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Tuesday
Aug132013

AN OPEN LETTER TO FIRST-TIME MOTHERS

Disclaimer: What you are about to read may upset you, especially if you have two X chromosomes, breasts and a uterus (note: not ALL people have all three). It became apparent during its first few postings, and repostings, that not enough was done to ensure that it was perfectly clear that this article WAS NOT written about ALL first-time mothers but rather a CERTAIN TYPE of "new" mom. The moms depicted in this article are an extreme; caricatures; a compilation of SOME of the kinds of things CERTAIN MOMS MAY DO while pregnant or during the first few months after the birth of a child. The group of women depicted in this post would more than likely be married or in a committed relationship with the father of their child. They are NOT teen moms, they are not single moms on their own, and they (this group of moms) are able bodied and they are sound in mind. They (this group of moms) may believe that they are entitled to a certain kind of treatment not experienced by MANY OTHER WOMEN during pregnancy, and they MAY believe themselves to be way better parents then the dads in  their children's lives. If you fit this particular description of a first-time mother or have fit this description in the past, we hope to hear from you. However, if you do not fit this description, never have fit this description, and never will fit this description of a first-time mother, and you simply read the word "mother," or "woman" and are looking for a fight, please do not comment. Or stop yourself from commenting until you read the post a few times to see if there is anything other than anger that you can get from it. This post was meant to start a conversation about equality in the relationships of first-time parents - something that helps both moms AND dads.

First off, I just want to say that I applaud any woman that can carry a baby for ten months without complaining once about her back, boobs, or feet hurting her. As this is a rare human being, I applaud you for at least trying. Yes, it must suck having to give up your body to carry another human being inside of it. And it surely must be a huge inconvenience to have to buy all new clothing and shoes every couple of months. I know women just hate that. I also know that you must have really hated having all that attention given to you from your significant other, family, friends and complete strangers. I’m sure being the center of attention is a horrible position to be in. And if you were one of those unfortunate women that were tasked with having to go out and register for thousands of dollars’ worth of baby products that you would never pay for with your own money, and people dropped gifts off to your door that you had to return for cash, I can’t apologize enough for your ordeal. Pregnancy must have been absolutely horrible, and as a man who will never experience it I apologize on behalf of my gender that you had to make these sacrifices. I’m sure being waited on hand and foot got really old really fast, and now all you want to do is make the man who put you in this position suffer, as you have suffered.
 
Well, after giving birth and languishing in labour for hour after arduous hour, I feel it’s only fair to give you six weeks to recover and get even more personal attention, and get waited on hand and foot by your mom, your-mother-in-law and your man. You should be afforded a few weeks of insanity to think that you’re the only one who had a child, and no one in the world knows what you are going through. And you should be allowed to act a little bit crazy until all those hormones that are still coursing through your veins slowly go back to normal, acceptable levels of madness. But when those 6 weeks are over, and you can sit without a pillow, and your breasts are cracking less and less, and your settling in to a routine with your new family, it’s time to get back to reality and realize that, although it must have been nice to have all that attention, and all those months of being the most important person in your child’s life, life goes back to normal.

It took me three years to understand it, this whole new mom mindset, but I think I finally got it. It must be really hard for a person to go from being the center of attention for so long and then have to give it up. It’s not really much different than a baby. Just today my 3-year-old daughter asked me to feed her, when we all know she can feed herself. She just doesn’t want to. Many new moms are like that in a weird way. You got so accustomed to people waiting on you, that it’s hard to give it up. But you have to give it up. And instead of treating your husbands or boyfriends or whatever like slaves that should do your bidding while you sit on the couch and complain about how you’re doing all the work because you’re breastfeeding, why not treat them like what they are an equal partner in this whole parenting thing.

New moms, I’m sorry to say it, but sooner or later, you have to give up this whole “I gave birth to this baby so I know best attitude” and realize that just because you carried that baby for 10 months doesn’t give you sole claim to him. And just because you passed him through your most sensitive area doesn’t give you the right to make all the decisions over his care. So let’s give it up already and say you don’t know any more than dad does and share the load, and stop being so selfish with your babies.
 
Let’s get something straight. Just because you babysat when you were 13, or a held a few of your friends’ babies, doesn’t mean you know any more about raising a baby than anybody else. I fact, you’ve probably forgotten most of what you ever learned. And the truth be told, any man interested enough in wanting to know as much as you know could learn it from reading one parenting book over a weekend. Carrying a baby for 10 months and breastfeeding him doesn’t mean you have the market cornered on parenting. Single Dads and Gay Dads seem to be able to raise kids by themselves, more and more. And you may want to act like you know more about babies then the man who you keep pushing off to the sidelines, but we both know you got the same tutorials at the hospital on how to change and feed and bathe a baby as he did.

I know it’s hard to give up the control and the attention that goes along with being a new mom, but it’s not much different than ripping off a Band-Aid that you’ve been wearing a whole month longer than you should have been.  You carried a baby, you gave birth to it, you got it going with milk from your breast. You’ve done a great job, not it’s time to share that baby and allow someone else to be an important part of that baby’s life; someone who is just as capable as you at changing a diaper, and giving a bath, and picking out sleepers, and feeding a bottle (full of formula or expressed breast milk). The time for mommy martyrdom is over and it’s time to share.

I get it. Parenting is one of the few things that women think they have the market cornered on, like dancing or cooking or ironing. But you can’t believe the hype. Many men are quite capable of doing all these things (well, maybe not dancing), and just because they do it differently doesn’t mean they are doing it wrong. I have no idea why moms treat parenting like a competitive sport, but they do. They compete with each other and they compete with their significant others as well. And it’s just wrong. Parenting should be about team work. It’s not a dictatorship where someone does everything simply because they don’t want to hand over what little control they have to someone else. Dads don’t want to compete with you; they just want equal time to bond with their kids, their own way. If you feel like you’re in competition with other moms to be the best mom ever, that’s your hang up. Today’s involved dads just want the chance to do more with their kids than their dads did, and they can’t do that if you won’t get out of your own way to see that you are not the only parent in this relationship.

I say every mom deserves 10 months plus six weeks to feel like she and her baby are the center of the universe. After that, the fairy tale ends and the reality of what it really takes to be a good parent should begin- and that’s recognizing that thinking that you are the be all and end all of parenting for your child is just an ego trip that isn’t doing you, your child, or anyone any good.

First-time moms, we know you just want to be the best moms you can be to your child. We know that society has brainwashed you in to believing you are born baby whisperers. And we know you can’t help but get dragged in to the competitiveness of motherhood. But you know it’s all bullshit. Anything moms can do, dads can do equally. And if you don’t believe it, feel free to come to my house and see for yourself. The sooner you realize your child’s father is as capable as you at handling all childcare responsibilities, the sooner you will be free to take a break, and not feel like the world is on your shoulders, and you are not the be all and end all to your child’s happiness. You are just one small, yet significant, part to the big picture.

Some moms will never understand what I’m talking about here, and will continue to call dads useless, and worthless, and fumbling and bumbling and lazy and incapable of caring for a child the same way a mom can. And they will continue to do all the work when it comes to cleaning and cooking and caring for all things child related. And that’s great, if that’s how you want to perceive the world, but in the words of Dr. Phil: “How’s that working for you?”

You reap what you sow. And sharing the load when it comes to raising your kids is just the better way to go.

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Reader Comments (40)

Dear "Progressive" Man,
You have horridly and naively misunderstood women.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

As someone who runs a parenting forum supported by over 14,000 women and mothers, I may have to disagree with you there.

August 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterFodder4Fathers.Com

After my daughter was born I tried to include her dad, by consciously choosing to leave them alone together and go to another room to do laundry, or ask him for help. He got mad at me one day and said I was "always trying to pawn her off" on him. I see your point, but I would definitely not put it all on the moms. There are tons of dads out there with the mindset that babies are mommies work. I would have loved to have an involved man. Didn't happen, and it wasn't because I was stuck on being the center of the world. It was because he didn't want to be.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharity

Can't argue that men like that don't exist, they do, sadly. Their loss.

August 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterFodder4Fathers.Com

It sounds like you need to have a conversation with your own wife, rather than addressing the entire mother population.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Natalie, my wife writes the blog just a page over from this one. We advocate equality in parenting. I changed the first diaper, and the second my wife got home from the hospital she handed me the baby and went to get more diapers at Toys R' us. We don't live by old gender -stereotypes, and that's why I could write this post.

August 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterFodder4Fathers.Com

Your baby mama must be real cunt.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLydia

I agree but disagree with this post!!! you are right, some moms want all the attention and think they know best and wont give the dads a chance!

I am a single mother of a 14 month old daughter, i wish her dad would help out, but he walked out when i was 3 months pregnant, i have tried numerous times to get ahold of him to have him spend time with his child, and other things were more important, weed, club, alcohol etc. I finally gave up hope that he'd come around, and quit trying, because ive done all that i can do.. every time i tried, there was always an excuse.. I totally believe in co-parenting, its important for a child to have both mom and dad raising the child, but this being said, its also important to make sure that the baby is safe at all times, for example a survivor of domestic violence, i dont think you'd have the child around that, because in the end the child will think that "that kind of behavior is ok" and its not. Just remember its all in the best interest of the child!!!

Thanks for the post!! =)

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I was a first time (single) mom when I was 16.
Please tell me more how much everyone supported my pregnancy and I was doted on and that I was completely selfish for not involving the (absent and unreachable) father.
You showed me.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

How have woman NOT torn you apart, or are you just deleting it? How you and your wife's life is all well and good, but it isn't the reality for all new mothers. I WISH I would have even had a teeny tiny baby shower to register for with my first. I WISH my ex husband would have changed a single diaper (all FOUR times) after all he was certainly there to help create each one of them. I knew best because, well, I was smarter than he was and I knew each and every single one of my babies inside and out and when I didn't know I asked the experts. When he didn't know, he asked me.
Forgive me, sir, I won't use swear words, but you are the other word for a donkey. I hope someday you can open your eyes and heart and realize that you ARE gender-stereo typing and you have a VERY poor vision of women... your poor, poor wife.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

your comment, "anything mom's can do, dads can do equally"...except for breast feeding. dads can't do that.

look, I see the point you are trying to make, but why make it by brow beating moms?? Why not just write a blog that tells how much you love playing an important role in your child's life?? Bringing down one group in order to build up another just doesn't cut it for me.
For the record, I don't know where you are getting your statistics, but the majority of moms that I know BEGGED their husbands to be an active part of their children's lives. BEGGED, but in most cases, the main role of child raising went to the mom's. Are there cases where this isn't true? Sure. But again, you don't have to tear down all mom's, and that is how your post reads to me.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngela

Lydia, if you're so brave, why don't you go visit her (next page over - http://www.fodder4fathers.com/ask-the-wife/) and leave her your full name and email address. I'm sure she'll email you back to take up your comment with you. You were better off dealing with me. LOL

August 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterFodder4Fathers.Com

Sherry, women have not torn me "apart" because many realized this post was a bout a type of woman, not all or even most women, and many women have actually made the comment on out Facebook page (where most of the comments ended up) that the moms who were offended by this post are the moms who think its about them, or see themselves, or parts of themselves in it. So you see, when you write a post where moms are pretty much split down the middle as to whether they like the post or hate it, you don't get torn a part. And if half the moms don't hate it, or even agree that there are moms like this, I'm not stereo-typing I making valid social commentary that maybe you, as someone who can see herself in the post, may not want to hear. But hey, you did read it, and maybe that's how social change begins....

August 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterFodder4Fathers.Com

You are really going to sic your wife on Lydia for posting a comment? Christ, you really are an all encompassing pussy.

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermeija

Thank you for posting this. I'm a dad much like you that splits things kid related with my wife. I actually had more experience with babies given I'm 15 year solder than my youngest brother.my wife turned to me for advice with our infant. Nowthatshe's up to speed we split things. She realizes I can do things just as well given the chance.

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTony B.

LMFAO!! I have a friend like that. She is currently pregnant and acts like she cant do anything and makes her husband do EVERYTHING! !!

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkim

meija, she didn't call me a cunt. And was that a girth comment? Big words from someone who posted anonymously.

August 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterFodder4Fathers.Com

Wow. I am a mom of 5 and I didn't see the problem with the blog. Calling the man and his wife anatomical parts was where my eyes about exploded from my head. Since when can't people who don't like something just say so without verbally attacking someone? Especially someone who didn't even write the damn blog. My Pops had a saying about hit dogs hollering IJS

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMartha

I was a single 34 yr old Mother, and had NO help except my own Mother who wasn't in good health. THANK you for posting this, I have a funny story about my stay in the hospital. I had a C-Section and all the other moms had their husbands, etc. with them. Everyone showed up for the birth but left that afternoon. I got very Hungry. The nurse found me, shuffling, bent over, in pain, at the fridge in the nurse's station. The nurse gave me some extra food and told me that she was amazed. She said all the other Mother's were bitching and griping about their pain, and had the Father's running around waiting on them. I also left the hospital a day early, went home and was left again alone with my newborn. We have made out just Fine without any help but I certainly would have welcomed it at the time. "Those" types of Mothers have no idea what it means to have a willing Father there for them, and frankly they make me a bit sick!!

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChele12

F4F... I know many women like this and they aren't even pregnant. Lol!! My husband and I have always split everything even though we never talked about how we would. We just kind of fell into that way because of our respect for each other but I know a few families that do not share responsibilities and even the hubs shakes his head at them. The women griping about the post are probably the ones who resemble it. Lol!! Have a great day!!

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMistie

I don't see why anyone is getting upset. The fact is that as long as this country encourages these outdated and ridiculous gender role ideas, we will continue to see a dearth of involved dads. It isn't that they can't or don't want to be, they are taught from infancy that men are supposed to be rough and tough, never cry, never show weakness, and that they are not the ones responsible for cleaning or babies.
I personally live with a man who takes the kitchen over every single day after working between 12 and 14 hours most days. He washes the dishes and cooks dinner. Every. Single. Day.

He was and is extremely involved with his girls. There are plenty of things I do not like about how he does things, but unless it poses a danger to my children I keep my mouth shut tight. I just smile and encourage, because I know how hard it is for him to fight what he was raised to be. Men are nurturing and loving, they just have it beat out of them from a young age. If they ever dared to show their nurturing and loving side they usually got attacked verbally and/or physically while being called any number of names including "woman" (how that is an insult I really wish I knew), "gay" (again, horrible word to use as an insult), "homo" (see where I am going here?)

My point is: Some men are able to keep their soft side present despite having lived in this hateful society. I love seeing that. But most men are conditioned to act certain ways. If they are ever going to change it will have to be in the presence of love and respect.

I personally hate seeing women put men down. I particularly hate it when they are putting their own husbands/significant others down. It is so disheartening. There is literally nothing worse than calling your partner in life names in a disrespectful and/or revengeful tone. I cannot understand why anyone would be with someone they hate so much.

Sorry for the ramble, but the whole thing boils down to: Let your sons be who they are. Give them baby dolls to play with. Let THEM practice their future roles. Give them kitchen sets and cleaning products. Teach them how to cook and clean the way you do your daughters. Take your daughters out to play sports with your sons. Let them all get dirty. Teach them that it is okay to cry and it is okay to love. Show them respect. Let them be themselves.

Let your kids be themselves. Stop telling them what they are supposed to be. You could see everything equal out in a big way in one generation if everyone woke up today.

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrandi Diner

I wound up a single mom, so I know that angle. Those being confrontational.....if the shoe fits! It isn't just first-time "mothers", it is SOME humans that enjoy being center if attention.... Get over yourselves and quit picking on people for their opinions. You do NOT have to agree, but being childish and confrontational and pushy with YOUR opinion is wrong. Grow up an have a controversial conversation with the ability to learn and grow, not digress back to infancy and ignorance.THAT IS ALL!

August 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVicki Rivers

Brandi: I disagree. Gender roles aren't the problem. In fact they ARE healthier than having NO gender lines. What is unhealthy is not letting your children grow and explore. I love trucks and mud. My boys love dolls and their play kitchens where they make mommy latés and cappuccinos:) I am an awesome micro-managing mom, I love the "pin-up lifestyle", I am happiest cooking and baking. My boys love dinos, Batman, and climbing. The point is they are comfortable identifying as boys and just as comfortable being nurturing, softer boys. I think myself and my husband have done a great job. My husband wishes he could win the lottery so we could BOTH be full time parents. He is super involved (although he admits I'm better at keeping track of everything, I admit he has more patience and is way more laid back - which I LOVE that my kids get the ying and yang:). He just wants his kids to have a father more present than he did.

I think we are seeing two things. Men becoming fathers who are still stuck in the old way of thinking, and men becoming fathers who want the change (but quite often are denied). I appreciate blogs like this that bring awareness to the stark inequality within parenting roles. Hopefully by the time my boys are men becoming fathers.. the women are able to see them as equal and just as capable:)

August 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal S

I don't know one mother that when her husband says "honey you sleep ill tend to the baby", would respond with, no way you don't know what your doing.....

I appreciate the point your trying to make, but your negative appproach to it took away any chance of you getting thru to these " new mothers"

August 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBre

Let me start off by saying, I really love this page, your blogs, and your wife's blogs. They are informative, entertaining, serious, funny, etc. The blog you wrote about first time mom's was beyond fantastic. You know why? Because it does fit some of the first time moms out there. And I will include myself in that as well. Not all of it applied to me, but indeed some did. Not the attention seeking and all that jive, I rarely left the house during my pregnancy except for my twice weekly doctor visits and ultrasounds to make sure I could carry my child to term and not further endanger either if our lives. But that's another story. It's after we came home where the poo hit the fan, and I'm not talk about what was in our son's diaper. And note that I said "our son." I didn't create him on my own, I should know, I was there and totally with it. But I didn't give my husband any credit whatsoever as being the one who actually started the creation of life, or his capabilities of being a father. I figured after everything the ob/gyn, friends, and family had told me, that I was super woman! I could do it all and he didn't need to do a thing! It was all about me and the baby! WRONG! My husband, though 6 years my junior and 24 years old when our son (now 3) was born, had 4 other sons from previous relations and knew exactly how to care for a child. But did I give him the chance. Hell no! I was so very wrong in that. I expected him to cater to my needs, to run the errands, work full-time, and help me out at home. Even though I was perfectly capable of it. I was up walking around within half hour of the epi wearing off after birth, I took no pain meds, I made myself get better, because I was a mom and I could do it all! Or so that's what others led me to believe. I hurt my husband deeply with the way I treated him and that among other issues caused us to separate and rethink our marriage. To make a super long story short fast forward to our son being around 2 and we realized he was different than others his age, he's now being tested for high end autism, odd, aspergers, and adhd. I was at my wits end and couldn't deal. If you're the parent of a super special spectacular child like we are, you know what I went through. My husband almost forcefully stepped in and became mine and our son's biggest supporters. I was so tired I just let it happen and ya know what? Our son is fantastic and better than ever, so is our marriage, and so are we as individuals. We moved back in together November of last year, and by golly he can change diapers, even the one's that turn me green! He taught him to pee in the potty standing up at 2 1/2, cooked our dinners, did laundry, gave baths, and the list goes on. Lordy I was missing out on so much by alienating him from our kid by thinking I knew it all. He missed out on a lot of things thanks to me and my way of thinking. We can't go back and fix the past, but we've moved forward in a good way. He tool on double duty when I was ill for almost 3 months this past Spring. I couldn't get off the couch hardly and he maintained our home and our kiddo, as well as took care of me until I was better. Is our marriage perfect, hell no. Is our kid cured because daddy is here, nope. But when things get tough he's there to help me out. Amazingly enough we have a perfectly equal 50/50 marriage now. He's a great dad to our lil man, easily going back into "daddy duty," after he works his shift during the day. We made the kid together and by George we're gonna raise him together. Did I take offense to your blog, at first yes, but then I reread it and realized that I did fit into that category and how that it was ok to be in that category. Because I saw the error of my ways and I choose to be the woman my parents taught me to be and the wife I knew I wanted to be. Maybe instead of just jumping on the judgmental man bashing bandwagon right of the bat, the rude neysayers could take a step back and see that he's not speaking about all women. How callus would that be, we're not in the neanderthal era anymore ya know. And I believe that if he would have overstepped the bounds, his Mrs would be the first in line to take a frying pan up the side of his head. No she's not stupid folks, she seems to be pretty damn intelligent if you ask me. But Adam, for the love of everything, pick your toenails up when your done clipping cause that's just ewww! Sincerely, First time mom who learned the lesson the hard way (Mrs. Hattley)

August 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha Hattley

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