Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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37 Ways To Fail At Perfection

If you've spent much time on this planet, at some point or another you've felt pressure to be perfect. Maybe that pressure was coming from someone else, and maybe it was coming from within yourself—a little teenage-you voice inside your head telling you that a pimple on the end of your nose was the end of the world, or a mom-you voice saying that you should do more baking or crafting or that you should actually be able to remember all your kid's friends' moms' names, which frankly I don't even think is scientifically possible—but one way or another we've all felt the pressure to be more. Be better. Be perfect.

But nobody is perfect, so at some point we've also all failed miserably at trying.

Here are just a few examples of ways I might be failing at perfection on any given day of the week (most of them on days during this particular current week):
  1. Brought a class snack to school on the wrong day.
  2. Couldn't fight my way back out of my Spanx.
  3. Hemmed my daughter's pants, but somehow managed to sew the legs together instead.
  4. Asked my kid how to use Snapchat, which apparently is about as lame as you can possibly be while attempting to be cool.
  5. Then was reminded by my kid that he's not allowed to use Snapchat.
  6. Wore the perfect shade of lipstick...on my teeth.
  7. Made a beautiful, Pinterest-inspired dinner that tasted disgusting.
  8. Took 857 attempts to get one decent holiday family photo.
  9. Wore some sexy new jeans—then got home and realized there's a sparkly My Little Pony sticker on my butt.
  10. Told my husband a really funny story because I knew it would make him laugh. Which it did. The day before, when he'd told the story to me.
Okay, so if you're counting (and still remember the title of this post), you'll notice that I didn't actually list 37 ways to fail at perfection.

But I have a good reason for that.

YOU GUYS. If you've been here for a while, you're not going to believe this.

Remember how, a million years ago, I used to be a writer?

Well brace yourselves, because...I still am.

I KNOW. Based on the fact that I only put up a new post here once every eighteenth blue moon and I suck on ice about linking to articles I write on other sites, you probably thought I forgot how to computer.

But I do still write, and in fact, I'm in a new book that's being released today!!!

It's all about people's attempts to be perfect—and their hilariously spectacular failures.

Thirty seven of them, to be exact.

My essay in the book goes all the way back to when I was in my early twenties. It starts off like this:

And then it goes downhill from there. Or uphill, depending on how much you like stories about people who lose their eyebrows thanks to questionable dating choices.

I realize now that makes it sound like I ended up dating the nymphomaniac. Let me be very clear that I DID NOT DATE THE NYMPHOMANIAC. The nymphomaniac did, however, give me a very heartfelt and oddly religious Christmas card as I was moving out of that apartment, even though we had never spoken to each other before that moment and I'm pretty sure it wasn't near Christmas.

But that's a different story for another time. Back to the book!

If you've ever tried to be perfect and failed, you're not alone. In this humorous collection of stories, 37 women detail their misguided quest for perfection and the epic failures that result. Get your copy of I Just Want to Be Perfect (the fourth book in the best-selling series) today, and laugh along with us at the silly and impossible pursuit of perfection.

Yes, it's available RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, so go pick up a copy (or several) right now! It'll probably be the most perfect thing you do all day.


Jen Mann - People I Want to Punch in the Throat / I Just Want to Pee Alone

Bethany Kriger Thies - Bad Parenting Moments

Deva Nicole Dalporto - MyLifeSuckers

Julianna Wesby Miner - Rants From Mommyland

Lola Lolita - SammichesPsychMeds / MockMom

Kim Bongiorno - Let Me Start By Saying

Alyson Herzig - The Shitastrophy

Kathryn Leehane - Foxy Wine Pocket

Harmony Hobbs - Modern Mommy Madness

Erin Dwyer Dymowski - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Tara Wood - Love Morning Wood

Kelcey Kintner - The Mama Bird Diaries

Lisa René LeClair - Sassypiehole

Joelle Wisler - Joelle Wisler, Writer

Christine McDevitt Burke - Keeper of The Fruit Loops

Meredith Spidel - The Mom of the Year

Meredith Gordon - Bad Sandy

Nicole Leigh Shaw - NicoleLeighShaw.com

Allison Hart - Motherhood, WTF?

Jennifer Lizza - Outsmarted Mommy

Suzanne Fleet - Toulouse and Tonic

AK Turner - Vagabonding with Kids

Robyn Welling - Hollow Tree Ventures

Ashley Fuchs - The Malleable Mom

Kim Forde - The Fordeville Diaries

E.R. Catalano - Zoe vs. the Universe

Chrissy Woj - Quirky Chrissy

Stacey Gill - One Funny Motha

Wendi Aarons - wendiaarons.com

Jen Simon – jensimonwriter.com

Janel Mills - 649.133: Girls, the Care and Maintenance Of.

Jessica Azar - Herd Management

Susanne Kerns -The Dusty Parachute

Audrey Hayworth - Sass Mouth

Hedia Anvar - Gunmetal Geisha

Christine Organ - christineorgan.com

Shya Gibbons - ShyaGibbons

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!

The Ultimate Automated Dial-In Menu For Moms

Motherhood can be hard, but this hilarious dial-in menu for moms can help you deal with all those kids' pesky problems and crazy complaints. Too funny—you'll LOL at number 6!

As much as I hate getting stuck on the phone with a robotic voice every time I try to call the cable company, I understand why it’s a necessary evil. I mean, they can’t possibly have a real person field millions of random requests and complaints 24 hours a day!

Hmmm…. who else does that? Oh right! Moms.

Wouldn’t it be nice if moms could set up our own automated menu to sort through the constant demands from our kids? To decide which ones are legitimate requests in need of real live help and which ones can be answered just as easily by a robot?


Ring, ring, ring…

Thank you for calling your mother. Your call is very important to me…unless I haven’t had coffee yet, in which case back away slowly and try your call again later. I’m sorry I can’t come to the phone right now, but considering I’m probably busy cleaning your pee off the bathroom floor or washing the laundry you crammed between your bed and the wall, I’m doing the best I can. Please listen carefully to the following menu; your issue will be resolved in the order in which it was received, provided no one drops the phone in the toilet before then.

If you want mac and cheese, press 1.

If you want mac and cheese but I’ve basically ruined your life by serving it to you in the wrong bowl, please press 1 really hard and hold it down until I get you a new bowl or go insane, whichever comes first.

Check out the rest on Mommy Shorts!

Motherhood can be hard, but this hilarious dial-in menu for moms can help you deal with all those kids' pesky problems and crazy complaints. Too funny—you'll LOL at number 6!

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!

My Kid Is Doing Honesty Wrong

Sure, honesty is the best policy, but is it ever okay—preferable, even—for your kid to lie? Check out these parenting tips with a healthy dose of humor.

I swear, I try my best to raise my kids right.

Well, maybe "try" and "my best" are a bit too strong. And "right" isn't exactly the word I'm looking for, either. But I am usually nearby while they're growing up, so they can't help but soak up some of my parenting, even if it is mostly accidental.

And like most parents, I thought I should teach my children that honesty is the best policy. Because they should always tell the truth, no matter what. Right?

For the most part, this has worked out just dandy. We have them pretty convinced that lying will always make a situation worse, so when they're in trouble or we even suspect they might be up to no good, they'll almost always admit who's at fault. This has cut way back on the Parenting Effort I have to put forth.
Me (tucking Zoe into bed): Uh, it looks like your DS is still on.
Zoe: Yeah, Jake and I had it all planned out. We were gonna stay up all night playing PictoChat through the wall. You'd better tell him we got caught when you tuck him in.
See? She immediately cracked like an egg—no need for threats or an interrogation. Easy peasy.

Except sometimes (often) it backfires. Not that I don't want them to be honest, but let's face facts—I'm pretty lazy. And there's certain information that I just don't want to know, because then maybe I'm supposed to do something about it.
Husband: I noticed some hand prints on the bathroom mirror.
Zoe (arm shooting up in the air like we asked for volunteers to swim in a vat of chocolate pudding): I climb up on the toilet and lean way over onto the sink to look at my hair in the mirror and get stuff out of the medicine cabinet.
Now, see? There may be issues with hygiene and safety there that I just wasn't interested in dealing with at that particular moment. Do you at least close the toilet lid before you use it as a ladder? And what exactly are you getting out of the medicine cabinet? Do I need to boil my toothbrush? These aren't things a lazy mom wants to think about.

And while we're on the subject of laziness, I also don't want your confession to give me yet ANOTHER thing to discipline you for.
Me (yelling at two rambunctious children): Quit chasing each other through the kitchen while I'm trying to cook!
(Four seconds elapse. Zoe comes shooting through the kitchen again.)
Zoe: Mommy!  Mommy!
Me: What???
Zoe (now in the living room): Nothing, I just wanted to distract you while I cut through the kitchen again.
Really? Now I have to do some complicated trigonometry-based Discipline Equation in my head.
Three demerits for coming in the kitchen, plus two points for being honest about trying to distract me, carry the four, multiplied by two demerits for being SO honest about trying to distract me that it dances dangerously on the edge of sass, divided by the fact that I'm up to my elbows in salmonella-tainted raw chicken juice so I can't chase you around the house with a wooden spoon or whatever good disciplinarians do with their kids when they misbehave.
I never was very good at math. By the time I finish my calculations, the smoke alarm is going off and I have to figure out how much butter it's going to take to pass off some charred lumps of coal as dinner rolls.

What's worse is that she can't really differentiate between "good honesty" and "a little too true."
Zoe (to Gran): I'm almost taller than you!
Gran: Someday you really will be taller than me.
Zoe: Of course I will. Because when I get taller you'll be dead, and then you'll be lying down.
Luckily Gran has a sense of humor about these things.

So sure, honesty is the best policy, but is it ever okay—preferable, even—for your kid to lie?

I guess I have to accept that there's some gray area; as much as I want to teach my kids to always tell the truth, there's a little wiggle room in there to allow for little white lies, the ones that save someone's feelings, or avoid spoiling their good time, or at least don't remind them that they'll be dead someday. Or like when your kid finds a four-leaf clover—they get so excited, why ruin it by pointing out that it isn't even clover?

Sure, honesty is the best policy, but is it ever okay—preferable, even—for your kid to lie? Check out these parenting tips with a healthy dose of humor.

Besides, nobody wants real honesty, not the 100% All The Time kind. In real life, we live in the gray area. If people really wanted the whole truth, nobody would ever ask, "Do these pants make my butt look big?" We'd read all the ingredients in our candy bars before we ate them, and Google the stuff that sounded like it might be an industrial solvent. Every time you greeted someone with "How's it going?" you'd be asking for a two hour conversation about back pain and lanced boils. Every shower in every bathroom on Earth would be tiled in mirrors.

Nobody wants that kind of full disclosure.

So kids, listen up. I love your honesty. But sometimes it's okay to keep things to yourselves. Sometimes you can just say, "Okay, Mom" without giving me a bunch of information I didn't ask for; I definitely don't need you to point out certain truths, like when the lady next to us at the grocery store is REALLY, REALLY OLD, and I especially don't want to hear that kind of honesty at top volume.

I'm not telling you to lie. Just embrace the gray area within honesty.

Because sometimes people want to believe they found a four-leaf clover. Even when it's a weed.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!

5 Ways to Preserve a Happy Marriage

If there's one thing I'm great at, prior divorce notwithstanding, it's being married.

I know a lot of people say marriage requires a lot of work, but I'm not one of them. Maintenance, maybe, but "work" makes it sound like an endless stream of constant drudgery, when in fact research suggests that a solid marriage is actually only 5% drudgery and 80% awesomeness, with a 15% margin of error to allow for how I feel about it when I'm PMSing.

So, as a long-awaited public service, I've collected my top Maintenance Tips For A Happy Marriage.  Follow these five guidelines, and chances are at least 50/50 (or some other fraction) that your relationship will never require any of that pesky "work."

1. Marry the right person
This seems like a no-brainer, but it's astonishing how many people skip this step.

2. Communication
It's all too easy to lose touch with our loved ones, especially if they're not on Twitter for some reason or if the kids are making so much noise you can't hear yourself think. If you're feeling distant from your spouse, even after checking their latest Facebook status updates, I encourage you to address the issue right away.

For example, my husband and I were sitting on the couch one day, each silently absorbed in our Smart Phone screens. Suddenly my phone beeped, letting me know he'd added a photo to Facebook, which was news to me even though he was only about two inches from my hip.
Me: I don't like it very much that my phone knows more about you than I do.
Gerry: Like what? What does your phone know?
Me: It knows...what you're doing on your phone.
Then he laughed at me. But the important thing was that I let him know I felt we were drifting apart, and, if someone happened to be watching through the window, it would have appeared that we were engaged in a pleasant conversation. That's half the battle.

3. Body Language and Thoughtful Gestures
On the subject of communication, let's face it—sometimes it can be easy to get your feelings hurt if you listen to the actual words that someone says.  Or you might go through a dry spell where it seems like ages since your spouse last paid you a compliment.

At these times, remember that the love in your relationship is often unspoken. When he comes home with four gallons of ice cream, it's his way of saying, "Baby, I think those extra 20 pounds are super sexy—don't you change a thing." When he plops down on the couch and unceremoniously changes the channel from HGTV to ESPN, he's saying, "Honey, you don't need these decorating tips—the house looks great!" And when she subsequently cuts him the side eyes and leaves the room in an apparent huff, what she's really thinking is, "That's okay, dearest, I'll use this bit of free time to eat some ice cream. And then I'll help you combine your passions for athletics and recycled mulch by tossing all your sports equipment in the chipper shredder."

If you look for it, the love is there.

4. Say Thank You
Also, look for reasons to be grateful for your spouse, and make sure to let them know they're appreciated. This makes them feel good, and inspires them to do more of the things you appreciate, which creates a self-perpetuating cycle of positive vibes.

If your spouse isn't doing anything particularly noteworthy, you might have to dig for things to be grateful for at first. Try these words of praise to get started:
  • Thanks a lot for mouth-breathing less than usual.
  • It's impressive how high you can get the trash to pile up without toppling before you take it outside.
  • Your efforts to get your filthy clothes within a five-foot radius of the hamper make doing your laundry a real treat.
  • I appreciate how you only belched audibly twice while we were out to dinner with my parents.
With encouragement like this, it won't take your spouse long to get an idea of how much you cherish his or her contribution to the partnership.

5. Hygiene
Sadly, it's common for people to let themselves go after the wedding vows are wrapped up, especially once children enter the equation.  I urge you to avoid this if at all possible—being married doesn't give you a free pass to become utterly repulsive. Refrain from clipping your toenails on the couch. Take the time to spritz on some body spray when you hit day four of being too exhausted to take a shower. Shaving is a nice touch, just try not to leave the entire bathroom peppered with your stubble. The extra effort will go a long way toward keeping the spark in your marriage alive, or should at least reduce your spouse's urge to smother you in your sleep.

If you can manage to keep all five of these tips in mind, or at least one or two of them if you're on an long car trip with the children or you're working on a home improvement project together (nobody expects you to be a saint), you have an excellent chance* of still liking each other by the time the kids move out and you eventually get to spend time as a couple again.
*Actual results may vary. Please be advised that I have no idea what I'm talking about.

This article was originally written for Naked Girl in a Dress

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!

How To Get the Most Out Of Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

I was the proud owner of an ugly Christmas sweater a number of years ago, which I purchased as a joke (aren't they always?) and wore proudly...exactly once.

Don't get me wrong—I love the humor of a ridiculously ugly holiday sweater, and we all know I'm far from afraid to embarrass myself for a good laugh. But I'd never bought another one because I thought, "Why spend money on something I'll only wear once and then stick in a drawer until next year?" I'm willing to bet you've thought the same thing yourself.


The trouble isn't the sweaters, people—the trouble is that we're using them wrong! So this year with my new and improved non-matching-except-in-ugliness T-rex sweater/candy cane leggings combo, I've made it my goal to prove to you how you can really get an amazing amount of wear and enjoyment from your investment in an ugly Christmas sweater.

Sure, you'll want to wear it to your casual family Christmas party, but why stop there? If you have a fancier holiday shindig to go to, you can dress your sweater up with a few simple accessories!

Miss Universe WISHES she'd thought to rock a boa-topped dinosaur sweater.

Be sure to get it through your never-ending laundry cycle ASAP so you can break it back out in time to decorate the tree...

Please note that the sweater was in no way responsible for the fact that the first ornament on our tree was a glow-in-the-dark bracelet that stopped glowing about seven months ago.

...and wear it in your festive holiday family photos!

Not pictured: Most of my children, because OMG Mom, as if.
Bring the joy of the season to the office by wearing a "business in the back, party in the front" ensemble to work.

The jacket says you mean business in the boardroom, while the sweater says that even serious professionals think extinct animals with comically short arms opening Christmas presents are hilarious.

And bring a smile/pity to your mail carrier's face with your ugly sweater when she's dropping off holiday packages!

I have the best, most patient mail carrier in the universe.
I hope she comes back someday.

As you can see, this delightful little number is perfect for any holiday occasion—frankly, an ugly Christmas sweater is so versatile you'll never want to take it off!

My new ugly (yet shockingly comfortable) Christmas ensemble was provided by the fine folks at Tipsy Elves, who do ugly Christmas sweaters better than anyone you'll ever meet! At the time of this post they're having a fabulous sale, so now that you know it's well worth your time to pick up an ugly holiday sweater GET OVER THERE AND DO IT! And, if for some inexplicable reason you're still not sold on the sweater, they have jumpsuits, college gear, PJs and all sorts of other stuff you surely can't live without. (If you're still looking for a gift to get me, I'll take a flask or three, thanks!)

Special thanks to #TipsyElves for the holiday cheer—all opinions and secret desires to wear an outfit every day about which I can constantly point out "My pants match my dinosaur's scarf!" are entirely my own.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!