rules thirdI have two adult daughters and an almost twelve-year-old. My middle daughter, nineteen, was complaining because her sister got everything at a younger age than she did: cell phone (she needs it for basketball practice!), later bedtime, social media, and now crazy hair color.

That’s right. I’m letting my almost-twelve-year-old dye her hair purple. I think it’ll help her burgeoning self-esteem. It’s typical at this age to feel like the whole world is staring at you. So why not put her best face forward and, pardon the expression, let her freak flag fly?

My nineteen-year-old has blue hair. She has for a couple of years and, at this point, it’s her business. She pays for it herself (she’s in cosmetology school, so it basically costs her the dye), and she’s an adult. None of my business what she does with her hair.

The thing is, I realize some parents will think I have a lax code for raising my last child. Oh, she’s done all that and just isn’t worried about anything because she’s tired of raising kids, I imagine people thinking. And, I bet, some of them are. People can be terribly judgmental.

Nothing could be further from the truth. For one, I’m not sick of raising kids. I adore my children and being a parent has been the greatest privilege of my life. Second, I have a degree in social and behavioral science. Not only did I study child development in college, it was a good portion of the social work exam (which I aced, thank you very much).

At her age, it’s normal to just want to be invisible. And she did that last year. She didn’t want people looking at her so much that she struggled in school. Don’t look too smart, don’t read in front of the class, don’t excel at anything. And I get it. It’s normal.

But, now? Now she wants to be an individual. And if a purple pixie cut is her way of doing that, then I will pay whatever it costs, including judging looks from other parents, to let her do that.

People will say I let her run wild. She has rules, and I promise you, she is NOT a rule-breaker. But, you know what? I’m kind of hoping she does run a little wild. I didn’t discover myself until my late twenties because I needed a chance to run a little wild. I’d prefer she not have to go through that.

If she can figure out who she is while she’s still young, she has a much better chance at being happy. And I’m all about that.

Have you ever made choices that made people call into question your judgment? Click To Tweet

I’d love to hear about it! Tweet me, leave a message on the FB page, or comment here to let me know.



540fcca1a4e83_-_manners_post-lgI was raised that it’d be better to tie a rock around your neck and jump in a body of water than be rude to people. Don’t get me wrong, this has not helped me at all when, say, a salesperson is rude to me. I’ll keep right on being nice. Nonetheless, these are the rules I live by.

I can’t help but be polite.

Let me tell you, was I in for a shock when I traveled above the Mason-Dixon line. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure all of you up there are very kind people, but you are not sickeningly sweet, like iced tea. Something else you don’t have. For some crazy reason.

I thank everyone.

Speaking of iced tea, I can’t even buy one from the drive-thru without a sincere, “Thank you very much!” Sometimes, I thank people after I do something for them. Some weird ‘thank you for letting me take care of  you.”

I also use the other magic word–please.

As in “please don’t hit my car with that rock,” or “please stop standing on my foot.” It literally doesn’t matter what request I make, I have to couch it in a pleasing way.

I’m so sorry.

I am sorry for everything. Did you forget your umbrella like an idiot when it was already raining? (I do this constantly.) I’m sorry. Do you regret making an ass of yourself at your ex’s wedding? Golly, I’m so sorry. I can have zero culpability for whatever happened to you. I am still sorry for it.

Do manners rule your life, like it or not, or are you one of those strange creatures who can just speak up without thank yous, pleases, and I’m sorries?

fb talk 2I think this may be the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen. I have a no consumables rule for the bathroom. Not a coke with a lid, not a cup of coffee–nothing that will later touch my lips is entering the bathroom. Am I OCD about this or is everyone this way?


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I can turn anything into a learning experience…

C to P: You’re annoying.
P: Mom! She called me a name.
Me: No, she called you an adjective. It would’ve been more polite, and grammatically correct, if she had said, “You’re being annoying,” but–
My Mom: Do you have to turn everything into a grammar lesson?
Me: Yes.
C and P: Yes.
Background: C is my oldest daughter, P is my youngest.

I’m one of those people.

rules1I don’t mean to be. I correct copy in news articles in my head. The typist at our office refuses to let me near reports, because I rip them apart, adding commas and correcting grammar. Bad grammar makes my eye twitch. Poor spelling makes me cry in the inside.

And the people who know me, know I’m this way. They make their, they’re, there jokes. I feel like I should be wearing a scarlet G for being a member of the grammar police, but I just can’t help myself.

The least I can do is make sure my children can speak properly, right? Put my gift/curse to good use… or annoy them so much they’ll never call and I’ll die old with twenty cats who never meow incorrectly.

“I earned my badge with the grammar police | Rules I Live By #2: There’s Always a Lesson” ~ Click to Tweet



This is a conversation between my husband and I, and the inspiration for this new series of posts.


H: We should buy a boat.

Me: We’re not buying a boat.

H: You need to sell a book.

Me: That’s true. But we won’t be able to buy a boat.

H: We could get a sleeper. I don’t think you’d want any other kind, because they don’t have bathrooms.

Me: You got that right. So, it’s like camping?

H: On the water. [Said with the reverence one might use to say, “On the sun.”]

Me: And they lock? Because what if someone tries to break in?

H: Well, they do. But, it’s on the water. Who would try to break in?

Me: Pirates.

H: [Scoffs]

Me: That’s still a thing now.

H: Not in West Virginia.

Me: That’s why I won’t camp in a tent. There’s no locking the door. If someone wanted to kill you, all they’d have to do is split the tent with a knife.

H: [Gives me that look, like after 16 years, he’s still just realizing how messed up I really am.]

Me: In my head, I’m always serial killer bait.

H: I can see that.