Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Reluctant Midwife- A Book Review

The Reluctant Midwife- A Book Review

I love getting birth books in the mail. I love reading them and then adding them to my library. Though I strive for minimalism in my life, I can't seem to wean myself from birth books. I justify this by sharing them with others in my birth classes and in the community. 

I have been remiss in this review. I received, The Reluctant Midwife in the mail some time ago. It is the second in a series of novels by Patricia Harmon, author and midwife. I enjoyed her first novel, The Midwife of Hope River and reviewed that book some time ago. 

In the meantime I also listened to her biographical book, The Blue Cotton Gown on audible. I should review that one too, in the mean time- I loved it. The Blue Cotton Gown is a great read on the struggles of modern midwifery practice, insurance, business, clients, and all the joys and sadness that goes along with it. I highly recommend it. It made my nightly walks that much more beautiful as I listened. Good books on tape encourage exercise!

But on to the task at hand- a REVIEW of The Reluctant Midwife!

The Midwife of Hope River follows the "becoming" of midwife Patience Murphy as she starts a midwifery practice in West Virginia during the depression. The Reluctant Midwife focuses on Nurse Becky Myers, a friend of Patience. In The Reluctant Midwife, Patience is practicing less, since she is a busy mom, and Becky Myers must take over as the local midwife, despite her general squeamishness around birth. Thus the title, The Reluctant Midwife.

The book is rich with nods to depression era history- CCC camps, forest fires, unions, miners, penny auctions and communities rallying together during times of hardship- which I always enjoy in a book. Some of the author's political leanings shine through a little here!

But the real richness of the novel is the relationship between Nurse Becky and her ward, seemingly crazy ex physician Dr Isaac Blum, who she has also reluctantly taken under her wing. 

This was my favorite part of the book- their relationship and their growth as they work through their own issues to eventually become better versions of themselves.

There is - of course - plenty of fodder for birth junkies. Both standard "easy" births, told with the accuracy of a practiced and experienced midwife, and some more dramatic. (One VERY dramatic birth- but I won't spoil it for you! You have to read it!)

While I enjoyed The Midwife of Hope River, I have to admit that I loved The Reluctant Midwife. I loved the complexity of the characters, the growth, the surprises, and the healing that all occurred in this book. And, I liked the ending better. Dramatic, happy endings where everybody forgives each other- I am a sucker for them. (As are all Jane Austin fans. Am I right?!)

I truly loved The Reluctant Midwife. Another great novel to recommend to birth professionals who need some fun reading- and learning- at the same time. Check it out-

Friday, August 28, 2015

How To Write For The Internet And Survive

How To Write For The Internet And Survive

how to write for the internet

I started blogging many years ago and have since written millions of words. (Well, maybe...I am not that good at counting.) I have around 800 posts on this blog alone and countless others in a variety of places. I have had the privilege of being published in several magazines, and even had a few articles in a small birth story book last year. I write regularly for Mothering Magazine online and I handle the content for Birth Boot Camp.

I can actually say at this point that I get paid to write. I didn't think that would ever happen.

I see so many people say that they want to write but are afraid. Some are afraid to do even a few posts for their business website. I wanted to share a few thoughts on this subject because... well, you need not be afraid.

First, let's discuss the all the things that are wrong with me and my writing.

  • Full disclosure, I am not a "real" writer. I have no degree in writing or English. 
  • I am a notoriously bad speller. 
  • Grammar...I didn't learn to diagram a sentence until high school and I didn't really get it.
  • Proof reading? That's for sissies.
  • Nobody has ever accused me of being a perfectionist.

Never fear. I am well aware of my faults. And yet, people give money to write for them. Are they nuts? Possibly.

Here are my tips for writing for the internet and surviving.

1) Don't Worry So Much About What Other People Say-

One of the main things that I find people are scared of is criticism. I have been criticized many times. Actually, thousands of times. (And I am not exaggerating.) I even wrote a blog post filled with my favorite negative comments on my blog.  I have seen hundreds of other negative comments on Facebook and various other places.

I can't say that I care too much what they think. 


Of course, I am not a sociopath so I care to some degree. But I don't care enough to let it stop me from doing something I love. 

Here is how I look at negative comments:

First- Are they right? 
Negative comments give us reason to re-evaluate and re-think our position. Sometimes, upon reflection, I find that I was wrong and they were right. Sometimes there are things I didn't know or just overlooked in my passion. This isn't fun, but it is a growing experience.

Second- Did they misunderstand me?
Sometimes negativity comes when I didn't express myself well. Then, a reader felt I was saying something that I didn't intend to say or didn't mean. This helps me chean up and clarify my writing so I can be more effective. What first seems like negativity can actually help make me do better.

Third- Do they matter?
Some critics are just mean, unhappy, or processing their own negative experience. Whatever it is, I hope it helps. But I don't know if it really matters what they think if their reaction is not so much to me, but to the content. There will sometimes be voracious negativity when you are dealing with birth and parenting subjects.

Do I really care what they think? Probably not.

Fourth- Don't read them-
Nothing says you have to read the awful things people say about you. If I am not in the mood for self loathing, I just skip it. I don't need the approval of a stranger to feel good about myself and neither do you.

2) Take Advice-

Now there are people whose opinions matter, even if it sometimes hurts to hear it.

I have had lots of smart people give me good advice on writing for the internet. It is actually very different than writing in college and it must be learned. 

Some of the most advice I have been given for writing for the internet-

-Short Sentences- 
People reading online do not read how they read when they cuddle up with a real, paperback book by the fireplace. They read in the grocery line or at school pick up. They want things quick, readable and easy to scan.

Keep your sentences short. Break things up. Use your headings. 

-Know Your Audience-
This pertains to the above, but it matters in more than just formatting. Depending on where you are writing, adapt your style to your audience. If you are writing for potential clients, keep it professional. If you are writing purely for clicks and shares, then consider what it is that people like. For example, naked pictures are great click bait, but they don't work great for promoting a professional business (unless...well, you get the picture.)

I write very differently depending on who I am writing for, Here, I am often conversational, but when I write for Birth Boot Camp childbirth education, I try to keep things a little less emotional and professional. 

3) Get Edited

As you know, grammar and spelling aren't my strong suits. I am busy and constantly overwhelmed with work and home. I often do things fast and dirty, just so I can get them done.

So don't be afraid to ask for editing. It is much easier to see someone else's mistakes than it is to see your own. I can read something I wrote over and over and not see my mistakes, but spot them immediately in someone else.

My dear dad is my frequent editor. I also share the things I write with my fellow natural birth instructors and doulas over at Birth Boot Camp. We share all of our posts with each other and not only does it help reach more people, but they give great feedback. So share the things you write with others and get feedback!

If I am writing about something that is admittedly not my expertise, then I reach out to an expert. Their comments and quotes add more than I ever could with my limited knowledge. 

Don't be afraid to bring in other people, get edited, get expert advice, and learn.

I guess my "advice" is full of contradictions. My point is to be confident, go forward, and do something rather than nothing. I have written tons of stuff that is total junk. It is a little embarrassing. But it was also worth it.

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY

Thursday, August 20, 2015

An Open Letter To Open Letter Writers

an open letter to open letter writers

An Open Letter to Open Letter Writers-

I have noticed a disturbing trend in the writing of blogs these days:
The newly aquired taste for "open letter writing."
Dare I admit that I hate such entries into the virtual world with a passion that pulsates purple?
In fact, I now refuse to read open letters of any kind.

Why should we stop writing open letters to those who have somehow offended us?

1. Writing an open letter is passive-aggressive. 

If there is anything offensive, it is the shameless wielding of passive-aggression. I know we will all be someone's mother-in-law someday, but it doesn't mean we need to start practicing now.

If someone does something you find offensive, rather than writing a very public and very open letter after the fact, why not put on your big girl panties and actually SAY SOMETHING at the time?

For instance, if someone tells you to stop nursing in public, to cover yourself, or has the unmitigated gall to say you have your hands full while you struggle with your horde of children, just respond to them at the time. You know, like a grown up woman with a mouth.

Really, no need to write an open letter to said person that they will never see. Why not handle it like an adult and speak up for yourself and your rights, right then? If you can't manage to do it, pretend you are a man. They seem to have no problem speaking their minds and getting it over with already.

2. Writing open letters is a step back for feminism.

Did I just say that you should pretend you are a man? I did.

I don't actually mean that. I don't think women should pretend to be men. I don't think they need to do that in order to be strong. I think women are strong all on their own. And I mean that.

That is why I think they should stand up for themselves directly and immediately if they feel that they have been done wrong. Hiding, crying, stewing, and waiting for a later and non-confrontational moment to publicly confront the offender does not make you powerful. In fact, it has the opposite effect. (Was that effect or affect? So confusing.)

No, the open letter (which I always see being written by women) takes women OUT of the arena. This ends their communication with other players. It removes them from the change, the conversations, the decisions that need to be made.

Rather, the open letter writer is removed, silent when they should have a voice, and communicating indirectly rather than directly. Frankly, we are better than this and we should start participating rather than waiting to say our piece until later. Stop it. Just stop it.

3. Writing open letters makes you sound like a whiner.

Seriously. It does.

You have a problem? Deal with it. Right then. Like a grown up with the right to vote and drive and all that jazz. Handle it because you CAN handle it.

If, you find yourself in a situation where you don't stand up for yourself and you realize it later, then go back and have a conversation with the person you need to have a conversation with.

Communicate. Talk. Be clear. Go to the source.

Don't lurk behind the scenes, complain publicly when you are out of reach, and basically act like you are complaining but afraid to handle it like an adult.

We are strong women. We are not four years old. We do not need to whine. We can handle this stuff!

In closing-
Stop writing open letters. Be a grown up. Put on big girl panties. Speak up. Remember that you have all the rights and privileges granted to an adult in our country and there is no need for open letter writing.

Maybe you are wondering if I noticed that I just wrote an open letter about how much open letters suck and how people should stop writing them.

Uh, yeah. I totally noticed that. And I think it's hilarious. Plus, I didn't want to go comment on every "open letter" post I have seen in the last year. I might hurt someone's feelings. And I'm nicer than that.

Sincerely and ironically yours,


Photo credit: Caro Wallis / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Vaginal Birth After Four C-sections (VBA4C)

Every once in a while, I get an e-mail that just makes me feel not worthy as a birth spokesman. This was one of those emails. The woman (whom you will meet below) did what many believe to be impossible- she had not one, but two, vaginal births after FOUR cesareans (VBA4C).

Birth Warrior.

Without further delay, here is her story. She did the VBAC interview that I welcome all VBAC moms to complete. Positive stories help others know that it is possible. And that is an amazing thing!
VBA4C vaginal birth after four cesareans
VBA4C- It is possible!

1.  So, I would love for you to first give a brief rundown of your first birth/s and what you feel like happened and why you had a c-section.
2006 I had my first baby born via c-section for "failure to progress" after 10 hours of labor and 7cm dilated.  
2008, 18 months later I had my second baby via c-section because my doctor didn't want me to go past my due date.  
2009, 14 months later I had my third baby via c-section again because same doctor wouldn't let me try for a vbac.
2010, 17 months later I had my fourth baby via c-section again because same doctor wouldn't let me talk about let alone try for a vbac.  

2.  What made you desire a VBAC when they seem so hard to come by in the current obstetric climate?
My fourth cesarean was the lowest point for me emotionally, I can recall praying in the hospital during recovery that I just could not go through this again.   And I wasn't even sure I'd want to have anymore children if I had to have surgery.  At about six monthss postpartum, a desire for another baby was so strong.  My husband and I talked and prayed extensively and decided we did want more children, maybe even two more.  And I knew that this time around, I would face my fears and advocate for a trial of labor.   

3.  How did you find a care provider who would support you? 
I talked with a lot of different care providers, even the most "vbac-friendly" OB in my state and he basically laughed at me.  I was determined to find someone who was willing to provide my prenatal care knowing that I was determined to have a trial of labor. I finally found a high risk OB at a large public hospital that was willing to talk with me openly and honestly about trying for a vba4c.  I did have to make a couple of concessions like schedule a cesarean for 41 weeks and agree to labor at the hospital with continuous monitoring.  And, the staff really wanted me to have an epidural so that I was one step closer to the operating room if I needed surgery.    

4.  What was labor like for you?
August 4, 2012, my labor started 5:30 am with contractions about 10 min apart.  My water broke around 12:30 pm, and contractions and intensity picked up from there.  I arrived at hospital around 4pm with intense, regular contractions and a lot of back labor.  At 7:30p, I was 6 cm and in a lot of pain in my back so I agreed to have epidural to help my body relax. Once I had the epidural, I went from 6 to 10 cm in 45 min.  20 min of pushing and baby was born just after 9pm.  
Vaginal Birth After Four Cesarean (VBA4C)
Vaginal Birth After Four Cesarean (VBA4C) Baby! 

5.  What helped you VBAC?
My faith in God, my super loving and supportive husband, my doula, a small group of women that were believing with me and praying for me throughout the pregnancy, and my OB that was willing to support me in having a trial of labor.

6.  How did you prepare for your VBAC (was there anything you did differently)?
I changed my doctor, and hospital.  And I changed the conversation from "will you let me have a trial of labor" to "I've decided to have a trial of labor, how best can I do this?"  I read and researched vbac a lot.  Everything I could get my hands on.

7.  Describe your VBAC birth story.  We would LOVE to hear about it!
The process of labor and completing with a vaginal delivery was so healing from my previous labor experience.  Our bodies are amazing, and we really are capable of so much more then I ever thought.  

8.  Has the postpartum experience been different than your other birth/s?  What about it surprised you? 
Such a difference postpartum.  Even my husband was shocked at how quickly I was myself again (within hours of giving birth vaginally) as compared to days after surgery.  After my vbac, I was up and around, using the bathroom, and most importantly I was entirely present and available to bond with, hold, nurse, and cuddle my newborn.  I too, was surprised at what a difference my post birth experience was.  Recovering from major surgery while caring for a newborn, and mothering my other children was an extremely difficult endeavor.  I would never choose that option again unless it was absolutely medically necessary.

I am grateful to say, I had another successful vbac delivery May 2014.  I am currently 24 weeks pregnant with baby #7 and preparing for another vbac, this time I'm going for completely natural! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Circle of Women

A Circle of Women

a circle of women
An actual "circle" of women. We were practicing neck massage at Birth Boot Camp instructor training in Indianapolis!

The birth world is an incredibly interesting place. All kinds of women come together because of their passion for birth to work as doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, placenta encapsulators, and more. You would think that being involved in the momentous occasion of birth would mean that all of these women are perfectly perfect, or at least kind and loving. You would be wrong.

Sometimes this circle of women feels more like a firing squad than a loving drum circle.

I think any birth worker notices this once they get involved enough and it is really disappointing. So much so, in fact, that I think some even end up leaving birth work altogether in order to avoid the drama.

Lately, I have been wondering a little about all this back room back stabbing. It has made me feel a little disappointed and hopeless.

But last week I went to another Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator training. I, along with my boss, Donna Ryan, spend four days with a new group of women every few months and try to communicate the skills necessary so that they too can go out and make a positive difference in the lives of women and families in their communities.

As usual it was a really beautiful experience. There are so many things I love about it.

I love that more than a dozen very different individuals from all over the country can join together to learn and truly feel as one. I love that our differences seem to disappear as we share our passion and focus on what matters: children, family, babies, birth, and women and their innate power. I love watching the outside "junk" disappear as each person lets their own true self shine through.

A fun weekend of training is always life affirming for me. But it is also so much more. The things that are built when birth workers actually work together and show kindness and grace are more than good memories and late nights. We are building an incredible community of support that crosses borders both geographical and political.

Recently my brother had his first baby. I wasn't able to be there since they live far from me and my own work and family is demanding. Yet I wept tears of joy knowing that they were supported by women in their own community who I knew, loved, and respected.

They took a childbirth class from a woman that Donna and I had trained. They hired her as their doula. They were supported by midwives. They were filled with their very own knowledge and confidence. I KNEW that this baby was surrounded by goodness and good people when he made his own entrance into the world in a peaceful and joyful moment.

I can't even express to you how much this means to me and how much happiness and inner peace it brought me.

This- a circle of women who support birthing couples and fresh, squishy babies- is what we can create when we truly work together as birth workers. We can have a friend or family member across the country who needs support and we can find someone we trust to help them meet their goals, when we learn to work together.

I am so grateful for this. It has restored my faith in humanity and in the birth community itself. And I see it happen all the time with our instructors and doulas.

We are doing a great work and when we work together as professionals, we do an even greater work that touches and improves birth for even more women. We can do this. We are doing this. And it is amazing. This is how you make a difference in the world. This is how love wins.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Remember When Facebook Was About Friends?

Me and Debbee! Debbee is a Birth Boot Camp instructor and doula in California and I don't care who she votes for!
Remember when Facebook was about friends?

I do.

Oh those were the golden days. I was living far from any family in a strange and foreign land known as "Texas". I was surrounded on every side by "George Bush" signs stuck in every grassy yard. Even the freeways were named after him! So strange and different from my native land of "California" where there was nary a Republican to be seen. (Though endangered in those parts, the EPA seems to be ignoring the issue. One can only wonder why.)

I discovered something known as "Facebook," in those golden days. My little brother said it was like MySpace for housewives. Suddenly, I could connect with family and share pictures of my son with them! Sharing pictures was hard to do back them because almost nobody had a cell phone and sending things like that via e-mail meant waiting an hour while it loaded and my dial up connection spun in slow confused circles.

But with Facebook I could share pictures of the kids and our life with my nearest and dearest. I even re-connected with some old friends from highschool, college, and other places I had lived. It was really an amazing thing. But my brother was wrong. Facebook wasn't like MySpace for housewives, it was like CRACK.

First pleasantly addictive, until it erupted in angry violence.

It took a few years, but eventually I found myself alone again in a new place, still a housewife, and feeling kind of sad. Suddenly I was somewhat addicted to Facebook and started sharing more of my "opinions." You may have noticed that I give a crap about childbirth. I was even more opinionated and sure of myself five years ago. I even occasionally noticed that my "friends" would sometimes disappear after I shared another ranty post about how c-sections are the devil or about how bottles drip sweet nectar from the teat of satan.

Wha?! How dare they! If they didn't agree with me, who needs them as friends anyway?!

At some point, a male friend of mine and former co-worker made a sarcastic remark about how he wasn't interested in all the birth posts. So I started my own "business" Facebook page, Mama Birth (to go with this here handy blog!) and started confining my rants to that.

Here we are, a few years later, and it has become obvious that Facebook isn't about friends at all, it is about YOU. Well, you and your opinions which are so very important that you MUST share them with the world because:

A)You are right (as usual)
B)You may be able to convince someone else that you are right
C)This is very important because, as mentioned, you are right and everyone else is wrong.

So recently there was this big supreme court case about marriage. Maybe you heard about it? There was also this big thing in California making vaccine exemptions harder to get. Maybe you heard about that too? Or maybe you are a troll and live under a bridge.

Suddenly my news feed was blowing up. All my friends were expressing their opinions on these subjects. Profile pictures were suddenly rainbow, people were pissed or happy or calling for the end of the world. Many hated whoever was on the other side. Or even if they didn't hate the other side, they sure had a lot of preaching and/or smug comments.

I have a lot of friends on Facebook. They are all different kinds of people. ALL DIFFERENT KINDS. For real. Politically, religiously, geographically, all very different. But I like all of them and have a connection with all of them on some level. Maybe we don't vote for the same people but we share a passion for birth. Maybe we don't feed our kids the same way, but we go to the same church. Maybe we don't go to the same church but we went to school together. Maybe they are people I work with, like, and respect, but don't know on a super personal level. I like all of them, and I hope they like me.
Big group of women I consider friends from a recent work retreat I attended. I love these ladies, even if we feel differently about court rulings!

But you have to admit, it is HARDER to like someone when they rant on and on about how stupid XYZ is when it is something you hold dear, or how wonderful XYZ is when it is something you strongly disagree with. This is hard for me, and I think it is hard for most of us.

I just saw a heated debate about vaccines and those "anti-science" people between friends today. "Friends." This happens all the time. (In between oil parties and music videos.)

I realize that I am part of the problem. I realize that now Facebook is more about promotion- of business, essential oils, opinions, and religions, than it is about friends.

But I would love to see it return to its former, rather muted, glory.

The problem isn't the advertisements, it's us.

We have become so enamored with our own thoughts and rightness, that rather than sharing cute things about our lives and pictures of our kids, we share our favorite thing of all- our opinion. And we share things that we would NEVER say face to face in polite company, with real friends.

Since when did our friends need to be people we agreed with on every single subject? It is really a disgusting phenomenon, but it was created by us and our constant need to pimp our own thoughts.

I beg you, all of you, for a return to those golden days when social media was actually about friendships and life instead of politics and opinions. I can't always control myself, so I have a business page for that stuff, so that the people who really want to hear my blessed thoughts can hear them, and those who aren't interested, can just skip it.

Let's be friends again. Polite friends who don't worry so much about shoving our opinions down each other's throats. Kind friends who like those who disagree. Respectful friends who know that we are all different but can still get along. Professional friends who work together well and don't have to share every thought on every subject.

Is it possible to make the switch? Or would we rather convince others to be more like us?

Join me. Share a stupid puppy dog picture today!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Depressing Parenting Advice From A Mom Of Four

Depressing Parenting Advice From A Mom of Four

Depressing Parenting Advice From A Mom Of Four

In my heart I know to never give parenting advice, depressing or otherwise, because this is a sure fire way to ensure that my own children will act like possessed heathens for the next six months. But here I go. What have I got to lose? Nobody around here listens to me anyway.

So just because I love you- some depressing parenting advice from a mom of four.

-Just admit now that you aren't that good at this-

This sounds harsh, but let me explain. There are parenting things that are hard for all of us. There are also things that you will be really good at as a mom. Maybe you rock at breastfeeding or not yelling or understanding teenagers or enjoying a toddler. This is awesome. Enjoy those moments when you rock at parenting.

Go you.

And I mean that.

But there are things that you will suck at. Maybe it will be breastfeeding or yelling all the time or understanding teenagers or enjoying a toddler. It's cool that you aren't good at those things. They are hard and nobody is good at everything. Stop beating yourself up. 

Deep breath. In. Out.

Doesn't it feel good to just let go of the fact that you struggle with some aspects of parenting? Admitting you aren't good at every piece of the parenting puzzle is really very freeing and helps you love yourself more. Work on the stuff you have a hard time with, then forgive yourself. Yes, yourself.

-Find joy in the fact that everyone else also sucks at parenting-

This sounds judgmental, and being judgmental is a big no-no these days. Do it anyway.

The reason I know other people suck at parenting is that I suck at it and screw up every day and I am sure that other people have the same problem. In fact, from watching them it is pretty obvious that they make mistakes. It is easy for me to see the mistakes of others- I bet it is easy for you too! 
The bad news is this: we are all messing up our kids in our own unique (yet invisible to us) way.
The good news is this: we are all in the same boat. 

Keep paddling sucker.

-Read murder mysteries every day-

OK, you don't actually need to be a die hard Jo Nesbo fan, such as myself. But you do need to do something every day that you love. Even if it is for five minutes of special time. I really hate it when moms talk about how they have no time to exercise or see friends or do anything they enjoy while they drown in a pool of vomit, laundry, work, and giving. 

Not cool. 

Mothering is a marathon and you can't finish without fuel. It is really a good thing that being a mom teaches us to focus outside of ourselves and give and give and give. This is a beautiful, transformative process that we all have the pleasure and pain of experiencing. 

It is also hard to keep giving if you have just taken the speed train to crazy town because you hate the life you are living because your children have beaten all the fun out of it.

So go get a pedicure (I would never do that because it is a wacko Western custom where a stranger touches your feet, but if you are into it you should go for it. I won't think you are strange. And if I do I won't say it to your face.) or read your favorite book or take a walk. Just do it.

-Use less words-

If you can say something with one word, don't use 10. For example.
Replace, "Honey, could you close the door behind you when you come in?"

With this: "Door."

This is some of the best advice I ever heard from a kindergarten teacher. We are a verbal culture and so we tend to overdo it with words, even with little humans who can hardly talk at all. Less is more. It is more clear, more understandable, and easier to follow one word than a dozen. 

Become the Elmore Leonard of parenting and stop overdoing everything with flowery descriptions of the weather. Leonard said, "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip." Parents should try to leave out the stuff that kids tend to ignore.

-Take a shower-

For heaven's sake, don't be a martyr. Don't stop bathing and blame your kids for it. Your baby, yes, even a new one, will not be harmed for life if you take a five minute shower every day. Your toddler MAY use a Sharpie on the wall, but you should still take a shower. (Just get rid of the indelible markers. They are dead to you now anyway. No good can come of them.) 

I'm not saying you stink. And, if you really just don't care about bathing, that is fine too. But if you like to take a shower, then TAKE A SHOWER. Four kids, ten years, I could count on one hand the number of times I have skipped my basic personal and daily shower ritual. And those times involved me being so vomitous that I could hardly stand. 

Taking time for a shower does not make you a selfish person.

-Never take parenting advice from someone on the internet-

Yeah, I know how dumb this sounds in a post about parenting advice. Don't do it anyway. (Or do...this is getting confusing.)

I refuse to take parenting advice from two types of people-
1) People who have less kids than me. Don't bother. I am rolling my eyes. Especially if your kids are younger. (Yes, I just admitted this. Compose your hate mail NOW.)
2) People who I have never met.  

The thing about people on the internet is that they can present their life any which way they like. They can take pictures at a made up house in a made up world with nice filters and lovely descriptions. But some kids who look great on camera are actually really awful brats whose parents you would never want to emulate and some people who sound good online are actually total morons who couldn't have a functional relationship if they tried. 

So don't take advice from them. People lie about their kids or are blissfully unaware of the reality of their own spawn. Close the computer. You are better off reading a murder mystery than advice from someone describing their perfect kids and parenting techniques that "always" work.

Spoiler alert- there is NO SUCH THING as parenting advice that always works. It never happened. And if it did it would be riding a unicorn over a rainbow to catch a fairy princess holding a pile of warm gold. Even the stuff that does work will eventually stop working because that was just a stage. Everything in parenting is just a stage. This ensures that once you get good at it, it changes.

By the way- if someone speaks in absolutes or gives advice in catchy, clickable quotes, they are probably full of it. Parenting is many things, but it is not easy, quick, or something that can be "hacked."

That's it. Enjoy my depressing advice on parenting. 

Or maybe you should ignore it.


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