Dear Ann Abler,

Any advice on how to get through this preschool phase of really bad joke telling? I don't want to burst his bubble and tell him he's just not funny, but seriously? "What do chickens eat for breakfast?" I begin to answer in earnest and he tells me to ask "What?" Glancing at the chandelier above my head, he answers, "Lightbulbs." Oi. It goes on for hours, or feels like it, anyway.

~ NO LOL-ing

Dear NO LOL,

First question: Do you live in one of these dark green states? 

If yes, problem solved! Just walk the streets of a super stoney city in Washington for a free contact high, or get your own green garden growing in Colorado. You’ll soon find ridiculous riddles and nonsequitor punch lines quite comical. Why did the chicken walk into the bar? Because gorillas. Hilarious! Why? Because you’re high.

If you live in one of the light green states and have "anxiety," "insomnia," or "writer’s cramp" (yes writer’s cramp), simply see the paragraph above, and just play along with the law as it applies to your “chronic” problem.

"Lightbulbs!" *drops mic*
Not friends with puff the magic dragon or Mary Jane? Don’t discount the drank. Encourage your little one to host his very own Open Mic Night – with a two-drink minimum for you, of course! Make it a drinking game and take a sip every time you feel the urge to roll your eyes. If you find yourself heckling the poor kid, it may be time to kick yourself out of the club.

If you’re interested in options other than drugging yourself until you find your child amusing, I recommend taking a look back. Have your boy spend some quality time with the comedic legends of the silent era. Key word = silent. Way before Tyra Banks ‘invented’ smizing (smiling with the eyes), actors like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton mastered facial expressions and prat falls for the amusement of all. Tell him the funniest things are sometimes the silent-est things. That way, he’ll keep it down and hone his physical comedy skills. Maybe he’ll be Generation Z’s comedic giant!

Now go enjoy those jokes and thank me by sharing the best (worst) ones in the comments section or on your Dear Ann Abler’s Facebook page

You're welcome,
Your Ann Abler

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ann Abler of the Week - #5: Negotiating with Baby Terrorists

Each Saturday I give an Ann Abler of the Week Award  to a person, tweet, or post that embodies the essence of your Dear Ann Abler's advice. In other words, anything that:
  • Pardons sub-par parenting
  • Let's you know no one has it figured out
  • Reminds us how children are monkey-terrorist-angel-puppies
This week the Ann Abler of the Week Award goes to OneFunnyMummy (@OneFunnyMummy) for speaking truth to parenting...or at least what feels true...sometimes. 

If you would like to be considered or nominate someone for this very prestigious award, send me a message via this site (comment section or homepage email form), Facebook, or Twitter, and include #AnnAblerOfTheWeek.


Your Ann Abler  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Return of the Mac n' Cheese

Dear Ann,

Ain't nothin' wrong...with a little Mac n' Cheese
Is it OK that I'm nearly forcing my child to like mac and cheese so that I can eat 80% of the box myself?

Return of the Mac

Dear Return of the Mac,

Is the Pope Catholic? Is raising children like having pet monkeys? Did I just find an excuse to link to a previous post? Do I still say "oh no you di-n’t" in my head when someone cuts me off driving? Yes, I admit it. Acceptance is the first step in recovery, and my addiction happens to be outdated sayings from decades past. But this is not about me. It’s about you and your child and the mac and the cheese. The answer to all of these questions – and yours – is yes.

Sure, you could bake your own kale chips or make soup using the organic squash from your perfectly tended garden, but the trolley doesn’t always stop in the land of make believe. Sometimes it stalls in the real world, and in the real world, it’s okay to make some mac n’ damn cheese.

Call me if you make cheese kale chips
No guilt. No #momguilt. Hakuna Matata. Now say three Hail Mommies and find a nice sauvignon blanc to pair with your mac. 

As always,

Your Ann Abler

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How to Master the Art of non-Mopping

Dear Ann Abler,

Should I bother mopping my floor when my toddler is going to make a hot mess of it within the hour?

Seems silly, no?

~ Mopper Flip Flopper

Dear Mopper,

It seems silly because it IS silly. Much of what we SAHMS and SAHDS (and other-acronym'd parents) do all day is silly. It has to be silly because if it weren’t silly and we couldn’t find any humor in the cat pooping on the kitchen table the same day we run out of coffee, we would go crazy. In fact, some of us have, or do, or will go crazy. I say embrace the crazy! Lean in. Be the crazy. Sometimes the only way to survive parenthood is to “get nuts” – as Prince so sagely suggests. Also we should do something about a purple banana, apparently. But I digress.

Image via
To mop or not, that is the question. And just to clarify, I assume by “mop,” you mean Swiffer Wet Jet or something similar. I can tell you that as your Ann Abler I think about your needs first, not the needs of the floor, or the noses of your fellow family members when your house gets that ‘not so fresh feeling’. So how do you feel before and after you mop? Is there a glimmer of satisfaction, or solely the sting of your Sisyphean struggle smacking you across the face? If it’s the latter, let’s employ one of my favorite advanced avoidance techniques: shifting responsibility.

You say you have a toddler? I say it’s ‘bring your baby to work’ day. Every day.  Buy one of these outfits in the picture above, and the mess becomes the mop. Why aren’t we all doing this way more often? Can’t we agree it’s not really child labor if the child is having fun? Mine thinks wiping up the floor with a dishtowel is a great game (second only to turning a water bottle upside down and shaking it all over the place). 

You could also try getting a floor laminate with a Cheerio design in it to achieve the effect below. Tell people it’s your meta-post-modern declaration of domestic defiance. They will most likely be too intimidated by your big artsy words to criticize your crumby floors. 


The other option is going old school (or ancient school, rather) and “installing” dirt floors. Mopping a dirt floor would actually make it worse, which totally gets you out of the chore altogether!

You're welcome. (You can thank me by sharing/liking Dear Ann Abler on Facebook)

Your Excuse Expert,

Ann Abler

*And to anyone reading this, what's your favorite way to avoid housework?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ann Abler of the Week - #4

Each Saturday I give an Ann Abler of the Week Award  to a person, tweet, or post that embodies the essence of your Dear Ann Abler's advice. In other words, anything like:
  • Of course the NutriBullet makes whatever you put in there healthy
  • There's always time for naptime
  • There's such a thing as 'good enough parenting'
This week the Ann Abler of the Week Award goes to Tracy Vatterott (@TVatterott) for reminding us of our heroism in exhaling. If you're feeling down, just remember: you breathed today. So shove your fist in the air like Bender in The Breakfast Club.

If you would like to be considered or nominate someone for this very prestigious award, send me a message via this site (comment section or homepage email form), Facebook, or Twitter, and include #AnnAblerOfTheWeek.


Your Ann Abler  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Think Outside The Mom

Dear Ann Abler,

Do you ever get tired of "mom" talk? (Schools, food and feeding, sports, discipline, etcetera). When does a mom get to be not a mom in relation to other moms?

~ More Than a ‘Mama’

Dear More Than a 'Mama',

Someone better shove you in the shallow water before you get too deep. Are you suggesting that talk of Bento boxes and Beanie Babies do not complete you? You want a little more from life than extended discussions on pumping, dumping, diapers, wiping, sweeping, rearing, teething, birthday party planning, scrapbooking, soccer games, and piano lessons? It’s almost as if you had an identity prior to parenthood and you’d like to think some non-mom thoughts for a moment. And even that thought probably gives you momguilt*. (*It’s like regular guilt, but pH balanced for moms).

Even when you’re not with the little monkeys, it can be hard to clear your mind of all kid-related responsibilities AND still remember that Thursdays are early pick-up and you have to sign the reading calendar and raise money for the dance-a-thon and start the little one on swim lessons and will ultimately be held responsible for their lives and judged for the quality of humans they become…AND…focus only on your breath in yoga class. 

The good news is I can help you “think outside the mom.” Let’s explore some activities to help you exercise your individual identity and avoid mom talk at all costs.

Activities for each day of the week to remember you’re more than a Mama:
Don't post this!
SUNDAY: Start a ‘Facebook Mom Fast’ for the week. In other words, post no updates about how time flies with regard to your children, no cute #kidquotes, nor pics of their adorable spaghetti-covered cheeks. Dig deep for deep thoughts. If you come up empty handed, just take a picture of your food like your kid-free friends, or get on Twitter and slowly sink into a depression as you realize 50% of the trending hashtags relate to One Direction (or #1D).

MONDAY: Get Grandma to watch the kids and have a margarita or two with your “Bae” (sorry - been spending too much time on Twitter). Karaoke the hell out of “I love Rock n’ Roll” or “Islands in the Stream,” and avoid anything by Kid’n Play or Kid Rock (kid-free zone!). Between songs talk about anything you did before the kids came along, or just keep drinking. By the time you’re getting arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct, you won’t remember if you’re a mom at all. That mug shot guarantees you won’t be the #1 pick for Room Mom this year. Phew!

TUESDAY: After the kids go to sleep, abduct invite a few friends and go toilet paper a Michael’s in a totally non-artistic, non-crafty way. Do not use colored crepe-paper. Do not attempt to find a theme or make a pattern. Do not add glitter or spell anything out with the tp. Make sure all of you are trying your least hardest. Just toss rolls of toilet paper at the door if it’s been a hard day. You are a rebel without a cause, because really, there is no point to doing this.

WEDNESDAY: Start a fightclub. Don’t talk about the fightclub.

THURSDAY: Grab a latte with a lady friend and talk about books, philosophy, how that show Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson blows your mind, or all the things you’ve learned from Drunk History. Also, discuss body hair, and see if you can't find a way to make thighburns cool.

FRIDAY: For your Friday night out (or in), get together with some girlfriends and introduce a “mommy-talk jar” in which you must drop a Washington (that’s a one dollar bill for you non-ballers) for every mention of your l.o. – especially if you just used that abbreviation for ‘little one.’ If you want to dial it up a notch, make it a “mommy-talk taser,” and put your child-free friend in charge of it. She will delight in her new duties, and keep the rest of you on task. The group can determine ahead of time if singing lyrics from Frozen counts as mommy talk.
SATURDAY: Even if the week has helped you not talk like a mom, you may still look like a mom. Time to toughen up. Why not grab a couple removable tattoos from your child’s stash, wet a washcloth, and get to work. If someone mocks your new Hello Kitty tattoo sleeve, just point to the Patrick Star teardrop tat under your eye. You’ll look like one badass mother mutha who won’t be discussing homemade play-doh anytime soon.

Now it is up to you to go forth and share the good news that women with children are more than mothers. They are mothers, of course, but they are also artists, teachers, engineers, strippers, and preachers. So go play “I’m Every Woman,” dance around like a crazy person, and don’t forget to pick your kids up from school. It’s an early day, dammit.

As always,

Your Ann Abler