Proud Atheist Mom Moment

We’ve been having some pretty harsh wind chill advisories the past few days so schools have been closed. Yesterday I took my daughter to work with me. I was facilitating an art group so I thought she would have fun painting.

My daughter and I are a lot alike. We look alike. Our personalities are alike (which isn’t always a good thing). At some point, our likeness came up in conversation during the group and my daughter said, “Mommy made me.” 

I said, “Well, dad helped.”

Then a group participant chimed in, “No, GOD made you!” I was a little stunned and there was a slight moment of silence. I didn’t know what to say to my daughter or the participant.

My daughter then very enthusiastically exclaimed, “NO, Mommy made me! I came out of her private parts!” To which another participant said, “She knows too much.”

First of all, yay for my daughter for not falling for the god stuff. My daughter will occasionally talk about god or Jesus because she saw something on YouTube or TikTok or the little girl next door said something, but lately, she’s been totally shooting it down.

Second of all, my daughter is seven; I don’t think that’s too young to know where babies come from.

I thought the interaction was pretty funny and just wanted to share. Do you have any proud atheist parent moments? 

My Annual “I Hate Christmas” Post/Share Your Secular Holiday Traditions Here!

Last year I watched my next-door neighbor march all her pumpkins out to the trash can bright and early on November 1st. Later that day she had her Christmas lights up. I just watched out the window and chuckled.

I’m sure our neighbors are cringing this year because it’s December 1st and we still have Halloween inflatables in our front yard. My husband keeps saying he will take them down but at this point, I think we should just throw some Santa hats and scarves on them. 

I’m always irritable at this time of year. I really hate Christmas. The Christmas shit in the stores. The Christmas music playing everywhere. The crowds. It’s the most annoying holiday. But that’s the thing…it’s a holiday. It’s supposed to be one day but instead, it starts in October and lasts until New Year. You just can’t escape.

What’s hard is my daughter is now seven and she’s really getting into Christmas. A couple of nights ago, she wanted to build a “winter house” so we cut up an Amazon box to look like an open dollhouse. She made a Christmas tree, presents, and a reindeer from some of the cardboard scraps from the dollhouse. She’s a very creative kid but Christmas just keeps creeping up all the time.

She asked me yesterday if we can “finally” get a Christmas tree. My husband and I didn’t put up a Christmas tree until our daughter turned three. That year we broke down and bought one and my daughter decorated it with her hairbows. Her idea. Like I said, she’s a pretty creative kid. I guess it’s about time to put one up. I just wasn’t going to do it before Thanksgiving. 

My daughter also still believes in Santa. I’ve always been iffy on the whole Santa bit. When I was little and found out the Santa wasn’t real I was mad that all the adults in my life had been lying to me.

We did buy our daughter a Pokemon advent calendar. She’s obsessed with Pokemon and she was excited to open the first little door today. It was kind of fun.

Anyway, the point of this post is I want to hear how you celebrate Christmas when you can’t get away from it. How do you keep it secular? How do you keep it joyful for your kids when you are irritable and annoyed at a religious holiday that unfortunately lasts for two months? Please share your secular Christmas traditions!

Embracing Traditions

Have you ever watched the show, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding? I’m home from work right now. My daughter doesn’t feel well and didn’t go to school, so I’ve been watching it all day. Our streaming service keeps challenging me by asking, “Are you still watching?”

The show is over-the-top dramatic making me wonder if that’s really how American Gypsies live. I am not familiar with their culture, but if you are, I would love to hear from you. What is it like? I’m so curious.

One thing that I think is very interesting about the show is the lengths the American Gypsies go to to preserve their centuries-old traditions. I am just so fascinated by it.

This makes me think about my own family and culture. My family has been here long enough to be very assimilated into American culture, but that wasn’t always the case for older generations.

Like many Americans, I’m a bit of a mutt – mostly German with some Czech and Dutch thrown in. My husband is also mostly German with a little bit of English and Scottish. I think that makes my daughter a surprising amount of German for a family that has been here for so long.

My grandma was a first-generation American. Her parents had immigrated from Czechoslovakia after the First World War. I don’t know all the details because it was so long ago, but I know assimilating into American culture at that particular time must have been very difficult. Old traditions were even a little embarrassing for my grandma as a child.

Fast forward to my childhood, I grew up in a rural area where most people were of German heritage. Some of the older generation still spoke a little German. There were even a few church services in German.

Polka was popular where I grew up. Our local radio station played polka and at an annual Summerfest, polka music rang out late into the night. We (the younger generation) all made fun of it of course, but now I really regret that.

My grandma and grandpa were an adorable couple and they were so cute and sweet to each other when they danced to polka music together.

However, I feel those traditions died along with all of our grandparents. I never learned to polka, but now I kinda wish I did.

Would it be too late to teach my daughter how to polka when I never learned myself?


I would love to hear about your family. Have your traditions fizzled out or are they still alive and well?

Personal Responsibility: The Devil Isn’t Your Scapegoat and God Doesn’t Deserve Credit

Since I had been sick the last few weeks, I had been camped out on the couch and watching a lot of TV. Confession – I love reality shows. One particular show I was watching had cameras set up in the homes of three families at turning points in their lives, and of course, let the drama unfold.

One of the families had very devout Christian parents, and every time their kids misbehaved, they blamed it on the devil. Even the kids said it was the devil. The kids were young but I think they realized they had a very easy excuse.

This annoyed the crap out of my husband. My daughter was in the same room and my husband decided to have a talk about personal responsibility right then and there.

My husband told my daughter if she bullied someone at recess that that was on her. It’s not the devil and you have to take responsibility for it.

But my husband also acknowledged the flip side. My daughter is a talented artist, and he told her if she won an art contest, that’s all her. God does not deserve credit. She did that. 

Have you ever had a conversation like this with your kids?

She seemed to grasp what we were saying, but just a few minutes later, she was helping my husband carry some laundry up from the basement and she said it was heavy – like carrying the cross. Where the hell did that come from?

My husband thought she saw something on TikTok.

Here’s where I have a couple of questions. I’ve brought this up before – do you always supervise your children when they’re watching videos online? And how do you do that? My husband and I are not fans of censorship and we certainly don’t want our daughter to be sheltered or naive. 

When it comes to belief or nonbelief, we don’t want to push our daughter into anything. We just want her to ask questions and think for herself. Obviously, we don’t want others pushing her into anything either.

Maybe this is all easier said than done, especially considering we live in a conservative area. How have other parents approached this subject?

We have bought a couple of David McAfee books, but I’m afraid they still might be a little over her head. Do any other parents have experience with these books?

I apologize for the rambling. This post started out about personal responsibility but so much more came up the night we had the discussion with my daughter. I would love to hear from other parents/guardians/relatives – anyone taking care of littles. How have you dealt with these topics?

The Confessions of a Mother

My daughter is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. When she entered the world seven years ago she changed everything. However, the stress of motherhood was more than I could have ever imagined. There was no way I could have known what this felt like beforehand and when my baby was born I was jumping in head first. No turning back. Nothing will ever be the same. 

Sometimes it’s a relief to know that I’m not alone – there are other parents around me all the time – but I’ve learned that also means everyone has an opinion. Mommy shaming is real and sometimes I wonder if I’m doing things because I think it’s what’s best for my daughter or because I think people will judge me if I don’t. 

Stress seems to come in two forms. First, caring that my daughter does well and wanting what’s best for her comes with this particular stress – like worrying about the future or about situations that might never happen. Sometimes it’s motivation to keep me prepared and organized as a mom. 

But then there’s this other stress – feeling a burden by the heavy responsibility of parenting. This is where I focus more on myself and my shortcomings. I assume I won’t measure up or I’ll fail my daughter. It feels deep and dark – like I’ll never be able to handle everything and it’s my fault. While feeling this kind of stress is painful, thankfully it’s short-lived because my husband always comes to my rescue. 

The stress is real and it’s relentless. Whether it’s good or bad, it all puts my anxiety through the roof.

But I would never give up my role as a mom. On her last day of school before summer break my daughter won an art award at school. I was so excited for her. Art is an interest my daughter and I share and when I get to paint with her it makes everything worth it. Those are the things that really matter. 

I literally can’t even remember what life felt like before becoming a mom. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but either way, I would never turn back time and go back. 

I would love to hear from other parents/relatives/caregivers. Can you relate to the stress, the judgment, the joy, and the times when all those feelings are mixed up together?

How do you explain the world to kids?

The idea for this post started with my daughter coming home from the neighbor’s house and telling us that the little girl next door believes that the rain is Jesus’ tears. I was a little annoyed but at the same time, I giggled at the ridiculousness of that explanation. I left this one for my husband because he’s much more science-y than me. 

Parents Afraid of LGBTQ+ Issues

Then the idea for this post took a much more serious turn. Have you heard about the tuck-friendly bikini bottoms at Target? I’ve seen a million articles/posts about it to the point I didn’t think it was real. However, I went directly to the Target website and found the bikini bottoms for sale. They’re real and I think that’s awesome. 

But not everyone agrees with me. My husband tends to get in fights on Facebook and tucking bikini bottoms are the latest topic that has pissed off his friends. Some people commented, “How am I going to explain this to my kids?” My husband and I don’t understand the problem – you just explain it. 

Kids aren’t dumb and they certainly don’t carry as much judgment as adults. I don’t understand why parents/caregivers hold back. On the flip side, if someone has a problem with tuck-friendly bikini bottoms, you just know they’re going to unload their prejudice onto their kids.

Explaining the World to My Daughter

When I think about explaining things to my daughter, we mostly wait for her to ask questions, but I’m starting to think we need to be more proactive. We’ve touched on the birds and bees explaining a bit about where babies come from even though she hasn’t directly asked us. I just think it’s crucial that she gets this information from my husband and me first before anyone else gets to her.

When I was growing up, I remember feeling a lot of confusion. My parents didn’t talk to me about sex so everything I learned came from my older sister and other kids at school. Needless to say, there was a lot I didn’t know. 

The confusion wasn’t just about sex; it was about the world in general. I had serious mental health issues, lacked confidence, and knew absolutely nothing about money. I just feel my parents didn’t talk to me enough, and when I graduated high school, I was ill-prepared for adulthood. I don’t want my daughter to feel that way. 

Is there an appropriate age?

I am not an educator nor do I have a degree in child development so I’m a bit lost on this one. Are there certain ages appropriate for discussing different topics? Should you wait for children to ask questions? I personally feel that there’s not an appropriate age to explain things but there’s probably age-appropriate explanations. 

I don’t feel that it’s inappropriate that I’ve started talking to my seven-year-old daughter about sex. If I don’t talk to her now, others will beat me to it – it could come from something she sees online or other kids at school. I want her to be already somewhat knowledgeable before anyone else approaches her. If she knows what’s going on she will have a better chance of protecting herself.

Parents/caregivers/relatives – how do you explain things to your kids? Do you wait until they ask questions or do you approach them on certain topics? Kids are so innocent and new to the world that sometimes I wonder if my daughter even knows what questions to ask. Do you feel that way, too? What is your experience?

For better or for worse: How much are your kids like you?

This weekend we went to an all-in-one play center – roller skating, laser tag, gigantic jungle gym, escape rooms, etc. It was our first time going there and it was pretty impressive, but our first hour proved to be a little tense.

We started at the roller skating rink and my daughter was really nervous. She did NOT want to skate. I sat at a table with her and colored. I didn’t want to skate either. My sister-in-law and her four kids were all skating; even my out-of-shape, forty-five-year-old husband put on skates. I was certain he was going to break his leg but he didn’t even fall once. 

While my daughter and I sat and colored my family constantly pushed her to put on skates. They were relentless. My daughter eventually crawled under the table and I told them to leave her alone. 

She never did skate. We moved on to other parts of the center and she happily played with her cousins. The rest of the day she was fine.

Every time I see my daughter get nervous it hurts because I know what that feels like. I was a nervous kid who turned into a very nervous adult. This is one trait of mine I was hoping my daughter wouldn’t get. I want my daughter to try new things and meet new people enthusiastically. I don’t want there to be any missed opportunities for her.

Perhaps if I had put on skates, my daughter would’ve, too. Unfortunately, I’m dealing with my own anxiety and it is so hard to model some sort of confident behavior for her. It’s easy for her to sit and color with me because I always sit and color. 

Of course, my daughter has many more of my traits – we’re both very short and our eyes turn to little crescents when we smile. We’re both impatient and love cats. It’s fun and a little weird when you see how much your kid is like you, but I really wish my daughter didn’t have my anxiety.

So how much are your kids like you? Is it good or bad? What do you do when your kids inherit your shortcomings? 

LGBTQA+ readers, I need advice. Are you ever too young to come out?

I debated on whether or not I should write this post because I want to protect my daughter’s privacy, but after discussing it with my husband, we thought maybe this would be a good place to go for advice. This might even be a chance to help out other parents as well. I never use my daughter’s name and I will keep it vague.

The other night while relaxing in the living room, my six-year-old told my husband and me that she’s gay and has a crush on a girl in her class. She was very calm and matter-of-fact. It took me by surprise and my first reaction was that she’s so young so I shouldn’t take it too seriously. 

But when I thought about it, there has never been a time in my life when I didn’t know that I was a hetero-cis female – even when I was little. In elementary school, I had crushes on boys in my class, older boys, male teachers, famous actors, etc. There was no doubt in my mind that I was straight, so maybe even at her young age, she is certain about who she is. I decided I will take it seriously and hope she continues to feel comfortable talking about it with us. We tried not to make a huge deal about it but we made sure she knows we will always accept her for who she is and will love her no matter what.

It’s kinda sweet because we have been hearing about the little girl she has a crush on for quite a while. She even refers to her as her girlfriend. When she called her her girlfriend in the past I just wasn’t sure if she meant a girl that’s a friend or someone she was attracted to.

I grew up out in the country and so many of my younger friends and family had a difficult time coming to terms with their sexuality in such a conservative area. It affected them well into adulthood. Times have definitely changed since I was a child and I’m also really glad that we are raising our daughter in the city, but will it be enough to keep her safe?

I am also concerned about how older relatives might treat her.

To my LGBTQA+ readers, how old were you when you came out? How did you feel as a young child? I’d love to hear from other parents. Do you have suggestions on how I can support my daughter? She’s so young – how can I make sure she feels safe?

A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – No. 33 “Empathy”

Dear daughter,

Yesterday you won an award at school for empathy, and I am not surprised at all. You are so considerate of others and you absorb everything around you. Even before you went to school, your empathy was noticed at daycare. When another kid was struggling, you drew them pictures to cheer them up. Everyone at the daycare thought it was the sweetest thing.

You even pick me flowers when I’m sad.

Being able to show compassion and understanding is a skill not everyone possesses that will serve you well throughout your life.

There’s one thing I’ve noticed about your upbringing that really differs from mine years ago. As a child, my focus was achievement. Good grades. Winning competitions. Excelling in extracurriculars, etc. It was always a huge blow when I didn’t measure up. As an adult, I now see there are more important things and I’m still trying to work past my “achievement” mindset.

But you’re different. You focus on character. Daddy and I try not to push you too hard into activities. We want you to get good grades but we’re not going to be angry if you don’t. As far as I’m concerned, the award you received for empathy is a huge honor – bigger than test scores or a ribbon on field day – and I couldn’t be prouder.

I don’t think there was an award for empathy when I was growing up, but there should have been.

You have a talent for connecting with others and I want to support and encourage you as much as possible but my biggest fear is that the world will harden you and turn you cold. I see you feel other’s pain and that’s a heavy weight to carry.

Hopefully, that’s way down the road yet. Continue being that sweet and caring first grader for as long as possible.

Daughter, don’t ever forget you have a beautiful heart and mind. You learn so much from the people you meet and they will learn from you as well. You have so much to offer the world.

A Funeral and Religious Service – A Day of Firsts for My Daughter

My husband’s grandfather died last weekend. He was in his 90s and he was aware that he was dying. He lay in hospice for several days before finally passing. It was unbearable to watch. I hope that when I die – especially if I know I’m dying – it goes a little quicker than that. 

At first, we weren’t going to take our six-year-old daughter to visit him in hospice, but one night he specifically asked for her so we brought her the next day. She was a little freaked out but she sat on the floor and drew him a picture. She showed it to him and it was very sweet.

The funeral is tomorrow and my husband and I both agree she should be there with the rest of the family. This really isn’t her first funeral, but it will probably be the first one she actually remembers. She was still a baby when my stepmother and grandmother died. 

This will also be her first religious service. My husband’s family is Lutheran – the conservative kind. (Eek!)

Part of me hopes our daughter will be curious and ask us lots of questions, but the other part of me knows she’s going to be bored and ask to play with my phone.

Any advice on making this a meaningful/educational experience for my daughter? Or is six still too young to understand?