Deep in the motherHood: Random Anxious Mom Thoughts.

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I have no shame in saying I’m my own person. I’m not one to conform to fit in. I’m not one to stray away from what I like just because other people might not get it. I’m not afraid to meet new people, but I am afraid I’ll never quite fit in. All of these things also apply to me as a mom, and with it comes a weird jumble of thoughts I stress about almost daily. Nonexistent scenarios that may or may not happen in the future that make me question every decision I’ve ever made for my son, and all because I feel like I’m not what a “typical mom” should be.

Here’s an example: My little dude played T-ball for the first time last Fall. He loved it, and I was glad to get him some fun time with other kids his age since he’s normally home with me. But from the first practice, I could *feel* the judge-y eyes on me. Why? Could it be that I wore flannel instead of chic workout apparel? Could it be that my tank had a Fox Racing logo on it and not a monogram? I think it was all those things, combined with the fact that the state I’m living in, the life I’ve chosen, and who I am as a person will always make me look like an ugly duckling in a pond full of mom swans. Or at least that’s how I feel.

I wish I could be a Pinterest Mom. I really, truly do. All of those preciously creative decor, food, and favor ideas are surely enviable by every other person at the party, except by who the party is for, who is a small child and could care less if you tied handkerchiefs to string to make a rustic carnival banner for your living room. My kid is happy with pizza, presents, and cake, so why not keep it as simple as that? Maybe I decorate some cookies with skulls & bones because he loves pirates, and I’d consider that a huge victory. I’m just not built to put on a beautiful display of perfect motherhood, with a perfectly kept house and perfectly effortless ‘I just came from the gym’ look, and a perfectly clean car that doesn’t look like it lives at my husband’s messy job sites. Even if I put in enough effort to look like a functioning human, I still feel like an oddball. My style is different. My speech is different. Who I am in my soul is different. I blame it on moving to the bible belt, but I’d probably feel this way anywhere.

And then there is the mistake of thinking too much about the future. Financial thoughts make me most anxious. The thought of always having plenty of money for anything my son could want or need at a moment’s notice fills me with fear. We’re not slumming it, but we’re not riding a wave of financial freedom, either. Not by a long shot. I have big dreams for my smart little prince, but can I keep up? Universe, if you’re listening, we got this. But whew, even writing this has me nervous. I’m a stay at home mom not just because it’s what is best for our family, but because the cost of daycare is OUTRAGEOUS to me. Absolutely OUTRAGEOUS! To all of you who make it work for you, I am filled with applause for you. But honestly, if I were to start working, my check would literally be sucked up by childcare every single week. Might that change when little dude starts school? I’d never say never, but I think for any mom at my age and in this stage in their family’s life, money is a CONSTANT anxiety trigger. It feels like we’re all stuck on some kind of hamster wheel. ‘Real Adult’ things like a retirement plan or real life savings? I mark those thoughts with a big ol’ “?”. For now, I’ll pat myself on the back that the bills are paid, there’s food in the cabinet, and my kid wants for nothing (at least through his eyes). 

The saddest part of all of this is that at my age, it feels like all of this should be figured out, or even nonexistent, by now. Our real, actually *somewhat* attainable goal is buying what we feel is a real home, but it feels like we’re so far beyond. I take solace in knowing we all figure it out eventually and everyone grows at their own pace, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get down on myself. I see moms younger than me with a full blown ‘real life’ going on and I feel like a failure, or a struggling child. Or I see women my age who do so much more than me with elegant ease, and feel both a sense of rebellion and envy. But as a mother, and a loving, real mother at that, I know deep in my soul that everything will work out as long as I love my child and my family with all I have and keep striving everyday to figure it out, no matter how murky the water I’m barely treading in may be. When my child reaches for my hand, I instantly feel like I can do no wrong; that I can overcome any monster. I will reach shore. The wind will stay in my sails. I will ride these waves of life.


The Weirdness of Love

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Love is weird. We experience it in so many different ways, whether from whoever we choose to be with, or with our children, pets, family or friends. And because all of those versions of differ from one another, we really have all very unique ways of experiencing this very complicated human emotion. Do we really fall in love with someone? Or is it more about finding a person and mutually agreeing to accept one another for life because we as a species don’t like being alone? I’m willing to bet everyone’s definition of love is different, making it still such a strange and extraordinary thing.
It still baffles me that my husband and I have been married for five years. That may not seem like such a long time, but the way in which we began our relationship was so unconventional that there were plenty of people with plenty of doubt. When I first met him, as cheesy as this sounds, I felt like I was “meant” to know him. We were instantly inseparable, and a few months later, when he asked me if I wanted to drive to Las Vegas at 11:00 at night and get married, I didn’t even hesitate. We drove 25 hours, through a true blizzard that stopped us on the interstate multiple times, and it was then that we realized that surviving that trip was obvious proof that this was meant to be. In a black dress that was nowhere near bridal attire, I married my husband in a tiny ceremony just steps away from the Vegas courthouse.
But it hasn’t all been a fairytale. If you’d ask me if you should run off and get married to someone you technically barely know, I’d tell you to run like hell (My husband has a longstanding joke that he “tricked me”) but I WILL say that being married helped us push through issues that otherwise probably would have ended us. And helped us grow into better people, both individually and together. It turns out we are actually two very different people, but somehow we’ve made it work. He may never care about Hunter S. Thompson or like my tattoos, but we get each other in a very real way, which to me, is definitely love.

 
Do I regret not having a ‘real‘ wedding? Sometimes. When we first came back from Vegas, we told my family we were only engaged so I could have an actual wedding. I started planning, bought an incredible gown, and even sent out save the dates. But after drunkingly spilling the beans to my mom, and my husband growing tired of not telling everyone, we just let it go. I imagine that someday we’ll renew our vows so that I can wear that dress and have my dad walk me down the aisle, but I’m happy knowing that we did something seriously awesome; something most people would only dream of. And now we have a seriously cool story to tell our son.
And now, five years later, after such a non traditional marital journey, we’re actually living a VERY traditional life. My husband works and I stay home, and our roles as breadwinner and housewife are the ultimate 1950’s cliche. But I’ll never be Betty Draper, and my husband will never be Don. But my son will grow up remembering that he never had to leave his mom’s side, which brings me such a lovely sense of comfort. If I ever needed to remind myself what love is, I need to look no further than his tiny, gorgeous face.
So is there really a universal way to describe love? It’s truly a different experience for everyone, and engrained so deeply into our human psyche that I’d almost consider it part of what actually makes us human. A kiss from my dog is obviously different than one from my husband, but it’s all love, just the same. So spread it: whatever it is that you consider love. And all of us, as humans finding our place on this planet, should be willing to find it. Maybe then, as happy, loving beings, we will finally understand one another and enjoy a bright, peaceful, and open hearted world.

  

So Will the Real Stoner Moms Please Stand Up?

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Being a mom is the hardest, loveliest, weirdest job on the planet. Seriously, think about it: you basically exist to be at the beck and call of a human being you created, while somehow making your own life still exist, but basically only because that human being you created needs you to. There’s nothing else you’d rather do, but there’s also a million things you WANT to do (most of which you’ll never have time for, anyway). Any tiny moment of relaxation that mothers get should be celebrated and encouraged by everyone, especially when that moment does such wonders for her mothering abilities. Yet here we are in 2016, with so many advantages that we never thought were possible, still shaming moms for their choice of relaxation methods. The mom who drinks too much and is so hungover by morning that she can barely function, let alone engage with her kids? Somehow perfectly acceptable. But the mom who smokes a joint while her child is napping and does nothing except be MORE involved in her child’s play? CRIMINAL! HOW DARE SHE?! BAD MOTHER, ALERT! It’s honestly shameful and honestly needs to change, for the good of our (and our children’s) future.

I live in a state where cannabis is still considered a Schedule 1 illegal substance. It’s getting a little better over time, cops may not throw your ass in jail if they catch you with a small amount, but the fear for mothers who choose cannabis to medicate is still very real. We have one of the highest percentages of prescription drug abuse in the nation, and I happen to know plenty of people that not only abuse these dangerous legal drugs, but also know plenty of people prescribed to an ungodly number of these pills for reasons that could all be treated with taxable, natural medicine. Any mom I know could waltz into any hospital and get prescribed what is literally heroin in pill form, but I can’t smoke A PLANT without fear of legal action against me? It’s obvious what is SO HORRIBLY WRONG with this picture, right? I am a great person, a great mother, and I happen to smoke a little pot. Anyone who thinks it’s a big deal needs to WAKE THE HELL UP. Living in the ‘bible belt’ can be wretched. It’s so unfair that the ‘good Christians’ who drink too much beer and whiskey every single night but still judge others, won’t open their minds that cannabis could be anything more than evil ‘reefer madness’. The opinion seems to be slowly changing, and I am optimistic about the future, but one of the greatest reasons I am so open about being a mom who uses marijuana is to hopefully change the stigma attached to what a real stoner actually looks like.

I welcome any person who doubts these claims to personally interview my son. He may be only three, but I guarantee his words are true. Ask him if he has a good mommy. Ask him if he’s healthy. Ask him if he’s safe. And ask him if he’s happy. I know and can gaurantee all of his answers are a resounding YES! Now ask him if his mommy using marijuana is endangering his life. He won’t know what you’re talking about, but I’m sure he’ll laugh hysterically. Because he thinks I’m his greatest gift in life, that I’m his best friend, and that I’m his whole world. I personally admit to spending basically one hundred percent of my day stoned, and it has NOT ONCE affected my ability to be a good mom and a smart parent. In fact, it makes me BETTER. It’s true! I consider all mothers, those who stay home and those who work, to be superhuman. Seriously, we do it all. We should ABSOLUTELY be allowed to smoke a little ganja when we get the chance, and we deserve NOT to be considered a criminal for doing so. Imagine if Prohibition was still in effect: the masses would go INSANE if their alcohol was suddenly illegal. Now think about it from a stoner’s perspective, and take a moment to think how INSANE it really is: the government has made NATURE illegal. Everyone, quite frankly, should be PISSED.

I’d never agree that cannabis should be totally unregulated and come with no laws or rules attached to it. I truly believe that it should be controlled just like alcohol, as a substance strictly for adult consumption and controlled by laws put in place to protect minors. My son will absolutely know about the benefits of marijuana, but he will also absolutely know that this plant is for adults and not to be used as a kid without the possibility of facing consequences. My parents were definitely aware when I started smoking regularly in the beginning of high school, but luckily for me, my family definitely shares my positive views about marijuana. My grandpa has been a serious stoner all his life, as has my father, so it wasn’t necessarily allowed but it wasn’t something frowned upon, either. But when I was 17, my friends and I were stopped by a cop who ultimately found weed and a pipe on us. Panicking, I thought I was in BIG trouble. But in the end, they took the stash and called our parents and that was the end of it. But I’ll never forget my Dad (who was probably stoned himself) trying his hardest to be mad, saying things like “What do you think this is, Sarah? That 70s Show?!”  But it COULD have been a much more serious situation that marred my then oh-so-bright future. Small marijuana charges are NOT a productive use of law enforcement, but kids DO need to held accountable. If (hopefully not) legalization has not happened country wide by the time my son becomes a teenager or old enough to experiment with weed, he’ll definitely get in trouble at home if he’s ever caught with it. But if you ask me would I’d rather my son be smoking pot or drinking alcohol?  The answer will always be smoking pot, without a doubt. Let’s think about it: my son out at a party drinking too much and possibly getting in the car with someone who’s intoxicated, or sitting in the basement with his friends smoking weed and probably listening to music or watching a movie? If anyone in their right mind chose the first option, you need to reevaluate more than a few things. 

It really goes so much deeper than a mom who just likes to smoke cannabis. It is up to us to end the negative stenotypes that plague this natural medicine, to end the oppression against it, and to show the world that the face of the marijuana movement might just belong to a woman who happens to also be an outstanding mother. To us, this is not a drug. To us, this is about so much more than freedom. We need to collectively stand together against anyone saying that mothers using cannabis is wrong, because who else will?! It is beyond unfair that those of us who are wonderful parents could ever be classified as a criminal because we indulge in something that thousands of people have praised and used long before we as a country ever existed. 

There is NOTHING wrong with a happy mom who keeps her child happy! There is NOTHING wrong with children whose parents smoke pot. And there is NOTHING wrong with choosing a plant to get you in the happy headspace that you know your child incredibly appreciates. We moms are powerful beings of love and light, so let’s be the voice that gets our natural medicine available for EVERYONE! And remember, if mom is happy, the child is happy! ☺️

  

Little Moments with Little Minds

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I can probably put myself at the head of the ‘chill moms’ table. I’m the queen of “Ok, whatever!” and brush all any sort of negative connotation that one parenting technique is any better than another. But I’m always worrying about keeping my son home with me is keeping him from fully developing parts of his mind that comes with being away from me and our usual environment. And now with him starting preschool this fall (which if you follow me on social media, you know I can’t stop talking about ☺️), I’m wondering how he’ll measure up among his peers.

Until, out of nowhere day after day, he surprises the hell out of me. He’ll blurt out phrases that I had no idea he knew. Or maybe he’ll grab his favorite book and read it to me (in his own way, of course!), or sing me lyrics to whatever song we’ve been blaring in the car recently. He’ll converse with people at the store, call his Nana just to chat, or stack his blocks up so high I wonder how he could have possibly done it without super glue. 

And I feel myself beaming with pride when he asks for something and immediately thanks whoever fetches it for him, or when I do something as simple as changing the channel on the tv and he throws his arms around me with a gleeful “GREAT JOB, MOMMA! Wow!” I mean, what could I possibly be worried about? Maybe I am doing a good job. Maybe I really am figuring this parenting thing out. Maybe I’m not just a good mom is his eyes, but in anyone’s. Telling myself this makes me feel slightly better as I continue drowning in this current living hell known as toddler potty training with a tiny demon that thinks there’s no reason to use the toilet. *Sigh* I’ll get my shit together someday, right? 

Find solace in the little moments that remind you that that little human being you’re responsible for is doing just fine. They and their minds are forever growing, and don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back for ANY small moment that makes the harder ones a little less miserable. 

That being said, if you’re listening out there, universe: tell my son that although he’ll always be “momma’s baaaaby”, she’s tired of messes that should be easily flushed away. Please and thank you. ✨ 

 

Appreciate Your Weird 👽

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One of my friends I cheered with in high school posted this adorable and hilarious story about a conversation with her young son on my facebook:  I told her that it made my night that she specifically thought to share this moment with me and how funny it was because let’s face it, kids say the most hilarious things without even realizing it. But it also made me realize something else: I am an open book. About many things. And completely unafraid to talk about things that some close minded people might call crazy. It made me smile, knowing despite how silly I might sound when I talk about aliens or conspiracies or cannabis legalization or who knows what else, there might always be someone who appreciates it enough to reach out to me when the subject comes up, and to me, that’s cool as hell.

When other moms who smoke weed reach out to me and tell me that my thoughts or advice have helped them in any tiny way, shape or form, my heart swells to 10 times its normal size. I am unapologetic when it comes to who I am, so to have someone tell me they appreciate any part of what I have to say is pure gold to me. Instead of being criticized, I’m greeted with admiration. My favorite teacher, Mr. Fulton, once told me something along the lines of my writing had a relatable quality to it that made my words feel really genuine (the best compliment I’ve ever received) and that’s always stuck with me, even when I’m just blasting my opinions about everything from the JFK assassination to what makes a good mother. Even these simple blog posts I write might mean something to someone, and that in turn, means everything to me.

For instance, this casual facebook status from last week:  Now, I always say these kinds of things on twitter. That’s where I can honestly have no fear about what others think, and where my real friends are (even those who live thousands of miles away!) because we all communicate on a truly personal level. As best as you can with 140 characters, anyway. But imagine my surprise when SO many people ‘liked’ this status, told me how funny and accurately I described myself, and that they’ve always appreciated how unique I am. Quite a confidence booster, considering the bulk of crap I usually see on facebook is people’s highly annoying prayer requests, memes about anything from Jesus to Obama to being a redneck, or highly off putting political views. I speak openly about my opinions, no matter how different from my peers here in the Bible Belt, and it makes me happy to have anyone appreciate it. I’ll never be afraid to talk about something I like, no matter how people might see it. Want to know why I sage and use crystals? Want to know if I (obviously) believe in aliens? Want to know why I think weed should be legal? Want to know who I think was responsible for Kurt Cobain’s death? Want to know if I think ghosts are real? Just ask! I’m always game for a weird conversation.

The point of sharing any of this? To encourage anyone to just ‘BE YOURSELF’. Whatever you’re into, own it. Because not only is it part of who you are, but it makes you awesome, no matter how different it may be from the next person. And remember, there’s always someone somewhere that will say “Me too!” or “Same here!”. In a world as weird and unpredictable as ours is today, those little bonds are a necessity. Own your weirdness. Own your geeky. Own your spooky. Own your magic. Whatever your story, there is always someone who will want to read it.

Infinitely Young and Ultimately Old.

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When did I get so old? Seriously? I feel like my younger years are so far behind me, yet I know I’m nowhere near what is considered to be truly ‘old’. But when I look back to just a few years ago, I wonder not only how I’m still alive, but what happened to my life AT ALL? The obvious answer is my son, who for as much love as he gives me in return, has basically sucked every ounce of younger life from me until he moves out (or so I figure). But in not such a literal sense, life really DOES take a toll on you after awhile. Being an adult is exhausting.

But then again, do I consider myself an adult? I’d like to say absolutely, but honestly: not a chance. There are so many people my age or younger that to me, are the perfect examples of how to ‘adult’ properly: a ‘big kid’ job, house, money in savings, concrete plans for the future and, last but not least, somehow manage to look like they have their shit together every single day. 

Then there’s me: who is lucky to get a shower, let alone put makeup on and pick out a good outfit, went to college but has no serious direction of my future plans, and panics when it comes time to actually face most of my responsibilities. I always tell myself we’ll eventually get it together, but I can’t help but be clouded by my own doubts. And honestly, I think this stems from always allowing myself to enjoy the fun side of life and living by not taking anything too seriously, which I don’t think is always a bad thing. Mind you, I’m always wondering if growing up means accepting defeat of some part of yourself.
But no matter how my responsibilities differ from day to day (aka mom life), from the easy ones all the way to the ‘is this what hell is?’ category, I’m still that teenage weirdo, smoking too much in a random fox racing tshirt and holes in my jeans, wearing too much eyeliner and not giving a damn about much of anything. Even if I’m now setting an example for a little miniature human, I can’t pretend to be something I’m not. I can’t pretend to have it all together, but you know what? That means I NEVER have to pretend to be a good mother, because regardless if I’m in a hoodie with a messy bun at the store surrounded by Betty Cleavers, my kid is the happiest of all. This much I definitely know for sure.

I guess the point of this is give any mother a pat on the back, no matter what age they are and what doubts they face day in and day out. Don’t find yourself feeling so old that you lose your ‘you-ness’; don’t hide whatever little version of yourself might be lurking underneath all that ‘adult’. Seems like everyone has it all together? Maybe they do, but maybe they aren’t as vivacious as you are. Maybe their glimmer is a little duller. Embrace every little thing, and your little mini thing will thank you! ☺️

  

Suggestions from a Stoner Mom: Random Lessons Learned On This Crazy Ride.

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I joke around a lot about writing some sort of Stoner Mom Handbook, not only because it’s time we end the stigma attached to cannabis use by loving, real life mothers, but because we stoner moms really do exist and sharing our experiences with eachother is BEYOND important. But I think it’s really so much more than that: we tend to take an open minded, judgement free, ‘see what works best’ approach to parenting, which is a voice I truly believe could benefit the mom community as a whole. I’d NEVER claim to be an expert, nor would I offer advice claiming that I am. But I’ve seen the positive impact that real, honest words from real, honest moms can have on all of us. Why not share in our successes and our failures? We’ve all been there.

Moms learn something new everyday. It’s true. Whether from parenting articles, fellow parents, or your children themselves, you’re constantly finding new ways to make your family’s life easier. Or let’s face it, harder, depending on the day.

In my three years in the company of my tenacious toddler, I determined early on that I would find what works for us and roll with it. Whether it’s considered normal or not; I refuse to let others’ opinions sway my motherly instincts. So here’s a few random things that I’ve learned so far on this crazy ride. If nothing else, I hope it helps any mom realize we’re all doing the damn thing and we all know what you’re going through, sister! 

1. Kids can be your biggest stress, but also your biggest comfort.

I’ve always been a night owl, so strict bedtimes are almost nonexistent around our house. Yes, a time will come that obligations will require a normal bedtime and wake up routine, but for these sweet younger years, I’ll gladly take an extra hour of cuddles than an hour of fighting with a small bear cub about going to bed. And if that means I get an extra hour or two of sleep in the morning, that’s just freaking wonderful! But even if my little man goes to sleep peacefully, I’m always left mind wandering and over thinking. Luckily, I’ve discovered a restful technique that is heavenly: if I’m having trouble getting sleepy, a few minutes of matching my breathing to my sweet, sleeping prince relaxes me instantly. Just try it; I swear!

2. Sleep is everything, regardless of who’s bed it happens in.

Stop beating yourself up and bring the kid into your damn bed already! I know I’m in the minority that praises cosleeping but HELLO?! I love sleep and I love my kid. So from the day we brought our son home, I held him all night. Yes, it’s a bad habit. Yes, it will be harder for him to have a real sleep routine. But you know what? My little boy won’t be little for long, and I’ll soak up every sweet moment of him snuggled up against me sweetly dreaming. And I’ll relish in every awesome morning where the first thing I see is his sweet face staring at me bright eyed and happy and ready o start our day. And before you start your hating, he WILL sleep on his own. I just prefer him in bed with us, and quite frankly, I don’t care what everyone says about it.

3. Just let them watch the tv. 

Your kid watching a few cartoons isn’t going to rot their brains. You’re not a bad parent for letting them watch Disney Junior while you get ready because that puzzle holds his interest for literally a quarter of the time a cartoon would. Think about you as a kid: you watched plenty of tv, right? I know I did, and I turned out fine. I love to read and learn and my brain didn’t turn to mush. Just let Mickey distract them and enjoy that cup of coffee and 20 minutes of rare peace. Enough with the guilt trips! Give yourself a break. You deserve it, lady!

4. Little boys will be little boys.

I’m sorry to my fellow moms that have girls, but bare with me for a moment. I am forever worried about the bumps and bruises on my son’s shins, and it’s always because I’m afraid of judgment from other people. But sometimes you need to be reminded that BOYS WILL BE BOYS! They’re brave and impulsive and will constantly climb, jump, fall, push and force themselves in silly situations that may or may not hurt them. Give yourself a break and keep band aids on hand.

5. Don’t force yourself to like kiddie things if you don’t.

I can’t handle most kid songs. Nursery rhymes, classic sing alongs, variations on the alphabet, whatever: it’s not my bag. More than that, it’s like torture. The solution? Not up in here! Sorry, son. There’s no ‘Wheels on the Bus’ playing in mommy’s car. I might listen to an edited version of a rap song depending on who’s around (emphasis on might), but otherwise, I’m jamming to MY tastes. If you really believe that my child will grow up to become a criminal because he heard some trap music or hippie lyrics in his younger years, you need to get out more.

6. Don’t let your environment pressure your parenting.

This isn’t a problem I personally face yet, but I can tell it’s coming in the years to come. This topic is obviously broad; it could refer to any number of things. Personally, I foresee our issue being about the lack of stress we put on religion in our household. I was raised Catholic when I was very young, but my parents were never super religious and never pressured me when it came to church. My husband was raised Baptist (the norm around here), but has always felt as I do that church or the Bible doesn’t necessarily determine spirituality. We both follow the “Do good, feel good. Do bad, feel bad” mentality and are very open to all the mystery in the universe when speaking of a higher power or whatever happens after life. (Don’t even get me started on my ‘our souls are really stars’ theory!) But our friends, our community, and basically our entire state are almost solely Bible bumping, holy rolling, Jesus’s way or the highway Christian warriors, and it honestly terrifies me. Will my kid be ostracized because his parents don’t force him into Sunday School and insist he devotes his life to the Lord? Will he be forced to learn from a school curriculum that was built with Christianity in mind? Will he suddenly meet a girl whose parents might not like him because he’s not necessarily their idea of a “good Christian man”? And on another note, don’t even get me started on the anti-cannibis propaganda. Please let that not even be an issue when that day comes.

7. Every kid is different and every kid will “get there”…eventually.

I’m about to reveal, for the first time, the absolutely embarrassing parenting issue I’m currently experiencing: potty training. Our son is three, well into the age bracket of kids that should be fully toilet trained by now. But it’s just not happening, and it’s frustrating as hell. I’ve tried the tricks and tips and nothing is working. Seriously, my kid just has zero interest in using the toilet. So day after day, I question every move I make and everything I do, wondering what’s wrong and if I’m failing as a parent in every way. But I need to take my own advice and relax: he’ll get there. One of these marathon sit-on-the-toilet-for-nothing sessions will pay off and I’ll have a ready for society child. But every mom needs to hear, “It’s ok. They’ll figure it all out.” because we’re not failures, no matter how much we’ve convinced ourselves otherwise.

8. Just chill, man.

Things not going right? Demon child suddenly replaced your little angel? Picky eating making you silently scream multiple times a day? Wearing the same pajamas you’ve worn for five days? Take a deep breath, and just chill. I’ve lived most of my life in a “just chill” state of mind: I hate confrontation, I don’t like my happiness to waver because I’m stressed, and I don’t like my anxiety to have any power; therefore, staying chill makes my world feel right. So even when my son is making me want to hide in the closet and hope a black hole swallows me up, I remind myself to “just chill“, because this too shall pass.

9. Pay no mind to those haters who judge when they themselves have no kids. Karma is sweet and they’ll see. Oh, they’ll see alright…

Remember that father who posted a picture of him and his daughter enjoying a bath a few months ago and basically got torn apart by the internet? While I do agree that he probably shouldn’t have posted that type of picture in such a public forum, and that sickos are very real, I definitely felt for the dude. Newsflash, childless humans: it’s not weird to grab a quick shower with your kid. Quite frankly, if I didn’t bring my son in the shower with me, I’d never be clean. Seriously. It’s not like you can leave a toddler to their own devices while you take twenty minutes of steamy heaven. My little man loses himself in his toys and occasionally sings me the SpongeBob theme song, just in case you were thinking something more scandalous. It’s a young CHILD, fools! They’re not ogling your goodies in any inappropriate way. You’re getting clean, they’re getting clean, they’re entertained for a semi extended period of time, and your hair finally gets washed! (because lets face it, it might have been awhile…) Clearly you don’t plan on bathing with your offspring when they’re old enough to let you have your own shower without the possibility of them harming themselves, so pay no attention to those “ew, that’s weird!” naysayers. Just let them experience a week or two of that motherhood curse of the missed shower opportunity.

Same goes to showing affection to your kids. Reading articles about why some parents choose not to kiss their children or be overly affectionate to them is absolutely INFURIATING to me. Could a child be TOO loved? Could they be TOO aware that their mother loves them? Could they somehow be hindered by a parent’s warm embrace? (Just typing this made me angry, fyi!) I have three words for you cold hearted souls: CUT THE BULLSHIT. My son gets all the kisses he wants, all the hugs he can handle, and every cuddle, with our hands held tight and boo boos made better by a ‘momma kiss’. There will be a few years in the not so distant future that that little being begging for your love right now will suddenly want nothing to do with you, let alone let you show them ANY kind of affection whatsoever. We’ll probably be lucky enough to get a wave goodbye, to be honest. Also, think about this: if a child thinks that they’re not even worthy of being shown affection by their own parents, don’t you think they’ll search for it elsewhere? Or maybe even be left with a kind of twisted view of basic human intimacy? And further down the line, be unsure how to show love to the people in their life, like their own children, thus repeating a vicious cycle? It’s heartbreaking to me. This is 2016, folks. There’s no need to raise children to ‘be seen and not heard’ or to ‘keep a stiff upper lip’. I kissed my parents and told them I loved them every night before bed growing up. I’m a full blown adult and I still give my mom a huge bear hug every single time I see her. I tell my dad I love him randomly whenever I feel like it, because my parents are not only awesome, but raised us to know we were loved and cherished. By denying a child’s basic human need for affection, you’re not raising a ‘tough guy’, you’re just being a monster. Who could seriously find something wrong with loving on that sweet nugget you made?! 

10. Appreciate that side of you that didn’t exist before your child.

We all have days as moms that we’re flooded with ‘what if?’ moments. What if I hadn’t had a kid? What would I be doing with my life? I am 100% guilty of this; and I’ve been known to get downright sad for a minute or two, thinking of all my plans I had for myself, all the free times full of laughter with long gone friends, and being known as ‘just a mom’ instead of that published novelist I just knew I’d become in no time. But all it takes to snap me out of it is one silly thing said by my son, hearing him say “Aw, Momma so cute” while stroking my cheek, or singing a killer duet with him while dancing barefoot in the kitchen. To my son, I’m the funniest person on the planet. I’m the heart that makes the world he sees everyday somehow keep going. I’m the coolest person that ever existed. And in his eyes, I’m fantastic at everything from cooking to cutting tiny fingernails (I’m not good at either, by the way), because he’s just delighted at every little thing I do. I may have had fun in those years before motherhood, but never has my life literally felt like one big inside joke that never gets old. And I might still be that published author one day, and the dedication on my first printed page will be for the tiny soul that has really made me someone I am happy and proud to be. Lots of questions were answered for me when I became a mom, like why I get so excited about the littlest things (so that my child knows to always find joy in whatever greets him day in and day out), and why I always knew having a boy was the only plan for me (whether its my appreciation for football and motocross, my disgust with pink and frilly nonsense, my inability to be prim and proper, or my flare for little boy style, I was truly made to raise a cool little dude). And I’m also far more patient than ever before. I’m way more aware of money and what it’s spent on. I know how powerful a good night’s sleep really is. And I know that being a stay at home mom (who happens to smoke pot, because it’s not like I’m TOTALLY lame these days 😉) with a hard working husband and a gorgeous child is a really great life that I’m pretty damn grateful for. So I thank you, son, for showing me who I was always meant to be.

So maybe none of these are traditional ‘important’ parenting tips, but the little lessons we learn daily sometimes give us the most peace in the longrun. No mother is perfect, but together, we might just all come out alive, with precious beings by our side. And remember, life is so full when you’re loved by a little soul 💚