Don’t give into small and sweet, yet very persuasive girls wearing badges.

Dear Darlings,

There are lots of things you SHOULD NOT DO in life in order to stay alive and maintain your sanity. And one of the best life lessons you can learn is to just say “no.” Definitely say no to (most) drugs and (all) people in windowless vans claiming they have puppies. But also say no to Samoas, Tagalongs and Thin Mints. Because they will not make you thin. Do not believe their false advertising. As soon as you say yes to those bold, brave, sneaky little salesgirls, you will also be saying yes to them for the remainder of cookie season. And before you said yes to them you didn’t even know there was a cookie season. 

This is why.

You will have to share these seasonally evil cookies with other people in your house who claim to need them as much as you suddenly do. And then you’ll have to buy more boxes in order to hide a few from those whiny, cookie-needy family members. You’ll also find yourself making lame excuses for why you’re allowed to eat one of these sweet treats (that are no longer treats) at nine o’clock in the morning. Such as using a crunchy, chocolatey, minty snack to freshen your breath. Or because you earned it by just walking up and down the stairs to retrieve your cell phone. You also may find yourself staying up past your bed time wondering why you ate your last caramel-coated fix before dinner, instead of saving it to send you into dreamland. And now instead of being in a sugar-induced dream/borderline diabetic coma, you are now just up dreaming of where you can find more of those damn pony-tailed scouts. 

Do not do it. Walk away from these little ladies in brown. Keep your five dollars to save the whales or the feed the homeless. If not, you’re going to be feeding a new addiction instead.


Disclaimer: I love the Girl Scouts, Daisies and Brownies (Especially the chocolate, chewy kind. Omg I have a problem.). I support their ethics and endeavors and want them to succeed. It’s just that I also would like to succeed in life myself and I won’t if they don’t quit stalking me. 

Move forward.

Dear Darlings,

Today is International Women’s Day. A day that we celebrate all the women who have and are currently fighting for gender equality. And (wo)man! (See what I did there?) Do I know some WOMEN! Women who are teachers, doctors, writers, creative directors, and presidents of production companies. I know women who are fighting for desegregation of public schools (yes, we are still segregated despite the laws) and women who are saving refugees. I know women who are leaving husbands because they deserve better, women who are running their own successful businesses and one who has her own tv show. I know women who are raising children despite anyone really noticing how hard it is. And I know women who are raising children alone. And thanks to all of these remarkable gal pals in my life, I am reminded every day of what the possibilities are for the future if we just keep going. If we just keep moving and creating and hoping and dreaming and working and learning and exploring and FIGHTING. 

Thank goodness for these women. Because I’ve been searching for some sort of inspiration. I have not written anything in a while. Too long a while. The last six months at our house have been downright shitty. There has been lead poisoning and influenza type A (times four), stomach flu (times three), fever viruses, walking pneumonia and whooping cough. There has been money crap. There has been house crap. There has been family crap. There has been dog crap. (Literally and figuratively.) There has been a man in this home that is so stressed out and run down by a job that he hates, that it’s been hard to find any joy. There’s been a woman in this house that has been beaten down by all the down that she can’t find it either. And we are over all the crap. Our marriage and friendships and relationships and self-love have taken a hit. And when you don’t have those then what do you have really? 

But today as I was reading about all the remarkable women that came before us and those currently leading the march, those who fought for our right to fulfill our dreams and achieve our potential; I looked at what they had been up against. I looked at all their crap. The government, the men, the rules, the cruelty and all the pain. And I realized that if they could give us the right to vote, create equal pay in the workplace and help end slavery, (and simultaneously make dinner and bathe babies I might add) while being up against far more than I can realistically fathom, then I can keep going. I realized that I stopped trying and just gave into my crap. Because honestly? It was hard. And I am tired. But those women were TIRED! So no more. I want to be part of it again. Today I’m back in the game. Persisting! Inspired by these pushy broads and power houses. They didn’t quit and we can’t either. Wherever it is we want to be - successful within our relationships, career, humanity, the planet or within our whole SELF - we can get there. Together.

So right now as you’re reading this, maybe you’re in the middle of crap. Maybe it’s financial crap, or marriage crap, or school crap, or job crap, or health crap or just plain old life crap. Just know you aren’t alone. We’ve all been there. We’ve all been tired. So have a good cry and little nap. Then open your eyes and start moving your feet. We’ll sleep when we’re dead. And we have a lot of work to do before then.

Just do you.

Dear darling boy,

Today is your first birthday. I don’t know how. I truly don’t. This year was easily the fastest one in history. And I’m having all the mama feels just thinking about the beauty of your arrival. That wild and crazy birth, when you immediately taught us that you were always going to keep us on our toes. That night was so linear, and also such a blur. Yet I will never forget how I felt when I first held you, my first son. I don’t know what I said or the way in which everything happened , but I remember how you changed me. How I fell instantly in love with you, a feeling I had never had before, even with your sister. It was this immediate “I just want to hold you like this forever” kind of love. And I never wanted to let you go. 

Photo by Rebecca Coursey of .

Photo by Rebecca Coursey of

I still feel that way. More so. So much more so. And as sad as I am that my days with you as a baby are fleeting, I am loving witnessing your evolution into a bigger, thinking, moving human. You are a crazy loud spirit who winds up his arm and throws anything he gets his hands on. Who snuggles up to anyone who will let you and loves balloons and balls and remotes and classic rock. You spit out food, but happily eat chalk and dirt and sand and rocks and we can't tear you away from a toilet bowl or a sprinkler. You only sit with your knees forward and legs backwards and it’s so weird and amazing but it's YOU. And oh the way you adore you big sister even as she body slams you daily. You say hi to everyone who walks by - yes sometimes you may say "hi dog" to a human or an animal that’s not a dog, but we know your heart. 

Sleeping next to you every night is truly one of the greatest gifts in my life. The way you cuddle next to me, pick up your head and look at me and then send your body (or head) crashing into mine with relief that I am there with you. The way you say mamamamamamamama over and over again and look up at me with those big, brown eyes that I stupidly assumed would be green. I am YOURS! FOREVER! When you grab my face and smoosh it into yours, full of slobber and joy. The way you laugh with this deep belly laugh so easily and over nothing, yet also screech and scream with a pitch so high, I think it belongs in a horror movie. I’M STILL YOURS! 

I am worried that I didn’t soak in every minute of the precious days of you as a baby. I am sad that I can’t remember chunks of it, didn’t always take enough pictures and wrote very little down. Truthfully I'm not sure where the last 366 days (leap year) have gone, and I know the next years to come will go even faster. But oh how I wish I could slow down the time and keep my heart from aching. 

Because you will not always be little like this. And one day, you won't want to always be near me like you do right now. I don’t know who you will become or what you will do or whom you will love, but dear, darling boy, please just be you. Because you are a sweet incredible wonder whom I fell in love with faster than I thought anyone could love anything. And that feeling was the purest I have ever known. So there is no way that being anything but yourself could ever be wrong. 

You are are a love and a light and a beauty and it is a blessing to be your mother. Happy first birthday. May you always know how much you are adored and how thankful we are for you. 

I love you. 

Your Mama

Start with your skivvies.

Dear Darling Daughter,

Someday there may come a point when you look down and think, 

What the hell has happened to my life?”

I don’t know what will trigger this. Maybe a job that has you working too much. Or it will be a partner that isn’t who you had envisioned for yourself. Perhaps it will be when you realize you’ve gained a bunch of weight in no time. Or it could be because you are deep into an addiction that has you spiraling out of control. 

But it could also just be when you literally and physically look down...and see that your bra looks like this. 

Unfortunate tituation.

Unfortunate tituation.

This is my current bra - in all its ugly, pointy, daggery glory. I am not proud of this. Because in addition to this underwire rebellion, this over-the-shoulder boulder holder, barely even holds boulders. You can see that it’s more pushing the boulders down the mountain.

I remember Oprah Winfrey once saying that your home was a reflection of your life. If it’s messy and all over the place with no pick-up or organization in sight, your life probably is too. While I completely agree with her (and also have a house that resembles this tornado situation), I have to say that I think the same thing rings true for your underwear. 

Sometimes it can just feel like we’re barely hanging on. Between the kids and the house and the spouse and that needing to make money part of existence and the pets and that whole cooking dinner thing and the friends and desire for fun and exercise and all of the other things that we don’t care about but have to do, and the things we do care about but barely have time to do...


And I guess sometimes when life gets hard, bras become sharp. Or in some cases, ripped, stained or granny-esque. And with all the other people, places and things to take care of, my bra possibly puncturing these milk machines somehow got pushed to the end of the list. Wardrobe and hair style being a close second.

BUT. I’ve decided that maybe we should start from the bottom up. Bottom meaning our asses. We need to get ourselves some drawers! Now let me be clear. You do not need to go to some fancy lingerie place where you stand in front of a mirror and have some either incredibly hot or incredibly old woman talk about how your girls need to be lifted and separated. You do not need to go buy some porn star “panties” (my mother is going to be so happy that I used that horrific word) with lace and strings and things that make you feel like you’re not who you say you are. And you do not need to spend all your Adele ticket money on them either. 

Just go to Target or whatever place makes you feel comfortable (I am verrrrry comfortable at Target). And pick out some basic underwear with prints that aren’t faded, elastic that still stretches and colors that aren’t stained. Then get yourself a bra that has all wires on the inside and that keeps your tatas on the inside too. Make sure it actually supports you rather than you keeping it on life support. As a bonus challenge, attempt to get one that isn’t beige or white. No one actually wants an item of clothing labeled “nude” anyway. Go for something called Lady in Red or Pretty in Pink or some other terrible 80’s reference. 

I’m hopeful that when our underthings are good enough to not have to hide under things due to shame and embarrassment, maybe we will feel a little more productive, pretty and put together. And hopefully the rest of our lives will follow. Please let the rest of our lives follow...

If not...hey - at least your tits look good. (.)(.)



Dear Darlings,

There are some weeks that are so hard that prayer is the only answer. Well prayer and sarcasm. This week's prayer went something like this...

Dear God, Jesus, Allah, Universe or any being in the sky that may actually be listening to me unlike my children,

I am down on my knees praying to you for help. Yes I may be simultaneously cleaning up dried oatmeal that is glued to the rug, but do not mistake multitasking for inauthenticity. Give me strength today, Lord. Physical strength that I am able to carry my four-year-old through the grocery store parking lot while she is kicking me in the pubic bone. As she screams that she NEEDS that pony cookie or she will not be my friend. And then bestow upon me the emotional stamina to acknowledge her feelings rather than shout obscenities at her for acting like she belongs in an insane asylum. During this tantrum God, give me the brawn to hold down her freakishly strong arms with compassion instead of rage. And as she tries to roundhouse me in the face, grant me the power to refrain myself from bitch slapping her back.

I also need patience today. So much patience. Patience more than caffeine. Enough patience to wait for my baby to fall asleep peacefully in my arms, as I rock, bounce, nurse, sing or do squats and lunges with him despite having weak pelvic floor muscles. Please keep me on the path of swaying him and not shaking him. Because even though he is so cute that I want to smother him with love, sometimes I actually want to smother him with a pillow, as it may be the only way he will close his damn eyes. We are both so tired, God. So, so tired. But after he finally falls asleep upon my sweaty, showerless body, instead of praying that he peels off peacefully so that I can get one frickin minute to myself, help me to enjoy it. For he is only this little once.

I’m also requesting empathy today. So that I may understand the dire magnitude of my children needing their sandwiches cut into triangle halves instead of rectangle halves even though they just asked for rectangles twenty seconds ago. Guide me in remembering that I too often change my mind, albeit not with the same degree of protest and deranged unpredictability.

As one of them flees from me in a parking lot, allow me to race after them in my flip-flops with gratitude for their independence, despite my post-baby belly jiggling with regret. And upon finding my son sucking on wet toilet paper that he retrieved from the inside of the commode, please control my gag reflex, as I cannot clean up any more vomit even if it’s my own.

I. Just. Can’t.

When my daughter dresses herself in sparkly tights with a tank top over a tiger t-shirt and accessorizes with a knit beanie and jellies, grace me with the fortitude to encourage her creativity. And protect me from worry that she will become one of those weird teenagers who shouts poetry in coffee houses with wrath about her privileged upbringing.

I also ask for tolerance to answer all six hundred and two questions they will ask me today with kindness in my voice instead of annoyance over their ignorance. Why cats are called cats and the difference between boobs and nipples are extraordinary inquiries. Permit me the wisdom to know that curiosity is what makes them brilliant even if it makes me mental.

Instead of comparing me to robo-moms, please lead my inner voice to speak to me lovingly. Even while my outer voice screams “Pick up your f*****g toys or they are going in the trash.” And as one child gnaws on my face with teething gums and another licks my arm whilst pretending she is some sort of rabid animal, please give me wine, God. Because I need it to stop the bad thoughts.

Assist me in bringing their sweet, pterodactyl shrieks down to a lower decibel with smiles and jokes rather than threats and bribes, especially after they yell the word penis in a restaurant. And when they smack their food with bits of macaroni flying from their mouths and onto the waiter, remind me that their poor manners are not a reflection of me, as they got that from their father.

Speaking of him, give me love, dear Lord. Make my heart big enough to still dote on my husband with tenderness and affection. Even when he complains that he is tired, despite sleeping through the night uninterrupted with his mouth open wide enough that I am tempted to shove my fist in it. And please lift my libido to the heavens when he wipes down the high chair. For the second time ever.

And when I look at my offspring-ravaged body that has been nourished with animal crackers and cheese, and is littered with under-eye circles, stretch marks and breasts so saggy I could smuggle drugs under them, let me not resent my children for giving it to me. Make me thankful that it created the precious gifts of these hilarious, ungrateful spawn. For when I too am one day wearing diapers again and spewing nonsensical utterances about jello and feces, they will be the ones taking care of me. And I really don’t want to screw that up.


A version of this post also appeared here on the Huffington Post and here on Scary Mommy.

Don't marry a Phish-head.

Dear Darlings,

There is not much to this piece of advice. There’s nothing to read into - unless you’re just trying to read the word Phish and understand why it is spelled like that in the phirst place. Do not marry a Phish-head. If you do, your life will follow a sequence similar to the following:

Early on in your relationship you will spend dates at five hour concerts where the songs all sound the same, even though your partner assures you that they are in fact different because that last one was called “Bouncing Around The Room” and this one is actually “Punch You In The Eye.”  

And you will say, “Oh sorry. My mistake.”

But inside you will be thinking, “What in the actual hell is this and how do I get out of it?”

And then you will go into a weird head space where you wonder if it’s the drugs or just an alternate reality that you are actually in. You will zone in and out while people are talking about noodles and hot dogs and you will wonder if this is edible food they are discussing or something that you do. Like maybe drugs. Yes maybe they are nicknames for drugs and you are so old now that you aren’t even up on the drug lingo. And then there will be so many lights and tie-dye that it will make you wonder if you ever really did drugs at all. Maybe this is real.

Oh my God what if this is real?!

And then there will be a big finale and everyone will cheer and it will be over. FINALLY. Except it won’t be. It will only be the intermission. Repeat last paragraph.

Then eventually it will actually be over and you will weep with relief on your way home, while your beloved tells stories about the AMAZING things that transpired that you truly don’t recall ever happening. Were you at the same show? Because you are 90 percent confident that it was just one hellaciously long guitar solo with the same light show on repeat.

And then years later you will be married and you will have lots of plans for the summer. Great family plans. Like camping and road trips and beach days and real fishing with an F. But this will all be thwarted because phucking Phish will still be together and will come to town. Again. And they won’t just come to town, they’ll go all over the damn state and then the rest of the country and instead of strategizing about which route to take for your family vacation, your spouse will build an itinerary for which cities are best to celebrate a meatstick. And he or she will go for up to a week at a time with phellow phans to the same show, days in a row, with excitement and anticipation (and let’s be honest - some stupidity) about how each performance may be different.

By this point you will be much wiser since your first show. Your spouse will not be. So you will choose to stay home. But please note; you may also be stuck alone with children and a dog and all of the AMAZING stories that your husband or wife comes home with. That are exactly the same as they were ten years ago. And then a veeeeeery small part of you will wish you were there. With the lights and the tie-dye and the drugs.

Fork Maria Shriver.*

Dear Darlings,

Today Maria Shriver told me to stop yelling. I mean not her exactly. Her website or something. It was some article that popped up in my news feed about how to stop screeching because we all hate it and feel so guilty doing it and it’s terrible for our kids. There were like five steps to follow on how to help yourself become less frazzled and stop screaming at your children. I read every word, waiting for the miracle solution. And all the steps essentially said: Take care of yourself! Get some time alone, get some sleep, eat healthy food, make your mental health a priority etc. etc. etc. Fill your cup!

Maria - you are a genius. I completely and totally agree with you. But see, when it comes to time for ourselves, some of us are just shit out of luck.

Trust me, I WANT TO SO BAD.

But a lot of us have jobs and kids and very little help or partners with jobs and very little help and a lot of other responsibilities like cleaning and cooking and cleaning and laundry and meetings and cleaning and pets and carpools and cleaning. And the only time alone we are getting is when our children aren't sleeping and the only healthy food we are eating is potatoes in the form of chips that are being shoved into our faces while standing up in a closet so that our kids can't try to steal them from us and we have NO HELP and NO TIME FOR TIME ALONE.

And therefore, this morning, this fucking horrible Monday morning, I yelled. A lot. It was like I had a weekend hangover from gulping down all of the shared, all-day parenting. And then I woke up to being alone again with kids and they were yelling and I was yelling and everything was abysmal. And then I read Ms. Shriver’s words of wisdom and wanted to gouge both Maria and myself in the eye with one of the dirty forks I had to clean.

So then I said fuck this shit. And I gave in. I didn’t pick up any of the mass destruction. I didn’t clean. I didn’t cook. (In fact, I barely fed anyone.) I didn’t work. I didn’t make anybody put on real clothes. I gave you, my precious, greedy children, all of the time. I played all of the stupid games. I repeated all of the dumb ass things you wanted me to say in the exact way you wanted me to say it within the exact timing that you wanted. I sang the “Ghostbusters” theme song just so you could yell “Ghost! Bu-sters!” during the chorus. And I took you to the store and bought you all of the crap. All of the bunny crackers and all of the yogurt pretzels and even the four dollar kombucha I knew you’d only drink three sips of. And thus everyone was happy and I single-handedly solved the yelling problem. Then I drank all of the wine.

Y'all this is positive parenting at its finest. Because at the end of the day, your cups were full and at least one of mine was.

Yes way, Rosé.

Yes way, Rosé.


*I don’t completely mean this. I actually love and respect the former First Lady of California. But today I was just like whoa lady. Not today. Not. Today.

Love the ones who need you most.

Dear Darlings,

I was raised in a home with four other sisters. Five girls all fairly close in age. Competition was fierce for everything from food and toys to attention and, well, even love. Some of us may have felt it more deeply than others, and all at different times, and while my parents did everything they could to divide the casserole and cuddles evenly, occasionally someone slipped through the cracks. But I remember very clearly one time asking my mother which child was her favorite and I was ready for her to give me the textbook, nonpartisan answer that she loved us all exactly the same. But she didn’t. Instead she said that the one she loved the greatest was the one who needed her the most.

Now I’ve thought a lot about this over the years. As a daughter during the times when a certain sister, undoubtedly not myself, seemed to receive more consideration or favor than the rest. And as a mother, having now two children, and trying to interpret and unravel my feelings for you, both separately and together. And maybe it’s because you are both still small creatures and while exhaustingly needy, your demands are more primitive and simple, but I haven’t yet experienced nor grasped the idea of loving one more because they needed me to a greater extent.

But this week. This week I understood. But it wasn’t how I anticipated. It wasn’t when one of you was lashing out at me for attention because I’ve been distracted and depleted. It wasn’t when another one of you was sick for over a week and yearned for Mom more than medicine. It was when Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were both shot and killed while I watched it all on video.

This is what my mother meant. She may have meant it for her own children, but this is what it actually meant. And this is also what Black Lives Matter means. It doesn’t imply that you hate police. It doesn’t symbolize you condemning your own race. It means that we are morally obligated to reach out our arms and our hearts and our voices to the people who need us the most. Yes of course all lives matter, just like my sisters and I were all loved by my mother. But saying that aloud is just foolish. We don’t need to wave our hands around and say “But what about me? Look at me! I matter too!” because we aren’t the ones being shot for having a busted tail light. All of the lives don’t truly matter until the black ones do.

When her daughters were suffering, my mom didn’t just tell us she loved us and expect that to heal our hearts. She hurt with us. And we now need to be hurting with them. We cannot erase the past, but we need to be pouring all of our energy into helping make them whole again. It isn’t enough to say that we love the black community. We can’t think that we are somehow aiding the cause by announcing we have black friends or by falsely fabricating the notion that we are all the same. Because we aren’t all equal until we are all treated as such.   

I am a red-headed, freckle-faced, white girl from the south. I think I’m pretty kind. Open. Progressive. But I did not choose the color of my skin just like my black friends didn’t choose the color of theirs. I was born this way. And therefore I was also born privileged. And I’m not talking about money. I’m speaking of the fact that I’m 18% more likely to live in a safe neighborhood than a black person. I’m three times less likely to get suspended or expelled from school. I’m 20% more likely to go to college and if I graduate, I am twice as likely to be employed after graduation. I even have a 50% better chance at getting a job call back for having a white name versus a black one. I’m five to ten times less likely to go to prison than a black person for the same crime. I don’t know what it’s like to have people frightened of me or accuse me of something I didn’t do. And there is no way that I can comprehend what it is like to be pulled over for a minor traffic violation and be afraid for my life. And for this reason I am White America.

Being part of White America doesn’t signify that I am a white supremacist or a bigot or an asshole. But it does suggest that I need to scrutinize any subconscious racism and admit my trepidation about walking down the street in the dark next to a black man. It means we need to quit anxiously defending ourselves as a race by declaring that we have black friends and broadcasting that some white people are actually good. We do this because we are uncomfortable. Because the very notion that we too could be part of this hate is shameful and bitter and almost unbearable. But we need to be uncomfortable. We need to look racism in its flawless white face and say enough. We must discontinue our pandering to make it about us. Because it’s always been about us.

My mother may have ached for her children, but mothers of black boys and men are in misery. They are terrified and tormented and grieving. Right now their children are the ones who need us. And in the same way that I was sometimes required to relinquish my own self-serving desires and allow my mom to dedicate her time, tenderness and solicitude to my siblings, we must now serve our brothers and sisters in need with the same compassion. Because it is their turn.

It can all become very overwhelming; trying to figure out who needs us and hoping to heal the hurt of all the world’s children. The gay ones and the transgendered ones and the poor ones and the Muslim ones and the motherless ones and the homeless ones and the bullied ones and all the ones of color. Pain may be part of the human experience, but this is too deep. Too raw. Too much. Sometimes it seems that the agony of the earth can make our heart too heavy to to beat for others. But they are ours. And it is our human purpose to give up our own discomfort to stand beside them and their agony. To ask them what we can do. To tell them that it is not ok that they are treated as less than. To confess that we have done it and tell them we are sorry. And when we don’t know what else to do, to just choose to love them more.


This post also appeared on The Huffington Post. You can view it here.

Be the Love

Dear Darlings,

I wanted to write a blog that was simple and silly and ridiculous. Because I am a crazy person, I am always convinced I am going to die and that while you may have another parent to care for you, you will never know all of the things that I thought or learned or knew or wanted to tell you and teach you. Your father can tell you a lot, but I want to tell you the things that are actually right and that you actually need to know. Like to buy microwaveable rice instead of attempt anything on the stove. And even if I live forever, I am too A.D.D. to remember all of the things that I discover every day to tell you when you are older, so I am writing this all down so that you can read it later. Tomorrow or in twenty years when you are in therapy and want to know why.

So I wanted to make this all fun and wonderful and full of rice advice. But I realized that it’s just not that simple. That I can’t just write things that are happy and wonderful and make you feel good all over. I have to give you real advice for life. The things that I’m actually learning every day beyond how to cook grains without burning them. And sometimes those things aren’t happy and wonderful. And as sad as it makes me to break it to you, my tiny precious children, the world can be hard sometimes. And cruel. And terrible. It can also be incredible and amazing and wonderful and I know that despite what the news tells us, it is actually inherently full of love.

So if there’s only one thing I teach you, I hope it’s that you should choose love. Be the love. If you let go of all the fear and the ego and the anger and the hurt, love is easiest. The second I met each of you, love was all I could see. And even though I think you are the most special people on the planet, I knew the moment you were born that every human on the earth entered it as pure love too. No matter who they are, who their parents are, where they are born or what color, religion, gender, sexual preference, or how many fingers or toes they have, all of us are fundamentally made of love. We just have to find it and let it all out.  

photo by Rebecca Coursey of

photo by Rebecca Coursey of

I know and trust and love that you will be the ones who will show the rest of the world how to do it. I love YOU.

Your Mother