2019 Holiday Guide For Sarcastic Parents

It’s the most wonderful timeeeee of the year… if you’re a kid, that is. If you’re a parent, it’s beginning to look a lot like pine needle debris, bills stacked on the counter, a shameful amount of Amazon deliveries, stress-eating and hypothetical escape plans. By December 20th it’s all a blur of green and red but the clock is ticking and you’re almost out of time.

The twelve days of Christmas is just parents, procrastinating as usual, and trying to cram months worth of shopping/wrapping/ho-ho-holding down the fort into the final week before Santa shows up and scoops all the credit for the shit we killed ourselves to get.

Baby it’s cold outside, but once you’re inside the store you can’t tell if you’ve actually descended into the depths of hell or if that’s just your winter coat causing you to overheat to a point of visual hallucinations. Maybe both? Global warming is alive and well, folks. And currently living directly in the Matell toy aisle of Target.

We might be out shopping every fuggin day in December, but don’t worry we’ll be home for Christmas, because if we weren’t the whole damn house would burn down and literally NO ONE would know what the hell to do. As much as I would like to see this holiday up in literal flames right about now, there really is no place like home for the holidays … although packing a bag with my passport and sneaking off in the middle of the night to Bali doesn’t sound like the WORST idea…

But enough about me… let’s DO THIS!

In an effort to make your holiday just a liiiiitle brighter I bring to you this year’s hottest toys — straight from the toy manufacturers and multi-billion dollar companies selling them — because if anyone knows what your kid’s deepest desires are this year, it’s probably the people directly profiting off of them:

(if you think I didn’t load this sucker with affiliate links, you’d be wrong. Mama needs a new pair of noise cancelling headphones.)

Skyrocket Blume Doll

$9.98 on Amazon — which is a rock solid deal to watch a doll grow the same literal headache as me.

With the Skyrocket Blume Doll, all you need is a few drops of water and you won’t believe your eyes. No, really, you will be BLOWN. AWAY. by how your kid managed to turn 10 droplets of H2O into a goddamn tsunami right in the two seconds you turned your head to grab a towel.

I mean, for under $10, it’s worth the proof for when I tell my kids immabout to grow horns during one of their irrational outbursts, I have this beaut to prove that it IS possible, so don’t even try me, okkayyyyy?

 

WowWee PinkFong Baby Shark Puppets

Just $16.99 for a toy you’ll quickly toss at the dog and hope to God they tear to shreds.*insert Jaws theme song*

If you thought someone gifting your kid a drum set this Christmas was your worst nightmare, think again, folks. Just when I thought we were FINALLY over this it’s baaaaaack … do-do-do-do-do-DAMMIT! And apparently now better than ever because your kid doesn’t need to soak up screen time to get their fix, they can carry this little sucker around with them EVERYWHERE THEY GO! Mommmmmyyyy shark … do-do-do-does not want this mother-fucking-toy in her house do-do-do-don’t even think about it.

 

Moose Toys Treasure X Aliens

The low, low price of $12.93 for a solid butchery lesson.

Speaking of my worst nightmare, our kids will now have the tools they need for a future killing spree. We no longer have to question if our parenting style is conducive to raising future serial killers. Give them 5 minutes with this toy and you’ll know. Nothing says “joy to the world” quite like letting your kid disembowel an alien life form in the comfort of your living room, eh? It won’t send chills up your spine at all to hear their delightfully creepy squeals while they carefully dissect body parts (it’s just plastic, it’s cool) out of goo from a hole in this toy’s abdomen. Could be fostering future NASA researchers, could be raising surgeons… miiiight be nurturing psychopaths. But, hey, that last one will save you a TON on college.

 

Monster Jam Official Mega Grave Digger All-Terrain Remote Control Monster Truck

Monster Jam Official Grave Digger Remoter Control Monster Truck, 1: 15 Scale, 2.4Ghz
Amazon offers this bad boy for $84.99 which is a STEAL as an alternative to bail if you ask me. Disclaimer: IT’S A JOKE

GREAT NEWS! In part two of Breaking Bad Christmas for kids, after you have gifted your little angel the necessary tools to gut extra terrestrials, make sure to follow it up with this completely unrelated yet eerily sequential truck to clean up the evidence and dispose of the body properly. (Plastic tarps, shovel, bleach and empathy sold separately).

WowWee Pixie Belles

Just $9.99 on Amazon and well, I’m terrified.

This thing looks cute and cuddly, right? WRONG. Imagine those menacing eyes gawking at you from the corner of the room in the middle of the night when your kid summons you for a sip of water because their legs stopped working sometime around 2 am. Yeah, nowwww you see it. If this thing’s face wasn’t frightening enough, it’s also interactive. It dances, spins, coos, and you know what that means? You basically got your child a fucking pet that they won’t take care of and you’ll be hearing it going off at random hours of the night. I see your future, and it’s you covered in sweat, frantically searching into the depths of your toy box to swipe the batteries out so you can GO THE FUCK BACK TO SLEEP. Someone find me the Martian massacre toy, murder never looked so good.

 

Owleez Flying Baby Owl

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$38.99 on Amazon but think of all the times you’ll unexpectedly get pelted directly in your cerebellum?

Welp, if interactive toys of the year had a hierarchy, this one would be their queen. Not only does it do everything our horned, bug-eyed, single-footed pixie friend up there does, but this one FLIES. It has 100 different sounds and movements which is, ironically, the same number as the shards glass you’ll be  picking out of your carpet when this things sends that family portrait you finally hung up flying off the wall. When your kid’s eyes light up in excitement to watch it take flight you better hope they are bright enough to illuminate the whole fuggin room because any lamps, light fixtures or screens in what will soon look like a scene from Independence Day are likely going to be useless soon. What’s really great about this toy is it’s just LEARNING to fly. I don’t know how you teach an electronic baby bird to fly, but SUPER excited to baby proof my house all over again and find out (insert huge, sarcastic eye-roll).

 

The Frantic Forest Game

Cardinal Disney Frozen Frantic Forest Board Game
$17.99 at Target only for proof that toy makers HATE parents

WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK IS WITH ALL OF THE FLYING TOYS? The Frantic Forest Game is going to just be me, furiously dashing around the house trying to catch all of the aeronautical plastic characters soaring past my goddamn head.

 

Foam Alive Make N’ Melt Ice Cream Kit

$17.99 for fake ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s wouldn’t do me like this.

Food-like anything that claims to be “alive” is definitely not on my wish list. But apparently it might be on your kid’s this year. The best part of this concoction is that it is “mess-free.” You know, like the kinetic sand that promised to keep your kid’s play session “clean” right before it snuggled into the smallest crevices of your heirloom wood table and dried into a cement-like substance that will NEVER come out. Mess-free basically means, they can’t paint it on the walls, but they WILL find a way. The only thing escaping a mess in my house is the air – and even that somehow manages to get invaded by their stank 99% of the time.

 

#SNAPSTAR Pop Royalty: Echo’s Debut on the Pink Carpet

Snapstar YL30100 Pink Echo Playset
$19.99 – $35.00 from various sellers on Amazon is a nominal fee to teach your kids how to be a Kardashian

I don’t know what Christmas is all about in YOUR house, but in MY house it’s about vanity. If you’re not grooming your kids for a life of fame and entitlement can you even call yourself a PARENT? My kids can pretend to be celebrities all they want, but it’s going to be a harsh reality check when they realize the only red carpet they’ll be walking on in life is the wine stained rug in our living room.

 

American Girl Bowling Alley

$150 from the American Girl Doll store and I’m already on my way.

For $150 this thing better come with the machine apparatus behind the lanes that picks up the pins and places them back upright after they knock them down (believe it or not, it does).  It also has a snack menu, fake snacks, game cards, glow in the dark tees for neon bowling and for fuck sake, this just moved up to the top of MY Christmas list. I can’t even make fun of this toy … except I’m not sure they can truly claim it’s “realistic” if you don’t get a whiff of stale beer and fried food when you open the box. Those shoes better smell like a Febreze covering up a bad case of athlete’s foot or this is false advertising. I bet you have to rent the shoes straight from AG for a nominal fee. Just kidding, it comes with glittery bowling shoes and I’m serious… SOMEONE BUY THIS FOR ME.

 

Poopsie’s Rainbow Slime Kit w/ 35+ Makeup and Slime Surprises

$59.00 on Amazon and Poopsie’s got a brand new bag. Literally.

This year’s addition to everyone’s favorite unicorn that shits rainbow and confetti slime is a whole MOOD. On the left, you have the face your kids will make when they open it up to reveal they have 35+ “surprise” ways to completely wreck your sanity. On the right, you have the parents reaction literal SECONDS into opening this sucker up to realize that it is full of gloss, powders, slime, glitter, and as if glitter isn’t magically fucking adhesive enough all on it’s own, GLUE. This is just fan-fuggin-tastic. My tip? Empty the damn case before you give it to them. It’s cool without all the added bullshit.

 

Pictionary AIR

Mattel Pictionary AIR
$15.99 for this Amazon exclusive and no, that blue line is not real.

Now you can draw the same way you scream after a long day with kids, right into a complete void. Who needs paper and pen when you can have wires and technological difficulties on game night? I can’t wait to get all my friends and family together so they can have a front row seat to my mental breakdown when I go to hook this up after a few spiked eggnog drinks to realize it’s not connecting to the GODDAMN WIFI?!? I give it a week before my kids lose that damn pen… but I won’t notice it’s gone until everyone is packed on my couch with smiles plastered on their faces, ready to play. It wouldn’t be a true game night if it didn’t start, and end, in tears.

 

Capsule Chix

Image result for capsule chix
$44.99 direct from Amazon seems reasonable for a toy that looks like an ancient body exhumed from the crypt.

If we are trying to make Halloween a year long event I just have one thing to say, I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT!!! I’m not even sure what the hell is going on here, but if I had to guess you can put this right up with the alien autopsy doll because it looks to me like you’re opening up dolls who stopped breathing LONG ago.

Go-Glam Nail Stamper

$18.82 on Amazon for 5 patterns and teach your kids a valuable lesson in why painting your own nails is stupid hard.

This one offers stamps, the scent of nail polish and broken dreams. Just like when I sign up for the bake sale to make something “homemade,” we all know this toy won’t deliver what it promises.

 

And there you have it, folks. This year’s TOP TOYS and a million reasons why come January we are all going to be drinking, heavily. Trying to get my shopping done on a steady diet of drive-thru meals and the permanent layer of perspiration I’ve been sporting running from store to store has me starting to look a lot like Santa’s twin. 2020 me is going to be really pissed when she sees what I’ve done to her.

But, hey, it’s always worth the look on their little faces for exactly 3.42 seconds on Christmas morning before they started bitching about someone touching them and someone else getting “more” than they did. Do they know it’s Christmas … AT ALL?

Thank God this day only comes once a year, amirite?

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Common Excuses My Kids Use to Avoid Sleep

In my house we have a special kind of song and dance at bed time because I have multiple kids sleeping (in their own beds) in one room. I have mastered how to stagger bedtimes so that they each go to sleep on their own, in chronological order.. but on nights where their bedtime refusal game is strong, it screws with my whole system, and we all hit demon mode in the end. I say a little hymn every night before I start this ritual, but some nights…. we had no fighting chance to begin with. And they have their arsenal of reasons why going to sleep was inevitable from the beginning.

1. Someone saw a shadow, and now there is a monster in their room

They are moving around, sitting up and talking to their siblings and now they have caught a glimpse of their own shadow and have convinced themselves that someone, or (usually) the more chilling version that some THING is in their room. Trying to show kids how a shadow works when you’re running on fumes is something for science, not tired moms.

2. I can’t put on my BLANKETS!!!

The same blankets I expertly placed and smoothed and tucked onto your tiny body before I left the room? THOSE BLANKETS? Someone find

me the nail gun so I can make sure this atrocity doesn’t happen again.

3. Ummmm, MAHMMM, my doll needs blankets too!!!

FFS.

4. The ice in my water melted, so naturally I can’t drink it now

My kids have this weird fetish with ice water, but only at bedtime. Throughout the day, cold water from the tap will do just fine for their sophisticated palates. At bedtime, however, water must be precisely the correct temperature with the exact ice cube count for them to be satisfied. And, God forbid, the ice melts just a SMIDGE and all hell breaks loose.

5. Someone is talking to me in the monitor

yeah – it’s ME. Telling you to lay down and GO TO SLEEP. {eyeroll}

6. I forgot to tell you that next year, on my birthday, I want to have cupcakes instead of cake.

I know birthdays are exciting, but seriously? Yours isn’t for 9 more months, kid. And therefore, not even on my radar. My mind races at night with all things I need to do too. Is this what it looks like inside a child’s brain on it’s way to sleep? Birthday, cake, ice cream, shadows, puppies, Legos, YouTube, ponies, baseball, homework, ABCD…., birthday, blankets, princesses, water, birthday, cake…….

7. It’s really important that this night in April we discuss my future Halloween Costume

See #5. I believe this applies. And, let’s be honest, you’ll change your mind 20 more times before October rolls around. That’s why I don’t have the luxury of getting my Christmas shopping done early. Because if I did, you would turn your nose up at half of your presents because they aren’t “cool” anymore.

8. I need to explain to you in detail the reason why two weeks ago, on Tuesday, I peed in my pants (or got sick, or spit milk out of my nose)

Something “traumatizing” happened and now my poor kid has been trying to figure out why for weeks. I can honestly say, this one is my fault. I over obsess when I do something stupid and embarrassing. Sorry, kid. You inherited this self-reflection and need to replay the moment over and over, from me. I wish I could say it gets better… but it doesn’t. And the embarrassing things you do, only get more awkward and unforgettable (For you. The good news is, everyone else you’re worried about remembering already forgot).

9. There was a tooth fairy sighting, and we are scared

I can’t even make this shit up. This happened. Twice. Next time I see the tooth fairy, we are going to have words.

And the ever-famous….

10. But I’m not tireeedddd….

 

Every mom has a list like this. It’s unique to your children’s choice of excuses on a given night, but you have one. Because all kids look for every excuse in the world to get out of going to bed at night, while we moms are praying to the Gods of Sleep that today is the day they all magically drift off without a production at bedtime. Because WE are exhausted. We are DYING to go to sleep. We’ve been thinking about it all day.

It’s been our oasis through the long, hot, and sometimes lonely,  hike of the day: cleaning up after them, breaking up toddler fist fights, and sitting through episodes on YouTube where grown adults sit and open up plastic eggs with the tiny toys we never want in our house. We’ve licked every wound, washed every dirty hand, wiped every butt, cleaned and re-cleaned every room in the house.

We’ve made it to the top of the greatest mountain known to mom, the one that takes hours and hours of prep and even more time to conquer…. we did the laundry. And now, we just want to slip into the endless abyss of nothingness until around 1 or 2 am when the middle of the night shit show starts because someone woke up with one leg out of their blanket. But we can’t. Because our kids won’t JUST GO TO SLEEP.

 

Until next time… be the mom that gets some sleep. You deserve it.

 

MomTransparenting

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Father’s Day is Different for Us.

Years ago I went through a divorce that changed my family completely. Not only did we separate to different homes but eventually my kids’ dad lost his rights and ability to share in their lives and because of that it’s been years since they’ve seen him.

Most days, this is our “norm.” They have gotten used to how our family has changed and what our dynamic has become without their dad as someone to rely on, confide in or spend time with. Most days, it seems as if they have done their processing of this and have moved on to acceptance. This is our family now. It’s different and that’s ok.

Then days like Father’s Day come around and my kids get thrown into a day of mourning. They are reminded of all of the parts of a family that they used to have but no longer do. They spend the day sullen and wondering where he is, what he is doing, and if he is thinking of them, too. They pull out piles of paper and crayons, glitter and tape and construct some homemade, heartfelt cards in hopes that one day, soon, they may see him again and be able to show him that on days like this, they were thinking of him.

But the cards sit in a corner in the living room. Days pass, and then months. And eventually, once I know that they have moved on from the hurt of that day, I package them up and put them into a box in the attic with the rest of their hand printed and misspelled cards made out to their dad with care. So they know that they can retrieve them whenever the time comes … if ever the time does come.

Am I doing my kids a disservice by allowing them to create these shows of affection for a man who hasn’t bothered to call or write in over a year? Who hasn’t seen their faces in so long that they’ve had 5 birthday’s between them that he hasn’t been a part of? A man who doesn’t even know that one of our children has completely transformed from the female gender he was assigned at birth into a little boy, because he’s since come out as transgender. He hasn’t seen my youngest do a perfect cartwheel or my oldest pitch a no-hitter. He doesn’t even know what team they are on or what sports they play. He isn’t aware that my oldest is “gifted,” my middle is struggling, my youngest is affectionate and sweet. He doesn’t KNOW any of these things and yet they still want to share these days dedicated to him WITH him because, he’s their dad.

I don’t know what’s “right” in this situation. I never anticipated that when I celebrated our first Father’s Day as a family that one day this day would be just the opposite of a day of celebration, but more of a yearly remembrance and memorial service for the life they’ve lost. I hadn’t expected on our very first Father’s Day that this person my first child and I were honoring as a beacon in our family would one day be totally removed from us and living a different life. One that was completely separate from ours.

I wasn’t prepared for the first Father’s Day without him. I didn’t expect my young kids to feel compelled to put their hurt aside, break out the crayons, and open their hearts so deeply despite every pain they felt. I wouldn’t have imagined they would have been so thoughtful and proud to take time out of their day to create a loving gestures for someone that seemed to not give them the same consideration and time in return.

But, after our years of experiencing this day together, I know now that come Sunday while we celebrate with my dad, the one who has become like a stand-in for the dad they once knew, my kids will ask me to make their dad a card. Cards that will end up in the corner of my living room. Cards and pictures that will be filled with hand prints and glitter, with little hearts and their names adoringly scribbled on all sides with the words “I love you” plastered on the front. Cards that will end up curled up around the edges and withered with age and stains before enough time has passed that I can safely package them up into a bin in the attic with the rest.

I wasn’t prepared for the first one, but this time I’m ready with extra markers… and glitter.

 

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When a T-Shirt Means EVERYTHING

I had the sheer luck of stumbling across this account during my early days on Instagram. I reached out to the owner and gushed about my obsession with his movement. He is running a page called “What Trans Looks Like” and it is dedicated to trans people and allies of all types sharing themselves in statement shirts that scream “WE ARE JUST LIKE YOU! WE ARE PEOPLE TOO!”

I loved everything about this from the minute I laid eyes on it. Not only is this man single-handedly running this little shop as a side gig, but he’s doing it to change the public’s perspective on transgender people and the overwhelming stereotype that has been perpetuated towards this community of people. Breaking the stigma of the “scary trans” person one t-shirt at a time. And doing it all with humility and overwhelming love of the community.

So when my son and I got a couple of these shirts it meant so much more to us than a piece of clothing. When my son opened his up and I explained what it said and where it came from, we scrolled the instagram feed together and he saw a string of faces, all different from his, but all the same. He saw that he’s not alone in the world as the only trans person. And at his young age, that’s a reminder he needs OFTEN. He learned that it is possible for him to one day look like a man with a beard or a mustache (although I didn’t exactly explain precise details on HOW just yet), instead of a boy with breasts.

My son got this t-shirt and he felt like he was understood. And he didn’t even know what the damn t-shirt said until I read it to him. If this doesn’t show you the power of community, support and affirmation… I don’t know what will.

My son wrote a letter to the maker of the magical t-shirt and it said, “I like being a boy because it makes me happy. When I was a girl, it made me REALLY REALLY sad. {my mom helped me write this}.”

We put on our new shirts and we posed for some photos. We had so much fun together knowing we were both doing something to make a difference in the world and to show people that just because you were born or look a certain way, doesn’t make you scary or weird. It just makes you different and unique.

Here is my post from when I shared our photo shoot on Instagram about how something as small as a shirt meant so much to me and especially my son:

Hey hey! When I first started this account I stumbled on this amazing movement @whattranslookslike shedding light on the trans community and full of photos of people brave enough to share and break through stereotypes of what it means to be transgender.

A lot of non-affirming sources on the Internet have this fixation on sexuality and gender being simultaneous and interchangeable but it doesn’t work that way. If you’ve ever read a well researched article on gender you would know that it’s something you can’t choose for someone else based on their biology. It’s more than your “parts” but also includes your expression and your mind. How you think, feel and present yourself. 

Gender is fluid. Which means it’s a spectrum of variations of how people identify. While some people identify as male or female, others identify as both or neither. AND. THAT. IS. OK. If you find the concept strange to you that doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. It just means that as you developed you did NOT question the gender you were assigned at birth. And guess what? THAT IS OK TOO.

But if you are someone who has questioned your gender you know, it can be scary. It can be lonely. It can be confusing and it can hurt. 

So if you’re like me and you’ve never felt anything but your assigned gender, let’s stand up and be allies together. Because being anything else means we are promoting someone else’s pain and suffering. And that’s never the right thing to do.

Love your trans friends and family and show them that every chance you get, because in many cases their life depends on YOU and those they love showing them that you support, love, and accept them just the way they are.

 

Go hug your trans friends, show them you love them. And find yourself your Ally shirt here at whattranslookslike.com

xoxo, Mom Transparenting

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7 Things You Lose In A Divorce (Besides Your Partner)

When I first realized my marriage was over I thought about what life would be like without my spouse. What changes would be made to my family now that we were a family minus one. What would it be like sleeping in bed alone? Never having someone in the house to delegate tasks I realllly didn’t want to do to? What about when bedtime gets bad and I could use a hand, but that hand lives somewhere else now?

I wondered about losing a spouse and partner in the home and what that would mean for our dynamic and how our home would function now with one less person. But I took me a while to realize that in divorce, you lose so much more than just your spouse.

You lose friends. People pick sides. Whether they intend to or not, they seem to feel the need to form alliances and mutual friends tend to lean one way or the other. Many of my ex-husband’s friends were made during our marriage, which made this especially hard for me because in my eyes, they were just as much my friends as they were his. But they didn’t see things that way. I lost a lot of friends, which in turn meant I lost a lot of support I could have used.

You lose your confidence. Nothing makes you question your ability as a human being like realizing you made the CATASTROPHIC desicion to marry the wrong person. If your divorce is ugly and harsh, like mine, it chips even more away at your self-esteem little by little as you wonder how you could have stayed this long, how this man you shared your life with could do and say these TERRIBLE things about you, and how stupid are you that you didn’t see him for who he really was sooner? You question your judgement, your ability to move on, you wonder if you find someone new if you’ll make the same mistake(s) again. You feel fragile. Broken.

You lose your family. My ex and I were together for 12 years. His family became part of my family. And whether or not we had a great relationship, they were still family. And they are always family to my children. But during (and even after) divorce the relationship changes so drastically. They are no longer people you would want to turn to in crisis. You don’t want to confide in them or rely on them any longer. You feel like they are judging you. And you know that they are on his side, they are HIS family in blood.

You lose time with your kids. You know you’ll have to split holidays and birthdays. Share special days throughout the year or spend them in awkward silence with your future ex, but you don’t realize how much that time really adds up and how much it HURTS until it happens. And it doesn’t get easier. The minute they leave, you miss them. And the minute they get home, you’re already worrying about the next time they will leave again.

You lose STUFF. It sounds like a #firstworldproblem to be concerned about material things, but it’s true. You lose your favorite couch or your best towels. You lose your house when you’re forced to sell it and split things down the middle. You lose your credit limit because it’s no longer a shared entity. Your cars, your plates, your blender, you lose HALF OF EVERYTHING. And you don’t think about this at first, but rebuilding an entire life from 50% back up to where you left off can be hard (and costly) to do.

 

Which means, you lose money. Between splitting your finances and your assets, you also spend thousands on attorneys, mediators, babysitters to help you get through it all. You spend so much money on divorce that the idea of getting divorced ever again means you’ll probably never accept another proposal because you can’t risk the financial hit it sends rippling through your accounts.

You lose your pets. Maybe you are the one who keeps them, but in divorce pets can’t live in two places at once so one of you will be bound to lose your furry friend’s companionship on a daily basis. In my divorce I was so worried about my children and what would happen with them I didn’t even think about my animals until my divorce was almost finalized. They weren’t an item that came up in our talks with our attorneys and if you ask me, that’s not right. My pet stayed with me, but he’s not the same. He lost someone too.

Divorce is hard. It turns your world upside down and forces you to find yourself all over again after years of thinking that this is your “forever life.” Everyone around you gets effected by the residual effects of your mood, your change in lifestyle, your new independence. But you don’t think about how much you really LOSE when you decide to call it quits. It’s more than just the partner you’re divorcing. And that part hurts enough.

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Mom Transparenting

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