WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “When did I make Christmas all about presents, and less about traditions and family time? I remember the first year I was a mother. I was so excited to buy Cadence gifts, even though she was only 3 months old at the time. She would never know what she was receiving. She wouldn’t even be able to open the gifts. But that wasn’t the point. I just loved the act of giving her things. And it has progressed every year since then. The gifts have become more elaborate, the quantity has increased, the price more expensive. But do they really appreciate the work that I put into this every year?”

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “Today I want to talk about teenage dating. How can something be so terrifying and exciting at the same time? Yes, Cadence, I know you’re going to kill me for writing about your dating life, but here we are (feel free to insert a shoulder shrug emoji right here). At this time I’d like to make the official announcement, Cadence has a boyfriend. There I said it.”

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “I know that this too shall pass and all will be well in my world pretty soon, but always in the back of my mind I am wondering when will the depression come back? Will I wake up tomorrow and not be able to get out of bed? Will I go days without showering again? Will I live in my quiet bubble and shut people and activities out again? Sadly, the answer is yes. Even with medication depression is still there.”

Doug and Alek are joined by Watershed Voice columnist Steph Hightree for her long awaited and highly anticipated (probably) second interview to discuss raising a son with autism, how the stigma and general perception of autism has changed over the last decade, and why an emphasis on acceptance of autism should take priority over raising awareness of the developmental disorder. The trio also does a deep dive on Steph’s unique hobby and life’s work: collecting gnomes.

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “I’ve always imagined we would have a relationship like Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls but the image in my head and the reality of life is looking a bit different. I don’t want to be the mean mom. But I know I need to be the mom that parents with love and discipline, rather than the best friend. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you aren’t an effective mom if you’re close to your child, I’m just saying you can’t expect the respect that you deserve if you let them walk all over you. “

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “As another school year comes to an end, I think of the Vitamin C ‘Graduation’ song and am instantly brought back to my senior year. Although I don’t have a graduating senior this year, I do have an 8th grader who will be transitioning to high school, and I’m kind of freaking out.”

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “I like that April helps shine a light on autism by celebrating Autism Awareness Month but what I really wish they would celebrate is Autism Acceptance Month. With one in 54 people being autistic we really need to change our focus to acceptance versus awareness. Everyone should be aware by now. Autism is here and it’s not going away. But the acceptance part is when things start to change. Acceptance starts with you. When you accept the fact that life is different now and that your child will be living a life that you may not have been prepared for, your life will become easier.”

Doug & Alek are joined by Watershed Voice Columnist and Office Manager Steph Hightree to discuss parenting during a pandemic, how paramount in-school counseling has been for her daughter Cadence, the trials and triumphs of her son Nathan, the joys of camping and her dogged pursuit of a Playstation 5 for her husband in the first of two back-to-back episodes with Ms. #MomLife herself.

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “I think it is only natural we all wish for that small break where we can just be ourselves and not be mom for a minute. It doesn’t have to be as extreme as taking a whole vacation, it can just be hiding in the bathroom for 15 minutes to take a second to breathe, running to the store alone, going on a weekend trip, or in my case, driving eight hours away to a cabin in the woods to hopefully unwind and unplug.”

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “It may take years to realize that you have forgotten about yourself. I know it did for me. But when you finally break out of that mom cocoon it can feel refreshing to finally do something for yourself. It can be as simple as sitting down for 30 minutes to read a book or as elaborate as taking a kid free vacation to recharge your batteries. The reason I am writing this is to remind you that in the middle of the chaos, spit up, and dirty hair, you are in fact a person. You are still you.”