Riddle Her Learned – A lesson in tact.

I had my oldest son when I was only nineteen years old and, though this may shock everyone, I didn’t really know what I was doing.

I had my daughter when I was twenty five and, honestly, still didn’t know anything.

In fact – if we want to be really technical, to this day, I have no clue how to parent.

And thanks to technology, I can now be reminded each morning via an app on my phone of all my previous mistakes.

So, about a week ago, when this photo popped up, it got me thinking.

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This is a photo of my then 3-year-old, Tucker, asleep in the car. Our car was moving. And I didn’t fix his seatbelt after the photo. I didn’t add a tagline of ‘don’t worry! I’m fixing that chest clip!’. And (everyone get ready to gasp) – I didn’t even know that’s what it was called.

So, I bet you are all thinking right now how I’m a terrible mom, or how you hope I learned my lesson, or maybe you’re busy formulating a strongly worded e-mail explaining the importance of car seat safety to me.

Well, stop all of those things.

I know the importance of car seat safety now. I’m passionate about it. And I DID learn my lesson. And I’m not a terrible mother.

How did I learn my lesson, you ask? GREAT QUESTION!

Well, I was on Facebook one day and received an e-mail from an acquaintance…

It looked something like this:

Dear Hannah,

I can’t believe how you have Tucker buckled in that picture! You know, it’s called a CHEST clip, not a belly-button clip, right?!? He could die! Please, I can’t handle seeing kids buckled in like that. Fix it before something terrible happens! I will follow this email up with a laundry list of information on state laws so you know how bad it is.

Xo

That Girl You Met Once

Just kidding, y’all. No one e-mailed me.

And yet I learned learned, not because a stranger in a parking lot snidely informed me, but because friends who were having babies were learning the same things alongside me. We were seeing the research. We were seeing each other. And we are all better because of it.

So, my daughter’s chest clip was stationed on her chest from day one. As was my youngest. And my daughter stayed rear facing until she was over two years old. My youngest will do the same. I always check to make sure the carrier bar on the infant car seat is pushed into the reclined position. I don’t buy car seat accessories that might interfere with the safety of the seat. I know my kids height and weight limits on their seats and I will gladly sacrifice their comfort for their safety any day.

My point is this –

Every single time I have received unsolicited advice from people, I have shut down completely. And maybe that’s just me. Maybe you really did change the life of the woman at the grocery store when you told her that she was failing. Maybe you DID save her daughters life when you informed her of all your research. Maybe. And every child’s life is worth the effort, but I think maybe it’s time we all learned some tact. Myself included. How do we help, and yet not sound like self-righteous jerks? You may be thinking that you don’t care if that’s how you sound, because you care more about children’s lives. In which case, this is not for you.

This is for those of us who know that, with every word we speak, we are given an opportunity to show love. And we want to help, but also be kind and loving. This is for those of us who want to learn better how to choose the right words and make people feel blessed by us, not condemned. This is for those of us who have made mistakes and spoken out of turn. This is for those of us who have a hard time sometimes knowing how to speak kindly and reach people, but who want s badly to do just that.

And for us, I think I have a solution –

What if, instead of trying to fix everything, we just simply loved people and were willing to help when asked?

It’s just a thought.

Xo

hannah

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 Frozen – a government plot for world domination.

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Parents everywhere have been subjected to the torment of Frozen and it’s time to rise up and fight against this work of the underworld. No more Frozen sing-a-longs in the car. No more Elsa braid tutorials. No more expensive dress-up clothes that leave glitter everywhere. No more!

What’s the problem, you’re wondering? Here’s the problem –

The undertaking started innocently enough in my house. We didn’t see Frozen in theaters, but I had heard tales of its glory. So one day, on one of my many trips to Target, I saw that it was on sale – fifteen dollars for the ‘best Disney movie since Lion King’. So I bought it. That was the first in a series of tragic events.

Within a week I also owned the soundtrack.

A few days later I suddenly found myself buying a Princess Anna dress. I don’t even remember driving to the store. Suddenly I was just there. In the princess aisle. About to spend twenty five hard earned dollars.

I drove home in a cloud of confusion. What was happening to me? WHY was I doing this? I was already tired of the movie and yet here I was feeding into the insanity.

That’s when I decided to attempt to break free from the frozen chains that were binding me.

And so I watched – with freshly opened eyes. And here is what I found:

First of all – the obvious. Let it Go. I will murder the next person who encourages my daughter to start singing this song. Lets talk basics – the girl can’t sing yet. She’s two. Everything she sings is out of key and off tempo. Also, she only knows one part of that song. And her take on the phrase ‘frozen fractals’ is questionable to say the least. This song was obviously strategically designed by the devils helpers to destroy the souls of parents everywhere. Did you buy the Frozen soundtrack and then suddenly find yourself listening even after the kids were asleep? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. And there is help out there for you.

Next there is the very concerning plot line teaching kids that, while it’s not okay to fall in love and get married at first sight, it’s totally cool to jump into someone’s sled and spend the weekend with them at first sight.

And WHAT KIND OF HELLISH HUMAN BEINGS teach their kids that if they are different, they need to conceal, not feel? I’ll go ahead and admit it – I was happy when that boat went down. That’s called karma, folks. And it can happen to you, too. Just remember that the next time you refuse to let someone into your lane on the highway. KARMA! You could be sinking in the ocean before you know it.

Now, lets talk hygiene. It seems to be pretty clear that Christophe is dirty. It’s mentioned quite a few times. I would like my daughter to know right now, showering is a standard. Please, don’t fall in love with a guy who talks to rocks and doesn’t shower. That’s what straight jackets are for.

And Elsa – look honey. Be independent. Feel your feelings. Use your powers. But your dress was fine without the hoochie makeover. I mean, I get it. If I had legs like that, I’d probably show them off too, but you were supposed to be the anti-Disney princess and you just joined the herd.

But the worst part about Frozen? The mere fact that, despite just how much I hate it, I can’t seem to stop watching it. Has anyone slowed that crap down and played it backward to check for subliminal messaging?

If ever there were an opportunity for government mind control, this was it.

Every parent of a girl age 1-14 has seen it more than once. That’s a large population of the planet. Maybe we are all being brain washed into something. Maybe that’s why I buy so much wine? Has there been an economic effect on the wine industry since Frozens opening weekend? Someone check!

Until next time, guys, keep watchful eye over your home.  You never know what’s lurking.

xoxo