Why I’m Thankful My Soon-To-Be Stepson Didn’t Want A Stepmom

“My daddy doesn’t want to marry you!”

I remember rushing to get ready for my fiancé and my first date. Yelling down to my roommate, proclaiming I was done with dating for the summer if this one didn’t work out. Online dating, pleasewho really meets their husband this way?

It was his smile, or I should say the way he smiled at me that caught my attention. I knew right off the bat he was interested. It was on our second date where the conversation took a more serious turn.

“I have something to tell you before we move any further,” he said. I jokingly asked if he had just gotten out of prison. “Close,” he said, “but actually I’m recently divorced and have a two-year-old son.”

The idea of dating a divorced man, let alone a divorced man with kids, was something that never crossed my mind. I was still in my twenties at that time, with little to no personal baggage of my own and a thriving career, did I really want to take this on?

John was upfront from the start; he was a packaged deal and wanted me to be a part of it. There were no games, no back and forth. By our fourth date he wanted to make it official. It was refreshing and terrifying all at the same time.

The conversations that followed surrounding a messy divorce, custody battles, and shared time made me want to run for the door more than once. Not to mention the slew of new insecurities and questions that started to flood my head. Will his son like me? Will I like him? Am I ready for this type of commitment? Where will I fit in?

Six months later, my fears were put to rest when John and I decided it was time for me to meet his son. Blonde hair, blue eyes and the same magnetic smile as the man I was now very much in love with — I was a goner.

In the years that followed, I settled into my new role nicely. I never understood when friends, even family members, would comment on our situation. “Oh he’s divorced, really? And a kid, oh my.” “How is the ex? Do you get along with her?” “Do you know what you are getting yourself into?” “Just be careful. You know you are NOT the mother.” One particular night I remember asking a friend who had previously dated a man with children if she had any advice. Without hesitation, she said, “You have two options. You can run. Or, number two, live by one motto: ‘Not my monkey, not my circus.'”

Really? Was she comparing my relationship to Barnum and Bailey? Were these the only options I had? Well, not me! I told myself as I sipped on my second glass of Pinot Grigio. They obviously don’t know our relationship! 

In part it was true — up until this point there had been no major bumps in the road. No inkling of those horror stories that come along with dating a divorced man. Thinking back, this was mainly due to John. He truly meant what he said on those first few dates; he wanted me to be a major part of his son’s life. I never felt left out during weekend visits. Every activity or holiday we planned together. He shielded me from the drama of his first marriage and the pain it has caused him — something I still maintain I will never be a part of, as long as I can help it. I have always had a wonderful and loving relationship with his son and believed it would only get better after we became engaged. That was until a few months ago when my perfect fantasy slapped me in the face.

It was a typical morning. I was making my second cup of coffee and cleaning up from the night before. John was taking a shower and getting ready for the day. His son was on the floor playing with the newest Lego contraption we had just put together and loudly yelling, “I am Batman!” Like I said, a very typical morning.

“Katie,” he suddenly said, staring up at me.

“Yes, bud?”

“My daddy told me he doesn’t want to marry you.”

“What?” I wondered if I’d heard him wrong.

“My daddy doesn’t want to marry you.”

I stopped what I was doing and sat next to him on the couch. “Now, buddy, I know your daddy did not say that. Are you upset Daddy and I are getting married? If you are, you can tell me.”

“No, I’m not upset,” he said. “But I think Daddy should marry Mommy. Mommies and Daddies should be married. Can you marry someone else?”

My heart sank. He had never expressed any feeling of wanting his parents to be together so it never dawned on me he would be upset about us getting married. I felt like I had failed him in some way for being so naïve.

Over the next few months, I poured over every stepmom book I could get my hands on. Reading every article on blended families and how to make this “thing” work. I found some articles endearing and hopeful, and some that quite frankly scared the crap out of me. I felt all my past insecurities bubbling up to the surface and I wanted to scream. Was I really back to this place of questioning whether or not I was ready for this type family dynamic? Am I ok with this being my life forever?

And then I remembered the advice my friend gave me years before: “Not my monkey, not my circus.” At the time, I was too blinded by my perfect blended family fantasy to understand what she meant. But then it hit me: It’s not my responsibility! I could spend months, or even years, torturing myself, wondering if my future stepson will ever fully accept me. Or I can come to the realization that I am not responsible for a situation I ultimately have no control over.

Am I upset to know that deep down he would like me out of the picture? Yes, of course! But I am also thankful — thankful because in some way it has allowed me to let go of this unrealistic dream I have held on to for far too long. I have come to the conclusion that in the end, no one wants a stepmom, but also no one expects to be a stepmom. The best I can do is show up each day and give it my all. Will there be hiccups, fights, and drama in the future? Yes, I am certain of it. But this is the role I have chosen to play. And hopefully, one day, the little boy I have grown to love so much will be happy I have chosen him too.

The post Why I’m Thankful My Soon-To-Be Stepson Didn’t Want A Stepmom appeared first on Scary Mommy.

Check Off Your List With These Labor Day Back To School Deals

How are you planning to spend YOUR Labor Day weekend? If you’re anything like us, it will probably be shuffling through the aisles of a big box store, clutching a crumpled, sweaty printout of your kid’s Back To School supply list. We’ve got a better plan. Scroll through our roundup of the best Back To School Labor Day sales and spend the last remaining moments of summer somewhere you actually enjoy.

Hannah Andersson

40% OFF Everything; 30% OFF Sleep; Additional 30% OFF Clearance

Marshmallow Hoodie

$37.20 AT HANNAH ANDERSSON

40% OFF (was $62)

Organic Long John PJs

$30.80 AT HANNAH ANDERSSON

30% OFF (was $44)

eBags

Up to 65% OFF  fall must-haves.

Jansport Superbreak Backpack

$26.99 AT eBAGS

35% OFF (was $35.99)

SwissGear 19″ Laptop Backpack

$62.99 AT eBAGS

65% OFF (was $180)

 

More deals to scope out!

Maisonette

Up to 40% OFF amazing shoes, clothing and accessories for all ages

GapKids

8/29: Up to 50% OFF + extra 25% OFF with code AUTUMN.

8/30 – 9/2: 40% everything with code DAYOFF.

American Eagle

25-60% OFF everything; 50% OFF bras.

Finish Line

Up to 60% OFF brands like Nike, Adidas, and Puma.

Target

30% OFF select backpacks; great deals on BIC, Mead, and more.

 

Our mom experts only recommend picks they really love. We may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site, but if we love it, we know you’ll love it. And we Scary Mommies gotta stick together. 

 

The post Check Off Your List With These Labor Day Back To School Deals appeared first on Scary Mommy.

50+ Jolly Christmas Jokes For Kids Sure To Put You On Santa’s Nice List

Christmas is an opportunity to spend time with family and honor or create new traditions. Some people embrace group activities, like watching A Christmas Story on repeat, while others toil away in the kitchen, lovingly crafting a disgusting fruitcake that no one will eat. Why not make sharing laughs part of your holiday experience with these clean, kid-friendly Christmas jokes?

1. Why was the little girl so cold on Christmas?

Because it was Decembrrrr.

2. What do snowmen eat for breakfast?

Snowflakes.

3. Why do mummies like Christmas?

Because of all the wrapping.

4. How do sheep say Happy Holidays to each other?

Merry Christmas to ewe.

5. What does a Gingerbread man make his bed with?

A cookie sheet.

6. Where does the snowman keep his money?

In a snow bank.

7. What is every parent’s favorite Christmas carol?

Silent Night.

8. What do you call Santa Claus if he goes down a lit chimney?

Crisp Cringle.

9. Who delivers Christmas presents to cats?

Santa Claws.

10. What do you call a greedy elf?

Elfish.

11. What does Santa Claus do in his garden?

Hoe, hoe, hoe.

12. Who delivers Christmas presents to dogs?

Santa Paws.

13. What do you call people with a fear of Santa Claus?

Claus-trophobic.

14. What falls at the North Pole but never gets injured?

Snow.

15. What do monkeys sing at Christmas?

Jungle bells.

16. Who gives Christmas presents to sharks?

Santa Jaws.

17. Which of Santa’s reindeer has bad manners?

Rude-olph.

18. Where do you find reindeer?

Depends on where you left them.

19. What do you give a train conductor for Christmas?

Platform shoes.

20. Why couldn’t the Christmas tree stand?

It doesn’t have legs.

21. If a reindeer loses his tail, where can he find a new one?

A retail store.

22. How do you know Santa Claus is good at karate?

He has a black belt.

23. What’s as big as Santa Claus but weighs nothing?

His shadow.

24. What kind of bug hates Christmas?

A humbug.

25. What do elves learn at school?

The elf-abet.

26. What do elves use to get to the top floor of Santa’s workshop?

The elf-evator.

27. Why did Santa’s helper feel sad?

He had low elf-esteem.

28. What is red, white, and blue during the holidays?

A sad candy cane.

29. What kind of music do elves listen to?

Wrap.

30. What is the best thing to put in the Christmas pie?

Your teeth.

31. What did the duck say to the reindeer?

Quack.

32. What do you call an elf wearing ear muffs?

Whatever you want. He can’t hear you anyway.

33. Why don’t lobsters celebrate Christmas?

Because they’re shellfish.

34. Knock knock

Who’s there?

Hope.

Hope who?

Hope you had a nice Christmas!

35. Knock knock

Who’s there?

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange you glad you were good all year?

36. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Noah.

Noah who?

Noah good Christmas joke?

37. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Anna.

Anna who?

Anna partridge in a pear tree.

38. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Ima.

Ima who?

Ima dreaming of a white Christmas.

39. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Olive.

Olive who?

Olive the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names…

40. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Doughnut.

Doughnut who?

Doughnut open these presents until Christmas.

41. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Harry.

Harry who?

Harry up and open your presents!

42. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Cole.

Cole who?

Cole is not what I was expecting for Christmas this year!

43. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Dewey.

Dewey who?

Dewey know how long it is until Santa gets here?

44. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Howard.

Howard who?

Howard you like to sing Christmas carols with me?

45. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Yule.

Yule who?

Yule know when you look out the door.

46. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Hannah.

Hannah who?

Hannah partridge in a pear tree.

47. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Alaska.

Alaska who?

Alaska Santa Claus for a new scooter.

48. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Justin.

Justin who?

Justin time to deliver the Christmas gifts.

49. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Mary.

Mary who?

Mary Christmas.

50. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Alex.

Alex who?

I’ll Alex Santa if you’re on his naughty list this year.

51. Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Ho Ho.

Ho Ho who?

Your Santa impression needs some work.

Read more:

17+ Cheeky New Year’s Eve Jokes More Bubbly Than Champagne

These Funny Comebacks And Insults Are What Our Minds Are Really Made Of

140+ Hilarious Jokes For Kids That Adults Find Funny Too

The post 50+ Jolly Christmas Jokes For Kids Sure To Put You On Santa’s Nice List appeared first on Scary Mommy.

17+ Cheeky New Year’s Eve Jokes More Bubbly Than Champagne

If you have little ones, most likely you will be celebrating New Year’s Eve waaaaay before the ball drops — and then promptly falling asleep in a pile of sparkly fedoras and noisemakers that sound like sick cows. That’s okay! Make the most of your abbreviated New Year’s Eve by telling your tiny party animals these clean, kid-friendly New Year’s Eve jokes.

1. Why do birds fly south for New Year’s Eve?

It’s too far to walk.

2. What do snowmen like to do on New Year’s Eve?

Chill out.

3. Why should you put your new calendar in the freezer?

To start of the new year in a cool way.

4. What’s a cow’s favorite holiday?

Moo Year’s Eve.

5. What do you say to your friends on New Year’s Eve?

I haven’t seen you since last year.

6. Why do you need a jeweler on New Year’s Eve?

To ring in the new year.

7. Where can you go to practice Math on New Year’s Eve?

Times Square.

8. What does a ghost say on January 1st?

Happy Boo Year.

9. What did the farmer give his wife on New Year’s Eve?

Hogs and kisses.

10. What did the cat say on New Year’s Eve?

Meow.

11. What should you never eat on New Year’s Eve?

Fire crackers.

12. What is a New Year’s resolution?

Something that goes in one year and out the other.

13. What’s the problem with jogging on New Year’s Eve?

You’ll spill your punch all over.

14. What’s the one group that hates New Year’s Day?

The New Year’s Even clean-up crew.

15. What is a corn’s favorite holiday?

New Ears Day.

16. Knock knock!

Who’s there?

Abby.

Abby who?

Abby New Year.

17. Knock knock!

Who’s there?

Cheese.

Cheese who?

For cheese a jolly good fellow.

18. Knock knock!

Who’s there?

Razor.

Razor who?

Razor glass and toast the New Year.

Read more, laugh more:

These Funny Comebacks And Insults Are What Our Minds Are Really Made Of

140+ Hilarious Jokes For Kids That Adults Find Funny Too

The post 17+ Cheeky New Year’s Eve Jokes More Bubbly Than Champagne appeared first on Scary Mommy.

These Funny Comebacks And Insults Are What Our Minds Are Really Made Of

Sometimes, life can take our minds to some pretty dark places. If you can dig up some humor while you’re there, you’re much better off! Next time someone pisses you off, concentrate on one of these funny comebacks until you just don’t give AF. Reminder: These insult jokes should be kept in your mind. Bullying and being mean isn’t cool, so try not to say these aloud unless you’re being roasted in return, too.

Read on to learn some of the best roasts and insults to get you through the day when you don’t feel like being as sweet as a Georgia peach:

1. Your baby is so ugly, you should have thrown it away and kept the stork.

2. You’re a grey sprinkle on a rainbow cupcake.

3. If your brain was dynamite, there wouldn’t be enough to blow your hat off.

4. You are more disappointing than an unsalted pretzel.

5. Light travels faster than sound which is why you seemed bright until you spoke.

6. We were happily married for one month, but unfortunately we’ve been married for 10 years.

7. Your kid is so ugly, he makes his Happy Meal cry.

8. Child, you have so many gaps in your teeth it looks like your tongue is in jail.

9. Your secrets are always safe with me. I never even listen when you tell me them.

10. I’ll never forget the first time we met. But I’ll keep trying.

RELATED: Adults Find These 140+ Jokes For Kids To Be Freaking Hilarious

11. You’d think this baby was born on the highway since that’s where accidents happen.

12. I only take you everywhere I go just so I don’t have to kiss you goodbye.

13. Hold still. I’m trying to imagine you with personality.

14. Our kid must have gotten his brain from you! I still have mine.

15. Your face makes onions cry.

16. The only way my husband would ever get hurt during an activity is if the TV exploded.

17. You look so pretty. Not at all gross, today.

18. It’s impossible to underestimate you.

insults, best comebacks, good roasts
Pexels

19. Her teeth were so bad she could eat an apple through a fence.

20. I’m not insulting you, I’m describing you.

21. Did you get a fine for littering when you dropped your baby off at daycare?

22. Keep rolling your eyes, you might eventually find a brain.

23. To teenage daughter: “Learn from my mistakes. Use birth control.”

24. You bring everyone so much joy, when you leave the room.

25. I thought of you today. It reminded me to take out the trash.

26. Don’t worry about me. Worry about your eyebrows.

RELATED: These Halloween Jokes Will Make You Laugh Until Your Bones Shake

27. You are the human version of period cramps.

28. If you’re going to be two-faced, at least make one of them pretty.

29. You are like a cloud. When you disappear it’s a beautiful day.

30. I’d rather treat my baby’s diaper rash than have lunch with you.

31. Don’t worry, the first 40 years of childhood are always the hardest.

32. I may love to shop but I will never buy your bull.

33. I love what you’ve done with your hair. How do you get it to come out of your nostrils like that?

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The Best-selling, Mom-Approved Bras and Shape Wear You’ll Wear Everyday

Finally get the support you need, Mama, with these highly-rated, fabulously functional “under your clothes” basics. We scoured the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and found the most loved, best reviewed pieces. So comfortable, you’ll want to live in them all year round. These amazing deals won’t last forever — actually they won’t last after the sale ends August 4 — so start shopping!

 

 Thinstincts Open Bust Mid Thigh Bodysuit, Main, color, VERY BLACK

Spanx Thinstinct Open Bust Midthigh Bodysuit 

Bust a move. This layer-ready bodysuit is designed to smooth out the tummy, thighs and waist without compressing the bust. One reviewer’s enthusiasm could only be expressed in all caps: “I GUESS I AM SO OLD THAT NOTHING COULD MAKE ME FEEL PRETTY AGAIN AND SOOOO COMFORTABLE! WHAT A BLESSING IT WAS. I LOOKED GREAT AND FELT ABLE TO MOVE WITHOUT FEELING LIKE I WAS BEING STUFFED INTO SOMETHING UNCOMFORTABLE. IT IS SO LIGHT AND EASY TO GET INTO.”

$58.90 AT NORDSTROM

(33% OFF after sale: $88.00)

 Rose Dream Custom Coverage Underwire Bra, Main, color, PINK CHAMPAGNE/ LEAD

Natori Custom Coverage Underwire Bra

This t-shirt bra with 1.2k reviews fits great and disappears under clothes with molded foam cups and a two-ply band. The lace straps and available colors add a pretty touch to a comfortable style.

$47.90 AT NORDSTROM

(33% OFF after sale: $72.00)

The Best-selling, Mom-Approved Bras and Shape Wear You'll Wear Everyday

Spanx Higher Power Mid-Thigh Shaping Shorts

Spanx for the memories. Keep all your wobbly bits under control while you put your curves on display.

$24.90 AT NORDSTROM

(34% OFF after sale: $38.00)

 How Perfect No-Wire Contour Bra, Main, color, CLOVE

Wacoal How Perfect No-Wire Contour Bra

Think wireless bras can’t provide the same support to your girls? Think again. These foam-lined cups smooth and shape without the worry they might eventually stab you in the flesh when you least expect it.

$40.90 AT NORDSTROM

(34% OFF after sale: $62.00)

The Best-selling, Mom-Approved Bras and Shape Wear You'll Wear Everyday

Wacoal Full Figure Underwire Bra

Over 1,500 reviews, including this one: “Best bra ever! I love the support and comfort. I’ve been wearing them for 10 years now. I like that the straps are not elastic, and it’s the only bra I can find with 4 hooks which really keeps the back in place.”

$32.90 AT NORDSTROM

(34% OFF after sale: $50)

 Bravado Designs Maternity 'Body Silk' Seamless Nursing Bra, Main, color, WHITE

Bravado Designs Seamless Body Silk Nursing Bra

“I love bulky, unsexy nursing bras,” said no one ever. That’s why you should grab this ultra-comfortable seamless one that’s virtually invisible under clothing.

$32.83 AT NORDSTROM

(33% OFF after sale: $49)

The Best-selling, Mom-Approved Bras and Shape Wear You'll Wear Everyday

Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

With moisture-wicking fabric and a no-slip waistband, these stretchy, figure-sculpting leggings ensure you don’t sweat your ass off while you work out. With almost 6K reviews, you don’t have to take our word for it.

$38.90 AT NORDSTROM

(34% OFF after sale: $59)

Our mom experts only recommend picks they really love. We may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site, but if we love it, we know you’ll love it. And we Scary Mommies gotta stick together.

The post The Best-selling, Mom-Approved Bras and Shape Wear You’ll Wear Everyday appeared first on Scary Mommy.

People Are Loving This Photo Of Snooki Drinking Wine While Feeding Her Son

Snooki is extremely not here for the mom-shamers, thank you very much

Everyone’s favorite former “meatball,” Jersey Shore‘s Snooki Polizzi, shared a new photo of herself as she feeds her 8-week-old-son, Angelo. And while she’s balancing her baby’s bottle, she’s got a nice glass of wine for herself in the picture, too. And while there were a few mom-shaming comments, most people seemed to be very much into the aesthetic.

“What’s mom life like with 2 kids and a newborn? THIS. #MomJuice #ImAGoodMomISwear,” she writes in the caption. Snooki is also mom to daughter Giovanna Marie, 4, and Lorenzo Dominic, 6.

Most of the comments really were supportive and humorous — a far cry from some other celebrity mom Instagram posts we’ve all seen — there were one or two who took issue with the image.

One comment, which has since been deleted, reads: “You not suppose to drink alcohol if you breastfeeding your baby.” While one could say “thanks for the concern-trolling, but that’s actually false,” Snooki took it to a whole new level.

 

Ouch.

Most people were feeling the #MomJuice photo, however.

That last comment, from Jessie James Decker, is of particular note because just last year the singer-songwriter was mom-shamed on Instagram for drinking while breastfeeding.

View this post on Instagram

Cheers bitches

A post shared by Jessie James Decker (@jessiejamesdecker) on

The picture shows Decker feeding her infant son, Forrest Bradley, and living her best life while holding a flute containing a rose-colored adult beverage. Naturally, plenty of people came after her in the comments — attacking her parenting left and right.

Since there always seems to be some debate on the matter, here’s what science and experts have to say about drinking while breastfeeding.

According to the Center for Disease Control, waiting two hours to nurse after drinking one standard alcoholic beverage is the safest way to go. And just so there’s no confusion on what they mean by a “standard drink,” here ya go: one standard drink is equal to 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. That’s one 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5-ounce shot of liquor.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has similar recommendations. They suggest that “nursing should take place two hours or longer after the alcohol intake to minimize its concentration in the ingested milk.”

Speaking of the concentration of alcohol in milk — it’s the same as your blood alcohol concentration. These concentrations peak approximately 30-45 minutes after you’ve had a standard drink, and as your body breaks the alcohol down, the concentrations drop. Which is most likely why the leading experts recommend waiting two hours. And why sipping a drink while nursing at the same time doesn’t have the same effect on your body or your baby — because of the concentration.

Basically, if you have any further concerns about alcohol consumption — either yours or that of a celebrity mother’s — just talk to your doctor about it.

The post People Are Loving This Photo Of Snooki Drinking Wine While Feeding Her Son appeared first on Scary Mommy.

How I Prepared My Tween Daughter (And Son) For Menstruation

“Where did it go?” my then nine-year-old daughter asked, her eyes wide, as if I’d just performed a magic trick. We were standing in the bathroom, and she’d just watched me insert a silicone menstrual cup into my vagina. Ta-da! 

I hadn’t premeditated this lesson, but I also hadn’t locked the bathroom door, so when she barged in at the crucial moment and asked “What’s that?”, I showed her, in the same easy-breezy way I’d recently showed her how to gift-wrap an awkwardly shaped object and to core an apple.

My demonstration probably crossed a line of propriety. Certainly, I never saw my own mother doing anything of the sort, and maybe that’s the point. When it comes to preparing my daughter for her impending body changes, I wonder: is there such a thing as too much candidness? Because from my own adolescence I know there is such a thing as not enough. I know that what I project about my own body, now, as my daughter discovers hers, will affect her in the future. Not to mention my son.

At the time of the menstrual cup trick, my son was ten. He had long since stopped walking in on me in the bathroom and would have been mortified to see my demonstration. Nonetheless, I wanted to enlighten him to the female cycle, hoping it would contribute to him becoming an understanding and respectful man. Our initial conversation followed an episode of Netflix’s Anne with an E, in which Anne starts her period. After watching, he asked, “Does it hurt, Mummy?”

Shortly thereafter, standing in a long line at the pharmacy, I felt that warm gush in my underwear. “My period came,” I whispered to my kids. “Can you grab tampons?” They hadn’t reappeared before I reached the cashier; I found them in the women’s health aisle, comparing boxes.

“I get it,” said my son, pointing to the tear-shaped symbols. “This one is for when Mummy has one drip of blood, and this one when she has three.” I appreciated how practical he was, how un-grossed out and how clueless. I clarified blood quantities and then explained the merits of applicators and wings.

I remember, during the human reproduction module at school, reading that women bleed for five days. Five days! My teacher assured me it wasn’t a typo and I realized, for the first time, that my mother hadn’t been entirely straight with me. It’s not that she kept me in the absolute dark. I was aware of a rattan box on the toilet cistern containing papery objects used when she “bled from her bottom.” But about the nitty-gritty she was decently vague.

Sometimes, taking a bath together, me squished against the taps, drawing on her soapy back, Mum would impart the rudiments of becoming a woman, talk euphemistically about “the curse,”or “starting.” But never did she acknowledge her own menstruation in public, in front of my father or brother, and from that I absorbed her real lesson: a woman’s cycle is an unspeakable shame.

A good daughter, I nurtured the same self-reproach. From my teens until my thirties I took the contraceptive pill, for months without pause, happy to minimize or — better — altogether avoid my period, to disconnect from the mess and inconvenience. I never admitted I was bleeding, or suffering from cramps or mood-swings, and would have rather died than ask a boyfriend or male relative to buy me sanitary products. God forbid I sprang a leak that would betray I was a normal woman.

So never mind my daughter, in the bathroom, wondering where my menstrual cup had gone. Between my inability to acknowledge my period and that moment in the bathroom, and the two years since, where is my shame?

These days, I am increasingly transparent about my cycle. The kids know when I am bloated and achy, why sometimes I eat chocolate for dinner and snuggle with a hot water bottle, why sometimes I decline to jump into cold water or flip on the trampoline. They see underwear soaking in the sink. They see blood.

That day in the bathroom, I replied to my daughter, “It’s huge up there — like the universe. It’s magical.”

After birthing my children it would have been stubborn of me to ignore my own body any longer, to refuse to be awestruck by what sorcery it was capable. I can’t explain why my own mother was excused this epiphany when she had me; are we intrinsically different or just products of our generations? For the first time in years I came off the pill and experienced a natural cycle. I acquired a menstrual cup, looked the warm dark red fluid squarely in the eyes, and was not repelled but amazed.

Today my children are older. This week, my daughter asked me to buy her a starter bra, without any of the sense of embarrassment about her body that I remember having at her age. My son is changing too; at twelve, he has discovered his reflection in the mirror, and deodorant, but not yet girls. If and when he does, I know he will be a boyfriend who willingly, un-sniggeringly, runs to the store for sanitary products. What would my mother think?

The post How I Prepared My Tween Daughter (And Son) For Menstruation appeared first on Scary Mommy.

I Cut My Best Friend Out Of My Life Without A Word

I was new to the city.

I had moved just months earlier for a new job, the same story told by a million millennials every day. You move, you adjust, you make new friends. But as a career nanny, my “office” didn’t exactly lend itself to coworkers who are down for happy hour, much less capable of speaking in full sentences. Despite the loneliness, I loved my job and my new city but making friends was proving itself difficult — until Elle came along.

Meeting Elle was happenstance: my new boss had a friend who’s baby was also six months old, who’s nanny was also a young lesbian. What were the odds! Nervous as I was at the prospect of actually making the new connections that I quietly yearned for, we set up a playdate. And the rest, as they say, was history. Our friendship was forged to the tune of “The Wheels On The Bus,” and from that moment we were inseparable.

Elle was the “cool-girl” indie movie trope, live and in technicolor. She was bright and vivacious, with a quirky sense of style and an infectious personality. In many ways we were polar opposites—she was the “energetic” to my “reserved,” I was the “grounded” to her “spontaneous,” but we brought balance to each other’s lives and spent every moment laughing. In a flash, we were inseparable.

Life barreled along at 120MPH over those next two years, and together we cultivated a circle of truly incredible women—all nannies and mothers who could share in the joys and frustrations of bringing up little humans. Outside of work, things changed rapidly. I moved into a new apartment with my then-partner. She moved in with hers. We heaved boxes together and unpacked onto new shelves, paying one another with customary pizza, beer, and laughter.

Before she got engaged, her then-girlfriend texted me fervently about ring styles and sizes. The night she got engaged, I was among those invited to share in the surprise. When her wedding planning kicked into high gear, I took my duties as maid of honor seriously. Together with the wedding party, I planned beautiful parties, spent (and overspent) my hard earned money to make sure that the celebrations were as beautiful and joy-filled as my vibrant best friend and her soon-to-be-wife deserved. When they began their journey to conceive, we mourned each failure together until that little blue “plus” brought happy tears.

The changes came then, slowly at first. A missed call here, a text with no response there. Our entire group was quietly baffled at the shift, but we all got it. Growing and raising babies is exhausting and we were all adults who understood that friendship doesn’t mean talking every day. As Elle’s due date drew nearer, we pooled our money and put our heads together, planning a baby shower to rival any Pinterest confection.

When my own life took a sudden turn, Elle was there for me. After my four-year relationship ended, I spent five weepy days on Elle’s couch before dragging myself up off the floor and dusting myself off. After all, her baby was coming in mere weeks and I was filling in for her at work during her maternity leave. Babies would be born and bills needed paying, no matter how sad I was. When Baby came, our entire group of friends rallied. Meals were cooked in advance and we made sure that Elle’s pets were cared for during her stay at the hospital. An arsenal of experienced mamas and nannies were armed, ready to rally for our girl and help welcome the newest member to this chosen family.

If you ask me what happened to Elle after Baby was born, I couldn’t give you an answer. One minute she was there and the next she was gone. Days turned into weeks turned into months with little to no contact, despite all of our best efforts. Social media showed us that Elle and her new family were out in the world, making new friends and living her signature vibrant life, sans the entire group of people who had supported her up to this point. She had seemingly shed us like old skin, and as we began to vocalize our confusion, the secrets started seeping from the walls.

We heard from third parties all the stories of how the things we had done for Elle were somehow not “good enough.” It turned out that Elle never intended to come back to work, leaving me to work both her job and mine, six days a week for months on end because I thought it was “temporary.” I was exhausted. It felt like a punch to the gut. It was in that moment that I made the decision: unfriend, delete, block. I was heartbroken, and had no energy for a final word or goodbye.

That was two years ago, and there are still days that I wonder if things could have been different. Should I have talked to her? Should I have tried to mend what was broken? Was that my responsibility? To be honest, I don’t even understand why things broke, much less why we were treated like yesterday’s news instead of the close knit group that we had been. I moved on with my life and away from that city, but every now and then someone will bring Elle up in casual conversation: an “I saw her” here or “she did this” there. From what I can tell from these stories, the Elle I knew is gone. She’s been replaced by someone I don’t recognize and am not sure if I’d like, someone who is everything that the old Elle hated. I may never understand why things happened the way they did.

All I really know is that some days, I still miss that girl I used to know.

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When Your BFF Lives Far Away

When I talk about a BFF, I mean the person you can call crying, the first person you call laughing in hysterics about that time your husband accidentally touches your vulva with hands covered in jalapeño pepper residue and you put ice cream on it to make it feel better. Yeah, that kinda friend.

A BFF thinks about you first (like when my BFF Facebook Lived me in the middle of a New Kids on the Block concert and wordlessly held up the phone while they played “Hangin’ Tough,” and before that, texted just to say the DJ was playing my all-time favorite song during the preshow). A BFF might go quiet when she’s too busy to talk, and you understand. She unloads the shit she needs to unload, and you do the same. You just get stuff. If I had to pick a person that ticked all these boxes, it’s her.

My BFF lives 700 miles away, and I’m envious of everyone who has BFF who lives close by.

It’s stupid lonely when you have to sneak phone conversations in between parenting and real life. If we lived near each other, we’d have more time, the way my friends buddy up and parent — they volunteer together, go to kids’ soccer games together, go grocery shopping together, have dinner together. My BFF and I are stuck with random, often scheduled phone calls, plus whenever we can manage to be on the internet at the same damn time. And Facebook is no excuse for actual human interaction. You never hear people laugh. My BFF can usually make me dissolve with a word or two. When you’ve known each other so long, the backlog of ridiculous situations has accumulated so much you can’t help it.

Thought Catalog/Unsplash

Other people’s BFFs can help them. If her mother-in-law were coming over, sure as hell I’d be there with a Swiffer Wet Jet. And she’d show up at my house to scrub the baseboards or bake a cake. I definitely cleaned my last BFF’s bathroom on numerous occasions before she also moved. I brought her food when her family was sick. My BFF would do the same damn thing. I’d do it for her. We can’t, and it sucks.

Guess I could order her pizza delivery. I”ll have to try that sometime when she’s having a shit day.

Other people have BFFs whose kids play together. There’s something special about watching your kids hang out with your best friends’s kids. My BFF and I? Our kids have never met. Hell, we’ve never met each other’s kids. When her son wins an award for being the kindest kid in his grade, I can’t be there personally to celebrate with her.

No birthdays. No drinking — god, would I love to put back a few with her when I got a publishing contract or the time her proposal won over everyone else at work. She could have held my hand when I got my tattoo. We could sing extra loud in our minivans and laugh about it.

The worst is seeing people with their BFFs. You know, when you hang out with other moms, who is BFFs with whom. You know you depends on whom to clean their damn bathroom, who shows up at whose moms’ night out. Who shares her snacks with whose kids. It hurts to watch. Just one more reminder of your loneliness. Sometimes I text my BFF while it’s going on. Which is sort of comforting and sort of depressing: I get some BFF time — I don’t really tell her what’s up — but at the same time, I’m reminded, once again, that’s she might as well be on the goddamn lunar module.

But her friendship means more to me than most of the surface mom friends I see going on around me — and the shallow mom friendships that I mostly have. I’ve known my BFF since I was fourteen. Fourteen. Who gets that? We used to sprawl out on our friends’ beds and write endless novels that she edited (I wrote all the sex scenes, which were probably laughably inaccurate). This isn’t to cackle that my BFF rocks more than everyone else’s, but instead to ask: who gets proof of concept like that? Fourteen years old. I had just gotten my freaking braces taken off. She was so much cuter than me and so much snarkier and sure of herself. We were sort of frenemies for a long time. But we grew up, and time smoothed out the rough edges.

I value the quality of that friendship more than the shallow friendships I could make with other people. We talk about our kids sometimes. But we also talk about music and TV and husbands and writing and books and real life things and god, aren’t we fucking old?! It’s good to have this friend who’s more than an ally in spit-up and baby food. We can have a real conversation.

I just wish we could have it face-to-face. And when I see all the other moms in their neat little pairs, I wish it even harder.

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