Do You Hyphenate That?

On a fall evening 8 years ago I drove up a long gravel road in search of the place where I would soon have my court ordered mediation session.

Just one year prior at the age of 19 I was having a big dilemma of whether I wanted Taco-Bell or Wendy’s for lunch between college lectures and NOW I’m about to make life changing decisions in regards to our six month old daughter.

Wide ruled notebook in the passenger seat next to me with a whole lot of chicken scratch written requests.

$200 bucks in my overly priced jean pocket to pay a woman I’ve never even met HALF of the required service fee for this two hour counseling session.

Maybe then I should have considered changing my major?

Abby Warden: Certified Mediator

The job description will read…

Here to help you work through all your troubling life bull shit at the small fee of $400 per hour. Tax NOT included.

Anyways, this woman who doesn’t know me nor my ex from Adam or ANYTHING about the situation is about to get right up and personal with our drama.

Or she is just going to play referee making sure we don’t assault each other during that process.

I guess that’s why they call her a mediator right?

As I walked up the two small steps onto the porch of her cozy micro she shed, I took a deep breath and knocked three times.

After a few moments I was greeted by a women who I would say was in late 40s with white hair and a few bright pink highlights throughout. I swallowed hard and thought to myself, “Well here goes nothing”

The next two hours were filled with discussion about visitation times, holiday schedules, and who pays for what. Typical topics any parent would expect to come up during a session like this.

We managed to keep the tone of the evening fairly calm until the last name topic was approached.

A sensitive subject to say the least.

For men, I feel that having their children take their last name is largely a pride thing. It has been a long standing tradition in our country that children take their father’s last name. Pretty simple.

Yet for me, I was reacting merely off of emotions. My bitterness towards my ex was keeping me from thinking with a clear head and so I vowed to stand my ground.

Giving her my last name, now my maiden name at birth, was something I was proud of. I saw no reason to change it because well, her name was embroidered onto blankets, stamped on piggy banks, and on official documents like her birth certificate and social security card. Changing it would just be plain dumb right?

The pink haired lady spoke up for the first time all night. Although she was trained to remain neutral, for this decision Specifically she took my ex’s side.

What the hell lady! Did he pay you extra on top of your outrageous required fees?

She told us a story about her childhood. Growing up with her mom raising her due to her father running off on them. When a man she referred to as “Dad” finally came into her life she told her mom she wanted to change her last name to his.

She felt that for the first time in her life she TRULY belonged. Seeing how her name for SO many years came from a man she couldn’t even pick out in a room full of strangers.

It was then in that moment that I let my guard down and began to see my life from a different perspective.

We agreed to keep her current last name, but add my ex’s. Just hyphenated.

Will that be weird though?”, I asked? She responded, “Couldn’t be any weirder than having the last name of a man I’ve never even met”.

Huh. Yah good point.

Now registering my daughter for 3rd grade at a new school she is asked what her last name is. She mumbles out, “Well I kinda have THREE last names, but I just go by one”. I then respond, “She just has two and you hyphenate them”.

In situations like this, I can’t help but feel that an automatic judgement is made due to the fact that my daughter has TWO last names and yet neither are matching my current one.

In reality it’s basically a stamp on my forehead saying, I was pregnant out of wedlock and NO we aren’t married.

So theres that.

You know what though? It doesn’t really matter.

Our daughter has more grandparents than one can even count due to her hyphenated last name.

I stress to her all the time how lucky she is to have so many people to love her.

Often I’ll think back to the advice the pink haired lady gave me that fall evening.

In all reality your last name is of little importance. It’s the people in your life that show up. The people who you can pick out from a crowd and will be there with you in life through thick and through thin.

That’s what really matters.

PS I highly dislike hyphenated words. Does anyone truly know when to add a damn hyphen???

Modern Day Mom 101 (Abby Rincker-Warden)

To Medicate or Not To Medicate

Anxiety and Depression. If you haven’t struggled with one or both of these disorders yourselves, I’m sure you’ve watched as one of your loved ones has.

I write this to address those of you who at SOME point in your life have ended up at what felt like a dead end road where you were asking yourself, “To medicate or not to medicate???”

Route One and the route that you feel is the right route at the time. Choose NOT to medicate.

Unfortunately though this choice may result in continuing to feel overwhelmed, anxious, sad, disappointed, and as if you are letting your loved ones down if you don’t snap out of it. They tell you NOT to think about it (whatever it is that’s making you anxious or depressed). They tell you just to breath and calm down. They try to help, but after multiple unsuccessful attempts they eventually give up trying. They want the old you back.

You could try therapy, meditation, oils, self help books, exercising, adult coloring books, and implementing a healthier diet, yet sometimes that isn’t enough. And unfortunately, catching the next flight to Bora Bora for a month to recoup isn’t always financially (or in my case NEVER) an option.

So you could take route two. Chose to medicate. After punching in the numbers to your doctors office a hundred times only to hang up right before they answer, you finally get the courage to let it ring through. The receptionist picks up and asks for your name and what you are needing to be seen for. “Um I just haven’t been feeling like myself lately, I think I might need something to help with my anxiety”. Just hearing the words come out of your mouth is a dose of therapy itself.

Congratulations you just took your first step towards success.

After seeing your doctor and discussing whatever it is that has you down in the dumps, he calls you in a script to Walgreens and tells you to see him again if you have any other problems. “Wow I’m healed!”

As you are waiting in line to pick up your script you begin silently thinking to yourself. “Do I really need it?”. “Maybe I can give it a few more weeks, pick it up and have it on hand if it gets worse”. “Am I just overreacting?

You guys there are countless events in ones life that could result in a person feeling depressed or anxious and needing to rely on medications as the therapy choice.

So what happens next?

Well you take the drugs, feel better, and live happily ever after. The end.

Ya if only.

So reality is, drugs only help so much and for so long. By NO means though am I saying they are NOT needed. It’s just that we need to get to the root cause of the problem. Dig deep. Face your darkest demons head on instead of being a scared little bitch.

That was me. I was that scared little bitch.

So before I go on I’ll tell you all a few quick stories.

I’ve been faced with depression in my past after spending almost a year in court fighting a custody battle with my ex. That sucked. I always say I don’t wish that time of my life on anyone. Not even my worst enemy. Having your future be held in the hands of a man in a black robe is terrifying. But you know what? It passed.

I held the hands of a complete stranger who was the first responder of my 911 call after I suffered from my first FULL blown panic attack. I SWORE it was my heart. I thought to myself, “This is how it all ends right here”. I was juggling nursing school, a new born baby, living off of one income for our family of four, and trying to survive on pop tarts and caffeine. But you know what? That also passed.

After traveling with my family to Gulf Shores for a relaxing beach VACA I think we spent more time in the pharmacy drive-through for me to pick up my prescribed Ativan than we did actual sight seeing. It’s comical now, but it was hell! You know what though? That time in my life passed, just like those other moments I thought wouldn’t.

If you are just at the point in your life where you have decided to rely on medications to get through whatever it is you are battling, you will get through it. This too shall pass.

If you’ve been on drugs for years and think to yourself, “I’ll NEVER be able to stop them” or “ I see no reason to ever NEED to stop them”, give it time.

But for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, SERIOUSLY don’t be so hard on yourself.

Take the drugs.

But also drink more water, eat more vegetables, go for a walk, get off social media, call up your grandma (who you know is old and won’t live forever…so stop pretending she will), and just enjoy your life. Even if you don’t accomplish any of those things, STILL don’t be so hard on yourself.

Until next time

Modern Day Mom 101

I

Sex and Donuts

Quick flashback 10 years ago.

My legs were tan, muscular, and usually being shown off in a micro mini skirt my mom more than likely DIDNT approve. My breasts were perky and although small, were seen as one of my feminine features I enjoyed showing off in the summer. Two piece string bikini, baby oil lathered thick, and not a care in the world of skin cancer.

You know, back to the days when you thought you were fat and now you DREAM of having a body like you once did. Way back when you could eat a whole package of Mint Oreos and not have to suffer through the consequences, guilt, or judgement.

The biggest obstacle I faced was finding a good parking spot to go with my boyfriend(s). My life was carefree, enjoying exploring my body and becoming in tune with my inner sexuality. Just the touch of a hand would send chills down my spine and make my heart feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Ah dreamy isn’t it?

Alright I’m just going to throw it out there. It’s no surprise that I didn’t wait to have intercourse until marriage. I couldn’t even lie to you if I wanted. I was pregnant at 18 you guys. The facts are obvious. That’s my confession. Glad I got that off my chest.

So quick preaching moment here. Dust that old bible off. Read some scripture on sex before marriage. God warns us of the consequences. Don’t say he didn’t tell you so. Even if you have found God in your life and are faithful to him, it doesn’t mean your kids have.

So parents. Plan A is to teach your kids abstinence (no sex until marriage), BUT when Plan A fails use Plan B.

Make sure your kids know HOW to prevent pregnancy. Give them resources they can use to their advantage. Don’t just think they know better, because let’s be honest, you couldn’t even refrain from by passing Dairy Queen on your way home from work or from buying more pumpkin decor from Hobby Lobby you didn’t need. Kids are faced with temptation themselves. We are all human. We all sin.

Okay point made.

While my breasts are currently abnormally larger than their original size, it’s not from elastic tissue holding those girls up. They are engorged with milk, veins protruding prominently, and being supported by an unflattering BUT extremely purposeful nursing bra.

My lady parts have still never regained themselves after suffering though a 4th degree laceration after giving birth to my first born. I asked my doctor how it looked down there as he strategically tried to put the pieces back together and his reply was, “It looks similar to Osama bin Ladens face”.

For those of you who DON’T know who he was referring to here, this man was a terrorist, and had just been assassinated two days prior by a gun shot wound. Enough said.

It’s very comical, so don’t be appalled by his statement. In that moment, I needed some sick humor to get me through the next few weeks as I entered the journey of motherhood.

Since that day, we’ve added two more children to our tribe. I’ll be honest. My husband and I don’t make the time for each other we should. Date nights are reserved for our anniversary. Sex is squeezed into a small ten minute window and feels more like a chore than a pleasure. Trying to shut my mind off from the long list of to dos is nearly impossible unless I’ve had a few drinks of alcohol to pause my busy brain.

I dream of the days where back rubs and sweet talking were requirements prior to initiating sex. Now I settled for, “Lets go to the bedroom”, as my cue. I laugh with my girlfriends about all the lines our significant others use to get them into bed, or the bathroom, or bent over in the garage because it’s the only place they can hide from their kids for a hot second. As women we long for those deep conversations about life and expect our men to think as we do. But they are men. They don’t.

So please don’t be surprised when you just want to talk about what’s on their mind and they respond, “Sex..and well donuts..but mostly sex”.

Men. Women need that extra sparkle from time to time. Put a little extra effort into it and you might be surprised with the results.

Ladies. Make time to meet your mens needs and don’t just pencil it onto your to do list. Use permanent ink. Sex is just as important to men as the water (or beer) they drink and the air they breath.

Find that girl. She’s still in there.

Sincerely,

Modern Day Mom 101

How To Know If You Are Crazy

You guys it’s Friday The 13th AND it’s a full moon!!! I try not be a superstitious person, but after working as a Labor and Delivery Nurse over the past three years I would have to say there is SOME truth to the full moon theories.

Women seem to be more likely to arrive on our unit in spontaneous labor and with their water broken. Bad events (I won’t even SPEAK of considering I’m currently on call righty now) are also more likely to happen. Usually the full moon brings “bat shit” crazy nights where just when you think it can’t get ANY worse, more chaos comes through our doors. Lord Help Us!

It’s also believed that when the moon is full, women are more likely to be fertile. So ladies, if you’ve had trouble harvesting those precious eggs, you better dust those lacy Victoria’s Secret bras off and put your granny panties aside for the night to make the magic happen. Not that our men care about that fancy lingerie anyways. They are usually just happy to be “getting it”. Just saying. Don’t gasp. You know it’s true.

Anyways, the werewolf’s come out to howl at the moon and so do all the crazies. But do me a favor though and define crazy??? What kind of behavior do crazy people actually display?

So quick story.

When I was a kid I remember driving around downtown Effingham with my mom. If we were lucky, we would catch a glimpse of a man named Granville Davis otherwise known as “Alleyoop”. Alleyoop was know for his crazy attire. A man wearing work boots, a dress, and pushing a shopping cart around town with the few belongings he had to his name. He was homeless and I’m sure considered a little “crazy” to everyone in the community due to his life style choices.

I’ll admit that as a child I thought it was quite odd that a man would be wearing a women’s dress. He must be a little crazy right?

Well you want to know what else is crazy?

How about when you run into someone you weren’t expecting to see at Walmart. You nudge your husband that you want to avoid the isle ahead because the conversation will be awkward due to past occurrences. Only the lady you were hoping to NOT get caught talking to turns and now you are within cart distance from each other. You pull a fake smile out and a “Hi, How are you?” as she then responds, “Good, How are you?”. “Good!” Man do I hate small talk. Why do we do this to ourselves???

You want to know what else is crazy?

How about when we purchase brand new $80,000 vehicles for them just to depreciate as soon as we drive them off the dealers lots. Crazy!

Or the fact that we think we need to live in 4,000sq foot houses when there are kids in our country starving to death. Even crazier!

What about putting on makeup every single day just go wipe it all off again in the evenings? Just dumb I tell you. Yet I’m guilty.

And now as a nurse, it is constantly stressed to me the importance of charting. “If you didn’t chart it, you didn’t do it”. Really? Because I beg to differ. After spending the past hour assisting a woman successfully breastfed her baby for the first time and then being quickly pulled away for an emergency c-section it’s possible to forget to chart what all happened prior to that tragic event. I get it. We pay a lot for our health care. People deserve EXCEPTIONAL service. But if it gets pulled up in a court case ten years later and I managed to NOT chart something I actually did, I think it is PURE CRAZINESS that it could be used against me! We are only human. Not robots. And yet for some reason we seem to be living that way.

Now before you judge someone for their lifestyle choices, maybe you should take a good look at your own for a change. It might just change your perception of what crazy really means.

Grandville Davis “Alleyoop” is starting to seem less and less crazy to me. Honestly I think he might have had it all figured out.

Until next time.

Modern Day Mom 101

I Don’t Feel Like Parenting Today

Let’s see a raise of hands of all you parents who just don’t feel like parenting today.

Come on now. Don’t be shy. No one is judging you.

I’m just kidding. More people than not are probably judging you, but it’s only because they have nothing better to do in their boring lives. Their opinions do NOT matter, so PLEASE do not get caught up on what others have to say.

I on the other hand will never judge a parent openly admitting that that need a day off. I’m the first to say when I need a mental health day.

Also, now that I’m on this rant, all you guys and gals who don’t have kids, it’s OKAY for you to be tired too. You are a person. You matter. And you are just as entitled to a mental health day as any parent is. So parents, please refrain from telling your friends without kids, “You don’t even know what tired is. You just wait”. Just stop that.

Glad I cleared that up.

So we’ve had some long nights in the Warden house. Our almost six month old is teething. Let me just go ahead and tell you it’s been a real bitch. He wakes up several times a night in pain and getting him back to sleep isn’t always easy. The days haven’t been so great either. I can’t blame the kid for being angry at the world considering he basically has bone protruding through his gum line. No one likes to have a tooth ache. Babies are not exempt from complaining.

If any of you have suggestions for teething babies, I’m open ears. Or if you just want to bring over a bottle of wine before bed that would be great too. Thanks.

I might add the wine is for me, not the baby. But if I get desperate enough who knows??? Whisky didn’t become a thing for teething troubles for no damn reason. Just saying.

Anyways, our 4 year old has been waking up during the night to let us know he needs to pee, or that he needs something to drink, or that he had a bad dream, or that he wants to sleep with us. Basically every night he finds his way to our room to wake us up for something. Usually he manages to come in shortly after we put his little brother back to sleep and we had finally fallen back to sleep ourselves. I mean the ten minute tantrum didn’t wake you? Glad to hear you to slept through that son. At least one of us can!

Needless to say, we aren’t sleeping much. So are you still going to be one of those people who say, “Just enjoy it while you can”. “Time goes to fast, you will miss this one day”?

Yes I KNOW. But what I also know is that I’m EXHAUSTED 99% of the time. I also know I shouldn’t complain. There is always someone who has it worse or that would LOVE the opportunity to be a mother. Yet at the same time there are still those days that I just don’t feel like parenting. Yes, I said it.

Sometimes I see freshly married women out and about and I want to chase them down to warn them of the toll becoming a mother will take on their bodies. You sure you want to do it there sister???

Listen…you like sleep? Well you better kiss those precious nights good bye because you are going to be a fricken zombie walking around with saggy leaking tits, two inches of overgrown roots on your head, unshaven legs, a wardrobe of clothes you will never wear, and the only vacation you are taking is to your bathroom where you will throw yourself in the tub and pray the little people you created won’t find you. Sounds like fun right?”

Alright that was a little harsh.

You guys I love being a mom.

I love nursing my baby and seeing his little eyes look up at me as he pats his chubby hands on my chest and pulls my hair with his curious fingers. I cherish those moments.

I love when my 4 year old asks me to read him a book and as I finish the last page he asks me to read it again, and then again, and watching his eyes light up scanning over the pages soaking in every word of the story. I cherish those moments.

I love when my daughter watches me try on dresses and says how they look so good on me and she wants to keep them for when she grows up. And when she sneaks into my makeup bag to put ten layers of blush on and comes out wearing my heels around the house pretending she is a mom of her baby dolls. I cherish those moments.

I wouldn’t ever trade this life. It’s so beautiful being a mother. It really is.

Doesn’t mean there still aren’t days where I don’t feel like parenting. I think we are all entitled to a day or two of those.

Remember to always make some time for yourself. Even if it’s a thirty minute uninterrupted bathroom trip to soak your troubles away.

It will make you a better parent in the long run.

Sincerely,

Modern Day Mom 101