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Next Life, NO Kids: January 2015

January 27, 2015

Tired of Mom Wars? Why I'm Making a #MOMmitment

Everywhere I turn there seems to be another "debate" between moms. You name it, it's an issue. All day long, the choices we make for our families get blasted all over the Internet, lines are drawn, sides are chosen, and we prepare for battle. It gets ugly. It gets offensive. We get nowhere.

A recent video went viral really quickly by showing us a humorous side to the mom v. mom battle field.  We loved that video together. We laughed at that video together. We cried together. And then we found out it was actually produced by Similac and started arguing about whether they had any right to toy with our emotions.

When does it end? I suppose if we all sit back and wait for it to conclude, it will outlive us all. 

Who has time for this? Don't we all have enough going on? Don't we all get tired of constantly explaining, justifying, and defending our choices to each other? Can't we all just show support to one another instead of bashing and name calling? Can't we just embrace our differences and have enough respect for ourselves and each other to live and let live? Wouldn't we have a better chance of understanding and learning from each other if we asked more questions and stopped throwing jabs?

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put Mom Wars behind me. I'm willing to admit I have judged and been judged by other mothers in the past, and I'm prepared to move forward with forgiveness. I'm ready to stand up with other mothers who are sick and tired of this ridiculous game we play and say "ENOUGH."

Today I make a commitment to change and be kind to other mothers regardless of how our parenting styles, clothing choices, beliefs, and ideas may vary. I commit to an open-mind when I read something that triggers anger or hurt feelings - when I feel judged by other moms. I promise to try to see and understand their perspective before jumping to the conclusion that they're out to get me. I commit to showing all other mothers respect even when they totally disagree with everything I'm saying. Today I put down my ego, and all of the insignificant details that separate me from other mothers.

Today I make my #Mommitment to do my part to end Mom Wars, and I hope you will join me. I'm taking action against the noise, and raising the white flag of surrender with a petition to document our promise and commitment.

Will you join me? 

If so, click this photo and SIGN THE PETITION!! Make your own commitment to moms right now to STOP the nonsense!!! After you sign it, please share your #Mommitment on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so we can connect! Let others know where you stand, and invite other moms to join us!! 

Let's end "Mom Wars" for good... one mom at a time. 

**Update** Watch the Video!!

 Click this picture and make your commitment now!

If you're a blogger, please write a post sharing your willingness to commit to end Mom Wars, and use the hashtag #Mommitment. Also, feel free to grab yourself a button to display on your sidebar, letting all who visit know your site is a safe place.

Next Life, NO Kids

Whether you love what you just read or hated everything about it, let's connect and talk about it! I'm always open to honest feedback. Come be social with me!

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January 20, 2015

Let's Stop Spreading Rumors. Parenting Does NOT Get Easier

I have three children. My youngest is in diapers and my oldest in college, so I feel pretty qualified to speak about the fact that parenting, no matter how brilliant you think you are, is hard.

If I've trusted someone and said, "This part sucks! I'm feeling ill equipped," I have often been told "...it will get easier." It's super difficult these days to admit a parenting struggle without fear of being railroaded by judgment and/or advice because, let's face it, some people love the opportunity to tell us what to do. Unfortunately, there's not always a simple fix in parenting.  

Like when you bring your baby home, do you place him on his side, belly, or back to sleep? These positions changed with each of my children, and each time I was assured "this way" was statistically proven to keep my newborn breathing. 

Sneaking into the room if a nap was longer than usual, bracing myself, and then allowing the breath back into my own body only after I knew they were okay never got easier.

Then, enter Mobility. It was no longer safe to put the baby down and look away for longer than four seconds.  We "baby-proofed" everything, and still my children managed to find the tiniest of overlooked pieces of you-name-it in the rug, under the couch, etc.   

Just vacuumed? IRRELEVANT. They would find something, and shove it in their mouth, nose, or ear the very second I closed my eyes to sneeze or yawn. This did not making breathing any easier.

It's quite possible I held my breath until each of my kids turned two.

Now, if you’ve never heard the term “Terrible Twos,” you probably don’t have any friends… with kids, I mean. Everyone knows that toddlers are terrific assholes. 

Most parents who have experienced  "The Toddler Years," will agree they should come with a support group and on-call psychiatrist. If you want to start some serious shit, tell a toddler he can’t have something. I dare you. Shit gets ugly real fast. Coping with a tantruming cling-on who both hates your face and can't stand a second without you can be...anxiety provoking. 

As my kids have grown and learned how to better communicate, screaming fits have lessened, but so has my level of sanity.  How many times can one person ask “Why?” in 30 seconds? Unclear.

I do enjoy "The Preschool Years," however because we parents are still viewed as completely infallible human beings. They ask the zillion questions because it’s clear we're fucking brilliant! I appreciate these years so much more with my boys, because I now understand this beautiful ignorance is short lived. 

School-age didn't get easier either.

The year my daughter started school, she was introduced to the battle between self-esteem and "what others think." While I certainly do my best to instill the idea that self-esteem is the result of taking esteem-able action, Society and the media sends quite a different message. I was reminded, very quickly, how cruel kids at school can be. There were plenty of days my little girl was tormented.

Finding delicate balance between the desire to head to your child's school with a warning and baseball bat, and the awareness that shit’ll get you arrested can be difficult. I tried to live by example and teach my daughter that her opinion of Self was the only one that mattered, but honestly? Some of those days I wanted to tell her those kids were just dicks. Having a child suffer through shit we can’t fix is not easy.

Then came fearsome adolescence, and the days of sitting on my brilliant pedestal were over. She was suddenly on to me. 

The secret was out. 

My daughter not only realized I didn't know everything, but also began to wonder if I in fact knew anything. This made her really angry, as if our entire relationship had been built on a lie - a lie she thought I had told her. Like when the people on "Intervention" find out that they're not actually on a "documentary" about addiction. 

Teenagers are fucking scary. Their frontal lobes aren't fully developed enough to grasp what's happening to their bodies and hormones (Nature's cruel joke), and somehow… it can appear to be ALL OUR FAULT.  

During "The Teen Years," my precious angel poked and prodded at every-single-solitary insecurity I’ve ever experienced or imagined. Maybe it's different for boys and their fathers, but the game in our house became “I don't know who I am, but it's DEFINITELY not you. Here's why!” 

I didn't see it coming. It came out of left field. It seemed one day she adored me, and the next I was the dumbest person she'd ever met. It started slowly - like the upward jerks of a roller coaster right before the drop - and then... WEEEEEEE!!!  I spent most of those years with that pit stomach feeling between the moment you're unsure if this might be the day the car comes off the track, and the end of the ride when you realize you've survived.

The days of feeling wrapped up in usefulness and appreciation just for being present were slapped away, and suddenly my mere presence in the same state became unbearably annoying. It was painful, and I tried to laugh some of it off, but when I reached out to scream WTF, I heard "Don't worry. It gets easier." It didn't.

While my daughter fought for independence and tested boundaries, I wondered if I had succeeded in teaching the lessons she would need to combat the world we live in. In the later years, when she would storm out after an argument, I would pray she would still hear my obnoxious voice guiding her away from trouble. I had to hope, because there wasn’t much more I could do. I tried all sorts of things, but in the end it was she who had to make those life choices based on the information I gave her. Those were the most terrifying years of my life.

I’m happy to report that she totally got her shit together, and is currently a college Freshman. That should surely be the easy part, right? Obviously.

Now along with the plethora of anxieties I already had,  I also have to worry about binge drinking and frat boys. Will she continue to respect her body? Will others? I worry my beautiful, brilliant daughter might fall for the wrong person and have her heart and spirit broken. I’m not as sure I would be able to fight the urge to grab a baseball bat in that situation, and I worry about my limits. 

I’ve always worried about my limits.

Am I – Will I – Could I – Should I – questions have been running through my mind since each were born, and I'm not sure that will ever change.

I don’t think parenting ever gets easier. I think it gets different. With each new phase comes another hurtle to jump or mountain to climb. Some parts might seem easier to some, depending on what our individual strengths are, but I don't think it's fair to sell the idea that at some point, "easy" is the achievable outcome. That just leaves many of us wondering why we can't get there, or what's wrong with us. Then we clam up about our struggles because maybe we think it's not "normal" to still be having a hard time.

So, when parents trust us enough to share their struggles - their fears of their own inadequacies, let's not say, “Don’t worry, it gets easier.” Let's be honest! Let's say, "I'll pray for you" or "Holy shit, I totally get that," or let's just listen!

But let's stop spreading rumors.  Parenting does not get easier. 

photo credit: Holtsman via photopin cc

Whether you love what you just read or hated everything about it, let's connect and talk about it! I'm always open to honest feedback. Come be social with me!


January 14, 2015

Open Letter To That One Girlfriend On Facebook

Hey Girlfriend,

Can we chat for a minute? We were friends in high school so it makes total sense that we should be friends on Facebook, but I'm feeling a little uncomfortable with some of the pictures you're posting on your wall.

Firstly, it's weird you haven't aged at all in almost twenty years. You look absolutely stunning in every single one of your photos, and exactly the way I remember you from high school. Your hair is always set perfectly, and it seems you have time to apply actual makeup - to your face - every day. 

I'm spending half my life, at this point, applying acne and wrinkle cream, and you're off perfecting the art of liquid eyeliner application? That seems reasonable.

I know you've had a bunch of kids, because you've been gracious enough to take us along the journey each month with photos of your belly growing. Thanks so much for inviting me in! But like, did you gain any fucking weight? I mean, really; not even back fat?

You look like you're glowing in so many of your pictures, I convinced myself you must have photo shopped the shit out of them. Because seriously, who looks that perfect all the time? 

I did some research and concluded that not one of them has been altered. Apparently, you just look that perfect all the time.

What the fuck, Dude?

You'll have to excuse my frustration. It's just that I try to hold onto this crazy idea that all of the skinny, popular bitches I went to high school with - who had boyfriends and perfect skin and hair - who got asked out repeatedly by the boys I liked - are now extremely fat, unattractive trolls, living a miserable existence. I really don't think that's too much to ask, do you? It's not that I wish that life upon any of you, it's just that the idea makes my torturous teen years seem karmically justified in some way.

Kind of like "Mean Girls Gone Gross," you know?

Don't get me wrong, I think you're awesome, and totally appreciated our friendship during what were, quite literally, the most excruciating years of my life. 

It's not like I ever told you how much I wished I was you, or secretly prayed you'd wake up, on school picture day, with a horrible rash on your face; only to have to walk in the pouring rain to ensure a full-on afro. 

I never told you how much I enjoyed that time you found out your boyfriend had been cheating on you with that girl from "The Tech." How could I tell you I took so much pleasure in your suffering without sounding like a total bitch? 

Nope. I just sat back quietly, waiting; waiting for the day I would see you again, and you'd be hideous.

Seriously,  you're like totally ruining this for me. 

While I realize that your facebook albums are just mere snap shots into your life, I wonder how you manage to take so many pictures with your kids looking happy and content. Even your new baby looks like she just got off a yoga matted meditation.

For fuck's sake, Woman! Get a zit. Just one zit. That's all I'm asking. Can you just throw me a bone here?!?  Just let yourself go a little, tiny bit and stop being so fucking selfish.

Think about it? Awesome.

(Julie Maida. You know, "Wrong Way Taylor." Oh, just forget it.)

P.S. Your boob job looks amazing.

God help me, I hate you so much.

*For the record, I reached out to the women who inspired this post before publishing it. I wanted her to know that, although she inspired this by appearing to be perfect on Facebook, I do not really hate her. She loved the post, and appreciated the dedication. She also made it VERY clear that she is definitely NOT perfect.*



10 #Hilarious Tips For Surviving "The Toddler Years" - Next Life, NO Kids
10 Hilarious Tips For Surviving "The Toddler Years"

Whether you love what you just read or hated everything about it, let's connect and talk about it! I'm always open to honest feedback. Come be social with me!

Find me on Facebook, Twitter, or on my Facebook Page!

photo credit: oc_layos via photopin cc

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