All posts by Jenn

I spent 11 years as a photojournalist in the Navy. I got to travel the world for work and for play during those years. I met my American husband while serving in Italy. We dated and even married in Italy. After our honeymoon we relocated to South Carolina with our two pups Marley and Gizmo and enjoyed our newlywed status before focusing on starting a family. Now we have Charlotte! We decided that I would stay home with her and focus on learning this new parenting role and enjoy all the time we can with her while she is little. This comes with its ups and downs, and I decided that in order maintain my sanity and sense of self perhaps I would join the rest of the blogger moms.

The Evolution of Parenting

The topic of the generational gap in parenting has surfaced in various areas of my life, and I know I am not alone. I have read articles circulating the internet, talked about it with friends/fellow moms during playdates and had a few conversations with different family members. Because I have a 14 month old, it is something that resonates with me. Everyone has on opinion on child-rearing and most people like to make that opinion known to you. So like it or not, it shows up at my door.

The generational gap in parenting can cause quite a rift between the current parents of little ones and the past parents of little ones. If not a rift, then certainly the gap leaves room for plenty of awkward moments and heated debates. Depending on the parenting style you identify with, if you do, it can feel like the only thing you have in common is the desire to keep them alive. I don’t know about you, but I remember a childhood of riding city buses to and from the mall, walking to the near by 7’11 (which was across the street at a busy intersection) and spending the night with a friend that my parents barely knew. Forget about meeting parents. All at the ripe old age of 9 or 10. Perhaps I had too much freedom, but I certainly was not the only latchkey kid in my neighborhood. It was a much different world when I was growing up. Kids were out of their parent’s hair and both were happier for it. Now, in my generation of parenting, parents are being investigated when they let their kids walk to the park and back.

Looking at the evolution of parenting though, I get it. It makes sense how some of these parenting traditions came to be. Previous centuries of parenting was as much about survival as it was about love. Kids became helpers very early and luxuries certainly did not exist. Living situations made certain arrangements like bed sharing just a normal part of life and when the opportunity came about for something different like NOT sharing a bed, who the hell wouldn’t jump all over that. People breastfed due to necessity. I don’t see many moms back then going, ‘well she wasn’t a good latcher so we decided to bottle feed’. Life was much different, so parenting had to be. No one can argue that. Strength is a virtue that definitely wasn’t lost on previous parents to pass down.

We have to acknowledge however, that life has changed. Even in the last 40 years it has changed dramatically. And much of the traditions, techniques or whatever you want to call them don’t really make sense to continue today or could use some modifications. For instance, we are a society obsessed with technology; which was not a concern of the past. An upside to all this technology is that current parents have the internet at their fingertips. Which means access to an overwhelming amount of information 24/7. What an invaluable tool. It has changed the game in parenting. Having information to look up is relieving, convenient and easy to do. It is something I would definitely be lost without. Before the internet parents had to rely on professionals or word of mouth. Which usually meant taking what you have been told for face value. Now if we don’t like what someone says or are just plain curious we have the internet to rely on. Downfall, well, it can also cause you to second guess everything and make something out of nothing. It’s pretty much guaranteed. The internet itself brings about issues that require parent’s attention. Internet issues can range from monitoring screen time to worrying about and being vigilant to online predators. Oh, and don’t forget the MAJOR problem with online bullying. Parents today face challenges that simply did not exist before. New challenges mean new parenting.

Sadly for my generation, the days of latchkey kids who are kept an eye on by neighbors is long gone. The saying ‘it takes a village’ derives from somewhere, and it sure as hell isn’t from today’s society. In generations past family, friends and certain education staff were not only welcomed to discipline your kids, but expected to. Remember school spankings? Now if you catch someone disciplining another person’s child, you can almost bet there is going to repercussions. In the past, parents were more inclined to back other parents before any kids. Now its the other way around. Today specific parenting styles are popular and this leads to identifying with and surrounding yourself with those you see as like-minded. When groups form, it can set the stage for judgement and criticism. For example, it is common to see moms who chooses to bottle feed being questioned or criticized and at the same time hear about a mom breastfeeding in public being asked to move or cover up. So not only does my generation not have this crucial village to help raise our tiny humans, instead we have learned to tear down other parents who do it differently then us.

In the past, parenting was pretty much something that was learned. You know, ‘this is how it has always been done’. You have heard all the same wisdom passed down from pervious generations before, I am sure. Don’t hold them too much, you will spoil them. Put cereal in the bottle, they will sleep longer (which I am sure works today), don’t let them sleep in your bed, it will ruin your marriage… and so on. No harm no fowl. Some of the things I have heard are a little odd and some things I couldn’t imagine myself doing, but maybe for some it would work. Just feels odd to me to not acknowledge that times have changed, children’s needs have expanded and our sources for information has grown immensely. Reading a book, looking up stuff on the internet and or attending one or two of the classes offered. You can learn a lot and see how times have changed. Even baby sleeping placement has evolved over time as information has emerged.

As a mom, I know many modern mothers don’t always see eye to eye because being a mom today can mean so many things and there are so many ways to go about it. Moms hold so many titles today and it  seems like being the stay-at-home mom isn’t the traditional thing to do anymore, working is. It’s very easy to find to topics to debate. However, one thing I feel is pretty universal among modern parents and it is that we agree parenting has evolved. Makes you wonder what the hell it will be like in another 40 years. Maybe insurance will cover live-in nannies, epidurals will come in pill form and men will be able to lactate as well. One can hope.

 

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My Take on the Wife Bonus

I knew the minute I read the first paragraph of the lady’s post about her wife bonus she was going to be judged up one side and down the other. She knew it! The title says it all: “I get a wife bonus and I deserve it, so STFU.” There it is, shut the fuck up. She believes she deserves, clearly, so yea, STFU.

Why is did this article get everyone’s panties in a bunch? It is the amount of the bonus, how she spends it or is it where it comes from? Well for me it is pretty simple.

I say, good for you. Just because her bonus is on a higher caliber doesn’t make it any less deserved.

My logic is this; in her current life as a wife and now stay-at-home mom she is opportunity all those professional qualities she used to succeed at her career before hand, where she would be compensated monetarily. Her husband recognizes the sacrifices she makes so he can pursue his career and the work she does at home and with their daughter and feels like she should be rewarded for it.

Why are faulting the way she is rewarded, compensated, spoiled, pampered or however else you want to label this bonus?

I know if my husband could afford to give me a little something extra he would do it in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t yours?

I mean, maybe I can relate to this lady in a round about way. I mean, I will never be getting a bonus is the hundred thousand range, but I certainly don’t fault her for it. If she was a high earner in her career previously and was able to spend money on purses and shoes as a treat, why would it be viewed negatively to be able to continue to do so while working in the home instead of working outside? Is it because the money comes in the form of a yearly bonus and it comes from her husband?

For us average parents, the amount she receives as a bonus is more like a yearly salary, but never the less, the place it comes makes sense to me. It is basically her salary, for staying home, supporting her husband’s career, putting her’s on hold and focusing all her efforts into supporting her new domestic role.

Not to mention, as a stay-at-home parent you have no retirement plan. When you do not earn your own income and are reliant on another person it changes everything for you. So a nice little chunk of money that gives some independence is a great thing and a stress reliever.

Now, I have read this being called anti-feminist. Maybe I am completely ill-informed but being recognized for your efforts, compensated for them and given some financial independence doesn’t sound anti-feminist. Am I looking at this all wrong?

If I was still working in my profession I would be making close to what my husband makes. I am educated and have a strong professional history and I like to think all that spills over to how I take care of our house and daughter. If I could be compensated for it, HELL YES I WOULD TAKE IT!

You guys, I love what I do. Of course. I am not being held hostage. I can go to work anytime, trust me. I am grateful to have this opportunity. But getting paid in kisses and sweet moments can only carry you so far.

I do get little “wife bonuses” every now and then and I eat them up. My little bonuses fall on days pretty much everyone gets a little something something like a birthday or Mothers Bay. A trip to the spa or maybe a small shopping spree at the outlet Gap or JCrew, and quarterly pedicures and hair appointments. I have a good life, I know it.

BUT, if I could fantasize about this lady’s wife bonus reality a little longer…

I would trade her designer dresses for spa days, trade her high-end heels for Steve Madden flats and sandals and downgrade her name brand handbags for Fossil totes and satchel bags.

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting to Have Kids Until Your Thirties isn’t all it’s Cracked Up to Be…

Nowadays people often choose to have kids later in life, choose to have fewer kids than pervious generations and sometimes choose to forego procreation all together. I fall into the first category. I have always been a goal setter and I have had a life plan for as long as I can remember. I can get out of sorts when life throws me a curveball, so I counteract this by planning what I can. I always have. I still don’t understand how I ditched so many classes as a teenager. The thought of being late or having to lie about my whereabouts sends me into a spiral of sweat and anxiety. So being able to plan out my day-to-day life and leaving the spontaneity for vacations has always been my thing.

So, my life plan was to join the Navy, go to college and eventually earn my PhD in psychology. I was 9 years into my Navy career and just starting my graduate program when I met my husband. It was sooooo not in the plans to fall in love and get married, let alone move to a state neither of us had ever been to, buy a house and have a baby. But, life has funny way of pointing you in the direction you are supposed to go. One day I woke up and realized I was 29 and had this overwhelming urge to make a tiny human. I always thought my maternal clock was broken or missing. Turns out was just on a timer. By 30 I was smelling babies, browsing the baby stuff at Target and making list of baby names.

So what is the problem with waiting to have kids? Well here is a short list of reason’s why waiting to have kids until your thirties kind of sucks.

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1. You have lived a full decade of adult life, so you know what you are missing.

2. You are “settled” into a routine and lifestyle so adding another person into the mix is tricky.

3. You know what being rested feels like, and you miss it more than anything else.

4. You enjoyed a routine of primping before hand because hello, daddy didn’t marry me sight unseen. Now primping is shaving your legs up to your knee and removing your unibrow.

5. Watching all of the other parents your age teaching their kids how to drive kind of sends you into a rage because they are almost done and you are instead tackling potty training and lopsided tits.

6. You have to nod and smile while your baby-free kids talk about their AWESOME life. That’s hard.

7. You can get away with looking frumpy in your 20s… it’s the bohemian trend. In your thirties you just look like someone who either needs help or a hug. And you usually do.

8. You force yourself to do things like play dates, go to story time at the library and blog about your life.

9. You feel guilty that your other thirty-something friends are struggling with infertility.

10. You have to realize that one day soon, you will be the uncool mom… because you are old.

 

 

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How to plan a first birthday party in 20 easy steps!

 

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My One Year Old
Planning your first child’s first birthday party is similar to planning your wedding. Especially with a type A personality. Everything has to be perfect, down to the last party favor. You start well before the actual month just to get a leg up on all the planning such an event requires, you set ridiculous expectations and create multiple boards on Pinterest to help organize all your fabulous ideas. The cost creeps up before you know it and you justify it by repeating your new mantra “well, it only happens once!” If you are like me, the anticipation of any eye rolls at the over-the-top shindig not only motivate me, they excite me.

Before you know it “your project” has taken over.

So, here is how to plan a first birthday party in 20 easy steps.

1. Create as many Pinterest boards as you need to organize ideas.

2. Spend many hours scrolling Pinterest for ideas, pinning the good ones.

3. Spend many hours scrolling Etsy looking for more ideas and options.

4. Decide on a theme. Yes this party has to have a theme!

5. Find the perfect outfit they will wear for one day. If you get it custom made from Etsy you’re an A++ parent in my book.

6. Order custom made party invitations that everyone will misplace and contact for information anyway.

7. Make sure to include RSVP information that no one will pay attention.

8. Plan a menu using recipes you have found on Pinterest that fit the theme. 7 to 10 different dishes should be sufficient, you know, since so you have to guess.

9. Make sure you have all the proper serving dishes. Everyone will notice.

10. Make all your handmade decorations.

11. Purchase more decorations when your handmade ones look like garbage.

12. Find the perfect party favors. You don’t want someone reminding your kid later how what crappy favors your mom handed out at your very first party.

13. Set up ridiculous and expensive photo shoots so that you have cute photos to display and or use in the invitations.

14. Create a shopping list for the menu you created.

15. Order cake AND smash cake. You must have a small cake for baby to poke at and or bathe in.

 

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Wasn’t a Fan of the Smash Cake

16. Buy food for party.

17. Find another adorable outfit to buy because you ordered the first one too early and now it doesn’t fit.

18. Pick up cake and smash cake.

19. Put balloons or something in the yard to announce that YOUR BABY is turning one.

20. Remember to assign someone to take pictures of the big day. Don’t want all that planning to go to waste!

There you go. Easy peasy.

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A Few of My Efforts

You’re Welcome.

Traditions are Important

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This is going to go wonderfully, I feel it.

I think traditions are an important part of childhood; they are usually the moments that stand out the most. Traditions are dependable, create a time for bonding and set the stage for a good time. All of which are important. I remember a Christmas Eve tradition in which we opened presents early as a family. That’s it though. Not much for traditions in my family back then. That really drove home to me when my daughter was born. My mom’s passing helped me realize that legacy is important to me. Part of my legacy will be the relationships I have with my family, specifically my daughter. I started thinking about the relationship between a mother and daughter, my relationship with my mom and the relationship I envisioned between myself and my daughter.

Which brings us back to traditions. Now if you are a Pinterest mom hater or annoyed by over zealous moms you should probably stop reading here. I’m not sure this post is for you. You see, it calms me to keep busy with projects. I need to feel productive and I am creatively challenged so finding ideas and inspiration helps me… and conveniently there is an app for that! Anyway, a tradition I thought would be fun to start is a Mother’s Day photo shoot. It is a day I will most likely be dressed like a human anyway so there is that. Mother’s Day fell on a day that the weather was nice, so that put me in the mood to get the camera out. I had been strolling photography ideas on the above mentioned app and that inspired me. Plus I figured it was a good candidate for that year’s Christmas card. So, the tradition was born.

Now, this is not my first rodeo. I realize my now one-year old will not always be in the mood to perform as I would like for my forever planned photo shoots. Our one and only family shoot was such an awful experience I can’t wait to not do it again. But with me having been a photographer in a previous life, I would feel like a giant loser if I did not put my skills to use and document the crap out of Charlotte’s childhood for future use (be it blackmail or for her to have for precious memories). This year’s photo shoot was a crap shoot, because well, a one year old has no time for sitting, smiling or staying clean.

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Getting closer…

 

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Nope

These were most certainly not the beautiful, staged photos I envisioned. When I put her adorable, handmade white dress on and added a hair clip that matched my outfit I pictured an elegant setting with two smiling ladies. Heck, dad even had a shirt on that matched with us just incase she was feeling super generous and allowed us to capture a family picture! The white dress lasted less than 5 minutes. But hey, I think the shoot was a success. It captured an over zealous mom with ideas she found on Pinterest and one-year old having too much fun playing outside to be bothered with a sit-down photo session.

I think the tradition lives on.

 

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day brings about mixed feelings for me. While I adore being showered with love and gifts… it is a bittersweet day for me. On the one hand, I love that my daughter and my husband have to be nice to me ALL DAY LONG. It’s law. And I enjoy breakfast in bed. Yup, I have seen the commercials and this is what happens on Mother’s Day. But my heart aches a little on Mother’s Day because it has only been a year since I lost my mom to cancer. The way we said goodbye wasn’t my favorite and I have so many questions that I will never have answers for. Our relationship was estranged for over a decade, then she got sick and we didn’t have enough time to fill in all the gaps those years apart left. There just wasn’t enough time for that, and the time we had left was spent living and making new memories to replace the awful ones.

Every channel you turn on has some Mother’s Day special going on. I feel like subconsciously I have been avoiding the T.V. just so I don’t have to be reminded constantly. When I think about Mother’s Day I think about my mom, naturally. And, to be quite honest, it is difficult to think about my mom around Mother’s Day. I look at Charlotte and just wonder why I wasn’t enough for my mom to get her life together. I look at Charlotte and just feel so happy and grateful to have her and then I wonder what my mom felt when she looked at me. These are questions I really don’t like to think about, but with Mother’s Day coming up, well I can’t help it.

I am not the only one to have lost their mother, and it makes me feel better to remind myself of this. I feel better knowing that somewhere out there, there is another new mom feeling the same emptiness that I feel on Mother’s Day. Losing a mom 3 months before becoming a mom is tough, even if you know it’s coming. Losing my mom taught me a valuable lesson, however, and at the best time possible. There is an undeniably magical bond between a mother and daughter. And I miss her.

I will be spoiled on Mother’s Day, I know it. But as I enjoy my hot stone massage and whatever else my husband has planned for me, a piece of me is missing forever and it is especially noticeable on this special day. Mother’s Day.

 

5 things I have learned in my first year as a mom

1. I do have a heart.

I used to pride myself on being a different kind of girl. A guy’s girl… or whatever. I didn’t like to sit around and watch romantic comedies or go to the bathroom with all the girls in the group. I was never interested in shopping and doing very much in the cosmetic department. Not a girly girl. I am also not very affectionate. Cuddling hasn’t been appealing since my early twenties. I avoided situations that I knew I would be prone to cry in, like airport goodbyes or face-to-face break-ups. Crying is not appealing to me so I don’t see the point in participating in events that lead to tears. So I was quite shocked when my daughter was born and I realized my new favorite thing to do is cuddle with her and I cry at least once a month now (which is way, way, way down from those first months… thank you Huggie commercials).

2. I was pretty much a judgmental biotch pre-baby.

I would silently judge all the parents who couldn’t handle their toddler’s tantrum to my satisfaction, the mom’s in yoga pants, the parent’s with kids missing one shoe and who had a snotty nose, the parents with the crying kids on planes and at restaurants. I was the know-it-all twenty-something who already knew how I was going to parent my kids. I had all the secrets. I couldn’t understand why parents didn’t seem to be doing their homework. Hello, everything you ever need to know it on the internet. Then she came. I have since realized through life that, well, kids are just little people with real emotions and limited ways of communication. Much more difficult than I anticipated and I am still working on removing my foot from my mouth.

3. Everything passes.

If you don’t like a phase, that’s ok, it will pass soon. Everything does. It’s bittersweet. Even the long phases like nursing, potty training or learning how to walk. May feel like you have been doing it for ages, and maybe you have. But one day it will be no more. Sometimes this message carries me through those long days of teething.

4. I picked a great life partner.

My daughter has the best father. I am not sure how this happened, I mean I wasn’t thinking about kids at all when we got married. I didn’t choose him because I saw some deep clue that he was going to make a great dad one day. He wasn’t even 100% ready when she came, though I am positive that is a running theme among dads. But man oh man, I really lucked out. He far exceeds any expectations Iv’e ever had. One thing I love that he does is he loves to take her out early on Saturday mornings to the flea market (one of my favorite things he does because I can drink coffee at home, alone). Some of my favorite moments as a mom have been of watching the two of them. Melts. My. Heart.

5. It can be lonely

I never, ever expected to feel lonely as a stay-at-home mom. Logic dictates that spending the whole day in the company of someone else would not equal feeling lonely. But eventually only talking to a baby or toddler all day, everyday eventually catches up with you. Then when you finally get your husband down for a meal or in the same room he wants to talk about his day, which you want to hear about (of course!). So to no fault of your own, or anyone else’s, the loneliness gets in. I know I am not the only one facing it… I see you mom with your empty frappicino and half-full cart, pacing the isles of Target, daydreaming. It’s ok to admit it and reach out to someone. Find what works, and make sure you do it. Otherwise it can get all too overwhelming.

Maybe I should have ended with number 1.

These 5 may not be your top 5, but I am sure you can relate none-the-less.

 

Where has my ‘giddy-up’ gone?

I woke up today thinking, you know I really need to get my ass in gear and start DOING SOMETHING about this blog and all the ideas I have to get it really going. The first time I woke up today it was 2:30 am and after Charlotte settled back down for another 2 to 3 hour stretch I was left tossing and turning. This happens most nights. Insomnia, addiction to social media, inability to relax my brain… whatever it is, it sucks and really is the reason I don’t sleep as much as I should. I did some reading on other ways to earn money as a writer from home. All avenues seem right up my alley. I have loads of writing experience, both professionally and academically. It is the overall motivation to get started. I have read all the self-help pieces that have laid out exactly what I should be doing and tips that will help me stay on the right path. I follow them, for the most part. I can make list after list, set numerous goals and generate multiple check-lists, and I do. It is the next step that seems to be holding me up. It is the actual ‘giddy-up and go’ I am lacking. I am falling short in the follow through department.

I have a couple reasons for this lack of enthusiasm. Overall, in the grand scheme of life, I feel as though I have paid my dues as far as deadlines and writing assignments. I mean, I did it for 10 years in Navy. Having someone over my shoulder, pacing back and forth… waiting for the product. Deadlines. I am far too familiar. Then I have graduate school where I was writing long 20 to 30 page papers in 3 to 4 hours on a Sunday night because I waited until the last minute. I mean, I wrote one of my final papers while sitting in our rented villa in Tuscany the day before my wedding while everyone was out site seeing. I sat, typing away. Sure, I may have been doing the writing while sipping some ridiculously amazing local wine that cost like 5 dollars. Oh the days. Anyway, you get my point. I have been writing the majority of adult life and now I have lost the motivation to do it now. The other reason would be that I am just way too into relaxing. I love it. I don’t really get moving until about 10 and then I am just beyond tired by 8 or 9 when the weasel if finally slain.

You know who doesn’t care: my daughter. Oh, and my husband (who has also paid his dues). So here I am, writing an entire entry about how I cannot find the enthusiasm nor energy to put time into my writing. Nope.

I should get back to procrastinating. I am sure there is a load of laundry I can be pretending to fold.

A letter to my daughter…

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My sweet Charlotte,

I am absolutely torn thinking about your first year coming to an end. 12 months you have been in my life and as cliché as it sounds, it has been the happiest year of my life. In fact, I will tell you a secret, my precious little bean. A secret that I didn’t uncover myself until the day you were born. I was going around saying ‘I love you’ for years without fully understanding the capacity those words carry. You’ve shown me what unconditional love is, and in return I get to spend the rest of my life showing you and I am grateful for it!

Getting to be your mother is my proudest accomplishment, and anyone who knows me well knows that I take this responsibility very serious. I researched everything from sleep training to potty training when I was carrying you and I continue to get in a few hours of reading here and there. I may not follow all the advice perfectly, but I put great thought into how you are raised. You and I spend a lot of time together, which is good because you haven’t wanted to be away from me since the day they had to pull you from me. The feeling is mutual. But as your birthday nears and you blossom into your own perfect person, I realize the inevitable is coming and it is bittersweet. You will start to do more and more on your own and require less and less of me, and it breaks my heart. I cry often. Even when you accomplish something new and you are beaming with pride, my heart swells a little more and my eyes fill with tears. I am just so proud, happy, and melancholy all at the same time watching you graduate from baby to toddler.

For now, I watch you sleep and hold you close almost every time you want me to. Oh, my sweet girl, you are delicious. I wanted to do something special for your first birthday, so I decided to do something for you that I really wish my mom had done for me. I am writing something for you that I wish my mom had written for me: an assortment of advice, wisdom and facts about life. (I am a perfectionist without a lot of free time, so here we are weeks after the official birthday. Sorry!)

I want you to know your father and I were so excited the day you were born and haven’t really stopped being excited since. We are completely and utterly in love and wear our new titles PROUDLY. We can’t get enough of you. You are all we can talk about. My adorable, funny, precocious little girl, I love you something crazy.

So, we begin…

1. The most important relationship you will have in life is the one you have with yourself. Loving yourself will allow you to be open to loving others. Treat yourself well and take care of yourself. Also, it is ok to go out on your own. It’s wonderful spending time alone doing what you enjoy doing!

2. Others will not respect you if you do not respect yourself. People treat you how you allow them to, period. This goes for everyone in your life.

3. It’s normal to have an opinion and to want to share that opinion. Choose your words wisely and be aware of the feelings of others. This doesn’t mean you have to censure yourself all the time, just know there is a time and a place for everything and that you can express an opinion without being ugly or confrontational.

4. You don’t need a partner in order to be happy in life. A partner should enhance your life, not be your life.

5. The sign of a good relationship is one that makes you a better person. Are you your best you when you are with someone? Find someone who helps lift you up and encourages you to accomplish your goals and vise versa.

6. Be yourself. Don’t change to fit anyone’s agenda. Be yourself, because my dear, you are awesome.

7. Sometimes people are mean. You will get your feelings hurt, its inevitable in life. Sometimes you will need to stand up for yourself and when you do, make it count.

8. Treat others how you want to be treated. See above; don’t be that mean person.

9. Drink water and take care of your body. If you put crap into your body, you feel like crap.

10. Exercise is important. End of story.

11. Confidence is key. Be confident in yourself and your abilities, and others will follow.

12. It’s ok to be proud of yourself. It’s ok to celebrate yourself. However, becoming bragging is not ok.

13. You do not have to be religious to be a good person, and being religious doesn’t make you a good person. Make good decisions… and when you do not, own it and learn from it.

14. Sometimes you won’t be able to make sense out of something. It happens to everyone. When it happens to you, make peace with it and move on. Forgiveness is a powerful tool and can give you the power back over your life.

15. Having babies changes your body. Being in good shape when you get pregnant is an advantage, however this does not mean there won’t be other changes. It’s ok, it happens to all moms. Feel proud, that body created life!

16. Don’t take everything so serious in life. You need to be able to laugh at yourself. Being able to laugh and find relief in comedy is a reliable and fabulous form of therapy. Unfortunately, your father is a little challenged in the funny department, but your mom is a born comedian… so the house will be filled with laughter!

17. Invest in good running shoes, a good mattress and good skin care products (including SPF). You will thank me one day.

18. Don’t compare yourself or your accomplishments with others. It will drive you bananas. Looking for inspiration is one thing, but don’t let it turn to comparison. We all have different journeys and circumstances, so comparing yourself to someone else just doesn’t work.

19. Drama is off-putting and senseless. Steer clear of those who seem to always have drama in their life. You will get sucked in every time.

20. Be informed. Make informed decisions. Know what you’re talking about.

21. Forget makeup. You may not believe me, but you do not need it. Simplicity is best. Spending hours getting ready, putting toxic chemicals on your face and hair just doesn’t have appeal. If you choose to wear makeup, choose wisely and try to give yourself plenty of makeup free days.

22. You are enough, just the way you are.
This goes without saying, so I won’t list it, but your father and I will always be your safe place to fall. We love you every minute of every day.
Love,
Mom