02 May 2016

Letters to Madeline: The 20 Life Lessons You Really Need

Dear Madeline,

Allow me to cut to the chase on this one. By now, you know that’s just the type of mom I am: life, and people, can be a bit…challenging. 

Throughout your lifetime, you will read a lot of crap on the Internet (will that still be around when you’re my age?) and a lot of touchy-feely bullshit will be pushed on you all in an effort to cover up one slight error and false sense of security and entitlement because…

It’s all a lie. 

We all live in a world of reality. In as much as we try our best to paint facades and sugarcoat problems and post inspirational quotes and stick our heads in the sand, the pure simple facts are: sometimes bad things happen to good people, when the shit hits the fan the fan is usually on high and well Chickie, sometimes life will kick you square in the crotch. 

Good thing you’re a girl, huh? 

Yes, life will be difficult which is why as your mom, I feel it’s my job and responsibility to prep you for reality and the real world you will grow up in. Don’t get me wrong – those inspirational quotes have their time and place, they do. But as I sit here writing this today, California has no water, the LGBT community continues to fight for basic human and civil rights, Nepal is crumbling, our next two presidential candidates will most likely be a misogynistic mini-Hitler and a crook democrat and the state of our people and our world is currently…


Sorry, there’s no better way to put it. I don’t say this to be a complete downer for you, my love. I say this because it’s the truth and it’s the reality of the world we currently live in. I pray to God that by the time you’re my age, things will be different but in case they’re not, or God forbid worse, you deserve to know the real life lessons kids need these days in order to thrive and succeed in this world.

Own your life, or someone else will own it for you.

Don’t let someone who has done nothing with their life tell you how to do anything with yours.

No matter what anyone says to you, you don’t have to eat dinner with them, live with them or go to bed with them. EVER.

Don’t waste your time with explanations. People only hear what they want to hear and nine times out of ten, you don’t owe anyone an explanation anyway.

Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing themselves first. It all starts with you.

Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the callers or social media or anything else.

Learn to say no politely and quickly.

Give people a second chance but not a third.

Except for rare life and death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.

Remember that winners do what losers don’t want to do.

Spend less time worrying about who’s right and more time deciding what’s right.

Take responsibility for yourself. The world and the people in it don’t owe you anything. The sooner you learn this one basic principle, the better off you’ll be.

Don’t use stupid, cheesy ass expressions like, “Think outside of the box.” How about this – simply THINK.

A boat in its harbor is safe, but in time its bottom will rot out. All that happens when you wait is you get older.

When a person shows you their true colors, believe them.

Learn how to balance your checkbook and not use credit cards. Trust me; this will save you a WORLD of grief and anxiety.

Unless you are being directly affected in a harmful way, mind your own business. I can’t imagine how much strife and sadness this world could curtail if everyone simply worried about themselves and stopped worrying about things that don’t concern them or affect them.

Don’t be lazy. If you’re going to do something or invest your efforts into something, do it right the first time.

ALWAYS do what you know is right, even when you know it’s unpopular or uncool. Only you have to live with yourself every day. Do it in a way that makes you proud.

Accept the fact that you cannot change people, period.

And last but certainly not least…

Your father and I will always love you. When life kicks you, is unkind to you or if you simply need shelter from the storm, our arms are always open to hold you and protect you. 



Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

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