November 16, 2015

Diabetes Awareness Month: Stronger Because Of It

November is Diabetes awareness month.  My Moo has Type I Diabetes and was diagnosed just over six years ago.  It hasn't been incredibly easy or fun, but, as with everything in life, time and practice bring a measure of wisdom and familiarity.

I was asked to share our story over on The WIRL Project site.

Never in a million years would I have guessed that the doctor would come back in the room and say, “I suspect your daughter has Type I diabetes.” The Sugar.
My immediate thought was that we were going to get a pamphlet, go home, and come back in a few days for a follow-up visit. I had no idea. I think it took some time for the shock to wear off. Neither of us started crying until we were in the car on the way to the Emergency Room. Driving to a big hospital and an even bigger Unkown.

You can read the  full post here.
Diabetes: Stronger Because Of It. @notsosupermom_
Read More »

August 19, 2015


Have you seen these? The latest and greatest in feminine-hygiene-product-free feminine hygiene panties?
Huh? (My thoughts exactly!) Like a lot of things I think THINX are great in theory--reduce stigma, save the Earth, help girls in underdeveloped countries--all good stuff. Although the concept is not new, I think THINX is making a splash because of its humanitarian efforts on the flip side, but I wouldn't trust it in practical use.  I just can't see this doing the job.

I am a woman. I get my period. I have it now. (Yes, It's probably not helping that I am sitting here writing this while on my period. You're in REAL TIME here people. Real time.)

I have gotten my period for about 29 years now and I have never, ever liked it. This has nothing to do with societal stigmas and EVERYTHING to do with itisamajorinconveneincetogoaboutyoureverydaylifewhileyouareBLEEDINGBLEEDINGBLEEDINGfromyournetherparts. It just fucking sucks. I don't need society to tell me that.

If you think it's a blessing to have a monthly reminder of a physical readiness for something you might not necessarily be otherwise ready for, then feel free to enjoy Aunt Flo's company. And even if you are someone who is hoping to see her period in lieu of being pregnant you're not convincing me that's there's a bright side.

Periods are gross. Maybe this isn't the most PC point of view nowadays but it's a fact. I try to put on a good face for my newly "blessed" teenage daughter, but the fact is there is no upside. What other bodily function requires such time and attention and gear? I have heavy periods and THINX claim that its heaviest pair of panties will "absorb as much as two tampons worth of blood" just doesn't do it for me. I can go through two tampons in TWO HOURS! Then what?

So I'm at the office and I feel the need to "freshen up." Instead of taking a discreet, sanitary, wrapped feminine hygiene product into the bathroom and throwing away the used goods, what would THINX have me do? Go to the bathroom, change into a fresh pair of THINX (are these individually wrapped as well?) and do WHAT EXACTLY with my not-so-fresh pair? Do they come with carry out bags? They are reusable for up to 2 years so I'm certainly not going to throw away any of my $200+ "cycle set."

I just don't get how these can work. If I'm not seeing it, feel free to enlighten me. I'll be sitting here in my pad and granny panties. I may not be helping to reduce any stigma about how annoying and gross the menstrual cycle is, but I'd appreciate it if you can help me find the silver lining. Pun intended.

(panties pictured in title graphic are NOT Thinx brand)

No thanx, THINX! I'll keep my granny panties. @notsosupermom_

Read More »

August 7, 2015

Last Blast of Summer Reading!

Summer may be over soon, but that doesn't mean your summer reading is over! Meredith of The Mom of the Year and Carrie of Normal Level of Crazy have been on an amazing virtual book club journey since last Fall. I have teamed up with them and a great group of bloggers to give you the opportunity to win this epic giveaway! Check out our picks and why we chose them, then enter to win a $225 Amazon gift card and 7 of the books on the list. 

It's here, friends. The end of summer is upon us. I know. But that doesn't mean you need to put your beloved books down! In fact, just the opposite. No time like the present to dig into your reading and escape the hassles and woes of Back to School prep and fuss.

To embrace the end of our summer months, I teamed up with a bunch of my blogging buddies and asked the uber-important question: what book would you recommend for a last-blast at summer reading? What book would you love to share with others? Every month, The Mom of the Year and Normal Level of Crazy meet through a virtual book club* to allow moms to come together and chat about fab books while still rocking their pj pants in the cozy-comfort of their own homes. It doesn't get any better, really.

This month, we've blown the skies wide open and are coming to you with an entire list of great reads that you need to check out! Even better, we are giving one of you a $225 Amazon gift card along with seven of the titles on this list to read! Use the gift card to snatch up your reading wish list and dig into the books sent to your door. In short, you will be in a reader's heaven. It's sweet deal! Enter to score the gift card and the hard copies of the books before 8/14/15 at 5:30am ET through the Rafflecopter below. As long as you are resident of the continental U.S. and 18 yrs. or older, you are eligible to win!

What's on the list of recommended reads? 

  The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (Jessica of Herd Management)--Possibly the best Sparks' book I've ever read. Two couples in completely different time periods paths cross and the end result is amazing. Tear-jerking romance is enfolded within the pages of the characters' captivating challenges. Plus, I can't resist a cowboy. Read this before you see the movie!

  Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Courtney of Our Small Moments)-- How would you feel if the one you loved turned out to be from one of the richest families? Crazy Rich Asians shows the complexity of that situation.

  The Liar by Nora Roberts (MamaRabia of The Lieber Family)--What would you do if you found out that your recently deceased husband was not only a liar and a thief, but possibly worse? Shelby Pomeroy decides to take back her life by clearing her name and fighting to make a better life for herself and her young daughter. But her dead husband still has some surprises in store for her!

  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Jennifer of Real Life Parenting)--The primary female characters in this historical fiction are strong, feisty, and full of heart and personality. The way their lives in time are so far apart, their connections are close and poignant. I loved the blending of history with modern day happenings! A quick read because you just don't want to put it down.

  Child, Please, How Mama's Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself by Ylonda Gault Caviness (Stacey of One Funny Motha)--Maybe I like this book because I'm old-school myself. Or it could be the author's funny, lively, entirely personable voice that makes reading it feel as though you're talking to a friend. Or it could be that I write about similar issues myself and found much to agree with in the author's perspective. Whatever the case, this memoir is a throughly enjoyable read of one woman's straight-talking journey through motherhood and was selected by Ebony as 1 of the top 4 must-reads of the summer.

  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (Alyson of The Shitastrophy)--Was the most amazing read for me. After having walked away from reading for pleasure for some time due to work commitments I selected this book to read on an airplane. I couldn't put the book down and finished it within 2 days. The story winds and weaves through three friends lives together. The ending was something I didn't see coming and was suiting to see how justice can come to fruition, even when not done judicially. I have gone on to read the rest of her books available and none have disappointed.

  Now the Hell Will Start by Brendan I. Koerner (Femme of FemmeFrugality)--Part history, part thriller, all non-fiction. Now the Hell Will Start is the story of Herman Perry, a WWII American soldier on the run in Burma after shooting his commanding officer. Not only does it expose a massive part of WWII history we never learn about in school, it also follows his incredible run from the law, including marrying into a local, headhunting tribe.

  The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran (Alicia of Sadler House)--Many writers have extolled the virtues of Italy's countryside, but no other story of Italian transplants is quite like this one. This witty memoir recounts how an award-winning Hollywood comedy producer finds himself renovating a 300-year-old house in Tuscany, where escapism gives way to real-life hilarity.

  The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman (Janene of More than Mommies)--We all have those reader friends who we want to be like. You know . . . the ones who are always reading WAY cooler books than we are reading? Well, this book came HIGHLY recommended by my reader friend who I have reader envy of, so, I think we should ALL read it and discuss! (I'm planning on reading it in August . . . so if you pick this one to read I'd love to hear your thoughts!)

  Secrets Lives of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown (Dani of Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine)--My BFF sent me Secrets of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown for my birthday in March and I absolutely COULD NOT put it down. I only ever trust her book recommendations, and she was spot on with this one. It's the perfect late summer / back-to-school read, and will not disappoint!

  House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Norine of Science of Parenthood)--Though it reads like a Downton Abbey-esque drawing room drama, behind the mansions and manners and horse-drawn carriages, Edith Wharton's House of Mirth is a fierce social commentary on the proscribed roles for American women in the 1880s. Wharton is a social commentator bar none. And Lily Bart, whose story this is, is my favorite tragic heroine. Every time I read this book, I root for Lily to emerge victorious ... and am heartbroken all over again when she falters.

  On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad (Amy of Funny is Family)--On Borrowed Wings is the story of a girl who disguises herself as a boy to attend Yale University in the 1930s, before women were allowed to enroll. It's a fantastic read that weaves well-researched historical details and the strong desire of a girl to break away from her predetermined life path.

  All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner (Meredith of Meredith to Mommy)--This book really struck me. Well-off, suburban, mom blogger who is trying to do it all winds up addicted to pain meds. This constant monologue of "I can fix this myself. I have a plan. I don't REALLY have a problem." as she falls deeper and deeper into addiction made me choke up at how easy it is to lose control and wind up in a hole that you have no hope of clawing yourself out of alone, while still keeping up a strong facade as someone who has it all. I've read it multiple times, and find myself just as drawn in as I was the first.


  Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe (Kimberly of Red Shutters)--Did you love Rob Lowe in "The Outsiders" and "St. Elmo's Fire" as much as I did? Then, you'd love this memoir in which Lowe pulls back the curtain on his life in Hollywood, from 19-year-old heartthrob to award-winning actor, sharing life wisdom along the way. I enjoyed the audio version of this book, which Lowe narrates himself, complete with impressions of Christopher Walken, Francis Ford Coppola, and other film industry luminaries.

  The Martian by Andy Weir (Kim of Let Me Start By Saying)--A man gets left on Mars by accident and his personality, smarts, creativity, and sense of humor carve a place in your heart for him as he tries to figure a way to survive--and eventually leave--his new home in space. What is happening back on Earth and in the ship that left him will have you cranking through the pages, itching to know what will happen next, because this book is full of surprises, laughs, details that make you feel right there.

  We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (Stephanie of When Crazy Meets Exhaustion)--A thought-provoking punch to the gut that, unfortunately, mimics reality a little too closely. I read it before I had kids, then again after I had my three, and I think a parent's perspective is far more frightening. In the novel, a sociopath "kid" commits the darkest of sins and turns a town--and his family--upside down. *Shivers*

  Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus (Stephanie of Binkies and Briefcases)--the story of a deaf mother and how she came to find herself raising an adopted daughter who is also deaf, as well as her biological children. As an adoptive mom myself, it can be hard to find other stories that relate to my own journey mothering a child with special needs who joined us out of foster care, and this book certainly does that. More than that, Finding Zoe also gave me a glimpse into deaf culture (which was neat for me because before my grandmother passed away she volunteered as a sign language interpreter) and was full of cool trivia, like the author being cast as Marlee Matlin's understudy in a play, but it was also real and relatable on a human level. I think any mom will be able to relate to this memoir.

  What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (Melanie of The NotsoSuperMom)-- I like it for summer reading because it's not too heavy of a story but it does make us think a bit about our own lives, the expectations we had when we were younger and how changing priorities can set our lives on a different course than we imagined. What a difference a decade makes, right?

  Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (Ellen and Erin of Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms)--Stop looking to other authors to give you the next Gone Girl and just read Flynn's earlier work. Dark Places is told in a captivating flashback format, with Libby--complicated and damaged from a horrific tragedy in her childhood--narrating the present-day chapters in first person, while the flashback chapters, told in third person, describe the actions of several key characters on that one winter's day in 1985. The plot is gripping and complex enough to have you guessing how the puzzle really fits together until the very end. I only wish the story had been longer because it was the type of read you just want to binge on, but are sorry when it's over.

  Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro (Carrie of Normal Level of Crazy and Meredith of The Mom of the Year)--With raw and heartwarming honesty, Fierro’s debut captures the sacrifices we make in order to seek understanding, compassion, and love.

Last Blast of Summer Reading giveaway! Win $225 gift card and more! @notsosupermom_

Now that you have the whole list of fave recommendations, it's time to get reading, friends! Grab up these titles and make sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below for a super sweet $225 Amazon gift card and seven of these books for your very own!

We are thrilled to have you reading with us in this last blast to summertime!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
A huge thank you to the publishing houses that offered copies of the books included in our giveaway! All the books were chosen because we genuinely think they are fantastic. We love reading and we so appreciate working with you, Grand Central Publishing, St. Martin's Press, Penguin Random House, BenBella Books, The Crown Publishing Group, and Penguin Press.

* Note to our dedicated book club fans: We WILL be discussing Judy Blume's In the Unlikely Event as promised, but in the interest of this ginormous giveaway and recommendation list post, we've decided to table this discussion until September. Check in on the first Friday of the month, 9/4/15 to catch our thoughts on this book and snag our pick for the next month! We love having you read with us! 

First image credit:, Image ID:1884440, copyright:phodopus
Third image credit:, Image ID:7214753, copyright:mac_sim
Read More »

July 30, 2015

The Bedtime Circus

I hate bedtime. I didn't used to hate it. My older two children always went to bed without much fanfare. No whining, no last-minute requests for drinks. There was bath time, a story, tooth brushing and hugs and kisses. I never realized how spoiled I was then.

I'm the Ringmaster AND the head clown.

As they got older they would add to the routine--get themselves a drink, find a lovey to snuggle. There were sometimes whiny requests to stay up later but the routine rarely went off the rails and it certainly wasn't the circus it is these days. Then came my third child.

When she was an infant bedtime was still easy. The big kids did for themselves and she could be nursed down. But when you have a baby when your youngest is seven, she becomes a toddler who grows up witnessing the independence of her older siblings there will inevitably come a day when she will seek to establish an autonomy of her own. Mine has declared bedtime her dominion.

The Bedtime Circus here isn't fun or entertaining for me. Every night I get intensely (and probably unreasonably) frustrated that it is not as simple as it once was and I loathe it's inescapable occurrence. I often feel an unbidden rage come over me as it nears and I frequently "lose my shit" during the process. It doesn't take much to push me over the edge.

It begins with the acrobatic endeavors of my youngest (now four) trying to escape capture and avoid the defeat of sleep. We can go from whining to downright refusals. There are often "forgotten" tasks--drinks, loveys, trips to the potty. Sometimes there is a concerted effort by all three to hide or to switch beds. Every next minute burning into the time I have to myself (and with my husband) before seeking my own restful respite.

Lately though, I have come to realize that it is probably becoming equally dreaded by my kids, and when you think about it circuses are meant to be fun and entertaining.

I love my kids. They are good kids and they mostly get along, despite the age differences and distinct personalities. I am trying to step back and appreciate the artful chaos of each evening. How it can be gratifying to see so much love between them even when they seem to be banding together in what feels like an effort to drive me mad. When the circus gets going, and the performers all do their parts, it should be thrilling and amusing and even breathtaking.

        It is three kids in effortless choreography around me and each other, getting a last drink of water, a dose of allergy medication, hugs and kisses. 

    There is the interpretive tooth brushing dance where the older two do-si-do around a small sink and a small sister who likes to make a spectacle of every task.  

      Clowning antics as they race each other back to their bedrooms:  shucking and jiving, playful shoving and lots of laughing and silliness. 

     It is the littlest one's gravity-defying climb to the top of a loft bed, perilously hopping up the ladder and once up there, leaning over the side to wave her long hair upside down. 

       For me a walk of fire across my son's bedroom floor littered with Lego bricks. There is gasping (and frequently cursing under my breath). 

       And finally the graceful swan dive of my very tall oldest daughter, down to her soft pillow-top mattress, falling into a deep pool of restful sleep. It is this I envy her. 

Our circus is probably not unique and it can be challenging--as all live entertainment is--but I have to appreciate the effort of the performers. Someday this circus will move on and I will be left with a dusty top hat, wondering what the next production will be.

Bedtime is a circus around here. #TheBedtimeCircus @notsosupermom_

Read More »

July 13, 2015

The Affair

About two and a half months ago I began a new relationship. I had seen this guy and I knew I had to have him. I tried to find out as much as I could about him. I looked for him everywhere, Googled his name, talked to people I knew had had contact with him. It was almost embarrassing, but I knew I wouldn't be able to live without him. By mid-May, he was mine.

We do everything together. Everything. This wasn't much of a problem in the beginning. I was so happy to have him and he made me feel good about myself. He was quietly encouraging and he made me feel like a better person. Sometimes I even snuck out for long walks with him. He had me doing things I hadn't done in quite a while. But things were moving fast.

I soon realized that I began to rely on him entirely too much. I was constantly looking to him for approval. I would check in with him all day long, interrupting my work and time with my husband and kids. I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible--pretending to check facebook or play Words With Friends on my phone--but really I was secretly checking in with him. It was shameful.

My good friend, Misty, finally pointed out the truth:  my fitbit was turning me into his fitbitch.

I am your fitbitch.

In reality he was the clingy one. He needed to be with me constantly and I started to resent his persistent presence. Did he need to be on me ALL THE TIME?! I just couldn't shake him off. This was starting to feel like a bad relationship.

Things were getting downright uncomfortable. If it got hot and heavy in the bedroom, I began to feel like fitbit was a third wheel. Was there a protocol for this? Did my husband even notice he was there? Has proper etiquette been established for these situations? Was it impolite to leave him on my wrist when my husband and I were getting naked? What if it gets in the way of, um, things?  Is this what a threesome feels like?

Ultimately the most important questions about sex with the fitbit on had yet to be answered: how many steps am I tracking and how many calories am I REALLY burning?

Is there a protocol for this? Is this what a threesome feels like? @notsosupermom_ #TheAffair

Read More »

July 6, 2015

Always and Forever (and Ever, and Ever, and Ever....)

I feel uniquely qualified to write about Shark Week, which for my purposes should be renamed Shark Season. 
The story of a period without an end.

About 4 years ago, I gave birth to my third and final child. It was decided at the time that I would not get my tubes tied while I was still in the hospital and in the throes of hormonal chaos, in case I regretted the decision to do so. My only regret now is NOT having done it. Since birth control is a necessity (because a fourth child is a don'teventhinkaboutit) and in deference to my husband's aversion to all things medical, I decided that I would go on Depo-provera, a birth control shot that I would get every three months. In addition to not having to remember to take a pill every day, the shot came with the possible side effect (read: BONUS!) of curbing or eliminating my period. Sign. Me. Up.

I got my first shot back in December of last year. The doctor told me that my desired "side effect" could take up to three shots to go into effect. Three months later and three months later, and the desired side effect is exactly non-existent for me. But that may be putting it mildly. What's actually happened is that not only am I not NOT getting my period, but I am getting it for weeks. And weeks. And weeks. Out of the roughly 12 weeks per shot, I probably have my period 7 or 8 of those weeks. Apparently I have the Energizer bunny of periods: it keeps going, and going, and going.

And now in the end game of the third shot it has only been getting worse. I have had flash flooding that has had nothing to do with the torrential downpours that have plagued my South Central Pennsylvania town in recent weeks. I have had to leave work and other public places in search of dry land and clean undergarments. This is not the birth-controlled, carefree-married-sex driven (and period-free!) existence of which I dreamt. 

Unless one's husband is into riding the red tide, I can assure you that having one's period for eight weeks is not conducive to having too much sex--which sort of defeats the purpose of having birth control in the first place. No surprise that Pfizer isn't advertising this particular possibility. Or maybe they should explain that the real birth control happens when you can't even squeeze in a quickie because this tide just isn't going out.

Now Aunt Flo hasn't been here all day all the time. A few times she has made herself somewhat scarce.  It is these opportunities that have made this marginally bearable, but unfortunately the unbridled freedom of sex without consequences has been squelched. The staff has been stifled. The muff muffled.

I think it's time to take the old tubes in for a little trim. It won't prevent Aunt Flo from stopping by, but at least her visits will be a lot shorter. She's seriously overstayed her welcome here.

Aunt Flo has seriously overstayed her welcome. #SharkSeason2015
Read More »

June 15, 2015

BlogU Schooled Me.

Last year I went to The Blog University known as #BlogU. Hashtag getschooled. And there was definitely a lot of schooling to be had there. Writing, promoting, making money, social media, "branding" your blog, treating your blog like a business. A lot.

And despite the notion that one should go to a blogging conference to learn about blogging, I actually learned more about myself last year. I learned that in a large group of people that are not my family or friends, I will revert back to my introverted and shy younger self. It prevented me from meeting a lot of fellow bloggers that I was quite comfortable with chatting online in various writing groups. People who share my love for this medium and who understand what it means to want and to need to do this.


I wasn't 100% sure I should even be going to BlogU since until then I hadn't considered my blog to be much more than a hobby and an outlet for me to write. (Of course, this might be a bit of an understatement since I do have a facebook page and twitter account under my blog name--but I guess part of the vanity of writing is wanting people to actually read what you write.)

I didn't know if I could justify spending the time or money on what was (for me) the huge luxury of a conference. I had dabbled with a few small social media campaigns and a sponsored post that helped offset the cost, so that sort of sealed the deal for me in my mind--if I had already invested the time and energy in those efforts, maybe there was more to my whole experience as a blogger than writing every once in a while and begging my friends to read it.

I am a writer.

At it's most basic, blogging is writing and I've been doing it ever since I can remember. I am certainly not the best, and I am definitely not prolific, but I believe I am a good writer--even if i might be a crappy blogger. I felt that I had a unique "brand" but not necessarily a unique perspective--which seems to be a key to blogging success. But then, success is defined differently for all of us.

The main reason that I feel BlogU is for me is that it is approachable. No one there is keeping tabs on how often (or not) I'm posting. They don't care if I don't have some sponsorship deal with a brand. They care about me because I care to be there. I want to learn whatever it is that will elevate me as a blogger and a writer--whether that's writing for money or simply writing for myself. It is about our craft and how we can do it better: for ourselves, for our readers and for our families (as a potential source of income).

I was determined to have a more successful year at #BlogU15 this year. My shy, introverted (and coincidentally Middle-School-aged) self was nowhere to be found. (Except on the bulletin board full of #MiddleSchoolAwkward pictures for the Nickelodeon-sponsored #MiddleSchooltotheMax dance party on Saturday night.)

Middle school me. Permullet and all.
But despite the previous year's shyness, I really made an effort to meet and talk to more of the little people from inside my computer...

All the little people from inside my computer.
Probably my favorite picture this year,
 because last year's selfie with Jen Mann
looked a lot like this year's selfie with
Nicole Leigh Shaw (see below).
Crappiest pic of the year goes to my selfie with Nicole Leigh Shaw (left).
Thankfully she graciously took a selfie with her phone (right ) and let me tweet it!

But enough about me, there are SO many things to know and do depending on what your goals are for your blog or yourself as a professional writer. I did make an effort to focus on my blog and what I wanted to take away from #BlogU15 as a writer and a blogger. The things I learned about blogging are these:
  • Blogging is work. If you think this shit writes itself, you're crazy. I'm sure some people can sit down and bang out a post in 15 minutes but it takes me some serious time. (In fact, a good bit of THIS post was started last year after #BlogU14. I never finished it then, but a lot of the thoughts stuck with me this year.)
  • Blogging is not merely writing.  Writing is just the beginning of it. There is design, analytics and social media involved. All of which are time consuming and necessary to different degrees, depending on your goals.
  • Blogging is universal. The heart of blogging is communication. We write to share, to teach, and to reach out--regardless of the topic. You can be a parenting blogger, a fashion blogger, a food blogger or a lifestyle blogger but no matter your genre, you are speaking to an audience. And they are listening. That is communication.
You are speaking to an audience. And they are listening. That is communication. #BlogU15

A photo posted by @notsosupermom on
Read More »

May 27, 2015

Breaking Duggar

Josh Duggar is public enemy #1 these days.  And rightfully so.  He has confessed to a crime--punished or not, what he did was criminal--and he has said he is sorry.  I have no doubt that he is sorry, but whether or not it is repentance for what he did or regret for its discovery may never be known to us.

There is a war of sorts going on right now between those who want to see him punished and those who have come to his defense.  I'm am absolutely certain that nothing he has done is defensible but that hasn't stopped many people from taking up that misguided cause. 

The facts that people cite in his defense do not excuse any of his actions.  Was he a Christian? Yes. But confessing and asking God's forgiveness and even "earning" the forgiveness of his family and his victims does not make what he did okay.  Was he only 14? Yes.  I don't know many 14 year olds who don't know the difference between right and wrong with regards to inappropriate touching, but even if you should argue that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong--his actions prove otherwise:
  • He did this to five--FIVE--different victims.  None of the victims were aware that there were other victims (as stated in the police report) which means he isolated each victim (or took advantage of their isolation, asleep in their beds).  
  • He kept his actions private.  By doing this to sleeping victims, by taking advantage of isolated situation (a sister reading a book on his lap, a babysitter sleeping alone on the couch, a sister alone in the laundry room) he again illustrates that he knew what he was doing was wrong.
  • He did this repeatedly and over time.  The first incidents (victims visited repeatedly, "4 to 5 times" as stated in the report) are reported to have happened early in 2002 and the last in March of 2003. 
  • He "confessed" his wrongdoings to his parents--thereby admitting that what he did was wrong. His own admission of guilt proves that he KNEW what he did WAS WRONG. So why are people excusing his actions?
The actions of Jim Bob and Michelle also prove that they were complicit in covering up something very wrong.
  • They lied.  Jim Bob makes statements (Narrative #6 in the police report) that he believed the "counseling" that they sent Josh to was affiliated with Little Rock Police Department and that is was conducted by a Christian Ministry.  As it turns out Michelle Duggar finally admits toward the end of the police report (Narrative #15) that the "training center" was little more than a family friend who was doing some remodeling.  No specific treatment, no certified counseling.  Just some sweat equity and nary a slap on the wrist.  Utterly disgusting and horrifying that this was what served as punishment for violating FIVE females.
  • Jim Bob also states that after Josh returned from Little Rock that he and Michelle both felt that they had no more problems and that everything had been resolved.  However one of the children (Narrative #7) admits that sleeping arrangements were changed even AFTER Josh returned home from his "treatment."  Indicating that they were not exactly confident that this would not happen again.
And any alleged "counseling" amounted to a "stern talking-to" by a family friend who was a state trooper and who is currently serving out a 60-year prison sentence for charges of child pornography. Not exactly the best source of reform for young Josh.  There are statistics that bear further investigating as well.
  • 14% of sexual offenders commit another sexual offense after 5 years, 24% after 15 years
  • 40-80% of juvenile offenders have themselves been victims of sexual abuse
  • 82% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger
Statistically speaking, there is a high probability that Josh was a victim at one time, and also a significant risk that he will or has offended since these incidents occurred.  There has been zero consideration of these ideas in this case.  Just more points to ponder and so many unanswered questions.  
  • Why hasn't Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services done anything to remove any of the minor children from a family where molestation and rape (yes, rape) have been admitted to and confirmed and where the parents were complicit in covering it up?  
  • You can talk all you want about statute of limitations, but if I make an anonymous phone call to and family/child services agency and accuse my neighbor of something, they will question everyone in the house, and possibly remove any children until it is established by professionals that there is no continued threat.  What was this not done at the time of this report?   Why were trained professionals from the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services not sent to investigate this household?
  • If Jim Bob and Michelle lied about Josh's "treatment," how are we to believe that they are being truthful regarding their daughters' supposed counseling.  And who is to say that such counseling (as I can only assume they received from other non-certified counselors inside their church system, if at all) was in any way effective in helping them cope with what happened to them?
  • Why is Josh Duggar--now an admitted child sexual predator--still allowed access to his own young children? 
I am not here to change peoples' minds.  That fight is for others like The Daddy Files who quite deftly points out so many flaws in the defenders' "logic."  If someone is sick enough to defend or excuse those actions, for whatever warped reasons they can come up with, then nothing I say is going to make them understand how deeply wrong they are.  Everyone that is excusing or defending or overlooking or disregarding what Josh Duggar did is simply abusing these girls again.

What I hope happens is that the girls who were victimized get a voice here.  Sadly because of the current support of their abuser and the beliefs under which they were raised, this is not likely.  I hope they can see how truly abused they were then and how they continue to be now.  I hope that one, or several or all of them can find the strength to speak out and to speak up for themselves--not because we want to hear from them, or because we deserve to hear from them, but because they can and they want or need to be heard.  

Everyone excusing or defending what he did is simply abusing these girls again. #BreakingDugger @notsosupermom_

Read More »

May 10, 2015

Roadtrip: Motherhood

We all take a journey in motherhood.  Motherhood is "about the journey" because there is no destination.

For some, I imagine it is a luxury vacation--carefully mapped and planned.  For most others I would guess it is like a poorly planned road trip where you feel like you're on your way somewhere that you weren't completely prepared for.  Some roads are smoother than others, of course. Some parts of the journey are arduous.  And it can be like the longest road trip of your life.

There will be detours, fast food, and carsickness; there may be whining, yelling and crying.
You will hear interminable choruses of Sesame Street CD's and endless repetitions of "I need to go potty!" and "Are we there yet?" You will pack too many toys and not enough snacks, or vice versa.  You will forget your ear plugs and the extra diapers.  You will stop.

You will stop many, many times.  Someone will need to go potty and someone will be hungry and you will need to refuel.  Occasionally you will stop, and breathe, and take in the beauty of it all.  But you always keep going, because that's what you do.  Because even though you know there IS no destination, you will try your damnedest to get there.  You will push, you will pull, you will labor and you will go on.

One thing about this trip:  no way is the wrong way to go.  You may not have the best directions--if any.  You might question the road you have chosen.  You may even feel like you are getting nowhere sometimes (I have a teenager now. I know things.) but you journey on, because EVERYTHING is in the journey.  This journey.  And you're never there yet.

In motherhood, there is no "there."  You will raise your babies to be kids and your kids to be teenagers and your teenagers to be adults.  They will grow up and grow older and someday have babies of their own and you will never, ever, NOT be their mother.  You will never reach a destination, because there isn't one.  It is a journey that has no end.

Happy Mother's Day to you, wherever you may be on your journey.  Enjoy the ride.

You will never reach a destination because there isn't one. Enjoy the ride. #RoadtripMotherhood

Read More »

April 26, 2015

Listen To Your Mother Lehigh Valley 2015

Today I had the honor of being on stage with a fabulous group of writers as part of a nationwide series of live readings about motherhood.  Some pieces are heartfelt, some pieces are funny. Most, like life--and motherhood---are a little of both.

Some of us wrote pieces to audition with and others pulled from past work and found appropriate pieces that we had already written. My piece came from this blog two years ago. It is a piece that was (and might still be) my most honest to-date. I tweaked it a tiny bit for the show, but the essence of the piece is unchanged.

The pieces will be broadcast (sometime later this year) on the Listen To Your Mother YouTube channel. I hope that you will honor these stories by checking them out there.

This is Motherhood

The other night I was getting my baby girl into her pajamas when she grabbed a comb and insisting on combing my hair.  I sat obediently on the floor and watched her concentrated expression as she tried to "tame my tresses," which are so short she basically just kept shoving the comb into my hair, twisting it around and yanking it straight up.  I just stared at her face and a million thoughts ran through my head:  how I hadn't really wanted her, how I had to teach myself to stop thinking about what "should" have been, how I constantly tell her "I love you" in what began as an effort to convince myself that I really FELT it more than I felt like we made a huge mistake, how I can't imagine my life without her even though that was not the case for a long time, how she is SO sweet and loving and clever and embodies joy.  Every. Single. Day.  I found myself crying.

I cried that cry that comes over you when you feel the unbridled and overwhelming love of parenthood.  I cried that there were days that I denied myself that feeling for her and I cried that I can finally, honestly say that I no longer think about the life we would be living without her.  Somewhere along the line, I have discovered that there is no "we" or "us" without her.

Now, I don't mean to cheapen this moment, because it was, for me, somewhat profound.  I had spent a lot of days thinking about the things we would be doing if she wasn't here; and to be still for a moment, watching her just be and realizing that I couldn't remember the last time I'd had those thoughts, was a pretty big moment for me.  

I wiped my eyes, took the comb from her and pulled her to me to hug and squeeze this beautiful little creature that had just unwittingly overwhelmed me.  And then I was unwittingly overwhelmed by something entirely different:  the stench emanating from her rear.  While it was obvious what the issue was, it occurred to me that while I was basking in this motherly glow, crying simultaneously with small regret and great joy, that my gorgeous, wonderful, joyous baby girl was simultaneously combing my hair and dropping a deuce.  I found myself laughing.

For her, it was just another moment in a day filled with snacks and sippy cups, whining and tears, toys and baby dolls, giggles and silliness, and many, many hugs and kisses.  Nothing profound or momentous  for her--just something to do, something to explore.  A comb. Mommy's hair.  Another dirty diaper along the way.  Babyhood.

And so This is Motherhood:  the balance of the heartfelt and the mundane.  Overwhelmed by something profound, then the moment passes.  Overwhelmed by something so much more pedestrian but requiring no less attention--and as that moment passed I was simply thankful that I had stopped to sit and let her comb my hair.

Read More »

March 19, 2015

Of Mice and Moons

I take a few slow, deep breaths. My voice is a heavy whisper. Meditative and measured. A ritual of love.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
To someone unfamiliar it might sound dull or perhaps stilted. Not a song but a kind of incantation. My voice breaks and drops out in its lowered register. I take my time. Sometimes I am simply tired. Sometimes I am experimenting with a tone of voice--even in the measured breaths between the words there is a kind of drama. Sometimes I just relish these quiet moments. These are the things that I hope will stay with her.

I am a creature of few habits, but this particular routine started 13 years ago with my first baby. Before she was even big enough to hold the book herself I would read Goodnight Moon every night--sometimes twice--before bed. It was light and fun and I would point out the mouse making his way around the room. Eventually she would track him herself.

Time marched on and I carried on the same with my son. Reading (again, sometimes twice) nightly. He was always just as willing to sit and listen as his older sister. It was a bond.

Time pushes forward and the habit gets skipped. Kids get older. The moon and the mouse lose their magic. The book, however, survives many purgings of the bookshelves. It is, to me, an icon of their babyhood. A talisman against the growing up and the forgotten memories. It is a moment, lived over and over and over, that I am loathe to let go.

And then came baby. There were new board books, new toys, new trinkets. And a new place for an old friend. The mouse and the moon return. But this baby will not have the book. She will hold it, and bite it, and wave it around but it shall not be read. She won't sit for it. And I was briefly heartbroken.

This was my thing. This was the ritual. This was the habit I kept, the memory maker, the keeper of moments. This book holds a lot of emotional weight and so much of my heart as a mother to my infants. It could not be denied. I decided that I would not read the book; I would recite it.

There are 7 years between my son and my youngest daughter--many years since I had laid eyes on and read it--but having read it so many, many times (sometimes twice a night) it came back a bit easier than I had expected. But this baby was a different baby, so the game was different.  She would hold the book, gnaw on it, throw it, all while I recited it. The words came back as they had been: light and fun. And after a time she would sometimes sit for the book and look for the mouse. 
This is our well-worn but well-loved board book.
It became apparent that she was not an easy sleeper. Even cosleeping--which I did with both of my older ones--never imparted a depth of sleep in her nightly rhythms. I have many times referred to her as "my crappy sleeper."  She needed very much to be parented to sleep and occasionally (at almost 4 years old) still does. As she transitioned (not terribly smoothly) to her own bed, I would lay with her a lot. In seeking something rhythmic to slow and soothe her, and set a pace for sleep, I once again turned to the Moon. I started reciting again.

I would lay with her in the semi-darkness of the room and I would drop my voice to a thick, deep, almost-whisper: "In the great, green room......"  And so it began again.

It is no small thing to me that my girls share a room. Thirteen and three are a tough mix and very trying some days, but it truly makes my heart explode to know that my oldest is laying in the loft bed above us, listening to the same words she has known since she was a newborn. And although the words are the same, they are different. The lightness removed, the game set aside. This is no longer about the mouse and his antics. This is "a quiet old lady who is whispering hush."  This is about goodnights and the quieting of all the things. It is about a kind of peace, even if it is only the temporary peace of sleep.

In six weeks she will be four. Overtired and restless, she asked me again tonight: "Can you sing Goodnight Moon?" A ritual that is epic in my heart and one that I never refuse.

These are the moments she will remember.

I take a few slow, deep breaths. My voice is a heavy whisper. Meditative and measured. This is my love.

Read More »

March 12, 2015

Working Out. (Or Faking Out, whatevs...)

So when I first got the word choices for this week's #OneWord challenge my initial reaction was, "nah." 

Fake and Quiet. Immediately I think, "Quiet? What's That?"  Doesn't Lisa know that I have three kids? There is no possible way I can relate to that one except to say I wish I HAD some!

So, Fake.  On the face of it, Fake is probably last on a long list of words I can relate to.  My number one compliment ever from other people is that I am down-to-earth.  Fake,  the adjective, just doesn't live here.  I figured I'd wait until next week.....

Come Wednesday evening, thoughts of writing long gone, I was seriously considering working out. This may seem like no big revelation to you (and completely non sequitur) but it was kind of a big deal for me. About 18 months ago I was working out nearly every day and I felt awesome. And if you need proof (and you're totes bored) you need only check out my Instagram and scroll back through my gallery anywhere from 58 to 80 or so weeks ago I had a lot of fun posting sweaty selfies after my workouts. (If you want a shortcut search #gitnrdone. It's not all of the posts, but I used that hashtag quite a bit.)

Anyway I've been feeling like major crapola lately and I really need to do something about it. Nobody else is gonna work this body out for me. (Unless you count The Sarge and, well, this just isn't THAT kind of post. Some things just don't need to be faked.)

So the night dragged on and although the kids were in bed on time and without fanfare, laundry (and a new episode of Survivor) awaited. Feeling accomplished (some days folding one of the 10 loads of laundry you have done IS an accomplishment) I headed back to get ready for bed.

While contemplating my choice of pajama pants I decided that maybe I could still get this workout done.  Maybe I could squeeze it in tomorrow morning. I decided that to facilitate this plan I could sleep in my workout clothes. They are no less comfortable than most of my pj's and it would save me precious time in the morning. Then it occurs to me:  I'm FAKING IT.

Choosing to wear the workout clothes in an effort to get myself in the mood to actually work out.  Physically wearing things that will hopefully change my mental frame of mind which will hopefully inspire me to physically move my ass.  Faking it 'til I make it.

I know in all actuality, I probably won't make it. Mornings here can be tough and The Sarge will be gone before the rest of us are awake tomorrow so I will be on my own in trudging through the morning routine with the superkids.

But I think in faking this, and probably repeatedly, the mental change will take hold. I will reframe how I perceive myself, my desires and my abilities. I will fake myself into believing that I am worth taking the time to do this for myself.  I will still be down-to-earth me (those sweaty selfies aren't glamorous) but if it gets me to a better, healthier place, maybe I can make room for some of this kind of Fake.


Fake it 'til you make it. #OneWord @notsosupermom_


This post is part of the One Word Blog Link up hosted by The Golden Spoons, Confessions of a Mommyholic, and Blogitudes.

Read More »

March 2, 2015


I never write about current events.  I don't write about politics, religion (ok, almost never now, I guess), mommy wars, or anything I might happen to come across in the news.  But today in the car on the way to preschool The Geel asked me where unicorns live and I thought of the small boy in Texas suspended for, well, basically for using his imagination.

Now, I knew the source of her question was the colorfully awful Barbie movie she had watched over the weekend.  It had fairies and mermaids and unicorns and a terribly moronic storyline about some bratty little princess who is stealing everyone's magic--including the queen unicorn's.

By way of an answer I was immediately and acutely aware of my need to be practical and educative and give her the "right" answer.  The same feelings have always haunted me regarding Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny--lets be "real" here-- but of course we have celebrated all of them for years because, childhood, duh!  In a space of seconds I thought through several options;

1. Tell her they are only in Barbie movies. (Dumber than the plot of the stupid movie itself--and why should Barbie have all the fun?)
2. Be the asshole that kills her imaginative spirit and tell her they're not real. (Not it!)
3. Make something up. (FAST!)

Now, for someone who was a theater major in college I am terrible at pretending things.  I HATE playing with Barbies,
or baby dolls, or playing "store."  (It is a testament to The Sarge's patience that he makes it through several days a week with The Geel doing ALL of those things.)  These days my imagination runs wild with less fun things like wondering what would happen if something happened to me or The Sarge, or less practical things like what I would do with lottery money (that we'll never win because we don't play! How's that for impractical?)

Anyway, I can't always just drum up the fun, playful, whimsical things that would answer her question and that she deserved to hear, because she's THREE!  And when you're three unicorns should be real.  What I came up with was that unicorns can only live in magical places. Which she pretended to understand but which also prompted more questions about where those places were and whether or not she could go there, and then she circled around again to Barbie and her magical Secret Door and yada, yada, yada.

I don't exactly remember where the conversation went after that, but I remember thinking that that poor boy in Texas must have been so terribly confused and crushed to be punished for using his imagination.  Since the original story broke there seems to be some discrepancies regarding what actually took place, but the incident struck a chord because the "moral" of the story is this: When you take away a child's right to imagine--unicorns and magic rings and even imaginary friends--you take away their willingness to dream, to invent, to create.

Aren't we a nation of dreamers?  Don't we pride ourselves on our independent and creative spirit?

Who among us has not pretended to be the very thing that is our livelihood today?  If we hadn't dared to dream our dreams as children, to imagine ourselves as writers, doctors, hairdressers, hobbits, scientists, firefighters, wizards, race car drivers, teachers, actors, ninjas, lawyers, soldiers and moms, who would we be today?  Who would have gone to the moon, who would have built the skyscrapers, who would have written about the "one ring to rule them all," who would have imagined a unicorn?
Read More »

You share because you care.