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Parenting

Parenting is nothing you expected and everything you could have imagined all rolled into one. I have been spit up on, pooped on, vomited on all before 7 a.m. in the newborn years. I’ve watched my toddler shove a pearl up her nose and poop in her mouth, and I’ve even masticated food. Not as fun as it sounds. I’ve survived breast buds and the sex talk. I share everything I ever learned and you might want to know about parenting from pregnancy to labor thru to the teens years.  It’s is hard but it’s the toughest job that you’ll ever love but the salary sucks.

mom and daughter talking while camping, How Unplugging and Listening will make You a Better Parent to your Teenager

Disclosure: This post is made possible with support from the Center for Parent and Teen Communication, part of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. All opinions about How unplugging and listening will make you a better parent to your teenager are my own.

Parenting teenagers is exciting and challenging in big and little ways, unlike any other stage. It’s sprinting towards the parenting finish line before our children go off independently in the world to chase their own dreams. The Center for Parent and Teen Communication helps parents raise teens prepared to thrive. Adolescence is a time of opportunity, and parents matter more than ever. They strive to ensure every caring adult has the knowledge and skills to promote positive youth development and foster strong family connections. To get great tips and videos for communicating with your teens sign up for CPTC’s 100-word, daily parenting tip newsletter.

The secret to success when raising teens is communicating openly and good listening skills. As a mom of teen girls, often, I feel like I need to provide all the answers to their problems. I swoop in like Wonder Woman and want to fix everything. Soon, they’ll need to be able to confidently navigate the world on their own. For that to happen, I need to step back, be still, breathe and listen with empathy. I need to unplug, be present, and give my girls my full attention. Most importantly they need to feel heard, understood, seen, and loved unconditionally. 

That’s the video that resonates the most with me. You should watch the animations. They’re short and you might pick up a tip or two you’d never thought of before. Which one is your favorite and why?

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Teen Driving Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know

Some days, I can’t believe that I’m the mom to two teenagers. It feels like just yesterday; I was introducing you all to my toddlers. But, Bella is 15-years-old already, about to be 16 in less than a month. What they say about the days being long but the years being short, is the truest thing ever said about motherhood and childhood. It’s hard to imagine, my little girl is old enough to drive. It scares me in more ways than I expected. Aside from it making me painfully aware that she will soon be old enough to live on her own, it makes it that much easier for her to spend time away from us.

Of course for teenagers, driving is an exciting rite of passage. Getting onto the road for the first time in their own car is thrilling time for a teenager. Its independence and freedom that our kids haven’t experienced up to that point. Of course, while this is thrilling for them, it can also be terrifying for parents. We have to make sure we give them a thorough course in teen driving 101. Aside from the letting go, we know how dangerous driving can be. No matter what driving directions we’ve give them, the fact is that teen drivers are more likely to make driving mistakes in their first year on the road than for the rest of their driving career.

Tips for New Drivers

Maybe it sounds like an overreaction, especially from someone who has been driving since she was 13-years-old. But I’m me and they’re them. Take my driving directions don’t follow my driving examples, kids. Danger hits different when you’re on the mom end of things than it does when you’re the carefree teenager. Sorry, mom.

I had my days as a teenage girl, now it’s my time to worry. I’m better at that than most. As a teen, I was the one who was going places and doing things that I probably shouldn’t have been. I definitely would have given my mom a heart attack if she knew half of it. Thank God I was too stupid and naïve to realize what could have happened to me. It’s true, some things you just have to live through to believe. Being aware and prepared can help prevent unnecessarilyissues.

Teen Driving Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know that their kid might be breaking

Speeding while driving

Whether they are showing off, being careless, or are trying to have fun, speeding is a serious offense. No matter where you are or why you’re doing it. Many roads have automated cameras that can capture cars speeding and issue fines, while police will also lookout. Speeding can damage a teenager’s permanent driving record. It can make their insurance premiums go up while running the risk of losing their license if they break the rules more than once. Some insurance companies can also monitor the speed of your car to make sure that you’re not breaking the rules. Speeding can also cause a lot of car accidents. If you’re a victim of such, you can rely on the personal injury lawyer boston ma to help you in your case.

Driving Under the influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. Road accidents happen more frequently under the influence. That’s why I always carry a personal breathalyzer in my purse and bring a designated driver. Teen drivers are more likely to take a risks, trusting themselves to be safe behind the wheel. Let’s face it, teenagers think they are invincible. Police can easily recognize drivers under the influence. A DUI defense can be difficult to manage, meaning that your teen will almost certainly need legal support if they find themselves in this position.

Driving Accidents

Teen drivers without much experience on the road are much more likely to cause accidents than veteran drivers. Friends, radios and telephones can easily distract new drivers. Having a major driving accident can make your teen’s premium skyrocket. This can make products like dashcams extremely useful, providing evidence so that you can prove your teenagers innocence. Of course, though, you have to make sure that they don’t delete any footage that could make them look bad.

Driver’s Road Rage

Road rage is a common issue across the world. People find it easier to get annoyed when driving than when walking. Teenagers tend to be more emotional than adults and get into bad situations when they engage with other drivers. You need to make sure that your teenager knows that they can’t shout, swear, or attack other drivers, especially when they’re on busy roads. Instead, they should work to simply ignore the annoyances of other drivers.

Incorrect Documentation

Teenagers aren’t generally considered the best administrators, and this means that they can easily let their documentation become void if they don’t take the right steps. This can have a negative impact on their driving career, making it difficult for them to get a new license if their current one is taken from them. It’s crucial that insurance, licenses, and things like tax are all up to date before your teenager is allowed to hit the road. In many cases, the punishment for failing to do this can be bigger than fines.

Insurance Violations

Teenagers usually care about things like fashion a lot more than older people. This can lead to extensive modifications being made to their vehicles, with many of the changes they make being superficial. Of course, though, insurance companies need to know about these changes, ensuring that the car that is being covered reflects the actual car on your driveway. If you don’t let their insurance company know when changes like this are made, your child could be left without the coverage they need if they have an accident.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of avoiding the trouble your teen driver could get into during their first year on the road. This can be a difficult time for new drivers, but you can help your teens overcome the issues with a little bit of practice, encouragement and safety reminders.

Letting go is hard. Watching our “little” girls drive away, is not easy but we can’t keep them at our sides forever so the most important thing we can do as parents is to prepare them well to take on the world. We have to trust that we’ve done our jobs as parents and if all else fails, let them know we’re always there to lift them up, support them and hold their hands when they need it. As soon as this snow melts, we’re taking Bella out for some more driving practice.

What’s your best tip for teaching your teen driving safety without stressing you both out?

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How it Feels to be a Democrat on Inauguration Eve 2021, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris

I was sitting here contemplating tomorrow and the events of the past 2 weeks. 2 weeks ago tomorrow, President Trump incited a coup attempt and set his Patriots on a path to overturn democracy; an assault on our Capitol. He fanned the flames of insurgence and pointed them in the direction of our nation’s house with instructions to take the country back. Last week, he was impeached (for a second time) for his part in inciting violence and assault upon the very country and people he was entrusted to serve and protect. Tomorrow, we begin anew with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

One day more until we again have hope; another day, another destiny.

I’m afraid. I am exhausted from the past four years of enduring the unthinkable. I’ve felt that I’ve been living in an alternate reality; stuck in a nightmare that I cannot awake from. I’ve only recently realized that I’ve spent the past four years living in constant fear and under duress; terrified of the people wielding power and hate. Holding my breath, gritting my teeth and biting my tongue. Unable to fully breathe. I have been suffocating. Striking out and speaking out with the constant knowledge that it could put me in imminent danger. The worry is real. But the pursuit of good is greater.

One day more, we endure.

As a nation, we the people, have learned to band together to speak up and strike out against hatred. In the midst of all of this chaos, we have become unified in our pursuit of justice. It’s changed our perspective and given us a renewed faith and appreciation for the democracy our great country was born upon.  Here we are, less than 24 hours from the dawn of a new era. Tomorrow, we are given redemption in the form of hope, decency and democracy.

One day more.

 

Tomorrow, we will wake up and have a decent, good man as the president of our United States. We will have THE FIRST FEMALE VICE PRESIDENT. I get to celebrate this history-making inauguration alongside my two daughters, who get to see a woman of color, merit and humanity take the second-highest office in this nation. Let that sit with you a moment. Tomorrow, a man who perpetuated hatred and insurgence and led his own supporters down a trail of lies and conspiracies just to hold onto the power of the presidency, will finally leave the sacred grounds of the White House.

One day more.

Tonight, I can’t sleep. I am afraid as I inhale deeply and hold my breath one last time before human decency and democracy return to their rightful place in our nation’s capital. One long last night filled with hope and fear of what is to come and where we go from here as we the people, assemble in reformation to become the great nation we once were before the long four years of divisive tension that culminated in an insurrection. We can never unknow the hatred and vitriol that has been so freely spewed in the last term. Our neighbors, friends and family have revealed themselves as the monsters they are and we cannot forgive nor forget that they chose their hatred and money over the well-being and equality of the rest of us. It has been unbearable, this anxiety-ridden, claustrophobic hostage situation we’ve spent the last four years surviving.

Just one day more.

How it Feels to be a Democrat on Inauguration Eve 2021, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris

Tomorrow is unseen and I don’t know how this is all going to playout. I’m hopeful that tomorrow goes as expected but I’m trepidatious because this is not the same United States that it was four years ago. None of us are the same as we were before the Trump administration. We don’t see one another with those rose-colored glasses of civility anymore and neither does the rest of the world. We have been revealed to be instead of the photoshopped version of ourselves hiding behind press releases and fancy clothes and makeup to a stripped-down naked and hungry version of ourselves for all the world to see. We fought amongst ourselves as our allies and enemies watched on. Our president’s bravado and narcissism has left us exposed and vulnerable to the world; attacks foreign and domestic.  I pray tomorrow, we finally can make America great again… I hope we can rebuild bridges where he has built walls.

One day more.

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Exhausted mom and dad asleep on couch covered in toys while toddler reaches out. Best Gifts to Get New Moms or Any Moms

This is not your traditional gift guide for moms. It’s not specific to cool moms, crunchy moms, tech moms, teen moms or even girl moms. Nope, this is the perfect gift guide for all moms of all ages with kids of all ages and any sex. These are proven gifts for moms that are approved by, you guessed it, moms. But before I tell you the Best gifts to get new moms or any moms, read below.

Let me tell you a little story, the other day, I was talking to my therapist (physical, not mental) who just became a dad for the third time. Nice guy. Cute kids, 3 under 3 and an amazing wife who just gave birth to all three children in three years. They’re both probably in their early 30’s. Our conversation inspired me to write this gift guide because, from my perspective of the hard-earned wisdom of the school of been there done that, I realized that men are clueless.

READ ALSO: Gift Guide for Women who love tech and pretty things

I’m not saying this in a mean or ugly way. I’m saying it in the way that men are from Mars and women are apparently, from Venus ( more like women are from earth and men have no clue).  While we may be on similar paths in life, they are most definitely perpendicular and not parallel. We ay accidentally cross paths in our way of thinking occasionally but for the most part, we are miles away. We interest but it’s not the same life, not even the same world.

I’m not trying to bad mouth this guy or any man for that matter, I’m just saying that we don’t share the same experience. At all.  A few years ago, I was shocked to find out that men are never afraid to walk alone, outside after dark like EVER. Never. They are not phased in the slightest. Meanwhile, I’ve never felt comfortable walking alone at night and sometimes not even in the daytime, depending on where I am and what I’m doing. Men are fearless because they are at the top of the food chain. They’re doing the accosting. No one is accosting them. Women, well, it’s the men’s world and we’re just living it, unfortunately. Forget about the fact that we’ve given birth to them ( they’ve forgotten) and just know that they view us as other if they see us at all.

READ ALSO: Standing up for my girls no matter the cost

My therapist and I were talking about how they’ve been having a hard time sleeping ( 3-week old baby) and he said, “she’s been a bit tired and grumpy” ( no shit, new baby exhaustion is real especially when you’re chasing after 2 other toddlers in a damn pandemic.) Anyway, I digress. My point is that she was a little curt because she was new mom tired and she needed help.

Somehow we got on the subject of people needing space (an hour or so to decompress from their family and work, how I walk for an hour every day alone). I gently suggested that on the weekends he let his wife nap and his life would be easier because a rested mom is a happier one. He thought I was suggesting for him to get some time to himself. He was telling me how important his soccer weekends were to him. I gently, reminded him, “Yeah, your wife needs that too. Moms always need time, even if it’s just to drink our coffee or run to Target. Just because we don’t complain doesn’t mean we’re not tired.”

He answered me, “No, she loves being a mom.” That’s when I realized that it was my civic duty to save this perfectly decent man from fucking up his marriage.

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs Saved my Marriage

Dude we all love being a mom but we also love being ourselves, being treated as humans; seen as something other than the help. We are not the live-in nannies, who also cook and clean so that you can spend your weekends golfing, playing soccer or call of duty. Repeat after me; My wife loves her children but she needs breaks. I love her so I must give her the opportunity to rest and breathe. No one can run on full blast at all times without burning out.

In case you don’t believe me, that we are all exhausted, even those of us who love what we are doing and being a mom, I just received this text. She’s a mom and a doctor who has been working almost constantly lately treating CoVid patients in her overcapacity hospital.

“I worked overnight and slept for 2 hours so I could get up and entertain the kids. I’m exhausted. It would be so nice to have a minute where the kids aren’t telling me how bored they are or the husband wasn’t sulking about a couple of days without sex. I wish I could have half an hour to myself instead of trying to please everyone else.”

Best gifts to get new moms or any moms

A day of rest

Even God took a day off. Maybe it sounds too simple or maybe you just don’t want to do it because you’ve worked all week and you want your days off to be relaxing. Great, I get it but how is it fair that you get 2 days off a week and she gets no days off ever? Think about it. Split the days; 1 for each.

Quiet time alone

Take the kids somewhere; anywhere. Quiet time is in high demand and there is never enough of it. Just tell her to take an hour and put on her headphones, sit in the car or go for a walk and enjoy not being the person in charge of meeting everyone’s needs for just a little while.

A spa day

This is a real luxury because, after kids, money and time are both things moms never have enough of. Moms tend to always put themselves last and a spa day, is not only good for the body, but it’s also pretty amazing for the soul too. Let her be a woman of leisure for just a few hours. Plus, relaxing is a superego boost for moms and if she feels prettier, sexier, more relaxed…you will benefit from it.

A girl’s night

I didn’t get a girl’s night until my girls were already 5 and 3-years-old. I kept telling myself that I didn’t need it. Then, my husband basically forced me out one night and it was the best thing ever. Moms need that time to remember who they are as a woman, not just someone’s wife and mommy.

Bring home or cook dinner once a week

Pssst, hey you, we hate cooking after feeding picky eaters all day, coaxing them to sleep and chasing them around. It’s just one more thing on a super long list of things we have to do and we don’t like it. Please handle it occasionally. You will be our hero. Do the dishes and put the kids to sleep on your own…your imagination is the only thing holding you back, baby.

An hour to work out

Being a mom is so busy that we really lose sight of ourselves. One day, we realize we’ve become bottom of our own very long list of things to care about. Working out not only provides us with some time alone, but we also get to feel those endorphins and feel productive and beautiful. Yes, sweating makes us feel like we are part of the solution, especially when we’re feeling overwhelmed and particularly mommish.

A space of her own

It doesn’t need to be huge. It just needs to have a door and a lock. An office, craft room, or workout area. We just really need something that is ours.

Volunteer to do some of the chores

Bringing home dinner is one thing but if you put babies to sleep, walk dogs, fold laundry and unload the dishwasher, there might be some more babies or at the very least some A+ effort baby-making-like actions being initiated.

Consider her feelings

Ask yourself, what would my wife do? You want to go out with the guys for 1, 2 or 10 beers after work on Friday night. Ask yourself, does my wife need me to come home and give her a break? Is she going insane because the only people she’s been talking to all day are under 3 feet and don’t know any words? Does she need to hand off the littles to me and regroup? Yes, the answer is yes. No matter what you might think, no matter how amazing she is or how much she loves your children, the answer is yes because while she is a superwoman, she is only a human.

Ask her how her day has been and let her tell you

Talk to her. Not at her. Ask her questions. Listen to her answers. Let her vent. Give her a hug. Let her cry. Be tolerant. Be patient. Be kind. Most importantly, be understanding and know that she is probably really tired and very hungry.

Entertain the kids after dinner

She made dinner. She bathed the kids. Offer to put them to bed. Offer to read them stories. Take one thing off of her super piled high mom plate. Be proactive. It will make your relationship with your wife and your kids better. You are part of the team, not a spectator. These are truly the best gifts to get new moms and moms everywhere of all ages and it’s free, with the exception of a little effort.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and wishing you lots of peace and love in your marriage and your parenthood. You can do it. You just need to want to. Let’s be honest, as a mom, I would prefer a gift of the middle of the night feeding duty, dishwashing, folding and putting away laundry, baby wrangling and time alone to breathe, eat, play my music at full blast over diamonds and bags any day of the year. That’s saying a lot because I love my diamonds and bags but time for me, consideration, and respect for what I do from the ones I love, is worth more than anything else.

As a mom, what do you consider the best gifts to get new moms? Best gifts to get moms? Do you think the best gifts for moms are free?

 

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ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood, adverse childhood experiences

This post is made possible with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All opinions are my own.

2020 has been a crazy year. Things have happened to all of us that we never could have imagined. As an adult, it’s been trying. It’s hard to get your bearings when the world feels like it’s on fire. I can only imagine how hard this must be on our children; struggling to make sense of everything and trying to function in this new normal. It’s not normal for any of us. 

I’ve stayed vigilant these past 9 months since the pandemic began, trying to keep our lives right side up. It takes effort, work, ingenuity, and creativity. I’ve spent the past 15 years trying to help my daughters avoid the pitfalls of ACEs because I suffered them myself and know the effect they can have on a child.  Hopefully, our vigilance as parents being safe nurturing caregivers will help our girls fair better should the pandemic be traumatic.

READ ALSO: Sending Kids Back to School during a Pandemic

 ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are negative childhood experiences that impact children and can have long-lasting effects. There are 10 ACEs, and they fall into 3 categories: 1) Abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual); 2) Neglect (physical or emotional); and 3) Household dysfunction (mental illness, domestic violence, divorce, incarcerated relative, substance abuse). Thankfully, ACEs can be prevented or mitigated when adults and children have strong support systems through individuals or organizations. 

There are a lot of traumatic things that can happen in a child’s life—including death, pandemics, or natural disasters—over which we have no control, but ACEs can be prevented either directly with help from another person, or indirectly through policy, education, or society changes such as paid family leave or prison sentencing laws. 

Luckily, I had adults in my life who helped me navigate those ACEs in my life and get through them. Since then, my goal has always been to be an advocate for children and to pay forward the kindness that was given to me by the three people who saved my life without ever knowing it, even more so this holiday season.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Needs to Know about Coronavirus

This is not something difficult. I’m not special. But being there for a kid when they need it most can make a huge difference in their life as it did for me.  We all have the capability to be kind to others, to help others in need, especially children. Experiencing an adverse childhood experience can be traumatic and can set the tone for the quality of life going forward. Having a support system in place can mean the difference between moving through and past hard things in life or getting stuck or even regressing. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood, adverse childhood experiences

This year, coronavirus has taught me a lot of invaluable life lessons. The most important is how important it is to be able to ask for and give help when needed. But kids can’t always do that. Just the way toddlers can’t always verbalize what they feel because of their lack of vocabulary, bigger kids and teens still have difficulty expressing their emotions, especially during a pandemic. It’s hard to turn to the adults in your life for help when they are crumbling under the enormous weight of an international health crisis. We’re all trying our best but sometimes, as parents, just like our kids, we have to be willing to ask for and accept help. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood, adverse childhood experiencesThe most important thing is to create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for our own children and the children around us. This is the foundation upon which their entire lives will be built. This foundation is not only essential to lifelong health and happiness but could even prevent ACEs from happening in the first place. 

For my own children, I check in daily; sometimes hourly. A big part of being there for them is being present in a time when, honestly, a lot of us just want to check out. Another thing I did was put both of my girls into virtual therapy. I am diabetic (underlying condition) so we have only left the house a handful of times in the past 9 months. The girls are doing school virtually. I’m doing grad school virtually. I’m working virtually. We’ve been wearing masks and quarantining for a long time. There have been no family visits. No friends to talk to in-person or at birthday parties. There was no family Thanksgiving celebration. Our world is pretty much the 4 of us who live in this house and as much as we love one another, it is a lot. I didn’t spend all these years doing everything so my girls didn’t experience ACEs just for the aftermath of a global pandemic to mess everything up so I’ve learned to pivot. I know my limits, and I’m not too proud to ask for help.

Therapy helps my daughters talk to someone other than me and express any anxieties or fears they might have and don’t want or can’t talk to me about. It’s a pressure release. I’ve also encouraged the girls to video chat with friends and family and encouraged my husband to initiate his own conversations with them. I want them to feel connected even when we’re physically not and feel heard when the world is so noisy. 

I’ve noticed my daughters’ friends also experiencing these same issues as my girls. I’ve always been the mom who the kids know they can talk to about anything. I’m the mom who isn’t afraid to go to school and speak up for the kid getting bullied. I’m the mom who if I see your child struggling or reaching out for attention, I will tell you. I know it might not be popular with my daughters, but if I see a child talking about depression or suicide (needing help), I will and have reached out to their parents or school officials. I can’t ignore it when it can mean the difference between life and death. The thing is you never know what kind of desperation is behind a social media post (especially during coronavirus), and I just don’t feel comfortable taking that chance. I know it’s not a lot, but it’s a small way that I can provide kindness and advocate on behalf of the children in my life.

READ ALSO: Surviving Child Abuse

Being there for children is free. It only takes a willingness to help, time, and genuine concern. This pandemic holiday season, I am going to make sure to send personalized cards to the kids in our lives to let them know they are not alone and we are here to support them. I am also going to take some time to personally call and check in on some of them. I’ll also be checking their social media accounts including the fake accounts their parents know nothing about. The holidays are always a hard time of year for some, but I think this year is hard probably for most. 

My gift to the children in my life this year is to be one of their three if they need me, like the three people who were there for me when I needed them most. If I can help a child get through these uncertain times by being part of an unconditional support system and providing some stability, that would be a gift to me.

We’ve all had our three (or more) people in our lives who’ve been there to help us when we needed them most. This holiday season, let’s all pay it forward. Who were the three people who helped create a safe, stable, and nurturing relationship or environment when you were growing up? What will you do to be one of a child’s three this holiday season?

 

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Life is a Tik Tok Trend, how to fall gracefully

Maybe you’ve been wondering where I’ve been. Maybe not. We’ve all got our own shit going on in this pandemic, I get it. I really fucking do. But in case you were wondering, I fell…again. Ooops. And in true, Debi fashion, I didn’t just fall. I fell in a way that not only ended with me having a concussion but a broken middle toe, at the proximal. I mean who the fuck breaks their middle toe. There are 4 other motherfucking toes protecting it. And it’s not like I have long toes. I’ve got sturdy ass Flintstone toes.

I never dreamt my real life would be a TikTok trend.

Oh No, Oh No, Oh no, no, no, no, no. That’s what I heard when my pinky toe caught the cord of my MacBook Air. And you thought being a writer wasn’t dangerous work. Pfft. You haven’t met me. I can even make stepping off a curb deadly. Not silent. I cried like a baby. But real fucking deadly. It was one of those moments in life, I’ve had a few; when you know something is put into motion that you cannot stop. That moment of sheer terror and uncontrollability.

READ ALSO: How a Curb took me Out of My Sister’s Wedding and Straight to the ER

I’m just going to give you a play by play because, seriously, if I had watched in on TikTok with that damn “Oh no” sound that I favorited, it would have been epic. It would have been so epic that I would have probably been crying from laughter but as it were, it was real life and happening to me so all I can do is be thankful that it wasn’t worse than it was.

I had been working all day on work deadlines and it was the last week of my Social Media Marketing class; there was a final project on the line. The Big Guy picked up dinner so I could work. He had just walked through the door and yelled upstairs that dinner was there. I was thrilled because I hadn’t stopped to eat all day. In my excitement to relieve my hangry headache, I jumped off my bed and promptly caught my pinky toe of my right foot on my laptop cord. That was the moment I knew shit was definitely going to go sideways. Know how I knew? Well, if you remember correctly, in 2015 it was my right leg that was the Judas who betrayed me and took out my left leg. Also, on that day, I also had not eaten. Apparently, hunger and walking is not a combination I have yet mastered.

Back to the story, my pinky toe reached out and grabbed hold of the cord. I lost my balance. To my right was a bookshelf, to my left the sharp corner of my bed, in front of me ( to my right) a movable hanging chair with a basket full of clean not put away laundry, an opened door, (to my left) 2 more baskets of paired socks and more, you guessed it, laundry. #momlife

As my life was flashing before my eyes and the “oh No” TikTok sound played in my head, I had a true red wire, blue wire moment and I had about 3 seconds to decide which extremity I was willing to sacrifice to the broken mom gods. In the end, fear made me hesitate and, long story slightly shorter, my head broke the fall. Well, that’s not entirely true. My middle toe broke the fall down and my head broke the fall forward once the Benedict Arnold hanging chair betrayed me and swerved when I fell with outstretched arm (that was at the time already being treated for bicep and rotator cuff tendonitis) and kept right on falling.

Still with me? Pinky toe plotted with a laptop cord to murder me. Lost balance. Started to fall, reached for help towards the hanging chair only to be rejected and fall through the chair. Topple towards the left. Definitely did not want to re-break left leg. Nope. Didn’t want to re- dislocate left arm. Re-breaking right arm wasn’t appealing so I fell down. Broke middle toe at proximal. Heard it crunch under the weight of my body. Yep, insult to injury #1. Then, fell forward with the full force of 220 pounds headfirst into the side of the door. Then insult to injury #2, the aforementioned basket of clothes fell on top of me. Immediately, a bump the size of a softball popped up on my head. I now, looked like Frankenstein’s ugly cousin, as was obvious by my lopsided Fivehead. I also accrued multiple scrapes and bruises in the fall. More importantly, my toe was making a crunching sound and I couldn’t walk on it. We thought maybe it was jammed so I proceeded to pull on it. Yep, I’m the idiot. Spoiler alert; it wasn’t jammed, it was broken. Or maybe it was jammed and I broke it by pulling on it with a concussion.

You’d think that was enough excitement for one night right? Nope. This is the gift that keeps giving. I am still sporting a putrid green vomit colored bruised on my entire left side of my forehead. I’m heading back to the orthopedic surgeons tomorrow to check on healing because we found a surprise cyst in my toe bone that needs to be monitored. LUCKY. Aren’t you jealous? On top of all of that, guess who is back in physical therapy for that newly reinjured rotator cuff and bicep tendonitis. Because you know the place a diabetic most wants to be during a global pandemic? Obviously, every doctor’s office ever so I can be exposed to as many germs of possible during cold and flu season. Anyway, that was my November. Of course, there was also an auto accident in which my husband’s SUV was completely totaled and he ended up in the ER not once but twice for injuries including a concussion. Yep, we’re the concussion couple; our poor children. Fucking 2020, I hate you.

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Is it Safe for Kids to go Back to School During a Pandemic?

As we’re all faced with the red wire blue wire decision this upcoming school year, it’s hard to know what to do. It seems like a black and white answer to a black and white question but it’s not. It’s a shit load of gray in an ever-growing unknown during an election year and we’re all quickly becoming political collateral damage. But every parent wants to know, is it safe for kids to go back to school during a pandemic?

My youngest daughter is supposed to be starting back to school, in person, tomorrow. She’s not for several reasons but mostly it’s because 3 of the 4 people in our house are either immunocompromised or have underlying conditions. Unfortunately, if one of us is exposed, we’re all vulnerable. Add that to the fact that PreK-2nd grade is not required to masks and 3rd-8th are only required to wear masks during transitions and the window for exposure is too big for my comfort.

READ ALSO: How to Safely Reenter the World After Coronavirus

We’re all in the same boat. Well, we’re all in a boat. I know that too. We’re all faced with the awful decision to decide whether or not to send our kids to school. Well, maybe not. I thought those were the choices but that’s only in my coronavirus boat.

My girls go to private schools. I’m a work from home mom. The Big Guy has a good job as a global business analyst. The girls are well-adjusted and do well in school. Other than Bella having the immune system of a newborn baby, the kids are healthy and happy. We have choices. I knew that if virtual learning wasn’t offered, the decision was still mine. If they didn’t offer what we needed this year, we could choose to explore other options. I also knew that our schools tend to be more flexible than the public school system is. I’m fully aware that my boat is of privilege.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Needs to Know about Coronavirus

So when it came to making the decision of what to do with my girls for back to school, the only things that I had to consider were if the reopening plan was safe enough (which it was, at the high school), if our family was healthy enough and if we felt that the coronavirus cases were low enough for us to feel safe sending the girls back into the masked, socially distant, sanitized school system that they attend. I don’t feel comfortable, especially after our pediatrician gave me a scared straight conversation about being diabetic and getting the coronavirus. Add that to the fact that my best friend is an ER doctor who gives me personal Coronavirus briefings and we’ve had about 20 family members contract it, 1 die and 1 currently on a ventilator and I just can’t risk it.

But, what about the single moms and dads? What about the homes where both parents have to work outside of the house? What about the special needs kids? How about the kids who don’t have internet or computers at home? What about the kids who don’t have food at home? Or parents who abuse them? What about the families who have no other options? The families who depend on schools to be open as part of the child’s quality of life? What about the kids who are falling behind?

READ ALSO: Can You Safely Send Kids Back to School During a Pandemic?

What about the teachers? Their families? What about their health and well-being? What about everyone’s mental health? How will being in school masked and feeling like every single other person is a potential threat of contracting CoVid? How are we all expected to bear the weight of carrying it to someone and killing them?

Is it Safe for Kids to go Back to School During a Pandemic?

It’s so hard. Some school districts aren’t even giving families the choice to do virtually. Our school originally only offered it to children with underlying conditions or who had family members with underlying conditions, and anyone who tested positive or exposed to CoVid-19. But last Friday, they offered it to anyone who doesn’t feel safe sending their children into the schools.

I had already opted in and scheduled Teams meetings with my daughters’ teachers so they could “meet” them virtually. The Vice Principal is coordinating a private verification day and book pick up. The classes will be offered synchronously (live-streamed in real-time). My girls will be socially distancing from our home.

READ ALSO: I Miss you Most at 6-Feet Apart

I’ve seen lots of people struggle with whether or not to send their children into the schools. At first, it seems like an easy decision when deciding between our children’s health and exposure to coronavirus. However, it’s much more complicated than that for many. It’s a gentle balance between their mental and their physical health. I get that kids need friends and socialization. My girls would love to see their friends and gain that charge only time spent with girlfriends can bring but with the risk of contracting CoVid and the unknown of the long term effects, I can’t reconcile my mind to do it not when I have a child who is more vulnerable to catching viruses and less capable of fighting them off. For me, they can make up a year of school and they can spend time with their friends virtually and later but once you contract this virus, none of us knows how it’s going to affect us now or in the future.

Is it Safe for Teachers to go Back to School During a Pandemic??

I’ve also seen lots of posts of people saying teachers are essential workers and they need to do their jobs and go back into the classroom and if they don’t want to, let someone else have their jobs. Yet, we pay them less than fast-food restaurant workers. Many of my friends and family members work in education. People who teach are special. They educate, nurture and care for your children 7 hours of the day. They spend money out of pocket and work well beyond school hours. It is done from a place of goodness and righteousness. It’s not for the money. We couldn’t afford to pay them what they’re worth. During a pandemic, do we really expect them to risk their own health and the health of their families for our sake?

Before I had the girls, I worked in education for over a decade. Last August, I went back to the classroom. I worked with 4 and 5-year-olds. I loved them. Truly loved each and every one of them. Every day I went into that classroom, their parents entrusted those tiny humans into our care and our teachers educated them and molded their brains.

Is anyone safe to go back to school during a pandemic?

In our classroom of 3 educators, I got to be the nurturing, mommy type, because that’s who I am. I spent my days walking into the room and feeling like a rock star with 23 little souls chanting my name, like I was Taylor Swift, I held hands and band-aided booboos. Those kids were my joy and watching them grow and learn was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. However, I also got sick 10 times last year. The last virus, my doctor thinks it was coronavirus, was so bad that I gave my notice. Little people coughed and sneezed directly into my mouth 4 times.

I’ve held little hands covered in boogers and had my arm licked from the hand up to the elbow while walking with a 5-year-old, more times than I can count. I soothed them when their hearts were aching for their mama’s on those first days of school. I held their hair when they vomited from the stomach flu and carried them to the nurse when they were feverish. My point is that as much as teachers love what they do, they shouldn’t have to put their own health in jeopardy to do it, definitely not during a pandemic. If your child can’t follow the rules and wear a mask maybe you should ask yourself, is it safe for kids to go back to school during a pandemic? If they can’t or you don’t feel safe, let them learn virtually.

READ ALSO:  The New Normal is Not Normal

So before you judge what any other parent, teacher or child is doing this school year, consider that maybe you don’t know what they’re going through, what they’ve been through or who they’ve lost. Stop expecting your child’s teachers to risk their lives because you don’t believe the pandemic is real. Start wearing your masks and make sure that your children are wearing theirs so we can all get back to living in this new normal safely. The thing is that as long as all of us aren’t doing our part, all of us are in danger and the longer the numbers are going to go up…the longer none of us can get back to safely living our normal lives.

What do you think, is it safe for kids to go back to school during a pandemic?c? Why or why not?

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ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

This post is made possible with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All opinions are my own.

I grew up in a big family with an even bigger extended family. Our family wasn’t just the people we were related to. It was also the people in our community whom we loved and who loved us and cared for us, too. I am grateful for those people who were there when I needed them most. 

My parents are good parents. They’re even better grandparents. When I was small, they were new at parenting and, like all of us, they didn’t always know the right thing to do. I’ve made mistakes as a mom, just as all of us do. But I survived those moments thanks to good intentions and the village that was there to help guide me when I was a little lost and couldn’t find my way. In many ways, I’ve thrived because of the positive childhood experiences I’ve had.  

I did however live through my fair share of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). ACEs are negative childhood experiences that impact children and can have long-lasting effects. There are 10 ACEs, and they fall into 3 categories: 1) Abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual); 2) Neglect (physical or emotional); and 3) Household dysfunction (mental illness, domestic violence, divorce, incarcerated relative, substance abuse). Thankfully, ACEs can be prevented or mitigated when adults and children have strong support systems through individuals or organizations. 

There are a lot of traumatic things that can happen in a child’s life, including death, pandemics, or natural disasters, but ACEs can be prevented either directly with help from another person, or indirectly through policy, education, or society changes such as paid family leave or prison sentencing laws. 

The ACEs that I experienced were physical and emotional abuse by a father who was an alcoholic. He has since stopped drinking. He has been sober for most of my adult life, but those early days have left their scars. His alcoholism sucked all of the air out of the room. This isn’t to say he wasn’t a good dad. When he was sober, 5 days of the week, he was a devoted, loving, and involved father. But when he was drinking, he was selfish, mean, quick-tempered, unpredictable, and volatile. He was scary, maybe even more so because when he was sober, he was so good.

His behavior had ripple effects. His instability caused my mother to spend a lot of her time distracted, overwhelmed, afraid, and unhappy. She loved us so much, but it always felt like she was withdrawn, even though she was always physically there. She teetered between being emotionally removed and overly emotional. For me, I never felt like she was completely present; putting out fires while awaiting the next crisis. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

In turn, this caused me to pick up the slack, and that impeded my childhood. With 6 children, a volatile father who drank, and a mom who was always overwhelmed, worried, and afraid, I was left feeling abandoned even when I was living in the house with both of my parents. They were physically there, but I felt very alone. I needed to talk. I needed to be seen. But I was just one more thing on their lists of things to survive, and sometimes, my needs were too much for their patience that day. 

Each day was an unknown—maybe it would be a day at the beach followed by a cookout and laughter, or maybe it would be a drunk dad, an overwhelmed mom, and a slap or a belt buckle for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I just never knew, and that was my entire childhood until I went away to college, which may have never happened if not for a few special people who saw me drowning and threw me a buoy. University was my escape plan, but these people were integral in helping me get through some of the rough patches. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhoodThankfully, for as many adverse childhood experiences as I had, I also had many positive childhood experiences with my parents. Luckily for me, a few very special people’s simple acts of kindness towards a little girl in crisis helped me to grow into the person I am today. They’re the reason I’ve always made myself available to lift children up when I can, to advocate for my children’s friends, and to be a champion and cheerleader for my girls. I learned from the mistakes and the kindnesses of the adults in my life. Our actions, good or bad, have ripples and can make a difference in other people’s lives, especially a child’s. 

There were many but these are the three that I would like to thank:

Mrs. Vrabel, my 2nd-grade teacher who took a special liking to me and saw me at a time when I needed to be seen. She nurtured my gifts and praised me at a time when I was one of five children under 7 at home. She made me feel special when my parents were too busy, tired and overwhelmed to do it themselves. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

My Tio Narci and my Tio Ramon, who both made the time to talk and listen when I was trying to understand what was going on with my parents’ fighting and my dad’s drinking. They made me not feel alone, and I felt safe knowing they were there to intercede when my mom couldn’t. I felt heard when my voice felt small. They stepped in on my behalf to remind my parents we were still there watching—afraid and confused. They made me feel normal at a time when my life felt out of control.

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhood

My friend’s mom, Linda, who I will never forget. To this day, I adore her. A lot of things were happening at home when I was a senior in high school. It was all so much that I was depressed and, at one point, suicidal. School wasn’t very important to me. I knew college was my escape plan and I got good grades, but I was depressed and I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be anywhere.

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhoodBy that point, I was suffering from eating disorders, and that was just one more thing I had to hide. I suffered from a lot of stomach issues from anxiety from my home life, so I missed a lot of school. My mom let me stay home because she knew what was going on and that was the only thing she could do to help. My English teacher tried to fail me for the last quarter of my senior year because of my attendance issues despite my grade being an A. 

He would have succeeded. I was terrified when he gleefully told me. Yes, he smiled. He didn’t know what was going on at home, and he didn’t care. That wasn’t his job. He just knew that I missed his class a lot, and he felt that deserved punishment. Did I mention I was #3 in my class? Did I mention that I had been in journalism, yearbook, and newspaper for all 4 years of high school? Did I mention I took 2 languages, all 4 years? I was the nerdy girl who worked her tail off to get accepted to every college she applied to. I got a gold seal on my diploma. But he tried to fail me, and I had no one to advocate for me because my parents were otherwise engaged.

I didn’t know what to do. Then my friend, Laurie, stepped in with her mom, who happened to be on the school board. The teacher was overruled because all of those journalism classes counted as English coursework, so his one quarter was not going to affect my overall requirements. She saved my future when no one else could or would. 

I’ll never forget what these people did for me. They saved me at pivotal moments in my life when I could have been lost. It’s so important to create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments in childhood, which are essential to lifelong health and success as well as the prevention of ACEs. Prevention or mitigation is possible when adults and children have strong support systems through individuals or organizations. That’s the idea of preventing them directly. You can help other people and stop ACEs from happening, and other people can help you and stop ACEs from happening. That’s why support networks are a necessary component of preventing ACEs. 

ACEs, three people who saved my life, childhoodThese three people changed the trajectory of my life. I am who I am, in part, because they were in my life when I needed them most. Are you one of some child’s three people? Are you a  resource that children can rely on to create those safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments? How can you be part of someone else’s “three,” and provide that vital support that every child needs growing up?

 

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new normal, Coronavirus, Covid-19, back to school in pandemic, how to send kids back to school during a pandemic, face masks

Like most parents, I’m overwhelmed trying to decide whether or not to send my girls back to school this fall and I know that I am not alone. August 13th is coming at us like a freight train. I’m not normally a nervous person but the thought of sending my girls back to school has me terrified. The question every parent wants the answer to is how to send kids back to school during a pandemic? Is it even possible to do it safely? Let’s ask the CDC

I’m an optimist but I also have common sense and I do not take chances when it comes to the life and death of my girls. I don’t f*ck around. On March 9, my best friend (who happens to be an ED doctor) called and warned me that quarantine was coming and Coronavirus was much more serious than any of us anticipated. By that Thursday, I had decided to take my girls out of school.new normal, Coronavirus, Covid-19, back to school in pandemic, how to send kids back to school during a pandemic, face masks

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Should Know About Coronavirus

It was an easy decision. My daughters’ health was in jeopardy by an unknown pandemic. My gut told me what to do and I did it. We’re still quarantining because there is still so much about the pandemic that we don’t fully understand. I’ve lost friends and family members, more each day are contracting this virus. With each announcement, I’m more acutely aware of how easily any one of us can fall victim to it, and none of us know how our immune system will react to it. If you’ve given yourself false security by choosing to believe that it’s only other people’s families and friends who die from CoVid-19, you’re wrong. It doesn’t discriminate. Anyone of us can get it.

I felt safe when we were all staying in the house. I know that’s not sustainable for the long-term.

Was it frustrating for the world to come to a screeching halt? Yes, I’m not naturally a person who can stay still.

Is distance learning inconvenient and stressful? Yes.

Do I wish everyone’s lives could go back to normal and we could safely go back to life as we knew it before CoVid? More than anything. We’ve lost months of plans, travels, celebrations and time with people we love that we won’t ever be able to recover.

Do I want my girls to enjoy their 8th grade and sophomore year of school, filled with firsts and lasts and all the childhood goodness in between? 1000x yes but I don’t think it’s possible this year. We’re no safer than we were in March. In truth, it’s even more dangerous now because, people refuse to wear masks and social distance, and those are the only weapons we have to currently protect us.

READ ALSO: Doctor Gave Up Her Kids to Take Care of Coronavirus Patients

I’d like to believe that if everyone was taking responsibility for their own well-being, observing social distancing wearing masks, we could all find our way through this together. It would be easier to trust that people were trying to do the right thing. We could all take peace knowing that we were all working together to protect each other, out of human courtesy and respect for life, regardless of a little personal inconvenience.

The government is urging our schools to open, even threatening to withhold funds. How can they ask parents to send the children we created, birthed and love more than anything else in this world back into schools in the middle of a pandemic? I fully understand that our economy is in danger of collapse because of shutdowns but at what cost are we willing to sacrifice for economic comfort? We can live without a lot of comforts but my children are not an option. No one wants to sacrifice their family for economic recovery.  Nobody should have to. Human life is irreplaceable, no matter your politics. I wouldn’t sacrifice my enemy’s life for my own economic satisfaction.

People are scared of losing their homes, their jobs, and their very way of life because of coronavirus. Requiring that our children go back to the classroom is irresponsible and dangerous. Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump are effectively saying that our children’s lives, the teachers’ lives, and our (the parents’) lives are less important than the DOW Jones. It’s easy to surmise that when an administration lies to a nation and tells us the opposite of common sense and truth, puts our lives in jeopardy, there’s another agenda right beneath the surface and it’s not altruistic and it has nothing to do with our freedoms. It’s about what politics has always been about money and power.

READ ALSO:  I Miss you Most at 6-Feet Apart

You’re probably wondering how to send kids back to school in a pandemic. What our high school is doing has addressed a lot of my concerns. It’s a very comprehensive and well-thought-out plan but even still, I’m not sure that it’s enough to convince me to feel safe enough to send my daughters to school. At the end of the day, my kid is still immune-compromised and I’m diabetic. Whether I want to believe it or not, going into a public place of 1000 or more students (even with a mask and everything intended to be done right) in one building puts their lives in jeopardy because there is a lot of room for human error. When you’re dealing with children, human error is more likely than not.

new normal, Coronavirus, Covid-19, back to school in pandemic, how to send kids back to school during a pandemic, face masks

Here are a few things our school is doing to send kids back to school during a pandemic, I won’t share it all because it’s a 16 page PDF ( I told you that it was comprehensive) but here are a few things:

  1. Masks to be worn in transition (in and out of building, between classes, on way to anywhere).
  2. In class, the desk will be socially distanced, masks are not required (this part gives me pause)
  3. unless asking a teacher for help.
  4. If you are in a class with a teacher who is older or immune-compromised, mask must be worn the entire time. If you cannot do so, due to a medical reason, the student will be transferred to a different classroom.
  5. Anyone who tests positive, must stay home for 10 days and must be fever free for 72 hours. Cannot return to school without a physician’s note and negative tests for coronavirus.
  6. There is a separate CoVid isolation room with plexiglass between beds and its own ventilation system for anyone exhibiting symptoms. Students must be picked up within 30 minutes if sick and going home.
  7. Students who are vulnerable, immune-compromised, have parents who with underlying conditions, have been exposed to CoVid or have tested positive symptomatic or asymptomatic are to participate in virtual learning which will be live-streamed daily by all teachers so kids can “attend” class from home and have live interaction and learning.
  8. Desks and chairs to we sanitized when students enter the room and before they leave.
  9. Hallways will be one way.
  10. 10 minutes between classes to allow for one-way traffic and getting books in a safe manner.
  11. All returned library books will be isolated for 10 days.
  12. The school will be fogged nightly.
  13. Lunch will be socially distanced, utilizing cafeteria and Basketball gym as well as adding a 4th lunch period. Lunches are to be packed from home or plated and delivered by cafeteria workers. Masks must be worn until sat at chosen, assigned (for the year) seat. No more a la cart offerings. Only touchless pay.
  14. Lockers will now be Freshman, sophomore, junior and senior versus whole grades in certain hallways. No sharing of lockers unless you are related and quarantined together, in which case, you will be required to share a locker with your sibling.
  15. Students will be dismissed to lockers in a staggered phase i.e. Freshman and Juniors after the first period, then sophomores and Seniors after the second period, alternating as such for the remainder of the day.
  16. Daily dismissal staggered.

There is so much more. Our plan is very comprehensive. It’s great on paper. I’m just not so sure how it will work in reality.  I hope it works and fully recognize that it’s a little different for our private school than it is for public schools. It’s a privilege that all of our students have laptops and WiFi and that many of our students have at least one parent who stays at home and can readily be available when and if we need to go to virtual learning.

READ ALSO: The New Normal is Not Normal

You’re not alone. None of know how to do this. We’re all in this together. But if you can’t reconcile yourself to which way to choose, if you can, err on the side of caution. We can overcome a pandemic but we can’t bring back the dead. Go with your gut and do what’s best for your family and your child. This is a new territory and there is no absolute right or wrong answer but I think the choice ultimately should be with the parents. No matter what you decide, we’re all in this pandemic together. Stay safe, wash your hands, social distance and PLEASE wear your masks.

Are you or what are your thoughts on how to send kids back to school during a pandemic?

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Mother's Day

I wasn’t sure what to expect this year for Mother’s Day. Normally, my only wish is peace, a clean house and not be needed. I appreciate a good day off of mom duty. I know it sounds selfish when so many moms just want to celebrate with their children or their moms but really all I want is a quiet house with no one asking anything of me. I want 24 hours of no responsibilities and no one depending on me for anything. I want to just be me. Somehow this Mother’s Day was more special than any other.

Normally, what I’ve wanted is exactly what the Big Guy has given me. It’s a Queen for the day situation. Well, to be honest, with the Big Guy, he always treats me like a queen just this queen has to do dishes and break up bickering matches between teenagers and fold laundry. Being a queen is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes, I just want to drive somewhere with my favorite music blaring singing at the top of my lungs or eat what I want to eat or watch a rated R movie or binge a foreign film series without judgment. I hate the feeling of expectation. You know when the world gives you some side-eye as it wonders pretty damn aloud, why you aren’t doing something else…something they deem productive? No, just me?

READ ALSO: A Mother’s Day I’ll Never Forget

I grew up in a house where weekends were not for sleeping in; they were for waking up even earlier to get more done. And you never had the luxury of being bored because my father would find some household chore for you to do. Everything was never always done and there was plenty to go around. And so, now, I find I almost impossible to relax if anyone else is around. If you are anyone who could possibly expect anything from me…you can rest assured that I cannot relax.

But this year, Mother’s Day fell on quarantine, so did the anniversary of my miscarriage which I observe every year as my national day of grief (this year I had an audience because everyone was underfoot), as did my husband’s birthday, our 21st wedding anniversary is this weekend and my daughter’s 13th birthday. This shelter in place is really jacking up life as we know it. My expectations for Mother’s Day were pretty low.

I didn’t expect gifts because who can go shopping. I didn’t expect fancy brunches at a restaurant or visits from my mom or my sisters. All I wanted was my day off but how? We’re all in this quarantine together so I couldn’t really expect alone time. All I really wanted was no bickering between the kids, no housework for me and not to have to worry about dinner. Done, done and done. But something was different, aside from the world being in a coronavirus tizzy… my girls did something different.

READ ALSO: Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead on Mother’s Day

I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’ve all been quarantined for over 2 months or the fact that they are getting older or maybe they just were trying to make me happy with their thoughtfulness but they surprised me. Both girls posted sweet messages on Instagram with pictures of us from when they were little. It wasn’t about the picture on social media it was the fact that they said how much they loved and appreciated me, with specifics, online, in front of everyone. They’re teens.

Not to be that person but my 15-year-old called me, “Diosa,” which means goddess. Fuck a queen, my girl thinks I’m a goddess and she called me her best friend. Then, she thanked me for making her the “bad bitch” she is. Now, I don’t like women being called bitches but when my teen thinks of herself as a “bad bitch” I call that a mom win.

My youngest, who I’m pretty sure hates me on most days because fucking hormones and she is my teen wonder twin, told me not only that she loves me so much but more importantly she said that I’m always there for her and never give up on her which I don’t ever but I wasn’t sure she realized that until that moment. The fact that she does lets me know that I’m on the right track. God knows we moms spend so much time trying to figure out what’s going on in our kids’ heads. It was so nice for them to tell me.

READ ALSO: The Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Not going to lie, I’ve done a lot of shit in my life. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m well-educated, well-traveled, I’m cultured and I believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to and still these two girls are and always will be my legacy, my greatest achievement. My goal is to raise good human beings and that’s a lifetime position. It’s hard work; it takes up all of my time, my energy, my heart and my soul but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Their words, those notes, unprompted and unsolicited expressions of love, meant more to me than any gift ever could.

I don’t know what you did for Mother’s Day or how your family celebrated you but I hope they made you feel like a Diosa, a goddess, and I hope you know how much they love and appreciate you. You’re a bad bitch and I see you. So when you’re tired, exhausted from no sleep, dealing with tantrums or bickering teens, sick children and it feels like nothing in the world is going right…you’re homeschooling and you’re never off duty, just remember inside the crazy storm of motherhood, there is a calmness. Motherhood is misery peppered with profound moments of bliss. I know I’m a day late because I was trying to just be yesterday but Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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