Warning: Instructions Not Included


Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

How are you most like your parents? How are your most different from them?

It was submitted by: http://thelieberfamily.com    

Reading my secret subject this month literally made me cringe. I procrastinated writing for days, when I finally did write, I wrote…I deleted…I wrote again…I deleted again. Now here I am at the last minute trying to throw something together. The thing is I’ve been estranged from my parents for almost 6 years. This topic hit me hard, it took me back to places I’d rather not visit, emotions I thought I’d gotten in control, feelings I positively believed I’d handled. I’ve always prided myself on my transparency. What you see is what you get, and I’ve strived to always be honest about my struggles in pretty much every area of my life, except this one. It hurts too much. I don’t know that it will ever not hurt. Has what I’ve been through and experienced changed the way I parent or view parenting?  Absolutely. Someday I might be ready and willing to talk about familial estrangement and how it not only changed my life, but changed the way I think and feel as a parent.  I’m just not there yet, and I can’t figure out how to write about this subject without going there, and I’m just not ready to go there. Forgiveness is a tricky thing. I’ve learned it’s not something you do just once and all is forgotten. Forgiveness is a daily practice.  Some days I’m better at it than others. Today is not that day.

So, I decided to focus instead on questioning whether parenting is harder today than it was when I was a kid growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. I saw this meme on Facebook and it made me laugh and gave me this idea for a spin on my secret subject this month.


Can you relate?

It’s enough to make your head spin.

Is parenting harder today? The short answer is no. Parenting IS hard, regardless of decade or century, time or place. In my opinion, the biggest difference that exists today that makes parenting seem so much harder is the judgment. Everyone has an opinion about how YOU should raise YOUR kids and they aren’t shying away from feeling they have the right to tell you all about it.

I remember riding my bike to the local 7-11 with my allowance money and buying all the candy I could afford. My sister would ration hers out so that it lasted a long time, but not me. I ate all that candy in pretty much one sitting and then plotted and schemed to figure out how to get into my sister’s stash. I saw a mom on Facebook get absolutely reamed as a bad mother because she bought her daughter the infamous unicorn Frappuccino at Starbucks. Because it was her daughter’s birthday. Because her daughter loved unicorns. This poor mom was forever stamped and labeled by strangers as winning the title for Worst Mom Of The Year award. Clearly she doesn’t love her kid, otherwise she would NEVER let her have a beverage filled with so much sugar and artificial ingredients and colors.

Everyone is an expert on how to raise YOUR kids, except you.

I’m sure everyone remembers the tragic death of the gorilla, Harambe, in the Cincinnati Zoo that was killed after a 3 year old climbed into his enclosure. The mother that took her eye off of her child for probably 2 seconds, received death threats and screams of outrage that her children be taken away from her.

We are so quick to jump on the parenting fail bandwagon. Is it because it makes us feel better about our own parenting? When did we become so unforgiving and harsh to each other? Certainly there are bad parents out there that probably deserve condemnation, censure, critical and harsh judgment and shouldn’t be allowed in the presence of children ever. I’m not talking about those parents and I think most of us know the difference. It’s become almost an olympic sport to publicly eviscerate any parenting style that differs from our own or what has been acknowledged as politically correct.

I don’t know about you, but I fail as a parent ALL THE TIME.  Like many other parents, I’ve felt the sting of judgment from my peers, the looks, the “well-intentioned” advice and opinions. I’ve somehow resisted the strong urge to punch all of them in the face. I feel that entitles me to an award of some kind! I don’t need you to tell me how I’ve failed, there are hundreds of articles published daily all over the internet to ensure I never feel good about the decisions I’ve made as a parent, how I’ve failed my kids on some level and how messed up they are in general.  I mean I’ve raised three millennials, and apparently they are the WORST generation EVER. (insert sarcasm)

I think most of us are doing the best we can. I believe two basic things as a parent.

  1. I neither deserve all the credit nor all the blame for how my adult children have turned out, the decisions they make, the people they’ve become.  They are autonomous creatures unto themselves navigating the same murky waters, making similar mistakes or inventing new ones all on their own. They are human. I am human. We are perfectly imperfect and made in His image, meant to be loved, cherished, protected, accepted and embraced for not only our similarities but also for the things that make us beautifully unique and different.
  2. Forgiveness. Unfortunately parenting is a learn as you go type of education, and it’s not one-size fits all. Forgive yourself. As a parent, show your kids you can admit when you are wrong. You can own your mistakes. The words “I’m sorry” go both ways.  They will fail you as children, and you will fail them as parents. Forgiveness. It’s one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal. There needs to be more of it in the world today. We are quick to judge, slow to forgive. We need to turn that concept on its head, judge less and forgive more. No one has it all figured out. No one.

If you see a mom or dad struggling with their kids today, give him/her a word of encouragement. Even a smile. A sympathetic nod. Let them know and feel that they are not in this parenting thing alone, they are not doing it all wrong, and that you’ve got their back. Remember that golden rule we learned in Kindergarten? If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say anything at all. Resist that urge to make a snap judgment about a parenting style you witnessed at your kids school or in line at the grocery store or at a restaurant and then post about it on Facebook so all your friends can jump on the parenting fail bandwagon making you feel justified and vindicated, confident in the knowledge that you are at least better than one parent out there. If you’re like most parents, you beat yourself up all the time about the mistakes you’ve made, you don’t need someone else swinging that bat for you. You need someone to take the bat away and give you a hug instead. Tell you it’s going to be okay. You are not alone. You are not a failure. You’ve got this. We’ve got this. Together.

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Spatulas on Parade                   http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911                   http://theblogging911.com

The Lieber Family Blog                     http://thelieberfamily.com

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                   http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen      http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Confessions of a part-time working mom            http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Not That Sarah Michelle                    http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Climaxed                                    http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com


Adam Levine Got Married

And I went into hiding.  Technically, I decided to take a break from blogging and social media before asshole cheater Adam got himself hitched.  Somehow a 3 month break turned into years, I blame Adam.  The point is…I’m baaaaaaaack!

Who cares you say?  Fair point.  I’m hoping my legion (4 is a legion, yes?) of fans missed me, at least a little.


Me – I am currently unemployed.  I decided to quit my job in August after much deliberation and discussion.  The only thing I’ve ever wanted to be was a mom and a writer.  I’ve been moderately successful (hopefully) as a mom, but wandered aimlessly thru Writerdom, losing my way more often than not, doing what needed to be done to pay the bills but feeling unfulfilled and unhappy.  During my hiatus from the blogosphere, I packed on the pounds and struggled thru some personal issues which kept me mired in darkness and depression.  I was all about finding the funny in every situation but suddenly I lost that voice, lost myself and drifted aimlessly along feeling sad and sorry.  I can’t pinpoint the exact moment my meandering course derailed and I started to make my way back to myself and the land of the living, but here I am!  I’ve lost 65lbs, become an active participant in my life and I’m writing again.  

Family – my husband deserves a medal – for real.  He has always been my biggest supporter, but I really put him to the test the last couple of years.  To his credit, his support and patience almost never wavered, despite his understandable frustration and worry.  I admire and love him so much in ways I will never be able to fully express.  However, these sentiments don’t mean that I won’t blog about him and all the ways he drives me crazy 😛  

We have 3 kids currently in college.  Our oldest 2 daughters have flown the nest and live together in an apartment, their adventures giving me new material (they will be thrilled to know).  Our 2 youngest are still at home, enjoying the silence and space the other 2 left behind.  Man-child is the baby (and the only boy), almost 10!  I can’t believe it.  Our oldest turned 21 which is equally shocking, and somehow I’m still 30…  

Social MediaAdam Levine never did follow me on twitter.  Jerk.  Apparently, when you delete twitter in a fit of rage because Adam won’t follow you back and then try to reconnect it (years later), yeah… you can’t.  It’s gone.  Forever (sob).  Who knew? Probably everyone.  My Facebook page got deleted in a moment of stupidity I think.  I don’t even remember doing it, but I must have because it’s not there and my emails begging for its return went unanswered by the wizards behind the scenes (Mark Zuckerberg quit giving away all your money, playing with your baby and ANSWER ME!) So now I have to rebuild both platforms, which almost makes me want to cry and throw things.  I’d happily take pity likes and follows if you feel so inclined, just click on the links in my sidebar.  

Adam Levine if you want to see what marriage (NOT TO ME) has done to Adam, take a look…


Clearly, he’s heartbroken and missing me.  He literally tore his hair out in his grief.  I haven’t forgiven him.  I’m not saying it’s over…but…TBD.

My goal has always been to make people smile, even laugh.  I’d even take a smirk or half-smile.  I’ve never felt more keenly than I do now that the world could use a little cheer, and I’m determined to do my part.  I mostly blog about marriage, family and my mild obsession with all things Adam. If you’re looking for the perfect family or marriage, then you’ve come to the wrong place.  I’m more of a cautionary tale of what NOT to do.  Marriage is hard.  Raising kids is hard.  Life can be hard.  I don’t sugarcoat it or act like I have all the answers.  I don’t.  I’m down in the trenches learning as I go, making mistakes and blogging about it.  I don’t take myself too seriously and self-deprecation and sarcasm are my default languages.   

Join me as I search to find the funny in the things life continues to throw my way.

Overexposed: A Love Story

Friends shouldn’t let friends drink and write a blog, because this is what happens…

I’m sorry in advance Adam for letting out our little not so secret love affair.  I know you wanted to wait, but I just can’t deny the truth any longer.  I know it’s complicated, and things will get messy.  I’ve heard all the reasons why you’re afraid to let yourself love me, but I thought I would take this time to remind you of our amazing love story.

Remember when we took that pic (above) in Fiji?  I was stung by a jellyfish and you pissed on my foot and then carried me back to our hotel.  You were so sweet that day Adam.  That might have been the day I fell in love…because nothing quite shouts love like getting pissed on.  My son used to piss on me all the time.  Changing a diaper was an act of war.  I would slowly undo the diaper and peek in, make sure the little wanker was sleeping.  Then, I’d pull the diaper back letting the cool air in, and quickly (yet gently) slam the diaper back down before peeking again.  Sometimes the cool air would set off the urine stream.  All would seem quiet.  He would coo, giggle and smile at me, but I wasn’t fooled.  I saw the mischievous gleam behind his blue eyes.  I’d have the other diaper all ready, the timing and expediency of the switch crucial if I wanted success.  Success was achieved if I didn’t have to wipe urine from my face, shirt and the walls after a diaper change.  Wait…why am I talking about this…  Back to us my love…

Remember that day you took me camping?  Yeah…let’s never do that again.  Our love was surely tested that day.  I tried to tell you I don’t do camping, but you laughed off my concerns, and told me it was because I’d never been camping with you.  Of course, you didn’t know I’d have that allergic reaction to the ant bites…  But before I swelled up and got sprayed by that rabid skunk, it really was quite romantic.  I got a good look at the stars when the paramedics put me on the stretcher, and that cocktail of drugs they gave me was delightful.  Thank you for riding in the ambulance with me and holding my hand, and only gagging once when you saw the puss filled blisters on my feet and ankles.  I fell even more in love with you that night…

Remember walking along the boardwalk in Venice Beach and we ran across that street artist, and you asked him to paint a caricature of our Route 66 road trip in your vintage Thunderbird?  We ate ice cream, people watched and laughed all day.  We had to wear floppy hats and sunglasses so no one would recognize you.

Then you surprised me with that skydiving trip!  I accidentally sharted, it might have been the ice cream or the fear, and you were so understanding.  You even bought me all new panties, and I told you how I hate the word “panties” and I don’t wear thongs and there was that awkward moment where we stumbled into your ex-supermodel girlfriend, and I was all embarrassed because I smelled like fear, nervousness and poop and my palms were all sweaty, and my eye started doing that squinty-tic thing it does when I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Yet still you made me feel beautiful and desired.

Remember when you took me skiing in Aspen!  We skied, made snow angels, sipped hot chocolate by a roaring fire and frolicked in the hot tub!  I thought getting a yeast infection from a hot tub was a myth, but thank goodness that doctor was staying in the room next to us!  I’ll always remember how you ran to the drugstore and got every brand of yeast infection cream and suppositories on the market and raced back to my side.  Of course, I forgot all about the burning and itching after I accidentally set your jacket on fire.  I know you said it wasn’t important but it looked really expensive.  I wish you’d let me replace it…  Oh well, I’ve got a great Christmas idea for you now!

Surely you remember bringing me to the Cannes Film Festival!  It was definitely the most romantic night of our lives!  It was so sweet how you kept my name out of the papers, and I loved being referred to as the “mysterious woman clinging to Adam Levine” by the paparazzi.  I still don’t know how you kept our love a secret, we were glowing brighter than that Edward character in Twilight.  When my husband called to tell me that one of our children had fallen ill, you immediately made a private jet available to take me home.  You’ll make an awesome step-dad someday.  Thank you so much for getting Scarlet Johansson’s autograph for my husband, it did seem to mollify him quite a bit.

I’ve never had so much dressing up for Halloween as I did this year with you!  We were the hit of the party.  Until I threw up on Lady Gaga’s bacon dress, but I mean really…a bacon dress?  It would have made any slightly drunk person throw up.  I think some of that bacon was rather old, and it was kind of insensitive to wear it considering the bacon shortage threatening the nation.  Plus, they really should have stopped serving me after my 5th glass of that punch, it was very strong.  It kind of hit me all at once.  I’m really sorry about puking in your car.  And your front lawn.  And the floor of your foyer.  And in your closet.  Not sure how I ended up in your closet, but I hope I missed your shoes at least.  Did I mention how strong that punch was and I probably shouldn’t have eaten those tacos.  You made a bed for me next to the toilet and put a cold washcloth on my head…and I knew…just knew that we were meant to be.

I know I promised not to mail out our Christmas photo this year, but I love it so…

I should never have gotten our photo album out, plus the drinking…I know it’s a bad idea.  We promised to wait until March before we went public, but I just couldn’t wait one second longer!  I know you have to ignore me on twitter and Facebook, but it hurts.  It hurts so bad, Adam.  I just want to be with you, is that so wrong?  I mean, besides the fact I’m married and have 4 kids.  If it will make you feel less guilty, I found this tonight in my husband’s underwear drawer…

That Scarlett Johansson slut sent it to my husband!  Can you believe her nerve!??!  So, see…you don’t have to feel guilty.

We have this amazing fairytale romance, don’t you think it’s time to tell the world?  Follow me back on twitter if you agree…it will be our secret code until you can come get me 😉

Oh Pet, Thy Name Is Peeve

Guess what time it is?!?!  It’s time for the Secret Subject Swap: 2nd Edition and it’s bigger than ever!  This time twenty brave bloggers participated and today is our big reveal!

This fun post idea comes from my friend Baking in a Tornado.  We both do our best to survive Kids: The Teenage Years.  The only difference is that she bakes to cope and I eat to cope…sounds like a friendship made in heaven!

I waited in breathless anticipation for the subject of my swap to arrive in my inbox.  I was nervous and excited about this challenge.  Nervous that it might take me out of my comfort zone or I would draw a complete blank and post a hot mess of awkwardness.  Excited because I love a challenge, and as a self-proclaimed writer, I never want to stop stretching my creative muscle.

Imagine my excitement when I opened by e-mail to find the topic of my angst sitting in the top spot complete with flashing strobe lights and confetti!


My topic:  “My Biggest Pet Peeve”

This. Is. Awesome.  I am peeved by so many things!  Peeving is like my hobby!  I started making a list right away, and it went on and on.  And on. And on.  I get annoyed so easily, this is the perfect topic for me!  I was born to write it!  And do you know what’s even better?  The topic came from the awesome Sorry Kid, Your Mom Doesn’t Play Well With Others.  The title of her blog suggests all the reasons I love her!  She has the best sense of humor and the funniest family I’ve ever read about.  She makes me wish she was a reality TV show or my next-door neighbor.  Seriously, read her blog.  You will laugh until you cry.  I totally imagined discussing our pet peeves over a few beers and laughing until we pee ourselves.

The only difficulty I faced was deciding what qualified as my BIGGEST pet peeve.  An intense battle was waged inside my mind as the peeves faced off against each other fighting for dominance and control.  In other news, my “Adam Levine Diet Cleanse” (the diet I began on November 1st which will turn me into a stunning super model before I attend the Maroon 5 concert next March where Adam Levine will find himself mesmerized by my captivating smile, flawless beauty and stunning figure only to be devastated when he finds out I’m happily married with 4 kids, yet still he will pursue me until the end of time, never marrying another, pining for me until his last breath) started creating an epic bodily drought which forced my peeves to stage their very own “Hunger Games.”  The Crimson Goddess reared her ugly head and threw mayhem and murderous rage into the mix.  Shit got real.  However, one peeve emerged as champion…



  • Nothing brings out the stupid like political campaigns.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say they were moving to Canada if so and so wins the election, I could buy Canada.  Trust me people, right now Canada is tightening their borders and trying to figure out effective measures to combat an infestation of stupid.  Just in case these are more than idle threats.  Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.”  People on Facebook and Twitter would do well to remember this and act accordingly.  If you want to discuss my political views, invite me to dinner, serve a nice Chianti and let’s discourse and debate.  Intelligently.  With actual facts.  Listen up people, here is your public service announcement for the day, just because it’s written on an e-card or a meme doesn’t make it true.  Posting it on Facebook or Twitter just allows you to fist pump and chest bump people who already agree with you and makes everyone else mute you.  The only thing worse than stupid is ignorance, and there’s plenty of that to go around!  I fail to understand these personal nuclear attacks that are being launched on both sides.  Whichever candidate has the cleanest dirt wins?  Is that the message?  Be smart people!  Just because you read it on the internet doesn’t make it true!  Just because it fits your personal narrative doesn’t make it factual.  As Gandhi said, “Be the change in the world you want to see.”  Based on some of the comments/posts/commentary I’ve seen, I’m pretty certain the zombie apocalypse is already here.  November 7th can’t get here soon enough, then I guess we will see if riots break out or half the population tries to migrate to Canada.  It’s enough to drive you crazy, and I was already half-way there.

Man-child and I discuss politics:

Man-child:  “Mommy did you hear the news?”

Me:  “What news?”

Man-child:  “Obama won the president.”

Me:  “You mean he won the election to be President?”

Man-child:  “yeah, that.”

Me:  “Well, no actually the election isn’t over yet.  Unfortunately we still have a few weeks before voting closes.”

Man-child:  “nuh-uh.  He won.”

Me:  “Where did you hear this?”

Man-child:  “Nickelodeon.”

True story.  Nickelodeon let the kids vote online for President.  Sadly this is probably the most intelligent conversation about the election that’s been posted on the internet lately. 

I’ll leave you with this thought: 

and another personal favorite:

 Now, who wants to go out with me on November 7th and drink to celebrate the end of this election!  Drinks on me, and I don’t care which candidate you picked!

Check out the other awesome bloggers that participated in this challenge! 

Baking In A Tornado: Second Secret Subject Swap