Dirty Old Tape

You all see a dirty door window. I haven’t cleaned it in god knows how long. I don’t care.

I have a thousand more things sitting on a cliff, ready to teeter the edge before I even remotely worry about this door. I’m not worried about your judgment or what you think of my cleaning skills. I’m shite at it. It’s really okay. I’ve made my peace with it.

This is the view from my blow up hot tub, that I ironically spent the last half hour cleaning. It was a Covid purchase and one I appreciate immensely when my bones ache from my rheumatoid arthritis.

I love this view of this dirty door. It has hand prints of my kids, nose prints from my dogs. It’s an old door who’s seen a lot. It’s lived a life. My life. And today it broke my heart a little.

I have three teenagers. They are all beautiful and wonderfully made. They are smart and kind. They are brilliant minds and keen observers. Sometimes they are too loud and leave a trail of Doritos, but they are mine. We’ve raised them well I think, and while I’ve made mistakes along the way, this door reminds me of my days as a good parent.

That thing on the door is tape. Old tape. It’s approximately 5 years and one months-ish old. My youngest was turning 9 and he wanted to have a Pokémon party outside in the back yard. This tape held up a pin the tail on the Pokémon poster I made for it. We had Pokémon decorations, goodie bags and games, and I even used pictures of all the kids to make their own Pokémon card. I made Poke-ball cupcakes. Me. The person who burns boiled eggs. I did well. I showed up. We had so much fun.

Yesterday I was confronted with a now depressed 14 year old boy. He can’t focus in school, is tired all the time. He’s growing at an alarming rate. He’s gone through 2 sizes of pants since the summer. His brown eyes were struggling to tell me what was wrong, because he simply did not know. So I held him a while, tried to convey that pubescent life can be a bit of a rough part of growing up. Stuck between a boy and a man, it’s hard to know who to be. I didn’t solve his problems yesterday and didn’t expect I would, but I at least tried to share in his sorrow for the kid he’s leaving behind. After all, he’s not the only one sad about it.

He went to school today grumpy and tired, but he made it though the day. We learned a little about resilience and a little about what mental health issues are like. I went to work troubled, sending him emails and texts, checking in on his fragile teenage hormones, making sure he was drinking enough water and taking breaks. I came home from work, and he seemed better, the weight of his day off of him now. This will be an up and down battle, much like it was with my 16 year olds, but we will get by like we always do.

Being a parent to teens is no less easier or harder than being ones of busy toddlers. It’s just…different. Making sure all was well while he played video games with his friends, I ate dinner and came in for my nightly soak. I didn’t get one last night because I had to shock the water, so my bones were very much looking forward to a dip. Sitting back I was enthralled by the full moon, noting that it makes sense why everyone has been feeling down. Full moon, dark early hours, getting colder; all solid signs of seasonal depression. I’m feeling it. We all are.

The full moon touched the end of the tape tonight on that dirty door, as I lay back on the edge of the hot tub. I feel like the moon was giving me a gentle reminder of why we do this. Why we wake up everyday with a renewed sense of purpose. Why we need breaks. Why it’s okay to cry over things lost. I’m not sure if my kid will understand puberty until it’s over like I did, and I don’t know if I will ever get passed the fact that parenting is both a blessing and a tragic motion picture set in slow motion. Tears filled my eyes as I remembered making 30 Pikachu bags the night before his party, painstakingly drawing Pikachu faces on dollar store yellow bags with a sharpie. I remembered how my hands ached at using the piping bag on the cupcakes. I made all 50 of them though. I took breaks. I cursed a little. I blew up 50 or so balloons and I gathered the strength or entertain 20 something 9 year olds on a cool crisp fall day. And it was great.

My tears are real. My feelings are valid. While my pain is different than his, it’s generally about the same thing. Dirty old tape on a dirty old door.

Today I’m thankful I’m shit at cleaning doors. Today was a good day to remind myself that things will change, and it will hurt. My heart misses those days but last night was just as precious. Holding him as I asked him what was wrong, hearing “I don’t know” over and over almost broke me. Almost. I rejoice in the fact that I can still be the mom that stays up all night with aching hands making cupcakes. Instead of making cupcakes, I held his frustrated body while he sobbed for reasons unbeknownst to himself. I can’t fix it maybe, but I can be there when it’s just too much to bear alone. The point is, every day is relevant, no matter what the age. That tape will remain there until it’s time to replace that old door. Until then.


To The Paraprofessional

I see you.

Up until a couple of days ago, I was you.

Unappreciated, overworked and underpaid, invisible and exhausted. I see you and what you do. I watch your struggle to help your kiddo to the bathroom, take that fourth walk around the building in no air conditioning with a mask on, and watch as you wince in pain as they grab you too hard in a bid to tell you in unspoken ways, that they are frustrated with the world.

I left this job for many reasons, but the main one was that I went back to college to do some form of writing, and it’s essentially all I’ve wanted to do with my life. Not that helping kids isn’t a noble thing; it is. But essentially this jobs biggest enemy isn’t that it’s hard, it’s that the public school system doesn’t make it easy for us to stay.

Regardless of the direction I have decided to steer my professional life, having this job and helping these kids has taught me so many lessons that I would have never been able to otherwise learn. I learned complete and utter selflessness, thunderous kindness and the human beings incredible capability to understand, and ultimately stare humility in the face. I met the most compassionate people that exist on this planet. I found a bubble of kindness and compassion in a world that especially now, lacks it in spades.

Some of you may be asking what a Paraprofessional actually is. Please let me be the one to tell you.

I bet you wake up at ungodly hours to get your kids to school, all while managing to take a shower, fight them to dress in clean clothes, and trying to scarf coffee laced with week old creamer. You yell at your kid to hurry it up, making sure they are able to get down a frozen waffle or two, while you attempt to make a wholesome, packed lunch for them after you calmly stick a frozen dinner in your stained purse for lunchtime later. You manage your hair and make-up in the car, pray you remembered deodorant, and hope to god that you get to work without dropping something down your front while you drive, all while choking down a cream-cheesed bagel that sits on your lap.

Mornings are hard. They are chaotic and sometimes impossible. It’s what we deal with as a parent. It’s barely getting to work on time and hoping your child has matching socks. It’s life.

Special needs parents do this too. Usually though, they are up an hour earlier than you. They have to dress their child from head to toe, physically feed them breakfast one bite at a time, skirt epic meltdowns or put them in a wheelchair after they change their diaper. Meanwhile, these kids are ten, or fourteen, or even twenty. This isn’t a phase. This is their life forever as a special needs parent.

Paras are an extension of that parent while they are at school. They do their best everyday to make sure they stay clean, fed and happy, and while they are doing that, they are correcting behaviors, getting them to various services (speech, vision therapies, etc.) and trying to get some valued education in, hoping they learn something new that day. They are hugging them, crying with them and consoling them when they just can’t handle their feelings. They keep hope alive, make daily sacrifices on their own bodies, energy and emotional well being. They are hero’s without capes, a teachers right hand. Without them, the special needs children in your community would never be able to attend school, see their friends and learn to navigate the world.

I left this job reluctantly. Despite the crappy pay and the sad understanding that the administrators in public school don’t acknowledge our existence, I was sad to leave. I try not to carry too many regrets. Guilt is useless in most instances. Sometimes, hard decisions have to be made. This was a hard one for me. This bought guilt and will no doubt bring a regret, but inevitably, it was time for me. I was burnt out, and like many paras before me, decided to follow my passions.

My last three days were spent at home, using accrued personal time. Today I recieved an email from a student who used to walk with me certain points of the day, so the bullies wouldn’t talk to her or bother her. I didn’t get to say goodbye, since my last day, she was absent. I had to tell her in that email that I didn’t leave HER, that I left a job, but that my heart and my mind would always be with her. I cried typing the words, knowing that she no longer has the comfort of my presence, or the feeling she needs to feel safe in some of her classes.

Who will walk with her now? Who will give her the courage to report her bullies? Who will tell her how amazing her reading is coming along, support her in her goals to teach math class to kids with special needs, and answer her 8th grade questions about life and the universe?

If not me, who?

I know someone there will step into my shoes, because I know who my people are. They refuse to let a kid go to the wayside, refuse to let them be forgotten. Sometimes paras are the only positive encouragement they will get all day. Some kids don’t go home to happy homes. This job isn’t just for the more severely disabled kids we care for. It’s the kids in-between too, whos parent sleeps through the mornings and doesn’t see them on the bus, or can’t remember to remind them to brush their hair or wear deodorant, so you make sure it’s in your desk or bag for them so they don’t get embarrassed. It’s the kids who have parents who work long hours and can’t be home to see their kids to bed, or make sure they did their homework. It’s the ones who miss meals, have no one to talk to, or sit alone in the lunchroom. It’s those kids too. A paras job extends across the lines. You are a caregiver, parent, educator, counselor and sometimes therapist. You are a multitude of arms reaching across an impossible divide. You multitask with excellent efficiency, filling the holes in every broken dam you walk past.

There is a huge discrepancy in what teachers get paid and what paraprofessionals get paid. While teachers have to have a 4 year degree with certification, paras only need a 2 year. They get paid less than half and get less days off to use in the school year. They will never get a chance to get major raises, no matter how much training they do. They are required to do many hours of training a year, only to be put with kids they don’t know, with ailments they have to learn about quickly from google. For the administration, they are just a warm body that helps meet state compliance. They are a necessity for them to claim to be an “inclusive school.”

They love the title, but the reality is far less pretty. While they want to be recognized as inclusive, they refuse to see the bigger picture, to see the people that steer that ship, to recognize the low men on that totem pole: the one cleaning, bending, sitting on the floor. The one singing the same song over and over, dancing, blowing bubbles and repeating the same lessons over and over to make sure they understand it. The one that laughs when their kids laugh only to cry when they go home. The one who feels like she has been left to the side of the road with no ride home, with no help in sight. She is holding up the fort from the very bottom, shifting her weight to not rock the top. The top that barely notices why they are still standing upright in the first place, unwavering, all while making the rules. The one who barely eats lunch, or gets to finish her coffee. The one who makes sure our frailest kids, our most vulnerable tiny humans, are safe when they are away from the warmth of their homes.

These are paraprofessionals: my people, my friends.

The heart of special education.

Mandy is a romance author living in rural Pennsylvania. She writes happiness one kilt at a time.

How to Theme-Park

(And not be a total tool)

I recently joined a few connoisseur groups, following the parks on social media I frequent often. I found that these people, my people, understood my somewhat odd fascination with theme parking in general and subsequently, do not judge me for it; unlike the rest of the regular Facebook, non- theme-parking people (NTPP). You know these people. Those who love to berate you on how “brave” you are! How stupid you must be, or clearly, that you don’t know how to have fun because you’re not sitting on a hot dirty beach in Jersey. Hell nope, and no thank you. I don’t wish to catch hepatitis from a shore public bathroom. But hey, you do you, boo.

I am, however, a sucker for a well- choreographed show, a glitter hand tattoo, and a bucket of over-salted popcorn in my commemorative (insert new ride here) special popcorn bucket. I love that I know where each bathroom is, what place sells the best sale merch at the end of the season, and that I know the nicest bartenders who know my preferences and smile when I come in. After all, I know their anniversary, their kids’ names and hobbies.

This place to me? While it seems like a fresh hell to you, it’s home to me.

While you may go to the store seeking the newest and shiniest beach gear, which makes your life easier on those hot summer days, we are in the shops looking for new lanyards, pins, and viewing old park maps on eBay. We love it, okay?

So, don’t judge me, and I will not make fun of you over and over as you sit on the New Jersey State Parkway while you move inch by painful inch to nirvana.

Now, just like I am forced to visit the beach (I’m from there so I must), you are sometimes forced, or asked to come down for the weekend to experience my theme park. No, I don’t own it you silly sausage, but I’ve walked more steps there than in any place on earth, so I consider a little piece of it mine. Just like when I lifeguarded on the beaches you consider yours; I ask you to be respectful of the places people frequent, live and love.

With no further ado, I have come up with a list of DO’s and DON’TS for theme parking. I may offend you, but it’s what I do, so, you’re welcome in advance.

DO: Research your ticket options before you come. This includes parking. Nothing pisses people off more than you standing there, chatting up the parking attendant or ticketing agent about shit you could have looked up on your phone in the car ride over here. Be prepared for that shit. You’re an adult with 2019 internet access.

DON’T: Yell at people for simply doing their job. If you think these people are getting paid enough to take your shit, think twice. While “The customer is always right”, they aren’t always humble about it. Screaming that phrase in their face, spitting, throwing a toddler tantrum or overall acting like a cockslap, will only get you stabbed in the parking lot. Don’t be that guy. You’re not as important as you think.

DO: Move to the side If you are a slow walker, have a tantrum-y kiddo (We have all been there, Susan, all we ask is you try and take that hot mess to the side so we can move on by), or simply need to STOP to look at a map, phone or stare into space. I literally get stabby when I *almost* bump into you because you decided that the middle isle of any walkway was a good time to not move. (Unless there is a legit emergency or major issue. See below. Don’t look at me like that, Susan.)

That being said…

DO: Be kind. If there is a mom out there struggling and you see her alone, offer to help. For instance, if you can tell she has a special needs child, don’t be an asshole. Be a human, offer to help her to the side (Like I have done before when they are blocking the whole walk- way). She’s embarrassed and tired, she doesn’t need your douchbaggery.

DO: Be respectful in lines. ANY lines. This means food and rides. Not everyone thinks your farts are funny, wants to hear you snapping your friends’ asses with your over-priced Under-Armor shirt, or hear about your latest conquest (gag). It’s not church and please feel free to have fun conversations but be respectful that there are people in front of you and behind you. And for the love of GOD, recognize personal space and WEAR DEODORANT!

Speaking of lines…

DON’T: Cut lines. I don’t care how old you are. You don’t get a free pass because you’re a “wild teen”. I will video that shit and find a way to send it to your mama. I will also tell you to get yo ass to the back of the line. THAT and I’ll say it loud enough, so people stare at you. Don’t mess with a forty-year-old mom, kid. I got no time for blatant fuckery. If I have to wait, so do you, you little, snot-nosed ball of twated hormones.

DON’T: Be that drunk, tits in your face, stained wife beater, person meandering through the little make pretend streets and puking in bushes. Take that shit to Jersey where it belongs and maybe go to rehab.

DON’T: Wear white and have no bra underneath. Everyone is happy for your new 8,000-dollar tits, Brenda, really. I mean, good for you. Be the best version of you and be happy! We don’t all need to see them though. I’ll ask if I want to see them, trust me. I’m not shy.

DO: Understand that no one controls the weather. Mother Nature can be a real asshole sometimes, and sometimes she literally just wants to piss on your good time. BUT THAT IS NO ONES FAULT. Screaming at employees and writing nasty shit online only makes you look like a belligerent fucktwad.

DON’T: Get mad at lifeguards because they don’t have “the common decency” to look you in the eye, or acknowledge you exist. They are doing their job. They are making sure people don’t die while you just want to know how the hell this life jacket works, and can you put it on my kid. No. He can’t. Ask another employee. He’s busy making people not die and not getting sued.

DO: If you have a legitimate complaint, bring it up in a way that will give the respect the representative deserves. She will be more receptive to help if you are kind and understanding. Bad shit happens. Things get stolen, people get hurt. All in all, no one is at fault for accidents. So if you were the dick that bought your phone on a roller coaster, I implore you to go back to the front of the line where it tells you not to do that. Leave the real complaints and real problems for Customer Service. She’s not replacing your phone because you didn’t remember the basics of Kindergarten based listening.

I know this list could be longer, and for those like me reading this, I’m sure have MANY more things to add here, but these are the basics. All in all, we are just asking you to NOT be a DICK. It’s often people like us that fight for the progress this place makes; voicing our opinions, signing petitions, etc. We love it here, and while you like to visit on the rare sometimes, we think of this more of a home away from home; a zen place, a long walk, a cup of coffee, an intense ride to work off a stressful work week. It’s what we do, live for and love.

And I promise, if I see you at the beach, I’ll be sure not to step on your blanket, get too close to your set up, or play loud music so you can hear it five towns away.

Because I’m not a dick.

It’s called RESPECT.

Here’s to you and a healthy summer!



Hollywood vs. Me

I recently turned on a movie, where in the hot Hollywood Dad was telling a story to his equally gorgeous Hollywood plucky offspring, about how he met her mother and subsequently, how they fell in love and made such a perfect child.

Sounds a little dumb and I would agree with you normally, but I have a point. I promise.

It was a long winded beginning, as the camera focused on his  perfect manly eyebrows and the girls engrossed look of wonderment as he started off the story with the beginning of  how their lives converged.

It began with college, them being friends first, of course, finding each other spangly and awkward there, shortly followed by some in-between-finding-yourself-time. They traveled separately (cut to her in Paris studying Art History and he in Greece studying Anthropology or some shit) and grew into themselves as they miraculously became smarter and more beautiful as the time went on. How incredible. It’s like watching them in a time machine.

Next came that ever slow and humiliating crawl up the work horse ladder. The paying your dues ladder. The, I’m going to work 80 hours for you for little pay, ladder, so that you can see how meaningful hiring me as a regularly well paid employee will be. I call this the coffee fetching phase. It’s more like a monster flight of stairs, rather than a ladder. He talks about it all; how they broke up a couple times in there somewhere, but always ended up finding each other in the end. It’s amazing really, how many times can one person bump into another in such a large city.

So sweet.

Eventually he gets to the point in the story where they get to the serious part. They decide this is it; meeting the folks, popping the question in that cute, fumbling way he has. “I blurted it out.” He says. Calling it unromantic, but as we all get the feels from this undeniably adorable man, we know it’s the opposite. This sweet mis-opportune guy who wants to marry her so badly that he can’t get the words out.



Then they have the wedding of the century. Probably in a barn with lots of lace and homemade chalk board sayings. All the drinks are served in mason jars carved with their initials. He slow dances with her to some cheesy love song they listened  to in a car once, and he so chivalrously carries her over a threshold where they have a perfect night of lovemaking ahead. Well, at least we get to see his naked shoulders. He really is very pretty.

Time to buy the house. We can’t live in the city and raise a kid! Why not!? They argue. She wins. Baby in the suburbs it is. Cut to her wearing cute overalls and painting a wall yellow. (We all know how bad paint is for a pregnancy, but it’s necessary to the montage).

Then they have this big talk one night after the baby comes. They stare at this impossible looking child, carved out by greek gods, and marvel at creation. She says it. “I can’t go back to work and leave her…”

The ladder falls.

She loses all the things she climbed for. That; up all night making airline reservations for the boss she can’t stand. For the, running errands in high heels while she tries to pay off her Ivy League education. Oh, and then there is that magical step where the boss tells her in that very pivotal moment;

“Hey. Good job kid. Ya got moxy”.

Ah. Hollywood. The only place you can use that word when it’s not 1923.

Her eyes get glowy as she fist pumps the air behind his back so he doesn’t see.

Movie magic.

And now she’s given that up for kids. Kids who don’t let her sleep, eat, poop, drink anything while it’s still hot, or have a half decent orgasm.


As the story progressed, I found myself losing interest for the simple fact that all she did was lament over her decision. We needed to see in the end, as her dad was telling her how worth it she was to give all that up, that you should live life to be happy, not to climb some corporate ladder.

Moral of the story as a woman sees it: “Guy marries ambitious girl. Girl makes something out of herself. Girl gives it all up to be a mom. Girl is happy in her decision, and the dad tells the offspring how lucky she is that she has a mom like her. Dad in the mean time, gives up nothing.”

Not a god damn thing.

I don’t even think he loses a testicle in a bike accident. Nothing.


It was really something I could not possibly relate to. Me? I didn’t move up any crappy ladder. I simply worked jobs while my kids were small that made sense at the time.

I worked in retail, weekends, nights. Etc. I made extra money for paying the smaller bills, for the fun days we took as a family. I was lucky in that my husband climbed that ladder and didn’t have to walk away like most women had do.

Now some don’t. And that’s fine too. I just didn’t make enough money as a full time travel agent to put twins in daycare. So we made it work. I stayed home and the ladder fell. Far. In movie world we would see the visual. The mom in the beginning of the movie in her Nine West high heels and Coach bag. Cut to the yoga pants, stained t- shirt and struggle bun. Her t-shirt says something cute, like “Living the dream” with ‘whomp whomp’ music in the background.

Ha ha. Funny.

Last year my twins went to middle school and I got a day job. A real one. The youngest was in 4th grade, and for the most part the three of them were a little team. They were fairly self sufficient and I could start leaving them home for stretches of time.

I had done all the volunteering at school. I had made cupcakes and attended all things related to American Education week, Book Fair and Holiday Shop. I was present and I ate it up.

Things are different now. They didn’t need me every five seconds, and once I wrapped my head around that, I changed tack.

Because I let the ladder fall, I had to start from scratch. See, I’m a writer by trade, but that kind of job is hard to get when you don’t have any legitimate “experience” doing that. Nothing major has been published, I’m not a journalist, and I have no desire to hunt stories down. That being said, I’m applying for creative writing internships. The ladder climbing ones.

But at 40, does that makes sense? Of course it does. I mean, there is no real difference between being 20, and stopping at 30 to have kids, is there? Now I start at 40 and go to the end, yes? I’m not having anymore kids and hell, I can finally get that sports car. I may not be as hot driving it, but really, who cares.

I don’t think anyone will make a movie from this scenario, the mom who chose herself after the kids decided to be little adults that no longer need hand holding. It’s not that exciting is it? Getting married at 22, and barely having a life before pushing squawking mini-versions of myself from my wicker basket.

I don’t think they will make a movie of my life, but I’m excited for the next chapter all the same. When normal moms are winding down, I’m just getting started.

Don’t be one of those people that say it’s too late. I may not be as adorable as a Hollywood starlet, but I think I still have my overalls from the 90’s if they want them for a shot of me gardening with my flowery hat in front of my Camaro.

I mean, I’m game for that, Ryan Reynolds.

Go for it, kids….life isn’t scripted. Make your own movie, and don’t take any shit. 🙂



Things No One Tells You When Your Kids Grow Up


I have turned into one of those parents, that when I see any baby related post on social media, I feel the need to comment. “Try Mylicone drops!” Or, “A little dirt never hurt!” And my favorite, “You will miss this one day!”

Now, I never wanted to be one of them, haven been through the phase of unwanted and outdated advice myself. I always thought, that when someone asked for advice, only then would I give it, not blurt it out like it’s girl’s night with too much homemade Sangria. (He said WHAT to you? Oh girl, you don’t need no MAN!)

Now, I don’t want to age myself or anything, but social media wasn’t a huge thing in 2005 when I started my journey fresh with a set of twins. The advice from moms then, wasn’t as in your face as it is now. It was a tad subtler, and you could avoid it generally by skipping Uncle Phil’s 60th birthday celebration. But these poor moms now. Oy. The doors are wide open, and here come the crazies.

Oh, and I’m totally guilty for being one. The ones who have been there before so heartily that they can’t NOT give the un-asked for, often cringe worthy advice (I had TWINS. HAYO!). I get it now. We are just trying to save the young Jedi’s from all our past mistakes. You know, forgetting the Mylicone drops, so they were up with gas all night, and picking them up when they fall and immediately putting them in the bath (they’re just going to get dirty again, right?) We did those things, too, despite that unwanted and outdated advice we got as well.

As much advice as you get as a young mom, and some days it seems your dodging it with Captain America’s shield (if only), that advice undeniably becomes something else as they blossom into teen-dom. What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh.


Maybe it’s the smell, the disgusting pile of food wrappers under the bed, or the consistent eye rolling, but that advice is generally limited to, “Oh, good luck with that!” Yeah. That doesn’t help me and if we are getting technical here, that’s not advice.

You have no idea how much you miss the crappy advice when it stops coming, and even worse, the wholly vacant guidance for how to deal with the fact that this journey?

This, crying tears over failed pregnancy tests, waking up all hours with a crying baby, holding hands out in the middle of the night to stop the vomit, night terrors, play dates, kiddie rides, first days of school, Batman lunchboxes and homemade Halloween costumes, is well. It’s almost over.

No more Santa, or Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. Carving pumpkins is kind of boring, and watching holiday movies with me? Forget it. Its like torture.

ONE piece of advice they did share;

“It goes so fast”.

Not advice, per se, but more of a warning. And they were thoroughly and unfortunately, all too correct. It happened one day when I wasn’t looking. I had my back turned, I was making coffee, I was cleaning the house, paying the bills. I was food shopping, back to school shopping and making doctor appointments. And when I came home one day from keeping with this life, they were huge; no more Nickelodeon, Power Rangers, Hot Wheels. No more juice boxes, footy pajamas and sweet smelling babies. They were replaced by Cartoon Network, sometime R rated movie watching almost adults, who cursed in front of me by accident and burped the alphabet.

Yes. My two almost fourteen-year old’s are entering eight grade this year, and I am a total, unequivocal, pile of mom-of-teen-mess.

It really did happen that fast.

The tired up-all-nights night,s and constant physical exhaustion of running after toddlers is replaced with a new mental exhaustion; a brand of your very own kind of worry that only comes with having a teenager. Worry is now of being bullied, failed important tests, girl/boy friends, proper hygiene practices, homework anxiety, and not to mention peer pressure. Your mind wanders to when you were that age, and you remember the heartbreak, the feelings of defeat, the loneliness, and the sheer and utter feeling that you were completely alone.

Yes. They feel alone, and consequently, so do you, and no one is offering advice on what to do about that.

I looked at my one son the other day while we were at the pool, who is now almost as tall as me. His shoulders are broader, his cheeks thinner, his laugh deeper. He’s filling out, becoming a man now and by next year, I lamented, he will be completely different. Not just another year older, but another year closer at being a grown up, on his own, and away from me.

It’s staggering, the thought; I have a few short years to fit in more trips, hugs (when he lets me), one on one conversations, pool days, and Christmas mornings. A very few, fast short years.

And when that realization happens, it hits a mom in the face. Hard. So hard, your vision is blurring, your head hurts, and you need to lie down.

No one tells you how to handle them actually becoming grown-ups. They only tell you how to handle the things it takes to get through childhood.  Things like, croup, tonsillitis and potty training. They don’t open their guts and tell you that this is golden. All of it. All of the years.

Whatever you’re doing?

It’s fine. You are fine. Stop worrying about those little teeny things, and enjoy the big things. You are much smarter than you realize, and much more capable than you think.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the advice the day they leave grammar school, or how to tell your son that it’s not your fault she doesn’t like you; that your real friends don’t care what you wear and that your time in middle school is short, and even though it’s awkward, it’s supposed to be. It inevitably becomes a learning experience you carry with you to adult hood.

Tell the mom with kids on the edge of reason, that reason will come soon enough; that you will survive their awkward years with them, and you may have more sleepless nights, even if they pale in comparison to the baby years. Buy her a spa gift card now that she has time to use it. Take her to the movies and convince her that she may question her sanity right now, but it will all be okay in the end.

And lastly, while it feels like it’s ending, it’s not. You still have time.

Time to:

Hug them when they don’t want you to.

Talk to them, even though they would rather to talk to anyone else.

Help them with Algebra, even if you must do it with them step, by painful step.

Swim with them.

Get interested in their music, even if it makes you want to poke your ears out with sharp pencils (Do we need to bring up Vanilla Ice?)

Listen to what they are saying to others.

Keep them respectful.

Get them in nature.

Play board games.

Eat dinner with them.

Be their mom. Not their friend. They may hate you for that now, but you will hate yourself later for giving in when you should have said no.

And finally, don’t beat yourself up. Every stage is hard. There is no magical age. Kids are kids. It’s all hard and you, mama, are doing a great friggin’ job.

I may not be getting advice in this stage, but I have decided to make my own. I will NOT be the mom that just says, “Good luck with that!”

Okay, I may, but directly after that, I will tell them they are not alone, that I am here, and hey, I have some advice….



Amanda Greenfield is a Romance Author and mom of three boys living in Pennsylvania.

You’re Going to Miss This! (I know. So shut up already. This is hard!)

I love Facebook.

I’m on that shit all the time. I mean, like, a lot. I should probably see someone about it, like, a Facebook therapist. I’m ridiculous and I know it. After all, it’s Facebook where I get to see shit like this:

C’mon. That’s awesome.

But truth is, it keeps me sane. It’s a place, as a mom, that I can scream to the world when I go into the bathroom and there isn’t anymore toilet paper and the cardboard roll is just sitting there taunting my shit rimmed ass, or when the trash is full, and they find various ways to put more IN without actually having to change it. It’s like a physics lesson for all. Who doesn’t love an overflowing trash bag? It’s like f**k perfume for raccoons. By the time it does get changed, there are 5 little raccoon shit babies in it.

And then there is that time I stepped on a Lego in the middle of the night. Or, you know, 5 f***ing thousand of them. My toes have seen more than they should, and I pray for their innocence. It’s gotten so bad I think I need to see a toe -rape therapist.

I need to vent over that stuff. Because, essentially, it’s the un-relenting shit tornado that is motherhood. I need to throw caution to the wind at 544 friends who can’t see my face right now, or the shit stains on my underwear because I couldn’t wipe. I need to not be judged aloud, but in the quietness of their own kid infested shit show of a house. Judge me quietly, please. That’s what Facebook is about.

Now, I love my kids. Crazy and madly. They drive me up a wall, but I do, and I unabashedly adore them. I post sentimental things too, share those “This time last year” photos and cry over the lost chubbiness of their cheeks and the innocence long since given to the XBOX One. I miss when they were small. You know, when I wasn’t sleeping, was eating left over mac and cheese, and dropping an hours worth of grocery shopping in a full cart because the cheerio I gave him had hair on it.

That was HARD, and truth be told, it’s still hard. No matter what age they get to, you are faced with a whole myriad of new issues. Lying, trust, social media and the struggles of middle school is my life now. And while I’m actually sleeping at night, and i’m no longer keeping diaper and formula companies in business, I am still, in fact, a tired ass mom who is simply trying to keep her head up.

So here is where I get to the gist of my post. Many times, as I am venting, there is always one or two ninnyhammers who insist on telling me how sad it’s going to be when they are gone. That I need to cherish my tears, lost baby moments and umbilical cord stumps for these precious times are coming to a close.

And here, I have sometime to tell you,

I’m not new at this, nor is this my first time at the rodeo. I miss it already. I miss them being one, two, sometimes even three. (No one misses that whole year) I miss the chubby cheeks, the baby smells, the cooing and sweet talking. I do. I always will. And I will miss wisecracking 7th graders who smell like sandwiches. I will miss high school, the crazy practice schedule, the grounding over curfew. I will miss it all. I know this is a blinking exercise. I know this is a flash in the pan and I get one chance.

Most parents know this.

It still doesn’t mean I’m not tired, and trying to just get through.

Truth is, parenting is like a Greek tragedy, minus the whole sex with relatives, thing (I hope so, anyway).

None of this is easy and it never will be. It will be hard when they leave. When they get married. When they have kids of their own and you become the one teaching them how to cradle a babies fragile head. And while I will miss this, all of this, I am still currently a tired, sleep deprived, toe-raped mom.

Let me vent.

After all, I’m sure one day, I’ll miss that, too.

Dear Mandy….Vol. 1


So I have had some folks send me emails asking for sarcastic advice per my personality issues. Keep in mind, this advice is purely sarcastic. I cannot give real advice for the following reasons:

  • I is not qualified. Really and for realsies. Closest thing I am to a therapist is a bartender. A drunk one.
  • I make mistakes every 2.2 seconds. Big ones. Like, if people knew, I would be in jail. Big ones.
  • I’m from New Jersey.
  • I don’t think like most rational humans. I’m a real prick most times.
  • My degree is quite useless in the advice department.
  • I drink way too much and have  tendency to say wrong things at even wronger times.

See? Sarcasm only. So today we have three entries, all from friends of friends. Let’s see what we have kids.

Dear Mandy,

I hate my family. I have to go home at least once a month or my parents freak out and think I’m ungrateful, or so they tell me. When I do go home, it’s a chastise fest, with them always telling me that I should apply myself more. I know they love me, but I can’t wait to relocate to the other coast to get rid of my obligation to see them. What sarcastic advice do you have for this one?

–Parents Really are Aliens

Dear Parents,

Not knowing what your childhood was like, it’s tricky for me to formulate the right curse words for you to use the next time you go home. Really, the more cunty you sound to them, the less they will care if you come back. Is there anyone you know that would give them a good “talking to?” Like, a certain person of Italian ethnicity with large connections to abandoned warehouses and gun type, things? I mean, a good threat always works.

If nothing like that seems appealing, then I would simply suggest growing a pair and telling them to f*** off.  That, or next time your there, take a big dump in the living area. Guaranteed to get some of that space you require, I gather.

Good luck with the aliens.

Love and kisses,



Dear Mandy,

I’m confused. I work in a nice office, and I dress up per the dress code everyday. Today I was called into the bosses office and was asked to dress more appropriately. For the record, I generally wear nice leggings, shirts and boots. I’m a larger girl and I’m not comfortable in dresses.., I tried explaining this, but because we get customers coming in, we have to look “professional” which apparently, I don’t. I thought I was doing well. But now I feel self conscious. What should I do?

Yours Truly,

No More Leggings

Dear No More,

Hey.  I get it. I’m a bigger girl too, and I love my lularoes. But I hate to tell you, if I worked in an office, (We know if I did, that wouldn’t last long), I wouldn’t think that would be okay to wear. If it was casual friday every day and your boss was 8, I imagine the flying pigs on my last pair of leggings would be a big hit. Alas, your boss is probably a cunt. So.

Did he/she ask you to wear dresses? I would just go get some dressy looking leggings. You know, the ones that say “These are my fancy leggings.” You know, like a play on the old “This is my costume” Halloween shirts.  If they have the word fancy on them, would it make it better?

If you can’t win, go literal.

P.S. I think they sell them at Wal-Mart. Along with the ones that say “Classy bitch” in the ass area. Maybe that’s good for Mondays? Start the week off right!

Best of luck with the cunty boss.



And for the final one,

Dear Mandy,

My kids are awful lately. I don’t know if it’s because they are almost teenagers or what, but the back talk is killing me. All I want to do is run away. I’ve given up the good fight and just take it most of the time. I’m at a loss. I didn’t expect this to be this hard. Help!



Dear Mom,

I have a news flash for you. Kids are awful at pretty much any age. Whoever looks at you and says “I love this age!” Is either high, or a stupid, clueless twat.

THEY are the teenagers. Let them run away. You’ve earned your stay. I thought adults paid the bills and owned the homes? But my history may be fuzzy.

Isn’t that what they do, anyway? Run away?

Or has this ungrateful generation been tainted by an equally more pussy fed generation that has no sack?

For fuck sake.

This is what I would offer up as general advice:

Here, kid, take this bag on a stick, and head east towards the ocean. Just don’t get into vans, okay? No matter the “fleek” color or sound system. And don’t let people touch you in the pee- pee places. (Unless you’re in Vegas. That’s kinda what they do there.)

It’s that simple. Be smart when you’re crossing the street and make sure the truck drivers that pick you up don’t make you explain why you think it’s okay to be a cunty fuck and leave a nice, free, uncomplicated bed. Because that’s when they kill you and hide you under thier creepy, Gacy shrine, like house for being a total and complete pussy.

And did I read that right?

“I didn’t expect this to be so hard.”


I read that right.

Wow. Where have you been living? This is hard all the god damn time. I’m sorry you pushed 2 assholes from your pooter and they turned out to be a little douchy, but seriously. Take your life back. And kick those fuckers into the basement. You know, the place they will end up living with thier stripper girlfriend if you don’t SHUTTHEFUCKUP.

Hope this helps!




Need advice?

Email: exposingmaggie@yahoo.com and be featured in my next blog. (Names are changed to protect the stupid)

Dear Summer

Dear Summer,

Hello. How have you been? How is camp? Have you gotten to swim or take a vacation? I haven’t lately. 

Wanna know why?

Because you seem to think that summer = it’s okay to fry mo’effers to deaf.


Are you mad at me or something? I don’t mean to sound, like, girlfriendy or anything, but what the hell? 

Wait. Is this hell?

When I asked you to keep in touch, I didn’t actually mean you should stalk me with your unbearable, yet lovable heat hugs. K.I.T is something you just write as a nice salutation. Then you know, you give the wrong phone number. 

You get around though, don’t you.?

You had to take a break from Australia, which I’m sure was rough for you, and you’re probably missing killing old ladies in apartments with no air conditioning, huh? 

I mean, it’s what you DO, right? Aside from all the swimming fun weather you provide. And are you to blame for goggles existing? I would’nt answer that. Parents everywhere may retaliate with pitchforks.

So, you’re kind of a dick. Yeah?


So, friend, let’s talk, because it’s July and I’m starting to lose my patience.

I have some tips for you, and I’m going to keep a list, so you can keep yourself nice and organized.

Here are several  reasons why you need to go away, or at the very least tone it down a wee bit:

1. I can’t see when I go outside for the first five minutes or so. The haze is fogging my glasses and if I die, I will come after you. When I’m a ghost, I can follow you all the way to Africa, you prick.

2. I can’t use my oven. Even when the AC is at it’s highest. Wanna know why? Yoooouuu already know why you sneaky tosser. What’s the matter? You don’t like brownies mother fu****?!

3.  So, sleeping is great! I love doing it. In fact, it’s my VERY favorite thing besides turtles blowing bubbles and Sam Heughan with his shirt off. So, when my son wanted to have a tent sleep over in the yard I didn’t hesitate. Its my kid, and we are making memories, after all. Well, we WERE, until 2:30am when we promptly had to go into the house to keep the humidity from killing us from the inside out. I bet that was fun for you. I swear I saw you smiling outside the fabric of the heatbox that was our coffin…I mean, tent.

4. I got into the car while in my bathing suit last week, and much to my dismay, my fat mom thighs almost got third degree burns from the leather that had been cooking all morning in your welcoming devil rays. Did you and all the leather in the world make this deal? Do you work for the government? What’s happening?

5. I like to drink coffee. Now I can’t even think about it. And iced coffee doesn’t count. I like my coffee like I like my vaginas. Sweet and warm. And you ruined that for me, you stupid, stupid, bitch.

6. Exercising outside. So that’s not happening. So maybe I need to thank you for that one. 

7. I can’t send my kids outside, or I may never see them again. And not because they would get abducted by some fu** nut, but because you would kill them with your sunshiny evil. So now they get to stay in the house with me. ALL day. FU** YOU.

8. I’m fat and things even stick together in COLD weather.

9. I’m so dehydrated I can’t even cry when I watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns. “An hour ago he was proposing.” Nope. Got nothin’! Not even for Denny!

10. You’re even making Republicans believe in global warming. HIYO!

11. Florida is dead. All of Florida. Died.

12. Beaches have turned into skin cancer conventions. Complete with booze and sharks. And kids! You’re going to a special jail cell for that one.

13. Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel was speechless. In fact, the entire weather channel team jumped off a bridge to find the sweet relief of death.

14. My dog won’t shit outside. So she shits inside. I don’t see you offering to clean it up.

15. You owe me one thousand, two hundred, and forty two dollars and eighty four cents. All spent on Sunscreen.

16. Do you like, have a deal going with the people who make BBQ’s, lawnmowers and weed whackers? So when people use them in this heat, they, like, die?

17. I have thrown every blanket I have away.

18. I can’t hug my children because you’re a whore. Don’t. Touch. Me. NOTHING CAN TOUCH ME!

19. Do you not like the 80’s? What’s with staying in the 90’s? The 80’s had better music and a more stable economy. Go back to the 80’s. Please?

And finally,

20. People move to places like Arizona because they LIKE being hot. And even they hate you. You’re losing your key demographic. I think you need a break. Leave the glaciers alone too, the environmentalists are shitting their panties.

Until next time, stay thirsty, my friends. (And hydrated, please. Seriously.)

Please follow me for more sarcastic fun! What would you like me to write about? Need sarcastic advice? Leave a comment or email me @ exposingmaggie@yahoo.com.



Mandy is a wife and mother who lives in rural Pennsylvania. She is an Art Instructor, a Romance Author, and Sarcastic beastie. To contact Mandy, send her an email: exposingmaggie@yahoo.com. Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M.LWalshAuthor/  and twitter @exposedseries. Follow the blog for updates on her smut!

Dear, end-of-the-year-school-mom, I got you.

I almost told my home and school association to fu** off this week. 

Hey, I give these people a TON of credit. They are there at every event, pushing forward to try and make elementary school a better place for all students. They are tireless moms, wayyy better humans than me, some even working full time jobs and fitting this stuff somewhere in the ass crack of the body that is labeled, “Commitment”.

And I DO come to events and give my time. I do think it’s important to be present in your kids school life. I DO. But, by about, let’s say April 18th or so, I can no longer fit anything else in my commitment crack. That shit takes a pounding fairly regularly, and I’m starting to chaffe.

Today is May 3, so I am WAY passed the date of expiration. Now you’re just taking a chance eating the meat, friends. It’s starting to turn gray and has a big, orange “MANAGER SPECIAL” sticker on it.

Someone, please pass the Goldbond.

That being said, I am here to proclaim why, in fact I am the WORST, end-of-the-year-school-mom, ever. There are more of us out there, I know, and while I’m SURE the teachers of the world would LOVE to end school on April 18th too, they have no choice but to cram this shit in, making our lives a living, shit stick, fuck up the arshole. They hate it as much, if not MORE than we do, which, is only ONE reason why I SHOULD NEVER teach your kid anything, except maybe sarcasm and filthy words. (And, no fuck doesn’t count. You’re sweet.)

So here you go, end-of-the-year-moms….

You can agree with me privately and hate me pubicly for this list. I totally get why. Appearances and all that, blah, blah, fuck and titties.

But, if you have done at least half these things, or something similar, you’re in the same boat with me. And we are sinkin’ fast, bitches. 

Maybe I’ll share my lotion with you.

Without further adieu:

1. My son asked me to buy him an Abraham Lincoln Costume so he could have an edge over winning this years, ‘Poetry Battle’ (You can guess what his topic is). When I tried to make him one the night before with black construction paper, he very, ever so sweetly, and conveniently, left it on the table the next morning. He is now on his third win, WITHOUT the costume. My response to that, (after I praised him of course), was to say, “SEE? Me not getting you a costume may have helped you!” Me, – 1. Guilt, – 0.

2. Snacks are dwindling and I don’t care. Chex mix ALWAYS tastes better after it’s been sitting with an open bag for three weeks. It’s called, f-e-r-m-e-n-t-i-n-g, kids.

3. ANOTHER Olympic Day is coming, and I, like usual, left it down to THE LAST DAY to buy the t-shirts. Do you know how many of these fucking things I have? I came *this* close to making them from old hanes, armpit stained shirts with dye and puff paint, just to proove that I don’t have to follow the mans sucky rules. Take that, gov’mnt! 

4. Breakfast? Are you kidding me? Do you really need to eat today? I’m out of Bailys for my coffee. FUCK!

5. Stop crying. You will see  your friends this summmer. (Probably not. Mom needs a break from other moms.)

6. It took EVERTHING I had not to draw a dick on ANOTHER test I had to fucking sign. Maybe then they would assume it was recieved and never send me another one out of fear of what I will draw next.

7. I love your artwork, kids, but NOT in one heaping mass. And calling it a “portfolio” does not make it sound cooler. You are 10 and you still pick your nose and eat it. “Portfolio” should not be a word you use yet. And yes, I threw most of it away while you slept last night.

8. Are you still doing homework? Here. Here are all the answers. Dawson’s Creek is on and Joey and Pacey are finally going to have sex. GO PLAY WITH SOMETHING.

9. We are eating ice cream at the local ice cream place for dinner from now until August.

10. Your lunchbox smells? Like what? Food? Just leave it sit outside and open for a night or something. That will air out the smell. Maybe. 

11.New shoes? You’re kidding, right? HAHAHAHAHAA. No.

12. Did I just see a note asking me to bring sunscreen into school for Olympic Day? I change my story. No, I didnt get that note. Sorry. Vitamin D for all, bitches!

13. Are you wearing socks? No? Okay.

14. Why are there gloves still in your backpack? What else is in here…..I should probably take a look.

15. Was this a granola bar at one time?

16. Oh my. I guess I should have given you sunscreen. Does it hurt overmuch? “Overmuch? Mom, were you watching Outlander again?” 

17. Yes. And no, I’m not sorry. ‘The Wedding’ episode runs on continuous mode on my phone. Cause’ Jamie. (See Sam Heughan in a Kilt below. You are welcome.)

18. Vodka does not smell in a water bottle. FYI, for when your “Volunteering” at Olympic Day.

19. What grade are you in again?


 20.  I’m sorry you don’t like to buy lunch at the end of the year because they are trying to get rid of all thier supplies before summer, and all they are serving is corn and old hoagies, but the world ran out of bread and juice boxes last night.

Stay thirsty my friends!

And remember, if they don’t like what you have to say, then come hang out with me!

Summer! OnWARD!

Mandy is a wife and mother who lives in rural Pennsylvania. She is an Art Instructor, a Romance Author, and Sarcastic beastie. To contact Mandy, send her an email: exposingmaggie@yahoo.com. Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M.LWalshAuthor/  and twitter @exposedseries. Follow the blog for updates on her smut!

This is Crap! (Holiday Edition)

Holidays are shit. And at the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man,



Here are my issues with the jolly effin’ holidays, in no particular order.

You have too many blow up decorations. No one cares that it’s snowing inside the bubble with the fake snowman family in it. You just wasted a 100 dollars. I could have gotten drunk 10 fold with that money.


Christmas lights are really expensive. And my idea of a good, relaxing weekend does not include untangling these fuckers for hours while the kids skip around me pretending to be productive.

christmas lights meh funny meme xmas lights lighting.jpg

Wrapping paper is waaaaay over rated. You know they sell these bag things right? Plop that shit in there. DONE. Tissue paper? Are you fucking kidding me? No one cares.


Family visits. I don’t want to clean my house. So, you’re not coming over. I’ll mail you your shitty gift card. I’ll see you in the summer when I’m actually happy.


I just spent a thousand dollars on “Black Friday.” You know why it’s black? Like my heart, there is no fucks left to be given. They are making people work on Thanksgiving now. That poor turkey’s life was in vain so you can save a few pennies. You idiots.


“Magic of Christmas” is now translated into “You have to pay 50 dollars for Elf on the Shelf”. No. This thing is creepy. It WILL start moving on its own, I’m sure of it, right before it kills you in your sleep. Either that, or I drank so much I forgot where I put the little shit. He’s with last years easter eggs. Little fucker.


Charlie Brown’s Christmas Special. Lets keep reminding our kids that its okay to bully little bald kids.


School and work “Holiday” parties. Seriously. People are offended by the word “Christ”.  I have SO many more words that are far more offensive. Twunt (A twat and a cunt),  Fripple (Frosty nipples. It’s the holidays), and Vaginer. (The way JFK would say it, if we was alive that is.) I can give you a much longer list, should you so desire.


People who love Christmas Music. Um. I like a couple of diddies while I am opening up presents. That’s always fun. But every other time it’s completely unnecessary. There are OTHER musicians at this time of year besides Mariah Carey and Michael Buble. If you put Christmas music on in my house without expressed permission, I will cut you.


Christmas Pajamas. Fuck that. I’m wearing my ghostbusters PJs. They bring me happiness. Snowflakes and mittens do not.

Christmas Meals. Okay, I just did this shit on Thanksgiving. You want pie? MAKE IT YOURSELF! I want Chinese food. I will gladly take advantage of the fact that these lovely eastern folks do not celebrate Christmas.

Any Questions?


Mandy is a wife and mother who lives in rural Pennsylvania. She is an Art Instructor, a Romance Author, and Sarcastic beastie. To contact Mandy, send her an email:exposingmaggie@yahoo.com. Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/M.LWalshAuthor/  and twitter @exposedseries. Follow the blog for updates on her smut!

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