November 2012

Welcome to today’s edition of Monday Musings here at Multiple Mayhem Mamma.

Today’s topic at hand is social media and parenting. Do the two really mix well? More than a few of us have posted pictures and videos online of our precious kids, with little thought of what these same children may later feel about our decisions to do so. In this age of technology, digital communication and virtual sharing, it seems like the natural course of events to provide the latest videos and images of our kids via Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Yet we are increasingly hearing of instances where parents have “overshared” and the fate of their kids’ future reputation has been questioned. Parents and oversharing has become the norm for many. To wit – there’s even a site  (STFU Parents) that mocks and derides mothers and fathers who have been deemed to have given up too much information about their children. I’ve written about this before and continue to be fascinated by the new world order in which we live. It’s an uncharted territory of which none of us can predict the outcome.

I, for one, have uploaded pictures of my kids to various social media channels. Have I given it a lot of thought? Some, but I can’t say that I’ve got all the answers. Who knows how they will feel when they’re older? Granted, they will have grown up in a world where it’s commonplace to have images and videos of ones self online, but is this really a good thing? The jury seems to be out on this one, myself included.

So what about you? Have you shared pictures and/or video of your kids online, and if so, what was the response from friends and family? Have you ever been accused of oversharing, or posting inappropriate imagery of your kids? What do you think is going to happen when our kids grow up and find an extensive digital footprint of their earlier lives online for all to see?

This is a topic that’s not going away and we’re all going to have to deal with the consequences of our actions. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this ongoing topic. Please answer in the comments below, or better yet – post a video response!


VIDEO: Social Media Sharing, Parents and Kids

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The Top 10 Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

by Samantha on November 21, 2012

Once again it’s that time of the year where those of us who aren’t prepared break out into a cold sweat. Christmas and the requisite shopping strikes fear into the hearts of many. Add kids to the equation – whether you’re shopping for them or planning to take them along for the shopping nightmare – and you’re looking at a full-blown breakdown. That is, if you let it get to you and don’t prepare.

Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a horrific and traumatic experience. By following a few simple tips, you can get through it and, perhaps, enjoy it as well. Following are the Top 10 Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

1) Make a budget and stick to it – Don’t do anything until you check your finances. Be realistic about the amount of gifts that you have to buy and how much you can realistically spend on presents. Get all of your ducks in a row before you head out shopping so that when you’re actually in the stores looking at items, you won’t be tempted to spend money that you don’t have, or purchase items that will bankrupt you before December 25th.

2) Make a list, check it twice – In keeping with point #1, this is the second most important point to remember when planning your holiday shopping excursions. Not having a list will inevitably result in a spending free-for-all that will not only cause you great financial stress later on, but will often result in poor gift choices that will leave both the purchaser and the recipient unhappy. Avoid this situation by  knowing in advance what you’re buying for each family member and friend.Whether it’s a virtual list on your iPad or a good old-fashioned paper list, stick to it.

3) Shop during off hours – If there’s one good thing about the craziness of the season, it’s the fact that many stores go on a “Holiday Hours” schedule. This means that a lot of malls and stores will open earlier than usual and will stay open later than they normally would during the off-seasons. Take advantage of what the stores have to offer while you can. Go shopping early in the morning or late at night. Better yet, if you’re a particularly intrepid sort, make good use of the 24-hour shopping and extended hours at malls/stores and buy your presents at 5:00am. I guarantee there will be no line-up at the checkout and you won’t have to fight that crazy-looking mother for the last Transformer or Power Ranger toy on the shelf.

4) Think outside the (gift) box – We all get into a rut and Christmas seems to bring out this reality more than any other time of the year. The good news is that there’s always time for change. If socks and ties are your usual gifts for dad, why not mix it up this year? Give him a gift that he would never expect from you and watch his surprise on Christmas morning.  If your child is stuck on getting the latest Barbie in her holiday finest, why don’t you consider giving her a more unique doll from a boutique toy shop? We often don’t give our kids credit for who they are and their reactions to the unexpected just may be one of the season’s pleasant surprises.

5) Make homemade gifts – Everyone loves a gift from the heart. After all, it’s not about the money, its that thought that counts. In the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to forget this fact. Some homemade baked goods, a craft made with love or a similar gift will show how you really feel about the recipient and will go a long way in spreading the holiday cheer. On a related note, this is a great time to teach your children the fact that it’s all about the intention and not the cash. Encourage them to do the same by making a hand-made item for their friends, teachers or family members. Not only will you save money but you’ll be closer to the true spirit of the season as well.

6) Shop alone – As enticing as it may be, don’t get pulled into group shopping trips or trips to the mall with your friends. During this time of the year in particular, the malls and stores are more distracting than ever and as a result, your shopping time will take longer – guaranteed. Let’s also not mention the temptation to stop for holiday cocktails with your friends and the peer pressure that will support your need for that must-have cashmere scarf or new pair of shoes. Similarly, you’re guaranteed a meltdown if you take your kids with you and have to tell them that they will not be getting any of those nice, shiny toys that are on display, or the various goodies and treats that are available at every store during this time of the year. Go shopping alone with your list in hand, your budget in mind and a clear plan of attack and you’ll be less likely to veer off the beaten shopping path.

7) Avoid the big malls – The excitement of the season is no better exemplified than in the shopping malls in the weeks before Christmas. Oh, those marketers are so smart, aren’t they? With holiday music blaring, cinnamon and clove smells pumped into the toy section of the stores and festive decor everywhere you look, it’s easy to become enticed. When this happens, all plans for fiscal restraint and focused shopping go out the window. Avoid this from happening by going go to smaller stores, where you’ll be able to not only buy a more unique gift for your loved ones, but will avoid the craziness of the crowds as well.

8) Wear comfortable shoes and clothes – This is really, really important. Like anything, you have to make sure that you’re prepared for all eventualities – including sore feet. Shopping for the day can be exhausting, and wearing layers of heavy winter clothes don’t help either. Before you go out on your shopping expedition, dress in a fashion – from head to toe –  that won’t hinder your success.

9) Research and shop online if possible – The great thing about living in this digital age is that we can use our digital access to make life easier for us. “Help” your child with his letter to Santa and find out at the same time what he’d like to see under the tree on December 25th. Then go online, research pricing, location and shipping of the toy(s) and click “buy this item.” Done. It couldn’t be simpler.

10) Divide and conquer – If you have a partner, close friend or relative who is agreeable, give them some gifts to buy from your list and take a load off. You don’t have to do it all. You’re only one person. Even Santa has elves to keep things under control. Engage others, make it a family (or friend) affair and spread the love. You’ll be glad that you did.

So as you can see, the holiday season can be one full of tidings of comfort and joy. And stress-free as well! Merry Christmas!

VIDEO: Tips For Stress-Free Christmas Shopping

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Monday Musings – Nature vs. Nurture

by Samantha on November 19, 2012

Welcome to Monday Musings, a new feature that I’m starting on this blog.

Each Monday, I will be recording a short video log (Vlog) about a topic of interest (parenting-related, of course) that I’ve heard or read about in the previous week. The purpose of these Vlogs is to open up a discussion that I hope will be interesting and insightful for all. As well, how better to get to know each other than through video? It’s so much more real.

On that note, the topic of discussion this week is Nature vs. Nurture.

If you’ve read this blog to any extent, you’ll probably figure out quickly about where I sit on this topic. Being the parent of both boys and girls, I can say that in my experience, there is a marked difference between the sexes. In my estimation, girls aren’t as rambunctious, don’t rscream as loud and lack the penchant for climbing on anything and everything in their path. Boys? Well – they’re another story (at least mine are).

Some would differ with this opinion, citing the fact that their girls are the wild ones and their boys display exemplary behavior most of the time.  Who’s right?

Is it nature or nurture that affects the way we behave? According to a new research study on babies, it appears that nature takes the prize for our actions. Watch this segment from 60 Minutes to find out the details about the research findings.

VIDEO: 60 Minutes – Do Babies Have a Sense of Morality?

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Lane Bryant

We’ve all heard them. Those annoying phrases that our parents said to us growing up and now that we’re parents ourselves, we’ve decided to inflict them our own kids.

There must be a gene that is passed on from generation to generation that provides the ability for a parent to realize the most profound of pleasures by uttering certain sentences to their children as a fait accompli. Mom or dad said it; so it shall be done.

Interestingly, there are so many more layers to these common phrases that many of us say to our kids. On the surface, they’re pretty clear and apparently self-explanatory. Surprisingly, the truth is that they’re anything but.

These gems of wisdom that parents have been uttering for millennia are actually much more complex than anyone could imagine. The reality is that the true meanings behind these messages that parents tell their kids are often not as straightforward as they appear to be.

Following are the top 10 phrases that parents use on their kids, and what they really mean.

1)   “This will hurt me more than it hurts you” – I’m about to punish you, ground you (in some cases) spank you or otherwise deny you of something, and deep down, I feel really guilty about it. By telling you that it hurts me more that it will hurt you is a way of exonerating myself from the responsibility, or offloading a bit of the guilt that is bearing down on me.

2)   “You’re gonna poke your eye out with that thing!” – I don’t want to deal with the scream-fest and emergency-room visit that will inevitably follow once you’ve stabbed yourself in the eye with a fork or similar sharp object.

3)   “I’m your mother, I’m not your friend. You don’t have to like me.” – Again – guilt rears its ugly head during the trials of everyday parenting. A decision has been made that your child will likely hate, and you feel horrible about it. You know that your child will be irritated with you, will sulk and will tell all of their friends how terrible you are. Deep down you hate the fact that you’re not going to be the most liked mom on the block but you have to put up a brave front anyway.

4)   “And if your friend told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it too?” – What are you – stupid? You think that your friend is so wonderful and you’re hanging off his every word. Little do you know that he’s way too smart to jump off a bridge but you may not be as intelligent, I’m afraid.

5)   “Life’s not fair” – Yes, you really should have been chosen as the beautiful princess in the school play but unfortunately your best friend was considered cuter and more engaging than you and was therefore chosen instead. Suck it up, Buttercup.

6)   “No one said that it was easy” – You’ve probably bitten off much more than you can chew and your mom/dad is trying to break it to you gently. Inside they’re wondering when you’re going to figure this truth out and hoping that it’s soon.

7)   “Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!” – I really don’t want to spend the cash on this ridiculously expensive toy/video game/trendy piece of clothing/Justin Bieber concert ticket and will accordingly remind you that I work just to spend most of my income on you.

8)   Eat all of your dinner! There are starving children in Africa who would love to have that as a meal!” – I paid way too much money for that food for you to just play with it on your plate and then scrape it into the garbage. You’re going to eat it whether you like it or not.

9)   “Do as I say, not as I do” /”Because I said so”– Variations on the same theme. See point #5. I really have no rational explanation for the fact that I’m totally contradicting everything I’ve told you not to do by doing it myself. This phrase is my way out.

10) “I’m going to count to three… ” – I’m about to commit filicide in three seconds if you don’t stop

What classic parenting phrases do you use on your kids? Do they work?

To view this article over at Huffington Post, click here FREE SAMPLES

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Socks and Lids

by Samantha on November 11, 2012

Embrace the fact that socks and lids keep disappearing...

Socks and lids – they’ve both gone the way of the Dodo in my household.

Socks disappear into the apparent abyss that is also known as a dryer.

Lids for Tupperware-type plastic storage containers like the one below, disappear into the secondary abyss that is my kitchen drawer.

Who would have known that two seemingly similar items would share a common trait: the ability to behave like Houdini and make an incredible escape right under my nose?

We’ve all heard the complaint about socks being eaten in the dryer. “Sure,” we would say to those who professed such nonsense. That is, until the first time that you yourself were frantically trying to find a matching pair of these items for your child minutes before you were to transport them to school in time for the first schoolyard bell. In my case, my kids regularly end up at school with mismatched socks all to often and much to my embarrassment. It’s that blasted dryer, I tell you.

Lids – now there’s a new phenomenon. In the early days of plastic containers, I can’t recall ever having to hunt down the two pieces of this convenient puzzle in order to store my leftovers, cereal and otherwise. These days, however, it seems that there is some kind of container conspiracy at play and I’m left with a mismatched array of useless plastic.

I guess I should be thankful about this situation as, with everything, things could be worse. For example, in addition to socks going astray, how much worse would it be if my Spanx disappeared as well? Yup – things could be worse.

I should also find solace in the fact that the current Tupperware-type container of choice is in fact a cheap knockoff, one of many that I have and will continue to buy at my local dollar store. Heck, if I’m going to lose them on a regular basis, they might as well be cheap. However, the fact that I’m continually replacing them and perhaps paying more than I ever would if the lids didn’t disappear is not lost on me. Oh, the irony.

The solution? Here’s how I’m going to address these irritations head-on:

Socks – I will be actively supporting a push towards a fashion statement that embraces mismatched socks. Let’s go along with the idea that there’s a new fad amongst the kiddie set and I’m the one who’s started it. It’s cool to wear mismatched socks. After all – conformity is for nerds, isn’t it? Teaching your child to think outside the box can only be good thing. It gives them the confidence at a young age that they will need later on (think Frosh Week). Yes – nonconformity can work, especially when the ones doing the non-conforming are too young to really object to whatever ridiculous premise (and clothing) that their parents inflict upon them. As well, refusing to go along with the crowd is what all of us should strive to do because it shows strength of character (and in this case: strength of parent).

Lids -Who knew that there were so many uses for plastic food storage container lids? Sure, we’ve all been “had” by the powers that be who want to keep us ignorant to the uses of this common item. Now that I’ve learned about the various ways that we can all use these lids, I feel morally obliged to share. So here goes. Plastic food storage container lids can be used in the following ways:

  • As super-sized coasters and conversation starters at dinner parties. Think of how you will be the envy of your friends and extended social groups when you whip these babies out during cocktail hour at your home. The buzz about your hipster status will reach far and wide and you will likely be approached by would-be hipster mavens and fashion gurus who want to emulate and copy your personal sense of style.
  • As an arts and craft project with your kids and modern take on stain glass windows. Think about it: what other child can say that they “let the sun shine in” via high-density polyethylene (HDPE/plastic #2), low-density polyethylene (LDPE/plastic #4) and polypropylene (PP/plastic #5)? Probably very few, if any.
  • As toys! Why pay money for expensive toys that your kids will just break anyway? By taking advantage of the tough and durable nature of the various plastics (see point above), you will not only be saving the environment through recycling the lids, but you will be fostering your child’s creativity as well! Think about it: lids as Frisbees. Lids as game boards. Lids as – well, anything! With kids’ imaginations, the possibilities are endless.

So as you can see, all hope is not lost regarding the problem of errant socks and lids. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. After all

 Do you have this problem of missing socks and lids? How do you deal with it? Answer in the comments below :)

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Image of storage containers courtesy of; image of socks courtesy of


Birthday Celebrations at The Mandarin

November 9, 2012

The Mandarin is a great locale for family celebrations **Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by The Mandarin Restaurant, however as always, the opinions are completely my own** October is always a busy month in our household. There are family birthdays upon family birthdays, so it’s always a mad scramble to get everyone together for […]

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VIDEO: How to Survive Children’s Birthday Parties

November 2, 2012

Birthday parties for kids are often one of the most stressful things that a parent can endure. Between the planning, the expectations and the cost, it’s no wonder that these events cause even the most calm of parents to break out into a cold sweat. Whether it’s the fact that your child has set her […]

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