Dear Judgy Social Media Moms, Get the F*ck Over Yourselves.

Actual footage of a mom-bully basking in the glory of how many souls she’s crushed today alone.

Mom on mom attacking needs to just chill the fuck out already. Since when did mom-shaming become a “cool” thing to do? It’s like one starts and they have an entire posse ready to pop in and crush someone’s soul. I’m saying it, others have said it before me, and I’m sure more are to follow. What is it about the world of social media that makes (some) people morph into these beings that basically share the same characteristics as sociopaths if they were to exhibit them in real life (but let’s be honest, they don’t. They only share their “knowledge” behind a screen where they are hidden, safe, and in the dark). Anyone who walked around on an average day pointing fingers, stopping people in the street to let them know they were “doing it wrong”, or walking up to moms with a child melting down and giving them (unwarranted) advice followed by multiple resources and recommendations. NOBODY DOES THIS IN REAL LIFE! If you did, you would have zero actual friends, and you would eventually land yourself in a “ward” of some fashion for having no boundaries, no filter, no empathy.

What are we DOING to each other? Can we just make a pact here and now to stop all the madness already? When a mom posts a picture of a rash on her child at midnight asking if anyone has any insight, it’s not because she’s a complete moron and didn’t think to call the damn DOCTOR! It’s because she’s a mom (quite possibly a new mom) and she’s freaking the fuck out and needs someone to talk her off a ledge while she’s watching her child breathe in his sleep and googling staph, syphilis, E-Coli, and other various catastrophic disease that (coincidentally) carry the same symptoms

Here’s a mom with an inflated self-ego contemplating which platform she should go to next to share her vast knowledge of EVERYTHING with the world of moms who didn’t ask for it

When someone posts a picture of their child in the car – cute.as.a.button – and another mom jumps at the chance to teach her some serious lessons on how to correctly strap her child into their car seat it makes me HOMICIDAL. *Most* (not all, I know I can’t speak for all) but most moms snapping a picture of their kid in the car are doing it before or after they are even on the road. Their kid did something cute and they want to quickly document it before the demon child comes back demanding goldfish and juice (you think, by then they are speaking in tongues and you can’t quite make it out) on their way to the doctor’s appointment they are already late for. They shared a cute pic of their kid FFS. It’s not always your job to educate people on safety when you have no idea what the situation is.

“and this, dear daughter, is the device where people who don’t know you will tell you everything you need to know about your life”

Why are we constantly reporting “nannies”? Who the hell even knows if that was a NANNY! There are so many nanny narcs on social media. “I saw this babysitter at the park and the toddler asked to go on the swing and she said NO because she was too busy playing on her phone! So I think it’s my civic duty to report her in case one of you 20,000 women employs this deplorable excuse for a nanny so you can fire her.” We are raising a bunch of tattle tales and we wonder why (ummm, hello!). Here’s where my anger comes in. Let’s get real, if I’m paying someone top dollar to take care of my kids when I can’t , then sure… I expect them to actually watch my kid. But if we are talking about the same kids I pushed out of my body and fed and fought with and listen to bicker and whine for hours on end in a day, well then, I know full well what they are capable of doing to the human spirit. And if my poor sitter needed a break so she took them to the park so she could screw around on social media for 10 minutes. GOOD ON YOU, GIRLFRIEND. Get your peace and quiet break. We all deserve one.

Email me, I promise I will send you FREE step by step directions on how to follow a post so I never have to see this meme again.

But, that wasn’t the only issue I had with this particular social media shaming post. My other issue was that someone commented that this could very well be their MOM. And I said “hell yeah! I do that all. the. time.”  Well, you bet your ass people had things to say about that (of course they did). You take your kid to the park you should be playing WITH them! Not on your phone. Pay attention to them! Ummmm, listen. You don’t know the shit storm we have been dealing with in my house filled with tantrums and sibling fights, back talking, and lost socks and shoes to get to this moment of serenity. It was complete and utter chaos today. I just want to chill. So until you bother to ask about the REST of my day? Then back the fuck off with your judgements, mmmmk?

 

Footage of me, not judging anyone, because Netflix and Chill is my job, not judging strangers on social media

And if I have to read one more time about how someone is “really offended by that”, I might cut someone (virtually, of course. I would never act the way I do online in real life, like the rest of the human population). You’re on Facebook. Not everyone is going to agree with you in life, better yet in a virtual world of endless members. 99.9% of the time. Grow a pair, or get off the internet. Chances are, unless you are opening offensive to an entire population of people, I’m not judging you. But even if I was, you assholes seem to be judging me any time I open my thoughts up on social media so if you can’t take it then stop dishing it out, Nancy.

I’m not kidding when I say this shit has gotten WAY out of hand. I can’t even post asking for recipe ideas with chicken for dinner without someone chiming in about how unhealthy poultry is and “did you know about all of the antibiotics they bulk those animals up with? I suggest a nice big salad”. Thanks a lot, Suzie, for your unnecessary advice. I, too, watched “The Magic Pill” while I was snacking away on some Cheetos and washing it down with Cherry Coke. This is MY life, and I do what I want, so back off. Let’s all just BACK OFF, mmmk?

Give each other a break. You know you’ve also had bad, really bad, and worse days. Maybe keep that in mind before you start attacking other moms on a platform made JUST FOR MOMS. We are all in this together, are we not? Parenting is hard enough. And if you can’t figure out a way to be helpful in a non-condescending way and ONLY when someone has asked for it, then maybe you should take your own advice, chill the fuck out, and put your phone down and go play with your kid for a little bit.

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Why Moms Have To Stay Up Late

If I complain about being tired during the day my partner will often say to me, “well maybe you should go to bed earlier…”

He doesn’t get it. Not even a little. It’s not like I want to be exhausted all day long. We don’t, as mothers, make poor choices nightly that effect us throughout the day out of desire. We do it out of necessity.

I tell myself every single day that tonight I will go to bed earlier. Tonight, I will put a limit on how much TV I watch or how much of my book I will read and I will shut.it.down. early. But then the evening comes, my kids are crazy, and the dinner/bath shit show starts and the marathon of a day finally comes to an end and as exhausted as I am, I just can’t wait to get my butt onto the couch or curl up in my bed with the remote in one hand and phone in the other for endless hours (however many I choose) of PEACE AND QUIET.

No one will come running in with their pants around their ankles asking me to wipe their butt. I won’t hear someone screaming my name because they can’t reach a cup or a bag of chips in the kitchen when I told them ten times already to WAIT. I can get up and use the bathroom without someone following me in whining about how their sibling called them a baby (well.. if the shoe fits, kid).

If I want to read an article, I can pay attention and focus on what the writer is saying without interruption or background noise in the form of child yelps or YouTube celebrities blaring from the other room. I can watch a show or movie on TV and actually understand the plot line and the characters and be surprised by the dramatic turn at the end. (I did NOT see that coming!) Late at night, I can understand what the hell is going on in this movie, even if I am dozing off between scenes, because I’m not jumping up to every loud thud I hear wondering which one of my kids I’m going to find bloody when I turn the corner.

No one will tell me they are hungry shortly after I just made them a meal (that they refused to eat). I can plan out my week and write down all of the appointments, sporting events, school functions, and birthday parties I have to remember to deliver my child to.

And in the off chance I actually have some energy, I can fold the laundry, clean out the refrigerator, wash the floors, or do the dishes. And for whatever reason, at night, when it’s quiet and I’m alone, these mundane tasks don’t seem so mind numbing. Frankly it pains me to admit, I kind of enjoy them. But only at night.

There are plenty of moms out there that go to bed shortly after their kids. Who have self-control at night and make sure they are sleeping at a decent hour. But, if I had to guess, the majority of those moms are the ones who set the alarm early. They wake up in the wee hours while their kids are still snoozing away, and use the time to just be with themselves. To think, to peruse social media, to play candy crush or sit in silence. To read, watch TV or do the things us night-owl moms did the night before. Because soon, the tornado of the day will start and the whole atmosphere of the house will change.

If you are a mom, you get it.

We don’t have a choice. If we want any time to ourselves, it has to happen at night after the kids (and everyone else in the neighborhood without the title of “mom”) is asleep, or it won’t happen at all. We might regret it in the morning, but I guarantee no matter how many times we promise ourselves that this day will be different, once our kids are in bed… we will do it all over again tonight.

 

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Learning To Say “No”

I’m not talking about saying “NO!” to my kids. I know some moms are very anti N-word. But not me. I say no at least 300 times a day. It’s a regular part of my conversational interactions with my children. I say “no” more than I say yes, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

That’s not where I’m going with this though. I’m talking about saying “no” in terms of not spreading yourself too thin. Allowing yourself (as a mom, as a person who needs self-care) to take a day off, to skip the laundry for today, to cancel on your dinner plans and stay home with a book.

Moms these days have so much pressure to be perfect, to be super mom. We have to make sure our kids don’t get too much screen time, but get enough that they aren’t the only kids at school who don’t know what Fortnite is. We can’t yell or scream or swear. We have to use our words carefully as to not bruise their fragile egos. We need to be their advocate, but make sure we aren’t helicoptering over them… they need their independence too, but not too much. We need to keep them away from processed foods and GMO’s and ensure they are only supplied gluten-free, sugar-free, non-GMO, fresh, clean, and homemade meals shaped like their favorite Disney characters. We have to make sure everything is fair, because (as we all know) life is always fair and simple participation in life is always awarded. Our kids must be the best in everything or it’s a direct reflection of us as parents. Hell, you can’t even apply sunscreen on your kids nowadays without someone chastising you for using an aerosol spray can of SPF that causes cancer. DEET? That’s absurd. No one uses that. It’s homemade essential oil concoctions to repel bugs in this century. Get your shit together, bad mom.

That is just the pressure we women have with KIDS! When you add in the pressure of just being a woman it’s seriously overwhelming. If you show up to school drop off looking like you just woke up, sure, some moms might get it, but some will judge the fuck out of you. Show up late for pickup? Clearly there is something wrong with you! Don’t make it to the gym on a regular basis? Stop at McDonald’s on the way home from running to school to sports to clubs and home for homework? You must not care enough about your family. What’s wrong with you?

You’re not part of the PTA, PTSA, PTSO and the NRA? Well then… you’re not a real “mom” at all!

In this world of perfection, it’s hard to take time for  yourself. It’s even harder to FIND time for yourself. I have found that the only time I get any time to breathe, think, focus, or plan for the upcoming days is at night when my kids are asleep. Which is great, if you can live off no sleep. I can’t.

When my marriage started to come to an end and I had to take a look at my life and my family on a much deeper level, I realized, I was doing WAY too much. I was falling apart at the seams trying to keep up with sports, school and after-school activities, dinner and PTA meetings, cub scouts and parties and the list. is. ENDLESS. When things got really bad I was having such anxiety I couldn’t even fall asleep at night even though I was walking around like the living dead because I was so damn tired. And when I finally did fall asleep I couldn’t get my ass out of bed in the morning without hitting the snooze fifteen times (or more).

It might be an unpopular opinion I have, but I am a firm believer after years of spreading myself so thin I can’t breathe, that sometimes… I just have to say no. If I am not up for a night out, I will say so. And I won’t feel bad about it anymore. If I don’t want to drag my kids to a party where I know they (and I) are going to take days to recover from…. I make a call, send a text, and apologize, and STAY HOME. If I have to skip making dinner and order in just to save my sanity, I do it. If I have to send my kids to school with a lunchable instead of a homemade sandwich in a bento box with carefully selected fresh fruit and vegetable sides, then so be it. I overslept so I’ll stop at 7-11 on the way to school, and I might even throw in some ho-ho’s (GASP!).

In most cases when speaking about anxiety and depression, women are TWICE as likely to be affected than men. I think that speaks volumes to the amount of pressure we are under as women, as moms, and as wives. It’s a hard thing to admit when you are in over your head. It’s almost like you’re admitting defeat. Admitting you can’t handle the stress. But, in reality, if you can be someone who knows their body, knows their mind and their soul so well that they know when enough is enough and it’s time to slow down. To do what it takes, for your own well-being, and ultimately for your overall health so you can actually take some time to ENJOY life and have FUN with your family, with the strength to not give a DAMN about what anyone thinks about it. Well, that makes you the real super hero.

Photo Credit: National Institute Of Mental Health

**did you know? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Panic Disorder affects 6 million adults, or 2.7% of the U.S. population.

Social Anxiety Disorder affects 15 million adults, or 6.8% of the U.S. population.
SAD typically begins around age 13. According to a 2007 ADAA survey, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help.

Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3.
MDD affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7%of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old.
More prevalent in women than in men”

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What’s In A Name?

 

There are so many facets to coming out as a trans person. As an adult or even older youth, I assume many transgender individuals are constantly thinking about all the ways their life would be and will be different before they begin revealing to people how they feel inside. When a young child presents as transgender, despite professionals advising parents in this situation to follow the child’s lead and let them pave the way to wherever the path is going, ultimately the responsibility for all major decisions lies on the shoulder’s of the parent. A parent who hasn’t spent days or weeks or years day dreaming about how differently life could be for them (unless you count what I think my life might be like as a Kardashian. But I don’t. Should I?). There are many situations that have come up that I haven’t even come close to contemplating until the instant it’s shoved in my face and I’m forced to make a BIG decision on the fly. One I’m not sure I’m ready to make on behalf of my dependent. One I’m scared to take the credit or, more likely, the blame for later.

I have joined every parenting group I can find to connect with other moms and dads with children like mine; to bounce ideas off of them, to share my fears, or hear their successes and horror stories, to prepare myself for the journey ahead of us. But sometimes, no matter how much you research, how much you prepare or plan, there is no warning for situations you are going to have to tackle.

One topic that comes up a lot is names. And more specifically, legal name changes. I’ve heard of parents petitioning for these legal name changes as young as 3. Kids that haven’t even been able to put their feelings about their gender into words (because they didn’t have words) for very long. Kids that don’t know how to articulate how they feel yet, just that they feel wrong or different. 

Until today, I couldn’t wrap my head around why someone would go through this excruciating process with a young child to officially and legally change their name. In my thoughts, there is a good possibility the child’s feelings on the name they choose may change. Many times. I can’t even confidently select a sandwich to make my child for lunch for the following day without concern that their taste buds will change overnight and they will instantly reject PB&J and only eat ham from that point on (until Friday, then it’s something else, isn’t that how all kids work?). In my experience, kids are notoriously indecisive.

I guess perhaps this is where some of my misunderstanding or my personal bias comes in. I think about how when I was younger I wanted people to call me Dorothy for many months because I had watched the Wizard of Oz and wanted to be the girl in the blue and white plaid dress with ruby slippers who could click my heels and transport to other parts of the world, whenever the hell I wanted to. I didn’t respond if you didn’t call me by my new, chosen name, and most people thought it was adorable and would play along. Fancy that, because when my trans son asks people he knows and admires to please call him by the shortened version of his name, some have flat out refused… apparently it’s not “adorable” when it’s serious and a matter of acceptance and mental well-being. {eyeROLL}. I digress. My parents would have never ran out and changed my name to Dorothy even if I had been consistent and persistent about this. And, as luck would have it, the phase ended and I was back to answering to my birth name in no time. Maybe this is a bad analogy, because, for trans kids, a name is a BIG deal.

I have read about changing a child’s name, legally, but I have not embarked on this journey yet. It’s a big step. One many parents and trans kids will consider a huge milestone and success to be celebrated. It’s a process that includes court filings, court hearings, money, and going in front of a judge pleading your case to prove this is in the best interest of your child. I don’t know what the statistics are on getting denied, but I do know it certainly happens. And I couldn’t even begin to imagine the disappointment families must feel at the mercy of the judge who just denied their child’s existence as their true self, in a way.

A trans person’s birth name associates them with someone they used to be, someone that was in pain, someone that was misunderstood and living a life that wasn’t true to themselves. Their birth name (also known in the trans world as a dead name) isn’t THEM anymore. They are now known by a new name, one with hope, with peace, and most importantly (and hopefully), acceptance. So to refer to a person who is trans by their old name is considered offensive and hurtful. It can cause emotional trauma, especially if it’s done intentionally. It can remind them of all of their terrible experiences living as someone they were not. And as a parent, no one wants to knowingly put their child in a situation where that could happen. Ever.

Getting to the point (finally)…. I met with the school this week to talk about my son and his situation. We are just starting elementary school and as if coming into kindergarten isn’t scary enough for a child, my child socially transitioned from a girl to a boy since we registered last winter and it has put us into a tailspin of explanations and preparation before school starts. I feel the need to give them some insight as to how he likes to be referred to, what staff members should be included in his circle of trust, and what situations we can try to prepare for.

It wasn’t until this meeting that it clicked. I now understand why parents of young trans kids are changing their names. The principal informed me that per state law there are certain forms, certain cards or documents that will have to be received by my child with his full (girl) name on it, because that is the name that coincides with his birth certificate. If he has to sit down and take a state exam, there will be a box he will have to obediently check that says “yes, this is me (dead name )”.

The summer camp my kids attend is one my son has been registered with for years. They had his girl name on the roster, and this is another one of those situations that had to punch me in the face for me to be like “ahhhh, shit, this isn’t good and I should have prepared for this”. We walked in the door and he noticed his name tag and got upset, hurt, and didn’t want to go inside the classroom. I quickly alerted the counselors who swiftly changed his name tag, attendance list, and cubby holes for backpacks, and that was that, problem solved. But in school, it’s not going to be so easy.

If the teacher is a sub, the lunch staff is in a hurry, or the librarian doesn’t make a conscious effort to correctly call my child out by their preferred name over the name they will see on the computer screen or card he hands over…. this might devastate him. This might “out” him to whoever is in line with him, to his classmates or peers, and it could be terrible. I instantly felt pressured with the decision of keeping his legal name and preparing him for these anticipated situations that WILL arise through the school year, or starting the process of changing his name legally and hoping that as a 5 year old he has the wisdom to pick a name he will want to carry for the rest of his life. What kind of pressure is that for a child? It’s immense. He has a name picked out, he’s been testing it out for over a month when strangers he meets ask him his name. He likes it and ironically it was one of the first names he told me we should call him on the VERY DAY he told me that in his heart and in his brain, he is a boy. Maybe he will stick with that name forever. But what if he doesn’t?

But am I? Pressured… that is. Is this a national or state-wide law or just a district policy? Is this something I’m being told is a requirement when really it’s just never happened before at this level in the school and they don’t know how to address it? Stay tuned because this is something I’m going to get to the bottom of. This is one of those times when being an advocate for your child is so important. Therapists and doctors will talk about putting your child on hormone blockers to keep them out of puberty and give them more time before making long term decisions, and this is one of those circumstances that warrants more time to decide.

So on top of getting my kids prepared for a new school year and trying to learn as much as I can about what is going on with my child, I am now going to start researching what the hell the law says and why a name has to be officially and legally changed in order to get a report without your kid’s full girl name on it. I’m scrutinizing district policy and what it will take to have the system changed so that I can give my kid (and myself) more time to think about this. More time to be sure before we go making a drastic change that is something I vowed not to do until years down the road. Something that isn’t easily reversible.

I guess we aren’t in Kansas anymore.

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Every Mom Has A Favorite Child

Ok – don’t all crucify me at once. But can we just be real for a minute? On any given day, in any given moment, I have a favorite child. And if no one else is brave enough to admit it, I sure as hell will.

As moms I think we go through phases, just like our kids go through phases. They are like episodes of the miniseries that make our week, our month, our year. The dramatic episodes of not sleeping, refusing to eat or deterring bedtimes with every excuse known to man. Heartwarming ones of showing us some extraordinary side of them we didn’t know existed that makes us well up with this immense amount of pride and love we had no idea we were capable of until motherhood slapped us in the face. Or… the horror episodes of complete dissonance and disgust for you, mom. It’s in these moments, that my favorite child tends to shine bright.

At one point I had three kids ages four and under and it was B.R.U.T.A.L. One of them was constantly going through some growth spurt, some sleep regression, or some milestone that subsequently caused them to have a hard time falling or staying asleep. Which, synchronously, meant that mom was getting a really shitty night’s sleep. During those days? My favorite child was whichever happened to be sleeping through the night with the least amount of interruptions to MY sleep.

Around the age of four, all of my kids seemed to have some chronic case of the “terrible two’s” (what can I say, we have a hard time letting go in our house). Except it was amplified significantly from the average child tantrum and more like a “terrible preschooler who doesn’t care what you say and DEFINITELY doesn’t care what strangers think about them, because they are going to completely meltdown in…. 3, 2,…1…. in the middle of target with NO shame and NO regrets” stage. And in the middle of that stage I think to myself (every.single.time.) “I don’t remember my older child(ren) doing this?” They did, of course. Just like labor pains for sure kicked my ass and made me think (in the moment) that there was no way in hell I was ever doing that again. NOPE. Yet… a few short months later, found myself once again staring down the beginning of the harsh pregnancy path, forgetting all about the inescapable and excruciating ending to the human gestational period.

In that moment, the moment when my child is the spawn of the devil himself and thinks I’ve come to expel him from his body, this child is my least favorite. The favorite spot is up for grabs. Usually, at this point, if you’re quiet? You’ve won the title.

Then there is the moment when I go downstairs to see the laundry has already been washed (albeit not sorted and not enough or too much detergent was used in the process, but this is a minor infraction I can overlook, because it’s DONE!). Because my oldest has taken an interest in housework in exchange for a weekly allowance, he is doing extra around the house to learn the value of money, and simultaneously experiencing buyer’s remorse and the hollow feeling of overspending your very last dollar on something you definitely didn’t think through. You know, major life lessons. In THOSE moments? He’s my favorite. Hands down.

When my child learns to tie their shoe, pick up after themselves, makes a team they tried out for (or doesn’t), in that moment, that child is my favorite. But tonight, when that same child is the one refusing to brush his teeth after I’ve only asked seven times? He slips himself down to the bottom rung and the lead is taken by the snoozing babe with clean teeth already in bed.

Regardless of whether you are willing to accept it or not. I’m guessing you have a favorite right now. It’s the one sitting quietly on your lap while you read this. Or maybe the one who took it upon himself to clean up his own plate after lunch and put it in the sink. Maybe it’s the one who’s napping. But it’s definitely not the one you just put in a timeout ten minutes ago because she took it upon herself to cut her hair while you showered. Or the one who didn’t pick up the legos you asked her to and now you’ve stepped on a tiny landmine of pain. It’s not that one. Not now. But maybe later….

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Mom Transparenting

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