New Mailing

Alright my wonderful, amazing, fantastic readers…I’ve got some good news! I’ve started up a mailing list so that I can share some really cool information with you that you won’t get here on my blog. Like:

– You’ll learn about my upcoming books before anyone else.
– Special contests and giveaways that are only held for those on my mailing list.
– Discount codes for Etsy, Amazon, and Book Genesis.
– Information on open submissions, writerly advice, and more.

But you’ll only get it in my monthly mailing. That’s right…monthly. I’m not going to buy you every day or week. You’ll get one awesome email a month with lots of great information and some neat little surprises.

I hope you’ll help me out while I try to build my list and sign up here.

Thank you for your support and for being the best readers any author could ever have. You all rock!

Moms: Stop Judging & Start Supporting

mommyI suspect we have all felt discriminated against at one point in our lives. Someone judged you for whatever reason because something made them feel superior.

I have been judged too many times to count, but never as much or as often as when I became a mother.

From the moment I became unexpectedly pregnant at 35, the criticism began and it has never stopped.

I am a mom at “Advanced Maternal Age”, an actual diagnosis now that goes on your medical paperwork.

I am a mom who was already overweight prior to becoming pregnant after suffering through a period of depression.

I am a mom who chose to return to work after maternity leave.

I am a mom who chose not to circumcise her son.

I am a mom who chose to vaccinate her son.

Perhaps the biggest issue of them all, I am a mom who chose to bottle feed.

I have my reasons for all of these choices, none being made lightly, and all having led to conversations and arguments that we now refer to as “The Mommy Wars”. And the fact that this is even a phrase, hurts my soul. Why oh why must everything be a competition amongst women? Why must we judge one another? What purpose does it serve?

For instance, here is a screen shot from an actual “friend” of mine on Facebook. She didn’t know my age prior to this and assumed I was younger although she never acknowledged my response. This is only a snippet of the ignorance and judgement I saw that day:

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I thought long and hard about my response before I commented. As much as I wanted to post an emotional response, rationally I knew that wouldn’t change things. The only way we can try and stop these mommy wars, is to educate and support each other; to stop the emotional reactions; to stop breeding judgment and spreading hate. We need to be objective and rational so we can have these important discussions. We need to realize that because you went with choice a and I with choice b, neither makes one of us a better mother than the other.

This is not a competition.

So, this was my response:

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I could’ve done better, but it’s a start and it’s how I always respond to these kinds of things. I remind them that it’s just another line drawn in the proverbial sand separating one mother from another, telling one she is better and criticizing the other.

And yet, why does no one see the irony in all of this?

We ALL have one HUGE thing in common: we love our children. We want the best for them and our natural instincts are to protect our children. It’s a natural emotional response to become defensive if you hear choice a is better than choice b, especially if you opted for choice b. Immediately the thoughts race through your mind about how you could’ve hurt your child or not given them the best option or not provided the best opportunity or even stolen from them in some way.

I know because I have thought those thoughts and felt those feelings.

But, they aren’t rational. It’s emotion and it’s misleading us, steering us away from the potential we have to come together as a united force to be reckoned with.

We should be having these discussions about breast-feeding versus bottle-feeding, circumcision, vaccinations and so on.

We should want to learn the pros and cons of all the options available to our children.

But….

We should respect everyone’s right to make the best choice for their child and for themselves.

We should love ourselves and each other more and without judgment.

We should understand that no two situations are the same. We are all unique individuals and that includes our children. What works for you may not work for someone else.

We should consider that everyone has walked a different path and until you have walked in their shoes, you can’t fully understand their journey.

We should fight together for better research and education.

And most all….

We should support each other, hold each other’s hand and help one another through this adventure of motherhood. While it’s beautiful, it’s still not an easy road. Why make it harder?

*****

unnamedDeanna Herrmann is a freelance writer blogging her way through motherhood and unemployment. She is also Managing Editor of the online literary community, Tipsy Lit. Join her on Facebook or Twitter for some free therapy sessions and help her justify those degrees she’s still paying for and not using.

 

Advice from Everyone-Knows-the-Answer-Except-Me

I don’t talk about my uncle here much anymore, and part of me is sorry for that, but part of me understands that I’m at a place where I struggle to find humor in the situation. Alzheimer’s is a disgusting, terrible disease, but my uncle and I share the ability to laugh about most things. The last month or so has been hard as we are moving towards the prospect of putting him into the nursing home.

Let me just say that this is never some decision that is taken lightly. While there is a certain kind of relief in the thought, there is also a ton of guilt.

He’s so young to be there.

He could probably hold out here a bit longer.

It’s not that bad, is it?

Yes. Yes it is. And we can’t give him the kind of care he needs here any longer.

But it never fails that everyone else has an opinion on the matter. Let me explain. When you become a caregiver, everyone else knows the answers to all your problems. They’ve all of a sudden got it all figured out. And their vocal. I mean, people will come out of the woodwork to tell you how to improve your life, fix your situation, and best of all, explain what it will be like to care for someone.

Everyone becomes a doctor specializing in Alzheimer’s.

Everyone becomes a life coach.

Everyone knows the answer except me.

So today I’m bringing you the answers, as given to me countless times by people who aren’t in my situation, aren’t caring for a loved one, aren’t dealing with someone with Alzheimer’s, and doesn’t know what the heck they’re talking about.

Thank you, you egotistical jerks for bringing the laughter back.

1. You should come over? I can’t. I’ve got to stay home with my uncle. Oh he’ll be fine. Just let him stay on his own for a bit. He could probably use some time to himself. It’s got to be hard for him with the kids and all around. He’ll appreciate it.

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Yes, well. Let’s just leave the man in the house alone who has hallucinations and sees people that aren’t there. I’m sure he’ll appreciate it when he’s trying to chase the bad guys out of his room alone. Or when he goes up in the attic to try to find his hunting rifles. Or when he gets mad about the invisible people trying to steal his truck. He obviously just needs some alone time. I’ll bring the hallucinations with me so he can get some rest.

2. He’d probably be happier if you let him do some of the things he used to like to do. 

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Of course he would. Tell you what, I’ll pack him up with all his fishing gear and hunting rifles. I’ll dress him in camo and you can just have yourself a blast taking him out to do all the outdoorsy things he used to love. Hell, I’ll even let him drive over and meet you there. . .so you can walk around the woods. . .with a man who can no longer recognize his own reflection in a mirror. Happy hunting.

3. Just put him in a home and move on with your life. You’re too young to be doing this.

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Let me just say how happy it makes me to know that most of the people have this sort of advice. These are the future caregivers. “Just throw them in a home and move on with your life.” Gotcha. I’ll toss my morals, ethics, and soul right into a bag with him. I mean, this is such an easy decision to make, right? Sure. You just make sure you call me when you get older and I won’t beat around the bush. I’ll send you off to Shady Pines in a flash. It’s what you’d want.

4. I talked to him the other day and he seemed just fine. He didn’t even repeat himself much.

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Yes, welcome to the wonders of Alzheimer’s. . .you know. . .that disease we know next to nothing about? Moments of clarity are wonderful little rays of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy mind. You got him on a good day. Good for you! Oh, did he just tell you the same story for the twelfth time? Welcome back to reality.

5. Have you even considered trying him back on medication? He wasn’t on it that long. I think it would benefit him to try again.

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You mean the medications that turned moderately controllable hallucinations into episodes that involved knives and the police being called? Right. I’ll get right on that. . .as soon as my super strength returns and my order of Super Healing Potion comes in from FedEx.

6. Do you know what dementia does to the brain? -Proceeds to give me a long lecture on how the disease effects the brain, the short term memory, emotions, etc.-

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Well aren’t you a happy little font of information. After living with my grandfather who suffered from dementia and now caring for my uncle. . .I really had no clue what this disease was doing, or how it worked. It’s a constant surprise over here. The doctors have told me nothing, and I was never one to learn from my past. It really is good you were here to explain all this to me with your extensive medical knowledge. . .Where did you get your degree again?

7. This can be destructive to a family. You need to just find a way to get him out from your inner circle before it causes problems with the core of the family.

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You don’t say? Get him out of my inner circle? I suppose I should just put him down then, like a dog that might bite my children. In fact, why do we even bother to be caretakers for our sick and our elderly? It’s obvious that it could be draining and cause emotional frustration. We should just stick them somewhere away from us and let them die.

So to all of you who like to have these conversations with  me, I just want to share my and my family’s heartfelt thank you. Now shut up.

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*This post includes a lot of sarcasm. I certainly don’t feel like we shouldn’t care for our sick or elderly, or that they should be euthanized. 

**Also, my uncle has never physically hurt anyone, but part of this disease does involve aggressive behavior, anger management issues, and the belief that everyone is out to “get them”.

Herstory Lesson: If there were a quick fix to every issue, no one would have any problems.

Life Changes and Concentrated Evil

A friend of mine called me to tell me her daughter (only a year and a half older than my daughter) had started her period.

-Cue intense panic attacks with hyperventilating, mini-seizures, and curse words.-

They’re too young for this.

How do you explain changes in life to a child who is eight years old?

So, I asked the husband. How would you tell our daughter about her period?

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The husband is now banned from any kind of talks with the children.

I have spoken.