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Tag: motherhood

Motherhood: Limiting Or Limitless?

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Over a Sunday morning coffee while watching our not so tiny humans play, I caught myself saying the words “It can be really limiting”.

The “It”  was motherhood.   The “It” was irregular work hours.  The “It” was financial obligations and a need and desire to provide all the things I could for my kids.

But what was I limiting?

We were talking about work, career, and furthering our education.   We were talking about giving ourselves a little bit of consideration after spending time at home with our children.

And then it dawned on me.  The only thing that I’ve been  limiting was my career, and perhaps due to guilt by association, my ego. 

Because you know what wasn’t being limited one bit?   The privilege of getting to see the first steps of both of my kids.  The privilege of hearing their first words, and soothing their first face plant. I was the one to make my daughter feel better when she got stung by a wasp, and make her first sandcastle, and print her name for the first time.

I’ve been there all along.

I’ve had the privilege of letting my kids drive me up the fucking wall and around some asshole’s bend every single day since they were born.  I’ve been blessed to spend so much time with them that I need a break and fantasize about a 24 hours alone in my house.

So you know what hasn’t been limited?  The opportunity to raise decent kids in a world full of greed and assholery and downright nastiness.   My chance to make the world a wee bit better has not been limited because my ego said that I should be more than what I am.  I have been gifted this chance to have such a huge impact on their lives and the people that they become.  Isn’t that more important than feeling like I am keeping up with my friends who have high paying, highly successful careers?  Is it ok to put my family first and catch up later?  Or not catch up later because really, who gives a fuck about what I do anyway?  When did I decide that my children are limiting my life?  Because I want a better job?  Because I want a PHD added to my name?  When did I decide that being a mom isn’t enough for me?

I’ve decided that at least for now, I am ok with my primary description as “mother”. 

Because that’s not limiting.   It’s limitless.

The time will come when they’ll need me less, or at least differently then they do now.   When that time comes I will answer that quiet nagging to continue to feed my ego’s needs for career and change and education and success and whatever that entails.  In the meantime, I’m going to try to transform what I’ve been seeing as limitations into limitless opportunities of memory making and moments that I will never get back again.  And appreciating that so many of us don’t have that chance.

Kudos to all those women who work hard every day and sacrifice so much time with their kids.  Kudos to those moms who are able to seize an opportunity for education or travel or whatever makes them feel good.   Kudos for being able to balance it all.

But for me right now, it’s ok not to be the best at everything all the time, as long as I’m the best at what is most important to me.   I’m going to allow myself the luxury of being ok with who and what I am in this moment, not because I am limited by my current situation, but because I am blessed by it.

 

 

Motherhood Isn’t For Everyone, And That’s Ok.

I read this article over tea this morning and I have to say it struck a bit of a nerve.  It’s a bit long, but it describes how many moms ( and dads too) secretly resent and hate motherhood.

And I don’t blame them one little bit.

Here’s the raw truth, no Facebook filters or sneak peeks into how amazing our days are.

Motherhood is the shits a lot of the time.

It actually really fucking sucks a good chunk of the time.

I can see how so many women are just not interested in participating in something that literally sucks the life force out of you and spits you back out in an effort to still be a moderately well functioning member of society.

Your whole life now revolves around managing unreasonable, moody, nonsensical tiny humans and keeping them alive every day.   You are blessed with the task of trying to take these maniacal little dictators who push you to the very limit of your humanity every 90 seconds and turn them into someone who will not end up contributing to the general assholery of the world.

It complicates everything.   You can’t just take a class, or go back to school, or volunteer your time, or make yourself a better human in any way without having to figure out who is going to step in and do your mom job for you while you are out making yourself less of a shit.

All while not sleeping, managing household tasks, cleaning, managing what’s left of your career and generally just trying not to fucking explode into one of the 17 directions you are being pulled in on a daily basis.

It’s not for everyone.

And like anything else, sometimes you don’t know that until it’s too late.  And I can understand why some women just can’t.

Some days I feel like that too.

And yes.   I know I wanted this.   I know that I CHOSE this.   I know that so many women can’t have children and probably hate everything about what I am saying.   But Bitches.

Motherhood is really hard.   And just because it was my decision to make this my life doesn’t make it go away and doesn’t take away my right to say so.

BUT.

There is this nagging thing for me that makes it all ok.   And that nagging thing is a love so strong that not only would I step in front of oncoming traffic to save my babies, but I would do so repeatedly, every goddamn day  for the rest of my existence.   I would sacrifice my own growth for them a thousand times over so that they can become twice the person I am.

And yeah.   Sometimes it’s hard to see women around me doing all these amazing things professionally and socially and fucking just generally while I am at home trying to convince my three year old to eat his lunch and that licking ketchup off his fingers doesn’t count.

But I don’t care.   I count my successes in smiles and hugs and successful trips to the potty.  I can’t do it all and won’t try to anymore.

But for some of you out there that feel like you’re drowning and you wish that your life was something other than what it is……I see you.   I get you.   I could be you.

It’s not for everyone.   But hang on if you can, and hopefully one day that will change.

And for the rest of us……find your people.   Support your people.   Don’t mom alone….there is strength in numbers!

 

 

The Twee Destroyer Of Hearts Is FIVE!

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Photo by the fabulous Alicia Thwaites.

Today my Twee Destroyer of Hearts turns 5.

FIVE!

She is not so twee anymore, but she still breaks your heart into a million pieces with her beautiful smile and crazy personality.

5 years since I became a mother.  5 years since Husband and I embarked on this path to insanity and sleepless nights. 5 years of exhaustion, frustration and bewilderment.  5 years of humility.

5 years of the purest love on the planet.  The love between a mother and her child.

And the thing is, as cliche as it sounds, I really do love her more today than on the day she was born.  I think that when you first give birth, the love is instinctual and raw and biological. Your job, your whole reason for existing (biologically speaking) is to protect and care for your child.  To make sure that your genetics make it and pass down.

But now 5 years have passed and the fog has lifted and I can really see her now.

I don’t have to rely on just my motherly instincts anymore (and let’s just say THANK GOD she survived because I pretty much had no idea what the fuck I was doing most of the time) because she’s turned into this wonderful little human being that I would be drawn to even if she wasn’t mine.

Now I get to love her not just because biology says I have to and babies are delicious; I get to love her because she’s turned into this spirited, empathetic,  intelligent, enthusiastic, gorgeous and creative little person.

I get to love her because honestly, all assholery aside, my daughter is pretty fucking rad.

5 years ago I had this insane, rocket fast delivery of a 7 pound, 14 oz little spitfire.

I am so grateful for her and all she’s done for my life.

Happy Birthday Baby.  My love for you is already so big I feel like there isn’t room in my heart for it. And it just keeps growing.  Have the best day ever.

 

Bitches, It’s Time For A Global Village

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The other day I was doing some thrift shopping.  I love thrift shopping.  We have a ton of second hand stores here, from the Salvation Army Thrift Stores to a place called Value Village or some of the trendy vintage stores in the village near downtown.

We sure as hell aren’t rich, but we aren’t exactly poor either.  The thing I personally like about thrift shopping for the kids is that children’s stuff is so  expensive and they go through it so damn quickly.  And so often you can find second hand, brand name things that are in perfect condition at like 10-20% of what they would cost brand new.

Anyway, this woman was in front of me in line with her two young boys.  She was taking a long time at the register, and today I had nowhere to be.  So I eavesdropped while pretending to look at my phone.

She was asking very nicely, and almost a little desperately, if the cashier could make an exception and include a couple items in some sort of special sale even they weren’t technically part of it.  It would end up saving her maybe 3.00$ in total.

This woman was clearly not being an asshole.  She was not in that store looking for a deal on an Esprit sweater or Kenneth Cole coat.  She was in there because her two sons needed some new t shirts and she was trying to get as much as she could with the cash in her pocket.

I didn’t think the cashier was gonna do it.  She had that typical “I don’t give a shit” attitude that so many of us get when a customer is making the transaction anything less than smooth.

I pulled out my wallet, ready to pay the difference.  3.00$ for me means I skip that coffee one day, but for her, it means she loses a piece of her pride.

In the end, the cashier let her have the deal, and I didn’t step in.  It’s a fine line…wanting to help but not wanting to embarrass someone.

When I told Husband about it later, he asked how come I cared so much about that woman in the store.

And you know why I cared so much?  Because I could identify with her, as another woman and as another mother.  I looked at her shoes that were falling apart and knew that she would wear them until she was literally walking on pavement through the soles before she would let her boys go without.  Without ever speaking to her, I felt connected to her as a mother because the love she has for her kids is the same love I have for mine.

We are lucky to have people in our lives that have and would always make sure that our kids had what they needed, even if we couldn’t provide it for them.  Not everyone is so lucky.

But on a deeper level, I just feel that moms should support one another in whatever capacity they are able, whether they are a stranger or not.  Can’t we all just be a part of a global village that is Motherhood?  Can’t we all recognize one another and love one another enough so that no mom ever feels unable to get through the day?

Bitches.

See one another. Notice one another. Take care of one another.  Let  motherhood bond us together instead of dragging us apart because of differing methods of feeding or sleeping or diapering or disciplining.  Recognize one anothers efforts and let all the other shit go.

Just let it go.

10 Minutes Too Long, Cincinnati Zoo

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I know you all are probably sick of hearing about that goddamn gorilla.  I am too.  It’s been all over the news for like four days, and it’s starting to get old.

I personally hadn’t written anything about it while I skimmed through articles and read people’s crazy commentary.

And it was.  Fucking crazy.

Parenting is a hard gig, Bitches.  Especially when you are out in a crowded public place with more than one child.  Even with one child.  Yet we go to these places with the hope that our kids will learn something new, appreciate things they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see and because staying at home with your children all the time would put most of us over the edge.

Is it possible that this is a good mom who had the shittiest day of her entire life?  Obviously, yes.  Kids are fucking ninjas sometimes.  They can escape our view and get swallowed up so easily in a crowd.  It’s terrifying.

Did the zoo officials make the right call?  I think they did.  Male gorillas can be extremely aggressive and unpredictable.  The child was in danger, and they acted to save him from further injury.

But here is my take on the whole situation:

Have you guys watched the video?  The mom can be heard saying “I love you” to the kid in the background as if she just dropped him off for a weekend at his grandparents.

And that is the part that is making wonder what in the fuck is wrong with her.  Not was she negligent.  Not how did her kid slip away…because we all know how that happens.  It doesn’t take much.

But I keep thinking; your kid is in an enclosure getting dragged around by some big ape, and how are you not freaking the fuck out?  How is she not screaming for help?  How is NOBODY trying to get in there to distract the gorilla and save the kid?

Instead, everyone is standing around taking video on their cellphones.

What the ever living fuck?

My other thought, beside how it was even possible for a child to get in there in the first lace ( good job Cincinnati Zoo) is how it took over ten minutes for the zoo officials to take action. There was a child in danger.  There should have been an immediate emergency plan put into place.  Situations like this, however unlikely they are to occur, demand a previously planned emergency response that doesn’t take 10 minutes to implement.  That kid might not have had 10 minutes.

So.  My reaction is more about the non reaction.  I don’t get it.  Fuck ups for everybody, but at least the kid is okay.

And as an animal lover, I am sad this beautiful beast had to lose his life.  My mixed feelings about zoos is a post for another day though.

What is your reaction, Bitches?

 

Take Your Theory On “Crying It Out” and Suck It

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As I continue to accept the fact that we are not having anymore babies, I can also celebrate the fact that I don’t have to deal with figuring out how to put a new baby to bed.  I don’t have to do the wake up every two hours and feed the baby thing.  I don’t have to rock any babies to sleep or pray anyone naps or whatever.

Don’t get me wrong.  I fucking HATE bedtime.  Bedtime is easily the hardest part of the day…so close to a bit of adult time, yet still having to negotiate my way through storytime, brushing their teeth, terrified of the dark almost five year olds, and snuggling while they fall asleep.

In fact, bedtime can just suck it.

Unless you’re Bestie.  Bestie always manages to get them to go to sleep at like 7pm and makes it look all easy.  I’ve tried so hard to get her to move in.  SO HARD.

Anyway, despite the fact that I can possibly see a light at the end of the tunnel, I keep bumping into all these articles about “Crying It Out”

All this “research” telling us how much we fucked up our children.  Oh…..wait……there’s new “research” saying that it’s really not that bad…….just kidding again……you have ruined your child’s brain chemistry and not only will they be an eternal asshole, they will suffer brain damage and forever live in your house…..wait, no……

AND SO ON.

First of all, who the hell is funding all these “studies”  and why do we feel it is necessary to continue to research what we already know will be the result?

The result being, of course, that every baby has different needs and exhausted moms will continue to do whatever works in order to survive no matter what your fucking research says.

The other result being, of course, that a whole new generation of burnt out, self doubting moms will feel like total shit about what they tried to do to help themselves and their child get a decent nights rest.  That each new study serves to do one thing at the end of the day.  To undermine the already waning confidence that each new parent has about whether or not they are doing what’s best for their family.

And no matter what your fucking “research” says, moms will continue to beat each other up on both sides of the argument and shame each other for their choices.  They will each reference a different article supporting their assault on one another.

And you know what?

It doesn’t actually matter what the experts say.  Because you  know who is the expert when it comes to my child?

Me.

So you go ahead and decide whether or not it’s ok for your baby to cry it out or not.  You go ahead and decide how your life is going to play out and stop trying to influence me into doing things your way.

I just wish that researchers would stop spending money doing these fucking “You Suck At Parenting” studies and actually research something worthwhile.   Like how to cure childhood cancer.  Or cystic fibrosis.  Or maybe just fund projects that help moms realize that they are doing the best job they can and give them a place where they can go to share their frustrations or get a break if they are feeling worn out.

Why don’t we take all this money from these useless, shame inducing “studies” and build some goddamn villages around ourselves?

Rant over.

 

You’re All Naked In Your House Too, Right?

The other day I was out for a drink with some old friends and the conversation inevitably turned towards our children.  As we shared and laughed and vented, we started talking about nakedness.

When does it stop being appropriate to be naked in front of or with your children?  When does it stop being appropriate to let my little nudists streak around the house doing somersaults and handstands with their vaginas in the air or wieners in their hand?

Cause that happens at all of your homes too, right?

My kids love to be naked.  They only put clothes on after many many repetitions and threats.  The phrase “put your vagina away”  comes out of my mouth at least once per day.

I guess I just worry that the lack of modesty is going to turn into either some sort of weird naked thing at school next year and make my daughter the social pariah amongst her classmates.  And I also worry that some fucking sicko is gonna hurt my kid.

I know.  I know.  I need to calm down about this “putting my child’s life into the hands of strangers” thing at school in the fall.  But seriously.  What if she has trouble pulling up her pants after using the bathroom and there is no one to help her so she just decides to say fuck it and run around naked instead?

We are a naked family.  We don’t close doors, everybody knows about everybody elses junk.  I don’t want my kids to feel self conscious about themselves.  I don’t want them to think negatively or weird about their bodies.  I want them to love them, and understand that what they see in the media in terms of body image isn’t really the truth.  I want them to know what “real” peoples bodies look like and that it is okay to love themselves if they are squishy or hairy or imperfect in any way.

But I also want them to put their goods away when we have people over for dinner.

As it happens, a dear friend of mine sent me this article too:

Basically, a father had his baby in the shower with him when the child was burning with fever, trying to calm him down and help bring the fever down.  Mom thought it was a beautiful moment and captured a few photos which she then posted to Facebook.And people freaked out, because they were both naked.

Ummm.  They are in the shower. A parent.  THEIR CHILD.

Shit.  My kids are four and two and they LOVE it when I come in the bathtub with them.  It’s fun, there’s no fighting about having a bath.  It’s moments that can’t and won’t last forever.

Do we live in such a totally hyper-sexualized community that all nudity represents is someone about to get laid?  Is that why people in North America get so crazy about women breastfeeding in public?  Is THAT why girls can’t wear yoga pants or spaghetti straps to school because any amount of skin shown automatically means something sexual or inappropriate is going on?

Get a fucking grip people.

Our bodies are used for sex, yes.  But they are also used for eating tacos and riding bikes and comforting our children when they are sick.  So, my question still is, when should the family nudity start being weird?  When did you start covering up in front of your kids?  I’m pretty sure a 16 year old girl doesn’t need to see her dad grunting one out on the john, but what about a 6 year old?  When did your kids start asking for privacy?

Adulting is hard.  Parenting is worse.

 

 

 

Why Do Little Boys Have No Sense Of Self Preservation?

Is it just me, or do little boys have almost ZERO sense of self preservation?

Yesterday I spent the afternoon plucking my son off of everything.  Off the table, off the counter, off the roof of his playhouse, off of the goddamn fence that he climbing liked a caged wild animal.

UP UP UP.  All fucking day.

And then came La creme de la creme.

Right before my students show up, I am getting my violin out and just warming up for about 3 minutes when I hear a piercing scream from Buddy’s bedroom.  I figure he tried to climb on something to reach an off limits item on the top shelf again and has fallen off.

So I get up and start walking towards the stairs and out comes Buddy, holding his ear.

What the fuck?

He decided that he had boogers in his ears that needed cleaning and shoved a Q-tip in there so far that he made himself bleed. Seriously Buddy?  Da Fuck is wrong with you?

And of course I phone the nurses hot line where they are so nice but also really thorough and good at freaking you out about worse case scenario.  Hearing loss, perforated eardrum, infection.

Jesus help me.  From a Q-tip?  And apparently, you shouldn’t even use a Q-Tip to clean your ears out in the first place.  I am always the last to know all the grown up parenting things.

I decided in the end that taken him to the ER when he wasn’t even crying anymore seemed excessive, but will follow up with his doctor today.

And hopefully, in the meantime Buddy won’t try to see what happens if he cuts off a finger or plucks out an eye or something.

 

 

Dear Sophie Gregoire Trudeau: I’ll Be In Your Village

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en.wikipedia.org

As I’m sure you’ve all heard already, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of our Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was heavily criticized in the media last week when she said she needed more help to be able to manage her workload and three children.

Leading the crusade were MP’s from the Conservatives and NDP parties, accusing her of being out of touch and chastising her for feeling overwhelmed.

And you know what?

Shame on both of them.  Shame on them for continuing to perpetuate the myth that women can and should have it all, do it all, take care of it all, and never complain or ask for help.

It’s almost worse to me that the two leading the negative comments and criticism are women.  Had it been a couple of old sexist men, I would have been less disgusted with the commentary.  But the fact that it is once again women shaming other women makes me seriously want to fucking puke.

Yes.  Mrs. Gregoire Trudeau already has nannies.  So what?   Every working woman has some sort of childcare arrangement. Should she be sending her children to a day home down the street or to a childcare center while she focuses on her duties to the public?  Are there 24 hour, 7 day a week arrangements that could accommodate the irregular hours and changing needs?  Should she hire a local teenager to come in and watch the kids?

Give. Me. A Break.  We are talking about the family of our head of state.

Yes, her “position” as the wife of our Prime Minister is not an official role, and not a paid one.  But there is a huge expectation that she be available for public appearances, and philanthropic and charitable work.   And let’s face it.   I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I can’t seem to remember any other spouse of a political leader in Canada who was so busy working for this country.  I can’t even tell you the name of any spouse of any former Prime Minister, but Sophie is in the news literally every other day.

So yes, I think that she probably does need more staff to continue to do the work she does.

But that’s not even my real issue with this whole thing.

Bitches, it’s okay to ask for help.

We always feel like we aren’t enough.  We need to do more, be better, learn new things, put everybody else first.  And that is such bullshit.

You just can’t do it all on your own. There is no shame in asking for reinforcements.  There is no shame for recognizing that your workload is too heavy and that you need help.  It’s okay to say no sometimes.

And that applies whether you are a single mom, a stay at home mom, a working mom, or the wife of the Prime Minister.  This attack of Sophie Gregoire Trudeau is archaic and sexist and downright so full of assholery and political agenda that I can literally smell the crap from the comfort of my living room.

So cut the shit.  I don’t care if she is asking more than any other spouse did before her.  I don’t care if Stephen Harper’s wife ” did more with less consistently.”  Why is that something we should applaud?  Why should we give less resources to the spouse of our country’s leader and perpetuate this shit that women should just saddle up and suck it up?

I don’t think this request makes her out of touch at all.  I think it makes her feel like very other working mom in the country.  Sometimes overwhelmed, always tired, torn, and normal. 

So  yes.  Give her more staff and stop bitching about it.    In fact, I personally volunteer.  They say it takes a village, and Canada is this woman’s village.

 

 

 

And After 5 Years And Two Babies, We’re Done.

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vimeo.com

Bitches, I started selling our baby stuff this weekend.

And let me tell you, people are fucking crazy. I will probably never try to sell anything on Kijiji again.  I had a woman who responded to my ad for the highchair who wanted me to do nothing short of using a goddamn blacklight on it, passing it through some sort of bed bug microscopic inspection and then sending her pictures of my detailed inspection via my cell phone’s camera. The Facebook pages seem to be easier and the people less idiotic.

Please, please just go fall off a cliff or something Kijiji Lady.

Anyway, the whole selling process is quite a pain in the ass and really emotionally trying.

I have spent the last almost three years nagging Husband to have one more baby.  He has clearly declined, or I would likely be bitching and moaning about my fat pregnancy feet or lack of sleep or some other delightful side effect of growing a human inside my body. But here’s the truth:

I like the idea of growing a baby again.  I loved all the feelings of anticipation and the new baby smell and the idea of a large family.  I fantasize about how easy the third one would be after all the things I learned with the first two.  I’ll just wear my baby and life will be perfect. I think about having 3 or 4 children and what that would mean for big family parties with tons of grandchildren once our kids are grown.

In reality, I am 38 years old and Husband is 45.  I worry about increased risks to the baby and what that would mean to their quality of life and to the life my older children have.  I worry that Husband and I would not survive that type of stress.  I think about not sleeping again for two years, and feeling crazy most of the time.  I think about bottles and diapers and gates and strollers.

And then I think NO.

In the last six months or so we finally feel like we have a little bit of freedom.  Our kids take really well to babysitters and have a few favourites that aren’t just named Grandma or Gago.  I can finally take the kids to the library or store and not have to put Buddy in a stroller or leash him to keep him contained.  I can let them play at the park without crawling up their ass or worrying that one of them is going to bolt just to be a total fucker.

I finally feel like we are catching our breath after 5 years of almost dying.

But the hardest thing out of all of this is being able to let go of this time in our lives.  I just can’t fathom that the baby years are coming to an end and I now have two children, rather than two babies.  Having two babies has been the single most defining thing about me for five years, and now I have to let go of that and find a new identity.  It’s really, really sad.

And so I think all the nagging and longing has been just a resistance to the change I know is inevitable coming, and I am desperately trying to hang on to a thing that desperately needs to evolve.

So I started selling all the shit to help myself close that door.

And also because it was starting to take up a lot of space in our fucking house.  And Buddy was using it all to climb up into trouble.  He doesn’t always run away in public anymore, but he finds other ways to be a total fucker.  So I guess not everything is changing.

How did you say goodbye to the baby years, Bitches?  Did you feel conflicted about it?  Or were you just “done” and that was that?

 

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An Early Start

Meet Jax a funny, kind, and smart preschooler who was a micro-preemie born at 23 weeks. Now that Jax is older, the scariness of the NICU has faded, but we're still learning how to manage the lasting effects of prematurity including chronic medical issues, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is our story of love, hope, and survival.

Writings From Dr. Oolie's Pond

Poetry, Prose, and Random Thoughts

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