Crappy Time

Stressed-out-woman-200x300It’s 6:30 on a Tuesday night. Dinner is done and the kid is playing in the tub before she has to get in her pajamas. The man of the house is working a swing shift so he’s gone at work. I’m watching my daughter and laughing as she splashes around and sings. Then she flips over and starts blowing bubbles and slurping up water. I tell her no, we don’t do that. Mama doesn’t want you to get hurt. Remember, don’t drink the pool water.

Then, the brown bomb comes flying out of the tub. I look down, what was that? IT’S POOP! I jump up and look in the tub, poop everywhere! I start screaming, “YOU SHIT IN THE TUB! GET OUT! GET OUT NOW!” I throw her on her potty chair and start dancing around like an idiot trying to figure out what to do. I grab the toilet paper and scoop up the poop on the floor and throw it in the toilet.

“AHH! YOU PUT YOUR MOUTH IN THAT WATER! WHERE’S YOUR TOOTHBRUSH!?” I don’t gag easily at poop but I needed her to puke to make me feel better. I get the toothbrush and scrub her mouth for what still doesn’t seem like long enough. Now she’s standing behind me in her tiny birthday suit shivering. I grab the towel and wrap her, “Go watch Criminal Minds, mama doesn’t care, just get out of here so I can clean this up.” My voice finally dropped back down 3 octaves to a normal level.

I grab the Comet and start throwing it every where in the tub and trying to use her rinse cup to scoop out the nasty. Once everything is out of the tub, I go get her in her pj’s and tossed her in my bed with some Mickey Mouse Club House. Give her a big hug and tell her that no matter what, mama loves her. I just refused to kiss her. Grab the bleach, fill the tub up and let it sit. Oh boy, will this be a story for her dad.

For now, I think we will just keep the kisses to being blown instead of smacked.

Bio: My name is Alyssa. I’m a stay-at-home mom to my tiny toddler and disgusting bloodhound. I write for Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My! about the many fails and rare accomplishments of being home, starting a business and trying to do it with out going crazy. Find be blogging at Babies, Bloodhounds, and Booze (Oh, My!), on Facebook, and on Twitter

Friday Favorites (February 23-27)

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Get Insight to the Uproar In Let Me Fix That For You: A Dramaturge Explains What’s Wrong with Patricia Arquette’s Speech

Hear Anne Lamott Speak About the Really Hard Parts of Being Human

Discover the Truth About Parenting Tweens: Who Knew Toddlers Would Seem So Easy?

I Relate (With Pride) to This Is 39

Maybe It’s Ok To Let Kids Grow Up According to It’s True, You Can’t Fight It

See How a Couple of Kids Answer What is Love?

And don’t forget to check out our great submissions from this week:

Good At Two Things

Body Shaming

6 Reasons Why He Doesn’t Care About Your Blog

Good at Two Things

A friend shared with me that he’s good at two things, parking and knowing where the bathroom is. “Those are pretty underwhelming,” I told him as I headed off the wrong way in search of the restroom.

His news prompted me to create a list of my own talents. It was more difficult than expected. Leaves fell, then snow, but at last, I was able to come up with two things I shine at. The results were grim, more disappointing even than my friend’s.

One of the things I’m good at is always having a bag on me. On a day-to-day basis, I can usually find a drawstring tote, the kind that packs into itself, in my purse or car. This comes in handy all the time, like when someone wants to give you a pile of zucchini from their garden or dollar bills start raining down from the sky. Or sometimes you just want to run an errand and not come home with another stupid plastic bag from the drug store.

Of course, having a bag on you at all times isn’t going to impress anyone or provide a boost to your career or social standing.

Job interviewer: Tell me about a challenging situation you overcame.
Not-a-chance candidate: Well, one time, the intern was carrying an armload of marketing materials and kept dropping them. I was able to save the day, since I happened to have a bag on me, which I let her use. This really increased efficiency.

The other thing I’m good at is just as useless or worse. I have practically attained warrior status in the fight against junk mail. The key to being good at this is to be unstable and delusional, so that you become livid when an unsolicited catalog shows up in the mailbox. How dare this company that wants to sell me stuff seek me out personally and send a catalog to me at the private sanctuary that I call home?

This level of ferocity is exactly what’s required to take up the battle. One moment’s hesitation may extinguish the fire, and the offending mail will be dropped into the recycling and forgotten about. Only the impassioned will take the trouble to pick up the phone and state very clearly that, NONE OF YOUR UNDESIRED MAIL SHALL CROSS MY THRESHOLD EVER AGAIN!!!!

As with my bag lady status, bragging rights are nonexistent. When I proudly announced to people that after 18 days away, my tiny mailbox didn’t even fill up, I just got blank stares and one look of pity. This skill is nothing to write home about. In fact I did, and my mother never wrote back. She just crossed my name off the birthday card list.

While I wish my talent list was populated with cool and useful gifts, like engaging in charming small talk or knowing how to style my hair, I guess I’ll just have to settle for the zucchini.

Bio: A survivor of 2014 Polar Vortex, Annie Stopyro resides in Minnesota, where she runs a business creating life stories and memoirs, Real Live Story. Her work has appeared in Sasee, Neutrons Protons, Defenestration and in newspapers. She blogs at Smack Dab Here.

Body Shaming

These thoughts are spinning around in my head and I wish I could create an organized computer program that would efficiently extract the thoughts and put them into a coherent essay. (Maybe some day one of my students will invent such a thing…?!)

So, rather than wait for a perfect beginning that won’t come, I’m going to start in the messy middle.

—–

It’s not okay to skinny-shame someone. Or fat-shame someone. Or shame ourselves. Shame is rampant in our environment. We shame ourselves, for our pasts, for our experiences, for our choices. We shame others when we’re feeling bad about ourselves. There is so much shame around that we don’t even realize it. We don’t realize that we’re shaming whoever it is that we’re shaming.

The world is focused on losing weight. The world praises individuals who lose weight. Tabloids and magazines have headlines titled, “20 pounds lighter: how she did it!” and “5 tips for shedding those extra 5 pounds.” The focus is always on losing weight. And yes, of course, there are individuals out there who physically need to lose weight, from a health standpoint. For their organs to better operate. For their physiological system to function better so they can breathe and pump blood through their bodies and think and live. And those who are overweight are overweight for a reason. Maybe it’s lifestyle choices, maybe it’s binge-eating disorder, maybe it’s a thyroid problem, but guess what: it doesn’t matter. No matter the reason, the person doesn’t deserve shame.

There are also individuals who physically need to gain weight, from a health standpoint. For their organs to better operate. For their physiological system to function better so they can breathe and pump blood through their bodies and think and live. And those who are underweight are underweight for a reason. Maybe it’s anorexia, maybe it’s a metabolic disorder, maybe it’s due to a medication. And it also doesn’t matter.

And then there are the rest of the people. Who are physically stable. Whose organs are operating, whose physiological systems are functioning, who are breathing and living and thinking. Who don’t need to lose, or gain, any weight.

An individual who gains weight, who physically needs to gain weight, is accomplishing something healthy for her body. Similarly, an individual who loses weight, who physically needs to lose weight, is accomplishing something healthy for her body. And an individual who maintains her weight, who physically needs to maintain her weight, is accomplishing something healthy for her body.

We all have different needs. I know people in my life in all of those three categories. But the messages we receive, from the media, from each other, from ourselves, make us forget that. We sort ourselves into the wrong category, the category we hear so often: fat is wrong, skinny is shameful, everyone should lose weight, skinny people have no reason to ever be anything other than happy. And we lose touch with reality, with who we are, what our body is like, what our body needs.

Body image is about how we perceive ourselves. Not how others perceive us. Which is why we might not see ourselves as how others see us. Which is why, if someone talks about disliking their body, saying to them, “Omg no, you’re so skinny” or “Please, you have nothing to complain about, I weigh so much more than you” isn’t helpful. It’s not about how you see them. And it’s not about YOU! All you’re doing is invalidating their feelings, their struggles. Reinforcing the shame that they feel for themselves. Essentially, telling them, “You have no right to feel that way, you shouldn’t be allowed to have those feelings and emotions, I have no compassion for you.”

When a person is being critical of their body, the last thing they want to hear is more criticism. Of anyone. They want to hear compassion. They want to hear, “I understand. I get it. I’ve felt that way. I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m here. What do you need from me? How can I support you?” Because ultimately it’s about the underlying feelings. The fear, the shame, the disgust, the anxiety, the sadness. Whatever it is, for whatever reason it’s there. The more you continue focusing on their body, and shaming them (even if you don’t realize you’re doing it, even if you’re well-meaning), the more it reinforces the negative beliefs they have.

Also? Skinny does not equal happy. Fat does not equal depressed. Feelings, in general, happen independent of one’s body. And if they are happening because of one’s body, that’s a distortion.

And also: if you have been shaming yourself, or others, and are only now realizing it, you get to NOT use this as an excuse for further shame. Don’t let this spiral into, I’ve been shaming others, oh gosh I’m an awful friend, I am an awful person……

[Edited to add: Moving away from shame does not mean that you can never dislike your body. It means that you feel the dislike, you acknowledge it, but you move on without shaming yourself for those feelings and for having those feelings. It doesn’t mean always loving yourself or always feeling confident and beautiful. It means being compassionate towards yourself, with whatever it is that you’re feeling.]

Feel compassion for yourself, and push the shame away.

Please. You deserve it. We deserve it.

Bio: Jen is a nature-loving, book-reading, coffee-drinking, mismatched-socks-wearing Bostonian SLP, autism-awesomeness-finder, and blogger at Organized Babble

 

This entry was posted in writing.

6 Reasons Why He Doesn’t Care About Your Blog

My fiance loves me dearly. We have been together for 7 years and are completely committed to one another. I never understood why he would not read my blog. He never asked me about it. Did he support my venture, or does he think I am wasting my time? There came the time we fought about it. There came the time we talked about it. Did I get my answers? Yes, I heard the words he was saying. I also read between the lines and figured out what he was really saying. If you are asking yourself the same question, before you argue, read my list of reasons why he does not read your blog.

1. He does not comprehend.
My fiance is not a complete idiot (ask me on another day and that might change). He understands how to use the internet. He Googles his heart out, uses Facebook, has an email account, posts and looks for things on Ebay and Craigslist. Well, that’s the extent of it.

When I told him I was going to be a blogger, he asked me “What is that?” I explained the best I could, but I sensed he did not get it. He understands I write. He does not understand why, for whom, how it works, or any technical aspect of it. Men have pride. He acted like he got it, but I saw the confusion behind his eyes.

1. He thinks it is futile.
So after asking me what a blog is, his next question was “Do you profit from this?” You see, I was the breadwinner for the first half of our relationship. Now that I am a stay at home mom turned blogger, it has put a lot of pressure on him.

Naturally, when I tell him it will take awhile to profit from blogging, he dismisses the idea as useless. That was all he needed to hear to not support it. He did not ask about the process. He did not ask any questions at all after that. The end.

1. He is jealous.
Blogging takes a lot of work. Especially for a new blogger. You have to work twice as hard, for free, just to get recognition. Then you start working on monetizing your blog, which does not start off paying for your gas in a week. All he sees is you spending a lot of time blogging, which to him is pointless and profitless, and less time with him. Now he gains an additional reason to hate blogging. Great.

1. He despises reading.
My fiance was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was a child. He can read fine now. I have witnessed him read, quickly at that, things, and other times he asks me to read things similar for him. What I do know, is dyslexia affects his ability to spell and sound out words.

At his age, he has memorized how to read most words, but without them in front of him, he can’t spell many on his own. I consider myself his human dictionary. So, he prefers not to read. When he Googles how to questions, he chooses the video results. YouTube is his go to source. Asking him to read my blog regularly, is like asking a two year old to go to bed. They just prefer not to.

1. He does not relate.
Most likely, you are not writing about fast cars, hot women, or sports. You are probably writing about being a woman in some aspect. No man is going to purposely go online to read a blog about women’s interests. It’s just a fact of life. He does not care about your content, therefore he is not going to read it.

It’s like studying for a test when you were in school. You did not want to, even though you were expected to. If badgered about it, the more aversion you felt. In his mind, he is begging you not to make him. He definitely won’t read it voluntarily more than once.

1. It is insignificant.
The older I get, the more I realize men are not complicated. They don’t think about complex emotional things like women do. They don’t equate reading something on the internet with their love for you. If you told him you wanted to be a professional blogger, you have now put your passion in the work category in his mind. Do you go to his work and let him explain all the things that go on there? Do you really want to hear his work stories? Don’t lie to yourself! You get what I am saying! I bet if you want to talk about your blog, he will listen. Otherwise, he’s just not thinking about it.

I am not a man whisperer. When you have been with one everyday for 7 years, you learn how simply they think. I am not man bashing! It’s just a men are from mars, women are from Venus kind of thing. I just hope this has helped you understand why he is not, and most likely will never read your blog.

Bio: I am a southern mommy of 2. I am also a frugal DIY and crafty girl. I love doing home DIY projects! I love creating and sharing my ideas with others. That’s why I started my blog FixedonFrugal.com. I also freelance write. My article topics include DIY, crafts, saving money, blogging, blogging resources, a blogger’s life, parenting, and relationships. Find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday Favorites (February 16-20)

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Check out the Key to Avoiding Mommy-Meltdown

Joy Lovely Joy asks What is Voice?

Blunt Moms shares She Called Me Fat, But She Apologized

Dr. Psych Mom talks about how bad tv is for your kids (spoiler: not very!)

Centering Down shares a guest post: Getting To Know Each Other –

A Conversation about Race

And don’t forget to check out our great submissions from this week:

Work Mom In Balance: Improving Your Social Media Presence in 5 Steps

When Cell Phone Numbers Collide

Tricky Business: A Mother’s Touch

Working Mom in Balance: Improving Your Social Media Presence in 5 Simple Steps

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As a blogger, I have found social media to be a successful way to grow. Almost all of my visitors have found me through social media, and blogging has allowed me to discover an untapped gift, and I have recently connected with my first client as a social media marketing manager. The experience has been exhilarating, allowing me to add something new to my virtual assisting skill set.

When done right social media can open amazing doors for you and your business or brand, but when done wrong it can be a waste of energy and time. As we all know in business, every second wasted is money blown, your goal should be to be as productive as possible. Early on in your business, you may not be able to afford hiring an SMM Manager, taking the time to understand how to navigate these platforms will be essential to your growth.

1. Be Warm and Friendly

Yes, it is your business and your goal is to create as professional an image as possible, but your followers are people behind the computer screen. Before I began blogging, I spent a lot of time on Facebook, communicating with family and friends, I try to speak to my followers the same way.

I mention people in my tweets when possible, creating a connection. If my goal is to share the link to my Working Mom: Wednesday blog hop, I mention working moms that follow me specifically by name. To let them know that I pay attention, and have taken the time to look at their page.

I take the time to respond to those that mention me directly, and I support fellow bloggers and comment as much as I can. Why would you expect others to take the time to read and comment your posts, if you are not willing to do the same for them?

2. Are Your Icons Easy to Find

I have Icons on the right hand side of my blog, at the very top of my sidebar, as well as within the body of every post. Make your icons easily accessible, your potential followers/clients should not have to search through your site to find a way to share content. When it is easily available people enjoy sharing.

They benefit as well, I have found sharing through Triberr has helped to build my audience on Twitter. I have had great response and it has helped me to understand the importance of give and take when it comes to social media.

3. Hashtags

Use them, and use them often, however, use them effectively. Don’t add unrelated hashtags at the end of every post, it’s ridiculous, it looks ridiculous, and I will most likely skip you if i see you.

4. Be Consistent

Share regularly. Update your blog regularly, if you can create a schedule that your readers can follow, all the better. Life happens, we all know this, but trying to stick to a schedule as much as possible will keep your readers coming. You may lose them with inconsistencies.

5. Links

Can your followers find your website or blog when they visit your social media accounts? It should be easy for them to discover your site, link your accounts. Make sure your profiles are completed and that they have an understanding of who you are, what you, and why they should know you.

Bio: Nancy Laws is a blogger at Afro-Chic Mompreneur. As a mom of 4 she has formed a platform with which she can connect with other working moms, by creating an online guide for the busy working mom. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

 

When Cellphone Numbers Collide

Happy Birthday to the Mystery Man who owned my cellphone number before me whose texts with dirty pictures, requests for drugs and notices from Amazon that your Statistics textbook is in keep coming.

This Facebook post is how my morning started out. While on a long walk through my neighborhood, my phone buzzed. I thought it was my friend who I was meeting later in the week for coffee. But, no, it was a text for the Mystery Man who owned the cellphone number before me. Lo and behold, it was his birthday, and he was receiving some brotherly love from one of his cohorts who apparently wasn’t informed that his “brother’s” number was changed and now assigned to a 40+-year old housewife with two kids and a butt-load of laundry to do. So much for the brotherhood.

Just a few months ago, my husband upgraded my crappy, Target end-cap cellphone for a Samsung Galaxy, all due to an upcoming blog project I’d involved myself in. It entailed visiting a science museum with my family; enjoying the blogger perks of free admission, lunch, swag bag and extra, private demonstrations; and writing a post all about it. Cake, right?

So my tech-savvy-happy hubby availed himself of the task of locating me a cellphone. He found a used one, and I discovered that I was back as part of the 21st century again. Besides the ultra cool functions, access to my favorite social media sites and feeding my Candy Crush addiction, I unwrapped other sweet surprises. Someone else’s text messages!

The first one arrived over the summer. A picture of a furry, flat groundhog sitting in a random backyard appeared. The text read, “Hey, neighbor, look what we have roaming in the yard!” Neighbor?! I wondered in puzzlement, knowing about the influx of groundhogs in our neighborhood. No neighbor had my cellphone number. My mom didn’t even have my new number yet! And my husband who purchased the damn thing couldn’t remember the number, either! So I deleted the messages and went along my merry way.

Maybe a week had gone by and another text appeared. Oh, goody, it’s a picture this time! OH, NO! It’s a dark-haired woman, turned backwards, her bare ass pushed out! With a caption reading, “How do you like that!?” Thanks! No, I don’t. Ugh!

“Why didn’t you forward it to me?!?” my husband cried out in frustration. A dirty look, not picture, answered his question.

Then arrived a succession of texts involving unnamed drug requests from various desperate texters. Do you have any? Can I get some from you? What do you have? The only time any particular drug was mentioned by name was when the requester typed in weed. Well, I know what that is, but no, sorry, I don’t have any. Why, you ask? BECAUSE I’m a 40+-year old housewife who would more likely offer you a glass of Pinot Grigio than weed! Or Xanax if you’re really on edge. Or maybe you’d enjoy a nice micro-brew beer from my husband’s stash?

The school year started and with that, fresh, new texts. I received a message from Amazon that my book was on its way. What book? Being a voracious reader and book hoarder, I quite possibly ordered a book or at least a sample chapter, but I never used my phone to order books. I either download them directly onto my Kindle or hopped on the computer, perused my lengthy Amazon Wish List, added books I didn’t need or have time to read, and then ordered. And I rarely did the latter, choosing to order books through my husband’s Prime account featuring free shipping and lower prices.

More texts regarding this book, shrouded in mystery, arrived. Just generic texts stating my book would be here soon. I could hardly wait to see what I ordered (there were some embarrassing books on my list — READ: Sweet Valley High). However, before the book arrived, I received the text solving the mystery of What Book Did MB Order? And, frankly, it couldn’t be a more boring and unwanted book to me. Amazon’s latest text revealed the name of the book as…

Introduction to Statistics. (yawn)

Hmm…the identity of not only the book I, thankfully, wouldn’t be receiving, but the Mystery Man who ordered said book was slowly but surely unfolding.

Here was a text I snickered at, involving both recipient aka Mystery Man and the extremely concerned texter. “Hey, dude, can you untag me on Facebook from that party Saturday? My parents look at my account.” Oh, what a shame! Would the anxious texter get his message to Mystery Man in enough time to divert mom and dad from witnessing their baby participating in outrageous party hijinks? Will we ever know? To be continued…

Until today, though, I hadn’t heard from any of Mystery Man’s “friends” who either wanted to share pictures of half-naked women or ask for drugs from the Mystery Man’s vast pseudo-pharmaceutical counter. No cute, furry animal suspended from a branch, saying, “Hang In There!”, either.

So receiving Mystery Man’s birthday text today was almost like a triumphant visit from an old friend.

From these texts alone, I’ve surmised that Mystery Man, whose birthday is October 29, making him a Scorpio, is a college-age and enrolled- male; likes brunettes who enjoy taking selfies of their big, tanned butts; apparently is the only reliable drug connection for his “friends” who don’t even have access to his new number after almost four months, and is studying (but wouldn’t that unfairly interrupt his social life?) for a Business-related major. Also, he enjoys nature as evidenced in his interest in receiving illicit photos of furry animals like groundhogs. Sounds like a catch to me! Aah, to be young again! Not really a love connection, huh?

So I’m wondering what mistaken identity text messages/calls/mail have you received and how did you handle them?

Bio: M.B. Sanok is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom living with her family in South Jersey. She is a contributing writer for Jersey Moms Blog and her work has also appeared in South Jersey MOM magazine, MetroKids MomSpeak, BlogHer, Bonbon Break and Moms Who Write and Blog. In her spare time, she volunteers for the International MOMS Club, a non-profit support group for stay-at-home moms. Her personal blog is Maple Brown Sugar. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.  

 

Tricky Business: A Mother’s Touch

The other day I was nursing my child to sleep. It was an early summer day — the humidity had settled into our apartment and the air was still and we were damp with sweat and we smelled of the metal playground. Even the curtains looked drowsy after hours of beating back the sun. We melted into each other’s arms to seek the refuge of air-conditioning and an hour’s rest.

I noticed my daughter’s curls had gotten tangled and one stray lock was hanging in her eyes. I went to sweep it off her face so that she might be more comfortable. She flinched a bit and a chill ran down my spine despite the sticky heat.

I know that flinch. I’ve flinched in just that way. Don’t touch me without asking. Don’t correct anything about me. Don’t make assumptions about how I want my hair or what is bothering me. Don’t meddle. Don’t keep an attentive eye trained on me. Don’t cross a boundary that exists here, suddenly, in this moment.

My daughter was curled into my arm while we rocked and sang to sleep. She visits me all over the house “to have a little chat” and she tells me that she misses me even when we are together. The bathroom door, as any parent knows, is no barrier to a child’s visitations. She even likes to read to me while I take my bath. Perhaps this is precisely why a mother’s touch can be an annoyance–How do I break free of this desperate need for my mother?–the child wonders.

When I was a child actor, my mother made sure my feet were firmly planted in the ground. I learned early the difference between flying by the seat of my pants and being a trained professional. A child actor’s performances depend solely on talent and luck and have little to do with the mature performances a hard-working, trained actor can deliver. My mother had little patience for vanity or unearned confidence.

Inevitably, I was conflicted about my mother’s presence on set. By state law I had to have a guardian, and it was always my mother who was available to fulfill this requirement. I always felt her eyes looking out for me and looking at me. She was not a stage mother. Yet she worried when the camera wasn’t set up on my better angles. She worried that a producer of a miniseries clearly preferred another child actor on set. She worried when I looked pale and sallow next to a cherubic classmate at my sixth grade holiday choral concert.

I’ll never forget the car ride home that Christmas evening. Mom said she felt guilty that her child hadn’t shone the way the other girl did. She fretted over how to fix it. For my sake, I truly have no doubt. Yet it was not good for me. A mother’s touch extends not just from her fingers but from her eyes and her words and, at times, from her own insecurities. A mother’s touch can damage as much as it can heal, even if the touch is always protective in its aims.

I confess I’m glad when my daughter picks out a dress or pants that match her socks. I prefer her blue shoes to her pink ones and I take too many photos because she is my jewel and seems (to me) to shine from every angle. I’m glad when she makes aesthetically pleasing sartorial choices because they make for better photos and show off her winsome charm. Most of us have some degree of stage-parent tendency. The trick is to shut it off.

I take a deep breath when she doesn’t choose the shoes I wish she would wear. I take a deep breath when she wants a ponytail but I want her beautiful curls to fly free as she runs down the street. I exhale and wet the hairbrush in the sink so I can brush those silky curls into the smooth bun she wants: the bun that hides her lovely hair. I take a deep breath and I don’t let myself hide her favorite dress, a bright bubble gum pink one, which is not a good color on any living creature, because I know she loves it.

We all want to be touched. We all want to be left alone. We all want boundaries and we all want limitless love. I think we can achieve this with our children. Let them attach and detach at will. Let go. Let go. Let go.

At birth, if you are lucky, your mother and then both parents and then a whole extended family are not only your universe, but your very identity. Gradually, you sprout an identity of your own and differentiate. If you are very lucky, so unshakable will that initial attachment be that you will take it for granted. You will not hesitate to build the highest walls when you want to, and you will not hesitate to tear them down when it suits you. There’s no greater gift I can give my child than the assumption that our fort can weather the storms of differentiation. I want my child to take me for granted—maybe not forever but for a good long while.

I am not allowed to touch my daughter when she doesn’t want to be touched. For my own sake, I never want to feel the flinch. The first one on that hot summer afternoon was a warning tremor.

Go to Neverland without me, darling daughter, whenever you are ready. The home fires will be burning when you return.

Leslie Kendall Dye’s Bio: I am an actor, a dancer, and I was a nanny for a long time before I became a mother. Having a child does as much to deconstruct the myth of “childhood” as writing about that child once she exists. I yearn to reconstruct the myth. Or find out it isn’t a myth at all. I also like to write about books, the arts, and life in New York City. I blog at Hungry Little Animal. Find me on Twitter and Facebook.