I’m Not Religious, But That Doesn’t Make Me A “Bad” Mom.

Religion to me is a lot like politics. People are going to believe what they want to believe and there isn’t much you can do to sway their opinions otherwise. I find it surprising when I meet people who feel the need to be over-the-top religious. I’ve always felt if you’re true to yourself then things should come naturally. You don’t need to share your bible journaling on social media every time you do it or preach about being #blessed 24/7.

I feel that regardless of age, people can change their personal beliefs about religion. I know that when I was a little girl, both of my parents told me that I would ride my bicycle singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of my lungs. My mother didn’t have a religious bone in her body but would attend church somewhat regularly with my father and I (who became a Christian at the ripe age of 50, shortly after I was born) on Sundays. This was until they split at the end of 1992 when I was 8.

For little kids, there’s just something about learning about religion from those that truly believe with that blind faith. It’s the type of faith that hasn’t been jaded and mistrusted that helps a tiny person to believe that all is good in the world. I didn’t have a conventional upbringing, I had a rough early adulthood (much to my own demise), and marriage and motherhood haven’t always been easy for me with the hardships that I’ve faced. Not to mention that I buried both my parents by the time that I was 30 years old, which although is a natural chapterΒ in life, still weighs you down and overwhelms you with emotions.

When I meet people and the topic of religion ever does come up, I do my best to completely avoid the situation. I don’t want to have to explain to someone why I don’t believe, and I most certainly don’t want someone to make me feel bad or that I’m simply “missing out” for not believing. I don’t want to hear that there’s a book I “have to read” or that they will “pray for me” to change. Everyone needs something in life, and all religion has done for me is to make me question it to the point at which it makes me feel torn up inside. And to be completely honest, I feel much more at peace not dealing with that in my life.

I feel that to teach your kids to be good people, not taking your children to church every Sunday will not permanently damage them. I baptized all three of my children, mostly as a favor to my husband’s side of the family–as well as mine–because I knew that it meant something to them and that would make for a nice memory and celebration. I chose to send my two oldest children to a private religious preschool for one year because I wanted them to learn about God and the Bible and the things that I learned before I was old enough to make decisions on my own and choose what I wanted to believe.

Never will I shame someone for not taking their kids to church, or for not praying as a family or practicing religion. It’s not fair for me to be judged, especially since I’m pretty sure it says somewhere in the Bible that judging another person is wrong, anyway.

For myself, the door to religion has been closed. It’s not locked, but it’s closed for right now. Perhaps one day it will open again, but if for some reason it doesn’t, my life will still be complete.

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Dear Metabolism: Was it Something I Said?

Getting old is no joke. And this is especially true when it comes to your weight. I feel like at the point I’m at in my life now, if I so much as walk past the bakery department at the grocery store I gain 4 pounds. I wonder when this crap started. And I know exactly when. 30. It was all downhill from there.

I should have listened to all my friends or family members who told me to enjoy it while it lasted. I thought I had it all figured out. I can eat what I want. I only have to workout a little. Yeah, well, I was wrong. Totally, totally wrong.

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Back before I worked 40+ hours a week and had no kids, I had more than enough time on my hands to focus on things like my weight. Now I am so damn busy there are days I wonder if I remembered to shower. This is a sad but very real reality. Throw a career and a few kids in the mix and you have yourself a recipe for “what the hell is a diet I’m just trying not to lose my damn mind” lifestyle mentality.

When I went on full-time again a few years ago, juggling diet and exercise and three kids wasn’t always the easiest task. I made it a good year before I got so burnt out and fed up I just didn’t have the mindset for it anymore.

Why am I killing myself? Who am I trying to impress? I am not a model or a celebrity, no one is going to jump out of the bushes at Walgreen’s to snap a photo of me. I am just a regular person. I can look like a regular person and no one else will notice.

Me, when it comes to “dieting” or “clean eating” or any of that otherΒ nonsense that makes me feel deprived of food…

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I learned to stop focusing on the outside so much and started focusing on the inside. And, within a year, I put on 25 pounds. I see numbers on the scale now that I haven’t seen since I was 8 months pregnant with my third child.

Mentally, it messed with my mind. And bad. What am I doing wrong? Why am I gaining so much weight? Is there something “wrong” with me? These questions consumed and plagued my mind and well-being.

But the truth of the matter is: I am actually enjoying my life now. I am not getting my happiness from a size of clothing that I am able to squeeze my body into.

Yeah, sure, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but who couldn’t? I spent so many years depriving myself to attain something that wasn’t realistic. I finally get that now. My metabolism didn’t physically leave my body. I was only the way I was because I walked around eating kale all day and exercising to the point of obsession.

And you know what? My body doesn’t crave kale, sorry. It craves tacos and pizza. It doesn’t want to feel hangry and moody AF from lack of food and sore to the point of fatigue from killing myself working out.

A photo of me, April 2013. This was at my lightest point, far below the 25 pounds I’ve put on since I’ve started enjoying my life, a year after my second child was born. I looked this way because IΒ hardly ate and over-exercised. My body broke down, as well as my spirit. As sick as it sounds, I lovedΒ hearing how “skinny” I was. ItΒ fueled my obsession even more.

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I went to bed hungry so many nights because I was trying to be something that I am not. I am 5’10”. I will never weigh 120 pounds on my own without starvation being the reason I got there. That is not real life, unless that is how you naturally are.

I’ve learned from this two things:

  1. DO.NOT.WEIGH.YOURSELF.EVERY.DAY. This, by FAR, is the hardest for me. But I’ve finally learned to do it. Now I weigh myself maybe once a week, if I feel like it. And the odd thing is, now some of those pounds are starting to come off because I am happy and not obsessed. It’s more like, oh, wow, okay. So I can do this without killing myself.
  2. If you don’t “feel” like working out, don’t do it! Do not force your mind or your body to do something it’s not committed to. Sometimes it serves as good stress relief, but if you have real life heavy shit weighing you down and exercise feels like torture, then do not do it. Listen to your body and the cues it gives you to take things from a 12 to a 2.

We are not all the same person, but we are all human beings. We deserve to be happy. And we deserve not to kill ourselves to find it.

Me now, liberated and enjoying life, food, and of course, alcohol:

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