Riddle Her ‘Scary’ – When loving your kids is uncool.

This morning I sent a link to a friend of mine to a blog that made me giggle and tagged it with ‘This is the first one from [this blog site] that I’ve enjoyed in a while’.

Later in the morning, as we chatted, we talked about a growing trend among parenting-focused blogs.

For so long, it seemed there was an expectation on parents to never complain. We chose to be parents so we can’t complain about it. Seems a little bit ridiculous, but it was there. I would see rants on Facebook about how parents complaining about their children were annoying because we didn’t have to be parents if we didn’t want to be. Which is true I suppose. But to that point, you don’t have to go to work, but you do. Can you not have a bad day and express that? You don’t have to go to the gym, but you do. Can you not have sore muscles? You don’t have to live in the city you do – but you do. Can you not complain about traffic? You don’t have to drive the car that you do – BUT YOU DO. Can you not complain when the radiator breaks, over heats, explodes? What do radiators do???

Parenting, just like anything else, is really hard some days. And really easy others.

So suddenly, parents everywhere were striking back with the ‘reality’ of parenthood.

There were blogs with titles like ‘I hate my kids sometimes’. Or ‘Why 2 year olds are little shits’. There was an uprising of complaint coming from parents. And, scattered through those blogs, there were some that touched us. Some that made us feel normal. But there were others – that crossed lines. And they continue.

It seems, in the name of honesty, we’ve gone from one extreme to another. Where we once felt we couldn’t complain, now all we do is complain.

Parenting is hard. Yes. Undeniably so.

But it is also wonderful. And – FOR REAL – my kids bring me so much joy it’s unreal.

There are OF COURSE moments when I have to step away from them. Moments when I lose my cool. Moments when they DRIVE ME SO NUTS!

But far outnumbering those moments are the ones wherein I am left weak in the knees by these people who I have walked with for every step in their lives.

Can it be okay for me to love my children? Is that allowed? Can I be the mom who doesn’t identify with the statement that ‘sometimes I hate my kids’? Because, seriously, never once have I hated my kids.

We need to find the line. The line between being honest about the pitfalls AND being honest about the mountain tops.

If your reality has you hating your kids – maybe seek some help. And I don’t mean that sarcastically. I mean that very tenderly. If you are hurting, find healing. If you can’t handle parenting, seek safety in places that offer it. If your kids are ruining your life, it’s time to change something.

My kids aren’t easy all the time. At this very moment actually, Charlotte is literally crying that she’s hungry as she chews on an apple. It’s infuriating. But her little toes make me happy. Her smile makes me smile. Days are hard and not always full of joy. But joy is real and it always finds it’s way back to me. In the moments when I’m crying because I’m so overwhelmed (and yes, that happens quite frequently), there always comes peace.

Let’s be honest about parenting. It’s hard – and great.

I love my kids.

-xo-

Hannah

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Riddle Her Married – Speaking goodness.

We’ve all watched sitcoms, right? The ones with the hormonal nightmare women who constantly berate their clumsy idiotic husbands? For a season, it was the cultural norm to see women on TV and film dominate the men in their life through demeaning words and actions. And, to be quite frank, the men seemed to deserve it. They couldn’t do anything right. And they were constantly saying stupid things to their hateful wives. It was a recipe for disaster. And, for the most part, I’ve seen as these fictional marriages changed. We see couples like Lily and Marshal (How I Met Your Mother) who seem to not only love each other – but like each other. Or couples like Monica and Chandler (Friends) who, at the very least, were equally irritating.

But it has caused me to think about my own marriage. How I want to spend my time with my husband. How I want my friends to hear me talk about him.

I went to dinner a couple weeks ago with a couple long-time friends. It was a typical night, but I started to notice a trend. These women, who I love with all my heart, couldn’t stop talking about the shortcomings of their husbands/boyfriends. And here’s the thing – I know their significant others. They are pretty solid guys. Good men. And I know my friends love their men with their whole hearts. So why the pattern of talking down?

I think that, despite seeing better examples, there is a natural human desire to complain. I know I’m guilty at the very least. I have noticed in myself this innate desire to voice every frustration.

But what happens every time we voice those things? What happens when we keep speaking out that negativity? Surely there is something cathartic about releasing negativity, but can something be said for voicing so many of your thoughts that you actually start to set up you heart, mind, and soul for failure?

There is power in our words. That’s not even really debatable. Words have power. There was a study done about cultural success and it was noted that a distinguishing trait in generally successful cultures, was blessing from a young age. Parents speak blessing over their kids. An emphasis is put on positive attributes. And the kids raised within those cultures are statistically more successful. Not just financially and in their careers, but in their mental well being as well.

So if speaking positively to my children is going to help them succeed, then is it crazy to think the same about my marriage?

And, if it is the same, then can it be assumed that what I speak about my relationship TO my husband is just as important as what I speak ABOUT him?

No one on the planet has a perfect marriage. And there are definitely days when my husband and I are on different planets emotionally. We deal with financial stresses and medical issues just like every one else.

But, at the end of the day, I married Clint because he is just the best human I know. Easy as that. He is good. He is kind. He is generous and lacks a single mean bone.

Does this mean that every day is roses and sunshine? HA! Not at all.

But what I speak out on those down days has an impact on the emotional well being of my marriage. The reality may be that he got on my nerves, the truth remains that he loves me well. The reality may be that he said something that hurt my feelings, the truth remains that he has a heart of gold.

Ultimately, I wonder – if my husband spoke about me the way I hear women speak about their husbands, what would I feel?

There is something to be said for being honest with your friends. And I would never intend to encourage someone to hide his or her reality. What I’m simply trying to say is that SOMETIMES, I think we complain just to complain.

If my heart is hurting, of course I can call my friends and get some good solid advice. But maybe it’s time to take notice of how we are honoring our significant others when they aren’t around.

Speak goodness into your world.

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Riddle Her Okay – Humanism

Lately, in the name of feminism, I’ve watched my peers cut off fellow women. I’ve sat back as words have spewed out of friends and family alike who have berated lifestyles that don’t line up with their personal desires and dreams.

It’s caused me to think a lot about feminism and how I feel about my gender. As a whole, the women in my life are strong. They are capable, smart, loving, compassionate, kind, understanding, and solid women. I have been lucky to have been raised by a woman who taught me to have opinions of my own. And I have watched as the women in my life have walked through some of the hardest things people walk through – and they’ve conquered those mountains with grace and come out with a sense of pride and accomplishment. I have watched these women embrace each other, build each other up, and push each other toward bigger and better things.

I’ve also watched these women fail. They’ve come unraveled. They’ve been in pain and struggled to navigate through muddy waters.

Because women, like men, are human.

And that’s just it – when we start talking about women, even as women ourselves, we tend to imply that there is a right and a wrong. But HUMANS have no manual. We have no instruction book. There is no path highlighted for us. This is the beauty and terror of living life.

Lately, I’ve seen blog after blog about women who don’t want kids and I want to scream ‘Hallelujah’! Because not everyone should have kids. Especially women who don’t want kids. There are women who are called to be childless. Women who are called to have six kids. Women who are called to be fighter pilots who bake the best cookies you’ve ever tried. Women who are called to be fashionistas who also know how to code videogames. There is no correct. No incorrect. No debate.

But underlying through every individual path, what there SHOULD BE, is acceptance. Acceptance for the calling of fellow women. Fellow humans. Acceptance that your calling and mine will look different. But that neither is wrong.

I can’t express adequately how much it pains me to see women talk about how mothers have thrown away their passion. My passion, my calling, what I have dreamed about since I was a kid – was motherhood. Well, motherhood and being Gwen Stefani. But apparently you can’t actually BE another person. Something about science. I don’t know. And it is painful to see women on the other side respond with things like ‘you don’t know love until you’ve had a child’. Bull honkey! Love is real. Love is everywhere. It is experienced by parents and nonparents alike. But until women learn that feminism means having these starkly different lifestyles and NEEDING these different lifestyles, feminism will fail us.

So – in the name of feminism, can we all just agree that ultimately what we want for our fellow humans is for them to live a life that is good and whole and passionate? And that, whatever that looks like in relation to our own life, it is just simply okay?

You’re okay. I’m okay.

Okay?

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Riddle Her Helping – 8 items every parent NEEDS.

I don’t want to oversell the importance of each and every one of these items. But these are the most important items any parent ever in the history of the universe could ever have. Ever. In history. The universe. Ever. Most important. Universe.

  1. This formula hand mixer.

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Never mind the fact that now I have more dishes to do, more things to carry around, and more batteries to change – but you’re telling me that SHAKING A BOTTLE is just too much?

  1. These wipes that are specifically designed for snot.

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You know those wipes that parents carry around to wipe butts? Not. Good. Enough. For three times the cost and half the quantity, you can purchase special wipes that are scientifically formulated for boogers. You see, with the common diaper wipe, you have a simple mix of scent, soap, water, and wipe. With the booger wipe you still get the scent, the soap, the water, and the wipe – but, as an added bonus, there are microscopic ninjas that jump into your child’s nose and retrieve boogers. That’s why they are so expensive. Obviously.

  1. This booger sucker – that is powered by your mouth.

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Yes, non-parents. This is a device that has been specifically designed to use a human mouth to suck sticky snot out of a baby’s nostril. Need I explain more?

  1. Sophie the damn giraffe. A teething toy that requires a payment plan.

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For only twenty-three dollars you, too, can own this squeaky toy from hell! Get ‘em while they’re hot! Never mind that your dog will obviously eat half of it within twenty four hours and your child would be equally as happy with his hand – you should totally buy this high fashion teether.

  1. These color changing spoons.

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Because guys, it’s like…super hard to know if something is hot. I mean, like, maybe it WAS hot. And then it just kinda isn’t. You know, like…it’s been microwaved. But maybe it’s not hot yet. Or maybe it’s too hot. And you can’t use your own tongue – because germs. And you can’t use your finger – because ew. So like – these color changing spoons are like SO important.

  1. This doll that has a runny nose.

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In case it wasn’t clear, snot and boogers are a big part of parenthood. But, for the parent who hasn’t had their fill of snot, here’s the gift of your dreams!

  1. This super sexy sweatshirt for the parent that can’t be bothered to dress both themselves AND their kid.

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Seriously. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Hannah, I get myself and baby dressed every day and put a sweatshirt on them when it’s cold and then I’m exhausted and so I freeze because I don’t have the energy to put my own sweatshirt on’. Well then this is the product for you!! You can stop the search.

  1. Baby Oil.

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Dead serious guys – what is this for? Besides bedroom stuff.

So, whether you are a parent to be or simply attending another mind numbingly boring baby shower where someone is going to make you smell melted candy thats been strategically placed in a diaper to look like a turd, let this list be your guide.

xo

hannah

Riddle You Seen – What I wanted to say.

I’ve been you.

This job is hard.

I’ve been frazzled and exhausted and at a loss for words. I’ve been overwhelmed and felt like giving up.

I’ve wanted to quit. And felt guilty for thinking it.

I’ve been absent and distracted.

This job is hard.

I have been forgetful and angry. I have yelled. I have given in. I have been worried and busy. I have prioritized poorly.

This job is hard.

Being a parent. It is hard.

I don’t know why that’s such a difficult concept to understand when the warnings start pouring in. We think ‘hard’ is something we’ve experienced before. We think ‘hard’ was what we felt during a bad break up. We think ‘hard’ was what it always was. Hard.

But it takes on a different body completely when a child enters the picture. Hard becomes life altering. Hard becomes impossible. Hard becomes ashamed. Hard takes the wheel for days at a time and doesn’t give us a breath. Hard is everywhere.

And in this new form, Hard has the tendency to give us the impression that it is forever. But what I wanted to say to you, to you who I saw on the brink of a break down, is this:

Hard is temporary... Hard will come and go. Hard will not define your every waking moment.

Joy will enter.

Laughs will be had. Love will be felt. Tears will be shed. And hurts will be hurt. But Hard will be temporary.

With every moment of unbearable exhaustion will come an indescribable feeling of joy.

I’ve heard people say things like ‘You chose this. You didn’t have to have kids’. And that’s true. But that doesn’t make it easy. Choosing a hard path doesn’t mean you can’t complain. And it doesn’t mean you aren’t grateful when you do.

This job is hard.

It’s okay.

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Riddle Her Sneaky – Another reason my children will need therapy.

When I was about six years old, I got my first loose tooth.

This was obviously the work of the devil.

TEETH WERE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH! Like a nightmare, I was LOOSING my teeth. So, I would wiggle it with my tongue. I would push on it until it hurt. I would watch it move around in my mouth. And, on several occasions, I would accidentally bite down on it and experience the unexplainable feeling that comes along with such an act.

But – let’s be clear – I was definitely not going to pull that tooth out of my mouth. Not in a million years. Over my DEAD, COLD BODY!

Eventually, something happened and it fell out. Once I noticed, I spent a day crying and mourning the loss. Performed a funeral. Wrote a biography.

Then I got another loose tooth. And I was just as horrified.

With each loose tooth I got, I was no less appalled. I dreaded the pulling of the tooth, the begging from my mother to let her try, the taste of wet toilet paper as I tried to get a grip of my tiny tooth only to chicken out…it was all terrible.

So, about two years ago when my then five-year-old son got his first tooth, I was ready to bunker down. He was going to be afraid of the pain. He wasn’t going to want to pull it. He wasn’t going to let me try.

So, when he very nonchalantly said ‘Hey, I pulled my tooth out’ from the backseat as we were driving to the store, I was dumbfounded.

How is it possible that he inherited my innate ability to tell bad jokes, but he wasn’t afraid to pull his tooth out of HIS FACE?!?!

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But the worst was still ahead.

That night, Tucker sweetly tucked his tooth under his pillow in a little box I gave him ‘so tooth fairy wouldn’t have trouble finding it’. He went to bed happily awaiting the magical money to appear.

I waited. I wanted him to be asleep.

So after successfully managing to forget completely and getting in my own bed, I remembered my maternal duty to trade money in for disgusting teeth.

I crept down the hall to his bedroom and opened the door. He had been asleep for a few hours and has been known to sleep through pretty much anything so I was in the clear. I stuck my hand under his pillow.

Where the frick was his tooth? I thought it was in a box!

I look under the bed. Nothing.

I dig again under his pillow. Nothing.

And then, with my entire arm still under his pillow…

‘Mom’?

He see’s me.

‘Mom? What are you doing’?

I say nothing.

My WHOLE ARM IS UNDER HIS PILLOW! I’VE BEEN CAUGHT!

I still say nothing. This is ridiculous.

So I open my mouth and all I can muster is… ‘No’.

No????? Did I just tell my half asleep son that I’m not his mother? Great, now he is going to be terrified. There’s a stranger in his room in the middle of the night.

Perfect. I’m the boogie man.

So, because I’m clever and a quick thinker, I add – ‘I think – umm – maybe, you’re dreaming’.

I think you’re DREAMING?! Come on, Hannah. What was that?!

I slid my arm out from under his pillow and backed slowly out of his room while his eyes followed me.

I closed his bedroom door and walked back to my bedroom. My husband, apparently not thinking I could screw up something so simple, inquired as to the whereabouts of the tooth…

‘I don’t have it’ I said.

‘You don’t have it?

‘I don’t have it. I couldn’t find it. He woke up, I told him I wasn’t his mom…I don’t know…it got weird’.

So Clint walked down the hall to have a go.

A few minutes later, he walked back in…no tooth in his hand.

We failed.

The next morning, we awoke to Tucker crying in his room because the tooth fairy hadn’t left him money…

Clint, dollar bill in hand, stuck his hand under Tuckers pillow and made the switch then convinced Tucker he had just missed it.

So, here’s a recap:

Tucker looses a tooth.

I tell him I’m not his mother.

I try to convince him he’s dreaming.

Clint is unsuccessful.

Tucker cries because the tooth fairy hates him.

We convince him that HE IS THE CRAZY ONE.

If ever you were worried that you weren’t a great parent, let me assure you, the bar is pretty low.

Xo

Hannah

Riddle Her Old – The day I met my arch nemesis.

For the longest time I have tried to avoid a very important issue. But, unfortunately, I feel it is time to be really open about something that has been going on with me. It’s hard to put into words how I feel today. It’s been a long road to get to the point where I can admit the following:

I am getting old.

There.  I said it.

Few things make it more apparent that I am getting old than current internet/text lingo.

For longer than I care to admit, I have wondered who ‘Ty’ was and how all my friends knew him but I didn’t. I mean – even friends who didn’t know each other knew Ty. He was everywhere. And always being kind and inquisitive.

I would scroll through Facebook and see conversations like this:

STRANGER – OMG! I totes love your adorable skirt!

STRANGER – LOL is that the same shirt I have?!?! And where did you get that skirt?

STRANGER – You’re so cray! Looking supa’ sexy! 😉

MY FRIEND – Ty, I got it at Forever 21 (because I still have my figure from high school and I know Hannah is reading this and wants to cry).

Who was Ty?????? Did he have me blocked? Why couldn’t I see his comments?

And then a few weeks later:

MY FRIEND: Hey everyone! I’m looking for sitter for tomorrow night (because I have a life and I know Hannah is reading this and wants to cry). Anyone have a recommendation?

STRANGER: Hey, my little sister totes babysits for extra gas money.

STRANGER: I wish I lived closer; I’d come watch them! [**Note** People – stop responding like this. No one wants an unhelpful response from someone who is incapable.]

MY FRIEND: Ty, I found someone!

What?!?! I still can’t see his comments!!!!

So, I would scour my brain for any memory if this Ty guy. Did he see that I liked that stupid video of the cat falling out of the tree and block me because he knew how uncool I was? Did he think that I was a different Hannah that he dated once and block me so I wouldn’t stalk him??? Well TOO BAD, TY! I’M STALKING THE HELL OUTTA YOU NOW!!

But guys – here’s a secret – ‘TY’ is short for ‘Thank You’.

Turns out I have polite friends – not a top-secret arch nemesis named Ty.

So, I’m getting old. And I’m learning to cope.

One day at a time.

xo

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