Saturday, December 13, 2014

I Laugh at Mental Illness

I was diagnosed with “severe depression” when I was thirteen years old. It felt like all of my motivation, hope, and desire to live were hijacked overnight and replaced with the daunting task of making it through the day. It felt like someone pulled the rug out from underneath me, and it became a chore to breathe. Those feelings made everything more difficult, and surviving became harder and harder. 

It was exhausting. 

My parents became concerned after I voiced feeling like I wanted " fall asleep and not wake up." I didn’t have the energy to think about killing myself; I just wanted to be gone. I was sent to a psychiatrist and put on medications that didn’t work. This started a very long stretch of what I like to call "pharmaceutical guinea-pigging." Up that one, lower that one, add a few more – and let’s see what happens. The problem with most anti-depressants is their inability to provide instant relief. I had to force myself to take pills every day for weeks - pills that caused immediate and disgusting side effects - before it could be determined that they weren’t working against my desire to die. 

When I was fifteen, I found the solution to all of my problems - Alcohol. Drinking enabled me to feel “normal,” for the first time ever, and interact with people in a way that didn’t have me crawling out of my skin or wishing I was invisible. I quickly found my sense of humor, and became "the funny girl.” 

After being teased most of my life by both kids at school and at home, humor served me very well. It helped me make light of my feelings of inadequacy and uselessness. I made jokes about being chubby and having acne before you did, and I learned that if we laughed together it hurt a lot less. 

I medicated myself with alcohol until I was 22, because it stopped working. The voices kept getting louder and more hateful when I drank. Playing the role of Drunky McDrunkerson lost its flare, and it became clear to everyone around me how much I hated myself. Alcohol turned on me, and the previously colorful veil it had provided me to hide behind turned ugly. I could not find comfort anywhere; not even in humor.

One night after trying one last time to rekindle my love affair with booze, I loathed myself into an attempted suicide. When I awoke the next day only half dead, I made the decision that it was time to get sober. Okay, I didn’t actually make the decision. The emergency room physician who referred my ass to a hospital for crazy people did. It was there that I realized and said out loud for the first time that I was an alcoholic.

I have been sober since that second day of May in 2000. The desire to drink didn’t leave right away, but lessoned over time with help and support. I can’t remember the last time I thought alcohol would make anything in my life better. It’s just no longer an option.

Here’s the thing - I don’t want to be drunk anymore, I just want to be okay. Getting sober didn’t do that for me, and I had to change basically everything about the way I related to the world. I found out that being is achievable without a substance in my body.

Since then, I have soberly fumbled through many difficult situations. I have found peace in places I would never have imagined while drinking. I recovered from alcoholism.

The depression, however, never went away. No matter how long I stayed sober, or how much I changed - no matter how many different therapists I went to, it was always there. 

Years ago, after seeking help to process an experience that had me all fucked up, I stumbled upon a therapist specializing in trauma. It was determined that, for most of my life, my depression has actually been a symptom of something greater – part of a cycle that stems from all of the trauma in my past. I had to get sober to deal with the wreckage I created, in order to discover the roots that so many of my issues stem from. 

I have a dissociative personality disorder.

I’m not ready to share specifics, but I will say that at some points it has been quite difficult to manage. Over time, I have identified many of my triggers – things that cause me extreme anxiety, irrational or intensified fear, and/or what is called “flight or fight response” (ie. do I punch you in the throat or run away screaming?) Understanding these things really has been half the battle, and gaining insight into why I’m a basket case has been invaluable to my healing process. It has not, however, necessarily solved the problems they still create in my life. 

Living with this kind of diagnosis sucks more often than not and brings back the feeling of surviving the day - a feeling I don't enjoy as a stay-at-home mom.

Bad days aren’t always just bad days. Sometimes they turn into catastrophic days, where I find myself questioning every decision I’ve ever made, and wondering if my life is a mistake. I get easily overwhelmed, and when I do, that old familiar feeling of just wanting to go to sleep and not wake up creeps in.  I get irritable, sometimes child-like, and it becomes extremely difficult to focus on being a good wife and mother. I start to wonder what my husband could possibly see in me that's lovable.

Sometimes I lose time and entire conversations, which can be frustrating and disappointing to those I love.  

If I manage to string a few “bad” days together, the depression kicks in resulting in hibernation via my good friend Agoraphobia. 

It has become vital to my pseudo-sanity that I laugh at some of this. I'm afraid if I don’t, I will completely lose my mind. I haven't needed inpatient hospitalization in over ten years, but if I focus too much energy on how fucked up and damaged I am, time in a psych ward starts to sound like a vacation. The people closest to me, who must adjust themselves to accommodate some of my broken pieces, don't always see the humor. 

Don't get me wrong; I'm not always a Hefty bag of crazy. I also have really great days...I think. Just kidding, I do. But there seems always to be a cautious, hovering fear that happiness and contentment is temporary. 

I have an incredible husband, children, and friends who love me. I have an amazing life that I would love to feel connected to every single day. I have made many wonderful memories I wish I could hold onto longer. Writing has helped me tremendously. 

So, big fucking deal. Why am I ending my humorous post streak to share this now? I guess it's because December is a really triggering month for me, and I’m struggling to find humor. I hate struggling, and I really hate feeling like I can’t control my feelings and/or thoughts. I have too much love in my life and too many tools to feel hopeless, yet there are days I still do. I’m trying to keep my focus on all of the wonderful things I have in my life, and most days I’m successful. 

So I laugh. I make jokes so you'll laugh with me, and hurts a lot less.    

 photo credit: virtualwayfarer via photopin cc

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Elf on the Shelf People Scare Me

I thought it might be a good idea to start this post off with a little history behind Elf on The Shelf.

Once upon a time we were all sheep. Someone suggested it might be fun and help us control our children during the holidays if we invited the idea of Big Brother into our homes in the shape of an ugly, creepy, stuffed toy. Although some of us were and remain completely against the idea of violating our own rights to the expectation of privacy, many of us said, "fuck it, it'll be fun" and went for it. 

My friend Becky recently tweeted about feeling like the only person refusing to conform.

Next Life, NO Kids: Elf on the Shelf People Scare Me #StupidChristmasTraditions
Becky, you're not alone. I too think it's a ridiculous idea to teach our kids that some creepy little dude is moving around our house at night watching them. Isn't it enough that Christmas, which I'm pretty sure was intended to celebrate some kid named Baby Jesus, has been commercialized to the point where we wait for some big, fat, old guy in a weird red suit to sneak into our houses in the middle of the night to leave presents? Isn't it enough that my 5yo thinks he might be entitled to an iPad for Christmas because he heard a rumor at school that your kid got one last year? 

No, let's make it even worse. Let's take the "Santa's watching you, and if you don't stop being an asshole the big fat dude won't bring you anything, " right off the table. Let's send in a middleman - a crazy-eyed, skinny little elf thing that will forever take child stalking to a new level.   

Next Life, NO Kids: Elf on the Shelf People Scare Me 

Seriously, have you people not seen The Conjuring

Dafuqs-a-mattah with you??

Creepiness factor aside, I just don't love the message it sends that it's cool to spy on our kids...PERIOD. 

I'm not a fan of spying, and I feel like privacy has become a thing of the past in many ways, and that sucks. I mean, I don't even use the wifi at Target because I know they use it to track my location in the store to see what I'm buying. That kind of stalking kind of makes sense, but I still feel like it's a violation of my right to head in for toilet paper and lose hours walking around dropping shit into my cart that I do not need. Wait, what? 

I just don't think telling my kids a disturbing little stuffed toy is watching them and comes alive at night to roam will help anyone or anything; least of all my already rocky relationship with Sleep.

Next Life, NO Kids: Elf on the Shelf People Scare Me
I'm not even going to get into how many of you have concerned me with your elfish activity on social media. I'm not going to bring up the fact that some of you have actually created twitter accounts for your creepy little fucker to communicate with your kids. And I'm definitely not going to discuss the countless pictures many are taking of their elf in awkward positions with Barbie. 

 I refuse to write about these things for one very good reason...

You people fucking scare me.

photo credit: ladybugbkt via photopin cc photo credit: Geek With Kids via photopin cc

Friday, December 5, 2014

Nina Needs To GO...In Her Pants

First, I would like to make clear my understanding that this post and video may land me on the banned list at Disney forever, and prompt a restraining order. I'm willing risk it, because this shit needs to be said.  


How many times can something "NEVER" happen again?? 

If you haven't seen this serious, check out one of my personal favorite episodes...HERE


Oh look, I'm not the only one!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Why I Voted to Ban "feminist" in 2014

My husband asked me what I was writing this post about, and when I told him it was about the word "feminist," he asked if he would be sleeping on the couch. 

That is what this post is about.

Much like my husband, the word "feminist" makes me nervous. If fills me with anxiety and puts me on the defensive. Which is crazy, right? Because I'm fairly certain it's supposed to bring me peace or something. 

It doesn't.

When I hear or read the word feminist, it's usually followed by the word "attack" or "fight." These words make me uncomfortable. They alert me to the possibility of chaos and drama, and I can't feel comfortable there. 

The wonderful things I have learned about feminism is mostly from its history. I know that there are many rights I enjoy today because there were women willing to "fight" for them. I struggle with the way they fought and the way I see feminists fighting today. Today I read about topless women attacking men praying outside of a church to make their point about their right to abort, and it makes me sick. I read about celebrities being attacked online because they didn't answer the "Are you a feminist?" question correctly or decided to take their husband's last name in marriage. These are not honorable fights in my opinion, and I feel like they drag the word "feminist" through the mud. 

Feminism is a beautiful thing. This whole world benefits from its existence. There are countries where the "fight" is real, and an appropriate word. Where women are literally treated as individual property and do not have any say in what happens to their bodies. There are places in this world where rape is not rape. Although we have much more work to do in the United States, we are privileged to live in a country where we have rights to be violated. I understand how terrible that sounds, but I mean it in the most respectful way possible. As a child and young adult I suffered many injustices where my body was concerned. It was kept quiet because those responsible knew it was wrong, and when I grew up I had every right to press charges...because it's not legal to have sexual relationships with little girls in this country. So although I endured what I did, I know that I am lucky to reside in a country that recognizes that what happened to me was a crime. 

A month ago I watched Emma Watson's speech at theUnited Nations about "HeForShe", and felt inspired by her words. She made feminism seem so simple and inclusive. She wrapped it around the whole world like a warm blanket. She made the word "feminist" sound like a label anyone, man or woman, would be proud to wear, and I wanted it. If I could see more evidence of Emma's description of "feminist," I would have no problem identifying as one. But then I read more articles in my facebook news feed about how I'm setting feminism back by choosing to take my husband's name and telling the world that he owns me. So many "feminist" blogs bashing the choices that feminism has made possible... and quickly snapped back into reality. 

By all definitions, the word “feminist” means "someone who supports feminism."

I believe in and support feminism. I believe that we all have the right to be treated equally for no other reason than the fact that we breathe. I am a humanist. In my mind, there is no better than-less than. PERIOD. 

I don’t like the word "feminist."

I don’t like the reputation that seems to precede it, and I don’t appreciate how many women perpetuate the stigma with their own actions and attitudes. I don't like the icky feeling I get when I hear it; expecting to hear about how some crazed lunatic, ranting about her "feminist" beliefs, thought it smart to bring in a plate of vagina cookies to her child's elementary school. 

I feel there are many who hide behind the “feminist movement” to justify angry, hateful behavior, and ruin the word for the rest of us. I feel the word has been crucified by women who have allowed the anger of being "oppressed by men" cause them to lose control in the name of feminism. I don’t wish to identify with a group well known for man hating and/or disrespecting others’ rights to make their point. Those are the feelings that come up when I hear the word “feminist.” I don't necessarily like it, but that's how I feel.

Because here's the thing... Our society sexualizes women here in the states. There are women here who agree to be plastered on magazine covers or naked inside of them for money. We, as a society, seem to encourage this behavior when women like Kim Kardashian can "break the Internet" by posing, glazed like a ham, for an inappropriate picture that goes viral.

Why Julie @ Next Life, NO Kids voted to ban the word "feminist" #TimeMagazinePoll #Feminist

Regardless of the definition, I don't feel that "feminist" means just supporting equal rights for men and women. I feel like it's become more than that, and I do not buy into all the tenets of feminist-ism. 

I don’t love the fact that the word “feminist” seems to be a badge of honor that one either wears or gets shafted. I don’t enjoy the fact that unless I identify as a “feminist,” it’s assumed I might not believe in feminism. 

I don’t like being told what I should and shouldn’t say or do, as a woman, by feminists claiming to only have my independence in mind.

There seem to be a set of "acceptable" responses to questions regarding abortion, name changes after marriage, and gender roles, etc.  If, as a woman, I use my right to choose to think outside of this box, I am judged and thought to be against feminism or weak. 

This is where feminist-ism loses me. 

There was a saying where I got sober that's meant to keep members of the "club" from possibly destroying the reputation of the organization. It was suggested that I might be the only evidence someone had to base a judgment of our fellowship on. If I ran around yelling that I was a member of this group, and acting like a loon, it could give others the impression that the organization was for crazies, and deter them from seeking help and finding peace. It was made very clear that I am responsible for my behavior when being upfront about my membership for this very reason. 

Recently, Time Magazine added the word "feminist" to its list of words to ban (they have since removed it with an apology) , and I voted for it. I was not alone.  

Why Julie @ Next Life, NO Kids voted to ban the word "feminist #TimeMagazine #Feminist

Contrary to popular belief, I made this decision because I believe in feminism. It didn't list "feminism," it listed "feminist." I don't believe those words are necessarily synonymous. I want to claim my seat on the feminism train without having to wear that ugly word. I want to be included in this movement without the "supportive" judgment of other women.

I want to be able to speak freely about feminism without my husband running to hide the knives. I want to feel comfortable identifying as a "feminist." I just don't want to have to "fight" and "attack" everyone who disagrees with me or think a certain way in order to fit "the mold."

I enjoy the relationship I have with my husband and the roles we play in our home. I took his name because I wanted to be his. Not in the like “own [me] like cattle" his, but “his” in other ways that I shouldn’t have to and will not justify. I don’t care how some "feminists"
 feel about my decision. 

Thanks to feminism, it's my decision. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Have a Confession...

Julie @ Next LIfe NO Kids has a confession #BlackFriday #Shopping

I like to think of myself as an open book. There's really not much about who I am that I'm not willing to share with anyone who will listen. Most of the details I've kept private here are out of respect for others. So, in keeping with my share-all tradition, I'd like to share with you something that might make you really angry. "How dare you," you might think. It's kind of a doozy, but I can't keep quiet about it much longer. 

I enjoy kicking puppies and tripping old people.

Just kidding, it's actually WAY worse. 

READY? Here goes...

I LOVE shopping on Black Friday. 

I know I know - I'm terrible, but ever since the night my faith in humanity was restored, I've looked forward to it. On top of being the worst thing that has ever happened to retail employees, it's also a way that family members can bond over freezing temperatures and an embarrassing commitment to being cheap a great deal! 

It has become my time; after putting the kids to bed and making a list with my husband. Believe it or not, I have made very many forever friends over teeth chattering laughter and camaraderie waiting for the doors to open. It's a crazy thing I do every year, and most of my family and friends think I'm insane for it (they're 100% correct). I don't care. I love it. 

I've seen many people posting their pledge to NOT shop Black Friday, and I totally respect the reasoning. I worked in retail for many years, and believe me, there are many things about it that suck beyond Black Friday. Yes, perhaps I am justifying.

Anyway, I just wanted to be honest about my intentions and explain why I'm not sharing your badge of decency. 

I'm a selfish asshole, and I will be joining other selfish assholes, ass-plopped outside in the freezing cold at midnight, after spending the day eating my weight in turkey and pie. 

Judge me if you must, but I'm getting that $20 flat screen.

Julie @ Next Life, NO KIds has a confession #BlackFriday #Shopping

If you'll be joining me, feel free to share this badge of indecency. 

original photo credit: Mac Hotels via photopin cc

Friday, October 31, 2014

Kristen Johnston bursts your bubble... and her 'Guts' - Book Review

When I first heard Kristen Johnston wrote a book about addiction called "Guts," I thought for sure it was going to be some boo hoo tale about all the balls it took to get clean in Hollywood with supermodels and America watching. 

I don't usually write book reviews, because I don’t read. I haven’t considered myself "a reader" in over a decade because…well, because MOTHERHOOD, that’s why. I don’t have as much time to escape into someone else’s reality as I’d like. 

So, when my friend Rachel told me about Kristen's book and how much I would absolutely love it, I decided to put it on the list of books I’ll probably never read, but totally should. I told her I’d buy it, but other than look around while already in a bookstore, I didn't really put forth much effort. 

Then one day I tweeted about my struggle to find the book after a conversation with Rachel, and Kristen replied with the suggestion I seek one out on Amazon. Honestly, I was a bit floored that she took the time to personally respond, so I followed her on twitter. I started to notice how often she was reaching out to other addicts, and actually trying to help them. 

BOOK REVIEW: Guts By Kristen Johnson #addiction #recovery #celebrity
Okay, let’s be honest…
Kristen Johnston is not the first celebrity to write a book about overcoming something miserable. Fair. But, she is the first one I’ve witnessed with her hand out, in a sincere attempt to help others. 

Once I figured that "Guts" wasn’t just another, “LOOK AT ME!! LOOK AT ME!!” fallen celebrity story, I ordered the book. 

I was shocked to learn that the “Guts” title had very little to do with her courage. It was something else entirely, and I found myself loving how wrong I was (which is VERY rare. I do not typically enjoy being wrong). I appreciated the fact that no one had actually told me exactly what to expect from the book, so I will not spoil it for you.

As many of you know, I am the founder of and editor in chief at Obviously, I am no stranger to gut-wrenching stories about active addiction. I feel, as a writer and recovering alcoholic, these testimonies are the most valuable tool in reaching out to someone who may be experiencing the struggle. Addiction is a liar, and wants nothing more than for whoever’s in its grip to feel alone and misunderstood. 

Someone recently told me they couldn’t think of anything more painful than someone living in denial of their addiction. While I totally respect that opinion, I also totally disagree.

Someone long ago once broke it down for me very simply:

D-E-N-I-A-L = Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying

True denial isn’t painful. It’s fucking Denial! People who live there don’t know how completely fucked up they are. 

I have, for very short periods in my life, experienced this beautiful state and sometimes - even fourteen years into sobriety - wish I could go back and seek refuge there...just for a minute. Denial was like a warm blanket or a mask I could feel safe behind. In some cases, it saved me.

Denial is awesome. It's awareness that sucks. 
I once heard a man say, “ I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.” At the time, I was still vacationing in Denial, and had no idea what it meant.

Until I did. 

That being said, the art of pretending and/or faking denial in regards to addiction – or anything as equally shitty and defeating - is the most painful place I have ever been. For me, the most horrifying tragedy in addiction - in anything really - is living in awareness of something terrible; trying to believe I can’t change it and that no one else can see it. 

"Guts" invites us into Kristen's mind during her last ditch attempts at the “denial” phase of her addiction. She recalls knowing something wasn't quite right, and provides us a front row seat to the final act Narcotics played in her life before the curtain fell. Her writing is attractive, and flows like an exciting roller coaster ride you don’t ever want to end. I usually hate those types of rides, honestly, but I could not put this book down. I was locked in immediately after she had me both in tears AND maniacal laughter before I had finished the forward and introduction. I connected with her sarcastic sense of humor right away, and identified with her awkward childhood struggles and the adoption of "humor" as tool.  There were also times when Kristen let this guard down and gave us a peek at her loving spirit. For instance, I fell in love with the way she tells the story of how her message saved “Jay,” (grab some tissues).

There aren’t many people who get “it.” The fact that there is no such thing as “normal,” and that we’ve all got our shit. Maybe you’ve never gotten drunk and woken up naked in a stranger’s bed. Perhaps you don’t have a box of Hostess cupcakes hiding under your bed in case of emergency. You might not obsess about the fact that the next scratch ticket might be the winner you’ve been waiting for.

But you’ve got something, I promise. We all do.

Kristen Johnston not only gets “it,” she writes about it in a way that doesn’t provoke the desire to punch her throat for daring to address it. She talks about experiencing the devastating effects of awareness with such detail that I caught myself jaw dropped, nodding my head in agreement.  I couldn’t help but identify with her feelings of complete defeat and self-hatred, the debilitating fear of being “found out;” of losing the respect of my friends and family. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, she dropped a bomb of hilarity and made me belly laugh.

It was awesome.

Kristen is very brave to speak up about her addiction, PERIOD. Not even just as a celebrity, because DUH, thanks to trash mags wallpapering the line at the grocery store, we all know who gets wasted and does fucked up shit. Anyone who speaks up about addiction, with the stigma attached, is a hero in my book. And she didn’t just write a book about her old battles with addiction and walk away. She’s probably tweeting some addiction resources, love, and support to someone right now

And THAT is the shit!

BOOK REVIEW: Guts by Kristen Johnston #celebrity #addiction #recovery

Maybe anyone can write a book about his or her journey into recovery and sell it; I don’t know. What I do know is not everyone - book or no book - celebrity or not, makes themselves available to share with and advocate for other struggling addicts. 

Kristen Johnston does. And that takes guts

P.S. I'm also a fan of Kristen's blog. Check out One Big Mouth and follow her on twitter @kjothesmartass to see her in action. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An Open Letter to the Vagina Cookie Lady

Dear Crazy,

I heard about what happened the other day, and I think we can all agree that bringing a plate of vagina cookies into a second grade classroom is an amazing idea. I can't believe that close-minded, hun of a teacher refused to serve them! I don't blame you for sending those nasty, condescending, faux-feminist messages wishing her physical harm. I'm almost certain the majority of actual feminists out there are super appreciative and proud of the example you set. 

Good for you. 

I for one would have been really impressed if my son had returned home that day and responded to, "What did you do at school today?" with, "I ate a vagina." You're totally right! I mean seriously, if he's not going to learn how to "please" a woman by second grade, when the hell will he? I found your expectations to be well within the boundaries of an elementary school education, and am simply flabbergasted to hear the administration has forbid you from stepping foot on school property. 

Do you do parties? I have a friend whose daughter is turning six soon, and I'm sure she would love the opportunity to encourage a little vagina pride in the form of delicious baked goods. 

Call me. 

**Disclaimer** Snopes has neither confirmed or denied that this event actually took place. Since I get all my "news" confirmed there, I am simply going with the assumption that there is actually someone out there crazy enough to do this. 

    original photo credit: Hoser Dude via photopin cc

Friday, September 26, 2014

If You're A Mom, This Will Probably Offend You

Last week I was visiting my son’s school, and overheard one of his classmates “tattling” on another. One of the girls had said something that he was very bothered by so he told the teacher. The girl was told not to say “things like that,” but the boy was still not happy. He began to move back and forth between taunting the little girl – saying she was bad for saying “things like that,” – and reminding the teacher of what she had said. I couldn’t help but intervene. I asked the boy why he was upset.

"She said all boys are ugly.”

"Is that true?" I asked, "Are all boys ugly?" He said they weren't. It wasn't true. "Do you think it will be true because she said it out loud?" He responded by saying he was going to ignore her, and walked away to play.

Problem solved.

Why was that so difficult?  I believe it’s because we’re teaching our children that other people's opinions matter more than our own. We’re also teaching them that the solution to feeling badly is not within our own power, but outside of us. If you say something that affects me in a negative way, you are to blame for my negative feeling. In order to feel better, I must somehow get you to stop saying that thing. 

The problem is that people are allowed to say and think whatever they want. It’s one of the perks of living in a free country. It’s also possibly one of the devastating downfalls, because everyone here is born with the human right to be a dick (if they choose).

It seems we are often incapable of taking responsibility for our feelings and the power we give others to “make” us feel. We lack confidence in ourselves, and our ability to make our own choices. So when others make comments that confirm our fears of inadequacy or incompetence, it upsets us. It upsets us because we forget that we have power over those words. Our power lies within our own attitudes toward ourselves and our beliefs about who we are. If I have confidence in my ability to do something, it doesn't matter how many people think I can't. My power trumps theirs. However, if I do not have such confidence and someone doubts my ability, I can give them the power to affect my ambition. 

In both cases, I have control. 

Imagine if we spent even half the time trying to change the negative attitudes and beliefs we have about ourselves as we do trying to convince others they’re not true?

Everywhere we look there’s a commercial, television show, or magazine article reminding us we should be “better;” prettier, younger looking, thinner. Our hair is too frizzy or curly, our skin is too ashy, wrinkly, or God forbid, acne prone.

Unfortunately, most quick fixes for these "problems" require deep pockets, so the wealthy and famous get first dibs – which is perfect because they’re often the ones in the television shows, magazines, and commercials that prompt the fear.

We turn to twitter and facebook for “likes” and “retweets” to let us know we’re okay; that people like us. We pray that they will because this is where we find our self-worth. If I share a status about eating a sandwich and no one reads it, can I really enjoy it?

Obviously, I’m exaggerating…a very tiny bit, but it’s really no wonder we allow simple words so much power.

I have written previously about mommy judging, but let’s take a look at the words we use every day.

Over the last few weeks I have read a couple of posts regarding “stay-at-home mom” v. “working mom.” Both posts were written by women I respect and appreciate very much. Both women were offended and upset by another woman’s perceived judgment regarding their mothering choices because of their labels. Reading both posts provoked the same reaction inside me.

Who cares what another woman thinks about my life choices?

I am a “housewife,” and “stay-at-home mom.” I’ll be honest about the fact that I don’t really care how you feel about it. I am happy with this choice and what it means for my family.

I have spoken with women who stay home with their children full time, but find the terms I use to identify myself offensive and belittling, especially if they follow the word "just." Their feelings about these words are obviously quite different from mine, and that is 100% okay. It does not have to ruin my day or destroy any of my friendships. No one is right or wrong in this scenario. We’re just different. There’s no reason to argue differences of opinion or feel hurt because people don’t think the way I do. I can’t imagine living in a world where everyone thought and believed the same things. What kind of dull existence that would be, without the opportunity to learn from one another.

The amount of arguing that goes on between moms in this arena is baffling. Because let’s be honest, it's not the titles that are the problem. It’s the feelings and fear they provoke.

Stay-at-home moms aren’t important in today’s society.  Most are uneducated and don’t contribute to, or help balance out our economy. Housewives are kept women who remain at the beck and call of their wealthy husbands, and a feminist’s nightmare.

Working moms don’t love their children enough to stay home with them. They don’t care that they are missing out on precious moments and experiences with them because their careers are more important. They would rather be at work.

Just because some people in the world may be ignorant enough to believe these things, or even say them out loud, doesn’t make them true. All boys are not ugly just because someone says they are.

Why are we letting other people's words dictate our worth?

How is it that we’ve all become so dependent on other people's opinions of us, that we've forgotten that ours is the most important?

At the end of the day, we're all mothers. We all love our children, and provide for them in different and unique ways.

Those who judge are simply unhappy, insecure people uncomfortable in their own skin. There’s nothing worse than an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. People who are comfortable with who they are don’t need to judge others to feel better about themselves. I try to surround myself with those people, and to not pity others who can’t seem to get there. I have been that woman, and it’s exhausting.

I do not and will not feel badly about my choice to take a break from my career and stay at home with my boys even if Ignorance and Fear disagree with it. 

The choices we make are not anyone else’s business. We don't need to feel offended or belittled by their words. That, in itself, is a choice. We don't have to let go of our power or give others the opportunity to upset us. In turn, we can teach our children what I remember learning long ago, but at some point forgot...

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. 

original photo credit: Icky Pic via photopin cc
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