Marlena Rice

Marlena Rice

Marlena Rice is a busy mom and writer who lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Rod, and their son, Beaux William. Her new book, “Pacifiers, Flatbeds and Barn Wood Thingamajigs, a ‘Come to Jesus Guide’ for the New, Southern Mom,” will be available on soon. 

Do you have activities and traditions passed along by your parents that you now enjoy with your children when the holiday season rolls around? Or are you a believer in creating your own? Or maybe you are a mother for the first time this year and are looking to discover and incorporate new traditions for your new family.  

Beaux William,

I am four years into this mama life, and I am truly thankful for …

With fall officially here, so comes “busy mom” mode. But can we truly do everything? Is it possible to work full time and be active in your child’s school? Below are a few tips that may help you readjust the “busy” in your mommy schedule as you strive to do both. 

Have you ever wanted to take a picture of your child, advertising his or her stats, and soliciting for a playmate? Something like this …  

When I first realized I was going to become a mom, I pushed the fast-forward button, excitedly thinking about the rapidly growing list of fun things I could do as my son grew – making homemade sports jerseys with his number on them for game days, the excitement he’d bring to life as he experienced things for the first time I’d long lost enthusiasm for, and generally discovering his personality, likes, and passions. 

You’ve seen her. She’s the mom at the grocery store that is the epitome of everything you are presently trying to accomplish. She’s athletic, and her workout shoes look well-worn (yes, her thigh gap proves it), but they look perfectly presentable to wear in the grocery store. Her shopping cart is filled with healthy(ish) foods, compared to your array of Tuna Helper and DiGiorno Pizza. And what really catches your eye the most: her child is with her. Sitting quietly in the buggy. With no hassle. With no crying. And, as your preschooler pulls you by the arm to the tiny toy section scrunched between the paper towels and magazines on aisle 10, you wonder how she did it.  

I was in ninth grade when I was gifted with my first official cell phone. There was no social media constantly vying for my attention. Fast-forward to present day. Children are bombarded with the ease and “right now” mentality that all things digital promise. As the mother of a three-year-old who is just as skilled with an iPhone as myself, I can attest to the marketing of countless fun, cutesy learning apps that consume our little ones to the point of keeping even the busiest busybody still.  

I was in shock. He had just pulled away from me, and the words, as cute as they sounded in his three-year-old voice, broke my heart. “Stop mama, get away.”

What?! What did my son mean, “get away?” What does that even mean?! Heartbroken, I pretended I was okay. But, being the “Smother Mother” my husband says I am, I gave things another shot. I covered my eyes, made my shoulders shake, and I fake cried. 

Remember what travel life was like before motherhood? It was often as simple as sending your husband a text on a Friday afternoon.

“Atlanta or Nashville?”

It was a quick and easy process: Toss a few outfits into a duffle bag and hit the road for a spontaneous, easy weekend out of town. 

Enter motherhood, where nothing is “quick” or “easy” – especially family trips. We must plan, save money and, above all, we must prepare ourselves for vacationing with kids. 

Recently, I called my husband on the way to work to discuss a pressing matter. Months ago, we agreed that this morning drive is the best time for us to talk about serious matters – everything from home repair ideas to bills. With over half of our small family commuting to Birmingham each day, scheduling these tougher conversations frees up our evening time for relaxing.  

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.


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