Mommy Translations: What I say to my kids, and what I really mean

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's a fine linguistic art, talking to children.  Parents have found a double-life way of talking to their kids.  And they're pretty good at it.  I mean sometimes, we want to be completely honest with our children.  Right?  But, the "truth" should be customized based on age-appropriateness.

For example, we don't want to tell Susie to punch Johnny in the fuckin' mouth if he makes fun of her one more time.  We want to tell Susie, to stay away from Johnny and make new friends.

We don't want to tell our daughter she's not the greatest daughter in the world, right?

Instead, we tell her this.....

Here are some of my favorite mommy translations - that come straight from my own house.

“I’ll be there in one minute.” = I really mean 2 hours.  Because that’s how long it will take me to do all the things that keep this house afloat.  Like, the following: unload the dishwasher, answer a text, take the clothes out of the dryer, check my e-mail, fold the clothes, check Facebook, prep for tonight’s dinner, Tweet something witty, finish my work on the computer, start cooking dinner and Instagram my dinner.  So you might as well watch some Dora.  She’s a good babysitter for times like these.

“I’ll play with you after I finish cleaning up the dishes.” = I hate playing.  I’m always the one that has to come up with storylines and plot twists.  So while you think I’m cleaning the dishes, I’m really downing glasses of wine at the sink.  I’m aiming for a buzz, because I knoooowwwww you’re going to ask me to play Barbies.  And I really hate Barbies.  If I’m buzzed enough, I’ll play Barbies.  If I get too sloppy at the kitchen sink,  we’ll have an impromptu dance party in the living room. Deal?

“Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, that’s neat. Uh-huh, very cool.” = I’m not listening to you because whatever is on my iPhone right now is infinitely more interesting to my adult brain. PS I’m sorry I don’t listen all of the time.

“We have to stop at the grocery store real quick.” = It could be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  If it’s Target, plan on an hour minimum.

“Craft time!” = Here’s your Princess coloring book and some crayons.  Oh wait, what? You thought I was gonna break out the paint, glue and scissors?  Oh no, honey – that must be craft time at someone else’s house you’re thinking of.

"If you don't behave, we're leaving!" = Damn right we're fuckin' leaving. You think I'm like these other chump moms out here that will threaten without following through.  Guurrlll, have we met? Make no mistake, you act a fool at this kiddie birthday party - WE. ARE. DONE. Get ready to be bored brat. PEACE OUT!

“We’re almost there.” = like 2 hours away.  It’s all relative. We drive 15 hours total to see your grandparents.  JUST HANG ON PLLEEAAAASSEEEEE...I AM BEGGING YOU TO JUST KEEP IT TO-FUCKING-GETHER FOR TWO MORE MEASELY HOURS!!!!!

“You can color your hair any color you want when you get older.” = Like when you’re old enough to get a job.  And pay for hair color.

“You can marry a girl, boy or no one.” = Don’t marry anyone. EEEENNNNN---EEEEEEEE----WOOOOOONNN. Got it.

“You don’t have to have kids when you grow up.” = Don’t have kids. Don’t do the act that causes kids to come out. Don’t think about the act that causes kids to come out. Don’t let a kid come out.

“Mommy loves you even when she’s angry.” = I don’t love anyone when I’m angry.  That’s a total lie.  You just spilled chocolate milk all over my Italian leather couch.  I’ll love you though, if you be a doll and offer up your savings account to pay for the new couch that I’ll have to buy when this one smells like sour milk in a week….because milk, literally, got in EVERY. SINGLE. CREVICE.

“Spa day!” = I’ll paint your nails with glittery, gaudy, hot pink nail polish, if you rub my feet, and my neck, and my head. It’s called the barter system. It’s used in spas all over the world.

 “We’re going to the gym today.” = I'm hittin' up the treadmills.  You're hittin' up the gym daycare.  And you'll be in there for the maximum amount of time the facility allows – 2 hours. I need endorphins and to be away from children.  You need entertainment. It's a win-win.

“You need to get new shoes, your feet are growing.”  = We’re going shoe shopping, but we’ll be going to the women’s section of the store first.

“I’m gonna give you a little trim.” = Four inches. Blunt cut. I never said I was a hair stylist.  But you are a pain in the ass to take to a hair salon, and even kid’s haircuts are getting expensive. So, there you have it, a home haircut.

“Mommy has a boo boo in her woo hoo.” = I’m on my period. Back off leeettllleee brats. And try not to announce that "Mommy has red!"  to the entire public bathroom while you’re in a bathroom stall with me.

“I’ll tell Santa you want that toy for Christmas.” = You ain’t gettin’ it. Probably Ever. A) You’ll forget about this toy in 5 seconds b) Christmas is like 9 months away c) there will be new Christmas lists, revised and edited a thousand times before we even get to summer. So, just no. No.

“Santa is real.” = until your 10th birthday. That’s when I pull the plug on Santa, Easter bunny, tooth fairy.

“You can have a treat, after your dinner” = Eat your damn vegetables. And the treat is….left over Halloween candy. Enjoy.

“Mommy has a boo boo on her belly” = C-section, from when doctors cut and gut me, sliced and diced me - just so you could come out into this world and suck the life out of me.

“You are so good at helping mommy clean!” = Here’s the scrub brush, the all-natural, organic green, safe-for-small-human-beings-cleaning products. Get to work on that bath tub. And make it shine. Little one – you got baseboards.

“Mommy has to go grocery shopping, you stay with daddy.” = I’m actually getting coffee first. I will savor my double shot espresso latte with extra foam as if it’s my last morsel of joy. After an hour of coffee house music and silence, I will be mentally capable of handling the grocery store and all of the idiots in those cramped aisles.  And don’t worry mommy will remember to get those gross gummy princess treats you looovveeee that probably have RED dye whatever in it, organic-shmorganic bananas, milk for days, Cheerios and the all important 10-ounce tub of Nutella.  Then I will take the long way home, blasting 90’s hip hop.  I’ll sing like I’m Salt-N-Peppa all the way. Complete with my ‘hood neck rollin’ and finga waggin’ – ya hurd me, muthas?

“Sorry, it’s an adult party, you can’t come.” = There will be language you should never hear. Booze out the bazookas, and possible marijuana.  I’ll have a hideous hangover tomorrow when you wake up – so plan on getting your own damn Cheerios tomorrow morning. Thank ya very much.

“Mommy and Daddy are going for date night.” = we got a babysitter for you.  And we’re going to attempt to eat a normal, adult meal at a place other than McDonald’s.  Don’t wait up – I’m sure we’ll be crazy animals and get home at 10 o’clock!

“Stop waking Mommy up every night.” = You’re lying about having bad dreams. You’re BSing me about your “hurting” knee. If you even attempt to tip toe in my room and so much as breathe in my direction next to my bed, I will make you take baths three times a day and order you to eat brussel sprouts and kale forever!!! Muuuuaaaahhahahahaha

"Shots don't hurt" = They hurt. A lot. You wiiiillll lose your shit and scream.  But apparently, this world finds it necessary that we be injected with every possible vaccine on the planet.  I don't like it either.  I get anxiety before we even step foot in to the pediatrician's office.  Seeing you get a shot, sometimes makes me cry.  Especially when you get like four in a row.  Doctors are assholes.  The world is cruel. Do you want a sticker?

“You’re the greatest gift in the whole world, Mommy’s so lucky to have you.” = Wine and coffee are the greatest gifts in the whole world, I’m certain of it.  But the fact that you give good cuddles and say cute shit from time to time – makes you infinitely awesome.

What mommy language do you speak to your kids?  What are some of the things you say?

If you like what you read on my blog, - "Like" me on Facebook because I always post kick-ass articles there (not just my own). You're able to read great articles I scour the internet for - and comment with other parents.

Also, you can TWEET me about this essay. Follow me, while you're there, because I'm fucking hilarious on Twitter.

30 Reasons My Mom, Might Think Modern Moms, Are Over the Top

Friday, February 27, 2015

My mother has made it abundantly clear on more than one occasion - that some of the crap us 'modern' mothers do is just insane.  She thinks we analyze and dissect our kids emotions too much.  We coddle too much. We keep them in a bubble of misting hand sanitizer and sunscreen.

Are we modern moms too much?  Are we extra......everything? Have we morphed into mommy monsters?

I have witnessed my mom's eye rolling on a few occasions.  And I have to say, I agree with her on some -  I roll my eyes at myself too.  Especially, when I'm like, "Let's throw a themed birthday party that looks like something out of a Pinterest picture!!" (That will carry a $500-plus price tag)
And then I come back down to reality and wonder- why can't we just kick it old-school with some balloons, cake and ice cream?

30 Reasons My Own Mom, Might Think I'm a Crazy Mom

1. Video Baby Monitors.  She claims the reason moms now aren't getting any sleep - is because of these suckas.  We're constantly looking at the glowing screen - checking for signs of baby discomfort, a baby rolling over on its belly (gawd forbid) and SIDS.  We can't stop.  We're obsessed.  The point is - if the baby is crying - you'll fucking know it.  You won't need a 4-D, LED, whatever-the-fuck baby monitor screen to tell you THHHAAAATTTTT.  You'll hear those screams muthas.

2. The way I line up activities for my kids.  As if, my kids will die if they are bored for one gawd damn second.  I agree with her on this.  My kids get one activity a season each.  Idleness encourages free-thinking and creativity.  I encourage parents to not over-schedule their children as well.  My mom might be on to something here.

3. All foods must be organic, grass-fed, no added hormones and dye free.  My mom agrees with the milk situation.  After all, me and girls my age were getting armpit hair and periods by age 9.  But, I imagine my mom goes coo-coo cray when she sees my grocery list upon my arrival to her house: Organic fruit squeezies, grass-fed beef, locally extracted honey infused with vitamins, Annie's Cheddar bunnies (cuz those are the BOMB and even adults love that shit). And nutella. Boat loads.  No one gives a shit if Nutella is organic....cuz it's that damn good.

4. All clothes have to be 100% cotton. What?! My kids have sensitive skin!  If you can find organic cotton mom, even better. Wink.

5. All lotions and body washes have to contain 100% natural ingredients and be fragrance free.  Again, sensitive skin.

6. Also related, that laundry detergent - it better be Biodegradable, Free and Clear of all dyes, fragrances and chemicals. MMMMmmmkkkkaaayyyy.

7. We eat gluten free pasta. Not real pasta. (She's Italian so she might take particular offense to this.)

8. My kids beg for kale smoothies.  I swear.

9. Car seat contraptions take a doctorate and engineer degree to buckle your kid, and unbuckle your kid.

10. The fact that it took me 30 minutes to get out of the house with all of my baby gear.  Actually, it's just the shear amount of baby gear 'required' now to have a happy baby.

11. My private preschool bill, is the amount of a mortgage payment.

12. My kids have never eaten a hot dog.  Choking hazard.

13. Balloons aren't allowed at birthday parties.  Choking hazard.

14. My kids call their vagina a "Woo Hoo".

15. My kids don't know what a period is.  Even when I'm in some public stall with them changing my tampon - I tell my girls, "Mommy has a boo-boo in her woo-hoo." Done.

16. My kids sometimes dance like strippers on a pole.  Hello, I grew up with MTV's "The Grind." I don't know any other dance moves.

17. We analyze our kids poop  to see if they're getting enough fiber.  And we'll even explain the consistency and color of said poop to our parents on the phone. We might snap a pic (I won't, but I've heard stories).

18. My kids never set the table. (We're working on it)

19. My kids don't fold laundry. (We're working on it)

20. My kids don't make their beds.  (We're working on it)

21. We don't own a bible.

22. Birth plans. And a million sonograms.

23. Related to above, gender announcement parties.

24. My kids beg for Starbucks.  This is me ordering for my kids, "Hi! Can I getta kid's hot chocolate with 1 inch of whip - and a double shot of cocoa powder sprinkled on top. SOY!"

25. That I drink so much wine, to cope with motherhood.  And that my kids know when it's "Mommy's Wine Time."

26. That my kids can do downward facing dog and other yoga poses.

27. That I allow thousands of kiddie music c.d's to be played in my car.

28. That there's such 'thing' as too much screen time.  And more so, that doctors and experts weigh in on this subject ad nauseum.

29. Hand sanitizer.  Hand sanitizer.  Hand sanitizer. A million fucking times a day.

30.  I analyze the shit out of my kids. Every second. Of every day.  So much so - that I write about my kids on this blog, write articles for other publications about motherhood AND read about motherhood and all things kids on the internet.

Do your parents think the things you do with your kids is ridiculous? Or, what do you think modern moms are doing - that make them over the top?

If you like what you read on my blog, - "Like" me on Facebook because I always post kick-ass articles there (not just my own). You're able to read great articles I scour the internet for - and comment with other parents.

Also, you can TWEET me about this essay. Follow me, while you're there, because I'm fucking hilarious on Twitter.

My 5-Year Old Thinks She's Ugly, And It's All my Fault

Monday, February 23, 2015



I have failed.

An epic parenting fail.

My 5-year old thinks she's ugly.  She told me so last night.  She has also reasoned, that getting her ears pierced will reward her with feeling beautiful.

Clearly, I'm horrified and heart-broken.  I want to rush to the closest Claire's and tell the ear piercer  to punch-punch NOW - MY KID FEELS UGLY!!  Then, I want to buy all of the rainbow, heart, dolphin and lady bug earrings the store has - because, my daughter has told me - those are the earrings she wants to have.

But, just like everything else in life.  I analyze.  I dissect.  I pause.

 I know that beauty is defined by our abilities.  And what we're able to contribute to this world.  Not our body type.  I see beauty in human-ness.  Beauty is in the boy with prosthetic legs, or the girl with cancer - who has no hair.  Prettiness is exemplified by the woman in a wheelchair, the deaf man, the blind whoever.  I believe beauty transcends all outward appearances.  I truly do.

Which is why I'm so ashamed to admit this...

Somehow I have let images of fake and unattainable "beauty" infiltrate her mind, take over her thoughts and transform what she sees in the mirror.

As if the mirror, is the only measure of beauty. HA!

But, I'm not really laughing.  I'm dying on the inside.  It hurts on an extremely heart-breaking level to hear your daughter say, she's not pretty.  Maybe this ugliness is conjuring up my own feelings of inadequacy.  My saggy tits, my scars, my bulging lower belly, by big nose....I could literally go on forever if you let me.

Maybe it's bringing up feelings from my childhood - with my buck teeth, pimples and curly hair.  You know, the awkward phase that seemed to last a lifetime? Thank gawd for braces and Oxy Pads.

So how have I failed my little girl?  Just one example, I wear make up almost every single day.  The only times I don't wear make up - is at the gym, when I'm sleeping or after a facial.  That's it.  Every day, my face looks like I'm going to the friggin' Academy Awards.  I somehow, got this notion, that if my face is all va-va-voomed everyday, that I will NOT fall into the don-trodden, tired "mommy look."  I am more beautiful because I took seven precious minutes out of my day, to apply, liquid foundation, powder foundation, bronzer, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara and lipstick.  (Yes, I know it's amazing - I've gotten the routine down to 7 minutes.  It can also be done in the car.)

Don't even get me started on what I do to my hair every day.  That's an embarrassing amount of time that I barely have the guts to admit. Thirty minutes.  Thirty minutes alright?! Thirty minutes to blow dry and straighten my hair on "wash day."  The rest of the week, I give my mane 10 minutes a day.

The point is, my hair is always 'done.'  I AM ALWAYS 'DONE.'  I am always using time, that probably, could be better spent, ON BEING 'DONE.'

That's probably a horrible message to send to my daughter.  And though, I feel like I can't stop.  Is it an addiction?  Or, do I really love just playing with make up?  Why does exercise, juicing and jujjing up make me feel beautiful and ready to face the day?

I wear my feminist, capital mother-freaking "F" on my chest every day.  Just because I'm a feminist doesn't mean I have to go around bare-faced, hairy and plain all day.  I wear my make up, not for the male gaze, but for me.  My gaze.

My beauty rituals, by some standards may even seem minuscule.  I've heard of hour long beauty routines everyday.  To which, I can only say - I used to have that amount of time to make my self up - but alas, raising kids makes you re-prioritize all of your time.  You are racing against the clock, pretty much, every damn day.

Okay, confession number two.

The second reason I blame myself.  I let my daughter watch those disgusting Disney movies.  AHHHHRRRRR!! I could scream.  I think I just did scream.  I swore I wouldn't let those movies into my house.  But, around 3-years old, we got bombarded by the "beautiful" princess culture.  The gifts from family members.  The dresses.  The crowns.  The wands.  Then, I found out  so-and-so let my kids watch Cinderella at their house.  Before I knew what hit me, I was swirling in a storm of sparkly, Snow Queen Elsa heaven!  It was a tornado of dazzling dresses.  A hurricane of long hair.  A wind storm of unrealistic waist lines.  A tsunami of smooth, perfect skin.

I was blind-sided by the big BOOM! A damn Princess Explosion.

Now, mind you, I understand that the messages Disney movies now send to our kids have evolved story lines and plots.  Disney has come a long way since Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. The focus is not on Prince Charming anymore.  To which, I am happy.  However, the heroines (with the exception of Brave, Mulan and Pocahantas) are still glammed up to the nines with gorgeous gowns, long, flowing hair, big bright eyes, perfectly chiseled faces and noses, and ever-shrinking waists.

It's a travesty.  I've let my daughter watch these movies, over and over again.  These images of fake, unattainable beauty.  I've let these pictures play through her mind on a sparkly reel and seep into her very soul.

So, what did I say to my daughter when she told me - that she was ugly?  I knew the right words. I just didn't know if my right words could un-do my wrong actions.

I explained to her that she's pretty because she's super smart - especially with numbers and letters.  She's beautiful just like the paintings she makes (and now wants to sell for money).  She's fetching because of those friggin' phenomenal goals she scores in soccer.  She's lovely because she's nice to her classmates, her sister (most of the time) and to her parents.  She's enchanting because of her generosity, and always trying to help others.

Eliminating the mirror as a measure of beauty is one way to navigate the world of 'being pretty.'

Hi-liting strengths in areas of smarts, creativity, athletic abilities, character strengths and good-will, will hopefully help my daughter to see her beauty across new boards.

I have to tell her more - how crafty she is.  What a fast a runner she is.  I have to tell her that her name is beautiful - it reminds me of a beautiful flower.  How she's a giver.  And a helper.  I have to remember to do it more often.

Beyond, my words.  I need to seek other images of beauty for my girls.  Movies and books.

This is one of my favorite books of all time - a book I referenced to my daughter, when she told me she was ugly.  I told her she needed to be pretty like Princess Elizabeth from the Paper Bag Princess.  Thus, this is my favorite page in the whole book.....

There was Prince Ronald. He looked at her and said, “Elizabeth, you are a mess! You                  smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag.                          Come back when you are dressed like a real princess.”

“Ronald,” said Elizabeth, “your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum." They didn’t get married after all.

Now, did Princess Elizabeth go get her ears pierced after Prince Ronald told her she was ugly?

No, she skipped into the sunset, in her own skin - beautiful and confident.

Here are some resources on good movies for young girls with female heroines and good books that aren't princessy. Double check the ages on them - but most are good for the littlest of girls.

12 Children's Books with Non-Princess Protagonits via

What have you done to help your daughters and sons feel attractive?  I want you to see your advice so if another parent is going through this - we can all help each other with suggestions.

If you like what you read on my blog, - "Like" me on Facebook because I always post kick-ass articles there (not just my own). You're able to read great articles I scour the internet for - and comment with other parents.

Also, you can TWEET me about this essay. Follow me, while you're there, because I'm fucking hilarious on Twitter.

Why I'll forever love V-Day

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gawd, not Valentine's Day silly.  Get real.

The other V-day - VASECTOMY DAY!!!!

This is a greeting card I snagged from Zazzle.

Vasectomy Day is fast approaching.  Men get snipped in droves right before the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.  The kick off to March Madness. Or shall we call it, Vas Madness.

Urologists report increases as much as 50 percent in the number of vasectomies scheduled days before the NCAA tournament.

How clever men are.

They get to sit on a couch, with frozen peas on their ball sacs, and watch 12-24 hours of completely uninterrupted, guilt-free college basketball.

Let's just say the vasectomy was the greatest gift my husband ever bought me - better than a Louis Vuitton bag, better than diamonds, better than a house.

Having two children back to back, well, takes a toll.  Especially when, you never imagined having children.  Before my first pregnancy, my gynecologist explained that because of my endometriosis - pregnancy was probably not in my future. I never really gave it another thought.  I was only 23-years old.  Why in the world would I want anything to do with babies?

A year later - it was a joke.  I was 24.  I was knocked up.  And at 25, I was knocked up again.

My girls are 16 months apart.

About two months into my second pregnancy.....(a very morning sickness soaked pregnancy again)...I brought up the "BIG V" to my husband.

It took a lot of convincing.

But, 6 months after we had our second child, my husband did the deed, and lowered his seed.

So I love V-day,  let me count the ways...

1. I get to have condom-less sex.  Because sex with condoms, is well, sex with condoms.

2. I don't have to be on birth control.  I don't have to remember to fill a prescription, pick up a prescription, take a pill, insert a ring or get a shot. And I don't have to deal with the hormonal hell that birth control puts me through.

3. We don't have to do Pull it Out and Pray.

4. I don't have to be pregnant. Ever. Again.  That's right.  No morning sickness, no prenatal horse pill vitamins, no bulging belly, no swollen body parts, no heart burn, no hemorrhoids, no baby brain, no labor. No. Fucking. Thank You.

5. I don't have to go through another surgery.  I've had 2 c-sections, 2 laparscopic Endometriosis surgeries - I don't need to add Tubal Ligation to the list.  For tubal ligation, you're put under, incisions are made, you're in a hospital.  For a vasectomy, men are given a Valium, local anesthesia, and the whole procedure is literally 10 minutes. And vasectomies, are mostly, more effective at preventing pregnancy than a tubal ligation.  (It depends on the experience of the surgeon).

6. I don’t have to be pressured into "let's try for a boy."

7. I can drink booze and coffee until my head spins.  And I can eat a shitload of sushi and deli meat.  Because, I will never be pregnant!

8. I'll never be forced to don disgusting, unflattering maternity clothes again.  Sure, okay, maybe sometimes I looked "cute." Did I look sexy? Heeeeellll No.  Did I feel sexy wearing skinny jeans with a stretchy, expandable waist? Heeeellll No.  Or better yet, did I look remotely fashionable wearing those maternity shirts that look like Wal-Mart drapes, with the two strings on the sides that tie in the back?  That'd be a NO.

9. When I feel “phantom kicks” I'll know for sure it’s just gas.

10. I don’t have to keep track of when I’m ovulating. Furthermore, I don’t have to deny myself sex during the horniest time of the entire month.  My ovaries are literally exploding with sexual vigor while I’m ovulating.  Four days solid of being in HEAT. I could fuck the Starbucks barista who gave me an extra shot of espresso, who may or may not have winked at me when he handed me my latte......when I'm ovulating. Ya hurd me?

11. No newborn problems – no extreme sleep deprivation, chaffed nipples, being covered in constant vomit, no projectile poop.

12. No weird postpartum hair falling out, or weird re-growth.

13. I could  make a few hundred bucks off of baby gear and free up some space.  Double stroller. For Sale. Pack-n-Play. For Sale. Crib. For Sale.  Sold. Sold. Sold. Seriously, when is spring coming? We need a garage sale.

14. I could get the mommy makeover I’ve always dreamed of.  Even though I really won’t. Just having the option of a tummy tuck and a boob lift is thrilling.

15. When someone even dares to ask me if me and my husband are going to have any more children, I’ll get to make the snip snip cutting motion with my fingers.  No words my friends. Just snip. Snip.

So my favorite V-day doesn’t involve flowers and chocolates. All you gotta do to get me to swoon is give up the family jewels.

How has a vasectomy changed your life?  Comments are always encouraged below and on Facebook, or Tweet me.

15 Love Lessons for my Daughters

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Just in time for Valentine's Day - I give my daughters love (obviously).  But, I also give them the gift of love lessons I've learned over the years.

1. Romantic love isn't the only kind of love.

2. You can love women, men, black and white - or cats, dogs, flowers, music and mountains.  Or all of them together.

3. You don't have to love everyone, especially those who disrespect, hurt and try to destroy your spirit.

4. You do have to love humanely, and feel deep empathy for those suffering in this world by disease, cultural/social oppression, poverty, discrimination, persecution, emotional distress and violence.

5. Love based on character, not based on bank account.

6. Don't love looks - those fade.  And droop.  And sag.  And wrinkle.

7. Love can hurt your heart, but it shouldn't hurt anywhere else.

8. Love yourself.  Nurture your brain, nourish your bones.  Take care of your body.

9. Love your appearance at any weight, in any color, at any age, with all scars and with different abilities.

10. Love the earth, and all of it's treasures. The sun, moon, plants and animals.  At the very least, recycle and conserve like your life depends on it.  Because, it essentially does.

11. Love your inner voice. Listen to it often.

12. Love your abilities.  Put energy into these abilities.  Don't focus on what you can't do, or what you can't change.

13. Love is the only religion you'll ever need.

14. Love to learn.  Try something new as much as possible.

15. Love your life.  You don't have to like every stage of it - especially when you're going through something really awful.  Go through your hard times.  Scream, cry and sob.  But resolve to come out of whatever you're going through with love back in your heart again....whenever the time is right.

Please SHARE the LOVE by clicking on one of the buttons below to share my essay.  Or do it the old-fashioned way.  Here's a link to this essay, you can copy and paste it into an e-mail.
Missguided Mama: 15 Love Lessons for my Daughters

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Don't tell my kid the 'real' Annie is white

Monday, February 9, 2015

My two girls were listening to their beloved, "Annie" soundtrack c.d. on the way to pre-school this morning.  It's the soundtrack from the 2014 movie.  They are slightly OBSESSED since they saw the movie a month ago.  They sing all the songs, they try to dance like the girls in the movie, they even recite the lines.  My girls think they are actually starring in the movie.

It's adorable, and their enthusiasm for Annie brings back nostalgic feelings for me. I loved Annie as a kid, and more so, I loved the music.

[*Before I get into the rest of the story, the names have been changed to protect the person who made this awful comment.  I don't believe in protecting the identity of people, especially with hot button issues. But, this person is a family member.  And I feel an obligation not to blast them so publicly. Although, if they read this, they'll know who they are.]

So, here we are back in the car - jammin' out to "Tomorrow."

The music is rrreeeaalllllyyy loud.

My older daughter yells out to me, "Hey, Mom I gotta tell you something."

I turn down the volume knob to hear her.

"Sure, what is it honey?"

"*Aunt Trudy says the rrreeeeeeaall Annie is white, not black."


I pause.  I'm racking my brain for the right words.  I want to explain to my daughter that Aunt Trudy is wrong for saying that.  I want to infuse a race lesson here.  I want to educate.  I want to strangle Aunt Trudy.  Most of all, I want my words, to completely erase and devalue what Aunt Trudy has said to my kids.  But, I'm searching for the words. And for a 3 and a 5-year old, it's really hard.

The only image my kids have ever seen of "Annie" is in the 2014 movie featuring Quvenzhan√© Wallis, as Annie.  They've never seen the 1982 version.  So not only is the comment racist/bias from this family member, it's debunking what my kids know and understand about Annie. They saw what she looks like.  But never once, did my kids ask me, why is Annie black, brown, white, orange, yellow, whatever.

Annie looked like, what she looked like. Plain and simple.  Annie's outward appearance in the movie, had no bearing on my kids.  Her presence was completely normal for them - no questions asked.  My kids identify with Annie, she's their little girl hero, they want to be her.  (Except for the foster care part, which they may or may not have understood).  The point is Annie is awesome in my little girls' minds.  She's a rockstar.  Annie is cool, she's got cool clothes, she sings, she has fun friends and Annie does stuff that kids can only dream of.  Ahem, like Annie attends awesome movie premiers and stuffs her face with tons of candy.  She dresses up in a beautiful, fancy red dress.  How could my girls not identify with that part of the story? It doesn't matter that my kids have a different skin color than the girl they see on the screen.  I bet they identified more with Annie, than they ever did with Elsa.

Because in their world, it's not that they don't see color.  I want my kids to see color.  I want us to celebrate colors, cultures and ethnicities.  We are a multi-cultural family.  My kids are half PERSIAN for gawd sakes.  My kids see colors.  They hear other languages being spoken in our house other than English.  They have friends that speak other languages and are from different countries.  But, unlike some bias adults, my kids don't attach biases to these colors.  That's the difference.  And that's how I'm trying to keep it. 

Back to me and my kids in the car.....

I turn down the music some more.  I take a deep breath.  I soooo desperately want to nail this.  I want to get this right.

I address both of my kids by name, " I want you to listen to me.  What Aunt Trudy said is wrong.  The little girl in the movie you saw, is black.  There is an Annie movie, that's really old, and you've never seen it before.  In that movie, Annie is played by a white girl with red-hair.   It's a different movie.  There is no "real" Annie.  It's a story.  And in each movie, a different girl plays Annie.  Just like we saw two different Madeline's before.  One in the play, and one in the book."

Little one, in her sing-songy voice, "Okay Mama."

Big one, "Okay, can we turn the song back up now?"

How much has my damage control worked here? I don't know.  I can only hope that my daily actions, and words, and equality lessons at home - go the extra mile.  I hope my values are so deep ingrained into my kids, that a stupid comment like that, has no impact on them.  That it means nothing to them.

But, here's just one of the problems of saying racist crap in front of children: kids say the darndest things.

Even if they have no idea what the hell something means, they say it, because they heard someone else say it. 

What if my kid goes to school and tells classmates that the 'real' Annie is white? Can you imagine how embarrassing that would be for me, the parent?  I denounce baseless biases for a living.  Equality education is held at the highest esteem in my house.

Maybe some kids would argue with my kid and say, "No, Annie's black, we saw the movie. You're wrong."

That's the BEST case scenario for me.

Or maybe, some classmate goes home to tell their parent(s) my kid said, "Annie's not black."

Then I look like some racist, stupid, bigot, sexist, hateful parent.

I would rather have my kid spout ten cuss words at the top of her lungs to her entire class, before she says one ounce of racist, raggedy, loaded bologna.

It's one thing, if some random person that I barely know, makes a racist or sexist remark to my kid or in front of my kid.  Random people are exactly that - random.  Our contact with random people is more limited.  Some family acquanitance or stranger's comments will have a low impact on our lives. 

But when a family member or close family friend says it, the problem is exponential.  My kid will probably put more stock and thought into words when they come from a familiar source. Especially, when the words come from a family member.  My kids may even think it is perfectly okay to repeat these words, comments and phrases.  Kids trust their family members, and they trust their words.

So, where do we go from here?  Initially, I was outraged and wanted to call Aunt Trudy right up and tell her to keep her racist and all other bias comments to herself.  Or at the very least, can she control herself in front of my children? 

Because please believe if Aunt Trudy made this racist comment in front of ME and my kids, she would've received a mouthful on the spot.

But, I wasn't there.  And I'm doing damage control.  And truthfully, my kids will probably hear other racist, sexist and bigot comments in their lifetimes.  I can't protect them from that.  They’ll be exposed to cringe-worthy comments, behaviors and events.

Can I really undo a lifetime of racism?  Can I really change a person's way of thinking?  Can I really change what comes out of people's mouths?

No more than they can change my way of thinking - and what comes out of my mouth.

While anyone could argue that Aunt Trudy's comment wasn't blatantly racist, and it wasn't extreme hate.  Sure, fine. It was in fact, a comment based on a bias.  And that's wrong.  

So the next time, I hear someone tell my kids that Annie is really white, I will say, "Annie is just Annie. This Annie is who Annie is to my kids."

Comments are always encouraged below and on Facebook, or Tweet me.

Your Introvert Mom Survival Guide: 10 tricks to save your sanity

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A mom's life is pretty exhausting.  We get our asses whooped on a daily basis.  Especially in those baby years.

Add an extra layer here....the introverted mom.

This is a person who gets drained daily by constant human interaction and societal stimuli.  Touching, talking, looking - they all tire out an introvert.  Nay, wear that introvert down to shredded threads.

The only thing that re-charges and re-energizes an introvert - is solitude.  Anything that they can do completely alone - sleep, read, work, exercise, etc. all help to re-invigorate the over-stimulated, emotionally drained introvert.

It sounds like having children, would be an introvert's worst nightmare.  A damn near, obliteration of productive and happy self.

Well, pretty close.

I am a self-proclaimed introvert.  I need a good four hours a day (if not more) of complete solitude to feel happy.

Enter in a clingy, hyper-attached human being with numerous needs, screams and excretions.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Introvert moms can't catch a break.  Everyday, introverted moms are getting drained and feeling suffocated.  Their oxygen only comes in the form of quiet.

They need to find ways to be alone. Their sanity, and overall emotional and  mental stability depends on it.  Before I get into how introvert mom's can find solitude, (Yes, I even have tips for you moms that make up a million excuses of why you can't leave your baby).  I want to outline the challenges an introvert mom faces in three different work/life scenarios.

(***Side note: So you don't think I'm some uninformed mother using archaic and sexist terms - I hate the labels 'stay-at-home mom' and 'work-at-home mom' or 'working mom'. But for the purposes of everyone understanding the scenarios below- I will use these very limiting labels.  I hope you understand. And apologies.)

1. Introverted, Stay-At-Home Mom: She's always around her damn kids.  Day in and day out.  She's feeding these serial snackers around the clock.  She's a perpetual poopy diaper changer, or potty trainer.  She's a clown in this circus called childhood entertainment.  This mom is being touched, talked to and forced to keep her eyes wide-open to possible dangers and safety issues all day long.  Most extroverts can handle this - if not, thrive in this environment.  Yes, all moms are tired.  But, extroverts somehow have this ability to rise to the occasion and really take action when put into these high stimuli environments.  Introverts, by and large, don't have this ability.  They slowly start to shut down, if solitude is not achieved on a regular basis.

2. Introverted, Work-At-Home Mom: She has the same experiences as the stay-at-home mom.  The constant contact with tiny, snot-nosed creatures.  However, there is one difference between the two 'at- home' moms.  This mom is working from home, which means she's obligated to build in alone time on her Google calendar.  She has to block off alone time.  Through career commitments, she is solo for a set number of hours a week in order to complete her work.  Most work-at-home moms hold down jobs that are Internet-based and require very little face-to-face human contact.  This type of work for an introverted, work-at-home mom is a form of solace.  It's perfection actually. This type of work is silent and it's usually done in the morning (before anyone wakes up), during nap time, or at night (when everyone is asleep).

It's important to note here, stay-at-home moms, generally, feel guilty about taking "me time" for themselves.  They are less-inclined to block off alone time.  And I have a theory about this.  It's because these women feel their work at home doesn't validate time away.  Like, because they're not doing paid work, they don't deserve time off.  Because the stay-at-home mom doesn't get a paycheck for feeding her kids, entertaining her kids, teaching her kids, chauffeuring her kids....some of these moms might feel selfish for trying to arrange alone time to go get a pedicure, take a long walk, or an art class.  Especially when our society - men and women, still generally think a stay-at-home mom does 'easy' work and gets this amazing bonus of seeing her kids. Every. Single. Damn. Day.

I dare anyone to do the same job every day, with no days off, 24/7 and see if they like doing 'free' work.

Both the stay-at-home mom and work-at-home mom face the same challenge here -CONSTANT CONTACT.  But here, it's not the name of some popular marketing e-mail company - it is relentless, persistent, sometimes suffocating contact with children (and other adults who have kids) every hour of every day.  Someone is always touching you, talking to you, needing you.  That's an overwhelming environment for an introvert to be in.

The last type of mom....

3. Introverted, Work-Outside-the-Home Mom: She's essentially working 2 shifts, if not more.  The home shift of tending to childcare needs and she's working at work.  Two different types of work, both exhausting.  We already, and automatically know that the home life, and domestic duties will exhaust this mom.  So that's a given.  However, it's this mom's work environment that determines whether or not she gets re-charged, or not. If this introverted, working mom is in a cubicle and subjected to constant socialization or team meetings, then she's drained.  Or any similar workplace situation that requires this mom to be communicating with people on a frequent basis.  One important thing to remember, here - it doesn't matter whether it's your kid, or colleagues, human contact in any form, for an introvert is draining.
If this mom works alone in her own office, and can complete her tasks in relative solitude, than work is re-charging this mom.  And work is her solace.  Her energizer.

I've been every single one of these introverted moms.  I've had to navigate the extroverted world as an introverted mom for about 5 years now.  Three years of which, I had no idea that I was introvert.  I didn't even know what that meant.  If you want me to be completely honest, I never felt like I 'fit in' in any social situations.  Especially with other moms.  That may sound like a sad middle school story, but now that I've identified my preferences within my personality - it's empowered me. I no longer feel held back by my preferences.  Introversion is not an affliction.  It's just a personality type.  Yes, the minority personality type.  But, that doesn't mean it's some sickness waiting for a cure.

 I'm no longer trying to keep up with extroverts.  I no longer feel obligated to meet for a million play dates, or feel obligated to attend every birthday party my kid gets invited to.  I know what over-socialization does to me - and that's a dark place.  I've learned how to nurture my personality, without feeling like I'm fighting against it everyday.

If anything I said above feels familiar to you, or that you've felt at your very core - I encourage you to take the Briggs Myers Test Personality Test.  It's a well-known personality test - that will help you understand who you are, how you interact with people, and what environments work best for you. I am an INTJ.

Here are my tips to surviving and thriving as an introverted mom:

1. Numero Uno of course would be ME TIME. Before you roll your eyes and think I just dropped a cliche' on you.  Let me explain.  There are other ways of finding  'me time' that don't include spending money or arranging child care. I understand that some people can't afford child care.  I understand some people don't have family or friends around to help.  I get it. If you do have help and can afford it - then what the hell are you waiting for?! Do it.  However, if you have some childcare challenges, get creative.  I recommend  QUIET TIME.  Have you not heard of this?  Read up on it - I encourage you for the sake of sanity.  It's decompression time in the middle of your day (that usually coincides with nap time).  I have one child that has always been a great nap taker.  I have another child that sucks at naps.  Either way, for one and a half hours a day they go to their rooms and do quiet time. The good napper always falls asleep.  The other one, literally, reads books and plays with her stuffed animals in her bed. Quiet time saved my sanity.  Oh yes, and screen time.  Ya hurd me? If you're starved for solitude, plop your kids in front of the old tube or tablet for an hour.  Despite popular opinion, screen time doesn't kill a kid.

2. Bring a book, or newspaper, something that's small that interests you, every time you go to the park or indoor kiddie playhouse.  When you bring your kids to the local park, chances are, there will be other children there.  Which is great - they will entertain your child or children.  Use this opportunity to get in some 'me time'! You are under no obligation to talk to the other parents at the playground.  Bring your book, your newspaper, whatever the hell it is you like to immerse yourself in (you're an introvert, so I know you love to immerse yourself in something deep) and do it on a bench quietly.  I guarantee no adults will bother you, because you look busy.  This trick can be applied to any kiddie play situation that is communal.  Second tip - go to kiddie places at peak time - that will ensure other children will be there (especially for you  moms with one child, this is important!)

3. Listen to what you want to listen to - in the car.  It's your car dammit!  Listening to the music you like, or something you find interesting will re-charge any introvert.  I'm sure you've listened to your fair share of the Wiggles, Disney dance jams and Baby Einstein symphonies.  It's time you re-claim your car and your radio.  I live in Atlanta, so traffic is hideous.  We sometimes get stuck on the highway for an hour and a half.  And you know what my kids are subjected to?  NPR, 90's era rap and grunge and the occasional top 10 hit of the moment at very loud volumes.  Yes, at first, when I re-claimed my radio there was some hesitation.  Now, they sing along to Jay Z, Beastie Boys and Iggy Azalea. Mission Accomplished.

4. Experience nature with or without your kids.  I'm not a big fan of the outdoors.  I like the idea of being outside, but not totally exposed to the elements.  I like more of a controlled outdoor setting. If you are with your kids, look up nature museums or trails, etc.  There are several in even the smallest of towns across America.  And if you don't have access to this type of thing - go on scavenger hunts with your kids and collect bugs, leaves and rocks in a Dixie cup in your nearest grass patch.  I don't care if that grass patch is 2 inches by 2 inches.  Not every activity for your kid needs to be some stimulus fest complete with costumes, bright lights, singing and talking dogs.  Get outside! Being outside helps introverts re-charge their batteries.  We feel connected to nature on a deeper level than extroverts. Nature will fuel your kid's curiosity and interest.  Nature will feel nostalgic to you - because after all, who didn't collect caterpillars as a kid?  Just remember, nature nurtures introverts.

5. Go on walks.  This might be similar to the above.  Even if you're not the exercise type - and believe me, I'm definitely more of a dabbler exerciser, get outside for a walk daily if you can.  If your kids are at the age that they can fit in a stroller - go for a walk.  If your kids are too big for a stroller, walk with them outside while they ride bikes, scooters, or drive around in their miniature battery-operated Mercedes Benz.  Getting in motion, and outside is therapeutic for the introvert.

6. If you do like to exercise - join a gym with a child care center.  Most gyms allow parents to leave their kids in there for 2 hours (you usually have to stay on the gym premises).  Exercising and being away from your children will help the introvert.  And if you don't feel like exercising one day, but wanna get away from your kids - bring a magazine and sit your damn self in the sauna - voila!

7. Find Drop In Childcare options.  Community centers and YMCA's sometimes host Mothers Morning Out days.  You can drop your kid off  with trained child care professionals, pay a small fee, and you're free for four hours.  If you want a much more regular drop off option, preschools sometimes offer a Mother Morning Out program - where you pay a fee every month and drop your kid off on set days.  The fee is usually less than private preschool tuition.

8. Take up a hobby.  Reading, writing, crafting, cooking....I don't care if you paint by numbers!  Find a hobby that you can do alone, and that brings you joy.  Don't even tell me you don't have time.  You probably don't.  But, if having a hobby remotely interests you, or you've been thinking about it for a while.  I encourage you to find one.  Hobbies are passions that fulfill a part of us - the parts that kids, life and work can't.  If all else fails, color with your kids in a coloring book.  I love coloring, because it makes me feel calm.  It has a calming effect on my kids too.

9. Yoga.  You may think yoga is all oooOOOOHHHHmmmmmmmmmyyy and shit, and some of it is.  I'm no yogi - I just go for the stretching, the quietness and the meditation.  Looking inward is the introvert's best trait.  Yoga feeds that need to look inward.

10. Drink alcohol.  This one is going to get me in trouble, but I'm saying it anyway.  Introverts are in their heads constantly.  And sometimes, we don't know how to get out of it.  Not that drinking is some type of real coping mechanism, but a little bubbly helps you break out of your brain. May I recommend a nice red?  (I'm trying to be semi-healthy here after I just encouraged you to drink).  Once the alcohol hits your bloodstream, you'll become more social, less self-involved and slightly, dare I say, extroverty?  Please drink responsibly.  And if you're a recovering alcoholic or don't drink for whatever reason, replace drinking alcohol with masturbation or tea drinking, or something that feels good and can be done alone.  Just throwin' out some options for ya.

If you think any of these tricks could help you - use them and let me know how it goes!  Or if you think they could help someone you know, please pass this along to them. Being an introvert in an extrovert world can be tough.  Comments are always welcome below and on Facebook, or Tweet me.

I'll leave you with some introvert humor...

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