Dear Beta Fans  Mom,

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve officially decided to give up the blogging business for now.  The sheer pace of having to post once every four months is exhausting, and I just can’t keep it up.

However, if your worried about how you’re going to keep up with my constant struggle to strive for mediocrity – HAVE NO FEAR!  I will now be writing a weekly column and reviews for a terrific new website/e-zine called Momicillin!  I share writing duties with several other funny and talented moms.  You can find us over at:

If nothing else, check out my illustrated self.  If you’re wondering if I’m truly that adorable in real life, well….um….yes.  Yes I am.

So that’s all folks – for now!

Much love,


You might be a Beta Mom if…

You know the full name, biographical history and astrological sign of every character on Desperate Housewives, but you can’t remember your child’s teacher’s first name.

Iceberg, dead ahead! No, wait, that’s my belly.

This past Saturday we celebrated the 11th birthday of our beloved Beta Boy.  We also, as we often do when we speak of the day he was born, observed the anniversary of “The Day We Realized Kids Can Totally Screw Up Your Plans”.   Poor Beta Boy, constantly reminded that he was not our top priority on that cold January day so many years ago.  I had no intention of having a baby THAT DAY.  THAT DAY I was going to see Titanic.   Beta Boy was not due to arrive for another week, and I hate it when people drop in unexpectedly.    But there I was, awake at 5am, with a nagging tug at my midsection.   I got out of bed and showered, working to convince myself that I was not, in fact, in the early stages of labor.  Hunger pains, perhaps.  Nothing that some Whoppers and a giant popcorn won’t fix. Yessiree, I thought, I’ll get myself some tasty snacks when I go to the MOVIE.  TODAY.  

Tug.  Tug.

 Hmmmm, maybe a pulled muscle.  Boy, all the strain of the extra weight is pulling on me.  I can’t wait to have this baby NEXT WEEK.  Maybe I can bring a little pillow with me when I go to the MOVIE.  TODAY.  

Tug. Tug.

Maybe it’s gas.  Good thing Beta Dad is still asleep.  I think if he never has to hear the words “gassy” “heartburn” and “I don’t remember eating that?!” again he’ll be very happy.  He, too, must be very relieved that we’re having this baby NEXT WEEK.  I should probably bring Tums to the MOVIE.  TODAY.   To help with all those delicious MOVIE snacks I’m going to eat.  TODAY.

Tug. Tug. 

It was clearly time for our first mother-child talk.  “Look kid, I don’t know what’s going on in there, but it seems to me you’re getting a little big for your britches and are thinking about coming out today without asking permission first.  This is what grown-ups call “unacceptable”.   That’s a very big word that means “no f*@#ing way”.  Mommy has very big plans today.  She is going to a movie.   That’s when pretty people act out dramatic and exciting things on a giant screen, and mommy pretends that she is not as big as the boat in the movie and that, like Kate Winslet, she is wearing beautiful gowns instead of her Winnie the Pooh sweatpants.  She also dreams that Leonardo DiCaprio will come take her away from the sleepless nights and swollen ankles and will love her despite her 10, no wait, there’s 11, stretch marks.  Mommy REALLY needs to go to the movies today, so be a good baby and stay in your womb nice and quite for me.  If you can do that for mommy, I will get you Chinese food and ice cream later, okay?”

Tug.  Tug.

Eventually I woke Beta Dad with the fateful words, “I don’t think we’re going to see Titanic today”  and 12 hours later the magnificent Beta Boy made his grand entrance, smug in the knowledge that he was now in charge of our lives.  

We did eventually see Titanic.  It was, in fact, our first date away from Beta Boy.   I’m still working on the words to describe the experience of leaving your newborn child for the first time to go see quite possibly the longest, most melodramatic movie of all time.  Let’s just say there were hysterical tears and a LOT of nursing pads involved.

In the meantime, Happy Birthday Beta Boy – you were totally worth missing the movie.  


But you still owe me a box of Whoppers.

Dear Reader, Thank you for the reading. Love, Beta Mom

As we wind our way back into a somewhat normal schedule after the frenzy of Christmas break there is one thing I am determined to accomplish.  We are sending out thank-you notes.  Come hell or high water, we are slapping our gratitude down on a piece of paper and sending it to those who took the time to shop, wrap and ship for us.  

I’ve spoken before of my terrible correspondence skills. No where else does the guilt about my shortcoming creep into my soul like it does over the issue of thank-you notes.  It’s not that we’re thankless, thoughtless people snatching up the fruits of other folks’ generosity and riding off into the sunset yelling “So long sucka’s!”.   We THINK a lot about thank-you notes.  We TALK a lot about thank-you notes.  We REMIND each other a lot about thank-you notes.  And yet, more often than not, days, weeks and then months go by and we have not brought pen to paper.    Simply awful.  

Well, not this year.  Our gratitude knows no bounds and I am committed to showing it.  Knowing that the easier the process is the more likely we are to see it through, I bought “fill in the blank” thank you cards.  Not great, I know, especially for Beta Boy who is quite capable of writing his own notes.  However, I’m working in baby steps here and on the premise that it’s the thought that counts.

Dear blank,

Thank you for the blank.  It made me really happy.  

Love, blank

About five minutes in, I began to realize why I avoid the note-writing process with my children.

Beta Mom:  Okay -this one is for Aunt Marge and Uncle Henry*.   Do you remember what they gave you?

Beta Boy:  Um…the puzzle, the pajamas and the book.

Beta Girl:  I’m hungry.  Can I have a snack?

Beta Mom:  In a minute.  So where it says “thank you for the – blank”  write puzzle, pajamas and book.

Beta Boy:  Can’t I just write “gifts”?

Beta Girl:  How do you spell Marge?

Beta Mom:  No – they took all that time to shop for those things for you.  The least you can do is write them down.  M-A-R-G-E.

Beta Girl:  M- A….what was the next part again?

Beta Boy:  Okay, I’ll write “puzzle”.

Beta Mom:  R-G-E.  No, you’ll write “puzzle, pajamas and book”.  Beta Girl, what did Aunt Marge and Uncle Henry send you?

Beta Girl:  I don’t remember.

Beta Boy:  Done.  Can I go play Wii now?

Beta Mom:  No, you may not.  You still have more to write.  What do you mean you don’t remember?  Their presents were wrapped in that green paper with the snowmen on it.  You opened it up and inside there was a…

Beta Girl:  I dunno.

Beta Boy:  She could just write “gifts”.

Beta Mom:  No!

Beta Boy:  “Thoughtful gifts”?

Beta Girl:  How do you spell Henry?

Beta Mom:  Forget it.

Turns out that, in fact, our gratitude does know a few bounds.

Dear Mom,

Thank you for the part where you didn’t kill us.  

It made me really happy.


Beta Boy and Beta girl.


*Names have been changed to protect the under-appreciated.

Keeping up with the Joneses

We have a new family in our neighborhood.  They recently moved into a renovated three-bedroom fixer-upper that had been abandoned for quite some time.  Our new neighbors arrived over the holidays looking shiny and optimistic.  We  watched as they loaded in their grand piano, art prints, antique couches, two beautiful children and a menagerie of pets.   

They are the Jones family.  Bob and Cynthia Jones* to be exact, along with their children Sissy and Jr..  They seemed a little quiet at first, but once the children got to playing they loosened up and I’m sure we’re all on our way to becoming good friends.

This is a picture of their house:


Moving Day is always a little chaotic.

Moving Day is always a little chaotic.


Now, you can’t tell from the picture, but their house sits directly next to my favorite comfy chair, so I peek in from time to time to see how they’re doing.  Well, I am here to report that despite the happy facade things are amiss in the Jones house.  Last night I couldn’t help but notice (especially seeing as they have yet to put up any curtains) that the stress of the move, along with the pressure of maintaining perfect hair, seems to have gotten to Cynthia.




What makes this all the more disturbing is that while Cynthia appears to be having a full on breakdown over the very idea of giving Jr. his bath, Bob appears otherwise unaffected.


Bob sleeps with his clothes on to hide the fact that he is not anatomically correct.

Bob sleeps with his clothes on to hide the fact that he is not anatomically correct.


Men can be such pigs.  I think I will bake a tiny pie and stop over to see if I can be of any help.  


*editor’s note – Please do not take any offense if your name happens to be Bob or Cynthia Jones.  Beta Mom is sure that you are in fact very a well-adjusted, average-sized person who lives in a real house.

Holiday Greetings from the Betas

Greetings friends,

We’ve survived another holiday season, with enough cheer, food, angst, more food and family time to get us through another year.   We actually had a very pleasant holiday – just the right balance of celebration and relaxation.  My one lingering regret is that our Christmas cards never got sent.  We have the cards – we even ordered picture prints for each one, but there the piles sit in my kitchen hopeful and patient.   Maybe next year.

Instead we composed a holiday E-News letter.  While such an action is enough to cause Martha Stewart to rip into the homemade  bottles of bloody Mary Mix she so carefully wrapped in her designer hand towels, we felt it was the least we could do to try to salvage the remains of long-neglected correspondence.  It was your usual fare; snippets of information about what we’ve been up to this year, quips about the challenges of parenting and how our kids keep us on our toes, recognitions of our blessings, etc. etc.  Pretty much typical of what many of us receive this time of year.  Sure the activities might vary from letter to letter – “Little Jimmy began his pre-school SAT prep class this year”  – and the achievements differ – “We’re happy to report that Bob has been cleared of all charges” –  but it’s generally a glossy look back at your family’s year.   

I think next year we should all aim for a little more honesty in our letters.  I’m not suggesting that what we write now isn’t true, I just don’t think it paints an accurate portrait of our day-to-day selves.  Let’s make the newsletter process a little more relatable.  Talking points might include:

“We finally made it to the bottom of the laundry pile in the closet!”

“We cooked more at home, mostly because the Chinese food place no longer delivers.”

“The children had clean socks that matched almost every day this year.”

“Nobody ingested anything toxic.”

“After many months, we figured out where that smell was coming from.”

“Nobody hit, bit, scratched or in anyway caused bodily harm to anyone else.”

“Our son decided NOT to take up the drums.”

“We finished painting the 1/3 of the wall that was left unpainted when we ran out of paint last February.”

“Twice this year the children replaced the roll of toilet paper on their own without being asked.”

“And finally, we’re happy to report that we’ve all managed to avoid stepping in it when the cat poops in the hall.”

Yes, I think this is what we should aim for.  After all, it’s the little day to day triumphs that unify us and for which we are truly grateful.

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying the both the big and small blessings in your own lives!

Happy New Year!


Snow Betas

Snow Betas

The few, the proud, the mommies.

One thing I have truly come to appreciate in my life with the children is the friendship of other mommies. There’s a quality about these friendships that makes them unique.  Even the nature of my relationships with friends I knew before we had children has evolved into something deeper.  

Some might argue that we’re all connected by an earth-mother-goddess-thread that forms from motherhood. The profound satisfaction of having brought children into this world, one way or another, has created a spiritual sisterhood.   

Hmmmm….perhaps. In truth, however, I think it’s something closer to the bonds that form between soldiers in wartime.  

“Alright mommies – here’s how it stands.  We got stinky diapers to the north, a tantrum coming in over the southern ridge and a 10-year-old who wants a bra holding strong on the eastern front.  I’m not sure we’re gonna get outta this one.   Let me just say this: it has been an honor serving with you all.”

Just when I think I’m going to lose my mind, mommies are there to reel me back in.  When I think my family is off the chart, mommies are there to remind me that the charts don’t matter and there is no normal.  When I feel misunderstood, they translate.  These are the women I laugh with until I pee, which is not so hard to do since none of us have the bladder control we had before children.  These are the women who I can talk with about most anything, from the serious to the silly.  From “What does Fifth’s Disease look like?” to “Ooohhh – how many speeds does THAT one come in?” no topic is off limits.  

If one of us becomes a prisoner of war, trapped in a cell block of littered toys, jelly smudges and math worksheets, we can rest easy know that someone will be there to rescue us.

And onward we charge together.