Mom vs Mom

Let me set the scene. 9:00 am, my daughter and I roll into the local library to get our read on at our weekly story time. We go potty (as to not interrupt our story), and head to the circle. Grab a carpet square, a book and head to an open spot. Seems like a nice setting, am I right? WRONG. As we approch our seat, we are haunted by the feeling of hungry eyes and snarls. I swear I feel an icy cold breeze as we pass by a mother and son team. I can’t help but feel out of place in such a windy arena. I wasn’t prepared for this. I feel like I should climb up a tree and look for tracker jackers to aid in my escape. Wait, I am not Katniss. I am Erin. Mother of Penelope. Here to share a story and some songs with my daughter. I can survive this. I have to pee again.

I look up, and to my surprise there is but one friendly smile in the whole place. Whew. We become alliances immediately.

You think I’m being dramatic? No.

Something that should be so simple somehow has turned into a fourth Hunger Games novel, only with mothers, at story time. It’s horrifying. I wonder who would play me….

Instead of sharing and helping one another, moms feel they need to one-up, and out-do each other. I really hate when you think you are in a safe mom-zone, and then here comes one of the careers. Trained her whole life to take you down with one round house kick with her knee high boots. She takes no mercy on you. “My kid is smarter and better than your kid.” There. She said it. Those words, that can often be said without actual words, she actually said. 

Well, what is a mom to do? Or say? Or act? I want to slap them across the face and tell them that this is why their child is the way they are. They hear and see all that you do. They are the beautiful mockingjays that stop, listen, then repeat. Over, and over, and over. Till you go nuts, might I add. We have to be careful how we act. Our kids will absolutely become us.

I get that women have always had to sorta fight their way to the top, but why are we fighting each other? What does that prove, really? Whose a bigger Bitch? Yay. At the end of the day, what the hell does that prove? I don’t get it. And I’m sorry, but if we went to high school togeher, and were on the same sports team, and I say “Hey!” Do not look me in the eye and turn around like you didn’t see me. Childish. You’re pathetic. And I’m awesome, so you totally missed out.

When I say, “I stay home” it’s amazing the looks and odd comments I receive. And that goes for friends of mine that work full time. Listen, we all have to do different things for the better of our families. You don’t know the backstory on why someone would desire to stay home, or work or have 20 kids or just one. Stop focusing on being better than the other women in the room and FOCUS ON YOUR CHILDREN. Omg. Why is this so hard?? Did an explosion ruin the hearing in one of your ears (if that really did happen, I’m so sorry, that totally sucks)? We don’t need to be in high school any more. You know, ’cause we’re not.

My rule, for myself and that I’m also teaching my daughter, is to be nice to everyone. If they end up being unkind to you, then turn the other cheek. Then send a glare their way when little eyes aren’t looking. That last part is just for my satisfaction, simply to show that I don’t give a crap, and can hold my own (see what I mean?? It’s even happening in my blog…they infiltrate your brain like tracker jacker venom and you start acting crazy). Not teaching my kid that. Who am I kidding, she’s a girl and already mastered the rolled eyes. ugh. I guess that’s my point, girls are fighters from the beginning. Let’s not fight each other. It’s exhausting. And annoying.

What am I gonna do when she starts school?? I know it gets worse. I’ll just have to bring my bow and arrow with me, I suppose. Or, what was the name of those berries??

Your kids are growing fast. Take the energy you might have after being up 3 times a night, and put that into something good and positive for your kids. Do you wanna look back at your life and see more of your one-upping, or more memories with your kids?? It’s your choice.  *sets a white rose on the desk*  Choose wisely…

My apologies if you are unfamiliar with The Hunger Games, ’cause you were probably lost and for that I am sorry.

A Letter of Hope For the Next Generation

So here you are, finishing school, making big plans with your life, setting up your future. The next big step in life. So many decisions to be made, so little time to make them. Work, apartments, cars, friends, significant others… the list goes on and on. You have that high on life, invincible power that all the older generations long to feel again. That energy to take on anything, nothings going to get in my way! rush though your body enthusiasm. God, I long for that feeling back in my limbs again. Not that I don’t feel good or even powerful at times… But there’s something so ripe and special about the energy you get at your age.

You’re lucky to behold it. And do just that, hold it. Really embrace it. Take those feelings of pride and power and imprint them into your brain. Too often we grow and evolve and start to let go of the energy for life we once held so high. We get swept up with life’s demands, and are pulled in a radically different direction. Taking on the world turns into paying bills on time, keeping in touch with family and friends, making ends meet, and most of all; keeping ahold of yourself. One minute you’re on this journey to discover who you really are, and what your purpose is, and to make a difference. The next minute you’re derailed by the craziness of adult life. It spills over and floods everything in it’s pathway. I want to warn you that this is inevitable. Though this will happen, to different degrees at different times to each of us, let me assure you one thing; you are powerful and able to withstand what this world throws at you. Don’t let it strip you of your dreams and aspirations. Stand up for yourself. Even if you’ve never had to before now, stand.

I’m going to ask you for a favor, as well. I know, I’m throwing a lot at you all at once. Along with holding onto your dreams and standing strong against the hits you may receive, I’m going to ask you to do a few more things. While you are growing and learning and saving the world under our very feet, I ask that you remain kind. I realize that this simple request may sound small and almost silly in a way. But this is important. Our world has always had a struggle with being kind. Slavery, women’s rights, wars, poverty, sickness, equality…and so forth. If you look, there are always kind people behind the scenes of these awful events. Yes, there are and always will be, events. There will always been something. Every decade has a historical event of some kind. What I am asking of you is to choose to be the person that is helping behind the scene, or even in the forefront. Take the time to care. Don’t let an opportunity pass you by where you could have been a positive influence to help even the scales in this unfair world. Choose your paths with careful thought, and remember that we are counting on you and yours to fill up the empty space with love, kindness and hope.

Life Lessons From a Two Year Old

I could never have imagined all I would learn from my little girl. I’ve decided to be kind and share my insight with all of you. I’ve composed a list containing the more substantial information I’ve collected over these few years. You’re welcome.

1. Laugh. It’s good for you and good for those around you. And contagious.

2. Cry. Get it out. Feel what you are feeling when you feel it.

3. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.

4. You could live on apple juice, milk and ham for a week if you needed to.

5. Bugs are f’ing scary.

6. Bugs are tiny reminders that the world is bigger than us. Not everything revolves around our own little comfort zone we call home.

7. Play! Have fun, and enjoy your life.

8. A little dirt never hurt anyone. Or, a lot of dirt…

9. Scream once in a while. It feels good.
Seriously, try it.

10. Spend your time doing what you love.

11. Trampolines are freakin’ awesome.

12. Hug the people you love. It’s nice to hug and to be hugged:)

13. Ask for help.

14. Try try again. And again.

15. Pay attention to the little things. A simple walk around the block can be exciting. The wind, birds, people, dogs. All the things we sorta tune out as adults, my daughter sees and hears.

16. Say ‘Hello’ to everyone you pass. It’s nice.

17. Chocolate is the best thing to ever.

18. Dance like a crazy person in the middle of the day in your living room, just because.

19. Be your own person. A two year old knows what they do and do not like and enjoys what makes them happy. They are still to young to have influence from the rest of the world.

20. And last but not least, love.
Love yourself, love your family, love your friends, love your animals, love the playground, and love your life.

The New Cool

Here I am. In my second year of parenting. Can I just say, holy cow how my world is different now. The world I thought I knew was flipped upside down when my beautiful daughter was born. I mean this in the most loving way possible. She’s truly changed my view of the world. Children do that, ya know? Give you focus, hope and love. I find it interesting the worries and challenges I face now, compared to pre-baby years. Also, how much cooler I became after having her. Yeah, that’s right, I said cooler. This is a little letter to the people who have not yet joined the parenting circle, and a shout out to those who have.

Look out you young collage-going early 20-something. Momma’s dressed and ready to go at 8 in the morning. I rock yoga pants at all activities and at any and all hrs of the day. I.Rock.Them. Listen, if I had a shower in the last 24 hours and I brushed my teeth, WIN. I’m ready to take on the world. Don’t judge me for being late. At least I’m here. And I may look crazy, but check out my kid! She’s lookin’ awesome in her new clothes and cute shoes and I’m pretty proud of that. She’s my biggest accomplishment, after-all.

I remember when fitting into my skinny jeans was top priority. I worked and worked to make more money to buy more skinny jeans. I ate out all the time and was at the gym a million times a week. All of these things I now see as ‘fillers’. I filled up the otherwise empty space in my life with these things. They occupied my mind and time to get me by. I didn’t see this so clearly at that time, of course. Not until my time was fulfilled with more and more meaningful events did I really see how empty I was. I always wanted to be a mom. And when it happened, I was full. Happy. The empty space in my heart was immediately filled. And so was my time. Babies are tons of work! Gym? Uh. Ha! Skinny jeans?? Lol. Now my goals and challenges have switched to being healthy and fit, not skinny. Working hard for the bigger picture, not the immediate result. Figuring out what’s actually important and focusing my energy on those things. Finding happiness in the simple things. And being grateful. Among many many other things.

I want so badly for my kid to grow up secure and happy. I want her to have all she ever hopes for. I want her to know she’s amazing and worth it and go for her dreams. I pray that she’s kind and loving and accepting of those around her. I want her to be a good person. When she lays her head down at night, I want her to feel happy and proud of her actions and decisions from that day. I think it’s pretty awesome that I’ve been given the chance to help her have all this. It’s a lot of pressure too you know, growing a baby then raising a little person. Cause, it’s sorta your fault if they suck as an adult. Yikes. But in all seriousness, it’s the most awesome thing I’ve ever done. And I think that’s pretty cool.

Once you are a parent, life feels different. You take each day in stride, and work hard so your children will have a great life. You start to see the world more clearly, and wonder why you couldn’t see it before. You become wiser. Yep. Like your parents. Uh-huh. I said it. We are becoming our parents. Remember when you thought they were super lame? Well. Look in the mirror. You are now so cool that your kid will eventually be embarrassed by you.

So for those of you that are already parents, congrats. You freakin’ rock.
And to those of you who have yet to join, we will welcome you and you’re new found coolness in time.

Lovin’ God and Gays

Oh man, this is probably going to rub some people the wrong way…but here it goes…

I love God. I also love many people. People of different cultures, race, religion and sexuality.

There is too much allowance in this world to dismiss someone that lives differently than you. If they do not live the same or have the same rules and convictions as you, you are expected to shun them. There is a deep desire to push down anyone who is different than you.

Here are my thoughts; If we all took a moment to step back and allow people to be themselves, I honestly think this would be a better place. You’re never going to like everything about anyone. I just think when we disagree on things like gay marriage, we are allowing our focus to be shifted from where it should lay. Rapist, stalkers, killers, the freakin’ unabomber. Are you picking up what I’m laying down? So what if dude at the coffee shop is gay? What do you care? Are you going home with him? If he’s not attacking you, then just get your cup o’ joe and be on your merry way. You don’t have to agree with everything other people do. You have to agree with what you do. You may have beliefs that his lifestyle is a sin. You are allowed that opinion. I’m not here to try and change it. Honestly, I’m not. I just have a hard time understanding why we have to be so cruel to people we don’t agree with. I don’t get it. I disagree with the women who have nannies raising their kids so they can go to the gym and the spa all damn day, but I’m not going to stand in front of their home with a sign that reads, “This woman will rot in hell”. Or even worse, try to take her kid away from her. The child has a home, food, water, love and attention. I personally believe those things should come from the mother, but, the kid’s ok. So. Ok.

People are mean. Don’t act all innocent. You’ve had thoughts and maybe even said some crap, no one’s perfect. People are scared of the unknown, they are afraid of what they do not understand, and are creatures of their surroundings. You learn what you are taught. This much is true. Being open to something different than you know can be a long, hard road. It’s difficult to accept something you do not understand. I guess that’s my point, you don’t have to understand something for you to accept it. If you are living a life true to your beliefs, than you should relish in that fact, not attack those around you for not having your same beliefs.

When you focus on that one thing you dislike about a person, whether it be their sexuality, the clothes they wear, or the job they have, you discount them as a whole when you don’t even know them at all. Some of the most generous and loving people I’ve met have been gay. If I wrote them off after finding out they were gay, I would have missed out on knowing who they were as a whole person. I wouldn’t have learned about all the community service they provided or the help they gave to those in need. Those specific people made me want to do more. Just because you love God, and aren’t gay, doesn’t mean you are automatically a better person. Even the most God fearing people are not prefect. We are all sinners. Does it not say such thing in the Bible? So let dude in the coffee shop marry another dude, if that’s what he wants. How does his marriage affect yours??

I don’t know exactly how to live in a way that fits all my beliefs into one. It’s a work in progress. I believe in the power of the Lord above, but it’s hard for me to believe that all gays will be shunned to Hell. After all, God makes us exactly the way we are suppose to be, right? Confusing, this religion stuff. I’m not sure we ever have a clear path in this world. After all, this world is an ever changing place, and I would think that he is an ever changing God. But try to say that to a uber Christian. Whatever, they already don’t like me ’cause I have tats. Flowers, hearts and butterflies are offensive, apparently.

Another thing…what about women? African American’s? Were we not at one time fighting fights for/against these people? I suppose there will never be a time when we all get along. Maybe that’s the point, to challenge us. To push us to use our hearts. It’s easier to hate than to love.

I have many goals as a mother. One is to never be that chick that has someone else raising her kid. Another? To show my daughter how to see the good in people. To be kind. Generous. Loving. I don’t want her to be a hateful person. I would hate for her to grow up sheltered in her thinking. I want her to love people for who they really are. And above all, to live up to her own standards, not someones else’s.

Your time on this earth is short. Why spend it pelting others and being cruel?

Non Advice Advice for New Fathers

New fathers everywhere are learning what it really means to be a daddy in today’s world. In the years when our grandparents and great grandparents had babies, mothers were the primary caretakers. Fathers worked and kept the household strong and mothers raised the babies and took care of the home. Some of those mothers also worked (I don’t want to discredit any mother out there that did both. That would be super freakin’ hard). Fathers may have been involved, but not to the extent they are today…excluding those low-life, good-for-nothing’s that we all know and hate. I’m going to go ahead and assume you are not one of those, seeing as you opened and are reading an article on advice for parenthood.
Congrats, btw, for entering this new and amazing adventure! This will be an awesome and crazy life changing event that I’m sure your freakin’ out about. Don’t worry dad, you are not alone. Every new parent-to-be is scared. Your whole world is about to change and you have to get ready. As you sit next to your lady’s growing belly wondering about finances, security, baby proofing, and how you’ll handle that first boyfriend, your mind seems to be going a mile a minute. Just don’t forget that you have a partner in this. And she’s just as nervous and as scared as you.
You will be given a lot if advice on, well, everything. Some of it will suck, and some of it will be awesome. It will take time and talking it out with your lady to figure out what works best for your family.

When you first come home with your new bundle of joy, you will most likely not sleep a wink and be totally overwhelmed. And you know what? Just like I said to the new mothers, it’s ok. Everyone feels this way. It’s a whole different world that you’ve just stepped into. Just remember that in time, you will get a routine and start figuring out that little person and things will get easier. If you are not a patient man by nature, you’ll learn to be. This brings me to…

Crying. Babies cry. I know, I know…duh. Right? But there’s a distinct difference between knowing that your baby will cry, and holding your crying baby. It gets stressful when you can’t calm down your baby. It hurts the inside of your heart. A feeling you will become uncomfortably familiar with. Try you best to remain calm during these spouts of “freakin’ out baby”. It will be difficult. You and your lady can take turns holding, rocking and bouncing baby till he calms down. Take turns. With everything. Seriously. This will help the both of you to remain calm. Having a break will allow you to sorta, ‘reset’ your mind to head back in there for another round. One thing that I was told before we had our daughter that stayed with me is, your baby can feel all that you are feeling. If you are stressed and anxious and nervous, they know. They feed off of you and your energy. Sounds hippy-dippy, but its totally true. Try to take a deep breath and relax the best you can. If you need a minute, ask for one. Your lady would rather you ask for a break, then to start acting all crazy while you are holding her baby. That could create way more issues for you then just asking for a minute alone. You’ll get stronger in these situation as they come along. I wouldn’t say it gets easier, but it gets, not as hard…

Babies aren’t breakable….

But, they are. Don’t let the fact that your brand new baby is “breakable” keep you from holding them. If you drop them down the stairs, or try a wrestling move on them, they will break. But moving their arm to get it into a onesie…just move slow and steady and you’ll be fine. Don’t be scared of them. They are pliable.
And I’ll tell you a secret…every parent has a story about dropping their baby, or letting their baby roll of the changing table. It happens. If this does happen to you, please refrain from calling CPS and reporting yourself as being the worst parent ever to walk the earth. You may feel like this, but you are just one of the many this has happen to. It’ll eat you up inside. You may even shed tears. But try not to beat yourself up. You’re not a horrible daddy, nor are you a wimp for crying. Just leave that part out when telling your man friends what happened…

Here’s a fun topic; jealousy. Yep. I said it. It’s hard to ignore, yet almost impossible to talk about. All I have to say is, that feeling you get in your gut when you feel second all the sudden after being first all this time, is normal. Your lady went from being attentive to you and all your needs, to putting almost all that energy into your new baby. Of course you want your little one to get all she needs. And you get that it’s hard to spread out your attention to more than one person. You think about these logical thoughts, then wonder why you might still feel a little jealous. Then maybe a little guilty about even having those feelings to start with. May I offer a view from the mothers side?
We are stressed the hell out trying to figure out how to breast feed, live on no sleep, give our new baby everything they need, and still give you attention so you don’t feel unimportant, because that’s important to us. It’s hard. All I’m askin’ is that try to be patient. Give it time. It will get better. Things will get easier. You’ll eventually get more sleep. And you’ll soon forget what it was like to be jealous of your baby. It’s normal and it will pass. A suggestion? If you are feeling this way, and you feel like you need to talk about it, say it once. No more than that, it’ll just make it harder. You may get your head bitten off, but try to remember, it’s not easy on her either. She did just put herself and her body through what could possibly be the hardest thing she’ll ever do. Reminding her that she has to give so much to other people is not exactly what she’ll want to hear a million times. She knows. And if she’s anything like me, you’ll make her feel like she’s doing a bad job of it if you keep mentioning it over and over.
When things start to get a little easier, you start to find your rhythm, maybe suggest taking her out to dinner just the two of you. It’ll be nice to have alone time, and it’ll be good for her to get out of pajamas and out into the world for an hour or two. And eat real food…without holding a newborn at the same time…with puke on her shoulder and in her hair. So, hold that baby for 20 minutes and let her shower. The shower alone will score you some brownie points. You’re welcome.

Postpartum depression. The first thing you thought of was your lady, right? But up to 25% of new fathers experience postpartum. I know! I just blew your mind, didn’t I? It’s a difficult time. There’s a lot of adjusting and learning and changes happening all at once. It’s no wonder men find themselves suffering from this, as well as women. If you find yourself in this situation, please see your doctor, cause this shit’s real. I should have been on something after my daughter was born. My pride and stubborn nature took over I guess. Don’t suffer if you don’t have to. Asking for help wont make you look weak or any less a man. And I get that pride thing, for men especially, but your new family is bigger than that. You need to take care of yourself in order to take care of them.

Learning to be a daddy. Wow. You are a dad. How does that feel? Pretty awesome, right? Being a parent is the hardest and the most rewarding job on the planet. I’m sure you’ve heard that before. It will seem almost impossible those first few days. At three am you’ll be exhausted and loopy and wondering how you are gonna survive. You will. I mean, you sorta have to. Try and remember that you have a partner in this. Lean on each other during all the stages. The fun, the exhausting and the difficult. Don’t try and drive it alone, or you’ll crash. And look like a idiot. That’s why you have each other. Learning to listen to your lady and learning to talk to her are huge in the learning to be a parent thing. You’ll both have opinions about how to raise your little one. Sometimes your agree and other times…not so much. Be willing to talk it out. This is a big freakin’ deal, it’s a baby not dinner. Take it seriously, but have fun with it too. Children give you a second chance at being the person you really want to be. You have to focus in on you and better yourself to the best of your ability. Kids learn by example. Be the dad you want your child to have.

Time management. Okay, how do I say this…You will never have this completely flawless plan where everything is in order and timed perfectly and in it’s place. You will have so much on your plate. Every parent struggles with finding time to fit everything and everyone in. Honestly, I think it’s damn near impossible. I know I had to start letting up on myself, or I was going to go mad. I put too much pressure on myself to get it all done. To be on top of everything ALL THE TIME. I started to feel better as a person and as a mom when I gave myself a little slack. I know my husband had to do the same. There is a lot of pressure to keep up with The Jones’, but don’t kill yourself over the little things. And the big things? They will fall into place. My advice on time management? Take it one day at a time. Go easy on yourself. Like I said in my article to new mothers, no one has it all together, even if Facebook and Twitter say they do.

There will be a time that you ‘learn’ your baby. By this I mean, you’ll learn things like signs for when he is hungry, tired, needs a diaper change, over a situation, scared, happy, needs to be held, and needs to go home. Among other things. Stick to your guns. Don’t let an outside person, no matter who they are (if they are not you or your lady), tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Bow your chest and remain confident that you know your shit. Get a little cocky about how well you know your baby. But don’t pound a guy in the Target parking lot over a discussion about breast vs bottle…you don’t need to get all crazy. I’m just saying trust your gut and stick to it. People try to push. Probably more towards moms, but they may try it with you too dad. Always do what is best for your family and your baby.

Ask for help. Yeah, yeah, I know….but at least think about it.

This will be a time where some of the guys may slip into the background. Once you’re a parent, the world looks different. Your friends without kids will not truly understand all you are going though. Don’t be surprised if you see much less of them for a while. They will catch up eventually.

Favor? Put your phone down. I know… you are like a drug addict with the damn thing, but I promise Twitter will be there in a few hours. Babies change so freakin’ fast. Try to enjoy them while you can. Before you know it they will be two years old asking for more gummys every five seconds. I would hate for you to look up from that phone one day and wonder where the time went and what did it do with your baby?

Congrats on your new little love. I hope this was helpful despite the fact that I’m a chick and not a dude.

Raising a Kid Who’s Not a Jerk

Every parent wants the their child to be a good person, respectful, helpful, confident and kind. But how the hell do you engrave all of these charactoristics into your little one without living in Pleasantville? I really wish there was an easy button for this heavy task, but there is not. So, now what? My title would imply that I, in fact, know how to do this. But, that’s not entirely true. I’ve asked myself since I was pregnant how to do this. I want to look at my child when she is an adult and say to myself, “Damn. I did a fantastic job raising her. I’m an awesome parent”. But once you start down this long, twisting, heavily shaded road, you realize that this is much harder a task than you anticipated. You may find yourself looking back longingly to a time when you were just worried about what shoes to wear that day with your new jeans. Well, keep your head up and face forward, ’cause there is no turning back now.

My husband and I have many goals as parents. We look at our toddler now and think about all that we want to teach her. We want her to learn when to be quiet and when to be crazy. To value herself, and her life. To love those around her, and to be a positive person who others can look up to. I want her to be great at whatever she does, and be a confident loving person. And above all, to not be a jerk.

The following are the ways I believe will help us reach our goals. Hopefully. I’m putting all my eggs in this basket, so here’s to hoping.

Don’t be afraid to put your kid in their place. You are their parent, not their BFF. They need to know that you are in charge at all times. Set boundaries and rules and freakin’ stick to them. Letting them run the show will not teach them anything except bad behavior now, later and always. No boundaries allows them to make up their own rules (If you aren’t setting boundaries, I assume you also suck at rules). I don’t know about you, but if that were the case for my kid, Fresh Beat Band would never go away, she wouldn’t ever sleep and would only eat Gummy snacks. Does that sound like a healthy start to life? Fun maybe, but nothing about this would help her, and I would officially suck as a parent. Don’t ruin your poor kid right from the start. Please. Teach them there are consequences for their actions, good or bad.

Say no. It’s super hard to look at your baby and say, “No”. I’m actually sorta a wimp, and this was difficult for me to do from the beginning. But, you have to learn this skill as a parent. You can’t teach them that they will always get a “Yes” to everything they want in life. It ain’t gonna happen. So don’t screw them up. If they end up a selfish, greedy brat that expects everything to be handed to them on a golden platter, it’ll be on your shoulder’s. Do teach them that anything is possible, if they work for it. Life is full of oppertunities when you look and work and try. It’s your job to build them up and show them the way, then step back and let them grow and learn. Don’t do the work for them. That’s so not helping them in any way. I mean, don’t let them flop around amlessly as you sit on the couch eating potato chips, but don’t get up and hand them the completed work either. It’s our job to teach them how to be a successful, self reliant adult person in this world. It’s a hard-ass job, but thats what it is.

Encourage them, for loves sake. Be a positive force for your children. They need you. Giving them complements and love will help them to love themselves. When a person loves himself, they are more likely to be a positive force to wrecked with, rather then a negative one. Try not to put doubt and negative thoughts in your child’s head, it’ll travel to their heart. They will have enough self doubt and self-esteem issues all on their own. Can we say High School? Do you really want to add to it? Being helpful and positive and encouraging will not only help your kid in life, but it will be the basis of teaching them how to treat others.

Having Humor the right way. I’m a sarcastic jerk. I also judge people, crack jokes at inappropriate times, and I have a dirty mouth to go along with all of that. I also know when to shut it, and when to mess around…for the most part. Life is too damn short to be so serious all the time. Laughing is kinda awesome though, right? I know I want my daughter to have humor in her life. I want for her to be able to deliver a hilarious joke, and also have the power to be the butt of the joke without flipping her lid. On the same note, I want her to know when it’s joke telling time, and when she should keep her cute little mouth closed. This is a perfect example of do as I say, not as I do. I mess this up sometimes, not gonna lie. I want her to be better than me.

Being a selfish, selfless person. Trying to teach a young person to be selfish enough to do what is right for them and their life, fight for what they believe in, and live true to themselves. All this, while trying to raise a child who cares enough about others to put herself second when necessary. Holy crap. I’m still learning how to even the scale on this one myself. I want her to be in tune with those around her, to be a supportive caring person willing to help out a friend. I also want her to regulate a bitch if they step all over her.

If she spills the milk, make her clean it up. No body is perfect. When she screws up, she needs to fix it, say sorry and right a wrong.

At the end of the day, I want my kid to be happy and grateful. And I want her to carry that with her though out her whole life.

There it is. My list of things I work on each and every day, in an effort to prevent my kid from being the one your kid hates.

Non Advice Advice For New Mothers

Congrats! You are excepting your first child! This is an amazing and magical time in your life.
I’m always so happy when a friend tells me they are expecting. I’ve been there and I can’t wait to share stories and advice and listen to them talk about their experience.
While on the phone with an expecting friend a few days ago, she was telling me some of the ‘advice’ she had received. It was nothing helpful and made her feel bad. What kind of advice is that?! Just keep your mouth shut if you aren’t going to help! Just in case you forgot, pregnant women are sensitive!
As I listened, I couldn’t help but remember all the advice I had received when I was pregnant with my daughter.

Not all advice is good advice.
You don’t need to take it all and try to apply it to your own life. Every mother and/or father is different and so is their baby. Not one thing will work for every baby. I find that parents love to shove their ideas down your throat as soon as you announce your pregnancy, as if they are the Buddha of pregnancy and child rearing.
You can keep all the advice you receive, put it in your back pocket, and mix and match what goes where if any at all. Don’t throw any away or toss it out on the street, littering is illegal after all, but do not feel this pressure to do as you are told by other parents. Your baby may not have the same personality as Sally Shoemaker’s kid, and what she did may not work for you.

I found that one big thing parents liked to push on me while I was pregnant was the schedule or no schedule thing. I read Babywise and I liked the idea of being a little scheduled, honestly. But I was also realistic enough to realize that may not happen for months and months after I had my baby.
Yes I understand why some feel so strongly about this, and I see why others feel strongly against this. This goes hand in hand with, “To wake a sleeping baby, or to not wake a sleeping baby”. Some say, “Never”! Some say, “Whatever, I did”.
So. What did I do? I had a small baby. That’s what I did. Pushed out a teeny tiny baby. Under 6 lbs. Yep. My little love was itty bitty. She was not interested in eating. So that whole thing about on demand eating was out the front door before we even walked through it from the hospital. I had to wake my baby up during the day otherwise she would not wake to eat. She would wake herself up at night. Only at night. If we didn’t wake her up and make her eat during the day, she just, wouldn’t. So every 3 hrs, I woke up a sleeping baby. She wouldn’t have gotten the necessary oz per day that her tiny body needed if I hadn’t. I could have smacked the next person that said, “You really shouldn’t wake a sleeping newborn” to me. Really? I shouldn’t? Ok. Then she will loose too much weight and that would be better?? For my new baby to be ill because I listened to you idiots? No. I know my baby. Back off.
Of course I never actually said any of this to their faces, but I did to friends. Still counts. What really matters in these situations is that you trust yourself and your gut. As for everyone else, bugger off.

Holding your baby will spoil them.
I call bull on this one. Your baby has spent every moment of gestation in you, listening to your heart beat, feeling your warmth, hearing your voice, your laugh.
They need that just as much on the outside as they did on the inside.
I held my daughter all the time. I wasn’t crazy, I did give her time in her bouncer chair or a nap in the swing. I mean, I had shit to do. But my point is, snuggling your brand new baby will not ruin them. It gives them love and security. Who doesn’t need that?

Do not take advice from anyone that has not been pregnant and had a baby.
They may ‘know’ a lot.. But they do not know.

I want to say first and foremost before
writing this next section, that I respect and love the people that parented myself, my husband, friends and family.

Do not slap the person that says one of the following quotes to you:
“When I had you”
“Back when we had babies”
“I never had to worry about that 20 yrs ago”
“There’s too much crap on the Internet you don’t need to know”
“Just do what I did”
“I did —- and you turned out fine”

The reason these quotes will bother every new baby-making generation for ever and ever is because of one simple thing; things change. Nothing will be the same when our babies grow up and start having their own babies. This is the same for generations past. The reason we do things differently now is because there is more information. Information leads to knowledge. This world is ever changing and we are always just trying to catch up.
Do not be intimidated by a person that has grown children. The world of babies is totally different now. Smile, nod and place information in your quickly expanding back pocket. At this point maybe you should upgrade to a unwanted advice purse…

Please do not feel bad about yourself. While you are pregnant or after you have your baby. I realize this is a touchy subject for basically every new mother, but, try to remember that you are doing or just did, something amazing. You grew a tiny human in your own body. You put yourself last and focused on this little person. You grew a baby. This is no small task. Go easy on yourself. If you are the father or non pregnant partner reading this, be nice. Give complements. Be supportive. Be grateful that they are doing the hardest job in the world and you get to be apart of it, without having to pee every 5 minutes.
And, for those of you still pregnant as you read this, eat the damn Oreos.
People care too damn much about weight in this world. If you are a heathy person and you take care of yourself, eat.the.damn.oreos.

Make no room for excuses or apologies.
When you are chugging along on this parenting path, making decisions, choosing your next step, finalizing plans, do not make excuses for why you are doing something. People will continue to test you. They will make you second guess yourself. Trust yourself. Listen to your inner voice and do what’s right for you. Don’t apologize for that. Ever.

Ask for help.
Do not put pressure on yourself, in your new life, to feel like you have to do it all. Call a friend to come hold your baby so you can shower. Ask a family member to grab you something while they are at the store. You are not expected to do everything and have it all together. No one does. If someone says they do, they straight out lied to your face. And they should be punched in the eye.

You will be prepared until you are unprepared.
What the hell do I mean by this? You will spend months prepping and buying and reading and soaking in advice only to bring your baby home and feel so lost and overwhelmed and in love. You will fumble around at the wee hours of morning trying to change a diaper and whip out your boob before she cries too hard and then doesn’t want to eat, look for a new onesie and burp cloth while wiping up puke and you will be unprepared. And you know something? It’s okay. You are not alone. Those moms on Facebook that look like they have it all together, or the ones at work that never gave you helpful advice on any of the above, have gone through exactly what you are going through. No one has it all together. It’s difficult on every new parent. Some parents think they need to cut and paste their life with kids so it looks picture freakin perfect. Well. Let me tell you, it’s never picture perfect. But that doesn’t mean it’s not crazy messy perfect. It’s flippin hard to have a newborn. You don’t sleep, you forget to brush your teeth, it’s hard to find time to shower. A meal? What’s that?
But it slows down, eventually. And, lets be honest, what else is more important for you to be second for a while?? It’s so totally worth it.

You will learn as you go.
It’s kinda like that dad that throws their kid in the swimming pool and says, “Well, he’ll have to figure it out now”.
This is mean and I ask you from one parent to another, please never do this crap to your kid. The dude that does that is a jerk.
But what I mean is, you will get thrown in to parenting and you’ll figure it out.
Trust yourself, be patient and love your baby. When you find it hard to be patient, ask for help. Take a minute for yourself, and get back in there.
Remember that you were given something that not all people were blessed with. Be grateful. And, snuggle that baby!

Let Your Kids Raise Themselves.

Yes. That is what I said, you aren’t seeing things. Let your kids raise themselves. It’s simple really. Now, I don’t mean throw them the car keys the minute they can walk, I’m not asking CPS to come knocking on my door. I simply mean, let them grow into the person they already are.

So many times I see parents forcing their kids into activities they find acceptable, something that they did themselves or even perhaps missed out on, that they lose sight of what’s really important to their child. Can we say, Toddlers and Tiaras?

As far back as our great grandparents there has been a list of goals set for you before you could even crawl. Every family is different. Whether it be sports, work, school, music, religion, politics ext. You’re born into a life that leads you to the path that has already been chosen for you. Now, if you were one of the lucky ones, you had this crazy thing called choices. You were given the opportunity to learn, grow and hone your own skills to figure out what drives you and therefor taking the road best fitted to what you wanted to be when you grew up. And look, to everyones surprise you are now a successful happy adult. This isn’t rocket science. Unfortunately, in my 30 years I’ve not seen this to be the case for so many people around me. I have friends that are under so much pressure from family to live a certain way, to believe specific ideals, to talk a specific way, to look a certain way and even where to live, that they run away. Figuratively, well ok, and literally. They can’t take the pressure. They can’t breath. It’s not far off to compaire this to the line, “The Preacher’s kid”. You know that one. Everyone knows what that means. The kid up and broke all the rules and is going buck wild. I knew a few as I’m sure you have. This is exactly what I mean. Let your children breath. Help lead them down the path but don’t push them. Forcing a child to grow into someone that they are not at heart, will only develop a person who is living untrue to themselves. Is that what you want your baby to be when they grow up? Of course you want your babies to be successful adults with good morals, to be respectful, smart and have a great work ethic and so on. If this is what you want, then start with yourself. Children learn by example. You can’t ague that they will take in more this way then by any other form of learning.

If you attend church, let them walk next to you. Don’t scare them into believing. This will backfire. They need to see that you are comfortable in your beliefs. This will allow them to be comfortable as well. You really need to carry yourself the same way at all times in your life, whether you are sitting in a pew at Sunday service, or you are out to dinner with your family. Living in a hypocritical way will no more connivence your child to follow your beliefs then trying to convience them that chores are actually fun. Give them space to explore and learn and believe for themselves. This goes for the dreaded P word too. Politics are personal. This world would be so screwed up if we all had the exact same thoughts as the next person. And I don’t know about you , but I don’t want to live in freaking Pleasantville. There will always be those around you that feel the same as you and those that feel differently. This is why there is not one, but two major parties in the world of politics. Try not to slap your kids in the face with what they have to believe and let them think for themselves. If you can, you could even try to stop slamming them down and actually listen to why they feel the way they do. You know, like a conversation.

If you are an educated person, and want your children to go to collage as you had, then help that be a realistic opportunity for them. Keep the door open for them to walk through if that’s what they choose. I myself knew early on that I was a worker bee. I didn’t believe that I would thrive in a school setting for years to come after I graduated high school. This by no means was a way to be lazy or cheat and take the easy way out. I went to cosmetology school while worked part time, got my license and trained for a year after. I worked hard and was very successful in my career. I’m so thankful that I wasn’t forced to be a college student despite my own desires. I truly believe that this paved the way for me to be a happy adult. Give your children a choice; collage, or some sort of further schooling, or a steady respectable job. After all, we don’t want our kids to be lazy on account we have decided to ‘give them space to be who they are meant to be’. Am I right?

Talk to your kids. Show them that life has so much to offer and they can actually be anything they can dream up. Don’t set their goals too high or too low. Don’t set impossible standards. Give them oppertunities to grow and learn and try new things. Let them be good at what they are good at. Do this from the beginning. It starts with us. If your little girl like to play with trains and cars, don’t slap them out of her hand because those are boy toys. That’s ridiculous. The same goes for boys, if your little boy likes to play with dolls, then what’s the harm? These small things begin the starting line of your baby growing and learning and discovering who they are. Try your best not to stump them.

It’s amazing what a little bit of respect and love and encouragement can do. Love your child for who they are, after all, there’s a part of you living in them.

Merry Kleenex and a Happy New Year!

So this morning I woke up, after very little sleep, to a sick family. Let me clarify, we have all been sick for over a week now. Are you freaking kidding me?? It’s Christmas!!! No fair. No one should be sick on Christmas!! But as we ‘started our Christmas morning’ my mood changed a little. Which is good, ’cause I was begining to resemble the damned green cartoon grinch.

Let me fill you in on how our Christmas eve went down…

My husband I have been so sick all week, and so has our poor kid, that we never wrapped her gifts. Yep. We are those parents. Just, didn’t do it. And yes, we are also those parents that wait till the week of the event to get the gifts wrapped. Stop judging. Anyway, we put Penelope down to bed last night, ate our Boston Market takeout, and then began to pull all her gifts out from hiding. The only ones that were wrapped, came from family down south…So we assembled toys and got things ready for the next morning like good little Christmas elves. I looked at the tree with all the gifts under it and felt, happy. Then I blew my nose.

This morning like most kids in America, Pens woke up super early. Go figure. She not even 2 yet, but knows that on this day she must wake up earlier then ever. Who’s kid told my kid to do that??

Tired, groggy and sick we all stumble down the stairs. Yes we totally have stairs now, like in Christmas movies where the kids run down to see what Santa has left for them! Only, in our story we slowly made our way down. Probably looking like we had been out drinking all night, my husband and I tried to ‘get prepared’ for the perfect pictures of Pens seeing her gifts. Like somehow we could erase the ‘sick’ from these moments. He got down the stairs before her down to get her reaction and her smiles. Watching Penelope see all her new toys under our now only 3/4 of the way lit tree, was so worth waking up early for. Our tree is getting closer and closer to looking like that of the famous tree in Charlie Brown’s Christmas. This scene warmed my heart.

With snotty noses, coughs, colds and viruses we started to feel grumpy and bitter about this day. But I stumbled a step back and looked around. Yes we may be sick as dogs, and feeling gross, and our house should probably be condemned. But, in spite of all that cheerfulness, (jealous?) one thing is true; I woke up to a warm house next to the two most important people in my life. After all, that is what Christmas is all about, isn’t it? To be thankful and grateful. Like, thankful that you aren’t sick alone, and grateful for Kleenex band tissues.

Where ever you are and whatever you are doing today to celebrate this Holiday, take a moment to truly enjoy this time. Pay attention to the little things and appreciate the people in your life. Even if they are the ones responsible for getting you sick…Love is in the germs.

I’m wishing you a Very Merry Christmas!! Picture perfect or otherwise.