The Time Has Come…

…the blogger said. (I know you were dying to call me a walrus, but don’t. I won’t take it well.)

Mom-blogger or walrus, whichever I may be, I am taking my words and my tusks over to my new home, A Whole Messa Musings. It seems, just as the Walrus said, that it is time to talk of many things. My children are still small, but they’re not babies anymore. They sleep through the night, they feed themselves, and all three even pick out their own clothes. I won’t lie and say that I find any part of motherhood easy, but I do find I have less and less to talk about on the mothering front, and more and more to say just about everywhere else. And here’s a mind bomb for you: I don’t even really like wearing black anymore. WHO AM I.

In this new blog, I can’t promise I’ll make any direct references to shoes and ships and sealing wax. I’m less likely to address cabbages, specifically, though there will likely be some talk of kings. What I can promise is my trademarked oversharing, mediocre poetry, hopeless laments as I navigate the literary world, social justice warrior-ing, and the overall ranty behavior you have come to expect from me over our last few years together. If you feel so inclined (or maybe even if you don’t), I’d love it if you’d follow me there and hang out for a while. Or forever. Then someday you can tell strangers you knew me “back then”. And then they’ll say, “Who?” And you’ll say, “Never mind.” Even so, I’ll appreciate your company and support.

Thanks to everyone who has followed, shared, commented, and interacted over the years. Thanks to all the sponsors and blog hop hosts. Thanks to my kids and dogs and husband and creepy strangers for offering such a wealth of material. I hope to see you all on the other side. (Not the creepy strangers, I mean. You guys stay put.)


Photo Cred: My Dang Self with a little help from my friends the iPhone 6s and the Word Swag app


So, You’re Privileged. Now What?

We are a people of offense. We are offended by Donald Trump’s racist and sexist rhetoric. We are offended by Hillary Clinton’s evasion of the law. We are offended by television and music and opinion and weather and laughter and sadness and humanity, in general.

If you are a white American, no doubt you’ve heard the term “white privilege” of late in volumes you might consider ad nauseam. And if you are a white American, and you are living and filled with blood and rely on the presence of oxygen to survive, you’ve no doubt been offended by it. I would wager you are currently offended by it. You are discomfited by it. You don’t like it. You are angry about it.

If that is you, allow me to say this: you should be.

You probably don’t actively hate or even dislike black people. You would probably even say you love black people. You probably have a black friend. You probably thanked a black person for holding the door at the bank for you that one time and meant it. That’s wonderful.

You’ve never owned slaves. You’ve never whipped, lynched, beaten or killed. You’ve probably never called a black person “the n word” or witnessed a black family being asked to leave a restaurant. Wonderful.

You’re not racist. But you are privileged, whether you asked for it or not. It feels like a slur. It feels like an accusation. It feels gross and mean and wrong and offensive. And once you acknowledge it, you can’t be silent about it.

So, let’s talk about white privilege. Let’s get offended for a minute to have a discussion about our privilege and how it affects these black people we don’t consciously hate and possibly even “love”.

White privilege is a social relation granting or exempting white people conditions non-whites are not given access to. From Wikipedia: “…whites in Western societies enjoy advantages that non-whites do not experience, as ‘an invisible package of unearned assets’.[1] White privilege denotes both obvious and less obvious passive advantages that white people may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice. These include cultural affirmations of one’s own worth; presumed greater social status; and freedom to move, buy, work, play, and speak freely. The effects can be seen in professional, educational, and personal contexts. The concept of white privilege also implies the right to assume the universality of one’s own experiences, marking others as different or exceptional while perceiving oneself as normal.[2][3]

While white privilege can run a wide gamut, I want to address one facet specifically, and it is this: “These include cultural affirmations of one’s own worth; presumed greater social status; and freedom to move, buy, work, play and speak freely.”

We are offended by Black Lives Matter. This is evident in the many All Lives Matter retorts. Can I offer an explanation of why that is? It is offensive to us because it makes us feel guilty and afraid and those emotions don’t feel so good. We feel guilty because, in hearing Black Lives Matter, we feel accused of thinking they don’t matter. And if we don’t think they matter, then we are racist. And no one wants to be accused of racism. We feel afraid because, in hearing Black Lives Matter, we think our “mattering” is being threatened. We feel like we are being forced to sacrifice something. To give something that is and has always been ours. That we are being asked to give some of our privilege away.

Here’s my challenge: give it away. Give it. All. Away.

Let me tell you something about “mattering”. There is an infinite supply of “mattering”. It’s not ONLY Black Lives Matter. It’s not Black Lives Matter Above All Others. Black people are not running around trying to snatch up all the earth’s “mattering”. “Mattering” is not a limited number of Pokemon and no one is going to catch ’em all. Black Lives Matter means hear me. See me. Value me. Remember that I was once legally consider three-fifths of a human being in this very country. Protect me. Humanize me. Let me live and move and buy and work and play and speak freely like you. Don’t fear me. Don’t call me a thug. Don’t call me an animal. Don’t villainize me.


Think of Michael Brown as your son. Think of Trayvon Martin as your son. Think of Alton Sterling as your dad. Think of Philando Castile as your dad. Think of Sandra Bland as your sister. Do it for a minute because that is what the black community does everyday. As white Americans, we don’t carry the generational impacts of slavery. We have not carried the dehumanization of segregation or being ripped from our families and sold or being used for breeding like an animal. We have not had to come together as a race. We don’t find much identity in our race as white people because we don’t have to. We are the norm. We are the standard. We are the definition. Nude means white skin. Flesh-toned means white skin. When Tom Brady makes a great pass, a young white kid talks about how great he is and how much he loves football. When LeBron James dunks on someone, a young black kid sees him and thinks Look at what he’s become. He’s the son of a single mother and he’s become great. Maybe I could be great. What happens to one impacts all. What was possible for one becomes possible for all. What is felt by one is felt by all. That is something we don’t understand as white Americans. That Trayvon was the son of over 40 million Americans. Philando was the father of over 40 million Americans. Sandra was the sister of over 40 million Americans. And the absence of that kind of grief is privilege.

I’m not asking you to not be offended when you see Black Lives Matter or the term white privilege. White privilege is offensive to its core. Get offended. Get uncomfortable. Get mad. Hate it. Because it’s real. It’s the history of white America. Now, take a minute, take a deep breath (or twenty), and channel into change. Channel those ugly feelings into something that promotes equality. White privilege is our past, but we can give our children a different future.

I am learning as I type. I have always considered myself to be a friend to black people. An ally. But through listening and watching and getting uncomfortable, I’ve realized that I haven’t been an ally at all. I’ve been cold and a lover of stereotypes and offended and so wrapped in my own America that the mention of an alternative America has filled me with anger and the disregard of the feelings and experiences of over 40 million Americans. So, I listen. I watch. I read. I learn. And to other whites, I speak.

So, you’re privileged. I’m privileged. We’re privileged. Now what. Here are some things that I have been doing in my quest to learn that I’ve found helpful:

  1. Follow black people on social media. Black authors, black news sites, black figures, black authorities, black activists. Black. People. Read what they write. Listen to their audio recordings. Listen. Read. Watch. Don’t speak. Just listen. Suggestions: A.C. Thomas, @acthomaswrites on Twitter. She is a young, black author that recently made history in a massive 13-way publishing house battle for her book THE HATE U GIVE, a Black Lives Matter-inspired Young Adult novel. The movies rights have been sold and Amandla Stenberg is slated to play the main character. She is vocal against injustices of all kinds and is a genuinely great person. Also on Twitter, @BlackGirlNerds shares poignant and insightful thoughts, as well as a healthy heap of comic, graphic novel, and general “nerd” info. Jason Chestnut, though white, speaks openly about white privilege and other social issues. He is on Twitter as @crazypastor.
  2. Change your speech. “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” Luke 6:45. The heart takes a while, but even though it’s tough, you can put a reign on your tongue. Don’t make jokes at the expense of black people (or other cultures/races/sexualities, for that matter). Don’t call black protesters animals. Don’t say sarcastically, “Oh, that’s right. We owe them” or roll your eyes any time you hear/say “reparations” (okay, okay, eye-rolling isn’t technically speech but it sure communicates effectively!). Stop saying All Lives Matter. We know this. Say things that bring life. Say things that exalt. Say things that build. If you feel you can’t, say nothing until you can.
  3. Hunger for justice. For the police. For black America. Keep in mind that illegally carrying a firearm does not constitute death. Keep in mind that having a prior criminal record does not warrant death. Keep in mind that an officer of the law is accountable as we are. When a black man is killed, feel. Don’t justify. Don’t rationalize. Feel. Cry. Pray. In every situation, whatever justice is, hunger for that. Cry out for that. And while you wait for it, feel. Cry. Pray. Love.
  4. Keep your critique of black culture and its “problems” to yourself. You know how your siblings used to (maybe still) drive you insane and you’d call them names/lock them in closets/duct tape them to chairs (no? Just me?)? But then the second someone outside of the family attacks your sibling, verbally or otherwise, your blood boils with a fiery rage and you rise up in defense like a praised Roman soldier in a chariot of fire to lay waste to the fool that would dare insult your blood? Okay. So. Consider the black community that, as I have mentioned, identifies as a unit. Let’s think of the black community as a household. A family. A family has their struggles within the household, right? A family can have rogue cousins and mouthy uncles and a son or daughter with a drug problem, right? The family is aware of the issues in the house. Grandmama Betty knows Uncle Bill is an alcoholic. Cousin Agatha knows her niece April has a gambling problem. They know. They not okay with it. They can’t control their relatives, but they are aware and they love them and they are doing what they can to help them. Now, imagine if Rando Neighbor Guy comes into Grandmama Betty’s household and starts rattling off their problems. Rando Neighbor Guy doesn’t know them. He doesn’t know their history. He’s never invited them to dinner. He’s never been to their kids’ soccer games. But Rando Neighbor Guy comes in and lists their family issues and what they need to do to rectify the situations. What do you think the response will be? I can tell you if it were me, Rando Neighbor Guy would suddenly grow a tail, which would be immediately thrust between his legs as he ran from my home in shame. In the wake of these killings, I’ve read/heard/seen a lot of “What about black-on-black crime?” and “Blacks need to address the violence in their own communities first.” What about black-on-black crime? Beside the fact that that has literally not one thing to do with a non-black officer killing a black man, you can’t help what you have no understanding of. Before we pull a Rando Neighbor Guy, let’s know people. Let’s learn their history. Let’s literally invite them to dinner. Let’s go to their kids’ games. Let’s invite them to ours. Let’s foster real, human relationships. And let’s keep our critiques to ourselves. Better still, let’s stop critiquing.
  5. Don’t let racism slide. I’m not saying we should become language police and put a muzzle on the world (although…). I’m also not saying it won’t possibly be a little awkward. What I am saying is in our changing our speech, maybe we can influence others to do the same. If you have a friend or relative that refers to other races with slurs, tell them you don’t like it. You don’t have to be a turd about it. Just a simple, “Hey, man. I don’t like that term” will do. If the offender gives you a hard time, you can just say, “I’d rather you not use the term around me.” And if they still want to fight, you may have to get real and stand your ground. “Don’t say that to me or I’m going to have to excuse myself.” Don’t argue. Don’t belittle. Don’t insult or raise your voice or stoop low. Be kind, be gentle, be firm, and in all things, to all people, show respect and love.


I also came across this article today and found it helpful.

That’s it. Privilege is real. Real people feel lesser. Let’s stop letting offense reign. Let’s stop defending ourselves. Let’s learn. Let’s let people speak. Let’s listen.




I Mother, Therefore I am

Or perhaps more appropriate: I am, therefore I mother.


I’ll be perfectly honest. I haven’t showered in a few days. *Most* of my clothes are clean, but I’ll just take a good minute to bless the Lord for making dry shampoo (can I get a witness because you know I can). I barely know what year it is, let alone the month, and god bless me if I can ever remember the numerical date. It is one of life’s miracles that I just learned Mother’s Day was coming up, and that is solely because a calendar-wielding mom posted about it on my Internet mommy board (and blessings upon you, Al Gore, for creating the Internet. So many blessings to be blessed today!).

But, since we’re here and I have no intention of wasting precious nap time quiet on showering, let’s talk about moms.

In practical living, I became a mom in the spring of 2011. That’s when I started cataloging another creature’s poops and losing sleep over the functionality of my nipples (how and why is that a thing, Jesus) and beaming with pride knowing that I’d kept a tiny human alive for another day.

In other ways, I became a mom in the spring of 2009 when we lost our first baby. Practically, my mothering extended only as far as some nausea, horrific breast tenderness, and awesomely bad bloating. That practical intro to motherhood was rather short lived, and I didn’t dare call myself a mother, though some very kind people took great care to remind me of what I was. Not practically, maybe, but I had the heart of a mother.

It’s not an easy thing, mothering, yet we are compelled to do it. Now, when I say mothering, I don’t mean to summon the image of the fabled beautiful and singsong-voiced angel woman we beat ourselves up for not being. I don’t refer to the fairy princess flower lady who bathes her children in sunbeams and never says bad words and is only and always bursting with star-shiney joy at every sound, sight, and smell her progeny emits. She’s wonderful and happy and peaceful and doesn’t exist (not that moms aren’t happy-stay with me).

When I say mothering, I mean this: motherhood is a battle of the soul, every emotion willing itself above the rest, until you are somehow drained and full, empty and overflowing, in turmoil and in peace.

With that said, I absolutely became a mother in the spring of 2009, though I had nothing–or no one–to present to the world.

And here in the spring of 2016 (wait-it’s 2016, right?), I have three children that love to make their presence known, while three more speak only in whispers between my husband and I.


Motherhood, as I’ve known it to be in these short years, is less about the practical (though I am beat over the head with the practical on an hourly basis) and more about that internal battle. I am empty. I am full. I am afraid. I am at rest. I am content. I want more. It is a heartache that is both ugly and beautiful, pain and joy mingled. It is wanting more and wanting less and a desperate clinging to what you have right now.

So, this Mother’s Day–if I remember by the time Sunday rolls around–I will salute the mothers that have come before me and have retained a measure of sanity as their children aged. I will raise a fist in solidarity for the mothers currently feeling that pull of laughter and tears in that mingling of pain and joy. And I will say a prayer for the mothers that will come after me, that they will be gracious with themselves and with each other, and that joy will always triumph over pain.


For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night,

But joy comes in the morning.


Diary of a Mad Baby Woman

*The following is an excerpt from the journal of 21-month-old Kitty. Yes. She is both genius and sassmistress.*


Dear Diary,

Prepare yourself for a shock.

So, here I am, minding my own baby business, systematically dismantling the brand-freaking-new roll of toilet paper and stuffing it into the toilet (Like, hi. That’s where toilet paper is supposed to go.), when mom walks in and is all, “KITTY! THAT’S A NO NO!”

Oh, look. Mom’s yelling about no no‘s. Must be Tuesday.

I’m like, “Actually, it’s yes yes.” It’s toilet paper and this is a toilet. What am I missing?

Then she’s all grunty and weird and, like, stomping around, fishing the soggy mound of TOILET paper out of the TOILET. And I’m like, “Ew, mom. You’re the one digging in the toilet water and I’m getting yelled at. That makes sense.” #babysarcasm


So, that was a buzzkill, but then a lightbulb goes off in my baby brain. GYM CHALK! While mom’s playing in the poop water, I decide to exercise my independence by getting my own snack because I’m a grown ay-ess-ess baby. I go over to the shelf where dad makes a huge mess with his gym chalk (like, I’m a B A B Y and I’m less messy than you) and break off a sizable chunk for my tasting pleasure.

I like chalk. Sue me. Sike. Don’t. My parents are homeless. They act like it, anyway.

Anyway, I’m eating this chalk and mom comes out of the bathroom all wet and red-faced and you will never guess what she says…


Could I maybe get a list of these many and various no no’s? Do you think it’s possible you’re being a little liberal with the assigning of no no‘s? Because I swear the list grows daily. I can’t feed the dogs Goldfish. Lord knows I can’t eat their food. And now, apparently, I can’t eat chalk. Like, my baby body, my baby choice.

At this point, I’m angry. I’ll admit it. And I’m not particularly pleased with myself, but yeah, maybe I did intentionally reach into my diaper and do a little “finger painting”, but I had to send a message. But then, Bear reminds me of why I wish I was an only child and is all, “MOOOOOOMMM! Kitty put poop on the wall!”

Naturally, I hit him in the face. #shrugs

Speaking of, what’s the deal with not being allowed to hit my brothers?

  1. They’re the worst and 100% need to be hit. Like, I truly believe it is an actual, physical and emotional need for them and quite possibly the only thing that could possibly save them from their worst-ness.
  2. I am both younger and smaller (although, not by much–sucks to be you, Bear) and yet I’m treated like the terrorist. Even Monkey runs screaming from me (he’s FIVE, btw) like I’m Osama bin Baby. TIME TO BABY UP, GUYS.
  3. I chase after them with a baseball bat ONE TIME and suddenly I’m not allowed access to anything larger than an orange or heavier than a washcloth. Like, maybe instead of taking away ALL OF MY FREEDOMS, teach your sons to grow a pair. (Tbh, I don’t know what that means, but mom said it to dad one time and he got so mad, so I feel like it’s appropriately insulting.)


Anyway, I was super angry, as you can imagine, but I took a nap (mostly to get away from mom because she’s a psycho). When I woke up, I forgot why I was mad at her and screamed until she agreed to carry me around with her as she completed her set goals for the day. Which, btw, was taking Buzzfeed quizzes and testing Snapchat filters. What a hard life. #eyeroll

Ps: Mom, if you’re reading this, jk jk. Love you so much.

You Smell Bad: A Categorization of Odors

At any given moment, I can pick a guaranteed minimum of five smells, generally foul, from my person. Nine times out of ten, the foul smells are not of my own doing, but of a smaller creature in my company. It’s bad enough that the fruit of my womb are responsible for such nasal assaults, and even worse, still, that they find a way to rub them all over my body. To survive, however, we must let go of the things we cannot change.

Click to the link to read the rest of my guest post for my friends at Birth + Baby!


Grownups in Public

I went to dinner in a new city-a real city-and couldn’t make words come out of my face hole.

I am supremely out of my element here: new and BIG city, essentially on my own, and attending a writer’s workshop. Never mind the fact that it took nearly two hours to get to the hotel when we were but THREE BLOCKS FROM IT AT ALL TIMES (Villanova parade, blocked streets, it was a dark time-I don’t want to talk about it). Never mind all that. I have to be a grownup with other grownups in public. They don’t know me, I don’t know them, and I don’t know how I’m going to make it.

Listen. I’m not a baby. Okay. I’m kind of a baby, but, like, a moderately skilled baby. Once upon a time, I had a job and conversed with grownups. Once upon a time, I was a grownup. The issue now is that I’m older, but weirder, and all too aware of the MANY AND VARIOUS things that could and likely WILL go wrong.

Who am I going to sit with? What am I going to say to the literary agent? What if I talk too loud or laugh too long? What if I make one too many alcohol related jokes to the point that it gets weird? Because, let’s be real, those things are 100% going to happen.

This city is grande and loud and I am one (relatively) small person-woman-with a very big dream. Can I make it happen? Can I be one among the other grownups in public?

Of course I can. I said it myself. I am one woman with a very big dream. I have been a grownup and I can do it again. The best thing about me is me, and I will likely laugh too long and talk too loud, but I will be me.

Even if that me is the girl in the red dress that talked really freaking loud. I mean, there are worse things, right?!


Right. The worse thing would be not going at all. The worse thing would be dreaming and never doing.

So, here I sit in a large and loud city all on my own and just a bit nervous about being a grownup in public. I couldn’t say for sure, but I’d have to guess it’s markedly better than sitting in a quiet and familiar chair and having a dream in secret.

Fingers crossed I don’t accidentally spit on anyone or tell an unsavory baby poop story. (Which is to say any poop story.)

The Scourge of Jiffy Lube

It’s rare for me to leave my house with all three children in my charge and mine alone. After today, it will never happen again.

Without naming names, there’s someone in this household with a history of killing cars for lack of oil maintenance. There is also someone who is in uncomfortably warm water for a series of extreme Kindle purchases. This certain someone can’t really afford to blow up any more vehicles or drain any more cash. So against her better judgment and all the hopes and wishes in her bones, this nameless creature had to make a decision today, and she is not sure it was worth it. (The creature is named Me. I am talking about myself. Me.)

We roll into Jiffy Lube, the four of us, and the kids won’t get out of the car. I’ve unstrapped everyone and they’re just sitting there–Lord only knows why. Jiffy Lube Guy is standing at the car waiting and I’m wondering if he’s down for wrangling a few kids because they’re not moving and mama’s arms are already full. For the 85th time, I explain why we’re here, what we’re doing, and that for any of that to happen, THEY HAVE TO GET THE F OUT OF THE CAR. Apparently, that gets the gears turning, because they get up and out. I’ll take my small victories where I can find them.

Jiffy Dude leads us into the waiting room that is the size of my shoe–size seven, thank you–and already full of people. Help, God. The gracious patrons make space for us to sit, except three-year-old Bear is not having the company. He snarls at the old man next to us and clearly intones that he’d rather die than sit next to this guy. Bear is taking his vow seriously, I learn, because a few minutes later, he digs into the trash can, retrieves a used coffee stirrer, and PUTS IT IN HIS MOUTH. Perhaps he would genuinely rather die, I wonder, and thank the good Lord he’s up to date with his vaccinations. I remove the visibly dirty stirrer and he screams like I’ve stabbed him. I haven’t, but I’d like to. I pick a shiny new stirrer from the counter as consolation which he promptly drops. But, don’t worry. He picks it right up and PUTS IT IN HIS MOUTH. God bless him, the little urchin.

Monkey, as much as it depends on his five-year-old self-control, is fairly well contained. Only problem is that everything he does is decibels louder than anything else around him. Even his breathing is a yell. In fact, just now as I’m typing, he walked up the stairs and sent the dogs into a frenzy because they thought someone was banging on the door. He’s loud. And he is making no attempts to change who he is on account of some Jiffy Lube patrons. I’m pleading with him to lower his voice and use soft feet, but he is Fred Flintstone on fire and the entire west side of town knows it.


Twenty-month old Kitty has a cold and is eye-crusting, the likes of which you’ve never seen before. She’s also a grouchy she-beast, God save us all. And, much like her brother Bear, she has developed a taste for floor goo, and is rocket-launching her binky across the same floor. I, in my audacious motherly fashion, pick it up each time and aggressively wipe the sins away which enrages the tiny despot. She screams “MINE” loud enough for all of Jiffy Lube and northern Virginia to feel the aftershock in their bones, takes the binky back for one good suck, and then resumes throwing. Now, I’m sure you’re saying, “Why do you keep giving it back to her? You know she’s going to throw it again.” And all I can say to that is hell hath no fury like a she-beast denied her binky.

I suppose the worst part of the ordeal came when Clarence, the Jiffy Lube attendant, read through the entirety of the exhaustive work How to Deplete Your Bank Account at Jiffy Lube. Not only is that a trial in and of itself, but you can imagine how much more trying it might be as two of your three hatchlings attempt a jailbreak. Monkey, at the prompting of his younger and more fiendish brother, opens the front door and is halfway to the road–bustling with traffic, mind you–when a kind patron stops them and ushers them back inside. Meanwhile, Kitty is blugeoning me with a dirty bink, and Clarence is undeterred, rattling off manufacturer recommendations on things I don’t care about. The boys may have given up on their escape, but they’ll be darned if they allow the hiccup to ruin their good time. They proceed to wrestle in the middle of the size seven floor like it’s being televised. If I’d had half a mind, I may have been a number of things: scared, embarrassed, grateful. Unfortunately, as mom of three little people, I have no mind at all. The only feeling to be felt can be summed up in the phrase I repeated over and over: I have to get out of here. 

Thus always to tyrants, indeed.

And get out of there I did. By the grace of the same God that keeps me from placing myself into oncoming traffic the many times I get the urge, the Jiffy Lubians finished and we left. Once secured in the vehicle and out of public hearing distance, the younglings that call me mom learned they would, in fact, not be rewarded with lunch from Sonic, and if hell had not been loosed there in Jiffy Lube, it was at last freed from every bond in the back seat of our car. I fail to see how scream-growl-crying “I’LL BE A GOOD LISTENER” gives much credit to one’s cause, but I’m thirty and a mom. What do I know.

One thing I do know, however, is that we are now the scourge of Jiffy Lube and I will never take all three children there again. If we’ve not been exiled entirely.