Here’s How You’re Screwing Up Your Kid

There’s this funny phenomenon that occurs when you have kids. Ever heard that saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well, almost from the moment you announce your pregnancy, the village arrives ready to shower you in congratulations and unsolicited bits of advice.

This is especially true if you frequent social media.

Articles and videos involving children are almost always guaranteed to be inundated with comments about what the parents should have could have done. No matter how innocuous or innocent the content, someone somewhere is going to be offended.

That’s a risk that comes when you use the internet. And I knew this the day I posted a public video of my 2yo after he smashed an entire carton of eggs on my kitchen floor. In the video, I didn’t know what to do. Laugh? Cry? Scream? It was one of those messes that takes your breath away, and leaves you wondering how someone so small can make such a huge mess in so little a time.

I stood there filming as he belly-flopped in egg guts and chased an unbroken yolk along the linoleum. I didn’t scream at him and make a scene, which, to patrons of the internet, automatically meant I did nothing–I let him make the mess by being a neglectful parent (where was the mom?!), and then, being judged by this one incident, I was accused of raising one of those wretched children who thinks it’s okay to walk all over authority and get away with whatever they want.

Am I upset about some of the comments? I was for about five minutes, before I realized that being upset was pointless. One, because I opened myself up to that kind of criticism by posting it publicly. Two, because no matter what I do as a mom, someone somewhere will not agree. Someone somewhere will slap “if that were my kid…”, or “my children would never…” into the comments. It makes me more upset when I see other parents catching flack.

Parenting blogs can be some of the most savage places on the internet. Why? Because the internet is full of Susie-perfect-mom’s. People who think they know it all when it comes to raising kids. They don’t take into account that every child, every parent, every household is different. They don’t take into account that what worked for them won’t work for some people.

But, hey. To each his own, right? Unless you’re a parent, in which case you’re probably screwing up your kid in some form or fashion. And I figured, since I now have all this amazing wisdom about parenting thanks to the digital village, I might as well share it with you guys!



So here’s a comprehensive list of all the ways you’re screwing up your kids so that you can avoid making these mistakes:

Helicopter mom? – Time to cut the cord, lady. How are they ever going to learn independence?

Free-range mom? – Admit it, you’re just lazy. We all know it.

Co-Sleep? – Yeah, your kid is screwed. They’ll be codependent the rest of their lives.

Let them cry it out at night? – How do you even live with yourself, you cold, heartless monster!

Breastfeed? – Don’t even get me started you promiscuous hippy. You’re probably just trying to steal my husband with your milk bags.

Bottle-feed? – Um, excuse me… do you even know what’s in that stuff?

Natural birth? – Okaaaay, and this makes you special how? What, you think you’re better than everybody? The only reason women opt for natural birth is so that they can brag about it. We all know it.

C-Section? – Oh, girl, please. You didn’t “give birth”, you laid on a table and bled for a few minutes. How are you even considered a real mom?

Feed your child? – But what are you feeding them? It has to be Vegan, gluten, and dye free otherwise your future grandchildren are going to sprout tentacles.

Feed your child a special diet? – Are they allergic to sunlight, too, or what? I mean, really. Enjoy your gross rabbit food.

Medicate for a legitimate medical condition? – I hope you enjoy being a puppet of the pharmaceutical companies. ADHD isn’t even a real thing. Duh. And Autism is only caused by vaccines which you totally could have avoided if you read those fifteen articles I tagged you in. Just sayin’.

Choose not to medicate? – Yeah, good luck with your essential oils and herbs there, witch doctor. Maybe you can smother some coconut oil on your brain.

Spanking? – You know who else believed in spanking? Hitler.

No spanking? – You’re everything that’s wrong with our society. Your children are going to grow up to be entitled and selfish just like you! The only real way to discipline a child is with violence.

Working parent? – What was the point of having kids if you were just going to let someone else take care of them anyways? Awful.

Stay-at-home-parent? – Must be nice to just sit on your butt all day long, sipping wine or drinking beer, and channel surfing. Bro, do you even work?

Public school? – Sure, if you want your child pregnant and on drugs by the time they’re 15. Public school is the devil.

Private school? – Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, but with embroidered uniforms and a cricket team. Woo-woo!

Homeschool? – Homeschool is for religious nut-jobs who don’t want their children to believe in science. Duh.

The moral of the story here, kids, is that someone is always going to have an opinion about the way you parent. Whether it’s your doddering mother-in-law, or strangers on the internet. You just have to take it all with a grain of salt.

Or, you know, you could surrender to the digital village. Because the digital village knows all, sees all, hears all.

lucille-portable

Here’s What You Do When Your Kid Makes A HUGE Egg Mess

Step one: Don’t PANIC!

(You can skip past the narrative and head to the bottom for the rest of the steps, if you’d like)

No, seriously. Two mornings ago I had my Here's What You Do WhenYour Kid Makes A HUGE Egg Mess.pngalmost-2-year-old helping me clean up the mess he made in his sister’s room when he wandered off on to a bigger and better mess that involved an entire carton of eggs. Most parents know just how fast kids can get into things, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in a mere TWO minutes, me managed to crack every. single. egg. All over our kitchen floor. Not only that, he decided to bathe in them.

A friend of mine made the comment that this must be a rite of passage for kids. My oldest son did this on a lesser scale, but on CARPET! My daughter had her rite of passage when she set our microwave on fire at the age of 2, while trying to make herself some oatmeal. And I’m pretty sure that it was my middle son who spilled red Kool-aid all over the kitchen once. (Thank you, Jesus, for magic erasers because red Kool-aid stains SO bad.)

You would think that after raising three other children through their toddler years, I would be pretty well versed in messes of all shapes and sizes. Nope. I walked around the corner into our kitchen and almost lost my s***. I didn’t even know where to begin cleaning up this mess, especially since I had to leave in 10 minutes to get my daughter from pre-school. So first order of business was to clean up the baby.

I let the egg-catastrophe sit and stew while I picked her up, but afterwards I grabbed three of our biggest, thickest towels and proceeded to mop up the sticky, gooey mess. Thirty minutes, two gallons of soapy water, and two Swiffer sweeper pads later and VOILA! My kitchen floor is still sticky.

Toddler: 1, Mom: 0

It wasn’t until a day later that friends began giving me advice on how I could have cleaned up the mess without so much expenditure. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? So here’s what they told me:

How To Clean Up A HUGE Egg Mess!


For Hard Surfaces:

Step One: Don’t Panic

– That’s what the kid(s) wants us to do! Because nothing makes their day quite like watching mommy and/or daddy flip their lid. At least in this house.

Step Two: Shake It Like A Salt Shaker

– While you may be tempted to tackle the mess head-on with paper towels, start with some table salt, instead. That’s right. Whip out that good ole’ container of table salt and sprinkle it generously over the egg mess. This is even something you can get your little mess-maker to help you with, since they like spilling stuff all over the floor–apparently.

Make sure you get the whole spill, and then let it sit for ten minutes. And while you’re waiting, you can take the opportunity to give your touch-every-hard-surface-in-sight, adorable little cherub a bath!

Step Three: Wipe On, Wipe Off

– Take your paper towel of choice, whether yours are made from a lumberjack’s chest hair or quilted from a grandmother’s hugs and kisses, and wipe up the egg mess! The salt helps solidify the gooey egg-guts that are nearly impossible to wipe up otherwise. Why? Because science. Then you can just take your Swiffer sweeper-mop for a round over the residual stickiness, or a Clorox wipe, or just good wholesome soap and water.

Be smarter than me. Try these steps.

Now…


For Carpet!

(I am so, so sorry if this is you)

Step One: Remove the Excess

(I’m not even going to bother telling you to stay calm because, like, there’s egg on your carpet. Who can stay calm for that?)

– Use a spatula or another flat-edged utensil to carefully scrape up the excess egg. If the yolk isn’t broken, God be with you that you don’t break it yourself.

Step Two: Cold Water ONLY

– Take two cups of cold (seriously, do not use warm or hot water unless you want to cook that egg into your carpet) water and two tablespoons of dish detergent, and dab–DAB!–at the stain from the outside –> in, until the stain is gone.

Step three: Patience is Key

– It may take a few passes to get the stain out, in which case you want to pat the stain dry between cleanings. However, once the stain is gone, pour yourself a glass of wine, or pop open your favorite stout, and pat that once-egg-mess with cold water, then use a dry cloth to pat it dry.

(I am not responsible for any spilled alcoholic beverages on your carpet)

Scrape, dab, pat!


Now, if you’re not here because you have an egg mess to clean, and you’re just looking for a good time, I invite you to check out the video proof of what my almost-2-year-old did to my kitchen, and my eggs.

If you ARE here because you have an egg mess to clean, then I invite you to watch the video proof that you, my friend, are not alone. #Solidarity, amirite?

Let me just say egg mess one more time,

Egg mess!

When Grace Flows Down

As is the case for many, many people, 2016when has been an extremely difficult year for us. Between taking in my niece through CPS back in January, a move, a car accident, several financial hardships, and enough family drama to rival a daytime soap opera, we walked into the Christmas season feeling completely defeated. My husband and I knew that we wouldn’t be able to provide a decent Christmas for our children without taking away from bills and other necessities, and so we decided to reach out for help.

Through the kindness of complete strangers, our children were able to have presents beneath the tree this year. Through the kindness of complete strangers, CPS was able to provide extra presents to my niece this year. Because of gift cards we received from friends and loved ones (and a certain “secret Santa”), my husband and I were able to purchase items needed to make some small repairs around the house.

And though it takes a lot for me to admit these things–prideful creature that I am–I want you to see first-hand what it looks like when grace flows down.

These people–friends and strangers, alike–took the time and effort from their own lives, from their own stresses and worries, to help us. They took the blessings that Christ has given to them and poured them out onto us. For all the blows we were dealt in 2016, it absolutely pales in comparison to the love we’ve been shown, and not just in the way of presents and monetary gifts, but for all the prayers offered on our behalf, for all the messages and phone calls asking if we need anything, or if we just need to talk for a bit.

While I understand that Christmas is not about the material things, it’s the charity and love behind what we’ve been blessed with that stands out the most. I see the selflessness of the gifts. I see the hands and feet of Christ at work. I see the kindness that the world feels is so lacking.

From the bottom of my heart I want to thank those who reached out to us, who helped give our children a good Christmas. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank everyone who has been praying for us. Thank you for taking the time and effort to sacrifice what you have for someone else. Thank you for being the examples of Christ that the world needs, especially now. ❤

 

 

“Guardian” Excerpt + A little writing motivation to myself

“Sometimes the monsters win, Charlie.”

Those were the last words he ever spoke to me. Head down, hands in his pockets, eyes concealing the horrible truth of what he was about to do to the both of us.

What was it that scared me more? The defeat in his voice? Seeing vulnerability in a man who was impervious even to death itself? Or was it the fact that I trusted him enough to take his hand as he held it out to me, knowing with every atom of my being that another step forward would seal both our fates?

I didn’t stop him as he leaned down to kiss me. Soft lips, warm hands, shoulders trembling as if he were braced against a crushing weight. He locked me in an embrace that said everything his lips couldn’t: goodbye. I love you. Don’t be afraid. This is the only way.

Go set the world ablaze, fire girl.

And then there was nothing but the heat exploding through every nerve, searing blood and bone and thought. The pain was total, infinite; everything and everywhere. There were no lungs for me to fill with breath, no tears for me to cry. I burned within and without until I was a living pyre, a star on the verge of a supernova—only, I wasn’t dying.

I was rising.

And it wasn’t until the pain subsided, and I opened my eyes, that I would know the cost of my rebirth.

This is the prologue to the story I’vego-set-the-world-ablaze-fire-girl been writing for over 5 years now.

Actually, this is probably about the 13th prologue I’ve written for the story I’ve been writing for 5 years now.

You see, that’s the thing about myself and a lot of other writers out there–we’re completely self-defeating. We write, re-read, grimace, and delete. We go on day-long writing binges because the words just won’t stop flowing and then we go back later and wipe it all away. We criticize and critique before there’s anything to really criticize or critique!

It’s like drawing up plans to build this beautiful house, the house of your dreams, and you’ve barely built the framework when you decide to light the whole thing on fire.

Many of us get bogged down by the fact that writing is work. Pure and simple. It’s something you have to do when you feel like it, and it’s something you have to continue to do even when the words aren’t shooting like a New York Time’s Best-Seller from your fingertips.

Sometimes writing is a love/hate relationship. But you still have to do it, because if you’re anything like me, then NOT doing it basically drives you insane.

You have to keep writing even if you don’t think it’ll ever make it to print, that it will ever become a “fandom”, or become a silver-screen hit featuring a cast hand-selected by you and a score composed by Hans Zimmer. You have to keep writing even if there are plot holes and underdeveloped characters.

You (I) have to keep writing even if you’re (I’m) on the 34th version of your (my) rough draft. You have to punch through the writer’s blocks, leap over the plot holes, and belly flop into shallow characters, because that’s what builds better writing. Writing and writing and reading and reading.

This isn’t a lecture, it’s more a motivational speech for myself to get off my figurative ass and finish this story–if for no other reason than to say that I did. It’s time for me to put away the excuses and write, even if it’s crap. All I have to do is put one word in front of the other approximately 90-thousand times until I’m done.

 

Our 4-Year-Old Is Obsessed with Makeup!

I used to love makeup as a little girl. Every our-4-year-old-is-obsessed-with-makeupchance I got I would ask my Aunt Tabitha to make me Cindy Crawford, complete with a little dot of brown lip-liner on the corner of my mouth and all.

I loved those roll-on lip glosses that smelled and tasted nothing like the advertised flavor, and the little butterfly-shaped eye shadow kits that didn’t come in complementary shades for your particular eye color.

Fast forward 20-or-so years and I now have a 4-year-old daughter who is obsessed with makeup the way most kids her age are obsessed with Thomas the Train or Barbie. Every chance she gets she is in my bathroom globbing ten coats of fingernail polish onto her fingernails (and my countertops), or fishing for my hidden stash of makeup so that she can “be pretty”.

And that right there is where I draw the line.

I never ever wanted my daughter to grow up with the mentality that she needs makeup to be beautiful. And I never ever want my sons to grow up thinking that women need it to be beautiful, either. I want them to value health over beauty. I want them to start with being more concerned about what goes into than onto their bodies.

Now before you go all that’s not what makeup is for! That’s not the only reason people wear makeup! And what’s so wrong with wearing it to help boost your confidence?!, let me say, I see makeup as a form of art. (Does that sound totally hippy-talk? Probably, but whatever. I’m slowly coming to terms with my inner hippy.) I see it as a channel for self-expression and creativity; something that takes time and effort (and money) to perfect.

To be honest, I’m a bit conflicted. On one hand, I see her love of makeup as something that can one day become a career. Which, if this is the case, why not support and nurture it? Why not help her learn how to do all kinds of makeup? Not just beauty makeup. There’s fashion makeup, theatre/stage makeup, COSPLAY MAKEUP!, film makeup… can you tell which one I’m most excited about?!

On the other hand, like I said, I don’t want it to become something negative. I don’t want her to think that, without makeup, she can’t be pretty. As if her beauty is dependent on her ability to properly contour and blend and shade with the right palettes. And I certainly don’t want her walking around looking like Mimi Bobeck, or as if she just stepped off an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras.

Who knows, maybe she’ll grow out of the makeup thing the way I grew out of Leonardo DiCaprio and wanting to be a famous poet who lived in a flat in Prague with my red-haired, bull-fighting husband. (Seriously, some of my phases as a kid were just weird.) Maybe I’m putting to much thought into something she won’t even care about tomorrow. Maybe she’ll wake up next week and decide she wants to be a storm chaser… which was also a phase I went through: me and Bill Paxton wandering Tornado Alley together 4 ever!

Either way, we’ll go with it. ❤

Parents of the Millennial Generation

I did it once when our oldest son was about 7-years-old. It was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right at home. No one was having a good day. Maybe it was something in the air, a misalignment in the stars. Maybe the barometric pressure was off that day and it put everyone in a foul mood. Who knows? if-you-want-to-bring-happiness-to-the-whole-world-go-home-and-love-your-family

It was one of those days when all we could do was try to survive one another until daddy got home around five.

And believe me, survival is exactly how it felt. One minute to the next. I tried all day to remain calm, to be present, to not shut down and vegetate in front of the television like I’m prone to do when the stress is too much.

My then 7-year-old wasn’t having it. He did everything in his power to get a reaction out of me; whether it was good or bad, he didn’t care. He pushed my buttons until I finally gave him what he wanted: a reaction.

I set him out on the front porch. I told him that he wasn’t allowed to come back in until he was done acting the way he’d been acting, until he was ready to follow rules and listen to his mother. It was around 4:45, it wasn’t too hot or too cold outside, and I sat right by the window watching him the entire time. We were both angry, we were both at our wits-end, and it was a last-ditch effort on my part to rattle some sense into him.

Truth is, I hated doing it. Even knowing that he was perfectly safe sitting there on the porch, that I hadn’t put him in any kind of danger, I hated what I’d done as soon as I’d closed the front door on him. What was I teaching him? Sure, some parents will say that I was teaching him that I am the authority; it’s my house and my rules. If he can’t obey those rules, then he doesn’t get to be in the house.

I wasn’t teaching him tolerance.

I wasn’t teaching him obedience.

I certainly wasn’t teaching him love.

I was teaching him that he’s only wanted so long as he can follow the rules. I was teaching him that when people upset you, it’s perfectly okay to set them out on the curb like unwanted things, like you do with broken toys or appliances.

You’re taking that a little far, you may say. But kids think differently than adults. They are both far more literal and far more abstract than we are. They are not tiny adults, they are children, and children receive messages differently than we do. But you have to admit, even for our spouse to say, “you’re pissing me off so you need to go. I don’t want you anymore,” it would hurt.

I know some parents will say that I had every right, and that I did the right thing. They’d do the same thing to their children, because kids need to understand authority, they need to understand respect. They will say that children who have no respect for authority are the same ones running the streets and looting and setting things on fire as we speak. They will say that an inability on behalf of the parents to teach their children respect and obedience to authority is teaching them to be entitled, sniveling idiots.

But you know what I think these entitled, sniveling little idiots lack more than respect and obedience and self-control? Unconditional love. They lack a love that says, “we disagree, and I’m not happy with your opinion, but we can still work together, we can still be civil, we can still be friends.”

Sound like a bunch of hippy talk to you?

Do you know how many children are left to live on the streets because their parents found out they were gay? Do you know how many children have been kicked out or forced into abortions because they got pregnant young and out of wed-lock? Do you know how many children have been ostracized by their entire community because they chose a different religion, or because they chose to love outside of their race?

Nothing says entitlement quite like “this is MY house, MY rules, and if YOU don’t like it, you can get the hell out.”

Nothing says entitlement quite like treating your child like a possession that can be used and disposed of whenever they make YOU unhappy. Or telling your child that you brought them into this world and you’ll take them out of it.

Nothing says entitlement like the parents of the millennial generation.

And I’m not sorry if that pisses you off. You know why? Because if you’re offended by that then you’re probably old enough to be excluded from the Millennial generation, which means that you’re, of course, quite competent enough to handle your emotions responsibly. I.e. not sending me hate mail or telling me that I myself am an entitled know-it-all.

I get it. There comes a time in every person’s life when they have to make the decision that they’re either going to allow their past experiences, their childhood, to control who they become and what they do, or that they’re going to learn from it, grow from it, and do better. I’ve had to do it, and as hard as I try to be a good mom, I’m sure that my children will reach this point, too.

I can’t solely blame the parents for the actions and choices of the child; my mom raised my siblings and I with the same rules and philosophies and we still have that one sibling who went off into left field and got mixed up with some bad people and bad habits. It happens despite our best efforts, trust me, I know.

My point is, unconditional love starts at home. Acceptance starts at home. Responsibility, obedience, and respect begin at home. And it begins with not treating each other like property. It begins with teaching our children that we can still be courteous and amicable in our disagreements with others, even when others call us names and act uncivil. It begins with showing our children that we will love them no matter their grades, their lifestyle choices, the music they listen to, the friends they hang out with, whatever.

If you’re Christian, it begins with understanding that Christ didn’t send Judas away, even knowing that he would betray Him. He broke bread with him, shared in Communion with him. He loved him until the end. He didn’t say, “love your enemies and pray for them, except for that back-stabbing bastard, Judas, over there!”

If Jesus didn’t do it to Judas, and we’re not expected to do it to Jesus when things aren’t going our way, then on what plane of existence would it be okay for us to do this to our own children? The most vulnerable and malleable of all.

Don’t teach your children through your own actions towards them that they’re allowed to treat other people like shit when those people don’t do what they want, don’t give them what they want, don’t fit themselves to their beliefs and ideologies.

We can teach our next generation to speak out against injustice and to speak their minds without being destructive and outright violent. It begins at home.


Disclaimer: I’m not talking about situations with adult children that compromise the safety of the household, and/or of themselves. My own family has been in this situation with addictions and stealing. It’s not an easy thing for a family/parent to do, to draw the line between being supportive and being an enabler, and my prayers go out to any families dealing with this type of situation.

Conversion and Surrender

Becoming Catholic was one of the scariest things I have ever done in life. Since childhood I’d been taught that the Catholic Church was a crooked, greedy, abusive, and judgemental institution where you paid your way into Heaven and only priests were allowed to speak to God. do-not-be-conformed-to-this-world-but-be-transformed-by-the-renewal-of-your-mind-that-you-may-prove-what-is-the-will-of-god-what-is-good-and-acceptable-and-perfect

My conversion to Catholicism didn’t begin with a blinding light and me falling off my proverbial horse like St. Paul. I guess you could say that God and the Church had pursued me my entire life until, at the urging of my soon-to-be mother-in-law, and in order to appease my husband’s family, I agreed to attend RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults).

In retrospect, I basically imagine that God clapped his hands and said, “Whelp, that’s that. She’s mine now!” the moment I walked into the RCIA classroom.

Over the next few months, everything that I thought I’d known about the Church and her teachings was stripped away. I began to see the Church for what it was and not for what my poorly catechized family members taught me as a child, or what secular media showed me on television. I asked questions and they were answered. I brought up issues that have long plagued the Church and they were explained, sometimes to the benefit of the Church, and sometimes to its detriment.

My sacramental conversion began when I wanted my husband’s family to like me. I was tired of not knowing that meal-time prayer they all prayed together. I was tired of hearing words like “Holy See” and “Ecclesiastical” and “Pontificate” and not knowing what in the world they were talking about. I was tired of not understand the sit, stand, kneel, stand, kneel, sit, “Amen” in Mass.

My true conversion began when Father Paul asked me if becoming Catholic was really what I wanted to do. He explained that I was free to choose whether or not to become Catholic. I was free to walk away if I didn’t feel it was for me. I sat there in that chair, at this small wooden table, staring at a priest whom I’m pretty sure has the gift to read souls, and realized that I wanted this because I wanted it. Not because of my husband or my soon-to-be in-laws. I wanted to become Catholic because over those many months, I’d fallen in love with the Church, with Christ.

There have been far more profound “yeses” to God in the history of our faith, but mine at that moment felt pretty flipping profound. Why? Because I knew from that moment on I would have to surrender everything to God.

You see, conversion is synonymous with total and utter surrender. You cannot become Catholic without surrendering the former self to Christ. You take your most deep-seated philosophies on life, your most ingrained behaviors and habits, and you surrender them wholly. You empty yourself of who and what you are so that you may be filled with Christ’s love and mercy and grace to become an entirely different creature.

At least, that’s how it goes in theory. But you have people like me who cling desperately to facets of the former self, who battle with God over who’s will will be done. You have people like myself who are afraid to trust in God and step out of their comfort zone in order to achieve the change we need to grow. And so you wake up every morning and you surrender again and again and again, until the issue is resolved and God reveals another part of you that could be better, holier, and you start all over.

As Bishop Robert Barron says, in essence, having a relationship with Christ is like taking a piece of glass, which in darkness can appear perfect, unblemished, and turning it toward the light where suddenly you can see the flaws, the imperfections. And the beautiful part about it is that we’re given the tools to wipe the glass clean, to mend the fractures and see clearly. When we smudge the glass again, we’re given the tools necessary to wipe it clean, if only we’re willing to first accept that there is a blemish, and then accept that we need the help to mend it.

I wasn’t simply converting from one belief or faith to another (I was a polytheistic Pagan before my conversion), I was converting my entire existence to center around one Truth, and that Truth called for me to make radical, necessary changes. And I didn’t look at these things and think “wow, the Church is so oppressive and doesn’t want you to have fun!” For the first time I saw that these guidelines for the Church were no different than my having expectations of behavior from my children, of giving them a bedtime and helping them to establish healthy life habits. It was no different than my wanting the absolute best for my children, for them to be good, honest people, and doing my best–as their parent–to set them on the right path, to teach them the right things, and to implement discipline where necessary.

Any parent who truly cares for and loves their child is going to have rules and regulations to keep them from hurting themselves or others. They place rules not to keep the child silent and still, but to ensure that they can LIVE and live WELL. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But that’s a different conversation for a different time.

I’ve been Catholic for five-and-a-half years now, and I can tell you that every day I go through small conversions, and every day I must renew my surrender to God. It’s a lifelong process. Even Mother Teresa spent hours in the confessional, surrendering her cotton-ball sins to Christ. Even up to our dying breath, we must surrender to His will.