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.”

Jarvis DeBerry writes, “[…] in the U.S., neither a Black woman’s money, education or status serves as protection from mistreatment in labor and delivery. Financially secure Black women with Ivy League degrees have to worry just like those with less money and education if doctors or nurses will do (or not do) something that costs them their lives or their babies’ lives.”

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.”

WSV’s Steph Hightree writes, “This past summer I finally started letting my daughter stay home by herself. I would be lying if I said I don’t think of every possible thing that could go wrong before I leave the house though. When does protecting them too much start to hinder their growth process? Has worry and fear taken over my life? Am I putting my child’s happiness in a bottle and locking it up until they are old enough to move out of the house? Am I taking away their ability to become risk takers or confidant adventurers all because I let my fear and worry take over my life? I think the answer is yes, at least a little bit.”

“My days are filled with manic highs and mind-numbing lows. There are days where I am just ‘fine’ and days where I can barely get off the couch. There are days where I feel like I am drowning and being swallowed up by sadness. Of course on these days parenting is the hardest. Thinking and breathing hurts. Doing anything hurts. Parenting is the last thing on my mind. I can hardly take care of myself, so how do I take care of another human being?”

Do you ever wonder where later has gone? I often think it goes to the back of the closet and gets lost with those Christmas gifts you forgot you bought. As an adult, later seems like something small and trivial. As a child, later seems like something you’ve wished for but it never happens. And that makes me mad.