Repeat After Me: I Am Not My Mother

Well are you?

Depends on what you mean when you say it. Are you the guardian of your own well being? Are you the nurturer of your spirit and soul? Are you sheparding your own growth as an individual?

If yes, then maybe you are your own mother- but you are not YOUR mother, or the woman who raised you. Say it again.

We all have so many fears about repeating the mistakes that our parents made. And as wives and mothers ourselves, we have very special fears about becoming our mothers, especially now. We judge them so harshly for their shortsightedness, their weaknesses, their insecurities and their blindspots.

But they were supposed to be perfect for us, and for our fathers and our brothers and sisters too, weren’t they?

They weren’t supposed to make us feel small or ignore us or overshadow us- or tell us things about us that weren’t true but made us believe them anyway.

And we’re still supposed to keep them on a pedestal.

The funniest thing about “the mother” is that they are untouchable, yet still the most criticized, revered, but also judged people in our world.

You only have one mother you know, you’ll regret it when she’s gone.

But will I?

I’ve written this entire post so far in the removed- but I’m about to get personal.

I have mommy issues. If you do too, you’ll get it. Cause trying to explain to anyone else who doesn’t is like trying to explain the grammatical system of a Slavic language.

The relationship I have with my mother is the most complex relationship I’ve ever and likely will ever experience. Your mother is supposed to be your world- and when she gives you a really backwards world, it affects absolutely everything.

The thing about my mother is that she held it together really well for a long time. When she was my age she was in almost the identical spot that I’m in- and that shit is scary as fuck. You’ll understand when you hear what happened next.

She had her own business, she owned a home with my father and was in a happy marriage, she was pregnant with her second baby, she was healthy and fit and everything seemed to be coming up roses.

Then her mother died. Two weeks before my brother was born, and everything crashed.

I learned recently that my grandmother had almost the exact same experience. Her mother died when she was pregnant with my mother. If you’ve ever heard of ancestral trauma- that probably sounds pretty fascinating.

The funny thing is, when my grandmother was on her death bed- she said, don’t treat Emily the same way I treated you….As you may infer, they also didn’t have a great relationship. My mom left home at 15.

I think what happened after that could have easily been labelled postpartum depression. But it was likely just the straw that broke the camels back… along with some insane timing. First came the depression, then the drugs, then the suicidal tendencies and the cycle went from there.

How can such a vibrant, smart, funny, strong woman go from having everything to being a skeletal shell of who I used to call mom?

I guess it goes back pretty far.

The thing is, I’ve tried everything. I’ve spent so many years trying to repair this relationship. But everytime I laugh, or tell a joke or sometimes when I look in the mirror I see her.

No matter how much a parent can hurt you- it’s so hard to cut off all feeling. It’s the same thing with any abuser isn’t it?

When it’s your own mother it’s incredibly hard to let yourself go and to live life freely not shackled to the what if’s. What if she gets better, what if it’s different this time, what if I do regret it?

I’m coming to this crux, because I know she’s not well. I know she doesn’t have much longer and I’m so afraid. We’re planning to have another baby- but the problem is, I don’t trust her.

I don’t trust her for a second. And I keep hearing Brene Brown’s voice in my head saying don’t show people your “stuff” if you don’t trust them.

She has always and will always hurt me. She’s volatile. I can’t have her near my family.

So the choice is this, do I let her in at all or do I keep my walls up and protect my fortress? I have no way of knowing what’s right and neither does anyone else. It’s all about boundaries- but what are the right boundaries to set and how do you know when to give a little? When to have a little more compassion as to not seem like an ice queen?

How do you not become your mother?

I’m preparing for a battle and I don’t know whether to go in guns blazing or to lay down my weapons.

All I know is- I am not my mother. Whatever I decide, whatever YOU do or say to try to help me with this decision, no one is my mother and that’s the reality of the situation.


Fine Lines & Contradictions

Oh lord we walk the line. Everyday and everyway. As women, as mothers- it tears us in two. Speak your truth they say, but don’t disrespect your elders and don’t offend anyone. Take care of yourself they say- but they don’t offer a hand. Self-care, what is it? A face mask, a warm bath, or an appointment with your therapist? But is it for the ego or the soul?

Do you know yourself? Do you trust yourself? How can you be sure? Too much wondering and worrying. How do you have boundaries that are healthy and how do you enforce them? Everyone wants you to be the nice girl. Where do you find inspiration without comparison and how do you stop the feelings of unworthiness that always seem to creep in when searching for “inspiration”? How do you share your story without seeming indulgent? How do you know when you’ve shared too much or even if it’s possible? Some people with applaud you and thank you and others will tell you you’re searching for attention. You can never do it right. How do you let go of “right”? How do you operate outside of right and wrong? Even if you logically acknowledge that there truly is no right or wrong, we are beings attached to beliefs. We’re all attached to what we think is right and wrong.

Love your family they say. Open your heart they say. But stand up for yourself and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worthy of love. Isn’t it usually our families that make us believe those lies in the first place? How do you open your heart to the people who harderned your heart in the first place?

I just want to write and hit publish but I feel like I need to provide answers. I need to show you I have things figured out.

Sometimes everything just seems like a contradiction. Like I’m always balancing on these fines lines of ambition and self absorption. Of love and losing myself. Of strength and cold heartedness. Of mindfulness and blindness.

How can I justify any of this? I can’t.

But one thing I know is- that’s not the point. The experience IS the point. The expansion and the new questions that bubble up ARE the point. The path is the point. Paying attention is the point.

There really is no finale.


Guard Your Fucks Like Gold

Milli Fox self help stop giving a fuck

Have you ever tried to start a diet or a new exercise regime and fell flat on your face? Yea, we all have. You know why? Because will power is not an endless resource, it’s finite. You only have so much of it and you have to choose how to use it wisely. The same thing applies for Fucks.

And what I mean by Fucks, is all the things you spend your mental energy on and all the things you think you should, or actually do care about. I recently read the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson and it was one of the most honest, pull up your damn pants and stop being a little bitch-baby self-help books I’ve ever read.

It taught me a lesson I really needed to learn, and this one is gonna stick.

When Rosen was first born, I read all the books. All the blogs. All the facebook groups. Being a first time mother, I cared infinitely and I wanted to do EVERYTHING the right way. The problem was I was caring too much about things that ultimately don’t make that much of a difference in the long run.

I thought if I obsessed and controlled and ensured, it would make me a good mother. All the while, I was being a crazy ass and actually ended up being a WORSE mother for it. I was stressed and constantly fixating on my plans for perfect motherhood instead of just trusting my own instincts.

I’ve basically been this way my entire life. Perfection to me has always equaled value. If I can produce, I can be worthy of love. I’m still working on letting that go, but on a pretty deep level, I’m starting to understand how much farther from the truth that could actually be.

When you’re spending time trying to appear to be a certain way, you ultimately don’t have enough energy left over to focus on things that actually matter- like being a better wife, daughter, mother, sister etc.

When you spend too much time giving a fuck about how you think you should be doing things, you waste a lot of precious time and energy.

I now consider myself a recovering perfectionist and I’m spending my fucks on things like loving myself more, showing my husband I actually appreciate our relationship, and letting my toddler son be his crazy, messy, unpredictable, incredible, sleep-hating little self.

I’m not even giving a fuck that my writing is hella wordy and that my sentence structure is completely made up.

But seriously girlfriend. You have this one precious life. I have NO IDEA, why it takes most of us, at minimum, 30 plus years to stop giving a shit about what other people think or the so called, right ways of doing things. Like this morning when I snatched the frying pan out of my husband’s hand and told him it was the wrong pan for eggs. Lol. All I know is- you need to let that shit go because it’s one of the only ways to be TRULY fulfilled and enjoy your life.

I think the true recipe for fulfilment and satisfaction on this insane planet is to accept yourself and go forth into the world unapologetically. Do meaningful work and create from your soul. Be grateful for every tiny little thing you have (fun fact: I tell myself all the things I’m grateful for as I fall asleep to avoid the incessant chatter and one thing I often mention is how grateful I am for my soft bed sheets) and remind yourself of how grateful you are DAILY.

Stop giving your fucks away to anyone and everyone. They don’t deserve them. Your Fucks are one of your most valuable resources, right along side your time and your trust. Hang onto that shit for dear life and ration it with caution. I beg of you. And darling, just starting owning it.

I fucking love you.

xx MIlli

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Dear Sister: An Ode to You

sisterhood, womanhood and motherhood in 2018

Dear sister, do you see me?

I do this for you. I don’t have a real sister. I don’t have a real mother. I’m looking for family in you.

I share my pain so you can lighten yours, I share my story so you can hear yours.

Dear sister, are you my village? My online, digital, semi-anonymous village? I need one. We all do.

Dear sister, I know you’re hurting. Sometimes you can’t feel it because you’ve built the walls up so high.

You don’t know how close you can get because you’re afraid of what we’re saying behind your back. You’re afraid we’re judging you and that we’re just waiting for you to say or do one wrong thing so we can laugh.

Dear sister, I am you.

Dear sister, how can you be the only one responsible for raising the next generation when no one is there to hold you up?

Dear sister, I know you feel the cracks in your foundation, the leaks, the corners that are crumbling.  But I also see you doing what you can to fill those holes and keep it together.

Dear sister, you’re not alone. We all want to be close to you, we’re all just so afraid. How did we get so divided?

Dear sister, I’m afraid to even call you sister because I’m worried you’ll tell me I know nothing about you and I have no right. But none of us are truly that different.

Dear sister, I know you’d do anything for me.  I know you’re standing in the wings waiting for me to ask for your help- but I’m too proud.  And if you do offer it without my request, you’re worried I might not appreciate it. You’re guarded, I’m guarded.

Dear sister, none of us want to need anybody, but we can’t hide that we do. We’re so ready for anyone to need us, but so afraid of the rejection.

Dear sister, we’re trying to come together.  We’re trying to mend the wounds of separation.  We’re trying to be present and to figure out this new world we live in.  We’re all on the cusp of the old ways and the new ways. We’re trying to do it right.

Dear sister, I have faith. I know we’re moving in the right direction. You’re strong and I know you just need to hear it more often. You’re a warrior and a hunter and a soldier of love and protection and shelter.

Dear sister, I’m reaching out to you. I’m giving you a sign. We’re in this together.

Dear sister, I’m afraid of you but I love you and I know we can heal these wounds.

Dear sister, I’m in are you?


Running From Your Reflection

And I don’t mean literally… I mean when you see yourself in others.

As I’ve mentioned before- I’m not that great at friendships. Well, what I mean more specifically is that I feel challenged by relationships with women. I know there are layers to these challenges and it can’t just be summarized into one neat little package.

But what I do know is- it all has to do with me. First, I see the reflection of what I need and what I needed from my mother in my relationships with other women. Second, I see my own struggles and my own flaws in the people I get close to.

The unfulfilled needs definitely complicate things, but the struggles I’ve overcome and yet to overcome and flaws make it especially challenging. As I recognize the fact that it’s actually my own reflection making me uncomfortable, I’ve realized how unfair that is for the other person involved.

I’m essentially trying to save myself through other people. I always cross boundaries, take it one or many steps too far, give too much of myself and then get resentful when I feel it’s not appreciated or reciprocated.

The issue here is I’m not able to love and accept someone beyond their “problems” because I can’t love and accept myself despite my own perceived flaws.

For so many years I’ve been self help obsessed. I just think if I can be more mindful, more effective, more productive, more whatever- everything else will fall into place.

But the truth is I’ve been intellectualizing everything and forgetting how to actually love someone. You don’t love someone by working to. You love someone by just accepting them as they are and not constantly trying to change them.

Yes personal development is a wonderful thing but it’s not a prerequisite for being a good person. In fact, even if you’re kind of a jerk- you should still be loved and you should definitely still love yourself.

It’s just a matter of monitoring how you actually talk to yourself. Are the demands you have on yourself reasonable? Are you kind to yourself when you don’t meet them?

I recently was listening to a podcast and the guy said- if you think you have it all together, all you have to do is look at your relationships with other people to gauge how true that is. Are your relationships going well? If not- then you probably need to do some work on your relationship with yourself.

If you find it hard To be compassionate and patient with others, how can you possibly find it in yourself to be those things for yourself? I think you can really be in denial about it for a long time.

It takes a lot of self-awareness and constant checking in to be sure your not acting out of your own self limiting beliefs.

The best “method” I’ve found for working on self love has been improving my self talk and using “The Work” by Byron Katie.

Two books that I found specifically helpful have been:

“I Need Your Love, Is That True”, Byron Katie

-“Ultimate Confidence”, Marisa Peer

Tell me about a time you realized your own issues were causing problems for you in a relationship.