Girl Power

People who have known me a long time know that my views have changed pretty drastically over the past few years. I think that is a healthy thing. Being open to growth is, in my opinion, a vital part of being a functional adult.

So, things were already shifting for me before I had my third child.

A girl.

Before I actually understood what it meant to be a feminist, I didn’t think I was one. I mistakenly assumed that feminists ruined things for the rest of us by burning their bras and telling men not to open doors for them. I thought feminists were angry women who loved to hate on men.

I LIKE having doors opened for me. I LIKE my bras. I LIKE men.

I enjoy being a girl.

I’ll tell you a secret: once upon a time, long, long ago, I told some friends that I didn’t think a woman could ever be capable of running the United States of America. I know. I said that. I actually believed that. It’s mortifying.

“Men are better at that stuff,” I actually said, WTF. I cringe every time I think about this, but I’m trying to set the stage for my story.

Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough to have very patient, smart friends who didn’t ditch me when I said women aren’t capable of running a nation, who taught me that feminism does not mean that you don’t want to be a girl, or be treated like a woman worthy of respect. Being a feminist means that you embrace your gender and celebrate it. Feminists believe that girls can be and do anything, that they deserve equal pay and opportunities, and most of all, they encourage each other to be brave and bold because feminists believe in the power of women.

Some feminists, like myself, choose to quit their soul-sucking corporate career to stay home and raise a family. Other feminists choose to skip marriage and children and sail the world’s oceans instead. Feminism means that we do what we want, because women are capable of making their own decisions. Period.

So. Not only did I realize that I am a feminist, but I also realized that I’m also in charge of raising 3 other humans to recognize and believe in the power of women. That’s a tall order, but one that I’ve embraced with pride. Teaching my daughter to be brave and bold has been one of my greatest joys as a mother. Seeing her stand up for herself, rather than shrinking away in fear, fills my heart with warm, cuddly fuzzies.

People don’t expect her to be fearless, because she’s pretty. Still, in 2016, this surprises people.

14606552_10157980031070508_1415209768891258408_n

Feminists in training.

On Halloween, we took the kids trick-or-treating in a friend’s neighborhood. A little boy (his father later said he was 5 years old) dressed as a policeman was driving down the sidewalk in a ginormous, battery-powered, child-sized cop car.

Pepper walked over to the boy and pulled on the passenger door.

“I want a ride,” she said.

All of the adults oohed and ahhed. Look how cute this is! The little ladybug wants a ride in the cop car! THIS IS SO ADORABLE, GET YOUR CAMERA OUT.

“Give her a ride, Jimmy!”

Jimmy’s mom leaned over and removed the bucket of Halloween candy from the passenger seat. Pepper pulled the door open and climbed in before turning to the boy and saying in her loud, clear, voice:

“You’re in my seat.”

The boy just looked at her, so she said it again, louder this time, and with conviction:

“You’re in my seat.”

Thus began an epic stare down between Jimmy and Pepper. He looked at her like he was unsure of what to do, and frankly a little scared, and she looked at him like he best get his ass out from behind that steering wheel.

I stifled my laughter as I watched his parents silently freak out that their son was being bossed around by a girl, in front of other people. After a few moments, Jimmy gave in and let Pepper have the driver’s seat.

She assumed her position and immediately gunned it, and I thought to myself that I’ve literally never been prouder.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!)

Thank You For Reminding Me.

Thank you, my daughter, for reminding me.

Every morning I drag myself out of bed and stumble to the coffee maker, bumping into your Daddy and sometimes your brothers because I’m not awake yet.

I haven’t remembered yet.

Sometimes I’m grouchy and slow to get going because I’ve become more and more dependent on caffeine. Sometimes my body feels stiff from sleeping either on the couch, if your Daddy was snoring all night, or because I slept unmoving in one position because I was so exhausted by the time I finally fell asleep.

I haven’t remembered yet.

When I’m stiff and grouchy, I feel old. Sometimes I feel annoyed with your Daddy because he gets to leave for work and I’m stuck cleaning the oatmeal off of three tiny people. When I exhale loudly into the kitchen sink, it’s because I haven’t remembered yet.

Your brothers aren’t as good at reminding me as you are. Maybe it’s a female thing, or maybe you simply have a gift. All I know is that you come over to me, and you wait. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for me to look up — you stand there and you wait.

I might not pay attention at first because I haven’t remembered yet. The boys will scream and yell for my attention, but you don’t.

You wait quietly.

And when I finally do look up, or look down, or look across the room at wherever you are, you beam at me. You smile at me like seeing my face makes you the happiest that you’ve ever been.

I have the most important, most humbling job in the universe.

Every day, you take my face in your hands and remind me.

Motherhood.(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on Facebook and Twitter!)

The Prissiest Tantrum.

Girls are fascinating creatures.

After giving birth to two wild boys, I was elated to finally have the chance to parent a little girl. I remember the day we found out we were having a daughter. I spent the remainder of my pregnancy too excited to care about the fact that my nether regions were turning blue, and that’s saying a LOT.

Yes, you heard me right. Blue vagina. You can read all about it here … or not.

So far, it has been even more fun and amazing than I imagined it would be, although dealing with her hair is a lot harder than I’d expected. It’s so slippery, and she’s so wiggly. She has a lot of fine, thick hair, and she likes to chew on it. She pulls out all of her cute barrettes and bows.

Okay, FINE. She’s a hot mess, and it’s totally my fault.

I try to keep her neat and clean, with every hair in place, but it’s harder than I expected to keep a little girl looking put together. It’s hard enough keeping myself put together. So, more often than not, I end up saying JUST FORGET IT — let’s throw on a tiara and call it a day.

Using the oven as a mirror.

Using the oven as a mirror.

She does adorable things like walk up to me and wordlessly hand over her patent leather shoes or her brother’s cowboy hat, smiling up with her big, blue eyes until I do whatever it is that she wants me to do. She laughs and claps and is just learning how to hop up and down, which is adorable of course.

She uses our oven as a mirror, running to look at herself every time we change her clothes or fix her hair. Then she stands there and watches herself slooooowly pull out the pigtails I just spent half of my life painstakingly putting in.

Captain Cook to the rescue!

Captain Cook to the rescue!

She’s really easy going, especially for a toddler.

Except when she’s not.

Pepper threw her first real temper tantrum yesterday in the kitchen as I watched with my mouth hanging open. She was playing with her brother’s Angry Bird slippers, and I don’t know what pissed her off, but it must have been bad.

She carefully arranged herself on the floor — there’s none of the hurling her body to the ground or smacking her head repeatedly that I’ve grown accustomed to from the boys — and paused for a moment, letting her rage brew.

One she was ready to begin, after she made sure that I was watching, she proceeded to throw her first epic tantrum.

I can’t tell if it’s that I’m desensitized from going through this two times already with really violent tantrum-throwers, or if I’m just out of fucks to give. Either way, instead of feeling super stressed out by it, I was absolutely captivated by the theatrics of her little girl tantrum.

Prissy tantrum.It was the prissiest, angriest thing I’ve ever seen.

So much rage.

Careful not to look too ugly as she screamed.

Just crazy enough to hold my attention.

Precisely scary enough to keep me at a distance.

A lot of angst.

It reminded me of … me.

(If you liked this post, then you will LOVE I Still Just Want To Pee Alone! Click here to find out more!)

Get A Proper Bra Fitting (and other wise words).

My Dearest Daughter,

One day you will be old enough to find a computer and Google me or yourself and maybe you’ll find this list of things that I want you to know.

I guess I could write them on a real piece of paper and put it in the top of my closet with your brother’s baby teeth and the shard of glass that I pulled from your other brother’s butt cheek, but I think we both know that it would get forgotten up there. Or lost.

I’m sorry I’m not the normal kind of mother who makes baby books and writes things down on paper, and I hope that when you read this, if ever, you choose to apply it to your life instead of freaking out because OMG MY MOTHER IS SO WEIRD. Please don’t rebel and post half-naked selfies on the internet. That is not advisable.

Just … don’t.

20150218_084909~2

Things I Want My Daughter To Know:

It’s important to act like a lady, but some situations warrant unladylike behavior. If you’re going to act like a crazy bitch, make it count. When the deed is done, fix your hair, reapply your lipstick, and carry on.

You’re beautiful. Make the most of what you’ve got. But also? Your behavior and your words will make or break you. Spend just enough time on your appearance to make you feel confident, and spend the rest of your time being the kind of person that others want to be around.

Be real. I want so much for you to be comfortable enough with who you are to actually be yourself all of the time. That person rocks. Don’t try to hide her.

Other women will try to tear you apart. I want you to carefully select girlfriends who will lift you up and support you. Pick friends who GET YOU. Band together with people who make you laugh so hard you cry happy tears, and who will also cry sad tears with you when appropriate. If you have friends like that, it won’t hurt as much when the haters hate.

Haters are gonna hate. One day you’ll stop caring. Until that day comes, it hurts.

You don’t owe anyone anything. If anyone touches you in a way that you don’t like, don’t just sit there and allow it to happen. This is when unladylike behavior is warranted. Cut ’em.

You’re going to be underestimated. It’s hereditary. I hope that you focus more on the high that comes from surprising people with your intelligence, than the temporary attention you’ll get from being a pretty girl. Anyone can be a pretty girl. No one can be YOU.

Your father and brothers are going to make it very hard for you to date. I’m sorry about that, but hopefully the boy who manages to impress those three will be worthy of your time and affection.

If you find a boy you like, then date him. You don’t have to marry him. Even if he asks you to.

10580004_10154601000425508_7176484101462875881_n

You come from a long line of strong women. I expect you to uphold your heritage by finding yourself, settling in, and being true to yourself no matter what life throws at you.

Don’t have sex until you’re ready to have babies. Don’t have babies until you’re with the man you want to father them. And for the love of all that is holy, don’t stop educating yourself until you’re employable. Yes, I wrote all of in that bold. Take heed.

Even if you’re terrible at it, do something. Eventually you will find the right thing, the thing that makes you happy. The thing you’re not terrible at.

If you don’t like your situation, CHANGE IT.

And finally, go get a proper bra fitting. It’s well worth the extra time and money. And it’s amazing what proper undergarments can do.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!)

The Best Of Me.

Yesterday, during an entirely-too-long road trip to Florence, MS, when Taylor Swift came on the radio and I started belting out the lyrics to “Blank Space,” I realized two things.

1. That song is not about Starbucks.

2. My children know me better than anyone else.

I’m not a shy person, but I’m admittedly prim and proper. It’s not on purpose, it’s just how I was raised — Southern and conservative. Minus the monogramming, because my mom wasn’t into it. I grew up in a church that frowns upon dancing, which means that as a 30-something adult I look like a complete idiot in my Zumba classes. I still haven’t learned how to shake my upper body, but don’t you worry, I’ll keep plugging away at it.

The side of me that my kids see is the side that belts out “YOU KNOW I LOVE THE PLAYERS, AND YOU LOVE THE GAME!” Yeah, I’m off-key, but who cares?

This is the side that makes ridiculous noises, chases them wildly around the house, hops on one foot through the kitchen and slides in socks down the hallway. Their mother is a non-makeuped, disheveled woman in mismatched lounge wear who is always teetering on the edge of insanity, but in a fun way. Unless she’s mad … which is no fun for anyone, because then she is non-makeuped woman in mismatched lounge wear who is parking asses in time out.

I have always worried that my kids get the worst of me because I seem to bumble through life in perpetual exhaustion. Tiredness is the basic truth of motherhood, right after unconditional love. It sucks the wind and the life right out of me and turns me into an impatient, rough-looking “momster” who sighs a lot.

In my non-mom life, I don’t belt out songs in front of other people unless I’ve been drinking, and I don’t dance unless I’m in Zumba. This realization disappoints me, because the side of me that doesn’t give a rat’s ass — that’s the side of me that comes out in my writing — is my best, most interesting side. That girl is a good time, and even my husband rarely sees her.

So maybe the side of me that the kids see really is my best side, even when I have been in pajamas all day, carrying a mug of cold coffee and yelling “FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME, PLEASE STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR PENIS!”

Maybe the truth is, they don’t always get the worst of me.

Maybe they get the best of me, too.

IMG_20141223_132008

More Observations From Pepper.

20141121_162303

“Oh, wow … there she goes again. Running down the street with her bra hanging out. How does she not realize it’s happening?! I know the neighbors are talking about us.”

Pepper Remains Unimpressed.

20141014_160912

“She’s so wrapped up in this book thing that’s going on or whatever the hell, that she didn’t even notice that she forced me to break two cardinal fashion rules. I’m wearing HIGH WATER PANTS and they are WHITE. It’s October 15, bitch.

Just get me the hell home and help me find my lovey.”