Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Start of Mother F'ers! Strong Mothers, Strong Ninos.....

As 2016 kicks off so does a new chapter in the world of the Justifying the F Word! From time to time I am going to feature guest writers of the woman kind, these Mother F'ers (get it???? Mom's near, at, or past 40) are going to help show the world that life just keeps getting better with age. If you are of the female persuasion and would like to be featured on the F word please email me! Sit back and enjoy the inaugural Mother F'er Post from Just so happens the author is my wife! Please check out her blog and subscribe to her email list. Even though this post curtails to Moms, we all can gain some perspective from the words below. By way the Baxter, if you do not speak Spanish Ninos means kiddos.

When we hear the word “strong,” usually the first thing that pops into our minds is someone with muscles on-top of muscles and not only does that specter of your imagination don 6 pack abs, but Babs (Back abs…thank you Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated for the reference).  Yes, by definition this would define strong but I want to dig deeper into its meaning.

The definition of strong in the Webster Dictionary is as follows: not easy to break or damage.  We all have a complete understanding of the first definition of the word, but I want to delve more into how I can impart this to my offspring.

Over 9 years ago, I gave birth to by oldest daughter Sienna.  Saying that moment changed everything would be an understatement.  Any mom knows the indescribable feeling of having their child placed in their arms for the first time.  They are bigger than your life, and from that moment on they are your life.  When Sienna was 6 months old, my husband and I went mountain biking with our good friend, “Dan the Man.”  At the time, Dan was married without children or what I like to refer to as a DINK (Double Income No Kids).  We hit the top of the hill climb and chatted for a while catching up on things.  He asked both my husband and I, “What is it like having a baby?” I remember my answer came without hesitation, “Put it this way Dan, if Sienna couldn’t walk I would give her my legs knowing that I would never run or walk again.” As moms, we strive every day to give our children every opportunity and experience with the goal of molding them into “strong” adults. 

When I found out I was having a baby girl, I was intimidated.  When I found out my second child was going to be girl I was absolutely frightened.   I grew up in a family with 4 children.  Three boys and I happened to be the estrogen toting caboose.  Growing up I idolized my brothers and wanted to do everything they did… but I wanted to do it better.  Everyone I know that is an only girl in a boy family seems to have the same feisty personality as myself.  I would refer to it as “Survival of the Fittest” in our house growing up.  If you wanted seconds at dinner time, you would have to out eat and out fight the others. Everything to me became a competition.  If I wanted to ski with my brothers, I had to keep up.  If they skied off a 25 foot cliff, so did I. To say that I was a “Tomboy” would be an understatement.  For example, one of the biggest fights I had with my parents was in middle school when they wouldn’t let me try out for the wrestling team (looking back I appreciate my parents holding their ground on that one). A good friend nailed my persona when she said, “You are a Chick-Dude.” That does not mean that I am Bruce Jenner, but a chick that’s personality is more like a guys.  I get guys, they are simple so when I found out I was going to have two girls I was shocked.  I always imagined having a house full of boys that I could rough house with.  I was intimated because I felt inadequate teaching my girls how to become a “strong women.”

As the years pass, I have continually struggled looking at other moms and their mad mom skills.  Let’s be honest: I do not sew, I am not crafty, I hate going to the mall (I would pick anything outdoors over the mall any day) and I always look like I just worked out.  It took me years to realize that my lack of self-confidence of having the same skills set as others would rub off on my girls.  Through my episodes of self-doubt I realized if I wasn’t open to trying new things and lacked confidence, my children would grow up with the same struggles.  Even though we at times don’t want to expect the fact, our offspring will mirror our behaviors.  Nothing stops me in my tracks more than when I see the same behavior (not always for the better) manifesting itself in one of my children.  I had to stop comparing myself to every other mom and look at what I can and want to teach my children.  I had to open my eyes to see that I have my own unique skill set that I could teach my kiddos.  All of this was based around the desire that I want my children to be confident, well rounded, and not easy to break, “strong!”
As much as I hate to admit it (or maybe it is because I don’t have teenagers yet), our children will grow up to be adults and one day leave the nest.   I would like nothing more than to protect them from every hard thing in their life’s….but I can’t.  I know there will be heart break along the way.  I know they will not be unbroken, but I want to teach them that when they fall they are “strong” enough to get up every time. There will be trials faced, and lessons learned at home that will help them stand back up. During the Sochi Winter Olympics, P&G aired the following commercial that evokes this emotion and desire.   

For our children to be “strong,” we need to start with ourselves.  This mantra doesn’t give you the excuse to spend every waking minute on yourself, but remember it is critical to take a little time out to develop our own strengths.   Learn what it means to YOU to be “strong.” I am always encouraging readers to get outside of their comfort zones.  Do it! Show your children you are willing to do things outside of your current skill set.  This is not just for those moms that have girls.  This applies also for moms that have boys too.  You want to be an example of what your boys should look for in a woman.  Getting outside of your comfort zone means doing things you may not enjoy or may even loath, but try it!  The funny thing about it is you might just like it. For example, if you hate camping and never take your children, they will hate it too. If we constantly turn away from the things we don’t like or make us uncomfortable, what does that teach our children?  Why is it that little kids love to ride bikes and play outside but at a certain age it is turned off and that door shuts?  Be that mom that not only crafts with your children, but takes them for a bike ride.  For me, the Chick-Dude, I have had to get out of my comfort zone and spend time at the mall with my girls as well as a many other “chick” activities that are not my cup of tea…why, because I want them to experience all that life has to offer, and not just my bag of tricks.  Are these my favorite things?  No, but I do it because I want them to see me doing things outside of my comfort zone.  What’s the goal? To open their eyes to see everything the world has to offer, thus helping them choose their path in life. 

I am not saying that going camping and crafting will make a “strong” adult but it will give them the confidence to roll with the punches that life will surely hand them.  My hope is, when life asks them to step outside of their comfort zone, they will be up to the task.  Michael Jordan said, “My mother is my root, my foundation. She planted the seed that I base my life on, and that is the belief that the ability to achieve starts in your mind.” As strong mothers lets be that root!

How are you going to make yourself “stronger” in 2016?  Let’s plant the seed and watch it grow!   

Please follow me on Instagram at fit_momtherapy or at

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015, Mix Tapes, and Saying Hello to 2016

Looking back on 2015’ is like turning on the TV and realizing no matter if you like it or not “Shawshank Redemption” is on and this only translates to the fact that you will sit down and see it to its end.  Much like this cinematic masterpiece, 2015 has been a year worth revisiting. There have been ups and unexpected downs, as well as the realization that 2015 was the last full year of my 30’s. I will not spend my time on this post waxing sentimental; rather I will rest with an eye to the sky looking forward to what 2016 has instore.  In about 5 five months I will cleanse my soul in the waters of 40 and take the last step that is required to truly learn what it’s all about to justify the F word!

I have been taxing my cranium on how to say thank you to the F word nation for ingesting my midlife rantings and personal justifications throughout 2015. Mix tape, yep mix tape! I have put together the tunes that helped define this past year for me in a virtual mix tape as a way to say thanks for tuning in.  F’ers may be the only people who have and will ever live on the earth to actually appreciate the art and effort that goes into the conception and creation of a mix tape. Records did not allow for recording back in the day and digital music has removed the time and effort required to truthfully care. This is our time, and I'm taking it back! I will plant the F word flag on this piece of nostalgia and claim it as our own.

 So settle down, put your feet up and I will spin a yarn about a simpler time when musical masterpieces were transposed into cassette tape cantatas laced with subliminal messages of love, friendship, and good times. Mix tapes and the art thereof hearken back to a move civilized time when a duel tape deck and a long afternoon were required to swoon a lady friend of choice or send a buddy off with required road trip music. The beauty and responsibility of the mix tape lays in taking someone else’s art and emotion and crafting it your own anthem. Everything from the order of the songs, to the subtlety of the lyrics, right down to the color of hair mentioned in a song’s lyrics were all things taken into account.

So the mix tape does not become a lost art like the blue glass of the ancient Egyptians or the practice of folks on Easter Island moving megalithic statues, I will chronicle the steps for my posterity and that of future generations.

 The process was a follows:

a)   Objective- What is your defined purpose? This 90% of the time was to act as a subtle undertone of expressing ones affection to a member of the opposite sex. 8% sharing tunes with a good friend. 2% educating someone who should know better on the type of music they should be enjoying in order to avoid social ridicule or being ostracized at a later date.   

b)   Prep Work- This process was comprised of making a list, creating the perfect order, compiling and cueing tapes and Cd’s necessary, and loading each song onto the mix tape and listing to the process to insure the proper outcome and or mood was created. Push play and record and let the magic happen!

c)   Art Work- Painstaking time was taken at the end to list the songs on the jacket of the tape as well as craft a title of the tape that would not be to over or under suggestive.

d)   Delivery- Risk has it rewards and this motto could not be more true in the delivery of the musical conception that just consumed about 4 hours of one’s life. The delivery (at least according to me) went as follows, “hey, I was killing time this weekend and came across some tunes I thought you might enjoy.” If the tape was accepted, it was absolutely critical to play it cool for a few days. Day 4 typically hailed as the right time to drop a, “ have you had a chance to check out the tape?” If this brave inquiry was met with, “not yet” you better hope you made a copy for later distribution because you just burned 4 hours of your life. If your musical proposition for future courting was met with, “I loved it, especially the song about……” you were in and all your hard work and expended emotion was not in vain. On a side note; if your buddy did not appreciate the tape then he was from that point on, dead to you.

So there you go….. Know, that I am extremely grateful to all of you have taken the time to enjoy “Justifying the F Word” this year, and to all of you F’ers who have justified the F word to its fullest. I have taken careful consideration to resurrect my mix tape skills and craft a musical odyssey for all of you to enjoy. Hit the link below and use it as a sound track to kick 2016 off in the finest way possible!

Quinn's Picks 2015

In closing let me share a quote of pure beauty from the movie “High Fidelity.”

“To me, making a tape is like writing a letter. There’s a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. You’ve got to kick off with a corker, to hold attention (I started with “Got to Get You Off My Mid,” but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightway, so I buried it in the middle of side two, and then you’ve got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can’t have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can’t have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you’ve done the whole thing in pairs and…oh, there are loads of rules.”