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Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Sweary Mommy is Now a Medium Publication!


We're much too big for our britches now, b*tches.

Visit us here for some brand new Sweary Mommy action on Medium.

XOXO, Hugs & Sloppy, Lipsticked Kisses,

Thursday, July 14, 2022

At a Medium Pace

 I've been writing over at Medium lately, so I haven't had time to post much here.

Plus, it's summer, so I don't have a lot of time that I'm not juggling kids.  And Joe tends to demand attention when I'm trying to write at night.

By the end of the day I'm this tired:

Here are some of my latest Medium articles.

Parenting Quiz 2.0 (in Frazzled)

Confessions of a Recovering Baby Addict (in Sweary Mommy)

Learning to Love my Saggy Boobies After Babies (in Doctor Funny)

A Mom's Conversation With Corporate McDonald's (in Sweary Mommy)

And, my personal favorite, 

My Obsession With Amish Romance Novels (in Modern Women)

Sweary Mommy is my fledgling "Parenting Humor" publication; Doctor Funny, Modern Women, and Frazzled are other niche pubs I've written for.

And I recently got accepted by Slackjaw, which is a widely-read thing.  I'm so stoked!

Slackjaw is running my piece on July 20th.

If you're a writer--or a wannabe humorist--join me and write for my pub.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Sweary Mommy: My Own Private Idaho

I'm Editing My Own Publication on Medium.

It's called Sweary Mommy.

My budget for designing
an avatar is nonexistent,

So far it only has two followers--me and a lady named Sally.  (Shoutout to Sally N. Miller!  I love you, girrrrrl)

Here's a blurb.

This all happened because I've tried to write some stuff for the original gangster of millennial mom pop-parenting blogs, Scary Mommy, and they're not even taking submissions anymore.

Scary Mommy in 2022 be like.

I am super stoked to still be writing stuff for Nameberry, Pregnant Chicken, this bloggity blog right here, and Frazzled Parents.

There's also a piece I've been working on for kind of a long while--"Time Out of Mind: The Lonely Struggle to Reconnect With My Six Kids and Husband After a Manic Episode." 

Here's an excerpt--

"There's a triage now, a strict chronology.  There's a literal to-do list for helping others after all forms of empathy are spent.  This means that before I am able to tend to my kids' souls I must first be the source of my own comfort. Breathe...Take stock of my reactivity and whatever scene the disaster has wrought. 

I can level up to the feelings-of-others phase only after having felt my own. 

Then I turn my gaze my family members' faces.  Do they look scared?  (Spoilers: probably.)  Do they appear to be stressed and sad?  (Almost certainly.)  Do they seem nervous about which version of me will respond to them--regular Mom or rage Mom?  (Absolutely.) 

Disarming rage Mom requires a circular system of sorts.  Bipolar disorder is a dismal injury for which I am trying to be my own first-responder.  My "best caregiver self" has also come to know to prioritize loving the family over leading it, but in order to do that I must pause and sip the stockpile's soup before ladling it out to others.  The caregiver and the first-responder are often at odds, yet without one, the other cannot effectively function in a healthy system.  And the caregiver, first-responder, and children often need the exact same things from me at the very same moment."

But nobody has wanted that one, yet, and it's long as hell for a personal essay (1500+ words).  Plus, it's trying too godd@mn hard at whatever stupid metaphor I am mangling there.  Whatever.  Back to the key-ing board.

My long-term goal is to write a memoir.  Working title: The Bridges of Santa Cruz County.  It'll be a story with harrowing poop stories, dark humor, forgiveness, and redemption.  And skidmarks.


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Every Living Thing in this House

Everyone Wants a Piece of My Goddamn Pottery Barn Couch--Even the Cat.



My ONE nice bit of furniture.


Other than this assault, it’s actually only been Sharpied once.  Still pretty pristine compared to the rest of our stuff.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

An Addiction Story: McDonald's Fountain Coke

 The Forbidden Fizz I Can't Quite Shake 

I wish I knew how to quit you,

McDonald's fountain Coke has its spicy spell on me.  Like Santana's Black Magic Woman, I just can't leave it alone.

I've tried at least three times to stop suckling at its long, plastic, cylindrical teat.  And as hard as it is to quit stuff, it's not as if it's totally unheard of for me to stop doing stupid crap habitually--one time I actually quit Facecrack for five and-a-half years before letting myself get sucked back into its sweet, throaty embrace.

If lovin' you is wrong, I don't ever wanna be right. 

But I'm still lovin' it.

It's not just the soda, or the caramel coloring of it (which, incidentally, is probably slowly killing everyone it touches with its cancer-causing properties, but have you ever tried Crystal Pepsi?  Ewww-uh).

It's the whole sensory triumph.  The cool splash of your first sip.  The perfect level of carbonation.  The grand, compulsive crunch of the ice afterward.  And the subsequent insulin bomb, a pancreatic assault; it all just hurts so good!

This is not a sponsored post, but if you're reading this, #McDonalds #CocaColaBottlingCompany #McLovin et al., please feel free to reward me with a lifetime supply of your ambrosial brown bubbly. 

"I'll tell you when I've had enough, Kids!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Peanut M&m's Are a Good Source of Protein (and Other Lies You Tell Yourself When You're Pregnant)

Realistic Substitutions For Your Unhealthiest Pregnancy Cravings

I have six kids. 

And I’ll be real—my eating standards have gotten lower with each successive pregnancy.  While pregnant with my first child I quit caffeinated drinks, avoided deli meats and soft cheeses, and didn’t even indulge in much Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. With my sixth and final child I was sicker and a lot less sanctimonious. Baby #6 was bathed in a steady stream of McDonald’s fountain Coke and his bones were knitted with hash browns—if I didn’t get through the drive-thru before 10am I would heave in the median of the parking lot.  

Clearly, my last baby was telling me what he needed and who was I to deny him?  But Heidi Murkoff’s classic pregnancy manual, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, goes so far as to bagel-shame the unwitting prego.  Sometimes a pregnant person has no choice but to listen to their body for at least some of their nutritional needs.  Although I’ve been known to mow down half a drum of Red Vines, that’s almost never ideal and you'll up your risk for complications like GDM and pre-eclampsia.  It’s not just about calories, it’s about making sure you get things like fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and healthy gut flora, too. So here are twelve real-world food replacement ideas, for those less-than-optimal choices we’ve all made while there’s a cinnamon bun in the oven.   

Peanut M&m’s—> Banana slices with peanut butter; dehydrated banana slices from the bulk foods bin; strawberries dipped in chocolate. 

Fries—> Sweet potato fries w/ olive oil and sea salt; if that’s too involved for your current energy levels, try baby carrots, sliced bell peppers, or cukes dipped in hummus. 

A metric ton of cheddar cheese—> Some feta on a Greek salad with grilled chicken and kalamata olives. Yes, I know feta is risky; if you’d rather play it safe with your listeriosis odds, try the plant-based shredded cheese from Costco. 

Half a box of Krispy Kremes—-> Half a small loaf of banana or zucchini bread.

Raw Funfetti batter—-> Chilled banana pudding in a Graham cracker crust.

Large Coke ( < 50 mg of caffeine)—-> First, downsize to a large Coke with extra ice, then a medium Coke—having a moderate amount of caffeine (less than 200 mg per day) is fine. Or get a smoothie instead.  If you’re really ready to kick yourself into high gear with your wellness, switch over to green tea. 

Spicy Chicken sandwich at Wendy’s—> Baked potato with pepper at Wendy’s. 

Footlong Italian BMT from Subway—> 6” Hot tuna melt w/ cheddar and tomatoes on wheat.

PB&J—-> Sliced apples with peanut butter.

Candy bar—-> popcorn with a few Skittles tossed in.

Linguine with garlic bread —-> Chickpea pasta with pesto.

Cookies & cream ice cream—-> chocolate or raspberry sorbet.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Springer's Final Thoughts

Parents Behaving Badly During A Split: Some 'Springer's Final Thoughts' on Olivia Wilde's Crap at Cinema-Con 

I got in a Facebook fight with someone over some internet noise about a celebrity, because that’s definitely what I should be doing late on a Friday night instead of sleeping—or at the very least, watching Inkmasters

Scary Mommy had this sloppy piece on poor, hapless Olivia Wilde, who was apparently minding her own business while talking to some nerds at CinemaCon when a wild process server appeared.  As the story goes she was suddenly served with some custody papers in public.  And although celebrities have been known to professionally embarrass themselves for hours at a time (read: hanging out at a comic book convention for people who own theaters), this may have been a little jarring for Ms. Wilde. 

But Scary Mommy sympathized with her and it was triggering as sh*t. And I’m having a hard time sitting on my keyboard hands with this one. 

The major parental dumbassery in the news these days actually has more to do with parents of a couple of grown children. But both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s respective kids are gonna be pretty wigged out when they inevitably hear about their mom and dad laying Cleveland steamers in each other’s beds and stuff like that. So maybe I shouldn’t worry too much (duh) about this. 

But as someone who suddenly had to be both mommed and dadded by my dad when I was a kid, I have thoughts. 

Don’t wanna feel awkward about custody stuff, celebrities?  This isn’t rocket surgery—don’t leave your kids. 

Celebrity news is often curated by PR peeps when their charges aren’t doing well.  It’s no surprise to many that it’s actually someone’s job to fire people up about things relating to a famous person.  This might make people care enough to see their movie.  These are reps, bloggers, and who-have-you.  But I’m taking the bait.  You see, I was a child of an ugly divorce and its customary custody brawl, and as such I'm familiar with what happens to minor kids when one of their parents decides to leave. 

I’m just a mom and a wannabe internet pundit, but here’s my deep thought. Don’t leave your f*cking kids. Just don’t. Don’t do it. 

Don’t do it unless you are quite literally a real-life version of Monica from Shameless, with intractable addiction issues and wildly untreated psychiatric sequelae.  And even then?  Don't leave permanently and take up with someone else; take a time-out and get your sh*t together.

I am almost certain I am getting some of the details wrong here, but unless I’m completely mistaken, Ms. Wilde is a parent who peaced out.  But just because you wanted to play the skin trombone with a new dude’s peen doesn’t mean you should like run off with Justin Bieber or whoever.  And if you do, your little kids shouldn’t have to take a spin on Mr. Toad’s Wild (Custody) Ride every however-often with a visitation agreement that's particularly generous to you. Even if somebody's separated parents live close to one another, that's still some exhausting sh*t. 

There are good reasons that courts don’t look as kindly on the parent that moves out. Studies have recently confirmed that it’s actually worse for you to be abandoned by your parent than to be HIT BY THEM with a high-heeled shoe, Eddie-Murphy’s-mom style in Raw.  I don’t want to make light of child abuse or relationship violence in any way (especially with terrible puns). But it is truly striking how harmful it can be for a kid to not be around their parent very much anymore. 

When you leave, you forfeit more than just a logistical upper hand in custody stuff or the low-hanging fruit that makes up an easy PR plug.  You lose any moral relatability, too.  Something was awkward for you?  Too bad; you left your kids and people can't relate to that.  You tripped over a concrete median and knocked your two front teeth in while spilling a crackhead's cup of p*ss all over your Louboutins?  Too bad!  You f*cking left your kids.  And a lot of moms can't relate to that.

Most importantly, your kids lose the innocence of when they used to have a parent who wouldn't ever harm them for selfish reasons.  So the parent who stuck around is the one they inevitably trust more.

For all parties involved, get over yourself and understand that when you birth some other humans into the world (or just bring them into your orbit, as with fostering and adoption), that world is no longer just about you. Would I still be saying this if Olivia Wilde were being kind of a lame MALE (or non-binary) parent instead of a female one?  Yep.  People don’t exactly love Dean McDermott—he left his wife and the mom of his first kid for the mother of all superfluous reasons (Donna on 90210), so now he gets to lie in a bed he made with her badly-done boob pillows. 

Absolutely no sympathy from me. 

Before you say, "Hey, some people leave and don't even want to hang out with their kids anymore!", wait a damn minute.  This is 2022, not 1962.  Golf claps are in order for you if you think it's reasonable these days for someone to set the bar so pathetically low in parenting a houseplant, much less a human.

So be a hard-charging, modern, millennial-@ss parent.  Suck it up and go to hella amounts of therapy if you’re really that unhappy in a romantic partnership that involves minor children.  Should you stay in an unhealthy relationship for the sake of your kids?  Hell no—fix that sh*t with years and years and years spent with a fleet of family, individual, and couple's therapists. Therapy isn’t magic but these people are pros. If you try hard enough and for long enough, you will eventually stop thinking it’s cool to bust nut with someone who was only seven months old when your babies’ daddy hit the legal age of consent.

Therapy’s expensive. But don’t tell me OW doesn’t have the money.  If you have a PR person and a stylist you can find a professional person to talk with about your life.

You may also be wondering why, if therapy’s so good, why do I still have obvious capital-M Mommy Issues?  Because, while you can accept your parents’ limitations as humans and even get to a place of forgiveness as a grown woman with children of her own, oftentimes that intense mom-daughter bond never quite makes a comeback.  I wrote about this (scroll down for the tangentially related story of how I finally broke up with my mom).

Also. This may sound judgy but I strongly believe that if I were a celebrity I would pick a more believable stage name for myself.  I'm looking straight at you, Ms. Wilde. 

Come at me, bruh. 

And “till next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.”

Friday, April 29, 2022

Schumer's No-Longer-Secret Shame Inspires Me

 A Coupla Reasons Why Amy Schumer is my New Favorite Celebrity Mom

Image: Wikipedia

1.  Her kid has a great name.  First of all, Gene is an underused classic.  Secondly, she actually changed her son's middle name when she figured out he might get teased--her kid was originally known as Gene Attell (genital?) but she changed it to Gene David.  Some people would've dug in their heels by emphasizing the slightly-less-crotch-y pronunciation, but instead she admitted it was a little weird.  And she fixed it for the kid's sake but still figured out how to honor her friend with that middle.  Nailed it.

2.  She's real about her mental health.  Trichotillomania is a stigmatized thing, but we all have our freak flags folded up somewhere.  Amy let that sh*t fly, even though I don't know of any other celebrities who've admitted to yanking their own head hair out compulsively.  Full disclosure: I have been known to do this--both the blurting out of what used to be shameful secret for the whole damned world to know, AND the freaky hair-pulling thing.  It started when I was stressed to be driving one of my kids somewhere every day in a sh*tload of Bay Area traffic.  Now that I've allowed myself to notice what I'm doing, I'm trying to stop.  It's complex and weird, and I'm a little balder than I would be otherwise, but it happens to some of us.  If someone makes a G.I. Jane joke about me I'm hoping Joe doesn't react too poorly, though.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

More LinkedIn

 I added a short "About Me" to my SAHM LinkedIn resume.  

"Lord.  You can imagine where it goes from here." -Maude Lebowski

#SixChildren  #MomBoss

Sidebar: A CV of my publications and academic interests.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

An Open Letter to Christina Hall


Dear Christina Hall,

I'm a big fan of yours.  My husband and I love to watch Flip or Flop after our young kids are in bed, engaging in lively debates on the elements of a beautiful home.  You're a talented designer and professional with a great instinct for creating stunning spaces, all the while juggling parenthood and making good TV.

I am writing to you because I have noticed something worrying.

Your butt's too small.

Hey hey hey, hear me out.  In a recent picture with your husband you appear to be very thin.  I am no body critic, and to each her own.  Still, there are a few things I would like you to know.

It's not cool to comment on someone's body.  But I implore you, as a woman, a person with ambitions, a partner, and a mother, to take a close look at what is happening within you.  I can't pretend to know or even guess at the inner life of a stranger--but, woman to woman?  I have been there.

You have addressed the body-shamers over social media and through outlets like People--"Chill people--I eat, and I eat healthy."  And this sentiment is entirely valid.  As Zora Neale Hurston's heroine Janie Crawford said in Their Eyes Were Watching God, "you've got to go there to know there", and it's not fair for those who have never sat down to dinner with you to make unfounded assumptions or cast judgment about you in any form.  But as someone who has struggled with disordered eating as a way of coping with a variety of traumas--some told and some hidden from even my husband and closest friends--I know there.  

In college, I walked on to a Big Ten, Division 1 swim team.  It was a no-nonsense female coach, Kathleen Milloy, who called me out when I was nineteen for working out too hard and eating too little; "I noticed your back is getting really narrow," she euphemistically worried out loud.  She had the cojones to gently help me notice that my performance was suffering in things mattered to me greatly--swimming, academics, and friendships--and that I was hurting myself by trying too much for my own damned good.

Your talent for beautifying things and places is clear.  It's incredibly easy for us detail-oriented, focused women to overdo it in the name of self-improvement and health.  But there is no need to prove anything to anyone by using your body as a teardown-and-rework.

For your daughter, and for the young women who follow your forays on TV and Instagram, please don't renovate yourself on the outside.  I won't talk at you about eating disorder recovery or body dysmorphia.  But for me, I needed the "foundation work" of therapy before I could feel beautiful or understand that I'm good even with some fluffier throw pillows on my backside.  I needed to work through grief and accept a lack of control over some things, and this may or may not resonate with you.  In any case, I hope that when you look in the mirror you see a woman who doesn't need ripping down and is worth cherishing.  

As-is, and with no concessions.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Happy Easter

 Happy Easter to Aunt Kay, From Your “Practice” Grandkids--


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Santa Cruz Versus the World

 A Comparative Photo Essay

Everywhere Else, USA:

[Ho-hum street names having to do with sports]

Santa Cruz:

[Straight to the point: Old Big Trees Rd, along Hwy 9]

[Actual street names en Español: Quién Sabe Rd, Scotts Valley]






And *this* lady on Facebook.  I don't make fun of too many names as a general rule, but I can't stop laughing when I say this name out loud.

Apparently this is her real (married) name--I know because I made the blunder of publicly asking our mutual friend on her Facebook post.

I totally thought it was an awesomely disgusting, double entendre nickname and that she was my kinda people...yeah.  No.  It's her real name.

She ended up sending me what my father-in-law calls a "nastygram" (p*ssed-off rant of a message) over FB messenger, calling me out as a stupid, terrible person for making fun of someone's name like that.

True, true.  To be completely honest it was more out of amazement than b*tchiness, though.  But by then I was laughing too hard to explain myself, backpedal, or apologize properly, so I just blocked her like the grownup I am.

Also me, inside my head:  [Honey you do realize you don't have to take your husband's last name?  Way to take one for the team.]

Then again, if Joe's last name were Butt, I still would've taken his last name, too.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Conversations With Quora

I used to get embarrassed at school a lot.  I never wanted to ask any questions about anything, no matter how curious I was.  It wasn't so much a fear of exposing my ignorance as it was a general hatred of hearing my own voice in a roomful of silent people.

That's why is awesome.

I know this is going to read like an ad but I just need to fangirl on this site for a minute. You just type in your question, pick some people to ask based on their credentials, and voilà!  Someone who probably knows what the hell they're talking about explains something important to you.

Here are a few I've asked:

Asking that one for my daughter.

I guess what I am getting at with that one is, is there a biological basis (besides random events) for Elon Musk having so many sons relative to the number of children he has?  Is he, according to any hypotheses, reproductively "fitter" than most, due to having lots of resources to raise his young?  I'm making a lot of assumptions here about the sex ratio of offspring, reproductive fitness, wealth effectively equating to energetic resources, and the overall health/abilities of the parents.

Today's inquiry:

These are things we all think about while we're showering, right?

I tried posting it earlier today, but Quora took it down, thinking I was trolling.  Womp, womp.

Sounds like something Joe would dare me to ask a medical professional. Now I might have to start asking that last one of doctors IRL, and with a straight face at that.  

Dirty Work

On Still Working at Getting Your Obstinate Child to Not Sh*t in His Pants Anymore,
For the Love of All Things Holy and Pure in this World.

Ever washed out your six-year-old's underwear in the bathroom of a grocery store?


"Well you ain't never lived!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

I Want the Truth


6 Y.O. Son:  Yeah Mom I washed my hands.

Me:  Did you wash those hands?  Really?  After you flushed?


6 Y.O.:  I don't WANT to wash my hands right now

Memeworthy: The Postpartum Mom

Jenna Joseph’s exhausted face is all of us right after having a second child.

Holy sh*t am I tired.



Names from a different class at my son's preschool (links to name info, courtesy of Nameberry).

Miri and Freya, the 3- or 4-year-old artists behind these:

Lark (I love this name!)

Some parents' names:

Ilea doesn't come up as a searchable entry on Nameberry, BehindTheName, or even Google (aside from some acronyms).  Facebook has mostly people named Ileana.  Ilea is cool and unusual!

Doris is fun and retro, and I can't help but wonder if this is a grandparent's name.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Separated at Birth

Separated at Birth, Perez Hilton Style


Waldo Woo 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Sons and Daughters

Five-Second Screenplays on Raising Sons and Daughters: Developmental Differences 

Daughter (age 2): "My diaper is dirty, Mother."
Son (age 4):  *keeps playing forever with actual sh*t in underpants*  

Daughter (2):  *pets kitty gently*
Son (4): *tries to drag cat into the bathtub by its hind leg*

She's led a hard life.

Daughter (2):  *runs to the toilet*
Son (4):  *sits on bike seat with full-sized underwear-bomb and blithely squishes own sh*t*

Daughter (age 2):  *comparing shoes*
Son (age 4):  *comparing buttholes*

Friday, April 8, 2022

B*tch and Moan

Now that I’ve been a mom for kind of a long time, I can’t decide whether I should laugh or get righteously indignant about the following story from my childhood:

When I was about seven and my brother, Max, was five, we would argue and complain a lot.

Addressing an imaginary audience, Dad would interrupt us to say, “These are my two kids, B*tch and Moan!”

Then Max and I would argue with each other about who got to be Moan. 

Best Flower Names

 Namespotting: Nine of the Best Flower Names

Sure, Elon Musk and the so-called namers-of-the-future are calling their children Lux, Flux, X, Y, Z, and whatnot.  But these fun, floral names are far from wilted.  Here is a visual guide to these stunning names.


The youngest Bridgerton daughter, she is fresher than Violet but has the visual impact of a purple gentian.  Use it with Cindy as a retro but ready-to-return to the mainstream nickname.


If you need a reason to namesake the likes of this Blush Zinnia, Z-names for girls are gaining in popularity.


Dahlias are members of the plant family that includes daisies.  There's also a noir association with "The Black Dahlia" murder case, but the association isn't a very well-known one.


This "twinflower" name would be great for a girl who has a boy twin named Thomas ("twin").  The accent over the "e" is not necessary.  Pick the Linnaea species spelling for maximum plant power.


A sleek name that would make a good sister to an Elise.


This fragrant flower comes from a deciduous tree or large bush.


Spring-blooming azaleas are associated with the Southeastern United States, Asia, and parts of Europe.


This name is a classic (and the name of everyone's favorite Golden Girl) for good reason.  The Just-Joey variety (above) is a showy example of its loveliness—Josephine Rose, nicknamed Joey, is worthy of the flower.


It sounds a little bit like "chameleon", but Cammie is cute.  Camellia is a Southern character of one of the girls from Before We Were Yours.  Camellia leaves are used to make tea, and this bush grows into a small tree.


Spotted (or overheard) at a park in Soquel: Striker, someone’s son of about six or seven.