Why Did This Thing Go Viral?!

I  posted this on Facebook last week about how extremely distracted I can be, and apparently it struck a chord because TEN MILLION of you have viewed it thus far.

Viral Laundry In Oven Post


You shared it with friends, tagging them and laughing about the many ways you do this exact same thing too. With your own personal flare of course:

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.16.45 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.16.57 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.17.10 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.16.27 AM

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.17.30 AM

So to all the mamas, papas, grandparents, non-parents, teenagers, and more who read this and thought “yep, that’s me”, let me just take this opportunity to say THANK YOU. You’ve reminded me yet again and in no uncertain terms, of a beautiful truth that gets me through most every day…

that I am not alone. 

To you, who can marvel at your innate awesome-sauce-ness and crazy-ness all in the same breath, I offer a fist bump.

Solidarity in our humanness. You rock.


ps: Perfect is a hella-va-lot-overrated, don’t you think? I’d love to hear more about what, if anything, you are working to love and accept about yourself. Trust me, saying it out loud? It’s liberating.

pss: I also wanted to let you know about a NEW playground I’m playing on that’s built for more than just mommy’s (which makes me feel very happy and even less alone…). It’s called GENERATION MINDFUL and I hope you’ll join me there. We have some work to do if we’re going to usher the next generation into a more compassionate world. Add you to this place and bring your husbands, in-laws, the kids’ teachers and more. We’re there, slowing life down and celebrating the little moments. And our love? Our shared focused? It’s powerful stuff. Strong enough to make even impossible dreams come true.

Peace, and I hope to see you there.

If you want to walk with me and other mamas in the My Mommy Manual community, join to the right and connect with us on instagramtwitter, facebook and/or pinterest too. The manual is ours to write, but we don’t have to write it alone.

Related Posts:

Hey, Connection Isn’t Always Easy

Teaching Kids Emotional Intelligence

The Crayon Connection

When I Stop Trying So Hard

rear view mirror

I’m sitting in my car, fumbling for the clasp.

It’s the om necklace my husband gave me days after our first child was born, and I can’t get it to hook.

Four kids and a decade and a half later, this necklace remains my favorite. I’ve put it on a million times and though the chain the om pendant hangs on is on the short side, it has never been difficult to fasten. So there I sit, fumbling with the thing, already running late and wondering to myself, ‘Why am I having so much trouble getting this thing on?!’

I can see my hands working the small hook close to the chain just under my chin in my rear view mirror. Small-metal-ring, heading towards open-silver-lever aaaaand…

it’s a miss. And a miss. And another miss.

“I. AM. SO. LATE!” I think-yell at myself for encouragement.

I miss again. And again.

My shiny ohm necklace glares back at me in the mirror, mockingly.

“This is RIDICULOUS!” I lower my tired arms, hands dropping into my lap with defeat.

I stop. I take a little breath and I sit still for the first time that morning. And then it dawned on me. I hadn’t sat still all morning long. Not even for three seconds. My mind had been jumping from one thing to the next from the second I woke up (ten minutes late).

I’d rushed to get my kids out the door to school. I’d rushed to get home, pick-up from the tornado that had surely hit our kitchen that morning, shower, dress and get back out the door to my next thing.

Sitting in my car, going over the morning, I take a deep breath, and just like that, some internal reset button is pushed and I know what I need to do to get this necklace on.

I turn away from my car mirror to have another go at the necklace.

Immediately, things felt different. I feel different. My mind is settled. I’m breathing. My hands move the way they want to move. There’s no reflection staring back at me to confuse things— just my hands, going the way they know to go.

Three seconds later, wa-la.  My necklace is clasped.

I sit in the front seat of my car, close my eyes and laugh.

This moment. This lesson. How is this my life?

What happens when I force things? When I hold too tight or push too hard? When I’m too busy to pause?

What happens when I soften? When I breathe and trust? When I hold on to letting go? When I allow myself a moment (like, literally, as few as 10-15 seconds) of stillness and silence?

“Ommmmmmmm” my mind teases me. I open my eyes and see the shiny pendant in the mirror, at long last, hanging from my neck. I breathe deeply and say ommmmm again, this time out loud. And as I get my purse and move slowly to open the car door, the place I’d been rushing too next feels far, far less important.


ps: I’d love to hear of a parenting moment and/or new awareness about yourself that helped you feel more present, even admist the chaos of everyday life. xo


I hope you walk with me and other moms here because we are not alone. Let’s connect on twitter, facebook and pinterest too. The manual is ours to write, but we don’t have to write it alone!

Related Posts:

A Curvy Road
Connection and Baby/Kids

Not Perfect Parenting

not perfect parenting

Give your family the gift of YOU. 

Imperfect, wonderful, awesome-sauce YOU.

Because when we do this.

When we let go of perfect…

Everything is possible.


ps: Have you ever felt yourself letting go of “perfect” in one way or another and felt the DEEPER CONNECTION possible with your family/mama friends on the other side of perfect as a result? Tell your story in the comments below.

When we tune in and trust, everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because mom-hood is BETTER when we’re holding hands. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest as well, because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!


How Parenting Helps Me Grow

How to Accept the Un-Acceptable

More Posts on Being a NOT Perfect Parent and Forgiveness

Suffering From the Terrible Two’s? Remember to BIRP

Thick As Thieves

I wanted to share a story about my dear friend, Julie. We met five years ago, when we found ourselves on the first day of school, dropping off our girls in Kindergarten. I’m not sure who was more nervous then, the kids or the moms!

Since then, we’ve been “thick as thieves,” as they say. We’ve shared many a laugh… like the time I dragged her to my strip aerobics class and she called me the next day to report that her a** was so sore, she could barely lower herself to the toilet seat. Hey, we’re moms. I know you’ve all done that move… snicker while you can!

We’ve also shared more serious moments, like the time I called her at 5 am saying I was leaving my marriage and needed a place to stay. Or, the day she called and told me that she had tested positive for BRCA1.

BRCA1 (and BRCA2) are tumor suppressor genes. Mutations in these genes are linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. At the time, [Read more…]

Hey, Connection Isn’t Always Easy

re·la·tion·ship [ri-ley-shuhn-ship] noun

1. a connection, association, or involvement.

2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.

3. an emotional or other connection between people.

4. a sexual involvement; affair.

Being a mother, wife, lover, woman, friend… sometimes it’s hard. Maybe it’s just that by definition relationships are hard. Look above. The word connection is used in three of the four explanations of relationship and hey, connection isn’t always easy.

I opened the Bible on a day years ago when life and my relationships were getting the better of me. I was down and looking for some encouragement. I love to open certain books (the Bible being one of my favorites to do this with) to a random page and let where ever my finger falls speak to me. The words on which I land almost always knock me off my feet with the wisdom they hold. A word, passage or an entire page; on this day the message for me was contained in a single word.

“Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). Mark 7:34

This single word spoke volumes to my heart [Read more…]

I (Heart) My BFF’s

Much ado is made in February over your romantic relationships but that’s not the only kind of love that makes the world go ’round. For me and for many women — the relationships we have with our girlfriends are the ones that keep the day-to-day wheels spinning. After all, when you’re sick, or say… having a baby… who picks up your kids from school, makes sure your family is fed? It’s your posse that just magically knows what do to, many times without you even having to say anything, right?

My girlfriends have nurtured me – not just in those physical ways. They’ve been there to support me emotionally and spiritually too. It’s my girls who can most often call me on my B.S. – pointing out (always gently, of course) when I’m being self-absorbed, ridiculous, judgy, or not asserting myself enough. I know who to call when I’m in the middle of a shame spiral. Or many times, they call me.

It’s great having that psychic connection! (Ahem, @ZenMommy!)

One of the things I most appreciate about my very best friendships is the fact that we create safe places for each other. I feel safe to be who I am — not who I aspire to be or who I hope to be — but whoever I need to be right now, which may not be my “best.” I can be unshowered, frazzled, in the middle of an emotional breakdown– and that’s okay. My bff’s give me permission to be myself. Even when I’m guilty of the worst offenses — like neglecting our friendship — my true friends are going to let me off the hook… because, as one of my soul sisters likes to say, “I know your heart.”

In this way, we are all alike: kids and grown-ups. When we feel safe and accepted, we feel we can push ourselves into growing and learning, discovering aspects of ourselves that would be way too scary to explore under other circumstances. That space of vulnerability is where connection and magic happens. It’s why, at the end of the day, the only friendships/relationships with any real staying power are the ones where you can open up.

So as we close the “Valentine’s Month,” take some time to reflect on the women you love and appreciate, who “know your heart.”

Thank you, @ZenMommy for being an amazing mentor, teacher and guide as well as being the very best friend evah! Thank you for knowing my heart and sharing yours! Xo

I’m on Great Day St. Louis on Wednesday sharing ideas on creative ways to connect and nurture the other “siginificant others” in your life.

Hat tip to Monnie Brodbeck and to her Women’s Adventure Group, who are committed to their friendship and pushing each other out of their comfort zones!

Ria a.k.a. Practical Mommy. I Tweet here and Pin here… and I blog about blogging (lol) on MomCrunch!

Get the latest updates from My Mommy Manual – Like us on Facebook!


How to Find Support for Postpartum Depression

My mom suffered from postpartum depression. And it altered the course of her life and mine forever. I’ve had dear friends whose relationships with their children and partners have similarly been affected in a deep and defining way by PPD. One of them is my friend, Katherine Stone. Babble included her blog, Postpartum Progress in the Top 10 Mom Blogs of 2011, naming it as a groundbreaking resource for moms and moms-to-be.

I happen to agree. If you are a new mom and are struggling… please check it out. And if you or someone you love need some pre- postpartum support, I have another great resource.

Katherine, in conjunction with me and Jen Lemen, just completed a project specifically designed to provide gentle guidance and promote maternal mental health. It’s called Daily Hope and is delivered every weekday for a year directly to your inbox.

It features quotes and messages from Katherine, accompanied by the breathtaking images of British photographer Xanthe Berkeley. Katherine has been piloting this program for a year and is one of the ways she has been invaluable to the PPD community.

So for just $49, you can give the gift of a year of Daily Hope this holiday season, a light in the middle of the night of darkness that I know we sometimes feel as new moms.

Hugs to you,

How to Celebrate Mamas

In the US alone, $14.6B is spent annually on Mother’s Day for “stuff” that could just never say what’s in our hearts. What if instead, we all just unleashed that love on the world? How would it impact our world if we stopped using stuff as a surrogate for love? What if we invested that love to make the world a better place for Mamas & children everywhere? ~ To Mama With Love

What a radical idea, right? I don’t know about you but I’m so excited about this chance to celebrate all the moms in my life and celebrate being a mom by doing something to “mother” the world.

Last year, our friends at Epic Change launched To Mama with Love, a global collaborative online art project to raise money for Mama Lucy to build a school in Arusha, Tanzania. In less than a week leading up to Mother’s Day 2010, the site raised $17,000. The school has been built… look!

This year, To Mama With Love is expanding to support the work of four extraordinary women (see video): Mama Lucy Kamptoni in Tanzania, Suraya Pakzad in Afghanistan, Maggie Doyne and Renu Bagaria, both in Nepal.

Tonight, when my kids get home from school, we’re going to create heartspaces for my mom, my grandma, my aunt and sister, who all live in the Philippines. And, my aunt in Wisconsin. Thank goodness because cards will never make it in time and oops, that book that I meant to mail is still sitting on the kitchen counter. *sigh*

You can participate by creating a heartspace in honor of a mama you love. You’ll personalize your heartspace with photos, video, poems and artwork – anything you want to share your love for a mama. Heartspaces can be shared with your friends and family so that they can contribute additional funds in honor of your mama and even write comments on the wall of your mama’s heartspace.

Love can change everything!

How to Tune In

This Sunday, Suzanne and I are facilitating a workshop at Passport to Power — a day-long mom-daughter conference in St. Louis. The event’s mission is one we strongly believe in, empowering girls through stronger connections with their female role models. Our morning session is called Sing Your Truth and will focus on how to tune into our own inner wisdom and how to model this for our girls. Of course, our regular readers know we can talk about this for days!!!

Intuitive guidance is a gift — a compass in a confusing world of too much external input, competing and conflicting agendas, and no clear cut answers. I already see it in my before-bed conversations with my daughter: My friends want this, but I don’t. Is that bad? Should I tell so-and-so what she said? Our night time ritual is now loaded with questions that are a lot more complicated than they were, even just last year. My response is usually a version of, “What does your gut tell you?”

But how much do we tune in to what our gut tells us? How often do we slow down enough to listen to the truth that our bodies already know? It’s an undoing or an unlearning, really. Because society places so much value in what we can decipher with our heads, what is logical, what makes sense….  As we “grow up,” we are taught to ignore what our gut tells us for what intellectual evidence our mind provides. In this sad way, we are unconsciously taught to distrust ourselves. And if we can’t trust ourselves, who can we trust?

The mental/emotional noise reaches a fever pitch in moments of real crisis. That’s just not the time to start turning to our inner guidance. If you start learning how to swim in the baby pool, you’ll actually fare better when you get tossed out in the raging sea. So I like suggesting that we start this practice with ourselves and our kids with the easy stuff: Does your body say, eggs or pancakes for breakfast?

The advanced level questions are ones like: What does my body say about this job/project/relationship?

Last week, I had the opportunity to steal away to Mexico for five days. No one else but me! Which meant this: I ate when I was hungry, I drank when I was thirsty, I slept when I was tired! It was an opportunity to tune into my body in a very elemental way. It was like a re-setting of the compass, back to due north. Since my re-entry into the noisy world, I’ve been practicing checking in and allowing my gut to set my priorities and guide my path. It’s been nothing less than magical!

So if you are in St. Louis, I hope you’ll join us on April 3, 9-3pm at The Doubletree Hotel in Chesterfield. It’s going to be a fabulous day. My dear friend and expert dreamer, Jen Lemen is doing the opening keynote on planting dreams for a hopeful world, so we can all learn how discovering and claiming your dreams can you help you develop and grow. Our breakout session for the moms is right afterwards, while parenting expert Annie Fox works with the girls on “Real Friends vs. The Other Kind.”

But it’s not all talk! There’s a luncheon, makeovers, massages, hairstyling, crafts, lots of photo opps, a boutique and silent auction. Oh yes, in addition to being a great day to spend with your daughter, Passport to Power is also a fundraiser for Girls In The Know, a nonprofit that hosts a speaker series year-round in St. Louis that helps start conversations between moms and tweens on body image, relationships, safety and the birds and the bees.

Space is limited at the hotel so go grab your tickets now! 🙂

How to be a Witness/How to be a Friend

Love. Think. Speak. Know. Creatures, I give you yourselves!

~ C.S. Lewis (Aslan in The Magician’s Nephew)

We’ve been listening the audio cassettes (that’s right) of The Chronicles of Narnia and I was so moved by this scene in which Aslan sings Narnia and all its creatures into being. Afterwards, he stands back and he commands them, “Love. Think. Speak. Know.”

It comes as no surprise that Suzanne’s mantra for 2011 is LISTEN because for almost as long as we have been BFFs, we’ve led parallel lives or even better, complimentary ones. The word that came up for me on this turning of the calendar was WITNESS.

What does this mean? For me, it means being a friend. It means holding the image and space of your best self so you can fill it. It means being a “safe pocket” for you in times of vulnerability. It means earning the right to hear your stories. I have grown into this word of witness/friend only by having received the same gift so fully in 2010. Suzanne, of course, is my Master Friend — the person who taught me that it is safe to “hold my seat” in a relationship even though it is painful sometimes. And I learned that this messiness is a small price to pay for the prize of true connection — especially with your Self.

So in 2011, this is a gift that I can now give. My internal GPS has been set to give you back to your Self. I got my marching orders. They begin with “Love….”