My sons have been running summer lemonade stands for years. Their first was on Canada Day 2005 when they were ages four and one. There were no signs, just two very little kids sitting at a green IKEA table, the top scattered with paper cups, a pitcher of over-iced, weak lemonade, and a jar of change on the ground beside the bright blue chairs. It was incredibly hot and for an hour I stood holding an umbrella over their heads. Still, sales weren’t big that day but they did learn a valuable lesson in marketing.
Their next lemonade stand they made a bristol board sign with letters that started out evenly spaced out but gradually smooshed together when they ran out of room - the right hand edge of the bristol board always comes sooner than you think. Both took turns waving it in the air and yelling out to drivers and pedestrians alike, “Lemonade for 50 cents!” Business was better that day.
We’ve all seen them, little pop-up stands with tiny kids serving up lemonade that’s either lukewarm or over-iced and weak. Some are for charity, while others are simply so kids can make money for themselves. I've heard other adults say they won't buy lemonade from a stand if it's not for charity but I have a soft spot in my heart for kids who are taking their entrepreneurial skills to the next level. Some days the kid inside my adult mom body would love to make a few extra bucks from a lemonade stand. A girl's gotta support her salt 'n vinegar chip habit somehow.
My boys have sold lemonade to people on bikes, skateboards, and scooters. I will always appreciate our neighbours who bought from them time and time again, usually overpaying the 50 cent price and giving a loonie with a “keep the change” as they walked away. Many of them smiled and said, “Mmmmmm…." when they drank it but I knew better because I had tasted it as well.
Each and every time my boys made a sale, I smiled. I smiled because these kind people took time from their schedules to stop at a little table for a paper cup filled with lukewarm, slightly weak lemonade.
We’re all so busy, us adults. I know I’m a “get ‘er done” type of mom and am often rushing around trying, but never quite getting through, my never ending to do list. Sometimes I’m so focused on what I have to do, I forget to slow down and enjoy the small moments. Moments like stopping at a lemonade stand and bringing joy to a little entrepreneur whose mom’s kitchen is currently a sticky disaster zone from a small child trying to mix lemonade on his own.
So this summer, maybe we can all take a moment to stop when we see a lemonade stand, and if the change in our pocket allows for it, to overpay those small kids sitting in the hot sun.
You’ll be giving something where cost is beyond measure because we never know how our small kindnesses impact those around us, and that’s always worth our time, isn’t it? Plus, there’s something magical about drinking lemonade made by kids…
Even when it’s lukewarm and weak.
Have we lost all of our common sense? Like, every single last little bit of it?
When I read this article about how chalk has been banned in a townhouse complex in north London, I thought I was reading a satirical story, but nope. It’s a real news, y’all.
The people who live in the townhouse complex received a warning in their mailboxes on Thursday stating, “We ask all tenants, including children, help maintain the integrity of the complex by refraining from using paint or sidewalk chalk on any common areas including sidewalks, parking lots, brick or fences.”
And if the kids decide to draw anyway? Well, then the parents get hit with a cleaning fine.
Hold up a second… a cleaning fine for removing chalk?
I’ve been a parent for 14 years and 12 of those 14 years have involved chalk. What I’ve learned about chalk is that it can be removed by:
a) a hose
c) just regular every day life
Never once have I had to pay someone to remove said chalk drawings. Not even when my son drew a very large penis in the middle of our street. Said penis came off quite quickly with a well-aimed hose and he was sent to his room to write me a letter about why drawing large penises in the middle of the road was not a good idea.
When the warm weather hits I scrawl messages on our front street to surprise my boys when they leave for school. Little did I realize the havoc I was creating by using an easily washable substance to write on cement.
We live in a day and age where our kids not getting enough exercise, and we complain because they constantly have their heads pointed towards some sort of screen. Our kids are shuttled to and from activities and they are losing out on free play more and more.
Yet, here are some kids playing outside, using their imagination and creativity, to draw. Something we used to do as kids. Or worse, they're using chalk to be active. How many games of hopscotch did you play when you were a child? How many races did you run where the start and end points were simple lines drawn across the road. Remember Four Square? Or how about when you had a friend outline your body and you drew in your face, hair, and clothes?
A gentleman from the Kipps Lane Property Management said that for every parent who likes chalk, there are tenants who do not so they have to ‘balance’ both to which I call bullsh*t because banning chalk means there is no balance. It works out to:
“People who don’t like chalk” - 1
“People who do like chalk” – 0
I don’t even have an the words to express how this is in my top ten of the stupidest things I’ve read this year. I’m sure there are some people who are going to completely disagree with me, and you know what? That’s okay. Just don’t move in beside me because at about 7:00 a.m. every weekday morning you’ll see me on the street destroying the integrity of our neighbourhood.
Chalk ban, indeed.
This video of a baby rocker has been shared over 87,000 times and has over 2,000 comments.
I’ll save you the trouble of reading all of the comments and summarize that there are a lot of women who will think you are a terrible, no good, very lazy mom and you will never bond with your baby if you buy this.
Peeps have strong opinions about rocking giraffe.
My second son was a bit of a screamer. He quite literally screamed himself to sleep for about a year.
There were lots of things I would do to try and calm this sweet screamy baby…two or three times a day we would walk around our neighbourhood with him strapped into a Baby Bjorn as he screamed his teeny tiny little head off until he finally conked out. I became such a familiar sight pacing back and forth that one neighbour would knock on her window to get my attention and wave me into her home so she could carry him for awhile just to give me a break. He also loved it when I bounced on an exercise ball while holding him. For hours. Basically any sort of movement made him happy.
These things were great but not always convenient because I also had a toddler and toddlers don’t find it very entertaining to walk around the neighbourhood with a screaming baby for hours at a time. Go figure.
I can’t remember what my final breaking point was but whatever happened that day, the end result was an email to my husband that simply said:
“Don’t come home without this,” with a link to a baby swing.
Four hours later the swing was set up in my kitchen. It was the swing that saved my sanity. The swing that allowed me to spend time with my toddler instead of putting him in front of the t.v. while I bounced on an exercise ball. The swing that STOPPED MY BABY FROM SCREAMING.
I think it cost about one hundred dollars but let me be very clear…. I WOULD HAVE PAID $10,000 FOR THAT SWING.
So it pisses me off when I read judgmental comments on a video of a rocking giraffe that at their very essence are written to make another mother feel “less than.”
The fact is every single one of us has crutches we will use to make motherhood easier at one point or another. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. US. You may say you won’t or think you won’t but I’m here to tell you that, yes… yes you will.
Maybe your crutch will be to order groceries online and have them delivered so you don’t have to grocery shop with a newborn and a toddler (by the way, they also deliver wine – just saying), or you got a super awesome carrier to free up your arms and hands to do other things. Maybe you bought a kick-ass double action breast pump so your partner could also get up in the middle of the night to feed your baby, or maybe you'll have a house cleaner come in once a week.
Your crutch is going to be unique to you but at some point during our motherhood careers we are all going to get or use something that will make our lives a teensy bit easier. If it’s not when you have a newborn baby, it will be when you have a toddler, or a school-aged kid, or a teenager. Because motherhood is a marathon and marathons are f*cking exhausting. Only unlike a marathon, there is no finish line for motherhood, it just keeps going and going and going.
So this is for every mom who has ever done something to make her life a little bit easier to help get through a bad day.
This is for every mom who has ever felt judged about a decision she made that worked for her and her family.
This is for every mom who looks at that video and thinks to herself, “I’d really like that” and then cringes as she reads the judgmental comments.
Because that swing saved my sanity and buying it didn’t make me a terrible, no good, lazy mom who didn’t bond with her kids. In fact, those kids are now much older and they're pretty spectacular.
Go buy it, I’ve got your back.