Class of 2016

So you made it through high school, that’s awesome. Congratulations. We’re all proud of you. (No seriously, we know it wasn’t easy) And now you have to say goodbye to the only life you’ve ever known. No more Friday night football games, no more spring dances. Bye-bye friends.

But its exciting isn’t it? College, a fresh start somewhere else. Or maybe youre skipping college and getting a job –  a fresh start making your own money and your own rules.

Either way, you’re an adult now.

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No seriously, you’re an adult now…

The Sun

It doesn’t rise and set on your grown-up ass.

But I promise, it will rise tomorrow, life will go on and fresh starts are always there for the taking.

Your Words Are Not Gold

Says the blogger.

Sometimes keeping your thoughts and opinions to yourself is the most grown-up thing you can do. Its easy to be petty, to make remarks that are unnecessary. We’ve all done it, no one will blame you if you do. But trust me, as someone who has put her foot in her mouth too many times to count, keep the negativity to yourself or tell your therapist about it.

Hurtful, unnecessary words cannot be taken back.

Money

It can’t buy happiness?image

I don’t know…food, shelter and clothing make me pretty friggen happy.

Whoever said money doesn’t matter was someone who has too much of it or gets it for nothing.

Its important. It will make you happy. It will keep you fed. It takes work to have it. No one owes you money – not for school, not for food, not for rent, not for a car, not for a phone…no one owes you a damn thing.

If you want things, you have to work for them.

Money is not a reflection of who you are. If you are a shitty poor person, you will be a shitty rich person.

Money will not tell you an inside joke. It wont smile at you for no reason. It can’t bring people back, and its not worth staying together for.

Money comes and goes, you can spend it and remake it.

Money is important.

Money is not the most important thing.

Credit Cards

You: “You mean I can buy all of this shit for only $20??”

Credit Card Company: “Yep! And by making the minimum monthly payment you should have this baby paid off in the next 5 years, your interest rate is…”

You: “Interest Schminterest, $20 for a Kayak, paddle and life jacket? Sold!!!”

Congratulations, you’ve just entered a life of credit card debt.

Second Chances

Give them, as you’ll need them too.

3rd and 4th chances are on you.

Sex

It’s healthy, it’s fun.

Chlamydia is neither.

No glove no love.

Dating

It’s ok to date for a while and decide you are unhappy, its ok to walk away. Its ok to decide its not a good fit, end it…and walk away. Yes, someone will get hurt, probably both of you. Don’t drag it out, don’t bash each other, don’t torture each other. Dating is not a marriage proposal, just because you might have planned a future, doesn’t mean that future is right. Doesn’t mean someone doesn’t have the right to change their mind. Its called dating, no one ever said it was easy.

 

Monogamyimage

If you are in a relationship, be in it. If you don’t want to be, don’t. Being in a relationship means you trust someone emotionally and physically with your well-being. If you can’t be trusted, that’s on you and no one else.

Cheating is cowardly.

Call home

Mama is worried about you, she will never stop worrying about you, she can’t help it – and its these worrying instincts that kept you alive for so long. You’re welcome.

Did something bad?

Her love grows, every day. She knows you will make mistakes, she was young once too ya know. Everyday she loves you more…remember how proud of you she was when you graduated high school? The way she cried bittersweet tears and took 400 pictures? The way she cheered and yelled when your name was called?

Well, she loves you more today than she did on that day…whatever you’ve done that is so scary and bad, she will still love you more on your worst day than she did on your best.

Pride and disappointment are not reflections of her love. She doesn’t love you more when she’s proud or less when she’s disappointed, she loves you more every day, no matter what. Today, she loves you more than she ever has, even if you need bail money. Even if you’re failing grades and life. Even if you’ve hurt her feelings or someone else’s. She loves you most right now. She might yell, scream and pull her hair…but she’s got your back, kid.

Call her.

Bad Grades

That’s on you. Not your professor. You.

There are bad professors out there – but there are also plenty of tutors, books, friends, classmates, libraries and tools to help you. Utilize them. Your professor is not going to spoon feed you extra credit, nor are they going to accept your mothers hand written sick note.

Enough of the excuses, work harder.

Partying

Its fun, you should do it.

Dance with strangers, go home with friends.

Do a keg stand, go streaking, be a loyal beer pong partner….go home with friends.

Call a cab, walk, set up a reliable DD. Don’t be a dumbass.

Try to find a respectful balance between this….imageimageAnd this….image

Do your homework first, there is no such thing as going out for “just one”

Keep your phone charged, keep it in your pocket and out of your hand. If you look up, there is a party going on with lots of memories to make. My husband and I still tell stories from our college years, not a single one starts with “I was on MySpace and the coolest thing happened” (Yeah, we had MySpace…I’m old, leave me alone)

Don’t be boring, live the life in front of you, you’ll regret it if you don’t.

…and carrying a can of bear spray never hurt anyone but an attacker…and a bear.

Selective Hearing

No, you’re not perfect. People are going to say mean things, call you things, betray you, hurt you…they will show you the worst part of themselves and blame you. This is life. You have to take it with big grains of salt.

But if you are going to take in the bad, you best take in the good.

Believe it when they say you are funny, smart, beautiful or handsome. Take it to heart. Don’t wave them off and say “no, I’m not”…thank them for their kind compliment, file it where important things go and move on.

Be proud and have self-respect, embrace humility and stay humble.

Freshman Fifty

Its not a myth, get your hungover ass to the gym.

“Wait, Ash…don’t you mean the freshman fifteen?”

Um…sure.

Student Loans

Yeah, those are on you too princess. And if your parents did pay them for you (because they did not have to!!!), you best let them see their grandbabies whenever the hell they want.

Living at home?

No shame in that.

You’re getting on your feet, right?

Well, while you find your footing – march your little toesies over to the washer and dryer. Stand in front of the sink and wash some dishes. Clear the table. Shovel the driveway. Commandeer a lawn mower. Make dinner. Dust. If your parents come home from work and their house isn’t clean, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Earn your keep.

I mainly use it for transportation, but some even say it cleans stuff
I mainly use it for transportation, but some say it cleans stuff

You are not a baby anymore; you are a grown up. Do you realize that your parents don’t have to let you live there? That it is no longer your right, but your privilege? They pay for that house and that food (and lets face it, your fancy phone is still on their family plan)

Your parents love being able to provide for you – but they deserve your respect and your appreciation while they do it.

“My mom says I don’t need a job, that school is my job right now”

Yes, I agree, you should focus on school. Its important. Now get off your ass and clean something.

 

The simple life

There is no shame in working hard and appreciating what you have without getting everything you want.

 

Don’t be a dick

Hold doors, use your manners, don’t look at your phone when someone is talking to you, give the courtesy wave and keep mean thoughts to yourself.

 

Don’t take advice from Bloggersimage

Bloggers like to hand out advice like Oprah…”You get advice you didn’t ask for, and YOU get advice you didn’t ask for!!”

We’re like middle aged women who spot an unsuspecting pregnant girl in the produce section…

“Ooh – you’re carrying low so you’re definitely having a boy. And You’ve got great birthing hips so you should be fine, but DO NOT let them talk you into drugs! You don’t want your little guy born drugged out and disoriented, do you? If you can, go to Lowes and buy a kiddie pool so you can deliver him in your garage like a real woman. Doctors are stupid and breast is best. Judging by the face you’re making right now you must be experiencing some intense heartburn which means your baby will be born with a FULL head of hair, how exciting! Oh – and if you let him cry it out you’re a fucking monster. Thanks for letting me touch your belly, bye!!”

…Bloggers are real life human beings sitting in front of a keyboard who know just as much about life as any other person (We tend to be a touch hypocritical as well). This is very black and white advice I’m doling out to you – and our world is quite gray.  If you must, take our words into consideration – but if you need real life advice? The kind that matters? Get off the internet and call home.

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles ….your family knows you. They don’t always know what is best for you, but they want what is best for you, and that’s gold. Trust them, and trust yourself while you’re at it.

 

There is no key to life.

Be a good person, be a good friend, work hard and appreciate what you have – life is still going to kick you in the nuts repeatedly until you die anyway, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get there with your shoulders back and your head held high?

Good luck!

Thanks for visiting MadStella <3

Stranger In Our Community

 

No, not the creepy stranger…I’m talking about me, you and that other person.

Our little community seems to be taking hit, after hit, after hit in devastatingly tragic ways.

Are we close knit?

In some ways I guess we are, but in a lot of ways we just know each other as acquaintances or we know people because they are friends of a friend, or they go to school with our kids, or work with your husband, or they coach your friend’s kid’s soccer team, or they were your teacher, or the spouse of your friend’s coworker…I hope you get where I’m going here. We are all connected in some way.

Social Media has definitely connected us all and kept us up to date on the comings and goings of the people in our community. So when tragedy strikes, we all know about it pretty quickly.

And for a moment we all forget our differences, our angers, our little problems and we suck in a sharp breath for people we don’t really know. We all feel, at the same time, a huge mound of grief settle over our hearts. Our chests all hurt at the same time and our guts pinch tight with the realization that one of us is hurting and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

For all intents and purposes we are strangers, unknowns, just another person you pass on the street…but for a little while our human hearts sync and we hurt for people we don’t really know.  And for every person that reaches out to the one who is hurting, know there are a few more who silently mourn for your loss. We know we have no right to, but we do it anyway.

We would hug you when we see you, but you don’t know us, not really…so I guess that would be weird. We want to ask you how you’re doing, but that’s just such a stupid question. We contribute to your go-fund-me page or send flowers or give a donation, and it’s not enough for us – we want to do more but we don’t know how…because we don’t know you, and even if we did…there is nothing we can do to bring back your loss.

After a recent wake up call, I told a friend that I feel like we all live on a minefield and this life keeps picking families at random to rip apart for no reason. No one is safe, not really, and it’s terrifying.

My husband and I are blessed in that we still have our children, our parents, our siblings…our immediate circle is still completely intact. If for some reason I am given the unworthy gift of leaving this earth at a golden age and graying hair, I’ll have no choice but to watch as some of those people are plucked from me and there will be nothing I can do to stop it. Is it so much to ask that I leave this earth before my children? Will a morning come where I don’t get to start it with his handsome face? Will there really be a day where my sisters and I aren’t a trio? A day where the advice of a parent is no longer accessible?

I am so humbly aware that I have yet to see the worst day of my life, and that every day someone is out there living theirs.

But there is a small (yet very important) calm in my heart, knowing that when my worst day comes…people will be there, up close and far away. Heartfelt strangers and kind unknowns that will wish me happiness and feel my pain, even if just for a little while. Even if they move on, even if they smile and I’ve yet to remember how – I will know that you cared…that you still do.

They will love me up close and they will love me from a distance. They will pray prayers I never hear, they will cry tears I never see, they will say kind things I never know about and they will send their quiet condolences in the form of hugging their loved ones a little closer.

I have seen our community come together for one another so many times and I am unbelievably proud to be a part of it. I’ve seen those in need get a helping hand without ever having to ask for it, and in a world so filled with hate and anger, it’s nice to be a part of a community that still shows so much compassion and humanity.

Whether you are taking care of me, or the day comes that you are taking care of my family for me…I thank you, my beautiful community, in advance for your love and kindness.

Every day there is someone out there who wakes up with a smile on their face because they have no idea that tragedy will strike by the time they go to bed that night. To those people, just know that we aren’t pretending to know what you are going through, we don’t want recognition or appreciation…we just hope you know that you are genuinely in our hearts and in our thoughts. We see you, we feel you…and even though you may not know it – there is nothing we wouldn’t do to ease your pain.

 

Happy Mother’s Day, Villagers!

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I write about motherhood all the time.

Like….All.The.Time.

Writing about Mother’s Day should be a breeze for me.

Yet, here I am…sitting here, staring blankly at my computer screen in the middle of the night.

Nothing.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Crickets chirping.

Why is this so hard?

I don’t like to outright brag; I usually prefer it when you have to read between the lines to find my subtle greatness. Maybe that’s why this is so hard? Because I have to boast? Because on Mother’s Day I have to literally point out how awesome of a mother I am instead of making you quietly lead yourself to that watering hole?

“Well Ash, you’ve actually made some rather major parenting mistakes, and your own mom is pretty amazing…. you could talk about how great she is, you know, instead of yourself?”image

Shh…adults are talking.

Ok, let’s get to it then…what makes me an amazing, extraordinary and all out fantastic mother?

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??

??

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Nothing because I’m not, but also (because I am) ….everyone.

Yeah, this one goes out to the village that helps me raise my kids. The village of women (ok…and men) that make my job easier. You all know who I’m talking about, you all have your own village – whether it’s big or small or baby bear (just right)….you have a village.image

I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve watched (just in the past two weeks!) while moms worked or went on hot dates with their hubbies. Or how many times I’ve dropped my kids off to other people so I could work or go on a date with a hot stud of my own (ya know, that guy I married who fathered those kids I have)….or just to get my mustache waxed in friggen peace!image

Not sure who is in your village? Here are a few clues.

  1. It’s the ones who don’t charge you for random babysitting.

 

  1. The ones you can call at 10:30PM on a Tuesday night and say “Can I drop my kids off to you at 6 in the morning, my sitter just canceled on me” ….and the answer is always “of course”

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    …Or you call at 10:30 at night because you’ve run out of gas

 

  1. It’s those people your kids refer to as “Aunt” or “Uncle” to whom they have no actual relation.image

 

  1. It’s that chick that shows up unannounced at your home or work with an iced coffee because “she figured you could use one”…. (you fight your urge to tongue kiss her but only because you’re afraid it might scare her into never bringing you one again)image

 

 

  1. It’s those people that will sit at your kitchen table and never miss a beat even though you’re both being struck by random nerf darts.image

 

  1. It’s that person who sits at your kitchen table and completely ignores your “mommy turrets”

(“STOP IT!”…..and then she told me that she made out with this random guy at the…. “DON’T THROW STUFF AT YOUR SISTERS HEAD!”…..bar, while her actual date was in the bathroom. I can’t believe she would do that to…. “STOP JUMPING ON THE COUCH!”…him. I mean seriously? Who even does that….. “THAT’S ITS, YOU’RE DONE. GO TO YOUR ROOM”….to a person? Some people are just “NO BITING!!”….crazy”)

 

  1. It’s that person you call when you need to confess a mommy foul because its eating you alive, but you don’t actually feel like being judged for it.image

 

  1. They are the women at “girl’s night” who give you shitty advice from the sincerest of places.

    Sincerely shitty advice givers
    Sincerely shitty advice givers

 

  1. It’s those same women who make you feel like you could actually be more than what you are, that you are capable of being more than a mom…they show you that even though your life is crazy, you yourself are still actually a really good friend. They bring out the ‘you’ you were before you had children.

    The village idiots
    The village idiots

 

  1. It’s those people that come to your house and change your kids diapers and know where everything is…and just do it because its natural. Because they’ve been doing it since your baby was born, because they love them as if they were their ownimageimage

 

 

  1. It’s those people that get you’re a mom, that your kids come first and that they come second…or fourth or fifth….and they get it, so they keep coming anyway.

 

  1. It’s that best friend, who is also a mom now, who has been with you since forever. You see the bags beneath her eyes, her shoulders slumped in exhaustion….so you slide your coffee to her and say “here…take a hit of this it will make you feel better”….and you both smile at the same time, because for one blissful moment you were both transported back to years ago when things were just a touch easier and a little cooler.

    image
    I said a LITTLE cooler

 

  1. She’s the chick with no kids but two car seats.image

They’re aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents, cousins, friends…all those people that never miss a birthday or dance recital. Those people who just make life…easier.image

My kids have a family bigger than blood and I can’t thank these people enough for helping me raise my tiny humans. Because of you, my village, I can take a break – a fucking breather if you will….instead of getting in my mini-van and driving south with no return date.image

It’s because of you that I have a place to put my crazy, a safe place to scream “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing!!!” and throw shots back like it’s my berfday.image

Whether you have physically watched my kids, transported them or if you were just the unlucky bitch refilling my wine glass…from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Today and every day, mothers are rock stars. We’re the lead singers. Everyone knows our name, everyone sees us first. We’re the first to get blamed, but when shits going good – we’re the first to get all the credit. Nothing against the drummers or bass players out there….but what were your names again?

I’ll tell you what though, that lead singer couldn’t do it without you.

We couldn’t do it without you.

You hold back our hair, you reel in the crazy, you’ve got our back and you always have a spare car seat and a box of fruit snacks. You make us laugh hard when all we want to do is cry. You let us be weak so we can be strong. I might be cleaning the toilets and mopping the floors, but you, my villager –  you’re doing the dirty work.

You know who you are…thank you for everything you do – for being such a huge part of my life while getting only a fraction of the credit. I appreciate you, my kids adore you, my husband salutes you and my liver hates you.

We got this!image

Thanks for visiting MadStella, and don’t forget to thank your villagers!