Life is a Dangerous Surf

I strolled seaside yesterday morning, as I did the day before, nursing my littlest in baby carrier in the hopes of lulling him into a nap. It was a blustery day. A constant rush of wind and salt beneath the sun.

The surf was rough, waves rolled on top of one another crashing into the shore. Their force carved a sharp ridge in the sand separating beach-goers from the tide. The wet sand was worn to a steep incline making my walk a challenge.

Usually I aim for a more energetic pace but this day I knew slow and purposeful would be the wiser choice. Small waves crashed and I walked through easily. Larger waves pummeled the shore and required me to stop entirely, focusing on remaining firmly planted as the water swelled around me before returning to the sea.


I realized life is like a dangerous surf. Like the sea, never is our experience entirely placid, wholly calm without ripples. Just as our walk in the sand, we will never travel the same path twice. Our steps are washed away as soon as the next wave arrives. Our journey, like the sea, is ever-changing, and so are we.

Like the waves of a dangerous surf, life constantly presents us with hurdles — big and small — and we must choose how to respond. Do we stand still and wait out the swell before resuming our course? Do we force our way through and risk toppling? Or do we change our path entirely to avoid those hurdles only to gamble on what other obstacles will arise? It is not the tide that makes the decision for us. We are the ones who choose.



In a World of Killer Vegetables

In a world in which even frozen vegetables could kill us, I say choose your battles and keep it moving. We’re guaranteed to seem reckless, overprotective, uneducated, paranoid, lazy, over-achieving, or misguided to someone no matter what we do. There will be studies and articles and blogs and soothsayers that will oppose our every step. So, go with your gut and do your best.

Wearing sunscreen can be lethal, but not wearing sunscreen is also deadly. You should get daily doses of vitamin-D through unprotected time in the sun, but the sun is a cancer-causing fireball of death.

Mosquitoes are hazardous, yet bugspray is poisonous. And don’t even consider pesticides… SAVE THE BEES! Weed-killers are for Earth-haters but the “wild meadow” look has yet to be sanctioned by the HOA. Plastic is toxic but glass is toddler-unfriendly (and dowright hazardous to us accident-prone folks.) Tampons can kill you, yet pads are anything but “green” and menstrual cups are downright unsanitary. Whatever you do, though, don’t you dare go free-bleeding! “Breast is best” or is “formula fairest”? No matter what, hide your nipples and cover that cleavage because boobs are for porn and Victoria’s Secret ads only.

Screw it!

I’ll just be over here in a deadly sun spot wearing my Earth-hating disposable nursing pads and coating myself in the last of my poisonous spray-on sunscreen (because it was on clearance, dammit!), as I maniacally eat my lysteria-soaked frozen vegetables out of a reusable cancer-causing plastic container while swatting at murderous mosquitoes and dodging allergenic endangered bees in my weed-adorned yard. Thanks!


Mom Wars

Judgment… I actively try to avoid partaking in it but I am, admittedly, still a work in progress. When my mind takes on a critical tone regarding another’s parenting choices, I stop and refocus on the notion that we parents are all different, each child is different, lives are different, needs are different, and there is no way I can know everything about someone — nor should I — in order to effectively judge her. And let’s be honest, who am I to judge? My mom guilt list is never-ending. I screw up daily.

There are so many choices and differences when it comes to parenting. Discipline, feeding, school, bed routines, vaccinations, body modification, etc. The mom wars flare over these topics. Friendships build and burn over them. But why?

We pin our egos on our own selections and rage against the opposition, as if those who don’t follow our precise parenting algorithm are deeming us unfit. Why are we so self-absorbed that we assume others’ parenting decisions have any connection to us? What does rampaging and ranting do? Why do we view ourselves as so virtuous that we feel it justifable to shame, judge, and belittle others over their parenting choices that do not affect us or our own offspring in any way?

If a mom halfway across the country rocks her circumcized babies to sleep using formula and introduces rice cereal at 4-months-old, will that affect you? If a dad decides to be a stay-at-home father so his partner can work full-time and he chooses a stroller over baby wearing, baby-lead-weaning over jarred food, and cry-it-out sleep training over bed-sharing, will that put a wrinkle in your existence? If a single mom chooses to co-sleep and babywear, homeschool, and partake in extended breastfeeding, will that change anything for you? No. So why do we get riled? Why do we add extra stress to our already humming lives over the parenting decisions of others? Does adamantly disagreeing with others make our path more righteous? Do memes and sanctimonious catch-phrases make our lives more fulfilling, our children well-rounded, or our relationships more harmonious? No.

I am trying — very hard and very imperfectly — to overcome my own tendency to judge, to remember that I am neither perfect nor omniscient so I am in no position to tisk-tisk others (even if just in my own head) for their parenting choices. As long as the child’s emotional, physical, and emotional needs are met, that is what matters. My opinion does not.

Let’s take down our banners, ditch the verbal arrows, wipe off the war paint, and dock our egos. We’re in this together.