A Parent’s Influence

The ways my dad made me the person I am today – Ashley

I’m pretty sure that most parents, don’t set out with every single little value that they want to instill in their children’s hearts and minds. I mean I know this is how I feel about my approach. I know we all have core beliefs and values that we want to share with our children and hope that they adopt them because we believe that they will make them better human beings. A lot of times those things happen by accident, or our parents try to bestow one set of beliefs on us and we reach for the exact opposite.

Father’s day was this past Sunday and I can say without a doubt that I am super lucky to have the dad that I have. I get all sentimental when I think of the ways the has knowingly and unknowingly shaped who I am. To say that I was a “daddy’s girl” growing up is an understatement. I pretty much worshiped my dad. In my memories of him he was the end all and be all. He knew everything. He did no wrong. His stature was even bigger.

As I got older – all of that changed for me. I could clearly see his faults. I realized that he did not in fact know everything. I also noticed that he is so tiny. Did any of those realizations make me love him less? Did any of that make me like him less? Nope. My dad is in no way perfect, but he’s the perfect dad for me. I will forever be grateful and mindful of the ways that he (maybe unintentionally?) shaped who I am, for the better.

  • My dad taught me that gender roles at home don’t have to be a thing. My mom never really cooked for us on a regular basis. She didn’t like to, and my dad does. So he cooked dinner every night. He made breakfast and lunch on the weekends. My dad would also always make my mom’s plate for her. I know that my dad didn’t do this because he sought to prove anything to anyone – he was just doing his part. It didn’t matter that he was the man or that he worked long 12+ hours a day (mostly outside). My mom didn’t like to cook – and he did. So he cooked for us. Plain and simple. I always said that I’d marry a man who would cook for me too, because I absolutely hate it. That hasn’t happened yet, but fingers crossed one day it will. 😉 Dad likes to say that my liberal tendencies started because I went to MUW…got news for you dad…you started it. You showed me that I don’t have to fulfill the roles that society deemed ‘fit for a woman’. You didn’t mean to. You even tried to teach me how to cook and attempted to get me to appreciate the value in knowing how to prepare a meal for my future loved ones. Your actions though. Your actions every single night in that kitchen showed me that I can do whatever I want to. You showed me that I can be the person I want to be – and that there would be someone out there who could support that and stand by me while I did.
  • Sometimes my dad can be harsh. There have been many times that I’ve seen him bring my mom to tears or illicit one of those “looks” because he said something completely inconsiderate. Sometimes my dad can be incredibly narrow minded. It’s his way or the highway. When he believes that he is right – well he won’t back down. These two characteristics are things that I’ve always intentionally (and sometimes subconsciously) tried to not embody. I think twice..a million times…before I speak. Especially to those that mean the most to me. And I never ever want to be narrow minded. I’m continually trying to understand and relate to and find common ground with people. I don’t change my mind easily. I just know the danger in not being able to open my eyes to what’s around me and know how to stand firm in what I believe within the midst of differences -even if those differences are among my family. 
  • Politics – standing up for what’s important to you by voting, being informed, and knowing who you want to shape the laws of the country that you live in. All of that was not something that I even worried that much about. The first time that I can remember even caring was when Barack Obama ran for president the first time. My dad said to me once that I’d really really care when I realized how much all of that actually affected my life. He was so right. I’m living in a time right now where I feel like so many of us are having to actively stand up and fight for what we want our political leaders to advocate for on our behalves. So yeah, you were right dad. We may not see eye to eye on what I we want. You definitely also taught me how much I hate FOX News…despite the fact that you continue to listen to it. 😉 But nevertheless – you always tried to let me know that I can’t just live my life and think that what’s going on in our government and elsewhere in this country does not affect me. I used to think you were being overly dramatic – now I know you weren’t. 
  • Being deliberate about showing interest in my children, the things they like to do, and the things I’d like for them to like doing with me. My dad has always been that way. He included me in his hobbies. I really really saw his deliberate attempt at a strong and connected relationship through his interaction with my little brother. I see him do it with my own son and daughter. My kids may not end up liking the same things I do. I just want them to remember that I always included them and that I always wanted to be a part of what they wanted to do as well.

So yeah. Thanks dad. You’re my number one guy from the beginning … Love you,

Week In Review: Rhonda

As you know, we had a lot going on and skipped our Week in Review last week.  So I going to to just hit the highlights.  I had a kid-free two weeks, so it was both relaxing and productive, with a good dose of fun!

Tuesday and Wednesday, I took advantage of my solo status and worked at Starbucks and Buffalo Wild Wings…with shopping breaks.  I got a lot of blogging, working, and writing done, along with a healthy dose of people watching.

Thursday and Friday were spent getting some stuff done around the house and relaxing. I worked on some wedding party stuff, which was really exciting.  Friday night was supposed to be the night that Ashley arrived for a visit, but the airline had different ideas, so we invited Stuart’s coworker over to grill.  Stuart grills a mean steak.

Ashley finally arrived Saturday and we had a wonderful whirlwind day.  Shopping, happy hour, a tattoo for Ashley, and a night at the Fort Worth Stockyards.

I finally got to start wedding dress shopping.  More to come on that later.  Suffice it to say, nothing I tried worked, but I got a better idea of what I wanted.

After a Thursday afternoon spent at Starbucks working, Friday brought about a great surprise – Stuart took the day off to take care of our internet issues.  Once those were cured, we went to visit the marketing coordinator at our preferred venue.  We were happy to determine that it is THE place for us.  I’ll tell you more later!  Later that evening, Stuart surprised me with a date night to our favorite steakhouse.  I can’t recommend enough that you try out The Keg in Arlington for the kind of steak that that nearly gives you an orgasm.

We spent Saturday with all the relaxation.  We stopped by an open house for a rental house.  It was oddly situated in a sketchy neighborhood but was a super nice house.    Stuart once again surprised me as we dropped by our wedding venue for a quick beer (they were about to close).  We came home to grill again, which is always a good idea.

Sunday was our final morning without children, so we had brunch, then went to Stuart’s messy-ass office for him to do some work.  Then we hit the road to get the kids, which is always a grand adventure.

What did you do this week?  Get into anything fun?

 

Stop Living For the Freakin’ Weekend

I can admit that I’ve been this person who counts down to Friday…just waiting for the weekend to come so that I can live.  While I do still very much look forward to the weekends, my life got exponentially better when I stopped living for the weekend.  Yours can be that way too.

Here’s the thing, y’all.  There are seven days in a week.  What happens when you spend a good chunk of the week in a blur, waiting for Saturday?  You lose valuable time that you can never get back.

What about the weekend makes it more special than the weekdays for you?

Do you work Monday through Friday and off on weekends? And do you dislike that job?  Is it stressful?  Do you hate school days because of all the chaos that comes with that?  Maybe you are a stay-at-home parent and your other half works weekdays so you look forward to having an adult around on the weekend.

For me, there were times when I did not place much value on the weekends because I was a retail manager and usually worked.  I worked a couple of jobs that were typical weekday jobs and they were highly stressful, so I looked forward to that weekend break and time with my family.  Currently, working for myself from home and homeschooling four children, I crave those weekends, which bring time with Stuart and help around the house.  He works very long days, so I don’t even get to look forward to time in the evenings with him much.

Somewhere along the way, I changed in the last few months.  I started just taking advantage of blocks of time every day.  It took deciding that I was going to be positive and enjoy each and every ordinary day.

A random Tuesday doesn’t have to be full of plans and fun moments to be enjoyed.  It takes a simple action – a naptime margarita, a playdate with your best friend and her kids, watching shitty reality TV in your room while the kids watch YouTube videos, a trip to Ulta or a solo movie while your kids are at school.

There are two things I do every weekday to make sure I am taking care of my mental health and just living my life to the fullest.

  1. My pre-dinner ritual.  Whether or not the kids are home, I turn up my favorite music, pour a drink, and dance around the kitchen while I make dinner.  Trust me, it makes cooking dinner less of a routine chore and more of a moment to be enjoyed.  Sometimes I Snapchat the moment.  Sometimes I Instagram it.  Sometimes I leave my phone on the charger and just soak it in.
  2. Naptime routine.  My boys do not nap and Claudia rarely does, but we still make it part of the day.  They get in their beds, I put on the TV or hand them a tablet, and I take a coffee or beer to my room.  I lock the door and watch DVRed shows, workout, blog, do my makeup…whatever I want to do in peace.  They aren’t allowed to so much as knock on the door unless someone is hurt.

You don’t have to do the same things I do to make your day good.  But do something that makes you happy.  Soak in a bath, text a good friend, watch horrible TV, go for a walk, read a book, sit in Starbucks.

Every day is special.  Every.  Freaking.  One.  Because you’re still alive…. And the weekend will be here before you know it.  Now go live.

[t-shirt here]

Mommy Confessions Volume II

Rhonda here, taking my turn at the Mommy Confessions.  I have a lot of shit to confess, but we will start here.

I knew my entire life that I wanted to be a mother.  I always knew it would be part of my life.  I looked forward to reading to my children, making them healthy lunches, and playing games with them (HA! Joke is on me, because here’s a mini-confession for you…I hate doing ALL those things).  I knew that parenting wouldn’t be a big walk in the park, of course.  As a child playing House, I would role-play not just the rocking my baby to sleep, but also the yelling at my toddler to PLEASE be quiet and take a nap.  One thing I didn’t expect for when I had children is that I just might spend a large amount of my time yearning for them to go Grandma’s, go play in the other room, go to the store with Daddy, go to bed…. Just GO.

I am in the first few days of a two-week period with no children.  They are at their dad’s house until after Father’s Day.  I can’t tell you how I have excitedly waited for this week.  Oh, the solitude!  Wandering every aisle at Target, getting some work done at Starbucks, aimlessly weaving in and out of shop doors, deep cleaning the kitchen for four hours, being naked when I want, watching TV on the couch instead of in my room.  It’s glorious.  Of course, there is also that whole thing where I get to spend quality time with Stuart.  The thing is, he works super long days so I am getting lots of Rhonda Time.  I ain’t mad at it.  I have always been a person who needs some time alone to do whatever I feel like doing.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know the old cliché is kinda true – The days are long, but the years are short.  Parents spend so much of the day watching the clock and not enough time soaking up the moments.  I know I for sure am so guilty of that.  I fully recognize that one day, I will miss them being needy and totally into me.  I will miss a tiny boy climbing into my bed to tell me I’m her best friend.  Supposedly, I will someday miss my house being a wreck (not fucking likely).

Here’s the thing, though… my real confession is that I don’t give a single fucking fuck what you think about how much I enjoy being away from my children.  I love it.  I love the hell out of it. I am not sorry.  I could just about cry for joy when I wake up in the morning and realize I can go get coffee without tiptoeing around, trying not to wake someone before I can drink my sweet nectar of the gods.

People always have a comment about what other parents do and this certainly is no exception.  When learning that my kids would be gone for 15 days and that I was making all sorts of plans, people have said, “Oh wow, I couldn’t stand to be away from kids for that long” or something to that effect.  And it’s always said with a tone that suggests that I am not on their parenting level because I don’t want a small person up my ass all day every day.  If that’s you and you enjoy that, then more power to you!  You go, Mama.  (But also, you can’t complain that you haven’t worn makeup or gone on a date in 12 years – that was your choice.)

So yes, I am going to enjoy these days with my children left in the beyond capable hands of their father.  I’ll be a better mother for it.

Week In Review: Rhonda

Another week behind us, and what a week it has been!  I can’t even.  Let’s get to it.

Tuesday was just like any other weekday – worked, mommed, texted.  When mail time came though, my lovely Colourpop order was here!  You can see swatches of these beauties on Instagram.

I’m not going to tell you about Wednesday, because you got all the details in my Day In the Life post.

Thursday, I spend a good chunk of the day working in my journal to get ready for June.  I caught up on my DVR and did normal parenting stuff.

On Friday, my world came to a halt.  About 1 pm, I was in the kitchen with Nick as he made himself lunch.  I suddenly saw something move on his head.  I took a closer look and it was a fucking bug.  I wasn’t sure what kind of bug.  I picked it out and kept looking.  LICE.  MOTHERFUCKING LICE.  This was the first time in my entire parenting career to deal with it and let me tell you, I hope you never have to.  Every single person (myself included) in the house with hair had lice.  I immediately texted Stuart an SOS and he brought home what we needed to start the Cetaphil method.  I chose this because I like to minimize my kids’ exposure to toxins and my BFF Nicole had sworn this worked better in her experience.  I went through it with all four kids, then myself.  It took 5.5 hours to handle everyone.  I was exhausted and my back was aching.  Claudia fell asleep as I dried her hair.

Saturday, we got up and started washing and checking everyone’s hair. Turns out, I must have combed out too much excess Cetaphil, because all the kids still had live bugs.  I decided to redo the boys, but not Claudia because hers takes over an hour and she only had one bug and few nits.  I flat ironed her hair to fry anything I missed and we headed out to take the kids to Dustin.  Back in town, we went to Total Wine and stocked up.  At home, I found a dead bug in my hair and decided to have Stuart comb me thoroughly.  Everything in my hair was dead, thankfully.  With that behind us, we sat down to a dinner of chips and assorted dips and watched Dateline.  With the kids gone, we were able to actually be all over the house and not confined to our bedroom.

Sunday was the first full day without the kids and we absolutely took advantage of it.  We spent the day on the couch.  I never bothered with underwear.  I ate my brunch at the coffee table while journaling and we watched a lot of TV.  In the evening, Stuart went to work for a bit while I straightened up and did some doodling . Then he came home and grilled.  Such a great Sunday.

Another week behind us and now a week of deep cleaning, errands, and some Me Time.  Ashley is coming here this weekend and I can’t wait to share the shenanigans with you all.  Make sure you are following our IG account (@rageagainstthemomachine) and snapchat (RAthemomachine)!

 

Day In the Life – Rhonda

I have always enjoyed seeing how others live their lives, so when I joined the blogging community over ten years ago, I read every Day In the Life I came across.  I have also done a couple myself because why not write what I love to read?

I decided to do it yesterday, on what I thought would probably be a pretty ordinary day – Wednesday.  I originally had a time jotted down each time I changed activities but it was hard to follow, I’ve decided to break it down hourly for an easier read.

6:01 am- Alarm goes off.  I have a routine to set my alarm to kiss Stuart goodbye before he goes to work.  Life is too short and we aren’t promised tomorrow.  I try to stay up at that time, so that I get a lot done before my kids wake up.  I haven’t been feeling great, so have been going back to sleep.

For the next nearly two hours, I alternate between going to the bathroom, watching the news half-asleep, scrolling Facebook, dozing, and taking medicine.

7:50 am- I check the time, listen and don’t hear kids, so I doze back off after I get up and put on a shirt (I sleep naked).

8:00ish – I have an unknown call and texts from Ashley.  I surf Facebook while waiting for 8:30.  I know that Stuart sets the coffeemaker for 8:30 if I am not fully awake when he leaves for work.  I definitely don’t want to have to wait in the kitchen for the coffee.

For the next hour, I drink coffee and work in my bullet journal, the way I start my weekdays without exception.

9:00 am- Claudia wakes up and comes to my room for her morning routine of OJ and a fruit snack in my bed.  I go refill my coffee and get her “breakfast.”  She drinks all her OJ and half my coffee while we watch Live! With Kelly and Ryan.  I also do some blogging while I watch.

10:00 am- I start laundry, check on some makeup brushes I have drying, and plug in some of the kids’ dying devices.  Then, I go to put chicken in the crock pot because I like to batch cook shredded chicken to use in several different ways.  Well, things get interesting.

As I am putting the empty chicken packaging into the garbage, I somehow spill fucking raw chicken juice allll over my feet, kitchen mat, and floor.  Well, as I am cleaning it off the floor I somehow cut one finger with one of my fingernails.  So, when I am outside cleaning the mat, the bleach spray gets in my wound and I basically feel like I would rather die than do what I am doing.  After all that mess was cleaned up, I am putting the spray back into the cabinet and somehow the bottle breaks and the cleaner goes everywhere.  I finally escape back up stairs, where I put on more laundry.

11:00 am- I finally get my teeth brushed and face washed, then get dressed and do my makeup, all while leisurely watching TV.  This is the time of the day when my kids realize I am boring and go downstairs to destroy that level of the house.

12:00 pm-  In this hour, I make a brand comparison video for my Lipsense business.  Then I get lost in texting all my frans, folding laundry, and watching Four Weddings on TLC.

1:00 pm- I somehow end up wasting time in this hour.  I browse Pinterest for wedding stuff, look online at some houses for sale, and make the kids lunch.

2:00 pm- It’s the kids’ nap hour, which always starts at 2 or 3, depending on what time they woke up.  They are allowed to use personal electronics and the only one who even occasionally naps is Claudia, but that’s the entire point.  I spend the hour working in my journal to get set up for June.  I also have a snack during this time.  It’s usually when I eat my lunch.  In peace, thanks.

3:00 pm- I spend the final nap hour doing some more journaling with HGTV on in the background.

4:00 pm- Knowing I have to start the evening routine, I get to a stopping place in my journal, take a deep breath, and go downstairs to start the chaos.  I go to tell them nap time is over, but find that Claudia is actually asleep.  So I let the boys get up and I take out the trash as usual.  I pick up a few things around the house.  Then, on my way back to my room, I start more laundry.

5:00 pm- I do a weight loss countdown in my journal, with some more HGTV in the background. I text a lot too, which drags everything out.

6:00 pm- I go downstairs since Claudia is now awake.  I start a super fancy dinner for the kids and pour some Shiraz-Grenache.

7:00 pm- I start making dinner for Stuart and me.  We generally eat different things than the kids and we always eat later than them, because I wait for him to get home from work.  While dinner cooks, I’m on social media and sipping my wine.

8:00 pm- Stuart comes home shortly after 8.  We sit down and have dinner together and talk about our days while the kids play.  Claudia spends most of this time on Stuart’s lap, eating his food.  We discuss mortgage loans.

9:00 pm- We begin doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen and sweeping the dining room.  We have drinks and chat (with ALLL the interruptions) while we work.

10:00 pm- We are still cleaning up downstairs for a bit, then we tuck everyone in, take their devices, and go upstairs.  We take our shower (yep, together 90% of the time).  I do some evening journaling while Stuart gets together mortgage documents.

11:00 pm- We turn the lights out and watch news as I finish my wine and Stuart snores within 10 minutes.

12:00 am- After answering a few questions in my Poshmark shop, I finally put my phone down and drift off to sleep.

Week In Review – Rhonda

Hey, hey! We decided to delay the week in review posts to enjoy our Memorial Day events.  Just kidding, we totally forgot it was Monday until after 5 pm. So anyway, on to my week.

I hit the ground running on Monday.  I kicked its ass and sold a lot of toothpaste and lipsense.  That’s always a good thing!  Claudia made sure to be a big help for me all day, but especially when it was time to do dishes, her favorite task.

I had lots of errands to run on Tuesday, so after trying a new hairstyle (obsessed with this iron that gave me fast and easy messy waves), we hit the road.  Shipped some orders and went to the grocery store.  Then came home to make dinner, which ended up being fun and relaxing.

Wednesday, I took the kids to the playground.  It was absolutely perfect weather and they really needed to run off some energy.  We had a great time.

I took the kids to Target Thursday in an attempt to get some birthday stuff done.  It was a fail.  However, I did come home and make a successful and healthy dinner and Stuart brought home a bust form he bought for my resale shop, which was really exciting!

With one day left before Harper’s birthday party, I had last-minute shopping to do on Friday.  After that, the kids helped me get some decorating done.  And by “helped,” I mean got in my way.

Saturday was party day and we had a guest cancel last minute leaving us with an intimate family party, which are my favorite anyway.  It was perfect and Harper was happy, which is all that matters.  We grilled in the evening and had a great time just catching up with Dustin and drinking too much.

Sunday, before Dustin headed back home, we had him stay with the kids while we went to look at a house.  It was an absolutely perfect home (sadly though, we didn’t have our funding worked out yet and someone else has already put in an offer) and it was exciting to start looking at houses.  In the evening, I stepped on a piece of glass with BOTH feet, because I am freakishly talented.  It was extremely painful and bloody.  We ended the day with grilling again and just enjoying the less-humid weather.

Memorial Day was absolutely lovely.  You know you’re having a good day when you totally forget it’s Monday.  We did what most people do and grilled and drank.  Which also happens to be what we do every weekend lately.  I also cut the boys’ hair in the afternoon.  It was just the perfect day at home.


Week In Review – Rhonda

Another week has passed and I have to say, it was a damn good one for me.  I felt great and got a lot done.

Monday was a little bit of a rocky start, as Mondays tend to be.  My kids were cranky and fought half the day.  I did get some work done though, thanks to the power of music to motivate me.  We ran to the post office, which my kids love to do for some reason.

Tuesday, we started a solar system unit, which the kids have really been enjoying.  It’s one of those topics that every age can understand, which makes teaching them much easier.  During their naptime, I had beer and Fritos and tried to relax but I had so much work to do that I really just wore myself out trying to speed-work.

In the evening, I made a stop for some wine and cranked up the music while I cleaned the kitchen.  I got all up in my emotions thanks to music, but it was all very therapeutic. Sometimes you just need a good cry.

Lil’ Mama and I hit up Target on Wednesday, after I successfully placed a highly coveted Lipsense inventory order.  We had a lot of fun checking out their new carnival-inspired toddler girl clothes.  They are to die for.  In the evening, I looked at houses and wedding venues until my eyes were crossing.  Both wedding planning and house hunting are exhausting.

Stuart had the car Thursday, so I did a lot of housework after school.  I also cleaned my makeup brushes and made a lovely margarita to go with the taco salad I cooked.  Stuart came home with a big surprise – my first ever bouquet of flowers.  I have had flowers in the past, just not from a significant other.  It was such a simple gesture, but it meant everything to me.  So did the tequila he brought me.

Friday, we went grocery shopping once Claudia finally woke up.  Food shopping is one of those things I really enjoy, so it’s always a good day when I can do that.  Throw in some beautiful weather and making a few sales and it really was just a lovely day.

Sweet, sweet weekend.  No matter how good my week is, I am always excited for the weekend.  There is nothing better than boozy brunches, time with Stuart, and having help with the kids.  Saturday, we did our usual brunch routine and I played with makeup while Stuart handled some work stuff.  When he got back, we spent time outside grilling and listening to music.

Sunday was a lot like Saturday – brunch, makeup, grilling and hanging outside.  I started the day out by opening my Mother’s Day gifts though.  A stack of birthstone bangles to add to my Alex and Ani collection – PERFECT. They also brought me more flowers!  I got spoiled.

I mean, I don’t think my weekend could have been any better.  It was amazing.  Tell me about your Mother’s Day!

 

For My Mama – Love, Rhonda

Damn, mothering is hard.  Like, really hard.  I never really understood exactly what goes into parenting until I became a parent myself – I’m sure every parent can say that.  On a daily basis, I experience every emotion possible – joy, sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety, fear, love, contentment, and so on.  It is absolutely a rollercoaster ride.

It’s amazing to think back to my childhood and the way my mama was with us.  I can’t remember her ever losing her temper.  That isn’t to say she never lost it, but if she did, it didn’t stick with me.  Good god, I hope my kids don’t think back as adults and remember that I am an asshole most of the time.  Mama and Daddy lived traditional marriage roles and I honestly believe it was the best thing for us children.  She was always there when we got off the school bus, with a snack and hugs.  I always knew my mom would be there for me.  I still know that today.

As teenagers, my brother and I were absolute dreams.  I am not kidding – ask anyone with close knowledge of my family.  I didn’t go through the typical I-hate-my-mother phase that most teen girls do.  If anything, we were the closest in my teen years.  I knew that no matter what I was going through – boy trouble, friend drama, making a C on a test (yes I was the person who might cry over that), color guard stress – mama would have a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

 

Mama was always The Cool Mom.  “Shit” was always part of her vocabulary, she put me on birth control just because I had a boyfriend, she encouraged me to wear short-shorts and midriff tops (I refused both and wish I could go back and slap myself), and I never had a curfew.  And you know what?  I was so fucking well-behaved.  Sometimes I think back and roll my eyes because I totally missed out on the rebellious teenager experience.  Giving us so much space to make stupid mistakes really allowed us the freedom to discover ourselves and turns out, we were super good kids.  I didn’t drink until I was in college, I only had sex with my super-long-term boyfriends, and didn’t get into legal trouble until I was a parent myself.  I’ve still never done drugs.  I know that my mama contributed to my good behavior.  When parents smother their kids, kids rebel.  It wasn’t an issue in my household, as evidenced by the fact that I could stay at my boyfriend’s house until 1:00 am.  I was allowed to make these decisions.  My mama trusted me.  The feeling was mutual.

The way I was mothered has shaped the way I parent.  My kids are fully allowed and encouraged to fuck up.  It’s the only way we learn.  And holy shit, the woman is the best grandparent.  My grandmother was everything to my ENTIRE family and I couldn’t have imagined that my own mama would be just as amazing, but she really is.   I come from a long line of strong southern women and I wouldn’t be the crazy person I am today without that.

My mama taught me so many things, but the most important thing she taught me was self-confidence.  When I started developing, I would walk with my arms crossed over my chest and she told me to walk confidently.  Last year, I wore a bikini for the first time as a mother and I almost cried as I texted a picture to her.  She has been rocking bikinis since always.  And she really ROCKS it because she is confident.  I am glad she has taught me to love myself.

I love you, Mama, and I hope I can be as fucking crazy and strong as you.

What Mom Really Wants: An Unfiltered Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is coming up in just a few days.  You can find gift guides all over the web and for the most part, they all include the same things – flowers, jewelry, spa gift cards.  Those are all great things, but as a real-life mother of four, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – you’re missing some really important shit.

Wine.  Or maybe the mother in your life prefers whiskey, tequila, or beer.  Still good options.  But seriously, give your mother or baby mama the booze of her choice.  It is affordable and can be purchased last-minute (you know who you are).  And you know what?  It’s hard out there for a mama.  She needs this.

Solitude.  When she gets that drink, she is going to need peace to enjoy it.  Nothing worse than sipping on a frosty beer and being constantly interrupted with requests and complaints.  It can be hard to finish a cup of coffee while warm or an adult beverage while cold.  I have been known to drop a couple of cubes of ice in my chardonnay because between potty training, sibling squabbles, and someone always wanting a drink, it can take an hour to finish a single glass.  Even if she isn’t having a drink, time to finish a thought, read a book, or talk to a friend can be so therapeutic.  Some of my best Mother’s Days have been spent solo, shopping, seeing a movie, or napping.  So take the kids out of the house for the day or send her off guilt-free.

Shopping.  Yep, it’s cliche but it is so true.  Most women love shopping.  Maybe she isn’t that person, but I bet she would appreciate free rein to spend a little money on something.  Moms often take care of everyone else first and there’s not time, energy, or money left for herself after everyone else is handled.  Whether she chooses to buy some fresh shrimp, a new mop, or the latest eyeshadow palette, a Visa gift card or just a little grace to spend from the joint account without judgment goes a long way.

Some fucking sleep and help and shit.  Some mothers are lucky enough to have a partner who shares household duties equally, but more mothers do not.  If your partnership agrees on that balance, all is good, but that doesn’t mean that on this day meant to honor Mom, you can’t pick up some slack.  Handle the meals and clean-up, and for fuck’s sake, change the diapers and wake up with the baby.  Acts of service really show appreciation and respect in the way a bouquet of flowers can’t.  At the end of the day, be sure to express you can personally see how much she does and that you truly appreciate her.  After all, isn’t that what the day is all about (aside from upping the revenue for Hallmark)?

What would you add?  What do you most appreciate on Mother’s Day?