Raising a Good Kind Decent Person


I am sitting for a moment.  Resting.  Catching my breath.  I’ve been working all morning, packing, sorting, labeling boxes….all while trying to keep O’s routine afloat.  At least let me feed him on time.  And get him down for a nap…Yes! A nap! There is a sea of boxes in my kitchen.  Some packed and some waiting to be filled.  There are towers of suitcases in my living room.  Multiple rolls of tape and bubble wrap….somewhere.  We move in two days, but I just have to rest for a second.  Catch my breath and write a little because there has been something gnawing at me.  Through all the happy disarray that is our life right now, there is an underlying sadness sitting on my heart.  I’m sure you have heard about it.  I’m talking about the terrorist attack on a church and it’s members in South Carolina.   I can’t shake it.  I can’t just gloss over it and move on.  I believe there are so many of us who are feeling this way.  I’m not confused or baffled.  I can’t say, “How could this happen?”  I know exactly how it happened.

I’m upset and I’m mad.  I am ashamed of our laws.  I am ashamed of the racism that runs through our country’s veins, infecting generation after generation.  I’m ashamed that our biggest priority, as a country, has been to defend ourselves from terrorism, but just the foreign kind.  I’m mad at our elected officials who want to pretend this wasn’t an act of terrorism.  I’m ashamed of “Merica.”  I feel small and insignificant.  I feel, as I imagine so many of us do, helpless.

I then look over at my son and see a lifetime of possibilities.  I know that my husband and I have an important job to do.  We have to raise this child to become a good, kind and decent person.  In light of this crazy world we live in, it is clear to me, this is no easy task.  I can’t imagine anyone having the intention to raise their child to be a monster.  Of course not.  But what about the idea of parenting with intention? Children don’t just raise themselves…..or is that is what’s happening?  This world is filled with violence, hate, rage and unspeakable demons.  My child will be bombarded with these things time and time again as he grows.  It is our job to explain. To teach. To filter and interpret until he is old enough to do so himself.  If we neglect to guide him, then we will have failed him.  It is our intention to raise a good, kind and decent person.  We can never lose sight of that result.  It is the least we can do for him.  He has given our life profound unexpected meaning.  He has given us a love we didn’t really know existed until we were filled with it.  We owe him everything.

I don’t want to throw stones at any parent.  I don’t want to pass judgment, though it’s a tough one.  The pain the shooter’s parents must feel is unimaginable to me.  Frankly, it scares me to death.  I wouldn’t want to be in those shoes, God Forbid.  I always say, “never say never.” So I won’t say, “that would never be me!”   I will just pray extra hard that it won’t be.  I will try extra hard to have it not be.  And I’ll keep both my eyes on the boy I am raising to be that good, kind and decent person.

There is so much more I want to say.  So many thoughts swirling around my head regarding this quandary our country is in.  I am struggling.    I honestly can’t find the words.  At least the right words.  But one thing I know for sure is that we need to talk about this.  We need to figure this out.  And it isn’t going to happen if we try to forget about it or pretend it didn’t happen. I certainly don’t have the answers for everyone.  I can only do my little part (which is pretty big).  I need to love and raise our son.  I need to actively participate in his upbringing.  It will be the most important thing I can do to end this craziness that has become the norm.

Choose Your Husband Well

In honor of Father’s Day and my amazing husband and baby Daddy, I decided to repost this love letter of sorts to my beloved. He is truly awesome. I honestly didn’t know just how wonderful he would be at this parenting thing. He surprises and delights me on a daily basis. From washing bottles to the love and gentle care he gives to both Little O and I every single day….he is Father of the Year in our eyes. Thank you, my love, for choosing to share this wonderful life with us. Xo


It seems like it is just common sense. Choose your husband well. ?? Really, aren’t we ALL trying to do that when we choose a mate? But the criteria for a good husband is different than the criteria for a good father…or is it? Now, I have dated a fair share of men in past. And since I am “older” I have dated a good deal more than perhaps your normal 20 or 30 something year old has. Now, as I know my mother and mother-in-law read this blog, I will try to leave out the tawdry details. But let’s say, for good measure, that I have been around. I was never your one night stand girl at all. I had lasting relationships with several men. The WRONG men. I guess they served their purpose for that time in my life, but still WRONG. And when I say that, they could have certainly been RIGHT for someone. Just not me. I met my now husband over 10 years ago. Now you all know that he is a good deal younger than me. (11 years). So now imagine, 10+ years ago…..he was a boy. Was he marriage material? NO! Of course not. But did he have the makings of a man who would be not only an amazing husband, but a more amazing father? You bet he did. I am just lucky enough that he stuck it out and waited for me to come to my senses.

So what is this criteria I think so important for the ideal mate? Note, I don’t say perfect, because there is no such thing. In fact, faults are part of the charm. So don’t knock them. And realize that YOU, yes YOU, have faults too. It’s part of owning who you are in a real adult relationship. I truly believe the number one thing to look for in a mate is a kind heart. I knew my now husband possessed this rare feature on about day three of meeting him. And it is still at the core of his being. It is inherently who he is. Kind. Sometimes, it is to his chagrin. But he is truly Kind.

The second thing would be Honesty. How many of us can really truly say we are with someone we can absolutely trust with our life? I have NEVER been with another man that I could say that about. In fact, with several, I knew it to be quite the opposite. I mean, I am sure they would have tried to save me from a burning building (you know, to keep up appearances), but they would most likely have shagged two women on the way up and a set of twins on the way down. The thing is, I knew this about these men. Somewhere, somehow, I knew. They were self absorbed, unavailable, unwilling to truly commit to something other than themselves and unaware of what they truly wanted from life. In flux, you could say. Caught in a kind of Peter Pan vortex.

My husband knew exactly what he wanted when I met him. Regardless of the fact that he was too young to make those things happen, he was firm and committed to having the life that he imagined. He wanted to be married. (To me, lucky for me). And he wanted a family. Now again, lucky for me, his want for me in his life, trumped the want for a family…because who knew at the time of our commitment, if I would be able to give him children ?? He sure didn’t. But in all his youth, he understood that WHO you choose as your partner, should you choose to have a partner, makes all the difference to the life you will live. Add a baby to the mix and your choice of partner becomes an even more profound thing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. People who raise a child on their own are truly amazing. I seriously don’t know HOW they do it. Sharing this journey with my husband is half the fun of it. Someone who understands my fierce unconditional LOVE for this little creature, because HE feels it too. It’s another level of connection we now share. The idea of it is quite awesome! WE created this child! This amazing, beautiful, fantastic child!! And no one thinks that about him like WE do. To us, he is perfect (even though there is no such thing). He is EVERYTHING. He is the best parts of both of us (and even our not so great parts, but hey who’s looking?). He is our celebration of our love for each other! I mean, how do you share all of that with someone who is unavailable? Someone who is afraid of truly being loved? I don’t know. Maybe it’s possible?? I know plenty of women, married to men who are just not “there.” Guys who aren’t at peace being the husband and father. Guys who are always chasing a skirt to somehow elude their mortality….??? As I re read this, I can see the cynicism. But, I am old enough not to bullshit you.

To truly enjoy this journey of being a parent, you MUST have a partner who is with you 110%. Someone who is just as jazzed about it as you. Who is just as tired and fried, but who picks you up after a long day of “fussy baby” antics. The guy who at 4am, says “I’ve got it babe.” They guy who takes the baby out on Saturday mornings to give you some “Me” time. The guy who still looks at you like you are the most beautiful women he’s ever seen….even with spit up on your shirt and no makeup on your face. He’s got your back…and there is no doubt that he will always have it. I’ve never enjoyed that level of “no doubt.” It’s pretty wonderful. I highly recommend it. But then, that’s what this whole post is about. Choose your partner well, friends. Choose him well.

Until next time, keep up the good fight. And remember, behind every great kid, is a mom who is sure she is messing it up. Thanks for reading! xo

To Kiss Or Not To Kiss


This week I was floating around the Facebook Mommy groups I belong to looking for topics Moms are sharing and talking about.  There was a share of a June 9, 2015 article from everydayfamily.com.  It was entitled, At What Age Should You Stop Kissing Your Kids On The Lips?  Before I read it, I thought to myself, this is going to be one of those articles that grabs your attention by the ridiculous question title and then goes on to dispel the whole issue. Boy, was I wrong.

This “article” cites two “experts.” The associate clinical professor of psychology from UCLA says the time to stop is NOW, as a kiss on the lips could be confusing to a child. At the very most, stop at age 5! What? And the other, a Proactive Parenting Coach, says the time to stop kissing on the lips is when either party feels uncomfortable.  Again….huh? I’m so disturbed by this parenting advice.  What the hell is wrong with people.  Talk about psychology messing people up! Not to mention, how do people get published writing this kind of ridiculous stuff?  How can someone take a pure form of affection between a parent and child and make it into something dirty? I just don’t get it.

Now to be fair, the article on everydayfamily.com was more of a regurgitation of  quotes from the “experts,” with a pinch of the writers own vague opinion, which seemed to be either here nor there.  It concluded with a “What do you think?” ending.  So I looked into the online bio of the writer, a Mr. Jace Whatcott.  The bio didn’t say whether Mr. Whatcott had children himself, although there was a photo of (I am assuming) him holding a child.  But, I am inclined to think he actually may not have a child himself, as his writing didn’t have a  parental tone.  And his list of hobbies (crossword puzzles, reading, and naps!) made me think he has WAY to much time on his hands to be a parent.  At least, a parent who parents. BAM!  Yeah, I know, harsh.

Because I live under a very large Mommy rock, I didn’t know there was a huge to-do this past winter about the New England Patriots Coach, Bill Belichick, giving his 30 year old daughter a congratulatory kiss on the lips at the Super Bowl.  Why would anyone feel that was inappropriate?  Now, if there was tongue involved, I could see someone having issue.  But a closed mouth kiss on the lips?  I truly believe it says more about the critic than the kiss.  Is there such a heightened eye on sexual abuse that we can’t discern between a non sexual intuitive act of affection and abuse?

I believe affection is oh so important to the development of a child into a healthy adult.  And, of course, there is data to support that theory.  Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that babies with very affectionate moms grew up to be “more resilient, less anxious adults.” At about the age of 34, the same individuals showered with love and kisses as babies in the study showed the lowest levels of distress as adults.

But beyond all the data you can find to support either school of thought, what about common sense?  What about healthy instinctual affection between a parent and child, at any age?  If I see a grown man or woman kissing either their father or mother on the lips or cheek or forehead or hand….I think it shows a healthy relationship with intimacy and affection.  Kudos to the parent who taught their child to not be afraid of affection.

We are such an all or nothing society.  Instead of teaching a child the shades and nuances of affection and the meanings of affection in different relationships, we would rather avoid the conversation all together and just say NO KISSING ON THE LIPS AFTER 5 YEARS OLD.  Well, not this Mommy.  Or Daddy, for that matter.  My husband seems to have no problem showering our little O with kisses and hugs.  I can’t imagine him having a problem with it even when O gets older.  I see him kiss his mother on the lips and I think it’s lovely.  To think anything weird about it would be…well, weird.  I’m not worried about O being confused by our affection towards him.  What any child might find confusing is the inappropriate subtext people attach to such an instinctual natural act.  Children pick up on everything.  Even our latent fears.


The Best Part of My Day


As a full time Stay At Home Mom, my days are on a crazy schedule.  Add to it the fact that we are moving house, and it is truly chaotic.  I have all I can do to stay up till 9pm these days.  O goes down at 8pm and, I swear, the bed starts calling my name….”Mary…..Sleeeeep…Sleeeep!”  If I decide to live on the edge and stay up till 9:30 or (Oh My God! ) 10 o’clock,  I pay for it dearly with a tired crabby attitude the next day.  You would think that the best part of my day would be hitting the pillow. But I have to tell you, although it is always welcome, it is not the BEST part of my day.

The BEST part of my day is when I give O his bottle. My husband has dibs on the bedtime feeding for now, so I do either crazy early in the morning when I wake out of my coveted slumber….or before his nap time.    I sit in the rocker in his room and he lays across my lap.  I stroke his hair.  Sometimes his little hand holds my finger.  We look deep into each other’s eyes.  He lets me know he loves me.  And I let him know his love is safe with me and whole heartedly requited.    It is fifteen minutes that feel as if time stands still.  Where my little baby boy communes with me.  Where we connect on a level so instinctual, yet so profound, it knocks my socks off.  I don’t care if I get woken up out of a sound sleep.  I don’t care if I have a “to do” list that is fifty feet long.  I have never known such pure uncomplicated love. And it’s in those 15 minutes (or so) that I savor every part of this incredible gift.

The great thing about this time for me, is that I can’t do anything else while I’m feeding him.  Well, I guess I could.  I could check my email.  I could text on my phone.  I could surf Pinterest.  I could watch TV.  But WHY would I ever do that and MISS this amazing time??? I’d have to be coo coo for cocoa puffs to gip myself out of this slice of heaven.  I suppose I CHOOSE to do nothing else whist feeding him.  I just can’t imagine any other way.  How would I sing him his favorite songs? How would I catch the look in his eyes that lets me know I’m his world (right now)? Nope, I’m gonna take in all this bliss before it’s gone.  And let me tell you, it will be gone and before I know it.  He is already getting less bottles, which means less sweet time for him and I.  I can already see my husband and I duking it out over who gets to give O his bedtime bottle, when that is the last bottle feeding remaining.  I’m not sure how that’s gonna go.  We will have some major negotiations for sure!

Its funny, I worried so much about not being able to breastfeed my little O.  I beat myself up over it and obsessed that I wasn’t going to bond the same way because we wouldn’t have that special closeness.  Well, one year into this motherhood thing and I’m a lot wiser for wear.  I can tell you with all certainty, my little O couldn’t be any more attached to me.  Our bond is true and unbreakable.  The time and attention I have given him and the love he has come to know and rely on,  is the basis for that bond.  I don’t believe it has anything to do with a nipple.  Oh, I’m sure there are thousands of women who would disagree.  Trust me, if I had been able to breastfeed successfully, I’d still be doing it.  Nutrition wise,  I believe it to be the best thing for a baby.  But I don’t believe my not being able to nurse my son hindered our bond in any way.  I wish I would have known that last year.  I would have been a lot easier on myself.

These moments…..these “best parts of the day” are the joys we find in the mundane.  They are the example of power in simplicity.  They are proof that something so small, and so routine can bring such profound happiness.  What’s the best part of your day? I would wager to say it’s something simple.  Something simply wonderful.