The Biggest Sin.

My mother, who I had not talked to in several days, called me.

I was just starting dinner when the phone rang. She had surgery this week, and the last time I saw her, she was still in the recovery room. I was happy that she was calling; I wanted to find out how she was feeling.

I turned off the stove as I strained to hear her. She sounded weak — just tired, she assured me — and right on cue, my toddler poured a cup of water all over the floor while my back was turned. My mom was still talking, but I couldn’t hear a word: all three of my kids were running around in the widening pool of water as the tile grew more and more slippery.

“I know this probably isn’t a good time to call,” she said, likely because she could hear muffled sounds of distress as I rummaged for towels and herded my wet children out of the kitchen.

If we’re being honest, no time is a good time to call me.

“I have it under control,” I told her. “Just hang on a minute.”

That is when I saw my 23-month-old daughter get down on all fours and lap up puddles of water like a puppy.

This is an example of what my days have been like lately. As open as I am about many parts of my life, there are some things I don’t talk about at all. I think most people are like that. Being a woman is complicated, right? I’ll wait while you nod your head in agreement.

I have been stewing for awhile over how quickly women jump to tear each other apart, because quite frankly I am over it.

Judgy look.

We all bear an insanely heavy load; each one of us wade through life loaded down with stuff. It doesn’t matter how “together” or “perfect” a woman seems — good or bad, SHE’S GOT STUFF.

Yet, for reasons I am unable to fully comprehend, even though we are all doing the best we can, even though we are all struggling with our stuff, even though we are supposed to build each other up instead of tear each other down, even though ALL OF THIS, women still get shredded up over absolutely anything and it’s generally at the hand of other women.

I know because it happened to me recently. Want to know why?

Because I’m a good housekeeper.

Let me explain: I cope with the chaos of my life by following behind my family and cleaning up their mess (or asking them to clean up after themselves). Yes, it’s exhausting. Yes, it’s pointless, because the messes never cease. I don’t do it because it makes sense. I do it because if my house was a wreck to match my wreck of a life, then I would have a nervous breakdown.

Everyone who knows and loves me accepts this. They are all aboard the OCD train, because no one wants to see me lose my shit. Keeping order makes me feel like things aren’t so terrifying. I can’t stop someone I love from getting sick, but I CAN keep the bathroom from smelling like pee.

I can do that.

It makes me feel better.

Recently, a friend came to my house. Later on, she posted something on Facebook about how clean it is over here. She didn’t name me — she just said, in jest, that her friend who claimed to have a messy house in fact has an abnormally clean one. AND her kid’s beds were made. AND she answered the door in an apron. Triple sin.

My friend probably didn’t realize that every person in her friend list seemed to be sitting around on social media on a Saturday night with nothing better to do than to tear apart an unnamed woman for keeping a clean home. She did not intend for it to be a bash-fest at all — she was actually trying to poke fun at herself for having a messy home — but that’s what happened, because people suck. Women are criticized and judged for having a messy home, a clean home, for their parenting choices and their career choices, and for how they spend their time — which is no one else’s to spend.

We are blasted for being too fat, too thin, too vain, or for “letting ourselves go.” We are judged from the time we get up until the time we go to bed. There is never a time, ever, when everyone is happy with what I’m doing. My children, husband, mother, neighbors, and self are never all happy at the same time for a choice I make at any given time. Even when I do something like drink that third cup of coffee, I do so knowing that if my mother was there she would say “That’s not good for you.” My husband would say “That’s why you can’t sleep at night.”

But my kids don’t care if I do it. None of them will throw a fit … so it’s a win. I’m having that third cup.

Displeased.While I accept that this is how the world works, that you really and truly cannot make everyone happy, it is still wearing on the spirit. And even when you don’t know the people who are criticizing you, as was the case with the Facebook situation, it still hurts. I stood in my clean kitchen wearing my clean apron reading the comments from total strangers who don’t know me or my situation, and I swear … if I could have reached into my phone and bitch slapped some of them, I would have.

I have opinions. I am guilty of making snap judgments of others. There are things I totally disagree with, and things that make me uncomfortable.

I have stuff. You have stuff. We’re all struggling. So why can’t we cut each other some slack?

By far, the biggest sin is tearing another woman down.

The truth is, I’m not a good housekeeper. I have a stressful life and I cope with it by cleaning. I’m sure there is a name for my disorder, which you only know about because I took the time to tell you.

I recently wrote a letter to my daughter telling her that other women will try to tear her apart. I dread that day. In the meantime, at 35 years old, I had to look at myself in the mirror and command myself to SHAKE IT OFF BECAUSE I AM AWESOME AND I DO NOT HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR MY AWESOMENESS.

Now go forth and be awesome … and cut a bitch some slack.

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

My Best Half.

My marriage is not perfect.

As much as I would love to think of myself as the perfect wife, I’m not. At all. I have high standards. I’m demanding. My expectations are lofty — not just of my husband, but also of my children.

Sometimes Robbie will tell me that he feels like nothing is ever good enough for me, and he’s right. Nothing is. I always want more, because I am a goal-oriented person. I’m a Capricorn, a mountain goat who wants to climb because I enjoy it and I don’t have time for your whining or lollygagging so either get on board or get out of my way.

Yeah. That.

I expect my sons to open doors and say “yes ma’am” and carry their Fiestaware dishes to the sink. Yes, my kids eat on real dishes. I expect them to follow directions and behave in public and say “thank you” and “please” because manners get you farther in life than just being smart. I expect them to follow directions and I expect to be respected because I am their mother and I deserve it.

I expect my husband to be able to fix things and keep up with the yard and be emotionally present and provide for our family. I expect him to listen and communicate and deal with the kids at the end of the day when I just can’t anymore. I expect him to be serious and funny and my partner in all things.

I expect a lot.

My expectations can be difficult to live with, but I give a lot in return and I am more demanding of myself than I am of anyone else. It will be a lifelong process for me to inch slowly toward Robbie’s end of the spectrum, where nothing is a big deal, as he inches slowly towards my side, where everything is urgent. We are truly yin and yang, which on a good day means we bring out the best in each other … and on a bad day, I want to claw his eyes out.

He does things like buy me stress-relieving water. Want to know why I was stressed? Because he was taking too long in the store. I could see him in there, wandering around. What the hell is taking him so long?! We need to GO!

He was hunting for the perfect beverage for his wife, that’s what he was doing.

10801931_10155098744040508_622468002666916761_nSidenote: the water didn’t relieve my stress.

The thing about our relationship is the love that overarches all of the differences between us. I could have married someone else and been happy. Maybe. But I have never and will never love anyone like I love Robbie Hobbs, and that is the thing that grounds me in our marriage. That is the thing that makes everything else make sense.

And then, from time to time, Robbie does something startling that reminds me just how lucky I am.


In the blogging world, there are conferences that writers attend to learn how to be a success — whether that means learning how to make money through blogging, or how to go from blogging to authoring an actual book. I kept hearing about one conference in particular, BlogU, that I really wanted to attend. It’s supposed to be the best, and I think we all know how I feel about things that are the best. Why waste time doing something that is only marginally passable, when I can aim for THE BEST?

So back to the conference, Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy will be there. Jen Mann of People I Want To Punch In The Throat will be there. A ton of writers I am obsessed with will be there. I wanted to go so badly, tears would well up every time I thought about it.

I talked about it for months. Robbie wanted me to go, but we just don’t have the money for a trip like that. The airfare alone was ridiculous, and we are a one-income family of five. I felt guilty for wanting to go, but I’m a mountain goat. I can’t help myself. I WANT TO CLIMB.

I began looking into corporate sponsorships and devised a plan of action. When I sat Robbie down and presented it to him, he was on board … but quiet. Finally he said, “I think this is a solid plan, but you don’t have enough time to make it happen. I just don’t want to see you stressing out over anything extra. I’m going to figure something out.”

Then he stood up, and he took action. He set up a Go Fund Me. (You can view it here, it’s really cute.)

I cringed — hard — when he showed me his plan. I loathe crowd funding, and I dislike feeling like a charity case, but it was a huge success. People genuinely wanted to help. I feel really humbled by it (mostly because, if I’m honest, it really bothers me that I couldn’t afford to go on my own, without asking for help), and grateful to him because he knew I would miss out otherwise.

We had all of the money within one week.

So yes, I have high standards.

And that is why I married Robbie Hobbs.

Before we had children.

Before we had children.

Modern Marvels.

Last weekend, I decided to do something new — I took my 6-year-old on a run with me. This activity is considered new because I don’t run.

We took a break in the parking lot of a nearby church and I gasped for air and pondered aloud that I didn’t know what time it was. Where’s your phone? he asked. I explained that I’d purposely left it behind because I need to do a better job of distancing myself from The Thing That Eats My Time.

I love technology. Years ago, when I met my husband, I was staunchly anti-technology. I was more of a purist. I liked fresh air, sunshine, long talks, and I couldn’t afford cable. My then-boyfriend had a cell phone, and I had one too, but I don’t even remember texting him, ever, because we got charged for each one that was sent. For a girl who had $300/month rent and couldn’t afford cable … being charged by the text was a problem. So I didn’t.

I mulled this over and then had the following conversation with my son:

Me: “You know, there weren’t cell phones when I was your age.”

Son: “There WEREN’T?! What did they have? OH! Wait, I know!! The thing Thomas Edison invented?”

Me: “Yes … that.”


At this point in my life, I have completely embraced technology in all forms. A friend asked me recently what I would rather go without for a 31 days: swearing, drinking, internet, carbs, or orgasms? I don’t really want to go 31 days without any of them, but the internet isn’t even on the table. Or drinking. So I guess I’d have to pick among the final three options.

This game sucks.

I got a wine glass in the mail last week that holds 25 ounces. TWENTY-FIVE OUNCES. I had absolutely no idea who sent it. There was no note, and I didn’t recognize the return address. Who possibly could have sent me a massive wine glass?


Finally, I posted on social media asking who sent it. I’m sure everyone waited on the edge of their seats to find out who it was from.

I am so glad that someone much smarter than me invented social media so I could ask one question to hundreds of people at the same exact time. Who sent me this massive wine glass? And thank you! But really … tell me who sent it.

It was from my best friend.

I felt like an idiot.

An idiot who was about to drink 25 ounces of wine.

My Personal Ad.

Mom dating adIf we lived in a perfect world, there would be an online friend-matching service for busy moms who don’t have time to waste making small talk with people who bother them.

And this would be my ad.


I have a lot of noise in my life.

The kids are loud. They interrupt me when I’m thinking. They make it hard to have a conversation. They bang on pots and scream like maniacs, running through the house waving their arms overhead.

They make slides out of sleeping bags and forts out of pillows, and it always results in screaming. Their projects never end well.

20150119_155246The world is a loud place. All the advice and opinions — some sought after, and some not — clash together in a inharmonious way that I find stressful. I felt this way when I first became a mother, like there were too many voices telling me what I should be doing. Telling me how to do this thing that I was meant to do.

I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now.

Noise makes it hard to hear. I lose my bearings when it’s loud. I forget which way is up. I lose my sense of purpose. Much like how I had trouble finding my footing as a new mother, I now struggle to hear the inner voice that guides me as a writer because of all the damn noise that gets in my way. I have a strong gut that has never failed me, but sometimes it’s hard to hear what it’s saying BECAUSE NO ONE WILL SHUT UP.

Lately, I’ve struggled to find my bearings. A year ago, if someone would have told me of all the opportunities that were going to come my way I would have laughed until my eyes watered. But now those opportunities are here. They’re happening.

It’s so disorienting to make a goal for yourself and then actually reach it. I can’t say I’m entirely familiar with that phenomenon. Usually I think, “Yeah, I’ll do that,” knowing full well I won’t really, because I either lack the capacity or the motivation. Most often the latter.

I want to savor my achievements, instead of rushing to the next thing. I want the noise to stop so I can quietly say to myself, good job. You busted your ass for that.

I quit my career in insurance because I was terrible at what they refer to as “work/life balance.” Apparently I’m not great at writing/life balance, either. On the surface, it appears I have it all together … but on the inside, I’m angsty. I often feel like I’m stuck in a purgatory of feeding children, cleaning children, sweeping up children’s messes and keeping children from hurting themselves, when I would much rather be sitting somewhere quiet so I could get all these ideas out of my head and into a Word document. And then I think about how feeling that way must mean I’m a terrible mother.

Sometimes I resent my family for getting in the way of my writing. But if I’m honest with myself, I know that without them in my life I would have very little to say. And then there would be no noise at all.

Not even in my head.

The Liebster.

Modern Mommy Madness has been nominated for a Liebster Award! Thank you for noticing me, No Such Fairytale! (Twitter handle: @nosuchfairytale)

201402-LiebsterNow, I’m kind of a Grinch and don’t usually participate in these things … which may explain why only a few hundred people read my blog. But first … are you confused about what I’m talking about? Because up until a few minutes ago I was completely clueless.

The Liebster is an award that only exists on the internet, given to bloggers by other bloggers, generally to bloggers who don’t have a massive following (yet!). The rules are pretty simple, from what I can gather:

1. List 11 random facts about yourself.

2. Answer the questions sent to you.

3.  Nominate 11 bloggers, notify them that they have been nominated, and ask them 11 questions thought up by YOU!

4.  Kick back with a drink. (I added this step.)

Whew! I’m worn out already.

11 Random Facts:

1. I’m left-handed.

2. I went to boarding school for grades 9-12.

3. Bible college was not for me.

4. I did not discover coffee until I was in my twenties.

5. My mother once told me she thinks Starbucks laces their coffee with cocaine.

6. I’m an only child.

7. I have very short eyelashes and was infinitely relieved when my children inherited my husband’s dark, thick lashes.

8. Home ownership was not for me.

9. I am very unclear on how to “bone” a chicken.

10. I used to write bad poetry.

11. Now I write essays.


Here are the questions I’ve been given to answer:

1. What’s your drink? What would you order at a bar if there were no repercussions – financial, health, or otherwise?

Very pricey red wine. But I don’t know what kind, because I’ve never been in the position to learn about pricey wines.


2. What is your dream vacation?

I have trouble thinking past what it would be like just to escape for a handful of days with my husband. I guess right now, anything would do.


3. Tell me about your best day.

My best day … ever? I’ve had a lot of best days. My wedding day, the day I gave birth to each of my three kids, my 34th birthday. Those were all best days.


4. What was your first car?

OH. I’m very proud of my first car. It was a 1989 Dodge Diplomat, purchased for $600 cash at the Louisiana State Auction. It was an old cop car — very fast, very beat-up, with no way to get out of the back seat.


5. Where did you fit in high school?

Ugh. I don’t want to talk about high school.


6. Are you a texter or a caller?

I am very much a texter.


7. Everyone is a work in progress. What thing would you change about yourself if you could snap your fingers and make it happen?

I’d choose to be a more relaxed person.


8. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I think part of me always wanted to be a writer.


9. Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?

A success.


10. What time do you go to bed at night?

Between 10:30-11:00.


11. What is your worst habit?

Stressing. I’m a worrier.



Here are the 11 questions I will direct to the bloggers I’ve nominated:

1. What one thing do you love about yourself?

2. What is your greatest strength?

3. Who do you draw energy from or enjoy being around?

4. What types of activities drain you?

5. What kind of person is your alter ego?

6. Name your favorite comfort food.

7. Favorite place to spend a rainy afternoon.

8. What do you do after the kids go to bed?

9. What do you wish you could change about your life?

10. Do you believe in prayer?

11. What beauty product has never failed you?


I nominate:

The Outnumbered Mother

A Mom Of Steel

Family Snodgrass

Finding Fresh

Outsmarted Mommy

Southern Hope Blog

Nicole Decker

Abbie’s Babble

Interior Style by Kiki

You Have Six Kids

Three Monkey Chaos


Hashtag Awesome.

So …

I’m really trying to get on board the social media train so I don’t get left at the station. But honestly, it’s all a little overwhelming and I’m a slow learner.

Do you like Twitter parties?! I have never in my life participated in one and quite frankly, I’m terrified. BUT! Scary Mommy is hosting a Twitter party tomorrow night, 9-10 p.m. EST and if that’s your sort of thing you should totally check it out.

I will be there, trying to keep up.




Rock On!


Y’all rock on and on! If you are on Facebook, please make sure to “like” my page and select “get notifications” so you don’t miss any of the madness.

I thought something magical would happen when I reached 500 “likes,” like maybe Facebook would stop asking me to pay them $10 per day to promote my page, but no such luck. They’re still asking. I’m still saying no.

Thank you to everyone who reads my writing and reminds me that I am never, ever the only one.

The Worst Selfie Ever Taken.

The #selfie makes me laugh. I totally take them, because who else is around to take a picture of me? I’ll tell you who. Children who can’t be trusted with expensive devices. If I didn’t take #selfies, there would be very few pictures of me with my kids — so I’m glad I take them.

Today I was thinking, “I don’t have any pictures of me snuggling with my boys. I see people post sweet pictures on social media of them snuggling with their kids at nap time. I want that.” All these moms have such sweet shots where they are smiling while the kid sleeps, or maybe the mom is pretend sleeping while the kid sleeps, which is weird, but whatever — no judgement here. They are adorable and I wanted one.

Ignoring the fact that I don’t have any pictures like this because my sons don’t lie still, ever, I wanted to find a way to make it happen. And then, as if he could read my mind, Maverick asked me to lay down and hang out with him for awhile. LAY DOWN?! Really?? I was thrilled. I was going to finally get a cuddly son #selfie to add to my collection.

And you know what happened?


The Worst Nap Time Selfie Ever.

The Worst Nap Time Selfie Ever.


This has to be, without a doubt, the absolute worst nap time #selfie ever taken.

Aside from the fact that I look TERRIBLE, my kid is clearly not napping. And quite frankly, if I was lying next to me, I wouldn’t be napping either FOR FEAR THAT THOSE BOOBS AND THAT NECK WOULD SWALLOW ME WHOLE. It was a failure all around: awful, horrible, and hilarious … which I think we all know means it had to be put on the internet as a shining example of what happens when you try to be something that you’re not.

But do you know what I am? I’m effing exhausted, and here are the #selfies to prove it.


The kitchen sink.


The play room.


That’s my Keurig.


Today was laundry day. Every day is laundry day.


Stove. Not dangerous.

My friend Heidi saw the one with me face-first on the folded laundry and thought I was getting a “spa treatment.”

Oh … how I wish. But NO.

It cracks me up how natural the face plant #selfies look compared to the God-awful nap time snuggly one. I have to admit, though, it’s nice to know where I stand in the universe. And I’m sure Robbie will be thrilled to see what I spent my entire afternoon doing while he was at work selling financial products.