Playlist: Ray of Sunshine

Thoughts Behind the Playlist

This playlist is filled with songs that, not to sound cliché, bring sunshine to my life. My mind can be an insanely dark place and it’s nice to have music that brings me out of that. The playlist is dynamic in that it changes with what music I’m feeling at the time. This week it contains Halsey, Alessia Cara, The Weeknd, and a few others. My favorite tune on the list is definitely “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” by ZAYN and Taylor Swift because I’m Fifty Shades obsessed.

Halsey appears on several of my playlists. I love her voice and her lyrics. She’s incredible and her songs tend to hit me on a cellular level. Whether I’m sad, happy, whatever, her songs go with every mood I could possibly think of. Here lately, I’ve been numb. Very numb. I won’t delve into the details of why, because it’s extremely personal, but I’m numb. A good dose of Halsey, Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran, and a few other incredible artists has helped with that.

 

Playlist
Halsey

Playlist: Ray of Sunshine

Here’s the playlist. I use Spotify for the majority of my music. By the way, Lady Gaga is also on a ton of my playlists as well. To each their own but, for me, she is GOALS. Everyone should find as much comfort in being who they are as she does. She gives zero fucks what anyone else thinks and that’s admirable as hell.

 

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Top 5: Things I Learned This Week

Lessons Learned

There are little unexpected lessons everywhere in life. We never know where they’ll come from or what exactly they’ll be. While always being beneficial, they aren’t always kind. I’d almost be willing to wager that the ones that are the most hurtful are the most important. These are the top 5 things that I learned this week. Some are silly, some are serious, but all of them were beneficial in some way.

1: Binge Watching

This particular lesson is my favorite out of everything I learned last week. I’ve been binge watching Pretty Little Liars over the last few weeks and this is my third time doing so. The second half of season seven and the series finale begins in April, so I’ve been trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Somehow, yes, I have managed to miss things and discover them upon re-watching. That’s not the lesson, though. The lesson is in what becomes of binge watching. To my own amusement, I dreamed, last week, that I was being chased by “A”. Seriously. I can’t even make that up. “A” was running after me down a dark street, black hoodie and all.

Binge watching causes dreams about whatever you’re watching.

By the way, #teamSparia and #teamHaleb.

Lessons

 

2: Overly-opinionated Friends

Even when someone is your friend, they’ll still throw their rude opinions at you. It doesn’t even matter how long you’ve been friends, because they’ll still do it. I have this friend. We’ve been friends since I we were 5 and 6 years old, respectively. She recently created an Instagram account and decided to follow me. After about ten minutes, she made a Facebook post. According to her post, she had been looking through a friend’s pictures. While looking through those pictures, she realized how incapable some women are of going even a day without wearing makeup. She voiced concerns over clogged pores.

First, I don’t wear makeup on my days off. I like to give my skin a break. Like a lot of other women, when it comes to days off, if it involves makeup, pants, or a bra, it isn’t happening. Period. So I do go without makeup. We don’t live close to each other, so she only sees my pictures and, as a result, my well-put-together face. Even if I did wear it everyday, I can’t begin to imagine how my clogged pores are impacting your life. Calm down, girl.

She went on to ask if women really felt better about better about themselves only after they put on their “clown faces”. She asked “Whatever happened to natural beauty?” Some women are absolutely flawless without their faces made up. All women, in my opinion, are beautiful without it. All of you. Incredibly beautiful. That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t wear makeup. Makeup is designed to ENHANCE natural beauty and boost confidence. I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me feel more confident than a well-put-together face and a great outfit. That’s when I am most comfortable.

Have your opinions about things, but don’t step on the toes of others with those opinions. If you don’t like wearing makeup, cool. Don’t wear it. It’s really uncool, though, to judge others and call them “clowns” for wearing it. Really uncool.

 

3: Wolves

I have this “friend” at work. I say it like that because he’s definitely a fake. He’s one of those people who brings and takes. He BRINGS gossip only to TAKE it. When he’s standing there badmouthing others to you, it’s only in an attempt to get you to talk bad about that person so he can take it to them. About as fake as the eyelashes I wear most days, he trash-talks everyone he knows, even those he considers his best friends. And yet, he’ll take anything you say, even if you said it out of anger, back to the mutual friend to whom you were talking about. I learned that the hard way. He’s worse than most girls; a true wolf in sheep’s clothing. More than that, he’s proof that you can’t trust anyone but yourself. This goes back to the image used for the binge-watching point.

Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

If you don’t want it repeated, don’t say it to anyone else. Period.

4: Depression

People have so many things that they use to get through the lower points of chronic depression. As a recovering “cutter”, I try to look for anything to focus my mind on something else. Cutting is something to which I never again want to resort. I have little people, my kids, watching me and that’s not something that I want to teach them. My most recent episode wasn’t even a year ago and it nearly cost me my husband. That was the turning point.

Since then, I have been looking for things to get me through the really tough times without resorting to self-harm. Music can be touch and go. I’m a very analytical person and music can make that much worse. It can cause me to become too trapped in my own head and that’s a dangerous place. Neil deGrasse Tyson has been one of my biggest inspirations for quite some time now, but I didn’t realize how amazing his lectures were for depression. While some would say it’s his voice that helps, I’d bet money on the content of his lectures. He reminds me to “keep looking up”.

And he does it with well-placed jokes.

5: Stay Humble

You probably believe that you’re really great at whatever it is that you’re do. You’d likely even say that you’re the best. While I believe that you’re great, “the best” is highly unlikely. I don’t mean that in a bad way either. While my job isn’t the best job on the planet, I really though I was doing great. In the last two years, I’ve rarely had a supervisor complain or tell me that I was flat out doing it wrong. Why would I suspect that I was wrong on a grand enough scale to warrant reprimanding?

That changed over the weekend. I received both verbal and written reprimand within a span of 24 hours. I learned that perhaps I’m not as good at my job as I thought I was. Perhaps I thought I was because, during two years of employment, I had never had anyone tell me I was doing it wrong. I now know that I was. Even though I question the necessity of reprimand twice in such a short amount of time, I realize that I still need to accept that I’m just not as good at what I do as I thought I was.

You may think you’re doing an awesome job, but you could be wrong. Stay humble, folks.

-xoxo

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Top 10 Favorite Quotes

 If you’re anything like me, there are quotes filed away in little corners of your mind that are pulled out when you need them the most. In this post, you will find a selection of my top 10 favorite quotes. Some of them are serious. Some of them are humorous. All of them are thought-provoking on some level. The quotes in this post are based entirely on my personal taste. You are more than welcome to leave a word below with your favorites. I’m always on the prowl for new material and would love to hear some from your personal collection.

1: Falling Down

“The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell.”

2: Happiness

“Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people.”

You are incomparable. Don’t every allow anyone to convince you otherwise.

Quotes

3: Chances

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”

4: Kindness

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.”

Literally everyone is going through something. Always, always be kind. It takes absolutely nothing to just be kind.

5: Madness

“No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.”

6: Discipline

“Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t want to do it.”

This includes being nice to people whom you don’t necessarily like. Just do it.

7: Yourself

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

8: Beyoncé

“When you haven’t worn makeup in a week and you put on mascara and you’re like ‘Move over, Beyoncé! Mama’s back!'”

This usually applies to me when I’ve been on vacation from work and I’m getting ready for my first day back. My skin loves vacation time.

9: Humble

“No matter how big your house is, how recent your car is, or how big your bank account is,
our graves will all be the same size. Stay humble.”

This is a big one for me. There have been people in my life who thought they were untouchable. I couldn’t help but
be amused when life knocked them down off of that high horse of theirs. Seriously. Stay humble.

10: Question Everything

“Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything.”

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Current Playlist: Screamin’ Emo

An Emotional Thing

Music, for me, has always been a highly emotional in thing. Emotional in that what I’m listening to will always directly reflect how I am feeling. If you hear me playing Taylor Swift or Beyonce on a loop, I’ve got some pretty serious stuff on the heart that I just can’t vocalize. When my mood is light or pumped up, you can guarantee I’m listening to Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding, and a myriad of EDM artists. The playlist that I rock while working out is loaded with EDM, upbeat pop, and hip hop.

A couple of weeks ago, I created a new list. This list is filled with tracks that I only ever listen to when I’m pissed. And I’m pissed. I spent so long pretending that a one-sided friendship wasn’t one-sided. For a year & a half, I allowed someone to treat me as if I were the most disposable thing in creation. When it came to an end, I was so mad that I was calm. I realized that his behavior only continued because my inability to be a bitch allowed it to persist.

It came to an end and so did that part of me that lacked a backbone. I decided in that moment that I refuse to ever again let anyone treat me like that. The ending came with a myriad of feelings, but the strongest of those feelings was anger. And with that, a new playlist was born.

Music

 

Playlist of the Moment

I say of the moment, but who’s to say how long the moment will last? I like where I’m at right now. Too mad to tolerate anyone’s BS; happy enough to thrive without them. My current playlist includes tracks from Halsey, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Avril, Chimaira, Disturbed, Devil Driver, and other amazing artists and bands. Since there’s too many to simply list, here’s my list directly from Spotify:

There’s tons of great tracks on the list, so give them a listen. By the way, “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed is amazing regardless of your mood. His voice is entrancing. Definitely check it out.

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Toxic Relationships & Learning to Walk Away from Friends

Toxic Friends

Best Friends, Maybe..

We were the best of friends or so it seemed. You know the type. The friends who can talk all day and still not run out of things to talk about. We had so much in common that we were almost the same person. There was absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t have done for him. And then things changed. Something happened that turned everything upside down. In the blink of an eye, we went from being the best of friends to being perfect strangers.

The events that led to the breakdown are relevant, but they don’t belong here. That story is for another time and place. The only relevant bit is the part where we stopped speaking, stopped acknowledging each other’s presence at all. When you see each other daily, that’s a feat, but we managed it just fine. I would never admit that I missed those conversations and he simply didn’t care at all. No longer friends, he said awful things about me. Everything was, of course, my fault.

Months went by and I gradually got use to hearing the things he was saying about me. I got use to us not speaking or interacting on any level. It wasn’t something I needed or craved anymore. Our friendship was dead. So what? Then, one day, I opened up the door to conversation. I had heard something and needed to get it off my chest, so I asked about it just to clear the air. We became friends again after that, but it didn’t last long.

We talked quite a bit, but only when I initiated the conversation. There was no intentional interaction on his part without me interacting first. Even though he said I wasn’t, I could feel that I was bothering him, that he didn’t want me around.

No more fight

 

 

Learning to Walk Away

Flash forward just a short few months and you’ll find me where I’m at now.  I spend a great deal of my thinking because I have so much time to myself to do just that. The downside to that is that I sometimes stress about stress before it even exists to stress about. The upside, though, is that I give myself plenty of time to open my own eyes. Thanks to that, I’ve realized so many things about this so-called friendship and it was just enough to make me realize that it was time to walk away.

Let me tell you, if you are the only one making an effort to keep things going, it isn’t friendship. If you’re friends as long as you remember not to really interact with them in any way at all, you’re not friends. We weren’t friends. I was an irritation and he was just trying to shut me up. That’s something that I’m fully capable of seeing now. I’m able to walk away knowing that at least I made an effort, regardless of his behavior.

If you ask him, he’ll tell you that he’s a complete ass to me. He has no problem admitting that and it’s not something that he’s willing to stop doing. Being an ass to me is something that he’s exceedingly proud of. He still tells people the worst things about me. He’ll encourage me to talk to him, but complain when I do. If I just leave him alone completely, if he doesn’t have to really acknowledge my existence, we can be friends. We were never friends. Never.

I’ve never had a friend who was embarrassed to be seen with me. That’s not what friendship is. I’ve never had a friend who found so much comfort in treating me so poorly. The point where I learned to walk away is the point where I decided that I deserved better. I know my self-worth. Even if someone else doesn’t see it, I have to value myself enough to never accept being treated so poorly. It was time to stop fighting. His friendship was toxic and I needed to move on.

Disrespect

 

Set a Standard

You know yourself better than anyone and, in knowing yourself, you know what you’re worth. Set a standard for your own life. Know your worth and refuse to accept anything less. People can only treat you badly if you allow it, so don’t allow it. Do not ever allow someone to disrespect you without being put in their place. That’s something I’ve learned more lately than ever before.

Even without saying it, he knew how I felt. That’s why, for the life of me, I don’t understand how he could always be so cruel. It was a game to him and my heart was a doormat. Telling me one thing, but saying something entirely different to other people. He’s no better than a teenage girl in that regard. Actually, I know teenage girls who are more mature than that. It took realizing that I’d had enough to raise my standards and stop allowing it. I will never again make room in my life for that type of behavior.

I’m better than that. I will always deserve better than that. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who deserves complete disrespect from so-called friends, so do yourselves a favor and don’t accept that behavior from anyone. Ever.

 

With love,

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Necessary Lifestyle Changes – Week 1 – 2017

Lifestyle Changes

Wake Up Call

The year 2017 brought with it the stark realization that I was desperately in need of necessary lifestyle changes. Toward the end of 2016, my dad was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. When I heard the news, I knew that I had to do something. I knew that if I didn’t change my own diet, my own way of life, diabetes would be a certainty. My mom is pre-diabetic and both of my grandmothers were. If something doesn’t change, my future will be their present.

I’m 30 years old. I turned 30 in September. For a long time, I have been very disappointed in myself. Out of a sheer lack of self-control, I frequently snack on things that I know I shouldn’t be eating. Even knowing how bad sodas are for my bone health, I was still drinking several Dr. Peppers per day. To say that I was out of control is an understatement. If you add to it the fact that I was considerably inactive outside of work, you’ll see just how poor my decisions have been.

Necessary Lifestyle Changes

 

Necessary Lifestyle Changes

I have never been one for making resolutions. In my opinion, they are promises that we make to ourselves without any intention of keeping them. Resolutions are a waste of positive thoughts. What I decided to do is not a resolution. To me, it isn’t a promise to myself based upon good intentions. It is a necessary change to ensure that poor health is not in my future.

The first of those changes was my decision to permanently give up sodas and sweets. It’s something that I have tried to do so many times before, but I always set myself up for failure. To ensure that I hold to it, I’ve stopped taking money with me to work. By putting gas in my car the night before, I’ve stopped myself from having an excuse to take money with me. Not having money keeps me from buying sodas and sweets. If that’s what it takes, I’m okay with that.

Next on the list of changes was the decision to change the way I do things. I now make sure that I have eaten before I go to the grocery store. Going on a full stomach helps prevent hunger-based impulse buys. That means no random junk food at the checkout. My husband and I also cut junk food and heavily processed items out of our grocery budget. Since I know that I usually buy a Dr. Pepper on my way in to drink while I shop, I bought a Brita bottle to fill with water and carry with me. The changes that I am making are habit-based changes. Switching up little things to shape your decisions can lead to much healthier habits. Small changes can be so much bigger than they seem.

Lifestyle Changes

 

Following Through

In an effort to keep up with these changes, I now pack a lunch complete with something healthy to snack on and a Brita bottle everyday for work. The lunches usually consist of the meal I cooked the night before and yogurt, fruit, and cheese cubes for a snack. Because our meals at home only consist of whole foods and seasoning, everything I take with me is healthy. I still ate a doughnut today because we get free doughnuts on Fridays, but I feel a whole lot better about one doughnut when 90% of my diet is clean.

To keep track of what’s going into my body, I record everything on My Fitness Pal. Of all of the various food and activity tracking apps, My Fitness Pal is, in my opinion, the most user friendly. I would highly recommend it if you’re interested in keeping track of what you consume and how active you are. Knowing that I’m going to be recording what I eat for all of my followers to see helps me make better decisions.

Goodnight, beauties.
-Quinn

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My Kids Don’t Want Toys; What?!

Christmas Lists - My Kids Don't Want Toys

Christmas Lists

Every year, like most children, my kids put together lists of the things they want for Christmas. Each list has always remained very similar to the previous years. Ava almost always wants American Girl dolls and all sorts of goodies to go with them. Jack sticks to Ninja Turtles, Hotwheels, Star Wars, and video games. Cadence prefers Doc McStuffins and Minnie Mouse. They’re predictable kids who’re easy to shop for. That’s why this year threw me for a loop. My kids don’t want toys this year.

I’m sure that last sentence confused you as much as it did me. My kids, ages 4, 7, and 9, do not want a single toy. What?!

A New Theme – My Kids Don’t Want Toys

I asked them this year to create their lists. What they gave me blew me away. It started with Ava. Her’s was the first list I read. She asked only that I redo her bedroom. With a new theme being requested, she decided that she was getting too old for character themed everything. The theme that she wants is something that focuses on Paris. Even though she’s never been there, she has big dreams of going there some day. The City of Lights, to her, is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I can’t even disagree with her. Paris is always a good idea.

The thought, though, that she was tired of her room being so heavily focused on Disney’s Frozen was shocking. She’s “too old” for it? How can a nine year old be “too old” for Disney?

Of course, since her and her sister share a room, I had to talk to my youngest daughter first. Like Ava, Cadence wanted new things for her bedroom. I showed her pictures of what Ava wanted just to be sure. She was in total agreement. Paris in, Frozen OUT!

Having talked to both girls about their Christmas wish lists, I moved on to my son. To my surprise, his list mirrored theirs. My son, who always wants superhero this, Star Wars that, wanted his room redone. The theme? Hunting. He’s seven. A Mossy Oak lamp with antlers around it, a bear rug, curtains.. He wants the whole nine. According to him, he is also getting too old to have a character based room. That includes my beloved Star Wars.

Growing Up

Their Christmas lists and mindsets ushered in new themes entirely this year, both literally and figuratively. I still haven’t processed the idea, because it means they’re growing up a bit and trying to figure out who they are. Still though, I’m obliging their requests and fixing up their rooms for Christmas. After all, they’re “too old” for character themed anything.

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Favorite Recipe: Spiced Chili

Spiced Chili

 

Spiced Chili Recipe

I love chili. Honestly, it’s probably one of the best things about this time of year. Super simple in terms of preparation, it is a comforting meal that warms you up instantly. Cooking wasn’t really a thing in my home growing up. Mom worked all the time. Dad lived a few states away. My sister usually threw together some Hamburger Helper and that was what we ate. My grandmother’s house was where you went for awesome food. This recipe for spiced chili is one that I learned on my own and it’s a favorite around here.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 16 oz. cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans chili ready diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram

 

Directions

In a large skilled, cook the beef and onion over medium until the meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic and cook about a minute longer. At this point, you can either drain it or leave the fat in. I leave it for flavor. Transfer the mixture to a 5 quart slow cooker. Stir in the beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, and all seasonings; I place the bay leaves on top rather than stirring them in. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Discard the bay leaves prior to serving.

This can be served with shredded cheddar cheese and crackers, though I prefer my own bowl with tortilla chips. It is also delightful with a bit of sour cream on top. You could also serve it in a baked sweet potato. This is something different that I tried recently and it was both delicious and incredibly filling.

This recipe yields around 12 servings. The total time from start to finish is 4 hours and 20 minutes.

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Beauty Vloggers: My Top 5 Beauty Channels on Youtube

Major Obsession

15209251_10153468610732168_1500846666_nIf you’ve ever met me, you know that I have an obsession with makeup. I spend an embarrassing amount of free time watching beauty vloggers, hoping to master their techniques. I love learning

how to do new things. Over the last few months, my makeup game has stepped up quite a bit. My eyebrows aren’t as square as they were and my face is consistently blended seamlessly down into my neck. The countless hours spent watching these videos is obviously helping.

Because my routine and look has improved so greatly, I thought that maybe some of you would find the videos useful as well. All of the ladies that I am recommending to you today are definitely worth the view. Furthermore, they’re worth subscribing to. Always hit “Subscribe” if you really enjoy their content! With that, I present my top five favorite beauty vloggers.

Chloe Boucher

beauty-vlogger-1
Chloe Boucher

If you’ve never watched her videos but you’re really into makeup and hair, you should check her out. Her looks are always absolutely stunning. One of my favorite things about her, aside from her accent, is that she goes into detail about the products she is using. From brushes to products, she gives you the brand, color, and/or number of everything she uses to create the look. She also includes links below the video allowing you to easily access those products for purchase. I love how detailed she is in each of her videos and how perfect her looks are.

I didn’t have to work today and my kids are at school, so I spent some time watching a few of her videos for the 100th time. Watching her do her eyebrows, I realized what I’ve been doing wrong all this time. Well, I am pleased to announce that today is the first time I’ve ever managed eyebrows that look natural rather than being harsh and square on the ends. My real eyebrows are really pale blonde, so I have a really hard time with them. I was really pleased with how they turned out today.

Chloe Boucher – Youtube

Jordan Hanz

beauty vloggers
Jordan Hanz

What can I say about this girl? She’s incredible. Not only does she create absolutely flawless everyday looks, she also creates some out-of-this-world costume looks. As if that weren’t enough, she sounds a lot like me when she talks. She doesn’t filter herself or worry about what others are going to say. She just does her thing and keeps it real. Also, her Pop Art Harley Quinn is one of my favorite Harley Quinns and I’m hard to impress in terms of Harley Quinn. Being a huge fan of the character, I’m highly critical of any recreations.

Definitely, definitely check this girl out. She is amazing!

Jordan Hanz – Youtube

 

 

Carli Bybel

beauty vloggers
Carli Bybel

This vlogger became one of my favorites when she created a Selena look for Halloween this year. If you don’t know, I was/am a huge fan of Selena Quintanilla-Perez. No one can doubt that she was inspirational, beautiful, and insanely genuine. She loved what she did, she loved her fans, and she left us way too soon. All of Carli’s looks are absolutely stunning, but her Selena look spoke to me on a much deeper level. She’s highly informative when creating her looks, which is incredibly helpful if you’re looking to buy the products that she uses.

Check her out at:
Carli Bybel – Youtube

 

 

Christen Dominique

beauty vloggers
Christen Dominique

Of all of the beauty vloggers that I watch, Christen’s personality is my favorite. Bubbly, silly, and infectious. One of the best things about her is how she engages with her audience. Not only does she go step by step with the looks she creates, she also keeps the mood light and fun while doing so. There are so many vloggers who create their looks to music without ever bothering to speak to the viewers. They do not describe their steps, they don’t provide you with information on the products. You literally just listen to music the entire time they put on their makeup for you. It’s uncomfortable.

Christen isn’t like that at all, though. She explains everything she does, tells you about the products, dances, makes silly faces, and really engages. The looks that she creates draw you in. Her personality makes you want to click “Subscribe”.

Christen Dominique – Youtube

 

Evelina Forsell

maxresdefaultIf you’ve ever watched Evelina, you know that she creates looks that, while being everyday, come off as a bit more edgy. “Edgy” is so appealing when creating whatever look I’ll be wearing that day. Even if I’m just going to work, I want my look to make a statement. Just because my job is boring doesn’t mean my makeup has to be. That’s where Evelina comes in. Her looks are a little less basic, bringing in an almost goth couture appeal. For me, she’s in a category all on her own in terms of beauty vloggers.

Evelina Forsell – Youtube

 

 

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What No One Tells You About Being a Mom

So You’re a Mom

And, just like me, you’ve probably realized that there are things no one tells you prior to becoming a mom. It is, for better or worse, one of those things that
you have no idea what you’re getting

yourself into until you’re already in the thick of it. As I sit here typing the post, my kids are in their rooms arguing about something. Who knows what it is? This is their 30th argument since coming home from school. I’ve stopped asking questions at this point. They’ll sort out whatever it is that has them so riled up. Instead, I’ll grab myself a cup of coffee and lament over the things I wish someone had told me.

Social Media

I’ll start with parenting related Facebook accounts. In theory, they’re fantastic. These accounts are filled to the brim with so many different kinds of parents. Just a glance at the comment sections no-mom-is-betterand you’ll find new moms, over-opinionated moms, curious dads, experienced moms, experienced grandmothers, and so many others. It is a virtual smorgasbord of parents from all across the globe looking to either receive or give advice or, in some cases, escape from the day in, day out of parenthood.

Some of the advice doled out by some of these parents, moms and dads alike, is fantastic. There are so many who are experienced in so many different scenarios. The downside to this is that there are so many who are waiting at the ready to rip apart others for the advice being given. The way one parent suggested isn’t something another parent would suggest, so the claws come out. In a lot of cases, differences of opinions just aren’t welcome. In that type of environment, drama becomes prominent and the pages lose their appeal.

No Filter

Children have absolutely no filter. Honestly, I may have known this before becoming a mom, but I don’t think it registered fully. Children are brutally honest until they aren’t. They will over-share things that they really shouldn’t and lie about silly little things that don’t matter. It is absolutely astounding. How they decide whether or not to share is beyond me.

We live in town, yet out in the country. Our home is close enough to town to be considered “in town”, but there isn’t much around us. Four other homes and lots of wide-open spaces is what you’ll find here. Last winter, we found ourselves having a bit of a mouse issue. We cleaned and cleaned and cleaned, but they just wouldn’t go away. The problem lasted on into summer and we were at our wit’s end. In September, however, our neighbors found a kitten abandoned on their porch. We took her in, cleaned her up, gave her a name, and she became a member of our family. The mice, of course, vacated the premises.

During all of this, my kids would tell everyone they encountered, stranger or otherwise, that we had mice. It didn’t matter if they had known the person for five seconds or five years, they felt the need to share. When we took in the kitten, they began telling everyone that we got a cat to get rid of the mice. Things I wouldn’t share with anyone, they share with the world. The funny thing is that they tell things like this to the world but lie when I ask if they ate a piece of candy without asking.

Tattling

loki-and-thor-sibling-rivalryThe tattling. Oh, the tattling. Even my oldest child is guilty of this. They tell on each other over every little teeny tiny thing. Cadence, who is my youngest, will tell on her siblings if they look at her in a way that she finds offensive. Jack comes running if either of his sisters step even a toe into his bedroom. Ava loses it if the other two start messing with whatever she’s building in Minecraft. It is a never-ending battle.

After finally deciding that I’ve had enough of it, I started thinking of ways to curb the issue. When my older two children were in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, respectively, their teachers had “tattle bears” in their classrooms. Okay, one of them was actually a tattle horse. Regardless of species, though, they were one of the best ideas. The idea is that the kids would go tattle to the animal and the teacher would decide if she needed to intervene. Brilliant!

Upon remembering this idea, I decided to put it to use. My children now tattle to the cat. As they’re tattling, I listen and decide whether or not I should get involved. This tool, when used correctly, helps in so many ways. First, my kids know that I listen to them, now more than ever. They get it. I’m listening to every word they say, even if it seems like I am not. Second, based on my reaction (or lack thereof), they learn which situations warrant telling an adult and which ones do not. Third, I spend less overall time mediating minor disputes over questionable looks, toes in bedrooms, or destroyed virtual houses.

Summing Things Up

I love being a mom. This journey that I began almost nine years ago is second to none. There are so many little moments that I would not trade for anything in this world. Most moms can agree that a bad day is worth it when a tiny child bounds up to you, smiling brightly, wraps their arms around your legs, and says “I missed you, mommy.” It makes every second of every awful day dissipate, for the most part. I just wish someone had let me know, in advance, about the judgmental, catty moms. I wish they had told me that my kids would tell everything they shouldn’t tell to everyone they know and don’t know.

Being a parent, though, is, of course never black and white. There are so many books written on how to be the world’s best parent. Those books, however, forget one tiny detail. Whether child or adult, most human beings are anything but textbook. Most human beings defy all of the rules that have been set for us. Honestly, the journey wouldn’t be anywhere near as adventurous that way.

 

-Quinn

 

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