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From Rainbow Loom to Minecraft to ROBLOX by Conlee Ricketts

DSC02580It was the end of September when I began blogging every Monday for Motherhood Later. This is now my final Monday for awhile. My fairy tale life as stay-at-home-mom/entrepreneur has to take its turn on the back burner for awhile. I’m fairly sad.

I started a new job three weeks ago to make my budget move from red to pink.

I am not admitting defeat though, I am continuing to write and have jumped into the April A to Z Blogging Challenge with a theme of essays I had already begun to prepare when I found out about the challenge. My theme is 26 Days to Practice Peace and you can find it, visit, comment, and hopefully enjoy at my personal website.

My work with AccepTeen as a Parenting Cheerleader will continue as I try to reach out to parents, schools, and parenting groups to discuss empathetic parenting and the various ways to improve communication and build trust within our families. I am currently working on creating my first Kickstarter campaign to create a video that discusses bullying and my philosophy concerning working with children in pain. When I launch the campaign I hope you will all help spread … Continue reading..

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My Ex-Husband’s Girlfriend by Conlee Ricketts

Whenever I talk about doing things with “my ex-husband’s girlfriend” I typically get a cautiously spoken, “Oh…how is that?” or a bold “Ugh, I bet that’s awkward.”

There always seems to be the expectation of animosity between me and my ex-husband, or me and his girlfriend, but we all get along great. The truth of the entire situation is “my ex-husband’s girlfriend” is possibly one of my closest friends in the world. Weird right? I think I need to just change my vocabulary and say “my friend.”

When I broke my wrist last year it was “my friend” that I called at 6:30 A.M. because I knew she was already awake. When I had a horrible reaction to my pain medication it was “my friend” that brought me supplies and sat with me all day so I didn’t have to be alone. When I get depressed or down on myself it is always “my friend” who calls to say she has a coupon for a mani/pedi and that we should go have a girl’s day with my daughter. When I didn’t have a car it was “my friend” who drove me and my daughter to all our doctor/orthodontist appointments. When … Continue reading..

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Decisions, Power, and Control: Teen Edition by Conlee Ricketts

No matter your age, there are times when decisions are made for you, not with you.

When you are very young the types of decisions and reasons for these decisions are fairly obvious. Your bedtime is decided, your meals are chosen, and the color of your bedroom walls is pre-selected. I mean you’re five, so you don’t ask too many questions. You may hate broccoli and say so loudly, but you didn’t make the dinner, so it just has to sit there on your plate mocking you.

Then you reach an age when you feel old enough to make decisions for yourself. You make important decisions for yourself during middle school and high school. You gain confidence being in charge of certain aspects of your life. You are managing your life fairly well until once again outside decisions start impacting your world. Big ones and small ones:

• You’re told that you have to visit family out of town this weekend when you already made big plans to go out with friends

• Your boss puts you on a shift you had clearly asked to be off

• Your life gets turned upside down because a parent changes jobs. Now … Continue reading..

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No Regrets by Conlee Ricketts

Living and dying—it’s a topic I’ve spent some time with. This was even before I had a child who has informed me that she is kind of counting on me to live forever—no pressure.

I was sitting in the hospital room with my Mom when she died; I was 32. My Dad and I sat there for an hour and a half waiting for a doctor to come in and confirm what we already knew. We sat, talked, laughed, and made plans until the doctor arrived. In a very anticlimactic way he checked to see if she was alive, wrote a time in her chart that was an hour plus incorrect, looked at us, said something and left. I shook my head and laughed after he walked out because it was almost as ridiculous as if he had come in, held a mirror under her nose, said “Yep, she’s a goner,” and walked out. Mom had cancer. There were no machines, or alarms or loud buzzers like in the movies—she just stopped breathing. It was really much more beautiful than that, but that’s not my purpose here; my purpose it to share my views on dying because of the way … Continue reading..

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Why Twitter Makes Me Cry by Conlee Ricketts

Alright, Twitter doesn’t actually make me cry, but it feels damn close sometimes. The whole world of social media marketing has the potential to throw me into a dark, self-loathing, self-conscious, state of chronic despair. Why? Because I feel as though I’m back in high school at my first and only Friday night post-game sock-hop. The year was 1979 and there I am—over there against the concrete wall—the gangly, awkward freshman watching the couples laugh and dance. I’m waiting for someone to notice me, to be drawn in by my inner beauty and to ask me to dance. Much to my surprise I’m noticed—an older boy, we dance, he attempts to give me my first kiss, we laugh, and we talk. On Monday morning I realize that he rides my bus. I smile hoping he will say hi to me, but instead he proceeds to make fun of me in front of his friends for the next month of bus rides. I hide my face every day so no one knows I’m crying.

Fast forward 35 years and here I am against the concrete wall of what feels to be more like a cocktail party. There I am again watching … Continue reading..

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Losing Control? by Conlee Ricketts

family pictureIt’s a silly little fairy tale we tell ourselves. The concept of being in control of our life is just this comforting idea we have (and we believe in wholeheartedly) while our life goes on smoothly with no upset. Then one day your husband tells you he no longer loves you, or your mom dies, or you wreck the car, gain 20 pounds, break your wrist, on and on and on the list goes. This list describes the last three years of my life with the exception of the divorce and my Mom which were five and eighteen years ago respectively.

But so what? The notion that I am in control of my life is my preferred vision—right up until the moment I am not in control. That’s the way life is sometimes. You have everything under control until you don’t. Divorce is one of those times. Since I’m a problem solver by nature, and an idea generator with a fair amount of experience with disappointment, I seem to be the perfect person to come to for a set of judgment free ears.

“I don’t know how you are so OK!”

I’m told this by a friend whose husband just … Continue reading..

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Minecraft Lessons by Conlee Ricketts

Minecraft buddies

Let me announce upfront that Minecraft baffles me. When my daughter started playing the pocket edition I asked her why she was holding that package.

“Mom, That’s Steve’s hand.”

“Oh. Who’s Steve? Why does he have that box, it looks like a package?”

“Mom (sigh and eye roll) it’s his hand. This is Minecraft. Everything is a box.”

A game of boxes? In this day and age? Why don’t we just play Pong? Oh well.

Nowadays my daughter plays Minecraft on the PC. What she also does is watch You Tube videos about Minecraft, which initially made me very nervous. I don’t want her glued to the computer, but she seems to laugh a lot, so she shares the videos with me and then tries to explain the whole thing to me. I really don’t put too much effort into the understanding part, but I have been listening to the You Tube videos.

The channel she follows is Stampylonghead, or Stampylongnose. Both names are correct and refer to a young man maybe in his twenties that lives in the UK. He plays Minecraft as well as other games and shares his thoughts while playing. At this point some … Continue reading..

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The Secret My Parents Kept by Conlee Ricketts

schoolMy parents kept a secret from me. They made a choice to not tell me something. It slipped out recently while I was chatting with my 80+ year old Dad about my childhood. The secret? The fact that I was smart. Apparently, I have a high I.Q. Supposedly it rivals my extremely smart brother’s I.Q. Wow. I never knew.

I was my mother’s princess. A princess whose value was determined by my obedience and my beauty—which was pretty darn awkward during those years when I was all lips, knees, eyebrows, and elbows—pretty much gangly-unattractive. It was a difficult time during middle school when my mother’s praise didn’t match the ridicule and put downs I got at school—they outnumbered my mother’s solitary voice, so having nothing else to base my self-worth on—like intelligence for instance—I kind of withdrew for a few years, staying home “sick” a lot.

I asked my dad why they never told me and he confided that they were worried I might overshadow my brother. Now, my brother is crazy-wicked-smart in my mind, so I’m not too sure what harm my parents thought this would cause letting me know the big secret about my intelligence, but regardless it … Continue reading..

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A Good Book by Conlee Ricketts

Last year my daughter read PIE by Sarah Weeks. She brought it home on Library Day and read it cover to cover. She tried to explain the story and how great it was and why she liked it, and I tried to follow what she was telling me but I just didn’t get it.

Fast forward one year.

“Mom, we need to read PIE again. I forget parts of it.”

“I never read it.”

“OH! You have to! We can read it together and I can listen this time. You’ll love it.”

One trip to the library later, a chapter a night before bed, a wonderful snow day, and I’m in love with this story.

I’m sure my daughter’s reasons for loving the book and my reasons for loving the book are about as different as they can be, but we had a wonderful time sharing this story together.

readingI loved it because it was a wonderful story about a daughter’s relationship with her Aunt, her mother, and herself. It shined a beautiful light on accepting yourself, loving yourself, and not hiding from your own gifts no matter how insignificant you may feel they are. These are important messages I … Continue reading..

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I’m Human, Right? by Conlee Ricketts

I think I’m normal. “Normal” is one of those scary words to me, but as a mom I tend to think about how much I’m screwing up my child. Is that normal? I say yes!

I like to imagine my daughter on Freud’s couch at age 30 blaming me for shit. Why not? I think at some point we all look back upon our childhood and those humans that were raising us and think, “Ummm yes, now I see it…that is the source of my inner criticism, thanks a lot Mom!”

I may be a bit over sensitive to the fact that my daughter will inevitably go through the “blame her parents” stage. I’m sure I’m this way because I already went through mine. Mine was short though, not because my parents were the “bestest parents ever,” but because my mathematical mind really saw no point. Logic told me that parents are human, humans make mistakes, and therefore parents make mistakes. All my blaming and finger pointing wouldn’t silence my inner critic—only I could do that. Blaming them wouldn’t make my life all better—only I could do that. So my blame phase was almost non-existent. BUT even though my … Continue reading..

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