What Fresh Hell: Laughing in the Face of Motherhood

a podcast with Margaret Ables and Amy Wilson

Month: February 2018

Episode 40: Morning Madness

We’d all love a school morning where everyone gets out the door without Mom  yelling or feeling stressed. And by “all” we mean all mothers. Our children seem blithely indifferent to all the hollering and pleading and bargaining we do each morning in order to make the bus– which means each day we have to do a little more of it.  Good times.

Leigh Anderson puts it this way, for Lifehacker Offspring:

“Getting kids out the door in the morning can go one of two ways: They wake up early and then dawdle, forcing a last-minute scramble, or they wake up late, forcing a last-minute scramble.”

In this episode we talk about what works to get the kids moving and in charge of their own schedules. We love Leigh’s idea of creating a morning playlist: if “Yellow Submarine” is on, it’s time to be tying your shoes.

Our other favorite tip– keep another set of toothbrushes in the downstairs bathroom!– is from Carolyn Dalgliesh’s book The Sensory Child Gets Organized.

Here’s other tricks and tips we discuss in this episode:

Amy uses these  5- and 30-minute hourglasses  to make the dwindling time until the bus arrives more concrete. (Beware: the 30-minute one can sometimes have the paradoxical effect of making the time left seem endless, at least to an 8-year-old.)

The Time Timer is a less chic but equally effective visual reminder.

Margaret has her son use a smart speaker to set his own timer.

Margaret uses a dry erase board to remind her kids of what’s left on their morning checklists.

Amy’s friend Susan uses this gradual sunlight alarm clock for her exhausted high-schooler.

And if all else fails: put them to bed in their school clothes.

Here’s how to handle the dinnertime madness: HelloFresh, which delivers weekly recipes and fresh ingredients straight to your doorstep. What’s for dinner? Open fridge, pull out bag, get to it. No planning, no shopping, no complaining. Your kids might even *HELP* because the directions are so snazzy. We are huge fans!

Get $30 off your first HelloFresh delivery by going to  hellofresh.com and entering the code mother30.

Episode 39: What To Do When They’re Just Like You

Are your child’s most annoying traits disconcertingly familiar, because they are also your own? And are those qualities- anxiety, competitiveness, impatience, even hatred of loud chewing- baked in the cake? Or have our children learned how to be impossible simply by living with us?

Ellie Grossman says when our kids are driving us nuts, it’s always best to look within for answers:

The trick is to find our child’s greatest strength hidden inside his or her worst quality. The first step is to look at ourselves in the mirror. Where do you think our child’s mishegas comes from in the first place?

Keeping this in mind, we also love Wendy Mogel’s writing about the “yetser hara,” that part of all children’s personalities that is both the source of all parental exasperation and the essential spark of our children’s greatness. Read more here:

Emily Bazelon for The New York Times: So The Torah is a Parenting Guide? 

Wendy Mogel, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Timeless Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children

Special thanks to our listener Michelle for suggesting this topic! Do you have an idea for an upcoming episode? Leave us a comment below, send us an email, or click the Speakpipe on the right-hand edge of our website to leave us a voice message.

This week’s episode is brought to you by Barkbox. Barkbox is a monthly surprise of dog toys, treats and goodies. Amy’s kids absolutely loved helping Marshmallow choose among the many delights in her “Knights of the Hound Table” themed shipment. What Fresh Hell listeners can get a free Barkbox when signing up for a 6 or 12-month plan (and support our podcast!) by using our special code: barkbox.com/laughing.

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