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cropped-front-coverI feel like a bad mom all the time. There is such impracticality to parenting anymore… to be organic, stay at home, work full-time, make every soccer game, be a Pinterest master, bake cookies, read every night, never swear, have all the laundry folded and put away, be an awesome wife, workout every day, pack daily lunches, enroll in as many extra-curricular actives as you can fit in your weekly schedule, never spank your child, drive five hours away to a basketball game… parenting has become pretentious and overrated.  The expectations are beyond realistic.

So I’ve stopped living up to them and have tried to lower the expectation for myself and my children- for the sake of my sanity and for my family’s overall wellbeing.  Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? I must not be a good mom if my five-year-old daughter isn’t taking at least three dance classes a week! Or my kids don’t have a packed lunch every day.

I know… but I don’t care.   I no longer feel like I have to be a perfect mom.  It’s ridiculous that I ever thought there could be such a thing.  I swear, I drink wine in front on my children, we keep active, but I don’t over-load their schedules.  I make sure there is time for them to be kids.

I’m a bad mom because I don’t negotiate with my children.  My rules, not theirs.  I’m the parent, they are the child… an interesting concept that has seemingly escaped from today’s society.

In Confession of a Bad Mom, you’ll find real-life thoughts about parenting, enhanced by my children’s take on things.  It’s my honest thoughts on being a mother of four beautiful and precocious children. Their hilarious quips and comments are enough to keep you reading.

I hope you’ll find some solidarity as well as humor in this collection of comments and thoughts.  At the very least, it’ll make a good bathroom read!

Get your copy here!

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Confession of bad mom:

I actually have no idea what the purpose of hashtags really are. Something to do with twitter? All I know is, my hashtags bug the crap outta my fifteen year old son… and that’s enough for me.

#hereallyhatesitwhenIwriteoutlongoneslikethis

#Ithinkitsfunnyanddoitonpurpose  #peopleliketryingtofigurethemout #hashtag

I hope they are strong…

I remember my mother once telling me, “Life is hard.  The sooner you understand that, the less disappointed you’ll be.”  My mother is a woman of profound wisdom and I often think of her and the things she would tell me as I try and prepare my children for the world.

There are few things you can do to protect your children from the harshness of life. As a parent, we instinctively want to shield our children from sadness, fear, anger and all things that would harm them, both emotionally and physically.  Unfortunately, it can’t always be done and accepting that as mother or father, is the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Watching my children hurt, because of nothing they’ve done, but because of the actions of others is gut-wrenching.  You feel helpless because there is truly nothing you can do.  It’s beyond your control. Teaching them to accept that they can’t control others and their actions, that they can only control their own, is so very difficult- but essential.   It’s hard to take the high road, to turn the other cheek, or to even pity and pray for those whose lives are so sad and unfortunate they must hurt others.

I can’t always protect my children from what others may say or do, but I try very hard to provide them with a loving, stable home.  In that home, my husband and I count our blessings every single day and pass each one along to all four of our children.  We surround them with family and friends who love us unconditionally; who would do anything for any one of us.

My husband and I try and teach our children that life is filled with sadness, grief, and hardship, but it’s also filled with happiness, love, and hope.  We are always explaining that life is all about choices, our choices, and that sometimes our choices can have direr consequences.   We also teach our children to be responsible for their actions and to understand that the world is not the scapegoat for their problems.  It’s very easy to blame others when we’re down and out.  And it’s always okay to feel a little sorry for ourselves, but it’s more important to move on and find a solution.  One thing I’ve always impressed upon them is to never wallow in their own self-pity.  Helen Keller once said, “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.”

So although I cannot protect them from the evils that have and will come their way, I hope I can prepare them for how to deal with those bad days.  I hope they learn how to not only survive life, but to thrive; to live each beautiful day to the fullest. I hope they learn how to embrace heartache, sadness, and their mistakes and most importantly, learn from all of it.  I hope that they are strong enough to know it’s okay to cry and feel bad, but to get up, dust it off and keep going.  I hope that my children always know that they are loved, deeply and by many.

I will hug and kiss my children.  I will tell them how much I love them.  I will buffer all that I can…and pray for the strength to endure their heartache each time I can’t.

To my dear friend…

Me and JessTo my dear friend,

I’ve come across your picture a hundred times, your name keeps popping up on my Facebook news feed as someone to invite or like.  Each time it happens, my heart aches with grief.

It’s been a very difficult few weeks and I’ve struggled with what to say and how to feel.  Your passing has left so many with endless unanswered questions- what happened, why, how did it get to this point?  Sadly, none of it matters because you are gone, leaving traces of yourself in our hearts and memories; leaving the very image of yourself in your beautiful little girl.

Everyone grieves differently and I’ll never judge others in their celebration of your life.  But you knew me better than most and I know you’ll understand if I don’t raise a Bud Light in your honor or toast a cocktail to your memory.  I won’t honor you by highlighting the very vices that changed your life, your daughter’s life forever.

You were so much more than that.  So much more than the insecurities you struggled with. You were a daughter, a mother, a best friend; a sister to me.  I have thirty-three years of memories with you, a lifetime.   So I know you’ll excuse me if I don’t raise a drink in your name, but instead remember you for who you really were and who you could have been.

I’ll remember you when we first met in kindergarten when a fellow classmate’s glass eye popped out and rolled across the linoleum floor and how we stare in horrified amazement, feeling equally sorry for him as well as finding the humor in it.  I’ll remember your perfectly colored brown teddy bear picture and how I wished so badly that mine looked the same.

I’ll remember when we were in second grade and I gave you a fairly explicit lesson on childbirth as we sat in the elementary library and perused the How Babies Are Born book.  I’ll remember crossing over the bridge with you in Girl Scouts and fighting with you over the precious moments Christmas card for our Christmas placemat project.   I’ll remember calling you Nellie Olson.

I’ll remember my fourth grade locker room fight when you screamed, “Get her, Sadie!” and then hugged me later and told me you were sorry.  I’ll remember the time I felt ill in fifth grade and the substitute teacher wouldn’t let me go to the nurse.  I got sick in the garbage can and you held my hair out of my face and rubbed my back.  After, you walked me to the nurse and helped me wash my face and hands.

I’ll remember Girl Scout camp and singing “Down by the banks of the hanky panky,” NKOTB, your pink Kaboodle and stinky electric youth perfume.  I’ll remember the first time you kissed Matt Mayo, and when we traveled to Boston and Europe.

I’ll remember playing the Ouija board with you at Becky Stever’s sleepover party and how it said I was going to marry “Chris.”  We laughed about it years later when I did.

I’ll remember going to Hornell High School dances with you and Jamie Harwood.  I’ll remember picking you up every morning of our senior year and dragging your butt out of bed.  I’ll remember our college spring break trip to Panama City and our 30 plus hour bus ride and the guy with beer farts.

I’ll remember your apartment on Hart Street where I taught you how to make mashed potatoes and how we would sit on the front porch and watch thunderstorms.

I’ll remember the countless Christmas Eves we spent together, from the time we were in high school to years later when you were writing the Santa letter for my little ones.  Each Christmas, when I decorate my tree, I’ll remember you as I place each precious ornament you gave me on it.

I’ll remember you holding my gown so I could go to the bathroom at my wedding and how you told me I was so beautiful.  I’ll remember giving the speech at your wedding and how relieved you were that one of us spoke on your behalf.

I’ll never forget our trip to New Hampshire in a snow storm, when you told me you could ski and we quickly found out you could not.

I’ll remember how you loved fall because I loved fall so much and how you’d call me when you were putting your decorations up.

I’ll remember the hours I spent with you as you worked so hard to bring your beautiful child into this world.  I’ll remember that you were an amazing mother, who loved her daughter very much.  I’ll remember you for having the gift of loving people so much and being able to have such amazing, individualized relationships with so many.

I’ll remember the countless hours of laughter, tears and conversation we had.

I’ll pray for your soul and hope it finds peace.  I’ll honor your memory by never forgetting who you really were.  I have these memories and so many more and I promise to pass them on to your precious child and watch over her while you’re not here.  I’ll keep you in my heart forever.  I’ll honor you this way because you were so much more, my friend; my sister.

Moments like this are why…

I had to take a moment and share a very recent experience with you…

While I waited for my to-go lunch order, moments ago, I overheard (they were seated three inches away from me) two college students discuss the geographical location of Myrtle Beach. I sat in my chair with my head rested against its back and my eyes closed as I listened to their painfully moronic debate.

The young man said, in a pseudo-intellectual tone, “I’m pretty sure Myrtle Beach spans the coasts of both North Carolina and South Carolina.

The young woman replied, “Are you sure it’s not just in North Carolina? Wait… What’s closer to us? South Carolina or North Carolina?”

He answered, “North, I think.”

She asked, “So it’s in both states?”

He replied again, “Yes. I’m pretty sure it spans the coastline of both South Carolina and North Carolina.”

I tired to block them out as they continued their discussion about the very popular eastern tourist destination. All the while praying for my lunch to be done and my named called.

For a brief moment I tired to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they’re not from around here or are from the west coast and not familiar with large east coast tourist spots.

But then the young man said, “Yeah, it takes me like six hours to get from North Carolina to my house in Binghamton… I think.”

Roughly 3 minutes of hell passed as they went back and forth, finally agreeing to “Google it”.

However, I could take no more and spoke up, “Myrtle Beach is a large CITY on the coast of South Carolina.”

The young woman paused in her effort to Google their burning question and they both looked at me, wide-eyed.

It must have been my tone.

She thanked me and giggled, “I don’t know geography that well.”

I nodded, “Sure thing. Happy to help.”

With that, the blessed lunch gods finished my order and I was able to get the hell outta there. On my way back to my office all I could think was… This is EXACTLY why I need a tazer!

This experience definitely rates on my top ten most painful moments list.