Teaching your children that consequences exist: where do we draw the line? 

Well, here’s the cold truth: no one decides where we draw the line, except the parents themselves.

I can tell you, as a mother to a toddler easing her way into the terrible twos, when it comes to telling her no, or using my stern mom voice, I do not hesitate. 

However, when it comes to the way other people decide to handle the tantrums of their children and teenagers, I know better, I know that decision is up to them.

Some people, weirdly, do not know this though. 

There’s so many opinions from people when it comes to disapline – even people that aren’t parents. 

I can tell you, I was raised in a home where if I knew I fucked up, I knew what was coming. I knew every button I could push, and I knew where my parents stood. I also understood respect. Clarification here is that I wouldn’t have known had my parents not taught me. 

When it comes to whether or not a child or teenager is spanked, or grounded, or what have you, it’s not up to you, Mr Random Bystander, that’s why children have parents. Along with parenting, comes teaching:

Teaching right from wrong.

Teaching them the differences. 

Teaching them respect.
When it comes to the consequences and repercussions of the actions our children have done, that truly comes down to us. Stop telling parents how to handle the behavior – they will do what they see fit.

Stop telling parents that if they spank their child, that they’re abusive. (I know, as a child, the only way I actually learned something, was to be punished.) 

We are in the generation of technology and computers, so when a parent decides to take them away, it isn’t anyone’s place to say don’t you think you’re going too far? Because we arent.

What Not To Say: The Dad Addition

Dad’s, don’t worry, I didn’t forget about you.

I know that dad’s get just as much shit as mom’s do.

I know that sometimes, dad’s do not get enough credit, and typically when an outsider sees a dad with their baby without the mom, remarks can range anywhere from, Oh my, how cute is she! To, is she yours? Im sure it even gets worse after that. 

So, I took a little survey from the dad’s I know and love, and here’s what they came up with on things not to say to dad’s out there just trying to be dad’s:

  1. “People assume sometimes that I don’t know certain things about raising my kids because I’m just “the dad”, or they’ll tell me I’m babysitting my kids.” So, this one kind of fucked me up. Partially, because I trust both my daughter’s father, and Brenden, to parent correctly when I am not around. If people are going to assume dads are any less than mom’s, they obviously don’t have children. (Unless the dad has the flu, then it’s game over. He’s done. This was shots being thrown at Brenden, mainly cause he gets sick and thinks he’s dying from ebola.) Dads, like I said, aren’t given enough credit – this is one of those things. Odds are, unless they went to the store to go get cigarettes and never came back, these men have been there for their children since day one, or they have chosen to love a child that isn’t theirs, and either way the story goes: shut the fuck up about dad’s not knowing what they’re doing. They do. I promise. 
  2. “Do you feel weird taking care of another dudes kid?” This one came from Brenden himself, the second co-parent to my daughter, and the only thing I can say is, what the fuck? His response, I thought was just as he goes on to say, “She’s not just another dudes kid, she’s my daughter too; blood or not.” Brenden has stepped up to be Aryanne’s step father, and he does it effortlessly. He loves her more than he loves me, and if a man chooses to love a child they didn’t even create – who the hell are you to pass judgement? Why even ask a question like that? I mean, seriously. When it comes to step parents, especially ones that aren’t treating kids that aren’t theirs like a huge inconvenience, no one should be passing judgement on them. They are opening their heart to love not just their significant other, but a child they didn’t make.
  3. “Everyone thinks they know what is best, like I don’t have her best interest in mind. You should do this, instead of that. Susan, you shouldn’t go tanning but I don’t tell you how to live your life. I’m her dad. I’ll never put her in danger.” This one came from my daughter’s father, and I see this not only with him, but with myself. People try to tell you how to parent, just because you’re young, and like I’ve stated in other articles, that doesn’t mean were any less of her parents. 

    The list of things not to say to dad’s, isn’t nearly as long as the things people have said to Mom’s, but the important part to me honestly, is that when it comes to parenting: unless you made that child, no one should anything. 

    So dads, I commend you. For all the problems you face, for all the times people think you don’t know what you’re doing, for all the late nights you also spend with the tiny love monsters, and for all the things you do that people never seem to realize are important. I swear, they are.

    What not to say: Season 1, Episode 1.

    Pregnant women, this ones for you.

    I speak from experience on the topic of things to not say to a pregnant woman. 

    Surprisingly, pregnancy for some reason, screams to other people: topic of conversation.

    Let me just say that if you’ve ever been pregnant before, you know full well to not say anything to a woman clearly baring children unless it’s something like, how long do you have left? Pregnancy, for some women, is flower petals and rainbows – but if you’re anything like me, on bed rest at 35 weeks… You essentially want to assault anyone saying those typical bystander things. I took a little survey of things pregnant women wish other people would shut the hell up about, and I added a few of my own… So without further ado, here’s my list of shit to not say to pregnant women:

    1. Pregnancy does not mean incompetency. I mean this in a sense of, unless a pregnant woman asks you to help with something, or acknowledges she cannot do said action alone: typically this means, don’t say things like “You’re pregnant, let me do it.” Pregnancy doesn’t mean we lost our ability to be functioning human beings. We aren’t weak. We know what we’re able to carry, and unless our doctor tells us not to, were going to continue our daily routines as normal. 
    2. We are aware of what we’re eating and we like it that way. I have Crohn’s disease, and I am a different human in the sense of pregnancy, but I have experienced remission with both of my children. This means, my ability to eat what I want is now available to me. After years of not being able to eat this, or that, I am going to eat whatever the hell I want. We understand that it’s good to eat healthy, but for the most part, women like myself experience a sense of craving for very unique, usually unhealthy things. (With my daughter, it was snickers, mountain dew, and macaroni and cheese. With my son, blue Powerade, blue raspberry slushies from Sonic, and a specific Mexican restaurant.) I keep myself hydrated, I eat suggested amounts of fruit and vegetables, but I also have no problem giving into my cravings. That being said, do not say things to a pregnant woman like, “should you be eating that?” The answer is probably not. However, again – unless our doctor tells us not to, we are going to do it. Do not comment on how much weight we’ve gained as you ask us whether or not we should be eating something, because odds are, the response you receive in return will 10/10 be a bad one. We know how much weight we’ve gained. We step on a scale every month. You don’t have to tell us. In fact, please just fucking don’t. 
    3. Dont address our belly. Don’t say things to us like, wow, you’re all belly. Because odds are, we’ve noticed we aren’t just all belly and the constant reminder that it looks like we aren’t gaining weight is annoying. Don’t say things like, wow, you look like you’re about to pop. If we look like this, enough for you to open your mouth and say something, odds are, we already know. (And at that point, we’re probably already over being pregnant.) If we’re swollen, don’t point it out. When it comes to a woman’s appearance while pregnant, unless you want to call us a beautiful glowing goddess, just don’t say anything. 
    4. Our hormones are not the reason why we commit to certain actions. Hormones don’t alter everything, contrary to popular belief. The only thing my hormones have an effect on at 35 weeks pregnant, is my amount of crying. (Usually at sad movies, babies, or sometimes I will cry over not getting whatever weird shit I’m craving.) They don’t affect my attitude, they don’t alter my ability to make decisions, so quit blaming my actions on being pregnant and having hormones. Sure, I have pregnancy brain, I’m forgetful, but I’m not a bitch because of my hormones. I’m a bitch quite simply because that’s just who I am as a person. (Sorry not sorry.)
    5. Women in the first trimester who are still stuck to bad habits (smoking, caffeine, etc. Not hard drugs.) If people know you’re pregnant and see you’re smoking, someone always says something. Granted, I do not condone smoking while pregnant if you can help it, but being that I was a smoker, my OB specifically told me to not quit cold turkey, as it is proven to cause stress on the baby in the first trimester. Sometimes, these habits are hard to break, and if we are still in our first trimester, odds are our bodies are going through an abundance of changes and we are trying our best – back off, would ya? We’ll get there.
    6. Whether this is your first child, or your 4th, for some reason, in the third trimester, people assume it’s fair game to verbally assault you. Stop that, Susan, we take enough shit from our utero companion beating the hell out of us. We don’t need your two cents. “You look like you’re exhausted!” Yes, Becky, it’s because I am. Because growing a human is not easy. Because my body hurts. I’m eight months pregnant with a toddler. Of course I’m exhausted. Thank you for pointing it out. “Have you had your baby yet?” No, but when I did, you’ll see it on Facebook or something… leave me alone. I don’t have time for your shit.

      My advice, if you are questioning whether something you are saying is feasible to say: odds are, it’s not.

      Mind you, we may not let our hormones control us, but part of being pregnant there’s a time when we lose our filters due to pure exhaustion… This means you may end up getting told to shut up. Not our problem.

      Growing a human is hard work, but, slapping someone for over stepping their boundaries with word vomit? Not hard. Don’t test us. 

      Breastfeeding: Q&A

      This will be a more subtle article with a little less vulgarity based around the one thing that people usually have misconceptions about, and that is breastfeeding.

      I reached out to the one person that I thought had more knowledge on the basis of the subject than I do, and her name is Angel Simons. I will link her Facebook at the bottom and some other sources and links as well! 

      Before I kick off, I’ll start off by saying this: as a mother who could only breast feed for a few short months due to medical complications, I can tell you, the journey is a difficult one. There is alot that goes into it, despite what people say/think. It’s a test of patience, and it tests your strength. But, when it comes down to it, breastfeeding to me solely has more benefits than anything else, and not only is it beneficial for you, as a mother, but it’s also beneficial for your child. Not only that, but the bond that a mother and child grow through this experience is unlike any other, so I encourage all mothers to atleast try it before you knock it down. 

      So, I will now introduce Angel, and hopefully give those struggling mothers some hope in the journey of breastfeeding. 

      Angel Simons is the 23 year old mother to a very cute 2 year old little man. If any of you have her on Facebook, she quite simply made one of the happiest and cutest boys around. Angel is still breastfeeding to this date. She has also become incredibly experienced in the world of breastfeeding over the course of the last 27 months. So I sat down, and I made a list of things I wanted to know, that I knew may help others…

      Me: First of all, I just want to say thank you for allowing me to pick your brain about this! It means a lot!

      Angel: Im happy to help!

      Me: My first question for you is, in the beginning, what was the hardest part of breastfeeding for you?

      Angel: Well, the hardest part for me was getting my son to latch onto my inverted nipple, but, I know not everyone has that problem. That was hell though… He nursed from the same boob for a day and my nipple was bleeding. But, all around the biggest issue was baby and I both learning the proper way to do it. Getting the latch down was the biggest thing. I’m so thankful that the hospital I delivered at had a lactation nurse to help us.

      Me: Oh my gosh, that sounds extremely painful. What did you have to do to resolve that?

      Angel: The lactation nurse taught me tricks on how to extract my inverted nipple, and after seeing her, I was free of a lot of stress and discomfort.

      Me: Are you exclusively breast feeding or do you pump as well?

      Angel: I have not pumped since he was an infant.

      Me: So, in total, how long have you been breastfeeding for?

      Angel: 27 months!

      Me: In that time, what are some common misconceptions that you’ve heard from people about it?

      Angel: Probably that it’s wrong or weird to breastfeed past infancy. Either that, or the fact it’s shameful to breastfeed in public.

      Me: How do you combat those remarks?

      Angel: I’ve never had anyone say anything personally about the breastfeeding in public. However, I have gotten negative feedback for nursing my toddler. In those situations I’d educate the person telling them all of the endless benefits, one main one being that my son’s immune system is only 60% developed and that my breast milk is strengthening it immensely!

      Me: What are some benefits of breastfeeding that you’ve actively noticed over the last 27 months that you can tell others about?

      Angel: My son has always been extremely healthy, weight wise, intellectually he’s always been advanced, and he very, very rarely has gotten sick and when he does it was a very short duration. Another advantage is when he has gotten infections I would put breastmilk on the infected area and it would clear it right up!

      Me: What advice can you offer to breastfeeding moms?

      Angel: That it can be intimidating in the begining, but after you and baby get the hang of things it will be smooth sailing from there. Around the three month marking point it will come very natural. Stick it out, and stay strong. I would suggest avoid supplementing and pumping in the first six weeks while you are establishing your supply! Never feel pressured by external influences. Listen to your body and always see a lactation consultant if you are having issues. There are many cures to common issues women have, don’t give up!

      Something else was mentioned during this interview that Angel had said that had me literally in awe:

      “I have decided not to put pressure on my son to wean because of society’s standards of what’s “normal.” Him and I are both fond of the bond we have together with him nursing. I never expected to have such a strong attachment to breastfeeding him, so I also am in no hurry. I did want to wean him when he turned two, but I couldn’t stand the heartbreak he experienced. I don’t see the point in making him scream and cry just to put an end to it for other people. I don’t want to stop it and neither does he.”

      Angel is a perfect example of the strong-willed, breastfeeding mother I could always hope to be!

      I only covered the bare minimum in my Q&A with Angel, so I also dug around and did some reading with my good friend Google!

      Here are some links to articles I thought would be mildly helpful if you’re a new mom just starting out in the world of all things boobie-milk:

        Angel Simons FB: http://www.facebook.com/angel.simons.756

        Footnote:

        My personal advice to mothers just starting out is to not give up. Sometimes, it’s hard, and sometimes you truly do feel like giving up, but, I can promise that once the true latch and comfortable positions are found, breast feeding is a truly beautiful thing. My biggest support in the journey aside from my lactation expert was reaching out to other moms that we’re struggling with the same things. Having that shoulder to lean on, especially in the beginning, it is important. Fear not, no mother will turn you away if you need advice!

        Good luck in the journey and may the odds be in your favor! 

        Disregarded Parental Wishes, when does it end?

        I said no, and there is a damn reason for it.

        Now, this article comes from the heart of many parents who are really just over other people disregarding our wishes. 

        Parents like myself.

        If you’re reading this, it’s also parents like you too, because it happens to all of us.

        The people that do this, it extends from family, to friends, even random strangers.

        And we hate you for it.

        My daughter is entering her terrible twos. She is sassy, she’s got an attitude like her mama, and she’s got those puppy dog eyes for miles. She’s a Gerber baby beyond reasonable doubt, and for some reason, that means that people will give her things, and do things for her, that I wouldnt. 

        Let start this off gently by saying, please stop.

        She’s in a phase right now where she either wants to walk literally everywhere, or be carried. There is no in between. She’s also at a phase where she wants everything you’re eating. 

        You can see where I’m headed with this? 

        My daughter is highly developed in the teeth to gum ratio, she’s got a full set of very sharp chompers, and I don’t know if any of you disregarders know this, but toddlers can get cavities, and that’s something I’d like to avoid. (She still has two or three teeth to bust through as it stands.)

        When I specifically ask that you not hand my 19 month old daughter candy, I know you’re probably not going to listen, but for the love of Christ: if I’m actively telling you no, actively fucking listen. I don’t deprive my sweet toothed princess of much, but candy is usually one of the things I do. Sometimes, I will give her suckers, or jelly beans, but for the most part, that’s my choice, not yours, and she can satisfy her hankering for sweets with an animal cracker or twelve, or she can eat fruit, because it’s good for her. 

        I don’t say no to you because I am an evil she-bitch. I am saying no because the one person who looks out in her best interests is me. Also, because handing my toddler copious amounts of sugar, usually means she’s going to be up all night, and at some point around 12 or 1am, I’m thinking about creative ways to hide your body. 

        It’s not just food, either. 

        I don’t really like to subject my child to a few things, one of those things being danger. (Woah, shocker, huh?) You see it as doing something fun, I see it as me having to tear you a new asshole because my child hurt herself, etc. My definition for fun, and yours, are probably a lot different. Especially because that’s my lil womb warrior. She will be my side from the womb, to the tomb. Taking risks with her, even small ones, it’s just… Not okay. Don’t do it. (Unless you want to find your body in a blender somewhere.)

        If I am saying no, or asking you as a random outsider to please not do something, I hope that you understand why. 

        My little girl does hear the word no, and when you blantantly disregard me, you’re showing that tiny human sponge that it’s okay to not listen to mom or dad. (And that’s grounds for me to throw hands.)

        She might be cute, she might give you those eyes, she might say “peas?” Over and over and over again, but if I, as her mother, can say no to the world’s tiniest, cutest human, so can you. 

        Usually, parents don’t really enjoy telling our children no. It’s difficult, and it rips us to shreds, but in order to establish rules, in order to establish respect, we have to start when they’re small. (I think a wise man once said, “You can’t build Rome over night.”)

        Granted, I don’t expect my almost two year old to even understand respect yet, but manners are important too, so are general listening skills, and if you, random outsider, cannot listen when I tell you no, you’re setting the example. 

        So, with that being said, fucking stop it.

        Who created the idea that your life is over after children?

        Yes, Becky, I can absolutely go out, and you can absolutely buy me shots of tequila.

        This one really gets me. Partially, because I caught the pregnant young, and partially because even now, on baby #2, I still hear backlash.

        For some reason, people assume because you reproduced that you are incapable of loving life after that. Wrong.

        In fact, if you ask me, I think I loved my life exponentially more the second I heard my daughter’s first cries. People say things that are rather insensitive, people assume that you can’t have a night away, you lose friends because even they assume you are locked inside the house for the rest of your life.

        Granted, I don’t particularly like going anywhere without my tiny partner in crime, mainly because she can pretty much pull me out of any unnecessary awkward scenario. Also, because, well, she’s fucking cool. She may not be able to string together full sentences, or respond to whatever you’re saying in the correct context, but no one makes me laugh harder than my daughter does. However, I still get to go out if I choose. I am grateful for Brenden on this spectrum because he knows a social life outside of work and motherhood is just as important. Honestly, I don’t really care to go out, it’s not my thing, but sometimes, I like to see my friends outside of my home. I am an avid movie goer, so sometimes I like to go to the movies as well. I also enjoy nature. I am a human being outside of my child, but she by no means ruined my life. (My social life maybe because my old friends sucked, but whatever, that’s not really a loss to me.)

        I also commonly get weird looks when I tell people that I finally plan to go to college after Keegan is born. Why people assume I’m not capable is beyond me. (But you go to work, and have two kids… Aren’t you burning the candle at both ends?) I guess I would be, if I was weak. But, I’ve been graced with a DNA makeup of a strong work ethic, perserverance, and a strong attachment to obtain my long term goals. Children don’t stop those things, they are etched into you for your entire life. I want to give them the best life possible, and if that means that I am pushing myself past my limits, by God, I will. 

        Just because I had children, doesn’t mean that I am less of a human being. It doesn’t mean I have to hate myself. It doesn’t mean I’m ruined. 

        Because of my children, I have learned to actually love myself in a completely different sense. My children molded me into the person I was meant to be this entire time, and if you ask me – I think that’s pretty fuckin wicked.

        My children push me, day in and day out, because they depend on me to be better for them. They depend on me to survive. They are tiny succubus until the day they turn 18, sometimes even after, and they need me. (But truthfully, I think I need them more than they need me sometimes.)

        To whoever created the stigma that your life is over after kids: you, my good sir, are a fucking moron. Children not only brighten your entire being, but their entire existence shakes you to the core so hard that you essentially create an entirely new life after them. 

        This isn’t a shot at anyone who doesn’t want kids, this is a shot at the people who harp on parents for reproducing. This is aimed and directed at the people that assume you’re incompetent just because you had children. The people who think you have to drop everything in your life to be a parent. (You do drop some things, but most of the time, the dropping of things is actually pretty minimal.) This is for the people who have the idea in their brain that children are solely a mess in your lives, and for the people who believe children ruin shit. 

        Spoiler alert: they don’t.

        Seriously, look at this spaghetti monster and tell me how children ruin anything!? (Except maybe your carpet.)