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Feelings Can’t Be Taught: A Lesson From My 9-Year-Old

Car rides home with a nine-year-old who just endured a two-hour football practice wearing full pads on a sun-stroked field are often filled with complaining. Hunger and exhaustion steeped in sweat do not tend to bring out the best in a person.


“Mom, I don’t want to play cornerback anymore. I’d rather play on the defensive line.”

“Why is that?”

“I just don’t feel comfortable coming in from the end to make a tackle. I’d rather block someone because it’s easier.”

My fourth-grader was barking up the grumble tree and I wasn’t buying in.

“Your coach will decide what position is best for you to play, honey.”

“But I’m not comfortable.”

This is when most moms would stop, drop, and reflect. If our kid says they aren’t comfortable with something, it’s best to consider the reveal a red flag we should pay attention to.

In my case, said nine-year-old was my precious daughter, the only shoulder-pad wearing estrogen-bearer on a team bursting with testosterone. The red flag looked more like a 50-foot banner being pulled across my eye space behind a plane piloted by Captain Obvious, “Hey nitwit, your daughter is a 50-pound pip squeak playing with boys who’d rather run off the field before allowing a girl to tackle them!”

Still, I missed the message.

My child’s concerns weren’t registering. I only heard complaining. I rationalized that my little girl needed time to learn the system and understand the position. This would build confidence and reduce discomfort. I also worried that giving in to her angst would encourage a quitter’s mentality.

The smell of sweat must dumb a parent down.

“Kahrin, you just need to practice more and learn the cornerback position.”

“Mom, I can’t learn my feelings!”

Well, then.

My pony-tailed football princess replaced her sweaty skull cap with the crown of wisdom before my very eyes on that steamy August night. 

My daughter is an athlete head-to-toe. When you look at her DNA under a microscope, a Nike swoosh appears. She’s played almost every sport known to woman and a couple to man. And played them well.

Considering my daughter was also the quarterback (which must have done wonders for the self-esteem of the other 99.9% of her team), it seemed apparent the coach was utilizing her athleticism by placing her in a cornerback position on defense.

This story is written in an old journal dated September, 17, 2006. Whether or not I encouraged my daughter to talk to her coach about being uncomfortable after she dished out her shrewd quip will remain a mystery. Neither of us can recall the rest of the story.

But here I am, 10 years later, finally embracing the profound insight behind my nine-year-old’s snappy retort.

“I can’t learn my feelings.”

You are correct, sweetheart, and sagacious beyond your years even when that oversized helmet wobbled on your girl-sized head.

Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are. They emerge unannounced like submarines needing a pressure change. When you need oxygen, you need oxygen.

And parenting is just as fleeting as feelings. We don’t learn our feelings of love, doubt, anxiety, joy, excitement, awe, wonder, fear, anger, disbelief, and pain. These sentiments happen without warning in and around every waking moment of raising our children.

My daughter’s insightful comment back in ‘06 reminded me how we do have the ability to learn how to manage our feelings – a lesson I’m still grasping as a 46-year-old work-in-progress. 

I’ve come to realize the best way to handle our feelings is to get to know them. Sounds corny, but it’s true. A simple meet and greet with our emotions as they surface does wonders for our well-being.

When the feeling is positive we sit with it for a while and enjoy its presence. Negative feelings are more like rude impostors we dismiss. Feelings will fight for our attention one way or another and I’ve learned that accepting the lousy ones for what they are and understanding where they come from is necessary before sending them on their way.

Either way, as my astute daughter reminded me, we can’t ignore our feelings for long. And our kids count on us to avoid any chance of ignoring theirs.

There is much to learn from our kiddos about the important things in life. Mine have taught me more than any book or beer label, that’s for sure.

I want to thank my young Jedi. Her uncanny wisdom as a grade-schooler planted a seed in my mom heart. Maybe, just maybe, the blessing is starting to bloom.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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